Ukraine’s Avdiivka ‘completely ablaze’ as Russia pounds city for fourth straight day

Ukraine’s Avdiivka ‘completely ablaze’ as Russia pounds city for fourth straight day

Russia has pounded Eastern Ukrainian’s Avdiivka for the fourth straight day, further destroying the city that is reportedly already “ablaze.”

“The fighting has been going on for four consecutive days...They have substantial reserves of personnel and equipment. Avdiivka is completely ablaze,” Vitaliy Barabash, head of the city’s military administration, told Ukrainian national TV.

“They shoot, using everything they have. The hospital is again under fire, as are administrative buildings and our volunteer centre,” Mr Barabash said.

Russian attacks on the city, known for its large coking plant, have gutted it, according to Reuters.

In what is considered the biggest military offensive of the ongoing conflict in months, Russia has moved a large column of three battalions, including about 2,000 troops, dozens of armoured vehicles, as well as jets into the northern flank of Avdiivka.

Officials say the attacks on Avdviivka were relentless and that the enemy was attacking from all sides.

The region is a crucial gateway to the Donetsk territory which is the primary communication hub within the occupied territories.

“The enemy does not stop storming, they come from all directions,” Vitaliy Barabash, the head of the city’s military administration, said.

Both Washington and Russia’s UN representative say the intensified battles in the east signified a new stage in the campaign.

“Russian troops have, for several days now, switched over to active combat action practically throughout the entire front line. The so-called Ukrainian counteroffensive can therefore be considered finished,” UN’s Russia representative Vasily Nebenzia said.

However, the US said it is confident Ukrainians would beat back Russian forces, although Russia does not seem ready to give up its campaign.

“All Russian attacks have resulted in significant losses for them,” military analyst Serhiy Zgurets said.

Russia’s own military has also suffered its worst combat losses since mid-February, according to Kyiv Post.

The new offensive also suggests Russia could be unwilling to give up its campaign.

“On average, there are 50-60 instances of intense shelling with artillery and rockets targeting the town. As for military positions, they get hit at least 500-600 times a day,” Mr Barabash added.