The MoD has said in its latest intelligence update: “In the last four days, Russian and Wagner forces have made tactical advances into the small Donbas town of Soledar and are likely in control of most of the settlement.
“Soledar is 10km north of Bakhmut, the capture of which likely continues to be Russia’s main immediate operational objective.
“Russia’s Soledar axis is highly likely an effort to envelop Bakhmut from the north, and to disrupt Ukrainian lines of communication.
“Part of the fighting has focused on entrances to the 200km-long disused salt mine tunnels which run underneath the district. Both sides are likely concerned that they could be used for infiltration behind their lines.
“Despite the increased pressure on Bakhmut, Russia is unlikely to envelop the town imminently because Ukrainian forces maintain stable defensive lines in depth and control over supply routes.”