Friday, August 7, 2020

Russia spends billions of dollars on propaganda conferences in occupied Crimea – Dzheppar

August 7, 2029 (UkrInform) Russia spends billions of dollars on international conferences in the occupied Crimea, trying to attract foreigners to tell about a "good life" on the peninsula. First Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Emine Dzheppar said this in an interview with Turkey’s Demirören News Agency. “The Russian Federation, having occupied Crimea, seeks to legitimize its crimes with hybrid war tools. It spends billions of dollars on international conferences in the occupied Crimea, inviting people from different countries to the peninsula, forcing them to tell abouthow good life is in Crimea to create an illusion,” Dzheppar said.

She pointed out that Russia is trying to destroy the heritage of Crimean Tatars, as it has done historically. Dzheppar, on behalf of Ukraine and herself, thanked the Turkish state for supporting the territorial integrity of Ukraine, Crimea and Crimean Tatars, and the President of Turkey for assisting in the release of political prisoners. She recalled Turkey's intention to build 500 apartments for Crimean Tatars in the Kherson region and added that these initiatives could be extended to other regions of Ukraine. As reported, Russia's planned armed aggression against Ukraine began on February 20, 2014 with a military operation by the Russian armed forces to seize part of Ukraine's territory - the Crimean Peninsula. On March 16, 2014, a "referendum on the status of Crimea" was held on the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, as a result of which Russia annexed Crimea. At the same time, Ukraine, the European Union, the United States and other countries did not recognize the results of the voting in the "referendum" and imposed sanctions against Russia.

Friday, July 31, 2020

NATO: Russia has significantly increased number of frigates and submarines in Black Sea

July 31, 2020 (UKRINFORM) Commodore Jeanette Morang, Commander Surface Forces NATO made this statement on the air of Ukrainian DOM TV channel. According to her, the Black Sea is of great value for international trade and, therefore, freedom of navigation and access to trade routes and coastal infrastructure remains an urgent need of the Black Sea countries and a necessary condition for their economic well-being. "As you probably know, about 80% of all trade operations are carried out by sea, and our goal is to ensure that every nation has a right to free access to the sea," Morang added. 
At the same time, she noted, the Black Sea has its own peculiarities. "First of all, it should be mentioned that the passage of vessels is regulated by the Montreux Convention. Pursuant to the Convention, the countries lacking access to the Black Sea cannot remain in it for more than 21 consecutive days. Another feature is Russia's desire to change existing borders and rapidly build up its military presence in the region. The Russian Federation has lately significantly increased the number of its frigates and newest submarines in the Black Sea. This activity came as no surprise to the Alliance. We are convinced that it is important to strengthen our presence in the region as well," Commander Surface Forces NATO said. She added that the Alliance stood for stability in the region and the economic well-being of the countries bordering the Black Sea. NATO is convinced that all countries of the Black Sea region share these views, Morang stressed.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

From Chornobyl to Mars: Radiation-absorbing fungus tested as space station shield

July 29, 2020 (www.newscientist.com) Cladosporium sphaerospermum, a radiation-absorbing fungus first found thriving within the highly radioactive cooling pools of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, has undergone trials onboard the International Space Station (ISS) for use as a radiation-resistant barrier for space exploration. In a recently published paper, researchers hypothesize that this fungus could be used as a biological radiation shield, allowing mankind to establish a permanent presence on the Moon or even Mars. In 1991, researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine found three types of fungi thriving in the cooling water at the Chornobyl power plant. These fungi survived in the coolant, despite the fact that its radiation level was 500 times higher than in the surrounding environment. Now, the fungi could provide a novel solution to one of the greatest challenges of space exploration: hazardous levels of radiation.
The International Space Station
NASA Archive / Alamy
According to the research paper, astronauts studied a sample of radiation-absorbing fungus onboard the ISS over a time frame of 30 days in an environment intended to replicate the radioactive conditions on Mars. The findings suggested that a layer of the fungus 21 centimeters thick would successfully protect against an annual dose of radiation on Mars, whereas just a 9-centimeter layer would be required when mixed with melanin and Martian soil. Weighing less than the heavy alloys that would normally protect from radiation, the fungal shield could help lower the overall weight of cargo blasted into space for settlements on other planets. What makes the fungus great is that you only need a few grams to start out…It self-replicates and self-heals, so even if there’s a solar flare that damages the radiation shield significantly, it will be able to grow back in a few days,” researcher Nills Averesch said in a comment to the New ScientistThe paper is awaiting peer-review, but the initial results of the trials of the fungus have been promising. The paper concludes with an optimistic affirmation: Often nature has already developed blindly obvious yet surprisingly effective solutions to engineering and design problems faced as humankind evolves – C. sphaerospermum and melanin could thus prove to be invaluable in providing adequate protection of explorers on future missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Unique amateur footage of the British evacuation of Dunkirk, hidden in a family archive for over 70 years

July 28, 2020 (BBC) The Battle of Dunkirk was fought in Dunkirk, France, during the Second World War, between the Allies and Nazi Germany. As the Allies were losing the Battle of France on the Western Front, the Battle of Dunkirk was the defense and evacuation to Britain of British and other Allied forces in Europe from 27 May to 4 June 1940. During these nine days 338,226 men escaped, including 139,997 French, Polish, and Belgian troops, together with a small number of Dutch soldiers, aboard 861 vessels (of which 243 were sunk during the operation).
Despite wartime censorship, the Dunkirk evacuation was recorded by a naval Lieutenant with his own personal camera. This film lay hidden in a family archive for over 70 years. 

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Military exercises Sea Breeze - 2020 continues: firing at coastal, sea and air targets

July 25, 2020 (112.UA) Joint military exercises Sea Breeze - 2020 are continuing in the Black Sea. The military have already practiced repelling attacks from high-speed small boats and shoot at various targets. This was reported by the press center of the State Border Service of Ukraine.
"Tactical maneuvering in formation and orders, exchange of information and target designation between ships, repelling an attack by high-speed small boats, shooting at coastal, sea and air targets, simulating an air attack on ships and air defense of a formation during the transition to the sea - all these elements of the exercises are traditionally are being worked out according to NATO standards, "the message says. The State Border Guard Service said that the ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet tried to interfere with the exercises, which constantly monitored the maneuvering of NATO ships and closed the areas. The Coast Guard of the Border Service of the FSB of the Russian Federation regularly read to foreign ships the call to "stay away", calling the waters around the occupied peninsula their own. "The vagaries of the weather also became an additional test for the participants in the exercises. Thus, the night lighting production had to be performed in stormy weather, in fact, during a thunderstorm," the press center said.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The fence around the Glory Monument in Poltava, which was erected in 2009 to protect the monument from vandals, was recently dismantled.

After a petition for dismantling the fence around the Glory Monument was published on the city council's website in May 2020, it quickly garnered the required number of votes. The dismantling began on July 16 and was completed on July 17. The initiator of the petition, journalist and author of the historical project "Old Poltava" Igor Izotov, noted that since 1811 the Glory Monument had no fence for almost 200 years. The fence was installed after the monument was partially damaged by local vandals. According to Igor Izotov, there were several reasons for dismantling the fence:
1. The effectiveness of the "protective" function of the fence should be reviewed. Currently, Poltava has a video surveillance system "Safe City" that should provide its own protection against potential vandalism.
2. The fence needs to be painted and cared for, which costs a lot. Dismantling will help save the city maintenance costs.
3. The fence negatively affects the image of the city. Visitors do not feel safe when they see fences, and barbed wire.
4. The fence spoils the appearance of the monument itself as a sculptural composition, which already has its own fence in the form of granite columns connected with iron chains.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Queen makes 100-year-old WWII veteran a knight

June 17, 2020 (CNN) Queen Elizabeth II knighted 100-year-old World War II veteran Captain Tom Moore, who became a national celebrity by raising millions for the UK's National Health Service (NHS), in an outdoor ceremony in Windsor Castle on Friday.
Moore raised almost £33 million ($40 million) by walking laps of his backyard, and received a knighthood after a special nomination from Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The ceremony marked the Queen's return to her public duties after the coronavirus pandemic forced her to cancel virtually all of her engagements.
She knighted Moore with her father's sword, and praised him for his fundraising efforts, saying: "Thank you so much, an amazing amount of money you raised," according to the PA Media news agency.
Earlier, the veteran had tweeted that he was "ready and raring to go for what is a very special day."
"I could never have imagined this would happen to me. It is such a huge honour and I am very much looking forward to meeting Her Majesty The Queen," he said earlier in the week. "It is going to be the most special of days for me."  Moore was accompanied to the ceremony on Friday by his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore, son-in-law Colin Ingram, grandson Benji and granddaughter Georgia, according to PA.
"If I kneel down I'll never get up again," he said as he left his home for Windsor Castle earlier Friday.
The video is available at

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

NATO ships preparing for exercises in Black Sea

July 15, 2020 (Ukrinform) Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2), led by the Spanish frigate Alvaro de Bazan (F-101), has set course for the northwestern part of the Black Sea where multinational exercises will soon take place near the ports of Burgas and Odesa, according to ArmyInform.
"The ships will take part in naval maneuvers. Later, they will visit the Ukrainian city of Odesa," the report said. According to Spanish Navy Captain Manuel Aguirre, who heads Standing NATO Maritime Group Two, the exercises will help achieve NATO's naval strategy goals through the naval presence in NATO's areas of responsibility and strengthen the Alliance's positions in deterrence and defense, as well as the readiness to respond immediately to crisis situations.
The Sea Breeze 2020 international exercise, involving ships and aircraft of the Ukrainian Navy, will take part will take place in the Odesa region between July 20-26.

Germany proposes first-ever use of EU cyber sanctions over Russia hacking

July 15, 2020 (UNIAN) The German government has officially proposed that the European Union impose sanctions on Russian individuals responsible for a large-scale hacking of the Bundestag five years ago, the German Press Agency reported Sunday. If agreed, the plan, which was recommended by Berlin last month, would be the first use of an EU cyber sanctions regime adopted in 2017, Deutsche Welle reported.
Reuters
The details of the proposals were revealed in response to a parliamentary inquiry filed by Germany's socialist Left Party and reviewed by the news agency. The German government believes Russian intelligence was behind a 2015 network hacking in which an estimated 16 gigabytes of data, documents, and emails were siphoned off from the Bundestag's IT network, including thousands of emails from Merkel's Bundestag office.  It was the largest cyber hacking ever carried out against the Bundestag. In May, Germany's attorney general issued an arrest warrant against Russian citizen Dmitry Badin, who is "strongly suspected of being responsible" for the attack and who is a "member of the group APT28," the response to the inquiry said.  Germany also believes a hacker from the Russian military secret service GRU was involved. On June 3, 2020, the government "substantiated sanction proposals within the EU framework by presenting a comprehensive package of evidence, based on the results of German investigative authorities and on intelligence information as well as publicly available sources." This information was sent to the other EU member states for consideration. A decision from the bloc is still pending.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Ukrainian army gets four BTR-4E armored personnel carriers

June 12, 2020 (UKRINFORM) Kharkiv Morozov Machine-Building Design Bureau has transferred four BTR-4E armored personnel carriers to the Ukrainian Armed Forces as part of the implementation of the state defense order, the press service of the Ukroboronprom State Concern has reported. "Kharkiv Morozov Machine-Building Design Bureau, part of the Ukroboronprom State Concern, transferred another batch of four BTR-4E armored personnel carriers to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry," the report reads.
According to the report, the work has been carried out according to the schedule since the unblocking of the contract with the Defense Ministry at the end of 2019. To date, 80% of the state contract has been fulfilled - 37 out of 45 armored vehicles provided under the state defense order have been shipped to the military. All armored vehicles are equipped with machine guns manufactured by Kyiv-based Mayak Plant, which actually resumed the full production process at this enterprise. The press service also recalled that armored personnel carriers had been supplied under a contract with the Ukrainian Defense Ministry since 2016, which was unblocked by joint efforts of the president of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers, the Defense Ministry and the new leadership of Ukroboronprom in late 2019.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Russia continues to supply military hardware, weapons to occupied Donbas

June 8, 2020 (UNIAN) In particular, about 4,500 tonnes of fuel and over 20 trucks of ammunition and military equipment have been delivered to the occupying forces' formations and units since June 15. Spokesman for Ukraine's Defense Ministry Dmytro Hutsuliak has said Russia continues to supply military hardware, weapons and ammunition to the occupying forces in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Foto Reuters

"Russia continues to provide the occupying forces in the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions with weapons, ammunition, fuels and lubricants and other military equipment through border sections not controlled by Ukraine," he said at a briefing on Tuesday with reference to intelligence data. In particular, according to Hutsuliak, about 4,500 tonnes of fuel and over 20 trucks of ammunition and military equipment have been delivered to the occupying forces' formations and units since June. In addition, armored vehicles restored at repair plants of the Russian military-industrial complex were delivered in separate columns.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Mysterious ‘nuclear’ radiation spike over Europe detected – and experts are blaming Russia

June 29, 2020 (The Sun) Several European authorities have revealed readings of an increase in human-made radionuclide particles in the atmosphere. Fortunately, the levels of radiation are thought to be harmless to humans. However, they're still large enough to be picked up by radiation monitoring sensors across the continent. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority tweeted: "Very low levels of the radioactive substances cesium-134, cesium-137, cobalt-60, and ruthenium-103 were measured. The levels measured are so low that they pose no danger to people or the environment." Norway and Finland also made similar observations.
Lassina Zerbo, the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation, then tweeted a map showing where the potential source of the problem is. This showed that the possible reason for the anomaly could be in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, or Russia. However, the largest part of the selected zone was in Russian territory.
The possible source region in the 72h preceding detection is shown in orange on the map.
 The full article is available at:
https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/11978579/mysterious-nuclear-radiation-spike-europe/

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Russia kicks off lavish Victory Day parade following coronavirus delay

June 24, 2020 (CNN) An extravagant Victory Day military parade commenced Wednesday in Moscow, as Russian President Vladimir Putin looks to solidify support ahead of a national referendum that could keep him in power until 2036.
The annual parade, which commemorates the end of World War II in Europe, is usually held on May 9. Putin had originally planned a major celebration, inviting world leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping to join him. But like many public events around the globe, the event was postponed over coronavirus fears. The Kremlin delayed the event after a letter from veterans' organizations voiced concerns about the health risks such an event might pose. Many foreign leaders chose to stay away from the rescheduled event, but leaders of several former Soviet states were in attendance on Wednesday, including Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been a prominent coronavirus skeptic. The audience this year on Red Square has been significantly reduced, with every two to three seats left empty to separate groups of guests. Crowds gathered outside of the square to watch the tanks roll in despite calls from Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin to stay home and watch it on TV. Putin himself is surrounded by veterans who had to be quarantined for 14 days at a health resort outside of Moscow, the Kremlin said. The parade itself has been expanded. All told, more than 14,000 troops are taking part in this year's ceremony in Red Square, according to the official announcer.
 Interesting and maybe unique casus took place during the parade 2020 on Red Square (see foto below). One man was wearing the Cross of Saint George (as a veteran of WWI) and the Gold Star medal (as a veteran of WWII). Journalists have calculated that he must be more than 125 years old.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

79 years ago, Hitler picked a fight that may have cost him World War II

June 23, 2020 (businessinsider.com) Just after 3 a.m. on June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany launched Operation Barbarossa, the largest invasion in the history of warfare. Over 3.5 million Axis troops, along with more than 3,400 tanks and 2,700 aircraft, blitzed across the 1,800-mile border separating the Axis powers from the Soviet Union. Believing the Red Army to be weak because of its failures in Poland and Finland and because Josef Stalin's purges had largely rid it of competent leaders, Adolf Hitler reportedly told his generals, "We only have to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down.
German troops with an infantry support gun crossing the Soviet border during Operation Barbarossa on June 22, 1941. Foto Johannes Hähle

The Germans divided their forces into three Army Groups. The immediate objectives were for Army Group North to drive through the Baltic and take Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), while Army Group South would attack into Ukraine and take Kyiv and the Donets Basin. Army Group Center, the largest of the three, would push through Minsk and Smolensk to take Moscow....
German troops in the Soviet Union in 1941. US National Archives

Ukraine has received over US$60 million in military aid from the United States

June 22, 2020 (UNIAN) Ukraine has received over US$60 million in military aid from the United States, it includes Javelin anti-tank missiles. "U.S. security assistance and cooperation efforts with Ukraine during #COVID19 continue! Yesterday, the U.S. Embassy's Office of Defense Cooperation received more than $60 million of equipment to transfer to our Ukrainian partners, including radios, ammunition, and Javelin anti-tank missiles," the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said on Facebook on Wednesday, June 17.
"The United States stands strongly with Ukraine in support of its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression," the embassy said. In late 2017, Washington for the first time approved a plan to provide the Armed Forces of Ukraine with lethal weapons, including Javelin anti-tank missile systems. In the spring of 2018, the United States delivered these anti-tank missile systems to Ukraine and, in May, they passed their first tests. On June 11, 2020, the U.S. Congress approved a military assistance package worth US$250 million for Ukraine in 2020. On May 15, 2020, the United States provided Ukraine's Armed Forces with materiel assistance totaling US$25 million for better equipment of Ukrainian military units deployed in the Joint Forces Operation zone in the country's east.
Military aid from the United States / Photo from U.S. Embassy Kyiv Ukraine

Saturday, June 20, 2020

An observation deck on the bell tower is being set up in Poltava.

June 20, 2020 In Poltava, an observation deck is being arranged in the bell tower of the Holy Dormition Cathedral located in the heart of the former fortress of Poltava. It will be opened this summer. At a height of almost 40 meters reveals a view of the central part of Poltava. Employees of the City Cathedral have been creating an observation deck for about six months now. "We completely made a metal staircase, handrails, metal safety nets, because they were not foreseen when the belltower was under construction. Some of the stairs were boiled, some stairs were repaired at the bottom. On the top deck our visitors will see the authentic beams and bricks of the late 18th century", says Poltava local architect Artur Aroyan.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

55 years ago The Beatles received their MBE medals from Queen Elizabeth II

June 16, 2020 (ultimateclassicrock.com) The Beatles' accomplishments didn't go unnoticed by the royal family after the better part of two years as Britain's greatest musical ambassadors. On Oct. 26, 1965, all four members went to Buckingham Palace to receive their Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) medals from Queen Elizabeth II.
They had been notified of the award back in June, when their names showed up on the Queen's Birthday Honours list. Given that rock 'n' roll music still had a negative connotation from most of society, the reaction from many previous honorees was predictable: Several returned their decorations in disgust. One man, Col. Frederick Wagg, even sent back 12 medals he had earned fighting in both World Wars, resigned from the Labour Party – Prime Minister Harold Wilson, who represented the Liverpool suburb of Huyton, had lobbied the Queen to honor the group – and canceled a bequest to the party. "Decorating the Beatles," he wrote, "has made a mockery of everything this country stands for. I've heard them sing and play, and I think they're terrible."
But their protests went unheeded and the ceremony, in which 189 people received awards, took place. Beforehand, they were instructed in the protocol for meeting the Queen. "Some equerry to the Queen, a Guards officer, took us to one side and showed us what we had to do," Paul McCartney recalled in Anthology. "'Approach Her Majesty like this and never turn your back on her, and don't talk to her unless she talks to you.' All of those things. For four Liverpool lads it was, 'Wow, hey man!' It was quite funny. But she was sweet. I think she seemed a bit mumsy to us because we were young boys and she was a bit older."
Despite the formality of the proceedings, the Beatles signed autographs for about 50 other recipients, including one man who told McCartney, "I want it for my daughter. I don't know what she sees in you." There was also a brief opportunity for their trademark irreverent humor. "[The Queen] said to me, 'Have you been together long?'" McCartney remembered. "And I said, 'Yes, many years.' And Ringo [Starr] said, '40 years,'" which made the Queen laugh.
John Lennon would later claim that the Beatles were so nervous at the idea of meeting the Queen that they went into the bathroom and smoked marijuana. George Harrison subsequently refuted Lennon's claims, however, saying that it was a regular cigarette. 
Four years later, Lennon sent back his MBE. "Your Majesty," he wrote, "I am returning my MBE as a protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against ‘Cold Turkey’ slipping down the charts. With love. John Lennon of Bag." The medal was discovered in a vault at St. James Palace in 2009.
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire was created by King George V in 1917 to honor those who served the country in non-combat roles in World War I, but soon separated it into military and civil divisions. There are five classes of appointment, with Member being the lowest.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

NATO Grants Ukraine 'Enhanced Opportunities Partner' Status

June 12, 2020 (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) NATO has entered a closer partnership with Ukraine, recognizing the former Soviet republic as an enhanced opportunities partner (EOP) after Kyiv demonstrated its "commitment to Euro-Atlantic security." This status is part of a NATO initiative intended to "maintain and deepen cooperation between Allies and partners that have made significant contributions to NATO-led operations and missions," the Western alliance announced on June 12.
"Ukraine has provided troops to Allied operations, including in Afghanistan and Kosovo, as well as to the NATO Response Force and NATO exercises," it said. The statement said Ukraine's new status will enable the country to benefit from "enhanced access to interoperability programs and exercises, and more sharing of information." However, it insisted that the new status "does not prejudge any decisions on NATO membership." Australia, Finland, Georgia, Jordan, and Sweden are also recognized as EOPs.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Foreign Minister elaborates on relaunch of international flights

June 12, 2020 (UNIAN) Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says Ukraine plans to resume regular international passenger flights in July-August 2020. "We plan to relaunch international flights from June 15. Of course, we can reopen them, but the main thing is that our partners are to do the same as well. Therefore, we are currently negotiating with other countries so that they reopen air traffic for us, so that our planes could fly regularly," he said at a morning TV show on June 5.
"We have already talked to Turkey, which, on principle, is ready to receive Ukrainian tourists. Moreover, I talked to my Turkish counterpart about the ways to ensure ultimate safety measures for Ukrainians, in terms of coronavirus. Also, we're in talks with Greece, Spain ... that is, with the countries that are most popular among Ukrainians," he added. At the same time, the situation in Spain remains quite complicated. "They planned to reopen for their neighbors, namely France and Portugal. But the pandemic situation is not that simple there, so they postponed the reopening," the minister added. "In general, we assume that in the second half of June, countries will be taking decisions on when and on what terms to relaunch air services. Therefore, we expect a gradual resumption of flights within July-August," the minister added.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

A new exhibit was delivered to the Museum of Heavy Bomber Aviation in Poltava

June 4, 2020 (0532.ua) A few days ago, a new exhibit was delivered to the Museum of Heavy Bomber Aviation in Poltava - the SU-17M4R aircraft. The Soviet fighter-bomber was brought from the Zaporizhia State Aircraft Repair Plant. The plane has not been completely assembled yet, the wings and other parts removed before transportation will be installed on the hull soon.
The Su-17M3/4 were used during the First Chechen War alongside Sukhoi Su-24s and Sukhoi Su-25s in ground attack and reconnaissance missions. In a move to eliminate single-engine strike aircraft from its inventory, the Russian Air Force retired its last Su-17M4 along with its fleet of MiG-23/27s in 1998.
Polish Su-17M2D in the markings of 7th Tactical Sqn.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Pauline Nordin Stratosphere flight in the MiG-29

May 31, 2020 (MiGFlug) Pauline Nordin (born 23 July 1982) is an IFBB fitness competitor, pro figure athlete, fitness model, actress, fitness trainer, and journalist. Originally from Ystad (Sweden), Pauline now lives in Los Angeles. Pauline is known from the TV show "Biggest Loser" and has her own company called "Fighter Diet".
Here is the first version from Paulines stratosphere flight in the MiG-29. This is how we receive the files from the Russian airbase. A fully edited version with professional ground shots as well as multiangle videos from the outside of the MiG-29 will follow soon.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

U.S. Air Force B-1 bombers integrate with Ukrainian fighters for the first time

May 29, 2020 (Ministry of Defense of Ukraine) Two B-1B Lancers from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, conducted a long-range, long duration strategic Bomber Task Force mission throughout Europe and the Black Sea region. This marked the first time that a Bomber Task Force mission integrated with Su-27 and MiG-29 aircrafts of the Ukrainian Air Forces. Such an event is one more sign of development of the Armed Forces of Ukraine towards further interoperability with NATO member and partner states.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Ukrainian military get another batch of armoured personnel carriers

May 29, 2020 (Ukrinform) Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau, part of the Ukroboronprom State Concern, transferred five armored personnel carriers to the Ukrainian army in May, the concern's press service has reported.
"Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau, part of the Ukroboronprom State Concern, transferred to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry another batch of five BTR-4E armored personnel carriers equipped with machine guns manufactured by the Kyiv-based state enterprise Mayak, which is a co-executor of the contract," the report reads. According to the director of the enterprise, Yakov Mormylo, all armored personnel carriers were made by specialists of the enterprise during the coronavirus lockdown and have already left for a military unit.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Museum of the Battle of Poltava is under repair.

The Museum of the Battle of Poltava decided to use the quarantine to carry out repairs and redesign the ninth hall. Recently, the museum is at the epicenter of ideological confrontation caused by the fact that the museum reflects both the history of Ukraine and the history of Russia. The new design of the ninth hall will include exhibits of Ukrainian origin, as well as Russian and Swedish origin. Since the 1990s the Svenskt Militärhistorisk Bibliotek (SMB) has been providing great assistance to the museum, which helps to increase the "representation" of Swedish history in the museum. The museum is getting ready to receive new delegations from Sweden and other countries as soon as the quarantine is over.

Monday, May 25, 2020

The far echo of WWII has been sent from the bottom of the Black Sea (photos, video)

May 25, 2020 (Ukrinform) Mykolaiv rescuers have lifted 63 shells and air bombs from the bottom of the Black Sea, the press service of the main office of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine in Mykolaiv region has reported.
"Planned demining work in the Black Sea, within the Kinburn Spit, began on May 11 and lasted until May 22. The territory was examined on a total area of 2.97 hectares. All dangerous finds were transported to land, to a specially designated place, and disposed of. In total, a bomb disposal group of the special-purpose emergency rescue detachment of the main office of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine in Mykolaiv region destroyed 63 explosive objects," the report reads. In particular, 55 artillery shells of various calibers, seven detonating charges and a FAB-50 air bomb were lifted from the seabed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Another treason case opened against President Poroshenko amid audio recording leak – media

May 20, 2020 (UNIAN) A flash drive with recordings of phone calls between President Poroshenko and the two former high-ranking U.S. officials was added to the materials of the case. The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine has opened another case against former President Petro Poroshenko on charges of treason amid the leak of audio recordings made public by Ukrainian MP Andriy Derkach. The information was included in the Unified Register of Pretrial Investigations. The probe began under Part 1 of Article 111 (high treason) and Part 2 of Article 364 (abuse of power or official position) of the Criminal Code, the Ukrayinska Pravda online newspaper reported citing its sources. A flash drive with audio recordings of phone calls between Poroshenko and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State John Kerry was added to the materials of the case.
Photo from UNIAN

As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukrainian MP Andriy Derkach on May 19 made public leaked audio recordings of phone conversations held by Biden, Kerry, and Poroshenko. In particular, the then Ukrainian president Poroshenko discussed a lot of issues of domestic politics with the U.S. politicians, such as tariffs, the nationalization of PrivatBank, the dismissal of the then Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, and the appointment of Yuriy Lutsenko to the post of prosecutor-general, etc.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Ukraine to allow operation of subway, kindergartens from May 25

May 19, 2020 (UKRINFORM) Ukraine will introduce from May 22 a flexible lockdown that can be intensified locally if there are outbreaks of coronavirus disease, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has said. "Lockdown will be extended but, as we promised, we will move to adaptive lockdown. Therefore, a number of lockdown relaxations will be adopted as early as the 22nd of May ",  Shmyhal said live on the ICTV channel on Monday, May 18.
According to him, the government will make a decision this week, which will help ease lockdown conditions for public transport from May 22, allow the holding of sports competitions, as well as the operation of hotels, but without the operation of swimming pools and restaurants. In addition, there will be a relaxation of church services, he said. "From the 25th of May, i.e. we take the time for technical preparations, the government will allow the work of kindergartens, as well as the work of the subway," Shmyhal added.
He said that the central government, as part of the flexible lockdown, is easing restrictions at the state level but is constantly working with the city authorities that will monitor the situation. The government introduced lockdown in Ukraine on March 12 to combat the spread of COVID-19. In particular, shops were closed, except for grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and banks. The lockdown was extended until May 22, but some restrictions were lifted on May 11.

Monday, May 18, 2020

The monument to Lybid and her brothers who founded Kyiv was planned to be dressed in an embroidered shirts.


May 18, 2020 Vyshyvanka Day, sometimes referred to as World Vyshyvanka Day, is a Ukrainian holiday celebrated on the third Thursday of May. On this day, thousands of Ukrainians across the world wear vyshyvankas (traditional embroidered shirts) to demonstrate their national identity and patriotism.

The word “vyshyvanka” is derived from the Ukrainian word for embroidery, “vyshyvanka”. Embroidery has a rich history in Ukraine and occupies an important place among Ukrainian decorative arts. Ukrainian embroidery varies from region to region. Although red and black are the most common colors of Ukrainian embroidery, other color schemes such as red and blue, white on white and a combination of several bright colors are popular in specific regions.
According to Ukrainian tradition, vyshyvanka is more than just an embroidered shirt. It is a talisman that is supposed to protect the wearer from evil spirits. Historically, the embroidery was used in the places on the garment where evil spirits could potentially enter the person: back, hem, shoulders, cuffs, and neckline.

On the eve of the Embroidery Day 2020, activists decided to wear a monument to Lybid on Independence Square in Kyiv, Ukrainian News Agency reports. According to the organizers, at first they wanted to dress all the founders of Kyiv, but later it turned out that brothers Kyi, Shchek and Khoriv size are too big. Such a big embroidered shirt hardly could be found in the shop. That's why only Lybid was dressed in an embroidered shirt.


Thursday, May 14, 2020

Russia's social networks to remain blocked in Ukraine

May 14, 2020 (UNIAN) The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, has adopted a resolution supporting the extension of the blocking of Russian social media and networking services, namely Mail.ru, VKontakte (VK) and Odnoklassniki (OK.ru). Some 248 lawmakers voted for the No. 3319 resolution that approves proposals to extend special economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions), according to UNIAN correspondent. Sixteen lawmakers voted against the decision, 17 abstained, and 52 did not vote. According to the explanatory note to the resolution, the goal and tasks of the adoption of the resolution is to prepare the grounds for a decision by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) to extend the targeted, special economic and other sanctions against Russian web resources. Before the vote took place, First Deputy Chairman of the parliament's Committee on Organizing State Power, Local Self-Government, Regional Development, and Urban Planning Roman Lozinsky from the Holos (Voice) parliamentary faction called on parliamentarians to support the resolution. Chairman of the parliament's Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence Oleksandr Zavitnevych added that his committee had recommended that parliament adopt the resolution as a whole.
The full article is available at: https://www.unian.info/politics/russian-social-media-ban-on-their-use-in-ukraine-extended-10995491.html

Monday, May 11, 2020

VE Day: Last Nazi message intercepted by Bletchley Park revealed

May 11, 2020 (BBC News) The last German military communications decoded at Bletchley Park in World War Two have been revealed to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. They were broadcast on 7 May 1945 by a military radio network making its final stand in Cuxhaven on Germany's North Sea coast. The message reports the arrival of British troops and ends: "Closing down forever - all the best - goodbye." After Germany surrendered, VE Day was declared the next day. In 1944, this German military radio network, codenamed BROWN, had extended across Europe sending reports about the development of experimental weapons. But a year later, as the Allies entered the town and closed in on his position, a radio operator at his post signed off to any colleagues who might still be listening.
At decoding center at Bletchley Park

His words - sent at 07:35 on 7 May - would be the last from the German military intercepted by codebreakers at Bletchley Park before the surrender. "British troops entered Cuxhaven at 1400 on 6 May. From now on all radio traffic will cease - wishing you all the best," the message from a Lieutenant Kunkel said. This was immediately followed by: "Closing down forever - all the best - goodbye". 
"Auf Wiedersehen," says the last message intercepted by Bletchley Park

The full article is available at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-52583322

Saturday, May 9, 2020

World War II and the battle over collective memory in Eastern Europe

May 9, 2020 (dw.com) Russia and Ukraine commemorate the end of the war in very different ways. While Moscow has continued to politicize the historic event, Kyiv has shifted toward an increasingly Western approach. Seventy-five years ago, Russian, Ukrainian and other Soviet Red Army soldiers took Berlin. Still, there has not been a common commemoration of that historic event for years. Recently, according to Berlin's Tagesspiegel newspaper, Ukraine's ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, turned down an invitation from Berlin Mayor Michael Müller to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony on May 2, alongside representatives from Russia and Belarus. Melnyk pointed to the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine, in which Kyiv views Russia as an occupying force, as the reason for his rejection. 
This year's commemorations have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic, and that is especially disappointing for Russia, the country that lost the most lives in the war. While the end of hostilities was never celebrated with pomp in the West, that was decidedly different in the Soviet Union and continues to be the case in Russia.
The full article is available at

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Ukraine is strengthening its missile shield

May 5, 2020 (mil.gov.ua) In the realm of the large scale missile testing, a second phase of the range testing of the Ukrainian missilesTyphoon-1” is taking place in the Odesa region. These 122 mm missiles are aimed to substitute “Grad” projectiles. According to the producer, the Ukrainian sample has enhanced performance.

The next stage of testing a missile systemNeptune” took place at the Alibey military range in the Odesa region. Flight tests were conducted in a condition of jamming for the missile’s target seeker device, as well as the involvement of Navy ships and Air Force aircrafts.  — This is Ukrainian capability to ensure its security, — noted Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine Serhii Kryvonos. Ukraine plans to have three platforms for cruise missiles. The first is mobile coastal systems which are undergoing testing at the moment, the second is missile boats and corvettes, and the third platform is aviation systems. One of the immediate expected results is the adoption and supply to the Ukrainian Navy of a new Neptune anti-ship system. One cruise missile from the Neptune system is enough to sink a ship with a tonnage of up to 5,000 tons. Combat deployment of the system is ensured in simple and complex weather conditions day and night with full autonomy of aiming after launch in conditions of fire and EW resistance of the enemy.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Forest fires destroy villages in Zhytomyr Oblast

May 3, 2020 (KyivPost) Forest fires that raged through Zhytomyr Oblast for two weeks wiped out several small villages, leaving dozens of people homeless at a time when most Ukrainians have to stay home due to the nationwide quarantine. Fueled by strong winds, the fires erupted on April 16 in the forests of the Chornobyl exclusion zone and the adjacent Ovruch district of Zhytomyr Oblast. For several days, acrid smoke from the fires blanketed Kyiv, making it difficult for residents to breathe.
In total, the fires destroyed 72 homes in five villages in the Ovruch district. Set in the middle of a forest that stretches across the border with Belarus, the villages of Lychmany and Magdyn suffered the most. Volunteers have been helping provide local residents with food and clothing. While fires are not a rare occurrence in Ukraine, extremely dry weather during the winter and spring have exacerbated the fire danger, leading to more blazes of a larger scale than usual. Magdyn, with a population of 38 people, burnt completely to the ground. All that remains are the frames of stone furnaces towering over piles of bricks and roofing.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Ukrainian firefighters continue extinguishing forest fires in Chornobyl zone

April 30, 2020 (UNIAN) Ukrainian firefighters continue extinguishing forest fires in the Chornobyl exclusion zone. "Units of the State Emergency Service, assisted by employees of the forestry and fire protection departments of state-run Specialized Enterprise Pivnichna Pushcha, continue extinguishing fires in the territories of Lubianka, Dytiatky, Kotovsk, Denysovychi, Kohorod, and Paryshiv forestry in the exclusion and mandatory resettlement areas," the press service of the State Agency of Ukraine for Exclusion Zone Management said in a statement.
In particular, work is under way to contain the burning of forest litter, stumps and wood. In Paryshiv forestry (the village of Kryva Hora) and Kotovsk forestry (the village of Poliske), Pivnichna Pushcha workers continue eliminating the burning of peat bogs with the use of pumping stations. Some 207 people and 64 pieces of equipment were involved in the extinguishing operations. As UNIAN reported earlier, first forest fires in the Chornobyl exclusion zone began on April 4, covering 20 hectares then. On April 7, the area affected by the fires expanded to 35 hectares. On April 14, they were reportedly extinguished but resumed on April 16. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky took a helicopter tour over the area damaged by the fires in the Chornobyl exclusion zone. According to him, over 11,000 ha of forests in the zone have been damaged by the recent fires.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

On April 26th, 1986 a turbine failure occurs in block 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant

April 24, 2020 (WELT documentary)  On April 26th, 1986 a turbine failure occurs in block 4 of the "Lenin" - Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Six seconds after the emergency shut off it comes to a worst case scenario situation (super MCA), the core meltdown. The block explodes and immediately releases about 25 percent of radioactivity. The remainder passes through the environment over the next 14 days. Ukraine, Belarus and Russia are affected the most by the radioactive rain and fallout. Entire cities are contaminated. Official numbers estimate 58 radiation deaths and up to 4,000 dead as a long-term consequence; other studies such as the ones of Greenpeace, estimate to 270,000 additional cases of cancer and up to 93,000 deaths in the directly affected regions, all as a late up result of the Chernobyl disaster. Due to the high radiation levels right on the destroyed reactor, rescue workers can only stay up to 70 seconds; fauna and flora are contaminated to such an extent that they have to be leveled to the ground with remote-controlled devices. Chernobyl becomes a death zone. Due to the strong winds from the East, the Chernobyl disaster affected many areas in Western and Northern Europe, pushing the fallout far into Europe. Fresh milk and garden foods, meadows and fields were inaccessible to humans and animals for months.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Ukraine developing new missile system for combat helicopters

April 24, 2020 (UNIAN) Ukraine is developing the latest high-precision missile system, which will be installed on upgraded Mi-8MSB-V helicopters. This is a new guided missile, RK-10, which will work with the OPSN-1 most-advanced optical sighting guidance station, as reported by Defense Express. The development of a new missile with a range of 10 km is nearing completion, and it will replace the Barrier-V system with a range of 8 km. The new missile will be used as part of a high-precision missile system of Ukrainian helicopters. All components of the missile are also made in Ukraine.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Quarantine Puzzle

April 20, 2020 I photographed this rubbish bin today a hundred meters from the Poltava Regional Administration. It seems to me that it is unlikely that my Swedish friends will be able to answer the question: why is this heavy concrete bin tied to a tree with an iron chain and check-lock?

The whole secret is that the concrete bin contains an iron basket inside, which the cleaners empty when it is full of garbage. This iron basket can be handed over to the scrap collection point and bring someone income of 10 UHR (3 SEK) for it. So for many poor people, this is a good way to replenish their empty wallets....

Unfortunately, the city authorities of Poltava could not protect the monument to the soldiers of Charles XII who died in the Battle of Poltava from local vandals. All chains from this monument were stolen several years ago and the question of its restoration remains open.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Ukrainian officials: Fires out near the Chernobyl nuclear plant

April 14, 2020 (AP)  Ukrainian emergency officials said Tuesday they have extinguished forest fires in the radiation-contaminated area near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant but acknowledged that grass was still smoldering in some areas. Hundreds of firefighters backed by aircraft have been battling several forest fires around Chernobyl for the past 10 days. They contained the initial blazes, but new fires raged closer to the decommissioned plant. Emergencies Service chief Mykola Chechetkin reported to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that rains helped firefighters put out the flames, but acknowledged that it would take a few more days to extinguish smoldering grass.
In this photo taken from the roof of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant late Friday, April 10, 2020, a forest fire is seen burning near the plant inside the exclusion zone. Ukrainian firefighters are laboring to put out two forest blazes in the area around the Chernobyl nuclear power station that was evacuated because of radioactive contamination after the 1986 explosion at the plant.
Rescuers who put out a fire in the Chernobyl zone (foto Facebook)