Over the past few days, Russia’s assault on Avdiivka has been very costly. Two days ago, Ukraine reported that Russia had lost some 900 troops, 50 tanks and over 100 armored vehicles over a span of 24 hours.
A video from Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces (SOF), posted on Friday, showed two Russian tanks, likely with dozens of soldiers, being blown up.
“Operators of the SOF’s 3rd regiment detected invaders’ heavy military equipment moving in the Avdiivka direction. With the help of available weapons, namely [First Person View] drones, Javelin MANPADS, mortars, our soldiers quickly stopped the enemy,” it posted.
Ukrainian soldiers operating in the Avdiivka area reported on Oct. 20 that Ukrainian forces had destroyed 200 Russian armored vehicles in the past four days.
Russia continues its efforts to take the strategically and symbolically important city of Avdiivka, which lies just 15 kilometers (nine miles) from the Moscow-held city of Donetsk, the capital of the Donetsk Region that Russia said it was annexing last September.
Russian forces launched a renewed offensive push near Avdiivka from the north, south, and east on Oct. 20. It marginally advanced, but with heavy losses, the ISW reported Friday.
“The initial Russian offensive operations in the Avdiivka area on Oct. 10 also resulted in high verified Russian equipment losses, and the fact that Russian forces regrouped and re-launched assaults after the initial attacks suggests that either Russian forces believe they can feasibly take Avdiivka, or that the Russian military command is poorly prioritizing offensive operations regardless of cost,” the ISW wrote.
On Oct. 13, a volunteer for the Russian army reached out to social media even asking for donations of body bags, saying that there was a deficit in the Donetsk Region.
Avdiivka has been a symbol of Ukrainian resistance since 2014, after it briefly fell to Russian-backed separatists. Built around a huge coke plant, Avdiivka had a pre-war population of around 30,000 people. Around 1,600 remain, according to local authorities–- living in basements converted into bomb shelters.
The city center has been all but destroyed through daily Russian artillery shelling and a months-long aerial bombing campaign.
The ISW reported that geolocated footage published on Oct. 20 showed that Russian forces had made minor advances west of Krasnohorivka (5 km / ~3 miles north of Avdiivka).
Russian milbloggers and a Ukrainian military observer claimed that Russian forces captured a Ukrainian stronghold near a waste heap just northeast of Avdiivka, advanced to a rail station north of Avdiivka, and advanced near the “Tsarska Okhota” restaurant south of Avdiivka.
One prominent Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces unsuccessfully attacked near Sieverne (6 km / ~4 miles west of Avdiivka), south of Avdiivka, near Stepove (8 km / ~5 miles northwest of Avdiivka), and near Novokalynove (11 km / ~7 miles northwest of Avdiivka), however.
Other milbloggers claimed that Russian forces advanced up to one kilometer on the Stepove-Berdychi line (8-10 km / ~5-6 miles northwest of Avdiivka) on Oct. 19 and that fighting is ongoing near Berdychi on Oct. 20.
The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks near Avdiivka, Novokalynove, Stepove, Pervomaiske (11 km / 7 miles southwest of Avdiivka), and Sieverne.
Avdiivka City Military Administration Head Vitaliy Barabash stated that Russian forces are attempting to repair damaged equipment while still in the field.
Footage published on Oct. 20 shows Ukrainian forces striking a Russian TOS-1 thermobaric artillery system near Avdiivka.
A Russian milblogger complained that Russian counterbattery fire near Avdiivka is decreasing in effectiveness due to poor communication and the failure to stockpile munitions ahead of the offensive effort, very likely exacerbating material losses in the area.
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