The last days of the Azot

You can be forgiven if you don’t know about it but yesterday (Saturday 25 June) news came in about the evacuation of civilians from the Azot Chemical plant. A correspondent for Izvestia, Yaraslov Bogat, reports that around 800 civilians were released.

The main concern of Russia during its special operation to free the Donbas region has been to avoid “collateral damage” to civilians as much as is possible in times of war. As with the freeing of civilian hostages at the Azovstal steel-production plant in Mariupol the allied forces of Donbas have been patient with Ukrainian troops and foreign mercenaries who have kept civilians as a human shield to protect themselves. Russian, DPR and LPR forces are now in complete control of Severodonetsk and all the rural area between Severodonetsk and Lisichansk excluding combatatants in the Azot plant.

Yaroslav Bogat reporting on the evacuation of civilians from Azot

Speaking on behalf of the Lugansk People’s Republic, an officer, Andrei Morochko, stated (Friday 24 June) that:

“. . . the forces of the LPR are already in the suburbs of Lisichansk. The opportunity to approach the city appeared after the blocking of the settlements of Gorskoye and Zolotoye.”

This cut off any last hope of escape for Ukrainian troops who have occupied, and allegedly mined, the Azot complex. Morale in the Ukrainian armed-forces is particularly low with many deserters and army units now comprised of untrained conscripts in order to bolster the numbers and compensate for losses.

Of course in times of war there are losses on both sides and Russia has not gone unscathed. The difference is that Russia is fighting with regular troops and more technologically-advanced weapons so casualties appear not to have been as devastating. Last night Russia Today reported on the annihilation of up to 80 Polish mercenaries in a strike at the Megatex zinc plant in the village of Konstanovka, but as we in the west are prohibited from watching RT there is no point in including the link. This control of news is why few know of a previous destruction of a foreign mercenary base near Kharkov.

It has been obvious for the last fortnight that, as Russian parliamentarian, Sergei Tsekov, put it, “The soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who are now blocked at the Azot enterprise in Severodonetsk, have only two options – to surrender or die.” Nothing has changed, except that now the chances of escape, or rescue, are virtually non-existent.

Moon of Alabama presents a series of maps showing the cauldron effect created around the town of Lisichansk.

Ammunition is also running low following destruction in controlled detonations reported 11 June. Rodion Miroshnik, LPR ambassador to Russia, told RIA Novosti back then that civilians were being enabled to leave via a second checkpoint not controlled by Ukrainian forces.

It was further reported on Friday (24 June) that Ukrainian militants, previously fighting in the region, could now only retreat by dirt tracks or forested regions because the whole area was under LPR control.

When the militant occupiers of the Azot chemical plant finally surrender it is not known what embarrassments this might create for the west. While there is speculation it is not known yet who from the west were among the captives of those who surrendered at Azovstal. The only official publicity relates to two British mercenaries, Sean Pinner and Aiden Aislin, sentenced to death in Mariupol.

The judgment conferred upon the two British fighters presents the UK with an enigma. If someone senior does not intervene on their behalf the sentence is highly likely be carried out. If someone senior does intervene, and enter into negotiations with the DNR/LNR on their behalf, it is tantamount to recognition of the republics which those living there voted for back in 2014. It is inevitable that the republics will have to be recognised eventually and not to try to save their lives would be criminal.

More than four months ago the Russian special operation to liberate the Donbas on behalf of its people began. Soon the warring parties will have to get round a table and negotiate a peace settlement. This will determine the new geographical areas and allow a troubled region to start getting back to how life was before the western-backed Maidan coup.

The sooner the better!

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2 thoughts on “The last days of the Azot

  1. Hi John, thanks for the above-indeed I had missed the civilian evacuation.
    I am not sure about the war ending anytime soon. The only way cessation will occur is if the Russian army can rout the Ukrainian army in the field. It seems unlikely that the obverse will come to pass (ie Russia will suffer defeat) and it clear that NATO will continue to prop up its proxy as long as there is a viable Ukrainian army in being and crucially, continue to destabilise Russia’s border regions. What choice does Russia have?
    The clash between NATO and Russia indicates to me, communism had nothing to do with the Cold War – Russian natural resources are the prize. They were available for a pittance in the 1990’s but not anymore. The West has drooled over them since late Victorian times. Early geopolitical theorist, Halford Mackinder, had the Tsarist state in the best position to dominate the “World Island” and believed the last war(!) would be to control the “World Island”. The Whites and the Reds have gone the way of history but the battle to control the “World Island” continues. Yet maybe, it entered it’s last phase the day Vladimir Putin came to power.

    Cheers bryan


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