This is not the first Internet-era war, but one would have to say, never before in human history have people had so many options to follow events and battles in such detail, almost in real time. Thanks to war correspondents, Telegraph, Twitter, youtube and its various clones, bloggers and even Tik-Tokkers. Those who have been following the daily grind, know that Allied (i.e., Russians, Chechens, DPR/LPR, etc.) forces captured the bulk of the city of Severo-Donetsk over this past weekend; mainly the residential portion. Ukrainian forces carried out a relatively orderly rout (leaving their equipment behind) westward to a more defensible line in the twin city of Lisichansk. Thanks to this, the residents of Severo-Donetsk did not have to undergo the agony of, say, Mariupol residents, watching their homes destroyed one by one.
Chechens Greeted As Friends
Reporter Anton Antonov recounts how a local resident named Marina was happy to see the Russian (mostly Chechen) troops arrive in her neighborhood: “I ran to tell all my neighbors that the LPR and Russians had arrived, and they all came tearing out of their houses and hugging each other, they couldn’t believe that our people had finally arrived.”
This sounds like propaganda, but it is backed up if you go onto the Intel Slava Z site and watch some of the videos. You can see the local residents hanging out in their courtyards, chatting and drinking tea, and then some very nice and polite Chechen soldiers just wander by, speaking Russian in their distinct accent, asking if everybody is okay; do they need any supplies; and the residents react happily but calmly (not with fake euphoria) like they just saw some neighbors they hadn’t seen in a while: “Hi, great to see you!” And “Thanks so much for doing what you do!” etc. One old guy says earnestly, “Tell Ramzan I said thanks for defending us!” The bad news is that there is no electricity, no gas, and no water. I think if I were a resident there I might be just a little bit ticked at the Russians: “You bastards, why you had to shell my electricity? Now I can’t make my morning coffee…” There is also no cellphone service. According to Marina, most of the 100,000 some residents evacuated before the battle started, leaving only an estimated 10-12,000, including herself. They will have to tough it out until power and services are restored.
One might note here the very fruitful military relationship that has developed over the years between Russians and Chechens. The two peoples have learned a lot from each other. The Chechens have become masters of urban warfare (some of these tactics they learned in Grozny, back in the day when they were fighting against Russians); and have taught the Russians a lot of these skills, which were sorely needed int his conflict. In return, the Russians, thanks to their experience in Syria, have become masters of the hybrid warfare — fighting with one hand, while delivering humanitarian aid with the other. The Chechens have learned the importance of evacuating and feeding civilians, in the process of trying to keep the battlefield clear. They have learned that war doesn’t just involve violent combat between men, there is also a time when a big manly soldier is tasked with bringing diapers and feminine hygiene products to the local residents!