Riyadh Newspaper | The Russian army controls two villages in Solidar

Riyadh Newspaper | The Russian army controls two villages in Solidar
Riyadh Newspaper | The Russian army controls two villages in Solidar
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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 the control of two villages, Krasnobolivka and Dvorechye, located near Solidar.

And the “Staff” in Donetsk stated on Telegram that “on January 23, 2023, the Russian armed forces liberated Krasnopolevka and Dvorechye,” the two towns located in the region that constitute the stronghold of pro-Russian separatists and are close to Bakhmut, the center of fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces for months in eastern Ukraine.

“I visited Solidar (…) It was necessary to find out if there was a need to deploy humanitarian aid points there,” Pushlin said Sunday evening, in a message he posted on Telegram, accompanied by a video clip in which he appears among burning buildings and shattered windows.

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 reported “active hostilities near Bakhmut and Solidar,” without disclosing further details.

According to the Russian army, the seizure of Solidar paves the way for encircling the neighboring city of Bakhmut, which Moscow has sought to control since the summer and is witnessing fierce battles between the two sides.

In a related context, Moscow announced on Monday the expulsion of the Estonian ambassador, accusing his country of “hostility to Russia”, after Estonia expelled earlier this month 21 Russian diplomats and other employees of the embassy.

The Russians, on the one hand, and the Westerners, on the other, have intensified the expulsion of diplomats in recent years, especially since Russian forces launched their invasion of Ukraine on February 24. But this is the first time that an ambassador has been expelled to his country since the start of the Russian attack.

“The ambassador of the Republic of Estonia must leave Russia on February 7, 2023,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, noting the downgrade of diplomatic relations to the charge d’affaires.

“In recent years, Estonian leaders have deliberately destroyed all relations with Russia. Tallinn has made a state policy of complete hatred of Russia and a culture of hostility towards our country,” she added.

According to Moscow, Estonia’s announcement on January 11 expelling Russian diplomats confirms the “policy of destroying relations” between the two countries.

“The full responsibility for the development of this situation in relations between Russia and Estonia rests with the Estonian side. We will continue to respond to the hostile measures taken by the Estonian leaders,” the ministry noted.

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Estonia, which supports Ukraine in its dispute with Russia and which has many points of contention with Moscow since the collapse of the Soviet Union, justified the expulsion of Russian diplomats by the need to “achieve parity” in the numbers of diplomatic staff for the two countries in Tallinn and Moscow.

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Last April, Russia ordered the closure of the Estonian consulates in St. Petersburg and Pskov and declared their employees “persona non grata”.

Moscow made its decision after the three Baltic states, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, expelled Russian diplomats following the invasion of Ukraine.

And Russia has several times since the outbreak of the conflict to expel diplomats, especially 34 Frenchmen in May and 14 Bulgarians in August.

On the other hand, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the Russian leadership continues to assign various tasks to the Russian forces, despite the heavy losses they incur.

“The attack could come from any side. The attack could come from the south or the east,” the Ukrainian president said, in an interview with German TV channel ARD, according to what was reported by Ukraine’s national news agency (Ukrinform) on Monday.

“He (Putin) has set the goal of reaching the administrative borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” Zelensky added.

Zelensky added that the Kremlin dictator continues to send thousands of Russians to their death, according to the Ukrainian agency.

In the same context, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service accused Ukraine of placing weapons provided by the West on the territory of nuclear power plants to protect them from destruction.

The head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, said in Moscow on Monday that Kyiv’s calculations are that Russian forces will not launch raids against nuclear power plants because of the risk of a nuclear catastrophe. It was not possible to verify the data of the Russian intelligence service.

Naryshkin claimed that there is reliable information that there are multiple rocket launchers of the type “HIMARS” and large-caliber artillery there.

In the last week of December, for example, railway cars carrying the “fatal charge” were brought to the Rivne nuclear power plant via the Rafalivka railway station in western Ukraine, according to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. without providing any evidence for it.

“When there is a big explosion and a nuclear power plant is destroyed, for example, by a new misguidance of a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile, the blame for the tragedy is always placed on Moscow,” the statement said.

On the other hand, Ukraine accuses Russia of deploying military equipment at the occupied nuclear power plant site in Zaporizhia.

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