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Head of Russian-occupied parts of Donetsk in Ukraine says he visited Soledar

(Reuters) – The senior official based in Moscow in occupied parts of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region said on Sunday evening he had visited the town of Soledar which Russia claims to have captured earlier this month.

Denis Pushilin, the administrator, posted a short video on the Telegram messaging app that showed him driving and walking through uninhabited areas and destroyed buildings.

“I visited Soledar today,” Pushilin said in a statement.

Reuters was unable to independently verify when and where the video was taken.

On January 11, the private Russian military group Wagner said it had captured Soledar and Russian authorities in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine said last week they had control of the mining town. .

Ukraine has never publicly declared that the city was taken by Russian forces. On Sunday, the general staff of its armed forces said in a daily update that Russian forces had fired on Ukrainian positions in the area.

In his statement, Pushilin said Soledar’s mines were damaged and “difficult” to descend.

The town, along with the town of Bakhmut just to the northeast, has been at the center of intense fighting for months, with Russian proxy forces saying last week they had also captured Klishchiivka, a small village near Bakhmut.

The so-called Donetsk People’s Republic is one of four regions of Ukraine that Moscow declared its own in September in an exercise that Ukraine and its allies called a “sham”, a coercive referendum.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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