War in Ukraine. Wagner group claims control of Soledar, kyiv denies, delays Moscow

Russian mercenary group Wagner claimed Wednesday, January 11, 2023, control of the town of Soledar, scene of heavy fighting in recent days in eastern Ukraine, a statement which Kyiv immediately opposed.

Soledar, once known for its salt mines, lies near the larger town of Bakhmout, which the Ukrainians have defended fiercely for months against a wave of onslaughts from Russian troops.

Soledar’s strategic importance is debated, but its control will allow Moscow to finally achieve a military victory after several humiliating setbacks since last September, and for the leader of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, to cement his growing influence on the Russian political scene. .

Also read: War in Ukraine. Shortness of breath awaits the citizens of Ukraine

Arrogant Prigozhin

“Wagner’s unit has taken control of the entire Soledar area”said Yevgeny Prigozhin Wednesday morning through his press service on social networks.

He added, however, that “urban battle” continued into the pocket of resistance in the center of town, making the extent of the Russian group’s control over Soledar uncertain.

Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti released a photo of Yevgeny Prigozhin with armed fighters, claiming he was taken at the Soledar salt mine.

The Ukrainian army has denied the claim, assuring that the town of Soledar “was, is, and will always be Ukrainian”. Not that ” not true “ that Yevgeny Prigojine was inside the Soledar salt mine, the Ukrainian army said.

The AFP was unable to independently verify the situation on the ground.

Yevgeny Prigojine confirmed that “number of prisoners” Ukrainian citizens will be announced on Wednesday.

The Kremlin spokesman was not getting carried away

The Kremlin asked on Wednesday not to do so ” in a hurry “ to declare victory in Soledar, after the Russian paramilitary group Wagner claimed control of this town in eastern Ukraine after months of heavy fighting.

“You don’t need to rush. We await an official statement »Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the press, while believing that there was “positive dynamics in progress” from the Russian troops and saluted“fantastic heroism” soldier.

“Military success will be achieved when the goals set by the Supreme Commander have been achieved”, he pointed. Before adding: Although tactical success is of course very important as well.”.

“We got it at a rather high price, for the extraordinary heroism of our soldiers. That’s why it’s one more reason to be proud of our people who spared neither their lives nor their health to offer us this tactical success.”said the Kremlin spokesperson.

The Russian army did not comment

The Russian military did not immediately comment on this statement by Wagner, whose influence has grown significantly since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Many analysts believe that there is fierce competition between Wagner and the Russian army.

Yevgeny Prigozhin claims that Soledar was “special” was overrun by Wagner’s unit, without the army’s assistance.

One of the main leaders of the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, Denis Pushilin, considers that the announcement of Soledar’s arrest is a “turn”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said this week his troops were fighting back “violent attack” in Surya. On Tuesday night, he reported a “difficult situation” in the Donetsk region, where Soledar is located.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense claimed on Tuesday that Russian troops and Wagner units had been created “tactical advance” in Soledar for the last four days and was looking “most likely to outflank Bakhmout from the north” and “to disrupt Ukrainian lines of communication”.

According to this source, part of the battle was to control the entrance to the old salt mine at Soledar, as the tunnels were under the front lines and could be used to “infiltrate behind enemy lines”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *