The Russian Air Force is said to have been using the advanced Felon fighter jets over its own airspace since June 2022. The embattled Bachmut will hold out, promises the Ukrainian President Zelenskyj. Russia is having trouble defending Soledar. All news about the Ukraine war can be found in the Newsticker.

1:29 p.m .: According to information from “n-tv”, the federal government does not want to make any “Leopard 2” tanks available to Ukraine at the moment. “The federal government currently has no intention of delivering “Leopard 2″ tanks to Ukraine,” government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit was quoted as saying in Berlin.

Hebestreit therefore again ruled out going it alone and referred to agreements with partners such as the USA and France. Hebestreit said he was not aware of any requests from NATO partners to deliver Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine themselves. A German export license would then also be required for this.

Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) does not rule out the delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine. The federal government, together with its partners, is constantly adapting its decisions to developments “on the battlefield” “in order to give Ukraine maximum support,” said Habeck on Sunday in the ARD program “Report from Berlin”.

12:13 p.m.: Pro-Russian fighters have captured Bakhmutśke, a village near the embattled town of Bakhmut. The pro-Russian authorities announced this on Telegram, as reported by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti. Bakhmut in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk has been considered the “hottest section of the front” for weeks. Bachmutśke is located 11 kilometers from Bachmut and only three kilometers from Soledar. The area between the two cities is “one of the bloodiest places on the front,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday. In his evening speech, he said that the Russian attackers are currently unable to get through.

11:50 a.m.: According to the Kremlin, the supply of tanks to Ukraine will not affect the outcome of the war. “In principle, these deliveries cannot and will not change anything in Ukraine,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday, according to the Interfax news agency. It’s not just about the French AMX-10RC light tanks, which he was asked about, but about all western arms supplies, Peskov said. In the West, tank deliveries were long considered a delicate matter in order to avoid an escalation. After France, Germany and the USA have also promised Ukraine armored personnel carriers.

According to Peskov, Western weapons would only prolong the suffering of the Ukrainian people. “These deliveries cannot thwart the achievement of the objectives of the military special operation,” said the 55-year-old. Moscow officially describes its war of aggression against Ukraine only as a “military special operation”. Anyone who speaks of war in Russia must expect criminal proceedings for “discrediting the Russian armed forces”.

Monday, January 9, 8:52 a.m .: The Russian armed forces have been using Russia’s most advanced supersonic fighter jet Su-57 Felon in the war against Ukraine since June 2022. This is reported by the British Ministry of Defense in its daily intelligence update. But the missions are likely to be limited to flying over Russian territory and launching long-range missiles into Ukraine.

With the considered use of the jets, Russia primarily wants to avoid losing Felon jets over Ukraine and risking counterattacks. The clear “Russia’s continued risk-averse approach to the use of its air force,” according to the ministry.

Since at least June, the Russian military has been using the jet, which features stealth technologies and state-of-the-art avionics. Images recently showed five Felon jets at Akhtubinsk airbase, the only known base for the planes.

9:56 p.m .: Despite the heaviest fighting in eastern Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyj sees no way for the Russian attackers and promises the defenders reinforcements. “Bachmut is holding on,” said the 44-year-old on Sunday in his daily video speech. Neighboring Soledar is also holding out, although the city is even more devastated and the situation is difficult. “This is one of the bloodiest places on the front,” he said, describing the area around the two small towns that are part of Ukraine’s defensive wall in front of the Sloviansk and Kramatorsk conurbations in the Donetsk region.

According to Zelenskyy, on Sunday Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of the Ukrainian army, visited the troops in Bakhmut and Soledar to direct the defense and organize reinforcements and increased firepower against the enemy. Syrskyj is considered a hero in Ukraine, who is credited with the successes in defending Kyiv and recapturing the Kharkiv region. Deputy Ukrainian Defense Minister Hanna Maljar had previously spoken of a difficult situation in Soledar.

6 p.m.: According to information from Kyiv, the defenders in the Soledar area got into a difficult position during the fighting in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. “It’s difficult in Soledar at the moment,” Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maljar wrote in her Telegram channel on Sunday.

Like Bakhmut, which has been contested for months, Soledar is part of the Ukrainian defensive wall in front of the conurbation between Sloviansk and Kramatorsk. Taking the agglomeration would be almost tantamount to conquering the Donbass – one of Russia’s publicly stated goals early in its war of aggression.

The Russians had concentrated large forces in front of Soledar. Not only regular units of the Russian army were involved in the attacks, but also mercenary troops, Maljar wrote. In fact, in the area around Bachmut and Soledar – both cities are only 14 kilometers apart – the mercenaries of the “Wagner” troop, who are considered to be well equipped, attack.

Russian military blogs recently reported a breach in the defense lines in Soledar, but this has not yet been officially confirmed by Moscow. According to information from Kyiv, Ukrainian troops continue to keep the city under control.

3:32 p.m .: Russia and Ukraine have completed the first prisoner exchange since the turn of the year. “On January 8, as a result of the negotiation process, 50 Russian soldiers who were in imminent danger in captivity were withdrawn from the territory controlled by the Kiev regime,” the Russian Defense Ministry said on its Telegram channel on Sunday. Shortly thereafter, the Ukrainian side confirmed the exchange.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, its own prisoners of war have already been flown to Moscow on a military plane for treatment and rehabilitation. There is no further information about the Russian soldiers.

Kyiv, on the other hand, reported that 33 officers and 17 enlisted ranks were freed on its own side. “We are bringing back people who were taken prisoner at Chernobyl NPP, our defenders from Mariupol, our guys from the Donetsk region in the Bakhmut area, as well as from the Kiev region, Chernihiv, Kherson and other regions where there were fighting,” commented the head of the Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak the exchange.

There are now regular prisoner exchanges between Moscow and Kyiv. It is the only area where dialogue between the two warring factions is still taking place, while negotiations at other levels have come to a standstill.

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