Monday, January 16, 2017

On final Ukraine trip, Biden urges Trump administration to keep Russia sanctions

January 16, 2017 (Theguardian) Vice-president Joe Biden, on a last foreign trip before leaving office, met Ukraine’s president on Monday and called on the incoming Donald Trump administration to retain Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia.
Biden’s comments at a briefing with President Petro Poroshenko came after Trump indicated in an interview with The Times and Bild that he could end sanctions imposed in the aftermath Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal.
Trump’s attitude to Russia and praise for President Vladimir Putin has been a consistently controversial feature of his rise to the White House, which will be completed with his inauguration in Washington on Friday.
US intelligence agencies believe Russia sought to covertly influence the US election in Trump’s favour and against the Democratic nominee, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. Trump has recently admitted that he believes Russia did orchestrate such hacks, but has nonetheless fuelled a bitter feud with intelligence officials over the issue.
Vice-president Joe Biden met with Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko on his last foreign trip before leaving office. Photograph: TASS / Barcroft Images
“The international community must continue to stand as one against Russian coercion and aggression,” Biden told reporters, standing alongside Poroshenko, in remarks which did not include reference to Trump by name. “The Crimea-related sanctions against Russia must remain in place until Russia returns full control to the people of Ukraine.” Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Other US sanctions are connected to Russia’s involvement in the separatist war in eastern Ukraine.  “Together with our EU and G7 partners,” Biden said, “we made it clear that sanctions should remain in place until Russia fully, emphasise fully, implements its commitments under the Minsk agreement.” Poroshenko said Ukraine believed in good cooperation with the new US administration and urged sanctions to stay, without mentioning Trump’s remarks on a deal with Russia. The full article is available at:

Friday, January 13, 2017

U.S. Vice President Biden to make swansong visit to Ukraine

January 12, 2017 (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will fly to Kiev on Sunday on a farewell visit by one of Ukraine's strongest political supporters, as the country looks forward with apprehension to the new administration of Donald Trump.
Biden, whose visit was announced by the office of President Petro Poroshenko, has been the front man for U.S. policy towards Ukraine since street protests in 2013-2014 forced a Russian-backed leader to flee and the pro-Western opposition took over, promising sweeping reforms whose delivery has been patchy.
The United States has invested heavily in the reform process, providing over $3 billion in economic assistance. It has imposed sanctions against Russia for annexing Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and backing separatists in a conflict in the east of the country.
Biden has been closely involved, visiting Ukraine four times since the change in power and maintaining regular telephone contact with Poroshenko and the prime minister.
Officials in Ukraine have expressed concern that U.S. support could wane following the Jan. 20 inauguration of Trump, who has voiced admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and a desire to improve ties with Moscow.
Biden, who last year promised the "unwavering support" of the United States for Ukraine, has nevertheless chastised officials for lacklustre reform efforts, warning that endemic corruption risks undermining international will to maintain sanctions on Russia.

During Biden's last visit to Kiev in December 2015, he made an impassioned speech to the Ukrainian parliament, saying lawmakers needed to do more in "a historic battle against corruption." 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

US tanks arrive in Germany to help Nato defences

January 10, 2017 (BBC Europe) The largest shipment of US brigades since the fall of the Soviet Union is arriving in northern Germany. The first of the 87 tanks and 144 military vehicles were being unloaded in the port of Bremerhaven on Friday. The equipment and 3,500 US troops are to be deployed along Nato's eastern frontier. The deployment aims to allay worries of potential Russian aggression in eastern Europe. However, some fear the large number will exacerbate tensions with Moscow. Leaders of the left-wing regional government of Brandenburg - one of the German states through which the American brigades will be transported over the next two weeks - have called for further talks with Russia.
The tanks began arriving in Bremerhaven, northern Germany, on Friday. Pictured: Major General Timothy McGuire
The arrival of the equipment and troops marks the start of a new phase of the US's Operation Atlantic Resolve, which foresees the continuous presence of an American armoured brigade combat team in Europe on a nine-month rotational basis. The new forces will gather first in Poland, then fan out across seven countries from Estonia to Bulgaria, while a headquarters unit will be stationed in Germany.
                                                                            The vehicles will be joined by 3,500 troops

Other Nato members are also increasing their presence in eastern Europe, with Britain sending fighter jets to the Black Sea area, while a battalion of troops, tanks and light armour will deploy to Estonia in the spring, backed by French and Danish troops. Germany also plans to send troops and tanks to Lithuania.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Government of Ukraine has approved development of DNIPRO a new air defense missile system

January 9, 2017 (armyrecognition.com) In 2016, the Ukrainian government has approved a new program for the development of new air defense system including a new medium-range missile under the name of "Dnipro". This new air defense system will be able to detect aircraft up to a range of 150 km. This new Ukrainian air defense system will enhanced the capacity of Ukrainian armed forces to protect its airspace. This new surface-to-air missile will have the capacity to destroy aircraft but also all types of helicopters, drones and cruise missiles at medium and short distances.

New mobile launcher station of Dnipro surface-to-air missile
The new air defense system DNIPRO has all-weather capability during day and night. The system provides a detection range of more than 150 km and coverage to an altitude up to 7,000m. It can destroy aerial targets from a distance of 15 m to 25 km. The system can be deployed and prepared for firing in less than four minutes. The surveillance control centre includes a surveillance radar used phased-array antenna technology which creates a beam of radio waves which can be electronically steered to point in different directions, without moving the antennas. The radar is mounted on a 6x6 military truck chassis. According a drawing released on an Ukrainian internet website, the mobile launch unit will be fitted with four missile silos ready to fire mounted to the back of a trailer. The missile control center is linked by cable or by radio data communications to the surveillance control centre to coordinate all information about the target. The DNIPRO air defense missile system can simultaneously engage up to 6 air targets with 12 missiles.

Friday, January 6, 2017

McCain will hold Senate hearings on the issue of cyber attacks from Russia

January 6, 2017 (UKRINFORM) The head of the Senate Committee of U.S. armed forces John McCain announced the holding of hearings on the cyber threats from the Russian Federation.
In the first days of the new, the 115th session of the U.S. Congress, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on armed forces John McCain will hold a hearing with the participation of top executives of American intelligence, who will relate mainly to the cyber threat from Russia. This was reported by the influential us publication Politico.
The Chairman of the Committee on armed services of the Senate John McCain has appointed Thursday the hearing on cyber threats, where the focus is the problem of hacking on the part of Russia in an election year”, – quotes the edition a source informed with the planning of the work of the Senate Committee.

The head of the Senate Committee of U.S. armed forces John McCain 

It was envisaged that the hearings will be held with the participation of the Director of national intelligence James Klepper, the commander of the NSA Admiral Michael Rogers and Deputy Secretary of defense for intelligence Marcel Lettre. About these days to be held the intelligence briefing to the President-elect of the USA Donald trump on the same issues, drew attention to the publication.

The Obama administration this week expanded sanctions against Russia in response to interference in the electronic system of political institutions of the United States during the election. In addition, the U.S. government declared persona non grata 35 Russian diplomats and stopped the work of two institutions located in the diplomatic property of Russia in the United States.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Ukroboronservice, a part of the Ukroboronprom State Concern intends to produce M16 assault rifle s under NATO standards in Ukraine in cooperation with U.S. Aeroscraft

January 5, 2016 As reported by the press service of the Ukroboronprom*, such arrangements came out from the Memorandum on Cooperation between the two companies. "M16 automatic assault rifle type will be the first firearm manufactured in Ukraine as part of the pilot project. Production of weapons meeting NATO standards is an important part of the development and reform of Ukraine's defense industry," Ukroboronservice Chief Executive Officer Serhii Mykytiuk said.
In 1964, the select-fire rifle M16 entered American military service and the following year was deployed for jungle warfare operations during the Vietnam War. In 1969, the M16A1 replaced the M14 rifle to become the U.S. military's standard service rifle. The M16A1 improvements include a bolt-assist, chrome plated bore and a new 30-round magazine. In 1983, the USMC adopted the M16A2 rifle and the U.S. Army adopted it in 1986. The M16A2 fires the improved 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge and has a new adjustable rear sight, case deflector, heavy barrel, improved handguard, pistol grip and buttstock, as well as a semi-auto and three-round burst only fire selector. Adopted in 1998, the M16A4 is the fourth generation of the M16 series. It is equipped with a removable carrying handle and Picatinny rail for mounting optics and other ancillary devices. The M16 has also been widely adopted by other militaries around the world. Total worldwide production of M16s has been approximately 8 million, making it the most-produced firearm of its 5.56 mm caliber. The U.S. Army has largely replaced the M16 in combat units with the shorter and lighter M4 carbine, and the U.S. Marine Corps approved a similar change in October 2015.

From top to bottom: M16A1, M16A2, M4A1, M16A4
"I have never encountered the decision to grant a license for the production of weapons abroad was provided by the U.S. government so fast. It took us only three weeks to obtain a license and we are already setting up production of NATO weapons in Ukraine," Aeroscraft founder Igor Pasternak said.
The Memorandum on production was formally signed by both parties on Jan. 3. Ukraine has formally launched NATO weapons production on this day. Taking into account the needs of the Ukrainian army, both standard NATO ammunition and the one available at Ukrainian arms depots will be used in various modifications of the produced rifles that will also be marked under NATO standards.


*Ukroboronprom is an association of multi-product enterprises in various sectors of the defense industry of Ukraine. The concern includes enterprises, which operate in the development, manufacture, sale, repair, modernization and disposal of weapons, military and special equipment and ammunition, and participating in military-technical cooperation with foreign states.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

January 3, 2017 (thedailybeast.com) Senator John McCain met with Ukrainian soldiers in the war-torn east of the country on Saturday, December. 31st along with senators Lindsay Graham and Amy Klobuchar. McCain, who has been outspoken in his criticism of both Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in recent weeks, met with troops in the Ukrainian village of Shyrokyne, one of the towns worst hit by the ongoing conflict with Russia. 

I saw that the cooperation between our countries is essential to ensuring the security of the borders of Ukraine. In 2017, we will defeat the invaders and send them back to where they came from. And I would like to tell Putin that he will never be able to deprive Ukrainians of freedom and independence,” McCain was cited as saying in the Ukrainian press. “Your struggle is our struggle,” he told Ukrainian troops. McCain’s words of support come as many Ukrainians fear Trump will shift all loyalty to Russia and drastically reduce aid to Ukraine, something his team already reportedly signaled it was preparing to do. Both McCain and Graham have pushed for harsher sanctions against Russia in recent days, even as Trump praises Putin for being “very smart.”