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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 724: Ukraine withdraws forces from Avdiivka after months of bloody Russian attacks

Ukraine finished a strategic withdrawal of troops from the city of Avdiivka after months of Russian attacks cut supply lines. The Netherlands plans to provide at least two dozen F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine’s battered air force “as soon as possible.” Meanwhile, CNN reports Russia is developing a nuclear space weapon capable of destroying satellites and disrupting global communications networks.
Russo-Ukrainian war, day 724: Ukraine withdraws forces from Avdiivka after months of bloody Russian attacks


Why Avdiivka fell to Russia. Guided aerial bombs that Ukraine can’t counter, overwhelming troop and artillery power, and an element of surprise were behind Russia’s rapid overtaking of Avdiivka


Ukraine destroys three Russian bombers on eastern front. Ukrainian Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk reported that Ukrainian forces shot down two Russian Su-34 bombers and one Su-35 fighter.

Frontline report: Ukraine prioritizes preserving manpower over holding Avdiivka, withdraws troops. In a strategic move to preserve manpower, Ukraine’s military has begun withdrawing forces from the fiercely contested Avdiivka, facing both a massive Russian numerical advantage and shortages of artillery shells.

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.

Fierce fighting continues within Avdiivka, commander says; sources report retreat from the city. Sector commander Tarnavskyi says fierce fighting goes on in Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast, as Ukraine continues to prepare new positions and fortifications with all possible scenarios in mind.

Intelligence and technology

Rutte: Ukraine to receive at least 24 F-16 jets in total. Dutch PM Rutte: “We hope to transfer [the F-16s to Ukraine] as soon as possible. Twenty-four of them, maybe more, but at least 24.”

CNN: Satellite safety at risk as Russia develops nuclear space weapon. Russia is developing a nuclear space weapon that could destroy satellites and disrupt global communications, CNN reported, citing sources familiar with US intelligence.


Moldova discovers Russian drone debris near Ukrainian border. Moldovan police found debris of a Russian drone much like the Iranian Shahed-136 model 2km from Ukraine, amid Russia’s ongoing drone attacks.

Protesters from four more EU countries to join Polish farmers in blocking Ukraine border entry checkpoint. German, Belgian, Dutch, and French farmers to join Polish border blockade of the Dorohusk-Yahodyn entry point to Ukraine.

US transfers nearly $500,000 in forfeited Russian funds to Estonia for benefit of Ukraine. The US Department of Justice has transferred nearly $500,000 in forfeited Russian assets to Estonia, earmarked for the restoration of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

Zelenskyy meets with Danish PM Frederiksen to coordinate final steps for bilateral security agreement. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen also discussed joint drone production and further defense cooperation during their meeting in Munich.

Moscow claims Ukrainian drone attacks across Russian territory. Russian Defense Ministry claims air defense forces intercepted 33 Ukrainian drones overnight across five of Russia’s oblasts.

Humanitarian and social impact

Russian troops kill Ukrainian priest who refused to convert to Moscow patriarchate. Renowned for his pro-Ukrainian stance, Stepan Podolchak, a Ukrainian priest, firmly refused the demands of the Russian occupation administration to convert to the Moscow Patriarchate.

US bolsters Ukraine’s capacity to document Russian war crimes with new aid package. The US has provided a technical assistance package to Ukraine’s investigative units, including 66 vehicles, 250 drones, nine 3D ground laser scanning systems, and a DNA laboratory.

Russian losses

As of 18 February 2024, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the invasion to the present day:

  • Personnel: 402430 (+1080)
  • Tanks: 6487 (+11)
  • APV: 12198 (+53)
  • Artillery systems: 9709 (+40)
  • MLRS: 984
  • Anti-aircraft systems: 674 (+3)
  • Aircraft: 335 (+3)
  • Helicopters: 325
  • UAV: 7449 (+36)
  • Cruise missiles : 1898 (+2)
  • Warships/boats: 25
  • Submarines: 1
  • Vehicles and fuel tanks: 12736 (+2)

Read the daily review for 17 February 2024 here

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