Ukraine’s deputy defense minister said Wednesday afternoon that Russia is not in control of Soledar, the town in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region that has been the site of intense fighting in recent days.
A CNN team in the region Wednesday heard ongoing, heavy artillery fire in the vicinity of Soledar.
Russia sees its attempted capture of Soledar as a propaganda tool with which to maintain domestic support for its war effort, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday.
A Ukrainian soldier in Soledar told CNN Wednesday evening he and his comrades remained in the settlement, but the situation was “very difficult” and at least the next 24 hours would be critical.
Here are other key developments in the war:
- Russia appoints new head of so-called Ukraine “special military operation”: Russia’s defense minister has appointed Valery Gerasimov as commander of the Joint Group of Forces leading the country’s so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine. Gerasimov replaces Sergei Surovikin, who was appointed to the role on Oct. 8, 2022, and was in charge of Russian forces during their retreat from large swaths of Ukraine’s Kherson region.
- Poland announces it will send Leopard tanks to Ukraine: Poland will send Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine, Polish President Andrzej Duda said during a meeting with Zelensky in Lviv. Zelensky welcomed the decision. It would be the first time a Western-made tank has been sent to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion. Duda cautioned during a news conference that “a whole range of formal requirements, approvals and so on must also be met.” The Leopard tank is manufactured in Germany, and its re-export would typically need the approval of the German government.
- Ukrainian and Russian humanitarian officials met in Ankara: Top Ukrainian and Russian humanitarian officials, who oversee prisoner swaps, met Wednesday in the Turkish capital of Ankara. They also met with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
- UK government discussing “accelerating” support for Ukraine: The British government is working with partners to discuss how to go “further and faster” in supporting Ukraine, including the provision of tanks, according to a spokesperson for Prime Minister Rishi Sunaks on Wednesday.