Day 320 of the Invasion of Ukraine: The Two Sides Exchanged 50 Soldiers Each in a Prisoner Swap
Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:
Dozens of Russian attacks against Ukraine have been launched over the past 24 hours
Russia has carried out seven missile attacks, 31 airstrikes and more than 70 attacks with salvo systems in Ukraine over the past 24 hours, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army reported. Ukrainian forces have resisted Russian pressure in 14 settlements, including Bakhmut.
Last night, Russian forces attacked two settlements in the Nikopol area, Dnipropetrovsk region. The damage caused is being specified, there is no information about casualties.
Italy may decide to send new military aid to Ukraine as early as next month. According to the "Republika" publication, the type of military equipment and the amount of supplies should be determined at the end of January. The deployment of SAMP-T anti-aircraft missile systems and Aspide guided missiles is being discussed. The Italian Senate has already approved the government's decision to provide military aid to Ukraine until the end of this year.
Ukraine denies striking its barracks in Kramatorsk
Ukraine denied Moscow's information that it struck Ukrainian barracks in Kramatorsk. The Russian Ministry of Defense announced yesterday that more than 600 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the strikes.
According to Moscow, the attacks were carried out in response to the Ukrainian strike in the first minutes of January on a building that housed Russian soldiers. 89 Russian servicemen died there.
In his regular address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainian forces were struggling to hold two key cities in the east of the country. "The situation on the front line has not changed significantly in the first week of the year. Heavy fighting continues in Luhansk and Donetsk regions - every hotspot in these regions is well known. Bakhmut holds on despite everything. And although most of the city has been destroyed by Russian strikes, our soldiers repel constant Russian attempts to advance. Soledar is holding on, even though there is even greater destruction and things are very difficult," said the Ukrainian head of state.
Zelensky condemned Russia's failure to honor the ceasefire announced by President Vladimir Putin for Orthodox Christmas, during which it continued attacks on Ukrainian cities.
"The Russians shelled Kherson with incendiary munitions right after Christmas," he said, referring to a southern city abandoned by Russian forces in November.
On Sunday, Kyiv and Moscow exchanged 50 prisoners each.
The Ministry of Defense in Moscow claims that the ceasefire was observed until midnight on January 7 "along the entire front line", said its spokesman Igor Konashenkov. The intense shelling was carried out by the Ukrainian side, reported the Russian Interfax agency.
Russia, Ukraine exchange 50 soldiers each in prisoner swap
Russia and Ukraine conducted a prisoner exchange on Sunday with a total of 100 soldiers returning to their home countries, CNN reported citing authorities from both nations.
According to the Russian Defence Ministry, 50 Russian soldiers who had been captured by Ukraine returned to Russia due to the negotiation process. As per the CNN report, this was the 36th exchange that took place between the two nations since the conflict between Russia and Ukraine started on February 24. Meanwhile, Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, stated that 50 Ukrainian soldiers captured by Russia returned to Ukraine. In a statement, Yermak said that Ukraine returned the people who were captured in Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Mariupol, Kherson, Kyiv, and other regions, according to CNN. He stressed that this was not the last exchange between two nations and their work is to bring back all the people of Ukraine.
"We returned the people who were captured at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, as well as the defenders of Mariupol, the guys from the Donetsk direction, from near Bakhmut, as well as from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kherson, and other regions," CNN quoted Andriy Yermak as saying in a statement.
"This is not the last exchange. Our task is to return all our people and we will fulfill it," he added.
Meanwhile, the Russian-declared ceasefire ended on Saturday at midnight (local time). Two missile strikes were reported in Kharkiv on Saturday which claimed the life of one civilian, CNN reported citing the head of the regional military administration Oleh Syniehubov. The ceasefire was announced from noon Moscow time on Friday to midnight on Saturday.
"Last night the enemy launched two missile strikes on the town of Merefa, Kharkiv region. A civilian industrial facility was damaged. Unfortunately, a 50-year-old civilian was killed," CNN quoted Oleh Syniehubov as saying.
"Moreover, the enemy shelled Starytsia village in Chuhuiv district and Dvorichna village in Kupiansk district during the day," he added.
According to CNN, Oleh Syniehubov said that a private residential house and the building of the State Emergency Service unit "came under enemy fire." He further said that two fuel trucks and a vehicle of firefighters were also damaged.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin directed the Russian Defence Sergey Shoigu to order a ceasefire in Ukraine from January 6-7. He said that the ceasefire will allow Orthodox Christians to attend services in Church on Christmas, according to the statement released by Kremlin on its website.
Putin said that the decision was taken after Patriarch Kirill called for a temporary ceasefire in Ukraine. According to CNN, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Russia's ceasefire proposal as "a cover" which was being used by Russia to resupply and stop Ukrainian advances in the eastern Donbas region.
Podolyak: Russia is ready to flee from Crimea, they have not yet recovered from their alcoholic intoxication
“The liberation of Crimea is a matter of time, Russia is already ready to escape from the peninsula. This road must be traveled all the way.”
This was stated by the adviser to the head of the office of the President of Ukraine Mykhailo Podolyak, quoted by Unian. “Russia, this is a herd that attacks a lot. And if you are alone, you may lose, but we are not alone,” he added.
"It is not necessary for our children, who are sitting in bomb shelters today, to pay a high price again in a few years. Either we reach the end today, and then our children live in a nice country, or we look for another place, because Ukraine will not exist,” explained Podolyak.
“Russia is now ready to run. It's just that they haven't yet gotten out of the state of full alcohol intoxication. Then they will come out, look around and understand: either you run or you die,” he emphasized.
The head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, Kiril Budanov, defined the borders of 1991 as a victory for Ukraine. According to him, this year will bring victory to Ukraine, and a change of power to the Russian Federation.
British intelligence: From June 2022, Russia uses supersonic aircraft in its offensive in Ukraine
The UK Ministry of Defense said on Monday in its latest intelligence report that the Russian military "almost certainly" used the Su-57 FELON in its offensive against Ukraine since June 2022.
FELON is Russia's most advanced fifth-generation supersonic combat aircraft using stealth technologies and advanced avionics.
The ministry said the missions were mostly carried out from Russian territory, with the planes "launching long-range air-to-ground or air-to-air missiles into Ukraine."
Recent commercially available images show five FELONs deployed at Akhtubinsk Air Base, which hosts the 929th Flight Test Center. As this is the only known FELON base, these aircraft are likely to have been involved in operations against Ukraine, the British Ministry of Defense said.
Defense intelligence analysis of this December 25, 2022 satellite image identifies five Su-57 FELON multi-role aircraft at Akhtubinsk Airport, Russia.
British intelligence also explained that Moscow "prioritises avoiding the reputational damage, reduced export prospects and compromise of sensitive technology that would come from any Su-57 FELON loss over Ukraine."
This is symptomatic of Russia's continued risk-averse approach to using its air force in war.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine - 9 January 2023— Ministry of Defence ???????? (@DefenceHQ) January 9, 2023
Find out more about the UK government's response: https://t.co/MFEwqMMnI3
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