Maps: Where Ukraine Is Fighting to Hold Back Russian Onslaught

Ukraine is engaged in a determined combat to maintain again the Russian onslaught.

Russian forces captured the longtime Ukrainian stronghold of Avdiivka earlier than daybreak on Saturday, Moscow’s first main battlefield acquire because it took Bakhmut final May.

But throughout your complete 600-mile lengthy entrance, Ukraine is brief on ammunition with out renewed American navy help, and it’s struggling to replenish its personal depleted forces after two years of brutal combating.

Russia’s assault has break up into 5 main traces of assault, spanning cities and cities throughout a lot of the entrance in japanese and southern Ukraine. Here is the standing of Russia’s offensive in 5 essential battles:

The now-destroyed metropolis of Avdiivka covers just some 12 sq. miles. But for the higher a part of a decade it carved a bulge within the entrance line that undermined essential Russian logistical operations. It sits just a few miles from town of Donetsk, which Russia has occupied since 2014.

In current weeks, Russian forces have breached a essential provide line and threatened to encircle Ukrainian troopers. Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, the top of Ukraine’s forces within the south, mentioned that Ukraine had no alternative however to withdraw.

“In a situation where the enemy is advancing on the corpses of their own soldiers with a 10-to-1 shell advantage, under constant bombardment, this is the only correct solution,” he mentioned in an announcement.

It’s not clear how far the Russians would possibly find a way to push this combat past Avdiivka, or how properly the Ukrainians have constructed their subsequent traces of protection. But the following main inhabitants facilities, dwelling to tens of 1000’s of civilians, are solely about 35 miles to the west.

Roughly 50,000 Russian troopers have been devoted to the combat for Avdiivka on this path, though the numbers fluctuated. Tens of 1000’s of Russians have been killed or wounded, in accordance to Western and Ukrainian officers, however Russia has steadily replenished their ranks, together with utilizing convicts to be a part of the combating.

Even if the traces stabilize after the Russians take town, its fall permits the Russian navy to transfer troops and gear extra effectively behind the road because it presses in different instructions.

Read extra: Losing Ground, Ukraine Seeks New Positions Around Avdiivka, Feb. 15

By final month, Russian forces had lastly cleared out the final Ukrainian defenders of Marinka, one other longtime frontline city.

There may be very little left of Marinka after two years of Russian bombardments and battles. But its seize has allowed the Russians to flip their consideration to the south and one other very important Ukrainian stronghold, Vuhledar.

Last yr, the Russians repeatedly tried to assault Vuhledar from the south and suffered catastrophic losses, together with a devastating defeat in one of many largest tank battles of the warfare.

But with Marinka beneath management, the Russians are attacking Vuhledar from the north. They are at present advancing by way of the village of Novomykhailivka, which is about 13 miles to the northeast.

It just isn’t clear what number of forces the Russians have amassed on this path, however Ukrainian officers have said Russia has saved round 40,000 within the close by Mariupol space to be deployed for assaults from the south.

Soldiers combating within the Vuhledar space mentioned that the autumn of Avdiivka, 55 miles to the northeast, would doubtless unlock Russian forces to step up assaults from the north.

Read extra: A Trophy in Ruins: Evidence Grows That Russia Controls Marinka, Jan. 4

When Ukraine’s failed summer season counteroffensive culminated final yr, its forces had managed to advance solely about ten miles deep into the southern entrance, reaching simply past a tiny village, Robotyne.

Russia now seems decided to win again what it misplaced.

The Russian navy has extra troops targeting this entrance than on the Avdiivka entrance, Dmytro Lykhovii, a spokesman for Ukrainian troopers combating within the south, mentioned this week.

“It seems that the Russians have set a goal to gain some success there by storming in, just as they are trying to do in Avdiivka,” he mentioned.

Read extra: Russia Retakes Some Land Hard Won by Ukraine During Counteroffensive, Dec. 28

Ever because the Russians have been pushed out of occupied territories in northeastern Ukraine greater than a yr in the past — shedding management over greater than 500 settlements unfold over 11,000 sq. kilometers — they’ve been combating to attempt to take it again.

Last yr, little territory modified arms, regardless of intense combating within the forest belts alongside the entrance right here. Now, Russia is beginning to transfer ahead once more, albeit slowly within the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance.

Russian forces are pushing in two instructions from town of Kreminna: towards the battered metropolis of Kupiansk to the north, and towards Lyman, 80 miles to the south. Russia has maintained a complete power of round 110,000 troops within the space for months, regardless of losses, Illia Yevlash, a spokesman for the navy within the space, instructed reporters earlier this month.

Read extra: Ukraine and Russia Battle for a Gateway City within the East, Dec. 27

Russia destroyed after which seized town of Bakhmut in May, its final vital territorial acquire on the battlefield earlier than advancing on Avdiivka this week. By the time the Russians took Bakhmut, their forces have been exhausted, and the Wagner mercenary group that led the combat was in open riot towards the Russian ministry of protection.

Ukrainian hopes to exploit the disarray to counterattack across the flanks of town largely stalled. Now, it’s the Russians who’ve the initiative.

General Oleksandr Syrsky, the newly appointed commander of Ukrainian forces, mentioned lately that the Russians are decided to break by way of their defenses round Chasiv Yar, which might give them management of commanding heights within the space and expose town of Kramatorsk to elevated artillery fireplace. Some 62,000 Russian soldiers are on the bottom within the Bakhmut path, in accordance to Ukrainian estimates.

“The situation is tense, requiring constant monitoring of the overall situation and prompt decision-making on the ground,” Gen. Syrsky mentioned in an announcement earlier this month.

Read extra: Why Bakhmut? It’s a Question as Old as War., May 5, 2023

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