Past 24 hours in the war zone Ukraine’s east
- On 30 December, Russian-hybrid forces launched four attacks on Ukrainian positions in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Mariupol sectors, including heavy artillery and weapons banned by the Minsk accords.
- As of 19:30 Dec 29, OSCE’s Special monitoring group recorded 11 violations in Donetsk Oblast and no violations in Luhansk Oblast.
- The negotiators of the Trilateral Contact Group (Ukraine-Russia-OSCE) on Donbas conflict settlement are going to meet on 26 January 2022.
- Biden calls on Putin to de-escalate tensions with Ukraine and warns of decisive action in event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine (the presidents spoke for less than an hour). Biden reportedly called on Putin to de-escalate tensions with Ukraine, warned him of the sanctions “like none he’s ever seen” should Russia escalate.
- The founder of military clubs – Young Guard of Donbas, Spartans – of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” will be tried in Donetsk Oblast. Youngsters from 8-18 were taught separatist ideology and drafted for illegal military service, reports Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine.
- “Yes, there’s a certain increase in the number of [Russian] military. But we’re tracking everything that concerns our border. We are fully aware of what’s going on there. Today, we don’t see any threats of open aggression from the Russian Federation. Whatever happens tomorrow – we’ll discuss it tomorrow. Celebrate safely. We don’t see the direct threat to our state,” said NSDC Secretary Oleksiy Danilov.
- Estonia plans to provide Javelin missiles and howitzers to Ukraine, meanwhile, Estonian President Alar Karis is going to visit Ukraine early next year.
The Ukrainian military to be trained in military colleges in 13 countries next year
Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksiy Reznikov has approved a plan for the education of the Ukrainian military in military educational institutions of foreign countries in 2022.
Russia continues to move troops towards Ukraine border – digital sleuths
Russia continues to send its troops to the border with Ukraine as the earlier discovered camps are growing, new camps are set up, while tanks and howitzers are joined by sophisticated air defense systems, according to the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT), a group of independent Russian investigators.
“As new virtual summits and talks with the US, NATO and OSCE are being announced, Russian forces keep arriving into border regions. Open-source data shows how the earlier discovered camps are growing, new camps are set up, while tanks and howitzers are joined by sophisticated air defense systems,” the CIT article dated 30 December reads.
RFE/RL posted a short video on Ukrainian territorial defense units
By January 15, every Ukrainian city is supposed have a territorial defense unit as fears of a Russian invasio mount. The units are made up of volunteers who train on weekends and who mostly use wooden props instead of real guns. pic.twitter.com/qFmqk86fjc
— Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (@RFERL) December 31, 2021
Erdogan reiterates Türkiye ready to mediate between Ukraine and Russia
The press secretary of President Erdogan of Türkiye said that Ankara is seriously concerned over the tensions between Russia and Ukraine and is ready to play a part in de-escalating the situation. Earlier, the Turkish president offered his mediation several times, however, Türkiye still remains outside any Donbas war settlement framework.
As Euromaidan Press reported earlier, 46% of Ukrainian support engaging Türkiye in Donbas negotiations.
Health of Ukrainian PoW held in occupied Donetsk deteriorated
Ukrainian ombudsperson Lyudmila Denisova wrote on her Telegram channel that Ukrainian prisoner of war Pavlo Korsun illegally held in penal colony 32 in Makiivka, Russian-occupied Donetsk Oblast, has “serious health problems.”
Denisova said that Korsun has the chronic disease of bilateral purulent sinusitis, which at any time can cause inflammation of the meninges and even a brain abscess, as well as become a source of generalized infection. And, according to her, the Ukrainian PoW was also diagnosed with myocarditis and kidney affection. Meanwhile, it’s unknown whether he is receiving the necessary medical care.
Ukrainian firm flight tests drone-based AWACS
Ukraine’s Infozakhyst Research and Production Center test flew the Gekata radio reconnaissance unmanned system for the first time recently, according to the Ukrainian defense news website Defense Express revealed.
The system comprises eight Ukrspecsystems PD-2 drones — four active and four spares — and a ground control station. Each drone carries with it an Infozakhyst radio technical intelligence box suspended with the aircraft’s body tracking “signal pulses from the radar stations, electronic warfare support measures, anti-craft warfare, and airplanes.”
“Ukrainians Set Sights on the New Year, Not a New War” – NYT reportage from Kyiv
“To gauge the mood in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, as Russia has massed tens of thousands of troops near the border and raised the specter of an invasion, look no further than the Dilettante coffee shop. The City Council designated its basement as a bomb shelter, along with 4,928 other underground spaces, including parking garages and subway stations. But at the cafe’s counter, customers have better luck asking for a double espresso than for instructions on using the shelter,” the New York Times’ reportage from Kyiv reads.
How to deal with the Kremlin-created crisis in Europe
A number of Atlantic Council experts, including ex-US ambassadors Michael McFaul, William Taylor, Alexander Vershbow, Kurt Volker, and Steven Pifer have signed a statement in which they urge the West to enhance Ukraine’s military capabilities in order to deter Russia from escalating the ongoing war against Ukraine.[quote]“The most important thing that the West can do now is to enhance the deterrent strength of Ukraine’s armed forces by providing military assistance and equipment on an expedited basis. For the Kremlin, a large invasion of Ukraine works only if Russian forces are able to seize and hold Ukrainian territory without sustaining significant and constant casualties. Western countries should act now to equip Ukraine’s military and territorial defense units with additional capabilities that can impose such costs.”[/quote]
Nord Stream 2 may be blocked due to Russian threats to Ukraine, says German Economy Minister
German Minister of Economy and Climate Protection Robert Habeck said that Russia’s Nord Stream-2 pipeline project could be stopped due to Russian threats to Ukraine.
“Given the situation in eastern Ukraine and the build-up of Russian troops there, we will have to make political decisions on what sanctions can be applied in the event of a new acute conflict,” Habek added.
Ukrainian border guards keep revealing sham Covid certificates
On December 30 alone, Ukrainian border guards seized two counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination certificates during passport control in Kyiv airports, according to the State Border Guard Service’s press office. In total, since the launch of the SafeBorder verification system, border guards have found 803 such counterfeit documents at Boryspil and Zhuliany (Kyiv) airports.
As Euromaidan Press reported earlier, the situation with counterfeit vaccination certificates is so grim in places, that local authorities of Zakarpattia Oblast offer anonymous COVID-19 jabs for fake certificates holders.
Issue of sanctions against Poroshenko not raised at NSDC meeting on Dec 30 – Danilov
The National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine didn’t consider the issue of applying sanctions against the fifth President of Ukraine (2014-2019), leader of the European Solidarity Party Petro Poroshenko, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov said.
The statement was made amid previously announced state treason and aiding terrorism charges against Poroshenko, $10-million fines against Poroshenko-linked companies, and the arrest warrant for the ex-president issued by the Prosecutor General’s office.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has rejected a cassation appeal by pro-Russian blogger Anatoliy Shariy‘s lawyer in a case against Petro Poroshenko. The blogger demanded to refute the ex-president’s words that Shariy was “not a Ukrainian journalist” and “worked for Russia.”
In general, the entourage of fugitive President Yanukovych and the country’s current leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy have filed a large number of lawsuits against Petro Poroshenko and his allies after the post-Maidan president failed to win the 2019 presidential election.
Reflections on the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence
Earlier this year, Ukraine celebrated the 30th anniversary of its independence. In the lead-up to Ukraine marking 30 years of sovereignty on August 24, RFE/RL’s photographer Amos Chapple traveled across the country to ask everyday people what independence means to them. Radio Svoboda has published the thoughts that six people from various parts of Ukraine had shared.
“The struggle for independence touched every family in Ukraine, whether through fighting, or the Holodomor, or Stalin’s repressions… The freedom we have is built from the blood of countless Ukrainians,” said 36-year-old Khrystyna from Lviv.
Euromaidan Press’ top articles of 2021 you shouldn’t miss
We have selected the best articles published on Euromaidan Press in 2021 based either on their viewership or importance. Take a look at our retrospect!
Happy New Year!
Dear readers! Rephrasing a wonderful New Year’s song from our neighbor Georgia, we wish you a Happy New Year. God bless the past year and the new one. Prosperity to you and yours. May your storehouses be filled with corn! May the bird of your dreams flap its wings! May you soon see your loved ones who are far away! See you in 2022!