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Ukraine, Bakhmut and Soledar. Zelensky adviser: Russians lost 20,000 soldiers there

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Fighting continues near Soledar in the Donetsk region. Many sources indicate that the Russians probably occupied most of the city, but the Ukrainian side does not want to confirm this. According to a report by the Institute for War Studies, the capture of Soledar, announced by the occupiers, has no operational significance and probably does not herald an imminent encirclement of Bakhmut by the Russians. An adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky stated that the occupiers lost 20,000 soldiers in the fighting for these two cities.

Satellite images released on Wednesday and Thursday indicate that Russian forces probably control most, possibly all, of Soledar and probably drove the Ukrainian forces out of the western outskirts of this town. The Ukrainians have been denying this for the last several dozen hours.

Sołedar and Bakhmut in five months. Satellite photos show changes after the fightingENEX

In the latest report, the American Institute for War Studies (ISW) cited reports from the Ukrainian General Staff, which reported that Ukrainian forces repulsed Russian attacks on the village of Sil in the Donetsk region – located more than a kilometer northwest of Soledar.

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As noted by the think tank, on Thursday the Ukrainian headquarters did not inform – unlike in previous days – that Ukrainian forces were repelling Russian attacks on Soledar. Russian sources, however, claimed that their troops were clearing the town of the remaining Ukrainian forces. Russian bloggers describing the war also posted on Thursday footage of Wagner Group fighters walking freely around Sołedar, ISW wrote.

ISW: The announced occupation of Sołedar has no operational significance

The think tank assessed that even if the occupation of Soledar took place, Russian propaganda exaggerates the importance of taking the city, because it is a Pyrrhic tactical victory at best. It will not allow Russian forces to control the critical Ukrainian ground lines to Bakhmut, nor will it improve the position of Russian forces to encircle the city in the short term.

According to ISW experts, the Russian forces can consistently maintain a high rate of attack in the Bakhmut area, but the weakened and decimated Russian troops will make it impossible to achieve operationally significant results.

Photo from January 11

Ukrainian soldiers near SoledarPhoto from January 11East News/Associated Press

Podolak: The Russians lost 20,000 soldiers around Soledar and Bachmut

Despite reports from many sources that the Russians probably occupied most of the city, the Ukrainian side maintains that the army is still repelling enemy attacks.

– The losses of the Russian army during the previous offensive near Bakhmut and Soledar are not a thousand or two. That’s 10, 15, or even 20,000 soldiers. The Russians do not count losses there, said Mykhailo Podolak, an adviser to the president Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky.

As he stated, the occupiers “threw” almost everything they had on Sołedar, including the remnants of the contract army – special forces and paratroopers. According to Zelensky’s adviser, the seizure of this city will not be for Russia turning point in the war. The difficult thing, he said, is that Ukraine is losing its soldiers who have to hold carbines in their hands 24 hours a day, at 17 degrees of frost.

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malar also wrote about the situation on the frontline around Sołedar on Friday. She reported that the night was difficult and Ukrainian soldiers are trying to hold the defense and fighting continues. “The enemy has thrown almost all his main forces into the Donetsk direction and is maintaining a high intensity of the offensive,” she wrote in a Telegram post.

Zelensky: I held another meeting of the Commander-in-Chief’s Staff

On Thursday evening, the president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky He said that Ukrainian forces are holding their positions there and are inflicting significant losses on Russian troops.

Fighting for Soledar in the Donetsk regionFORUM

The leader also said that he had met with senior Ukrainian commanders. – I held another meeting of the Commander-in-Chief’s Staff. A council that corresponds to the situation at the front in the most essential directions. Of course, the key issue is Soledar, Bakhmut and the fight for Donetsk in general – he said.

– We have analyzed in detail the most important decisions to be made, the necessary reinforcements and the steps that will be taken by the commanders in the coming days. We also discussed the situation with the supply of weapons and ammunition to the troops and the appropriate cooperation with our partners, added the President of Ukraine.

Main photo source: FORUM

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