This is a digest of the Ukrainian and Ukraine-related news for 1 December. Putin outlines the reason behind his monthly-long troop buildup. Belarus self-proclaimed president Lukashenka openly allies with Putin, recognizing Crimea as Russian. Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs visits North Atlantic Council of NATO foreign ministers in Riga to attain more support. Several thousand rally in Kyiv against possible Kremlin agents in the close Zelenskyy’s circle, including head of his Office Andriy Yermak while Poroshenko’s party outruns Zelenskyy’s according to the poll.
Past 24 hours in the war zone
- Russian-led militants launch 5 attacks on Ukrainian positions in Donetsk, Luhansk & Mariupol sectors, also using heavy artillery and weapons banned by Minsk.
- As of 19:30 Nov 29 28, OSCE SMM recorded 139 violations, including 90 explosions in Donetsk Obl, 163 violations & 109 explosions in Luhansk Obl.
- OSCE SMM observers report the deployment of 40 units of military equipment of Russian armed forces in occupied territories, which is a violation of Minsk.
- 10,000 servicemen from the Southern Military District of the Russian Army transferred to training grounds of southern Russia in preparation for winter military exercises.
- Kharkiv Armoured Plant carries out the first overhaul of T-64BVK tank (commander version). Equipped with modern surveillance devices, advanced satellite navigation equipment & commander’s tower with 12.7mm NSVT heavy machine gun.
- Russia has started its military drills in the Southern military district, near the eastern Ukrainian border
Putin’s threats and demands
“If some kind of strike systems appear on the territory of Ukraine, the flight time to Moscow will be 7 to 10 minutes, and 5 minutes in the case of a hypersonic weapon being deployed,” says Putin. He demanded Western guarantees precluding any further NATO expansion and deployment of its weapons near his country’s borders.
“In a dialogue with the United States and its allies, we will insist on working out specific agreements that would exclude any further NATO moves eastward and the deployment of weapons systems that threaten us in close vicinity to Russian territory,” Putin said.
Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of NATO said Russia “has no right to interfere” in Ukrainian decisions regarding NATO and its possible membership.
Lukashenka wants to make Ukraine “ours,” openly allies himself with Putin
Already on 29th November Lukashenka admitted that his forces “will not stand aside” in Moscow’s confrontation with Kyiv and “it is clear whose side Belarus will take.”
Today, he clarified his thoughts further during an interview with Russian Dmitriy Kiseliov: “I will do everything so that Ukraine becomes ours… Because it is our people who live there.” In the same interview, Lukashenka also said that he recognizes that Crimea is Russian and will visit Crimea as soon as Putin invites.
Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs visits North Atlantic Council of NATO foreign ministers in Riga
“Ukraine is actively working with partners to implement a comprehensive Deterrence Package consisting of political, economic and security measures. It should discourage Russia from the worst-case scenario, which is a military confrontation. Demonstrating strength now, we avoid the need to prove it later,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.
He asked NATO partners to boost military cooperation with Kyiv and prepare economic sanctions as part of a “deterrence package” to prevent Russia from attacking, considering a Russian military buildup near the Ukrainian border. Kuleba also emphasized that Ukraine has a full right to receive military technology and weapons and outlined Ukraine’s key needs in the defense sphere – missile defense systems and air defense systems.
NATO allies assured Kuleba in their support. NATO foreign ministers are united in the fact that any further aggression against Ukraine would have a high price for Russia, bringing serious political and economic consequences.
In particular, Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said that any military operation that would violate the sovereignty of Ukraine would be met with “severe consequences,” and that his country was ready to engage with “heavy” sanctions. Other Foreing ministers similarly reassured their support.
Important meeting with my British counterpart @trussliz. Ukraine & the U.K. remain reliable strategic partners & friends. We discussed concrete steps to deter Russia’s continued aggressive policy. A comprehensive deterrence package will demotivate Moscow from taking wrong steps. pic.twitter.com/SDjS4xTTX2
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) December 1, 2021
🇬🇧 and our @NATO allies stand with Ukraine and will defend the frontiers of freedom and democracy. Any incursion by Russia would be a serious strategic mistake. Read my @DailyMailUK piece👇 https://t.co/UREYDlEmOS
— Liz Truss (@trussliz) December 1, 2021
Several thousand rally in Kyiv against possible Kremlin agents in the close Zelenskyy’s circle, including head of his Office Andriy Yermak
The rally is named “Protect Ukraine — stop the coup.” It hints at Zelenskyy’s statement during his 26 November press marathon. Activists say are not planning any coup but rather to stop Kremlin agents in offices who are allegedly responsible for the failure of several of Ukraine’s intelligence operations, including the infamous Wagner operation.
The activists say they are neither sponsored by Russia nor by oligarch Akhmetov, as Zelenskyy claimed. The coordinator of the rally is the non-partisan Capitulation Resistance Movement while participants are dozens of organizations and political parties, both parliamentary and not parliamentary, including the most active European Solidarity, Voice, and Democratic Axe.
Protesters started their rally in Independence Square, the famous Maidan Nezaleshnosti, and then moved to the Office of the president.
French assistance for military shipbuilding in Ukraine and allocation of the first ship from France
French shipbuilding company OSEA signed a contract with the Ukrainian company NIBULON for the construction of five ships for the needs of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. Production will be located in the Ukrainian city of Mykolayiv.
In total, Ukrainian border guards will receive 20 such ships, 15 of which will be built in France. The transfer of the first ship will take place in Odesa, preliminary planned for 9 December. In January 2022, the ship’s crew will undergo special retraining with French specialists.
Zelenskyy’s annual address in parliament
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave his annual parliamentary address where he summarized his achievements, mainly related to economic progress. He mentioned thousands of kilometers of new roads and noted that the average monthly salary of Ukrainians in U.S. dollar terms exceeded $500. He also urged all Ukrainian parties to unite for the protection of Ukrainian sovereignty and admitted his readiness to conduct talks with Russia “to protect our territories” and “stop the war.” He didn’t mention the coup attempt that he had alleged for 1 December during his last press marathon.
Poroshenko’s party runs ahead of Zelenskyy’s one, poll shows
According to the latest survey conducted by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, if parliamentary elections were held next Sunday, 17.1% would vote for Poroshenko’s European Solidarity and only 15% for Zelenskyy’s Servant of the people. Two leaders are followed by Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna with 13.3% and Dmytro Razumkov’s Clever Policy with 9.9%.
After Razumkov broke away with Zelenskyy in October and Poroshenko’s support increased in October and November, Zelenskyy has dramatically lost his popularity and public support.
History — Referendum supporting Ukraine’s Independence on 1 December 1991
Thirty years ago Ukrainians voted on the nationwide referendum to support the declaration of Independence proclaimed on 24 August 1991. Significantly, after a partial disenchantment in the 1990s due to the economic crisis, the support for Independent Ukraine grew again after 2014, reaching the level of 1991 now.
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