Zelensky promises 'everything necessary' to defend Soledar from Russia

President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed that Ukrainian forces defending Bakhmut and Soledar in the east will be armed with everything they need to keep Russian troops at bay in some of the bloodiest battles of the war.

Kiev said its troops were fighting to retain control of the now-battered industrial towns in the east, which Russian mercenaries claimed to have taken this week.The United Nations Security Council was due to meet at 2000 GMT on Friday to discuss the situation in Ukraine.The Kremlin has made capturing Bakhmut -- and Soledar with it -- its primary objective after nearly one year of fighting, having been forced to abandon more ambitious goals such as seizing the capital Kiev.

"I want to emphasise that the units defending these cities will be provided with ammunition and everything necessary, on time and without interruption," Zelensky said in a statement on Thursday after a meeting with senior military officials.Ukraine's Deputy Defence Minister Ganna Malyar said earlier that the fight for Soledar was "the fiercest and heaviest" of the war."Despite the difficult situation, Ukrainian soldiers are fighting stubbornly," she added.

Although Russian mercenary group Wagner claimed early Wednesday that its forces had captured Soledar, the defence ministry in Moscow said fighting was ongoing and Ukraine denied any full takeover.Military maps released by Russia's defence ministry on Thursday did not show Soledar under the control of Moscow's regular army.- 'A lot of work ahead' -A Russia-installed official in Donetsk, Andrey Baevsky, said there were still "small pockets of resistance" from Ukraine inside the city, claiming Russian-backed troops had nearly full control.

Both sides have conceded heavy losses in the fight for Soledar and...

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