Your slice of the top headlines in Ukraine. Daily. Thursday, January 12th, 2023.
• The head of Russia’s General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, will replace Gen. Sergey Surovikin as the commander of Russian invasion force in Ukraine.
Surovikin now serves as one of Gerasimov’s deputies and continues to oversee the Russian Air Force. According to Ukrainain defense minister Oleksiy Reznikov, the move was likely prompted by continued Russian military failures in Ukraine – particularly the continuing failure to take the town of Bakhmut in Donbas.
• UK PM Rishi Sunak has asked Defense Secretary Ben Wallace to expand London’s security assistance to Ukraine to “include the provision of tanks.”
“We are accelerating our support to Ukraine with the kind of next-generation military technology that will help to win this war,” a Downing Street spokesperson told the Financial Times. “It is clear that battle tanks could provide a game-changing capability to the Ukrainians.”
• Ukraine’s army will take delivery of a batch of U.S.-made Bradley infantry fighting vehicles within a few weeks.
Pentagon spokesperson General Patrick Ryder stated that “we’ll continue to work as quickly as we can, as I’m sure you can appreciate, we’re not going to announce in advance exactly when those systems will arrive.” Ryder added training in using the vehicles for Ukrainian servicemen would take place at the U.S. Graffenwoehr training base in Germany.
• Canada will procure a NASAMS anti-air battery from the United States and transfer it to Ukraine.
This announcement comes following a meeting between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden in Mexico City, where the pair discussed bilateral cooperation and global challenges. The White House said that Biden and Trudeau “reaffirmed their commitment to stand up for our shared values around the world, including supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russia’s brutal aggression.”
• The Russian occupiers have denied the access to Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) to about 1,500 of employees who have refused to obtain Russian passports.
The policy of ‘passportization’ is a scheme to forcibly nationalize Ukrainian citizens, and has become a determining factor in the treatment of Ukrainians in occupied territory. The occupying authorities are now looking for new employees within Russia and preparing housing for them through the so-called "nationalization" of apartments of local residents who have left – in other words, the outright theft and dispossession of Ukrainian citizens who refuse Russian citizenship.
• Ukrainian Eastern Group of Forces Spokesperson Serhiy Cherevaty has denied reports spread by Russian invasion forces that they now control the village of Soledar.
The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War has also reported that despite false Russian media claims, Russian forces and Wagner Group mercenaries have struggled to gain tactical control of the entire city, and even if they did so, it won't necessarily lead to the surrounding of Bakhmut. Bakhmut and Soledar remain the hottest spots at the front line at this time.
• A member of the Russian Orthodox clergy in Ukraine has been detained for supporting Russia’s full-scale invasion.
According to Ukraine’s SBU security service, he called on the Russians "to eliminate Ukrainians and seize Kyiv" on a pro-Kremlin Telegram messenger channel. He also published comments approving of the enemy's missile attacks on Ukrainian cities, and in particular supported strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure and social facilities such as schools and hospitals.
• The EU has said that Ukraine cannot become an EU member as long as it has territory under Russian occupation.
That’s according to European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans, who added that Ukraine deserves all possible support to overcome the aggression and to make its choice after victory. “The whole idea is to make sure that Ukraine comes out of this conflict victorious, sovereign, independent, free, and has the opportunity to make this choice itself,” he said.
The day’s long read: The Ukrainian national pastime: Why do we like to quarrel so much?
Ukrainians love to engage in srachi, or bickering and quarreling, at the receipt of any kind of news. Marina Starodubska explains what underlies this phenomenon, and lays why modern Ukrainian discourse should focus more on constructive discussion than baseless smears.