The Armed Forces of Ukraine are fighting with dignity near Soledar and Artemovsk (Ukrainian version of the name Bakhmut), reports of their mass desertion from the combat area are not true, said Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of Wagner PMC. Prigozhin’s answer to the question of whether it is true that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are deserting en masse from this combat area was published in the telegram channel of his press service.
“In other telegram channels, information appeared that SBU officers were transferred to the group near Bakhmut, whose task is to stop desertion in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Let’s be honest with each other. This is not true. The Ukrainian army is fighting bravely for Bakhmut and Soledar,” Prigozhin said.
According to him, on the western outskirts of Soledar there are heavy bloody battles, and “the Armed Forces of Ukraine defend the territory of Soledar with honor.” “Therefore, the information about their mass desertion is not true,” Prigogine stressed.
On the eve of the fact that the Ukrainian military are retreating from Soledar, said the official representative of the People’s Militia of the LPR, Ivan Filiponenko, on the air of the Rossiya 24 TV channel. “In Soledar, we note the mass exodus of the enemy from urban development. The basis of the defense of the Ukrainian troops in this area was the 61st separate mechanized brigade. And according to the intelligence we have, the brigade commander with the call sign Lyzhnik set the task of organizing the withdrawal of the remaining and surviving units from the city in the evening and during the night, ”RIA Novosti quoted Filiponenko as saying.
In mid-October, TASS, citing a representative of the power structures of the Luhansk People’s Republic, reported that the troops of the republic were preparing to enter Artemovsk, and the main units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were leaving it. Ukrainian forces began to leave Artemovsk on the night of October 14, the source said. A month earlier, on September 12, the head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, said that the allied forces had “burrowed” into the outskirts of Artemovsk. In early October, he said that “the enemy in Artemovsk itself is already simply retreating without the ability to hold its previously occupied positions.”
Artemovsk is located in the north of the DPR, 50 km north of Donetsk. The Russian Defense Ministry and the DPR authorities have been announcing an offensive in the city area since early December last year. In October, RIA Novosti reported that the Wagner PMC was concentrating forces in the Bakhmut area and was fighting in this area.
In early January, Prigozhin said that due to historical and geographical conditions, Artemovsk is a unique and very difficult place in terms of military operations. The city is divided into several parts by water barriers, replete with ravines and heights. The “icing on the cake” the founder of the PMC called the Soledar and Bakhmut mines, which form “actually a network of underground cities.” In addition, according to him, other settlements adjoin Artemovsk, which create a “single defense system.”
He also said on January 6 that “the fighters of the PMC Wagner, and exclusively the fighters of the PMC Wagner, are close to taking Soledar.”