Battle for Avdiivka will impact Ukrainian counteroffensive, irrespective of Russian gains
Regardless of whether Russian troops succeed in capturing Avdiivka, Donetsk region, or not, it will still have a negative impact on the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south
The Economist reported the information.
It noted that the offensive on the frontline Avdiivka, which Russia launched on October 9, is one of its largest steps since last spring, which aimed to create a “cauldron” around Ukrainian defenders and change the narrative of the war to one in which the initiative is again shifted to Russia.
No doubt, Russia has allocated significant resources to this operation. Ukrainian officials claim that up to three battalions have been deployed to Avdiivka. They are supported by tanks, armored personnel carriers and aircraft launching precision guided "glide bombs" from a distance.
"Just as Ukraine throughout the summer has found breaking down well-prepared defenses extremely tough, so too the Russians appear to be taking heavy punishment in their assault on Avdiivka," the Economist writes.
It adds that Russia's territorial gains are still estimated at less than 5 square kilometers.
The Economist admits that a hypothetical loss of Avdiivka would be a blow to Ukrainian morale. Like Bakhmut before it, the city has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance. It has withstood 8 years of periodic attacks by Russian forces.
Over the past 18 months, Avdiivka has withstood a series of assaults and massive artillery shelling. In April, Russian attempts to surround the city were only partially successful. In response, Ukraine sent reserves to the area and created new, well-fortified defensive positions. They are located next to a 200-meter-long spoil heap created by the Avdiivka Coke Plant (one of the largest coke producers in Europe before the war).
According to the US government, Russia's offensive ambitions may intensify in the coming weeks following the arrival of 300 shipping containers of ammunition. These arms shipments were completed on October 1. Officials say the shipment included a large number of artillery rounds that could have a major impact on the battlefield. The Ukrainian counteroffensive has relied on massive supplies of shells from South Korea, and the intensity of the fire will inevitably decrease in the coming months.
"The fight for the coke plant and the ash dump is likely to be hard and bitter in the days ahead. Whether or not Avdiivka falls to the Russians, it is still likely to have a negative effect on the continuing Ukrainian counter-offensive in the south," the Economist suggests.
They also emphasize that progress in this area has slowed down since Robotyne's liberation in August. Western officials are skeptical that the front line will change before the onset of winter. If Ukraine has to reinforce the Avdiivka front, it may have to redeploy some of the forces fighting south of Orikhiv. This would further reduce the chances of a breakthrough before winter.
Russian offensive on the key city of Avdiivka in eastern Donetsk region
On October 11, the Institute for the Study of War noted that the Russian occupying army had intensified its offensive around Avdiivka in the Donetsk region. The city has been a frontline one for almost 10 years, and now Russian troops are trying to encircle it.
The Ukrainian General Staff reported that in the Avdiivka direction, the Ukrainian Armed Forces repelled 10 attacks near Avdiivka and another 8 attacks east of Stepove and southeast of Sieverne in the Donetsk region.
The head of Avdiivka City Military Administration, Vitaliy Barabash, reported shelling of Avdiivka, Donetsk region, which killed an elderly man and wounded two civilians.
On October 12, experts of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) named the real reasons for the Russian offensive on Avdiivka.
Vitaliy Barabash, head of the Avdiivka City Military Administration, noted that Russian troops are trying to concentrate their forces north of the city, launching assault operations.
On October 13, the ISW reported that in three days, Russian troops had captured 4.52 square kilometers of territory from different directions near Avdiivka. The occupying Russian army suffered significant losses in equipment and manpower.