Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Multinational exercise Rapid Trident kicks off in Ukraine

YAVORIV, Ukraine,July 25, 2011 (U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs)

Exercise Rapid Trident 11 kicked off today with an opening ceremony at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center here.
“This Partnership for Peace exercise provides all partner nations the opportunity to enhance your capabilities to conduct multi-national and combined coalition operations,” said Kevin Volk, U.S. co-director of the exercise.
“This exercise will leave an impression in the history of rapid trident exercises because this year we will conduct airborne operations,” said Maj. Gen. Vyacheslav Nazarkin, Ukrainian co-director of the exercise.
Rapid Trident 11 involves approximately 1,600 personnel and will consist of multi-national airborne operations, situational training exercise lanes and a field training exercise. In addition to U.S. Army Europe, the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team and Ukraine, participants include: Latvia, Belarus, Moldova, Slovenia, Canada, Poland, Serbia, the UK, Lithuania, Estonia, California and Utah National Guard and U.S. Air Force Europe.
“It is very important that during this exercise we will be visited by leadership of Ukrainian armed forces and force commanders of participating countries,” Nazarkin said.
Rapid Trident is a joint training and exercise program designed to enhance interoperability among Ukraine, the U.S. and Partnership for Peace member nations. This exercise will help prepare participants to operate successfully in a joint, multi-national, integrated environment with host-nation support from civil and government agencies.
“In this safe training environment, I want us to maximize our cultural exchanges and the opportunity to cultivate new friendships,” said Volk.
“We’re here to show them our skills, professionalism and readiness to fulfill tasks in field conditions. I wish every participant high results in the exercise and success in their military career,” Nazarkin said.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Monument to the Battle of the Nations is a monument in Leipzig, Germany, dedicated to the Battle of Leipzig of 1813, also known as the Battle of the Nations. It is one of Leipzig's main landmarks. It was completed in 1913 for the 100th anniversary of the battle.
This battle involved over 600,000 soldiers, making it the largest battle in Europe prior to World War I.Casualties on both sides were astoundingly high; estimates range from 80,000 to 110,000 total killed or wounded. Napoleon lost about 38,000 killed and wounded.
During the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler used this monument as a frequent venue for his speeches when in Leipzig. During the period of communist rule in East Germany, the government of the GDR was unsure whether it should allow the monument to stand, since it was considered to represent the staunch nationalism of the period of the German Empire. Eventually, it was decided that the monument should be allowed to remain, since it represented a battle in which Russian and German soldiers had fought together against a common enemy. Since 2010, the monument is under restoration, with work scheduled to be finished by 2013, the year of the two-hundredth anniversary of the battle.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The monument to Prince Jozef Poniatowski in Leipzig

This is another story connected with the Battle of Leipzig that I happened to know while stay in Leipzig.
A modest monument dedicated to Prince Jozef Poniatowski (1763 – 1813) who was a Polish leader, general, minister of war, army chief, and a Marshal of France located in a picturesque park in the central part of Leipzig.
As a reward for his brilliant services, on October 16 during the Battle of Leipzig, Napoleon made Poniatowski a Marshal of France. He heroically defended Leipzig, losing half his corps in the fighting. In the general confusion, the French blew up the bridge before Poniatowski's corps could reach it. Contesting every step with the overwhelming forces of his pursuers, Prince Józef refused to surrender, and covered with wounds plunged into the river. There he died.
The first Monument of Prince Jozef Poniatowski in Leipzig was unveiled in 1834, but in 1939 it was destroyed by Germans who just came to power. In 1970 it was reconstructed by Polish architects. A part of the old monument was integrated into a new one.
On attached pictures you can see the portrait of the Marshal Poniatowski, the first monument, and the modern one.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The monument to the destroyed bridge in Leipzig

Dear readers,
Now I am in Leipzig and decided to show you one interesting monument connected closely with the the Battle of Leipzig or Battle of the Nations, that has taken place on 16–19 October 1813, and was fought by the coalition armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden against the French army of Napoleon. This battle involved over 600,000 soldiers, making it the largest battle in Europe prior to World War I.
On 18 October, the Allies launched a huge assault from all sides. In over nine hours of fighting, in which both sides suffered heavy casualties, the French troops prevented a breakthrough but were slowly forced back towards Leipzig. The Sixth Coalition had Field Marshal Blücher (Prussian) and Prince Charles John of Sweden to the north, the Generals Barclay De Tolly, Bennigsen (both Russian) and Prince von Hessen-Homburg (Austrian) to the south, and Ignaz Gyulai (Austrian) to the west.

The Prussian 9th brigade occupied the abandoned village of Wachau while the Austrians, with General Bianchi's Hungarians, threw the French out of Lößnig. The Austrians proceeded to give a demonstration of combined arms cooperation as Austrian cavalry attacked French infantry to give Austrian infantry time to arrive and deploy in the attack on Dölitz. The Young Guard Division threw them out. At this point, three Austrian grenadier battalions began to contest for the village with artillery support. In the meantime, at the behest of his Swedish officers, who felt embarrassed that they had not participated in the battle, the Prince gave the order for his light infantry to participate in the final assault on Leipzig itself. The Swedish jägers performed very well, only losing about 121 men in the attack
During the fighting, 5,400 Saxons of Jean Reynier's VII Corps defected to the Allies. Napoleon saw that the battle was a lost cause and on the night of 18–19 October, he began to withdraw the majority of his army across the river Elster. The allies did not learn of the evacuation until 7 a.m, and were then held up by Oudinot's ferocious street-to-street rearguard action in Leipzig. The retreat went smoothly until early afternoon when the general tasked with destroying the only bridge over the Elster delegated the task to a Colonel Montfort. The colonel in turn passed this responsibility on to a corporal, who, unaware of the carefully planned time schedule, ignited the fuses at 1 p.m, when the bridge was still crowded with French troops, and Oudinot's rearguard was still in Leipzig. The explosion and subsequent panic and rout resulted in the deaths of thousands of French troops, and the capture of many thousands more. During that unfortunate event, Poniatowski, the Polish leader, drowned while crossing the river.
On the picture you can see me standing near the monument dedicated to this event. Unfortunately the river Elster is in concrete pipe now, so it is a bit funny to see the monument to the bridge without seeing the river. Nevertheless the city council has already started to reconstruct a former river in its original view. Another attached picture depicts old painting of retreat of Napoleon on 19 October 1813, showing the explosion of the bridge.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Crimea planning to receive six million tourists this year

KYIV, July 18, 2011(UKRINFORM). Crimea peninsula (southern Ukraine) is planning to receive six million tourists in 2011, Crimean Deputy Prime Minister and Resorts and Tourism Minister Heorhiy Psariov said at a press conference in Kyiv on Friday. "We have set the task of resuming all-year recreation. We expect up to six million tourists this year and over 50 percent in revenues from the tourism industry in the Crimean consolidated budget," he said. Psariov said that Crimea had already been visited by 205,000 tourists since the beginning of this year, the record number in recent years.

Ukraine will participate in meeting of CIS Council of Defense Ministers

KYIV, July 5, 2011 (UKRINFORM). A delegation of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine left for Sochi (Russia) for participation in the 60th meeting of the Council of Defense Ministers of the CIS participating countries, which will be held on July 5-6, the agency's press service informed. The Ukrainian delegation headed by Defense Minister Mykhailo Yezhel will take part in this event with the right of observers. Participants in the meeting will determine the ways for practical realization of the Concept of military cooperation of CIS participating countries till 2015. A special attention will be paid to creation and improvement of joint (united) military systems. In particular, perspective trends will be considered for development of the United Air Defense System of CIS participating countries. Within the frames of the meeting, Mykhailo Yezhel plans to hold a number of bipartite meetings with his counterparts from the CIS countries.
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Putin hints Russia faces "dirty" elections in 2012

01 July 2011 (UNIAN) Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Thursday that after the 2012 presidential elections he would immediately take a bath, according to Xinhua. "I shall go and have a wash, in the hygienic sense of the word, but also in the political sense," he told a regional conference of the ruling United Russia party in Yekaterinburg after being asked what he would do immediately after the election. "After all, the campaigns which we will have to go through, we will need to busy ourselves with hygiene," Putin was quoted by local media as saying.
RIA Novosti news agency said the remark was Putin`s cryptic hint on his possible participation in the elections. Under the Russian constitution, Putin, who served two consecutive presidential terms in 2000-2008, will become eligible to run for a new term in March 2012. Both Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev have indicated that one of them, but not both, will run in the election.