Russia's Military Focuses on Avdiivka: A Game of Numbers and Strategy

In the recent surge of hostilities in the eastern region, Russian forces have zeroed in on the Avdiivka area.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Russia's Military Focuses on Avdiivka: A Game of Numbers and Strategy
© Getty Images News/Brendan Hoffman

In the recent surge of hostilities in the eastern region, Russian forces have zeroed in on the Avdiivka area. This concentration of military efforts is significant, and strategic motives seem clear: to encircle and eventually capture the city.

However, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a US-based thinktank, asserts that achieving this goal would likely demand a greater force commitment than Russia has currently directed toward the region. The Ukrainian general staff corroborates the escalation in Russian activities, having recently confirmed that as many as three Russian battalions have launched an attack towards Avdiivka.

This underscores the growing intensity of the conflict and the significance of Avdiivka as a strategic target.

Perceptions and Ground Realities

Amid the ongoing conflict, Russian military bloggers paint a vivid picture. They view the operations in the Avdiivka area as "a significant offensive effort aimed at encircling the Ukrainian force grouping" and are keen on "capturing the city".

Yet, the ISW offers a more nuanced perspective. For Russia to realize its ambitions in Avdiivka, there's a need for a significant uptick in frontline troop numbers. Highlighting the nature of the forces currently deployed, the ISW pointed out that Russian forces in the area are "largely deployed irregular forces".

These auxiliary units and volunteer formations often grapple with challenges such as "poor and abusive command culture" and evident tensions when interfacing with regular Russian troops. Such dynamics could potentially hinder a streamlined offensive.

Furthermore, the thinktank noted a conspicuous absence of any recent Russian deployments to this frontline. This is telling, especially in light of the fact that "Russian forces have also conducted grinding offensive operations for relatively minimal territorial gains near Avdiivka for the past year and a half of the war".

It suggests a tacit acknowledgment from the Russian military command: capturing Avdiivka is no small feat. Such an endeavor would necessitate not only more troops but also higher-caliber units than those currently positioned in the vicinity.

In this high-stakes game of strategy and numbers, the coming weeks and months will reveal whether Russia intends to double down on its efforts in Avdiivka or recalibrate its approach. For now, the world watches, hoping for a peaceful resolution to the escalating conflict.

Russia
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