Russian The forces launched a “violent” and large-scale attack on the eastern region Ukrainian The city of Avdiivka, intensifying the fighting there, but they have so far been unable to make significant progress, according to Ukrainian officials, analysts and geospatial footage shared on social media.
“The fighting has been going on for four days,” Vitaly Barabash, head of the military administration of the city of Avdiivka, told Ukrainian national television on Friday. “Fierce and truly non-stop. Small arms battles and artillery duels.
According to Barabash, Russia is “firing with everything it has” on the city in an attempt to encircle the Ukrainian fighters.
“Unfortunately, they are not only striking the settlements on the front line, but also further away, in the rear settlements,” he added. “They never attacked, but are entirely focused on striking the flanks, from the south and north of the city. They are trying to implement their plan to encircle the city this way.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, left, speaks during a press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers on October 11.
Barabash went on to say that Russia is launching hundreds of continuous attacks on Ukrainian positions in the city located in the Donetsk region, with the support of tanks and armored personnel carriers.
He added: “On the first day, October 10, when they launched (the attack), they used a lot of vehicles. On the second day, not so much. “Yesterday they used armored vehicles again, and they were moving in columns, and they have a lot of vehicles and people, and they are bringing in new people.”
Geolocated footage, shared on social media by open source intelligence (OSINT) accounts, showed several Russian vehicles being attacked by Ukrainian forces, using artillery and shoulder-fired Javelin missiles donated by the United States as well as drones. Some noted that Russia lost more than a dozen armored vehicles in the attack.
CNN has not been able to independently verify these videos and what they claim to show, but Ukrainian officials have so far said they were able to repel the Russian attack, destroying a large number of vehicles in the process.
“It is very difficult and very tense, but they (the Ukrainian army) remained firmly in their positions for four days,” Barabash added. “I’m sure they will survive. They are not humans, they are titans.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also said that his country’s forces are repelling Russian forces.
“Avdiyevka. We are holding our ground,” Zelensky said via telegram on Thursday. “It is Ukrainian courage and unity that will determine how this war will end. We must all remember this.”
Later, in his evening speech, Zelensky said that units along the eastern front line had “destroyed hundreds of armored vehicles of the occupier” in the past few days alone.
He added: “I am grateful to every warrior and every unit for their steadfastness.”
The attack on Avdiivka comes as Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive continues to move much more slowly than initially expected.
Some analysts had initially suggested that the Russian move was aimed at forcing Kiev to divert some of the forces it had been using in its attacks along the southern and eastern front lines, but Ukrainian officials say the goal is actually to make progress while Kiev focuses elsewhere. .
“The enemy sees in Avdiivka an opportunity to achieve a historic victory and turn the tide of the war,” Oleksandr Stubon, spokesman for the group of forces on the southern front, known as Tavria, told Ukrainian television on Thursday. “Whereas at the time of the all-out invasion the enemy viewed Avdiivka as something insignificant, today capturing or encircling Avdiivka is perhaps the most they can achieve at this stage.”
He added: “For this reason, the enemy is actively using aviation and continuing its attack.”
Images geolocated by reputable OSINT accounts suggest that Russia was able to make some gains along the sides of the city, but was unable to make a significant breakthrough.
“Russian forces have not made any major breakthroughs near Avdiivka as of October 12, and are unlikely to immediately isolate Ukrainian forces in the city,” the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in its daily bulletin on Friday. “ISW estimates that Russian forces have captured 4.52 square kilometers of territory from different directions around Avdiivka since October 10.”
CNN was unable to independently verify these videos or analyze the footage prepared by ISW.
Despite the lack of progress, Russian attacks are negatively impacting the approximately 1,600 civilians still living in the besieged city.
He added: “During the escalation, we stopped supplying the city with humanitarian aid and food. We are only trying to ensure the evacuation.” Barabash explained: “In principle, the city has everything, including food, hygiene and medical supplies in sufficient quantities with a reserve of two months,” Barabash explained. It is certain.” “Our hospital was subjected to severe artillery shelling, and two missiles hit the central building. There is damage, serious damage to the hospital. But everyone is alive.”
During the past four days, at least one person was killed and four injured. Barabash said that two others were still missing and were suspected of being trapped under the rubble of a collapsed building.
He added: “We can say with 100% certainty that people died under the rubble, but we do not physically see the bodies.”
Avdiivka, a city very close to Donetsk’s airport, has already been the front line between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists since 2014. Ukrainian and Russian forces consider it a heavily fortified stronghold, where trenches have been built over the past. Eight years.
Some analysts and officials compared the city of Avdiivka to the city of Mariupol, noting that even if it was surrounded, it would be able to withstand Russian forces for several weeks.
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