Daily life has grown “really intense” in the town of Avdiivka, north of the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, as Russian forces fire relentlessly, the head of the city’s military administration said Sunday.
“Once we know an air raid siren is on for Donetsk region, we know 90% that Avdiivka will be hit,” the leader, Vitalii Barabash, said on national television.
“It is really intense in Avdiivka now, there are lots of assaults around the city, tens of assaults daily,” he continued. “(Russians) are firing with everything they have.”
Because of weather conditions at the moment, Russian infantry units are carrying out the attacks, Barabash said. Once it gets dry, Russian forces will likely use more equipment.
Moscow’s forces shelled the central part of the city with cluster munition Sunday morning, according to the Ukrainian official. At other times, tank, artillery and rocket launcher shelling strike the town.
Eight children remain in the city as their relatives don’t want to evacuate, Barabash said. The leader said only 10%, at the most, of the housing in Avdiivka is suitable for living.
“There are no rescuers in the city. They were withdrawn from the city last summer, as they constantly came under enemy fire,” he added.
“The State Emergency Service is helping with the evacuation of the wounded. So if an apartment building is struck, even the basements will not save (people’s lives), as there is no equipment to clear the rubble,” Barabash warned.
About embattled Avdiivka: Ukrainian officials have warned in recent weeks that Avdiivka is coming under almost non-stop fire, with up to 14 rockets hitting the town daily.
Barabash said late last month “the town is being wiped off the face of the Earth,” as authorities struggle to evacuate those who remain there.
About 1,800 civilians are still in Avdiivka, military spokesperson Oleksii Dmytrashkivskyi said on national television Sunday.
The worst of the fighting on the ground in Ukraine is centered on eastern cities, according to officials with both countries’ military.
“The fiercest battles continue to be for the areas near the towns of Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Mariinka,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in an update Sunday.