Wednesday, December 24, 2014

BBC News – Ukraine votes to drop non-aligned status

December 24, 2014 (BBC News) Ukraine’s parliament has voted to drop the country’s non-aligned status and work towards Nato membership. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the move “counterproductive” and said it would boost tensions. The BBC’s David Stern in Kiev says it is not clear when Ukraine will apply for Nato membership and many officials see it as a distant prospect. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko pledged to seek Nato membership over Russian support for rebels in the east. Russia, which annexed the Crimean peninsula in March, denies supplying the rebels with weapons. However, it is subject to EU and US sanctions over the crisis. In a vote in Ukraine’s parliament on Tuesday, MPs overwhelmingly backed the move by 303 to 8. Speaking before the vote, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said Ukraine was determined to pivot towards Europe and the West. “This will lead to integration in the European and the Euro-Atlantic space,” he said. The non-aligned status, which Ukraine adopted in 2010 under Russian pressure, prevents states from joining military alliances.

Monday, December 8, 2014

On Ukrainian Army Day (December 6) Ukrainian army got more armored vehicles than in the past 10 years



An armored vehicles transfer ceremony have taken place in Chuguyiv near Kharkiv on December 6, 2014. Modernized and repaired tanks T-64B (Bulat) and armored troop carriers are among military equipment to be sent soon to the warfare area. Besides self-propelled howitzers 2S1 “Gvozdika” and helicopters Mi-8 and Mi-2 will be delivered to the east of Ukraine soon. Ukraine has partly suspended the supplies of military equipment abroad to meet growing requirements of Ukrainian Army.
The annexation of Crimea and the hybrid war with Russian Federation have changed the Ukrainian government’s attitude toward the domestic military industry. Consequently, Ukraine’s arms production sector is likely to cease being an export-oriented industry that depended on Russia and exploited the fame of the Soviet military-industrial complex, while not developing much of its own hardware or technologies. President Petro Poroshenko told the government last September that the Ukrainian military-industrial complex could become one of the engines of the national economy. 
We have to thank you all Ukrainian engineers and workers for their selfless labour. They succeeded in breathing new life into military factories and specialized repair shops that have been standing idle for decades. To say truly, these vehicles are out of the date in comparison with what NATO countries are currently armed with, but undoubtedly it is better than nothing. Unfortunately the countries that acts as guarantors of our territorial integrity as well as other western friends of Ukraine more inclined to provide us with whatever you want but not lethal arms. More and more people here in Ukraine has started to think about whether the decision regarding a non-nuclear -weapon status was mistaken or not ...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Putin’s Loss of German Trust Seals the West’s Isolation of Russia

Nov.17, 2014 (time.com)

After a night spent debating the Ukraine crisis with the Russian President, German Chancellor Angela Merkel came out more determined than ever to push the Kremlin out of Eastern Europe



Russia's President Vladimir Putin looks on at a press conference following the G20 Leaders' Summit in Brisbane, Australia.
During a sppech on Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel predicted a drawn-out confrontation with Moscow. Breaking from her normally subdued political style, she even invoked the worst years of the 20th century in describing the West’s conflict with Russia over Ukraine. “After the horrors of two world wars and the end of the Cold War, this challenges the peaceful order in Europe,” she said, referring to what she called Putin’s “old-thinking” view of Eastern Europe as Russia’s stomping ground. “I am convinced this won’t succeed,” she said. In the end, the West would win out against the challenge emanating from Russia, “even if the path will be long and hard and full of setbacks,” Merkel told a conference in Brisbane, Australia.
It was in many ways the low point for Putin’s deepening estrangement from the West. During the G20 summit of world leaders held in Brisbane over the weekend, the Russian leader was broadly ostracized by the most powerful figures at the table, and some of them were far less diplomatic toward Putin than Merkel has been. In greeting Putin on Saturday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper reportedly said, “I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I have only one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine.” Later that day, Merkel came to the Hilton Hotel in central Brisbane for an unscheduled meeting with Putin that reportedly lasted almost six hours, running well into Sunday morning. The subject was the conflict in Ukraine, and according to the Kremlin, Putin did his best to “clarify in detail the Russian approach to this situation.” But his efforts to win Merkel’s sympathy – or at least her understanding – appear to have done the opposite. He emerged from their encounter apparently so exhausted that he decided to leave the summit early, saying he needed to get some sleep.

Monday, November 17, 2014

U.S. Congress to Consider Granting Weapons and Ammunition to Ukraine

November 11, 2014 (Cenzor.net) The U.S. Congress will consider the law on Lend-Lease, which proposes to transfer weapons, ammunition, and other types of armament to Ukraine to counter Russian aggression. The author of the bill, Republican Michael Burgess, is convinced that financial aid in the current situation is no longer enough, Censor.net reports citing the Voice of America. Commenting on the events in Ukraine, Burgess said: "Ukrainians want to live in a united, independent, stable and prosperous democracy. And without a doubt, the war in the Donbas complicates reform efforts. Russian aggression made Ukraine a more united, more democratic and, ironically, more pro-Western. The results of the recent elections have confirmed it. The GOP representative aims to help Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy". 
"The position of the Congress is solidarity with Ukraine. The US has already provided financial and material assistance to Ukraine, but taking into account the constant aggression and lack of respect for the peace plan, demonstrated by Russia, Ukraine needs more than money. Ukraine needs weapons, ammunition, body armor, and communication means," the congressman said. "Of course, financial assistance is important, but not as much as weapons and ammunition to fight off the Russian troops which invaded a sovereign country." 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Automobile manufacturer “AutoKraz” located in Poltava region has launched a production of new armoured vehicles for the need of Ukrainian army



New armored vehicles “Spartan” and “Kuga” are equipped with up-to-date protection systems. An armored vehicle “Kuga” is designed for military operation in town, and another model – “Spartan” has been designed as an armored all-terrain vehicle equipped with a powerful small arms. The President of “AutoKraz” company Roman Chernyak said that all armored cars will be delivered very soon to the warfare area. Since next month such deliveries will become regular. Before to be sent to the East of Ukraine a new vehicles were shown to the public. 
You may visit a web site of the “AutoKraz” company at http://www.autokraz.com.ua/index.php/en/

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Ukraine conflict: Heavy fighting for Donetsk airport

Heavy firing could be heard near the airport - strategically important for both sides in the conflict. A government spokesman said the rebels had broken into one of the terminals but were later pushed back. The rebels say they have seized the airport. A truce agreed in eastern Ukraine on 5 September looks increasingly fragile.
On Friday US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke on the phone with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to "express his concern about intensifying violence in eastern Ukraine". "Russia must use its influence with the separatists and end these attacks immediately", state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
"The situation in the area of Donetsk airport remains difficult," Ukrainian military spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov told Ukraine's Kanal 5 TV.
"The militants, using smoke bombs as a cover, broke into the ground floor of the old terminal," he said.
Ukrainian soldiers had pushed the rebels from half the building, Mr Seleznyov added.But leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic claimed that their fighters had seized the whole airport. Eyewitnesses earlier told local media that a number of rebels had been killed during the clashes. A correspondent for Associated Press news agency reported seeing three rebel tanks firing at the main terminal, with sniper shots ringing out. 
Fighting for the airport - a vantage point for the Ukrainian army to fire on positions in rebel-held Donetsk - has intensified in recent days. Ukraine says two servicemen have been killed and another nine wounded since Thursday. Mr Seleznyov also accused Russia of sending drones over the airport to help the rebels' reconnaissance efforts and direct fire. Russia has denied sending arms to the rebels or soldiers to eastern Ukraine, though it says "volunteers" have crossed into Ukraine. Earlier, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) condemned indiscriminate shelling in east Ukraine after a Red Cross employee was killed. Swiss citizen Laurent DuPasquier, 38, died when a shell landed near ICRC offices in Donetsk on Thursday.

Read more and see video at


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Russia, Ukraine and Europe have been into Vladimir Putin's black hole of fear

 Russia's President Vladimir Putin. Photograph: Alexey Druginyn/RIA Novosti/EPA

18 September 2014 ( Mikhail Shishkin theguardian) The formula for saving any dictatorship is universal: create an enemy, start a war. We are back in Soviet times of total lies. I remember that as a child I read about black holes in a popular science magazine about space and it scared me. The idea of our world being sucked into these breaks in the universe kept bothering me until I realised that it all was so far away that it would not reach us. But then a black hole tore our world very close to us. It started sucking in houses, roads, cars, planes, people and whole countries. Russia and Ukrainehave already fallen into this black hole. And it is now sucking in Europe in front of our eyes. This hole in the universe is the soul of one very lonely ageing man. The black hole is his fear. TV images of the demise of Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddafi were messages that fate sent him from exotic countries. Protest rallies that gathered hundreds of thousands of people in Moscow ruined his inauguration and signalled approaching danger. The disgraceful flight of Ukraine's Viktor Yanukovych earlier this year set off alarm bells: if Ukrainians could oust their gang, it could serve as an example for the brotherly nation. The instinct of self-preservation kicked in immediately. The formula for saving any dictatorship is universal: create an enemy, start a war. The state of war is the regime's elixir of life. A nation in patriotic ecstasy becomes one with its "national leader", while any dissenters can be declared "national traitors". 
The whole article is available at
 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ukrainian Defense Minister Says Kyiv Receiving Weapons

September 14, 2014 (Based on reporting by Reuters, UNIAN and Interfax) Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey says that unnamed NATO member countries are delivering weapons to Kyiv to fight pro-Russian separatists. Heletey said at a news conference in Kyiv on September 14 that he discussed weapons needs with NATO defense ministers at the alliance's summit in Wales on September 4-5. NATO officials have said the organization will not send "lethal assistance" to Ukraine, although member states may do so. Heletey said the weapons are needed to "stop" Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ukraine and Western countries accuse Russia of sending troops and equipment to the insurgents in eastern Ukraine but Russia denies the charges. Heletey would not say who is providing Ukraine with weapons. A nine-day cease-fire has been in effect in eastern Ukraine, where more than 2,600 people were killed in five months of fighting.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey
 Read more at

 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ukraine crisis: Rebels free hundreds of soldiers

Rebels in eastern Ukraine have freed 648 soldiers under the terms of the ceasefire with the government, the Ukrainian military has said. Work was under way to free a further 500 soldiers, it added, clarifying a statement by President Petro Poroshenko on Monday that 1,200 had been freed. The rebels say that 311 of their men remain in government captivity. Officials insist a ceasefire agreed last week appears to be holding, despite several reports of clashes. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that the truce was being observed "in general".
Petro Poroshenko visited the embattled city of Mariupol on Monday
Meanwhile, Ukrainian defence ministry spokesman Andriy Lysenko said the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions remained tense. He accused the rebels of violating agreements and shelling government forces' positions, while insisting that Ukrainian troops had only fired in response. Mr Lysenko said that the ceasefire had activated the process for releasing prisoners, with 648 Ukrainians freed so far by the rebels, and work under way "to free about 500 more prisoners". A rebel leader, Andrei Purgin, told Interfax news agency that a further 36 people would be exchanged on Tuesday. Under the truce reached on Friday, all captives held by both sides are due to be released. Five Ukrainian soldiers have reportedly been killed since the ceasefire deal last Friday. Meanwhile, EU member states have agreed to impose a new package of sanctions against Moscow, to come into force in the coming days. EU ambassadors are set to meet on Wednesday to discuss when the measures should be put in place. The timing is expected to depend on their assessment of whether the ceasefire is holding in eastern Ukraine. Diplomats say the new package will target Russian oil companies Rosneft and Transneft and the petroleum unit of state gas monopoly Gazprom. Their access to financial markets will be restricted - a serious matter for Rosneft, which last month asked the Russian government for a $42bn (£25.2bn) loan. Russia has warned that it could block international flights through its airspace if the EU goes ahead with new measures. On Monday, Mr Poroshenko visited the port city of Mariupol, which has been under attack from pro-Russian rebels. Russian gas exports will not be affected if new sanctions are put in place, diplomats say Before the truce came into place, pro-Russian separatists made big gains in eastern Ukraine and seized territory a few miles outside Mariupol. The ceasefire deal, aimed at ending five months of fighting, was reached in Minsk, Belarus, in talks brokered by the OSCE. Mr Poroshenko appealed on Monday for the OSCE to send representatives to areas where the ceasefire has been broken. Fighting in eastern Ukraine has left some 2,600 people dead since April. 
Rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko (in background) attended a ceremony in Donetsk on Monday

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

France suspends delivery of first Mistral helicopter carrier to Russia



September 3 (Reuters) The French government can not go ahead with the planned delivery of a first of two Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia, the president’s office said in a statement on Wednesday, citing Moscow’s recent actions in eastern Ukraine. “The president of the Republic has concluded that despite the prospect of ceasefire, which has yet to be confirmed and put in place, the conditions under which France could authorize the delivery of the first helicopter carrier are not in place,” President François Hollande’s office said.

http://www.france24.com/en/20140903-france-suspends-plans-deliver-first-mistral-helicopter-carrier-russia/

 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

NATO plans to dispatch 10,000 troops to eastern Ukraine

Sunday Aug 31, 2014 (Press TV) NATO is reportedly planning to send an expeditionary force composed of 10,000 troops from seven different member states to Ukraine amid rising tensions with Russia over the conflict in Eastern European country. The creation of the force will be led by Britain and involve contributions from Denmark, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Norway, and the Netherlands, media outlets reported on Saturday.
Canada is also interested in joining the plan, but it is not known what its final decision will be.
Although no formal announcement has been made yet, British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to declare the force formation at the upcoming NATO summit in Wales on September 4. This comes as a response to Russia’s alleged involvement in the ongoing Ukrainian crisis. NATO has accused Russia of deploying more than 1,000 troops to Ukraine to bolster pro-Moscow forces in the eastern part of the country. Russia, however, insists that it does not have troops operating inside Ukraine and has dismissed NATO’s claims.
The West and Russia have been at loggerheads over the political situation in Ukraine since pro-Western forces toppled Ukraine’s former president, Viktor Yanukovych, in February 2014. Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Moscow forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence the pro-Russians in mid April. The unrest in eastern Ukraine has so far claimed the lives of more than 2,200 people. Nearly 300,000 people have been also forced to flee their homes.
Read more at
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/08/30/377115/nato-to-form-a-force-of-10k-against-russia/
 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ukraine conflict: Army parade to mark independence



August 23 (BBC News Ukraine) Sunday's celebrations mark the 23rd anniversary of Ukraine's independence after the Soviet Union collapsed. Ukraine is to mark its independence day with a military parade in Kiev as fighting continues in the east. The parade will feature hundreds of marching servicemen and military hardware. Critics say that it is inappropriate when Ukraine is at war. Pro-Russian rebels in the eastern city of Donetsk - the scene of the heaviest fighting - say they will hold their own parade featuring imprisoned soldiers. Four months of fighting in the east has left more than 2,000 people dead. More than 330,000 people have fled their homes.

Sunday's celebrations mark the 23rd anniversary of Ukraine's independence after the Soviet Union collapsed


A prayer will be said and wreaths laid for those who have died for an independent Ukraine, including those killed during protests against Mr Yanukovych in Kiev last winter. Supporters say the parade should boost army morale but critics have questioned any show of strength as a waste of money and inappropriate when people are dying in the east. In Donetsk, rebels put on display two destroyed armoured personnel carriers, and there are plans to parade prisoners of war through the streets.
 The military parades were rehearsed on Saturday



Sunday's celebrations come a day after the German chancellor, Angela Merkel visited Kiev and met President Petro Poroshenko. During crisis talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, she also called for "effective border controls" while reiterating her support for Ukraine's pro-Western leaders. The "territorial integrity and wellbeing of Ukraine" was essential, Mrs Merkel said. She cautioned that Russia - already subjected to punishing EU and US sanctions over its alleged interference in Ukraine - could face further punitive measures. "We cannot rule out thinking about further sanctions if things do not progress," Mrs Merkel told reporters. Mrs Merkel - who on Saturday announced a 500m-euro (£400m) loan to Ukraine from Germany - is the most influential. 
 Sunday's celebrations come a day after the German chancellor, Angela Merkel visited Kiev and met President Petro Poroshenko


Russia has been accused by Nato of amassing troops and tanks near its border with Ukraine


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stalin Tower in Moscow Painted In Ukrainian Blue And Yellow

August 20 2014 (Moscow) In the latest act of solidarity with Ukraine in Russia, a group of people have apparently scaled the heights of one of Moscow’s iconic Stalin-era skyscrapers, hoisted a Ukrainian flag over it, and painted the Soviet star at its peak yellow and blue. The incident took place under cover of darkness in the early morning hours of August 20 at a massive 32-floor elite apartment building on the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment in downtown Moscow in the vicinity of both the Kremlin and the Federal Security Service headquarters.  It is not yet clear who was behind the stunt, although police have reportedly arrested four young Russians with climbing gear, all of them believed to be residents of Moscow and the surrounding region. To hoist the flag and paint the star, the climbers presumably would have had to scale the 176-meter building -- or find another way to reach its peak. An unidentified Moscow police official told the Interfax news agency that the group used "an internal staircase" to reach the top floor of the building and then used "special equipment" to reach its spire.  A video posted by various Russian media purports to show one of the pranksters parachuting down from the height of the Stalin-era building after daybreak.
Read full article at http://www.rferl.org/content/moscow-ukraine-vandals-skyscraper/26540814.html

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Parliamentary Secretary Bezan Arrives in Ukraine to Deliver Non-lethal Security Assistance

August 8, 2014 James Bezan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence of Canada, arrives in Ukraine on board a CC-130J Hercules—the first of a series of flights delivering non-lethal military equipment that Ukraine will be able to use to secure and protect its eastern border against Russian aggression, as announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on August 7, 2014.
 “It is a great pleasure to be back in Ukraine as a part of Canada’s swift, targeted and unequivocal response to Russian expansionism and militarism in Ukraine,” said Bezan. “Canada will not stand by in the face of this threat, which is why I am pleased today to highlight further action that Canada is taking in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and their security forces in harm’s way.
 “This equipment—which includes helmets, ballistic eyewear, protective vests, first aid kits, tents and sleeping bags—will provide physical and medical protection to those on the front lines against the insurgency.
 “The logistical equipment provided will allow Ukrainian security and border authorities to better detect and track the movement of illicit goods and people. It is what Ukraine has asked us for, and we are delivering.”

Monday, August 4, 2014

Ukraine crisis: Army 'heading for victory' - defence minister



August 4, 2014 (BBC News Europe)  Ukraine's defence minister Valeriy Heletey has said his forces are gaining ground significantly against rebels in the country's east. He told the BBC there would be victory "very soon". He blamed the rebels for the difficulties faced by international experts in getting access to the MH17 crash site. His remarks came as civilians in the east prepare for a siege as government forces close in on the rebel-held cities of Donetsk and Luhansk. Residents are stockpiling food and supplies and are sleeping in basements, with reports suggesting Luhansk is virtually surrounded and without power.
Gas shortages are causing problems in both government- and rebel-held areas
Many of those who have left their homes in Donetsk and Luhansk regions are seeking shelter in places further from the fighting
In the Donetsk region, where pro-Russian rebels hold sway, Saturday saw parades and celebrations to mark Paratroopers' Day
At least nine civilians were reported killed in Donetsk and Luhansk on Saturday. The region has been unstable since April, when rebels in the east declared independence from Kiev. More than 1,500 people are believed to have been killed since fighting began.
The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July has heightened tensions and failed to stem the fighting. Russia, which annexed Ukraine's Crimea region in March, has been accused of arming the rebels and has been targeted by US and EU sanctions. Russia denies the accusations. 'Russia is retaliating'  Col-Gen Heletey said he understood that it would not be easy to capture the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, especially as Russia was "doing everything it can to provoke us". But he said his forces were winning. "The separatists' territory is now two-and-a-half times smaller than it was four weeks ago," he said. "More than 65 towns and villages have been liberated by Ukrainian forces in the Donetsk and Luhansk region. Our forces are in an offensive phase, but I want the world to know, that Russia is retaliating." The defence minister said he was 100% sure of victory and that Ukraine had no choice but to carry on fighting. "Ukraine is like a burning house. The Ukrainian army is going inside the burning house, to put the fire out," he said. "If we don't put it out, it will be in Kiev, in Kharkiv, everywhere. We are asking every Ukrainian: take a bucket of water and help us to put the fire out." Col-Gen Heletey said that there would be no fighting on the MH17 crash site, currently controlled by the rebels, until all the evidence and remains had been collected. "In practical terms, we are not far away from the crash site, but we have backed off from the area... so the international mission can be carried out properly," he said.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Reuters: Ukraine says EU reverse gas flows lower after Gazprom's 'threats'

 July 29  2014 (Reuters) Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan said on Wednesday reverse gas flows from the European Union to Ukraine had fallen because of opposition from Russian gas producer Gazprom . Ukraine - which consumes around 50 billion cubic metres of gas annually - has increased its efforts to secure more gas from the European Union after Gazprom raised prices for its supplies in a dispute. "Reverse gas supplies are reduced at present. This is linked to certain actions by Gazprom," Prodan told reporters, adding Ukraine first saw a decrease two weeks ago. Gazprom declined to comment on Wednesday. The company said on Apr.5 the possibility of importing gas from the West to substitute for Russian supplies raised questions about the legality of such a move. Gazprom head Alexei Miller has also called the reverse of gas flows from Slovakia to Ukraine "semi-fraudulent". "You heard the threats Gazprom made to European energy companies that this reverse is illegal." He said reverse supplies stood at 7 million cubic metres daily on Wednesday versus a possible 18 million. He did not say by how much supplies had fallen in the past two weeks. On April 28 Bratislava and Ukraine signed a deal allowing the EU to send a limited amount of gas to Ukraine. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said combined reverse flows from Slovakia, Hungary and Poland could reach up to around 16-17 bcm annually.
A manometer of the gas pressure and a valve at the East Poltava gas booster compressor station not far from Ukrainian city of Poltava on June 27, 2014.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

777 Malaysia Airlines flight crashes in Ukraine

July 17 2014(CNN)  A Malaysia Airlines passenger jet crashed -- and was possibly shot down -- in eastern Ukraine on Thursday. The plane had 280 passengers and 15 crew members on board, read a Facebook post from Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry. The Boeing 777 was "shot down" over Ukraine by "terrorists" operating a Buk surface-to-air missile system, the post said. The plane was shot down near the town on Torez in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, according to the post, as it flew at about 10,000 meters (32,000 feet).
"We do not exclude that the plane was shot down and confirm that the Ukraine Armed Forces did not fire at any targets in the sky," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said, according to his website. Details of the incident are quickly pouring in during the same week that Ukrainian officials said a Russian fighter shot down a Ukrainian military transport plane while the aircraft was in in Ukrainian airspace. Malaysia Airlines has confirmed that it lost contact with Flight 17 and that the jet's last known position was over Ukrainian airspace, the airline said on Twitter. Reacting to the breaking story, CNN's Richard Quest, an aviation expert, said that it would "extremely unusual" for an airliner at 32,000 feet to be shot down. From the ground, one could simply look up and tell whether a plane was a commercial aircraft.
"It looks like a commercial aircraft, it squawks a commercial aircraft. So something is absolutely appalling that's gone on here," he said. FlightRadar24 showed the plane disappearing near Kremenchuk (100 km. south from Poltava), Ukraine.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak tweeted that an investigation will be launched immediately. "I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed," he posted. And Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk ordered that a government commission investigate the crash, a statement from his office said. Russian President Vladimir Putin "expressed deep condolences" to Malaysia's Prime Minister over the crash, a post Thursday on the Kremlin's website said. He "asked to pass the most sincere word of condolences and support to families and relatives of (the crash) victims," the post said. President Obama has directed his staff to be in touch with senior Ukrainian officials, Earnest said.
People inspect a piece of wreckage beleived to be from Malasia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine. This image was posted to Twitter.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ukraine army still far from victory over rebels in east

8 July 2014 (BBC News Ukraine) Ukrainian government troops have made significant gains in recent days, pushing pro-Russian rebels out of a string of towns in the east. The rebels have retreated to Donetsk from Sloviansk, for weeks a powerful symbol of their resistance to Kiev.
Ukrainian politicians say a fundamental turning point has been reached in the conflict. But the experience of similar conflicts elsewhere - with a regular army confronting paramilitary units - provides no basis for such claims. Nobody has succeeded in defeating paramilitaries who are embedded in a city, virtually turning its residents into a human shield - the Americans did not win such a conflict in Mogadishu, Somalia, nor did the Russians win in the Chechen capital Grozny. In such a situation a regular army cannot use its superiority in heavy weapons over rebels - weapons such as armoured vehicles, aircraft and artillery.
The army may manage - after huge efforts - to capture one town, destroying it with heavy artillery, only to find that the rebels have simply moved to another town. That town in turn has to be taken by storm, and then the same thing happens in a third town. It appears that the same thing has happened now in the Ukraine conflict.
  A bridge destroyed in the village of Novobakhmutivka

The pro-Russian separatists cannot continue the fight without support from outside. Their ammunition is running out, they constantly need new weapons. And they need an inflow of so-called "volunteers" - and we know where they come from. The fighters also need training - and somewhere to train. So in theory sealing the border with Russia could end the conflict - but in reality Ukraine does not have sufficient forces to do that. Whether or not Donetsk can be taken without large-scale damage depends directly on the strength of the defending rebels.We do not know exactly what numbers and equipment the rebels have managed to concentrate in Donetsk. But fighting in a modern city is always an army's nightmare. In 2003 the Americans were so daunted by the task of assaulting Baghdad that they studied how the Russians stormed Grozny - and that attack on the Chechen rebels was certainly no great success.

  The rebels have set up defensive positions around Donetsk

The Ukrainian army will probably try to use its numerical superiority - experts reckon that 30,000 regular troops are facing a maximum of 10,000 separatists. The logical tactic in conducting such a siege of Donetsk and Luhansk would be to put the rebels under pressure simultaneously in several places, forcing them to dissipate their energies. Igor Strelkov's response might well be to create mobile groups of 200 to 300 fighters, equipped with mobile rocket launchers and anti-tank weapons. The rebels will try to cut communications links to Donetsk, to block the deployment of some 6,000 Ukrainian troops freed up by the seizure of Sloviansk. Three bridges have been blown up on roads leading to Donetsk, and Ukrainian troops will doubtless run the risk of rebel ambushes on major roads. So far there is no clear answer to the question: which side will be first to incur the local residents' hostility? The rebels, whose appearance will be a signal of impending clashes? Or the regular troops, whose use of heavy weapons will cause civilian casualties and destroy homes? Either way, there is no early end in sight.

  Sloviansk: Ukraine has reasserted control in what was a rebel stronghold

The Kremlin's position is of course crucial in this situation. Under the threat of more serious Western sanctions it appears that President Vladimir Putin has rejected the idea of direct military intervention disguised as a peacekeeping operation. Most likely the secret support for the rebels, through supplies of volunteers and arms, will continue. That support does not go far enough for those fighters who want to attach south-eastern Ukraine to Russia - a part of Ukraine already described by Kremlin propagandists as "Novorossiya" (New Russia). The Kremlin will try to keep Mr Strelkov in Ukraine with his followers, armed with Kalashnikovs. Otherwise they would stir up trouble for Russia, armed and angry. So for now Moscow's goal will be to maintain controllable chaos in Ukraine. That policy will also serve to show the Russian people that any attempt at a Ukraine-style "colour revolution", any attempt to get rid of the authoritarian state, will result in chaos and civil war.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

305TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF POLTAVA

On 27 June 1709 in spite of a difficult situation in Ukraine we have marked the 305th anniversary of the Battle of Poltava. This battle was a decisive battle of the Great Northern war and I make no doubt that this battle has predetermined the future of the Europe for many decades to come. A few pictures below were taken today near the Poltava Battle museum. The conference on history of the fortress of Poltava have taken place today in the museum.
 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ukraine's stolen money

Public service financial monitoring has identified 42 non-resident companies registered in Cyprus, Panama, UK, Belize and the Seychelles, which are directly related to (outsted president of Ukraine) Viktor Yanukovych and his inner circle. From 2010 to 2013, these companies, through accounts opened in banks in one of the neighboring countries, listed $16 billion. SCFM blocked the accounts of 19 of these non-resident companies. The amount of blocked funds is $1,340,000,000. Substantial evidence exists that this money was stolen from Ukraine's coffers. Now the task of Ukraine's law enforcement and the judicial system is to officially return these funds to Ukraine.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Luhansk Militias Shot Down Ukrainian Army Plane – Ukraine's DefMin

June 15 (BBC News Ukraine) Ukraine’s Defence Ministry claims that the militias in Luhansk have shot down Ukraine’s IL-76 military aircraft. At least 49 people were on board, the CNN reports citing Ukraine’s military sources. An IL-76 plane which was carrying troops for the purpose of regular rotation was shot down when landing at Luhansk airport on the night from June 13 to 14. "In the night from June 13 to June 14 terrorists shot with anti-aircraft weapons and large caliber machine gun at a militaty transport IL-76 plane and shot it down as it was landing," said the Ukrainian Defense Ministry statement, published on its website. "There were troops, hardware, equipment and food on board the plane." The information has been neither confirmed nor denied yet in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic.
The wreckage of the Ukrainian Il-76 jet brought down at Lugansk. Photograph: Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images

Sunday, June 8, 2014

New Russian anti-aircraft missile system 9K333 "Willow" has been tested on Ukrainian military cargo aircraft



AN-26 aircraft shot down by terrorists on June 6 near the city of Slavyansk was most probably hit by the new Russian portable anti-aircraft missile system 9K333 "Willow". This was reported by the "Information resistance" group coordinator Dmitry Tymchuk in "Facebook". Plane was hit at an altitude of 4.5 kilometers. Ukrainian specialists currently explore some found rocket fragments. This portable air defense missile system was declared operational only in the end of May 2014. Early June first samples were delivered only to the 98th Airborn Division stationed in the Ivanovskaya oblast, and don't yet export to other countries.

Poroshenko, Ukraine's rescuer



June 8 (BBC News Ukraine). Chocolate mogul, government minister, opposition leader - Ukraine's new leader, Petro Poroshenko, has worked in a number of capacities, and has at one point or another been associated with a various political movements, including that of his deposed predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych. But the role he assumed on Saturday, when he took the oath of office for the presidency, is the most serious so far: rescuer of Ukraine. Mr Poroshenko has taken the reins of power at perhaps the most critical moment in Ukraine's 23-year post-independence history. Anti-government protests forced the previous President, Viktor Yanukovych, to flee the country in February. Then, Russia annexed Ukraine's southern region of Crimea. And now, pro-Moscow insurgents are waging a separatist struggle against government forces in the country's eastern regions. Besides this, he must steady a teetering economy and restore faith in the country's leadership, since many Ukrainians, especially in the east, view the government with suspicion, or outright hostility. And last, but definitely not least, Mr Poroshenko must somehow re-establish working relations with Russia - the country's giant neighbour with whom it shares deep cultural, historical, linguistic and economic ties. With all these considerable challenges in mind, Ukrainians from all regions, as well as a large international audience, listened with heightened attention to Mr Poroshenko's first presidential speech. There was much in it to please supporters of the February revolution and Ukrainian unity - as was demonstrated by the enthusiastic approval that greeted some of his statements. "Russia occupied Crimea, which was, is and will be Ukrainian," was one of his top applause lines. "This is what I told [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin yesterday in Normandy." And they welcomed his defiant words to the pro-Russian separatists, quoting the Gospel of Matthew - in a slightly different context - that "those who take the sword, shall perish by the sword". But ultimately, it is not Mr Poroshenko's supporters whom he must convince, but his opponents and those Ukrainians who may be sitting on the fence. While the separatists steadfastly reject Kiev reasserting its power in the country's east, there are large portions of the population there who might be persuaded to believe that Mr Poroshenko will in fact defend their interests. 


The first meeting between Mr Poroshenko and Mr Putin took place on the sidelines of the D-Day commemorations in France