Moscow/Lviv, Jan 13 (EFE).- Russia said Friday that its forces had taken control of the town of Soledar in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk, a claim which Ukraine has denied.
“The liberation of the town of Soledar was completed on January 12,” Russian defense ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in the daily war report.
The capture of the town, where heavy fighting has been raging for weeks, will allow Russian forces to cut Ukrainian supply lines in neighboring Bakhmut and to encircle Kyiv’s troops in that city, the ministry said.
Saledar was home to about 10,000 people and is the site of one of Europe’s largest salt mines
Konashenkov said the capture of the town, which before the war was home to about 10,000 people and is the site of one of Europe’s largest salt mines, is of “great importance for continuing offensive operations on the Donetsk front.”
The capture of Soledar was made possible “due to constant ground and air strikes” by the army and missile artillery units of the Russian forces, he said.
Ukraine on Friday denied that Russian forces had captured the salt-mining town, with army spokesperson Serhiy Cherevaty insisting that Moscow’s claims were “not true” and that fighting in the city was ongoing, while declining to provide specific details for security reasons.
Deputy defense minister Hanna Malyar insisted that on Thursday night the city remained in Ukrainian hands, according to the Unian news agency.
On Thursday, the Russian-installed authorities in Ukraine’s annexed Donetsk region had reported “small pockets of resistance” in Soledar. EFE