Between bloody Soledar and armored Bradley, weeks of conflict in four infographics

The situation was particularly tense in the town of Soledar, near Bakhmout, where Ukrainian and Russian troops clashed fiercely. It is in this eastern region of Ukraine that the fighting is concentrated. And Russia announced on Friday that it had taken control of the small town of 10,000 inhabitants. But Kyiv denies this and says heavy fighting is still going on. Volodymyr Zelensky promised to provide “everything necessary” for his troops to withstand the Russian advance on Soledar and Bakhmout. And Ukraine will also be able to count on Western assistance, in particular American assistance. Washington has indeed announced the delivery of the Bradley tanks. Below are the points in four infographics about this new week of tensions, which ends this Friday, the 324th day of conflict.

Soledar, this “gift of salt.”

Map of Ukraine locating the towns of Soledar and Bakhmout where Russian and Ukrainian troops clashed – SOPHIE RAMIS, SYLVIE HUSSON

The fighting in and around Soledar has been raging for several months, but has increased in intensity in recent days. But before the conflict, Soledar was just a small town of about 10,000 people that was famous for its salt mines. His name also means “giving of salt” in Ukrainian and Russian.

Located in the Donetsk region, which Moscow claims was annexed, it is about 15 kilometers northeast of Bakhmout, a major city that has been in the sights of Russia for several months. The Soledar salt mine is the largest in Europe. In particular, they were traversed by 200 kilometers of underground galleries, which could represent some tactical advantage in wartime.

Fierce battle or Russian victory?

Map of Ukraine discovering the towns of Soledar and Bakhmout, the front lines of the war, and the damage in Soledar shown in two satellite photos from Maxar Technologies dated January 10
Map of Ukraine locating the cities of Soledar and Bakhmout, war fronts and damage to Soledar as seen in two Maxar Technologies satellite photos from January 10 – SABRINA BLANCHARD, PATRICIO ARANA, SYLVIE HUSSON

The communications war was added to the battle between Kyiv and Moscow around the fierce battle of Soledar. While Russia claimed on Friday it had taken control of the city, Ukraine quickly denied it and said “fierce fighting” was still ongoing.

On Wednesday, Wagner’s leader, Evguéni Prigojine, had claimed Soledar’s capture with his men. In its daily bulletin, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), has indicated that it believes that “Russian troops (actually) may take Soledar on January 11″, or Wednesday. In support of its statement, ISW referred specifically to “geotagged photos published on 11 and 12 January” which “demonstrate that Russian forces may control most if not all of Soledar and may have pushed Ukrainian forces out of Soledar’s western outskirts. locality”.

American tanks delivered to Kyiv

Bradley Light Armor Fact Sheet

To counter the Russian fleet, Kyiv is again asking its Western allies to provide more high-performance weapons and military equipment. “To win this war, we need more military equipment, heavy equipment,” insisted Andriï Iermak, Ukraine’s chief of staff, on Telegram.

Last week, the United States announced a major new military aid worth more than $3 billion, including 50 Bradley-type armored infantry and dozens of other armored vehicles. Berlin, for its part, said it wants to send the Ukrainian army 40 “Marder” armored vehicles, light armored vehicles intended for troop transportation, in the first quarter of 2023, as well as a Patriot anti-aircraft defense battery. And France said it was sending an unspecified number of AMX-10 RC light battle tanks.

The fighting concentrated to the east

Map of the situation in Ukraine on January 13
Situation map in Ukraine on 13 January – SIMON MALFATTO, PAZ PIZARRO, KENAN AUGEARD

According to Mykhaïlo Podoliak, adviser to the presidency of Ukraine, Russian military losses were “enormous” and “the Ukrainian army also lost men” at Soledar. In the Lugansk region, neighboring Donetsk, Russia has “assembled” around 30,000 troops, also reported by the governor of Ukraine, Serguiï Gaïdaï.

On the scale of all of Ukraine, “at noon [de jeudi], the enemy carried out two missile strikes and 22 air strikes,” the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense summarized. In the southern city of Kherson, where bombings caused “multiple explosions”, a state university and perinatal center were damaged, lamenting the governor of the province, Yaroslav Yanouchevich. An employee of the affected maternity ward was also seriously injured, the Ukrainian presidency added. A little further north, in Marhanets, nine apartment buildings were damaged and one person was injured by shrapnel, according to local authorities.

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