Overview:

  • More than 400 Russian tanks and vehicles destroyed by volunteer drone-makers
  • Moscow sends more brigades to Avdiivka, favors air strikes over infantry maneuvers
  • US Treasury Secretary reassures EU partners that Ukraine aid will return
  • Relatively few skirmishes reported in once-explosive Zaporizhzhia region
  • WATCH: Ukrainian men and women fraternize/sororize between battles

Ukrainian hobby drones score possible record number of Russian kills in a week

Military analyst Stefan Korshak of the Kyiv Post  reported Monday that Ukrainian volunteer civilians converting drones to deliver explosives have, “over the past week scored what may be the largest number of kills against Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers since the war in Ukraine began.”

A great number of those drone attacks have taken place around the highly contested zone of Avdiivka, a statement from the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) said.

Korshak wrote that “accumulated counts of Russian armored vehicles confirmed to have been knocked out, burnt, or otherwise put out of action by modified non-military drones totaled 428 pieces of Russian army heavy equipment, including 75 tanks, 88 infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, and 163 artillery pieces.

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The AFU claimed that all the Russian losses had been confirmed by drone video, without offering specific evidence for these claims.

US finance chief reassures EU partners about Ukraine aid

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Monday said Washington would keep on delivering “robust” aid to Ukraine, AFP reported, in the wake of EU concerns over the future of US support for Kyiv, due to the disarray in a leaderless House of Representatives.

A hardline element of mostly junior Republicans in the lower chamber of US Congress earlier this month forced the removal of their Speaker, putting increased aid to Ukraine on hold.

“We will do everything possible to put in place a robust Ukraine package,” the Treasury Secretary said during a press conference in Luxembourg with Paschal Donohoe, who leads the group of finance and economy ministers in the Eurozone, AFP reported.

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“For Congress to be willing to provide the level of support that we are to Ukraine, it’s important to know that we are not alone in this, that we have partners who are as committed as we are,” Yellen said.

US President Joe Biden’s administration has proposed a further $24 billion to support Ukraine.

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Operations: Avdiivka

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported on Monday that Russia “likely” deployed at least two Central Military District (CMD) brigades to support the local and often disgruntled Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) volunteer forces on the Avdiivka front, as stepped-up Russian airstrikes generally replaced ground maneuvers.

A Ukrainian military blogger noted on Monday that the CMD’s 15th and 21st MRBs (both of the 2nd Combined Arms Army) have joined the DNR’s 114th Motorized Rifle Brigade in the fighting near Avdiivka, alongside “various scattered DNR elements, while Russian forces are holding the CMD’s 30th MRB in tactical reserve.”

These reinforcement units had been observed holding the Svatove-Kreminna line until recently, ISW analysts noted, highlighting that these Russian reinforcements had been taking more passive, “defensive” positions there for the last several months and “have therefore likely had more time to rest and reconstitute.”

On Monday, Russian forces indeed made some gains near Avdiivka “at a relatively slower pace than in the initial attacks,” the ISW noted. Geolocated footage posted on Monday shows that Russian forces have marginally advanced past the E50 road about 3 km south of Avdiivka.

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The AFU General Staff also registered “notably fewer” infantry attacks that had occurred over the weekend. Instead, Russian forces reportedly have increased the intensity of air and artillery strikes “in order to compensate for slow ground maneuvers,” the ISW analysts wrote.

Operations: Zaporizhzhia region

Aside from some exchanges near Pryyutne and Staromayorske, the fighting has remained relatively quiet on the western Zaporizhzhia front over the past couple of days, military bloggers reported.

Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted a few unsuccessful attacks along the border of the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions border on Monday, the ISW reported, while Russian Eastern Grouping of Forces Spokesperson Oleg Chekhov posted on Monday that Ukrainian forces conducted unsuccessful attacks near Staromaiorske (9 km south of Velyka Novosilka).

In a claim corroborated by the AFU General Staff, a “prominent” Russian military blogger posted that Ukrainian and Russian forces traded attacks near the village of Pryyutne (16 km southwest of Velyka Novosilka), with neither side achieving territorial gains, the ISW wrote. Meanwhile, a Russian news aggregator also claimed that Russian forces repelled a Ukrainian attack near Staromaiorske on Monday.

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The now-famous Russian “Vostok” Battalion (commanded by the outspoken critic of Russia’s Defense Ministry, Alexander Khodakovsky) now positioned near Novodonetske (12 km southeast of Velyka Novosilka), claimed that their section of the front was quiet on Sunday night and Monday.

“The night passed quietly,” they wrote on a Telegram post. “The enemy apparently turned on the economy mode.”

VIDEO: Not just men fighting for Ukraine’s sovereignty

Sometimes it feels like it is just men fighting on the front lines for Ukraine. This great video reminds us that all able-bodied Ukrainians, not just those of the XY-chromosome variety, are prepared to lay down their lives for their country:

 
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