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KYIV: Ukraine said Friday there was fierce fighting in the beleaguered frontline city of Avdiivka and that it was preparing new positions around the industrial hub as Russia steps up attacks.

The announcement came a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv would do “everything” to save lives in the symbolic city, surrounded on three sides by Russian forces.

“Fierce battles are taking place within the city,” Oleksandr Tarnavskiy, a Ukrainian general in the east, said on social media.

“Our troops are using all available forces and means to restrain the enemy,” he added.

“New positions have been prepared and powerful fortifications continue to be prepared, taking into account all possible scenarios,” said Oleksandr Tarnavskiy, a senior Ukrainian commander responsible for forces in the east of the country.

Ukraine’s Zelensky to visit Germany, France on Friday

He said that Kyiv wanted protect its troops: “We value every piece of Ukrainian land, but the highest value and priority for us is the preservation of the life of a Ukrainian soldier.”

Tarnavskiy called the situation in Avdiivka “difficult but controlled “ and said commanders have been tasked to “stabilise the situation.”

Russia has been trying to capture Avdiivka for months.

The fall of Avdiivka would be a significant symbolic victory for Russia.

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