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‘Putin’s chef’ mercenary chief stands in captured salt mine as Russia claims Soledar

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The boss of the feared Wagner mercenary group has gloated to Ukraine by posing in a captured salt mine in a important battleground.

Yevgeny Prigozhin stood defiantly along with Putin’s non-public paramilitary fighters in the Soledar pit as he claimed to have taken manage of the jap Ukraine city which has been razed by brutal battling.

Kyiv said its forces are nevertheless holding out and Russia stated ‘urban battles’ are even now staying fought in the city whose capture would characterize a important victory for Moscow immediately after a sequence of humiliating setbacks.

In the Donetsk area, Soledar lies nine miles from the city of Bakhmut, which Russia has been making an attempt to seize for months, and its capture has been manufactured a essential aim for the Kremlin. 

The boss of the feared Wagner mercenary team has gloated to Ukraine by posing in a captured salt mine in a important battleground

Bakhmut has a network of cavernous mining tunnels under the ground which can maintain troops or tanks. 

Oligarch Prigozhin, dubbed Putin’s chef for delivering catering solutions to the Kremlin alongside heading up the infamous private military, mentioned: ‘This was all completed by PMC Wagner with no other assist.’

It comes amid a electricity wrestle among the Wagner Group, who have been accused of a litany of war crimes throughout worldwide battlefields at arm’s size from the Kremlin, and the Russian armed forces.

He said: ‘Wagner units took regulate of the full territory of Soledar. A cauldron has been fashioned in the centre of the town in which urban preventing is going on.

‘The range of prisoners will be announced tomorrow.’ 

The Russian military has not yet commented. 

Yevgeny Prigozhin stood defiantly alongside Putin's private paramilitary fighters in the Soledar pit

Yevgeny Prigozhin stood defiantly alongside Putin’s private paramilitary fighters in the Soledar pit

Soledar, in the industrial Donbas region, lies just nine miles from Bakhmut, where troops from both sides have been taking heavy losses in some of the most intense trench warfare since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year

Soledar, in the industrial Donbas location, lies just 9 miles from Bakhmut, where troops from the two sides have been getting hefty losses in some of the most intense trench warfare given that Russia invaded Ukraine in February last calendar year

In Soledar, once a bustling salt-mining town in eastern Ukraine, the ground is now scarred from a relentless stream of missiles and gunfire as Russian forces aim to take control of the nearby and key city of Bakhmut. Pictured: A Ukrainian tank fires at Russian soldiers sheltered near a building in the destroyed town of Soledar

In Soledar, at the time a bustling salt-mining town in eastern Ukraine, the ground is now scarred from a relentless stream of missiles and gunfire as Russian forces purpose to take handle of the close by and essential town of Bakhmut. Pictured: A Ukrainian tank fires at Russian soldiers sheltered in the vicinity of a building in the ruined town of Soledar

The British Defence Ministry before reported Russian troops and Wagner fighters had probably taken regulate of most of Soledar after four days of innovations.

But Prigozhin’s comment that battling continued in Soledar’s centre advised Russian manage was incomplete, inspite of his assertion that all of the city was in Wagner’s grasp.

The Russian point out RIA news agency afterwards issued a report expressing that Wagner Team took more than Soledar’s salt mines following ‘fierce fighting’.

The salt mines are found in the suburbs of the city. Washington has stated Prigozhin may possibly want private handle of the area’s mines.

In his tackle, Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned there was a ‘difficult situation’ in the Donetsk location and praised the ‘bravery’ of Ukrainian troopers defending Soledar.

Before this 7 days he mentioned Soledar experienced been flattened by combating: ‘Everything is fully destroyed.’

He stated no walls ended up still left standing and the dead bodies of the invading Russian troopers decaying on the streets. 

Smoke rises from strikes on the frontline city of Soledar, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, as seen from Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, on January 5

Smoke rises from strikes on the frontline city of Soledar, as Russia’s assault on Ukraine carries on, as observed from Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, on January 5

Everything in the town is 'completely destroyed', with no walls left standing and the dead bodies of the invading Russian soldiers decaying on the streets, Zelensky said

Anything in the city is ‘completely destroyed’, with no walls still left standing and the dead bodies of the invading Russian soldiers decaying on the streets, Zelensky said

Zelensky repeated his contact for extra Western weapons, expressing Russia was accumulating its forces to intensify its marketing campaign. He did not present facts.

But Ukraine’s Defence Ministry tweeted late on Tuesday, ‘Even just after struggling colossal losses, Russia is nonetheless maniacally hoping to seize Soledar – residence to the biggest salt mine in Europe.’

Ukraine reported previously its forces had been nonetheless holding onto positions in Soledar, withstanding assaults by wave following wave of Russian forces trying to get their to start with battlefield victory for months.

Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar on Tuesday evening explained that battling for the city was however raging.

‘The enemy disregards the heavy losses of its staff and continues to storm actively,’ she claimed. ‘The strategies to our positions are simply strewn with the bodies of useless enemy fighters. Our fighters are bravely keeping the defence.’

Firefighters work to put out a blaze at a fireworks storage facility after it was struck by a Russian missile in Kharkiv yesterday

Firefighters operate to put out a blaze at a fireworks storage facility following it was struck by a Russian missile in Kharkiv yesterday

An apartment block destroyed by a Russian missile strike is seen, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in the frontline town of Bakhmut

An condominium block wrecked by a Russian missile strike is noticed, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine proceeds, in the frontline town of Bakhmut

Before, some prominent Russian military services bloggers urged warning about the condition in Soledar and said that intensive combat in the town’s centre and its outskirts ongoing through the evening.

Ukraine’s navy stated its forces had repelled enemy assaults in the regions of 13 settlements in Luhansk, Kharkiv and Donetsk locations, such as Bakhmut.

Seizing Soledar would be Russia’s most substantial gain considering the fact that August, after a sequence of humiliating retreats all over a lot of the 2nd 50 percent of 2022. Russian forces have been battling for months to seize Bakhmut.

But any victory would occur at a massive cost, with troops from each sides possessing taken significant losses in some of the most rigorous beat since Russia invaded Ukraine just about 11 months back. 

The Kyiv governing administration has unveiled pics in new times showing what it states are scores of Russian soldiers strewn useless in muddy fields.

Moscow suggests capturing Bakhmut would be a significant phase toward using full management of the Donetsk area, one particular of four provinces it claimed to have annexed three months in the past.

Local residents remove debris and carry belongings out of a shop destroyed in recent shelling in the course of Russia-Ukraine conflict in Donetsk

Local residents get rid of particles and carry belongings out of a shop wrecked in new shelling in the program of Russia-Ukraine conflict in Donetsk

In the vicinity of Bakhmut, a group of Ukrainian soldiers fired volleys of shells from a heavy anti-aircraft gun at what they mentioned were Russian ground positions, across a barren snowy area.

‘We’re frying orcs,’ explained a single soldier with the nom de guerre ‘Pilot’, utilizing a typical Ukrainian slur for Russian troops.

His crew gets coordinates of Russian bases from spotters or drones. They periodically shell Russian bases, and unleash storms of heavy fire when enemy troops advance: ‘If they creep in very actively, then we eliminate them in great figures.

Hours right after German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock frequented the northeastern town of Kharkiv, Russian strikes late on Tuesday hit a fireworks manufacturing facility, the regional governor reported, adding that no a single was harm.

The probable tumble of Soledar came as Russian strikes strike the big town of Kharkiv more north, just several hours immediately after a shock visit by Germany’s overseas minister Annalena Baerbock.

Kharkiv has faced hefty bombardment during the war, but the frontline has moved east because a Ukrainian counter-offensive previous yr retook territory from Russian forces.

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