Avdiivka as Putin's third deadline. When the situation for the Ukrainian Armed Forces becomes critical

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Why Avdiivka remains the number one target

Read also: Russian advances in Avdiivka stalled — UK intelligence

The American Institute for Study (ISW) has recorded the advance of Russian troops through the streets of Avdiivka. In particular, the geolocation footage published the day before shows that Russian troops have advanced in the area of the Tsarskaya Okhota restaurant along Soborna Street, in the south of Avdiivka, and along a strip of trees in the southwest of the city. So, let me tell you how to interpret this information about the enemy's advance.

We have repeatedly said about Avdiivka that it is a kind of political fetish target for the Russians. First and foremost, it is a political decision, not a tactical or strategic decision. They needed Avdiivka as a great epic victory on the eve of Putin's conference with the public on December 14. They needed to completely capture the city before then so Putin could show it off to the Russian people. This did not happen. He was not given such a gift. They didn't do it by the second deadline, New Year's Eve. Now, they have a third deadline, just before the so-called “presidential elections.” They will need Putin to come out with some big victory, and Avdiivka is all that would do. That is, not some tiny village, or the wholly destroyed Marinka, which they tried to make an epic victory. That was not something to brag about. You can't even stick the Russian tricolor there. That's why Avdiivka remains the number one target. A massive number of Russian forces and means are concentrated there - almost 45,000 personnel of units of several combined arms armies.

The situation there has been consistently challenging for more than three months

In addition, we have repeatedly said that Avdiivka will be much more difficult to defend than Bakhmut. Not because the defense is weaker there, or because it is a weaker fortified area. On the contrary, no. However, the logistics are more limited there. The Russians are now trying to use these opportunities to continue their offensive assault operations. After they advanced in the south in the industrial area, south of Avdiivka, it was clear that after a while, they would be able to advance directly in the city itself, that is, to start urban battles. This should be viewed rationally and with restraint. The Russians do not spare human resources and send them to such assaults around the clock. Our task today is to destroy as much of this resource as possible.

Going back to the end of 2023, commenters agreed that we were in a new phase in the war where the priority was to deplete the enemy, not to liberate new territories, and even to hold on to those territories where it would be unprofitable. As long as we can afford to hold our ground and kill many more Russians, we will do so. Or we will retreat to a more favorable position. These are the two main emphases when we talk about Avdiivka. But we will hold Avdiivka to the last moment. However, the pressure exerted by the Russian occupiers today will allow them to continue advancing.

Read also: What went wrong with Russia's major offensive on Avdiivka

Whether they will be able to do this, and what results they will have in a month or two - I doubt they will be able to meet the third deadline. They have many problems near Avdiivka, as opposed to what Russian propaganda resources can now demonstrate - that they are supposedly making some progress there. Honestly, 45,000 people have been trying to capture a small town for over three months. In 2022, about 40,000 people were advancing on Kyiv and almost reached the city. That is the difference.

The main concern is whether the Ukrainian forces will have time to leave Avdiivka if they do have to leave it temporarily. The main route through which they will leave Avdiivka, if such an order is necessary, is the 0542 highway. This is precisely the logistics I was talking about, which is why Avdiivka is more vulnerable than Bakhmut. This is the one significant logistics artery. At the time, even when 80% of Bakhmut was captured, two logistics arteries were left, the 0504 and 0506 - the one through Khromove and the one through Ivanivske.

I am often asked how I can describe the situation in Avdiivka. The situation there is challenging but not critical. The situation there has been consistently challenging for more than three months.

Read also: Ukrainian defense analyst expects Russians to mount third major push into Avdiivka within weeks

When will the situation be critical?

  • If the Russians capture villages such as Severne and Tonenke through Vodiane from south to north.

  • If they capture villages like Stepove, Berdychi, and Semenivka in the northern sector.

  • If the 0542 road is not just under fire control, but can be shot at even with small arms. This will make it difficult to withdraw from Avdiivka.

  • If the Koksokhim industrial area is completely captured and the 0542 route is cut.

Then, it will be a critical situation. Therefore, as of today, there is no threat to the garrison of Avdiivka, no encirclement, no blockade by the Russians.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine