A strong Russian offensive continues around Avdiivka, a Ukrainian city in the Donetsk Oblast. The situation is very difficult. – Heavy fighting continues non-stop, the Russian occupiers are using everything they have, said the mayor of the city, Vitaly Barabash. According to observers, the Russians are trying to encircle the stubbornly defending city, which is called the “gateway to occupied Donetsk.”
Russian attacks in the Avdiivka region began on October 10. “Russian forces have likely launched a significant, ongoing offensive around Avdiivka,” reports the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW). The attack was launched “after intense artillery fire to prepare the battlefield.”
Significant armored forces as well as air forces are involved in Russian strikes simultaneously to the north-west, west and south of Avdiivka. – The fighting continues for the fourth day. They are fierce and last almost non-stop. The Russian occupiers are using everything they have. Enemy aviation is also active, said the mayor of Avdiivka, Vitaly Barabash, on Friday, quoted by the Ukrainian media.
He said that “the night from Thursday to Friday in Avdiivka was very hot” and Ukrainian defenders repelled numerous Russian attacks. – The assaults do not stop either day or night, Russian soldiers are still pressing, there are many of them – said Barabasz. The mayor of Avdiyivka added that the Russians are still bringing in reinforcements, trying to encircle the city, which is putting up stiff resistance.
Heavy losses for the Russians
Since Tuesday, Russian troops have managed to occupy 4.5 square kilometers of territory from various sides around Avdiivka, ISW reported in its analysis. However, Ukrainian forces cause heavy losses on the Russian side and hamper Russian logistics near Avdiivka, slowing the pace of the advance. According to data from the Ukrainian headquarters, since October 10, the Russians have been losing several dozen tanks and armored vehicles every day, and most of these losses are to be incurred in the Avdiivka area. ISW experts also reported on Thursday about large Russian losses in equipment, amounting to at least 50 armored vehicles in just the first two days of the attacks.
“Avdiivka. Our land, a Ukrainian city. The Russians have put a lot of energy into this direction. They use phosphorus, they want to cover everything around with their ‘meat’,” wrote the head of the office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, on the Telegram channel. According to Yermak, the Russian occupiers launched an offensive on Avdiivka to force Ukraine to transfer forces from other directions.
President Volodymyr Zelensky also commented on the situation in this city. On Thursday he reported that “Ukrainian forces are maintaining their positions.” “It is Ukrainian courage and unity that will decide how this war will end. We should all remember this,” Zelensky wrote on the Telegram channel.
ISW notes that so far the Russians have not managed to achieve major breakthroughs on the front near this city. Analysts also believe that it is unlikely that Russian troops will be able to quickly cut off the Ukrainian forces reinforced in Avdiivka. Russian troops are approximately 3.3 km from the Ukrainian land supply line.
Avdiivka – the “gate” to Donbas
Why the fighting for Avdiyka, where 32,000 people lived before the armed invasion, is so important, explained Yuri Butusov, a well-known Ukrainian military expert and editor of the website censor.net.
“Avdiivka is of strategic importance for Russia because this city is actually the gateway to (occupied) Donetsk – the main transport hub in the occupied territories,” Butusov wrote in the analysis. As he stated, the main attack on the city is coming from the south.
“Unlike the first offensive on Avdiivka, which lasted from July 2022 to March this year, the occupiers plan to surround the city in a much shorter arc. At the same time, the enemy is trying to avoid fighting in urban areas,” Butusov added. The analyst emphasized that “the situation is very serious and the battle for Avdiivka requires the concentration of all resources.”
– The Russians believe that the possible capture or encirclement of Avdiivka in the Donetsk Oblast in eastern Ukraine may provide them with an opportunity to achieve a breakthrough victory and turn the tide of the war – comments Oleksandr Shtupun, spokesman for the Ukrainian forces in the Taurid region, i.e. in the Zaporizhia Oblast and Western parts of the Donetsk region.
Fights for Avdiivka
Before February 24, 2022, i.e. the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, almost 30,000 people lived in Avdiivka. people, and before 2014, when the conflict in Donbas broke out – almost 40,000. The city is almost completely destroyed by the aggressor’s artillery and aircraft. In March 2023, the Ukrainian authorities estimated that there were less than 2,000 people left in Avdiivka. residents and urged these people to evacuate.
Ukrainian Truth, censor.net, PAP
Main photo source: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine/Facebook