Ukrainian forces struck HIMARS at mining plant in Russian-controlled Bakhmut

Smoke ascends after a strike at a factory in Soledar at the eastern Ukranian region of Donbas on May 24, 2022. An anonymous Telegram channel, purporting to be an employee of Moscow's secret services, said that a HIMARS strike targeted the Knauf mining and production plant in Soledar on Saturday. Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian forces may have struck a Russian-controlled plant in the captured town close to the eastern city of Bakhmut with one of Kyiv’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), according to new reports, as heavy fighting continues on the nearby front lines.

An anonymous Telegram channel, purporting to be an employee of Moscow’s secret services, said that a HIMARS strike targeted the Knauf mining and production plant at around 9 a.m. local time on Saturday.

The facility is located in the Ukrainian town of Soledar, northeast of the captured city of Bakhmut. Ukraine pulled out of Soledar in January 2023. The settlement hosted bitter clashes earlier in the war. It now sits several miles behind the current front lines.

Russia seized Bakhmut in May 2023, and Russia has been attempting to advance west of the settlement since.

Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russian region Chechnya and an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said in August 2022 that Chechen special forces and pro-Russian separatists had claimed control over the Knauf plant.

Four Russian personnel were killed and seven more injured, according to the Telegram channel. Footage appearing to show the impacts of the reported strike were shared across social media, the U.S.-based think tank, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) noted on Sunday.

Kyiv’s forces have been using HIMARS since the summer of 2022, and have lauded the impact of the systems, which can be used to fire long-range ATACMS (or Army Tactical Missile Systems), also provided by Washington.

Russia has said it has destroyed several Ukrainian-operated HIMARS, but it is unclear how many have been damaged or permanently taken out of action. In mid-March, then-Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow had taken out six Ukrainian HIMARS since the start of 2024. Footage widely circulated online confirmed the loss of at least one HIMARS earlier this year.

Ukraine’s military has consistently reported Russian attacks west of Bakhmut, saying Moscow has long eyed the town of Chasiv Yar just a handful of miles west of the city. Kyiv’s armed forces said in a statement on Monday morning that its troops had repelled a Russian attack around Klishchiivka, southwest of Bakhmut and to the southeast of Chasiv Yar. Battles are ongoing around Ivanivske, a village just east of Chasiv Yar.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Monday that its forces had attacked Ukrainian positions southwest of Chasiv Yar.

Reports over the weekend suggested Ukraine may have launched a HIMARS attack on Russia’s Belgorod region, bordering Ukraine’s Kharkiv region.

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