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 reversals, but Kiev said its forces are still in the city were fighting.
* President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukrainian troops continued to fight in Soledar, a small salt mining town, and other towns in the Donetsk region.
* Reuters was unable to verify the accounts.
* CNN said reporters outside Soledar could hear mortar and rocket fire Friday afternoon and saw Ukrainian troops transporting troops in what appeared to be an organized withdrawal.
* The leader of the ultra-nationalist mercenary Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose Wagner group includes pardoned prisoners, lamented after the Russian military took credit for Soledar without naming his fighters.
* Finland joined Poland in saying it could send German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine as part of a Western coalition apparently being assembled to supply them.
* France hopes to deliver “AMX 10-RC” light battle tanks to Ukraine within two months, said Armed Forces Minister Sebastien Lecornu.
* Belarus may enter the conflict, said a Russian Foreign Ministry official. Russia used Belarus as a springboard to invade Ukraine in February, but the border area is now very waterlogged, making an imminent attack from there unlikely. 16.00 hours
* Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, after meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington, stressed the importance of standing up to the Russian invasion, saying that if a unilateral change of the status quo were left unchallenged, the same would happen elsewhere, including Asia – a clear reference to China’s vow to reunite with self-governed 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 oil prices fail to meet expectations this year.
* A close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested seizing property and assets of Russians who discredit the armed forces and oppose the war in Ukraine.
* At least four Chinese-owned supertankers are shipping crude oil from Russia’s Urals to China, according to trade sources and tracking data, as Moscow seeks ships for export after a G7 oil price cap restricted the use of Western freight services and insurance.
Curated by Grant McCool and William Mallard
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