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Russian forces intensify airstrikes on Avdiivka amid escalating clashes in northeast Ukraine

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Russian Forces Intensify Airstrikes On Avdiivka Amid Escalating Clashes In Northeast Ukraine

The commander of Kyiv’s ground forces has stated that clashes along the corridor in northeast Ukraine have “significantly worsened” as Moscow continues its barrage of airstrikes on the strategically important city of Avdiivka in the Donetsk region. Russian forces have been relentlessly pounding the city for the past four days, leaving it in flames and causing widespread damage. Ukrainian officials have reported that Moscow is deploying additional forces to encircle Avdiivka, which is located just north of the Russian-held regional capital, Donetsk.

General Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, who was visiting the area, revealed that Russian forces had regrouped and were carrying out numerous assaults daily, particularly around the village of Makiivka and towards the city of Kupiansk. Despite the heavy assaults, Ukrainian troops have managed to hold their ground. Meanwhile, in Pokrovsk and Beryslav, missile and drone attacks resulted in multiple casualties.

Ukraine’s recent counteroffensive has made modest progress in the east and south regions, with the aim of reaching the Sea of Azov. However, gains have been slow and incremental. Russia’s representative to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzia, described the intensified fighting as a new stage in Russia’s campaign, affirming that Russian troops had switched to active combat action along the entire front line. In response, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby stated that the Russian action constituted a “new offensive,” indicating that Russia was refusing to give up its campaign. Nonetheless, Kirby expressed confidence that the Ukrainian military would successfully repel the Russian forces.

In the midst of these escalating clashes, the British Defense Ministry provided an intelligence update on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It highlighted that it is not in Russia’s best interests to block any Ukraine-bound trade on the Black Sea, as the possible military losses and dire political consequences of attacking merchant shipping would outweigh any benefits gained from a blockade. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, during a visit to the Black Sea port of Odesa, pledged to strengthen Ukraine’s air defenses and increase the security of the “humanitarian corridor” for grain exports. Zelenskyy emphasized the importance of protecting these corridors and enhancing Ukraine’s positions in the Black Sea region to maintain vital grain exports, which contribute significantly to the country’s defense spending following Russia’s invasion.

The Odesa region has frequently experienced missile and drone attacks from Russia, resulting in significant damage to civilian ships and grain facilities. The Kyiv government reported the destruction of over 300,000 tons of grain and highlighted Russia’s violation of the deal that allowed safe Black Sea exports of Ukrainian grain. As a response to the ongoing airstrikes, the Netherlands announced its plan to deliver more Patriot air defense missiles to Ukraine to assist in defending against Russian attacks during the winter.

As the situation remains tense, it is clear that the clashes in northeast Ukraine continue to escalate with devastating consequences for the region. The information for this report has been sourced from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, and Reuters.

Rachel Adams

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