Jan 14 (Reuters) – Russia said on Friday its military had taken control of Soledar in eastern Ukraine, a rare success for Moscow after months of battlefield reversals, but Kyiv said Its troops are still fighting in the town.
* President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukrainian troops continued to fight in the salt mining town of Soledar and other cities in the Donetsk region.
* Reuters could not verify the accounts.
* Reporters outside Soledad could hear mortar and rocket fire Friday afternoon and saw Ukrainian troops transporting troops in what appeared to be an organized retreat, CNN said.
* Yevgeny Prigozhin, an ultranationalist mercenary leader, complained that the Russian military credited Soledad with no mention of his fighters.
* Finland joined Poland in saying it could send German-made Panther tanks to Ukraine as part of a Western alliance, apparently to supply them.
* French Armed Forces Minister Sebastien Le Cornou said France hopes to deliver “AMX 10-RC” light battle tanks to Ukraine within two months.
* Russian foreign ministry official says Belarus could become involved in the conflict. Russia used Belarus as a springboard to invade Ukraine in February, but the border region is now heavily waterlogged and an imminent attack from there is unlikely.4 pm
* Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stressed the importance of resisting Russian aggression after meeting U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington, saying that if unilateral changes to the status quo are not challenged, the same will happen elsewhere, including Asia – apparently Refers to China’s vow to reunite self-governing Taiwan by force if necessary.
* Russia is becoming too reliant on oil revenues to fund its budget as it ramps up military spending, economists said, warning the government may have to raise taxes if crude prices miss expectations this year.
* A close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested confiscating the property and assets of Russians who denigrate the armed forces and oppose the war in Ukraine.
* At least four Chinese-owned supertankers are transporting Russian Urals crude to China, according to trade sources and tracking data, as Moscow seeks to export ships after G7 oil price caps limit access to Western cargo services and insurance.
Written by Grant McCool and William Mallard
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