Today is the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s vote to
regain retain its independence. The vote was not close.
31 years ago today, Ukraine voted to renew its independence. A landslide majority of voters (90.32%) voted Yes.
This is how our centuries-old nation finally got a chance to regain its statehood.
This is how modern Ukraine was born.
It’s our solemn duty to protect it. pic.twitter.com/p4UaXxdCYM
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) December 1, 2022
Here is President Zelenskyy’s Independence Day anniversary address from earlier today. Video below, English transcript after the jump:
Free people of the indomitable country!
Every year on December 1, we recall an event that defined history. An event that said a lot about all of us, about Ukrainians. About who we are. And about who we will never become.
On December 1, 31 years ago, a referendum was held that united the entire territory of our state. None of our people remained outside the All-Ukrainian decision. Kyiv and Sevastopol, Odesa and Crimea, Lviv and Cherkasy, Chernihiv and Kharkiv, Donetsk and Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Luhansk, Khmelnytskyi and Kirovohrad regions, Volyn and Dnipropetrovsk regions, Sumy and Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil, Zhytomyr region and Chernivtsi, Vinnytsia, Kyiv region, Mykolaiv, Poltava, Rivne… Everyone expressed their support.
People confirmed the Act of Proclamation of Independence of Ukraine – freely and legally. It was a real referendum, not some kind of imitation. It was an honest referendum, and that is why it was recognized by the world.
And it was important that not just politicians, but people in particular put an end to the history of the empire, which was built on denying the will of the people. Which killed, trying to perpetuate the denial of the will of the people, but which was overthrown by people anyway. And precisely by their own will.
Since that day in 1991, Ukrainians have experienced many attempts to turn a dot into three dots or a semicolon. We saw many figures who could not put up with the fact that the empire had been overthrown.
We are still defending Ukraine against such “comrades” who wanted to celebrate the centenary of the empire this year instead of another anniversary of freedom. They wanted…
But Ukrainian rules will prevail.
Our desire to live freely expressed on August 24 and confirmed on December 1 will not be broken. Ukrainians will never again be gears of some empires. We have already gained it and we will ensure the full independence of our state.
We will ensure, in particular, spiritual independence. We will never allow anyone to build an empire inside the Ukrainian soul.
A meeting of the National Security and Defense Council was held today. The meeting at which we considered numerous facts of connections of certain religious circles in Ukraine with the aggressor state.
Unfortunately, even Russian terror and full-scale war did not convince some figures that it is worth overcoming the temptation of evil. Well, we have to create conditions where no actors dependent on the aggressor state will have an opportunity to manipulate Ukrainians and weaken Ukraine from within.
So, first. The National Security and Defense Council instructed the Government to submit to the Verkhovna Rada a draft law on making it impossible for religious organizations affiliated with centers of influence in the Russian Federation to operate in Ukraine.
Second. The State Service for Ethnopolitics and Freedom of Conscience was commissioned to ensure the religious examination of the Management Statute of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church for the presence of a church-canonical connection with the Moscow Patriarchate and, if necessary, to take measures provided for by law.
Third. Ensure the verification of the presence of legal grounds and compliance with the conditions of use by religious organizations of the property located on the territory of the National Kyiv-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Reserve.
Fourth. All bodies responsible for ensuring national security must intensify measures to identify and counter the subversive activities of Russian special services in the religious environment of Ukraine. And apply personal sanctions – the surnames will be made public soon.
And fifth. We need to raise the status and strengthen the capabilities of the State Service for Ethnopolitics and Freedom of Conscience. This structure will be reformed, which will enable it to really protect the rights and legitimate interests of the Ukrainians and the state.
With these and other decisions, we guarantee Ukraine’s spiritual independence.
I would like to emphasize: in 1991, our state embarked on the legal and democratic path. We will continue this path. Only legal steps. Balanced decisions. And national interests.
Today, we continued to work on the implementation of the Ukrainian Peace Formula, which I presented at the G19 summit, in particular its clause on food security. To this end, I spoke with the President of Senegal and the Chairperson of the African Union.
About our Grain From Ukraine initiative. This is an initiative that really brings stability and predictability back to the world. And also about the way we can involve African countries in restoring the strength of international law and guaranteeing the completeness of global security.
And one more thing. Today, another 50 Ukrainians were brought home from Russian captivity. Four officers, 46 sergeants and privates. Army, territorial defense, national guards, Navy and border guards. I thank our entire team, which works for the liberation of Ukrainians. Budanov, Yermak, Usov, Malyuk, Lubinets. Well done. I am grateful to everyone who helps!
In total, since February 24, more than 1,300 Ukrainians have already been returned from Russian captivity. We will bring back all the rest! All of Ukraine will be free. All Ukrainians will be at home.
Glory to all who fight for our country!
Glory to all who work to protect Ukraine!
Eternal memory to all those who gave their lives for independence!
Glory to Ukraine!
Kyiv's Maidan, 9 years ago today. Ukrainians then and now fighting for a democratic future free of Russia's influence and oppression. https://t.co/UIPOWYQ6Ec
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) December 1, 2022
Here is the British MOD’s most recent assessment:
Speaking of missiles, here’s the BBC reporting on what the Russian’s are firing at the Ukrainians:
Russia is now using nuclear-capable missiles with non-explosive warheads to exhaust Ukraine’s air defences, the Ukrainian military has said.
It displayed what it said were fragments of Soviet-made X-55 cruise missiles – designed for nuclear use – found in Ukraine’s two western regions.
The rockets are being launched to “exhaust the air-defence system of our country,” a Ukrainian official said.
He said tests on the fragments did not show abnormal levels of radioactivity.
Ukrainian military experts say Russia may have significantly depleted its vast missile arsenal after carrying out wave after wave of massive strikes on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure in recent weeks.
Moscow is now resorting to using blunt projectiles that still cause devastation, they say. A UK intelligence report in November came to similar conclusions.
Russia – which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February – has made no public comments on the issue.
At a briefing on Thursday in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, military official Mykola Danyliuk showed reporters what he described as fragments of X-55 cruise missiles (known as AS-15 by Nato) found in the Lviv and Khmelnytsky regions.
He said the projectiles were designed in Soviet times to hit “strategic targets with predetermined co-ordinates”.
The UK said the missiles were designed “exclusively as a nuclear delivery system”.
However, it is believed the Russian military removed the nuclear warheads from the missiles fired at Ukraine and replaced them with an inert system.
Mr Danyliuk stressed that even a missile armed with a non-explosive warhead “posed a significant danger” because of its kinetic energy and fuel residues.
“This is evidenced by the latest strike when a X-55 missile hit a residential building.”
Testing indicated “no contact [of the missile] with nuclear elements”, he added.
More at the link!
Here is former NAVDEVGRU Squadron Leader Chuck Pfarrer’s most recent assessments of the situations in Bakhmut and Kherson:
BAKHMUT AXIS/2200 UTC 1 DEC/ RU forces occupy a W bank lodgment of the Bakhmutka River south of Ivanhard. RU attempts to supply materiel and reinforcements across the T-05-13 HWY are made costly by UKR artillery and aviation strike missions. RU piecemeal attacks continue. pic.twitter.com/FrriiJIQ0B
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) December 1, 2022
KHERSON AXIS/ 2345 UTC 1 DEC/ UKR official sources report that some component units of the RU 429th Motorized Rifle Regiment and the 141st Guards Tank Battalion appear to be repositioning south from Mykhailivka, Polohy and Inzhenerne in the Zaporizhzhia region. Developing. pic.twitter.com/58kdibXXXx
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) December 1, 2022
CNN reports that the US is considering increasing its training program for Ukrainian military personnel:
The Biden administration is considering a dramatic expansion in the training the US military provides to Ukrainian forces, including instructing as many as 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers a month at a US base in Germany, according to multiple US officials.
If adopted, the proposal would mark a significant increase not just in the number of Ukrainians the US trains but also in the type of training they receive. Since the start of the conflict in February, the US has trained only a few thousand Ukrainian soldiers, mostly in small groups, on specific weapons systems.
Under the new program, the US would begin training much larger groups of Ukrainian soldiers in more sophisticated battlefield tactics, including how to coordinate infantry maneuvers with artillery support – “much more intense and comprehensive” training than Ukraine has been receiving in Poland or the UK, according to one source briefed on the proposal.
The proposal, which was made at the behest of Ukraine, is still under interagency review by the administration. News of its existence comes more than nine months into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and as the onset of winter is expected to slow military operations.
A senior Biden administration official declined to comment on the specifics of the planning, telling CNN that “we won’t get ahead of decisions that haven’t been made, but we are constantly looking for ways to make sure the Ukrainians have the skills they need to succeed on the battlefield as Ukraine defends their territory from Russian aggressionHow decisive so-called “combined arms training” is likely to be on the battlefield remains an open question because the conflict has primarily been fought as a grinding war of attrition between two artillery armies, said Mike Kofman, an expert on the Russian and Ukrainian militaries at the Center for Naval Analyses.
“It’s a good idea because they [Ukraine] need all the training they can get,” Kofman said. But the primary variable on the battlefield right now is the availability of ammunition on both sides, he said. “The Ukrainians aren’t going to be as effective at combined arms maneuvers if they don’t have enough artillery ammunition.”
US European Command declined to comment.
US officials tell CNN the colder weather and subsequent lull in fighting could offer a window to carry out a more robust training regimen, with Ukrainian forces split between the requirement for training outside the country and the need for manpower on the front lines. But those lines have stabilized to some extent, providing a potential opportunity for Ukraine to send out soldiers for the training to begin.
Much more at the link.
Foreign Affairs has an interesting analytical column on long wars. Here’s a sample:When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, few observers imagined that the war would still be raging today. Russian planners did not account for the stern resistance of Ukrainian forces, the enthusiastic support Ukraine would receive from Europe and North America, or the various shortcomings of their own military. Both sides are now dug in, and the fighting could carry on for months, if not years.
Many wars, of course, do last longer. Compromise fails to materialize for three main strategic reasons: when leaders think defeat threatens their very survival, when leaders do not have a clear sense of their strength and that of their enemy, and when leaders fear that their adversary will grow stronger in the future. In Ukraine, all these dynamics keep the war raging.
WHY SOME WARS DON’T END
Wars begin and persist when leaders think they can secure a better outcome by fighting rather than through normal politics. Countries fight long wars for at least three calculated reasons. First, rulers who fear for their survival stay on the battlefield. If Putin believes defeat could end his regime, he has an incentive to keep fighting, whatever the consequences for Russians.
Second, wars persist in conditions of uncertainty—for instance, when both sides have only a fuzzy sense of their relative strength or when they underestimate the damaging consequences of the conflict. In many cases, a few months of battle dispel this fog. Fighting reveals each side’s might and resolve and clears up misperceptions. Rivals find a way to end the war by reaching an agreement that reflects the now visible balance of power. Most wars, as a result, are short.
But in some cases, the fog of war lifts slowly. Take the current situation in Ukraine. Ukrainian forces have exceeded everyone’s expectations, but it remains unclear whether they can drive Russian troops out of the country. A cold winter could erode Europe’s willingness to keep delivering funds and weapons to Ukraine. And the battlefield effects of Russia’s partial mobilization in September will only be apparent months from now. Amid such persistent uncertainties, rivals can find it harder to strike a peace deal.
Finally, some political scientists and historians argue that every long war has at its heart a “commitment problem”—that is, the inability on the part of one side or both to credibly commit to a peace deal because of anticipated shifts in the balance of power. Some call this the Thucydides Trap or a “preventive war”: one side launches an attack to lock in the current balance of power before it is lost. From Germany’s effort to prevent the rise of Russia in 1914 to the United States’ desire to stop Iraq from becoming a nuclear power in 2003, commitment problems drive many major wars. In those circumstances, bargains can unravel before they are even made.
Click across and read the rest.
Every day, Ukraine is expecting another massive missile attack on our cities and villages.
Thank you to our Norwegian partners for making the lives of our citizens much, much safer.
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) December 1, 2022
That’s enough for tonight.
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