Russian army launches 'offensive operations' in Zaporizhzhia

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The Russian army said Saturday its troops launched an offensive in Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia region, where fighting this week intensified after several months of an almost frozen front. Earlier in the day, defence ministers of the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania urged Berlin to provide Kyiv with Leopard 2 battle tanks. Read our live blog to see how all the day's events unfolded. All times Paris time (GMT+2).

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6:18pm: Russia's Wagner to send Kyiv bodies of soldiers killed in Soledar

The private Russian military group Wagner plans to send the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers killed in fighting in the captured town of Soledar to territory held by Ukraine, a website linked to the group's founder Yevgeny Prigozhin reported on Saturday.

Wagner said on January 11 it had captured Soledar, and Russian-installed authorities in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region said earlier this week they were in control of the salt-mining town, where intense fighting has taken place.

The RIA FAN website - part of Prigozhin's media holdings - quoted a Wagner commander as saying the mercenary company would send the bodies from Soledar to Ukrainian-held territory in four or five convoys totalling about 20 trucks.

Saturday's report did not say how many bodies would be returned to Ukrainian authorities, but said Ukraine's forces had suffered heavy losses in Soledar.

Another seven people were killed, including one child, in the crash. Officials are still investigating the cause of the crash.

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