Russian forces advance northwest of Avdiivka amid Ukraine’s withdrawal - ISW

Avdiivka, March 16
Avdiivka, March 16

Russian forces made a tactical advance northwest of Avdiivka near the village of Arkhanhelske during the night of May 4, likely following a Ukrainian decision to withdraw from this area in Donetsk Oblast the day before, the U.S.-based think tank Institute for the Study of War reported on May 5.

On May 4, a Russian military blogger posted footage of reportedly the Russian “Lavina” Battalion of the 132nd Motorized Rifle Brigade raising a flag in Arkhanhelske, which was geolocated by ISW to northern part of the village. Analysis of the additional footage posted on the same day indicated that Russian forces also advanced in the eastern outskirts of Arkhanhelske.

According to the ISW assessments, the Russian seizure of Arkhanhelske also indicates that Russian forces likely control Keramik and Novokalynove, both located southeast of the village.

Geolocated footage published on May 3 shows Ukrainian forces withdrawing from northern Arkhanhelske, and Russian military bloggers claimed that Russian forces advanced in the settlement overnight on May 3 to 4 following the Ukrainian withdrawal.

Ukrainian forces may have decided to trade space for time as they wait for the arrival of US aid to the frontline at scale in the coming weeks – an appropriate decision for an under-resourced force at risk of being outflanked.

ISW continues to assess that Russian forces are likely trying to take advantage of the limited time window before the arrival of Western military aid deliveries by intensifying offensive operations and that Russian forces may make further tactical advances in this area in the near future.

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The Russians appear to be choosing to exploit the tactical situation northwest of Avdiivka and other areas where Russian forces are most likely to make tactical gains in the near future, but their ultimate objective in this frontline sector remains unclear, including possible development of the offensive toward Toretsk or return to their previous focus on Pokrovsk to the northwest.

Russia has already deployed roughly a division’s worth of combat power to the frontline northwest of Avdiivka and reportedly continuing to introduce additional forces in this general area. Ukrainian sources have recently reported that Russia committed elements of the 55th Motorized Rifle Brigade to the Novobakhmutivka area, south of Ocheretyne. Russian forces are likely to continue to push northwest of Avdiivka as long as there are opportunities to exploit the tactical situation in the area.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine