Home » Ukraine Update: Russia fails at Avdiivka

Ukraine Update: Russia fails at Avdiivka

More info keeps emerging from Avdiivka, easily Russia’s biggest disaster of the year. 

Ukriane’s claims over the last week, since the start of Russia’s Avdiivka assault, have been downright gaudy: 

October 15: 8 tanks, 25 armored combat vehicles, 33 artillery

October 14: 9 tanks, 24 ACV, 26 artillery

October 13: 26 tanks, 49 ACV, 44 artillery 

October 12: 42 tanks, 44 ACV, 32 artillery

October 11: 34 tanks, 91 ACV, 18 artillery 

Open source intelligence analysts have visually confirmed far fewer of these, and of course, not all of these kills are from Avdiivka alone. Combat is raging across the entire front line. Yet on a typical day, Ukraine reports 5-10 armored vehicles kills of all types. This hasn’t been an armor-centric war in a long time. The huge claims coincide with Russia’s Avdiika assault. 

But even what has been visually confirmed, over 50 pieces of armor around Avdiivka, is simply devastating to Russia. Anything above that is gravy. 

A Russian war blogger breaks it down from their side:

How did the Russian command distinguish itself there? In order:

1. The enemy was outplayed with the concentration of troops, the attack was so sudden that on the first day all observers noted very weak artillery fire from the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

The Ukrainians themselves admit to losing ground early in the attack, clearly it wasn’t expected. 

2.  Thorough reconnaissance – for example, a number of commanders of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were destroyed during the preparation of the offensive, strikes were carried out on the command post of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which were successful, and this did not lead to the discovery of the plans of the Russian command.

it’s not easy to conceal an attack involving hundreds of vehicles and their logistical train, especially with Ukraine’s access to both satellite intelligence, and all the drones. So yes, this was objectively a major Russian accomplishment and Ukrainian failure.

The stuff about killing a bunch of Ukrainian commanders … it’s the sort of bullshit fluff they insert into every report to soften the blow of their criticisms. If Russia had taken out a major Ukrainian command post, we’d be seeing the video on 24-7 loop. And it’s unnecessary. Catching Ukraine by surprise was impressive enough. 

3. To speed up the breakthrough of Russian units through the defense line of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, reserves of high-precision weapons, including LMURs [helicopter-launched missiles], were created, and the interaction of ground units with helicopters was worked out. Also, to accelerate the breakthrough of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ defense lines, Russian troops are massively using incendiary ammunition, with all the ensuing consequences for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

That is, we are dealing with a pre-prepared attack, carefully planned, for which reserves of material and technical equipment were created, including high-precision weapons, a set of reconnaissance activities were carried out, offensive groups of ground forces were covertly prepared for advance, and a serious detachment of strike aviation forces was allocated.

And what? After the first penetrations, the Armed Forces of Ukraine transferred reinforcements to the place of the breakthrough, including artillery, and our penetrations during the first hours were stopped. Now the advance of Russian troops has dropped to Bakhmut pace—tens of meters per day at best, the enemy is launching counterattacks.

I’ve noted repeatedly the last few days, and over the course of the entire war, that Ukraine enjoys a massive advantage with its internal lines of communication. 

The distance from Orikhiv, north of the big Ukrainian advance around Robotyne, to Prokovsk, 60 kilometers (37 miles) west of Avdiivka, is just 120 kilometers (75 miles). Units can cover that distance in 2-3 hours. Add another 2-3 hours to fuel up, replenish supplies, and deploy to Adviika, and Ukraine has just reinforced the town in less than half a day. 

The result? As this war blogger’s report notes, “our penetrations during the first hours were stopped.” 

Also, it’s hard to take seriously any claims of reconnaissance when this happened: 


Any real reconnaissance effort would be aware of an exposed mine belt on the advance route. 

Russia caught Ukraine by surprise. That’s pretty much it. Everything else was a cluster***. 

This is what a positional deadlock looks like. And this has been written about on the channel more than once.

What has the Russian army not mastered that is necessary at the tactical level for a successful breakthrough in a reasonable time?

The first is the isolation of the combat area. It is clear that some actions were taken in this direction, but the Ukrainian Armed Forces were able to transfer the necessary reserves to the Avdeevka area. It’s important – if ours transfer more troops to this area, then the Ukrainian Armed Forces will do the same. And then again, and again, this “trade in human flesh” has no limits.

Ukraine can quickly plug any Russian breakthrough. 

Unfortunately, we’ve seen the same thing on the other side. Russia effectively plugged Ukraine’s breakthrough around Robotyne. Neither side can currently fully exploit a breach. 

The second is counter-battery combat. Everything here at the moment is more complicated than is commonly thought, we will not expand on the topic, we will simply state the fact that the CBF is not effective enough. And this was enough to slow down the compression of the Russian “pincers” to an acceptably slow rate for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Ha ha, this poor guy can’t even muster up the energy to talk about Russia’s disastrous artillery situation. It’s been objectively clear for a long time that Ukraine is dominating Russia in the artillery war. Ukraine’s western tube and rocket artillery far outranges anything that Russia fields, it is more accurate, and it has better surveillance and counter-battery radar to hunt down those Russian guns. 

In any case, one Russian propagandist claims that the “guns went silent in Avdiivka,” which might mean Russia has given up its armored assault, at least for now. Russia has been literally gunning for Avdiivka since 2014. They’re not about to give up. 

This is an interesting writeup on how the U.S. found an extra $6 billion for Ukraine by more properly accounting for donated obsolete gear. Originally, the U.S. was accounting for replacement value, as opposed to the depreciated value of the equipment itself. So, an old donated Humvee would be priced at the cost of a brand new updated vehicle, as opposed to the resale value of that ratty old vehicle. It was dumb, and it was rectified. 

What I didn’t know was this: 

Interestingly, from an accounting perspective, these [MLRS] cluster rockets possess a negative book value. Initially marked for destruction, supplying them to Ukraine aligns with both war objectives and fiscal responsibility.

Economics is often framed as a ‘competition over scarce resources.’ Yet, this situation, especially the distinction between “replacement cost” and “book value”, indicates otherwise. In reality, it’s more like an artillery war. HIMARS cluster rockets are abundant, and to the US taxpayer, they hold minimal value. The US possesses more than enough HIMARS rockets, capable of decimating the Russian military multiple times. These rockets, destined for destruction without replacement, emphasize the straightforward business case for shipping these conventional munitions.

In summation, the US boasts ample 155mm cluster munitions and HIMARS rockets to decisively influence the war. These are essentially cost-free. The focus should now be on providing Ukraine with enough firepower to reestablish their 1991 borders. This $6 billion accounting oversight inadvertently bolsters the President’s objectives in Ukraine.

The writer assumes the U.S. has endless supply of old MLRS cluster rockets. That hasn’t been confirmed, as they were supposedly being decommissioned over the past decade. Regardless, the big point here is that cluster munitions cost the U.S. money because decommissioning munitions costs money. And they have zero present value because the U.S. cannot use them.

The Pentagon is actually saving money by transferring all of its cluster munitions to Ukraine. It no longer has to spent the money to dispose of them! So based on established accounting procedures, we can give Ukraine all the rounds and rockets without impacting the amount left in congressional authorized Ukraine funding.


October 2023