Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ukraine through the eyes of BBC correspondents

7 December 2013 Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych has held unscheduled talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on a strategic partnership treaty. Thousands of protesters continue to block government buildings and occupy the main square in the capital, Kiev. They are angry at the government's decision to reject an association agreement with the European Union in favour of closer ties with Russia.

 8 December 2013 Protesters in the Ukrainian capital have toppled a statue of Lenin, as demonstrations against President Viktor Yanukovich's government continue. A crowd estimated to be hundreds of thousands strong gathered in central Kiev for a third weekend of protests against Mr Yanukovich's decision to reject a pro-EU association pact.

11 December 2013 The Russian Federation Council's Mikhail Margelov has told BBC HARDtalk Russia's economic relationship with Ukraine is "pragmatic." Asked about reports of Russian officials placing heavy pressure on Ukraine not to sign a trade deal with the European Union, Senator Margelov said they were only trying to point out how "interdependent" Ukraine's economy is with those of other former Soviet countries - and that they could help Ukraine overcome its economic problems. Since late November, thousands of pro-EU Ukrainians have been protesting in Kiev over the government's decision not to sign the partnership deal with the EU and calling for the president and government to resign.

11 December 2013 Police in Ukraine have abandoned attempts to clear anti-government protesters from the capital Kiev. Violence erupted at the occupied city hall hours after riot police tried to clear nearby Independence Square. Now the protesters have reinforced the barricades and refused to move.

12 December 2013 The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, says the president of Ukraine "intends to sign" a trade and cooperation agreement with the EU, after all. President Viktor Yanukovych rejected the deal last month, prompting mass protests. Demonstrators are still occupying Independence Square in the capital, Kiev. But Catherine Ashton told reporters Mr Yanukovych was now committed to signing up to the EU deal.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ukraine has suspended preparations for a trade deal with the EU.

A government statement said the decision had been taken to protect Ukraine's "national security". Hours earlier MPs rejected a bill that would have allowed jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko to leave the country - which the EU had demanded as a condition for the deal to proceed. Ukraine had come under intense pressure from Russia not to sign the historic EU deal at a summit next week. The Ukrainian government said on Thursday that it was instead looking into setting up a joint commission to promote ties between Ukraine, Russia and the European Union. Russian officials said they welcomed any Ukrainian moves to foster closer relations. Russia wants Ukraine to join its own customs union with Kazakhstan and Belarus, which it sees as a prototype rival to the European Union.
The EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called the decision a "disappointment". "We believe that the future for Ukraine lies in a strong relationship with the EU," she said in a statement. Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych was later quoted by AFP as saying Ukraine "will work further on this path... to EU integration" - although it is not clear how this will now be achieved. Stefan Fuele, European commissioner for enlargement, cancelled a trip to Kiev after news of the decision broke. He had been due to travel to the Ukrainian capital for the second time this week on Thursday. He tweeted that it was "hard to overlook in reasoning for today's decision [the] impact of Russia's recent unjustified economic & trade measures". Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt went further, saying Ukraine had "bowed deeply" to the Kremlin, which he accused of using the "politics of brutal pressure".

Monday, November 11, 2013

Poland interested in Ukraine's high-precision anti-tank weapons

KYIV, November 7 /Ukrinform/. Poland is interested in purchasing the latest high-precision anti-tank missile system "Barrier-B", developed and produced by the Luch State Design Bureau, which is part of the State Concern Ukroboronprom. This was stated by Waldemar Skrzypczak, Polish Deputy Minister of Defense, responsible for armament and modernization, during the International Exhibition Defense and Security 2013, Ukroboronprom's press office said in a statement. "The Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland expect updates of anti-missile systems and the modernization of weapons of combat helicopters. We are ready to consider the purchase of advanced 105mm anti-tank guided missiles produced in Ukraine by the Luch design office. We are interested in the prospect of joint production of high-precision weapons," Skrzypczak noted. The sides agreed that prior to a meeting the Polish-Ukrainian subcommittee on defense cooperation, to be held this month in Kyiv, Ukraine will provide the relevant technical and commercial proposals. 

The anti-tank long-range guided missile system (ATGM) Barrier, a design by the Luch State Design Bureau, is intended to defeat armored targets at distances from 100 to 5,000 meters. The Barrier ATGM system comprises part of the SHKVAL remotely controlled unmanned turret for armored personnel carriers and armored infantry fighting vehicles, among them the all-new Ukrainian-designed  BTR-3E1 and BTR-4, and the upgraded BMP-1M infantry fighting vehicle. The SHKVAL turret accommodates two Barrier ATGM containers with ready-to-launch missiles.



Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Soviet “Flying Fortress” K-7 by Konstantin Kalinin

The Kalinin K-7  was a heavy experimental aircraft built and tested in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s. It was named after Soviet aircraft designer Konstantin Alekseevich Kalinin (1889 – 1938). The K-7 was one of the biggest aircraft built before the jet age. It had an unusual arrangement of six tractor engines on the wing leading edge. In civil transport configuration, it would have had a capacity for 120 passengers and 7,000 kg  of mail. The K-7 was built in two years at Kharkiv starting in 1931. The K-7 first flew on 11 August 1933. The very brief first flight showed instability and serious vibration caused by the airframe resonating with the engine frequency. The solution to this was thought to be to shorten and strengthen the tail booms, little being known then about the natural frequencies of structures and their response to vibration. The aircraft completed seven test flights before a crash due to structural failure of one of the tail booms on 21 November 1933. The existence of the aircraft had only recently been announced by Pravda which declared it was "victory of the utmost political importance" since it had been built with steel produced in the USSR rather than imported (mostly from Sweden). Kalinin was executed as an enemy of the state in 1938 during the Stalinist purges. One of attached pictures were taken in Kharkiv early 1930s, and the third one is just a computer model created to show what the term of  "flying fortrass" was assosiated with many decades ago.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Corrected evidence of Poltava liberation.

70 years ago, troops of the Steppe front, successfully developing their offensive, forced the River Vorskla, and after three days' fierce fighting, on September 23, captured the regional centre of the Ukraine, the town of Poltava, a powerful German defense centre in the Ukraine to the east of the Dnieper River. 

In commemoration of the victory achieved, the formations and units who distinguished themselves in the fighting for the liberation of the town of Poltava were to bear the name of Poltava. On September 23, at 21.00 hours the capital of the USSR, Moscow, on behalf of the Motherland, saluted with 12 artillery salvoes from 124 guns the gallant troops of the Red Army which liberated the town of Poltava. One of the numerous places where the Soviet red flags were fixed was a monument dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Poltava in the center of the Round Square. It is easy to notice on the picture taken on September 23th that the flagstaff is made of branch. Before to publish this picture in newspaper it was previously corrected using a needle and a paint because there was no any computer and Adobe Photoshop available at that time....

Sunday, October 6, 2013

This fall 5000 youths to be conscripted to Ukrainian army

This fall, during the last conscription to the army, 5000 young soldiers will replenish the military forces of Ukraine.
In parallel, recruitment is ongoing to the army of contractors, said Defense Minister Pavel Lebedev.According to him, now Ukrainian army is manned by the military on contract by 58 percent. This year it is planned to recruit 10800 soldiers bearing service contract. According to him, unlike conscripted soldiers, the service contract will last from 3 to 5 years. Thus soldiers and sergeants on contract deal exclusively with their professional responsibilities that positively affect their military training.

The National Radio Company of Ukraine.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The monument to Polish general in Leipsig

This pretty modest and inconspicuous monument is located in Leipzig near the St. Michaelis Church. It has been unveiled in honor of Jan Henryk Dąbrowski (1755 – 1818), a Polish general and national hero.
In June 1812 General Dąbrowski commanded a Polish division in the Grande Armee, joining Napoleon on his Moscow expedition. However, by October the Franco-Russian war was over and the French forces, decimated by a severe winter, had to retreat. Their defeat was completed by a battle lost during the crossing of the River Berezina, in which Dąbrowski was wounded. He fought under Marshal Auguste Marmont at the Battle of Leipzig (October 18, 1813).
His division was ordered to secure the withdrawal of French troops from Leipzig. Price at which the order was executed was very high, but anyway the division succeeded in holding its position. The fiercest fighting between French army and Russian-Prussian troops has taken place on the site where the monument was erected in 1863.
In the following year General Dąbrowski returned to Poland, unable to continue the fight any further. He was one of the generals entrusted by the Tsar Alexander I with the reorganization of the Polish army, and was named in 1815 general of cavalry and senator palatine of the new Congress Kingdom, and awarded the Order of the White Eagle. He retired in 1816 to his estates in Winna Gora in the Grand Duchy of Posen, Kingdom of Prussia, where he died in 1818.
He wrote several military historical works in Polish. His name, in the French version "Dombrowsky", is inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. "Dąbrowski's Mazurka" has become the national anthem of Poland. It was originally meant to boost the morale of Polish soldiers serving under General Jan Henryk Dąbrowski.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Russian air force puts X-38 air-to-surface missile into service

The Russian Air Force has put the advanced X-38 air-to-surface missile into service. Although the short-range missile was developed for the T-50 fifth generation fighter jet, the existing bombers and fighter jets, including Su-34 and MiG-29 CMT will be equipped with these missiles.
The missile was tested in great secrecy in 2012, and was commissioned in late December. The delivery of missiles will be started shortly. The new missile will be equipped with independently guided warheads. This solves various tasks and increases the striking power of T-50 multipurpose fighter jets. The missiles will be placed inside the jet that is being developed using stealth technology, says editor-in-chief of the “Independence Military Review” magazine Victor Litovkin.
“A fighter jet may have special characteristics, including non-visibility to radar and other detecting equipment, but it is just an aircraft. But when it is equipped with high-precision guided missiles, this is a high-precision aviation complex. That can be considered a fifth generation fighter jet. The fact, that the missile on board the jet increases its low visibility,” Victor Litovkin said.
The missile will not reflect on the radar screen. It has another advanced feature. It can orient itself during the flight using the GLONASS space navigation system. The recent armed conflicts, including in Afghanistan and the Middle East have shown that it is difficult to discover targets from air even with the guidance from the ground because advanced camouflaging systems have been developed. These missiles will be guided to the target by a GLONASS satellite, says Victor Litovkin.
“The missile’s accuracy increases owing to the GLONASS satellite that sees the target and missile and combines these two points. When taking into account the fact that this is a supersonic missile, a complicated task is solved, a missile that is flying at a high speed is guided to a target. In short, this is a great achievement of Russian missile designers,” Victor Litovkin added.
The X-38 missile is capable of hitting manoeuvering armoured vehicles and hideouts at a distance from 3 to 40 kilometers. These missiles will upgrade the combat capacity of the Russian Air Force. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Exercise Rapid Trident 2013 opens in Ukraine

8 July 2013, Yavoriv, Ukraine
 Land forces from 17 nations began two weeks of collective training in a ceremony July 8 at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center here to mark the official start of Exercise Rapid Trident 2013.
Rapid Trident is a U.S. Army Europe led, U.S. European Command Joint Training and Exercise Program designed to enhance interoperability between forces and promote regional stability and security.
“Over the last several months Ukraine has set the highest of standards, and supported by dedicated planners from our partner countries, has set the conditions for excellent training,” said Exercise Co-Director U.S. Army Col. Alfred Renzi during his remarks at the opening ceremony.
Approximately 1,300 troops from 17 countries including host Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, Turkey and the U.S. will participate in this year’s exercise.
The exercise is focused around a week-long field-training exercise (FTX), during which the multinational force will conduct operations against a simulated enemy. In preparation for the FTX, units will undergo one week of situational training exercises that focus on key tasks such as countering improvised-explosive devices, convoy operations and patrolling.
This year’s exercise is the 11th iteration of Rapid Trident, which was previously conducted under the name “Peace Shield” from 1998 to 2002. 
U.S. units participating in the exercise include an airborne-infantry company from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, Observer Coach Trainers from the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, 21st Theater Support Command, U.S. Army Europe and the California Army National Guard.

Monday, July 8, 2013

One of the world's biggest open iron ore deposits is located close to Poltava

Komsomolsk is a purpose-built mining city in central Ukraine, located on the left bank of the Dnieper river, 120 km. away from Poltava. The city is pretty young, it was founded in 1960 as the residential and civic area for the Poltava Mining and Extraction Combinat. Nowadays it is controlled by the Ferrexpo - the most important iron ore-mining company in Ukraine.

Ferrexpo is a Swiss-based iron-ore producer operating in Ukraine. The business was founded by the Soviet government in 1960 as the "Poltava Mining and Extraction Combinat" to exploit iron ore reserves in Komsomolsk, Ukraine. The business was privatised in 2001 by the Ukrainian Government. In 1977 it started selling its product in the form of pellets. It was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2007. The Company sells most of its product to the steel mills of Eastern Europe.

80% of the city residents are employed by the mining industry. There are two gigantic open pit mines (up to 350 meters depth) and several spoil tips on the city territory, to the north-east and south of the residential area. 


The industry is served by several railway stations. However, the passenger service was discontinued and the city relies on intercity and suburban bus links. The combinat operates its own freight river port. Due to the profitability of mining, small city of Komsomolsk usually ranks high in all-Ukraine city rankings of birth rate, living standards, (un)employment and housing.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

On June 22, 1941 Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union marking the beginning of the Great Patriotic War

June 22, 2013 ( With commemorative events, Ukraine on Friday marked the 72nd anniversary of the start of the Soviet Union's involvement in the World War II, known as the Great Patriotic War in the former Soviet republics.During a ceremony, President Viktor Yanukovych laid flowers at the Monument of War Victims and said that Ukrainians should keep the memories of the war alive.
"The current and future generations should know everything about that terrible war, about every drop of blood, every tear shed in this war. Hard truth about the Great Patriotic War is still with us," Yanukovych said.
A moment of silence was observed in honor of the millions of Soviet soldiers who died during the war that lasted nearly four years. Nazi Germany attacked Kiev in the early hours of June 22, 1941.

The term Great Patriotic War  is used in Ukraine to describe the period from June 22, 1941 to May 9, 1945 in the many fronts of the eastern campaign of WWII between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany with its allies.
With 134 Divisions at full fighting strength and 73 more divisions for deployment behind the front, German forces invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, less than two years after the German-Soviet Pact was signed. Three army groups, including more than three million German soldiers, supported by 650,000 troops from Finland and Romania, and later augmented by units from Italy, Croatia, Slovakia and Hungary, attacked the Soviet Union across a broad front, from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south. For months, the Soviet leadership had refused to heed warnings from the Western Powers of the German troop buildup along its western border. Germany and its Axis partners thus achieved almost complete tactical surprise. Much of the existing Soviet air force was destroyed on the ground; the Soviet armies were initially overwhelmed. German units encircled millions of Soviet soldiers, who were cut off from supplies and reinforcements.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Contract army: is it possible to cancel compulsory military service by 2014? 5 June 2013
Total strength of Ukrainian army will be reduced from 184 thousand to 122 thousand soldiers, press office of the Defense Ministry reports. Last week the Cabinet approved the army reform state program for 2013-2017, which provides for the optimization of the army to ensure its combat capability, which will be achieved primarily by reducing the number of personnel, without affecting the fighting capacity.
Moreover, the program also foresees improvement of social protection for militaries and their families, as well upgrading of equipment and armament. The press office also reminds that the last conscription will held this autumn, and the last conscript will leave the service in 2014.

As ForUm wrote in the article "Volunteer army: inevitable or incredible?", the authorities have been talking about contract-based army for a long time. Despite permanent lack of finances, the Armed Forces already have an experience of forming divisions and corps by this principle. Thus, in 2000 the Armed Forces numbered 28.8 thousand contract militaries, and in 2004 - 40.7 thousand soldiers. As of February 1, 2013 the Armed Forces of Ukraine consist of 33% of conscripts and 54% of contract militaries.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A holiday of military history in Djuramossa

I was very please to be in the holiday of the military history in Djuramosa. I’ve never seen before so many guests who came from the whole Sweden to participate in this event.
Most of all, I was impressed with military show. Some pictures taken in the hospitable Djuramossa you can see below. Many participants and spectators were able to by a lot of books and DVDs on military history in SMB book tent. Those who got hungry, got a chance to test a real military pea soup. Even a heavy hailstorm failed to spoil such a nice holiday!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Special Finnish mission to Poltava

Pekka Visuri, Doctor of Political Sciences and retired Army colonel, has lectured on some aspects of Ukrainian and Finnish military history on March 12th in the Poltava Battle Museum. The lecture went off enchantingly. Many scholars, teachers and students were present. The lecture was a joint event with the Finnish Embassy in Ukraine. Before the beginning of the lecture the director of the museum Natalia Bilan gave the flour to Ambassador of the Finnish Republic to Ukraine Arja Makkonen, who introduced him to the audience.
The lecturer has worked 15 years as researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs in Helsinki and from 2008 at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki. He has been adjunct professor at the National Defence University in Helsinki, specialized in security policy, strategy and political history. At present he is senior fellow at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki. He is now working in the EU/CBSS projects (EUSBR, PA 14 and Anvil) concerning the strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, special area civil protection.