The day of the war at a glance: Putin visits injured soldiers - new boiler strategy in Donbass

Instead of a major offensive, Moscow is attempting many small encirclements in eastern Ukraine, experts say.

The day of the war at a glance: Putin visits injured soldiers - new boiler strategy in Donbass

Instead of a major offensive, Moscow is attempting many small encirclements in eastern Ukraine, experts say. In the city of Sieverodonetsk, fighting reached the first suburbs. President Putin visits injured soldiers in Moscow for the first time and increases the pay of fighters. Kyiv warns against easing sanctions in exchange for ships carrying wheat. The federal government denies having promised Poland an armored ring exchange. The 91st day of the war at a glance.

Russian troops reach suburbs of Sievjerodonetsk

More than three months after the start of the war, Russian troops in eastern Ukraine are stepping up their offensive. According to information from Kyiv, they are fighting for the strategically important city of Sievjerodonetsk in the heavily contested Luhansk region. The first soldiers have already advanced into the suburbs, reported Governor Serhij Gajdaj. The nearby town of Lyman was also a target of the Russian ground offensive, supported by airstrikes and artillery, the Ukrainian general staff said in its situation report.

"In some directions, the Russian groups undoubtedly have tactical successes, that's basically no secret," Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motusyanyk said in Kyiv. But it is not correct to speak of a Ukrainian withdrawal. The Ukrainian army tries to improve its position and then attack again. "There are many settlements in the area that are changing hands. The situation is very dynamic."

Foreign observers fear several Ukrainian brigades could be encircled in Sieverodonetsk. Military experts from the US war research institute Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that the Russian military is concentrating forces in Luhansk from different directions. Moscow buried the plan for a large pincer attack in the Donbass. Accordingly, the experts assume that the Russian troops are instead trying to carry out smaller encirclements in order to gradually gain terrain. Moscow's units are currently trying to form boilers near Bakhmut, Zolote, Sievjerodonetsk and Avdiivka.

Russian passports for residents of Kherson

Moscow is working to tie occupied parts of Ukraine more closely to Russia. Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin signed a decree according to which residents of the Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia can obtain Russian citizenship on easier terms. In 2019, Putin had already simplified naturalization for residents of the breakaway Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Hundreds of thousands of people received Russian passports.

Selenskyj only wants to talk to Putin

For the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, however, a cession of territory even in exchange for an end to the war is out of the question. "Ukraine will fight until it has its entire territory back," Zelensky said at an event in Davos. He is ready for talks if Russia withdraws to the areas where it was before the war began in February, Zelensky said. "I can only speak directly to the president, no intermediaries, no intermediaries," said Zelenskyy. For that, Putin has to leave his bubble. Russia is not currently negotiating seriously.

Putin visits injured soldiers

In a Moscow hospital, Putin met soldiers injured in the war against Ukraine for the first time since the beginning of the war. During his visit, the head of state chatted with several soldiers about their hometowns and family situations, as seen on Russian television. The soldiers stood upright next to their beds, their injuries not visible.

The parliament in Moscow, meanwhile, voted in favor of a law that would allow men and women up to the age of 50 to sign up for service in the army. Previously, the upper limit was 40 years. The law, introduced by the Kremlin party United Russia, states that "highly professional specialists" who are usually 40 years of age or older are needed to operate precision weapons.

Putin also ordered higher military pay for Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine. According to the Interfax agency, the Kremlin chief justified the decision by saying that the salaries of the military stationed abroad are linked to the development of the foreign exchange market and that the US dollar is currently weak compared to the Russian ruble. How much more pay there should be exactly is unclear. In addition, Putin announced a pension increase and a ten percent increase in the minimum wage.

Ukraine calls for trade boycott - Russia eases sanctions

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called for a complete halt to Western trade with Russia. The sanctions would have to be taken to the next level. "The world should stop buying Russian goods and services and stop trading with Russia," he said. Otherwise, the money will help keep "the Russian war crimes machinery" going. The West must accept that the ultimate goal must be a victory for Ukraine.

Moscow, on the other hand, has called for Western sanctions to be relaxed in view of the food crisis caused by its war against Ukraine. According to the Interfax agency, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko called for the punitive measures imposed on Russia's export industry and the financial sector to be lifted. In addition, Ukraine must demine all ports, he demanded. Russia would then be ready to secure "humanitarian passage" for ships from Ukraine.

Port of Mairupol works again

At the same time, Russia announced the end of demining in the port of Mariupol. The port of the city, which is now controlled by Russia, can thus resume work. For the international ships that have been stuck there since the beginning of hostilities, a corridor is being organized for safe exit, the Ministry of Defense said.

EU wants to use oligarch property for Ukraine

According to the EU Commission, the assets of Russian oligarchs should be easier to confiscate if they circumvent EU sanctions. According to the EU Commission, Russian billionaires close to the Kremlin have so far avoided the sanctions by bringing yachts into international waters or transferring assets to other owners. Therefore, the authority proposed to include such circumvention of sanctions in the list of EU crimes in order to prosecute and punish violators of sanctions in all EU countries equally. The confiscated money could be used to rebuild Ukraine.

Klitschko invites Scholz

In an interview with RTL/ntv, Wladimir Klitschko, former boxing world champion and brother of the mayor of Kyiv, emphasized his desire for the German Chancellor to visit Ukraine. "I wish that Olaf Scholz would travel to Kyiv and come to Ukraine to see with his own eyes," said Klitschko.

Federal government denies ring exchange with Poland

The federal government rejected the Polish President's accusation of the proposed ring swap of tanks. "The federal government is amazed," said government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit in Berlin. One takes note of the Polish President's criticism, "but that doesn't make it right".

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