Col. Martin Vendla, deputy commander of the EDF Headquarters, said that Russian forces have taken the initiative in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts in Ukraine, and it is not out of the question they will take Avdiivka.
"Forces of the Russian Federation continued their slightly more intensive offensive action this week," he said, adding that the main vectors of attack are Avdiivka-Marinka and Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna.
Vendla said that Russian forces carried out on average 64 daily offensive operations.
"Based on this, we can say that Russia still has enough human resources and machinery to keep the Ukrainian forces under constant pressure. The numbers suggest the Russian Federation has seized the initiative in both Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, which in turn suggests Russia's goals in Ukraine have not changed."
The colonel suggested that the main goal of Russian troops is to conquer Avdiivka as this could be presented as a political victory of sorts. "But it also has practical value. It is a relatively densely populated area, a gate into Donetsk so to speak, and controlling it allows for better logistics control."
But Vendla emphasized that taking Avdiivka is no simple matter and both sides are currently incurring heavy losses. "And the Ukrainian defenses are holding."
The rasputitsa or the so-called mud season has at least partly already started in Ukraine, the colonel said.
"The effect of the weather will likely become even more important in the next few weeks, and use of heavy and armored machinery will be rendered difficult until the ground freezes," Vendla said, adding that both sides are probably looking to dig in before that happens.
The EDF colonel said that the situation behind Estonia's border remains calm. "As usually in November, new conscripts have started to arrive and begin their training."
"On top of regular training, voluntary territorial defense units have also been trained in Pskov Oblast in recent months. The purpose of these units is to strengthen oblasts' ability to defend themselves," Vendla remarked.
Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Marcus Turovski