Good morning from Kyiv, where temperatures plunged over the weekend. It’s currently a very chilly -6C, a brisk reminder after a few relatively mild days that spring is still some way off.
In more positive news, the capital has been quiet since Russia’s attacks over New Year though this comes with the usual caveat that absolutely no-one expects it to last.
What’s happening today?
Today’s big story is actually about something that almost certainly didn’t happen. On Sunday the Russian Defense Ministry announced it had dealt a devastating blow by killing more than 600 Ukrainian troops in a missile strike in the eastern city of Kramatorsk.
Only there’s not really any evidence to back this up.
In fact, journalists who visited the scene of the alleged massacre found the buildings said to have been destroyed in the strike were still standing and there was nothing to suggest that large numbers of Ukrainian troops had ever been stationed there.
So, what’s it all about? You can find out here.
Elsewhere, the UK has announced that it will host a meeting of justice ministers in March to discuss ways to support the International Criminal Court's investigation of alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, who will co-host the meeting, said the participants will discuss how to help gather information and share evidence of atrocities as well as how to support victims.
What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?
In his daily address on Sunday evening, President Zelensky highlighted a prisoner swap in which 50 Ukrainians were freed.
He said: "50 Ukrainians returned home. Thirty-three officers, and 17 privates and sergeants.
"Among them are defenders of the Kyiv and Donetsk regions, Mariupol and the south of the country. Soldiers of the army, National Guard, territorial defense, navy, border guards.”
Zelensky also noted the continuing and intense fighting in the city of Bakhmut, saying: "Bakhmut is holding out against all odds. And although most of the city is destroyed by Russian strikes, our warriors repel constant attempts at Russian offensive there. Soledar is holding out.
"Although there is even more destruction there and it is extremely hard... There is no such piece of land near these two cities, where the occupier would not have given his life for the crazy ideas of the masters of the Russian regime.
"This is one of the bloodiest places on the frontline."
What’s the latest military situation?
The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update on Jan. 9 focuses on the Su-57 FELON, which it describes as "Russia's most advanced fifth-generation supersonic combat jet, employing stealth technologies and highly advanced avionics".
The MoD has located five of them using satellite imagery and notes they have only played a limited role in the war "flying over Russian territory, launching long range air-to-surface or air-to-air missiles into Ukraine".
It adds: "Russia is highly likely prioritising avoiding the reputational damage, reduced export prospects, and the compromise of sensitive technology which would come from any loss of FELON over Ukraine.
"This is symptomatic of Russia’s continued risk-averse approach to employing its air force in the war.
The Institute for the Study of War’s Jan. 8 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:
· Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov stated on Jan. 8 that Russia plans to begin domestic production of Iranian-made drones.
· Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov claimed on Jan. 7 that 300 Chechen Akhmat-1 OMON personnel have been deployed to Ukraine.
· Ukrainian officials reported that Russian forces used incendiary munitions to strike civilian infrastructure in Kherson City overnight on Jan. 7–8.
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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