Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The living exhibit of the Poltava Battle Museum

November 30, 2016 This likable and fluffy cat by nickname Vaska (full name is Vasiliy) could be regarded as a warden of the Poltava Battle Museum. Besides he strikes terror into a few mice that haven’t caught yet in the building of the museum that is about 100 years old. As you can see, even such a fierce weapon from the times of the Great Northern war like this bronze three-pound gun doesn’t make any impression on him. He even allows to pat him but that can't be guaranteed. As about me, he vouchsafed to let me take a pictire of him sitting on the top of the gun.
Today we celebrate the International Domestic Animal's Day, so I am delighted to congratulate Mr. Vasiliy on this holiday and wish all the best to him and to the museum he takes care.

Norway welcomes US Marines amid Russian tensions

November 30, 2016 Washington (CNN) US Marines are coming to Norway -- a move that could send a chill down Russian President Vladimir Putin's spine.
Beginning in January 2016, a limited rotational force of approximately 330 Marines will be located in Vaernes, Norway, according to a statement to CNN from the Norwegian Defense Ministry.
"The US initiative to augment their training and exercises in Norway by locating a Marine Corps Rotational Force in Norway is highly welcome and will have positive implications for our already strong bilateral relationship," Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said in a statement.
"We enjoy a very close relationship with the Norwegian Armed Forces and a limited rotational presence in Norway would certainly enhance this relationship and our ability to operate together," Maj. Gen. Niel E. Nelson, commander of US Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa, said in a statement last week to CNN while the request was being considered by Norway.
The statement noted that a Marine presence in Norway -- which shares a 122-mile border with Russia -- "will increase NATO's ability to rapidly aggregate and employ forces in northern Europe."

US Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicles before a public demonstration in the Trondheim Fjord in Norway in January.

Tensions about Russia's posture in Europe have increased following the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, following Putin's intervention in eastern Ukraine.The US and its NATO allies have since increased their presence, as well as assistance to Poland and the countries on the Baltic Sea. Earlier this year, members of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade trained in Norway alongside troops from other NATO countries in Exercise Cold. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Kyiv court reschedules Yanukovych's skype-questioning for Nov 28

November 25, 2016 (Interfax-Ukraine New Agency) A judge of Kyiv's Sviatoshynsky district court has rescheduled hearings with the questioning via skype conferencing of former president Viktor Yanukovych as a witness in a Maidan killing case. "Having consulted on the issue, the court has decided to declare the hearing held in pursuance of a request for international assistance as rescheduled for 13:00 Kyiv time (14:00 Moscow time) on November 28, 2016," the judge said during a court session in Kyiv on Friday.

Before the announcement of this decision in Kyiv, a judge from a court in Rostov, where Yanukovych came to witness, confirmed via video conferencing that the former Ukrainian president's video questioning could take place on November 28. Yanukovych is a witness on the case of former five Berkut riot policemen who are charged with killings of Euromaidan activists.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sweden is fed up with Russia...

November 22, 2016 (Ukraine Today Weely Digest) Sweden steps up its defense capabilities by bringing to Gotland island the Saab Robotsystem 15 (RBS-15) anti-ship missiles. Sweden returns to service the old Cold War era anti-ship defense system, reports The Local. It plans to install RBS-15 anti-ship missiles at Gotland island in the Baltic sea, located halfway between Sweden and Latvia in the middle of the Baltic sea and could become a crucial part of defense in the event of a possible conflict in the region.

To bring back the RBS-15 missiles, Sweden had to pull back Scania launch trucks out of museums. They were upgraded with components from existing missile boats and warships. The Local cites Rear Admiral Thomas Engevall's interview to Dagens Nyheter newspaper, where he said: "This decision is national, but it is also a contribution by Sweden to the international defense capability in the Baltic Sea after Russia's annexation of Crimea and the invasion of Ukraine.....If you group together these kinds of systems on Gotland, you can control quite a lot of territory in the mid-Baltic. I do not think Sweden is a primary goal for Russia," he added. "But we would still be involved in any conflict in the Baltic Sea area related to EU countries." The restored system is now being tested on Sweden's east coast.

November 21, 2016 (UNIAN) Ukraine OSINT experts present at NATO PA evidence of Russia’s military involvement in Donbas conflict Ukrainian parliamentary delegation on Saturday, November 19, presented two InformNapalm’s videos with the evidence of Russian military aggression against Ukraine before members of NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Istanbul, Turkey.
InformNapam volunteer intelligence community has been gathering evidence of Russian aggression in Ukraine for over two years, the organization’s website reports. Read also Putin awards medals to active Russian military after their return from Donbas war – media Proving the participation of Russian professional military in the war in Donbas is the most important part of their work, the experts say. While Russian soldiers have been cautious and carefully cover up their combat involvement, they still leave traces, according to InformNapalm statement. The analysts sift through different sources – websites, videos, social media posts – to find these traces and present investigations to public. "So far we have identified servicemen from 75 Russian military units sent to Ukraine on the orders of their command," the report says. Lawmakers from NATO Parliamentary Assembly adopted reports urging NATO member-states "to stand firm in supporting Ukraine and maintain a strong stance against Russian belligerence". The following video presents InformNapalm’s major findings.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Trump names pro-Ukraine CIA Director

November 21, 2016 (UNAIN) U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has moved to fill some of the top positions in his government by selecting a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director, a national security adviser, and an attorney general, RFE/RL reports.

Trump said in a statement he had chosen Representative Mike Pompeo (Republican-Kansas) to be CIA director, retired General Michael Flynn for the post of national security adviser, and Senator Jeff Sessions (Republican-Alabama) as the country's top prosecutor, according to RFE/RL. The publication notes that Pompeo, who is currently a member of the House Intelligence Committee is known in particular for his statements in support of Ukraine in its resistance to Russian aggression. In April 2014, Mike Pompeo visited Ukraine and then stated that the aim of Russian President Vladimir Putin was to take control over Ukraine. He stressed: "To the degree that we can demonstrate support for the Ukrainian government, we can change Putin's calculus and increase the risk to him and to Russia for moving combat forces closer to Kyiv." Pompeo and Sessions require confirmation by a majority vote in the Senate; Flynn does not.
Pompeo is a member of the Republican Party's conservative wing, the Tea Party, having been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. He graduated top of his class from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and graduated from Harvard Law School before spending five years in the army. Trump said he was happy to have Flynn by his side to "defeat radical Islamic terrorism."

Flynn, 57, served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014, a position he was nominated for by President Barack Obama. He served in the military from 1981 to 2014, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, before retiring with the rank of lieutenant general. Flynn graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College as well as the Naval War College. He says he considers radical Islam the greatest threat to global stability and has been critical of the Obama administration's policies in fighting IS. Flynn has said Washington could work with Russia to fight IS and other Islamic extremists. His appearance at a dinner in Moscow -- sitting next to President Vladimir Putin -- honoring the state television station RT alarmed many who noted his previous accommodating views of Russia's role in Ukraine. The full article is available at:

Thursday, November 17, 2016

President Poroshenko visited State Archive of Sweden where Latin version of Pylyp Orlyk’s Constitution is stored

November 17, 2016 ( On November 14, 2016, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko paid his first official visit to the Kingdom of Sweden. The agenda included meetings with Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Löfven, Speaker of the Riksdag Urban Ahlin and leader of the Moderate Party Anna Kinberg Batra.
In the course of the meeting with the President of Ukraine, Prime Minister of Sweden S.Löfven recalled that the EU has agreed on a firm response to Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, and its aggression in Eastern Ukraine.
In the framework of the official visit to Sweden, President Petro Poroshenko visited the State Archive of Sweden. The Head of State examined the Latin version of the Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk and other documents of Ukrainian Cossacks stored in the State Archive of Sweden. The document dated after 1710, and consists of 13 pages. “This is one of the first Constitutions on the European continent and a symbol of the Cossack state and democracy. It is very important for Ukrainians,” Petro Poroshenko said. The State Archive of Sweden pays special attention to this historic document, which is securely stored in a separate vault with steady moisture, temperature and other conditions necessary for its preservation.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Enormous containment arch finally moving into place over exploded Chernobyl reactor

November 16, 2016 Over the next five days, engineers at Chernobyl, the Ukrainian site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, will be moving an enormous roof over the still irradiated remains of the plant’s No 4 reactor. Hopes are high that the new superstructure can contain radiation while Ukraine works to deal with the nuclear waste within the exploded reactor. Bellona’s executive director and nuclear physicist Nils Bøhmer, however, said the new roof will not entirely remove radiation dangers from the area. Chernobyl’s reactor No 4 exploded on April 26, 1986, and over the ensuing 10 days, its nuclear fuel continued to burn, issuing clouds of poisonous radiation and contaminating as much as three quarters of the European continent, hitting northern Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, especially hard. Sweden was the first country to report irregular radiation readings. The Chernobyl plant was the suspected culprit, but Soviet officials remained mum.
Construction of the "sarcophagus" at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine, following the explosion on April 26, 1986. UPI/INS
In the days following, 116,000 people were evacuated while some 600,000 liquidators, comprised of police, fire fighters, military and engineers, operated in chaotic and dangerous conditions, often without protective gear, to implement a containment structure of cement and steel to squelch emissions of radiation. The ad-hoc structure trapped 200 tons of uranium, but many liquidators feared at the time that the cement barrier would eventually give up. In 2005 it did.
This week, the New Safe Confinement, a €1.5 billion ($1.6 billion), 36,000 ton steel structure, will slide into place with the goal of trapping that radiation for the next 100 years – by which point it is hope engineers will contain it for good. Financed by donations of more than 40 countries coordinated by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, the New Safe Confinement is the largest movable land-based structure on earth, and will fully enclose the remains of Chernobyl’s No 4 reactor.
A view of the New Safe Confinement structure. (Photo: Nils Bøhmer)  
The arch structure is the largest moveable land-based structure ever built, with a span of 257 meters, a length of 162 meters, and a height of 108 meters. That’s big enough to house London’s St. Paul’s cathedral or Paris’s Notre Dame. The London-based EBRD calls it “one of the most ambitious projects in the history of engineering”. The New Safe Confinement was constructed in a clean area near No 4 reactor and will over the next week slide a little more than 327 meters to seal off the unit, World Nuclear News reported. It’s hoped to make the site safe to allow for eventual dismantling of the crumbling concrete shelter, called the sarcophagus, currently covering the remains of the reactor. It will also facilitate management of the waste within the structure, the EBRD said.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

United States to continue increasing their presence in Europe

November 12, 2016 (AFP News) The United States are will continue to increase their military presence in Europe according to plan, independently from the future intentions of president-elect Donald Trump, the U.S. Department of Defense announced. The statements of president-elect Donald Trump during his campaign that as president, he would only defend allies, who have met their financial obligations to NATO, were a cause of worry in Europe. The U.S. is sending an armored brigade to Eastern Europe beginning February 2017. With it, the number of American brigades on European soil increases to three. A battalion-strength battle group to be sent to Poland will also be led by the Americans. The aim is to reinforce the alliance’s eastern flank, and Eastern Europe’s defenses for the case of a Russian attack.

 Press spokesman for the Pentagon, Peter Cook, said that the U.S. was putting the plan into practice as agreed with its European NATO allies. About the upcoming change of the presidency, Cook said that the military would leave policy to the next government. “We have one commander-in-chief at a time,” Cook said. The new brigade will start its operations with training exercises in Poland. After this, companies will be sent to Bulgaria, Romania, and to the Baltic states. Trump, who during his campaign praised Putin on a few occasions and criticized President Barack Obama’s policy in matters concerning Moscow, has said that he wants to improve relations with Russia. NATO decided at its Warsaw Summit last summer to send battalions to Poland and the Baltic states. The battalion to be sent to Estonia will be led by the British, the unit to be sent to Latvia led by the Canadians, the Lithuanian battalion by Germany, and the one to be sent to Poland by the United States.
The full article is available at:

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

What scientists have discovered in the Chernobyl forest, shocked the whole world!

November 8, 2016 (The Telegraph) On April 26, 1986 was a tragic day in the history of the Soviet Union and the world at large. On this day the accident occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. About 116,000 people were evacuated from a 1,600 square mile exclusion zone around Chernobyl, on the border of Ukraine and Belarus. A huge area around the station became the exclusion zone. Recently, scientists have launched a project that aims to learn more about the fauna of this abandoned place. It turns out that the presence of people affects wildlife much more than radiation, because in the Chernobyl area found fauna, which were not observed more than a century.

The research results have drawn a wide response among biologists. The study revealed that in the Chernobyl forests significantly increased the number of wild boars, wolves, roe deer and foxes. In addition, scientists found the rare animals, which for many years did not appear in these places: European lynx and brown bear. Professor at the University of Portsmouth Jim Smith claims that this accident has created a certain reserve: “We are not saying that radiation is good. But the lack of human impact has allowed the animal population to grow”.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Russia may be wounded, but it can still bite

November 3, 2016 (The Washington Post) Whoever wins Tuesday’s presidential election will face an assertive, aggrieved Russia whose risk-taking behavior under President Vladimir Putin is increasingly worrisome to U.S. experts.

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Pool photo via Associated Press)
Today’s pushy, headstrong Russia presents a paradox: By most measures, it is a country in decline, with a sagging economy, an underdeveloped technology base and a shrinking population. Corruption pervades nearly every sector. The collapse of the Soviet Union is still an open wound, and many Russians blame the United States for taking advantage of them during their years of decline.
Yet this inwardly weak Russia displays the cockiness of a street fighter. It is waging war in Syria, Ukraine and cyberspace with a seeming disdain for U.S. power. According to Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., Russian hackers sought to “interfere with the U.S. election process,” on authority of the highest levels of the Russian government.
“Putin’s definition of risk-taking has evolved in the direction of greater boldness and less attention to how it will affect the U.S.,” argues Dimitri Simes, president of the Center for the National Interest. “Putin thinks that American positive inducements are next to nonexistent, and that the penalties are minimal, and will be imposed whatever he does.”
The next president must assess how to alter Russian behavior without direct military confrontation. Is that best done by cutting deals with Putin, as Donald Trump suggests? Or should it be a firmer process of asserting U.S. power and interests, as Hillary Clinton has argued? This may be the biggest national-security issue in the election. The full article is available at

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Ukraine stunned as vast cash reserves of political elite are made public

November 1, 2016 (The Gardian) Two years after angry Ukrainians deposed Viktor Yanukovych and broke into his vast, opulent residential compound outside Kiev, revelations thrown up by a new system that requires government officials to declare their wealth and property online have led many to suspect the new elite are no better. The declarations, which all officials were required to file by Sunday evening, have made public many curiosities, including politicians who own multiple luxury watches, Fabergé eggs and large collections of weapons. One politician declared that he owned a personal church. By far the biggest shock, however, has been just how much money Ukraine’s politicians seem to stash away in hard cash.

The Ukrainian prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman.
Photograph: Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images

The prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, declared $1.2m (£980,000) and €460,000 (£410,000) in cash, as well as a collection of luxury watches. Many other officials declared hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cash. “Everyone is amazed that there is so much cash in our country,” said Kristina Berdynskykh, an investigative journalist who has written extensively on corruption among the elite. Mikhail Dobkin, an opposition MP, declared 1,780 bottles of wine, while Roman Nasirov, the head of the state fiscal service, declared that together, he and his wife owned Swiss watches, diamonds, fur coats and held more than $2m in cash. Observers have pointed out that when the head of the national bank keeps his savings in dollars, it can hardly fill the population with confidence about the prospects for the hryvnia, Ukraine’s national currency. Other curiosities found among the declarations included a Nazi SS dagger and medieval religious icons. Anatoly Matviyenko, the deputy leader of the presidential faction in parliament, declared ownership of a church.
Read full article at

‘Increasingly aggressive’ Russia a growing threat to UK, says MI5 head

November 1, 2016 (The Guardian) Russia poses an increasing threat to the stability of the UK and is using all the sophisticated tools at its disposal to achieve its aims, the director general of MI5 has told the Guardian. In the first newspaper interview given by an incumbent MI5 chief in the service’s 107-year history, Andrew Parker said that at a time when much of the focus was on Islamic extremism, covert action from other countries was a growing danger. Most prominent was Russia.

Andrew Parker said Russia was “using its whole range of state organs and powers to push its foreign policy abroad in increasingly aggressive ways”. Photograph: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA
It is using its whole range of state organs and powers to push its foreign policy abroad in increasingly aggressive ways – involving propaganda, espionage, subversion and cyber-attacks. Russia is at work across Europe and in the UK today. It is MI5’s job to get in the way of that.
Parker said Russia still had plenty of intelligence officers on the ground in the UK, but what was different now from the days of the cold war was the advent of cyberwarfare. Russian targets include military secrets, industrial projects, economic information and government and foreign policy.
Parker said he was talking to the Guardian rather than any other newspaper despite the publication of the Snowden files and a consistent scepticism about the need for extra powers for the security services. “We recognise that in a changing world we have to change too. We have a responsibility to talk about our work and explain it,” he said.
The full article is available at: