Editor’s NoteIn its January 10 Russian offensive campaign assessment, the US-based Institute for the Study of War says that “Russian forces have not captured the entirety of Soledar (city northeast of Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast – Ed.) despite several false Russian claims that the city has fallen and that Bakhmut risks imminent encirclement.”
Several Russian sources claimed that Wagner Group forces advanced into the west of Soledar on January 10 (sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, etc). Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin refuted these claims, remarking that Wagner Group forces are still fighting against concerted Ukrainian resistance.
ISW has only observed visual confirmation of Wagner Group forces in central Soledar as of January 10.
The reality of block-by-block control of terrain in Soledar is obfuscated by the dynamic nature of urban combat, however, and Russian forces have largely struggled to make significant tactical gains in the Soledar area for months. 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, as ISW has previously assessed.
Russian troops have resumed the assault on Ukraine’s town of Soledar, bringing new reserves
Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 320: Fierce fighting near Bakhmut and Soledar continues
Putin’s crony Prigozhin wants control over salt and gypsum mines around Bakhmut – Reuters
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Tags: Donetsk Oblast, PMC Wagner, Soledar