Russian forces are tightening their grip on the city of Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian military officials. Despite the Russian military’s failure to advance on Kyiv during the early days of the invasion in February 2022, they have been relentlessly bombarding Avdiivka since mid-October. Online videos depict the city’s apartment buildings reduced to ruins, with only 1,500 residents remaining out of the original 32,000. Anton Kotsukon, spokesperson for the 110th separate mechanized brigade, revealed that Russian forces have amassed on three sides of the town and are building up reserves, bringing in approximately 40,000 men and various ammunition. General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, head of Ukraine’s southern group of forces, stated that Ukrainian troops are steadfastly defending their positions around Avdiivka. The city has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance, having been briefly seized by Russian-backed separatists in 2014 before being retaken by Ukrainian forces. Local officials have reported that the Russians are delaying a “third wave” of assaults due to heavy rain. However, they are preparing for future attacks. Ukrainian forces view Avdiivka as a crucial gateway for future advances to reclaim territory in the east, including the large Russian-held town of Donetsk, which is located 20 km away. Ukrainian analysts believe that Russia has little to gain from a prolonged offensive that has already resulted in significant losses. Despite this, military analyst Denys Popovych predicts that the attacks will continue, with a third and fourth wave expected. Ukraine’s military launched a counteroffensive in June, but progress has been slower compared to the previous year’s campaign. Russian accounts of the fighting have mentioned strikes against Ukrainian positions near the town of Bakhmut, which was captured by Russian forces in May. However, RushHourDaily has been unable to independently verify the battlefield accounts from either side.
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