Despite Russian attempts to bypass Avdiivka's defenses, Ukrainian defenders are likely to defend the city at least for the coming weeks, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in its intelligence report on Jan. 27.
Russia intensified its attacks against Avdiivka in October 2023, reportedly suffering heavy losses in an attempt to encircle the front-line city just kilometers from occupied Donetsk.
"Russian forces are reportedly attempting to bypass Ukrainian fortifications by entering the city edges via service tunnels; this is a method of infiltration they have been attempting since October 2023," the U.K. Defense Ministry said.
"Ukrainian counterattacks are holding Russian forces from progressing further within the city. As the main supply route remains intact, and Ukrainian forces make local counter-attacks, Avdiivka is likely to remain in Ukrainian control over the coming weeks."
At the start of this week, reports emerged that the situation around Avdiivka deteriorated as Russian forces allegedly began pushing into Ukrainian defenses from the south.
The U.S.-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said on Jan. 21 that Russian forces advanced into the Tsarska Okhota recreation area along Soborna Street south of Avdiivka.
On Jan. 26, the BBC reported that Ukrainian counterattacks likely managed to push Russian forces back, and the head of the city's military administration, Vitalii Barabash, said that Tsarska Okhota and Soborna Street are in Ukrainian hands.
The BBC's sources said that a group of Russian forces also managed to sneak into the city in an attempt to establish a foothold. Barabash confirmed the report but said that these were only small reconnaissance units and had already been pushed back.