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Frontline report: Ukraine keeps Avdiivka front “stable” as Russia claims new attacks

Facing heavy losses, the Russian command shifts its narrative, saying that “taking the city may not be their primary goal.”
Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.
Frontline report: Ukraine keeps Avdiivka front “stable” as Russia claims new attacks

Day 657

On 12 December, there were a lot of updates from the Avdiivka direction. Here, the most intense clashes took place in the central part of the region. The increase in the intensity of attacks was rather rapid, as the region was largely characterized by sporadic Russian reconnaissance-in-force operations over the last weeks.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

As you remember, when Russian forces entered the territory of the demolished industrial zone, they put themselves in a very inconvenient situation, as all buildings were already destroyed by artillery fire, and the Russian infantry had little to no cover from Ukrainian fire.

The industrial zone, therefore, quickly became a kill zone, and Russian forces incurred substantial losses in their attempts to consolidate control over the region. That is why, as reported by Russian sources, Russian forces decided to take time to regroup to prepare fresh troops to resume assault operations.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

While waiting for these reinforcements, Russian troops that were holding the positions in the industrial zone received supplies via the first Russian ground drones. They could minimize the exposure and, therefore, losses from Ukrainian drone attacks. Ukrainian fighters recently published a video showing that they finally found and destroyed it.

To distract Ukrainian forces and draw their attention away from the Russian bridgehead, Russian forces started attacking Ukrainian positions in the forest north of the industrial zone.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Russian sources published a video showing how they are shelling Ukrainian fortifications. Simultaneously, it was reported that the reinforcements continued to arrive at this front to restart the ground operations.

On 12 December, some Russian sources claimed that Russians finally resumed ground operations and penetrated the Ukrainian defense west of the industrial zone by hundreds of meters. Russian sources claimed that Ukrainians were caught by surprise and had to retreat along Kolosova Street.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

There was still no visual evidence of such a success.The Ukrainian side reported that even though the number of Russian assaults spiked, Russian assault units failed to achieve any success and were eliminated.

If we look at the 3D map, we can also see that the vector of the Russian attack originated in the pit, which would be suicidal due to the tactical disadvantages.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Moreover, Ukrainians were tightly controlling the accumulation of Russian troops in the region. Ukrainian fighters from the famous 110th Mechanized Brigade showed how they targeted Russian forces’ concentrations. To undermine Russian offensive capabilities, the drone pilots destroyed 1 howitzer, 2 tanks, and multiple small infantry groups.

Ukrainian fighters from the Border Guard Detachment were also heavily concentrated in this region. Geolocated footage shows that they managed to destroy another tank, an armoured vehicle, a howitzer, a small ammunition depot, and a group of soldiers. The front line in this region is kept stable.

The entire Avdiivka front line has finally stabilized over the last month, especially along the southern line, where Russians have not generated any gains over the last 7 weeks.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

That is why the Russian High Command continues to characterize Russian offensive efforts in Avdiivka as “active defense”. The confidence of the Russian Command in their ability to take Avdiivka was low from the very beginning, so to temper expectations, they called it active defense. Even though Ukrainian forces have never conducted offensive operations at scale in the Avdiivka area since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

Since it has already become clear that Russian forces will not be able to take Avdiivka by the end of the year, Russians have already started using the “active defense” framing to recontextualize the lack of any major Russian progress around Avdivka.

Several days ago, some prominent Russian sources started claiming that the Avdivka offensive was just a decoy and that taking it was not the main Russian goal. This is not surprising because out of the allocated 40 thousand troops as reserves for the Avdiivka offensive, approximately 13 thousand of them are already dead or wounded.

It seems like the Russian command is not confident that the remaining 27 thousand troops will be enough to close the pocket, which is why they are trying to deprioritize this direction, meaning that, so far, the Ukrainian defensive operation is going according to the plan.

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.

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