Friday, April 30, 2010

President sacks Navy Commander Teniukh

KYIV, April 30 (UKRINFORM). Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has signed a decree dismissing Ukrainian Navy Commander, Admiral Ihor Teniukh. The decree was posted on the president's official website on Friday, April 30. Teniukh was against the Russian Black Sea Fleet's presence in Crimea. The presidential decree says that the admiral was dismissed on health grounds with the right to wear military uniform. In March 2010, Teniukh submitted a letter of resignation from the Ukrainian Armed Forces for moral and ethical reasons. As UKRINFORM reported, during the Russian-Georgian conflict in 2008, the commander of the Ukrainian Navy ordered Ukrainian warships to try to block the entrance to the Sevastopol bay for Black Sea Fleet ships that were involved in the conflict in Georgia. Vice-Admiral Viktor Maksymov was appointed the new commander of the Ukrainian Navy. This morning, Defense Minister Mykhailo Yezhel presented the new commander to the executive staff of the national fleet. "Over the six years of Vice-Admiral Viktor Maksymov's holding the post of first deputy commander of the navy, all military sailors could be sure that he was exacting, professional and honest," the Defense Ministry's press service quoted Yezhel as saying.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The first test flight of Antonov-158 is completed successfully

The first Antonov-158 takes off from the plant's aerodrome in Kiev during its first test-flight on April 28, 2010. The Ukrainian design bureau's An-158 is a modernized model of the An-148 being extended by 1,700mm. It is capable of transporting 99 passengers for up to 2,500km.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pandemonium broke out in Ukraine's parliament Tuesday

April 27, 2010 (CBC News) Smoke bombs disrupt the parliament session hall Tuesday during ratification of Ukraine's naval port deal with Russia. Pandemonium broke out in Ukraine's parliament Tuesday as opposition groups tossed eggs and smoke bombs in an unsuccessful effort to stop legislators from extending Russia's lease of a controversial naval port.
Thousands of protesters gathered outside parliament to protest the deal, which extends the Russian navy's use of the Sevastopol port for 25 more years after the existing lease expires in 2017. Fights broke out and smoke billowed through parliament after at least two smoke bombs went off inside the chamber. Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn had to duck behind an umbrella as opponents hurled eggs at him, but the vote passed by a norrow margin after order was restored. Guards shield parliamentary Speaker Volodymr Lytvyn with an umbrella as opposition groups toss eggs. (Efrem Lukatsky/Associated Press) Sevastopol, on the Crimean Peninsula that extends from mainland Ukraine into the Black Sea, is more than 300 kilometres from the nearest Russian territory. The extension passed with 236 votes in the 450-member parliament, but opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko said the deal wouldn't last.
"Parliament ratified this agreement on a treacherous path. We will change it as soon as we return to power," she said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.
The two countries' presidents agreed last week to extend the lease. The measure was also ratified by Russia's parliament Tuesday.
As part of the arrangement, Russia agreed to discount natural gas exported to Ukraine.
The deal is the most concrete sign of Russia's renewed influence in Ukraine since Viktor Yanukovych became president in February. Yanukovych, a former electrician and factory manager, replaced Viktor Yushchenko, who pushed to move Ukraine out of Moscow's shadow and integrate more closely with Western Europe.

Read more:
See more:

Chaos has erupted in the Ukrainian parliament during a debate over the extension of the lease on a Russian naval base in Ukraine.

April 27, 2010 (BBC News) The chamber's speaker had to be shielded by umbrellas as he was pelted with eggs, while smoke bombs exploded and politicians brawled. But the debate continued and the chamber ratified the lease extension. Kiev has prolonged the lease on the Sevastopol base by 25 years in return for cheaper supplies of Russian gas.
The deal, which came amid rapidly improving ties between Russia and Ukraine following the election of Ukraine's pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February, has been bitterly opposed by Ukrainian pro-Western opposition politicians. The clashes in parliament broke out as MPs debated ratification of the agreement, which was made by Mr Yanukovych and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last month. Opposition MPs hurled eggs at the speaker, Volodymyr Lytvyn, who had to be protected by two aides holding black umbrellas. Deputies were seen throwing punches on the floor of the chamber, and covering their faces with handkerchiefs to protect themselves from the smoke. Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the building.
Despite the chaotic scenes, the debate continued and the deal was backed by 236 out of 450 members of the chamber.

Read the whole article and see a unique video at

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rasmussen: Russian naval base deal will not prevent Ukraine from joining NATO

April 23, 2010 (UKRINFORM). The signing of a Ukrainian-Russian agreement on the Black Sea Fleet will not prevent Ukraine from joining NATO, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at an informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Tallinn, Estonia, on April 22, UKRINFORM has reported, citing Reuters.
"It's a bilateral agreement and it will have no impact on our relationship either with Russia or with Ukraine," he said.
Rasmussen said that Ukraine would become a NATO member only if the necessary criteria were fulfilled. The NATO secretary general said earlier that the presidential election in Ukraine had not changed the alliance's attitude towards the country. NATO spokesman James Appathurai said that the signing of the agreement extending the lease on the Russian naval base in Sevastopol had been a bilateral affair of Ukraine and Russia. As UKRINFORM reported, Ukrainian and Russian Presidents Viktor Yanukovych and Dmitry Medvedev on April 21 signed an agreement on the extension of the Russian Black Sea Fleet's presence on Ukrainian soil by 25 years with the right to prolong it for five more years if one of the sides expresses such a desire.
Under the current agreement and in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine, the presence of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine is limited to 2017. The new agreement should be ratified by the parliaments of the two countries.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Premier Azarov: Ukraine needs 7-8 years to reduce energy consumption of economy

Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov considers that in order to reduce energy consumption of the Ukrainian economy the country needs 7-8 years, he stated this during a meeting with EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule, the Cabinet press-service reported. The Prime Minister said that the Ukrainian economy today consumes a lot of energy, therefore, for chemical industry, metallurgy the gas price of USD 400 per 1,000 cubic meters means suspension of production. That is why, according to Azarov, it was important for Ukraine to revise the gas agreements not only in terms of the price, but also as regards the amount of gas that Ukraine has to buy, and the cancellation of penalties. Moreover, Azarov said that an urgent question remains the modernization of the Ukrainian gas transit system. He stressed that he has repeatedly offered the Russian Federation and the European Union together with Ukraine to invest resources in the reconstruction and modernization of the gas transit system.

Chornobyl + 24 years: Villages slowly die off

Nivetske, Ukraine – The residents of the little village of Nivetske, located just west of Chornobyl, are literally living on the edge. It’s not just the edge of the so-called “alienation zone,” a 30-kilometer area where people are not supposed to settle. Somehow, Nivetske is also on the edge of decent living standards: they have regular power blackouts, health care is out of reach, and there is no easy way to commute to the bigger towns nearby. The list of daily challenges for the villagers, whose lives are still affacted by the world’s worst nuclear power accident on April 26, 1986, is long. “It used to be a nice prosperous village before the Chornobyl explosion. We had a big collective farm and were known for their cattle,” said Anatoliy Oborsky, a Nivetske native. “There used to be more than 100 households and a population of 800 people.”Most of them left after Chornobyl’s fourth reactor exploded 24 years ago, and they never came back. The accident’s consequences will probably be forever debated – how many died early because of radiation poisoning, and how many are still suffering from consequences to their health.This village, near the scene of the catastrophe, is a good place to assess its toll. Initially, villagers were evacuated further away from the epicenter of the disaster. They then moved to Pushcha Vodytsia, a recreation area west of Kyiv. “We were given a free 30-day voucher to one of Odesa resorts, but my son could not stand the hot climate, so we returned back here,” Oborsky said. About 300 villagers returned after those vacations, but the once buzzing village has lost many of them over the last two decades – to death, or just to the search for better lives elsewhere.
The whole article is available at

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tymoshenko prepares “black Saturday” for Yanukovych

The BYUT faction will demand to convoke an extraordinary session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Saturday, on April 24, in order to consider the signed agreement, which prolonged the stay of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation in Ukraine
According to an UNIAN correspondent, leader of the united democratic opposition Yulia Tymoshenko said this at the press conference today.
In order to convoke an extraordinary session we invite all lawmakers of all factions to come tomorrow’s morning to collect signatures for convocation of the extraordinary session”, said Yu. Tymoshenko.
She believes that an agreement on prolongation of stay of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation in Ukraine is “anti constitutional” and she also expressed a confidence that this factor should unite all oppositional forces.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Poland uncertain whether to reveal Tu-154 black box records

April 23, 2010 Warsaw (RIA Novosti) Polish investigators have not yet decided on whether to make public data from flight recorders of the Tu-154 plane, which crashed on April 10 in western Russia, killing Poland's first couple and other top officials.
Poland's chief prosecutor Andrzej Seremet said Polish prosecutors will postpone revealing the black box contents until they obtain other necessary information from Russia. The final decision on whether to disclose flight details is expected in two weeks. "As soon as they [flight recorders] are analyzed in Poland, we would probably decide to make their content public," he said.
Seremet also said that he would "not oppose revealing the contents unless they are of private nature." Polish investigator Zbigniew Rzepa said experts are currently trying to synchronize records obtained from the flight data and voice recorders. Russian investigators, experts and Polish specialists are jointly investigating the causes of the deadly crash. Polish military proscutors, howver, have opened their own investigation nto the accident. Russian air traffic controllers earlier said the crew "did not listen" to recomendation to divert to another airport and landed without permission.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Russian, Ukraine agree on natural gas, Black Sea fleet

April 21, 2010 Kiev - The leaders of Russia and Ukraine on Wednesday agreed to overhaul the two countries' energy relations starting with a dramatic cut to natural gas prices in exchange for an extension of Russia's lease of a Ukrainian port for its Black Sea fleet. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, after meetings with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych in the east Ukrainian city Kharkiv, announced Russia would slash the fixed price of natural gas sold to Ukraine by 30 per cent. Medvedev made clear that the continued presence of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in the Ukrainian port Sevastopol was a key condition for the gas price reduction. The reduction - once put into effect by the Russian state-owned energy conglomerate Gazprom - would reduce the price paid by Ukraine for the fuel from 330 to 230 dollars per thousand cubic metres, and become the single biggest reduction of natural gas pricing by Moscow since the break-up of the Soviet Union. The move marked a dramatic turnaround to previously thorny energy relations between the two countries. They reached their lowest point in early 2009 when Russia shut off all natural gas supplies to Ukraine in a pricing dispute, causing fuel shortages across Europe.
The extension of a Russian naval lease in Sevastopol, once effective, would be a defeat for NATO strategists, who since the mid 1990s have lobbied a series of Ukrainian government to push Russian naval and air forces out of the Crimean peninsula.
The whole article is available at

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Delegation from Poltava headed by City Major visited Kristianstad

The delegation of Poltava-City authorities headed by Mayor Andriy Matkovsky paid an official visit to the Swedish City of Kristianstad invited by Mayor Bengt Gustavsson and Chairman of City Council Erna Arhag. During the visit perspectives of cooperation between the two cities were discussed, viz. in the sphere of culture, sports, tourism, youth policy and disability policy. The delegates met the leadership of the Youth Music Festival held annually in Kristianstad. They visited the National upper secondary school for disabled young students, as well as known in Sweden special institution for mentally or physically disabled persons, situated near Kristianstad. The Poltava delegation also visited the Malmberg company where they were informed on its cooperation projects of water purification implemented in Ukraine. During the meeting with the company’s representatives the cooperation opportunities with Poltava-City were discussed.
Swedish delegation from Kristianstad visited Poltava in 2009 to mark 300th anniversary of the Battle of Poltava. On the picture below you can see a delegation from Kristianstad on the exhibition of Alf Lannerbäck’s drawings dedicated to the Great Northern war.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sorochyntsi fair to be held under auspices of 65th anniversary of Victory

The National Sorochyntsi Fair 2010 will be held on August 17-22 this year in the village of Velyki Sorochyntsi, Myrhorod district, Poltava region. As the press service of the Sorochytsi Fair Ltd. informed, a preliminary opening date is August 18.
The last year's fair was dedicated to the 200th anniversary of writer Nikolai Gogol. Taking part in it were 1,500 participants and over half a million visitors. The present fair will be held under the auspices of celebrating the 65th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945 (World War II). Presently, organizers are working over a cultural-artistic program of the fair, new projects and presentation events are planned, building up of the ethnographic zone of the fair continues, and the masters' town is being arranged.

18th century gunner's equipment in Poltava Battle Museum

Some examples of the gunner’s equipment dated after 18th century is shown in the exhibition of the Poltava Battle museum. The ladle (1) was one of the most important gunner’s tools. It was used before the introduction of the powder cartridge. On one hand it was used as a measure of powder, on another hand it was used for dumping powder in the bore at the proper place. Most often it was made of thick copper to fit between the ball and bore
The rammer (2) was a wooden cylinder about the same diameter as a ball fixed on a long handle. It was used by gunner to push home powder cartridge, the wad, and the ball. To avoid double loading there were a mark on the handle showing whether the charge is properly loaded.
The wormer (3) was a double screw fixed on a long handle. It was used to seize and draw out wads and remains of powder cartridge that stuck in the gun after firing.
The sponge (4) was a bristle brush the same diameter as the ball fixed on a long handle. It was used to make sure that no sparks left in the bore after firing.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Poland to Bury Its President and First Lady

April 17, 2010 (Voice of America). A state funeral is being held in Poland's southern city of Kraków‎ Sunday for President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria. They were among 96 people killed in a plane crash a week ago. A number of world leaders, including U.S. President Barrack Obama have cancelled plans to attend because of a giant volcanic ash cloud hovering over Europe that is hindering air travel. Final preparations are made here in Krakow ahead of the arrival of the funeral cortege that will bring the coffins of President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria to a funeral mass in St. Mary's Basilica, whose origins date back to the 13th Century. They will then be interred in historic Wawel Cathedral.The funeral caps an emotional week of deep mourning and an outpouring of grief across the country. The first couple lay in state in the Presidential Palace in Warsaw since Tuesday and nearly 200,000 people were reporting standing in line, often for many hours, to pay their last respects.On Saturday tens of thousand attended a memorial service in central Warsaw for the 96 victims of the plane crash. They were killed a week ago when the plane carrying the presidential delegation crashed as it attempted to land in heavy fog near the western Russian town of Smolensk.Their names were read out solemnly followed by emotional tributes and a religious service.The area was filled with people from Warsaw and elsewhere coming to say goodbye.The tragedy has generally united Poles in their grief. But, not everyone agrees that President Kaczynski should be buried at Wawel Cathedral (see foto below).
Hundreds have demonstrated against the funeral here and tens of thousands are reported to have signed a protest petition. They say while the President's death was a tragedy, he should not be laid to rest in what is the traditional burial site of Polish kings and national heroes.A number of world leaders were set to attend Sunday's state funeral. But, some, including U.S. President Barrack Obama have already cancelled and others may yet be kept away. A cloud of volcanic ash continues to hover over northern Europe and is moving slowly south. That, say experts, presents a danger to aircraft and airports and air space in much of region have been shut down.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Exhibition dedicated to Hetman Pylyp Orlyk in Poltava Battle Museum

A new exhibition dedicated to Ukrainian Hetman Pylyp Orlyk has been opened on April 12 in Poltava Battle museum. Pylyp Orlyk was a Hetman in exile, diplomat, secretary and close associate of Hetman Ivan Mazepa. In 1714 he followed the Swedish king Charles XII to Sveden via Stralsund. Orlyk with his wife Hanna Hertsyk and six children arrived to Sweden in 1716. They lived in the city of Kristianstad for some years. Orlyk and his family left Stockholm in 1720 but as late as 1747 his widow and children received financial support from Riksdag. A few letters written by Hetman Orlyk to the Swedish Court and personally to Charles XII are preserving in the National Archives in Stockholm.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ukraine to participate in 21 international military exercises in 2010

Ukraine is scheduled to participate in 21 international military exercises this year, Chief of General Staff and Commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Ivan Svyda has said. Svyda announced this at a meeting with Celeste Wallander, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, the press service of the Defense Ministry reported on Thursday. "Ukraine's Armed Forces are to participate in 21 international military exercises in 2010. Nine of them will take place on the territory of Ukraine and twelve abroad," he said. In particular, the joint military exercises will involve servicemen from NATO member states as well as from neighboring countries - Russia, Belarus and Moldova. A relevant presidential decree has already been drafted and the Ministry of Justice is currently examining it, Svyda said. After the president signs this decree, Ukraine's armed forces will be able to take part in multinational and international exercises abroad, he added.

Yanukovych expects answer from Medvedev on gas price for Ukraine

April 13, 2010 Washington (Interfax-Ukraine). Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has said he expects an answer from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev regarding the gas price for Ukraine. "I have not yet received an answer from you [Dmitry Medvedev] in the context of compensating for the gas price. This issue currently worries Ukraine," he said at a meeting with the Russian president in Washington on Tuesday. Medvedev, in turn, said that the gas issue would be "definitely" considered.He said that Russia understood the importance of this issue for Ukraine. "We understand this despite the fact that we have an agreement signed earlier," Medvedev said, adding that in the light of agreements reached during Yanukovych's working visit to Moscow, "there is every reason … to initiate an additional meeting between concerned ministries and agencies."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Memorial to the Glory of Soldiers in Poltava is under reconstruction now.

The Memorial to the Glory of Soldiers in Poltava was opened in October 1969 in Kotlyarevsky Park on the site of the former city cemetery. All remains of the soldiers and officers that had been killed during the liberation of Poltava were moved from Petrovsky Park to the newly unveiled memorial. The Memorial contains 21 common graves and 22 separate graves covered with granite tombstones. The monument itself is shaped in the form of a 22-meter high bayonet and a 6-meter high sculpture of a soldier wearing military gear and holding a shield with a bas relief of the Glory Monument. An Eternal Flame is located at the base of the monument.
Since that time the monument has never been reconstructed. The Poltava City Council has taken a decision to reconstruct the monument and adjoining square. All repair-and-renewal operations must be completed on the eve of the celebration of the 65th Anniversary of Victory Day that Ukraine has decided to celebrate together with Russia and Belarus on May 9th 2010.

Monday, April 12, 2010

U.S. President Barack Obama will meet on April 12 with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych

April 11, 2010 Washington (RIA Novosti) U.S. President Barack Obama will meet on April 12 with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych on the sidelines of the nuclear security summit in Washington. According to a statement from the White House, the presidents are expected to discuss a wide range of bilateral issue, including nuclear non-proliferation, an impact from the global financial crisis, energy security and military cooperation. The April 12-13 Washington summit, bringing together almost 40 heads of state, will focus mainly on the vulnerability of nuclear materials and securing them against the threat of terrorist acquisition.
The summit comes after the signing on Thursday of a new Treaty Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. The new document replaces the 1991 Soviet-U.S. START-I agreement, which expired on December 5, 2009, 15 years after its entry into force, and the May 2002 Russian-U.S. Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT). The media has already reported that the treaty stipulates 1,550 warheads on deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), on deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and nuclear warheads counted for deployed heavy bombers.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ukraine, Sweden to enhance cooperation in energy sphere

April 09, 2010 (Ukrainian Radio). Ukraine and Sweden will enhance cooperation in the energy sphere, in particular in energy saving, Mykola Azarov and Sweden Foreign Minister Carl Bildt came to an agreement on this during their meeting in Kyiv, the Media Liaison Department of the Cabinet's Secretariat informed. The Prime Minister of Ukraine expressed hope that Swedish investors having rich experience will find their place in modernization of Ukraine's economy, primarily in the sphere of energy saving technologies. Mykola Azarov supported a proposal by Carl Bildt on expansion of projects in energy cooperation. "Energy efficient technologies and nuclear power engineering are those directions in which Swedish investors are interested," Carl Bildt said. At the same time, he noted that expansion of bipartite economic cooperation will be promoted by concluding a free trade area agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. Carl Bildt reminded that parties are already working over concrete projects in the energy sphere based on the existing memorandum of mutual understanding between Ukraine and Sweden.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Polish president Lech Kaczynski, top officials killed in plane crash

April 10, 2010 (Reuters) Poland's President Lech Kaczynski, its central bank head and the country's military chief were among 97 people killed when their plane crashed in thick fog on its approach to a Russian airport on Saturday. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk described the crash as "the most tragic event of the country's post-war history." Ashen-faced and wearing a black suit and tie, Tusk told a news conference he would fly to the crash site. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin talked to Tusk by telephone and has also gone to the scene of the crash, a spokesman said.
The death of Kaczynski, who with his twin brother was a dominant force in Polish politics, brings political uncertainty. A presidential election had been due in October but now must be held within two months, according to the constitution.
The president's wife and several other high-ranking government officials also were aboard the aged Tupolev Tu-154, which plunged into a forest about two km (1.3 miles) from the airport in the western Russian city of Smolensk. Pilot error was a possible reason for the crash, said Andrei Yevseyenkov, spokesman for the Smolensk local government. Local officials said the plane had clipped treetops on its way down. Thousands of mourners gathered outside the presidential palace, laying flowers, lighting candles and saying prayers. Church services in the predominantly Catholic country were hastily arranged.
Kaczynski, 60, was a one-time ally of Solidarity hero Lech Walesa and a co-founder of the rightist Law and Justice party with his brother. He resigned from the party when he became president in 2005 but continued to support it. A party official told Reuters the president's twin, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, had left for Smolensk.
Kaczynski's death, along with that of many senior members of Law and Justice who also were on board, at a stroke changes the Polish political scene by wiping out much of the opposition. "The political consequences will be long term and possibly will change the entire future landscape of Polish politics," said Jacek Wasilewski, professor at the Higher School of Social Psychology in Warsaw.
While the president's role is largely symbolic, the holder can veto government legislation. Lech Kaczynski infuriated Tusk's government several times by blocking legislation including health sector reform. The speaker of the lower house of parliament, Bronislaw Komorowski, has been named acting president, as the constitution stipulates. Komorowski is also Tusk's presidential candidate in the centrist Civic Platform party.
Russian television showed the smoldering fuselage and fragments of the plane scattered in a forest. A Reuters reporter saw a broken wing some distance from the rest of the aircraft. The plane was one of two Tu-154s in the government fleet, both about 20 years old. Government officials had complained about the age of Poland's official fleet.

Russia's Emergencies Ministry said 97 people were aboard, including 88 members of a Polish delegation en route to commemorate Poles killed in mass murders in the town of Katyn under orders from Soviet leader Josef Stalin in 1940. Some relatives of victims of the Katyn massacres also were on board, said a Polish government official in Smolensk.

A Russian mission control official who was present during conversations with the pilot said the pilot had ignored advice. "The pilot was advised to fly to Moscow or Minsk because of heavy fog, but he still decided to land. No one should have been landing in that fog," he told Reuters, on condition his name was not published. A Russian military official was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying air traffic control instructed the pilot several times to divert to another airport.
Polish Justice Minister Krzysztof Kwiatkowski planned an inquiry into the crash. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Russian investigators would cooperate with the Polish side.

Video from the site where the plane crashed is available at

Friday, April 9, 2010

Kyrgyzstan in crisis as clashes escalate

April 7, 2010 (BBC News) The government in Kyrgyzstan is struggling to retain power as deadly clashes escalate between police and thousands of protesters. Officials say at least 40 people died in the capital, Bishkek, as protesters stormed government and TV offices. The protesters are angry at rising prices and accuse President Kurmanbek Bakiyev of failing to curb corruption. A key opposition leader has said the government has now resigned but there is no official confirmation. The leader, Temir Sariyev, said Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov had agreed to tender the government's resignation and that Mr Bakiyev had left Bishkek.
Mr Sariyev said a new "people's government" had been formed, headed by a former foreign minister, Roza Otunbayeva. The Agence France-Presse news agency quoted an airport employee as saying that Mr Bakiyev had flown out of Bishkek aboard a small plane. A senior opposition figure, Galina Skripkina, told Reuters news agency the president had flown to the southern city of Osh. However, the Russian RIA news agency quoted a government source as saying the president was still in the city. The US state department, meanwhile, said it believed the Kyrgyz government "remains in power". The opposition has taken control of at least one television channel. Another opposition leader, Omurbek Tekebayev, said in a broadcast that at least 100 demonstrators had been killed in the clashes. A Kyrgyz human rights activist, Asel Kuttubayeva, said on the channel that several regional administrations had been seized and their governors had resigned. None of the claims on the broadcasts can be independently confirmed.
The health ministry said 40 people had died and more than 400 were injured in the clashes.
One doctor in Bishkek, Akylbek Yeukebayev, told Reuters there were "dozens of dead bodies, all with gunshot wounds".
Kyrgyzstan, a strategically important Central Asian state, houses a key US military base that supplies forces in Afghanistan. Russia also has a base there.

The whole article and video are available at

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Swedish foreign minister to visit Ukraine on April 8-9, 2010

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt will arrive on a working visit to Ukraine on April 8, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has reported. Ukrainian-Swedish talks will take place at the ministry. The Swedish foreign minister is also expected to meet with Ukraine's leadership. On April 9, Bildt will visit the Autonomous Republic of Crimea where he will meet with the leadership of the Crimean Council of Ministers and the Supreme Council, as well as with representatives of the local authorities of Bakhchisaray and Sevastopol.

President Kravchuk writes open letter to President Yanukovych

April 08, 2010 (UNIAN). Former President of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk has written an open letter to the incumbent President Viktor Yanukovych. Here are the main outlines of this letter.

“Dear Viktor Fedorovych,
Soon Ukraine will mark the 20-th anniversary of its independence. This is a sufficient stretch of time to allow to make some conclusions. We have to admin that the Ukrainian powers that be have failed the expectations of Ukrainians for a better life. Today, Ukraine is at the crossroads amid an extremely grave political, social, economic and spiritual situation.

Ukraine is among Europe’s poorest countries with highly corrupt government, with wavering foreign policy course. It is divided along historical, political and ideological lines. The nation is not formed, same as the country’s political elite.

As regards our political leaders, in the conditions of Wild-West capitalism, brutal political practices, they have degraded, flouting the nation’s interests and dreaming only about cushy seats and money. Ukraine is ruled today by immoral fat cats...
The whole text is available at
Leonid Kravchuk is a former second secretary of the Commnist Party of Ukraine. He is the first President of Ukraine serving from December 5, 1991 until his resignation on July 19, 1994, a former Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Yanukovych to pay visit to Kazakhstan today

KIEV, April 7 (RIA Novosti). Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is heading to Kazakhstan on Wednesday to discuss possible gas supplies to Ukraine with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev. The visit comes just two weeks after Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov visited the Russian capital, Moscow, in an attempt to persuade his counterpart Vladimir Putin to reduce the price Ukraine pays for Russian gas, which is seen by the Ukrainian authorities as "unfair." The agenda of forthcoming talks between Yanukovych and Nazarbayev remained under wraps until Tuesday. It was only known that the talks would see the signing of a number of bilateral agreements. On Tuesday, during a meeting with Azarov dedicated to the 2010 draft budget plan, Yanukovych said the plan "burst at the seams" because of high gas prices. Yanukovych, who came to power in February after narrowly winning a presidential runoff against then premier Yulia Tymoshenko, has been seeking to revise a long-term gas deal signed by Tymoshenko and Putin in early 2009. After talks with Azarov on March 25, Putin said he did not view the Russian-Ukrainian contract on gas deliveries as "unjust" or "unbeneficial", but said talks on the issue were possible. The prime minister indicated, however, that Russia was not going to reduce gas prices at no expense for Kiev. "If the question of reviewing prices is raised, then the question 'what for?' arises. We asked our colleagues what they are ready to offer in response," he said.
In return for cheaper gas, Ukraine wants to offer Russia a stake in its gas transportation system, which currently accounts for about 80% of Russian natural gas exports to Europe. Putin said after talks with Azarov Russia is positive about the idea of creating a consortium with Ukraine to modernize its gas transportation system and that it is ready to invest funds into the project. However, he said Russia and Ukraine would not directly link a reduction in prices with Russia's stake in the gas consortium. Last year, Russia reduced its gas price for Ukraine by 20%, but in 2010 the market price, which fluctuates depending on oil prices, was introduced. In the first quarter of this year, Ukraine will pay $305 per 1,000 cubic meters of Russian gas. The price will grow to $320 in the second quarter due to rising oil prices. Media reports have said Kiev would like gas prices to be nearly halved to $170 per 1,000 cu m. Meanwhile, the 2010 budget plan being prepared by the Ukrainian government stipulates the gas price of $334 per 1,000 cubic meters. The Ukrainian prime minister earlier discussed cooperation in the gas sphere with Kazakh Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev, who visited Kiev in late March.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Medvedev, Yanukovych ride in Soviet-era car, visit chapel in Moscow

April 5, 2010 Moscow (RIA Novosti). Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met on Monday with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych, who is on a private visit to Moscow, for the second time in five weeks. Yanukovych reportedly arrived in Moscow to attend the baptism of his former schoolmate's grandson. Earlier, the deputy head of the presidential administration, Anna German, said no meetings with Russia's leadership were planned during Yanukovych's stay in the Russian capital. Yanukovych was elected Ukraine's president in this past February's runoff. He assumed office on February 25, replacing Viktor Yushchenko whose presidency saw Ukraine-Russia relations deteriorate. The new Ukrainian leader reiterated his intentions to improve ties between Kiev and Moscow during his official visit to the Russian capital in early March.
During Monday's meeting in Gorki, Medvedev's residence outside Moscow, the Russian president took his Ukrainian counterpart for a drive in his white Soviet-era Pobeda car. The two leaders also visited a chapel, as the meeting took place amid Easter celebrations. The Russian president's press secretary, Natalia Timakova, told RIA Novosti Medvedev and Yanukovych were expected to discuss issues of bilateral relations during an informal dinner. Earlier on Monday, Yanukovych met with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and visited the grave of cosmonaut Georgy Beregovoy in the Novodevichye cemetery. Yanukovych's press secretary earlier said the president was going to honor "the memory of a man who played a significant role" in his life. During his election campaign, Yanukovych had to defend himself from critics over his two Soviet-era convictions on assault charges. In the 1970s, Beregovoy, then a deputy of the U.S.S.R. Supreme Soviet, successfully pushed for Yanukovych's convictions to be formally erased from the records.
See video at

Pobeda (vilket betyder seger på ryska), eller GAZ-M20 var en sovjetisk personbil som åren 1946-58 serietillverkades av GAZ i en komplett fabrik för tillverkning av Opel Kapitän som beslagtagits av tyskarna som krigsskadestånd. Pobedan fanns även i en fyrhjulsdriven terrängversion (GAZ-M72). GAZ, Gorkovskij Awtomobilnyj Zavod startades 1929 som ett samarbete mellan Ford och Sovjetunionen. I början gjorde de Ford modell A och AA, senare gjorde de egna modeller som Pobeda, ZIM, Volga och lyxbilen Tjajka (Mås).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

More than two hundred anti-personnel mines have been found in the Kherson Region (Ukraine)

April 4, 2010 (URA-INFORM news agency) In Kherson region, local residents at a distance of 1,5 m from the single-track railway discovered anti-personnel mines since the WWII. According to the press service of the Emergencies Ministry, until the evening sappers found 230 82-mm anti-personnel mines. Work on the extraction of ammunition resumed. At the scene works pyrotechnic team of Main emergency department in the Kherson region.
Not long ago nine mortar mines dated back to WWII were found in Konstantinivka Village of Kherson region in the private house holding during digging the well. The extraction and disposal will be carried out by the pyrotechnic team from the Main Directorate of the Ministry for Emergencies in Kherson Region.

Easter Greetings

I wish all SMB members and those who just going to join SMB a joyous Easter celebration. May this holiday bring joy, faith, hope and love into your home.
Glad Påsk!
Oleg Bezverkhnii

Friday, April 2, 2010

Medvedev to discuss situation with party leaders

April 2, 2010 Moscow (Itar-Tass) President Dmitry Medvedev will discuss the situation in the country following the latest terrorist attacks in the Moscow metro and in Dagestan with leaders of parliamentary parties on Friday.
The meeting with United Russia Chairman and State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov, Fair Russia leader and Federation Council speaker Sergei Mironov, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, and LDPR chief Vladimir Zhrinovsky was initially scheduled for Thursday, but was postponed as the president traveled to Makhachkala following a major terrorist act in Dagestan.
A high-ranking United Russia official told Tass Gryzlov will call to unite efforts in the fight against terrorism.
However Zyuganov will call to dismiss the government, which he said “is incapable of coping with any task”. “We shall never end corruption and terrorist acts if we do not have professionals on all levels,” Zyuganov said and called to revise “crazy and mediocre” army and police reform.
Fair Russia Party will warn against infringements on civil liberties in the fight against terrorism. “We shall urge that any actions of law enforcers do not affect civil freedoms,” leader of the party faction in the State Duma Nikolai Levichev said. He warned the political modernization announced by the president may stall and even backtrack because of calls to toughen and mount control in the country.
Besides, all parties except for the ruling United Russia will complain of unfair elections.
Zyuganov said several improvements have been made, however the latest election in March showed the system continues to favor the ruling party.
Mironov said he would submit a report to the president “with all the facts of unfair competition” at the March election.
Zhirinovsky will propose to hold regional elections once a year instead of current two times. He also wants to hold Duma elections in March 2011 instead of December to expand the break between parliamentary and presidential elections to one year. “It will help hold the presidential campaign in 2012 more efficiently and in a quieter regime,” he said.

President Yanukovych: Ukraine will overcome main economic problems by end of this year

April 2, 2010 Kyiv (UKRINFORM) Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has said he believes that the country will see economic growth at the end of 2010. He said this at a meeting with the leaders of parties and Ukrainian public and political organizations on Thursday, the presidential press service reported. "Before the end of the year, we will overcome main problems in the economy. I'm convinced that at the end of this year, we will see confident growth," Yanukovych said. He noted that significant steps had been taken during the last month in order to stabilize the situation in the country and that the world had responded to these changes. "The process that is running in Ukraine gives hope that we will gradually get out of the swamp, in which we're currently bogged down, and that we'll finally give an adequate response to the current challenges," he said. "It's currently impossible to stop the stabilization process in our country. We will resume stability in the country step by step. We will improve the situation in the economy step by step," Yanukovych said.