Avdiivka falls: Ukraine withdraws amid ammunition shortage

Ukrainian forces have retreated from the devastated eastern town of Avdiivka, according to Ukraine's newly appointed army chief, signaling Russia's most significant advance since capturing Bakhmut in May 2023.

Publication: 17.02.2024 - 13:26
Avdiivka falls: Ukraine withdraws amid ammunition shortage
Abone Ol google-news

This move announced amidst severe ammunition shortages and delays in U.S. military aid, aims to prevent Ukrainian troops from being encircled by Russian forces after prolonged, intense battles.

General Oleksandr Syrskyi, stepping into leadership amid a military reshuffle last week, stated that Ukrainian forces have repositioned to more defensible locations outside the town, which once housed 32,000 people. "To prevent encirclement and safeguard our soldiers' lives and well-being, I ordered a withdrawal to more strategically advantageous positions," he conveyed through an armed forces release.

This strategic setback, nearly two years into Russia's full-scale invasion, bolsters President Volodymyr Zelensky's plea for more immediate military support from the West. Zelensky is set to emphasize this need at the Munich Security Conference. President Joe Biden highlighted Avdiivka's precarious situation, attributing its vulnerability to prolonged Congressional debates over a new military aid package for Ukraine.

The capture of Avdiivka is pivotal for Russia's strategy to dominate the Donbas region's industrial heartland, offering President Vladimir Putin a potential victory as he eyes re-election. The town has endured relentless Russian offensives, with diminishing Western aid exacerbating the exhaustion of Ukrainian forces engaged in the conflict for nearly two years.

General Syrskyi assured, "Efforts are underway to stabilize the situation and secure our positions," amidst a lack of immediate responses from the Russian Defence Ministry, President Zelensky, or Ukraine's defense minister regarding the withdrawal.

As Russia intensified its offensive in October, Ukraine's tactical situation in Avdiivka grew increasingly precarious. The Third Assault Brigade was deployed to bolster defenses as Ukrainian units retreated from the town's southeast. Describing the combat as "hell," the brigade reported being vastly outnumbered by Russian forces.

While Russia has not disclosed its casualties in the fierce battle for Avdiivka, Ukrainian officials and Western analysts suggest its gains have been costly in terms of troops and equipment. The town, now home to fewer than 1,000 residents, lies near the Russian-controlled stronghold of Donetsk, lost to Ukrainian forces in 2014 following a separatist uprising. A significant coking plant in Avdiivka has ceased operations due to the war.

Most Read News