March 5. 2024. 2:55

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Ukraine says eastern town of Avdiivka could become ‘second Bakhmut’


Ukraine announced on Monday (20 March) that the eastern city of Avdiivka could soon be a "second Bakhmut", a small town where its forces have held off against Russian invaders for eight years but are at risk of being completely encircled.

The Battle for Bakhmut, in the industrial Donbas, was one of the most fierce of the almost 13-month-old war in Ukraine. It has drawn comparisons to World War One trench warfare.

According to the commander of Ukraine’s ground troops, Moscow’s forces attempted to encircle Bakhmut last week in an offensive that had not made any major breakthroughs.

The spokesperson for Ukraine’s Tavria military commande said Monday that he agreed to an assessment made by British Defence Intelligence, that Russia was increasing pressure on Avdiivka’s supply lines, just as it did around Bakhmut.

"The enemy is always trying to encircle Avdiivka. Oleksiy Dmytrashkivskyi, a spokesperson for the UK, said that he agreed with his colleagues in the UK that Avdiivka could soon be the second Bakhmut.

He said, "But, I would like you to know that it is not all well with the Russian units attack in this direction," in televised comments.

According to Ukraine, Russian forces are suffering heavy losses during their offensive in eastern Ukraine.

Avdiivka was home to more than 35,000 people in peacetime. It has been a major town since many years, unlike Bakhmut.

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The Ukrainian forces had been there before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. They held the line against Russian-backed militants, who took over large swathes in eastern Ukraine in 2014 after Russian forces seize Crimea.

Avdiivka is located just north of Donetsk (Russian-held), which Ukraine lost control of in 2014.

British Defence Intelligence tweeted Monday that Russian forces made "creeping advances" around Avdiivka. They also stated that the sprawling Avdiivka Coke Plant would be "likely to being seen as particularly defenseable key terrain as battle progresses".

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