Ukraine War Update: Russian forces are making progress in the Donbas. Although the battle for the town of Bakhmut has captured the headlines, there is heavy fighting across the Donbas contact line. On the 390th day of the conflict, the Russian forces continue to be on the offensive, looking for an operational breakthrough.
The Ukrainian military continues to put a stiff resistance all across the battlefield while it is also getting ready to launch its own counteroffensive later in the upcoming months.
Russian Advances in the Donbas
Besides Bakhmut, the Russian forces have been trying to breach the Ukrainian defenses elsewhere in the Donbas and create the conditions for an operational breakthrough. In the south, the Russian military has attacked and repeatedly failed to capture the small coal-mining town of Vuhledar. Moscow has suffered extremely heavy casualties in the area, losing entire elite units and scores of heavy weapon systems.
But the Russian forces have been trying to breach the Ukrainian defenses around the town of Avdiivka too. Situated south of Bakhmut and just north of Donetsk City, the Russian-held capital of the Donetsk Province, Avdiivka
This month, pro-Russian forces from the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic have made steady gains around Avdiivka. The Russian Ministry of Defense is cleverly leveraging the terrain knowledge of these local breakaway forces to make gains in the area.
“The sprawling Avdiivka Coke Plant complex is likely to be seen as particularly defendable key terrain as the battle progresses,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest update on the war.
War isn’t new for Avdiivka and its residents. The Ukrainian town has been on the frontlines of the struggle with Russia since the first invasion of the country in 2014. The second invasion last year has brought additional destitute and destruction to Avdiivka; most of the town is destroyed, and only a few residents remain behind.
“Tactically, the situation is similar to that in the larger town of Bakhmut, further north. Ukrainian forces continue organised defence, but their supply lines to the west are increasingly threatened by the Russian envelopment operation,” the British Military Intelligence added.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
The Russian forces continue to take heavy casualties in Ukraine with no significant progress to show for it. Over the weekend, the Russian military and Wagner Group mercenary forces lost approximately 1,500 troops killed or wounded but didn’t achieve the operational breakthrough they have been looking for so desperately over the past several weeks.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Monday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 165,610 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number)
Destroyed equipment includes: 305 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 290 attack and transport helicopters, 3,537 tanks, 2,577 artillery pieces, 6,869 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 507 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,416 vehicles and fuel tanks, 270 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,160 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 265 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 907 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.