Ukraine Withdraws from Key Donbas City of Avdiivka

The withdrawal comes as Ukraine is facing manpower and weapons shortages

On Saturday, Ukrainian forces completed a withdrawal from Avdiivka, a key eastern Donetsk city that was central to Ukraine’s war effort since conflict broke out in the Donbas in 2014.

The withdrawal was the first big victory for Russia since Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sacked his top general, Valery Zaluzhny, and replaced him with Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, who was previously the commander of Ukraine’s ground forces.

“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,” Syrskyi said in a statement.

Military situation in Avdiivka on February 17, 2024 (

The loss of Avdiivka could lead to more Russian gains if Russia can keep up the momentum, as the remaining Ukrainian-controlled areas of Donetsk are not as fortified. Ukrainian forces on the frontlines are also facing significant manpower and weapons shortages.

Morale is low within the Ukrainian military after the appointment of Syrskyi, who is known by Ukrainian soldiers as “the butcher,” a nickname he earned for overseeing the nine-month defense of Bakhmut. “Syrskyi will kill us all,” one Ukrainian soldier told POLITICO.

Despite the bleak situation for Ukrainian soldiers and the Russian momentum, the US is still looking to fuel the proxy war and rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest offer for negotiations. But Congress still has to authorize the $60 billion President Biden is seeking for the conflict.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.