Ukraine troops pull out of key eastern town Avdiivka

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Ukraine’s military says it is withdrawing its troops from Avdiivka – the key eastern town besieged by Russian forces.

Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said he acted “to avoid encirclement and preserve the lives and health of service personnel”.

He added that the troops were being moved to “more favourable lines”.

Avdiivka – a gateway to the Russian-seized city of Donetsk – has been engulfed in fierce fighting for months.

In a statement on Facebook early on Saturday, Gen Col Syrskyi said his decision was based on “the operational situation around Avdiivka”.

“Our soldiers performed their military duty with dignity, did everything possible to destroy the best Russian military units, inflicted significant losses on the enemy in terms of manpower and equipment.”

Gen Syrskyi – who was only appointed as the country’s top commander a few days ago – said Ukrainian troops were “taking measures to stabilise the situation and maintain our positions.

On Friday, the US warned that Avdiivka was “at risk of falling into Russian control”, citing Ukraine’s artillery ammunition shortages.

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