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Estonia spy chief: next weeks to see intense fighting near Avdiivka and Kupiansk

Russia will aim to capture Avdiivka by the end of the year to score a propaganda victory like with Bakhmut, Colonel Ants Kiviselg said
Estonia spy chief Colonel Ants Kiviselg,
Colonel Ants Kiviselg, head of Estonia’s military intelligence. Screenshot of video from briefing
Estonia spy chief: next weeks to see intense fighting near Avdiivka and Kupiansk

Fierce battles are likely to unfold near the strategic eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka and around Kupiansk in the coming weeks, warned Colonel Ants Kiviselg, head of the Estonian Defense Forces’ intelligence center, speaking to ERR.

He said Russia aims to fully capture Avdiivka by year’s end to trumpet as a propaganda victory, while also gaining tactical advantages like keeping nearby Donetsk beyond Ukrainian artillery range.

avdiivka map
Avdiivka on a map. Credit: ISW

“The Russian Federation has continued its aggressive offensive in Ukraine. The main areas where offensive operations have been carried out are in the direction of Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast and in the direction of Kupiansk in Kharkiv Oblast,” Kiviselg said.

Kupiansk map
Kupiansk (Kupiansk) on a map. Credit: ISW

He explained that Russia has sustained heavy losses but achieved some tactical success near Avdiivka, aided by relatively dry weather suitable for heavy equipment. However, stiff Ukrainian resistance has kept Russian equipment losses high.

“Nevertheless, Russia will likely continue offensive operations at the current intensity over the coming weeks, with the aim of likely gaining complete control of Avdiivka by the end of this year,” the colonel said. “The capture of Avdiivka, like Bakhmut before it, would be presented as a major military success justifying further aggression towards Luhansk and Donetsk in the eyes of the Russian population,” he added.

Kiviselg noted Russia is interested in Avdiivka to push Ukrainian forces back from Donetsk. “There is also a north-south supply route there, as well as a railway line that Russia uses to resupply its units. Currently, Ukraine is able to affect this railway and these roads not only with missiles but also with artillery fire. This is the tactical advantage that Russia would like to achieve in that area,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces have achieved more success across the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine. “Ukraine’s armed forces have continued creating new bridgeheads on the left bank of the Dnipro, mainly between Kherson and Novokakhovka,” Kiviselg stated. Foggy weather has aided Ukrainian river crossings, though Russia has increased airstrikes in response.

The coming weeks could prove decisive, with heavy fighting anticipated near Avdiivka and Kupiansk as Russia seeks to make gains before winter sets in, while Ukraine looks to press its counteroffensive in the south.

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