Russian forces make significant tactical gains near Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine – ISW report

Ukrainian soldiers of 43rd Separate Artillery Brigade bring a Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled howitzer to a position in Donetsk Oblast, May 4
Ukrainian soldiers of 43rd Separate Artillery Brigade bring a Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled howitzer to a position in Donetsk Oblast, May 4

Russians have significantly accelerated their offensive and number of attacks in eastern Ukraine, and in Avdiivka sector they have made “significant” tactical advances in previous few days, stated in Institute for the Study of War report on May 8.

ISW experts state that over the course of the month, Russian troops have significantly increased pace of offensive actions in eastern Ukraine, which likely reflects current balance of power on battlefield and intention of Russian military command to secure new territorial gains before Western military assistance arrives on the front line.

Nazar Voloshyn, spokesman for Khortytsia Operational-Strategic Group of Troops, said that as pf May 9 most of fighting is currently taking place in group's area of responsibility  (area from Kharkiv Oblast to border of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts), and number of clashes there has increased significantly: from 84 on May 8 to 146 on May 9.

<span class="copyright">ISW</span>

In addition, UK Ministry of Defense reported that number of Russian attacks increased by 17% between March and April 2024, with more than 75% of recorded ground assaults taking place near Chasiv Yar, in Avdiivka and Maryinka sectors. According to British data, number of Russian attacks near Chasiv Yar alone increased twice from March to April.

Voloshyn suggested that current intensification of Russian attacks is a result of fact that ground dried up after muddy spring season, facilitating faster mechanized maneuvers, and that Russian forces are trying to take advantage of Ukraine's relative weakness while it awaits Western aid.

For its part, ISW continues to assess that Russian troops will maintain a high rate of attacks across eastern Ukraine, but continued arrival of new Western aid is likely to prevent occupiers from maintaining same pace of offensive and tactical gains that Russians are currently capable of. On May 9, during a meeting with European Parliament President Robert Mecola, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy also expressed hope that Western aid to Ukrainian frontline units would allow Armed Forces to blunt occupiers' initiative in eastern Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russians are making new advances, particularly in Avdiivka sector and west of Donetsk.

Read also: Russian assault groups penetrate Krasnohorivka, Donetsk Oblast — Ukrainian military

In a report for May 8, ISW analysts noted recent “significant” tactical gains by Russian forces northwest of Avdiivka and advance of Russian troops in this area in general. Geolocated footage released on May 8 shows that Russians recently advanced about 4 km north of Ocheretyne (northwest of Avdiivka) toward eastern outskirts of Novooleksandrivka, and that Ukrainian Armed Forces no longer hold positions on northwestern outskirts of Ocheretyne. Additional footage with confirmed geolocation from May 8 indicates that Russian troops have advanced south of Solovyove and northwest of Tonenke village.

Following results of May 9, ISW also wrote about further advance of Russians west of Avdiivka. In particular, new footage from May 9 showed that units of Russian 114th motorized rifle brigade (formed from “DPR” militants) advanced to central part of Umanske, north of Sonyachna Street. Several Russian “military commanders” claimed that occupiers had allegedly completely captured village of Umanske, although one such source denied these claims and ISW did not observe evidence of further Russian advance into western or northern part of Umanske.

Read also: Krasnohorivka breach: Ukrainian forces thwart Russian assault — UA military

The Russians have also recently advanced in Krasnohorivka, a town west of Donetsk. Geo-located footage from May 9 shows that Russian troops have advanced into eastern part of Krasnohorivka along Tchaikovsky Street. Russian “military commanders” also claimed that they had advanced in eastern part of Krasnohorivka along Pershogo Maya Street and towards Sonyachnyi neighborhood and Zakhidna Street. At the same time, Nazar Voloshyn, confirmed that Ukrainian Armed Forces still control situation in Krasnohorivka, noting that Russian troops are using small groups of infantry to advance on eastern outskirts of city.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine