Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

A Ukrainian soldier fighting in the eastern city of Soledar told CNN the situation was “critical” and the death toll was so high that “no one is counting the dead.”

The soldier is from the 46th Air Mobile Brigade, which is leading Ukraine’s battle to hold Soledar in the face of a massive attack by Russian troops and Wagner mercenaries.

CNN is not identifying him for security reasons.

The situation is critical. Hard. We are holding on to the last,” said the soldier.

He described a dynamic battlefield where buildings change hands daily and units cannot keep up with the growing death toll. “No one will tell you how many dead and wounded there are. Because no one knows for sure. Not a single person,” he said. “Not at headquarters.” Nowhere. Positions are constantly being taken and retaken. What was our house today becomes Wagner’s the next day.

In Soledar, no one counts the dead,” he added.

The soldier said it was unclear as of Tuesday evening how much of the city was held by the Russians: “Nobody can say for sure who has moved where and who holds what because nobody knows for sure.” There is a huge gray area in the city that everyone claims to control, [but] it’s just some empty noise.”

The Ukrainians have lost many troops in Soledar, but the ranks are being replenished as the battle for the mining town continues, he said: “The personnel of our units has been renewed by almost half, more or less. We don’t even have time to remember our callsigns [when new personnel arrive].”

The soldier said he believes Ukraine’s military leaders will eventually give up the fight for Soledar and asked why they haven’t done so yet. “Everyone understands that the city will be abandoned. Everyone understands that,” he said. “I just want to know what the point is [in fighting house to house] f. Why die if we are going to leave it today or tomorrow anyway?

A bit of context: The 46th Airlift Brigade said on its Telegram channel on Tuesday that the situation in Soledar was “very difficult but manageable”.

In his evening address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the soldiers of the brigade “for their courage and firmness in defending Soledar.”

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