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Syrskyi: Russia trying to break through in Avdiivka direction, Ukraine facing ‘intense artillery fire’

by Chris York March 15, 2024 9:24 AM 2 min read
Ukrainian soldiers of the 71th Brigade fire shells in the direction of Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast, on Feb. 18, 2024. (Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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Russian forces are concentrating their main efforts on making a breakthrough near the recently fallen town of Avdiivka, Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said on March 15.

Avdiivka, a city in Donetsk Oblast that has been on the front line of the war since 2014, fell on Feb. 17, in what was Russia’s first major military gain in nine months. Several villages west of Avdiivka were captured soon after as Ukraine faced a severe ammunition shortage while U.S. aid continued to be stalled in Congress.

Ukrainian troops defending the area near Avdiivka face "intense artillery fire, the active use of FPV (first-person-view) drones," "periodic" air strikes, and "daily" assaults from armored vehicles and assault troops.

"In these conditions, the most effective way to conduct defense is to destroy the enemy's armored vehicles and infantry assault groups by artillery fire, the actions of armored groups, the complex use of attack unmanned systems of various types, the protection of one's units from enemy drones by means of EW (electronic warfare) in combination with the destruction of enemy UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) control points by missile strikes and artillery fire," Syrskyi said in a post on Telegram.

Syrskyi added that his main task currently was "dedicated to the organization and provision of these issues."

In its daily intelligence assessment on March 14, the U.K. Defense Ministry said Russia was focusing attacks west of Avdiivka and the town of Marinka, accounting for 60% of all attacks across the front line.

"However, the average number of reported weekly Russian ground attacks on Ukraine has reduced by 13% since late February 2024, when the weekly average reached 600," the ministry wrote.

As U.S. aid continues to be stalled in Congress, Kyiv’s forces face an increasingly perilous situation amid shell shortage.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said on March 13 that Ukraine’s ammunition shortage caused by the delays could soon lead to a Russian breakthrough on the front lines.

Ukraine is also battling with a manpower shortage, with the government aiming to ramp up mobilization efforts in 2024.

‘Our reserves will run out:’ Ukrainian artillery sounds alarm on Western shell shortage
Hiding beneath sparse winter cover in a crude, muddy ditch, a great steel monster lies in wait for an opportunity to attack. Adorned on either side with painted plus signs, the gun’s huge barrel looks up at the sky over the Bakhmut front line, across which thousands
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