Good morning from Kyiv, where authorities have forecasted warmer weather this weekend. The rise in temperatures should reduce the pressure on the capital’s energy grid, leading to fewer scheduled blackouts.

 

Currently it’s foggy, snowy and 6 degrees below 0 Celsius, but temperatures next week could reach a balmy 11 degrees above.

 

Obviously any predictions about the state of Kyiv’s power supply comes with the caveat that Russia is expected to launch further mass missile and drone attacks, ending the almost two weeks of relative quiet in the city since the strikes over New Year.

 

What’s happening today?

 

The situation in the fiercely contested town of Soledar in eastern Ukraine continues to be the man focus of events today, with the fate of the battle still unclear.

Advertisement

 

President Zelensky said on Wednesday evening that fighting was still raging, but that the front was “holding.”

 

Earlier, the head of Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, claimed his forces had “taken control of the whole territory of Soledar” while “urban battles” were being fought in the city center.

 

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters on Wednesday that the United States could not confirm accounts that Soledar had fallen and the city had “gone back and forth a number of times, and it really is some pretty brutal fighting.”

In Show of Support, Starmer Invites Zelensky to Attend Cabinet Meeting
Other Topics of Interest

In Show of Support, Starmer Invites Zelensky to Attend Cabinet Meeting

Starmer is expected to tell Zelensky that Britain will do more in the coming months to dent Russia’s “war machine”, including agreeing a new defense export support treaty.

 

You can read more about this story here.

 

Elsewhere, Russia has once again replaced its top commander in Ukraine as the “special operation” it believed would end in victory in a matter of days, drags on into its 11th month.

 

General Valery Gerasimov has replaced Sergei Surovikin as the top Russian commander after a tumultuous three months at the job.

 

You can read more about this story here.

 

What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?

 

As well as discussing the situation in Soledar, President Zelensky also highlighted his trip to Lviv on Wednesday during which he met with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

Advertisement

 

There it was announced that Poland is ready to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine though the move would require the agreement of Germany, which has so far not been forthcoming.

 

I am grateful for this. I thank President Duda, the Government of Poland, all our Polish friends,” Zelensky said.

 

What’s the latest military situation?

 

The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update on Jan. 12 focuses on “heavy fighting” in the areas “Soledar, Donetsk Oblast, and on the approaches to Kreminna, Luhansk Oblast” and the role of the 76th Guards Air Landing Division of the VDV (airborne forces).

 

The MoD writes: “Until November 2022, Russia committed almost the whole of the deployable VDV as long-term, ground-holding troops along the front line in the Kherson area.

 

“Now redeployed to the Donbas and southern Ukraine, commanders are likely attempting to employ VDV more in line with their supposed doctrinal role as a relatively elite rapid reaction force.”

Advertisement

 

The Institute for the Study of War’s Jan. 11 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:

 

·      Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly issued secret and preemptive pardons to Russian convicts fighting with the Wagner Group in Ukraine, potentially further empowering Wagner to operate with impunity in the theater.

·      Ukrainian officials reported that Russian forces are withdrawing key assets and restructuring logistics networks in southern Ukraine due to Ukrainian strikes. Russian forces have not yet fully captured Soledar despite recent Russian advances, and the possible capture of Soledar is unlikely to enable Russian forces to capture Bakhmut.

·      The Russian defense industrial base’s inability to address munitions shortages will likely hinder the ability of Russian forces to sustain offensive operations in eastern Ukraine in 2023.

 

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.

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter