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According to a recent update by the U.K. Defense Ministry, Ukrainian troops have “likely made small gains” and successfully defended against a Russian counter-attack near Kremina, Luhansk Oblast.
In Donetsk Oblast, Russian and Kremlin-backed Wagner Group mercenaries “have likely been reconstituting in the town of Soledar after capturing it earlier in the week,” the ministry said.
British intelligence reported earlier this week that Russian forces backed by Wagner Group mercenaries were likely in control of Soledar as of the end of Jan. 16.
Russia claimed on Jan. 13 that it had seized control of the town but Ukraine denied the claim.
Russia does not fully control Bakhmut or neighboring Soledar in Donetsk Oblast, despite Russian claims, John Kirby, a spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council, said during a telephone briefing on Jan. 18.
The U.K. Defense Ministry said that overall, “the conflict is in a state of deadlock. However, there is a realistic possibility of local Russian advances around Bakhmut.”