Britain said Russia had probably captured most of a mining town in eastern Ukraine where Kyiv accused Moscow of sacrificing wave upon wave of mercenaries and soldiers in a horrific and senseless battle over wasteland.
Ukraine’s deputy defense minister said on Tuesday evening that Kyiv’s forces were still
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in the eastern salt mining town of Soledar despite a massive Russian onslaught,
* Britain’s defense ministry said Russian troops and fighters of Wagner, a mercenary company run by an ally of President Vladimir Putin, were probably now in control of much of Soledar after four days of advances.
* If Russia captures Soledar and its huge salt mines, it would be Moscow’s most substantial gain since a series of humiliating retreats throughout much of the second half of 2022. Soledar has symbolic, military and commercial value for Russia.
* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said no walls have been left standing in Soledar and the land is covered with Russian corpses.
* Russian forces in the past 24 hours mounted eight missile and 31 air strikes, carried out 63 attacks from rocket launchers and hit the cities of Kharkiv, Kherson, Kramatorsk and Ochakiv, Ukraine’s armed forces said.
* Reuters could not verify the battlefield reports.
* Russia has appointed Colonel-General Alexander Lapin as chief of staff of the country’s ground forces, state-owned news agency TASS reported, despite criticism from hawks over his performance in Ukraine.
* One of Putin’s closest allies said Moscow was now effectively fighting the U.S.-led NATO military alliance in Ukraine and that the West was trying to wipe Russia from the political map of the world.
* Putin’s defense minister Sergei Shoigu vowed to build a deeper arsenal of weapons, bolster aviation technology to better evade air defenses and improve drone production after a series of battlefield humiliations in Ukraine.
* German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock made a surprise visit to the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv near the Russian border and promised more weapons as well as “concrete offers” to help Kyiv’s accession to the European Union.
* Ukrainian troops are expected to begin training on the Patriot missile defense system at a military base in the United States in the coming weeks, a U.S. official said.
* Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told U.S. President Joe Biden during a meeting in Mexico City that Canada would purchase a U.S.-manufactured national advanced surface-to-air missile system for Ukraine, a government source said.
* NATO must further strengthen its support for Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.
* The Kremlin said new Western deliveries of armored vehicles to Ukraine would deepen suffering. France, Germany and the United States have all announced new plans to send armored vehicles to Ukraine.
* The European Union will impose new sanctions on Belarus as it keeps up pressure on Russia to end its Ukraine war and extends measures to those countries that back Moscow, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.
“There isn’t one house left intact. Apartments were burning, breaking in half.” -Olha, 60, speaking in an evacuee center in Kramatorsk. She said she had fled Soledar after moving from apartment to apartment as each was destroyed in tank battles. (Compiled by Michael Perry, Raju Gopalakrishnan, Angus MacSwan and Mark Heinrich)
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