Good morning from Kyiv where there’s something of a blizzard falling this morning with temperatures plunging to around -5C overnight.
What’s happening today?
Aside from a lot of forecast snow, many people in Ukraine – and around the world – will be waiting to see if there are any more slightly-mysterious explosions at airfields deep inside Russian territory.
Three such attacks this week have damaged Russian long-range bombers and killed three people, prompting Russian President Vladimir Putin to convene his security council.
American officials have also been quick to react, denying U.S.-supplied weapons were involved, whilst at the same time giving a thinly-veiled nod of approval to what are widely believed to have been Ukrainian drone attacks.
You can read more about that story here.
What was in Volodymyr Zelensky’s latest message?
Wednesday Dec. 6 was Armed Forces of Ukraine Day so Zelensky took a break from his usual informal daily address to give a rousing speech to the nation.
“For eight years and 286 days, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have been defending our beautiful state from the occupier, from Russian aggression,” he said.
“Thousands of Ukrainians gave their lives for the day to come when not a single occupier remains on our land and all our people are free again.
“I wish you all one thing – victory. To all of us. You deserve it! All our people deserve it. All our parents, our children deserve it. Our state and history deserve it. To finally gain victory.”
What’s the latest military situation?
The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) has focused its attention on Russian efforts to reinforce defensive positions inside Russia itself, specifically along the “international border with Ukraine, and deep inside its Belgorod region.”
“Trench digging has been reported in Belgorod since at least April, but the new constructions are probably more elaborate systems, designed to rebuff mechanized assault,” the MoD states.
It adds that the only strategic purpose of such defenses is to rebuff a Ukrainian invasion of Russia, something which simply isn’t on the cards at all in reality.
The MoD has two possible explanations for the defenses – firstly, to “burnish patriotic feeling” and secondly, because some Russian officials’ grasp on reality is so weak they think there is a genuine threat of invasion.
It adds: “Paucity in strategic assessment is one of the critical weaknesses in the central Russian government architecture: as highlighted by Russia’s original decision to invade Ukraine.”
The Institute for the Study of War’s Dec. 6 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:
- The Kremlin directly responded to Russian rumors of a second wave of mobilization in an apparent effort to manage growing societal concern and recentralize information about the war with the Russian government and its authorized outlets;
- Igor Girkin, a former Russian militant commander and prominent critical voice in the Russian milblogger information space, returned to Telegram following a nearly two-month stint in Ukraine and used his return to offer a vitriolic first-hand account of the situation on the frontlines;
- Ukrainian forces likely made recent gains in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast, and Russian forces conducted limited attacks and defended against Ukrainian counteroffensive actions.
And that’s it for today’s Morning Memo.
Kyiv Post will bring you the latest news throughout the day and we’ll be back with another edition tomorrow.
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