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January 9, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news
By Kathleen Magramo, Amy Woodyatt, Kathryn Snowdon, Mike Hayes and Leinz Vales, CNN
Russia putting greatest effort into capturing eastern town of Soledar, Zelensky says
From CNN’s Olga Voitovych in Kyiv
Russia is focused on capturing the mining town of Soledar in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Monday.
The Russians, “have concentrated their greatest efforts on Soledar,” he said. “It is extremely difficult — there are almost no undamaged walls left.”
Ukrainian troops have repelled a previous Russian attempt to capture the town, Zelensky’s deputy defense minister said earlier Monday. Zelensky said his men’s “resilience” had “won additional time” for Ukraine.
“Everything is completely destroyed, there is almost no life left. Thousands of their people have been lost: the whole ground near Soledar is covered with the corpses of the occupiers and scars from the blows. This is how madness looks like,” he added.
Zelensky said that his administration was working to get the military equipment promised by Ukraine’s allies to the frontline as soon as possible: “We are doing everything to ensure that there is as little time as possible between the agreement on additional support and the application of this support on the battlefield.”
2 people killed in car after missile hits Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, official says
From CNN’s Denis Lapin in Kyiv and Jo Shelley in London
Two people have been killed in a missile strike on the city of Kramatorsk in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region late on Monday, a government official said on Telegram.
The missile hit a road and killed two people in a car, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine.
Earlier Monday, two people died when a missile struck a village in the neighboring Kharkiv region, and another person died after shelling in the southern city of Kherson.
Two British nationals missing in Ukraine, UK officials say
From CNN's Radina Gigova in London
Two British nationals have gone missing in Ukraine, the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said in a statement to CNN Monday.
“We are supporting the families of two British men who have gone missing in Ukraine,” an FCDO spokesperson said.
The spokesperson didn't provide further details about the two British nationals or their last known location.
Death toll rises to 2 after strike on Kharkiv region
From CNN’s Olga Voitovych in Kyiv
The number of people killed in Monday’s missile strike on the Kharkiv region has risen to two, the head of the regional administration, Oleh Syniehubov, said on Telegram.
“According to the updated information, 6 people were wounded as a result of a strike on the settlement of Shevchenkove. Two more people were killed,” Syniehubov said. “Among wounded there is a child who received a shrapnel wound to the neck. The girl was immediately sent for surgery. Now doctors are fighting for her life.”
The village of Shevchenkove was liberated in September after more than six months of Russian occupation.
Russia renews attempt to take town of Soledar near Bakhmut
From CNN’s Denis Lapin, Olga Voitovych and Jo Shelley
Russian troops are making another attempt to advance on the small town of Soledar near Bakhmut in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on Telegram Monday.
“After an unsuccessful [previous] attempt to capture Soledar and retreat, the enemy regrouped, restored losses, deployed additional assault units, changed tactics and launched a powerful assault,” Maliar said. “At the moment, the enemy has engaged a large number of assault groups formed from the best reserves of the Wagner's troops. The enemy is advancing literally on the corpses of their own soldiers, massively using artillery, multiple rocket launchers and mortars, covering even their own fighters with fire.”
“Heavy fighting continues right at this moment,” she added.
Earlier on Monday, Serhii Cherevatyi, a Ukrainian military spokesperson, told Ukrainian TV that Russia had “managed to concentrate more of its units” around Soledar and was deploying both “regular” troops and mercenaries working for the private sector group Wagner there.
The head of the Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said Sunday that one of the reasons he wanted to take over Bakhmut and Soledar in order to control the system of mines in that area, which he described as “a network of underground cities."
Cherevatyi, spokesperson for Eastern Group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said they were trying to evacuate civilians from Soledar but not everyone was willing to leave.
“Soledar is actually destroyed,” he said. “There are residents there. Everything is being done to evacuate them. It is difficult to talk about the numbers now. There is a part of people, especially the older generation, who have a great fear of change, of leaving their homes and to move somewhere. We are communicating with them, but not always everyone agrees [to leave].”
On Sunday night, President Volodymr Zelensky said that Soledar was “holding out” but it was “extremely hard.”
Russian forces claim capturing east Ukraine village near key city of Bakhmut
From CNN's Katharina Krebs
Russian forces claimed to have taken the village of Bakhmuts'ke in Donetsk region on Monday, according to a statement published by the headquarters of the Territorial Defense of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) on its Telegram channel.
"As of January 9, 2023, Bakhmuts'ke village in the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic was liberated by the Russian Armed Forces," the statement claimed.
The village of Bakhmuts'ke is located near Soledar and Bakhmut — the area which has been the site of intense fighting for months.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday called Bakhmut and Soledar "one of the bloodiest places on the frontline."
CNN has not been able to independently confirm DPR's claims.
It's mid-afternoon in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know
Shelling has continued in northeastern and southeastern Ukraine, according to local regional heads. Meanwhile, the Kremlin has said that it has "absolute trust" in the information from the Russian Defense Ministry on carrying out a "retaliation" strike against Ukraine’s Armed Forces in Kramatorsk.
Here are the latest developments:
- Kharkiv shelling: Ukraine's Kharkiv region was targeted with a missile strike and shelling on Monday, the head of the Kharkiv regional state administration said on Telegram. "The enemy shelled the settlements of the Chuhuiv and Kupyansk districts with artillery, tanks and mortars," Oleg Sinegubov said. Seven civilians were injured as a result of a missile strike on the village of Shevchenkove, while a 60-year-old woman died, he added.
- Shelling continues in Donetsk: Shelling has continued overnight in different parts of the front line in southeastern Ukraine, the head of the Donetsk region military administration said on Telegram. Pavlo Kyrylenko said Russian units continued "shelling at different parts of the front line overnight" in the southeast Ukrainian region. One person was wounded in one of several shelling incidents, which took place near Vuhledar, Soledar, Chasiv Yar and the direction of Lysychansk, Kyrylenko added.
- Bakhmut area "one of the bloodiest places on the front line": A senior Ukrainian military commander, Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, has visited troops defending the embattled area of Bakhmut and Soledar, in eastern Ukraine. This comes as Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday called the area around the eastern Ukrainian cities "one of the bloodiest places on the front line." Bakhmut has become perhaps the most contested and kinetic part of the 1,300- kilometer (800 mile) front line in Ukraine and the scene of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.
- Kremlin backs defense ministry: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said during a conference call with journalists Monday that the defense ministry's daily briefings are "the main and only legitimate source of information about what is happening in the course of the special military operation." Russia claimed that more than 600 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in a Russian strike in Kramatorsk carried out in "retaliation" over the Ukrainian attack on Russian-occupied Makiivka last week. Ukrainian officials on Sunday dismissed Moscow’s claim, with a Ukrainian official calling it "nonsense."
- Moscow dismisses second wave of mobilization rumors: Peskov also dismissed rumors of a possible second wave of mobilization in Russia. "The primary source is the authorities headed by the President of the Russian Federation," Peskov said on a conference call with reporters.
- Prisoner exchange: Russia and Ukraine carried out a prisoner exchange Sunday with a total of 100 soldiers returning home, according to authorities from both countries. This is the 36th exchange between Russia and Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion.
- Pope likens war to "crime against God": Pope Francis has likened the war in Ukraine to a "crime against God and against humanity," calling once again for an end to the conflict. Speaking during an address to the diplomatic corps in the Vatican on Monday, the Pope said that conflicts such as the war in Ukraine with its "wake of death and destruction" and "attacks on civil infrastructures" are akin to crimes "against God and humanity."
- German assistance: Germany does not currently have plans to deliver Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine, but it is preparing to send up to 40 infantry fighting Marder tanks, its defense ministry spokesman said Monday. The German army, the Bundeswehr, is ready to start training Ukrainian soldiers, Arne Collatz told journalists.
Kremlin says Western weapons supplies will "prolong suffering" for Ukrainians
From CNN’s Anna Chernova
The supplies of Western weapons to Ukraine will “add pain” and “prolong suffering” for Ukrainians, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Monday.
Commenting on France’s decision to deliver armored combat vehicles to Ukraine, Peskov said it hardly makes sense to speak only of the French supplies, since “Collective Europe, the US and NATO pumped tens of billions of dollars into Ukraine through the supply of weapons.”
“The deliveries can add pain to the Ukrainian people, prolong their suffering. But they cannot fundamentally change anything [in Ukraine],” Peskov said.
“These supplies are not capable of disrupting the achievement of the goals of the special military operation,” he added. Moscow has continuously referred to its invasion of Ukraine as a "special military operation."
Recent developments: Germany does not currently have plans to deliver Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine, but it is preparing to send up to 40 infantry fighting Marder tanks, its defense ministry spokesman said Monday.
The German army, the Bundeswehr, is ready to start training Ukrainian soldiers, Arne Collatz told journalists. And last week, US President Joe Biden affirmed that the United States would supply Ukraine with Bradley fighting vehicles as part of a new security assistance package to the country as it nears the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion.
The nearly $3 billion package is among the largest packages of military equipment sent from the Pentagon to Ukraine since the war began. It comes as Ukraine prepares for intensive fighting in the spring as the weather warms.