TUESDAY NEWS NOTES: UKRAINE

TUESDAY 10 JANUARY 2023

NEWS NOTES: Ukraine: The Latest Podcast

  • Intense fighting around Bakhmut continues.  Fierce fighting for a number of weeks. 
  • This seems to be the “main immediate operational objective” of Russia according to British Intelligence.  Russia is trying to envelope to the north of Soledar.
  • Soledar is the location of entrances to extensive salt mines.  The mines are disused, but there is an extensive network of underground tunnels and there is a fear that the military force that controls these tunnels can outflank the opposing forces.
  • Soledar is the location of two foreign aid workers who have disappeared. 
  • Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is noting the Wagner Group is using the limited success in Soledar to boost Wagner’s reputation as the only effective force Russia has in the field.  Prizochin (head of Wagner Group) is claiming that Wagner is exclusively fighting around Soledar.
  • https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/russias-wagner-says-it-controls-ukrainian-town-soledar-fighting-continues-2023-01-10/
  • The Russian government is maintaining that Russia is fighting the West and NATO, and above all the US and Britain.  This is the narrative because they can’t be losing to Ukraine, they portray themselves as confronting the entire West.
  • The more the conflict is portrayed as being against “The West” it deters other countries from getting more involved. 
  • Britain has not made a final decision about whether to send tanks to Ukraine.  The provision of these tanks would help unleash other countries to release tanks.  They are all waiting for who is going to make the first move.
  • Sending the tanks is a big decision.  We can’t always look at these decisions or this reluctance as obstinacy.
  • A decision about sending an air defense system to Ukraine is being made in Italy despite of the far-right government.
  • Patrushev (Russian leader) is a believer in conspiracy theories about the US intending to harvest organs from Ukrainian children.  He was in that initial public meeting between Putin and the Russian military leaders about the invasion.
  • Some are seeing him as a possible successor of Putin.  If Putin were ousted the replacement might be worse.  He wants to ramp up military support.  He says that Russia has the right to use nuclear arms. 
  • There are people calling for a further escalation in Ukraine.
  • https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/russian-ally-s-latest-move-shows-growing-strain-with-putin/ar-AA16ajtm
  • The EU has pledged new sanctions against Belarus.
  • Belarus may become more important in the near future.  There has been speculation that Russia may launch a further attack from Belarus.
  • Sources
  • https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2023/01/sviatlana-tsikhanouskaya-belarus-russia-lukashenko-putin/672666/

Wagner Group

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