October 27, 2023

Institute for the Study of War: Ukraine reports 5,000 Russian combat casualties and 400 armored vehicle losses in Avdiivka offensive

Institute for the Study of War

Heavy Russian equipment losses around Avdiivka will likely undermine Russian offensive capabilities over the long term. Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces Spokesperson Colonel Oleksandr Shtupun stated on October 26 that Russian forces have suffered 5,000 personnel killed and wounded and 400 armored vehicles losses near Avdiivka and Marinka (southwest of Donetsk City) since October 10. Satellite imagery has confirmed that the Russian military has lost at least 109 military vehicles, primarily armored fighting vehicles and tanks, near Avdivika between October 10 and 20. A Ukrainian reserve officer stated that Russian forces appear to be using fewer armored vehicles near Avdiivka, although Russian forces may be regrouping for renewed large mechanized assaults as they did between the initial mechanized assaults on October 10 and a second series of large mechanized assaults on October 19 and 20. The Russian command has funneled additional forces to the Avdiivka front to offset heavy manpower losses and maintain the Russian military’s ability to sustain its ongoing offensive effort.

The Russian command will likely struggle to offset Russian equipment losses, particularly in armored vehicles, however.Widespread Russian equipment losses and shortages in the first year of the full-scale invasion heavily restricted Russia’s ability to conduct effective mechanized maneuver warfare during the Russian military’s winter-spring 2023 offensive, contributing to further losses in disorderly mechanized assaults near Vuhledar, Donetsk Oblast in January and February 2023. Heavy losses around Vuhledar likely prevented the Russian command from committing to sustained mechanized assaults elsewhere in Ukraine later in the winter-spring 2023 offensive. Recent Russian equipment losses around Avdiivka appear to be much larger than earlier equipment losses around Vuhledar. It remains unclear if the prospect of further heavy equipment losses will deter the Russian command from launching another series of large, mechanized assaults near Avdiivka. Russia has gradually mobilized elements of its defense industrial base (DIB) to address equipment shortages but has not done so at a scale remotely sufficient to offset the cumulative Russian equipment losses in Ukraine. Recent Russian equipment losses around Avdiivka will likely lead to even more pronounced Russian equipment shortages and setbacks for any progress that the Russian military has made in addressing degraded mechanized maneuver warfare capabilities.

Ukrainian forces marginally advanced on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast and continued offensive operations near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhia Oblast. Geolocated footage published on October 25 shows that Ukrainian forces marginally advanced north of Pidstepne (15km east of Kherson City). The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in the Bakhmut and Melitopol (western Zaporizhia Oblast) directions.

Key Takeaways:

  • Heavy Russian equipment losses around Avdiivka will likely undermine Russian offensive capabilities over the long term.
  • Ukrainian forces marginally advanced on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast and continued offensive operations near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhia Oblast.
  • Ukrainian officials denied reports that Ukraine suspended a corridor for civilian vessels in the Black Sea on October 26.
  • An amendment to the Russian citizenship law allowing for the revocation of naturalized Russian citizenship came into force on October 26, providing the Russian government with a new mechanism to coerce migrants into Russian military service.
  • A senior Hamas delegation traveled to Moscow and met with Russian and Iranian officials on October 26.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, southwest of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and advanced in some areas.
  • Several Russian opposition outlets reported that Russian defense industrial base (DIB) companies continue to use Western components supplied through intermediaries to manufacture missiles to use against Ukraine.
  • Russian occupation authorities continue efforts to forcibly indoctrinate Ukrainian youth into Russian culture and identity through the expansion of military-patriotic educational programs.
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