Saturday, September 12, 2015

Statement by Secretary Kerry: September 11 Anniversary

Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
September 11, 2015

September 11 is a date seared into the minds of all of us at the U.S. Department of State and of citizens across America. Together, we honor the memory of the men, women, and children murdered in 2001. And we will never forget those who died three years ago in Libya: Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods. Each was a brave and dedicated professional; each was deeply committed to service on our country’s behalf; and each sought nothing more nor less than to help people overseas to live in freedom, dignity, and peace.  

Their example remains before us and – on this sad anniversary – our thoughts and prayers are with their families. This week also marks the opening to the public of the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset, Pennsylvania. The selfless heroism of the passengers on that flight saved many lives and serves as a permanent inspiration never to accept evil or to allow those driven by hate to achieve their goals. 

 For that reason, there is no better day than September 11 to continue fulfilling our responsibilities in the home, workplace, classroom, and community. There is also no better time to move ahead with the business of American diplomacy – the unrelenting pursuit of peace, prosperity, human rights, and security in all its dimensions. Friends and adversaries alike should understand: the United States will never be intimidated by terrorists.  Terrorists can cause tremendous suffering, but they can neither weaken our determination nor sway us from our purpose. For Americans at home and overseas, shared tragedy brings us together, adds to our vigilance, and strengthens our resolve not only on September 11, but every day of the year.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Ukrainian engineers upgrade tanks for war (VIDEO)

September 3, 2015 (UATODAY) In this largely abandoned former industrial park in the Kyiv suburbs, a new weapon is being developed. It's one which could potentially revolutionize modern warfare. The Russian-led war in eastern Ukraine has sparked the revival of the country's arms industry and in volunteerism. Both have led to the fighting machine we're about to see, being developed. We speed through this complex. Awaiting us - a breakthrough in engineering. We walk through the factory. Soviet-era machines and scraps of metal litter the floor. This new tank is not just a blueprint, it's almost ready for testing and use in the battlefield. The tanks name is Azovets.

Mykola Stepanov, engineering expert: "I'll do my best to drive it [back to the front line]. That's my aim. Why? Because my friends I was with in Skyrokyne (in east Ukraine) are waiting for me and I was working on this machine in order to return back with it."

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Arrival of Canadian troops for Operation UNIFIER signals start of training mission in Ukraine

August 31, 2015 (YAVORIV, Ukraine) - As Canadian soldiers stepped from the CC-177 Globemaster aircraft and onto the tarmac at the Lviv International Airport, they took the first steps towards starting what promises to be a busy autumn. The soldiers arrived in theatre in two groups on 25 and 31 August. The majority of the soldiers came from 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG) based at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario. They will spend the next few months at the Ukrainian Armed Forces International Security and Peacekeeping Centre in Yavoriv, roughly 30 km from the Ukraine-Poland border.

The troops are arriving in Yavoriv as part of Operation UNIFIER, Canada's military training mission in Ukraine, where they will focus on teaching vital skills in partnership with Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers. “In short we're here to pass on our knowledge to our Ukrainian partners to ensure they have the skills to survive and thrive on the battlefield,” said Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) Jason Guiney, the commander of Canada’s Joint Task Force Ukraine. “Our soldiers are ready for this mission and we’re looking forward to being in the field and working on the fundamentals of soldiering.”
While the largest component of the mission will be the delivery of tactical training in Yavoriv, there are other key elements of the mission such as working on more specialized training with Ukrainian troops around the country and in Canada. One of the specialized training activities will consist of an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and improvised explosive device disposal (IEDD) program at the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence Demining Centre in Kamyanets-Podilsky. Canadian engineers will be partnering with Ukrainian soldiers to enhance their existing Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) operations.
A team of eight CAF personnel in the field of EOD/IEDD pre-deployed on June 13 to liaise with Ukrainian military partners, observe training, and prepare training plans. “We’ve deployed extremely capable and operationally experienced C-IED instructors,” said the team leader for C-IED training. “We are going to partner with the Ukraine to enhance the capability of their C-IED teams and build on the extensive and impressive skills they already have displayed during our short time here.” Outside Kiev, Canadian Military Police trainers are delivering specialized courses on the use of force as well as investigation techniques to Ukrainian Military Police officers drawn from around the country.
Back in Yavoriv, LCol Guiney summarizes how the Task Force will approach the mission. “As the first boots on the ground we know we have to set the standard for future rotations of Canadian soldiers. I intend to work with our Ukrainian partners to ensure a suitable and sustainable training plan is established to help them succeed now, and in the future.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Ukraine crisis: Deadly anti-autonomy protest outside parliament

August 31, 2015 (BBC News Europe) One national guard member has been killed and over 100 injured in violent protests outside Ukraine's parliament, the interior ministry said. Clashes between nationalists and riot police erupted after MPs gave initial backing to reforms for more autonomy in the rebel-held east. Some in the crowd lobbed what police said were live grenades at officers protecting parliament. 

The reforms are part of a peace plan to end fighting in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, said the violence was "a stab in the back". Protesters led by the populist Radical Party and the ultra-nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party - who oppose any concession to the Russian-backed separatists - gathered outside parliament early on Monday. After a rowdy debate, 265 MPs out of 450 backed the first reading of the decentralisation bill, granting more powers to areas of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Full article is available at