• 25/04/2024 02:53

Loss of Avdiivka – causes and consequences. How will the situation on the eastern front change?

ByJohn Newman

Feb 27, 2024

On February 17, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Alexander Syrsky announced the withdrawal of Ukrainian units from Avdiivka due to the situation around the city and in order to preserve the life and health of the military.

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Loss of Avdiivka – causes and consequences . How the situation on the eastern front will change

Avdeevka. Photo – Instagram/libkos

According to the commander of the Operational-Strategic Group of Forces «Tavria» Alexander Tarnavsky, during the four months of the active phase of the Avdeevka defense operation, the losses of the Russian Federation exceeded 47 thousand, and hundreds of enemy military equipment were also destroyed.

According to estimates provided by the intelligence of the British Ministry of Defense, during the campaign to capture Avdeevka, the Russian Federation lost at least 400 tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other equipment, as well as probably thousands of personnel.

Tarnavsky noted that the Ukrainian defenders inflicted huge losses on the enemy and destroyed a significant reserve of the occupiers, which the Russian Federation planned to use in other sectors of the front for offensive actions.

It is worth noting that in the Avdeevsky direction, military units and formations of the 1st Army Corps, 2nd and 8th Armies and the 41st Army Corps of the Russian Armed Forces fought against the defense forces.

But I would like focus on what led to the temporary loss of Avdiivka.

The first thing you should pay attention to is the balance of forces and means, it was many times not in favor of Ukraine. It is obvious. But these losses could have been significantly greater, and Avdiivka would have remained under our control if the Defense Forces had not experienced a colossal shortage of shells and army air defense systems (short and medium range). This did not allow for a more effective defense.

Russian ground attacks resulted in the capture of the city, including due to the fact that they took place with massive support from cannon artillery and military aviation (the latter actively used KAB – adjustable aerial bombs). Only at the last moment did we begin to report about downed enemy planes. And so – the enemy had a total advantage in the air.

And here is a question for our foreign partners, who, unfortunately, give us much less and later shells, missiles, howitzers and MLRS. Not to mention the planes that we needed yesterday. By the way, US President Joe Biden himself admitted that the delay in providing assistance from his country (due to the blocking of the relevant bill by congressmen) led to the occupation of Avdiivka by the Russians.

Unfortunately, no conclusions were drawn from similar military operations in the area of ​​Soledar and Bakhmut. The Ukrainian side placed the main emphasis on maintaining a large industrial enterprise – the Avdeevka Coke and Chemical Plant. But the occupiers took into account the experience of Mariupol (the assault on Azovstal and the Ilyich plant). And, as in Bakhmut, when the non-ferrous metal processing plant was bypassed from the flanks, in Avdeevka it was with flank attacks that they achieved their goals, without getting involved in a frontal assault on AKHZ.

The attack was in the direction of the village of Berdich, with access to Lastochkino. And the second one is on Industrial Avenue. With these maneuvers, the enemy actually cut off the Ukrainian Armed Forces' locations. In essence, the Bakhmut scenario was repeated. Our main defense centers were actually blocked. And they had to be left so as not to repeat the experience of Azovstal. What neither our military nor Ukrainian society wanted.

Despite the fact that the Avdeevsky coking plant could still be maintained, cutting the transport arteries would inevitably turn it into Azovstal-2. Consequently, the decision to withdraw forces and assets from Avdeevka, so as not to fall into operational encirclement, was absolutely correct. Even belated.

Loss of Avdiivka - causes and consequences. How the situation on the eastern front will change

Avdiivka. Photo — Instagram/libkos

Unfortunately, there was a failure of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

The enemy’s tactical maneuver was that the Russian special forces unit used a drainage pipe up to approximately 2 km long to enter the operational rear of the Ukrainian group and create a threat to both flankers strikes, and operational encirclement of individual units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

It is noteworthy that the enemy carried out preparatory engineering work for more than one month, including welding and drilling work, as well as the arrangement of ammunition caches and equipment. Then there was a breakthrough in the area of ​​the Tsar’s Hunt, followed by a strike on the flank of the Ukrainian group concentrated at Zenit. This is a powerful fortified point that we have built since 2014. There are serious concrete fortifications there. And this position could be maintained for quite a long time. But since «overslept» enemy maneuver using a pipe, had to leave «Zenith».

It is surprising that our intelligence did not take such a scenario into account. Moreover, this is not the first time that the invaders have used drainage systems to penetrate the rear of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Such an episode happened during the battles for Donetsk airport. But then our cyborgs managed to block this opportunity.

The bottom line is that, taking advantage of this maneuver, the enemy went to the rear of the Ukrainian group and gained a foothold in urban areas. Ukrainian defenders were forced to accumulate their operational reserves in order to localize the breakthrough of the occupiers.

On February 15, the Third Separate Assault Brigade confirmed that it was urgently redeployed to reinforce Ukrainian troops in the Avdeevka area, and also reported that two enemy brigades had been critically defeated in the Avdeevka direction, but the Ukrainian defenders had to «fight 360 degrees» , and the Russians are transferring new forces to Avdievka.

Loss of Avdiivka – causes and consequences. How the situation on the eastern front will change

Avdeevka. Photo — Instagram/libkos

I think this needs to be talked about. If failures are not analyzed, they may recur in the future.

In addition, in the case of Avdiivka, as in the case of Bakhmut, for a long time political logic prevailed over military logic. The city also began to be promoted as a fortress, like the Bakhmut fortress. Both our Western partners and the General Staff during the battles for Avdiivka, as in the case of Bakhmut, insisted on the need to withdraw troops. From a military point of view, leaving Avdiivka is not critical. It would be much more terrible to lose a lot of our military, weapons, and equipment there.

Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhny, about a month before his removal from office, stated that a period would come when we would have to withdraw troops from Avdeevka. Already at the beginning of this year it was clear that it was extremely difficult to hold the city, it was very vulnerable.

The political leadership did not listen then. It is good that as a result the decision to withdraw from Avdiivka was nevertheless made. Albeit late. What does the introduction of the 3rd assault brigade into the city indicate, which had to cover the departure of the remaining defenders.

It is extremely important that during the four months of active fighting for Avdievka, those in charge are able to prepare a new line of defense (2 and 3 lines), where our military personnel will withdraw. So that it doesn’t work out like in Bakhmut, when we literally had to go into an open field. On February 13, Prime Minister Shmygal visited the Donetsk region. After which he said that the fortification and engineering structures there were ready. I hope that these are not just words.

We can also talk about changing the tactics of the Russian occupiers in the Avdeevka area. If earlier these were massive offensives, that is, armored columns under cover in one battalion tactical group, now these are the tactics of the PPK «Wagner», which they used during the assaults in Soledar and Bakhmut, — action in small mobile groups of 8 to 15 people. These are many mobile groups that, by shortening the front line, create a fire advantage in a certain sector of the front and try to break through the defenses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Foreign Policy is now citing estimates of «more than ten European military officials and experts& #187; writes that the situation on the battlefield is serious, but not so serious that Ukraine faces collapse or serious setbacks at the front.

D. Snegirev

nbnews.com.ua

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