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Ukraine war latest: Russia sends conscripts in combat zones as Ukrainian military conducts counterattacks in Soledar

by Thaisa Semenova January 12, 2023 11:42 PM 3 min read
Ukrainian service member looking away as a BM-21'Grad' MLRS 122mm rocket launcher fires on the outskirts of Soledar in Donetsk Oblast on Jan. 11, 2023. (via Getty Images).
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Key developments on Jan. 12:
  • Russia will likely try to reach the "administrative borders" of Donetsk Oblast soon, General Staff believes
  • Ukrainian military says strike kills over 100 Russian soldiers in Soledar
  • Satellite imagery shows magnitude of destruction in salt-mining town near Bakhmut.

As fierce fighting in and around Bakhmut is raging on, the Ukrainian military said it was conducting counterattacks in the devastated salt-mining town of Soledar.

"After several days of pulling back, we've even made a small advance," Ukraine's 46th Airmobile Brigade said, adding that "the railway station is ours, the mine is ours."

"We are waiting for support. Soledar is Ukraine," the brigade said.

Earlier in the day, President Volodymyr Zelensky pledged that the units defending Bakhmut and Soledar would be provided with ammunition and everything necessary "promptly and uninterruptedly."

He added that Ukraine's Armed Forces are reinforced with equipment and weapons supplied by the West.

Kyiv states that the battle for Soledar between Ukrainian forces and the Russian army and the Kremlin-controlled Wagner Group is underway, despite some claims that Moscow controls the town.

Soledar is located 10 kilometers north of Bakhmut — a city Russia has tried to seize for over five months.

Russia looks to capture the area as part of its larger goal of taking control of the entirety of Donetsk Oblast, which it has partly occupied since 2014.

The General Staff Deputy Chief Oleksii Hromov said on Jan. 12 that the military expects Russian forces to attempt to capture all of Donetsk Oblast in the near future.

"The enemy's main goal remains to seize our country's entire territory and destroy Ukraine's statehood," Hromov said.

Over 100 Russian soldiers killed in Ukrainian strike in Soledar, military says

Ukraine's Special Operations Forces reported that more than a hundred Russian soldiers were killed in the battle of Soledar after Ukrainian forces launched a missile attack.

A group of Russian soldiers was identified by Ukraine's Special Operations Forces, according to the special ops command. Artillery was directed at the concentration of troops, followed by a Tochka-U missile, killing the Russian soldiers in the area, the command said.

Along with 100 troops, the strike destroyed Russian military equipment.

At the same time, the Ukrainian military spokesperson Serhii Cherevatyi reported that Soledar came under Russian attacks 91 times over the past day.

"Attempts to encircle Bakhmut also continue," Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said.

The U.S. satellite imagery company Maxar showed recent pictures of Soledar. The town is "almost completely destroyed."

Russia deploys more conscripts to combat zones in Ukraine

As Moscow troops struggle to capture Soledar, the Kremlin is accumulating its forces in Ukraine.

According to Maliar, the mobilized conscripts from the training grounds in Russia and Belarus are deployed to the combat zones and border areas.

"As of Jan. 10, about 280 formations operate as part of the Russian forces, taking into account the operational reserve, compared to 250 (formations) last week," Maliar wrote on Telegram.

Maliar added that lacking combat equipment, the Kremlin actively uses human resources to achieve success on the battlefield.

Suffering heavy losses, Russia is planning a new wave of mobilization for the war against Ukraine, Andriy Chernyak, a spokesman for Ukraine's military intelligence, said on Jan. 7.

As many as 500,000 conscripts could be called up, in addition to 300,000 that were already drafted, Chernyak reported.

Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine's deputy military intelligence chief, earlier said the conscripts would likely be sent to the front lines in the east and south of Ukraine and would be part of renewed Russian offensives in the spring and summer.

According to the General Staff, as of Jan. 12, Russia has lost 112,960 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24.

The death toll of Russian troops is the highest the country has suffered since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan or arguably since World War II, Zelensky earlier said.

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