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Original CBS Documentary on Ukraine military aid

Belarusian Officialdom and Opposition-in-Exile Fight for Self-Preservation

The news of Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei’s sudden death has, for now, overshadowed all other news coming from Belarus. Exactly two years ago, Makei’s deputy Oleg Kravchenko also died from a sudden heart attack. Both Makei and Kravchenko used to be the major champions of rapprochement between official Minsk and the West. As a result, conspiracy theories have proliferated regarding Makei’s death, which does not necessarily mean anything as the work environment for both officials was indeed stressful. Just on November 22, Makei flew to Yerevan, Armenia, aboard a military transport aircraft. The next day, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka joined him at the summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which did not go smoothly due to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

The thrust of Lukashenka’s speech at the summit was devoted to Minsk’s upcoming (in January 2023) chairmanship of the CSTO. The Belarusian president underscored the importance of the CSTO’s strategic dialogue with China and heralded two prospective Minsk-based conferences (, November 23). The first will be devoted to Eurasian security and involve officials from the CSTO, Commonwealth of Independent States, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the United Nations. And the second will devise strategies for confronting “disinformation” emanating from the West and is expected to involve the CSTO members and their national institutions that deal with strategic studies.

Lukashenka has a habit of deviating from his official script, thus regularly offering tidbits that the media subsequently pounce on. This time, he chose to react to the ongoing informal discussions on how the outcome of Russia’s war against Ukraine will affect the CSTO’s future. Reportedly, the talk of the town is that Russia’s defeat would lead to the CSTO’s demise. “I feel,” acknowledged Lukashenka, “that we have come to a common opinion that, if, God forbid, Russia collapses, then we will all be buried under the rubble. … So, such discussions should not even take place. … The CSTO will exist, and nothing will collapse it” (, November 23). Those reading between the lines will extract from this pronouncement whatever fits their agenda, with a palpable uncertainty about the war’s outcome being the most obvious takeaway.

In the meantime, the leader of the Belarusian “democrats-in-exile,” Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, declared in a recent article that she is the true president-elect of Belarus (Svaboda, November 15). While allusions to Tikhanovskaya’s victory in the August 2020 elections have abounded ever since, she has yet to make such public pronouncements herself. As such, commentators rushed to interpret the significance behind her statement. According to Artyom Shraibman, nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Tikhanovskaya launched a trial balloon intended exclusively for Western audiences, whose attention the opposition leader and her entourage have successfully claimed thus far. The new declaration seeks to boost that attention to a potential severance of Western ties with the “regime” in Minsk and treating Tikhanovskaya as the sole representative of Belarus.


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U.S.-made Missiles SHOT DOWN over Belgorad, Russia

Ukraine is now openly attacking inside Russia. Four US high-speed AGM-88 anti-radiation missiles (HARM) were shot down by Russian air defense systems over Russia’s Belgorod region today. The American-made missiles were fired by Ukraine aircraft.

“Four US HARM anti-radar missiles were shot down in the airspace of the Belgorod region,” the Russian Ministry of Defense confirms.

In mid-August, Washington supplied AGM-88 HARM missiles to Ukraine. According to open sources, the missiles are used by the Ukrainian MiG-29 and Su-27 aircraft.

“These missiles showed actually zero effectiveness in the framework of the hostilities in Ukraine – most of them were shot down by Russian anti-aircraft missile systems, another part was suppressed or set aside by means of electronic protection of air defense systems,” a source said, adding that some of these missiles also failed or missed the target.

The source noted that the low efficiency of HARM missiles is due to their mediocre maximum speed, which is a little over 600 meters per second (1342 miles per hour), and high visibility.

According to the source, Ukrainian aviation uses these missiles from a long-range to avoid destroying the aircraft, which allows the Russian military to detect missiles long before they approach the area where Russian air defense systems are located.

At the same time, the source added that HARM missiles create certain difficulties in time-coordinated combined strikes because air defense systems are automatically redirected to them as a priority threat.

“However, Ukrainian troops have not yet been able to hit a single radar of the Russian air defense system, as well as illumination and engagement radars in the area of ​​the special military operation with HARM missiles,” the source said.

The HARM missile was adopted by the US air force in 1983. The maximum speed of the missile is declared at 2,280 kilometers per hour or 630 meters per second, while the launch range is up to 100 kilometers when used from high altitudes.

For comparison, the maximum speed of the Russian AS-17 Krypton and AS-11 Kilter anti-radar missiles exceeds 1,000 and 1,100 meters per second, respectively, and the launch range is over 200 kilometers.

Russia shot down US-made HARM missiles over Belgorod

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16 Jan, 2023 21:42

British Army chief comments on tanks for Ukraine

Sending Challengers to Kiev will make the UK weaker but is worth it, General Sir Patrick Sanders has warned

British Army chief comments on tanks for Ukraine

File photo: Challenger tanks are seen among other armored vehicle during a British Army exercise on Salisbury Plain in 2016. © Flickr/UK Defence Ministry/Peter Davies

While applauding the promised delivery of Challenger 2 tanks to the government in Kiev, the chief of the general staff of the British Army warned on Monday that the move will have an adverse effect on its combat readiness and asked for more funding for weapons.

Sending 14 tanks to Ukraine will leave the British Army “temporarily weaker,” General Sir Patrick Sanders wrote in an internal memo, according to state broadcaster BBC.

“There is no doubt that our choice will impact our ability to mobilize the army against the acute and enduring threat Russia presents and meet our NATO obligations,” Sanders noted, adding that it was vital that the army’s “warfighting capability” be restored swiftly.

However, he also argued that Ukraine would put the tanks to “good use” and that helping them defeat Russia “makes us safer.”

Sanders took over as chief of the army general staff in June last year, and immediately argued the British land forces should be “capable of fighting alongside our allies and defeating Russia in battle.”

NATO tanks ‘will burn’ – Kremlin
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NATO tanks ‘will burn’ – Kremlin

Britain has promised to send Ukraine 14 of the Challenger 2s, in the first delivery of Western-made main battle tanks since the conflict escalated in February 2022. London has also pledged 30 AS90 self-propelled guns.

The Kremlin reacted by saying the Challengers “will burn like the rest” of Western-supplied armor. Russia has repeatedly warned the US and its allies against sending more weapons to Kiev, saying that this only prolonged the conflict and risked open confrontation. NATO is insisting it is not a party to the conflict, while continuing to supply Ukraine with billions of dollars in military aid.

Last month in an interview, Ukraine’s top general claimed he needed 300 tanks to successfully fight Russia. Britain operated a total of 227 Challenger 2s as of 2020, when the defense ministry reportedly considered mothballing the entire armor corps as too costly.

On Monday, however, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told the House of Commons he needed more money for the military. Current plans call for £24 billion ($29.3 billion) over the next decade, though any new vehicles won’t be operational until the early 2030s, according to the BBC.

‘Buy Back’ Cheetahs! German MP Wants To Recall Gepard Anti-Aircraft Guns From Qatar & Divert Them To Ukraine

As Russia continues to rain hell on Ukrainian cities with its high-explosive bombs and missile & drone strikes, there are calls in Germany to send more Gepard or Cheetah anti-aircraft self-propelled guns to Kyiv to bolster its defense.

In a recent communication, German MP Roderich Kizewetter proposed “buying back” the 15 Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns (SZU) that were earlier sold to Qatar and redirecting it to Ukraine instead. Kieswetter is the former Bundeswehr general staff officer and politician of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

“The Qatari Cheetah tanks are currently not needed there and are in operational condition, so I would find a buyback very good. We should do everything that can contribute to Ukraine’s victory,” Kiesewetter told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The Bundeswehr has already shipped 30 Cheetah systems to Ukraine. Criticizing the ammunition sent for this system to Kyiv, Kiesewetter said, “The Cheetah has proven itself in action and was often used very efficiently at the beginning to combat ground targets.”

The statement comes at a time when the Russians have launched a renewed missile attack on the east of Ukraine. On January 14, Moscow’s Tu-22M 3 bombers launched five Kh-22 missiles and struck a residential building at Dnipro, killing several people.

It has also been announced that Germany will deliver Ukraine 300,000 ammunition for Gepard SPAAG by the middle of next year. The production of the first batch of ammunition should be completed in June or July.

In December, a German government website stated that the country was preparing to deliver seven Gepard tanks to Ukraine, over and above the 30 air-defense tanks already being used to fight the Russians.

At the time, German publication Spiegel had reported that the seven Gepard tanks, initially destined for the scrap heap, were being repaired by Munich-based arms manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and are expected to arrive in Ukraine in the spring of 2023.

The government had not provided an estimated delivery date for the tanks, which it claimed were pulled from manufacturer inventories. Notably, these deliveries sometimes depend on continuing maintenance or production, which may cause delays.

Supply of ammunition for the Gepard has proven problematic as Switzerland, which has stocks of ammunition, refused to supply it due to its neutrality. Subsequently, the defense ministry said that the government was in discussions with several producers about trying to acquire more ammunition and may potentially reach a point where Switzerland was no longer required.

Given the difficulties in procurement, it may be significant to note that Kiesewetter’s proposal to buy back the Gepards from Qatar could have been influenced by it. He said, “This makes it all the more important that Germany not only asks for more Cheetahs in Qatar but above all for ammunition,” asserting that the tanks would bring nothing for Ukraine without ammunition.

German Cheetah’s Roaring In Ukraine

Ukraine has employed the Gepard to shoot down everything from Russian cruise missiles to Iranian-made Shahed suicide drones.

In front-line brigade air-defense battalions, a Gepard and an Osa can be seen in a video that surfaced online in September. The 18-ton wheeled Osa can fire missiles up to nine miles afar and eight miles high using electro-optical and radar guidance. The Osa can first neutralize airborne threats at a relatively long distance, and the Gepard can kill any lingering threats.

The Gepard can launch streams of 35-millimeter rounds three miles afar when outfitted with its radar. The two vehicles might complement one another, said experts.

The anti-aircraft weapon has undergone numerous electronic improvements over the years. The Gepard has a two-person turret with two 35mm Oerlikon Contraves KDA cannons and is built on the tracked Leopard 1 Main Battle Tank (MBT) chassis.

The Gepard was also delivered to the Netherlands and Belgium. In addition, Brazil, Chile, Jordan, Romania, and Qatar are among the countries that still use self-propelled anti-aircraft guns.

The Gepard is equipped with independent search and tracking radars, with the former located at the front and back of the turret and the latter at the back and front. The radars enable search while moving, 360-degree scanning, target monitoring, clutter suppression, and mono-pulse tracking while also working in 360-degree scanning mode.

Twin Oerlikon KDA, 35mm cannons, are placed on the Gepard and are controlled by a two-person electric power system. The weapons have a belt feed that operates automatically. The barrel is 90 calibers in length (3,150mm).

The two barrels fire at a pace of 1,100 rounds per minute. Twenty rounds of anti-ground target ammunition and 320 rounds of anti-air ammunition are included with each 35mm cannon. Further, the muzzle velocity of the FAPDS rounds is greater than 1,400 meters per second. Eight smoke dischargers are located on either side of the turret of the Gepard.

The system has been described as “very successful” by the RUSI assessment against the tiny, sluggish, and low-flying Shahed-136 drones that Russia has been using quite frequently since mid-September. As the missile and drone strikes intensify in months, Ukraine would do well with additional Gepards and other cutting-edge air defense systems.

Ukraine: Is the Hammer About to Fall?

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Ukraine's Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi Killed In A Helicopter Crash, Who Was He?

Minister of Internal Affairs, Denys Monastyrskyi, was on board, as well as his First Deputy, Evgen Enin and Secretary of State, Yuriy Lubkovych.

The leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine and his deputy have died as a result of helicopter crash in Brovary. The head of the National Police, Ihor Klimenko, announced that the accident occurred on January 18th, and it was a helicopter from the National Police. According to reports in Ukrainian media, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Denys Monastyrskyi, was on board, as well as his First Deputy, Evgen Enin and Secretary of State, Yuriy Lubkovych.

Speaking on Ukrainian TV, deputy head of Ukrainian presidential office Kyrylo Tymoshenko said Monastyrskyi was en route to a war "hot spot" when his helicopter crashed.

Meanwhile, Kyiv Oblast Governor Oleksiy Kuleba said 18 people have been killed, including 3 children, in Brovary helicopter crash. As of 10:30 a.m., 29 people were injured, including 15 children, in the crash, he added.

"There were nine people on board: six members of the operational team of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, including the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as well as three members of the crew of the State Emergency Service," a statement from the Ukraine's state emergency service read.

As reported by the Spokesman of the Air Force Command, Yuriy Ignat, on a live television call, the helicopter that crashed in Brovary, Kyiv region, was on a mission for the State Emergency Service. "Unfortunately, this happened with the National Police helicopter, which was carrying out its duties and performing a flight. Currently, there are a certain number of such helicopters in Ukraine, which perform tasks for the defense of the country," said Ignat and added that more details should be expected from the National Police.

On the morning of January 18, 2023, people living in Brovary, Kyiv region reported a loud explosion and a subsequent large fire near a kindergarten. The incident was reported by local Telegram channels and videos of the event were shared. Later on, official authorities confirmed that the helicopter had collided. The crash occurred during low visibility conditions of darkness and fog, and initial reports indicate that the helicopter struck a kindergarten before crashing near a residential building, as per reports in Ukrainian media. Brovary is a city located east of Kyiv, with a population of around 100,000 people before the war. According to Lullia Mendel, former spokesperson to the Ukrainian President, investigation into the crash is currently examining 3 possible causes - "malfunction of equipment, sabotage, and mistake of pilot".

Who was Denys Monastyrskyi?

Denys Monastyrskyi was a Ukrainian legal professional and government official who held the position of Minister of Internal Affairs for Ukraine from July 16, 2021 until his passing today i.e. January 18, 2023. Denys Monastyrskyi was born on June 12, 1980 in Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine. He studied law at Khmelnytskyi University of Management and Law and also studied at Koretsky Institute of State and Law of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. He held a PhD in law. In 2007, Monastyrskyi began his career as a lawyer. He also led the department of legal research and expertise at Khmelnytskyi University of Management and Law, where he was an associate professor. He was also a co-founder and board member of the Podolia Youth Cultural Association.

Prior to the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election, Monastyrskyi was presented as a legal expert for candidate Volodymyr Zelenskyy's campaign team, focused on law enforcement reform. Zelenskyy won the election and became President of Ukraine in May 2019. Monastyrskyi also ran as a candidate for the Servant of the People party in the 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election, where he was placed 19th on the national list and was elected as a member of parliament. After the resignation of the Interior Minister Arsen Avakov in July 2021, Monastyrskyi was appointed as the Minister of Internal Affairs by 271 members of parliament on July 16, 2021.