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ISW: Shoigu refers to offensives as 'active defense' to lower expectations

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 2, 2023 1:56 PM 1 min read
Two Ukrainian soldiers walk along the destroyed city in the fog on Oct. 26, 2023 in Avdiivka, Ukraine. (Photo for illustrative purposes) (Vlada Liberova / Libkos via Getty Images)
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Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu falsely characterizes Russian offensive operations in Ukraine as "active defense" in order to "temper expectations" about his military's ability to meet objectives, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in its latest report on Dec. 1.

Both Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin referred to Russia's attempt to capture Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast as "active defense," following its failure to move forward in early October 2023.

Referring to the push on Avdiivka as "active defense" is intentionally misleading, the ISW said, as the city has been a "famously static Ukrainian defensive position since 2014."

The characterization attempts to conceal "the lack of any major Russian progress around Avdiivka despite over two months of large-scale Russian attacks there."

Russian forces intensified ground attacks against Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast, and surrounding settlements in early October in an effort to encircle the town.

According to the Ukrainian military, Russian forces have lost around 10,000 soldiers, more than 100 tanks, over 250 other armored vehicles, and seven Su-25 aircraft in the first month of their offensive on the town.

UK Defense Ministry: Russian casualty rates ‘some of highest’ over last 6 weeks
Russian forces in Ukraine have likely suffered “some of the highest” casualty rates in the past six weeks, mainly caused by Russia’s offensive against Avdiivka, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on Nov. 27.
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