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Latest from Ukraine | Bloodbath in Soledar

National

Ukrainian Soldiers in trench | Image by Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In his midnight address on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reminded listeners that the conflict with Russia had not yet ended.

Earlier that day, Russia claimed to have taken control of Soledar, a hotly contested salt mining town in eastern Ukraine, The Washington Post reported.

Also on Friday, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar wrote on Telegram, “Our fighters are bravely trying to hold the line. This is a difficult phase of the war, but we will win.”

After several months of military setbacks, the capture of Soledar, a gateway to the beleaguered city of Bakhmut, would mark Moscow’s first sizable advance.

Ukrainian officials refuted claims made earlier in the week that the town had been taken by Russian forces or the Wagner Group’s private military forces.

Both sides have made contradictory claims in the bloody, months-long conflict in the eastern Donetsk region, which has gotten worse in recent days in Soledar, according to the Post.

Russian and Ukrainian officials confirmed intense fighting on Monday in the hotly contested city of Bakhmut, as The Dallas Express reported.

The Wagner Group, a mercenary company at the center of Russia’s efforts there, has reportedly started hiring recently released prisoners into its ranks.

Since the summer, the two sides have been exchanging thousands of rounds of artillery fire each day. Despite suffering significant territorial losses elsewhere in Ukraine, Russian forces have persisted in the attempt to occupy Bakhmut.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of Donetsk Oblast, said that of the more than 10,000 people who lived in the town before the war, about 600 were still there last week, trying to stay alive in a “bloodbath.”

Approximately 170 of these people had been moved by Friday, and another 108 were expected to follow, the Post reported.

At this pivotal point in the war, Russian President Vladimir Putin is turning to a confidant to take over as the military leader of the operation in Ukraine.

Valery Gerasimov, who has served as the highest-ranking officer in the Russian Armed Forces since 2012, had replaced Sergey Surovikin in the post as of Wednesday.

According to the Post, western warfare vehicles heading to Ukraine presently, including U.S. Bradley Fighting Vehicles, might assist Ukraine in scouting out Russian army positions, transporting soldiers, and firing on Russian armored vehicles.

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