Russia says it has captured the eastern town of Soledar in bloody fight in east Ukraine

Ukrainian military Grad a number of rocket launcher fires rockets at Russian positions within the frontline close to Soledar, Donetsk area, Ukraine, on Jan. 11, 2023. File
| Picture Credit score: AP

Russia claimed Friday that its forces captured a fiercely contested salt mining city, in what would mark a uncommon victory for the Kremlin after a sequence of setbacks in its invasion of Ukraine.

There was no fast affirmation from Ukrainian authorities of Soledar’s fall. There have been conflicting stories over who controls the city, the location of a monthslong bloody battle within the grinding battle for Ukraine’s japanese areas.

Given the hazards there, The Related Press couldn’t verify Russia’s declare.

Soledar is situated in Ukraine’s Donetsk province, one in every of 4 that Moscow illegally annexed in September.

From the outset, Moscow recognized Donetsk and neighbouring Luhansk province as priorities, and it has handled the areas as Russian territory since their alleged annexation.

“The liberation of the city of Soledar was accomplished within the night of Jan. 12,” Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, the Russian Defence Ministry’s spokesman, stated, including that the event was “essential for the continuation of offensive operations within the Donetsk area.” Taking management of Soledar would permit Russian forces “to chop provide traces for the Ukrainian forces” in Bakhmut after which “block and encircle the Ukrainian items there,” Konashenkov stated.

Nonetheless, the Institute for the Examine of Battle, a assume tank in Washington, stated {that a} Russian seizure of Soledar was “not an operationally vital improvement and is unlikely to presage an imminent Russian encirclement of Bakhmut.” The institute stated that Russian info operations have “overexaggerated the significance of Soledar,” a small settlement, arguing as properly that the lengthy and tough battle has contributed to the exhaustion of Russian forces.

Simply hours earlier than Russia’s declare, Ukraine reported that there had been a heavy evening of combating however didn’t acknowledge lack of the city.

In a Telegram submit early Friday, Ukraine’s deputy defence minister, Hanna Maliar, stated that Moscow “had despatched nearly all (its) primary forces” to safe a victory within the east. She stated that Ukrainian fighters “are bravely making an attempt to carry the defence.” “It is a tough stage of the battle, however we’ll win. There isn’t any doubt,” Maliar added.

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