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Ukraine War: Azov Mariupol 'Offensive' Is a Phony Photo Op

A real offensive to draw forces away from Debaltsevo? Nah, a safe PR campaign to increase Azov stature

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This article originally appeared at Pravda.ru. It was translated by J. Hawk at Fort Russ


The Tuesday Ukrainian attack on the Mariupol sector which was accompanied by numerous and pompous accounts of its victories turned out to be mainly a showy senseness “march in review” before the eyes of its leader, whose role was assumed by Aleksandr Turchinov, the head of the National Security and Defense Committee, who specially arrived in Mariupol for this reason.

The attack began in the morning. It was spearheaded by the Azov Special Purpose Regiment. Its troopers drove through the villages located between Mariupol and Novoazovsk which are located in the so-called “no-man’s land”—a buffer zone between UAF and Novorossia forces—where they made several photos which confirm their “victory”. The trip cost them two wounded, due to the fact they were photographing themselves: Novorossia snipers noted the camera flashes.

Azov claims that they captured genuinely important villages of Sakhanka and Shirokino were not confirmed. “As of 15:20, the UAF attack on Sakhanka was repelled. Ukrainian forces which entered the outskirts were forced to retreat. There is fighting around the western edge of Sakhanka and Shirokino”—is how the militia reported the events.

Similar announcements were issued by DPR Ministry of Defense. However, both the CTO spokesman and the Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov who went to Mariupol to observe the “offensive” said something exactly the opposite.

“Having shattered the Russo-terrorist grouping around Mariupol, our armed forces ensured a reliable defense for the city. Today the National Guard forces together with the Azov battalion and with UAF support broke enemy defenses near Mariupol. The offensive captured the cities of Pavlopol, Kominternovo, Lebedinskiy, Bedyanskoye, Shirokino. Enemy suffered very serious casualties. Having shattered the Russo-terrorist grouping around Mariupol, our armed forces have ensured a reliable defense for the city [yes, the sentence is repeated in the original-J.Hawk] by protecting it from artillery fire."

The CTO spokesman Andrey Lysenko said that the UAF counteroffensive is continuing. He also said that its goal is to push back the “terrorists” to the demarcation line that was agreed upon in the Minsk Memorandum.

The UAF offensive is not yet over. Judging from everything, the UAF was not able to take into the most important towns. Therefore they will either return to Mariupol, which was already announced by a number of DPR sources, or they will continue their attacks on a sector where the militia had few concentrated forces earlier.

DPR HQ is of the opinion that the offensive was intended to draw forces away from the Debaltsevo pocket, which had finally been closed.


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