Russian forces are advancing on the fronts of Ukraine, including the city of Avdiivka, which they have been trying to encircle for several days, Russian President Vladimir Putin said today.

“Our soldiers are improving their positions almost throughout this area, which is quite large,” he said in an interview with Russian television, an excerpt of which was posted on the website of Pavel Zarubin, the journalist who conducted the interview.

“This applies to the zones of Kupyansk, Zaporizhia and Avdiivka,” Putin added, hailing the Russian military’s “active defense” strategy.

The capture of Avdiyivka would be largely symbolic rather than strategic, as the city has been seen as the symbol of Ukrainian resistance to Russian aggression since 2014. Abdiyivka had briefly fallen to pro-Russian forces in July 2014. of Donetsk separatists, but then returned to heavenly control. Since then it has marked the front line in this zone, it is well fortified and had been bombed several times even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

In recent weeks, Russian forces have taken control of areas to the north and south of the city, tightening the cordon and hoping to gradually force Ukrainians to retreat further from the regional capital of Donetsk, which is under near-daily shelling. But many analysts, based on photos from open sources, available on social networking sites, talk about significant losses on the part of the Russians, at least in terms of military equipment.

The Ukrainian army, for its part, in its briefing today, denied all Russian claims, assuring that the Ukrainians repelled 15 Russian attacks near Avdiivka, Tonenke and Pervomaiske, Donetsk.

Earlier today Kharkiv Governor Oleh Sinekhubov said a 54-year-old woman and a 57-year-old man were killed and another woman wounded overnight in Russian shelling.