600 days into the war, Russia’s assault on a key eastern Ukraine city appears to be weakening

A Ukrainian APC fires towards Russian positions on April 28 near Avdiivka, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Libkos, File)

KYIV, Ukraine — A dayslong attempt by Russian forces to storm a strategically important city in eastern Ukraine appears to be running out of steam, Kyiv officials said Monday, as the Kremlin’s war entered its 600th day.

Ukrainian forces repelled 15 Russian attacks from four directions on Avdiivka over the previous 24 hours, the Ukrainian General Staff said.


That compared with up to 60 attacks a day in the middle of last week, according to Vitalii Barabash, head of the city administration. The slackening suggests the Russian effort to capture Avdiivka has “deflated,” Barabash said.

A Washington-based think tank broadly concurred with that assessment. “Russian forces continued offensive operations aimed at encircling Avdiivka … but have yet to make further gains amid a likely decreasing tempo of Russian operations in the area,” the Institute for the Study of War said in analysis published late Sunday.

Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, told a U.N. Security Council meeting last Friday that the ramped-up attacks in the east amounted to a new stage in Moscow’s campaign in Ukraine.

With the looming onset of wintry conditions that will limit military operations, both sides have been seeking battlefield breakthroughs that could invigorate their efforts and raise morale.

Ukraine launched its own counteroffensive about four months ago. It has made some headway but the limited success has underlined the daunting challenge of taking on the Kremlin’s more numerous forces.

Kyiv’s Western allies insist that their military and financial support for Ukraine will continue, even as the Israeli-Hamas war rages and competes for resources.

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday the Biden administration will ask Congress for a combined aid package for Ukraine and Israel worth more than $2 billion.

Ukrainian officials have said their troops are holding out against fierce Russian efforts to wrest control of Avdiivka, a heavily fortified city.

It is not possible to verify battlefield claims by either side. Misinformation and disinformation have played a central role in the war.

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