Avdeevka Defenses Continue to Crumble
I had a more substantive piece coming, but for now I’ll hold off and give another Sitrep-style update on events to clear the plate since there’s a lot of ongoing things that could boil over in the near future.
As cliche as it sounds, things are turning dire for Ukraine—at least for this current phase of things. Zelensky finally openly confessed his intention to purge not only Zaluzhny and his assistants, but a lot of other staff in what is essentially a ‘great reset’ of the Ukrainian leadership:
Immediately after that, Ukrainian Deputy Yevhen Shevchenko reported that, according to his information, Zaluzhny has already internally accepted the position of ambassador to the UK:
As the above article states, if this is true, it means Zaluzhny would effectively be ‘shipped out to the farm’ to be placed under close watch in the UK, and as far away from Ukraine as possible to keep Zelensky protected.
There’s no word on how true any of this is, but rumor had it that the US had already earmarked Budanov for Zaluzhny’s position, which is why Budanov was flown on his high-profile tour of Washington DC late last year: it is said the planners and controllers—i.e. Nuland and co.—were likely using the opportunity to introduce Budanov around town to all the new shot-callers he’ll soon be taking orders from. Likewise it was to put his face front and center in the beltway and sell him as the next replacement.
What’s most eye-opening about these events is that Avdeevka happens to be suddenly crumbling, just in time for these reversals. It suggests the non-coincidental nature of the proceedings; i.e. Zelensky may suddenly be pulling the plug on Avdeevka to time its fall with the crescendo of anti-Zaluzhny machinations in order to throw him under the bus by blaming Avdeevka’s fall on him, and using that as the final impetus to announce his dismissal.
Ex-Aidar deputy commander Mosiychuk very bluntly underscores this very reasoning:
What is uncertain, however, is what exactly the purge is supposed to accomplish for Zelensky. The fact is, Biden’s Ukrainian aid is still held up and seems no closer to fruition. Yesterday, the administration announced the new revised bill and it was met with immediate furor by House Republicans:
While establishment shills and Democrat senators reacted with vitriol:
Here are the main provisions of the bill, for those interested:
It’s clear that the bill is DOA, and Ukrainian aid is no closer—though that didn’t stop Chuck Schumer from dialing up the fearmongering and once more not so subtly threatening Americans with the promise they’ll have to fight Russia in eastern Europe if the money isn’t given:
But what can Zelensky change in the frontline calculus of the war by simply rearranging the figureheads?
The only other explanation for the purge is that the nominal date for what should have been the presidential election is coming up in March, and I’ve already written about speculation that certain ‘factions’—perhaps including Zaluzhny—could use Zelensky’s illegitimacy to overthrow him after that point, even though the Rada technically ratified the martial law provision which effectively cancels presidential elections during war time. This could be a move by Zelensky’s consort to ensure that there is no one influential or powerful enough left at the top that could challenge his supremacy or legitimacy after the ‘would-be’ election date.
The other thing is Zelensky needs some kind of patsy that can take the fall for the new mobilization bill. Rumor has it Zelensky is desperate to force through this bill no matter what, with claims that his team is even bribing Rada deputies up to $1 million dollars to sign off on the bill. But the problem is that a potential mobilization bill is becoming increasingly unpopular in society, and this is being reflected by Rada deputies as well, many of whom want to flee the country but are blocked from doing so.
For instance, here’s Tymoshenko again:
And many prominent figures and institutions in society are warning that a new mobilization bill could collapse the economy. For instance, one of the new proposed measures to shut down mobilization evaders’ bank accounts will, according to some, cause a run on the banks as all eligible Ukrainian men will immediately withdraw all their money from the banking system.
Other business associations are issuing stark warnings as well:
The adoption of a government bill on mobilization can paralyze the economy of Ukraine, says the European Business Association.
"Business is convinced that the key task should be the creation of truly working norms, balanced, that can be fulfilled and which do not paralyze the work of part of the country. Actually, therefore, according to the European Business Association, the aforementioned bill cannot be adopted, but we must once again consciously approach its revision – so as not to stop the country's work and, in particular, its economy", - says the statement.
Business is concerned about the rules, in particular, about electronic summons and imposing restrictions on evaders in court.
It is mentioned that the TCK began to check the drivers of the trucks on the border, which increased the queues, and with the armor of employees there are great difficulties.
Tymoshenko called the bill a draconian disaster, and it’s a sentiment echoed widely. Zelensky is desperate for a dupe that can ‘fall on his sword’ by owning the bill under his name.
On that note let’s turn to Avdeevka.
As I said, very ‘coincidentally’ the city appears to be totally collapsing. Only days ago I reported major breaches and now there have been even larger ones, as AFU lines collapse entirely. Everyone is in a panic, including dozens of Ukrainian accounts:
Mosiychuk too sounded the alarm:
What happened first was Russian forces collapsed the entire area of the “northern shore” of that lagoon / sand quarry:
That’s a massive area that just fell apart in a single day. And the area just under that lagoon/quarry is known as ‘Little Terrikon’ (mini Slag Heap) and is said to be the tallest height of the whole outlying area, which means it’s a highly strategic point Russian forces captured:
But that wasn’t even the half of it. Russian forces continued to push both southeast past the quarry and west into the city proper:
Here’s a wider view from the eminent mapper Suriyak:
And a granular view of the city extension:
This portion admittedly is the most in question and up in the air, presently. But as can be seen above, the distance from where Russian troops were geolocated to the western-most border of Avdeevka is as little as 500m, by some accountings.
This means that Ukrainian forces are in danger of now being entirely cut off from their supply routes, which means Avdeevka is on paper almost finished.
The yellow arrows below point to the supply routes—you can see how close Russian advanced forces are to cutting both the north from the south, as well as each of the separate areas from their actual final supply roads:
There are many ongoing geolocations proving various positions, for instance this one showing AFU under Russian drone overwatch:
Which is here at geolocation: 48.159085592522565, 37.7234303419742
Ukrainians on the other hand have a video capturing a few overextended Russian storm troops at: 48.157798, 37.727516 which is precisely here, proving the advance:
The southeastern Tsar’s Hunt quarter is still seeing heavy action. Ukraine brought in reinforcements with Bradleys, and one took a wipe on a mine:
This happened here:
As some may have heard, Ukraine has sent all its most elite units to try and staunch the collapse, which is why yesterday we saw a glimpse of the first ever M1 Abrams finally appearing near action on what is alleged to be the Avdeevka front:
When they send that thing in as a last resort, you know the final line of defense has been reached.
Lastly, some in Ukraine have attempted to downplay Avdeevka’s coming fall, as usual, but the stats tell the true story. Ukraine is said to have sent dozens of its most elite battalions to try and hold off Russia’s advances:
Continuing the tradition of covering how much the enemy is gathering forces for battles for the city, let’s look at Avdiivka
The picture in fact does not correspond in any way to the words of Tsaplienko or Butusov, who either have the 110th brigade alone fighting for Avdeevka, or they are also assisted by the 47th and 53rd. The section from Vodyanoye to Novoselovka (about 25 km) was taken.
This time, for convenience, units are divided by type and line brigade battalions are not displayed. The location of the brigades is approximate; line battalions are more accurately located on the interactive map.
* The only thing is that artillery brigades were not taken into account, because they are located further away on the map.
How correctly noted. stories about “one brigade that holds everything back” are not true. Avdeevka is defended by several brigades and a heap of attached units. It was exactly the same in the Battle of Artemovsk, where a large number of Ukrainian Armed Forces brigades acted against Wagner and units of the Russian Armed Forces along the entire front line, which were also rotated after losses suffered.
Besides that, Russian forces continue to advance in several other areas, such as approaching Yampolovka on the Kremennaya line and coming closer to surrounding Novomikhailovka with the recent capture of the ‘Menagerie’ strategic point.
A few other interesting updates:
A new Forbes article says the Russian artillery advantage is so vast now that Russian gunners are getting “cocky” in how they operate:
Where as recently as this summer, Ukraine’s artillery enjoyed parity with, if not superiority over, Russia’s own artillery, today the Russians have a fivefold advantage. Ukrainian batteries fire around 2,000 shells a day. Russian batteries fire 10,000.
And as a result, Russian gunners are getting cocky. Unworried by the risk of Ukrainian gunners firing back at them, the Russians are concentrating their biggest guns and launchers for devastating salvos targeting Ukrainian positions in front-line cities.
Ukrainian analysis group Frontelligence Insight detected the trend in satellite imagery of the 600-mile front line of Russia’s 23-month wider war on Ukraine.
“In January alone, Frontelligence Insight recorded over 14 concentrations of artillery and enemy forces,” the group reported. “Our analysis suggests that this resurgence signals a decreasing fear among Russian forces, possibly fueled by renewed ammunition shortages on the Ukrainian side.”
What they’re saying is that, before Russia operated much more carefully with single batteries widely dispersed. Now there is satellite evidence showing Russia is massing large groups of artillery batteries together in certain fronts to fire off huge salvos, like the types we see during exercises:
On that note, a long-awaited new episode of Zvezda’s military show came out showcasing the brand new Russian 2S40 ‘Phlox’ combined 120mm mortar and artillery system currently being rolled out to the front in test batches. This is a unique system that’s able to fire both 120mm mortars and howitzer shells, giving it great versatility. Its mobility is likewise demonstrated here, where they show the record fast deployment time from park to fire-readiness in under 30 seconds (the French Caesar is said to take 60 seconds minimum):
The automated system even showcases its rare MRSI (Multiple Round Simultaneous Impact) mode. This is a mode only the most advanced modern howitzers are capable of replicating where several shots are fired via different computer-calculated trajectories in order to land on target at the same time in one deadly barrage:
Here’s the full episode for those interested, click “CC” (closed captioning/subtitles) at bottom right:
Interesting new photos show the Russian ship Askold undergoing repairs beneath a constructed canopy:
Western satellites recorded, presumably, repair work on the Askold MRK (Project 22800 Karakurt) in the dry dock of the Zaliv Shipyard in Kerch after its defeat on November 4, 2023 by several Strom Shadow cruise missiles.
This is evidenced by the construction of a roof over the ship, as well as the presence of scaffolding around.
Recall when it was hit last November, and Ukrainians totally wrote it off. I said it would be repaired:
A somewhat troubling report that Zelensky, by way of his Foreign Affairs Minister Kuleba, is courting Moldova’s president Sandu with a plan to utilize Moldova’s airspace for Ukrainian F-16s:
The President’s office has been negotiating with Sandu for several months, but so far the question has been hanging, and the drain of the letter has been beneficial to the President of Moldova, who does not want to get involved in the Ukrainian conflict. The delay in the supply of F-16 is due to the fact that we cannot prepare airfields for basing fighters, the enemy constantly strikes and destroys the infrastructure. That is why Bankova is looking for alternative ways to use the F-16, a working scenario for the passage of fighters over the airspace of Moldova.
The plan is clearly two fold: as the above states, Russia has been destroying Ukrainian airports and runways as of the past few months, particularly targeting the ones where F-16s were planned to be housed. Thus Ukraine has a major issue with actually being able to even accept any F-16s.
But the second part is clearly another provocation to try and entrap other countries, leading up to NATO itself, in a war with Russia as a last ditch escape from the bear’s tightening claws.
Lastly, to end on an uplifting note, when Putin declared 2024 to be the Year of the Family a hearth was lit, to be symbolically passed around the country as a spread of ‘love and fidelity’. Here is a video showcasing this program to promote traditional and family values all across the vastness of Russia:
❤️ From Sevastopol to Magadan: the fire of the All-Russian Family Hearth “Heart of Russia” continues to spread across the country.
On the day of the start of the Year of the Family , declared by the President , the fire of the family hearth was lit at the Russia Exhibition . Twelve married couples received a piece of the flame to spread it throughout all regions of the country as a symbol of love and fidelity.
It is symbolic that the start of the Year of the Family was given at the Exhibition, says Anastasia Zvyagina , Deputy General Director of the Russia Exhibition. “ The fire has already been delivered to 74 regions of our country . The day before, it was received by the Oryol region, the Republic of Udmurtia, the Leningrad region, and the Saratov region. I hope this fire will become a symbol of unity and harmony of all families in our country . It reminds us of how important it is to preserve and strengthen our family values, to love and care for each other,” she noted.
Participants of the “Family of the Year” competition and the All-Russian forum “Relatives and Loved Ones,” large families and representatives of professional dynasties deliver and participate in the ceremonial transfer of fire. For example, the city of Russian sailors, Sevastopol , received a flame from representatives of the creative Elizarov dynasty, founded by choreographer Vadim Elizarov, the creator of the first theater in the choreographic world.
“ The attention to family, to traditional values, to dynasties, which is set by our President, is what makes us invincible. Of course, all year we will carry out the mission and the edification that the President gave us. Family is the basis of the traditional values of our country ,” emphasized Alexander Elizarov , a participant in the “Relatives - Loved Ones” forum.
The fire was brought to the Magadan region by Vadim and Alena Gorelovs , parents of ten children. “ A strong family means a strong society. A healthy family means a healthy society. The fact that today the Government wants to help, contributes to the unification and preservation of the family, this makes me very happy ,” said Vadim Gorelov.
Come to the Russia Exhibition - we give warmth and light up hearts!
Your support is invaluable. If you enjoyed the read, I would greatly appreciate if you subscribed to a monthly/yearly pledge to support my work, so that I may continue providing you with detailed, incisive reports like this one.
Alternatively, you can tip here: Tip Jar