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Russian Armed Forces gained local air superiority during the battles in Avdiivka - ISW

Russian Armed Forces gained local air superiority during the battles in Avdiivka - ISW Photo: Russian troops secured local air superiority near Avdiivka (Getty Images)

Russian forces have likely temporarily gained local air superiority, enabling them to provide direct air support to ground troops in the Avdiivka area, according to the ISW report.

Russian forces have been releasing no fewer than 60 air bombs daily, which are targeted at Ukrainian positions in Avdiivka. A blogger associated with the Kremlin stated on February 17th that Russian forces had released 250 such bombs in the last 48 hours alone in a specific area of Avdiivka.

Russian sources believe that the occupiers' use of guided air bombs has allowed Russian forces to gain air superiority in this area.

Since the beginning of 2023, Russian forces have gradually increased the use of guided air bombs across the entire theater of military operations. However, the widespread use of this type of weapon in Avdiivka marks the first instance of Russian aviation employing these bombs on a large scale to provide direct air support to infantry forces.

Russia's ability to conduct these massive strikes over several days in the most active part of the front line suggests that the Ukrainian Armed Forces were unable to resist them in the airspace around Avdiivka. Russian forces likely capitalized on this temporary localized air advantage to expedite their advance on the city.

Battles for Avdiivka

Russian forces initiated an offensive on Avdiivka in early October of last year. According to British intelligence, in February, the Third Assault Brigade confirmed that they had been redeployed to the Avdiivka area to reinforce Ukrainian defenses.

On February 16th, the commander of the operational-strategic grouping of troops Tavria Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, announced the decision to withdraw from the Zenit position on the southeast outskirts of Avdiivka. On the night of February 17th, the Chief Commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleksandr Syrsky, stated that Ukrainian soldiers had left the city to avoid being surrounded by the enemy.

According to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Russian troops suffered at least 17,000 casualties, including soldiers and officers killed, during the advance on Avdiivka in the Donetsk region.

For more detailed information on why the Ukrainian Armed Forces withdrew from Avdiivka and whether Russia will continue its offensive, you can find out from the material by RBC-Ukraine.