Operational data from Information Resistance:
During the past 24 hours, shelling by Russian-terrorist forces was noted along virtually the entire southwestern, western, and northwestern directions of operation. The number of shelling incidents was somewhat lower than in the preceding three days. At the same time, increased militant activity was observed on sections where on previous days it had been relatively quiet – especially south of Donetsk (as far as Starohnativka). Terrorists used mortars in the Lysychansk and Severodonetsk areas (82 mm and 120 mm mortar rounds fired near Novotoshkivka), while in the Avdiivka area, the enemy deployed 122 mm artillery and tanks. The lower number of shelling incidents is clearly due to militants’ redeployment of mobile fire groups on various sectors of the front.
In the area of Avdiivka and the Yasynuvata junction (the so-called “industrial zone”), the clashes were almost unceasing – sometimes at distances of 400-500 meters, with militants using a wide range of weaponry. Particularly notable was the terrorists’ use of two armored vehicle groups (2-3 tanks and 3-4 BMP’s/BTR’s in each), with heavy mortar and artillery support. One of these armored groups is operating south of the checkpoint at the junction, firing from the greenery near the area where the Donetsk Bypass joins [the junction] and the “Tornado” gas station, periodically retreating to Dachnyy passway. The second armored group is operating from the direction of the “Gospodar” wholesale market. The militant tactical group which operates beyond the highway near the actual junction acts as a “containment” group, while several militant infantry groups (each of up to one platoon in strength) operate in the direction of the ATO forces’ positions. The mission of these groups is to break through into the industrial zone taking control of it, or at least, to push Ukrainian troop units back to the western end of Yasynovskyi Lane (Avdiivka).
At the same time, militants continue reinforcing their tactical groups in the Yasynuvata, Spartak, and Kruta Balka areas (according to our latest information, another “motorized rifle company” consisting of two platoons has been transferred to the sector from Donetsk). Near Yakovlivka and Mineralne, terrorists are bringing forward reserves – up to a reinforced battalion in strength – in order to step up their efforts. Artillery has appeared at the same time in several emplacements in the vicinity of Yasynuvata and Spartak (four 2S1 “Gvozdika” 122 mm self-propelled guns near Spartak, and a six-gun D-30A battery in Yasynuvata).
A militant mobile cannon group with two ZU-23-2’s has been spotted near Oleksandrivka, moving in the direction of the Zhylploschadka estate (Donetsk).
Starting on March 9th , the degree of combat readiness of “DNR” units has been steadily increasing. In keeping with the “directive of the DNR High Command,” several brigades of the “DNR 1st Army Corps (AC)” have begun the mobilization process (the first to do so was the 9th “DNR marines motorized gunnery regiment” in the coastal region). According to the command of the “1st DNR AC,” the current mobilization cannot rely on local resources alone, which is why it should involve the transfer to Donbas of new contingents of mercenaries from Russia and servicemen of the Russian Armed Forces. In parallel with this process, militant weapons and military equipment are being repaired at an accelerated pace at several Donbas industrial enterprises. Also in connection with these measures, the “DNR” leadership is considering introducing a “limited crossing regime” for residents of occupied areas wishing to travel across the demarcation line in the ATO zone.
Recent rumors among low-ranking militants and mid-level commanders of an impending “offensive by Ukrainian troops” have been replaced by the equally exaggerated rumors of preparations for a large-scale [joint] “LNR-DNR” offensive. The date of the offensive, according to these rumors, is scheduled for the May public holidays. At the same time, other rumors are spreading about the alleged transfer of “western Special Forces” groups to the ATO zone from the Ukrainian side, tasked with abducting and eliminating members of the militant command staff in order to thwart the offensive.
The latest group of high-ranking “military instructors” from Russia has been identified in Donetsk. It should be noted that the “instructors” make no attempt to hide their “Russian origins” – the group travels around in automobiles with Russian Federation number plates. This group has a double security detail, provided by the Russian GRU Spetsnaz and by local militants.