Battle of Soledar

Battle in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
Battle of Soledar
Part of the eastern Ukraine offensive's Battle of Donbas in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
Battle of Soledar, September 25, 2022.jpg
Date3 August 2022 – present
(4 months, 1 week and 4 days)
Location
Soledar, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine
Status Ongoing
Belligerents
 Ukraine
Commanders and leaders
Unknown Unknown
Units involved

 Russian Armed Forces

Luhansk People's Republic LPR Armed Forces

  • 6th Cossack Regiment[2]

 Ukrainian Armed Forces

Strength
Unknown Unknown
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown
1+ civilian killed
2+ civilians wounded
  • v
  • t
  • e
2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
Kyiv offensive

Northeastern Ukraine campaign

Eastern Ukraine campaign
Donbas offensive
Eastern Ukrainian counteroffensive

Southern Ukraine campaign
Southern Ukrainian counteroffensive

Other regions
Naval war
Spillover and cross-border incidents
Resistance

Possibly related

The Battle of Soledar is an ongoing series of military engagements near the city of Soledar between the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation during the battle for the Donbas in 2022.

Background

During the Eastern Ukraine offensive in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian and separatist forces set their sights on seizing the Donbas region, consisting of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Parts of these oblasts, including their capitals with the same names, were seized in pro-Russian uprisings in 2014. In late June and early July 2022, Luhansk oblast fell under Russian control following the Ukrainian withdrawal from Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk. [5] The battlefield then shifted towards the cities of Bakhmut, Siversk, and Soledar, all key towns in Donetsk Oblast.

The first shelling in Soledar began on 17 May, when Russian forces used drones and planes against Soledar, Klinove, and Vovchoiarivka.[6] The next day, Donetsk Oblast governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said Russian forces had closed within 20 kilometers of Soledar, while shelling the town along with Bakhmut and Kostiantynivka. The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed Ukrainian ammunition warehouses were destroyed in Soledar during these campaigns.[7] On 20 May, a Russian missile had hit and damaged Artemsil saltworks.[8] By the end of May, Russian forces had only advanced 4 kilometers towards Soledar.[9]

On 1 June, Russian shelling killed one person and wounded two others.[10] Shelling continued on 6 June.[11] On 16 June, Russian forces attempted to advance towards Soledar, but made no notable gains.[12] Fighting intensified in early July after the fall of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, with Russian forces shelling Soledar, Bakhmut, and nearby towns on 3 July, along with advancing multiple kilometers.[13] [14] Through the rest of July, shelling and small Russian assaults continued. On the night of 9-10 July, "a dozen missiles" struck the cultural center in Soledar, with fires burning for days, as no firefighters responded.[15] The Vuhlehirska power plant was captured on 26 July, effectively making Soledar the next key target along that axis.[16][17]

Before the invasion, there were 15,000 inhabitants in Soledar. By late July, there were around 2,000 people remaining. The Soledar Salt Mine, shelled many times, had closed.[15]

On 2 August, prominent Ukrainian nationalist and military officer Andriy Zhovanyk died in battle near Soledar. Reportedly, he died while serving as a company commander of the 4th tactical group of the Right Sector Ukrainian Volunteer Corps.[18][19]

Battle

On 3 August, the Ukrainian army announced that Russian forces had begun an offensive against the city of Soledar. Russian forces began shelling Soledar, Bakhmut, and surrounding villages to the south and east of the towns. Pro-Russian media claimed that the renewed offensive had breached defense lines to the east and southeast, although these claims were denied by Ukrainian officials. Later that week, Russian and separatist forces had taken partial-to-full control of the Knauf Gips Donbas gypsum factory southeast of the city center.[20][21] On 10 August, Russian forces also advanced in the Bilokamyanskyi refractory plant.[22] The separatists said they had entered Soledar proper on 11 August, but the Ukrainians did not confirm this.[23] The fighting in Soledar was described in the media as "grueling" and typified by artillery duels between troops entrenched around strategic points, located near hedgerows and tree lines along swathes of farmland, all while civilians fled to underground shelters and basement to avoid bombardment.[24][25]

On 16 August, airstrikes and ground engagements continued around Soledar, and the LPR separatists claimed to have controlled most of the city's industrial zone, but there was no evidence they had advanced beyond the gypsum factory.[26] On 19 August, shelling and clashes between the Ukrainian defenders and elements of the LPR forces continued on the eastern outskirts of the city, as the Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian troops were attacking from the Stryapivka and Volodymyrivka directions.[27] The Ukrainian General Staff reported it repelled Russian assaults near Soledar on 27 August.[28] Clashes near the gypsum plant continued by 31 August.[29]

On 8 September, Ukraine said it repelled another Russian assault in Soledar, while Russian sources claimed that Russian and DPR forces had advanced into Soledar's residential areas and were clashing with Ukrainian defenders.[30] On 10 September, Russian sources claimed that the Russians had captured several blocks of territory around the gypsum factory.[31] Repeated local Russian assaults on or near Soledar continued into October, with the Ukrainian General Staff reporting it repelled numerous assaults on Soledar throughout the month.[32][33][34] On 19-20 October, Russian sources reported ongoing clashes in Soledar's industrial zone and that Russian troops had made minimal gains in the last five days.[35][36] On 22-24 October, Russian sources reported the capture of an unspecified key street in the Soledar direction amid reports of ongoing house-to-house clashes in the area, particularly on Soledar's southeastern outskirts. The claims of Russian gains were not independently verified at the time.[37][38]

Clashes in the Soledar-Bakhmut area reportedly intensified in early November, as Wagner Group troops attempted to break Ukrainian defense lines in the area, seeking to encapsulate Bakhmut. The Ukrainians said they were repelling dozens of Russian attacks per day as the Soledar-Bakhmut-Donetsk city front became the epicenter of fighting in Ukraine, according to Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar.[39][40] Despite this, the Russians made no notable gains in Soledar by 8 November.[41] Clashes along the Soledar-Bakhmut front continued into December, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy referring to the fighting on 3 December as "the hottest, most painful. We do everything to help our boys in this direction."[42] Multiple Russian sources reported that Wagner fighters had captured all or most of Yakovlivka, north east of Soledar, by December 7 and were clearing the settlement, though these claims were not independently confirmed.[43]

Analysis

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a U.S.-based think tank that has monitored the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, assessed on 8 August 2022 that Russian forces were likely seeking to envelop Bakhmut by capturing Soledar, located north of the city, and Zaitseve, south of Bakhmut. The Russians wanted to set conditions to disrupt Ukrainian control over the T0513 trunk road that supports Ukrainian frontline positions in northeast Donetsk Oblast, the ISW continued.[44]

References

  1. ^ Ukraine resists Russia’s invasion. Day 23: Russian troops not able to advance, more terror against civilians, Russia to brandish nuclear weapons
  2. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, August 23". The Institute for the Study of War. 23 August 2022. Retrieved 26 August 2022.
  3. ^ Exhausted Ukrainian soldiers return from eastern front
  4. ^ "Reconnaissance of the Chechen battalion named after Sheikh Mansur. Soledar. Bakhmut region". (video). Retrieved 8 December 2022.
  5. ^ "Luhansk Oblast: Russian forces focus efforts on Bakhmut front". news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2022-08-11.
  6. ^ "The operational update regarding the russian invasion on 18.00 on May 17, 2022". Institute for the Study of Warfare. 17 May 2022. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  7. ^ "May 18, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news". CNN. 18 May 2022. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  8. ^ "Окупанти завдали удару по заводу Артемсіль" (in Ukrainian). 28 May 2022.
  9. ^ "May 31". 31 May 2022.
  10. ^ "Russia's war against Ukraine: Day 98, June 1 – Update No. 2". 1 June 2022.
  11. ^ "What Happened on Day 103 of the War in Ukraine". 6 June 2022.
  12. ^ "Ukraine war update: June 16". 16 June 2022.
  13. ^ "Ukraine war: Putin presses on after Lysychansk capture". Saudi Gazette. 5 July 2022.
  14. ^ "Ukrainian Armed Forces repel Russian assault on Sloviansk front, Russian troops cross Siverskyi Donets – General Staff report". 3 July 2022.
  15. ^ a b "Ukraine frontline town just wants 'peace and silence'". France24. 26 July 2022. Retrieved 30 November 2022.
  16. ^ "Russians prepare offensive on Siversk, Soledar – General Staff". 26 July 2022.
  17. ^ "July 29, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news". 29 July 2022.
  18. ^ "Andriy Zhovanyk: The small Soviet army will never defeat the big Soviet army. But Ukrainian army on the Western model will defeat Russia". Ukrainian Frontline. 5 August 2022. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  19. ^ "05/08 – 10/08. How Ukraine is resisting Russian occupation. Photo digest №28". Ukrainer. 17 August 2022. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  20. ^ "Institute for the Study of War". Institute for the Study of War. Retrieved 2022-08-11.
  21. ^ "Отмечается, что на заводе KNAUF, который находится в черте города, начались бои между подразделениями ВС РФ и англоязычными наемниками". 3 August 2022.
  22. ^ "RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, AUGUST 10". 10 August 2022. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  23. ^ "Pro-Russian separatists claim to have entered Donetsk towns of Soledar and Bakhmut". CNN. 11 August 2022. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  24. ^ "Living Underground On The Spearhead Of Russia's Offensive". Barrons. 11 August 2022. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  25. ^ "Ukrainian photographers share story of girl from Soledar whose parents refuse to evacuate". Yahoo News. 6 December 2022. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  26. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, August 16". The Institute for the Study of War. 16 August 2022. Retrieved 20 August 2022.
  27. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, 19 August". The Institute for the Study of War. 19 August 2022. Retrieved 20 August 2022.
  28. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, August 27". The Institute for the Study of War. 27 August 2022. Retrieved 28 August 2022.
  29. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, August 31". The Institute for the Study of War. 31 August 2022. Retrieved 3 September 2022.
  30. ^ "RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, SEPTEMBER 8". The Institute for the Study of War. 8 September 2022. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
  31. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, September 10". The Institute for the Study of War. 10 September 2022. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  32. ^ "RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, SEPTEMBER 20". The Institute for the Study of War. 20 September 2022. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  33. ^ "RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, SEPTEMBER 30". The Institute for the Study of War. 30 September 2022. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  34. ^ "RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, OCTOBER 7". The Institute for the Study of War. 7 October 2022. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  35. ^ "RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, OCTOBER 19". The Institute for the Study of War. 19 October 2022. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  36. ^ "RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, OCTOBER 20". The Institute for the Study of War. 20 October 2022. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  37. ^ "RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, OCTOBER 22". The Institute for the Study of War. 22 October 2022. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  38. ^ "RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, OCTOBER 24". The Institute for the Study of War. 24 October 2022. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  39. ^ "RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, NOVEMBER 1". The Institute for the Study of War. 1 November 2022. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  40. ^ "RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, NOVEMBER 2". The Institute for the Study of War. 2 November 2022. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  41. ^ "RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, NOVEMBER 8". The Institute for the Study of War. 8 November 2022. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  42. ^ "Situation in Bakhmut, Soledar is 'hottest, most painful,' Ukrainian president says about ongoing war with Russia". Anadolu Agency. 4 December 2022.
  43. ^ "Wagner Group Repels Fresh Ukrainian Advances in Battle for Bakhmut—Report". Newsweek. 8 December 2022.
  44. ^ "RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, AUGUST 8". 8 August 2022. Retrieved 9 August 2022.
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