Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Swedish anti-aircraft Bofors gun in the Poltava museum



This Bofors gun is preserving in the Poltava Long-Range Strategic Aviation Museum. It was one of the most popular medium-weight anti-aircraft systems during World War II, used by most of the western Allies as well as by the Axis powers. About 5500 Bofors guns were shipped to the Soviet Union under Lend-Lease. These guns were used to protect Poltava airbase during the operation Frantic Joe (1944-1945) when a few hundred heavy bombers B-17 from 8th and 15th USAF based in Great Britain and Southern Italy were involved in the shuttle bombing operations after which they landed at three Soviet airfields in Ukraine including Poltava.


The Bofors 40 mm gun, often referred to simply as the Bofors gun, is an anti-aircraft/multi-purpose autocannon designed in the 1930s by the Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors. It was one of the most popular medium-weight anti-aircraft systems during World War II, used by most of the western Allies as well as by the Axis powers.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sweden says it could be part of U.N. peacekeeping in Ukraine



February 18, 2018 (Reuters) - Sweden would be open to providing troops to a U.N. peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine if Russia and the West agreed, the country’s defense minister said on Saturday as Western officials consider a force led by non-NATO nations. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel talks at the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 17, 2018. More than 10,000 people have been killed since April 2014 in a conflict that pits Ukrainian forces against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. Intermittent clashes continue despite a notional ceasefire and diplomatic peace efforts. Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested a limited U.N. peacekeeping mission to eastern Ukraine, which many in the West see as an opportunity to negotiate a broader U.N. force to restore order, diplomats say.

If we see the right conditions and if we see that this mission can help ... then we are open to that,” Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told Ukrainian and U.S. officials at the Munich Security Conference when asked about providing troops. “We are not there yet, but it is something positive.” As a non-NATO country, Sweden was proposed as a possible lead nation in a U.N. force in a report commissioned by former NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen, now an adviser to Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko. The report was presented to officials including the U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, on Saturday. Volker said it was up to Russia to agree to the peacekeepers, but stressed they were not an end in themselves but a way to restore peace and update the 2015 Minsk peace deal. “We already have the Minsk agreement, which Russia has accepted. The issue is not the deal, the issue is if Russia will uphold it. If Russia will uphold it, then we have the peacekeeping force as a transmission mechanism,” Volker said.
The report proposed a U.N. force of some 20,000 soldiers from non-NATO countries and 4,000 police to help resolve the crisis in Ukraine. Over 700 unarmed civilian observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) currently operate monitoring missions on the conflict, but these have not reduced tensions.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

U.S. Embassy hands over to UA troops more night vision devices



February 17, 2018 (KYIVPOST) The United States government has donated 2,500 AN/PVS-14 night-vision monoculars worth $5.8 million as free military aid to Ukraine’s Armed Forces. U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch handed over a certificate of transfer for the equipment to the Chief of the Ukrainian General Staff Viktor Muzhenko during an official ceremony at the U.S. Embassy building in Kyiv.
The newly provided night vision scopes could equip at least 10 army battalions for nighttime warfare, according to General Muzhenko. “The United States is a strategic partner for Ukraine. Out of the total amount of assistance that has been provided to Ukraine’s Armed Forces, U.S. aid accounts for about 90 percent,” he said during the ceremony, adding that apart from providing various types of equipment such as counter-battery radars, drones, armored cars, and medevac vehicles, the U.S. government was helping to modernize the Ukrainian army by training its servicemen.

Ambassador Yovanovitch said the United States had provided $850 million worth of military aid to Ukraine since the outbreak of Russia’s war in the Donbas in 2014, adhering to its commitment to help Ukraine preserve its independence and territorial integrity. The military aid would also bring the country closer to forming NATO-compatible armed forces, the ambassador added.
AN/PVS-14 night-vision monoculars have been used by the U.S. Armed Forces and a number of their NATO allies since 2000. Primarily manufactured by the Litton Industries and the ITT Corporation, the monoculars are head-portable, and can be attached to a wide range of standard combat helmet types. They also can be mounted on assault rifles as night vision sights – on rail mounts, behind a standard collimated dot sight.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Non-NATO countries are about to resolve the crisis in Ukraine



February 16, 2018 (Reuters) - The United Nations should consider a force of some 20,000 soldiers from non-NATO countries and 4,000 police to help resolve the crisis in Ukraine, according to a new report to be presented to top officials this week. More than 10,000 people have been killed since April 2014 in a conflict that pits Ukrainian forces against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. Intermittent clashes continue despite a notional ceasefire and diplomatic peace efforts. Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested a limited U.N. peacekeeping mission to eastern Ukraine, which many in the West see as an opportunity to negotiate a broader U.N. force to restore order, diplomats say.

A report commissioned by former NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen - now an adviser to Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko - will be presented to officials including the U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. “The operation would need a mix of some European countries, such as Sweden, countries with a track record in peacekeeping, such as Brazil, and countries that have Russia’s trust, such as Belarus,” said Richard Gowan, author of the report and an expert on the United Nations at Columbia University. While numbers as high as 50,000 personnel have been mentioned by some diplomats and experts, Gowan said it was unrealistic to expect countries to put forward so many troops, while Moscow would likely resist such a large force. Senior officials from Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France will discuss the conflict on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

What sometime could happen to the ordinary Soviet Union postcard



February 8, 2018 This post has appeared due to my wife who has a passion – postcard collecting. Many postcards in her collection were published in the time when USSR was under the rule of Josef Stalin. Two of her postcards attracted my attention. Joseph Stalin's cult of personality became a prominent part of Soviet culture in 1929 and lasted until his death in 1953. That time everything created by cultural workers had to glorify the Father of Nations. The first postcard discovered in my wife’s collection was published in 1959 and contains a reduced copy of the painting “Admittance to the Komsomol” by Soviet painter Sergei Grigoriev (1910 – 1988). I would like to pay your attention on the Stalin bust that was added to the painting to underline its ideological essence.

After Stalin's death, Nikita Khrushchev's 1956 "Secret Speech" to the Twentieth Party Congress famously denounced Stalin's cult of personality and initiated a political reform known as "the overcoming/exposure of the cult of personality". But what to do with many nice painting created for postcards? The decision was very easy: just cut out all details connected with Josef Stalin. Unfortunately at that time such amazing instrument as Adobe Photohop was not available, so, most probably, the painting was just simply partly repainted. Somehow or other it was done and you may look at what was published in 1970s.