Ukraine Stronghold Falls to Russians

Ukrainian troops retreat and surrender in Avdeyevka

Ukrainian troops have withdrawn from the ruins of Avdeyevka, putting the strategic city under Russian control
Ukrainian troops have withdrawn from the ruins of Avdeyevka, putting the strategic city under Russian control.

By David Sole

Just one week after Ukraine’s President Zelensky replaced his top military commanders, the Ukrainian military has been driven out of their eastern stronghold of Avdeyevka. That city has been in the hands of the Ukrainian forces ever since the U.S. organized right-wing coup in 2014.

For several months the Russian Federation forces have pounded Avdeyevka with massive artillery barrages, air force bombing and persistent pressure from troops who almost surrounded the city.

It was clear that Ukraine intended to hold their ground. Just days ago it was announced that some of Ukraine’s best reserve forces were being sent in to reinforce their garrison. But the Ukrainians had to quickly bow to reality and ordered a withdrawal at the last minute.

The new Ukrainian commander, General Oleksandr Syrsky, announced “in order to avoid encirclement and preserve the lives and health of servicemen, I decided to withdraw our units from the city.” But the New York Times paints a grimmer picture of the situation and admits that “Russian forces in recent weeks have been pressing the attack across nearly the entire length of the 600-mile-long front.”

“Relying on its superiority in personnel and weaponry, Russia pounded the city.” The Ukrainians “have been engaged in a desperate battle to avoid encirclement inside the city as Russian forces advanced from multiple directions.” Clearly the Ukrainian high command waited too long to pull back their troops. One Ukrainian general admitted that “at the final stages of the operation, under pressure from the superior forces of the enemy, some Ukrainian servicemen fell into captivity.”

Soldiers interviewed by the Times reported “fighters from the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade find themselves completely surrounded, but they are attempting to break through.” Another soldier said “his unit was left no time for an orderly exit – neither to evacuate weapons and equipment, nor to burn papers and lay mines.” Some were ordered to “leave the wounded behind.”

Ukrainian positions all across the front lines are becoming more and more desperate. The “Spring Offensive” that began on June 4, 2023 continued through the summer and into the fall. It produced none of the great expectations announced prior to its launch. In fact it resulted in massive losses in killed and wounded as well as much of the heavy U.S. and NATO armor that had been delivered over the past 2 years.

Ukraine has been unable to replace these heavy losses and has been unable to give any relief to their worn out front line soldiers. It is widely reported that Ukrainian troops are short of many types of ammunition, especially artillery shells. Changing the top general cannot reverse these unfavorable conditions. “Ukraine’s military challenges go well beyond any single battle….Ukrainian troops are exhausted, and they lack weapons and ammunition. Air defense systems … are being steadily exhausted by repeated bombardments….a cascading collapse along the front is a real possibility later this year.”

Still the Ukrainian leadership, under direction of the U.S. State Department, refuses to consider any negotiations to end the fighting.  Ukraine is totally dependent on western military assistance as well as financial aid. So it is not likely that the Zelensky government can independently engage in negotiations. The U.S. goal, all along, was to provoke a proxy war with Russia with Ukrainians paying the price in death and destruction.

The Russian forces are gaining the upper hand on all fronts. A major Russian offensive could cause the disintegration of Ukraine’s military. This could force negotiations, or more properly, a Ukrainian surrender. But the danger is always present that the U.S. and its NATO allies will escalate their involvement to directly face off against the Russian Federation on the battlefield. This would threaten a third world war.

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