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UK Defense Ministry: 'Territory west of Avdiivka remains focal effort of Russian offensive'

by Kateryna Hodunova February 29, 2024 3:01 PM 2 min read
The largely destroyed city of Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast, on Feb. 15, 2024. The city was captured by Russian forces on Feb. 17, 2024. (Kostiantyn Liberov/Libkos/Getty Images) 
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Russia continues to take advantage of the Ukrainian retreat near Avdiivka moving further west, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported in its Feb. 29 intelligence update.

Since Russia took control of Avdiivka, it has advanced approximately 6 kilometers west from the center of the town, the ministry wrote.

Russian troops are likely looking for the right moment to benefit from "fewer, well-defended positions and urban areas from which Ukrainian forces can defend," the intelligence update said.

The small city of Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast was captured by Russian troops on Feb. 17 amid ammunition shortages after months of repelling Russia’s renewed offensive.

Military: Ukraine withdraws from Stepove and Severne villages near Avdiivka
The two villages are located north of Lastochkyne, which was occupied by Russian troops on Feb. 26.

Within several days, Ukrainian Armed Forces withdrew from Lastochkyne, Severne, and Stepove villages near Avdiivka.

"Territory west of Avdiivka remains focal effort of Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine," said the report.

According to U.K. Defense Ministry, tactical gains of the latest captured villages serve primarily to consolidate Russian positions around Avdiivka.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) warned that Russia could replicate its successful tactics in Avdiivka on a larger scale if the West continues to delay military assistance.

ISW: Russia may seize more territory near Avdiivka, but rough terrain will slow their advance
Russian forces may be able to make more gains north and northwest of Avdiivka, but rough terrain in areas farther west will slow down advancing troops.
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