Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 14 June 2017

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Caution: the story about Japan cancelling Ukraine visas means they will be accepting Ukrainians by EU Ukrainianvisa-free standards.  It is not an anti-Ukraine story…  

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Russia again dominates MSM traffic, despite the DC shooting incident. SECSTATE’s efforts to “stabilise” the relationship with Russia are apt to be futile, given that the regime needs foreign enemies to support its deceptive domestic agendas. The massive protests have produced some very strong editorials in Western MSM, many far more optimistic than Russophone observers who expect the worst. A Levada survey in Russia shows that public attitudes have decisively shifted away from euphoria of Krymnash and the conquest of Ukraine, to more mundane manners like basic economic survival, while Russian propagandists are not happy the West has refused to forget Crimea and Donbass. Moldova expels five Russian diplomats for recruiting mercenaries for Donbass proxy forces. Russian government finally discovers that regional ethnic Russians are ethnically, linguistically and culturally different to Muscovites, while it appears the Muslim Caucasus is quietly purging Russian language, culture and law from its daily life. Put simply, Russia’s meltdown is continuing and will inevitably increase toxic, destructive and high risk strategic behaviours by the regime.

Half a dozen essays on IW/IO/cyber, most interesting by Joel Harding on US Influence Ops.

In Ukraine, English language platforms finally, a week after Ukrainian language platforms, begin to discuss the genuine concerns by the MoD leadership that Russia might attempt to use the Zapad-2017 exercise as a cover to mobilise and execute a full scale invasion from the lightly defended North, pushing a Blitzkrieg into the heart of Ukraine, while much of the Army’s assets are tied down in the East. Rada Speaker Parubiy in DC attempting to gain lethal military aid supplies from the US. Donbass escalation continues, with serious damage to civilian infrastructure. German ZOiS poll in Ukrainian and Russian held Donbass indicates population has become deeply sceptical of Russia and mostly does not blame Ukraine for the conflict. Survey of Russian EW in Donbass. Multiple reports on advances in Ukraine’s aerospace industry.

Qatar dispute continues, while UN alleges  “staggering” civilian collateral in Syria from Coalition air strikes without substantiation.

New report claims much of DPRK’s foreign trade is via a small number of Chinese companies, while FP criticises Administration for not stopping Russian sanction busting support for DPRK. Disturbing report on the annual death toll from self-immolations by Tibetans objecting to Chinese rule.

In the US, the toxic media campaign has produced more mayhem, with the shooting incident targeting GOP members at a Congressional baseball practice game.

Russia / Russophone Reports

U.S. Secretary Of State: Bilateral Relations With Moscow Continue To Deteriorate WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said ties between Washington and Moscow were continuing to deteriorate, telling senators that the U.S. administration was still trying to stabiliz…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: For First Time in 25 Years, US Doesn’t Publicly Greet Russia on Its National Day Paul Goble Staunton, June 12 – This week, for the first time in 25 years, the US government did not send public greetings to Moscow on the occasion of Russia’s national day, a move already sparking comment in Russia but one the US State Department says simply reflects a new Trump Administration policy not to publish such declarations but rather to allow the addressees to do so. National day messages from one government to another are an important part of diplomatic etiquette, typically prepared and read by the addressee government and people as an indication of the state of bilateral ties and of the prospects for better or worse relations in the future. For 50 years, to give an example the author is most familiar with, Baltic peoples and emigres carefully read these declarations issued on the national days of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as barometers of where Washington was regarding their occupation and American relations with the Soviet leaders. When US-Soviet relations were at low points, these national day statements often were fulsome in their comments about US-Baltic ties; when relations between Washington and Moscow were warmer, it often happened that these national day statements were less warm and more pro forma. That makes this policy shift by the new US administration a problem because it sets the stage for speculation baseless or not about where relations between Washington and Moscow now are and also and perhaps especially about how Washington sees those relations developing in the future and what the US cares most about in that regard. The Russian embassy in Washington said that it had not received a copy of any national day message from the State Department, noting this was the first time this had happened in 25 years and that all were free to draw their own conclusions ( and Neither the Department website nor that of the US embassy in Moscow posted it either, something both have done in the past. When Russian journalists asked about this, department spokesmen said that this reflected a new policy of not publicizing such things but allowing others to do so ( But when pressed, Russian outlets reported, the State Department press office “had difficulty responding” as to whether “a corresponding greeting had been handed over via the diplomatic representation of the United States in Moscow.” They promised to get more information about this. Not surprisingly, many Russian articles commenting on this new situation are saying that it reflects not a new general policy but rather the worsening of relations between the US and Russia, relations that many in both capitals suggest are now at a level as bad as during the Cold War. But some pro-Soviet Russian nationalists are thrilled: As one put it today, there is no reason for the US to greet Russia on what is for Russians a day of shame that led to the end of the USSR. It would be as if Moscow were to send a message of greetings on the anniversary of September 11 or Pearl Harbor ( Presumably the Russian government will release any national day statement it does receive from the US, but until it does so, many in Russia and perhaps elsewhere will continue to speculate on what it contains and what that portends for the future.

Russia Tells West to Stop ‘Obsessing’ over Crimea, Denies It Occupies Ukraine’s Insurgents-Controlled Donbass – Intelligencer Post Senior Russian officials have once again defended Putin’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, while denying that Moscow is involved in any way in the ongoing pro-Russian insurgency in Donbass. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has told the West to ‘stop obsessing over Crimea’. To Moscow’s pleasure, the Daily Mail has ‘casually recognized’ Russia’s annexation of Crimea in an article about a World War II bomb. Putin’s spokesman Peskov has once again denied Russia is involved in the war in Ukraine, or that it is occupying Ukrainian territory. Peskov’s comment came in response to a question over draft Ukrainian legislation stipulating that Kiev should declare the Donbass region as occupied by Russia.

The economy leads Russians away from Crimea In Russia, there are more citizens ready to make demands to the state, and fewer than those who are ready to help him, “Levada Center” found out. Sociologists see this as the exhaustion of the “Crimean consensus”, which no longer compensates society for aggravating socio-economic problems. In the Communist Party believe that the discontent of the Russians will grow throughout the election year. And in the “United Russia” called “fluctuations in the mood of society, natural”, because “social well-being always lags behind the economy.” The dissatisfaction of the Russians with the general deterioration of the social and economic situation in the country changed their attitude to the state, the Levada Center explained. In March last year, 25% of citizens believed that “the state gives a lot, but you can demand more.” Now there are 31%. From 25% to 31%, the ranks of more categorical citizens have grown, which are sure: “the state gives us so little that we do not owe it to anyone”. The share of radically thinking citizens has not increased: just like a year ago, only 19% are ready to “force” the state to serve their interests. But if a year ago 17% of citizens believed that the state “is in such a position that citizens should help it, even by making sacrifices,” now only 11% of such people.

Paul Goble | Why Putin doesn’t want Russians to continue focusing on Crimea | The Ukrainian Weekly Vladimir Putin, who exploited Russian euphoria over the Anschluss of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea three years ago to boost his own power, now wants Russians to pay less attention to that region so that they will not be as inclined to complain about the costs to them of that annexation, according to Yevgeniya Goryunova. “Russian euphoria about the annexation of Crimea has significantly weakened under the press of social and economic problems,” the Crimean political scientist says. “The Crimean theme is losing its importance,” and the only aspect of it that Moscow outlets now talk much about is the Kerch bridge ( In 2014-2015, Mr. Putin made “the sacred importance” of Crimea the centerpiece of his speeches, but already by 2016, as the economic crisis in Russia deepened and the costs of the occupation became more obvious, he shifted away from this theme. And by the end of that year, the Kremlin leader mentioned the annexed peninsula only in passing. That both drove and reflected changing Russian attitudes, Ms. Goryunova says. On the one hand, “with each passing year,” the share of Russians who believe that Crimea is part of Russia has grown, from 89 percent in March 2014 to 97 percent now, even though polls suggest Russians are less confident that the Anschluss has been a good thing for them. But on the other, the share of those who viewed the annexation in a negative way has grown from 18 percent to 23 percent over the last three years, according to the independent Levada Center surveys. However, the Kremlin-linked VTsIOM pollsters say that those opposed, after rising between 2014 and 2016, has fallen this year from 22 percent to 13 percent. Perhaps more important for Mr. Putin’s decision to reduce public attention to Crimea are two other poll numbers. VTsIOM reports that the share of Russians opposed to giving special aid to Crimea has risen from 21 percent in 2014 to 84 percent now, and the Levada Center says that 55 percent of Russians oppose cuts in programs benefitting them to help the peninsula integrate into Russia. “The logic of Russians regarding the peninsula is simple,” Ms. Goryunova says: “Crimea is, of course, ours – but we do not want to support it. Let the people there do so on their own.” Russian tourism to the region is down, and Russians clearly are less focused on Crimea than at any time since before the Anschluss.

UN insists on resumption of Mejlis activities in occupied Crimea The United Nations declares that the Russian Federation must refrain from maintaining or imposing limitations on the ability of the Crimean Tatar community to conserve its representative institutions, including the Mejlis, according to the Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine (February 16 to 15 May 15, 2017) from UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, published on June 13, 2017. News 13 June from UNIAN.

Five Russian diplomats expelled from Moldova recruited fighters – To Inform is to Influence Confirmation. Russian envoy to Moldova confirms expulsion of five diplomats Reuters and Russian diplomats expelled from Moldova recruited fighter – Reuters UNIAN 11:30 Post-Soviet excesses: What does the diplomatic scandal between Russia and Moldova tell us? Intersection Project 11:11 ‘Empty Talk’: Russian Deputy FM Slams Reuters Story About Diplomats in Moldova Sputnik 09:15 Exclusive: Russian diplomats…

Exclusive: Russian diplomats expelled from Moldova recruited fighters – sources | Reuters Moldovan intelligence believes five Russian diplomats expelled from Moldova last month were spies who were recruiting fighters for the Moscow-backed insurgency in neighboring Ukraine, a government source and two diplomatic sources told Reuters.

Russia says report its Moldova diplomats recruited fighters is ‘gossip’: RIA | Reuters Allegations that five Russian diplomats expelled from Moldova last month recruited fighters for the Moscow-backed separatists in Ukraine were “idle gossip”, the RIA news agency quoted a deputy Russian foreign minister as saying on Tuesday.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Starting to Focus on Regional Identities among Ethnic Russians Paul Goble Staunton, June 13 – There are few subjects that Russian government officials appear more sensitive to than any suggestion that the people Moscow calls the Great Russian nation are in fact internally splinted along regional lines, with some of these identities, such as the Siberian, being as strong or stronger for their followers than the Russian. Such attitudes are especially lively at a time when many in Moscow are still insisting that Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians are a single nation, torn apart by the machinations of foreign powers and that it is Russia’s responsibility to reunite the three into a single nation and a single state. And they have intensified of late not only because of regionalist movements and the activities of the various Cossack hosts but also by suggestions by Ukraine that there are parts of the Russian Federation that are not really Russian, Moscow’s claims notwithstanding ( and All this makes an announcement today about a scholarly plans for an expedition to Krasnodar Kray in July to investigate what the scholars from the Russian State Humanities University call, not surprisingly in quotation marks, the “Kuban” identity of the population there ( According to the organizers of this expedition, “Krasnodar Kray is interesting as a multi-cultural region whose uniqueness is defined by the significant presence in the region of the Cossacks” and that this has led to “the formation of a special ‘Kuban’ identity” that embraces not only those typically called Russians but also Assyrians, Poles, and Germans.” (For a discussion on the general issue of regional identities within Russia and the fears Moscow has about them, see the current author’s “Regionalism – the Nationalism of the Next Russian Revolution” (in Russian) at

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘A Common All-Russian Space’ No Longer Exists, Sokolov Says Paul Goble Staunton, June 13 — The republics of the north Caucasus are only the most extreme form of a phenomenon that now affects the entire Russian Federation: each federal subject is in fact what the Baltic republics were in Soviet times: a piece of foreign territory and culture within the borders of the country ruled by Moscow, according to Denis Sokolov. “The megalopolises in Russia are radically distinguished from the provinces and even from their own suburbs,” the RAMSCON director tells Rosbalt’s Tatyana Khrulyeva, “although of course the level of alienation of Daghestan’s rural society from the all-Russian institutional milieu than in many other regions” ( Sokolov begins his analysis by discussing the North Caucasus, arguing that Moscow needs to recognize that that region consists of two parts, a relatively modernized, Sovietized and largely irreligious western portion and a pre-modern, non-Sovietized, and extremely Muslim eastern section. For historical reasons including the killings and expulsions of the peoples in the West and the arrival of far more ethnic Russians there, only about one percent of the population in the western half of the North Caucasus attends mosques regularly but in Daghestan, Chechnya, and Ingushetia, “almost every resident” associates with a religious community or brotherhood. As a result, the republics in the western half of the North Caucasus are recognizable to those from other parts of the Russian Federation even though they too are distinctive, but the republics in the eastern half are completely foreign, with their own reliance on informal and “hybrid” powers which play by their own rules that Moscow does not understand. Sokolov’s observation on this last point prompts Khrulyeva to ask where the eastern North Caucasus republics are “in principle included in an all-Russian space,” to which Sokolov replies with a question of his own: given how great the differences are between the major cities and the provinces, “is there in general some ‘all-Russian space’?” Daghestan and Chechnya have two legal systems operating in parallel,, a small official one that gives a nod to Russian law and a larger unofficial one based on customary law and practice. But Sokolov warns against viewing the eastern North Caucasus as something different in kind from the rest of the country: it is different only in degree. In his view, “the level of understanding of a legal state throughout Russia is approximately the same.” It is very low and “there are only cultural differences” in how it is misunderstood and applied. “Today,” Sokolov argues, “almost every region of Russia can be called ‘an internal abroad,’” much as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were in Soviet times. There are no real “institutional bindings” holding the country together: “there is only the Soviet man who is living his last decade,” along with the aging Putin elite and the decaying power vertical. As far as the North Caucasus is concerned, the future is extremely problematic. The ethnic Russians who played a key role are going home, and they are moving north rapidly even within the region. According to one scholar, the ethnic Russian center of gravity in Stavropol kray alone is moving north and west at the rate of 10 kilometers a year. The eastern North Caucasus is already “de-russified,” and the western segment is following. And alongside these demographic processes, there is “active re-Islamization.” But there is no one in the local elites capable of defining and carrying through a local agenda beyond simply continuing as now, a strategy fraught with danger. The entire region lacks “a real political elite,” something that limits its development. Everyone recognizes that it is sitting on a volcano, the large number of unresolved territorial disputes within and between the republics. And the role of foreign players like Turkey and Iran is growing. Unfortunately, “the chances for a bloodless resolution of the possible conflicts” in the North Caucasus “is not very large, and if the state weakens, there is a great possibility that the region will enter into a period of a war of all against all.” And that leaves the region in “a very strange situation. That status quo which exists interferes with the formation of a political elite and the foundation of institution. But the destruction of this status quo will involve bloodletting” – a pattern in which the North Caucasus is only an extreme form of a pattern that now exists throughout Russia. The problem in Russia today, Sokolov concludes, is that “there is no simple way out of the existing situation” and as a result, the country exists in “a certain asymptotic tail of degradation, one that could go on forever or blow apart at any minute.”

‘Extremists’ In The Kremlin: Jehovah’s Witnesses Honored By Putin As ‘Model Family’ Russian President Vladimir Putin has bestowed the Family Glory award on a family of Jehovah's Witnesses — just one month after the Russian Supreme Court declared the group an illegal &quo…

Report Finds 17 Deaths and Labor Abuses at Russia’s World Cup Stadiums – The New York Times Human Rights Watch accuses FIFA of failing to rigorously monitor worker safety matters.

HRW ‘Red Cards’ Russia, FIFA For Alleged Abuse Of World Cup Venue Builders Workers building venues in Russia for the upcoming Confederations Cup and the 2018 World Cup face &quot;exploitation and labor abuses,&quot; Human Rights Watch (HRW) says in a new report. In th…

Academia again serves state ideology as Russia convicts Ukrainian library head -Euromaidan Press | The fate of the librarian is an iconic example of how the repressive policy has triumphed over language, history, and the principles of academic ethics. The conviction of the director of the Ukrainian Literature Library in Moscow over the books stored in the institution is not just another vindictive act of intimidating Ukrainians and supporters of Ukraine but also an example of shameful collaboration between Russian academia and the punitive system. Back to Soviet-style witchhunt Last week, 59-y.o. Natalia Sharina, a Russian citizen and former head of the last Ukrainian government-funded institution in Russia, was found guilty of keeping “extremist” books in the library, as well as of alleged financial abuse. The trial, which Amnesty International called “the travesty of justice,” ended with a 4-year suspended prison sentence for her, after the over 1.5 years she spent under strict house arrest. The work of the library itself was cut off in the fall of 2015, and its 52,000 book collection is said to be transferred to another institution. According to the judgment, Sharina was “inciting ethnic hatred” via the circulation of books among the readers. The court paid attention neither to the testimonies of the library staff who said they had seen a number of supposedly “extremist” books being planted by Russian law enforcers nor to the conspicuous fact of absence of library stamps on their pages. As for the rest, Sharina stressed in her last word before the verdict, “nobody gave a library director the right, moreover the responsibility, to censor legally published books.” Control over the content of libraries, the removal of “wrong” literature and the punishment of librarians who did not keep up with the changing demands of censorship were a typical feature of Soviet cultural policy since the establishment of the Bolshevik regime a hundred years ago.

First test flight of new Russian Tu-160M2 missile carrier is scheduled for 2018 | Defence Blog Kazan aircraft plant has completed the industrial welding of the first Tu-160M2 Blackjacks missile carrier. The Deputy Defence Minister Yuri Borisov said this information to journalists during his visit to the plant. As reported The Deputy Defence Minister Yuri Borisov during his visit that, The Ministry of Defence confirms the previously announced dates: the first test flight of the aircraft is scheduled for 2018, and the beginning of mass production in 2021. “A great job is done, we have several times addressed with words of gratitude to the industry that in a relatively short time, ahead of previously set schedules restored processes, associated with the reproduction of the Tu-160M2,” – said Yuri Borisov. The new Blackjacks are going to be practically a new design under the hood with completely new avionics, propulsion and even airframe modifications. As such the aircraft will be given a secondary precision-guided munitions capability. The Tu-160M2, a modernized version Russia’s much-acclaimed Tu-160 strategic bomber, will carry an impressive arsenal of Kh-555 and Kh-101 cruise missiles, and also the latter’s nuclear-tipped version, the Kh-102. The Kh-555 boasts an advance flight control system allowing the missile to change curse on the go. The Kh-555 carries a cluster or fragmentation/incendiary warhead and has an effective range of over 2,000 kilometers (over 1,240 miles). The Kh-101 is even deadlier, capable of taking out targets up to 5,500 kilometers away (3,400 miles).

Trump extends sanctions against Belarusian authorities | UNIAN U.S. President Donald Trump has extended sanctions against the authorities of Belarus for one year, according to a press release of the White House. Latest UNIAN news from 14 June.

Brian Whitmore | The Battle For Russia It’s time again for that annual ritual. The national leader perched in a state-of-the-art television studio. The pomp and circumstance. The ceremonial grandeur and high-tech props. All designed to make him look like the master of the universe. He’ll field carefully prescreened questions from meticulously vetted ordinary citizens from across 11 time zones. There will be pithy one-liners and probably some salty language. There will be well-orchestrated surprises designed to grab headlines. And the state-controlled media will breathlessly spin it all as evidence of a man with a plan — and a man in full control. We’ve seen it all before, this perennial rite of spring. But just a few days before this year’s big show, there was another spectacle in town. The revolutionary maverick locked up yet again as tens of thousands of his followers took to the streets across more than 100 cities to denounce the regime and its leader as hopelessly corrupt. Throngs of teenagers and young adults being hauled off by police in full riot gear. Protesters jiggling their keys in the air in a defiant gesture reminiscent of a peaceful Velvet Revolution that inspired the world decades ago. Welcome to the battle for Russia’s future.

Brian Whitmore on Twitter: “Echoes of the Velvet Revolution in Moscow as Russian protesters jiggle their keys, Czech style:”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kremlin Preps Questioners for Putin’s ‘Open Line’ – ‘Don’t Drink Too Much Water’ In Advance Paul Goble Staunton, June 14 – Vladimir Putin’s ‘Direct Line’ broadcast “is a show, and a show must always be well-prepared,” according to one of the Kremlin operatives who has taken part in sessions designed to prepare questioners who may be called on during the program( This year as in the past, approximately 100 people from the regions, from media outlets and from among lower-ranking politicians were invited to take part in a briefing session at a pension near Moscow so that those without media experience could be ready for the experience and have their questions prepared. Organizers who came from various parts of the Presidential Administration and its media advisors stressed, RBC reported, that no one was given a question prepared by others. Instead, the experts helped those invited to take part to formulate their questions briefly and clearly. But even then, those at the sessions were told, there is no guarantee that they will be called on. Perhaps the most useful advice the organizers of this advance session gave to participants was that they shouldn’t drink too much in advance of the show because it can easily last “up to four to five hours,” and they may not have the opportunity to relieve themselves during the program.

Russian Duma Approves Plan to Raze Soviet-Era Apartment Blocks The Russian State Duma has voted its final approval of controversial legislation to demolish thousands of Soviet-era apartment buildings in Moscow. Lawmakers in the 450-seat lower parliament hous…

St. Petersburg Ombudsman Says City Authorities Provoked Protests The ombudsman of Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, has accused city authorities of &quot;provoking&quot; unsanctioned protests. Aleksandr Shishlov wrote on his website that &quo…

Time is running out for Putin’s kleptocracy | Comment | The Times & The Sunday Times Putin’s children are restless. Not the president’s actual daughters of course — they’re sheltered and monied — but rather the generation that has grown to political maturity during his 17 years in the Kremlin. Shouting “Putin is a thief!” these young rebels took to the streets last March and got a beating. This week they were out again and got beaten again. As Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin glides towards yet another re-election next spring, it looks pretty grim for those who still hope for an open Russia led by accountable leaders. Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner, is still a formal challenger to Putin in the 2018 election. Yet he has no serious chance of winning. The president’s agents had him arrested before demonstrations on Monday and jailed him for 30 days. The point was to show that Navalny can be removed whenever he irritates the Kremlin and that he is therefore not in serious contention. Russia must count on another six years of Putin. If he sticks to the constitution it will be his final term and that will determine much of the agenda. He will have to use his remaining years to fix the succession and find a compliant heir who will protect his fortune, give him lifelong immunity from prosecution and airbrush the history books.

How to Protest in Russia – The New York Times Aleksei Navalny and other critics zeroed in on a vulnerability of the ruling elite — corruption.

Navalny protesters seek change in Putin’s Russia – Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has 30 days to ponder his next political move from prison after being found guilty of calling repeatedly for unlawful protests.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: It’s Not Just Moscow Anymore – Protest Spreads to More than 150 Cities Across Russia Paul Goble Staunton, June 13 – Given the Moscow-centric nature of Russian government and opposition attitudes and of Western coverage, it was no surprise that most of the airtime and ink about yesterday’s anti-corruption protests focused on Aleksey Navalny’s demonstration in Moscow and the response of the authorities there. But perhaps the most important development of yesterday’s protest was that it was not restricted to Moscow but took place in more than 150 cities across all of Russia’s time zones, a pattern that means that the Kremlin can no longer assume that the hinterland is unqualifiedly in its corner even if the capital is not. On the spread of the demonstrations to other parts of the Russian Federation, the pattern of sanctioned versus unsanctioned meetings, and the response of the authorities in various places, see especially ( and Despite the expanded geography of protest, the Moscow mindset remains strong. In a comment on the protests, Russian commentator Stanislav Belkovsky suggests that what happens in “the provinces doesn’t concern the Kremlin as far as protest activity is concerned” ( According to him, “the Kremlin considers that the political there is one way or another under control,” and consequently, “even numerous actions and outbursts do not threaten stability.” The situation in Moscow and St. Petersburg is something else and the authorities will move harshly against the protesters. Belkovsky may be right about how the Kremlin views the situation, but both he and the Kremlin are undoubtedly wrong in their assessment about what he dismissively refers to as the provinces. Officials there may be more willing to work with demonstrators, but as they do and as more demonstrators demonstrate, that changes the relationship between the two. On the one hand, protests outside of Moscow as well as within the ring road underscore what the most active portion of the population cares about and officials in the regions if not in Moscow will likely be inclined to cooperate and even seek points of agreement with the protesters if for no other reason but to maintain the peace and thus their jobs. And on the other, all evidence suggests that protests lead to more protests and successful protests lead to rising expectations ( That in turn will tend to create a new political mood both in the population and elites in the regions, one that Moscow for all its power will ignore to its peril.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia’s Striking Long Haul Truckers Take Active Part in NavalnyAnti-Corruption Protest Paul Goble Staunton, June 12 – Thirty of the 825 Navalny protesters arrested in Moscow yesterday were long-haul truckers who viewed taking part in these protests as an extension of their strike against the Plato fee system (,. But that was just the tip of the iceberg as far as the truckers’ involvement is concerned. Among the cities across Russia where the participation of truckers in the protests was noted are the following: Kirov ( Ryazan (7× Chelyabinsk ( Nalchik ( Murmansk ( ( Volgograd ( This list is undoubtedly incomplete: Not all of the more than 160 cities where protests are reported to have taken place have yet had reports about these meeting published or posted online, and many which have did not mention the truck drivers in particular but that does not mean that they were not represented.

Ex-Berkut chief suspected of organizing Euromaidan massacre now dispersing protests in Moscow -Euromaidan Press | Sergey Kusyuk, the former chief of the Berkut special police involved in violently dispersing Euromaidan protesters, was spotted dispersing protesters in Moscow on 12 June 2017. A photo of Kusyuk was published by the Russian TV station Dozhd, following which Ukrainians recognized the famous police chief, who had directed many dispersals of protests in Ukraine. Later, a video of Kusyuk in the uniform of the OMON special police, who appeared to be giving out instructions to other officers breaking up up the protests in Moscow was shared by Oksana Boyko, a journalist at Russia Today.

Kyiv Berkut’s ex-chief spotted in Moscow dispersing rallies (Photo, video) The notorious former chief of the Kyiv Berkut riot police unit, Colonel Serhiy Kusiuk, who is wanted since summer 2015 on suspicion of involvement in massacres of activists during the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine, has been spotted dispersing an anti-corruption rally in Moscow on Monday, June 12, according to the Ukrainian television news service TSN. News 13 June from UNIAN.

More Than 1000 Detained as Anti-Corruption Protests Sweep Russia – To Inform is to Influence The demonstrations against corruption in Russia, and by association, with Russian President Vladimir Putin, are growing in strength and frequency.  Putin is clearly worried. The Duma is pending legislation making these protests more illegal, Putin has authorized a 400,000 Praetorian Guard for his personal use, and there are increasingly draconian laws suppressing free speech and a free…

After Moscow Protest Crackdown, Kremlin Critics Question Navalny’s Tactics Russia&rsquo;s liberal opposition has long been plagued by infighting. And fresh fissures have emerged over chief Kremlin foe Aleksei Navalny's decision to move an anticorruption protest in Mosco…

Yashin Sentenced To 15 Days After Arrest At Moscow Protest Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin has been sentenced to 15 days in prison following his arrest at an anticorruption protest in Moscow. (RFE/RL’s Russian Service)

Navalny Pleased With Russian Protests, Despite Arrest Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny said the nationwide anticorruption protests which he called for were successful. Speaking at a hearing on June 12, where he was sentenced to 30 days in prison for staging unsanctioned rallies, Navalny said he was particularly pleased that protesters in several cities outside of Moscow took part. Navalny was detained before the unauthorized demonstration in the center of the capital, along with more than 1,500 protesters across the country. The first two questions in the impromptu interview came from RFE/RL’s Russian Service.

Vladimir Putin’s Secret French Family Hideaway | As the Putin generation rages in Russia, a glimpse at how Putin’s actual family lives in opulent luxury in the South of France

IW/IO/Cyber Reports

The United States Is Struggling In The Information Environment – To Inform is to Influence Anytime I have a conversation with anyone who is not conversant in Inform and Influence Operations, Information Operations, Public Diplomacy, Strategic Communications, International Broadcasting, or Influence Operations, it seems, they eventually always ask: who is in charge and who is doing what? What is the United States doing to respond to Russian Information Warfare, propaganda,…

How Russian TV-channels promote pro-Kremlin narratives in talk shows -Euromaidan Press | Out of the approximately one billion USD the Kremlin allocates annually for the media it controls, around one third finances foreign language outputs, such as Sputnik and Russia Today (RT). The remaining two thirds are spent on ensuring that the Kremlin’s political line reaches Russia’s 145 million strong population. Obviously, this generous subsidy can allow the state-controlled TV stations to develop and refine those formats that can strengthen the impact of pro-Kremlin narratives on public opinion. Among different television genres, one stands out: the talk show. At a first glance, the talk show format on pro-Kremlin TV can seem to provide audiences access to a diversity of viewpoints. Indeed, as a rule, a small number of “dissidents”, e.g. an opposition activist, a Ukrainian or even a “token American” will be invited into the studio, but these will always be massively outnumbered and yelled at by the majority of talk show participants, who hold pro-Kremlin views, and who are traditionally backed both by the studio audience and, crucially, the host. The role of the dissenting voice is thereby reduced to being a scapegoat, or even an instrument in legitimising mobbing: The limited diversity of opinions becomes a fig leaf that can keep up the appearance of at least some sort of public debate; in reality, it becomes a model of a society where dissenters and foreigners are, and should be, treated with hostility.

Facing limits of remote hacking, Army cybers up the battlefield – To Inform is to Influence Army prepares for a less friendly electronic battlespace, embeds cyber in units. SEAN GALLAGHER – 6/13/2017, 6:45 AM The US military and intelligence communities have spent much of the last two decades fighting wars in which the US significantly over-matched its opponents technologically—on the battlefield and off. In addition to its massive pure military advantage,…

Alert (TA17-164A) HIDDEN COBRA – North Korea’s DDoS Botnet Infrastructure – To Inform is to Influence Alert (TA17-164A) HIDDEN COBRA – North Korea’s DDoS Botnet Infrastructure Original release date: June 13, 2017 Systems Affected Networked Systems Overview This joint Technical Alert (TA) is the result of analytic efforts between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This alert provides technical details on the tools and…

NATO working out how to conduct operations in cyberspace – Fifth Domain | Cyber TALLINN, Estonia – NATO reinforced its position as a leader in the cyber-threat battle space when it officially recognized cyberspace as a domain of war in July 2016. In a similarly significant action, the Western Alliance adopted the position that international law, as has been the case in conventional warfare, also applies in cyberspace. A fundamental challenge faced by NATO, particularly in the development and deployment of effective defensive and offensive cyber weaponry tools, is how to optimize collaboration with the cyber intelligence infrastructures of member nations in responding to attacks in an ever-changing cyber battle theater. On the strategic-response side of NATO’s cyber warfare operations, the organization must grapple with the omnipresent operational concern about whether it is better to have a good defense or a strong offense. The Alliance’s evolving strategic direction to counter threats against critical military and civilian network infrastructure in cyber space was outlined by NATO chiefs at the four-day Cyber Conflict (CyCon) conference in Tallinn, Estonia that ended June 2. The development of the Alliance’s defensive and offensive cyber weaponry is tasked to a dedicated cyber unit within the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), NATO’s strategic operational military command. “There are open questions when we talk about cyberspace and treating it as a domain for conflict in the context of joint military operations,” said Brad Bigelow, the chief technical advisor to the CIS/Cyber Defense (Communications Information Systems/CD) staff at SHAPE.

DoD fighting wars on multiple cyber fronts simultaneously – Fifth Domain | Cyber Additionally, amid questions surrounding the capability and capacity of the nation’s cyber force – Cyber Command’s cyber mission force is slated to reach full operational capability in 2018 and Dunford said 70 percent is currently at that stage – Dunford assured members that DoD can and does run parallel and simultaneous cyber campaigns against multiple actors. “We do Congressman and without going through details, we’re actually simultaneously conducting cyber operations now against multiple adversaries,” Dunford said responding to a question asking if DoD can perform operations against other actors today simultaneously, in addition to those against the Islamic State group. This could refer to an amalgam of operations. The New York Times reported in March that the military had begun a cyber campaign under the previous administration to degrade North Korea’s missile program. North Korea – which includes not only its evolving nuclear capabilities but also its ballistic missile capabilities that threaten U.S. partners and interests in the region – is considered by the intelligence community to be top of the threat list. During a few recent hearings in front of both the House and Senate Armed Services committees last month, Rogers hinted at operations being conducted in the Pacific theater, but provided no indication of the targets or context for operations.

Ukraine Reports

Russia’s preparation for West 2017 drills causes intl concern First Deputy Defense Minister of Ukraine Ivan Rusnak has said that the preparation of the Russian Federation for holding the West 2017 large-scale military exercises causes concern around the world. Rusnak said this during a meeting with Poland’s Deputy Defense Minister Michal Dworczyk on Tuesday, the press service of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry reported. “Preparations of the Russian Federation to hold the West 2017 large-scale military exercises cause concern throughout the world,” Rusnak said. He also briefed his Polish counterpart about the situation in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) zone in Luhansk and Donetsk regions, noting “the non-compliance by the Russian-occupation forces to the Minsk Agreements.” In addition, on behalf of Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak, Rusnak thanked his Polish counterparts for their assistance. As reported, the West 2017 Russian-Belarusian strategic maneuvers will be held simultaneously at several training grounds of the two countries. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that despite any pressure, the Belarusian-Russian exercise West 2017 will be held on a large scale.

Ukraine’s deputy defense minister says Russia’s West 2017 drills cause intl concern | KyivPost First Deputy Defense Minister of Ukraine Ivan Rusnak said that the preparation of the Russian Federation for holding the West 2017 large-scale military exercises causes concern around the world. Rusnak said this during a meeting with Poland’s Deputy Defense Minister Michal Dworczyk on June 13, the press service of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry reported. “Preparations of the Russian Federation to hold the West 2017 large-scale military exercises cause concern throughout the world,” Rusnak said.

Ukrainian parliament speaker in U.S.: Arming Ukraine remains open question Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, Andriy Parubiy, who is currently on an official visit to the United States, says he has raised the questions of providing lethal weapons to Ukraine and of toughening sanctions against Russia in the Pentagon, according to the Rada's press service. News 14 June from UNIAN.

Provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine still on the US agenda – Parubiy – 14.06.2017 11:19 — Ukrinform News 14.06.2017 11:19. Washington has not removed from the agenda the issue of giving Ukraine lethal weapons. Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy said this during his official visit to the U.S., the press service of the Ukrainian Parliament reports. Parubiy, noting the urgency and importance of the provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine, said that he raised this issue, as well as the issue of tightening sanctions, in the Pentagon. “It [the issue of providing lethal weapons] has not been removed from the agenda, there are discussions on this issue. If earlier there was a negative decision, today the issue remains open,” Parubiy stressed and assured that “there is no negative answer, there is an open discussion”. “The provision of weapons is discussed, it has both technical and symbolic significance for strengthening cooperation between Ukraine and the United States,” he added.

Ukraine became testing ground for Russia’s latest cyberweapon, – Turchynov 14.06.17 13:09 – Ukraine, where Russia commits regular cyberattacks in different sectors, has became a testing field for the aggressor’s latest weapons. This was announced by National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov during First International Global Cybersecurity Summit 2017 (GCS 2017) in Kyiv, Censor.NET reports citing Ukrinform. “Ukraine as a state that has unique experience of opposing Russian hybrid aggression has also gained experience of counteracting the threats spread from the cyberspace. I mean the attempt to intervene in the presidential election in 2014, attacks upon energy and financial sectors of our state, attempts to crack transport systems, etc. In fact, Ukraine has become a testing field for the latest cyberweapons of the aggressor country,” Turchynov said.

Ukraine has not “lost” uncontrolled Donbas yet, new poll shows -Euromaidan Press | More than three years have passed since, in the aftermath of Euromaidan and occupation of Crimea, referendums under the gunpoint of Russian-hybrid troops were held in parts of eastern Ukraine. In result, two quasi-“states,” the Luhansk and Donetsk “People’s Republics” declared their independence from Ukraine, but de facto are no different from the Russian occupation zones in Georgia and Moldova. The war between the Russian-led militias of these territories, which in Ukraine are called Separate regions of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts (ORDLO), and Ukrainian forces, is attempted to be regulated by the Minsk agreements, and the future of these territories is still hanging in the air. Have the three years that have passed alienated the population of the ORDLO, the mediasphere of which is full of relentless Russian or militant propaganda, from Ukraine? Does the ORDLO’s population identify with their new identity as a self-proclaimed separate “country”? Or does the population living on the government-controlled and uncontrolled territories still constitute a single entity? A poll conducted by ZOiS in December 2016, but published only now, addresses these questions and finds that Ukraine hasn’t “lost” uncontrolled Donbas yet. The survey, conducted by the German-based Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS), is based on 1,200 personal interviews in the controlled territory split evenly between Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, and 1,200 interviews by telephone in the uncontrolled territories.

Yuriy Biriukov: Defense Ministry’s structure to be changed in line with NATO standards – 14.06.2017 11:59 — Ukrinform News The structure of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry will be changed in line with the NATO standards within the upcoming two years. Advisor to the Ukrainian President and Assistant to the Defense Minister, Yuriy Biriukov, said this on TV Channel 5. “This concerns the change in the organizational structure of the command authority, i.e., the General Staff and the Defense Ministry, and the change in the organizational structure of combat units,” he said. He specified: “In particular, the process of transition to NATO standards provides that the post of Chief of the General Staff – Commander-in-Chief will be shared by two persons in 2018. That is, we will have the commander-in-chief and the chief of the General Staff… the system of leadership changes at the level of divisions. As far as I know, more powers are given to “inferior” [in rank] – more freedom in using weapons and more freedom in giving orders to inferior commanders. The logistics system is also changing, the training system is changing”.

Militants launched 52 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas in last day – 14.06.2017 09:22 — Ukrinform News 14.06.2017 09:22. Militants launched 52 attacks on positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in ATO area in Donbas over the past day. This is reported by the ATO press center. In Mariupol direction, militants used 120mm mortars to shell Ukrainian positions near Chermalyk (31km north-east of Mariupol) and Olhinka and used 82mm mortars near Vodiane (35 km south-west of Donetsk). The enemy also fired at ATO troops near Talakivka (20km north-west of Mariupol), Hnutove (19km north-west of Mariupol), Pavlopol (30 km northeast of Mariupol), using small arms and grenade launchers. In Donetsk direction, the militants shelled Ukrainian troops near Avdiivka (18km north of Donetsk) and Pisky (12km north-west of Donetsk), using infantry weapons. In addition, illegal armed formations used 120 mm and 82mm mortars, small arms and grenade launchers to fire at Kamyanka (62km south of Donetsk), Avdiivka (18km north of Donetsk), Luhanske (59km north-east of Donetsk). In Luhansk direction, militants used 82mm and 152 mm mortars to shell Ukrainian positions near Krymske (42.5km north-west of Luhansk), Novooleksandrivka (65km west of Luhansk), Shchastia (23km north of Luhansk). The enemy attacks were also recorded near Donets, Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk) and Troitske (69km west of Luhansk), where the militants opened fire on the ATO positions from grenade launchers and small arms. As a result of hostilities over the past day, one soldier of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was killed, and seven soldiers were injured and wounded.

Ukraine’s Donbas war toll in past day: 1 KIA, 7 WIA’s amid over 50 attacks Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 52 times in the past 24 hours, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action (KIA) and seven as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 14 June from UNIAN.

War-torn Avdiyivka declares state of emergency at regional level The local authorities have declared a state of emergency of a man-made nature at the regional level in the war-torn town of Avdiyivka in Donbas, according to a regional head. News 13 June from UNIAN.

Militants attack Avdiyivka, local woman injured (Photo) As a result of intense shelling by Russian-backed militants of the old part of the town of Avdiyivka, a woman was wounded on&nbsp;Turheneva&nbsp;Street at about 17:35 on Tuesday, June 13, according to Pokrovsky police department of the Donetsk region. News 14 June from UNIAN.

Russia about to send its 66th ‘humanitarian’ convoy to occupied Donbas Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry has announced it will send its 66th &quot;humanitarian&quot; convoy to areas in Donbas that are not controlled by the Ukrainian government, according to a Russian-based UNIAN correspondent. News 14 June from UNIAN.

Poroshenko: 38 military medics not returned from ATO combat zone. Video – 14.06.2017 16:33 — Ukrinform News 14.06.2017 16:33. About 3,500 military doctors took part in the emergency medical support in the ATO zone. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said this during his speech at the solemn event on the occasion of the Day of Medical Worker at the 66th military mobile hospital in Donbas, an Ukrinform correspondent reports. “About 3,500 military medics took part in the emergency medical support on the front line in the combat zone, more than 200 of them were injured, 248 military doctors were awarded with state awards,” Poroshenko said. At the same time, 38 doctors, unfortunately, did not return from the battlefield, the President added. He noted that Ihor Zinych was among them, the Hero of Ukraine, a 25-year-old sanitary instructor who refused to return home and stayed to assist the fellowmen who fought at the Donetsk airport.

Turchynov offers alternative to Anti-Terrorist Operation in Donbas (Video) Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov says Ukraine needs a new format to counter the hybrid warfare waged by the Russian Federation. News 13 June from UNIAN.

Production, propaganda of St. George’s ribbons banned in Ukraine from June 15 The Ukrainian law on changes to the Ukrainian Code of Administrative Violations regarding the ban on the production and propaganda of St. George’s (Guard) ribbon was published in the parliamentary newspaper Holos Ukrainy on Wednesday.\

German President to visit Ukraine — envoy – News about politics | UNIAN Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk has announced that he discussed a forthcoming visit of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Ukraine with Thomas Bagger, a foreign policy adviser to the president. News 14 June from UNIAN.

Commemoration of Il-76 victims held in Kyiv. PHOTOS 14.06.17 09:58 – Commemoration of Il-76 victims held in Kyiv. PHOTOS On June 13, Kyiv residents gathered on Pishokhidnyi Bridge to commemorate Il-76 victims on the third anniversary of the tragedy in Luhansk. In June 2014, Il-76 plane with 49 people on board was downed by pro-Russian separatists when landing in the… View photo news.

Belarusian Killed On Kyiv’s Maidan Honored As Hero Of Ukraine KYIV — A Belarusian man who was one of the first protesters killed during the Euromaidan protests in Kyiv in 2014 has been posthumously awarded a Hero of Ukraine medal. President Petro Poroshenk…

Nina Zhyzneuskaya: Petro Poroshenko Called Mikhail Great Belarusian And Great Ukrainian – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk Mikhail Zhyzneuski’s mother commented on awarding the title of Hero of Ukraine to her son. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko posthumously awarded Belarusian Mikhail Zhyzneuski the title of Hero of Ukraine. The Ukrainian president handed the Star of Hero and the corresponding document to Mikhail’s parents – Nina and Mikhail Zhyzneuski. “I am very happy that our son was given the highest state award of Ukraine, – hero’s mother Nina Zhyzneuskaya told Radio Svaboda by phone from Kiev. – It even eased my heart, because I thought it would never happen. I, as a mother, wanted this to happen as soon as possible. After all, they told different things about our son here, in Belarus, when he died on Grushevsky Street in Kiev during the Revolution of Dignity on January 22, 2014. They called Misha a “Banderite” and a “bandit”. An insulting word “traitor” was scratched on the monument at the family cemetery near Homel, where Misha was buried. It’s hard for us, parents, to realize that Misha is not alive. But our son is a worthy person, Hero of Ukraine. Petro Poroshenko called him “a great Belarusian and a great Ukrainian,” who gave his life for the freedom of Ukraine and Belarus.” Nina Zhyzneuskaya says that at the reception at the Ukrainian president’s residence her husband thanked Petro Poroshenko for the moral and material support of their family. “My deepest gratitude to President Poroshenko. I want to thank the Verkhovna Rada deputies – they have made changes in the national legislation so that foreigners, who fought for freedom and independence of Ukraine, could receive the highest award,” – the hero’s mother said.

Ukraine to acquire An-140 and An-74 transport aircraft | Defence Blog The Ministry of Defence of Ukraine is looking to increase the size of its transport aircraft fleet. According to the official of the Kharkov State Aircraft Manufacturing Company, the Armed Forces of Ukraine is to acquire two An-140 transport aircraft as a training aircraft and three An-74 transport aircraft. The An−140 is a regional aircraft is intended for passenger and mixed cargo/passenger transportations. The An−140 is the substitute for the An−24 aircraft that has been operated for about forty years. The AN−140 aircraft has high fuel efficiency. It can be operated in a wide range of the airfield heights and climate conditions, under good and adverse weather conditions, by day and night. The AN−140 aircraft has a high wing position, standard tail configuration and two wing−mounted ТV3−117VМА−SBМ1 turboprop engines. The AI9−3B auxiliary power unit installed at the rear−fuselage provides the independent aircraft operation from the unpaved airfields. A high level of comfort of the passenger compartment has been achieved by selecting the optimum ratio between the volume of the compartment and the service premises, favorable climatic conditions, a well−matched lighting and other factors. For today 12 aircraft of such a type are under operation in Ukraine, Russia, Iran. The An-74 was designed on the basis of the An-72 military airlifter and inherited from the latter its excellent performance, self-sufficiency in operation on the unpaved airfields and the ability to fly steep flight paths with short takeoff and landing. The AN-74 is designed to carry up to 7.5 tonnes of cargo at a cruising speed of up to 700 km/h at a cruising flight altitude of 10,100 m.

Ukraine extends aircraft maintenance and overhaul offer | Defence Blog More recently, the aviation industry has indicated signs of recovery with considerable growing demand forecast over the next decade in regions such as the Asia-Pacific and Middle East. In these regions, to operate a large number of aircraft produced in Ukraine and the countries of the former Soviet Union. Now Ukraine expands aircraft maintenance and repair offering in anticipation of probable contracts. Commercial and military aircraft maintenance and repair is an essential requirement to safely transport passengers, troops or cargo. In Ukraine, the major role in the aircraft maintenance and repair plays the state enterprise «PLANT 410 of Civil Aviation» (SE PLANT 410 CA). The SE PLANT 410 CA, which is a part of Ukrainian defence industry concern UkrOboronProm, is one of the leading enterprises of aviation cluster of Ukraine, specializing in heavy airframe maintenance and modification services and component maintenance, repair, and overhaul services for commercial and regional aircraft.

New transport An-132D built in Ukraine under order of Saudi Arabia to debut at Le Bourget 2017 An-132D multipurpose plane-demonstrator built in Ukraine as part international cooperation will be first presented to mainstream international audience at the 52nd Le Bourget 2017 Air Show to take place in Paris on June 19 through June 25.

Ukraine touts defense industry to potential customers – UPI.comUkraine has pitched the ambassadors of 16 countries on the capabilities of state companies to potentially construct military equipment for them.

Ukraine adds to diverse vehicle fleet – Shephard Media – Aerospace, defence and security news and analysis The Ukrainian military and internal security forces continue to take delivery of two new types of domestically-manufactured 4×4 infantry mobility v…

Priority action plan for industry development includes six basic industries The Ukrainian Institute for the Future at the request of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine has prepared proposals for the priority action plan for industrial development in Ukraine based on the analysis of the state of the six key industries (mining, metallurgical, chemical and petrochemical, food industry, electric power engineering, machine building).

Battle at Gas Champion Exposes Struggle to Rebuild Ukraine – Bloomberg Investors wanting to take the temperature of Ukraine’s reform drive could do worse than look in on state-run energy firm Naftogaz, where a battle for control underscores the obstacles hampering wider efforts to clean up the ex-communist economy.

Ukraine ready to participate in formation of ‘gas corridor’ with Hungary and Croatia Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman has stated Ukraine is ready to take part in the formation of a “gas corridor” with Hungary and Croatia.

FM Klimkin: Dutch Justice Ministry signs EU-Ukraine Association Agreement – 14.06.2017 09:38 — Ukrinform News 14.06.2017 09:38. The Justice Ministry of the Netherlands has signed the law on the ratification of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine.

Rainbow flag burned at Ukraine Pride event | Anti-LGBT protesters burn an LGBT flag during the opening ceremony of Kiev Pride 2017 in Kiev, Ukraine, June 13, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Japan starts to work on cancelling visas for Ukrainians Japan’s government has started working on cancelling visas for Ukrainian citizens, MP Leonid Yemets of the People’s Front faction reported.

Ukraine: 11 best places to visit | CNN Travel Sure, it’s got troubles, but even when it’s not hosting Eurovision, this huge country also has plenty of reasons to explore.

In fighting Russia, Ukraine must not become like it, Ukrainian churchman says | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |One of the gravest dangers — and potentially most serious defeats –any country combating an authoritarian aggressor is that in the name of defending itself against aggression, it will take steps that will make it resemble in some ways those against whom it is being forced to defend itself. The Western allies faced such risks in combating fascism during World War II. The democracies of the world were confronted by other such dangers when opposing the communist dictatorships during the Cold War. And now Ukraine is facing a similar kind of threat in the course of its struggle against an aggressive and authoritarian Russia. One area where this risk is greatest is in the area of religious affairs. There, many Ukrainians believe, entirely reasonably, that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is the Kremlin’s handmaiden in its aggression against Ukraine and thus should be banned. But Archbishop Eustratius (Zorya), the secretary of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, warns that such a step would be a mistake as a matter of principle and of practice as well.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: In Fighting Russia, Ukraine Must Not Become Like It, Ukrainian Churchman Says Paul Goble Staunton, June 13 – One of the gravest dangers — and potentially most serious defeats –any country combatting an authoritarian aggressor is that in the name of defending itself against aggression, it will take steps that will make it resemble in some ways those against whom it is being forced to defend itself. The Western allies faced such risks in combatting fascism during World War II. The democracies of the world were confronted by other such dangers when opposing the communist dictatorships during the Cold War. And now Ukraine is facing a similar kind of threat in the course of its struggle against an aggressive and authoritarian Russia. One area where this risk is greatest is in the area of religious affairs. There, many Ukrainians believe, entirely reasonably, that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is the Kremlin’s handmaiden in its aggression against Ukraine and thus should be banned. But Archbishop Evstraty, the secretary of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, warns that such a step would be a mistake as a matter of principle and of practice as well ( “I am absolutely convinced,” he says, “that the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine should not be prohibited. When fighting with a dragon, we must not become one, and when struggling with Russia, we must not become like Russia. This is complicated because it is always more difficult to do good than to do evil. But good is constructive while evil is only destructive.” Ukraine must deal with religious organizations using the laws it already has and pursue those who work against Ukraine “under the cover” of a religious organization,” the churchman says. And Ukraine must expose those who are doing so, a relatively small number but ones who are seeking “to subordinate the entire structure of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine.” At the same time, Evstraty says, “it is very important this this church receive its correct name, that it be the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine and not cover itself with the name of a Ukrainian church. Were Ukraine to proceed along the path of prohibiting an entire church, this would be a big gift to the Kremlin.” That mistaken action, the Ukrainian patriarchate official says, would allow the Kremlin “to set off a genuinely religious civil war,” to “set our democratic allies in Europe and America against us,” and thereby to “help the aggressor win. We must be wise and not allow such things to happen.”

Ukraine’s Cheerful Chimney Sweeper It can be a dirty job, but a 68-year-old chimney sweeper in western Ukraine has become a local hero with a statue celebrating his work and cheerful character. (RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service)

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

Mattis on Qatar crisis: Russia ‘trying to break’ world alliances | TheHill

Gulf Crisis Seen Widening Split in Syria Rebellion | 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.

Qatar Closes Helium Plants Amid Rift With Arab Powers | Top News | US News Qatar, the world’s second largest helium producer, has closed its two helium production plants.

Why is Turkey standing up for Qatar? – BBC News Shared concerns, economic interests and mutual growing isolation all help bring the two together.

Fact check: Is Qatar supporting terrorism? A look at its ties to Iran, ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood – Middle East News – Haaretz Last week, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed ties with Qatar amid a slew of punitive measures after accusing it of supporting terrorism

Putin, Saudi King Speak By Phone About Qatar Dispute The Kremlin says President Vladimir Putin and Saudi King Salman spoke by telephone on June 13 about a diplomatic dispute over Qatar. A June 13 Kremlin statement said the dispute between Qatar an…

Raqqa battle: ‘Staggering’ civilian toll in strikes on IS – BBC NewsThe battle has also led to 160,000 civilians fleeing their homes, UN war crimes investigators say.

‘Staggering’ Civilian Deaths From U.S.-Led Air Strikes in Raqqa: U.N. | 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.

Philippine Air Force’s OV-10 Bronco conducting airstrike on ISIS positions | Defence Blog The OV-10 Bronco turboprop light attack of Philippine Air Force (PAF) and observation aircraft have conducting strikes against ISIS-linked Maute militants for control of the city of Marawi in the southern Mindanao region. According to, videos of the Broncos pulling off eye-watering attacks over the city have hit the web, and it’s clear that as the situation has become more dire, the rugged old close air support aircraft have only stepped up their sorties. The PAF OV-10s can deliver precise fire and even drop GBU-12 laser-guided bombs if they are available and a third party is designating the target with a laser. The North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco is an American turboprop light attack and observation aircraft. It was developed in the 1960s as a special aircraft for counter-insurgency (COIN) combat, and one of its primary missions was as a forward air control (FAC) aircraft. It can carry up to three tons of external munitions, internal loads such as paratroopers or stretchers, and can loiter for three or more hours. The Philippine Air Force (PAF) received 24 OV-10As from U.S. stocks in 1991, later followed by a further nine from the United States, and eight ex-Thai Air Force OV-10Cs in 2003–2004. The OV-10s are operated by the 16th Attack Squadron and 25th Composite Attack Squadron of the 15th Strike Wing, based in Sangley Point, Cavite.

DPRK / PRC Reports

US Defense Secretary Mattis tells Congress North Korea ‘most urgent’ threat to security U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday that North Korea’s advancing missile and nuclear programs were the “most urgent” threat to national security.

Pentagon chief declares North Korea the new top threat to U.S. security – The Washington Post The statement comes five months after Jim Mattis identified Russia as first among threats facing the United States.

SitRep: SecDef Says North Korea Biggest Threat; Saudi Arms Deal Under Fire | Foreign Policy SitRep: SecDef Says North Korea Biggest Threat; Saudi Arms Deal Under Fire « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

Trump White House Stays Quiet as Russia Flouts North Korea Sanctions | Foreign Policy The administration is concerned that Russia is doing more business with the nuclear-armed Kim regime, but it hasn’t said anything publicly yet.

North Korea’s trading partners are linked, and that could make them vulnerable – The Washington Post A new report outlines ways to disrupt Pyongyang’s ability to procure illicit goods.

A Few Chinese Firms Account for Most Trade With North Korea: Report | A Washington-based think tank says a small number of interconnected Chinese firms accounted for the vast proportion of trade with Pyongyang.

North Korea Should Be Careful Trolling Resurgent Japan | Forbes The more Kim — with Xi’s tacit tolerance — tests Tokyo’s patience, the more lawmakers might authorize Abe to play the war games he craves and China dreads.

MDA Seeks Extra Ground-Based Interceptors | Defense content from Aviation Week The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) will buy additional Ground-Based Interceptors (GBI) and activate another two missile silos at Fort Greely, Alaska, to ensure the number of interceptors defending the U.S. mainland does not dip below 44 for any extended period, the agency’s director says. The most recent intercept test of the Boeing-built Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) complex against a mock North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) keeps MDA on target for fielding 44 interceptors at Fort Greely (40 missiles) and Vandenberg AFB, California, (4) by later this year. The test validated Raytheon’s improved Capability Enhancement-II Block 1 Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV), mounted atop Boeing’s newest three-stage Configuration 2 booster. Eight of those interceptors will now join 36 earlier-model interceptors, bringing the total number protecting the U.S. homeland to 44. Testifying before the House Armed Service strategic forces subcommittee last week, Missile Defense Agency director Vice Adm. James Syring said the agency begins funding procurement of six additional interceptors and two silos in its latest budget request so the fleet of 44 interceptors can be sustained. This starts with a $150 million “downpayment” in fiscal 2018 and additional money earmarked in fiscal 2019. The agency previously had no plans to buy new interceptors until production of the new Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) began in the early 2020s. Missile defense analysists Thomas Karako and Ian Williams of the Center for Strategic and International Studies warn about this looming production gap in an April report. They write that an extended period of inactivity will make it difficult for industry to maintain a skilled workforce and cause inefficiencies when production finally does ramp back up for the RKV and planned Configuration 3 booster. “The gap would also mean accepting delays and cost for additional kill vehicle production should threats grow,” the authors not their report, titled Missile Defense 2020. Without spare interceptors for testing, the number of deployed interceptors could drop to 40 by 2021, Karako and Williams report. The agency has been considering potential locations for a third, East Coast interceptors base, but no decision has been made about building it.

North Korea Is About to Test a Missile That Can Reach Trump Tower | Foreign Policy Is the U.S. president ready to put some muscle behind his tough talk?

U.S. student, said to be in coma, released by North Korea | Reuters Otto Warmbier, a U.S. university student held captive in North Korea for 17 months, has been released, but a former U.S. official said on Tuesday he is in a coma and in urgent need of medical care.

Why Kim agreed to release Otto Warmbier (opinion) – Though the State Department is responsible for the release of Otto Warmbier, Kim Jong Un may have had his own motivations for the release of a sick hostage, writes Jonathan Cristol.

American Student Freed By North Korea Arrives Home : The Two-Way : NPR Otto Warmbier is said to have been in a coma since sometime after his sentencing in North Korea in March 2016. The American student was sentenced to a 15-year prison term after his arrest.

North Korea soldier defects through heavily mined DMZ border to South | Reuters A North Korean soldier defected on Tuesday across the heavily mined Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) border to South Korea, the South’s military said, amid high tension over the North’s defiant pursuit of nuclear weapons.

China’s Cult of Stability Is Killing Tibetans | Foreign Policy Tibetans are setting themselves on fire in record numbers to protest Beijing’s heavy hand. But the brutal cycle of violence is only increasing.

Beijing Just Poached Panama, Among the Last of Taiwan’s Remaining Friends | Foreign Policy At a time of growing Chinese investment, Panama has cut ties with Taiwan to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing. But China’s real impetus for bringing Panama into its fold is most likely political, seeking to punish Taiwan’s independent-minded president by poaching one of the island’s few remaining friends.

Fear and Greed: Why Are Australians So Anxious About Chinese Influence? – WSJ China’s hunger for commodities kept Australia’s mines in business through the financial crisis and migrants have brought investment and skills Down Under. What’s all the fuss about?

Read Graham Allison’s Scary Book About U.S.-China War – Bloomberg A scholar-analyst makes a historical case for the threat of a U.S.-China war.

Too Big to Sink | U.S. Naval Institute During the 2008 financial crisis the theory emerged that certain companies, particularly financial institutions, were “too big to fail.” These firms were considered to be so large and entwined with other companies that their closure would be catastrophic to the entire economy. In today’s Navy, the aircraft carrier has become “too big to sink.” When it functions as designed, it is an extremely powerful platform that has remarkable economies of scale. But carriers are crucial to so many of the fleet’s missions that if the enemy can defeat them, the results would be catastrophic for both the Navy and the nation. The loss of a $12 billion capital ship, more than 5,000 American lives, and a powerful symbol of U.S. military superiority would send shock waves around the world. Yet the Navy remains blind to the reality that its carriers—by way of destruction, damage, or deterrence from completing their missions—are poised for defeat in battle. By accepting the eventual demise of the carrier, the Navy could accelerate its shift away from a carrier-centric fleet.

Could India’s Bold Nuclear War Plan Survive a Clash with Pakistan? | The National Interest Massive retaliation in India’s nuclear doctrine fails to serve the objective of nuclear deterrence.

Foreign Policy Reports

Democratic Unionists’ price for keeping Tories in power – POLITICO The Northern Irish party is often portrayed as taking a hard line on Brexit but it’s not quite that simple.

A tiny party of hardliners holds the balance of power in Britain. Here’s what you need to know – The Washington Post A religiously conservative and anti-Irish nationalist party now has veto power over the U.K. government.




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