Ukraine’s KYIV/KRAMATORSK, Jan. 8 (Reuters) – According to Ukrainian authorities, the country is bolstering its soldiers in the eastern Donbas and fending off repeated assaults by the Russian attacks mercenary outfit Wagner on Bakhmut and other nearby towns.
They claimed that Soledar, a little village close to Bakhmut where things were extremely rough, had received reinforcements.
According to a statement from the Ukrainian military, “the enemy once more launched a frantic attempt to invade the city of Soledar from several directions and threw the most professional troops of the Wagnerites into battle.”
Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian president’s staff, called the attackers “common terrorists” in a Telegram post condemning the incident.
Its significance lies in the network of mines there, according to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner mercenary force, which has been fighting to seize Bakhmut and Soledar in a bloody conflict that has claimed many lives on both sides.
“It can deploy tanks and infantry fighting vehicles as well as hold a large group of troops at a depth of 80 to 100 metres.”
The strategic military benefit to Moscow, according to observers, would be modest. Prigozhin, a significant ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is reportedly eyeing the salt and gypsum from the mines there, according to a U.S. official.
In his evening video address on Sunday, President Volodymyr Zelensky stated Bakhmut and Soledar were still standing despite extensive damage from months of attacks.
He declared, “Our men are thwarting Russian attempts to advance continuously.” “Things are quite difficult” in Soledar.
Oleh Synehubov, the regional governor for Kharkiv, reported that a Russian missile attack on a market in the village of Shevchenkove killed a 60-year-old woman and injured numerous others.
In a video shared by public broadcaster Suspilne on the Telegram messaging service, rescuers searched among enormous mounds of debris, overturned and flaming stalls, and a sizable hole. The East Command of Ukraine’s Serhiy Cherevaty stated he believed the situation could be stabilised.
He claimed on Ukrainian television that there was “brutal and terrible fighting there, with 106 shellings in one day.”
“For this aim, extra forces and resources have been assigned to our troops in Soledar, and everything possible is being done to enhance the operational environment there.”
The battlefield accounts could not be independently verified by Reuters.
There was no Christmas fire
On Friday and Saturday, Russia declared a truce for the Russian Orthodox Christmas holiday. Zelensky renewed his criticism of Russia for what he called its inability to adhere to the ceasefire.
Ukraine refused to abide by the ceasefire, which it viewed as a pretext for Russia to reinforce its forces. Throughout the time, hostilities were allegedly continued by each side against the other. He stated, alluding to the southern city abandoned by Russian forces in November, “Russians were bombarding Kherson with incendiary ammo right after Christmas.”
Strikes on civilian targets in Kramatorsk and other Donbas cities at the exact same time that Moscow was claiming that its army was in “quiet.”
Russian officials claimed 600 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in a missile attack on Kramatorsk on Sunday, but a Reuters reporter who was on the ground saw no evidence of casualties.
A Reuters team went to two college residence halls that Moscow claimed were temporarily hosting Ukrainian forces. Moscow claimed that it had targeted the residence halls in retaliation for a New Year’s attack that claimed the lives of numerous Russian soldiers and sparked outrage in Russia. But neither dormitory in Kramatorsk, a city in eastern Russia, seemed to have taken a direct strike or sustained significant damage. There were no blatant indications that soldiers had been residing there, and no bodies or blood traces were to be found.
An attempt by the Russian defence ministry to demonstrate that it had retaliated vehemently to recent Ukrainian strikes against Russian soldiers, according to Serhiy Cherevatyi, a military spokeswoman for Ukraine’s eastern area.
According to Cherevatyi, this is a Russian defence government information operation
As the one-year anniversary of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine approaches, home pressure is mounting on the Russian military to achieve victories on the battlefield. After setbacks like the loss of land that had been captured and high rates of casualties and injuries, hawkish voices have called for an intensification of the military effort.
The assertions made by the Russian defence ministry have drawn criticism from certain well-known Russian military bloggers.
On the Telegram messaging service, a well-known pro-war military blogger with more than 500,000 subscribers, posting as Military Informant, wrote, “Let’s talk about ‘fraud’.”
If the structure was not hit, it is unclear to us who made the decision that 600 Ukrainian soldiers were killed there all at once (even the light remained on).
“A media-only operation of retaliation was invented rather than the actual destruction of the enemy personnel, which would have been a worthy response.”
Both the Russian and Ukrainian forces frequently inflated enemy casualties while understating their own.
760 Russian soldiers were killed or injured in two attacks on Moscow-controlled areas of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces, according to Ukraine’s top military officials last week. It was impossible to independently verify these reports.