Tuesday, November 24, 2020

An amateur picture of the secret soviet airbase

 The Poltava airbase, where many TU-22M3 strategic bombers were stationed in 1987-1988, was well known to the Americans thanks to spy satellites. However, in the USSR this base was secret and a limited number of people had access to it. Over time, the city authorities of Poltava decided to build residential houses in the area, which is directly adjacent to the territory of the military airbase. An amateur photo you can see below was taken by a resident of one of these houses. 

The fact is that the designers did not take into account the fact that from the upper floors of the standard Soviet nine-story building, the base was visible as in the palm of your hand. For many decades, the author of the photo did not dare to show it to anyone. Only recently, this already historical photo was posted on the Internet. As about the fate of Poltava-located TU-22M3 (NATO reporting name: Backfire), 43 Tu-22M3, and 423 Kh-22 cruise missiles were scrapped during 2002-2006 under the Nunn–Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction agreement led by the US. Only one aircraft can be seen now in the Poltava Museum of Long-Range and Strategic Aviation.

Tu-22M3 in the Poltava Museum of Long-Range and Strategic Aviation

Friday, November 20, 2020

Nuremberg trials: 75 years on from the world's first war crimes tribunal

 November 20, 2020 (Euronews) When the Nuremberg trial opened on November 20, 1945, it was just six months since Nazi Germany had surrendered and much of the city remained a bombed-out ruin. Jointly headed by an American, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, and a Briton, Sir Hartley Shawcross, the trial saw 22 high ranking Nazi officers face trial for war crimes, including two of Hitler’s foremost generals and his second in command, Hermann Göring. “That four great nations, flushed with history and stung with injury, stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that power has ever paid to reason,” Jackson said in his opening statement. The 22 defendants at Nuremberg represented the highest echelons of Nazi power, including three of the top generals that led the war, Alfred Jodl, Karl Dönitz, and Wilhelm Keitel. The highest-ranking member of the SS was Ernst Kaltenbrunner, while foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Albert Speer, known as Hitler’s architect were among facing trial. The sentences ranged from 10 years in prison (Dönitz) to death (Keitel, Jodl, von Ribbentrop, and Göring, although he committed suicide before he was due to be hanged). Hess was jailed for life, and died in 1987, while Speer served 20 years, was released and died in 1981. There were notable exceptions to justice at Nuremberg. Hitler, of course, had committed suicide in April 1945 as the Soviets closed in on his bunker in Berlin, as did Joseph Goebbels, who committed suicide along with his wife after poisoning his six children.

In this Nov. 21, 1945 file photo, Reichsmarshal Hermann Göring stands in the prisoner's dock at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial in Germany.

The full article is available at:


Monday, November 16, 2020

Russia may soon deploy nuclear weapons in occupied Crimea – NSDC secretary

 November 16, 2020 (UNIAN) Secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Oleksiy Danilov has said Russia may soon deploy nuclear weapons in the occupied Crimea. "We have no final confirmation about nuclear weapons having been deployed there. But we are clearly aware this may happen shortly. This will depend on many factors, and if the Russians see they are losing, they will definitely revise the issue," he told in the interview with the Krym-Realii media project. Russian Federation has considerable capacities for storing and deploying nuclear weapons on the territory of occupied Crimea. Since Soviet times, there have been several facilities that were used to store nuclear weapons. One of the facilities is the so-called Feodosia-13 facility, now it is the village of Krasnokamyanka, where the large-scale construction of a storage base had been carried out for six years since the beginning of the 1950s. This is the former 12th Directorate of the USSR Ministry of Defense, which was in charge of nuclear weapons. The facility was in use until 1996, and the last weapon was removed from there in the middle of the 1990s.

The so-called Feodosia-13 facility could be used to store nuclear arms / Photo from defence.ru

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Ukrainian Ambassador speaks on how U.S. election outcome could influence Ukraine

 November 8, 2020 (UNIAN) Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Volodymyr Yelchenko has commented on the influence he believes the U.S. presidential election outcome could have on Ukraine.

"Any of my comments 'against' or 'for' would sound like interference in the U.S. elections. But, in principle, the real military, lethal, strategic aid came precisely under Trump. We also received two Island-class boats, three more are being prepared, we saw a whole bunch of decisions to increase the amount [of assistance] and specific hardware. It was under Trump that sanctions were introduced against those constructing the Nord Stream 2," the diplomat has told TSN. Also, Yelchenko adds, there are forecasts that the Democrats will increase the overall number of their representatives in both House chambers.

"And therefore, the position of the Democratic Party in relation to Russia, as is seen here, is sharper and tougher. Besides, in Biden's circle, in the circle of incumbent lawmakers and those who could be elected, there are much more people who at the expert level understand the essence of problems around Ukraine, and therefore I'm absolutely sure that sanctions against Russia will be strengthening and military assistance will be increasing," the ambassador assured. In general, Yelchenko believes that Ukraine is "lucky" as it enjoys bipartisan support in the United States.

Friday, October 30, 2020

The history of Poltava is getting more and more expensive

 While writing a book about the German occupation of Poltava in 1941 - 1943 I ran into a curious problem related to finding graphic material for the book. Some of the photographs that are reserving in the German archives are being offered by the Getty Images campaign at cosmic prices. An example is a photograph of Adolf Hitler taken during the briefing at the headquarters of Army Group South at Poltava on 1 June 1942. Pay attention to the price shown on the right side of the photo.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Fly of a Tupolev Tu-22M3 bombers over the Poltava Battle field

 The rare photo below depicts a takeoff of two Tupolev Tu-22M3 bombers (NATO reporting name: Backfire) from the military airfield in Poltava. An unknown photographer caught the moment when the bombers had just taken off from the airbase and were flying over the St. Sampsoniy Church on the field of the Battle of Poltava.

From 1945, the Poltava airbase was used by the 13th Heavy Bomber Aviation Division of Soviet Long-Range Aviation. From 1991 to 1992 the Soviet Air Force was superseded in Ukraine by the Ukrainian Air Force, which eventually deployed the Tu-22M3 heavy bombers and cruise missiles X-22 with the 185th Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment before this unit was finally disbanded in 2006.

An excavator cuts through the tail of a Tupolev Tu-22M3 heavy bomber at Poltava airbase.
The photo was taken in November 2002

Ukraine has destroyed decommissioned Tu-22M heavy bombers and air-to-ground cruise missiles of the X-22 class in order to meet its obligations under the 1993 agreement with the United States on strategic nuclear disarmament. 

                                           Separation of a Tupolev Tu-22M3 heavy bomber's nose

According to the agreement thirty-one Tu-22M bombers and 225 cruise missiles X-22 were scrapped in Ukraine by the end of 2004 in keeping with the U.S.-financed disarmament program.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

New exhibition hall "On the Scales of Time" has been presented recently in the Poltava Battle Museum

An online presentation of the new exhibition hall "On the Scales of Time" has taken place in the Poltava Battle Museum on October 13, 2020. For Russia, Sweden, and Ukraine, the Battle of Poltava had diametrically opposite consequences, and thus each nation formed a different point of view and time understanding of this determining event. The design of the hall was created by the scientists of the museum during 2019-2020. Visitors to the museum will be able to get acquainted with the main stages of comprehension of this important historical event in Russia, Sweden, and Ukraine. In connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, only museum staff and representatives of the Poltava City Council attended the presentation.