Today, there is a lot of news from the Avdiivka direction.
The latest updates reveal that Ukrainians are preparing a comprehensive operation to unblock their forces and push Russians back to their initial positions.
The head of the Ukrainian Avdiivka Military Administration reported that Russian forces are severing the main Ukrainian ground line of communication into Avdiivka to encircle the settlement.
Prominent Russian sources assert that Russian forces are positioned approximately 700 meters from Ukraine’s main supply road, yet the scope of fighting has notably expanded, with claims that Russians have reached the industrial area.
The central district of Avdiivka is divided into two sections: north and south of the railways. In the north, Russian forces have yet to secure total control over the fields and treelines north of the quarry.
Following Russian advances in the Ivushka area, Ukrainian forces retreated from these positions to avoid encirclement.
It would be strategically advantageous for Russian forces to occupy the vacated ground and launch attacks from the other side of the quarry. However, Russian sources indicate that Ukrainians had anticipated this move and mined the area extensively before their withdrawal, effectively hindering Russians from initiating a second line of attack. Nonetheless, this development does not simplify the situation for Ukrainian forces.
Within the bridgehead, Russian forces have identified three primary objectives. The first is to reach the southern part of the quarry, considered the least challenging due to the necessity of advancing block by block through an area of small houses.
Despite claims of Russian progress, the reality on the ground shows that battles continue on the same streets, leading some analysts to suggest that Russians might merely consolidate their flanks to advance toward other objectives.
The second goal is to cross the railways and penetrate Ukrainian defenses in the industrial zone and truck station, a task that has so far proved unsuccessful, with the area remaining firmly under Ukrainian control. There were rumors of Russian forces reaching the truck station, but these were later refuted by leading Russian sources, likely due to the recapture of these positions by Ukrainian counterattacks.
The third objective for Russian forces is to cross the railways and seize control over a small residential area, intending to use it as a launching pad for attacks on the chemical plant. Russian claims of establishing a minor stronghold in the area are contested by Ukrainian denials.
The area south of the railways, consisting of industrial zones, poses a greater challenge than the residential neighborhoods, with the railway itself acting as a significant obstacle.
Despite not physically severing the main supply road, Russian forces have achieved fire control over it, prompting Ukrainians to adopt an alternative route connecting Avdiivka to Severne.
Russian analysts are concerned over the absence of panic and sudden retreats from Avdiivka’s southern part. While some Russian sources speculated about a Ukrainian mass withdrawal, soldiers on the ground have not observed such movements, nor do they believe the southern part can be taken without a fight. This has led Russian analysts to surmise that a Ukrainian counterattack is highly probable.
A Ukrainian fighter from the 24th battalion emphasized their resolve to combat despite the dire circumstances, noting that fighting in the fields would pose greater difficulties.
Recently, Russian sources have circulated footage of newly arrived Ukrainian troops in Avdiivka, suggesting an imminent counteroffensive, although the exact location and direction remain unclear.
The optimal outcome would involve a successful counterattack from the north, potentially severing the Russian bridgehead or at least complicating logistics to an extent that would prevent Russians from maintaining their offensive.
A less ambitious strategy would involve attacking the Russians along the northern bridgehead, stretching their forces thin and depleting their reserves, thus allowing Ukrainians to regroup and launch counterattacks.
The last and least favorable option would be to deploy the new troops directly into Avdiivka to confront the Russians with sheer force, a move that risks high casualties due to concentrated Russian artillery and airstrikes. Consequently, the first two strategies appear more pragmatic.