Summary of the daily livestream with Aleksey Arestovych, kindly brought to you by Janat: @Janat_H1
⚫️ Frontline Update
Artillery exchanges: Kherson is under enemy fire; several civilians died. Unlike RU, which fires at residential areas, UA fires at military targets like headquarters, ammunition dumps, concentrations of troops, etc.
UA General Staff reports that the enemy is moving troops from Tokmak to Melitopol, further away from the frontline. RU command considers Melitopol’s defense as the key to their entire southern front, from Dniper to Mariupol. RU strengthens defensive positions in Melitopol and Crimea.
RU attempted and failed to surround Maryinka and Avdiivka. The main battles are south and east of Bakhmut – the enemy was pushed back. Belohorivka – less intensity than in Bakhmut but the same “logic” of relentless and futile attacks from the enemy.
⚫️ Cities under fire
Shelling by Russian troops of Kharkiv, Zaporizhya, Mykolaiv, Kryvyi Rih, and Nikopol from the MLRS or S-300 systems continues. Kherson is also hit by field artillery.
⚫️ Zelensky visits Bakhmut
President Zelensky visited Bakhmut to offer moral support and awards to UA defenders. In contrast, earlier, the Minister of Defense of the RF Shoigu flew in a helicopter over the green fields of Armyansk, Crimea. Zelensky sends the message that he is united with his troops, unlike Putin, who never visited his soldiers even though they, according to Putin, are executing fate-defining tasks for Russia and personally for Putin.
⚫️ Two opposite political models
When Zelensky meets with his troops, they are fully armed. Putin would never allow anyone armed to approach him except his bodyguards. Why? In the 17th century, European travelers noted that at that time, Ukrainians and Russians (Moscovites) had a lot in common: close languages, traditions, behavioral patterns, etc. But they belonged to two distinct, radically opposite political cultures that differed in ideas and practices.
The same distinction is demonstrated in the two leaders of states today. Putin would never order to arm hundreds of thousands. Zelensky did so on Day 1 of this war. Putin would never unite with the political opposition in the face of danger to national security. In Ukraine, General Marchenko, who was under investigation, joined the defense forces in the South. People who criticize and even insult Zelensky are armed and fighting, defending their country, yet not even subject to disciplinary action. They are not disarmed, their rights are not violated, and they are often awarded and promoted in rank.
Putin’s spokesperson Peskov claimed Putin had visited the SMO (special military operation) zone and met with commanders there. But any part of Russia can now be included in the SMO zone. UA intelligence claims the commanders meeting with Putin were summoned to report to the ministry of defense of RF at the time, so they could not have met with Putin on the frontline.
A video with Prigozhin, the founder of the RU private military company Wagner, claims he was trying to get the attention of Zelensky by using the Morse code with artillery. The message was to meet with Zelensky if he was still in Bakhmut.
This was the second time the sledgehammer swayer addressed Zelensky. This was an inappropriate attempt to show equality and eligibility to speak at the level of a president. This could be Putin’s message to threaten the RU elite and oligarchs, with the prospect of Prigozhin becoming president and thus raising Putin’s rating.
The board meeting of the MoD of RF is scheduled for tomorrow. Most likely, the agenda will include readiness for further use of forces and means, intermediary reports on the ongoing training, plans for future offensive, etc.
⚫️ Ukrainian identity
The Economist named Ukraine the country of the year 2022. Earlier, Time magazine named Zelensky the person of the year. War determined Ukraine’s place in history as a subject of international politics. What image of Ukrainians will be captured?
This war created an image of a Ukrainian as a person with acute subjectness or, in the words of Zelensky, “every one of us is President.” Ukraine as a nation is represented by socially active, proactive subjects who, in turn, produce a collective subject. Before the war, few people could describe a Ukrainian. Today’s common type goes beyond the military: volunteers, medics, power engineers, etc. The common image will be a people who are quick to defend themselves and do it well, a don’t-mess-with-me image. Ukrainians are already known for their welcoming, hospitable nature, but now they will also be known as people who immediately respond to threats and fight back. And they will do it well, skillfully, and creatively.
NATO officers report extreme ingenuity among UA troops, the ability to improvise, gain quick mastery of new weapons, generate creative non-standard solutions, etc. Ukrainian national idea revolves around freedom and willingness to fight for it. It winds people up; they are driven by it. A new Ukrainian identity is being forged, and the world is getting better acquainted with it.
⚫️ Subversive activity in RU
The State Duma approved the terms of punishment for sabotage as man-made disasters continue to plague Russia. No one claims responsibility, but the sequence of events indicates its direct connection to the war. One reason could be mobilization which removed safety specialists from the technical processes. RU sees it as likely a deliberate activity, hence the harsher punishments.
⚫️ Prolonged conflict
Xi Jinping declared that it is not in anyone’s interest to prolong the crisis in Ukraine. Although the message is addressed to all involved, China indirectly urges RU to stop. Last 2-3 months, the topic of negotiations has been widely discussed. But as soon as Zelensky suggested a Christmas Truce, Russia declined. So who is avoiding negotiations? War can immediately end with the order from Putin calling his military operation off. China doesn’t want a prolonged conflict yet trades with Russia circumventing sanctions with evidence found in the wreckage in Ukraine: missiles, aviation, armored vehicles, drones, etc.
The United States plans to transfer Patriot systems to Ukraine in the next package of military aid. The result of Putin’s wise policy: Patriot systems will be closer to Russian borders by 500-600 km.
In Kyiv, the Security Declaration on the need for nuclear disarmament of the Russian Federation was adopted. Anyone can sign the initiative in the interests of the entire civilization.
Next stream is Wednesday, December 21