Avdiivka is an industrial city in Donbass, which Moscow and its separatist Ukrainian allies have been trying to take over since 2014.
Russian troops have launched a large-scale operation in the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka, the warring parties said on Tuesday, months after the start of the Ukrainian counter-offensive.
Last night, however, the Ukrainian army assured that it repelled the attacks.
Avdiivka is an industrial city in Donbass, which Moscow and its separatist Ukrainian allies have been trying to take over since 2014. The new effort appeared to worry Ukrainian authorities.
“The Russians have been hitting (it) massively with their artillery, since eight in the morning (local and Greek time), non-stop until now (…) The enemy is trying to surround the city”, he told AFP early yesterday in the afternoon, the head of the city’s military administration, Vitali Barabas.
“For more than a year, there is a risk that the city will be taken over, but today the situation has deteriorated rapidly,” he added.
According to him, about 1,600 residents still live in Avdiivka, out of the 30,000 it counted before the Russian invasion in February 2022.
The head of the services of the Ukrainian presidency, Andrii Yermak, also referred to a large-scale Russian operation.
“Our Avdiivka is the target of massive attacks by Russian artillery and air force. Terrorists are attacking the city, hitting apartment buildings,” he said via X (formerly Twitter).
Later, the general staff announced that it had “repulsed all enemy attacks and prevented the loss of positions and lines” in the sector of operations.
Russian forces hold areas east, south and north of the city and have been trying for months to pin it down, without success so far, according to Kiev.
Avdiivka, built around a huge coal mine, is 13 kilometers from Donetsk, the pro-Russian-controlled capital of the eponymous region, one of four announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin a year ago to be annexed.
It has been part of the front since 2014, when war broke out between the Ukrainian army and separatists following Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula. It therefore has extensive fortified positions.
After the invasion, Russian troops continuously launch attacks to capture it.
According to Rybar, a channel on the Telegram platform with sources in the Russian army, Moscow’s forces this time launched a raid from the north and two others from the south, with the result that there is a possibility of “immediate encirclement” of Ukrainian positions.
“Due to a lack of coordination between the various Ukrainian formations, the attack came as a surprise to them. But reinforcements can be sent quickly to stabilize the front,” according to Rybar, citing an operational map.
Earlier yesterday, an adviser to Denis Pushilin, the pro-Russian regional governor of Donetsk, expressed satisfaction because according to him there had been progress.
“We have advances in Avdiivka, enemy losses,” Yan Gagin, that adviser, told Russia’s RIA news agency. According to him, “in the last 24 hours, at least two fortified positions of the opponents were destroyed”.
Zelensky in Romania
In June, Ukraine began its long-awaited offensive to retake occupied territories. But so far, its progress has been rather limited, with Moscow continuing to launch frequent attacks of its own to force the Ukrainian military to revise its plans.
The Ukrainian operation turned out to be extremely difficult, mainly because the Russian army set up a well-thought-out and extensive defense network: minefields, anti-tank traps, trenches, artillery…
Besides, the Ukrainian military suffers from a lack of long-range ammunition to hit Russian supply routes. He is by definition faced with the enemy’s numerical advantage in manpower and artillery ammunition. The Russian Air Force now dominates the airwaves.
Kiev has been asking the West for months to step up its military aid, send it fighter jets and missiles with an effective range of more than 100 km, such as the US ATACMS (300 km), among others.
The Ukrainian government anticipates that Russia is preparing, like last winter, a massive bombing campaign on energy infrastructure, to plunge the population into darkness and cold.
For months already it has been unleashing waves of bombings on port infrastructure to prevent the export of Ukrainian agricultural products.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was in Romania yesterday, after a series of attacks on ports on the Danube, on the border of the two states, which are now critical for Ukrainian grain exports.
For its part, the Ukrainian military continues to try to take the war to Russian soil, shelling border areas and sending drones to hit military bases or Russian cities. Two civilians were killed yesterday Tuesday in a Ukrainian strike in Belgorod, which borders Ukraine, regional governor Vychislav Gladkov announced via Telegram.
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