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Ukrainian Armed Forces likely repelled attack by mechanized battalion near Avdiivka

Ukrainian Armed Forces likely repelled attack by mechanized battalion near Avdiivka Illustrative photo (

Ukrainian forces near Tonenke in the Donetsk region on March 30 likely repelled a mechanized attack by Russian occupiers numbering in battalion strength. This may indicate that the operational reserve accumulated by the Russians in this direction is unable to advance shortly, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

The Institute refers to reports from the Ukrainian military, according to which, on March 30, Russian forces, including units of the 6th Tank Regiment (90th Tank Division of the Central Military District), deployed 36 tanks and 12 BMPs in a mechanized assault near Tonenke.

Geolocation images for March 31, available to the Institute, show a large amount of destroyed and damaged Russian armored vehicles and tanks along the road to the northwest of Tonenke (west of Avdiivka).

A Ukrainian defender stated that during the assault, the Defense Forces destroyed 12 Russian tanks and 8 BMPs, noting that the strike failed to breach the Ukrainian defensive line.

According to ISW, this is the first battalion-sized mechanized attack since the start of the occupiers' campaign to capture Avdiivka in late October 2023.

This is also the first report of any units from the 90th Tank Division participating in assaults since Russia captured Avdiivka. According to the Institute's assessments, elements of the 90th Tank Division, along with other Russian units and formations, likely represent a significant unused operational reserve that the Russian command may deploy for an advance west of Avdiivka.

The failure of the attack on March 30 near Tonenke, in the experts' opinion, indicates that elements of this reserve may be too degraded or otherwise incapable of leading further Russian advances westward in the short term.

The Institute also believes that this may demonstrate Ukraine's ability to defend against future large-scale advances by the occupiers even in the absence of ammunition.

Situation in the Avdiivka direction

Russian forces did not stop at capturing Avdiivka and continued to advance with large forces, pressing on surrounding villages. In particular, on February 26, it became known that the Ukrainian Armed Forces withdrew from the village of Lastochkyne. A day later, the Ukrainian Armed Forces tactically withdrew from the villages of Sieverne and Stepove in the Avdiivka direction.

Earlier, the deputy commander of the Third Assault Brigade, Maksym Zhorin, noted that the main direction where the Russians are pressing is the line of settlements Berdychi - Orlivka. Later, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleksandr Syrskyi, said that Russian assault units are trying to break through our troops' defense and capture the settlements of Tonenke, Orlivka, Semenivka, Berdychi, and Krasnohorivka.

Zhorin reported on March 28 that currently the attention of the Russians is focused on attempts to break through to the village of Semenivka, but so far they have not succeeded.