Friday, August 26, 2016

Fashion statement: Ukrainian troops debut post-Soviet uniforms

August 26, 2016 (The Washington Times) Ukraine’s military has taken its clash with neighboring Russia to a new level, debuting new “Western-style” uniforms that deliberately break with old Soviet sartorial motifs. The green camouflage uniform with a dark-green beret is modeled on British military styles. The cap includes an insignia of a Cossack, the traditional Ukrainian horseman, grasping a cross. The stars that traditionally adorn should straps in Russian and older Soviet uniforms have been replaced by diamonds.
Ukrainians got their first look at the new uniforms at this week’s Independence Day parade in downtown Kiev, a parade that marked a quarter-century of independence after the break-up of the old Soviet Union. The redesign also comes two years after the first clashes between Moscow and Kiev over Crimea and Russia’s continuing support for separatist forces in Ukraine’s east.

The uniforms reportedly also incorporate details from the uniforms worn by the Ukrainian Liberation Army, formed in the brief period of independence between the end of World War I and Ukraine’s absorption into the Soviet Union in 1919. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko said in his address Wednesday that the redesign was part of a larger overhaul of the country’s military in the past two years, saying his government had to rebuild the army “almost from scratch” after a popular uprising drove former President Viktor Yanukovych from power and into exile in Russia. But military analysts say the uniforms are also a political statement in a country still deeply divided between Ukrainian-speaking western parts of the country oriented toward Europe and the West, and Russian-speaking eastern regions with cultural, religious and economic ties to Russia.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ukraine celebrates 25th Independence Day, with an eye on Russia

August 24, 2016 (Politico) More than 200 military vehicles - including tanks and missile carriers - flanked by ranks of troops are being prepared for Ukraine’s largest-ever military parade on Wednesday.
The martial tone of Ukraine’s independence day celebrations isn’t unexpected. Two years ago, the date marked a large-scale offensive by Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine, while last year, late August saw another upsurge in violence. The worry is that the same thing will happen again this year.
In Kremlin-annexed Crimea, Russian forces conducted military exercises this week. Video footage showed soldiers and heavy machinery making amphibious beachhead landings.
Fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists has escalated dramatically in eastern Ukraine, and Kiev officials say that some 40,000 Russian troops have moved close to Ukraine’s borders. Last week, Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s president, warned of the possibility of a “full-scale invasion on all fronts.”
Poroshenko has placed Ukraine’s army on high alert and said he could introduce martial law if the situation worsens further. Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces reported their worst month of casualties in a year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Today is the Day of the National Flag of Ukraine

23 August is celebrated as the Day of the National Flag of Ukraine; beginning with 2004. The first ceremonial raising of the yellow-and-blue Ukrainian flag in modern times took place on 24 July 1990 at the flagstaff of the Kiev City Council, two years later the flag was officially adopted as the National flag of the Ukrainian state (1992).

Monday, August 22, 2016

Families of killed Ukrainian soldiers made live map of Ukraine in Chernihiv

August 21, 2016 Families of killed Ukrainian soldiers made live map of Ukraine in Chernihiv. The event symbolizes unity for the sake of victory and peace. Hundreds of relatives of the soldiers killed in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) gathered in Chernihiv to commemorate their loved ones. Wives, mothers and fathers of soldiers who gave their lives for the independence of our country came to Chernihiv from almost all regions of Ukraine for three days. The ceremony was organized by volunteers together with regional and city authorities. The full article and video is available at

Art Textile exhibition has been opened in Poltava Art Gallery

The exhibition “Art Textile 2016” has been opened in the Poltava Art Gallery on August 20, 2016. Many of presented works, mostly Gobelin tapestries and batiks were created by Ukrainian artists from Kyiv, Kherson, Lviv, and Poltava. Such an exhibition is a bit unusual for the city of Poltava which has earned an honorary title of the capital of Ukrainian folk carpet weaving. Nevertheless many visitors were satisfied with a unique opportunity to touch a modern weaving art.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Ambassador Pyatt Thanks Ukraine for Assistance in Recovering WWII-era American Pilot

On August 12, 2016, U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt spoke at a ceremony at the National Military History Museum in Kyiv commemorating the repatriation of remains from Ukraine to United States custody. The U.S. Army Second Lieutenant was shot down near Novi Troyany, Odesa Oblast in June, 1944 during Operation Frantic - series of shuttle bombing operations against Germany during World War II conducted by American aircraft based in Britain and southern Italy which then landed at three airfields in Ukraine (Poltava, Myrgorod, and Pyryatyn). The identity of the Second Lieutenant is being withheld until positive identification is confirmed.

American pilots, gunners and navigators in Poltava, 1944
“I would like to thank the Ministry of Defense and General Staff and everyone in the Government of Ukraine who has made today’s repatriation possible...Over 70 years ago, this young American pilot was killed while fighting a war on Ukrainian soil that was marked by brutal conflict with an aggressive foe challenging our most fundamental values. Based in Poltava, these American pilots represented what we call our greatest generation. We have never forgotten these heroes and their sacrifice for the United States and for the values we jointly espouse. I know Ukrainians share the same feelings towards your soldiers defending Ukraine’s future today in the ATO,” said Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, after the U.S. and Ukrainian national anthems were played and Ukrainian Deputy Chief of General Staff Sirotenko delivered remarks.
The United States Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s (DPAA) mission is to provide the fullest possible accounting for missing personnel to their families and the nation. Through DPAA, the United States strives to give POW/MIA families what solace and answers can be provided by information about their loved ones’ service and ultimately their sacrifice. We continue to do whatever possible to bring these unaccounted-for Americans home.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Ukraine says no need for Russian ambassador

August 20, 2016 (Ukraine Today) Ukraine has no need for a Russian ambassador at present, so poor are diplomatic ties between the countries, according to Ukraine's foreign minister. Pavlo Klimkin told Ukrainian broadcaster Channel 5 that Moscow has ceased dialogue with Kyiv. "Let us imagine that, theoretically, today or in the coming days a Russian ambassador comes here," Klimkin said Wednesday night ."Would he be able to do any work in the present conditions? If he just holes up in the embassy and does not leave it, that is no ambassador."

Pavlo Klimkin, Ukrainian Foreign Minister. (UNIAN Photo)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Russia accuses Ukraine of attempted Crimea 'incursions'

August 11, 2016 (BBC News Europe) Russia has accused Ukraine of trying to carry out armed incursions into Crimea - the territory annexed by Russia in 2014 after an unrecognised referendum. The FSB intelligence agency said two attempted incursions had taken place over the weekend and a Russian soldier and an FSB employee had been killed. President Vladimir Putin vowed "further security measures" in response to Ukraine's "stupid and criminal" acts.

Russian ships and amphibious vehicles took part in military celebrations in Crimea on 31 July
Ukraine's president described the accusations as "preposterous". "Russian accusations against Ukraine of terrorism in occupied Crimea sound as preposterous and cynical as the statements of the Russian leadership about the absence of Russian troops in the Donbass [region of rebel-held eastern Ukraine]," Petro Poroshenko said. "These fantasies are only a pretext for making more military threats against Ukraine," he added. Russian intelligence also said it had smashed a Ukraine military intelligence network in Crimea and detained a number of people. They included a Ukrainian national named as Yevhen Panov, who is described by Russian sources as a Ukrainian military intelligence officer.
Russian state TV has been running pictures from the FSB, showing rucksacks packed with explosives. Ukrainian "saboteurs", sent by the defence ministry, were supposedly intending to use them in Crimea. The claims of Ukrainian "terrorism" on the peninsula have sparked concern here that Moscow could respond with some kind of military action. The possibility has been discussed actively on social media, especially after President Putin's comment that he will not just "pass over" the death of two Russians.
Others suggest that the incident will be used - or was engineered, depending on your viewpoint - to scupper the complex peace process in Ukraine. Straightaway, Mr Putin said more internationally-backed talks, due in the next few weeks, had been proved "pointless". So Russia has a reason to stall again on the Minsk peace process, maintain the unstable status quo in Ukraine and to blame Kiev for all of it.
Russia says one of those detained is Yevhen Panov. Initial reports suggest he was a former military volunteer fighting for Ukraine in the east of the country. However he has apparently more recently been associated with a charitable organisation.
Ukraine has managed to contain the Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine and, in purely military terms, it is hard to see what Ukraine has to gain by provoking its larger, much more powerful neighbour. For all the talk about rapprochements and peace in eastern Ukraine, there has been very little concrete progress. Fighting between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainians goes on every day.
Just two weeks before Ukraine celebrates 25 years of independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, relations between Moscow and Kiev have taken another turn for the worse.

The full article is available at

Sunday, August 7, 2016

KrAZ Spartan Armored Personnel Carrier is under manufacturing in Poltava region

August 7, 2016 (    The KrAZ Spartan armored personnel carrier is produced in the city of Kremenchug located 100 km. south of Poltava under license from the Streit Group. It is a version of the Streit Group Spartan multipurpose armored vehicle. First vehicles were delivered to Ukrainian armed forced in 2014. These armored vehicles were pressed into service due to ongoing military conflict in Ukraine. These vehicles are used by Ukrainian National Guard. At least 21 of these APCs were delivered.
   The KrAZ Spartan is based on Ford F-550 pickup truck chassis. This armored personnel carrier is cost effective to maintain and to operate. The Spartan fits the gap between unarmored trucks and dedicated 8x8 armored personnel carriers, such as the BTR-3 or BTR-4. Due to the lack of readily available armored vehicles it was pressed into service with Ukrainian armed forces. It is worth noting that during the military conflict with Russia, Ukraine lost a large number of their armored vehicles. It would take too long to produce new 8x8 armored personnel carriers.
   The Ukrainian KrAZ Spartan armored personnel carrier is based on the Ford F-550 pickup truck chassis
It is worth noting that Ford F-series pickup trucks were used as a base for a number of light multi-purpose armored vehicles. This chassis is suitable due to its cost effectiveness, payload capacity, powerful engine and good cross-country mobility. Armor of the Spartan provides protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. Floor of the vehicle withstands grenade blasts.
   The Spartan accommodates driver, gunner and 10 troops. Passengers enter and leave the vehicle via side- or rear doors. There are some firing ports and associated vision blocks provided for the troops to fire their individual weapons. Vehicle has a payload capacity of 1 100 kg and carry various supplies in place of the troops.
   The Spartan can be armed with various weapons, such as a shielded 12.7-mm machine gun or 40-mm automatic grenade launcher. It seems that most of the vehicles delivered to Ukrainian armed forces had this type of atmament. Some initial production vehicles delivered to Ukrainian armed forces were fitted with Sarmat remotely controlled weapon station, armed with 12.7-mm machine gun and 4 Ukrainian Korsar anti-tank guided missiles. It uses Ukrainian RK-3 missile with a maximum range of 2 500 m and RK-2S missile with a maximum range of 5 000 m. Both missiles are laser-guided and are available with tandem HEAT and HE-FRAG warheads.

   The Ukrainian KrAZ Cougar armored personnel carrier

This armored personnel carrier is powered by a Ford 6.7-liter V8 turbocharged diesel engine, developing 400 hp. It is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmissions. Vehicle has a selectable all-wheel drive. Ukrainian armed forces also acquired KrAZ Cougar light armored personnel carriers. The Kuguar is also a product of Streit Group, that is license-produced in Ukraine by AvtoKrAZ.