War in Ukraine: Soledar has fallen into Russian hands

This is a setback for Ukraine in the war against Russia. The army of kyiv admits on Wednesday having ceded the city of Soledar, in the east of the country. This announcement comes two weeks after that of its capture by Russia.

“After months of difficult fighting (…) the Ukrainian armed forces left it” to “fall back to prepared positions”, indicated the military spokesman for the eastern zone, Serguiï Tcherevaty. However, he declined to specify when this retreat took place.

The Russian paramilitary group Wagner announced taking Soledar January 11, followed by the Russian army on the 13. This small town in the Donetsk region, populated by 11,000 inhabitants before the war and known for its salt mines, is located near Bakhmout, another hot spot in the is Ukrainian. The Ukrainians had so far refused to recognize the loss of the city.

Possible step towards Bakhmout

Soledar’s strategic importance has been disputed, with the American think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) saying it was “not an operationally significant development”. The Russian army, on the other hand, presents the conquest of Soledar as a key step to encircle the neighboring city of Bakhmout, which it has been seeking to capture since the summer and where both sides are facing heavy losses.

Soledar’s retreat was “controlled, no encirclement or massive capture of our soldiers took place”, for his part assured Serguiï Tcherevaty, who denied any “leak” of Ukrainian soldiers. Before retreating, the Ukrainian troops “inflicted incredible losses” on the Russians, he further assured, stressing that the Ukrainian strategy in this area consists of “wearing out the enemy”.

A Russian occupation official in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday claimed responsibility for an advance by Russian troops in Bakhmout, citing the capture of Soledar as the determining factor. According to Sergiï Tcherevaty however, these assertions “do not correspond to reality”. “The fighting continues. The situation is difficult, but under control”.

Source link