The Ukrainian military withdrew from the salt-mining town of Soledar “to save the lives of the personnel,” Serhiy Cherevatyi, a spokesman for Ukraine's Eastern Military Command, said on Jan. 25
This is the first time Ukraine has confirmed its withdrawal from the town, located in Donetsk Oblast, ten kilomteres north of the embattled city of Bakhmut. While Russia had claimed complete victory in Soledar by Jan. 13, Ukraine repeatedly said that fighting still raged in the town.
In a commentary to Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne, Cherevatyi said that Ukraine was able to exhaust Russian troops, making it more difficult for them to continue its offensive in the Bakhmut sector.
There was no encirclement or capture of Ukrainian troops before the withdrawal from Soledar, according to Cherevaty.
“They completed the main task,” Cherevaty told Suspilne, adding that Ukrainain forces remained outside the outskirts of Soledar, strengthening defensive lines.
Neither the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces nor Ukrainian officials have made a statement about the loss of Soledar yet.
Earlier, the Kyiv Independent’s sources in the military, as well as international monitors, all fully agreed Ukraine no longer controls the town.
Russia’s capture of Soledar is its first tangible success since its last victory in early July, when it seized the Ukrainain stronghold of Lysychansk in the mostly occupied Luhansk Oblast.