Avdiivka: Russians take control of city in ‘important’ victory over Ukraine | World News

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Russian forces have taken complete control of the Ukrainian city of Avdiivka after months of intense fighting, the defence ministry has said.

President Vladimir Putin congratulated troops on the development, labelling it a “success” and “important victory” just days away from the second anniversary of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defence minister, informed the Kremlin that forces were working to clear the final pockets of resistance, the same day Ukraine’s military chief said he was withdrawing outnumbered troops from the city.

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It comes as Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy implored the West to increase supplies of military aid and suggested the withdrawal was partly caused by a lack of weapons.

“Now, [the military] will replenish, they will wait for the relevant weapons, of which there simply weren’t enough, simply aren’t enough,” he said, addressing the Munich Security Conference.

“Russia has long-range weapons, while we simply don’t have enough.”

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He later expressed hope that Congress in the US would make a “wise decision” and pass the package to resupply Ukrainian forces, which has met fierce resistance from the Republicans.

“We hope that the House of Representatives will make decisions to ensure further necessary US support for Ukraine,” Mr Zelenskyy wrote on X.

“We must win this war.”

A Ukrainian soldier wals in Avdiivka, the site of heavy battles with Russian troops in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Libkos)
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A Ukrainian soldier in Avdiivka last year. Pic: AP

The White House blamed the withdrawal from Avdiivka on “dwindling supplies as a result of congressional inaction” that had forced Ukrainian soldiers to ration ammunition and resulted in “Russia’s first notable gains in months”.

Later, in a phone call with Mr Zelenskyy, Mr Biden underscored the US’ commitment to supporting Ukraine.

The taking of the southern city is Russia’s biggest advance since it took Bakhmut last May, and could be key in Russia moving a step closer to securing full control of the two provinces that make up the industrial Donbas region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a video address to mark the 31st anniversary of the founding of national energy giant Gazprom, at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia February 17, 2024. Sputnik/Alexander Kazakov/Pool via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
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Putin congratulated troops on victory in Ukrainian city. Pic: Sputnik/Alexander Kazakov

In a telegram, Mr Putin paid tribute to soldiers who had died in the campaign, saying: “Eternal glory to the heroes who fell in fulfilling the tasks of the special military operation!”

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Russian forces have been trying to advance on the town since October last year and have surrounded it on three sides, leaving limited resupply routes for the Ukrainian troops dug in there.

In recent days, Rodion Kudriashov, deputy commander of the Third Assault Brigade, gave an insight into the situation on the ground, saying Russian warplanes had been dropping about 60 bombs a day, relentlessly shelling the area and launching assaults with armour and infantry.

An apartment building is destroyed in Avdiivka, the site of heavy battles with Russian troops in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Libkos)
Image:
Pic: AP

The city, once home to around 30,000 residents but now thought to have a population of just over 1,000 people, is located to the north of Donetsk.

It was home to a large industrial facility producing chemicals and the coal-based fuel known as coke, but the plant has been largely destroyed in the fighting, according to its owners.

The takeover hasn’t come easy to the Russians, with footage appearing to show bodies of about 150 soldiers, most wearing Russian uniforms, lying scattered along tree lines where they sought cover.

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