(Image by NEIVANMADE)
Here is President Zelenskyy’s address to Westminster from earlier today. Video below, English transcript after the jump:
The people of the United Kingdom and their honorable representatives!
All the people of England and Scotland, of Wales and Northern Ireland!
Of all the lands which have been home to brave souls since Europe came into existence!
I have come here and stand before you on behalf of the Brave. On behalf of our warriors who are now in the trenches under enemy artillery fire. On behalf of our air gunners and every defender of the sky who protects Ukraine against enemy aircrafts and missiles. On behalf of our tank-men who fight to restore our Ukrainian border. On behalf of our conscripts who are being trained now, including here in Britain. Thank you, Britain! And who will be then deployed to the frontline – skilled, equipped and eager to win.
On behalf of every father and every mother who are waiting for their brave sons and brave daughters back home from the war.
You may well remember as roughly more than two years ago we met with you here in the Parliament. It was a great honor for me. We enjoyed tea, we talked a lot about our people, our countries, the British and Ukrainian political traditions.
Mister Prime Minister! Rishi!
When we had our meeting earlier today, I said to you I would tell a story in my address to the Parliament. A story about my feelings on my first visit to London as president in autumn 2020.
The programme was packed. Royal Highnesses William and Catherine. Buckingham Palace. The aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy. Westminster. Downing Street. And, of course, the War Rooms.
There is an armchair in the war room. The famous Churchill’s armchair. A guide smiled and offered me to sit down on the armchair from which war orders had been given. He asked me – how did I feel? And I said that I certainly felt something.
But it is only now that I know what the feeling was. And all Ukrainians know it perfectly well, too. It is the feeling of how bravery takes-you-through the most unimaginable hardships – to finally reward you with Victory.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
I thank you for your bravery. Thank you very much from all of us! This applause is for you!
London has stood with Kyiv since day one. From the first seconds and minutes of the full scale war.
Great Britain, you extended your helping-hand when the world had not yet come to understand how to react. Boris, you got others united when it seemed absolutely impossible. Thank you!
You all showed your grit and character back then. Strong British character.
You didn’t compromise Ukraine. And hence you didn’t compromise your ideals. And thus you didn’t compromise the spirit of these great Islands. Thank you very much!
Our countries knew different times. Our nations defended freedom in the Second World War. The iron curtain divided us. Our people went through crises and growth, inflation, and periods of social losses and social gains.
It was tough but we always found strength and stamina to move ahead and achieve results.
This is the bedrock of our and your traditions.
Ukrainians and Brits defeated the fear of war and had the time to enjoy peace.
No matter what we encountered on different stages of our and your formidable history, you and us and the whole mankind achieved similar result – evil lost.
We will always come out on top of evil. This lies at the core of our – but also your – traditions.
However, the horizon never stays clear for a while. Once the old evil is defeated, the new one is attempting to rise its head.
Do you have a feeling that the evil will crumble once again? I can see it in your eyes now. We think the same way as you do. We know freedom will win. We know Russia will lose. We know the Victory will change the world! And this will be a change that the world has long needed.
The United Kingdom is marching with us towards the most important victory of our lifetime. It will be a victory over the very idea of the war.
After we win together, any aggressor – big or small – will know what awaits him if he attacks international order.
Any aggressor who will try to push the boundaries by force. Who will inflict destruction and death on other peoples. Who will try to endure his dictatorship at the expense of other people’s blood in criminal and unprovoked wars, as the Kremlin does. Any aggressor is going to lose.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
We have already achieved remarkable results. And we must make every effort to turn our achievements into the foundations of the future global security architecture.
The world needs your leadership, Britain, just as it needs Ukrainian bravery.
When the full-scale invasion began, we, together with you and the US and other allies, formed a true coalition of friends. This is very important.
You were among those very few who had helped before the large-scale invasion began – exactly as it will be necessary every time in the future to prevent aggression from happening.
Your help was preventive.
We must take these principles of preventive aid to those, who are threatened with aggression, and preventive sanctions – against those, who threaten aggression – as basic principles of the world anti-war policy.
We created a coalition of NLAW and Javelin that stopped the advance of the Russian army from the first day of the invasion.
We built a coalition of artillery rounds and a coalition of air defense, which allow us to save the lives of civilians, our women, children and elderly, in our cities from Russian atrocious occupation and missile terror.
We put together a powerful sanctions coalition. Your leadership in protecting international legal order through sanctions against a terrorist state – cannot be questioned. And we have to steadily continue along this way until Russia is deprived of any possibility to finance the war.
Most importantly, together with the G7 we brought about a coalition of values. A coalition that protects the rule-based world order and human rights.
A coalition that will work in such a way, that over time there will simply be no gray areas in the world in which human life does not matter.
In order for it to be so, there must be justice. Anyone who invests in terror must be held accountable. Anyone who invests in violence must compensate those who have suffered from terror, aggression or other forms of state violence.
Our proposals for the creation of a Special Tribunal for the crime of Russian aggression against Ukraine and a Special Compensation Mechanism, which will compensate war losses at the expense of Russian assets, are based on such principles.
Justice is one of the ten elements of the Peace Formula proposed by Ukraine and supported by Britain. I thank you for your readiness to invoke the Formula!
As I already mentioned, Ukrainian soldiers are being trained in Britain. In particular, to operate “Challengers”, your main battle tanks. It’s a tank coalition in action, and I thank you, Rishi, for this powerful defensive step – for tank assistance.
The coalition of long-range missiles is the latest of all. It will allow us to make the evil completely retreat from our country by destroying its hideaways deep in the occupied territories.
And it’s not just about weapons. We proved together that the world truly helps those who are brave in defending freedom. And thus, paves the way for a new history. A history of a world that knows how to be quick in help. Who knows how to be effective in defense. Who knows how to remain principled in dark hours. Who implements its treaties and arrangements in good faith. Who does not allow perpetrators to enjoy impunity. Who knows how to overcome veto when it is abused. Who knows no fear. And who knows how to win.
This shall be the new reality of the free world! I’m sure of that.
However, evil is still around today and the battle continues. Yes, we know how it is going to end and how we are going to feel on the day victory comes.
Everyday we continue to pay with lives, pain and tears for bringing the victory closer. With the lives of our heroes, whom we lose in battles. With the lives of our heroes who take life and death risks every day to save as many of our soldiers and civilians as possible.
Today, I will have the honor to be received by His Majesty the King. It will be a truly special moment for me. In particular, because I will convey to him from all the Ukrainians the words of gratitude for the support His Majesty showed to them when he was still the Prince of Wales.
I also intend to tell him something that is very important not only for the future of Ukraine but also for the future of Europe. In Britain, the King is an air force pilot. And in Ukraine today, every air force pilot is the king for us, for our families.
Because they are so few, they are so precious that we, the servants of our kings, do everything possible and impossible to make the world provide us with modern planes to empower and protect pilots who will be protecting us.
I am proud of our air force. And I brought a present from them to you, Great Britain. Open, please. I will explain. It’s the helmet of a real Ukrainian pilot. He is one of our most successful aces. He is one of our kings. And the writing on the helmet reads: “We have freedom. Give us wings to protect it.”
I trust this symbol will help us form our next coalition – coalition of the planes.
I appeal to you and the world with simple and yet most important words: Combat aircrafts – for Ukraine! Wings – for freedom!
You and us both struggle for peace, but instead we are forced to face the rage that seeks to deprive us of peace and everything else that is valuable in life.
Unfortunately, it is in human nature to allow evil mature. It then stands up against humanity. It then destroys and kills. It launches aggressions and breaks people’s lives.
You and us have already fought together against such evil. You and us already have the experience of defeating the evil that is generated by human nature.
I am not saying there will be no more wars after this war ends. It is impossible to completely erase evil from human nature. Yet, it is in our power to guarantee with words and deeds that the light side of human nature will prevail. The side you and us share. And this stands above anything else.
Thank you for your attention! Thank you for your support!
Leaving the British Parliament two years ago, I thanked you for delicious English tea. I will be leaving the parliament today thanking all of you in advance – for powerful English planes.
By the way, it’s almost five o’clock.
God bless Great Britain and long live the King!
And here’s his press conference with Prime Minister Sunak. Video below, English transcript after it:
Ukraine and the United Kingdom are becoming true allies, as enshrined in the Declaration of Unity signed today. This was stated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a meeting with media representatives following the negotiations with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the Bovington Camp military base.
As noted by the Head of State, the negotiations with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom began in London with defense issues. The President’s address to British parliamentarians was also devoted to this topic. The visit to the United Kingdom is ending with defense issues as well – at the military base where Ukrainian soldiers are training.
“We have a powerful defense package from the UK. We have agreed on a significant number of armored vehicles, the supply of long-range weapons, and also we have agreed to start training Ukrainian pilots. I believe that this is our clear signal – of Ukraine and the United Kingdom – that together we are not just going, but will go all the way to our common victory,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
The Head of State emphasized that this visit to the United Kingdom has been extremely productive.
“I am thankful to Prime Minister Sunak for understanding our needs, for his good pieces of advice and for the decisions that will help Ukrainian warriors become even stronger. I thank His Majesty the King for today’s meeting, for our conversation. I thank all the members of the British Parliament who made it absolutely clear during my address that Britain will never compromise its brave spirit. And I thank each and everyone in the United Kingdom who was on the streets of London today – we saw it all – with Ukrainian flags and who paid attention to our visit,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
As the President emphasized, it is now clear that Ukraine and the UK are becoming true allies.
“We signed a Declaration of Unity with Mr. Prime Minister, a document that sets out the principles of our cooperation and mutual support. Allied cooperation and mutual support. This is a new level of relations,” the Head of State said.
According to him, the parties also noted the achieved level of security, sanctions, political and economic cooperation, and determined how to further strengthen the positions of the two countries. Cooperation on international platforms was also discussed.
“I would like to thank you personally, Rishi, and the whole of Britain for the willingness to work together with us to fully implement the Ukrainian Peace Formula. And it is here that I want to say to all our warriors, every Ukrainian soldier, sergeant, officer and general: the state is doing and will do everything to ensure that our defenders on the frontline have maximum capabilities. The maximum that the world’s leading countries have today. Ukraine will be among those who have everything they need to protect our people and our independence,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized.
For his part, Rishi Sunak noted that it was a great privilege for him to be in this place with the President of Ukraine.
“The path of Britain and Ukraine is clearly defined as 10,000 warriors are already training here in the UK. And there will be even more. Thousands of soldiers are now learning to operate Challenger tanks, and they are confident that they will soon be able to prove themselves on the battlefield in Ukraine,” the British Prime Minister emphasized.
According to him, today’s visit of the Ukrainian President to the United Kingdom once again underscores close friendly relations between the two countries.
“We will invariably stand by your side. We are familiar with the Ukrainian spirit and desire to defeat tyranny. That is why we are training and preparing Ukrainian troops so that they can fight back,” the British Prime Minister said.
Rishi Sunak also emphasized that the UK is accelerating the supply of various types of weapons to Ukraine.
“In particular, when we talk about Challenger tanks, they are needed next month already to defend Ukraine,” he said.
The Prime Minister emphasized that the Declaration of Unity has been signed to cement long-term cooperation between the two countries.
According to him, on the eve of the anniversary of the full-scale invasion, Russia should see that its aggression has only strengthened cooperation between democratic countries and convinced them to move faster in helping Ukraine.
a truly historic moment as @ZelenskyyUa addresses Westminster Hall pic.twitter.com/gVPKUmtpdg
— Jim Pickard (@PickardJE) February 8, 2023
And an alternative version courtesy of Bill Arnold in last night’s comments.
A truly historic moment as @ZelenskyyUa, riding a Giant Military Cat,
addresses Westminster Hall. pic.twitter.com/ejFzAJJmgE
— Giant Military Cats (@giantcat9) February 8, 2023
Ближні бої на околицях Бахмута 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/0N7SIeBsiq
— Мисливець за зорями (@small10space) February 7, 2023
I embedded with UA Special Forces fighting in Bakhmut. This is the story of life & death on the frontlines of the war's most intense battle. In it, you see both the determination of #Ukraine 🇺🇦 & the cost of #Russia|n🇷🇺 imperialism. My latest for Unherd.https://t.co/plNO2x31p8
— David Patrikarakos (@dpatrikarakos) February 6, 2023
“The objective for today is to come back alive.” Yevgeny is a young commando from the “Mad Pack”, a special forces unit that has been fighting in Bakhmut since November. His words are familiar — lacquered with that mix of emotions common to almost all soldiers fighting on the frontlines of war: laughter and unease. We clamber into a Land Cruiser and head toward the city. “The situation is always changing,” he continues. “But one thing remains the same: the line of contact is always active.”
Even by the standards of eastern Ukraine, Bakhmut is a hellscape of destruction. Electricity has been out since August and water since October. Rows of uniform Soviet-style buildings now resemble a series of ragged molars, mottled by shells and blackened with soot.
The streets of this city that once had a population of 70,000 are almost empty of civilians, save for the odd elderly man or woman who ambles past amid the constant drum of nearby shelling. Everywhere I look I see soldiers: standing guard, advancing forwards, taking cover, congregating in doorways and behind walls, and almost always smoking. Our first port of call is a mosque. A small squat rectangular box that could be a normal house save for a small golden dome on its roof. Kazbek, a Chechen soldier fighting for Ukraine, who is our guide with Yevgeny, gets out of the car and goes to pray, bowing to Mecca as shells explode around us.
If you want to discover the madness of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, come to Bakhmut. The battle for the city is now the longest of the war. Russia launched a large offensive to try to take it in July 2022 after it took Severodonetsk, the final major city of the Luhansk region. The truth is Russian troops are dying in their thousands here — and possibly for nothing. The UK Ministry of Defence has outlined Bakhmut’s “limited operational value”: the city’s fall would be useful, but by no means decisive, in helping Russia press further through the Donbas. The fight, therefore, has become almost symbolic. “Bakhmut holds” is now a rallying cry for Ukrainians.
Shelling is a constant refrain in Bakhmut. But this close it’s different. Shells whistle around me, deep throaty roars that crescendo to a colossal bang as they strike home. “Now the Russians are attacking Ukrainian positions from three sides,” says Kazbek by way of explanation. We climb back into the Land Cruiser and drive into what appears to be a fenced-off wasteland right by the line of contact. On a wall some graffiti reads, “the republic of Ichkeria [Chechnya] will be free. Russians will be dead.” A lone cyclist comes into view. “Stupid,” says Yevgeny.
We drive out into what is left of the main road, until we stop by the city’s monument of a MIG 17 fighter jet. “This used to be a famous Instagram spot,” says my photographer Nata. I recently sprained my ankle so I am hobbling slightly, though my support boot means I can walk almost normally. I pose by the plane, resting gingerly on my foot. Kazbek laughs. I remember his words when we met: “I’ve never seen anyone come to the front with a crutch before.
Eventually, Kazbek decides it’s time to return to base. “There are,” he excitedly explains, “two roads to get out. The one that is constantly shelled much more interesting, so let’s take that!” Nata looks less than impressed. As we drive down the road, I see holes carved out by shells and burned-out vehicles. War zones can assume many shapes: sometimes they’re cratered and grey like the surface of the moon; other times they are just a mesh of urban destruction. Bakhmut resembles the bottom of the ocean, the tangled vehicles like metal crustaceans hugging the seabed, silent witnesses to it all.
The Mad Pack live in a base swaddled in concrete where they spend most of their lives underground to avoid the shelling. It’s a no-frills affair. My bed is a door laid on the concrete floor with a sleeping bag on it, while Nata sleeps on a plastic waterbed to my right. We are divided by a anti-tank Javelin case. In the corner of the room stands one of the many NLAWs that Britain has delivered to Ukraine. “God bless the United Kingdom; God bless Boris Johnson!” says Kazbek to me as we pose with one.
The night before we entered Bakhmut, I met “Ivan”, the unit’s commander, whose call sign is Coyote. We were in an underground room amid piles of cardboard boxes, a mound of firewood, a wooden stove of the kind you see everywhere on the front in Ukraine and, the focal point of the room, a chess set that the soldiers take turns to use. Coyote is 34 and has been fighting since the war began in 2014. His unit is Special Forces, he says. He can’t give me details about their operations, but he has two units on rotation. His main tasks are planning and special ops — taking the fight to the enemy.
Bakhmut is important to Russia because of Putin’s “populist needs”, he says. “Since February 24, the Russians have had few victories and many defeats. They need this victory; the city is close to the border and to their logistics. They cannot attack Kherson [in the south] because of the river, and in other territories on the front lines they have supply problems. Bakhmut is the only spot where theoretically they can win. But if we were to lose Bakhmut, then speaking without emotion, it would not be a strategic defeat, we’d just lose a town. But in the meantime, we tie up a large force of Russians so they cannot proceed in other areas. We buy time for other Ukrainian forces.”
The situation is difficult, he admits, but controlled. The Ukrainians have suffered significant losses, as have the enemy. “They are going building-by-building. They are trying to encircle us; they keep trying again and again.”
The Russian tactics are based on what I hear described as “meat waves” of soldiers, usually conscripts or prisoners fighting for the Wagner mercenary group who are promised a pardon in the unlikely event they survive more than six months here. The Ukrainians often wipe them out. But more always come. It’s the downside of fighting an enemy with a population three times the size and little regard for the lives of its citizens. “The waves can unnerve the new guys,” says Coyote. “They destroy the first one and then more keep coming; they start to think it will never end. The experienced guys just swap their rifle for a machine gun and it’s all good!”
But the fight is tough. Russian forces have now secured northern access to the city and also recently made a breakthrough on the south towards the centre. They have surrounded the town and have fire control of the only road out. Coyote, though, remains bullish. From November to the beginning of January, the Ukrainians lost about 10 positions; since then, they have lost only four. “The artillery and drones are working,” he says. I ask him about their use of drones, the biggest change in the war since I was here last in the spring. Coyote smiles, gets up and returns, grinning even more, with a small blue object — a six-inch rocket with three fins topped with a golden dome. “We make it on a 3D printer. It costs about $30,” he tells me with pride. “We fill it with explosives, and then put it in one of our drones… and drop.”
One of the other officers, who gave his name as his call sign “Barman”, explains their importance. “A while ago we used big, expensive tactical drones, made especially for the military,” he tells me. “But now, small and medium-sized civilian drones are becoming separate military units because they can cause great damage to the enemy.”
He continues. “It used to take months, sometimes years, to train people to go into enemy territory and send in the coordinates for the artillery to fire. Now, one civilian drone can do it. It saves lives and even if it gets destroyed you can buy a new one cheaply. We have learned how to attach small grenades and bombs to them. Now we can send up a small $3,000 Mavik 3 with a grenade — and if you drop it perfectly on a T-90 you can take out a tank that costs millions.” His words bring home a truth that has gradually dawned on me over the past few years. Talk of future war tends to be dominated by AI and visions of marauding robot soldiers, but what I see here is something different: the weaponisation of the quotidian. Cheap drones you can buy online, and plastic projectiles you can knock out on a printer in your living room, are now affecting the balance of power in conflict.
Coyote gives me his final assessment. “I think the battle will continue for about one or two months unless there is a major encirclement or something unexpected happens — it will go street by street; the artillery will slowly destroy all the tall buildings and it will [descend to] urban warfare. It will crawl to an end.” As we finish, I ask him what he would say to Putin if he were here now. “One second,” he says and gets up. He returns with a pistol and pulls the trigger. Its click reverberates around the room. “I’d say nothing — just kill him.”
Later, Coyote is in a playful mood. “What we sometimes also do,” he tells me, “is drop dildos from the drones, just to show them the contempt we have for them. Also, it’s a taste of what’s coming to them — how we’re going to fuck them.” I ask what happens if they hit a Russian soldier on the head. Everyone laughs. Coyote, still looking mischievous, describes how they sometimes find lists of “heroic deaths” written on the walls of Russian positions they capture. “You know, they have a photo of the guy and under it ‘Vlad was killed by a Bayraktar’ and so on…. Imagine: ‘Here lies Sergei — he was killed by a massive cock.’”
Much, much, much more at the link!
Ukrainska Pravda has the details on some of the replacements for the oblast governors removed during the ongoing anti-corruption process:
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed decrees appointing heads of Oblast Military Administrations in Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk oblasts.
Source: decrees on the President’s website
Details: Serhiy Lysak became the new chairman of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.
Zaporizhzhia Oblast Military Administration is now headed by Yuriy Malashko, and Oleksandr Prokudin will chair the Kherson Oblast Military Administration.
For reference: Serhiy Lysak is an employee of the Security Service of Ukraine. In 2020-2023, he headed the SSU Department in Zhytomyr Oblast. On 19 July 2022, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appointed Lysak to the position of chairman of the SSU in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.
Yuriy Malashko is the Acting Head of anti-terrorist Center under the Security Service of Ukraine.
According to data from open sources, Oleksandr Prokudin is a native of Mykolaiv. Since 2000, he has worked in the Internal Affairs’ bodies. From 2019 to February 2022, he was the head of the Main Directorate of the National Police of Kherson Oblast. Prokudin was also associated with entrepreneur Ihor Kolykhaiev, the current mayor of Kherson.
Background: On 24 January, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed the heads of Kherson, Sumy, Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Military Administrations.
The heads of the Kyiv and Sumy Oblast Military Administrations have still not been appointed.
The Financial Times provides analysis on what the US’s and its allies shifting red lines on material support for Ukraine mean and why they keep shifting:
Kyiv’s allies have repeatedly crossed their red lines on weapons deliveries. But nearly a year into the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, concerns in the US and Europe about Russian escalation have not changed substantially and still hang over the next decisions, including whether to send fighter jets.
The US and its partners have committed many of the systems once considered off limits, most recently tanks as well as Himar guided missiles and Patriot missile defence units, among other systems.
There is growing consensus among western officials that time is now on Russia’s side and Ukraine has a narrow window to launch a counteroffensive in the spring, prompting allies to come together quickly to send heavier kit such as tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and longer-range weapons.
Further evidence of the change in thinking came last week, when the US announced it is sending smart bombs known as Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bombs or GLSDBs, the longest-range bombs it has provided to Kyiv.
The constant crossing of self-imposed boundaries reflects Ukraine’s changing battlefield requirements rather than a shift in allies’ assessments of the escalatory threat, according to western officials and analysts.
For their part, US officials say they are constantly re-evaluating support for Ukraine. Missile strikes against critical infrastructure in recent months convinced US and allied officials that it was necessary to send more sophisticated air defence systems, for example.
“The war remains fluid and dynamic, so the nature of our support will continue to adapt as conditions evolve to give Ukraine the training, equipment and capabilities they require to be effective on the battlefield,” said Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh.
Washington’s constant redefinition of which weapons systems would escalate the conflict serves a purpose, some analysts said.
“The administration and European allies believe this approach of incrementalism has been a really effective way to tamp down the risk of escalation and to prevent a direct US-Russia military confrontation,” said Andrea Kendall-Taylor, director of transatlantic security at Washington think-tank Center for New American Security. “In many ways it’s like the frog in a boiling pot of water.”
However, the shifting red lines do not guarantee that the next big-ticket item sought by Ukraine, F-16 fighter jets, is within reach. US President Joe Biden, asked last week if the US would provide them, simply responded “No”.
While American officials have conceded that they may eventually send fighter jets or permit allies to do so, for now US officials say they are too expensive, not easily available and will take significant time to train Ukrainians to fly.
They could also risk drawing Nato into the conflict, with one US official saying F-16s have “the potential to be provocative because of their range and capability”.
The official added: “Russia’s narrative is that this is a war with the United States. That’s not true and we don’t want to feed into that by giving them things to point at like F-16s that could be used in Russia.”
Ukrainian officials — together with their hawkish allies in eastern Europe — say Russia’s threats, including clear references to use of nuclear weapons, are scare tactics intended to deter Kyiv’s allies from providing advanced weaponry.
More at the link, but it includes a lot of quotes by Samuel Charap, the Rand political scientist who has been publishing and tweeting the same bad analysis that Ukraine should just capitulate to Russian demands because they can’t defend against the re-invasion let alone win. Over and over and over again.
No Ukrianian official I’ve met with in the last 2 weeks said a “huge invasion” is looming in the time period. On the contrary, they don’t see a Russian build-up resembling what we saw a year ago. I spoke just yesterday on the record with GUR’s Skibitskyi who said this explicitly.
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) February 8, 2023
Ain’t that a shame:
Igor Mangushev, the far-right Russian activist seen here making a speech with what he said was the skull of a Ukrainian soldier, has died after being shot in the head from close range, per state media. His wife claims he was murdered or possibly executed.https://t.co/dVyakpuqwD pic.twitter.com/005VzW8ClH
— max seddon (@maxseddon) February 8, 2023
Given what we know about how Mangushev was shot – close range, to the head, 45 degree downward angle – he was definitely murdered and it was definitely an execution. Whether it was a message to Prigozhin or not we won’t know until/unless someone talks.
That’s enough for tonight.
Your daily Patron!
We’ve created the poster of the cartoon with the autographs of the main cast + me&Mykhailo. All the profit will go to my fundraising for the sappers☺️https://t.co/W95N20yT46 pic.twitter.com/NnxH51vF0h
— Patron (@PatronDsns) February 7, 2023
I was on my smart phone, scrolling through the Google News feed, when to my surprise Yahoo News reported that Russia invited Roger Waters to speak at the UN. Ugh, what does that dipshit want to say? THE UKRAINE INVASION IS ILLEGAL !!!
“UNITED NATIONS, Feb 8 (Reuters) – Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters on Wednesday addressed the U.N. Security Council at Russia’s invitation, condemning Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor as illegal – though adding he believed it was provoked – and calling for a ceasefire. …”
(but this link is from Reuters) https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/invited-by-russia-roger-waters-tells-un-ukraine-invasion-illegal-2023-02-08/
Zelenskyy’s speech was once again very moving and so well-crafted. Hitting all the right points for the specific audience (Churchill! The Monarchy! Tea!) I also liked the sort of cleverly presumptuous comments about planes — he knows that’s not a done deal, but he also knows how to politely put people on the spot. Excellent.
(I always like hearing him speak in English too, as I am intrigued by how people with various first languages pronounce certain words in English. Whenever I read the word “missile” now, I hear it in my head the way he says it.)
Oh and if anyone missed it earlier, here is Zelenskyy meeting with the King!
The Kyiv Independent’s next Patreon Q&A will be this Friday with reporter Francis Farrell about civilian life in Bakhmut during the war and his experience reporting from there. The linky if you wanna support them and join in.
Thank you as always, Adam.
@Mallard Filmore: “Provoked” eh? By Ukraine, like…existing? Yes, how dare they.
Waters is a putz.
Gin & Tonic
On that Shashank Joshi tweet: Chris Miller lives in Ukraine; Joshi doesn’t. Miller is a well-informed and well-sourced guy.
Gin & Tonic
@Alison Rose: Keep in mind that English is Zelensky’s third language (at best.)
Starting to see Ukrainian and Russian milbloggers agreeing the Wagner Group is about fought out. One reason is the fact word has spread about how they treat reinforcements and replacements and so the supply is drying up. No point in joining for a pardon in six months when you’ll be dead in six weeks.
Also hearing Prigozhin is losing clout and may have an unfortunate encounter with a window before too long.
Sy Hersh reporting that the USN was responsible for blowing up Nord Stream.
I never know what to make of Sy Hersh reporting. Some has been obviously wrong. Some not. It always passes the sniff test pretty well – if nothing else, he’s good at telling a tight plausible story. It both makes sense and is difficult to take at face value.
Curious what smarter people think. Sorry if I missed it from a prior thread. Baking bread and doing yard work today.
@Gin & Tonic: Ah right, russian and Ukrainian.
Gin & Tonic
@Martin: One anonymous source does not a story make.
@Anoniminous: I don’t know if Prigozhin is losing clout, but if that fucker is the next guest at the defenestration party, I’ll raise a glass to that.
(I don’t drink so it’ll be cranberry juice, but it could appear to be red wine from a distance.)
@Martin: It seems unlikely, as discussed ad nauseam at the time, because the blowback if discovered would far outweigh any advantage from having the pipeline out of service.
@Gin & Tonic: Yeah, that’s why it’s difficult to take at face value. That said, hard to get a lot of sources on these kinds of things.
Maybe it’s my bias toward secretly wanting the button up Norwegians to secretly being global puppet-masters.
When he said, “By the way, it’s almost five o’clock” I assume that means he’s heading to the pub for a pint.
Can’t blame him.
When someone as formerly respected as Sy Hersch goes off the deep end, it makes me wonder about the probity of their earlier work that got them respected in the first place.
It should be noted that Hersch went off the deep end many years ago, when he claimed that the Obama raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound that resulted in bin Laden’s death was one big lie from start to finish (though he did later admit that bin Laden was indeed dead).
Sy Hersh is 85 years old. He did some important work once — during the Vietnam war.
Now, he is simply being exploited as a conduit for misinformation. It’s a bit sad.
Was going to write this very post. It’s really sad how how all those people’s minds are degenerating.
@SpaceUnit: That’s how I took it too. In the vein of “it’s 5:00 somewhere”.
Also, gotta love seeing Boris with that good old intentionally destroyed hair. Always in character, that one.
@CaseyL: Ah, missed that. Well, shame he’s fallen so far. Not the first, won’t be the last to go that route.
Apparently (from a skim) Hersh’s piece is entirely based on an account by single source, “a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning”. The piece does not suggest that “the source” provided any corroborating information.
Can’t help wondering if that greenish-tan shirt is the only one Zelensky now owns. Not that I have any problem with him wearing it to address the US Congress or Westminster. Guess he does it to show solidarity, but also Zelensky looks good in it, it suits him.
Okay, at first I was set to be annoyed when I saw this headline: Even at Buckingham Palace, Zelensky wears his familiar military green. Especially because while that is the headline that appears as you scroll down the war updates page, if you go directly to the link, the headline changes to “Volodymyr Zelensky Meets King Charles III in a Sweatshirt”.
But the piece is thankfully not more “put on a suit!!!!” whining we’ve seen elsewhere.
Coincidentally, it just turned five o’clock here.
@Bill Arnold: So, Hersh has been replaced by ChatGPT?
Re the Hersh story: someone over at Dailykos noted that the account it was posted on was only established this morning, and that this is the only post on it. Might be Hersh losing it, but it might be a Russian troll…
@SpaceUnit: A Mountain Time Zone dweller? I know so few of you!
Fuck Elon Musk.
Oh, now I am tempted to try to coax ChatGPT to write a new conspiracy theory “in the style of Seymour Hersh”.
The obvious joke is that he’s got a closet with 12 identical ones hanging in it. Saves wondering what to wear today.
@Steeplejack: He did an interview a while back in warmer weather, with a German reporter I think, and it came around to the topic of his clothes and that he’d been wearing a t-shirt every day for so long. Zelenskyy nodded but then quickly said with a laugh, “Not the same one! I have more than one!” The guy then asked when he would think about wearing something different, and Zelenskyy said he would change clothes when the war ended. The reporter asked when the war would end. “When I change clothes,” he replied with a smile. It was all quite charming.
I think Zelenskyy’s choice of garb just helps to keep things on point.
Also, they should play Talking Head’s Life During Wartime every time he’s introduced at one of these events. It should be his theme song.
@SpaceUnit: I’m reminded of the comment either by Obama or by someone close to him. He got up in the morning and grabbed the next thing in the closet.
People in positions like that, who take their responsibilities seriously, don’t have the luxury of spending time thinking about what to wear.
Sister Golden Bear
It worked for Steve Jobs…
Adam L Silverman
@Gin & Tonic: That’s why I posted it with the reply.
It sounds like they are trying to block people from using starlink for weapons guidance using real-time visuals and control messages, and maybe more static long-range transmission of images from such weapons. Not saying it’s OK, just that that might be the line that they have drawn. (It’s something that can be done with cell phones, but nowhere near as reliably and easier to block.)
The defensive weapons part sounds odd, though.
(Article read using the Bypass Paywalls plugin.)
And now for something completely different.
Prometheus Ukrainian Male Chorus of Philadelphia sings “Fly Eagles Fly” in Ukrainian.
A touching moment at the Sunak/Zelensky presser.
@Steeplejack: That worked for me when I was in the army.
Gin & Tonic
@HumboldtBlue: Ha! I know about a third of those guys.
@Gin & Tonic:
@HumboldtBlue: He’s one of very few men who could do that without seeming creepy in the slightest.
@sanjeevs: i certainly hope the Pentagon was serious about the alternate satellite comms services they were exploring. Starlink is no good if they can’t count on it.
@dmsilev: I agree. In the absence of multiple sources, “Cui Bono” (who benefits?) ought to be the controlling framework.
I also admire Hersch for not giving a shit about who likes what he writes, and telling any story he thinks he can back up. But I don’t think he met the standard here.
@Alison Rose: Zelenskyy’s skill with messaging is one of the truly inspiring and remarkable facets of this whole experience.
I am not a “great leaders” guy in general, but I have no doubts whatsoever that the success of Ukraine thus far has hinged in part on that specific skill set by this specific leader, which is perhaps as “great” as leadership comes. And the world is a much, much better place for it.
Thanks for the update, Adam!
Wanted to share with the chat this article on arming Ukraine as a nuclear deterrent that stuck with me:
If you’d rather not click through, the Cliff’s Notes version is a quick analysis of how nuclear threats are used by Russia to constrain action by their opponents, followed by a strategic breakdown of how arming Ukraine now actually makes nuclear war LESS likely with four specific reasons cited, which I’ve copied below. As the saying goes, much more at the link!
Another day, another great speech for President Zelenskyy. Today in Brussels, Mr. Zelenskyy told the EU Parliament that “Europe will always remain free as long as we are together.” The BBC reports he was given a standing ovation.
Later today Zelenskyy will attend a EU meeting concerning further arming his country, with provision of fighter jets a focus.
President flew to Brussels in the company of French President Macron. He, Macron and German Chancellor Scholz held a meeting at the Elysee Palace yesterday.
@Geminid: Sorry, that should be “President Zelenskyy flew to Brussels…”