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Resisting high-intensity Russian attack in Soledar, says Ukraine

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Kyiv: Ukraine on Friday said that it is resisting a high-intensity Russian offensive in Soledar, a town in the eastern Donetsk region. Deputy Defence Minister Ganna Malyar called it a "difficult phase of the war."

He said it was hot overnight in Soledar and hostilities continued. Moscow relocated almost all of its main forces to the Donetsk front, reported AFP. Russia has been deploying more troops in the Donetsk region in an effort to annex it.

Russia's notoriously brutal Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed that only its troops were part of the effort and has now taken full control over the region. However, the Russian defence ministry appeared to contradict the controversial oligarch's claims. Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Soledar has been blockaded from the north and south by Russia's airborne forces.

After days of fighting, the Russian Defence Ministry claimed that its forces have captured Soledar. "On the evening of January 12, the liberation of the city of Soledar was completed, which is important for the continuation of successful offensive operations." Kyiv did not confirm the claim.

President Zelenskyy on Thursday said that he and general staff have discussed the situation in Soledar and they analysed in detail what decisions and reinforcements are needed. "We discussed the situation with the supply of weapons and ammunition to the troops and relevant interaction with our partners. The paratroopers of the 77th and 46th air brigades continue to hold their positions in Soledar," he said on Telegram.

Ukraine is also facing hostility from Russian ally Belarus. President Zelensky on Wednesday said that Kyiv must be read at its border with Belarus but so far only "powerful statements" have been coming from the neighbour. "We understand that apart from powerful statements, we do not see anything powerful there, but nevertheless we must be ready both at the border and in the regions."

Russia has been using Belarus as an entry point in its attack on Ukraine. A Russian foreign ministry official Aleksey Polishchuk on Friday said that Belarus may enter the conflict if Kyiv decides to invade either country. He claimed Moscow's joint military drills with Belarus are to prevent escalation.

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TAGS:UkraineRussiaMoscowUkraine warKyivSoledar
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