Ukraine

Putin’s version of The Standard

Vladimir Putin has his own set of bloggers, trolls and internet warriors pushing out positive propaganda on himself and negative attacks on his enemies. His very own version of The Standard.

Now one of those hired trolls has come clean.

When Lyudmila Savchuk heard about the assassination of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov earlier this year she was shocked and saddened.

“I felt the bullets between my own shoulders,” she said, recalling how the Kremlin critic was gunned down near Moscow’s Red Square in February.

Yet within hours of Mr Nemtsov’s death, Ms Savchuk and her colleagues were going online to pour bile on the former deputy prime minister and claim he was killed by his own friends rather than by government hitmen, as many suspect.

“I was so upset that I almost gave myself away,” she said. “But I was 007. I fulfilled my task.”

The “007” role that Ms Savchuk refers to is her own extroardinary one-woman spying mission, which appears to shed intriguing light on the propaganda machine that props up the rule of Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president.

Ms Savchuk says that for two months, she worked as one of scores of “internet operators” in a secretive “troll factory” called Internet Research, an anonymous four-storey building on a back street in St Petersburg, Russia’s former tsarist capital and Mr Putin’s hometown.  Read more »

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Politician dumped in skip

I guess our own politicians would be thankful our street corner meetings aren’t as lively as this one in Ukraine.   Read more »

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Photo Of The Day

REMKO DE WAAL/AFP/Getty Images A convoy of hearses carrying coffins containing the remains of victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, drives from the Eindhoven Airbase to Hilversum on July 23, 2014, after a ceremony following the arrival of a Dutch Air Force C-130 Hercules plane and an Australian Royal Australian Air Force C17 transport plane with the first bodies of the 298 victims of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane crash in eastern Ukraine. The first bodies from flight MH17 arrived in the Netherlands on Wednesday almost a week after it was shot down over Ukraine, as the conflict flared yet again near the Malaysian airliner's crash site.

REMKO DE WAAL/AFP/Getty Images
A convoy of hearses carrying coffins containing the remains of victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, drives from the Eindhoven Airbase to Hilversum on July 23, 2014, after a ceremony following the arrival of a Dutch Air Force C-130 Hercules plane and an Australian Royal Australian Air Force C17 transport plane with the first bodies of the 298 victims of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane crash in eastern Ukraine. The first bodies from flight MH17 arrived in the Netherlands on Wednesday almost a week after it was shot down over Ukraine, as the conflict flared yet again near the Malaysian airliner’s crash site.

Why Bringing Bodies Home Matters

Read more »

Civilian? No weapons… Well, then it was bringing spies! (MH17 phone calls)

Listen to the people who may have been involved in shooting down MH17 looking for anything that can justify the mistake in military terms…

BREAKING: provisional report of 1 New Zealander on board downed flight MH17 [ LIVE UPDATES ]


A Malaysian Airlines passenger plane has been shot down on the Russian-Ukraine border, killing all 295 people on board, according to a Ukrainian interior ministry official.

Flight MH17, which was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew, was flying between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur after taking off at lunchtime today.

Read our earlier live reports here.  It contains a lot of background information, some of it superseded, but most of it still useful.


LIVE UPDATING CLOSED.  Any further major updates will happen via their own posts, minor updates via Daily Roundup and or the general debate posts.

11:57

sdfsdf

11:47am

11:20am

Phone call transcript via Kyiv Post

First call:

Igor Bezler: We have just shot down a plane. Group Minera. It fell down beyond Yenakievo (Donetsk Oblast).

Vasili Geranin: Pilots. Where are the pilots?

IB: Gone to search for and photograph the plane. It’s smoking.

VG: How many minutes ago?

IB: About 30 minutes ago.

Second call (approx 40 minutes later)   Read more »

MH370 now joined by MH17 – Malaysian Airlines jet shot down over Ukraine [ UPDATED]

UPDATED  (LIVE REPORTING CONTINUES HERE)

9:16am

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman says the airline does not operate any routes that fly over Ukraine, nor does it have a passenger sharing arrangement with airlines that do.

9:06am

More of a “no news’ update:  MFaT still unable to comment on New Zealand passenger numbers on MH17.

9:00am

Schiphol reports: 154 Dutch; 27 Australian; 23 Malaysia; 11 Indonesia; 6 UK; 4 Germany; 4 Belgium; 3 Philippines; 1 Canada; 47 unknown.  All 15 crew members were Malaysian.

8:54am

Press conference in The Netherlands from Shiphol.

8:41am
Press conference audio


8:49am

Passengers are from Netherlands with 143 passengers. Australia comes in second with 27 passengers. There were 11 Indonesian passengers and one infant on-board the ill-fated flight. Britain has six passengers, France and Germany have four each, Belgium have three and Canada one. Nationalities of the other 58 passengers were not stated in the list. 

8:47

UNCONFIRMED  – Nationalities Passenger details Netherlands 143 Australian 27 Malaysian 20 (including 2 infants) Indonesian 11 (including 1 infant) Read more »

Our next King comes good

It looks like the royal protocol people that have to mop up after Phil the Greek are going to have to their work cut out with King Charles.

Prince Charles has reportedly likened Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler.

In an unguarded comment about the Russian President’s actions in the Ukraine, the Prince of Wales told a woman who had lost relatives in the Nazi Holocaust: “And now Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler,” the Daily Mail reported.

The Prince’s comment could potentially be seen as criticism of the West for failing to confront Mr Putin over his seizure of Crimea. The annexation was a first by a major power in Europe since 1945.

Commentators have likened Russia’s handing of the Ukraine crisis to Hitler’s takeovers of Poland and Czechoslovakia and have criticised Mr Putin’s use of special forces in disguise to stir up tension in disputed areas.

The Prince of Wales, who is due to meet Mr Putin at the D-Day commemorations in France on June 6, made his well-intentioned but unguarded comment during a visit to the Canadian Museum of Immigration in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Mail said.

Read more »

Do they need the Queensbury Rules as part of Standing Orders?

Compare this to David Parker holding his breath and turning red for getting his ass handed to him by Bill English.  How would he survive here:

Perhaps the next step in Tau Henare’s colourful political career spanning many parties is that he’s going to join the Ukranian parliament?  It appears they have a need for his pugilistic skill set.

Labour still playing fast and loose with intellectual property

What started as a time sensitive reference to Game of Thrones, Labour’s tweet pushing their North Korean power solution has backfired somewhat.

Commenters on twitter have lambasted Labour for using a photo of a Ukrainian forest taken by a Ukrainian photographer who goes by the name of Vladimir Agafonkin or his online persona of “Mourner”.

Sp Labour couldn’t be bothered finding a Kiwi image, or use one from w Kiwi photographer and instead nicked a photo from an offshore photographer hoping they wouldn’t get sprung.

Then again why should we be surprised when they get their IT policy dictated to them by Kim Dotcom.  Read more »

But do they have fricken laser beams

The Russians have nicked the Ukraine’s secret combat dolphins.

Foreign Policy reports:

The Ukrainian military is promising to one day reclaim its former bases in Crimea, but one unit has been lost forever: Ukraine’s combat dolphins, who are now swimming for Russia.

The dolphins, stationed in a Ukrainian navy oceanarium in Sevastopol, will now attack enemy scuba divers, attach buoys to sea-floor mines, and patrol open waters at the behest of Moscow, according to Russian news service RIA Novosti. The program had been set to shut down, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has apparently given Sevastopol’s combat dolphins another crack at navy life. “Our experts have developed new devices, which convert the detection of objects by the dolphins’ underwater sonar to a signal on an operator’s monitor,” an oceanarium employee told the news service in an overt attempt to curry favor with his new bosses. “But the Ukrainian navy lacked the funds for such know-how, and some projects had to be shuttered.”  Read more »