+++ News in the Ukraine war +++: Still civilians in Soledar

The city’s announced capture by Russia is propaganda, says Zelensky. Meanwhile, Moscow is changing its Ukraine commander.

A soldier stands in front of a firing tank

Hard-fought region: The Ukrainian military near Soledar Photo: ap

Moscow wants to use airborne units as elite troops

After months of deployment as ground troops, Russia wants to use its airborne units in Ukraine again as an elite force, according to British estimates. Commanders are believed to be trying to deploy the paratroopers in Donbass in the east and south “more in line with their proper role as a relatively elite rapid reaction force,” the UK Defense Ministry said in its daily intelligence update on Thursday.

Since the beginning of the year, parts of the 76th Guards Air Assault Division have obviously been deployed near Kreminna, as Russia classifies this section of the front as particularly vulnerable, according to London sources. Fierce fighting has recently taken place near the city in the Luhansk region, where Ukrainian troops are attacking, and around Soledar in the Donetsk region, where Russian units are advancing. (dpa)

Still civilians in Soledar

According to Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko, 559 civilians are still holding out in the eastern Ukrainian city of Soledar. Among them are 15 children. Because of the fierce fighting, it was impossible to evacuate them from the city. Before the war, 10,500 people lived in the town. (rtr)

Zelenski welcomes Poland’s tank initiative

President of Ukraine Zelensky accepted the initiative of Poland, to provide Leopard main battle tanks to his country, happily welcomed. “Thank you very much to President Duda, the Polish government and all our Polish friends,” said Zelenskyj on Wednesday evening in his daily video address on the results of his meeting with his Polish colleague Andrzej Duda and Lithuanian head of state Gitanas Nauseda in Lviv. Western-made tanks are “the work of our entire anti-war coalition and a new level of our potential.”

After the meeting, Duda said his country had made the decision to provide the Ukrainians with Leopard main battle tanks for a company as part of a coalition with allies. In Poland, as in Germany, a Leopard company is usually equipped with 14 main battle tanks. Duda went on to say that the prerequisite was, on the one hand, “a whole series of formal requirements and approvals”. On the other hand, Poland wanted an international coalition to be formed to which other countries would also contribute battle tanks. For his part, Nauseda had stated that Lithuania wanted to supply more anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine. (dpa)

Medvedev: Western tanks will soon be rusty scrap metal

Western tanks in Ukraine will soon be “rusty scrap metal,” according to former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The armored vehicles will not save the crumbling “artificial state” of Ukraine, commented the Vice-Chairman of Russia’s National Security Council.

At the meeting in Lviv, which Medvedev believes will soon return to Poland as Lemberg, tanks such as the Leopard, modernized T-72s and even British tanks were “adored”. “But all this iron will definitely soon turn into rusty scrap metal,” Medvedev said. (dpa)

Selensky: Russian propaganda campaign near Soledar

The capture of the announced by the Russian side heavily contested eastern Ukrainian town of Soledar is, according to the Ukrainian President Zelenskyj, a propaganda maneuver. “The front in the Donetsk region is holding,” Zelenskyy said in his daily video address. “Fighting continues and we are doing everything we can to strengthen Ukraine’s defences.”

The Ukrainian general staff had also denied Russian reports about the conquest of Soledar. “Fighting continues,” it said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the head of the Russian Wagner mercenary force, Yevgeny Prigozhin, claimed that the small town in the Donetsk region was almost captured and that around 500 Ukrainian soldiers were trapped. The Russian military leadership remained silent. In an interview with the Interfax news agency, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov only mentioned “positive dynamics in terms of progress”. (dpa)

Moscow again changes commander for Ukraine war

Around ten and a half months after the start of the war, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov as the new commander of the Russian troops appointed in Ukraine. The previous commander, Sergei Surovikin, who only took over the post last October, should become Gerasimov’s deputy, the ministry said in Moscow on Wednesday.

Shoigu also appointed two other deputies, General Oleg Salyukov and Colonel-General Alexei Kim. Moscow justified the realignment with an “expansion of the scope of the tasks to be solved” and the need for closer cooperation between the individual parts of the army. (dpa)

Malta and Greece rarely freeze Russian funds

Malta and Greece are included Freeze of Russian assets in the course of the sanctions because of the Ukraine war, according to an internal EU document, well behind the other countries in the European Union. So Malta has frozen a total of 147,000 euros so far. Greece is also well behind other countries with 212,000 euros, according to the document in which the news agency Reuters received insight.

In contrast, the 27 member states together froze about 20.3 billion euros in assets. Germany, Italy, Ireland, France, Spain, Belgium, Austria and Luxembourg each reported more than one billion euros. Representatives from Greece and Malta confirmed the comparatively low sums. “The investment environment in Greece does not favor the inflow of capital from Russia and foreign companies,” says a Greek official. (rtr)

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