Russia ramping up attacks in eastern Ukraine

Reports indicated that the battle is concentrated on the industrial town of Avdiivka the latest major flashpoint

By Web Desk
November 30, 2023
Ukrainian servicemen of the 22nd Mechanized Brigade take part in a military training exercise in the Donetsk region, on November 28, 2023. — AFP

As the hostilities continue to grow on both sides of the border, Kyiv and Moscow's forces said that Russia geared up its "artillery fire and airstrikes" on the eastern part of Ukraine, eyeing considerable gains as the end of the year nears.

As both sides have not yet made any substantial gain, the warring parties were locked in fierce fighting throughout the year.

Reports indicated that the battle is concentrated on the industrial town of Avdiivka the latest major flashpoint.

Russian forces attempted to gain control of the town in October securing gains, however, at a considerable human cost.

Oleksandr Shtupun, a spokesman for Ukraine's army said: "The enemy has doubled its artillery fire and airstrikes. It has also intensified ground infantry attacks, and is using armoured vehicles."

"Improving weather conditions — following powerful storms across southern Ukraine and Russia earlier this week — have enabled Russia's forces to intensify their assaults and use drones again," he said.

Ukrainian servicemen of the 22nd Mechanized Brigade take part in a military training exercise in the Donetsk region, on November 28, 2023. — AFP

The activity around the industrial town has also increased, according to the Ukrainian commander responsible for the area, adding that Russian forces had carried out nearly 20 airstrikes, launched four missiles, thrown 56 assault waves at his forces, and fired more than 1,000 artillery rounds.

Concurrently, the International Atomic Energy Agency has voiced concerns over the fighting near the southeastern Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station that has been under Russian control since Vladimir Putin's special military operation.

"Military actions have increased, and... we are seeing a multiplication of attacks in the vicinity," Rafael Grossi told reporters in France, adding that "this is of great concern to us."

Strategic importance

Avdiivka sits in a strategically important indent in the Russian frontlines of the Donetsk region, with Russia's troops surrounding the town on almost three sides.

Defensive fortifications on its southern edge are just five kilometres north of Donetsk city, the capital of a region Moscow claimed to have annexed last year.

Ukraine has so far held off the Russian bombardment and still controls an eight-kilometre-wide strip of land — and a vital supply road — stretching from Avdiivka to the northwest.

British intelligence said that recent weeks had "likely seen some of the highest Russian casualty rates of the war so far."

But an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky cautioned Wednesday that Moscow was prepared to throw "unlimited" numbers of soldiers into the war.

"Russia still has unlimited human resources that it ruthlessly uses for conducting so-called human wave attacks. They'd rather use people than machinery," Mykhailo Podolyak wrote in a social media post.

Around 50 kilometres (30 miles) north, Russia's military claimed separately it had taken control of Khromove, a small village on the outskirts of Bakhmut.

"Troops, supported by aviation and artillery fire, improved their positions along the front line and liberated the village of Artemovskoye," Russia's defence ministry said in a daily briefing, referring to the village by a previous version of its name.

Both Moscow and Kyiv also said they had downed enemy drones and missiles overnight.

Ukraine is bracing for Russia to increase its attacks on its energy infrastructure in a repeat of Moscow´s tactics last winter, which saw millions left without power and heating for hours in sub-zero temperatures.

Ukraine's air force said it downed all 21 drones and two of three X-59 guided missiles that Russia had fired at its territory overnight.

The third missile did not reach its target, it added.