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Commander: Ukrainian troops withdrew from Avdiivka

Ukrainian forces retreated from Avdiivka to prepared positions, a Ukrainian commander reports. The withdrawal occurred after months of bloody Russian attacks cut supply lines to the embattled city.
Avdiivka Coke Plant. Credit: “Var,” commander of 2nd Mechanized Brigade of 3d Assault Brigade
Commander: Ukrainian troops withdrew from Avdiivka

Ukrainian forces have left Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast, pulling out to prepared positions outside the city, according to General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, the commander of the Tavria operational-strategic group.

Following months of their “meat-wave assaults,” Russian forces cut the main supply road, making it extremely difficult for Ukrainians to maintain the defense of the destroyed city. Unofficial reports of a withdrawal emerged several days ago.

“In accordance with the order we received, we left Avdiivka for the positions we had prepared in advance,” commander Tarnavskyi wrote on Telegram on the morning of 17 February.

At the cost of immense losses in daily frontal attacks around the city and constant bombardments of Avdiivka, the Russians managed to destroy most of its buildings and force Ukrainian troops to retreat, as previously happened in Bakhmut.

Situation near Avdiivka as of 17 February 2024. Map: Deepstatemap

“In a situation where the enemy is advancing over the corpses of their own soldiers with a ten-to-one shelling advantage, under constant bombardment, this is the only right decision,” Tarnavskyi noted about the retreat.

The goal of the Russian months-long assaults from three directions was to pocket and overrun the city. Tarnavskyi notes that the Russians failed to encircle the Ukrainian forces in Avdiivka:

“Encirclement was prevented, personnel were withdrawn, and our soldiers took up defense at the designated lines,” he wrote.

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