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Situation in Avdiivka 'near critical' – OSINT analyst interview

59th separate infantry brigade named after Yakiv Handziuk
59th separate infantry brigade named after Yakiv Handziuk

Roman Pohorilyi, co-founder and analyst of the DeepState military open-source intelligence (OSINT) monitoring project, spoke in an interview with NV Radio on Feb. 5 about the situation in Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast, where Russian troops have been advancing in recent weeks.

NV: I would like to start with the recent DeepState update that showed enemy forces advancing north of Avdiivka. How would you describe the latest developments in the area?

Pohorilyi: Avdiivka now is a very complicated process, a very complicated city with heavy battles taking place. If you look at the last update, you can see which area the enemy has taken over and in what direction they’re moving.

Read also: Avdiivka situation remains difficult, Ukraine keeps it stable — Musienko

They’ve also become more active in the south. This is the area near Tsarska Okhota restaurant.

NV: That is southeast of Avdiivka where the invaders tried to break through our defenses two weeks ago.

Pohorilyi: Southeast of Avdiivka, yes. This is the area where the Russians had successful tactical maneuvers, particularly with the help of a tunnel, which they are using to advance.

NV: This is the underground tunnel they used to crawl through.

Pohorilyi: Yes. Since they feel successful there, they’re concentrating their forces there, trying to push through with everything they have and develop this success. Everything is moving towards their goal: to enter the residential areas of the city.

It will be very difficult for Ukraine if they enter the residential areas, and it won’t be easy to oust them if they dig in.

Read also: Ukrainian reporters sound alarm on Avdiivka battle, say Russian forces push closer to defense units

The south will follow, namely Pervomaiske and Vodiane. They’re trying to advance in all directions, develop [success] and expand their territorial control. That is, Sieverne, Tonenke, and Pervomaiske are the directions they bypass and look for, picking out a weak spot.

If you look further north, they’re now focused on Vesele and Kamianka. They’re also advancing and succeeding there, and we can see they’re developing this success. They’re entering the low-density residential area, trying to bypass the [Avdiivka] Coke Plant further south.

The defense of Avdiivka is now under extremely difficult conditions. Bakhmut used to have a lot of media attention when it was under comparable pressure.

NV: It was exactly a year ago.

Pohorilyi: Avdiivka is now in difficult conditions. They’re advancing and have accumulated human resources and equipment in the area.

They’re now not just attacking with manpower but have also brought some more equipment to bear. We need all the attention and maximum help there now. We need to do everything possible to hold off the enemy as there’s no room for mistakes.

NV: What might be the consequences if we lose Avdiivka?

Pohorilyi: First, they would immediately begin to consolidate their ground. They will build fortifications, and they have an advantage in this. They do everything possible to gain a strong foothold. Accordingly, we would have to drive them out of these positions, and that means additional forces, additional losses, the lives of our soldiers and civilians.

Read also: Avdiivka may fall due to artillery shells shortage, says war veteran

Therefore, it’s necessary to make all effort, use all resources and means, absolutely everything, to prevent the enemy from advancing. If this [fall of Avdiivka] happens, it will lead to dire consequences.

Urban warfare is incredibly difficult—it would be very difficult to oust enemy troops from Avdiivka if they capture it.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine