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Ukraine admits withdrawal from Soledar

The National logo The National 25/01/2023 The National
Ukrainian servicemen near Soledar in Donetsk on Monday. Reuters © STRINGER Ukrainian servicemen near Soledar in Donetsk on Monday. Reuters

Ukraine has admitted its troops have withdrawn from the Donetsk town of Soledar.

Its army spokesman confirmed the retreat to AFP on Wednesday.

“After months of heavy fighting, including over the past weeks, the Armed Forces of Ukraine left Soledar and retreated along the outskirts to pre-prepared positions,” said Serhiy Cherevaty.

Earlier this month, Russian mercenaries claimed they had taken control of the town in the Bakhmut region.

The salt mining town had been at the forefront of fierce fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces, who want to use its extensive tunnel network to further penetrate into Ukrainian territory.

Control of Soledar also allows Russia to advance in Bakhmut, where Moscow has been fighting “house to house” for months.

Russia said its forces were advancing in the region on Wednesday, claiming fighting was taking place on the outskirts of the town and neighbourhoods recently controlled by Ukraine.

Kyiv initially denied Moscow's reports of victory in Soledar, saying the battle was continuing after Russia's Wagner Group claimed it had seized control on January 10.

“Soledar was, is and will be, Ukrainian,” its army said in response.

Germany is set to approve a long-awaited delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine on Wednesday.

The US is also set to send tanks, reversing its previous position.

The Kremlin has hit out at the proposal. It said US-supplied tanks will “burn just like all the others”.

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