Ukraine is making mistakes in Avdiivka – but the city is still becoming a trap for Russia

Ukrainian military journalist Yuriy Butusov provides a detailed look at the battle around the city of Avdiivka. Accordingly, the defending army there is in a difficult situation. Butusov wrote on Thursday: “Today Russian troops crossed the railway line at Stepove. They have entrenched themselves there and are launching attacks on the city from close range.”

Russia is currently trying to expand its bridgehead and capture the Avdiivka coking plant. Butusov describes this as an important building complex to control the access roads to Avdiivka. “A conquest of the area would make the defense of the city much more difficult.” There was ultimately a risk of losing the city.

“Now they have to dig in quickly”

According to Butusov, Ukrainian mistakes made it possible to get this far. “It turns out that not a single commander has established a second line of defense. There are no ready-made positions to which Ukrainian soldiers can retreat. Now they have to dig in quickly.”

The threat would also increase in the south of the city, said Butusov. At the village of Optyne a Russian breakthrough would be achieved over an ever wider area. This, together with an advance from the coking plant, could lead to an encirclement.

Only in the city itself are the Ukrainian fighters currently managing to repel all attacks by the Russian army, said Butusov.

Avdiivka is becoming a tactical trap for the Russian armed forces

The military journalist is therefore also sure that the Ukrainian forces will not lose Avdiivka to the Russians. On the contrary: He is of the opinion that the city is becoming a “tactical trap” for the Russian army. He gives four reasons for this:

First : The 110th Brigade of the Ukrainian Army demonstrates “extraordinary combat ability”. She keeps the city reliable. This makes it impossible for the enemy to penetrate the city’s buildings.

Secondly : The Ukrainian troops have a much more advantageous position tactically. The Russian troops have created a corridor up to four kilometers wide and are trying to interrupt the Ukrainian supply routes. But they don’t succeed. The Ukrainian troops could easily hold their flanks and control the “firing sectors”. As a result, the Russian infantry suffered significant losses. His conclusion: It is much more difficult for the Russians to carry out the offensive in Avdiivka than it is for Ukraine to hold and defend its positions.

Third : Ukrainian troops will stabilize their defenses north of Avdiivka. As a result, the Russian troops would suffer further losses in defense of the position.

Fourth : The Russian troops would not have a major numerical advantage over the Ukrainians in the battle for Avdiivka. The Ukrainians have enough personnel and combat equipment here.

Butusov now believes two scenarios are possible

The Bakhmut-Soledar scenario

The Ukrainian military will try to track down the Russian units and lure them into targeted “counterattacks”. This would lead to a rapid loss of Russian combat capability.

The “normal” scenario

Full command is given to the 110th brigade of the Ukrainian forces. You have the greatest understanding of the situation here. In addition, other units near Stepove must be replaced by experienced units, for example from the General Staff reserve.

Avdiivka is “higher in value” than besieged Bakhmut

Butusov is sure: the stabilization of the Ukrainian defense will make it possible to systematically destroy the Russian infantry in the Stepove area – north of Avdiivka. Nevertheless, he admits that the Avdiivka crisis was not a result of the Russians’ great advantage, but was caused by a crisis within the Ukrainian military leadership.

Butusov considers Avdiivka “higher in value” than Bakhmut. That’s why he demands the country’s full concentration in this fight.

Jean Harris

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