These positions of the 11th motorized rifle brigade of the so-called “Defense Ministry” of self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” and the 100th brigade of the self-styled “republican guard” near the Yasynuvata junction have seen heavy fighting since late evening of Jan. 28.
This is the place from which the Ukrainian troops are being fired at and artillery attacks are corrected (this is the photo made from an enemy drone a day before).
In the evening of Jan. 28, soldiers of the 72nd Brigade hit these trenches and the rear positions behind them. The brigade’s artillery group has significantly corrected the landscape, using only allowed calibers and anything they had at hand. The enemy suffered significant losses. In the morning of Jan. 29, the reserves of the “republican guard” were sent in. They also got under aimed fire assault by our artillery. An entire group of Russian mercenaries, including battalion commander Ivan Balakay, call sign ‘Grek,’ was killed near those trenches. This information has been confirmed by the enemy: the significant losses in this area were recognized by ‘curator’ of the 100th brigade, a well-known traitor, ‘secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of “DPR”’ Alexander Khodakovsky. (UPD: according to different data published by the enemy after Khodakovsky’s post, Balakay was the commander of the 3rd battalion of the 11th motorized rifle brigade of the Russian occupation troops. The 11th company and the brigade of the “republican guard” have been formed based on Khodakovsky’s ‘Vostok.’)
Unfortunately, the Russian artillery was conducting intense fire upon our defenses, and three [after the article was published, five – ed.] Ukrainian soldiers of the 72nd Mechanized Brigade died a heroic death while fighting for these inches of the Ukrainian land in the night of Jan. 29.
This is a permanent infantry war. The soldiers fight on their bellies behind each hideout and ground folds. Here, the positions of the enemy approach ours by 100 meters in some areas. Here, snipers operate constantly; infantry surveillance patrols conduct raids; fire is conducted from all kinds of weapons upon any movement. The fighting continues day and night. This area is of key importance for the control of the junction. The 72nd Mechanized Brigade’s artillery group conducted a number of aimed and killing fire attacks upon the defenses of the enemy located in a forest that covers the approaches to the junction. Fine coordination between infantry and artillery of the 72nd Brigade is worth a separate note. The Brigade’s artillery group had enjoyed authority prior to the war, and now it consists of well-prepared and motivated military. (In addition, it’s been using volunteers’ fire control system for more than year and a half now. This system has not been put in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine and not included in the State Defense Order as of 2017, despite great feedback and official military tests by the Brigade’s command.)
It should be said that the ATO [anti-terrorist operation – ed.] command allows the 72nd brigade to take some initiative in Avdiivka area where the enemy is threatening the city by violating the Minsk agreement. It would have been extremely difficult to keep control of the city without wise management and planning of the fighting. It’s good when wise decisions are being made, despite being small in scale. Support of such decisions by the Ukrainian fighters and the command is extremely important for Avdiivka defense.
On the enemy side, one of the most combat capable units is fighting there — the “republican guard,” aka “the 100th brigade of the internal troops of the ‘DPR’s Interior Ministry’.” The rest of the “DPR” detachments are part of the Russian military command and subordinate to the “1st army corps” and the so-called Ministry of Defense of “DPR,” while the republican guard as part of the “MoD” structure has a privileged status and fights in the key direction for the enemy, near Donetsk, Pisky, Avdiivka, and Marinka.
Killed battalion commander Balakay was one of the most skilled field commanders of the militants. He had been fighting since Sloviansk [in summer 2014 – ed.], participated in D sector clashes since June 2014, near Marinka, Snizhne, Savur-Mohyla (when a number of our detachments, including those of the 72nd Brigade, were circled by the Russian regular army and units of mercenaries); he also took part in fighting for Yasynuvata in August 2014; he commanded Yug special unit of Vostok battalion of the mercenaries; he took on leadership of the 1st battalion of the republican guard after the occupation army was formed, and has been fighting near Donetsk for two years now. We know he is a former Ukrainian citizen and a military from Donetsk, who had participated in anti-Ukrainian demonstrations since the first days when they were organized by Russian secret services on March 1, 2014, and then sided with the enemy.
Grek’s death is an important achievement of the men from the 72nd.
The names of the Ukrainian fighters of the 72nd Brigade from Bila Tserkva, the Kyiv region, who have been defending their homeland and died yesterday near Avdiivka have been made public after relatives were notified.
We will remember those who died for the Ukrainian Donbas.
Yurii Butusov, Censor.NET