A total of 23 pro-Russian separatists were killed and 34 were injured during clashes near Avdiivka. However, pro-Russian forces have already received reinforcements from Russia and are continuing their activities near the town.
This was reported in a statement issued by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.
According to this statement, separatists have created a strategic defense group consisting of the 11 separate motorized rifle regiment of Makiivka, and detachments from both Horlivka and Donetsk. The group also includes soldiers from the separate artillery brigade and the 1st Army Corps of the Russian Armed Forces.
“Over the last 24 hours, Russian occupation troops intensely shelled the industrial zones and residential areas of Avdiivka. They used 122 mm artillery systems, tanks and 120/82-mm mortars. They came from the directions of Kruta Balka, Yasynuvata, Mineralne and Yakovlivka. These troops suffered significant losses as a result of these clashes,” the statement continued.
The Main Intelligence Directorate reported that the deceased and wounded were brought to Donetsk city hospital number 18. Immediately after the clash, Russia transported additional military units, ammunition and equipment to the Donbas.
Ukrainian Intelligence also reported sightings of Russian forces and military vehicles carrying equipment towards Yasynuvata. According to the report, separatists in the Donbas need these reinforcements to “rotate the personnel of the troops situated near the front line, who suffered significant losses near Avdiivka and who now need to replenish their ammunition”.
Russia transported four trucks carrying 90 soldiers, four trucks carrying ammunition for tanks and 120-mm mortars, and six units of BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles. These were taken to the Donbas. It was also reported that Russian soldiers fighting in the Donbas had returned to Russia because of the losses suffered near Avdiivka. Russian officers, whose names were declassified and made public to the press, hope to leave the war zone in eastern Ukraine.
Recently, the activities of separartist forces in the Donbas have intensified. The Main Intelligence Directorate has reported that separatists are preparing for forced conscription in April. They hope to replenish their ranks with local men under the age of 45.