Russia faces worst losses of 2023 after up to 8,000 troops killed in Avdiivka

'The invaders made several attempts to surround Avdiivka, but each time our soldiers stopped them and threw them back, causing painful losses.'

Russia faces worst losses of 2023 after up to 8,000 troops killed in Avdiivka
Avdiivka
The town of Avdiivka has faced heavy artillery fire in recent weeks (Picture: Getty)

Russia is thought to have suffered its worst losses in its war against Ukraine of 2023 following fighting around the town of Avdiivka.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian forces had lost at least a brigade’s worth of troops as they tried to advance on the town in the eastern Donetsk region.

Ukraine’s military authorities say Russia renewed its efforts to encircle the town earlier this month, in an attempt to overwhelm Ukrainian positions with barrages of artillery and waves of troops and fighting vehicles.

In a battlefield update on Friday, the Ukrainian General Staff said the military ‘steadfastly holds the defence and causes significant losses’ to Russian troops, adding they were not giving up in their attempts to encircle the town.

Avdiivka, about 25 km (16 miles) from Russian-occupied Donetsk, is surrounded by Russian-held territory to the north, east and south, leaving only its west for Kyiv’s troops to resupply and evacuate people.

‘The invaders made several attempts to surround Avdiivka, but each time our soldiers stopped them and threw them back, causing painful losses,’ Mr Zelensky told Rishi Sunak in a phone call.

‘In these cases, the enemy lost at least a brigade.’

Brigades vary in size and can number between 1,500 and 8,000 troops.

AVDIIVKA, UKRAINE - OCTOBER 26: (EDITOR'S NOTE: No use after 25 November, 2023. Image will need to be re-licensed after this date.) A bird's-eye view of the destroyed buildings of the city of Avdiivka on October 26, 2023 in Avdiivka, Ukraine. Fighting has intensified in recent days after Russia launched a major offensive here earlier this month. (Kostya Liberov / Libkos via Getty Images)
A number of buildings have been destroyed after shelling was ramped up (Picture: Getty Images)

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AVDIIVKA, UKRAINE - OCTOBER 26: (EDITOR'S NOTE: No use after 25 November, 2023. Image will need to be re-licensed after this date.) Two local residents are sorting through the rubble of their home after being shelled by artillery on October 26, 2023 in Avdiivka, Ukraine. Fighting has intensified in recent days after Russia launched a major offensive here earlier this month. (Kostya Liberov / Libkos via Getty Images)
Residents searched through the rubble of their destroyed home (Picture: Getty Images)

The UK Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) latest intelligence update suggests Russia has probably committed elements of up to eight brigades to the area.

Battlefield losses are a state secret in Russia and Ukraine, though total losses are believed to run into the many tens of thousands on both sides since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Russian military bloggers have reported territorial gains by Moscow’s troops in the area, while Ukraine has described the situation as extremely difficult and said Moscow was throwing a huge number of forces into the assault.

Ukraine’s armed forces claimed on Saturday that Russia had lost 298,420 troops since its invasion began last year – though these figures have not been independently verified.

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