The Russian army has stepped up its assault on the disputed town of Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine in recent days, its mayor, Vitaly Barabach, said on Thursday.
The situation there “is very tense,” the official told Ukrainian television about this locality which has become the target of the main Russian offensive on the eastern front.
“In recent days, the enemy has become more active, mainly in the direction of (the industrial zone), carrying out offensive actions using armored vehicles,” he continued.
According to the Ukrainian mayor, the Russians “attack on the flanks, from the south, a little less from the north”, using infantry, “almost 24 hours a day”, while “hitting positions around the city”.
The industrial town of Avdiïvka, populated by some 30,000 inhabitants before the war, is today largely destroyed and barely 1,500 people live there despite the incessant fighting and bombings around it.
Avdiïvka briefly fell in July 2014 into the hands of pro-Russian separatists armed by Moscow, before returning to Ukrainian control. Since then, it has marked the front line in this area.
But the Russians launched a major offensive in early October aimed at encircling and then conquering this city, at the cost of heavy losses according to experts and open source intelligence analysts.
Gradually, however, the Moscow army managed to advance north, especially, and south of Avdiïvka.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, however, assured Tuesday that his men “held their positions”.
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