February 19,2024

Victory Chronicles-DAY 726

Ukrainian troops withdraw from Avdiivka amid fierce attacks

In a strategic move on Saturday, February 17, Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi announced the repositioning of troops from Avdiivka. This tactical withdrawal was aimed at preventing encirclement and preserving the lives of Ukrainian defenders amidst intensifying combat. Syrskyi noted that the current operational dynamics near Avdiivka informed this decision. He assured efforts are underway to stabilize the situation and maintain control, with plans to recapture the city. The move followed severe clashes and Russian assaults, including an attack on a local coke plant in Avdiivka. Echoing this, Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, Commander of the Tavria operational and strategic group, confirmed the orderly retreat to prearranged defensive lines. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy underscored the primacy of safeguarding Ukrainian troops in the face of Russian advancements.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden engaged in a conversation with President Zelenskyy, reiterating America’s unwavering support for Ukraine. The discussion also touched upon the urgent requirement for more national security resources. Biden criticized Congressional delays, linking them to Russia’s recent gains in Ukraine, particularly highlighting the Avdiivka withdrawal driven by ammunition shortages. He stressed the necessity for prompt legislative action to bolster Ukrainian forces and called for increased measures to penalize Russia for its aggression.


Symbolic number of the Day


According to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleksandr Syrskyi, and the Commander of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk, the Ukrainian Air Force successfully shot down two Russian warplanes on February 19. The aircraft that were destroyed include a Su-34 fighter bomber and a Su-35 fighter jet. The incident took place on the Eastern Front, with the Russian planes dropping guided bombs on Ukrainian troop positions. Oleshchuk expressed gratitude for the successful operation and encouraged continued efforts in defending Ukraine’s land and skies. 


War in Pictures


The 44th Separate Artillery Brigade took a photo of the brigade’s fighters congratulating Ukrainians on the Day of the State Emblem of Ukraine. “The Trident is a symbol with which fighters of different historical eras defended our statehood, glorified our people, and fought for the freedom and independence of the Ukrainian state in battles. It is a symbol of the will and steadfastness, courage and unity of the Ukrainian people. Our Trident is with us always and everywhere. We are here, we are in formation, we will return our State Emblem to every piece of Ukrainian land,” the brigade said in a statement.


Video of the Day

The official page of the 92nd Brigade published a video of the destruction of a Russian anti-tank mine depot in the Bakhmut sector. The AHILLES battalion of the Ukrainian Air Assault Vehicles carried out the operation.


ISW report


Delays in Western security assistance to Ukraine are likely helping Russia launch opportunistic offensive operations along several sectors of the frontline in order to place pressure on Ukrainian forces along multiple axes. 

Russian forces are currently conducting at least three offensive efforts—along the Kharkiv-Luhansk Oblast border, particularly in the directions of Kupyansk and Lyman; in and around Avdiivka; and near Robotyne in western Zaporizhia Oblast. After the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from Avdiivka and the subsequent Russian claim of control over the entirety of Avdiivka, ISW, and several Ukrainian and Western sources assessed that delays in Western security assistance, namely artillery ammunition and critical air defense systems, inhibited Ukrainian troops from defending against Russian advances in Avdiivka.

Critical Ukrainian shortages in Western-provided equipment and fears of the complete cessation of US military aid have forced Ukrainian troops to husband materiel along the entire front, which has likely encouraged Russian forces to exploit the situation and launch limited offensive operations outside of the Avdiivka area, which they have done along the Kharkiv-Luhansk Oblast border area since early January 2024 and in western Zaporizhia Oblast over the past 48 hours. These Russian offensive efforts will likely hinder Ukrainian forces from preparing personnel and materiel for renewed counteroffensive operations, emphasizing the operational disadvantages that Ukraine will suffer if it simply digs in and attempts to defend for the rest of 2024 as some Western states and analysts advocate.


23-year-old junior lieutenant Andrii Taran, with the call sign Deimos, died on August 17, 2023, near the village of Robotyno, Zaporizhzhia Oblast. While performing a combat mission, he was conducting medical evacuation of wounded fighters under massive mortar fire. His life was cut short by an enemy-guided aerial bomb.

Andrii was born in the village of Saksahan, Dnipro Oblast. He graduated from the Kryvyi Rih Oblast Boarding Lyceum for Rural Youth. Then, he studied at the Flight Academy of the National Aviation University, graduating in 2023. He received a degree in air traffic control engineering. In 2021, during his studies, he passed the military department and became a reserve officer. At the same time, he worked at Ukrainian Helicopters as a dispatcher at the flight and flight support point of the Flight Operations Department. He studied English in depth, was actively involved in sports, played tennis and volleyball, read a lot, and was interested in psychology.

In March 2023, Andriy was mobilized into the Armed Forces of Ukraine. He was trained and assigned to the 118th Separate Mechanized Brigade. There, he was appointed assistant chief of staff to a reconnaissance platoon commander.

“He was an incredible man with a good heart. He was strong both physically and spiritually. Very intelligent, purposeful and fair. Andrii was a reliable support for the family, a loving son, a caring brother and a reliable friend,” said his sister Olha Hryshkevych. The officer was buried in his native village. Andrii is survived by his parents and sister. 

*Andrii’s story on the Heroes Memorial – a platform for stories about the fallen defenders of Ukraine.


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