Tuesday, January 10, 2023

The Soledar battlefield in Ukraine has been devastated by fierce fighting: Zelenskyy

Fierce fighting in Ukraine's Soledar leaves battlefield strewn with corpses: Zelenskyy


KYIV/SIVERSK: According to officials in Kyiv, Russia has intensified a potent assault on Soledar in eastern Ukraine, necessitating the Wagner contract militia's waves of attacks on the salt mining town and adjacent fronts.

In some of the most intense trench warfare since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly 11 months ago, troops from both sides have been suffering heavy losses in Soledar, which is located in the industrial Donbas region. Bakhmut is only a few miles away from Soledar.

Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar stated on the messaging app Telegram on Monday that while Ukrainian forces repelled an earlier attempt to take the town, a large number of Wagner Group units quickly returned to employ new strategies and add more soldiers under heavy artillery cover.

"Using massed artillery, MLRS systems, and mortars, the enemy literally step over the corpses of their own soldiers," Malyar stated.

On Monday, a day after being criticized for making what appeared to be a false claim about a missile strike on a temporary Ukrainian barracks, Russia's defense ministry did not mention either Soledar or Bakhmut in a regular briefing for the media.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, started Wagner. It is active in conflicts in Africa and has played a significant role in Russia's war effort in Ukraine, drawing some recruits from Russia's prisons.

For months, Prigozhin has attempted to capture Bakhmut and Soledar, resulting in numerous casualties on both sides. On Saturday, he stated that its significance lay in a system of deep mining tunnels below the surface that can accommodate large groups of people in addition to tanks and other war machinery.

According to Oleh Zhdanov, a Ukrainian military analyst, the fighting in Bahkmut and Soledar is "the most intense on the entire frontline," with little progress made by either side in the cold.

He stated on YouTube, "So many (pro-Russian fighters) remain on the battlefield... either dead or wounded."

"They come at us in waves, but the wounded usually die where they are, either from being exposed to the cold or from bleeding. There is no one coming to assist them or bring the deceased from the battlefield.

Reuters was unable to immediately confirm reports from the battlefield.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, stated in a video address on Monday night that Bakhmut and Soledar were surviving despite widespread destruction.

He mentioned new and more intense attacks in Soledar, where, according to him, no walls remain and the land is littered with Russian corpses.

Zelenskyy stated, "We have won for Ukraine additional time and additional strength thanks to the tenacity of our soldiers in Soledar." By gaining strength or time, he didn't say what he meant.

However, officials in Ukraine, led by chief of staff General Valery Zaluzhniy, have expressed concern that Russia is preparing additional troops for a new major offensive against Ukraine, possibly targeting Kyiv, the capital.

In addition, it appears that Zelenskyy is relying on Western partners for more advanced weapons in order to ward off attacks and eventually drive out Russian troops.

He continued his diplomatic efforts on Monday by speaking with Petr Fiala, the current Czech Prime Minister and chair of the 27-member European Union.

"I am confident that these weapons and equipment will be provided to our soldiers at the front." Soon," he stated.

In response to a long-standing request from Ukraine, France, Germany, and the United States all pledged to send armored fighting vehicles last week. Sky News, citing a Western source, reported that Britain is considering providing tanks to Ukraine for the first time. The Defense Ministry of Britain did not respond.

According to military analysts, Russia would gain little strategic military advantage by capturing Bakhmut and Soledar.

Taras Berezovets, a journalist, political commentator, and officer in the Ukrainian army, stated that capturing Soledar would be easier than taking Bakhmut, but that it made little sense other than as a personal victory for Prigozhin.

Berezovets stated on YouTube, "It's his personal war."

According to a US official, Prigozhin is interested in the salt and gypsum from the mines, which are thought to extend more than 100 miles underground and include auditorium-sized caverns.

Berezovets stated that Ukrainian troops fighting in Bakhmut and Soledar claim that attacks occur in waves of 15 or fewer small groups, with the first wave typically being wiped out. The pro-Russian forces retreat, leaving behind white ribbons for the following wave.

He stated, "It is hard to determine who is with you and who is the enemy in the complexity of fighting in cities like Bakhmut and Soledar."

Olha, 60, claimed that she had fled Soledar after moving from apartment to apartment as each was destroyed by tanks in an evacuee center in Kramatorsk.

"Not a single house has survived intact. Olha, who only used her first name, said that apartments were on fire and splitting in half.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, an aide to Zelenskyy, stated on Telegram that a Russian rocket attack on Kramatorsk on Monday evening resulted in the deaths of two individuals.

The battlefield reports could not be independently verified by Reuters.

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