Kiev said earlier its troops were fighting to retain control of the now-battered industrial towns in the east, which Russian mercenaries claimed earlier this week to have taken, as fighting continues on its 322nd day.
Thursday, January 12, 2023
17:33 GMT - Russian forces press deadly assault for a breakthrough in east
Russia has said that its forces are edging closer to capturing a salt-mining town in eastern Ukraine, which would mark an elusive victory for the Kremlin but come at the cost of heavy Russian casualties and extensive destruction of the territory they claim.
More than 100 Russian troops were killed in the battle for Soledar over the past 24 hours, Ukraine’s Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in televised remarks.
“The Russians have literally marched on the bodies of their own soldiers, burning everything on their way,” Kyrylenko said while reporting that Russian forces had shelled a dozen towns and villages in the region in the past day.
16:43 GMT - Zelenskyy promises 'everything necessary' to defend Soledar from Russia
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that Ukrainian forces defending Bakhmut and Soledar in the east would be armed with everything they need to keep Russian troops at bay in some of the bloodiest battles of the war.
Kiev said earlier its troops were fighting to retain control of the now-battered industrial towns in the east, which Russian mercenaries claimed earlier this week to have taken.
The Kremlin has made capturing the Bakhmut – and Soledar with it – its primary objective after nearly one year of fighting, having been forced to abandon more ambitious goals such as seizing the capital Kiev.
Kremlin and Russian defence ministry remain quiet on situation around Ukrainian town of Soledar. Dasha Chernyshova has more pic.twitter.com/KBe6yJI5Qo— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) January 12, 2023
13:06 GMT - No new Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap deal in Türkiye talks: Moscow
Russia and Ukraine have not reached a new prisoner exchange agreement during talks in Türkiye, Moscow's envoy told AFP news agency, saying her earlier remarks about a swap were misinterpreted.
Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova held rare talks in Ankara with her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Lubinets.
Moskalkova added that she and Lubinets had exchanged lists of wounded soldiers in preparation for a possible future swap.
10:30 GMT - Russia questions Sweden over Nord Stream blast probe
Russia questioned whether Sweden had "something to hide" over explosions that damaged the Nord Stream gas pipelines last year, as it slammed Stockholm for not sharing information in the ongoing investigations into the blasts.
Swedish and Danish authorities are investigating four holes in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines which link Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea and have become a flashpoint in the Ukraine crisis.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Sweden's refusal to engage with Russian prosecutors was "confusing" and said Moscow had a right to know the details of the probe into the explosions, which occurred last September.
Zakharova said Sweden was "concealing" facts about what it had discovered in the investigation, suggesting that "the Swedish authorities have something to hide."
09:36 GMT - Ukrainian troops hold out in Soledar as Russia builds up forces
Russia is building up its forces in Ukraine but Ukrainian forces are holding out in fierce fighting for Soledar, Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar said.
She told a news briefing that the number of Russian military units in Ukraine had risen to 280 from 250 a week earlier as Moscow tried to gain the "strategic initiative."
"Fighting is fierce in the Soledar direction," Malyar said. "They (the Russians) are moving over their own corpses."
"Russia is driving its own people to the slaughter by the thousands, but we are holding on," she said.
Another senior military official, Brigadier General Oleksiy Gromov, told the briefing that the military situation in Ukraine remained "difficult", with the heaviest fighting on the eastern front.
08:56 GMT - HRW urges states to 'replicate' Ukraine response
Human Rights Watch has hailed the international response to Russia's attack on Ukraine, urging governments to show the same concern for civilians caught up in other conflicts.
However, in the report, HRW urged governments to "replicate the best of the international response in Ukraine" and "scale up the political will to address other crises".
Read the full story here.
08:42 GMT - Russia, Ukraine interested in future contacts of rights commissioners
Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatiana Moskalkova has said both Moscow and Kiev are interested in talks on human rights, the TASS news agency has reported.
Following a meeting this week in Türkiye with her Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Lubinets, Moskalkova said she believed Ukraine was open to discussions.
“They have taken a pragmatic approach and are ready for dialogue,” Moskalkova said, speaking of her Ukrainian counterparts.
“We already have concrete results on the search for missing people, and return of children to their families. I hope the dialogue is continued. The most important thing is that it should not be politicised, but based exclusively on humanitarian and human rights principles,” TASS quoted her as saying.
07:32 GMT - Hundreds of residents in Soledar cannot be evacuated: governor
559 residents, including 15 children, are still in Soledar, according to Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko, who told Ukrainian state television that it was difficult to evacuate them because of the continuous fighting.
Heavy battle has been taking place in the town, which had a pre-war population of around 10,500, as Russian and mercenary forces try to envelop Bakhmut, which is 10 kilometres to the south and has been the target of Russian offensive operations since September.
07:20 GMT - Fight for Soledar continues: Zelenskyy
Zelenskyy has said that fighting was still raging in a key eastern frontline city that a Russian mercenary group earlier said it controlled.
The fate of Soledar in eastern Ukraine was uncertain after Russian group Wagner claimed it controlled the gateway town — but the Kremlin cautioned against declaring victory prematurely.
And in his daily address, Zelenskyy insisted the front was "holding."
"The terrorist state and its propagandists are trying to pretend" to have achieved some successes in Soledar, Zelenskyy said, "but the fighting continues."
07:00 GMT - Magnitude of destruction in Soledar
Maxar Technologies captured satellite photographs that depict the destruction in Soledar city of Ukraine.
Images taken on 1 August 2022 and 10 January 2023 at the same site in the southern portion of the city are shown side by side, along with the roads and buildings.
Senior officials in Kiev indicate that battle is still going on despite Russian outfit Wagner claiming to capture the gateway town, Soledar's destiny remains unknown.
⚡️Satellite imagery shows magnitude of destruction in Soledar.— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) January 12, 2023
New images published by U.S. satellite imagery company Maxar shows Soledar, Donestk Oblast after Jan. 10, 2023, revealing apartment buildings that have been completely destroyed.
Photos: Maxar Technologies pic.twitter.com/v46v0kVe28
For live updates from Wednesday (January 11), click here