Russia faces worst losses of 2023 after up to 8,000 troops killed in Avdiivka
'The invaders made several attempts to surround Avdiivka, but each time our soldiers stopped them and threw them back, causing painful losses.'
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian forces had lost at least a brigade’s worth of troops as they tried to advance on the town in the eastern Donetsk region.
Ukraine’s military authorities say Russia renewed its efforts to encircle the town earlier this month, in an attempt to overwhelm Ukrainian positions with barrages of artillery and waves of troops and fighting vehicles.
In a battlefield update on Friday, the Ukrainian General Staff said the military ‘steadfastly holds the defence and causes significant losses’ to Russian troops, adding they were not giving up in their attempts to encircle the town.
Avdiivka, about 25 km (16 miles) from Russian-occupied Donetsk, is surrounded by Russian-held territory to the north, east and south, leaving only its west for Kyiv’s troops to resupply and evacuate people.
‘The invaders made several attempts to surround Avdiivka, but each time our soldiers stopped them and threw them back, causing painful losses,’ Mr Zelensky told Rishi Sunak in a phone call.
‘In these cases, the enemy lost at least a brigade.’
Brigades vary in size and can number between 1,500 and 8,000 troops.
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The UK Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) latest intelligence update suggests Russia has probably committed elements of up to eight brigades to the area.
Battlefield losses are a state secret in Russia and Ukraine, though total losses are believed to run into the many tens of thousands on both sides since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Russian military bloggers have reported territorial gains by Moscow’s troops in the area, while Ukraine has described the situation as extremely difficult and said Moscow was throwing a huge number of forces into the assault.
Ukraine’s armed forces claimed on Saturday that Russia had lost 298,420 troops since its invasion began last year – though these figures have not been independently verified.
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