By Colonel Cassad
August 17: Briefly on yesterday’s events.
1. Large-scale offensive action has not taken place, fighting has continued in the key positions. Message from Regnum has not been confirmed or has been overtaken by events.
2. You can speak of a sustained trend — the shelling of cities and the front line in the evening entered the high-intensity phase, which has not happened since January 2015, when the winter offensive began with exactly these kinds of attacks.
3. In the evening and night of August 16-17, the intensity of the shelling was less than that of the night of August 15-16. Use of MRLS was also less active. However, as a result of shelling in the area of Skotovataya station, railway communication between the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Ukraine was interrupted. Most likely it will affect the various coal-trading schemes between the DNR and the junta.
4. The diplomatic rhetoric reached an alarmist level. [DNR leader] Zakharchenko and DNR military officials openly pointed to the resumption of offensive operations by the Ukrainian Armed Forces (APU) in the near future, the German Foreign Ministry also pointed out that the situation is explosive. Today, the Russian Foreign Ministry urged the junta to again try for the implementation of the Minsk agreements rather than be drawn into a military adventure. Of the chances that the junta would honor the Minsk agreement, there is no word at all.
5. No major changes to the front line in recent days, as the parties continue to heavily expend ammunition on the line of contact and enemy artillery positions. As usual, the intensity of the fighting is higher in the DNR than the Lugansk People’s Republic (LC). On losses, all accounts are pretty vague, reports said that yesterday between 4 and 6 civilians were killed and more than a dozen wounded, the losses of the Novorossiyan Armed Forces (VSN) are not yet clear. APU yesterday suffered several dead and more than 2 dozen wounded, our sources say that were several successful strikes at the APU on the front south of Donetsk (several guns destroyed or damaged). The junta says two civilians were killed in Sartane, but it is unclear who targeted the north of the village, since one video shows outgoing shots coming from Mariupol. This is equally as probable a cause as bombardment by VSN undershooting (intentional or accidental) at the artillery positions of the APU near Mariupol.
6. In general, both the military and diplomatic situation is heating up. It is not clear how this situation can be resolved other than by military means. Now there is talk about a meeting [of the Minsk Contact Group] on August 26, “to discuss” the removal of 100mm-caliber weapons, despite the fact that the cities are being bombarded with guns of over 100mm caliber. In general, Minsk lives a separate life in a parallel reality.
7. It is reported that “Boatswain” returned to Gorlovka, and indeed, there are reports that those returning are not just those on leave, but even people who previously fell from grace. In this connection, it is possible that sooner or later we will see the return of iconic figures like Bezler or Petrovsky. Strelkov and Kozitsin are unlikely to return at this stage, however.
Waiting for the obvious resumption of clashes in the evening.