War in Ukraine
The front is reeling, but with this counteroffensive the new commander-in-chief could save the situation
The city of Avdiivka is about to fall; only an attack on the siege ring can save it. The operation is risky for the new commander Syrskyj; a failure would paralyze Ukraine in 2024.
There are many tasks waiting for the commander-in-chief Oleksandr Syrskyj, but he has to prove himself immediately. The situation in the besieged city of Avdiivka is getting worse every day. Bakhmut held Syrskyj literally to the last man, and his brutal methods earned him the nickname “the butcher.” It is difficult to imagine that his first official act would be to abandon the fortress city of Avdiivka.
It is now foreseeable that the Russians will split up the almost pocket and cut off the last access routes. At the moment only the “Motor Depot” separates them from it. Even after the loss of the depot, the defenders would continue to fight, but with no chance of success. If they are trapped in the coking plant in the north and the high-rise buildings in the center, the Ukrainians can hardly harm the Russians due to the lack of heavy weapons, but they will continue to be shot up.
In any case, it seems too late to evacuate the wounded as planned. The estimated 3,000 survivors could only reach safety by fleeing across the fields. Current videos show how the strength of resistance in the city is weakening. In the south, the Russians have occupied a zone with simple buildings. There, their soldiers can move relatively freely and carefree, shielded by their own drones. The Ukrainians, on the other hand, cannot fight the rushing Russians with drones, artillery or mortars. In the north of the city in the area around the coking plant, a Russian squad was attacked by a single drone. The special thing here: There no longer seem to be any Ukrainian ground troops in the entire zone that can prevent the Russians from infiltrating.
For Commander-in-Chief Syrsky, this means that the trapped troops will not be able to force the Russians out of Avdiivka. Counterattacks would excessively drain their remaining strength. All you can do is try to keep the two anchor points as long as possible. The situation is further complicated by the lack of ammunition on the Ukrainian side. The Russians, on the other hand, are covering the city with everything they have. Artillery, multiple rocket launchers, cluster bombs and heavy glide bombs. They are said to have dropped almost 100 bombs on the city in one night.
The defenders won’t last forever. If Syrskyj wants to hold the city, the siege ring must be broken from the outside. Because of the lack of time, it will not be possible to wait for new troops. Syrskyj has to use his – probably last – reserves. They still exist. The American Abrams tanks have not yet been used at all, and the Challenger II from the United Kingdom has only been deployed selectively.
Predictable point of attack
The most promising target is the northern Russian encirclement arm. Here the entire Russian supply runs through the town of Krasnohorska. The Russian advance can be attacked from three sides. Attacking from multiple sides is so far the only working method in the Ukraine war. If the Russians had to give up Krasnohorivka, the city would be free to the north. Then you could try to clear the large spoil heap east of the city and then the southern part of Avdiivka.
This is the theory that is also known to the Russians. They will have prepared accordingly. At Krasnohorivka they control the heights, which makes an attack difficult. As long as there is overwhelming superiority in bombs and artillery, an attempt seems hopeless. In addition, the Russians are said to have found a way to disrupt the Starlink system in Avdiivka. Photos show them unpacking original Starlink systems. This suggests that the Russians are not disrupting the system in the region electronically, but are paralyzing it by overloading it.
Doing nothing is not an option
What is interesting is that Oleksandr Syrskyj is ethnic Russian and most of his family lives in Russia. He received his education at the Moscow Higher Military Command School. But that was a long time ago, in the defense of Kiev Syrskyj proved that he understands modern, urban, modern warfare and is not tied to old ways of thinking. However, his attempt to encircle Bakhmut in the summer offensive was a disaster. With very heavy losses at Klischchiivka, they just managed to break into the first Russian line.
A counterattack near Avdiivka will decide the war year of 2024. A Ukrainian success would massively set back Russia’s efforts and, above all, the mood in the country Lift Ukraine. A costly failure would deplete Kiev’s last reserves. The Ukrainians will not be able to regain the initiative on the ground in 2024.
It is not to be expected that Syrskyj will do nothing. Then Zelensky would have waited before changing the guard and left the shame to his predecessor.
All place names follow the spelling of Google Maps.