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ISW analyses surge in Russian attacks near Avdiivka

Thursday, 12 October 2023, 03:58
ISW analyses surge in Russian attacks near Avdiivka

Experts from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) have analysed the Russian attacks around Avdiivka and concluded that these advances at tactical level are unlikely to lead to broader operational and strategic victories.

Source: the ISW

Details: The current local offensive operations of the Russian forces near Avdiivka likely demonstrate the ability of the Russian forces to learn and apply the tactical lessons of the conduct of hostilities in Ukraine.


Russian troops launched local attacks on the Avdiivka front after intensive artillery preparation of the battlefield on the morning of 10 October, and geolocation videos from 10 and 11 October confirm that Russian troops advanced southwest of Avdiivka near Sieverne and northwest of Avdiivka in the area of Stepove and Krasnohorivka.

The ISW analysts note that these adaptations and successes at a tactical level are unlikely to lead to broader operational and strategic victories for the Russian troops.

Geolocation data shows that Russian gains around Avdiivka are concentrated southwest of Avdiivka, and Russian forces have not completed an operational encirclement of the settlement and are likely to attempt to do so.

However, experts point out, Avdiivka is a well-fortified and protected Ukrainian stronghold, which will probably make it difficult for Russian forces to come close or completely capture the settlement.

In addition, Russian troops already control sections of the critical route N20 Donetsk – Kostiantynivka – Kramatorsk – Sloviansk and other roads passing near Avdiivka, so the hypothetical capture of Avdiivka will not open new ways for an offensive on the rest of the territory of Donetsk Oblast.

As previously assessed by the ISW, Russian troops probably intend to attack in the area of Avdiivka in order to pin down Ukrainian forces and prevent them from redeploying to other areas of the front. However, Ukrainian officials have already identified the Avdiivka offensive as a Russian consolidation operation, and they are unlikely to unnecessarily divert Ukraine's Defence Forces to this sector of the front.

To quote the ISW’s Key Takeaways on 11 October::

  • Ongoing localised Russian offensive operations near Avdiivka likely demonstrate the ability of Russian forces to learn and apply tactical battlefield lessons in Ukraine.  These tactical-level adaptations and successes, however, are unlikely to necessarily translate into wider operational and strategic gains for Russian forces.
  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast and reportedly advanced in both sectors of the front on 11 October.
  • A large number of NATO member states recently announced aid packages to Ukraine against the backdrop of the 16th Ukraine Defence Group Contact Group (in Ramstein-format - ed.) meeting in Brussels, Belgium on 11 October.
  • Russian military command continues to celebrate the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade (Black Sea Fleet) for its service in Ukraine, despite claims that the brigade was defeated and reportedly transferred to the Kherson front.
  • Armenia continues to ostensibly distance itself from Russia after a decades-long security relationship.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, in western Donetsk Oblast, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast and advanced in some areas on 11 October.
  • Russian opposition outlet Sever Realii reported on 11 October that Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) representatives may have recruited over 1,000 convicts to serve in the Russian MoD-affiliated Redut private military company (PMC).
  • Russian occupation authorities are suffering staff shortages at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP).

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