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Russian forces launch renewed offensive near Avdiivka – ISW

The city of Avdiivka. Credit: Slovo and Dilo
Russian forces launch renewed offensive near Avdiivka – ISW

On October 20, Russian forces initiated a renewed offensive push near Avdiivka, demonstrating their continued commitment to offensive operations in the region despite significant material and personnel losses, Institute for the Study of War reports. Geolocated footage published on the same day revealed minor advancements by Russian forces to the west of Krasnohorivka, located 5 kilometers north of Avdiivka.

According to ISW, Russian milbloggers and a Ukrainian military observer reported that Russian forces seized a Ukrainian stronghold just northeast of Avdiivka, advanced to a rail station north of the city, and also made progress near the “Tsarska Okhota” restaurant south of Avdiivka. Notably, a prominent Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces encountered resistance during an attack near Sieverne, located 6 kilometers west of Avdiivka, as well as south of Avdiivka, near Stepove (8 kilometers northwest of Avdiivka), and near Novokalynove (11 kilometers northwest of Avdiivka).

In contrast, other milbloggers stated that Russian forces achieved gains of up to one kilometer along the Stepove-Berdychi line (8-10 kilometers northwest of Avdiivka) on October 19, with ongoing fighting reported near Berdychi on October 20. The Ukrainian General Staff reported successfully repelling Russian attacks in several areas around Avdiivka, including Novokalynove, Stepove, Pervomaiske (11 kilometers southwest of Avdiivka), and Sieverne.

Frontline report: Russia’s Avdiivka offensive “not worth the losses,” Russian troop said

The Ukrainian General Staff disclosed on October 20 that Ukrainian forces had caused significant damage, destroying almost 50 Russian tanks and over 100 armored vehicles in the preceding day of intense combat near Avdiivka. Ukrainian soldiers operating in the Avdiivka area asserted that Ukrainian forces had taken out 200 Russian armored vehicles in the past four days. Vitaliy Barabash, Head of the Avdiivka City Military Administration, revealed that Russian forces were attempting to conduct field repairs on damaged equipment.

Footage released on October 20 also documented Ukrainian forces targeting a Russian TOS-1 thermobaric artillery system near Avdiivka. A Russian milblogger expressed concerns about decreasing Russian counterbattery fire effectiveness near Avdiivka, citing poor communication and inadequate munitions stockpiling ahead of the offensive. This, in all likelihood, contributed to material losses in the region, ISW assesses.

Notably, the initial Russian offensive operations in the Avdiivka area on October 10 resulted in high verified Russian equipment losses. The fact that Russian forces regrouped and re-launched assaults following the initial attacks raises questions about the Russian military’s priorities, either suggesting their belief in the feasibility of taking Avdiivka or a concerningly low priority placed on offensive operations despite the associated costs.

Ukrainian troops managed to hold the line, as reported by Ukraine’s General Staff of Armed Forces on October 20, 2023. The Russian army suffered significant losses, with 120 armored vehicles and 55 tanks destroyed in just 24 hours. Intense combat saw the Russian military launching five missile strikes, 33 air strikes, and 32 artillery attacks on Ukrainian positions and residential areas, resulting in civilian casualties and infrastructure damage. Ukrainian defenders successfully repelled 20 Russian attacks in key locations, including Avdiivka, Novokalynove, Stepove, and Pervomaiske, while Russia’s Air Force conducted airstrikes near Keramik and Lastochkyne.

In their daily report, ISW also revealed that recently Ukraine’s forces liberated a village on the east bank of Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast.

Ukraine forces establish presence in a village on the east bank of Kherson Oblast – ISW

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