The Russian offensive at Avdiivka was a great failure. The end of the year will be sad for Putin

, 15:46, 25.12.2023
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

This analysis dissects the high cost of their advance and sheds light on the complex dynamics shaping this military engagement, offering insights into the challenges faced by both sides

The Russian offensive at Avdiivka was a great failure. The end of the year will be sad for Putin

Russia losing 10,000 troops per kilometer gained around Avdiivka

The entrance gate to Donetsk is often the name given to the city of Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine, which the Russian army has been trying to capture since mid-October this year. Last year, the Russians planned to take over the city and the entire Donbas in just two weeks. Now, after ruthless offensive actions that had previously transformed the city of 31,000 people beyond recognition, they had moved no more than two kilometers. The Russian offensive at Avdiivka is, therefore, a huge failure.

On October 10, the Russian army launched an offensive near the city, located about 22 kilometers north of the center of the capital of the Donetsk Oblast and about five kilometers west of Yasiuvata. Since then, however, they have been waiting for greater success. Russian troops want to capture the city at all costs. Avdiivka was supposed to be a gift for Vladimir Putin before the elections. However, so far, this appears to be one of Russia's worst recent defeats.

A gift for Putin before the elections

Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted the city's victory before the elections scheduled for March next year to be the main achievement of the Russian army. After all, Ukrainians and the West warn that the war has turned into a positional struggle and that the conflict is to some extent frozen. The Kremlin denies the impasse on the front, and Avdiivka was supposed to be proof that the conflict has a solution, that the Russian army is on its way to destroying Ukraine and annexing it to its territory. However, even after two months, it doesn't work.

The Russian army advanced, but the price for this progress was enormous losses - both in soldiers' lives and in equipment. "If you count from October 10, when the enemy began to be more active, in some places, it moved one and a half to two kilometers closer," one of the spokesmen for the Ukrainian army, Oleksandr Shtupun, said on Wednesday.

“The enemy lost almost 25,000 (dead and wounded) people, about 200 tanks, and over 400 armored vehicles in the area of ​​responsibility of the Tavria group in the Donetsk region”
added the Ukrainian army spokesman.

But these are losses across the entire sector. In the direction of Avdiivka alone, it is assumed that 80 percent of them took place. In this way, one kilometer of captured Ukrainian land cost the Russian army about 10,000 men. Moreover, British intelligence adds that the recent attacks on Avdiivka resulted in a 90 percent increase in Russian losses.

Russia losing 10,000 troops per kilometer gained around Avdiivka

But the Russians have one success to their credit. They recently managed to gain a foothold in the industrial zone in the south of the city. It is located on a hill, which will have consequences for possible future fighting in the city itself. The procedure is also confirmed by analysts from the American Institute for the Study of War.

Avdiivka became the second Bakhmut. Two months of Russian offensive operations and constant shelling have left their mark on the city. Only rubble, trenches, defensive structures, destroyed equipment, and the bodies of fallen soldiers remained. That is why Avdiivka is called the second Bakhmut, another city of the Donetsk Oblast that was changed beyond recognition by Putin's war. “The situation is starting to resemble Bakhmut about eight months ago,” military analyst Ivan Stupak said in an interview in late November, according to UNIAN.

Russian troops, with the help of mercenaries from the Wagner group, did everything they could to capture Bakhmut in the north of the Donetsk region. They finally succeeded. In Avdiivka, they are trying to do something similar. But the city's gains near Donetsk are still visible. The Russian offensive does not end in success, just like the one from the beginning of the year, which the Russian army did not transform into any major operations and strategic achievements.

It will be particularly difficult for Putin to present the Russian offensive at Avdiivka as a huge success of the presidential campaign. Moreover, at a time when a growing movement of Russian women is demanding the return of their mobilized husbands, sons, and brothers from the front. According to women, men do not have enough breaks from work, which is why they do not see their wives and children. But ordinary Russians do not die at Avdiivka. Putin sends immigrants whom Russia mobilizes by force to almost certain death.

Avdiivka is the gateway to Donetsk

For the Ukrainian army, holding the city is a strategic goal, as it could gradually advance from the city to Donetsk and Donbas. On the other hand, there is no strategy behind the Russian offensive. The main goal is to surround the city, imprison as many Ukrainian soldiers as possible, then massacre them and present the result as a victory and proof that the Russian army's offensive in Ukraine continues and the conflict is not frozen. It is very difficult to explain why the Russians invested such resources, including human lives, to capture the city.

Russia losing 10,000 troops per kilometer gained around Avdiivka

Avdijivka became the second Bakhmut

A similar situation occurred in Bakhmut. The Russians spent nine months capturing the city, destroying both it and Wagner's group. They captured Bakhmut, but from a military point of view, it had almost no significance. The Russians were only playing on emotions when Bakhmut became a symbol of the Russian war in Ukraine.

After capturing it, however, the Ukrainians launched an attack. The Russians, therefore, found themselves in a paradoxical situation. They made a strategic move, probably to prepare the space for further actions, but ultimately, the Ukrainians attacked. The Russians were left with only a destroyed city. Something similar may happen again in Avdiivka. Ukrainian troops may slowly withdraw from the city, but this will end the enemy offensive in which the Russians will capture a destroyed city where they will have nothing to hold on to.

The plan was to capture the city within a few days, surround it, kill Ukrainian soldiers and demoralize the Ukrainians. But after two months of fighting, we can already say that the plan failed, did not work out, the Russian army failed or, on the contrary, the Ukrainian army showed that it is not finished. The Russians lost tens of thousands of people and hundreds of pieces of heavy equipment, but they still did not capture the city. Already now, we should talk about Avdiivka as a Ukrainian victory.

When the Russians began their offensive, they had and still have huge groups of soldiers at Kupyansk waiting for success. But he doesn't come. After the Ukrainian disaster in Avdiivka, according to Russian plans, further attacks were to follow, after which the Ukrainian defense would collapse like a house of cards. However, this did not happen, Putin has no Avdiivka; on the contrary, he lost over 20,000 soldiers. The end of the year will be a sad one for Putin in terms of military achievements on the front.

#Russian Agression#Avdiivka#Bakhmut

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