Tomorrow is the anniversary of Russia's large-scale invasion of Ukraine. And today...
Today is the three hundred and sixty-fifth day of violence, horror, blood, pus, civilians being physically and psychologically maimed, soldiers dying in agony, young men blinded, amputated, with legs and arms, whose lips are composed of a few words of unbearable spiritual despair.
In the meantime, changes have taken place in the minds of the European people. In some places more slowly, in others more quickly. Most importantly, they have also taken place, to a greater or lesser extent, in the heads of decision-makers, political leaders and analysts.
A year ago, Ukrainian President V. Zelensky did not believe that Russia could invade Ukraine. Before he was elected President, he was still going to Moscow and entertaining oligarchs loyal to the regime at parties. Even after he became President, he did not think it necessary to strengthen the Ukrainian army, and in fact he accepted the Minsk agreements as a possible formula for peace.
Now he stands or speaks from a screen in the United Nations and in the European Parliament and boldly states, in the language of a true world leader, that the first point of the peace formula is the unconditional capitulation of Russia to Ukraine, which the world can only help Ukraine to achieve by supplying more and more quickly the necessary heavy weaponry: artillery, tanks, fighter planes, missile and air defence systems.
Three months before the Russian invasion, the former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who we really like, laughed at suggestions that the British army needed more heavy weapons. "The old concepts of big tank battles on European land are over," he repeated firmly, rejecting any military advice on the subject.
Today, Mr Johnson is a fierce defender of our ideas, calling from every possible platform for more tanks to be sent to Ukraine to dislodge the Drisky legions from the occupied territories.
The various think tanks, think tanks, think tanks, Randians and other fortune tellers of the future, in rejecting conventional war, have argued that in the so-called developed world, and even on other continents, there will be no more direct clashes on the ground, that the days of conventional wars are gone, and that the future lies in the hands of technology. There will be cyber-conflicts, battles of economic domination and political diplomacy reinforced by strategic communication.
Today, we see a year of bloody clashes in the streets and trenches of cities. In the style of the First World War, as if at the second Verdun - Bachmuth - there is a six-month period of carnage on a stretch of several hundred metres.
The Russian führer Putin and his regime, when it invaded Ukraine, thought that energy and food blackmail, the weakened defence industry of the NATO countries, disagreements over defence budgets and arms commitments, the lack of united diplomacy and a firm stance on the part of the liberal and pacifist Western societies, the European Union, would divide and antagonise the European countries and that, within a month or two, Ukraine would be dealt with and the focus would shift to Moldova and the Baltic countries.
Europe's economy has not collapsed, the Germans have not frozen, the food crisis has not struck. NATO is more united than ever. The EU is already considering a tenth package of sanctions. There are still problems with Hungary, which is constantly trying to poke holes in the wheels, and with Turkey, which for its own sake is annoying the Alliance by not ratifying Sweden's accession to NATO. But these are temporary setbacks. The defence production industry is recovering and its wheels will turn, producing weapons beyond Russia's wildest dreams. Any thoughts of provocation in the Baltic States are blown away by the reinforced presence of the Alliance, and the forthcoming NATO summit in Vilnius is likely to bring very sad news for the troglodytes in the Kremlin.
The war criminals in Russia are awaiting an international tribunal, and even if it does not reach them, real opposition forces are growing outside Russia, trained in Ukraine, which will not be able to threaten the regime with weapons for long.
However, it seems to us that things are moving very slowly. Every day, every hour is a time of bloodshed for the Ukrainian defenders. Time that is a blessing for us in the West. We would very much like to believe that the further we go on, the more awareness will grow of what needs to be done immediately, and that this time will not be used for 'dancing around the table'.
Today is the time to send in the fighter jets. Tomorrow, at the latest, it is time to send troops from NATO countries, peacekeepers.
It is time to put a fist in the snout of a war criminal, a murderer and a terrorist. Because the other choice is another three hundred and sixty-six and five days in a bloody meat grinder in which the children must somehow survive.
And that meat grinder seems to be increasingly to China's liking. Führer Putin met China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, in Moscow and welcomed the fact that 'in this context, cooperation between the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation on the world stage is of particular importance for stabilising the international situation'.
He said that ties between the two countries have reached "new frontiers" and confirmed that Chinese President Xi Jinping may soon come to Moscow for a summit. The two dictators have met dozens of times since Xi became President of China.
If China decides to support Russia with arms and/or other military means, this would unfortunately be a real tragedy for Ukraine. And later, perhaps much later, but also for us.
Yesterday, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a violation of the Charter of the United Nations and of international law, and he sounded the alarm over Russia's threats of the possible use of nuclear weapons. "We have heard indirect threats to use nuclear weapons. The so-called tactical use of nuclear weapons is totally unacceptable. It is high time to step back from the brink," Mr Guterres told the 193-member UN General Assembly at a meeting marking the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine.
At the same time, US President Biden reiterated his "ironclad" commitment to NATO's Article 5 at a meeting with nine Eastern European NATO allies. The leaders "reaffirmed their unwavering support for Ukraine and underscored their shared commitment to support the Ukrainian people for as long as necessary".
Despite all the commitments and sound bites, European Union countries did not agree on new sanctions against Russia on Wednesday and plan more talks to finalise the package on Friday, diplomats said.
According to the bloc's leader, the proposed package includes trade restrictions worth more than €10 billion, including a ban on the EU's imports of Russian rubber. It would also ban the export to Russia of more EU hardware and spare parts that Moscow could use on the battlefield.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky plans to attend the NATO summit in Vilnius in July in person, the Ukrainian ambassador to Lithuania said. Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Mr Zelensky has made only two foreign trips, one to Washington in December and another to London, Paris and Brussels in February.
11-12 July. Most of the Atlantic Alliance leaders will attend the summit in Vilnius on 11 and 11 July, the Lithuanian President's Office said. Among them is US President Joe Biden, who made a surprise visit to Kyiv this week.
The Heads of State and Government of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia (the so-called Bucharest Nine) held an extraordinary summit in Warsaw on the eve of the first anniversary of the Russian invasion. In a joint declaration issued after the meeting, they stressed that Russia is continuing its unprovoked and brutal aggression against Ukraine and that they will support the Ukrainian people as long as necessary.
The nine leaders, joined this time by the US President and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, agreed that a year ago Russia destroyed peace and security in Europe. They stressed that the Russian Federation poses the most serious and immediate security threat today and that the Allies must respond with determination, unity and responsibility.
As long as it takes. Until victory. Although none of them agrees or knows how much it will take, or what exactly is meant by "victory".
The Russian Federation is preparing a small missile attack on 23-24 February, according to Kirill Budanov, head of the Main Intelligence Directorate under the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence. Budanov added that there are two dates in question - 23 and 24 February - but reassured that the Ukrainians have already experienced this more than 20 times and nothing new will happen. Yes, Russia can combine strikes with "shahids" and missiles, but these are no longer new methods.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's NSDC says that Russia is planning a massive attack on 24 February, the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainian authorities assure that they are ready to counter any such strikes.
The Ukrainian air force has also warned of the possibility of unconventional enemy action, escalation and several waves of attacks on 23-24 February.
British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has stated that his country is increasing its arms production. This will allow Britain to replenish its stockpiles and continue to provide much needed assistance to Ukraine.
"Britain has begun "warming up" its production lines to replace weapons sent to Ukraine and is increasing production of artillery shells to help Kiev repel Russian forces". Asked whether the UK had the commercial potential to continue supplying Ukraine with weapons such as artillery shells, Mr Wallace replied: "We have contracts... We have already started to receive completed orders to replenish our stocks, some of which are destined for shipment to Ukraine."
Israel is piloting an early warning system for incoming missiles and drones in the city of Kyiv, which may later be extended to other regions. At the moment, when Russian planes take off in Belarus, for example, an alarm is immediately triggered in all northern regions of Ukraine. Powerful radars being developed in Israel calculate exactly where the missile is flying and the siren is triggered at a specific location. In addition, a special alarm tells the population how many minutes to take shelter.
"Of course we need such a system and we have been working on it for four months. There is public talk that it will be handed over to us. But it's not that simple, because it will definitely take time. In fact, the Israelis confirmed during their visit that within three months they will complete a pilot project in Kiev for our realities," said Yevhen Korniychuk, Ukraine's ambassador to Israel.
The UK may be the first to provide Ukraine with fighter jets. Andriy Yermak, Head of the Ukrainian Presidential Chancellery, said this was a possibility. However, he said, "there are still issues to be agreed".
Prigozhin, an apartment thief and recidivist, shared footage showing dozens of bodies of Wagner mercenaries destroyed in one day. The terrorist complained that "it is now 10 a.m. on 22 February. No measures are being taken to issue ammunition. What is the problem, I am finding out. I am giving a photo. This is one of the assembly points for the dead. <...> There should have been 5 times fewer of them'.
Some analysts were quick to celebrate this situation, which supposedly reflects the disagreements between the Kremlin's criminal commanders. We look at this with grim objectivity: all these "shows" are coordinated and have multiple objectives. More expropriation and the subjugation of Russia to arms production, more mobilisation, more arguments for support from Iran, Shekora and China.
In Mariupol, partisans were at work tonight. Two explosions went off at the Kadyrovtsy and Rosguard assembly points. In recent days, the occupiers have redeployed some 500 experienced Kadyrov's Tik-Tok troops and several hundred National Guard marauders in Mariupol.
The Russian Federation is focusing its offensive on the Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Shakhtarsk axes.
Last day, Ukrainian forces repelled around 90 enemy attacks in these areas.
The enemy launched 10 rocket and 19 air strikes and 37 volleys of rocket fire. These attacks again caused further civilian casualties and damage to peaceful towns and villages.
The threat of Russian missile strikes remains high throughout Ukraine.
The Russian occupiers are continuing the so-called "pasportization" of Ukrainian citizens in the temporarily occupied territories. Since 19 February. The residents of Novaya Kakhovka have been receiving propaganda messages about the activities of the Russian migration service in the town.
As a result of the failure of the offensive and the heavy losses sustained by the occupiers at Vuhledar, the personnel of the volunteer so-called Cossack detachment of the Russian 155th Marine Brigade (Pacific Fleet) refuse to participate in further offensive actions.
During the past day, the Ukrainian Air Force has struck 11 times against Russian military concentrations and once against an enemy anti-aircraft missile complex firing position.
The Ukrainian Rocket and Artillery Forces attacked a command post, 2 enemy concentrations and an ammunition depot.
Major Oleg Mudrak, Commander of the 1st Battalion of the Azov Regiment and defender of Azovstal, died. He had been in Russian captivity for six months.
Comment: You and us together.
We have been writing reviews for a year. For a year you have been reading them. Every day.
Every day. In any condition, anywhere, anytime: you and us, after a hard day's work, at night, on a plane, visiting Ukrainian soldiers in the trenches, on the road, and even when it seems physically impossible. Because there is no internet, no computer or phone, no electricity, no light. Or you need to take the dog for a walk, talk to a neighbour, the children are sick, someone has run into your car.
But you still find time to read. Because you care, just like us. You read, so we write. We have written and we are writing, and we will write what is important. What you need to see and hear. What must be understood so that the scourge called terrorist Russia does not come into our backyard. It does not knock on your door and ours.
Many people put their fingers to their foreheads when we said what we were going to do more than a year ago. Some people thought, and still think, that we did and are doing this for our careers, bought and hired. There were (and now there are with the proposals) those who wanted to shut us up, to shut us down, to drown us, to destroy us, because we are writing the wrong thing, the wrong way, because we can't do it, because it's not according to the rules, because we're going against the current, because we're being stupid, because we're going up against the wind, and because that means that we're definitely hurting somebody.
Anyone who thinks that is harming himself.
We do not harm anyone, our goal is peace, well-being, light and awareness. We are convinced that there cannot be us and you in Lithuania, that we are together. Therefore, let us not wish ill to anyone. But in times of war, as you know, as we know, wartime decisions are necessary. It is very nice and fun to have tea together when your neighbour comes to your house with sugar or biscuits. But if your neighbour comes bustling up to you stinking of russkij mir with his sword raised, the only means of calming him down is the sword, not tea.
Our (yes, your) goal is to listen, hear, see, understand, think, anticipate the worst and act, hoping for the best. Not to pray and hope, but to act. Acting by anticipating, calculating, planning and reacting to events, hoping for the best, is not the same as sitting back and waiting for the best. Taking selfies in front of a wrecked Drisky tank.
Our aim is to break the teeth of the bloody hydra and pierce its satanic heart with the sword of the whip. But to achieve this, we need to work every day. To know, to analyse. Reject the crowd, because it is always wrong. Reject the parties and the politicians, the headliners and the apologists for self-made victories.
We must anticipate correctly so that we can prepare and act proactively.
We must confess that we did not believe we would have so many followers, understanders and like-minded people. We are glad that you, the decision-makers, are also hearing our thoughts, that you are also reading and translating them into your own words when you talk to leaders in other countries.
That's great. That is what we are striving for. We don't need fame, we don't need medals, we don't need adulation, we don't need posts and all the glitter of the vanity fair.
We want Ukrainian children not to cry and to sleep peacefully with their parents, we want the skies over Kyiv and Vilnius to be calm, and we want all of you-us-to be safe. But to achieve this, decisions must be wise, ensuring not the glory of the decision-makers, but the safety of us all.
Thank you for your understanding, for working together, for learning together, for your support. Every euro, every good or critical word is a contribution to our work together.
The work in our heads. In all our minds. Because it is only in our heads that everything begins. And the end.
The end of war.
And then we can all run together to take pictures by the shattered columns. And, of course, to teach our children that this will never happen again.
Photo. Meeting of the Nine in Warsaw. Source.
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