KazPost

Kazakhstan News
Wednesday, Apr 24, 2024

Russia appoints new leader of Ukraine campaign as Wagner says Soledar fully captured

Russia appoints new leader of Ukraine campaign as Wagner says Soledar fully captured

Moscow named a new commander for its invasion of Ukraine while Russian private military firm Wagner Group said its capture of the salt mining town Soledar in eastern Ukraine was complete, though the Ukrainian military said the battle was not over.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday appointed Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov as overall commander for what Moscow calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine, now in its 11th month.

The change effectively demoted General Sergei Surovikin, who was appointed only in October to lead the invasion and oversaw heavy attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Wagner and a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said his forces had captured all of Soledar and killed about 500 Ukrainian soldiers after heavy fighting.

"I want to confirm the complete liberation and cleansing of the territory of Soledar," Prigozhin said in a statement.

"The whole city is littered with the corpses of Ukrainian soldiers," he said.

U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters on Wednesday he could not corroborate reports that Soledar was in Russian hands.

Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told Ukrainian state TV that 559 civilians remain in Soledar, including 15 children, and it was impossible to evacuate them due to ongoing fighting. The town had a pre-war population of around 10,500.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the situation in Soledar.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy mocked previous Wagner claims to have seized part of Soledar but made no immediate comment on the latest assertions.

"The terrorist state and its propagandists are trying to pretend that part of our town of Soledar ... is some sort of a Russian possession," Zelenskiy said in a video address. "But fighting continues."

In a statement on Facebook, the Ukrainian military general staff said Russian forces were suffering heavy losses as they tried to take Soledar and sever Ukrainian supply lines.

In its Thursday morning roundup of reports from the frontlines, the Ukraine military command mentioned tanks and artillery in the Soledar area, but offered no other details.

Russia has struggled to cement control over the town, which would be Russia's most substantial gain since August after a series of retreats before Ukrainian counter-offensives in the east and south.

Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said the situation in Soledar was "approaching that of critical".

"The Ukrainian armed forces are holding their positions. About one half of the town is under our control. Fierce fighting is going on near the town centre," he said on YouTube.

However, Zhdanov told Ukrainian television that if Russian forces seized Soledar or nearby Bakhmut it would be more a political victory than military.

"There is more politics than war here," said Zhdanov.

"The Russians, if they take one of these towns, will try to put the event on par with capturing Berlin and they will use it for propaganda purposes as much for the outside market as for domestic consumption," he said.

"Inside Russia, it will give them the opportunity to lift the spirits of conscripts and society as a whole. To unite them all..."

Ukraine's military command said Thursday that Russia was recruiting former soldiers and law enforcement officers to join paramilitary units in Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014.

RUSSIAN MILITARY 'FALL GUY'

A Russian Defence Ministry statement said its latest command reshuffle was meant to improve contacts between military branches and the effectiveness of the command structure.

One prominent military blogger who posts on the Telegram messaging app under the name of Rybar said Surovikin was being made the fall guy for recent Russian military debacles. Those included a Ukrainian attack on a Russian barracks that killed at least 89 Russian soldiers over New Year's.

Surovikin was ordered to head the campaign after Ukrainian offensives turned the tide of the war and drew attention to poor training, equipment and morale among Russian forces.

If pro-Russian forces succeed in taking Soledar, it would be a stepping stone in Moscow's thrust to capture Ukraine's eastern Donbas industrial region. The town would be a base to attack the nearby city of Bakhmut, a supply line hub in eastern Ukraine, where defenders have held out for months.

Before Wagner's latest statement, the Kremlin stopped short of claiming victory and acknowledged heavy casualties.

"Let's not rush, let's wait for official statements. There is a positive dynamic in progress," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

A Reuters photographer who reached the outskirts of Soledar in recent days said many residents had fled the town in perishing cold. Smoke could be seen rising over the town and the incoming artillery fire was relentless, she said.

MISSING BRITONS


Earlier, Russian state news agency RIA said Wagner had taken over Soledar's salt mines and a photograph on the militia's Telegram channel appeared to show Prigozhin and his fighters inside a mine.

Wagner separately said its forces found the body of one of two British voluntary aid workers reported missing in eastern Ukraine. It did not give the name of the dead man. A photo appeared to show passports bearing the names of Andrew Bagshaw and Christopher Parry, the two missing workers.

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, saying Kyiv's close ties with the West and ambitions to join NATO threatened its security. Kyiv and its allies accuse Moscow of an unprovoked war to seize territory in a neighbour it once dominated within the former Soviet Union.

Newsletter

Related Articles

KazPost
0:00
0:00
Close
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
An Ominous Shift in Warfare: Western Powers Risk War Crimes and Violate International Norms with Cluster Bomb Supply to Ukraine
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
Corruption in the European Parliament - Business as usual
UK Crypto and Stablecoin Regulations Become Law as Royal Assent is Granted
Paris Suburb Grapples with Violence as Curfew Imposed: Saint-Denis Residents Express Dismay and Anger
A Delaware city wants to let businesses vote in its elections
Alef Aeronautics Achieves Historic Milestone with Flight Certification for World's First Flying Car
Google Blocked Access to Canadian News in Response to New Legislation
French Politicians Advocate for Pan-European Regulation on Social Media Influencers
×