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Russia exposes Kyiv’s vulnerable defenses

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Russia exposes Kyiv’s vulnerable defenses

Russian forces make rapid advances, challenging Ukraine’s defense line
By CNN Staff

A series of rapid Russian advances have challenged Ukraine’s new defense line established after its withdrawal from the key town of Avdiivka, raising fears about Kyiv’s tactics and momentum on the front.

Ukraine announced its withdrawal from Avdiivka on February 17 to a series of positions west of the city. However, three small villages have since fallen to Russian forces, and Kyiv insists it never intended to defend them.

But the defensive line to which it declared it would retreat (three villages further west) has since come under intense Russian attack, with pro-Russian sources claiming that Moscow has partially occupied all three settlements. Ukraine denies the claims.

The Russian advances come amid a deep ammunition crisis for the Ukrainian military, creating a debate for frontline troops who must ration ammunition and wonder how long they can withstand Russian pressure.

In a further sign of growing unrest, the new commander of the Ukrainian army, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, has criticized his subordinate officers for poor performance on the front line.

Syrskyi became the new army commander three weeks ago, inheriting a battlefield in which a resurgent Russia and brutal ferocity have exploited long-recognized shortfalls in Western aid, ammunition, and personnel to Ukraine.

The Russian assault on the new Ukrainian defensive line around Avdiivka is significant as it suggests that Ukrainian officials did not adequately plan the withdrawal from Avdiivka and have been unable to stop the Russian advance. Moscow has stated that its goal is the seizure of the entire Donbas region.

Due to the pressure faced on the front line, Ukrainian soldiers have expressed pessimism about the withdrawal and subsequent defense, with concerns about their preparedness to contain the Russian forces.

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Ukrainian casualties remain shrouded in secrecy, but reports from a trauma unit near the front lines showed a high number of injuries in February alone.

Drone footage from the frontline near Avdiivka has revealed intense clashes and destruction caused by Russian attacks, with soldiers expressing concerns about the coming spring if Western aid is not urgently supplied.

Despite staggering casualties and unsophisticated tactics, Russian attacks persist, highlighting the crucial moment in the conflict.

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