In a dramatic turn of events on the Avdiivka front, today’s updates reveal a series of intense battles as Russian forces launch a massive wave of attacks, facing setbacks and heavy losses in their efforts to breach Ukrainian defenses and establish control over a strategic chemical plant.
On November 16, there were a lot of updates from the Avdiivka direction – YouTube channel Reporting from Ukraine reports.
Here, Russian forces recently conducted a massive wave of attacks in the northern part of the region, mostly consisting of infantry. The main goal of this operation was to breach the Ukrainian defense in front of Terrikon and establish a foothold on the territory of the chemical plant.
Recently released footage by Russian sources shows the aftermath of the morning airstrikes on the chemical plant. Some Russian military analysts claimed that Russian forces started using even bigger air-dropped bombs, namely the FAB-3000, which is a 3000-kilogram bomb containing 1400 kilograms of explosive charge. The bomb is designed primarily for the destruction of industrial and urban facilities.
A Ukrainian fighter that is defending the chemical plant posted a video showing the result of the airstrikes. As you can see, despite continuous strikes with massive bombs, due to the sheer scale of the chemical plant and the rigidity of the structures, it is very hard to reduce it to ruins or even undermine the defense.
Nonetheless, after conducting the strike, Russian forces launched a powerful infantry assault from the tree lines in front of the settlement. Unfortunately for the Russians, most of them did not manage to cross even 100 meters. A Ukrainian drone operator from the forty-seventh mechanized brigade released a video showing how he targeted one of the Russian units in the area. The objective of the assault unit was to advance from the dense tree belts and take control of the building 180 meters from their positions. However, the Russian soldiers in the video managed to cross just 90 meters before being destroyed by drones.
Another attack on the chemical plant came from the north. The main objective of the Russian soldiers in this area was to move along this tree line and establish control over at least the first 100 meters. A Russian fighter who was sent to storm Ukrainian positions filmed the aftermath of the attack. He showed the Ukrainian chemical plant toward which they were moving, and here I have to pause the video because when he lowered the camera, the ground around him was full of fallen Russian soldiers. He was standing in the middle, surrounded by corpses, and said that they incurred disproportionately high losses compared to Ukrainians.
Both Russian and Ukrainian sources recently circulated footage showing how Russian commanders are punishing Russian soldiers for the prevalent use of drugs. As said in the video, the soldiers were afraid to go on what they themselves considered a suicide mission and used drugs, which is why the whole detachment was simply annihilated. So, if previously the biggest problem Russian low-level commanders faced was an abuse of alcohol by the personnel, now the problem has been exacerbated, and the use of drugs becomes the main issue, especially around Donetsk and Avdiivka, because this is a densely populated area, simplifying access to such things.
The Russian frontal attacks become even more self-destructive every day as Ukrainians are conducting counterbattery fire. A Russian soldier posted a video showing the destruction of an Uragan artillery system. In this case, there was no direct hit; the Ukrainian shell fell several meters away from the vehicle but caused the detonation of the rockets. Another Russian soldier released a video showing what happens when a HIMARS rocket hits a Russian artillery system (MSTA-S). The vehicle simply disintegrated. Even the engine and chassis were scattered across the field, while the top part was never even seen.
Overall, the motivation of the Russian soldiers to continue the offensive operation is extremely low. The soldiers understand that their chances of survival are close to zero, which is why the use of forbidden substances is at all times high. Moreover, the destruction of the Russian artillery means that the Russian infantry has to advance without sufficient artillery support, incurring even more losses. And this has already been reflected in the total losses that Russians incurred today—more precisely, 1330 killed and wounded. As the quality of Russian attacks decreases, the probability that Ukrainian fighters will manage to withstand the Russian offensive becomes higher and higher.