After weeks of intense combat , Russia finally claims to win Soledar, in eastern Ukraine however the Ukranians refuse this claim.
In what would be Moscow’s first significant triumph in months, Russia claimed on Friday that its forces had conquered the small town of Soledar in eastern Ukraine after weeks of tough combat. Ukraine, however, refuted the Russian assertion.
After a protracted series of military failures dating back to last summer, the conquest of Soledar would represent for Putin a symbolic victory, if not a particularly significant strategic one. However, it does not imply a large surrender of Ukrainian forces or a significant shift in the nature of the conflict as a whole.
The Ukrainian military has refuted Moscow’s assertion. Russia’s claim that it had captured Soledar is “not accurate,” according to Serhiy Cherevaty, a spokeswoman for the Eastern Group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, who also noted that “combat is ongoing.”
On Friday night near Soledar, the members of the 46th Air Assault Brigade of Ukraine stated they were “holding on”. They responded, “We’re holding on, per a Telegram post on the 46th Brigade.” But people are encircling us. The city is still seeing intense combat.”
The report continued, “It appears the orcs were able to cut off those who were near the railway station and Mine 7 and are making steps to consolidate the encirclement.”
On Wednesday, January 11, 2023, when Ukrainian and Russian forces engaged in combat in Soledar, the Donetsk area of Ukraine, Ukrainian soldiers watched as smoke billowed.
A Ukrainian soldier near Soledar told CNN on Friday that he thought he and his comrades had been abandoned. We probably won’t have time to depart if there isn’t an order to withdraw today, he continued. We were informed that we would be removed. And now we are merely forgotten.
“The last evacuation was three days ago, and the order was to hold out until the very end,” he said.
Wagner’s disagreement with Russia’s Ministry of Defense
Wagner Private Military Company, whose mercenaries handled much of the frontline fighting, would consider taking Soledar to be a success. Wagner and the Russian Ministry of Defense clashed over the conflict for Soledar after making conflicting public assertions about their respective involvement in the conflict.
The Defense Ministry acknowledged Wagner troops on Friday for leading the “direct attack” on the eastern Ukrainian town of Soledar, two days after claiming only regular Russian forces were responsible for the assault.
Following a rupture between him and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the oligarch who controls Wagner, made what appeared to be a collaborative attempt with him.
After the group aired a video on Telegram on Thursday criticizing the ministry’s assertion that regular Russian military soldiers were involved in the attack on Soledar, the Russian Defense Ministry later acknowledged Wagner.
While the United States is “a major foe, at the present it is not a crucial one,” Prigozhin wrote in a thinly veiled response to the Russian Defense Ministry before the ministry acknowledged Wagner’s involvement in the arrest.
The head of Wagner has hardly ever passed up an opportunity to criticize the Russian authorities.
“Once we beat our internal bureaucracy and corruption, then we will conquer the Ukrainians and NATO,” Prigozhin was recorded stating these challenges on a recent series of tapes. Because they are all celebrating New Year’s Eve with champagne, the issue now is that the bureaucracy and crooked individuals won’t listen to us, he further added.
They “constantly take success from Wagner PMC and talk about the presence of someone who is not clear, simply to diminish their merits,” according to Prigozhin’s Friday Telegram post. This seems to be another jab at the disregard for the combat Wagner units have been engaged in in and around Soledar.
On Friday, pro-Kremlin military blogger Sergey Markov claimed on Telegram that the public dispute and mild insults between the leadership.
Why Seizing Soledar So Crucial to the Russians ?
Lt Gen Igor Konashenkov, the spokesman for the Russian Défense Ministry, declared: “The liberation of the town of Soledar was completed in the evening of January 12.”
For the continuation of offensive operations in the Donetsk region, Konashenkov continued, the development was crucial.
He claimed that by seizing Soledar, Russian forces would be able to cut off supplies to the Ukrainian army at Bakhmut, a city in the Donetsk region. Additionally, they will be able to surround and obstruct the Ukrainian soldiers there.
The Wagner mercenary group, founded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, was not mentioned in Russia’s first claim.
In a rare recognition of the private fighting force, the Russian army later lauded the “courageous” forces of the mercenary organization Wagner.
The heroic and selfless actions of the volunteers of the Wagner assault teams effectively completed this combat operation, according to a statement from the Russian defence ministry.