Smoke Rises Above Soledar Amid Reports of Struggle for Control of Donetsk City

Black smoke rose above the Donetsk city of Soledar on Wednesday, January 11, journalist footage shows, amid reports of a struggle between Ukrainian and Russian forces for control of the city.

Journalist Cyrille Amoursky posted footage showing smoke rising, which he said was filmed in the direction of Soledar along highway T-0513, close to the town of Blahodatne. Amoursky said this clip shows a Ukrainian rocket launcher firing in the direction of Russian positions in the city.

The footage was posted amid reports that fierce fighting had been ongoing in the Ukrainian frontline town between Ukrainian forces, led by the 46th Airmobile Brigade, and Russian forces.

The head of Russia’s Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, issued a statement on Tuesday claiming his mercenaries had taken control of Soledar and encircled Ukrainian forces. Footage circulated online that day showing two fighters from Wagner standing outside a government building in Soledar, claiming the mercenary group had taken control of the city. Other visuals suggested Wagner soldiers were inside a salt mine in Soledar, but Storyful could not corroborate the visuals with other imagery of the Soledar Salt Mines, a tourist attraction in the area.

Claims Ukrainian forces had lost Soledar were rejected by the Ukrainian brigade defending Soledar, as well as Yuriy Butusov, a journalist embedded with troops in the area.

However, the UK’s Defense Ministry said it was “likely” that Russian forces controlled most of Soledar. Credit: Cyrille Amoursky via Storyful

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