Ukrainian Forces have taken control of a part of the village of Opytne in Donetsk region. Fierce fighting continues in the area, with the situation remaining volatile. The proximity of the settlement to Donetsk is causing concern among Russians.
Opytne is situated between Avdiivka and Donetsk. Its borders Avdiivka to the north and is separated from Donetsk by the E50 road, near Donetsk International Airport in the Kyiv district.
Opytne has been under occupation since the large-scale war began in November 2022. Russian forces have been shelling the village since the start of Russia's aggression in 2014. Notably, there is only a short distance of only a few kilometres between Opytne and Donetsk Airport, where battles took place from September 2014 to January 23.
According to military analyst Vladislav Seleznev, during the large-scale invasion, the enemy tried to encircle Avdiivka and moved forward. Occupying forces, including the ones in the area of Opytne, expended significant resources to secure specific positions around the settlement. However, Ukrainian intelligence closely monitored the activities of the Russian forces. As soon as it became clear that the enemy lacked sufficient operational reserves, the Ukrainian army launched a counterattack on this part of the front.
In an interview with RBK-Ukraine, Seleznev highlights that the fact that Ukrainian Forces have entered Opytne may indicate a tactical counteroffensive, albeit on a small scale.
"The enemy immediately reacted to our offensive. At first, the Ukrainian army entered the settlement because the enemy was retreating further and further, leaving everything behind. However, the enemy's aviation became active. Our army was forced to withdraw from the settlement and establish positions at specific boundaries in the vicinity," explained Seleznev.
According to him, Ukrainian servicemen are facing a challenging situation as the Russian army is targeting their trenches. However, there is a key factor at play.
"The enemy understands the risk that the Ukrainian Army may advance further and reach the vicinity of Spartak. Consequently, Ukrainian troops would enter the outskirts of Donetsk, as Spartak is one of the residential areas in Donetsk. This is unacceptable for the occupiers. Putin began the so-called 'special operation' to capture the entire Luhansk and Donetsk regions, but it turned out that the Ukrainian Army was able to advance towards Donetsk," emphasized Seleznev.
According to him, this could have a significant media impact. Moreover, Russians are now forced to rapidly allocate additional resources operationally to stabilize the situation on the battlefield.
"The enemy's resources are not abundant since they also need to deploy them in other sections of the frontline, particularly in the south of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, at the junction of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts," noted Seleznev.
According to an expert, the situation will develop depending on the capabilities. He explains that the Ukrainian army has limited resources in the Avdiivka area of the front.
"Because the main focus of our Defense Forces is concentrated on the Zaporizhzhia direction. But even with limited resources, we have the ability to improve our tactical position. Including by pushing back enemy units from Avdiivka. This means that local residents will be in greater safety first," Seleznev adds.
As for the prospects, it is quite difficult to assess them. Because it is unclear how many additional resources the Russians will be able to gather in order to fundamentally change the situation on the battlefield in the Opytne area, Seleznev claims.
In theory, two possible scenarios can develop here.
The first one - if the Russians have a significant reinforcement, the Ukrainian Army may have to conduct maneuvering defense and move positions to other frontiers. And if the enemy fails to do so, the situation will stabilize.
According to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the Ukrainian Forces continue to maintain the initiative in the Avdiivka, Maryinka, and Shakhtarsk directions .
As reported by Vitaliy Barabash, the head of the Avdiivka City Military Administration, Ukrainian soldiers conducted a lightning-fast operation near Avdiivka and captured part of the village of Opytne. He added that combat the fighting is taking place in the village.
This information was confirmed this morning by the Deputy Minister of Defense, Anna Malayar. According to her, Ukrainian Armed Forces advanced in the area of Opytne, and managed to capture part of this settlement.
In addition, Ukrainian troops have also had partial success in the Novomykolaivka district of Donetsk oblast over the past week. However, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense later added that the situation is very volatile. The fighting continues, and there is a possibility of changes in positions and the overall situation.