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Russian army tries to encircle Avdiivka; Armed Forces of Ukraine could lose city

Russian army tries to encircle Avdiivka; Armed Forces of Ukraine could lose city The risk of losing Avdiivka by the Defense Forces is very high (photo: Getty Images)

Russian forces are conducting a tactical encirclement of the city of Avdiivka in the Donetsk region, which could create conditions that force Ukrainian forces to abandon their positions in the town. The defenders are putting up fierce resistance, according to a report from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

The department referred to a map of hostilities showing the advance of Russian invaders towards the southern outskirts of the Avdiivka coke and chemical plant, as well as the capture of the Defense Forces' Zenit position between Avdiivka and the village of Spartak on the outskirts of the temporarily occupied Donetsk.

ISW cited recent geolocation data indicating that Russian forces have cut off the last road from Avdiivka used for logistical purposes. However, Tavria Operational Strategic Group spokesperson Dmytro Lykhoviy reported that Ukrainian forces are currently using prepared secondary ground communication lines to supply Ukrainian forces in the southern and eastern parts of Avdiivka.

"Russian bloggers claim that Russian forces have advanced to the west of the city, attempting to cut off dirt roads used for logistical needs of the Armed Forces from the villages of Lastochkyne and Severne, although ISW has not yet seen any confirmation of this Russian advance," the report said.

Lykhoviy acknowledged that Ukrainian forces are withdrawing from some positions near Avdiivka, but stated that the defenders continue to repel Russian positions in the gray zone. He reported the relocation to Avdiivka of individual brigade units that counterattack Russian positions within the settlement.

"Russian forces may complete the encirclement of some Ukrainian units if Ukrainian forces do not withdraw or conduct successful counterattacks," the ISW report said.

Fighting for Avdiivka

Russian forces have been attempting to storm Avdiivka for several months now, aiming to encircle the city and eventually take control of it. The defending forces are holding their ground and inflicting significant losses on the occupiers. The battles are now taking place within the city limits.

On Thursday, February 15, it was reported that the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade was deployed to reinforce the defense of Avdiivka. The Ukrainian military also ensured alternative logistic routes in case the main logistic route was cut off by the enemy.

Commander of the Tavria Operational Strategic Group Oleksandr Tarnavskyi noted that as of the evening of February 15, the situation in Avdiivka is difficult but under control. Fierce battles are ongoing in the city, with planned reinforcement of units and maneuvering of the Ukrainian forces in threatening directions taking place.

For more details on the situation around the city, read the article by RBC-Ukraine.