Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Visit of the SMB delegation to Poltava

The delegation of the Swedish Association of the military history (SMB) visited Poltava on September 13-17. During three-day-long stay in Poltava the delegates visited many sights of the Poltava Battle field, had a meeting with the staff of the Poltava Battle Museum, visited a place where the King Charles XII was wounded on the eve of the Battle of Poltava and planted two oak-trees together with local inhabitants near the monument to fallen Swedish warriors erected by their compatriots near the village Pobyvanka.
The SMB delegation near the redoubt reconstructed in 1909 on the eve of the celebration of 200th anniversary of the Battle of Poltava
The SMB delegation near the redoubt reconstructed in 2009 on the eve of the celebration of 300th anniversary of the Battle of Poltava
Poltava military reconstructor Mikhail Mellin (far left) shooting a gun salute to the Swedish guests
Swedes and Ukrainians near the Monument to the fallen soldiers of the King Charles XII
The oak-tree planted by Swedes and Ukrainians near the Monument








Monday, August 21, 2017

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis to Visit Ukraine Amid Russian Resurgence

August 21, 2017 (Military.com) Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is set to travel to Ukraine, becoming the first U.S. defense secretary to visit the country since Robert Gates, the Pentagon announced Friday. Mattis will meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak on Aug. 24, Ukraine's independence day. "During these engagements, the secretary will reassure our Ukrainian partners that the U.S. remains firmly committed to the goal of restoring Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as strengthening the strategic defense partnership between our two countries," the Defense Department said.
Mattis' trip comes as the United States is mulling giving Ukraine lethal weapons after Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its ongoing incursion into Ukraine's eastern border regions. The U.S. has given Ukraine's military non-lethal supplies, including night-vision goggles, uniforms and surveillance equipment such as Raven RQ-11BAnalog mini-drones. But U.S. officials worry -- with seemingly endless breakouts of hostilities between pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine's national guard -- that the conflict will prolong without expanded support. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, an avid supporter of arming Ukraine since then-President Barack Obama cautioned against lethal weapons, has raised the issue repeatedly with defense officials.
During Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan's confirmation hearing in June, McCain was unhappy with the incoming deputy's answers about providing arms to Ukraine. "It's still disturbing to me after all these years that you would say that you have to look at the issue," the senator said. "Have you not been aware of the issue? Have you not been aware of the actions of the Senate Armed Services Committee? Have you not been aware of the thousands of people that have been killed by Vladimir Putin? Have you missed all that in your duties at one of the major defense corporations in this country?" Mattis will also travel to Turkey and Jordan next week, meeting with his counterparts to discuss the ongoing air war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Friday, August 18, 2017

August 18, 2017 (BBC Europe) The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) warned of a possible new cyber attack on Ukrainian institutions and companies. The SBU believes that the "Petya" virus, which attacked the Ukrainian information systems on June 27 this year, could be a "preparatory phase for a second wave of cyberattacks". After investigating the events of June 27, the SBU has discovered that the virus collected data from electronic mailboxes, passwords for accounts, server access details, and hash data user accounts. Specialists of the SBU assume that getting this information was the main objective of the first wave of cyberattacks and obtained data could be used by the real initiators for both cyber intelligence and for further destructive actions.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The visit of the Ambassador of Sweden to Ukraine to the State Historical and Cultural Reserve “The Poltava Battle Field”

August 9, 2017 Mr Martin Hagström, Ambassador of Sweden to Ukraine visited Poltava Battle Museum and laid a blue-yellow bunch of flowers to the Monument to the fallen Swedish warriors erected in 1909 by their compatriots near the village Pobyvanka. I was very pleased to tell a story of the monument to Mr Hagström and answer his questions. Besides we were discussing a question regarding commemoration of fallen warriors of the King Charkes XII. Many thousand of them were buried in a hurry near the village  Tachtaulove. Despite more than 300 years have passed since the Battle of Poltava the main burial place of caroliners is still not marked even with a very modest memorial stone.
During the visit to Poltava Battle Museum Mr Hagström was guided by Viktor Myroshnyk, the senior researcher at the museum who speaks pretty good Swedish. Mr Hagström supported an idea of sending Viktor Myroshnyk to Sweden for the summer courses in Swedish language in the near future.

Besides the battle field Mr Hagström visited a memorial stone unveiled recently in the village Nyzhni Mlyny on the place where King Charles XII was wounded on the eve of the Battle of Poltava.
Near the entrance to the Museum of the Battle of Poltava
Mr Hagström and Viktor Myroshnyk in the museum
Mr Hagström is laying frowers to the Monument to the Swedish warriors killed in the Battle of Poltava
Mr Hagström and Oleg Bezverkhnii near the monument

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Exclusive: CNN witnesses US Navy's drone-killing laser

June 18, 2017 (CNN) In the sometimes hostile waters of the Persian Gulf looms the US Navy's first -- in fact, the world's first -- active laser weapon. The LaWS, an acronym for Laser Weapons System, is not science fiction. It is not experimental. It is deployed on board the USS Ponce amphibious transport ship, ready to be fired at targets today and every day by Capt. Christopher Wells and his crew. CNN was granted exclusive access to a live-fire test of the laser. "It is more precise than a bullet," Wells told CNN. "It's not a niche weapon system like some other weapons that we have throughout the military where it's only good against air contacts, or it's only good against surface targets, or it's only good against, you know, ground-based targets -- in this case this is a very versatile weapon, it can be used against a variety of targets."
LaWS begins with an advantage no other weapon ever invented comes even close to matching. It moves, by definition, at the speed of light. For comparison, that is 50,000 times the speed of an incoming ICBM.
"It is throwing massive amounts of photons at an incoming object," said Lt. Cale Hughes, laser weapons system officer. "We don't worry about wind, we don't worry about range, we don't worry about anything else. We're able to engage the targets at the speed of light."
For the test, the USS Ponce crew launched the target -- a drone aircraft, a weapon in increasing use by Iran, North Korea, China, Russia and other adversaries. Immediately, the weapons team zeroed in. "We don't have to lead a target," Hughes explained. "We're doing that engagement at the speed of light so it really is a point and shoot -- we see it, we focus on it, and we can negate that target." In an instant, the drone's wing lit up, heated to a temperature of thousands of degrees, lethally damaging the aircraft and sending it hurtling down to the sea. The strike comes silently and invisibly. "It operates in an invisible part of the electromagnetic spectrum so you don't see the beam, it doesn't make any sound, it's completely silent and it's incredibly effective at what it does," said Hughes.
It is remarkably precise, which the Navy says could limit collateral damage in wartime. "I can aim that at any particular spot on a target, and disable and destroy as necessary," said Wells. "It reduces collateral damage -- I no longer have to worry about rounds that may go beyond the target and potentially hurt or damage things that I don't want to hurt or damage." All the $40 million system needs to operate is a supply of electricity, which is derived from its own small generator, and has a crew of three. No multi-million-dollar missile, no ammunition at all. The cost per use? "It's about a dollar a shot," said Hughes.

Today, the laser is intended primarily to disable or destroy aircraft and small boats. "It's designed with the intent of being able to counter airborne and surface-based threats," said Hughes. "And it's been able to prove itself over the last three years as being incredibly effective at that." However, the Navy is developing more powerful, second-generation systems which would bring more significant targets into its crosshairs: missiles. Those missions remain classified. However, the commander and crew are very much aware of the potential capabilities. When we asked Wells if the current LaWS could shoot down a missile, he said simply "maybe" and smiled.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Visiting the place where King Karl XII ended his life

The idea of going to Halden and Fredriksten has never left me since I started to make a careful study of  the Great Northern war and the Battle of Poltava. This year with the help of my Swedish and Norwegian friends this dream has come true. I got two unique Norwegian guides: Magne Rannestad and Stig Østling. These two men ave turned my trip into something unforgettable.The fortress of Fredriksten  was constructed  in the 17th century when the fortress at was ceded to Sweden in accordance with the Treaty of Roskilde (1658). The fortress was named after King Fredrik III of Denmark and Norway. There were six attempts taken by Sweden from 1658 till 1814 to take the fortress but the fortress withstanded bravely all sieges. On the evening of 30 November 1718, a bullet killed Karl XII while he inspected the siedge work near the fortress. Nowaday the fortress of Fredriksten is well cared for and attracts tourists from many countries. Magne Rannestad as a head of the Society of the friends of the foretress works hard to maintain this historical monument in a good shape. I was impressed with a very interesting museum of the fortress of Fredriksten showing its history since 17th century till the present day. The tourism infrastructure created since the fortress has stopped to be a military object came as a surprise to me. 


Oleg Bezverkhnii and Magne Rannestad near the monument on the place where Karl XII was killed in 1718.
Stig Østling organized for me a guided tour around downtown of Halden that was known as Fredrikshald between 1665 and 1928 and  gave me an opportunity to see monuments dedicated to Norwegian campaign of the King Karl XII of 1716 and 1718. Some of these monuments were very difficult to be found in the wild depth of Sweden and Norway.


Stig Østling near the monument erected in 1922 at the end of Galärvägen, where Swedish army moved twelve galleys over land from Skagerrak at Strömstad to Idefjorden. The aim of this operation was to reinforce the Swedish army prior to an attack to the fortress of Fredriksten in 1718.
Stig Østling has been to Poltava a few times and he can speak Russian a bit. In 2016 he visited a place where the King Karl XII crossed Dniper River in 1709 after the Battle of Poltava.
Stig Østling with the flag of Halden inside the reconstructed redoubt on the Poltava Battle field.
From time to time the fortress of Fredriksten  hosts the summer theater where the audience can enjoy classic and rock music. 
Summer theatre in the fortress of Fredriksten.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Trump, Putin reach deal on Syria ceasefire, talk Ukraine, cybersecurity, terrorism - media

July 7, 2017 (UNIAN) The U.S. and Russia have reached agreement on a ceasefire in southwest Syria, AP sources said as U.S. President Donald Trump held his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while CNN reported that the two leaders also discussed Ukraine, cybersecurity and terrorism.
The Syria ceasefire deal marks a new level of involvement for the U.S. in trying to resolve the Syrian crisis. Although details of the agreement were not immediately available, the cease-fire is set to take effect Sunday at noon Damascus time, said the officials, who weren't authorized to discuss the ceasefire publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, Associated Press reports.

At the same time, CNN with the reference to Russia's state-owned news organization Sputnik quoted Vladimir Putin as saying that he "had a very lengthy conversation with the President of the United States, there were a lot of issues such as Ukraine, Syria, other problems, some bilateral issues."