ISW: Russia fails the offensive on Avdivka and tries to silence propagandists
The offensive of the Russian occupation forces on Avdiivka in the Donetsk region, widely publicized by Russian propagandists, failed. Analysts have not been able to find evidence of the claimed "victories," while the occupiers themselves complain about losses and "meat assaults."
The Kremlin is extremely uninterested in the truth about the situation near Avdiivka coming out, so the so-called "military commanders" have been ordered not to discuss it publicly or to voice the "manuals" issued by Moscow. This was reported by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
ISW analysts stated that the Russian military, which continued offensive operations near Avdiivka, Donetsk region, on October 13, failed.
Against the backdrop of Russian propagandists' reports of attacks to the north and south of Avdiivka, experts geolocated the footage that appeared online on October 12 and 13 and noted a certain advance of the occupiers to the south of Krasnohorivka (located 5 km north of Avdiivka), as well as to the southeast of Pervomaiske (a settlement 11 km southwest of Avdiivka).
However, even the Russian "military commanders" themselves did not agree on the alleged seizure of the Avdiivka Coke Plant by the occupiers, while ISW analysts found no evidence of Russian troops' control over the plant's territory.
At the same time, the Ukrainian military claims that it continues to repel Russian attacks near Avdiivka.
According to one of the Russian "military bloggers," the Defense Forces are using minefields to slow down the enemy.
Meanwhile, the occupiers from the so-called "LPR" complain about Russian artillery. One of the invaders said that the cannon barrels are badly worn, which significantly reduces the accuracy of Russian artillery. The ISW noted that such complaints have been repeatedly heard from Russian sources.
At the same time, the occupier from the "LPR" suggested that Russian troops have a chance to "squeeze the perimeter" by trying to capture less fortified positions near Avdiivka. However, he fears that if this is done, the Russian command will only intensify "meat attacks."
"He expressed concern that Russian generals will misinterpret these limited gains and try to accelerate their offensive efforts toward Avdiivka. The 'volunteer' noted that such a misinterpretation could lead to Russian troops 'pounding on concrete' fortifications until they run out of steam," ISW writes.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin has decided to silence numerous "military commanders" and "military bloggers". The Russian command is not only limiting information about the situation near Avdiivka in its reports but also trying to control any narratives that emerge in the Russian information space around this topic.
One of the Russian "military officials" justified this "secrecy" by the alleged unwillingness of the Russian military to allow unnecessary "noise" around the situation near Avdiivka. Another admitted that on October 13, representatives of the Russian military leadership demanded that "military bloggers" not discuss the details of the fighting in the Avdiivka direction.
Meanwhile, there are disputes and searches for those who lie about the real situation at the front.
"The Russian military command is probably trying to adapt to previous major offensives, during which it lost control over the perception of Russia's actions in the Russian information space. Some military bloggers are following (and will likely continue to follow) the narrative line imposed by the Ministry of Defense, but this attempt at centralized control may provoke a negative reaction from some military bloggers," ISW believes.
The Kremlin is officially trying to present its offensive operations near Avdiivka and local actions in other areas as "Russian troops intercepting the operational initiative" in Ukraine.
Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya said on October 13 that Ukrainian counteroffensive operations were "formally completed" as Russian troops had moved "to active combat operations along almost the entire front line."
However, ISW analysts, unlike Nebenzia, see no grounds for claims that the Ukrainian counteroffensive is over. It is ongoing and, according to experts, will continue in the winter, albeit probably with less intensity.
Earlier, the ISW explained why the occupiers began talking about "freezing" the front line in Ukraine.
In particular, a traitor to Ukraine, Oleksandr Khodakovskyi, a former SSU officer who now commands the occupiers' Vostok battalion, called for Russian troops to "freeze" the front line. He explained this initiative by the need to replace the exhausted mobilized personnel with fresh forces - contract soldiers - and then launch a new offensive.
This statement is in line with previous analysts' findings that the invaders need a pause to refresh their forces and resume fighting later.