Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 26.11.2017
On November 23 there was a battle between Russian forces invading Europe in Donbas and Ukrainian forces. Russia attacked defensive positions of Ukraine outside Krymske in Luhansk region in a combat engagement that lasted eight hours. Ukrainian Ministry of Defence spokesperson, Colonel Andriy Lysenko, reported on the Battle of Krymske: “During the engagement the adversary was firing upon Ukrainian positions with all weapons available, including mortars. In the second half of the day, the enemy kept attacking Ukrainian positions in the area of Krymske with mortars and small arms.” The Russians gained no ground.
Russia had surged large numbers of troops into Luhansk city on November 21, under cover of a made-for-TV “coup” involving a couple of the Kremlin’s proxies. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) says that the additional forces Russia sent to Luhansk came from the Wagner group. The Wagner group is a Russian paramilitary organization – the equivalent of a private military contracting agency. In other words, the Russian armed forces sent mercenaries to augment its invasion/occupation force in Luhansk. The effect of Russia’s expanded aggressiveness was the Battle of Krymske on November 23.
At first, casualties were thought to be unusually severe. On November 24, Ukraine’s Anti-Terrorist Operation command reported five Ukrainian servicemen were killed in action, and four were wounded in action. They warned, though, that this report was preliminary. Ukraine’s military intelligence assessed that the Russian attackers had lost eight killed in action and nine wounded in action.
Good news came on November 25: “Two servicemen, who were considered dead during a clash near Krymske, due to their considerable combat experience and courage, were able to escape from the zone of the defeat of the enemy and return to their units,” Ukrainian Ministry of Defence spokesperson, Colonel Andriy Lysenko, said.
The Battle of Krymske tells us two things. First, Russia has no intention of stopping or even pausing its invasion of Europe in Ukraine. Putin’s War is always aggressive, always on the attack, and that will never change as long as the West hides behind “no military option” appeasement. Second, Ukraine is in command of the battlefield, and easily defeated the enemy despite a surge of fresh Russian troops thrown into the assault. In recent days, Ukraine has already taken complete control of two villages in the “grey zone” north of Horlivka, Hladosove and Travneve. Vowing to counter-attack to effect, the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, Oleksandr Turchynov, had this to say: “The Armed Forces of Ukraine control the situation and are ready not only to repel the provocations of Russian troops, but also to improve our positions.”
All of Donbas and all of Crimea must be liberated from the Russian invaders. But in the near future, liberating more territory and more villages would be a relief and a blessing to Ukrainians who have been captives of Russia for three and a half years.