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Russia Claims Full Control of Avdiivka’s Strategic Stronghold

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Russia announced full control of the Ukrainian town of Avdiivka, marking its biggest gain since capturing the city of Bakhmut in May 2023. The fall of Avdiivka, a key strategic stronghold, comes almost two years to the day since the invasion began.

Russia’s defense ministry said its troops had advanced 8.6km in that part of the 1,000km front line, and that Russian troops were pressing forward after a deadly battle that has left the town an almost completely depopulated wreck.

Ukraine confirmed withdrawing its soldiers to save troops from being fully surrounded after months of fierce fighting. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukrainian commanders had decided to retreat from the besieged city in the face of relentless attacks by Russian troops.

Russia said some Ukrainian forces were still holed up at the Soviet-era coke plant, once one of Europe’s biggest, in Avdiivka, which is key to Russia’s aim of securing full control of the industrial Donbas region. The victory is seen as another step towards securing Moscow’s hold on the regional center of Donetsk, about 20km to the east, held by Russian and pro-Russian forces since 2014

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