Saturday, June 15, 2019

Chernobyl: Russian communist party calls for ‘disgusting’ HBO show to be banned

June 15, 2019 (INDEPENDENT) A Marxist-Leninist political party has called for a ban of historical TV miniseries Chernobyl in Russia, dubbing the show “disgusting”. In a statement, party member Sergey Malinkovich spoke of the party’s intentions to lobby TV regulator Roskomnadzor about how the show represents Russia.
The party will request that the regulator blocks local access, stating that the series “turned a tragedy into an object of ideological manipulation,” “demonizing the Soviet regime and Soviet people”. The party has also called for a libel lawsuit against Chernobyl’s writer, director and producers. But, according to Roskomnadzor, a formal complaint has not been received as of yet.
Despite this, Malinkovich has conceded that the series correctly portrayed key moments of the nuclear disaster. This comes after the announcement that a Russian version of the series had been commissioned, partially funded by the culture ministry. Chernobyl – which stars Jared Harris and Stellan Skarsgård – tells the story of the 1986 nuclear disaster in Soviet Ukraine, and has been met with high acclaim. The show is the highest rated TV series of all time on Internet Movie Database (IMDB), beating out competitors such as Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Lithuania to donate Soviet-made light small arms ammunition to Ukraine

June 12, 2019 ( The Lithuanian Government has decided to donate Soviet-made light small arms ammunition to the Ukraine Ministry of Defence (MoD). Worth €255,000 and transferred on a non-reimbursable basis, the ammunition can be used in automatic rifles, machine-guns to ensure national security and defence. The Lithuanian Armed Forces is currently not using the munitions and is not planning to use them in future. Lithuania National Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis said: “The transfer of assets is a part of consistent and comprehensive Lithuanian support to Ukraine as it strengthens its defence capabilities in order to ensure independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the country.

Lithuania donates ammunitions worth €255,000 to the Ukraine Defence Ministry Credit: MoD archive.

The Baltic state has been providing military aid, political support and legally permitted assistance to Ukraine since 2014 when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula, an autonomous republic within Ukraine. Lithuania’s material assistance and weaponry element to the Ukrainian Armed Forces falls under all applicable international agreements and conventions, as well as European Union and national legislation. The transferred assets can also be used by the Ukrainian MoD’s subordinate institutions. They can be deployed during participation in regional and collective agreements, and activities in compliance with the Charter of the United Nations. In a statement, the Lithuania National Defence Ministry said: “The stance has the support of Lithuania’s population; 64% of respondents in a public opinion poll carried by request of the Ministry of National Defence late last year were in favour of Lithuania’s military assistance to Ukraine.” “Also, Lithuania and allies assist Ukraine in its reform, training and mentoring of its armed forces, Lithuania provides medical care for injured Ukrainian soldiers.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Zelensky, Juncker set date for Ukraine-EU summit

June6, 2019 (UNIAN) The Ukrainian president underscored the "immutable priorities set in the Constitution of Ukraine," first of all, the strategic course of the state on acquiring full membership in the EU and NATO. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky during a Tuesday's meeting with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels expressed interest in holding the 21st EU-Ukraine Summit in Kyiv on July 8 this year. The presidential administration says Volodymyr Zelensky held the meeting with Juncker in the framework of the working visit to the EU and NATO institutions on June 4. "The negotiations on a wide range of issues of cooperation between Ukraine and the European Union confirmed willingness of the parties to further develop cooperation in all areas of mutual interest," reads the administration's statement.
The Ukrainian president underscored the "immutable priorities set in the Constitution of Ukraine," first of all, the strategic course of the state on acquiring full membership in the EU and NATO, as well as Ukraine's willingness to adhere to its obligations, in particular in relations with international financial institutions. In turn,  Jean-Claude Juncker reiterated EU's full support for Ukraine "in implementing its European integration choice on the path of democratic and market transformations."

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

SMB 2019 Trip to Poltava

A regular delegation of the Swedish Society of the Military History (Svenskt Militärhistoriskt Bibliootek) visited the Museum of the Battle of Poltava on May 16. This time, our Swedish friends presented the museum with a bust of King Charles 12, a set of ancient coins, laser projector, antique engravings, and documents. I am very pleased to offer to your attention some photos taken  during the stay of the SMB delegation in Poltava.
Med länken nedan kan du få tillgång till många bilder som tagits i Poltava och Kiev.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

High fives, selfies and a snap election as Zelenskiy takes power in Ukraine

May 22, 2019 (Reuters) Television comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy took the oath of office as Ukraine’s new president on Monday, promising that as hard as he had worked in the past to make Ukrainians laugh, he would now work to keep them from crying. As his first act, he dismissed the parliament still dominated by loyalists of his defeated predecessor, setting up an election in two months in which his new party has a chance to win its first seats. The inauguration day was marked by informal moments that conveyed the outsider persona that helped carry the political novice to a landslide victory last month.

Ukraine's President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy takes the oath of office during his inauguration ceremony in the parliament hall in Kiev, Ukraine May 20, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Zelenskiy high fived cheering supporters who held their arms outstretched outside the Soviet-era parliament building, and stopped for a selfie with the crowd. At one point he jumped up to kiss a man on the forehead. He later eschewed a motorcade to make his way to his new office on foot. “Dear people, during my life I tried to do everything to make Ukrainians smile,” he said in his speech to parliament. “In the next five years, I will do everything, Ukrainians, so that you do not cry.” But there were already signs of friction with a political class in which Zelenskiy has few allies. Parliament is still dominated by the bloc named for Zelenskiy’s defeated opponent Petro Poroshenko and smaller parties founded mostly as personal vehicles for political insiders. The decision to dissolve parliament prompted the resignation of Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who came to power in 2016 as part of Poroshenko’s coalition. Groysman said he was stepping down to fight the upcoming snap election. “I proposed to the president, the parliament, that we together form a new agenda and very quickly begin to make decisions that would make Ukraine stronger. The president has chosen a different path,” Groysman said. Zelenskiy grew to national fame playing the TV comedy role of a schoolteacher who unexpectedly becomes president after a pupil films him making a foul-mouthed tirade against corrupt politicians and posts the video online. His campaign exploited the parallels with that fictional narrative, portraying him as an everyman who would stand up to a crooked political class. In his inauguration speech, Zelenskiy called on officials to take down the customary portraits of the president that hang in their offices, and put up pictures of their children instead.
Read the whole article and see a video at

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Ukraine outlaws Russian passports issued for its citizens in Donbas

May 9, 20119 (Kyiv Post) The Ukrainian government has invalidated Russian passports issued to Ukrainian citizens of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, which are partially occupied by the Russian-backed militants. “The passports issued to Ukrainian citizens on our territory, the territory of the sovereign Ukrainian state, will be deemed illegal … when crossing the state border and when used on the territory of our state,” said Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman at a cabinet meeting on May 8. Groysman also called on other countries to do the same. Vadym Chernysh, minister for the temporarily occupied territories and internally displaced persons, said the decision had been made during the May 8 meeting. Russian passports issued in Russia’s Rostov Oblast will also be deemed illegal, he added. The Ukrainian authorities will identify such documents by the code of the issuing body. The Ukrainian government also intends to prepare a list of Russian officials who were involved in organizing and implementing the procedure simplifying the issuing of Russian passport in occupied Donbas, Chernysh said.

A Ukrainian border guard scans a passport of a Russian citizen crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border on the checkpoint of Goptivka, near Kharkiv, on Jan. 3, 2018. Photo by AFP

“We are preparing a list of such Russian Federation officials to whom personal sanctions should be applied in cooperation with international partners,” Chernysh told journalists after the cabinet meeting, the Interfax news agency reported. Veteran Affairs Minister Iryna Friz said on Facebook that the government will consider depriving Ukrainian citizens from Donbas of their pensions and social benefits should they receive Russian passports in an unlawful way. On April 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree allowing people who live in the Russian-occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts to gain Russian passports through a simplified procedure. Three days later, on April 27, Putin said that the Russian government was considering applying simplified procedures to all Ukrainians applicants for Russian citizenship. The decree will allow more than 3 million Ukrainians to apply for Russian passports bypassing a number of criteria for gaining Russian citizenship.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Aeroflot plane crash: 41 killed on Russian jet

May 6, 2019 (BBC News) Forty-one people died after a Russian plane made an emergency landing and burst into flames just after takeoff from Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport. Dramatic video shows passengers using emergency exit slides to escape the burning Aeroflot aircraft. Survivors suggest the plane was struck by lightning, but Russia's national carrier said only that it returned to the airport for technical reasons. Two children are among the dead. The jet had 73 passengers and five crew. Initial reports suggested the plane had landed on fire, but sources quoted by Russian news agency Interfax said the jet caught fire after a very bumpy landing. The aircraft landed with full fuel tanks because the crew lost contact with air traffic controllers and decided it was too dangerous to dump fuel over Moscow, Interfax added. "There are 37 survivors - 33 passengers and four members of the crew," said Yelena Markovskaya, an official involved in the investigation of the crash. A flight attendant was also reportedly killed in the incident. Five people are in hospital. One witness said it was a "miracle" anyone escaped.
What happened to the plane?
The aircraft, a Sukhoi Superjet-100, left the airport on May 5 at 18:02 local time (15:02 GMT), bound for Murmansk. Its crew sent a distress signal when "malfunctions" occurred in bad weather shortly after take-off. After making an emergency landing at the airport, the plane's engines caught fire on the runway, Aeroflot said, adding that the crew "did everything to save the passengers".

RIA news agency has broadcast a video clip shot by a passenger as the plane caught fire on the tarmac. A sheet of flame can be seen through the window, and a cloud of sparks, while people scream in panic and a voice - apparently a flight attendant - is heard saying "keep calm". Video shot from airport buildings shows passengers fleeing the stricken jet via an inflatable slide at the front and running away from the inferno.