Smoke rises from Russian shelling of Soledar in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, January 8, 2023 (Roman Chop/AP)
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1047 GMT:
Italy’s provision of missile defense to Ukraine has been delayed by technical issues, says Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said two weeks ago, after a phone call with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, that Rome was considering the supply of air defense amid waves of Russian missile and drone strikes. But Meloni is reportedly facing resistance on the issue from right-wing allies such as Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi, who both links to Vladimir Putin.
UPDATE 0839 GMT:
The latest Russian attacks have killed two civilians and injured in the village of Nevske of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine.
In the neighboring Donetsk region, six civilians were injured.
A strike by a Russian S-300 missile on a market in the Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine killed two women and injured seven civilians, including a 13-year-old girl.
UPDATE 0816 GMT:
Boris Vishnevsky, a member of the St. Petersburg’s legislature, has been charged with “discrediting the Russian army”.
Prosecutors accused Vishnevsky over his call for an investigation of the mass killing of Ukrainian civilians in Bucha, north of Kyiv, in March.
The opposition politician signed an open letter alongside other prominent Russian figures appealing for action by Russia’s Investigative Committee chairman Alexander Bastrykin.
Witness testimony, satellite images, photographs, video, and audio intercepts have established that Russian occupiers murdered hundreds of civilians in Bucha before they withdrew from northern Ukraine at the end of March.
UPDATE 0759 GMT:
Russia’s flagship oil is selling at less than half the international price following US, European, and G7 sanctions.
Urals grade oil was priced at $37.80 a barrel on Friday, compared to the $78.57 for the global benchmark Brent.
On December 5, the European Union implemented a price cap of $60 for Russian oil — joining the G7 nations of France, Germany, the US, Canada, Japan, and the UK — and almost completely halted seaborne imports.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Russia has thrown even more troops into its attempt to claim territory near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.
In his nightly address to the nation, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said defenders continue to resist in Soledar, but implicitly acknowledged that they might have to withdraw soon from the town with a pre-war population of about 11,000.
It is extremely difficult. There are almost no whole walls left….
Due to the resilience of our warriors there, in Soledar, we have gained additional time and additional power for Ukraine….
Although the invaders have concentrated their greatest efforts on Soledar, the result of this difficult and long battle will be the liberation of our entire Donbas [region].
The Russian Armed Forces have now concentrated their main efforts on #Soledar, but the result of this hard and prolonged battle will be the liberation of the entire #Donbass from the #Russian occupation. This statement was made by Volodymyr #Zelenskyy in his evening address. pic.twitter.com/t9tGTqT24k
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) January 10, 2023
Earlier on Monday, Ukraine Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said:
After an unsuccessful attempt to capture Soledar and retreat, the enemy regrouped their forces, replenished losses, redeployed additional assault units, changed tactics and launched a powerful assault.
UK military intelligence assessed that Russian troops, including the mercenaries of the Wagner Group, are “likely in control of most of” Soledar after tactical advances in the last four days.
However, the British analysts said the capture of the town is unable to enable Russia’s “effort to envelop Bakhmut, 10 km (6 miles) to the south and to disrupt lines of communication” in the near future.
“Ukrainian forces maintain stable defensive lines in depth and control over supply routes,” they explained.
The Russians have tried to overrun Bakhmut, a center for salt mining, since May.
The city lost much of its strategic significance when Ukraine’s counter-offensive liberated the neighboring Kharkiv region and part of Donetsk in September.
However, Wagner Group founder and Vladimir Putin’s ally Yevgeny Prigozhin has insisted on the escalation of the Russian assault.
Prizoghin claimed on Saturday that Bakhmut and Soledar must be conquered because they are atop “a network of underground cities”. US officials assess that Prigozhin is hoping to control the lucrative salt and gypsum mines in the area.