Prophetic Birth Pangs


January 29th, 2023 [14:00 UTC]

US military officials are reportedly urging the Pentagon to supply F-16 jets to Ukraine so the country is better able to defend itself from Russian missiles and drones.

Wagner Group forces in Bakhmut have not made significant gains since capturing Soledar around January 12. Conventional Russian units are now participating in fighting in Bakhmut to reinvigorate the Russian offensive there. [ISW Daily Report]

January 28th, 2023

Kyiv and its western allies are engaged in “fast-track” talks on the possibility of equipping the invaded country with long-range missiles and military aircraft, the Associated Press (AP) quotes a top aide to Ukraine’s president as saying.

ISRAEL: Police said Saturday that they were raising the national alert to its highest level after seven people were killed and three wounded in a terror attack near a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Neve Ya’akov neighborhood on Friday evening.

More than 6,500 Russian military personnel have sought to surrender through a special ‘I want to live’ hotline, Ukraine’s government has claimed.

Indifference kills. That was Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy's message to the world Friday as Ukraine's first ever Jewish head of state marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Zelenskyy's message stood in stark contrast to that of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who repeated a false claim that he has long used to justify his invasion of the neighboring nation, suggesting that "neo-Nazis" allied with Zelenskyy were committing crimes in Ukraine's eastern regions.

A total of 321 heavy tanks have been promised to Ukraine by several countries, Ukraine’s ambassador to France said on Friday.

A missile strike on Russian forces at Makiivka that Moscow claimed had killed 89 people was “highly likely” to have in fact had more than 300 casualties, the UK Ministry of Defense has said.

January 27th, 2023

Russia is violating the “fundamental principles of child protection” in wartime by giving Ukrainian children Russian passports and putting them up for adoption, the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) chief told Reuters in an interview.

The UK’s ministry of defense has published its latest intelligence briefing on how it sees the situation in Ukraine. In it, it casts doubt on recent Russian claims of military advances in Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk.

Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who visited Ukraine last week, said IAEA monitors reported powerful explosions near Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station on Thursday and renewed calls for a security zone around the plant.

January 26th, 2023

Russian authorities have designated independent news outlet Meduza as an “undesirable organization”, effectively outlawing the site from operating in Russia and banning any Russian from cooperating with the organization or its journalists.

A wave of Russian missile strikes damaged energy infrastructure in Ukraine’s southern port city of Odesa on Thursday, the Odesa district military administration said on Telegram. This comes only hours after UNESCO designated Odesa as a World Heritage site.

Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko has posted to Telegram to say that at least one person has been killed as a result of this morning’s attacks. Twenty cruise missiles heading in the direction of Ukraine’s capital were shot down by air defenses.

The Turkish firm Karpowership has signed an agreement with state-owned trader JSC Energy Company of Ukraine (ECU) to fast-track the use of 500-megawatt floating power stations to alleviate Ukraine’s energy crisis. Options being considered for the floating power stations include mooring them in the Black Sea off Moldova and Romania.

The Dutch government is potentially ready to discuss the provision of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine if Kyiv expresses such a request.

Ukraine's air defense systems shot down an unspecified number of Russian missiles on Thursday morning, the Ukrainian president's Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak wrote on Telegram. More than 30 incoming missiles were detected.

Maksym Kozytskyi, governor of Lviv, has urged residents to take shelter and cautioned them about publishing information about the latest air alert on the internet.

Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior ministry, has posted to say that the air alert is in effect across all of Ukraine. Rockets were detected in the direction of Vinnytsia in the West and the Kyiv region.

The Kyiv City Military Administration says that “about 15 enemy UAVs [drones] were shot down in the airspace” over Kyiv overnight.

January 25th, 2023

The Swiss National Council's Security Policy Committee has supported a parliamentary initiative to allow the re-export of war materiel in certain cases, in particular in the case of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Russia’s oldest human rights organization, the Moscow Helsinki Group, was liquidated on Wednesday after a court ruled it did not have the correct registration, the latest in a series of closures that critics say is reminiscent of the Soviet era.

Spain is now also “willing to work with allies” to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, defense minister Margarita Robles has said.

The Russian government has ordered the establishment of more than 20 "correctional facilities" in the occupied regions of Ukraine, a government document shows. The stated purpose is "criminal punishment in the form of forced labor".

Ukraine’s military spokesperson, Serhiy Cherevatyi, has said Ukrainian forces have withdrawn from the eastern town of Soledar in the Donetsk region, according to the country’s state broadcaster Suspilne.

The US and Germany are poised to provide a significant boost to Kyiv’s war effort with the delivery of heavy battle tanks to Ukraine, sources say, a move Moscow condemned as a “blatant provocation”.

Russia has worked to prepare a small number of T-14 Armata main battle tanks for the type’s first operational deployment in Ukraine. However, in recent months, deployed Russian forces were reluctant to accept the first tranche of T-14s allocated to them because the vehicles were in such poor condition.

British volunteer Chris Parry and his colleague Andrew Bagshaw have been killed while attempting a humanitarian evacuation from Soledar in eastern Ukraine, Parry’s family has said in a statement released by Britain’s foreign office.

January 24th, 2023

BREAKING NEWS: German chancellor Olaf Scholz has decided to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and allow other countries such as Poland to do so while the US may supply Abrams tanks, magazine Spiegel has reported.

An inspection of Ukrainian nuclear plants found no military equipment stashed at the sites, debunking a claim from Russia, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has set its Doomsday Clock, intended to illustrate existential risks to the world, at 90 seconds to midnight, the closest to midnight the clock has ever been since it was first introduced in 1947.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Biden administration is leaning toward sending Abrams tanks to Ukraine, and an announcement could come this week.

Germany could give approval to Poland for Warsaw to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine as soon as Wednesday, Bloomberg is reporting.

Ukraine has enough coal and gas reserves for the remaining months of winter despite repeated Russian attacks on its energy system, prime minister Denys Shmyhal has said.

Berlin will examine and make a decision over Poland’s application to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine “with necessary urgency”, a spokesperson has confirmed.

Ukraine’s government has dismissed five regional governors and an array of other senior officials in the biggest shake-up of the country’s political leadership since Russia launched its invasion in February. Among more than a dozen senior Ukrainian officials who have resigned or were dismissed were the governors of the Kyiv, Sumy, Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Ukraine’s state broadcaster Suspilne reports that there is an emergency power shutdown in the Lviv region after the consumption limits were exceeded.

Germany has now received Poland’s official request to re-export Leopard tanks to Ukraine, Reuters reports Polish defence minister Mariusz Blaszczak said.

January 23rd, 2023

The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, has said Germany is not blocking the export of Leopard 2 tanks as Berlin faces mounting pressure to supply the heavy weapons that Kyiv has been calling for.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has said he will not support Sweden’s Nato membership bid after a protest in Stockholm at the weekend that included the burning of a copy of the Qur’an.

Lviv region in western Ukraine is experiencing an emergency power shutdown, and regional governor Maksym Kozytskyi, has posted to Telegram with an appeal to residents over the energy shortage.

The provision of Western weapons to Ukraine “will lead to a global catastrophe,” a senior Russian politician warned Sunday. The chairman of the State Duma said the delivery of weapons will lead to Russian retaliation "using more powerful weapons.” 

European council president Charles Michel has urged the block’s national leaders to push forward with talks on using $300 billion-worth of confiscated Russian central bank assets for the reconstruction of Ukraine, the Financial Times reports.

Germany has said it will not “stand in the way” of Poland sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine, in what appears to be the clearest signal yet from Berlin that European allies could deliver the German-made hardware.

Morocco has reportedly sent an unknown number of T-72B main battle tanks to Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s armed forces.

January 22nd, 2023

Olga Chyzh, an expert in political violence and repressive regimes has argued that as Putin is not answerable to an electorate, he can only be stopped by his inner circle.

A close ally of Vladimir Putin has warned that the world faces a “global catastrophe” if Washington and NATO countries supply weapons that threaten Russian territories. Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the Duma - Russia’s lower house of parliament, said such action would also make arguments against using weapons of mass destruction “untenable”.

The front-line city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine continues to be the focus of intense fighting. Ukrainian forces appear to be holding out against the Russian military.

The Ukrainian defense of Bakhmut is likely a strategically sound effort despite its costs for Ukraine. [ISW Daily Report]

January 21st, 2023

The foreign ministers of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia on Saturday jointly called on Germany to immediately provide Ukraine with Leopard tanks, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said in a tweet.

The US Treasury Department will designate the Russian mercenary organization Wagner Group as a “transnational criminal organization," National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby announced Friday.

Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov continues to frame Chechen fighters’ involvement in the war in Ukraine on distinctly religious grounds. [ISW Daily Report - in-depth]

Latvia has told Germany to send Leopord tanks “now” to Ukraine after perceived heel-dragging by the government in Berlin.

Ukrainian forces will train on Leopard 2 battle tanks in Poland, Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, has been quoted as saying, despite allies’ failure to reach an agreement to supply the German-made vehicles to Kyiv.

Russian casualty numbers may have hit 188,000 since their invasion of Ukraine according to US estimates, it has been reported.

January 20th, 2023

Germany’s defense minister says no decision has been reached at the Ramstein meeting on whether to deliver the sought-after Leopard 2 tanks.

Senior Kremlin officials continue holding high-level meetings with Belarusian national leadership – activity that could be setting conditions for a Russian attack against Ukraine from Belarus.

Iran: Minister of foreign affairs publicly stated: "We will not recognize the annexation of Crimea, Kherson, Donetsk, Zaporizhia and Luhansk by Russia."

Japan: New announcements on deeper military cooperation between the U.S. and Japan — paired with Tokyo's drive to strengthen its own defense capabilities — confirm that the officially pacifist nation is a growing military power in East Asia.

Syria: A potential Turkish military operation into northern Syria could draw the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) away from counter-ISIS efforts. The SDF commander is warning of an imminent Turkish incursion. Even a limited Turkish invasion would drain SDF resources and likely allow ISIS to accelerate its efforts to erode and replace SDF governance structures in eastern Syria. [ISW Daily Report]

January 19th, 2023

Moldova has requested air defense systems from its allies with the aim of strengthening its capabilities as the war in neighboring Ukraine continues, its president Maia Sandu said.

Lithuania’s defense minister, Arvydas Anusauskas, has said several countries will announce sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine at tomorrow’s meeting of defense ministers at the Ramstein airbase in Germany.

Poland will either receive permission to transfer German-made tanks to Ukraine "or we will do the right thing ourselves," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Thursday.

Dmitry Medvedev, the hawkish long-term ally of Vladimir Putin, has been threatening nuclear war again on Telegram. He said: the “defeat of a nuclear power in a conventional war may trigger a nuclear war”, referring to Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.

NATO countries are set to announce new “heavier weapons” for Ukraine, the alliance’s chief has said. Many of Ukraine’s allies will meet on Friday at the Ramstein military base in Germany, including all 30 Nato members.

Germany will not allow allies to ship German-made tanks to Ukraine to help its defense against Russia or send its own systems unless the United States agrees to send its own tanks, the Wall Street Journal has reported, citing senior German officials.

January 18th, 2023

In an interview on the BBC’s World at One programme, the former head of NATO and former Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said that Germany’s “hesitation” in sending tanks to Ukraine has “allowed Putin to escalate the war without consequences”.

Bulgaria, one of the poorest EU members and long perceived as pro-Moscow, helped Ukraine survive Russia’s early onslaught by secretly supplying it with large amounts of desperately needed diesel and ammunition, the politicians responsible have said.

Four people have been detained by police after laying flowers at a makeshift memorial in central Moscow for the victims of the strike in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, the independent Russian human rights monitor OVD-Info said Tuesday. 

UPDATE: Fourteen people have been killed in a helicopter crash in the town of Brovary, in the Kyiv region. The helicopter came down near a kindergarten that was in use at the time. One child is reported to be among the dead, and another eleven children are said to be among 25 people who have been hospitalized. State broadcaster Suspilne, quoting police officials, report that nine of the dead were on board the helicopter, and that the victims include Ukraine’s interior minister Denys Monastyrsky and other officials.

Pentagon Sends U.S. Arms Stored in Israel to Ukraine: The stockpile provides arms to the U.S. for Middle East conflicts. Israel had initially expressed concerns the move could damage relations with Russia.

The British defense secretary, Ben Wallace, will join counterparts from Poland and the Baltic countries in Estonia to mount a final attempt to put pressure on Germany to authorize sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine this week.

January 17th, 2023

The Netherlands will send a Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine, Dutch news agency ANP has reported, citing prime minister Mark Rutte.

Ukraine has urged world leaders to intensify efforts to remove Vladimir Putin’s troops from its soil as the country’s war with Russia dominated the first full day of the gathering of the global elite in Davos.

Kazakhstan will no longer allow Russian citizens to stay in the Central Asian country indefinitely by doing so-called visa runs every three months, according to a government directive published this week.

Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu announced earlier Tuesday that President Vladimir Putin had made a decision to increase the strength of the Russian Armed Forces to 1.5 million servicemen.

The leaders of Poland and Lithuania said they are optimistic that Germany will authorize the export of Leopard tanks to Ukraine, as business tycoons and policymakers came together for the annual World Economic Forum Monday. His comments came after Poland announced last week that it plans to send Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine.

NATO surveillance planes [AWACS] are due to arrive in Romania today to bolster the military alliance’s eastern flank and help monitor Russian military activity, Reuters reports.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the office of president of Ukraine, posted an update to Telegram to say: "At 9:46am, the body of one dead child was found from under the rubble of a destroyed residential building on the 4th floor. A total of 41 people died (including four children), 79 people were injured (including 16 children), and 39 people were rescued (including six children)." There are 25 persons still missing. UPDATE: The death toll now stands at 45.

Maksym Kozytskyi, governor of Lviv region in western Ukraine, has posted to Telegram to warn residents that the state energy company, Ukrenergo, has set a lower consumption target for the region than yesterday, and that “there is a greater probability of power outages.”

Russia and Ukraine have been working on a large prisoner exchange deal which will include 1,000 people in total, Turkish ombudsman Seref Malkoc said on Monday.

Britain will send a squadron of Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine to help push back Russia’s invasion, the defense secretary, Ben Wallace, has confirmed. This puts more pressure on Germany which has resisted sending heavy weaponry.

Russia and Belarus began joint air force drills Monday morning, triggering fears in Kyiv and the west that Moscow could use its ally to launch a new ground offensive in Ukraine.

Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Israel is prepared to use force to confront Iran, hours after a senior security official claimed the prime minister would be willing to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities if other options for preventing the Islamic Republic from acquiring nuclear weapons are exhausted.

China’s economy grew at one of its slowest rates in decades last year as repeated Covid-19 lockdowns hammered households and businesses. Also, the country's population fell in 2022 for the first time sine the 1960s.

January 16th, 2023

Russia is stepping up its use of S-300 and S-400 air defense systems to conduct raids on ground targets, suggesting that Moscow’s stocks of ballistic missiles are running low, Ukraine’s Air Force spokesman said.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said Monday that it had examined the wreckage of the munition that hit an apartment building in the city of Dnipro on Saturday and that it was identified as a Russian Kh-22 cruise missile.

Britain’s defense secretary, Ben Wallace, says it is “notable” that Russia is using forced labour of convicts to manufacture weaponry.

UPDATE: The number of people killed in a Russian missile attack on a residential block in Dnipro has risen to 40, including three children, according to Ukrainian officials. With many still missing under the rubble, the death toll is certain to rise further.

The Kremlin has denied that Russian missile strikes hit residential buildings in Ukraine, after local officials in Dnipro said at least 40 people were killed in Saturday’s attack on a residential block in the Ukrainian south-central city. Ukraine’s air force has said the residential block was struck by a Russian Kh-22 missile, which is known to be inaccurate and that Kyiv says it has no way of shooting down.

Germany can reasonably hope to fill up its gas storage tanks at favourable prices for next winter, Economy Minister Robert Habeck says, but he cautions that the energy crisis is not over yet.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Germany should send Ukraine all the weapons it needs, including tanks, to defend itself against Russia. Currently Germany is the only major NATO country that has not agreed to send tanks.

Russian news agency Interfax is reporting that air defenses in Sevastopol have been active against Ukrainian drones, according to the Russian-imposed regional governor. Interfax reports.

As of Sunday, Ukraine’s forces have “almost certainly” maintained positions in Soledar, north of Bakhmut, according to the UK ministry of defense.

January 15th, 2023

UPDATE: After working through the night, rescuers have pulled a woman from the rubble of the Dnipro apartment block that Russia destroyed with a missile. 25 people so far known to have died, including a child. But around 40 are still missing so the death toll will probably rise.

Remains of the apartment block struck by a Russian missile.

January 14th, 2023

The CEO of the Ukrainian state power company Ukrenergo says the country's power system suffered twelve waves of missile strikes Saturday. "Unfortunately, energy facilities in 5 regions were hit," Volodymyr Kudrytskyi wrote on Facebook. "Power engineers are already working on the restoration."

Ukraine’s Energy Minister German Galushchenko has said that the coming days would be “difficult” on the energy front after Russia’s latest missile attack hit critical infrastructure in several regions.

The government in Moldova has condemned Russia's missile attacks against neighboring Ukraine and expressed its "indignation" that debris from a missile fell on its territory Saturday.

Moldova’s interior ministry has said that missile debris was found in the country’s north following the latest Russian air strikes on Ukraine. “Following Russia’s massive bombardment of Ukraine, a border police patrol discovered…the remains of a missile, originating from Russia’s air attacks on Ukraine,” the ministry said on Facebook.

Russian missiles struck critical infrastructure facilities on Saturday in Ukraine’s Kharkiv and Lviv regions in the country’s east and west respectively, local officials said. Air raid sirens are sounding across Ukraine on Saturday. Authorities say air defenses continue to work in several regions of the country.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from the outskirts of the embattled cities of Bakhmut and Soledar, said there was no sign of a large-scale withdrawal of Ukrainian troops, despite Russia claiming control of the latter.

Ukraine continues to refute Moscow’s claims it captured Soledar. The frontline city of Soledar, which Russia had claimed to have captured, is still controlled by Ukrainian troops, local authorities have said. “Soledar is controlled by Ukrainian authorities, our military controls it,” regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on national television on Saturday.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced the UK will provide Challenger 2 tanks and other artillery systems to support Ukraine. Sunak’s Downing Street office said in a statement that he made the pledge after speaking to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Saturday.

New video from the town of Soledar in Donetsk region shows a massive explosion at a building that appears to have been a shelter for Russian troops.

The Western alliance’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine received a shot in the arm this week as multiple European nations for the first time answered President Volodymyr Zelensky’s longstanding call to supply modern battle tanks to Kyiv.

Several powerful explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, on Saurday morning, though the exact locations could not be immediately determined, with thick fog over the city.

Zelensky says the battle for Donetsk region continues with Russian infighting a "clear sign of failure".

January 13th, 2023

NATO will deploy Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) surveillance planes to Bucharest, Romania. The aircraft are scheduled to arrive on January 17, 2023 and will support the Alliance’s reinforced presence in the region and monitor Russian military activity.

In the long-running battle for Soledar, Ukraine still appears to control the road beyond the town, connecting neighbouring Bakhmut and Soledar with Sloviansk and Kostyantynivka, whose capture would further threaten Ukrainian defenders in Bakhmut.

Ukraine has officially denied the statement by the Russian defence ministry on the capture of Soledar. “The statements of the Russian MoD about the capture of the city are not true. There are battles in Soledar,” said Serhiy Cherevaty, spokesman of the Eastern group of the Ukrainian army.

The fighting for the salt mining town of Soledar and the nearby city of Bakhmut has highlighted a bitter rift between the Russian Defense Ministry leadership and Yevgeny Prigozhin, a rogue millionaire whose private military force known as the Wagner Group has played an increasingly visible role in Ukraine.

Neither Poland nor Finland have submitted an official request to re-export their German-made Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine, a German government spokeswoman said Friday, as pressure mounts on Berlin to provide the tanks to Kyiv and to authorize other countries to do the same.

Finland could donate some German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine if other European nations also decided to do so, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said.

Wagner, the Russian private military company, posted a video on Telegram Thursday evening directly disparaging the Russian defense ministry’s claim that regular Russian military forces have participated in the assault on Soledar.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday publicly berated his industry and trade minister for acting too slowly in completing orders for military and civilian aircraft.

Ukrainian forces are holding out against Russian forces after a “hot” night of battles in the eastern salt-mining town of Soledar, Deputy DefenSe Minister Hanna Malyar says.

Geolocated footage posted on January 11 and 12 indicates that Russian forces likely control most if not all of Soledar, and have likely pushed Ukrainian forces out of the western outskirts of the settlement.

Russia claimed that 4 Bradley tanks were destroyed recently. Those tanks have not yet been delivered to Ukraine.

January 12th, 2023

The Ukrainian military said Thursday that it was conducting counterattacks in Soledar, the eastern town that has been the subject of intense Russian bombardment. “After several days of pulling back, we've even made a small advance,” Ukraine's 46th Airmobile Brigade said on Telegram.

Israel and Russia ties under Netanyahu: Ukraine has expressed its disappointment in signals that the new Israeli government may establish closer ties with Russia.

Russian forces are “suffering heavy losses” in their attempt to take the town of Soledar in eastern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Mailar.

Car sales in Russia collapsed by 58.8 percent in 2022, the Association of European Businesses (AEB) has said, as the industry continues to reel from the impact of Western sanctions on Moscow.

The appointment of General Gerasimov over Surovikin is “highly likely to have been in part a political decision to reassert the primacy of the Russian [ministry of defense] in an internal Russian power struggle,” the Institute for the Study of War has said.

The Ukrainian military has claimed its forces killed more than 100 Russian soldiers in a single strike in Soledar. Ukrainian forces reportedly launched a missile at Russian troops, the command of Ukraine’s special operations forces said in an update early this morning.

A former Russian deputy minister of defense has suggested the country could increase the age of conscription for military service from 27 to 30 for this year’s spring draft campaign, the BBC Russian service reported.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called for his forces to be “ready both at the border and in the regions” near Belarus amid fear Russia may launch a fresh assault from the north.

Ukraine continues to deny that Russian forces have encircled and captured Soledar after claims by the head of the Wagner mercenary group that the eastern city had fallen.

Russia replaced the general in charge of the Ukraine war in the latest military shake-up. Valery Gerasimov has been appointed chief of the general staff, as its overall commander for the war in Ukraine on Wednesday, in the latest of several major shake-ups of Moscow’s military leadership during the stumbling invasion of its neighbour.

Russian war crimes and human rights abuses during the war in Ukraine add up to a “litany of violations of international humanitarian law,” according to Human Rights Watch.

January 11th, 2023

Poland will send Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine, Polish President Andrzej Duda said during a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Lviv.

Downing St has confirmed that the British government is planning to provide tanks to Ukraine to help the country defend itself against the Russian invasion, the Financial Times reports.

Ukraine’s deputy defense minister said Wednesday afternoon that Russia is not in control of Soledar, the town in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region that has been the site of intense fighting in recent days.

Soaring prices for energy and food could persist for the next two years, hurting global efforts to combat poverty and the climate crisis, a report prepared for next week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, has warned.

Serhiy Cherevatyi, the spokesperson for the Eastern Group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said: “Russians say that it [Soledar] is under their control, it is not true.” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has cautioned against premature announcements on the capture of the Ukrainian town of Soledar, and now says there is a “positive trend”.

A Ukrainian soldier fighting in the eastern town of Soledar told CNN that the situation is “critical” and the death toll is now so high that “no one counts the dead”. The soldier is from the 46th air mobile brigade, which is leading Ukraine’s fight to hold onto Soledar in the face of a massive assault primarily from Wagner mercenaries.

Western intelligence officers believe the Wagner group is playing an increasingly significant role in Russia’s campaign and that, according to one official speaking on condition of anonymity, “there’s a realistic possibility that Wagner personnel now make up a quarter or more of Russian combatants”.

The outcome of a battle for the eastern Ukrainian salt mining town of Soledar hung in the balance on Wednesday, as Russia's mercenary Wagner Group claimed to have won control, with fighting focused in the town center. Kyiv says its soldiers are still holding out.

January 10th, 2023

Ukrainians are set to begin training on the Patriot missile system in the United States as soon as next week, two US officials familiar with the matter tell CNN.

Armenia has refused to host Russia-led military military drills this year, in a move that reflects Yerevan’s growing tensions with Moscow and Vladimir Putin’s increasingly loose grip on Russia’s regional allies in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

Heavy fighting is reported in Soledar, a salt-mining town of great strategic importance, as it has a vast network of nearly 200km of underground tunnels. The Russians claim that the Ukrainians are using those tunnels as defensive positions and to store ammunition.

US and Ukrainian officials told CNN that Russia’s artillery fire is down in some places by as much as 75%, citing it as further evidence of Moscow's increasingly weak position on the battlefield nearly a year into its invasion. Russia may be rationing artillery rounds due to low supplies, or it could be part of a broader reassessment of tactics in the face of successful Ukrainian offenses.

The EU’s top representative to Ukraine, Matti Maasikas, says Kyiv is close to reaching a milestone in reforming the country’s court system with the appointment of eight new members of the High Council of Justice (HJC). Kyiv has stepped up efforts to implement seven European Commission-defined reforms in order to open accession talks as soon as possible.

HISTORY is not available at this time.

News about our Brethren

UKRAINE: January 22nd, 2023

Online meetings continue to be negatively affected due to recent missile attacks, but have not been stopped. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the Ukrainian government has expanded its efforts to conscript new soldiers. The Brethren ask for continued prayers.

UKRAINE: January 15th, 2023

Online meetings have been negatively affected due to recent missile attacks. Lviv electrical infrastructure was damaged on Saturday. There were far fewer Brethren from Ukraine present at the Saturday evening Zoom meeting.

UKRAINE: January 7th & 8th, 2023

A 2-day convention was held in Lviv over the weekend and was well-attended, including a few Brethren from Poland and Romania. Thankfully there were no major problems with electricity or internet. There was good attendance online as well.

LINKS (updated: January 29th, 2023)

    [The Guardian]