January 13, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Jack Guy, Kathryn Snowdon and Aditi Sangal, CNN

Updated 8:59 p.m. ET, January 13, 2023
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8:01 p.m. ET, January 12, 2023

Ukrainian soldier in Soledar describes dire situation: "We are just abandoned"

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva in Kyiv

A Ukrainian soldier in the contested eastern town of Soledar described a dire situation to CNN on Thursday evening, saying “we are just abandoned.”

CNN is not identifying the soldier for security reasons.

“We tried to withdraw ourselves, but the Orcs [Russians] are already there. If there is no order to withdraw today, we will most likely not have time to leave,” he told CNN over the phone. “We were told that we would be withdrawn. And now we аre just abandoned.”

He said the soldiers had run out of food, were running low on water, and some were wounded. He said they still had some ammunition.

“The last evacuation was three days ago. The order was to hold out to the very end. Judging by the sounds of the battle, our neighbors [other units] either withdrew or were ordered to withdraw. We were told to hold out,” he said.

“We hold on as long as we can. But anyone can get tired and hit the limit eventually. It is impossible to hold on just on a high morale for so long.”

Wagner, the Russian private military company, has claimed to have captured all of Soledar. A video posted to Telegram Thursday and geolocated by CNN shows Wagner forces on the northern edge of the town.

Ukraine’s 46th Airmobile Brigade claimed Thursday that it was “conducting counterattacks” in the town.

“After several days of pulling back, we've even made a small advance,” the unit said on Telegram. “The railway station is ours. The mine is ours. We are waiting for support. Soledar is Ukraine.”

7:55 p.m. ET, January 12, 2023

More than 200 Ukrainian troops are traveling to Spain for training

From CNN's Al Goodman

Spain will receive 225 Ukrainian troops late on Thursday at an air force base near Madrid, including 20 who will get training on HAWK air defense systems to counter air attacks, Spain's Defense Ministry said in a statement. Spain is sending six of the HAWK air defense units to Ukraine. 

Most of the remaining troops, who are Ukrainian civilians without prior military experience, will get basic training, the ministry said. That will include training on treating people wounded in combat and on procedures against IEDs.

The training in Toledo, an hour south of Madrid, is a program designed to handle 400 Ukrainian troops rotating through every two months and is part of the European Union's military assistance mission for Ukraine, the ministry said.

It is the second group of Ukrainians to come to Spain for training after 64 troops came in November and December, the statement added.

Spain's Defense Minister will receive the 225 Ukrainians at Torrejón Air Base, according to the ministry. 

Other allies' actions: Polish President Andrzej Duda announced a plan to send Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine during a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Lviv on Wednesday. 

And Ukrainian troops are set to begin training on the Patriot missile system in the United States as soon as next week, the Pentagon announced on Tuesday.

7:47 p.m. ET, January 12, 2023

US Navy veteran released from Russian custody

From CNN's Natasha Bertrand 

An American Navy veteran who has been detained in Russia for nearly a year was released from custody on Thursday, his family’s spokesperson told CNN, after months of negotiations spearheaded by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

Taylor Dudley, 35, of Lansing, Michigan, was detained by Russian border patrol police in April 2022 after crossing from Poland into Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania. He was in Poland attending a music festival, and it is not clear why he crossed the border.

Dudley’s detention — which the US government had not deemed as “wrongful,” or based on arbitrary and discriminatory motivations — had not been widely publicized before Thursday because his family wanted the negotiations for his release to remain private.

Read more here.