Gherkins and the Golden Boot – Ukraine 1 Wales 0

She nailed it. My pal Anya, 33, from Kyiv, first game ever, said after 85 minutes: “You guys need to practise scoring.”

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Chew, what a scorcher – Ukraine 1 Wales 1 (2001)


In  the middle of Kyiv, 50 yards away from the Khreshatyk tube station is a restaurant/pub whose name escapes me.

On the menu are listed the usual starters, main courses, desserts, wines and half a page devoted to . . . chewing gums.

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The Yanukovych Palace and Berkut break-up

Mezhyhyria, Янукович PalaceWednesday, February 26 update from a pal

Just found out that Berkut have now been abolished – very pleased; I was giving out ‘abolish Berkut’ leaflets yesterday.

The remaining Maidan ‘Self-Defence Units’ have now taken on  new roles – guarding public buildings, directing traffic and acting as tour guides in the Independence Square area.

Continue reading The Yanukovych Palace and Berkut break-up

Ukraine – what now?

20131209-122224.jpgLast Friday I did a sub-editing shift on a national newspaper in London.

A friend ‘subbed’ the Ukraine Kiev piece and admitted afterwards it was incredibly difficult to follow the sequence of events, get his head round what had happened, who was who and what  all the trouble was about.

And why, indeed, they were fighting in the first place.

Welcome to Ukraine!

Then the guy proofing the page came over.

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Euromaidan, Kyiv, February 20

Euromaidan revolution UkraineFROM A BRITISH PAL WORKING IN KYIV

Another day of drama in Kyiv – though I’d expected that the visit by EU bigwigs would mean a truce.

About 9.30 am I was still in the flat, having slept well after the previous sleepless night.  I started hearing what sounded like gunshots and muffled thumps, then ambulance sirens – it was clear something was up.

Then I heard shouting outside – assuming it was protestors lining the route for the UE bunch, I quickly got dressed and left the flat – grabbing a large sheet of paper and marker pens to make some kind of sign.

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Deaths in Kyiv

Mezhyhyria, Янукович PalaceFROM MY PAL IN KYIV

I was working until about 2.30 this afternoon; there seemed to be a lot of sirens going off so I guessed something was going on in the city centre and headed in.

Today there was supposed to be a parliamentary vote on returning to the 2004 constitution, but the parliament did not convene in the end.

There were a lot of explosions going on at Hrushevskogo St so I walked there – the fighting had restarted and injured protestors were being ferried back from the front – one looked serious.

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The ‘Death Match’ stadium, Kyiv

Death Match Stadium, KyivThe ‘Death Match’ inspired a film starring Sylvester Stallone and is still a cause of furious debate more than 70 years after it was played.

The stadium in Kyiv which hosted the game on August 9, 1942, still stages games but is in typically decrepit Ukrainian condition.

It inspired the Escape to Victory movie but if you read wikipedia accounts then eye-witnesses claim players were not killed as a result of inflicting defeat on German players

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Euromaidan, Kyiv, protests – February 2

Euromaidan 2013FROM A BRITISH CONTACT IN UKRAINE – TODAY IS THE 11TH SUNDAY IN A ROW THAT PROTESTERS HAVE BEEN OUT IN FORCE IN KYIV:

Just been for a good look around the protest area.  It all seems to be kind of ‘bedding in’ like before – it’s just bigger now.

There are a lot of people staying in Ukraina House – from where they could be at Krushevskogo barricades in about a minute.

It’s all quite well-organised in there on a micro level – AutoMaidan Centre, medical centre, students centre, library, film centre, clothes donation area, food hall.  

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Euromaidan, Kyiv, protests – January 26

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Latest from my pal who supports the Euromaidan protest in Kyiv:

The white banner in one of the pictures below says ‘cossack redoubt’.20140126-140149.jpg

At the moment there are groups of people trailing all over central Kyiv so difficult to assess numbers.

Was speaking to some young hardline types who were of the opinion that the whole state structure needs smashing to pieces; was trying to convince them that the whole thing is pointless unless they can behave better than existing power and put something better in its place.

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Euromaidan, Kyiv, protests – January 24

FROM MY PAL IN KYIV (who is not the writer of the above tweet). The strong views of what he thinks will happen are his.

January 24, 11pm:

Pretty sure this weekend will decide it. People are flooding into Kyiv and more people in the city than ever are saying they will demonstrate, so there will be big/moderate turnout.

Many people are prepared for battle, there are large stocks of bulletproof vests, petrol bombs around conflict areas.

About 1,000 men must now win or face at least 15 year prison by new laws, but they believe the govt will kill them.

Continue reading Euromaidan, Kyiv, protests – January 24

Euromaidan, Kyiv, protests – January 23

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FROM MY PAL

Jan 23, evening:

Some western regional councils have come out against the govt, notably the Major of Lviv.

I think that Yanu and co. are weak, but also desperate – hence dangerous; the silly order to pelt the US Embassy with eggs (by ‘titushki’ – usually translated as ‘thugs’; but now they look even poorer and more miserable than before, in much fewer numbers, so I would not really apply ‘thugs’ to them) would seem indicative of some kind of dying gasp.

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Kyiv – where are all the leaders?

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THIS IS AN UPDATE FROM A FRIEND:

The other night (to be specific, Sunday night) I was watching the real conflict start, as buses started going up in flames and there were constant explosions from stun grenades, fireworks, gas canisters and molotov cocktails.

The demonstrators have been very careful not to damage private property, and were trying to physically manhandle a parked car out of the way of one of their hastily-erected barricades.

In the middle of all this, the car owner appeared, got in the car, drove off down the street.  Given that a nearby car was overturned and on fire, it must have been his lucky day. 

Continue reading Kyiv – where are all the leaders?