The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has said that Russia has “temporarily established limited and localised air superiority” during the final days of its activity in Avdiivka before the Ukrainian withdrawal.

This would likely be the first time this has happened in the war in Ukraine, a conflict marked by Mutual Air Denial, where nether side’s air forces have been able to operate outside of territory supported by ground troops.

The success of relatively inexpensive and abundant Ukrainian surface-to-air Stinger missiles and other ground air-defences has up to this date been credited with preventing Russia from fully utilising its air assets for conducting long-distance strikes. So far, they have been confined to operating in a close air support role, remaining within territory where Russia ground forces can interdict potential threats to the high cost aerial assets. 

The ISW reports that on 17 February 2024, Russian forces launched 60 KAB glide bombs at Ukrainian positions in Avdiivka in one day, citing a spokesperson for a Ukrainian brigade operation near the location, and added that a Ukrainian soldier in the area stated Russian forces had launched up to 500 glide bombs in recent days. 

The effective deployment of glide bombs by Russia is broadly acknowledged by Russian sources as a key factor in breaching Ukrainian defences in Avdiivka. Furthermore, some Russian military bloggers have claimed that Russia has achieved air superiority in the region.

Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, Commander of the Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces, reported that on February 14, Russian military carried out 73 airstrikes along the Tavriisk front, from Avdiivka to western Zaporizhia Oblast, marking an unprecedented level of aerial attacks. This surge in activity is part of an intensified tactical manoeuvre in Avdiivka by Russian forces. 

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

The ISW added that the scarcity of effective air defence systems, depleting stocks of air defence missiles, and ongoing Russian missile and drone attacks on civilian areas in the rear are likely to be compelling Ukraine to decide which frontline areas to protect with air defence. 

The US research centre, well-regraded for its ongoing daily account of the Ukrainian war through openly sourced information, went on to say that periodic instances of temporary, localised, and limited air superiority by Russia could enable aggressive Russian progress along the frontline, and that a more widespread and sustained air superiority would enable them to carry out regular, large-scale aerial operations and heavily bomb Ukrainian cities behind the frontline, causing severe destruction.