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ISW: Ukrainians advance near Avdiivka, Russians claim gains as weather hampers fighting

ISW says Ukrainian forces have counterattacked northeast of Donetsk’s Avdiivka and advanced in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, while the Russians claimed some gains near Avdiivka.
Ukrainian soldier in a trench. Illustrative image: General Sttaff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
ISW: Ukrainians advance near Avdiivka, Russians claim gains as weather hampers fighting

Ukrainian and Russian forces are continuing combat operations in eastern and southern Ukraine, although the rainy weather will likely continue to slow the pace of combat operations until winter conditions fully set in, the ISW says. 

The US-based think tank Institute for the Study of War says in its November 19 Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment that Ukrainian forces have counterattacked northeast of Donetsk’s Avdiivka and advanced in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, while the Russians claimed some gains near Avdiivka.

A Russian military blogger claimed that Ukrainian forces continue to defend against a strong group of Russian forces attacking near Avdiivka and that Ukrainian forces maintain the initiative in southern Ukraine.

The military blogger noted that claims of Russian victories are premature and could lead to misconceptions about the actual conditions on the battlefield. Additionally, another military blogger pointed out that adverse weather conditions are hindering the deployment of armored vehicles in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast, yet Ukrainian troops continue to engage Russian positions with infantry assaults.

The UK Defense Ministry assessed on 18 November that neither side has achieved any substantial progress in the Kupiiansk and Avdiivka directions, or in the east (left) bank Kherson Oblast — where the most intense battles are ongoing.

The UK Ministry of Defence stated that the onset of colder winter weather is likely to reduce the chances of significant shifts at the frontlines. Meanwhile, Ukrainian military authorities expect Russia to initiate a third series of attacks on Avdiivka.

“Freezing weather conditions during the winter will likely prompt the resumption of more active combat operations, and ongoing rainy weather is unlikely to halt Ukrainian or Russian attacks,” the ISW says.

According to the ISW data, the Ukrainians made the following advances:

  • Ukrainian forces made a confirmed advance near the railway southeast of Stepove, which is northwest of Avdiivka.
  • In western Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ukrainian forces reportedly made marginal advances near Novoprokopivka and Rivne, west of Robotyne.

Meanwhile, Russian forces made the following claims:

  • Russian advances in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast and asserted repelling Ukrainian attacks in various locations without specifying substantial territorial gains.
  • Russian advances near the industrial zone on the southeastern outskirts of Avdiivka and near the Avdiivka Coke Plant.

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