Ukraine-Russia war live: Kyiv sends more troops into fierce battle for key Avdiivka against Putin’s forces

By Isaac M February 15, 2024

Ukrainian forces destroy large Russian landing ship in Black Sea

Ukraine has rotated in fresh forces to push back a rapid Russian takeover of a key frontline town in the eastern region of Donetsk.

Ukraine’s 3rd Assault Brigade announced this morning that it had been “urgently redeployed to strengthen Ukrainian troops in the Avdiivka area”.

“The situation in the city at the time the brigade was established was extremely critical,” the statement read.

“Separate battalions of the 3rd Armored Brigade raided the enemy-occupied areas of Avdiivka. The enemy’s forces in our section are approximately 7 brigades.”

Russian forces have pushed into the northeast and south of the city over the past fortnight and look to be accelerating their attack through the area this week.

Ukrainian war tracker DeepState posted an updated map last night of Avdiivka that suggested Russian forces had almost severed the city in two.

It comeas the Russian health ministry claimed that at least six people had been killed in the border city of Belgorod after missiles damaged a shopping centre in the area, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said.

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US Congresswoman tells David Cameron to ‘kiss my a**’ over Ukraine funding row

The Donald Trump ally said the UK Foreign Secretary should “worry about his own country” after his intervention over the multibillion-dollar foreign aid package making its way through Congress.

The bill has passed through the Senate but faces a deeply uncertain future in the House of Representatives, where hard-line Republicans aligned with GOP presidential front-runner Mr Trump oppose the legislation.

Asked about his comments on Wednesday (14 February), Ms Taylor Greene told Sky News: “David Cameron needs to worry about his own country and, frankly, he can kiss my ass.”

US Congresswoman tells David Cameron to ‘kiss my a**’ over Ukraine funding row

Republican right-winger Marjorie Taylor Greene has told Lord David Cameron to “kiss my a**” after he urged US legislators to pass a bill including support for Ukraine. The Donald Trump ally said the UK Foreign Secretary should “worry about his own country” after his intervention over the multibillion-dollar foreign aid package making its way through Congress. The bill has passed through the Senate but faces a deeply uncertain future in the House of Representatives, where hard-line Republicans aligned with GOP presidential front-runner Mr Trump oppose the legislation. Asked about his comments on Wednesday (14 February), Ms Taylor Greene told Sky News: “David Cameron needs to worry about his own country and, frankly, he can kiss my ass.”

Tom Watling15 February 2024 14:55

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Ukraine withdraws units from parts of Avdiivka, sends in crack brigade

Ukraine has admitted it is withdrawing troops from some parts of the eastern town of Avdiivka to better positions after months of heavy fighting, and battle-hardened reserve fighters from a crack brigade have joined the battle.

Russia is trying to encircle and capture Avdiivka nearly two years after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine and Kyiv’s foothold in the town appears increasingly shaky, with its supply lines threatened.

Capturing Avdiivka is key to Russia’s aim of securing full control of the two provinces that make up the industrial Donbas region, and could hand President Vladimir Putin a battlefield victory to hold up to voters as he seeks re-election next month.

“In Avdiivka a manoeuvre is underway in some places to withdraw our units to more advantageous positions, in some places to force (the Russians) out of positions,” Ukrainian military spokesman Dmytro Lykhovy said in televised comments.

“Therefore the key announcement with regards to all this is that supplies to Avdiivka and evacuations from there are difficult.”

He said the military had activated a “reserve logistics artery” that had been prepared in advance.

One of Ukraine’s most prominent fighting units, the Third Assault Brigade, said it had been rushed to Avdiivka to reinforce Kyiv’s troops there.

A Ukrainian flag flies on the road to the city, the outskirts of Avdiivka on 14 February, 2024

(Getty Images)

Tom Watling15 February 2024 14:30

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UPDATE – Six killed in Ukrainian missile strike on Russia’s Belgorod – health ministry

Six people including a child were killed in a Ukrainian missile attack on Thursday on Russia’s southern city of Belgorod, the Russian health ministry has said.

The ministry said an additional 17 people, including four children, were injured and that a team of medical specialists from federal centres had been despatched to the city.

There was no immediate comment from Kyiv.

Tom Watling15 February 2024 14:00

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Here are some of the latest photos from Belgorod

Below are some of the latest photos from the Russian border city of Belgorod near northeast Ukraine, where it has been reported that four people were killed following a missile strike near a shopping centre.

Rescuers working at a damaged shopping centre following an air attack on Belgorod

(Telegram / @vvgladkov/AFP via Ge)

A view shows the scene of an incident, what local authorities called a Ukrainian missile attack in Belgorod

(via REUTERS)

At least four people were killed in the alleged strike, according to Russian media

(via REUTERS)

Tom Watling15 February 2024 13:30

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UPDATE -Five killed in Ukrainian missile strike on Russia’s Belgorod – governor

Five people including a child were killed in a Ukrainian missile attack on Thursday on Russia’s southern city of Belgorod, Russian officials have claimed.

Regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on social media that 18 other people were wounded, including five children.

The governor of the neighbouring Kursk region, Roman Starovoit, called the attack “a new crime of the Ukrainian Nazis” – language typical of the way that Russian officials refer to Ukraine in order to justify their invasion.

There was no immediate comment from Kyiv.

Starovoit said a shopping mall, an outdoor sports facility and residential areas were hit. He did not provide an official death toll.

“The enemy is deliberately hitting a cluster of civilians,” he said.

A correspondent from the defence ministry-owned Zvezda television channel said that six people had been killed in the vicinity of the Magnit shopping centre. The news outlet Mash put the total death toll at nine.

Video and photographs posted to social media showed a building sporting the Magnit logo with its nearly all its windows shattered, as well as blown-out windows of apartment complexes.

Video published by Zvezda showed emergency workers running to aid injured people at an outdoor sports complex.

Belgorod is the nearest major Russian city to the border with Ukraine, and the city and surrounding region have come under frequent attack in the course of the war. Russian authorities said 25 civilians were killed in the biggest of these at the end of December.

The Russian defence ministry said its air defence systems had shot down 14 Ukrainian missiles over the Belgorod region. Reuters could not independently confirm the report.

Rescuers working at a damaged shopping centre following an air attack on Belgorod

(Telegram / @vvgladkov/AFP via Ge)

Footage shows what appears to be the aftermath of a strike on a Russian shopping centre

(REUTERS)

Tom Watling15 February 2024 12:50

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Why Russia is risking so many casualties for the small city of Avdiivka

The fighting is reminiscent of the battle for the eastern city of Bakhmut, which fell to Russia last May after months of grinding urban combat, 15 months into a full-scale invasion that Moscow calls a “special military operation”.

Ukraine’s Third Assault Brigade, which fought in the battle of Bakhmut, says it has been deployed to Avdiivka and has described the situation there as “threatening and unstable”.

Tom Watling15 February 2024 12:20

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Putin complains about Tucker Carlson’s lack of ‘aggressive’ and ‘sharp’ questions in interview

The Kremlin has undertaken a crackdown on dissent over the war in Ukraine, with prison sentences being handed out to many of those who criticise the army or Russian leadership.

The Kremlin said Putin agreed to an interview with Carlson because his lack of criticism of Russia’s invasion during his Fox News run was different from the “one-sided” reporting of the Ukraine conflict by many news outlets, with Western nations having spent billions of pounds to help Ukraine fight off Putin’s forces.

Tom Watling15 February 2024 11:45

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David Cameron calls Vladimir Putin an ‘aggressive dictator’ during diplomatic visit to Warsaw

The British Foreign Secretary met with Polis Foreign Affairs Minister Radoslaw Sikorski to address the media following discussions on increasing defence production for Ukraine and bolstering support in the ongoing conflict with Russia.

Lord Cameron said: “I see this as the challenge of our generation. Two foreign ministers standing here today, it’s like two foreign ministers standing here in the 1930s, where we faced a similar challenge from a similar aggressive dictator who was trying to change Europe’s boundaries by force.”

Cameron calls Putin an ‘aggressive dictator’ during diplomatic visit to Warsaw

David Cameron labelled Russian President Vladimir Putin an “aggressive dictator” during his diplomatic visit to Warsaw today (Thursday). The British Foreign Secretary met with Polis Foreign Affairs Minister Radoslaw Sikorski to address the media following discussions on increasing defence production for Ukraine and bolstering support in the ongoing conflict with Russia. Lord Cameron said: “I see this as the challenge of our generation. Two foreign ministers standing here today, it’s like two foreign ministers standing here in the 1930s, where we faced a similar challenge from a similar aggressive dictator who was trying to change Europe’s boundaries by force.”

Tom Watling15 February 2024 11:10

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At least four killed by Ukrainian missile attack on Belgorod – Russian media

At least four people have been killed in a Ukrainian missile attack on Russia’s Belgorod, Russian media reported on Thursday, posting video from the scene to its social media.

Russia’s state-owned RIA Novosti news agency said the missile strikes on Belgorod hit a local shopping centre.

These reports have not been confirmed but footage posted by Shot, another Russian state-media outlet, show what appears to be a damaged shopping centre in the region.

Footage posted by Russian outlet Shot appears to show the aftermath of a damaged shopping centre in Belgorod

(Telegram / Shot )

Tom Watling15 February 2024 10:30

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UK to co-lead coalition to supply thousands of drones for Ukraine

Grant Shapps, the British defence secretary, has said that the UK will co-lead a major drone capability coalition with Latvia for Ukraine.

“I’m proud to announce that the UK and Latvia will co-lead an international coalition to build Ukraine’s vital drone capabilities,” he said.

“Together, we will give Ukraine the capabilities it needs to defend itself and win this war, to ensure that Putin fails in his illegal and barbaric ambitions.”

Tom Watling15 February 2024 10:00

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