Donetsk Defense: Weekly Situation Report, 11/24/2017

Good afternoon!

The situation on the contact line remains tense.

In the Donetsk direction, the enemy fired one 152-mm artillery projectile, 66 mortar shells of 120-mm and 82-mm calibres at nine localities' adjacent areas. Grenade launchers and small arms were also applied.

In the Mariupol direction, the AFU units fired 40 mortar shells of 120-mm and 82-mm calibres onto four localities' areas, at that engaging fire with grenade launchers and small arms.

In the Gorlovka direction, the enemy shelled three localities’ areas with grenade launchers and small arms.

In total, over the past 24 hours, there were registered 25 violations of the ceasefire regime by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

In total, over the past week, the enemy committed 222 violations of the ceasefire regime, launching onto the Republic's territory 1,166 artillery projectiles, tank rounds and mortar shells of 120-mm and 82-mm calibres.

Areas of 21 localities of the Republic were affected by the AFU fire.

One civilian was wounded in the AFU shelling. 18 houses sustained damages in the localities of Dokuchayevsk, Leninskoye, and Zaitsevo.

Two soldiers of the DPR Armed Forces were killed, one was wounded in the defense lines of the Republic.

The AFU Command continues concentrating heavy weapons near the line of combat contact. In particular, our reconnaissance recorded the following pieces:

152-mm self-propelled artillery mount Akatsiya — 8 units;

152-mm towed howitzer D-20 — 6 units;

152-mm towed cannons Giatsint-B – 3 units;

122-mm MLRS Grad — 1 unit;

122-mm self-propelled artillery mount Gvozdika — 5 units;

120-mm self-propelled artillery gun NONA-S – 3 units.

In addition, the OSCE Mission noted in its reports the absence of heavy weapons in storage sites:

152-mm towed howitzer MSTA-S — 6 units;

122-mm self-propelled artillery mount Gvozdika — 18 units;

122-mm towed howitzer D-30 — 6 units;

100-mm anti-tank gun Rapira — 12 units;

120-mm mortar – 6 units.

In total, the absence of 48 pieces of heavy weapons of the AFU was established for the past week.

This week, the Ukrainian forces sought to exacerbate the situation on the contact line.

The enemy delivered artillery and mortar strikes at the residential areas of the localities of Dokuchayevsk, Leninskoye, Zaitsevo, and also life support facilities. At the same time, the fire was adjusted with the help of unmanned aerial vehicles. The largest number of damaged houses is observed in these localities after shelling by the Ukrainian chastisers.

If it weren’t for the skilful actions of our defenders who managed to bring down two ‘fire adjustors’ of the AFU, there would be much more casualties and destructions in the territory of the Republic.

In total, since the beginning of 2017, the DPR Armed Forces have destroyed 60 unmanned means of the enemy during their adjustment of the fire of prohibited weapons and additional reconnaissance of civil infrastructure facilities in the territory of the Republic.

This week, works on the contact line are observed in all brigades under Muzhenko, the head of the AFU General Staff, and Zabrodsky, the commander of the ‘ATO’ forces. According to the information we possess, the aggravation of the situation in the zone of the armed conflict, among other things, is due to their presence. We do not exclude either that, on their initiative and personal instructions, there may occur provocations in the areas of the localities of Verkhnetoretskoye, Peski, Avdeyevka, Maryinka, Vodyanoye, and Dokuchayevsk.

Right as it was in the Gorlovka direction. In particular, the Ukrainian side, in violation of the Minsk agreements, seized Gladosovo locality in the ‘grey zone.’

Punishers from the 54th separate mechanized brigade and the 24th Aidar battalion broke into the village on the night of November 22, 2017 and began to threaten local residents with weapons, demanding from them to remain silent. At that, they tortured some of the residents.

At the moment, our intelligence is aware of the true purpose of this provocation. In particular, up to two platoons of Ukrainian servicemen planned to temporarily gain a foothold in the village, and then to fire at the localities under their control the next day. The use of mortars was to be recorded by the film crews of western and Ukrainian TV channels that had arrived in the given area in advance. Accusations of the DPR Armed Forces of violating the Minsk agreements were to follow.

We do not exclude either that this provocation could be connection with information on the arrival of three trucks with Ukrainian servicemen dressed in Russian uniform at the area of Svetlodarsk locality, received from residents of the territories occupied by the AFU. We assume that the Ukrainian punishers’ shelling their territories and the activities in the territory of Ukraine of Ukrainian saboteurs, disguised in the uniform of the Russian standard, may be links of one chain.

Along with that, our reconnaissance continues detecting the concentration of weapons and military equipment of the enemy in the Mariupol and Gorlovka directions. In this connection, we do not exclude larger provocations in these areas, which we are naturally ready for.

However, the units arriving in these areas are rather demoralized.

In particular, two suicides and four cases of abnormal use of weapons with a fatal outcome for servicemen were recorded due to drunkenness in a battalion tactical group of the 79th separate airborne assault brigade, stationed in the vicinity of Malinovka locality. At the same time, because of the abuse of the local population by the servicemen, residents of Malinovka and the nearby localities addressed the head of the military and civil administration of the region with a demand to expel the Ukrainian paratroopers to live on a clean field.

The situation in the units of the 54th separate mechanized brigade, deployed in the Gorlovka direction, is no less critical. The inhabitants of the localities of Novoluganskoye, Kodema and the occupied part of Zaitsevo are very unhappy with the actions of the brigade. Due to the corruption ran by the command and violations in provisioning, servicemen are forced to rob local residents, to steal their fences, to withdraw firewood stocks for survival at the forefront with the onset of the cold season.

All these facts evidence the demoralization of the Ukrainian servicemen, and their unwillingness to participate in the new ‘pockets’ prepared by Poroshenko.

A former serviceman of the AFU, Pirus Bogdan Yaroslavovich, who has taken the DPR side, will tell us today about these and other problems in the Ukrainian army:

How long did you serve in the AFU ranks?

From autumn 2013 until autumn 2017, including 1.5 years spent in the disciplinary battalion for an unauthorized absence.

What is the moral state among the servicemen at the moment?

The moral state is extremely low. Soldiers suffer from alcoholism, and, in some cases, drug addiction. Nobody wants to fight.

What facts of the crimes by AFU servicemen are known to you?

Mass facts of looting by servicemen of the 59th brigade of the AFU in Shirokino locality. From local residents of Mariupol I learned that in 2014 and 2015 AFU servicemen abducted and raped local girls.

Have you encountered foreign advisers / instructors?

Personally, I haven’t, but when we were at the Yavorovsky training ground in the Lvov region, we were warned that a few kilometres away from our test site there was an American base where NATO soldiers were training.

What is the attitude of the local residents of the Donbass towards Ukrainian servicemen?

It is extremely negative. Therefore, we were forbidden to leave the territory of the base of the 59th AFU brigade, which is located in Mariupol, in uniform. Local people would sometimes beat and kill Ukrainian servicemen, and there were also facts when local people threw hand grenades to the territory of the unit.

What is the level of the logistic support and material and technical base of the AFU?

It is extremely negative. The equipment regularly fails. We have to buy food ourselves.

Do Ukrainian soldiers understand that they are not fighting against the Russian army, but against their fellow citizens?

Yes, they do.

Why do they continue doing this?

Because of money. In the AFU, salaries are much higher than those of civilians. The lowest salary of the private makes 7,000 UAH. At the forefront, rank-and-file soldiers receive 14,000 UAH plus supplements.

Do you want to return back to Ukraine within a swap?

No, I don’t. I want to live here, that is why I have escaped from there.

Vice-Commander of the DPR People’s Militia, Colonel Eduard Basurin, official translation by DONi News Agency