Ukrainian President Zelenskyy speaks of the ground being paved with corpses in the small town of Soledar. Meanwhile, Prigozhin’s mercenary troops have announced victory in the city. Ukraine also fears an attack by the Russians from Belarus. All news about the Ukraine war can be found in the Newsticker.
10:40 p.m .: The notorious Russian mercenary group Wagner says it has found the body of a missing Brit in Ukraine, along with ID and the documents of a second British citizen. On a Telegram channel assigned to the mercenaries, photos were posted on Wednesday evening that are said to show the documents of the two Britons. The body of one of the men and the ID cards were found in the heavily contested eastern Ukrainian city of Soledar, sources said. There was no information about the fate of the second missing person. The statement did not indicate on which side the missing Briton had fought.
A few days ago, the Foreign Ministry in London announced that two Britons were missing in Ukraine. According to various media reports, dozens of foreign fighters have died in Ukraine since the start of the Russian war of aggression. Most of them supported the Ukrainian armed forces.
8:19 p.m .: According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Russian side’s announced capture of the heavily contested small town of Soledar in eastern Ukraine is a propaganda maneuver. “The front in the Donetsk region is holding,” said Zelenskyy on Wednesday evening in his daily video address. “Fighting continues and we are doing everything we can to strengthen Ukraine’s defences.”
“Now the terror state and its propagandists are trying to pretend that part of our city of Soledar – a city that was almost completely destroyed by the invaders – is some kind of property of Russia,” Zelenskyy said. With these claims of supposed success, Russia tried to deceive its population and “support the mobilization”. In addition, the “proponents of aggression” should be given further hope.
The Ukrainian general staff had also denied Russian reports about the conquest of Soledar. “Fighting continues,” it said in a statement.
6:16 p.m .: According to the General Staff in Kyiv, heavy fighting for the small town of Soledar in eastern Ukraine continues. In order to bring the entire Donetsk region under its control, the Russian military is trying to attack both Bakhmut and cut off supply routes to neighboring Soledar, the Ukrainian military leadership in Kyiv announced on Wednesday. “Fighting continues,” the statement said. The spokesman for the eastern group of the Ukrainian army, Serhii Cherevatyi, had previously denied Russian reports that the small town had been captured.
On Tuesday, the head of the Russian Wagner mercenary force, Yevgeny Prigozhin, claimed that the small town in the Donetsk region was almost captured and that around 500 Ukrainian soldiers were trapped. The Russian military leadership remained silent. In an interview with the Interfax news agency, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov only mentioned “positive dynamics in terms of progress”.
5:17 p.m .: Around ten and a half months after the start of the war, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu appointed Chief of Staff Valeri Gerasimov as the new commander of Russian troops in Ukraine. The previous commander Sergei Surovikin, who only took over the post last October, should become Gerasimov’s deputy, the ministry said in Moscow on Wednesday.
Shoigu also appointed two other deputies, General Oleg Salyukov and Colonel-General Alexei Kim. Moscow justified the realignment with an “expansion of the scope of the tasks to be solved” and the need for closer cooperation between the individual parts of the army.
3:24 p.m .: In the debate about the delivery of western main battle tanks to Ukraine, Poland is continuing to put pressure on it. His country has already made the decision to provide the Ukrainians with Leopard main battle tanks for a company as part of a coalition with allied states, President Andrzej Duda said on Wednesday in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv after a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyj and Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda. According to a Polish military expert, the term company includes 14 main battle tanks.
Duda went on to say that the handover of the Leopard main battle tanks was conditional on “a whole series of formal requirements and permits”. On the other hand, Poland wanted an international coalition to be formed to which other countries would also contribute “Leopard type and other” main battle tanks. These would then have to be transferred to Ukraine in a timely manner in order to support the defense of the country attacked by Russia.
3 p.m.: Around ten and a half months after the start of the war of aggression against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin described the situation in the illegally annexed areas of Ukraine as “difficult”. “Fighting continues in some areas,” Putin added in a meeting with government officials on Wednesday. “But none of that is a reason to pause and put off the most pressing issues.”
Putin instructed the Russian cabinet to draw up a plan for the development of the Cherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the coming months – for example with a view to infrastructure and social services.
Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine at the end of February last year. In September, Putin annexed Donetsk and Luhansk in the east, and Cherson and Zaporizhia in the south. However, Russia’s armed forces have not taken larger parts of it at all or have already lost it again to the Ukrainians. Together with the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, which was annexed in violation of international law in 2014, Russian troops currently control around 18 percent of Ukrainian territory.
2:46 p.m .: Russia is said to have banned all potential conscripts from leaving the country since January 9th. This is reported by the Ukrainian military intelligence service. Accordingly, it should be all men of military age. Russian security authorities are said to have informed all Russian border controls about the new regulation, according to Ukrainian government adviser Anton Gerashchenko on Twitter.
Such a measure would be more far-reaching than an earlier ban on leaving the country. After the announcement of the first mobilization in September 2022, those who received a summons from a draft office were denied exit. The Ukrainian military intelligence service assumes that Russia intends to announce a mobilization of 500,000 reservists on January 15. Kremlin spokesman Peskov has denied the report on the travel ban. The report has not yet been independently confirmed.
11:31 a.m .: Despite the claims of the Wagner boss Prigozhin that his mercenaries had brought Soledar under control, according to Ukraine, the fighting for the Ukrainian city continues. Shortly before midnight, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense wrote that Russia was still trying to capture the city. The Ukrainian commander of the air reconnaissance group, Robert Magyar, shortly afterwards declared on his Telegram channel that Ukrainian forces were still holding the city – although he acknowledged that the fighting had been fierce.
“It’s true, it’s hell,” Magyar writes, explaining that the Wagner boss’s claims are pure “psychological pressure and propaganda.” Hanna Maliar, a member of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, said on Tuesday afternoon that “fighting continues in Soledar and Russian forces are ignoring the heavy casualties of their personnel and are continuing an attack”. She writes: “The approaches to our positions are simply littered with the corpses of dead enemy combatants.”
Also on Wednesday morning, when the Ukrainian army general staff updated, there was no indication that the battle for Soledar was over. The think tank “Institute for the Study of War” also states that the Russian claims are false.
9:17 a.m .: British secret services consider Russian attacks on Ukraine from the soil of the ally Belarus to be unlikely. The relocation of Russian military helicopters and the stationing of troops in Belarus is actually training, not preparation for an offensive, according to the daily briefing of the British Ministry of Defense on Wednesday.
Laypersons observed how a dozen different helicopters – some with the symbol “Z” standing for the Russian invasion of Ukraine – recently landed at an airfield near the Belarusian capital Minsk, it said.
According to official information, against the background of the Ukraine war, Belarus wants to hold a two-week air force maneuver with the Russian armed forces from mid-January. Both countries formed a joint task force in the fall – officially to protect the external borders of the Russian-Belarusian union. In the past few weeks there has been repeated speculation about a renewed Russian attack on Ukraine from Belarusian territory.
5:31 a.m .: Just a few hours after the surprise visit of Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) in Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, the city was bombed on Tuesday evening, according to the regional governor. In the online service Telegram, Governor Oleg Synegubov urged residents to stay in the shelters. “The occupiers are bombing us again!” he continued. A journalist from the AFP news agency heard several explosions in the city.
The eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv came under heavy fire on the very first day of the Russian attack in February last year. Heavy attacks and military sieges followed. But the Ukrainian army withstood the pressure and pushed the Russian army far back.
In the greatest secrecy, Baerbock had traveled to the bullet-riddled city, which the minister sees as a “symbol of the absolute insanity of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine”. The battle front is currently about 130 kilometers away.
Wednesday, January 11, 2023, 4:33 a.m.: At the Golden Globes ceremony in Beverly Hills, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked him for supporting his country in the war against Russia. “You were the best in the past year,” said Zelenskyj to the assembled Hollywood celebrities in a video message about the solidarity his country had experienced.
The Golden Globes were first awarded in 1943, when the Second World War was not yet over, but the most important battles had already been fought. “Even the war in Ukraine is not over yet, but the tide is turning and it is already clear who will win in the end,” said Zelenskyy.
11:11 p.m .: After her visit to the city of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock confirmed the need for further arms deliveries. “Further tank deliveries” are needed in the region, said Baerbock on Tuesday evening in the ARD “Tagesthemen”. This is necessary so that “other places” can be freed.
Baerbock, who conducted the interview via video link from a train on the way back from Ukraine, emphasized that Ukraine also needs “additional air defense”, especially to protect infrastructure.
During her visit, the Foreign Minister of Ukraine had promised further arms deliveries in addition to humanitarian support. Baerbock did not want to confirm the German Leopard tanks desired by the Ukraine in Kharkiv. She referred to ongoing votes among the allies.
She knows that the pressure on the Ukrainians is “insanely high,” said the minister in the “daily topics”. However, it is important for the federal government, “even if your heart is burning”, to consider together with the partners “how can we take responsible steps together”.
10:51 p.m .: After days of heavy fighting for the eastern Ukrainian city of Soledar, members of the notorious Russian mercenary group Wagner announced the conquest of the place. According to the Russian state agency TASS, Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin announced on Tuesday evening that Soledar had been conquered.
A group of Ukrainian soldiers was still surrounded in the center of the village. “The number of prisoners of war will be announced tomorrow,” Prigozhin was quoted as saying. A telegram channel of the Wagner group also said that the encircled Ukrainian soldiers had been given an ultimatum to surrender by midnight. The information could not initially be independently verified. There was initially no comment from the Ukrainian side.
10:45 p.m .: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj expatriated four pro-Russian MPs. “If people’s representatives decide not to serve the Ukrainian people, but the murderers who came to Ukraine, then our steps will be appropriate,” the 44-year-old said in his daily video address on Tuesday Based on information from the SBU secret service and the migration service, Zelenskyy said, “Our services are working,” added the president.
The Ukrainian passport was withdrawn from MP Viktor Medvechuk, who came to Russia in September as part of a prisoner exchange. The other three affected are also suspected in the neighboring state. All four represented the Opposition Platform – For Life party, which was banned after the Russian invasion of February 2022. All four members of parliament are suspected to have Russian citizenship.
Under Zelenskyi’s predecessor Petro Poroshenko and in the Soviet Union, depriving politically undesirable people of their citizenship was a common practice. Actually, Article 25 of the Ukrainian Constitution prohibits the deprivation of Ukrainian citizenship. However, the Citizenship Act does not provide for having a second citizenship. Conversely, this means that anyone who accepts another citizenship can lose Ukrainian citizenship. Loss of citizenship can, according to the constitution, serve as a basis for deprivation of parliamentary mandate.
According to unconfirmed media reports, shortly before the New Year, Selenskyj had expatriated 13 high-ranking clergymen from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which had long been associated with Moscow. Last year Zelenskyi reportedly revoked the Ukrainian passport of his sponsor Ihor Kolomoiskyi and a dozen other Ukrainians.
6:58 p.m .: The Ukrainian military is preparing for a possible new attack by Russian ground forces from Belarus in the direction of the capital Kyiv. Defense positions in the north of the country have already been prepared or reinforced for this purpose, said Lieutenant General Oleksiy Pavlyuk, who is responsible for the defense of Kiev. In order to prevent rapid tank advances by Russian units, larger minefields were laid at all points accessible to tanks. If the attackers couldn’t get through these barriers, it would be easier for Ukrainian artillery to smash the troop concentrations.
Right at the beginning of the Russian war of aggression in February last year, the Ukrainian armed forces repulsed an advance by Russian troops from Belarus towards Kyiv. A column of Russian tanks and vehicles many kilometers long was decimated in the dense forests north of Kyiv and forced to retreat.
The Ukrainian leadership fears another attack by the Russian army, which has been stationing stronger units along the Ukrainian border in Belarus for several weeks. Military experts believe that Russian units in Belarus are not yet strong enough to launch such an attack. Nevertheless, they tie up Ukrainian troops, which are missing on other front sections.
6:07 p.m .: Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has promised Ukraine additional support totaling 40 million euros for demining and better internet coverage. “We’ll be by your side as long as you need us. We will do everything we can to ensure that the children in Kharkiv, Mariupol and Kyiv can believe in a good future again,” said the Green politician on Tuesday at the end of a four-and-a-half-hour visit to the war-torn eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv near the Russian border .
At a joint appearance with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Baerbock pledged an additional 20 million euros for further winter aid with generators to support the energy infrastructure and for mine clearance. Liberated areas would have to be further demined “so that even if the playground is half destroyed, children do not have to fear that they will be destroyed by mines”.
According to Baerbock, Germany will provide a further 20 million euros for the expansion of the Starlink satellite internet system. This could finance a total of 10,000 ground stations. According to the Federal Foreign Office, a third of these stations also benefit the Ukrainian armed forces. Real-time communication enables soldiers to coordinate their defense of their homeland and better protect against Russian attacks.
In Kharkiv, she felt “what Russian troops have done here in terms of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said Baerbock. The city, just over 20 kilometers from the Russian border, shows “how important it is that other places are liberated”. The minister promised: “Therefore, we will not let up in our continued military support to save lives.”
5:41 p.m .: During a visit by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) to eastern Ukraine, her Kiev colleague Dmytro Kuleba pushed for the delivery of Leopard tanks. “We need these tanks to liberate our towns, villages and everything that is under Russian occupation,” the diplomat emphasized on Tuesday to journalists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. This is not just a “fixed idea” of the Ukrainians. The German tanks are needed “to save our energy infrastructure, to save the Ukrainians from crime.”
The 41-year-old was convinced that Berlin would deliver the heavy battle tanks. “The longer this decision takes, the more people will die because of the lack of weapons in the Ukrainian army,” Kuleba warned. At the same time, he expressed his gratitude for the arms deliveries since the beginning of the Russian invasion at the end of February. The “big decision” about the German tanks is still pending. “The sooner this decision is made, the sooner this war will end with a victory for Ukraine,” emphasized the chief diplomat.
More than ten months after the start of the invasion, Russia has occupied a good 18 percent of Ukraine’s territory, including Crimea, which was annexed in 2014. Ukraine is almost completely dependent on Western arms supplies. In addition to light weapons and ammunition, Berlin has already delivered heavy self-propelled howitzers and anti-aircraft systems. In addition, the delivery of 40 Marders armored personnel carriers was announced.
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