Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Vineyard of the Saker: Ukraine SITREP

Debaltsevo cauldron - still *not* closed:

According to Cassad, the cauldron is still not closed and I trust him. This being said, the Novorussians are holding the only highway out of the cauldron under their fire and they selectively allow some units to leave (medical, support & staff, for propaganda purposes) while destroying others (combat units). So even if the cauldron ain't quite closed, the junta forces are de-facto surrounded. See map (from Cassad):

Novorussian air defenses:

Remember the Tochka-Us shot down over Saur Mogila? Auslander reported that they had been shot down by (non-Novo) Russian. Then recently, two junta Tochkas "broke up in mid air". This time around the Novorussians have admitted that they shot down at least one Tochka. See the photo (also from Cassad):

The interesting thing is that Cassad mentions the Russian short range air defense system Pantsir as the system which might have shot down the Tochka. This is interesting for a number of reasons:

1) The Pantsir is a brand new Russian system. IF a Pantsir really did this, then the fact that the Novorussians are saying so basically means "Putin is arming us and we ain't even hiding it". A message to Kiev maybe?

2) The Pantsir is not supposed to be designed to shoot down ballistic missiles. IF a Pantsir really did this, then it proves that its real capabilities are far larger then its officially advertised ones.

3) If this was NOT a Pantsir, then we go right back to the explanation of last summer: the Russians are "covering" Novorussians with their S-300PMs.

I am personally inclined to believe the that this is what happened. The Pantsir is a very advanced "combined" (missile+guns) mobile but *point* defense systems designed to shoot down cruise missiles, aircraft and precision weapons. Ballistic missiles are different due to their speed and flight trajectory. Whatever may be the case, the fact that the Novorussians admitted that "they" shot down the Tochka is very good news as it shows a degree of confidence which will horrify Kiev.

The 4th Junta mobilization is the 4th one to totally fail:

Yup, just like the 3 previous ones, the 4th mobilization completely failed. According to a Ukrainian newspaper up to 80% of the conscripts do not want to go to fight. I am not sure about the 80% figure, but it appears to be a huge problem which further waves of mobilizations (the 5th one has already been announce) will, of course, not solve at all.

Novorussia (finally) announces a full mobilization:

Zakharchenko has announced that Novorussia is declaring a full mobilization. The neat thing is that this mobilization will be *voluntary* but that Zakharchenko expects 100'000 men to show up. Here we can only "thank" the junta for its systematic terror campaign against the towns and cities of Novorussia which has acted better than any recruitment center ever could. If the Novorussians really succeed in getting these kinds of numbers, and my guess is that they will, by next summer the junta will be in real danger of really losing all of historical Novorussia and of having Crimea linked to Russia by land.

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: Ukraine SITREP + open thread

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Recommended Reading via Amazon

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