Russia modifications commander once more in Ukraine, says Wagner, Soledar absolutely captured By Reuters


© Reuters. A tank fires a bullet, amid Russia’s assault on Ukraine, in Soledar, Donetsk area, Ukraine, on this screenshot posted January 8, 2023 and obtained from a social media video by Reuters on January 10, 2023. State Border Guard Service Ukraine/by way of RE


By Olena Harmash and Clodagh Kilcoyne

KYIV/NEAR BAKHMOUT, Ukraine (Reuters) – Moscow has named a brand new commander for its invasion of Ukraine as Russia’s non-public army agency Wagner Group says its seize of the salt mining city of Soledar in jap Ukraine was over.

Russian Protection Minister Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday appointed Chief of Basic Employees Valery Gerasimov as total commander of what Moscow calls its “particular army operation” in Ukraine, now in its eleventh month. .

The change successfully demoted Basic Sergei Surovikin, who was solely appointed in October to steer the invasion and has overseen heavy assaults on Ukraine’s power infrastructure.

In the meantime, Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Wagner and an in depth ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, stated his forces captured all of Soledar and killed round 500 Ukrainian troopers after heavy combating.

“I need to verify the total liberation and cleaning of Soledar territory,” Prigozhin stated in a press release.

“The entire metropolis is affected by the corpses of Ukrainian troopers,” he stated.

US Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin instructed reporters on Wednesday he couldn’t corroborate reviews that Soledar was in Russian palms.

Reuters was unable to independently confirm the state of affairs at Soledar.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy scoffed at Wagner’s earlier claims that he seized a part of Soledar, however had no quick touch upon the most recent claims.

“The terrorist state and its propagandists try to fake that a part of our city of Soledar…is a few form of Russian possession,” Zelenskiy stated in a video handle. “However the combating continues.”

In a press release on Fb (NASDAQ:), Ukraine’s army common employees stated Russian forces have been struggling heavy casualties as they tried to take Soledar and minimize Ukrainian provide traces.

Russia struggled to cement management of town in what can be Russia’s most substantial acquire since August after a collection of retreats forward of Ukrainian counteroffensives to the east and south.

Ukrainian army analyst Oleh Zhdanov stated the state of affairs in Soledar was “approaching essential.”

“Ukrainian Armed Forces are holding their positions. About half of town is beneath our management. Heavy combating is going down close to town heart,” he stated on YouTube.

Nevertheless, Zhdanov instructed Ukrainian tv that if Russian forces captured Soledar or close by Bakhmut, it might be extra of a political victory than a army one.

“There’s extra politics than battle right here,” Zhdanov stated.

“The Russians, in the event that they take one among these cities, will attempt to put the occasion on the identical degree because the seize of Berlin and they’ll use it for propaganda functions as a lot for the exterior market as for inside consumption” , did he declare.

“In Russia, this can give them the chance to spice up the morale of conscripts and society as a complete. To unite all of them…”


A Russian Protection Ministry assertion stated the command reshuffle was geared toward bettering contacts between army branches and the effectivity of the command construction.

A outstanding army blogger who posts on the Telegram messaging app as Rybar stated Surovikin was turning into the scapegoat for latest Russian army debacles. These included a Ukrainian assault on a Russian barracks that killed at the very least 89 Russian troopers over the New Yr.

Surovikin was ordered to steer the marketing campaign after Ukrainian offensives turned the tide of the battle and drew consideration to the Russian forces’ lack of coaching, gear, and morale.

If pro-Russian forces achieve taking Soledar, it might be a stepping stone in Moscow’s push to seize the economic area of Donbass in jap Ukraine. The city is claimed to be a base to assault the close by city of Bakhmut, a provide line hub in jap Ukraine, the place defenders have held out for months.

Previous to Wagner’s closing assertion, the Kremlin kept away from claiming victory and acknowledging heavy losses.

“Let’s not rush, let’s look forward to official statements. There’s a optimistic dynamic happening,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated.

A Reuters photographer who reached the outskirts of Soledar in latest days stated many residents had fled the city within the freezing chilly. Smoke might be seen rising above the city and the incoming artillery fireplace was relentless, she stated.


Earlier, Russian state information company RIA stated Wagner had taken over the Soledar salt mines and {a photograph} on the militia’s Telegram channel appeared to point out Prigozhin and his fighters inside a mine.

Wagner stated individually that his forces had discovered the physique of one among two British volunteers lacking in jap Ukraine. He didn’t identify the useless man. A photograph has emerged displaying passports bearing the names of Andrew Bagshaw and Christopher Parry, the 2 lacking employees.

Russia despatched tens of hundreds of troops to Ukraine on February 24, saying Kyiv’s shut ties to the West and ambitions to affix NATO threatened its safety. Kyiv and its allies blame Moscow for an unprovoked battle to grab territory from a neighbor it as soon as dominated within the former Soviet Union.