Ukraine Retreats From Villages on Eastern Front as It Awaits U.S. Aid

Russian troops have captured or entered around a half-dozen villages on Ukraine’s eastern front over the past week, highlighting the deteriorating situation in the region for outgunned and outnumbered Ukrainian forces as they wait for long-needed American military aid.

“The situation at the front has worsened,” Gen. Oleksandr Syrsky, Ukraine’s top commander, said in a statement on Sunday in which he announced that his troops had retreated from two villages west of Avdiivka, a Ukrainian stronghold in the east that Russia seized earlier this year, and another village further south.

Military experts say Moscow’s recent advances reflect its desire to exploit a window of opportunity to press ahead with attacks before the first batch of a new American military aid package arrives in Ukraine to help relieve its troops.

Congress recently approved $60 billion in military aid for Ukraine, and President Biden signed it last week, vowing to expedite the shipment of arms.

“In an attempt to seize the strategic initiative and break through the front line, the enemy has focused its main efforts on several areas, creating a significant advantage in forces and means,” General Syrsky said on Sunday.

Here’s a look at the current situation.

A slow but steady advance near Avdiivka

General Syrsky said the “most difficult situation” at the moment was around the villages west of Avdiivka, which Russia captured in February after months of fierce battles. He said Russia had deployed up to four brigades in the area with the goal of advancing toward Ukrainian military logistical hubs, such as the eastern city of Pokrovsk.

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