Ukrainian military says fighting continues near Soledar
Ukrainian soldier fires a mortar at Russian positions near Soledar (Photo:Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Serhii Nuzhnenko via REUTERS)
As many as 85 enemy attacks and eight combat clashes were recorded near the town of Soledar, Donetsk Oblast, in the past day, Serhiy Cherevatyi, the spokesman for the Eastern Group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said on Ukrainian national television on Jan. 26.
“Our forces withdrew from there in an organized way and took up previously prepared defense lines,” Cherevatyi said.
“They didn’t withdraw chaotically, there was no panic, no escape, no mass capture, which the Russians wanted and hyped up in their Telegram messengers. Fierce battles are underway there. There were 85 attacks and eight combat clashes in the Soledar area over the past day.”
Cherevatyi added that, in general, the Bakhmut area remains the hottest spot, as constant fighting continues there – in particular near Soledar, Verkhniokamianske, Spirne, Rozdolivka, Blahodatne, Bakhmut, and Klishchiyivka.
“Our defense forces are constantly holding back attacks of the enemy, who is trying to strike with all types of artillery, multiple launch rocket systems, and aviation,” he said.
In total, the enemy launched 199 attacks in the direction of Bakhmut in the past 24 hours, the spokesman said.
According to Cherevatyi, the defense line was evened out after the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from Soledar, while the tactics of constant attacks, “rolling in small groups” and enemy shelling has not changed. The enemy is using the same tactics toward Vuhledar, as well as in the Avdiyivka and Liman areas, the official added.
Russian troops focused on trying to capture Soledar, a small town adjacent to Bakhmut, starting in the first weeks of 2023, although they had been trying to take the settlement since May 2022.
According to the Ministry of Defense, in January, the Russians deployed almost all of their main forces in this area, using both Wagner PMC assault units and other types of troops as cannon fodder. As a result of intense fighting with the active use of artillery and aviation, Soledar was almost completely destroyed.
On Jan. 18, the UK Ministry of Defense reported that Ukrainian defenders might have retreated from Soledar on Jan. 16 and taken up new defensive positions to the west of the town.
Cherevatyi officially announced the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from Soledar on Jan. 25.
According to him, the Ukrainian Armed Forces had fulfilled their main task: they did not allow the enemy to systematically break through the Donetsk section of the front and enter the rear, and then move into the operational space.
Cherevatyi also noted that the Ukrainian army has depleted Russian forces in this sector.
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