Avdivka's catch: Putin congratulates soldiers on “important victory”.

Capture of Avdivka
Putin congratulates soldiers on “important victory”.

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According to Russian Defense Minister Shoigu, Moscow's military now has “full control” over the Ukrainian city of Avdiivka. Kremlin leader Putin has welcomed the news. Losses are said to be heavy on both sides.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the capture of the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka as a “significant victory” and congratulated his troops. “The president congratulated our army and our fighters for such an important victory,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to reports by state news agencies. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had previously officially informed Putin of the capture of the disputed city for months.

The Defense Ministry in Moscow told Shoigu Putin at a meeting in the Kremlin that Russian soldiers had taken “full control” of Avtivka. The city in the Donetsk region was an important “security center” for Ukraine. Their capture also increases the distance from the front line in the Russian-held city of Donetsk.

According to the Ukrainian military, most of their soldiers have now withdrawn from the completely destroyed city. Both sides reported losing 1,500 soldiers in the last 24 hours. However, this could not be independently verified.

“Logical, fair and professional solution”

Early Saturday morning, new commander Oleksandr Sirskij announced that after months of heavy fighting, his own units had been withdrawn from the city and retreated to more favorable defensive lines. As Sirskij explained, this was intended to avoid encirclement and protect the soldiers' lives. But he also insisted that the city, once home to around 30,000 people, would be freed from Russian occupation at a later date.

On the sidelines of a security conference in Munich, President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the decision as a “logical, fair and professional solution” to protect soldiers. “That was the main mission for us: we protect our people, our soldiers.”

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday evening that the Russian army had finally “liberated” the city from Ukrainian soldiers and was encircling Ukrainian units “at the coking plant north of Avdiivka”.

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