Well, the continuation was not slow to follow. At this time, the army, diluted by the National Guard, the sectorans, and even, they say, their English-speaking colleagues, planned and prepared for the assault much more seriously, and acted more decisively. This confirms the message about the change in the leadership of the operation (Nalyvaychenko instead of Avakov) and indicates the determination of the commanders to shed blood, including civilians.
As a result of the assault, the minimum program (to crush checkpoints around the perimeter and block the city) was reached by the military. Maximum program, i.e. the complete destruction of the armed opposition and the cleansing of Slavyansk failed due to competent tactics and coordinated actions of the militia. Resistance was clearly stronger than expected, as evidenced by the two destroyed assault helicopters Mi-24 and the padded Mi-8 (these are losses comparable to those in Afghanistan). Calling what is happening an antiterrorist operation is hypocrisy, because both the casualties and the nature of the military operations correspond to the average general military operation, and not to the suppression of a handful of terrorists. It remains only to state that the new civil war is gaining momentum.
Shoot down an armored helicopter without air defense weapons is very difficult. The helicopter pilots obviously did not expect such surprises and didn’t seem to be very cautious, not bothering to maneuver, and therefore received a gift from the ATGM (perhaps from one of the captured BMD), and maybe from the RPG. Hence, the allegations that special forces of Russia are acting among the rebels are a lie: knowing in advance about this, you would be more careful. Yes, and it would not have come to the assault, if the special forces acted - first of all, they would deprive the military of command, then they would block the supply of fuel and ammunition, then nighttime attacks on sleeping camps, panic and demoralization of personnel, etc.
The military announced that the insurgents used anti-tank guided missiles of Russian origin against the turntables. Interestingly, they made such a conclusion on the flight path of the missiles, either by holes in helicopters? However, if the BMD and their ammunition were made back in the USSR, then this statement can still be considered a half-truth.
It should be noted the high moral level of the defenders. IN the news there is no talk of prisoners, which means they were retreating in an organized manner, they did not abandon their own. The same cannot be said about the pilot of the downed helicopter, who left his wounded comrade in a wrecked car and fled, taking him weapon and documents. They write that the pilots were well paid for this flight - quite plausibly, and mercenaries behave. Probably, after the use of NURSs, at the militia checkpoints, the escaped flyer had a good idea of what they could do to him when they were caught (everyone measures for himself). But if there were a lot of support helicopters, why not? If they were afraid of shelling, they could at least cover their comrades with fire until the rescuers arrived. It seems that in the army, in contrast, with morality is not so hot.
Clashes occurred in other cities, probably in a similar scenario, which will inevitably lead to the unification of the militias of the entire Southeast and to the mass distribution of weapons to them (which they have not done yet with caution).
The absence of a visible reaction of Russia to what is happening is surprising to many, but, perhaps, it is natural. Given the determination of the new leadership of the operation, it was simply unrealistic to stop it by cross-border exercises, as last week; New teachings or other demonstrations of popular self-defense support would only play into the hands of the provisional government’s propaganda.
Although it may sound immoral, in the Donbass so far radically nothing has changed, in any case, from the point of view of the interim government - just a new balance has been established (although the rates have, of course, increased). Storming the city for the army will not be easy and will require at least serious preparation, otherwise Slavyansk will turn into Stalingrad. Introducing armored vehicles into the city is dangerous, and using heavy weapons across squares, i.e. to put the civilian population at risk is, by all standards, a war crime and a direct reminder of Tskhinval. The most reasonable tactic for the military is a complete blockade of the city and a war of attrition, but this will also lead to humanitarian disaster among the population due to lack of food (as well as possible interruptions in water, sewage, electricity, fuel and telephone). They will not let anyone out of the city because of the fear that civilians may leak out of the blockade and the rebels. Keeping a city under siege for a long time will also be difficult - it binds the troops that may be needed elsewhere. The military are already in hostile territory and it is not clear how and for what means they are provided. In such a situation, supply lines are their most vulnerable spot.
It is obvious that after the events in the Donbass and the massacre in Odessa, Russia cannot stay idle. On the other hand, the entry of the Russian army at the moment will look like the rescue of drowning people and will not help the image of the liberator. The ideal option is for the interim government of Ukraine to be overthrown by Ukrainians, whom Russia can organize and arm. To do this, may be involved Crimeans or Ukrainians working in Russia, which are much more than a million. These are healthy, battle-worthy men, who hardly have any special sympathy for the provisional government. So it was in civilian when the Makhnovists, together with units of the Red Army (which also had many Ukrainians), knocked Petlyura out of Ukraine, Germans and white remnants (by the way, Makhno himself received one of the first orders of the Red Banner for this). So it was in World War II, when the Ukrainian patriots exterminated the nationalists, who were on the path of post-war construction and the restoration of normal life in the country.
The interim government of Ukraine reserves running out. The treasury is empty, and to maintain and provide for mercenaries is an expensive pleasure. There is no need to wait for money from sponsors until the suppression of the opposition (who will give if they lose?) For the sake of self-preservation, temporary workers simply have to take more and more radical steps.
Deadlines too tight. Victory Day is coming; I will be surprised if big events do not start by this date or earlier. Then - a referendum in the Donbass, which is critical both for its population and for Russia. At the end of May, presidential elections are scheduled for Ukraine, which Russia cannot allow and which at the moment and in this form do not meet the interests of the people of Ukraine.
We are waiting for the further development of events.