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Frontline report: Russia continues powerful attacks on the Avdiivka northern frontline despite high casualties

Ukrainian forces conducted a series of missile strikes on the Russian logistics and an airstrike on the Russian command headquarters responsible for the Avdiivka offensive to undermine the offensive.
Destroyed Russian fuel depot in Donetsk. Screenshot from the video filmed by locals.

Facing a lot of powerful attacks in Avdiivka, Ukraine conducted a series of strikes to alleviate pressure.

First of all, Ukrainian forces conducted a successful HIMARS strike and destroyed yet another fuel depot in Donetsk. This is already the third fuel depot that got destroyed just over the last week. Russian analysts called it a defueling campaign and started raising the alarm about the situation, calling for the improvement of the density of air defense systems in the region to support the offensive operation.

Moreover, in order to complicate and derange Russian logistics, Ukrainians also struck Taganrog. Taganrog is the most important logistical hub for Russian forces in the Donetsk region because it has a direct railway connection with Donetsk and Horlivka. Local residents reported hearing multiple explosions and recently released footage that captured the arrival of 2 missiles.

The railway from Taganrog to Russian-occupied Donetsk serves as a key logistical hub

By targeting Russian warehouses and logistics in Taganrog, Ukrainians limit the amount of reinforcements that Russians can send to the Avdiivka direction, while by targeting fuel depots in Donetsk, Ukrainians limit the possible use of heavy equipment that Russians already have on the front. Such campaigns are very helpful in alleviating the pressure on the front, which is highly needed right now because Russian forces have finished regrouping and launched a renewed wave of attacks.

The most intense clashes took place in the northern part of the region, where Russians are not giving up on hopes of establishing control over Stepove. Today’s combat footage shows how Russians sent a huge assault unit to storm Ukrainian positions. The column consisted of around 15 armored personnel carriers that transported up to 200 Russian troops to Krasnohorivka, where they immediately ran toward the tree lines. Ukrainian fighters reported that many vehicles and troops were destroyed during the deployment and that they will release the video proofs shortly.

Some assault units are still supported with armor, although Russians no longer use many units. A several-day-old video shows that Russians send between 3 and 4 armored fighting vehicles to the contact line because the column is small and manages to reach the front. However, since Russians use the same trajectory every single time, Ukrainian artillery units have their guns pointed at these routes at all times, so the moment Russians get into this region, they face overwhelming artillery fire. Some Russian soldiers still managed to reach the tree line and initiate fighting.

The same applies to the tree line north of Stepove. Recently released footage shows how a Russian armored fighting vehicle enters Stepove and then explodes on a mine. Russian sources used these geolocations to claim that Russian forces had established full control over the eastern side of Stepove and the corresponding tree lines.

Ukrainian fighters from the 47th Mechanized Brigade responded to these claims and posted a video filmed by a drone that flew above the tree lines that Russians claim control over. The video features just a 100-meter section of this tree line and an unbelievable number of Russian corpses there. These were the soldiers who never even reached Ukrainian positions and were killed by artillery or drones en route. In total, this 100-meter section had 48 corpses.

Ukrainians do not control this territory either, so the square between the rails and Stepove is in the grey zone. The Russian human wave attacks work, and to minimize losses and prevent Russians from achieving their objective, Ukrainians use the following tactic. They use their defenses to kill as many Russian troops as possible and, if necessary, step back. Eventually, when Russians face temporary shortages of forces and start regrouping, Ukrainians make a series of counterattacks to return as much ground as possible. So, the front line is necessarily shifting back and forth in this region all the time.

The eastern part pf the Stepove is now a gray zone. Map by Reporting from Ukraine

Ukrainians also started engaging aviation to target Russian headquarters. Recently released footage shows the aftermath of a Su-25 airstrike on a command post of the battalion that is currently actively storming Ukrainian positions. Elimination of battalion-level commanders has an immediate impact on the situation on the ground and has undoubtedly turned the situation in favor of Ukrainians during the ongoing heavy clashes.

A Ukrainian strike on what is claimed was Russian headquarters in the northern Avdiivka flank. Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video.

Overall, the situation in Avdiivka remains difficult but under control. The combined use of aviation, long-range artillery, and missiles to target Russian command centers and logistics immediately on the front as well as in the deep rear is an improvement in the ongoing Ukrainian defensive operation. The continuation of this campaign will force Russians to reduce the tempo of their offensive operation, giving Ukrainians more space for counterattacks.

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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