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.
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