Russians are razing Avdiivka to the ground - satellite imagery shows severe damage to the city in October

Since October 10, Russians have been throwing significant forces at Avdiivka, a town bordering Donetsk that has been held by the Ukrainian Armed Forces since 2014. The town is being effectively razed to the ground with massive artillery fire and guided aerial bombs.

Article was translated using DeepL. Читати українською.

While the world's attention is focused on the events in the Gaza Strip, Russia is leveling another Ukrainian city, and this is so commonplace that it is not even in the world news.

30 thousand people

Before the full-scale invasion, Avdiivka was home to more than 30,000 people, and as of the end of October, about 1,000 remained, as Iryna Vereshchuk, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, said during a national telethon on Tuesday, October 24.

In Avdiivka, a small part of the city consists of Soviet high-rise buildings and a large private sector behind the coke plant. As we wrote in our previous article, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have built major fortifications at the plant.

Hell in October

The map on the right shows yellow and red areas of the city that were most likely damaged during the three weeks of October. The redder the color, the more severe the damage. The map on the left shows a similar satellite analysis for September. The satellite images show the results of intense artillery and air strikes on Avdiivka in October. In September, no noticeable damage was recorded, so despite years of being close to the front line, Avdiivka began to be leveled in October.

A comparison with the beginning of the escalation in Israel begs to be made: the Hamas attack took place on October 7, and the offensive on Avdiivka began on October 10. But we cannot say whether these events were simultaneously planned by the "axis of evil" (Russia-Iran-North Korea) or whether each of them took place according to the internal logic of the war and they simply coincided in time.

It is worth reminding that the fighting in Avdiivka and the surrounding area is one of the most intense in the entire war.

To detect the damage, we used an algorithm proposed by Corey Scher (CUNY Graduate Centre) and Jamon Van Den Hoek (Oregon State University), which we learned about in an article by The Washington Post about the extent of the damage in Gaza.

Coke Plant

Active hostilities continue on the territory of Avdiivka Coke.

Below, you can compare the state of the coke plant on satellite images from August 3 (left) and October 18 (right), 2023.

As of now, the situation in Avdiivka is extremely difficult. The Russians have thrown huge human resources and a lot of equipment and ammunition there. You can read more about what is happening in the Avdiivka sector in an analytical report by our journalist Denys Gubashov at this link.

map avdiivka satellite war

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