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