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Heavy combat in Luhansk, Wagner PMC advances on Soledar over bodies of its own soldiers. What happened on the front line on January 9?

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The front line

Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar’s Telegram channel reported the start of a powerful assault on Soledar in the Bakhmut axis. According to Maliar, after an unsuccessful attempt to capture the town and subsequent retreat, Russian troops have regrouped, recouped their losses, moved additional assault units into position and changed their tactics. Maliar says the city is being stormed mostly by Wagner Group mercenaries. “The enemy is advancing literally on the corpses of its soldiers, using artillery, multiple rocket launchers and mortars en masse, covering even its own fighters with fire,” she wrote. According to the Telegram channel Moscow calling, units of the “people's militia” of the so-called “LPR” are also involved in the assault in addition to the Wagner Group.

Pro-Russian Telegram channel Rybar published footage of street fighting in Soledar, commenting that the cameraman filmed the footage near houses on Karpinskogo Street, which stand close to the city administration building. Sounds of gunfire can be heard in the video:

Despite reports of heavy fighting in Soledar and near Bakhmut, the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) General Staff’s evening report did not cover military activity in either direction. Both towns were mentioned only as linked to Russian shelling.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's 46th Separate Airmobile Brigade advanced southeastward into the salt mine complex, wrote former US Navy SEAL and war correspondent Chuck Pfarrer. According to Moscow calling, Ukraine managed to halt the advance of Russian troops and recapture several lost positions after reinforcements entered the battle.

According to several reports, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of the AFU Ground Forces, visited the command post of the Ukrainian grouping in Bakhmut.

The Ukrainian army is preparing for an offensive near Starobilsk in the Lyman area. According to Rybar, at least 15 units of military equipment are concentrated near the village of Terny. A M777 howitzer battery has been deployed in the village of Torskoye. It is alleged that assault units have been transferred to the vicinity of Liman and ammunition has been supplied. The activity of Ukrainian reconnaissance groups and small-scale Fly Eye 80 drones has increased in certain areas. Along the front line, Ukrainian A1-CM Furia and Valkyrie drones are scouting Russian troop activity near Kuzemivka, Nauholne, and Kolomyychikha.

Increased tactical and army aviation activity was reported over the Kharkiv region. Over 22 sorties of Su-25 attack aircraft, MiG-29 fighters and Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters were observed over the past day, wrote Rybar. The authors of the channel conclude that all this indicates that the AFU will soon attack Russian positions.

Battles for Novoselivske in the Luhansk region were reported by regional governor Serhiy Haidai. According to Haidai, the village has been completely flattened, with no residents remaining in the settlement. Haidai reported the liberation of Novoselivske in late fall. Battles for the outpost rage yet again, as the village is located on the Kupiansk-Svatove highway. Haidai also reported the shelling of Nevske in the Luhansk region, which left two people dead and two wounded.


A 60-year-old woman was killed as a result of the shelling of a market in the village of Shevchenkove in the Kupiansk district, according to a report by the local administration. Seven victims were hospitalized. Rescue teams are continuing to dismantle the rubble.

“More than 15 settlements, including Spirne, Berestove, Belohorivka, Soledar and Bakhmut, came under fire in the Bakhmut direction,” the Ukrainian General Staff said in a report.

Footage of shelling in Ochakiv in the Mykolaiv region was posted in local social media groups:

Over 100 homes were damaged as a result of the shelling – windows and roofs were destroyed. Eight casualties have been admitted to local hospitals, and other victims are still seeking medical assistance.


British intelligence published satellite images of Russian Su-57 fighters at an airfield in Akhtubinsk in the Astrakhan region. According to the report, the Russian Air Force has started using these planes to carry out missile strikes on Ukraine – however, as Russia is afraid of losing the reputation of its most modern warplane, the Su-57 is used exclusively for missile launches from afar, without engaging its other capabilities.

Only six bombers – four Tu-95s and two Tu-160s – remained at Russia’s Engels airfield after the latest drone attacks by the Ukrainian army, wrote Radio Liberty project Skhemy, citing satellite images.

Arms supplies

The German authorities are being forced to remove Marder infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) from their own stock in order to supply them to Ukraine, reported Der Spiegel. Berlin announced the delivery of 40 infantry fighting vehicles to Kyiv on January 5, with the shipment to be completed by the end of March. According to the publication, German defense corporation Rheinmetall has about 60 decommissioned Marder, but it will take too long to upgrade them.

Georgia has refused to return a number of Buk surface-to-air missile launchers to Ukraine, which the latter gave the country during the Russo-Georgian war in 2008, said Ukrainian Charge d'Affaires in Georgia Andrei Kasyanov.

Britain is considering transferring Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine, reported Sky News. Such a move would not change the situation on the front by itself, but it would set an example for other NATO allies – Germany in particular – and could encourage them to follow Britain's example, experts said.

The first videos of Canadian LAV ACSV Super Bison armored vehicles, which are being produced for the needs of the Ukrainian army, have appeared on social media. The vehicles were originally ordered for the Canadian armed forces, but the country's government decided to transfer them to the AFU. Ukraine has also received a technical support package from the vehicles’ manufacturer, General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada.

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said that the country was preparing to transfer the Archer self-propelled gun system to Ukraine, which had earlier been requested by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Archer is widely considered to be one of the best artillery systems in the world.


On January 8, Russian troops moved another train of military equipment to Belarus, which consisted of 30 rail cars carrying track- and wheel-based vehicles and about 100 personnel. The channel Belarus Golovnogo Mozga noted that the Belarusian Defense Ministry did not officially announce the arrival of the train, despite previous similar arrivals being publicised.

Belarus has also announced a joint flight-tactical exercise with Russia, which has been scheduled from January 16 to February 1. All airfields and ranges of the Belarusian Air Force and Air Defense Forces are expected to be utilized. Since late December, media reports have revealed the movement of trains with Russian military equipment through Belarusian territory to the border with Ukraine.

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