TheVoiceOfJoyce If Ukraine’s counteroffensive is to be effective, weapons requested by Zelensky, must arrive quickly. Russia’s endgame is to capture the Donbas Region and hold it. Russia has the manpower, Ukraine needs weapons to be effective. Forget a long war. If fighting continues, what will be left of Ukraine? No wonder Soledar is important, salt mines are there. Ukraine is a prize possession for Russia, it would add to their dwindling population and solidify their dominance in wheat, resources and manufacturing. Putin won’t let go of Ukraine, unless his troops lose decisively. Ukrainians are fighting Russia for all Democracies. Remember history, sooner or later, we will fight, unless we give the Ukrainians the overwhelming firepower they require. Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates concur, in their co authored oped in yesterday’s, Washington Post.

Ukrainian forces are “holding on” as “fierce fighting” continues in the eastern city of Soledar, Ukraine’s deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar has said.

Kyiv has denied that Moscow’s forces have encircled and captured Soledar, after claims by the head of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, that the city had fallen.

Russia is building up its forces in Ukraine, with the number of Russian military units rising to 280 from 250 a week earlier, Maliar told a news briefing this morning.

She said:

Fighting is fierce in the Soledar direction. They [the Russians] are moving over their own corpses.

She added:

Russia is driving its own people to the slaughter by the thousands, but we are holding on.

The Russian capture of Soledar and the city’s saltmines would have symbolic, military and commercial value for Moscow. But the situation in and around Soledar appears fluid and neither side’s claim can be independently verified.

The military situation in Ukraine remained “difficult”, with the heaviest fighting on the eastern front, Brig Gen Oleksiy Gromov told the b

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