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Russian forces have occupied the last industrial zone in Soledar's farthest western outskirts held by Ukrainian troops, Ukrainian drone unit commander Robert “Magyar” Brovdy reported on his Telegram channel.
"As of 5:30 p.m., enemy assault units occupied the industrial zone near mine number 7, which is located in the administrative border of the city of Soledar, and is its western outskirts," he wrote.
According to Brovdy, the front lines have moved nearby, outside of the city limits, as Ukraine continues to fight Russia for the town.
Russian militants in eastern Ukraine and Kremlin-run mercenary Wagner Group claimed that Russia had captured Soledar on Jan. 10, but Ukraine continued to deny the claims for the next several days, saying that fighting was ongoing.
The salt-mining town of Soledar in Donetsk Oblast is located about 20 kilometers north of Bakhmut, another city where fierce battles are ongoing between Ukrainian and Russian forces. Russian troops are hoping to encircle Bakhmut by capturing Soledar.
Capturing Soledar would help Russia approach Bakhmut from the north, but an encirclement is still a distant goal for Moscow despite confirmed advances in the town, the Institute for the Study of War said in an assessment on Jan. 7.
To cut Ukraine's supply line to Bakhmut, Russia would need to establish control over at least two highways west of Soledar, the ISW said.
Ukraine has other logistic routes to sustain its forces in Bakhmut as well, "making the entire discussion of an encirclement at this point bizarre."