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Russia Maintains Pressure on Avdiivka as Kyiv Eyes EU Summit for Support


A police officer stands in front of a damaged building, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the town of Avdiivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Oct. 17, 2023.
A police officer stands in front of a damaged building, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the town of Avdiivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Oct. 17, 2023.

Sporadic intense fighting continues in the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka and surrounding areas of the Donetsk region as Kyiv watches a European Union summit in Brussels where the 27-nation bloc is expected to reiterate its condemnation of Russia's war and support for Ukraine amid fears of donor fatigue among some members.

Kyiv's troops have repelled as many as 15 attacks by Russian forces in and around Avdiivka, a town that has largely been turned to rubble due to Russian bombing, over the past 24 hours, according to the Ukrainian armed forces.

Avdiivka has been the site of Moscow's largest offensive in the war in months, and some analysts say Ukraine's supply lines have been whittled down to a narrow corridor.

With the the war now in its 21st month, European Union leaders are expected to reaffirm their support for "Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity" and "its inherent right of self-defense," according to the draft conclusions of the summit, seen by RFE/RL.

The document, which is not final and must still be approved by EU leaders, will also reaffirm the bloc's intention to continue to provide "strong financial, economic, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support to Ukraine and its people for as long as it takes."

The draft conclusions will also call for "further strengthening sanctions" against Russia over its aggression and will call on the European Commission to "accelerate work" on propositions on how revenues stemming directly from Russia's immobilized assets could be directed to support Ukraine and its recovery and reconstruction.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is reported to have temporarily closed its new Black Sea grain export corridor due to a possible threat from Russian warplanes and sea mines.

Barva Invest, a Ukrainian agricultural brokerage and analytics company, said that with defense officials citing increased Russian aircraft activities in the Black Sea area, inbound and outbound vessel traffic has been temporarily suspended.

In August, Ukraine announced a so-called "humanitarian corridor" to release ships bound for African and Asian markets, and to circumvent a de facto blockade after Russia abandoned a deal this summer that had guaranteed its exports during the war. The route runs along Ukraine's southwest Black Sea coast, into Romanian territorial waters and onwards to Turkey.

Some information for his report came from Reuters.

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