Good morning from Kyiv, where it is currently a very chilly 7 degrees below zero Celsius, with the dropping temperatures placing further strain on the capital’s already overloaded energy grid.

 

Authorities have warned residents to expect more frequent and longer scheduled blackouts. Milder weather is forecast for next week, so residents are hoping the stricter measures will only last a few days.

 

Complicating matters is the fact Russia is widely expected to continue its missile and drone attacks against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, so predicting anything right now is far from an exact science.

 

What’s happening today?

 

There’s potentially worrying news from the front lines today after the head of Russia’s Wagner group claimed his fighters had taken the fiercely contested city of Soledar in eastern Ukraine.

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Yevgeny Prigozhin’s claim has not been confirmed and he acknowledged that “urban battles” were still taking place. The Wagner leader published a photo of himself in military uniform, surrounded by posing fighters, but did not say where it was taken.

 

The Ukrainian military’s morning summary only mentions Soledar once, in a list of places being shelled in the Donetsk region.

 

You can read more about that story here.

 

What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?

 

President Zelensky announced he has revoked the citizenship of four highly controversial political figures, saying the move was entirely appropriate for those who “choose to serve not the people of Ukraine, but the murderers who came to Ukraine.”

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Ukraine Urges West to Give it Frozen Russian Assets

Calls have been mounting in Washington and Europe to set up a fund for Ukraine using billions of dollars in Russia assets frozen by the West over Moscow's 2022 invasion.

 

During his daily address on Tuesday evening, he also said they would not be the last people to be subjected to such a move, adding: “The security services are working.”

 

You can read more about who the four men are here.

 

What’s the latest military situation?

 

While all eyes today will be on the situation in Soledar, it’s far from the only thing going on.

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The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update on Jan. 11 focuses on an upcoming joint Russian-Belarussian tactical flight exercise to be held in Belarus from the Jan. 16 to Feb. 1, 2023.

 

While there has been some concern these could be cover for a new attack on Ukraine, the MoD believes it “is likely a genuine exercise, rather than a preparation for any additional offensive operations.”

 

It adds: “Although Russia maintains a large number of forces in Belarus, they are mostly involved in training. They are unlikely to constitute a credible offensive force.”

 

The Institute for the Study of War’s Jan. 10 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:

 

·      The news of Colonel General Aleksandr Lapin’s reported appointment as Chief of Staff of the Russian Ground Forces, is generating further schisms in the already-fragmented pro-war Russian information space.

·      Lapin’s appointment may alternatively suggest that the Russian MoD increasingly must fill important leadership positions with previously disgraced – or at minimum heavily publicly criticized – general officers.

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·      Igor Girkin, former commander of Russian militants in Donbas and a prominent milblogger, heavily implied that he would support the removal of Russian President Vladimir Putin from office, his most direct criticism of Putin to date.

 

And that’s it for today’s Morning Memo.

 

Kyiv Post will bring you the latest news throughout the day and we’ll be back with another edition tomorrow.

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