Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 4 July 2017

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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POTUS to meet with Putin at G20 in two days, while promoting the export of US LNG to European markets, a stake through the heart of Russia’s economy, and crippling Russia’s remaining tool for the subversion and corruption of European politics, i.e. Russian gas money. While Russian propagandists are upbeat about the meeting, analysts are the opposite. Russian nationalists urge a crackdown on Muslim immigration, and measures to segregate Muslim and Christian populations across Russia, which if adopted will accelerate the nascent fragmentation process. Russia’s demographic decline further exacerbated by cyclic pattern since WW2. Analysts state Russia’s recovery from current economic crash will be very slow due to oil bubble and competition for gas exports. Belarus holds major military parade (see video).

Germany, Ukraine, and Kaspersky dominate IW/IO/Cyber in the MSM.

While Donbass fires continue, Ukraine is hosting a Congressional delegation, and eagerly debating SECSTATE visit on 9th July. Ukraine tallies cost of Russian Donbass invasion at US$50B. Milov interview (in English) on Crimea depicts an ecological and economical collapse as Russia cannot fund desalination plants, while exhausting artesian wells, causing catastrophic soil salinity problems, cannot supply electricity, and support logistics to sustain the peninsula – Russia will have to depopulate Crimea to sustain it, or spend money it does not have. AFU captures Russian Cossack two-star officer.

Russian analysts speculate on Russia’s inability to defend Assad if the US opts to depose him, ISIS collapse continues, while captured ISIS records expose collaborators. Qatar dispute continues.

DPRK launches what is claimed to be a Hwasong-14 ICBM, but good data and analysis yet to emerge. Russia and China try to capitalize on DRPK. Multiple DPRK background reports, some very interesting. Excellent footage from the flight deck of the PLAN carrier, showing J-15 operations – this looks like they emulated USN NATOPS. China reboots Bhutan border dispute with India, 50 years later.

Foreign policy dominated by G20, Germany, France, China, and Russian meddling in the Balkans.

US domestic debate grinds on ….

Russia / Russophone Reports

Trump To Urge European Allies To Dump Russia And Buy U.S. Gas U.S. President Donald Trump will encourage eastern European leaders who are wary about their dependence on Russian energy to take advantage of newly available supplies of U.S. natural gas when h…

Trump to promote U.S. natgas exports in Russia’s backyard | Reuters President Donald Trump will use fast-growing supplies of U.S. natural gas as a political tool when he meets in Warsaw on Thursday with leaders of a dozen countries that are captive to Russia for their energy needs.Kremlin Says Putin To Meet Trump On July 7The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump on July 7 in Hamburg, Germany, on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) summit. &quot;It has bee…

Trump to Call for U.S. ‘Dominance’ in Global Energy Production – Bloomberg Donald Trump will tout surging U.S. exports of oil and natural gas during a week of events aimed at highlighting the country’s growing energy dominance.

Russia Hopes for Good Atmosphere at Putin-Trump Meeting – Bloomberg Russia isn’t expecting any immediate breakthroughs at the first meeting between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, though the Kremlin hopes the two leaders can get off to a good start that lets them begin tackling thorny issues, Putin’s top foreign policy aide said.

Russia details agenda for Putin’s meeting with Trump – ABC News Russia details agenda for Trump-Putin meeting

China and Russia oppose US missile defense system, would take ‘necessary measures’ – Business Insider BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi…

UAWire – China: US anti-missile defense in South Korea damages the security of China and Russia The THAAD missile system deployed on the territory of South Korea violates the strategic balance in the region, as well as damages the security …

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Islamization of Russia Won’t Happen If’ Harsh Measures are Taken Now, Russian Nationalist Says Paul Goble Staunton, July 3 – To avoid the Islamization of the Russian Federation, Andrey Soshenko says, Moscow must immediately “change its migration policy” to limit the influx of people from Central Asia and the Caucasus, force the leaders of “Russian territories to stop searching for ‘multi-nationality,’ and “not allow in the legal code the concept of the civic Russian nation.” The president of the Kaluga section of the Russian Assembly offers a laundry list of changes Russian nationalists have long wanted, but several of the details of what he says are especially intriguing and likely to have exactly the opposite impact on the fate of Russia that he hopes for ( Soshenko accepts Roman Silantyev’s dismissal of recent polls showing that already 30 percent of the Russian population identifies as Islamic, but he says that the specialist on Islam may be guilty of exaggerating the growth in the number of ethnic Russians because the data he offers are old. But in addition to calling for filtering out non-tradition Muslims from the gastarbeiter influx, the Russian activist calls for something the full implications of which he may not understand but that flows from the Moscow Patriarchate’s notions about “canonical territories,” that is areas which are historically Orthodox and thus within its jurisdiction. Soshenko extends this idea to Islam. He argues that “state support of Islam (along with Orthodoxy) must occur on the territories of the historical practice of this religion but not on ethnic Russian territories. But in practice in Russia today, everything is mixed up and just the reverse is being done.” Moscow’s current Strategy of Nationality Policy and its program for Strengthening the Unity of the Russian Nation and the Ethno-Cultural Development of the Peoples of Russia promotes the idea that Russia should become a melting pot of ethnicities in which all will be combined into something chimerical. No one is defending the ethnic Russians against the corrupting influence of this process. But what Soshenko proposals, dividing the country up into areas defined as Russian with only Russian institutions and others defined as Muslim with only Muslim institutions would have the effect of dividing the Russian Federation far more profoundly than anything up to now. In this Russian nationalist’s view, today “there is no long left to defend the interests of ethnic Russians on historically ethnic Russian territories., there are no Russian communities and organizations or very few.” Instead, there are government agencies that protect and promote the interests of everyone else. Soshenko certainly would be pleased to have his ideas lead to a ban on the construction of mosques in areas where Muslims do not have a long history; but he would almost certainly be less pleased by a ban on Russian Orthodox institutions in areas where Russians do not have a long history at the same time. Indeed, his ideas are a recipe for something that has never happened in Russia before: a religious war, one that would be far nastier than any ethnic conflict there has ever been and one that almost certainly would produce exactly the opposite of what he hopes for, tearing the country apart in the name of holding it together.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: World War II Continues to Have Demographic Impact on Russia, Vishnevsky SaysPaul Goble Staunton, July 4 – The periodic increases and current decrease in the number of births in Russia reflects the third echo of World War II, Anatoly Vishnevsky says, with the low number of births in 1943 leading to demographic declines approximately every 25 years thereafter. The current decline is almost precisely 75 years – three such cycles – since that time. And each fall is deeper and each rise smaller than its predecessor, the Higher School of Economics demographer says, because of the growing preference for smaller families, a trend that multiplies the effect of the rises and falls in the number of women in prime child-bearing cohorts ( In an interview given to Izvestiya, Vishnevsky suggests that Russia’s “main demographic problem is not a low number of births but a high number of deaths,” something he says that health ministry figures “do not reflect,” in part because focusing on this is unwelcome and requires policy choices the regime doesn’t appear to want to make. The government has set a goal of increasing life expectancy to 76 years from birth by 2025. “Whether we will achieve that or not, only time will tell,” the demographer says. But this figure isn’t especially ambitious: it is where Mexico is now and is far behind those in Western European countries. But they will have achieved increases over the next decade as well. “A population’s life expectancy is not a secondary measure; it is one of the key indicators of the economic and social success of a country. If for decades it lags behind other countries and the gap even grows, that means that something is rotten in the state of Denmark” and that government priorities should be changed. Now Russia has entered an unfavorable period: not only are the number of births falling because of a declining number of women in the prime child-bearing cohort and because of different preferences, but the number of deaths is going to rise because of the increasing number of elderly people who were born in the 1950s. “Under these conditions, the maintenance of even the small natural growth of the population which appeared [in Russia] in 2013 is impossible,” Vishnevsky says. “More likely, in the near term, we will again be in a state of natural decline, as was the case for the previous 20 years from 1992 to 2012.” The Moscow scholar notes that there are “two types of aging: aging ‘from below” reflecting a decline in the birthrate and aging ‘from above’ caused by a decline in mortality among older age groups. Everywhere everything begins with aging from below and then appears aging from above.” Russia is still in the first group: Its population “is aging mostly from below, as a result of low birthrates, but mortality rates among older groups have not fallen much.” Over the last 50 years, mortality among Russian children under five have fallen 70 percent, while mortality among men 60-64 haven’t changed and among women in that cohort have fallen only 10 percent. In short, “the growth in life expectancy among [Russians] has been achieved on account of children, and this to a small degree opposes aging since it has an effect equal to an increase in the number of births,” Vishnevsky says. Russians must get used to the idea that they like everyone else are not going to return to the younger age structures of the past. As far as migration is concerned, he continues, Russia’s growth in population since the start of the 1990s has depended primarily on immigration even in years when there was a small natural increase. And that will continue: how large the Russian population will be in 2035 will depend “not on the number of women and the number of births but on the size of immigration.” Looking to the future, Vishnevsky concludes, one can expect that Russia will experience a natural decline that will reach its bottom in the early 2030s “after which will begin new growth,” a trend that “will extend into the middle of the century” when a new downturn, reflecting events long ago, is likely.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Resources that Pulled Russia Out of 1998 Catastrophe No Longer Available, Shelin Says Paul Goble Staunton, July 3 – The situation with the standard of living in Russia is not nearly as dire as it was at the time of the 1998 default, Sergey Shelin says, and thus predictions of imminent collapse should be dismissed. But at the same time, the resources that helped Russia recover after default no longer are readily available if at all and so coming out of this crisis will be harder. The Rosbalt commentator argues that Russians must come to understand that the current crisis in the economy and standard of living is one of “a new type,” albeit one that is still “far from that which was 20 years ago although potentially far more difficult to overcome ( Unfortunately, Shelin continues, the nature of the problem is concealed behind the often-contradictory statistics offered by Rosstat, statistics that on the one hand point to growth in most sectors even as they indicate that “real disposable monetary incomes of the population continue to fall.” A better way to consider the problem is to focus on retail trade. In May 2017, this was only 86 percent of what it had been on average in 2014, a figure that is likely exaggerated but is still indicative. Over the same period, GDP for the country as a whole fell about three percent. In short, “the people had to pay much more than the economy lost.” In order to understand what is going on, Shelin says, it is useful to go back to the end of the 1990s. The low point for Russians was at the time of the 1998 default. Current levels of impoverishment do not begin to approach the lows of that time. But after default, there was a period of rapid growth and improvement in the standard of living. “Initially,” this growth was based on the recovery of the economy as it had been, a development he describes as “healthy.” But then it rose on the basis of “an unhealthy one,” the rapid influx of petrodollars. They allowed “incomes to rise even when the economy almost ceased to grow.” “The authorities simply distributed their earnings, increasing pensions, pay in the state sector and so on.” And that allowed incomes to continue to rise not just to 2008 as many think “but approximately to 2013.” The end of the oil boom had a major impact, but sanctions and countersanctions were of secondary importance. “But the main thing that the popular masses had to pay for was all the same not import substitution, although that hit their pockets but the sharp growth of spending on the siloviki and the necessity of simultaneously compensating our magnates for their oil losses.” That means that the situation going forward is very different now than it was in 1998. The walls between rich and poor both sectorally and geographically are far higher and more impermeable than they were, and the dependence of the population on the generosity of the state is also far higher. In the 1990s, Russians sought to make their way on their own; now, they are less interested and able to do so and are angry at anything they have to pay the state. “The so-called informal sector always existed. It typically did not bring particular wealth and flourishing. But the formation of an enormous, stable and apparently already inherited stratum of people who absolutely do not trust the state and do not want to pay it anything and living outside its accounts is one of the numerous special features of our time,” Shelin says. Moreover, there is an additional problem. Standards of living are not just monetary income, but the quality of life, education and medical care. Not only are all these things worse than they were but they are worse not just when compared to the 1990s but to the “fat” years when everything seemed to be going so well. Recovery now will require a complete reordering of state policy and public attitudes, neither of which will be easy to change and each of which will tend to feed on the other and make a new period of growth more difficult to achieve than that which followed the default of 1998.

Russians block a federal highway, demanding that local officials restore their hot water. And it worked — Meduza Residents in a town outside Moscow briefly blocked part of a federal highway on Monday, protesting against local officials’ failure to reinstate their hot water after summer infrastructure maintenance. Shortly after the demonstration, the town’s hot water was restored, three protesters told Meduza.

UAWire – Commander of Chechen Sever battalion Zaur Dadaev, who is accused of killing Boris Nemtsov, says he is innocent Former deputy commander of the Chechen battalion, Sever Zaur Dadaev, accused of the murder of Russian opposition politician, Boris Nemtsov, while waiting in a pre-trial detention center, told a member of the Public Monitoring Commission, Kogershyn Sagieva, that he did not commit the crime. He stated that he was tortured, pressure was exerted on the jury, and the rest of the defendants perjured themselves. If I would have committed this crime in the name of Allah, then I would be the first one to confess. Understand, I’m an officer, I’m not an idiot that would commit this crime right in front of the Kremlin, Dadaev said. He also said that he wrote to the prosecutor’s office, the ombudsman for human rights, asking for the trial to be fair, but was unable to achieve anything, because his letters were returned to his own investigator. I’m being held for nothing. They brought me all beaten up to Lefortovo [prison]. I was electrocuted, tortured – the protocol says that I was detained on the 5th, and brought in on March 7th, where do you think I was for two days? I believe in Allah, everything that happens is a punishment, maybe I have sinned too much,” Dadaev said. On June 29, the Moscow District Military Court issued a verdict in the murder of Boris Nemtsov. The jury found Zaur Dadayev and four people, whom the prosecution called his accomplices, guilty and not deserving of indulgence. In court, all the defendants declared their innocence. Their first testimonies, in which they confessed to the murder, they said were given due to pressure exerted by the investigation.

Despite ICC Genocide, War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity Charges, Sudan’s President Bashir invited to Russia – To Inform is to Influence One of Aesop’s Fable’s morals is “You Are Known by the Company You Keep”.  Russian President Putin invited Sudan’s President Bashir to the Kremlin. Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir is still wanted by the ICC. According to the ICC’s own website: Al Bashir Case The Prosecutor v. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir ICC-02/05-01/09 The first warrant…

MAKS Airshow Spotlights Russian Aerospace Industry In Transition | Aviation Week & Space Technology content from Aviation Week  Russia is trying to reform, reorganize and civilianize its military-industry complex to face new geopolitical realities.

Russia Outlook Clouded by Oil, New Sanctions Risk-S&P – The New York Times The outlook for Russia’s sovereign credit rating is clouded by the prospect of a new round of U.S. sanctions, oil price weakness and doubts over its economic recovery, S&P Global’s primary analyst for the country said.

In Russia’s Siberian Silicon Valley, Business Is Good But Risks Can Be High : Parallels : NPR The Soviet Union built research institutes in Siberia as innovation centers during the Cold War. Since then, there’s been a brain drain. Tech innovators remain, but some have faced legal challenges.

UAWire – Belarus: Russian-Belarusian Zapad 2017 military exercises pose no threat The Russian and Belarusian Zapad 2017 drills planned for September pose no threat, and the media’s hype surrounding this event is baseless, said Igor Petrishenko, Belarusian Ambassador to Russia, in an interview for the TV channel Russia 24. “In order to rehearse certain kinds of missions, originating from the evolving situation at the western and outer borders of the Union State, we must do the relevant training and drills. And so this hype which is building up is, in our view, completely baseless,” he said, adding that the drills are receiving close attention, despite the fact that they are regular. The Zapad 2017 joint strategic exercises of the armed forces of Belarus and Russia will take place between the 14th and the 20th of September. It was noted that during their rehearsal of various scenarios, the Russian and Belarusian military will consider a situation related to the heightened activity of NATO close to the border of the Union State. The drills will involve three thousand military personnel from each side, and Russia will also provide roughly 280 pieces of equipment, including up to 25 flying machines. A number of media outlets reported earlier that the Belarusian public and representatives of the opposition were concerned by the joint military exercises with Russia and the amount of weaponry scheduled for delivery. Ukraine and several Baltic states also see a threat in the drills being held so close to their borders. In response, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that the West’s statements relating to the upcoming drills are unprecedented. He emphasized that Russia and Belarus are not “rattling sabers”. He did, however, observe that the drills must take place on a large scale and effectively in spite of the external pressure. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia does not intend to bring in forces or to occupy Belarus under the pretext of carrying out joint military exercises.

Belarus Showcases Military Might at Independence Day Parade – YouTube Belarus is celebrating its Independence Day. The holiday actually marks the day in 1944 that the country was liberated from Nazi forces. Let’s take a deeper …

Belarus held massive military parade – YouTube Read more at: SOCIAL NETWORKS:

IW/IO/Cyber Reports

Germany says expecting Russian effort to influence election | Reuters  Germany is expecting Russia to try to influence its general election on Sept. 24, but there are no indications of which party it would seek to back, officials said on Tuesday.


Germany big target of cyber espionage and attacks: government report | Reuters Andrea Shalal | BERLIN Germany is a big target of spying and cyber attacks by foreign governments such as Turkey, Russia and China, a government report said on Tuesday, warning of “ticking time bombs” that could sabotage critical infrastructure. Industrial espionage costs German industry billions of euros each year, with small- and medium-sized businesses often the biggest losers, the BfV domestic intelligence agency said in its 339-page annual report. The report mapped out a range of security threats, including Islamist militancy and increased far-right violence, but highlighted the growing incidence of cyber espionage. It cited a “noticeable increase” in spying by Turkey’s MIT foreign intelligence agency in Germany in 2016, following the failed July 15 coup in Turkey, and said Russia was seeking to influence a parliamentary election on Sept. 24. “The consequences for our country range from weakened negotiating positions to high material costs and economic damage all the way to impairment of national sovereignty,” it said. Key targets were the Foreign Ministry and its overseas offices, the Finance and Economics ministries, the Chancellery and the German military. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the government was working closely with industry to better protect German firms, with the most affected sectors being the weapons, space and aerospace and car industries, as well as research institutes. Cyber attacks could not only lead to losses of information, but also, through delayed-action malware, trigger “silent, ticking digital time bombs” that could manipulate data and sabotage equipment, especially critical infrastructure, the report said. It said that the Sandworm malware, which computer experts have linked to Russia, had actively targeted government sites, the NATO military alliance, utilities and telecommunications firms in recent years.

How close is Russian cyber firm Kaspersky to Russia’s spies? – To Inform is to Influence  BY DAVID GOLDSTEIN AND GREG GORDON McClatchy Washington Bureau WASHINGTON  U.S. intelligence agencies have turned up the heat in recent days on Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based cybersecurity giant long suspected of ties to Russia’s spying apparatus. Now, official Kremlin documents reviewed by McClatchy could further inflame the debate about whether the company’s relationship with Russian…

Documents could link Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky to FSB spy agency – Chicago Tribune Kaspersky’s certifications, issued by the spy agency known as the FSB, include a military intelligence unit number matching that of an FSB program.

Russian anti-virus CEO offers up code for US govt scrutiny MOSCOW (AP) — The chief executive of Russia’s Kaspersky Lab says he’s ready to have his company’s source code examined by U.S. government officials to help dispel long-lingering suspicions about his company’s ties to the Kremlin. In an interview with The Associated Press at his Moscow headquarters, Eugene Kaspersky said Saturday that he’s also ready to move part of his research work to the U.S. to help counter rumors that he said were first started more than two decades ago out of professional jealousy. “If the United States needs, we can disclose the source code,” he said, adding that he was ready to testify before U.S. lawmakers as well. “Anything I can do to prove that we don’t behave maliciously I will do it.” Kaspersky, a mathematical engineer who attended a KGB-sponsored school and once worked for Russia’s Ministry of Defense, has long been eyed suspiciously by his competitors, particularly as his anti-virus products became popular in the U.S. market. Some speculate that Kaspersky, an engaging speaker and a fixture of the conference circuit, kept his Soviet-era intelligence connections. Others say it’s unlikely that his company could operate independently in Russia, where the economy is dominated by state-owned companies and the power of spy agencies has expanded dramatically under President Vladimir Putin. No firm evidence has ever been produced to back up the claims. But this has not stopped what was once gossip at tech conferences from escalating into public accusations from American politicians and intelligence officials amid rising concerns over Russian interference in the United States. Senior U.S. intelligence officials have advised Congress to steer well clear of Kaspersky’s products and Congress is weighing a proposal to ban the company from the Pentagon. Law enforcement seems to be taking a hard look at the company as well. On Wednesday, NBC news reported that at least a dozen U.S. employees of Kaspersky were visited at their homes by FBI agents.

Small Ukrainian Tax Firm Connected To Cyberattack Could Face Charges A small Ukrainian tax-software company is facing possible charges because of its alleged connection with last week's major cyberattack that brought down computer systems worldwide, while the fir…

Official: Patient zero in global cyberattack knew it was vulnerable, could face charges – Fifth Domain | Cyber KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The small Ukrainian tax software company that is accused of being the patient zero of a damaging global cyberepidemic is under investigation and will face charges, the head of Ukraine’s CyberPolice suggested Monday. Col. Serhiy Demydiuk, the head of Ukraine’s national Cyberpolice unit, said in an interview with The Associated Press that Kiev-based M.E. Doc’s employees had blown off repeated warnings about the security of their information technology infrastructure. “They knew about it,” he told the AP at his office. “They were told many times by various anti-virus firms. … For this neglect, the people in this case will face criminal responsibility.” Demydiuk and other officials say last week’s unusually disruptive cyberattack was mainly spread through a malicious update to M.E. Doc’s eponymous tax software program, which is widely used by accountants and businesses across Ukraine. The malicious update, likely planted on M.E. Doc’s update server by a hacker, was then disseminated across the country before exploding into an epidemic of data-scrambling software that Ukrainian and several other multinational firms are still recovering from. M.E. Doc initially denied playing any such role in the malicious software’s spread but later deleted the statement from Facebook. The company, which says it’s cooperating with authorities, has not returned messages seeking comment. Meanwhile, several companies hit by last week’s cyberattack say they were edging closer to normalcy. Law firm DLA Piper said late Sunday that it has restored its email service and was working to bring its other networks back online. Danish shipper A.P. Moller-Maersk said “our operations are now running close to normal again.” Russian companies were reportedly affected as well; Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft said Monday it had taken the company 6 days to fully repair its computer systems after they were badly hit in the cyberattack. Ukrainian authorities have blamed Russia for masterminding the outbreak, although several independent experts say it’s too early, based on what’s publicly known, to come to any firm conclusions. Ukraine has repeatedly come under fire from high-powered cyberattacks tied to Moscow. The extent of the damage and disruption in Ukraine was still unclear Monday. Authorities have yet to release an accounting of the number of victims or an estimate of the monetary damage done by the virus, and Demydiuk said his service was still collating figures and declined to even provide an estimate. It’s clear though that the economic disruption has been non-negligible. Some bank employees have not been to work in days. Hanna Rybalka, who works at the state-owned Oschadbank’s headquarters in Kiev, said that business had taken nearly a week to recover. “Today is the first day of full-time work,” she said in a Facebook message Monday. Howard Amos in Moscow contributed to this report.

Handwriting’ of NotPetya cyber attack is similar to actions by BlackEnergy group – Kaspersky Lab The cyber attack on some large companies and organizations worldwide using the extortion virus NotPetya was not conducted for purposes of personal enrichment, the Kaspersky Lab press service told Interfax on Sunday.

Your Medicare card details could be for sale on the dark web THE government says it is taking seriously a report which claims the Medicare details of every Australian are readily available to be purchased on a popular auction site for illegal products on the dark web.

Explaining Australia’s sharp turn to information warfare – To Inform is to Influence BY Greg Austin 4 July 2017 09:29 AEDT Australia’s place in the Asian military scene took a sharp turn last week when the Turnbull Government announced the creation of the country’s modified version of a US Cyber Command. The move followed the 2016 Defence White Paper, which foreshadowed a near doubling of defence spending in the decade, including 1700…

Ukraine Reports

Poroshenko: USA is strategic partner of Ukraine – 04.07.2017 11:18 — Ukrinform News 04.07.2017 11:18. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko congratulates the United States of America on the Independence Day.

Poroshenko discusses with U.S. Congress delegation strengthening of Ukraine’s defense capacity – 04.07.2017 10:22 — Ukrinform News 04.07.2017 10:22. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko held a meeting with two-party delegation of the U.S. Congress, during which, in particular, the issues of strengthening the defense capacity of Ukraine were discussed. This has been reported by the press service of the Head of State. President Poroshenko expressed gratitude for the consistent bipartisan support for Ukraine by the U.S. Congress in the issue of countering the ongoing Russian aggression and enhancement of Ukraine’s sustainability through the implementation of relevant reforms. In this context, the parties discussed strengthening of Ukraine’s defense capacity, funding of security aid to our state by the U.S. budget and enhancement of investment and trade-economic cooperation. Poroshenko informed on the situation in Donbas and ongoing violations of the ceasefire regime by the militants controlled by Russia. In this regard, the parties noted the necessity of preserving and increasing the international sanctions against Russia until full implementation of the Minsk agreements and restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including Crimea.

President met with U.S. Congress delegation — Official website of the President of Ukraine President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko held a meeting with two-party delegation of the U.S. Congress, which included members of the House of Representatives Jeff Denham, Michael Bost, Bruce Westerman, Rodney Davis, Mark DeSaulnier, Mike Capuano, Carlos Curbelo, Douglas LaMalfa, Blake Farenthold and Robert Aderholt. The Head of State expressed gratitude for the consistent bipartisan support of Ukraine by the U.S. Congress in the issue of countering the ongoing Russian aggression and enhancement of Ukraine’s sustainability through the implementation of relevant reforms. In this context, the parties discussed strengthening of Ukraine’s defense capacity, funding of security aid to our state by the U.S. budget and enhancement of investment and trade-economic cooperation. Petro Poroshenko informed on the situation in Donbas and ongoing violations of the ceasefire regime by the militants controlled by Russia. In this regard, the parties noted the necessity of preserving and increasing the international sanctions against Russia until full implementation of the Minsk agreements and restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including Crimea. Petro Poroshenko is hopeful that the U.S. House of Representatives will endorse the legislative initiative of the U.S. Senate to increase and expand sanctions against Russia. The American party highly evaluated the results of the Ukrainian President’s visit to Washington on June 20-21.

Poroshenko hopes for strengthening and expansion of U.S. sanctions against Russia President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has held a meeting with a bipartisan delegation of the U.S. Congress, during which the parties discussed the strengthening of investment, trade and economic cooperation between the countries, assistance in strengthening Ukraine’s defense capability and sanctions against the Russian Federation.

Poroshenko to meet Tillerson in Kyiv on July 9 to coordinate efforts against Russian aggression 04.07.17 16:11 – Poroshenko to meet Tillerson in Kyiv on July 9 to coordinate efforts against Russian aggression As agreed by presidents of Ukraine and the United States, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Kyiv on July 9. View news.

U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson to visit Ukraine on July 9 – media U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Ukraine on Sunday, July 9, according to the Ukrainian news portal Ukrayinska Pravda. Latest UNIAN news from 04 July.

President to meet with U.S. Secretary of State — Official website of the President of Ukraine Pursuant to the agreements between the President of the United States and the President of Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will make a visit to Ukraine on July 9. President Petro Poroshenko will have a meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State in Kyiv to discuss the enhancement of strategic partnership between Ukraine and USA and further coordination of efforts aimed at countering Russian aggression against Ukraine. The parties will also consider the implementation of the agreements reached during the visit of the Ukrainian President to the United States on June 20-21.

NATO PA President confident Ukraine to become member of Alliance Chairman of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Paolo Alli at a joint briefing with Verkhovna Rada Speaker Andriy Parubiy in Kyiv on Monday expressed confidence that Ukraine in the future would become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance. News 03 July from UNIAN.

Macron: France Seeks Greater Role in Ending Russia’s War in Ukraine – YouTube  France’s new president Emmanuel Macron wants to expand his role in helping to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine. _ Follow UATV English: Facebook: https…

Hague Court Will Hear Case Brought By Ukrainian Firms Against Russia The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague says that it has jurisdiction and will hear the case of a Ukrainian company seeking to recover damages for property lost when Russia annexed Ukraine&#3…

Ukraine lost $50 billion from Russian aggression in Donbas, – first deputy defense minister Rusnak 04.07.17 11:09 – Ukraine lost $50 billion from Russian aggression in Donbas, – first deputy defense minister Rusnak The Defense Ministry of Ukraine estimates losses from the Russian aggression in Ukraine over the past three years at $50 billion. View news.

Russia deploys over 60,000 troops along Ukraine border, in Crimea, Donbas – Def. Ministry Ukraine's First Deputy Defense Minister Ivan Rusnak has said that Russia has deployed a 60,000-strong military contingent along the border with Ukraine, in the temporarily occupied territory of Donbas and Crimea, according to an UNIAN correspondent. News 04 July from UNIAN.

How much will Crimea cost Russians? -Euromaidan Press | More than three years have passed since Russia’s annexation of Crimea. In the meantime, problems on the peninsula have only worsened. The Peninsula still has a lack of fresh water, problems with electricity are continuing, while prices are rising more quickly than in «russie propre». RFE/RL’s Crimea department Krym.realii asked the Russian opposition politician, economist and public figure, Vladimir Milov, whether Moscow has it in its power to resolve these problems, and how much the annexed territory may cost Russians. Vladimir, regarding Crimean problems one should perhaps start with the issue of fresh water. As far as we know, the problems are being aggravated as, according to local residents, the [new-coming] settlers [from Russia – Ed.] irrigate crops with it [groundwater – Ed], leading to the salinization of groundwater. What should be done to solve this problem, and how much will it cost? It is important to understand that Crimea’s water problem basically has no solution. The only systemic solution was the North Crimean Canal [to mainland Ukraine – Ed.], yet its restoration in the near future is not expected to happen. Crimea does not have the resources to provide for its own water needs. There is no river network as rainfall totals are low. The North Crimean Canal provided up to 80% of the peninsula’s water requirements. Now, the Russian authorities are trying to “plug holes,” but in reality this will only lead to the problems worsening in a couple of years. You correctly said that the sharp intensification of groundwater drilling will lead to accelerated water mineralization and make it unusable. Also, the Russian authorities are trying to maximise the use of the Belgorsky reservoir. But this is all fraught with the danger of critically depleting reserves. I repeat: there is not enough water to maintain normal life and industrial and agricultural activity in Crimea, and there is no solution to this problem without normalising relations with mainland Ukraine. Of course, there is another option which is used, for example, by Mediterranean countries similar to Crimea in terms of low water quality, such as Israel or Cyprus. They are following the route of building sea water desalination plants. However, this is a very expensive procedure: in relative terms, one million dollars investment for a capacity of one thousand cubic metres of water per day. That means, to cover the losses incurred due to the closure of the North Crimean Canal, it would be necessary to invest 4-5 billion dollars. In comparison, this is approximately the annual expenditure on health care in Russia. If we add the various “surcharges” and bribes for those who will certainly want to earn on this, it will cost even more. If the Russian authorities wish to follow this path, they will of course be able to find the money, taking it from pensioners and working Russians, raising taxes and cutting social expenditures. Russia does not save on geopolitics; they only save on people. Or they will carry on in predatory form, exploiting underground water reserves and the few available reservoirs, finally destroying Crimea’s ecosystem and economic prospects. For Putin and his administration, this style is familiar: squeeze out more today, as it will only be grass left unable to grow tomorrow.

“Ceasefire” in Donbas: 2 KIA’s, 3 WIA’s amid 22 enemy attacks in last day Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 22 times in the past 24 hours, with two Ukrainian soldiers 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 04 July from UNIAN.

Ukraine reports 1 KIA, 1 WIA in ATO July 3 – War news | UNIAN Today, one military serviceman of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was killed in action in the zone of the Anti-Terrorist Operation in Donbas and another soldier was wounded, the ATO headquarters press center wrote on its Facebook page. News 03 July from UNIAN.

Ukraine needs to develop airports and air transport service – Groysman – 04.07.2017 12:17 — Ukrinform News 04.07.2017 12:17. Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman instructs the Infrastructure Ministry to complete work on developing a strategy for air transportation and airports as soon as possible.

Ukrainian authorities report ‘DPR main Cossack’ detained Ukrainian police said that they had detained ‘a major-general’, who was in command of the Cossack regiment in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), at a roadblock near Volnovakha, Donbas. “It was established that the active major-general from the DPR regional Cossack association faced law enforcers […] Operatives and investigators of the Volnovakha police station are interrogating the main DPR Cossack,” the press service of the Ukrainian National Police main department in Donetsk region reported on its official Facebook page on Monday evening. During the detention the 66-year-old man had a certificate of the DPR ataman and a permit to carry Cossack weapons (sabers, a dagger and whips) on him. The ataman said that he had taken command of a regiment, which comprised 90 Cossacks in 2011, the Cossacks joined DPR armed units in 2014, the Ukrainian police said. The police did not reveal the name of the detainee, but said a criminal inquiry was launched on the count of assistance to members of criminal organizations and concealment of their criminal activity that involves a penalty of up to five years of imprisonment.

Ukraine’s military ranked as 30th most powerful in the world -Euromaidan Press | Ukraine has the 30th most powerful military in the world, according to the Military Strength Ranking for 2017 published by Global Firepower. The analysis is considered to be one of the most reliable in the world. In 2017, 132 countries were listed. Ukraine was placed at the same place for the second year in a row, between Sweden (above) and Czech Republic (below).

UAWire – Ukrainian diplomats closely following the case of detained Ukrainian soldier in Italy In connection with the detention of Vitaly Markiv, a Ukrainian citizen and serviceman of the Ukrainian National Guard, the Consulate General of …

Italy suspects Ukraine’s soldier of premeditated murder of photojournalist in Donbas – PGO Ukrainian national guardsman Vitaliy Markiv earlier detained by Italian authorities is suspected of the premeditated murder of an Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli, according to Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yevhen Yenin, Espreso.TV reports. News 03 July from UNIAN.

UkrOboronProm demonstrates advanced military developments to NATO representatives | Defence Blog The State Concern “UkrOboronProm” demonstrates achievements of the domestic defense-industrial complex on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the NATO-Ukraine Charter. 25 weapons units are placed directly in the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine. According to the UkrOboronProm (UOP), the concern represents its modern and innovative samples of military equipment. Armored vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles, anti-tank missile systems, missile and artillery weapons, aircraft, including the new Dozor-B armored vehicle, BTR-3E wheeled armored personnel carrier, and unmanned tactical multipurpose vehicle “Fantom” – all of these were developed by UOP enterprises for the concern Armed Forces. UOP enterprises-participants are actively implementing international standards – 70% of them are already certified in accordance with ISO 9001 and the system of management and quality assurance of AQAP 2000 is being implemented. 40 UOP enterprises-participants have access to NATO Master Catalog of References for Logistics. This tool allowed domestic defense enterrprises to enter the international arms market and implement the import substitution program. Working with NATO Master Catalogue helped UKROBORONPROM to quickly find European suppliers, replacing the Russian ones. Recently the NATO Support and Procurement Agency offered to add Ukrainian defense industry enterprises to the list of defense products manufacturers. Thus, the State Concern “UkrOboronProm” may obtain permission to participate in tenders for the supply of goods and services in the interests of Alliance member countries and partners within the framework of the Random Brokerage Services (RBS) program.

Ukrainian company testing combat helmets for battle | Defence Blog The TEMP-3000 scientific-production enterprise successfully tested its new Kaska-1M combat helmet, and now, soldiers in the Ukrainian military may begin wearing the piece of personal armor designed specifically to protect the head during combat. The enterprise produced its first composite combat helmets made of para-aramid fabrics in 1995. As for today, for production of composite body armor helmets, the enterprise has mastered the manufacture of ballistic para-aramid TeijinTwaron fabric which is then coated with polymer thermoreactive binder to produce prepregs. Hot pressing of prepregs makes it possible to produce solid products of various shaped forms. Another material for helmets produced by the enterprise is UHMWPE (ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene). Recently Temp-3000 employees have received confirmation of positive results from their work, both in ballistic helmets production, and in the application of NATO standards for checking ballistic stability products in Ukraine. A cap of the most common helmet was brought to Germany in Wuppertaler Schwebebahn at Teijin Hochhaus for examinations. These helmets are supplying now for the Ukrainian Armed Forces and other power structures. The cap of the aramid ballistic helmet “Caska 1M” without internal equipment was taken directly from the production line. By itself, the shot procedure of the product on the parameter V50 for STANAG 2920 – the process is quite long and sometimes boring, because to get the exact result, you need to perform at least 20 shots. As a damaging element was used a simulator of a fraction (FSP) weighing 1.1 gr., the material, shape and dimensions of which precisely described in the standard STANAG 2920.

Representatives of Airborne Systems showcase their products to Ukrainian military | Міністерство оборони України The representatives of Airborne Systems showcased their products to Ukrainian military and gave live demo at Zhytomyr Airborne training field. Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine General of the Army of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko, Deputy Minister of Defence of Ukraine Lieutenant General Ihor Pavlovskyi, Commander of Airborne Forces Lieutenant General Mykhailo Zabrodskyi attended the event. More than thirty countries, including the USA, Saudi Arabia, Australia, European countries, India, Thailand, etc. are Airborne Systems clients. According to the representatives of the company, if the Armed Forces of Ukraine become their client, they shall provide their instructors and ensure repair and maintenance of these parachute systems. Ukrainian service members tested different versions of Airborne Systems parachute systems such as Introdev, HI-5 and HI-6. “The demonstrated parachute systems and other Airborne Systems equipment are high-quality products tested by combat operations. I hope our airborne units will receive them”, Lieutenant General Mykhailo Zabrodskyi said.

“Britain may be leaving the EU, but is not forgetting Ukraine” | International relations audit -Euromaidan Press | Serhiy Solodkyi, Mykola Bielieskov The interaction between Ukraine and the United Kingdom demonstrates hundreds of examples of intensive collaboration, yet there are even more examples of shortcomings in the work between the two nations. Currently, Kyiv considers that it receives an insufficient level of support from London. Meantime Britain ties its policy on Ukraine to the success of reforms, and if the country could finally show achievements in the anti-corruption, then the British would be more motivated to help further. Relations between the United Kingdom and Ukraine during the 25 years of its existence have had ups and downs. For London, the quality of Ukraine’s internal processes has been, and remains, a key factor for relations. However, Kyiv has demonstrated a steady interest in developing relations with Britain more at a formal level, especially prior to the war between Ukraine and Russia, evident by the vastly greater number of official visits of Ukrainian officials to London than the number of visits of senior British politicians to Kyiv. Since 1991, only one (!) full formal visit of a British Prime Minister to Ukraine took place, which was John Major’s visit in 1996. Back in 2008, the two sides declared that their relations are strategic in a joint statement. In its policy towards Kyiv, London was guided by the vision that it’s in British interests to transform Ukraine into a full-fledged member of NATO in the mid-2000s. However, later, during 2009-2013, the emphasis shifted to supporting the drafting and signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, after Ukraine declared its “non-alignment,” as a step to its future full membership in the EU.

You will not enter Europe with Bandera: Polish FM Waszczykowski on Ukraine’s EU integration prospects 04.07.17 16:53 – Ukraine and Poland still have tensions regarding issues from the two states’ common history. As reported by Censor.NET, this was announced by Polish FM Witold Waszczykowski in an interview to wPolityce. “We are preparing the visit of President Andrzej Duda to Kyiv. Last year, President Petro Poroshenko visited Warsaw with half of its government,” Waszczykowski said answering a question of Ukraine-Poland relations. The minister also said that the matters of history might harm the relations between the two countries. “Historical issues, of course, are the worst. Our message is clear: You will not enter Europe with Bandera [Ukrainian national hero, deemed an enemy by some Poles, – ed.]. We say that loud and quiet. And we will not repeat our mistakes from the 90s, when we did not close some issues with Germany and Lithuania. I mean the status of Polish minorities in those countries. Having had this experience, we will demand from Ukraine that all matters are solved before Kyiv stands at the gates of Europe with a request for membership,” the Polish FM said.

European Parliament Backs Trade Preferences For Ukraine BRUSSELS — The European Parliament has overwhelmingly backed a decision to grant Ukraine temporary trade preference for some agricultural and industrial products. The measures passed on July …

Shadow economy share dropped to 34 percent of GDP in 2016, – Ministry of Economic Development 04.07.17 11:55 – Shadow economy share dropped to 34 percent of GDP in 2016, – Ministry of Economic Development In 2016, the level of shadow economy in Ukraine reached 34 percent of the official GDP, which is by 6 percentage points lower than in 2015. View news.

Used cars of Canadian origin to be zero-rated in Ukraine from August Director General of the All-Ukrainian Association of Automobile Importers and Dealers Oleh Nazarenko says an import duty rate on used cars produced in Canada will be set at 0% regardless of a country from which vehicles have been imported to Ukraine. News 04 July from UNIAN.

Sales of new cars in Ukraine grow by 44% in June | UNIAN Sales of new cars in Ukraine grew by 44% in June 2017 year-over- year (y-o-y), to 6,884 units, according to the Ukrautoprom Association's press service. News 04 July from UNIAN.

UAWire – Ukrainian government: 8 million Ukrainians are working in the shadow economy During an interview with Radio Liberty, the Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, Andriy Reva, said that to date, 8 million people are working …

Belarusian businessman Prokopenya submits papers to NBU to get approval of purchase of 100% of Ukrainian subsidiary of Sberbank Citizen of Belarus and Cyprus Viktor Prokopenya on June 30 submitted a package of documents to receive the approval of indirect acquisition of 100% of shares in public joint-stock company Sberbank (Kyiv) via Paritetbank, Belarus to the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), the press service of the central bank has reported.

Petrol bomb thrown at Lviv synagogue: no damage reported Unidentified individuals hurled a Molotov cocktail, also known as a petrol bomb, at a synagogue in Lviv and, in a separate incident, wrote anti-Semitic slogans on another Jewish community building in the western Ukrainian city, according to ZAXID.NET. News 04 July from UNIAN.

Lutsk Castle Goes Medieval to Modern in Fascinating Festival – YouTube The events of days long gone, the fight between good and evil, and an opera performed in the most prestigious theaters in Europe. That’s what you had to look…

Japan Economic Model for Ukraine – YouTube Ambassador Shigeki Sumi, the Ambassador of Japan to Ukraine, discussed Japanese-Ukrainian cultural and business ties. _ Follow UATV English: Facebook: https:…

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

UAWire – Russian media: Russia is not capable of protecting Assad if the US attacks According to military correspondent Mikhail Khodarenok, if Washington decides to eliminate the current Syrian government, Russia will not help Assad’s regime to resist – the Kremlin is not in a position to oppose a massive US strike. In his article for Gazeta.Ru, he expresses the opinion that the reasons for a full-scale American attack against Assad may be another chemical attack and also the “disproportionate use of force by Assad against the armed opposition, or the violation of human rights and national minority rights”. In the expert’s opinion, the US currently has all the necessary means to deal a series of blows against key faclilities of the pro-Assad infrastructure. More specifically, the US has: – The George Bush aircraft carrier – Two cruisers – Two destroyers with guided missile weapons – Presumably two or three multi-purpose nuclear submarines – Tactical aircraft from airports in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait – Strategic aircraft from airports in Great Britain and the continental US – B-1 strategic bombers, deployed at the Tamarid Center base in Oman – Potentially another one or two air strike groups, two or three naval strike groups, several multipurpose Ohio-class submarines with cruise missiles, as well as tactical aircraft units from Europe and the continental US, deployed at air bases in the Middle East. In the author’s opinion, the above-mentioned forces are either already in a full combat state, or they could be activated to carry out missions “in the shortest possible time”. According to his conjectures, during the first military episode in Syria, the Americans could use as many as 1,500 sea and land-based cruise missiles. He referred to the fact that during Operation “Iraqi Freedom” in 2003, during the first two days of the campaign alone, more than 400 sea and land-based cruise missiles were launched against targets in Iraqi territory. The total number of cruise missiles used during the armed conflict was in excess of 1,500. The US’s capabilities have grown significantly in the last 15 years. The next, possibly parallel, stage in the attack on Assad would be massive bombardment of the regime’s targets using anti-bunker and super heavy bombs, the analyst notes, adding that in this case Assad’s followers will have no chance of escaping death. He outright denies that Moscow has any chance of opposing the American operation, for a number of reasons: – The tiny number in military standards of armed forces in the region, only several thousand military personnel – Several dozen aircraft, of which only a few are modern – Two incompletely fitted S-300B and S-400 surface-to-air missile divisions The expert admits that in order to repel a real attack by the US in Syria, nearly half of the Russian army and navy would need to be deployed in this country, including dozens of fighter and bomber regiments, surface-to-air missiles and radio units, intelligence, electronic warfare and communications divisions and logistics facilities. However, no such maneuvers are expected from Russia. Even if Russia considered repelling the United States’ attack, the author is uncertain of the military and political goals which would motivate Russia to get involved in an armed conflict of that scale which would also threaten to grow into an exchange of nuclear missile strikes. Acknowledging the conflicts between the countries, he does not see any which would justify “such an escalation”. In the end, the Kremlin could be faced with a hypothetical choice, to face the existential risk of full-scale escalation with the US, or to surrender Assad, being “disgraced” and “effectively removed as a competitor in global politics”, the expert continued.

UAWire – Media: US planes conducted reconnaissance flights near Russian base in Syria US military aircraft made a reconnaissance flight near the naval base of Russia in Syrian Tartus. This is reported by Interfax with reference to the information provided by the portals that track the movement of military aviation. The website specified that the reconnaissance was conducted by US Navy P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft with the tail numbers 168756 and 168853, which departed from the Sigonella airbase in Sicily. During the day, they carried out individual flights near the Syrian coast and the Russian base in Tartus. When conducting the reconnaissance in a morning, the aircraft number 168756 approached the Russian base at a distance of 35-40 km. Also in the area of the Mediterranean coast of Syria, the flight of an American E-3A AWACS airborne early warning and control aircraft was recorded. The AWACS was also documented conducting a reconnaissance flight near the Russian base in Tartus the day before.

The Aviationist » U.S. Intelligence Gathering Aircraft Amass Off Syria As Assad Visits Russian Detachment Near Latakia

War in Syria: U.S.-Backed Forces Fighting ISIS Breach Raqqa’s Old City Wall The Kurdish-Arab alliance completely surrounded the eastern Syrian city controlled by ISIS last week.

U.S.-backed Syrian force battles Islamic State in Raqqa’s Old City | Reuters The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said its fighters were waging fierce battles with Islamic State militants in the Old City of Raqqa on Tuesday after the U.S.-led coalition opened two small openings in its historic walls.

ISIS sees Raqqa and Mosul territory shrink as US-backed forces close in – CBS News Extremists now hold just a few blocks of Iraq's 2nd largest city, as U.S.-backed forces breach wall surrounding their de-facto capital in Syria

Raqqa: Syrian capital of the IS ‘caliphate’ – BBC News The northern Syrian city has been transformed under the jihadist group’s brutal rule.

A Small Step Toward Justice in Syria | Human Rights Watch   Today, the UN Secretary-General appointed Catherine Marchi-Uhel to head a new UN team tasked with investigating serious crimes committed in Syria since 2011. For victims who have known nothing but suffering, despair and abandonment, the creation of this team represents a small step in the difficult struggle for justice, redress and an end to impunity that has marked the bloody conflict.

Former French judge to lead UN Syria war crimes probe | Syria News | Al Jazeera Catherine Marchi-Uhel will head the UN body to document and prosecute serious violations of international law in Syria.

Fifth Round Of Syria Peace Talks Under Way In AstanaDiplomats from Russia, Iran, Turkey, and the United States have begun a fifth round of Syria peace talks in Astana with the Syrian government and representatives of some Syrian opposition groups. …

Syrians living under Isis accepted the jurisdiction of Islamist courts – does that make them collaborators? | The IndependentAlmost exactly four years ago, a Syrian called Abu al-Zein, from the village of Katbiya in Aleppo province, appeared before the ‘General Court of the Revolutionary Police’ in the town of Deir Hafer to betray his cousins.

Sally Jones who became ISIS poster girl wants UK return | Daily Mail Online Friends of the Raqqa-based female recruitment officer said the 49-year-old is desperate to come home after her jihadist husband Junaid Hussain was killed.

Who is Sally Jones? ISIS recruiter in Syria who uses her son as a human shield, formerly a Kent single mum Former punk rocker has risen up the Pentagon “kill list” after being linked to at least a dozen terror plots

Marine unit in Syria using highly advanced artillery ammunition, video shows – The Washington Post It’s the first time the guidance kit has been spotted outside of Afghanistan.

Qatar Learns to Cope With Its Isolation as Saudi Deadline Looms – Bloomberg Shock in Qatar over an unprecedented Arab boycott is giving way to daily acts of defiance.

Iranian President Criticizes Turkey’s Dam Projects Iranian President Hassan Rohani has criticized major dam projects by Turkey on the Euphrates and&nbsp;Tigris rivers. Rohani is demanding that Turkey halt construction of both dams, saying that the…

Did Killing Mullah Mansour Work? | RealClearDefense Taliban leaders and purported representatives have demonstrated a willingness to engage in reconciliation talks with the Afghan government and other political groups. Moreover, increased pressure on the insurgent organization from Pakistan and Russia may make this more likely in the near future. However, there is no evidence that killing Mansour, who at the time had been the group’s leader for just ten months, compelled the Taliban to engage seriously in peace and reconciliation talks, which Obama admitted was the primary goal of the drone strike itself. Therefore, on balance, the U.S. military attack one year ago on Mansour did not achieve its intended political objectives. While the military may come closer to these objectives, as of today they are further from them than they were one year ago. When the United States, or any government, uses force the essential evaluative exercise is to identify these publicly-articulated objectives, and determine whether they “worked,” or were just another military attack that killed someone or destroyed something. And when force does not work, citizens, journalists, and policymakers should ask civilian and military officials why they so consistently assume it will work next time.

A Cultural Failure: U.S. Special Operations in the Philippines and the Rise of the Islamic State In mid-May, hundreds of fighters linked to the Maute group seized Marawi, a city of over 200,000 people on the island of Mindanao in the Southern Philippin


North Korea missile test: Russia and China urge freeze in launches – BBC News Both countries also urge the US and South Korea to suspend large-scale military exercises.

China calls for calm and restraint after North Korea launches missile | Reuters China called on Tuesday for calm and restraint after North Korea launched a ballistic missile and U.S. President Donald Trump said perhaps China would “put a heavy move” on North Korea to “end this nonsense”.

China Russia North Korea response – Washington Times  China and Russia seem to be coordinating their response to President Trump’s pressure to solve the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. The American president has recently stated that although China tried, “it doesn’t seem to be working.”


DPRK declares success of ICBM launch as “final gate to state nuclear force” – Xinhua |

North Korea tests missile it claims can reach ‘anywhere in the world’ – North Korea has announced that it has successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile, according to state media.

North Korea claims successful intercontinental ballistic missile test, defying international condemnation – The Washington Post President Trump weighed in on Twitter to acknowledge the test and call out Kim Jong Un. He also appeared to call on China to do more to pressure North Korea’s leader.

North Korea Appears to Launch Missile with 6,700 km Range – Union of Concerned Scientists

North Korea Fires Another Missile Amid Rising Tensions With U.S. – The New York Times The missile took off from the northwestern town of Kusong and landed in the sea between North Korea and Japan, the South Korean military said in a statement.

North Korea launches ballistic missile, South Korea military reports – CBS News Tuesday's launch is first by North Korea since June 8 test of new type of cruise missile that Pyongyang says is capable of striking

U.S.North Korea test-fires Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile | Defence Blog North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from a province near the border with China on Tuesday, South Korea’s military said. “North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile into the East Sea from the vicinity of Banghyon, North Pyongan Province, at around 9:40 a.m.,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectile was fired around 9:40 a.m. and flew about 930 kilometers (578 miles). Japan’s Defense Ministry said it reached an altitude that “greatly exceeded” 2,500 kilometers. It was airborne for around 40 minutes. The U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement it tracked a land-based intermediate range missile that landed in the Sea of Japan. But the lofted trajectory has led South Korea and the U.S. to now look at whether it was an ICBM, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a National Security Council meeting.

North Korea appeared to use China truck in its first claimed ICBM test | Reuters North Korea appeared to use a Chinese truck originally sold for hauling timber to transport and erect a ballistic missile that was successfully launched on Tuesday, highlighting the challenge of enforcing sanctions to curb its weapons program.

North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Arsenal May Have Doubled in the Past Year Despite disarmament pledges, huge sums are still being spent across the globe on increasing and modernizing nuclear weapons arsenals.

North Korea’s number of nuclear warheads doubles in one year, Swedish SIPRI reports : North Korea : News : The Hankyoreh North Korea possessed an estimated 10 to 20 nuclear warheads as of Jan. 2017, Sweden’s Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported on July 3. “North Korea appears to have made technical progress in its military nuclear and ballistic missile programmes,” SPIRI wrote in an annual global arms reduction report published that day. In its report last year, the institute estimated the maximum number of North Korean nuclear warheads at ten – meaning its estimate has doubled in the space of one year. “North Korea continues to prioritize its military nuclear and ballistic missile programmes,” the report noted. “North Korea is believed to have prioritized developing a long-range ballistic missile that can deliver a nuclear warhead to mainland USA,” it said elsewhere. But the report also said there was “no publicly available evidence to confirm . . . that it has built a nuclear warhead that is sufficiently compact to be delivered by a ballistic missile.” SIPRI reported that the total number of nuclear warheads in the nine countries that possessed nuclear weapons as of Jan. 2017 stood at 14,935, down from 15,395 in 2016. But that decline was attributable to reductions in the US and Russia, which account for around 93% of nuclear weapons worldwide, with almost no change in the number of warheads for the other seven countries. The nine countries listed by the institute as having nuclear weapons were the US, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea. By Yi Yong-in, Washington correspondent Please direct questions or comments to []

North Korea and the Godfather Doctrine – survival at any cost | Fox News The trend is clear: North Korea has or will soon have the ability to attack not just the U.S., but also most points in Asia and Europe with nuclear weapons.

3 maps that explain North Korea’s strategy – Business InsiderKorea’s northeastern edge is 70 miles from Russia’s eastern port. The southeast corner is 100 miles off Japan, and the southwest is 300 miles from Shanghai.
Soldier defections hit North Korea’s guns-over-butter regime- Nikkei Asian Review TOKYO — Daring defections by two malnourished North Korean soldiers across the Demilitarized Zone have highlighted a crack in the regime’s armor.More

Moving from a Sunshine to Sunburn Policy on North Korea | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea Although already skeptical of Moon’s approach, Washington has good reasons to consider it seriously. Trump’s attempt to get China to solve the North Korea problem went nowhere. Military options are not realistic, except in a preemptive scenario against an imminent threat, due to the risk of North Korean retaliation and catastrophic consequences in Seoul. Likewise, applying secondary sanctions on Chinese banks and companies that assist North Korean illicit activities—while an overdue measure—will strain relations with China. Both Moon and Trump recognize that time is running out. North Korea is arguably five years away from reaching the point of no return—a reliable long-range nuclear weapon—and Chinese pressure and international sanctions by themselves will not change North Korea’s behavior within this time frame. The window for engagement closes once North Korea gets impatient and conducts its sixth nuclear test or its first long-range missile test. If Moon can convince Trump that his approach to North Korea isn’t a reprise of “sunshine,” but rather a “sunburn” policy that mirrors Trump’s own stated policy of maximum pressure and engagement, the US-South Korea alliance may emerge as strong as ever.

North Koreans worship Kim Jong-un – Business Insider In a fascinating interview with RiskHedge, financial analyst Jayant Bhandari says he witnessed North Koreans worshipping their “dear respected leader,” Kim Jong-un. “North Korea is a perfect tyranny,” explains Bhandari. “They have organized this tyranny in ways that were unimaginable to me, and people have been completely brainwashed. If this country goes through a real election today, I’m absolutely sure Kim Jong-un would win more than 99% of the votes without even trying to manipulate it. People are slaves in that country.” Bhandari visited the county in 2012, just after Kim Jong-un assumed power. Contrary to popular perception, it was quite easy to travel there. He booked his trip with a travel agent in Beijing and hoped to see the reality behind the façade. He caught glimpses of it throughout his two-week trip. “Your visit is very sanitized,” says Bhandari. “They show you what they want to show you. Your job is to try and read between the lines.” He found a nation sheltered from the outside world. “You can go for kilometers within the capital city of Pyeongyang and you might not see any other vehicle. This is a completely empty city in terms of vehicular transportation,” describes Bhandari. “You drive around the country and you see military walking from one place to another place. They might walk 100, 200 kilometers, or even more. The military trucks are on the sides of these roads with the army men trying to repair these trucks. The reality is that when you see these extremely modern looking trucks on TV, this is only the trucks used when they march in the public square.” Bhandari believes the lack of transportation, even for the military, serves the most practical of purposes for the North Korean leadership. “Because soldiers are not very mobile, you cannot really have a coup in that country.”

My father’s heartbreaking return to North Korea – My father fled North Korea as a child. When he returned, he found a home he couldn’t belong to anymore

A photographer captured these surreal photos of North Korea’s capital on a state-sanctioned tour | Business Insider The Trump administration is weighing new…

The North Korea Instability Project: North Korean Collapse: Weapons of Mass Destruction Use and Proliferation Challenges | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea Among all the challenges associated with a North Korean collapse, the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or movement of WMD out of the country will have the largest strategic implications. The extensive size and complexity of North Korea’s nuclear, chemical and biological (NBC) weapons programs make it virtually impossible for the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK or South Korea) to have 100 percent clarity of intelligence and greatly increases the likelihood that regime forces, individual opportunists, fleeing members of the regime leadership or breakaway separatists could gain access to WMD. Therefore, it is useful to examine these programs, both in terms of historical examples of chemical and biological use in low intensity conflicts, and potential future employment and proliferation scenarios. This approach will permit a better appreciation of the WMD challenge associated with a collapsing North Korea that is grounded not only in plausible speculation but also in historical precedent. Download the report “Weapons of Mass Destruction Use and Proliferation Challenges,” by Patrick Terrell

South Korea completed the development of an upgraded 105 mm howitzer | Defence Blog South Korea said Wednesday it has completed the development of an upgraded 105 mm howitzer featuring increased agility and automated firing control. The self-propelled artillery system combines the existing 105 mm towed howitzer with a five-ton truck as its bed. The 105 mm howitzer with a range of around 11 kilometers is known for reliability, speed and accuracy. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), the country’s arms procurement agency, launched a project in 2015 to develop the evolved 105 mm howitzer in partnership with Hanhwa Techwin, a local defense firm. “It was assessed as fit for combat by meeting all required operational capabilities in a recent test,” DAPA said. “Accordingly, mass-production will begin in 2018 for use by our military units.” It uses an automated fire control system and an advanced GPS device, enhancing the shoot-and-scoot capability. The number of operating personnel will be reduced to five from nine for each existing 105 mm towed howitzer.

Trump talks North Korea with China and Japan | U.S. President Donald Trump discusses North Korea in phone calls with the leaders of China and Japan. As Reuters Ben Blanchard reports, Beijing had another takeaway to highlight: Donald Trump sticking to the ‘One China’ policy.

Chinese Oil Giant Cuts Off Fuel Sales to North Korea | Foreign Policy  Chinese Oil Giant Cuts Off Fuel Sales to North Korea « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

Chinese Leader Hails Turnaround In Trade With Russia On Visit To Kremlin Trade ties between Russia and China reversed a declining trend last year and have grown robustly in 2017, China's leader said as he visited the Kremlin on July 3. &quot;Despite the impact o…

China Opens Its Bond Market To International Investors | Foreign Policy China’s bond market is officially open for business to foreign buyers. On Monday morning, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the British handing over control of Hong Kong, a bond-trading link between mainland China and Hong Kong kicked off. Bond Connect is the latest market link between Hong Kong, a global financial center, and mainland China, where authorities have slowly been lowering barriers to foreign investments in recent years. Greater access to the world’s second-largest economy is something the United States, Europe, and the rest of the developed world have demanded from China in recent years. Now, investors have access to $9.7 trillion in Chinese debt; it’s the third largest bond market behind the United States and Japan. Bonds worth $1 billion were purchased Monday. Even if the liberalization move is welcome, it is limited. For now, it’s a so-called northbound scheme, meaning foreign investors have access to Chinese bonds, but Chinese investors don’t yet have access to bonds traded in Hong Kong. (The idea is to keep capital in the country, rather than encourage capital flight.) And for now, only overseas institutional investors such as banks, insurers, brokerages and investment funds can purchase Chinese debt. Retail investors can’t buy Chinese debt like they could scoop up an American treasury bond.

Maritime provocation in Trump era will make no difference – Global Times On Sunday, the US missile destroyer USS Stethem trespassed into China’s territorial waters off the Xisha Islands. China responded quickly and dispatched warships and fighter jets to warn off the US ship.

China vows to step up air and sea patrols after U.S. warship sails near disputed island  – The Washington Post The USS Stethem sailed past a South China Sea island controlled by Beijing. President Xi Jinping complained to President Trump about “negative factors” undermining ties.

Chinese J-15 carrier-borne fighter jets conducts realistic training | Defence Blog A flotilla including aircraft carrier Liaoning has been undertaking trans-regional training since it set out from east China’s Qingdao on June 25. The naval formation includes destroyers Jinan and Yinchuan, frigate Yantai, and a squadron of J-15 fighter jets and helicopters. This training mission, like previous ones, is expected to strengthen coordination among the vessels and improve the skills of crew and pilots in different marine regions. The formation will visit Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in early July to celebrate the 20th anniversary of thePeople’s Liberation Army (PLA) being stationed in HKSAR, Liang Yang, spokesperson for the PLA Navy, said Sunday. Officers and soldiers will attend various exchanges and activities with Hong Kong residents and the PLA Garrison in the HKSAR, and the warships will be open for the public to visit, Liang said

.J-15 carrier-borne fighters conduct training – YouTube CV Liaoning task force departs Qingdao naval port on 25 June, comprising of 052C Jinan, 052D Yinchuan, 054A Yantai.

Long March 5 Failure Casts Doubt On Chinese Space Schedule | Space content from Aviation Week

50 years after round one, Bhutan, China, and India are stuck in another border face-off — Quartz A dormant border dispute primarily involving China and Bhutan has suddenly turned live again over the past few days. With India, too, forced to get involved, all eyes are on the diplomatic brinkmanship underway in a remote corner of the Himalayas. On June 16, Chinese troops and their earth movers entered the Doklam plateau, long…

Is China punishing India for its Belt and Road stance while testing Modi and Trump? | opinion | Hindustan Times The Sikkim standoff could be an act of dominance by Beijing aimed at showing the world who’s in charge in Asia

Army Says China Did Not Use Bulldozers to Destroy Bunkers: 10 Updates Chinese troops did not use bulldozers to destroy Indian bunkers in Sikkim last month, the Indian Army has said, also denying reports that soldiers from the two sides engaged in a scuffle at the border amid a face-off. The Army has also denied that the current tension at the border is the longest standoff between the two countries since the 1962 war. Navy officials have, meanwhile, said that the presence of a Chinese submarine in the Indian Ocean region has nothing to do with the border tension.

PM Modi’s Israel visit: 5 reasons why Israel matters to India | India News – Times of India Israel is India’s third-largest source of arms, with a 7.2 per cent share of imports between 2012 and 2016, next to the US (14 per cent) and Russia (68 per cent).

Tony Abbott | Time for Australia to Consider Nuclear-Powered Submarines? | The National Interest Blog  Could America or the UK help? 

Tony Abbott | The case for nuclear-powered submarines | The Strategist

Pakistan Can’t Afford China’s ‘Friendship’ | Foreign Policy Pakistan’s elites think Chinese cash can save the country. They’re wrong.

Foreign Policy Reports

China’s Xi Singles Out Germany as Global Ally in Pre-G-20 Op-Ed – Bloomberg Chinese President Xi Jinping called for closer cooperation with Germany in shaping the global order, marking out Chancellor Angela Merkel as an ally on free trade at this week’s Group of 20 summit.

Panda diplomacy: Merkel and Xi pushed into awkward embrace before G20 | ReutersWhen President Xi Jinping took the stage in Davos in January and painted China as a champion of free markets ready to fill the global leadership role vacated by the United States, German officials couldn’t help but chuckle.

fffffChina-Russia diplomatic double act exposes Trump’s crudeness | World news | The Guardian Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin vow to work together on peaceful solution to North Korea crisis – in sharp contrast to US president’s sabre-rattling

Putin should not hope for significant results at G20 – German expert – 04.07.2017 13:14 — Ukrinform News 04.07.2017 13:14. Russia is unlikely to receive desired political and economic results, including the easing of sanctions, as a result of President Vladimir Putin’s participation in the G20 meeting and personal meetings with some of the world’s leaders. Joerg Forbrig, the Senior Transatlantic Fellow of The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), said this in exclusive comments to an Ukrinform correspondent in Brussels. “In and of itself, the G20 is not an arena, in which Russia can expect, or contribute to, tangible results. It is the kind of multilateral framework that Russia, as a self-declared world power, despises. It pursues goals – economic and sustainable development – in which Russia hardly excels,” the German expert said. At the same time, he has noticed that the participation in the G20 still comes in handy for President Putin’s power projection and geopolitical manoeuvring. “Firstly, his presence among the world’s key leaders will serve propaganda purposes back home. It will impress on Russians-at-large that their country is an indispensable player on the global stage, and it will attribute this importance to the leadership of Vladimir Putin. Secondly, the G20 summit will include the long-overdue meeting between the Russian and U.S. president. This side meeting will not likely produce any substantial breakthroughs, and it remains to be seen if Putin and Trump will develop any personal rapport,” Forbrig said. At the same time, the expert has emphasized that for the Kremlin, this bilateral meeting is the central part of the agenda in Hamburg. Putin will likely use the occasion to slam Western sanctions against his country, and to demonstrate unity with some of the world’s rising non-Western powers. “For three years now, and to the surprise of many, the West has maintained a firm and united position condemning Russian aggression and punishing it with a range of sanctions. What is more, there is little indication that this policy will fundamentally change any time soon. In Europe, a series of elections have resulted, or likely will as in Germany, in governments that underwrite this principled position,” he said. “The recent renewal of sanctions against Russia passed without much debate, a range of defensive measures are taken to face Russian aggression, and commitment to Eastern neighbors, such as Ukraine, remains strong. In the United States, President Trump has not turned his campaign rhetoric into policy. His administration has not rolled back Russia sanctions, and it has stepped up military support to NATO allies. And even if the President was to change his Russia policy, Congress remains committed to a principled position, including assistance to Eastern Europe and punitive measures on Russia. In short, the broad Western position on Russia is likely to stay in place for the foreseeable future,” Forbrig stressed. The analyst noted that the Western conditions, under which pressure and sanctions against would be eased, are well-known to the Kremlin. They include the restoration of peace and territorial integrity in Ukraine, an end to threats against Russia’s neighbours, and a cooperative approach to resolving conflicts in the world, especially in Syria. However, on none of these accounts Russia is willing to make concessions. “First, the Kremlin is still hoping that hitherto Western unity in countering Russian aggression and revisionism will eventually falter. Second, confronting the West, its principles and institutions has become the sole basis of legitimacy of the Putin regime. This “patriotic” mobilisation against an alleged external enemy is what keeps major parts of Russian society in support of Putin. Concessions to the West would undercut this narrative and with it, Putin’s power. They would be a sign of weakness that the Russian president, facing as he does re-election next year, can hardly afford,” he said. “At this stage the Kremlin neither does see a need nor can it afford to make real proposals on Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere that would lead to an easing of international pressures,” Forbrig summed up.

In Europe, Trump gets 2nd chance to make 1st impression – ABC News In Europe, Trump gets 2nd chance to make 1st impression

Trump In U.K.: Protesters Ready for Action Against President as Surprise Visit Rumored The president may “drop in” on one of his Scottish golf courses, the paper said.

What Poland Wants From Trump | Foreign Policy S. President Donald Trump will travel to Warsaw, Poland this week, just days before he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg, Germany for the G-20. The Polish government will likely have a clear message for Trump about Russia. “The threat that Russia poses cannot be overstated,” Ambassador Piotr Wilczek told reporters at a briefing ahead of Trump’s visit. The U.S. president’s upcoming meeting with Putin comes in the midst of investigations into the Trump team’s potential ties to Kremlin-backed interference in the 2016 elections. It also comes not long after Trump was criticized for failing to mention Article 5, the alliance’s principle of collective self-defense, at the NATO summit in Brussels in May (but did later in response to a journalist’s question when Romanian President Klaus Iohannis was in Washington, D.C.), “We would like to hear that every day from the president of the United States,” the ambassador said, when asked whether he wanted to hear Trump specifically commit to NATO’s Article 5. Though Trump said throughout his campaign that it would be good for the United States to have improved relations with Russia, Warsaw continues to see Moscow as a threat and aggressor. “What is important for us is NATO deterrence,” Wilczek reiterated, saying he did not know if Trump would mention Russia specifically, but “it’s important to emphasize the role of the NATO alliance, which is important as far as all dangers are concerned.”

To Welcome Trump, Poland Taps Old Communist Party Playbook – NBC News President Donald Trump heads to Poland this week for a state visit, and the country’s right-wing government is busing in a friendly crowd.

What Angela Merkel’s Election Platform Means for Europe – Bloomberg A quick guide to what the German chancellor is promising.U.S. no longer a ‘friend’ in Merkel election program | ReutersIn their campaign program for the German election, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives have dropped the term “friend” in describing the relationship with the United States.

As U.S. Retires From World Leadership, China and Germany Step Up – Bloomberg The U.S. traditionally takes point in the search for common approaches to the big global issues of the day at G-20 summits. Not this time.

Emmanuel Macron assassination plot foiled by police – A man has been charged with plotting to assassinate French President Emmanuel Macron on Bastille Day during US President Donald Trump’s visit to France, a spokeswoman for the Paris Prosecutor’s office said Monday

.In Lofty Versailles Speech, Macron Tells the French to Prepare for Change – The New York Times In a rare joint session of legislators, the president cast himself as the agent of change that the country wanted and its rampart against a newly uncertain world order.

French President Macron vows to lift the nation’s state of emergency – LA Times French President Emmanuel Macron vowed Monday to lift a state of emergency that has been in place since 2015.

France is ready for ‘radically new path’, says Macron as he vows to slash French lawmakers by a third – The Local French president Emmanuel Macron told a gathering of lawmakers on Monday that France was ready for a “radically new path” which would include “profound changes” including slashing the number of MPs and Senators by a third and ending the state of emergency.

UAWire – Serbian President wants to build new gas pipeline with support of RussiaSerbian President Alexander Vučić said that the Republic wants to build a new transit gas pipeline from the border with Bulgaria using Russia’s …

Serbia Will Choose EU Over Russia If Forced, Premier Says – Bloomberg If Serbia is forced to choose between closer ties with Russia and joining the European Union, it will side with the latter, the country’s new prime minister said.

US Domestic Policy Reports

Russia says it’s patience with U.S. is running thin in returning Russian embassy assets – CBS News The Kremlin is issuing new threats if their properties, which the Obama administration seized, are not returned by the U.S.

G20 summit: Malcolm Turnbull to urge Donald Trump to act against tech terrorists Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will urge Donald Trump to demand that American tech companies break into encrypted messages sent by suspected terrorists.

Poll: US Struggles With History | The Daily Caller Some Americans apparently believe the U.S. declared its independence from Mexico in 1776, according to a poll released Monday.

Iran: Donald Trump Cartoon Contest Mocks President as Money-Obsessed Nazi The winning entry showed President Trump giving a Nazi salute and wearing a jacket made of dollar bills.

Donald Trump has made conspiracy theories great again – Donald Trump’s political career was birthed of a conspiracy theory: The much-debunked idea that Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

The evolution of Donald Trump, as seen in his Fourth of July tweets – The Washington Post From offering holiday greetings to disparaging the media and his political opponents, in eight short years.

Donald Trump Is Testing Twitter’s Harassment Policy – The Atlantic The president’s latest outbursts suggest the social-media platform imposes no editorial standards. But should it?

Most People Actually Want Donald Trump to Keep on Tweeting, Drudge Report Poll Shows More than 75 percent of people said they would like the president to continue with his social media use.

WATCH: Buzz Aldrin’s many incredulous faces during President Donald Trump’s space speech – The second man to land on the moon seemed taken aback by the president’s various statements on space technology

AP Asks Court To Dismiss Libel Suit Filed By Russian Billionare Deripaska The Associated Press reports that it has asked a judge in Washington to dismiss a libel lawsuit brought by a Russian billionaire with ties to President Vladimir Putin. Aluminum magnate Ole…



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