The situation at the front
South of Bakhmut in the Donetsk direction, PMC Wagner continues assault operations in Kleshchievka. Also trying to advance on the eastern outskirts of the city itself. To the north attacks Red Mountain. To the west of Soledar, it advances on Blagodatnoe. After losing control over the Sol station, Ukrainian troops retreated across the Bakhmutka River.
The founder of PMC Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin , announced the capture of the village of Kleshchievka. However, shortly before this, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that the Ukrainian side repelled Russian attacks in the area. The Telegram channel of Prigozhin's press service published a transcript of his audio message, in which he talks about the capture of Kleshchievka:
“We can safely say that the settlement of Kleschievka, which is one of the important suburbs of Bakhmut, has been completely taken under the control of Wagner PMC units. Exclusively by units of PMC Wagner. Kleshchievka is released. Fierce fighting is still going on around Kleshcheevka. The enemy clings to every meter of the earth. Contrary to various opinions that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are fleeing from Artemovsk <the name of Bakhmut in 1924-2016 - ed. The Insider> , it's not. The APU works clearly and harmoniously. We have a lot to learn from them. But in any case, Wagner PMC units are moving forward meter by meter. The settlement of Artemovsk will be taken."
Viktor Yagun, a retired major general of the SBU, told The Insider that, as in the case of Soledar, the loss of Kleschievka would not matter much. At the same time, the “Wagnerites” and the Russian army, according to him, suffer enormous losses - up to a battalion per day:
“It would all be funny if it weren’t sad because of how many people are dying there. They [losses] are huge and not provoked by anything other than the desire to seize 3-4 kilometers of Ukrainian land. Prigozhin cannot speak differently. He needs to be shown that the Russian Ministry of Defense is losing in everything. Like, take an example from the Armed Forces of Ukraine and from us, we respect the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which win on all fronts. The Ministry of Defense of Russia, but we are better because we are moving forward. Despite all the spokes in the wheels, despite the fact that they don’t give us equipment and artillery, we liberate the territories with our assault detachments.”
When Prigozhin announced the capture of Soledar, he also emphasized that the Wagner PMC was behind this: “I want to emphasize once again that no units other than Wagner PMC fighters took part in the assault on Soledar.”
Military analyst Kirill Mikhailov also confirmed to The Insider that Kleschievka itself is not important as a springboard for further advancement.
“It is not so much Kleschievka that is important, but the heights to the west of it. If we advance further, then a road opens on the way of supplying the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the direction of Konstantinovka and Druzhkovka. Accordingly, this is another step towards the encirclement of Bakhmut and the establishment of fire control over supply lines, without which, obviously, the Russians cannot take Bakhmut.
In turn, as a military expert and colonel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the reserve Roman Svitan told The Insider, this is one of dozens of roads that are used for supply.
“The Russians are trying to cut off the road from Konstantinovka to Bakhmut, along which the Bakhmut group is being supplied, but this is one of dozens of roads, because Bakhmut is not even surrounded. Therefore, from an operational point of view, this is a problem that Ukrainian artillery will deal with. Once again, the positions taken will be knocked out by artillery, that is, this is such a battle dynamics. Globally, this does not solve anything, because the Russians will be knocked out by artillery. This is about the same as the fact that the Russians entered Soledar - not Soledar itself was a line of defense, but the Bakhmutka River, which runs along the north-west of Soledar and highway railways that run parallel to Bakhmutka.
In the Luhansk direction, Russian troops again tried to advance towards Belogorovka. The Ukrainian army was shelling Kremennaya.
The United States plans to announce on January 20 that it will provide Ukraine with a major new military aid package. This is reported by Politico. According to these data, this package, in particular, will include Stryker armored personnel carriers and new GLSDB high-precision long-range ammunition with a range of up to 150-160 km, information about the possible provision of which to Ukraine first appeared in November.
In addition, the United States is considering the option of transferring weapons to Kiev to strike at the annexed Crimea. According to The New York Times, the White House came to this decision after several months of negotiations with Ukrainian officials. And if earlier the United States refused to help Ukraine with the shelling of the occupied peninsula due to fear of an escalation of the conflict, now this has changed. Also, the United States has ceased to fear that Russia will use nuclear weapons. The Biden administration decided that if Ukraine could show Russia that it was losing control of Crimea, it would strengthen Kyiv's position in future negotiations.
France plans to transfer Ukraine tanks AMX-56 Leclerc. “This is a complex issue that has not yet been resolved in Paris, but we are thinking about it. Let's see what will be decided at a joint meeting of the French-German cabinet,” an unnamed French official told Politico.
Germany, meanwhile, is using almost the latest political loophole to deny supplies of Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he would allow NATO allies to send German tanks to Ukraine only if Washington also provides it with American Abrams tanks. Pan-European project coordinator Rafael Loss, in an interview with The Insider, noted that the US leadership is forced to pull Germany along in this matter. Berlin is at the center of this discussion simply because Germany needs to approve the re-export of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine by other countries, and also because German industry produces these tanks, as well as ammunition and spare parts for them.
Ukraine will receive 155-mm Archer self-propelled guns and 50 CV90 infantry fighting vehicles from Sweden . This was announced by the Minister of Defense of the country Paul Johnson at a briefing. According to him, Sweden will send Ukraine up to 50 CV90 infantry fighting vehicles, an unnamed number of Archer self-propelled guns, as well as NLAW anti-tank systems.
As noted by the Moscow calling Telegram channel, the Archer is an FH77 towed howitzer with a 52-caliber barrel mounted on a Volvo A30D truck chassis. The crew of the howitzer consists of 4 people. The rate of fire of the gun is 3 shots in 15 seconds or 21 shots (full loading of the automatic magazine) in 2.5 minutes, which is a record figure. In addition, an important feature of Archer is full automation. The firing range is up to 60 km, the deployment time is up to 30 seconds and the possibility of a "fire raid" (when several shells fall at the same point at the same time due to different trajectories).
Denmark to send 19 French-made CAESAR howitzers to Ukraine - Danish Defense Minister. Andriy Yermak, head of the OP, also confirmed the information about the transfer of CAESAR.”
Lithuania , like Latvia, will give Ukraine two Mi-8 helicopters, as well as L-70 anti-aircraft guns and ammunition. The total amount of the aid package is 125 million euros.
Tribunal over Putin
The European Parliament has voted to create a special tribunal to try Vladimir Putin and Russia's political and military leadership, the legislature's website says. 427 parliamentarians voted in favor, 19 voted against, 33 abstained.
“The Parliament firmly believes that the creation of a special tribunal will send a very clear signal to both Russian society and the international community that President Putin and the Russian leadership as a whole can be convicted of the crime of aggression in Ukraine. Members of the European Parliament note that it is no longer possible for the Russian Federation, under the leadership of Putin, to return to normal relations with the West,” the resolution says.
Separately, the message of the European Parliament mentions "atrocities committed by Russian troops" in Irpin and Bucha.
The European Parliament decided that the tribunal against Putin would be held by analogy with the Nuremberg Trials - in close cooperation with Ukraine and the international community. MEPs emphasize that the tribunal should have the power to investigate not only against Vladimir Putin and Russia's political and military leadership, but also against Alexander Lukashenko and his allies in Belarus.
Air defense on the roofs of houses in Moscow
On January 19, photos and videos appeared on the network with military equipment placed on the roofs of houses in Moscow. According to Telegram channels, allegedly Pantsir S-1 complexes have been installed on buildings a few kilometers from the Kremlin. The authenticity of the published materials has not been confirmed.
ZRPK "Pantsir-S1" appeared on the administrative building in Teterinsky Lane today, according to the Telegram channel "Moscow calling". In a video from another post, several people in military uniforms are seen lifting containers onto the roof.
Telegram channels, including several "military correspondents", published a photo of the building of the Russian Ministry of Defense on Frunzenskaya Embankment, where, allegedly, "Pantsir-S1" is also installed. The authorities of Moscow, as well as the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, have not yet commented on these reports.
Earlier this week, photos of the S-400 air defense systems near the Losiny Ostrov park and in the experimental fields of the Timiryazev Academy appeared on Telegram channels.
Read also the military summary of The Insider for January 18: “ Wagner PMC and the Ministry of Defense share the Salt, a helicopter crashed near Kiev, Putin is preparing Russia for a protracted war. What's going on at the front ."