Losing Ground, Ukraine Seeks New Positions Around Avdiivka

Peloni:  “In Avdeevka there is a partial withdrawal of our units to more advantageous positions,” – representative of the Tavria Defense Forces Dmitry Likhovoy.

“Russian flag flies along Industrial Avenue, Southern part of Coke plant.” – Military Summary channel.

Something to note in this article by the NYT is that Andrii Biletskyi, whose brigade was removed from the thick of the battle, is the founder of the Azov Battalion as well as the National Corp political organization and the Azov Social Movement.  Also, Ukraine’s collapsing control over the Avdiika fortress is significant, while it is still not yet complete.  The anticipated withdrawal of Ukraine’s forces will also somewhat reduce the extensive Russian front lines, allowing them to increase their force concentrations.  Ukraine still holds at least two significantly entrenched and well manned positions as well as the last supply road into the city, but their position is quite significantly reduced from just a month ago when the first breakthrough in the city took place.

As Russian forces breach a supply line and seek to encircle opposing soldiers, Ukraine’s commanders maneuver to “more advantageous positions.”

By Marc Santora, NYT Feb. 15, 2024

A Ukrainian Army armored vehicle on Tuesday in the town of Ocheretyne, near Avdiivka in Ukraine, where Avdiivka residents have evacuated to.Credit…Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Ukrainian soldiers are withdrawing from positions from some positions in the shattered town of Avdiivka after advancing Russian forces breached a critical supply line and threatened to encircle scores of Ukrainian soldiers, Ukrainian military officials and soldiers said on Thursday.

Dmytro Lykhovii, a spokesman for Ukrainian forces fighting in the area, said the Ukrainians were “maneuvering” and “sometimes withdrawing to more advantageous positions and sometimes repelling enemy advances.”

He also said military commanders had set up a backup logistical route to the town to transport much needed supplies to Ukraine’s beleaguered troops.

The battle, Mr. Lykhovii said, was dynamic and changing by the hour as the two sides engaged in fierce urban combat. But his comments suggested the fighting had taken another ominous turn for Kyiv’s forces, potentially presaging their withdrawal from a town reduced to ruins by months of horrendous bombardment.

Signs of Ukraine’s deteriorating hold on Avdiivka have been evident for several weeks. Ukraine recently rotated out soldiers from the 110th Brigade, which had played a vital role in the defense of the city for two years but were exhausted and severely depleted after months of brutal combat. Soldiers from the elite Third Assault Brigade were sent in to shore up Ukraine’s forces but noted that they were being sent into a situation that was already “extremely critical.”

“Avdiivka is hell,” the brigade’s commander, Andrii Biletskyi, said in a statement. The situation in the city was “ precarious and unstable,” he said, with the Russians able to rotate troops and deploy more resources the fight.

“We are forced to fight 360 degrees against new brigades that the enemy is deploying,” he said.

Laundry drying outside a building amid the heavy destruction in Avdiivka, Ukraine, in October.Credit…Nicole Tung for The New York Times

Avdiivka, which is less than ten miles from the Russian occupied city of Donetsk, has withstood months of relentless Russian assaults aimed at encircling the stronghold.

However, as U.S. military assistance stopped flowing and commanders were forced to start rationing ammunition, the Russians managed to gain two footholds within the town itself.

As Russian warplanes pounded Avdiivka with powerful guided bombs, its small assault units stormed through the ruins. The Ukrainians have turned to drones to help thwart Russian advances. But a recent stretch of foggy and rainy weather has limited the use of drones by both sides.

With the Ukrainians forced to conserve ammunition, small bands of Russian assault units were able to amass within the city itself.

The Russian units are now advancing from the south, threatening to cut off Ukrainian forces in the southern part of city, and the north, where they have now crossed a key supply line in several places.

“The supply and evacuation of Avdiivka has become challenging, but an alternative logistics route, prepared in advance, has been activated,” Mr. Lykhovii said.

The Russians’ ultimate goal, he said, is to encircle the hulking Avdiivka Coke and Chemical Plant, which could be used by Ukrainian forces to mount a last stand in the city should they be forced to pull out of the residential areas entirely.

Displaced civilians from the embattled city of Avdiivka receive humanitarian aid, such as bread, milk, water, and medicine, in the town of Ocheretyne, where they evacuated to and now live, on Tuesday.Credit…Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

February 15, 2024 | 18 Comments »

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  1. Well, that didn’t take very long:

    The Russian Flag has been Raised in the Settlements of Lastochkyne and Sieverne to the West of Avdiivka in the Dontesk Region, following its Capture earlier today by Elements of the Russian Ground Forces after the Total Withdrawal of Ukrainian Forces.

    – OSINTdefender

  2. @Michael

    A DEAD HORSE, YOU CAN’T BEAT IT:
    EQUINE CARCASS DISPOSAL LAWS AND PRACTICES
    ROBERT F. DAHLSTROM,* KERRY O’NEILL IRWIN,** AND
    EMILY J. PLANT*
    I. INTRODUCTION
    It is a fact of life that every living thing will eventually die, and
    when the time comes, these bodies must be disposed of responsibly. Of
    specific interest to Kentucky is the problem of equine carcass disposal,
    because Kentucky is known as the “Horse Capital of the World.”‘ The
    equine industry has a significant effect on Kentucky’s economy, with an
    estimated impact of four billion dollars annually.2 The horse industry is
    attributed with directly and indirectly creating between 80,000 and 100,000
    jobs across the state.3 With an estimated 320,000 horses living in the state,
    Kentucky must find ways to deal with the significant number of equine
    mortalities every year.4 A succinct multi-jurisdictional survey is
    incorporated into this Article, but the Article primarily focuses on the
    disposal of equines in Kentucky. While Kentucky has a much revered and
    thriving horse industry, the Authors find that many horse owners are
    unaware of carcass disposal options, despite thorough statutes and
    regulations in this area….

    https://uknowledge.uky.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1051&context=kjeanrl

  3. @Michael Peloni and I have already demonstrated that that is not a valid point of comparison between the Ukraine and Russia.

  4. @Michael

    Do you realize that you, and your own sources (such as RT) are mouthpieces of Russian propaganda? Get real.

    I do not quote Russian or Ukrainian propaganda sources as definitive as you seem content to do. In fact, using such clearly biased reports without inference or inspection would only serve to display an obvious bias which I do not care to support. The Russian losses, whatever they might be, would hardly be best determined by the Ukrainian propaganda masters in Kiev who are best known for describing the awe inspiring feats of the Ghost of Kiev.

    As to the Russian losses, the honest numbers should be expected to be high, whatever they really are. As I noted before Russian faces an existential threat from the West and they will win this war because of this. They number of Russians sacrificed in WWII are estimated to be nearly the entire population of Ukraine at the beginning of this current conflict, so even the obviously doctored numbers being claimed by Ukraine should hardly demonstrate anything more than Russia’s determined spirit to win this war.

    The cause of the current high casualties, on both sides, is the failure of the Americans and their allies to keep their promises of supporting Ukraine.

    Actually, this statement would be true if you simply changed it to

    The cause of the current high casualties, on both sides, is the failure of the Americans and their allies to keep their promises of supporting Ukraine’s NEUTRALITY.

    as this was the purpose of the Budapest Memorandum which was completely undone by the US with the Maidan Coup as well as the $5 bn spent in that country in the decade leading up to the coup.

    Regarding US foreign aid, it should be used to advance US interests. If you see no benefit for the US in supporting Israel, I would only question what you see as being a benefit to the US. Regarding US borders, it has nothing to do with US aid to anyone, as I have noted to you before, as this is a completely arbitrary association.

  5. Hi, Sebastien

    94.8%

    Putin may well surpass that percentage in the coming election, given his opponents’ propensity to die untimely deaths

  6. @Michael

    Do you realize that you, and your own sources (such as RT) are mouthpieces of Russian propaganda? Get real.

    “An opinion poll that was taken on the day of the referendum and the day before by a correspondent of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, The Washington Post, and five other media outlets found that of those people who intended to vote, 94.8% would vote for independence. The poll did not claim to have scientific precision, but was carried out to get a basis from which to judge the outcome of the referendum, given that independent observers were not present to monitor it. Even with those who said they would not vote counted in, a 65.6% majority supported separation from Ukraine.[22]”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Donbas_status_referendums

  7. Peloni,

    Do you realize that the source which you are quoting comes from Ukraine’s report of Russian losses?

    Do you realize that you, and your own sources (such as RT) are mouthpieces of Russian propaganda? Get real.

    What I have pointed out to you, which you repeatedly choose to ignore, is the enormous number of REAL losses the Russians and their allies are suffering. Every inch of Russian gains have been built upon the deaths of Russians — many of them poorly-equipped, miserable people literally pushed into human wave assaults, shot by their own forces from behind as they flee for their lives, their wounded left, in great numbers, to languish without care. Their history on the battlefield has been one Pyrrhic victory after another, mixed with many equally Pyrrhic victories for the Ukrainians.

    The cause of the current high casualties, on both sides, is the failure of the Americans and their allies to keep their promises of supporting Ukraine. Our leaders have promised much, and delivered little. We stumbled (or “sleep-walked”) into a war, led by people with no personal recollection of what war produces. Now the Russians and Ukrainians are going through it, disproportionately the Ukrainians; and the rest of us, unfortunately, seem to be waiting in a queue to experience the same.

    I am against the ridiculous policy of going across the globe trying to defend other people’s borders (Israel as well as Ukraine), while leaving open the floodgates at our own. Putin caused this war, and he deliberately pursues it every day. He will reap what he has sown; and the Western leaders will reap what they have sown: That is their responsibility; we have our own responsibilities, first and foremost to our own people.

    Let the oligarchs fight it out themselves; but don’t expect me to sugar-coat what they’re doing. Nobody knows what’s going on in Ukraine, more than the Ukrainian people.

  8. Seb

    That’s good research and welcome. Since the coup February 2014 this whole area civilians bombarded mercilessly day and night by Ukraine.

    Creating the desire for secession.

    Putin reluctant.

  9. @Michael

    The total combat losses of the Russian Federation…

    Do you realize that the source which you are quoting comes from Ukraine’s report of Russian losses? That would be quite on par with accepting Gazan estimates of civilian losses. Perhaps you find these numbers to be relevant, but I challenge their accuracy.

    In any event, this is Russia. They lost 20,000,000 people while winning WWII. The number of dead, which is not to be trusted to be accurately quoted by Ukraine, only demonstrate the Russian determination to march on to victory. Russia views this to be an existential war. They will pay what price is needed to secure their civilization from defeat by the West, and the fact that they were successful in wresting the significant defenses of Avdiika from Ukraine demonstrates that they are willing to pay a high price in men and material to secure that victory, no matter what the actual numbers might be.

  10. The total combat losses of the Russian Federation from 24.02.22 to 17.02.24 are estimated at:

    personnel – about 401,350 (+1050)
    tanks – 6,476 (+11)
    armored combat vehicles – 12,145 (+16)
    artillery systems – 9,669 (+28)
    MLRS – 984 (+0)
    air defense systems – 671 (+0)
    Aircraft – 332 (+0)
    helicopters – 325 (+0)
    UAVs of operational and tactical level – 7,413 (+5)
    cruise missiles – 1,896 (+1)
    ships/boats – 25 (+0)
    submarines – 1 (+0)
    motor vehicles and fuel tankers – 12,734 (+18)
    special equipment – 1,533 (+5)

    https://global.espreso.tv/killed-russians-over-1000-soldiers-11-tanks-and-28-artillery-systems-general-staff-updates-russian-army-losses-for-one-day-of-war-in-ukraine

    “Over 1,000 soldiers, 11 tanks, 28 artillery systems: General Staff updates Russian army losses for one day of Ukraine war”

    I’ve been following this for some time. For the Russians, this is a “meatgrinder.”

  11. The profound collapse of Ukrainian defenses in eastern Avdiika have placed an even greater level of pressure on the main road to that city which goes thru Lastochkyne. The 3rd Assault Brigade, formed from veterans of the notorious Azov, have been shifted from Zaporizhia to Lastochkyne where they are taking significant casualties to support the Ukrainian retreat. As Russia consolidates its significant gains of the past days, the Russian forces which had formerly held been spread out across a long frontal line will be far more concentrated, putting far greater pressure on the 3rd Assault Brigade. If these Azov vets are unable to withstand the focused Russian assault on that position, the resulting collapse could see thousands, upto 10-15,000 Ukrainian soldiers, cutoff in the resulting rout. Additionally, there are reports that Russia has been massing forces opposite Zaporizhia to possibly take advantage of the now reduced number of defenders after the 3rd Assault Brigade was ordered to support the Adviika retreat. Time will tell how quickly Russia will be able to consolidate its newly acquired position in Avdiika, but even the gains thus far seized have been a significant victory, one which provides the Russians a significant position from which to exploit that victory to a potentially even greater advantage.

  12. Sebastien, you said,

    Why don’t we just mind our own business here?

    You’re getting so clever in your old age!

  13. Like we should talk.

    Loyalists were colonists in the Thirteen Colonies who remained loyal to the British Crown during the American Revolutionary War, often referred to as Tories,[1][2] Royalists or King’s Men at the time. They were opposed by the Patriots, who supported the revolution, and called them “persons inimical to the liberties of America.”[3]

    …Patriots watched suspected Loyalists very closely and would not tolerate any organized Loyalist opposition. Many outspoken or militarily active Loyalists were forced to flee, especially to their stronghold of New York City.

    …When their cause was defeated, about 15 percent of the Loyalists (65,000–70,000 people) fled to other parts of the British Empire; especially to Britain itself, or to British North America (now Canada).[6] The southern Loyalists moved mostly to Florida, which had remained loyal to the Crown, and to British Caribbean possessions. Northern Loyalists largely migrated to Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. They called themselves United Empire Loyalists. Most were compensated with Canadian land or British cash distributed through formal claims procedures. Loyalists who left the US received over £3 million or about 37% of their losses from the British government. Loyalists who stayed in the US were generally able to retain their property and become American citizens.[7] Many Loyalists eventually returned to the US after the war and discriminatory laws had been repealed.[8] Historians have estimated that between 15% and 20% (300,000 to 400,000) of the 2,000,000 whites in the colonies in 1775 were Loyalists.[9]

    …Families were often divided during the American Revolution, and many felt themselves to be both American and British, still owing loyalty to the mother country. Maryland lawyer Daniel Dulaney the Younger opposed taxation without representation but would not break his oath to the King or take up arms against him. He wrote: “There may be a time when redress may not be obtained. Till then, I shall recommend a legal, orderly, and prudent resentment”.[10] Most Americans hoped for a peaceful reconciliation but were forced to choose sides by the Patriots who took control nearly everywhere in the Thirteen Colonies in 1775–76.[11]…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyalist_(American_Revolution)

    Russia is not Jihadist or Communist and determined to take over the whole world. Why don’t we just mind our own business here?

  14. In terms of native language, Avdiivka is overwhelmingly Russian-speaking, with 87.2% of Avdiivka residents reporting their native language as Russian. The largest linguistic minority are Ukrainian speakers, with 12.5% reporting their native language as Ukrainian.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avdiivka

    … Krasnoarmiisk, on the day of the referendum, a unit of the Ukrainian National Guard opened fired on a crowd after being attacked by people in the crowd, killing one and wounding two.[15][nb 1…While early polls in April reported that supporters of independence were a small minority, the Los Angeles Times reported that the later violence in Odessa and Mariupol turned many against the Ukrainian transitional government.[21] Russian president Vladimir Putin publicly asked pro-Russian separatists to postpone the proposed referendums to create the necessary conditions for dialogue on 7 May… Despite Putin’s comments, the self-proclaimed authorities of Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic said they would still carry out the referendum.[16] An opinion poll that was taken on the day of the referendum and the day before by a correspondent of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, The Washington Post, and five other media outlets found that of those people who intended to vote, 94.8% would vote for independence. The poll did not claim to have scientific precision, but was carried out to get a basis from which to judge the outcome of the referendum, given that independent observers were not present to monitor it. Even with those who said they would not vote counted in, a 65.6% majority supported separation from Ukraine.[22]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Donbas_status_referendums

    While there was fraud and intimidation reported in the mechanics of the actual referendum by official Ukrainian and some international media, it’s clear that secession, at this point, was reflective of the will of the people.