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ISW: Ukraine anticipated Russian offensive operations around Avdiivka

Ukraine says its forces are well-prepared with defenses and mines. Russia lacks reserves to attack the entire frontline.
Photo: General Staff of Ukraine via Facebook
ISW: Ukraine anticipated Russian offensive operations around Avdiivka

On 12-13 October, US and Ukrainian officials anticipated Russian offensive operations near Avdiivka, the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported.

US National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby confirmed that these actions were not surprising and expressed confidence in Ukrainian defenses. He noted the use of “human wave tactics” by Russian forces, akin to their failed winter offensive in 2023, along with a higher number of armored vehicles in ongoing operations. 

Ukraine’s Intelligence spokesman, Andriy Yusov, stated that Ukrainian forces were well-prepared for the attack near Avdiivka and that Russian forces lacked sufficient reserves to attack the entire frontline, focusing on specific sectors.

“Several Russian milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian mines are slowing Russian advances near Avdiivka, indicating Ukrainian prior preparations for the attack,” the ISW reports.

Russian sources remain divided on the prospects for Russian advances near Avdiivka. Geolocated footage indicates Russian forces made marginal gains north and south of Avdiivka on October 13-14. Some Russian sources say Ukrainian defenses pose a challenge and medical issues impede Russia’s progress.

“One Russian source claimed on October 12 that there is a shortage of surgeons in occupied Horlivka and Donetsk City near Avdiivka and called on Russian doctors to travel to the front to help treat wounded Russian soldiers,” noted the ISW.

Ukraine’s Colonel Shtupun said most Russian casualties near Avdiivka are from poor medical care. Other Russian sources praise Russia’s efforts and claim Ukraine’s counteroffensive is over. However, one warned it’s premature to dismiss Ukraine’s counteroffensive as Russian attacks near Avdiivka may not lead to a broader offensive.

On October 14, Ukrainian forces sustained their counteroffensive operations in eastern and southern Ukraine by pushing westward from Donetsk City. Geolocated footage from the same date shows Ukrainian advancements to the north of Marinka, just west of Donetsk City. Both Ukrainian and Russian sources reported ongoing Ukrainian offensives against Russian positions on the southern flank of Bakhmut.

Additionally, a Russian milblogger noted marginal Ukrainian advances to the west of Robotyne, located 10km south of Orikhiv and towards Rivne, which is situated 24km southwest of Orikhiv, in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

Despite Ukrainian attacks on Russian vessels, the Russian Black Sea Fleet (BSF) will maintain some vessels at its primary Sevastopol naval base because the Black Sea’s main drydock is there. Ukrainian Naval Spokesperson Captain Third Rank Dmytro Pletenchuk confirmed on October 14 that Ukrainian forces struck Russian vessels and the BSF redeployed some ships from Sevastopol to other ports due to safety concerns. The Sevastopol base hosts the BSF’s core facilities, including a dry dock, making it essential for repairs, but it also exposes some vessels to Ukrainian attacks.

“The UK Ministry of Defense reported on October 14 that the BSF has likely increased its defensive and reactive posture after multiple Ukrainian strikes on BSF assets in August and September 2023,”  stated the ISW.

Ukrainian pilots will start F-16 fighter jet training in the US next week, following English language training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Politico’s October 13 report suggests that the urgency of Ukraine’s need for F-16s might expedite this training.

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