December 6, 2023

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The Russians are trying to encircle the Ukrainian army in Avdiivka

The Russians are trying to encircle the Ukrainian army in Avdiivka

The city of Avdiivka, located 13 kilometers north of the occupied regional capital Donetsk, was subjected throughout Tuesday to “huge” shelling and artillery shelling, Vitaly Barabas, head of the city’s military administration, told the AF news agency yesterday. At the same time, hundreds of Russian troops tried to break through the Ukrainian lines surrounding the city, Barabas said.

Presidential advisor Andrey Jermak also reported that “Avdiivka is under large-scale attacks by Russian artillery and aircraft.”

In the north in particular, territorial gains were possible in the direction of the village of Semenivka. By simultaneously applying pressure to the south, the Russian army may attempt to cut off supplies to Avdiivka by targeting the last main road into the city, which passes through the village of Orlivka.

After 20 months of war, almost nothing remains of Avdiivka itself, a medium-sized city with a pre-war population of more than 30,000. Drone images earlier showed the Donetsk suburb had been almost completely in ruins for months. Furthermore, there has already been fighting around the industrial city since 2014, but never with such intensity as today. Another 1,600 people are said to be trying to hide as much as possible in their homes and basements, while the Russian army controls the southern and eastern outskirts of the city.

However, the ruins provide good hiding places for Ukrainian defenders to attack advancing Russian soldiers. This may be the reason behind Russia’s attempt to besiege the city. “A year ago now, there was a danger that the city would fall into the hands of the Russians, but since today the situation has deteriorated significantly,” Barabas said. “The Ukrainians were surprised by our attacks due to poor communications,” the pro-Russian propaganda channel Raibar said on Telegram.

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However, it remains to be seen how successful the attack will truly be. The Ukrainian army said it was able to repel the Russian attacks on Tuesday evening. All defensive positions would have been held and no lines would have been broken.

Rare photos of the fighting show many disabled Russian tanks and vehicles. Ukraine announced this morning that it was able to neutralize 91 Russian armored personnel carriers and 34 tanks in one day, which would be one of the largest losses incurred by the Russian army in one day. It is also said that about 820 Russian soldiers were killed. However, the figures cannot be independently verified and Ukraine has not announced its losses.

Lieutenant Colonel Tom Simons (Royal Military School Brussels) said on Monday that the attack on Avdiivka represented an important turning point in the war. the morning. The Russians are also launching an offensive elsewhere on the front, in Kubyansk in the north and Hulyapol in the south. However, the attack on Avdiivka appears to be the most violent.

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According to the American Research Center Institute for the study of war The Russian attack may have been primarily intended to “locate” the Ukrainians so that the army command could deploy fewer reserves for its counterattack in Zaporizhia Oblast.

However, Simons doubts that, as he said this morning on X. “The Russian attacks are more of a diversionary maneuver, given their scale. Moreover, sometimes these operations take place at the battalion level, which is rare in Ukraine. At the same time, the number of Ukrainian attacks is close to stopping completely. According to Simons, the Russian army appears to be resuming its offensive that it began last winter, but which it stopped in the spring.

Avdiivka in March of this year.Photo by Agence France-Presse