Alexander Khodakovsky, the commander of the separatist Vostok battalion, says that in many ways the fighting in the Avdiivka industrial zone can be compared to the battle for the Donetsk Airport*, though the current situation is unique.
"The strategic difference between the fight in Avdiivka and the Airport is that then we had to only even the curve of the front in a more favorable way for us. We had to push the enemy further from the city," Khodakovsky wrote on his LiveJournal page.
"Here, on the other hand, our movement deeper into the Avdiivka industrial zone can lead to our units being dragged into an encirclement. So to be successful and avoid being cut off from our troops we have to push the enemy on all other directions of the front line. This is possible only with a full scale offensive,“ the separatist commander noted.
“Now in the Avdiivka industrial zone we are in stalemate situation with the Ukrainians. This is a situation when a rapid movement of each side deeper into the other's territory can lead to encirclement.”
He noted that the Avdiivka industrial zone has some wooded areas, cottages and some taller industrial buildings. Most of these building are situated closer to Avdiivka, and they are under the direct control of the Ukrainian forces. “From there [these industrial buildings], they [the Ukrainians] have a great visibility of the terrain. They are effective in bringing down mortar and sniper fire on our positions."
Alexander Khodakovsky worked at the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) but defected at the beginning of the conflict in the Donbas. He became a prominent separatist commander and the founder of the Vostok Battalion. He vehemently supports the annexation of the Donbas by Russia.
*The Donetsk Airport is where the heaviest fighting took place last year between Ukrainian forces and the pro-Russian separatists