Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of Wagner Group, has claimed that Russian PMC forces “took control of the entire territory of Soledar” after forming a cauldron around the city center, but noted that fighting continues.
In a message circulated by pro-Russian Telegram channels, Prigozhin stated that “The divisions of PMC Wagner took control of the entire territory of Soledar. A cauldron has been formed in the center of the city, in which urban battles are being fought. The number of prisoners will be announced tomorrow. Once again, I want to emphasize that no units except for the fighters of the Wagner PMC took part in the assault on Soledar.”
The message was accompanied by a photo of Prigozhin and Wagner PMCs in what is claimed to be the city’s salt mine.
Will never allow orcs to disguise as ??Forces by wearing our combat uniforms
— ???? South (@Azovsouth) January 10, 2023
This comes as geolocated footage shows Russian forces have advanced as far west as the city’s administrative building, as well as reports that Russian forces have advanced along the city’s northern outskirts and hillsides, effectively cutting off supply routes to the city with fire control coverage. There have also been unconfirmed claims that Ukrainian forces have begun to withdraw, which Ukrainian official have not commented on. The fall of Soledar would allow Russian forces to assault Bakhmut from the north.