Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) units have withdrawn from the city of Soledar in Donetsk Region, the spokesman for the AFU’s Eastern Group of Forces, Serhiy Cherevaty, said in Wednesday comments.

"We have entrenched ourselves on pre-prepared defense lines (to the west)," Cherevaty said in comments on the media platform Suspilne.  

He said the withdrawal was planned and aimed to preserve the lives of Ukrainian soldier, who had fought an effective delaying action inflicting serious casualties on Russian forces. The retreat evened out Ukrainian defensive lines and removed a threat of encirclement to units in Soledar, Cherevaty claimed.

"We completed the main task: they did not allow them to systematically break through the enemy in the Donetsk direction of the front and enter the rear, and then move to the operational space. They (AFU units) knocked out the maximum forces, primarily the manpower of the personnel, exhausted the enemy," he said, in comments reported by the UNIAN news agency. Other Ukrainian news platforms echoed Cherevaty’s comments.

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Soledar, a city adjacent to the city Bakhmut in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, had been under attack by elements of the Russia-run mercenary group Wagner for more than a month.

According to Ukrainian military sources, former felons employed by Wagner conducted days of effective human wave attacks to make progress in bloody house-to-house fighting in the town.

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Ukraine’s Army General Staff made public a situation estimate on Wednesday morning claiming that in the past 24 hours Ukrainian forces had killed 910 Russian soldiers – a near record kill claim for the entire war.

Local sources reported heavy fighting continuing around Bakhmut on Tuesday with Ukrainian forces holding against repeated Russian attacks.

The pro-Ukraine volunteer group Bakhmutsky Demon said that "the situation is extremely complicated, (Russian) aviation is carrying out strikes on (Ukrainian) positions, but our line is intact and no-one has broken it. In the suburbs we hit them with artillery and even surrounded them."

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Other Ukrainian information platforms posted video footage of small groups of Russian infantry attempting to attack across open ground before being pounded by artillery. The popular drone operator Madyar said Ukrainian artillery had the Russian assaults under full observation and were shooting them to bits.

A morning situation estimate from Ukraine's Army General Staff said Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) units in the vicinity were holding. The high-profile Ukrainian war correspondent Yuiry Butusov posted video of elements of 17th Tank Brigade, he said, engaging and destroying a Russian tank attack. The volunteer drone operation group Adam confirmed Butusov's claim.

The pro-Russia Readovka information platform claimed "two of three" supply routes into Bakhmut had been cut by Russian forces and "under our control", and that elements of the 20th Mechanized Brigade and "foreign units" were under heavy Russian pressure. AFU units had blown up a bridge connecting Bakhmut to the nearby city of Slovyansk, the source said, without providing evidence. A morning statement from Russia's Army General Staff said Moscow's troops were conducting successful combined arms attacks in the Bakhmut sector and that Ukrainian troops were retreating.

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