Interviews & Opinions

Ukrainian Army General Speaks His Mind, July 7th, 2014—”Strelkov’s Operational Freedom”


Original: Putnik LiveJournal
Translated from Russian by Gleb Bazov / edited by @GBabeuf

Preamble: The author of this letter is a Ukrainian Army general. He is considered to be one of the most capable ones in the Ukrainian Armed Forces. In general, he is loyal to any government, but is in shock from what is now happening. He has no direct involvement in the punitive operation, which makes him very happy. The text of his letter is quoted below in full, with necessary stylistic amendments and redaction of names and identifying information, in order to protect him from the Ukrainian Gestapo.

With respect to Strelkov’s breakout from Slavyansk, your Kurginyan is spouting absolute nonsense. I am not interested in his hidden motives, and I do not care for his “insider” information, which he may or may not possess; I am simply speaking about that which can be seen with the naked eye.

There is only one negative that comes from the surrender of Slavyansk—any retreat is unpleasant to the side that retreats.

Now, let us talk about why it was necessary to surrender Slavyansk.

Operational Perspective

Following a complete encirclement and blockade, the elimination of a defending force is simply a matter of time. Their supplies, including ammunition, will run dry. Breaking through the blockade [to establish supply lines] would have been an impossible feat for the riffraff forces of the DPR [Donetsk People’s Republic].

Slavyansk is a relatively small city, and it is very difficult to defend it from an operational-tactical point of view. Especially when it has been encircled.

The salvation of the most battle-worthy forces of the DPR, which were forged together in battle conditions and have accumulated good battle experience and fighting morale, is a far more important matter than the retention of just one settlement, even if it has become a Symbol [of the resistance].

The “Slavyansk Impasse” was meant to give the DPR time to create functional armed forces. By and large, this time was wasted—the forces that exist are neither united nor coordinated. To draw the situation out any longer would have meant certain demise. The Slavyansk grouping will serve as a good backbone for a quick unification of the existing armed forces, and Strelkov will provide the necessary unity of command, without which an army cannot exist.

Once they had set up a complete blockade of Slavyansk, our guys no longer needed to assault the city, nor did they intend to. They planned instead to take Donetsk, which had yet to establish a proper defence strategy. “Strelok” and his men would have been left out of the action, wasting their potential and losing their significance.

And now it turns out that, while the larger and better part of the [Ukrainian] forces is devoted to the Slavyansk front, a quick exit gave [Strelkov] a few days’ head start—our guys are unable to quickly react to the changed circumstances, and this provides [Strelkov] with several days to evolve his strategy and tactics.

Bear in mind that [our command] had no idea about [Strelkov’s plans] until the very end. According to our intelligence, “Strelok” planned to sit on the defensive until the bitter end. Some are already starting to pay for this mistake with their stars.

From the standpoint of the growing threat, the exact moment for the breakout was masterfully selected. It was done at exactly the right time—neither too early, nor too late. I have a feeling that if Strelkov played the foreign exchange market he would have become a millionaire…

Humanitarian Perspective

This Kurginyan says that the residents were “abandoned” without any defence. Let us imagine that Strelkov had decided to defend the residents of Slavyansk to the last resident of Slavyansk. What would have happened?

Our guys were given a “blank cheque” to do anything it takes. They were given guarantees that all of it would be written off. They would have erased Slavyansk from the face of the Earth with artillery, and half of the population, or more, would have died. The wounded would have died without medical care. Many of them grieviously. Hunger, epidemics. At the end of it all, after massive losses, the city would have been taken in one, two, three weeks and—no one can predict what would have happened next.

Yet, having entered the city after the Militia and the active citizens left in an organized manner, they will shy away from perpetrating a real massacre. They need it to be pretty. Kiev ordered them to behave. There will surely be arrests, on a serious scale, but they will not massacre everyone in sight. That is already something.

Moral-Political Perspective

The elimination of the Slavyansk grouping in two to three weeks would have meant the loss of half of the battle-worthy units of the DPR’s armed forces. The loss of the garrison would have multiplied many times the morale effect of the loss of Slavyansk. It would have led to utter demoralization and a quick defeat of the remaining forces.

The organized breakout from encirclement should be considered a small, but important tactical success. The plan to blockade “Strelok” and eliminate his grouping has failed. At the same time, Donetsk received quality reinforcements (experienced and motivated fighters with a high level of morale) with a leader who will now start purging the prevailing Makhnovshchina [Note: a reference is made to a state of disunity, confusion and vacillation in the absence of unified command]. These are the ABCs [of military organization]. During wartime, the full panoply of state power must be concentrated in the hands of the military administration. There is no other way. Thus far a formal DPR Minister of Defence, [Strelkov] must now take the reigns of military, and much of the civilian, power in his hands. Which is what, by the looks of it, he is already doing.

In Sum

  1. The most battle-worthy units of the DPR, along with military equipment, have been preserved.
  2. The lives of many residents of Slavyansk have been spared.
  3. The Donetsk garrison has been substantially reinforced.
  4. There are now prospects that order will be brought to the DPR leadership. Especially in terms of military organization.
  5. “Strelok” has gained access to resources that were being wasted in Donetsk and were not reaching his units.

And Donetsk is not the tiny Slavyansk. If our “Napoleons” were not the cowardly idiots that they are, they could long ago have taken Donetsk with powerful razor strikes. It could have been done even today, maybe tomorrow. But the day after tomorrow it will be too late. And they will not get there by tomorrow. Because they are idiots.

Overall, unless there is some political or other incident, in the military sense, Donetsk can now continue to hold for a very long time. And our idiots can only blame themselves.

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