Friday, December 29, 2017

Ukrainian military shoots down Russian drone in Donbas

December 29, 2017 (112.UA) Unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, play an integral role on the modern battlefield. They are small and can transmit the information about the enemy’s positions. They are hard to detect, but Ukraine’s servicemen manage to locate and take them down. Ukraine has displayed the wreckage of what it says is a Russian spy drone shot down near the city of Donetsk on Wednesday, further adding to a mountain of evidence that the Russian military is directly involved in the fighting in eastern Ukraine. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Ukrainian army lost 191 fighters in 2017

December 28, 2017 (112.UA) Over the year, the irrecoverable losses in the Ukrainian Armed Forces made 191 servicemen. The General Staff of the Armed Forces reported this on Tuesday. The respective message says that as of December 18, 191 fighters have been credited as ‘irrecoverable casualties’. 

This number includes those who were either killed or gone missing in action, as well as POWs. Another 174 were wounded in the way that rendered them unable to continue the active military service. 1,265 fighters were considered retrievable losses. 35,220 volunteers joined the army this year for contract military service.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

74 Ukrainians come home from Donbas in POW exchang

December 27, 2017 (KyivPost) In the first prisoners of war exchange in over a year, 74 of 168 Ukrainian soldiers having been held in captivity in the Russian-controlled Donbas are coming home. Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists exchanged prisoners of war on Dec. 27 with Ukrainian side having released 237 prisoners. The exchange took place at the military checkpoint Mayorske near Horlivka, a city in Donetsk Oblast, some 750 kilometers southeast from Kyiv. This is the first prisoner exchange between Kyiv and the Russian-led forces in more than a year. According to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, all 74 Ukrainian prisoners are already on the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government.  They are heading to the Boryspil airport in Kyiv’s suburbs, where they are to arrive at about 7.30 p.m. Kyiv time. Every liberated Ukrainian would get proper medical assistance immediately after arrival, and they with their families will receive money aid to speed up the adaptation at home.

The Ukrainian side handed over 237 prisoners despite the promise to release 306: 29 prisoners brought to the exchange point refused to go back to the separatists’-controlled side, while 40 who had already served their sentence and were released did not show up for the swap, according to Viktor Medvedchuk, a representative from the Ukrainian side, the leader of the pro-Russian movement Ukrainian Choice – People’s Right. Ukrainian representatives involved in the exchange process went to the Donbas on Dec. 26: Ukrainian Parliamentary Human Rights Commissioner Valeriya Lutkovska, employees of Prosecutor General’s office and Defence Ministry as well as several experts from a humanitarian subgroup that takes part in Minks negotiations.While Poroshenko is thanking the Normandy format, the United States, the Trilateral Contact Group, the OSCE and the other international organizations for the swap, representative of separatists Olga Kobtseva thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We hope it will continue, for not all held captives are released, from neither side,” said Kobtseva, who keeps communication from the Russian-baked forces concerning humanitarian issues.The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin on Nov. 15 called Oleksandr Zakharchenko, the Russian-backed leader of the occupied part of Donetsk Oblast, and Ihor Plotnitsky, who until recently commanded the Kremlin-backed forces in Luhansk, to say he favored a prisoner swap with Kyiv. Currently, there are at least 386 Russian-led fighters in prison on Ukrainian territory, and 168 Ukrainians being captive in the Russian-occupied parts of the Donbas. After the swap, there will be 94 Ukrainian left in the Russian custody. According to Security Service of Ukraine, or SBU, at least 3,140 Ukrainians have been found and released from the Russian-occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in the last three years.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Reminiscent of Nazi era? German police forced to explain controversial logo in new armored cars

December 26, 2017 (RT) Logos on the seats in new armored vehicles acquired by the police Special Forces unit in the German land of Saxony have provoked a wave of indignation on social media, as they appear to be reminiscent of a Nazi emblem. The Saxony Special Forces (SEK), a unit particularly tasked with conducting anti-terrorist operations in the region, received its first new armored vehicles, called “Survivor R,” on Friday. The 17-ton cars have enough armor to withstand a machine-gun assault and even an explosion and can carry up to 10 officers.

However, it is not the vehicle’s combat characteristics that have attracted public attention. The armored cars sparked widespread criticism on social media due to the fact that the backs of its seats were adorned with a logo that was strikingly similar to what looked like a Nazi emblem.

“What a beautiful logo!” one person wrote sarcastically in a Twitter post featuring a photo of the unfortunate design. He then added that it looks “almost like [the one] from the older [Nazi] times” and “lacks only an eagle and a swastika.”
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Monday, December 25, 2017

Pope Francis asks for peace in Ukraine in Christmas message

December 25, 2017 (UNIAN) In his annual Christmas address, Pope Francis has called on believers to pray for peace and make peace-building efforts worldwide. “We see Jesus in children who, together with their families, suffer from the violence of the conflict in Ukraine and its grave humanitarian repercussions; we pray that the Lord may soon grant peace to this dear country,” Pope Francis said, according to Radio Vatican. “Today, as the winds of war are blowing in our world and an outdated model of development continues to produce human, societal and environmental decline, Christmas invites us to focus on the sign of the Child and to recognize him in the faces of little children,”

 Pope Francis said, recalling of those living in conflict-torn countries, including the Holy Land, Middle East, a number of African states, Venezuela, and Ukraine. As UNIAN reported earlier, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has reported 544 conflict-related civilian casualties in Donbas from January 1 to November 15, according to the Office's update on the human rights situation in Ukraine.