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The Russian army continues its offensive beyond Avdiivka, according to kyiv

Russian troops launch multiple attacks in eastern Ukraine trying to advance beyond the border. of Avdiïvka, the day after the withdrawal of kyiv forces from this industrial city, declaredé Sunday the Ukrainian army.

Faced with a growing lack of soldiers and weapons and after months of heavy fighting, Ukraine announced its withdrawal from Avdiïvka on the night of Friday to Saturday, a major symbolic defeat at some point. days of the second anniversary of the Russian invasion.

“Significant Ukrainian forces” have established themselves in new positions near Avdiïvka and are “ready” for Russian attacks, which “unfortunately are already underway “, the sector's military spokesman, Dmytro Lykhoviy, said on television on Sunday.

The Russian army continues its offensive beyond Avdiivka, according to kyiv

Relatives of a decimated family try to recover their belongings from the rubble of a house destroyed by a missile strike in Kramatorsk (Ukraine), Donetsk region, February 18, 2024 © AFP – Anatolii STEPANOV

According to him, Russia is “trying to actively develop its offensive” in the Donetsk region.

The Ukrainian soldiers thus “repulsed” on Sunday 14 attacks near Lastochkyné, a small village located less than two kilometers from the northern districts of Avdiïvka, and 23 others in the Mariïnka area, further south, General Oleksandr indicated on Telegram Tarnavsky, sector commander.

The Russian advance on Avdiïvka, the most significant since May 2023, has increased pressure on civilians in the region, who are increasingly fewer in number.

– Stay or evacuate? –

In the village of Novooleksandrivka, located about thirty kilometers to the west of Avdiïvka and where there are around 200 inhabitants remaining, Vadym, 22 years old, has for the moment decided not to evacuate, despite “constant” Russian bombings.

“I hope this stops. And if it doesn't stop, we'll try to leave,” he told the AFP in reference to his wife and their child born a week ago.

The Russian army continues its offensive beyond Avdiivka, according to kyiv

Ukrainian army withdraws from Avdiivka © AFP – Sylvie HUSSON, Laurence SAUBADU

The fall of Avdiïvka came at a time when Ukraine has been desperately waiting for months for a vote on crucial US aid of $60 billion.

< p>It is “a result of Congressional inaction, which gave rise to Russia’s first notable (territorial) gains in months,” lamented US President Joe Biden.

Vladimir Putin, for his part, congratulated himself on Saturday on an “important victory”, his army claiming “total control” of Avdiïvka, largely in ruins .

The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed to have advanced 8.6 kilometers with the capture of this city targeted since October by very intense Russian attacks despite heavy losses.

The fall of this locality, which only had around 900 inhabitants in recent days compared to around 34,000 before the war, has an important symbolic value for both camps.

The Russian army continues its offensive beyond Avdiivka, according to kyiv

Rescue workers in the rubble of a school destroyed during a missile strike in Slоviansk (Ukraine), Donetsk region, February 18, 2024. © AFP – Anatolii STEPANOV

Avdiïvka briefly fell in July 2014 into the hands of separatists led by Moscow before returning to Ukrainian control. It is only a dozen kilometers from Donetsk, the separatist “capital” which has escaped Kiev's control for ten years.

Ukrainian forces have admitted that soldiers had were captured during the withdrawal, without giving details.

– Assaults in the south –

Sunday, the Telegram channel DeepState, close to the Ukrainian army, claimed that Russian forces had shot and killed six Ukrainian soldiers, including four wounded, in a position south of Avdiika, probably on Thursday. The Ukrainian authorities have so far not commented on these assertions.

The ground forces of Kiev, however, accused Russia of having executed two prisoners by shooting on Sunday Ukrainian war zones in the east, but outside the Avdiïvka sector.

In the south of the country, the Ukrainian army also reported Russian attacks in the Zaporizhia region on Sunday.

The Kiev forces thus repelled, according to General Tarnavsky, 13 Russian “assault attempts” near the villages of Robotyné and Verbové, one of the rare places where the Ukrainians had regained ground during their 2023 counter-offensive which largely failed.

Later, spokesperson Dmytro Lykhoviy downplayed the seriousness of these attacks assuring that Moscow did not have enough forces for a breakthrough.

“I would like to calm the panic a little (…) These are in all likelihood local attempts to target Robotyné”, he told television, assuring that “the enemy received a kick in the teeth and retreated”.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116