Russian forces have lost about a battalion’s worth of vehicles, including 15 tanks, during a two-day period of its assault on the settlement of Avdiivka.
Open-source intelligence account OSINTtechnical said dozens of Russian military vehicles had been lost as the Kremlin ramped up its offensive toward Ukrainian-held Avdiivka just north of the city Donetsk, which is in the region of the same name, in the east of Ukraine.
In an October 12 post, OSINTtechnical said in an X, formerly Twitter, that Russia lost roughly 13 artillery pieces, 15 tanks, 33 infantry fighting vehicles/armored personnel carriers, six trucks, and 14 cars/vans.
OSINTtechnical said in a separate X post that while it could not guarantee the vehicle losses had happened in the last 48 hours, “many appear to be consistent with the current weather and foliage, and Ukrainian videos geolocated to the area have shown significant losses.”
Avdiivka has been under heavy Russian artillery fire in an attempt to encircle the settlement which before the war was also the location of Ukraine’s largest coke fuel producer.
Newsweek could not immediately verify the recorded Russian military vehicle losses. The Russian defense ministry has been contacted for comment via email.
Michael Clarke, professor at the War Studies department at King’s College London in the U.K., told Newsweek while he could not confirm the equipment losses he believed “they are plausible” and that Russia is throwing considerable resources at Avdiivka to avoid a Ukrainian counter-offensive.
He said: “Russia has put in a big effort at Avdiivka because they probably fear Ukrainian breakout south of Bakhmut that begin to motor and outflank Donestsk, which would be a very big problem for them.
“So, Avdiivka is an attempt at a local counterattack to distract Ukrainian forces. Russian commenders seem under instruction from the Kremlin to attack all across the front while they play for time until the weather turns.
“There isn’t much operational grand strategy behind it, just the grand strategy of handing on and not losing.”
The battle for Avdiivka comes as Ukrainian forces continue their counteroffensive with the aim to push back the Russians from the east of the country where they have managed to capture several strategic cities and positions.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an October 12 X post: “Avdiivka. We are holding our ground. It is Ukrainian courage and unity that will determine how this war will end. We must all remember this.”
The U.S. think tank, the Institute for the Study of War, said in an October 11 update that Russian forces localized offensive operations in the Avdiivka area.
It added: “Geolocated footage shows that Russian gains around Avdiivka are concentrated to the southwest of Avdiivka, and Russian forces have not completed an operational encirclement of the settlement and will likely struggle to do so if that is their intent.
“Avdiivka is also a notoriously well-fortified and defended Ukrainian stronghold, which will likely complicate Russian forces’ ability to closely approach or fully capture the settlement.”
The Donetsk and southern Zaprozhzhia regions continue to experience fierce fighting between Ukraine and Russia as both sides aim to advance their frontlines.
Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia, along with two other regions last year, although his forces have not managed to maintain full control of them.
The annexation was condemned as illegitimate by the U.S. as well as the European Union and other allies of Washington. D.C.