Sunday, December 29, 2019

Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists exchange prisoners

December 29, 2019 (BBC News Europe) Pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine have concluded a long-awaited prisoner exchange of 200 prisoners, the office of the Ukrainian president said. Ukraine's government received 76 captives, with the pro-Russian separatists reportedly taking 124. Russian and Ukrainian authorities agreed to the swap - which is aimed at improving ties - at talks in December. 
Relations between the two countries deteriorated in 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. Russian-backed rebels then began an insurgency in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine. More than 13,000 people have been killed in the conflict. This is the second prisoner exchange involving Russia and Ukraine. In September, 24 sailors seized by Russia in the Kerch Strait off Crimea in November 2018 were released and - controversially - a "person of interest" over the downing of flight MH17 which killed 298 people was handed to Russia. Sunday's swap took place at a check point near the industrial town of Horlivka in the Donetsk region. 

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Ukraine, Sweden Discuss Security Cooperation

December 21, 2019 ( Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) Oleksiy Danilov held a meeting with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Sweden to Ukraine Tobias Thyberg on December 20th. During the meeting, the parties discussed the current issues of bilateral security cooperation and the possibilities of its further expansion, the NSDC’s press service stated. The NSDC secretary expressed gratitude for the support provided by Sweden to Ukraine in difficult times of countering external aggression and an unstable security environment.

“The war will gradually move to cyberspace, and cyber weapons will become the major weapon, and we must be ready to counter it. Cyber ??and information security are our key priorities,” Danilov said. Thyberg noted the positive dynamics of bilateral cooperation, particularly in the training of Ukrainian military within the framework of the Canadian UNIFIER mission and in providing expert support in the reform of the Security Service of Ukraine. The ambassador also suggested that it might be promising for Ukraine and Sweden to expand cooperation in the Navy, as Ukraine and Sweden are maritime nations, and our defense methods and structures are somewhat similar.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

What happened to the wild nature more than 30 years after the Chernobyl disaster?

December 11, 2019 ( The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on Saturday 26 April 1986, at the No. 4 nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat. An area originally extending 30 kilometers in all directions from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is officially called the "zone of alienation." It is largely uninhabited, except for about 300 residents who have refused to leave. The area has largely reverted to forest, and has been overrun by wildlife because of a lack of competition with humans for space and resources.

These pictures were taken in the heart of the "zone of alienation" by the hidden camera. It's hard to believe that only 31 years have passed since people left this area. It's amazing how quickly nature has managed to restore life in the area of man-made disaster! It turns out that radiation is not as terrible for animals as for humans.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Normandy summit begins in Paris

December 9, 2019 (UNIAN) A Normandy summit of four leaders – Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Angela Merkel of Germany, and Emmanuel Macron of France – has begun in Paris. This summit has become Zelensky's first meeting with Putin since his election as Ukraine's president. Zelensky is set to negotiate the exchange of prisoners of war, a ceasefire and withdrawal of illegal armed formations from Donbas, eastern Ukraine. After the summit, Zelensky is scheduled to separately meet with Putin.

Kharkiv Armored Plant carried out unusual tests of the T-80BV tank, armed with a 125-mm cannon, accept by this a beer challenge taking from the Lviv Armored Plant

December 9, 2019 ( According to the developers, such a clear demonstration of the stabilizer of a tank’s gun shows that the gun is always precisely aimed at the target, even in off-road conditions. This will allow the gunner to destroy the target from the first shot. It is worth noting that earlier such tests were carried out by the Lviv Armored Plant. The test was that the mug with beer fixed on the barrel of the tank, which weight is 50 tons, did not fall and spill during the movement of the combat vehicle. In their test, the Kharkov gunsmiths went further - in addition to the beer mug, they put a glass of cognac on the cannon. And both tests were passed successfully.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

U.S. reaffirms its support for Ukraine ahead of Normandy Four Summit

December 8, 2019 (UNIAN) The United States is committed to working with its Allies and partners to keep pressure on Russia to live up to its commitments and to begin the process of peacefully restoring Ukraine's full sovereignty over Donbas. The United States has reaffirmed its support for Ukraine ahead of the Normandy Four Summit in Paris on December 9. "The United States reaffirms our unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the lead up to the Normandy Format Summit. The United States is committed to working with our Allies and partners to keep pressure on Russia to live up to its commitments and to begin the process of peacefully restoring Ukraine's full sovereignty over Donbas," the U.S. said in a statement posted by the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine on Facebook. According to the statement, since 2014, the United States has provided a total of $3 billion in security and non-security assistance funds that support a broad range of Ukrainian institutions and organizations.

"Our programs have helped to launch crucial initiatives related to law enforcement, the fight against corruption, judicial reform, military reform and building democratic institutions. This assistance is administered according to U.S. laws and is regularly audited by U.S. inspectors general," reads the report. "We have consistently said that Ukraine's long-term success and resilience depends on its commitment to reform, in particular the fight against corruption. To succeed, Ukraine needs committed government officials and strong anti-corruption institutions." "We will stand with Ukraine as it fights the Russians, strengthens the rule of law, creates a healthier investment climate, reforms its defense sector, fights disinformation, and takes the steps necessary to ensure the final victory of those aligned on the side of justice and dignity," the statement says. As UNIAN reported earlier, the leaders of the Normandy Four states – Ukraine, France, Germany, and Russia – are scheduled to meet in Paris, France, on December 9.

Friday, December 6, 2019

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Sweden to increase business presence in Ukraine

December 6, 2019 ( Ukraine is interested in large-scale projects in alternative energy, energy security, agriculture, IT sector, infrastructure and environmental protection, as stated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy following the negotiations with Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Löfven.
“I am very grateful to Sweden and personally to the Prime Minister for the continued support for Ukraine, for the practical assistance in implementing important reforms on decentralization, freedom of speech, environmental protection, energy conservation and energy security. It is a pleasure that Mr. Löfven fully shares the view that the best answer to all existing challenges and threats is to build a successful Ukraine,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during a joint press conference with Stefan Löfven in Kyiv.
The Head of State assured the Swedish Prime Minister that the assistance provided by the Swedish side to support reforms in Ukraine would be fully justified.
The President noted that Sweden was one of the largest trading partners of Ukraine in Northern Europe and an important investment partner. "We just have to expand it - it is a must. Our trade is really growing,” he said.
I called on the Swedish side to increase its business presence in Ukraine. We are very interested in large-scale projects on alternative and renewable energy, energy security, agriculture, IT sector, infrastructure,” the President added.
In particular, during the Ukrainian-Swedish talks, Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed that Ukraine was working hard to improve energy efficiency. “This will make our economy much more competitive and increase Ukraine's energy security. We count on our active cooperation in this area,” the President stated.