Monday, February 26, 2024

Russian forces are intensifying ground and air attacks on Avdiivka


Vitaly Barabash, head of the military administration in the Ukrainian city of Avdiyivka, said Russian forces are intensifying their campaign to take control of the eastern city, trying to advance on it from all sides after weeks of fighting.

Russian forces have been carrying out ground and air strikes on Avdiivka since mid-October, as it is a key point in the slow advance through the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine in the 21-month-old war.

Barabash’s latest advance follows reports last week that Ukrainian forces had had some success in halting and repulsing the Russian advance.

Barabash told the Espresso TV channel: “Things have become very difficult in the Avtivka sector as the intensity of the conflict has been increasing for some time.” He added, “The Russians have opened two other sectors, with which they are beginning to achieve results, in the direction of Donetsk … and the so-called industrial zone. They are trying to attack the city from all directions.

Officials say not a single building has been damaged following months of fighting in the city, known for a large coke factory. The city’s pre-war population of 32,000 was down to less than 1,500.

Ukrainian and Western military analysts say Russia suffered heavy losses, although the battle for the city of Avdiivka is rarely mentioned in official Russian military correspondence.

Russian military bloggers also talked about Ukraine’s gains near Avdiivka last week. Russian forces took control of the industrial zone and tried to lay siege to the coke factory, according to Russian reports.

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Ukraine launched a counteroffensive last June, but achieved only partial success in both the east and south. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged slow progress but rejected any suggestion the war had reached a “stalemate”.

Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksandr Stopun told the news website that winter weather and strong winds were affecting the use of drones by both sides.

Russian forces suffered heavy losses near Avdiivka and nearby Marinka, causing great destruction as the two sides vied for control over it for months. He continued, “Our defense is holding together. “We are fighting and we will continue to fight despite the bad weather.”

Rolf Colon
Rolf Colon
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