Russian forces were able to capture Avdiivka due to air superiority - ISW

Russian forces were able to capture Avdiivka due to air superiority - ISW

Russian forces appear to have temporarily established limited and localized air superiority and were able to provide ground troops with close air support during the final days of their offensive operation to capture Avdiivka.

The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said this in its latest report, according to Ukrinform.

Russian forces have gradually increased their use of glide bombs throughout the theater since early 2023.

“The recent mass use of glide bombs in Avdiivka is the first time that Russian aviation has used these bombs at scale to provide close air support to advancing infantry troops,” said ISW experts.

Read also: Russia lost 47,000 soldiers, 364 tanks in Avdiivka sector in four months - Tarnavskyi

ISW notes that the spokesperson for a Ukrainian brigade operating near Avdiivka stated on February 17 that Russian forces launched 60 KAB glide bombs at Ukrainian positions in Avdiivka over the past day, and a Ukrainian soldier operating in the area stated that Russian forces launched up to 500 glide bombs at Avdiivka in recent days. A Kremlin-affiliated milblogger claimed on February 17 that Russian forces launched 250 FAB glide bombs at one specific area in Avdiivka alone in the past 48 hours.

The Russian ability to conduct these mass strikes for several days in the most active part of the frontline suggests that Ukrainian forces were not able to deny them access to the airspace around Avdiivka, and Russian forces likely leveraged this temporary localized air superiority to facilitate the capture of much of the settlement.

ISW experts state that delays in Western security assistance may lead to further significant constraints on Ukrainian air defenses that could allow Russian forces to replicate the close air support that facilitated Russian advances in Avdiivka at scale in Ukraine.

As reported by Ukrinform, on the night of February 17, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi said that under the received order, the defenders of Avdiivka had left the city to pre-prepared positions.

In the Avdiivka sector, during the four months of the active phase of the defensive operation, the total losses of the Russian army amounted to 47,186 troops, 364 tanks and 5 aircraft.

Photo: Telegram / Vitaliy Barabash

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