Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 22 June 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russia again contributing MSM traffic on multiple fronts, while its ongoing internal meltdown continues. More aerial harassment in the Baltics, more on assassinations in the West, military buildup blamed on NATO, and some truly grotesque reports around Russian Orthodox fundamentalism (COCW applies). Russia to classify personal data such as incomes of the elites, including oligarchs, so that disclosing corruption can be treated as a criminal act.

Interesting IW/IO topics – Oxford study on computational propaganda, and forensics on Stone’s interview of Vlad that also attract a major COCW.

Poroshenko’s US trip continues to generate MSM bounce, with Vershbow stating that Poroshenko met with POTUS for a full 30 minutes. Poroshenko says that important defense sector agreements will soon be signed with the US. Donbass fires continue.

Macron flips on Assad and Russia in Syria, suggesting inept strategic advice. Qatar dispute continues.

SECDEF and SECSTATE meet with PRC to talk DPRK and other WESTPAC problems. NYT reports PRC/RoK proposal for US pull out forces from RoK in exchange for DPRK freezing its disputed weapons programs – an evident play to appease the DPRK. Warmbier tragedy continues to be discussed in MSM and politics – the moral dimension to the DPRK problem is that it is a regime with a track record truly competitive against Stalin, Saddam and the Nazis, in badness, but less competent and smaller. Multiple backfill reports on the DPRK, two of which merit COCWs.

In Europe, the Nordstream 2 debate arcs up. The Poles are apparently calling it the  “Molotov-Ribbentrop 2 pipeline”, as it damages Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic States, while deeply entrenching Russian sponsored political corruption in Germany over the longer term. What is remarkable is how easily Germany’s political leadership was bought off with a simply money play. Russian meddling in the Balkans well covered, with a good profile on Nikolai Patrushev.

US domestic Russia debate continues unabated.


Russia / Russophone Reports


Timeline: Russian Provocations and Dangerous Acts since January 20, 2017 – To Inform is to InfluenceTimeline: Russian Provocations and Dangerous Acts since January 20, 2017 By Ryan Goodman Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at 10:13 AM Below is a timeline of publicly reported events of Russian provocations and dangerous acts since January 20, 2017. Are we missing anything? Let us know over Twitter at Just Security or my account. February 10:…Russia To Beef Up Military Forces On Western Flank, Citing NATO Threat

Russia's defense minister said on June 21 that the security situation near the nation's western borders has worsened and Russia will beef up forces there. Sergei Shoigu, speaking on a tri…

The Daily Vertical: Natural Born Liar (Transcript) What is the point of lying when what you are saying is obviously, demonstrably, and often ridiculously false? It’s a question worth asking in the aftermath of U.S. filmmaker Oliver Stone’s recent interview series with Vladimir Putin. During the interview, Putin showed Stone what he said was video footage of Russian forces attacking Islamic State militants in Syria. Internet sleuths later demonstrated that the video is identical to one of U.S. forces attacking Taliban forces in Afghanistan. WATCH Today’s Daily Vertical And that wasn’t the only whopper. In the interview Putin also told Stone that the Kremlin doesn’t control media in Russia and that Moscow never intervenes in the domestic affairs of other countries. So why does Putin do this? What is the point of such flagrant lies? As veteran Moscow correspondent Robert Cottrell writes in The New York Review Of Books, “Putin lies as a display of power.” Cottrell adds that: “Only powerful people can lie and get away with it. The more blatant the lie, the greater the show of power when your listener cannot or dare not contradict you.” I think this is basically correct. For Putin, lying is just another form of bullying. But the roots of Putin’s chronic lying also run deeper. When you preside over a system that is based on deception and subterfuge; a system propped up by spectacle, a system with fake elections, fake political parties, a fake parliament, and, yes, fake news; lying automatically becomes your default setting. Putin is only doing what comes naturally to him.

Sweden summons Russia after Baltic Sea air incident STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden on Wednesday summoned Russia’s ambassador in the country after a Russian fighter jet flew close to a Swedish reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace.

NATO jet approaches aircraft of Russian ambassador – CNNPolitics.com A Polish NATO F-16 fighter jet tried to intercept the plane of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in the Baltic Sea Wednesday, according to Russian state media.

NATO jet approached plane carrying Russian defense minister, reports say – The Washington Post The encounter over the Baltic Sea marks the latest in a string of aerial incidents pitting Russia and the West.

Russia Cancels Talks With U.S. In Response To Sanctions WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department has expressed &quot;regret&quot; about a Kremlin decision to cancel a meeting between U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon and Russian Deputy Foreig…

Russia nixes US talks over sanctions, expands military presence on Europe border over NATO “anti-Russian course” – CBS News Kremlin announces expanded military presence on Europe's border and cancels high-level talks with U.S.

Russia assassinated at least 13 Chechens abroad before victim returned fire in Kyiv -Euromaidan Press | In 2004-2017, Russian special services in foreign countries assassinated at least 13 ethnic Chechens who fought for the independence of Chechnya. Only one of 12 attacks failed before the recent botched attempt on lives of a Chechen married couple in Kyiv. The Kyiv attack on Adam Osmayev and Amina Okuyeva was the first case when a victim returned fire on the Kremlin assassin and the police detained the perpetrator at the scene of crime. The assailant turned out to be Artur Denisultanov-Kurmakayev, a Russian-Chechen criminal from Russia who worked in Europe in 2008 to help pro-Russian Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov to force the Chechen refugees who fled Putin’s regime return to Chechnya.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Orthodox Fundamentalists Now Threaten Russia as Much as or Even More than Islamists Do, Usachyov Says Paul Goble Staunton, June 21 – Those in the West who have sought to divide Russia by introducing democratic values into a society where they are alien or by setting Muslims against Orthodox Christians have discovered that neither has “destroyed” Russia as much as they expected these things to do, Valery Usachyov says. And consequently, the Moscow journalist and commentator says, they have decided to “split [Russian] society via a different path,” setting what can be called Orthodox Christian fundamentalists against ordinary believers and thus setting a trap he urges Russians not to fall into (cont.ws/@galder/641253). By means of badly drawn laws about protecting the feelings of believers, these outside forces, he says, have achieved many of their goals of dividing Russian society into two camps, “the truly believing (the fanatics) and the poor believers” who can’t understand why the former want to go to extremes in banning or destroying what they don’t like. In this, Usachyov says, “Orthodox fundamentalism is in no way different from the Islamist kind.” There is no difference between those who destroyed the ancient monuments in Palmyra and those who defaced the face of Mephistopheles in St. Petersburg or those who want to ban a movie because they bow down to “the sainted martyr Nicholas II.” Because those seeking to divide Russian society have the law on their side, he continues, they are able to flood the courts with cases and the media with stories about these splits, developments that are fundamentally changing the nature of Russian society and threatening its future. “In the history of our state,” he writes, “there were for example Jewish pogroms. Tehre were inter-ethnic conflicts. There was a civil war … but there was nothing like this in the Russian Empire, the USSR or the Russian Federation,” although there have always been people interested in playing on religious differences. According to Usachyov, “religion as a means of running a crowd is the greatest invention of humanity, even greater than the wheel …and now in the name of one and the same God, they force us to hate one another simply because only the true believers see sinfulness in an ordinary art film.” Don’t fall for this, he warns. Follow instead the Christian injunction not to judge lest you be judged. Otherwise the future for Russia is dire indeed. Russia will be split into “the correct and the incorrect Orthodox,” just as in the time of Nikon, and then “we will not be able to turn the clock back.”

Priest in Russia says men should grow beards to prevent being gay HOMOSEXUALITY isn’t catching. But clearly no one told the priest who has said straight men should grow full and bushy beards to prevent them from accidentally swapping sexualities.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Rising Russian Approval of Stalin Reflects Passing of Generation that Experienced Him and Rise of One that Didn’t, Minkin Says Paul Goble Staunton, June 22 – The share of Russians who approve the actions of Stalin during World War II has indeed risen over the last decade but not simply because of Kremlin propaganda, Aleksandr Minkin says. It also reflects the passing of an entire generation who knew what he did and the rise of one for whom Stalin is only a distant historical figure. In a Moskovsky komsomolets commentary, the Moscow journalist points out that the share of Russians approving Stalin’s actions during the war rose from 40 percent in 2005 to 50 percent this year, according to Public Opinion Foundation polls. But these are not the same Russians (mk.ru/politics/2017/06/21/lyubitelyam-stalina.html). Between 2005 and 2016, Minkin points out, 24 million Russian citizens died, most of them older, and were largely replaced by younger people. In addition, some five million Russian citizens emigrated. Those who chose to leave were unlikely to have been Stalin partisans; and those who died knew Stalin far better and more directly than those who came after them. “Of course,” he continues, “the atmosphere as changed a little. People try to correctly answer pollsters’ questions in order to avoid unpleasant consequences. Just imagine,” Minkin says, how a Russian would respond to a query about Nicholas II in 1916 or one about Khrushchev in 1956.ith And “propaganda does work, both direct and indirect. Try to count how often the name Stalin sounds alongside the word ‘victory’ and how often next to the word ‘GULAG.’” The difference turns out to be hundreds or thousands of times, especially for those who live with television. It is “completely possible,” he continues, that some Russians have changed their minds about Stalin, but that is not the “main” explanation for the rising levels of approval for the late dictator. Russians “have not so much changed their minds as died off,” Minkin says. “Twenty-four million dead is more than 20 percent of adults. The old die and the new grow up. The former knew about Stalin more than the current generation does,” and they haven’t forgotten entirely what he did to them and their country. “They experienced it on their own skin. They knew the war and not about the war. They saw more trenches than parades.” But Russians today, the commentator says, “see only parades … and the fewer the witnesses there are, the easier it is to make things up.” Minkin writes that over the last two months he has been asking young Russians about Stalin’s times. The majority don’t know what Kolyma means. And one young Russian observed that Magadan is “a fish” rather than the site of one of the most horrific Stalinist camps in the GULAG system.” Those who read Sharlamov’s Kolyma Stories would never give such an answer, he argues, “but the percent of those who know this book is strikingly fewer than it was at the end of the 1980s.” Those who read it haven’t forgotten it: “they have simply died off,” and the generation that has come after them doesn’t know it at all. Those who were GULAG guards, of course, loved Stalin as a god just as do those who are their successors. And today, Minkin says, “there are guards at each step … hundreds of thousands. And we are world champions on this measure while paradoxically world champions in thefts as well.” It is true that many Russians want to restore the harshness of Stalin, but they don’t want this “for themselves but rather for corrupt bureaucrats. [They even] want to return the death penalty but again hardly for themselves.” And it is also true, the Moscow commentator says, that many want to give the correct answer to any questions because they are convinced that the powers can monitor everything they say, even how they vote, and that the wrong answers can entail bad consequences. “The phrase, ‘For the Motherland without Stalin’ generates discomfort for [Russians. They] do not want to hear or even more to repeat it,” Minkin concludes. “Because it can generate an unbidden association with some stupid unsanctioned cries of the type ‘For Russia without Putin.’”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia’s Long-Haul Truckers Add a Political Dimension to Strike Against Plato System Staunton, June 21 – The long-haul truckers, who have been striking against the Plato fee system, have decided to extend their action into politics and to do so in the same way that they have conducted themselves in the past: from below rather than above and using their parking places as agitation sites. In today’s Nezavisimaya gazeta, journalist Yekaterina Trifonova says that the truckers’ proposed candidate, Carrier Union president Andrey Bazhutin says that the decision to nominate him is “a healthy decision” and that he and the truckers plan to “go with it to the end” in the expectation of picking up support from others (ng.ru/politics/2017-06-21/1_7012_dalnoboy.html). Many groups of Russians have had the same experience the drivers have, he says: the authorities are unwilling to talk to them. Among them are many workers whose wages haven’t been paid, farmers, opponents of the Moscow renovation program, and those who have suffered by the actions of the big banks. The union leader continues that the truckers have no plans to drop their demands for a meeting with the transportation minister in order to begin negotiations about the Plato fee system. If the minister continues to refuse to meet, Bazhutin says, the union will make political demands including calling for the retirement of the Medvedev election. He suggests the drivers are especially angry because the authorities are backing away from some of their earlier concessions, demanding that truckers pay the Plato fees in order to be exempted from local taxes (arigus.tv/news/item/95452/?r1=ya) and cancelling meetings officials had promised. Bazhutin says he will begin to collect signatures for his presidential run in October and that he doesn’t anticipate any problems with gathering the necessary number in the required number of federal subjects. The problems are at least potentially elsewhere: information agencies have refused to work with the campaign even if the union pays. The Carriers Union head says that he doesn’t expect the campaign to cost much because the drivers already have organizations in 80 regions, numerous volunteers, and ready-made signs from the anti-Plato strike. Expanding that effort will not be difficult or expensive. He adds that the authorities have still not reacted to his plans, perhaps because they are worried that the union will increase its strike effort in response. At present, there are “about 30” trucks engaged in strike actions of various kinds in Moscow. Many more would join them if union leaders call for that. Officials have many ways to block Bazhutin’s candidacy, although they can’t reject him for having violated any criminal law as they have in the case of Aleksey Navalny. But some political figures think, the Nezavisimaya gazeta journalist says, that the Kremlin wants the union leader to be a candidate to suggest there is real competition. Many opposition figures, like Sergey Mitrokhin of Yabloko, oppose Bazhutin’s candidacy not only for that reason but out of a belief that the truckers should join one of the existing opposition parties and back its candidates, who have more experience and name recognition. But as of now, all indications are that the truckers will go ahead, thus adding a political dimension to their labor action.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Youth aren’t the Revolutionaries the Kremlin Fears or the Opposition Hopes For, Olshansky Says Paul Goble Staunton, June 22 – Given the large number of young people taking part in the March 26 and June 12 demonstrations, many in the Kremlin have expressed concern and many in the opposition have expressed hope that young people now constitute a revolutionary force. But those fears and hopes are misplaced, Dmitry Olshansky says. The Moscow journalist lists the factors he says preclude young Russians playing a revolutionary role (kp.ru/daily/26695.4/3718895/), including among others the following: · First, young Russians are a category too subdivided to form any united front. Moreover, they are proud of these distinctions and don’t want to be absorbed into some made-up notion about “youth.” · Second, because of declining birthrates, the number of people in Russian who can be classified as young is falling. There simply aren’t enough of them to become a primary mover of society and politics. · Third, Olshansky says, “from a revolutionary point of view, people now live too well.” They aren’t interested in losing it all on the role of the dice. · Fourth, the notion that young people are set apart in believing that they have “no future” and “no prospects” is nonsensical. Few Russians of any age group have good prospects. · Fifth, young people are mobile. They seldom stay in one place for very long or even register to vote. Instead, they move from place to place not only within the country but abroad as well. · Sixth, most in the younger generation are impatient. They want immediate results, but revolutions aren’t made by those who do not work for them. And Russian young people aren’t prepared to do so. In fact, Olshansky says, he is more inclined to “believe in a rising of pensioners than in a revolt of temporary apartment renters.” And there is another factor too, he suggests: the poshlost that infects not only the old but the young, the one thing that ties them all together rather than setting any one generation apart.

The Morning Vertical, June 22, 2017 ON MY MIND The Pew Research Center’s new poll of Russians (featured in yesterday’s Morning Vertical) includes some numbers that should cause Vladimir Putin some sleepless nights. Support for the Kremlin leader’s management of the economy and energy policy has slipped by 15 percentage points since 2015. Putin has also lost 13 percentage points of support for his handling of corruption. Putin is also losing altitude in his handling of foreign affairs. Support for his handling of Ukraine has dropped 20 percentage points since 2015. Support for his handling of the EU is down 15 percentage points over the same time period. And support for his handling relations with the United States and China are both down 12 percentage points. Granted, Putin still has majority support on all these issues, save corruption (where he has 49 percent support). But the trend lines must be troubling six months before an election. So is Putin just coming down from what was a very high baseline in 2015? Or are these numbers harbingers of a more dangerous trend for the regime? Stay tuned.

Russian Duma Approves Bill To Protect Top Officials’ Personal Data Russia's lower chamber of parliament, the State Duma, has approved a bill that would allow classifying personal data of top officials and other individuals who are under the protection of th…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia Returns to Worst Soviet Traditions on Secrecy in Ever More Ways Paul Goble Staunton, June 21 – “The level of total secrecy in Russia is returning to Soviet standards,” Yekaterina Butorina and Aleksey Mikhaylov write, with the rules governing classification themselves typically secret and when the publication of secret information in the press does not mean that someone who cites that can’t be charged with violating the law. In a 3,000-word article on the Profile portal today, the two journalists say that “for Russians it has become equally dangerous both to know a state secret and not to have any relationship to it at all” because if someone reveals secret information in the media, anyone who cites it can be charged with treason (profile.ru/obsch/item/118008-opasnye-tajny-rodiny). Ignorance, Butorina and Mikhaylov continue, “is no salvation from responsibility for its publication. Lists of secrets are now being established in every ministry and agency, and any knowledge about one is a secret for the others,” thus deepening the mysteriousness the authorities have created and are exploiting. In the law on state secrets, there are paragraphs regulating all this but most of them are “extraordinarily abstract” and subject to expansion by the discredited Soviet legal principle of extrapolation by analogy. Thus, what started as a reason effort to protect information about parts of the defense and intelligence budgets has been extended to ever more things like banking, like strategic mineral reserves, and the property of the elite. Mikhail Subbotin of IMEMO notes that “in Soviet times, everything was classified. We made a zigzag [away from that in the late 1980s and early 1990s] and now are returning to those times.” That gives the authorities the power to bring charges against anyone including those who refer to materials that they have no reason to know are classified. Indeed, a 2004 law specifies that “the fact of the publication of information in the media ‘cannot serve as the basis for removing the classification” originally assigned. That remains unless those who classified the item take that step. Unless they do, everything once classified remains such, much as was the case in Soviet times. What makes this especially horrific, the two journalists say, is that this instruction itself was classified secret. Russians have been able to learn of it or at least parts of it only because judges have referred to it in court decisions, quite possibly violating the law against revealing state secrets in the process. According to one lawyer with whom the two journalists spoke, all these arrangements governing state secrets in Russia today “violate a basic constitutional principle” that an individual cannot be charged and punished for doing something that he or she does not know is a crime. The attorney adds that “the institution of state secrets and the mechanism of its regulation must be reviewed.” People must know what the rules are, and the authorities must be forced to live within them as well. That wasn’t true in Soviet times, and it is not true now under Vladimir Putin.

Why Navalny should stop protesting On June 12 Alexei Navalny again succeeded in bringing people to the streets in Russia. But street protest is no political program and may end up as badly as the demonstrations of 2012, argues journalist Anna Arutunyan. If Navalny wants to play a role in politics, he has to challenge the Kremlin in a more serious way.

Soviet Spymaster Yury Drozdov Dead At 91 Yury Drozdov, the Soviet spymaster who oversaw a sprawling network of KGB agents living clandestinely abroad, died on June 21. He was 91. The Foreign Intelligence Service, a KGB successor agenc…

Jurors Deliberating In Trial Of Accused Nemtsov Killers Jurors are deliberating in the Moscow trial of five men from the Russian North Caucasus republic of Chechnya who are charged in connection with the 2015 killing of former Deputy Prime Minister an…

Three Die From Surrogate-Alcohol Poisoning In Russia Russian authorities say a mass surrogate-alcohol poisoning in the Moscow region has left three people dead. The Russian Investigative Committee said that 11 residents of Sergiyev Posad, includin…

The Kyrgyz City Built On Nuclear Waste Parts of Mailuu-Suu, in Kyrgyzstan, stand on nuclear waste dumps — a toxic legacy from local uranium mines that kept the Soviet nuclear program going. Radiation and heavy metals seeping into the water supply could cause a public health disaster. (RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service)

Détente between Washington and Moscow appears bleak | GulfNews.com The destruction of a Syrian warplane by American allies and Russia s stern warnings highlight the deepening chasm between the two powers

Russia anticipates final flight tests for MiG-35 this year A contract for 37 aircraft is expected after testing wrapup.

Russia tests T-14 Armata battle tank’s strike capabilities | Defence Blog Russian machine building company Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) started test-fired of T-14 Armata next-generation battle tanks at the Staratel test range in Nizhny Tagil. That was reported by lenta.ru. At Staratel test range the new main battle tanks can be tested for precision firing capabilities at targets with different stages of complexity and against a decommissioned tanks. These tests are a reliable method of assessing weapons characteristics in real time. According to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, the Russian troops will start the operational evaluation of the most advanced Armata tank from 2019. “I hope that the Uralvagonzavod management will today confirm that the year 2019 is already the commencement of the Armata’s operational evaluation, i.e. the tank will go to military practice ranges rather than to factory testing area, which will be followed by serial production,” the vice-premier said. The T-14 Armata is equipped with an unmanned turret and all the crew is located at the front of the hull. The new unmanned remote turret of Arama T-14 would be equipped with a new generation of 125mm 2A82-1M smoothbore gun with an automatic loader and 32 rounds ready to use. The main gun can fire also new laser-guided missile with a range from 7 to 12 km. The T-14 Armata carries a total of 45 rounds. According to some Russian sources, the T-14 Armata could be armed in the future with a new 152mm cannon. The first scale model of the Armata unveiled in July 2012 showed that the vehicle has a secondary weapon that could be a 57mm grenade launcher mounted on the left of the turret, and a machine gun 12.7 mm mounted on the right side.


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


Computational Propaganda Worldwide: Executive Summary | Political bots We’re very excited to announce the launch of our case study series on computational propaganda in 9 different countries.Find the executive summary, written by Sam Woolley and Phil Howard, here.

Russia calls US statement on eastern Ukraine ‘inappropriate and incorrect’ – To Inform is to Influence Despite overwhelming proof that Russia has soldiers, leaders, equipment and is operating in Donbass, Russia denies it is there. Keeping and increasing sanctions on Russia is one of the many tools the US has to change Russia’s tune. </end editorial> BY OLIVIA BEAVERS – 06/21/17 09:34 AM EDT A top Russian official on Wednesday called the U.S.…

Human sacrifices for the Kremlin’s propaganda machine: meet the “Crimean saboteurs” -Euromaidan Press | “They beat me with an iron pipe in the head, back, kidneys, arms, and legs; they tightened handcuffs from behind until my hands became numb.”

The Banality of Putin | by Robert Cottrell | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books Putin lies as a display of power. Only powerful people can lie and get away with it. The more blatant the lie, the greater the show of power when your listener cannot or dare not contradict you. It’s easy to see why Stone puts up with being lied to. He needs Putin’s indulgence to make the series. The harder question is why Putin made so much time for Stone, given that Putin has a country to run. You have to assume that Putin enjoys Stone’s company, at least initially. Putin seems to have a thing for big old bruisers, given his history with Gerard Depardieu and Steven Seagal, perhaps because they are so much the antithesis of his trim, wiry, well-pressed self. And perhaps Putin was genuinely hoping to learn something from the process. The intelligent autocrat must always be open to new ideas for increasing his power and wealth. But Stone does not have much to offer, and Putin cannot help but run rings around him for three of the four interviews. In the final part, with no more access left to lose, Stone makes a show of badgering Putin about whether Russia hacked the 2016 US presidential election; and Putin obliges by seeming a bit ruffled. But no serious harm is done, and Putin gets equal time to argue that the US has interfered in Russian elections for many years by funding opposition movements. Putin is a persuasive speaker because his arguments are internally coherent once you accept his premise that Russia always means well. There is also Putin’s mastery of detail. He is probably the world’s best-informed person about Russia. Of course he is—he needs to know all the facts in order to depart from them. In response to befuddled questions from Stone, Putin delivers a crisp account of how the Central Bank Of Russia works, a précis of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, a short history of Russian nuclear weaponry, comparative statistics for national defense spending around the world, and he is about to give an explanation of how the Kremlin is heated when thankfully something interrupts him.

‘Nonsense’: Kremlin Denies That Putin’s Syria Video Was Actually Of U.S. Forces  The Kremlin says reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin showed filmmaker Oliver Stone footage of a U.S. helicopter shooting Islamic extremists in Afghanistan and told him it was the Russian Air Force in Syria are “nonsense.”

Putin Falls for Fake News – DFRLab – Medium In part three of Oliver Stone’s “The Putin Interviews”, the Russian president shows the director a video on a cell phone, showing what he calls “how our air force operates,” with ISIS fighters…

Донбасс Переговоры летчиков обстреливающих боевиков в аэропортув Донецке 26 05 14 г – YouTube омон, #донецк, #донбасс, #луганск, #харьков, #запорожье, #одесса, #львов, #львів, #славянск, #краматорск,вдв гуляет,разведка,няш мяш,поклонская,царев,собр,яз…

KGB-Controlled Website Involved in Cyberattack on Ukrainian Enterprises – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk Independent journalists have already sent a request to the Security Service of Ukraine.


Ukraine Reports


President about the results of the visit to the U.S.: Ukrainian-American agreements in the defense sphere will be signed shortly — Official website of the President of Ukraine In 36 hours, the meetings with the key members of the new Administration of President Trump were held. It was stated by President Petro Poroshenko following the results of the working visit to the United States.

Remarks by President Trump and President Poroshenko of Ukraine | whitehouse.gov 11:09 A.M. EDT PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. It’s a great honor to be with President Poroshenko of the Ukraine — a place that we’ve all been very much involved in. And you’ve been seeing it and everybody has been reading about it. And we’ve had some very, very good discussions. It’s going to continue throughout the day. And I think a lot of progress has been made. And it’s a great honor to have you, Mr. President. Thank you. Thank you very much. Would you like to say something? PRESIDENT POROSHENKO: That’s a great honor and a great pleasure to be together with you, Mr. President — one of the most reliable supporters and partners — strategic partners for Ukraine. We’re really fighting to bring freedom and democracy with your very strong support in security and defense — support of our defense, support of my 45 million nation, of the country who is the biggest in the European continent. And I’m absolutely confident that Ukraine is a story of success. I’m proud to have you, Mr. President, and United States as a co-sponsor to this story of success. And we very much admire of your leadership, of your very effective steps, because today includes two historic days — five months of your presidency and — when we launched the first peace plan — peace plan of Ukraine. And I’m absolutely confident that our effective coordination will bring the peace to our nation, to our land, and can support our territorial integrity and sovereignty. PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you. It’s a great honor. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Alexander Vershbow on Twitter: “President @poroshenko had substantial 30-minute mtg with @POTUS, despite WH low-key messaging. https://t.co/blgzzCT28L”

Ukraine’s Poroshenko says will sign defense deals with USA soon Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said after meetings in Washington that Kiev and the United States would soon sign a number of agreements boosting defense cooperation.Ukraine’s President Says Defense Deals With U.S. To Be Signed SoonUkrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in Washington on June 21 that representatives from U.S. President Donald Trump&rsquo;s administration have agreed to visit Kyiv &ldquo;in the nea…

Spotlight: Poroshenko-Trump meeting positive sign for Ukraine-U.S. ties, but no major breakthrough: Ukrainian experts – Xinhua | English.news.cn KIEV, June 21 (Xinhua) — The first meeting between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and U.S. President Donald Trump has sent a positive signal for the development of bilateral ties, but led to no major breakthrough, Ukrainian experts said on Wednesday. “Poroshenko’s meeting with Trump is a strong signal for the beginning of a new stage in relations between Ukraine and the U.S.,” said Taras Berezovets, a political analyst at Berta Communications consulting company. Poroshenko held talks with Trump in the White House during his working visit to Washington on June 19-20. The meeting, which the White House has described as a brief “drop-in,” was held amid speculations that Trump would scrap it. However, the two presidents held talks in the extended format lasting about 30 minutes. During the meeting, Poroshenko and Trump have discussed Ukraine’s reforms, bilateral cooperation in energy and military-technical sphere, as well as the progress in the implementation of the Minsk peace agreement designed to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Many Ukrainian experts have suggested that the fact that the meeting finally took place and the broad agenda of the talks are the signs that the strategic partnership between Kiev and Washington will continue under the Trump administration. “The main result of the meeting is that the U.S. continues to be Ukraine’s military, economic and diplomatic ally,” said Oleg Ponomar, an independent political analyst.

President: We discussed greater involvement of the American partners in the Normandy format — Official website of the President of Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko praised greater involvement of the U.S. in the resolution of the situation in Donbas. However, he does not consider it necessary to change the format of negotiations.

President had a meeting with the U.S. Secretary of Commerce — Official website of the President of Ukraine President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko met with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

Ukraine President Compares President Trump to Ronald Reagan Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko declared Tuesday “a very special day” for Ukraine-U.S. relations, and he expressed the belief that President Trump will bring peace to the Ukraine in the same way President Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War – without firing a single shot.

Poroshenko Meets Trump: An Exercise in Political Theatre – YouTubeUkraine’s President has turned heads on his first US visit since Donald Trump was elected President last November. Petro Poroshenko has had meetings with see…

Poroshenko, Trump discuss sanctions against Russia Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he has discussed with the U.S. President Donald Trump support for Ukraine in countering Russia's aggression and further sanctions policy towards Moscow, according to&nbsp;an UNIAN&nbsp;correspondent. News 21 June from UNIAN.

US broadens Russia sanctions as Ukraine president visits Trump | US news | The Guardian Figures linked to businessman called ‘Putin’s cook’ among new individuals and companies added to Washington’s sanctions list

Poroshenko: High-ranking U.S. officials to visit Ukraine soon Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that high-ranking U.S. officials are expected to visit Ukraine in the next two or three months and a number of agreements are to be signed. News 22 June from UNIAN.

Poroshenko: We are expecting Tillerson in Ukraine soon 22.06.17 09:33 – Poroshenko: We are expecting Tillerson in Ukraine soon U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Ukraine in the near future. View news.

President urged the U.S. Congress to recognize the Holodomor genocide of the Ukrainian nation — Official website of the President of Ukraine President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko held a meeting with the members of the U.S. Congress. The Head of State expressed gratitude for a strong bipartisan support for Ukraine from the U.S. Congress in the issue of countering the ongoing Russian aggression, enhancement of defense capacity of our country and implementation of the internal reforms.

President: U.S. Congress will speed up consideration of the resolution to recognize the Holodomor genocide of Ukrainians — Official website of the President of Ukraine The U.S. Congress will speed up consideration of the resolution to recognize the Holodomor of 1932-1933 genocide of the Ukrainian people. It was stated by President Petro Poroshenko following the meeting with Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Paul Ryan.

Reagan statue to replace communist in Kiev square, called ‘act of heroism’ If approved, the Reagan monument would be placed on the former site of a statue of Communist criminal Dmytro Manuilsky. The statue was destroyed in 2014 during the Revolution of Dignity. “Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation is looking to get permit to build a monument to Ronald Reagan in the Kiev city center, on the place where the statue of former communist leader stood up until it was demolished during the 2014 Revolution of Dignity,” said Maryan Zablotskyy, President of the Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation. “This is to underline the great impact Reagan had on the destruction of Communism. Reagan met Ukrainian diaspora and proclaimed: ‘your struggle is our struggle.’ And we are forever thankful for that. Ukraine now has special laws in place that forbid the use of any communist regalia and symbols. We think this victory over totalitarianism should be polished with a monument to Reagan, who led the anti-communist movement globally. We have so far developed a concept of the monument with the help of locally known architect Kostyantyn Skrytytsky and will be going through necessary public debates and permit procedure.”

Reagan statue to replace communist in Kyiv square, called ‘act of heroism’ – Washington Examiner He's been gone from the White House for 28 years, but former President Ronald Reagan continues to march against the Kremlin, in spirit and bronze, according to the Washington Examiner. News 22 June from UNIAN.


President to make a working visit to Brussels — Official website of the President of Ukraine In the course of the visit, the Head of State will meet with President of the European Council Donald Tusk, President of the European People’s Party Joseph Daul and other leaders of the EU member-states.

France’s Macron Says Four-Way Summit on Ukraine Crisis to Happen Before G20 | 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.

Poroshenko Hails EU ‘Solidarity’ With UkraineUkrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he and European Council President Donald Tusk have discussed relations with the EU, as well as&nbsp;U.S. sanctions related to the conflict in eastern Ukrain…

Poroshenko: Visa-free regime ‘historic’ for UkraineKiev, Europe closer than even before says Ukrainian president

Donald Tusk: EU to complete ratification of association with Ukraine in several weeks – 22.06.2017 14:07 — Ukrinform News22.06.2017 14:07. The governing institutions of the European Union plan to complete the ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in a few weeks.

Poroshenko is meeting Merkel in Brussels. PHOTO22.06.17 16:26 – Poroshenko is meeting Merkel in Brussels. PHOTO No details are known yet. View photo news.

What Do Russians Think of Ukrainians, and Vice Versa?In 2010, with the election of Viktor Yanukovych, Russian attitudes toward Ukraine dramatically improved, doubling to a 70 percent approval rating. Yanukovych signed the Kharkiv Accords extending the Black Sea Fleet basing agreement to 2042, and Ukraine adopted a ‘non-bloc’ foreign policy and changed its approach to national identity questions such as the Holodomor. Ukrainian attitudes toward Russia were stable until 2013, with positive attitudes ranging from 65 percent in the west to 93 percent in the east. These figures belied allegations of a Russophobic western Ukraine; only twenty percent of the public there held negative views of Russians. Not surprisingly, the major shift in opinion took place after 2014. A major gulf in attitudes rose regarding Crimea, whose annexation was supported by 87 percent of Russians and opposed by 69 percent of Ukrainians. In Russia, both pro-Putin supporters and anti-Putin oppositionists like Alexei Navalny and Mikhail Khodorkovsky backed the annexation of Crimea. Seventy-nine percent of Russians linked that action to the revival of Russia as a great power and a return to Russia’s rightful dominance of the former Soviet Union. Positive Russian attitudes toward Ukraine once again dramatically collapsed during the Euromaidan, which was portrayed in massive state-sponsored information campaigns as a Western-backed coup bringing Russophobes and fascists to power. A just-released poll by Russia’s Levada Center shows that Russians think the most hostile countries are the United States, followed by Ukraine, Germany, Latvia, and Lithuania. Russians believe the official propaganda that there was a “democratic referendum” in Crimea, that Ukrainians shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, that there is a civil war in Ukraine, and that there are no Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. Two-thirds of Ukrainians, but only a quarter of Russians, understand the conflict as a Russian-Ukrainian war. Beginning in spring 2014, Ukrainian attitudes toward Russia begin to massively change—not because of any state-directed propaganda campaigns but in response to Putin’s military aggression. By mid-2014, positive views of Russia had fallen to 52 percent. Iryna Bekeshkina of Democratic Initiatives has written that “for the majority of [Ukrainian] citizens, Russia has turned into an enemy.” Putin’s aggression has integrated Ukrainian and Russian speakers by bringing the views of eastern and southern Ukrainians closer to those of central Ukrainians. Ukrainians held a positive view of the Russian people throughout this period and only turned against the Russian state and its president in 2014 in response to Putin’s aggression. As Bekeshkina has written, “In getting Crimea, Putin has lost Ukraine.” Putin’s war will only end when this fact is finally realized in Moscow.

Ukraine’s political elite must unite to resolve conflict, develop country’s economy – KuchmaThe representative of Ukraine in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) for the settlement of the situation in Donbas, former President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma believes that without unity in Ukrainian politics it is impossible to achieve conflict resolution and economic development in the country.

Donbas war update: 35 attacks on Ukraine, enemy shelling along entire contact line on WedUkraine's Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters has reported that the situation in Donbas remains tense, as Russia's hybrid military forces have been shelling Ukrainian troops along the entire contact line; there were 35 attacks on ATO forces in total in the past day.News 22 June from UNIAN.

One Ukrainian military wounded, one traumatized in combat, – ATO HQ22.06.17 10:47 – One Ukrainian military wounded, one traumatized in combat, – ATO HQ One Ukrainian military was wounded, one traumatized in combat in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) on June 21. View news.

Residential areas of Ukraine’s Maryinka in Donbas under attack again, woman woundedResidential areas of the Ukrainian-controlled town of Maryinka in Donbas have again come under fire after Russia's hybrid military forces mounted an attack on Ukrainian army positions at about 11:00 local time on Thursday, June 22, according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 22 June from UNIAN.

Concentrated In Certain Areas, Ukraine Fighting Goes On : NPRInternational monitors say most cease-fire violations in eastern Ukraine occur in five hot spots. People on both sides are living a marginal existence, punctuated by artillery fire and mine blasts.

Ukraine’s cadets reach new heights during field training exercise near Ivano-Frankivsk | Defence BlogCadets from of the Kharkiv Ivan Kozhedub Air Force University participated in the field training exercise to assist them in building their flying skills, as well as developing their personal confidence near Ivano-Frankivsk in western Ukraine. Cadets work out different tasks during the flights, that was reported by West Air Force Command. “For today cadets flying at low altitude. And they will continue to perform flights on complex aerobatics, on group flight, to intercept air targets in simple and complex meteorological conditions”, Col. Yuriy Pogorili, Commander of tactical aviation brigade, remarked. Сadets of Kharkiv Ivan Kozhedub Air Force University undergo flying practice on MiG-29 fighter jet at a tactical aviation brigade.

Ex Donbas battalion volunteers accuse MP Semenchenko of various criminal actsA number of former members of the Donbas volunteer battalion have appealed to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) of Ukraine demanding it investigate what they say are crimes committed by Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine deputy Semen Semenchenko, who is a member of the Samopomich faction.

Poltorak, Director of NATO Liaison Office discuss Ukrainian Armed Forces reform, importance of consultationsUkrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak and Director of the NATO Liaison Office in Ukraine, Oleksandr Vinnykov, discussed the issues of reforming the Ukrainian army at the meeting in Kyiv on Wednesday.

Anders Aslund: Ukraine ready for economic liftoff soon | KyivPostUkraine is at the beginning of its economic recovery. It has gone through a severe economic crisis but undertaken the necessary adjustments. After two years of severe output contraction in 2014–15, the economy saw a hesitant recover of 2.3 percent last year. The standard forecasts suggest growth will continue at 2–3 percent a year. That is unlikely — a higher growth rate seems more probable. While Ukraine’s recovery remains fragile, the preconditions look pretty good, especially the macroeconomic fundamentals. Two key conditions are the budget deficit and the current account deficit, which Ukraine has reduced to about 3 percent of gross domestic product. Inflation has fallen to 12 percent and is set to decline further. With $17.6 billion in international currency reserves, Ukraine can cover four months of imports, which is sufficient. The hryvnia exchange rate is highly competitive and has stabilized, being more likely to rise than to fall. Better than normal Two big risks have gone away. Naftogaz’s extraordinary victory against Gazprom in the Stockholm arbitration on May 31 saved the country the risk of a Russian claim of $40 billion or more. Ukraine might even get substantial compensation for Gazprom overpricing. The nationalization of PrivatBank last December eliminated the risk of financial chaos. Ukraine’s current debt is 83 percent of GDP, less than anticipated, and it will decline with the likely appreciation of the hryvnia and growing GDP. Ukraine has not only returned to normal but improved. The fiscal burden on the Ukrainian economy has eased. Public expenditures have been slashed heroically from 53 percent of GDP in 2014 to 40 percent of GDP, mainly cutting corrupt subsidies to energy traders and state enterprises, which has leveled the playing field. The ProZorro electronic procurement system has accomplished the same. The reduction of the payroll tax from 45 percent to 22 percent was a great improvement. Ukraine’s banking sector has been cleaned out, and is ready for a sound expansion. The arrest of much of the former leadership of the State Fiscal Service can lead to a cleansing of the tax collection and customs. The notorious value-added tax refunds for exports are supposed to be automatic now. Ukraine has come out with a much more liberal market economy that is now ready to grow fast.

Corruption poses same threat to Ukrainians as war in Donbas – studyDirector of the Razumkov Center sociological service Andriy Bychenko says corruption and the economic situation in Ukraine pose the same threat to the Ukrainians as the war in the east of Ukraine. News 22 June from UNIAN.

Europe Dismantles Ukraine’s ‘Paper Curtain’ – The New York TimesBy waiving visa requirements, European countries opened the door to 45 million potential vacationers, though few Ukrainians can afford to travel abroad.

Ukrainian Innovators Make Break for Energy Independence — Red Herring

Ukraine’s Growing Caviar Market Is Just Starting to Thrive – YouTubeUkraine’s President has turned heads on his first US visit since Donald Trump was elected President last November. Petro Poroshenko has had meetings with see…

Elon Musk says Ukrainian Zenit rocket “next best” to his own. VIDEO22.06.17 13:12 – Elon Musk says Ukrainian Zenit rocket next best to his own. VIDEO Tesla founder Elon Musk called Ukrainian Zenit rockets his favorite, not including the ones that I make. View video news.

Rada mulls cancelling VAT on Ukrainian film productionThe Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has passed in its first reading draft law No. 3238-d on amending Ukraine’s Tax Code regarding state support for cinematography in Ukraine.

Ukraine announces launch of Ukrainian Institute to promote country abroad -Euromaidan Press |

Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers approved a decision to create a Ukrainian Institute to present the country abroad and promote its image in the world. The institute, which is envisioned to be similar to Germany’s Goethe Institute, Polish Institute, British Council, Institut Français and others, has the goal to advance the understanding of modern Ukraine as a tourism- and investment-attractive country in the international cultural and intellectual environment. This institution should facilitate the integration of the country not only in the context of art and culture, but also science, education, and other spheres. The idea of such an institute was conjured by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In February 2017, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin first announced the intentions to create the Institute, after which the concept was put up to a broad discussion. The Ukrainian Institute will be affiliated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but will be independent in its choice of activities. It will be managed by a Supervisory Council represented by art experts and cultural figures which are known abroad and have the relevant institutional experience and achievements, and also one representative from the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Finances will be allocated in part from the state budget and in part from grants or charitable donations. The areas of activity of the Institute will encompass cultural diplomacy, the so-called “creative economy,” education, science and public diplomacy. The headquarters of the Institute will be in Kyiv, and the first offices are planned to open in dozens of capitals around the world, first of all – in North America and Europe.

Soviet Mosaics: the book that unearthed Ukraine’s forgotten art — The Calvert Journal Remembering the magnificent mosaics of Ukraine’s Soviet past


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


West Needs Russia’s Help to Fight ISIS and Assad Can Stay, France’s Macron SaysIn a departure from previous French policy, President Emmanuel Macron endorsed Russia and Syria’s war against ISIS.

Russia says “high degree of probability” ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “liquidated” in airstrike near Raqqa – CBS NewsOffering no new evidence, Moscow appears to increase its confidence that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in airstrike near Raqqa

Russian media says the US ‘lies about self-defence’ after downing Syrian jet | Business InsiderWhen US forces shot down a Syrian…

Peters Warns That Iran, Not Russia, Is the ‘Core Problem’ in Syria | Fox News Insider

Tensions between the United States and Russia in Syria are heating up, but Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (Ret.) says the “core problem” in the region is Iran.

Qatar crisis deepens as Gulf sides stand their ground – BBC NewsQuestions are still being asked why sanctions were imposed on Qatar by its powerful neighbours.

Turkey steps up support for Qatar, discusses Gulf tensions with Saudi | ReutersTurkey sent a first ship of food supplies to Qatar on Thursday and was also sending a small contingent of soldiers, media reported, while President Tayyip Erdogan spoke with Saudi Arabia’s leaders on calming tensions in the region.

Saudi Firms Use Turkey for Qatar-Bound Shipments – WSJSeveral Saudi companies are finalizing plans with Turkish logistics companies to transport cargoes to Qatar, an arrangement that illustrates how profits are being made even as diplomatic relations in the region continue to simmer.

US Senate narrowly approves $500m Saudi weapons sale | Saudi Arabia News | Al JazeeraCritical lawmaker highlights ‘humanitarian nightmare’ in Yemen war as reason not to transfer $500m in bombs to Riyadh.

Sen. Rand Paul: If you support Israel, you can’t support more arms sales to Saudi Arabia | Fox NewsWe must pause and ask ourselves, does providing additional weapons to the Saudis make Israel safer or more dangerous in the long run?

Canadian Sniper Breaks World Record For Longest Shot, Kills ISIS Operative In Iraq | International Business TimesThe Canada Special Forces marksman shot from a distance of 3,450 meters and hit his target, breaking the previous record by almost 1000 meters.

Canadian sniper shatters record, kills ISIS fighter from 2 miles away: ReportA Canadian soldier in Iraq has killed an ISIS militant from more than two miles away, shattering the world record for a confirmed sniper kill in military history

.Australia resumes air patrols over Syria – 9news.com.auAustralia has lifted a suspension on military air missions over Syria imposed after the shooting down of a Syrian jet by US forces.

Defence lifts Syria air strike suspensionAustralian air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria will resume after a temporary suspension.

Claims that RAAF halted ‘air strikes’ in Syria misleading/wrong – CONTACT magazine


DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


North Korea on the table as Jim Mattis, Rex Tillerson host Chinese leaders todayUS-CHINA TALKS: At the State Department today, the United States and China begin the first of what is expected to be a regular series of consultations dubbed the “U.S.-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue.” North Korea is expected to a major topic of discussion at the day-long event hosted by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, along with discussion of China’s military buildup and territorial claims in the South China Sea. Mattis and Tillerson are hosting Chinese foreign policy chief Yang Jiechi and Gen. Fang Fenghui, chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s joint staff department “This discussion elevates the level of dialogue with the Chinese in a way that in our view will enable in-depth consideration in areas of cooperation,” said David Helvey, acting assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs at a briefing for reporters at the Foreign Press Center yesterday. In addition, it will allow for exchanges on “ways to manage and narrow the differences between the United States and China on a range of strategic issues that affect both the diplomatic and the defense spheres,” Helvey said. Afterward, Mattis and Tillerson hold a rare joint news conference at the State Department at 3 p.m.. The briefing will be streamed live on www.defense.gov/live. HEY, IT WAS WORTH A SHOT: President Trump sent out a tweet yesterday that appeared to suggest he was no longer counting on China to help resolve the crisis with North Korea, although as is typical with the president’s penchant for making major policy pronouncements in 140 characters, it wasn’t entirely clear what he meant. “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!”

U.S. Pressed to Pursue Deal to Freeze North Korea Missile Tests – The New York TimesVersions of the proposal, which would require the United States to reduce its military footprint on the Korean Peninsula, have been floated by Beijing and Seoul.

North Korean diplomat Kye Chun Yong raises possibility of talks, nuclear test moratorium  A North Korean diplomat on Wednesday raised the possibility of the hermit regime holding talks with the United States.

North Korean nuke test site sees more buildup as tensions rise | Fox News North Korea is continuing to mass resources at a known weapons testing site inside the country, a defense source told Fox News on Wednesday, prompting worries Pyongyang could be plotting to greenlight another provocative nuclear bomb test amid heightened tensions following the death this week of an American student who had been imprisoned by Kim Jong Un’s rogue regime.

North Korea says Trump is a ‘psychopath’ who may launch a preemptive strike – The Washington PostThe comments come after the death of American Otto Warmbier.

Trump comments on Otto Warmbier’s deathPresident Trump held a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on June 21 and shared remarks on the death of Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student who was detained in North Korea for nearly a year and a half and died upon his return to the United States.

Funeral Held for Otto Warmbier, Former North Korean Prisoner, at Ohio Alma Mater – NBC NewsThe community is set to honor Warmbier’s return to Wyoming High School on Thursday morning — but to say a final farewell and then bury the young man.

How to Respond to North Korea’s Treatment of Otto Warmbier – The New York TimesShould the United States take military action against Pyongyang?

Here’s What Lt. Col. Shaffer Believes Killed Otto Warmbier – Leah BarkoukisLt. Col. Tony Shaffer told Fox Business Tuesday that he believes Otto Warmbiers brain damage was caused by….06/22/2017 10:23:08AM EST.

North Korean Drone Crashes In South Korea, ROK Fired 90 Shots After It Reconned US THAAD – To Inform is to InfluenceA North Korean drone crashed in South Korea after infiltrating 160 miles, taking over 500 pictures along the way, including the US strategic air defense THAAD system Southeast of Seoul.  The drone was found crashed on the side of a mountain in a wooded area.  The below report from UPI has good detail about the…

North Korea Is Invading South With Spy Drones, but They Keep CrashingSouth Korea’s military claims North Korea is using drones to spy on the U.S.’s missile defense and vows to take action.
North Korea Military: What to Know About Life as a Soldier in Kim Jong Un’s ArmyPyongyang has one of the world’s biggest ground armies.

North Korean leaders’ lavish spending comes from illegal profits – NY Daily NewsNorth Korean strongman Kim Jong Un enjoys a life of luxury as his country’s economy goes belly up.

North Korea begins journey from feudalism to crony capitalismKim’s reforms have led to higher wages and private enterprise — making it harder to pressure the state with sanctions

North Korea’s latest must-have status symbol revealed… and you won’t believe how basic it isThe latest must-have status symbol in Kim Jong-un’s impoverished state can today be revealed – toilet roll.
Why Does North Korea Keep Photoshopping Kim Jong-un’s Ears? – MotherboardForensic software reveals how Kim Jong-un is frequently Photoshopped to “look a bit more handsome” than he is in real life.


Foreign Policy Reports


Germany’s gas pact with Putin’s Russia endangers Atlantic alliance There is one basic point to remember about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany: it does not add any extra natural gas supply to the European market for the foreseeable future. This Molotov-Ribbentrop 2 pipeline – as the furious Poles call it – diverts the same Siberian gas from existing pipelines on land: the Yamal link through Belarus and Poland; and the ill-named Brotherhood link through Ukraine to South-East Europe. These pipelines are in working order and running well below full capacity. They need updating but are essentially sunk costs, and require no ecological upheaval. The Nord Stream 2 venture creates a sweetheart arrangement with Germany while undermining the security and economic interests of Eastern and Central Europe, and leaves Ukraine at the mercy of Kremlin blackmail.

Ukraine Goes On Anti-Russia Pipeline Offensive As Europe Goes NutsWith the Senate now putting the Nord Stream II pipeline from Russia to Germany on sanctions notice, Ukraine joins the fight and seeks to cut Gazprom off at the pass.

Nord Stream 2: with Europe already divided, the US adds a new layer of geopolitical complexity – The Barrel BlogUS joins complex geopolitical web being spun around Nord Stream 2 with concrete action, proposing sanctions against investors in Russian energy pipelines.

Germany Builds an Election Firewall to Fight Russian Hackers – BloombergAttacks are picking up in advance of voting in September.

Transnistria Leader Asks Russia to Assess Moldovan-Ukrainian Car Transit BanTransnistria’s president Vadim Krasnoselsky asked Russia on Wednesday to assess the legality of a ban on cars with the republic’s license plates that comes into being next month in neighboring Moldova and Ukraine.

Russia’s Strategic Plans Failing in Balkans, IISS Says :: Balkan InsightLondon-based think tank says Moscow&rsquo;s bid to establish bloc of four neutral or pro-Moscow Balkan states has experienced major setbacks in Macedonia and Montenegro.

Vladimir Putin’s man in the Balkans – POLITICOThe involvement of Nikolai Patrushev, a former spy and Putin confidante, indicates a more hardline Russian approach to the region.

EU-NATO cooperation: protecting the institutional relationship from political stormsAhead of the European Council meeting this Thursday, European leaders could borrow from these recommendations and consider five practical measures that would make a real difference to Europe’s security: • Start with a discussion on additional resources and staffing for NATO and the EU dedicated to improving their institutional cooperation. • Follow through by expanding the EU’s capacity and investing in secure communications, security clearance for more staff and training them to work with classified information. • Encourage closer coordination between EU and NATO permanent representations in Brussels, and in relevant partner countries. • Explore the creation of additional security Centres of Excellence, steered by both institutions. • Support EU-NATO collaboration in partner countries. Consider on-the-ground cooperation to bridge institutional obstacles. After the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Monday, ministers stressed the importance and positive progress of current EU-NATO cooperation. The European Council meeting on Thursday is an opportunity to affirm this reality and turn words into deeds.


US Domestic Policy Reports


McCain to Trump Nominee: ‘Are You Unaware of the Thousands Killed by Putin?’ – YouTubeA fiery exchange over Ukraine in the US Senate. US Senator John McCain, a staunch supporter of Ukraine, promised to block Trump’s deputy defense secretary no…

State Department releases scathing statement on Russia for canceling meeting over sanctions – AOL NewsThe State Department on Wednesday released a scathing statement chiding Russia for canceling a meeting over sanctions imposed by the U.S.

White House Tries to Get G.O.P. to Water Down Russia Sanctions Bill – The New York TimesThe Trump administration is quietly lobbying House Republicans to weaken the legislation passed overwhelmingly by the Senate.

Donna Brazile: Congress has duty to halt Trump on Russia sanctions | TheHillOPINION | The move should be delayed until more is known about the administration’s dealings with Russia.

Trump: If Russia interfered in election, why didn’t Obama stop it? | TheHill
Watch Live: Jeh Johnson testimony on Russian meddling – CBS NewsLive stream and live blog: Jeh Johnson, former Homeland Security secretary, testifies to the House Intel Committee as part of the ongoing Russia probe.Good Riddance To The Russia Myth — And Blame Team Obama For Promoting It – Fox Nation
FBI Official Won’t Say Whether Trump Acted As an “Unwitting Agent” for Russia – Mother Jones
Russian hacking hearings: What you missed – CNNPolitics.comBoth sides of the Capitol on Wednesday heard from experts about the extent of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, with officials for the first time revealing how many states’ election-related systems were targeted by Russian hackers.Democrats Seethe After Georgia Loss: ‘Our Brand Is Worse Than Trump’ – The New York TimesA demoralizing special-election defeat has left some Democrats questioning the leadership and political strategy of Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader.

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