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OSINT data: Russia’s assault on Avdiivka costliest since all-out war outset in terms of equipment losses

Geoconfirmed’s investigation confirmed Russia’s major equipment losses in the Avdiivka offensive —197-215 combat vehicles damaged or destroyed over three weeks. This is “by far the most costly Russian assault” since the start of the all-out war, the investigators said.
Russian equipment destroyed near Avdiivka spoil tip. Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.
OSINT data: Russia’s assault on Avdiivka costliest since all-out war outset in terms of equipment losses

On 1 November, the open-source intelligence (OSINT) sleuths of the Geoconfirmed community-based geolocating platform shared their investigation on X/Twitter, in which they counted Russia’s visually confirmed equipment losses since the start of Russia’s ongoing offensive near Avdiivka on 9-10 October.

Based on the open-source data such as publicly available videos, photos, and satellite imagery, the researchers concluded that Russia lost at least 197 combat vehicles in three weeks as damaged or destroyed, with an additional 18 vehicles potentially lost.

Geoconfirmed does not explicitly specify if the lost vehicles include only the armored equipment or also the transport vehicles such as trucks and cars used by the Russian military. However, the sample footage, provided by Geoconfirmed to illustrate the losses, shows the armored vehicles used in the Russian attacks near Avdiivka.

Thus, according to the Geoconfirmed data, the confirmed Russian losses over the first three weeks of the Russian Avdiivka offensive amounted to 197-215 vehicles, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, and other equipment.

The Geoconfirmed researchers said they had also geolocated another 61 Russian vehicle losses in the Avdiivka area, known before the Russian offensive.

Describing the methodology of their investigation, the Geoconfirmed researchers said they considered a Russian vehicle a loss if it remained for more than three days on the same exact spot, with burn marks or destruction visible most of the time. 

“Less than 10 were moved before 31 October,” Geoconfirmed wrote.

Meanwhile, they considered a vehicle a potential loss when they had no later footage to confirm it was a loss.

Geoconfirmed called the Russian Avdiivka offensive “by far the most costly assault”

“[On] 12 October, we stated this: ‘This could become the most costly Russian assault since the beginning of the war.’ We can conclude now that this is by far the most costly Russian assault, during three weeks, for one city, since the beginning of the war,” Geoconfirmed wrote.

It is worth noting that the visually confirmed losses constitute the lowest number of possible losses because neither all the lost equipment is being captured on video, nor all the captured footage of that is made public.

The map shows the locations of the visually confirmed Russian equipment losses near Avdiivka, clearly clustered north and southwest of the city, where the Russian troops attempted to conduct a pincer movement in their attempted two-pronged attack, aimed at encircling Avdiivka:

Geolocated Russian vehicle losses near Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast. Map: Geoconfirmed

On 29 September, two weeks into the Russian Avdiivka offensive, the Ukrainian military stated that Russia lost some 6,500 soldiers in the area in October. In addition, Russia lost some 100 tanks and about 250 units of other armored vehicles near Avdiivka, the military reported at the time.

A day earlier, on 28 September, the UK Defense Ministry said in its intelligence report that Russia committed elements of up to eight brigades to the sector of Avdiivka, and these elements have likely suffered some of Russia’s highest casualty rates of 2023 so far. The ministry, however, did not share any details regarding the numbers of the Russian losses at Avdiivka.

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