FIELDS of decomposing bodies are building up as Ukraine bravely “holds back the enemy” at a key eastern city.
There is no building left intact in shattered Avdiivka as a desperate Vladimir Putin throws his troops into meat-grinder assaults to try to secure a winter victory.
Ukraine claims it is repelling the relentless Russian attack on the strategic eastern city
GettyInside the ruins and wreckage of a Avdiivka which is facing the full force of Putin’s army[/caption]
Since mid-October, Russian forces have been bearing down on the devastated city of Avdiivka – known as the gateway to the major city of Donetsk that lies 12 miles to the east.
The city has become the central battleground in the Ukraine war and the deadliest flashpoint along its frozen frontline as Putin attempts to break a painful stalemate.
Ukraine has built up heavy defences in Avdiivka, complete with concrete fortifications and a web of underground tunnels, allowing them to repel fierce Russian attacks.
Despite massive losses, Russian troops have still inched forward steadily, seeking to envelop Avdiivka and cut Ukrainian supply lines.
However, today Ukraine said it is continuing to “restrain the enemy” as Russia continues with its gruesome grind.
“Our soldiers are steadfastly holding the defence,” the military update said, adding Russia had suffered “significant losses”.
This week, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said that Russia’s attempts to capture the city had led to a 90 per cent increase in casualties.
They added that Russia initially planned in 2022 to seize the city in just 10 to 14 days.
What had been a bubbling battle erupted this winter into a horrifyingly deadly “meatgrinder” as Russia sent over 40,000 into its fields of death.
Western intelligence estimates that Russia has suffered their worst losses of this year as they plough on with their slow but merciless assault.
Poorly trained and badly equipped troops have been thrown in successive waves at the small, but strategic city in a desperate bid to seize it.
The MOD reports that Russia has suffered “heavy losses” for “marginal territorial gains”, losing 200 armoured vehicles in the past weeks alone.
Satellite pictures comparing December to August show how quickly the urban centre has been razed to the ground to create unimaginable scenes of destruction.
Ukrainian soldiers have described how rats are feasting on the piles of dead bodies that line the muddy battlefields.
“I’ve never seen such big rats in my life,” rifleman Dubok, who has spent months defending Avdiivka, told The WSJ.
Since Russia’s invasion in February, 2022, its population has shrunk from 30,000 to 1,000 – with its last residents holed up in desperate conditions in underground shelters.
This week, a report stated that Russia has damaged or destroyed almost every building in Avdiivka during its relentless assault that has concentrated on flattening civilian infrastructure.
According to the Centre for Information Resilience, all 17 of the city’s educational institutions have been hit and nine out of 11 medical clinics have been destroyed along with most of Avdiivka’s churches and supermarkets.
There have been strikes on 25 out of 26 residential tower blocks, which once homed thousands of people.
Belén Carrasco Rodriguez, who led the report, said: “The Russian strategy involves indiscriminate shelling of urban areas alongside the use of more precise weaponry to target specific structures, mirroring similar patterns observed in other frontline cities like Mariupol and Bakhmut.”
For nine years, it has sat on the frontline under continued gunfire.
Avdiivka was seized briefly in 2014 when Russian-backed separatists captured chunks of eastern Ukraine, but Ukrainian troops retook it and built up heavy fortifications.
The recent heavy, but inconclusive fighting mirrors the earlier – but still ongoing – World War One-style meat-grinder battle for Bakhmut that faced its bloodiest days last winter.
Like Bakhmut, Avdiivka is as symbolic as it is strategic – a bastion of Ukrainian resistance and defence in the country’s east.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that Putin has ordered the capture of the city in time for the 2024 presidential elections in March.
The think-tank believes the tyrant is hellbent on taking back the initiative before his all but certain re-election, which will secure his brutal reign until 2030.
GettyThe rubble and ruin of Avdiivka that is suffering a relentless Russian onslaught[/caption]
The surviving residents are holed up underground
PUTIN’S BLOODY WINTER OFFENSIVE
The battle for Avdiivka is part of a larger Russian winter offensive that Ukraine is desperately attempting to starve off.
Putin’s army is attacking Ukraine at six different key points with Russian forces targeting Avdiivka, Kupiansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Marinka and Zaporizhzhia.
In just one day last week over 100 different bloody battles took place.
Kyiv’s military looks weary and cash-strapped as the war drags into its second winter – but President Zelenksy has vowed to fight on.
Western intelligence claims Russia has lost over 340,000 troops since the beginning of his brutal invasion in Ukraine.
Russia lost 1,250 men on Sunday alone, while Saturday’s death toll hit 930, Ukraine’s General Staff stats report.
Ukraine does not release its casualty numbers but has suffered almost equally horrific losses.
Even before the war, Ukraine’s population of 43 million was only a third of Russia’s – meaning time is on Putin’s side as he grinds Kyiv’s forces down while continuously replenishing his army.
Six months into Ukraine’s faltering counteroffensive, underway since June, and no major breakthroughs have taken place.
Zelensky previously voiced his dissatisfaction with the Ukrainian counteroffensive, stating: “We did not achieve desired results. And that is a fact.”
Russia still controls nearly a fifth of Ukraine’s territory and experts argue that the heavily dug-in, fortified and land-mined frontline hasn’t truly moved since the summer.
On Tuesday, Zelensky held an unexpected end-of-year press conference in which he admitted: “This is a difficult year that is coming to an end.”
Ukraine is facing immense issues, centred around war fatigue, waning Western military support, depleted weapons supplies and a lack of new recruits.
An aid package for Ukraine has stalled in the US Congress as Republicans refuse to approve the £48billion, while the European Union last week failed to agree on a £42billion package.
The embattled leader said he was considering his military’s proposal to mobilise half a million new conscripts.
Ukraine is still facing an enemy with an endless supply of conscript soldiers, however badly trained, and huge stockpiles of weapons, regularly refreshed.
Ukraine’s battered army is in desperate need of fresh recruits to swell its ranks as its battle-hardened volunteer fighters are dead or exhausted.
Zelensky said no decision has been taken on the deeply unpopular mobilisation proposal and called the issue “very sensitive.”
Last month, Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief, Gen. Valery Zaluzhnyi, recently described the war as moving towards a new stage of static, attritional fighting.
“Just like in the First World War we have reached the level of technology that puts us into a stalemate,” he said.
This stalemate, the general added, will favour Russia, allowing it time to rebuild its military power and strike back at Ukraine hard.
Meanwhile, Putin’s frontline troops are said to be facing off an outbreak of diseases, including “rat-bite” fever that has been ripping through units in the Kupyansk region.
Ukrainian intelligence claims the soldiers are bleeding from the eyes, vomiting and facing kidney failure within their trenches.
Ukrainian troops are barely holding the line as Russia suffers ‘significant losses’
Russia tanks advance in columns towards the city as Ukraine wipes out the nearest in November
A Russian tank explodes into a fireball amid the fierce fighting
Avdiivka is part of a larger Russian winter offensive to secure a victory for Putin before the 2024 presidential elections in MarchLeave a comment