Monday, August 21, 2017

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis to Visit Ukraine Amid Russian Resurgence

August 21, 2017 ( Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is set to travel to Ukraine, becoming the first U.S. defense secretary to visit the country since Robert Gates, the Pentagon announced Friday. Mattis will meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak on Aug. 24, Ukraine's independence day. "During these engagements, the secretary will reassure our Ukrainian partners that the U.S. remains firmly committed to the goal of restoring Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as strengthening the strategic defense partnership between our two countries," the Defense Department said.
Mattis' trip comes as the United States is mulling giving Ukraine lethal weapons after Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its ongoing incursion into Ukraine's eastern border regions. The U.S. has given Ukraine's military non-lethal supplies, including night-vision goggles, uniforms and surveillance equipment such as Raven RQ-11BAnalog mini-drones. But U.S. officials worry -- with seemingly endless breakouts of hostilities between pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine's national guard -- that the conflict will prolong without expanded support. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, an avid supporter of arming Ukraine since then-President Barack Obama cautioned against lethal weapons, has raised the issue repeatedly with defense officials.
During Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan's confirmation hearing in June, McCain was unhappy with the incoming deputy's answers about providing arms to Ukraine. "It's still disturbing to me after all these years that you would say that you have to look at the issue," the senator said. "Have you not been aware of the issue? Have you not been aware of the actions of the Senate Armed Services Committee? Have you not been aware of the thousands of people that have been killed by Vladimir Putin? Have you missed all that in your duties at one of the major defense corporations in this country?" Mattis will also travel to Turkey and Jordan next week, meeting with his counterparts to discuss the ongoing air war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Friday, August 18, 2017

August 18, 2017 (BBC Europe) The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) warned of a possible new cyber attack on Ukrainian institutions and companies. The SBU believes that the "Petya" virus, which attacked the Ukrainian information systems on June 27 this year, could be a "preparatory phase for a second wave of cyberattacks". After investigating the events of June 27, the SBU has discovered that the virus collected data from electronic mailboxes, passwords for accounts, server access details, and hash data user accounts. Specialists of the SBU assume that getting this information was the main objective of the first wave of cyberattacks and obtained data could be used by the real initiators for both cyber intelligence and for further destructive actions.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The visit of the Ambassador of Sweden to Ukraine to the State Historical and Cultural Reserve “The Poltava Battle Field”

August 9, 2017 Mr Martin Hagström, Ambassador of Sweden to Ukraine visited Poltava Battle Museum and laid a blue-yellow bunch of flowers to the Monument to the fallen Swedish warriors erected in 1909 by their compatriots near the village Pobyvanka. I was very pleased to tell a story of the monument to Mr Hagström and answer his questions. Besides we were discussing a question regarding commemoration of fallen warriors of the King Charkes XII. Many thousand of them were buried in a hurry near the village  Tachtaulove. Despite more than 300 years have passed since the Battle of Poltava the main burial place of caroliners is still not marked even with a very modest memorial stone.
During the visit to Poltava Battle Museum Mr Hagström was guided by Viktor Myroshnyk, the senior researcher at the museum who speaks pretty good Swedish. Mr Hagström supported an idea of sending Viktor Myroshnyk to Sweden for the summer courses in Swedish language in the near future.

Besides the battle field Mr Hagström visited a memorial stone unveiled recently in the village Nyzhni Mlyny on the place where King Charles XII was wounded on the eve of the Battle of Poltava.
Near the entrance to the Museum of the Battle of Poltava
Mr Hagström and Viktor Myroshnyk in the museum
Mr Hagström is laying frowers to the Monument to the Swedish warriors killed in the Battle of Poltava
Mr Hagström and Oleg Bezverkhnii near the monument