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Ukrainian military debunks NYT's report of 'hundreds' captured in Avdiivka

Ukrainian military debunks NYT's report of 'hundreds' captured in Avdiivka Illustrative photo (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

The New York Times has released information claiming that hundreds of Ukrainian defenders were allegedly captured during the withdrawal from Avdiivka. This information is untrue, according to Dmytro Lykhoviy, a spokesperson of the Tavria operational-strategic group.

The New York Times reported yesterday, February 20, that "hundreds" of Ukrainian soldiers could have been captured or gone missing during the operation to withdraw troops from Avdiivka.

Citing unnamed sources, journalists reported that between 850 to 1000 soldiers were captured or went missing. "Western officials" reportedly stated that this range "seemed accurate."

Reaction from the Ukrainian Armed Forces

Dmytro Lykhoviy, the spokesperson for the Tavria operational-strategic group, commenting on the material, stated that such rumors "unpleasantly surprised" Ukraine.

"I don't know whether consciously or inadvertently, but the authors of The New York Times have spread a Russian propaganda narrative without any justification. The sources they refer to are absolutely unreliable because there are no such people, and this is not a fact," he added.

According to the spokesperson, the Ukrainian Armed Forces did not hide that during the retreat from Avdiivka, some soldiers did not establish contact. However, Russia, having suffered significant losses of soldiers in the Avdiivka area, spreads fakes picked up by some global media outlets.

"These statements of Russian propaganda regarding hundreds and thousands of prisoners are complete disinformation, which is not confirmed by anything," emphasized Lykhoviy.

He reminded that during the occupation of Mariupol, Russian propaganda showed videos with hundreds of Ukrainian prisoners, but similar footage has not been published this time.

"Yes, there are prisoners, but their number is by no means in the hundreds," added the spokesperson.

Withdrawal from Avdiivka

On February 17, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleksandr Syrskyi, wrote that Ukraine was withdrawing its troops from Avdiivka.

Prior to this, heavy fighting was ongoing for the town. The Russians threw all their forces into attempts to occupy the populated area. In particular, there was a threat of encirclement of Ukrainian military forces.

For more details on how the withdrawal from Avdiivka will change the front, see the material from RBC-Ukraine.