BusinessRussia's Failed Tank Offensive: The Cost of Capturing Avdiivka

Russia’s Failed Tank Offensive: The Cost of Capturing Avdiivka

The Battle for Avdiivka: Implications of Tank Losses

The ongoing conflict in the eastern Ukraine city of Avdiivka has reached a critical point, with the Ukrainian garrison facing imminent defeat due to a lack of ammunition. This situation has been exacerbated by the withholding of aid by Russia-aligned Republicans in the U.S. Congress, leading to Russian infantry advancing into the city from multiple directions and putting immense pressure on the garrison’s supply lines.

While the loss of Avdiivka is significant for Ukraine, the repercussions for Russia could be even more severe. The capture of a small area of urban terrain has come at a high cost, with the Kremlin sacrificing a substantial number of tanks in the process.

According to open-source analyst @partisan_oleg, the Russian army’s force structure still mirrors that of the Soviet era, with a motor-rifle division theoretically having 220 tanks. Since the beginning of the attack on Avdiivka, the Russian 2nd and 41st Combined Arms Armies have incurred significant tank losses, with analyst @naalsio26 reporting the loss of 214 tanks, including T-72s, T-80s, and T-90s. In comparison, the Ukrainian forces in the region have lost only 18 tanks.

The Russian tank losses near Avdiivka represent a substantial portion of their armored assets in Ukraine. Despite this, the blame cannot be placed on the Ukrainian forces’ lack of tank deployment or the advantage typically held by defending forces. The Ukrainians effectively utilized mines, artillery, drones, missiles, and ground-based attacks to outmaneuver and outgun the Russian forces, even with dwindling ammunition supplies due to the lack of U.S. aid support.

The attrition trap that the Russians find themselves in highlights the strategic miscalculations and tactical deficiencies in their campaign. While they may succeed in capturing Avdiivka, the high cost in personnel and equipment may hinder their ability to sustain military operations on other fronts of the broader conflict in Ukraine.

The crucial decision facing the Ukrainian garrison in Avdiivka lies in whether to retreat or continue fighting. Retreating could potentially preserve their attritional advantage and force the Russians into a costly victory. However, if they choose to stand their ground, they risk surrendering this advantage and facing the same fate as previous Ukrainian settlements surrounded by Russian forces.

The outcome of the battle for Avdiivka will not only have immediate military implications but could also shape the broader narrative of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The strategic decisions made by both sides in the coming days will determine the course of the conflict and the fate of the embattled city.

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