Ukraine war: Soledar may have fallen - but Ukrainians say Russia has lost large number of troops for not much gain

The air crackles with the sound of gunfire.

Ukrainian and Russian troops are engaging at close quarters.

The Kremlin claims to have captured the salt mining town of Soledar but holding it maybe another matter.

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There are still pockets of resistance, but it is almost certain from what we saw that the town is mostly under Russian control.

Ukrainian units wait on standby to medivac troops.

Armoured vehicles rush along broken roads, attending to the injured.

As we moved closer to the entrance of the town, through small communities, we find deserted houses and abandoned animals.

Both sides have taken serious casualties under the relentless barrages of artillery.

Very few people have remained in this area and as we passed destroyed homes, the bombs started falling once again.

The sound of shells screeching overhead, before a ground shaking impact nearby.

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This terrifying war has destroyed communities forcing millions of people from their homes, and it's hard to see how they will return to these places and even if they could, what would they find here?

Further back from the frontline, soldiers wait for their orders.

Soledar may have fallen, but Ukrainian soldier Vadym tells me that Russia has lost a large number of men for not much gain.

"They've had a lot of losses - they're attacking in waves, and they're walking over the dead bodies."

The fighting has been carried out almost entirely by the Wagner mercenary group.

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Ruthless in their assault, but there are questions about what they have gained.

This will be the first victory for Russian forces after months of military setbacks but as Ukraine fortified its positions it is unlikely to make much difference to the outcome of this conflict.

In the fields of dead sunflowers, new trenches are being dug.

This war of attrition is brutal and is seemingly without end.