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Estonian General Staff assesses consequences of potential Avdiivka occupation

Estonian General Staff assesses consequences of potential Avdiivka occupation Illustrative photo (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

The capture of Avdiivka in the Donetsk region by Russian forces is possible, but it won't provide the occupiers with significant operational success, states Tarmo Kundla, the Chief of the Operational Command of Estonia's General Staff.

"Russia is currently the more active side in the ongoing positional war in Ukraine and may capture some small settlements, but this won't grant significant operational success to Russian forces," the statement reads.

Avdiivka battles

According to him, Russian Federation troops continued advancing across the front and made progress in settlements near the city, both to its north and south.

"The fall of Avdiivka is possible, but it depends on the strength of Ukraine," he has remarked.

Kundla has added that Ukraine would decide on further resistance or withdrawal from the city, noting that Avdiivka is not yet surrounded.

Potential success for Russia on the battlefield

Estonia's General Staff reports that if Russian forces managed to capture Avdiivka, it would be a tactical victory, significant for public perception, but it wouldn't offer substantial operational success.

It's unlikely in the near future for Russia to achieve and occupy large territories in the Donetsk region. Kundla believes that if Ukraine chooses to abandon Avdiivka to preserve its forces, there wouldn't be significant consequences since new defensive positions have been prepared west of the city.

He also notes that Russian forces might capture the town of Maryinka in the coming weeks.

Losses for Russia

Over the past two months in the Donetsk region, nearly 25,000 Russian soldiers have died, with 80% of these casualties occurring in battles near Avdiivka.

These substantial losses forced Russia to redirect units previously stationed in rear positions to this region. Russian units also attempted, without success, to reclaim territories lost in the Orikhiv district to the south during the summer.

"It's crucial and shows their attempt to compensate for the losses," Kundla has stated.

Russia's advance on Avdiivka

Since early October, Russians intensified assaults in the Avdiivka area, aiming to encircle and take control of the city. For several months, Ukrainian defenders have been resisting, preventing occupiers from realizing their plans.

According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), since the offensive began in October, Russians have lost over 13,000 soldiers and officers in Avdiivka battles, gaining control of only 11 square kilometers of territory.

Experts suggest that Avdiivka might represent the final aggressive act by Russia, given the significant losses they're experiencing there.

According to analyst Oleksandr Kovalenko, Russian occupiers will continue active offensive actions in the Avdiivka area until the presidential elections in the aggressor country. Putin's regime needs any form of progress in the war. Afterward, there might be an operational pause on this front.