Home Australia Ukrainian troops withdraw from the key town of Avdiivka after manpower and ammunition shortages gave Putin’s invading forces a symbolic victory after weeks of savage fighting.

Ukrainian troops withdraw from the key town of Avdiivka after manpower and ammunition shortages gave Putin’s invading forces a symbolic victory after weeks of savage fighting.

by Elijah
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Ukrainian forces are rallying today to save a key eastern city from Russian attack amid ammunition and manpower shortages. Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers stand atop an armored vehicle near Avdiivka on February 14, as fighting rages through the city.

Ukrainian forces have withdrawn from the major eastern town of Avdiivka in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, giving Putin’s invading forces a symbolic victory after weeks of savage fighting.

In a brief statement posted on Facebook early Saturday, Ukraine’s military chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said he had made the decision to avoid the encirclement and “preserve the life and health of the military.”

The commander-in-chief added that troops were moving toward “more favorable lines.”

He said: “Our soldiers performed their military duty with dignity, did everything possible to destroy the best Russian military units, inflicted significant losses on the enemy in terms of manpower and equipment.”

“We are taking measures to stabilize the situation and maintain our positions,” the statement read.

The withdrawal comes after months of ferocious Russian attacks and marks the biggest change on the front since Moscow’s troops captured Bakhmut in May last year.

The withdrawal comes after months of ferocious Russian attacks and marks the biggest change on the front since Moscow’s troops captured Bakhmut in May last year.

Forces were massing on Friday to save a key eastern town from Russian attack amid ammunition and manpower shortages.

Ahead of the second anniversary of the Russian invasion, kyiv said on Friday it would send reinforcements to Avdiivka, a main Moscow objective on the front.

The eastern city, which had about 34,000 inhabitants before the Russian invasion, has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance against the Russian attack.

Russian forces launched a costly attempt to seize Avdiivka last fall, resulting in massive damage to the city and heavy casualties, reminiscent of the Battle of Bakhmut.

The Ukrainian military said it was reinforcing units, with troops “maneuvering along threatened axes”, adding: “Ukrainian defenders continue to hold back the enemy who are still trying to encircle Avdiivka.” “Ukrainian soldiers stand firm.”

Russia has been trying to capture Avdiivka for months and has managed to surround the industrial center on three sides, at the cost of thousands of lives.

One official said the situation was even more challenging than Bakhmut.

“It was difficult there (in Bakhmut), but now it is extremely difficult,” said 3rd Assault Brigade spokesman Oleksandr Borodin, adding that the fighting in Avdiivka was comparatively “more difficult” because Russian forces are now better off. equipped.

A Ukrainian army unit said on Thursday it had sent even more troops to defend Avdiivka, describing the situation there as “extremely critical.”

“Fierce battles are being fought inside the city,” Oleksandr Tarnavskiy, a Ukrainian general in the east, said on social media on Friday.

Online maps of troop movements prepared by military bloggers close to the Ukrainian and Russian militaries showed Russian forces approaching Avdiivka, assuming positions occupied by Ukrainian forces the previous day.

“New positions have been prepared and powerful fortifications continue to be prepared, taking into account all possible scenarios,” Tarnavskiy said.

He called the situation in Avdiivka “difficult but controlled” and said commanders have been tasked with “stabilizing the situation.”

An aerial view of the destroyed buildings of Avdiivka on February 15, 2023. Almost all buildings in the city have been damaged or destroyed, according to the Center for Information Resilience.

An aerial view of the destroyed buildings of Avdiivka on February 15, 2023. Almost all buildings in the city have been damaged or destroyed, according to the Center for Information Resilience.

General view of smoke coming out of the Avdiivka chemical and coking plant on February 15, 2023 in Avdiivka district, Ukraine

General view of smoke coming out of the Avdiivka coking and chemical plant on February 15, 2023 in Avdiivka district, Ukraine

Meanwhile, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a security pact with France on Friday hours after securing a similar agreement with Germany, hailed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz as a “historic step” to secure support for Kiev in its furious battle against Russia. .

The agreement with France, signed by Zelensky and French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace, includes a French commitment of up to 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in aid by 2024, after 1.7 billion in 2022 and 2.1 billion last year, officials said. .

They said the pact would last 10 years and would significantly strengthen cooperation in the artillery area.

They said the agreement was aimed at assisting Ukraine with the “reestablishment of its territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders” and preventing “any new Russian aggression.”

The agreement will also help pave the way for Ukraine’s future integration into the European Union and NATO, the officials said.

“France affirms that future membership of Ukraine would constitute a useful contribution to peace and stability in Europe,” they said, citing the agreement.

On Thursday night, Zelensky promised that his government would do “everything possible” to save lives in Avdiivka.

The battle for the industrial center, less than six miles north of the Russian-held city of Donetsk, has been one of the bloodiest of the two-year war.

Ukraine’s top commander admitted Wednesday that Ukraine was outnumbered on the battlefield.

‘The objective situation in Avdiivka remains threatening and unstable. “The enemy continues active troop rotation and is throwing new forces and resources into the city,” the Ukrainian 3rd Separate Assault Brigade said.

Ukraine’s army general staff said separately that troops “continue to hold back the enemy, which continues to try to encircle Avdiivka,” adding that Russia launched 34 strikes in the area on Wednesday.

Nearly all buildings have been damaged or destroyed, according to the Center for Information Resilience.

Despite daily shelling, nearly 1,000 residents have remained in the city, which was once home to more than 30,000 people, its mayor Vitaly Barabash said in early February.

A Ukrainian military spokesman said bringing supplies to the city and evacuating those who want to leave had become “complicated.”

A Ukrainian serviceman from the 82nd Separate Air Assault Brigade drives a Challenger 2 tank at an undisclosed location near the front line in the Zaporizhzhia region, February 12, 2024.

A Ukrainian serviceman from the 82nd Separate Air Assault Brigade drives a Challenger 2 tank at an undisclosed location near the front line in the Zaporizhzhia region, February 12, 2024.

This photograph taken and released by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service on December 29, 2023 shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recording a video speech in front of a sign that reads

This photo taken and released by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service on December 29, 2023 shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recording a video speech in front of a sign that reads “Avdiivka is Ukraine.”

Avdiivka’s fate also raised concern in Washington, Ukraine’s main backer.

“Avdiivka is at risk of falling under Russian control,” US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Thursday.

Democratic President Joe Biden and the Republican-led House of Representatives are deadlocked over a White House request for $60 billion in military aid to help defend Ukraine as the Russian invasion enters in his third year.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned on Thursday that the delay was already limiting Ukraine’s battlefield capacity.

In addition to the delay in American aid, the European Union has admitted that it will only be able to send half of the million artillery shells it had originally promised would be sent in March.

The EU recently agreed to a €50 billion aid package for Ukraine, and another $60 billion aid package in the United States is currently being delayed.

But even if aid packages reach kyiv, questions remain about its supplies of ammunition and equipment, and where more could come from.

Analysts fear that without greater support from the West, Russia’s overwhelming numbers – and Putin’s willingness to send so many of his soldiers to their deaths – could soon turn the tide of the war in Putin’s favor.

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