|Deciphering the Donbass Escalation: Part 2 – Casualty Understatements and Humanitarian Lies
Posted: 08 Feb 2017 06:22 AM PST
February 8, 2017 – Fort Russ –
By Eduard Popov – translated by J. Arnoldski –
Note from Dr. Popov: My Facebook page has been blocked for 7 days by the social network’s editorial board for republishing the inconvenient information contained in this article. In this second part of our three-part investigation of the recent escalation in Donbass, we focus on casualty reports and the humanitarian situation.
UAF and DPR losses
Practically all observers in Ukraine and Donbass, besides representatives of Ukrainian officialdom, have noted the high casualty count among Ukrainian troops and the militants of the Ukrainian neo-Nazi battalions. Unofficial Ukrainian sources have also stressed that lack of military advisability of advancing 100 meters forward (what Ukrainian propaganda calls the UAF’s “creeping offensive)” at such a high price.
Over the course of its recent offensive actions, Ukraine has used the time-proven method of dramatically understating losses. However, this time the losses are understated by dozens of times. For example, during the first, most fierce firefights between January 29th and 31st, the UAF reported 2-4 killed. At the time, the DPR’s artillery was holding off both the UAF’s forward positions and the second line of Ukrainian reserves.
More realistic data on UAF losses has come in recent days. According to the press center of Ukraine’s so-called « Anti-Terrorist Operation », on February 3rd the UAF lost four servicemen in Donbass and 17 were wounded. For a “ceasefire,” these are very high losses. But in fact, during the hottest firefights over the past days, their losses have been dozens of times higher.
Thanks to extensive explorative intelligence – a peculiarity of civil war – the UAF and the DPR are well aware of the forces and losses of each other’s sides. Allow me to quote the statement of Eduard Basurin, the senior speaker of the DPR’s armed forces:
“According to data obtained from a source in the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ General Staff, over three days of offensive actions (January 29th-31st), the UAF lost 183 servicemen. The chief of the General Staff of Ukraine was informed of this. Concerning the rest killed – 54 servicemen and militants of radical nationalist organizations – a decision was taken on the command level of the ATO to dispose of them with the use of a mobile crematorium. Thus, according to the confidential data of the UAF’s General Staff, over only three days of fighting the Ukrainian army and neo-Nazi battalions suffered losses amounting to 237 killed. The official Ukrainian casualty count for the battles between January 29th and February 3rd reports only 10 men killed and 66 wounded. Social networks and the blogs of Ukrainian volunteers openly ridicule these statistics. Ukraine has deleted from the list of dead and ‘forgotten’ about more than 200 soldiers, officers, and volunteers.”
The bodies of many fallen Ukrainian soldiers, instead of receiving funerals, await a crematorium oven. According to other reports from Donbass, mobile crematories are actively working to burn the bodies of dead Ukrainian soldiers and neo-Nazi militants in order to not « disturb » official statistics.
Another important source of testimony on UAF losses is offered by Ukrainian regional media and reports obtained from local residents. According to their reports, morgues are literally crammed with the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers not only in Ukrainian-controlled Donbass, but also in neighboring regional centers such as Dnepropetrovsk and Kharkov. Ukrainian wounded are crowding hospitals and civilian clinics in such cities of Ukrainian-occupied Donbass as Artemovsk, Konstantinovka, Chasov-Yar, Kramatorsk, etc. The fact that the wounded are being taken to more distant centers speaks to the huge number of sustained casualties.
To illustrate this, let us provide a remarkable example from Dnepropetrovsk (renamed by Ukrainian authorities as “Dnepr”). According to a local news report: “Loads of wounded fighters are arriving in Dnepr every day. A string of ambulances is always rushing to and from the airport.” The publication asks the city’s residents to help the wounded and bring them blankets, warm clothes, tea, coffee, and sugar – all of these essential and inexpensive things are not even provided by the Ukrainian army’s command. The publication also includes a photo of numerous ambulances on duty at the Dnepropetrovsk Airport.
Interestingly enough, a comment under the article by one reader with the username “Hero of Bandera” (the leader of the neo-Nazi Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the ideological organizer of the massacre of the Polish population of Volhynia and ethnic cleansing in Western Ukraine, also an employee of the Nazi German military intelligence Abwehr) threatens the editor with SBU persecution and compares the publication’s employees to “separatists” on the grounds that the article published figures that discredit official statistics. Such commentary once again demonstrates the policy of intentional misrepresentation and the concealment of colossal UAF losses by the military command and political authorities of Ukraine.
The news resource from Dnepropetrovsk cited above also reports statistics on the daily influx of wounded from Donbass: “On February 3rd, around another two dozen wounded were delivered from Avdeevka to the Dnepr hospital.”
Of course, the DPR’s armed forces have also suffered losses and have most likely understated them, but nowhere near the extent that the Ukrainian side has. According to the spokesperson of the DPR command, Eduard Basurin, 18 DPR servicemen have since been killed by Ukrainian fire, and 34 civilians and 26 soldiers have been wounded.
Humanitarian Situation: Statistics and Personal Testimony
On the very first day of shelling, civilians were killed. Ukrainian artillery bombardments have also inflicted serious damage on residential buildings (numerous houses have been destroyed) and the social infrastructure of cities. Ukrainian shells’ impact has led to the ruin, full or partial, of numerous DPR infrastructure ensuring the supply of water, electricity, and heat to cities.
In order for the foreign reader to grasp the situation, allow me to explain that Donbass was the most urbanized region of the former USSR. Ninety percent of the population lived in cities and to this day the population of Donbass remains concentrated in urban areas distinguished by close proximity between cities. For example, Donetsk, with a pre-war population of 1 million, blends in with the town of Makeevka with a population of 350,00 people. The distance between the cities is more or less a single kilometer. Therefore, the municipal authorities of cities have to endure increased work loads to ensure the smooth operation of urban infrastructure. It should be noted that Donetsk has beautifully coped with this work, as the city remains amazingly clean even in the midst of Ukrainian shelling. Emergency teams arrive immediately at the scenes of incidents and clean up the damage. Pipelines supplying gas to households and Donbass’ industrial enterprises, however, have consistently been faced with countless problems.
To illustrate this situation, let us turn to a personal story to show the situation in Donbass through an ordinary citizen’s eyes. My friend Vladimir, a veteran of the founding of the DPR and a man around the age of 55, lives in Donetsk. Artillery bombardments of the city have led to the partial interruption of professional and public life. But despite the shelling, the bulk of the city’s inhabitants still wait at public transport stops for their bus, even while under fire, and even when classes in the city’s schools are cancelled. Vladimir’s friends work at a gas supply station and deal with the repairing of pipelines. One of them found himself under artillery fire and was wounded while doing repair work. Ukrainian artillery fire did not cease for several days and nights in a row. When I talked with Vladimir on Skype several days ago, I could hear the impact of Grad rockets as volley fire rocket launchers constantly interrupted our conversation. The next time we talked on Skype, I heard the explosion of a Tochku-U tactical missile. An hour later, it was reported that the DPR military had managed to bring down the rocket out of the air. Here are my personal photos depicting unexploded Tochka-U missiles near Makeevka in October 2014.
When the intensity of attacks subsequently declined, the residents of Donetsk and Makeevka somewhat calmed down. But they still spent several nights without sleep as the Ukrainian army started shelling repetitively at 5:00 in the morning. The Special Monitoring Mission of the OSCE has since confirmed the death of several civilians from shelling in Avdeevka and Donetsk: “The Special Monitoring Mission confirms the death of several civilians and quite a large number of injured civilians in Avdeevka and Donetsk as a result of shelling,” the OSCE’s recent report reads.
Even higher casualties among the civilian population have been reported by DPR spokesmen. According to Eduard Basurin’s report on February 3rd, since the beginning of the conflict’s aggravation, more than 20 people have been killed and 60 wounded. This is probably understated data. Therefore, the humanitarian price of Ukraine’s offensive in Donbass is much higher than is acknowledged by official authorities. In addition, observers have noted a high number of damaged homes in Donbass cities.
The situation in Avdeevka deserves separate mention. It is from this city that the Ukrainians began shelling the positions of the DPR army and Donetsk, and it is here that OSCE observers were forced to admit the presence of UAF tanks.
On January 30th, Ukrainian President Poroshenko interrupted a one-day visit to Germany for talks with Merkel to return to Ukraine under the pretext of preventing a « humanitarian catastrophe » in Avdeevka. Let us note, however, that Poroshenko, who so urgently left supposedly important negotiations with Germany’s Merkel, did not visit Avdeevka anyway. Accordingly, the Ukrainian side’s official story does not hold water. There is either no “humanitarian catastrophe” in Avdeevka, or Poroshenko is not busy with cleaning it up.
I’ve spent quite a long time in Avdeevka, so I still have relatives and acquaintances there, thus rendering me quite well aware of the situation in the town. Based on what I’ve heard from Avdeevka residents, I can say that that there is no humanitarian catastrophe in the likes of what Ukrainian propaganda alleges. The humanitarian problems that do exist in Avdeevka are the consequences of the UAF’s offensive operations and attempts by President Poroshenko to escalate the situation in Donbass. Avdeevka’s residents are bearing all the hardships of a war unleashed on Poroshenko’s orders, but they have not been subjected to such shelling as the residents of Donetsk and Makeevka have, who are regularly bombarded by heavy artillery and volley fire rocket systems. According to my friends in Avdeevka, only one case has been reported: an apartment building was opened fire on from the direction of UAF positions. Fortunately, no one was killed or injured, but the houses were partially destroyed.
The information hype surrounding “humanitarian catastrophe” in Avdeevka is used by Ukrainian propagandists and President Poroshenko to create the illusion of a Ukraine being subjected to mass attacks by pro-Russian militants at the hands of which thousands of Ukrainian civilians are dying. But this is nothing new. We can recall the efforts of local ethnocratic regimes in the former Yugoslav republics who, supported by CNN, created the myth of Serb atrocities in Sarajevo or Kosovo. The Poroshenko regime wants to replicate something of the sort today.
As is clear from some American media sources which we cited in the first part, this has only partially succeeded insofar as Avdeevka has been afforded special attention in describing the humanitarian situation in Donbass. But no one in the West is talking about the murder of civilians in the DPR and LPR, such as in Stakhanov, a small town in the LPR with a population of approximately 50,000 people that has lost four civilians and 15 wounded over the past two weeks.
In the next and final part, we will address the burning question: why has Poroshenko launched a new war in Donbass and what is in store for him and Ukraine?
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|Fort Russ Exclusive: Cossack Media Group on the Frontline of Donbass Journalism
Posted: 08 Feb 2017 04:52 AM PST
February 8, 2017 – Fort Russ Exclusive –
By Alexey Degtyarev for Fort Russ – copy edited by J. Arnoldski –
Alexey Degtyarev is the editor in chief of Cossack Media Group‘s Cossack Radio based out of the town of Stakhanov in the Lugansk People’s Republic. In this exclusive piece for Fort Russ, Degtyarev introduces the origins, mission, and operations of Cossack Media Group, and summarizes the situation on the frontline in Donbass over the past week. – J. Arnoldski
The History, Founding, and Activity of Cossack Media Group
Cossack Media Group began to form back in 2014, the year that the war began, when events in Donbass began to take a cardinal change and the residents of Lugansk and Donetsk started to fight back against the Ukrainian army. Whereas they lacked a sufficient number of small arms and possessed no heavy military equipment at all, the Ukrainian military had a sufficient number of both. However, the militia forces, which have now evolved into the DPR and LPR Army, were able to repel the superior enemy.
The idea of creating Cossack Media Group appeared quite simply. It was based on the realization that we, the republics of Donbass, were winning in combat but at the same time we were suffering defeat in the information war. In August 2014, it was decided to start Cossack Radio to broadcast and communicate to people the truth of the situation on the front – truth that is distorted by the Ukrainian media. In 2014, a particularly acute shortage of truthful information spread among people in Donbass. We tried to correct this deficiency. Thus, after the start of the broadcast of Cossack Radio, soldiers started bringing video materials to the studio which confirmed the shelling of residential areas in the Lugansk region (for the Ukrainians themselves, « their homeland ») by UAF forces. More and more video material appeared, so we decided to create a channel on Youtube, New Channel of Novorossiya, and start broadcasting it in the city of Stakhanov and nearby towns.
The Youtube channel, in addition to information problems stemming from the situation facing cable and landline TV, was designed for security purposes in order to inform the local population about the shelling by the Ukrainian army. The Youtube channel reported the true situation in the cities, towns and villages of Donbass to the international community. At the beginning, there were also objective reasons that led to the creation of a Youtube channel such as the lack of technical equipment and specialists, etc needed for a real TV channel. The correspondent network of our television was just beginning to unfold. This is an expensive task, so things are going slower than we would like.
The third component of our media project is the newspaper Cossack Herald. It was created just a few months after Cossack Radio, in November 2014, when the battle for the cities of Donbass took particularly violent form. Despite this, by December of the same year it was already created, and the three parts of our media group – Cossack Radio, New Channel of Novorossiya, and the newspaper Cossack Herald were connected together.
The initiator of the creation of these three resources was Pavel Leonidovich Dremov, the colonel of the Ataman Platov Sixth Separate Motorized Cossack Rifle Regiment. For this, Dremov is the object of great gratitude and fond memories. He spent an incredible amount of time working for the well-being of the people of Donbass.
Cossack Radio is now a regional radio station of the LPR covering the entire territory of the republic and the parts of it which are partially occupied by the Ukrainian army. The newspaper Cossack Herald has by now reached considerable levels of distribution throughout the LPR. Its print circulation amounts to over 6 million copies. In addition, there is a pretty good online version of the newspaper. The channel New Channel of Novorossiya is now locally broadcasted around the city of Stakhanov and on the internet with the help of video hosting on Youtube.
Our media group actively operates on the territory of the whole republic, and it currently ranks among the top three LPR media. Its works consists in corresponding with the residents of the republic, sending war correspondents to fighting positions, and shooting videos of the attacks and collecting evidence of the gross violations of the terms of Minsk-2 by the Ukrainian army. Since 2014, we have been able to develop and gain experience in the challenging work of media journalism on the frontline. Now we have set the task of spreading our media outside the country to the occupied part of the LPR and in Ukraine. We try to tell the truth to foreign audiences that usually receive one-sided information about the events in Donbass and Ukraine. All of our activities can be monitored on our website which features the printed version of the newspaper Cossack Herald and video materials from New Channel of Novorossiya. And, of course, you can listen to our Cossack Radio online. This is why we are interested in establishing new contacts with like-minded people in Russia and Western countries.
The ideology of our media is Orthodox conservatism. The ethical position of our media is to report to people the truth about the events in Donbass and former Ukraine, relying on traditional ethical values and using modern information technologies.
The Military, Political, and Humanitarian Situation in the LPR
Since the end of January of this year, the Ukrainian government has increased attacks on our republics. The most evident and best known example of this fact are the massive bombardments of the territory of the DPR. In the last days, our neighbors in the DPR have actively evacuated the residents from the war zone and frequently-shelled areas where the Ukrainian army does not hesitate to shoot Grad rocket launchers and Hurricane missiles. According to recent information, a Tochka-U has been shot down in the skies over Donetsk. It is terrible to imagine what would have happened if this terrible weapon had hit an inhabited house…
As for Avdeevka, about which Poroshenko so plaintively complains, the humanitarian situation is quite complicated. And what complicates it is actually the Ukrainian military, with their offensives that they have been trying to pass off as Russian aggression for the last three years. As Ukrainian generals say themselves, there are currently creeping offensives against the LPR / DPR. Our situation in the LPR is no better, as the shelling has intensified in recent times. The increasing number and power of attacks has instantly impacted the situation of civilians. Unfortunately, there are casualties. In Stakhanov, a small town with a population of about 50 thousand people, in one week 4 civilians were killed and about 15 were injured — not to mention the destruction of houses in the private sector, high-rise buildings, schools, and kindergartens. Objects of the republic’s infrastructure have been subjected to shelling. The latest news reports the shooting of a residential house by an RPG-7 (rocket-propelled grenade) in the « gray zone » near the city of Pervomaisk. As a result, a retired woman was rushed to a clinical hospital. Her house was completely destroyed by fire.
The humanitarian situation in our region is very complicated. However, with the help of Russia, the situation is now stable. Even in dilapidated Pervomaisk, a couple of high-rise buildings have been restored (i.e., fully and anew). Restoration work continues and is very active. I would like to express my deep gratitude to the authorities and the people of Russia who are helping us.
On February 4th, the chief of the LPR’s People’s Militia, Colonel Oleg Anashchenko, was killed. An investigation is being carried out, but representatives of the People’s Militia of LPR have already said that the crime was organized by the Ukraine’s special forces. Ukraine is fully responsible for the escalation of the conflict across the front line in Donbass. Photos of Ukrainian tanks between houses in the residential areas of Avdeyevka have circulated around the world.
These same pictures portray the staff of the OSCE mission communicating peacefully with Ukrainian soldiers. In my opinion, the very mission of the OSCE and the Minsk format have exhausted themselves. Nevertheless, our republic strictly adheres to agreements in order to not give our enemies an extra reason to accuse us of shelling our own homes.
Judging by the situation on the front, and by the statements of senior Ukrainian officials, there is a real chance that the chained dog Poroshenko might still pluck off the chain, and that the war will break out in full force. Recently, Poroshenko himself said that Minsk-2 has been exhausted. A reasonable question is: how could Minsk-2 have exhausted itself if Ukraine has not fulfilled a single point of the Minsk Agreements?
At the moment, the Ukrainian army has not only taken the « gray zone » (i.e., the neutral territory between the republics and the Ukraine), but has also unsuccessfully tried to break through the republic’s defenses. In my opinion, only their supervisors in the West can contain them. A major role can be played by the « volunteer battalions » of neo-Nazis who only weakly controlled by the current Ukrainian leadership.
If Ukrainian troops still go on an offensive on all fronts, they will be defeated, as has happened repeatedly for two and a half years. Once again defeated by the republics of Donbass, Ukraine will ask once again for help from Western countries. But whether this request will be followed by help is highly dubious.
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|In memory: « If one day, we aren’t here… » Givi & Motorola [Video]
Posted: 08 Feb 2017 04:38 AM PST
February 9th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
Since the start of the Ukrainian conflict in 2014, commanders Givi and Motorola, both of whom have now perished at the hands of the Kiev junta, have been defending the Donbass region from the Ukrainian army, the far-Right Ukro-fascists, paid mercenaries, and their Washington-based founders.
Throughout the conflict, Western media portrayed them as rebels and separatists, despite the fact they were defending their own land.
After the murder of Motorola, Givi recorded the following message – clearly spoken in mourning for his friend. It is with great sadness to have to report that Givi did not live to see a peaceful Donbass.
Thank you for your service and rest in peace.
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|Donbass resistance hero Givi killed in terrorist attack (VIDEO)
Posted: 08 Feb 2017 01:53 AM PST
February 8, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
By J. Arnoldski –
The commander of the Donetsk People’s Republic’s Somali battalion, Mikhail Tolstykh, famous as Givi, has been killed in a terrorist attack in Donetsk, the Ministry of Defense of the DPR has reported.
“Regrettably, we can confirm this fact,” the DPR’s military spokesman, Eduard Basurin, has told journalists.
The terrorist attack took place at around 6:00 A.M. Givi was reportedly killed in his office by a Shmel flamethrower. “The death of this man was beneficial to Ukrainian special forces,” the DPR command commented.
Employees of the Ministry for Emergency Situations are working at the scene.
According to a defense ministry official, “This is a continuation of the terrorist war begun by the Kiev government against the people of Donbass. An investigative team is working at the site of the terrorist attack.”
The ministry also added that security measures have been stepped up in the DPR and residents are urged to remain calm. “We know what kind of people these are. We will find them and they will be punished to the full extent of wartime laws, » the DPR’s prosecutor stated, also confirming that the terrorist attack was the work of a Ukrainian sabotage-reconnaissance group.
Colonel Mikhail Tolstykh, a.k.a. Givi, was born in Ilovaysk on July 19th, 1980. Givi chose his nickname while serving in the Ukrainian Army. After the coup d’etat in Ukraine in 2014, Tolstykh became one of the activists of the movement for self-determination for the country’s eastern regions.
When Ukrainian troops began their military operation against the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Givi was promoted to commander and fought in the battles of Slavyansk, Ilovaysk, as well the Donetsk Airport. Numerous assassination attempts were made on Givi over the course of the war. Givi received the Order of Hero of the DPR, two St. George Crosses, and a “For Defending Slavyansk” medal.
In October 2016, Givi’s close comrade-in-arms and militia commander Arsen Pavlov, a.k.a Motorola, was also killed in Donetsk as a result of a terrorist attack.
Givi’s assassination is the second high-profile attack over the past week in the context of the overall escalation of the situation in Donbass. On February 4th, the commander of the Lugansk People’s Militia, Oleg Anashchenko, was killed in Lugansk, which was also identified as a Ukrainian terrorist attack.
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|CIA releases 1957 study on feasibility of anti-Soviet uprising in Ukraine
Posted: 08 Feb 2017 03:12 AM PST
February 7, 2017 – Fort Russ News
– Translated by Kristina Kharlova
American analysts argued in a classified study from the archives of the CIA that many regions of Ukrainian SSR would have supported the anti-Soviet operation.
Written in August 1957, a report entitled « Resistance Factors and Special Forces Actions. Ukraine » was recently declassified and published.
The work on more than 200 pages was written by a group of researchers at Georgetown University by request of one of the divisions of the Ministry of Defense.
It is a complete analysis of the prospects of conducting anti-Soviet armed uprising in the Ukrainian SSR using US special forces.
Analysts laid out the mood of the population, linguistic characteristics and possible ethnic tensions in various regions of the country.
Classified report in many ways is similar to the political and social distribution in Ukraine half a century later.
Certain conclusions of the report miraculously predicted the course of the so-called « Russian spring », particularly in respect to Donbass.
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