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In a significant development in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian troops have retreated from the front-line city of Avdiivka, according to the country’s new army chief.

Oleksandr Syrskii, who recently assumed leadership of the Ukrainian military, stated, “I decided to withdraw our units from the town and move to defense from more favorable lines in order to avoid encirclement and preserve the lives and health of servicemen.” This decision comes after enduring months of intense combat and facing challenges in making substantial gains against Russian forces.

The struggle for Avdiivka, located just north of the Russian-held city of Donetsk, has been among the war’s most devastating battles, drawing comparisons to the fierce fight for Bakhmut. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy supported the withdrawal as a “professional decision that will save many Ukrainian lives.” Despite Russia’s persistent efforts to seize Avdiivka since October, the city’s strategic importance and the dire circumstances facing the remaining inhabitants have necessitated a reevaluation of Ukrainian defensive strategies.

Oleksandr Tarnavsky, the army’s commander for the Avdiivka sector, elaborated on the challenges faced by Ukrainian forces, citing the overwhelming odds and continuous bombardment. The decision to pull back was framed as the only viable option under such conditions. This tactical shift occurs as the region prepares for Russian presidential elections, with President Vladimir Putin seeking another term. Amidst these developments, Zelenskyy has called for increased international support at the Munich Security Conference, emphasizing the need for more advanced weapons and air defense systems to counter the Russian military effectively.


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