Monday, May 31, 2010

Russia got control of Zaporizhstal metallurgical plant

Zaporizhstal, one of Ukraine’s largest metallurgical plants, has found itself under control of Russia. According to Ukrainska Pravda (Ukrainian Truth) newspaper, sale of Zaporizhstal is completed and was marked with a conflict between previous owners and Rinat Akhmetov.
Zaporizhstal, is Ukraine's fourth largest steel maker with an annual capacity of 4.5 mil. tonnes of steel, 3.3 mil. tones of pig iron, 4.1 mil. of finished steel products, and ranks 54th in the world. The company is Ukraine's only manufacturer of cold-rolled sheets, used in car manufacturing, as well as tinplates and polished stainless and alloyed steel. Zaporizhstal is located in the city of Zaporizhia in a region with the highest per capita electricity output in Ukraine, close to raw material suppliers and steel consumers (pipe and machine building companies). The company was founded in 1931. Zaporizhstal has been acknowledged as the most unfriendly Ukrainian enterprise to the environment. Its harmful substances exceed three times of admissible norms.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ukrainian General Staff Chief/Commander-in-Chief Of Armed Forces Ivan Svida has signed in resignation.

May 29, 2010 Kyiv. Ukrainian News Agency learned this from a statement by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. "Being the military officer and a responsible person I am ready to work in complicated conditions for the consolidation of the defense of the country. In the current situation I admit the right of the president [Viktor Yanukovych] to realize his vision of the development of the Armed Forces. He will do this with another chief of the General Staff," said Svida, according to the statement.
He also said he was not clutching at the post and thanked generals, officers, and all soldiers of the Armed Forces for joint work in the interests of the consolidation of the defensive capacities of Ukraine.
As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Ivan Svida was appointed Ukrainian General Staff Chief/Commander-in-Chief Of Armed Forces by then President Viktor Yuschenko in November 2009, after the previous chief of General Staff Serhii Kirichenko resigned. In June 2007 through November 2009, Ivan Svida was the commander of the ground troops of the Armed Forces. July 2005 through June 2007, Ivan Svida was commander of the Southern Operational Command. General Ivan Svida was one of the most active suppoters of Ukraine integration to NATO.

Ukraine drops NATO membership aim

May 29, 2010 (Reuters) - Ukraine formally buried pursuit of NATO membership as an aim, its foreign minister declaring the issue had been taken off the policy agenda. It was the most clear-cut statement by the new leadership of President Viktor Yanukovich that the issue was a dead letter in Ukraine for the conceivable future.
"Ukraine will continue developing its relations with the alliance, but the question of membership is now being removed from the agenda," the foreign minister, Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.
"This corresponds to the way things are today," he added in comments to a foreign policy coordination meeting. Yanukovich himself was separately quoted as saying by Interfax in the Western city of Lviv: "Entry into NATO is not realistic for our country today. NATO conditions would require us to have the support of the majority of the population." Membership of the U.S.-led military alliance was ardently pursued by the pro-Western ex-president Viktor Yushchenko, despite widespread indifference in the country and lack of encouragement from the alliance itself. But Yanukovich, who came to power in February and has tilted the ex-Soviet republic back toward Moscow in several areas of policy, has made clear NATO membership was being pushed on to the back burner as an objective. He has equally told Moscow that Ukraine will stick by its policy of staying out of military blocs. He has not responded to an invitation by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to join the Russia-led CSTO security grouping. Interfax quoted Gryshchenko as saying that NATO membership did not have the support of the majority of the population and had a "destructive effect" on state policy. But his words indicated that Ukraine, whose Crimean peninsula is home to Russia's Black Sea fleet on an extended lease until 2042, would continue to take part in military and civil emergency programs with NATO countries.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

How foreign countries’ intelligence services recruited Ukrainians

May 29, 2010 Kyiv (UNIAN) Former chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine Valentyn Nalyvaychenko states that foreign countries’ intelligence agents recruited Ukrainians threatening to infect with AIDS.
He said this in an interview to UNIAN, commenting on fact that during 2009 and 2010 the SBU (the Security Service of Ukraine) detained about 10 intelligence agents, particularly Russian, including Vladimir Oleksandrov, officer of FSB (Federal Security Service).
The whole interview (unfortunately only in Russian) is available at

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Poland Literally Becomes USA's Patriot to Russia's Distress

A battery of US Patriot missiles appeared on May 24 in Morag, Poland. This town with the 15,000-strong population is situation only 70 kilometers from the border with Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave. The battery of missiles is supposed to become a replacement for the US missile defense system, which the Polish administration was eager to deploy for several years.
US President Barack Obama decided to shelve the plans to deploy elements of the national missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic in the autumn of 2009. The Polish government was very disappointed about such a turn of events. US official later said that they considered Poland to be one of their key NATO allies. As a result, the USA and Poland signed an agreement to deploy a battery of Patriot missiles in the Eastern European nation.
The document stipulates the appearance of a whole base for American missiles. About 100 US servicemen will provide technical and maintenance works at the new base in Poland. They will also provide training services for Polish military men. The USA will also take care of the modernization of the Polish air defense system.
American and Polish officials said that the missiles would defend the European nation against possible attacks from Iran and North Korea. Originally, the missile complexes were supposed to be deployed near Poland’s capital, Warsaw. However, the Polish administration decided to relocate them to the army base near the town of Morag – the nearest base to Russia’s Kaliningrad region. Several Polish newspapers wrote that the missiles would appear at the base to restrain Russia’s “imperial ambition”. It goes without saying that Russia was concerned about the situation. “We do not understand the reason, for which the Patriot missiles should be deployed near Russia’s borders. We are very concerned about the single-handed actions which the USA takes at this point,” Andrey Nesterenko of Russia’s foreign ministry said in January of this year. US and Polish officials simply responded that the missiles would not be aimed against Russia.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The world's most-produced helicopter

The Mil Mi-8 (NATO reporting name "Hip") is a medium twin-turbine transport helicopter that can also act as a gunship. The Mi-8 is the world's most-produced helicopter, and is used by over 50 countries. The prototype V-8 was designed in 1960 based on the Mil Mi-4 with a larger cabin. Powered a 2,010 kW Soloviev turboshaft engine, the V-8 first flew in July 1961. The second prototype equipped with two 1,120 kW (1,500 shp) Isotev TV2 engines, made its first flight on 17 September 1962. For the production version the rotor was changed from a four blades to five blades in 1964. After a few changes it was introduced into the Soviet Air Force by 1967 as the Mi-8. There are numerous variants, including the Mi-8T which is armed with rockets and anti-tank guided missiles, in addition to carrying 24 troops. The Mil Mi-17 export version is employed by around 20 countries; its equivalent in Russian service in the Mi-8M series. The naval Mil Mi-14 and attack Mil Mi-24 are also derived from the Mi-8.

On the photo above: Mil Mi-8 of the USAF 6th Special Operations Squadron during a military exercise.
On the photo below: LTC(ret) Oleg Bezverkhnii near Mi-8 in the Helsinki Aviation Museum.
Read more about Mi-8 at
See Mi-8 firefight and rescue operations demo at the airshow

Ukrainian found USA tallest inhabitant

Ukrainian Ihor Vovkovynskiy, who is 2.345 m, has been found the USA tallest inhabitant. The corresponding record was put into Guinness Book of Records, NEWSru reports referring to NBC.
Igor Vovkovinskiy (Igor Ladan). came to Rochester, Minnesota when he was 7 years old. At that time, in 1989 he was already about 6 feet tall and weighed 200 pounds. Igor and his mother Svetlana Ladan arrived in America 3 weeks before the operation after she waged a world-wide letter writing campaign from her native city of Kiev to find a treatment for her son. Igor Vovkovinskiy became well known as the world's biggest Obama supporter. On 18 May 2010 he was measured at 7'8.33" (2.345 m) and took the record for tallest man in the US.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Yulia Tymoshenko is on a working visit to Poltava

Today, May 25, Yulia Tymoshenko is on a working visit to Poltava. Her schedule includes a meeting with representatives of opposition parties and movements in the Poltava oblast and a press conference for regional media. Yulia Tymoshenko also plans to give an interview on the local television and radio company "Misto".

Russia Invites Ukraine To Join Ex - Soviet Security Bloc - Reuters

Tuesday May 18, 2010 KIEV (Reuters) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday invited Ukraine to join a security bloc of former Soviet republics, a step that would draw Ukraine closer into Moscow's embrace. Ukraine has forged warm ties with its former Soviet masters since the February election of President Viktor Yanukovich as president. Yanukovich, an ex-mechanic from the Russian-leaning east of the country, frequently speaks Russian at public events.
Former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko shunned Russia and attempted to take his country into NATO, despite considerable public opposition. NATO members put Ukrainian membership on the back burner in 2008. Medvedev, on his first state visit to Ukraine, said he would welcome the former Soviet republic into the Russian-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO). "If in the future you would consider it proper to join the CSTO, we would be happy to accept you," Medvedev said in Kiev. "The CSTO is not the Warsaw Pact... we do not need confrontation with NATO or other military blocs."
The CSTO includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It originally began in 1992 as the CST. Members have conducted military exercises and in recent years some of them agreed to set up a peacekeeping force and a rapid reaction force. Ukraine agreed last month to allow Russia's Black Sea fleet to extend its lease on a base in the Crimean port of Sevastopol until 2042 in exchange for cheaper gas imports from Russia.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cabinet rules out price increases on cigarettes, alcohol with increase in excises

May 21, 2010 (UKRINFORM). Vice Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Serhiy Tihipko rules out rise in the prices of goods due to the increase of excise on tobacco products and alcoholic beverages. "There will be no price increase," he said. At the same time, the Deputy Prime Minister stressed that he absolutely supports the increase of excise duties, noting that, for example, in Russia and in Belarus, excise duties on these products are higher than in Ukraine. "I have a question: why we can not raise today the level of excise duty on alcohol, tobacco up to theirs (Russia, Belarus)? How shall we make money? The budget should be based on this. State budgets have always been built on vodka, on tobacco, and today we are afraid of raising prices," Tihipko inquired. At the same time, he expressed some concern that during the adoption of these laws, there were also approved some rules relating to taxation, which were not supported by the government committee he chairs.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Warsaw Treaty hits 55

After NATO was formed in 1949, the Soviet Union built up its own military alliance, the Warsaw Pact. The Soviet Union and seven European socialist states joined the treaty on May 14, 1955.
Together with the Soviet Union they rehearsed possible scenarios of a third world war.
Kossa, 60 kilometers from Leipzig, Germany, seems to be an idyllic forest with majestic pines and surprisingly wide asphalted paths in between. It is a site of a popular tourist attraction: the now declassified Warsaw Pact main bunker, which is currently a museum.
However, during the Cold War the place used to be the location of a top secret control center with unique technology.
Read the whole article and see video at:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ukraine and Russia did not come to agreement about sea border

President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovych hopes that issue concerning delimitation of sea border between Ukraine and the RF will be solved positively.
According to an UNIAN correspondent, he said this at the joint news conference with President of the Russian Federation Dmitriy Medvedev after their negotiations.
V. Yanukovych said that today in spite of obvious progress in majority issues, some problems, which are not solved, remain. Particularly, he noted that the matter is in issue concerning delimitation of sea border between two states.
He is sure that the sides will return to these issues in coming future and it will be solved positively.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ukrainian President Yanukovych Dances With Wreaths

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev paid their respects today at Kyiv's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was a blustery day. The two men laid large wreaths -- very large wreaths -- at the memorial. And then the wind really kicked up. And the inevitable happened. What's amazing about the video above is the timing. The impeccable timing. Just as Yanukovych bows his head... Well, you've really got to see it for yourself.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monument to Soviet prisoners of war getting out of German concentration camp by plane

In Poltava unveiling of a monument Escape from the Hades took place, dedicated to the 65th anniversary of Victory over Nazism and a legendary escape of 10 Soviet prisoners of war by a German plane piloted by Mikhail Devyatayev from the concentration camp on the Uzedom Island in the Baltic Sea. The monument of almost two meters high and 1.5 tons of weight is unveiled in the vicinity of the aviators' town. The monument is made in Russia and handed over to Poltava within the frames of the project named the “Alley of Russian Glory”. All in all ten such monuments are to be installed on the birthplace of each of 10 heroes. In the result of search works carried out by Russian historians, relatives of eight participants in the escape were found. Among them, Mykhailo Yemets' son was found, now residing in city of Hadiach, Poltava region. On February 8, 1945, 10 Soviet prisoners of war captured bomber Henkel-111 and escaped from the concentration camp on the Island of Uzedom in the Baltic Sea, where the secret weapon of Germany was made - V-2-Vergeltungswaffe-2 rockets.
Mikhail Devyataev was an early entrant of World War II, destroying his first Ju-87 on 24 June 1941 just two days after Germany attacked the Soviet Union. Soon he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. On 13 July 1944 Devyataev was downed near Lvov over German-held territory and became a prisoner of war, held in the Łódź concentration camp. He made an attempt to escape on 13 August but was caught and transferred to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Devyataev soon realised that his situation was perilous-as a Soviet pilot, he could expect extreme brutality; therefore, he managed to exchange identities with a dead Soviet infantryman. With his new identity, Devyataev was later transferred to a camp in Usedom to be a part of a forced labor crew working for the German missile program on the island of Peenemünde. Under hellish conditions, the prisoners were forced to repair runways and clear unexploded bombs by hand. Security was rigidly enforced with vicious guards and dogs, and there was little chance of escape. Even so, by February 1945, Devyataev concluded that, however remote, the chance of escape was preferable to certain death as a prisoner. Devyataev managed to convince three other prisoners (Sokolov, Krivonogov and Nemchenko ) that he could fly them to freedom. They decided to runaway in the dinnertime, when most of the guards were in the dining room. Sokolov and Nemchenko were able to create a work gang from Soviet citizens only. At noon of 8 February 1945, as the ten Soviet POWs, including Devyataev, were at work on the runway, one of the work gang, Ivan Krivonogov picked up a crowbar and killed their guard. Another prisoner, Peter Kutergun, quickly stripped off the guard's uniform and slipped it on. The work gang, led by the "guard", managed to unobtrusively take over the camp commandant's He 111 bomber and fly from the island. Devyataev piloted the aircraft. The Germans tried to intercept the bomber but without success. The aircraft was damaged by the Soviet air defences but managed to land in Soviet-held territory. The escapees provided important information about the German missile program, especially about the V-1 and V-2.
The NKVD did not believe Devyataev's story, arguing that it was impossible for the prisoners to take over an airplane without cooperation from the Germans. Thus, Devyataev was suspected of being a German spy and sent to a penal military unit along with the other nine men. Of the escapees, five died in action over the following months. Devyataev himself spent the remainder of the war in prison. Soviet authorities cleared Devyataev only in 1957, after the head of the Soviet space program Sergey Korolyov personally presented his case, arguing that the information provided by Devyataev and the other escapees had been critical for the Soviet space program. On 15 August of that year, Devyataev became a Hero of the Soviet Union, and a subject of multiple books and newspaper articles. He continued to live in Kazan, working as a captain of first hydrofoil passenger ships on the Volga.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Kyiv hosts Europe Day

KYIV, May 15. (UKRINFORM). The official opening ceremony of the Europe Day in Ukraine was held in the city. Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Kostiantyn Hryshchenko, Head of the European Commission Delegation to Ukraine Jose Manuel Pinto Teixeira, Minister of Emergencies of Ukraine Nestor Shufrych, EU ambassadors took part in the ceremony. Kostiantyn Hryshchenko reminded that it was the 8th time Ukraine celebrated the Europe Day. The Minister emphasized that Ukraine followed its way of the European integration and implementation of the European principles. In turn, Head of the European Commission Delegation to Ukraine Jose Manuel Pinto Teixeira pointed at the presidential and governmental support of European integration ideas. He stressed that Ukraine could get closer to the European Union only in case of legislation amendments and reformation. "We intend to support Ukraine in the process of the EU integration," Jose Manuel Pinto Teixeira emphasized. The Head of the European Commission Delegation to Ukraine said that the Europe Day to held all around Ukraine. On May 19-21 they will be held in Sevastopol and Kherson, on May 27 in Sverdlovsk (Luhansk region), on May 28 in Mariupol, on June 3-6 in Zakarpattia region.

Friday, May 14, 2010

In some EU countries Ukrainians hardest to get a visa

According to the European Commission, the average percentage of refusals to grant entry permits from January 1, 2008 (the date of entry into force of the Agreement on simplification of visa regime between Ukraine and the EU) fell almost tripled - from 12 to 4,6%. But According to monitoring conducted in 2009 by a consortium of "Europe without barriers" and the Centre for Peace, Conversion and Foreign Policy, the percentage of failures is much higher. For example, the Consulate of Italy refused to 13,6% of the total submitted the documents to enter, Greece - 19%, Czech Republic - 20%, Spain - 6.3%, France - 6%. According to the Embassy of Germany in this mission visas do not get about 10% of applicants. The most "loyal" to the results of the survey were Belgium (2%), Poland, Slovakia, Hungary (4%). According provided by the Embassy, in 2009, about 4% were refused entry into Slovenia and Estonia, 3.1% - of the Finnish embassy, 3% - in the Swedish visa department, 2,24% - to the Lithuanian consulate. "Very low", without specifying numbers, called the failure rate the Austrian embassy.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tymoshenko says Yanukovych gave instructions to Prosecutor General's Office to find any grounds for her imprisonment

May 13, 2010 Kyiv (UNIAN). Former Prime Minister of Ukraine, BYUT leader Yulia Tymoshenko says that President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovych gave instructions to the Prosecutor General`s Office to find any grounds for her imprisonment. According to an UNIAN correspondent, Yu. Tymoshenko said this in an interview to journalists near the entrance to Main Investigating Department of the Prosecutor General`s Office, where she came to receive a resolution on instituting criminal proceedings. Yulia Tymoshenko came there as she received a summons from investigator.

Prosecutor General’s Office explained what Tymoshenko is accused of
The Main Investigating Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office summoned BYUT leader Yulia Tymoshenko in order to give her the copies of resolutions on instituting criminal case against her concerning attempted bribe of judges of the Supreme Court of Ukraine. The press service of the Prosecutor General’s Office disclosed this to UNIAN. “This criminal case was instituted in May, 2004 and was prematurely closed in January, 2005 without carrying out of every necessary investigative action provided by article 22 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine”, - it is said in the report. That is why the prejudicial inquiry has been resumed, representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office underlined.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Yanukovych and Medvedev to sign 5 documents on Monday

May 12, 2010 Kyiv (UNIAN). 5 documents will be signed between Ukraine and Russia during the visit of President of the Russian Federation Dmitriy Medvedev to Kyiv on May 17. According to an UNIAN correspondent, First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Andriy Klyuev said this in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine today. In particular, he said that it is planned to sign an Agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on demarcation of the Russian-Ukrainian state border.
Moreover, it will be signed an Agreement between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the government of the RF on cooperation in the sphere of using and development of “GLONAS” navigation satellite system. Moreover, is planned to sign an Agreement on interbank cooperation between Ukreximbank (Ukraine) and VTB bank (Russia). It will also be signed an Agreement between Education and Science Ministries of Ukraine and the RF on urgent measures concerning development of scientific-educational cooperation for 2010-2012. The fifth document, which will be signed, is a draft program on cooperation between the Culture and Tourism Ministry of Ukraine and Culture Ministry of the RF for 2010-2014.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A new founds on the WWII battle field.

65 years had passed since the end of WWII but Ukrainian lowland swamps are still keep German and Soviet tanks that have sunk during the WWII. Not long ago Ukrainain historians and archeologists have located German tank in the earth dam close to the village of Iskrene (Cherkasy Region). Most probably this German heavy tank "Tiger" was trapped in the swampy ground during the Battle of the Korsun-Cherkasy Pocket which took place from 24 January to 16 February, 1944. In it, the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts, commanded, respectively, by Nikolai Vatutin and Ivan Konev, trapped German forces of Army Group South in a pocket near the Dnieper river.
Later on the big earth dam has been constructed on this site. To dig the Tiger out will take time because the dam protects the village during spring flood of the Dnieper River. The local authorities are going to sell the tank for 200,000 USD to use this money for the village needs.
On the next two pictures the digging of another German tank out are shown. A few big fragments of the heavy German Tank "Pantera" have been discovered near the same village in 2004.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

NATO troops join Moscow Victory Day parade

Russia's Victory Day ceremonies held Sunday in Moscow included troops from four NATO countries for the first time. About 1,000 soldiers from the United States, Britain, France and Poland marched alongside Russian troops through Red Square to mark the 65th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War. In total, more than 11,000 soldiers converged as Russia's military might was put on display — more than 120 aircraft, intercontinental ballistic missile launchers and tanks from the Second World War era.
"Today at this solemn parade, the soldiers of Russia, the states of the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] and the anti-Hitler coalition march together," President Dmitry Medvedev said in his address to the troops. In the week leading up to Victory Day, Medvedev several times raised Russia's frequent complaint that other countries denigrate or misconstrue the Soviet Union's contribution to the Second World War, in which more than 26 million Soviets are estimated to have died, including more than 8.5 million soldiers. But he mentioned the issue only in passing on Sunday and the address reflected his aim of reducing Russia's confrontational image. Foreign leaders in attendance included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, China's Hu Jintao, Israeli President Shimon Peres and acting Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, whose predecessor died last month in a plane crash in western Russia along with many of Poland's political and military elite. Italy's Silvio Berlusconi and France's Nicolas Sarkozy had been expected to attend, but stayed home in order to be available for possible developments in Europe's financial crisis.

The U.S. army's 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment troops march in Moscow's Red Square during the Victory Day Parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany.

Read more:

Segerdagen 1945

Segerdagen 1945 är den dag då man runt om i världen firar slutet på det andra världskriget. Dagen infaller däremot på olika datum i olika länder, beroende på när man räknar att kriget slutade. I EU infaller dagen den 8 maj, medan de firar den 9 maj i Oberoende staters samvälde. Skillnaden beror på tidsskillnaden, då det redan hade hunnit bli den 9 maj i Sovjetunionen när den tyska kapitulationen trädde i kraft. I USA firar man både Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) den 8 maj och Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day) den 14 augusti.
Den tyska presidenten (Reichspräsident) Karl Dönitz gav den 8 maj Wilhelm Keitel fullmakt för att skriva under det andra kapitulationsdokumentet i Berlin. Dagen innan hade Alfred Jodl skrivit under det första avtalet i Rheims i Frankrike. Kapitulationen skedde helt villkorslöst.

Fredsdagen på Kungsgatan, Stockholm 7, maj 1945.

Friday, May 7, 2010

NATO: Ukraine consistent in its military cooperation with NATO

May 7, 2010 KYIV (UKRINFORM). Ukraine is consistent in its military cooperation with NATO, and NATO allies are "on the same frequency," Chairman of NATO's Military Committee, Italian Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola said at a press conference in Brussels on Thursday following a two-day session of the NATO Chiefs of Defense.
While commenting on a question posed by an UKRINFORM correspondent regarding the assessment of Ukraine's readiness to participate in the NATO Response Force, he said that there had been "a very extensive presentation" on this issue by Chief of General Staff and Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Army General Ivan Svyda.
"What he [Ivan Svyda] said is continuity in relation to partnership with the alliance. We're working with the Ukrainian armed forces on the basis on this continuity, and cooperation is very active. Therefore, despite the political situation, Ukraine will continue to cooperate with NATO, and this was mentioned not only by the chief of general staff, but also by Ukraine's political leadership. And, of course, the alliance is on the same frequency, one the same tune," Di Paola said.
He stressed that Ukraine remained the only partner who participated in all NATO-led operations, and would now make its contribution to the NATO Response Force.
"The Ukrainian units trained for participation in the Response Force at the beginning of the second half of 2010 and in the next round of the NRF really have a high level of professionalism," Di Paola said.
The admiral also recalled that at a meeting of the NATO Chiefs of Defense, Ukraine had signed a memorandum of understanding on air situation data exchange with NATO through Turkish partners, which was also the evidence of active cooperation between the parties.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Birth rate on decline in Ukraine

May 6, 2010 KYIV (UKRINFORM). The tendency of a falling birth rate is observed in Ukraine now, the press service of the justice ministry quoted Justice Minister Oleksandr Lavrynovych as saying. Thus, if in the first quarter of 2008 more than 118,000 babies were born in Ukraine, in the same period of 2009 there were 105,000 births, and in January-March 2010 only 101,400 births, he said. At the same time, there is a tendency towards reduction of the number of deaths. During the first quarter of 2010 almost 153,000 people died in Ukraine. For comparison, over the same period of 2008 more than 207,000 people died, and in 2009 more than 160,000.
According to the Minister of Justice, Western Ukraine, which traditionally reports the best ratio of the number of registered marriages to the number of divorces, is Ukraine's traditional birth-rate leader.
Meanwhile, the average number of deaths registered in Ukraine since the beginning of the year exceeds the number of births by almost 36%. Beside Western Ukraine, the only region where birth rate exceeds mortality rate is Kyiv. Thus, since the beginning of the year the capital has registered almost 6% more births than deaths.

New Stalin statue fuels tension in Ukraine

May 5, 2010 Zaporizhya, Ukraine (Reuters). Ukrainian Communists on Wednesday unveiled the first monument in Ukraine's modern history to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, fuelling tension between the country's pro-Russian east and nationalist west.
World War Two veterans wearing medals and waving red flags sang patriotic songs as the 2.5 metre monument, showing Stalin from the waist up on a granite block, was unveiled near the regional Communist Party office in the mainly Russian-speaking city of Zaporizhya in eastern Ukraine.
Stalin is a symbol of Russian oppression, particularly in the Ukrainian-speaking west and centre of the country, because of his role in the mass famine in 1933 which killed millions of Ukrainians including in Zaporizhya.
But he is feted by some older people in the mainly Russian-speaking east and south as the heroic leader of Soviet forces in World War Two. The 65th anniversary of that victory is to be celebrated on Sunday.
The statue, the first public monument to Stalin to be unveiled in decades, was cast at the initiative of local Communists, financed by donations from war veterans and set up on private land.
Its creation has gained added resonance since the election in February of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich, who last month gave in to a key Russian demand by extending the lease on a Russian naval base until 2042.
The unveiling of the statue is likely to deepen the east-west divide in Ukrainian politics, said Volodymyr Fesenko, an analyst with the Penta think-tank.
"We have immortalised a figure linked with many tragic pages of Ukrainian history," he said. "It's a reason for further political confrontation."
Ukraine's new leaders have tried to distance themselves from the erection of the statue of Stalin, who remains a highly divisive figure even among Ukraine's Russian speakers.
"We should not establish monuments for tyrants," said Justice Minister Oleksander Lavrynovich. "We must know about them and know about them very well. We have to learn from the lessons of history to avoid its repetition."
The unveiling could spark a sharp reaction from people in western Ukraine, whose view of Soviet history differs sharply from that of many living in the east.
Pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko sparked the ire of east Ukrainians earlier this year by posthumously declaring wartime nationalist leader Stepan Bandera a Hero of Ukraine.
The decree has been declared illegal by a court in the east, but Yanukovich has not yet taken steps to undo it.
Fesenko said the Stalin statue could spark a new 'war of monuments'. "As an answer to the Stalin monument, new monuments to Bandera could appear in western Ukraine," he said.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Landing ship of Russian Black Sea Fleet arrives in Odesa

May 5, 2010 KYIV (UKRINFORM). The landing ship Tsesar Kunikov of the Russian Black Sea Fleet arrived in Odesa commercial seaport and will stay there till May 11.

On May 5-7, the ship will be open for excursions. On the Victory Day, the Russian marines jointly with Ukrainian servicemen will participate in the parade to honor the 65th anniversary of Victory. The Russian Navy men will also meet with veterans of the Great Patriotic War (World War II) and will participate in other events related to celebration of the Victory Day.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

TU-22M3 in Poltava Open Air Aircraft Museum

The Tupolev Tu-22M (NATO reporting name: Backfire) is a supersonic, swing-wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber developed by the Soviet Union. Significant numbers remain in service with the Russian Air Force. During the Cold War, the Tu-22M was operated by the VVS (Soviet Air Force) in a strategic bombing role, and by the Soviet Naval Aviation) in a long-range maritime anti-shipping role. The Tu-22M saw its first combat use in Afghanistan from 1987 to 1989. Its usage was similar to the United States Air Force deployment of B-52 Stratofortress bombers in Vietnam War, dropping large tonnages of conventional ordnance. The Russian Federation used the Tu-22M3 in combat in Chechen in 1995, carrying out strikes near Grozny. Production ended in 1993. The current strength was about 162 aircraft in 2008, with an additional 93 in reserve.

The Soviet Union did not export the Tu-22M, but the break-up of the USSR left some aircraft in the possession of former Soviet republics. Belarus has 52 (the serviceability of which is unclear). Ukraine had an additional 29, but since the Ukrainian government's renunciation of nuclear weapons, those aircraft have been destroyed in Poltava airbase, the last in 2004.

Guns: 1 × 23 mm GSh-23 cannon in remotely controlled tail turret
Hardpoints: wing and fuselage pylons and internal weapons bay with a capacity of 21,000 kg of
· From up to 3 × Raduga Kh-22 missiles in weapons bay and on wing pylons or
· The Tu-22M3 can carry six missiles on a MKU-6-1 rotary launcher in its bomb bay, plus four missiles on two underwing pylons for a total of ten missiles per aircraft or
· Various freefall bombs - 69 × FAB-250 or 8 × FAB-1500 might be typical.
On attached pictures you can see TU-22M3 that is preserving in Poltava Open Air Aircraft Museum headed by Colonel (ret) Valery Vereskul, former commander of the heavy bombers regiment deployed in Poltava.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Veterans of Mykolayiv region to get cash aid ahead of Victory Day

May 1, 2010 KYIV, May (UKRINFORM). War veterans of Mykolayiv region (southern Ukraine) will get at UAH 600 of one-time cash aid on the occasion of two dates - the 65th Anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War (World War II) and the 66th Anniversary of Ukraine's Liberation from Nazi Invaders, local authorities have decided. All payments will be made through the regional budget. According to chief of Labour and Social Protection Department at Mykolayiv Regional State Administration, Olha Syvoplyas, payments will be made in two stages - at UAH 300 by each date. Today, there are 2,973 veterans of the Great Patriotic War living in Mykolayiv. This year, the same assistance will be given to 79 participants in the War against Japan. In addition, one-time cash aid will go to the families of the killed and disabled of the War in Afghanistan - at UAH 1,000.