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Russia says it has crushed the last pocket of resistance in Avdiivka

KYIV, Ukraine — Russian forces have completed their takeover of Avdiivka by eliminating the last pocket of resistance at the eastern Ukraine city’s huge coke plant, the Russian military said Monday, after the sheer weight of its troop numbers and greater firepower drove out Kyiv’s forces.

Moscow officials announced Saturday said they had taken control of Avdiivka. Ukrainian forces confirmed pulling out of the bombed-out city in what amounted to a triumph for the Kremlin even though the four-month battle was costly.

The victory was a morale boost for Russia, days ahead of the two-year anniversary of its full-scale invasion of its neighbor on Feb. 24 2022. For Ukraine, the loss underscored its reliance on the supply of Western weapons and ammunition, as hold-ups have left it short of provisions and handicapped in the fight.

However, some Western military analysts believe that Ukraine could counter Russia’s attempt to build up on its Avdiivka success by trying to erect new defense lines in that immediate area and deploying fresh units to hold back Kremlin’s forces.

Even so, the threat of ammunition shortages hangs over Ukraine’s military, with Russia aiming to exploit the moment as the United States struggles to get political agreement for more aid and Europe strives to increase production.

“Delays in Western security assistance to Ukraine are likely helping Russia launch opportunistic offensive operations along several sectors of the front line in order to place pressure on Ukrainian forces along multiple axes,” the Institute for the Study of War said in an assessment late Sunday.

Apart from Avdiivka, Russia is pushing harder in the northeastern Kharkiv region and in southern Zaporizhia, the Washington-based think tank said.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country “is ”doing everything possible and impossible” to defeat Russia.

“Ukrainians have fought heroically before but for the first time in its history Ukraine has achieved such global solidarity and support,” Zelenskyy said in his daily video address on Sunday evening.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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