Thursday, January 11, 2018

Do you know what this small concrete-made structure in front of building for?



Janyary 1, 2018 If some day you will have some spare time to roam the streets of old Poltava, you definitely will run into such concrete construction almost in every back yard of apartment houses that were built in Poltava in the time when USSR was under the rule of Nikita Khrushchev and later when Leonid Brezhnev came to power. So what this strange back yard concrete decoration for?  Before I will give an answer, I would like to return to the time when the cold war between USSR and USA was in its top. 

Do you know what this small concrete-made structure in front of building for?

It is well known, that the Cold War was a state of geopolitical tension after World War II between powers in the Eastern Bloc (the Soviet Union and its satellite states) and powers in the Western Bloc (the United States, its NATO allies and others). Historians do not fully agree on the dates, but a common timeframe is the period between 1947, the year the Truman Doctrine, a U.S. foreign policy pledging to aid nations threatened by Soviet expansionism, was announced, and either 1989, when communism fell in Eastern Europe, or 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed. The term "cold" is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, but they each supported major regional wars known as proxy wars.

Former shelter with visible traces of an air and water supply systems

Civil defense is an effort to protect the citizens of a state (generally non-combatants) from military attacks of the potential enemy. It became widespread after the threat of nuclear weapons was realized. That time all building projects created in the USSR had to presuppose the existence of a bomb shelter equipped with air filter system, water supply system, emergency food supply, etc. All such shelters were also equipped with emergency exit located no close to the building than a half of its height.

 On this picture you can see the remains of air filter system

The doctrine of the civil defense supposed that even if some building is destroyed, those who were in the shelter will leave it through the emergency exit. Thus this small concrete construction you can see at the picture is nothing more than emergency exit.   Since the collapse of the USSR in 1991 all shelters mentioned above have fallen into neglect and were turned by dwellers into the ordinary closets. As about emergence exits, spared by the time, they still remind us of the Cold War times.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Ukrainian military shoots down Russian drone in Donbas


December 29, 2017 (112.UA) Unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, play an integral role on the modern battlefield. They are small and can transmit the information about the enemy’s positions. They are hard to detect, but Ukraine’s servicemen manage to locate and take them down. Ukraine has displayed the wreckage of what it says is a Russian spy drone shot down near the city of Donetsk on Wednesday, further adding to a mountain of evidence that the Russian military is directly involved in the fighting in eastern Ukraine. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Ukrainian army lost 191 fighters in 2017



December 28, 2017 (112.UA) Over the year, the irrecoverable losses in the Ukrainian Armed Forces made 191 servicemen. The General Staff of the Armed Forces reported this on Tuesday. The respective message says that as of December 18, 191 fighters have been credited as ‘irrecoverable casualties’. 

This number includes those who were either killed or gone missing in action, as well as POWs. Another 174 were wounded in the way that rendered them unable to continue the active military service. 1,265 fighters were considered retrievable losses. 35,220 volunteers joined the army this year for contract military service.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

74 Ukrainians come home from Donbas in POW exchang



December 27, 2017 (KyivPost) In the first prisoners of war exchange in over a year, 74 of 168 Ukrainian soldiers having been held in captivity in the Russian-controlled Donbas are coming home. Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists exchanged prisoners of war on Dec. 27 with Ukrainian side having released 237 prisoners. The exchange took place at the military checkpoint Mayorske near Horlivka, a city in Donetsk Oblast, some 750 kilometers southeast from Kyiv. This is the first prisoner exchange between Kyiv and the Russian-led forces in more than a year. According to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, all 74 Ukrainian prisoners are already on the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government.  They are heading to the Boryspil airport in Kyiv’s suburbs, where they are to arrive at about 7.30 p.m. Kyiv time. Every liberated Ukrainian would get proper medical assistance immediately after arrival, and they with their families will receive money aid to speed up the adaptation at home.

The Ukrainian side handed over 237 prisoners despite the promise to release 306: 29 prisoners brought to the exchange point refused to go back to the separatists’-controlled side, while 40 who had already served their sentence and were released did not show up for the swap, according to Viktor Medvedchuk, a representative from the Ukrainian side, the leader of the pro-Russian movement Ukrainian Choice – People’s Right. Ukrainian representatives involved in the exchange process went to the Donbas on Dec. 26: Ukrainian Parliamentary Human Rights Commissioner Valeriya Lutkovska, employees of Prosecutor General’s office and Defence Ministry as well as several experts from a humanitarian subgroup that takes part in Minks negotiations.While Poroshenko is thanking the Normandy format, the United States, the Trilateral Contact Group, the OSCE and the other international organizations for the swap, representative of separatists Olga Kobtseva thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We hope it will continue, for not all held captives are released, from neither side,” said Kobtseva, who keeps communication from the Russian-baked forces concerning humanitarian issues.The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin on Nov. 15 called Oleksandr Zakharchenko, the Russian-backed leader of the occupied part of Donetsk Oblast, and Ihor Plotnitsky, who until recently commanded the Kremlin-backed forces in Luhansk, to say he favored a prisoner swap with Kyiv. Currently, there are at least 386 Russian-led fighters in prison on Ukrainian territory, and 168 Ukrainians being captive in the Russian-occupied parts of the Donbas. After the swap, there will be 94 Ukrainian left in the Russian custody. According to Security Service of Ukraine, or SBU, at least 3,140 Ukrainians have been found and released from the Russian-occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in the last three years.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Reminiscent of Nazi era? German police forced to explain controversial logo in new armored cars



December 26, 2017 (RT) Logos on the seats in new armored vehicles acquired by the police Special Forces unit in the German land of Saxony have provoked a wave of indignation on social media, as they appear to be reminiscent of a Nazi emblem. The Saxony Special Forces (SEK), a unit particularly tasked with conducting anti-terrorist operations in the region, received its first new armored vehicles, called “Survivor R,” on Friday. The 17-ton cars have enough armor to withstand a machine-gun assault and even an explosion and can carry up to 10 officers.

However, it is not the vehicle’s combat characteristics that have attracted public attention. The armored cars sparked widespread criticism on social media due to the fact that the backs of its seats were adorned with a logo that was strikingly similar to what looked like a Nazi emblem.

“What a beautiful logo!” one person wrote sarcastically in a Twitter post featuring a photo of the unfortunate design. He then added that it looks “almost like [the one] from the older [Nazi] times” and “lacks only an eagle and a swastika.”
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