Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ukraine strongly condemns Moscow terror attacks

March 30 Kyiv (UKRINFORM) Ukraine strongly condemns the terrorist attacks that killed and injured scores of innocent people in Moscow, reads a letter of condolences of Ukraine's Foreign Minister Kostiantyn Hryshchenko sent to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. "Ukraine strongly condemns these severe and cynical terrorist attacks, which killed and injured dozens of people. Please convey our sincere condolences to the families and relatives of the victims and wishes for speedy recovery to all those who have suffered from the terrorist attacks," the telegram says. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has already delivered condolences over the Moscow subway explosions, according to the presidential press-service. In his letter to President Dmitry Medvedev, Yanukovych said that 'our country shares the pane of bereavement that hit the Russian Federation'. The Ukrainian President expressed condolences to the families of those killed and injured and the friendly Russian people. No Ukrainian citizen has been found among the Moscow blasts casualties, according to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. As UKRINFORM reported, powerful explosions rocked two subway stations in central Moscow during the Monday morning rush hour. The first explosion occurred about 8 a.m. at Lubyanka subway station, and another blast happened about 30 minutes later at Park Kultury station, on the same train line. Russian investigators combing two subway stations attacked by two female suicide bombers think Chechen rebels may have been behind the rush-hour strike killing 38 and injuring at least 102. This latest attack, it is widely thought by Russian media referring to their sources in security forces, could be retaliation for a raid last month by Russian forces in Ingushetia, Chechnya's western neighbour, in which 20 insurgents died. Officials have declared Tuesday a day of mourning for the victims.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Kyiv's police authorities have made a decision to strengthen security at subway stations

March 29 Kyiv (Ukrainian News Agency) The Main Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Kyiv has tightened security at subway stations in view of the blasts in Moscow subway, the press-service of the Main Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Kyiv told reporters. "As soon as the information about the blasts in Moscow subway has been revealed, Kyiv's police authorities have made a decision without waiting for any regulations or a Collegium meeting to strengthen security at subway stations with a big passenger flow," a spokesman for the Main Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs said. The security has also been tightened at transfer stations, he added.
As Ukrainian News reported, the Ministry of Emergencies and Affairs of Population Protection from the Consequences of Chornobyl Catastrophe of Ukraine reported about 35 people killed and about 70 wounded from terror attacks occurred in Moscow subway on Monday morning.

Dozens killed in Moscow metro blasts

March 29 Moscow (BBC) At least 38 people have been killed after two female suicide bombers blew themselves up on Moscow Metro trains in the morning rush hour, officials say. Twenty-four died in the first blast at 0756 (0356 GMT) as a train stood at the central Lubyanka station, beneath the offices of the FSB intelligence agency. About 40 minutes later, a second explosion ripped through a train at Park Kultury, leaving another 14 dead. The FSB said it was likely a group from the North Caucasus was responsible. The BBC's Richard Galpin in Moscow says no group has yet said it carried out the attacks, but past suicide bombings in the capital have been carried out by or blamed on Islamist rebels fighting for independence in Chechnya. People were yelling like hell... Within about two minutes everything was covered in smoke. In February, Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov said "the zone of military operations will be extended to the territory of Russia... the war is coming to their cities".

Putin Shows Little Interest In Azarov’s Gas Price Pitch

March 29, 2010 Moscow (The Moscow Times). Russia's interest in operating Ukraine's gas transit pipelines has declined after it took pains to promote other export routes, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said, signaling that Kiev may have a hard time convincing Moscow to lower its gas import bill. Putin made the statement Thursday night after meeting his Ukrainian counterpart, Mykola Azarov. The new Ukrainian prime minister laid out proposals for compensating Russia for a lower gas price, including an offer for Gazprom to join a planned international consortium that would run Ukrainian transit pipelines.
The European Union is wary of any friction between Moscow and Kiev in their gas trade, because 80 percent of the Russian gas it buys is transported across Ukraine. Previous disagreements between the countries have led to disruptions of substantial transit deliveries, most recently in January 2009. Some interest in the consortium plan — a reincarnation of an agreement dating back to the early 2000s — still exists, Putin said. If created, the consortium would have to invest heavily in the long-neglected pipelines, recouping the money by collecting transit fees. “If this takes shape in the course of a constructive dialogue, we, of course, are ready for this work,” Putin said. The European Union has estimated that an upgrade of Ukraine's gas pipeline grid, which is 10 years past its expected operational life, would cost 2.5 billion euros ($3.3 billion). The 13,500-kilometer pipeline network was built 40 years ago. Moscow and Kiev plan to hold the next round of talks next month, when their intergovernmental commissions will meet to discuss trade, Azarov said. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich is hoping to sign a deal revising the gas prices downward when President Dmitry Medvedev travels to Kiev in May.
“I am strongly convinced that we can find solutions even for the most difficult problems,” Azarov said after talks with Putin. In an attempt to reduce its reliance on former Soviet republics for transit of Gazprom's gas, Russia has pursued alternative routes in recent years. A separate Gazprom-led consortium is set to break ground Thursday for the construction of the Nord Stream undersea pipeline to carry its gas to Europe. Gazprom also has made considerable progress toward building another undersea gas pipeline, South Stream, later this decade.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Russia agrees to revise gas contracts signed earlier, Azarov says

KYIV, March 26 (UKRINFORM). Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, commenting his Thursday's visit to Moscow, called as very important the fact that during the talks Russia granted consent to price downward revision of the gas contracts, the Prime Minister told a briefing at the Cabinet of Ministers Friday. At the same time, Kommersant Ukraina reported referring to its sources at the Russian Gazprom, the parties failed to reach agreement on anything specific. In Moscow the Ukrainian delegation was told that the talk about gas price reduction would become possible only on condition Ukraine buys at least 52 billion cubic meters, as contracted. Serhiy Tulub, member of Verkhovna Rada's (Parliament of Ukraine) committee for the fuel and energy complex, says that Ukraine may agree to a greater volume of gas purchase if receives from Russia the right to re-export. In the 1st quarter of 2010, Ukraine bought from Gazprom about 6 billion cubic meters of gas.

St. Petersburg shipwrights to change masts on legendary British battleship

March 28, 2010 (TV-Novosti) The masts of the British light cruiser Belfast, which escorted Polar convoys during WWII, will be manufactured at the shipyard of Russian United Industrial Corporation (UIC) in St. Petersburg. The UIC press-service announced that the works will be finished within four months at the expense of the corporation, as reported by Interfax news agency. The price tag of the works has not been announced, but British media evaluates it at £250,000 to £500,000. The UIC specifically underlined that only their shipyard has the technological know-how and fabricating capacity to perform that complicated remount. The cruiser Belfast is the very last battleship that took part in Polar convoys to remain afloat. In 1971, it was moored close to the Tower Bridge on the Thames in London as an exhibit at the Imperial Museum of Military History. On December 1943, Belfast participated in the naval Battle of the North Cape, when Royal Navy ships sent to the bottom illustrated the danger of the Arctic Nazi German’s battle-cruiser Scharnhorst off Norway’s shores. UIC combines two of St. Petersburg’s leading shipbuilding facilities, North Dockyard and Baltic Works.
See video about British light cruiser Belfast at

Friday, March 26, 2010

National Bank of Ukraine has issued a coin dedicated to Pylyp Orlyk and his Constitution

NBU puts into circulation the silver coin named the 300th Anniversary of Pylyp Orlyk's Constitution. The coin is dedicated to the monument of the Ukrainian legal thought of the 18th century, the code of Pacts and Constitutions of Rights and Freedoms of the Zaporizhzhia Forces. This document became the first European Constitution in the modern understanding, (preserving in the National Archives of Sweden) it was adopted on April 5 (16), 1710, when Pylyp Orlyk was elected the Hetman of Ukraine. The constitution was confirmed by Charles XII and it also names the Swedish King as the protector of Ukraine. Between 1711 and 1714, together with Crimean Tatars and small groups of Ukrainian Cossacks, Orlyk carried out unsuccessful raids into Right-bank Ukraine. Afterwards, Pylyp Orlyk followed the Swedish king Charles XII to Sweden via Vienna and Stralsund. Orlyk with his wife Hanna Hertsyk and six children arrived in Ystad, Sweden on the New Year's day of 1716. They lived in the city of Kristianstad for some years. Orlyk and his family left Stockholm in 1720 but his widow and children received financial support from the Parliament of Sweden until 1747.

The first coin dedicated to the Ukrainian Hetman Pylyp Orlyk was issued in 2002 (see photo).

Yanukovych: it is necessary to review our notions about military threats

25 March 2010, Kyiv (UNIAN news agency). President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovych believes that Ukraine has to review possible military threats for it. According to an UNIAN correspondent, he said this today delivering a speech in Kyiv in “Ukraine” National Palace at celebrations on the occasion of the 18th anniversary of creation of the Security Service of Ukraine (the SBU). According to the words of V. Yanukovych, Ukraine has to determine ways of realization of military resistance system to any military aggression. According to persuasion of the President the new Military doctrine should be based on sufficient defense capability. The head of the state explained that in practice it means a gradual transition to professional army and development of new defense systems, first of all rocket forces and anti-aircraft defense.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Three manned BMD-2 vehicles have been successfully paradropped for the first time

BMD-2 airborne infantry fighting vehicles together with crews (commander, driver, gunner, and bow machine gunner) have been dropped on parachutes by strategic airlifter IL-76, for the first time in the history of Russian Airborne Forces during the command and stuff exercise of the 76th Airborne Division that have taken place recently in Pskov region. All vehicles were equipped with AT-4 "Spigot" wire-guided anti-tank missiles. During the paradropping a new parachute system has been tested.
You may visit these relevant links:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Two-ton Soviet made torpedo lost in the end of 1970s has been discovered in Sevastopol.

Mar 24, 2010 Kiev (EarthTime news agency) Bomb disposal technicians in a Ukrainian port city disabled a long-lost two-ton Soviet-era torpedo, officials from the Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) said Wednesday. Divers employed by a local film company discovered the weapon at the bottom of a harbour, some 20 metres off the shore of Balaclava, a port on Ukraine's Black Sea coast. MES workers raised the torpedo from a depth of approximately 14 metres, towed it out to open water, and sank it again before setting off a detonator to destroy it. Police evacuated local businesses and residences prior to the blast. No injuries were reported. Balaclava is the site of a massive Soviet-era submarine base abandoned after the end of the Cold War. The torpedo, a 533mm anti-ship weapon, was likely lost by a Soviet submarine during a training exercise, said Oleh Piskorsky, an MES spokesman. Discovery of buried or otherwise unaccounted-for military ordnance is a routine event in Ukraine, the scene of four major wars in the first half of the 20th century, and a major centre for Soviet military bases from 1945-1989. Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, particularly near the cities Balaclava and Sevastopol, saw intense fighting during World War II. MES bomb squads working in the Sevastopol region have, during the first three months of 2010, defused more than 600 discovered artillery shells, mortar rounds, bombs, and artillery rockets, Piskorsky said.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ukrainian climatologists warn that the 2010 spring flood may be one of the most severe in the past 10 years

Kyiv (UA-Reporter). According to the Hydrometeorological Center, snow stocks in some regions are more than normal now, while February will bring more snow, according to the 1+1 TV Channel. The abnormal winter in Ukraine has seen severe snowfalls being replaced with long-lasting frosts (-30).
Environmentalists warn: if more snow is added in February, and warm spring comes quickly, we may see the deadliest flood over the past years. Weather forecasters say the flood is inevitable, primarily, in the Prypiat River in the Volyn and in Ternopil region with water level already being as high as in spring streams. Weather experts are also concerned about the Dnieper bed in Kyiv as snow layer is twice as higher than in recent years. The Emergencies Ministry officials say they are actively preparing for the flood, however, there is yet no money for anti-flood measures as the state budget has not been passed so far.

First Exhibition Of Works By Ukrainian Artist In The History Of The Louvre

23 masterpieces by sculptor Johan George Pinsel from Ukraine (18 century) have been chosen for being exhibited in world-known Louvre Museum (Paris, France) by museum’s official delegation, Ukrainian Radio informed. The members of Louvre’s delegation have visited Lviv and Ternopil regions and they picked up the best sculptures of Pinsel there.The exhibition of Johan George Pinsel will be held over October-December 2011 in the Louis the Fourteenth Chapel of the Louvre Museum. It will be a first exhibition of works by Ukrainian artist in the history of the Louvre!According to the church documents, founded in Warsaw, the sculptor Johan George Pinsel lived in Western Ukraine in 1750-60th. He was a sculptor of a late rococo style and he did lots of works for local churches and public buildings in the city of Lviv, towns of Gorodok and Hodovychi (Lviv region), Monastyryska and Buchach (Ternopil region). Ones of the most famous masterpieces of Pinsel are statues which he created for Saint George’s Cathedral of Lviv: Saint George the Dragon-slayer, Saint Leo the Pope and Saint Athanasius. About 50 Pinsel’s sculptures are in West Ukrainian museums now.Many experts call Johan George Pinsel as “the most mysterious artist of a renaissance time”, ”a genius of sculpture” and “the West Ukrainian Michelangelo”. Nobody knows, when he was born and when he died, how he looked like, where he came from or was he born in Western Ukraine...

The full story is available at

Monday, March 22, 2010

Unternehmen: Wacht am Rhein. The failure of the Ardennes offensive sped up the final victory

Thursday, 18 March 2010. The newapaper "Day" #16.
The upcoming anniversary of the final victory of the allies in WWII encourages us to once again review its various stages. Back in the summer of 1941, victory seemed so distant that many thought it to be impossible. However, in winter of 1944-45 it was no longer just a shared desire but an event that was inevitably approaching. Germany had been defeated on all the fronts. However, there are no easy victories in war and the winter of that year proved it. The enemy was close to being defeated, but still dangerous. This was clear both on the Eastern and Western fronts, near Budapest and near the Ardennes Mountains. The Wehrmacht’s last large-scale offensive against the Allies in Belgium, in December, 1944, became the stuff of numerous myths and legends. Soviet propaganda was busy covering up the difficult situation in which the allies were at that time, and there was a great deal of confusion because of the German subversive actions. At the same time they stressed how helpful the Red Army’s offensive against Poland was, as if it really was of any help. They belittled Allies’ contribution to the general victory only because they wanted to hide their own problems and limitations. As usual the reality was quite different.

The whole article is available at

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Joint Russian-Indian cruise missile project a success

21 March, 2010 (RIA Novosti) India has successfully test-launched the “BrahMos” supersonic cruise missile, which was developed and produced jointly with Russia. The test took place in the Bay of Bengal off the Indian eastern coast. The missile destroyed the training target, which was designated as an enemy ship. What makes the test even more important is the use of a new vertical launcher. The launcher allows it to fire a missile in any direction and saves the time it takes to attack. According to Dr. Sivathanu Pillai, CEO of Brahmos Aerospace, upon the successful completion of the test India has become the first and currently the only country that possesses maneuverable supersonic cruise missiles in its inventory. BrahMos is the fastest cruise missile in the world. It can travel at almost three times the speed of sound and has an effective range of approximately three hundred kilometers. At present India is building three vessels that will be armed with BrahMos missiles. Another three vessels are being constructed in Russia, reports RIA Novosti. Currently there are land and ship-based versions of the missile, with an aerial version being developed. The name of the missile is an acronym created after the names of two major rivers in the countries working on the project – Brahmaputra in India, and the Moskva River in Russia.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ukraine president is purging Navy of disloyal commanders

KIEV, March 18 (Itar-Tass) -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich signed a decree dismissing Admiral Igor Tenyukh from the post of Navy commander, the presidential press service reported on Thursday.

KIEV (RIA Novosti) President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych sacked from his post as commander of Naval Forces of Ukraine (Naval Forces of Ukraine), Igor Tenyukh, who was the initiator of the information war against Russia’s naval bases in Crimea. Presidential Decree published on the site head of Ukrainian state. Tenyukh sent to the Minister of Defense. Admiral Tenyukh, appointed commander of the Naval Forces of Ukraine in 2006, was the initiator and one of the ideologists of the information war against the Russian Black Sea Fleet (BSF) in the Crimea. He ordered Ukrainian warships tried to close the entrance to the bay of Sevastopol Russia’s warships in August 2008, when Georgia has committed aggression against South Ossetia. Black Sea Fleet took part then in operation to force Georgia to peace.

KIEV, March 18 (Itar-Tass) - Ukrainian Defense Minister Mikhail Yezhel introduced the new Commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Vice-Admiral Viktor Maksimov, to senior staff of the Ukrainian national fleet on Thursday. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, who met the defense minister and the newly appointed Navy commander on Wednesday, specified the tasks set forth to the new Navy commander and Ukrainian Navy in general, the defense minister said.
Viktor Maksimov, who prior to his appointment to the post of Navy commander had been deputy Navy commander for six years, is known in the Ukrainian Navy as a man who contributed a great deal to strengthening of the naval forces, Yezhel said. The defense minister expressed confidence that Viktor Maksimov would do everything possible to enable the Ukrainian Navy occupy a worthy place both in the Ukrainian armed forces and among the world fleets.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Waffen SS veterans march in Riga

Mar 16, 2010 (The Voice of Russia) Around 1000 Latvian Waffen SS legion veterans held a march in Riga on March 16th to pay tribute to Latvian SS legionaries. Local antifascists held an alternative rally. The head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Efraim Zuroff joined the anti-Nazi rally saying that he is surprised to see people who killed thousands of Jews to be honored. The police provided security to prevent clashes. Earlier, the Riga Duma banned the march but the decision was overruled in court. Russian senator Mikhail Margelov said the SS march defies all humanity in the year of the 65th VE-Day anniversary.

Waffen SS veterans march in Riga. Photo: EPA


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New Ukrainian passenger aircraft Antonov - 158 to take off on Victory Day

Uktrainian aircraft joint stock company Motor Sich Chief Executive Officer Viacheslav Bohuslayev says the Antonov - 158 aircraft will take off on May 9, the Victory Day, he was speaking at a meeting with President Viktor Yanukovych on Monday, according to the presidential press-service.
President Yanukovych and Viacheslav Bohuslayev discussed issues related to development of aviation industry. The An-158 plane is a modernized model of the An-148 being extended by 1,700mm. It is capable of transporting 99 passengers at a distance of up to 2,500km.

Incorporating two fuselage plugs, the new variant will have a maximum take-off weight of 43,700kg (96,300lb) and a maximum payload of 9.8t. Its cruise speed will be 800-870km/h and it will be able to fly at 40,000ft (12,200m).


Unique exhibition in Poltava

A various neck and breast adornments have enjoyed wide popularity among Ukrainian women since long ago. A complex breast adornment consisted of a few components harmonically connected with each other always ranked high. To create neck and breast adornments goldsmiths used different beads, coins, crosses, and small icons.
Beads, the most popular component of a women’s breast adornment, are widely-spread over the whole Ukraine. They differ from one another by material, color, shape, and way to wear. A bead made of coral, amber, smalt, and transparent glass always ranked high. Coral beads were widely spread in Ukraine, although weren’t affordable for poor people.
Sometimes a neck adornment made of coral cost more than the whole country house or even the whole farm. A family jewelry in the countryside has been accumulating through the generations. Honored with three hundred years old fashion, these beads, and crosses have been inherited from one generation to another.
In 1940s all such countryside adornments have started to go out of fashion but nevertheless been kept by villagers for many decades, especially those made of corals. Nowadays old women’s adornments are booming again. This time they are becoming widespread as important attribute of the modern stylish clothes. Some of them were shown to the public in Poltava on March 16, 2010.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ukraine does not face default, Finance Minister Fyodor Yaroshenko said

KIEV, March 13 (Itar-Tass) - Ukraine does not face default, Finance Minister Fyodor Yaroshenko said.
Speaking at a news briefing on Saturday, Yaroshenko said the previous government concealed that the state’s “financial system is on the brink of collapse”.
The minister spoke about the deficit of funding on the united treasury account under the premiership of Yulia Timoshenko. “The total scarcity of funds of the Pension Fund exceeded 25 billion grivnas (over three billion U.S. dollars). Only credits may save the country. And the government took credit by ignoring to understand what resources can help to pay credits,” Yaroshenko noted.
The minister informed on the work on a programme to stabilise the financial situation. “We have big experience during crises. All problems will be solved properly,” he added.
The Finance Ministry has pledged to pay pensions and wages in time. “We do not allow any breakdown in the state’s financial system. It is the matter of honour,” Yaroshenko stressed.
The minister added that the 2010 draft budget would be submitted to the parliament in April. “The draft budget will be submitted in due date – the beginning of April,” he said.
The government dismissed the leadership of the Pension Fund and the State Treasury.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mikhail Gorbachov: Perestroika Lost

Here are just a few quotations from the article written by Mikhail Gorbachev. It was translated and published in New York Times on March 13, 2010.

...PERESTROIKA, the series of political and economic reforms I undertook in the Soviet Union in 1985, has been the subject of heated debate ever since. Today the controversy has taken on a new urgency — not just because of the 25th anniversary, but also because Russia is again facing the challenge of change. In moments like this, it is appropriate and necessary to look back...

...all major decisions are now taken by the executive branch, with the Parliament rubber-stamping formal approval. The independence of the courts has been thrown into question. We do not have a party system that would enable a real majority to win while also taking the minority opinion into account and allowing an active opposition. There is a growing feeling that the government is afraid of civil society and would like to control everything...

The whole article is available at

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New missile launcher to star in upcoming Victory Day parade

March 13, 2010 (TV-Novosti) Moscow. Scores of various war machines, including the most modern Topol-M missile units, have gathered near Moscow. This is no war, but nearly a recital of one of the big parades which is scheduled to be on Red Square on May 9, marking 65 years since the end of the Great Patriotic war between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The importance of the date will be marked by a grand show this year. Apart from range of weaponry on the ground there will be 140 helicopters and planes flying over Moscow this spring. Special guests are planned as well, including 950 war veterans who actually fought against Nazi troops, and also representatives from the member states of the anti-Hitler coalition, including a military band from the US. Military parades became quite a tradition during Soviet times. One of the most remarkable was probably back in 1941, when the war started. As the troops paraded through Red Square on that day, they proceeded directly into battle.
This year, authorities are planning to use both the old and brand-new machines that Russia currently possesses, including the brand- new Topol-M mobile ballistic missile launch system. It is the most advanced and modern weapon of its kind; a huge machine which weighs about 50 tonnes, and is armed with a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead.
It is planned that this machine is to be the foundation of Russia’s strategic armed forces. It is the first such machine developed in Russia since the collapse of the USSR. This machine is going to be probably the most impressive one at the upcoming parade.
Topol-M mobile ballistic missile launch system.
See video about a rehearsal of the parade at
Learn more about Topol-M mobile ballistic missile launch system at

Friday, March 12, 2010

NATO military exercises planned as Baltic States hit panic button

The military alliance has announced, it plans to carry out a series of air force exercises over Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia from March 17-20 2010. The exercises will represent "the most recent demonstration of NATO solidarity and commitment to its member countries in the Baltic region”, says Thomas Dillschneider, spokesman for the Allied Air Headquarters in Ramstein, Germany. The training mission will involve French Mirage, Polish F-16 fighters, Lithuanian L-39 Albatross aircraft, as well as U.S. aerial tankers. The announcement comes shortly after the news that NATO-member France is in “exclusive talks” to sell Russia up to four warships. The French 20,000-ton Mistral-class command and control helicopter carriers will significantly enhance Russia’s naval ability to project power over greater distances. The deal, estimated at about $2.2 billion, is the first military sale to Russia by a NATO country. However, NATO has denied there is any link between the Russia-France arms deal and the planned exercises: “There is no relationship between our training event and the potential Mistral deal,” said Dillschneider. News of Moscow’s intent to buy the French warships have put the Baltic states on alert over Russia’s escalating military power, as Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania still see Russia as a threat to their national security. France, however, argues that Russia must be treated as a partner, and not as an enemy, calling on the allies to “turn the page” of the cold war.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Russia transfers 150 millions rubles to Ukraine for An-70 flight testing program

The Russian Defense Ministry has transferred 150 million rubles to Kyiv-based Antonov Design Bureau for a state flight testing program for the Antonov An-70 military airlifter.
Russia send the financing on December 21 in compliance with a protocol signed in August 2009, which amends the 1993 Russian-Ukrainian intergovernmental agreement on further cooperation in the development, joint commercial production and commissioning of the An-70 tactical military-transport aircraft and An-70T airlifter, program director Mykola Vorobyov told Interfax-Ukraine on Tuesday. Besides, Russia plans to make 500 million rubles available under a state defense order in 2010 to the An-70 project, he also said. It plans to spend on the project a total of 2.4 billion rubles within next three years. Ukraine's state funding for the An-70 program this year was set at UAH 170 million from the country's stabilization fund. Only UAH 30 million have been disbursed so far, Vorobyov said.
As reported, Ukraine and Russia signed a protocol in August 2009, which amends the Russian-Ukrainian intergovernmental agreement on further cooperation in the development, joint commercial production and commissioning of the An-70 tactical military-transport aircraft and An-70T airlifter, powered with D-27 engines, which was signed on June 24, 1993. The protocol says that Russia and Ukraine will continue to develop and test the short take-off and landing An-70 military transport plane and its various models, including those for civil aviation, which are powered with D-27 engines. The parties pledged to provide budgetary funding for joint experimental and design work to develop An-70 planes, D-27 engines, avionics systems and materials.

The Antonov An-70 aircraft is a medium, four-engine tactical military transport aircraft designed to replace the An-12 in service within Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Air Forces and several countries all over the world. This airplane stands out by its short take off and landing characteristics as well as its ability to operate from unprepared runaways. This translates into the capability of operating from 600-700 meters of unpaved strips carrying up to 20 tons of cargo. The An-70 is able to carry military items weighing 35 to 47 tons at ranges of 3,000 to 5,100 km while cruising at 700 to 750 km/h. In addition to the cargo aircraft role, the An-70 is capable of air dropping paratroopers, vehicles or cargo weighing up to 21 tons at low or high altitude in support of military operations. The aircraft can accommodate a maximum of 300 troops and can cruise distances of up to 8,000 kilometers. It has been designed to operate from prepared runways of 1,800 meters long but taking its short take off and landing characteristics into account it can be servicing from 700 meters of unpaved strips.

An-70 Video

Russian-Swedish talks in Moscow

Prime Minister of Sweden Fredrik Reinfeldt arrived in Moscow on March 9 to meet with President Dmitriy Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. They discussed the terms of Swedish companies’ activities in Russia. Mr. Reinfeldt comes with a package of projects on cooperation in energy, space exploration, health and social security. For the Swedish Prime Minister, it is the first visit to Russia. He was invited by President Medvedev when they met at the Russia-EU summit in Stockholm last November.
Relations between two countries have been clouded by the war conflict between Russia and Georgia that took place in August 2008.
Russia and Sweden are to will sign a number of agreements on the interaction between the countries' general prosecution offices, ITAR-TASS news agency reported. Some of them could be regarded as a step toward the visa-free regime between two countries to be achieved in the near future.
One of the sharpest problems that complicate a development of the fruitful relationships between Kingdom of Sweden and Russian Federation are violation of the human rights in Chechnya and Caucasian terrorists that have taken a refuge in Sweden recently.
Another important issue to discuss is connected with the fact that between 1991 and 1994 Russia dumped some chemical weapons and radioactive waste off the shores of Gotland.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

“We had nothing comparable.” —Friedrich von Mellenthin (Panzer Battles)

The T-34 was a Soviet medium tank produced from 1940 to 1958. Although its armour and armament were surpassed by later tanks of the era, it has been often credited as the most effective, efficient and influential design of World War II. First produced in Kharkov (Kharkiv, Ukraine), it was the mainstay of Soviet armoured forces throughout World War II, and widely exported afterwards. It was the most-produced tank of the war, and the second most-produced tank of all time, after its successor, the T-54/55 series (Harrison 2002). In 1996, the T-34 was still in service in at least twenty-seven countries.
As many as 84,070 T-34s are estimated to have been built, plus 13,170 self-propelled guns built on the T-34's chassis. Some of these ended up in various Cold War conflicts around the world.
Due to the large number produced, there are hundreds of surviving T-34s. Examples of this tank are in the collections of most significant military museums, and hundreds more serve as war memorials mostly in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. One of them shown in the pictures is preserving in Kharkiv.
Learn more about T-34 at
See video about T-34 “Top Ten Tanks- # 1: The T-34” at

Monday, March 8, 2010

Kremlin - News Conference following Russian-Ukrainian Talks

Here is a quotation from the article dedicated to the press conference of the President of Ukraine Mr Yanukovych and the President of the Russian Federation Mr Medvedev that took place on March 6, 2010 in Moscow.
QUESTION: My first question is for the President of Ukraine. Mr Yanukovych, everybody noticed (including in Russia), that your first trip as President was to Brussels. Where is Russia in relation to Ukraine’s foreign policy priorities: first or second? As for NATO, we know that in Ukraine people have already been collecting signatures for a referendum on joining the organisation. What about this referendum – will it take place? Of course, we are all interested in your fundamental position on the Black Sea Fleet. Your predecessor flatly refused to admit that the fleet could remain where it is after 2017. What do you think? I want to ask Russia's President a question as well: will the Ukraine’s pro-European foreign policy adversely affect the development of Russian-Ukrainian relations?
DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Can I give a quick answer to that one? It won’t.
VIKTOR YANUKOVYCH: I went to Brussels because I was invited there for March 1, and to Russia on March 5. There was no opportunity to do it differently. I can tell you that Mr Medvedev is empathetic both as a man and as president; the first few days as president of any country are always difficult in terms of where to go, etc. So I am gaining experience. But as we used to say, all roads lead to Moscow and I came here on March 5. With regard to NATO. I have answered this question many times: as a European non-bloc-member country Ukraine will develop its relations with NATO in accordance with its national interests. And it will always be this way.
The whole article is available at:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Armoured Monsters of the World War I

The British Mark I was a tracked vehicle developed by William Tritton, an expert in agricultural machinery, and Major Walter Gordon Wilson for the British Army during World War I. It was the world's first combat tank, entered service in August 1916, and first used in action on the morning of 15 September 1916. Born of the need to break the domination of trenches and machine guns over the battlefields of the Western Front, it was the first vehicle to be named "tank", as an expedient to maintain secrecy and to disguise its true purpose. It was developed to be able to cross trenches, resist small-arms fire, travel over difficult terrain, carry supplies, and be able to capture fortified enemy positions. It is regarded as successful in many respects, but suffered from many problems due to its primitive nature.
The majority of survived Mark V are in Russia or Ukraine. Mostly they were sent there to aid the White forces during the Russian Civil War. On the photo taken last summer you can see one of them displaying at the Kharkiv’s central square. Another pictures were taken in Lugansk and Arkhangelsk (Russian Federation).
Learn more about these armoured monsters at

Friday, March 5, 2010

Russia - Ukraine relationship: hope for improvement?

05/03/2010 (The Moscow News) Ukraine's new President Viktor Yanukovych met Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev during his first official visit to Moscow. Medvedev is hoping for the end of the "black stripe" in relations between Russia and Ukraine.
During the visit, Yanukovych met Medvedev to discuss the relationship between the two countries and the stay of the Black Sea Fleet in the Crimean port of Sevastopol. At the press conference after the meeting Yanukovych and Medvedev vowed to improve ties and said that a Russian-Ukrainian inter-state commission would be formed as a "key element in the cooperation". The first meetings of the commission headed by the presidents will take place in the first half of the year in Kiev. Medvedev said that there were no problems in the relationship between Russia and Ukraine and it was important that steps were taken towards mending cooperation in economic, political and security areas, as well as relationship with Europe. Russian president also said that Ukraine is Russia's strategic partner in the CIS and that Russia is ready to support its interests "on different international forums, including G8, G20 and international financial organizations."
The presidents also told the press that the talks about the Black Sea Fleet would continue on the base of the working agreements reached in 1997. The current agreement on basing the Russian Navy in Crimea runs out in 2017. Medvedev and Yanukovych did not discuss gas prices, as many experts anticipated them to. Yanukovych had previously expressed intentions to press Russia for a discount. Ukraine currently pays $305 for a thousand cubic meters, which is almost twice as much as Belarus - $168. Yanukovych called the improvement of ties with Russia one of his priorities during his election campaign. He has promised to make Russian an official language, at least in some regions, to discuss the prolongation of the Black Sea Fleet stay in Crimea and refrain from joining NATO. However, Yanukovych might not be as undeniably pro-Russian, as he is sometimes made out to be. He intends to enter a customs union with the EU, which prevents him from joining the union formed by Russia with Belarus and Kazakhstan. Yanukovych refused to acknowledge the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia that Russia keeps lobbying for, saying that this issue should be discussed in the UN together with Kosovo's independence. During his electoral campaign he said he aimed at renewing of friendly relations with Russia and developing of partnerships with other countries and organizations, including strategic partnership with the USA and IMF.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ukrainian Prime Minister is dismissed

Mar 3 2010 (UNIAN) The Verkhovna Rada (Parliament of Ukraine) of Ukraine supported a resolution on vote of no confidence to the government of Yulia Tymoshenko. According to an UNIAN correspondent, 243 out of 286 lawmakers registered in the session hall supported this decision. 10 lawmakers voted “against” this decision.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

President Yanukovych: Ukraine reviewing honoring of Bandera

March 1, 2010 (Interfax-Ukraine) Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Monday said its administration is considering withdrawing the title of Hero of Ukraine to controversial World War II figure, Stepan Bandera, who was given the honor posthumously by former President Viktor Yuschenko. "We did raise this issue. This issue is under consideration in Ukraine, both at political level and at the level of Ukrainian legislation, that is in judicial affairs. We will give our response to this issue very soon," Yanukovych told reporters in Brussels after meeting with European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek. Yanukovych said Yuschenko's decree of January 22 to confer the Hero of Ukraine title on Bandera, who was a right-wing nationalist guerrilla leader in the 1930s and 1940s, had "caused a great stir" in Ukraine and neighboring countries. Polish President Lech Kaczynski condemned the decree and denounced the conferment of the status of liberation fighters on militants from the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and its military arm, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). Protests against the decision were also held in Russia.

Monday, March 1, 2010

President Yanukovych leaves for Brussels

KYIV, March 1 (UKRINFORM). President Viktor Yanukovych has left on his first official visit to Brussels. The Ukrainian President is scheduled to meet EU officials in Brussels. Thus, he will hold talks with EU President Herman van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, High Representative of the European Union for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Catherine Ashton. The official delegation comprises Foreign Minister Petro Poroshenko, chief of the Presidential Administration Serhiy Liovochkin and his deputy Hanna Herman.

Ukraine wins no medals during Winter Olympic games in Vancouver

February 28 22:59 (Ukrainian News) The Ukrainian national team has completed its performance in the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, without any medals. Ahead of the start of the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver the Ministry for Affairs of Family, Youth Policy, and Sport expected Ukrainians to win medals in figure skating, freestyle, tobogganing, and skiing. The best achievement of Ukrainian athletes during the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver became the fifth place in biathlon from Andrii Deryzemlia. As for Ukrainian women, the best result was the sixth place in the biathlon relay race. The best achievement in figure skating was the eighth place of Tetiana Volosozhar and Stanislav Morozov. In the cross country race the best result belongs to Valentyna Shevchenko - the ninth place in the ten-kilometer race. As for the freestyle, both Ukrainian men and women failed to pass through the qualification round. In tobogganing, Natalia Yakushenko took the 11th place and Lilia Ludan took the 19th place. Other kinds of winter sport did not give Ukraine any pleasant surprises.