Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 16.10.2018
“In Aviivka there was a battle.” In this dry language, the press service of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced an assault by Russian troops against Ukrainian positions on the battlefront in Donbas.
North of the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk, Ukraine, is the free Ukraine city of Avdiivka. Between them lies the front line of the Russian Federation’s invasion of Europe in Donbas. The Russian occupation army regularly shells Ukrainian defenders at the “Butivka” mine and in the “PromZone” industrial park. Occasionally, the invaders shell Ukrainian civilians in the city of Avdiivka itself. The 1st Army Corps (Donetsk or so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic) of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is the military unit fighting and committing war crimes in the Russian-occupied part of Donetsk region, Ukraine.
At 5:40 in the morning on Monday, October 15, elements of the Russian 1st Army Corps (“DPR”) attacked Ukrainian defensive positions on the Avdiivka battlefront. The combat-experienced Ukrainians assessed that the Russian enemy was testing them and probing for weaknesses in the line. Two Russian sabotage and reconnaissance groups attempted to infiltrate behind the Ukrainian positions, but they were in fact being observed the whole time. When the Russians reached the range of effective fire, a company commander, Lieutenant Roman Sanin, gave the order to open fire. Under prepared concentrated fire, the enemy quickly retired from the battlefield.
After action, a reserve group of the JFO covered the battle site to confirm that it was rid of the Russian enemy. The reserve group, under the command of Second Lieutenant Alexander Chaban, recovered an RPK light machine gun that was abandoned by the retreating Russians. The serial number of the weapon showed it had never been in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine and could only have come from the Russian Federation.
While the JFO did not give specific casualties for the battle at Avdiivka, it did provide figures for the Russian-invasion-of-Ukraine battlefront as a whole. On October 15, one Ukrainian soldier was killed in action. Three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action. Ukrainian military intelligence assesses that two Russian soldiers were killed and six Russian soldiers were wounded or injured on October 15.
The Ukrainian armed forces are showing increasing confidence, professionalism, competence, and morale. At Avdiivka on October 15 the Ukrainians readily defeated two sabotage and reconnaissance groups of the Russian army. The active and robust defence posture of the JFO is working. Putin can barely rely on his local proxies to man block posts, and now he cannot rely on his regular army to conduct a successful assault and find weaknesses in Ukrainian defences. The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation did not succeed in 2014 against the Ukrainian volunteer battalions, and it is faltering badly in 2018 against the Ukrainian professional army. Putin’s defeat in the skirmish at Avdiivka is a microcosm of the calamity that will befall Muscovy if it continues with its insane war against Ukraine.