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Emrys

Emrys's Journal
Emrys's Journal
December 31, 2023

Burns chronicler Jean Redpath describes an alternative old tune for "Auld Lang Syne"



My wife and I discovered that it makes a perfect harmony line for the tune most people know. Try it!

Here's the whole song as recorded for her complete collection of Burns songs (in a slightly higher key):

December 31, 2023

Chechia has had it with Putin, too

This was sent in response to a summons by Russia to an emergency session of the UN Security Council where Russia wanted to accuse Chechia of supplying missiles allegedly used in the strikes on Belgorod yesterday:





Japan has also had more than enough:

Mr. Chair,

It is quite eye-opening to learn about a history of “Maidan” from the Russian point of view. At the same time, for most of us here and the world, it is quite obvious that this is another attempt to defame and criticize Ukraine and the West, thereby distracting world’s attention from what is going on right now in Ukrainian territories – disastrous humanitarian situation due to Russia’s aggression – as well as justifying the brutal aggression against a sovereign state. We arefed up with Russia calling so many Security Council meetings including Arria-formula meetings to this end. Do we, the Council Members and UN Member States, really deserve this? Despite all the efforts by Russia, no reasonable person would believe its narrative. Such misuse of the prerogative of a Council member would rather be self destructive, further damaging its reputation. It is sad for everybody.

The concept note of this event emphasizes the importance of a truthful account of events and avoiding misinterpretation.

There is no room for misinterpretation for one thing. As the overwhelming majority of the General Assembly have recognized, the fact is that this heinous war of aggression was started by Russia. And Ukraine is fighting against it in accordance with the UN Charter to protect its own people, independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. The sole cause of the current suffering of the Ukrainian people, especially in winter, is Russia's aggression, which is a flagrant violation of the UN Charter. Nothing more, nothing less.

It has also withdrawn from the Black Sea Grain Initiative and destroyed port facilities to deliver food abroad, affecting not only Ukraine but the entire world.

Mr. Chair,

We once again urge the Russian Federation not to squander our precious time and resources for your political purposes. Russia should direct its diplomatic energy toward correcting its own violation of the UN Charter.

We remain steadfast in upholding and strengthening the free and open international order based on the rule of law, respecting the UN Charter. There must be no impunity for war crimes and other atrocities. Justice must be done, and those who are responsible for the undeniable atrocities must be held accountable.

Last but not least, our commitment to supporting Ukraine will never waver. We have been with Ukraine, and will stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes.

I thank you.

https://www.un.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_en/nagano122723.html


Unsurprisingly, Ukraine's language at the UN is growing less diplomatic as the war wears on. This was from the previous day's session, before Russia started bleating about the Bolgorod strikes:

Statement by Ambassador Sergíy Kyslytsya Permanent representative of Ukraine at the UN Security Council meeting on “Maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine”
(29 December 2023) - check against delivery

Mr. President, distinguished members of the Security Council, Assistant Secretary-General Khiari,

I also recognize here the representative of putin’s terrorist regime in the permanent seat of the Soviet Union.

Two days ago he convened you to bombard your minds with a barrage of fakes that his country has tirelessly fabricated since the beginning of its aggression. Aggression that has been marked, in particular, by another type of bombardment – which results in human losses and large-scale destruction on the ground.

And as long as Russia is able to kill the credibility and integrity of the Security Council, it will feel free to kill innocent people in Ukraine and beyond.

I would like to thank 32 UN Member States who have supported our request for this urgent meeting of the Security Council following another wave of Russian air terror against my country. We are also grateful to the Presidency of Ecuador for promptly responding to this request.

Overnight the Russian Federation launched one of its most intense and massive missile and drone attacks, targeting residential areas, critical infrastructure and industrial and military facilities across the entire Ukraine.

According to preliminary information, the Russian Federation launched at least 158 weapons units, including 122 missiles of various types and 36 UAVs.

Initially, the Russian forces attacked with “Shahed” drones from the north and southeast, advancing westward.
Around 3:00 a.m. Russia deployed strategic aviation – 18 Tu-95MS bombers took off. In three hours, they launched at least 90 Kh-101/Kh-555/Kh-55 cruise missiles.

Around 5:00 a.m. Tu-22M3 long-range bombers launched eight Kh-22/Kh-32 cruise missiles from the Kursk region on the northern and central regions of Ukraine.

At the same time, Russia targeted Kharkiv with S-300 anti-aircraft guided missiles. Overall, the Russian forces launched at least 14 ballistic missiles, notably S-300, S-400 and Iskander-M, from the occupied Crimea, Kursk, and Belgorod regions of the Russian Federation.

At 6:30 a.m., five Russian MiG-31K fighters took off in the Astrakhan region, firing five Kh-47M2 "Kinzhal" air-ballistic missiles.
The Russians also attacked from Su-35 aircraft with 4 Kh-31P anti-radar missiles and one Kh-59 missile.

The Defence Forces of Ukraine were able to intercept 87 cruise missiles and 27 Shahed drones. We are grateful to the responsible nations throughout the world that contribute to enhancing Ukraine’s air defence.
This saves the lives of innocent civilians much better than hollow reflections about the detrimental effects of sending weapons without specifying what these weapons are intended for – to help the defending side to protect its people and its sovereign territory, or to enhance the capabilities of the invader to kill and destroy.

Even a single missile or drone that is not intercepted can cause a lot of harm. Unfortunately, the overnight attack has increased the scale of pain among Ukrainian people. At least thirty civilian Ukrainians were killed and more than 160 were wounded by Russian missiles and drones – in Kyiv, Zaporizhzhya, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Odesa, Lviv, Smila and Konotop.
Just look at the list of targets that were so “bravely” destroyed by Russia last night. A maternity ward, educational facilities, a shopping mall, 45 multi-story residential buildings, private houses, two churches, commercial and storage facilities, and a parking lot.

Given the reports on a Russian missile intruding into the air space of Poland during the Russian strike, we reiterate that russian air terror poses a dangerous threat not only to Ukraine but to the neighbouring countries as well. The only way to prevent its spillover effect is to continue supporting Ukraine by further strengthening our defence capacities.

Mr.President,

According to the data, released by our Air Forces a week ago, Russia has fired 7400 missiles and 3700 attack drones at different targets throughout Ukraine since the beginning of its full-scale invasion. Now the figures need to be updated. Unfortunately, it will not be the last update as Russia will continue its air terror as long as it is able to do so.

There is full solidarity between the criminal Kremlin regime and the brainwashed Russian society in continuing their external aggression. They are full of hatred towards most of the world. Not only towards Ukraine, no matter how much those who incline to policies of appeasement might persuade themselves otherwise.
As long as they have resources, they will continue to attack Ukraine, the global security architecture and international order based on the UN Charter. There is only one solution – Russia must be deprived of its ability to produce weapons, to finance its military aggression and to threaten the world.

I have nothing to say to the Russian representative here, in this Chamber. Like his superiors in Moscow, he is a person with an amputated conscience and emasculated dignity.
In all times all aggressors have only understood the language of force in response to their crimes. Everything else has only be perceived as weakness and encouragement to further aggression. History has provided us with many relevant lessons. As is known, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. I do believe it will not be the case of the United Nations

I thank you.

Maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine - Security Council, 9523rd meeting
December 30, 2023

'Parroting Putin's propaganda': The business exodus over Ukraine was no Russian bonanza

BY Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Tymofiy Mylovanov, Nataliia Shapoval and Steven Tian


Sometimes, political reporters without a background in business journalism make egregious errors in their coverage of the business exodus from Vladimir Putin’s Russia–and even fall for the strongman’s Potemkin Village-like economic façade. A recent article, entitled How Putin Turned a Western Boycott Into a Bonanza, wrongly suggested that the historic business exits of over 1,000 multinational companies from Russia have somehow been a huge win for the Russian war effort, while paradoxically suggesting that multinational firms did not really exit. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We write not as mere spectators but as some of the leaders who helped catalyze this unprecedented business exodus from Russia. (Although the New York Times article names the first author extensively and egregiously omits the prominent role played by the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) in chronicling the business exodus and continuing to encourage companies to exit today).

If the business exodus was so helpful to Putin, we would like to know why all four of us have been placed on Putin’s sanctions list, with the first author ranked #6 on that enemies list (even higher than Senator Mitch McConnell).

In addition to helping catalyze the business exodus, our research collaboration has helped counter Putin’s propaganda by showing the economic devastation wrought by his war. Russia is no longer remotely an economic power and has suppressed the minimum reporting of transparent national income statistics that is required to retain IMF membership. With industrial might below that of Chile, Putin’s Russia survives merely by seizing assets. The increasingly state-dominated economy is cannibalizing its own companies to maintain Putin’s war machine.

https://fortune.com/2023/12/20/parroting-putin-propaganda-business-exodus-ukraine-russia-bonanza-sanctions-economy-international-politics/

December 29, 2023

This could be another major miscalculation by Putin

The spotlight had strayed from Ukraine recently in view of the conflict in Palestine. I don't know how much of a ripple this major attack on Ukraine has caused in the US, but it's been headline news in the UK all day, I imagine similar in other European countries, and as an immediate response, UK sending more air defence missiles to Ukraine after Russia strikes, some 200 as a start.

Zelensky had warned in the summer that Ukraine needed to bolster its air defences to cover more of its cities in the face of exactly such a widespread attack as this. It's reported that current air defences managed to intercept some 80 missiles and drones, otherwise the damage and casualties would have been much worse. It's notable that the military value of today's attack for Russia is not major as yet again it didn't target military facilities, and it's used up a fair proportion of what are reported to be limited current stocks of its missiles and drones.

The Russians also managed to encroach on Polish airspace during this attack, and it remains to be seen what action Poland will take in response.

President Biden responded:

Overnight, Russia launched its largest aerial assault on Ukraine since this war began. This massive bombardment used drones and missiles, including missiles with hypersonic capability, to strike cities and civilian infrastructure all across Ukraine. Strikes reportedly hit a maternity hospital, a shopping mall, and residential areas—killing innocent people and injuring dozens more. It is a stark reminder to the world that, after nearly two years of this devastating war, Putin’s objective remains unchanged. He seeks to obliterate Ukraine and subjugate its people. He must be stopped.

In the face of this brutal attack, Ukraine deployed the air defense systems that the United States and our Allies and partners have delivered to Ukraine over the past year to successfully intercept and destroy many of the missiles and drones. The American people can be proud of the lives we have helped to save and the support we have given Ukraine as it defends its people, its freedom, and its independence. But unless Congress takes urgent action in the new year, we will not be able to continue sending the weapons and vital air defense systems Ukraine needs to protect its people. Congress must step up and act without any further delay.

The stakes of this fight extend far beyond Ukraine. They affect the entirety of the NATO Alliance, the security of Europe, and the future of the Transatlantic relationship. Putin has not just attempted to destroy Ukraine; he has threatened some of our NATO Allies as well. When dictators and autocrats are allowed to run roughshod in Europe, the risk rises that the United States gets pulled in directly. And the consequences reverberate around the world. That’s why the United States has rallied a coalition of more than 50 countries to support the defense of Ukraine. We cannot let our allies and partners down. We cannot let Ukraine down. History will judge harshly those who fail to answer freedom’s call.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/12/29/statement-from-president-joe-biden-on-russias-aerial-assault-on-ukraine/


I hope and expect to see similar rallying calls from other leaders in the days to come, followed by more concerted and urgent action.
December 29, 2023

Immortalized by the Dundee bard William Topaz McGonagall

The Tay Bridge Disaster

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

‘Twas about seven o’clock at night,
And the wind it blew with all its might,
And the rain came pouring down,
And the dark clouds seem’d to frown,
And the Demon of the air seem’d to say-
“I’ll blow down the Bridge of Tay.”

When the train left Edinburgh
The passengers’ hearts were light and felt no sorrow,
But Boreas blew a terrific gale,
Which made their hearts for to quail,
And many of the passengers with fear did say-
“I hope God will send us safe across the Bridge of Tay.”

But when the train came near to Wormit Bay,
Boreas he did loud and angry bray,
And shook the central girders of the Bridge of Tay
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

So the train sped on with all its might,
And Bonnie Dundee soon hove in sight,
And the passengers’ hearts felt light,
Thinking they would enjoy themselves on the New Year,
With their friends at home they lov’d most dear,
And wish them all a happy New Year.

So the train mov’d slowly along the Bridge of Tay,
Until it was about midway,
Then the central girders with a crash gave way,
And down went the train and passengers into the Tay!
The Storm Fiend did loudly bray,
Because ninety lives had been taken away,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

As soon as the catastrophe came to be known
The alarm from mouth to mouth was blown,
And the cry rang out all o’er the town,
Good Heavens! the Tay Bridge is blown down,
And a passenger train from Edinburgh,
Which fill’d all the peoples hearts with sorrow,
And made them for to turn pale,
Because none of the passengers were sav’d to tell the tale
How the disaster happen’d on the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_McGonagall
December 28, 2023

Some who seem keen to drag out the latest headline saying it's all over Ukraine are singing from the same songbook.

The media and our in-house self-qualified experts with access to Special Sources none of the rest of us are fit to consult are fixated on gains of obliterated cities which were once strategic, but no more - neither cities, nor strategic.

We get kneejerk OPs parroting sensational headlines that are not supported even by their underlying articles and YouTube videos from non-specialists looking to fill a page with non-news - e.g. in a very recent example, revealing the astounding finding that Russian electronic warfare can interfere with Ukrainian weapons systems' guidance, which has been happening at least since 2016 in Ukraine, so isn't news in any sense of the word and hasn't so far meant Armageddon for the Ukrainian war effort because their successful strikes have always happened even in the face of such obstacles, and the Russians have their own serious problems with Ukrainian EW systems anyway, it just seems to matter less because Putin is happy with indescriminate targeting of civilian populations and infrastructure, and quantity over quality of strikes.

While the land war has stalled by some measures, Ukraine has been systematically (and quietly, as far as the media and DU OPs are concerned) taking out Crimea's air defences, bombing essential installations such as oil terminals, and now, obliterating a ship that was carrying a vast amount of munitions that will no longer be able to harm Ukrainian troops or civilians. According to reports on the ground, the debris from the main explosion, reported to have been scattered over a mile or so, didn't just include chunks of warship, but chunks of humans littering people's back yards. All this making Russia's grip on Crimea more tenuous and painful, possibly leading up to a coup de grace when Russia's remaining forces in Crimea may have to follow its navy and skedaddle for safer refuges.

But for some reason, that's not significant enough to get clicks and recs and replies in great quantity.

December 28, 2023

Yes, that's one aspect.

I didn't address the other major EW system the OP article mentioned, the truck-mounted Shipovnik-Aero, which is said to have a range of some 10 kilometres and does seem pretty effective, reputedly being able to take control of two drones simultaneously. But that's nowhere near a new system - it's been around since at least 2014. There were plenty of reports last summer about thousands of Ukrainian drones being downed, and Ukraine's war didn't end there and then.

But it's static in operation, hence vulnerable to attack by various means, and anyway taking control of a drone can bring its own hazards ...

Russian Troops Hi-Jack Ukrainian Drone, Land It, Get Blown Up While Taking Photos

Several members of a Russian air regiment and their security service colleagues have been reportedly killed whilst inspecting a Ukrainian kamikaze drone which they managed to hi-jack and land in an airfield in Kursk, Russia.

A source in Ukrainian military intelligence (HUR) told Kyiv Post the UAV was successfully intercepted by using radio-electronic warfare techniques and safely landed on the runway of the Halino airfield.

The leadership of the regiment based there as well as members of the FSB then decided to investigate their new “trophy,” the source said.

Their excitement was short-lived, with the drone blowing up as they were photographing and inspecting it.

According to the source, those killed or wounded during the explosion included the commander of the 14th aviation regiment, one of his deputies, a group of aviator officers, a representative of FSB military counterintelligence, and airport personnel.

https://www.kyivpost.com/post/21978


I'm not about to second-guess the Ukrainians' response to the Shipovnik-Aero, which they've been dealing with for some time, but that explosion seems to have been coincidental, and unlucky for the photographers and bigwigs. It should be possible to program a drone to detonate under certain circumstances if hijacked - on the basis of altitude, time elapsed, whatever. That might bring its own dangers, but unexploded ordnance already litters Ukraine's battlefields, so it would avoid adding more.

Let's also not forget that Ukraine has a strong alliance with the Turkish drone producer Bayraktar, to the extent of planning to go into joint production in Ukraine in years to come - I'd be surprised if this wasn't on Bayraktar's list of issues to overcome.

A vast amount has been written about this field, and I've only been able to dip into it myself, but here's one feasible-sounding counter to the Russian jamming and the doominess of the OP's headline (the article also goes into quite a lot of detail about initiatives on drone countermeasures in Ukraine):

[Fortem Technologies] Company Chief Operating Officer Tim Bean spoke with Inside Unmanned Systems just after returning from Ukraine, and made the case that relying entirely on electronic warfare methods to jam and hack drones was shortsighted as more serious operators, such as state militaries or well-funded terrorists, increasingly adopt autonomous drones with inertial navigation systems that can still perform without satellite navigation and command links. He also said GPS jamming and spoofing likely affect a drone shortly before it strikes its target, at which point a fast-moving drone is unlikely to change course much before impact.

https://insideunmannedsystems.com/adaptation-at-hyper-speed-the-deadly-drone-arms-race-in-ukraine/


Or this whole story could just be cover to lull the Russians into a false sense of security. (I think I'm joking there, but who knows nowadays?)
December 28, 2023

I always rely on the Telegraph for my military analysis

Yes, beyond that bland Yahoo! link in the OP, it's a Telegraph article (like the Daily Mail for people who like to think they understand semicolons). I'd point out it's written by Joe Barnes, the paper's Brussels Correspondent, not a military analyst, but that might make the OP sad, so I'll go no further with ad hominems and allow Joe the cover that he didn't write the headline.

Early on, the article seems to think that Russian EW countermeasures are something new in this war. They're not, they've just tended not to work very well, though there were excited stories in the summer in some of the more Russia-enthusiastic press about the number of Ukrainian drones the Russians were reportedly downing. A year ago, there were complaints from Russian troops that they'd managed to jam themselves into being unable to function in certain areas of the fronts.

There are plenty of videos on Twitter and elsewhere of Ukrainian FPV drones zeroing in on Russian tanks etc. with their EW antennae in plain sight, and more than a few smoking wrecks sporting the same equipment. Some of those smoking wrecks have been the major EW installations the article mentions.

Don't take my word for it, here's a real specialist defence journalist, David Axe, writing in Forbes about one aspect of the EW battle:

More And More Russian Vehicles Have Drone-Jammers. Ukrainian Drones Blow Them Up Anyway.

Russian industry developed the RP-377 jammer to interfere with enemy soldiers’ radio communications. As it happens, the jammer also works against radio-controlled first-person-view drones.

But only at very short range. And that helps to explain why Ukrainian drone-pilots have been blowing up Russian vehicles sporting RP-377s. A skilled operator can aim their drone at a vehicle, and count on the drone’s momentum to propel it to a successful strike even as its radio control link drops out in the final few seconds of its flight.
...
RP-377s have showed up on more and more Russian vehicles. But while Russian jamming is a growing problem for Ukraine’s drones, just as Ukrainian jamming is a growing problem for Russia’s drones, the RP-377s don’t appear to be the biggest contributor to this increasingly hostile electromagnetic environment.

Videos abound of Ukrainian drone-operators blowing up Russian vehicles wearing RP-377s in the jammers’ distinctive backpacks. In at least one case, a Ukrainian drone-operator struck an RP-377-equipped BMP fighting vehicle ... on its RP-377.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidaxe/2023/12/22/more-and-more-russian-vehicles-have-drone-jammers-ukrainian-drones-blow-them-up-anyway/


As he points out, the developments in this field are not one-sided, as you'd expect - like all but the most unbalanced and primitive conflicts, there's always the thrust and parry of the arms race and asymmetrical warfare. The Russian EW systems are still not as reliable as the article would have you believe, though there's no doubt they've improved, and their deployment is patchy.

In their turn, the Ukrainians are obviously looking for solutions - one is to use Starshield (the military brand of Starlink) on drones, which the Russians will have more problems jamming, though the expense per unit probably means that will be restricted to key strategic strikes. Given their ingenuity, I wouldn't bet against them coming up with out-of-the-box countermeasures of their own. Who'd have thought of reinforced cardboard drones in warfare until an Australian company invented them and the Ukrainians successfully deployed them?

None of this denies that Ukraine is hard pressed and desperately needs continuing support, from its neighbours, the rest of Europe, allies in other parts of the world, and the US. The US economy has benefited significantly from the supplies sent to Ukraine so far and gotten a great many bangs per buck in containing the Russian forces (not least their navy). Maybe those Republican congresspeople usually so keen to guzzle from the pork barrel need to reminded of that on a daily basis.

As some of the action on the inland fronts has stalled, it's understandable that journalists are having to hunt out eye-catching angles on aspects of the conflict while they wait for something more spectacular to happen. It's now humdrum for Ukraine to intercept very high percentages of the missiles and drones targeting its population centres, in contrast to last year.

Apparently repeated Ukrainian strikes over the past few weeks on key installations in Crimea aren't clickworthy enough when so many are fixated on which side has gained a few hundred yards here or there every few weeks. Those Crimean strikes, more of them that will undoubtedly come in future, and the earlier attacks on Russian air defences that facilitated them are likely to prove much more significant in the long run.
December 27, 2023

Nonsense

Why apologize for pissing on everybody's parade? I don't think you're achieving that if it's your aim, and it seems to be something of a habit where Ukraine's concerned.

The Russian Orthodox Church is a tool of Putin, the FSB and crooked genocide supporter Patriarch Kirill of Moscow (and should get no sympathy from any progressive, not just because it champions the war, but because of its horrible stances on homosexuality etc.), as has been its branch in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has harboured many clergy who are traitors to Ukraine - part of Putin's hope for activating his pre-embedded allies in Ukraine during the invasion. This should be distinguished from the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (yes, we're in Llife of Brian territory), which is a breakaway that has asserted its independence from Kirill. (Somewhat confusingly, that is now also referred to informally as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, but that's by the by.)

This initiative is part of the move to distance Ukraine from the Russian Orthodox Church and Putin's baleful influence. There's nothing stopping anyone, Orthodox or not, from celebrating the traditional holidays in Ukraine if they wish, as they do in other countries.

Contrary to your broad brush, some influential Catholics - I think wrong-headedly - don't like the idea, as this article from the Catholic Herald shows: Zelensky’s move against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a step too far.

The change in the state calendar doesn't stop anyone celebrating as they wish, like they do in other countries, as this article by a Canadian-Ukrainian shows, including the fact this calendar of observance is supported by some other Orthodox religious factions and that this acceptance of difference in religious calendars is not unique to Ukraine, but rather very much the overwhelming norm among Orthodox churches - as it is for Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and other communities thoughout the world who live in countries where their religion is not the majority (despite the predictable moans from often opportunistic racists and rightwingers):

When Zelensky changed the date of Christmas, it left Ukrainian-Canadians like me with a choice
...
With the exception of Russia and Serbia, most countries with majority Orthodox Christian populations observe Christmas on Dec. 25. Because the Russian Orthodox Church still uses the Julian calendar, used by the Russian Empire for several centuries, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Greek Catholics decided to switch to the newer Gregorian calendar in an effort to distance themselves from Moscow. The change initiated by Mr. Zelensky serves to place a firewall between Ukrainian believers and the Russian Orthodox Church and its leaders, who’ve backed the Kremlin’s invasion. One could argue it also puts Ukraine more in sync with neighbouring EU countries such as Poland, where the birth of Christ is observed on Dec. 25.
...
I suppose that with Ukraine becoming more European and with an increasing number of Ukrainians celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25, it’s no surprise that support for the date change is quite high. In a Ukrainian government poll launched last December, nearly 59 per cent of the more than 1.5 million people who voted supported moving the date to Dec. 25.
...
Where does all this leave the enormous global Ukrainian diaspora community, including the millions who recently fled the war to safer havens such as Canada? I suspect many will shop for parishes and community organizations that fit in with their own beliefs and calendars. Until now, many Ukrainian church leaders have been more than happy to provide both dates as options to their flock, and I believe that will continue despite political decisions made in Kyiv. This year, flexibility on dates is being allowed by Ukrainian church leaders in Canada, and some churches, such as Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral in Winnipeg, will offer their flocks celebrations in December and January.

Where communities switch to just one Christmas, there could be confusion for some. There’s been a tradition in some Canadian communities for carollers from Ukrainian organizations to schedule house visits so that “old calendar folks” visit families celebrating on Dec. 25, and new calendar observants hit homes celebrating on Jan. 7. How will this work now, given that carolling is a top annual fundraising event for many Ukrainian community organizations in Canada?
...
As for me? I’ve already blocked out Boxing Day for my customary Christmas gift shopping and invited loved ones around for the traditional Christmas Eve dinner on Jan. 6. My opposition to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is clear and cuts deep into my soul. But celebrating Christmas on Jan. 7 connects me with a family past of warm and fuzzy memories. Even though it overlaps with Russian traditions, it has always been how our family stayed connected with the past and helped keep our culture alive, especially when Ukraine was a subjugated nation. For me, it is also an added layer of insulation against the increasing crass commercialism of Christmas.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-when-zelensky-changed-the-date-of-christmas-it-left-ukrainian/
December 26, 2023

More photos and videos of the aftermath

There were reports overnight of fires in quite a wide area around the initial strike site, widespread damage to buildings, and the possibility that more than one ship berthed nearby may also have been damaged.



To be fair to the Russians, they do seem to have been able to extinguish the fire on the Novocherkask now:



The Russians have confirmed that the ship was "damaged".

https://twitter.com/Gerashchenko_en/status/1739615236284395871

Anton Gerashchenko
@Gerashchenko_en

Russian media report that large fragments of the Novocherkask landing ship, which was hit by the Armed Forces of Ukraine strikes tonight, can be found in the vicinity of Feodosiya port.

Russian navy can organize a quest game to put this puzzle of a ship together.

[Twitter video with English subtitles]


There are also reports of continuing Ukrainian strikes on Sevastopol and elsewhere in Crimea overnight and today.

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