Russian forces have opened two new fronts in their ongoing assault on the town of Avdiivka, Ukraine said on Monday.

“The current third wave of enemy assaults differs from the previous two in that they have conditionally opened two new directions,” the head of the town, Vitaliy Barabash, told state media.

“The launching of new directions proves that the enemy has been given a command to capture the city at any cost,” he added.

Moscow has been trying for nearly two months to seize Avdiivka, an industrial town in the eastern Donetsk region that has become the fiercest flashpoint on the sprawling front line.

Russia has been throwing wave after wave of men and materiel at Ukrainian defenses and have suffered in recent weeks, the highest losses of the entire war.

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The daily average of Russian troops is so high it’s comparable to those suffered by Imperial Russia during World War 1.

Barabash said the new pushes by Russian forces were an attempt to distract Ukrainian defences and close a gap west of the town that would see it entirely encircled, AFP reports.

He added there were around 1,300 civilians remaining in the town, which was once home to some 30,000 people.

Avdiivka lies in the Donetsk region, partially controlled by Kremlin-backed separatists since 2014 and one among four territories Moscow claimed to have annexed last year.

Independent military analysts have said that Russian forces are making incremental gains around Avdiivka but at an extremely high cost.

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According to the latest from the Institute for the Study of War, Russian forces conducted offensive operations near Avdiivka on December 3 and made confirmed advances west of the railway north of Stepove and southwest of Pervomaiske (10km southwest of Avdiivka).

Over the weekend, footage emerged showing Russian troops gunning down two Ukrainian soldiers surrendering near Avdiivka.

In a statement on Sunday, the Strategic Committee of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said: “The published footage depicts the execution of two prisoners of war from the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

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“According to verified information, the Russian occupiers have once again treacherously fired upon unarmed soldiers.”

The Prosecutor's Office of the Donetsk region has initiated an investigation following the release of the footage.

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