Russian forces have not yet been able to fully capture the city of Soledar in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, despite the fake statements made by some Russian sources on the city falling and the nearby city of Bakhmut risking imminent encirclement, the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports in its daily bulletin.
Previously, several Russian sources claimed that private military company (PMC) Wagner forces had advanced into the west of Soledar on 10 January, ISW experts note.
According to the experts, they have only observed visual confirmation of the Wagner forces being present in central Soledar as of January 10, however, it is difficult to say who is controlling the blocks of the city due to the “dynamic nature of urban combat”.
“Even taking the most generous Russian claims at face value, the capture of Soledar would not portend an immediate encirclement of Bakhmut. Control of Soledar will not necessarily allow Russian forces to exert control over critical Ukrainian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) into Bakhmut,” the bulletin states.
Yesterday, 10 January, Yevgeny Prigozhin’s press office claimed that the Wagner units had taken control over the entire territory of Soledar. However, Deputy Defence Minister of Ukraine Anna Maliar said that “heavy fighting” was continuing over the city.
On 9 January, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the actions of Russia’s army in Soledar “an insanity” and thanked his country’s servicemen who are “standing against more and more brutal assaults” against Russian troops.
ISW previously noted that Prigozhin uses both confirmed and fake reports about the Wagner Group’s successes in Soledar and Bakhmut to strengthen the reputation of his company as the only Russian group in Ukraine able to achieve notable success.