Ukraine is bracing for a renewed Russian assault on the eastern city of Avdiivka, following several recent unsuccessful attempts by Moscow’s forces to surround the industrial hub.
Avdiivka has been a symbol since 2014, when it was briefly captured by pro-Russian forces.
It lies just 10 kilometers (six miles) from the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk.
“The third wave will definitely happen. The enemy is regrouping after a second wave of unsuccessful attacks,” Vitaly Barabash, head of the Avdiivka military administration, said Tuesday.
Kyiv and independent military analysts say Russia has racked up serious losses in manpower and equipment in two failed drives towards the city in recent months.
The US-based Institute for the Study of War said Monday that Russia’s repeated attempts to encircle or capture the city suggest its forces failed to “internalize and disseminate lessons learned from previously costly, large, mechanized assaults.”
Barabash said Russia was likely “ready” to launch its next full-scale assault on the city, but weather conditions were currently unfavorable.
Avdiivka has been almost completely destroyed by nine years of fighting.
Despite coming under daily artillery fire, around 1,500 of the city’s 30,000 pre-war residents remain, living mainly in basements converted into bomb shelters.
Russian forces control territory to the north, east and south of Avdiivka.
The frontline separates Avdiivka from the city of Donetsk, the capital of one of the four Ukrainian regions Russia claimed to have annexed last year.