Friday, March 27, 2020

Ukrainian aircraft "Mriya" makes first flight after repair, modernization

March 27, 2020 (korrespondent.net) The world's largest and most powerful AN-225 Mriya transport aircraft has undergone modernization and test flights near its aerodrome at Gostomel near Kyiv. An-225 performs test flights after modernization. In particular, a new control system for the engine unit of Ukrainian production was installed, ”the company "Antonov" said in a tweet. The video of the test flight is available at


Ukraine's confirmed coronavirus cases increase to 218 on March 27

March 27, 2020 (UNIAN) There are now 218 confirmed cases of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus in Ukraine, an increase from the 156 reported early on March 26. "In the past 24 hours, 62 new cases were confirmed, bringing the total number to 218, including five deaths," Ukraine's Chief Medical Officer Viktor Liashko said on Tuesday afternoon, according to a UNIAN correspondent. According to Liashko, Vinnytsia region confirmed 5 cases, Chernivtsi region 47 (1 death), the city of Kyiv 47, Kyiv region 32, Ivano-Frankivsk region 24 (2 deaths), Ternopil region 25 (1 death), Zaporizhia region 8, Zakarpattia region 1, Odesa region 4, Volyn region 2, Dnipropetrovsk region 3, Zhytomyr region 2 (1 death), Lviv region 3, Rivne region 9, Cherkasy region and Donetsk region 2 each, Luhansk region and Kherson region 1 each.
 Four coronavirus patients have already recovered. "As of today, there are four persons who have recovered from the coronavirus; all are in the Chernivtsi region – three adults and one child. The fifth recovered patient is to be discharged today – we will have an update by the end of the day," Liashko said. As UNIAN reported earlier, there were 156 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ukraine as of Thursday morning; this figure grew to 196 as of Thursday evening. Of them, five cases were fatal. One patient recovered and was discharged from the hospital. 

As about Poltava, our city authorities currently are discussing the possibility to close the city for the entry and exit of all vehicles except food, police cars, and ambulances if the state of national emergency is declared in the country. 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Unique pics taken on Poltava Trial of 1947

The Poltava Trial was a war crimes trial held in front of a Soviet military tribunal in November 1947 in Poltava, Soviet Union. Defendants included German military, police, and 3rd SS Panzer Division "Totenkopf" personnel responsible for implementing the occupational policies during the German-Soviet War of 1941–45. Units of the German Wehrmacht first occupied Kharkiv on 18 September 1941. Four Abwehr reconnaissance school were deployed in Poltava in 1941-1943. The fact that in the summer of 1942 Admiral Canaris, the chief of the Abwehr, the German military intelligence service, visited Poltava was a proof of the importance of these schools for GermansGerman forces, including the Einsatzgruppen (mobile death squads), killed tens of thousands of Jews, as well as Communists, Soviet prisoners of war, and other "undesirables". Shooting, hanging, and gas vans were used. Without a doubt, the main accused at the Poltava trial was the last commander of the 3rd SS Panzer Division "Totenkopf", Major General Hellmuth Becker.  He was sentenced to 25 years of forced labor for war crimes. 

Brigadeführer SS Helmuth Becker

While serving his sentence, Becker "tried his jailers' patience" by attempting to manufacture explosives, leading to his retrial. "The personification of the brutal Landsknechts who formed the high-ranking officers of the Waffen-SS", he was convicted and executed in February 1953 in the prison camp No. 337 located in Sverdlovsk. A few rare pics taken in Poltava during the trial were found recently in some private archives. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Russia deploying coronavirus disinformation to sow panic in West, EU document says

March 18, 2020 (UNIAN) A specialist EU database has recorded almost 80 cases of disinformation about coronavirus since January 22. Russian media have deployed a "significant disinformation campaign" against the West to worsen the impact of the coronavirus, generate panic and sow distrust, according to a European Union document. Russian media have deployed a "significant disinformation campaign" against the West to worsen the impact of the coronavirus, generate panic and sow distrust, according to a European Union document. Pushing fake news online in English, Spanish, Italian, German and French, the Russian campaign uses contradictory, confusing and malicious reports to make it harder for the EU to communicate its response to the pandemic, said the report seen by Reuters. The Kremlin denied the allegations on Wednesday, saying they were unfounded and lacked common sense. "A significant disinformation campaign by Russian state media and pro-Kremlin outlets regarding COVID-19 is ongoing," said the nine-page internal document produced by the European External Action Service (EEAS), dated March 16. "The overarching aim of Kremlin disinformation is to aggravate the public health crisis in Western countries ... in line with the Kremlin's broader strategy of attempting to subvert European societies." A specialist EU database has recorded almost 80 cases of disinformation about coronavirus since January 22, it said. The EU document cited examples from Lithuania to Ukraine. It said that on social media, Russian state-funded Spanish-language RT Spanish was the 12th most popular news source on coronavirus between January and mid-March, based on the amount of news shared on social media.
The EEAS declined to comment directly on the report, but a spokesman said the EU was in contact with Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft "to discuss the spread of disinformation around the outbreak of COVID-19." The EU and NATO have accused Russia of covert action, including disinformation, to try to destabilize the West by exploiting divisions in society. "Pro-Kremlin disinformation messages advance a narrative that coronavirus is a human creation, weaponized by the West," said the report, first cited by the Financial Times. It quoted fake news created by Russia in Italy, the second-most heavily affected country in the world, that health systems would be unable to cope and doctors would choose who lived or died because of a lack of beds. The EEAS has also shared information with Slovakia over the spread of fake news accusing the country's prime minister, Peter Pellegrini, of being infected with the virus and saying he may have passed on the infection to others at recent summits. EU leaders have been conferring by videoconferences since early March.

Take-off of the superheavy Ukrainian An-225 Mriya aircraft, filmed from its cockpit.

March 18, 2020 The Antonov An-225 Mriya (mriya stands for 'dream' or 'inspiration') is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft that was designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Ukrainian SSR within the Soviet Union during the 1980s. It is powered by six turbofan engines and is the heaviest aircraft ever built, with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes. It also has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service. The first and only An-225 was completed in 1988. After successfully fulfilling its Soviet military missions (see picture below), it was mothballed for eight years. It was then refurbished and re-introduced, and is in commercial operation with Antonov Airlines carrying oversized payloads.
Antonov An-225 with Soviet space shuttle Buran on top (1989)

The airlifter holds the absolute world records for an airlifted single-item payload of 189,980 kilograms (418,830 pounds),[5][6] and an airlifted total payload of 253,820 kg (559,580 lb).[7][8] It has also transported a payload of 247,000 kg on a commercial flight. On the video below you can see the take-off of the superheavy Ukrainian An-225 Mriya aircraft, filmed from its cockpit.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Cabinet bans foreigners from entering Ukraine, terminates regular international passenger service till April 3

March 16, 2020 (UNIAN) The Cabinet of Ministers, Ukraine's government, temporarily bans foreigners from entering Ukraine and terminates regular international passenger service till April 3. 
"To ensure the implementation of the NSDC [National Security and Defense Council] decisions on counteracting the spread of the novel coronavirus in Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers at an extraordinary meeting on March 14 adopted an order to temporarily suspend the crossing of the state border aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the territory of the country," according to a statement published on the government portal. 
 The document stipulates for the following: starting from 00:00 March 17, 2020, to April 3, temporarily close border checkpoints for regular international passenger services (with the exception of a number of categories of citizens); starting from 00:00 March 16, 2020, to April 3, temporarily ban crossing the state border for entry to Ukraine for foreigners and stateless persons (with the exception of a number of categories of citizens).

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Spring colors of the Poltava battlefield

Spring has come early this year to the Poltava region. Despite the frosts promised by weather forecasters in mid-March, all the forests around Poltava were already painted with the bright colors of the first spring flowers. Poltava arboretum carefully preserves unique flowers and plants, many of which are listed in the Red Book. Located in the heart of the Poltava battlefield, it attracts many local residents as well as tourists. It is impossible not to notice that the color palette of numerous forest clearings and meadows corresponds to the colors of the national flags of Sweden and Ukraine. I think that readers of my blog will be interested to look at the photographs taken today on the field, where the future fate of Europe has been decided three hundred and eleven years ago.