On Tuesday evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared on social media. On his platforms, he made encouraging statements about the performance of the city of Avdijevka. The small town was at the heart of intense fighting that took place for several weeks between Russian and Ukrainian forces.
Russia is actually losing more soldiers and equipment in the Battle of Avdiivka at a greater rate and on a larger scale than in the Battle of Bakhmut, for example. It is very difficult to resist Russian attacks, but each of our fighters is steadfast in his positions and carrying out his tasks, for which he deserves our deep gratitude. The more Russian troops were destroyed at Avdiivka, the worse the enemy’s overall situation in the war became. Zelensky says on Telegram.
Ancient methods of warfare
The town of Avdiivka is located in eastern Ukraine, 20 kilometers from Russian-occupied Donetsk. Ukrainian authorities had previously said that the Russians were “firing with everything” to seize the city.
The Russians have suffered heavy losses since they began their offensive in early October. The Russian forces attacked with vehicles, but primarily with purely infantry attacks without support. The war was bordering on the level of the First World War, at the same time they only took a few hundred meters in the bomber, Lieutenant Colonel Bali Yedstepu tells Netafsen.
He is head of the Ground Forces Department at the War College, and has followed the war in Ukraine closely since the large-scale Russian invasion in February 2022.
The importance of Avdijeevka for Putin
However, the expert believes that the battle in Avdiivka is far from being resolved any time soon.
– Russia does not surrender, as Western logic would have done. They do not view soldiers as individuals, but as expendable resources. As long as they can recruit people, you’re “happy.” This is a view of humanity that we in the West cannot comprehend, the presenter confirms.
– Why is Avdijivka so important to Putin?
– Russia wants a coke plant in Avdiivka. Here they can have a strong starting point to influence supply lines by opening an enclave that gives them the opportunity to move supplies, Ydstebø answers.
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At the end of October, independent Russian analysts at the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) wrote.If the factory fell into Russian hands, it would be impossible for the Ukrainians to use the only asphalt road that could secure supplies to the city.
– Russia may be trying to attack Avdijievka to prevent Ukraine from moving its forces to other parts of the front. However, Ukraine said it was aware of this and was unlikely to send more soldiers to this axis, the US think tank ISW wrote in mid-October.
Vitaly Barabash heads the military administration in Avdiivka, and He recently told Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform that at least 3,000 to 4,000 Russian soldiers were killed and another 7,000 to 8,000 wounded.. Yedstepo confirms that if the figures of large losses are correct, it is possible to turn the tables and understand the optimism of the Ukrainian president.
– Zelensky likely has information that Russian casualty numbers are worse than open source analysts confirm. If true, the situation for the Russians would become precarious because they would not be allowed to build larger, well-trained units that could be used offensively. Then they have to send in soldiers who have only had a few months of training, the lieutenant colonel says.
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He points out that these soldiers become part of the notorious “meat grinder”, wherever there is fighting, especially if they meet well-functioning Ukrainian units.
So there is reason for cautious optimism, but it depends on more Western support, the expert says.
Zelensky said earlier this week that the Russian president does not care about human life as he prepares for elections.
Putin currently has a very clear and sarcastic goal. He is willing to sacrifice as many of his personnel as possible, as long as he obtains a tactical result before mid-December. Then he plans to announce his presidential campaign, writes the Ukrainian president in X.
winter is coming
Negative scores are creeping up slowly but surely in several places in Ukraine. Yedstepo realizes it’s hard to read what the Russians are saying, so you don’t know what “aces” they have, but he believes Ukrainian forces can make real progress.
– It depends on how well the soldiers are equipped and trained for winter conditions. The presenter says: It now seems that the Ukrainians are better equipped.
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Recently, Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Jermak, confirmed that the Ukrainians could show progress on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River, in the south of the country.
– Against all odds, the Ukrainian defense has established a foothold on the left (eastern) bank of the Dnipro River, Jermak said when he gave a presentation to the Hudson Institute in the USA.
– There have been several reports on this topic, says Ydstebø.
Ukrainian writer and leader of the Norwegian-Ukrainian Society of Friends, Jørn Sund Henriksen, already wrote in October that there were unconfirmed rumors that the Ukrainians were transporting heavier equipment across the river.
Lieutenant Colonel Yedstepo realizes that the next few months will be very important for both parties.
– If the Russians fail to confront Ukrainian attacks in the south, this could become extremely important. It’s a short way to Karim, if progress continues. The expert points out that Russian forces may be at risk of retreat, which may force the Russians to redeploy forces.
– I expect that Russia will once again launch attacks against critical infrastructure, and will continue its information influence to influence politics in Western countries.
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