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Battle of Avdiivka and possible threats to Ukrainian Armed Forces - frontline overview

Battle of Avdiivka and possible threats to Ukrainian Armed Forces - frontline overview Ukrainian soldiers near Bakhmut (Getty Images)

Russian forces are advancing on multiple fronts. The most significant is in Avdiivka, where street battles may already be taking place. More details on this and the situation on other fronts can be found in the overview by RBC-Ukraine.

In the preparation of this material, publications from the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW), DeepState analysis and maps, summaries from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, statements from official speakers, and comments from experts Oleksii Hetman and Vladyslav Seleznov were used.

Russian troops have taken the village near Kupiansk. Are there new threats to the Armed Forces of Ukraine?

In the Kupiansk direction, Russians have advanced near the village of Krokhmalne, about 25 km southeast of Kupiansk. To the northeast of the district center, positional battles are taking place in the areas of Synkivka and Petropavlivka. A similar situation is observed on the Svatove-Kreminna line, where Russian forces are attacking near Makiivka, Novoiehorivka, Terniv, Torske, Yampolivka, and in the Serebrianske forestry.

Last week, Ukrainian fighters withdrew from Krokhmalne, which they had regained control of during the counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region in the fall of 2022. However, this village is now the first to be captured by the Russians in 2024.

"This is a settlement where 45 people lived before the start of the large-scale war. Let's say it's five houses, and these five houses have been destroyed by the aggressor," explains the spokesperson of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Volodymyr Fitio.

Battle of Avdiivka and possible threats to Ukrainian Armed Forces - frontline overviewRussians captured Krokhmalne and cut off the R-07 highway from Svatove to Kupiansk in another location (Photo:

Lately, the occupiers have been consolidating their forces, conducting regrouping, and even deploying additional army corps. According to Fitio, there are 200,000 Russians concentrated in the responsibility zone of the Khortytsia group. Specifically, there are 44,000 in the Kupiansk direction. He also assured that Ukrainian forces withdrew from Krokhmalne to the prepared positions, and the loss of the settlement is considered a temporary phenomenon.

"We just don't report the liberation of 100 or 200 meters. We don't need to do that. And for Russian propagandists, any victory must be presented as a Pyrrhic victory to show why in January alone they lost 7,055 people in the Khortytsia responsibility zone. So, a meter or two gained, and they're already shouting that they took Berlin," adds the spokesperson.

The head of the press service of the 15th border detachment brigade "Steel Border" Ivan Shevtsov says that there were no residents in the village, and almost everything was destroyed there. The situation overall is not problematic, and Ukrainian fighters simply withdrew from a point that had been held for a long time.

Judging by the map, the R-07 highway is cut off in another location, and there may seem to be a threat of enemy advancement on Kupiansk or at least encirclement of Ukrainian forces in Kyslivka and Kotliarivka. However, military expert Colonel Vladyslav Seleznov doubts this.

"This option poses no threats. The Russians captured a piece of land 2x2 km, and there are no prerequisites for any further success for them. The road is not used by the Defense Forces, and a settlement of 5-6 houses is unlikely to be a factor that will fundamentally change the situation on the battlefield. Svatove is occupied, and for understandable reasons, we do not travel there along the R-07 highway. To say that it can be used as a bypass road is also not worth it," he tells RBC-Ukraine.

Control over road sections does not mean that the enemy will easily advance further. Of course, the enemy still has the task of reaching the left bank of the Oskil River, although considering that the occupiers have been lingering near Synkivka for months, it is unclear how they will implement it, he added.

Russia attacking Vesele: Situation near Bakhmut and Siversk

The Russian troops managed to advance a bit near Bakhmut. There is information about occupied positions on the northern outskirts of Bohdanivka and control over the central part of the village, but there is no confirmed change in the front line. Positional battles are ongoing in the areas of Hryhorivka, Ivanivske, and on the southern flank near Klishchiivka and Andriivka.

Moreover, there may be a threat to Siversk, toward which the enemy wants to launch an offensive from the occupied Soledar. The front line here is approximately 10 km south of the city, and last week it shifted closer. This is partly due to partial success in the area of the village of Vesele. The Russian side claimed its capture, but there is no visual data to confirm this yet.

On the DeepState project map, part of Vesele is marked as captured, and part as a gray zone. Analysts emphasize that this does not indicate a significant enemy advantage. According to their data, strikes were carried out using artillery and FPV drones, as well as toxic gases. Unfortunately, the defenders of the village did not have sufficient fire support.

Battle of Avdiivka and possible threats to Ukrainian Armed Forces - frontline overview

Part of the village of Vesele may be captured, but it is too early to talk about threats to Siversk (Photo:

Vladyslav Seleznov explains that the Siversk bulge has long frustrated the Russians, as there is still a threat of a flank attack by the Defense Forces toward Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk. Therefore, they want to push them away as much as possible.

"But it doesn't work. The dominant heights, our advantageous location, mean that they can't do anything. Regarding Vesele, it has long been in the gray zone, and now they have advanced. However, on the approaches to it, there is lowland, and accordingly, any movement is well visible to our military," he notes.

Military expert, Major of the Reserve of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oleksii Hetman is not ready to assess the threats to Siversk.

"You cannot trust what the Russians say. It's difficult to assess how dangerous everything is, especially in the area near Vesele. It's essential to consider not the opinions of analysts and experts, but to wait for statements from officials. I'll remind you that in 700 days of war, our official information has never changed. That's why there are pauses. Not because someone is trying to hide the truth, but because everything is carefully verified. At the moment, I wouldn't rush to talk about danger for Siversk. Conclusions can be drawn when official statements are made," Hetman says in a comment to RBC-Ukraine.

Recently, the commander of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleksandr Syrskyi, visited the front and stated that the situation in the Siversk and Bakhmut directions remains tense. In particular, the enemy is conducting intense artillery fire, mortar attacks, strikes with drones, and infantry attacks. The general also reported that necessary steps have been taken to address problematic issues.

Street battles may have begun in Avdiivka

According to DeepState, the Russians have entered the city and are trying to establish themselves on Chernyshevskoho, Sportyvna, and Soborna streets. If they are not stopped now, it will jeopardize the entire eastern part of the city and its outskirts. Street battles may have begun, although there is no official confirmation.

"It's unclear how the enemy managed to implement a bold maneuver bypassing our positions in the area of the hotel-restaurant complex 'Tsarska Okhota.' I don't know how they did it, but it happened. They are already on our streets in the residential suburb. Of course, battles would go for every street, but it was more convenient to keep the occupiers at a distance. The enemy is gradually advancing toward the 9th block, and this is a very dangerous challenge. Maintaining control over Avdiivka and the suburbs is a matter of resources. If there is not enough, we will see a maneuverable defense by the Ukrainian army," says Seleznov.

Battle of Avdiivka and possible threats to Ukrainian Armed Forces - frontline overviewThe Russian occupiers entered Avdiivka, and there were street battles in the residential suburb (Photo:

Compared to the beginning of the year, the nature of the battle in the Avdiivka direction has changed. As noted by the spokesperson for the Tavria direction, Oleksandr Shtupun, there is relative calm after the decrease in the activity of enemy aviation. It has reached the point that there have been no Russian air strikes in this operational zone for several days. However, artillery shelling has increased.

"There were fewer clashes and the use of FPV drones. But the enemy is regrouping, and we are preparing for an increase in its activity," he reports.

He also adds that the enemy is focused on storming Novomykhailivka village in the Maryinka direction, mainly using infantry without armored vehicles.

Oleksii Hetman links the previous emphasis on air strikes with a shortage of ammunition. In his opinion, bombs were attempted to compensate for ammunition shortages, but it was not a very successful story for the Russians, as they also know how Defense Forces can shoot down aerial targets.

"As I understand it, after they (the Russians - ed.) reached an agreement at least with North Korea regarding ammunition, the shortage decreased. At the moment, there is no urgent need for air strikes, and they continue artillery shelling. And, of course, they never spared infantry; for them, people are expendable," the expert notes.

Western analysts observe the movement of occupiers to the southwest of Donetsk. In particular, geolocated footage confirms that Russian troops have advanced in the area of Novomykhailivka. The Ukrainian General Staff reports positional battles here and near Heorhiivka (west of Maryinka).

From Urozhaine to Krynky. What's happening on the southern front

Positional battles continue in the area along the administrative border of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions. The Ukrainian side reported repelling an attack near the Chervone settlement (southwest of Velyka Novosilka). Last week, the Russian occupiers advanced south of Urozhaine but failed to consolidate their positions, and the Defense Forces regained control. There were also attempts by Russian forces to advance near Novoazovsk.

Battle of Avdiivka and possible threats to Ukrainian Armed Forces - frontline overviewRussians advanced south of Urozhaine, but Defense Forces repelled their positions (Photo:

Vladyslav Seleznov recalls that Urozhaine and adjacent villages, such as Staramaiorske and Makarivka, were in the spotlight in June-July during the initial phase of the summer counteroffensive.

"We all hoped for advancement, but we ran into the Mokri Yaly River, which essentially stopped us. The terrain there is quite specific and prevents both us and the occupiers from making significant advances. However, certain tactical actions may be taking place. Perhaps the enemy wanted to divert attention to this front or test our forces. It didn't work. They suffered losses, and the status quo was restored," he explains.

Moreover, according to Seleznov, the status quo has been restored without any prospects for Russia to fundamentally change the situation, at least shortly.

Fighting continues on the Robotyne front along converging courses. There are reports of possible advances by the Ukrainian Armed Forces near the village of Verbove and Russian counterattacks west of Robotyne but without confirmation of changes in the front line.

On the left bank of the Kherson region, Russian occupiers increase pressure on Ukrainian forces, including using thermobaric projectiles on positions in Krynyky. Natalia Humeniuk, Head of the United Coordinating Press Center of Security and Defense Forces of the South of Ukraine, noted that the enemy has reduced the activity of tactical aviation, compensating with the use of various drones for explosive drops. According to her, Russian forces are trying to adjust tactics to push the Ukrainian Armed Forces out of the left bank, leading to up to ten attacks per day. However, they increasingly refrain from participating in assaults, as the command prohibits the use of armored vehicles.

Equally telling are the conclusions of British intelligence. They emphasize that the Russian Dnepr group is unable to displace Ukrainian defenders despite a significant numerical advantage. It is quite probable that its offensive capabilities are limited due to weak training and coordination.

Oleksii Hetman agrees and notes that the least disciplined enemy group is on the left bank, where the command changed to General Mykhail Teplynsky.

"Even the Russian National Guard and FSB came there to restore order due to massive looting, drunkenness, and so on. In that group, some people fled from the right bank and Kherson last year. They remember how it all happened, which does not add confidence and combat spirit," he said.

As for discipline, the enemy is in no hurry to die, understanding that our FPV drone operators and artillerymen from the right bank increasingly destroy assault groups, says Seleznov.

"On the other hand, we cannot move forward and expand the bridgehead. The issue of crossing the Dnipro River is unresolved and unlikely to be resolved soon. We need pontoon-bridge crossings and a stable logistics system to meet the needs of the fighters. This also includes air defense systems, artillery, and armored vehicles. Currently, we don't have such capabilities," concludes the expert.


As expected, the second half of January proved to be no less challenging than the first. Russians accumulated forces and intensified activities on many fronts, attempting to solidify territorial gains. Special attention is focused on the southern outskirts of Avdiivka, where the fate of the entire defense operation is being determined.

In late December, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi urged not to "dwell on" and not create a "mourning show" over the loss of control over certain settlements. In war, some laws operate regardless of whether they are liked by politicians, military personnel, or journalists. According to him, the enemy currently can concentrate its forces, including artillery and aviation assets, in one direction or another. And literally in 2-3 months, the same fate that befell Bakhmut could happen with Avdiivka. One month has already passed since that statement.