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Ukrainian army chief announces withdrawal of units from Avdiivka


 , Updated 13:36, 17-Feb-2024

The new commander-in-chief of Ukraine's armed forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, said via Facebook on Saturday that he had decided to withdraw Ukrainian units from Avdiivka city in the Donetsk region and move to defense on more favorable lines "in order to avoid encirclement and preserve the lives and health of servicemen."

"Based on the operational situation around Avdiivka, in order to avoid encirclement and preserve the lives and health of servicemen, I decided to withdraw our units from the city and move to defense on more favorable lines," AFP on Saturday quoted Syrskyi as saying.

This is the first major decision by Ukraine's new military chief Oleksandr Syrskyi following his appointment on February 8.

The withdrawal, announced as Ukraine faces acute shortages of ammunition with U.S. military aid delayed for months in Congress, aimed to save troops from being fully surrounded by Russian forces after months of fierce fighting, Reuters reported. 

"We are taking measures to stabilize the situation and maintain our positions," the Reuters quoted Syrskyi as saying.

There was no immediate comment about the withdrawal from the Russian Defense Ministry, Zelenskyy or the Ukrainian defense minister.

(With input from agencies)

(Cover: A general view of the village of Lastochkino under fire, Avdiivka district, Ukraine, February 15, 2023. /CFP)

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