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White House: Avdiivka may fall to Russia as Ukraine runs out of shells

by Martin Fornusek February 15, 2024 11:22 PM 2 min read
Two Ukrainian soldiers walk along the destroyed city in the fog on Oct. 26, 2023 in Avdiivka, Ukraine. (Photo for illustrative purposes) (Vlada Liberova / Libkos via Getty Images)
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Avdiivka is at risk of falling to Russian hands, in large part due to a lack of artillery shells on Ukraine's part, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on Feb. 15.

Russian forces escalated attacks against the front-line town not far from occupied Donetsk in October 2023. Recent reports indicate that the situation is becoming increasingly dire as Moscow's troops encroach on the city.

"Avdiivka is at risk of falling into Russian control. In very large part, this is happening because Ukrainian forces on the ground are running out of artillery ammunition," Kirby said during a press briefing.

"Russia is sending wave after wave of conscript forces to attack Ukrainian positions, and because Congress is yet to pass the supplemental bill, we've not been able to provide Ukraine with the artillery shells that they desperately need to disrupt these Russian assaults."

Assistance from the U.S., a key military donor, has largely run dry as Congress failed to pass additional funding. The Senate recently approved a foreign aid bill including $60 billion for Ukraine, but the Republican-led House of Representatives presents a more difficult challenge.

House Speaker Mike Johnson voiced opposition to the bill, saying it needs to contain measures addressing security on the U.S.-Mexican border, even though he previously helped to kill a broader package that combined foreign aid and immigration reforms.

The White House has repeatedly urged Congress to pass the bill as the situation of Ukrainian troops becomes increasingly difficult without U.S. aid.

"We are getting reports of Ukrainian troops rationing, or even running out of ammunition on the front lines, as Russian forces continue to attack both on the ground and from trying to wear down Ukrainian air defenses," National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Feb. 14.

Fate of Avdiivka uncertain as Ukrainian forces defending it struggle with fortifications, resources
Editor’s note: The full names of the soldiers introduced in the story are not disclosed due to security concerns amid the ongoing war in Ukraine. DONETSK OBLAST – As artillery began pounding the cold-hardened ground ahead of them, two Ukrainian soldiers listened warily to shell impacts creep closer…
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