Saturday, August 24, 2019

Celebrations of Ukraine's Independence Day held with participation of president


August 24, 2019 (UKRINFORM) Official celebrations of the 28th anniversary of Ukraine's Independence have begun in Kyiv on the Alley of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes. 

The celebrations are held with the participation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Independence Day was usually celebrated with a military parade held in Kyiv. However, President Zelensky decided to celebrate Independence Day in a new format. Instead of holding a military parade, the state allocated UAH 300 million in bonuses to servicemen. On July 30, Head of the Presidential Office Andriy Bohdan informed that the traditional parade would be replaced by a March of Dignity. A separate march, known as the March of Defenders, would be also held by Ukrainian war veterans.

The flag seen in today’s Doodle - with colors representing peace and prosperity, a bright blue sky, and golden wheatfields - will fly throughout Ukraine today in honor of the Eastern European nation’s 28th Independence Day. The national holiday marks Ukraine’s emergence as a sovereign state. On this day in 1991, a coup attempt in Moscow inspired Ukraine’s declaration of independence, leading to a referendum in which Ukrainian citizens voted to cut ties with the Soviet Union and elect a new president. Living in the second largest country in Europe aside from Russia, Ukrainians have their own rich language and culture. Many time-honored traditions are celebrated on this day. At festive concerts and fairs, many participants wear the vyshyvanka, an embroidered shirt popularized nearly 1000 years ago, during the days of the Kievan Rus.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has accepted congratulations on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of Independence of Ukraine, the president’s press service reports. In particular, President of the United States Donald Trump emphasized that the U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders remained unchanged.
“Over the next year, the United States of America will work in partnership with the government and people of Ukraine to advance reforms that are critical to Ukraine's success, including reform of the rule of law and the fight against corruption, strengthening democratic institutions and promoting economic growth. The Ukrainian nation should fulfill its enormous potential, and the United States is proud to be a partner and support Ukraine on this path of change,” the U.S. president said in his congratulation.
Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom also congratulated Ukraine on Independence Day.
"It is with great pleasure that I extend to Your Excellency my congratulations on the occasion of your national holiday, together with the best wishes of happiness and prosperity to the people of Ukraine in the coming years," the letter reads.
President of France Emmanuel Macron stressed in his greetings that France kept standing side-by-side with Ukraine in order to restore peace in the east of the country.
"I applaud your initiative and determination to make concrete progress quickly for the benefit of the people affected by the conflict. I would like to assure you of my aspiration to reach tangible results in the Normandy format negotiations and in the negotiations with Russia,” the French president said.
"I am convinced that the sooner Ukraine implements ambitious reforms, in particular in the fight against corruption, and creates favorable conditions for realizing its exceptional economic potential, the sooner peace returns to Ukraine," Macron added.
Congratulations were also received from a number of other state leaders of the world.

Ambassador Melnyk: 131 wounded Ukrainian soldiers treated at German hospitals

August 23, 2019 (UNIAN) The Federal Republic of Germany provided medical assistance in its hospitals to 131 soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who were wounded or injured in the Donbas war, that's according to Ukraine's Ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk

"On the eve of Independence Day, we visited four of our wounded heroes of the ATO/JFO who are being treated at the Bundeswehr hospital in Berlin: in recent years, German funds — tens of millions of euros — have literally put 131 Ukrainian soldiers back on their feet," Melnyk wrote on Twitter. The ambassador has thanked Germany for the assistance provided.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Blast at Russian nuclear testing ground: FSB, Kremlin to look into doctors who spoke up about radiation


August 22, 2019 (UNIAN) Medical staff from the Arkhangelsk Regional Hospital in Russia were not initially warned that following an incident at a military site near Severodvinsk, three patients were brought in, affected by radiation. Vladimir Putin's Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said it was necessary to identify the doctors who complained that they had not been warned about radiation-affected patients following the explosion at a military base near Severodvinsk. "It is necessary to establish which doctors claim they were not informed that the victims had been exposed to radiation after the explosion near Severodvinsk," Peskov told journalists Thursday, while commenting on the relevant reports in the media, Interfax reports. As UNIAN reported earlier, doctors working at the Arkhangelsk Regional Hospital in Russia were not initially warned that three patients were exposed to radiation following a blast at a military base near Severodvinsk on Aug 8. Hospital staff were told to sign non-disclosure agreements, reports said.

Also, security agents have seized all hospital paperwork regarding the victims of the accident. The blast at the training site brought casualties and a short-term increase in the background radiation levels. Regional authorities in the immediate aftermath of the accident assured that there were no emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere, also claiming that the radiation level at the scene of the accident remained within the norm. However, the sensors of the automated radiation monitoring system recorded an increase in the background radiation in the Russian city of Severodvinsk (Arkhangelsk Region). Also, the Dvina Bay area of ​​the White Sea was closed for free navigation for a month.

Kremlin comments on possible Putin-Zelensky meeting, Normandy format summit


August 22, 2019 (UNIAN) Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said there are no specific plans so far for a new Normandy format meeting and a possible date for contacts between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky. 

 "No, there is no date yet," he said when asked about preparations for new Normandy talks, according to Russian news agency TASS.  Speaking about the dates for a possible meeting between Putin and Zelensky, Peskov said: "So far, there are no specific plans for a possible meeting with Mr. Zelensky." The Kremlin spokesman said there were "more questions than answers" regarding possible negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents. "Work is in progress. We will inform you when there are specific agreements," he said.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

"River tram" service re-launched in Kyiv

August 19, 2019 (UNIAN) A new Kyiv "river tram" route has been launched along the Dnipro River between the city's Podil and Obolon areas. The route was officially launched on August 10, according to an UNIAN correspondent. Several dozen people have already made their first voyage. 

Kyiv's "river tram" resumed its service after a six-year break, according to the TV news service TSN. It will offer three voyages a day in the form of a city tour, which will be available on the weekend only and will be themed to Kyiv's history.

 "The service has been resumed in a trial mode. If there are people, more routes will open," captain of the vessel Viktor Hrekh said. A two-way ticket for a 90-minute voyage costs UAH 150, or about US$6.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Vladimir Putin joins bikers for a ride in Crimea

August 11, 2019 (Reuters) Russia's President Vladimir Putin attended a biker show organized by the Night Wolves motorcycle club on the peninsula of Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, amid vast protests in Moscow and several Russian cities on Saturday (August 10). Russian state television showed Putin in a leather jacket shaking hands and hugging with Russian biker club leader Alexander Zaldostanov and riding a Ural motorcycle near the Crimean city of Sevastopol, while tens of thousands of Russians staged what a monitoring group called the country's biggest political protest for eight years, defying a crackdown to demand free elections to Moscow's city legislature.


Police rounded up scores of people after the demonstration in Moscow and at another rally in St Petersburg, and detained a leading opposition figure before it began. But the response from the authorities was milder than the previous week when more than 1,000 protesters were detained, sometimes violently. The White Counter monitoring group said up to 60,000 people had attended the Moscow rally, describing it as the biggest in Russia for eight years. Police put turnout at 20,000.

Russian liberal opposition gather for a rally protesting against unfair Moscow State Duma elections in the center of Moscow, Russia, August 10, 2019. The liberal opposition called their supporters to continue their protest actions against rejecting their candidates for Moscow City Duma elections, which are scheduled for September. (Photo: Yuri Kochetkov, EPA-EFE)

A month of demonstrations over elections for the Moscow city legislature have turned into the biggest sustained protest movement in Russia since 2011-2013, when protesters took to the streets against perceived electoral fraud. Crowds at the rally in Moscow roared "down with the tsar!" and waved Russian flags. They were demanding that opposition-minded candidates be permitted to run in a city election next month after they were not allowed onto the ballot. Putin and the Kremlin have so far avoided commenting on the unrest over the Moscow city elections.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Chernobyl's 'Sarcophagus' Is Being Taken down Due to Fear of Collapse


August 9, 2019 (interestingengineering.com) The Chernobyl nuclear disaster is the worst power plant disaster in history. Just 2 months after the disaster, roughly 600,000 Soviet cleanup workers were given the deadly task of covering the plant's exposed reactor with a massive 'sarcophagus' encasing. Now, it has emerged that, 33 years later, the sarcophagus has to be dismantled before it collapses. Thankfully, this was known ahead of time and an impressive undertaking in precise engineering is making sure that the existing structure is safely replaced.
The 'sarcophagus' encasing the contaminated site of Chernobyl reactor 4 was made in order to lock in radioactive materials like corium, uranium, and plutonium. It was erected only two months after the disaster occurred on April 26, 1986.

At least 31 of the workers who constructed the encasing died of acute radiation sickness. The danger of the construction zone is partially responsible for the deterioration happening today. Though the covering was made from 400,00 cubic meters of concrete and approximately 16 million pounds of steel, the conditions meant that it was hastily built, leaving the building's joints unsealed, and openings in the ceiling, as Science Alert reports. Now, 33 years later, the covering has to be replaced: SSE Chernobyl NPP, the company that manages the nuclear plant site, has released a statement online saying the probability the structure will collapse is "very high" if it is left in its current state.
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