The Russians are trying to encircle the city of Avdiivka in the Donetsk region. “Russia continues to prioritize the operation, but its forces have made only marginal progress at the cost of heavy losses in armored vehicles,” the latest intelligence update from the British Ministry of Defense reads.

According to British intelligence, the Russian 10th Tank Regiment probably lost a large part of its tanks during an attempt to encircle Avdiivka from the south. It is part of the 3rd Army Corps, the first major new formation that Russia has deployed since August 2022 to support the invasion of Ukraine.

It added that numerous open source accounts suggested that the 3rd Army Corps had particular problems with poor discipline and morale.

Despite a probable period of training in Belarus, the formation still appears to show limited combat effectiveness. The 10th Panzer Regiment ‘s losses were probably largely due to tactically flawed front-line attacks similar to those of other recent failed Russian armored attacks, e.g. near the city of Wuhledar.

In turn, in the latest report by the Institute for War Studies, we read that the Russian command probably reinforced the attacking forces at Avdiivka with troops of experienced mercenaries from the Wagner group.

“While Wagner mainly employs ex-prisoners in the Bakhmut operations, there are likely more trained mercenaries fighting in various regions in Ukraine ,” the American think tank maintains.

“The Russian command may have decided in recent weeks to send some elements of this formation to Avdiivka to reinforce the weakened and untrained forces of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic trying to take the town. If such fighters are fighting at Avdiivka, their involvement may explain the limited tactical gains in over the past week, “ writes ISW.