Ukrainian forces still holding out in eastern town of Soledar in fierce battles, say UK defence chiefs

Ukrainian troops are holding out in Soledar despite Russian claims to have captured the town in the east of the country, British defence chiefs said on Monday. The

Ukrainian forces were also gradually seizing more ground near Kremina, which has also been at the centre of fierce fighting. In its latest intelligence update, the Ministry

of Defence in London said: “Over the weekend, intense fighting continued in both the Kremina and Bakhmut sectors of the Donbas front. “As of 15 January 2023, Ukrainian Armed

Forces (UAF) almost certainly maintained positions in Soledar, north of Bakhmut, in the face of continued Wagner Group assaults.” The Wagner Group, Vladimir Putin’s “private

army”, is reported to be vying for power against the Russian regular army during the clashes over Soledar. Both claimed last week that Soledar in the eastern Donbas region

had fallen under Russian control, but Ukrainian military chiefs said their forces were still defending the town. The UK MoD briefing added: “Around Kremina, fighting has

been characterised by a complex series of local attacks and counter-attacks in wooded country. However, overall, the UAF continue to gradually advance their front line east on the

edge of Kremina town. “Over the last six weeks, both Russia and Ukraine have achieved hard-fought but limited gains in different sectors. In these circumstances, a key

operational challenge for both sides is to generate formations of uncommitted, capable troops which can exploit the tactical successes to create operational

breakthroughs.”