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Russians Overwhelm Heavily Fortified Andiivka—Another ‘Bakhmut Meatgrinder’?

One of Ukraine’s newly promoted military commanders, Brig. Gen. Oleksandr Tarnavsky, has been made the overall commander of Ukrainian forces deployed around Avdiivka—most likely just in time to take the blame for a massive defeat. Ukrainian fortifications in and around the town, some constructed in 2014 and improved since then, are among the strongest on the entire front.

Tarnavsky started with a Feb. 10 pronouncement, reported by Kyiv Post, that read: “The enemy is currently concentrating its main efforts on the Avdiivka direction. The intention of the Russian aggressors is clear: they first of all want to establish control over the logistical routes supplying our troops by attacking our northern flank. However, we are responding to the enemy’s actions effectively. We are strengthening defensive lines, setting up additional firing positions, and bringing up fresh reserves. Logistical deliveries [into Avdiivka] are continuing.”

In the next 48 hours, what the Kyiv Post cited as what the “usually reliable military information platform DeepState” had to say, was that Russian infantry have advanced across the key rail line, which would cripple the ability to supply Ukrainian forces. Further, the most advanced Russian forces reportedly were locked in close battle for Avdiivka’s coke and chemical plant, a hulking complex of industrial buildings overlooking the key 00542 highway, the main Ukrainian supply route.

The Kyiv Post then reported: “Pro-Russian information platforms reported that Russian attacks had left Ukrainian troops inside Avdiivka almost completely encircled and without reliable means of receiving food and ammunition, or evacuating casualties.” Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) spokesmen admitted that there were Russian advances around Avdiivka, though without offering any details. And the Washington-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW), in a Feb. 11 situation update, said Russian advances near Avdiivka were “confirmed.”

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