Day 700 – Double Overshadow

It’s Day 700 of South Africa’s “lockdown” (we’re not locked down at all), but upon waking this morning, that landmark (such as it is) was obviously overshadowed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine overnight. It’s an odd thing for them to have done, because they repeatedly assured us that they weren’t going to invade Ukraine, but actually, all along, it seems that they were.
Almost like it wasn’t the full truth that we were getting from Vlad and his team.

Like I say… weird. I mean, who knew?

Some scary scenes this morning in Ukraine, and it’s only going to get uglier once the initial aerial onslaught has been completed and the ground-based operation begins.

Thankfully, this is a case of double overshadow though, as I also woke to the memory of Ben Davies scoring a 92nd minute winner in the crunch game against Blackburn Rovers at Beautiful Downtown Bramall Lane last night. After suffering the slings and arrows of a red card and then a penalty against us soon after, it was an unlikely victory, but one that I’m more than happy to take. So some small mercies (well, one) as the sun rises over Cape Town this morning. Although while this one is probably less likely to influence global foreign policy and the potential imminent outbreak of World War 3, it was a pretty amazing evening.

And so the march continues onto Millwall (and Kiev) this weekend.

Day 693 – Crisis averted. Stand down, Vlad.

Months of build-up, rhetoric and sabre-rattling have brought us to the point where a Russian invasion of Ukraine seems basically guaranteed, despite the repeated assurances of Putin and his government that they have no such plans.

It’s a crisis situation. Numerous envoys from numerous countries have tried – and seemingly failed – to negotiate some sort of solution to the potential invasion. In truth, it’s quite difficult to threaten sanctions or military action in order to get someone to not do what they say they aren’t going to do anyway.

But when all else has failed, if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them…
maybe you can hire The A-Team Namibia.

Clearly, other countries weren’t quite sure what exactly was required between Russia and Ukraine, and this was probably a bit of a stumbling block in any negotiations. Imagine you go in to chat to Vlad. He asks you what you want, you say that you don’t want him to invade Ukraine. He laughs and says he’s not going to do that anyway, so why are you here, what do you need? You stumble… er… I don’t really know. Why are you here? What is needed? A cup of tea would be nice, please. Hold the Novichok. Thanks.

Not Namibia. They’re bang in there with the big statements, like:

Peace needed between Russia, Ukraine.

That wisdom, tho’!

The world had been on the edge of its seat, hanging on a thread, attached to a tenterhook, awaiting Namibia’s thoughts. And now those thoughts have arrived and they say: Peace needed between Russia, Ukraine.

Cometh the hour, cometh the second least densely populated sovereign nation on the planet.

The crisis has been averted. Stand down, Vlad. As you were.

Day 688 – The consequences of war

As the threat of World War III moves ever closer – despite Putin’s assurances that he has no plans to invade Ukraine – there are other connected issues which need to be addressed up front.

Location map of Crimea. | Download Scientific Diagram

Anyone – and I mean anyone – attempting to dismiss or make light of criticism towards any hostile advance into Ukrainian sovereign territory using the phase (or any derivation thereof):

Crimea river

will immediately lose all respect from me. That’s if they ever had it in the first place.

I hope you take this warning seriously. I have no time for tired, old puns on this blog. So if you were planning on using it, I hope that you’re now Russian around looking for an alternative.

Big Bang Theory

Actually, the “Theory” bit is wholly extraneous. When your country’s biggest ammunition dump (at Balakleya, Kharkov) catches fire*, there’s no theory involved. It’s all about the big bangs.

This one is good, watch especially for the explosion at 2:06, the Ukrainian expression of surprise at 2:07, the ensuing shockwave at 2:16 and the slightly more animated Ukrainian expression of surprise at 2:18.

Basically we’re looking at big, uncontrolled, massively dangerous fireworks here. And how cool is that?

Equally cool is that someone took to the skies remotely with their drone and recorded it all from above, adding some wholly inappropriate background music.

Look out for that same HUGE explosion about halfway through this one, forming what looks like a terrifying smoky jellyfish.



* or is sabotaged by the Russians. 

Over Ukraine

As I’m currently flying over (or maybe around) Ukraine, so why not hit you up with a Chernobyl post?

For the attention of the residents of Pripyat! The City Council informs you that due to the accident at Chernobyl Power Station in the city of Pripyat the radioactive conditions in the vicinity are deteriorating. The Communist Party, its officials and the armed forces are taking necessary steps to combat this. Comrades, leaving your residences temporarily please make sure you have turned off the lights, electrical equipment and water and shut the windows. Please keep calm and orderly in the process of this short-term evacuation.

Here’s that video taken by CBS in Pripyat, showing the desolation and ruin caused by “the catastrophe that never ended” – their words, not mine.

[vimeo clip_id=”112681885″ width=”678″ height=”289″]

And, while we’re here, a reminder of Michael Jennings’ excellent account of his visit to the same place and another – more recent – essay on the same “dark tourism” subject which I really enjoyed reading.

Tomorrow: Less radiation, more England!