Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 23.11.2017
The Ukrainian armed forces have taken full control of some villages in the “grey zone” on the battlefront of Russia’s invasion of Europe in Donbas. Ukraine has also been able to establish new positions to rationalize the defence. It appears that Europe’s defenders were able to exploit the opportunity created by large numbers of Russian troops vacating their front line positions to go to the city of Luhansk, where they were taking part in the power struggle amongst Russian occupation regime figures.
The reports of these small advances are still awaiting official confirmation. Most prominent are the reports that the Ukrainian armed forces were received as liberators in the “grey zone” villages of Hladosove and Travneve, which are north of the city of Horlivka in Donetsk region. Units of the 54th Mechanized Brigade, Bakhmut (who are veterans of the Battle of Svitlodarsk) and the 24th Separate Assault Battalion, “Aidar” carried out the operation to take full control of Hladosove and Travneve. In December 2016, the nearby town of Novoluhanske was liberated. Sometime later the village of Dolomitne to the west of Novoluhanske was freed of Russian control. Now, the village of Travneve to the west of Dolomitne and the village of Hladosove to the west of Travneve are said to be solidly in free Ukraine. The Russians were no longer present at their positions (presumably they were in Luhansk), and the 54th Brigade and the Aidar Battalion entered the two villages unopposed.
It is possible that the village of Lozove, north-west of the city of Debaltseve, is either contested or partially liberated. Reports from the Ukrainian armed forces Anti-Terrorist Operation have recently been mentioning Russian ceasefire violations against Ukraine’s defensive positions in or near Lozove. On social media, one of the ATO fighters said that because of heavy shelling by the Russians with Minsk-banned weapons the Ukrainian armed forces created new positions a few kilometres in size and took under control of several strategic heights in the Svitlodarsk bulge.
Ukraine should be exploiting the under-manned trenches on the Russian side of the battlefront, due to the operation the Russians are conducting in the city of Luhansk they occupy. The Russians have been shelling Ukrainian defenders and civilians very heavily from occupied Pervomaisk, occupied Horlivka, occupied Makiivka, and occupied Dokuchaivsk in particular. The Ukrainian armed forces can and should make advances against all these firing positions of the Russian invaders, to safe life and property of Ukrainians in Ukraine.