Day 698: Russian forces make advances south, southwest of Avdiyivka

Russian forces have made confirmed advances south and southwest of Avdiyivka, ISW says. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk visits Kyiv. Zelenskyi signs a decree on Russia’s territories historically inhabited by Ukrainians.

Russian forces make advances south, southwest of Avdiyivka

Russian forces recently made confirmed advances south and southwest of Avdiivka. Geolocated footage published on January 21 shows that Russian forces advanced in the “Tsarske Polyuvannya” restaurant area along Soborna Street (south of Avdiivka) and along a tree line southwest of Avdiivka, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in a recent report. 

Ukrainian military observer Kostyantyn Mashovets stated that Russian forces advanced along Kolosova and Lermontova streets, although ISW has not observed visual confirmation of this alleged advance.

Russian and Ukrainian sources stated that positional engagements continued northwest of Avdiivka near Novobakhmutivka and Stepove; near the Avdiivka Coke plant in northwestern Avdiivka; west of Avdiivka near Sieverne; and southwest of Avdiivka near Pervomaiske, Vodyane, and Nevelske.

Ukraine’s commander of the Tavria operational strategic group, Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi and spokesperson for the joint press center of Ukraine’s defense forces in the Tavria direction, Colonel Oleksandr Shtupun stated that Russian forces are preparing to intensify activity in the Avdiivka direction and have concentrated over 40,000 personnel in the area.

Tarnavskyi noted that Russian forces have not conducted any airstrikes in the Tavria direction (Avdiivka through western Zaporizhia Oblast) in the past two days, ISW said.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk visits Kyiv

On his visit to Kyiv on January 22, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk vowed to resolve all disputes between Poland and Ukraine “in the spirit of friendship” and “not to maintain or multiply them.” Poland is “the most reliable, most stable ally of Ukraine in this deadly clash with evil,” he said. “There is nothing more important than supporting Ukraine in its war effort against the Russian attack. This is absolutely number one,” he stressed. 

“We have many bilateral issues to discuss. There are some conflicts of interest, we know it well, and we will talk about them, but not only in the spirit of friendship, which is obvious, but with the attitude to solve these problems as soon as possible, not to maintain or multiply them,” Tusk said.

“An honest conversation between friends can work wonders,” he added.

Tusk said he is in Kyiv not just for Ukraine’s security, but also for the security of Poland and European allies.

“This is a matter of security of the entire free world, and Poland in particular, if only because of geography,” he said.

Tusk’s trip coincides with Ukraine’s Unity Day. Kyiv was the first foreign capital he visited since taking office on December 12, 2023. He met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyi and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

Tusk said he was scheduled to discuss Poland’s ban on Ukrainian agricultural products and Ukraine border blockade by Polish truckers with Ukrainian leadership.

Zelenskyi signs decree on Russia’s territories historically inhabited by Ukrainians

In an address on Ukraine’s Unity Day on Monday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyi said he had signed a decree “On the Territories of the Russian Federation Historically Inhabited by Ukrainians.”

“We must take steps not only to strengthen the unity of Ukraine and our people, but also to act for the unity of rights and freedoms, the truth about Ukrainians, the truth about us, and the truth about our history. To this end, I have signed today a decree ‘On the Territories of the Russian Federation Historically Inhabited by Ukrainians’,” Zelenskyi said in an address. 

This is the “restoration of truth about the historical past for the sake of Ukraine’s future,” he added.

The Decree No. 17/2024 was published on the president’s web site later on Monday.

It lists the areas in Russia where ethnic Ukrainians live. This is Kuban, Starodubshchyna, Northern and Eastern Slobozhanshchyna within the modern Krasnodar Krai, Belgorod, Bryansk, Voronezh, Kursk, and Rostov regions of the Russian Federation. Russia continues to pressure Ukrainians there, the text reads.

The decree instructs the Ukrainian government to develop a “plan” for preserving the national identity of Ukrainians in the Russian Federation and establish a center of historical memory. Ethnic Ukrainians living in Russia have the right to education in the Ukrainian language and can freely exercise their civil, social, cultural and religious rights, the decree reads.

Current recovery programs in the Ukrainian regions. Ukraine in Flames #562

De-occupied Ukrainian cities and villages are gradually being restored thanks to the help of the Ukrainian government and foreign donors within the framework of state initiatives and international programs. These are Kyiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Kherson regions. However, there are still dozens of Ukrainian cities and villages that are still under Russian occupation. In order for recovery to be quick and effective, it is necessary to plan a large-scale reconstruction of Ukraine and prepare relevant projects today, without waiting for the end of the war. Watch Ukraine in Flames #562 to discover how it works now and hear firsthand information from representatives of various regional military administrations about the situations on the ground.


  • Olena Zhuk, Head of the Zaporizhzhia Regional Council
  • Oleksandr Tolokonnikov, Representative of the Kherson Regional Military Administration
  • Viktoriia Shykhmahomedova, Representative of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Military Administration