The Russian army carried out offensive operations near the town of Avdiivka on 3 December and made confirmed advances.
Source: Institute for the Study of War (ISW)
Details: Footage released on 28 November and geolocated on 2 December revealed that Russian troops had advanced west of the railway north of the village of Stepove (3 km northwest of Avdiivka).
Further geolocated footage released on 2 December suggests that Russian forces have advanced southwest of the settlement of Pervomaiske (10 km southwest of Avdiivka).
Russian military bloggers (milbloggers) claimed on 2 and 3 December that the Russian army had made headway south and southeast of Stepove, with some claiming that Russian soldiers had advanced 300 metres near the settlement.
They also claimed on 2 and 3 December that the Russians had advanced south of the village of Novokalynove (13 km north-east of Avdiivka) and west of the settlement of Krasnohorivka (5 km north-west of Avdiivka) on the northern flank of Avdiivka, as well as on the southern flank near the settlement of Pervomaiske and Sieverne (6 km west of Avdiivka).
The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces had launched unsuccessful attacks east of Novobakhmutivka (9 km northwest of Avdiivka) and Novokalynove; south of the village of Tonenke (5 km west of Avdiivka); and near the settlements of Stepove, Avdiivka, Sieverne, and Pervomaiske.
Russian sources claimed on 3 December that Russian troops also launched attacks on the northern flank from the settlement of Kamianka (5 km northeast of Avdiivka) and on the southern flank near the industrial area southwest of Avdiivka.
A Russian milblogger claimed on 2 December that Russian troops were performing reconnaissance and were regrouping to resume assault operations near an industrial area southeast of Avdiivka.
Vitalii Barabash, Head of the Avdiivka Military Administration, stated on 3 December that in the third wave of the assault on Avdiivka, the Russians opened two additional directions of attack on the industrial area southeast of Avdiivka and from the settlement of Spartak (4 km south of Avdiivka) to distract Ukrainian forces. Barabash also noted that Russian troops were awaiting better weather conditions to re-engage heavy vehicles in the assault.
To quote the ISW’s key takeaways on 3 December:
- Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 1 December decree is likely a formal recognition of the Russian military’s current end strength and not an order to immediately increase the number of Russian military personnel.
- Ukrainian air defence coverage along the front line is reportedly incentivising Russian forces to rely more heavily on remote strikes with glide bombs.
- Ukrainian officials appealed to international organisations to investigate video footage published on 2 December showing Russian forces killing surrendering and reportedly unarmed Ukrainian soldiers.
- Russian forces launched a series of missile and drone strikes on the night of 2 and 3 December.
- The Russian government is likely continuing attempts to censor relatives of mobilised Russian military personnel on social media out of concern about their protests’ possible negative effect on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s still unannounced 2024 presidential campaign.
- A prominent Russian milblogger claimed to have given a "masterclass" to press heads and communications personnel at Russian state-owned defence conglomerate Rostec, likely in support of an effort that allows the Russian government to normalise the war without directly involving the Kremlin.
- The milblogger’s "masterclass" represents an avenue by which the Kremlin can further benefit from milbloggers and shows how possible financial incentives could temper milbloggers’ criticisms of the Russian leadership.
- Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast and advanced near Avdiivka.
- Russia continues to use the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) to indoctrinate Russian children into Russian nationalism and set conditions for long-term force generation efforts.
- Russian occupation officials continue to strengthen the Kremlin-backed United Russia party in occupied Ukraine ahead of the March 2024 Russian presidential elections.