Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 12 June 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russia’s internal crackdown / meltdown continues, with Navalniy’s protests across 200 cities and towns producing big turnout, and big arrests – notable is that footage shows large numbers of young people. In Sweden, a neo-Nazi gang arrested for a bombing campaign was found to have received combat training in Russia, which is making headlines in Swedish MSM but not Reuters or WashPost, who evidently do not consider state-sponsored terrorism by Russia in Scandinavia to be headline news. Stone receiving more coverage than deserved. Interesting digest by Prof Goble on the Turkic peoples’ movement across Central Asia and Russia.

Three most interesting reports on cyber, noting that the belief that sophisticated highly specialized capabilities built to defeat opposing nation states will be equally effective against low tech opponents has a long history of being very wrong – why some folks persist in this belief remains a mystery.

Ukraine news split between two topics, the escalation in the Donbass that is increasingly seeing targeted fires against civilians, and the start of visa-free travel to the EU. There is a palpable change in the public mood in Ukraine, as this has been the first truly big win for them after three years of hardship, misery, and war. The West has not made it easy for the Ukrainians, mostly due to a deeply ingrained culture of Russia appeasement in Europe, and in the US, Rice et al being prepared to sacrifice almost anything to retain Russian engagement on Iran. Also a very interesting report on US military testimony to the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Ukraine vs. Russia and how Ukrainian combat experience has impacted US planning – very appropriate as the Russians will export globally everything they have trialed or tested in Ukraine.

Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan consuming most MSM bandwidth.

A wealth of backfill reports on the DPRK.

While the UK founders after its election, Macron’s party is likely to win big, and being described as a “tsunami”.

US domestic debate aptly described as  “vicious” by Ivanka Trump – it is vicious.



Russia / Russophone Reports


Two men charged over refugee home blast ‘received military training in Russia’ – The Local Two of three suspected neo-Nazis facing trial over Gothenburg bomb attacks on left-wing activists and a refugee home received military training in Russia shortly before the attacks, according to the prosecutor.

The Nazis suspected of a bomb attack were trained in Russia Updated 2017-06-10 Published 2017-06-09 The Nazis suspected of a bomb attack against a refugee settlement in Göteborg received paramilitary training in Russia. The three men are all linked to the Nordic resistance movement, but the prosecutor does not classify the bombing as a terrorist offense. The security unit for security cases charged on Friday morning three men suspected of being behind three bombs. Two of the three prosecutors, a 50-year-old man and a 20-year-old are both charged with, in addition to common destructive destruction, also for attempted murder, or particularly gross abuse. It is about the bomb against a refugee resident in western Göteborg where an employee at the accommodation was seriously injured in both legs. In the murder application submitted to the Göteborg District Court, the prosecutor states that all three men have links with the Nordic resistance movement. “On the other hand, the prosecutor can not see that the act in question has any direct connection with the organization,” the Public Prosecutor writes in a press release. According to chamber prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist at the Security Unit for Security, the three men were dissatisfied with the leadership of the Nordic resistance movement because they did not want to use violence in the same extent as themselves. “We can see that two of the suspects, just before the attacks, have received military education in Russia, writes the prosecutor’s office. The Nordic resistance movement has been in close contact with Russian right-wing extremists for several years. Among other things, with the “Imperial Movement” in St. Petersburg. For example, their leader Stanislav Vorobiev has visited the movement in Sweden and spoke at their annual meeting. The organization has also donated money to the Nordic Resistance Movement. According to the preliminary investigation, there is also an organization close to the Imperial Movement, which was responsible for the Swedish military training in Russia. The center of “Partizan” aims to educate civilians “to survive in war situations, areas of local disputes and global chaos”. The security police have tracked pictures of two of the men when they pose with weapons at one of Partizan’s trainings. Partizan has, among other things, trained volunteers to participate in the Russian side of the war in eastern Ukraine. Partizans training leaders consist of Russian reserve officers and former experts from the Russian defense. Undergraduate education includes tactical shooting including Kalashnikov, guns and shotgun. In November 2016 exploding a bomb on Upper House Street in Göteborg. In January 2017, a bomb exploded on Axel Adler’s street in Västra Frölunda, where a person suffered life-threatening injuries. On January 25, a bomb was found at Lilleby camping in Torslanda, which, due to a construction error, never detonated.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia Said Preparing Terrorists to Act in Europe – But is Unlikely to Call Them That Paul Goble Staunton, June 12 – Swedish prosecutors say that two of the three suspects in the case of a bombing in Goteburg had received training in a camp operated by the ultra-right right wing Russian Imperial Movement near St. Petersburg and presented photographic evidence of their presence and training in the use of weapons while there. This charge and the evidence for it has been detailed in articles in the Swedish press (dn.se/nyheter/sverige/bombmisstankta-nazister-utbildades-i-ryssland/ and gp.se/nyheter/g%C3%B6teborg/innan-d%C3%A5den-nazister-fick-milit%C3%A4rutbildning-i-ryssland-1.4354216). It is summarized in Russian by blogger Andrey Malgrin who also points out that the Russian Imperial Movement trained militants who went to Kyiv, Crimea and the Donbass in support of Moscow’s policies there, an indication at a minimum of coordination between the Imperial Movement and the Russian government and quite possibly much more (avmalgin.livejournal.com/7062524.html?utm_source=fbsharing&utm_medium=social). Vladimir Putin has cultivated close links between the extreme right in Russia and the extreme right in various European countries over the last several years, links that have typically been ignored by many in the West but that have been documented among others by Anton Shekhovtsov in a series of important books and articles. Today, in a Facebook post, Shekhovtsov comments on a Youtube clip of Aleksandr Shein, Moscow’s ambassador to Israel, discussing who is a terrorist and who isn’t (youtube.com/watch?v=nBTlrjLg8ps), a distinction likely to shape how the Russian government will respond to the events in Sweden, a country it has threatened with reprisals if it joins NATO. Shein says, Shekhovtsov reports, that “if apparent terrorist attacks are not aimed against Russia’s interests, then we do not consider the perpetrators as terrorists.” Such “logic,” the researcher says, recalls “Moscow’s understanding of fascism: if fascists are pro-Russian, then they are not fascists.”
Swedish prosecutor charges three men for bomb attacks against asylum centres | Reuters Three men with ties to the Swedish white supremacist movement have been charged with attempted murder and endangering the public in connection with bomb attacks in western Sweden, prosecutors said on Friday.
Sweden charges 3 men with right-wing links for bomb attacks – The Washington Post Three men with links to a right-wing extremist group have been charged with attempted murder and endangering the public in connection with recent attacks in southern Sweden targeting newly arrived migrants and a left-wing group, Swedish authorities said Friday.


The Daily Vertical: Making Russia Great Again (Transcript) It wasn’t that long ago when a majority of Ukrainian citizens believed either neutrality or an alliance with Russia were the best ways to guarantee the country’s national security. Today, a strong plurality of Ukrainians back NATO membership and the Verkhovna Rada has just officially made this Kyiv’s strategic goal. Three years of Kremlin-backed war has its cost. It wasn’t that long ago when the European Union was having serious discussions about granting Russians visa-free travel and such status for Ukraine wasn’t even on the agenda. WATCH: Today’s Daily Vertical Today, Ukrainians and Georgians can travel to Europe visa-free. And it is inconceivable that Russians will get this status as long as Crimea and the Donbas remain occupied. Flagrant violations of international law have a price. It wasn’t that long ago when countries like Germany, France, and Montenegro were favorably disposed toward Moscow. Today they have, each in their own way, become harsh critics. Hacking, disinformation attacks, and political interference tend to turn friends into enemies. Later this week, Vladimir Putin will hold his annual call-in program. Any preselected Russian citizen will be able to ask the Kremlin leader any carefully prescreened question. It will surely be yet another impressive made-for-TV spectacle designed to highlight and market the success of Putin’s policies. And Putin will explain, in his trademark pithy way, how he is making Russia great again. But one has to wonder, how much more of this success can the Russian people take?

The Morning Vertical, June 12, 2017 ON MY MIND Thirty years ago today, Ronald Reagan famously told Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” And remarkably, Gorbachev complied. Today, there are no walls in Europe. And despite claims to the contrary, there is not really even a new Cold War. What we do have, however, is a growing divide between two normative systems. To the West is a normative system based on the rule of law, accountable government, the rights of the individual, and the sanctity of contracts. And to the East is a normative system based on cronyism, patron-client relationships, paternalism, and the subordination of the law to power. And in between, in countries like Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, you have these two normative systems battling each other for dominance. They are the front lines of the battle between kleptocracy and democracy — the war of governance that, in many ways, defines our times.
The Briefing: The Battle Of The Spectacles On this week’s Power Vertical Briefing, we look ahead to Aleksei Navalny’s anticorruption protests and Vladimir Putin’s annual call-in show.
Unauthorised protest rally in Moscow: thousands take to the streets |  The Moscow Times A massive unsanctioned protest rally is taking place in Moscow, as Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny asked people to take to Tverskaya street in the center of the city instead of Prospekt Sakharova where the protest rally was agreed with the authorities. Thousands of muscovites took to Tverskaya and an hour after the rally started dozens have been detained. The Moscow Times reporter saw Ilya Yashin, a well known opposition activist, being dragged into a police wagon. Another protestor has been taken after he started wagging with a sheet of paper that looked like a protest banner. An hour after the rally started police started separating the crowd into groups and then isolating them from each other. Alexei Navalny changed the place of the rally to unauthorized location after the authorities, as he had claimed, didn’t let him install sound equipment for the demonstration that had been planned and agreed. “We have our constitutional right to gather peacefully with political demands”, Navalny told his supporters on his YouTube channel. He was detained earlier today at the entrance of his house when he headed to the rally. The rally started at 2 PM. By 3.30 police successfully dispersed big parts of it from Tverskaya street and Pushkinskaya square at the very center of the city.
Russian police detain Putin critic Navalny, scores of protesters held | Reuters Baton-wielding riot police broke up an anti-government demonstration in Moscow on Monday and arrested scores of protesters after detaining Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny as he tried to leave his home.
Russian activist Alexei Navalny detained as tens of thousands rally across Russia – The Washington Post Russia’s most prominent opposition figure called protesters to central Moscow despite an official ban.
Russian Activist Navalny Arrested Before Moscow Protest In Moscow, police detained opposition leader Aleksei Navalny as he tried to leave his home ahead of a planned anti-Kremlin protest. A still photograph from Navalny’s campaign purportedly shows him being put in a car surrounded by police outside his apartment house. Local media quoted the Interior Ministry as saying that Navalny was detained for publicly calling for an unauthorized demonstration. On Twitter, his wife, Yulia Navalnaya, called for the protest on June 12 to go ahead. (Reuters)
Russia’s Navalny, Others Detained At Moscow, St. Petersburg Anticorruption Protests MOSCOW –&nbsp;Riot police in Moscow and St. Petersburg have detained more than 200 anticorruption protesters at unsanctioned demonstrations organized by opposition politician Aleksei Navalny. …
Eye-Popping Signs From Russia’s Opposition Protests Protesters who took to the streets in Russia on June 12 to rally against corruption brandished signs mocking the country&rsquo;s ruling elite, echoing the wry and meme-heavy humor of the organizer o…
Defiant Navalny Moves Protest To Kremlin’s Doorstep Ahead Of Anticorruption Rallies Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny has called for protesters to move a planned anticorruption rally to central Moscow, defying city authorities and setting up a potential violent confrontatio…
Navalny Video Accusing Medvedev Of Corruption Posted On Government Websites A video accusing Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of corruption was published on two government websites on June 11, one day ahead of planned nationwide anticorruption protests organized b…
Navalny Video Accusing Medvedev Of Corruption Posted On Government Websites – To Inform is to Influence June 11, 2017 16:21 GMT RFE/RL A video accusing Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of corruption was published on two government websites on June 11, one day ahead of planned nationwide anticorruption protests organized by opposition leader Aleksei Navalny. The video, produced by Navalny and his supporters, was published on the websites of the regional…
Kremlin tells kids to ditch Navalny’s Russia Day demos – To Inform is to Influence Russian students protested corruption en masse in March. Now, the government has increasingly pressured them to back off ahead of new demonstrations scheduled for Monday. There’s talk of banning youths from protests. Alexei Navalny sits earnestly in front of the camera and explains how he recruited kindergarteners and other children to march with his party’s…
Anti-Putin protests banned from gathering near Red Square – To Inform is to InfluenceBy Mary Kay Linge June 11, 2017 Anti-Putin activists planning a demonstration in Moscow on Sunday have been ordered to gather far from Red Square, for fear that the crowd’s size will embarrass the Kremlin. Another group of protesters has been relegated to a remote forest, reported The Sunday Times of London. The demonstrations, planned…
Navalny Set To Lead Nationwide Rallies On June 12 To Protest Russian Corruption – To Inform is to InfluenceIt appears the posting of the Medvedev corruption videos may be part of the preparations for tomorrow’s anti-corruption marches. Russia will most likely arrest Navalny again. But the world is watching – closely. </end editorial>  June 11, 2017 19:45 GMT RFE/RL Protesters are set to take to the streets in Russia on June 12 in…
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Despite Harsher Laws, More Russians Think Protests Will Occur Now than Did in 2012Paul Goble Staunton, June 12 – Since the 2011-2012 protests, Moscow has tightened the rules against demonstrations, but the share of Russians who believe that protests are likely in their regions has gone up from 30 percent then to 35 percent now, according to a new VTsIOM survey. Valery Fedorov, head of that polling agency, says that there are two reasons for this change. On the one hand, if Russians feel that things are bad, they are more likely to say that protests will occur. And on the other, if they have experience with or have seen reports about protests, they are more likely to say the same (kommersant.ru/doc/3317165). Thus, he told Kommersant for an article published today, if there hadn’t been any “anti-Putin protests” recently, “if there hadn’t been [those of] March 26, then people would have said that there ‘aren’t and won’t be’” any now. And that in turn suggests, although Fedorov doesn’t say so in so many words, that protests will tend to feed off each other and grow over time. Moscow political analyst Mikhail Vinogradov agrees. He told Kommersant’s Maksim Ivanov that most protests remain focused on local issues and don’t gain energy from others in most cases. (He points to the long-haul truckers strike as evidence.) Others say the same. Sergey Malakhov, a political technologist, says emotional attachment to an issue plays a key role. But there is another factor at work as well: widespread variations in local rules governing meetings. In some places, getting official permission for a meeting is almost impossible. Kabardino-Balkaria, Udmurtia and Sverdlovsk Oblast are the worst offenders in this regard, and stand out even against the Russia-wide toughening of federal laws since 2004. Each wave of tightening the laws has come in response to the demonstrations, Ivanov says. The most recent case of this was the decision of the Duma to equate automobile processions with demonstrations last year, a direct reply to the long-haul truckers strike. Now, drivers have to park on the side of the road rather than have rolling protests. Another key factor in whether Russians will protest or assume that protests will occur is whether they have a sense that such actions will have positive outcomes. While demonstrations in Russia have not had a lot of success, they have had some especially in regions outside of Moscow. In Voronezh oblast, Ivanov notes, “residents of the Gvazd village after meetings achieved the dissolution of the local council which had backed the construction of a trash processing plant” those living there didn’t want. After a new round of elections to fill the vacated seats, “not a single United Russia candidate was elected.”
‘Putin Interviews’ as much about Oliver Stone as Russian leader – To Inform is to Influence Oliver Stone is a nonapologetic Russian promoter, for the most part.   This interview is no different.  Putin is not confronted about his illegal annexation of Crimea, about why he believes it is proper to violate international law. Putin is not confronted about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in violation of international law. Putin is…

Putin talks NATO, gay rights in interviews with Oliver Stone – The Washington Post Russian President Vladimir Putin says that early on in his tenure he floated the idea of Russia joining NATO.

Oliver Stone Claims Putin May Have Used Him To Send U.S. A Message Oliver Stone dismissed the possibility he served as a tool for Putin’s propaganda, but largely agrees with the Russian leader.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Idel-Ural – An Idea from Revolutionary Times that May have a Revolutionary Future Idel-Ural – An Idea from Revolutionary Times that May have a Revolutionary Future Paul Goble Staunton, June 11 – The Russian revolution and ensuing civil war were never the cartoon cut-out struggles between the Bolsheviks and the Whites that many, including Vladimir Putin, appear to believe it was. Far more forces were involved, and the increased public attention to the immediate post-revolutionary period is attracting more attention to those groups as well. One consequence of that is that even if Putin’s appeals for national reconciliation between the Reds and the Whites in fact succeed, a highly unlikely proposition given what the supporters of each are learning about the other, that coming together will have little or no impact on all the other groups involved in the struggles between 1917 and 1922. Instead, as more information becomes available about these groups, ethnic, class, religious and otherwise, they are likely to provoke discussions about alternative futures that were cut off when the Bolsheviks won and suppressed everyone else and even to attract support among those attracted by those alternatives. One of the most important of these groups and the alternative future it called for was the movement in the Middle Volga known as Idel-Ural, Turkic for “the land between the Volga and the Urals mountains that included at various times the Tatars, the Bashkirs, the Mordvins, the Mari, the Udmurts, and the Chuvash. It has been usefully discussed in a new article by Ersubay Yangarov who points not only to the divisions the Bolsheviks were able to exploit to destroy it but also to the continuing interest of many among these nations in the idea, an interest which is not so much opposed to either Reds or Whites but to the side of both (idelreal.org/a/28520832.html). There are many other such movements and groups that are now resonating among the nations within the current borders of the Russian Federation, and they merit attention not simply as historical curiosities, the way they are sometimes discussed in Moscow and the West, but as real alternatives that may matter even more in the future than they did in the past.

The Naval Battle That Stopped Hitler from Building a Massive Battleship Fleet | The National Interest Blog This is the story of the Battle of the Barents Sea.


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


U.S. Cyberweapons, Used Against Iran and North Korea, Are a Disappointment Against ISIS – The New York Times The Islamic State’s internet use has proved a more elusive target than missile systems or centrifuges, American officials say.

 

Russia has developed a cyberweapon that can disrupt power grids, according to new research – The Washington Post Already used in Ukraine, the malware could be modified to target U.S. systems.

DoD’s annual China assessment shows growing cyber, EW capabilities – Fifth Domain | Cyber            The Department of Defense made public this week its annual report to Congress on China’s military developments, shedding some light on information-based capabilities including cyber, electromagnetic spectrum operations and space operations. The report offers greater details about China’s Strategic Support Force, created in 2015. The military organization garnered less than 30 words in the DoD’s report last year, as it was in its infancy at the time of production. This organization appears to link the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s space, cyber and EW missions. The report makes note that the SSF may represent the PLA’s first step in developing a cyber force that combines cyber reconnaissance, attack and defense capabilities under one hat. Importantly, it appears the PLA has taken note of U.S. Cyber Command’s structure that consolidated cyber functions under a single entity.

THE RUSSIANS ARE HERE – To Inform is to Influence JUNE 11, 2017 PAULR Good thing I checked.  Reading the New York Times this morning I almost coughed out my breakfast cereal on the sight of the following full page ad on page 7: What was the ‘therussiansarehere.org’, I wondered. The front for a bunch of well-financed maniacs determined to further exacerbate East-West tensions? As…

Countering terrorist propaganda online – To Inform is to Influence GOTCHA By Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 12, 2017 – 12:00am Expelling the remnant Mautes from Marawi City by Independence Day today would make for fine PR, but pyrrhic if to cost more soldiers’ and civilians’ lives. If government forces truly have them encircled, then starving them into surrender could be just a…


Ukraine Reports


58% of Ukrainians acknowledge the threat of Russian propaganda – StopFake research | UACRISIS.ORG Kyiv, June 12, 2017. These are the results of a national survey “Awareness and attitude to the problems of disinformation and propaganda in the media”, initiated by StopFake project. The survey covered 110 localities. Additionally, two focus groups in Donetsk region were interviewed. Survey was carried out by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology. This was reported by Daria Orlova, deputy director for research, Mohyla School of Journalism, during a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Daria Orlova indicates significant regional differences in attitude to the Russian propaganda. 42% of survey participants from southern and 46% from the eastern regions believe that the threat does not exist. Although a nationwide cross-section shows that only one third of all respondents do not recognize the threat. Among the main sources of propaganda 45% of respondents indicate Russian TV channels, 34,5% – on-line media, more than 20% – social networks. “The next stage of our research is to analyze more than 1,000 fake news that are on the StopFake website. […] We have already indexed the media organizations participating in the creation of fake news and will soon be able to provide their list. In fact, this is a list of sources that cannot be trusted, because we are talking about their systematic participation in a propaganda machine “- adds Yevhen Fedchenko, senior editor at “StopFake”. Only one third of respondents feel the need to increase their own media literacy. Most respondents believe they can distinguish between the information that is true, and that is not. In eastern and southern regions the percentage is higher than in others. “Despite the overall percentage of uncertainty and confusion about the sources of propaganda, residents of the eastern and southern regions are quite confident in their ability to differentiate true facts from the false once” – says Daria Orlova. 33,8% of survey participants indicate that the propaganda also exists in Ukrainian media. “This is quite alarming, […] we believe there is no Ukrainian propaganda, and we wonder where this concept of Ukrainian and Russian propaganda equivalence comes from. We think that most of it comes from the regions that are under the influence of Russian media the most, “- said Yevhen Fedchenko. The focus groups research in Donetsk region shows a high level of confusion and lack of belief in media in general. By definition, there is a very cautious attitude to any kind of information. “There is a common formula – 50% is true and 50% is not. […] Still, there is the realization that Russian propaganda is more radical and purposeful” – said Daria Orlova. Yevhen Fedchenko adds that StopFake started publishing newspaper “Your right to know” in Kramatorsk. It intends to give the eastern region an access to reliable sources of information, and improve media literacy.

 

Here’s how Ukraine is a laboratory for both Russia and the US Just as adversaries have observed U.S. behavior in conflict over the last decade-plus, learning tactics and techniques, the U.S. is doing the same. Specifically, the country is looking at Ukraine against Russia and Russian-supported forces. “As we study them — it becomes a laboratory both for the Russian forces and the Russian supported forces … it’s a laboratory both ways,” Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh, commander of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command and the Marine Corps Forces Strategic Command, said during a Senate Armed Services Subcommittee hearing June 6. “They’re testing their capabilities… and we’re having to see what they’re doing just like we did in the Cold War, but this is an actual battlefield.” Russia has demonstrated advanced capabilities in the electromagnetic spectrum, which would be of strategic significance in a force-on-force conflict in the operating environment of the future. “If we don’t win the cyber/EW fight, then the maneuver fight may not matter because we may not get to it,” Maj. Gen. Wilson Shoffner, director of operations, Army Rapid Capabilities Office, said during a presentation at the beginning of June, noting that the decisive fight may well be the electromagnetic spectrum as opposed to maneuver. The joint force divested a lot of its capability in this space using it primarily for counter-IED. In many cases, this resulted in an imprecise jamming capability as opposed to something more targeted, which, while effective against IEDs, jammed friendly communications. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work discussed how this new paradigm will affect future conflict, explaining last October that the “old adage was … if you can be seen you can be hit, and if you can be hit, you can be killed. The new adage is if you emit, you die.” Part of the problem stems from a divestment of capability while the other relates to understanding how friendly forces are emitting in this space. “Since we’ve been so focused on Iraq and Afghanistan … a lot of things have gone on around the world and we’re being challenged in areas where we have taken for granted in the past,” Walsh told senators. “When we talk about maneuvering in the electromagnetic spectrum, we see today capabilities that while Russia kept a lot of their Cold War capabilities when it came to electronic warfare, they’ve kept those, they’ve improved on those and they’ve kept a lot of their fielded formations that we’ve let those capabilities recess that we did not need.”

One Ukrainian military killed, four wounded during the day June 12, – ATO spokesperson. MAP 12.06.17 15:05 – One Ukrainian military killed, four wounded during the day June 12, – ATO spokesperson. MAP On Monday, June 12, one Ukrainian military was killed in combat since midnight, four fighters were wounded. View news.

Two Ukrainian soldiers killed, four wounded yesterday, – ATO HQ 12.06.17 09:36 – Two Ukrainian soldiers killed, four wounded yesterday, – ATO HQ Two Ukrainian military were killed in combat, four were wounded in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) in the east of Ukraine on June 11. View news.

Pro-Russian militants shelled two villages in Donbas, destroyed dozen houses and power sub-station, – National Police. PHOTOS 12.06.17 12:06 – Pro-Russian militants shelled two villages in Donbas, destroyed dozen houses and power sub-station, – National Police. PHOTOS Militants shelled residential areas of Olhynka and Hrafske villages of Volnovakha districts of the Donetsk region. View photo news.

Ukrainian journalist missing in occupied Donetsk, illegal arrest suspected -Euromaidan Press | Ukrainian journalist Stanislav Asieiev, born in 1989, has gone missing in Donetsk, a city in Donbas under the control of Russian-hybrid forces. He wrote articles about life under the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DNR”) for the popular Ukrainian newspapers and online media Ukrayinska Pravda, RFE/RL project Donbas.Realii, Dzerkalo Tyzhnya and Tyzhden, Ostro.org under the pen name Stanislav Vasin. Reportedly, there are signs of a break-in and search in Asieiev’s Donetsk apartment. His phone doesn’t answer the calls of his parents and close friends.

Ukrainian Journalist Disappeared in Donbas – YouTube Ukraine’s National Union of Journalists has appealed to international organizations working in Donbas to aid in finding a 27-year old blogger – Stanislav Ase…

Ukrainians welcome visa-free travel to EU amid escalation of hostilities in Donbas -Euromaidan Press | On 11 June Ukrainians officially gain visa-free travel to the European Union. On the eve of this day, President Petro Poroshenko has said that he believes Ukraine will become a member of both NATO and the EU, he welcomed the visa-free regime as a final “goodbye” to the Russian empire. But the empire doesn’t let go of Ukraine so easily. At least 11 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in hostilities in the first 10 days of June, four of them perished yesterday, hours before the visa-free regime came into effect. Two civilians wounded in a frontline town yesterday. Meanwhile, Lithuania continues to treat wounded Ukrainian soldiers and the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny wants to withdraw Russian troops from the Donbas but doesn’t consider Crimea to be Ukrainian. “Farewell, farewell, unwashed Russia” On June 10, during the ceremony of the visa-free regime introduction between Ukraine and the EU, President Petro Poroshenko said: “This is a final “goodbye” to the Russian empire and the words “back in the USSR” will be heard only listening to Beatles.” Later in the evening of the same day, Poroshenko, in Russian, lines from the famous Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov: Farewell, farewell, unwashed Russia, The land of slaves, the land of lords, And you, blue uniforms of gendarmes, And you, obedient to them folks. However, the Russian forces are not willing to say goodbye to Ukraine.

“We made it, and we made it together”, – Mogherini’s address on visa-free coming into force. VIDEO 12.06.17 10:08 – We made it, and we made it together, – Mogherini’s address on visa-free coming into force. VIDEO EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini released an address on the day when visa-free travel for Ukrainians into EU came into force, June 11. View video news.

Ukraine now has more arguments for EU membership, – Poroshenko 12.06.17 10:46 – Ukraine now has more arguments for EU membership, – Poroshenko As the visa-free travel for Ukrainians into EU countries entered into force, Ukraine is having more arguments to become an EU member. View news.

First Ukrainian Passengers Without Visas Arrive At Prague Airport The first Ukrainians arriving in the Czech Republic without visas were passengers on a June 11 morning flight from Odesa. RFE/RL interviewed some of them at Vaclav Havel international airport in Prague. (RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service)

Ukrainian Travelers, Diplomat Welcome EU Visa-Free Travel June 11 was the first day when the citizens of Ukraine could enter countries of the European Union without a visa. Passengers arriving in Brussels on a flight from Kyiv shared their positive feelings with RFE/RL correspondent Rikard Jozwiak. He also interviewed the chief of the Mission of Ukraine to the European Union, Mykola Tochytskyi, outside the European Parliament in Brussels.

Association Agreement EU-Ukraine to come into force on Sept. 1, – Mingarelli 12.06.17 14:29 – Association Agreement EU-Ukraine to come into force on Sept. 1, – Mingarelli The European Union expects the Association Agreement with Ukraine to enter into full force on Sept. 1, 2017. View news.

Ukraine’s path to the visa-free regime with the EU, in cartoons -Euromaidan Press | An exhibition of cartoons organized by the Kyiv-based Institute of World Policy and artists Oleh Hutsol, Oleksiy Kustovsky, Oleh Loktiev, Ihor Lukyanchenko, Andriy Petrenko, and Oleh Smal details Ukraine’s thorny and tortuous path toward the visa-free regime with the EU, which officially launched on 11 June 2017. It took nine years for Ukraine to make the dream come true. The first talks on the liberalization of visa regime between Ukraine and the EU started in 2008. Two years later, Kyiv received the Action Plan including 144 EU performance criteria divided into four blocks: document security, combating illegal migration, public order and security, and fundamental rights and freedoms.

Poroshenko Opens Door to European Union – YouTube The presidents of Ukraine and Slovakia have opened a symbolic door to the European Union. _ Follow UATV English: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UATVEN Tw…

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry supports implementation of visa regime with Russia, – spokesperson Betsa 12.06.17 12:51 – Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry supports implementation of visa regime with Russia, – spokesperson Betsa Foreign Ministry of Ukraine supports the proposal to implement visa regime between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. View news.

Moscow worried Russian ‘ceasing to be language of majority’ in Ukraine, Shchetkina says | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press | The Kremlin isn’t pleased that the number of Ukrainians who use Russian is declining, but it if far more concerned with something else: the possibility even likelihood that “Russian too obviously is ceasing to be the language of the majority,” according to Kyiv commentator Kateryna Shchetkina. That reflects its understanding of the way it can use the language issue against Ukraine not only now when Moscow’s actions have alienated many Ukrainians from all things Russian but in the future after the war is over and Moscow will again be better positioned to use its “soft power.” Moscow’s position on language and Russians in Ukraine is something many Ukrainians do not fully understand, but to the extent they do, Shchetkina says, Ukrainians will see why changing their alphabet from the Cyrillic to the Latin script could ensure Ukraine will pass “the Lagrange limit” between Russia and Europe and become fully part of the latter.


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


State, Pentagon issue conflicting statements on Middle East rift’s impact on Qatar operations

 

Qatar ships cargo via Oman to bypass Gulf restrictions – BBC News Cargo will be shipped via Sohar and Salalah to bypass restrictions imposed by other Gulf states.

Saudi Arabia Sanction Qataris With Alleged Extremism Links | World | US News Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asked those involved to ease up their pressure on Qatar.

Natural gas built Qatar, now may protect it in Gulf dispute – The Washington Post Natural gas built the high-rises of Qatar’s capital, put the Al-Jazeera satellite news network on the air and a fleet of passengers jets for its state carrier in the sky. Now, it may be what protects Qatar as it is in the center of the worst diplomatic crisis to strike the Gulf in decades.Saudi Arabia’s Connection to Radicalizing British JihadisThe probe was to be conducted by the newly established “extremism analysis unit” of the Home Office, then headed by Theresa May, and its findings were due to be published in the spring of 2016. However, more than a year later, the investigation has yet …

Stephen Kinzer: Saudi Arabia is destabilizing the world – The Boston Globe America’s supposed friend wages a long campaign to radicalize Muslim countries.

‘Facebook blasphemer’ given death penalty – BBC News The 30-year-old is accused of posting insulting comments about the Prophet Muhammad.

Pakistan: man sentenced to death for blasphemy on Facebook | World news | The Guardian Taimoor Raza was found guilty of insulting the prophet Muhammad during an argument on social media with a counter-terrorism official


DPRK / PRC Reports


The method to North Korea’s missile mania: proving its weapons can hurt the U.S. – The Globe and Mail A flurry of engine test and missile launches by the isolated kingdom – 24 last year, 16 so far in 2017 – has delivered an extraordinary string of successes, astounding outside observers with the speed of North Korean technological advancements.

 

Why Trump’s North Korea strategy can’t succeed – The Washington Post A framework for new multilateral talks must be established.

South Korea’s Moon suggests regional bloc including North Korea hosts 2030 World Cup | Euronews SEOUL Reuters South Korea s President Moon Jae-in suggested on Monday that countries in Northeast Asia could form a bloc including isolated North Korea to

North Korea Sees Humanitarian Aid as Leverage North Korea wants sanctions relief before allowing humanitarian assistance and the repatriation of defectors in return for family reunions

Presiding over first National Security Council meeting, Moon condemns N. Korea’s provocations : North Korea : News : The Hankyoreh President Moon asking senior officials to “come up with some good ideas for dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program” “The only thing that North Korea has to gain from its provocations is international isolation and economic hardship, and it will lose its opportunity to develop. The South Korean government declares that it will neither compromise nor retreat a single step when it comes to national security and public safety,” President Moon Jae-in warned on June 8. Blue House spokesperson Park Su-hyun said that Moon made these remarks during a plenary session of the National Security Council. While the standing committee of the National Security Council has met three times since Moon’s inauguration, chaired by the Blue House National Security Chief, this was the first time that a plenary session was held with Moon presiding. The council convened after North Korea launched what were believed to be surface-to-ship cruise missiles into the East Sea on the morning of June 8. North Korea’s missile launch came 10 days after it fired a Scud-class ballistic missile from Wonsan in Gangwon Province on May 29, and it was the fifth such launch since Moon took office.

North Korea says it will launch an ICBM before long : North Korea : News : The Hankyoreh This year North Korea has test launched a variety of missiles, demonstrating technical advancements North Korea threatened that it will test launch an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) before long. “The strategic weapon tests that we have been conducting recently demonstrate that it will certainly not be long before North Korea launches an ICBM,” said the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Korean Workers’ Party (KWP), in a June 10 article titled “The complete bankruptcy of the US’s policy of hostility toward North Korea is historically inevitable.” This article appears consistent with remarks made by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during his New Year’s address this year, when he said that “preparations for the test launch of an ICBM are in their final stage.” This year, North Korea has fired a variety of new missiles. It has continued to demonstrate its ability to develop missiles by launching one missile after another, including the Pukguksong-2, a solid-fuel missile; the Hwasong-12, an intermediate-range ballistic missile; the KN-06, a surface-to-air missile; and a surface-to-ship cruise missile. This article in the Rodong Sinmun seems to have been written with these facts in mind. “The great success of the test launch of our ICBM, which will certainly occur, will be a historic turning point declaring the complete bankruptcy of the US’s policy of hostility toward North Korea. Historically speaking, the US has never dared to wage war with countries that possess nuclear weapons and ICBMs,” the Rodong Sinmun also said.

North Korea ‘not far away’ from test-firing ICBM | TheHill

North Korean defector believes he can help topple regime by speaking out – CBS News Bill Whitaker reports from Seoul, where 28,000 U.S. troops are stationed in or nearby, and the Korean DMZ, seeing firsthand the tense standoff between the North and South

[Photo] Another North Korean surveillance drone found : North Korea : News : The Hankyoreh An object that appears to be a North Korean drone was found on a mountain in Gangwon Province, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said on June 9. They also said the drone was similar in size and shape to a North Korean drone found on Baengnyeong Island on Mar. 31, 2014. The drone measures 1.8 meters long and 2.4 meters wide. The drone was reported by a local resident. Data analysis will be conducted over a period of roughly ten days. (provided by the Joint Chiefs of Staff)

At time of his death, Kim Jong-nam had $120,000 on him : North Korea : News : The Hankyoreh Kim Jong-nam, half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was carrying US$120,000 in cash when he was killed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia in February, Japanese newspaper the Asahi Shimbun reported. On June 11, the Asahi Shimbun quoted an anonymous Malaysian investigator as speculating that Kim may have received this money from an individual linked with a US intelligence agency in exchange for providing information. When the Malaysian police searched Kim’s belongings after his death, they found a black bag containing several stacks of hundred-dollar bills, the newspaper reported. There were four stacks altogether, each consisting of 300 bills, most of them new. In most countries, including Malaysia, it is illegal to travel overseas with such a large amount of money without reporting it. But since Kim had a diplomatic passport, his baggage was not searched very carefully when he was passing through customs. Kim entered Malaysia on Feb. 6 and was returning to Macao, where his family resides, when he was killed at the Kuala Lumpur airport on Feb. 13. Kim spent five of the eight days he was in Malaysia at the Langkawi archipelago, a resort area in the northern part of the country. On Feb. 9, Kim went to a hotel for a two-hour meeting with an American man whom the Malaysian authorities believe is linked to a US intelligence agency, the Asahi Shimbun reported. Malaysian investigators believe that Kim provided this American with some kind of information. A senior Malaysian investigator told the newspaper on condition of anonymity that the large amount of cash in Kim’s possession “could have been the payment for [providing] information.” There are no records of Kim withdrawing money from banks in Malaysia.

Rare photographs taken inside the secretive state of North Korea were taken on a trip to the country by web designer Reuben Teo | North Korea’s hidden beauty, in pictures – News

The Tragic Tale of How a North Korean Mini Submarine Almost Started a Second Korea War | The National Interest Blog The North Korean spies killed four civilians, eight soldiers, a policeman and a reservist attempting to escape. In return, of the twenty-six men aboard the submarine, only two remained alive.


Foreign Policy Reports


Emmanuel Macron’s party headed for absolute majority in French election – The Washington Post After the second round of voting next Sunday, it could have an absolute majority in the Parliament.

 

Another Stunning Election In France As Macron’s Party Sweeps : NPR French voters cast ballots on Sunday in the first round of voting for Parliament. Turnout was low, but the results were an outsized victory for the new French president’s new party.

Macron’s parliamentary election win is good news for France

Theresa May could delay Queen’s Speech amid post-election turmoil – CNN.com Theresa May, Britain’s embattled Prime Minister, appears to be on the verge of delaying the Queen’s Speech — a key annual event in which the government lays out its policy agenda for the coming year.


US Domestic Policy Reports


Trump upends the global order | TheHill “Obviously, he’s weakened [U.S. alliances],” said Sen. John McCain. “Duh.”

 

Transcript: Sen. Lindsey Graham on “Face the Nation,” June 11, 2017 – CBS News Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, discussed James Comey's testimony and what he now wants to know from Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Russia cloud settles in over Trump’s White House – CNNPolitics.com The Russia “cloud” is growing over President Donald Trump and threatening to wreck another week for the embattled White House as one of his closest allies tries to avoid a public spectacle on Capitol Hill.

Ivanka Trump surprised by ‘viciousness,’ ‘ferocity’ of father’s critics | Fox News Ivanka Trump, in an interview Monday with “Fox & Friends,” said she’s been surprised by the “viciousness” and “ferocity” that greeted her father’s presidency — but also said President Trump felt “very vindicated” by former FBI Director James Comey’s recent Senate testimony.

Ivanka Trump: ‘There is a level of viciousness that I was not expecting’ – CNNPolitics.com Ivanka Trump said Monday she is surprised by the “viciousness” of the media covering her father’s presidency, referring to the growing “cloud” of distractions resulting from the Russia probe.

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