Ukraine on Wednesday conceded that it withdrew from the small mining town of Soledar in the Donetsk Oblast almost two weeks after Russian forces said they took control of the area.
Soledar is just a few miles northeast of Bakhmut, where Russian and Ukrainian forces have been locked in heavy battles for months. Sergiy Cherevaty, a Ukrainian military spokesman, told AFP Ukrainian forces left Soledar after weeks of heavy fighting focused on the town but didn’t say when the withdrawal happened.
According to RT, the Russian Defense Ministry said it took control of the town on January 12. Two days earlier, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian mercenary outfit Wagner Group said his fighters captured the town, although he said fighting was still ongoing at the time.
Some of Ukraine’s Western backers have been expressing concern about the heavy casualties Ukrainian forces have been taking in the battle around Bakhmut.
Der Spiegel reported that Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) was “alarmed” by the high casualty rate and said Ukrainian forces were losing a three-digit number of soldiers every day.
A US official told Reuters that the view in Washington is that Ukraine has spent considerable resources defending Bakhmut, and it’s likely that Russian forces will capture the city.