Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian General Staff, has been appointed the commander of the attack on Ukraine

Russian paramilitary group “Wagner” claims that its fighters took control of Soledar after heavy fighting, which the Ukrainian army denies. Moreover, Poland says it is ready to deliver tanks to Kiev. Finally, Russia has again changed the offensive commander in Ukraine, this time appointing General Valery Gerasimov as the Chief of the Defense Staff. Follow the latest events related to the war in Ukraine.

  • 20:17: The Ukrainian army conducts military exercises near the Belarusian border

Ukrainian troops on Wednesday conducted drills in the country’s north, near the border with Belarus, in preparation for a possible new offensive by Russia in small towns that are traditionally quiet, amid the sound of gunfire and the sound of armored vehicle engines.

Kyiv fears that Moscow is massing troops in ally Belarus with the aim of attacking northwestern Ukraine or even advancing on the capital, as the Russian military did when it launched a “special operation” last February.

“They may try, but we are ready (…) There will be great resistance from every building,” Colonel Roman Voloshuk said during the drills held at three undisclosed locations in the northwest of the country.

  • 18:36: Fighting continues in Soledar, Zelensky says the front is “holding”.

The Ukrainian president said that fighting continues in the eastern Ukrainian city of Soledar, which Russian mercenary group Wagner claims to have captured. Vladimir Zelensky made it clear that the front “held” in the region.

“The terrorist state and its propagandists are trying to pretend that they have succeeded in Soledar, but the fighting continues,” Vladimir Zelensky said in his daily address on Wednesday. According to him, “We are doing everything to strengthen the defense of Ukraine without any pause, even for a day”, in the eastern region of Donetsk, which is “captured” by the front.

>> War in Ukraine: Why Moscow wants to conquer Soledar at any cost

  • 18:06: Update on the situation with Special Correspondent Astrig Agopyan in Ukraine

  • 16:46: Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerassimov was appointed commander of the attack on Ukraine

On Wednesday, Russia again changed the commander of its offensive in Ukraine, this time appointing General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Ministry of Defense.

The ministry announced in a press release that Valery Gerasimov was appointed “commander of the joint forces group” deployed in Ukraine, replacing Sergey Surovik, who was appointed to this position only in November. According to the ministry, this change is explained by the “necessity” of “expanding the missions” to be performed and “closer interaction” between the components of the army.

  • 16:29: Estonia expels 21 diplomats and other employees of the Russian embassy

Estonia announced on Wednesday that it was expelling 21 Russian diplomats and other Russian embassy staff in order to “achieve parity” in the number of diplomatic staff between the two countries in Tallinn and Moscow.

“There is no basis for the current size of the Russian embassy,” Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said in a statement.

Deportees will have to leave Estonia by the end of the month.

  • 15:50: Kyiv and Moscow called on Erdogan for humanitarian intervention

Ukrainian and Russian human rights mediators have urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to intervene in favor of a “humanitarian corridor” to evacuate women, children and wounded people trapped in Ukraine, their Turkish counterpart said on Wednesday.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan assured that he is “ready” to play this role in return. Ankara already played a key role in the prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine in September.

“There are wounded. Women and children are left in the middle of the battle on both sides. The two mediators expressed a common demand: opening a humanitarian corridor under the auspices of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as he did for the grain corridor,” the Turkish mediator in the Black Sea, Şeref Malkoç, told the press after a meeting with representatives of Ukraine and Russia in Ankara. made a statement.

  • 15:17: Warsaw is ready to deliver Leopard tanks to Ukraine as part of the international coalition

Poland is ready to deliver Leopard tanks to Ukraine as part of an international coalition requested by Kiev, the Polish president said on Wednesday.

“Leopard tanks (14 armored vehicles, editor’s note) will be sent as part of the coalition being built,” Andrzej Duda said during a joint press conference with his Ukrainian and Lithuanian counterparts in Lviv, western Ukraine. .

  • 14:13: Ukraine can win a war with long-range Western missiles within a year, says Mykhailo Podoliak

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak said the battles for control of Soledar and Bakhmout in eastern Ukraine are the “bloodiest” for Russia and Ukrainian forces since the start of the Russian occupation.

“Everything that happens today in the direction of Bakhmout or Soledar is the bloodiest scenario of this war,” he told AFP in an interview.

He also predicted that Ukraine would win the war with Western long-range missiles within a year. “Only missiles with a range of more than 100 km will allow us to significantly accelerate the liberation of the territories,” he said, judging that the strengthening of Western arms supplies would lead to the end of the war “either late summer or early.” summer, or summer, or probably autumn.’

  • 13:58: “fierce fighting” in Soledar, but no Russian advance according to Ukrainian Defense

“Heavy fighting continues in Soledar,” Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Maliar said on Telegram, adding that the Russians “tried to break through Ukrainian defenses” and “completely captured the city, but did not succeed.” The Russian military also confirmed fighting in the small town in the Donetsk region on Wednesday, while the Russian mercenary group Wagner earlier claimed control of Soledar.

>> War in Ukraine: Why Moscow wants to conquer Soledar at any cost

  • 11:26: According to the Russian Defense Ministry, fighting is still going on in Soledar.

The Russian Defense Ministry said fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces in Soledar was still ongoing, hours after the Wagner paramilitary group claimed control of the town in eastern Ukraine.

“Airborne units have surrounded the northern and southern parts of Soledar. The Russian Aerospace Forces are striking enemy fortifications. Assault forces are fighting in the city,” the Russian ministry said in a statement at a time when troops from Moscow have been trying to conquer it for several weeks. This small town in the Donetsk region.

  • 10:19: Kremlin calls for “hurry” to declare victory in Soledar

The Kremlin has called for “rush” to declare victory in Soledar after Russian paramilitary group Wagner claimed control of the town in eastern Ukraine after months of intense fighting.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, taking into account the positive dynamics in the “advances” of the Russian forces and applauding the “fantastic heroism” of the soldiers, said, “We should not rush. Let’s wait for the official announcements.”

  • 10:06: Meeting between Ukrainian and Russian human rights defenders in Turkey

Ukrainian and Russian human rights officials Dmitry Loubinets and Tatyana Moskalkova held a rare meeting at this level between officials of the two countries in several months in Turkey on Tuesday.

Dmitry Loubinets said on Telegram that the two representatives “discussed a wide range of humanitarian issues and work related to the provision of human rights assistance to the citizens of both countries.” Tatyana Moskalkova, in turn, was well remembered for “humanitarian aid to the citizens of Ukraine and Russia”.

  • 9:34: Soledar “is and always will be Ukrainian”

According to the Army Telegram, the eastern Ukrainian town of Soledar “is Ukrainian and will always be Ukrainian,” as the Russian group Wagner previously claimed control of the town, 15 km from Bakhmut, which Russia has been trying to conquer ever since. last summer.

The Ukrainian military added that it is “not true” that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the “Wagner” paramilitary group, could be in the Soledar salt mines.

  • 06:42: Russia’s Wagner group claims to control the city of Soledar in eastern Ukraine

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, said his fighters had taken control of the Ukrainian town of Soledar this week after heavy fighting, adding that “urban fighting” was continuing.

“Wagner’s units have taken control of the entire territory of Soledar,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said through the press service on social networks, adding that the fighting is taking place in the center of the city, which makes the Russian group’s control of the area uncertain. city. AFP could not confirm his statements.

>> War in Ukraine: Why Moscow wants to conquer Soledar at any cost

He said that the Ukrainian army resisted the attacks in Soledar, located in the Donetsk region, 15 km away from Bakhmut, which Russia has been trying to conquer for months.

Both sides reported fierce and bloody fighting in Soledar.

  • 01:48: Vladimir Zelensky strips four people of Ukrainian citizenship, including Putin’s ally Viktor Medvedchuk

On Tuesday, Vladimir Zelensky stripped four prominent politicians of their Ukrainian citizenship, including Viktor Medvedchuk, a pro-Kremlin politician transferred to Russia as part of a prisoner exchange last year.

“I have decided to terminate the citizenship of four people: Andrey Leonidovych Derkach, Taras Romanovych Kozak, Renat Raveliyovych Kuzmin and Viktor Volodymyrovych Medvedchuk,” the Ukrainian president said in a video address at night. If people’s deputies choose to serve murderers who come to Ukraine and not the people of Ukraine, our actions will be appropriate.”

Viktor Medvedchuk, a close ally of the Kremlin leader, led Ukraine’s banned pro-Russian party Opposition Platform for Life and faced treason charges before being transferred to Moscow in September 2022.

  • 12:37: Kharkiv was bombed a few hours after the German minister’s visit

Russia shelled Kharkiv on Tuesday evening, hours after German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock made a surprise visit to the northeastern Ukrainian city with her Ukrainian counterpart, calling on Germany to provide heavy armor.

“The longer such a decision is delayed, the more casualties there will be, the more civilians will be killed,” Ukrainian Minister Dmitry Kouleba said.

An AFP journalist later heard several explosions in the city, which has been relatively spared by recent Russian strikes. “Stay in the shelters. The invaders are bombing again!” Regional governor Oleg Sinogubov warned in a Telegram message.

With AFP and Reuters

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