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Russians ease attacks in eastern Ukraine

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Russian forces eased attacks on the beleaguered eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka on Saturday and unofficial reports from the region suggested they had failed to capture the devastated town of Maryinka to the southwest.

Russia’s military has focused on eastern Ukraine since abandoning an advance on Kyiv in the first days after the February 2022 invasion. Since mid-October, the military has set its sights on seizing Avdiivka and its vast coking plant.

Russian reports on Friday suggested Moscow’s troops had taken control of Maryinka, 40 km (25 miles) to the southwest, engulfed in fighting for well over a year. But unofficial Ukrainian reports on Saturday said its forces were holding some districts.

Ukrainian military spokesperson Oleksandr Shtupun told national television that Russian attacks on Avdiivka had halved over the past 24 hours, largely as a result of heavy losses.

“The coking plant is controlled by the Ukrainian armed forces,” Shtupun said. “Enemy forces are trying to make their way inside, but are suffering losses in infantry and equipment.”

Fighting was still intense, he said, in an adjacent area outside the town centre known as the “industrial zone.” Russia’s popular war blog Rybar said the zone had fallen under Russian control.

Reuters could not verify accounts from either side.

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