Withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from Avdiivka does not mean Russia reached any boundaries - Zelensky

Withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from Avdiivka does not mean Russia reached any boundaries - Zelensky

Russia has attacked Avdiivka with all its might since October last year and only lost tens of thousands of its soldiers there.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said this at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, February 17, Ukrinform reports.

"[Russia's] counteroffensive operations began in October, and since October they have been attacking this unfortunate Avdiivka with all the weapons and all the power they had. Tens of thousands of their soldiers died there. This is what Russia achieved. I believe that our forces constantly perform the task of exhausting their army, and saving our lives is the right decision, in my opinion. Then there will be recovery, and we will wait for the necessary weapons, which were simply not enough. There are not enough long-range weapons. Russia has them, and we have very few of them. This is the whole truth. Therefore, our main weapon today is our soldiers, people, and we count on the support of our partners," Zelensky said.

He added that the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from Avdiivka does not mean that Russia has reached any boundaries.

"During the two years of the war, Russia tried to do something in the east. And what is something? They just destroyed several small villages, towns, but the biggest thing they destroyed was our lives. They understand it, they are furious," Zelensky said.

He noted that the most important task for Ukraine is saving people.

"We are grateful to all partners [for their help]. Any weapon helps restore justice and peace on Ukrainian territory. But above all, everyone knows that a person, a military man, holds it, a military man liberates territories, protects homes, people, families. And therefore, the decision is correct: in order not to be encircled, a decision was made to retreat to other positions," Zelensky said.

Late on February 16, Commander of the Tavria Operational and Strategic Group of Troops, General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, said that the Russians were moving all their reserves for the assault on Avdiyivka, launching artillery fire and massive bombardments, razing the city to the ground.

Early on February 17, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi, announced that under the received order, the defenders of Avdiivka had left the city to pre-prepared positions.

Photo: Munich Security Conference / Instagram

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