Russia Announces ‘Biggest Victory’, Says In Full Control Of Ukraine’s Avdiivka

The capture of Avdiivka represents Russia's biggest victory in the war since May last year.


Ukrainian soldier fires towards Russian soldiers in Avdiikva | Photo: AP

Russia said it has taken "full control" of the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka. The announcement from Moscow cam hours after Kyiv said it had pulled out of the former stronghold to save soldiers' lives.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu had informed President Vladimir Putin of the advance, said a defence ministry statement.

Putin "congratulated our military and fighters on such an important victory", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by AFP as saying.

Earlier, Ukrainian forces announced their withdrawal from Avdiivka saying they facing ammunition shortage and were outnumbered on the battlefield.

It followed months of pressure after Russian forces stepped up efforts to capture the eastern industrial hub in October, devastating the city and causing mass casualties.


The capture of Avdiivka represents Russia's biggest victory in the war since May.

Earlier Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told a security conference in Munich: "The ability to save our people is the most important task for us.

"In order to avoid being surrounded, it was decided to withdraw to other lines," Zelenskyy was quoted as saying.

He added: “This does not mean that people retreated some kilometres and Russia captured something. It did not capture anything."

Earlier, Ukraine's newly appointed commander-in-chief Oleksandr Syrsky had said he had "decided to withdraw our units from the city and switch to defence on more favourable lines".


It was Syrsky's first major decision since his appointment, at a time when Ukraine faces mounting pressures in the east because of ammunition shortages, with a $60-billion US military aid package held up in Washington.

US National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson put some of the blame for Kyiv's latest setback on Congress.

Zelensky nevertheless remained optimistic after speaking with US President Joe Biden by telephone from Munich.

"I am grateful to have President Biden's full support," he said.

"I also believe that the US Congress will make a wise decision," he said.

Biden too, remained upbeat.

"I spoke with Zelensky this afternoon to let him know that I was confident we're going to get that money," Biden told reporters after attending church in Delaware.

Avdiivka lies in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, which the Kremlin has claimed to be part of Russia since a 2022 annexation that remains unrecognised by nearly all United Nations members.