Wagner said he controlled Soledar
OLGA MALTSEVA / AFP
No longer in the shadows as before, the Wagner group founded in 2014 is now officially operating at the front in Ukraine. And now claims to seize the Soledar region, which lies in the east of the country.
WAR IN UKRAINE – The leader of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigojine, said on Wednesday January 11 that his fighters took control of the Ukrainian town of Soledar after this week’s heavy fighting.
“Wagner’s unit has taken control of the entire Soledar area”said the head of the shadow troops Vladimir Putin through the voice of his press service on social networks, mentioning it “urban battle” continued, leaving the Russian group’s degree of control over the city uncertain.
AFP was unable to verify his statement. Yevgeny Prigozhin, however, confirms that “number of prisoners” will be announced on Wednesday.
Ukraine, for its part, indicated that its troops were fighting off an offensive in Soledar, located in the Donetsk region, some 15 kilometers from Bakhmout, which Russia has been trying to recapture for months.
Google Maps screenshot
The city of Soledar, located 80 km north of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, will now come under the control of the Wagner paramilitary group, an organization with opaque lines but working on behalf of the Kremlin.
Wagner’s group is alone in Soledar
Both sides reported fierce and bloody fighting at Soledar. “To be honest (…) Ukrainian soldiers fought bravely for Bakhmout and Soledar. A very fierce and bloody battle is taking place in the western outskirts of Soledar.”previously recognized Evguéni Prigojine, quoted on Telegram by his press service.
“The Armed Forces of Ukraine respectfully defend the Soledar region. Claims of mass desertion from its ranks do not correspond to reality”he added the day before the announcement of Soldar’s alleged conquest.
Yevgeny Prigozhin posted a photo of himself in military uniform, surrounded by posing Wagner Group fighters, but did not say where the photo was taken. Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti released another photo of Yevgeny Prigozhin with armed fighters, saying it was taken at the Soledar salt mine.
Yevgeny Prigozhin said that Soledar had “special” was overrun by Wagner’s unit. Further evidence of Mr. Prigozhin and his paramilitary group in Russia, which has grown significantly since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Since November, the organization which until then had kept its activities secretive officially opened Headquarters in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Its leader and founder, Evguéni Prigojine, a former “Putin’s cook”, finally realized in late September that he was linked to a paramilitary group seen as “pillar” on defending Russia’s interests in the words of Evguéni Prigojine. The presence of Wagner groups has been documented for more than eight years in Ukraine, Syria, Libya or even in the Central African Republic and Mali.
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