According to the reports of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission there is evidence that Russian forces were preparing a massive offensive the day before the situation escalated at Avdiivka. US representative to OSCE Kate Byrnes made a statement to this effect during the meeting of the Permanent Council in Vienna on the 9th of February.
There is clear evidence of a military buildup of separatist forces in this region ahead of the attack.
“A week before the start of the assault, in separatist-controlled Hrustalne, the SMM observed trucks with munitions whose shape and size corresponded to MLRS rockets. Two days before the start of the assault, an OSCE SMM drone sighted 45 military type trucks in camouflage coloration 500 meters from the railway station in separatist-controlled Amvrosiivka, which is only 15 kilometers from the Russian border. Separatists pursued the SMM observers, and forced them to leave the area. That same day, SMM was denied access to the separatist-controlled Markino locality, which is less than 5 kilometers from the Russian border,” Byrnes stated.
According to her, satellite images showed no less than six artillery positions in the separatist-controlled territory within range of Avdiivka.
Byrnes also elaborated that combined separatist forces had expanded their positions near Avdiivka over the course of six months, including in the controlled by Kyiv regions on the line of contact.
“Russia and the separatists prepared this escalation. As soon as the military actions started, the combined separatist forces denied the SMM access to Yasynuvata for the next three days”, the SMM representative stated.
Byrnes once again called on Russia to end the aggression against Ukraine.