Ukraine war in the live ticker: +++ 06:44 ISW: Russia’s tactical successes at Bachmut – Wagner probably in the north of the city +++

Ukraine war in the live ticker
+++ 06:44 ISW: Russia’s tactical successes at Bachmut – Wagner probably in the north of the city +++

The battle for Bakhmut is coming to a head and, according to the think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Russia has recently been able to achieve tactical successes. For example, recordings published by the media company RIAFAN, which belongs to the Wagner Group, indicate that fighters from the mercenary troop were already in the north of the city near the Stupky train station, writes the ISW in its most recent management report. Russian military bloggers also claimed that Wagner forces were attempting to advance from the north and east into the heart of the once-75,000-population town of Bakhmut.

+++ 06:05 Ukrainian analyst: “Breakthrough on the northern flank” at Bakhmut a problem +++
Russian forces have made progress in encircling Bakhmut, according to Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov. The troops drove a wedge between the villages of Jahidne and Berchiwka. “This breach on the northern flank of Bakhmut poses a clear threat to us,” Zhdanov wrote in comments on social media.

+++ 05:09 Ukraine: “Strategic withdrawal” from Bachmut remains an option +++
According to Ukrainian sources, while Russian Wagner mercenaries try to surround Bakhmut, the city’s defenders still have an opportunity to retreat. “Of course, our military will consider all options. So far they have held the city, but if necessary, they will strategically withdraw – because we will not sacrifice all our people in vain,” says Alexander Rodnyansky, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy the broadcaster CNN. The region west of Bakhmut was fortified. “If we retreated, that wouldn’t necessarily mean that the Russians could advance further quickly afterward,” Rodnayansky continued. Rather, the Russian troops would have to reckon with a counter-offensive in the near future.

+++ 01:50 fights for Bakhmut according to Selenskyj more and more fierce +++
According to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the fighting for Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine is becoming increasingly fierce. “Russia doesn’t count its men at all and sends them into battle to constantly attack our positions,” said the head of state in his evening video address. “The intensity of the fighting is only increasing.” According to Ukrainian sources, Moscow is using the “best stormtroopers” of the Wagner mercenary group, which is considered particularly brutal, in the attacks on the strategically rather insignificant city of Bakhmut.

+++ 00:58 Scholz’ phone calls with Putin are not recorded +++

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s telephone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other important talks about the war in Ukraine are not usually recorded, but only in bullet points. “So far, there has been a file note, but no obligation to record or record telephone calls. That would be something that the federal ministries would have to change in their joint rules of procedure,” says the President of the Federal Archives, Michael Hollmann, of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. Opposition politicians had speculated that Putin could have made nuclear threats to the chancellor during the talks and that Scholz was therefore repeatedly hesitant to deliver weapons.

+++ 23:39 Selenskyj: “Will bring the Russian system to court” +++
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj is emphatically in favor of a criminal investigation of the Russian war of aggression against his country. “We will smash this entire Russian genocidal system – from the cogs to the architects – and bring it to justice,” says Zelenskyy in his daily video address. He spoke about this in Kiev with chief prosecutor Karim Khan from the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Particular attention was paid to the children brought to Russia from the occupied Ukrainian territories, which Kiev sees as “violent abduction”. Action by the International Criminal Court against Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, for example, is currently not possible because neither Russia nor Ukraine are contracting parties to the Rome Statute as the legal basis for this court. Kiev is campaigning for international support for a special tribunal.

+++ 22:11 Leading US Republican calls for higher defense spending +++
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell wants Congress to spend more on defense next year. This would allow the US to defy threats from Russia and China, says McConnell. “In this environment, we must continue to strengthen our defence.” Other NATO countries would also have to expand their defenses. His comments are at odds with Republicans in the US House of Representatives who are considering keeping defense spending at current levels in fiscal 2024.

+++ 21:29 Merz misses the turnaround in the federal government +++
One year after the “turning point” speech by Chancellor Olaf Scholz from the SPD in the Bundestag, CDU chairman Friedrich Merz misses the corresponding political consequences in the traffic light coalition. “The turning point is apparently taking place everywhere, just not in the federal government,” said Merz in Berlin before the start of a CDU/CSU parliamentary group meeting. There is still hesitation and procrastination, for example with the special fund of 100 billion euros for the Bundeswehr. The money will not be spent, Merz complained. A few days after Russia’s attack on Ukraine on February 24 last year, the chancellor said in a government statement that a turning point was being experienced. Nothing will ever be the same again afterwards. Scholz wants to make a government statement on this in the Bundestag this Thursday.

+++ 20:56 Poland buys 1000 new armored personnel carriers +++
The Polish army will receive more than a thousand new “Borsuk” (badger) armored personnel carriers and hundreds of escort vehicles. Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak signed an agreement on this with the manufacturing company Huta Stalowa Wola in southeastern Poland, as reported by the PAP news agency. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had previously announced the order on Twitter with the words: “We guarantee the Poles security.” Minister Blaszczak told TV news channel TVP Info that the order was the largest project in the Polish armaments industry to date. According to the agreement, the first four Borsuk tanks are to be delivered to the Polish army in the course of 2023. Blaszczak said he hoped that further deliveries would also be made quickly, without giving an exact date. The new Polish-made tanks are intended to replace the Soviet BMP-1 armored personnel carriers previously used by the army.

You can read earlier developments in the Ukraine war here.

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