Ukraine describes War situation in eastern Donetsk region as difficult

KYIV: Ukraine said Thursday its forces were fighting to retain control of Soledar in the eastern Donetsk region but cau-tioned it was coming up against “difficult” resistance from Russian troops.
The Kremlin has made capturing the industrial region of Donetsk its primary objective after nearly one year of fighting that has seen its forces capitulate on larger goals like seizing the capital.
“The fiercest and heaviest fighting is continuing today in the area of Soledar,” Deputy Defence Minister Ganna Malyar told reporters.
“Despite the difficult situation, Ukrainian soldiers are fighting stubbornly,” she added.
Russian mercenary group Wagner claimed earlier this week its forces had captured Soledar, but the defence ministry in Moscow said fighting was ongoing and Ukraine denied any full takeover.
Both sides have conceded heavy losses in the fight for Soledar and the nearby larger town of Bakhmut, also key to Russia’s aim to wrest all of Donetsk away from Ukraine.
The Kremlin on Thursday praised the “heroic” work by Russian forces fighting in Soledar and in other battles.
“Huge work has been done in Soledar, absolutely selfless heroic actions, not only in Soledar, but also in many places,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“There is still a lot of work ahead. The main work is yet to come,” he added.
On Wednesday, Moscow announced a major military reshuffle, putting Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov in charge of its operations in Ukraine.
A Moscow-based defense analyst, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP that appointing an army chief in charge of Ukraine’s operation was an “unprecedented decision” that showed “very serious problems” on the battle-field.
“This has not happened since 1941, when Marshal Georgy Zhukov was sent to the front to command.” –Agencies \