Latest Developments in Ukraine: Jan. 23

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine. all times EST.

1 am:

12:30 am: European Council President Charles Michel has urged the bloc’s national leaders to push forward with talks on using $300 billion-worth of confiscated Russian central bank assets for the reconstruction of Ukraine, Reuters cited the Financial Times as reporting on Monday.

Michael said he wanted to explore the idea of ​​managing the Russian central bank’s frozen assets to generate profits, which could then be earmarked for reconstruction efforts, the newspaper reported.

It is a question of justice and fairness and it must be done in line with legal principles, the FT quoted Michael as saying in an interview.

The European Union had blocked 300 billion euros ($326.73 billion) of the Russian central bank’s reserves in November to punish Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine. ($1 = 0.9182 euros)

12:01 a.m.: Reuters reported that the top Moscow-installed official in the occupied parts of the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine said late on Sunday that he had visited the town of Soledar that Russia claimed to have captured earlier this month.

Denis Pushilin, the administrator, published a short video on the Telegram messaging app that showed him driving and walking amidst uninhabited areas and destroyed buildings.

“I visited Soledar today,” Pushilin said in an accompanying statement.

Reuters was not able to independently verify when and where the video was taken.

On January 11, the private Russian military group Wagner said it had captured Soledar and Russian-installed authorities in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region said last week they were in control of the salt-mining town.

Ukraine has never publicly said that the town was taken by Russian forces. On Sunday, the general staff of its armed forces said in a daily update that Russian forces had fired on Ukrainian positions in the area.

In his statement, Pushilin said the Soledar mines were damaged and “difficult” to descend into.

The town, together with the city of Bakhmut just to its northeast, has been the focus of intense fighting for months, with Russian proxy forces claiming last week that they had also captured Klishchiivka, a small village near Bakhmut.

The so-called Donetsk People’s Republic is one of the four regions in Ukraine that Moscow proclaimed as its own in September in an exercise Ukraine and its allies called a “sham,” coercive referendum.

Some information in this report came from Reuters.

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