Day 768: Ukrainian troops near Avdiyivka repel Russia’s largest mechanized assault in months, ISW says

Ukrainian troops near Avdiyivka repel Russia’s largest mechanized assault in months, ISW says. Fire erupts at the Uralmash factory in Russia’s Yekaterinburg.

Ukrainian troops near Avdiyivka repel Russia’s largest mechanized assault in months, ISW says

The Russian command may be prioritizing the Avdiyivka area in Donetsk region, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in a report on March 31. In recent days, Ukrainian troops repelled the largest Russian mechanized assault since autumn 2023 that took place near the Russian-seized village of Tonenke west of Avdiyivka, the report reads. 

Ukrainian forces appear to have repelled a Russian battalion-sized mechanized assault near Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast, on March 30 — the first battalion-sized mechanized assault since Russian forces began the campaign to seize Avdiivka in late October 2023. A Ukrainian serviceman [who goes by the name Kriegsforscher on X] reported on March 31 that Russian forces, including elements of the Russian 6th Tank Regiment (90th Tank Division, Central Military District [CMD]), committed 36 tanks and 12 BMP infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) to a large-mechanized assault near Tonenke on March 30.

Geolocated imagery published on March 31 shows a large number of destroyed and damaged Russian armored vehicles and tanks along a road northwest of Tonenke (west of Avdiivka), ISW said. The Ukrainian serviceman stated that Ukrainian forces destroyed 12 Russian tanks and eight IFVs during the assault and noted that the frontal assault failed to breakthrough the Ukrainian line. This appears to be the first report of any elements of the 90th Tank Division participating in assaults following the Russian seizure of Avdiivka and ISW previously assessed that elements of the 90th Tank Division, alongside other Russian units and formations, likely represent a sizeable uncommitted operational reserve that the Russian military command can commit to continue and intensify efforts to push west of Avdiivka. The elements of the 6th Tank Regiment appear to have failed in their March 30 attack near Tonenke, however, suggesting that elements of Russia’s uncommitted operational reserve near Avdiivka may be too degraded or otherwise unable to lead further Russian advances westward in the short term.

The scale of the Russian mechanized assault on March 30 is significant. Russian forces have not conducted a mechanized assault this large since the beginning of the Russian localized offensive effort to seize Avdiivka in late October 2023, when Ukrainian forces reportedly destroyed almost 50 Russian tanks and over 100 armored vehicles on October 19-20, 2023. [An X user who goes by the name Kriegsforscher said it was “the biggest amount of armour that was used in one charge since the beginning of the war.”] Ukraine’s ability to defend against the March 30 assault, particularly near Avdiivka where Ukrainian forces have been forced to quickly withdraw to new, defensive positions following the loss of the settlement, is a positive indicator for Ukraine’s ability to defend against future large-scale Russian assaults and the expected summer 2024 Russian offensive operation, ISW said. Ukrainian officials, justifiably so, continue to warn about Ukraine’s ability to defend against the expected summer Russian offensive effort in the face of ammunition shortages, manpower limitations, and delayed Western assistance. Ukrainian forces may have had to expend a significant amount of material to defend against the Russian assault near Tonenke, highlighting Russia’s ability to conduct assaults that force Ukraine to expend outsized portions of its already limited material and manpower reserves to defend against. 

Fire erupts at Uralmash factory in Russia’s Yekaterinburg

A fire broke out on Monday at the Uralmash factory, a large heavy industry enterprise in Russia’s Yekaterinburg. Eyewitness accounts described hearing a loud explosion at the plant. The fire covered an area of 4,000 square meters.

The roof of a workshop was ablaze and the area of the fire increased to 4,000 square meters, the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations said. 

The factory’s management said that while the building that caught fire is located on the factory’s territory, it does not belong to the company and stands “far from our production facilities.”

It was not clear what had caused the fire. There have been no reports of casualties.

Uralmash produces equipment for mining, metal works, and energy facilities.

The Question of Western Military Deployment in Ukraine. Part Two. Ukraine in Flames #592

French President Emmanuel Macron’s remarks regarding the potential deployment of troops to Ukraine have upset some allies, notably the Americans, who privately express concerns about the risk of provoking a confrontation with Moscow. Macron’s suggestion of troop deployment aimed to make Vladimir Putin ponder its likelihood, but officials familiar with NATO’s discussions on Ukraine suggest it may have had the opposite effect. Watch Ukraine in Flames #592 to find out about how Western allies have responded to recent statements by Macron and what potential involvement of French troops in Ukraine might entail.


  • Ihor Seletskyi, Executive Director of the NGO “Euro-Atlantic Course”
  • Oleksii Honcharenko, People’s Deputy of Ukraine, President of the PACE Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons