Direct: Russia’s Wagner Group is combating “bloody, violent battles” in Ukraine, says its founder

Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin mentioned on Tuesday that Russian mercenary group Wagner is combating Ukrainian forces on the outskirts of Soledar, a salt-mining city about 15 kilometers from Pakhmut in japanese Ukraine.

An official put in by Moscow within the area mentioned Ukrainian forces have been “nonetheless resisting” the assault. Observe our reside weblog for the most recent developments. All occasions are in Paris time (GMT+1).

1:19 p.m.: Donetsk governor says Russian forces are utilizing “scorched earth ways” in Ukraine Ukrainian officers say Russian forces are escalating their assault on Ukrainian positions across the shattered metropolis of Bakhmut, bringing new ranges of dying and destruction to the grind. An extended battle for management of japanese Ukraine.

“All the things is totally destroyed. There’s nearly no life left,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned late Monday of the scene round Pakhmut and the city of Soledar, close to the Donetsk area.

“The entire land close to Soledar is roofed with the corpses of the occupiers and the scars of blows,” Zelensky mentioned. “That is what insanity seems to be like.”

Pavlo Kirilenko, the Kyiv-appointed governor of the Donetsk area, described the Russian assaults on Soledar and Bakhmut as relentless.

“The Russian military is popping Ukrainian cities into rubble utilizing every kind of weapons in scorched earth ways,” Kirilenko mentioned in televised remarks. “Russia is waging a battle with out guidelines, leading to civilian dying and struggling.”

An distinctive function of the combating within the space is that a few of it befell across the tunnel entrances of deserted salt mines that reach 200 kilometers (120 miles) beneath the world, Britain’s Ministry of Protection mentioned Tuesday in its intelligence report.

“Either side are seemingly involved that (the tunnels) could possibly be used to slide behind their strains,” she added.

12:12 p.m.: The European Union imposes new sanctions on Belarus for supporting Russia’s battle in Ukraine The European Union will impose new sanctions on Belarus because it continues strain on Russia to finish its battle in Ukraine and extends measures to these nations that assist Moscow and European nations. Fee President Ursula von der Leyen mentioned on Tuesday.

“We are going to proceed to strain the Kremlin so long as it takes with a harsh sanctions regime, and we’ll lengthen these sanctions to incorporate those that assist Russia’s battle militarily, comparable to Belarus or Iran,” von der Leyen mentioned in a press convention.

“We are going to advance new sanctions in opposition to Belarus in response to its function on this Russian battle in Ukraine,” he added.

Russia’s Wagner mercenary group mentioned on Tuesday it was combating “violent, bloody battles” for management of the city of Solidar as a part of Russia’s months-long offensive to grab japanese Ukraine. Donetsk area.

“On the western outskirts of Solidar there are fierce, bloody battles. The Ukrainian armed forces honorably defend the territory of Solidar,” Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin mentioned on social media.

The Kremlin-linked businessman, who has been the topic of Western sanctions, additionally denied allegations that Ukrainian troops have been fleeing the entrance strains en masse at Solidar.

Quoting his Telegram press workplace, Prigozhin mentioned, “Let’s be trustworthy with ourselves. The Ukrainian military is combating bravely for Bakhmut and Solidar. Studies of their mass desertion should not true.”

Solidar is positioned 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the war-ravaged metropolis of Bakhmut, which has grow to be a spotlight of combating in latest months.

The seize of Bakhmut – a metropolis that had a pre-war inhabitants of 70,000 – is now one in all Moscow’s predominant navy goals practically a 12 months into its mission in Ukraine.

Russia’s performing official in Donetsk, Denis Pushlin, mentioned Tuesday on Russian state tv that Solidar is “very near liberation” by Russian forces.

He admitted that it got here at a “very excessive value” and mentioned that Ukrainian forces have been “nonetheless resisting”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned in his late-night speech on Monday that his forces have been combating “new and even more durable assaults” on Solidar.

He mentioned the combating destroyed the town. “All the things is totally destroyed,” he mentioned.

11:02 a.m.: Russia appoints new chief of employees for the bottom forces Russia has appointed Col. Alexander Lapin as chief of employees for the nation’s floor forces, state-owned information company TASS reported Tuesday, regardless of heavy criticism from distinguished hawks over his efficiency within the nation. Ukraine.

Lapin, the previous commander of Russia’s Central Army District, got here beneath hearth from hardline allies of President Vladimir Putin final October after driving Russian forces out of the town of Liman in japanese Ukraine, a serious logistics hub.

His appointment follows different sweeping modifications in Russia’s navy management throughout the 11-month battle, by which Russian forces managed giant areas of southern and japanese Ukraine however suffered a sequence of painful defeats and retreats.

On October 8, Russia named Air Pressure Normal Sergei Surovikin commander-in-chief of its forces in Ukraine, shortly after dismissing the commanders of the Jap and Western Army Districts.

In August, Russia’s state-owned Data Company reported that the commander of the Black Sea Fleet had been fired after a sequence of humiliations, together with the sinking of its flagship and the lack of eight warplanes in an assault on a Russian base in Crimea.

After shedding Russia’s Leman in October, Lapin drew brutal public criticism from Chechen chief Ramzan Kadyrov and Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, who each despatched models to Ukraine to bolster the common military’s efforts.

10:54 a.m.: Russian warship conducts air protection workouts in Norwegian Sea The Russian Protection Ministry mentioned on Tuesday {that a} Russian warship armed with hypersonic cruise weapons has carried out workouts within the Norwegian Sea.

The “crew of the frigate” Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov “carried out air protection workouts within the Norwegian Sea,” the ministry mentioned.

“The crew … carried out an train to repel simulated enemy air assault means within the Norwegian Sea.”

Final week, President Vladimir Putin despatched the frigate into the Atlantic Ocean armed with a brand new era of hypersonic cruise missiles. Russia says the Zircon missiles fly at 9 occasions the velocity of sound and have a variety of greater than 1,000 km (620 miles).

Moscow views the weapons as a solution to penetrate the more and more superior US missile defences.

10:49 a.m.: Russian forces seemingly management a lot of the city of Solidar in japanese Ukraine, UK Ministry of Protection says Russian forces, together with from the Wagner mercenary group, might management a lot of the small city of Solidar in japanese Ukraine after a tactical advance in The final 4. The British Ministry of Protection mentioned in an everyday intelligence replace on Tuesday.

Moscow has stepped up its aggressive assault on Solidar within the industrial Donbass area, officers in Kyivhavi mentioned, forcing Ukrainian forces to fend off waves of assaults led by Wagner Group militants across the salt-mining city and close by frontlines.

Solidar lies just some miles from the town of Bakhmut, the place forces on either side have suffered heavy losses in among the fiercest trench warfare since Russia invaded Ukraine practically 11 months in the past.

Britain added in its intelligence replace that “the Russian Solidar axis may be very prone to be an try and encompass Bakhmut from the north and disrupt the Ukrainian strains of communication.”

10:30 p.m., January 9: Protection of Solidar has helped Ukraine purchase time, Zelensky says. President Volodymyr Zelensky praises the resilience of Ukrainian forces resisting waves of assaults within the japanese Donbass area, saying it helped the nation purchase time and acquire energy.

“Because of the resilience of our troopers in Solidar, we received for Ukraine further time and further energy for Ukraine,” Zelensky mentioned in his nightly video deal with, referring to a mining city in japanese Donbass.

Ukrainian navy studies say that the Russian forces are withstanding violent assaults by the Russian forces which have been redeployed in Solidar, close to the town of Bakhmut, which Moscow has been attempting to regulate for months.

Zelensky didn’t make clear what he meant by shopping for time and power, however Ukrainian officers and senior officers have warned that Russia is planning a brand new main offensive within the coming months.

( Jowhar with AFP, AP and Reuters)

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