Kyiv, Ukraine (AP) – Ukrainian forces carried out an orderly withdrawal from a town in the eastern region of Donbass, an official said Wednesday, in a rare but modest battlefield victory for the Kremlin after a series of setbacks for the Kremlin. Invade that started nearly 11 months ago.
Serhiy Cherevaty, a spokesman for Ukrainian forces in the east, told the Associated Press that the Ukrainian military withdrew from the mining town of Solidar to “preserve personnel”.
He said that the soldiers withdrew to pre-prepared defensive positions.
The Battle of Soledar, located near the city of Bakhmut, was portrayed by Moscow as the key to capturing all of Donbass.
The achievement took Russian forces a step closer to Bakhmut, but military analysts say the capture of Solidar is more symbolic than strategic.
The Ukrainian army, which at Solidar had held out against the onslaught of superior Russian forces for months, said its fierce defense of the eastern stronghold had helped tie down the Russian forces.
Russia claimed about two weeks ago that it had seized Solidar, but Ukraine denied this.
Many of the Russian troops around Solidar belong to the Russian private military contractor group Wagner, and the fighting is said to have been bloody.
Since its invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has prioritized taking full control of Donbass – a region made up of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, where it has supported a separatist insurgency since 2014. Russia has taken most of Luhansk, but about half of Donetsk remains. under the control of Ukraine.
Capturing the city would likely allow Russian forces to cut off the supply lines of Ukrainian forces at Bakhmut, although the strength of Ukraine’s new defensive positions was not known.
The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington think tank, said earlier this month that the fall of Solidar would not represent “an operationally significant development and is unlikely to herald an imminent Russian encirclement of Bakhmut.”
The institute said Russian media operations had “overestimated the importance of Solidar”, a small settlement. She also argued that the long and hard battle contributed to the exhaustion of the Russian forces.
Perhaps most worrying for Moscow, however, is that Western military aid to Ukraine is now being ramped up with Reservoirs delivery.
Elsewhere, Russian forces continued to bomb Ukrainian regions, especially to the south and east.
Provincial governor Pavlo Kirilenko said Russian strikes wounded 10 civilians in the eastern province of Donetsk on Tuesday.
He added that five were wounded when Russian shells hit residential complexes.
On Wednesday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that in the past 24 hours, Russian forces launched four missile strikes, 26 air strikes and more than 100 missile systems.
Russian forces are concentrating their efforts on establishing control over the Donetsk province, and are conducting offensive operations around the besieged cities of Bakhmut, Liman and Avdiivka and the village of Novopavlevka, according to spokesman Oleksandr Shtabun.
In addition to Donetsk, Russian attacks hit settlements in the country’s northeast, Kharkiv and Sumy, north of Chernihiv, far eastern Luhansk, southeast Zaporizhia, and the southern Kherson provinces.
Meanwhile, Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine who turned from a professional comedian to an actor Internationally recognized wartime leader45 on Wed.
His wife, First Lady Olena Zelenska, said that although he is the same person when they met at age 17, “something has changed: You smile a lot less now.”
“I wish you had more reasons to smile. And you know what it takes,” she wrote on Twitter.
Follow AP coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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