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)

Wildfires edge closer to Chernobyl nuclear plant

13 April 2020 (BBC) Forest fires that have been burning for several days in northern Ukraine are now no more than a few kilometers from the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear plant and where the most dangerous waste from the plant was stored. Greenpeace said the fires were much bigger than the authorities realized. The NGO's Russia branch, quoted by Reuters, said the largest fire covered 34,000 hectares, while a second fire just a kilometer from the former plant was 12,000 hectares in area. It is said that if the fire engulfed Pripyat it would be an economic disaster, as supervised tourist visits provided valuable revenue. In 2018 more than 70,000 people visited the town. Last year that figure was even higher, after the success of an HBO mini-series about the disaster.
Police said the fire had been burning since the weekend of 4 April, after a man set fire to dry grass near the exclusion zone. It has since moved closer to the nuclear plant. More than 300 firefighters with dozens of pieces of special hardware are reportedly working at the site, while six helicopters and planes are attempting to extinguish the fire from above. Officials say radiation in the area is at "normal" levels.
Chernobyl nuclear power station and the nearby town of Pripyat have been abandoned since 1986 when the plant’s No. 4 reactor blew up. The explosion sent a cloud of radioactive fallout across much of Europe, with the area immediately around the plant worst affected. 
People are forbidden from living within 18 miles (30km) of the power station. Chernobyl continued to generate power until the plant's last operational reactor was finally closed in 2000.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Prime Minister of Ukraine met with Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassadors of Northern and Baltic countries in Ukraine

April 8, 2020 (gov.ua) Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal met with Ambassadors of the Northern and Baltic countries to Ukraine, in particular, Mr. Tobias Thyberg, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Sweden to Ukraine; Mr. Ole T. Horpestad, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Norway to Ukraine; Ms. Päivi Laine, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Finland to Ukraine; Mr. Kaimo Kuusk Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Estonia to Ukraine; Mr. Tadas Valionis, Temporary Representative for the Lithuanian Republic in Ukraine, and Mr. Edvīns Severs, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Latvia in Ukraine.
 Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Vadym Prystaiko was also present at the meeting, which took place on Friday, April 3. Denys Shmyhal thanked the diplomats for their support of Ukraine and informed about the steps the Government is taking to curb the spread of the coronavirus infection. In particular, more stringent restrictive measures will be applied in the country from April 6 for the quarantine period. He noted that the decision was based on the experience of European countries. “Coronavirus is a major challenge for the whole world. But we as the Government are not going to change our policy and we will prolong the course of reforms. In particular, it concerns the reforms in the decentralization, public administration and health care sector,” said the Head of Government. The Ukrainian side also raised an issue of the impossibility of weakening the sanction pressure on the Russian Federation through the coronavirus epidemic.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Ukrainian military shoot down invaders’ drone worth $2 mln

April 6, 2020 (UKRINFORM) Ukrainian soldiers holding the line in Svitlodarsk direction, Donetsk region, shot down a Russian-made drone, which belonged to invaders, worth about $2 million. The Joint Forces Operation Headquarters specified that the Bird-Eye 400 drone manufactured in Russia since 2012 had been shot down.
"This fact once again confirms the direct participation of the Russian Armed Forces in the war in eastern Ukraine," the JFO Headquarters noted. The drone was handed over to the experts of special units for studying data on the storage medium.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Ukrainian startup to 3D print parts for ventilators used for COVID-19 patients

March 31, 2020 (KyivPost) Ukrainian startup Revel Laboratory is developing a model to 3D-print valves for ventilators used to support the novel coronavirus patients, who are physically unable to breathe. The company was inspired by their counterparts in Italy, Isinnova startup that produces valves that allow connecting two patients to a ventilator at the same time. Now that COVID-19 started spreading throughout Ukraine, Revel Laboratory is hoping to produce such life-saving machine parts for local hospitals. “We try to help as much as we can,” the company’s co-founders Davyd Stavnitser and Ivan Chebotaev told the Kyiv Post.
Medical workers stand outside of the infection disease department of the Oleksandrivska Clinical Hospital on March 16, 2020, in Kyiv. Photo by Oleg Petrasiuk

The governments of countries hit by the coronavirus pandemic see a shortage of ventilators all over the world, while their lasting production struggles to meet the demand. There are about 600 ventilators in Ukraine and the local officials say that the supply is sufficient. However, if Ukraine faces an outbreak nearly as close as the one in Italy, where over 41,000 people got COVID-19 infection and 3,400 of whom died, the country might need more of those machines. Ukraine remains among the European countries with the smallest number of coronavirus cases, however, the infection’s spread has been ramping up lately. The country now has 26 confirmed cases, three of which were fatal, while one patient recovered. Globally, COVID-19 has been registered in over 255,000 people and killed over 10,500.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Here’s what Kyiv looks like under quarantine

March 28, 2020 (KyivPost) You probably have never seen Kyiv’s most popular tourist spots this empty. The official number of COVID-19 cases in Ukraine has risen to 226, and most Kyivans are staying home to prevent the spread of the virus. But the few who venture out have the chance to enjoy the city without the usual crowds. Just be sure to maintain social distancing!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Ukrainian aircraft "Mriya" makes first flight after repair, modernization

March 27, 2020 (korrespondent.net) The world's largest and most powerful AN-225 Mriya transport aircraft has undergone modernization and test flights near its aerodrome at Gostomel near Kyiv. An-225 performs test flights after modernization. In particular, a new control system for the engine unit of Ukrainian production was installed, ”the company "Antonov" said in a tweet. The video of the test flight is available at


Ukraine's confirmed coronavirus cases increase to 218 on March 27

March 27, 2020 (UNIAN) There are now 218 confirmed cases of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus in Ukraine, an increase from the 156 reported early on March 26. "In the past 24 hours, 62 new cases were confirmed, bringing the total number to 218, including five deaths," Ukraine's Chief Medical Officer Viktor Liashko said on Tuesday afternoon, according to a UNIAN correspondent. According to Liashko, Vinnytsia region confirmed 5 cases, Chernivtsi region 47 (1 death), the city of Kyiv 47, Kyiv region 32, Ivano-Frankivsk region 24 (2 deaths), Ternopil region 25 (1 death), Zaporizhia region 8, Zakarpattia region 1, Odesa region 4, Volyn region 2, Dnipropetrovsk region 3, Zhytomyr region 2 (1 death), Lviv region 3, Rivne region 9, Cherkasy region and Donetsk region 2 each, Luhansk region and Kherson region 1 each.
 Four coronavirus patients have already recovered. "As of today, there are four persons who have recovered from the coronavirus; all are in the Chernivtsi region – three adults and one child. The fifth recovered patient is to be discharged today – we will have an update by the end of the day," Liashko said. As UNIAN reported earlier, there were 156 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ukraine as of Thursday morning; this figure grew to 196 as of Thursday evening. Of them, five cases were fatal. One patient recovered and was discharged from the hospital. 

As about Poltava, our city authorities currently are discussing the possibility to close the city for the entry and exit of all vehicles except food, police cars, and ambulances if the state of national emergency is declared in the country. 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Unique pics taken on Poltava Trial of 1947

The Poltava Trial was a war crimes trial held in front of a Soviet military tribunal in November 1947 in Poltava, Soviet Union. Defendants included German military, police, and 3rd SS Panzer Division "Totenkopf" personnel responsible for implementing the occupational policies during the German-Soviet War of 1941–45. Units of the German Wehrmacht first occupied Kharkiv on 18 September 1941. Four Abwehr reconnaissance school were deployed in Poltava in 1941-1943. The fact that in the summer of 1942 Admiral Canaris, the chief of the Abwehr, the German military intelligence service, visited Poltava was a proof of the importance of these schools for GermansGerman forces, including the Einsatzgruppen (mobile death squads), killed tens of thousands of Jews, as well as Communists, Soviet prisoners of war, and other "undesirables". Shooting, hanging, and gas vans were used. Without a doubt, the main accused at the Poltava trial was the last commander of the 3rd SS Panzer Division "Totenkopf", Major General Hellmuth Becker.  He was sentenced to 25 years of forced labor for war crimes. 

Brigadeführer SS Helmuth Becker

While serving his sentence, Becker "tried his jailers' patience" by attempting to manufacture explosives, leading to his retrial. "The personification of the brutal Landsknechts who formed the high-ranking officers of the Waffen-SS", he was convicted and executed in February 1953 in the prison camp No. 337 located in Sverdlovsk. A few rare pics taken in Poltava during the trial were found recently in some private archives. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Russia deploying coronavirus disinformation to sow panic in West, EU document says

March 18, 2020 (UNIAN) A specialist EU database has recorded almost 80 cases of disinformation about coronavirus since January 22. Russian media have deployed a "significant disinformation campaign" against the West to worsen the impact of the coronavirus, generate panic and sow distrust, according to a European Union document. Russian media have deployed a "significant disinformation campaign" against the West to worsen the impact of the coronavirus, generate panic and sow distrust, according to a European Union document. Pushing fake news online in English, Spanish, Italian, German and French, the Russian campaign uses contradictory, confusing and malicious reports to make it harder for the EU to communicate its response to the pandemic, said the report seen by Reuters. The Kremlin denied the allegations on Wednesday, saying they were unfounded and lacked common sense. "A significant disinformation campaign by Russian state media and pro-Kremlin outlets regarding COVID-19 is ongoing," said the nine-page internal document produced by the European External Action Service (EEAS), dated March 16. "The overarching aim of Kremlin disinformation is to aggravate the public health crisis in Western countries ... in line with the Kremlin's broader strategy of attempting to subvert European societies." A specialist EU database has recorded almost 80 cases of disinformation about coronavirus since January 22, it said. The EU document cited examples from Lithuania to Ukraine. It said that on social media, Russian state-funded Spanish-language RT Spanish was the 12th most popular news source on coronavirus between January and mid-March, based on the amount of news shared on social media.
The EEAS declined to comment directly on the report, but a spokesman said the EU was in contact with Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft "to discuss the spread of disinformation around the outbreak of COVID-19." The EU and NATO have accused Russia of covert action, including disinformation, to try to destabilize the West by exploiting divisions in society. "Pro-Kremlin disinformation messages advance a narrative that coronavirus is a human creation, weaponized by the West," said the report, first cited by the Financial Times. It quoted fake news created by Russia in Italy, the second-most heavily affected country in the world, that health systems would be unable to cope and doctors would choose who lived or died because of a lack of beds. The EEAS has also shared information with Slovakia over the spread of fake news accusing the country's prime minister, Peter Pellegrini, of being infected with the virus and saying he may have passed on the infection to others at recent summits. EU leaders have been conferring by videoconferences since early March.

Take-off of the superheavy Ukrainian An-225 Mriya aircraft, filmed from its cockpit.

March 18, 2020 The Antonov An-225 Mriya (mriya stands for 'dream' or 'inspiration') is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft that was designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Ukrainian SSR within the Soviet Union during the 1980s. It is powered by six turbofan engines and is the heaviest aircraft ever built, with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes. It also has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service. The first and only An-225 was completed in 1988. After successfully fulfilling its Soviet military missions (see picture below), it was mothballed for eight years. It was then refurbished and re-introduced, and is in commercial operation with Antonov Airlines carrying oversized payloads.
Antonov An-225 with Soviet space shuttle Buran on top (1989)

The airlifter holds the absolute world records for an airlifted single-item payload of 189,980 kilograms (418,830 pounds),[5][6] and an airlifted total payload of 253,820 kg (559,580 lb).[7][8] It has also transported a payload of 247,000 kg on a commercial flight. On the video below you can see the take-off of the superheavy Ukrainian An-225 Mriya aircraft, filmed from its cockpit.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Cabinet bans foreigners from entering Ukraine, terminates regular international passenger service till April 3

March 16, 2020 (UNIAN) The Cabinet of Ministers, Ukraine's government, temporarily bans foreigners from entering Ukraine and terminates regular international passenger service till April 3. 
"To ensure the implementation of the NSDC [National Security and Defense Council] decisions on counteracting the spread of the novel coronavirus in Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers at an extraordinary meeting on March 14 adopted an order to temporarily suspend the crossing of the state border aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the territory of the country," according to a statement published on the government portal. 
 The document stipulates for the following: starting from 00:00 March 17, 2020, to April 3, temporarily close border checkpoints for regular international passenger services (with the exception of a number of categories of citizens); starting from 00:00 March 16, 2020, to April 3, temporarily ban crossing the state border for entry to Ukraine for foreigners and stateless persons (with the exception of a number of categories of citizens).

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Spring colors of the Poltava battlefield

Spring has come early this year to the Poltava region. Despite the frosts promised by weather forecasters in mid-March, all the forests around Poltava were already painted with the bright colors of the first spring flowers. Poltava arboretum carefully preserves unique flowers and plants, many of which are listed in the Red Book. Located in the heart of the Poltava battlefield, it attracts many local residents as well as tourists. It is impossible not to notice that the color palette of numerous forest clearings and meadows corresponds to the colors of the national flags of Sweden and Ukraine. I think that readers of my blog will be interested to look at the photographs taken today on the field, where the future fate of Europe has been decided three hundred and eleven years ago.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Many wonders of Ukrainian folk art were exhibited in the Poltava art gallery

March 7, 2020 An exhibition dedicated to Ukrainian national clothes, carpets, and wood painting has been opened in the Poltava Art Gallery. For those who visited this exhibition, it was interesting to see the clothes that Ukrainians put on for the holidays.

Poltava Pedagogical University is one of the few educational institutions in Ukraine where the traditions of old masters of embroidery, wood carving, art painting, and carpet weaving are carefully preserved. Everything that was shown at this unique exhibition was created by students and university professors.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Japan handed over medical equipment to Kharkiv military hospital

"Precise and easy to operate, and most importantly, made in Japan"
- This is how the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Ukraine Takashi Kurai spoke about the medical equipment that he had the honor of handing over to specialists of the Military Medical Clinical Center of the Northern Region in Kharkiv. In particular, stationary X-ray remote control DREXZX80 / E6 Remotecontrol R / F system CANON ZEXIRA and two FUJIFILM F82-120T fiber optic bronchodilators were conveyed to the Ukrainian military medical institution. The total value of medical equipment is about UAH 8 million. 
"Since 1991, my country has been providing overall support to the Ukrainian people, and at this point its amount has already exceeded $ 3 billion. Since 2014, this cooperation has only intensified and considerable funds have gone into providing support to military hospitals. I bow my head to all Ukrainian soldiers who died in the East of the country and express my utmost respect for the work of military doctors,” said Takashi Kurai.
The guest of honor also informed that the equipment in Kharkiv is being provided within the framework of a wide program of assistance to the Eastern regions of Ukraine, which were affected by the military action in Donbas. In total, under this international project, the Japanese have already provided support to Ukraine for a total of about $ 51 million. He added that Japan's assistance projects are being implemented in Ukraine in two ways: humanitarian support for victims of the conflict in the East and bilateral defense cooperation. For his part, Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksii Martseniuk thanked the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Ukraine for such a strong concern for the defenders of our country. 
From now on, the potential of our military physicians has grown significantly, - he said. - So, there will be a lot more rescued soldiers who participate in fighting in the Donbas or are serving in the East. Hospitals in Kyiv, Kharkiv have already felt your strong support, and soon modern medical equipment - the latest computerized tomograph made in Japan, will be handed over to Lviv as well. By the way, the Japanese side ensured delivery of the equipment to Kharkiv, its setting up, as well as paid a special two-week training of the specialists of the Military Medical Clinical Center of the Northern region in the capital of Ukraine! 

Ukrainian military conduct large-scale drills to work out repelling amphibious assault on Azov Sea coast – JFO HQ

February 29, 2020 (UNIAN) The Ukrainian military has conducted large-scale live-fire drills titled "Tailwind" to work out joint efforts in repelling an amphibious assault on the coast of the Sea of Azov. The drills were held at one of the training grounds within the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) zone. A certain area of the Sea of Azov, where live-fire exercises were carried out, was blocked for maritime navigation and air traffic. "The purpose of the exercises, which, in fact, is the main goal of the Mariupol tactical group, was to prevent the landing of enemy forces and repel the advanced enemy amphibious troops, force them back into the sea, and destroy them as they retreat," the JFO HQ said on Facebook. 
Participants in the drills were military units of the Mariupol tactical group, including small armored artillery boats of the Navy, ships from the Marine Guard of the State Border Guard Service, engineering equipment of a separate regiment of operational support, as well as mechanized, tank, artillery, anti-aircraft and special units, naval infantry, crews of army aviation of the Ground Forces and tactical aviation of the Air Force, as well as units of the National Guard of Ukraine. In total, about 400 personnel, five ships, and boats, 25 units of various artillery systems, including multiple launch rocket systems, 13 armored combat vehicles (tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and various types of armored vehicles), two Mi-8 army helicopters and a Mi-14 naval helicopter were involved, as well as two Su-25 attack aircraft and two MiG-29 fighters. "Since the exercises are held in the context of countering Russian aggression and directly in the area of the Joint Forces Operation, the situation was as close as possible to the actual projected developments," reads the report.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Varnitsa, the "new Stockholm"

Few people in Moldova know that in the early eighteen century, a small village of Varnitsa located near Bender (Tighina) was known as the "new Stockholm". After the Battle of Poltava, King Charles XII and Hetman Ivan Mazepa managed to escape with a small detachment and took refuge in Moldavia, a country ruled at that time by Turkish sultan Ahmed III, where they spent a total of five years. As soon as Charles XIIl and his soldiers left their camp in Varnitsa in 1714, Turks wiped it out. In 1925 a memorial was erected on the site where the camp was believed to have been located.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

USS Ross en route to the Black Sea

February 23, 2020 (navy.mil) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) began its north-bound international strait transit en route to the Black Sea Feb. 23, 2020, to conduct maritime security operations and enhance regional maritime stability, combined readiness, and naval capability with our NATO allies and partners in the region. This is the first time a U.S. Navy ship has visited the Black Sea since the beginning of 2020. Ross was the last ship to visit in the Black Sea, 2019, marking the 8th by a U.S Navy ship last year.
With this visit, we are consistently strengthening our relationships with our Black Sea partners,” said Cmdr. John D. John, commanding officer of Ross. “Steady operations in the Black Sea are crucial to building a secure maritime environment and ensuring freedom of navigation.” Ross recently operated with the French aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R 91) and as part of Combined Task Force 473 in the Mediterranean during FOCH, a major French navy deployment. Ross provided defensive capabilities for the strike group. In addition to the Ross, this French led deployment brought together, one after the other, forces from Greece, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain, providing a training opportunity for all participants to improve combat readiness. The ship’s operations in the Black Sea will strengthen interoperability with NATO allies and partners and demonstrate collective resolve to Black Sea security under Operation Atlantic Resolve. Ross, forward-deployed at Naval Station Rota, Spain, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with international law, including the Montreux Convention. U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa. In June 2015 the guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) transited the Black Sea during an underway exercise with the Ukrainian navy frigate Hetman Sahaydachniy (U 130). 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The man who immortalized the Nuremberg trials in the drawings

Famous Soviet artist Nikolai Zhukov during the Second World War served as an artilleryman then worked in the editorial office of an army newspaper on the Kalinin Front and at the same time as a war correspondent for the newspaper Pravda.
From the summer of 1943 to 1973, Zhukov was the artistic director of the Mitrofan Grekov Studio of Military Artists. A group of artists from this studio in 1959 created a highly artistic diorama in the Museum of the Battle of Poltava, which reflects the last minutes of the great battle that took place on June 28, 1709.
The diorama in the Museum of the Battle of Poltava created in 1959 by the Mitrofan Grekov Studio of Military Artists.

In mid-January 1946, Nikolai Zhukov, as a correspondent for the newspaper “Pravda”, was sent to the Nuremberg trials as a member of the Soviet delegation. As a person who went through the war from the first to the last day, capturing every day in dozens of drawings, he simply had to attend this terrible trial. For forty days Zhukov was in the courtroom of the tribunal, trying to most fully record all the stages of the historical trial. During his time he made over four hundred drawings: he sketched witnesses of the Soviet prosecution, prosecutors of the Soviet Union, judges and invited guests, correspondents from all countries, as well as all war criminals and their lawyers. These drawings were quickly made in incredibly difficult conditions, from the press places located far from the dock and the judges.
Judges at the Nuremberg trials

Geoffrey Lawrence was the main British judge during the Nuremberg trials and President of the Judicial group.

Hermann Göring and Albert Speer

Alfred Rosenberg and Ernst Kaltenbrunner

Joachim von Ribbentrop and Wilhelm Keitel

Correspondents. 1946. Nuremberg trials

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Oт the Valentine's Day, a thematic excursion "The Great Northern War: Stories of Big Love" was held at the Poltava Battle Museum.

On February 14, 2020, on Valentine's Day, a thematic excursion "The Great Northern War: Stories of Big Love" was held at the Poltava Battle Museum.
Love. This high feeling is capable of changing the whole world. How many literary masterpieces, songs, sculptures, and paintings have been devoted to the eternal theme - the theme of love! There are many examples in history when this light feeling not only magnified, made people better and kinder but also destroyed entire cities, states, mercilessly destroyed entire generations, changed the course of history.
During the excursion, the museum visitors heard interesting love stories of those people whose fates were connected with the Cossack era, the Great Northern War: women in the life of Hetman of Ukraine Bohdan Khmelnytsky, romantic relations of the Ukrainian hetman Ivan Mazepa, personal life of Tsar Peter II and King Carl XII, the love of Hetman Philip Orlik and his wife Anna Hertsyk, the history of women who did not leave their loved ones in exile or during military campaigns. Many cadets from Poltava military college were among the guests of the museum on Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Chernobyl shocker as fungi that eats radiation found inside nuclear reactor

February 8, 2020 (Foxnews.com) A type of black fungus that eats radiation was discovered inside the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. In 1991, the strange fungus was found growing up the walls of the reactor, which baffled scientists due to the extreme, radiation-heavy environment.
Ruined reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, in in 2016 (iStock)

Researchers eventually realized that not only was the fungi impervious to the deadly radiation, it seemed to be attracted to it. A decade later, researchers tested some of the fungi and determined that it had a large amount of the pigment melanin -- which is also found, among other places, in the skin of humans.

Ukraine shows its newest cruise missile in stunning detail

February 14, 2020 (defence-blog.com) The Defense Express Media & Consulting Company has released new footage of the newest Ukrainian RK-360MTs Neptun coastal missile system with R-360 cruise missiles in stunning detail. The Neptune is a coastal missile system designed to engage enemy surface fighting ships and auxiliaries vessels both single and belonging to Task Forces. 
The system consists of an RCP-360 self-propelled command control and communications centre, USPU-360 self-propelled launchers, a TZM-360 transport and reloader machine and special cargo vehicle. The coastal missile system is capable of hitting targets at ranges up to 280 kilometers at any time and under any weather conditions. The R-360 missile weighs 870 kg; the weight of its warhead is 150 kg; its launch speed is about 900 km/h. The Neptune would be able to achieve its full capability if positioned no farther than 25 km from the coastline.

  • Full salvo – 24 missiles, ammunition – 72 missiles,
  • The time lag between missiles launched in a salvo – 3…5 s.
  • Time from the end of mission to ready-to-fire time for the next mission – ≤15 min.
  • ASCM Neptune vehicle range – ≤1,000 km.

The composition of the Neptune Battery can be configured to meet specific customer needs. A Neptune battalion would typically consist of: (1) mobile command and control post, (2) three launcher batteries consisting of two launchers USPU-360 each, (3) operational support battery consisting of six transporter/transloader vehicles each carrying one storage/transport/launch canister TPK-360, (4) logistical units. Each Neptune battalion will have a standard missile establishment of 72. The State Enterprise KB Luch R&D Company, Kyiv, is the primary contractor for the Neptune ASCM System. The Neptune Project is a collaboration involving domestic entities only, including but not limited to: Orizon-Navigation, Impulse, Visar, Arsenal TsKB, Radionix, Telecart-Prybor, UkrInMash, Ukrainian Armored Vehicles, Motor-Sich, and KrAZ.

Friday, February 7, 2020

The 7th of February 2020 is the 114th anniversary of Oleg Antonov’s birthday.

February 7, 2020 (antonov.com) Oleg Antonov (7 February 1906 – 4 April 1984) was a prominent Soviet aircraft designer, and the first chief of Antonov - a world-famous aircraft company in Ukraine, later named in his honour.
A series of significant transports followed under Oleg Antonov's direction. Antonov aircraft (design office prefix An-) range from a rugged An-2 (which itself is comparatively large for a biplane) through the An-28 reconnaissance aircraft to the massive An-124 Ruslan strategic airlifter. The quad-turboprop An-12 and its derivatives became the primary Soviet military transport from 1959 onward. While less well known, the An-24, An-26, An-30 and An-32 family of twin-turboprop, high winged, passenger/cargo/troops aircraft predominate in domestic/short-haul air services in the former Soviet Union and parts of the world formerly under Soviet influence. Antonov also oversaw the development of the mid-range (An-72/An-74 jet airplanes family. The world's largest production aircraft, the An-124 Ruslan, flew for the first time in 1982, and its specialised shuttle-carrying/extra-heavy cargo derivative, the An-225 Mriya entered development, still under Antonov's guidance, but did not make its maiden flight until 1989 after the death of Antonov. In November 2004, FAI placed the An-225 in the Guinness Book of Records for its 240 records.
To your attention – video of the ceremony of insertion of his portrait into the honourable gallery of International Hall of Fame, San Diego Air, and Space Museum – SDASM, held on April 17, 1999. This Hall was open in 1965 in honour of the most outstanding persons in the history of global aviation and space innovations. At present, this exposition of the pictorial portraits is placed in the Ford Building, which is one of the most outstanding buildings of San Diego. Laureates of the Hall of Fame are defined by a special committee of the Museum and International voters’ council each year. During 55 years 223 outstanding persons of the aerospace field were included in the honourable gallery. General Designer Oleg Antonov was among them. Oleg Antonov’s portrait for San Diego Museum was painted by American pilot and artist Kirk Craig. There are two master copies. One of them is presented in SDASM and the other one in ANTONOV COMPANY’s Museum in Kyiv.