January 14, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news

By Sophie Tanno, Adrienne Vogt, Matt Meyer and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 6:08 p.m. ET, January 14, 2023
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3:25 a.m. ET, January 14, 2023

Ukraine says fighting continues in Soledar as Russia claims it is in control. Catch up on the latest. 

From CNN Staff

The Russian Defense Ministry is crediting the private military company Wagner for spearheading the "direct assault" on Soledar after days of squabbles. While Russia said it is in control of the city in eastern Ukraine, officials in Kyiv say fighting is ongoing.

An international team of nuclear safety experts will travel to Ukraine next week to establish a presence at all of the country's nuclear power plants.

Catch up on the latest developments in the war: 

  • Kremlin claims Soledar: Russia's Ministry of Defense has claimed that forces took control of the town of Soledar in eastern Ukraine. It is of little strategic value, experts say, but would represent a symbolic victory for Vladimir Putin. But a Ukrainian official has said that this is "not true." Serhiy Cherevaty, spokesperson for the Eastern Group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, told Ukrainian outlet RBC-Ukraine that "fighting is going on in the city."
  • On the ground: Various units of the Ukrainian military detailed the "fierce fighting" happening in Soledar. Ukraine’s General Staff said troops are "holding a dense and solid defense line" while coming under "non-stop" attacks from assault unites of a private military company, Wagner.
  • Importance of Soledar: Two days after citing only regular Russian forces for the attack on Soledar, the Russian Defense Ministry on Friday credited Wagner for spearheading the "direct assault." This is the latest in the back-and-forth between the Ministry of Defense and the mercenary group. Moscow has struggled for months to attack Bakhmut from the east, but were it to capture Soledar, Russia would at least be able to approach the city from a different path.

  • EU and US support for Ukraine: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pledged continued support for Ukraine, saying, the West needs to "keep increasing the pressure on Russia." She reaffirmed that the EU will back Ukraine "as firmly as on day one and as long as it takes," as the war comes closer to the one year mark. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Friday and emphasized that the US would continue providing economic and security support for Kyiv, according to a readout.
  • Nuclear plant safety: The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency will travel to Ukraine next week to set up a constant presence of safety experts at all of the country's nuclear power plants. While the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant already has IAEA team members on location, experts will also be stationed at the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant in western Ukraine in "the coming days," the director of the IAEA said.