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Friday, August 29, 2008

More Humor From Tymoshenko

To dispel the treason allegations leveled at her by the Presidential Secretariat, Tymoshenko has resorted to humor.

PM Yulia Tymoshenko: I think in addition to that we're absolutely, positively guilty of Hurricane Katrin [sic], we’re guilty of all the tsunamis that swept the globe, and that’s why I think that this person is not being original. The only thing he does is pass the buck to everyone around him.

PM Yulia Tymoshenko: I did actually undergo eye treatment. I have some problems. Now I’m doing a casting call: I’m looking for a dog guide. [giggles] I’ll be looking at the people decisions in the Secretariat. Perhaps they’ll find something for me, Okay? [giggles] As for the second question, an accusation of national treason (right?), they charged me with seven counts, such as love for Ukrainian salo, you know, love for Ukrainian borscht. What other exotic stuff do we have here? But let me tell you that all this is nonsense. Honestly, I don’t want to comment on this. How are we on time?
Response: 25 minutes.

PM Yulia Tymoshenko: Well, in five minutes I’ll be leaving for the shooting range to train myself to do some shooting, you know. Right now, my sight is not really well, but I think that my health will improve and then everything will be fine, Okay? The optical weapons are already in place, waiting for me at the range. [giggles] Oh, dear friends, you know, politicians can make mistakes, but what politicians can’t do is they can’t afford to look funny because it completely ruins the image of a politician. Therefore, I would advise all the politicians of Ukraine not to look funny in their public relations events.

If that was a stroke of self-deprecating humor, it certainly helped her image. Unlike Yushchenko, who totally lacks it, Tymoshenko does have a sense of humor, but often uses it to duck questions.

This evasive technique may not sit well with critically-minded voters. Nor does it sit will with people, young and old, whom she promised to abolish the draft and return their Soviet-era savings.

Videos uploaded from: (STB (Channel 5

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tymoshenko Responds to Accusations of Treason

Recently, deputy chief of the Presidential Secretariat Andriy Kyslynsky accused PM Yulia Tymoshenko of pussyfooting on the Russian invasion of Georgia and lobbying for Russia’s use of the Odesa-Brody pipeline.

He also alleged that Tymoshenko has held secret meetings with pro-Russian power brokers and associates of former President Kuchma on board luxury yachts off Sardinia. It was there that, according to the Presidential Secretariat, she traded Ukraine’s vital interests for the Kremlin’s support, which includes a $1B slush fund for her presidential campaign in 2010.

Watch Tymoshenko’s response.

Such statements by small-time officials do not warrant commentary but, to be honest, they warrant the services of a…well, a good carpenter to have the plaque at the Presidential Secretariat replaced with one that would read "Ward Number Six." Never in my whole life have I been to Sardinia, neither now nor before, and…[giggles]…if the Presidential Secretariat doubts that, they can ask the sardines that swim around Sardinia…[giggles]…and I think that even the sardines will testify that…and they can tell categorically that the Prime Minister hasn’t been there.

Whether honest or not, her answer sounds like a canned joke, doesn’t it?

Even if Tymoshenko did not have secret relations on that island Sardinia, her widely-publicized tandem with Kuchma’s henchman Medvedchuk, a friend of President Medvedev, makes the connection all the more dangerous. In the legendary “Candyman” (2004) video, starring Kuchma, Yanukovych, Medvedchuk and guest-starring Putin and Medvedev, you can find Medvedchuk on Medvedev’s right side.

According to Obozrevatel, which ran a detailed story on Tymoshenko’s vacation, EU intelligence agencies track vessel movement via satellite and share their data with the SBU. That’s how, Obozrevatel says, Tymoshenko’s presence on board luxury yachts that belong to Shufrych and Medvedchuk.

Among the people Tymoshenko met with, Obozrevatel names Dmytro Firtash of RosUkrEnergo, Serhiy Lyovochkin of the Party of Regions, as well as “unidentified Russians that could be prominent entrepreneurs and politicians.”

So what’s in it for Ukraine? Now that President Medvedev-Putin has rubber-stamped the Duma’s recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Crimea could be next on his list. The weaker Ukraine gets, the stronger the temptation to apply the same scenario becomes.

With this cautionary tale in mind, theories regarding "Tymoshenko's treason" range between two possibilities. On the one hand, the Presidential Secretariat may simply be playing the Russian card — in an attempt to resuscitate Yushchenko’s approval ratings. But on the other hand, having an Octopussy run for president would hardly be a bon voyage for Ukraine.

It’s important that Ukrainian politicians and presidential hopefuls unite against the threat of Russian irredentism and remain on the right side.

Video uploaded from:

Man Who Killed 6 People DUI Gets 10 Years

Andriy Poltavets, 37, the heavily drunk man who killed four adults and two children after plowing his SUV into a crowd at a tram station in Kharkiv, has received 10 years’ imprisonment. That’s less than two years for every person killed by Poltavets, who has a past history of DUI.

The ruling, which includes a 3-year suspension of driver’s license, was made today, Channel 5 reports. Asked about how she felt, a relative of one of the victims expressed feelings of injustice and insecurity.

So here’s what “one law for all” means in this case: Once you get drunk and get in that car and start killing people, there’s no limit to how many people you can kill. You’ll only get 10 years, plus a 3-year suspension of drivers’ license. Well, perhaps you’ll even get paroled, which means you can start killing even sooner!

Welcome to Ukraine!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ukraine Celebrates Independence Day, Kyiv Holds Military Parade

Today, Ukraine celebrates its 17th anniversary of renewed statehood.

On August 24, 1991, a few days after the failed coup in Moscow, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine declared our independence from the Soviet Union.
The rest is history, a bittersweet history of lost of opportunities.

Anyway, I couldn't miss today's parade.

The day started warm and sunny (and ended cloudy and rainy)

As I suspected, Maidan was for VIPs only

So I hurried back to the upper Khreshchatyk Station on Instytutska St.... take a dive and reemerge at Khreshchatyk

Sweltering in that uniform, aren't you?

From Ukraine with love and peace!

Some people sure know how to climb

Lieutenant General Ivan Svyda, commander of the Ground Forces, commences the parade

Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov drives from Maidan, salutes troops; troops salute back

Driving back to Maidan

Troops on standby to march forward

They're marching! The audience is responding.

They're coming...

BTR-80, BMP-1 "Shkval"

In order of appearance: T-64 BM "Bulat," 2S1 "Gvozdika," 2S3 "Akatsiya," 2S19 "Msta-S"


Heading for NATO! The Humvee is replacing the UAZ-469.

MT-12 "Rapira"

9K51 "Grad"

In order of appearance:

BM-27 "Uragan," BM-30 "Smerch," 9К79 "Tochka-U" (SS-21 "Scarab B"), 9K33 "Osa" (SA-8 "Gecko"), 2S6M "Tunguska," Buk-M1, S-200 (SA-5 "Gammon"), S-300 (SA-10 "Grumble")

Now let's do a little flying!

In order of appearance:
Mi-8, Mi-24

The remaining birds are a bit trickier for me to identify...
An-30 escorted by two Mig-29s, right?

Il-76 escorted by two Su-27s?

I'm not sure what some of these birds are...but the first four look like Mig-29s, followed by three Su-24Ms, one Su-24MR, four Su-25s and four Su-27s.

In 2001, they closed the parade with the An-124 "Ruslan" flying in formation with the An-225 "Mriya," the world's biggest aircraft (no kidding)...produced in Kyiv, Ukraine! (Click here for a video chronicle of parades held in Kyiv since 1917.)

Airshows in Ukraine don't always go as planned. In July 2002, we had the Sknyliv tragedy, which killed 85 people and injured over 100.

Thankfully, everything was fine this time.

Z Dnem Nezalezhnosti tebe, Ukrayino! Happy Independence Day, Ukraine!