The Russian military claimed on Friday that it had fully conquered the eastern Ukrainian town of Soledar, claiming a first notable victory on the ground after several humiliating setbacks in recent months.
“The liberation of the town of Soledar, which is important for the continuation of offensive operations, was completed in the evening of January 12” in the Donetsk region, said Igor Konashenkov, the spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defense. .
The locality of Soledar is located about fifteen kilometers northeast of the town of Bakhmout, which the Russian army and the paramilitaries of the Wagner group have been trying to take for months.
“Complete control of Soledar makes it possible to cut the supply lines of the Ukrainian forces located in the city (of Bakhmout) in the south-west, then to block and lock up in a + pocket + the Ukrainian units located there, ”assured Igor Konashenkov .
According to him, the capture of Soledar was made possible thanks to “permanent strikes on the enemy” coming from the Russian air force and artillery.
Russian troops “continuously carried out concentrated strikes on the positions of the Ukrainian armed forces in the city, preventing the transfer of reserves, the supply of ammunition, as well as attempts to withdraw the enemy to other lines of defense “, affirmed Mr. Konachenkov.
He also indicated that Russian paratroopers had carried out “a concealed maneuver” by attacking from “another direction” the Ukrainian troops in Soledar, which made it possible “to 'occupy high ground and blockade the city to the north and south'.
AFP was unable to confirm these statements from an independent source.
Previously, the paramilitary group Wagner, in increasing competition with the Russian army in this sector, had claimed that only its units took part in the conquest of Soledar.
On Wednesday, the head of Wagner, Yevgeni Prigojine, had claimed that his fighters had taken Soledar, an announcement that was not later con firmed by the Kremlin and the Russian army