A Ukrainian soldier in the contested eastern town of Soledar told CNN Wednesday evening that he and his comrades remained in the settlement, but that the situation was “very difficult” and that the next 24 hours or so would be critical.
“It is tough here, but we are more alive than anyone else,” the soldier, whom CNN is not identifying for security reasons, said via text message.
The head of Wagner, the Russian private military company, claimed Tuesday that his forces had taken control of the “entire territory of Soledar.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tempered that sentiment on Wednesday, saying only that there was a “positive trend.” The Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday that its forces had “blocked Soledar from the northern and southern parts” of the settlement.
“Don't believe what they say,” the Ukrainian soldier told CNN. “We're hanging in there. Though practically on our own. Without commanders.”
He said that the next 24 hours would be “very difficult.”
“During these days everything will be determined for the city. Because we are being trapped, they want to encircle us," he said.
The soldier said that if the nearby Ukrainian units held their ground, his unit would be able to safely retreat. He said that the Russians were jamming Ukrainian communications, making coordination extremely difficult.
“It is not clear who our neighbors are, but someone is there and fighting. We have no connection with them," the solider said.