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Hundreds of Ukrainian Troops Feared Captured or Missing in Chaotic Retreat

www.nytimes.com Hundreds of Ukrainian Troops Feared Captured or Missing in Chaotic Retreat

The fall of Avdiivka to Russia may be more significant than it initially seemed as Ukraine struggles with morale and recruitment.

Hundreds of Ukrainian troops may have been captured by advancing Russian units or disappeared during Ukraine’s chaotic retreat from the eastern city of Avdiivka, according to senior Western officials and soldiers fighting for Ukraine, a devastating loss that could deal a blow to already weakening morale.

The Russian capture of Avdiivka has emerged as a significant symbolic loss for Ukrainian troops, a sign of the battlefield impact of the failure of the U.S. Congress, so far, to approve more military assistance as dwindling supplies of artillery shells make it even harder to hold the line.

Estimates of how many Ukrainians were captured or missing vary, and a precise count may not be possible until Ukraine solidifies new defensive lines outside the city. But two soldiers with knowledge of Ukraine’s retreat estimated that 850 to 1,000 soldiers appear to have been captured or are unaccounted for. The Western officials said that range seemed accurate.

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