NewsUkrainian forces retreat from Avdiivka amidst escalating clash with Russian troops

Ukrainian forces retreat from Avdiivka amidst escalating clash with Russian troops

Gen. Ołeksandr Syrski (on the right)
Gen. Ołeksandr Syrski (on the right)
Images source: © PAP | DEFENSE MINISTRY HANDOUT
5:26 AM EST, February 17, 2024

"In view of the unfolding operational situation around Avdiivka, to prevent encirclement and safeguard soldiers' lives and health, I deemed it necessary to pull our units away from the city towards more advantageous defensive positions," stated General Syrski.

"Our soldiers, performing their military duties honorably, did everything within their capacity to defeat the best Russian military units, inflicting significant damage on the enemy in terms of manpower and equipment."

"We are making efforts to stabilize the situation and hold our positions. The value of soldiers' lives is paramount. We will reclaim Avdiivka," declared General Syrski.

On Friday, at 3:00 PM ET, General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, who helmed the Ukrainian troops during the Avdiivka conflict, reported that "the enemy is obliterating the city."

Earlier the same day, Tauryda group Commander General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi reported that the Ukrainian army had retreated from some points in Avdiivka "with minimal casualties," and some Ukrainian soldiers had been captured.

"The decision to withdraw was out of necessity in order to safeguard personnel and improve the operational situation," Tarnavskyi posted on Telegram. He added that Ukrainian soldiers are pulling back from destroyed positions and setting up new defensive lines.

"I stress that our priority is to safeguard our soldiers' lives. If necessary, they will transfer to new positions," he stated.

Tarnavskyi also assured that, despite these circumstances, the Ukrainian army still "holds the city." He confirmed that the sending of reinforcements and additional ammunition would continue. "The enemy continues the artillery attacks and heavy bombardments, practically erasing the city. They are deploying all their reserves into the attack, rerouting them from other directions with an aim to breach our defences," he evaluated.

The struggle for Avdiivka

Avdiivka, located in the eastern part of Ukraine within the Donetsk Oblast, is currently witnessing some of the most intense combat. The Russians are getting the upper hand and may encircle the city soon. Avdiivka is considered a key to the nearby city of Donetsk, which was captured by Russia-backed separatists in 2014 and since remains occupied, later being unlawfully annexed by Moscow. After enduring months of relentless conflict, Avdiivka now stands almost entirely leveled.

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