Russian Forces Breakthrough Avdiivka Defenses After Months of Costly Attack Waves

Russian forces have reportedly broken through, mostly stable since 2014, Ukrainian southern defenses at Avdiivka in the east of Ukraine today, capturing reportedly several fortified positions in the industrial zone and dacha area. This comes after months, and even a year, of constant and costly Russian attack waves that have left the fields around Avdiivka littered with corpses and burned-out hulls of vehicles. In particular, the past few months have seen significant losses of Russian armor, light mechanized, and infantry, as they are sent wave-after-wave to assault Ukrainian defensive positions in the north, south, and east.

Several especially notable videos of large Russian vehicle convoys being torn apart by artillery, mines, and anti-tank weapons, have appeared since October, showing reportedly hundreds of vehicles involved and destroyed or damaged – and on the daily dozens of videos are posted from various Ukrainian units showing FPV drones attacking via kamikaze and munition dropping on attack soldiers and vehicles. Russian Storm-Z penal battalions have also reportedly been involved in the attacks this fall after their formation under the Russian military in April.

Positioned only a few kilometers north of Russian-occupied Donetsk City in the Donetsk region, Avdiivka has been a highly battled-over city not only in this current war, but also in general since 2014, with the level of activity by both sides comparable to peak periods in Bakhmut at this point in time.

Recent Russian advances have included those towards the Avdiivka Coking and Chemical Plant in the northeast of the city as well as the village of Stepove. Some of these northern pushes have threatened the 8-kilometer-wide Ukrainian-controlled strip of land from Avdiivka to the northeast that acts as a vital access and resupply route for Ukrainian forces. Ukrainian forces have given no indication about their intent to withdraw or evacuate forces to avoid a potential encirclement of the city.

ISW November 20th