Your slice of the top headlines in Ukraine. Daily. Monday, January 9th, 2023.
- The Dormition Cathedral and the Trapezna (Refectory) Church of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra monastery have been returned to state ownership.
This transfer occurred after a lease held by the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine expired, without renewal. Before the New Year, the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra national historic and cultural preserve informed the ROC that it would not renew the contract for its use of the Dormition Cathedral from Jan. 1. The ROC has claimed that the government’s actions represent an attack on freedom of religion.
- President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signed a decree suspending the citizenship of 13 priests of the Russian Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
According to the publication, decree No. 898/2022 was signed by the president on Dec. 28, 2022. The decree was not, however, made public officially, as it contains personal information. But according to sources of Ukrainian news site LB.ua, it concerns the suspension of the citizenship of 13 representatives of six dioceses of the UOC-MP — Donetsk, Crimea, Dnipro, Romny, Odesa, and Bukovyna.
- Ukraine has denied Russia’s proposal to observe a 36-hour ceasefire around the Eastern Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 6-7.
According to presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak, Russia’s proposal is nothing more than “hypocrisy”, as Russia continuously violates all truce and ceasefire agreements. Meanwhile, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council pointed out that the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Vladimir Gundyayev, has actually blessed Russian troops and the war against Ukraine.
- NV has collated instances of the violation of the so-called “Christmas ceasefire” proposed by Russia.
The “ceasefire”, which supposedly was intended to take effect at 11:00 am Kyiv time on Jan. 6, was first violated just eight minutes later: at 11:08 am, deputy presidential chief-of-staff Kyrylo Tymoshenko reported the shelling of a fire station in Kherson. Further violations were recorded in Donetsk Oblast, killing at least two.
- The average price of Russia’s Urals crude oil in December 2022 was $50.47 per barrel, which is 31% lower than in December 2021.
At the same time, the average price for Urals oil in January-December 2022 was $76.09 per barrel, and $69.0 per barrel in January-December 2021. The current price is even below the price cap, established by sanctions, on Russian oil – according to which Russian oil cannot be sold for over $60 a barrel.
- The UN has disbanded the mission that was supposed to investigate the apparent Russian terrorist attack on a prison facility in occupied Olenivka, Donetsk Oblast.
Dozens of Ukrainian POWs were believed to have been killed in the attack – reportedly a false flag attack on its own prisoner camp, corroborated by numerous reports from open-source and official sources. According to UN Press Secretary Stéphane Dujarric, the decision to disband was made by UN Secretary General António Guterres as there were no conditions under which the mission could go to Olenivka.
- The Ukrainian army ranks as the 15th strongest of 145 countries surveyed, according to the Global Firepower firm.
Last year, the Armed Forces of Ukraine was in 22nd place. In 2023, the Power Index of Ukraine is 0.2516. A score of 0.0000 is considered ideal. Egypt (14th) and Australia (16th) took the spots above and below Ukraine. “As Ukraine continues its defense against Russia, it has increased its GFP index score for the current year as a result of its response, financial and material backing from the West, and introduction of new key categories which benefit its overall placement on the list,” Global Firepower said.
That’s 52.1% less than in 2021, but not all cargo fell equally: grain transport fell only 14.2% compared to 2021. According to Valeriy Tkachov, Deputy Director of the Commercial Work Department of UZ, this smaller fall in grain transport was due to an increase to more than 1 million tons per month of grain transportation through the western border crossings, as well as the work of the maritime grain corridor.
This includes, for the first time, Bradley infantry fighting vehicles. The aid package also includes 18 Paladin self-propelled howitzers, 55 MRAP tactical vehicles, and ammunition for the HIMARS multiple rocket launcher system. White House National Security spokesman John Kirby added that military aid from the new package would help Ukraine's defenders in Donbas to meet their needs, and that Bradley IFVs are crucial for combined arms maneuvers.
- The decisions by the United States and Germany to send Bradley and Marder infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine could pave the way for the West to supply more powerful tanks.
Those could include Germany’s Leopard tanks or even the U.S. Army’s M1 Abrams, experts and two U.S. officials told Politico. Retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, a former commander of U.S. Army Europe, said the Western infantry fighting vehicles are designed to work in tandem with the Abrams, providing a “complementary” capability.
That’s according to NSDC head Oleksiy Danilov, who separated the war into four stages based on the equipment Western partners have provided to Ukraine. According to the official, the fourth stage will be a “war of justice and retribution.” Recent days have seen Ukraine’s allies for the first time promise to supply Ukraine with weapons of the types Ukraine’s generals say they need to defeat Russia and liberate all of Ukraine’s territory.
- The day’s long read: Ukrainian soldier on why Russia now eyes Soledar instead of Bakhmut
NV interviews soldier Ivan Varchenko, who spoke about the situation on the frontlines and how the war’s hotspot is moving on from Bakhmut, as Russian forces attempt to make progress in Donetsk Oblast.
- Don’t miss: On all fronts: Six scenarios for the end of the war in Ukraine, and what the country can expect
Political scientist Volodymyr Fesenko explains the six situations that can result in the end of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine – from Ukraine’s complete defeat to its total victory.