Russian occupation shatters any illusions of Avdiivka's 'liberation'


The majority of Avdiivka residents, who anticipated the arrival of Russian forces in the city, have now "come down from their high," said Vitaliy Barabash, head of the Avdiivka City administration, the Ukrainian TV channel Espreso reported on May 9.

There are around 700 people currently remaining there.

"Even those who were indifferent now say that things were much better under Ukraine," Barabash said.

Read also: Invaders conduct round-the-clock assaults - without success - near Avdiivka, says Army officer

"Because there are no signs of democracy or that the 'liberators' have arrived."

During the first days of the occupation, many videos showed locals welcoming the Russian forces with open arms. However, the situation has drastically changed since then, with residents being expelled from their own homes, looting occurring, and the Avdiivka Coke Plant being plundered.

"The majority of people have realized they didn't get what they were expecting," Barabash said.

He further explained that throughout the entire full-scale war, local authorities, volunteers, and police were trying to explain to those who welcomed the Russian troops, drawing from examples in Severodonetsk, Mariupol, and Bakhmut, that nothing good would come of it. Their warnings fell on deaf ears.

"Now they're witnessing the harsh truth firsthand," Barabash said.

"The same faces appear in propaganda clips, around 20 of them. Even residents who chose to stay have lost respect for them. By the way, the Russians are distributing humanitarian aid, which we had previously imported."

Ukrainian forces' withdrawal from Avdiivka

Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said on Feb. 17 that the AFU withdrew from Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast, after four months of intense fighting and regular attacks by the Russian troops. This decision was made to avoid encirclement and to preserve the lives and health of the soldiers, he said.

Tavria operational and strategic troop grouping spokesman Dmytro Lykhoviy assured that the withdrawal of troops from Avdiivka was as successful as the circumstances allowed. Commander Oleksandr Tarnavskyi said that Ukraine's defenders consolidated their positions on new defense lines in the Avdiivka sector.

The Tavria grouping confirmed on Feb. 26 that the AFU withdrew from the village of Lastochkyne to organize defense and prevent further advance of the Russian forces.

Lykhoviy said on Feb. 27 that the AFU withdrew from the small villages of Severne and Stepove near Avdiivka.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine