Russo Ukrainian War. Day 321: Russian troops resume the assault on Soledar

 

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

Russian troops resume the assault on Soledar. Russia’s Soledar axis is highly likely an effort to envelop Bakhmut from the north, and to disrupt Ukrainian lines of communication. The UK is considering supplying Ukraine with tanks for the first time

Daily overview — Summary report, January 10, 2023

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 18.00 pm, January 10, 2023 is in the dropdown menu below:

The situation in Ukraine. January 9, 2023. Source: ISW. ~

The situation in Ukraine. January 9, 2023. Source: ISW.

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Day 321 of the russian military aggression has begun.
The russian invaders continue to wage full-scale armed aggression against our state. Russian forces do not stop attacks against critical infrastructure and civilian residences across Ukraine, thereby violating the norms of International Humanitarian Law, laws and customs of warfare.
During the past day, the enemy launched 8x missile and 31x air strikes, and conducted 63x MLRS attacks, including on civilian infrastructure of the cities of Kharkiv, Kherson, Kramatorsk (Donetsk oblast); and Ochakiv in the Mykolaiv oblast. There are victims among the civilian population.
The threat of enemy air and missile strikes on critical infrastructure remains high across Ukraine.
The enemy is conducting offensive operations on the Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Lyman axes, and is trying to improve the tactical position in the Kup’yans’k axes. Russian invaders concentrate efforts on capturing Donetsk oblast, but have no success.
Over the past 24 hours, Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled attacks in the vicinities of Bilohorivka, Chervopopivka, Kuzmine (Luhansk oblast); Soledar, Bilogorivka, Pidhorodne, Bakhmut, Klishchiivka, Vodyane, Kurdyumivka, Mayorsk, Maryinka, and Pobieda (Donetsk oblast).
Kharkiv Battle Map. January 9, 2023. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. January 9, 2023. Source: ISW.

Sivershchyna and Slobozhanshchyna axes: the enemy fired on the positions of our troops and civilian objects in the vicinities of Buchky settlement (Chernihiv oblast); Starykov, Shalygine, Volfyne, Popivka, Basivka and Petrushyvka (Sumy oblast); and Strelecha, Zelene, Ambarne and Gatishche (Kharkiv oblast).
Kup’yans’k and Lyman axes: the enemy shelled the areas of 22 settlements with tanks, mortars, barrel and rocket artillery. Among them are Dvorichna, Kupyansk, Kislivka, Kotlyarivka and Krokhmalne of the Kharkiv oblast and Stelmakhivka, Makiivka, Ploshanka and Dibrova of the Luhansk oblast.
Donetsk Battle Map. January 9, 2023. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. January 9, 2023. Source: ISW.

Bakhmut axis: the enemy shelled the areas of more than 25 settlements. In particular, Spirne, Berestov, Bilogorivka, Soledar and Bakhmut of the Donetsk oblast.
Avdiivka axis: Avdiivka, Vesele, Nevelske, Krasnohorivka, Georgiivka, Maryinka and Novomykhailivka of the Donetsk oblast were affected by enemy fire.
Novopavlivka axis: Vremivka, Velika Novosilka and Vugledar in the Donetsk oblast were shelled.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. January 9, 2023. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. January 9, 2023. Source: ISW.

Zaporizhzhia axis: areas of 21 settlements were affected by fire. Among them are Zelene Pole and Novopil of the Donetsk oblast and Gulyaipole, Gulyaipilske, Charivne, Shcherbaki and Stepove in Zaporizhzhia.
Kherson axis: the civilian infrastructure of Chornobayivka, Antonivka, Zolotaya Balka and Kherson was damaged by enemy artillery shelling.
The occupiers continue to carry out measures to mobilize the local population in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. So, in Horlivka, Donetsk oblast, on January 6 of this year, during another raid, up to 30 people were mobilized, 4 of them with disabilities. After 2 days of so-called training at the Vostochny training ground, they were sent to one of the military units of the russian occupation forces.
The enemy continues to suffer losses. So, in the first week of 2023, about 120 occupiers were brought to the hospital in Novotroitskyi, Kherson oblast.
During the past day, Ukrainian Air Force made 18x air strikes on areas where the enemy’s personnel, weapons and military equipment are concentrated, as well as 3x strikes on the positions of its anti-aircraft missile systems.
Ukrainian forces shot down 2x enemy reconnaissance UAVs of the “Orlan” type.
Ukrainian missile and artillery troops hit 1x command post, 5x concentrations f enemy troops and military equipment, and 2x positions russian anti-aircraft missile systems.

Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst. ~

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

Russian troops have resumed the assault on Ukraine’s town of Soledar, bringing new reserves. “There are hard battles right in these minutes in Soledar” Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Defense wrote. Russian Wagner troops brought reserves and resumed the assault on this small city in Ukraine’s Donbas. Russian troops have advanced in the area around the city up to 3 km last week.

Russia’s Kramatorsk “retaliatory strike” is an information operation – AFU and journalists. Ukrainska Pravda reports, referencing Suspilne, as well as Ukraine’s Ukraine’s Eastern Group of Forces spokesman Serhiy Cherevaty, Reuters journalists, Finnish Yle journalist Antti Kuronen and Daniele Raineri for the Italian La Repubblica, that Russia’s claim about 600 Ukrainian servicemen killed in Kramatorsk “retaliation strike” is incorrect and categorized as information operation.
Russia plans domestic production of Iranian drones – Ukraine’s NSDC Secretary Danilov. RBC Ukraine news agency reports, citing the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) Oleksii Danilov’s announcement at a telethon interview, that Russia plans to launch the domestic production of Iranian drones, in particular in the city of Tolyatti.

According to British Defence Intelligence, (last 48 hours): 

https://twitter.com/DefenceHQ/status/1612772852322770944

  • In the last four days, Russian and Wagner forces have made tactical advances into the small Donbas town of Soledar and are likely in control of most of the settlement. Soledar is 10km north of Bakhmut, the capture of which likely continues to be Russia’s main immediate operational objective.
  • 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.

Losses of the Russian army 

Losses of the Russian Army. Source: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. ~

Losses of the Russian Army. Source: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

Humanitarian 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1612554176889868306

Russian war against Ukraine causes the largest refugee wave since WWII – the UN Refugee Agency. RBC Ukraine reports, citing the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), that Russia’s war against Ukraine has caused the largest wave of refugees since World War II. The UN Refugee Agency’s latest data reveals that more than 7.9 million people have fled Ukraine, and another 5.9 million are internally displaced people (IDPs).

Russia launched a missile at a market in Kharkiv Oblast, there are seven wounded, including a 13-year-old girl. On the morning of January 9, Russian invaders launched a rocket attack on the market in Shevchenkove, Kharkiv Oblast, as a result of which 7 people were injured, including a 13-year-old girl, Oleh Syniehubov, head of Kharkiv Administration reported.

Russian artillery shelled residential areas of Kherson, killing a civilian and wounding the other, Oblast head Yaroslav Yanushevych reported. The wounded woman is in hard condition, having a penetrating wound. Doctors are trying to save her life.

Legal 

Ukraine seized property worth 2 million USD of former minister suspected of treason. The Vinnytsia City Court seized the property of the former Minister of Education and Science Dmytro Tabachnyk, who is suspected of treason and is hiding in the Russian-occupied Crimea, the press service of the Vinnytsia Regional Prosecutor’s Office informed.

“Impunity has become a part of Russian culture,” Nobel Peace Prize laureate says. People who committed crimes with their own hands should not hide behind the abstract Putin, says the head of the Center for Civil Liberties Oleksandra Matviychuk that received the Nobel Peace Prize.

European Court of Human Rights will announce a ruling on the Russian occupation of Donbas on 25 January. The ruling is expected to be the first decision of an international court that will legally establish that Donbas was occupied by the Russian Federation since 2014, European Pravda writes. The planned announcement of the ruling means the court has already decided whether Ukraine’s and Netherlands’ complaints against Russian atrocities in Ukraine’s Donbas fall within the court’s jurisdiction.

Support

Germany won’t rule out delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine, its economy minister says – Reuters. Germany cannot rule out the delivery of Leopard tanks, heavier fighting vehicles than the Marders, to support Ukrainian military forces in the future, the country’s economy minister told German broadcaster ARD. “Of course, it can’t be ruled out,” Robert Habeck said, as Reuters reports.

Ukraine’s victory is the solution to Russia-Ukraine war – PMs of Czechia and Slovakia. The solution to the Russia-Ukraine war is Ukraine’s victory, according to prime ministers of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Petr Fiala and Eduard Heger. This follows from their statements in televised discussion of the Hromadske Radio and Television of Slovakia (RTVS), Denik reports.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1612407963498565632

The UK is considering supplying Ukraine with tanks for the first time — Sky News. The UK is considering supplying Ukraine with tanks for the first time to fight Russia’s invading forces, Sky News writes referring to its sources. Such a move could help prompt other NATO allies, in particular Germany, to follow suit. 10 Challenger 2 tanks could be on the table.

New Developments 

Moscow Patriarchate says it has churches in 19 African countries, angering the Orthodox world but giving FSB expanded possibilities. In response to the Patriarch of Alexandria’s recognition of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s autocephaly, the Russian Orthodox exarchate has established its administrative center in Kampala, Uganda. It claims to have parishes in 19 African countries. If true, the ROC MP could rival Alexandria in Africa. However, the initiative’s approval by Russian officials, especially the FSB, suggests the Russian church could be a front for expanding intelligence activities on the continent.

Ukraine-EU summit will take place in Kyiv, Sweden confirmed. Lars Danielsson, the permanent representative of Sweden, which currently chairs the EU Council, officially confirmed that the Ukraine-EU summit will be held in Kyiv on February 3. He also said that “Ukraine and military aggression against Ukraine will dominate everything that Sweden will do during its presidency in the EU,” DW reports.

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of  January 9, 2023:

Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin continues to use reports of Wagner Group success in Soledar to bolster the Wagner Group’s reputation as an effective fighting force. Wagner Group forces claimed to capture territory within Soledar over the past few days, and many Russian sources have discussed the gains as indicators that Wagner Group forces may soon encircle Bakhmut.[1] Combat footage widely circulated on social media on January 9 shows Wagner Group fighters engaging in fierce small arms combat near the city administration building in central Soledar.[2] Several Russian milbloggers remarked on January 8 and 9 that Wagner Group forces are responsible for block-by-block advances in Soledar and other critical settlements northeast of Bakhmut, as well as within Bakhmut.[3] Prigozhin emphasized on January 9 that “exclusively” Wagner Group units are taking ground in Soledar, and noted that Wagner fighters are currently engaged in “fierce battles for the city administration building.”[4] Prigozhin will continue to use both confirmed and fabricated Wagner Group success in Soledar and Bakhmut to promote the Wagner Group as the only Russian force in Ukraine capable of securing tangible gains, as ISW has previously reported.[5]

Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted a bill setting conditions for further institutionalized corruption in Russia through domestic legislative manipulations. Putin submitted a bill to the Russian State Duma on January 9 denouncing the Council of Europe’s Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and withdrawing Russia from the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO).[6] Putin submitted the bill on the grounds that the Council of Europe terminated Russia’s GRECO membership, thus removing Russia’s ability to vote but requiring them to cooperate on several obligations.[7] Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claimed that this move does not undermine Russian legislative capacity to fight corruption and emphasized that corruption has not been eradicated anywhere in the world.[8] ISW has previously reported on Putin’s efforts to institutionalize corruption through various legal manipulations, and Russia’s discontinued membership in GRECO would likely serve as another means by which Putin can institute legislation supporting and enabling corrupt practices without facing international legal mechanisms to hold him to account.[9]

Russian Security Council Deputy Chairperson Dmitry Medvedev likely gauged the willingness of the Russian information space to accept increased censorship of opposition voices in a Telegram message on January 8. Medvedev posted a message on Telegram on January 8 which he framed as a response to discussions in the Russian information space about “traitors who have gone over to the enemy.” Medvedev stated that a serious conversation began “between the bosses” (likely in reference to Russian leadership) on whether to respond with rule of law or with justice.[10] Medvedev noted that “quiet groups of impeccably inconspicuous people” operated in Russia to enforce “special rules of wartime” during World War II with great success, likely alluding to internal censorship.[11] Some Russian milbloggers appeared to understand Medvedev’s implied censorship and agreed, noting that Soviet security and counterintelligence organizations were highly effective at censorship and that “ideological people” are willing to assist these efforts.[12] Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin have recently intensified efforts to silence Russian milbloggers who criticize the Russian government, as ISW has previously reported.[13]

Key Takeaways

  • Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin continues to use reports of Wagner Group success in Soledar to bolster the Wagner Group’s reputation as an effective fighting force.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to open the door for further institutionalized corruption in Russia through domestic legislative manipulations.
  • Russian Security Council Deputy Chairperson Dmitry Medvedev likely gauged the willingness of the Russian information space for the censorship of figures deemed as pro-Ukrainian sympathizers, garnering some acceptance from the nationalist milblogger community.
  • Russian and Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line.
  • Ukrainian partisans may be targeting Russian critical ground lines of communication (GLOCs) in rear areas of Luhansk Oblast.
  • Russian forces conducted ground attacks across the Donetsk Oblast frontline and made gains around Soledar and Bakhmut.
  • Russian forces continued to reinforce positions on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast.
  • Russian forces continued to construct defensive fortifications and transport military equipment in Zaporizhzhia Oblast amid continued concerns over a possible Ukrainian counteroffensive in the area.
  • Russian and Ukrainian sources indicated that a second wave of mobilization may be imminent or ongoing.

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