Russia captures Avdiivka after Ukraine withdraws


“The President congratulated our military and fighters on such an important victory, on such a success,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said…reports Asian Lite News

Following Ukraine’s withdrawal of troops from the key eastern town of Avdiivka, Russian President Vladimir Putin has hailed his army’s capture of the Ukrainian town of Avdiivka as an “important victory”, as reported by Al Jazeera.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu informed Putin about the seizure of the front-line town in a meeting at the Kremlin on Saturday, his ministry said in a statement.

Avdiivka was a “powerful defensive hub” for Ukraine’s armed forces and its capture would “move the front line away from Donetsk (city),” reducing Ukraine’s ability to shell the Russian stronghold, the defence ministry said.

“The President congratulated our military and fighters on such an important victory, on such a success,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

The new army chief announced that Ukrainian troops have been withdrawn from Avdiivka after months of heavy fighting and little progress in repelling Russian forces on the country’s eastern front, Al Jazeera reported.

“I decided to withdraw our units from the town and move to defence from more favourable lines in order to avoid encirclement and preserve the lives and health of servicemen,” Oleksandr Syrskii said on Saturday.

The town, which had become one of the most fiercely contested battlegrounds on the eastern front, witnessed an escalation of Moscow’s attacks, including airstrikes, artillery bombardment, and ground assaults by armoured vehicles and soldiers, CNN reported on Saturday.

In this two-year war, the battle for the industrial hub, less than 10 km (six miles) north of the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk has been one of the bloodiest, according to Al Jazeera.

Meanwhile, many compare it with the battle for Bakhmut, in which tens of thousands of soldiers were killed.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that pulling out troops “was a professional decision that will save many Ukrainian lives.”

“Our actions are limited only by the sufficiency and length of range of our strength,” he added, highlighting the situation in Avdiivka.

However, Russia had been trying to capture the city since October and had surrounded it on three sides, and has left limited resupply routes for Ukrainian forces before they withdrew, as reported by Al Jazeera.

Reportedly, Avdiivka had about 34,000 inhabitants before the Russian invasion.

According to the local authorities, most of the city has been destroyed but an estimated 1000 residents still remain there.

Before issuing orders to pull out of Avdiivka, Oleksandr Tarnavsky, Ukraine’s army’s commander in the area, said on Friday that several Ukrainian soldiers had been captured by Russian forces, Al Jazeera reported.

Avdiivka lies in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, which the Kremlin has claimed to be part of Russia since a 2022 annexation that remains unrecognised by nearly all United Nations members.

The development has come in advance of Russian presidential elections scheduled for March this year, in which Putin is set to in a fifth term allowing him to continue the invasion of Ukraine.

Yesterday at the Munich Security Conference, Ukrainian president Zelenskyy pushed for countries to give Ukraine longer-range weapons and more air defence systems, according to Al Jazeera.

“Unfortunately, keeping Ukraine in the artificial deficit of weapons, particularly in the deficit of artillery and long-range capabilities, allows Putin to adapt to the current intensity of the war,” Zelenskyy said in Germany.

“The self-weakening of democracy over time undermines our joint results,” he added.

Moreover, he promised to “surprise Russia” later this year with new drone systems and electronic warfare.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden on Thursday said that Avdiivka risked falling to Russian forces because of ammunition shortages following months of Republican congressional opposition to a new US military aid package for Kyiv. (ANI)

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