Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 29 June 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Draft of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act includes many things that will produce apoplexy in Moscow, including “$500 million to provide Ukraine with security assistance — including lethal weapons — against Russian-backed separatists”. SECDEF Mattis points out some ground truths for the Russians to chew on: “…the Russian … leader making mischief beyond Russian borders will not restore their fortunes or rekindle their hope”. Former Pres Ilves of Estonia HuffPost OpEd is excellent and cuts past the rhetoric. Whitmore and Goble explore further the Levada poll on “the world’s all-time greatest historical figures” – Russia’s sense of exceptionalism is rooted in the long cultivated insular self-belief and innate sense of superiority over other nationalities and cultures, the same toxic delusion that poisoned Germany and Japan during the 1930s. Regionalist movements in Russia, often dating back to the Soviet or Tsarist eras, are now deemed to be proxies of the meddling West in Moscow.

Miscellaneous IW/IO/cyber topics, good essays on influence topics.

In Ukraine, Donbass ceasefire breaches continue. Very good interview by former DepSecGen NATO Vershbow. Poroshenko interview with French MSM. More on captured RF Army SOF operator. Poroshenko comments on 300 year old proposal for Ukrainian constitution. Good AW&ST review of the joint Saudi-Ukrainian An-132D program.

Russia’s toxic reaction to Syria CW warning continues. Qatar dispute producing sectarian divisions in Russia, where 30% Muslims are majority Sunni.

More on PLAN DDG, while Global Times lambasts Canberra in a Russian-style blameshifting effort.

NATO and Russian interference in Europe are major MSM themes. Interesting RFE/RL report on the Kosovo / Kosovo Pole myth.

Kaspersky becomes a major theme in the US domestic debate.


Russia / Russophone Reports


In spending bill, new muscular ways that the Pentagon could deter Russian military action – The Washington Post The Senate Armed Service Committee called Wednesday for new measures to counter adversarial Russian actions abroad, including the establishment of a new offensive ground-based missile program, a prohibition on the Defense Department using a Russian company’s computer software, and a requirement that the Pentagon report to lawmakers about Russian hybrid warfare. The committee’s version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, approved Wednesday night, also included $500 million to provide Ukraine with security assistance — including lethal weapons — against Russian-backed separatists. And it extends existing prohibitions on the Pentagon cooperating directly with the Russia military following Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.Pentagon Chief Accuses Putin Of International ‘Mischief’U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of making international “mischief.” In a June 28 speech commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II, Mattis said the Russian “leader making mischief beyond Russian borders will not restore their fortunes or rekindle their hope.” Mattis made the speech at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Mattis said Russia has chosen to challenge the “secure and peaceful” postwar order — sending relations between Moscow and the West to lows unseen since the Cold War amid rancor over Moscow’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014, its backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine, its alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and other issues.

Mattis Addresses Audience at Marshall Plan Commemoration DoD News June 28, 2017 | 19:14 Defense Secretary Jim Mattis attends the 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch, Germany, June 28, 2017.

Toomas Hendrik Ilves I We Must Ensure Democratic Integrity In The Digital Age | HuffPost Politicians, news outlets and social media companies will have to police themselves ― otherwise, the government will.

How much of a threat does Russia pose, and to whom? – BBC News What is behind Russia’s push to modernise its military, and is Nato taking it seriously enough?
The Daily Vertical: We Own History (Transcript)The recent Levada Center poll on whom Russians view as the world’s all-time greatest historical figures is revealing. And this is not just because Josef Stalin came out on top and Vladimir Putin came in second — although these things are revealing. It’s also revealing because not a single foreigner even made the top dozen and only three made the top 20. The highest ranking foreigner was Napoleon Bonaparte, who ranked 14th. Albert Einstein came in 16th and Sir Isaac Newton came in 19th — both behind Leonid Brezhnev, who ranked 15th. Moreover, of the top 10 people Russians view as the world’s greatest historical figures, five — Stalin, Putin, Vladimir Lenin, and tsars Peter I and Catherine II — are Soviet or Russian leaders. And other than Napoleon, not a single foreign leader even made the top 20. Now any poll of this type is going to naturally be skewed toward the country where it is conducted. But these results show a particularly inward-looking country that is in a particularly nationalistic mood. As political analyst Aleksei Makarkin writes in the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, the poll shows that at this point in their history, Russians “undoubtedly see themselves as the center of the world, and foreign history doesn’t interest them very much.” And I would add that this lack of interest is something Putin’s regime counts on as it allows the Kremlin to spin, twist, and propagate history in a manner that suits its needs.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: No Foreigner Cracked Russians’ Top Ten Statesmen of All Times and Places Paul Goble Staunton, June 28 – The Levada Center poll concerning whom Russians see as the most outstanding statesmen of all times and places has attracted most attention because it found that they list Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin as number one with Vladimir Putin and Aleksandr Pushkin tied for second. But perhaps equally important is that Russians did not list a single non-Russian in the top dozen: the highest ranked of those was Napoleon at 14th place. But as Aleksey Makarkin points out, there is in that too “not a little of Russian patriotism” because of “pride about a victory over such a great military commander” (mk.ru/politics/2017/06/27/stalin-kak-obedinitel-polozhitelnye-ocenki-deyatelnosti-generalissimusa-primiryayut-lyudey.html). For Russians who took part in this poll, “Russia is undoubtedly the center of the world, and foreign history interests them not very much.” Indeed, they are inclined to list as outstanding statesmen Russian poets and novelists before considering any political leader from any other country. But the most important finding of the poll that must be explained, the Moscow commentator says, is the extremely high support Russians now display for Stalin. “The simplest and completely true explanation of this phenomenon,” Makarkin says, “lies in the authoritarian culture characteristic of Russian society.” Russian society doesn’t respect institutions very much. Instead, it places its bets “on a strong and just leader capable of imposing order.” And despite what many think, the 1990s were not an exception in this regard. Many saw Boris Yeltsin at least initially as a strong leader who could make changes. Only later did that change, the Moscow commentator continues. But something far more fundamental is at work, Makarkin says. Stalin “unites people who on other issues support very different views.” That is possible because there are in effect many Stalins, and different people now can support that Stalin they find most attractive ignoring all the others. Thus, some Russians may support Stalin because they are loyal to the current regime, but only “if they see in Putin a continuer of the course of the Soviet leader.” But others may support him precisely because they reject Putin, viewing him as insufficiently tough and aggressive and thus comparing him unfavorably with Stalin. Other present-day Stalinists may be Russians who suffered in the 1990s and remember Stalin as an ascetic leader who cracked down hard and justifiably against the bourgeoisie. And still other “Stalinists” can be found among those who view the Soviet leader as “’an effective manager’” and as the man who won the war. “In this way,” Makarkin says, “Stalinism penetrates into various social groups. The common cause is a lack of empathy and in the atomization of society which can be united only for a time and only against an enemy which it is shown on the television screen.” The sufferings of others simply aren’t that important to them. That helps to unite a society which is otherwise not united, but what must be remembered, Makarkin continues, is that not one of these groups “would want to live in Stalin’s times. No one would want to be pulled from his warm bed and carried off by the secret police. No one would want to lose his property, not to speak about his life.” At the same time, he concludes, one shouldn’t see this lack of interest as a good thing because “the justification of Stalinism by an enormous segment of Russians doesn’t testify to the moral health of society.” Instead, it testified to exactly the reverse, even if those who name him an outstanding leader don’t really want to live under all the various Stalins he represented.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Sees West Behind Regionalist Threats to Russia’s Territorial Integrity Paul Goble Staunton, June 28 – The first session of the Federation Council Commission on Countering Hostile Interference in the Affairs of Russia suggests that there has been a significant change in Moscow’s concerns. No longer is Western support for non-Russians the primary problem but rather Western backing for opposition movements and regionalism. Given that the expression of such views is likely a harbinger of where Moscow will crack down next and hardest, opposition groups and regionalist movements are more likely to be the next target than ethno-nationalist ones, a major change in focus that in turn suggests the Russian leadership has reached two main conclusions. On the one hand, this shift suggests the Kremlin is now focusing on the increasingly active opposition movements and especially the young people who support them despite never having known any other Russia than the one ruled by Putin, a shift that many have argued reflects the center’s concerns about participation and voting in the upcoming presidential vote. And on the other, it indicates that many in Moscow now believe that the non-Russians within the Russian Federation are far less of a threat to the territorial integrity of the country than Vladimir Putin and others have maintained in the past and that regionalist movements within Russia are very much more of one than they have ever indicated up to now. The second shift is in some ways the more interesting, although it has received less attention. Yesterday, as Kommersant reports, Senator Andrey Klimov, chairman of the Federation Council commission, referred to the Urals Republic, something few in Moscow ever do (kommersant.ru/doc/3337333 and politsovet.ru/55736-v-sovete-federacii-vspomnili-pro-uralskuyu-respubliku.html). Foreigners, he said, have encouraged opposition groups, including regionalist ones, to think that the West will help them. “In my native Perm kray,” Klimov said, “the question of establishing a Urals Republic was raised, “a question that was actively cooked up from the outside.” What is especially striking is that the idea of the Urals Republic was pushed in 1993 by the then head of the Sverdlovsk Oblast, Eduard Rossel, who since 2009 has been a member of the Federation Council. And some of his followers have raised this issue in recent times, an indication that regionalism is an increasingly important phenomenon. But that phenomenon has domestic roots and not the foreign ones that Klimov and his colleagues are suggesting, likely in the hopes that they can use such charges to discredit the movements and also to justify the use of the police power of the Russian state against those who do support. (For a discussion of the issue of regionalism in Russia today, see this author’s “Regionalizm – eto natsionalizm sleduyushchey russkoy revolyutsii” at afterempire.info/2016/12/28/regionalism/).Window on Eurasia — New Series: Long-Haul Trucker Leader More than Single Issue Candidate for Russian PresidentPaul Goble Staunton, June 28 – Andrey Bazhutin, the leader of the Carriers Union which is behind the long-haul truckers’ strike in Russia, is already proving to be more than a single-issue candidate for Russian president, raising issues of decentralization of state power as well as calling for the elimination of the Plato system that the truckers want. Not surprisingly, the union leader has focused on issues that animate the truckers, the elimination of the Plato system and improvements in roads and services in order to improve deliveries and bring down prices for ordinary Russians (topdialog.ru/2017/06/26/lider-protestuyushhih-dalnobojshhikov-hochet-ballotirovatsya-v-prezidenty/). But in addition, Bazhutin is calling for changing Russian law to allow municipalities to get involved in economic activity, a step that would give them an alternative source of income and allow them to help their populations cope with economic decline; and he is urging candidates in municipal elections to join him in making this demand. Meanwhile, there were two other developments over the last two days regarding the long-haul truckers’ strike. On the one hand, the Daghestani government, which earlier had been the most solicitous in meeting trucker demands, has now reversed course and taken a hard line against the drivers (kavkaz.versia.ru/dagestanskie-vlasti-prodinamili-dalnobojshhikov). And on the other, and in the obvious hope that such reports will undermine any public support for the truckers, a Moscow newspaper is reporting that “more than half” of all long-haul truckers in Russia are foreigners who, it is implied, are exploiting the country in which they work (ng.ru/kartblansh/2017-06-28/3_7017_kartblansh.html).

Putin tightens control over Russian Academy of Sciences – To Inform is to Influence The Russian Academy of Sciences, RAS, is very much like every legitimate organization in Russia: it also either actively is involved, tacitly approves, or negligently allows illegal, immoral, and unethical activities to occur through its facilities. How Russia Targets the U.S. Military How the U.S. Could Respond to Russia’s Hacking I was personally involved in…Russia Gets Telegram App to Register | Fortune.comApp founder says he won’t share private data with Kremlin. Security for telegram users is a priority.

Telegram will register with Russia but won’t share secure data A few days ago, we reported that Russia’s communications regulator demanded that messaging app Telegram hand over information, including decrypted user messages…Telegram founder agrees to register app with Russian censorsPavel Durov to comply after threats to block messaging service but will not retain data

Telegram Messenger To Be Registered As Information Distributor In Russia The head of Russia&rsquo;s telecommunications regulator says the social-networking entrepreneur Pavel Durov&rsquo;s Telegram Messenger app has provided all the data required to be registered as a…

On The Bread Line In Russia A Russian businessman gives out free bread every month — people stand in line for four hours to get coupons for ten loaves. Official figures say nearly 20 million Russians live in poverty. (RFE/RL’s Russian Service)

Russia Says ‘Ship of Shame’ Has 20 More Years at Sea Despite U.K. Government Taunt Despite being taunted during its last trip to Syria, the Admiral Kuznetsov may sail for “at least” another 20 years, Russia says.

The Salty Shores Of Russia’s Lake Baskunchak Most of the salt produced in Russia comes from a remote and desolate lake near the country’s border with Kazakhstan. Lake Baskunchak accounts for 80 percent of Russia’s salt production. Its eerie beauty and healing properties also attracts tourists to its salty shores. (RFE/RL’s Current Time TV)

Belarus Releases Activists Charged With Planning Mass Disturbances Four activists who were charged with preparing mass disturbances in Belarus have been released from custody by authorities in Minsk, a day after three others facing similar charges were freed. …


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


Hybrid influence – lessons from Finland Finland has a long history of being a small state living next to a huge and increasingly assertive neighbour, Russia. Two Finnish experts share some of the lessons Finland has learned in recent years.

Pro-Putin bots are dominating Russian political talk on Twitter – The Washington Post A study of social network automation in nine countries, including Russia, China and the United States, yielded surprising findings.

Whistleblower shares insights on workings of Russian state-controlled media -Euromaidan Press | “Regarding all important Russian political news, call [editor in chief] Voronchenko!!! Always only quote official sources!”

How Russia and others use cybercriminals as proxies – CSMonitor.com US adversaries are offering cyber criminals a bargain: Use your talents for spy agencies, in exchange for legal immunity. One such cybercriminal was involved in the 2016 US election interference.

Don’t Want Your Cyber Attacked? Move to the Cloud – Bloomberg The latest malware attack should motivate businesses to get their security act together.

Army Accelerates Cyber, EW Integration – To Inform is to Influence This appears in Signal, the magazine of AFEA.  </end editorial>   July 1, 2017 By Sandra Jontz  About the Author The service works to create a cultural shift and curb weaknesses as divides between disciplines disappear. The U.S. Army is serious about the narrative that it is serious about cyber. The service has put its organizational architecture…

This Week’s Highlights From OCCRP – 28 June 2017 – To Inform is to Influence Donate & Support The Fight Against Corruption OCCRP on iPhone  |  OCCRP on Android Emails Allegedly Belonging to Russian Lawyer Reveal Hidden Influence on Magnitsky Case Investigations Corporate lawyer Andrei Pavlov is one of just a few dozen Russian citizens targeted for sanctions by the European Parliament (EP). He is neither a government official, nor a…

13th International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security (ICCWS 2018) – Second Call for Submissions – To Inform is to Influence This is a Second CALL for papers for the 13th International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security (ICCWS 2018) which is being hosted by National Defense University, Washington DC, USA on the 8 – 9th  March 2018. This call will close on 17th of August 2017. ICCWS 2018 is an opportunity for academics, military personnel, practitioners and consultants from around the world who are involved in…

Big Data: A Twenty-First Century Arms Race The Atlantic Council promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic Community in meeting global challenges. Founded in 1961, the Council provides an essential forum for navigating the dramatic shifts in economic and political influence that are shaping the twenty-first century by educating and galvanizing its uniquely influential, nonpartisan network of international political, business, and intellectual leaders. Through the papers we write, the ideas we promote, and the communities we build, the Council’s ten regional centers and functional programs shape today’s policy choices and foster transatlantic strategies to advance international security and global economic prosperity.


Ukraine Reports


Joshua Keating | Ukraine under attack by methods old and new. | Slate Ukraine was the target of two very dramatic attacks on Tuesday. The targets and methods used were very different. But in both cases, while Russian involvement was suspected, the exact culprits will be very hard to identify, much less hold responsible.

Ukrainian SBU Colonel Killed By Blast In Donetsk Region Ukraine says a security service (SBU) colonel was killed and three others injured when a car exploded in the Donetsk region on June 28.

SBU Colonel Voznyi killed in car explosion in Donbas, – press service. PHOTO 29.06.17 09:57 – SBU Colonel Voznyi killed in car explosion in Donbas, – press service. PHOTO SBU Colonel Yurii Voznyi was killed on combat mission in the Donetsk region on June 27. View photo news.

Vershbow: I hope that Trump will warn Putin – America is on the Ukrainian side The situation in the Donbass is rather complicated, which may deteriorate at any moment. Moreover, it is not visible that Moscow would make serious efforts to put an end to the fire in this part of Ukraine. Also, the Kremlin is worried that America after the meeting with Tramp Poroshenko will more actively participate in the settlement of the situation in Ukraine. Donbass Real Estate, Radio Liberty Project Alexander Vershbow, Deputy Secretary General of NATO in 2012-2016, told about it. Vershbow owns the famous “May theses” when in 2014 he declared that after the annexation of the Crimea and events in the Donbass, “Russia is no longer a partner for the alliance, it is now an enemy for NATO.” Alexander Vershbow added that he does not see Russia’s serious efforts to fulfill the commitments made by Moscow under the Minsk agreements. “The situation in the Donbass is complicated and may be even worse. I know that a new armistice has just been announced, but I do not expect it to last more than a few days. And as before, it is not visible that Moscow would make serious efforts that would actually contribute to the implementation of the Minsk Agreements and lead to a real cease-fire, the withdrawal of heavy weapons … In order to be able to further seriously agree on political issues, “says Vershbow. According to him, the administration of the US president is now thinking of making more efforts to resolve the conflict in Ukraine: “And since the situation is complicated, the Trump administration thinks very seriously: perhaps we should play a much more serious role and try to solve this problem. Including, among other things, because of the political problems that the president now faces in connection with his relations with Russia. And to make efforts to solve the Ukrainian problem, it means removing fire from it. And, of course, to do it for Ukrainians, to complete this horrible conflict that took so many lives of Ukrainian soldiers. ” Also Vershbow believes the meeting of President of Ukraine Petr Poroshenko with the US President Donald Trump on June 20th is meaningful and encouraging. “What exactly will be done after President Poroshenko’s visit, we’ll wait-see, but a much more meaningful meeting and more meaningful talks took place between the two presidents than many thought and assumed. Therefore, I count on the hope of visiting Poroshenko, “said the American diplomat. He explained what exactly could be done: “There are many talks among the diplomats that the Trump administration is thinking of strengthening its diplomatic influence, including the creation of a new version of the former communication channel between Nuland (former assistant secretary of state of the United States Victoria Nuland Ed.) And Surk (assistant to the president of Russia Vladislav Surkov – ed.). I think it would be useful – to try to get to the top decision-makers in Russia. Of course, all this needs to be done in coordination with Kyiv, Berlin and Paris. But if the United States slightly builds muscle, it will allow the process to move again in the right direction. “

Poroshenko: “I really love the style of Macron” The President of Ukraine met on Monday with his French counterpart in Paris and assessed the “culture of result”. 06/28/2012 29 5079
Isabelle Lasserre Le Figaro:
How was your meeting with Emmanuel Macron?
Petro Poroshenko: The victory of pro-European candidate Emmanuel Macron is very symbolic and favorable for my country and me – I promised to bring Ukraine to Europe. In addition, I really love the Macron style. I think that I did not have a more effective meeting than the one I had with him in Paris. I love this culture of result. Emmanuel Macron was clear and pragmatic. He assured me that he does not recognize the illegal annexation of the Crimea. We agreed on concrete measures to revitalize the Minsk agreements before the next meeting in the Norman format, which will take place in the coming days or weeks.
 – You also met with Donald Trump. Do not you worry about its unpredictability? 
 “As soon as he was elected, Donald Trump called me to confirm American support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence. To this powerful signal is added the fact that the Ukrainian cause is supported by both chambers of the US Congress and the entire executive power of the United States. In truth, my meeting with Trump was even better than I had hoped. I found him very open and very well prepared, determined. I think that he pays special attention to Ukraine. Why? Because among all the international problems that he faces, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, the conflict in eastern Ukraine is easy to resolve. Russians do not need Donbass, I even think they are ready to leave.
 – In the end, is the fight against Vladimir Putin less profitable for you now? 
– In October 2016, Vladimir Putin calmly waited. He did not need to act. He had expected much from the arrival of the pro-Russian Donald Trump in the White House and had high hopes for the victory of François Fillon or Marin Le Pen. As a result, Donald Trump took new sanctions against Russia, in France Emmanuel Macron is pursuing a pro-European and responsible policy. The expectations of the Russians were not justified.
– Do you feel enough support from Europe? 
 – After Brexit, europessimism could cover other EU countries and provoke a domino effect. Fortunately, everything happened the other way around. Despite Russia’s efforts, Europeans were able to mobilize, the EU once again retained its unity and values. Brexit has led to the revival of Euro-optimism. And I personally am very happy about it, because I share these values.
– Why is it so difficult to eradicate corruption in Ukraine? 
– As it goes from afar – from the Soviet system of corruption, which was deeply rooted in society and in everyone’s minds. I will object to you that we have achieved brilliant results in the fight against corruption and in the reforms that have affected all sectors of our economy and society. It is not easy to carry out reforms in the country in which the war is going on. But this, however, is exactly what we managed to do. We stabilized inflation, restored economic growth and reduced the budget deficit.
– In your opinion, what is the next goal of Vladimir Putin in the region? 
– Vladimir Putin is completely unpredictable, so it’s hard for me to answer this question. He can start acting anywhere. If I had been told earlier that he would want to annex the Crimea and attack the Donbas, I would not have believed it. Simply because this war is not in his interests. The only person in the world who knows what Vladimir Putin will do in the coming months is Vladimir Putin himself.
– Do you think that he is more predictable than Trump? 
– Yes. Incredibly.

Poroshenko on Putin: “This war is not in his interests” 28.06.17 20:01 – Putin’s aggression in the Donbas does not meet the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin. As informs Цззор.НЕТ, the President of Ukraine Peter Poroshenko in interview Le Figaro has declared about it, translation of which publishes “Иноми”. According to him, Putin is completely unpredictable and “can start acting anywhere.” “If I had been told earlier that he would want to annex the Crimea and attack the Donbas, I would not have believed it, simply because this war was not in his interest.” The only person in the world who knows what Vladimir Putin will do The next few months, is Vladimir Putin himself, “Poroshenko said. Read on “Censor.NET”: Putin’s dreams that he will be able to destroy the solidarity of Europe with Ukraine, did not come true, – Poroshenko “The Russians do not need Donbass, I even think they are ready to leave,” the head of state added.

President on the Constitution Day: Ukrainians have carried the understanding of the importance of equal rights, democratic system and responsible government through the ages — Official website of the President of Ukraine The adoption of the Constitution of Ukraine in 1996 remains a true holiday. At that time, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Basic Law of an independent state, which is still considered one of the most progressive. It was stated by President Petro Poroshenko in his speech on the Constitution Day.

“Ukrainian constitutional thought for almost 300 years,” – Poroshenko congratulated the Ukrainians on the Constitution Day. VIDEO 28.06.17 10:14 -President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko congratulated Ukrainians on the Constitution Day. As informs Цензор.НЕТ, the head of the state noted that the Constitution of Ukraine has unique historical roots. Read also: “All attempts of the Russian non-empire to stop us are doomed,” Turchinov congratulated Ukrainians on the Constitution Day “In April 1710, when absolute monarchies still dominated the world, dozens of years remained before the American Revolutionary War and before the Great French Revolution, and our ancestors had already essentially formed a republican-democratic manifesto.” The manifesto, which for many years was ahead of its time. On the Day of the Constitution of Ukraine! “, – wrote Poroshenko on his Facebook page. Near the monument to Hetman Pilip Orlik Poroshenko stressed that Ukrainian constitutional thought is almost 300 years old.

President: Complete reboot of the Supreme Court of Ukraine will ensure independence and  impartiality of law — Official website of the President of Ukraine The launch of the Supreme Court in the renewed judicial system of Ukraine is the top priority for the nearest period, as stated by President Petro Poroshenko. However, to complete the judicial reform successfully the Parliament must approve and ensure several steps.

President: Parliamentary immunity is an anachronism to be abolished — Official website of the President of Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko is confident that the people’s deputies must abolish the parliamentary immunity. Respective draft law is ready for consideration and only requires support and determination of the deputies themselves, as stated by the President.

Ukraine reports 35 enemy attacks, 1 KIA, 3 WIA’s in last day Russia’s hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 35 times in the past 24 hours, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action (KIA) and three as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 29 June from UNIAN.

Militants launched 35 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas in last day – 29.06.2017 09:25 — Ukrinform News 29.06.2017 09:25. Militants launched 35 attacks on positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in ATO area in Donbas over the past day.

23-year-old military Nadiia Morozova killed in Donbas. PHOTO 29.06.17 14:12 – 23-year-old military Nadiia Morozova killed in Donbas. PHOTO On June 26, 2017, 23-year-old Nadiia Morozova died a heroic death while on a combat mission. “Resident of Okny Nadiia Morozova was defending our Motherland from terrorists bravely and courageously. During enemy shelling, she received fatal wounds. Nadiia was just 23… “A little son has been orphaned, and parents lost their loved daughter. “The memory of the real fighter and a friend, a decent and sympathetic person who has been performing her duty till the end of her days will remain in our hearts forever. Nadiia Morozova will be memorized as a bastion of truth and integrity, as well as tenderness and care.

Ukraine Armed Forces fighters transferred Russian citizen captured in Zholobok to Security Service of Ukraine 29.06.17 15:14 – Ukraine Armed Forces fighters transferred Russian citizen captured in Zholobok to Security Service of Ukraine The fighters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have transferred a citizen of Russia captured after a skirmish at Zholobok village to the Security Service of Ukraine. View news.

MP Friz: detention of Russian serviceman is important evidence of Russia’s direct participation in Donbas war Ukrainian MP from Petro Poroshenko Bloc and head of the subcommittee for public IT systems security of the parliamentary committee for national security and defense Iryna Friz has said that the detention of a Russian serviceman is important evidence of Russia’s direct participation in the war in Donbas. “I congratulate the entire 93rd brigade with the detention of Russian contract serviceman Viktor Ageyev on the territory of Luhansk region with the full set of evidences that he took part in hostilities against Ukraine. Russian servicemen bravely hide behind the shoulders of local residents and Russian private military contractors and these detentions are important evidence of Russia’s direct participation in the war in Donbas,” Friz wrote on her Facebook page. The fact that Ageyev signed the contract in March 2017 is evidence of blatant violation of Minsk agreements, the lawmaker said. This is important to show the lying policy of the Kremlin to global society. Urging other sides to observe Minsk agreements they continue sending their armed forces to eastern Ukraine.

Russian fighter Ageev, captured by Ukrainian army on June 24, “left military service” last year, – Russian MoD 29.06.17 12:10 – Russian fighter Ageev, captured by Ukrainian army on June 24, left military service last year, – Russian MoD The Russian Defense Ministry says Viktor Ageev, who was captured by Ukrainian army on June 24 in the Luhansk region, retired from the Russian army last year. View news.

“Harness with first aid kit, grenade launcher fragmentation round, ammo. All Russia-made”, – Ukraine Army fighters in Avdiivka show Russian ammunition in Donbas. VIDEO 29.06.17 15:52 – Harness with first aid kit, grenade launcher fragmentation round, ammo. All Russia-made, – Ukraine Army fighters in Avdiivka show Russian ammunition in Donbas. VIDEO Ukraine Armed Forces’ fighters who defend Avdiivka, the Donetsk region, found Russia-made equipment of Donbas separatists. View video news.

Avdiivka still without gas due to shelling – 29.06.2017 09:53 — Ukrinform News 29.06.2017 09:53. The town of Avdiivka of Donetsk region is still without gas supply that was stopped on June 7 as a result of shelling by militants.

Hundreds have gone missing in eastern Ukraine’s dirty war – The Washington Post Abuses by both sides have been documented by U.N. investigators.

Ukraine successfully test-fires new Corsar light anti-tank missile system | Defence Blog Ukraine’s state-owned Kyiv Design Bureau “Luch” on Wednesday announced the successful test firing of the Corsar light anti-tank missile. “The Corsar missile system, developed by Kyiv Design Bureau “Luch”, successfully destroyed the target, at a distance of more than 2000 meters, in conditions of a strong side wind,” company announced at its page on Facebook. According to the company, the light anti-tank missile system Corsar has a small mass – less than 14 kg – and small size. Despite this, Corsar’s firepower is enough to destroy all existing types of armored vehicles. At the same time, modern laser guidance system is responsible for the accuracy of the shot. The Corsar light anti-tank missile system is intended to destroy stationary and moving modern armoured targets and other objects with combined, carried or monolithic armour, including ERA (explosive reactive armour), as well as pinpoint targets such as weapon emplacements, a tank in a trench, light-armoured objects and helicopters.

Ukraine tests newest Corsar missile system (Photo) | UNIAN The brand new portable anti-tank missile system&nbsp;Corsar&nbsp;has been tested at one of the military grounds in the interests of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, according to Kyiv’s Luch State Design Bureau. News 29 June from UNIAN.

Airlifter Project Heralds Start Of Saudi Aerospace Ambitions | Combat Aircraft content from Aviation Week Antonov and Taqnia envision need for 300 An-132Ds over the next 15 years. Saudi Arabia and Ukraine seem an unlikely pair when it comes to aircraft development. However, Saudi Arabia’s vision of moving its economy away from depending on oil production and building more of its own defense equipment by 2030—combined with Ukraine’s ambition to become more closely integrated with Europe and leave its Russian relationships behind—has helped align the two nations in the development of a new transport aircraft. The result is the Antonov An-132D, a modernized derivative of the An-32 “Cline,” itself an evolution of the An-24 “Coke” transport, which first flew in 1959. However, Antonov engineers say the only thing that has been retained from the An-24 is the fuselage cross-section. The front of the An-132D has a radically new profile with enlarged cockpit windows, and resculpted nacelles do away with Soviet-era looks. And that is part of the idea, as the An-132D is also the Ukrainian company’s first aircraft that does away with Russian-sourced components entirely. “Saudi Arabia has traditionally purchased Western aircraft, and the An-132D is truly that,” Maj. Gen. Ali Alghamdi, the CEO of Taqnia Aeronautics, told Aviation Week as the aircraft made its debut at the Paris Air Show. Taqnia, part of a larger Saudi state-run technology development and investment company, is the vehicle for the country’s initial ventures into developing an aviation industry and one of two Saudi partners investing in the development of the An-132D with Antonov. The other is the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), a government-funded research and technology agency. Development of the An-132D emerged from a study conducted in Saudi Arabia to examine the country’s national airlift needs. The study looked at Leonardo’s C-27J, the Airbus C295 and the Antonov An-32, and concluded that a modernized An-32 would best suit the country’s needs, Alghamdi told Aviation Week. And Antonov was a natural partner, cut off from its traditional Russian customer base after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and its support for the civil war in Eastern Ukraine. Antonov has struggled to invest in new products and bring them into service. Taqnia has delivered valuable funding and allowed the Saudi companies to garner technical know-how on aircraft development and systems integration, valuable lessons as the country attempts to reduce its reliance on imports of defense equipment. Saudi Arabia is expected to need as many as 100 of the airlifters during the next decade or so for use among the numerous armed services and government agencies. As well as serving as airlifters, the aircraft will be equipped for special missions, including electronic-warfare and intelligence-gathering. Taqnia also has signed initial agreements with Turkey’s Havelsan to develop a maritime-patrol derivative. But Antonov and Taqnia see a burgeoning export market, too. Some 1,400 An-26s were manufactured between the late 1960s and mid-1980s, and several hundred are still in operation along with dozens of An-32s that could need replacing, and some early-model Airbus/CASA CN-235s. Taqnia officials see Saudi Arabia eventually providing such a locally built platform as military aid rather than simply handing over funds as it does now. The two companies see a market for 300 aircraft during the next 10-15 years. Transport-configured An-132Ds are expected to cost around $30 million a copy. Production lines will be established in Ukraine and Saudi Arabia, but the first batch of 20 aircraft destined for the kingdom will be built in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. Through its cooperation in Kiev, Taqnia is growing its engineering and skills base quickly. Some 50 Saudi engineers have been working closely with their Ukrainian counterparts. When they return home, it is expected they will help train another 200 engineers, paving the way for fabrication of the aircraft in Saudi Arabia in a purpose-built facility near Taif around 2020-21. Taqnia officials say the Saudi supply chain already can produce around 18% of the An-132D components and plans to expand this figure. KACST Director Khaled Abdullah Al-Hussain says the Saudi side is ready to begin producing composite parts, while Antonov will focus on metallic ones. KACST expects to expand the cooperation with Antonov into other aviation projects, including production of composite parts for other global OEMs. Agreements are in place for Taqnia to become involved with other Antonov aircraft programs including the jet-powered An-178 and An-148 and the An-70 propfan airlifter.

 

Court In Czech Republic Closes Ukrainian Separatist Mission In Ostrava A court in the Czech city of Ostrava has shut down the mission of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic because it was illegal, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic Yevhe…

Both Ukrainian and foreign experts to be involved in Kerch bridge construction case National and foreign specialists will be involved in the investigation into violation of environment rules during construction of the Kerch bridge, Prosecutor General’s Office of Crimea has reported. “Today, on June 27, under the chairmanship of the Prosecutor of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea Giunduz Mammedov, a meeting was held with representatives of the Main Directorate of the National Police in Crimea and Sevastopol, the Regional Center for Human Rights, environmental experts and prosecutors to document violations of environmental safety rules during the construction of a bridge to the Crimean peninsula across the Kerch Strait for the criminal case, “the office said on Tuesday. The main directions were announced at the meeting, including the aim of preventing the destruction of rare species of life forms listed in the Red Book. Among the main directions is carrying out all necessary examinations; determining losses caused to Ukraine as a result of the construction of the facility, causing a serious danger to the environment of the Black and Azov Seas, as well as collecting evidence of violation of the requirements of international maritime law for their consideration in international judicial instances. “Taking into account the specifics of our work, we will involve not only Ukrainian specialists in the sphere of environmental protection and environmental safety into the criminal investigation, but also foreign organizations such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and other organizations. The uncoordinated construction of the bridge should not destroy the unique flora and fauna of the Black and Azov Seas. Economic entities involved in the construction of the bridge should be responsible for their actions,” Mammedov said.

High treason case against former president of Ukraine Yanukovych. Live updates 29.06.17 10:31 – High treason case against former president of Ukraine Yanukovych. Live updates … View news.

Kyiv Court To Hold Hearing In Yanukovych Treason Case KYIV — A court in Kyiv is scheduled to hold a hearing in former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych&rsquo;s treason case on June 29. On June 26, Judge Vladyslav Devyatko decided to adjourn th…

Ukraine’s Stalled Revolution | Foreign Affairs More than three years have passed since Ukraine’s Euromaidan Revolution, in which protestors took to the streets and ousted their corrupt leader Viktor Yanukovych. But reform has been slow in coming.

Ukrenergo signs deal on Ukraine’s accession to European energy system State-owned operator of Ukraine’s united power grids Ukrenergo has signed an agreement on Ukraine’s accession to the European energy system, according to the company’s CEO Vsevolod Kovalchuk. News 29 June from UNIAN.

FTA between Ukraine, Canada to start Aug 1 – envoy | UNIAN Ukraine’s Ambassador to Canada Andriy Shevchenko says a free trade area (FTA) between Ukraine and Canada will start work on August 1, 2017. Latest UNIAN news from 29 June.

Canada completes ratification of FTA with Ukraine – 29.06.2017 10:05 — Ukrinform News 29.06.2017 10:05. The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada has notified the Embassy of Ukraine in Canada about the completion of the ratification process of the Free Trade Agreement between Ukraine and Canada.

Ukraine launches university admissions process On June 29, 2017, Ukraine launched a university admission process. Read online in the ukraine from 29 June news feed of UNIAN Information Agency. Applicants may create their own electronic offices and fill out an electronic application as early as July 12, according to the TSN.Ranok news program. Among this year’s innovations is that an applicant can submit nine applications for four specialties. The Education Ministry has also introduced the so-called coefficients to the contest score: the “branch” one will grant additional points and will be awarded to those who choose natural and technical sciences, while the “rural” coefficient will be applied to the graduates of rural schools. In 2017, the applicants passed the test on the Ukrainian language and literature the worst in all years. Some 17,000 entrants did not pass an external independent testing in the Ukrainian language, which is a mandatory subject for admission to the university.

Ukraine city to hold festival in honor of Nazi collaborator – Diaspora – Jerusalem Post Nationalist collaborator Roman Shukhevych’s men were part of a pogrom that killed over 6,000 Jews.


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Russia criticizes US for alleging Syria is planning a chemical attack Russia doubled down on its rhetoric against the U.S. for the allegations that its ally Syrian President Bashar Assad was planning a new chemical attack.

US watching for further moves by Syria – CNNPolitics.com The US military has ships and aircraft in place to strike Syria if ordered to do so by President Donald Trump, but so far it does not appear as if the Syrian government has made any further moves toward a chemical weapons attack, several defense officials have told CNN.

Mattis claims Syria heeded U.S. warnings over chemical strike: ‘They didn’t do it’ – The Washington Post But the U.S. defense secretary says Syria’s chemical arsenal remains a threat.

White House Warning Halted Syria Chemical Attack, Officials Say – The New York Times Defense Secretary Jim Mattis noted the lack of a strike in the two days since the warning, which threatened that Syria’s president would “pay a heavy price” if he used the weapons.

U.S. Military Sending Warship to Israel, Spy Planes to Syria After Chemical Weapons Report As the Pentagon claims it has evidence Syrian forces were preparing a chemical attack, the U.S. is sending spy planes and an aircraft carrier to the region.

U.S. amassing spy planes off Syria, aircraft carrier to arrive in Israel – U.S. News – Haaretz.com Amid rising tensions over alleged Syrian preparations for chemical attack, three of the U.S.’s most important spy planes were spotted snooping off Syria’s coast

Israel strikes Syria after spillover hits Golan Heights during Netanyahu visit – Israel News – Haaretz.com Fourth incident of spillover from Syria into Golan Heights this week

Russian defence company unveiled “Terminator 2” armoured fighting vehicle for Syrian President | Defence Blog The new BMPT-72 fire support armoured fighting vehicle, also known as Terminator 2, was unveiled at Russian air base at Hmeymim in western Syria, during the visit of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited a Russian air base at Hmeymim in western Syria on Tuesday, his first visit to the base from which Russian jets have supported his war effort. The Terminator 2, is a new version of the BMPT tank support combat vehicle developed by UralVagonZavod Corporation, Russia. The vehicle offers new protection and fire power especially in urban operations. The BMPT-72 is able to fight a full range of modern targets as main battle tank, armoured infantry fighting vehicles and other combat vehicles, dismounted infantry, and guided missile combat teams. The new vehicle, fitted with guided weapon system, is capable of destroying infantry vehicles, enemy tanks and other armoured objects. The multipurpose tank support combat vehicle BMPT-72 is built on the chassis of T-72 battle tank. The BMPT-72 can survive in different climatic zones, including urban areas, and in any light conditions.

Syrian President visits Russian air base at Hmeymim in western Syria | Defence Blog Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited a Russian air base at Hmeymim in western Syria on Tuesday, his first visit to the base from which Russian jets have supported his war effort. According to theSANA news agency, Syrian President was accompanied by Russian chief of staff General Valery Gerasimov. Bashar al-Assad sat at the helm of a Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jet and inspecting an armored vehicle at the base near Latakia. The base has been at the heart of Moscow’s military effort in support of Assad since 2015, when the Russian air force began bombing insurgents who were threatening his grip on power. Assad has also been backed in the war by Iran. State media also reported on Tuesday that Assad had visited wounded soldiers in the Hama countryside, accompanied by his wife Asma and children in footage screened by state media.

Syrian President tours Russian airbase in southern Latakia – YouTube

US envoy on the battle to retake ISIS’s capital: “They will die here in Syria” – Vox The battle for Raqqa has begun. And it’s shaping up to be a bloodbath.

A bullet almost killed this Kurdish sniper. Then she laughed about it. – The Washington Post The dramatic video is going viral, but some doubt its authenticity.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Qatar Crisis Exacerbating Sunni-Shiia Differences in Russia and Post-Soviet Space Paul Goble Staunton, June 28 – The Sunni-Shiia division within Islam has seldom been a problem in post-Soviet Russia. On the one hand, most Muslims in Russia today still have only a very poor understanding of the distinctions between the two as a result of Soviet anti-religious policies that left them with few able to tell them about this divide. And on the other, until the influx of nearly one million ethnic Azerbaijani gastabeiters, who at least traditionally are two-thirds Shiia — Azerbaijan is the only Shiia majority state among the former Soviet republics — there were very few Shiites in Russia; and most of them were accepted by and worshipped in the same mosques as their Sunni co-religionists. But now thanks to the anti-Iranian Sunni alliance that has been promoted by the United States and that is targeting of Qatar, the Sunni-Shiia division in the Middle East is echoing inside the Russian Federation, albeit in unexpected ways and largely for political rather than theological or historical reasons. Chechnya’s leaders, civic and religious, have a long history of making anti-Shiite comments, viewing their own Sufi murid brand of Islam as being part of the Sunni rather than the Shiia tradition. But despite that, they have been willing to cooperate with the Syrian leader Bashar Asad who is an Alawaite (kavkazr.com/a/litsemerie-muftiya/28581867.html). But recently as Nezavisimaya gazeta points out today, Chechnya has taken an even harder line against Shiism, banning Shiite publications from that North Caucasus republic and making it clear that Iran, the center of the Shiia faith today, cannot expect a warm welcome from Grozny (ng.ru/faith/2017-06-27/100_7017_chechnia.html). The reasons for that have little to do with theology, however, as the Moscow paper suggests. Indeed, it argues that “Grozny’s anti-Shiite attitude is more conditions by the current situation around Qatar” than anything else: Chechnya has longstanding ties with Saudi Arabia and the Emirates and wants to make clear to them that it is on their side. Nonetheless, the Shiites of Russia are concerned that the anti-Shiite comments now from Salakh Mezhiyev, the Chechen mufti, will have a chilling effect on relations between the two trends of Islam in Russia because as Shamil Tagiyev, the head of an Azerbaijani organization in Russia, puts it, many regional leaders may take their lead from Grozny. What is especially unfortunate, he says, is that Mezhiyev attacked someone he though was Iranian when in fact Ayatollah Sistani, whose books Grozny now wants to ban, is “not an Iranian but an Iraqi” and Shiism in Iraq is a very different thing than Shiism in Iran. Thus, Iran’s cultural centers have never distributed Sistani’s works.” Mikhail Roshin of the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies says that the Shiites of Russia should not be worried: Even in Chechnya, Azerbaijani Shiites are viewed as close relatives, “in contrast to the Iranians or Arabs.” He adds that this is all about the politics of the Qatar crisis rather than about religion. The former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan is caught in an even more difficult position because its religious and ethnic interests point in one direction and its political concerns point in quite another following the formation of the Sunni league against Iran and Qatar (iarex.ru/articles/54019.html and onkavkaz.com/news/1708-shiitskii-muftii-pashazade-ispugalsja-sunnizacii-i-vystupil-protiv-sunnitskogo-azana-i-shahady.html). Religiously, Azerbaijan is predominantly Shiite and its diaspora population in Iran – some 30 million people – is even more predominantly Shiite than that in the republic itself. As a result, Baku should be tilting toward Tehran in order to exploit such ties and avoid increasing intra-Islamic tensions at home. But at the same time, Baku sees itself as Turkey’s partner, and Turkey is predominantly Sunni. Moreover, by stressing its Sunni linkages, Baku gains a counterweight to Russian power in the South Caucasus and increases its freedom of movement, a prime goal of what its president Ilham Aliyev calls his “balanced” foreign policy. Two things make these tensions important: On the one hand, tilts toward Sunni or Shiite countries abroad by officials in the former Soviet space typically reflect political calculations rather than religious imperatives. Indeed, the latter should not be overestimated. But on the other, the population may not recognize that and may see ties to one or the other trends as required. To the extent that the first is true, many in the West may misread what is going on. To the extent that the second it, many in the Russian Federation and other post-Soviet states may see a rise in the salience of these two trends within their national borders, a development that could further complicate religious and political life there.

Admiral: Southeast Asia could be next front for war against ISIS ISIS-fighters are taking their battles from the Middle East to Southeast Asia

Australian forces could soon join U.S. to fight against ISIS in Asia Marine Corps Forces, Pacific commander expects Australia to join U.S. to fight against ISIS in southeast Asia.


DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


Ex-nuke commanders: Talk to North Korea, open NATO-Russia dialogue – POLITICO The crisis group was established earlier this year under the auspices of Global Zero, an leading arms control organization that supports the ultimate abolition of nuclear weapons.

South Korean leader vows to stand with Trump on NKorea – The Washington Post South Korea’s new leader vowed Wednesday to stand firmly with President Donald Trump against North Korea, playing down his past advocacy of a softer approach toward the nuclear-armed nation as he made his first visit as president to Washington.

Poll: What should U.S. do to North Korea about Otto Warmbier’s death? Americans are inclined to say the Trump administration should take action to punish North Korea for the death of Otto Warmbier, the college student from Ohio who died last week a few days after being released in a coma from a Pyongyang prison.

Why America Needs Missile Defense (And Why North Korea Should Fear It) | The National Interest Blog The successful test was an important step in reaffirming our nation’s missile defense program’s ability to protect the American homeland from long-range ballistic missile threats.

China launches its most advanced homegrown class of guided-missile destroyers China has launched the first of a new class of guided-missile destroyers, the largest and most advanced of its type to be designed and built in the country.

China launches new 10,000-tonne guided-missile destroyer | Defence Blog China’s new 10,000-tonne guided-missile destroyer enters the water at Shanghai’s Jiangnan Shipyard during a launching ceremony on the morning of June 28, 2017. As China’s new domestically-produced destroyer, it is equipped with latest air defense, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapon systems. The state-run Global Times newspaper said the ship was believed to be the first Type 055 destroyer, which is considered to be a successor class to the smaller Type 052D guided missile destroyers. China is still producing the latter and commissioned one, the Xining, in January. Chinese media showed photos of the new ship covered in streamers and flags and flanked by rows of sailors.

Chinese newspaper Global Times says Australia is spying on embassy THE Australian government has been spying on and “harassing” Chinese people to provide intelligence, an influential state-run newspaper said today, citing a security source.

Tony Abbott’s nuclear ambitions surface in call to rethink submarines Australia should fundamentally rethink its submarine program and consider buying nuclear-powered boats, Tony Abbott says, to better arm the Royal Australian …

Abbott urges government to consider nuclear submarines | SBS News The former prime minister says “the nuclear no-go mindset is probably the biggest regret I have”.


Foreign Policy Reports


The impact of Russian interference on Germany’s 2017 elections | Brookings Institution Constanze Stelzenmüller testified before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the Russian interference on the upcoming German federal elections, discussing how Europeans should deal with Russia’s attempts to influence European polities.

German and Russian foreign ministers trade verbal blows over Assad, chemical weapons | News | DW | 28.06.2017 Germany’s Sigmar Gabriel and Russia’s Sergey Lavrov have exchanged strong words during a joint press conference in Krasnodar. Gabriel accused the Syrian regime, which Russia backs in the region, of war crimes.

Germany Calls On Ukraine, Russia-Backed Separatists To Extend Cease-Fire German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel called on Ukraine and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine to extend a harvest-related cease-fire, saying it could help pave the way for a politica…

Former Diplomats Warn U.S. Senators Over Russian Election Meddling, Urge Action WASHINGTON –&nbsp;Former U.S. and European diplomats and other political experts are warning that Russian interference in European elections is continuing unabated&nbsp;and that both Washington an…

NATO Defense Ministers Meet To Discuss Raising Spending, Afghanistan BRUSSELS — Defense ministers from NATO’s 29 member states are meeting in Brussels&nbsp;to discuss raising defense spending further and sending more troops to Afghanistan to help the governmen…

Trump effect? Europe’s defense spending to rise faster in 2017 – NY Daily News By Robin Emmott BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe’s NATO members and Canada will jointly raise defense spending by 4.3 percent in 2017, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday, partly aimed at showing the United States they are committed to shouldering more costs.

NATO allies boost defense spending in the wake of Trump criticism – The Washington Post The estimated 4.3 percent increase came after Trump hit other members for shortfalls. But some of the spending hike was already in motion before Trump’s election. 

Is The Power Of The Kosovo Myth Fading? In the early 20th century, the symbolism attached to the Battle of Kosovo was used as a unifying force among South Slavs (Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, and others) in the process of creating the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Yet what became known as the “Kosovo Myth” also had a more divisive, darker side, not least when it was invoked by Slobodan Milosevic to let the genie of nationalism out of the bottle, helping unleash the Balkan wars of the 1990s. (The views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.)

Venezuela may be sliding into a civil war – The Washington Post A bizarre helicopter incident highlights Venezuela’s escalating crisis.

Stop Totalitarianism in Venezuela – The New York Times Europe and the major Latin American countries need to take decisive action against Nicolás Maduro’s tyranny.

Venezuela: Where daily life is anything but normal – CNN.com A daily struggle has become the new normal for Venezuelans. Economic and political turmoil regularly send thousands into the streets to protest. Here is a look at how some lives have been disrupted in the face of severe shortages.


US Domestic Policy Reports


Trump seizes the advantage in war with media – POLITICO White House staffers were ‘elated’ when they heard that three CNN journalists had resigned over a botched story.

Lavrov Assumes Putin, Trump Will Meet During G20 Summit Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says he assumes Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump will on the sidelines of the July 7-8 Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. …

Putin’s Sending a Tough Guy as Ambassador to the U.S.—He’ll Fit Right In With Trump’s Washington Anatoly Antonov oversaw Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and its showdown with Turkey. No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Democrats want House guarantee on Russia sanctions; top Republican accuses them of being ‘Russia’s best friend’ – The Washington Post Lawmakers have worked out the technical issues, but political mistrust is holding up a resolution.

Grassley, Graham want the FBI’s Russia surveillance warrants – POLITICO Grassley’s panel is currently investigating Russia’s election interference, including the circumstances behind the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

Top US officials are reportedly frustrated with Trump’s lack of concern about Russia | Business Insider Top administration and intelligence officials…

FBI Questions U.S. Workers Of Russian Cyberfirm Kaspersky Lab The FBI has interviewed several U.S.-based employees of the Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab as part of its investigation into the company’s operations. FBI agents reportedly visite…

Kaspersky: Classified Senate briefing expands to include Russian cyber firm under FBI scrutiny – To Inform is to Influence In light of the latest ransomware attack, it might be good to revisit this report from May 2017. Many cybersecurity experts are saying that Kaspersky software may be responsible for assisting the worm’s spread. One expert Tweeted today:  Still use KAPERSKY software? Get it the hell off your network I’ve been questioning experts about Kaspersky…

Russia’s Top Cyber Sleuth Foils US Spies, Helps Kremlin Pals | WIRED Ex-Soviet intelligence officer Eugene Kaspersky and his geek squad traced Stuxnet and Flame. Now he has a vision for the future of Internet security.

Senate moves to ban Moscow-based cybersecurity firm over ties to Russia | TheHill

Bill Would Bar Pentagon From Business With Russian Cyber Firm Kaspersky – NBC News U.S. intelligence officials have recently expressed concerns that Russia-based cyber-security firm Kaspersky Lab is a security risk, but have not said why.

U.S. senators seek military ban on Kaspersky Lab products amid FBI probe | Reuters U.S. senators sought on Wednesday to ban Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab’s products from use by the military because of fears the company is vulnerable to “Russian government influence,” a day after the FBI interviewed several of its U.S. employees as part of a probe into its operations.

Russia Preparing To Retaliate For U.S. Seizure Of Diplomatic Compounds Moscow is preparing measures to retaliate&nbsp;against Washington’s decision to seize two Russian diplomatic compounds in the United States last year, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoma…


“Drone Ethics” and the Civil-Military Gap Those who knew all were not talking much, and those who knew only a little were talking a great deal Jon Meacham, American Lion The discussion of “the dron….

HOW TO WIN AN ARGUMENT IN THE PENTAGON – US Army War College War Room

Electronic Warfare ‘Growing’; Joint Airborne EW Study Underway « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary ARLINGTON: After two decades of neglect, electronic warfare is — slowly — on the mend, the Pentagon’s Deputy Director for EW said yesterday. That includes a growing budget, a new (classified) strategy from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, increased interest from the leaders of all four armed services, and, most immediately, an ongoing joint study of future jamming aircraft. “Give me about a month, maybe two,” and he’ll have a lot more clarity on what’s called the Analysis of Alternatives for Joint Airborne Electronic Attack, William Conley told the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute. 

 

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