The 322nd day of the war is marked by a new change at the level of the Russian military leadership. Moscow has announced that Valery Gerasimov, until now chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, will replace Sergei Surovikin as commander of the “special military operation” in Ukraine.
In the Russian Ministry of Defense, the new change – another in the list of changes implemented since the beginning of the war – was justified by the expansion of the scale of tasks in operations in Ukraine and the need for closer interaction between various branches of the Armed Forces. Forces.
This Wednesday, fighting continues in the city of Soledar (Donetsk region), where fierce fighting has been going on in recent days. The private company Wagner reportedly took full control of the city last night, but the Ukrainian authorities dispute this information.
Soledar remains under Ukrainian control, Zelenskiy says. Wagner group leader denies Zelensky and ensures he controls Soledar
What happened at night?
- The Wagner Group says the body of one of the British aid workers who went missing last week has been found, Sky News reports. Christopher Parry, 28, and Andrew Bagshaw, 48, were last seen on Friday on their way to the city of Kramatorsk.
- Italy is ready to send nine military aid packages to Ukraine, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said on Wednesday. According to the official, Italy has already sent “more than 50 tons of electrical materials for the reconstruction of the power grid affected by Russian bombing.”
- The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) again accused Russia of closing the borders for men admitted to military service. The order, they say, is valid from January 9th.
- The meeting of Kyiv and Moscow human rights activists Dmitry Lubinets and Tatyana Moskalkova took place on Tuesday in Turkey. “We analyzed a number of humanitarian issues and cases related to the provision of assistance in terms of human rights to citizens of both countries (Ukraine and Russia),” the Ukrainian representative said on Wednesday.
- It is not impossible to reach an agreement, but it is “difficult negotiations”. After several conversations, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency admits that it is becoming difficult to agree on the creation of a security zone at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.
- Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Iranian Presidents Ebrahim Raisi called for deepening bilateral cooperation this Wednesday, especially in the areas of energy, transport and logistics, the Kremlin said in a statement.
- A Downing Street spokesman confirmed that the British government plans to supply tanks to Ukraine in the face of a Russian invasion. Speaking to reporters, he said the prime minister had asked the defense minister to work with British partners to support Ukraine, “including the supply of tanks.” So far, they have not yet come to a final decision.
What happened in the afternoon?
- The President of Ukraine received the Presidents of Poland and Lithuania in Lviv. The meeting discussed military support for Ukraine in the face of Russian “aggression” and the country’s integration into the European Union and NATO. The Polish leader promised to send tanks to Kyiv as part of an international coalition.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that the situation in the regions of Ukraine annexed by Moscow is “difficult”. However, at a virtual meeting with the Russian government, he stressed that Russia has all the necessary resources to improve life in the annexed regions: Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson.
- More than 200 Russian doctors from across the country have signed an open letter asking the Russian president to “stop insulting” Alexei Navalny, Russia’s opponent, Kremlin critic, and Vladimir Putin, who has been imprisoned since March 2022.
What happened in the morning?
- European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announce the creation of a new joint NATO-EU task force to address threats to “critical infrastructure”.
- The Russian President is ready to resume negotiations and open a diplomatic front for a possible peace deal with Ukraine, the Kremlin assured. This is the second time that Vladimir Putin has shown interest in negotiations. As early as last month, he acknowledged that Russia would have to negotiate with Kyiv to end this conflict.
- Wagner paramilitary forces may now represent a quarter of Russian fighters, Western intelligence officials told The Guardian. “There is a real possibility that Wagner’s forces now make up a quarter or more of Russian combatants.”
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise appearance at the 80th Golden Globe Awards, speaking via video link. “The Second World War has not yet ended, but the situation has changed, and everyone knew who would win,” Zelensky recalled, anticipating the victory of Ukraine.
- According to the Institute for the Study of War, Russian troops have not completely captured the city of Soledar in the Donetsk region, where fighting continues, Ukrainian officials say. The information contradicts the statements of the founder of the Wagner mercenary group Yevgeny Prigozhin, who ensured the capture of the city by PMC units late on Monday evening.