The Cold War – Redux (Duplicity). Ukraine Part 3.

I have recently written the first of two novels in my latest Apocalyptic series, ‘Force Majeure – Purgatory’ and ‘Force Majeure – Paralysis’. The third in the series will be out mid next year. Prior to these two books, I wrote a Cold War trilogy, The Red Effect, The Black Effect and The Blue Effect, portraying what I believe could have happened in the 1980’s, had the Soviets, and the Warsaw Pact, taken the decision to attack West Germany and plunged the world into a third world war.

I now ask myself the question, are we heading down that very route now? To answer that, I am in the process of writing the first book in a new Cold War trilogy, or the ‘Cool War’ as it is sometimes referred to. The first draft title is ‘The Cold War – Redux (Duplicity)’.

Where does my story start? I felt the only way to find the answer to that was to go to the very melting pot that could turn the Cool War, into a Hot War, the Ukraine. I have made two trips so far, and the next 12 Posts will relate my experiences while there.

Flag_of_Ukraine.svg

.

The flag of Ukraine.

.

IMG_2067

I am now heading east not far from the shores of the Dnieper River, the fourth longest river in Europe, making my way towards the Museum of the Great Patriotic War.

.

IMG_2014

On the way I came across a few armoured fighting vehicles on display. This one is the remains of a BTR-80.

.

IMG_2015

Soldiers of the 95th Airmobile Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces used mortars and an RPG-26 to neutralise this BTR-80.

.

IMG_2053

The BTR was moved to the field headquarters of the 95th Separate Airmobile Brigade in Sloviansk, Donetsk region, on the 27 January, 2015.

.

IMG_2051

A number of points confirmed to the Ukrainian Army that it was of Russian origin. This particular BTR-80 had the new Russian-made KI-126 tyres.

.

IMG_2054

It was also equipped with a modified night vision sight for the machine gunner. This sight was only produced in Russia, and not in Ukraine. During the 23 years of Independence from Russia, Ukraine did not buy this BTR model from Russia.

.

IMG_2018

This BMD-2 was captured by soldiers of the 25th Separate Dnipropetrovsk Airborne Brigade near Luhansk in August 2014.

.

IMG_2036

It was moved to Debaltseve, Donetsk region, on 24 August, 2014.

.

IMG_2038

The airborne, Mechanised Infantry Combat Vehicle, was designated as number 234 and had a tactical sign, shaped as an inverted white triangle. The troops manning this vehicle possessed documents identifying them as soldiers from military base Number 74268, of the Russian Federation. This unit is believed to be part of the 76th Airborne Division, based in Pskov, Russia.

.

IMG_2021

BM-21, on a Ural-375 chassis.

.

IMG_2020

This particular vehicle was seized near the town of Dobropillia, Donetsk region in June 2014.

.

IMG_2030

This is a multiple rocket launcher armed with 40, 122mm rockets.

.

IMG_2026

Russian origin was confirmed by the ballistics charts with the vehicle that were stamped with base Number, 27777.

.

IMG_2024

A rhombus shaped tactical sign in a square, indicating the unit was from the 18th Motorised Infantry Brigade, attached to the 58th Southern District, based in the Chechen Republic.

.

IMG_2023

.

IMG_2022

The Ukrainian BM-21 is different, based on a Kraz-6322.

.

IMG_2031

Effective range of between 20km and 45km (with the new rockets). The area east of Mariupol is frequently hit by artillery and rocket fire. The day after I left the troops on the front line, they were bombarded by a BM-21.

.

IMG_2069

Leaving the above display, I continued walking towards the museum.

.

IMG_2071

76mm artillery pieces lined the route.

.

IMG_2076

2nd World War 3IC-3 1942.

IMG_2082

I then came across post a WW2 T-10M.

.

IMG_2087

It is a 52 ton tank with a 122mm gun.

.

IMG_2181

This large underpass would lead me to the entrance of the museum.

.

IMG_2179

A large outdoor monument in the War museum grounds.

.

IMG_2184

The carved statues depicting scenes from WW2 were impressive. I spent a couple of hours just studying each scene. There are no comments for the following pictures, I think the images speak for themselves.

.

IMG_2183

.

IMG_2186

.

IMG_2188

.

IMG_2190

.

IMG_2191

.

IMG_2192

.

IMG_2194

.

IMG_2196

.

IMG_2198

.

IMG_2199

.

IMG_2202

.

IMG_2203

.

IMG_2205

The other side of the underpass.

.

IMG_2253

The people in the image give an indication of the size of this particular section of the monument. When lit on special occasions, it burns up to 400 cubic metres of gas per hour.

.

IMG_2204

.

IMG_2207

.

IMG_2211

Outside the entrance to the museum itself, there were more pieces of armour, in this instance they were main battle tanks.

.

IMG_2218

This T-64 was captured when pro-Russian separatists attempted to break through the encirclement of Sloviansk, Donetsk.

.

IMG_2224

The tank was stamped with the number Ts11ET12109, issued by the Malyshev Factory in Kharkiv, but it was never part of the Ukrainian Army.

.

IMG_2235

.

IMG_2236

Two of the tanks captured have been painted in the colours of Ukraine’s national flag.

.

IMG_2238

The ‘Motherland Monument’ was impressive to say the least. It is often referred as the Rodinamat.

.

IMG_2250

The sculpture is part of the Museum of History of Ukraine in WW2.

.

IMG_2243

Designed by Yevgeny Vuchetich, the stainless steel statue stands at sixty-two metres tall on top of the museum building. It weighs 560 tons. The sword is sixteen metres long and weighs nine tons.

.

IMG_2241

The shield on the monument shows the state emblem of the Soviet Union. The statue was opened in 1981 in a ceremony attended by Leonid Brezhnev.

.

Next week I will show more of the museum, before covering my trips to Mariupol in following posts.

It was, and is still, a very complicated situation in Ukraine. So, if some of my information is incorrect, then please flag it to me and I can amend the content. Thank you for reading this first Post.

Site and content, including photographs, is copyrighted to Harvey Black.

 

The Cold War – Redux (Duplicity). Ukraine Part 2.

I have recently written the first of two novels in my latest Apocalyptic series, ‘Force Majeure – Purgatory’ and ‘Force Majeure – Paralysis’. The third in the series will be out mid next year. Prior to these two books, I wrote a Cold War trilogy, The Red Effect, The Black Effect and The Blue Effect, portraying what I believe could have happened in the 1980’s, had the Soviets, and the Warsaw Pact, taken the decision to attack West Germany and plunged the world into a third world war.

I now ask myself the question, are we heading down that very route now? To answer that, I am in the process of writing the first book in a new Cold War trilogy, or the ‘Cool War’ as it is sometimes referred to. The first draft title is ‘The Cold War – Redux (Duplicity)’.

Where does my story start? I felt the only way to find the answer to that was to go to the very melting pot that could turn the Cool War, into a Hot War, the Ukraine. I have made two trips so far, and the next 12 Posts will relate my experiences while there.

Flag_of_Ukraine.svg

.

The flag of Ukraine.

.

IMG_1430

This is the view along Threshchatyk Vulyysya, looking back towards Independence Square, as I continue my journey. I now head towards the Kiev Dynamo stadium and the government buildings. The scene of even more violence in the Ukrainian people’s attempt to secure Independence yet again.

.

IMG_1442

Peoples Arch of Friendship, Kiev.

IMG_1441

Its literal name is ‘Arch of Friendship of Peoples’. Opened on 7 November, 1982 to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the USSR and the celebration of the 1,500th Anniversary of Kiev city.

.

IMG_1668

The view from Naberezhne Highway, that runs alongside the Dnieper River.

.

IMG_1447

On the high ground close to the Friendship Arch, looking back towards the Dnieper River from where I took the last picture.

.

IMG_1472

I then headed towards the Kiev Dynamo Stadium. You can see the Independence Square monument in the distance.

IMG_1489

When I first saw this structure, I couldn’t figure out what it was.

.

IMG_1481

I then crossed the Bridge of Lovers. It is also known as the Bridge of Suicides (The last suicide was in 2007) and the Devils Bridge (due to it rocking in strong winds).

.

IMG_1480

Padlocks, with the names of lovers etched on them.

.

IMG_1485

I eventually came across the Kiev Dynamo Stadium, and discovered the construction I saw earlier was actually one of four floodlight towers for the stadium.

.

IMG_1984

Another set of buildings that caught my eye on my way to the stadium entrance, was the golden domes of St. Michael’s Monastery. The statue in the background, with the raised sword, also caught my eye. That will be covered in my third Post.

.

IMG_1533

The main entrance to the Kiev Dynamo Stadium.

.

IMG_1563

The stadium was the scene of violent unrest during the Euromaiden riots as the anti-government demonstrators headed for the parliament buildings.

.

IMG_1565

The scene back in January 2014.

.

IMG_1568

The riot police, along with the Berkut, a quick reaction force, a special police force, had great difficulty quelling the riots and eventually resorted to using gunfire. The Berkut, implemented in 1993, were considered particularly violent towards the Ukrainian citizens. I believe they have now been disbanded.

.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 20.37.26

A stand off, but with petrol bombs being regularly thrown at the police lines.

.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 20.42.34

An anti-government protester with helmet and homemade wooden shield.

.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 20.45.31

The Euromaiden Revolution, as it has become known as, lasted from late November 2013, to late February 2014.

.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 20.46.53

Fireworks and smoke grenades were used by both sides. The protesters also used slingshots, petrol bombs and heavy chains to attack the riot police.

.

IMG_1018

Again, the position of those that fell during the riots have been painted on the ground. These ones are just in front of the Kiev Dynamo Stadium.

.

IMG_1013

These ones on the road itself.

.

IMG_1006

More memorials to the fallen enroute from Independence Square to the parliament buildings.

.

IMG_0999

.

.

IMG_1915

I soon approached the western end of the Verkhovna Rada building, set in Constitution Square. This is where the Ukrainian Parliament meets.

.

IMG_1918 (1)

Now approaching the southern side of the building.

.

IMG_1919

The iron gates, showing the coat of arms of Ukraine, that lead to the Inner sanctuary of the parliament grounds.

.

Kiev-VerkhovnaRadaBuildingGate

These were the original gates, echoing the Soviet Epoch.

.

IMG_1920

In England, you wouldn’t hesitate in asking policemen, or soldiers, who man cerimonial buildings of interest, for a photograph. I approached these two, asking to take a photograph and initially they were extremely reluctant. But, eventually they agreed to make a tourist’s day, and posed for the shot.

.

IMG_1925

This is the front view of the Parliament building.

.

IMG_1924

.

IMG_1943

Three storeys high, it is crowned with a dome made of metal and glass.

.

IMG_1934

There was a fairly heavy police presence around the Parliament building.

.

IMG_1926

They didn’t appear to be showing any concerns of someone taking photographs of the building.

.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 20.58.04

But during the riots, the scene was very different.

.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 21.03.33

.

It was, and is still, a very complicated situation in Ukraine. So, if some of my information is incorrect, then please flag it to me and I can amend the content. Thank you for reading this first Post.

.

Site and content, including photographs, is copyrighted to Harvey Black.

 

The Cold War – Redux (Duplicity). Ukraine Part 1.

I have recently written the first of two novels in my latest Apocalyptic series, ‘Force Majeure – Purgatory’ and ‘Force Majeure – Paralysis’. The third in the series will be out mid next year. Prior to these two books, I wrote a Cold War trilogy, The Red Effect, The Black Effect and The Blue Effect, portraying what I believe could have happened in the 1980’s, had the Soviets, and the Warsaw Pact, taken the decision to attack West Germany and plunged the world into a third world war.

I now ask myself the question, are we heading down that very route now? To answer that, I am in the process of writing the first book in a new Cold War trilogy, or the ‘Cool War’ as it is sometimes referred to. The first draft title is ‘The Cold War – Redux (Duplicity)’.

Where does my story start? I felt the only way to find the answer to that was to go to the very melting pot that could turn the Cool War, into a Hot War, the Ukraine. I have made two trips so far, and the next 12 Posts will relate my experiences while there.

Flag_of_Ukraine.svg

.

The flag of Ukraine is a banner of two equally sized horizontal bands of blue and yellow. As a national flag, it was used officially from 1848, since the Spring of Nations when it was hoisted over the Lviv Rathaus. It was officially adopted as a state flag in 1918, by the West Ukrainian People’s Republic. But when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, the flag was outlawed and anyone hoisting the blue-yellow flag in the Soviet Ukraine, would be persecuted as a criminal. It was officially restored in 1992, following Ukraine’s Independence.

.

IMG_1053

Boryspil International Airport, Kiev. Situated 29 kilometres east of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, it is the country’s largest airport. It is one of two passenger airports that serve Kiev, the second one, Zhulyany Airport, is closer to the city, but much smaller.

.

IMG_1488

The view of the side of the airport, seen from one of the cafes inside.

.

IMG_1368

Once settled in my hotel, after changing my dollars for Ukrainian currency, Hryvna, in a linen shop, yes a linen shop, I headed for Independence Square. There are some impressive buildings in the city and I will show more of them as my Posts progress.

.

IMG_1041

The view from Khreshchatyk of the Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square. It is the central square of Kiev.

.

IMG_1675

It is often referred to as just, Maidan, ‘square’.

.

IMG_1678

The square was given its current name after Ukraine’s independence in 1991. Following the end of the Soviet era, the Maidan has since become a focal point for public political activity. The square, along with the Stadium and Parliament buildings, was one of the sites of the Euromaidan protests that started in November 2014.

Initially swinging towards an association with Western Europe, the President at that time, Viktor Yanukovych, had a change of heart and suspended preparations for the Implementation of an association agreement with the European Union. Whether as a consequence of a desire to remain a part of the Eurasian Union, advocated by President Putin, or because of the rising debt as a consequence of the Russian Federation hiking up the prices of gas, and additional pressure from the Russian Federation itself, no one truly knows.

.

IMG_1679

Independence Monument, the victory column, located on Independence Square, commemorates the Independence of Ukraine. It is 61 metres in height.

The provision of Gas to Ukraine, provided President Putin with a real stranglehold on the country. In December 2013, he promised to reduce Gas prices by 30%. Around about that time, Ukraine probably owed somewhere in the region of over $4 billion in debt to Gazprom. Putin also promised to help fund the debt ridden country. This all changed after the uprisings and Yanukovych fleeing the country, and in June 2014, gas supplies to Ukraine were cutoff. It was only restarted after trilateral talks between between the European Union, Ukraine and Russia, when it was agreed that the European Union would act as guarantor for Ukraine’s gas purchases.

.

IMG_1376

The monument is a column with a figurine of a woman, Berehynia (female spirit), on top. The statue is made of cast bronze and weighs about 20 tons.

.

IMG_1537

The view opposite the statue. The glass jars/bottles have been placed on the ground to represent the shape of the Coat of Arms of Ukraine.

.

IMG_1420

Each has a small candle inside.

IMG_1540

During the riots in Kiev, that started in late November 2013, things looked very different then. I will cover more of this during my next few posts before I travel further south. The Trade Union building can be seen in the background on the

far right.

.

kiev-independence-square-ukraine-burning-in-flames

Trade Union Building, Independence Square, in flames. The building was used as an Opposition Base during the Euromaiden riots

.

IMG_1576

This is a photograph of the Trade Union building taken this year, 2015, in the preceding photograph you can see the true effects of the fire.

.

IMG_1411

There are many stands in Independence Square communicating their own view about the events at the Maiden.

.

IMG_1390

There were a number of individuals collecting money for the hospitals, who are treating and caring for the Ukrainian Army soldiers, or soldiers from the Volunteer Battalions, who gave up their time, and lives in some cases, for the defence of the Donbass region as they battled against the pro-Russian separatists.

.

IMG_1535

Independence Square.

The sign on the old Gaz says, ‘they are collecting for humanitarian and financial aid for battalion “Donbass-Ukraine.”

.

IMG_1581

Independence Square is also a place for speeches, party political meetings and when closed off on a Sunday, for friends and families to just have fun.

.

IMG_1506

But the Ukrainian Parliament is still wary of any event occurring in the square, as a consequence of previous events in the city. I couldn’t identify a police presence at all, so decided to look around the outskirts of the city and came across a bus parked up not far from the entrance to the Kiev Dynamo stadium. It would only take a five minute drive to reach the Maiden.

.

IMG_1515

The riot police seemed fairly relaxed, and didn’t appear to be anticipating trouble. But they were there all the same.

.

IMG_1564

Again, during the period of heavy rioting, the scene were very different, the riot police had their hands full in quelling the troubles. The people of Ukraine, and in this case those living in and around Kiev, were adamant that they favoured a relationship with the West, rather that the Russian Federation.  The Russian Federation was proposing the creation of the Eurasian Union, the old Soviet Union under a different mantle?

I remember the violence of the riots in Belfast during the 80s. Being a part of a ‘Snatch Squad’ on a number of occasions. When you see some of the clips of the riots in Kiev during the height of the troubles, it will bring back lots of frightening memories for British soldiers who served in NI at that time.

.

ni-1-0022

Belfast, Northern Ireland in the early eighties.

.

IMG_1534

Where civilians were killed during the riots, and there were many, the shapes of their fallen bodies have been painted where they fell, in remembrance of those horrific times.

.

IMG_1431

This the view along Threshchatyk Vulyysya, looking back towards Independence Square, as I continue my journey. I now head towards the Lobanovsky Dynamo stadium and the government buildings. The scene of even more violence in the Ukrainian people’s attempt to secure Independence for a second or third time in their history.

It was, and is still, a very complicated situation in Ukraine. So, if some of my information is incorrect, then please flag it up and I can amend the content. Thank you for reading this first Post.

.

//ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=harveyblackau-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=B01D24TMDG&asins=B01D24TMDG&linkId=&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true

.

Site and content, including photographs, is copyrighted to Harvey Black.

 

Force Majeure (2) – Paralysis.

Paralysis_Advance Information Sheet Paralysis2

The second in my new Apocalyptic series, Force Majeure (2)- Paralysis. Kindle version due out tomorrow, 17 July 2015, Paperback within a few days after.

.

Following the catastrophic events of Purgatory, the UK has been thrown into confusion and chaos. As the country is ravaged by ferocious winter storms, food shortages and outbreaks of deadly disease, survival seems less and less likely. Some groups carry on, determined to find shelter, food or even just answers.

In London, the Bravo troop head underground, seeking out a government that may no longer exist. Headstrong Judy leads a group of survivors from the M4 in search of civilisation and along the way learns the horrific depths that humanity can sink to.

Tom, Andrew and their families are building their new lives in Exmoor National Park when they stumble into an unexpected discovery that could change everything…

In this chilling, dystopian story of disaster, endurance and human nature, Harvey Black expertly weaves together the lives of his characters as they struggle to withstand the hardships of a nuclear winter. Will anyone make it out alive? Should they even want to…?

Harvey Black (24)

.

Operation_Upshot-Knothole_-_Badger_001

What would happen if the UK was hit by over 300 megatons of nuclear missiles/bombs? What plans are in place to deal with the aftermath?

.

A typical Regional Government Headquarters – Chillmark

Harvey Black Force Majeure-Purgatory (1)

The Chilmark RGHQ.

The Chilmark Regional Government Headquarters served the eastern zone of the Number 7 South Western Home Defence Region, covering the counties of Avon, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Dorset. It was designated as RGHQ 7.1.

.

Harvey Black Force Majeure-Purgatory (3)

.

Some great additional information can be found at Steve Fox’s, Struggle for Survival, site below.

http://www.subbrit.org.uk/rsg/features/sfs/new_page_1.htm

Site and content is copyrighted to Harvey Black.