Dangers of joint "exercises" of Russian army and Donbas militants
A recent report by the "Information Resistance" OSINT community said that in the operational departments of the headquarters of the "1st Army Corps of the Donetsk People’s Republic" and the "2nd Army Corps of the Luhansk People's Republic" are preparing to take part in the exercises that the armed forces of the Russian Federation will hold in August-September. First of all, thanks to such exercises, the occupation forces will train their interoperability and joint operations with the Russian armed forces (units of both “LPR” and “DPR” will operate alongside the 8th Combined Army of the Russian armed forces, to which they are currently subordinate). And this pushes us to reflect on the issue. After all, the aggressor state (Russia) today is hardly considering such an option as withdrawing from the occupied areas or allowing their reintegration back into Ukraine. Otherwise, there would be no joint exercises planned with the militant forces.
Of course, under the guise of these drills, much can be done from a military perspective. Under the cover of conducting exercises, the enemy can regroup its forces and equipment in certain directions, increase or rotate its personnel, etc.
Actually, we have already seen something like this back in 2014 when literally ahead of the expected military defeat of the quasi-state formations of the "LPR" and "DPR", the regular Russian army intervened. This army was disguised as local "militia," while any presence of Russian troops in Donbas was categorically denied. But everyone on both sides of the front line perfectly understood that had it not been for the Russian regular army, these two fake "republics" would have ceased to exist.
In fact, they are building up a new instrument on our south-eastern border
However, in 2014, this was an "alarm" act on the part of the enemy – it was done in a great rush. When the Russian military and political leadership decided to use its regular army, they had to pull troops and equipment into the area from virtually all military districts. Today, Russia is systemically increasing its military presence. The 8th Combined Army with a headquarters in Novocherkassk has been established. It includes a new 150th Idrick-Berlin motorized rifle division, while the 20th motorized rifle division and artillery and missile brigades are being formed. That is, we see a full-blown army kit. In fact, they are building up a new instrument on our south-eastern border. And the "1st DPR Army Corps" and the "2nd LPR Ary Corps" are subordinated to the headquarters of the 8th Combined Army.
Thus, a clear structure is being created at the operational-tactical level, with a clear command vertical able to ensure control at all levels. But it is up to the Kremlin to decide, in what form, when, why, and in what capacity these troops will be used.
Besides, we should not forget that considerable enemy forces are being amassed along other sections of the Russian-Ukrainian border. For example, the 20th Army and the 1st Guards Tank Division are deploying additional units. We are talking about the sections of the border overlooking Sumy, Kharkiv, and Chernihiv regions.
A full-scale invasion of Ukraine will mean that the current Kremlin regime will go for a complete breakup with the entire civilized world
Only the Main Intelligence Directorate can suggest whether there will be any spike in Donbas hostilities in connection with these exercises. But, based on open source intelligence, it will hardly be the case. If there is any kind of aggravation (which I highly doubt), it will not be a full-scale invasion in all directions and fronts.
If the Kremlin throws its regular army into Ukraine under the guise of "little green men," "polite people," "Cheburashkas", or "teletubbies" (it does not matter how they will do it technically), they will be able to carry out terrorist attacks across Ukraine, sow instability and chaos, and further destabilize the situation. But a full-scale invasion of Ukraine will mean that the current Kremlin regime will go for a final breakup with the entire civilized world. And this will open the door for the Kremlin regime to a modern version of Nuremberg. Even now, amid the latest package of U.S. sanctions, Russia is balancing on the brink.
In turn, it’s no coincidence that the civilized world chose such a method of communication with inadequate comrades from the Kremlin as "slow strangulation." Given that Russia is a nuclear power, with plenty of nuclear power plants, with its vast territories, so far managed from Moscow, a lightning-fast peacekeeping operation or something like this will not stand a chance. This is similar to the way a bull is taken to a slaughterhouse: he is gently petted not to make him nervous and make him enter calmly the stall where he will be electrocuted. Same thing here. Russia is being petted gently, but the grip of a civilized society is getting stronger.
Kostyantyn Mashovets is a coordinator at the Information Resistance OSINT community and a military journalist