09:18 18 Feb 2024

Russia captured Avdiivka thanks to regained air superiority – ISW

Фото: З відкритих джерел

Russian troops established a limited and localized air superiority to the ground forces in the last days of their offensive on Avdiivka.

This would be the first time Russian forces have succeeded in such an operation in Ukraine, ISW report says.

Experts believe that since the beginning of 2023, Russian forces have gradually increased the use of glide bombs.

However, the recent massive use of glider bombs in Avdiivka is the first time that Russian aviation has prevailed to provide air support to advancing infantry forces.

Russia's ability to conduct these massive strikes over several days on the most active section of the front line suggests that Ukrainian forces were unable to prevent access to the airspace around Avdiivka.

Russian troops likely exploited this temporary localized air superiority to facilitate the capture of a large part of the city.

A Ukrainian brigade spox operating near Avdiivka said on February 17 that Russian forces had fired 60 glide bombs at Ukrainian positions in Avdiivka over the past 24 hours.

A Ukrainian soldier operating in the area said that Russian forces had fired up to 500 glide bombs at Avdiivka in recent days.

The AFU speaker Oleksandr Tarnavsky said that on February 14, Russian troops conducted 73 air strikes, which was a record number, as Russian troops have intensified their tactical turn in Avdiivka.

Russian sources believe that the use of glider bombs allowed to overcome Ukrainian defenses in Avdiivka.

Delays in Western security assistance could lead to further significant restrictions on Ukrainian air defense. Russian forces may repeat the air support that facilitated large-scale advance in Avdiivka.

The limited number of air defense systems, dwindling stockpiles of air defense missiles, and continued Russian missile and drone strikes on rear cities will likely force Ukraine to make difficult choices about which parts of the front line receive air defense cover.

Military analysts also noted that the Ukrainian forces shot down three Russian fighter jets, two Su-34s and one Su-35, over the Donetsk region and used scarce air defense assets to help cover the withdrawal from Avdiivka.


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