Amidst a recent slowdown in the Russian offensive operation, a detailed account reveals the challenges faced by Ukrainian forces in the northern region, their successful resistance against Russian assaults at the chemical plant, and the evolving tactics employed by both sides in this intense and strategically crucial conflict.
On November 18, there were many important updates from the front of the clashes between the Ukrainian army and the army of the Russian invaders – YouTube channel Reporting from Ukraine reports.
Here, the Russian offensive operation recently slowed down. And this is not surprising because the most recent wave of attacks that took place in the northern part of the region brought little to no results and forced the Russians to rethink their tactics.
The main goal of the Russian forces in this region is to breach the Ukrainian defenses at the chemical plant and enter the facilities. This was supposed to be another blitzkrieg operation that should have ensured the rapid collapse of the Ukrainian defense and surrender of Avdiivka because, by establishing control over the chemical plant, Russian forces would cut off all supply roads to the town, effectively closing the pocket around the main Ukrainian stronghold.
Unfortunately for Russians, as reported by the Ukrainian soldiers that are currently holding defense in front of the chemical plant, Russians were completely dismantled. Ukrainian soldiers admitted that the recent Russian attempt to establish a foothold on the plant territory presented a lot of challenges for Ukrainians, especially because the weather was less than perfect. Russian forces tried to leverage rain and dense fog in the morning because this was when Ukrainians struggled to use their drones efficiently.
Moreover, one Ukrainian fighter said that holding continuous defense is challenging because the personnel become exhausted, while Russian forces send a new assault unit the moment the previous one gets destroyed. Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces Spokesman Colonel Oleksandr Shtupun reported that Russian “Storm” and “Storm-Z” assault elements suffered significant losses, and only about 10 to 15 percent of some detachments’ original personnel survived. In order to keep the Russian forces motivated, the soldiers were ordered to put Russian flags along the contact line. Russian soldiers would have to risk their lives to put the flag as close to the Ukrainian positions as possible.
In the meantime, Ukrainian forces are tightly controlling Russian positions, and the moment the number of Russian soldiers starts to visibly increase in a particular direction, Ukrainians make it a priority target. This way, Ukrainians managed to prevent Russians from accumulating a critical number of forces and conducting an assault. Ukrainians also continue controlling Terrikon from the sky and eliminating enemy personnel and equipment. A Ukrainian fighter reported that over the last several days, they managed to destroy several ammunition depots full of missiles for ATGM systems. Terrikon is a very convenient place for ATGM positions because it allows hitting almost any target within a 4-kilometer radius.
Moreover, Russian sources report that the usage of Russian nightmares or heavy assault octocopters is increasing. The drone has devastating power because, while a regular drone carries grenades, the so-called Baba Yaga easily carries four huge mines. The caliber of these mines is 82 millimeters. Sometimes, the drone is equipped with warheads from RPG-7. The drone is usually used for destroying enemy forces concentrations inside the shelters in trenches, ammunition depots or tanks, and other heavy equipment. Interestingly, just like with regular aviation, the drone is never sent alone on a mission and is usually supported by at least one reconnaissance drone to see the whole picture and at least one small assault drone with grenades to chase off Russian soldiers that might try to shoot down the octocopter before it reaches the main target. The application of such tactics along the contact line in the northern part of the region helps to stabilize the situation a lot, although it is still not easy.
In the face of high resistance from Stepove to the chemical plant, Russian forces decided to slightly shift their focus. The new objective of the Russian assault units in the region was to establish a foothold on the outskirts of the residential area south of the reservoir. Right now, tough clashes are taking place at the water pumping station. Ukrainian fighters think that the attacks here are temporary and that the Russians will return to their attempts to cut the supply roads once again. However, Ukrainian fighters said that the Commander-in-Chief, Valery Zaluzhny, is paying close attention to Avdiivka and controls many aspects of the defense himself, so the soldiers believe that the encirclement that the Russians try to conduct will never happen.