The Russians reportedly captured hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers during the capture of Avdiivka

Avdeevka, Ukraine / Photo EPA-EFE/ALEX BABENKO

Hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers have gone missing or been captured by Russian units during their chaotic retreat from the town of Avdiyivka, reports "The New York Times", referring to senior Western officials and soldiers fighting for Ukraine.

- It is a catastrophic loss for Kyiv that can deal a blow to the already weakened morale after last year's unsuccessful counteroffensive and the removal of the commander-in-chief Valery Zaluzhny, the newspaper states.

Estimates of how many Ukrainians are captured or missing vary, and the exact number is not yet known.

The New York Times, citing two Ukrainian soldiers, says that 850 to 1.000 soldiers are captured or missing.

Ukraine has big problems with mobilization. The Ukrainian military has said it wants to mobilize up to 500.000, but the request has met with political resistance and has been blocked in Parliament.

On October 10 last year, Russia attacked the strategically important town of Avdiivka, located near the regional capital of Donetsk. Russia said on February 17 the city was "completely liberated" after Ukraine said it was withdrawing its forces from the city.

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