Internationally convicted terrorist Igor Girkin gave commentary to a Russian SVPRESSA publication on timelines of the further progress of the Russian forces in Donbas. We bring a translation of his statement below. As the interviewer questions how quickly the Russians will reach Kramatorsk and Sloviansk line of defence, Girkin rejects an idea that it will happen any time soon given that Bakhmut is still standing. According to him, Wagner will not be enough to occupy the rest of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. More on this below:
SVPRESSA: Even in the summer, analysts voiced that “Russia will take several months to liberate the front lines of Seversk-Soledar-Bakhmut.” And now these months have passed, and the enemy’s line of defense is gradually shifting to the west. Sooner or later, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will roll back to the next line – Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, Druzhkovka, Konstantinovka. How do we break it? Do we continue going straight ahead, or around – maybe to the south, or maybe better to the north? What kind of scenarios can be there? The question of what will happen next is better to identify in advance, and it would be nice to find an answer to it in advance.
The space in front of the line of cities from Sloviansk in the north to Konstantinovka in the south can be occupied. All the way to Bakhmut, there are only fields and small villages. American military experts even say: “The left bank of the Dnieper is a desert.” That is, the Russians can get through this territory relatively easily. But how to take the one fortified area that is essentially elongated from north to south? Here, one city passes into another. Apparently, we will again have to gnaw through step by step, freeing the west of Donbas. It would be necessary to act more cunningly, to maneuver, but is it possible?
To answer this question, we turned to the ex-Minister of Defense of the DPR, the head of the social movement “Novorossiya” Igor Strelkov, who believes that it is premature to talk about reaching the line between Sloviansk and Kramatorsk:
– So far, there is no discussion even about the capture of Bakhmut, because the battles for this city continue. And it has been under siege for a long time. Therefore, to say that “we will soon go to Sloviansk” can only be corrected: “relatively soon.”
In general, my position on the operation, which is being carried out by the Russian military command in the Donbas, is quite well known and is defined by the words: “It is yet to be done.” All over the world, it has long been customary to bypass defense nodes, to force the enemy to leave them without a fight. And we decided to act according to the patterns of the First World War, and in its worst versions.
It’s hard for me to say when our troops will reach the line Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, Druzhkovka, Konstantinovka. Maybe relatively soon, maybe not very soon. Maybe in the coming months, they won’t reach it at all, there is a fairly large foreground there and the “respectable Ukrainian partners” will not leave it without a fight.
But in any case, even if we reach this line, it will be a pity if these cities are also destroyed during offensive operations, as Bakhmut has now been destroyed.
And it will be even more difficult to take them because they are much larger, much more strongly fortified. If in Soledar before the start of the special operation, the population was just over ten thousand people, then Kramotorsk until 2014 was a city of 150 thousand people. No Wagner is enough to take the agglomeration by storm. This will require way more forces.
Frankly, I do not share the victorious, and, as they say, ura-patriotic moods of our media after the capture of Soledar. After all, this victory means practically nothing compared to, just for example, the surrender of Kherson. And even the surrender of the much larger city of Izyum, which happened during the so-called regrouping, but in fact, it was a retreat of our troops from the Kharkiv region.
SVPRESSA: But after all, the Armed Forces of Ukraine also suffer, in your words, “ultra-casualties.” But the leadership in Kyiv planned this – they are preparing reserves in the rear, but do not bring them into battle. This happened near Popasna (LPR), near Severodonetsk, near Lysychansk. And later they threw these forces into a counterattack on Kherson. Are we seeing the same picture now?
– The enemy still retain their reserves. Moreover, they create new ones. They do not bring them into battle, do not expose to our blows the most combat-ready units intended for offensive operations on their side. Instead of them, the territorial defense is fighting, various reserve units formed from “mobiks”. And they hold back the staff units, as they did last summer when our troops stormed positions in Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, and then in Pisky.
Where the enemy is going to strike, or whether he keeps these units in reserve to repel our offensive, I do not have this information, since the only source of information about the enemy’s forces for me is the Internet. And this source is very incomplete and unreliable. But I look at which parts of them are involved in Soledar in Bakhmut and state the fact that there are no shock units and formations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine at the forefront.
SVPRESSA: What would you advise our chief commanders to do? Or is it not worth doing this at all, keeping a military secret?
“Our command does not need advice. It does not listen to them, and often acts illogically and completely opposite to what is required. They did not carry out an offensive operation on Dnipro to cut through the enemy’s communications between the Dnieper and Donbas. They won’t do it now. And in Mariupol, the enemy left the garrison just enough to order to divert our forces to it.
Now it has become more difficult for us. Everywhere, from the Kinburn Spit in the south, between the Dnieper and the Black Sea, to the border with Belarus in the north, the enemy has formed a continuous line of defense. I don’t know what our military leaders will do, and it’s useless to advise them anything …
According to the ex-Minister of Defense of the DPR, now one can see a kind of repetition of the same picture that emerged in the spring and summer, when the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Donbas deliberately fought to deplete the potential of Russian troops in their fortified positions.
Yes, the Armed Forces of Ukraine fail, retreat, lose ground after fierce heavy fighting, but their failures are tactical. But they do not touch their strategic reserves. Perhaps they are preparing to repel our future offensive in other more promising areas. Or maybe they are planning a victory somewhere?
They are surrendering their positions on the fortified Soledar-Bakhmut line, not trying to make serious breakthroughs. They do not send their main forces there, if, of course, the Bandera regime still has them. But, according to Strelkov, the management of the battle by our Western opponents “remains clear and thoughtful.” Although very bloody.
End of translation.