Day 637: Nov 22
Today, there are a lot of updates from the Avdiivka direction.
Here, the most interesting developments happened in the central part of the region. As the initial plan of Russian forces to breach the Ukrainian defense from two sides and take Avdiivka into a pocket failed, Russians were forced to adjust their ambitious operation.
Russian analysts already say that Avdiivka will not be taken anywhere soon and that it has already turned into the second Bakhmut.
It seems like the Russian command did their calculations and revealed that the tactic of overwhelming Ukrainian positions with human waves attacks that we saw in the beginning is not sustainable, and Russians may run out of reserves faster than they move forward.
That is why, over the last several weeks, as reported by Ukrainian soldiers who are fighting in Avdiivka, the intensity of attacks in the north and south decreased by around 30%, while the number of attacks in the central part of the region has increased.
In fact, there were already Russian attempts to move north of Krasnohorivka and south of Terrikon, into the residential area, but there were also a lot of attacks right between Avdiivka and Donetsk.
Ukrainian analysts concluded that Russians switched from the tactic of overwhelming a small region with manpower, to stretching Ukrainian forces along the entire contact line. By conducting attacks from Vodiane to Krasnohorivka, Russians forced Ukrainians to deploy their troops more evenly and increased the overall pressure on the Ukrainian defense because the stability of each section of the front line depends on the stability of the neighboring sections.
Russian forces also initially counted on the element of surprise. As a large number of Ukrainian forces were busy protecting the flanks, Russians assumed that Ukrainians would not be able to send reinforcements on time if they attacked directly from Donetsk. Unfortunately for Russians, Ukrainians prepared a huge surprise.
One of the main Russian directions of the attack became the “Tsarska Okhota” restaurant. Russians unleashed their artillery and started preparing for the assault. Ukrainian trenches were located on the other side of the road, right between the two bridges. Even though Russians managed to get a foothold on the adjacent positions, Russians struggled to get close to the trenches. The reason why Russians failed to assume control over these positions is that Ukrainians had created a powerful fortification with machine gun nests just 100 meters north of the trenches.
The fortification was built inside the embankment of the bridge and worked synergistically to rebuff Russian attacks. Russian commanders were frustrated that one small section of the front line prevented a Russian breakthrough, which is why they increased the intensity of their attacks and engaged aviation and heavy artillery.
Nonetheless, even after Ukrainians had to withdraw from the trenches due to the constant fire, the moment Russian soldiers tried to advance, most of them died. Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces Spokesman Colonel Oleksandr Shtupun stated that the number of Russian deserters and personnel who refuse to conduct offensive operations is increasing, causing Russian commanders to use physical force and barrier troops to push Russian forces to fight.
Geolocated combat footage released by Russian forces shows how Russians were shelling the Ukrainian fortification and conducting strikes with kamikaze drones. Russian soldiers even tried to target the machine gun nest with ATGMs, however, all efforts were in vain, and the moment Russian assault units got close, they got destroyed.
Recently, Russians launched a decisive attack and finally managed to overtake the fortification despite losses in manpower. To their surprise, they did not find any Ukrainians, just a machine gun.
As it turned out, Ukrainians created a machine gun with cameras that can be operated from a remote controller. Ukrainians only visited the position to replenish supplies of electricity and ammunition.
That is why the Ukrainian fortification was so resistant to the strikes. Russians spent more than 40 days trying to breach it.
And it seems like this is not the only surprise in this direction because even after capturing this fortification, Russians still cannot get close to the “Tsarska Okhota” restaurant.
In our daily frontline report, we pair up with the military blogger Reporting from Ukraine to keep you informed about what is happening on the battlefield in the Russo-Ukrainian war.