by John Galt
January 25, 2015 11:00 ET
News is filtering in from the internet and usually pro-Ukrainian news sources this morning of a potential disaster for the Kiev government as the strategic village of Debaltseve which reportedly has somewhere between 5,000 to 7,000 Ukrainian soldiers and militia contained within the pocket. From EMPR Media in the Ukraine:
The city of Debaltseve, which is located on the south west of Luhansk is obviously in a very tense situation now. The map shows that the Enemy forces (i.e.: Russian regular army and militants (internal and imported, moreover fully supported and equippted by Russia) almost surrounded the city.
In August 2014, Ukrainian armed forces together with volunteer Battalions were surrounded as well in Illovaysk. Operation aimed to liberate those city failed and Ukrainian side got heavy losses. Due to unofficial statistics more that 1000 of Ukrainian soldiers were killed, captured by Russian forces or remain missing up to now.
A Ukrainian artilery man, who currently serves in Debaltsevo admitted that between September 5,2014 and there January 21,2015 Ukrainian positions were shelled by the Russian forces’s Grad missiles over 3000 times.
We do hope, that Ukrainian Armed Forces officials are aware of the current situation near Debaltseve and will ready to prevent another ‘Illovaysk’ there.
The map from this story shows the danger facing the Ukrainian military at this crucial juncture in the conflict:
The situation is much more dire than the Poroshenko government is acknowledging as even the Kyiv Post was allowed this story to be published which graphically describes the under reporting of Ukrainian casualties:
ARTYOMOVSK, Ukraine – An ashen-faced man in a loose-fitting military uniform shuffles past a blood-soaked stretcher propped against the wall. Slowly stirring a cup of tea, he watches Ukrainian military officials announce the day’s casualties – one killed and 20 wounded.
“Don’t believe what they tell you,” he says, checking the door is closed before continuing.
“There are many, many more. At least 280 were injured in just one day last week and 30 or 40 killed. There were many more killed this week, Debaltseve and Konstantinovka are the worst cities now. I take 18 wounded to Kharkiv myself every day.”
The man, who didn’t want to be named, is a medic in Ukraine’s overstretched, under-resourced army. Clearly traumatized, he speaks quietly and hesitantly, barely audible over the low rumble of artillery fire from the outskirts of town.
His words confirm Ukraine’s worst-kept secret – that the Ukrainian army is drastically understating its casualties. But only now is the scale of that understatement starting to become clear.
In other words the situation in the Donbas region of the Eastern Ukraine has shifted so dramatically in the past few weeks that the only real strategy the Kiev government has is to hide the reality from its own citizens while begging for European and/or American military intervention. In fact the current battle in Debaltseve is going so badly, that the article above describes what is being seen by a surgeon who is treating the wounded from the conflict:
The situation at Artyomovsk central hospital, where the wounded from Debaltseve are brought, is much the same.
“There is so much work I didn’t even sit down today,” says surgeon Dmitriy Bondar, after his last patient is wheeled away on an antique trolley, down a dark corridor with faded, peeling walls.
“There are many soldiers every day. There are many wounded. Always, but in the last three to five days there are so many more. I’m treating between 10 and 15 people every day from Troitskoe, Debaltseve, Popasnoe, and Dzerginsk. We get no more medication from government, only from volunteers.”
Bondar is not as optimistic about the battle for Debaltseve as his patient Marian and his comrades, having seen too many young men just like them leave his care in boxes.
“The situation is bad in Debaltseve, it’s bad everywhere. Yes, the soldiers are still standing at their positions ready to fight. But we don’t see any help coming for them.”
If Tweets like those below are accurate and not pro-Russian propaganda, then indeed the Debaltseve pocket may be closing or already closed by the time this article is published.
Finally, the Western media has joined the internet journalists in recognizing the severity of what a defeat in Debaltseve means for the Ukrainian government with this story and video from AFP/France24:
Here is some updated video via RFE/RL of fighting at a checkpoint east of Debaltseve towards the Lugansk region:
If this village falls and there are thousands of Ukrainian soldiers killed or captured, this may tilt the entire conflict towards the pro-Russian forces, enabling them to eradicate remaining Ukrainian positions in the Donbas region and allow the rebels to consolidate power to press West from Mariupol and on to Odessa. This would completely seal off the Ukrainian government as a land-locked entity with resupply totally dependent by air and over land through extremely hostile territory. The days of the Poroshenko regime and the Soros/Banking Cartel lead Western revolution in Kiev may indeed be numbered.