Russia is continuing its attempt to capture the Ukrainian town of Avdiivka, disregarding huge losses that are approaching an all-time high, according to various sources.

"The enemy is trying to move forward and then we beat them back," Oleksandr Shtupun, a spokesperson for Ukraine's southern forces, said on Wednesday evening.

According to Shtupun, Russia's losses in the last six days tallied at 2,500 dead and wounded in the area.

According to Ragnar Gudmundsson, an Iceland-based analyst, Russia hit a probable wartime record of more than 1,400 killed in combat in a single day on Oct. 20 and averaged 900 men a day killed in combat from 10-20 October, coinciding with its push toward Avdiivka, a key city on the eastern front north of Donetsk city.


The only times in the war when Russian military body counts piled up at a roughly comparable pace on a week-by-week basis, according to Gudmundsson’s estimates, were in February and March 2023, and June 2022.

Both were periods of intense and bloody Russian attacks in mostly urban terrain, around the cities of  Bakhmut and Severodonetsk respectively.

A report published by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) on Tuesday implies a Russian force of 20-25,000 men went from battle readiness to combat ineffectiveness due to heavy losses, in a little more than three weeks, and about 1,500 soldiers – all front-line fighters not easily replaced without gutting rear area staff and support units – died and 2,000 were seriously wounded.

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According to the estimates from the Ukrainian military, Russia’s total troop loss since the invasion began is bound to exceed 300,000 in the next few days.

Russia has been trying to break through Ukraine’s defense from the north but was unable to get past a rail line, according to Vitaliy Barabash, head of Avdiivka's military administration.

He also denied claims that Russian troops had secured control of one of the large slag heaps dominating the industrial stronghold.


Russia captured Bakhmut in May this year prior to Ukraine’s counteroffensive and has since been on the defensive without any significant gains, making the capture of Avdiivka a much-needed objective for a morale boost.

"The second issue is political. They have little to be proud of and have to sell to their population some sort of victory, even if it is only an interim one," said Valeriy Prozapas, a Ukrainian captain in an interview with Espresso TV.

Meanwhile, Russia is portraying the offensive in an optimistic manner, with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visiting the frontline and telling troops: “The situation today suggests the enemy has fewer and fewer opportunities. And they will continue to be reduced, thanks exclusively to your combat work.”

Shoigu was filmed smiling and laughing when a Russian soldier told him Ukrainian troops were “in a panic.”

Reality paints a different picture, however, even from sources coming from within Russia.

The independent Russian information platform Astra published an open video appeal to Putin from wives and mothers of soldiers from the north Russian city Kirov, claiming their husbands and sons were thrown into combat in the Donbas sector despite being reservists with minimal training and equipment.


“Local commanders used violence and the threat of violence to force the Kirov reservists to conduct bloody attacks across open ground, killing and wounding many of them,” a spokesperson said.

“The deployments directly violate Russian law banning [the] placement of reservists called up to serve in local territorial defense unit, in combat,” she said.

Russian forces made some gains around Avdiivka on Wednesday, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported, but have paid a very heavy price.

The ISW highlighted reports of a “prominent” Russian blogger who claimed on Wednesday that Russian forces achieved “serious tactical success” on the approaches to Avdiivka and near Stepove and advanced to the railway line north of Avdiivka. Another Russian military blogger claimed that Russian forces are advancing from Krasnohorivka to Novokalynove (7 km north of Avdiivka).

Geolocated footage published on Tuesday indicates that Russian forces have indeed advanced northwest of Krasnohorivka (5 km northwest of Avdiivka) while sustaining losses.

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