Saturday, January 12, 2019

Poltorak: Participants of the NATO HQ meeting talked about Ukraine’s accelerated NATO accession

January 12, 2019 (KyivPost) Ukraine’s Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak has said NATO representatives have changed their positions on Ukraine’s accession to the North Atlantic Alliance, and noted comprehensive assistance received by Ukraine from the bloc.
For more than four years, I have been observing the mood at NATO headquarters with regard to Ukraine. At first, we were not taken too seriously. Subsequently, we did not understand how accession to the bloc could be achieved. But during the last meeting in Brussels everyone talked about the need for our accelerated accession to NATO. We receive help from them in all directions. This was especially noticeable recently – after an act of open aggression by Russia,” he said in an interview with the state-owned Uryadovy Courier.

A picture shows President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko during the meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, on Dec. 13, 2018.

Poltorak said he has met Britain’s Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson five times over the last six months. He said the number of tasks Ukraine must achieve before becoming a NATO member is large.
In the coming year, we need to complete the reform of the Ministry of Defense and the military authorities. This is one of the most difficult reforms – we must be very careful here so as not to disrupt the command and control. And the changes are gradually being implemented. Recently, we spoke about the need to directly purchase the weapons and equipment we needed abroad. …Everything we buy in the interests of Ukraine’s Armed Forces meets the standards of NATO,” he said.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Ukrainian snipers are about to get this powerful new upgrade courtesy of Canada

January 8, 2019 ( Ukraine's Ground Forces (army) will soon be on the receiving end of a massive shipment of sniper rifles from Canada. PGW Defence Technologies, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, has been contracted to supply Ukrainian snipers with anti-material rifles in deal valued at over USD $770,000. The rifle in question is none other than PGW's flagship heavy-caliber rifle, the LRT-3 Sniper Weapon System. Produced in Canada since 2005, this gun is chambered for the popular .50 BMG round, easily capable of disabling light vehicles and punching though armor with deadly effect. Coming with an optionally-suppressed 29 inch stainless steel barrel and clocking in at just a shade over 25 lbs unloaded, the LRT-3 looks every bit the part of a heavy-caliber ranged gun. It boasts a max effective range of around 1800 meters (1.1 miles), comparable to the American Barrett M107 rifle which is also on its way to the Ukrainian army as part of a separate deal. While PGW has mostly flown under the radar over the past decade, it is no stranger to the arms game.

The company maintains contracts with the Canadian Forces to produce the .338 LM C14 Timberwolf rifle, and has supplied other foreign clients such as the Royal Saudi Land Force, and the UAE Armed Forces. In the wake of extreme tensions and armed conflict with Russia, the Ukrainian government has made overtures towards NATO, signaling their intent to eventually become a member nation. Buying over $770,000 worth of .50 caliber sniper rifles is yet another step in that direction, which will likely see the Ukrainian military adopt a number of small arms (and ammunition) in common standardized usage with NATO forces, including the 5.56x45 and 7.62x51 mm NATO rounds. In fact, the arsenals of the former Soviet satellite republic, which are still hugely populated with old-school Warsaw Pact guns like the AKM, the AK-74 and the Makarov PM, have gradually seen an influx of weapons chambered for NATO standard calibers, such  as the bullpup Tavor assault rifle, and the Zbroyar Z-10 designated marksman rifle, a locally-produced AR-10 derivative which shoots 7.62 NATO.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Ukraine Orthodox Church granted independence from Russian Church

January 5, 2019 (BBC Europe) The recently formed Orthodox Church of Ukraine has been granted independence, marking a historic split from the Russian Church. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew - the head of the global Orthodox Church - has signed a document in Istanbul, Turkey, to that effect. It formalises an October announcement.

The move has provoked a furious response in Russia, where the Church has broken off links, deepening a split in the worldwide Orthodox Church. Ukraine's churches have for centuries been under the authority of the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. The decision may also lead to a lasting schism in the global Orthodox movement, says the BBC's Jonah Fisher in Kiev, Ukraine.

Ukraine conflict: Russia completes Crimea security fence

January 5, 2019 (BBC Europe) Russia has finished building a high-tech security fence along annexed Crimea's border with mainland Ukraine. The fence, more than 60km (37 miles) long, is topped with barbed wire and has hundreds of sensors. Russian forces annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in March 2014 - a move condemned internationally. Crimea has a Russian-speaking majority.

Russia's FSB security agency says the fence is necessary to prevent "infiltration attempts by saboteurs". An FSB statement, quoted by Russia's RIA Novosti news agency, said the fence would also thwart smugglers trading in illegal weapons, drugs, alcohol and other contraband. The fence spans the neck of land connecting Crimea with Ukraine's Kherson region. Most of its sensors pick up vibrations from any potential intruders, the FSB said, but some are also radio-location devices. Russia has similar equipment along its northern and eastern borders.

Monday, December 31, 2018

My dear Swedish friends,

May the Year of the Pig bring you and your loved ones peace, health, happiness and prosperity! Season’s Greetings!
Gott Nytt År!
2018 New Year Tree in Poltava

Friday, December 28, 2018

Russia brought to the occupied Crimea a million of its citizens

December 28, 2018 The Russian Federation brought to the occupied Crimea since the occupation from 800 thousand to 1 million of its citizens. This was stated by the leader of the Crimean Tatar people, MP Mustafa Dzhemilev, referring to the data of the Mejlis, during a speech in the Crimean House in Kyiv. According to him, data on the population of Crimea are very carefully hidden.

"There are some sources, I will not talk about them now, which give us reason to say how much the number of people in the occupied Crimea has increased," said Dzhemilev. “We have their plans for a sharp increase in the population of Kerch, Sevastopol. To what extent are they performed? They are even overfulfilled, this is also evident,” added the leader of the Crimean Tatars. He recalled that he had previously stated that since the occupation, about 500 thousand citizens of the Russian Federation had been brought to the Crimea.
“When our compatriots came, they said that we reduced the number. According to our compatriots, there are from 800 thousand to 1 million there,” said Dzhemilev. According to him, in the Crimea, there is a very high mortality rate, which is 33% higher than the birth rate. “The highest mortality rate among the indigenous population,” said Dzhemilev. He told how the citizens of the Russian Federation are resettled to the occupied Crimea.
“First of all, these are citizens of the Russian Federation - servicemen, employees of the interior, the FSB (the Federal Security Service of Russia - ed.) who have retired, receive a certificate that gives the right to purchase housing in the amount of 16 square meters per person. The state is obliged to pay cash to purchase housing. If there is a problem with these certificates in other regions of Russia, then in Crimea these certificates are instantly provided,” explained Dzhemilev. According to him, in the Crimea, especially in Evpatoria, Sevastopol, and Simferopol, housing is being actively built, primarily for migrants from the Russian Federation.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018


December 26, 2018 (Radio Lemberg) December 25 has been celebrated as Christmas Day by Christians for centuries. Ukrainians, predominantly adherents of Eastern Orthodoxy, still observe Christmas on January 7. But Ukraine has a new, unified, independent and national Orthodox church. “Red letter days” (church holidays) will be very slowly moving from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. For now there are two Christmases in Ukraine, both observed as statutory holidays: December 25 and January 7. The Orthodox church in Ukraine had been illegally annexed by Moscow since 1686. Late in 2018, Orthodox believers in Ukraine recovered their ancient church and chose a leader from among themselves. It is called the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, and it restores the canonical authority of Constantinople and Kyiv that goes back more than a millennium.

 The man elected as primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine is Epifaniy, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine. The completion of autocephaly – having a self-chosen head – will come on 6 January 2019 in Istanbul. That’s when Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Archbishop of Constantinople, intends to give the tomos to the Ukrainian primate, Metropolitan Epifaniy. A tomos is a letter or book granting self-governing authority to a national church, in communion with the “first among equals” of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Orthodox Church of Ukraine intends to switch to the Gregorian calendar from the Julian calendar, but do it very slowly. “We will do it calmly, wisely, and carefully, because our work needs to unite, not separate,” Metropolitan Epifaniy said in an interview with Radio Liberty on December 16.