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Media: Avdiivka situation critical, street fighting erupts

Russian forces have advanced into Avdiivka’s built-up area with street fighting now underway.
Media: Avdiivka situation critical, street fighting erupts
A Ukrainian soldier at the frontline. Photo: Ukraine’s General Staff via Facebook

Russian troops have entered the streets of Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast, with urban combat breaking out in the city, according to prominent Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Butusov.

The town of Avdiivka, north of Russian-occupied city of Donetsk, remains a vital Ukrainian stronghold since 2014, attracting Russian forces and endangering their supply routes. Ukrainian army fortifications, trenches, and troops are heavily concentrated, with mined open terrain. Russia aims to encircle and isolate Ukrainian forces through north and south attacks.

“Russian units dug in along a road north of Avdiivka. Enemy front positions now lie just about 1.5 km from the city entrance. Two weeks ago, Russians accessed two streets in the southern outskirts. Situation is critical,” Butusov wrote on Telegram.

Assessed control of terrain near Donetsk City as of 3 February 2024. Photo: ISW

Fellow Ukrainian military reporter Andriy Tsaplienko said Russian assault troops, taking advantage of cloudy weather hindering aerial reconnaissance, pushed into Avdiivka from the northeast. In his view, the occupiers outflanked Ukrainian battle positions and entrenched themselves among buildings.

“Just hundreds of meters separate Russians from Avdiivka’s main Ukrainian logistics route. But soldiers say if experienced infantry reserves arrive, the breach can still be sealed off, as happened weeks ago,” Tsaplienko posted on Telegram.

In his opinion, Avdiivka’s fate will be decided in the coming days.

On 27 January, British intelligence assessed Russians likely wouldn’t capture Avdiivka for weeks since the main supply route into the city remains under Ukraine’s control.

However, on 29 January the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported new geolocated footage indicates occupying Russian forces are making advances near Avdiivka.

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