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ISW: Russian forces in Avdiivka likely to need 'operational pause'

by Abbey Fenbert February 20, 2024 5:47 AM 2 min read
Police conduct evacuation work in Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast on Oct. 30, 2023. (Vlada Liberova / Libkos via Getty Images)
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Russian offensive operations in Avdiivka will likely require an "operational pause" following Ukrainian troops' withdrawal from the front-line city, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) wrote in their Feb. 19 report.

Ukrainian forces withdrew from Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast on Feb. 17 amid ammunitions shortages and Russia's intensifying efforts to capture the small industrial city.

ISW analysts noted that Russia's offensive operations, including shelling and aviation, "dramatically slowed" after the withdrawal.

"Russian forces will likely have to conduct an operational pause before resuming significant offensive operations in the Avdiivka direction or will have to transfer additional reinforcements from other sectors of the front," analysts said.

Russia has the necessary reserves to reinforce its troops in Avdiivka, but the ISW said there was "no indication" that such forces were being transferred to the area at this time.

The ISW also reported that it remains unclear "how Russian forces will choose to allocate their manpower currently deployed to the Avdiivka area."

The seizure of Avdiivka represents Russia's first major battlefield gain in months. The city came at a steep price for Moscow, costing tens of thousands of soldiers' lives and huge amounts of military equipment.

The city, which had a pre-war population of about 32,000 residents, lies largely in ruins after years of heavy fighting. It may hold more strategic value for Russian President Vladimir Putin's propaganda machine ahead of the March 2024 elections than it does the Russian military.

The ISW warned on Feb. 17 that Russia could replicate its successful tactics in Avdiivka on a larger scale if the West continues to delay military assistance.

Ukraine war latest: Russian troops killed wounded Ukrainian soldiers in Avdiivka after promising to evacuate them, military says
Key developments on Feb. 19: * Military: Russian troops killed wounded Ukrainian soldiers in Avdiivka after promising to evacuate them * Commander: Some units of 3rd Assault Brigade were ‘completely surrounded’ in Avdiivka but managed to escape * NBC: Biden administration considering supplying U…
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