Kyiv, Moscow Despite several Russian reports of victory in the small town of Soledar in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy maintains that fighting for the town is continuing. “The hard fight for Donetsk continues,” Zelensky said in his daily video address on Friday evening. “The battle for Bakhmut and Soledar, for Kreminna, for other towns and villages in the east of our country continues.” The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces also announced on Friday evening that the battle for Soledar would continue.
Both the Russian military leadership and the notorious Russian mercenary troupe Wagner deployed at Soledar had announced the conquest of Soledar. Above all, the paramilitary organization Wagner claimed the success for itself, whereupon the Department of Defense in Moscow gave in and credited the mercenary force with the victory. “They’re already biting each other over who should be credited with tactical progress,” Zelensky commented on the argument. This is already a “clear signal of failure”.
Should Soledar fall, the entire defensive line from Siwersk to Bakhmut, which Kyiv has held since July, will falter. Together with the reports of Russian gains in territory south of Bakhmut, the question for the Ukrainian troops could arise as to how expedient it is to remain there.
Should the Ukraine Bakhmut, the next targets for the Russian army would be the relatively spared cities of Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, Druzhkivka and Kostyantynivka.
Top jobs of the day
Find the best jobs now and
be notified by email.
Foreign Minister: Five states ready to deliver Leopard to Kyiv
According to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, five European countries are ready to supply Kyiv with Leopard-2 main battle tanks. Only Berlin’s approval is missing, said Kuleba on Friday evening, as reported by “Ukrainska Prawda”. Ukraine is “half a step away from solving the tank issue”. France started the discussion with the announced delivery of heavy wheeled armored vehicles. After that, Poland “woke up other countries” with its push to deliver a company of leopards.
After that, Finland also declared its willingness to join a European initiative and hand over Leopard tanks to Ukraine. “And I know at least three other countries that are ready to do this but are not talking about it yet,” said Kuleba. They were still waiting for “the Germans to come out and speak out for it”.
IAEA chief travels to Ukraine again – experts in all nuclear power plants
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will station more experts at Ukrainian nuclear power plants next week to increase nuclear safety. IAEA chief Rafael Grossi will travel to Ukraine to start this mission, the UN agency announced on Friday evening in Vienna. “Soon, the IAEA will have a permanent presence at all nuclear power plants in Ukraine, including Chernobyl,” Grossi said. Everything must be done to avert the danger of a serious nuclear accident in the Ukraine war.
That’s why his efforts for a protection zone around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which was repeatedly shelled, continued, said Grossi. The site of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, has repeatedly been the target of attacks. Ukraine and Russia accused each other of being responsible.
Kyiv expects to join the EU in less than two years
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal expects his country to join the EU in less than two years. Schmyhal said on Friday with a view to the upcoming EU summit in a small circle on February 3 in Kyiv. In addition to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, ten EU Commissioners are expected to attend the consultations in the Ukrainian capital.
This is how the Handelsblatt reports on the Ukraine war:
“This visit is not only an important signal of continued support for Ukraine in the war (against Russia), but also shows that the EU is open to the negotiation process on Ukraine’s accession.” The EU invited Ukraine to join Moldova in June EU accession candidates declared.
bushman sees UN special tribunal for Russians skeptical
Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) is skeptical about the establishment of a special UN special tribunal for Russian war crimes in Ukraine. “That may undermine the acceptance of the International Criminal Court, which I really think is an achievement and which should not be weakened,” said Buschmann of the “Augsburger Allgemeine” (Saturday).
“There are many countries in Africa that say: if something happens here, the International Criminal Court is good enough; but as soon as something happens in Europe, you want a special tribunal.” Zelensky had already campaigned for a special tribunal before the UN General Assembly in September. Buschmann admitted that the position of the federal government on this was not finalized.
What will be important on Saturday
Fighting in eastern Ukraine will continue on the 325th day of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine – as will debates over the supply of main battle tanks.