(Subscribe to Our YouTube Channel Here. 19FortyFive publishes new videos every day.)
Russian Victory Coming Soon?
The British Ministry of Defense (MoD), which has been monitoring the fighting, had previously said that Russia had likely captured most of the town after some four days of advances.
“Russia’s Soledar axis is highly likely an effort to envelop Bakhmut from the north, and to disrupt Ukrainian lines of communication,” the MoD said in an intelligence briefing posted to social media on Tuesday.
“Heavy fighting to hold onto Soledar continues. The enemy disregards the heavy losses of its personnel and continues to storm actively,” Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said via a statement.
“The approaches to our positions are simply strewn with the bodies of dead enemy fighters. Our fighters are bravely holding the defense,” she added.
There have been numerous reports of corpses of Russian soldiers covering the ground in and around the small regional municipality.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described Soledar, once a bustling salt-mining town with a population of some 10,500 people, as having “no life left” amid the fierce fighting. The town, which was formerly known as Karlo-Libknekhtovsk was originally established as a Don Cossack village in the 17th century. It has been virtually destroyed in the recent onslaught of missiles and gunfire.
Zelensky further said that everything in the town is “completely destroyed,” with no walls left standing, whilst dead bodies of the invading Russian soldiers are decaying on the streets.
The Land of the Dead in Ukraine
The fighting, as well as the results, around Soledar is reminiscent of scenes from the Second World War when the Soviet’s Red Army battled the forces of Nazi Germany forcontrol of the industrial city of Stalingrad. The constant assaults fought to control the city’s factories left only devastation.
Seizing Soledar would be Russia’s most substantial gain since August. Ukraine has since launched a counteroffensive that has driven back the Kremlin’s forces, and Russia is seeking to reverse its fortunes. For months, the Russian Army and its mercenary proxies have been fighting to capture the nearby larger city of Bakhmut.
The victory – if it comes could entail such a massive cost that it could be a pyrrhic one at best. However, Moscow has maintained that capturing Bakhmut is a major step towards it taking full control of Ukraine’s Donetsk region, one of the four provinces that it claimed to have annexed last year.
The town could provide access to the network of cavernous mining tunnels that could hold troops and vehicles. Those tunnels could allow it to advance towards Bakhmut.
Putin Wants to Burn Ukraine To the Ground
As its forces have been driven back on the battlefield, the Kremlin’s strategy has shifted towards reducing Ukrainian cities to rubble.
The result has taken a heavy toll on the civilian population, but it has largely failed to break the spirit of Ukraine’s people.
Ukraine’s defense of Soledar has earned rare praise from Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, while also dismissing rumors that Russian forces have been deserting en masse.
“On the western outskirts of Soledar there are heavy bloody battles. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are honourably defending the territory of Soledar,” the Kremlin-linked businessman said via social media, adding, “Let’s be honest with ourselves. The Ukrainian army is bravely fighting for Bakhmut and Soledar. Reports of their mass desertion are not true.”
Only the dead have seen the end of the war.
Author Experience and Expertise: A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.