Intelligence service: Threat of offensive operations in eastern Ukraine persists
Militants attacked the Ukrainian position this week more than in the previous week. Russia supplies more weapons and staff to the occupied territories and plans forming an air assault regiment in the annexed Crimea.
Kyiv, August 5, 2016. This week militants have intensified attacks on Ukrainian positions. A distinguishing feature of the week is the fact that militants more often use 122-mm and 152-mm artillery pieces, and 120-mm and 82-mm mortars. All in all, from July 29 to August 4, illegal armed groups carried out 412 attacks and assault operations. To compare last week, there were 389. This was informed by Vadym Skibitskyi, Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Chief Intelligence Department, at a briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Threat of offensive operations
“The threat of offensive/assault operations of Russian occupational forces persists in the Donetsk and Slovyansk sectors. The enemy increases staffing as well as deliveries of weapon and ammunition to the so-called “3rd” and “5th separate motorized rifle brigades”. The military and medical personnel have been recalled from their leaves,” he informed. According to military intelligence, all slightly wounded servicemen of the “1st Army Corps” (AC) are prematurely discharged from medical facilities, and personnel of the medical facilities is prepared to hospitalize a large number of wounded.
According to Mr. Skibitskyi, today the command-and-staff training exercises are completed in the Army Corps. “These measures are parts of the preparatory stage to exercises “Kavkaz-2016” of the Southern Military District that will be held in September. There is a threat of using the exercises as preparation for combat operations, much as the Russian Federation did in 2008, during the military aggression against Georgia,” emphasized the military intelligence representative.
According to Vadym Skibitskyi, militants keep the military equipment prohibited by the Minsk agreements in the ATO area. This equipment includes 50 tanks, more than 70 pieces of artillery systems and self-propelled artillery platforms, 24 pieces of 122-mm “Grad” systems. There have been recorded 13 fights of the enemy drones over the current week. However, according to the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine, from July 25th to July 31st, 29 militants were killed and 67 wounded.
Russian military build-up in Crimea
Mr. Skibitskyi informed that Russia is planning to form 97th air assault regiment in Dzhankoy, (temporarily occupied Crimea). In particular, in 2017 they plan to deploy a battalion, and during 2018-2019 to complete the formation of the regiment, which will join the 7th air assault division stationed in Novorossiysk. At the same time, on July 29, the sea trials of the third frigate “Admiral Makarov” began in the Baltic Sea. The ship carries missile complex “Kalibr-NK” that allows the attacks to be made on the objects and targets throughout Ukraine from any point of the northwestern part of the Black Sea,” stressed Mr. Skybytskyi. It is expected that the ship will join the 30th surface ship division of the RF Black Sea Fleet by the end of 2016.