The Ukrainian command confirmed for the first time that the Armed Forces of Ukraine had withdrawn from the city of Soledar on Jan. 25 after the Ukrainian military had completed the main tasks of defending the city, as well as depleting the enemy and holding the front line.
The information about the withdrawal of Ukrainian defenders from Soledar was confirmed by the spokesman for the Eastern Group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Serhiy Cherevatyi, in comments to Suspilne, BBC News Ukraine, and AFP.
Cherevatyi did not specify the date of the withdrawal, adding that the Ukrainian Armed Forces left Soledar “after many months of heavy fighting,in particular in recent weeks.”
Here are the main facts about the withdrawal of the Armed Forces of Ukraine from the town of Soledar (Donetsk Oblast), as reported by Cherevatyi:
- The defenders of Soledar fulfilled their main task: they did not allow the enemy to systematically break through the defense on the Donetsk axis and enter the rear, and then move further into the operational space;
- The Armed Forces of Ukraine depleted the Russian forces in this sector as much as possible: according to Cherevatyi, “they knocked out the enemy’s manpower as much as possible,” and the enemy suffered huge losses in personnel, comparable to the aggressor’s losses in the two Chechen wars;
- The front line was leveled: there was no encirclement or capture of Ukrainian troops;
- The Defense Forces have now withdrawn from Soledar and have consolidated their positions on the previously prepared defense lines;
- The decision to withdraw from Soledar was made “to save the lives of the personnel” (“This is war. Every military commander makes decisions based on the maximum benefit for his troops. We can’t afford the luxury that our enemy has of just throwing fighters to the slaughter. We are trying to maneuver, fire, and use small-group tactics to maximize the enemy’s exhaustion,” explained Cherevatyi.)
- The defenders of Soledar achieved a real feat: they defended the town and “held their positions powerfully” despite the enemy’s three- to five-fold superiority;
- Russia threw all its forces at Soledar to draw attention to “a small town against the background of the fact that the enemy had previously suffered significant defeats in Kyiv Oblast, and during the Kharkiv, Lyman and Kherson…