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You're reading: Stefan Korshak: More good news than bad news in last 24 hours in Ukraine

Ukrainian special forces take back Kramatorsk airport 

The special force units Alfa (SBU) and Omega (military) led the operation, with airborne infantry in APCs backing them up. The assault had been preceded by overflights by a fighter jet, a twin turboprop (recon?) and helicopters. Four helicopters landed special forces troopers on the airfield, apparently followed by reinforcements on the ground. There were reports of gunfire but the official results are: no casualties either side, “many” separatists taken into custody. Based on cartiges found on site, the separatists were armed with Kalashnikovs and sniper rifles. Not all were captured. As the official statement put it: “Many of the terrorists chose to evacuate the vicinity when they saw the special forces troopers landing on the airfield.” 

This is a positive development not just because the Ukrainians took something back from the Russians but because (1) they took their time and did the operation right (2) they seem to have done it with overwhelming force viz. the separatists (3) they are avoiding casualties and (4) of all the Ukrainian installations the Russians have grabbed, an airport is the facility that would allow them to move troops in fastest. The strategy seems to be isolate separatists who have helpfully collected themelves together into a nice tight group in an city hall or police station, surround them, and blot them out with as little violence as possible. The head of Ukraine’s anti-terrorist operation told reporters “this is our first clear victory…but it is just the begining.” 

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