Ukrainian Eastern Group of Forces Spokesperson Serhiy Cherevaty has denied reports spread by Russian invasion forces that they now control the village of Soledar, to the north-east of the key Ukrainian-held town of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast.
“You'll have further details in the General Staff's update,” he said.
The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War has also reported that despite false Russian media claims, Russian forces and Wagner Group mercenaries have struggled to gain tactical control of the entire city, and even if they did so, it won't necessarily lead to the surrounding of Bakhmut.
Bakhmut and Soledar remain the hottest spots at the front line at this time.
Russian invading forces claimed they had complete control of Soledar on Jan. 8. The Ukrainian military denied that the Russians had managed to capture the entire city. On the same day, Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Malyar said that while "it was really hard" in the city, Ukrainian troops had nevertheless managed to make small gains on some parts of the front line there.
The commander of Ukraine’s Ground Forces, Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, recently visited the frontline positions of Ukrainian troops in Soledar and Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, and discussed the situation with their commanders.
Soledar is located about 13 kilometers to the north-east from Bakhmut. It is another town in the east of Ukraine almost completely destroyed by the occupying forces during their numerous attempts to seize it over the past several months.
The population of the town before the full-scale invasion was 11,000 citizens, most of whom have fled. Regular artillery shelling from the very start of the invasion has left Soledar largely deserted. Artemsil — the largest salt factory in Europe — is located in the town, but it has not been operating since April 2022.