Russian forces backed by Kremlin-controlled Wagner Group mercenaries are likely in control of Soledar as of the end of Jan. 16, British intelligence stated.
Ukrainian forces have likely withdrawn from the Donetsk Oblast town and established new defensive lines to the west.
Russia, on Jan. 13, claimed that it seized control of the town, but President Volodymyr Zelensky had responded that the battle continues.
More than 80% of Soledar and about 60% of Bakhmut is "completely destroyed," Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told the Kyiv Independent on Jan. 11.
The Wagner forces' advance on Soledar was a supporting operation to Russia's relentless assault on the town of Bakhmut, trying to envelop the city.
One of Ukraine's two main supply routes into Bakhmut is now under increasing pressure, and the south and east of the town have been under intense artillery bombardment, according to British intelligence. Ukrainian forces continue to defend on the outskirts of Soledar.
Bakhmut has recently been the focus of some of the heaviest fighting of the war.
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