Espreso. Global

Ukrainian Armed Forces discourage Russia’s desire to advance in Avdiivka direction. Column by Serhiy Zgurets

6 February, 2024 Tuesday

Near Avdiivka, Russia has already lost 25,000 personnel and 608 units of military equipment, namely tanks, armored personnel carriers, and other systems, including artillery. But Russia does not care about the losses

Ukraine awaits F-16 aircraft and missiles for them

Let me start with some positive aviation news. The Netherlands is increasing the number of F-16 fighter jets to be transferred to Ukraine. On February 5, the Dutch Defense Minister announced that there will be 6 more of them. Thus, the total number of aircraft to be transferred to Ukraine is 24. The Netherlands is also transferring another 18 F-16s to a new center in Romania, where Ukrainian pilots will be trained. In fact, the Netherlands is donating all 42 of its F-16s to strengthen Ukraine's air capabilities.

Also yesterday, Lieutenant General Serhiy Nayev, the commander of the Joint Forces, made an optimistic statement that Ukraine expects F-16 aircraft and missiles with a range of 300-500 km in future military aid packages. Of course, it is a bit strange that it is Nayev who is talking about jets and not the Air Force Command. But at the same time, it is worth noting that the Lieutenant General's statement that Ukraine is getting planes and missiles can be understood in different ways. On the one hand, it can be separate aircraft and separate missiles, including the same ATACMS with a range of up to 300 km or SCALP or Storm Shadow missiles.

Hopefully, the most likely option is to get new missiles for the F-16, which are American-made AGM-158 JASSM tactical cruise missiles. These missiles, which have long been used by the US Air Force, have a range of 370 km, and the latest versions have a range of up to 900 km. In fact, these missiles will have a significant impact on the nature of combat operations on the battlefield. However, it is important that the aircraft are delivered as soon as possible, pilots are trained, and the infrastructure is provided so that Ukraine's military can effectively use these aircraft on the battlefield.

Situation at the front - Avdiivka sector

Let's talk about the situation on the frontline, where Ukraine does not yet have air superiority, the Russian enemy still has an advantage in manpower and where everything depends on Ukraine's soldiers. Avdiivka remains the most intense area of the frontline. A total of 31 attacks were repelled around Avdiivka the day before yesterday. On February 5, we are talking about 44 attacks. I think this dynamic will continue to be extremely high.

I will mention the statistics of Russia's losses, because British intelligence says that they have already lost 25 thousand personnel in this area. And there are also statistics on the loss of Russian equipment. In particular, analysts have calculated that from October 9, 2023 to February 2, 2024, they lost 608 pieces of military equipment in this area, that is, tanks, armored personnel carriers and other systems, including artillery. Ukraine lost 46, including tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery. That is 46 against 608, a ratio of 1 to 13 in favor of Ukraine. However, Russia does not care about losses. Now Ukrainians are fighting with everything they have against a Russian enemy that has a numerical advantage in equipment and people thrown into the battle.

The situation in the Avdiivka sector remains extremely difficult. There were reports that the Russian army had pushed into the northern neighborhoods of Avdiivka. In the morning, the head of Avdiivka city military administration Valeriy Barabash denied this information. However, we understand that Russia's advance from the north of Avdiivka towards the road that provides logistics for the entire Avdiivka grouping is an extremely dangerous trend. Ukrainian troops are currently repelling Russia's attempts to advance, but we understand that the enemy is trying to put pressure on Ukraine's defense along this entire north-south stretch. And now every area remains extremely difficult.

Dmytro Lazutkin, head of public relations of the 47th Magura Brigade, which is currently in the Avdiivka direction, said that the situation is difficult, Russia attacks mainly with infantry groups. Sometimes the Russian infantry attacks are supported by armored vehicles, artillery, and howitzer artillery working in the planes. They make a lot of drops from FPV drones, including at night. But the contact line, where the 47th Brigade holds its positions, does not change. The invader is trying to find weak spots along the Avdiivka perimeter to disrupt logistics. Evacuations and supplies are being carried out, but it is hard to call them safe, as they are being shelled by hostile mortars and artillery, and the KABs are being dropped.

Coke Plant is under the control of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, but the Russian troops are constantly dropping KABs on the plant, and artillery is also working closely. Ukrainian defenders are destroying Russia's infantry and equipment.

The serviceman noted that Russia's army attacks in small infantry groups and does not dare to launch equipment, because there is almost a whole cemetery of destroyed Russian equipment in the area from the railway to Stepove in the direction of Berdychiv. Without exaggeration, there is no way to drive there anymore, and there are also many dead Russian infantrymen whom the Russians do not take away, walking either over their corpses or past them.

The head of the public relations service of the 47th Magura Brigade added that in terms of FPV drones, we can now talk about a conditional balance with the Russian enemy, if we compare the capabilities of both sides. And in his opinion, Ukrainian guys and girls have a certain advantage in terms of accuracy and pilot skills. However, despite the importance and modernity of FPV drones, they will not completely replace artillery, so Ukraine needs both more shells and more FPV drones. The number of invaders is huge, Ukrainian infantrymen are surprised when one wave of the adversary is destroyed, the second wave is launched, and the third wave follows, meaning they are encouraged to go on under the threat of death, and psychotropic substances are often used. These things are well-known because syringes were found in Russian trenches, and there are many more like them. But nevertheless, they go on and on and on. Accordingly, we need a lot of weapons and ammunition.

Lazutkin noted that there should be no panic, because small advances of a few hundred meters do not mean that Avdiivka has already been surrendered and the Russians are capturing it. The military leadership is in control of the situation, which remains manageable. If necessary, the reserves, which are motivated and powerful, will be involved as well. We need to look at the situation in dynamics, in progress. The soldier expressed hope that we will see more bright and powerful solutions, and no one is going to give up Avdiivka.

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