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Ukraine announces departure from Soledar

The Ukrainian army said it had withdrawn from the fiercely contested town of Soledar in eastern Ukraine. After “months of difficult fighting”, Ukrainian troops left the small town and withdrew to other positions, military spokesman Serhiy Cherevaty told AFP today. He did not give a date for the withdrawal.

Moscow had already announced the capture of Soledar on January 13, but Ukraine denied this. With the capture of Soledar, Russian forces claim their first notable victory after several setbacks in recent months.

Soledar is about 15 kilometers northeast of the town of Bakhmut, which the Russian army and Wagner’s mercenaries have been trying to take over for months. Pro-Russian separatist leader Denis Puschilin today reported new advances by Russian troops in Bakhmut. According to reports from Russian news agencies, Puschilin says that Wagner fighters in particular are “making progress”. There is fighting on the outskirts and in parts of the city “which have recently been taken over by the enemy”.