Monday, October 26, 2020

Fly of a Tupolev Tu-22M3 bombers over the Poltava Battle field

 The rare photo below depicts a takeoff of two Tupolev Tu-22M3 bombers (NATO reporting name: Backfire) from the military airfield in Poltava. An unknown photographer caught the moment when the bombers had just taken off from the airbase and were flying over the St. Sampsoniy Church on the field of the Battle of Poltava.

From 1945, the Poltava airbase was used by the 13th Heavy Bomber Aviation Division of Soviet Long-Range Aviation. From 1991 to 1992 the Soviet Air Force was superseded in Ukraine by the Ukrainian Air Force, which eventually deployed the Tu-22M3 heavy bombers and cruise missiles X-22 with the 185th Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment before this unit was finally disbanded in 2006.

An excavator cuts through the tail of a Tupolev Tu-22M3 heavy bomber at Poltava airbase.
The photo was taken in November 2002

Ukraine has destroyed decommissioned Tu-22M heavy bombers and air-to-ground cruise missiles of the X-22 class in order to meet its obligations under the 1993 agreement with the United States on strategic nuclear disarmament. 

                                           Separation of a Tupolev Tu-22M3 heavy bomber's nose

According to the agreement thirty-one Tu-22M bombers and 225 cruise missiles X-22 were scrapped in Ukraine by the end of 2004 in keeping with the U.S.-financed disarmament program.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

New exhibition hall "On the Scales of Time" has been presented recently in the Poltava Battle Museum

An online presentation of the new exhibition hall "On the Scales of Time" has taken place in the Poltava Battle Museum on October 13, 2020. For Russia, Sweden, and Ukraine, the Battle of Poltava had diametrically opposite consequences, and thus each nation formed a different point of view and time understanding of this determining event. The design of the hall was created by the scientists of the museum during 2019-2020. Visitors to the museum will be able to get acquainted with the main stages of comprehension of this important historical event in Russia, Sweden, and Ukraine. In connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, only museum staff and representatives of the Poltava City Council attended the presentation.


Friday, October 9, 2020

The MiG 23 That Flew For 900km Without Pilot Then Crashed in A Farm Killing a Boy

 October 9, 2020 (warhistoryonline.com) The cold war is littered with near ‘nuclear apocalypse’ misses, technological and aviation advancement and a fair number of peculiar incidents. One such bizarre event occurred when it was least expected; right near the end of the cold war. July. 4 1989, Independence day for the Americans, was not an especially exciting day for the 32nd TFS (Tactical Fighter Squadron) also known as ‘Wolfhounds’ then based in Soesterberg, Netherlands.

A MiG 23, in flight with pilot (Wikipedia / Public Domain)

When two very competitive pilots J.D Martin and Bill Murphy were scrambled, they were not expecting that their independence day flights would be to intercept and possibly engage a very strange Soviet MiG. On the same day, Soviet Pilot Nikolai Skurigin prepared his MiG-23M for a routine training flight. When Skurigin’s MiG took off from Kolobzreg, Poland, the pilot had no clue what was about to happen to his aircraft. Soon after taking off, Skurigin realized that MiG’s engine had a major failure and that aircraft was going to crash in few seconds, so he did what every pilot is trained to do in such situations, he abandoned the aircraft and ejected. 

The crash site as seen from above

While descending in his parachute, Skurigin realized that something peculiar had taken place; his MiG was actually gaining height instead of losing it and worse, it was heading straight towards NATO airspace. On the other side, JD and Murphy after being sent to intercept a Russian plane that had invaded their air space, had problems of their own; they were having some major communication issues with Ground Control Intercept. Despite these difficulties, the two pilots got closer to the ‘rogue’ aircraft and discovered that not only the MiG was unarmed it was also unmanned. This posed another challenge to the pilots and ground control since the aircraft was now considered not an immediate threat. US Air Force pilots in their F-15s escorted the Soviet MiG until it reached the 39,000ft mark, after that aircraft started descending possibly due to low fuel levels. When the aircraft started descending, pilots with the help from the ground predicted that it would land somewhere near Lille, on the border of Belgium and France. Later on, the calculation showed that it would rather crash in an empty field inside Belgium, and was coded as ‘non-risky’. 

What was left of the MIG

But the calculations could not predict what actually happened when Soviet MiG crashed in a farm killing an 18-year-old boy. Clearly an avoidable causality on the part of both Soviets and Americans, both nations showed genuine regret on the outcome of the incident. When Colonel Skurigin discovered about the death of the Belgian boy by his MiG, he publicly showed regret for his decision to eject out of the aircraft. The Belgian government made a formal protest to the Soviet Union regarding the lack of notification as to the danger the aircraft posed to the civilian population. Belgian Foreign Minister Mark Eyskens expressed concern that “from the time the MiG-23 was first picked up on NATO radar to the time it crashed more than an hour later, no word of warning came from the Soviet side,” and that “there was also a ‘notable slowness’ on the part of the Soviets in disclosing whether the jet was carrying nuclear or toxic weapons.”  The USSR paid $685,000 in compensation to Belgium.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Without firing a shot: The United States made an unexpected offer to President Zelensky regarding the de-occupation of Donbas

October 7, 2020 (http://www.favoritnews.in.ua) The United States offered the Ukrainian government a solution to the problem of de-occupation of territories in the east of the country. The American research center Atlantic Council came up with a proposal to completely end all economic ties with the occupied regions of Donbas. First of all, analysts from the United States insist on cutting off the supply of water, electricity, and other resources. In addition, it is recommended to establish a complete social and economic blockade of the uncontrolled territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.


The main purpose of such actions - to complicate the life of the inhabitants of the illegal republics as much as possible and bring the humanitarian situation to a critical point. The Atlantic Council experts believe that the economic blockade will allow the return of the occupied territories. The restriction and complete cessation of the flow of monetary funds will cause a negative attitude of local residents towards the leadership of the self-proclaimed republics.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Ukraine marks Day of Remembrance of Babyn Yar Victims

 September 29, 2020 (Ukrinform) Today, Ukraine marks the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Babyn Yar, one of the most horrific symbols of the Holocaust. The first massacre of the unarmed civilian population was conducted by the military in the Nazi-occupied Kyiv on September 29-30, 1941. From September 29 to October 11, 1941, the SS forces killed almost all Jews residing in the city - over 50,000 men, women, and children. Almost 34,000 people were killed in the first two days. On October 1, 2, 8, and 11, Nazi troops shot dead those who did not appear on orders - about 17,000 people more. The motive for the massacre was a blatant lie about the participation of Jews in mining and explosions in Khreshchatyk Street, which resulted in killing many Wehrmacht soldiers and officers. Babyn Yar, the large ravine on the northern edge of Kyiv, was chosen as a place for mass shootings. It was two and a half kilometers in length and in some places reached a 50-meter depth. At the end of the street, a gate was built, which people were allowed to enter in groups of 30-40 persons. Previously, they had been forced to undress and give up personal belongings. Then they were machine-gunned into the ravine, which was immediately covered over, with some of the victims still alive.

According to various estimates, from 100 to 150 thousand people were killed in the Babyn Yar during World War II: Jews, Roma, Karaites, Soviet prisoners of war, members of the Ukrainian national resistance movement, patients of psychiatric clinic and representatives of other national or social groups. The shootings in the Babyn Yar continued until Kyiv was liberated from the invaders in 1943. In Soviet times, the terrible tragedy was mainly silenced. Writers Viktor Nekrasov, Anatoliy Kuznetsov, and dissident Ivan Dziuba were among the first to raise the taboo topic. Along with Auschwitz, Babyn Yar became a horrific symbol of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe and an example of what misanthropic theories lead to. The Babyn Yar tragedy is commemorated at the state level in Ukraine.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky honored the memory of the Babyn Yar tragedy victims on the day of the 79th anniversary of the mass execution of civilians by the Nazis in Kyiv.


Statue of Lenin given a Balkan makeover in Ukraine

 September 29, 2020 (BBC News from Elsewhere) As statues around the world get toppled and vandalized, one Ukrainian village has found a creative approach to its historical legacy. The monument to Lenin in Zaliznychne, Odesa Region, has been altered to represent the village founders - ethnic Bulgarians who arrived in the 19th century. 

Lenin is now dressed in traditional Bulgarian attire, holding pruning shears and a grapevine, with a bag of grapes at his feet. Villagers argued that such a makeover would be easier and cheaper than demolition.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

An Antonov An-26 plane has crashed near the city of Chuguev

 On 25 September 2020, an air crash took place at Chuhuiv, Kharkiv Region, Ukraine. An AN-26Sh military plane of the 203rd Training Aviation Brigade crashed during a training flight. 26 cadets and officers from the Kharkiv Air Force University and crew members died as a result of the crash. On 26 September Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky traveled to the region, creating a commission for investigation of the circumstances of the tragedy and providing all necessary assistance.


According to preliminary information from the Security Service of Ukraine, the cadets didn't directly control the aircraft - the crew commander was in charge. The training flight began at 18:50 and was to end at 20:50. After passing part of the route at 20.38, the commander reported to the air traffic controller about the left engine failure, at 20.40 - invited the landing party, at 20.43 - a long-distance drive, at 20.45 - a plane crash occurred. The An-26 is a twin-engine turboprop airplane manufactured from 1969 to 1986 in Kyiv, Ukraine, when the country was part of the former Soviet Union.
Ukrainian emergency service workers look for survivors at the site of a military plane crash Friday.


Cadet Vyacheslav Zolochevsky is the only survivor of the plane crash.




Friday, September 25, 2020

Kyiv, October 1941.

 In the photo taken in Kyiv in October 1941, German sappers on the porch of the building of the Lenin Museum carry the charge and explosive device of a radio bomb planted by the Bolsheviks during the retreat. Similar explosive devices were planted on Khreshchatyk, the Lavra, and the Opera. Radio-controlled landmines were to blow up the Cabinet of Ministers, the Verkhovna Rada, and this Lenin Museum. F-10 radios were placed to delay the explosion for up to 40 days, at a depth of 2.5 m, and were activated by a radio signal from the distance about 600 km. Thank God, the Germans managed to deactivate some devices. 

Nevertheless, explosions and fires in Kyiv in September-October 1941 destroyed 324 houses and dozens of unique historical monuments. Khreshchatyk turned into a solid ruin. Thousands of Kyivans died. Tens of thousands found themselves homeless.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The new walking tour was represented by the Museum of the Battle of Poltava

 On September 21, 2019, the Museum of the Battle of Poltava in the framework of the European Heritage Days in Ukraine presented a walking tour "Following in the footsteps of the Dalarna Regiment". This regiment is one of the oldest regiments in the Swedish army that traced its origins back to the 16th century. It was formed in 1625 in Falun, Dalarna County, central Sweden. The regiment belonged to the elite units of the Swedish army, it was considered an unofficial guard.


 The Dalarna Regiment numbered about 1,100 men under the command of Colonel Gustaf Henrik von Siegroth took part in the Battle of Poltava, in the fighting near Russian redoubts. After quickly taking the first and second redoubts, the regiment suffered heavy losses during the assault on the third redoubt. Colonel Siegroth was mortally wounded, and most of his men perished during taking this Russian strong defensive emplacement. The Dalekarlians took their last battle on the outskirts of the Yakivchansky Forest (now Poltava City Park (arboretum)). The remnants of the regiment surrendered to the Muscovites near the Holy Cross Exaltation Monastery. The walking tour started at 10a.m. from the Poltava Military Communication School and passed through historical places - through the redoubt line, the arboretum, to the Museum of the Battle of Poltava (the total length of the route is about 5 km). Tourists were able to feel like real warriors of the Swedish King Charles XII while taking part in the military reconstruction of the fighting near the reconstructed redoubt close to the museum.

Monday, September 21, 2020

NATO and Ukraine will today begin four days of joint military exercises.

 September 21, 2020 (foreignbrief.com) The drills, titled “Joint Efforts 2020”, will involve more than 100 military units, 12,000 weapons, and 200 advisers and observers. Countries expected to participate include the US, the UK, Germany, Lithuania, and Poland. The exercises begin as the US, Ukraine and seven other mutual allies conclude Rapid Trident 20, drills involving more than 4,000 troops.


Since the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014 and the outbreak of hybrid war with Russia in the east, Kyiv has increasingly sought to build defense cooperation with NATO and the EU. While the election of President Volodymyr Zelensky has raised doubts about EU membership, Ukraine’s relationship with NATO has strengthened - last June Ukraine was upgraded by the alliance to become an Enhanced Opportunities Partner, joining Georgia, Sweden, Finland, Jordan, and Australia.

Expect today’s drills and future exercises to further strengthen ties between Ukraine and NATO, potentially moving the country closer to full membership. However, as Russia continues to adopt a more aggressive posture toward its western neighbor in the Donbass, expect the alliance to maintain reservations toward assuming full liability over Ukrainian security while also recognizing the strategic need to continue building ties.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Belarus protests: Opposition keeps up pressure on Lukashenko

September 13, 2020 (BBC Europe) Tens of thousands of people have been marching in the capital Minsk and other cities, in the latest of several weeks of mass protest against President Alexander Lukashenko. Large numbers of police have been deployed, blocking key areas. Police said they arrested about 400 people ahead of and during the protests, dubbed the March of Heroes. 
The protests have been triggered by a widely disputed election a month ago and subsequent brutal police crackdown. Demonstrators want Mr. Lukashenko to resign after alleging widespread ballot-rigging. But the Belarusian leader - in power for 26 years - has denied the allegations and accuses Western nations of interfering. The 66-year-old has promised to defend Belarus.
Most opposition leaders are now under arrest or in exile. It is the fifth successive Sunday of mass protests, with about 100,000 rallying each week. Eyewitnesses said the center of Minsk was flooded with people. They marched on the elite residential area of Drozdy, where the country's top officials including President Lukashenko live, but were blocked by police.
The full article is available at:


Monday, September 7, 2020

U.S. B-52 bombers escorted by Ukrainian fighters fly over Ukraine

 September 7, 2020 (Interfax-Ukraine) B-52 bombers of the United States Air Force have entered Ukraine's airspace for the first time, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on Friday evening.


"American strategic bombers were escorted by Su-27 and MiG-29 fighter jets of the tactical aviation brigade of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," the ministry said in a statement on its website. "On the morning of September 4, the bombers took off from Fairford Air Force Base in the United Kingdom, flew over Europe, where they were accompanied by fighter jets from NATO and key allied partners. Ukrainian military pilots met the B-52 on the Polish border, escorted it through the territory of Ukraine to the coast of the Sea of Azov and back," the report says. "The patrol is planned and aims to achieve interoperability between NATO and partner states. It is likely that such cooperation in the field of collective security will continue," it says.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship maneuvering missile system goes into service

September 1, 2020 (Ministry of Defense of Ukraine) As reported by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the head of the Ministry of Defense, Andriy Taran, signed an order to adopt the RK-360MC Neptun anti-ship maneuvering missile system into service with the Ukrainian armed forces. The first missile squadron of the Ukrainian Navy is to be re-armed with this system next year. The introduction of this system into service is to allow the reconstruction of the combat capabilities of the Ukrainian navy in the field of coastal defense, and more specifically in the fight against distant naval targets, lost as a result of the annexation of Crimea.
In 2014, the Ukrainian armed forces lost the base of the 25th Independent Missile Squadron, which was armed with the 4K51 Rubież system with P-20 and P-22 missiles with a range of approx. 40 km. After the delivery of the first squadron module, a contract for more coastal missile squadrons is expected. The aim is to strengthen the coastal defenses, but also to increase the destruction capacity of land targets that can be fought by Neptune cruise missiles. Each of them consists of six USPU-360 launchers; six TZM-360 transport and loading vehicles; six TM-360 transport vehicles and one command post of the RKP-360 squadron.
The full article is available at:
https://bulgarianmilitary.com/2020/08/30/ukrainian-neptune-anti-ship-maneuvering-missile-system-goes-into-service-video/

Could a Color Revolution be Possible in Belarus?

September 1, 2020 (American Herald Tribune) The political crisis in Belarus is getting worse day after day. As a result of elections in the country, a violent wave of protests began in several cities. The focus of the demonstrations is Minsk, the country's capital. In the most violent night so far, 40 more policemen and 50 civilians were injured, some seriously. More than 1,000 were arrested, according to data from the Ministry of Interior.
The western media is doing great coverage of the events, however, the news is always published with strong ideological rhetoric, in which Aleksandr Lukashenko (elected for a new mandate with 80% of the votes) is appointed as a “terrible dictator”, against who, according to media agencies, there is a major popular uprising. The truth, however, is that the situation is much more complex than that and it is not a mere conflict between dictatorship and democracy, but a real geopolitical clash.
Lukashenko accused Poland, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom of coordinating the protests in Belarus. This Monday at a meeting with the head of the Commonwealth of Independent States observation mission, Sergei Lebedev, Lukashenko said he had found links between the protesters and the authorities in these three countries, saying the groups involved in the protests were controlled by foreign nations. According to the Belarusian leader, these three European countries continue to order people to leave and negotiate with the authorities the voluntary surrender of power. Lukashenko went further and assured that there are also forces in the protests in Russia and Ukraine, giving no details on how he would have access to such information.
For its part, the Polish government has denied the allegations of being behind the protests, saying that these are unfounded and unproven allegations. The country's foreign minister, Jacek Czaputowicz, said that the European Union is debating the approval of sanctions against Lukashenko, while the prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, demanded an urgent meeting of the European Council, but involvement in the demonstrations was not admitted. The United Kingdom and the Czech Republic have yet to comment on the serious accusations. In line with Poland, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described the violent unrest in Minsk as "cruel reprisals against peaceful demonstrators", while European Council chief Charles Michel demanded policies from Lukashenko to guarantee freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and fundamental human rights.
The full article is available at:

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The first plane An-178 without Russian parts was assembled at the Antonov campaign's plant

August 26, 2020 (Ukrvision.com) The plane was ordered by the Peruvian government for the national police. As planned, the Ukrainian aircraft assembled without Russian components will fly to South America next year. This is the first serial "An-178". It could have appeared earlier, the state-owned enterprise agrees, but the constructors had to recalculate hundreds of components and units for Western electronics and avionics."The state-owned Antonov was accused of not producing serial aircraft for several years. There were objective reasons for that. It took a long time for import substitution, ”said Oleksandr Los, president of the Antonov campaign.
The Antonov An-178 is a short-range medium-airlift military transport aircraft designed by the Ukrainian Antonov company and based on the Antonov An-158. It was announced on 5 February 2010, rolled out on 16 April 2015 and made its first flight on 7 May 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Belarus protests: defense minister warns of army use, Lukashenko shows resolve in propaganda video

August 24, 2020 (UNIAN) Lukashenko on Sunday afternoon arrived in the presidential palace sporting an assault vest and holding an automatic rifle without a magazine, along with his 15-year-old son Nikolay in full tactical gear. Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin has warned of the possible use of army to disperse protesters rallying under the flags he claims were once used by Nazi troops.
"We can't watch rallies being organized in sacred places today under flags once used by Nazis when they carried out their massacres of Belarusians, Russians, Jews, and people of other nationalities. Therefore, from now on, we're taking these locations under our protection," reads Khrenin's statement posted by the ministry's press service via Telegram. The statement was unusually politicized for a defense agency and emotionally charged through caps lock. It came as tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Belarusian capital Minsk on Sunday, August 23, as citizens continue challenging the results of the latest presidential election that gave Alexander Lukashenko another term in the top office after 26 years of continuous rule. Meanwhile, a helicopter brought to the presidential palace in Minsk Alexander Lukashenko sporting an assault vest and holding an automatic rifle without a magazine, along with his 15-year-old son Nikolay in full tactical gear, also armed. In a series of videos spun by Telegram channels on Sunday night, Lukashenko was first shown flying over Minsk, landing near the presidential palace, and then approaching to and addressing riot police officers with the words of praise for their support – met with massive applause. "We will deal with them," Lukashenko was heard saying in front of the police, obviously meaning protesters. "We're with you till the end," officers were heard telling Lukashenko.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Congratulations of the Council of Europe on the Independence Day of Ukraine!

August 24, 1991 - Ukraine's Independence Day - is one of the most important dates in recent European history. Finally, the Ukrainian people realized the original desire to create an independent conciliar democratic Ukrainian state and live freely, sharing common national and European values, caring for the security and well-being of the people, as befits a great European nation. It is appropriate that in the first year of independence Ukraine announced its intention to join the Council of Europe. It testified to its democratic choice, its desire for reforms aimed at protecting human rights, strengthening democratic institutions and ensuring the rule of law. And this year Ukraine celebrates the 25th anniversary of joining the Council of Europe, which became an essential milestone in the European progress of the independent Ukrainian state and the development of the Council of Europe. We sincerely congratulate Ukrainians on the main national holiday and wish them peace, happiness, joy and prosperity!

Lithuanians form human chain to back democracy in Belarus

August 23, 2020 (Beloit Daily News) Supporters of Belarus opposition from Lithuania hold and wave historical Belarusian flags during the "Freedom Way", a human chain of about 50,000 strong from Vilnius to the Belarusian border, near Medininkai, Lithuanian-Belarusian border crossing east of Vilnius, Lithuania, Sunday, August 23, 2020. On August 23, 1989, around 2 million Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians joined forces in a living 600 km (375 miles) long human chain Baltic Way, thus demonstrating their desire to be free. Now, Lithuania is expressing solidarity with the people of Belarus, who are fighting for freedom today.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Protesters approach Lukashenko residence

August 23, 2020 (Radio New Zealand) Tens of thousands of protesters demanding President Alexander Lukashenko step down have flooded into Minsk, at one point demonstrating briefly near his residence in a pointed display of opposition to his long rule. Huge nationwide demonstrations following the country's disputed election on 9 August have provided the biggest challenge yet to the veteran leader's 26 years at the helm and tested the loyalty of his security forces. The streets of Minsk turned red and white on Sunday as a flood of demonstrators carried flags symbolizing their opposition to Lukashenko and chanted for him to leave power and for new elections to be held.
The crowd marched towards his residence at the Independence Palace, on the northern edge of the capital, the majority gathering at some distance. A smaller group approached to between 10 and 20 meters of the building. A helicopter was seen flying out of the residence as protesters milled below. Video circulated by state media journalists later showed Lukashenko arriving by helicopter at the residence holding a rifle. After less than an hour, the majority of the protesters began to march back towards the city center. It was the first time in this month's demonstrations protesters have neared the building's doors. It was surrounded by lines of armed police. The approach to the palace took place after a crowd estimated by witnesses to number as many as 200,000 rallied in central Minsk for the second weekend in a row. The crowd began to disperse in the early evening without apparent clashes with police. Earlier, the defense ministry said it would take on security around national memorials and issued a direct warning to protesters whom it likened to fascists. The ministry said memorials, specifically ones to the dead of World War Two, were holy sites that must not be desecrated. "We categorically warn: any violation of peace and order in such places - you will have the army to deal with now, not the police," it said in a statement. "We, soldiers, will not allow these places to be desecrated, there can be no fascism there!"  The interior ministry issued its own statement warning that any unsanctioned protests would be considered illegal. It said 22 people had been arrested on Saturday when smaller-scale protests took place across 55 towns and cities. Protests triggered by Lukashenko's claims of a landslide election victory on 9 August found a leader in opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, a former teacher who took her jailed husband's place. Following threats to her safety, Tsikhanouskaya fled to neighboring Lithuania. Traditional ally Russia issued some of its strongest comments yet criticizing Tsikhanouskaya on Sunday. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described her role as intentionally destabilizing and said her statements were directed at a Western audience.

National Flag Day of Ukraine marked on August 23

August 23, 2020 (112.ua) National Flag Day of Ukraine is celebrated annually on August 23. At the dawn of independence, this holiday had a municipal character and was celebrated only in Kyiv on July 24. It was on this day in 1990 that a blue-yellow flag was hoisted above the capital's city administration. After the failure of the coup in Moscow on August 23, 1991, a group of Ukrainian MPs brought a blue and yellow flag into the session hall of the Verkhovna Rada. The next day, the independence of Ukraine was proclaimed, and the historical flag was sent to the Verkhovna Rada Museum. On September 4, 1991, the national flag of Ukraine was hoisted above the parliament building. On September 18, 1991, the Presidium of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, by its resolution “On the Flag of Ukraine,” gave a blue-yellow bicolor status of the official flag of the country. From that day, the Ukrainian diplomatic bodies worked and the military personnel took the oath under this flag, etc. On January 28, 1992, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a resolution “Concerning Approval of the National Flag as the State Flag of Ukraine,” which has officially established “a rectangular banner consisting of equally sized horizontal bands: the upper one is blue, the lower one is yellow…
The holiday of the State Flag Day of Ukraine was established in 2004 by decree of the second President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma. The holiday was established “... In honor of the centuries-old history of the creation of the Ukrainian state and state symbols of independent Ukraine, and in order to raise citizens’ respect to state symbols of Ukraine...”   In 2009, President Viktor Yushchenko amended Kuchma’s decree by staring the annual official flag-raising ceremony on August 23 all over Ukraine. By the way, the first official recognition of the blue-yellow flag took place on March 22, 1918, when the Central Council of Ukraine adopted the law, approving this color combination as the banner of the Ukrainian People’s Republic.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Belarus unrest: Protesters mark jailed activist Sergei Tikhanovsky's birthday

August 18, 2020 (BBC Europe)  Protesters in Belarus have gathered outside the prison to mark the birthday of the jailed husband of the country's main opposition figure amid anger over a disputed election. Sergei Tikhanovsky, who has just turned 42, was imprisoned alongside other rivals of President Alexander Lukashenko ahead of the 9 August poll. His wife Svetlana Tikhanovskaya ran in his place but later fled to Lithuania. She officially secured about 10% of the vote, and Mr. Lukashenko more than 80%. There were no independent observers. The opposition has held daily protests over the past 10 days, alleging massive vote-rigging. Hundreds of protesters have been wounded and two have died in clashes with police. Thousands have been arrested, and many have spoken of torture at the hands of security forces.
As far as the protesters outside the prison are concerned, President Alexander( Sasha is a nickname for Alexander) Lukashenko got 0% of the vote

Monday, August 17, 2020

Have you ever seen such a capital of the Belarus?


Sunday, August 16, 2020

Indefinite national strike announced in Belarus

August 16, 2020 (112UA.com) From tomorrow, August 17, a nationwide strike has been declared in Belarus. Such a message was published at once by several opposition Telegram channels, among which is the popular channel Nexta. "From tomorrow, a nationwide strike is announced until the demands of the people are met," the message says. Today at the Freedom March, which takes place in many cities of Belarus, opponents of Alexander Lukashenko's regime put forward three main demands: 

  • the resignation of the president
  • release of all previously detained protesters
  • punishment of all those guilty of beatings and torture.

Today the largest rally in the history of an independent country is being held in Belarus. According to media reports, more than 200 000 people have already gathered in the central square of Minsk. Alexander Lukashenko again held a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin amid protests in the country. This was reported on the website of the President of Belarus. It is reported that the presidents spoke about the situation in the country and even agreed on a "joint response": "The leaders of the countries reaffirmed the agreement that in case of an aggravation of the situation in terms of external threats, the parties will react jointly in accordance with the provisions stipulated by the Collective Security Treaty," Lukashenko's press service reported. 
Minsk today

The website of the Administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin also confirms today's telephone conversation. The Kremlin press service indicates that after the presidential elections "outside pressure" is being exerted on the republic.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Belarus election: Police beat protesters as EU condemns vote

August 12, 2020 (BBC Europe) Protesters set up barricades in the Belarus capital Minsk and clashes were reported in several cities on Tuesday night after main opposition figure Svetlana Tikhanovskaya fled. A BBC team in Minsk was attacked by police, who were accused by protesters of brutality. Protests erupted hours after Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko was awarded victory in Sunday's presidential vote. The EU said the election was "neither free nor fair". Sweden's foreign minister said EU foreign ministers would meet on Friday to discuss imposing sanctions on Belarus. Mr. Lukashenko won 80% of Sunday's vote, according to election officials, but there were widespread allegations of vote rigging and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Belarusians had shown "the desire for democratic change" in the election campaign. 
Riot police were seen beating protesters in several areas of Minsk

When Ms. Tikhanovskaya went to the electoral committee to complain about the results that gave her just 10% of the vote, she was detained for seven hours. By Tuesday morning she had left Belarus for neighboring Lithuania. Mr Borrell accused authorities of using "disproportionate and unacceptable violence causing at least one death and many injuries". Websites, which have been jammed in Belarus for days, were widely reported to be back online on Wednesday morning. State TV has said little about the protests and two presenters have announced their resignations. There have been numerous reports of police violence, with people seen being pulled out of cars on the third night of unrest. One protester has died and 200 others have been wounded, some seriously. Two thousand more have been detained. 
Protesters have accused riot police of brutality

The brutality of the crackdown has shocked observers. However, official newspaper Belarus Segodnya, said the protest "co-ordinators" had been detained, including one Minsk resident said to have organized the "mass disturbances" from a hotel room.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Ukraine, Georgia issue joint statement to condemn Russian aggression

August 9, 2020 (UkrInform) The Permanent Missions of Georgia and Ukraine to the United Nations issued a joint statement on the 12th year anniversary of the Russia-Georgia August 2008 war. Oleg Nikolenko, the spokesman for the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations, posted the text of the statement on Facebook. “We condemn the continued occupation and steps towards de-facto annexation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia and call upon Russia to immediately start the implementation of its obligations under UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, the fundamental norms and principles of international law and the EU-brokered Ceasefire Agreement of 12 August 2008, including the full withdrawal of its forces from the internationally recognized territory of Georgia and to reverse its illegal decision on the recognition of the so-called independence of Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions,” reads the statement.
The diplomats welcomed Georgia’s compliance with the 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and Georgia’s unilateral reiteration and implementation of the non-use of force commitment and called on Russia to reciprocate. “We are deeply concerned over the deteriorating security, human rights and humanitarian situation in Georgia’s occupied regions, including increased Russian military exercises and intensified military buildup, the process of intensified so-called borderisation, illegal installation of barbed wire fences and other artificial barriers along the occupation line, ethnic discrimination against Georgians and grave human rights abuses, among them a violation of the right to life, restriction of freedom of movement, illegal detentions and kidnappings, and lengthy closures of so-called crossing points that have further destabilized the situation on the ground and severely impacted the security and humanitarian conditions of conflict-affected people,” the statement underscores. Ukraine and Georgia called on Russia “as the power exercising effective control to enable full and unfettered access by international human rights monitoring organizations to the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia.” “We deplore the hybrid warfare tools intensified by the Russian Federation against Georgia and fabricated propaganda myths constantly attacking one of the laboratories of Georgia's National Center for Disease Control and Public Health - the Richard Lugar Center, which plays a crucial role in the fight against the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) in Georgia,” the diplomats noted. Permanent Missions of Georgia and Ukraine to the United Nations reaffirmed their full support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

Malyshev Plant handed over renovated "Bulat" tanks to the military

August 9, 2020 (Malyshevplant.com) State Enterprise "Malyshev Plant" has shipped another batch of two repaired and upgraded tanks BM "Bulat" to the customer. Thus, as of July 2020, 50% of the state contract was fulfilled by the enterprise in compliance with the agreed time limits. “We not only carried out factory repairs of machines according to their technical condition but also installed modern equipment with improved characteristics. Thanks to the new radio station and modern means of navigation, our military will be able to more conveniently and efficiently coordinate actions and communication between the crew and the command. Modern aiming and surveillance devices will provide better control of the situation, in particular, at night, "- said the Director-General of State Enterprise "Malyshev Plant” Vasyl Krylas.
The restored "Bulats" successfully passed all the necessary field tests. In particular, the combat vehicles covered a distance of 100 kilometers, demonstrated excellent performance while driving, showed great results of firing and other field tests. After acceptance tests, the upgraded vehicles were handed over to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. State Enterprise "Malyshev Plant” specializes in the production and modernization of heavy and light armored vehicles for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and foreign customers. Among the main products and services of the enterprise are BM "Oplot", modernization of the T-64 tank to the type of BM "Bulat", armored personnel carriers BTR-3, BTR-4, modernization of armored personnel carriers BTR-50.
BM "Bulat" - the main battle tank used in the tank troops of the Armed Forces. This combat vehicle is an in-depth modernization of the T-64B tank. During the last four years "Malyshev Plant" has repaired more than fifty BM "Bulat" tanks after damage in the war zone in the east of the country and handed them over to the Ukrainian Army. Not only have "Malyshev Plant" specialists repaired the vehicles, but also modernized them to improve their tactical and technical characteristics. In particular, the machines have been equipped with new modern means of communication and navigation, as well as aiming and night vision devices.

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.