Russia continues to launch attacks on Soledar, according to Ukrainian media. Recent reports from Ukraine say Russia has bombed the area 91 times since the Wagner Group claimed “liberation” of the Ukrainian town.
The Russia-Ukraine war has been ongoing for nearly a year, since February 2022, and recently, Russia has refocused its efforts in the Bakhmut and Soledar regions in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk oblast.
According to a Reuters report, the Wagner Group—a private military group hailing from Russia—claimed “liberation” of Soledar on Wednesday, an effort that the Wagner Group claimed killed 500 pro-Ukrainian soldiers. Since the announcement, Russian attacks have reportedly continued against the town.
The Wagner Group has bombed the Ukrainian town 91 times in the one day since the liberation claims, according to Ukrainska Pravda, a Ukrainian online newspaper.
Soledar, now on the front lines of battle, has suffered devastating impacts from the war that have demolished the town.
A screengrab from a video shows a member of Ukraine’s military looking away as a BM-21″Grad” rocket launcher fires on the outskirts of Soledar on January 11. Russia has claimed “liberation” of Soledar, but Ukrainian troops continue to fight.
The Ukrainska Pravda report quoted Eastern Group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine spokesman Serhii Cherevatyi as saying the fighting in Soledar continues but that Ukrainian forces are fighting back.
“Our rocket forces and artillery units concentrated their efforts to knock out the enemy as much as possible. In particular, more than 100 occupiers were killed by artillery and rockets during that day,” Cherevatyi was quoted in the report.
However, a statement from Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin in the Reuters article said Russia had accomplished “complete liberation” of Soledar, leaving bodies of Ukrainian forces refusing to surrender “littering” the town.
According to Reuters, Prigozhin’s statement didn’t include information on whether Russia would continue fighting in the region.
Since the liberation claims, the Kyiv Independent tweeted that Ukraine killed more than 100 Russian soldiers in a missile strike. The Kyiv Independent also tweeted that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainian troops battling in Soledar and Bakhmut would be reinforced with equipment and weapons from the West.
⚡️Zelensky: Everything necessary for battles for Soledar and Bakhmut will be provided ‘promptly and uninterruptedly.’
President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the Armed Forces in Soledar and Bakhmut are reinforced with equipment and weapons supplied to Ukraine by the West.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) January 12, 2023
Last year, both Ukrainian and Russian forces faced a stall in advancement as winter approached. After Ukraine initiated a strong counteroffensive against Russian troops in the late summer, Russia withdrew its forces from Kherson, which it had occupied since the start of the war.
Newsweek previously reported that some experts believed Russia would consider launching a second mobilization to seek out more soldiers to bolster its troops at the start of the new year, but Russia has not ordered a second mobilization.