Ukraine fights Russian assault on salt mining city alongside jap entrance By Reuters


© Reuters. Basic view of railway traces, as Russia’s assault on Ukraine continues, in Siversk, Ukraine, January 9, 2023. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne


By Pavel Polityuk and Vladyslav Smilianets

KYIV/SIVERSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – Russia has stepped up a strong assault on Soledar in jap Ukraine, officers in Kyiv mentioned, forcing Ukrainian troops to repel waves of assaults led by the Wagner contract militia across the salt mining city and close by fronts.

Soledar, within the industrial Donbas area, lies a number of miles from Bakhmut, the place troops from either side have been taking heavy losses in a number of the most intense trench warfare since Russia invaded Ukraine almost 11 months in the past.

Ukrainian forces repelled an earlier try and take the city however a lot of Wagner Group items shortly returned, deploying new ways and extra troopers underneath heavy artillery cowl, Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar mentioned on Monday on the Telegram messaging app.

“The enemy actually step over the corpses of their very own troopers, utilizing massed artillery, MLRS techniques and mortars,” Malyar mentioned.

Russia’s defence ministry didn’t point out both Soledar or Bakhmut in an everyday media briefing on Monday, a day after dealing with criticism for an apparently false declare of a missile strike on a short lived Ukrainian barracks.

Wagner was based by Yevgeny Prigozhin, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Drawing some recruits from Russia’s prisons and recognized for uncompromising violence, it’s lively in conflicts in Africa and has taken a distinguished position in Russia’s struggle effort in Ukraine.

Prigozhin has been attempting to seize Bakhmut and Soledar for months at the price of many lives on either side. He mentioned on Saturday its significance lay in a community of cavernous mining tunnels beneath the bottom, which might maintain large teams of individuals in addition to tanks and different struggle machines.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy mentioned in nightly video remarks on Monday that Bakhmut and Soledar had been holding on regardless of widespread destruction. He cited new and fiercer assaults in Soledar, the place he mentioned no partitions have been left standing and the land is roofed with corpses.

“Because of the resilience of our troopers in Soledar, we’ve got received for Ukraine extra time and extra power,” Zelenskiy mentioned.

Zelenskiy didn’t spell out what he meant by gaining time or power.

However Ukrainian officers, led by the commander in chief Basic Valery Zaluzhniy, have warned that Russia is making ready recent troops for a brand new, main offensive on Ukraine, presumably on the capital Kyiv.

Army analysts say the strategic army profit for Russia of capturing Bakhmut and Soledar can be restricted. A U.S. official has mentioned Prigozhin is eyeing the salt and gypsum from the mines, believed to increase over 100 miles underground and comprise auditorium-scale caverns.

Professional-Russian bloggers quoted Prigozhin as saying his forces had been combating for the administration constructing in Soledar.

The Ukrainian army mentioned reinforcements had been despatched to the city.

In an evacuee centre in close by Kramatorsk, Olha, 60, mentioned she had fled Soledar after transferring from residence to residence as every was destroyed in tank battles.

“There is not one home left intact. Flats had been burning, breaking in half,” mentioned Olha, who gave solely her first identify.

Two individuals had been killed in a Russian rocket assault on Kramatorsk on Monday night, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, an aide to Zelenskiy, mentioned on Telegram.

Some 25 miles (40 km) to the north within the city of Siversk, Ukrainian soldier Heorhil, 28, mentioned Russian common forces had changed much less well-trained fighters within the space.

“Sadly, either side are struggling large losses, which suggests additionally our items have losses,” he mentioned, talking close to destroyed homes blanketed in snow. “One ought to by no means underestimate the enemy.”

Reuters was not in a position to independently confirm the battlefield studies.


Farther north within the Kharkiv area, a Russian missile strike on a market within the village of Shevchenkove killed two ladies and wounded 4 others, together with a 10-year-old lady, regional prosecutors mentioned.

Badly injured individuals lay on the bottom and rescue staff sifted by way of piles of rubble, overturned and burning stalls, and a big crater, video footage from police and Ukraine’s presidential workplace confirmed. A police officer carried a woman with blood on her face from the scene.

Moscow has not commented on the studies from the village, which Ukraine recaptured from Russian forces in September.

Ukrainian authorities reported a number of Russian strikes throughout the nation, together with on Ukraine’s second metropolis, Kharkiv, and infrastructure within the areas of Donetsk, Kherson and Mykolaiv – the place the regional governor mentioned 15 individuals had been injured within the shelling of a coastal city.

Because the struggle grinds in direction of the one-year mark, Russia’s army is underneath home strain to ship battlefield successes from hawkish commentators demanding extra aggression following losses of territory and troops.

Russia, which initially cited a must rid Ukraine of nationalists, now says it’s combating a Western menace to its personal existence. Kyiv and its Western allies, which have imposed broad sanctions on Moscow and despatched Ukraine weapons to defend itself, say final February’s invasion was solely unprovoked.

Zelenskiy, who has lobbied allies frantically in latest weeks for weapons for Ukraine, continued his diplomatic marathon on Monday, talking to a number of European leaders about rising defence help for his nation.

“The world is aware of that day-after-day of Russian presence on Ukrainian soil means deaths, accidents, ache and struggling of individuals,” he mentioned.

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