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Zelensky visits Ukrainian positions in Avdiivka amid fierce fighting

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 29, 2023 6:48 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky records a video address near the Avdiivka city limit sign at the entrance to Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast, during his visit to Ukrainian military positions in the area on Dec. 29, 2023. (Presidential Office)
This audio is created with AI assistance

President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the positions of Ukraine's 110th Separate Mechanized Brigade in embattled Avdiivka on Dec. 29 as Russia tries to encircle the eastern town just kilometers from Russian-occupied Donetsk.

The brigade's commander briefed Zelensky on the operational situation on the battlefield and the status of defensive actions, the Presidential Office wrote.

"According to the commander, the Russian invaders do not spare people, but our defenders hold their positions and even capture enemy soldiers."

The president discussed with the soldiers their most pressing needs, which included replenising personnel and electronic warfare equipment. "At the same time, the fighters noted that the supply of drones has improved significantly recently," reads the report.

Zelensky also presented soldiers with state awards and thanked them for their service.

"I have the honor to be here today with our team, at your place in Avdiivka, to thank you for your service and reward you. You are strong people. Thanks to you, we have Ukraine, our land, our relatives and loved ones," Zelensky told the soldiers, as cited by the Presidential Office.

"I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and thank you on behalf of all the people of Ukraine for this year that you endured. The whole country survived thanks to you and people like you."

Russia intensified its attacks against Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast, in early October, reportedly suffering heavy losses in an attempt to encircle the front-line town.

Ukrainian forces have continued to defend the now-destroyed Avdiivka and largely prevented Russia from securing significant gains.

Avdiivka still remains a primary direction of Russian attacks in the area, but Russian forces likely want to avoid actually entering the city and engaging in the type of brutal street combat that was seen in the battle for Bakhmut, according to the Ukrainian military.

Ukraine holds back Russian assault on Avdiivka as long winter battle looms
“Our working hours are as follows: first you do a 12-hour shift, then another one, until you’ve done seven of these 24-hour-shifts, and that’s your week” said Oleksandr Kolesnikov, a 47-year-old surgeon, sitting hunched over on a bench-turned-overflow hospital bed at a Ukrainian sta…
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