The Ukrainian army said on Monday that Russia has significantly intensified the battle to restore the destroyed city of Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine. The number of Russian air strikes around the city has increased, and Russian ground forces are trying to make gains on the ground.
Ukrainian officials said the Russians would have suffered heavy losses, with 3,000 to 4,000 people killed and 7,000 to 8,000 wounded. Ukrainian forces are also said to have held out in other parts of the 1,000-kilometre front line and repelled Russian attacks, the news agency reported. Reuters.
The Russian army is focusing on eastern Ukraine after failing to advance towards Kiev in the first days of the invasion. Since mid-October, the army has been trying to seize the town of Avdiivka, 20 kilometers from the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk.
Ukrainian army spokesman Oleksandr Shtubun told national television, “The fighting is still ongoing. Over the past two days, the occupiers have increased the number of air strikes using guided bombs from Su-35 aircraft.”
“The enemy is also bringing more and more infantry into the battle. But when they tried to use armored vehicles the day before yesterday, two tanks and fourteen other vehicles were burned.” He added that Ukrainian forces are believed to have repelled eight attacks on the city during the past 24 hours.
Vitaly Barabash, head of the military government in Avdiivka, said that “not a single building” in the city remained undamaged. Almost the entire population has now been evacuated, and only 1,500 of the original population of 32,000 are said to remain in the city.
According to Barabash, Avdiivka has great strategic importance for the Russians because of its location at high altitudes. “You can see Donetsk from here, and that’s exactly what they need,” Barabash said. (Editorial)
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