War in Ukraine: Russian group Wagner claims control of strategic town of Soledor, Ukrainian military denies

Soledar’s strategic importance is disputed, but its capture would allow Moscow to finally show a military victory after several humiliating setbacks since last September. .

“Wagner’s units have taken control of the entire territory of Soledar,” Prigojine said via his social media news service on Wednesday morning.

However, “urban battles” continued in pockets of resistance in the city center, making the extent of the Russian group’s control over Solidar uncertain.

Russian state news agency RIA Novosti published a photograph of Mr Prigozhin with armed militiamen, which it said was taken at the Solidar salt mine.

The Ukrainian military denied these assurances, asserting that the city of Soledar “was and will always be Ukrainian.” Ukraine’s military says it is not true that Mr Prigozhin is inside the Solidar salt mine.

The AFP was unable to independently verify the situation on the ground.

Mr Prigozhin said the Ukrainian “prisoner count” would be made public on Wednesday.

War in Ukraine: Why Russia and the Wagner group want to capture the city of Solidar at all costs

“Exclusively” Wagner

The Russian military, whose influence has grown significantly since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022, had no immediate comment on the statement.

Many analysts believe that there is a fierce rivalry between Wagner and the Russian military.

Mr Prigogine said Solidar had been attacked “exclusively” by Wagner units, without the help of the army.

Denis Bushilin, one of the main leaders of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, considered the announcement of the capture of Solidar a “turning point” for his part.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this week said his troops were resisting “violent attacks” in Solader. On Tuesday evening, he reported a “difficult situation” in the Donetsk region where Soledar is located.

The British Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday that the Russian army and Wagner’s units had made “tactical advances” in Solador over the past four days, seeking to “encircle Bagmouth mostly from the north” and “disrupt Ukrainian communications”. .

According to this source, part of the fight was to control the entrance to the old salt mine at Soledar, as its tunnels went under the front line and could be used to “penetrate behind the enemy”.

Kharkiv bombed

Elsewhere in Ukraine, Russian bombers hit Kharkiv on Tuesday evening, hours after German diplomatic chief Annalena Baerbach made a surprise visit to the city in northeastern Ukraine.

Invited by the Ukrainian representative, Dmytro Kuleba, who accompanied her to Kharkiv, Mrs. Baerbach assured that Ukraine can count on Germany’s “solidarity” and “support”.

The minister said 20 million euros had been provided for demining and a “new package” of aid to upgrade the Starlink internet access network. He also announced new deliveries of generators for the Ukrainian energy infrastructure, systematically bombed by Russia.

For his part, Mr Koleba urged Germany to provide heavy armor to Ukraine. “The longer such a decision is delayed, the more casualties there will be and the more civilian casualties there will be,” he said.

Mr. Zelensky announced Tuesday evening that he had revoked the Ukrainian citizenship of wealthy businessman Viktor Medvechuk, a close friend of Vladimir Putin, accused by Q of supporting Russia.

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The 68-year-old former deputy, born in Siberia and considered a man of the Russian president in Ukraine, was handed over to Russia in late September 2022 in a prisoner exchange between Kiev and Moscow. Five months in Ukraine.

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