Russian forces conduct ‘fire cleansing’ of Ukrainian positions near Avdeyevka

Moscow’s forces claimed the barrage successfully struck Ukrainian bunkers, ammunition depots and armored vehicle concentrations around the city. However, these assertions could not be independently verified.

Russian artillery units carried out what they called a “fire cleansing” against Ukrainian military positions around the embattled city of Avdeyevka, according to claims by Moscow’s battlegroup operating in the area.

The Russian military’s battlegroup “Tsentr” said its artillerymen pounded Ukrainian fortifications and troop concentrations near Avdeyevka, a frontline city in the Donetsk region that has seen some of the war’s fiercest ground fighting.

Video footage released by Russian outlets showed volleys of rockets and artillery rounds being fired from truck-mounted launchers. Plumes of smoke could be seen rising over the Avdeyevka area following the strikes.

Moscow’s forces claimed the barrage successfully struck Ukrainian bunkers, ammunition depots and armored vehicle concentrations around the city. However, these assertions could not be independently verified.

Ukrainian officials have not yet responded to the Russian claims, which employed the loaded term “fire cleansing” – suggesting a massive application of artillery barrages ahead of potential ground operations.

Any such intensive bombardment of the Avdeyevka area raises immediate concerns over civilian casualties and the destruction of residential areas still populated with Ukrainian citizens unable to evacuate.

Avdeyevka, a city of around 30,000 before the war, has remained under Ukrainian control throughout Russia’s invasion despite being perilously close to Russian-occupied Donetsk and sustaining near-constant shelling.

This bombardment comes as no surprise, given months of Russian artillery barrages cumulatively striking cities and towns across eastern Ukraine. Yet the Kremlin’s rhetoric raises disturbing implications of escalating the scale of destruction in a region with dwindling humanitarian corridors.

While Russia has seized around 20% of Ukraine’s pre-invasion territory, its forces have struggled to make any significant territorial gains in recent months. Ukraine’s defenders have fiercely clung to remaining urban bastions in the Donbas while awaiting new Western-supplied weapons and munitions ahead of an expected counteroffensive.

Concerns remain that Moscow could resort to even more indiscriminate shelling to try and break the stalemate, even as it becomes increasingly apparent that a military solution remains far from Russia’s grasp.