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While Middle East crisis and holiday season occupy world’s attention, Russia’s terror against Ukraine continues

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Liubov Abravitova is the Ambassador of Ukraine to South Africa.

I took my time to think about the further format of our dialogue with you, dear, esteemed readers of my weekly column.

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

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  • Max Ozinsky says:

    Your Excellency, in 2022 you government burnt 40 million Russian books. Can you please give us an update on how many you burnt in 2023?

  • Barrie Lewis says:

    Thank you Ms Abravitova, whilst there’s no data I’m pretty sure most South Africans remain horrified by Russia’s attack on Ukraine, should I call that Vladimir the Terrible’s attack? Without him I suspect none of this would have happened.

    Of concern to me that Ukraine appears to have started attacking civilian targets in Russia in response Putin’s unashamed demolishing of schools, hospitals and homes. May I suggest that Ukraine needs to retain the high moral ground is has taken since the start of this horrible war. If Kyiv stoops to Putin’s tactics, it will lose much support from the Free World.
    Afghanistan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Syria, Ukraine… will Latvia or Finland be next?

    • LOUISE NIEHAUS says:

      Barry update your intel data on the drone strikes from Ukraini into the muscovite territory. They only hit military targets. When the poorly trained air defence of Putler tried shooting down these drones their munitions fell into the civilian areas! FACT. When a country wages an unprovoked war, such as the muscovites, surely resistance is expected and the war will spill over into their country!!! I would call that self defence and not stooping to the level of the muscovites. SLAVA UKRAINI

  • Manie Mulder says:

    Thank you for writing here again Madam Ambassador! Please continue to keep us informed.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    How pathetic Ozinsky! Go and live in Putin’s Russia and see how long you last. Perhaps you are so blind, twisted and biased that you cant see the wood for the trees. Putin is and has been trying to obliterate Ukrainian culture, history, language etc. He views Ukraine as another province to be exploited and abused, like he is doing to the rest of Russia. Grand theft of a whole country for personal, family and oligarch benefit, the latter paying handsome homage to him. As a Jew, or at least one who has a Jewish name, you should know all about obliteration of a nation. It wouldn’t surprise me if you one of those odious individuals who hates their own kind.

    • LOUISE NIEHAUS says:

      Well summarized – I concur!!!

    • Max Ozinsky says:

      Dear Beyond, seeing that you raise the issue of my name, are you a bot or just another coward hiding behind a pseudonym?

      No my surname is not “Jewish” as you allege. It is Polish and was forced on my family by a Polish noble who forced all his serfs to take his name.

      This is very similar to what the government of Ukraine has been doing to the significant section of its citizens who are of Russian language, nationality, culture and religion. Burning books is also part of their solution.

      To me that sounds similar to apartheid and the Nazis.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Mrs Ambassador – whilst the Middle East conflict has taken over as world news, it is critical that the vicious, unjust and brutal war being waged by the Putin mass-murdering monster must NOT be forgotten.
    May GOD bless Ukraine and give it strength, courage and the wherewithal to defeat the evil and bloodthirsty beast and his poodles in the Kremlin. SLAVA UKRAINA!!!!!!

  • Rae Earl says:

    And all the while, the disgusting ANC under Cyril Ramaphosa, requests your country to swallow national pride and go hat-in-hand to the Russians and ask for a negotiated cease fire after they invaded Ukraine without reason or warning. The same ANC has now underscored this by taking sides with the terrorist organisation Hamas which in turn, invaded a neighbouring state without warning. to commit murder and mayhem. The ANC shames us as citizens of South Africa and we feel your pain.

  • LOUISE NIEHAUS says:

    Max seems you are more interested in burning books of the muscovite language than the horrors they are committing in Ukraini !!??? SLAVA UKRAINI

  • dexter m says:

    Innocent Ukraine civilians are paying the price for the hubris of both Russia and Western Nations . Ukraine walked away from the negotiations on the word of Boris Johnson promising the Western Nations full support only if they stayed in the fight .2 years later where is that total support , arms trickled in , never what they needed to win , and when given never when they needed it. How did the West expect the counter attack to work against fixed defenses without air cover. Ukrainian soldiers lives where thrown away for no reason. US JCS Mark Miley warned that Ukraine could not win with the current arms and support they had , but did politicians heed his warning and rectify the commitments offered ? Ukraine now alone , with Western Nations arguing about how much support to give .

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Ozinsky – you are the supreme hypocrite (very much like our vile anc) who only willfully sees one side in your blind hatred for the West, Ukraine, Israel etc. You condemn the burning of Russian books by Ukraine but ignore that Putin and his bestial Kremlin are committing genocide against Ukraine, let alone trying to obliterate their history, culture, language etc. As a Pole, one would expect you to be a little more sensitive to what is happening in Ukraine given its sad and violent tormented history between the the Soviets and the Nazis. If anything is similar to the the Nazis and apartheid, it is Putin and his followers/admirers like you!

  • Bob Marsden says:

    Max Ozinsky: Your propositions are broadly true.

    The neoNazi brigades shelled the civilian population of the Donbas since 2014. Those oblasts were occupied and governed by Ukrainians until the local resistance began to oust them. There were popular uprisings to take back municipal administrations.

    The Russians started the Special Military Operation 8 years later to liberate the oblasts that had voted overwhelmingly to join the Russian Federation.

    Russian military strategist always knew that using munitions to attack non-military targets – civilians – was a waste of ammunition. Their attacks have always been to deplete war assets.

    Ukraine attacked Belgorod with cluster bombs aimed at civilians, as there are no significant military assets in the city.

    But reports of actualities will never dent the ideological rhetorics of the antiRussian bigots.

    The stated aims of the SMO were demilitarisation and deNazification. The first is progressing, the second very difficult, requiring internal regime-change. A tabu for the bigoted believers is “don’t mention the Nazis’ or deny their existence.

  • Ken Rosling says:

    I am astounded that the ANC is so determined to condemn Israel for trying to eliminate an enemy, (Hamas), that made a well planned armed attack in an attempt to overthrow the Israeli state and brutilising civilians. And Ramaphosa wants the U.N. to punish Israel for ‘genocide’?

    How does this differ from what Putin has been attempting to do in Ukraine on an even greater scale but without any criticism from the ANC?

    • dexter m says:

      I am no fan of ANC , but the US and West had themselves to blame , if instead of using the Democrats vs Autocrats argument to enlist support for the War , they should have used violation of Ukraine’s legally recognised borders , SA would not have been able to dispute that and would not have been able to stay neutral. The only reason i could think that US did not use that is Taiwan , because legally Taiwan is part of China. Would have got no support if China annexed Taiwan by force , because it would be considered an internal Chinese matter.

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