Putin embarrassed with Kremlin forced into humiliating U-TURN as Russian mercenary group exposes Kremlin lies

Vladimir Putin's forces were incorrectly praised for a Ukraine victory
Vladimir Putin's forces were incorrectly praised for a Ukraine victory
Dan Falvey

By Dan Falvey

Published: 14/01/2023

- 13:57

Updated: 14/02/2023

- 10:22

Moscow had hailed the success of its troops in seizing control of Soledar

Russia was forced into an embarrassing U-turn last night after being forced to admit its army had no part to play in capturing the Ukrainian town of Soledar.

Moscow had hailed the success of its troops in seizing control of the fiercely contested salt-mining town in the east of the country.

Russia has claimed painted the battles for Soledar and nearby Bakhmut as key to capturing the entire eastern region of the Donbas.

Smoke rises from strikes on the frontline city of Soledar, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, as seen from Bakhmut, Ukraine, January 5, 2023. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Soledar fell to Russia yesterday

After weeks of set-backs for Putin's men, the military yesterday announced its "brave paratroopers" had liberated" the small town.

It was forced to change its statement after the head of the Russia mercenary Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, took credit for the victory.

He said the area had been taken with "not a single paratrooper" involved.

A statement from the Russian military later admitted: "This combat mission was successfully implemented by the courageous and selfless actions of the volunteers of the Wagner assault squads."

The rare recognition of the private fighting force comes amid continued questions over the military strategy of Russia's own army.

Earlier this week, Putin reorganised his war cabinet, publicly attacking one of his own deputy prime ministers for the failures in the war.

He accused General Sergei Surovikin, of “fooling around”.

The Wagner group has also publicly aired its frustrations at Russia's army, accusing it of incompetence.

A soldier runs through debris of damaged buildings in location said to be Soledar, Ukraine in this still image obtained from a video released January 12, 2023. Courtesy of State Border Guard Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS  THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. REUTERS WAS NOT ABLE TO CONFIRM THE LOCATION OF THE VIDEO OR THE DATE IT WAS FILMED.
Heavy fighting has taken place in the town for weeks

While the mercenaries are taking action in Ukraine with the backing of the Kremlin, they are despised by the Russian army.

Despite Moscow talking up the significance of the gaining of Soledar, Western officials have downplayed its significance.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said last night: "It’s not going to have a strategic impact on the war itself.

"And it certainly isn’t going to stop the Ukrainians or slow them down in terms of their efforts to regain their territory."

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