Your slice of the top headlines in Ukraine. Daily. Wednesday, January 11th, 2023.
- The Georgian government has refused Ukraine’s request to return a number of Buk missile systems transferred to resist Russian aggression during the 2008 Russo-Georgian war.
"I'm not sure what Ukraine handed over to us after the war of 2008,” Secretary General of the Parliament of Georgia, Givi Mikanadze, stated in a comment on Georgia’s refusal. Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili criticized the move, calling it a “shame” for the Georgian government.
In his regular evening address on Jan. 9, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that the hotspots were, are, will remain difficult for the foreseeable future, but the result “will be the liberation of our entire Donbas.” Reports from the Ukrainian military note that Russian forces have recently drawn down the amount of cannon fodder used in assaults on Bakhmut, and have begun committing greater amounts of Wagner mercenaries and Kadyrovite troops to the offensive in both towns.
- The United States sees no evidence that Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko is preparing to invade Ukraine.
Earlier, the Ukrainian commander tasked with defending Kyiv, Lt. Gen. Oleksandr Pavlyuk, said that the threat of an invasion from Belarus remains low, despite the Russians pooling military equipment into the country and conducting maneuvers. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has so far been unsuccessful in his attempts to cajole his Belarusian counterpart into joining the invasion of Ukraine, likely due to the high risk of instability in Belarus if Lukashenko commits his troops in Ukraine.
That’s according to Halyna Klempouz, co-founder of the Association of Azovstal defenders’ families. Those defenders who have been freed need additional time for rehabilitation, she added, asking media representatives to refrain from interviews until they have fully recovered.
According to Mariupol mayor Vadym Boychenko, the city is filled not only with construction workers from Russia, but also with Kadyrovtsi (the personal troops of Chechen warlord Ramzam Kadyrov), soldiers from Russia’s Buryat region, and conscripts. “We see that huge convoys are moving through Mariupol toward Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya,” he said.
- Ukraine’s Justice Ministry has filed a lawsuit with the High Anti-Corruption Court to seize the Ukrainian assets of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
Deripaska owns or co-owns many of Ukraine’s steel working facilities, including the Mykolayiv Alumina Plant – whose products are then used in the construction of Russian armored vehicles, the Justice Ministry said. Deripaska has already been sanctioned by “the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Poland, the Swiss Confederation, Australia, and New Zealand,” according to the Ministry.
Oleh Muratov, the deputy in question, allegedly took $35,000 to assist one of his subordinates avoid imprisonment for an unrelated crime. Ukraine’s SBU security service documented the official’s receipt of an advance payment of $27,000, and detained him after having handed over the said amount to his driver. Muratov now faces up to 12 years in prison.
- The EU intends to extend sanctions on Belarus and Iran for their military support of Russia’s full-scalewar in Ukraine.
According to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, "the European Union will keep doing everything in its power to support the brave people of Ukraine,” and stated that sanctions will be extended to those who militarily support Russia's war, namely Belarus and Iran.
In December 2022, price growth levels remained the same as in November – at 0.7%, compared to 2.5% in October, 1.9% in September and 1.1% in August. In December 2021, inflation was at 0.6%, so in annual terms it was 26.6% for the year as a whole, compared with 26.5% in November.
- Accompanied by her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbockarrived in Kharkiv.
The visit, which was unannounced due to security concerns, saw Baerbock visit the Saltivka district of Kharkiv, which remains heavily damaged by Russian artillery strikes. In a subsequent German Foreign Ministry press release, the minister called Kharkiv “a symbol of the insanity of Russia's war of aggression and the endless suffering that people face every day.”
According to U.S. Department of Defense, the training will take place at Fort Sill in Oklahoma, last “several months,” and will see around 100 Ukrainian soldiers mastering Patriot systems. The DoD did not comment on how Germany plans to handle training Ukrainians to use the Patriot battery Berlin has pledged to transfer to Kyiv.
- The day’s long read: Five results of the year for Rinat Akhmetov – pros and cons
NV takes a look how 2022 turned out for Ukraine’s richest oligarch, who’s managed to retain his position despite the Russian ruination of many of his assets, including the Illich and Azovstal steelworks.