More from the Saker. This one includes two statements from Igor Strelkov, the military leader of the Donbass National Republic Army.
Urgent Statement/Interview by Igor Strelkov:
source: by Alexander Kots and Dmitry Steshin
translated into English by Gleb Bazov
The Commander in Chief of the DPR militia believes that, if Moscow does not intervene, the self-defense units will be unable to withstand [the onslaught] of the Ukrainian army.
The Commander in Chief of the Donetsk People’s Republic’s militia told us about the massive artillery shelling of the residential neighborhoods of Kramatorsk and offered an unpromising prognosis.
Right now you are hearing explosions, the enemy is shelling the outskirts of Slavyansk and the city of Kramatorsk with several batteries of heavy howitzer artillery. The massive strikes are directed exclusively at the residential neighborhoods and industrial complexes. While Slavyansk has, by now, become accustomed to constant, unending, daily, and nightly artillery strikes, in Kramatorsk there is now a state of panic. For the first time, apartment buildings and private houses there have been hit with heavy ammunition. There are fires, explosions, a multitude of dead and wounded.
This is being done to show all the cities of Donbass exactly what will happen to them in the future. They have nearly obliterated Slavyansk. Almost half the city’s population has fled to Russia. Now they will obliterate Kramatorsk, and Kramatorsk is larger than Slavyansk. We will end up with another several tens of thousands of refugees, the major part of which will end up in Russia. As far as I am aware, Russia is entirely unready to receive tens, hundreds thousands, and then millions of refugees.
After Kramatorsk will follow Druzhkovka, Konstantinovka, Gorlovka, Makeevka, Donetsk, Lugansk, and then – everywhere else. We can see perfectly well how the Ukrainian army acts. They do not strike at the positions of the militia, they strike at the infrastructure. They promise to grant passage to the repair brigades, and then they shoot at them. They claim that we hit our own schools and water-purification facilities. As if we do it all, like terrorists, while they have nothing to do with this destruction.
A brief prognosis. The enemy has transferred its main infantry and tank forces to the north of the Lugansk oblast and to the south of the Donetsk oblast. Each day they advance by 10-15 kilometers, methodically cutting off the “rebellious” regions from the border with Russia. Cutting us off from any and all help. Cutting us off from arms and ammunition, which, hypothetically, could someday be supplied, from food and medicines. I can assure you that, if Russia does not take immediate steps, they will achieve success.
Even the several thousand militia, which are now concentrated along the border, armed with several tanks, a few artillery pieces, and perhaps even a large number of machine guns and grenade launchers, will be unable to withstand for a long time the aviation, artillery, and the multitude of tanks. The ration of tanks can be estimated at 1 to 500, of APC’s – 1 to 300, and of artillery – 1 to 800. There is no point to even mention the aviation. A week, two, three, maybe even a month, will pass and the most battle-ready detachments of the militia will be bled dry and, sooner or later, will be routed and eliminated.
This, how the enemy is acting, we have observed in Mariupol. They surrounded the city, blocked it with checkpoints, using their equipment, and cut it off from any possibility of help. After that, their punitive units entered. These special units, composed of the so-called volunteers, who, in reality, are mercenaries, the Azov, Donbass and other such battalions. Once done, they clean-up the city of the few militia there and move on to the next city. And, meanwhile, a garrison is moved into this city, which takes up key positions, routes all the “malcontents,” and places them in filtration camps…That is what awaits us.
Now let’s talk about the social debate, where two alternatives are offered: a full-scale war and non-interference in the affairs of Novorossiya. What this non-interference represents is – inculcation into the Russian society of a belief that the local Russians, by themselves and without Russia’s help, will be able to defend Novorossiya, repel the enemy’s onslaught and hold for as long as may be necessary. So as to give Russia time to make some kind of decision.
The second alternative is a belief that the commencement of war is not in Russia’s interest, that it will lead to serious economic consequences. I can say this: the war that is, even now, already ongoing, will end for Russia disastrously in an economic sense. Russia will suffer economically from this war because it did not intervene in time, did not introduce peacekeeping forces. Russia could have occupied the entire Donetsk and Lugansk regions when they rose up against the adversary. It could have been done painlessly right after the referenda. But Russia did not intervene and from that moment on we started to lose ground.
As it now stands, a peacekeeping intervention is impossible without engaging in a large-scale war, without aviation strikes, without artillery fire, without an incursion with tanks, without a partial mobilization of the Russian army. I will tell you honestly, we are biding time, we are mobilizing our paltry resources and people. But we cannot catch up to the enemy. Some think that the Ukrainian army will fall apart, should you only spit at it. It will fall apart once it meets a counterpart able to match it at least part-way.
But what we have here is not even a fight between David and Goliath, it’s an encounter between an elephant and an ant. An ant can cause lots of pain biting an elephant. But even an old and sick elephant will crush an ant. Even if its legs buckle, the elephant will crush it with its sheer mass. It should not be forgotten that the enemy receives economic, financial and military aid from all of Europe and the United States.
The hryvna floats after two month of war not because it’s a stable currency. This is just ridiculous. How could anyone think that we can stand our ground when our enemy receives such massive support? Yes, we can hold Slavyansk a month, maybe a month and a half, but sooner or later they will still eliminate us. We cannot transfer our garrison to another city without abandoning this territory. We can organize five Slavyansks, which will be encircled and eliminated, together with their populations.
There is only one alternative to war or complete abandonment of Novorossiya – immediate de facto recognition of Novorossiya and Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and the provision of real, large-scale and urgent military assistance to them. I am addressing Russia as a Commander in Chief of the Donetsk People’s Republic’s militia and as a patriot of Russia and the Russian people. You can take it as a address from the name of the entire Donetsk militia.
Now, as for the tactical situation report. At this time, there are five howitzer batteries of the enemy near Slavyansk. They are comprised of twenty full-fledged heavy artillery pieces, with calibers ranging from 122 mm and larger. Four to five mortar batteries, with calibers 120 mm and 80 mm. The enemy has fortified its positions well, and its infantry numbers exceed ours. Furthermore, the enemy forces at each of its checkpoints equal our garrisons in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk combined.
And I mean our entire garrisons. I am not even raising the equipment’s functional state. We have not even one tank. The enemy has them at each checkpoint. There are six tanks at their checkpoint near the turn onto Krasniy Liman. If I were to send the militia to assault this checkpoint, they would be hit with mortar fire in open field before even getting there. And then, from up high, the enemy aviation would bomb them, then the howitzer fire, and then the tanks would crush them. And what we’ll get is a repetition of the battle at the Donetsk airport, except with even higher casualties.
When the militia, bled dry, would retreat to their starting positions, they would have no means not only to advance, but also to defend. And this breakdown is the same on every front. We can bite the enemy, we can attack from the flanks, we can operate in sabotage-intelligence groups and destroy 1-2 armored elements a day. All made possible solely by the heroism of the fighters, who can penetrate into the enemy’s deep rear and hit him point-blank.
But heroism alone, armed with light arms, grenade launchers and several mortars, cannot change the balance of the battle. We can only defend. Unfortunately, the enemy has superiority over us on every section of the battlefield. There are rumors that we have armored vehicles, tanks. Never are there more lies than during war and fishing. I know that Alexander Mozgovoi conducted a good operation, seized some trophies, destroyed a few others.
But all this is peanuts. The enemy can replace any number of destroyed or seized equipment from the endless Soviet reserves. And we don’t even have a secure rear for repairing armored elements, we have no spare parts or supplies. One APC cannot stand against 20-30. And even the three old, aged tanks, which were, with great difficulty, restored in Gorlovka, even these three tanks cannot match thirty. Or, rather, sixty, ninety tanks. Ukrainian tanks can be counted in the hundreds. We won’t even speak about the Su-25 flying overhead – we do shoot them down, from time to time, but they maintain full superiority in the air.
Urgent Appeal from Igor Strelkov, June 16, 2014
Translated From Russian
The enemy is engaged in massive bombardment of Kramatorsk, using howitzers at the Karachun Mount and in the vicinity of water purification facilities between Slavyansk and Kramatorsk (they have a stronghold there).
There are numerous casualties and fires in the city. They are bombarding both the industrial sector and the residential neighborhoods. The population is in a state of panic –to date, Kramatorsk had not experienced such massive artillery shelling.
What is more, militia objects have been spared – the strikes are not against them. Why, you ask? The answer is elementary – in order to force tens of thousands of refugees to flood into Russia. Genocide and ethnic cleansing in their purest form.
I have decided to offer up to universal review a text from my personal correspondence (as appropriately amended). I ask that you distribute it. It is no longer possible to keep silent, hoping that someone “on the mainland comes to his senses.”
As I have become accustomed to anticipate events several steps ahead, I am in a state of utter “prostration.” The observable destruction of the economy and the population I anticipated even a month and a half ago, and, in order to avoid it, called then for a peacekeeping intervention.
It is now too late – peacekeepers will not be able to intervene without a battle. Now I am calling for the provision of immediate and wide-scale military assistance. But no assistance has come.
In a week or two (and possibly earlier) a substantial part of the military detachments of DPR and LPR may be completely routed. The reason is the insurmountable ratio in heavy weaponry …
And when Donetsk and Lugansk are completely blocked and surrounded, like Slavyansk, the following question will rear its head – either Russia will:
- Commit to intervention with full force (an intervention the Ukies are openly provoking); or,
- Completely abandon Novorossiya (a possibility the Ukies are dearly hoping for).
And I am not at all sure that this dilemma will be resolved via the first option. More likely than not, it will be the opposite.
We can burn down even a hundred APC’s and kill even five thousand troops, but the overall balance of forces will hardly change. Well, for example, the [manpower] ratio will become 1 to 14 instead of 1 to 15 …
Every day we are forced to relinquish another large settlement – we have neither the men nor the guns to defend them. At the same time, we have no ability to retake any of them – because we have nothing to match the Ukies’ heavy weaponry. All we can do is engage them in defense more or less successfully.
So, what reason is there for optimism? From our own minor successes? They are purely tactical. And, meanwhile, we have long ago started losing the strategic engagement.
I see open sabotage in the approach taken by the Russian officials at the highest-level in relation to Novorossiya. It shows in everything. I dare say that this sabotage is fully conscious. Otherwise, there is no explanation for the fact that DPR and LPR have yet to be recognized even de facto and that they receive no supplies of such badly needed weapons and equipment.
Yes, Putin has effectively disavowed (and I wonder – at whose suggestion?) the pledges of standing ready to protect the Russian civilian population of Donbass. No alternative whatsoever has been proposed. If there is no military aid – the military defeat of DPR and LPR is inevitable.
Whether this defeat comes a week earlier or a month later does not matter. The enemy will cut us off from the border and will methodically suffocate us, “cleansing” the territory in the process and, in one go, forcing out into Russia a million or two of utterly deprived and embittered refugees (I trust the consequences for the economy and the social sphere are obvious).
And then, groups of “grateful oligarchs” will come to Putin with sorrowful faces and offer as their spokesperson the “great schemer” Surkov, who will explain, in a quiet and insinuating voice, that: “We did everything that we could, but these…these good-for-nothing Donetsk bandits themselves failed it all themselves, and we can give them no help without risking nuclear war…They punished themselves…It is not worth it to take a risk… We need to persevere…We will make everything right in time…It is possible to negotiate with Poroshenko…This is a tactical retreat…We are not ready to go to war…After all, we took Crimea, didn’t we?…” and so on and suchlike.
What this will mean for our company – I know already. Most of us will perish, but that is not the issue – this uprising and all the victims will be in vain, and the “Russian Spring” will be eliminated at the root by the “Ukrainian Freeze.”
And the next war, the war that we will not witness, will be on Russia’s territory – right after the “Moscow Maidan,” of course…