The liberation of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk will be the beginning of the end for the Armed Forces of Ukraine
The special operation to liberate Mariupol is almost completed. Local pockets of resistance of militants of Ukrainian national formations still remain on the outskirts, while the center of the city has almost completely come under the control of the forces of the Donetsk People's Republic. Military expert Yevgeny Linin told MK how a special military operation could develop further.
Photo: Frame from video
According to the official representative of the People's Militia of the DPR, Eduard Basurin, supposedly 3,000 servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) continue to defend in Mariupol. “Ukrainian fighters moved to the port and Azovstal,” Basurin specified. “We have already entered the port, and we are slowly starting to clean up this territory.”
No one has any doubts that the turning point has occurred, and the liberation of Mariupol is a matter of a few days. And consequently, the next strategically important cities are Slavyansk and Kramatorsk. Understands this and the civilian population of these cities. Some Telegram channels have published footage of the evacuation of residents who prefer to leave potentially dangerous cities on their own, without waiting for a repetition of the Mariupol scenario.
Military expert Yevgeny Linin believes that the evacuation of the civilian population of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk is an event more than expected.< /p>
– In a good way, if Zelensky was worried about the fate of his people, then the evacuation should have started earlier and in an organized manner, – the expert says.
– Because now the public has already understood how the Kiev authorities and the leadership of the same “Azov” (an extremist organization banned in the Russian Federation) acted with the residents of Mariupol, where the evacuation, despite statements about the opening of the corridors, was never carried out. People began to realize that the presence of civilians in cities is beneficial to the military leadership in order to use them as human shields during hostilities. It is clear what policy Zelensky and his military are pursuing, which is, in fact, the destruction of their people. He does not even consider the pro-Ukrainian population of Donbass to be the population of Ukraine. It should be noted that independent evacuation of the civilian population plays into the hands of Russia. The more people leave the city, the “freer” our army can behave.
– There is only one premise – Mariupol will soon be completely liberated. The main forces are accumulating on those lines where further confrontation will take place. This is what is now called the “Donetsk Bulge” in many media. And everyone already understands that as soon as Mariupol is completely cleared of the armed formations of Ukraine, work will immediately begin to liberate the remaining cities of Donbass and destroy those fortified points that the Ukrainians made from Slavyansk and Kramatorsk. And we know that these agglomerations are very difficult to clean up.
In 2014, when the Armed Forces of Ukraine attacked Slovyansk, there were militia armed with whatever they had to. For understanding, from weapons they had only what was in the arsenal of the city police department and the trophy howitzer “Nona”. Nevertheless, they were able to keep the defense for a long time – two and a half months.
Now we see a Ukrainian grouping, which has about 50 thousand military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, plus the Donbass national battalion, the exact number of which is not known, perhaps about five thousand people. Also the defense, at least a few thousand people. And you can also add the National Guard there – something like 20 thousand military personnel.
Some experts voice the total number of the Donbass grouping of the Armed Forces of Ukraine – 90 thousand people. I think that's about it. Also, do not forget that Pavlograd is located nearby, which has become a kind of arsenal for this entire group, and a very large number of troops have also been drawn there – about several tens of thousands of people. Their task is to prevent the Russian armed forces and corps of the LPR and DPR from completing the encirclement of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk. This is stated by the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
But, as Mariupol showed, where the military command simply abandoned the fighters remaining inside the city with all the supplies, it will most likely also be here. The grouping in Pavlograd, in fact, was created not to de-blockade Kramatorsk and Slavyansk, but to form a new fortified area on the way to Dnepropetrovsk (Dnepr). And the groups concentrated in these cities will be abandoned in the same way as the Mariupol one.
– I think yes. This can happen one of these days, the maximum question is 7-10 days.
– The Russian army has only one difficulty – we use humane means of struggle. We carry out targeted destruction of units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and targeted destruction of weapons, and do not strike at squares.
– First of all, the absolute advantage in the air, which, in my opinion, will prevent the AFU grouping concentrated in Pavlograd from delivering reinforcements to Slavyansk and Kramatorsk.
The battles will go on based on the experience of Mariupol, which, like a litmus test, showed all the advantages of our army and revealed all the flaws that we made during the assault. It is very important that those guys who carried out the liberation of this city gained tremendous experience. Therefore, I think Slavyansk and Kramatorsk will be liberated in less time.
– All. Starting from artillery systems – 122-mm howitzers “Acacia” and 152-mm “Msta-S”. We saw that in the final battles for Mariupol, multiple rocket launchers were no longer used, but the Solntsepok systems were used, which work at shorter distances, but more accurately. We also saw the use of Tulip mortar systems. They are used for short distances, but hit like a mortar.
The problem of using aviation in urban conditions is quite serious. The reason is that the enemy is using Stinger man-portable air defense systems supplied from the West. It is practically impossible to establish their launch point, while their number is quite large on the Ukrainian side. Their deliveries were carried out practically on an “industrial scale”. Our attack aircraft will be limited in the use of their capabilities because of these complexes. This means that it is necessary to use either high-altitude bombers that can use guided bombs, or destroy “shooters” with “stingers”.
For these purposes, drones must constantly hang in the air. The launch of a portable air defense system can, of course, be carried out from a window, but then the person who produces it puts himself in danger. Therefore, shooters usually use open spaces, mainly on the roofs of houses. The roof gives an overview, it is pointless to stand with the complex and wait for the plane to fly over you in some yard. This means that all possible means must be used to remove the enemy from these very roofs.
Of course, tanks will be used. The tank is the strongest weapon today, without which it is impossible to do during the assault.
– In fact, this is the liberation of Donbass. Kramatorsk – almost 200 thousand people, an agglomeration where there is a serious industry, without which the work of metallurgy is impossible. Slavyansk is a 150,000 city with industrial enterprises. This is a serious blow to the Ukrainian economy. The destruction of the group that is now in these cities, in itself, bleeds the Ukrainian army, because half of all its armed formations are concentrated there. Neither the Ukrainian army nor the Ukrainian economy will be able to recover from such a blow.