Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 28 June 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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While Russia’s descent into the abyss continues, its car bombing campaign in Ukraine produces global MSM exposure. Whitmore makes a good point – Putin needs an outrageous huge spectacle that will unite his otherwise anything but cohesive populace – is this a full scale invasion of Ukraine? Or Belarus? Or another neighbour? Interesting essays by Blank and Snegovaya. Tatarstan’s dispute with Moscow appears to be escalating. With increasing flow of cash out of Russia courtesy of oligarchs shifting personal wealth out of Russia, the regime tells the public to expect worse times ahead. Some curious reports from Belarus, and opposition disquiet over Lukashenko’s defence procurements in Russia.

In the IO/IW/Cyber area, most traffic is focused on the ransomware attack, that broke out initially in Ukraine. Joel Harding profiles a brilliant Uni of Washington course on “Calling Bullshit” – it should be compulsory for all senior civil servants in the West, especially those working on policy.  Ars Technica essay about online propaganda is good – noting that we are now observing the full scale InfoWar Schwartau and many others warned about loudly twenty years ago, and were mostly either ignored or labelled alarmists, crackpots or fools. Curiously the foolish and arrogant critics of twenty years ago are nowhere to be seen or heard these days – pity nobody compiled a list so they could be publicly pilloried for abject stupidity and blind hubris.

Ukraine has seen a second aassassination of a senior intelligence officer by car bomb in two days, the victim this time SBU Colonel Yuriy Vozny. This is a serious escalation on the part of the Russians, conducting urban terrorist style attacks to kill some of the best talent the Ukrainians have, this approach was trialled in Mariupol when SBU Colonel Alexander Haravberjush was murdered. Whether the Ukrainians reciprocate by decapitating the GRU and FSB in the occupied territories remains to be seen. Unclear whether the murders were the work of a single covert ops team, or multiple teams. Rada Speaker Andriy Parubiy observes that Nordstream 2 is an enabler for a Russian invasion of Ukraine, as Russia loses no revenue if the gaslines are closed as a result of full scale war in Ukraine, not that this will deter the SDP’s pursuit of Gazprom money. Donbass ceasefire breaches continue. Phill Karber’s interview in Kiev produces major MSM coverage, and much of it properly focussed as well.

Syria debate continues. Embarrassment as the kill of the Syrian FITTER required two missile shots, the shiny new AIM-9X missing its Jurassic Soviet era target. Good RFE/RL explainer on terrorist use of quadcopter RPVs.

DPRK says it will negotiate with the US, but insists on the absence of China, likely hoping American negotiators will be more gullible than Chinese ones.

In the domestic US debate on Russian, Manafort and CNN firings are very active topics.


Russia / Russophone Reports


The Daily Vertical: Putin’s Next Spectacle (Transcript) The Kremlin needs a new distraction. Russia’s rulers need a new story to tell. Vladimir Putin needs a new bright shiny object to wave in front of the Russian people. And if recent experience is any guide, Putin’s next spectacle, the Kremlin’s next bit of dramaturgy, the regime’s next manufactured crisis is probably coming pretty soon. It might be in Ukraine. It might be in the Caucasus. It might be in the Baltics. It might be in the Balkans. Or it might be at home. WATCH Today’s Daily Vertical But this has, after all, pretty much been the standard operating procedure every time the Kremlin loses control of the narrative, every time the regime is on the defensive, every time the story it’s been telling about why Putin and his cronies need to rule indefinitely gets stale. It happened back in 2011-2012, when the narrative about how Putin brought Russia stability and prosperity lost its resonance and mass protests shook the regime. That time the Kremlin struck back with a fierce crackdown on dissent and a new story about how Russia was the defender of so-called traditional values. It happened again in 2013-2014, when Aleksei Navalny’s surprisingly strong showing in Moscow’s mayoral election was followed by the example of the Euromaidan uprising in Ukraine. The Putin regime answered that time with the annexation of Crimea, the war in the Donbas, and a story about the revival of empire. And now, the current round of nationwide anticorruption protests have again put the Kremlin in that familiar place. Putin again needs a new story to tell the Russian people to justify his rule. We’re waiting for Putin’s next spectacle. And that makes this a very dangerous moment.

Stephen Blank | How History Will Remember Vladimir Putin To paraphrase Pravda in 1929, Putin is the Stalin of today. Nobody since Stalin’s death has achieved such longevity or uncontested power over Russia as Putin has. Nevertheless, tomorrow he may be remembered as the Brezhnev of today, for he has presided over a galloping stagnation of the economy and public morality. At the same time, like many former Russian leaders—including Brezhnev, Stalin, and Nicholas I—he seeks to imprison Russia in a straightjacket of repression and mandated official thinking that glorifies autocracy and Russian state nationalism. Under Nicholas I, this system was called “official nationality” and it put Russia into an ice age during the last years of his reign. Other despots like Alexander III, Stalin, and Brezhnev presided over such stagnation after they refused to make any reforms that might weaken their leadership and it became clear that their governments had nothing to offer. The results of such policies are well known to Russian historians and observers and are of particular significance on this centennial anniversary of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Today, the same phenomenon is apparent under Putin. Nevertheless, recent trends suggest that the pressure inside Putin’s regime is growing steadily. The generational and geographic scope of the anti-regime demonstrations of June 12 and at his June 15 call-in show point to a widespread disenchantment with Putin’s regime among the most volatile generation: the young. This is everywhere and always a dangerous sign for the stability of despots. Nor is dissatisfaction confined to the intelligentsia or professional classes, as the increase in strikes in the last few years—including the ongoing truckers’ strike—as well as growing emigration and the increasing demographic, health, and economic crises suggest. There is reason to suspect that the stagnation will worsen, intensify, and potentially result in a sudden upheaval based on an unexpected incident or crisis. This upheaval may not constitute a revolution, but it will be a shock to the system and belie the government’s efforts to assure everyone that Russia is on the right track domestically. Many analysts in the West and in Russia dispute this formulation, even if they acknowledge the scope of the overall crisis. They invoke public opinion polls, Russians’ capacity for endurance and suffering, the absence of alternative leadership, the strength of repression, and the weakness of the opposition. All of these are factors that must be taken into account. However, none of them appears to have convinced the key audience that the regime can simply ignore the mounting protests. That audience, of course, is Vladimir Putin. The increasing intensity, pervasiveness, and coerciveness of repressive activity strongly suggests that he feels the ground shifting beneath his feet. Perhaps the most telling example of the regime’s fears can be found in recent decrees outlining the subordination of the Russian Army to the forces of the National Guard, as the latter organization attempts to fulfill its mission to forcefully suppress unrest. The National Guard, a force of about 400,000, may be likened to the Praetorian Guard in ancient Rome, whose mission was protection of the Emperor. Their function is to protect Putin and his regime. This guard exists alongside the regular forces of the Ministry of Interior, FSB, border, railroad, regular army troops, and hundreds of thousands of other paramilitary forces. The potential subordination of the army to the guard is, as Russian observers note, unprecedented in Russian history. It graphically underscores just how afraid the regime is of its own people and how it is prepared to drown any unrest in blood. In other words, Putin is not only prepared to wage wars of aggression against Russia’s neighbors and potentially members of NATO, he is also getting ready to wage war against his own people. Putin and his entourage have no intention of emulating Gorbachev and leaving without a fight. Instead, they will defend their kleptocracy with force. The increasing militarization inherent in these new decrees, other forms of repression, spending priorities on defense, and the refusal to abandon the current economic structure that provides maximum rents to the elite is powerful evidence that the regime does not believe its own story about its prospects for stability. In this respect, Putin’s determination to impose his regime upon Russia well into the future even surpasses that of Brezhnev and his Tsarist forbears. Stalin, of course, remains in a class by himself, making the analogy at the beginning of this article even more telling. Historians write that Nicholas I’s regime was a mistake, and that Stalin’s reign was a catastrophe for the Soviet people. What verdict will historians give of a would-be Tsar who has shown that he is prepared to inflict a strategy of last resort upon his citizens? If the collapse of the USSR was a major catastrophe of the twentieth century, what can we say about what looks to be the increasingly inevitable collapse of Putinism?

Maria Snegovaya | ‘The Putin Interviews’ and the Kremlin’s Useful Idiot | Intersection “The Interviews” may be more instrumental for the Kremlin than it seems at the first sight

Window on Eurasia — New Series: If Moscow Doesn’t Extend Power-Sharing Accord with Kazan, There Will be Problems in Tatarstan and for RussiaPaul Goble Staunton, June 26 – Moscow’s Kommersant reports today that an anonomous source in the Presidential Administration says that there will not be any new power-sharing agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tatarstan and thus the present accord will be allowed to lapse. The paper says opposition in the Kremlin has been led by Sergey Kiriyenko, who is now in charge of domestic affairs within the Presidential Administration but who a decade ago was presidential plenipotentiary in the Volga Federal District and helped prepare the extension of the accord which was originally signed after Tatarstan (like Chechnya) refused to sign the federation treaty (kommersant.ru/doc/3336514). The original power-sharing accord on the delimitation of authority between the Russian Federation and Tatarstan was signed in 1994 by the two presidents of those republics, Boris Yeltsin and Mintimer Shaymiyev respectively. It specified that the republic had the right to its own laws, taxes and citizenship. The revised accord, signed in 2007 for a ten-year period, reduced the powers of Tatarstan relative to the Russian Federation but allowed Kazan the right to adjust laws to its own conditions, have its own special passport inserts, and require that any president of the republic know both state languages, Russian and Tatar. In recent months, Tatar nationalists and Tatar leaders both past and present have pressed for the extension of the power-sharing accord, with Shaymiyev specifying repeatedly that it simply needs to be extended and does not require renegotiation as was the case with the first treaty a decade ago. As Kommersant acknowledges, it is still not clear that there will not be a last-minute announcement of a new treaty. (The treaty will lapse only in July.) Members of the Duma and the Federation Council the paper contacted couldn’t see for certain but indicated that the whole issue was so sensitive that no one should talk about it. If the treaty isn’t extended, the World Congress of Tatars will take up the issue at its congress in August; and the All-Tatar Social Center will press for more radical solutions including some kind of unilateral action by Kazan. But the big loser will be the current president of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov. Not only would he likely then lose his title as president – Tatarstan is the only federal subject which still has a president, an arrangement it bases on the current power-sharing accord – but he would lose much of his standing among Tatars who see the accord, as limited as it is, as a surety of their special, even unique status within the Russian Federation. That may be exactly why Kiriyenko is opposed to extending the treaty. Clearly, Kommersant suggests, he does not have warm feelings for the leaders of Tatarstan as a result of the difficulties of negotiating the 2007 accord. And now, he may be taking his revenge from his new vantage point in the Kremlin. But a weakened Tatarstan may become a less stable one, with nationalists pushing for more radical measures and some in the republic government possibly seeking to exploit them against Moscow. And such instability given Tatarstan’s geographic location and influence could have serious consequences well beyond its borders. Up to now, most analysts have pointed to the ways in which the end of the power-sharing arrangement will mean the strengthening of Moscow and the final victory of the power vertical over regional elites. But that may be a misreading, and one Ukrainian commentator, Sergey Ilchenko, has suggested that the end of treaty relations could lead to Tatarstan’s independence and ultimately the disintegration of the Russian Federation. In an article in Kyiv’s Delovaya stolitsa today, he argues that the end of the treaty arrangement could mean that “Tatarstan will not be a subject of the Rusain Federation but an independent state that has been recognized as such by Russia” by earlier treaties (dsnews.ua/world/usmirit-kazan-stanet-li-tatarstan-dlya-rossii-vtoroy-26062017220000). And if that is so, Ilchenko continues, Tatarstan’s geographic location and importance means in turn “the end of this [Russian] federation as a single whole.” That is, once the power-sharing treaty lapses, “no Russia in its current form exists.” Tatarstan could form its own foreign ministry, ask to join the UN or take any of a number of similar steps. Were it to do so – and the Ukrainian commentator clearly hopes Kazan will – such actions “could serve as the detonator of the total collapse of Russia, just as the striving of Ukraine for independence [in 1991] set in train mechanisms for the collapse of the USSR.” In short, he concludes, the issue of the treaty is far from dead. Neither side is going to forget what it means. And as a result, the immediate future in Tatarstan and for Russia is certain to be “interesting.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kremlin Now Telling Russians They Face a Fallling Standard of Living for Years to Come, Shelin Says Paul Goble Staunton, June 27 – “For the first time in the 21st century, the [Russian] regime is seeking to accustom its citizens to the thought that a worsening of living conditions is not the result of ‘temporary difficulties’ but rather a [new] norm of life,” according to Rosbalt commentator Sergey Shelin. Although official statistics are anything but trustworthy, he continues, and although the government deploys them selectively in order to make itself look as good as possible, the following pattern is obvious: production is rising slightly but because of regime policies, ordinary Russians are paying for that by taking a serious hit in their standard of living (profile.ru/pryamayarech/item/118101-luchshe-uzhe-ne-budet). It is increasingly obvious who is paying for Russia’s current economic difficulties, “the exhaustion of oil dollars, the upsurge in military and security spending, sanctions and counter-sanctions.” And “it is no less obvious who will be financing the two or three percent growth in the economy” the Kremlin likes to talk about it. It will be financed by the Russian people, who thanks to all this and to the regime’s failures, are having to pay higher prices for communal services, not getting inflation adjustments in their pensions, and thus giving without the regime acknowledging it a forced “loan” by the people to the regime. Worse, Shelin says, with each passing month, “the ordinary individual must pay more but will receive the same or less” because “even if there is some growth in the economy,” little of it will be distributed to him. “For the Russian 21st century, this logic is completely new,” the commentator continues. “From the end of the 1990s to the beginning of the 2010s, the level of consumption in Russia rose (according to official calculations) more than two and a half times.” Even if one allows that some of this is exaggerated, this “jump” was the greatest over more than the last century. “Without this, one cannot possibly understand the Putin regime” and the support it has received up to now, Shelin argues. “For three decades, ordinary people had suffered first stagnation and then growing poverty. And here finally was a miracle.” But that is now in the past, and the people are going to pay for what the regime has done and is doing. Given Moscow’s failure to create “free and competitive capitalism,” there is no possibility of “major private investment.” Who else can make the needed investments? The state, and where will it get the money? “From its subjects,” who will also be forced to be satisfied with domestic goods of far lower quality than imported ones. “Is growth possible in such a feudalized economy?” Shelin asks rhetorically and says that yes, “modest growth is possible.” But it will be so modest that the population will get little or nothing or even less than now once “the siloviki, the lobbyists, and the bureaucrats” take their whack out of what comes in. Russians increasingly understand this, despite their well-earned reputation for putting up with whatever those in power do, the commentator argues. Among the signs of change on the part of the people are strikes, admittedly not too successful but enough to make the regime fearful and willing to make what concessions it feels it can and must. Demonstrations and protests are no longer just events in the capitals but “in hundreds of other cities” where people are prepared to assemble “again and again,” despite the efforts of the powers that be to intimidate them and keep Russians from taking part lest they lose their jobs or land in jail. And repression, always the default setting for the current regime, is increasingly ineffective because it is increasingly transparent to the people what is going on; and they are angry: “Even in their parallel reality, the bosses recognize that the anger of ordinary people is growth literally from month to month. This new reality from below is forcing the regime to change course and to try to accustom its subjects “to see in the growing poverty they are living with normal.” That attempt, Shelin says, should be “sent to the museum of administrative utopias” because like all similar projects it is doomed to fail sooner or later.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia Earned Three Trillion US Dollars from Petroleum Sales Abroad and Exported More than Half of That, OilStat Analysts Say Paul Goble Staunton, June 26 – Russian companies have earned some three trillion US dollars from the sale of oil and gas abroad since Vladimir Putin came to power; but instead of using this money to increase the capitalization of these firms or to transform the economy, Russians have exported more than half of that to foreign accounts and the purchase of property abroad. That is the conclusion of analysts at the Oilstat portal in an unusually detailed article which suggests that the Putin years for Russia have been ones of missed opportunities at home although they have left the wealthiest Russians and the state with an enormous amount of money abroad that can be used for various purposes (oilstat.ru/analytics/121578). Between 2002 and the end of 2016, they say, “Russia received additional income of approximately three trillion US dollars from the export of fuel and other goods. These means could have changed the mono-cultural economy of Russia,” they argue. But “this didn’t happen. And so, where did all these trillions go?” They didn’t go to the increase in the capitalization of the companies involved. In fact, these companies had to come to the Russian state for assistance, something that should not have been needed had they retained these profits. A portion went to funding the sovereign fund and hard currency reserves and for financing an increase in foreign investment in Russia. But, Oilstat says, “the main part of the money was sent abroad on the private accounts of the constantly growing group of the wealthiest citizens of Russia who actively worked in foreign financial markets or in property markets.” What it did not go into abroad was into investments that would send earnings back to Russia, as one might have expected. According to the Russian Central Bank, this export of money out of Russia amounted to 1.56 trillion US dollars. Independent analysts suggest that number may in fact understate the amount. “Wealthy Russians have put billions in their own accounts in foreign banks and brokerage accounts or in property. And although a significant part of the transfers … were carried on a legal basis, analysts recognize, Oilstat says, that much of it went via uncontrolled and illegal channels. That means, although Oilstat’s analysts don’t say this, that there is an enormous amount of money in the hands of oligarchs who working with the Kremlin on whom they depend for their standing can deploy it for political as well as economic goals, thus creating a dangerous new challenge for the international community.

Vladimir Putin Is Trying to Get Down With the Cool Kids | Foreign Policy After years of wooing the middle-aged and elderly, the Kremlin is attempting to court young voters. And it’s extremely awkward.

Noted Russian Defense Lawyer Balks At Moscow Law School’s Tribute To Stalin Respected Russian defense attorney and legal scholar Genri Reznik has resigned from the faculty of the Moscow State Law Academy to protest the installation there of a plaque commemorating a 192…

Jury Deliberating For Second Day In Case Of Accused Nemtsov Killers The jury in the trial of five men who are charged in connection with the 2015 killing of opposition politician and former Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov is continuing deliberation…

Russian Anti-Doping Agency Given Go-Ahead To Start Testing Athletes Again The World Anti-Doping Agency has partly restored drug-testing duties to Russia's anti-doping agency. RUSADA was suspended in 2015 when its staff was accused of helping to cover up athletes&#39…

U.S. Lawmakers Condemn Violence Against Gays in Chechnya U.S. lawmakers have condemned violence targeting gay men in the Russian region of Chechnya. The House of Representatives voted on June 27 in favor of a resolution calling on Chechen officials t…

FIFA Releases World Cup Corruption Probe After Leaks Soccer's world governing body, FIFA, has released the full text of a controversial investigative report into bidding by Russia and Qatar for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups after the report wa…

Convicted Of Defamation, Former Kursk Oblast Lawmaker Remains Undaunted MOSCOW — Criticizing the governing authorities would seem to be just part of the job for an opposition politician. &nbsp; But a judge in Russia's Kursk Oblast disagrees. On June 26, the Leni…

Russia’s Federation Council Approves Plan To Raze Soviet-Era Apartment Blocks Russia's&nbsp;Federation Council has approved controversial legislation to demolish thousands of Soviet-era apartment buildings in Moscow. The bill was supported on June 28 by 147 lawmakers i…

Kyrgyzstan’s President Wants Another Russian Military Base On a recent visit to Russia, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev told journalists he had asked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to open a new joint base in Kyrgyzstan.

Russian Oil Giant Rosneft Says Hit By Cyberattack Russian oil giant Rosneft says a &quot;powerful&quot; hacking attack has been carried out against its servers. In a June 27 statement, the state-owned company expressed hope that the incident wa…

NATO Must Learn From Ukraine War to Counter Putin Learning how to counter “hybrid warfare” tactics and defanging Putin’s capacity to destabilize the West is a priority for NATO.

Ronald Suny | Is Putin’s Russia the critical threat Americans believe it to be? More than anything else, in my opinion, Russians wish to be taken seriously. Putin still refers to the United States not as an adversary but as a partner, as he did repeatedly in interviews with film director Oliver Stone. At the same time, unwilling to accept American global dominance without challenge, he fails to face the effects his policies have on Western leaders and the broader public. He repeatedly declares he is perplexed by the hysteria in America that demonizes Russia. While investigations into Russian hacking and Trump’s campaign ties must continue, the major hot spots mentioned above will continue to smolder and may suddenly flare up. The stakes are high and Russian and American interests coincide in many areas. There are few that can not be ameliorated, if not fully resolved, through negotiation. Yet, the distance between the two countries grows wider by the day. Wrangling inside the Beltway – one of the signs of a healthy democracy – continues. But above the din, few voices can be heard calling for a more sober and farsighted evaluation of our strategic interests. In my years as a historian, I have found that it is precisely in such moments of heightened confrontation and deafness to the interests of others that unpredictable and destructive conflicts break out. As impossible as it seems at the moment to deescalate inflammatory rhetoric, I believe only discussion and negotiation offer a way forward.

Understanding Russia: A Podcast with David Satter, Hosted by Jay Nordlinger | National Review Like other readers around the world, NR readers are familiar with David Satter, the authority on Russia. His latest book — arresting title — is The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep. And he is the latest guest on my Q&A podcast (here). Chicago-born, he is a lifelong student of Russia. Why? What sparked his interest? For one thing, his father was on the left, and sympathized with the Soviet Union (as did millions around the globe). David wanted to find out what it was all about. And he did. He is a bold writer about Russia — un-punch-pulling …Understanding Russia  |  Ricochet


Window on Eurasia — New Series: Business, Civil Society Promoting Belarusianization Even When State Isn’t, Mozheyko Says Paul Goble Staunton, June 27 – Businesses interested in profits and civil society institutions that see language as key to the future of their country are promoting Belarusianization even when the government, fearful of offending Moscow is not, and that ranking – business, civil society, and only then the state works to the country’s advantage, Vadim Mozheyko says. That is because, the specialist on culture at Minsk’s Liberal Club argues, because that means Belarusianization is gradually building strength and cannot be easily stopped by the government. Were the regime more involved, that alone might offend some and limit progress (udf.by/news/kultura/158590-ekspert-ostanovit-belorusizaciyu-uzhe-budet-slozhno.html). Mozheyko says that “the state in the best case stands in third place after civil society and business in promoting the growth in popularity of the Belarusian language,” although in recent years, it has in some cases promoted it and in others “not interfered” with business or civil society. While it would be wrong to speak of Belarusianization as an accomplished fact, the use of the national language in Belarus has “become fashionable or even a trend in certain portions of society.” Business has played a major role: Over the last seven years, the number of Belarusian language brands have increased more than 150 percent and the number of Belarusian advertisements by more than 300 percent. A major reason that business has played this role is that it “thinks not about how to relate to Belarusianization but rather about how to work with it. And if it sees that Belarusian language communication, the use of the language and the advancement of Belarusian culture really works, then it accepts this and uses it in its business activity.” And that is the case even though many in the intellectual elites who have promoted Belarusian culture “continue to deny or to be afraid to recognize that this soft Belarusianization already has happened.” They note that there aren’t enough real Belarusian language teachers to transform the educational system. Within the Lukashenka regime, there are many people who would like to support Belarusianization but remain frightened by what they assume would be the reaction of Moscow. That is why there is no reason to expect the state to pursue a consistent language policy anytime in the near future. But paradoxically, the fact that the state “is not playing first chair in popularizing Belarusian” has its positive side: Many intellectuals would be suspicious of what the current government is doing if it pushed Belarusian anytime soon and would assume that Minsk would just as quickly change course if it felt it had to, thus undermining any effort. So for the time being, Mozheyko says, “the initiative lies on the shoulders” of business and civil society. But that means that even the Belarusian government will find it ever more difficult to stop, whatever fears it may have about Moscow’s possible response.

Stanislau Shushkevich: Belarusian Ruler Is Slave For Russia – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk The Russian leaders see Lukashenka as a satrap who’s doing his best to please them. Firts leader of the independent Belarus Stanislau Shushkevich told Radio Racyja the following, while commenting on the Belarus-Russia military exercies“West-2017”: – I don’t think the Russian troops will stay here. Russia made so many disgusting things, so it would have been a demonstration of banditism, a manifestation that they could do anything with Belarus from here. This is a demonstration that the Belarusian govt remains a slave for Russia. They show thay can attack Ukraine and even threaten Poland if they pleae. They see a satrap here, a vassal, who is doing his best to please them in order they would help him stay at power – these are mutually beneficial relations.

What For Is Belarus Purchasing Russian Iskanders? – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk The deal will cause a diplomatic scandal: the missiles cover the territory of Poland, the Baltic countries and half of Slovakia. Belarus has decided to get to grips with the army’s rearmament. The discussion of the contract on purchasing twelve Su-30 SM fighters by Belarusians had not been abated in the media yet, and the Belarusian ambassador to Russia Ihar Piatryshenka announced the possibility of buying anti-aircraft systems S-400 and tactical missile systems Iskander in the future. Rumors about the fact that Russia wants to deploy Iskanders in Belarus have been circulating for more than 10 years, the Belsat report says. Last year, Russia deployed Iskander missile systems in Kaliningrad region. European politicians unanimously treated that as intimidation. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said then that the Kremlin’s decision would not go unanswered. Iskander is an offensive weapon of a preemptive strike, that is, of an attack. These missiles do not comply with what is written in the Belarusian military doctrine. And even if we look at them through the prism of the “union state” defense strategy, the Iskanders are not beneficial for the country. The missiles that are already deployed in Kaliningrad cover the same territory as potential missiles in Belarus. That is 80% of the territory of Poland, a piece of the Czech Republic, half of Slovakia, the whole of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Why does Minsk consciously become a scarecrow for its European neighbors?

Is Diplomatic War Possible Between Vilnius And Minsk? – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk The relations between Belarus and Lithuania are entering a new level of tension. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite believes that Belarus, together with the Russian Federation, is a geopolitical threat to the country. Minsk is angry and indignant. Ambassador of Lithuania, summoned by the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, had to give explanations. Could it happen that a diplomatic war will break out between Belarus and Lithuania? The head of the Department of Political Science of the University of Vytautas, dr. Andrzej Pukszto answered this and other questions to Charter97.org.

Jacek Jan Komar: We Expect Provocations Before And During West-2017 Exercises – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk Lithuanian border guards detained and then took off the train a group of Russian military at the border with Kaliningrad. Four Russian servicemen in civilian clothes tried to cross Lithuania on the Kaliningrad-Moscow transit train. According to the public relations representative of the Lithuanian State Border Protection Service Giedrius Mishutis, after checking the train it was found out there were four Russian soldiers in civilian clothes in one of the compartments. When a group of four or more Russian servicemen travels through Lithuania, they are considered to be a military detachment, and they need a permission to travel through the country in this case. The Russian military did not have a proper permit. At Charter97.org’s request, political scientist from Lithuania Jacek Jan Komar agreed to comment on the incident. – Is the attempt to transit Russian military in civilian clothes through Lithuania a disorder or a malicious intent? – In fact, we do not know much about the incident with the group of Russian servicemen wearing civilian clothes. The basic information about this and other similar incidents is classified, however, if we take into account the reports of the Lithuanian special services about the growing activity of Russian intelligence agencies on the territory of the country, it is possible to assume with good reason that the incident was provoked by the Russian side deliberately.

Ukraine’s Security Service Detains Belarusian Citizen Under Suspicion In Spycraft – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk It hasn’t been reported though, for which country the Belarusian citizen could carry out his espionage activities. On June 16, a Belarusian citizen was detained in Ukraine under the suscpicion in spycraft. The court supported the petition filed by the investigators of the Security Service of Ukraine on holding the man in custody. This decision was published in the Unified Register of Court decisions of Ukraine. The Belarusian citizen is suspected in having committed a crime prescribed by Part 1 of Article 114 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (espionage). In particular, “collection of information which contains a state secret, with a purpose to pass it to a foreign state, committed by a foreigner”. The Article provides for the “non-alternative punishment” — 8 to 15 years of imprisonment. On June 19, the Disna district court of Chernihiv satisfied the petition filed by the security service of Ukraine to hold the suspect in custody in a remand prison in Kyiv. The Belarusian was detained three days before that and the case was initiated on the same day. It hasn’t been reported though for which state the man could carry out his espionage activities. The suspect denies any accusations. It is known that the man is jobless and has no wife, and no permanent or temporary place of residence in Ukraine either. He is supporting a disabled father. According to him, he has no prior criminal record. Given the above-listed circumstances, and the severity of charges (espionage is considered an extremely grievous crime) the court came to the conclusion that “there are sufficient grounds to believe that the suspect, upon realizing the inevitability of punishment, could hide from the preliminary investigation bodies and the court”, as well as to destroy possible evidence and influence witnesses.

Lieutenant Colonel Vusik Strikes Back Tomorrow – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk Minsk court will consider the claim of the rebellious police officer from Krychau on Tuesday.

Spectacular Moment Of Tank Crashing Tree In Minsk Is On Video – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk The tank skidded, turned and hit into a lamppost at full speed.

Lukashenka: We Were With Vietnamese Brothers In That War – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk The dictator told the President of Vietnam about the little-known “facts” regarding the time during and after the American-Vietnamese war.


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


Discovery: Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data – To Inform is to Influence Seldom am I as impressed with a course offering as I am with this one at the University of Washington. Far below I have a copy of the syllabus, case studies, tools, and links to all the videos. The course is written listed as under both the Information School and the Biology Department as INFO 198 / BIOL 106B but it does not appear to be currently offered. At first I thought this was bullshit. No college or university would allow such a word to be uttered within the halls of academia. Then to offer such a course seemed insane. But then it occurred to me, in this era of overload of information, of fake news, of overwhelming distrust in the information we feed on, perhaps this is exactly what we need to sift through all the chaff to get to the wheat. You know, calling bullshit when needed. A close hyperacademic friend wrote: This gets to the core of what deceivers do. Precisely. I have not had time to review all the videos, there’s only 45 of them. But the rationale is real, the purpose seems pure, and the hypotheses and conclusions are spot on, in what I saw and read. Now the key is to get this as a required course for anybody participates in an information operation, an influence operation, strategic communications, or public diplomacy. Especially you deception operations gurus. A bit about the course itself, all laid out in one place. The University of Washington, UW, has something called the iCollege which allows freer thought, freer expression, and still maintains the same standards asl Hard Science <fill in the blank> 101 – 401, which I suffered through for years. They even have a YouTube channel where all their lectures are recorded and posted, 45 in total. UW iSchool Welcome | Information School | University of Washington The course is not currently listed, I need to discover where and when it will be held again. It was held in the Spring Quarter of 2017, so I would venture to guess this course will be offered again in the Spring of 2018.

We desperately need a way to defend against online propaganda – To Inform is to Influence Despite years of fake news online, we still have no idea how to protect against it. ANNALEE NEWITZ – 6/26/2017, 5:17 PM We’ve learned something from the investigation into whether Russia meddled in the US election that has nothing to do with politics. Humans are more vulnerable than ever to propaganda, and we have no clue what…

We desperately need a way to defend against online propaganda | Ars Technica Despite years of fake news online, we still have no idea how to protect against it.

Brandolini’s law

What is the Petya ransomware spreading across Europe? WIRED explains | WIRED UK The Notpetya ransomware is said to be from the Petrwrap/Petya family, which was spotted in March and confirmed in June

Petya cryptoware to blame massive cyber-attack at companies in Ukraine, Russia – Group-IB experts The Petya cryptoware is to blame for a huge cyber-attack at oil, telecom and financial companies in Russia and Ukraine, the press service of Group-IB involved in cyber security and cyber-attack protection has told Interfax.

Ukraine ‘Ground Zero’ For Hackers In Global Cyberattacks Ukraine&rsquo;s heavy reliance on Russian technology impairs its ability to adequately defend against cyberattacks such as the Petya virus ravaging computers around the world and has helped make th…

New computer virus spreads from Ukraine to disrupt world business | Reuters A cyber attack wreaked havoc around the globe on Wednesday, crippling thousands of computers, disrupting operations at ports from Mumbai to Los Angeles and halting production at a chocolate factory in Australia.

Is This Ukrainian Company The Source Of The ‘NotPetya’ Ransomware Explosion? One company’s dodgy updates are said to be behind the NotPetya ransomware outbreak. It denies the claims.Russia’s Neighbor Ukraine Besieged by ‘Fake News’ and Hacking Years Before United StatesQuestions have been raised about how far the Kremlin will go.

Russia’s Neighbor Ukraine Besieged by ‘Fake News’ and Hacking Years Before United States – To Inform is to Influence Questions have been raised about how far the Kremlin will go. By Bethania Palma Years before Americans started using the term “fake news” in late 2016, Ukrainians had become all too familiar with dezinformatsiya, an old Russian term that translates in English to “disinformation.” It first came across the radar for the American public in the months…

Ukraine, Russia, Poland Still Grappling With Major New Ransomware Attack Companies across the world are still grappling with the effects of a major new ransomware cyberattack that &nbsp;struck their computer systems, with Ukrainian firms and government sites among th…

Ukraine / Україна on Twitter: “Some of our gov agencies, private firms were hit by a virus. No need to panic, we’re putting utmost efforts to tackle the issue 👌 https://t.co/RsDnwZD5Oj”


Ukraine reacted to the biggest hack in its history with a GIF of a dog in a room on fire – Vox “This is fine.”

As Windows Virus Chaos Spreads, Ukraine Responds With Odd Choice of Meme Government sites, banks, the postal service, Kiev’s airport and the Chernobyl nuclear plant were all hit by the cyberattack.

Cyberattack causes chaos in computers across globe | News | The Times & The Sunday Times One of the world’s biggest cyberattacks disabled computer systems across Russia, Britain and the US yesterday, freezing government departments, disrupting oil a

New cyberattack wreaking havoc globally – Fifth Domain | Cyber A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across the world, hitting companies and governments in Europe especially hard. Officials in Ukraine reported serious intrusions of the country’s power grid as well as at banks and government offices, where one senior executive posted a photo of a darkened computer screen and the words, “the whole network is down.” The prime minister cautioned that the country’s “vital systems” hadn’t been affected. Russia’s Rosneft oil company also reported falling victim to hacking and said it had narrowly avoided major damage, as did Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk. “We are talking about a cyberattack,” said Anders Rosendahl, a spokesman for the Copenhagen-based shipping group. “It has affected all branches of our business, at home and abroad.” The attack was confirmed to have spread beyond Europe when U.S. drugmaker Merck, based in New Jersey, said its systems had also been compromised. The number of companies and agencies reportedly affected by the ransomware campaign was piling up fast, and the electronic rampage appeared to be rapidly snowballing into a worldwide crisis. There’s very little information about what might be behind the disruption at each specific company, but cybersecurity experts rapidly zeroed in on a form of ransomware, the name given to programs that hold data hostage by scrambling it until a payment is made. “A massive ransomware campaign is currently unfolding worldwide,” said Romanian cybersecurity company Bitdefender, where analyst Bogdan Botezatu said that it appeared to be nearly identical to GoldenEye, one of a family of hostage-taking programs that has been circulating for months. Some analysts were calling the new form of ransomware Petya. It’s not clear whether or why the ransomware has suddenly become so much more potent, but Botezatu said that it was likely spreading automatically across a network, without the need for human interaction. Such self-spreading software, often called “worms,” are particularly feared because they can replicate rapidly, like a contagious disease. “It’s like somebody sneezing into a train full of people,” Botezatu told The Associated Press. “You just have to exist there and you’re vulnerable.”

Ransomware Reaches Asia-Pacific, Though Focus Remains on Europe – The New York Times Regional offices of global firms are grappling with the cyberattack, but the effects so far appear limited compared with last month’s WannaCry malware.

‘They sow chaos wherever they can’: A familiar actor may be behind the massive ‘Petya’ cyberattack – To Inform is to Influence More signs point at Russia, the evidence is only circumstantial, however, at this point.   Notice the cybersecurity experts, even Ambassador Geers, cannot predict when forensic evidence will become available.  The cybersecurity field itself is not being held accountable.   This appears to be yet another case of Russia encouraging, supporting, or directing a cyberattack…

‘They sow chaos wherever they can’: A familiar actor may be behind the massive ‘Petya’ cyberattack | Business Insider A colossal cyberattack on Tuesday has been…

Ukraine Hit by Massive Cyberattack | Foreign Policy Ukraine Hit by Massive Cyberattack « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

WannaCry-Style Cyberattacks Pummel Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Scandinavia – To Inform is to Influence Many reports have used the word massive for the ransomware cyber attacks that are hitting all across Europe, Ukraine, Russia, and Scandinavia. By many reports, Ukraine is being hit the hardest. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Police sites are down, hospitals, all sorts of banks, power companies. businesses and other infrastructure cyber…

Huge cyber-attack at Ukraine organized by Russian intelligence services – advisor to interior minister A huge cyber-attack at Ukrainian companies on Tuesday has been organized by Russian intelligence services and it is one of the elements of the hybrid war against Ukraine, the advisor to the Interior Minister of Ukraine, MP Anton Gerashchenko has said.

Israel goes on the offensive against hackers – Fifth Domain | Cyber Israel’s security chief says his agency, the Shin Bet, has gone on the offensive against hackers trying to carry out cyberattacks against Israel on the internet. The remarks by Nadav Argaman are a rare admission of Israel’s use of offensive cyber capabilities. Argaman spoke at a cyber defense conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. He says that “passive defense” is not enough, and that the Shin Bet studied hackers’ strategies and developed “a variety of ways and methods” on how to strike back. Israeli cyber officials are ordinarily reluctant to discuss the use of offensive capabilities against hackers.

Chinese hackers will ‘stop using economic cyber-espionage’ to steal secrets from Canada – To Inform is to Influence If hacking decreased by 90% following an agreement between the governments of the US and China, there must be some sort of ‘control’ over the hackers in China.  I have to wonder if there is a similar relationship in Russia which can be exploited? </end editorial> Following a previous agreement with the US, Chinese state…


Ukraine Reports


The Morning Vertical, July 28, 2017 ON MY MIND A recent uptick in the fighting in the Donbas and the assassination of a Ukrainian military intelligence officer in Kyiv suggest that Russia’s 3-year-old war on its neighbor is moving into a very uncertain stage. Perhaps the most uncertain stage since the conflict began. The Minsk process is obviously dead in the water, yet nobody wants to explicitly admit this. Legislation is reportedly working its way through the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, that would change the designation of the conflict from an “Antiterrorist Operation” to a “regional war,” and would classify the separatist-held areas as “occupied territories.” If passed, the legislation would give Ukraine’s armed forces greater latitude in prosecuting the war. Ukrainian officials appear increasingly hopeful that help from the West, perhaps even the defensive weapons they have long sought, could be on the way. According to Ukrainian media reports (featured below), Colonel Maksim Shapoval, who was killed in a car bomb yesterday, was investigating Russia’s war in the Donbas in preparation for a case in the European Court of Justice. And now, it appears that Moscow appears to be escalating the conflict. For some time now, the war in the Donbas appeared to be settling into another frozen conflict. But now it seems to be heating up.

Putin Uses a Wave of Cyber-Attacks and a Political Assassination in Ukraine to Send a Message to the West – Tablet Magazine Ukraine awoke today to another assassination in the middle of the capital. A car bomb shredded a black Mercedes being driven by Col. Maksim Shapoval, chief of the Ukrainian military special-ops forces intelligence. The intelligence officer was killed immediately and the Ukrainian interior ministry d…

A killing in Kiev shows how the West continues to fail Ukraine – The Washington Post Col. Maksym Shapoval, who was in charge of Ukrainian special forces, made an outsized contribution to his country’s security capabilities.

A Ukrainian officer killed in a car bomb was reportedly investigating Russia for international court case | Business Insider The Ukrainian military officer who was killed…

Ex-ambassador Of Ukraine In Belarus About Intelligence Colonel’s Murder And Sharamet’s Case: “Pattern Is Similar” – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk The investigation into the Belarusian journalist’s case can result in identifying the perpetrators of today colonel’s murder. Valentin Nalyvaichenko, a former Ukrainian ambassador to Belarus, is convinced that the investigation into Belarusian journalist Pavel Sharamet’s case can help to solve today’s murder of the colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Maxim Shapoval, who died in the result of his car’s explosion in Kiev this morning, Svaboda reports. “Until at least one resonant crime is solved, Ukrainians will not feel safe. The investigation of Pavel Sharamet’s case may result in identifying this crime’s perpetrators. The pattern is similar,” – Valentin Nalyvaichenko told journalists today. Ukrainian journalist Yuri Butusov is convinced that that there is a Russian trace in today’s murder, as well as in the murder of Pavel Sharamet. “There is no doubt that he died as a result of a terrorist attack by Russian special services. The killers’ pattern is similar to the one of journalist Pavel Sharamet’s assassination in Kiev, and to the assassination of the deputy head of the counterintelligence department of the Donetsk Region Security Service Alexander Kharaberyush in Mariupol (it happened on March 31),” – Yury Butusov said. Ukrainian media also draw attention to the fact that Maxim Shapoval headed the security of former State Duma deputy Denis Voronenkov, who was shot dead in Kiev on March 23. “In this case, there is such information, but I believe it’s too early to disclose it. There is no doubt that the Directorate of Intelligence dealt with Voronenkov’s security, and, accordingly, as the head of the special forces of the Ministry of Defense, he was also involved in this process,” – an adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine said on the air of one of the Ukrainian TV channels. We remind that the head of special forces of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Maxim Shapoval died this morning in a car explosion.

Kyiv to step up counter-terrorism security after cyber attacks, car blasts Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov announces that measures have been taken to step up counter-terrorism security in the city of Kyiv after Col. Maksym Shapoval, a top Ukrainian military intelligence officer, was killed by a car bomb and after a massive cyber attack, which happened on the same day, June 27. News 28 June from UNIAN.

SBU colonel killed in car blast in Donbas, three more injured (Photo) A member of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine, Col. Yuriy Voznyi has been killed in the Kostiantynivskiy district of Donetsk region while on duty, the SBU's press service reported. News 28 June from UNIAN.

SBU col killed, three persons injured in car blast near Kostiantynivka in Donetsk region A car exploded near Kostiantynivka (Donetsk region) killing a colonel of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and injuring three persons, the press center of the SBU has reported. “SBU Col. Yuriy Vozny has been killed in the line of duty in Kostiantynivka district of Donetsk region. The preliminary cause of the death is a car explosion. Three persons are staying in a hospital with injuries of varying severity,” the press center said on Wednesday. The press center said that the military prosecutor’s office is investigating into the accident. “Yuriy Vozny is the 23rd SBU officer who laid down his life protecting our country,” the SBU said.

SBU Col. Yuriy Vozny

Ukrainian chief military prosecutor see Russian trail as main theory behind Shapoval’s murder Investigators consider Russia’s involvement in the terrorist attack, which killed an officer of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Chief Intelligence Directorate, Col. Maksym Shapoval as the mail line of inquiry, Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoliy Matios said. “The main line of inquiry is the Russian trace. More information about the investigation will be disclosed in as much detail as is permitted by security later,” Matios said at a briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday. He pointed to the absurdity of any theories involving Shapoval’s commercial activities. According to Matios, the investigation engages four military prosecutors.

Car explosion in Kyiv takes life of Ukrainian Colonel; involvement of Russian special services suspected -Euromaidan Press | A bomb that detonated beneath a car on 27 June 2017 near Vul. Mekhanizatoriv 8 in Kyiv took the life of its driver, 39-year old Maksym Shapoval, a Colonel of the Ukrainian Army, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense reported. The detonation took place on 8:15 and apart from killing Shapoval, gave non-life threatening injuries to two other people. As the deceased was an army serviceman, the explosion has been qualified as a terrorist act by the police and will be investigated by Ukraine’s Military Prosecutor’s Office. The type and quantity of the explosive substance and its exact placement are still being determined. Shrapnel from the car flew 100 m from the explosion site and damaged other cars. Shapoval leaves behind his wife and child. CCTV footage captured the moment that car exploded. Terror attack According to Yuriy Butusov, a military journalist who had known the killed Colonel personally, Shapoval was a special forces commander at the Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR). Butusov said he was in the Donbas war zone from the very beginning of the war, actively participating in defending Ukraine against Russian aggression and in military activities in Donbas. and directed the department for four years. The journalist is confident that Shapoval died as a result of a terror attack of the Russian special services. Zorian Shkiriak, an advisor to Ukraine’s Minister of Interior, also has no doubts this assassination was a terrorist act carried out by the Russian special services, namely – Russia’s GRU and FSB. Speaking to Apostrophe.ua, he claimed that it is one in a line of terror acts committed by Russia against government officials and servicemen protecting Ukraine against Russian aggression. He claimed that because Russia is losing the war in Donbas, it has resorted to carrying out terrorist acts inside the Ukrainian state to destabilize it by intimidating and sowing panic. Speaking at the press briefing after the assassination, Anatoliy Matios, the Chief Military Prosecutor of Ukraine, said that the terrorist act was conducted by “high professionals” and that a Russian trace is the main version for the killing, Hromadske reported. Matios also gave details about Shapoval’s military service: he was the commander of the 1st group of special forces which liberated the Donetsk airport from combined Russian-militant forces, after which the groups from the 3d and 8th special regiments entered the building.

Intelligence Officer Assassinated in Kyiv Car Bombing – YouTube An officer in Ukraine’s military intelligence was assassinated in a car bombing at 8 in the morning of Tuesday, June 27. _ Follow UATV English: Facebook: htt…

Verkhovna Rada speaker sees Nord Stream 2 as military threat to Ukraine Verkhovna Rada Speaker Andriy Parubiy has described the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project as a security threat coming from Russia.Verkhovna Rada Speaker Andriy Parubiy has described the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project as a security threat coming from Russia. “Ukraine’s security, including that in the field of energy, is inseparable from European security. Hence, we are preparing to resist this newest Russian energy weapon, Nord Stream 2, which presents not only economic and political but also military danger,” Parubiy said at a press conference in Kyiv on Tuesday. While explaining the military threat coming from Nord Stream 2 to Ukraine, the speaker said it would negate the significance of Ukrainian gas pipelines as infrastructures needed for carrying Russian gas to Europe. “Russia will no longer abstain from mounting a massive invasion of Ukraine after the presence of gas pipelines, which are transporting Russian gas to the West European markets, in our territory loses its importance,” Parubiy said. He also described Nord Stream 2 as “a mechanism for Russia’s political pressure on EU member countries.”

Stoltenberg: NATO to increase aid to Ukraine in field of cyber defense – 28.06.2017 14:22 — Ukrinform News 28.06.2017 14:22. NATO will enhance cooperation with Ukraine in the field of cyber defense in connection with the powerful cyber attacks, which Ukraine suffered the day before. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this on Wednesday, an Ukrinform own correspondent in Brussels reports. “I think that the cyber attacks we saw this week confirm the importance of NATO’s support for Ukraine to strengthen its cyber defense. This is an important part of our cooperation with Ukraine and we will continue it,” the head of the Alliance said. He recalled that NATO provides technical and advisory assistance to Ukraine in the field of cyber defense, for which a special trust fund has been created and is operating.

Russian proxies attack Ukraine 31 times in last day | UNIAN Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 31 times in the past 24 hours, according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 28 June from UNIAN.

Russian military was captured in eastern Ukraine In the Lugansk region, Russian military serviceman Victor Ageyev, who was drafted in the Altai Territory and served under a contract, was taken prisoner. The BBC was informed about this by the interlocutors in the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the command of the 93rd separate mechanized brigade of the armed forces of Ukraine. Mom Viktor Ageyev, his friends and former colleagues confirmed to the Russian service of the BBC that after a short period of time he remained in the army under a contract that he signed in March 2017. Scout Viktor Ageyev, born in 1995, was captured June 24 in the area of ​​Zhelobok village, Slavyanseresbsky district, Lugansk region, as a result of a clash of fighters of the 93rd separate mechanized brigade and reconnaissance group of the 4th mechanized brigade of the 2nd army corps of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic. This was reported to the BBC by sources in the 93rd Brigade and the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. The brigade commander Vladislav Klochkov, commenting on the details of the fight with the “sabotage and reconnaissance group of the LNR,” said that during the clash the commander of this group was killed. Ukrainian media reported that the murdered was a “cadre Russian officer” Alexander Shcherbak. Ukrainian servicemen also reported that four LNR fighters were taken prisoner, including “a 22-year-old citizen of the Russian Federation, a resident of the Altai Territory.” The site of the Ukrainian TV channel “24” reported the name of the detainee – Victor Ageyev. This information BBC confirmed interlocutors in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and the 93rd Brigade, providing photographs of his documents. Photo of the passport and the military ticket of the detainee was also published in her own home by journalist of the Ukrainian television channel ICTV Yulia Kirienko.

Russia not fulfilled any provisions of Minsk agreements, Gerashchenko says at PACE session – 27.06.2017 16:57 — Ukrinform News 27.06.2017 16:57. The Russian Federation has not fulfilled a single provision of the Minsk agreements and the PACE resolutions.

Poroshenko calls to scrap parliamentary immunity – LB.ua news portal Poroshenko calls to scrap parliamentary immunity. The president says the immunity of people’s deputies hampers the fight against corruption. Main – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Yatsenyuk offers a new Constitution – LB.ua news portal Yatsenyuk offers a new Constitution. The Cabinet should have all the fullness of executive power, the politician believes. Main – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Large-scale cyber attack on corporate, public networks stopped A large-scale cyber attack on corporate and public networks is stopped, according to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Latest UNIAN news from 28 June.

NATO assisting Ukrainian cyber defences after ransom ware attack cripples government and businesses – To Inform is to Influence Roland Oliphant  28 JUNE 2017 • 12:42PM Nato will help Ukraine improve its cyber defences after a massive attack paralysed government ministries and dozens of businesses across the country. Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary general, said a fund had been set up to assist Ukraine in improving its resistance to cyber attacks. “The attack in…

EU Officially Extends Russia Sanctions By Six Months BRUSSELS — The European Union member states' ambassadors have officially extended the bloc's economic sanctions against Russia by six months. The 28 EU heads of state and governmen…

Ukraine celebrating 21st anniversary of Constitution | UNIAN Today, June 28, the Ukrainians are celebrating the 21st anniversary of the moment when the country's current Constitution came into force. Latest UNIAN news from 28 June.

Newly opened Lviv museum of totalitarian regimes welcomes visitors and researchers from abroad -Euromaidan Press | Kostiantyn Yanchenko The “Territory of Terror” memorial museum in the western-Ukrainian city of Lviv is located in a place that experienced the horrors of both German Nazi and Soviet Communist regimes. The Lviv ghetto existed here during the German occupation of the city from 1941 to 1944, then giving way to the Soviet transit prison #25 (1944-1955). After WWI, Ukraine was torn up between different countries; Galicia, including Lviv, belonged to Poland. In 1939, Soviet troops entered Lviv as a part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. However, this postponed the start of World War II in Western Ukraine for only two years, until Nazi Germany attacked the USSR in 1941. Then, the Lviv ghetto was formed. The Lviv ghetto was the third largest in Europe, surpassed only by the Warsaw and Łódź ghettos (Poland), and the largest one on the territory of the former USSR. According to historians, at least 136,000 local Jews were murdered here, which accounted to one-third of the Lviv population as of 1939.


A shocking striking fist. Russia is preparing three armies on the border with Ukraine A shocking striking fist. Russia is preparing three armies on the border with Ukraine Russia forms three armies around the border with Ukraine. One of them is the Guards Tank Army, which has more tanks than Germany and France, than all the Baltic countries and than Poland. This was told by US military expert Philip Karber, UNIAN reports. – Now we are seeing the creation of three armies around the borders of Ukraine … The first of these armies is the Guards Tank Army, which relocates from Smolensk and moved closer to the Ukrainian and Belarusian borders. This first Guards Tank Army has more tanks than all the Baltic countries together than Poland, than West Germany and France, “said Philip Karber. According to the military expert, the tanks of Russia were not a surprise, because Moscow had already said that the first Guards Tank Army would be a shocking shock fist. “The Russians also announced that they will conduct strategic exercises in the West in late August and early September, when some of the units of this Guards Tank Army will be moved to the territory of Belarus,” Karber added. Recall, Kiev plans to change the format of ATO. This was first stated on June 13 by NSDC Secretary Alexander Turchinov. Later, President Petro Poroshenko and representatives of the BPP faction in the parliament said this. ICTV facts predicted what could be in lieu of the anti-terrorist operation in the Donbas.

Western countries do not give Ukraine lethal weapons, fearing a possible escalation in the Donbass – expert Western countries do not provide lethal weapons to Ukraine, because they fear a possible escalation of the conflict in the Donbass, but this is an erroneous argument, and such a policy will not lead to results, the US security and defense expert Phillip Karber stated. “Three years of Western countries are watching this conflict, they recognize the Russian aggression, they support Ukraine, but do not want a loud escalation, they do not want to provide lethal weapons, because they are sure that this will lead to an escalation and Russia will be forced to respond to this step in the same way “, He said at a press conference on Tuesday in Kiev. At the same time, Karber stressed that this is an erroneous argument, and such a policy will not lead to results. “For three years we have seen how the military presence on the western border of Russia near the Ukrainian border increases, we need to find a new approach that responds to it.Stability and security of Europe depends on the search for a new approach and the fact that we will not allow these Actions of Russia, “the expert said. Phillip Karber also said that the military operations in the Donbass prove that this conflict is in an active phase. “After the active hostilities, which were in autumn and summer of 2014-2015, at this point the intensity decreased somewhat, but it is still quite high.” It can not be said that this frozen conflict is a real traditional war with heavy use of artillery, with fighting collisions At the level of platoons, “- he said. The expert also noted that the Ukrainian army continues to build up its combat potential. According to him, no one paid attention to the army in Ukraine for 20 years, military equipment continued to collapse, but in 2014, with the help of volunteers and not indifferent Ukrainian military could resist the aggression of Russia. “They stopped the Russian offensive in 2014, but for a very high price, I personally watched as some fights took place and it was amazing, and despite the fact that Ukraine lost many weapons in the fall of 2014, Western countries did not provide lethal weapons, “the expert added.

American military expert told in Kiev how and from where the Russians will attack Ukraine Speaking at a press conference in Kiev, American expert in the field of security and defense, Dr. Phillip Karber, president of the Potomac Foundation, former adviser to the US Department of Defense on strategic development, spoke about the bad and good sides of a possible military confrontation between the Ukrainian and Russian armies. “There are good and bad traits of this army. For example, the development of new commanders is good. The new commanders are well aware of the weak points of the enemy, “he said. According to him, Ukraine increased the number of active brigades from 15 to 22 and added four additional reserve brigades and also raised a new generation of battle-hardened commanders. The bad news, according to the American expert, is that the Russian armed forces deployed in close proximity to the Ukrainian border have a significant qualitative and quantitative advantage. “The Russian troops are closer to the Ukrainian border. This creates a certain imbalance. This creates a threat to Ukraine and the preconditions for an unstable situation in Europe, “said Phillip Karber. In addition, Ukraine can not obtain spare parts for Soviet-style weapons, is unable to modernize weapons and has too low rates of production to provide weapons damaged in combat. The latter circumstance is complicated by the American and European embargo on the supply of lethal weapons. “The worst is the lack of weapons and military equipment. There is a good human potential of commanders and soldiers who want to fight. But they are armed with old samples of Soviet weapons. Spare parts are missing – they are manufactured in Russia. And with Russia, as you know, there are no such ties, “said Phillip Karber,. He also once again outlined possible options for the Russian army to attack Ukraine and demonstrated a slide with possible directions for the offensive. “These arrows on the map are not the product of my imagination. These arrows were already in the Second World War. The Red Army was advancing along these rifles. In 2014, at a checkpoint (in Donbass), a separatist car was stopped in the year, they had seized documents from the times of the Second World War, which reflected the decisions of commanders about the fighting of that time. You have to understand what’s in their head really, “the expert said.

Phillip Karber: a new impetus to cooperation between Ukraine and the US in the field of defense and security – 27.06.2017 11:00 — Новости Укринформ June 27, 11.00 – Cooperation between Ukraine and the United States in the field of defense and security: the evolution of views “with the participation of the American expert in the field of security and defense, Dr. Phillip Karber. Dr. Phillip KARBER will provide information on US-Ukraine cooperation in the field of security and defense and on the nature of the domestic political debate in the United States on the development of such cooperation. Briefly. Phillip Karber will speak on behalf of the group of “friends of Ukraine”, which includes former Deputy Secretary General of NATO Alexander Vershbow, former US Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst, former commanders of the US Joint Forces in Europe, General Wesley Clark and Phillip Breedlove. As already reported, a new impetus to bilateral cooperation between Ukraine and the United States was provided after the visit of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko to the United States on June 19-21, 2017.


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


F/A-18 Super Hornet Missed Syrian Su-22 With Its First Sidewinder Missile The AIM-9X Sidewinder failed to bring down an aging attack jet because of a curious issue with flares.

Drones: The New Dimension Of Terror Experts warn that we may soon be seeing terrorist attacks launched from commercially available, off-the-shelf drones.

Assad during Su-35S Demonstration | RT Latakia

White House Says Syria May Be Preparing Another Chemical Attack, Warns Assad Will “Pay A Heavy Price” On Tuesday, a Pentagon spokesperson said that there was evidence the regime was possibly preparing to use chemical weapons. But many in the department were left in the dark ahead of the White House st

Lawmakers wary of Trump escalation in Syria | TheHill Washington scrambled Tuesday to make sense of the White House’s statement that the United States has “identified potential preparations” by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad for another chemical attack.

The last thing America needs is a war (opinion) – CNN.com The Trump administration would be foolish to go to war without careful deliberation, a coherent foreign policy strategy and the semblance of bipartisanship, writes Frida Ghitis.

UN Envoy Says Violence Down Despite Clashes Between U.S., Iranian, Syrian Forces The United Nations envoy for Syria said violence is down in the war-torn country despite repeated clashes recently between U.S., Syrian, and Iranian-backed forces there. &quot;Violence is clearl…

Will the COINdinistas Rise Again? | The National Interest Purging the counterinsurgency lessons of the Iraq War for fear of striking a political nerve would be a mistake—and H. R. McMaster knows better.


DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


North Korea asks US for direct negotiations, without China’s involvement : North Korea : News : The Hankyoreh Japanese media reports that for Otto Warmbier’s release, Pyongyang had asked for visit by former US president North Korea demanded that the US take part in direct nuclear negotiations without Chinese participation, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported. In a June 24 report, the newspaper quoted former Robert Gallucci, a former US State Department special envoy on the North Korean nuclear issue, and Leon Sigal, director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at the Social Science Research Council, as saying Pyongyang had communicated this demand. Gallucci and Sigal, who held nuclear and missile discussions with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol in Kuala Lumpur last October, said North Korea had relayed its intent to negotiate directly with the US to the Trump administration by way of the State Department. According to Gallucci and Sigal, the North Korean participants in the Kuala Lumpur discussions, last October, that Kim Jong-un was “nervous about the US’s approach of relying on China to resolve the issue.” The North Koreans also reportedly criticized the US for trying to use the influence of China, which accounts for 90% of North Korea’s external trade, to resolve the issue. Instead, North Korea demanded to have “direct negotiations with the US without involving China.” Gallucci was quoted by the newspaper as saying North Korea “appeared to want to improve relations with the US to reduce its dependence on China,” adding that North Korea may still hold a similar position now. But Gallucci and Sigal also reported that North Korea expressed reluctance to negotiate with the Barack Obama administration at the time. Voicing strong displeasure with the Obama administration’s “strategic patience” approach of refusing to agree to dialogue before any concrete denuclearization measures took place, North Korea signaled its intent to have dialogue with the next administration after Obama, regardless of whether Trump or Hillary Clinton was elected. When Gallucci and Sigal demanded that North Korea not conduct any nuclear tests if it planned to hold discussions with the new administration, North Korea replied that it cannot abandon nuclear weapons because it had “no other means of guaranteeing our [regime].” Ultimately, the two sides failed to find common ground in their discussions. Meanwhile, the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper reported that North Korea originally demanded Washington send a former US President as a special envoy in the case of Otto Warmbier, an American student who recently died after detention in North Korea. The newspaper quoted an anonymous North Korea source as saying North Korea had communicated a message to the US in May telling it the issue of four US detainees “could be resolved if President Trump sends a special envoy with presidential experience.” According to the newspaper, Pyongyang conveyed its demand through its New York channel with its UN mission in May and in contacts with the US by Choe Son-hui, head of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s US affairs bureau. While it did not specify which former President, it appeared to be thinking of George W. Bush, who is a Republican like Trump, the newspaper said. Former President Bill Clinton was sent as a special envoy when North Korea released two American journalists in 2009. But North Korea ultimately released Warmbier after Trump rejected the demand to send a former President and sent State Department Special Representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun to North Korea instead, the newspaper reported. By Cho Ki-weon, Tokyo correspondent Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

North Korea says its nukes are “not for negotiation” : North Korea : News : The Hankyoreh Rodong Sinmun editorial also calls out Moon Jae-in administration for ‘making a fuss’ about its nuclear program North Korea declared on the 67th anniversary of the Korean War’s outbreak that its “defensive nuclear deterrent” was “not for negotiation.” The Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the Korean Workers’ Party, wrote in a front-page editorial on June 25 that North Korea must “unwaveringly see through the party’s strategic course of combining economic development with nuclear weapon development.” “Our defensive nuclear deterrent is not any matter for negotiation,” the piece said, adding that US and South Korean authorities “must give up their foolish ambitions for the North’s abandonment of nuclear capabilities.” The editorial described the US Donald Trump administration’s North Korea policy of “maximum pressure and engagement” as a “policy of aggression against North Korea.” It also sent a measure of criticism toward the Moon Jae-in administration, which it accused of “making the same fuss about the North Korean nuclear threat that conservative administrations did, and busying itself with schemes to strengthen the alliance with the US, impose sanctions on North Korea, and rehearse for an invasion of the North and nuclear war.” “If the authorities in South Korea truly wish to improve inter-Korean relations, they need to stop fixating on our defensive nuclear deterrent and rebel against the US’s conspiracy for an invasion of the North and preemptive nuclear strike, taking practical measures to resolve the intense military confrontation between our two sides,” the editorial said. By Kim Ji-eun, staff reporter Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

US Vice President says US will pressure N. Korea until denuclearization : North Korea : News : The Hankyoreh Mike Pence also calls North Korea’s treatment of US student Otto Warmbier “a disgrace”. US Vice President Mike Pence said the US will continue to apply pressure to North Korea until it gives up its nuclear and missile programs. “As I expressed on the President’s behalf on my trip to the Asian Pacific [in April], under this administration, the United States will continue to work diligently with our allies across the region and China and the wider world to bring increased economic and diplomatic pressure to bear on North Korea,” Pence said in a keynote address at a discussion on June 22 at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. “And we will do so until North Korea abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs once and for all,” he added. Pence went on echo statements from his Asia-Pacific visit, saying Washington‘s “primary focus [is] on the greatest threat to security in the Asian Pacific — the brutal regime in North Korea.” “And my message [during the trip] was very straightforward: When it comes to North Korea, under this administration, the era of strategic patience is over,” he continued. Pence also addressed the death of Otto Warmbier, an American who passed away shortly after being returned from a 17-month detention in North Korea. “North Korea’s treatment of Otto Warmbier was a disgrace,” Pence said. “And I can assure you it only deepens our determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people in the days ahead,” he added. By Yi Yong-in, Washington correspondent Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

Ahead of summit with Moon, Trump getting daily briefings on North Korea : North Korea : News : The Hankyoreh South Korean and US presidents expected to reach a consensus on North Korean denuclearization at June 29-30 summit

DPRK to give death penalty to those involved in plotting assassination against Kim Jong Un – Xinhua | English.news.cn

DPRK asks South Korea not to mention nuke issue dialogue as dialogue requirement | News Ghana The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has urged South Korea to start dialogue without making Pyongyang stopping its nuclear and missile programs as a | News Ghana

U.S. State Department Says China Among Worst Human Traffickers WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department says more than 20 million people were victims of human trafficking worldwide — and that China is one of the world's worst culprits. In its annual repor…

China launches new warship type to boost military strength – BBC News The launch comes as Beijing is increasingly assertive in the South China Sea.


Foreign Policy Reports


Google faces years of EU oversight on top of record antitrust fine | Reuters Beyond a headline-grabbing 2.4 billion euro ($2.7 billion) fine EU antitrust regulators have leveled against Google, the internet giant is likely to be shackled for years by Tuesday’s precedent-setting decision defining the company as a monopoly.

Venezuela’s Maduro: Helicopter attacked Supreme Court – To Inform is to Influence This appears to be an attempt for a coup in Venezuela.  Unfortunately the helicopter attack on the Supreme Court complex in Caracas was underwhelming and the masses did not join.  The pilot and his compadres have not been apprehended. This is an indication of growing unrest,  The reason I post is due to the huge…

Helicopter attack on Venezuela’s Supreme Court – CNN.com A police helicopter launched a daring attack on the Venezuelan Supreme Court Tuesday, in a dramatic escalation of the months-long crisis engulfing the regime of President Nicolas Maduro.


US Domestic Policy Reports


U.S. House Votes 423-4 To Reaffirm NATO’s Mutual Defense Guarantee The U.S. House of Representatives voted nearly unanimously on June 27 to reaffirm NATO's guarantee that all members defend each other, weeks after President Donald Trump raised doubts about U.S…

It’s time to apologize to Trump over Russia | Fox News The never-ending push to link President Trump to Russia is not only absurd but even has many Democrats urging party leaders to stop talking about Russia.

How one typo helped let Russian hackers in – CNNPolitics.com Through interviews with government officials and cybersecurity experts, CNN has uncovered how a Russian “influence operation” with the US election really happened.

What Did Ex-Trump Aide Paul Manafort Really Do in Ukraine? – NBC News Trump’s former campaign chief worked for an anti-NATO party and a politician who fled the country amid charges of corruption and collusion with Russia.

Former Trump Campaign Chairman Registers As Agent For Yanukovych’s Party U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, registered on June 27 as a foreign agent for consulting work he did for the political party of former Ukrainian Presiden…

Manafort Discloses $17 Million in Payments for Ukrainian Work – Bloomberg President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, received $17.1 million for his work with a Ukrainian political party, according to a registration document he filed with the U.S. government.

Trump Pounces On CNN Retraction Of ‘Fake News’ Story On Russia Investigation U.S. President Donald Trump seized on CNN's retraction of a story involving Washington's investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election, saying it showed such stories ar…

Sarah Huckabee Sanders rips CNN, media at heated briefing | Fox News The feud between the Trump White House and CNN reached a fever-pitch Tuesday during a feisty press briefing where Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders slammed “fake news” and said Americans “deserve something better.”

American Pravda: CNN Producer Says Russia Narrative “bullsh*t” – YouTube In the recent video footage obtained by Project Veritas, John Bonifield a Sr. Producer at CNN, admits to several beliefs that are in direct conflict with the…

CNN Resignations A Sign Of The High Stakes In Covering Trump’s Administration : The Two-Way : NPR Three investigative journalists have quit after the network retracted a story about a congressional inquiry into a link between Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci and a Russian investment fund.

Sarah Palin Sues The New York Times A Times editorial the former governor described as “sickening” initially suggested her political rhetoric helped incite a mass shooting.

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