Live: Fierce fighting continues in eastern Ukraine

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday that fighting was still raging in Soledar, a key eastern frontline city that the Russian mercenary group Wagner earlier said it controlled, as Moscow announced a new military commander in Ukraine. Follow our live blog for the latest updates on the war in Ukraine. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).

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4:50am: Ukraine response should be ‘replicated’, HRW urges governments

In the report, Human Rights Watch urged governments to “replicate the best of the international response in Ukraine” and “scale up the political will to address other crises”.

“Amongst the fog of war and the darkness that we have seen in this war in Ukraine, there has been a shining light,” the US-based NGO’s acting executive director, Tirana Hassan, told AFP in London.

“That has been the international response and the commitment to international justice,” she said as HRW released its annual report on rights worldwide.

2:01am: Fate of Ukraine’s Soledar uncertain as Wagner claims control

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday that fighting was still raging in a key eastern frontline city that a Russian mercenary group earlier said it controlled, as Moscow announced a new military commander in Ukraine. 

The fate of Soledar in eastern Ukraine was uncertain after Russian group Wagner claimed it controlled the gateway town – but the Kremlin cautioned against declaring victory prematurely.

And in his daily address, Zelensky insisted the front was “holding”.

 “The terrorist state and its propagandists are trying to pretend” to have achieved some successes in Soledar, Zelensky said, “but the fighting continues”.

00:28am: Russia appoints new military commander in Ukraine

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday appointed Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov as overall commander for what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, now in its 11th month.

The change effectively demoted General Sergei Surovikin, who was appointed only in October to lead the invasion and oversaw heavy attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

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