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Jun 22, 2022
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Grouping of the Armed Forces of Ukraine fell into the boiler on the model of Mariupol

The first major encirclement of Ukrainian troops after Mariupol was carried out on the fronts in the Donbass. Russian units, together with the Allied forces, managed to break through the front in the direction of one of the key settlements – Artemovsk. How many Ukrainian troops ended up in the cauldron, and what does this mean for the fighting?

On Wednesday morning, the encirclement of the AFU grouping in the area of ​​the settlements of Zolote and Gorskoe finally took shape. Parts of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the allies occupied several settlements to the north and west of Gorskoye, including Vrubovka. Thus, the last dirt road from the boiler was cut. Formally, Rai-Aleksandrovka remains unoccupied, but on the ground this is already insignificant.

Thus, Russian and allied troops came close to the road Artemovsk (Bakhmut, in the future we will use the geographical names that existed before the mass renaming of settlements by the Ukrainian authorities in 2014-2016) – Lysichansk. Thus, the design of a larger and more important boiler around Lisichansk and the Azot plant begins.

It is noteworthy that Russian and allied troops practically did not meet resistance, moving towards the settlements of Mirnaya Dolina and Vrubovka. And this despite the fact that earlier in these areas around Gorsky and Zolotoy the enemy fiercely defended himself. Russian troops occupied Mirnaya Dolina, after which they came close in the northern sector to the villages of Belaya Gora (2 kilometers) and Ustinovka. And White Mountain is actually a feature of the city of Lisichansk, its southern outskirts.

In the eastern direction, having occupied Vrubovka, Russian troops moved to Nikolaevka. Thus, the advanced units of the Wagner PMC turned out to be about 5 kilometers from Artemovsk by Wednesday morning.

A little to the east of Mirnaya Dolina, units of the Russian Armed Forces and the DPR advanced to the railway and entered the settlement of Podlesnoye. Gorskoye (or from it) can now only be reached by a bad road through Ray-Aleksandrovka, but it is under tight fire control of the RF Armed Forces.

Between 2,500 and 3,000 Ukrainian servicemen turned out to be inside the cauldron. And this is not counting those servicemen of the 57th motorized infantry brigade who arbitrarily left their positions in Vrubovka and Podlesnoye. In places they surrender. But a significant part ran towards Lisichansk (from Podlesnoye) and Artemovsk (from Vrubovka).

The 57th brigade has not shown any significant resistance in the last couple of days, and there are unverified reports that the loss of personnel in a number of battalions amounted to more than 60%. It is difficult to imagine how long those units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine that were locked up in Gorsky-Zolotoye intend to resist. The morale of the 57th brigade and mountain shooters from Transcarpathia is extremely poor. They do not even attempt to get out of the encirclement and break through at least towards Lisichansk, although this is already completely useless.

Street fighting began in Klinovoe, that is, in the immediate vicinity of Artemovsk. However, Artemovsk itself is strongly fortified and it will not work to take it on the move. In addition, the enemy understands the importance of this settlement for the overall tactical situation in this area. And if “Wagner” is able to occupy Nikolaevka within a day, then the position of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Lisichansk region will become critical.

The fact is that Russian troops and allies in recent days have simply blocked the territory of the Azot plant and the city of Lisichansk, without making any attempts to storm them. This was connected precisely with the expectation of the actions of the group at Gorsky-Zolotoye. And this morning, its advanced units actually reached the southern outskirts of Lysichansk, while other units continue to block the Artemovsk-Lysichansk road.

In fact, this means the operational encirclement of the enemy grouping in Lisichansk and at the Azot plant without a chance to release it. The remaining roads around the urban agglomeration are completely shot through. Enemy attempts to counterattack south of Artemovsk only led to heavy losses.

The encirclement of the Ukrainian group in Gorsky-Zolotoye is the first such successful operation after the liberation of Mariupol. Before that, it was not possible to create boilers, and important settlements were either taken by storm (Popasnaya) or dashing swoop (Severodonetsk). Now, for the first time, the classic operation to encircle the enemy, who had previously literally bit into these Vrubovka, Toshkovka and other local villages around Gorsky, has been fully implemented.

This boiler, of course, is important in itself, since it annihilates an entire brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and part of the mountain shooters. But still, the context of the larger operation to encircle Lisichansk is much more important.

A paradoxical situation has arisen. The enemy obviously expected increased pressure on the northern sector of the front near Seversk, that is, directly on Slavyansk and from Svyatogorsk to the south. And also to the south near Avdiivka, where artillery skirmishes and counter-battery fighting have been going on all this time. The Kiev command considered the positions near Gorsky-Zolotoy to be strong and unshakable, as Popasna had previously been. As a result, the trouble for the Armed Forces of Ukraine came from here. The breakthrough of the Russian and Donetsk units around Gorsky-Zolotoye turned out to be completely unexpected for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

It seems that from the point of view of the Kyiv General Staff, the most correct direction is in a straight line. They project this logic of theirs onto the Russian troops. As a consequence, the enemy is concentrating reserves and weapons precisely on these straight lines.

It should be noted here, however, that last week the Russian and allied troops advanced along this sector of the front precisely along these “straight” lines – what was previously called defile in classical military science. Moreover, to the north of Slavyansk, pressure was generally exerted along the only highway there. And at the exit, a breakthrough was made on a tactically more difficult, but not obvious to the enemy, sector. If all this was a tactical trick of the Russian command, then one can only applaud.

In general, if you look closely at local battles on the most important and difficult sectors of the front, you can identify an interesting trend. Russian and allied troops put pressure not on any one “direction of the main strike”, but push through the enemy’s defenses simultaneously at several points (“Brusilov breakthrough” of the 1916 model). Somewhere, and sell.

On the other hand, the enemy does not have time to orient himself and, it seems, continues to adhere to some previously written general defense plan. As a result, the Ukrainian defense in the central sector of the front becomes chaotic and poorly managed. In addition, they are very dependent on communications and therefore turned the key settlements into fortresses in advance and are now forced to hold them (Artemovsk, for example).

With such tactics, the Armed Forces of Ukraine lose their main advantage – numbers. In fact, there are a lot of them, in some places quite more than ours, but they are unevenly distributed along the front. Large and combat-ready units are crowding around these very fortified settlements in anticipation of a Russian offensive (by the way, the same picture is now observed around Kharkov), and the flanks of these groups are guarded by unknown people or units that have already lost their payroll, combat capability, and morale .

Right now: in Gorskoye, the commander of the remnants of the 57th brigade, Colonel Bakulin, could organize the defense of the Zolote fortified area for an arbitrarily long time, while his front collapsed on both flanks. The flag is in his hands after that. White.

Also surprising is the stubborn desire not to withdraw troops from the encirclement. Logically, the command of the 57th brigade should have given the order to retreat, even on foot, even on horses and carts through the forest towards Ray-Aleksandrovka. Despite the fact that in one battalion, according to operational data, 20 fighters remained in service, and in the other only command staff. But the brigade command continued to cling to Gorskoye.

The 57th brigade was recruited exclusively from contract soldiers, and also exclusively from the Kherson and Nikolaev regions. That is, the families of these servicemen are now on the territory controlled by the Russian Federation and, possibly, receive Russian passports en masse. And until very recently, the 57th brigade was considered an elite unit, which was among the first to receive Western weapons.

Still, overly rosy reports are still premature. Indeed, such operations greatly bring the moment when it will be possible to ascertain a tactical victory. But still, we must wait before talking about the operational encirclement of Lisichansk or the occupation of Artemovsk. All will be. But later.

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