Day 600: Russian forces do not achieve breakthrough near Avdiyivka

Russian forces did not achieve a breakthrough near Avdiyivka, sustained high casualties, but intend to continue offensive operations, the Institute for the Study of War says. Ukraine’s Army of Drones sets an absolute record for destroyed Russian military equipment. The percentage of women serving in the Ukrainian Armed Forces has risen by 40 per cent, since 2021, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said.

Russian forces do not achieve breakthrough near Avdiivka, sustain high casualties, but intend to continue offensive operations, ISW says

Russian forces continued offensive operations aimed at encircling Avdiivka on October 15 but have yet to make further gains amid a likely decreasing tempo of Russian operations in the area, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said Sunday.

ISW has not yet observed visual confirmation of previous claims of Russian advances in the area or geolocated footage of any other Russian gains. Russian sources claimed notably fewer Russian advances in the area on October 15 compared to previous days and described these new alleged advances as marginal, the report reads.

Both Ukrainian military observers and Russian sources stated that Russian forces did not achieve their desired immediate breakthrough, and Russian forces faced initial high losses and a likely slower than anticipated rate of advance. Russian forces will likely continue offensive operations at this decreased tempo in the near term, however, and will remain a threat to Ukrainian forces in the area despite being unlikely to achieve a decisive breakthrough or encircle Avdiivka at this time.

Any decrease in the tempo of Russian offensive operations may be the result of a temporary adjustment to the tactical situation, and Russian forces may intensify their attempts to encircle Avdiivka in the coming days. Russian forces have penetrated Ukrainian flanks around Avdiivka and pose a significant threat to Ukrainian positions despite being unlikely to encircle Avdiivka in the near term. Russian forces had concentrated a significant grouping of forces consisting of elements of 15 motorized rifle regiments and 11 rifle regiments to the Avdiivka-Donetsk City front and have already executed regiment-size offensive operations in the area. This reported Russian grouping will likely be able to sustain offensive operations aimed at encircling Avdiivka if Russian commanders are willing to sustain relatively high losses, despite being insufficient for an immediate breakthrough, ISW said.

Ukrainian forces still maintain a presence at the Avdiivka Coke Plant following conflicting Russian claims about Russian control of the plant.

Russian President Vladimir Putin may be trying to temper expectations of significant Russian advances around Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast, ISW said referring to his recent interview. 

Russian operations including intensive artillery and airstrikes are likely intended to degrade Ukrainian forces around Avdiivka. Russian forces are unlikely to make significant breakthroughs or cut off Ukrainian forces in the settlement in the near term, and potential advances at scale would likely require a significant and protracted commitment of personnel and materiel, the think tank said.

Ukraine’s Army of Drones sets absolute record for destroyed Russian military equipment

Last week, Ukraine’s defense forces hit 428 pieces of Russian equipment with drones, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister for Innovation in Education, Science and Technology, and Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, said on Telegram.

“An absolute record for the Army of Drones. Last week, our troops hit 428 pieces of Russian equipment.” 

“During Russian offensive operations against Avdiyivka, the drones proved to be very effective in the defense [of the town] and in taking out hostile equipment. The Russians lost 101 artillery pieces, 88 armored vehicles, 75 tanks and other weapons,” Fedorov said. 

“I thank our heroes who are holding defensive positions in difficult conditions and targeting the occupying forces,” he added.

Percentage of women serving in Ukrainian army rose by 40 per cent since 2021, Defense Ministry says

The percentage of women serving in the Ukrainian Armed Forces has risen by 40 per cent, or 12,000 service members, since 2021. Women make up almost 43,000 service members, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said in a message, describing how the Ukrainian army had been working towards gender equality in the past years.

In Ukraine, all military occupations and positions are now open to women, it said.

“Earlier, women could mostly serve as medics, signal specialists, accountants, office managers, and cooks. Now women in the army can also serve as drivers, markswomen, deputy commanders of reconnaissance groups, combat vehicle commanders, equipment maintenance specialists, gunners operating machine guns, snipers etc.,” the statement reads.

Women ages 18 to 60 can sign a contract to serve in the army. The maximum age for enlistment of women was increased to the same as men, as earlier the maximum age limit was 40.

Women have access to education and training for all military ranks.

“In 2019, the government removed legal hurdles for girls to study in military schools. Women who see their future as officers in the Ukrainian Armed Forces have access to military education for all ranks. They can master the same jobs as men and serve in any specialty,” the Defense Ministry said.

Among the other changes, the Ukrainian army introduced gender equality training, and the Defense Ministry began to hold gender analysis of documents drafted by the agency and introduced the position of a gender advisor. 

“We continue our work to provide gear to female service members. New types of women’s military uniforms and body armor are designed to fit women. Regular work is being carried out to prevent sexual harassment and other human rights violations,” the message reads.    

Ukraine has earlier approved women’s military uniforms.

Russian propaganda in Serbia through the prism of sanctions. Ukraine in Flames #519

In this episode of Ukraine in flames, we discuss the influence of Russian propaganda in Serbia, focusing on the impact of Western sanctions. Expert Darko Obradovic, highlights Russia’s extensive infiltration of Serbian media and communication networks, which has led to a biased perspective among the Serbian population, expert Volodymyr Solovyan, emphasizes the strong sympathy in Serbia for the Kremlin’s agenda and Serbia’s reluctance to join sanctions against Russia, and Kateryna Shymkevych discusses how Russian propaganda in Serbia emphasizes European integration and criticizes the EU’s stance on Serbian foreign policy. Take a watch of UIF #519 to learn more!


  • Darko Obradovic, Program Manager of the Center for Strategic Analysis, Serbia
  • Volodymyr Solovyan, Senior Analyst, Hybrid Influence Analysis Group, Ukraine Crisis Media Center
  • Kateryna Shymkevych, PhD in History, Analytical Center for Balkan Studies, co-founder of the Balkans Ukraine Cooperation Network