Russia’s defence ministry said that its forces had taken control of Soledar in eastern Ukraine, Reuters reported quoting state media. The capture of the town comes after it had been Moscow’s focus of heavy fighting and bombardment, the ministry said.
“The capture of Soledar was made possible by the constant bombardment of the enemy by assault and army aviation, missile forces and artillery of a grouping of Russian forces,” Moscow’s defence ministry said.
This would now allow its troops to cut off Ukrainian forces from the nearby town of Bakhmut, Moscow further said. Ukraine earlier said that its forces were still holding out in Soledar after a “hot” night of fighting. Soledar became one of the bloodiest battlefields of the entire war. Russian mercenary group Wagner’s head said that his forces had achieved the complete “liberation” of Soledar.
This marks Moscow’s first big battlefield gain after half a year of humiliating retreats but US officials said that Russia’s victory in Soledar would mean little for the overall trajectory of the war.
“Even if both Bakhmut and Soledar fall to the Russians, it’s not going to have a strategic impact on the war itself,” US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said adding, “and it certainly isn’t going to stop the Ukrainians or slow them down.”