In recent months, the fiercest battles of the war in Ukraine have been concentrated in the city of Avdijivka, located in the Donetsk region. The Russians have lost tens of thousands of soldiers and hundreds of armored vehicles during their attack. Still, the slow-moving attack continues.
Assistant military professor at the National Defense University Juha Kukkola says that the situation for the defenders is getting more difficult every day because the soldiers are getting tired. In these conditions, it is very difficult to replace the wards in the defensive line with rested ones.
American Forbes magazine According to him, the center of Avdijivka has been defended by the 110th mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian army together with some border guard units and commandos for four months. The brigade originally had about 2,000 soldiers.
About a week ago, the defenders suffered a setback when the Russians were able to advance more than a kilometer on the northwest side of the city. The Russians got only a few hundred meters away from the last supply route in Avdijivka.
War the next euromaidanpress website according to the Russians advanced in the darkness of the night, while making use of “invisibility cloaks”, i.e. fabrics that do not let heat radiation through. Ukrainian soldiers use a lot of thermal cameras, which reveal enemy movements even at night. Now, according to the site, they didn’t help.
According to Major Juha Kukkola, the access of the Russians near the supply road will change the situation.
– When they [venäläiset] get closer and closer, that means they first get sighted and then the whole route under fire. […] That is practically decisive. The Russians have air superiority. In practice, the city cannot be serviced except by road.
How long does Avdijivka last?
According to Kukkola, it is impossible to give an accurate estimate of how long the city’s defense will last. If the leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine insists on continuing the defense, it may take weeks or even months.
Kukkola believes that the city is fortified for a defensive battle and that stores have been gathered there. However, there has been war in Avdijvka since the beginning of autumn, so the stocks have certainly decreased.
Considering the Russians’ pace of progress so far, which is only a few hundred meters per week on average, Kukkola believes that the city will last for some time.
In Ukraine, spring is also about to start, when the soil turns into a mud field. Russian attacks with heavy vehicles become more difficult.
Will the attack intensify before the elections?
Military experts have predicted that the Russian president Vladimir Putin wants to achieve a military victory, i.e. capture the Ukrainian city before the mid-March presidential elections.
Kukkola considers this possible. According to him, Russia has maintained pressure against Ukraine on other fronts as well. So Russia has the option to move troops to Avdijivka if it wants to.
According to Kukkola, in this situation, questions arise as to whether the soldiers’ will to fight is sufficient, as well as the skills and abilities of the officers.
Today, Russia is able to produce a large amount of war material, such as grenades and airplanes, and it still has tanks in its warehouses that can be brought to the front to replace those destroyed. At the same time, the material support Ukraine receives from abroad has collapsed.
Does defending Avdijivka make sense?
Avdijivka is surrounded by the Russians from three directions. According to many experts, it would make the most sense to leave the completely ruined city to the Russians. Constantly sacrificing human lives to defend piles of rubble doesn’t seem reasonable to everyone.
However, the assistant military professor Kukkola does not immediately rule out the continuation of the defensive battle if the defenders’ corner holds.
In a political sense, it may be justified to prevent Putin from achieving a military victory before the election.
Militarily, the value of Avdijivka lies in the huge losses caused to Russia. When Russia is ready to constantly assign new soldiers and tanks to the “meat grinder” of Avdijivka, they are absent from somewhere else.
– Russia has shown that it is ready to suffer losses and Ukraine will make it suffer losses, Kukkola taps.
In Avdijivka, Russia has already lost so much military power that, according to Kukkola, it has “taken away the cleaner” if Russia wanted to try a bigger attack elsewhere at the beginning of the year. According to him, Russia’s forces are not enough, at least during the late winter and spring. The defenders of Avdijivka are thus buying time for their country.
Kukkola also reminds that Ukraine is fighting for its own country and territorial integrity.
– Russia probably intends to hold on to every field or ruin. Russia will not hand them over voluntarily, the war ended one way or another. Ukraine understands this.