1/13/2023 – Soledar: The battle for “the salt of the earth”

Today’s picture – somewhere in the Bakhmut area. Photo by Nicole Tung

From Ira Kapitonova in Kyiv (Day 323):

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

There have been no significant changes at the front lines, but no big news doesn’t mean that personal tragedies are on hold as well.

Fighting in the Bakhmut area remains incredibly intense, with significant losses on both sides. The street fights in Soledar are unpredictable for both the soldiers and the about 500 civilians who stay there. You may not know this, but the name Soledar means “the gift of salt,” so someone played on it and said that the fighting there is the battle for “the salt of the earth.”

When the full-scale war started, they stopped the production of salt in Bakhmut and Soledar, and now it looks like the Russian army is fighting for access to the 200-kilometer (125 miles) long salt mines that have been in operation since 1881 and are one of the largest salt deposits in the world. These mines produced 95% of the salt consumed in Ukraine, so salt shortage was a serious issue in the spring of 2022. There is no shortage now – we have imported salt in stores, but I am reminded of the reality of war every time I reach for salt when cooking. Who knew that salt could be so different?

I read today about a 6-year-old girl who died of a heart attack in Avdiivka. We don’t know the reasons for it, but it’s definite that the stress from war, poor nutrition, and lack of medical care played its part. This should not be happening.

One response to “1/13/2023 – Soledar: The battle for “the salt of the earth””

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