Ukrainian forces withdraw from Avdijivka

“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 on Saturday night.

The Ukrainian forces are now taking steps to stabilize the situation in the area and to maintain other positions, according to Syrskyj.

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

Obliterated city

“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, stressing that the Russian forces are numerically superior in both manpower and ammunition.

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

Later that night, Tarnavskyj stated that his forces had left the city and taken up other prepared defensive positions.

The fighting for Avdijivka, just north of the city of Donetsk, has been described as among the fiercest of Russia’s offensive. According to Ukraine, since the turn of the year, Russia’s invasion forces have suffered extremely heavy losses in their attempt to capture the city, which before the war had around 30,000 inhabitants.

Soldiers’ lives more important

Oleksandr Syrskyy took over the role of Ukraine’s top defense chief last week.

He justifies the decision to withdraw the forces from Avdijivka by saying that it is more important to keep the Ukrainian soldiers alive.

“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 Syrskyj.

“We will come back Avdijivka”, he continues.