Constant Russian attacks in the east, says Kyiv – DW – 01/10/2023

Russian forces are launching a series of attacks on Bakhmut and other towns in Ukraine’s Donbass region, but Ukrainian troops are managing to halt their advance, officials said in Kyiv on Monday.

In a daily report, the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff said troops in Moscow carried out seven missile strikes, 31 airstrikes and 73 salvo rocket attacks over the past day.

He said Ukrainian forces had successfully resisted attacks on 14 settlements, including Bakhmut, which has become the center of heavy fighting in recent weeks.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also said Bakhmut was “standing firm despite everything”.

“And even though most of the city has been destroyed by Russian strikes, our soldiers are repelling the constant Russian attempts to advance,” he said in a nighttime video address on Sunday.

Zelenskyy added that Ukrainian forces were also successfully defending the nearby town of Soledar, “even though there is still more destruction and things are very difficult.”

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar also described the situation for Ukrainian soldiers near Soledar, about 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) from Bakhmut, as “difficult” on her Telegram channel on Sunday.

She said the Russian attacks were carried out not only by the regular army, but also by troops from the Wagner mercenary group.

Ukraine must keep the two cities to protect Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, two major cities in Donbass which are still under the control of Kyiv. The fall of these cities would mean Russia had captured virtually the entire Donbass region, one of the goals Moscow publicly set itself at the start of its invasion last February.

German logistics center coordinates aid to Ukraine

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Here are other related developments regarding the war in Ukraine on January 9:

Zelenskyy says Ukraine resists ‘harder attacks’ in Soledar

In his overnight address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukrainian troops were resisting “further, even tougher assaults” on Soledar, near the eastern town of Bakhmut which Moscow has been trying to capture for months.

“I thank all our soldiers who protect our Bakhmut,” Zelenskyy said, noting, “All Soledar fighters, who resist the new and even tougher assaults of the invaders!”

Soledar is located in the Donetsk region, about 15 kilometers from Bakhmut, a pre-war town of 70,000 that is now the epicenter of the fighting.

“Thanks to the resilience of our soldiers there, in Soledar, we gained time and additional forces for Ukraine,” Zelenskyy added.

“Everything is completely destroyed,” Zelenskyy said. “The entire territory of Soledar is covered in the corpses of invaders and scarred by explosions.”

Earlier Monday, Ukraine’s armed forces said they repelled an attempt to take Soledar, but fighting resumed.

More tanks would prolong the war and not change the outcome, says Russia

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said sending tanks to Ukraine would only prolong the suffering of the Ukrainian people and would not change the outcome of the war, Russian news agency Interfax reported.

“In principle, these deliveries cannot and will not change anything in Ukraine,” Peskov said.

It was not just French AMX-10 RC light tanks but all Western weapon supplies, the Russian spokesman said.

Peskov was referring to France’s decision last week to send light battle tanks to Ukraine. Following France’s announcement, Germany and the United States said they would also send armored vehicles, albeit of different types, to Ukraine.

Germany is not currently planning to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

The German government does not currently plan to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, a government spokesman said.

German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck said over the weekend that decisions on sending more tanks to Ukraine would still need to be made.

Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said on Monday he was not aware of any requests to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine from NATO partners, but said sending them would not was not “impossible”.

Berlin said last week it would supply Marder infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine, but repeatedly stressed it would not act alone when it came to sending armored vehicles.

Poland launches possible coalition to supply tanks to Ukraine

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski told Polish national radio that he plans to form a broad coalition of countries to supply tanks to Ukraine.

A security adviser to Polish President Andrzej Duda also told Radio Zet that the matter was “evolving” and that the first thing would be to find out “what our allies in Western countries will do”.

Jakub Kumoch told Radio Zet that Poland could be part of the coalition but could not act alone.

He dismissed reports that Warsaw was preparing to hand over Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, calling it “misinformation”.

Doubts grow over alleged Russian coup on Ukrainian troops

Russian claims that 600 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in a missile strike in Kramatorsk have been increasingly questioned by a number of officials.

Moscow said on Sunday it had targeted the soldiers in revenge for a New Year’s Eve attack by Ukraine that killed dozens of Russian soldiers and caused an outcry in Russia.

But a Ukrainian military spokesman for the eastern region, Serhii Cherevatyi, said the Russian claims were an attempt to show Moscow was capable of responding in kind to the Ukrainian attack.

Even pro-Kremlin military bloggers have cast doubt on Moscow’s claims.

Reuters news agency said its reporters found no obvious signs of casualties in the college’s two dormitories where Moscow said slain Ukrainian staff had been temporarily housed.

The Russian and Ukrainian armies often overestimated enemy losses, while minimizing their own. The Kremlin on Monday reiterated its belief in the veracity of the Defense Ministry’s claims regarding the Kramatorsk attack.

rm, tj/rs (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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