It’s been a day. So let’s keep this on the shorter side tonight.
Here is President Zelenskyy’s address from earlier today. Video below, English transcript after the jump:
Good health to you, fellow Ukrainians!
Today we have important international results.
Our export grain initiative has been extended. Despite all the difficulties, despite various manipulations by Russia, we will continue to export agricultural products through our Black Sea ports.
This is a very specific thing that makes the world see the importance of Ukraine. Since August 1, more than 450 ships have already left the ports of Great Odesa. The total amount of food is 11 million tons. The geography is very broad: Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Yemen, Lebanon, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Türkiye, as well as the countries of the European Union.
Tens of millions of people, primarily in African countries, have been saved from starvation, in particular by means of deliveries in the framework of the UN World Food Programme from our ports.
We also managed to reduce the pressure on the global food market. And this means that food prices are significantly lower than they would be without our food exports.
We have done everything to expand this work. And I thank all our partners who are helping: the UN and Secretary-General Guterres personally, Türkiye and President Erdoğan personally. Thanks to everyone in our team who is responsible for this direction. This is a truly important result.
Today, a meeting was held in the Office regarding our Grain from Ukraine initiative. We have the consent of such countries as Germany, Poland, Belgium, Japan, Türkiye and the USA to join the work of the initiative. But these are the countries that have already made up their mind. There will be more participating countries.
The meaning is very simple and as specific as possible. All the countries of the world, together with Ukraine, can ensure the supply of food for those in the world who suffer the most from food shortages. We will provide more details on how this will work shortly.
I believe that this Russian aggression should lead the whole world to an obvious conclusion: never again should there be mass famine in the world. If the world works in unity, famine will be defeated.
A very important decision was adopted today in the Netherlands. There is the first sentence for the murderers who destroyed the Malaysian Boeing in the sky over Donbas in 2014. Three men were sentenced to life imprisonment. And the day will surely come when they will begin to serve this punishment.
But this decision is not just about three murderers. Russia lied a lot about this catastrophe, but nevertheless the key facts were established. Now the perpetrators have been convicted and the basis is provided to convict the culprits of a higher level, too. Those who bear full personal responsibility for the crime of aggression against Ukraine – the original crime that gave rise to all the others committed by the Russists since 2014.
This is something without which it is impossible to protect the world from the repetition of such wars as Russian aggression against our state. When all the murderers and torturers are convicted, when their commanders and political “cover” face fair sentences, when Russia compensates for all the damage caused by Russian aggression, it will be a very solid foundation for a lasting peace.
We have all the possibilities to ensure this. Every Russian war crime, every terrorist attack of theirs will receive its legal response. Today’s decision in The Hague proves it.
The elimination of the consequences of another missile attack against Ukraine continues all day…
Again, there are emergency shutdowns in addition to planned, stabilization ones. Currently, more than 10 million Ukrainians are without electricity. Most of them are in the Vinnytsia region, Odesa region, Sumy region and Kyiv. We are doing everything to normalize the supply.
In Dnipro, dozens of people were injured as a result of a missile attack. Everyone is provided with aid.
In Zaporizhzhia, the clearance of the rubble of a residential building, which was destroyed by Russian shelling at night, continues… The list of the dead includes seven people. Unfortunately, this number may increase.
Only in the first half of today, our defense forces managed to shoot down six Russian cruise missiles and five Shaheds. Unfortunately, not all of those launched by terrorists.
We repeat to our partners again and again that only full protection of the Ukrainian sky will protect both Ukraine and Europe from many possible escalations of Russian aggression and will definitely encourage Russia to truly end the war. Not to the kind of propaganda that now sounds from the Kremlin about the alleged readiness for negotiations in order to buy some time and gather forces for a new offensive, but to real peace.
I would like to thank Finland and Sweden today for the decisions regarding the new defense assistance packages. This is very important. Each such decision of the states makes them co-creators of our victory and future peace.
Today I signed several decrees on awarding our warriors. 402 servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were honored with state awards.
In total, since February 24, more than 32,000 Ukrainian men and women have been awarded for bravery in battles. 4950 of them – posthumously.
We must always remember how many people gave their lives to save Ukraine and freedom.
Eternal memory to all those whose lives were taken by Russian aggression!
Glory to all who gain victory for Ukraine!
Gratitude to everyone who helps us and works for the state!
Glory to Ukraine!
Here is former NAVDEVGRU Squadron Leader Chuck Pfarrer’s most recent assessment of the situation in Kherson:
KHERSON AXIS/1510 UTC 17 NOV/ With targeting data provided by UKR Partisans and deeply inserted SOF, UKR conducted a precision strike fire mission on HQ elements of the Russian 58th Combined Arms Army, located in the city of Melitopol. 100 RU casualties reported. pic.twitter.com/uq8w0oY4Da
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) November 17, 2022
The Russians bombarded Ukraine again today:
The city of Dnipro. Ukraine. Today. XXI century.
Terrorists are still not being punished.
We will carry out justice.
We will protect the international order. pic.twitter.com/mLUMtyvfWh
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) November 17, 2022
Excellent job by air defense in Kyiv this morning
— Illia Ponomarenko 🇺🇦 (@IAPonomarenko) November 17, 2022
— (((Tendar))) (@Tendar) November 17, 2022
— (((Tendar))) (@Tendar) November 17, 2022
The last reporting I saw indicates that the Ukrainian position on what landed in Poland is still that Ukraine’s intelligence indicates it was not a Ukrainian air defense interceptor, they have sent specialists to join the Polish investigation, and they will await the findings of the Polish investigation.
Ukraine’s foreign minister says Ukrainian experts are already on the ground in Poland and the two governments “will cooperate constructively and openly on the incident caused by Russian missile terror against Ukraine.” https://t.co/ncbMkTZStY
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) November 17, 2022
President Duda seems to be doing a good job balancing Poland’s domestic concerns and interests with maintaining support for Ukraine:
“It is an extremely difficult situation and it is not a surprise to anyone that there are emotions here," Polish President Duda tells reporters today. "[Zelensky] is going through everything that his nation is going through. It is his nation…for which he feels responsible."
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) November 17, 2022
The Guardian brings us details on the situation in Przewodów:
On Tuesday afternoon, for the first and only time since he moved to Przewodów, a small Polish border village, Father Bogdan Wazny said mass to an empty church.
Barely an hour earlier, a Russian-made missile had flown out of Ukrainian territory, killed two of his parishioners and shattered the illusion that geography and international law would protect the villagers.
“The physical border here also mentally separated us from the war [in Ukraine]. We always felt this way,” Wazny said, the day after the missile landed. “We never felt the danger here.”
Now however, fear, horror and a sudden swarm of police and military kept the faithful at home as news of their personal tragedy began ricocheting around the world, transmuted into a geopolitical crisis.
The nightmare Kyiv and its allies had warned about for months had become a reality: war in Ukraine had spilled over the country’s borders and thrust this sleepy hamlet, just four miles from the border, into the international spotlight.
“We talked about this before, but it never felt like a serious threat,” said Justine Mazurek, who was born in the village 71 years ago. “Of course, I was aware that the war is going on, but I never heard any explosions.”
A day later, she says she can still hardly believe that two men she knew well have been killed by a missile. “People are afraid but still haven’t had enough time to talk to each other, to process it.”
The village is small enough that everyone knew the victims. It has a registered population of 900 but only 600 actually live here – like swathes of eastern Poland, it has lost many of its young people to migration.
“We bumped into each other all the time and now they are no longer here,” Mazurek said, after attending mass where Wazny prayed for the dead – fathers and devout churchgoers who were killed as they worked at a grain sorting centre.
One was married to a woman who worked at the school, so overnight, principal Ewa Byra switched from overseeing education for 71 students to organising psychological support for a traumatised community.
“We [in Przewodów] managed to calm down after 24 February [when Russia invaded Ukraine] despite the fact that we live next door to the war,” Byra said. “The emotions had subsided and we managed to cope. But yesterday’s event awakened those emotions again.”
The school, where a poster reading “safety above all” hangs in the main hall, had already closed for the day when the missile hit, but the next day it stood empty again, with parents too frightened to send their children to classrooms just a few hundred metres from the site of the explosion. “It was too fresh. This is a very hard experience for them,” said Byra.
She has already started connecting children and their parents to psychologists and experts in trauma, who have come from larger cities nearby. “Psychological help began today,” she said, describing an online meeting to connect people with first, basic support.
Byra expects the recovery to be hard for a community now living with the reality that the war has crossed the border once, and may do so again. “We are trying as much as possible to keep life normal – the children’s feelings are the most important thing.”
Much more at the link!
Almost immediately after Russia invaded Ukraine, Israel’s fence-sitting strategy has been a source of tension with the United States. This policy, said to be taken to avoid angering Putin while he wields influence over Israel’s northern border defense, was chosen by former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Then-foreign minister Yair Lapid played the “good cop” by speaking more sympathetically about Ukraine and even daring to criticize Russia’s actions.However, when Lapid became prime minister in July, Israel’s policy remained the same, continuing to refuse to supply any significant military assistance – specifically, anti-missile systems – to the embattled Ukrainians. He resisted private and public entreaties coming from Ukrainian leaders, including its Jewish president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and the news that Russia was using Iranian weaponry and cooperating closely with Israel’s fiercest enemy did not seem to make a difference.
But now, as the Iran-Russia alliance grows stronger, comes the revelation that Israel’s stance may be shifting under increased pressure from the Biden administration.
Yossi Melman reports exclusively that Israel has now agreed to finance unspecified “strategic materials” worth millions of dollars to the Ukrainian war effort, after the U.S. pushed Lapid’s government to ally more closely with NATO and the West. A delicate diplomatic dance is clearly happening behind the scenes, as Israel does its best to shape a policy that will placate Biden without angering Putin.
More at the link.
Britain has sent at least 16,000 artillery rounds to Ukraine since the start of the war.
However, heavy use of these cannons has run down artillery stockpiles in the West. In the summer, Pentagon sources told the Wall Street Journal that US stocks of 155mm had become “uncomfortably low” after it shipped 806,000 rounds to Ukraine. It can take up to 18 months from order to delivery of the munitions, the newspaper reported.
Artillery, especially unguided shells such as the six-inch-thick, waist-high 155mm calibre, has been key to the successes of both Ukrainian and Russian offensives in the war.
BAE Systems declined to comment. A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “The UK has enough weapon systems to defend our national security, while fulfilling our commitments to Nato and Ukraine.”
News of the letter of intent comes as doubts emerge that the UK will stick to former Prime Minister Liz Truss’s pledge to dramatically increase Britain’s spending on defence.
Rishi Sunak refused to commit to a pledge of spending 3pc of national output on defence as he announced a new order for submarine-hunting frigates to add to the Royal Navy.
If anyone was wondering, here is a detailed diagram of how air defense works:
How the missile defense system works. pic.twitter.com/Gv1WOglVtV
— Giant Military Cats (@giantcat9) November 16, 2022
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