Russian forces sustain heavy tank losses in drawn-out battle for Ukrainian town Avdiivka
Ukrainian analysts and war observers estimate that since the onset of the offensive in Avdiivka in early October 2023, Russian forces have lost over 200 tanks. In contrast, Ukrainian brigades have suffered fewer losses in a defensive position, reporting just under 20 tank losses. In January of this year, the British Ministry of Defence noted that since the beginning of the war, Putin's army has lost approximately 2,600 tanks. Almost 10 percent of the total number of destroyed Russian tanks can be attributed to the units engaging in Avdiivka.
The loss is particularly grievous for the Russians as the tanks deployed to Avdiivka were not the outdated models often seen in other regions. Images, videos, and testimonies from Ukrainian soldiers indicate that the T-72 and T-80 tanks were the models most frequently eliminated in Avdiivka. A few T-90 family machines, considered among Russia's finest tanks, were also destroyed.
Russian tanks destroyed near Avdiivka
The T-72 tanks, which were introduced in the early 1970s, are primarily equipped with a 125mm 2A46M caliber cannon. Additionally, the crew has at their disposal two 7.62mm caliber machine guns and a large-caliber DShK or NSV machine gun of 12.7mm caliber. In contrast, the T-80 is known for its gas turbine engine and is the most sophisticated tank mass-produced by the USSR. There are numerous variations of the T-80, with the latest being the T-80BWM, featuring a 125mm gun capable of launching 9K112 Cobra and 9K119 Reflex anti-tank guided missiles.
Avdiivka: a strategic location in Ukraine
Avdiivka holds a strategic position in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Often dubbed as the "gateway to Donetsk", the control of this territory is crucial to both armies.
Colonel Tarmo Kundla from the Estonian Army's General Staff conveyed to Ukrainian news portal Ukrainian Truth, that the situation in Avdiivka is critical, yet Ukraine's defenses continue to hold firm. This is partly because the attackers have not managed to intercept the supply routes used by the defenders.
Any potential capture of Avdiivka by the Russians will likely cost them a significant number of BMP-2 armored personnel carriers, which the Ukrainians have managed to eliminate using M2 Bradley combat vehicles, amongst other resources. By the end of last year, they had also inflicted serious damage on the Russian aviation forces by destroying several Su‑25 airplanes.