THE Russian military is building an unusual electric flying vehicle that will look more like a paddle steamer than a conventional aircraft. In 1909, Russian engineer Evgeny Sverchkov proposed the cyclocopter, which has side-mounted, cylindrical, rotating wings composed of many wing-like blades. Some versions actually flew in the 1930s, but only briefly, as they were unstable due to the lack of electronic flight controls. Russia's military research wing, the Advanced Research Foundation (FPI), is now reviving the idea.
CHERNOBYL, Ukraine – As the staging ground for an assault on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, one of the most toxic places on Earth, was probably not the best choice. But that did not seem to bother the Russian generals who took over the site in the early stages of the war. "We told them not to do it, that it was dangerous, but they ignored us," Valeriy Simyonov, chief safety engineer for the Chernobyl nuclear site, said in an interview. In a visit to the recently liberated nuclear station -- site of the world's worst nuclear disaster, in 1986 -- wind blew swirls of dust along the roads, and scenes of disregard for safety were everywhere, although Ukrainian nuclear officials say no major radiation leak was triggered by Russia's monthlong military occupation. At just one site of extensive trenching a few hundred yards outside the town of Chernobyl, the Russian army had dug an elaborate maze of sunken walkways and bunkers. An abandoned armored personnel carrier sat nearby.
MOSCOW – An American member of the OSCE's monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine died Sunday and two others were wounded when their vehicle was blown up by a mine in the separatist Luhansk region. The mission's deputy head, Alexander Hug, said the member killed was from the U.S. and the two wounded are from Germany and the Czech Republic. Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine's Interior Ministry, earlier said on social media the man who was killed was a British citizen, but later deleted the post. Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who holds the rotating chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, called for an investigation into the blast and said on Twitter that "those responsible will be held accountable." The self-proclaimed security ministry for the Russia-backed separatist rebels in Luhansk said the mine had been laid by Ukrainian forces.
The North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year finalists have been announced ahead of a January 11th awards ceremony. The nine vehicles were chosen from 27 semifinalists by a panel of 50 journalists who looked at the latest all-new or significantly redesigned models. The awards were traditionally given out adjacent to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, but the start of that event has been moved to September for the next three years.
Russian soldiers who seized the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster drove their armored vehicles without radiation protection through a highly toxic zone called the "Red Forest," kicking up clouds of radioactive dust, workers at the site said. The two sources said soldiers in the convoy did not use any anti-radiation gear. The second Chernobyl employee said that was "suicidal" for the soldiers because the radioactive dust they inhaled was likely to cause internal radiation in their bodies. Ukraine's state nuclear inspectorate said on Feb. 25 there had been an increase in radiation levels at Chernobyl as a result of heavy military vehicles disturbing the soil. But until now, details of exactly what happened had not emerged.