1 Who controls Donetsk airport?
There is no airport anymore. There are several ruined buildings and vast open space. From an object, it turned into a real battlefield. Rival sides sent their foot troops there, shoot their enemies’ positions from tanks and artillery. It is impossible to say that one exact side controls the airport, because every hour battles take place there.
2 Whose airport is now?
As of 20th of January 2015 Ukrainian troops were occupying the following buildings:
1. Control tower
2. Locator building
3. Fire department
The militia mount their defense in the following buildings:
1. Old terminal
It is another story – New terminal of Donetsk airport is the hottest flash point, where news is permanently generated. A small group of our military stands on the defensive there. They keep a little territory – a place where it is possible to take shelter from snipers. All other rooms of the enormous terminal (approx. 51,000 m2) belong to nobody. The military can freely walk in some territories of the new terminal (especially, in ruined Eastern part), and even invite there shooting terms of Russian television channels.
It is physically impossible to keep defense of the whole terminal – it is easily shot by snipers and tanks, so no rival side can take full control of it. This situation reminds of the famous Pavlov house in Stalingrad – it was the same “layer cake” – one floor was occupied by Red army soldiers, the next – by the Germans, then again our soldiers, and again the Germans.
3 What needs to be done to take full control over the airport?
The rival needs to be deprived of the possibility to deliver foot troops to the airport and shoot it from tanks by direct pointing.
To do that, Ukrainian army must fully clean Donetsk neighbor areas (Spartak, Putilovka, Zhovtnevy) from the militia, and take under control “Nadezhda” and “Progress” dacha condominium, monastery and graveyard.
The militia on their turn must occupy at least Avdeevka, Peski, Opytnoe, Tonenkoe, Pervomaiskoe and Vodyanoe villages to establish total control. Otherwise, another side can easily deliver foot troops in some buildings on the airport territory and then claim “airport is ours”.
4 How many Ukrainian soldiers lead battle directly in Donetsk airport?
The new terminal places approximately from 20 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers. More people cannot be hid in the terminal – they will turn into easy targets for snipers. The militia knows that, and can freely walk in some terminal halls.
The situation in other objects built on the airport territory constantly changes, but, considering little space for hiding, even there some small groups of Ukrainian soldiers take shelter. As for battles, many more people participate in them – several thousands from each side, with tens of tanks, multiple rocket launchers, mine throwers and artillery-type weapons.
From our side, Donetsk airport is covered by 93 separate mechanized brigade, 81 separate air cavalry brigade, Division 3 of Special regiment, appended units of 17 separate tank brigade, appended units of artillery brigades, Right sector, Dnepr-1 battalion and some other volunteer battalions.
5 Who commands Donetsk airport defense today?
In recent months general control of Donetsk airport protection is organized by the Commander of 93 separate mechanized brigade, colonel Oleg Mikats. He is a real patriot with brilliant a history of military service.
The militia knows him well – it was Mikats, with whom Givi was talking on the phone in a well-known video. At 20th of January, 2015 it was 93 brigade battalion deputy commander, who appeared to have been taken captive, not Oleg Mikats, as it was stated in Russian press. Recently there appeared two more people in the staff of 93 brigade – cryptographic team chief general-colonel Muzhenko and land arms commander general-lieutenant Pushnyakov. But their competence is quite doubtful. Such events as the crush of Il-76 with paratroopers on the board and the loss of techniques in coppers near border (Ilovaisk) happened under their control.
6 Motorola and Givi – are they dead or alive?
The answer for this question does not have any meaning. Both Motorola and Givi – are just TV characters. They are needed in Russian channels just to create image. Reality-show characters do not write scenarios, and Givi and Motorola do not rule the operation. They even don’t participate in battles – filmmakers do not want to lose actors sponsored so much.
Motorola only postures in front of cameras during battle imitation, and sometimes such trailers are shot far away from terminals. As the result, Russian TV gets cool clips called like “Donetsk airport recent situation – the last news”. And if some of characters gets killed, “division won’t notice the loss of a soldier”, and he will be replaced by new “commander”. It’s the same as with Strelkov – he is not seen in Donbass anymore, but it does not change the situation anyhow.
7 Do Russian militia take participation in the attacks of air smoke tanks?
Yes and no. Room assault and mopping – is a very risky business. Planned losses of the attackers – up to 10 killed to one defeated enemy. Mines, trip wires, snipers, blue-on-blue engagement, roadblocks, cave-ins, friendly fire – all these works require not high qualification, but fearlessness or stupidity. Assault troop is expendable material.
That is why Russian commanders sent the most inadequate militia soldiers to the airport. There are both Donbass inhabitants and Russian hirelings among them. Commonly Chechens and penalized soldiers are used to be “disposed of”. But together with the maddest people usual soldiers are sent, too – constant assaults require many foot troops.
Just a few elite divisions of Russian foot troops were used for assaults in September-October. Being covered by huge militia divisions, they tried to occupy terminals until they were totally ruined.
At the same time, artillery duels and sniper tank shooting of buildings require high-qualified specialists. This is where parts and divisions of Russian army are used. Every artillery squadron located in Donetsk has at least draftsman and commander – military cadres. At maximum – the whole staff is presented.
Commandment and coordination of different division actions is also provided by Russian officers and generals.
8 Is Donetsk Airport being the hottest flashpoint on the map?
No, combat operations are taken on the other front sectors. Airport is just the top news for media. It is convenient for Russian journalists located in Donetsk to take pictures directly from the city. It is convenient for Russian troops to be located in the large city. Donetsk Airport is the hottest flashpoint of the media war.