Good morning from Kyiv, where city officials have warned the energy situation is likely to deteriorate due to a drop in temperatures.
The Christmas and New Year period was unseasonably warm, but colder weather is placing more strain on the power grid leading to more outages.
What’s happening today?
There’s some very exciting news doing the rounds this morning – reports that Britain could supply with Ukraine with a small number of Challenger 2 tanks.
According to Sky News, discussions have been ongoing “for a few weeks” about providing around 10 of the vehicles, which would mark another significant step up in Western support.
The Challenger 2 is a bit of a beast and is significantly more powerful than the light tanks promised by the U.S., France and Germany last week.
Although the small number being considered would not be a military game-changer in itself, it’s thought the move would prompt other countries to follow suit, leading to a large number of heavy tanks making their way to Ukraine.
Elsewhere, extremely heavy fighting continues to rage in and around the eastern city of Bakhmut, with Wagner mercenaries making wave after wave of attacks on the nearby town of Soledar.
Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin has claimed he wants to take control of the vast salt and gypsum mines under the area for strategic purposes, hence his decision to sacrifice so many men in the fight. But others believe he’s in it for a much more cynical reason – money.
You can read more about that story here.
What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?
President Volodymyr Zelensky dedicated his message to those soldiers defending Soledar and the surrounding area, saying that thanks to their efforts “we have gained additional time and additional power for Ukraine.”
He added: “And what did Russia want to gain there? Everything is completely destroyed, there is almost no life left.
“And thousands of their people were lost: all the land near Soledar is covered with the corpses of the occupiers and scars from the strikes. This is what madness looks like.”
What’s the latest military situation?
The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update on Jan. 10 also focuses on Soledar, saying: “Russia’s Soledar axis is highly likely an effort to envelop Bakhmut from the north, and to disrupt Ukrainian lines of communication.
“Part of the fighting has focused on entrances to the 200km-long disused salt mine tunnels which run underneath the district. Both sides are likely concerned that they could be used for infiltration behind their lines.
“Despite the increased pressure on Bakhmut, Russia is unlikely to envelop the town imminently because Ukrainian forces maintain stable defensive lines in depth and control over supply routes.”
The Institute for the Study of War’s Jan. 9 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:
· Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to open the door for further institutionalized corruption in Russia through domestic legislative manipulations.
· Ukrainian partisans may be targeting Russian critical ground lines of communication (GLOCs) in rear areas of Luhansk Oblast.
· Russian forces continued to reinforce positions on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast.
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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