Russia Declares “Complete Control” over Avdiivka in Eastern Ukraine; Putin Congratulates Army

Afaf Fahchouch
Afaf Fahchouch
5 Min Read

Russia announced on Saturday that it has gained “complete control” over Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense. This development follows Kyiv’s announcement of its troops withdrawing from the industrial city after months of intense battles. Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated his army on achieving what he described as “an important victory.”

The Russian Ministry of Defense stated on Saturday that it has achieved “complete control” over Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine. This comes after Kyiv declared the withdrawal of its forces from the industrial city, which had been a center of conflict for several months.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu informed President Vladimir Putin on Saturday at the Kremlin about the city’s capture, describing Avdiivka as a “strong defensive position for Ukrainian armed forces.”

Shoigu revealed that Russian forces have secured control over 31.75 square kilometers in Avdiivka, much of which had been destroyed during the conflict. He noted that Ukrainian soldiers had put up strong defenses, but ultimately, Russian forces prevailed.

Despite Kyiv’s announcement of troop withdrawal, Shoigu stated that only “a few scattered formations” managed to leave under continuous fire from Russian forces, leaving behind weapons and military equipment.

Furthermore, Shoigu mentioned that Russian forces are currently conducting a “final cleansing” of the city from Ukrainian soldiers and “blocking the path” for Ukrainian units seeking refuge in a factory within the city.

Shoigu also highlighted that gaining control of Avdiivka enables the removal of Ukrainian artillery from Donetsk, the stronghold of Russia-backed forces in eastern Ukraine since 2014, which had been under constant shelling.

The Ukrainian army withdrew from Avdiivka after months of fierce fighting and amid shortages of ammunition and supplies, despite attempts to reinforce the city’s defense.

The Ukrainian military reported that many of its soldiers were captured by Russian forces during the withdrawal from the city.

Putin Congratulates Army on “Important Victory”

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated his country’s military on Saturday for achieving what he termed “an important victory” in gaining control over Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine, a city that had been a focal point of conflict for months.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, quoted by Russian news agencies, stated that “Vladimir Putin listened to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s report on the capture of Avdiivka in the Kremlin. The president congratulated our soldiers and fighters on this important victory.”

U.S. President Joe Biden Blames Congressional “Failure”

U.S. President Joe Biden attributed Russia’s seizure of Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine to the “failure” of American lawmakers, as the partisan divide in Congress obstructs the approval of $60 billion in military aid urgently needed by Ukraine.

In a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday, Biden reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to supporting Ukraine. The White House issued a statement emphasizing that “President Biden called President Volodymyr Zelensky to reaffirm the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine.” He urged Congress to urgently pass spending legislation, including aid earmarked for Ukraine.

National Security Council spokesperson Adrian Watson earlier stated, “Ukrainians continue to fight bravely, but their supplies are running low.” He added that Ukraine urgently needs artillery ammunition and other vital equipment.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Saturday evening that he had spoken by phone with Biden and discussed the situation on the front line, expressing confidence that the U.S. Congress would make “a wise decision” to release aid to Kyiv.

Zelensky wrote on the Telegram app, “I am glad that I can rely on the full support of the American president. We also trust that the U.S. Congress will make a wise decision.”


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