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Subject Russia Throws Men and Firepower at Ukraine’s Avdiivka In Their Third Attempt to Capture the City to Little Avail
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Original Message Russia’s nearly monthlong offensive on the eastern Ukrainian stronghold of Avdiivka has made only minimal progress despite the battle forming the focal point of Moscow’s war effort for weeks.

The Russian army launched a large-scale offensive on Avdiivka, a small industrial hub north of the city of Donetsk, on Oct. 10 in what is seen as an attempt to break the deadlock at the front after 20 months of war.

Moscow is throwing large amounts of soldiers and resources into the fight in the hopes of capturing the small town that it previously unsuccessfully attempted to capture in 2014, when conflict broke out between Kyiv and pro-Russian separatists.

After four weeks of intense fighting with heavy artillery, tanks, and armored vehicles, Russia has captured some positions north, east and south of the town, taking heavy losses in the process.

Military analysts suggest that Russian troops are now attempting to encircle Avdiivka completely — an assertion repeated by Ukrainian officials this week.

“The third wave will definitely happen. The enemy is regrouping after a second wave of unsuccessful attacks,” Vitaly Barabash, head of the Avdiivka military administration, said Tuesday.

Ukrainian military expert Alexander Kovalenko initially saw the Russian army's offensive on Avdiivka as a targeted diversionary strike meant to distract Ukrainian forces from their counteroffensive in the Zaporizhzhia region to the south.

Units are being withdrawn from the 2nd Combined Arms Army, which had made minimal progress on the Kupiansk front during the summer.

This includes the 21st Separate Motor Rifle Brigade, considered the most combat-capable in the northern sector of the front.

“At first I thought that the Russian command was acting illogically and irrationally, and it was all merely a PR stance. Now it's clear that the attack on Avdiivka is not an intentional diversion but a political decision,” Kovalenko said.

“They want to encircle and capture the city, just as they did with Bakhmut, to demonstrate their capability to advance and also use it to coerce Ukraine into negotiations through their intermediaries.”

Russian forces have made some progress south of Avdiivka, near the village of Severne. To the north, combat has unfolded around a large waste mound near the Avdiivka Coke Plant, a tactical elevation point for both sides.

Moscow appears to have captured the waste mound, according to pro-war military bloggers, though Ukrainian sources say this territory remains a “grey zone."

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said on Oct. 13 that Russian troops have suffered heavy losses in equipment and personnel during the assault on the city.

[link to www.themoscowtimes.com (secure)]
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