Russia has claimed to have taken control of the center of the embattled town of Soledar in the eastern Donetsk Oblast, inferring that the entire town will soon be captured. The claim was made by Denis Pushilin, head of Russian proxies in Donetsk Oblast, live on Jan. 10 on Russia's Channel One, as reported by state media agency TASS.
"The guys have already entrenched themselves on one side, on from the other side they are already moving quite effectively and are conducting a sweep somewhere in the western part of Soledar," said Pushilin.
Ukraine has given no indication of an ongoing or imminent retreat from Soledar.
Speaking in his regular evening address on Jan. 10, President Volodymyr Zelensky gave special thanks to the soldiers of Ukraine's 46th Airmobile Brigade for the bravery shown in their defense of the area.
Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on the evening of Jan. 10 that fierce battles are raging for the salt-mining town.
According to Maliar, Russia ignores the heavy losses of its military personnel and continues to attack actively.
"The approaches to our positions are simply littered with the bodies of dead enemy fighters," she said, adding that Ukrainian service members "bravely defend themselves."
"Only a very strong nation can fight so desperately against such a powerful enemy," Maliar added.
Earlier on Jan. 10, Serhii Cherevatyi, Eastern Military Command spokesman, said that Russian troops shelled Soledar and its outskirts using different artillery systems 86 times over the past 24 hours.
Soledar has long been a target of Russia's offensive. Cherevatyi said earlier that the city was "practically destroyed."
The salt-mining town of Soledar is located just 10 kilometers northeast of Bakhmut and is a crucial stronghold for Ukraine's efforts to defend the city, which is among Russia's most valuable targets. The capture of Soledar and Bakhmut, are seen by the Kremlin as the next important step in its goal of occupying the whole of Donetsk Oblast.