The Russian army is intensifying its bombings and now occupies 18% of the city on which it is tightening its grip. The day before, the mayor of this town in Donbass spoke of “a critical situation”.
Avdiivka, the other Bakhmut? Two cities in Donbass, ruined by bombings, suffering the ravages of Russian assaults. Avdiivka, an industrial town in Donbass, 13 kilometers from Donetsk, also risks falling under the Russian yoke. The Kremlin army there “attacks with very large forces”, warned Vitaly Barabach, the mayor, on Ukrainian television this Thursday. The city councilor recorded, the day before, 50 massive shellings and more than 30 aerial bombardments and mentioned “a critical situation”.
“18% of the city’s territory” is occupied by the Russians who “continue to put pressure”alerted, Wednesday on Telegram, the account DeepStateMap, observer of the conflict, close to the Ukrainian army. The marshy north and forested east (see map below) have been suffering the most significant attacks for several days, boasted Rybar, a Telegram channel close to the Russians, on Wednesday. Objective: to push the Ukrainians from the suburbs and force them to retreat by increasing the pressure on the O0542 road which supplies them. With in mind the precedent of Bakhmut. The Ukrainian army, surrounded, had evacuated the city near bitter fighting in May 2023 by the last road which led to its rear: the O0506. Only the weather which bogged down the earth, according to the mayor, slowed down the Russian offensive by preventing the massive use of armored vehicles.
The Russian army is advancing “along a front up to 500 meters wide to a depth of 300 meters along Chernyshevskoho, Sportyvna and Soborna streets in southern Avdiivka”, underlines theInstitute for the Study of War (ISW) in its daily bulletin dated February 6. The most significant advance (5.21 km2, Editor’s note) is located to the north of the city, near Stepove (see map above) as it approaches a coking plant. The Russian army, on this part of the front, is helped by its pro-Russian auxiliaries from the self-proclaimed republic of Donetsk.
A long battle
Avdiivka has been coveted by Russia since 2014. The town was taken by separatists, then liberated by the Ukrainian army. Its elevated position allows kyiv to maintain permanent pressure on Donetsk, capital of the annexed oblast of the same name. It marks the front line in this area and was already regularly bombed even before the Russian offensive in Ukraine in February 2022. To conquer Avdiivka, Russia and its separatist proxies carried out several attempts from February 20, four days before the outbreak. of “special military operation” by Vladimir Putin.
But the city was properly fortified, since it constitutes an important point of the Ukrainian defensive system in the region. “It is one of the most fortified points on the front. A very hard nut to crack”certified Cédric Mas, military historian, to the Figaro . In October, the Russians launched a massive assault to surround it and cut off its supplies. Despite significant forces committed, it was a failure. The Institute Study of Warin its bulletin of October 15, noted that the Russian army had not “no further progress has yet been made amid a likely slowdown in the pace of Russian operations in the region”. The return of good weather, and the solidification of the soil, will now allow greater use of armored vehicles in the short term and therefore obtain better velocity and firepower.
If the Ukrainian army withdraws, it will have to urgently rethink its defensive system in order to leave no hold to its enemy. It will be necessary to close the road to Pokrovsk, 60 kilometers to the north, an important logistical node which serves the Donbass. On January 6, the Russian army bombed several hotels, known to house journalists, but also officers on leave.