Sixteen Moments of ATO: Results of the Donbass War

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When it comes to duration of hostilities, the domestic Ukrainian conflict takes one of the first places of all the clashes that happened in the XXI century.

Sixteen Moments of ATO: Results of the Donbass War

 Originally appeared at VPK-News, translated by Mona Lita exclusively for SouthFront

The intensity and duration of fighting, the amount of force and arsenal used allow for this statement:  the sixteen-month long Ukrainian civil war did not just dramatically change the situation in Eastern Europe, but differently scattered priorities of forces: the world began to look at Russia differently.

The declared goal of the Ukrainian army in this war is the restoration of order on the territories of Lugansk and Donetsk regions without changing the constitution of the country.

The States dictate the Strategy

Wherein a row of important issues are solved: the decline in Russian influence on the Ukrainian state and EU, the provision and agreement of the Missile Defense System for the US and NATO, and also creation of a joint military unit – Ukrainian-Polish-Lithuanian brigade.  Further, this is to be followed by the exile of the population that does not wish to speak in the Ukrainian language and the relocation of families from western side of the country to the lands of Donbass.

Ukraine plans to refuse to allow “Energoatom”, a Russian fuel company, to supply nuclear fuel for its Nuclear Power Plants and to continue their partnership with American Westinghouse.

But as far as direct military goals go, then those are to defeat separatist Donbass forces followed by taking control of three hundred kilometers of land that borders with Russia.

Actually, what we are talking about is that on its territory, the Ukraine is supposed to test an American experience of conduct of counterinsurgency military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In a short period of time, it is expected that the Ukrainian military-industrial complex organize the production of new technology and weaponry, having refused a military-technical partnership with Russia and having began the same thing with NATO states.  In actual fighting situations the following Ukrainian means of weaponry were used: T-64BM “Bulat”, BMP-55, BMPT-64, BTMP-84, BTR-4 “Bucephalus”; BTR-3E1; BTR-94, an armored vehicle “Dozor-B”; a multipurpose armored vehicle “Kozak”, armored cars “Shrek”, “Cougar”, and “Spartan”; 3RK T38 “Stilet”, an opposition system P3RK “Andros” (helicopter equipment Mi-24), sniper rifles VPR-338LM; assault rifles “Fort-221” and “Fort-224”, a grenade “Valar”; an antitank missile system “Barrier”, an antitank guided missile “Combat”, a portable antitank missile system (PAMS) “Korsar”, PAMS “Skif” and “Stugna-P”.

For a number of purposes and tasks of this war the efforts to establish a medical algorithm of actions on the battlefield is worth mentioning.  Currently, the use of stationary civil treatment centers for soldier rehabilitation is being tested and strengthened.

The Scale of the Catastrophe

In the peak times the number of protesters in Kiev did not exceed one hundred thirty to one hundred eighty thousand people.  The maximum load of the Independence Square area and its adjacent streets is made up of one hundred seventy six thousand people.  If you include tents, vehicles etc., the maximum number of protesters being there at the same time cannot exceed one hundred thirty thousand people.  If we consider the rotation of people throughout the day, collectively, those who were present protesting at Maidan could not have exceeded one hundred and fifty thousand people.  Respectively, if on January 1st, 2014 the population of Ukraine was more than 45 million people, than the will of the people was expressed by an insignificantly small percent of the population.

As a result of this West inspired and supported coup d’etat the territory covered by military action equaled thirty-two and a half thousand square kilometers.  In XXI century wars, the only country that fought on a smaller area was Israel: the second Lebanon war – ten and a half thousand square feet, Operation Pillar of Defense on the Gaza Strip – six hundred forty eight square kilometers.  The biggest square used in a clash was more than one and half million square kilometers for the intervention by USA and NATO in Libya, despite the fact that deserts occupy practically 90% of Libya’s land.  This is followed by the US wars with the “Taliban”:  “Enduring Freedom” in Afghanistan – six hundred fifty square kilometers, operation “Desert Fox” in Iraq (moved to “Shock and Awe”, and after that to “Iraqi Freedom” – four hundred thirty square feet.  The fighting of Turkey and ISIL in Syria covered the area of one hundred eighty square kilometers, and the war in Yugoslavia – near one hundred square meters.

As far as the duration of fighting, the civil war in Ukraine is in one of the first places in XXI century wars; from middle of April of 2014 to September 2015, one year and 5 months have passed.  The Georgian-Ossetian war lasted 5 days in 2008.  Israel’s war against Hamas (the Gaza Strip) lasted 22 days (from December 27th, 2008 to January 17th, 2009.) The US military operation “Iraqi Freedom” in Iraq was 25 days (from March 20th to April 15th of 2003), and the war of Israel and Libya (2006) was only 34 days long.  The US and NATO intervention in Libya took only days (from the moment of acceptance of the UNSC resolution on March 19th 2011 to the acceptance of the UNSC resolution on October 31st, 2011).  It only yields to the operation of “Enduring Freedom” in Afghanistan, which the North Atlantic alliance conducts from October 7th, 2001 through the current time, meaning almost 14 years.

Battle Losses and Refugees

The Ukrainian conflict takes of the primary spots on lost lives in battle in the XXI wars.  On July 27th of this year almost 7,000 Ukrainians officially lost their lives, more than 17,000 people are injured (wherein German sources evaluate Ukraine’s losses at more than 50,000 people).   This means that Ukraine lost two to three times more people than the USSR lost in Afghanistan (more than 15,000 lost and nearly 54,000 injured).

On June 6th, 2014 the coalition losses in Afghanistan made up almost 14,000 soldiers, and the injured were 16,500 people.  The losses of Afghan army – 3,400 dead and nearly 33,000 injured.  For comparison: in 1.5 months of war in Iraq, the coalition’s cost was 172 people dead, and the Iraqi army – 9,200 soldiers and 7,300 civilians.  In the 2nd Lebanese war from both sides 1,347 people died.  In the war of Israel against Hamas in the Gaza strip – more that 1,000 dead, almost 5,000 injured (100 times less Israelis lost their lives than Palestinians).

In Yugoslavia, 2,000 civilians are killed, 7,000 people are injured.  In the 2nd Libyan war more than 4,000 soldiers and supporters of the National Transitional Council of Libya lost their lives and more than 3,000 disappeared without a trace.  Nearly 2,000 Muammar Gaddafi soldiers were killed and more than 800 were taken prisoner.  In all this, the US lost less than 200 people, Great Britain – 35 people officially, France – from 300 to 500, Qatar – more than 70 people.

On losses, the war in Ukraine gives way only to the civil war in Tajikistan from 1992-1993, where about 60,000 people died, many gone without a trace.  In the Georgian-Ossetian conflict during the fighting the losses of the dead and the missing consists of 1,000 people from the Ossetian side, more than 2,500 people were injured.  In Transnistria in mid July of 1992 1,000 people also died from both sides, including 400 civilians.  In addition, nearly 4,000 people received injuries.  In Russia, in October 3-4, 1993 the number of people from both sides did not exceed 200 people, and beside that, not a single MP suffered.  Nearly 900 people sought medical help, from them 660 were civilians, 179 – from internal troops and 39 soldiers.

Just as on July 25th more than 2,300,000 Ukrainians were forced to leave the country, from those 850,000 escaped to Russia.  More than 9,000 Ukrainians asked for refugee status to the EU.  More than 1,200,000 people in Ukraine are currently internally displaced.  For a comparison: in Tajikistan, more than 60,000 people ran to Afghanistan and 195,000 relocated to the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the number of domestic migrants reached a million people.   Syria has claimed from 4,5 to 7 million displaced people and more that 5 million refugees (January 2015).  In the Kurdish region of Iraq there are 2 million refugees and displaced civilians from an eastern Iraq province.

Diligent Learners

From the Ukrainian side, the ones who showed themselves to be the most worthy in fighting were the voluntarily formed irregular militia of the “Right Sector” (a forbidden organization in Moscow), a private squad of major businessmen.  By the way, in the post-Soviet era, Girkin, Kolomoiskiy, Malafeev and Yarosh all had their predecessors.  A famous Georgian criminal authority Jaba Ioseliani with his paramilitary group “Mkhedrioni” (a notable element of the civil war in Georgia in the years of 1991-1992 and of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict of 1992-1993) was perhaps the main political figure in the country in the early 90s.  An analogical example of this is a former prime minister of Azerbaijan Suret Guseinov.  Prior to the Karabakh conflict he was a director in a wool-processing factory, and when the fighting first began, he organized a full military brigade with his own expenses, briefly becoming a Corps commander.

Initially, 12 working groups of 18 0 instructors arrived to the U.S. from Ukraine.  They were supposed to improve Ukraine’s security system, carrying out command over all troops.  In March of 2015, the Pentagon sent in new specialists to train about 600 National Guard soldiers.  According to the militia, they were able to neutralize about 10 American troops.

Ukraine also takes one of the leading places on the number of mercenaries and private military organizations among all war conflicts of the XXI century, only giving way to U.S. action in Iran and NATO in Libya.  To hide the presence of American military instructors and mercenaries from Private Military Companies in Ukraine did not work.

Since March of this year, employees of the PMC Graystone Limited, a subsidiary firm that is famous in Iraq – Blackhawk, have been operating on the Ukrainian territory.  The Graystone Limited employees were directly planning and conducting (in the form of a Ukrainian SWAT team) combat operations.  Blackwater trained troops and consulted Ukraine’s armed forces, the National Guard, “Azov” and “Dnepr” brigades.  American army’s military personnel directly participated in ATO in Donbass behind the scenes.

What proved to be deadly for the U.S., NATO and Ukraine is the heightened overestimation of the army, their power and fighting capacity.  The Home Guard (The United Armed Forces of Novorossiya) is defending itself now for almost a year and a half, although it was assumed that it would fall apart after the first few strikes, and a mass surrender or an escape to Russia would take place.  When analyzing a portion of the situation that deals with possible enemy actions, the psychological-moral condition of the Home Guard is underestimated.  All this time, regardless of heavy losses, troops of the DPM (Donbass People’s Militia) and LPM (Luhansk People’s Militia) armies are retaining their fighting capacity and a possibility of an active attack, in case the Minsk agreement fails.  The problem that stood before the general base of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on destroying the enemy’s firepower remained incomplete.  Kiev completely closed the Ukrainian-Russian border because it was unable to establish total control of Donetsk and Luhansk.  And it looks like it won’t be able to.

Anatoliy Tsiganok –Military Sciences Candidate, member-correspondent of the Academy of Military Sciences, a retired Colonel

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