Grey Zone, the semi-official media arm of Wagner Group, announced on Thursday that the city of Soledar, Donetsk, was “completely cleared,” calling its capture “one of the most successful offensive operations in recent times. In a post to its Telegram channel, Grey Zone noted that “Ukrainian formations defending in Soledar tried to hold it until the last moment, providing tough resistance to advancing PMC units.”
Ukrainian forces who remain at the city have reported that the situation remains critical. The Telegram channel of the 46th Brigade has reported that units are largely fighting independently as communications capabilities have deteriorated. They also said that they were supposed to have retreated, but haven’t, adding that they are sleep deprived and under constant fire. Heavy casualties have been reported.
While fighting persists in far western areas of the city, Geolocated footage shows how far Wagner has advanced:
- Geolocated footage shows Wagner PMCs walking amongst a residential area in the North West of the city. (Here)
A clip of the members of Russia's Wagner Group walking through the residential area in the NW part of the city of Soledar in the Donetsk Oblast of Ukraine.
They seem pretty calm, and no sounds of battle can be heard (video is short though).
Geolocation in the tweet below. pic.twitter.com/cFr1Xdmc02
— Status-6 (@Archer83Able) January 12, 2023
2. Geolocated footage shows Wagner PMCs walking around a sports complex in the western part of the city. (Here)
Wagner forces located at the Sports Complex in Soledar. Close to the center.
?48.697780365679314, 38.06137622804087 pic.twitter.com/KHR1ZdHXC2
— NOËL ?? ?? (@NOELreports) January 12, 2023
3. Geolocated footage shows Wagner PMCs at the city’s administrative building. (Here)
Assault units of "Wagner" forces entrenched in the center of #Soledar
video from the group in front of the administrative services building, which is located next to the city administration.#UkraineRussianWar pic.twitter.com/zyMe7rupy3
— Russia in Donbas (@fy_rwsya) January 10, 2023
4. Footage of Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin somewhere inside the Soledar Salt Mine. (Here)
The first video of the Wagner group from the salt mine in Soledar. pic.twitter.com/ndnF97fBYz
— ? Sprintero (@Sprinter20000) January 11, 2023
5. Geolocated footage shows Wagner PMCs in far western sections of the city. (Here)
Result of a meeting between Ukrainians of the 46th Brigade trying to escape Soledar and a Wagner ambush.
The 1st vehicle ran over a mine and the 2nd, a French VAB was gunned down with a Kord machine-gun and finished off at close range. pic.twitter.com/YP3HfTFAbG
— What's the media hiding? (@narrative_hole) January 11, 2023
The only parts of Soledar that remain under Ukrainian control are the train yard to the north west and a mixed residential/ industrial area to the west. Ukrainian leadership continues to insist that that city has not been fully captured and that Ukrainian resistance is keeping up a fight. The complete loss of Soledar will mark a major propaganda win for Russia, as well as open up a northern flank against the key city of Bakhmut. The loss of Soledar will also cut off a key road heading north to Siversk, which has been used to transport reinforcements and supplies.