Ukrainian servicemen fire an artillery in the direction of Siversk, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on April 01, 2024.

Ukraine says it repelled a Russian battalion-sized mechanized assault over the weekend.It’s the largest assault of that type since Russia started its efforts to seize Avdiivka last fall.War experts say Ukraine’s ability to defend while it runs low on ammo and supplies hints at what it can do with more.

Ukrainian forces in a priority section of the front line near Avdiivka appear to have defeated a large Russian mechanized assault involving tanks and fighting vehicles over the weekend.

The apparent win is a promising indicator that troops can repel future Russian offensives this year, war experts say, despite currently scraping the bottom of the barrel on ammunition and other war supplies.

On March 30, Ukrainian troops outside occupied Avdiivka fought off a Russian battalion-sized mechanized assault, the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, said.

ISW cited a Ukrainian serviceman who, on March 31, said that elements of Russia’s 6th Tank Regiment sent 36 tanks and 12 BMP infantry fighting vehicles into a battle on the front line near Tonenke, a village east of Avdiivka.

The serviceman said Ukraine destroyed 12 tanks and eight IVFs. Footage shared by Ukraine showed some of the assault, including Russian tanks being destroyed by anti-tank guided missiles, according to open-source intelligence accounts on social media.

On Saturday, Russian forces attempted a sizeable armored assault west of Tonenke, Donetsk Oblast.

They ran directly into a Ukrainian ATGM free fire zone led by the 25th Airborne Brigade, losing multiple armored vehicles.

— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) April 1, 2024

“This appears to be the first report of any elements of the 90th Tank Division participating in assaults following the Russian seizure of Avdiivka,” ISW said in its latest update.

It added that the assault appeared to have failed, “suggesting that elements of Russia’s uncommitted operational reserve near Avdiivka may be too degraded or otherwise unable to lead further Russian advances westward in the short term.”

A photo posted on social media by open-source information accounts, what appears to be a screenshot from drone footage, showed the supposed aftermath of the assault, with destroyed tanks scattered across the battlefield.

The scale of the recent assault is significant, ISW explained, as Russia hasn’t launched an assault this large since it began efforts to take Avdiivka last October. At that time, Russia was losing vehicles at astonishing rates — almost 50 tanks and over 100 armored vehicles just from October 19-20.

The fighting around Avdiivka continued well into the winter and new year, and Ukraine’s defenses became overwhelmed. In February 2024, it lost ground, retreating from the war-torn town. In the aftermath, experts attributed Ukraine’s withdrawal to their depleted ammo and supplies due to dwindling aid from Western countries.

In the US, officials and leaders, like President Joe Biden, blamed inaction in a deeply divided Congress for the loss of Avdiivka, calling on lawmakers to “urgently pass the national security supplemental funding bill to resupply Ukrainian forces.”

Soldiers on the Armored Infantry Vehicle 2 (BMP-2). The road to the city, the outskirts of Avdiivka on February 14, 2024 in Avdiivka district, Ukraine.

The situation has only gotten more dire since then, as Republicans in the House have been unable to reach a consensus on passing more aid. Just Sunday, House Speaker Mike Johnson suggested in an interview on Fox News that a vote on an assistance package was next after Congress got back from Easter recess.

As Ukraine’s forces fell back from Avdiivka, Russia pushed forward, exploiting weak or limited Ukrainian defenses for gains. Ukraine had successfully built fixed defenses in other areas, but areas around Avdiivka were underprepared.

Ukraine has managed to strengthen some positions, but it continues to grapple with a lack of key supplies, ammunition in particular.

The recent win may have come at a cost for Ukraine, ISW noted, saying that “Ukrainian forces may have had to expend a significant amount of material to defend against the Russian assault.”

It said that were this the case, it would highlight “Russia’s ability to conduct assaults that force Ukraine to expend outsized portions of its already limited material and manpower reserves to defend against.” Nonetheless, it is telling about what Ukraine could accomplish if adequately armed.

According to ISW, Ukraine’s ability to repel a large Russian mechanized force, “particularly near Avdiivka where Ukrainian forces have been forced to quickly withdraw to new, defensive positions following the loss of the settlement” while running low on ammo and troops, “suggests that Ukrainian forces can achieve significant battlefield effects if they are properly equipped.”

Read the original article on Business Insider


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