The purpose of the Ukrainian military attack on Horlivka is to "tighten the noose" around Donetsk, a source in the headquarters of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) told Strana.ua news outlet.
"Horlivka is surrounded by high hills, including the village of Yuzhny. The one who owns the strongholds at these hills in fact owns the town. From these hills, the whole town is easily exposed to fire. Therefore, if the territory around Horlivka is owned [by the Armed Forces of Ukraine], the separatists will surrender Horlivka without a fight. There is just no point in dying there. Everything is clearly visible," the interlocutor of strana.ua noted.
He stressed that Horlivka is a strategic bridgehead to attack Debaltseve and Yenakiieve. "Thus, the noose is being tightened around Donetsk. Moreover, the Armed Forces of Ukraine do not formally violate the Minsk agreements. The grounds around Horlivka belong to the so-called ‘gray area.’ And we have every right to capture a gray area. Such movement is not considered an offensive," an officer of Ukraine's Armed Forces noted.
On May 20, the separatists near Horlivka tried to push the Ukrainian Armed Forces out, but were driven back. Later, it became known that in the southern outskirts of Pivdenne settlement near Horlivka, two Ukrainian servicemen were killed and four were injured in the firefight with the separatists.