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16 Feb, 2024 12:28

Ukraine announces ‘maneuvers’ in key Donbass city it is set to lose

Kiev’s local commander has said the situation in Avdeevka is “critical,” with one brigade partially encircled
Ukraine announces ‘maneuvers’ in key Donbass city it is set to lose

Ukrainian troops are “maneuvering” in the key Donbass stronghold of Avdeevka and the surrounding areas, Brigadier General Aleksandr Tarnavsky, who leads Kiev’s forces in the sector, has announced. His comments came after the US warned Russia could soon capture the city, which has been on the front lines since 2014.

In a post on Telegram on Friday, Tarnavsky, the head of Ukrainian forces in the southern part of Russia’s Donetsk and Zaporozhye regions, insisted that the situation in Avdeevka was “difficult but under control.” 

“The planned reinforcement of units is occurring and troops are maneuvering in threatened directions,” the general stated, noting that “fierce battles are taking place in the city.” 

Kiev’s forces are preparing new positions to “take into account all possible scenarios,” he added.

The general also stressed that while Kiev values the territory it controls, “the highest value and priority for us is the preservation of the life of a Ukrainian soldier.” 

Other reports from the front, however, paint a bleaker picture for Ukrainian troops in the sector. Rodion Kudryashov, deputy commander of the 3rd Ukrainian Assault Brigade, which was recently urgently redeployed to Avdeevka, said parts of the unit had been encircled while describing the situation as “critical.” 

Earlier this week, several media reports and Russian Telegram channels suggested Moscow’s forces had managed to cut a major road leading to Avdeevka, complicating logistics for Ukrainian troops.

Citing the Ukrainian military, the Washington Post reported on Thursday that some of Kiev’s troops had already pulled back from the area, with the city’s downfall “just a matter of time.” 

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the same day that “Avdeevka is at risk of falling into Russian control,” noting that the “Russians [are] continuing to press Ukrainian positions every single day.” 

Avdeevka has been a frontline city since 2014 when hostilities first erupted in Donbass following a Western-backed coup in Kiev. Since then, Ukraine has used the city as a staging ground to launch attacks on civilian infrastructure in Donetsk, just 20km to the south.