Monday, December 10, 2018

Defense Blog: Satellite imagery shows hundreds of Russian tanks near Ukraine border

December 10, 2018 (Defense Blog) Satellite imagery from Google Earth taken in November shows hundreds of Russian main battle tanks at a new military base on the outskirts of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky in Russia's Rostov Oblast. "Images show hundreds of main battle tanks like as T-64 and also T-62M, while a thousand military trucks, artillery systems and tankers are located slightly higher," Defense Blog said. The large-scale military base only 18 kilometers away from the border with eastern Ukraine's Russian-occupied territory. Civil volunteer, Donbas war veteran, head of the Mir & Co charity fund Myroslav Hai gave the exact coordinates of the base on Google Maps. "Those who do not believe that the Russian Federation has been massing tanks near our border could use Google Maps for assistance. Open Google Maps and enter the coordinates: 48.271754, 40.262984. Switch Google Maps to the Satellite view and see it by yourself.

This is just one of those bases near our border. Reuters earlier quoted Chief of the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces Gen. Viktor Muzhenko as saying that Russia had been ramping up its forces near the border with Ukraine since August 2018, posing the greatest military threat since 2014. Muzhenko gestured to a series of satellite images, which he said showed the presence of Russian T-62 M tanks stationed 18 km (11 miles) from the Ukrainian border.

They had more than doubled to 250 from 93 machines within the space of two weeks from mid-September to October 1

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Parliament of Ukraine terminates treaty on friendship with Russia

December 6, 2018 (UKRINFORM) The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has passed the Law of Ukraine “On Termination of the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.” As an Ukrinform correspondent reports, 277 lawmakers voted in favor of the adoption of this law. The law stipulates that the treaty on friendship with the Russian Federation will be terminated on April 1, 2019. The termination of the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, given the fact that Russia has been violating it substantially and continuously and in accordance with Article 40 of this Treaty, is expected to facilitate proper and effective protection of the national interests of Ukraine in the international relations.

The approval of the draft law pursuant to Article 24 of the Law of Ukraine “On International Treaties of Ukraine” will allow completing the internal procedures required for the termination of the treaty due to the completion of the next ten-year period on March 31, 2019. As reported, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko tabled in the Verkhovna Rada a draft law on the termination of the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. The respective bill was registered under No. 0206 on December 3. On September 17, President Petro Poroshenko enacted the decision of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council of September 6, 2018 to terminate the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and Russia. The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine was expected to inform Russia by September 30 about the termination of the May 31, 1997 Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Ukraine resumes grain shipments from Azov Sea

December 5, 2018 KIEV (Reuters) Ukraine said on Tuesday it had resumed grain shipments from the Azov Sea, blocked for around 10 days after a military standoff with Russia in the Kerch Strait off Crimea. Russia seized three Ukrainian naval ships and their crews on Nov. 25 after opening fire on them, accusing them of illegally entering its territorial waters.

Ukraine denied its ships had done anything wrong and accused Russia of military aggression. Its president, Petro Poroshenko, imposed martial law on Nov. 26 in parts of the country deemed most vulnerable to Russian attack. “The passage of vessels with agricultural products through ports in the Azov Sea has been unlocked,” Ukraine’s agriculture ministry said on Tuesday in a statement.
The loading of grain to vessels through the ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk is restored and carried out in regular mode,” it said. Earlier, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister Volodymyr Omelyan had said the two ports - vital for eastern Ukraine’s economy - had been “partially unlocked” with the restoration of some free movement through the Kerch Strait.
Germany welcomed the news but also repeated its call for Russia to release the 24 Ukrainian sailors who are facing charges of illegally entering Russian waters. “We will try to ensure that this conflict does not result in a serious crisis,” German Foreign minister Heiko Maas told reporters in Brussels after a meeting of NATO foreign ministers also attended by officials from Ukraine and Georgia. Germany wants to de-escalate the situation and work toward a political solution, he said, adding there would be further discussions on the issue this week but gave no details. German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the Azov Sea standoff with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

NATO sees biggest reinforcement of collective defence since end of Cold War – Stoltenberg

December 4, 2018 (UNIAN) Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg says NATO has implemented the biggest reinforcement of its collective defence since the end of the Cold War. "NATO has implemented the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War, with higher readiness of our armed forces, with combat battalions in the eastern part of the Alliance. Allies are also now investing more in defence. NATO Allies are strengthening our collective defence as a direct response to what we have seen Russia has done against Ukraine," he said ahead of meetings of NATO Foreign Ministers in Brussels on December 4, 2018. 

"All Allies and NATO provide strong political support and strong practical support to Ukraine. Ukraine is not a NATO member but we strongly support Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said. "NATO Allies will also continue to help modernise and strengthen the Ukrainian armed forces. NATO is also helping with different trust funds on cyber, on command and control, and we also help to modernise the Ukrainian Navy. Then I think we also have to remember that because of the aggressive actions of Russia against Ukraine, illegally annexing Crimea, destabilizing eastern Ukraine and now we have also seen what they have tried to do in the Sea of Azov." In addition, Stoltenberg called on Russia to free recently captured Ukrainian sailors. "We also call on Russia to release the sailors and the ships they have seized," he said. As UNIAN reported, three Ukrainian vessels were captured on November 25 by Russian forces at sea near the Kerch Strait, which is the only outlet to the Sea of Azov and controls access to two major Ukrainian ports. The two Ukrainian artillery boats and a tugboat were heading from Odesa on the Black Sea to Mariupol on the Sea of Azov. Twenty-four sailors were detained and "courts" in Russian-occupied Crimea ruled that they be detained for two months, pending trial. On November 29, the sailors were transferred to Moscow's Lefortovo and Matrosskaya Tishina prisons.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Express train from Kyiv to Boryspil airport is launched

November 30, 2018  ( Joint Stock Company Ukrzaliznytsia will send the round-the-clock express train on the Kyiv-Passazhyrsky-Darnytsia-Boryspil-Airport route to make its first trip. “The regular train trips are to start at 13:00,” the company’s press service reported. Four rail buses produced by Polish Pesa Bydgoszcz SA with a capacity of up to 120 passengers and with a baggage zone, upgraded by Ukrzaliznytsia, will run on the route. Tickets costing UAH 80 can be purchased by cash at two cash desks at the Central and South Railway Stations, by noncash at four self-service terminals installed in the concourse over the fourteenth track. Also, passengers can pay for travel directly in the trains using a technology similar to the Kyiv subway.

The cost of the project, according to the press service, amounted to UAH 480 million. “In the course of the implementation of the project, about 4 km of track was added to the existing railway infrastructure, a 272 meter long overpass was built over the M03 Kyiv-Kharkiv highway. Two passenger platforms with pavilions near the airport and an indoor pedestrian crossing from the platforms to Terminal D of the Boryspil airport were built, Ukrzaliznytsia said on its website. Under the project two waiting rooms with air conditioning, TV, sockets, Wi-Fi and a children’s area were also built. Passengers can enter the indicated zones is open if they have a ticket for the express train. As reported, on November 29, Ukrzaliznytsia announced the timetable of the express train to the Boryspil International Airport with 30 trips in each direction. Ukrzaliznytsia plans to transport about 3.8 million passengers along the route Kyiv-Boryspil International Airport in 2019 and is negotiating the electrification of the section of the route from Kyiv to the Boryspil International Airport.