Good morning from Kyiv, a city once again on edge after Ukraine warned a new mass-missile attack by Russia could happen any day.

 

Nataliya Humenyuk, head of the press center of the Ukrainian Defense Forces South, told Suspilne TV that that they are seeing signs of an impending attack.

 

“Russia’s drones are gathering information about targets they aim to hit”, she said, adding that what they have been observing over the past week“ evidences preparation for a new massive bombardment.”

 

“Considering that the enemy typically takes 10-14 days to re-arm after a large-scale attack, we are on the eve of [the next] attack,” Humenyuk said.

 

What’s happening today?

 

The battle for the town of Soledar continues, with fighting being described as "the fiercest and heaviest" of the war.

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President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday evening vowed that Ukrainian forces defending the eastern town will be armed with everything they need to keep Russian troops at bay.

 

“I want to emphasize that the units defending these cities will be provided with ammunition and everything necessary, on time and without interruption,” Zelensky said in a statement after a meeting with senior military officials.

 

You can read more about that story here.

 

Elsewhere, experts continue to analyze Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to replace his top commander in Ukraine, with General Valery Gerasimov replacing Sergei Surovikin.

Ukraine Regains Position Near Chasiv Yar as Russia Intensifies Offensive
Other Topics of Interest

Ukraine Regains Position Near Chasiv Yar as Russia Intensifies Offensive

The capture of Chasiv Yar could be both a strategic and symbolic victory for Moscow ahead of the May 9 Victory Day, but Ukraine stands defiant in its defense before Western supplies arrive.

 

There are many interpretations of the thinking of the famously opaque Russian leader, but both Russian and western observers broadly agree on one thing – Putin’s decision is a sign of military disarray and his growing impatience with a war he is not even close to winning.

 

You can read more about that story here.

 

What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?

 

Aside from the situation in Soledar, President Zelensky focused on Ukraine’s prospects to join the European Union and recent discussions with Latvian officials on this topic.

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“… the day will definitely come when the Ukrainian flag will be absolutely on par with all flags of the EU member states,” he said during his daily address on Thursday evening.

“Latvia will help us in this.”

 

Zelensky also discussed Ukraine’s relations with African countries, saying: “A very important initiative of Ukraine is the creation of food hubs in Africa. Our foreign policy should reach a new level with African partners.

 

“They already know that the security of different nations directly depends on Ukrainian food exports.

 

“And we want to consolidate this at the level of specific institutions, specific objects – hubs, that is, specific guarantees of food stability that will be constantly in effect and will be one of the new foundations of relations between Ukraine and the states of the African continent.”

 

What’s the latest military situation?

 

The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update on Jan. 13 focuses on Russia’s struggling defense manufacturing sector, which it claims is “highly likely resorting to using convict labor in an effort to meet war-time production demands”.

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The MoD adds: “There is a long tradition of prison labor in Russia, but since 2017 forced labor as a specific criminal punishment was reintroduced.

 

“The prison population provides a unique human resource to Russian leaders to utilize in support of the ‘special military operation’ while willing volunteers remain in short supply.”

 

The Institute for the Study of War’s Jan. 12 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:

 

·       Russian forces likely captured Soledar on Jan. 11, but this small-scale victory is unlikely to presage an imminent encirclement of Bakhmut. Russian information operations have overexaggerated the importance of Soledar, which is at best a Russian Pyrrhic tactical victory.

·       Ukrainian intelligence confirmed that senior Russian military leadership is preparing for significant military reforms in the coming year, though ISW continues to assess that Russia will struggle to quickly—if at all—implement planned reforms.

·       Putin likely seeks scapegoats for the Russian defense industry base’s struggle to address equipment and technological challenges, and retains unrealistic expectations of Russia’s capacity to rapidly replace losses.

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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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