Day 547: Ukraine marks 32nd anniversary of restored independence

On August 24, 2023, Ukraine marks the 32nd anniversary of its restored independence. On this day in 1991, the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) passed the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine. Today also marks one and a half years since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainian national flag flew over Crimea overnight. Norway has confirmed its donation of F-16s to Ukraine.

Ukrainian national flag hoisted in Crimea overnight

In the early hours of Thursday, August 24, Ukrainian troops landed in occupied Crimea and clashed with Russian forces.

In a joint operation with the Navy, Ukraine’s defense intelligence damaged four Russian high-speed boats and took out at least 30 Russian troops, Ukrainian news web site Babel said, quoting Ukraine’s defense intelligence. 

Commenting on the operation to Ukrainian media, representative of the Main Intelligence Department of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry Andriy Yusov said: “In a special operation [Ukrainian] troops landed on the peninsula. The Main Intelligence Department and the Navy conducted a joint operation. The aims were accomplished. There were no losses among the personnel. The special operation continues. We do not disclose all details. The enemy took losses in personnel and equipment.”

Ukraine’s defense intelligence confirmed that at night Ukrainian troops landed on the shore of Crimea near Olenivka and Mayak with seaborne vessels. 

“While performing the task, Ukrainian defenders clashed with the occupier’s units. As a result, the enemy suffered losses among its personnel, and enemy equipment was destroyed. Also, the state flag flew over Ukrainian Crimea again,” a statement by the Main Intelligence Department says.

“All tasks were accomplished. Ukrainian defenders ended the operation with no losses and left,” it added.

The Russian-installed administration of Crimea did not comment on what happened despite numerous requests by locals, Ukraine’s intelligence said.

Ukraine’s defense intelligence chief, Major General Kyrylo Budanov said in televised comments that it won’t end with certain strikes on the territory of Crimea. There will be a ground operation and “the recovery of our territories”.

“This special operation [in Crimea] is important, first of all, to make people believe, people not even in mainland Ukraine but in Crimea. We want them to remember and believe that victory is just around the corner. And their liberation is not far away either,” Budanov said.

Diplomacy without real power is impotent, he added.

Norway confirms donation of F-16s to Ukraine. Portugal, Lithuania announce more military aid

Norway will donate F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre announced during a visit to Kyiv on Thursday. 

He reminded that Norway will train Ukrainian pilots and will provide two F-16 jets for training purposes. The country plans to donate Norwegian F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, Gahr Støre added. Further details about the donation, numbers and time frame for delivery, will follow “in due course”, the Prime Minister said.

Speaking at a news conference in Kyiv, Gahr Støre said Norway will provide between five and ten F-16 aircraft to Ukraine, depending on their condition, according to the Norwegian broadcaster TV2. Norway earlier sold most of its F-16s to Romania. 

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda, Chairperson of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Željko Komšić, and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre joined Volodymyr Zelenskyi during a ceremony on Ukraine’s Independence Day in Kyiv Thursday. They also met separately with President Zelenskyi. Each country announced further support to Ukraine.

Portugal confirmed it will join efforts to train Ukrainian pilots and engineers on F-16 jets. “We also discussed ways to expand defense cooperation, including the supply of armored medical vehicles and demining equipment to Ukraine,” Zelenskyi said. He added that Portugal had joined G7’s declaration on security guarantees to Ukraine. Portugal contributes to joint efforts ahead of the Ukraine-Latin America and Ukraine-Africa summits, he said.

Lithuania is sending a new package of military assistance to Ukraine, worth EUR 41 million, the country’s Defense Ministry said Thursday. The package includes Carl-Gustaf ammunition, rifles, maritime surveillance radar kits, 5.56 mm cartridges, generators, anti-drones and other support. Lithuania will also hand over NASAMS missile launchers to Ukraine. According to Lithuania’s Defense Ministry, Lithuania handed over Mi-8 helicopters, L-70 anti-aircraft guns with ammunition, M113 armored personnel carriers, millions of rounds of ammunition, and grenade launcher ammunition to Ukraine in the first seven months of the year. “Lithuania also provides expert advice, contributes to international funds for assistance to Ukraine, contributes to the training of Ukrainian soldiers, conducts courses for them, and Lithuanian military instructors are also participating in Operation Interflex, during which they are training Ukrainian soldiers in the subtleties of combat together with other NATO allies,” the ministry said. Lithuania’s medical and rehabilitation facilities have received around 200 wounded Ukrainian soldiers and plan to receive more of them.

Norway will also send IRIS-T anti-aircraft missiles and mine clearing equipment to Ukraine. The donation is part of the five-year Nansen Support Program for Ukraine amounting to NOK 75 billion, the Norwegian government said in a statement. The missiles can be launched from Sweden-donated units. Norway will replace the missiles it gave to Ukraine. The country will also send portable kits to neutralize explosives and clear minefields. Norway will also donate NOK 1.5 billion worth of gas and electricity to Ukraine.

Ukrainian Independence 32 Years Later. Ukraine in Flames #498

In this episode our guest speakers provide insights into Ukraine’s path to independence, from the initial signs of the Soviet Union’s decline to the birth of Ukraine’s People’s Movement and the challenges faced in shaping the Ukrainian nation’s foreign policy. They also discusses the importance of collective unity among Ukrainians abroad through initiatives such as the Chain of Unity campaign, emphasizing the significance of unity in countering information warfare. Happy 32nd Year of Independence Ukraine!!

Watch episode #498 of Ukraine in Flames to find out how it all began and the path to Ukraine’s independence here!

  • Yuriy Kostenko, Minister of Environmental Protection (1992-1995) and Minister of Ecology and Nuclear Safety (1995-1998)
  • Vasyl Kostytskyi, Member of Parliament of Ukraine of I, II, III convocations, Doctor of Law, Professor, Honoured Lawyer of Ukraine
  • Igor Pinchuk, Coordinator of the Chain of Unity campaign.