Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

Ukrainian forces withdrawing from Avdiivka

By 37ci3 Feb17,2024

Ukrainian troops have withdrawn from the devastated city of Avdiivka after months of fighting with Russian forces, the commander of the Armed Forces said on Saturday.

The withdrawal extends and extends Moscow’s control over eastern Ukraine it is a symbolic victory of the President Vladimir Putin, who is about to be re-elected.

The commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi, said he ordered the withdrawal “to avoid encirclement and to protect the lives and health of servicemen.”

“I have decided to withdraw our units from the city and move to the defense on more favorable lines,” Syrskyi said in a Facebook statement Saturday local time.

It is the highest-level withdrawal for Kiev forces since last May, when they captured another eastern Russian town of Bakhmut, just 30 miles north of Avdiivka. Although the city is not of great strategic importance, its capture may increase to mounting pressure on Kiev to maintain its position amid declining Western aid and critical munitions shortages.

Photo: Russia continues its long-term attack on the Avdiivka area
February 14, 2023 Ukrainian soldiers in an armored car outside Avdiivka.Vlada Liberova / Libkos / Getty Images

It is also the first major retreat under Syrskyi. he was appointed the new commander-in-chief of Ukraine a week ago. Syrskyi was brought in by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy with a “different approach” and hope to change things on the battlefield.

“We are taking measures to stabilize the situation and protect our positions,” Syrski said when announcing his withdrawal. He also promised to return.

Before retreating, Syrskyi’s forces tried to dig in. The country’s military said it had brought in reinforced reinforcements and more ammunition during the battle.

But an artillery sergeant who has been fighting in the city for several months told NBC News that his unit faces severe limits on how many rounds it can fire a day amid shortages compounded by dwindling manpower.

Fighting for Avdiivka, 10 miles north of the Russian-held regional capital Donetsk, has been ongoing since the start of the war, but intensified in October after a much-vaunted Ukrainian counteroffensive failed.

Russia-Ukraine war on New Year's Eve
Ukrainian medics treat wounded soldiers at a stabilization facility near the town of Avdiivka on December 31, 2023 in Donetsk, Ukraine. Elif Kızıl / Anatolia via Getty Images

Earlier this month, the Ukrainian command and the city’s military administration began to report that the Russians were entering from all directions and that the situation was becoming critical.

Military observers and US officials have warned that a delay in new military aid from Washington, which has stalled in Congress since the fall amid Republican opposition, threatens Kiev’s positions in Avdiivka and elsewhere along the 600-mile front.

The almost destroyed city had a population of 32,000 before the war. Its capture by Russian forces would expand Moscow’s control over the eastern Donetsk region, but Ukraine is still reluctant to lose the rest of the region, at least for now.

Soldier of the Ukrainian Front
A Ukrainian soldier prepares for battle near Avdiivka in Donetsk region on February 11, 2024.Genya Savilov / AFP – Getty Images

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By 37ci3

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