Russia has lost at least 68 armored vehicles in Ukraine over the past four days, including eight tanks. Even by the horrific standards of the broader war that Russia has been waging against Ukraine for 21 months, it is a stunning blow. Ukraine’s losses in the same period are said to represent a tenth of Russia’s losses.
And those 68 destroyed and abandoned Russian vehicles are just the ones Andrew Perpetuaan open source intelligence analyst, was verified through photos and videos on social media. actual Russian losses are almost certainly much higher.
The Ukrainian General Staff for its part claimed Its forces destroyed 175 Russian armored vehicles between Thursday and Friday, including 55 tanks. On average, the Russians have been losing only three tanks per day since February 2022; The recent loss rate is about 20 times higher. Moscow also reportedly wrote off at least five warplanes over Avdiivka.
Manpower losses are proportional to vehicle losses. The General Staff in Kiev said that 1,380 Russians were killed in Ukraine in the 24 hours that ended on Friday. It would be one of the largest losses in a single day on either side of the broader war.
It is clear what leads to the high casualties in Russia’s ranks. For a few weeks now, seven or eight Russian regiments and brigades — each with up to 2,000 soldiers — have been trying to besiege and isolate one of the best-defended cities in a free Ukraine: Avdiivka, located just a short walk from the city. Northwest of Russian-occupied Donetsk in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.
Day after day, the Russians spread out in long columns of tanks and combat vehicles. Day after day, they step on mines, wander through missile kill zones, miss artillery barrages, and fall prey to explosive-laden drones.
But they keep coming.
It is unclear why the Russians were willing to expend such a large number of troops and vehicles in their failed attempt to surround, isolate and ultimately defeat Avdiivka’s garrison, which included at least two brigades and a regiment as well as attached battalions.
Russian commanders likely hope to draw Ukrainian brigades into a costly battle in order to prevent those brigades from reinforcing Ukraine’s southern counteroffensive, which began in June and saw Ukrainian forces advance at least 10 miles on each of two main axes: one north of Ukraine. Russian-occupied Melitopol, and the other farther east along the Mokri-Yali River valley.
The Ukrainians are also advancing on the left bank of the Dnipro River as well as south of Bakhmut in the east.
If the Avdiivka attack was indeed a reform effort, it likely failed. “Ukrainian officials have already identified the Avdiivka attack as a Russian manipulation operation, and they are unlikely to unjustifiably send Ukrainian manpower to that axis,” the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, D.C., said. male.
Maybe assault not like that Installation effort. Alternatively, perhaps the Kremlin is simply desperate for a win late in the season, as the weather becomes colder and wetter and the chances of significant offensive action diminish. Maybe the Avdiivka fight isn’t really about Avdiivka at all.
Which makes sense, in an illogical way. The World War II Institute explained that “virtual control of Avdiivka would not open new routes of advance into the rest of Donetsk Oblast.”
But if the Kremlin targeted Avdiyevka because of its symbolic value, it greatly miscalculated. The only thing Avdiivka represents, two weeks into the bloody campaign, are dead Russians and smashed Russian tanks.
The Russians could have withdrawn after the first day of attacks cost them, At ISW’s discretionAnd at least 45 tanks and other armored vehicles. But they persisted, and their commanders seemed unfazed by the mass loss of entire companies and battalions.
In this sense, Russia’s Avdiyevka campaign eerily mirrors their campaign around Vohldar at the beginning of 2023. For weeks on end, Russian marines stormed the Ukrainian garrison at the settlement, 25 miles southwest of Donetsk.
The Ukrainians bombed the assault columns. One crossroads in particular testifies to the Russians’ refusal, or inability, to adapt. After weeks of Ukrainian ambushes, the intersection was filled with a dozen or more tanks and destroyed combat vehicles.
Today, Fuhildar is free. The same applies to Avdiivka, despite the Russians’ persistent efforts to bring the city under occupation.
It’s hard to say where this ends. The Russians wasted the bulk of two marine battalions when they failed to capture Voledar the previous winter. But a more costly campaign around Bakhmut ended in a Pyrrhic Russian victory this spring, as Ukrainian brigades, having traded space for time and Russian losses, withdrew from the city 30 miles north of Donetsk.
If the Russians continued to push the regiments into the meat mill at Avdiivka, they might eventually be able to capture the city. But the losses they suffer could weaken Russian operations across Ukraine’s 600-mile front line.
“As long as this high casualty rate can be maintained,” the Royal United Services Institute in London said. pointed out“It becomes possible to suppress Russia’s ability to train a sufficient number of new forces to the standards necessary for effective offensive action.”
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