Russia’s latest war against Ukraine: Moscow and Kyiv fight over control of Soledar

Jan 14 (Reuters) – Russia said on Friday its forces had taken control of Soledar in eastern Ukraine, in what would be a rare success for Moscow after months of battlefield setbacks, but Kyiv said its troops were still fighting in the city.

STRUGGLE

* President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukrainian forces continued to fight in Soledar, a small salt mining town, and other towns in the Donetsk region.

* Reuters could not verify the accounts.

* CNN said reporters outside Soledar heard mortar and rocket fire on Friday afternoon and saw Ukrainian forces transporting troops in what appeared to be an organized withdrawal.

* Ultra-nationalist mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose Wagner Group includes prisoners promised pardons for service, complained after the Russian military took credit for Soledar without mentioning his fighters.

ARMS

* Finland has joined Poland in saying it could send German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine as part of a Western coalition apparently set up to supply them.

* France hopes to deliver “AMX 10-RC” light combat tanks to Ukraine in two months, said the Minister for the Armed Forces, S├ębastien Lecornu.

* Belarus could enter the conflict, an official from the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Russia used Belarus as a springboard to invade Ukraine in February, but the border area is now heavily waterlogged, making an imminent attack from there unlikely. 4 p.m.

DIPLOMACY, ECONOMY

* Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, after meeting US President Joe Biden in Washington, stressed the importance of resisting Russia’s invasion, saying that if a unilateral change to the status quo goes unchallenged, the the same would happen elsewhere, including in Asia – an apparent reference to China’s vow to reunite with self-governing Taiwan, by force if necessary.

* Russia is becoming too dependent on oil revenues to support its budget as it ramps up military spending, economists said, warning the government may have to raise taxes if crude prices fail to meet expectations this year.

* A close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested confiscating the property and assets of Russians who discredit the armed forces and oppose the war in Ukraine.

* At least four Chinese-owned supertankers are shipping Russian crude from the Urals to China, according to trade sources and tracking data, as Moscow seeks vessels for exports after a cap on oil prices from the G7 has restricted the use of Western freight and insurance services.

Compiled by Grant McCool and William Mallard

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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