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January 9, 2023. News Russia-Ukraine


Ukrainian army commander Colonel-General Oleksandr Sirsky gives instructions at a shelter in Soledar, Donetsk region of Ukraine, on Sunday, January 8. (Roman Chop/AP)

Russian troops are making another attempt to advance on the small town of Soledar near Bakhmut in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on Telegram Monday.

“After failing [previous] attempt to capture Soledar and retreat, the enemy regrouped, recovered losses, deployed additional assault units, changed tactics and launched a powerful attack,” Maliar said. “Currently, the enemy has engaged a large number of assault groups formed from the best reserves of Wagner’s troops. The enemy marches literally on the corpses of their own soldiers, using massive artillery, rocket launchers and mortars, covering even their own fighters with fire.

“Heavy fighting is going on right now,” she added.

Earlier on Monday, Serhiy Cherevaty, a Ukrainian military spokesman, told Ukrainian television that Russia had “managed to concentrate more of its units” around Soledar and had both “regular” troops there and mercenaries working for the private sector Wagner Group. sector.

The head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said on Sunday that one of the reasons he wanted to take Bakhmut and Soledar was to control the mine system in the area, which he described as a “network of underground cities”.

Cherevatiy, a spokesman for the Eastern Group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said they were trying to evacuate civilians from Soledar, but not all were willing to leave.

“Soledar is basically destroyed,” he said. “There are residents there. Everything is being done for their evacuation. It’s hard to talk about numbers now. There are some people, especially the older generation, who have a great fear of change, of leaving their homes and moving somewhere. We communicate with them, but not everyone always agrees [to leave].”

On Sunday night, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Soledar “held on” but it was “extremely difficult.”


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