KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine on Wednesday confirmed the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from Soledar, northeast of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, nearly two weeks after the announcement of the capture of the city by Moscow.
“In order to preserve the lives of our military personnel, the defense forces have withdrawn from Soledar,” army spokesman Serhiy Tcherevaty was quoted as saying on Wednesday by the public television channel Suspilne.
“(Our forces) fulfilled their main objective: not to allow the enemy to systematically break through in the direction of Donetsk,” he said.
This is the first time that Ukraine has confirmed the capture of Soledar by Russian forces, claimed by Moscow on January 13.
Serhiy Tcherevaty added that the defensive line put up by Ukraine at Soledar had prevented Russian forces from breaking through its rear lines.
He denied that Ukrainian forces had surrendered, adding that no prisoners of war had been captured by Russia.
Soledar, a salt mining town that had some 10,000 inhabitants before the Russian invasion operation, launched on February 24, 2022, was the scene of fierce fighting in early January.
(Written by Max Hunder, French version Jean-Stéphane Brosse, edited by Blandine Hénault)