NEW DELHI: Ukrainian forces are attempting to hold off a major Russian offensive operation in the strategic city of Avdiivka. The offensive, which began four days ago, saw Russia deploying dozens of tanks, armored vehicles, and thousands of troops in a concerted effort to capture the city., reports ABC news.
“They are hitting with everything they have. Yesterday a lot of armor was used; they came in columns. The assault isn’t stopping neither day nor night,” said Vitaliy Barabash, the head of Avdiivka’s military administration,on Ukrainian television.
Russia has also launched smaller offensive operations along various points of the front line, intensifying their attacks near the city of Kupiansk, which Ukraine liberated last year. However, the main thrust of this offensive is directed at Avdiivka, a city of significant strategic importance for both sides due to its proximity to Donetsk, the capital of the Russian-occupied Donetsk region.
Ukraine had heavily fortified the Avdiivka front line before Russia’s full-scale invasion last year, constructing deep trenches and an underground bunker system. As a result, Russian forces had made limited advances near the city. However, Russia now appears to be attempting to encircle Avdiivka and cut off the Ukrainian forces within their defenses.
Oleksiy Dmitrashkivsky, chief spokesman for the Command of Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces, told ABC news, “For the entire time of the war, there has never been such an offensive around Avdiivka, even though they’ve attacked Avdiivka since 2014,” He further said that two Russian battalions, totaling around 2,000 men, supported by dozens of tanks and armored vehicles, launched the attacks from the northwest and southwest. A massive artillery and air barrage preceded the assault and has continued, with frequent strikes on the city itself.
According to Ukrainian military officials and open-source researchers tracking the losses, the Russian assault has encountered significant setbacks. Barabash, Avdiivka’s military administration chief, reported the loss of at least 40 Russian armored vehicles in two days. Online videos and open-source researchers have corroborated these claims, estimating that 30 to 50 Russian tanks and vehicles have been damaged or destroyed.
Ukraine’s general staff claimed that around 1,000 Russian troops were killed along the entire frontline over two days, but these numbers could not be independently verified.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that Russia had managed to capture approximately 4.52 square kilometers of territory from different directions around Avdiivka in the last three days.
However, they noted that Russian forces had not secured any major breakthroughs near the city as of October 12 and were unlikely to immediately isolate Ukrainian forces within Avdiivka, as per ISW’s Thursday’s daily briefing.
Ukrainian military officials have affirmed that their troops haveheld the lines and inflicted heavy casualties on the Russian attackers, despite significant Ukrainian casualties. This new Russian offensive, which took many analysts by surprise due to its scale, appears to demonstrate Russia’s attempt to regain the initiative in the ongoing conflict.
“The Russians have decided that they can already start their own counterattack in [the Avdiivka] direction,” Dmitrashkivsky stated. “They are taking advantage of the fact that the attention of the whole world is on the events in Israel and they have started an active phase along the entire front line.”
The Russian attack near Avdiivka involved a mixed force of paratroopers, poorly trained forces, and Storm Z units – detachments of convicts sent to fight. These forces were reportedly weakly prepared, which reflected in their losses. The exceptionally large scale of the attack required significant efforts from Ukrainian troops to repel it.
Most analysts believe that Russia may still lack the manpower to make substantial gains in an offensive, including around Avdiivka.
Meanwhile, Ukraine continues to press its own attacks in the southern Zaporizhzhia region, where its counteroffensive is concentrated, and around the city of Bakhmut.

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