London admits: The Ukrainian Army has probably Withdrawn from Soledar
As of Monday evening, the Ukrainian military may have already withdrawn from Soledar, which as a result is controlled by the Russian military and the private military company Wagner.
This is according to today's military intelligence briefing, after Russia announced on Friday that it was in control of the Donbas city.
Since then, the forces of Kyiv insist that they have not yet left Soledar and battles are being fought for it, and a dispute has arisen between the Russian army and "Wagner" as to whose credit is for its capture.
However, according to military intelligence in London, the withdrawal of the Armed Forces of Ukraine from Soledar can be discussed with a "high degree of probability". Along with this decision, new defensive lines were established in the west.
The briefing also said the offensive against Soledar was led "primarily" by Wagner forces in support of an operation to encircle the larger city of Bakhmut, one of the hot spots in the war in recent weeks. The offensive against Bakhmut slowed sharply at the beginning of the month when, hours before a two-day "truce" announced by Moscow, Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin announced that his forces were taking Soledar themselves.
"One of Ukraine's two main supply lines to Bakhmut is now under increasing pressure," says British military intelligence. It cites images available as of early January 2023 showing that the eastern and southern parts of Bakhmut continue to be under "intense aerial bombardment". It is "almost certain" that Ukrainian forces continue to defend the city from Russian forces on its outskirts.
Read more from the 329th day of the war in Ukraine.
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