Inside the battle for Avdiivka – the Ukrainian city Putin’s thrown everything at and ‘suffered worst losses of 2023’

Inside the battle for Avdiivka – the Ukrainian city Putin’s thrown everything at and ‘suffered worst losses of 2023’

AS the world watched the Israel-Gaza conflict unfold, Vladimir Putin threw all he had at a key eastern Ukrainian city.

The meat-grinder battle for Avdiivka has become the newest, most deadly clash to take place across Ukraine’s frozen eastern frontlines as Russia suffers its worst losses of the year.

TwitterRussia tanks advance in columns towards the city as Ukraine wipes out the nearest[/caption]

TwitterA Russian tank explodes into a fireball amid the fierce fighting[/caption]

GettyInside the ruins and wreckage of a small Ukrainian city facing the full force of what’s left of the Russian military[/caption]

GettyThe surviving city’s residents are under ’round the clock’ shelling[/caption]

Since mid-October, Russian forces have been bearing down on the shattered city of Avdiivka – known as the gateway to the major city of Donetsk that lies 12 miles to the east.

The UK Ministry of Defence reports that Russia has committed up to eight brigades (around 40,000 soldiers) to a “major offensive effort” as Ukraine bravely holds the line.

Thousands of Russian tanks, armoured vehicles and poorly trained and badly equipped troops have been thrown in waves at the small, but strategic city in a desperate bid to seize it.

And yet, Russia is reported to have suffered their worst losses of this year as they plough on with their slow but merciless assault.

In less than a month, Ukraine claims Russia has suffered 7,000 casualties and lost over 100 tanks and 250 armoured vehicles to advance less than a mile.

Footage from the battlefield shows columns of Russian tanks storming across fields just to be easily picked off by Ukrainian aerial strikes.

Other reports describe how Ukrainian drones armed with explosives wiped out entire unprotected infantry units as they moved on foot.

Analysts now predict that Avdiivka is shaping up to be the costliest of battle of the war for Putin, while Ukraine is suffering serious losses too.

The “heavy, but inconclusive” fighting described by the MOD appears to be a replay of the World War One-style meat-grinder battle of Bakhmut that faced its bloodiest days last winter.

Only fifty miles down the line, Russia and Ukraine are still engaged in the grinding tussle for the decimated city that so far has left 60,000 casualties and 20,000 dead.

The MOD stated that Russia’s shambolic attempts to take Avdiivka is a clear display of the core issues Moscow has faced “throughout most of the war”.

“Political leaders demand more territory to be seized but the military cannot generate the effective operational level offensive action.”

On Wednesday, the UK MOD reported that recent assaults have “resulted in a 90% increase in Russian casualties”.

“Despite relentless attacks, Russian forces have been pushed back to battle lines that have existed since 2014,” they added.

However, Russian milbloggers today claimed to be anywhere two miles of the city, while Ukraine noted Russia had increased its aerial attack on the city in the past few days.

General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, the head of Ukraine’s southern forces, said troops around Avdiivka were “stoutly holding their defenses.”

Despite Russia’s heavy casualties, Kyiv is closely watching Russia intensify their attacks.

Oleksandr Borodin, spokesman for Ukraine’s third separate assault brigade, said: “Their movements are quite dense now. It is not just infantry advancing but also parallel work of artillery, drones, aviation, the same air bombing and more.”

“All this started after the events in Israel,” he told Espreso TV. “Perhaps they believe it is the best time to advance, but they have no serious successes.”

Vitaliy Barabash, head of Avdiivka’s military administration, described the hellish conditions of being shelled “round the clock”.

He is waiting with baited breath for the rain to stop as wet ground has been holding Russian troops back.

“Once the ground dries, they will definitely advance.”

Current reports suggest Russian forces were massed on three sides of the town as reserves continue to be brought in.

Avdiivka was seized briefly in 2014 when Russian-backed separatists captured chunks of eastern Ukraine, but Ukrainian troops retook it and built up fortifications.

For nine years, it has sat on the frontline under continued gunfire – the city becoming a symbol of Ukrainian resistance and a bastion of defence in the country’s east.

It comes as Putin was seen visiting his war command headquarters for the second time in three weeks as his troops flounder on the battlefield.

He flew to Rostov-on-Don amid reports Ukraine has finally been able to break across the Dnipro river and secure troops on its bank inside previously Russian-occupied territory.

And new strikes launched against western Crimea hit Russian barracks and targeted high speed landing boats, according to Ukrainian reports.

TwitterDramatic footage of Ukraine about to wipe out a Russian tank advancing near the city[/caption]

TwitterOnboard of Ukrainian plane as its stalks incoming Russian armoured vehicles[/caption]

@JayinKyivWhat appears to be incendiary shells rain down on Avdiivka[/caption]

GettyLittle is left of the shattered city[/caption]

GettyA resident walks with a soldier on the rubble of his home town[/caption]

@EuromaidanPRAvdiivka has become a symbol of resistance to Ukraine[/caption]

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