Espreso. Global

Russian troops change assault tactics in Avdiivka direction. Serhiy Zgurets' column

6 June, 2024 Thursday

The Russian occupying army has altered its offensive tactics in the Avdiivka direction compared to last year, reducing large-scale assaults in favor of advancing in smaller groups


USA says there are no restrictions on targeting Russian aircraft over Russia’s territory

More details are emerging about the conditions for using Western weapons against Russian targets. At a recent briefing, John Kirby, the National Security Council's external communications coordinator, stated that the United States has never imposed restrictions on Ukraine shooting down Russian aircraft over Russian territory. Despite previous reports suggesting that the USA and Germany were angered when Ukraine used Patriot air defense systems to down two Russian aircraft and two helicopters over Bryansk last May, fearing Russian escalation, it now appears there are no restrictions. However, it would be more effective to destroy Russian aircraft at their airfields, many of which are within the range of ATACMS missiles. Such operations could be as impactful as targeting aircraft in the sky.

Strengthening of Ukraine’s air defense 

Ukraine is expecting new SAMs from our partners, including the SAMP-T air defense system from Italy and another Patriot system from Germany. Yesterday, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief met to discuss the best locations for their deployment.

Journalists from the Polish outlet Defense24 asked their Ministry of Defense if they would share a Patriot battery with Ukraine. The Polish Ministry of Defense responded that they only have 2 out of the 8 ordered Patriot batteries, while Romania has already received 4. For now, Poland will support Ukraine’s air defense in other ways. Poland has already supplied various types of MANPADS and SAMs with missile stocks to Ukraine. Defense24 has previously hinted at the provision of Polish S-200 air defense systems to Ukraine, but this remains unconfirmed.

It’s worth noting that Ukraine's HUR unit used S-200 missiles to shoot down a Russian A-50 aircraft and, on April 19, a Tu-22M3 strategic bomber. These incidents were historic and a significant blow to Russia. This trend is likely to continue.

Russian troops change their offensive tactics in the Avdiivka direction

Ivan Sekach, spokesman for the 110th Separate Mechanized Brigade, stated that Russian forces in the Avdiivka direction continue offensive actions, deploying large numbers of troops. According to Sekach, they have altered their tactics. Previously, they used 5-6 soldiers in up to 6 squads for an assault. Now, they attack in pairs, using the terrain to advance. As they move deeper, they regroup in larger formations before attacking Ukrainian Defense Forces' positions. This shift complicates aerial reconnaissance, as spotting two individuals on the battlefield is much harder. Also, artillery, limited by insufficient ammunition, cannot target pairs of Russian soldiers.

Sekach also mentioned that Russian soldiers avoid advancing on motorcycles and buggies directly to the front lines. These vehicles are used only to transport personnel to their positions. He added that radio intercepts reveal Russian officers are even considering using horses near the battle lines.

Record destruction of Russian Su-25 aircraft

Ivan Sekach reported that the 110th Separate Mechanized Brigade has substantial experience in downing Russian aircraft. Throughout the war, brigade servicemen have shot down 30 Russian aircraft, including Mi-24, Mi-8, and Ka-52 helicopters, with the rest being Su-25 jets. In the past month alone, they took down 7 Su-25 aircraft. Recently, two more aircraft were hit, but they managed to reach their airfields and land safely.

Sekach highlighted that the success in downing Russian aircraft and helicopters comes from the Ukrainian military's extensive experience. Ukrainian fighters often set up ambushes, waiting for Russian aircraft. Despite significant losses, the Russians continue to use Su-25 aircraft for attacks on Ukrainian positions.

Russian troops less likely to carry out massive "meat" assaults on Ukrainian positions

Ivan Sekach noted that compared to the combat operations in the Avdiivka direction last year, Russians have significantly reduced “meat” assaults on Ukrainian Defense Forces' positions. This isn't because they care about their personnel. These assaults have just become less effective for them since group targets are more easily destroyed by artillery. So, they changed their tactics. According to Sekach, they also use less equipment in large quantities now. They don't attack with large columns of equipment anymore. Sekach added that the ammunition situation for the Ukrainian Defense Forces has improved, making it easier for Ukrainian artillerymen to operate than it was in the winter.

Ivan Sekach said that despite changes in the nature of hostilities in the Avdiivka region, the Ukrainian Defense Forces are trying to prevent Russian troops from getting close to Ukrainian infantry units. He noted that interaction with adjacent units greatly aids in battles. Sekach highlighted the 55th Artillery Brigade, saying that where their fighters can't reach, the artillerymen from the 55th Brigade help to destroy the invaders. However, he stressed that if Ukrainian units had enough ammunition, Russians wouldn't even consider advancing. Right now, there's still a shortage of ammunition in the Ukrainian Defense Forces.

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