Serhiy Cherevatyi, a spokesman for Ukraine's Eastern Military Command, said on Jan. 11 that the Russian forces shelled the Bakhmut area in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk Oblast 249 times over the past day.
Cherevatyi reported that the salt-mining town of Soledar, the site of the fiercest fighting, is not under Russian military control, though nonetheless describing the situation as "difficult."
"In the summer, the Russians unlimitedly used 122- and 152-caliber shells, but now they focused on specific directions: Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Lyman," he said.
Earlier on Jan. 11, Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko also denied that Russian forces captured Soledar. More than 80% of Soledar and about 60% of Bakhmut is "completely destroyed," according to the governor.
Russia also denied earlier claims that Soledar, 10 kilometers north of Bakhmut, was under Moscow's control after Russian proxies in eastern Ukraine and Kremlin-run Wagner mercenary group said late on Jan. 10 that Russia had captured the town of Soledar.
Soledar is located 10 kilometers north of Bakhmut, a city Russia has attacked continuously for over five months. Capturing the city would also be significant for Russia’s goal of occupying the entirety of Donetsk Oblast.