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Russia said it took Soledar, but Ukraine disputes it

On Friday, Russia said that it captured Soledar, a salt mining town, but Ukraine disputes this claim

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Ukrainian soldiers on their positions in the frontline near Soledar, Donetsk region, Ukraine.

Ukrainian soldiers on their positions in the frontline near Soledar, Donetsk region, Ukraine, on Jan. 11, 2023. Russia’s Defense Ministry said Friday Jan. 13, 2023 that its forces have captured the salt-mining town of Soledar.

Libkos, Associated Press

On Friday, Russia said that it captured Soledar, a salt mining town, but Ukraine disputes this claim.

According to The Associated Press, Yevgeny Prigozhin — “a rogue millionaire whose private military force known as the Wagner Group has played an increasingly visible role in Ukraine” — said his forces captured Soledar on Wednesday. Then, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday that Russia had taken the town, but didn’t mention the Wagner Group.

Ukraine disputes these claims.

A Ukrainian official said that the fighting was still ongoing. According to CNN, “Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Head of the Office of President of Ukraine, said on Twitter that the ‘public rumble’ among the Russian Defense Ministry, Progozhin and General Sergei Surovikin ‘about who is fighting better on the 11th month of the 3-day war & who will sow Soledar with their corpses the most.’”

The New York Times reported that Russia taking Soledar would be the biggest win that Moscow forces have had in months. The Times added that the town wouldn’t be very strategically useful.

“Although seizing Soledar is not expected to quickly change the battle in the east, it would give Moscow’s forces new locations to place artillery, with the potential to partially encircle Bakhmut from the north, and it could put pressure on Ukrainian supply lines that run toward the city,” the Times reported.

On Tuesday, the Deseret News reported that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke at the Golden Globes, where he said that he was confident Ukraine would win the war.

Zelenskyy’s speech at Golden Globes 2023

Actor Sean Penn introduced Zelenskyy and spoke about how the freedom of expression in Hollywood is a universal value. He said that he was proud of Hollywood’s inclusion of people like Zelenskyy, who are fighting for freedom around the world.

Zelenskyy said that the war was not over yet, “but the tide is turning.” He thanked those who support the freedom of Ukraine, saying, “Our common struggle for freedom, democracy, for the right to live, for the right to love” is unifying.

He referenced the first two World Wars and said “there will not be a trilogy.” He said that when Ukraine is victorious in the war, he hopes that all people in the free world will be celebratory on that victorious day.