Ukrainian forces leave Avdijivka

Ukrainian forces leave Avdijivka

Updated 02.37 | Published 01.44




full screenUkraine’s chief of defense Oleksandr Syrskyi has ordered a strategic retreat from the village of Avdijivka in eastern Ukraine. The picture is from January 8. Photo: Roman Chop/AP/TT

Ukrainian forces are withdrawing from the heavily contested village of Avdijivka in eastern Ukraine, according to the country’s defense chief, Oleksandr Syrskyi.

“Based on the operational situation around Avdijivka, in order to avoid encirclement and preserve the lives and health of soldiers, I decided to withdraw our units from the city to defend more favorable front lines,” Syrskyj said in a statement.

In recent days, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have sent more soldiers to the area and underlined that the situation there has been “extremely critical”.

“The enemy continues to add artillery fire and massive bombardment, practically wiping the city off the face of the earth,” General Oleksandr Tarnavskyj announced on Telegram on Friday evening.

“The enemy is throwing all reserves into the attack, transferring them from elsewhere and trying to penetrate our defenses,” he continued.

Several Ukrainian soldiers are said to have been captured by Russian forces in connection with regrouping in the bombed-out village, according to the brigadier general.

The fighting for Avdijivka, just north of the city of Donetsk, has been described as among the fiercest of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. According to Ukraine, since the turn of the year, Russia’s military has suffered extremely heavy losses in its attempt to capture the village.

“Our soldiers performed their military duty with dignity, did everything to destroy the best Russian military units, inflicted significant losses on the enemy in terms of manpower and equipment,” writes Syrskyi, adding that the lives of Ukrainian soldiers are most important.