Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 23 June 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

</end editorial>



Russia still contributing MSM traffic on multiple fronts, while its ongoing internal meltdown continues. EUCOM release photos of the AV-MF (Naval AIr Arm) Su-27P FLANKER B that harassed the RIVET JOINT, evidently nobody explained to the Russian naval aviator the unhealthy things that can happen to fighter jets close to the wingtips of bigger jets. Excellent essay by Vershbow. Allyn essay overlooks the risks of mirroring – if we genuinely did think like the Russians we would have invaded and crushed them down to servitude in 1945, using an asymmetric nuclear and strategic bomber advantage. Whitmore commentaries are excellent. Russian language war produces blowback. Natalya Poklonskaya of Crimean infamy and anime fame again in the news. Two historical gems by Krickus and Goble – not prescience, just sound and robust analysis.

Stone/Putin interviews still active in IW/IO/Cyber coverage. Good essays on cyber, and Amb Herbst critiques an essay that comes close to Russian propaganda.

In Ukraine, Donbass fires continue, while MEPs visit Donbass. Poroshenko visit to US and EU engagement producing a lot of MSM coverage. Numerous MSM now asserting Ukraine will be supplied lethal aid, despite the absence of any formal statements to validate this.

Central Asian nations deny that they will be sending troops to bolster Russia’s Syria expeditionary force. Demands on Qatar made public – the counter-terrorism demands are not unreasonable, many of the rest are clearly partisan.

DPRK plays the usual negotiation/extortion scam, quickly attracting the DPRK appeasers. More on the crashed RPV, the Warmbier tragedy, and an article detailing the creativity of Kim in devising gruesome methods of disposing of political opponents and unwanted relatives.

In Europe, debate ramps up around forming an “EU Army”, while Macron fingers Eastern European nations over a tragedy of commons behaviors, not an unwarranted criticism for much of the EU.

In the US, sanctions and defense appropriations bills debated, especially funding to deal with Russia. More on Russian cyber penetrations of voting systems, and databases, and thefts of voter records. Excellent essay by Kuchins @ Georgetown, with a misleading title produced by the Russian publisher – blowback from Russian meddling in the US election is beyond anything anybody expected, and indeed a strategic blunder Russia could not afford.

 


Russia / Russophone Reports


Photos show close encounter between armed Russian jet, U.S. warplane – CBS News Russian aircraft came within five feet of the wing tip of a U.S. RC-135 reconnaissance plane, according to U.S. official

A U.S. RC-135U flying in international airspace over the Baltic
Sea was intercepted by a Russian SU-27 Flanker June 19, 2017. Due to the high rate of
closure speed and poor control of the aircraft during the intercept, this
interaction was determined to be unsafe. (Courtesy photo/Released)

A U.S. RC-135U flying in international airspace over the Baltic
Sea was intercepted by a Russian SU-27 Flanker June 19, 2017. Due to the high rate of
closure speed and poor control of the aircraft during the intercept, this
interaction was determined to be unsafe. (Courtesy photo/Released)

 

Russian Fighter Intercepts US Aircraft | United States European Command A U.S. RC-135U flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea was intercepted by a Russian SU-27 Flanker June 19, 2017. Due to the high rate of closure speed and poor control of the aircraft during the intercept, this interaction was determined to be unsafe. (Courtesy photos/Released)

Russia: New U.S. Sanctions Threaten Bilateral Relations WASHINGTON — Russia’s Foreign Ministry slammed new U.S. sanctions that target mainly Russian people and companies linked to the Ukraine conflict, saying the move puts at &quot;serious risk&quot…

Alexander Vershbow | Here’s How to Fight Back Against Russian Political Warfare Three-and-a-half years ago, Russia illegally annexed Crimea and launched its campaign to destabilize eastern Ukraine. Russian aggression prompted the biggest increase in NATO’s collective defense capabilities since the Cold War—including the historic deployment in June of four multinational battlegroups in the three Baltic States and Poland. But deterring military aggression is only half the battle. Russia has also engaged in political aggression against our societies, using cyberattacks, disinformation, propaganda, and influence operations (what the Soviets called “active measures”) to affect the outcome of elections and to undermine confidence in our democratic institutions. In essence, using largely non-military means, Russia is trying to undo decades of progress toward a more stable and integrated Euro-Atlantic community. It wants to turn back the clock to a time when Russia dominated neighboring countries through force and coercion. Using cyberattacks, disinformation, economic warfare and “active measures,” it aims to weaken and divide NATO and the European Union (EU), which it sees as the main obstacles to its expanded power in Europe, and to reduce their attractiveness to other European nations. It openly works to destabilize countries that seek closer ties to the Euro-Atlantic community, as we are seeing in the Western Balkans, even sponsoring an armed coup d’état in Montenegro last year to derail its accession to NATO. All of this is driven by a determination to preserve the Putin regime’s grip on power by discrediting any Western-oriented alternative and distracting the public from Russia’s economic decline. Our strategy for meeting the Russian challenge must begin with, but go beyond, bolstering our defense and deterrence against potential Russian military threats. We also need to support Russia’s neighbors in their efforts to build strong, resilient societies and defend their sovereignty. We must counter the Russians’ revisionist, anti-Western propaganda and other forms of “hybrid” warfare aimed at undermining our democracies. And we must go on the counterattack: using old and new technologies to project the Western narrative to Russian audiences; and supporting the aspirations of the Russian people for freedom and democracy over the longer term. In all these lines of effort, we have a greater chance of success by working closely with our European allies and partners. Russian interference in the US presidential election last year and its similar efforts to influence the outcome of European elections this year call for a strong response at the national level, but there is a role for NATO and the EU as well, building on the joint declaration by NATO and EU leaders issued in Warsaw last year.

Bruce Allyn | To Deal with the Russians, America Must Think Like the Russians | The National Interest  The risk of nuclear miscalculation is now higher than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis. There’s a simple way to avoid it.

The Morning Vertical, June 23, 2017 It’s hard to say goodbye to an empire. It’s traumatic to part with former colonial possessions. It’s difficult to view former vassals as sovereign and co-equal neighbors. A quarter of a century after the Soviet Union collapsed, large and stable majorities of Russians believe that Moscow still has a legitimate claim on the territory of its neighbors. Is this just a case of prolonged postimperial stress disorder that will pass with time? Or is it a more chronic condition that will leave Russia’s neighbors in a constant state of peril? On this week’s Power Vertical Podcast, we’ll look at the implications of a new Pew Research Center poll in which 60 percent of Russians say Moscow has a legitimate claim to the territory of Russia’s neighbors. Joining me will be co-host Mark Galeotti, a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Prague, head of its Center for European Security, and a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations; and journalist Anna Arutunyan, author of the book The Putin Mystique: Inside Russia’s Power Cult. Also on the podcast, Mark, Anna, and I will discuss what the new Pew poll shows about Vladimir Putin’s support. Be sure to tune in later today!

The Daily Vertical: The Kremlin Does Kafka (Transcript) So it’s come to this. Vladimir Putin’s regime is no longer content to simply prosecute opponents for things that are patently absurd. It’s no longer content to just fabricate criminal cases, plant evidence, and manufacture crime scenarios. It’s no longer content to simply make stuff up. Now the Kremlin is in the business of denying reality altogether. The bizarre case against two former artistic directors and an accountant at Moscow’s Gogol Center Theater truly crosses a frightening and disturbing line. The three have been charged with embezzling 200 million rubles in state funds the theater received to produce an adaption of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Remarkably, the prosecutors are claiming that the play was never staged. They are claiming this despite the fact that the play was clearly staged 15 times in Moscow, as well as in Paris. They are claiming this despite the fact that playbills, posters, and media reviews of the play have been presented as evidence. And they are claiming this despite the fact that witnesses are coming forward to say they attended the performances and are posting photographs of it online. Nope. The regime says it never happened so it never happened. You can insert your favorite reference to Franz Kafka, George Orwell, or North Korea right here. The ultimate target in this weird case appears to be the prominent stage and theater director Kirill Serebrennikov, a vocal Kremlin critic who is the theater’s current artistic director. The Putin regime is sending a message that it can come after someone that prominent by outright denying reality, it can come after anybody.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s State Machine Increasingly Dysfunctional in Six Ways, Solovey Says Paul Goble Staunton, June 22 – MGIMO professor and commentator Valery Solovey says there are six trends in Russian governance today that suggest the conclusion that “the dysfunction of state administration” in Putin’s Russia is growing (echo.msk.ru/blog/vsolovej/2003700-echo/). The six he points to are:
 1. “Strategic goal setting is lacking: bureaucrats aren’t able to discover the meaning and goals of state policy.”
2. “The old pact between the supreme power and elites – enrichment in exchange for loyalty – has been irretrievably destroyed. The new one – unity and firmness in the face of geopolitical challenges – does not generate enthusiasm and is losing definition.”
3. “The deficit of resources and positive sanctions is compensated by repression sanctions (‘the struggle with corruption’). A lack of comprehension of their logic does not so much increase loyalty and sow fear and leads to administrative paralysis.”
4. “The feedback link with society has been destroyed in a catastrophic way. The authorities respond to political protests with repressions, an approach that can lead to a spiral of confrontation.”
5. “The obvious collision between centers of influence is lowering the capacity of the apparatus as a whole and sharply increasing the risk of strategically dangerous decision.” Solovey cites the example of Moscow’s plans to demolish the khrushchoby.
6. “The informal intra-elite communications which had compensated for the lack of institutions have been destroyed and are ceasing to work.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow’s Call for Cyrillic in CIS Countries Outrages Armenians and Undermines Russian and Russia in Former Soviet Space Paul Goble Staunton, June 22 –Russian education minister Olga Vasiliyeva’s call for all CIS countries to use the Cyrillic alphabet (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/06/some-russians-really-want-to-go-back-to.html) has sparked outrage in Armenia, which has its own ancient script and further undermined the position of Russian and Russia there and elsewhere. Regnum journalist IIrina Dzhobenadze summarizes the almost universally negative comments Armenian parliamentarians and activists gave to the Armenian-language journal Aravot and then discusses the way in which Moscow’s overreach on the alphabet is proving counter-productive in the former Soviet space (rosbalt.ru/world/2017/06/22/1625103.html). Armenian parliamentarian Naira Zograbyan called Vasiliyeva’s proposal “completely absurd,” noting that she could respond by suggesting that the CIS countries go over to the Armenian alphabet. Her colleague Khosrov Arutyunyan sad that Armenia would never change its alphabet because it is “our greatest achievement and no one can take it from us.” Vardan Bostandzhyan, chairman of the Armenian parliament’s education and culture commission, said that Vasilyeva’s suggestion casts doubts on her psychological well-being because her notion represents “a trampling on the national identities” of others. The Armenian alphabet will live as long as there are Armenians, he said. Another Armenian, Armen Ovanisyan, a member of the We are Against Opening Foreign Language Schools movement, adopted a more charitable view: he said that he didn’t think Vasilyeva’s words were directed against Armenia but rather against Kazakhstan which is now in the process of shifting away from Cyrillic to a Latin script. But at the same time, he declared that her idea was “a manifestation of extreme chauvinism and of imperialist strivings toward neighboring peoples.” Ovanisyan said he was worried that Moscow will now demand that all CIS countries make Russian an official language, something few of them are inclined to do. The anger Vasiliyeva’s words sparked in Armenia has been so great that the republic’s education ministry has been forced to “swear” that no proposals from Moscow about shifting to Cyrillic have reached Yerevan and none are expected or will be accepted. Incautious language by Russian officials, Regnum’s Dzhobenadze says, have energized those in Armenian society who want the Russian base at Gumri closed and who complain about Russia’s purchases of key infrastructure in Armenia and Moscow’s efforts to block Armenian contacts with Europe. Pro-Moscow commentators in Yerevan and elsewhere say that it would be a good thing if everyone in the non-Russian republics would learn Russian (as well as English and their own native languages) but even they acknowledge that talk about doing away with the ancient scripts of Armenia and Georgia is counterproductive and generates anti-Russian attitudes. The Regnum author adds that while it is entirely understandable that Moscow should seek to preserve Russian “where it is still alive,” Moscow should recognize that pushing for the use of Russian or the adoption of the Cyrillic alphabet is quite capable of “inflicting the greatest damage on that language which ever fewer people are speaking.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kremlin Agents Seeking to Reduce Part of Kazakhs to a Russian-Speaking Sub-Ethnos of the Russian Nation, Gali Says Paul Goble Staunton, June 22 – The Russian government has set up a network of agents in Kazakhstan in order to undermine that country’s sovereignty and independence by transforming a portion of the Kazakhs into a Russian-speaking people that Moscow will then insist are “a sub-ethnos” of the Russian nation, according to outspoken Kazakh nationalist Azimbay Gali. In a Facebook page in Kazakh that has now been translated into Russian and is attracting attention in the region, Gali says the Russian network is using five different tactics to achieve its end (facebook.com/azimbay.gali/posts/1689895614372889 (in Kazakh) and 185.22.65.26/raw/azimbaj_gali_kremlevskie_agenty_orudujut_v_kazahstane (in Russian). · First, Gali says, Moscow’s agents are promoting trilingual education in Kazakhstan’s Kazakh schools to reduce the quality of those schools, discredit them in the eyes of the population, and prevent the further “Kazakhization” of the country. · Second, these agents are exerting “significant influence on cadres policy” in the republic, assuring that those who become akims (governors) or ministers are people who may be Kazakh by nationality but who speak the language poorly or not at all. · Third, Moscow’s over-arching goal is “the creation of a Russian-speaking Kazakh sub-ethnos” so that “tomorrow they will tell us: we have our own literature, classics, Russian-language mosques, and a ‘spiritual donor,’ Russia; and in this way they will be able to split the country. · Fourth, the most dangerous of these agents have succeeded in remaining in office and have not been subject to lustration. That has allowed them to continue to do Moscow’s work under the guise of promoting Astana’s. · And fifth, because these agents are skilled at shifting the blame on others for any problems, “the time has come to call things by their right names, to identify the influential Russian agents and block their actions.”

Chief Of Navalny’s Election Campaign Jailed For ‘Unsanctioned Rallies’ A court in Moscow has sentenced the chief of Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny’s election campaign, Leonid Volkov, to five days in jail. Volkov wrote on Twitter on June 22 that th…

The Lawmaker And The Case Of The Disappearing Husband Natalya Poklonskaya, a high-profile Russian lawmaker and former prosecutor-general of Crimea, is under scrutiny over her finances and personal life. She’s accused of failing to declare property she owns — and she has admitted inventing a fictional husband. (RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service).Coast Busters: Building On Sacred Lake Baikal LandOlkhon Island sits in Russia’s Lake Baikal with a coastline revered for picturesque views. Local shamans consider it sacred ground, but building plans by Chinese investors have upset the island’s serenity. (Current Time TV)

Behind Brave Face on Sanctions, Russia Is Already Adjusting – Bloomberg They are only discussed. They may not even be implemented. But the new sanctions under consideration in the U.S. Congress have already become a factor the Bank of Russia can’t ignore.

Russian defense minister’s plane buzzed by NATO jet over Baltic | Reuters A NATO F-16 fighter jet buzzed a plane carrying Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as it flew over the Baltic Sea, but was seen off by a Russian Sukhoi-27 military jet, Russia said on Wednesday, an account partly disputed by NATO.

Will Vietnam Really Acquire Up to 24 Russian PAK FA Stealth Fighters Soon? The speculation about Russia’s alleged plan to sell up to 24 Sukhoi T-50 (PAK FA) fifth-generation stealth fighters to Vietnam doesn’t hold water, military aircraft expert Col. Makar Aksenenko told Sputnik, adding that the cutting-edge PAK FA fighters have to be mass produced first.

These are the 5 Most Fearsome Russian Weapons of War America Should Fear | The National Interest Blog Should Washington be worried? 

Report: Russia may have accidentally revealed new military satellites The Russian Defence Ministry posted photographs on their website that included information on the never-before-seen Repei satellites.


Richard J. Krickus | IRON TROIKAS: THE NEW THREAT FROM THE EAST March 2006 FOREWORD There has been widespread discussion of Russia’s efforts to exploit its energy assets to influence developments in Ukraine; specifically, to put pressure on the leaders of the Orange Revolution who have adopted a Western orientation, rather than one toward the East— Russia. Less attention has been devoted to similar efforts undertaken by Russia to advance Moscow’s security objectives in the East Baltic Sea Region (EBSR). Through what the author of this monograph, Dr. Richard Krickus, calls Iron Troikas, he demonstrates how the Russian leadership has exploited its energy assets to advance its security interests in the vital EBSR—with emphasis on Poland and the Baltic countries. This triad of power is comprised of former members of the military and security service—the siloviki; economic warlords, members of organized crime, and rogue military personnel; and “local elites” in Poland and the Baltic countries who have advanced Russia’s security interests in the region. The analysis provided by Dr. Krickus is driven by the failure of the Western defense community to understand this “new threat from the East,” and to provide recommendations bearing on how it can be addressed by the U.S. military and the EBSR defense establishments. The thrust of this monograph is in keeping with the U.S. Army’s and U.S. Government’s ongoing exploration of ways to advance their goals in an ever changing global security environment.

Paul A. Goble | Minsk is Putin’s Pyrrhic victory opening the way to his eventual defeat -Euromaidan Press | Contrary to the pessimism over Minsk agreements regarding Russian aggression in Ukraine, here are 5 reasons why they are a Pyrrhic victory at best for Putin


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Regime Now ‘One Grandiose Fake’ from Top to Bottom, Eidman Says  Paul Goble Staunton, June 22 — Vladimir Putin’s use of a video showing American planes to impress Oliver Stone of the power of Russian ones “is not simply a curiosity,” Igor Eidman says, but rather “a diagnosis” because “the entire Putin regime is a grandiose fake,” with fake news, statistics, sociology, politics, power, parliament and a fake president at the top. On his Facebook page, the Russian commentator, who works for Deutsche Welle, says that in Putin’s Russia “everything is a lie from top to bottom” because officials constantly try to deceive and shift responsibility confident that only appearances matter and that no one will check (facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1525648010831506&id=100001589654713). The Kremlin leader is trapped by this set of attitudes and arrangements, Eidman continues. Putin “tries to deceive his foreign partners, but his own subordinate crudely deceive him” at one and the same time because when he asks for something they deliver what they think he wants regardless of whether it is true. This story illustrates that perfectly. Putin wanted something to intimidate the Americans. Defense Minister Shoygu passed his order on. Finally, it reached someone in the bowels of the bureaucracy who had to respond – and who passed back up the line what he felt he could get away with, in this case, a film of American planes that Putin could say were Russian. As a result, Eidman says, “a perfectly Kafkaesque situation occurred: Putin in Stone’s film attempted to frighten the Americans with the power of their own military.” But in today’s information society, “everything secret sooner or later becomes known.” And that means that Putin’s regime “which is based on lies is condemned” as a result.

Putin regime now ‘one grandiose fake’ from top to bottom, Eidman says | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press | This story illustrates that perfectly. Putin wanted something to intimidate the Americans. Defense Minister Shoygu passed his order on. Finally, it reached someone in the bowels of the bureaucracy who had to respond – and who passed back up the line what he felt he could get away with, in this case, a film of American planes that Putin could say were Russian. As a result, Eidman says, “a perfectly Kafkaesque situation occurred: Putin in Stone’s film attempted to frighten the Americans with the power of their own military.” But in today’s information society, “everything secret sooner or later becomes known.” And that means that Putin’s regime “which is based on lies is condemned” as a result.

Did Putin show Oliver Stone a fake video? Director may have been fooled by Russian president | Fox News It may be a tempest in a teacup, or, perhaps, a storm in a samovar.

Half of industrial control systems suffered cyberattack last year, says Kaspersky survey – Fifth Domain | Cyber Threats to industrial control systems are becoming increasingly widespread, according to a new survey from cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab and Business Advantage that found over half of the companies sampled reporting at least one cyberattack in the last 12 months. One-in-five respondents experienced two incidents within the 12-month window. Data gathered comes from 359 industrial cybersecurity practitioners in 21 countries that completed online surveys between February 2017 and April 2017. The top observed threat remains conventional malware, which played a part in 53 percent of actual incidents, followed by targeted attacks, such as spear phishing to more sophisticated advanced persistent threats. The top perceived threats are third-party supply chain/partners and sabotage/intentional damage from other external sources. This has led three-in-four companies to expect a cyberattack to happen to them, though 83 percent feel prepared to combat an incident.

Why So Many Top Hackers Hail from Russia — Krebs on Security Conventional wisdom says one reason so many hackers seem to hail from Russia and parts of the former Soviet Union is that these countries have traditionally placed a much greater emphasis than educational institutions in the West on teaching information technology in middle and high schools, and yet they lack a Silicon Valley-like pipeline to help talented IT experts channel their skills into high-paying jobs. This post explores the first part of that assumption by examining a breadth of open-source data. The supply side of that conventional wisdom seems to be supported by an analysis of educational data from both the U.S. and Russia, which indicates there are several stark and important differences between how American students are taught and tested on IT subjects versus their counterparts in Eastern Europe.

Under pressure, Western tech firms bow to Russian demands to share cyber secrets | Reuters Western technology companies, including Cisco, IBM and SAP, are acceding to demands by Moscow for access to closely guarded product security secrets, at a time when Russia has been accused of a growing number of cyber attacks on the West, a Reuters investigation has found.

Russia threatens to ban end-to-end encrypted messaging app Telegram The app would reportedly be required to keep and share users’ chats and encryption keys with authorities if it is registered.

John E. Herbst | Russia, Not Ukraine, Is Serial Violator of Ceasefire Agreement Like many articles and analyses of the Minsk process,

“Ukrainian Military Progress Could Violate Minsk Peace Process” requires additional analysis on the geopolitical underpinnings and implications of the issue at hand. Without this context, it is difficult to make sense of any facts presented. The context is this: Moscow is conducting the war in Ukraine’s east; without Russian leadership, troops, financing, and weapons, there would be no war. Both the EU and the United States levied sanctions to encourage Moscow to end its aggression and to discourage it from the expanding the war further into Ukraine. Equally important is that fact that the sanctions were levied not long before the Minsk I Agreement was negotiated in September 2014, but Moscow’s continuing aggression included the seizure of hundreds of square kilometers of additional Ukrainian territory. A Russian offensive violating Minsk I led to the negotiation of the Minsk II Agreement in February 2015, with terms far more negative for Ukraine. Those terms delayed the return of border control to Ukraine and permitted the Russian-controlled separatists to maintain their own military forces. The bottom line is clear: Moscow is conducting a low intensity war in the Donbas to destabilize the government in Ukraine by producing regular Ukrainian casualties, seizing small increments of additional Ukrainian territory, and overtaxing the economy. None of this appears in “Ukrainian Military Progress Could Violate Minsk Peace Process.” This is perhaps not surprising as the article is part of a generally superb series produced by DFRLab that is focused on reporting on open source information and social media, which it works to prove or disprove, rather than providing policy analysis. But even here there is a problem because the article talks only about the possible Minsk violations by one party to the conflict, and the victim at that. This approach ignores the fact that the Russians and their proxies are responsible for most of the violations, and that Ukrainian violations are often in response to Moscow’s. The Ukrainians recognize that Russian violations have led to the loss of additional territory with no serious response from the West.


Ukraine Reports


TASS: World – Lethal military aid to Ukraine included in next year’s US defense budget — congressman In the past years, the US Congress has been allocating funds for supplying defensive weapons to the Kiev government

Looks like the US will start providing Ukraine with weapons to combat Russia with – Business Insider “And very important agreements will be signed, including agreements on defense cooperation, including an agreement on defense procurement.”

Poroshenko: US-Ukraine defence agreements to be signed in ‘2-3 months’ – YouTube At a time of heightened political division in Washington DC, Ukraine, “unites the United States.” That’s Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s main takeaway…

Trump’s Tough Talk on Ukraine Has Kiev Ecstatic, and Moscow Furious—but Will It Last? In Washington, President Poroshenko got a big smile from POTUS, and better still, new sanctions on Russia.

Ukrainian president leaves Washington buoyed by Trump’s support – CBS News At the same time, Russian relations with U.S. are growing more tense

AndersFogh Rasmussen on Twitter: “It was fitting that @POTUS met @poroshenko before Putin. #Ukraine should be seen as an American opportunity and not just a European problem. https://t.co/bD5Zqlb1Ep”

Marshall Plan on Ukraine to Be Presented at Eastern Partnership Summit – YouTube Ukraine’s politician and lawyer Olena Shkrum explains the main strategy of the new “Marshall Plan” that Ukraine and the European Union are jointly working on…

U.S. Says Separatists ‘Harassing’ Ukraine Monitors To Prevent Reporting Of Violations The United States has accused Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine of a campaign of &quot;violence and harassment&quot; against international monitors aimed at preventing them from reportin…

US calls on Russia to end violent ‘intimidation’ in eastern Ukraine – To Inform is to Influence BY JOHN BOWDEN – 06/22/17 The State Department on Thursday condemned Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine for “violence and intimidation” against international monitor groups in the region. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Thursday during a press briefing that the United States is “deeply concerned” about recent violence against civilian members of the aid group…

Poroshenko Hails EU ‘Solidarity’ With Ukraine Ukrainian 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…

Ukraine’s NSDC Secretary, UK’s Permanent Secretary of Defense Ministry discuss sanctions against Russia – 23.06.2017 10:55 — Ukrinform News 23.06.2017 10:55. Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov held a meeting with Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom Stephen Lovegrove. During the meeting, the interlocutors discussed the situation developed as a result of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East, the NSDC&acute;s press service reports.

Members of European Parliament and representatives of diplomatic missions visit Donbas today – 23.06.2017 10:14 — Ukrinform News 23.06.2017 10:14. Members of the European Parliament Petras Au&scaron;trevičius, Anna Fotyga and representatives of diplomatic missions together with Ukrainian MPs will visit eastern Ukraine on Friday, June 23.

Militants launched 29 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas in last day – 23.06.2017 09:29 — Ukrinform News 23.06.2017 09:29. Militants launched 29 attacks on positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in ATO area in Donbas over the past day.

Gas supply in Avdiivka not yet restored – State Emergency Service – 23.06.2017 10:58 — Ukrinform News 23.06.2017 10:58. The gas supply in Avdiivka, Donetsk region, which was stopped on June 7, has not been yet resumed; the repair works cannot start because it is impossible to guarantee safety to workers.

Number of hostages held in Donbas increased up to 132, – MP Iryna Herashchenko 23.06.17 11:18 – Number of hostages held in Donbas increased up to 132, – MP Iryna Herashchenko … View news.

Over 76,000 tonnes of Donbas coal smuggled to Russia within month – NGO Russian Railways (RZD) Logistics illegally shipped 76,300&nbsp;tonnes&nbsp;of coal from the occupied areas in Donetsk region controlled by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (&quot;DPR&quot;) to Russia in May, according to Ukrainian NGO Sprotyv.info. News 23 June from UNIAN.

National Guard fighters trained to counter enemy saboteur groups. PHOTOS 23.06.17 13:29 – National Guard fighters trained to counter enemy saboteur groups. PHOTOS Around 300 fighters of the National Guard with support of aviation, artillery, and mortars trained to conduct reconnaissance and counter the saboteur activities of the enemy. View photo news.

Unmanned Vehicles | Master of Crafts – YouTube Unmanned technology in the modern Ukrainian army. In what way does Ukrainian technology surprise world experts in armaments today? How can a small unmanned a…

Pre-Verdict Detention Of Crimean Tatar Activist On Trial Prolonged SIMFEROPOL — A court in Russia-controlled Crimea has prolonged the pre-verdict detention of Crimean Tatar activist Ahtem Chiygoz, who is on trial in connection with resistance to Russia’…

Status of Russian language worries 1% of Ukrainians; war in Donbas – 71% -Euromaidan Press | The war in eastern Ukraine is the main reason for worries of Ukrainians. According to the research of the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, 71.1% of the respondents are concerned about it. The research reveals that the largest share of those who are concerned with the war live in eastern Ukraine – 82%. Citizens of western Ukraine come in second at 75%. Compared to last year, the number of people concerned because of the war remains almost the same (71.6% in 2016 against 71.1% in 2017). According to the latest United Nations report on the human rights situation in Ukraine, the war in Donbas has taken the lives of 10,090 people, including 2,777 civilians, and injured 23,966 people. Moreover, these are “conservative estimates,” according to the report. Quality of life is on the second place in the list of worries of Ukrainians – 60% of the respondents chose it. Residents of the central (65%) and southern regions (69%) are most concerned about this. After it goes the economic situation in the country (47%) and security of Ukraine (21%). There are more people concerned about the relationships of Ukraine with Russia (10.4%) than with the EU (4.3%). Environmental problems (4.8%), the annexation of Crimea (4.1%), relations between Ukrainian citizens of different nationalities (2.2%) were among the minor issues that concern Ukrainians. The status of the Russian language in Ukraine concerns the least amount of Ukrainians, according to the research – 1.2%. The research was conducted during 20-29 May 2017 on the whole territory of Ukraine, except Crimea and occupied parts of Donbas.

Prominent Ukrainians appeal to Ukraine’s parliament to pass amended language law -Euromaidan Press | Some eighty prominent Ukrainians have signed a statement of support for passage of the law to safeguard the role of the Ukrainian language.

Diplomatic tightrope and historical memory: Ukraine-Israel foreign policy audit -Euromaidan Press | Kateryna Zarembo Relations between Ukraine and Israel are distant and close at the same time. As a home for the largest Jewish community in Europe before the World War II, Ukraine was a cradle of Jewish culture and homeland of prominent Jewish artists, religious and political leaders. Perhaps, there is no other country in the world where so much of the political elite have Ukrainian origins. In Israel, those are presidents and prime ministers Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Ephraim Katzir, Moshe Sharett, Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, and the current Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein. Following several waves of emigration of Ukrainian Jews after the collapse of the Soviet Union, strong people-to-people contacts have been established between Ukraine and Israel. Ukraine is also the birthplace of the Hasidic movement, as well as the destination of the annual religious pilgrimage to the grave of rabbi Nachman of Breslov. In its turn, Israel is a permanent pilgrimage destination for Ukrainian Christians. Since 2012, when Ukraine and Israel abolished the visa regime, the flow of tourists had grown every year, and Tel Aviv remains the top destination from Kyiv’s Boryspil airport. Furthermore, in the last three years, Israel has been increasingly referred to as the “transformational role model” in Ukraine as a country that managed to achieve prosperity amid permanent armed conflict, as well as to ensure self-sufficiency in terms of security. Israel is one of the top 10 countries named by Ukrainians as role models for Ukraine’s foreign policy. But the bilateral agenda has its “other side.” In historical terms, it is the heritage of Jewish pogroms, and later the Holocaust, which is associated with Ukraine in the collective memory of the Israelites. In the political sphere, the two countries seek mutual support on the international arena: Ukraine needs Israel’s assistance to counter Russian aggression, while Israel needs Ukraine’s backing in the confrontation with Palestine. This pursuit for national interests and dependence on the broad geopolitical context do not always allow the two states to consistently remain as allies and sometimes lead to mutual distrust and deterioration of relations. Accordingly, the enemy of Israel is not Russia, but Iran and Hamas. The usual coordinate system with focus on pro-European vector of development and European values does not work in relations with Israel. Despite being a participant of the European Neighborhood Policy along with Ukraine, Israel’s policy toward the EU is completely different from that of Ukraine. As explained by Israeli diplomats,“we do not claim that Israel is a part of Europe, and we do not want to be a part of Europe; nevertheless, we strive to be as good as Europe.”

Ukraine, Canada prepare for start of free trade era | KyivPost The free trade pact between Ukraine and Canada, expected to go into effect as early as Aug. 1, has the potential to open the vast North American market to Ukrainian producers. However, not many of them are ready to dive into it. Commercial ties between the two countries lag the emotional ones created by a large and influential Ukrainian-Canadian diaspora, numbering 1.3 million — or nearly 4 percent of Canada’s population.

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

France’s Bollore, Ukraine’s Antonov Airlines sign contract on transportation of oversize cargo | KyivPost Ukrainian-based Antonov Airlines, one of the world’s leading operators of the heavy transport An-124-100 Ruslan aircraft, and French Bollore Logistics are expanding cooperation in the field of freight transportation by air. The parties signed a contract at the 52nd International Paris Air Show Le Bourget 2017 to use the Antonov Airlines fleet for transportation of oversize and overweight cargo by order from Bollore. The Ukrainian news outlet, Ukr.Media, said on Thursday that under the signed contract, the French company chartered one Ruslan aircraft for a year for the transportation of satellites and other oversized equipment.


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Russia Says ‘High Probability’ IS Leader Baghdadi Killed In Air Strike A senior Russian diplomat has said that the head of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group was most likely killed in a Russian air strike. Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov told the stat…

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan Reportedly Asked About Sending Troops To ‘Monitor’ Syria Turkey, Russia, and Iran are working on a mechanism to monitor the so-called &ldquo;de-escalation&rdquo; agreement in Syria, including involving U.S. troops in the establishment of zones o…

Kazakhstan Denies Talks On Sending Troops To Syria Kazakhstan has refuted reports of talks with Russia on the possibility of its troops taking part in a mechanism to monitor the so-called &quot;de-escalation&quot; agreement in Syria. &quo…

IS’s Destruction Of Iconic Mosul Mosque Called ‘Declaration Of Defeat’ The extremist group Islamic State (IS) has blown up an ancient mosque in Mosul in what Iraq’s prime minister called an admission by the militants that they are losing the fight for the country’s second-largest city.

Russia Says It Fired Missiles From Mediterranean At IS In Syria Russia’s Defense Ministry says it has targeted Islamic State (IS) positions in Syria with cruise missiles fired from the Mediterranean Sea. The ministry said in a June 23 statement that tw…

Commentary: Air battle over Syria danger-close to triggering Russia and U.S. engagement U.S.-led forces are facing tough calls in an increasingly complex region, while relations with Russia falter.

RAAF’s decision on Syria raises more questions than it answers The announcement yesterday implies that Australia has decided it no longer has the political will to apply air power in the fight against ISIS in Syria.

Iran nuclear chief warns US over support for Saudi Arabia | World news | The Guardian Ali Akbar Salehi, who helped negotiate 2015 deal, says US risks upsetting balance of power in Middle East

The Problem with Qatar’s Foreign Policy—It Backed The Wrong Side Following the Arab Spring, Qatar bet against Arab centers of power, siding with Iran, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Kuwait hands Qatar a list of demands to resolve diplomatic dispute: report Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries that have cut ties to Qatar issued a steep list of demands to end a three-week diplomatic spat.

Arab states issue list of demands to end Qatar crisis | Qatar News | Al Jazeera Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations ask Qatar to close Al Jazeera and scale down ties with Iran within 10 days.

List of demands on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, other Arab nations – The Washington Post Acting as a mediator, Kuwait has presented Qatar a long-awaited list of demands from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, four Arab nations that cut ties with Qatar in early June. A copy of the list was obtained by The Associated Press and translated from Arabic.

Saudi Arabia’s spat with Qatar just a distraction to protect the ruling family, political analyst says Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s biggest test will be whether or not he can satisfy the kingdom’s appetite for jobs, say two experts.


DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


North Korea hints at suspending nuke tests if S. Korea-US military exercises are suspended : North Korea : News : The Hankyoreh Ambassador to India also hints at possibly negotiating an end to North Korea’s nuclear program North Korea could suspend its nuclear weapons and missile testing if the US and South Korea suspended their joint military exercises, said Kye Chun-yong, North Korea’s ambassador to India. He also hinted at the possibility of negotiations designed to end North Korea’s nuclear program. Kye’s remarks are significant not only because he is believed to be a confidante of North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong but also because they appear at a critical juncture, just one week before the South Korea-US summit. “Under certain circumstances, we are willing to talk in terms of the freezing of nuclear testing and missile testing,” Kye said during an interview on the Indian TV network WION on June 21. Kye served as deputy ambassador when Ri Su-yong was the ambassador in charge of the North Korean delegation to Geneva. Considering that North Korean diplomats typically receive instructions from Pyongyang about how to handle interviews with the foreign media, North Korea seems to have deliberately chosen to indirectly express its viewpoint at shortly before the South Korea-US summit. “For instance, if the American side completely stopped big, large-scale military exercises, temporarily or permanently, then we will also temporarily stop,” Kye said in the video of the interview, which WION posted to YouTube. Kye said that the two sides could then discuss the current situation peacefully. “Under certain circumstances, we are willing to talk in terms of freezing nuclear testing or missile testing,” Kye went on to say. In a place as small as the Korean Peninsula (just 220,000 square kilometers in area), Kye said, there is no logical need for such dangerous weapons. But “the possessing of the nuclear weapons is an inevitable, very arduous choice to defend the right of existence,” he said. These remarks can be interpreted as meaning that Pyongyang is willing to engage in negotiations predicated on the elimination of North Korea’s nuclear program.

We participated in talks with North Korean representatives. This is what we learned. – The Washington Post Pyongyang won’t give up its nukes, which means it’s time for a new U.S. strategy.

Diplomacy Is the Only Option With North Korea | The Report: Opinion | US News Diplomacy is the only option and Pyongyang may be willing to listen.

Neither North Korea nor the United States want all-out war: Here’s why – CNN.com It’s been a tense six months on the Korean Peninsula and many North Korea watchers believe the situation is dangerous.

North Korea tests rocket engine, possibly for ICBM – US officials North Korea has carried out another test of a rocket engine that could be part of its program to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile, a US official told Reuters on Thursday.

US Navy ballistic missile intercept test fails The U.S. Navy conducted a failed ballistic missile intercept Wednesday with its SM-3 Block IIA off the coast of Hawaii.

Recently discovered North Korean drone made up of parts from various countries : North Korea : News : The Hankyoreh Defense Ministry announces that drone’s cruising distance was double that of drone found in 2014 A North Korean drone recently discovered in Inje, Gangwon Province, was assembled out of parts from a variety of countries, including South Korea, Japan, the Czech Republic, Canada, and the US. The Ministry of National Defense released findings on June 21 for its scientific examination of the drone. “The engine was confirmed to be a ’50V2‘ (500cc, two-cylinder, two-stroke) made by the Czech Republic’s Rotomotor,” it said. The autopilot board for controlling the flight by computer was an MP2028 made by Canada’s MicroPilot, while the communication module consisted of a GPS received made by Switzerland’s U-blox and a GPS antenna made by the US company Trimble. Six servo actuators by South Korea’s Hitec RCD were used, along with an R6208SB RC receiver by Japan’s Futaba for remote piloting and an A7R camera by Sony. Most of the parts were found to be the same as those in a drone discovered on Baengnyeong Island in 2014. “The latest drone had a fuel tank two times larger than the one of the Baengnyeong drone, and the cruising distance is believed to have doubled,” said Agency for Defense Development aviation technology research headquarters chief Kim Jong-seong, who announced the findings. The drone was confirmed to have crashed on May 2 – more than a month before its discovery on June 9. The drone took off from North Korea‘s Kumgang County and flew 266 km to the THAAD deployment site in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, before turning around and flying an additional 224 km until it crashed. The drone traveled at an altitude of 2.4 km and a speed of 90 km/hr. The investigation found an engine malfunction to be the reason for the crash. “Output did not match fuel supply, and as fuel consumption increased, the flight distance decreased,” Kim explained. The drone traveled for a total of 5 hours and 30 minutes and took 555 photographs.

[News analysis] Otto Warmbier’s death leads to further souring of US opinion on North Korea : North Korea : News : The Hankyoreh President Trump describes North Korea’s behavior as “brutality” as experts across the board voice condemnation The death of US student Otto Warmbier on June 19, six days after he returned comatose from a 17-month detention in North Korea, appears likely to mean a short-term end to the faint glimmers of Pyongyang and Washington’s attempts at exploratory dialogue. The immediate outcome has been a rapid souring of US public opinion toward North Korea. In a statement the same day, President Donald Trump went so far as to use the term “brutality” in denouncing the North Korean regime – a harsh tenor even for his recent remarks about Pyongyang. Previously, Trump hinted at a more understanding position on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, noting that he “assumed power at a young age” and was “a pretty smart cookie.” The overall mood in the US was one of outrage. Prominent Republican senator John McCain declared that Warmbier had been “murdered by the Kim Jong-un regime” and said the US “cannot and should not tolerate the murder of its citizens by hostile powers.” CNN mourned the news as tragic and quoted his family as saying “we would never hear his voice again.” In another troubling signal, even experts with closer ties to North Korea are voicing their condemnation. Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who has visited North Korea several times, said he felt “saddened and angry” and demanded that North Korea “disclose what happened to Otto, fully, to the international community.” With US public opinion toward North Korea souring, the Trump administration is likely to find itself having to present some sort of response to Pyongyang. The Washington Post predicted the administration or Congress could ban or restrict travel to North Korea by US citizens. “Otto’s fate deepens my Administration’s determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency,” Trump said in a statement on June 19, hinting that he may take measures such as a travel ban.

North Korean report author says virus killed Otto Warmbier | Daily Mail Online A retired Australian judge who interviewed survivors of North Korean torture camps says Otto Warmbier (pictured) was jailed in a prison where dead bodies had been turned into fertiliser.

North Korea says U.S. student’s death a ‘mystery to us as well’ | Reuters North Korea said on Friday the death of U.S. university student Otto Warmbier soon after his return home was a mystery and dismissed accusations that he had died because of torture and beating during his captivity as “groundless”.

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un uses terrifyingly creative methods to kill enemies | Fox News From siccing wild dogs to gunning down his enemies with artillery meant for taking out planes, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has built a reputation for dispatching with extreme prejudice all those who cross him.

How America Could End Up in an Unexpected War with China | The National Interest Blog The Chinese are prepared to yield before superior force, but are not prepared to concede that America always will possess that edge.


Foreign Policy Reports


George Soros: United Kingdom Is Reaching the ‘Tipping Point’ – Market Realist  On June 20, 2017, billionaire investor George Soros warned that the United Kingdom is reaching the “tipping point” as Brexit negotiations continue.

‘Fair’ or ‘vague’? EU sizes up May’s Brexit rights offer | Reuters Theresa May said her offer to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in Britain after Brexit was “very fair and very serious”, but her EU peers were skeptical, with Belgium’s leader saying it could contain a nasty “cat-in-the-bag” surprise.

Brexit: Juncker says UK rights offer ‘not sufficient’ – BBC News The UK needs to do more to reassure EU nationals about their future after Brexit, top official says.EU Extends Sanctions Against Russia  BRUSSELS — European Union leaders have agreed to extend the bloc’s economic sanctions against Russia by six months until January 31. The 28 EU heads of state and government made the decisio…

The Kremlin’s Amplifiers in Germany – To Inform is to Influence  As Germany prepares for elections in September, concerns have risen over the potential for interference by outside forces, especially Russia. Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken of the danger of “social bots,” automated accounts which masquerade as humans to distort discussions on social media. The head of German domestic intelligence has warned of potential Russian hacking…
Macron says Eastern Europe ‘betrayed’ EU, Polish FM wants explanation – Radio Poland :: News from Poland Poland’s foreign minister has said he hopes the French president will explain himself to Poles over comments that Eastern European countries “betrayed” the European Union.

Macron arrives at first EU summit with proposals on eurozone, defence – Europe – RFI French President Emmanuel Macron attended his first European Union summit on Thursday. The newly elected head of state has pledged to breathe new life into the EU – exactly one year after the UK voted to leave the EU.

Emmanuel Macron: ‘Europe is not a supermarket’ – POLITICO ‘We have to promote a Europe that goes toward greater economic and social wellbeing,’ French president told newspapers ahead of Brussels summit.
EU army – Europe set to ‘cross the Rubicon’ in march towards unified defence | Politics | News | Express.co.uk EUROPEAN leaders are set to “cross the Rubicon” on the march towards a single European defence policy tomorrow when they approve concrete plans for the creation of a permanent centralised command structure.

Washington Might Feel the Chill of a More United European Defense President Donald Trump may have succeeded beyond his wildest imagination in his Europe/NATO policies. He boasts he has made our European allies do things t

European Union flexes muscles with ‘historic’ defence plan It’s their the EU’s most ambitious defence plan for decades, a multi-billion-euro weapons fund, shared financing for battle groups and missions abroad.


US Domestic Policy Reports


House defense bill to counter threats from Russia, North Korea | TheHill The bill would also authorize millions for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, meant to help train and equip that country’s military. “It does continue to include military assistance to Ukraine and encouragement that the administration provide lethal assistance so the Ukrainian can defense themselves against the aggression that is coming at them from the east,” Thornberry said. Relations between Washington and Moscow have been tense since 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea and began supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine. Thornberry’s comments come as the State Department on Thursday condemned Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine for “violence and intimidation” against civilian members of the aid group Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in the region.

U.S. House Speaker Wants To Move Quickly On Russian Sanctions Bill The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan has said he wants to move quickly on a Senate bill imposing new sanctions on Russia and Iran even as congressional committees worked t…

Andy Kuchins | New Sanctions Bill Leaves Trump with Fewer Options on Russia — Valdai Club There are several important factors with the proposed new Congressional sanctions that would strike a major blow at an already tempestuous and conflict-ridden US-Russia relationship. The hacking issue is especially explosive as it is likely that additional evidence will come out in the ongoing investigation to provide greater credence to the extent of the Kremlin’s efforts, and it is impossible to imagine that Mr. Putin will ever admit Kremlin-directed Russian interference.

Senate expected to pass Russia sanctions bill for a second time | TheHill

Putin directed election hacking – To Inform is to Influence Vladimir Putin was directly involved in hacking the 2016 election, the Washington Post reports, leading off an 8,000-word deep dive into what the U.S. intelligence community knew and what then-President Barack Obama tried to do about Russian efforts to “to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race” and, in fact, to “defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.” WaPo: “The White House debated various options to punish Russia, but facing obstacles and potential risks, it ultimately failed to exact a heavy toll on the Kremlin for its election interference.” If you don’t want to read the whole thing, the Post lays out the main findings in a list, here. Meanwhile, hacking of 2016’s state and local elections databases was more extensive than we thought. TIME reports that it included “at least one successful attempt to alter voter information, and the theft of thousands of voter records that contain private information like partial Social Security numbers.” Current and former officials tell TIME that a county voter database had been manipulated “but the alterations were discovered and rectified”; investigators don’t yet know whether the hackers were Russian agents. But the theft of nearly 90,000 Illinois voter records is being blamed on Russia. Now, “Congressional investigators are probing whether any of this stolen private information made its way to the Trump campaign.” Read, here.

Russian Hacking on Election More Widespread Than Reported | Time.com   Election Hackers Altered Voter Rolls, Stole Private Data, Officials Say.

Congress hears sinister tale of Russia election meddling – Fifth Domain | Cyber A sinister portrait of Russia’s cyberattacks on the U.S. emerged Wednesday as current and former U.S. officials told Congress Moscow stockpiled stolen information and selectively disseminated it during the 2016 presidential campaign to undermine the American political process. The Russians “used fake news and propaganda and they also used online amplifiers to spread the information to as many people as possible,” Bill Priestap, the FBI’s top counterintelligence official, told the Senate Intelligence committee. While he said the Russians had conducted covert operations targeting past American elections, the internet “has allowed Russia to do so much more” than before. But, he added, the “scale and aggressiveness” was different this time, with the primary goal being to sow discord and aid the candidacy of Republican Donald Trump, the eventual winner. Russia’s actions did not change the final election count, they said, but warned that Moscow’s efforts will likely continue. “I believe the Russians will absolutely try to continue to conduct influence operations in the U.S.,” which will include cyberattacks, Priestap said. Jeanette Manfra, Homeland Security undersecretary for cybersecurity, said there is evidence that 21 state election systems were targeted, but she told the Senate intelligence committee she couldn’t disclose the identities of the states because that was up to the states. Last September, DHS told The Associated Press that hackers believed to be Russian agents had targeted voter registration systems in more than 20 states.

Russia Hacking timeline – How Obama handled Putin’s election interference – Washington Post Here is a look at the events in the administration as the White House proposed various ways to punish Russia during the final months of the presidential campaign.

Obama’s secret struggle to retaliate against Putin’s election interference – Washington Post The White House debated various options to punish Russia, but facing obstacles and potential risks, it ultimately failed to exact a heavy toll on the Kremlin for its election meddling.

Legislation for ‘Space Corps’ Military Branch Introduced By House Armed Services Committee The Space Corps would serve under the Department of the Air Force, similar to the Marine Corps which serves under the Department of the Navy.

US lawmakers launch ‘Space Corps’ legislation A House Armed Services subpanel plans to create a new “Space Corps” within the U.S. Air Force so the military can better answer threats in space.

Stephen Colbert to appear on late night talk show in Russia – Jun. 22, 2017 Stephen Colbert is in Russia, and will be a guest on Russian late show “Evening Urgant.”

 

Advertisements

One thought on “Russia / Strategy Media Update – 23 June 2017

Comments are closed.