MainPolitical

Scoop of the weekend: Ukraine reels from Wagnergate, marks Dignity Day

Scoop of the weekend: Ukraine reels from Wagnergate, marks Dignity Day

Maydan anniversary

On 21 November, several thousand people gathered in Kyiv's Independence Square, also known as Maydan, to mark Day of Dignity and Freedom, the anniversary of the pro-EU, anti-government protests which broke out there in 2004 and 2013.

A column under the motto "Let us not lose our dignity! Let us defend freedom", carrying banners saying "We remember! Heavenly Hundred. Heroes do not die", "Revolution of Dignity" and "Impeachment", walked up the Heavenly Hundred ally towards the presidential office. Minor scuffles with police broke out after the latter insisted on inspecting the rally participants before they approach the presidential office.

Ex-president's address

The Ukrainian patriotic community is strong enough to defend freedom, democracy and the European choice, the leader of the European Solidarity Party, ex-President Petro Poroshenko, who was brought to power after the Maydan protests, has said on the occasion of Dignity and Freedom Day.

He added that freedom is never given once and for all, you have to fight for it every day.

Border situation

The secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, Oleksiy Danilov, has said that by amassing troops near the Ukrainian border, Russia is trying to raise the stakes for the upcoming negotiations.

At a meeting with US senators at an international security forum in Halifax, Canada, he said: "By pulling troops to the Ukrainian border, Russia is trying to aggravate the situation in the region as much as possible so as to up the ante at the table for the upcoming negotiations."

According to Danilov, Russia's latest actions, including the publication of diplomatic documents by the Russian foreign minister and the testing of the latest missile defence systems on its own satellites, "show that there are no rules for them anymore".

Russian threat

Russia has amassed over 92,000 troops around the Ukrainian borders and is preparing to attack Ukraine in late January or early February, the head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Defence Ministry, Kyrylo Budanov, said in an interview with Military Times.

He said that such an attack might include air strikes, artillery and armoured vehicle attacks, followed by airborne assaults in the east, landing attacks in Odesa and Mariupol and a smaller invasion through neighbouring Belarus.

But first, Budanov said, a series of "psychological operations" will be carried out to destabilise Ukraine and undermine its ability to put up resistance.

"They want to ignite the revolution through protests and rallies, which show that people are mobilized against the authorities," Budanov said.

He explained that these protests included anti-vaccination rallies organized by Russia and those concerning economy and energy supply. Budanov also said that Russia is trying to spread anti-Ukrainian sentiment through the case of the failed operation to detain the Russian mercenaries who fought in Donbas, aka Wagnergate.

Wagnergate

Appearing on Savik Shuster's Freedom of Speech talk show on 19 November, the former head of the Defence Ministry's Main Directorate of Intelligence, Vasyl Burba, said that he had received orders to postpone the final stage of the operation to apprehend the Wagner members from the head of the presidential office, Andriy Yermak.

Call for probe

Ex-President Petro Poroshenko has called for an unbiased investigation into the derailed mission to detain members of the Russian private military company Wagner, who fought in Donbas alongside pro-Russian separatists.

"Clearly, Zelenskyy is personally responsible as he himself had undone the hard and extremely dangerous work of intelligence experts. Only a temporary investigation commission authorised with investigating the derailed special operation can measure the extent of such responsibility," he said, noting that the pro-presidential faction should not have a majority in this commission.

US aid

Ukraine needs additional support from the USA, Kyrylo Budanov told Military Times.

Ukraine would like to receive additional anti-air, anti-missile and unmanned aerial defence systems. Ukraine's "wish list" includes Patriot missile batteries, anti-missile, artillery and mortar systems, he said.

According to Budanov, the Javelin systems, together with Turkish-made drones, offer a significant psychological deterrent and make the Russians think twice before attacking. At the same time, Ukraine now needs more support, he added.

France

On 20 November, Ukraine received two H-125 helicopters made by Airbus Helicopters. According to the Interior Ministry, they will be used by aviation units of the State Border Service to monitor Ukraine's border with Belarus.

Energy sector

Coal from Kazakhstan will be delivered to Ukraine by sea because Russia has blocked its railway transit, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has told Radio Liberty. He added that the first ship was expected to sail out of Taman these days. He once again pledged there would be no rolling blackouts due to coal deficit.

According to Shmyhal, Ukraine wants to extend the current gas transit agreement with Russia's Gazprom by another 15 years. The current deal expires in 2024. He said that Ukraine was ready to pump more, up to 55m cu.m. per year, charging half for transporting the excess.

DTEK coal

The first of seven vessels with coal from the USA and Colombia contracted by DTEK has arrived in Ukraine. The Panamax-class vessel carrying 60,500 tonnes docked at the Pivdennyy port.

The company said that the coal was intended for the needs of state-owned thermal power plants of Tsentrenerho. DTEK has contracted seven shiploads of coal, of which five from the United States and two from Colombia, the total volume amounting to almost 470,000 tonnes.

Belarusian electricity

Belarus has said that it has resumed electricity export to Ukraine as of 21 November in accordance with contracts signed in November 2021.

Bulgaria

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has criticized Bulgarian President Rumen Radev for mentioning "Russian Crimea" and later saying there was "no drama" in his remark.

"I will tell Rumen Radev what drama is: it is when Russia has attacked Bulgaria, seized a piece of territory and killed thousands of people. With his rash utterances he has dealt a blow to friendly Ukrainian-Bulgarian relations, exposed Bulgaria to EU criticism and played along with Russian propaganda," Kuleba tweeted.

Space

Elon Musk's SpaceX has postponed the launch of the Ukrainian satellite Sich 2-30 from December to January, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has told Radio Liberty. He noted that the satellite was fully prepared for the launch. According to Next Spaceflight, the launch may take place on 10 January.

Read LB.ua news on social networks Facebook, Twitter and Telegram