Friday, January 13, 2023

Half of those fighting on Kiev’s side near Soledar are mercenaries

About half of those fighting on the Ukrainian side near Soledar, in the Donetsk People's Republic, are foreign mercenaries and military personnel from NATO countries, the coordinator for inter-parliamentary relations with the People's Council of the LPR, first deputy chairman of the State Duma’s Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots, Viktor Vodolatsky, told TASS on Friday.

"[Near Soledar] there were about five brigades and various special units. Their total strength is estimated at 20,000-25,000," he said. "It is a hard fact that half of them were mercenaries and NATO’s military personnel."

At the same time, Vodolatsky said that Ukraine’s exact losses remained unknown, since a complete cleanup of the city had not yet been carried out. "Some ran away earlier, while others were wounded or trapped in the cellars. A cleanup operation is to be finalized before the Ukrainian military’s losses are clear," he added.

On Friday, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that Russian troops in the evening of January 12 completed the liberation of the city of Soledar. According to Konashenkov, complete control of this locality would allow for cutting the routes of delivering supplies to Ukrainian troops in Artyomovsk (Ukrainian name Bakhmut), located southwest of Soledar, and for eventually encircling the Ukrainian forces remaining there.

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