Russian troops have increased pressure on Bakhmut, but they are unlikely to encircle the city, where fierce fighting is taking place, in the near future. This is stated in the intelligence report of the British Department of Defense.
It is noted that over the past four days, Russian troops and PMC forces «Wagner» made a tactical advance into the city of Soledar and probably control most of the settlement. Intelligence reminds that Soledar is located 10 km north of Bakhmut, the capture of which probably remains the main operational goal of Russia.
British intelligence emphasizes that the Soledar axis of Russia is most likely an attempt to encircle Bakhmut from the north and disrupt Ukrainian lines of communication.
Part of the fighting is centered on the entrances to the 200-kilometer unused salt mine tunnels that run under the area. Both sides are likely concerned that they could be used to infiltrate the rear.
British intelligence says that despite increased pressure on Bakhmut, Russia is unlikely to encircle the town anytime soon as Ukrainian forces hold stable defensive lines in depth and control supply routes.
- On January 8, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that Alexander Syrsky, commander of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, visited Ukrainian positions near Bakhmut and Soledar, Donetsk region.
- The Armed Forces of Ukraine compared Syrsky in Bakhmut and Shoigu with Putin, who are afraid to go to the front.