The Russian army launched an unprecedented offensive on Avdiivka, located a few kilometers north of Donetsk. The fights in this section are compared to the Bakhmuck “meat grinder”. The Russians suffer huge losses, but their attack intensifies. Why are the fights for Avdiivka so important – the Ukrainian section of the BBC asks in its analysis.
Before the armed invasion, Avdiivka had over 30,000 inhabitants. There were numerous industrial plants in this place, including a coking plant belonging to the richest Ukrainian, Rinat Akhmetov.
Intense fighting for the city, located near Russian-occupied Donetsk, began in early October. The Ukrainian armed forces have built huge concrete fortifications and shelters around the city and in Avdiivka itself, dug dozens of kilometers of trenches and maintain a large group of soldiers in this place. The open area around it is mined – writes the website of the Ukrainian section of the BBC in its Thursday publication.
However, each fortified area has weak points – reminds the BBC. In the case of Avdiivka, these are the extended and less fortified flanks from the south and north. It was on them that the Russian command focused when preparing the current offensive operation. The Russians’ plans are obvious – to try to surround the Ukrainian troops with strikes from the north and south and force them to retreat under the threat of encirclement – says the editorial team.
Russian troops began their offensive on Avdiivka on October 10. Attacks on the city took place simultaneously from several directions, with massive use of aviation, artillery and armored vehicles.
Pro-Kremlin bloggers reported at the time that Russian forces were “pushing in all directions and making progress.” A few days later, the relationship changed. Entries appeared on Telegram channels that “Russian troops have stopped.”
At the beginning, it seemed that the plans of the Russian command towards Avdiivka were limited (…). Now we see that Russia is transferring huge reserves to this place, also from other, more promising directions, the BBC reported.
According to estimates by Ukrainian military analysts, the Russians have concentrated the forces of at least three armies in the Avdiivka area, not counting others. The concentration of offensive troops there is greater than at Bakhmut, said expert Oleksandr Kovalenko. He recalled that the length of the front line near Bakhmut was about 50 km, and at Avdiivka it was over 20 km. The number of Russian soldiers at Bakhmut in various periods of the offensive ranged from 20,000 to 50,000.
– The concentration of forces near Avdiivka reached over 40,000. About two thousand soldiers per kilometer of the front, Kovalenko said.
Bachmuck’s “meat grinder”
The fighting in the Avdiivka area has been compared to the Bakhmuk “meat grinder”, where the Russians suffered huge losses and continue to suffer them. At the end of October, the Minister of Defense Ukraine Rustem Umerov announced that the Russians lost at least four thousand soldiers during the fighting for Avdiivka.
Despite the losses, Russian units continue the attack and manage to advance. They occupied the area near the Akhmetov coking plant. The situation of Ukrainian defenders is becoming more and more difficult, reports the BBC.
For Ukraine, the possible loss of Avdiivka will primarily mean an “image blow”. Although its territory is small compared to Bakhmut, Avdiyivka has remained conflict in Donbas in 2014 – ed.) had a symbolic meaning because it posed a direct threat to Russians in occupied Donetsk – writes the BBC.
He predicts that in the event of withdrawal from this city, Ukrainian forces will be forced to build new fortifications on the section of the front between the towns of Toretsk and Marjinka.
Donetsk is the main transport hub in the Russian-occupied territories in Donbas. “Avdiivka is of strategic importance for Russia because it is actually the gateway to Donetsk,” Yuri Butusov, a well-known Ukrainian military expert and editor of the website censor.net, previously said.
BBC, censor.net, tvn24.pl
Main photo source: mil.ru