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White House warns Russia closing in on taking Ukrainian town with US help on hold

The White House warned Thursday that Russian forces are close to taking over the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka as Ukraine’s troops face resource shortages and U.S. aid remains on hold.

“The fighting is incredibly intense in the east, particularly in a city called Avdiivka. That’s a city that we’ve talked about several times before. Unfortunately, we’re getting reports from the Ukrainians that the situation is critical,” White House national security communications adviser John Kirby said Thursday.

“With the Russians continuing to press Ukrainian positions every single day, [Avdiivka] is at risk of falling into Russian control,” Kirby continued. “In very large part, this is happening because Ukrainian forces on the ground are running out of artillery ammunition. Russia’s sending wave after wave of conscript forces to attack Ukrainian positions.”

The White House’s warning comes as Congress is in the middle of a heated battle over sending more aid to Ukraine.

The Senate has approved a package that includes $60 billion for Ukraine, but House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has indicated the legislation will not come up for a vote in that chamber. Former President Trump, the leading GOP candidate for president this year, and his allies have opposed providing more aid to Ukraine.

The White House has mounted a public relations offensive against Johnson, criticizing the Speaker on Thursday for beginning a House recess and not bringing the Senate’s Ukraine aid package passed to the floor for a vote.

“Every day that Speaker Johnson causes our national security to deteriorate, America loses. And every day that he puts off a clean vote, congressional Republicans’ standing with the American people plunges,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said. “Running away for an early vacation only worsens both problems.”

Johnson hit back on Thursday, noting that the White House threw cold water on the Speaker’s request for a meeting with Biden.

“This criticism is unserious. The President — who has spent over a calendar year on vacation since taking office — continues to refuse to even meet with the Speaker,” spokesperson Taylor Haulsee said in a statement.

Russia started a major push on Avdiivka in October of last year, with the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence calling it the most significant offensive by Russia since the start of 2023 in an intelligence update.

Source: The Hill

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