Serhii Cherevatyi, Eastern Military Command spokesman, said on Jan. 10 that Russian troops shelled Soledar and its outskirts using “different artillery systems” 86 times over the past 24 hours, Ukrainian news site Ukrainska Pravda reported.
Cherevatyi said that even though Russian troops “suffer colossal losses,” they still try to advance to capture Soledar, as reported by the media. Soledar has long been a target of Russia's offensive. Cherevatyi said earlier that the city was “practically destroyed.”
Cherevatyi also said that the goal of the Ukrainian military defending Soledar is to exhaust Russians, "so that even if they get a tactical win, it becomes a Pyrrhic victory."
According to the U.K. Defense Ministry's latest report, Russian forces and the Wagner Group have made tactical advances into Soledar and are likely in control of most of the settlement.
Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on Jan. 9 that Russian forces changed tactics and commenced another major “powerful” assault on Soledar, transferring additional units to the city.
In a video address on Jan. 8, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Soledar is one of the "bloodies places on the front."
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. By capturing Soledar and Bakhmut, Russia is trying to achieve its goal of occupying the whole of Donetsk Oblast.