Russian forces are 'storming' Ukraine's frontline city of Avdiivka, 'pressing from all directions' in large numbers, the mayor said

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Russian forces are 'storming' Ukraine's frontline city of Avdiivka, 'pressing from all directions' in large numbers, the mayor said
A Ukrainian soldier from the "White Angel" special unit convincing a local to leave his dilapidated house in Avdiivka, Ukraine, on October 30, 2023.Getty Images
  • Russian forces are escalating their assault on the Ukrainian city of Avdiivka.
  • The Ukrainian mayor said Russian forces were "pressing from all directions" in large numbers.
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The situation in the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka is critical as Russian forces are surrounding it and escalating their monthslong assault, Ukrainian officials say.

“Unfortunately, the enemy is pressing from all directions. They are storming with very large forces," Mayor Vitaly Barabash told The Kyiv Post on Thursday.

He said that Russian forces were primarily attacking using artillery, airstrikes, and soldiers on foot because Russian tanks and armored vehicles had been unable to pass across the soft ground.

He said the fighting was "very hot" and "very difficult."

The battle is important — capturing Avdiivka would be a coveted propaganda victory for Russia ahead of the second anniversary of its invasion and presidential elections in March that are expected to return President Putin to power.

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Mayor Barabash noted that fewer than 950 residents remain in the town, which had an estimated pre-war population of around 33,000.

Ukrainian military spokesperson Dmytro Lykhovyy told national television on Thursday that clashes were taking place in residential areas north of the city and within the town itself, Reuters reported.

Lykhovyy said that Russian troops were amassed in the north of the city to cut off the only road supplying Ukrainian forces in the town.

He said the situation was "difficult but controllable." Avdiivka is still in Ukrainian hands per most recent reports.

Russian forces are 'storming' Ukraine's frontline city of Avdiivka, 'pressing from all directions' in large numbers, the mayor said
A Russian Ka-52 "Alligator" attack helicopter was shot down in the Avdiivka sector, Ukraine claimed.Leonid Faerberg/Getty Images

Russia began its costly assault on Avdiivka in October, sacrificing a huge quantity of men, weapon, and equipment in the process.

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The Russians were likely experiencing a ratio of 13 losses for every Ukrainian soldier, Forbes previously estimated, based on vehicle losses.

Russian fighter jets have been launching up to 50 strikes a day with powerful guided bombs but are being forced to strike from afar due to Ukraine's air defense systems, which degrades the attacks' accuracy, said a UK Ministry of Defence intelligence update.

On Thursday, Ukrainian forces claimed to have shot down one of Russia's prized Ka-52 "Alligator" attack helicopters in the Avdiivka sector, using man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS).

Russia has been concentrating its war efforts on the city, which is seen as a gateway to capturing the entire Donetsk region.

The UK defense ministry observed that urban street-to-street combat was taking place in the city.

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Frontelligence Insight, an open-source research group with suspected ties to the Ukrainian military, said in a recent report: “As Russian forces persist in pressuring Ukrainian troops in Avdiivka, it is becoming evident that the fall of Avdiivka is not a matter of if, but when.”

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