Vladimir Putin's decision to increase the size of the armed forces to 1.5 million military personnel indicates that he is preparing Russia for a protracted war in Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said . According to ISW, Russian forces can now prepare for an offensive in the Lugansk region.
Pro-Russian Telegram channels claim that currently Wagner PMC continues to carry out assault operations in the area of Soledar under the cover of artillery. Now the focus has shifted to the battles for Krasnaya Gora and Paraskovievka, Boris Rozhin, an expert at the propaganda Center for Military-Political Journalism, writes . Former US Navy soldier Chuck Pfarrer believes that the main goal of Russia's actions in Soledar was to cut the Bakhmut Highway, but they did not succeed. At the same time, Ukrainian forces maintain control over the important T-05-13 highway west of Soledar and continue to hold the Russian group outside the railway station in Blagodatnoe. Pfarrer also published a map.
Now the Russian military continues to try to cut off access to the highway.
The War Mapper project, in turn, claims that the situation around Bakhmut has not changed since yesterday.
PMC Wagner and the Ministry of Defense share Sol
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation on January 18 reported on the capture of the village of Sol in the Donetsk region. The report says that the settlement was taken by "volunteers of assault detachments with fire support from operational-tactical and army aviation, missile troops and artillery of the Southern Military District." However, two days before that, on January 16, Telegram channels associated with Wagner PMCs reported the capture of Salt by “Wagnerites”. On January 17, Denis Pushilin, the acting head of the "DPR", reported about the transition of Salt under the control of the Russian military.
The Ukrainian side does not confirm that Wagner PMC or Russian military personnel occupied the village of Sol. In a report on the morning of January 18, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that the attacks on Sol were repulsed.
Sol is an important transport hub on the direct communication route between Bakhmut and Seversk, administratively it is part of the city of Soledar. Fighting in this area has been going on since the summer of 2022, especially intensified in winter. On January 11, one of the founders of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, reported on the complete “liberation” of Soledar by the Wagnerites. At the same time, it was claimed in Ukraine that the battles for Soledar were continuing. Then the Russian Ministry of Defense also made separate statements about Soledar, a few days later, without mentioning PMCs in them.
Helicopter crash in Brovary
On the morning of January 18, a helicopter of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine crashed near a kindergarten in Brovary, Kyiv region. It immediately became known that the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs had died: the head of the department, Denis Monastyrsky, and his deputy, Yevgeny Enin. In connection with the death of Monastyrsky, the head of the National Police, Igor Klymenko, has been appointed acting Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said. The crew of the helicopter also died: commander Alexander Vasilenko, pilot Konstantin Kovalenko, flight mechanic Ivan Kasyanov.
In total, the State Emergency Service reports 14 dead, including two children, and 25 injured, of which 11 are children. According to the kindergarten teacher, everything happened when the children were only brought by their parents. If the helicopter had crashed later, there could have been more victims among children. The words of the woman leads TSN.ua.
The representative of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Yuriy Ignat, said that the crashed helicopter was a Eurocopter Super Puma, which was handed over by France. Head of the National Police Igor Klymenko wrote on Facebook that the helicopter belongs to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy commented on the crash in Brovary of a helicopter with the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Denis Monastyrsky, and his deputy, Yevgeny Enin, who died in the fall. He stated during a video message at the World Economic Forum in Davos that this was not an accident, but the result of a war.
Advisor to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that three possible causes of the crash are being considered: sabotage, malfunction of equipment, violation of safety rules. Later, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the helicopter crash was the result of the war.
“This is not an accident, this is war. It's not just on the battlefield. There are no more accidents, all this is the result of the war. Rockets that hit our people, the civilian population, dead children. Someone can disseminate information that “they were not aiming at the civilian population, but they wanted to hit the energy infrastructure, but it happened” or something else. But these are just superfluous words. All this - every person and every death - is the result of the war, ”Zelensky said.
Arms supplies to Ukraine
The United States is removing 155-mm shells from its bases in Israel and South Korea to hand over to Ukraine, reports The New York Times. The material says that the United States has transferred and will transfer to Ukraine a total of more than one million 155-mm shells. Israeli and American officials said that about half of the 300,000 rounds of ammunition from Israel destined for Ukraine have already been sent to Europe, and will subsequently be delivered to Ukraine via Poland.
At the same time, Israel has not changed its policy, the country has not yet supplied weapons to Ukraine, the newspaper emphasizes. The South Korean government, in turn, did not want the artillery shells stored on its territory to appear in Ukraine, violating export rules. Therefore, artillery shells from Korea will be sent to replenish American stocks.
The Government of Canada also continues to provide military assistance to Ukraine, 200 armored vehicles will be transferred to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand said during a briefing that Canada will transfer 200 armored vehicles worth $90 million to Ukraine in a new aid package. Including it will be Roshel Senator, which is capable of transporting 12 fighters and supporting them with fire during operations.
Attack of the mobilized training center
One of the training centers for mobilized and volunteers was attacked by kamikaze drones, as reported by the soldiers of this regiment themselves in Telegram, posting a photo. They claim that seven Ukrainian UAVs flew more than 100 km from the line of contact, some of the drones were shot down by the air defense system, the rest fell, but "did not cause significant damage."
The servicemen claim that the launch could not be closer than 10 km from the line of contact, therefore, the drones flew about 110 km.
“Personally, I have not heard of such people and have never met them before. After a small analysis of the components, we can draw several conclusions: a) The components of this UAV (striking after all) can be found in the public domain on marketplaces, and their prices are not the most exorbitant. b) The unit that I did not find in the public domain is a GNSS unit from Antcom, headquartered in Torrance, California. That is, this block was supplied to the manufacturer centrally. Thus, I can conclude that these are not handicraft drones made by craftsmen on their knees, but assembled at some factory and supplied in the form of another assistance package. This is indirectly confirmed by the fact that the detonator is with inscriptions in English (it was possible to install old Soviet electric detonators with handicraft assembly).
Read also the military summary of The Insider for January 17: “The number of victims in the Dnieper has grown to 45, five conscripts have died in the Belgorod region, the military is banned from beards. What's going on at the front .