Russian forces have intensified their attack on Avdiivka, but Ukrainian forces are managing to maintain their defense lines, Ukrainian military officials said.
Anton Kotsukon, spokesman for the 110th Separate Mechanized Brigade, said Russian forces had converged on three sides of the city in eastern Ukraine. “They brought about 40 thousand men here, along with ammunition of all calibers,” Kotsukon told national television. “We see no sign that the Russians will give up their plans to take Avdiivka.”
According to the spokesman, Russian troops are playing a ‘cat and mouse game’. They send large numbers of drones towards the city and use their artillery guns to get a better picture of the defenses.
The city, where 32,000 people once lived, is largely in ruins due to the ongoing bombings. Videos shared on the internet show apartment buildings with only picket fences still standing.
Rain has prevented the Russians from launching a major new offensive in recent days. “The third wave has not started yet, but they are preparing for it,” Vitaliy Barabash, head of the city’s military administration, told Ukrainian television. ‘Today is already the second day that the weather is favorable for this.’
Avdiivka has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance. It was briefly seized in 2014 when Russian-backed separatists overran the region, but Ukrainian forces recaptured it.
Kyiv views Avdiivka as a bridgehead to the rest of the occupied territory in the east. The large Russian-occupied city of Donetsk is 20 kilometers away.
Peter van Ammelrooy