Russian Forces Reportedly Capture Hundreds of Ukrainian Troops Amid Retreat from Avdeevka

New York Times Reports Devastating Loss for Kiev, Potential Blow to Morale

According to a report by the New York Times, Russian forces may have seized as many as 1,000 Ukrainian troops during their withdrawal from Avdeevka over the weekend. Citing sources from Ukraine and the West who chose to remain anonymous, the newspaper described the retreat from the long-held Ukrainian stronghold in Donbass as chaotic, marking a significant setback for Kiev and potentially impacting morale among its military ranks.

General Aleksandr Syrsky, Ukraine’s newly appointed top military commander, disclosed on Friday that Ukrainian forces had pulled back from the strategic town, situated less than 10 kilometers from Donetsk’s outskirts. The Russian Defense Ministry later confirmed the capture of Avdeevka, asserting substantial losses inflicted on Kiev’s military during the operation.

The NYT, reporting on Tuesday, quoted Ukrainian service members anonymously estimating the number of prisoners of war (POWs) and missing soldiers to be between 850 to 1,000. These figures were corroborated by unnamed Western officials, as per the newspaper’s claims.

While US officials purportedly downplayed the strategic significance of losing Avdeevka, the NYT highlighted concerns over the capture of hundreds of experienced soldiers, exacerbating Ukraine’s ongoing manpower shortages. The Ukrainian military has been grappling with recruitment challenges, particularly following its unsuccessful summer counteroffensive, which had already strained resources.

Anonymous Ukrainian soldiers attributed the high number of POWs to inadequate planning of the withdrawal from Avdeevka and the unexpected speed of the Russian advance. Poor communication among Ukrainian units utilizing different radio equipment was also cited as a contributing factor, the NYT reported.

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Despite General Aleksandr Tarnavsky’s assertion that the retreat proceeded as planned, acknowledging only that “some Ukrainian servicemen fell into captivity,” reports of hundreds of POWs were dismissed as misinformation by his spokesperson, Dmitry Lykhovy.

During a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu claimed minimal losses among Russian troops during the capture of Avdeevka. He alleged that Ukrainian forces had abandoned wounded soldiers, along with military hardware and equipment, during their retreat.

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