Ukrainian and Russian forces clashed more than 80 times on Sunday as fierce fighting was witnessed in three major fronts that saw the use of guided air missiles, drones, rockets, artillery and mortar shells, military officials in Kyiv said.
The announcement by Kyiv’s officials comes amid reports that Russia rushed more troops to Avdiivka to replace their heavy losses. Officials have said fighting on three fronts has remained particularly “hot”.
Fighting in the direction of Avdiivka, Marinka and Kupiansk has intensified in the past few months but aggravated assaults have been particularly strong this month as Russian forces are eyeing the capture of Avdiivka.
“During the day, 82 combat clashes took place. In total, the enemy launched 10 missiles and 36 air strikes, carried out 35 attacks from rocket salvo systems on the positions of Ukrainian troops and populated areas,” the General Staff of the Ukraine Armed Forces said in a daily update on Sunday evening.
The Russian military is deploying personnel from Russian territory directly to Avdiivka positions to replace personnel losses, Ukrainian spokesperson for forces in the south Oleksandr Shtupun said.
Another military observer from Kyiv, Kostyantyn Mashovets, said the Russian military command has recently transferred several Russian regiments comprising mobilised personnel to the Avdiivka direction suggesting Moscow does not plan to abandon its military operations in this direction, noted The Institute for the Study of War.
It added that Vladimir Putin’s forces failed in their renewed push on 19-20 October and are now funnelling additional forces to this front despite suffering challenges with frontal mechanised assaults.
“Russian forces are likely once again pausing following a failed major push which suffered heavy losses. A prominent Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces ‘unexpectedly’ counterattacked in the direction of Pisky (8km southwest of Donetsk City) and pushed Russian forces from positions in the area,” the US based think-tank said in its latest assessment on Sunday.
In Kupiansk, Ukrainian forces repelled 15 attacks by Russian troops in Kharkiv’s Sinkivka and Ivanivka districts. Russian forces also fired artillery and mortar on the region, the General Staff said.
Similar artillery shelling and mortar attacks, targeting 15 settlements, were carried out by Russian forces in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk where the Lyman direction lies.
The besieged city of Bakhmut also suffered Russian strikes.
“At the same time, the Defence Forces of Ukraine continue offensive operations in the Melitopol direction, offensive (assault) actions in the Bakhmut direction, inflicting losses in manpower and equipment on the occupying troops, exhausting the enemy along the entire front line,” the General Staff said.
Troops amassed on both sides are engaged in daily shelling, but Russian forces are likely facing “positional deadlock”, a Kremlin-affiliated military blogger said, citing difficulties.
“The milblogger claimed that it is difficult to conduct manoeuvre warfare on a static front line with a large number of personnel and fortified areas on both sides. The milblogger noted that Ukrainian drones and other precision weapons have made armoured vehicles increasingly vulnerable and have made ground attacks increasingly difficult,” the ISW said.
He said Russian forces are “facing difficulties in overcoming Ukrainian minefields near Avdiivka and are unable to completely destroy Ukrainian logistics, allowing the Ukrainian command to quickly transfer personnel to critical areas”.