Espreso. Global

Russian attempts to encircle Avdiivka lead to nothing but significant enemy losses – military expert Zgurets

21 November, 2023 Tuesday

The most intense fighting persists around Avdiivka. The enemy is attempting to sustain their offensive. Our Armed Forces respond with counteroffensive actions and counterattacks

U.S. Secretary of Defense visits Kyiv

On November 20, Lloyd Austin, US Secretary of Defense, arrived in Kyiv for an unexpected visit. He expressed that his purpose was to meet with Ukrainian leaders and deliver a crucial message: the United States remains committed to supporting Ukraine in its fight for freedom against Russian aggression, both now and in the future. According to the Pentagon website, discussions will cover essential winter provisions for the Armed Forces and strategies to protect Ukraine from potential Russian threats.

This visit occurs amid concerns about congressional debates regarding the terms and amounts of military aid for Ukraine. The Washington Post, in the context of Austin's visit, assured that despite challenges with Congress, the US will still provide assistance to Ukraine: long-range weapons, although ATACMS is not considered one, and ammunition will be available, at least temporarily. It's worth noting that there are approximately $4 billion in balances from aid linked to the potential use of stockpiles from US army arsenals and around $1 billion designated for new weapons from US manufacturers.

If we tally the recent aid packages, there's enough to cover us for at least the next quarter. However, there's optimism that Congress will approve a substantial $62 billion aid allocation for Ukraine by year-end. This will be a strategic step aimed at bolstering the Ukrainian army for effective defense and offense.

Specific operational requirements will come into focus after the defense contact group Ramstein meeting, scheduled for November 22. Urgent needs were preliminarily discussed today in a meeting between Lloyd Austin and Ukraine's Minister of Defense, Rustem Umerov. While the details remain unknown, it's prudent to gauge them not just from statements but by observing our troops in action, supported by American military aid and weaponry.

The situation in Avdiivka

I'll focus on Avdiivka, part of the Donetsk agglomeration, where fighting remains intense. The enemy is attempting further offensives, while the Armed Forces respond with counteroffensives and counterattacks. Despite a month-long effort, the enemy's attempts to encircle Avdiivka have only resulted in significant losses for the invaders.

Maksym Morozov, a major in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, noted that the situation is stabilizing south of Avdiivka. The enemy has encountered a formidable defense, hindering their advance despite their offensive actions.

Map of fighting near Avdiivka

The adversary is consistently launching air raids and artillery attacks. In the southern, central, and northern regions, the enemy's use of equipment is minimal due to weather conditions and softened grounds. Our UAV operators and artillery swiftly eliminate any incoming enemy vehicles. Although the number of Russian equipment has decreased since the initial stages, military reports suggest that invaders are stockpiling and disguising equipment in Makiivka or Donetsk for active use in cold weather. In the conflict's center, the enemy heavily relies on infantry, displaying characteristics of frontal human wave (“meat”) assaults. The industrial zone faces a critical situation with constant pressure from infantry attacks. Despite the serious threat, the Armed Forces effectively eliminated enemy infantry and prevented further enemy consolidation.

Morozov highlighted the Avdiivka Coke Plant and 'Terykon' to the city's north. Terykon (a spoil tip) remains a contested area, but the coke plant's territory remains conflict-free. There was a moment when invaders crossed the railway. Currently, Russians seem to have a new tendency – to see Avdiivka or the coke plant and die. In the north, the enemy aims to expand its control, while in the south, the situation remains static. The invaders seek to extend the control in the north to Ocheretyne to cut off Armed Forces logistics and encircle Avdiivka, but their advance halted at the assault on the village of Keramik.

Bradley's role on the battlefield

Let's discuss the weapons our soldiers use to defend against enemy pressure, considering two situations: the circumstances around Avdiivka and the visit of US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Kyiv.

Military expert Ivan Kyrychevskyi from Defense Express pointed out that the Avdiivka situation offers a chance to showcase the defensive capabilities of both the Bradley IFV and the Leopard A-6 tanks. Previously, the Bradley was seen primarily as an offensive weapon, able to neutralize enemy armored vehicles by its mere presence on the battlefield. However, examining open sources reveals that the US Army attributes similar positive qualities to the Bradley, emphasizing its high survivability and effectiveness against small infantry groups hiding in fortifications during both offensive and defensive actions. The IFV’s applications range from infantry elimination to fortification destruction. Avdiivka demonstrates Bradley's blend of firepower, survivability, and flexibility in defensive scenarios.

The military expert from Defense Express noted that the Bradley infantry fighting vehicle is not limited to use near Avdiivka; it's deployed in various front areas where Russians thought there were no fortifications from the anti-terrorist operation period. The enemy's assumption that breaking through these areas would be easy proved wrong. Our Bradley infantry fighting vehicles turned out to be agile mechanized fortresses in this scenario. The presence of Bradley might be a factor in why the Russians haven't come close to encircling Avdiivka as planned.

Kyrychevskyi shared his thoughts on Ukraine potentially receiving specific weapons from the USA following Austin’s visit to Kyiv. Considering the successful US tests of the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM), expected to replace ATACMS, it's reasonable to anticipate an expanded supply of ATACMS. Notably, Russian sources are expressing concern over the possibility of PrSM entering the US army, possibly as an early 'Christmas present' in December 2023.

A crucial missile type, previously mentioned, is making headlines again. Towards the end of October, Myroslava Gongadze, the head of Voice of America in Eastern Europe, reported a promising development. According to her information, Ukraine is set to receive missiles in January with a range of 300 km and a 100 kg combat unit. Considering these specs, it appears to be the new version of the AGM-88 G HARM Extended Range, boasting a 300 km range and 70 kg weight. Despite its origin as an anti-radar missile, this represents a significant upgrade. This missile could empower our F-16s to challenge the Russian S-400s in specific battlefield zones, providing crucial support to our military.

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