It is not because the brutal and unprovoked aggression of Russia against my beautiful and peace-loving country stopped, and not because of complaints by the Russian embassy in South Africa that my truthful and detailed pieces are not allowing the Russian propaganda machine to prevail, but to allow you to see the consequences of a lack of joint action to stop violations of human rights and international law, and that bringing to justice all those responsible for the crime of Russian aggression is a prerequisite for the security and safety of humanity.
I am grateful for all your messages and letters asking me to resume my writing. I am back.
One can see big things only from a distance. And I watched with sadness and disappointment how our world met the new year, 2024.
Let me explain. While most of the world was celebrating, Russia launched its biggest air attack on Ukraine since the beginning of its February 2022 full-scale invasion, with an unprecedented number of drones and missiles fired at civilian targets across the country.
On 29 December and 2 January, Russia launched two massive missile and drone attacks against Ukrainian cities, using the considerable firepower it has been stockpiling and building up for more than half a year. Residential buildings, schools, kindergartens, post offices, shopping centres and energy infrastructure were hit. Dozens of people were killed and wounded.
Russia’s war still has the same genocidal goal — the elimination of the Ukrainian nation and state.
Its strategy remains unchanged. It is aimed at breaking Ukraine’s will to resist, freezing Ukrainian cities to death and putting the Ukrainian army and people under increased duress.
As you read these lines, Ukrainian people are still forced to hide in shelters and are still being killed and tortured in the temporarily occupied territories, while our children are still sleeping in corridors and bathrooms.
But … Ukraine is still standing against the aggressor and standing strong.
We were able to renew the Black Sea trade corridors despite Russia’s attempts to blackmail the world with the threat of hunger.
Despite the challenges, Ukrainian troops are gaining success in frontline areas.
Our army has liberated some of the territories occupied by Russia after 24 February 2022 and continues to expand our control over several bridgeheads on the left bank of the Dnipro River and, importantly, ended the dominance of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea. The occupiers’ fleet can no longer operate freely in the west of the Black Sea and Russia was forced to redeploy warships from the temporarily occupied Crimea. On 26 December, a major Russian warship, the Novocherkassk, was destroyed.
Now, none of the above-mentioned would be possible if it wasn’t for Ukrainians and their will to win and live in a free democratic country. Our brave military, our medics, activists and volunteers, diaspora and the Ukrainian people as a nation — we are the reason Putin’s “second-best army in the world” is so unsuccessful here.
As has been proven many times before, the only result of increased terror on Russia’s part will be increased unity and resilience on the part of Ukrainians.
Ukraine is entering 2024 with more than 80% of the population firmly believing in Ukrainian victory and opposing any territorial concessions to Russia. Ukraine keeps fighting for freedom. In a world where freedom is of utmost importance, this cannot become a lonely fight. DM