In 250 kilometers from the Russian-Ukrainian border, at the Pogonovo combined-arms training ground in the Voronezh region, the 1st Guards Tank Army of the Russian Armed Forces began to concentrate, designed mainly for offensive operations of an operational-strategic scale. At the same time, separate units of the 49th (headquarters and administration in Stavropol) and 58th (headquarters and administration in Vladikavkaz) of the armies of the Southern Military District began to advance to approximately the same lines.
Such conclusions follow from the materials of analysts at CIT, an international initiative group of bloggers, Conflict Intelligence Team, which investigates armed conflicts using open sources. In this case, CIT participants drew attention to a number of actually very eloquent videos that appeared on the web. Namely: on a video made the other day on the road from the area of the Maslovka railway station in the suburbs of Voronezh. On it, near the tracks, one can see infantry fighting vehicles of the BMP-2 type, self-propelled artillery mounts “Msta-S” of 152 mm caliber and T-80U tanks. The latter are armed with the regiments of the 4th Guards Kantemirovskaya tank division, which is permanently stationed in the Moscow region. And it is this division that constitutes the main striking force of our 1st Guards Tank Army.
However, it seems that even the appearance near Voronezh of the tanks of the Kantemirov guardsmen alone does not necessarily mean that the entire tank army has moved towards Ukraine. But it looks like this is the case this time. Otherwise, what about another video that the CIT group drew attention to? On it, made on November 19 at the Michurinsk-Voronezh station, another military echelon was filmed on its way to the same Maslovka – with ammunition, chemical reconnaissance vehicles PXM-6 and a heavy flamethrower system “Solntsepek”. There is nothing of the kind in service with the Kantemirov division.
Polish military analyst Conrad Music suggests that we have before us the military equipment of the 20th separate regiment of radiation, chemical and biological protection, the garrison of which is located in the urban-type settlement of the Central Nizhny Novgorod region. Where does this conclusion come from? Simply, according to the GdeVagon service, this echelon moved westward from the Ilyino station of the same region. The village Tsentralny is only about 15 kilometers from it. That is quite feasible for the advancement of the regiment from the town of Tsentralny by its own course to the place of loading onto the railway transport. And what is typical in this case: this regiment is also part of the same 1st Guards Tank Army.
Thus, the “Solntsepeks” of the 20th separate regiment of the RHBZ and T-80Us of the 4th Guards Tank Division to the border with Ukraine move simultaneously and in approximately the same area – the huge Pogonovo training ground, capable of accommodating not such a mass of troops … That, with a high degree of probability, suggests that both the regiment and the division have been assigned some similar combat missions that will be carried out in close cooperation.
What tasks can we talk about? Almost certainly – about preparing, in case of emergency, to launch an offensive or counter-offensive across the state border in the event that a strike of the Ukrainian army on Donbass, which seems almost inevitable and predetermined to many, happens.
The fact that Moscow is extremely serious about the likelihood of a major Russian-Ukrainian war there is evidenced, in my opinion, by other facts that the Defense Ministry does not even consider necessary to hide.
For example, in advance (from November 22, 2021), the mobilization and deployment of the units of the combat army reserve (BARS) created only this year in the North-West of the Russian Federation began. The message about this, as if for edification and as a last warning to Kiev, was openly posted on the official website of the Russian military department.
In total, according to the website, “it is planned to involve several thousand citizens as part of separate units formed on the basis of formations and military units” of the Western Military District. In fact, we are talking about purely civilian storerooms. They are now urgently sent to the barracks as personnel of the territorial defense troops new to our country.
Units of territorial defense, staffed, although a lot of people who have served in the army, but still probably have lost real military skills on home sofas, are obviously in the very heat, if, God forbid, happens, no one plans to send. Or send only as a last resort.
If everything goes according to Moscow’s plan, the General Staff is going to entrust these troops, mainly, with reliable support of the front rear – the most important communications, bridges, communication centers, airfields, ports, train stations and others.
It should be borne in mind that just a few months ago, the same training camp was organized in the very underbelly of Ukraine – on the territory of the Southern Military District (YuVO). In September 2021, the territorial defense units created there from the BARS were “tested” during the joint strategic exercises of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus. Therefore, if baked in Ukraine, BARS from trusted people will definitely be deployed very quickly in the Southern Military District.
In a word, from our side of the confrontation line, the course of the struggle for Donbass looks more and more menacing. Especially considering the obvious fact that the situation on the Ukrainian side is developing in exactly the same way. There, at the behest of Kiev, a large group engaged in the so-called Joint Forces Operation in Donbass is also completing its deployment near the confrontation line. More and more clearly taking on the shape of a real front line. And the battles of local significance, which have not subsided in those parts for almost seven years, according to the plan of Kiev, after long doubts and fears, who nevertheless decided to cross the Rubicon, are becoming more and more bloody.
A characteristic feature: yesterday, November 25, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, commenting on the situation of Kiev’s actions in Donbass, for the first time in recent months used the term “offensive actions”. Namely – the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Maria Zakharova stated: “The reports of the special monitoring mission testify to the offensive actions of the armed forces of Ukraine in the area of the settlements Granitnoe, Staromaryevka.”
Is it possible, at least somehow and at least by something other than ritual statements by the Russian Foreign Ministry and the concentration of troops on the common border, to stop the big war approaching us from Ukraine, the outcome and scale of which is absolutely impossible to predict in any of the world capitals? No answer. Well, if only the author of this material. Much worse, if – and the Kremlin.
However, I, for example, cannot get away from the thought: if Ukrainian tanks are about to be trampled on us in Donbass, then most of them will have Russian or Belarusian fuel in their tanks. Why did the rulers of our country and Belarus, seemingly allied with us, allow this? Why long ago, when the military thunderstorm had just begun to illuminate our common horizon, did they not cut off the corresponding valve to Kiev?
But everyone in Moscow was well aware and aware. But they acted and are acting in this direction somehow indecisively to amazement. Because money doesn’t smell?
For example, according to the Ukrainian consulting group A-95, in the first nine months of this year, when the slide of the situation towards an imminent large-scale armed clash in Donbass became obvious to every fact, Russia only slightly, by 32 percent, “tightened” supplies of diesel fuel to Kiev. Which until that time just flowed like a river to Ukraine. But for some reason, even taking into account these reductions, over the same period, we managed to deliver a huge 1.327 million tons to an openly hostile state that constantly threatens Russia.
However, even the relatively modest reduction in diesel supplies that was made immediately and to a large extent almost “immobilized” the Armed Forces of Ukraine. So, according to the testimony of a well-known Kiev military expert Yuri Butusov, which he made public just a few days ago, on November 17, Ukrainian brigades, which are moving right now to the front line in Donbass, were given only 5 liters of fuel for each armored combat vehicle. “At first I couldn’t believe my ears – it’s just enough to warm up the engine once. But it turned out that everything is correct, they save fuel even to the detriment of combat training, ”Butusov writes indignantly.
A little later, on November 23, he continued his story about the “fuel” disaster that had befallen the Ukrainian military. This time, the Kiev expert referred to the data of the deputy commander of one of the battalions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who practically just, on November 4, found himself in the battle zone for Donbass. So, this officer reported that upon arrival, in fact, his battalion did not receive a drop of fuel. “We bring technical water for washing personnel, food, bread, firewood and the like from what was left in the tanks when leaving,” said the zamkombat. Butusov added: “It got to the point that the military have to buy fuel for their own money, which has not happened since the beginning of the war.”
Does this mean that Ukrainian tanks today simply have nothing to go into battle on? That is unlikely. Their Joint Forces Operations command in Donbass has been preparing for an offensive too long and too carefully. Therefore, I fully admit that everything necessary for a big battle has long been prepared by the Ukrainian rear services from the millions of tons that, as they did, and continue to come to Ukraine from our country. And what they save there until the thunder has struck is quite logical.
But if Moscow and Minsk had completely stopped such supplies at least from the beginning of 2021, perhaps the warlike neighbors would have had nothing to save. Then the thunder over Donbass would not have come at all.
After all, “oil is the blood of war.” This statement belongs to Monsieur Berange, Director of the French General Committee for Fuel. Do you know when he said that? More than a century ago, in 1917. Have you not heard in the Kremlin?