Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Russia’s first banknote to mark Crimea's annexation

December 23, 2015 Russians are to see a new banknote commemorating Moscow's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. The 100 rouble note ($1.50; £1) has appeared early December 2015 to mark the controversial Russian takeover of the peninsula in March 2014. 

Speaking to the official TASS news agency, Georgy Luntovsky, the deputy chairman of the Bank of Russia, said that the notes features "symbols of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol", just as soon as the final design has been discussed with senior officials in the region. One side of the note is devoted to Sevastopol, the other one – to Crimea. In the lower part of the Sevastopol side of the banknote in the green stripe there is a QR-code linking to the Bank of Russia webpage containing historical information relating to the commemorative banknote. While this is the first banknote to mark Crimea's annexation, Russians already have commemorative 10 rouble coins marking images of the annexation, carrying images of the Swallow's Nest castle in Yalta and Sevastopol's Monument to the Sunken Ships, Moscow Times says.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Ukraine intel reports about 7,700 Russian regular troops in Donbas

December 22, 2015 (UNIAN) The Ukrainian Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Department reports that there are about 7,700 Russian regular troops in the occupied areas in Donbas, eastern Ukraine.
"According to the data the Main Intelligence Department has obtained, there are about 7,700 regular soldiers of the Armed Forces of Russia in Donetsk and Luhansk regions," Main Intelligence Department Chief Vadym Skybytsky said on TV Channel 112 Ukraine. In his words, there has been no drastic change in the strength of Russian military personnel recently – their number remains steady, and redeployment and buildup, especially in the attacking echelon, are most active in the first and second army corps of Russia's armed forces.

The Ukrainian intelligence service also reports about the constant regrouping of the Russian forces, preparations, combat drills, and training on the shooting ground. Thus, Skybytsky said, the enemy continues its routine battle training and exercises possibly for a new offensive against Ukraine. "There is no direct threat as of today. But there is proof that the Armed Forces of Russia, the fighting units of the first and second army corps have been training, and this is their routine job. The situation [in the Anti-Terrorist Operation zone] remains tense. The enemy continues shelling the positions of the Ukrainian forces. In the past 24 hours, Ukrainian troops were attacked 57 times. What is more, Russia has been sending more and more weapons and fuel there," he said. As UNIAN reported earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged during his recent press conference in Moscow on December 17 that Russia had sent personnel to Donbas to "solve certain issues, including in the military sphere."

The Migration Service of Ukraine begins the process of introduction of new identity cards – plastic cards (Ukrainian plastic passport) with a contactless electronic chip

December 22, 2015 According to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, registration of such plastic identity cards (Ukrainian plastic passport) will be possible beginning with January 1, 2016. Turnaround time of a new document is the same as of the old one- 10 working days. In addition, replacement of the old Ukrainian passports for the new plastic identity cards is voluntary; the law of Ukraine provides a five-year transition period.
A citizen can get a Ukrainian passport with contactless electronic chip in the department of the State Migration Service at place of residence when getting for the first time, and in any department when appealing next time. Your photo is not required; the SMS official will photograph you by registration. “The card chip can contain its owner’s biometric data – fingerprints and digital signature. But you can refuse this option; in this case a special mark will be made on the card. ID card does not contain any information about nationality, religious beliefs and residence place. The data about marital status is fixed on the electronic chip, but they are not written with the letters on the card.”

The President of Ukraine have announced December 15th, 2015 as a day of great importance in the history of Ukraine in view of production launch of the passports of the citizen of Ukraine in form of ID card with implanted contactless electronic carrier. He said about this during the visit to the State Enterprise “Polygraph Combine “Ukraina” for securities’ production”, at premises of which the new passports will be produced starting from 1 of January, 2016.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Putin admits to Russian military 'tasks' in separatist-held eastern Ukraine

December 17, 2015 (USA TODAY) After months of denials, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted for the first time Thursday that his country’s military is operating in separatist-held eastern Ukraine. "We never said there were no people there who were carrying out certain tasks," Putin said during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow. Putin said Russia had no regular troop presence in eastern Ukraine but, in response to a question about Russian servicemen detained and injured in the fighting, he admitted that "certain matters, including in the military area" were being performed.

Full article is available at:

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Adolf Fredrik Children Choir from Stockholm has greeted internally displaced kids with traditional Swedish holiday – St. Lucia Day

December 16, 2015 ( UNHCR together with Embassy of Sweden and pupils from Adolf Fredrik Music School Chidren Choir in Stockholm organize winter holiday celebration for displaced children in Kyiv. The Choir made its first, much-appreciated performance on December 16 at School No 104 in Pushcha Voditsya, not far from Kyiv. This is one of the schools that have received a lot of children from families which had to flee the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea during the year. In his speech before the performance, Ambassador Andreas von Beckerath pointed out that Lucia is a tradition that gives light and hope in dark and hard times.
«Saint Lucia is first and foremost a celebration of light and hope. Lucia is a bearer of light in the cold and dark Swedish winters. We celebrate it to remind ourselves that light will overcome darkness. By celebrating Lucia here in Kiev and by having the choir singing, we hope to send the same message to the Ukrainian people. A message of hope and faith for the future, and most importantly a message of solidarity and support during these difficult times», said Ambassador of Sweden to Ukraine, Mr. Andreas von Beckerath.

The choir performed traditional Swedish Lucia songs, a tradition which is similar to St. Nicola’s Day in Ukraine. For the event in Kyiv young singers were beautifully costumed in white dresses, flower wreaths and held lightened candles. The choir sang traditional songs, which, according to the beliefs, force dark spirits to step away after the longest winter night.

The speech of the Ambassador was followed by welcome words from UNHCR Regional Representative in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine Mr. Oldrich Andrysek:
«Especially this year, let us remember about the kids, who will not be able to celebrate these our favorite winter holidays at their homes with all the relatives and parent or will not celebrate them at all. I am talking about those children who had to flee their homes in Donbas or Crimea searching for more safe places in Ukraine for living. Here is what: let’s try to help these kids, maybe they are your classmates or you just know them, let them feel a bit happier and share our friendship and care which you receive daily from your fellows. When you grow up and become older I wish all of you to do all you can to make your country united and a real home for all who live here», commented UNHCR Regional Representative in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine Mr. Oldrich Andrysek.In November, the Government of Sweden has supported Ukraine with EUR 4.9 million euros for humanitarian assistance and early recovery. UNCHR is grateful for the generous donation of EUR 1.6 million provided by the Embassy for the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the east of Ukraine and Crimea. This funding will help UNHCR to secure core relief items, winterization assistance, construction materials for repairs and address other immediate needs in the conflict affected areas.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Russia: UN's Ukraine Meeting Shouldn't Discuss Human Rights

Dec 11, 2015 (abcNews) A UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine was delayed for nearly an hour and a half Friday because Russia objected to discussing the human rights situation in the country's separatist-controlled east and Crimea. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told council members that human rights discussions should take place in the U.N.'s Geneva-based Human Rights Council. He said raising human rights was "nothing more than an attempt to distract attention from the most important goal today," implementing the Minsk agreement that was intended to end the fighting. It was the United States that invited a senior U.N. human rights official to brief the council on Ukraine. The U.S. and the West have repeatedly accused Russia of supporting the separatists with troops and weapons, which Moscow has denied.

"One does wonder what Russia seeks to hide," said U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power, the current council president. "But we understand its very unfortunate desire to prevent the council from hearing inconvenient facts." Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic told the council that more than 9,000 people have been killed since the conflict began in April 2014. He called that a conservative estimate. Even with "relative military calm" in the east, Simonovic said, the lack of rule of law makes the human rights situation of the estimated 2.7 million people living in separatist-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk very difficult.
"Reports of human rights abuses on these territories persist, including those related to killings, torture and ill-treatment, illegal detention and forced labor," he said. "Local residents continue to remain without any effective protection of their rights, and there is a lack of accountability." Simonovic also said there has been no improvement in 2015 in Crimea, which Russia annexed last year. "Fundamentally, it is still not possible to express views that differ from those promoted by the de facto authorities and the Russian Federation," he said.
John Ging, the director of operations in the U.N. humanitarian office, told the council that 800,000 people live in "difficult and dangerous conditions" along the line between government and rebel areas. He strongly protested the recent expulsion of aid organizations in separatist-controlled areas, saying it has had "a devastating impact on an already vulnerable and suffering people." One alarming example, Ging said, was the end of a Doctors Without Borders program that was treating 146 multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis patients. He said this dramatically increases the risks of its spread.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

One more show in Ukrainian Parliament

December 11, 2015 All Ukrainans have already got accustomed to fighting in the Ukrainian Parliament. But today we got a new experience. One Deputy of Verhovna Rada of Ukraine being indignant that Prime Minister is unworthy to speak from the main stage of the state simply decided to take him out. To make Prime Minister’s hands busy he presented his a big bouquet of red roses following which he gathered him up and started to walk away. Soon after that a scuffle has started. This shameful show has been broadcasted by many TV channels. An original wrestler's hold has attracted a special attention of mass media.....

The video of the show is available at:   

Monday, December 7, 2015

Mashine gun magazine loader invented by Ukrainian soldier

December 7, 2015 Arabic blogger striked Facebook comunity by showing Ukrainian soldier loading his machine gun’s magazine using a unique implement that was invented by himself. This video has collected more than 4.5 million views in the social nets. Many users were amazed with simplicity and efficiency of this device. 

You may see this video at:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

From Crisis to Stability: How to Effectively Solve Crises and Conflicts to Foster Development?

December 6, 2015From Crisis to Stability: How to Effectively Solve Crises and Conflicts to Foster Development?” – it is the title of Carl Bildt’s lecture, which was held on 4th December in the University of Warsaw. This man is a famous Swedish politician and diplomat who was Prime Minister of Sweden (1991-94) and Minister for Foreign Affairs (2006-14). In his opinion carrying out of peacekeeping operation in Donbass region similarly to UN Mission to Eastern Slavonia (Croatia) in the course of Serbian-Croatian conflict could be an optimum alternative to resolve Russian-Ukrainian crisis.

According to Carl Bildt, peacekeeping mission to the Eastern Slavonia proved its value and 80% of the goals were fulfilled. He reminded also that the territory occupied by Serbia has been returned to Croatia and nowadays no one remembers this armed conflict anymore. "You also can act similarly and it will be in the interest of Ukraine, Russian Federation, and European security as well” stressed Mr. Bildt.
He also pointed out that in the April 2014 the President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin was absolutely convinced of being able by using Ukraine’s weakness and Russian propaganda machine to create so-called “New Russia” inside of Ukraine within 2-3 months. It did not happen, so President Putin lost.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia intend to form a consortium for the transport of goods from Asia to Europe bypassing Russian Federation

November 30, 2015 (Turan-BSPRESS) China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia intend to form a consortium for the transport of goods from Asia to Europe, said the JSC Georgian Railway. Istanbul hosted a presentation of the opportunities and prospects of development of the Trans-Caspian international transport route (TMTM) China-Turkey-Europe. The presentation took place at the annual International Transport Logistics Exhibition Logitrans. The event was attended by representatives of major transport logistics operators in Turkey, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Lithuania. 
"Trans Caucasus Terminals is already working with the co-founders of the international consortium that operates in all countries on this route, said the director Levan Sulaberidze. "As part of this project for the next year it is planned to pass several containers through the territory of Georgia. In this way in the near future, the goods will go to Turkey, and from next year they will begin to move to northern and eastern Europe through Ukraine," said Sulaberidze. 
Due to the project Georgia again will be on the historic Silk Road trade, he said. The sides reached an agreement on the organization of the first demonstration train from China to Europe and the launch of a regular container service in this direction.