Moscow – (AFP)
The pro-Russian separatist leader in eastern Ukraine, Denis Pushlin, appeared in the city of Solidar, which Moscow declared control of more than a week ago, and Kyiv has so far denied that it fell into the hands of the Russians.
The separatists also announced, on Monday, the control of two villages, Krasnopolivka and Dvorechye, located near Solidar.
And the “Staff” in Donetsk stated on “Telegram” that “on January 23, 2023, the Russian armed forces liberated Krasnopolivka and Dvorechye,” the two towns located in the region that constitute the stronghold of the pro-Russian separatists and are close to Bakhmut, the center of fighting between the Russian and Ukrainian forces for months. in eastern Ukraine.
On Sunday evening, Pushlin said, in a message he posted on “Telegram”, accompanied by a video clip in which he appears among burning buildings and shattered windows: “I visited Solidar (…) It was necessary to find out if there was a need to deploy humanitarian aid points in it.”
Pushlin added, “There are very few residents left” in this city, which had a population of about 11,000 people before the war, located north of Bakhmut.-
The Russian army announced the capture of Solidar on January 13, unfamiliarly acknowledging the decisive role of the Wagner Group’s mercenaries in this battle.--
The leader of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, had previously appeared alongside his men in a video clip that was filmed, he said, inside the city’s famous salt mines.
Ukraine has not yet officially acknowledged the fall of Solidar, noting that it continues to fight in the western part of it. On Monday, the regional administration also reported “active hostilities near Bakhmut and Solidar,” without disclosing further details.
“Wagner’s men who accompanied us on the trip told us about the bloody battles here,” Bochlin added.
He accused Ukrainian forces of trying to “destroy the salt mines” in the city, which in theory would allow equipment to be protected.
According to the Russian army, the seizure of Solidar paves the way for encircling the neighboring city of Bakhmut, which Moscow has been seeking to control since the summer, and is witnessing fierce battles between the two sides.