February 9, 2023

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Ukraine says it opposes Russian attack with “high intensity” in Soledar | Europe | T.W.

“The enemy has thrown all its main forces towards (the) Donetsk region and is maintaining a high-intensity attack,” Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Khanna Malyar said in a telegram on Friday (01.13.2023).

Eleven months after the start of the Russian invasion, the UN Security Council will meet at 20:00 GMT to address the situation in Ukraine.

“The night was difficult and hostilities continued,” Malyer added. The Russians have been relentlessly trying to capture this part of eastern Ukraine, with their sights set mainly on Pakmut, 15 kilometers southwest of Soledar.

The Ukrainian Deputy Minister considered that “this is the most difficult phase of the war”. But, he assured, “we will win.”

The capture of Soledar, home to 10,000 people before the conflict but now completely destroyed, would mark a symbolic military victory for Moscow after setbacks its troops had suffered since September.

Fighting has raged in and around Soledar for months, but its intensity has increased significantly in recent days. The Ukrainian army is battling the Russian paramilitary group Wagner’s mercenaries in this small town known for its salt mines.

Satellite image of the devastation caused by Russian strikes in Solader, Ukraine. (11.01.20239.

“Our fighters are trying valiantly to maintain our security,” Malyer said.

Some information surrounding the war in Ukraine cannot be independently verified. According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a US-based organization that follows the fighting in real time, “Russian forces may have captured Soledor on January 11”, which is Wednesday.

In support of its claim, ISW cited “geo-located photographs released on January 11 and 12” that “indicate that Russian forces may control most of Solitaire, or otherwise drive Ukrainian forces out of it,” the western city’s perimeter.

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However, according to the institute, capturing the small town “does not herald an immediate siege of Pakmut” and “does not allow Russian forces to exercise control over critical Ukrainian land links with the main city in the area”.

PC (afp, rtr)