Russian troops are again trying to advance towards the small town of Soledar, near Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said in a statement on Monday. Telegram.
“After a failure [previous] attempt to capture Soledar and retreat, the enemy regrouped, restored losses, deployed additional assault units, changed tactics and launched a powerful assault,” Maliar said. “At this time the enemy has engaged a large number of assault groups formed from the best reserves of the Wagnerian troops. The enemy literally advances over the corpses of their own soldiers, using massive artillery, multiple rocket launchers and mortars, even covering their own fighters with fire.
“Heavy fighting continues at this time,” she added.
Earlier Monday, Serhii Cherevatyi, a Ukrainian military spokesman, told Ukrainian television that Russia had “managed to concentrate more of its units” around Soledar and was deploying both “regular” troops and mercenaries there. working for the private sector Wagner Group.
Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Sunday that one of the reasons he wanted to take over Bakhmut and Soledar in order to control the mining system in this area, which he described as “a network of underground cities” .
Cherevatyi, spokesman for the Eastern Group of Ukrainian Armed Forces, said they were trying to evacuate civilians from Soledar but not everyone was willing to leave.
“Soledar is actually destroyed,” he said. “There are people there. Everything is done to evacuate them. It’s hard to talk about numbers now. There is a part of people, especially the older generation, who have a great fear of change, of leaving their house and of moving. We communicate with them, but not everyone always agrees [to leave].”
On Sunday evening, President Volodymr Zelensky said Soledar was “holding up” but it was “extremely difficult”.