On March 11, a briefing was held at the Headquarters of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Kramatorsk. Colonel Valentyn Fedichev , Deputy Head of the ATO in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts reported the current situation of the Anti-Terrorist Operation. Journalists from Poland, France, Germany, Japan, Denmark, and the United States, as well as journalists of InformNapalm, were present at the briefing.
The representative for the headquarters pointed out that currently the most tense situation is around the towns of Shchastya, Stanytsia Luhanska, Artemivsk, and Mariupol.
Despite the ceasefire, the situation in the area of the ATO remains tense. The enemy has been concealing heavy arms in hangars and warehouses. The enemy uses the ceasefire to restore combat effectiveness, to stockpile ammunition, supplies, and fuel.
The full text of the report is below.
At the end of the briefing, the journalists were taken in a supporting convoy to Kurakhovo. Members of the press talked directly with the head of the second line of defense and with ordinary soldiers.
Representatives of the ATO stressed that despite the withdrawal of heavy weapons by the Ukrainian side, pro-Russian militants continue provocative mortar shelling of positions of the Ukrainian armed forces of the first and second lines of defense. However, there has been a significant reduction in the number of attacks since the ceasefire.
A visit by journalists to the first line of defense was planned, but for security reasons, it had been cancelled because according to operational data, there was 120 mm mortar and sniper fire from the separatists’ side in the area.
Here is the full text of the report of the ATO representative:
“As of March 10, in the immediate vicinity of the Ukrainian border, a large formation of troops from the armed forces of the Russian Federation has been assembled, consisting of 48 battalion tactical groups (BTG) and 11 company tactical groups (CTG) totaling 56,000 troops.
They are armed with the following: four OTR-21Tochka-U missile launchers, 438 tanks, 2081 AFVs (IFV, APC), 584 pieces of artillery, 213 MLRS’s, up to 384 airplanes, 127 helicopters, 30 battleships, and 2 submarines.
Of this group, up to 14 BTGs and 1 CTG, formed with personnel and weapons from military units and formations of the Russian armed forces, operate in the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.
15th Peacekeeping Motor-Rifle Brigade (based in Roshchinsky) of the 2nd Army (Samara) from the Central Military District in the area of Luhansk;
17th Motor-Rifle Brigade (Shali) of the 58th Army in the area of Krasnormiyske;
18th Motor-Rifle Brigade (Kalinovskaya) of the 58th Army in the area of Donetsk;
20th Motor-Rifle Brigade (Volgograd) from the Southern Military District in the area of Horlivka;
21st Motor-Rifle Brigade (Totskoye) of the 2nd Army from the Central Military District in the area of Yenakiiyeve;
23rd Motor-Rifle Brigade (Samara) of the 2nd Army in the area of Luhansk;
28th Motor-Rifle Brigade (Yekaterinburg) of the 2nd Army from the Central Military District in the area of Brianka and Stakhanov;
32nd Motor-Rifle Brigade (Shilovo) from the Central Military District in the area of Yenakiiyeve;
33rd Motor-Rifle Mountain Brigade (Maykop) of the 49th Army (Stavropol) from the Southern Military District in the area of Starobeshevo;
37th Motor-Rifle Brigade (Kyakhta) of the 36th Army from the Eastern Military District in the area of Horlivka and Yenakiiyeve;
74th Motor-Rifle Brigade (Yurga) of the 41st Army from the Central Military District in the area of Komsomolske;
138th Motor-Rifle Brigade (Kamenka) of the 6th Army from the Western Military District in the area of Snizhne and Torez;
6th Separate Tank Brigade (Mulino) from the Western Military District in the area of Telmanove;
56th Separate Air-Assault Brigade (Kamyshin) of VDV (the Russian Airborne Troops) in the area of Sakhanka, Krasno-Armiyske, and Roza Luzenburg;
217th Airborne Regiment (Ivanovo) of the 98th Airborne Division (Ivanovo) in the area of Debaltseve;
331st Airborne Regiment (Kostroma) of the 98th Guards Airborne Division (Ivanovo) in the area of Donetsk;
Company Tactical Group of the 61st Marine Brigade (Sputnik) from the Northern Fleet of the operational strategic command “North” in the area of Donetsk;
Company Tactical Group of the 106th Guards Airborne Division (the 51st Airborne Regiment, Ryazan, or the 137th Airborne Regiment, Tula ) in the area of Telmanove.
The total number of these groups in the territory of Ukraine is: 8,580 troops of Russian armed forces, four OTR-21Tochka-U missile launchers, up to 190 tanks, up to 495 AFVs, seven TOS-1 “Buratino” multiple rocket launchers, 133 artillery systems, 83 MLRS’s, and 66 anti-aircraft systems.
In addition to the Battalion Tactical Groups, formed from Russian troops, illegally armed formations of separatists (so called “armies” of the DPR and LPR) operate in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts of Ukraine, totaling over 35,000 personnel, up to 450 tanks, up to 470 AFVs, up to 360 artillery systems, up to 335 MLRS’s, and 59 anti-aircraft missile systems.
The separatist army is divided on a geographical basis. Five strike groups were created to conduct combat operations in the areas of Luhansk, Artemivsk, Donetsk, Volnovakha, and Mariupol:
Luhansk: 2,400 troops, up to 80 tanks, up to 100 AFVs, up to 40 MLRS’s, and up to 40 artillery pieces;
Horlivka – Stakhanov: 2,150 troops, up to 140 tanks, up to 160 AFVs, up to 95 MLRS’s, and up to 110 artillery pieces;
Donetsk: up to 7,000 troops, up to 100 tanks, up to 100 AFVs, up to 90 MLRS’s, and up to 130 artillery pieces;
Starobeshevo – Novoazovsk: up to 2,500 troops, up to 120 tanks, up to 75AFVs, up to 85 MLRS’s, and up to 80 artillery pieces;
Rovenky (rear area): up to 500 troops and Cossack formations, up to 30 AFVs, up to 30 MLRS’s, and up to 10 artillery pieces.
In violation of the Minsk agreements, the Russian Federation carries out the structuring of illegal military formations of the LPR and DPR in classic military units: corps -brigade (regiment, separate battalion) – battalion (division) – company (battery) – platoon.
One Army Corps was created in the territory of the DPR and two Army Corps in the territory of the LPR. Russian military troops participated directly in the creation of the corps. Russian commissioned officers were appointed to all the command positions, including battalion commanders.
In addition to separatist armed formations of the LPR and DPR, there are separate detachments of illegally armed formations in Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts that are not under control of the self-proclaimed republics and the Russian armed forces. Most of these units operate in the territory of the LPR and employ up to 2,000 troops. The biggest of them are the Cossack troops of the so called Great Don Army under the command of Alexander Konkin (in the town of Rovenky) and of Pavel Dremov (in Stakhanov). According to our information, the illegal military formations in Rovenky got the status of “The Separate Cossack battalion of territorial defense” and were transferred under command of the “people’s militia” of the LPR.
Pursuant to the law “On Combating Terrorism”, the armed forces of Ukraine and other military units and law enforcement agencies carry out tasks of anti-terrorist operations in the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.
By the Minsk agreement of February 12, 2015, a set of measures to resolve the conflict was defined, including a complete cessation of fire at 12:00 am on February 15, the withdrawal of heavy weapons of 100 mm and above to the distance from the line of contact between the parties equal to a maximum firing range of the heavy weapons.
The Ukrainian side has been complying to the Minsk agreement in full.
Despite the agreement, the illegal military formations continue assault operations and bombardments from MLRS’s, tank artillery, and small arms.
From February 15 through March 10, 2015, 831 separate shellings of ATO positions occurred, as well as 20 attacks, and 17 military skirmishes.
In particular by sector:
Sector A – 64 artillery bombardments and 3 skirmishes;
Sector C – 417 artillery bombardments, 12 attacks, and 7 skirmishes. As a result of the mass firings from MLRS’s and attacks in the area of Debaltseve on February 18, the ATO forces retreated from Debaltsevе to prepared positions;
Sector B – 271artillery bombardments, 3 attacks, and 4 skirmishes;
Sector M – 79 artillery bombardments, 5 attacks, and 3 skirmishes.
Here are statistics according to the types of weapons:
MLRS’s used 92 times, artillery and tanks -103 times, mortars -206 times, and small arms – 487 times.
At the same time, the Russian side, under the framework of deception, actively spreads disinformation to conceal themselves. Russian mercenaries and local separatists are used for this purpose. ”
Prepared by Don Proud and Dasha Kalinina, specially for InformNapalm
Translated by Sveta Kembowski
Original article: informnapalm.org