Saturday, July 31, 2010

President to hold meeting on Crimea's strategic development on August 3

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych will chair a meeting on the strategic development of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in Simferopol on August 3. The meeting will be held in the Taurida National University named after Volodymyr Vernadsky, the main department of information policy of the Council of Ministers of Crimea reported on Friday.That day the president will also meet with representatives of the Crimean Tatars.
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Poland regrets Ukraine shying from Euro-Atlantic integration.

July 28, 2010 (Interfax-Ukraine news agency). Poland regrets Ukraine's decision not to join NATO, Ambassador of Poland to Ukraine Jacek Kluczkowski said on the Fifth TV Channel on Tuesday evening. "Poland regrets that this process is not developing simultaneously: the integration of Ukraine into NATO and the integration of Ukraine into the European Union," the ambassador said.He added that membership of NATO is not an essential requirement for entering the European Union, and for this reason Ukraine should concentrate on signing the European Union Association Agreement and agreement on free-trade zone as soon as possible."Then Ukraine will have European legislation and a transparent European economic policy," he added.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Norway rafting accident kills four Ukrainians

Four Ukrainians died in a rafting accident today at Ridderspranget on the river Sjoa in Oppland. Police initially reported three victims, with one individual missing, but the person was found dead later, reports NRK. “We were out rafting with Sjoa Rafting and were called to the site when the accident happened. All the boats were then taken out of the water," said eyewitness Frode Evensen. Emergency services immediately put a complex rescue operation into action, involving Sea King helicopters, the air ambulance, police, the fire brigade, the Red Cross, as well as experienced paddlers from local rafting companies. The four victims were part of a group of 13 people, all of Ukrainian nationality. However it’s still unclear whether the expedition was supervised or not as they cannot communicate with the survivors until an interpreter can be found. According to NRK, several rafting companies regard the river Sjoa’s upper and lower parts as too dangerous to use.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chief of American army forces in Europe visits Ukraine

A U.S. military delegation headed by the commander of the U.S. army forces in Europe, Gen. Carter Ham, began a two-day visit to Ukraine on Monday, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry reported. The aim of the visit is to discuss the current status of and prospects for cooperation between the U.S. army and Ukrainian land forces as well as to look for ways of how to improve the training of Ukrainian land forces and make them more compatible with the armies of NATO member states, the ministry said.Monday's program includes a courtesy visit by Ham to the chief of the general staff of Ukraine's armed forces, Lt. Gen. Hryhory Pedchenko, a one-to-one meeting between Ham and land forces commander Col. Gen. Hennadiy Vorobyov, and a briefing by the Ukrainian military on current and planned future cooperation between the U.S. army and the Ukrainian land forces.On Tuesday, the American delegates will visit the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security in Lviv region. They will be able to see a paratroop exercise and a fire practice session in which BTR-80 armored personnel carriers and small arms will be used.The delegation will finish its program by visiting the Hetman Petro Sahaidachny Land Forces Academy in Lviv.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Putin arrives in Ukraine for talks with Yanukovych

Sevastopol, July 24 (RIA Novosti). Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived in Ukraine for talks with President Viktor Yanukovych on Saturday. Putin and Yanukovych will discuss "current issues of Russian-Ukrainian cooperation and other questions of bilateral interest," according to the Russian government's press service. Yanukovych met with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on Friday. Russia-Ukraine ties have strengthened significantly since Yanukovych replaced pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko as president in late February.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Brooding Russians are happier than they look. Studies find that, while they may revel in misery, they get over it quickly.

All of life and human relations have become so incomprehensibly complex that, when you think about it, it becomes terrifying and your heart stands still.
With those words, Russian writer Anton Chekhov seemed to perfectly encapsulate the brooding spirit of his people, an attitude that U.S. ethnographers actually researched in “national character difference” studies in the 1950s. Then they concluded that Russian immigrants tended to dwell on negative memories more than Westerners. A new report from the University of Michigan, however, dispels some of those creaky stereotypes, as researchers have discovered that even though Russians tend to brood, they’re less likely than Americans to feel as depressed afterward.
“The conclusion that you often jump to is that Russians are unhappy,” says Igor Grossmann, a doctoral psychology candidate who co-authored the report, to be published in the August issue of Psychological Science. The report looks at the findings of two studies conducted in the U.S. and Russia in 2007 and 2008 and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. In the first study, the researchers looked at self-reflection and depression among 85 American students and 83 Russian students, age 21 on average. They used a personality-trait scale developed by Yale University’s Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, a leading expert on rumination. Sample statements included, “I often spend time by myself thinking about past negative experiences,” and, “I often like to walk in the park and think about past events,” Mr. Grossmann said. The researchers observed that although Russians were more likely to brood, they had fewer depressive symptoms than the Americans.
In the second study, 86 American and 76 Russian students were asked to recall a recent unpleasant experience, be it a breakup, infidelity or a fight with a friend. The participants were asked if they’d achieved closure or still blamed the other party. They were also asked to describe whether they were replaying the event through their own eyes or if they were watching it unfold as “a fly on the wall.”
Compared to the Americans, the Russian students were more likely to spontaneously distance themselves from the situation as they analyzed their emotions. “Distancing is one mechanism that helps them see the positive, despite the fact that they’re contemplating negative experiences,” Mr. Grossmann said, adding that this seemingly paradoxical ability may be tied to linguistics. “Past research also shows that the meanings of positive words often have negative connotations for Russians, and the meanings of negative words often have positive connotations for Russians. There is some kind of dialectical thinking going on there, where they see the other side.” The Russians were also less distressed after remembering the moment – and less likely to blame the other person. “Blaming the other person often leads to anger and pronounced negative emotions, past research in emotion-regulation shows,” Mr. Grossmann said.
The native of Ukraine – and self-confessed brooder – said the findings suggest culture can shape how individuals respond to negative interpersonal experiences. The report was co-authored by Ethan Kross, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

2 killed in Russian power station attack.

In this image taken from TV Russian NTV channel on Wednesday, July 21, 2010, smoke rising from the Russian hydropower station in Kabardino-Balkariya, one of the republics in Russia's restive Caucasus region where clashes with insurgents are frequent. Assailants attacked a hydroelectric station in southern Russia on Wednesday July 21, 2010, killing two workers and setting off bombs.

July 21, 2010 (Associated Press). Two carloads of assailants attacked a hydroelectric station in southern Russia early Wednesday, killing two workers and setting off bombs. The attack took place in Kabardino-Balkariya, one of the republics in Russia's restive Caucasus region where clashes with insurgents are frequent.A spokesman for the republic's police, Adlan Kakakuyev, said two cars carrying a half-dozen assailants attacked the Baksan plant at about 4:30 a.m., killing two guards and wounding three others in gunfire. The attackers then set off explosives in several parts of the 25-megawatt plant and detonated them before fleeing.There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack.The explosions and subsequent fire destroyed two of the plant's three power units, but there was no danger of flooding downriver, the state news agency ITAR-Tass cited power company RusGidro as saying. The dam and plant are on the Baksan River, a waterway that flows into the Terek, a major regional river.Kakakuyev said the same attackers are believed to have earlier opened fire on a police station in the town of Baksan. No one was hurt in that attack.The attack on the hydroelectric station was the most dramatic outburst of violence in the Russian Caucasus in recent months. Although Kabardino-Balkariya sees less violence than nearby Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, the republic suffers from persistent tensions stemming from poverty and harsh police actions toward worship by unsanctioned Muslim sects.In October 2005, dozens of men stormed the capital city, Nalchik, attacking police and government offices. Some 139 people died, including 94 militants.Wednesday's attack did not cause power outages, according to Russian news reports. The plant produces only about 7 percent of the electricity consumed in Kabardino-Bakariya and other plants were able to make up for the loss.Although the plant has comparatively minor strategic value, the attacked demonstrated how regional militants continue to be capable of mounting bold assaults despite years of anti-terrorist efforts by police and the military.Concern about renewed insurgent attacks has been high since March's double suicide bombing of the Moscow subway that killed 40 people. Chechen separtist militant leader Doku Umarov claimed responsibility for that attack.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ukrainian An-158 presented at Farnborough International Airshow 2010

July 20, 2010 (UKRINFORM news agency). The new generation regional jet An-158, produced by the Kyiv-based Antonov Aeronautical Scientific/Technical Complex (Antonov ASTC), is taking part in the Farnborough International Airshow 2010 in London, the Industrial Policy Ministry has said. "We are presenting to the international aviation community a high-tech competitive product that meets all modern requirements and safety and environmental standards, as well as the wishes of its potential customers," said Dmytro Kiva, Antonov ASTC President, General Designer. The guarantee of that is a combination of technological achievements of leading aviation companies of the world which are involved in the An-158 program, with a rich experience of Antonov in the creation of regional aircrafts, he emphasized.
With the level of comfort of a passenger cabin An-158 corresponds to the most advanced regional aircrafts, and may be employed on a broad network of airfields. An-158 first took off in April 2010. To date, the aircraft has performed more than 30 flights lasting a total of more than 70 hours. Antonov is planning to complete the program of certification tests and obtain a certificate of type by the end of this year. The factory in Kyiv is now performing works to launch the serial An-158 into production in cooperation with partners from Russia and other countries.
Taking part in Farnborough-2010, SE Antonov intends to hold talks with representatives of the aviation industry and aircraft operators of different countries to promote Antonov products and services in the international market. It is also planned to sign several agreements. The Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) is one of the world's most iconic global aviation events. FIA holds a prominent position within the aerospace calendar taking place on a biennial basis (once every two years) over one week in July. The first five days of the show are traditionally trade days only, followed by a weekend where the exhibition is opened up to the public.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Patriarch Kirill praises changes in Ukraine since election

Head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill has said he expects to see the positive changes that have occurred in Ukraine with his own eyes during his forthcoming visit to Ukraine. "I suppose that the quality of life of Ukrainian society has obviously changed, [but] perhaps this is just an outside point of view. So, I would like to see and feel [for myself] the current situation in Ukraine," Patriarch Kirill told Ukrainian TV channels during an interview on his forthcoming visit July 20-28. He said the development of Ukraine over last months had been rather positive. Patriarch Kirill also added that "it is already obvious" that "the political situation in Ukraine is stabilizing, its economic rates – equalized, and relations with the world and close neighbors are being developed, in particular with Russia, Europe and the United States." "I also would like to say that Ukraine is very close to my heart for many reasons. But the main reason is the power of faith, the power of religious feeling, [and the] purity and naturalness of this feeling. Let God preserve this faith and wonderful spiritual tradition of the Kyiv Rus," Patriarch Kirill added. Read more:

Record-high temperatures are forecast across Ukraine for July 19-25.

Soaring temperatures across most of Ukraine in recent days have slowed down traffic and kept people indoors during the daylight hours. Weather bureaus on July 19 say they expect the heatwave to continue into this week. Sunday, July 18, saw temperatures in Poltava reaching 36 Celsius (97Fahrenheit), breaking the 34 Celsius record set in 2007. The lowest recorded temperature for July 18 is 9 Celsius, recorded in 1911. Ukrainians were told that they should not expect cooler weather for at least two more weeks.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ukrainian knights will take part in 2010 reenactment of the battle of Grunvald.

The re-enactment of one of the most important medieval battles takes place every year. This unique historical performance is carried out with participation of knights from Poland, Germany, Italy, France, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and even the USA. Almost 1,500 knights take part in the battle every year, and their battle is watched by 100,000 spectators.2010 is an exceptional year, since mid-July marks the 600th anniversary of the victory of the Polish and Lithuanian armies over the Teutonic Order. This is an occasion for a grand scale re-enactment (17 July 2010) and accompanying events – marching parades, concerts, festivities and mock battles.

The Battle of Grunwald or 1st Battle of Tannenberg was fought on July 15, 1410, during the Polish-Lithuanian-Teutonic War. The alliance of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, led respectively by King Jogaila (Władysław Jagiełło) and Grand Duke Vytautas (Witold), decisively defeated the Teutonic Knights, led by Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen. Most of the Teutonic knight's leadership was killed or taken prisoner. While defeated, the Teutonic Knights withstood the siege on their fortress in Marienburg (Malbork) and suffered only minimal territorial losses at the Peace of Thorn (1411). Territorial disputes continued until the Peace of Melno was concluded in 1422. However, the Knights never recovered their former power and the financial burden of war reparations caused internal conflicts and an economic downturn in their lands. The battle shifted the balance of power in Eastern Europe and marked the rise of the Polish-Lithuanian union as the dominant political and military force in the region. The battle was one of the largest battles in Medieval Europe and is regarded as the most important victory in the history of Poland and Lithuania. It was surrounded by romantic legends and nationalostic propaganda, becoming a larger symbol of struggle against invaders and a source of national pride. During the 20th century, the battle was used in Nazi and Soviet propaganda campaigns. Only in recent decades have historians made progress towards a dispassionate, scholarly assessment of the battle reconciling the previous narratives, which differed widely by nation.
Polish and foreign heads of state have arrived at Grunwald, in northern Poland, to mark the 600th anniversary of the Polish-Lithuanian victory over the German order of Teutonic knights on July 15, in 1410. After hearing an address by Polish President-elect Bronisław Komorowski, participants will lay wreaths at the battlefield and later visit the Teutonic Knight's castle in Malbork. Prominent guests include Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Romanian President Traian Bāsescu, acting President of Moldova Mihai Ghimpu as well as the Grand Master of the Order of Teutonic Knights, bishop Bruno Platter. The main part of the celebrations have taken part on Saturday, July 17, with a reenactment of the historic battle at 2 pm. The reenactment included around 2,200 participants, and about 120,000 spectators. The reenactment was preceded by speeches from politicians such as Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Sejm Speaker Grzegorz Schetyna, Senate Speaker Bogdan Borusewicz and European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek. “The Battle of Grunwald in 1410 is an unprecedented event in the history of the Polish state,” said Piotr Żuchowski, secretary of state at the Polish Culture Ministry. “The battle permanently strengthened the position of Poland in medieval Europe.”

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

CIS leaders approve Chornobyl anniversary conference

July 12, 2010 (Interfax-Ukraine). The leaders of six CIS* member states, who had an informal meeting in Yalta on Saturday, supported holding an international conference on the cleanup of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster in Kyiv in April 2011. The conference entitled the "25th Anniversary of the Chornobyl Disaster. Future Security" will focus on the modernization of the Chornobyl Shelter dome built over the damaged fourth reactor and environmental security, said a joint statement of the informal summit delegates.
Many Poltava local inhabitants still consider as a God's gift the fact that extremely huge radioactive cloud that has polluted even far located Norway simply bypassed Poltava in Aprill 1986.
* The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ukraine, NATO to hold Sea Breeze military drills in July

July 7, 2010 (Kyiv, RIA Novosti). This year's Ukraine-NATO Sea Breeze military exercises will be held in Ukraine's Black Sea region on July 12-23, the country's Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.
"The drills will practice the interoperability of the military and law enforcement bodies of different countries in the fight against terrorism, sea piracy, WMD proliferation, sea rescue and naval control of shipping," the ministry said in a statement.
The land phase of the exercises will be held at a military training area in the Nikolayev region, while the sea drills will take place in northwestern Black Sea. Ukraine will be represented by a naval infantry battalion and five Coast Guard vessels. Sea Breeze drills have been conducted in Ukraine since 1997 and involve troops from NATO countries on rotation basis. In 2009, the Ukrainian parliament defied then-President Viktor Yushchenko and refused to approve the exercises. But this year, Ukrainian lawmakers voted in favor of the drills, which will see the participation of some 3,000 military personnel from at least 15 countries. Ukraine will also host this year a series of other international military and peacekeeping exercises, including Ukrainian-U.S. Rapid Trident 2010, Ukrainian-Romanian Cossack Steppe 2010 and Ukrainian-Polish-Lithuanian-Canadian Maple Arch 2010.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrives in Crimea for informal CIS summit

July 10, 2010 (FOCUS News Agency Moscow). Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived on Saturday in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea for informal Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit, RIA Novosti reports.The informal summit is to take place in the Livadia Palace near the city of Yalta, often used by the Ukrainian leadership to hold solemn international events.The Belarusian, Armenian and Kazakh leaders have already arrived in the Crimea. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yanukovych are expected to attend.The CIS leaders will discuss among the others the development of the Crimea's economy and the investment policy to the autonomous republic.The summit will be held following Yanukovych's birthday celebrations.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ukrainian Air Force unit in Crimea has been surveyed by the President.

July 7, 2010. An extraordinary meeting of the National Security and Defense Council took place in Kyiv. Among other questions the situation in the Armed Forces of Ukraine has been discussed. According to the source in the Administration of the President, the reason for this is unsatisfactory state of the Ukrainian armed forces. Such conclusion was made by the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych during his visit to the Crimea on 2-4 July.
During his visit to the airbase "Belbek" in Sevastopol where 204th Tactical Aviation Brigade is deployed, president asked how many of the available aircraft are ready to take off. An answer was: only one of 20 fighters is on full combat alert. In this connection the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine intends to recommend that Defence Minister of Ukraine be dismissed. In addition, the threat of dismissal is hanging over Air Force commander Ivan Rusnak. It is reported that Ivan Rushak had already appealed for help to the Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov during unscheduled meeting that took place on Tuesday, July 6.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ukraine recovers stolen Caravaggio work: report

June 29, 2010 (Reuters) - Ukrainian and German police have recovered a painting by 17th century Italian artist Caravaggio stolen from a Ukrainian museum, the Interfax news agency quoted Ukraine's interior minister as saying on Tuesday. The painting, called the "Taking of Christ," or the "Kiss of Judas," and considered the most valuable piece of art in Ukraine, was stolen from a museum in the Black Sea port of Odessa in 2008 in what officials described as a "cultural catastrophe."
"On June 25, in Berlin, Ukraine's Interior Ministry agents together with their German colleagues detained three Ukrainian citizens and one citizen of Germany and recovered Caravaggio's painting," Interior Minister Anatoly Mogylyov told a briefing. It was recovered in Germany, where the four were detained. Mogylyov said another suspected member of the gang, which focused on high-value thefts, had been detained in Ukraine.
"We have carried out more than 20 searches and proven (the group's) involvement in more than 20 thefts in Ukraine," he said. The painting had been bought by a Russian ambassador to France and presented as a gift to a Russian prince before being turned over to the Odessa museum last century. Doubts had been expressed about the painting's authenticity, but Soviet art experts in the 1950s confirmed the work was indeed by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. It underwent restoration work in 2006. A version of the same painting by Caravaggio hangs in the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin.

Monday, July 5, 2010

An annual “Treasure of Mazepa” quest in Poltava.

An annual “Treasure of Mazepa” quest dedicated to the 301st anniversary of the Battle of Poltava have taken place on June 27th, 2010 in Poltava. About 1000 participants have been registered. The main goal of the quest is to stimulate history learning among young generation. To win a prize all participants had to answer many questions connected with the history of Poltava, Great Northern war and its decisive battle and besides pass a pretty long distance to reach the right place on the bank of the Vorskla River where many sacks full of Ukrainian one Hryvna coins were hided under the water. It is important to add that all participants are good swimmers and divers All in all about 40 thousand Hryvnas (in coins) have been collected by organizing committee for this quest. Almost all coins have been discovered by winners and taken out of the river.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Administration of President of Ukraine online bought cocaine and marijuana

By order of President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovych employees of the Administration of President made a check purchase of narcotic and psychotropic drugs though open channels in the Internet and mass media. According to an UNIAN correspondent, V. Yanukovych said this at the meeting of leaders of the law-enforcement agencies and state bodies on crime prevention and anti drug fight that takes place under chairmanship of the President of Ukraine in Kyiv. “I am really alarmed at spread of narcotic drugs in the country especially among minors”, said the head of the state. He noted that the steps taken by the law-enforcement agencies and the Health Ministry in this area ”are not effective enough and possibly even criminal”.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hillary Clinton’s Ukraine trip to balance tilt to Moscow

July , 2010 KIEV (Reuters)Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may initiate renewed U.S. interest in Ukraine after a flurry of pro-Russian moves by its new leadership when she visits the ex-Soviet republic on Friday, analysts said. Clinton’s stop in Kiev, at the start of a five-country regional trip, is the first to Ukraine by a top U.S. official since President Viktor Yanukovich was elected in February, ousting pro-Western leaders and tilting policy toward Moscow. Unlike ex-Soviet Georgia, which Clinton will also visit, the Yanukovich leadership sees little danger in U.S. President Barack Obama’s efforts to “reset” relations with Russia. Since taking over from the pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko, Yanukovich has abandoned the aim of joining NATO, extended the stay of the Russian navy in a Ukrainian Black Sea port and stepped up commercial contacts with Russia. But he would like Washington’s blessing for what he says is a pragmatic policy that looks both to Russia and the West, and for Ukraine’s efforts to stabilize its economy with help from global financial lenders. An IMF mission is currently in Kiev for what the government hopes will be conclusive talks on a multi-billion-dollar loan to boost Ukraine’s economic recovery. Washington applauded in April Yanukovich’s move to get rid of highly-enriched uranium and has reacted publicly with some indifference to his downgrading of relations with NATO. Clinton herself has recognized Ukraine’s need to manage a “balancing act” between Russia and the West.
U.S. officials, ahead of Clinton’s trip, said improved U.S.-Russian relations are good for Russia’s neighbors and countries should not have to choose between one or the other — comments that should hearten the Yanukovich leadership.