- Russia has stepped up a powerful assault on Soledar, in the Donbas region, forcing Ukrainian troops to repel waves of attacks by Wagner Group units.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says no walls are left standing in Soledar, but that both the city and the nearby Bakhmut are holding on despite widespread destruction.
NATO chief says alliance must strengthen support for Ukraine
NATO’s secretary general has said the United States-led transatlantic military alliance must further strengthen its support for Ukraine as Russia’s offensive continues.
Jens Stoltenberg told reporters at a news conference that Russian President Vladimir Putin had “failed” in his attempts to divide Western allies over the conflict.
NATO allies have supplied Ukraine with billions of dollars’ worth of military support since Moscow launched its invasion in February of last year.
Russia will keep developing nuclear weapons: Defence minister
Russia’s defence minister says his country will continue developing its nuclear triad of ballistic missiles, submarines and strategic bombers because such weapons are the main guarantee of its sovereignty.
“We will continue to develop the nuclear triad and maintain its combat readiness since the nuclear shield has been and remains the main guarantor of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state,” Sergei Shoigu said.
“We will also increase the combat capabilities of the aerospace forces – both in terms of the work of fighters and bombers in areas where modern air defence systems are in operation, and in terms of improving unmanned aerial vehicles.”
The feminist community emerging from the war in Ukraine
Inside a shelter dubbed “FemApartment”, residents support one another as they help others affected by the Ukraine war.
Putin ally says Russia now fighting NATO in Ukraine
One of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies has said Russia is now fighting the US-led NATO military alliance in Ukraine.
“The events in Ukraine are not a clash between Moscow and Kyiv – this is a military confrontation between Russia and NATO, and above all the United States and Britain,” Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said.
“The Westerners’ plans are to continue to pull Russia apart, and eventually just erase it from the political map of the world,” Patrushev told the Argumenti i Fakti newspaper.
The former Soviet spy, who has known Putin since the 1970s, is a hardline ally and is seen as one of the few people able to influence the Russian president.
Russia works on measures to curb discounts on its oil
The Russian energy ministry says it has been working on additional measures to limit discounts to international benchmarks on Russian oil prices after the West imposed price caps.
President Vladimir Putin last month signed a decree that banned the supply of crude oil and oil products to nations that abide by the cap for five months from February 1.
Russia is the world’s second-largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia, with oil and gas sales accounting for almost half of the country’s state budget revenue.
Ukraine’s army says 710 Russian soldiers killed in 24 hours
Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces has claimed that 710 Russian soldiers were killed in the last 24 hours.
In a tweet, it said the total Russian death toll from the war was 112,470.
Russian warship holds drills in Norwegian Sea
A Russian warship armed with hypersonic cruise weapons has held exercises in the Norwegian Sea, the defence ministry says.
“The crew of the frigate ‘Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov’ conducted an air defense exercise in the Norwegian Sea,” the ministry said.
Last week, President Vladimir Putin sent the frigate to the Atlantic Ocean armed with new-generation hypersonic cruise missiles, a signal to the West that Russia will not back down over the war in Ukraine.
Russian forces may control most of Soledar: UK
Russian and Wagner forces are probably in control of most of the eastern Ukrainian town of Soledar after tactical advances in the last four days, the British defence ministry has said in a regular intelligence update.
“Soledar is 10km [about six miles] north of Bakhmut, the capture of which likely continues to be Russia’s main immediate operational objective,” it said.
“Russia’s Soledar axis is highly likely an effort to envelop Bakhmut from the north, and to disrupt Ukrainian lines of communication.”
Russia launches criminal probes on prominent Kremlin critics
Russia has announced parallel criminal probes against an actor and a philanthropist critical of the war in Ukraine, amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent.
Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement that its chief Alexander Bastrykin launched a criminal case against Russian film and theatre actor Artur Smolyaninov, who left the country after Moscow’s forces invaded Ukraine and repeatedly spoke out against the war.
Prominent philanthropist Boris Zimin, who funded several Russian independent media outlets and projects of imprisoned opposition leader Alexey Navalny, was put on an international most wanted list on fraud charges.
The Kremlin has scrambled to contain discontent over the war and to control the narrative by criminalising the spread of what Russia deems “fake” reports.
No walls left standing in Soledar: Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Bakhmut and Soledar were holding on despite widespread destruction.
“Thanks to the resilience of our soldiers in Soledar, we have won for Ukraine additional time and additional strength,” he said. He did not spell out what he meant by gaining time or strength.
Zelenskyy added that new and fiercer attacks in Soledar had left no walls standing and that land on the eastern front was covered with Russian corpses.
Ukraine: Russia deploying new tactics, more soldiers in Soledar
Ukrainian troops are repelling waves of attacks led by mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner Group around the salt mining town of Soledar and nearby fronts, officials in Kyiv say.
Ukrainian forces fought off an attempt to take the town, but a large number of Wagner Group units quickly returned, deploying new tactics and more soldiers under heavy artillery cover, Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar said.
Soledar is in eastern Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region and is located close to Bakhmut, where troops from both sides have been taking heavy losses in some of the most intense trench warfare since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly 11 months ago.