Friday, December 9, 2016

U.S. Congress boosts security assistance to Ukraine to US$350 million

December 9, 2016 (UNIAN) The U.S. Congress has passed the consolidated National Defense Authorizations Act, 2017, boosting U.S. security assistance to Ukraine to US$ 350 million, according to a posting on the Facebook page of Ukraine's Embassy in the United States. "U.S. Senate has finalized consideration and following the House passed the consolidated National Defense Authorizations Act, 2017," the posting said. "According to the bill, from amounts authorized to be provided for security assistance to Ukraine, including lethal assistance, up to $350 million shall be available for fiscal year 2017, a $50 million increase from $300 million authorized in NDAA, 2016," it said. "The document is now headed for signing by the U.S. President," the posting said. "We appreciate the bicameral and bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress for Ukraine in our fight against the ongoing Russian aggression," the Ukrainian Embassy said.
Ukraine security assistance and intelligence support has been expanded to include equipment and technical assistance to the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine for the purpose of developing a comprehensive border surveillance network for Ukraine, as well as training for staff officers and senior leadership of the military.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Ukraine celebrating Day of Armed Forces

December 6, 2016 (UNIAN) Today the country is celebrating the Day of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. On this day, back in 1991, the Law of Ukraine “On the Armed Forces of Ukraine” was adopted. The Day of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was established with a resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in 1993. Ukraine’s top officials have greeted the Ukrainian troops on the occasion. President Petro Poroshenko has congratulated the soldiers with the 25 anniversary of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. "I thank everyone who protects Ukraine!" he wrote. 

Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov said that the Armed Forces Day is a holiday of all Ukrainians who are proud of their defenders. "You chose a difficult profession – a dangerous and most respected one. Thanks to your courage and professionalism, the Ukrainian army has become one of the most efficient ones in Europe. The job of a defender of the motherland has become one of the most prestigious ones in our country. Every third citizen trusts our Armed Forces. Brave and strong, you are the real descendants of the Zaporizhia Cossacks," he said, stressing that people will always remember the men who have died for their homeland.

Monday, December 5, 2016

TV tower construction started in Kherson region to broadcast Ukrainian channels to Crimean peninsula

December 5, 2016 (Interfax-Ukraine) The construction of 150 meter high telecommunications tower was started near the Chonhar checkpoint in the Kherson region on Friday for broadcasting Ukrainian channels to the Crimean peninsula occupied by Russia.

"We have already appealed to the Ukrainian State Centre of Radio Frequencies for their conclusions in order to give start to at least four channels from this digital broadcasting television tower. That is, the calculations of digital frequency were ordered in order to provide digital broadcasting in the region and on the territory of Crimea. We expect that there will be a local multiplex for at least four channels," a member of the National Council on television and radio broadcasting Serhiyy Kostynsky said. According to Kostynsky, the cost of the television tower is UAH one million and its construction costs UAH 500,000. It is planned that at least four Ukrainian TV channels in a digital format will be broadcast on the territory of Kherson region and Crimea. The random choice of TV stations for broadcasting will be determined on a competitive basis.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Chornobyl’s giant New Safe Confinement has taken its place

December 2, 2016 Chornobyl’s giant New Safe Confinement (NSC) was moved over a distance of 327 metres from its assembly point to its final resting place, completely enclosing aprevious makeshift shelter that was hastily assembled immediately after the 1986 accident.
The Chornobyl arch is the largest moveable land-based structure ever built, with a span of 257 metres, a length of 162 metres, a height of 108 metres and a total weight of 36,000 tonnes equipped. It will make the accident site safe and with a lifetime of 100 years allow for the eventual dismantling of the ageing makeshift shelter from 1986 and the management of the radioactive waste.

The structure was built by Novarka, a consortium of the French construction firms VINCI Construction and Bouygues Construction. Works started in 2010. With a cost of €1.5 billion the giant structure is the most prominent element of the Shelter Implementation Plan for Chornobyl, which involved more than 300 projects and activities. The €2.1 billion programme is financed by the Chornobyl Shelter Fund. The EBRD manages the Fund and is the largest contributor to the New Safe Confinement project.

Russia deploys warships near Crimea as Ukraine fires missiles in air defence drill

December 1, 2016 (The Telegraph) Russia has put air defence units on alert and deployed warships along the west coast of Crimea after the Ukrainian military fired surface to air missiles over the Black Sea in a show of strength military that has riled the Kremlin.

Ukraine launched 16 anti aircraft missiles on Thursday. Credit: Ukrainian Ministry of Defence.

The Ukrainian military fired 16 surface to air missiles in  drills in its Kherson region, which borders Crimea, as it kicked off a two-day military drill on Thursday. The Russian government, which annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, has called the drills a “dangerous precedent” and initially threatened to shoot down the missile.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The living exhibit of the Poltava Battle Museum

November 30, 2016 This likable and fluffy cat by nickname Vaska (full name is Vasiliy) could be regarded as a warden of the Poltava Battle Museum. Besides he strikes terror into a few mice that haven’t caught yet in the building of the museum that is about 100 years old. As you can see, even such a fierce weapon from the times of the Great Northern war like this bronze three-pound gun doesn’t make any impression on him. He even allows to pat him but that can't be guaranteed. As about me, he vouchsafed to let me take a pictire of him sitting on the top of the gun.
Today we celebrate the International Domestic Animal's Day, so I am delighted to congratulate Mr. Vasiliy on this holiday and wish all the best to him and to the museum he takes care.

Norway welcomes US Marines amid Russian tensions

November 30, 2016 Washington (CNN) US Marines are coming to Norway -- a move that could send a chill down Russian President Vladimir Putin's spine.
Beginning in January 2016, a limited rotational force of approximately 330 Marines will be located in Vaernes, Norway, according to a statement to CNN from the Norwegian Defense Ministry.
"The US initiative to augment their training and exercises in Norway by locating a Marine Corps Rotational Force in Norway is highly welcome and will have positive implications for our already strong bilateral relationship," Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said in a statement.
"We enjoy a very close relationship with the Norwegian Armed Forces and a limited rotational presence in Norway would certainly enhance this relationship and our ability to operate together," Maj. Gen. Niel E. Nelson, commander of US Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa, said in a statement last week to CNN while the request was being considered by Norway.
The statement noted that a Marine presence in Norway -- which shares a 122-mile border with Russia -- "will increase NATO's ability to rapidly aggregate and employ forces in northern Europe."

US Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicles before a public demonstration in the Trondheim Fjord in Norway in January.

Tensions about Russia's posture in Europe have increased following the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, following Putin's intervention in eastern Ukraine.The US and its NATO allies have since increased their presence, as well as assistance to Poland and the countries on the Baltic Sea. Earlier this year, members of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade trained in Norway alongside troops from other NATO countries in Exercise Cold.