Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Most interesting report out of Russia published in the Kyiv Post, Russian opposition analysts arguing in much detail that the inconsistencies and coincidences in the St Petersburg subway bombing all point to a false flag operation contrived by the Russian government – while Russian pro-govt conspiracy theorists argue it was a Ukrainian false flag covert op. Sharpe in Newsweek summarises Russia’s meltdown, while Goble’s survey of the meltdown (No.78) is a must read. Trucker strike gathers momentum, good essays on the collapse of Russian language skills outside ethnic Russian enclaves, while Ikhlov directly compares Putin’s imperialist ideology to that which gathered momentum during the period of Ivan IV (AKA The Terrible), as noted earlier in this series (always nice to see Russians independently reach the same conclusions months later). Good essays on propaganda by Peterson, Pollock and Hooper. Belarus meltdown continues, as Russia prohibits export of Belarusian POL (including military fuels to Ukraine).
Russians ramp up disinformation campaign around sarin attack, multiple essays and reports of interest, including David Kilcullen, Joel Harding, Paul Gregory, Haaretz and a Syrian defector claiming hundreds of tonnes of chemical agents were retained in violation of the Russian guarantee.
On Ukraine, SECSTATE’s ‘rhetorical device’ resulted in three very good essays on exactly why it is in the US national interest to support Ukraine. Donbass attacks continue, while Ukrainian nationalists demand prosecution of senior bureaucrats who aided the Donbass invasion, or stood by idly. Eurovision flips and Russia bails, with Eurovision suggesting Russia may be banned in 2018, making this a propaganda disaster for Russia – or maybe not as this is obviously another evil Western conspiracy to persecute Mother Russia, and hurt disabled Russians.
On DPRK, other than more bluster, DefBlog surveys the new DPRK missiles on parade. Notable are the repurposing of obsolete MBT hulls, the use of wheel shrouds to defeat NCTR measures, and the cloned 3M24 Kharpoonski ASCM.
Foreign policy topics include Russian bragging about their FAE which they claim has four times the bang of the MOAB, persecution of Christian minorities (Coptic/Orthodox) in the MidEast, Turkey referendum on abandoning democracy, and Le Pen’s meltdown due to Holocaust apologism.
US domestic debate is a multi-threaded free-for-all, but notably. Manafort appears to be coming under ever closer scrutiny. Good OpEd by LtGen Deptula.
Russia / Russophone Reports
The terrorist acts in Saint Petersburg were likely organized by the Russian special services. This is according to member of the bureau of the Federal Political Council of the “Solidarity” movement, close advisor of the murdered politician Boris Nemtsov, Leonid Martynyuk in an interview with our publication. Martynyuk calls attention to the fact that before the tragic events in the Metro the mass media in Russia were focused on the unexpectedly huge protests against corruption and the speeches of long-haul truckers, and therefore it was quite convenient for the Russian authorities to change the news of the day. “Besides, the pretext of terrorist acts made it possible for the authorities to turn public sector employees toward support of Putin ‘against terror’ and unite them against the opposition. Several ‘experts’ on Russian TV channels already have begun to assert that the terrorist acts may have been the work of ‘the Ukrainian Fascist Underground,’ that unity is required because ‘the whole world is against Russia,’ including the terrorists, Ukraine, and the West, and consequently the pro-western opposition inside the country,” he notes. Leonid Martynyuk did his own investigation of the tragic events and noted some oddities that in his words indicate with a high degree of certainty that the Russian Special Services organized the terrorist act. “First, from the beginning, Russian mass media reported two explosions because they relied on information from the Ministry for Emergencies and the Investigative Commission. I find it difficult to imagine that such organizations could mistake one explosion for two. Subsequent information revealed that there was no second explosion and that a bag containing explosives was found (on Rebellion Square) and was disarmed. It would seem that the Investigative Commission and the Ministry for Emergencies knew beforehand that there were supposed to be two explosions but only after the fact learned that the second device malfunctioned,” concludes Leonid..
A noted expert and I have been having a rather focused conversation on this very issue. This morning I became so concerned that I shared my concerns with an open source intelligence effort. We see signs of pending systemic failure in Russia. We see the desperation in some actions. We see limited options and the…
The war in Ukraine, once popular among Russians, is now hurting morale and highlights the economic malaise at home..
Despite Dmitry Medvedev’s latest entry in the Marie Antoinette sweepstakes by saying that banning Western produces makes Russian life better (https://rufabula.com/news/2017/04/07/just-better), the problems Russians face in their daily lives are increasing at a staggering rate. Among the bad news in this sector in the last week alone are the following stories: At present, one hospital is closing every day in the Russian Federation and other medical facilities are being cut back at almost the same rate (https://forum-msk.org/material/economic/13053682.html andhttps://newsland.com/community/4765/content/rf-eshchio-5-6-let-do-pokazatelei-meditsiny-rossiiskoi-imperii-1913-g/5773242). As a result, one in four Russians isn’t getting needed medical help (https://newsland.com/community/5862/content/kazhdogo-4-go-rossiianina-lishat-meditsinskoi-pomoshchi/5779789). But there is little likelihood that the medical situation will improve soon. According to the Moscow times, Russian doctors are now paid less than Russian fast food workers (https://themoscowtimes.com/news/russian-doctors-paid-less-than-fast-food-workers-57667). Moscow’s pro-natalist policies have exhausted themselves, experts say, and now even millionaire cities are beginning to see their populations decline (https://lenta.ru/articles/2017/04/03/malevamatcap/ and newsland.com/community/7411/content/vymiraiushchie-goroda-rossii/5777720). As for entertainment, Russians face a bleaker future: charter flights to Turkey may be stopped (https://echo.msk.ru/news/1960768-echo.html), and while more vodka is being produced, prices for it are going up (https://izvestia.ru/news/681641 and newsland.com/community/politic/content/minimalnaia-stoimost-butylki-vodki-v-rossii-vyrastet-do-205-rublei/5780925). One thing that Russian authorities are doing to promote domestic tourism: they are making low-cost prostitution services an integral part of their programs for resorts (https://yug.svpressa.ru/society/article/145686/). Young Russians are increasingly unhappy about life in their country, and so the Kremlin has decided to address the problem by creating its own new bureaucracy to deal with it (https://newsland.com/user/1637669351/content/sotsiolog-obiasnil-chto-budet-esli-ne-udovletvorit-zapros-molodezhi-na-spravedlivost/5780150 https://www.znak.com/2017-04-12/posle_protestnyh_akciy_v_kremle_peresmotryat_rabotu_s_molodezhyu). With the spread of gun ownership, mass poaching is now a serious problem in the Russian North (https://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/shocking-new-evidence-of-mass-murder-of-famous-reindeer-population/). Because their pensions are so small, ever more elderly Russians are going back into the workforce(https://iq.hse.ru/news/204917251.html). And at the same time, more Central Asian and Caucasian gastarbeiters are leaving Russia but Russians aren’t taking their jobs because they don’t want to occupy such unskilled and low-paying positions, a new study finds (https://iq.hse.ru/news/204860366.html).
Paul Goble Staunton, April 14 – In today’s Novaya gazeta, the Moscow paper’s correspondent for south Russia says that Moscow is making a mistake by not dealing with the truckers now because “the longer the authorities ignore the strikers, the more unwelcome questions they will ask.” Nadezhda Andreyeva says that now the strike is in its third week, the strikers themselves view the cancellation of the Plato system fees as “insufficient.” Her article features a telling truckers’ slogan: “The Long-Haul Truckers are Striking; the Media are Silent. All Truth is on the Internet”(https://novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/04/14/72151-otmeny-platona-uzhe-nedostatochno). Buoyed up by the fact that their strike has lasted so long and that the population has been supportive, even bringing money to them and laughing at Moscow media claims that the CIA is behind them, she says, the truckers are now demanding a wholesale reform of the trucking industry and big improvements in Russia’s historically awful roads. Many of them have experience in Europe where better roads allow them to travel longer distances more quickly and where weigh stations, something Russia doesn’t have, ensure that they are not overloaded by unscrupulous shippers; and so in the first instance, the truckers say they want improvements that would bring their country up to European standards. Many are still upset by the government’s failure to keep its promises after their 2015 work action. In response, about 70 percent of the local long-distance drivers aren’t registered with the government and at least that many don’t pay any of the fees that the Plato system has imposed. The drivers are increasingly suspicious of the government as such, Alekseyeva suggests. They point out that “the government almost every year introduces a new form of tribute” on the truckers because “they are earning well” in the hopes that they will continue to put up with things and remain silent. “Before the crisis,” one driver said, “our incomes really were good. We invested in out trucks. Now [we] can’t even maintain our trucks in road conditions.” Consequently, he continued, “even if the powers say that Plato has been cancelled, this already will be insufficient.” That latest device to extract money from the drivers, the trucker said, was only “the last drop. Patience has run out, and I have many other questions for those in power.”
Paul Goble Staunton, April 14 – The Euromonitor group, using UN and national data sets, reports that the number of people using Russian in the post-Soviet states has declined by ten percent or more since 1994, a decline that reflects the re-orientation of these nations away from Moscow and puts paid to Vladimir Putin’s efforts to base his “Russian world” on the Russian language. In Kazahstan in 1994, 33.7 percent of residents spoke Russian; as of last year, only 20.7 percent do. In Latvia and Estonia, the corresponding figures are 40.5 percent to 29.8 percent and from 33.3 percent to 23.4 percent (https://sobkorr.ru/news/58F096BE6E403.html and https://kommersant.ru/doc/3270367). Some of this reflects the declining share of the ethnic Russian populations there as a result of out-migration and dying out of aging groups as well as the higher birthrates and lower death rates among the titular non-Russian nations. But much of this reflects a desire to participate in the broader world, English- or Chinese-speaking, directly rather than via Russian. It is still true that older members of the elites speak Russian. After all, those over 50 grew up and were educated in a Russian-dominated environment. But younger people – and they are entering and will soon dominate the elites now – speak much less Russian even than the national figures suggest. On the one hand, Moscow must come to terms with what other former imperial centers have: Some in its former colonies will continue to look to it and its language. But over time, ever fewer will, preferring instead to use their national language or to learn international languages that are more useful to them than Russian. And on the other, Western countries which interact with these countries are increasingly going to have to devote the resources to provide training in these non-Russian languages for diplomats and businessmen rather than continuing to assume, as many still do, that they can “get by” with Russian. That may be true in some places and for a while yet. But it is rapidly ceasing to be the case.
The Euromonitor group, using UN and national data sets, reports that the number of people using Russian in the post-Soviet states has declined by ten percent or more since 1994, a decline that reflects the re-orientation of these nations away from Moscow and puts paid to Vladimir Putin’s efforts to base his “Russian world” on the Russian language.
Recall in 2014, when Russia invaded Crimea, one of the reasons given was for the defense of the Russian language? Will Russia translate this into a perceived loss of influence? Will Russia promote the use of the Russian language as a means of influencing the affected areas? Russia has a slew of other problems, I wonder how this stacks up in their priority list?
Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Moscowism’ has Displaced ‘Russism’ in Putin’s World, Ikhlov SaysPaul Goble Staunton, April 15 – The terms people employ to describe things typically have consequences far beyond the thing itself. Thus, it is that four words Yevgeny Ikhlov suggests for describing current ideological trends in Vladimir Putin’s Russia may prove to be more than a terminological exercise. On the Kasparov.ru portal, the Moscow commentator offers four: “Rusism” with one s that has a long history, “Russism” with two that has a more recent one, “Crimea-ism,” and “Moscowism,” the last of which he argues is rapidly overwhelming the others in the Kremlin’s thinking(https://kasparov.ru/material.php?id=58F065A6061BD). The first of these four terms, “Rusism,” as Ikhlov acknowledges, was in fact introduced into Russian discourse by Aleksandr Herzen to describe “a Great Russian romantic-nationalist xenophobic trend, which had aspects of pro-nazism and was an analogue of Prussian pan-Germanism.” The second, “Russism” with a double s, he continues is “the Russian analogue of Italian fascism, an imperial-authoritarian and anti-Western ideology of ‘a conservative revolution.’” The third, “Crimea-ism,” which has as its popular analogue “Crimea-is-Ours-ism,” is a condition of “great power boldness and aggressiveness.” “Moscowism,” the fourth, is, according to Ikhlov, “the ideology of Russian messianic imperialism and is connected with xenophobia, despotism, and isolation.” It has dominated Russian political thinking three times, first between the reign of Ivan III and that of Peter I, then from the end of the 1920s to the end of the Cold War, and now again since August 2008. One must distinguish between the first Moscowism and the second and third, the commentator continues. The first included “a clear understanding of Russia’s cultural backwardness and even its status as a pupil of the West” and viewed “imperial expansion as the spread of European civilization. The second and third do not share those ideas. To better understand some of these aspects of Russia’s Moscowism at various points, it is useful, Ikhlov suggests, to conduct the following “historical thought experiment.” There have been two Eurasian empires: the Russian and the Ottoman. “Now,” Ikhlov says, “let us imagine that having defeated Napoleon, the Danube monarchy (where Hungary is the equivalent of Ukraine, Croatia of the Caucasus, the Czech Republic of Poland and Austria of Russia) went made and conquered the Southern Eurasian Empire. In such a scenario, “the taking of Istanbul would be like the taking of Kazan, “the occupation of the Balks like the joining of Georgia and Armenia and so on … There would be certain clashes … [but] the only serious competitor would be Persia supported by England” where a real war would break out. “Then a revolution occurs. Perhaps because the Danube Empire was exhausted from a war with the Northern Eurasians for Romania or with Prussia for Bavaria. First would come to power the social democrat Victor Adler and then he would be replaced by communist maniac Bela Kun whose regime would insist that the entire population from Yemen to Fiume is a new socialist community of ‘the Danube People.’” And then imagine, Ikhlov says, “those who a quarter of a century later consider the disintegration of the Danubian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic an accident of history and the result of a conspiracy and who assert that not only the residents of Sofia, Belgrad, Zagreb, Athens, and Constantinople but also those of Damascus, Ankara, Mosul, Sana and Baghdad are part of ‘a single people torn apart’” who should be “quickly united into a single state.” This comparison, of course, speaks for itself and underlines why Moscowism is both more absurd in the long term and more dangerous in the short than any of its competitors.
Putin’s penchant for military aggression abroad to shore up his popularity at home may need a rethink.
Russia’s reinvention of war exploits old techniques for a new century. Open-source citizen investigators are fighting back.
Russia’s information strategy: Stress a unified message at home but sow discord abroad.
History Department Russian and Eastern European Studies Associate Professor Director, Russian and Eastern European Studies“
14.04.17 17:56 – Putin is patient, – Peskov on US-Russia relations Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, commenting on Russia’s relationship with the United States, said Moscow does not yet have an understanding of the world view of the new US administration. View news.
It’s part of a bigger crackdown against civil society.
My colleague David E. Sanger joins us from Moscow during a historically tense time for these two countries.
Peter Conradi, in “Who Lost Russia?,” asks what went wrong in U.S.-Russia relations.
The pugnacious, meme-friendly account marks a new era in diplomacy.
Somebody pointed out some fake news today, about the MOAB drop in Afghanistan. It showed handheld footage of what was supposed to be the MOAB explosion. I reposted on Facebook it but did a search and couldn’t find the video anyplace else. I put the disclaimer up that I couldn’t verify the video… Here is a…
Russian oil will no longer be re-exported from Belarus.Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Arkady Dvorkovich has stated that there will be no re-export of Russian oil from Belarus, Tass reports. He notes that Belarus will process 18 out of 24 million tons of Russian oil at its refineries. “We have agreed on how much of these 24 million tons will be processed in Belarus. The oil supplies necessary for processing will be entirely provided, I fully expect that. As for the supplies of 24 million tons of oil, some of these volumes will go not for processing, but for export,” – the Russian Deputy Prime Minister says. The Belarus-Russia agreement on oil supplies is not intended for re-export, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister stresses. “The indicative balance outlines 24 million tons. Their distribution between processing and assignments is an inter-departmental issue. It will be settled in the coming days,” – Dvorkovich says.
This year more than two thousand people have to go through the “brigades”.More than 2 thousand inhabitants of Vitsebsk region are to be employed in working brigades by way of temporary employment in 2017, BelTA has been informed by Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Labor, Employment and Social Protection of the Vitebsk Region Executive Committee Iryna Matveyeva. The current situation in the labor market forces the authorities to take prompt measures to ensure employment of the population. “Our monitoring shows that in addition to the registered unemployed there are also those in the region, who would like to find temporary employment. The employment offices have established points for organizing and daily placement to socially useful works to provide the unemployed with earnings. There’s a list of organizations of forestry, road construction, agricultural production and housing and communal services, which have to create working brigades from the unemployed and those who apply for assistance in employment. As of April 1, there are 145 employers on the list, who are willing to provide temporary employment in the form of paid public work. Some brigades are already working at the facilities,” –Iryna Matveyeva explaines.
A special meeting on the subject was held in the Concern “Belneftekhim”.The heads of the Belarusian gas station networks stand for the further increase of prices for the automotive fuel. They said this during the meeting in the Concern “Belneftekhim”, the Concern’s website belneftekhim.byreports. The meeting was attended by the heads of FLLC “Gazpromneft-Belnefteproduct”, JV “United Company”, FLLP “Tatneft-Belnefteproduct”, JV “NefteKhimTreyding”, FLLC “LUKOIL Belarus”, ALC “Astotreyding”, LLC “RN-West”, FE ” Slavneftekhim “JSC, the concern has informed. Discussing the pricing policy with regard to petroleum products, the gas stations owners noted a low or negative return on the work upon the results of the first quarter 2017 due to low prices for motor fuel, and limited marginality of the sales. In addition, they said, the growth of oil prices in April practically nullified the positive economic effect on the growth of retail prices for gasoline and diesel fuel.
Valer Kurcheuski from Hrodna intends to take on to the Square further on, in order “to stay human”.
Syria / Russia Reports
US President Donald Trumps missile strike against Syrias Shayrat air base last week, responding to the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun in northern Idlib province, garnered cautious praise across the political spectrum. It also highlighted the complex choices facing the US, allies such as Australia, regional players like Turkey and Iraq, and institutions such as the UN.
SYRIAN president Bashar al-Assad has a massive stockpile of chemical weapons which he has hidden from the West, one of his former chiefs has claimed.
Moscow now finds itself in a curious position. It is unlikely to give up on its commitment to the region – and therefore lose face in a part of the world it knows well – but it does appear to be increasingly fed up with Assad
White House report and briefing show the Trump administration is preparing to follow up on the missile strike against Assad targets. But can you take anything they say seriously?
A senior Russian official in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a link to the article at the bottom, today. It offers a long, drawn-out analysis that the US staged the sarin gas attack in Idlib, Syria. Let’s review: Russia denies culpability for the Sarin gas attack on Syrian civilians. Syria denies blame for…
With anti-Trump supporters the world over potentially on his side, Putin has a chance of winning not only Russian minds but Western minds as well concerning responsibility for the sarin massacre at Idlibe.
Behind #SyriaHoax and the Russian propaganda onslaught
A mountain of evidence has been compiled against Syrian officials for war crimes from torture to summary killings. But there is no clear path to justice.
Foreign ministers from the three countries also call for an investigation into the Syria chemical weapons attack
A week since the US launched airstrikes in Syria, Iranian, Syrian and Russian foreign ministers have met in Moscow. All three countries strongly warned the United States against launching new strikes.
Deputy envoy Safronkov’s words, directed at a British diplomat, stunned many.
“Who was bringing you up?” Sergey Lavrov asked Mitchell.
NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell drew the ire of Russia’s foreign minister, who snapped at her for continuing to shout questions his way.
“There are few navies in the world – and I’d argue only one – that could have pulled that off.”
The coalition plans to investigate the cause of the accidental strike.
The new presidential administration in the US is currently shaping its policy towards Ukraine and the Euro-Atlantic region. Recently, the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asked his colleagues from G7: “Why should U.S. taxpayers be interested in Ukraine?” His straightforward question, handed over to the media by the French minister of foreign affairs, took many by surprise. The Institute of World Policy summarized five main reasons why supporting Ukraine is in the interests of the United States. These arguments were discussed with a number of US experts. We hope that this publication will trigger a wider expert discussion on the topic.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 15 – Many commentators have now answered US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s question, “Why should US taxpayers be interested in Ukraine?” But they have failed to point out why that is the wrong question – and why it reflects a profound change in the United States with far larger and more dangerous implications than some might think. It is quite clear that American citizens have a profound interest in supporting Ukraine as a fellow democracy that has been invaded by a dictatorship that is dedicated to overthrowing the basic principles of the West – the rule of law, the supremacy of citizenship over ethnicity, and the right of nations to self-determination. And while is also quite clear that Americans as taxpayers have an interest in supporting Ukraine because those basic political principles have contributed to the growth of the US and the world economy, focusing on or more precisely reducing Americans and their interests from citizens to taxpayers reflects a dangerous habit of mind. Not only does it detract attention from political questions which are central in the Ukrainian case, but it encourages a selfish and individualistic rather than generous and collective spirit that so often has informed American actions in the world at their best. And that shift, if it continues, makes such noble actions not just in support of Ukraine far more unlikely. In 1939, Peter F. Drucker published his now classic study, The End of Economic Man, in which he argued the rise of politics at the expense of economics in many countries carried with it the risk of totalitarianism, a diagnosis of the world of the 1930s with which no one can seriously disagree. But now the pendulum has swung in the opposition direction and some scholar is likely to write a sequel with a title like The End of Political Man to capture the rise of economic man (consumer or taxpayer) at the expense of political man (citizen), a development that undermines national cohesion and makes collective action less and less likely. I support Ukraine and its fight against Russian aggression because I am an American citizen, someone informed by the values of this country as outlined in its founding documents and reaffirmed by so many leaders over the last two centuries. I do not want to be reduced to the far lesser status of a taxpayer alone. That is not in my interest, the interest of my country, the interest of Ukraine, or the interest of the world. Secretary Tillerson asked the wrong question because asking his question is to put the defense of these interests all at risk.
Rex Tillerson may not understand that diplomacy can’t be distilled down to balance sheets and profits.
Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski…
14.04.17 17:17 – Rally outside Presidential Administration: activists demand holding officials-separatists accountable. VIDEO+PHOTOS The activists picketed the building of the Presidential Administration demanding to bring to justice those who they believed had massively contributed to the seizure of administrative buildings by militants in the Donetsk region. “Terrible events took place in the Donbas three years ago. They triggered the outbreak of hostilities and caused death of 10,000 people. The buildings of the Regional State Administration in Donetsk and the Security Service in Luhansk were seized April 6. The Russian subversive group headed by Igor Girkin entered Sloviansk April 12…. Oleksandr Turchynov declared launch of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) the day after the Russians invaded Sloviansk. Three years is a substantial period of time…. This time is sufficient to identify and punish those responsible for the deaths of thousands of Ukrainian citizens. The deaths of 10,000 people cannot go unpunished after all, right?” Nayyem said. Firsov named many individuals sharing separatists’ views, mainly officials from the eastern regions who held offices before the beginning of the ATO and those who came to power after the liberation of some territories. “Instead of acting in Ukraine’s national interests, weaken the Russian-oriented factions, and strengthen the pro-Ukrainian elite of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, Poroshenko’s actions in the Donbas are precisely the opposite. Those who tried to pursue the pro-Ukrainian policy in the Donbas in 2014 were just forgotten and left without support. However the unspoken underboss of the Donetsk region is Ivaniushchenko’s crony Oleh Nedava. There is no justification for this disgrace,” Firsov summed up.
15.04.17 11:09 – Four ex-Berkut fighters, suspect in Maidan massacre case, fled to Russia Former fighters of the Kharkiv Berkut riot police Oleksandr Kostiuk, Vladyslav Mastega, Artem Voilokov and Vitalii Honcharenko crossed the Ukrainian-Russian border on April 13 and now are in Russia. View news.
14.04.17 21:38 – Airborne unit drills loading military hardware onboard IL-76 carrier in Zhytomyr region. PHOTOS Ukrainian troopers practiced in loading the military hardware into the IL-76DM air carrier at an airfield in the Zhytomyr region. The personnel of the 95th Separate Air Assault Brigade and the crew of IL-76DM military transport aircraft of Ukrainian Air Force held exercise on loading BTR-3DA, KrAZ Spartan armored personnel carriers and GAZ-66 truck onboard the aircraft.
For the members of the Oklahoma National Guard in Ukraine right now, the primary focus is on the mission of training Ukrainian soldiers. But, when they’re not delivering their Help from the Heartla…
15.04.17 12:55 – Military trainings held in ATO zone. VIDEO Battalion drills of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were held in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) area. View video news.
Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 45 times in the past 24 hours with four Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 15 April from UNIAN.
Fifteen Ukrainian soldiers who have been wounded in action (WIAs) in Donbas arrived in Odesa on Friday, five of them are in a critical condition, according to a civil volunteer. News 14 April from UNIAN.
The Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) Filaret blessed Easter eggs (krashanky) and paskas (Easter breads) for Ukrainian soldiers currently deployed in the Donbas war zone. Patriarch Filaret also blessed Easter kits assembled by volunteers. The event was attended by chaplains, volunteers and servicemen. The same day, Archbishop Agapit Vyshhorodsky also blessed about 10,000 paskas for soldiers and Donbas residents at St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv.
Around 300 Russian citizens are held in custody in the Ukrainian territory, Ukrainian Parliamentary Human Rights Commissioner Valeriya Lutkovska has said. Officials in Moscow have been notified of this, she said. Speaking on TV Channel Five, Lutkovska said she had sent a list of these individuals to her Russian counterpart Tatyana Moskalkova, suggesting that she visit her fellow countrymen to assess conditions in which they are being held. “I’ve sent a list of over 300 Russian citizens currently held in Ukrainian jails, who might be of interest to her as the ombudsman,” Lutkovska said. She also said she had asked to allow her to visit 12 Ukrainians in Russian custody, including journalist Roman Suschenko, film director Oleh Sentsov, and Oleksandr Kolchenko, a Crimean activist. Lutkovska said she has not yet received a reply to this request.
People all over Ukraine are celebrating the Easter holiday, and it’s no different on Ukraine’s frontline. _ Follow UATV English: Facebook: https://www.facebo…
For Easter, Ukrainians make pysanky – colorful eggs dyed in the batik method. It’s a tradition that goes back to ancient times and is found in many Eastern European nations. In Ukraine, it’s so popular that there is even a pysanka museum in the city of Kolomyia.
Mr. Phil Butcher, a former U.S. Marine and the Director of Veteran Services at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, spoke with UATV about the simi…
14.04.17 19:30 – SBU averts shipment of engine components for Russian Navy vessels. PHOTOS The Security Service of Ukraine in conjunction with the military prosecutor’s office averted delivery of components for military gas turbine engines installed on vessels of the Russian Navy from Mykolaiv to the Russian Federation. View photo news.
With 1.8 million internal refugees, Ukraine is grappling daily with a border war with Russia that the world has forgotten.
As an orphan in Ukraine, Ana Katruk was deemed unadoptable. But thanks to much hard work and prayer, she’s now officially the daughter of Mike and Kristy Johnson of Cary.
Patients are forced to shell out for everything from hospital stays to soap.
Ukraine is projected to increasesteel output to 1.8 million tonnes in May from an expected 1.7million tonnes in April, local news agency Uaprom said onFriday, citing the Metallurgprom steel producers union.
Ukraine could miss out on energy sector funding from China worth up to $3.65 billion because squabbles between ministries and the state-run energy firm Naftogaz have held up project proposals, according to interviews with officials.
Ninety-two percent of Ukrainian citizens now consider themselves ethnic Ukrainians, an unprecedented figure that is the product of Vladimir Putin’s aggression against their country and one that highlights the fundamental weakness of ethnic Russian national identities not only there but elsewhere — including in the Russian Federation. According to a new poll by Kyiv’s Razumkov Center, 92 percent of Ukrainian citizens now consider themselves ethnic Ukrainians, six percent say they are ethnic Russians, and 1.5 percent identify as members of other ethnic groups.
14.04.17 23:35 – The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) does not rule out excluding Russia from participation in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2018, but such a decision can be made only after the contest in Kyiv in May. EBU Communications Officer Dave Goodman told Russian TASS news agency, Censor.NET reports. Asked whether he can confirm media reports about Russia’s possible expulsion from the Eurovision Song Contest in 2018 over the refusal of the Channel 1 to broadcast this year’s contest, he said that the EBU was focused on the upcoming event. According to him, any decision about further action to tackle this situation can be taken only following the contest in Kyiv.
The EBU formally offered two alternative proposals to Channel One in a bid to find a solution that would enable Russia to participation.
Russia’s state broadcaster has said it will boycott this year’s Eurovision song contest after the host country, Ukraine, said it would bar entry to the Russian contestant and Moscow rejected two possible compromises suggested by the organizers.
The spat between Ukraine and Russia is simply the latest in a longstanding tradition of political posturing around the contest
Geopolitics and pop culture clash as Ukraine bars Russia’s entry into the 2017 Eurovision contest because of a visit by the contestant, Yulia Samoylova, to Crimea.
A much-anticipated Eurovision-2017 will take place in Ukraine’s capital in a month, from 8 till 13 May. An official opening ceremony of the song contest is planned for 7 May. As there are some confusing aspects around the contest, we decided to collect some information that can clarify it for you. Here are 5 things worth noting about Eurovision song contest in Kyiv.
DPRK / PRC Reports
This comes amid warnings from China to North Korea and the U.S. to remain calm.
North Korea paraded its intercontinental ballistic missiles in a massive military display in central Pyongyang on Saturday, with ruler Kim Jong Un looking on with delight as his nation flaunted its increasingly sophisticated military hardware amid rising regional tensions.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw an elaborate military parade in the center of Pyongyang on Saturday as the world watched for any provocations that risk sparking a conflict with the U.S.
Lin Wong and James Pearson
The North Korean People’s Army publicly displayed for the first time its new long-range road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles during a military parade in Pyongyang on 15 April. The missile of the new road-mobile intercontinental systems is carried in a large canister that completely enclosed the missile mounted on an eight wheels trailer. There is no precise information about this missile system. “It’s presumed this is a mock-up new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The new ICBM looks like a Chinese DF-31.“, said South Korean military officials. South Korean analysts had predicted that the North would use the parade to showcase its strategic weapons, such as prototype intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The Korean People’s Army used the military parade in Pyongyang on 15 April to public display Pukguksong-2 nuclear-capable missiles. Pukguksong-2, also known as KN-15 by intelligence outside of North Korea, is a medium-range or intermediate-range ballistic missile under development by North Korea, which unlike the nation’s earlier designs, uses solid fuel. The liquid fuel engines that North Korea uses in all its medium- and long-range missiles are dangerous because the fuel is so corrosive and volatile Described as ‘nuclear-capable’, its first test flight was on 12 February 2017. The state-run KCNA news agency said leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test, which was described as a success. The Pukguksong-2 is also road-mobile on tractor-erector-launcher units, analysts point out, all of which means that the weapon is more difficult to detect and neutralise before it is launched.
North Korea has displayed the new Pukguksong-1 submarine-launched ballistic missiles for the first time on Saturday ahead of a massive military parade in the capital, Pyongyang. The country’s hereditary leader Kim Jong-un, wearing a black suit and white shirt and a tie, welcomed his country’s bravest as he addressed thousands of soldiers who took part in the parade honoring his grandfather. The military parade displayed submarine-launched ballistic missiles for the first time and what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile, in addition to others that have already been publicly unveiled, South Korea’s Yonhap News reported. In 2012, North Korea unveiled long-range missiles that some arms analysts dismissed as fake. South Korean military officials said they regard it as a new type of ICBM. “It’s presumed to be a new ICBM. It seems longer than the existing KN-08 or KN-14 ICBMs, an official said. The North also showed off various other ballistic missiles including what it claims to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
North Korea has displayed version of the mobile coastal defence missile systems integrated onto all-terrain tracked vehicles during a massive military parade in the capital, Pyongyang. South Korean military officials said they regard it as a new type of anti-ship cruise missiles mounted on tracked chassis. Missile launch tubes of new mobile coastal defence missile systems look alike those associated with the Kh-35 cruise missile. The Kh-35 (also known as 3M-24) cruise missiles were received from Russia in the 90s. The import of Kh-35s was first unveiled in early 2012, when imagery of a North Korean SES was released as part of a military documentary, showing racks used to mount four Kh-35 canisters. The recent surfacing of imagery of the Myanmarian F11 Aung Zeya class frigate confirmed that the missiles are produced by North Korea and actively exported to friendly nations, along with other naval assets. Originally developed by the Tactical Missiles Corporation, the North Korean missile differs in a few areas compared to the original Russian Kh-35.
North Korea has displayed armoured versions of KN-09 rocket launcher systems during a huge military parade in Kim Il Sung Square on Saturday. April 15 is the most important day in the North Korean calendar, and Kim Jong Un has celebrated his grandfather’s birthday. The first KN-09 rocket launcher systems were first seen in footage of a military parade as part of celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party in 2015. The new version of KN-09 fitted with an armoured cab. The KN-09 is a North Korean 300 mm rocket artillery system of a launcher unit comprising 8 rockets packaged in two four-rocket pods. The truck used in the KN-09 is reported to be the Chinese-made civilian version of Sinotruk HOWO truck repurposed for military use. South Korea estimates the 300 mm rockets have a range of 180–200 km (110–120 mi), much longer than the Korean People’s Army Ground Force’s previous longest-range MRL, the 240 mm M1985/M1991 with range of 60–65 km (37–40 mi).
As concerns mount North Korea may be about to conduct a nuclear test, a senior Pyongyang official blamed US President Donald Trump for stirring up tensions. Reports suggest the US could launch a preemptive strike.
North Korea threatened merciless consequences to U.S. provocations on Friday, while China warned the two countries to avoid continuing …
Foreign Policy Reports
Damascus and Pyongyang violated their agreements. Tehran can comply and still threaten millions.
To potential adversaries, the bombing could signal deterrence. For the U.S. public, it underscored the Pentagon’s more aggressive stance under President Trump.
Locals describe the moment the ‘mother of all bombs’ was dropped, as critics question the wisdom of deploying the weapon
The US military has defended its decision to drop the country’s most powerful non-nuclear bomb on ISIS positions in Afghanistan.
At least 94 Islamic State fighters were killed when the US military dropped America’s most powerful non-nuclear bomb on ISIS targets in Afghanistan, Afghan officials said Saturday.
GBU-43/B device targeted Isis ‘tunnel complex’ and is the largest non-nuclear bomb US has used in combat
The US boasts that its GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB), known as the ‘Mother of all bombs’, is the largest ever non-nuclear bomb used in combat but, don’t be fooled, Russia possess something far superior. Kids, meet Daddy.
The ‘father of all bomb’ reportedly carries 44 tonnes of explosives.
Erdogan Goes for the Death Blow Against Turkey’s Bureaucracy « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
If approved Sunday, the 18 constitutional amendments will replace parliamentary democracy with a “presidential government” that puts most of the lever of power in Erdogan’s hands.
Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom says Christians in Egypt are concerned and saddened, but added “I haven’t heard the word fear used by anybody.” The Church in Egypt is preparing for a more somber Easter, after attacks on Palm Sunday left at least 45 people dead.
Christians are not only the most persecuted religious group in the world – but persecution is the highest in the Middle East, the land where the religion and civilization all began.
He is one of the world’s most prominent priests, but Canon Andrew White – known as the “Vicar of Baghdad” – has reached a painstaking conclusion: Christianity is all but over in the land where it began.
It isn’t easy being a person of faith in the world today.
Through the rubble of war in Homs, Syrian Christians forge their Good Friday procession.
As tensions rise abroad, Google searches for “World War 3” are at an all-time high. New data provided by Google shows a surge in searches for “World War 3” this month, breaking a record for the most searches for the phrase since Google started keeping track in 2004. Searches for “Trump War” are also at their highest. According to Google Trends, searches have also spiked for “nuclear war” and “war” this month. ADVERTISEMENT The increase in searches follows a week of big foreign policy decisions by the Trump administration.
This is a teaser. The article is too long to copy and archive on here.. </end editorial> @DFRLab @AtlanticCouncil’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. Catalyzing a global network of digital forensic researchers, following conflicts in real time. Apr 14 One of the most frequently asked questions about Kremlin broadcasters RT and Sputnik concerns their audience: how…
After rigging the U.S. election, he would have done better to keep his funding of Le Pen secret.
A major source of funding for some anti-E.U. politicians is the bloc itself.
France’s far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen has spelled out her policy plans in a manifesto of 144 proposals which include leaving the euro currency and holding a vote on European Union membership.
A French presidential front-runner shows she’s not so different from her father after all.
The candidate’s statement about Vel d’Hiv in World War II should dispel any illusions about her.
Marine Le Pen, presidential candidate for the Front National in France, slammed President Donald Trump for flip-flopping on NATO.
US Domestic Policy Reports
Trump has been aggressive in his use of air strikes against terrorists and other targets.
As tensions rise in East Asia, they highlight the dangers of Trump’s unpredictability.
Former Defense Secretary William J. Perry on why war with North Korea wasn’t the answer then, and it isn’t now
Some former Obama administration officials watched the news of the Syrian chemical attack with a sense of frustration and a reluctant feeling of vindication.
I missed this article when it was originally published. The last Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, Ben Rhodes, by his own admission in this article, lied to the American public. I say this without bias. After that, depending on one’s perspective, the story can be interpreted in a myriad of different ways. I…
Why no U.S.-Russian relations reset? Because a pillar of Kremlin foreign policy is to stick it to America.
President Trump is suddenly winning positive reviews from a Washington establishment that has often feuded with the White House. Trump has evolved — or flipped — on a series of economic and foreign policy issues, including relations with Russia, NATO’s relevance, Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen’s future, whether China is a currency manipulator and the usefulness of the Export-Import Bank. The changes have generally warmed the hearts of former critics, including MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Washington Post columnists David Ignatius and Charles Krauthammer. Just as important as the policy reversals is the sense that White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon is losing influence in the West Wing at the expense of a more centrist group of advisers led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. “Donald Trump is finally doing what we’ve been hoping and America has been hoping he would do,” Scarborough declared on his Thursday broadcast. “You can tell, the National Security Council is not Steve Bannon’s play yard.” National security adviser H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary James Mattis have also seen their stock rise. Both men were involved in the decisionmaking over last week’s airstrikes in Syria, another departure for a president who previously had signaled a reluctance to get involved in that conflict.
Exclusive — Michigan Trump Voters Lose Faith: ‘It’s Gone So Far Now the Wrong Way’
As the Russia controversy careens on in Washington, Russian intelligence is watching and learning. CIA veterans warn that with every public hearing, every press conference, and every reporter scoop, Russian spies learn more about what U.S. spy agencies know — and how they know it.
Full disclosure, I consider Molly McKew a good friend. Whenever we chat, it is addictive. It’s like talking with a long lost relative. We speak the same language, have the same perspective on most things (I discovered one exception yesterday), and seem to agree on how to proceed. </end editorial> Who’s Afraid of the FSB?…
The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee tells voters the probe is ‘the most important thing I’ve ever done.’
His allies believe he’s the country’s best hope for exposing the truth about Russia’s election tampering and possible collusion with Trump’s people.
Good afternoon, it is a great pleasure to be here at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, home to some of the sharpest minds that Washington has to offer. I am honored to deliver my first public remarks as CIA Director at such a distinguished institution. Let me start today by telling you a story. He was a bright, well-educated young man. He was described as industrious, intelligent, and likeable, if inclined toward impulsiveness and impatience. At some point, he became disillusioned with intelligence work and angry at his government. He left government and decided to devote himself to what he regarded as public advocacy—exposing the intelligence officers and operations he had sworn to keep secret. He appealed to Agency employees to send him “leads, tips, suggestions.” He wrote in a widely circulated bulletin: “We are particularly anxious to receive, anonymously if you desire, copies of US diplomatic lists and US Embassy staff.” That man was Philip Agee, one of the founding members of the magazine Counterspy, which in its first issue in 1973 called for the exposure of CIA undercover operatives overseas. In its September 1974 issue, Counterspy publicly identified Richard Welch as the CIA Chief of Station in Athens. Later, Richard’s home address and phone number were outed in the press in Greece. In December 1975, Richard and his wife were returning home from a Christmas party in Athens. When he got out of his car to open the gate in front of his house, Richard Welch was assassinated by a Greek terrorist cell. At the time of his death, Richard was the highest-ranking CIA officer killed in the line of duty.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo blasted WikiLeaks Thursday as a "hostile" intelligence service, often aided and abetted by actors like Russia
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange responded Friday to criticism from CIA Director Mike Pompeo, calling Pompeo’s remarks “dangerous” and an attempt to “stifle speech.”
CIA Director Mike Pompeo slammed WikiLeaks this week as a "non-state hostile intelligence service," but during the presidential campaign, he and Donald Trump tweeted their praises.
A Democrat on the House intelligence committee flew to Cyprus this week as part of the panel’s broad investigation into allegations that Russian operatives and top aides on President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded to influence the US election.
Ukrainian investigators are seeking to understand the former Trump campaign manager’s ties, if any, to former President Viktor Yanukovych at the time when anti-government protesters were shot in 2014.
President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman is facing new revelations about two key issues: his personal finances and his past political consulting in Ukraine.
Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page decried what he called false allegations against him on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor Thursday.
I’m very encouraged that all of the lies that have been a drag on this administration are finally coming out into the open.”
Podesta Group this week filed documents with the Justice Department detailing services it completed three years ago for a pro-Russia Ukrainian political party, work that was allegedly performed under the guidance of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his former deputy Rick Gates.‘
We all know that President Vladimir TrumPutin is in bed with Mother Russia. Whether it’s photos of 45 with Russian hookers or Russia’s cable-installation bill for an extra cable box in the basement of the White House with the RT News package, we all know that something is amiss when it comes to Russian ties to the White House.
There is no enemy on the planet than can do more damage to the United States Air Force than us not getting a budget,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told a defense conference on February 23. “Lack of 2017 appropriations and no supplemental increase in funding…will increase risk to the nation and ultimately result in dead Americans on a future battlefield,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley on April 5 to the House Armed Services Committee. He went on to say Congress’s, “…failure to pass a budget, in my view both as an American citizen and chief of staff of the United States Army, constitutes professional malpractice.” These are strong words for the leaders of the Air Force and Army to speak to Congress. The Navy and Marine leadership have weighed in with similar comments. Considering that Congress has not passed a defense appropriations bill on time for eight years in a row these comments are unarguably accurate. Congress’ inability to execute its fiscal responsibilities in a timely fashion does indeed constitute professional malpractice, but worse, its negligence threatens the ability of America’s armed forces to execute the nation’s security strategy. For those that do not follow the peculiarities, nomenclature, and procedures of Congress, a Continuing Resolution or “CR” is what Congress does when it fails to pass a budget. In other words, it is a “cop out”—a substitute for not accomplishing their responsibilities. Not passing a military budget means the Congress is risking America’s ability to secure its interests around the world and ultimately risking protection of the American people. What a CR does is hold this year’s military spending to the same level as last year. It prevents the cancellation of old programs, does not allow developing programs to grow, and prohibits new programs. As a result, CRs actually drive up the cost of the military by intentionally preventing efficiencies planned since the last budget and introducing new inefficiencies. Additionally, the failure to pass a military budget threatens America’s security in another subtle, but very dangerous way. Because of the CR’s effect of stagnating military spending, the services must choose between funding readiness — the ability to effectively fight today — or modernization, the ability to effectively fight tomorrow.
The American Government’s Secret Plan for Surviving the End of the World « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas