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18 Feb, 2024 03:59

Ukrainian army fled Avdeevka in disarray – Russian MOD

The official order to retreat reportedly came too late for an organized fallback
Ukrainian army fled Avdeevka in disarray – Russian MOD

Ukraine’s top general, Aleksandr Syrsky, did not give the order for troops to leave Avdeevka until one day after the beginning of their uncontrolled, chaotic rout from the Donbass stronghold, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday.

Syrsky, Ukraine’s recently appointed commander-in-chief, announced the retreat early Saturday, justifying the decision with the need to “stabilize the situation and maintain positions.” Reports that Ukrainian forces were pulling back began circulating earlier this week, while others indicated that Russian forces severed the biggest supply lines into the city.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced the capture of the fortress city later on Saturday, stating that only scattered formations of Ukrainian militants managed to escape the city, fleeing in disarray under Russian fire and leaving their armaments behind.

“The order of the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Syrsky, to abandon the city was only issued after a day of uncontrolled flight of the Ukrainian troops from Avdeevka,” ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a press statement. The Ukrainian army reportedly lost more than 1,500 troops in Avdeevka in the past 24 hours alone.

The Russian forces will now begin to clean up remaining pockets of resistance in the city, as well as blocking Ukrainian forces at the Avdeevka coke and chemical plant in the northwestern outskirts of the city, the spokesman added.

Avdeevka has been fortified by the Ukrainians since 2014, when hostilities first erupted in the region after the Western-backed coup in Kiev. Due to its close proximity to Donetsk, it was frequently used to shell civilian infrastructure in the city, causing numerous civilian deaths.

The White House has blamed the Ukrainian army’s weakening position in the area on a lack of US military funding. President Joe Biden once again urged Congress to pass a supplemental budget request that has been held up in the House of Representatives for months, of which $60 billion is slated for Kiev’s war chest.