Good morning from Kyiv, where a thick and freezing fog has descended, reducing visibility to 200 meters and prompting a warning from authorities to be extra-careful on the city’s roads.
It was a thankfully quiet weekend in the capital with no air raid alerts or Russian attacks, though unfortunately the same cannot be said for the rest of country. In particular, fighting increased over the weekend in the Zaporizhzhia region.
What’s happening today?
Once again all eyes are on Berlin after comments last night from Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock indicated a shift in position on the much-debated issue of sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
Kyiv had hoped the issue would be resolved at last week’s Ramstein summit, and that Berlin would give permission for countries such as Poland to send the German-made heavy tanks, but the meeting ended with no decision being made.
Then, on Sunday evening, the German foreign minister said her country “will not stand in the way” of a Polish request to send the tanks to Ukraine, adding that Poland was yet to make a formal request.
You can read more on that story here.
Elsewhere, Norway’s Chief of Defense Eirik Kristoffersen has shed a bit of light on one of the biggest ongoing mysteries of Russia’s reinvasion of Ukraine – how many troops and civilians have been killed during the nearly 11 months of fighting.
Kristoffersen claims Russian losses are not far from double that of Ukraine. You can read his full comments here.
What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?
President Zelensky highlighted the case of the dismissal of a deputy minister accused of embezzlement.
Vasyl Lozynkiy, in office since May 2020, “received ($400,000) to facilitate the conclusion of contracts for the purchase of equipment and generators at inflated prices,” the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) said.
During his daily address on Sunday evening, Zelensky said: “And I want this to be our signal to all those whose actions or behavior violate the principle of justice.
“Of course, now the main focus is on defense, foreign policy, and war.
“But this does not mean that I do not see or hear what is being said in society at different levels, both at the central level and in the regions.”
What’s the latest military situation?
The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update on Jan. 23 focuses on Russia’s new Chief of the General Staff, General Valery Gerasimov, saying he has started in the job with a “drive to improve deployed troops’ day-to-day discipline.”
The MoD adds: “Since he took command, officers have been attempting to clamp down on non-regulation uniform, travel in civilian vehicles, the use of mobile phones, and non-standard haircuts.
“Officials in the Donetsk People’s Republic, described the prioritisation a ‘farce’ that would ‘hamper the process of destroying the enemy’.
“Along with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, he is increasingly seen as out of touch and focused on presentation over substance.”
The Institute for the Study of War’s Jan. 22 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:
· Wagner financier Yevgeny Prigozhin’s star has begun to set after months of apparent rise following his failure to make good on of capturing Bakhmut with his own forces.
· Russian milbloggers on Jan. 22 continued to discuss the potential of a pending major Russian or Ukrainian offensive and speculated as to which areas present the highest priority targets.
· Russian sources claimed on Jan. 22 that Russian forces continued offensive operations in two directions in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, with their main efforts focusing on Hulyaipole and Orikhiv.
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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