- After deploying thousands of men, alongside tanks and armored vehicles, into a fresh Russian assault in the eastern region of Donetsk last month, Russia has reportedly amassed 40K troops around the city of Avdiivka in preparation for a renewed push to take the city, Ukrainian military officials said on Thursday.1
- Anton Kotsukon, a spokesman for Ukraine's 110th separate mechanized brigade, said: 'They are building up reserves. They've brought in about 40K men here along with ammunition of all calibres. We see no sign of the Russians abandoning plans to encircle Avdiivka.'2
- According to analysis from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a US-affiliated military think tank that tracks battlefield progress in the war, Russia has made gains in positions near Avdiivka in recent days and has surrounded the city from three sides. It cited reports from a Russian military blogger that claimed Russian forces now hold positions within 500 meters (1,640 feet) of Avdiivka itself.3
- On Friday, Ukraine's general staff reported that its forces 'are firmly holding their defenses' in Avdiivka. It added that Ukraine also fended off Russian attacks in Bakhmut, Kupiansk, Lyman, and Marinka elsewhere in the Donetsk region, as well as further attacks in the regions of Chernihiv, Kherson, Kharkiv, and Luhansk, in addition to Sumy, Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhia. Ukraine's general staff added that in the last 24 hours, Russia launched 26 air strikes and 62 attacks involving multiple rocket launch systems.4
- Meanwhile, in Ukrainian attacks, Kyiv's defense intelligence branch said it destroyed a Russian landing vessel off the coast of Crimea. Russia's defense ministry did not acknowledge the attack but said it shot down a number of Ukrainian drones over Crimea in addition to the mainland Russian regions of Tula, Oryol, and Kursk.5
- Elsewhere, after Ukraine claimed responsibility for a car bomb that killed a pro-Russia lawmaker in the Luhansk region earlier in the week, a further car bomb was reported in the Russian-held city of Mariupol on Friday. The attack targeted a Russian police officer whose condition remains unknown. Petro Andriushchenko, a Ukrainian official, said it was 'a gift to celebrate Police Day in Russia.'6
- Pro-Ukraine narrative, as provided by Ukrinform. Russia has pounded Avdiivka for a month, but all they have achieved is the losses of thousands of men and equipment. Ukraine's defense forces continue to hold the line and will fight every meter of territory.
- Pro-Russia narrative, as provided by TASS. Ukraine's counteroffensive has ground to a halt and now Russia is launching renewed offensive operations. Meanwhile, Western support for Ukraine is drying up. Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy needs to see the writing on the wall and realize that he cannot defeat Russia militarily.