How Ukrainians Outsmarted Russians in Avdiivka

Christian Baghai
4 min readNov 26, 2023

Today, there are a lot of updates from the Avdiivka direction. Here, earlier this week, Ukrainians conducted an important operation to undermine the whole Russian offensive operation. And this counterattack took place in a somewhat unexpected region because it was conducted around 20 kilometers north of Avdiivka. At first glance, these two sections of the front line seem unrelated, however, the stability of the front line around Horlivka is far more important for the Russian offensive than anything else.

The reason why Horlivka plays such a crucial role in the Russian offensive operation is simple — Horlivka is the main logistical center in the region. It is true that there is also Donetsk; however, Russians use Donetsk to supply the southern flank of Avdiivka, while the northern flank of Avdiivka almost solely relies on Horlivka. Given that the most intense clashes have been taking place on the northern flank, the importance of Horlivka is hard to overestimate.

That is why when Russians were conducting large-scale suicidal assaults in an attempt to breach the northern flank at the beginning of the offensive, local residents of Horlivka reported that there was a crisis in the city, as hundreds of vehicles were delivering wounded Russian soldiers, the hospitals were full, and Russians had to launch advertisements to urgently attract surgeons to Horlivka.

Moreover, as reported by Ukrainian Intelligence, Russian forces allocated forty thousand troops as reserves for the offensive operation, and it is obvious that it is impossible to have them in the small villages close to the front, so a huge part of Russian reserves is stationed in Horlivka.

And this is extremely important because Ukrainians decided to use this against Russians. Ukrainians developed a two-step plan. First of all, Ukrainians needed to cut off the connection between Horlivka and the front. And secondly, Ukrainians needed to force Russians to urgently deploy these reserves to fight in the other section of the front line.

The first part of the plan was implemented rather quickly because a Ukrainian sabotage group managed to get behind the enemy lines and blow up the most important bridge in the area. Without this bridge, Russians had only two options: they could take much riskier…