Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 31.12.2018
Armed Forces of Ukraine units under the Joint Forces Operation have taken control of a strategic height of land north of the Russian-occupied city of Horlivka. They have also improved the security cordon around the village of Novoluhanske in free Ukraine. An improved posture of Ukrainian defences may reduce the number and severity of bombardments the Russian invader-occupiers are making against Ukrainian civilians in Zaitseve and Novoluhanske.
2018 is the year in which Ukraine changed from the limited “Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO)” led by the security service to the more comprehensive “Joint Forces Operation (JFO)” led by the armed forces. It is fitting that at the end of the year the JFO completes another consolidation of defences along the battlefront facing the Russian invaders of Ukraine.
Units of the Separate Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian army fortified a new defensive position that sits on a height of land between the settlements of Zaitseve and Hladosove. Both of these places are on the Ukrainian side of the line of control immediately to the north of the city of Horlivka.
Units from the 1st Army Corps (so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic) of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have been shelling Ukrainian defenders and civilians for years from the captured settlement of Hol’mivs’kyi. Russian occupation troops routinely commit war crimes by opening fire from among the dwelling places of Ukrainian civilians in towns and villages under occupation. Overlooking the Russians from a height of land north-west of Hol’mivs’kyi, the Ukrainians will do a better job of protecting settlements in free Ukraine: Zaitseve, Hladosove, Travneve, and Novoluhanske.
News of the new, consolidated positions of JFO troops came from Dmytro Tymchuk, a Verkhovna Rada deputy. On social media, Mr. Tymchuk called the new defensive positions between Zaitseve and Hladosove “advantageous for future defensive actions.” He noted the danger to Ukrainian troops, who “while being in close proximity to the enemy, carried out engineering reinforcement of the new positions.”
2018 is ending on a high note for Ukraine defence of the homeland from Russian invaders. It has been a year with many consolidations of defensive positions and liberations of “grey zone” settlements. Taking control of territory north of Russian-occupied Horlivka sends the right signal: Ukraine will always protect its own.