On Sunday, two prominent independent Ukrainian military journalists issued warnings about the intense Russian attacks on the besieged city of Avdiivka. While Kremlin information platforms claimed success, official Kyiv sources insisted that defenses remained strong.
Avdiivka, a coal-mining center in the Donbas region and a frontline city since Russia’s initial invasion of Ukraine in 2014 has been under relentless Russian ground and air assaults since October. Recently, there has been a shift in Kremlin tactics towards encircling the city from the north.
Yuriy Butusov, an independent combat correspondent running Censor.net, noted in his February 4 blog that Ukrainian lines around Avdiivka are on the verge of breaking due to a significant numerical advantage in artillery shells, assault soldiers, and Russian air superiority. After weeks of attacks, Russian forces have breached built-up areas of the city, and Ukrainian units are weakening from heavy losses and limited reinforcements.
Butusov emphasized the critical situation, calling for fresh reserves, rotation of units, and urgently needed ammunition. He reported that Russian forces were suffering serious losses but cautioned that unless Ukrainian troops in the city received reinforcements, the defenses manned by exhausted soldiers could collapse.
Military correspondent Andriy Tsaplienko, reporting for the mainstream 1+1 TV channel, described a rapidly deteriorating situation in Avdiivka on Sunday. Russian assault troops exploited cloudy weather and the lack of high-quality aerial reconnaissance, entering the city from the northeast and bypassing Ukrainian formations. Although the situation is not yet hopeless, Tsaplienko stressed the need for infantry reserves with experience in urban warfare to eliminate the Russian breakthrough.
While the Ukrainian military remained tight-lipped about the battles in the Avdiivka sector on Monday, Kremlin-associated sources claimed Russian assaults were progressing well. Pro-Kremlin bloggers reported advances from both north and south, stating that Ukrainian defenses were deteriorating.
Despite official Kyiv-approved reports painting a positive picture of Ukrainian troops repelling attacks, independent sources painted a bleaker picture of the situation in Avdiivka, emphasizing the urgent need for reinforcements, ammunition, and a change in military strategy.