Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 13 June 2017

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russia has produced a minor tsunami of MSM traffic, of which only about a quarter deals specifically with yesterday’s protests, dominated by young people, and leading to more than 1,500 arrests. The Meduza photoessay and UATV video footage are illustrative. Portnikov essay on Russia’s  “imitation” of a parliament is a good exposition of a broken political system, and why a Maidan in Russia is impossible – if the regime falls the outcome will be more like Libya. SECDEF and Chairman of JCS testify to Congress on Russia, and it would appear, were intentionally mistranslated in Russian MSM. New sanctions bill agreed. Gudkov commentary on the Putin regime’s  “besieged fortress” domestic strategy is good, and indeed the explanation for the hostile and provocative behaviours detailed by the SECDEF and CJCS – significantly it appears the Russian populace has lost interest mostly in Making Russia Great Again. Buzzfeed alleges the UK government has avoided a proper investigation of a Russian assassination conducted in the UK, while Galeotti expounds on Russia’s uses of organised crime for subcontract work – this is incidently a practice straight from the old Komintern revolutionary warfare model, not an iota of originality despite MSM claims of great novelty (novel only to those too lazy to read). Goble’s digest on Russia being awash with unlicenced firearms, many of military origin, is excellent. Czech police arrest a domestic terrorist, who previously fought for Russia in Donbass – with Sweden already dealing with this problem, are we about to see a revival of the Soviets’ Red Brigades and Baader-Meinhoff strategy?

Russia is also dominating IW/IO/Cyber traffic. Facebook being host to “virtual honeytraps”, and bogus veteran websites to spread propaganda. Two forensic studies detail Russian malware designed to penetrate and cripple electricity grid systems – the report onindustroyer shows something far too clever for ordinary hackers in modest numbers to have developed – this kind of product is expensive in manpower and testing effort, and could only have been funded by a government. Finally the excellent Newsweek report on the abuse of big data to generate by AI software customised fake news and political propaganda.

In Ukraine, NSDC Chairman Turchenov argues that the Anti-terrorist Operation (ATO) label for the campaign to stop the Russian regular and proxy force invasion should be dropped and something more appropriate used – this will go down poorly with a lot of EU politicians as the notion of an “invasion”, “occupation” or “defacto annexation” will conflict with the comfortable  “civil war”,  “separatist insurgency” and other fictions employed to make appeasement of Russia palatable to the public. The Donbass escalation is producing some MSM interest, as the Russians have tried to sieze ground, and focussed artillery fires on civilian residences and vital infrastructure. Ukrainian Embassy shames the Daily Mail for describing Crimea as Russia, although given this tabloid’s propensity to copy and paste straight out of Sputnik and RT, the notion that the  “journalist” writing the article would have even known where Sevastopol is, or that Crimea is occupied Ukraine, is wildly optimistic.

Qatar-Saudi spat remains dominant ME topic, some good backfill articles on the decades running tit-for-tat nastiness between the two.

DPRK RPV crashes after collecting imagery of THAAD battery.

In Europe, UK remains leading MSM theme. Good essay on European political corruption under the Nord Stream 2 banner, and excellent essay by Tsymbaliuk on the Russian play in Moldova and Transnistria.

Three interesting themes in US domestic media: Russia’s successful play to create and sustain political chaos in the US, Russia’s hacking of no less than39 states’ voter databases and software systems, and SECDEF’s shock at how badly military readiness declined since he retired from active duty.

Russia / Russophone Reports

No indication Russia wants positive relationship with U.S.: Mattis | Reuters U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday there was no indication that Russia wanted a positive relationship with the United States, saying it had chosen to be a strategic competitor.

Mattis: Russia wants no ‘positive relationship’ with US | TheHill

Russian Warlike Words Versus Reality, But Wait, Bad Machine Translation! – To Inform is to Influence I read the following alarming headline in, part of the official Russian propaganda outlet, RIA Novosti. Moscow is the enemy of Washington, said the head of the US Joint Staff This I found fairly alarming, especially coming from General Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon. Such warlike words…

Senate Strikes Deal on Russia Sanctions, Stripping Power From Trump – NBC News Senators agreed that the additional sanctions on Russia would also prohibit the president from being able to lift them without Congressional approval.

U.S. Senators Reach Bipartisan Deal On Bill To Increase Sanctions On Russia U.S. senators have announced a bipartisan agreement on legislation to impose new sanctions on Russia over human rights abuses, for arming Syria, and for allegedly meddling in the U.S. presidentia…

SENATE GOP, DEMS AGREE ON NEW SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA – To Inform is to Influence I have lots of thoughts on this issue, but only two I would like to share.   More sanctions on Russia is a very good thing. The United States needs to do a lot more, however. Expanded Russia Sanctions Gain Bipartisan Support in U.S. Senate Bloomberg 03:16 RFE/RL: U.S. Senators reach bipartisan deal on bill…

Top Armed Services Dem to propose bill to address Russian aggression – To Inform is to Influence Hidden in this article appear to be three small points of hope: The bill would also require a plan to counter Russian military modernization and capabilities, such as drones, electronic warfare and long-range precision strike capabilities. The bill would further require a plan to train allied forces to counter Russian cyber and information operations. Interesting,…

Punishing Putin Mostly Means Punishing His Foes – Bloomberg Washington wants more sanctions. But they would further strangle a pro-democracy movement on life support.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin May Be Crying ‘Wolf’ Once Too Often, Gudkov Says Paul Goble Staunton, June 12 – After a brief break from its “besieged fortress” rhetoric, the Kremlin has returned to the idea that Russia is surrounded by hostile forces which are seeking to destabilize it in advance of the presidential election in the hopes that it will help Vladimir Putin put down his opponents, mobilize voters and achieve a breakthrough with the West. On the Profile portal, Denis Yermakov traces the return of this older line; but at least one Moscow analyst, Lev Gudkov of the independent Levada Center polling group, argues that Putin may have cried “wolf” once too often. At the very least, he says, each new wave of such rhetoric has less impact than its predecessor ( “A new foreign policy sharpening like that after the Turkish or Syrian events already will not be viewed by the electorate as was the case earlier,” a reflection of the fact that “every new such factor of the sharp growth in tensions workers ever less and less powerfully,” the Levada Center sociologist continues. “One shouldn’t cry ‘wolf’ or ‘fire’ all the time! Citizens are ceasing to react to this. Of course, initially there will be a certain forced consolidation but it will all the same not be as strong as with regard to Crimea or Novorossiya. Then a sharp growth in dissatisfaction and opposite reaction will follow.” According to Gudkov’s findings, “the readiness of people to sacrifice something and respond to foreign policy events even with regard to the Ukrainian situation has fallen sharply. If in the spring of 2014, in response to sanctions, 74-75 percent were ready to sacrifice something, then in January 2017, the situation had turned around: more than half (approximately 55 percent) tell us that they aren’t ready” to sacrifice anything. Indeed, he says, further demands from the powers that be to make sacrifices for foreign policy goals, even if they are as general as pursuing “the status of a great power … already have the opposite effect,” making Russians less willing to do so. Consequently, Putin’s return to the besieged fortress rhetoric may end by working against him and his interests. This pattern will be more true in major cities and less true in rural areas where people rely almost exclusively on television. But given the size of the urban population, its shift against the regime would be profound. Recently, there has been a growth in tensions and a willingness to take part in protests.

US military: American bombers show commitment to NATO allies A top U.S. military commander in Europe says American B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers currently taking part in exercises from a British air base should reassure allies about his country’s commitment to NATO.

The Aviationist » Watch Two B-2 Stealth Bombers Recover Into RAF Fairford (With Radio Comms)

x2 B-2A (MYTEE21 & 22) recover into RAF Fairford 9th June 2017 – YouTube It was a busy day for bombers on June 9th at RAF Fairford, and was the first time I’d seen (and filmed) all three of Global Strike Command’s heavy bombers on…

On a Tiny Norwegian Island, America Keeps an Eye on Russia – The New York Times In a sleepy town in the Arctic, the business of snooping on Russia’s fleet of nuclear submarines is flourishing thanks to an American-funded radar system.

Revealed: Explosive Evidence Of A Russian Assassination On British Soil That The Government Doesn’t Want You To Read | Buzzfeed When a financier dropped dead in Britain shortly after exposing a vast Russian crime, police said it was not suspicious. But with his inquest now underway, BuzzFeed News has uncovered explosive eviden

The Kremlin’s Newest Hybrid Warfare Asset: Gangsters | Foreign Policy Russia and other states have taken to hiring street gangs and thugs to do the sort of dirty work that even spies don’t want to touch.

The Daily Vertical: One Man’s Terrorist… (Transcript) Ask a Russian official what is a terrorist, and you are likely to get a very interesting — and a very revealing — answer. In a recent televised interview, Russia’s Ambassador to Israel Aleksandr Shein said that Moscow does not consider Hamas and Hizballah to be terrorist organizations. Why not? Well, this is where it gets really interesting. According to Shein, Hamas and Hizballah aren’t terrorists because they aren’t attacking Russia. Yeah, you heard that right. I’m not making this up. He actually said that.  It’s pretty remarkable when officials get caught telling the truth. It’s pretty amazing when a regime’s double standards are exposed live on the air. And the double standard is not restricted to terrorists. Take one of the Kremlin’s favorite words: the ubiquitous “fascist” slur. Judging from the rhetoric coming out of Moscow, anybody who opposes Vladimir Putin’s regime risks being labeled a fascist. It could be Aleksei Navalny. Or it could be Ukraine’s pro-Western government. But what about violent right-wing extremists who would normally qualify for the fascist label, but who are pro-Kremlin? Well, those aren’t fascists, you see. Those are patriots. Likewise, anybody who opposes Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea is a separatist. But those who actually separated Crimea from Ukraine — they’re freedom fighters, or “polite people.” Welcome to the dizzying world of the Kremlin spin machine. Welcome to a world in which language has absolutely no meaning.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Two Inconvenient Questions Arise from Violent Gunfight Near Moscow Paul Goble Staunton, June 12 – The violent clash between an individual gunman in a village near Moscow and members of the heavily armed Russian Guard, a clash that claimed the life of the gunman and left eight others, including four Guardsmen injured, have attracted widespread and almost ghoulish attention in the Moscow media. But they have also sparked two questions that are extremely inconvenient to the Russian authorities. On the one hand, some are asking, will increasing gun ownership spark an upsurge in violent crimes? ( And on the other – and this is a far more serious worry for the authorities – given how hard it was for the well-armed Russian Guard to defeat a single gunman, some wonder what would happen if the forces of order were confronted not by one shooter but by “thousands”? Could the regime cope? ( Answering the second question is impossible: While there may be as many as 25 million guns in private hands, only about a third of which are registered with the authorities, there is no evidence the owners are united in ways that might lead them as a group to challenge the powers ( But the first question is one about which far more can be said with certainty, and Pavel Merzlikin, a Meduza portal journalist, provides some of the evidence one needs to draw conclusions. He notes that Russian Guard officials say that approximately 4.5 million Russians own guns that they have registered with the authorities and that each on average owns more than one ( But the real numbers of guns in private hands are far larger, and some owners may now have a veritable arsenal. One reason for that is that ever more Russians are not registering their guns with the authorities because the cost of getting official approval has gone up by an order of magnitude, according to Igor Shmelyev, head of the Right to Own Guns organization. He says that in fact the number of people officially allowed to own guns has fallen from 5.2 to 4.5 million ( Most Russian gun owners are law abiding and use their guns either for hunting, target practice or personal defense, but the fact that ever more of them own the guns without having official registration is worrisome because it means that those lacking such registration have already broken the law and thus may be more willing to break other laws as well. And some are using guns in the commission of crimes. According to the Russian interior ministry, 5,000 crimes in Russia annually involve the use of guns; and this year, that number is on course to rise to more than 6,000, a 20 percent jump. In many cases,, the guns involved were not registered ( An interior ministry expert, Ivan Solovyev, says that the black market in guns has increased dramatically in recent years and that is likely to have an impact on crime as well ( He does not say but some of the weapons on this black market are likely bleeding into Russia from Moscow’s war in Ukraine. Consequently, it is not improbable that crime in Russia will become more violent and that the authorities, including the Russian Guard, will have to deploy ever more advanced weaponry to combat it and the challenge to public order and stability that such violence poses.

Respekt: Police prosecute man who joined fighting in Ukraine | Prague Monitor Prague, June 11 (CTK) – Czech police have for the first time launched the prosecution of a Czech man who fought in eastern Ukraine on the side of the pro-Russian separatists, weekly Respekt writes in its issue to be out on Monday, adding that the man has been accused of preparing a terrorist attack. Respekt writes that it is not clear what exactly the Czech man was doing in Ukraine. After returning from Ukraine, he served in the Czech military for some time. When recruiting him, the military did not uncover his previous controversial activities in Ukraine. They surfaced only later when photos with him appeared on social networks, Respekt writes. The man was a member of the military paratrooper veterans’ club, it writes. It is not clear how many Czechs fought or have been fighting in the east of Ukraine, Respekt writes. Three years ago, media estimated the number of such Czech fighters at up to 30. The death of Ivo Stejskal, a Czech from Brno, who fell when fighting for the rebels, was confirmed to Czech Television by his sister some time ago. Media speculated about the death of another Czech, coming from Zatec, north Bohemia, who reportedly also joined the rebels opposed to Kiev. Secret services would not comment on the number of Czechs fighting in Ukraine.

Russia said preparing terrorists to act in Europe – but is unlikely to call them that | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press | Swedish prosecutors say that two of the three suspects in the case of a bombing in Gothenburg (Göteborg) had received training in a camp operated by the ultra-right group 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 ( It is summarized in Russian by blogger Andrey Malgin who also points out that the Russian Imperial Movement trained militants who went to Kyiv, Crimea and the Donbas 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.

Chechen Man Sentenced For Politkovskaya’s Murder Dies In Prison Relatives of a Chechen man convicted of organizing the 2006 murder of Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya say he has died in prison. Lom-Ali Gaitukayev’s relatives told th…

The Power of the Russian State vs. a Librarian – The New York Times Vladimir Putin’s Russia has fallen prey to the old Soviet notion that any deviation from the position of the state is liable to be prosecuted.

Land and Airborne Forces Biggest ‘Winners’ of 2018–2025 Russian Armaments Program – Jamestown To a certain extent, both official and other sources give an ambiguous and contradictory message regarding the new armament program (2018–2025). On the one hand, it seeks to cover the whole spectrum of equipment and service branches; but on the other hand, it mentions specific areas that are to be given priority. Russia’s strategic nuclear assets, for instance, will still remain a priority, but experiences from Syria and the conflict in Ukraine will undoubtedly have an impact on future acquisitions(Krasnaya Zvezda, May 21, 23; Kommersant, May 19). Kommersant, referring to a well-placed source, singles out the Ground Forces and the Airborne Forces as the “winners” in the new armament program, in that it will rectify the insufficient funding allocated to these service branches within the framework of the present armament program, which does not reflect the actual role they play in an armed conflict (Kommersant, May 18). And this is despite the fact that Deputy Minister of Defense Yuriy Borisov specifically noted the important need to further develop the Navy (Krasnaya Zvezda, May 23). The emphasis on the ground and airborne forces is also highlighted by other sources: Lenta mentions that one fourth—4.2 trillion rubles ($74 billion)—of the financial assets will be allocated to these two branches (Lenta, May 25). As a result, the Navy will have a modest role in the new armament program, and neither the Shtorm aircraft carrier nor the Lider destroyer are likely to appear in the near-term future (, May 18). However, the construction of missile corvettes and light frigates, having proved their worth in the Syrian context, can be expected to continue—the same with both conventional and nuclear submarines. The Aerospace Forces will receive new helicopters and aircraft, including MiG-35s and the fifth-generation PAK FA (T-50), but in slightly reduced numbers—probably 30–37 aircraft (Kommersant, May 18;, May 17;, May 15). The development of the stealthy PAK DA strategic bomber is said to continue, but at a slower tempo, while the modernized Tu-160M2 strategic bomber will be given priority (Lenta, May 25;, May 17). In connection with the new armament program it is worth noting what Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin recently said in an interview with Vesti about discarding the modernization of older equipment as this hampers the development of new systems (Vesti, May 20). According to Rogozin, the 2018–2025 armament program will include the development of smart weapons; automated command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) systems; as well as unmanned vehicles. This was echoed by Deputy Defense Minister Borisov, who added to this list weapons built on new physical principles (Krasnaya Zvezda, May 23). The explicit mention of new automated C4I systems indicates that its implementation remains a headache for the Russian Armed Forces. Indeed, the military will miss its deadline to equip 40 brigades with the ESU TZ tactical command-and-control (C2) system by 2020, as originally planned (, May 25).

Russia’s Only Aircraft Carrier Will Soon Be Out of Action for 3 Years | The National Interest Blog Admiral Kuznetsov needs some work. 

Russia Is Bringing Back Blackjack, the Last Soviet Bomber The Cold War bomber is going back into production.

Army is looking for a new 7.62mm rifle The Army is scouting out an off-the-shelf, interim rifle in 7.62mm.

Three Rifles That Could Replace the Army’s M4A1 Carbine The Army is “taking a hard look” at new arms for soldiers.

Russian protests don’t threaten Kremlin for one simple reason, Portnikov says | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press | Both the Kremlin and the Russian people are afraid of a Maidan, but they needn’t be because for a Maidan to take place in Russia there would have to be something that does not now exist, a genuine opposition in the Duma ready and willing to serve as a bridge between the streets and the powers, according to Vitaly Portnikov. The fear of the Russian authorities in the actions of their own citizens, a fear, the Ukrainian commentator says, that shows that those powers “relate to [them] as if they were terrorists” whenever the latter show any sign of raising their voices and going into the street, is especially misplaced.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Protests Don’t Threaten Kremlin Because There’s No Opposition in the Duma, Portnikov Says Paul Goble Staunton, June 12 – Both the Kremlin and the Russian people are afraid of a Maidan, but they needn’t be because for a Maidan to take place in Russia there would have to be something that does not now exist, a genuine opposition in the Duma ready and willing to serve as a bridge between the streets and the powers, according to Vitaly Portnikov. The fear of the Russian authorities in the actions of their own citizens, a fear, the Ukrainian commentator says, that shows that those powers “relate to [them] as if they were terrorists” whenever the latter show any sign of raising their voices and going into the street, is especially misplaced ( For Russians in power and out, a Maidan represents “chaos and destruction,” and thus there is a certain reason for Russians to fear those things. But that is because they have a false idea of what a Maidan is and thus do not see that Russian lacks a key institutional ingredient that made the Maidan in Ukraine possible. Both Maidans in Ukraine were possible, Portnikov says, because “the protesters had a base of representation in the Ukrainian parliament. Viktor Yushchenko’s part won the parliamentary elections of 2004, and in 2013, those who went into the square knew they had the support “not of several deputies but of almost half of the Verkhovna Rada. Ukrainian citizens “knew that there was someone to represent them during negotiations with the powers, and these were not some adventurers or orators who stood out at meetings but those for whom they had voted for before and relatively recently,” the Ukrainian commentator continues. Consequently, “immediately after the start of both Maidans, a mechanism arose of consultations and round tables” because there were legitimate parliamentarians who could play a major role. “There is and cannot be anything similar in Russia” because Russia has long pursued a policy designed only to “imitate” real parliamentary government. The Bolsheviks disbanded the Constituent Assembly. Boris Yeltsin disbanded the congress of deputies elected by the people and replaced it with the Duma.” And “after Crimea,” Putin arranged things so that the Russian parliament would be like the government chamber of East Germany, with an “imitation party of power, a non-existence opposition,” and so on. This Russian parliament “doesn’t represent anyone,” Portnikov says. “The people who go out into the streets of Moscow and other cities of Russia cannot count on a negotiation process with those in power” because there is no one who can negotiate with the powers on their behalf. “Ukrainians frequently are surprised that Russians simply go to meetings and then go home,” he says. They don’t recognize that demonstrations of that can “make sense only in a classical democracy when real parties are afraid of defeat in real elections,” a set of conditions that simply don’t exist in Russia today. And that also underscores the differences between Ukrainians and Russians, between Ukrainian political life and its Russian counterpart. “Ukrainains in parliament or in the streets can really say of themselves ‘we are the power here.’ But Russians cannot say this about themselves, even when there are a great number of them taking part in meetings.”

The Morning Vertical, June 13, 2017 ON MY MIND Vladimir Putin says he’s making Russia great again. And Aleksei Navalny says we can do better than this. Welcome to the battle for Russia’s future. When Putin goes before the cameras in his annual call-in program later this week, there will no doubt be pithy one-liners, choreographed exchanges with carefully vetted ordinary citizens, and staged surprises designed to grab headlines. The perennial spectacle will be designed to show a leader who is in command, in control, and restoring Russia pride of place in the world. The week, of course, began with another spectacle. One in which thousands of antigovernment protesters came out in more than 100 cities across Russia to protest corruption and voice opposition to a regime that they believe has been in power way too long. It also had its memorable images: teenagers being detained by police in riot gear (who protesters playfully dubbed “spacemen”); protesters jiggling keys in the air in a gesture reminiscent of the 1989 Velvet Revolution; Navalny being arrested as he was leaving his home. In many ways, the optics of this week are a microcosm of the battle ahead. Ina piece featured below, Oleg Kashin argues that Navalny has become the only politician in Russia other than Putin who matters. In all likelihood he won’t be allowed on the ballot for next year’s presidential election. But it doesn’t really matter. Navalny is playing a long game. And the battle between him and Putin has only just begun.

Scuffles and Detentions At Russian Protests Hundreds of people were detained at nationwide anticorruption protests organized by Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, who was himself arrested before even leaving his apartment building. (RFE/RL’s Russian Service/Current Time TV)

Russia Day in Moscow and St Petersburg. Photographs of mass arrests [День России в Москве и Петербурге. Фотографии массовых задержаний] — Meduza June 12 in Moscow and St. Petersburg were detained more than a thousand people. The police detained those who, it seemed to her, went out to protest against corruption (in Moscow – on Tverskaya Street, in St. Petersburg – on the Champ de Mars). Since June 12 was also celebrated the Day of Russia, many of the detentions took place literally under the national anthem.

Anti-Corruption Protests Spread Throughout Russia, Met With Crackdowns – YouTube Anti-corruption protests are continuing in Russia. More than 200 cities around the nation have seen protestors come out against corruption in the country _ F…

The Teenagers Standing Up to Putin – The New York Times Monday’s protests in Moscow will be hard for the Kremlin to ignore.

Every meek pointless protest in Russia is a nail in the regime’s coffin -Euromaidan Press | On 12 June 2017, the Day of Russia, massive opposition protests were held in many cities of the country, with tens of thousands taking part, and the OVD-info NGO reporting 600 detained in Moscow, and 500 in St.Petersburg. Skeptics say these protests, which all follow the same seemingly hopeless scenario, won’t change anything. Here is the answer of a Russian activist who has seen Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution from the inside which he shared on his twitter. Every Moscow protest is followed by an avalanche of such seemingly witty comments ridiculing its apparent pointlessness:

Russia Criticized For Detaining More Than 1,500 Anticorruption Protesters The United States, the European Union, and human rights groups have condemned the detention of hundreds of peaceful protesters across Russia. An estimated 1,560 supporters of opposition leade…

‘Spoiling the holiday’ How Moscow riot police handled Alexey Navalny’s anti-corruption protesters on June 12 – To Inform is to Influence See also: Moscow court sentences Alexey Navalny to 30 days in jail Meduza 17:24 Mon, 12 Jun Russia coverage is minimal, stating that Navalny was arrested for holding an unsanctioned rally.   Navalny was arrested for 30 days for calling for unsanctioned rally (in Russian) – no mention of protests.  Nezavisimaya Gazeta mentions the riots. Russia…

Putin critic Navalny sentenced to 30 days in prison | Reuters A Russian court on Tuesday sentenced Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to 30 days in prison for repeatedly violating the law on organizing public meetings, a Reuters journalist reported.

Putin Critic Alexei Navalny Among Hundreds Arrested In Protests : NPR Opposition leader Alexei Navalny is among the hundreds under arrest after anti-government demonstrators defied riot police in Moscow and cities across Russia to protest corruption under the Putin regime.

“Russia without Putin”: 1,500 detained as protests hit Russia cities More than 400 participants of a Moscow rally against corruption on Tverskaya Street, which municipal authorities refused to authorize, were detained by riot police, Dozhd TV reports with reference to OVD-Info media outlet. News 12 June from UNIAN.

Russia protests: Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny jailed – Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was among hundreds of people jailed in Moscow and St. Petersburg after a day of anti-corruption demonstrations.

Across Russia, Protesters Heed Navalny’s Anti-Kremlin Rallying Cry – The New York Times Aleksei A. Navalny, a leading Putin critic, was detained outside his home in Moscow as an extraordinary wave of antigovernment protests swept across Russia.

Russia protests: Opposition leader Alexei Navalny sentenced – BBC News Alexei Navalny gets a 30-day sentence for violating the law on rallies, hours after mass protests.

Alexei Navalny: Russian Opposition Leader Arrested | Prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny was reportedly arrested outside his Moscow home en route to the centerpiece demonstration

Russia: mass protest arrests show authorities’ ‘stranglehold’ on free expression – To Inform is to Influence Amnesty International UK 12 Jun 2017, 06:25pm ‘The right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed by the Russian Constitution, though you wouldn’t know it from the alarming scenes today’ – Denis Krivosheev A crackdown on peaceful protests across Russia in which hundreds of people were arrested and numerous others beaten by police earlier today demonstrates the…

US condemns Russia for protest arrests, says people deserve ‘transparent and accountable governance’ The White House has denounced the Russian government for its handling of a series of country-wide protests which resulted in the arrest of more than a thousand people, including President Vladimir Putin’s leading opponent.

IW/IO/Cyber Reports

How Russia Targets the U.S. Military – POLITICO Magazine With hacks, pro-Putin trolls and fake news, the Kremlin is ratcheting up its efforts to turn American servicemembers and veterans into a fifth column.

Russia is targeting the US military with fake Facebook profiles of gorgeous women – To Inform is to Influence Daniel Brown 12 June 2017 When Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the studios of state-owned media outlet Russia Today in 2013, he reportedly instructed them to break “the Anglo-Saxon monopoly on global information streams.” It appears he has not forgotten that goal. Politico reported on Monday that Russian hackers have been posing as attractive women and…

How Russia Targets the U.S. Military – To Inform is to Influence Full disclosure, I am quoted in this article.  The subject was Veterans Today, a site I began listing as a Russian Proxy propaganda website back in 2015 on Russian News, Russian Proxy News Sites And Conspiracy Theory Sites.  As Ben Schreckinger and I discussed over the series of multiple conversations, it is rather difficult to judge…

Here’s how Russia targets US military members with propaganda — and the alarming reasons why

Russians Spying on U.S. Military Personnel Are Posing as Attractive Women on Facebook Russia has come up with a digital-age update to traditional spying methods.

Report: IoT, ransomware concerns grow as cyber skills gap persists – Fifth Domain | Cyber Government and commercial enterprises are increasingly concerned about internet of things (IoT) vulnerabilities and the threat of ransomware as institutions across industries struggle to find enough cybersecurity talent, a survey of cybersecurity professionals found. The information security professional organization ISACA released the findings in part two of its annual report, “State of Cyber Security 2017: Current Trends in the Threat Landscape.” The report is based on a survey of cybersecurity managers and practitioners on security trends such as staffing, budget allocation, the threat environment and controls and countermeasures. The survey results for this year “bolster the belief that the field of cybersecurity remains dynamic and turbulent,” the report’s authors note. “Weekly news headlines confirm that cyberattacks are not a seasonal threat or dependent on specific industry environmental attributes, but are constant and should remain forefront in every enterprise executive’s thought process.” Topping that list of attacks is ransomware. According to survey respondents, more than three-quarters (78 percent) experienced cyberattacks that included some type of malicious code, with 62 percent involving ransomware in 2016. Only a little more than half (53 percent) of the surveyed professionals’ organizations have a formal process to respond to ransomware attacks.

Researchers Say Russian Hackers Can Now Cause Major Power Outage Hackers believed to be allied with the Russian government have devised a cyberweapon that has the potential to be highly disruptive against the world’s electrical systems, researchers reported o…

Researchers discover Russia-linked power grid-wrecking software – Fifth Domain | Cyber Fifth Domain is a news and information resource that brings civilian, defense, industry, private sector and critical infrastructure stakeholders together in one place for a holistic discussion on cybersecurity, both defense and offense. The cyberwar is here. Fifth Domain has it covered.

Researchers break down malware likely used in Ukraine blackout | TheHill Newly identified malware being described as the “most dangerous…threat to industrial control systems since…Stuxnet” may have been behind the 2016 power grid attacks in the Ukraine. Researchers at the firms Dragos and ESET released separate reports Monday about malware they’ve named “Crash Override” or “Industroyer.” “Industroyer’s ability to persist in the system and to directly interfere with the operation of industrial hardware makes it the most dangerous malware threat to industrial control systems since the infamous Stuxnet, which successfully attacked Iran’s nuclear program and was discovered in 2010,” said ESET Senior Malware Researcher Anton Cherepanov in a written statement. In its various write-ups of the threat, including a white paper about the malware and blog post summarizing the white paper, ESET says it has found “indications” the malware was “likely” behind a 2016 attack against the Ukrainian power grid that lasted for an hour. “On top of the fact that the malware clearly possesses the unique capabilities to perform the attack, it contains an activation timestamp for December 17th, 2016, the day of the power outage,” said ESET senior malware researcher Robert Lipovsky via email.

Crash Override Malware Took Down Ukraine’s Power Grid Last December | WIRED In Ukraine, researchers have found the first real-world malware that attacks physical infrastructure since Stuxnet.


WIN32/INDUSTROYER A new threat for industrial control systems Win32/Industroyer is a sophisticated piece of malware designed to disrupt the working processes of industrial control systems (ICS), specifically industrial control systems used in electrical substations. Those behind the Win32/Industroyer malware have a deep knowledge and understanding of industrial control systems and, specifically, the industrial protocols used in electric power systems. Moreover, it seems very unlikely anyone could write and test such malware without access to the specialized equipment used in the specific, targeted industrial environment. Support for four different industrial control protocols, specified in the standards listed below, has been implemented by the malware authors: • IEC 60870-5-101 (aka IEC 101) • IEC 60870-5-104 (aka IEC 104) • IEC 61850 • OLE for Process Control Data Access (OPC DA) In addition to all that, the malware authors also wrote a tool that implements a denial-of-service (DoS) attack against a particular family of protection relays, specifically the Siemens SIPROTEC range. Win32_Industroyer (.pdf)

How Big Data Mines Personal Info To Craft Fake News And Manipulate Voters – To Inform is to Influence BY NINA BURLEIGH ON 6/8/17 AT 1:01 PM The opening chords of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” rocked a hotel ballroom in New York City as a nattily dressed British man strode onstage several weeks before last fall’s U.S. election. I see the bad moon rising, I see trouble on the way The speaker,…How Big Data Mines Personal Info to Craft Fake News and Manipulate VotersPolitical operatives used fake news, Big Data and Facebook to suppress the vote and rile up racists in 2016. It’s going to be even uglier next time around.

Ukraine Reports

Combat activities in Donbas no longer anti-terrorist operation: time for new format of country defense, – Turchynov 13.06.17 10:48 – NSDC Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov says Ukraine should end the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) in the east and shift to a new format of defending the country from the hybrid war with Russia. “Combat activities in the east of our country have lasted for three years now, and they have overgrown both the term and the scale of an anti-terrorist operation…. It’s within ATO that we managed to stop the aggressor, to hold presidential, parliamentary, and local elections, and liberate large occupied areas…. At the same time, we need to shift to a new format of defending the country,” Turchynov told Interfax-Ukraine in exclusive interview, Censor.NET reports. “It’s time not only to recognize some areas of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions as occupied, but also to define legislatively the state policies of their liberation. We need effective technology to defend the country, and for that we need to allow the president legally use the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other armed units against the hybrid aggression by the Russian Federation,” Turchynov said. The NSDC secretary stressed that this approach will “only strengthen the foundation of the Minsk agreements, as long as their implementation is not possible without solving the security issues and releasing the occupied areas of Ukraine.” “This is a very serious issue that needs to be discussed among professional experts,” Turchynov said, adding that amended bill “On restoring state sovereignty of Ukraine over temporarily occupied areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions” will be presented to the president and after that – to the Verkhovna Rada.


Oleksandr Turchynov: Further liberation of occupied territories within ATO format impossible – 13.06.2017 11:34 — Ukrinform News 13.06.2017 11:34. Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov says that Ukraine should stop the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) and transfer to a new format of defending the country from a hybrid war waged by the Russian Federation against Ukraine. He stated this in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine, reads a report posted on the NSDC’s website. “Hostilities in the east of our country have lasted already for three years and have outgrown the ATO format both in duration and scale. At the same time, it should be noted that the anti-terrorist operation completed many crucial tasks. It is within the ATO that we stopped the aggressor, managed to hold presidential, parliamentary and local elections, and liberated a significant part of the occupied territory of Ukraine. However, the time has come to switch to the new format of defending the country,” Turchynov said. According to him, the current Ukrainian legislation envisages two main cases when the combat use of the Armed Forces is allowed – declaration of war and anti-terrorist operation. “Despite popular belief, according to our law, the introduction of martial law provides only a special legal regime in the country or in particular regions and does not give an automatic right to use the Armed Forces and other military formations”, the NSDC secretary said. He noted that the legislation was formed based on the XX views on classical war and ignores the need to counter hybrid aggression unleashed by the Russian Federation against Ukraine. Therefore, Turchynov said that it is time to define a new format that will allow to effectively protect Ukraine from hybrid methods of war applied by Russia.

UN Says Ukraine Conflict Escalating Amid Cease-Fire Violations A United Nations report says hostilities have been escalating in eastern Ukraine in recent months because parties to the armed conflict there have &quot;repeatedly failed to implement cease-fir…

Ukraine Bans Russian St. George Ribbon Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a law banning the St. George ribbon, which is seen by many Ukrainians as symbol of Russian aggression. The bill Poroshenko signed into law on June 1…

Russian Social Networks – YouTube Anti-corruption protests are continuing in Russia. More than 200 cities around the nation have seen protestors come out against corruption in the country _ F…

Poroshenko congratulated Mariupol on third anniversary of liberation from separatists 13.06.17 13:09 – Poroshenko congratulated Mariupol on third anniversary of liberation from separatists President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko congratulated residents of Mariupol, the city in the Donetsk region, on the third anniversary of liberation from Russian troops. View news.

Ukraine poll: Majority want Donbas to remain in Ukraine A new poll by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research reveals that an overwhelming majority of Ukrainians think the war-torn Donbas region should remain part of Ukraine. News 13 June from UNIAN.

With 7 dead, Ukraine’s army suffers bloodiest days of fighting in months | KyivPost As Ukraine celebrated the abolishing of its visa regime with the European Union on June 11, the war in the country’s eastern Donbas region sharply increased in intensity. Seven Ukrainian soldiers were killed over a period of three days. Four were killed and 14 more reported wounded over the weekend of June 10-11, with the heaviest bloodshed occurring overnight into June 11. Another two soldiers were killed before dawn on June 12, and one after daybreak, the military reported.

Ukraine reports almost 60 enemy attacks, 1 KIA, 5 WIA’s in last day Russia’s hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 57 times in the past 24 hours, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action (KIA) and five as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 13 June from UNIAN.

One Ukrainian soldier killed, five wounded and traumatized, – ATO HQ 13.06.17 10:03 – One Ukrainian soldier killed, five wounded and traumatized, – ATO HQ One Ukrainian military was killed in action, five were wounded and traumatized in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) in the east of Ukraine on June 12. View news.

Militants launched 67 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas in last day – 12.06.2017 09:50 — Ukrinform News 12.06.2017 09:50. Militants launched 67 attacks on positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in ATO area in Donbas over the past day.

Two Ukrainian soldiers killed, four wounded in ATO zone in past day – 12.06.2017 14:26 — Ukrinform News 12.06.2017 14:26. Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and four servicemen were wounded in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) zone in eastern Ukraine over the last day.

Pro-Russian militants shelled neighborhoods of Olhynka and Avdiivka, damaged several homes. VIDEO 13.06.17 12:04 – Pro-Russian militants shelled neighborhoods of Olhynka and Avdiivka, damaged several homes. VIDEO Russian-terrorist troops were shelling residential areas of Avdiivka and Olhynka of the Donetsk region in the evening and in the night yesterday, June 12. View video news.

Prominent karate fighter Taras Bilotskyi killed in Donbas, – Sports Minister Zhdanov. PHOTO 12.06.17 17:13 – A name of another fighter killed in combat in the east of Ukraine on June 7 has been released. Sports Minister Ihor Zhdanov announced on Facebook that Taras Bilotskyi, prominent karate fighter, master of sports, was killed in the Luhansk region on June 7, Censor.NET reports. “Another Ukrainian athlete gave his life in fighting for Ukraine. Our sincere condolences go to family of Taras Bilotskyi, master of sports in karate, who was killed in ATO area. “He was drafted to the Armed Forces and served from March 2015 till April 2016. From July 31, 2015 until Nov. 28, 2015 he participated in the ATO in the Donetsk and Luhansk region. “… He has been serving as a contract soldier in the Armed Forces of Ukraine since Oct. 11, 2016. On June 7 Taras was killed in shelling in the Luhansk region. Eternal glory to the Hero!” Zhdanov wrote.

Russian proxies attempt to down OSCE drone in Donbas | UNIAN The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine has reported that its mini unmanned aerial vehicle came under militant fire in an occupied area in Donetsk region on June 11. News 13 June from UNIAN.

Avdiivka remains without gas for five days, repair works not start because of hostilities – 12.06.2017 10:51 — Ukrinform News 12.06.2017 10:51. As a result of combat actions and damage to the underground gas pipeline in Avdiivka, there is no gas supply, since repair works are impossible due to the danger to workers.

Ukraine to use Girkin’s statements as evidence against Russia in ECHR The European Court of Human Rights is considering several suits launched by Ukraine against the Russian Federation for Moscow&rsquo;s actions in Crimea and Donbas. News 12 June from UNIAN.

Countering Use of Drones by Russian Hybrid Forces in East Ukraine – YouTube Published on Jun 12, 2017 Unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, play an integral role on the modern battlefield. They are small and can transmit the information about the enemy’s positions. They are hard to detect, but Ukraine’s servicemen manage to locate and take them down. UATV will tell you the whole story

Ukraine Journalists Union Asks OSCE For Help Locating Missing Blogger The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine has requested that the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission in eastern Ukraine and International Committee of the Red Cross help locate Stanislav Aseyev…

The morning after: first day of EU-Ukraine visa-free era -Euromaidan Press | Ukrainians have waited so very long for this day. While many were skeptical of it ever happening, the first day has finally arrived. For many, traveling is still too expensive, but the introduction of visa-free travel to the EU means that Ukrainians have received one more important liberty – that of freedom of movement. 11 June 2017 is the date that marks the start of Ukrainians traveling to the rest of the EU without the need to obtain visas. The numbers According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Consular department, as of 23:00 on the first day of visa-free travel, 59,627 Ukrainian citizens had entered the EU. 11,237 used biometric passports [the old type of international passports may still be used, although the holder still requires a visa]. Of those using biometric passports, only 1,682 were actually traveling without a visa. According to Pavlo Klimkin, the Ukrainian foreign minister, during the first day of visa-free travel, 5 people were denied entry into the EU. These had either exceeded the period of stay in the EU; others lacked necessary documents. Evropeiska Pravda also wrote about a man who had been prevented from crossing the border due to involvement in cigarette smuggling.

If we introduce visas for Russians, issue of Belarus arises: they have common customs area, – Anton Herashchenko 13.06.17 11:30 – If we introduce visas for Russians, issue of Belarus arises: they have common customs area, – Anton Herashchenko MP, adviser to interior minister of Ukraine Anton Herashchenko said on air of 112 Ukraine TV channel. View news.

Ukraine’s Embassy to UK reacts to ‘Russian’ Crimea in British edition The Embassy of Ukraine to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has commented on an article in the British daily middle-market tabloid newspaper, The Daily Mail, which mentioned occupied Crimea as Russian territory. News 13 June from UNIAN.

The Daily Mail mentions Crimea as Russian territory The British daily middle-market tabloid newspaper, The Daily Mail, has mentioned Ukraine’s Crimea annexed by Russia in March 2014 as Russian territory in an article about a World War Two bomb explosion in the Russian-occupied city of Sevastopol. News 13 June from UNIAN.

Ukraine’s Embassy In Kazakhstan Irked By Maps Showing Crimea As Russia Ukraine’s Kazakh Embassy has lodged a protest over maps near an international energy exposition in Astana that show Ukraine’s occupied Crimean Peninsula as part of Russia. The maps are par…

Sweden supports reforms in Ukraine Sweden is interested in the further development of relations with Ukraine and intends to further support and monitor the ongoing reforms in the country, Ambassador of Sweden to Ukraine Martin Hagstrom has stated.

Ukraine Hopes to Become Arms Exporter to NATO Countries – Jamestown Ukraine’s state defense-industry concern Ukroboronprom announced, on May 30, that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) offered to add Ukrainian defense-industry firms to its list of approved defense-related producers. Ukroboronprom said it may be allowed to participate in tenders to supply goods and services to NATO members and partners. Ukroboronprom CEO Roman Romanov said Ukraine was the first Eastern European partner country to be offered the opportunity to supply arms and equipment to NATO armies. This, said Romanov, was proof of the Ukrainian defense industry’s capacity and credibility (, May 30). Ukroboronprom’s subsidiaries boosted arms sales by 25 percent to $756 million last year, Romanov’s deputy Denys Hurak said. Moreover, they concluded contracts worth a total of $1.5 billion last year, and the volume of arms export contracts concluded in 2014–2016 is estimated at $3.8 billion (, January 30). Ukraine, outperforming Israel, was the world’s ninth largest arms exporter in 2012–2016, when its sales jumped by half compared to 2007–2011, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Among the world’s top ten arms exporters, only China’s sales grew faster. At the same time, China was also Ukraine’s main client, with 28 percent of total exports, followed by Russia with 17 percent and Thailand with 8.5 percent ( fact sheet, February 2017). Because of Crimea’s annexation and the hybrid war launched by Russia against Ukraine in 2014, Kyiv has severed ties with the Russian military-industrial complex (see EDM, December 1, 2014). Consequently, Russia will cease to be a key buyer of Ukrainian arms. Given the European vector of Ukraine’s current foreign policy and the large size of NATO’s arms market, it is natural for Ukraine’s defense industry to look for customers in the West; hence, NSPA’s offer comes in handy.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

US’ Mattis: Qatar blockade ‘very complex situation’ | Qatar News | Al Jazeera Defence secretary Mattis says Qatar ‘moving in the right direction’ but common ground needs to be found in crisis.

Mattis Describes Qatar Situation as ‘Difficult’ Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and stopped transportation to and from the tiny Gulf nation

Qatar Cannot Have It Both Ways – WSJ It owns a piece of the Empire State Building yet uses profits to promote extremism.

How the Saudi-Qatar Rivalry, Now Combusting, Reshaped the Middle East – The New York Times The blockade of Qatar by Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia is the latest episode in a rivalry between the Persian Gulf nations that goes back decades.

Qatar Calls on U.N. to Declare Air Blockade by Gulf Neighbors Illegal | Qatar has asked the UN’s aviation agency to intervene in an airspace dispute following an escalating diplomatic row with its neighbors.

Plan to airlift 4,000 cows to isolated Qatar to maintain milk supplies | World news | The Guardian Businessman hoping to import the animals on 60 flights as country steps up efforts to circumvent blockade by its Gulf neighbours

Saudi Arabia Says Qatar Airspace Closure to Protect Citizens From Threats | World News | US News US News is a recognized leader in college, grad school, hospital, mutual fund, and car rankings. Track elected officials, research health conditions, and find news you can use in politics, business, health, and education.

Turkey’s Erdogan Decries Isolation of Qatar as ‘Inhumane’, Like a ‘Death Penalty’ | World News | US News US News is a recognized leader in college, grad school, hospital, mutual fund, and car rankings. Track elected officials, research health conditions, and find news you can use in politics, business, health, and education.

Russia and the GCC crisis | Middle East | Al Jazeera Russia’s energy interests determine its position on the GCC crisis.

U.S. Taking ‘Regional Approach’ In New Afghanistan Strategy, Mattis Says U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he will present options on Afghanistan to President Donald Trump &quot;very soon,&quot; and the new U.S. strategy will take a &quot;regional approach&quot…

IS calls for attacks in West, Russia, Middle East, Asia during Ramadan – media An audio message purporting to come from the spokesman of Islamic State called on followers to launch attacks in the United States, Europe, Russia, Australia, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and the Philippines during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which began in late May, according to Reuters. News 13 June from UNIAN.

UK ‘backstabbed’ women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, says woman jailed for ‘driving while female’ | The Independent The UK stabbed activists campaigning for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia in the back by allegedly voting for the country to join the UN Commission for Women’s Rights, a woman who was arrested for “driving while female” has said.

DPRK / PRC Reports

Suspected N.Korea drone photographed US missile defense site – The Washington Post A suspected North Korean drone photographed a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea before it crashed near the border where it was found last week, Seoul’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

South Korea accuses North of using drone to spy on US missile system – South Korea said it has recovered a crashed North Korean drone that was spying on a controversial US-built missile system that is being deployed in the country.

Pres. Moon says South Koreans “frankly cannot accept” comfort women agreement : National : News : The Hankyoreh

North Korea!Comrade Kim Jong-UN on the teachings of the people’s army! – YouTube It was a busy day for bombers on June 9th at RAF Fairford, and was the first time I’d seen (and filmed) all three of Global Strike Command’s heavy bombers on…

B-1Bs train with U.S. destroyer in South China Sea Two Air Force B-1B Lancers deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on June 8, and then flew a 10-hour joint training mission over the South China Sea in conjunction with the Navy’s guided-missile destroyer Sterett.

Foreign Policy Reports

Russians Insist On New Pipeline To Bypass Ukraine, And Europeans Fine With It Ukraine hates the idea of Nord Stream II, sees it a way to bypass the country forever. Europeans fine with it.

The UK is in the midst of a national nervous breakdown A country that is grievously divided along social, economic and geographical lines is in no condition to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

Theresa May’s chief of staff Gavin Barwell: Austerity and Brexit cost us – BBC News Theresa May’s new chief of staff tells the BBC Labour “tapped” into concerns over Brexit and austerity.

Democratic Unionist Party: Ulster Presbyterians Diversify British Governing Coalition | National Review The Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party doesn’t deserve the hatred it’s now getting in the Western press …

Will Theresa May now have to change Brexit plans? – BBC News The election result means Theresa May faces new pressures over her plans for Brexit – but Remainers shouldn’t be getting carried away.

NATO Defence Spending: The Irrationality of 2% Monday 12 June 2017 In this new issue brief Nicholas Williams and Simon Lunn argue that elevating the 2% to a test of defence fidelity and solidarity is ultimately counter-productive. They present the history of NATO spending targets, critique their arbitrary nature and call instead for a renewed focus on the capabilities each member contributes to the Alliance rather than on budget numbers. The authors argue that increased spending by NATO’s European members provides an opportunity for Europe to develop a degree of strategic autonomy within NATO.

Illusion of dialogue – news about politics | UNIAN Roman Tsymbaliuk, Moscow – The Russian-Ukrainian war has been raging for over three years already. Throughout this time, the Kremlin’s talking heads have been trying desperately to convince both themselves and the international community of the “internal Ukrainian” nature of the conflict. The Kremlin has partly succeeded in putting the Donbas hostilities beyond the brackets of negotiations with the West. At the highest level, the leaders are only publicly speaking about sanctions, which will be lifted after Russia implements Minsk agreements, that is, after the de-occupation of the Ukrainian Donbas. At the same time, the OSCE SMM continues to report the movement of military equipment of Russian militants, not daring to answer the main question: where does it all come from? This spiral of silence was only broken during the MH17 investigation, when it was proven step by step that the deadly Buk missile launcher belongs to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. All this time, Russia has been setting out the main condition for the cessation of bloodshed in Donbas the beginning by Ukraine of a so-called “direct dialogue” with the Kremlin puppets in eastern Ukraine. Moscow has also tied to it the issue of prisoner exchange. We can see clearly what stands behind this “direct dialogue” from the experience of the Transnistrian settlement. Moscow has enjoyed for a quarter of a century the status of a “guarantor” in this region, which enabled them to maintain their “peacekeeping” forces on the territory of Moldova. In fact, it’s an occupying military contingent alright. On the one hand, Moscow speaks of Transnistria as part of Moldova, and on the other, everything is being done to ensure that reunification never happens. And it has long become clear that there are no chances that the existing format will succeed. It seems that the election of Igor Dodon President of Moldova could change the situation. He won the elections based on his pro-Russian rhetoric, although it was the “pro-European” Moldovan corrupt officials who helped him win. Dodon’s public statements are a true delight for the Russian ear. He says that “all the evil comes from the EU,” “the time has come for a multipolar world,” and “we are different from the West,” “an association agreement with the EU is a trap,” and “we share with Russia a common centuries-old history…” And, finally, there is also a statement that the country is abandoning its “obviously anti-Russian policy”, willing to observe neutrality, being ready for federalization, and going for a rapprochement with the Eurasian Economic Union. Dodon bluntly says that without the Russian Federation, Moldova will fail to resolve its strategic issue – “unification and solution of the Transnistrian problem.”Doesn’t it look familiar to you? This federalization, neutral status, recognition of Russia’s superior role and the need to coordinate with Moscow any foreign policy steps – this is all Russia has been demanding from Ukraine as well. By the way, the same rhetoric is being used in Ukraine by Viktor Yanukovych’s former Party of Regions, who promote their pro-Russian discourse under various brands. They are trying to create the illusion that, by giving in to the invaders, it is possible to achieve the end of hostilities and unification of the country. The main thing here is to take into account the “legitimate” interests of Moscow. Recently, the representatives of the torn up Moldovan state from both banks of the Dniester river have gathered in the Russian State Duma. More precisely, Dodon’s Socialists and the representatives of the breakaway Tiraspol. The reason for their meeting was “unifying” in its nature: they intended to discuss Ukraine’s “machinations” but somehow everything turned into a showdown between the two forces. Supporters of the Moldovan president spoke a lot about unification, the creation of a federation, the peace process, and steps toward rapprochement. After all, “we are one country,” they appealed. However, this impulse provoked no response by the Transnistrians. The Tiraspol “elite” offered that Moldova for starters start allocating money from the national budget, then they started talking about Transnistria being part of the “Russian world,” demanded membership in the Eurasian Economic Union, and in the end of the day they stated directly: “Who said we want to unite after all? Transnistria is part of Russia.” The Russians were openly inciting Chisinau and Tiraspol against each other. They talked about the threat of Romanian expansion, Ukraine “as an enemy of the Moldovan statehood,” and the terrible West, which wants to enslave Moldova. Of course, it is only Moscow, they said, who can protect each party. This “political dialogue” has been ongoing for almost 25 years. No conflict in the former Soviet Union, where Russia positions itself as an “intermediary” and “guarantor” has been resolved. And it won’t be, either. The thing is that Moscow’s goal is completely different. The Kremlin wants to divide and rule, creating new hotbeds of instability and trying to take advantage of it. This is something which Moscow is now trying to impose on Ukraine in relation to Donbas. It’s useless to sit down at the table with conmen, except with a gun under that table. A boogeyman in the shape of “young republics” will always oppose every constructive idea and put forward more and more demands that will never end until Ukraine’s return under the Russian protectorate. The “DPR” and “LPR” have been invented in the Kremlin precisely to this end. And no matter how much Moscow talks about the “proclamation” of independence, this is just as absurd to the Ukrainian citizens as the appearance of the People’s Republic of Dagestan or the People’s Republic Lipetsk for the Russians… Only idiots or traitors in Ukraine could agree to such a scenario.

US Domestic Policy Reports

The logic of the Kremlin Gate | IntersectionWhat is the rationale behind Moscow’s attempts to interfere in European and the US elections?

From Russia With Chaos – WSJ Vladimir Putin doesn’t support Donald Trump. He supports American political paralysis.

Russian Breach of 39 States Threatens Future U.S. Elections – Bloomberg Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump’s election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported.

Report: Russia hacked election systems in 39 US states Russia’s US election meddling was much more widespread than the public has been told, according to a report from Bloomberg. Hackers attacked vote systems in 39…

Trump Friend Says President Weighing Firing Counsel Probing Russia Ties A close associate of U.S. President Donald Trump has said Trump is considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who the Justice Department appointed last month to investigate Russian ties wit…

Sessions steps into Russia crossfire | TheHill
Defense chief ‘shocked’ by poor state of US combat readiness – The Washington Post Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declared Monday that he was “shocked” upon his return to the Pentagon by the poor state of the U.S. military’s readiness for combat.

Jim Mattis assures House lawmakers: The real military buildup is coming

Growing the Army: Service offers big bucks, second chances to boost the force The Army has a mandate to get to 1,018,000 soldiers — 476,000 of those active duty — by the end of September.

‘Trying to grow everywhere’: Air Force revamps recruiting in push to add airmen After the steepest drawdown in two decades, the Air Force is trying to pull out of its manning nosedive. And to do that, it’s changing the way it recruits.