Phoney war in Donbas. Who gained from the ‘ceasefire’? 



2014/11/23 • Military analysis

Article by: Ihor Losev

Europe called the combat that began after Britain and France declared war to Nazi Germany on September 3, 1939, a ‘phoney war.’ The Allied army on land behaved incredibly passively back then, even though combat was quite ardent at sea and in the air. The British and the French back then counted on sitting it out behind the allegedly impenetrable Maginot Line.

The Ukrainian public doesn’t know what President and High Commander Petro Poroshenko is counting on, what strategy he has. So far Ukraine only reacts to Russia’s military and political activity, and that of its marionettes in the region of Donbas. For an entire month during the occupation of Crimea, the highest government in Kyiv was in a state of confusion, which remained during the disorders in Donbas. Essentially, back then Ukraine had a real chance to destroy the illegal armed formations of the so-called ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR’ within a month, when they were obviously improvised and were only armed with light weaponry. However, action that the government in Kyiv is incapable of should have been taken back then: brave, swift, assertive and energetic. It seems, Turchynov, Yatseniuk, and later Poroshenko, hoped to solve the issues without military conflict through various behind-the-scenes agreements. They were scared of taking responsibility and putting their own careers and even lives at stake.

The tactic of slowly shifting the enemy took from Ukraine that which is most valuable at war – time. In this time, separatists and Russia managed to give a structure to their formations, arm them with Russian tanks, multiple rocket launchers, heavy artillery and air-defense systems. A terrorist army arouse out of the differentiated gangs. Ukraine allowed itself to be dragged into a long, exhausting conflict. The Ukrainian troops are bound in the east, and a full-scale invasion of the Russian army remains a very relevant threat.

We need to fight for real, not imitate war

If the Kyiv government had acted swiftly, it would have been able to inform the Russian Federation of the fact: the ‘LNR’ and ‘DNR’ were defeated and the Kremlin has nobody to support in the east of Ukraine, nobody to hide behind, and brave open action, when nobody has any doubt that the Russian army is in Ukraine.

A powerful advance group has been created from the Russian army in the ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR.’ After the so-called elections on this soil (regardless of the lack of formal validation), Russia has the opportunity to invade further into Ukraine, pushing forward two moulages in front of its arm: the ‘DNR’ and the ‘LNR.’ Putin still refuses to acknowledge the fact that the Russian army is in Ukraine. Even at the recent summit in Australia, he told the hosts that Russia cannot remove its troops from Ukraine, as “they are not there.”

The pseudo-republics act as Russian military and political enclaves, as springboards for further aggression. Had the Kyiv government not imitated war but fought for real, these springboards would not exist. And now fuel trucks cross Ukrainian positions towards the ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR’ to refuel the terrorists’ tanks and SPG’s, which attack Ukrainian soldiers. Another element of the ‘phoney war…’

During the ‘ceasefire’ the territory of the ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR’ increased by several thousand square kilometers. It is clear that we need a real front instead of an improvisation.

It is still unclear why, when Girkin’s soldiers left Slovyansk and headed for Donetsk, the long column was not subject to an artillery or aviation attack, so that nobody would be able to hold Donetsk and counter the Ukrainian troops there. There is still no explanation, accusations or culprits. Without a clear and merciless analysis of such strange instances, this ‘phoney war’ will continue to be tragic for Ukraine, regardless of the heroism and patriotism of the soldiers, officers and volunteers.

What next? 

Soldiers and volunteers frequently complain to the volunteers about the criminal orders and bad commandments. It seems that Kyiv wants to win the war without going to war, without following all the rules of the art of war, without declaring a state of war, without making the entire country live by wartime standards, constantly containing the Ukrainian troops and not allowing them to attack.

“They are prohibiting out men in the ATO from winning, they are banning them from doing the things that should be done at war,” said former Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko.

Overall, there are two possible options: 1) we fight, 2) we don’t fight. Petro Poroshenko found some kind of third, interim option between the two.

As a result of the chronic ‘ceasefires’ on part of Ukraine, when they prohibit them from responding, Ukrainian soldiers become helpless targets for the terrorists and die not in battle, but under enemy shelling.

Famous blogger Yury Butusov noted: “The Russian army is leading a non-contact war, causing us severe damage. Our artillery practically does not work. The Kremlin’s task is maintaining constant tension in Ukraine.”

Strange, why does the Ukrainian army not sabotage the terrorist-controlled territories, do not destroy the enemy’s heavy artillery and the GRADs, why there is no counter-missile war, why is there nothing effective to oppose enemy tactics…

It is necessary to fight and want to win to win the war.

As 66% of the spectators of Savik Shuster’s show on First National Channel said, the government has no political will to change Ukraine. And it does not demonstrate the will to defend the country with weapons. However, the fate of the current parliament and president is directly tied to this war for Independence, which may give Ukraine a totally different government and system of state. War is a huge national examination for all of society and its government elite. So far, we cannot say we have passed it….

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Source: Radio Liberty

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  • Paul P. Valtos

    Like I said before and I will say it again. Hit up John Mc Cain for equipment. The USA has plenty of surplus military equipment and In fact, has plenty of Ukrainian Americans who might just volunteer to fight the goddamn Russians. I’m sure many have heard the stories of their grandparents (those who lived) through those years of 32/33 and might have some revenge in them which might result in support for Ukraine without just money. If Germans can volunteer than Ukrainian Americans can also. I would but I’m 73 and not in good health.

  • Don Casavant

    Hind sight is always 20/20! It is very easy to say, if they only….6 months after something happened. You weren’t there, you do know what their limits were, you don’t know what they were told, etc.

  • Don Casavant

    “Strange, why does the Ukrainian army not sabotage the
    terrorist-controlled territories, do not destroy the enemy’s heavy
    artillery and the GRADs, why there is no counter-missile war, why is
    there nothing effective to oppose enemy tactics…” Because they do not have the hardware to do what you suggest! There is no doubt about the courage and skill of the forces that the Ukraine has fielded, if they had the proper military equipment there would be a big difference in what they have accomplished, and then they would not need to hear every Tom, Dick, and Ivan second guess everything they do! Piss Off! You are not boots on the ground so you are in no position to “guess” what would have been a better plan! People like you who sit back in you comfortable offices and critique what has been happening in the battle front of Ukraine really piss me off. I invite you to visit the front, gather good data,then make your report! Until you do that shut your mouth!

  • Hurd Harley

    yeh, I really don’t like this kind of criticism. The government is far from perfect and it’s great to let them know about certain situations and give suggestions. But they are not in an easy place. I believe (and i think this is what the government believes also) that if they go on the offensive that Russian troops and tanks in overwhelming numbers will move into Ukraine.And if they come in, they will not stop at the present demarcation lines; so it makes no sense to give them an excuse to come in.The best strategy is to do what they have been doing. Dig in, fortify, reinforce and defend what they have. When the opportunity presents itself, try to trap and surround and destroy any attacking terrorists. Hopefully there are also partisans working behind enemy lines. They can hope that the terrorists will screw things up so bad that the people remaining in Donbass will start to help Ukrainian forces and demand that the terrorists leave. They can hope that the West will eventually rearm them and they will be able to hold the lines they have.

  • Murf

    Who benefited from the cease fire?

    Ukraine of course.

    Let me stat the obvious in technical military terms;

    Ukraine got it’s collective asses handed to them.

    Pardon me for being blunt. I don’t like it I wish it were not true but there it is.

    When you lose 60% of your armor and 70% of your APCs that is a fair description of what went down in September.Mariupol was one step away form falling.

    The UA army waa son the verge of collapsing.

    If that happened then the only question was which side of the Deniper they stopped at.
    Sharpshooting the President for what had to be a difficult decision is a cheap shot.

  • Brent

    If the U.S. had stepped up and provided military equipment to Ukraine when it was needed. this may have been possible. Poroshenko put it quite well when he advised Congress Ukraine couldn’t win this war with ‘blankets’. The U.S. has much surplus military equipment from Afghanistan and instead of ‘donating’ this to local police forces, they could help Ukraine win this war.