Friday, October 19, 2018

New sanctions will be imposed on Russia every month or two – Kurt Volker

October 19, 2018 (Ukrinform) U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker has said that President Donald Trump's administration will continue to increase pressure on Russia, primarily by imposing new sanctions every month or two months. He said this at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington on Thursday, according to an Ukrinform correspondent. "We've tried to increase the pressure we're putting on Russia in order to get them to negotiate towards a solution [to the conflict in eastern Ukraine]. That includes keeping sanctions in place in the U.S. and increasing those sanctions periodically over time," Volker said.

This is a track the U.S. has been on during the course of the Trump administration and will continue to be on, he added. "You'll see additional sanctions come into play every month or two months or so as we've seen," Volker said.
He also said that Washington was working on this issue with European partners. "The European Union has shown tremendous resilience and strength in keeping this in place [sanctions against Russia]," the U.S. diplomat said. Following Russia's annexation of Crimea, the United States introduced the first package of sanctions against Russia, and in April 2018, Washington imposed new sanctions on Russian businessmen and officials, as well as financial institutions and companies associated with the Kremlin. It is one of the most powerful packages of sanctions against Russia, including due to its aggression against Ukraine. The restrictions were imposed in pursuance of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) approved in August last year.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

"New Shoes" by photographer Gerald Waller, Austria, 1946

Six year-old Hans Werfel, living in an orphanage in Austria, beams with unbounded joy as he clasps a new pair of shoes presented to him  at the Vienna's Am Himmel orphanage by the Junior Red Cross in America. This photo was taken by photographer Gerald Waller and  was first published in LIFE magazine on December 30, 1946 (page 22) and again on September 24, 1951 (page 180).

This was the caption in the 1946 issue:
EUROPE’S CHILDREN - Christmas brings joy and sadness
For many of Europe’s children there was a Santa Claus this Christmas. When a big box from the American Red Cross arrived at Vienna’s Am Himmel orphanage, shoes and coats and dresses tumbled out. Like the youngster (above), the children who had seen no new clothes throughout the war smiled to high heaven. But for thousands of other European children there was no Santa Claus. When a boatload of illegal Jewish immigrants arrived at Haifa, Palestine recently, two Polish children (opposite) got separated from their parents. Tears filled the eyes of the boy, and his wan sister clutched him protectively. They were later reunited with their parents, but the whole family was shipped to Cyprus.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Over 100 pyrotechnic experts demining villages near Chernihiv region ammo depot

October 11, 2018 (Kyiv Post) As of 4.00 p.m. on Oct. 10, the liquidation of fires in the warehouses of the sixth arsenal of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry in Ichnia district, Chernihiv region, was continuing, with pyrotechnic experts demining four settlements in the district, the press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine has said. “To carry out work at the scene, 21 pyrotechnic squads totaling 110 persons and 40 pieces of equipment began work on demining four settlements, namely: Ichnia, Avhustivka village, Druzhba village, Hmyrianka village,” the service said. Pyrotechnic units responded to 54 reports of explosive objects found by the local population (432 explosive objects).
In total, more than 1,000 people and 216 units of equipment, including 260 people and 75 units of equipment and two An-32P aircraft from the State Emergency Service, were involved in rescue and other urgent work in the emergency area. “As of 4.00 p.m. on October 10, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine carried out aerial reconnaissance of the technical territory of the arsenal and carried out 15 water discharges (120 tonnes),” the service said. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said that as of 16.30 on the technical territory of the arsenal, there are three engineering vehicles and nine GPM-54 fire tanks, as well as 15 fire trucks from the units involved in fire suppression. Two An-32P airplanes from the State Emergency Service carried out 18 water discharges.

A shell-hole is seen on a road on the outskirt of the evacuated town of Ichnya, some 7 km from epicenter of explosions at the an ammunition depot in Ukraine's northern Chernihiv Region on Oct. 9. Photo by AFP

In addition, two engineering vehicles, four fire brigades of Ukraine’s Armed Forces were involved in extinguishing fires. They used 12 tank trucks of the State Emergency Service to fill them with water. As earlier reported, information about explosions at the sixth arsenal of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry was received at 03.30 a.m. on Oct. 9 morning. More than 12,000 people were evacuated and airspace within a 30 kilometer radius has been closed. Railway and road traffic near the ammunition depot was blocked. No casualties have been reported.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Stepan Poltorak: Shells exploding every 3 minutes at Ichnia ammo depot

October 10, 2018 (Interfax - Ukraine) There was one explosion every three minutes at the burning artillery ammo depot in the Ichnia district of Chernihiv region on Wednesday morning, Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said at a government meeting. "As of this morning, the intensity of detonations stood at one explosion every three minutes. There was a powerful explosion overnight," Poltorak said.

"Aircraft of the State Emergency Service started fighting the fire in the morning. [...] There is still smoke inside the depot, but I believe we can deal with it in the near future," he said.
The depot was storing 69,500 tonnes of munitions, including 43,000 tonnes ready for use, when the fire broke out, Poltorak said. "The depot has a capacity of 127,000 tonnes of munitions. It was storing 125,000 tonnes at the beginning of 2014. Since then, 56,000 tonnes of munitions have been moved to other bases and depots where we have the ability to store them safely. This is a load of about 1,500 train cars, 50 trains, considering our limited loading/unloading abilities," he said.

 The depot also stored component parts and munitions which are not commissioned as weapons of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Poltorak said. "For instance, there are Tulpan mines. We have no such weapons, and the munitions were prepared for scrapping," he said.