Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 6 July 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

I began noticing a significant reduction in fighting in Ukraine a few days ago. Today it looks almost peaceful with only five areas of confrontation and eight cross-border artillery areas (firing from Russia, across the sovereign border into Ukraine).

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The Warsaw speech by POTUS will in the long term likely become as highly regarded as the JFK 1963 “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech, although it is very unlikely that the US MSM will accept such a notion in the foreseeable future. There can be no doubt the speech will produce apoplexy and despair in Moscow and will be read by many as a ritual humiliation of Putin in many ways more embarrassing than that by Pres Macron in Paris. Reminding the Russians of how the Red Army stood by, while the Waffen-SSSturmbrigades massacred the courageous Poles defending Warsaw, and raising the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and Katyn massacre, will produce a toxic reaction in Moscow. The speech followed in many ways the pattern of POTUS’ 2016 election rallies, and he received a similar reaction, with the assembled crowd chanting “Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!” repeatedly. It was without doubt a “call to arms” speech, the theme being not MAGA, but rather “Make the West Great Again”. We have yet to see the reaction in the Russophone MSM, the speech will be well received in the Baltic States and Ukraine. We can expect to see Kiselyov declare POTUS to be the Anti-Christ, and an icon of the West’s evil designs on Russia. Yet POTUS made a compelling point to any sane Russian: We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes — including Syria and Iran — and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself. – stating that Russia sits outside of the community defending civilization itself is appropriate and correct, and will produce no doubt a tirade of Russian complaints about being publicly insulted as being “uncivilized”. But the old proverb about walking, swimming, looking and quacking like a duck applies – Russia’s conduct since 2008 has been increasingly that of a rogue state, treating civilized nation state conduct with contempt. Warsaw was a huge coup for POTUS, a huge loss for Russia, and will change attitudes across Eastern Europe.

Igor Eidman’s essay on ‘The Fish is Rotting from the Head,’ carries a Choke On Coffee Warning, not because it is funny, but because it is so true, and argued so elegantly. Eidman might consider investing in a Geiger counter to scan his meals and beverages. The tragedy is that so many Russians do indeed admire psychopathic leaders and their dysfunctional agendas. The digest by Prof Goble on the collision between Russia’s demographic collapse, labor shortage, and an oversupply of Muslim immigrants is central to many of Russia’s internal schisms. No less important a calamity confronting Russia is the melting of the permafrost in Siberia, producing exploding bubbles of methane, and 150 foot sized sinkholes – regime propagandists have yet to devise a way of blaming this phenomenon on the West, but we can rest assured it will happen. Siemens busting sanctions to supply gas turbines to Crimea, via Tula, while in PACE Russia proxies launch a pro-Russian committee to promote Kremlin agendas.

IO/IW/Cyber still dominated by the Russian pretend-ransomware attack, that was well timed by the Russians to put their meddling back in the MSM just before the G20. Two excellent commentaries by Harding on IO.

Ukrainian MSM dominated by upcoming SECSTATE visit, while the State Dept tells MSM that no decision has been made as yet on supplying lethal aid to Ukraine. Good commentaries by Umland and Vershbow. Donbass fires reduce in intensity so Putin can show his benign influence in the proxy republics at the G20. Russian FSB officers who blundered into Ukraine from Crimea being sent home and fined the equivalent of US$12.30 for trespass, after two weeks of detention. Ousted Pres Yanukovich fires his lawyers at his high treason trial.

SECSTATE offers to discuss NFZs in Syria with Russia, while ISIS collapse continues, and debate ramps up over post-ISIS outcomes. Turkey finalizing a deal to buy Almaz-Antey S-400 Triumf systems, while Iran declares IOC on its S-300PMU2 Favorit systems.

Schilling publishes initial forensics on the Hwasong-14 ICBM test shot. POTUS suggests a “pretty severe” response to the DPRK. BMD debate arcs up again. China-India dispute continues, while Pakistan backs China.

US domestic Russia debates swamped by POTUS visit to Poland.


POTUS in Poland Reports


Live: President Donald Trump Poland Speech Warsaw Ceremony 7/6/17 – YouTube Live: President Trump Joint Press Conference In Poland with President Andrzej Duda 7/6/17 Live: President Donald Trump Poland Speech At Summit 7/6/17 Preside…

 

Remarks by President Trump to the People of Poland | July 6, 2017 | whitehouse.gov

Trump in Poland: Transcript of Warsaw remarks | Fox News President Donald Trump delivered a speech in Warsaw, Poland on July 6.

Melania Trump advocates for life ‘without fear’ in Poland remarks – AOL News First lady Melania Trump accompanied her husband, U.S. President Donald Trump, in Poland on Thursday and addressed an audience gathered in Warsaw.

President Trump Speech at Three Seas Initiative Summit in Poland Warsaw 7/6/17 – YouTube Donald Trump speech

Read Donald Trump’s Remarks at Three Seas Initiative Summit | Time.com President Donald Trump addressed a summit of the Three Seas Initiative on Thursday.


LIVE: Trump speech from Warsaw, Poland – CBS News Trump delivers remarks in Poland ahead of his trip to Hamburg, Germany for the G20 summit

 

Donald Trump in Poland Takes on North Korea, Russia – NBC News WARSAW, Poland — President Donald Trump vowed Thursday to “confront very strongly” the issue of North Korea for test-launching missiles and he took a shot at Russia for “destabilizing” actions in Ukraine and other countries.

In Warsaw, Trump Reaffirms Article 5 Commitment, Criticizes Russia’s ‘Destabilizing Behavior’ U.S. President Donald Trump said in Warsaw on July 6 that the United States is “committed to maintaining peace and security in Central Europe” and is “working with Poland in response to Russia’s actions and destabilizing behavior.”

In Poland, Trump Asks Whether West Has ‘Will to Survive’ – The New York Times After delivering a major speech in Warsaw, President Trump traveled to Hamburg, Germany, for a Group of 20 summit meeting with leaders of other major economies.

Trump calls Poland exemplary ally against Russian ‘destabilizing’ behavior | Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump described Poland as an exemplary ally in building defenses to counter Russian “destabilizing behavior”, while appearing to encourage Polish defiance toward the European Union.

Trump says Western civilisation at stake in Warsaw speech – BBC News The US president is giving a major speech in Poland ahead of a G20 summit in Germany.

In Poland, Trump Paints His Vision of Civilization and Commits to Article V | Foreign Policy In Poland, Trump Paints His Vision of Civilization and Commits to Article V « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

In Poland, Trump reaffirms commitment to NATO, chides Russia – The Washington Post The president praised Poland and Polish people in a speech in which he touted Western values.

Trump vows support for Three Seas initiative – Radio Poland :: News from Poland US President Donald Trump said during a visit to Warsaw on Thursday that America will be the “strongest ally and steadfast partner” of the “truly historic” Three Seas initiative.

Ivanka Trump lays wreath at Jewish heroes monument – Radio Poland :: News from Poland American First Daughter Ivanka Trump has paid respects to the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943.

Will Trump agree to be played for a fool? – News about politics | UNIAN Russian propaganda heavyweights are entering the ring. Dozens of “experts” are ready to prove that it’s Putin handshake which is tougher and, say, he hasn’t blinked once while looking in the eyes of Donald Trump, unlike the latter. The win has been given to Putin in advance, and the first meeting of the U.S. and Russian leaders will be presented as evidence of a multipolar world where the strongest gravity pole is the cradle of Orthodoxy and “spiritual bonds.” The negotiating teams of the two countries have already announced that they will discuss Ukraine, Syria and other problems of the universe and the world order. How long the meeting will last between Vladimir and Donald in the sidelines of the G20 summit remains highly confidential information, while the main task of the Russian team is to do everything to make these talks last longer than the recent ones in the White House – between Donald Trump and Petro Poroshenko. Length seems to be one of the main indicators of the “depth” of the dialogue. Nevertheless, it has already been announced that, while in Hamburg, Putin and Trump will only be able to have a rather short chat, so it’s not worth expecting any solution on Ukraine. The assessments of these talks are obvious: they will not differ in content from what has already been said over more than three years of Russian invasion of Ukraine. By the way, the new U.S. administration is even bolder in its statements on the occupation of Donbas and Crimea than their predecessors led by Obama, so loathed by the Kremlin. Curiously, however, is how patient Trump and Co. will be on this. Diplomacy is a must, of course, but let’s not forget about common sense. If the Russians continue to chatter at a primitive level about some kind of a “civil war” in Ukraine, it is unlikely that this will trigger any response, other than irritation, while the White House leader might as well feel he’s being played for a fool. Even the usually well-reserved Sergei Lavrov doesn’t seem to hesitate telling Mr Kissinger stories along the lines of “it was not in vain that we have got involved in the conflicts in Donbas and Syria,” while immediately inventing theories about the rightfulness of the decision to occupy the territory of a neighboring state. Russian authorities can claim as much as they wish the mean intentions of Americans in past administrations, who allegedly spent $5 billion on developing a democratic society in Ukraine, but this is unlikely to justify in any way the Russian invasion. Moreover, talking of love for money, why hasn’t the Kremlin engaged in such projects for years after the collapse of the Soviet Union? Five billion for democracy – that’s nothing for the Russian budget, even despite it having worn a bit thinner after the drop in global oil prices. After all, it would be much cheaper than the cost of those many gas pipelines bypassing Ukraine that Moscow has been mulling. But Moscow preferred to try and justify to the whole world why “Ukraine was never a thing,” and if it was, then only in a form of a Russian colony. Moscow also chose to bribe various sycophants loyal to Moscow, to strengthen their power, instead of injecting money for public development. The Kremlin will keep repeating their mantra on the need to “jointly” fight terrorism, while at the same time committing such crimes at the state level, and not only in Ukraine. Is Trump ready to listen to this nonsense of Russian imperialistic chauvinists? It’s highly unlikely. He realizes perfectly well that for being as much as suspected of playing in favor of the Russians, he will be crucified back at home. It is unlikely that he will want to play for Moscow’s better image. It would be nice for Mr Trump to find arguments to explain to Russians where the internationally recognized borders of their country run. In this situation, words have long ceased working. Lethal high-precision weapons for the Ukrainian Armed Forces are clearly a more convincing argument.

Trump Aides’ Biggest Worry About Europe Trip: Meeting With Putin – The New York TimesThe highly anticipated conversation poses risks for the president, who faces a web of investigations into his campaign’s possible links to Russia.

Trump aides’ biggest worry about Europe trip: Meeting with Putin – NYTPresident Trump arrived in Europe on Wednesday for three days of diplomacy that will culminate in a meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, which has the potential for global repercussions and political fallout back home, according to The New York Times (NYT). News 06 July from UNIAN.

Michael McFaul | What Trump needs to read before meeting Putin – The Washington PostWhen I worked in the White House at the National Security Council from 2009 to 2012, I wrote briefers for President Barack Obama for his “bilats” with then-President Dmitry Medvedev and then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. I have written an (unsolicited) backgrounder deliberately for President Trump; short, simple and with his stated views on Russia in mind ahead of this week’s meeting between the U.S. and Russian presidents. Backgrounder on U.S.-Russia relations For three decades, American presidents sought to encourage democratic and market reforms inside Russia and integrate Russia into the West. This strategy was motivated by the belief – shared by Republicans and Democrats alike – that a more democratic Russia would serve U.S. security and economic interests. That project is now over. Putin does not want to build democracy and has even become suspicious of free enterprise. He no longer desires to join the West, but instead sees Russia as a bulwark against American hegemony and Western liberal values.

What to Expect From Trump’s Europe Trip | Foreign Policy A president usually never gets a second chance to make a first impression, but President Donald Trump intends to test that proposition over the next few days in Europe. Trump’s first overseas tour was a mixed bag of style and substance — a symbolically successful visit to Saudi Arabia and summit with Gulf Cooperation Council partners, a positive stop in Israel, yet uncomfortable friction with democratic European allies, several instant meme moments (the glowing orb, the Montenegro shove, and the white-knuckled handshake with French President Emmanuel Macron), and a fumbled policy pronouncement on NATO’s Article 5. For the past several weeks, Trump’s team has been forced to do cleanup, from having to explain that America first does not mean America alone, to reassuring European partners that the United States does indeed stand by its commitments and explaining that Trump did not provide the Saudis and Emiratis with a green light to impose a total embargo on Qatar.

Why Trump will feel at home in Eastern Europe – CNN.com Before President Trump arrives in Germany for this week’s G20 Summit, he first stops off in Poland, where he’s set to receive a warm welcome.

Poland Is Way Too Happy About Donald Trump’s Visit | Foreign Policy The U.S. president’s stop in Warsaw isn’t a diplomatic coup. It’s a divisive distraction.

Polish Rent-a-Crowds Ready to Cheer Trump in Warsaw—Especially if He Attacks the E.U.  The populism Team Trump once hoped would destroy the European Union has been defeated in the West. But it remains strong, in power, and increasingly authoritarian in the East.

Russia’s Putin, North Korea to challenge Trump overseas President Donald Trump opens his two-nation European visit with what he expects to be a short but warm stop in Poland before he encounters what could be a frostier reception and thornier issues at an international summit in Germany. Trump’s sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s first launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile threaten to put Trump’s skills as a negotiator to the test.


Russia / Russophone Reports


Russia – ‘The Fish is Rotting from the Head’ – To Inform is to Influence Wednesday, July 5, 2017 For the Second Time in Russian History, ‘The Fish is Rotting from the Head,’ Eidman Says Paul Goble Staunton, July 5 – “A fish begins to rot from the head,” Russians say, “and society descends into insanity following its dictator. His personal paranoia become that of society and propaganda infects the…

 

Window on Eurasia — New Series: For the Second Time in Russian History, ‘The Fish is Rotting from the Head,’ Eidman Says Paul Goble Staunton, July 5 – “A fish begins to rot from the head,” Russians say, “and society descends into insanity following its dictator. His personal paranoia become that of society and propaganda infects the entire country with it,” Igor Eidman says. “Thus it was in Stalin’s USSR; such it has occurred in Putin’s Russia as well.” There is only one principle difference, the Russian commentator for Deutsche Welle says. “Stalin’s paranoia was directed inside the country. He was pathologically afraid of conspiracies, didn’t trust even his closest entourage, and sought to destroy all he suspected of disloyalty” (facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1540269132702727&id=100001589654713). Putin’s paranoia in contrast is “directed abroad.” He believes that the West and “above all the US” wants to overthrow and destroy him.” Indeed, he appears to view himself as a Russian bear “which the West and the US ‘never will leave in piece” but will always try to seek out and destroy. As a result, “Putin views any world event, be it the revolution in Ukraine or the elections in France through the prism of this paranoid fear;” and his propaganda machine spreads this “xenophobic hysteria and hatred” through the population. “Thus, for the second time, the illness of one man has become the source of an epidemic of mass psychosis.” There is certainly data that support this argument, that the problem has spread from a Kremlin leader to Russian society, including recent polls showing that Russians rank Stalin number one as a leader of all times as places and that nearly half of them think that without his harsh policies, order couldn’t have been preserved (fedpress.ru/news/77/society/1814748). Other evidence for this view comes from a new Levada Center survey which found that a third of Russians want their president to be even more harsh toward the population and the West than Putin has been up to now, with only one in eight favoring any kind of liberalization (vedomosti.ru/politics/articles/2017/07/05/709429-uzhestocheniya-vnutrennei-politiki). But some experts, like Denis Volkov of the Levada Center, say that “it is impossible to say just what [Russians] understand” by such statements or whether they are in any way prepared to have such harsh measures apply to themselves as opposed to individuals and groups that the state has identified as enemies. And still others, like commentator Sergey Rakhmanin, argue that those who see the problem emanating from Putin and spreading downward have gotten things exactly backward. Instead, he says, the population has in Putin exactly the kind of leader it wants (glavred.info/politika/effekt-putina-zhurnalist-obyasnil-beshenuyu-populyarnost-prezidenta-rossii-444860.html). In his view, the commentator says, “’the Putin effect’ consists in that he is a politician of a type which most completely corresponds to the mental, political and psychological needs of Russians, to their views of the world, their tastes, their so-called ‘mission of Russia,’ and also corresponds to their prejudices, myths, phobias, and expectations.” In short, “Russia is the way it is not because Putin is president … but because thecurrent generation of Russians needs precisely such a leader.”

Igor Eidman – A history of illness: from Stalin to Putin Lydia Chukovskaya wrote about the Stalin of the USSR as a society of ” damaged in mind “, to such a degree of false lies, ” what can be compared to the poisoning of the army with poisonous gases “. The fish begins to rot and the society goes into madness after the dictator. His personal paranoia becomes public, propaganda infects her entire country. As a result, society starts to be painfully fever, and then it just goes crazy. It was in the Soviet Union. That’s what happened in Russia. The only difference is that Stalin’s paranoia was sent to the country. He was pathologically afraid of conspiracies, not even trusted his closest surroundings, tried to destroy everyone he suspected in disloyalty. Propaganda has infected the erratic paranoia of Soviet people, who have massively sought to find enemies of the people among their friends, neighbors and colleagues. Putin’s paranoia, unlike stalin, is aimed at outside. The main crackpot idea is that the west and above all the us want to overthrow it and destroy it. He kept talking about it. Judging by one such comment, Putin subconsciously associate himself with a “Bear” that the West and the US will never leave alone because they will always strive to put them on a chain. And as soon as we get to the chain, the teeth and the claws “. Any world events, whether the revolution in Ukraine or the elections in France, Putin perceives in the prism of this paranoid fear. A subordinate of his propaganda machine airs the western paranoia of “Master” throughout the country, infecting people with xenophobic hysteria and hatred. For the second time in Russia’s history, the disease of one person has become a source of mass psychosis.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia Caught Between Economic Decline and Potentially Explosive Demographic Change Paul Goble Staunton, July 5 – Russia’s economic development ministry says that the country’s GDP growth will be approximately half of one percent lower each year because of projected declines in the number of workers in Russia in the coming decades, a decline that the ministry says must be fought by increasing immigration. But any immigration sufficient to cover that decline in the size of the working-age cohort will not only increasingly consist of people who are culturally, linguistically and religiously dissimilar to the current residents of Russia and accelerate the shifting balance between Orthodox and Muslims in its population. Russia could avoid this problem by dramatically increasing labor productivity, something the government and most experts do not think is possible, or by driving down mortality rates among working age Russian males, a step that would be very expensive, or attracting back into the workforce pensioners, a step with unpredictable political consequences. As a result, the Russian government, far sooner than many have predicted, will face a Hobson’s choice between slower economic growth or even accelerated economic decline and a changing ethnic and cultural balance that will certainly exacerbate tensions within society by dramatically increasing the share of Muslims in the population of Russia. Irina Grigoryeva of Izvestia reports today that the economic development ministry says that in the coming years, Russia will lose one million working age Russians annually and that if steps to compensate for this aren’t taken, that alone will cut GDP growth by 0.4 to 0.5 percent (iz.ru/614905/rossiia-teriaet-05-pp-ekonomicheskogo-rosta-iz-za-demograficheskogo-spada). The ministry believes that Russia can make up for this demographic decline by boosting labor productivity, but Russian experts and politicians say that this is likely impossible. They are also skeptical about reducing mortality rates or attracting pensioners back to the workforce (segodnia.ru/content/189343 and regions.ru/news/2607034/). If they are right – and they have recent history on their side – Russia will have to attract a dramatic increase in the number of immigrants. Most of these will come from Central Asia or the South Caucasus, and they will be increasingly different from the Russians with whom they will be working. Many will no longer speak Russian fluently if at all. Many will not identify with the Soviet collective of the past but rather with their own countries. And many will be offended by the increasing xenophobia among Russians, attitudes that are making these people more nationalistic and even anti-Russian than would otherwise be the case. But the big change will be in the demographic make-up of the Russian Federation’s population. Three factors are driving this: First, non-Russians and especially Muslim nations within Russia have higher birthrates than do ethnic Russians. Second, ethnic Russian males suffer disproportionately higher death rates among working age groups. And third, immigration in the future will add almost exclusively to the Muslim side of the balance. It is already the case that the share of Muslims in Russia is far higher than the Kremlin admits especially if one includes the 12 to 15 million gastarbeiters who are disproportionately from Central Asia and Azerbaijan and Muslim rather than Orthodox. (That pattern was less extreme in the 1990s because many ethnic Russians did return from the non-Russian countries, but now, despite Putin’s call for repatriation of compatriots, the number of Russian or at least Orthodox immigrants is extremely small in comparison to the number of Muslims.) And that means, if the Russian government is to avoid presiding over economic growth far lower or even negative than it wants, Moscow will have to take in more immigrant workers and these workers will leave it with a population very much less Russian and Orthodox Christian than the Kremlin will like and stability would appear to require.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: More Kyrgyz Now Work in Russia than in Bishkek and Osh Combined Paul Goble Staunton, July 5 – Migration is changing the face not only of Russia but of many of Russia’s neighbors, with Kyrgyzstan offering what officials describe as truly “horrifying” statistics in this regard. At present, they say, more Kyrgyz are working in Russia than in the cities of Bishkek and Osh combined. Officially, there are now 600,000 Kyrgyz working in Russia. (Unofficial figures put the number at a million.) The current figure is four times more than the number of medical workers, teachers and police combined employed in Kyrgyzstan (zanoza.kg/doc/359809_v_rf_rabotaet_bolshe_kyrgyzstancev_chem_v_bishkeke_i_oshe._yjasaushie_cifry.html). Annually, official statistics show, Kyrgyz working in Russia send home approximately two billion US dollars. That figure is equal to 30 percent of the country’s GDP. Moreover, it works out to 3300 US dollars per gastarbeiter in Russia – or 280 US dollars a month – a figure that compared with a GDP per capita in Kyrgyzstan of about 1100 US dollars. After Kyrgyzstan joined the Eurasian Economic Community, the number of migrants leaving the country to work in the Russian Federation increased and is now running at approximately 50,000 new departures every year. As a result, there will be a million Kyrgyz working in Russia by 2024 if not earlier. And that in turn means that Kyrgyzstan will be on its way to surpass Tajikistan in supplying gastarbeiters to Russia. The latter country now has the larger share of its population there, and its remittances home amount to 42 percent of Tajikistan’s GDP, making it the largest recipient of such funds in the world. The impact of gastarbeiter experiences in Russia is mixed. On the one hand, many of them may feel more integrated with Russia and some may even choose to become Russian citizens. But on the other, the widespread xenophobia Russians show to Central Asian gastarbeiters may deepen divisions, however much Bishkek may depend on these remittances.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Global Warming Already having ‘Explosive’ Consequences in Russian North Paul Goble Staunton, July 5 – Because permafrost underlies two-thirds of the territory of the Russian Federation and because two-thirds of that is projected to melt before the end of this century (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2016/10/russias-largest-problem-permafrost-lies.html), Russian scholars and officials have long been aware that this trend represents a serious threat. That is because such a large percentage of the country’s natural resources is located in permafrost areas or must be transported through them for use in the Russian economy or export and because many of its military facilities are in this region as well, and the melting of the permafrost could lead to the collapse of infrastructure, including pipelines and powerlines. But now it appears that these problems which most commentators have suggested are decades away are appearing now and in a far more explosive way than anyone expected thanks to the release of methane gas which is leading to explosions in Russia’s far north (siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/warnings-of-new-arctic-explosions-at-some-700-plus-sites-in-yamal-due-to-thawing-permafrost/). In the Yamal Peninsula alone – the name means “end of the earth” in the language of the local population – there have been dozens of methane explosions over the last three years and “more than 700” other sides are displaying warning signs, such as the swelling of the ground or cracking of the earth, that explosions may occur in them as well in the near future. As The Siberian Times points out, “Yamal has the biggest concentration of natural gas fields on the planet, and these can be threatened by exploding ground.” And officials are worried: Aleksandr Mazharov, deputy head of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, notes that such explosions can occur “anywhere.” One “might hit a technological facility, a residential settlement or a linear object (a pipeline or a railway),” he adds. Assuming that happens, Moscow’s ability to extract resources from the region or maintain military facilities in it would be compromised far sooner than anyone had expected.

Warnings of new Arctic explosions at some 700-plus sites in Yamal due to thawing permafrost By The Siberian Times reporter. 04 July 2017. Scientists rush to site of latest tundra eruption – which formed a crater 50 metres deep – amid fears for homes and key industrial sites.Startling details have emerged of last week’s methane gas blowout on an Arctic riverbank: a sudden and deafening bang from a large explosion of the ground near a reindeer encampment, fire shooting into the sky and raging for several minutes from the eruption, huge chunks of charred permafrost blown out of the ground, and a deep, eerie crater forming, some 50 metres deep which immediately filled with water. Reindeer and dogs fled in fright. Sand and grass was blackened by the intense heat of the eruption which was described as ‘a flame of fire and then a rising pillar of smoke’. Scientists rushed to the scene on the Yamal Peninsula to examine the site in the immediate aftermath of the explosion, amid expert warnings that many can be expected as a warming climate leads to thawing permafrost and the release of potent methane gas which has lain frozen under the surface for thousands of years. The ground is ‘swelling’ at more than 700 sites on Yamal – known to locals as ‘the end of the world’ –  have been identified as potential explosion sites, but these are seen as the tip of an iceberg. Many are hillocks or knolls, some are pingos. Professor Vasily Bogoyavlensky, Russia’s leading expert on this recently-noticed phenomenon of blowout craters, rushed from his Black Sea vacation to examine the debris. The explosion and the resulting hole near Seyakha village is the latest of a dozen or so substantial known craters to form in Arctic Russia, mainly on Yamal, since 2014. Mikhail Okotetto told TV channel Yamal-region of a fellow herder who was close to the eruption. ‘The reindeer fled to the south, but he had newborn calf (in his hands),’ he said. ‘So the reindeer and dogs, all ran away, and he was just left there standing with the newborn calf.’

Yamal Craters 2017 – YouTube
           Published on Jul 1, 2017 courtesy Alexander Sokolov and Yamal-Region

http://siberiantimes.com/PICTURES/OTHERS/New-crater-yamal/inside%202.jpg
UAWire – Media: pro-Russian group is formed in PACE The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) intends to create a group which will be joined by MPs who support Russia and Azerbaijan. The notorious Thierry Mariani is supposed to become the group’s secretary. This was discovered by a correspondent for Evropeyskaya Pravda who possesses copies of the group formation documents. The political group by the name of Free Democrats was meant to be created in June already, but its creation was blocked due to the organizers’ mistakes: deputies found plagiarism in the constitutional documents, and the members of the new group did not leave their existing political groups in time. The process is expected to be completed at the autumn session. The group is to be composed of 24 deputies from various factions who have supported Russia’s and Azerbaijan’s position before, and it will be headed by the Italian Adele Gambaro. If a pro-Russian group is created, it will receive a seat in the presidential committee and in the Bureau of the Assembly, a quota of the committee leaders and speakers who are being commissioned for matters critically important to Baku and Moscow. It may also make a claim to the position of PACE president according to the quota principle. It is noteworthy that the notorious Thierry Mariani was nominated for the position of general secretary of the group. Mariani is a pro-Russian former deputy from France who lost in the parliamentary elections. He is known as the key lobbyist of Russian interests in PACE. On multiple occasions he has led parliamentary delegations to the Crimea, despite Kyiv’s protests. Mariani currently maintains the status of PACE member, and thus he also features among the representatives of the group in question. However, even after the replacement of the members of the French delegation, he will probably remain in the assembly. The secretaries of all political groups are paid employees of the PACE secretariat.
Exclusive: Siemens turbines delivered to Crimea despite sanctions – sources | Reuters Russia has delivered electricity turbines made by Germany’s Siemens to Crimea, a region subject to European Union sanctions barring EU firms from supplying it with energy technology, three sources with knowledge of the delivery told Reuters.
Trials over downing of flight MH17 to be held in Netherlands | Reuters Suspects in the downing of Malaysian airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine in 2014, in which all 298 people aboard were killed, will be tried in a Dutch court and under Dutch law, the Netherlands’ foreign ministry said on Wednesday.
Dutch to Try Suspects in ’14 Downing of Malaysia Airlines Jet Over Ukraine – The New York Times Prosecutors have not yet identified the suspects or described how they would be tried, but it is unlikely any of them will be extradited.
UAWire – Georgian media: Russian military has moved the Abkhazian border Russian Federation representatives in Abkhazia have moved a banner designating the border by 500 meters once again, to the outskirts of the …
Chess Legend Kasparov Comes Out Of Retirement For U.S. Tournament Organizers of a U.S. chess tournament say&nbsp;former world chess champion Garry Kasparov is coming out of retirement to join their competition in August. The former champion, who retired fro…

The Copycat Cars Of The U.S.S.R. Industry loomed large in the race for influence between the West and the Soviet Union, symbolizing power and the ability to create, innovate, and carry the world into the future. But while the Soviet…


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


How Russia Views Public Diplomacy? – To Inform is to Influence First, a million apologies for the rough Chrome browser translation. If you have major heartburn, please submit a better translation and I will substitute.   Second, the source for posting this article was in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but the actual source was KM.ru.   The author is significant, however.  Dmitry Rogozin, the…

 

Ukrainian Sources Using Russian Propaganda – Name and Shame – To Inform is to Influence I have problems with a few of these articles as I reviewed them in my latest Russian update from my anonymous expert.   I wanted to specifically bring attention to Ukrainian news sources helping contribute to the problem. You are part of the problem by perpetuating Russian propaganda.  These were the latest offending articles.  …

Dramatic Police Raid On Ukraine Firm At Center Of Global Cyber Attack – YouTube Hundreds of Ukrainian businesses and several government agencies are still recovering from last week’s cyber attack. Meanwhile, the country’s security servic…

Ukrainian Police Raid Software Firm Linked To CyberattackVideo released by the Ukrainian National Police shows officers raiding a company in Kyiv thought to be at the center of a global cyberattack. Police on July 4 seized servers belonging to Intellect Service, a developer for tax software firm M.E. Doc, which is linked to an international outbreak of malware last week. A police spokesman said that the preliminary investigation points to Russian influence. (Reuters)

Ukraine says it foiled 2nd cyberattack after police raid – Fifth Domain | Cyber KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian authorities have avoided a second cyberattack, the country’s interior minister said Wednesday, an announcement that suggests the effort to wreak electronic havoc across the country is ongoing. Ukraine is still trying to find its feet after scores or even hundreds of businesses and government agencies were hit by an explosion of data-scrambling software on June 27. In a Facebook post, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said there was a second stage to that attack, timed to hit its peak at 4 p.m. in Ukraine on July 4. Avakov said the second strike — like the first one — originated from servers at the Ukrainian tax software company M.E. Doc, which sheds a little more light on Tuesday’s heavily armed raid on M.E. Doc’s office and the seizure of its servers. The firm acknowledged Wednesday that it had been broken into and used by hackers to seed an epidemic of malware — an admission that came after a week of increasingly implausible denials. It’s not clear what the thrust or scope of the second cyberattack in Ukraine was, but M.E. Doc is widely used across Ukraine, making it a tempting springboard for hackers. An executive at the company behind the software was quoted by Interfax-Ukraine as saying it was installed on 1 million machines across the country. How many of those machines have been infected is an open question. The June 27 attack initially seemed to be a particularly aggressive form of ransomware, but many analysts who picked it apart later said it appeared to be a thinly disguised attempt to destroy data and sow chaos. Some said the malware epidemic was likely state-backed, and Ukrainian officials have squarely put the blame on the Kremlin. Russian officials routinely deny such claims. In the meantime, the online wallet carrying roughly $10,000 worth of digital currency extorted by the cyber attackers was emptied shortly around the time of the July 4 raid, according to Bitcoin’s public ledger. Information security experts say some of the money appears to have been used to purchase space on a darknet text storage site, where a statement demanding 100,000 bitcoin, or roughly $2.6 million, in exchange for unscrambling all the affected files materialized shortly thereafter. It’s impossible to determine whether the offer is serious or just a distraction. The AP was unable to immediately reach the hackers for comment. Ukrainian officials have not offered a global estimate of the amount of damage inflicted by the June 27 attack. But in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan said the damage at his department alone ran into millions of dollars.

M.E.Doc software installed at some 1 million computers – software developer CEO The tax reporting software M.E.Doc has been installed on some 1 million computers, CEO of Intellect-Service LLC (Kyiv), the developer of the software, Olesia Bilousova has said.

Analysis of TeleBots’ cunning backdoor: Massive cyber attack aimed at Ukraine The analysis of a recent massive cyber attack reportedly attributed to the TeleBots group shows that it was a thoroughly well-planned and well-executed operation which was aimed to hit Ukrainian businesses, according to the Welivesecurity portal, supported by the ESET security community. News 05 July from UNIAN.

UAWire – NATO provided Ukraine with equipment to strengthen cybersecurity The head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Vasyl Hrytsak, states that as part of the Ukraine-NATO trust fund for cyber security, Ukraine has …

Yuzhmash regrets rumours about plant’s alleged backing of Russia’s nuclear potential Yuzhmash (Pivdenmash, Dnipro) has expressed regret about rumours about its alleged involvement in supporting Russia’s nuclear potential, in particular, production and servicing of Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missiles, the press service of the enterprise has reported. “On July 3 a person who named himself a military expert appeared on Ukrainian TV and said that Yuzhmash, as the manufacturer of the Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missiles, biannually carries out maintenance and that the enterprise sent 14 intercontinental ballistic missiles to Russia in May 2017,” the press service of Yuzhmash said. The press service said that Yuzhmash is not the manufacturer of Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missiles. The enterprise has not produced any strategic missiles since Indepdence and has no missiles in stock. “The information that Yuzhmash transferred intercontinental ballistic missiles is untrue,” the enterprise said.


Ukraine Reports


U.S. not decided yet whether to supply Ukraine with lethal weapons The U.S. has not decided yet on the delivery of lethal weapons to Ukraine, a senior U.S. State Department official has said. “So on the Ukraine question, what I would say – President Poroshenko’s conversations when he was here in D.C. covered the full range of U.S.-Ukraine security cooperation. So that – Ukraine’s desires are well known, and our position continues that we have not yet taken a decision to do that, the official [identified as “Senior State Department Official One”] said at a briefing on Wednesday ahead of the U.S. Secretary of State’s visit to Kyiv on July 9. At the same time, a high-ranking diplomat said: “We have neither ruled out providing such weapons to Ukraine nor have we taken any decision to do so.”

 

U.S. Considering Naming Envoy To Join Minsk Peace Talks Over Ukraine Conflict Washington is considering heeding calls on all sides to appoint an envoy to the Minsk peace negotiations between Russia, Ukraine, and separatists in the east, a senior U.S. State Department officia…

U.S. mulling over collaboration within Normandy format on Donbas The United States is exploring ways to support the Normandy format, according to senior State Department officials, who commented on U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's forthcoming visit to Ukraine. News 06 July from UNIAN.

Tillerson to meet Poroshenko, young reformers in Kyiv – U.S. State Dept U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will make his first official visit to Kyiv, Ukraine on July 9, according to the U.S. State Department. Latest UNIAN news from 05 July.

Tillerson studying how U.S. can be involved in implementing Minsk accords with Ukraine – U.S. State Department official U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is still gathering information and forming his own view on the settlement in Ukraine, a senior U.S. State Department official has said.

Washington doesn’t want to deal exclusively with Russia on Ukrainian conflict settlement The settlement of the conflict in Ukraine is not an exclusive issue of Russian-American relations, Washington intends to work to achieve this goal in a multilateral format, a senior U.S. State Department official has said.

Merkel assures Poroshenko Ukraine’s fate not to be decided at G20 summit behind Kyiv’s back German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her Wednesday&rsquo;s phone conversation with President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko July 5 assured her interlocutor that the fate of Ukraine would not be decided without Kyiv&rsquo;s participation at the G20 summit in Hamburg, the Ukrainian presidential administration&rsquo;s press service reported. News 05 July from UNIAN.

Poroshenko, Merkel coordinate position on implementation of Minsk agreements – 06.07.2017 10:44 — Ukrinform News 06.07.2017 10:44. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel coordinate the position on the implementation of the Minsk agreements in the context of preparations for the G20 Summit in Hamburg.

Poroshenko, Merkel united on need to continue active contacts in Normandy format President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko held a phone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel July 5, the Ukrainian presidential administration&rsquo;s press service reported. News 05 July from UNIAN.

Andreas Umland | How to Achieve a Ukrainian Success Story – Carnegie Europe – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Western governments should take a number of measures to more resolutely support Ukraine’s national security and economic prospects.

Alexander Vershbow: ‘Black Sea is where Russia’s aggression against Ukraine began’ | KyivPost Editor’s Note: The following are remarks to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Kyiv on July 3 by Atlantic Council fellow and former NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow. First of all, may I thank NATO Parliamentary Assembly for organizing this 95th Rose-Roth seminar in Kyiv – and for inviting me to speak. As a former NATO Deputy Secretary General and veteran of many NPA events, it is a pleasure to be with you once again – all the more so as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the NATO-Ukraine Charter. This seminar on the Black Sea addresses an important topic to Ukraine, to the region, and to NATO. Ultimately, the Black Sea is the southeastern frontier of the Alliance. It lies at the crossroads between Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It is a corridor for transportation and commerce. And it is a region sprinkled with frozen conflicts, unrecognized “states” and transnational criminal groups. And, let’s not forget, the Black Sea is where Russia’s aggression against Ukraine began. It is here where Putin decided to throw away the international rule book. It is here where Russia began to fundamentally challenge international law and the sovereignty of its neighbors by illegally annexing Crimea, and then going on to destabilize the East of Ukraine – an undeclared war that continues to this day. Following Crimea’s illegal annexation, the situation of the local population on the peninsula has only deteriorated. This is especially true of the Ukrainian minority and the indigenous Crimean Tatars. The latter have experienced severe intimidation and persecution, with reports of abductions, un-investigated crimes against prominent members of their community, and the persecution of cultural organizations. Many have had to flee the peninsula as a result. Although the international community has refused to recognize Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea, Russia has also seized control of essential energy infrastructure and resources. This includes two billion cubic meters of Ukrainian natural gas storage and access to undersea hydrocarbon resources in the Black Sea, potentially worth trillions of dollars. This has dealt a severe blow to Ukraine’s ambitions to become energy independent. And it has weakened the energy security of several other Black Sea states, seriously undermining our efforts to have energy freely developed and transported. So for all these reasons, the region should be of critical and serious concern – not just to Ukraine and the Black Sea States, but to NATO as well. For quite some time, however, the Black Sea has been a backwater from the point of view of the West and members of the Alliance. As the keeper of the Straits and the Montreux convention – and given its economic interests in Russian gas and trade – Turkey has sometimes been reluctant to work closely with the other littoral states, including Ukraine and fellow NATO members Bulgaria and Romania. Meanwhile, other allies were preoccupied with issues closer to their own borders. For Russia, however, the Black Sea has never been a backwater. Historically and to this day, the Black Sea is a springboard for Russia’s efforts to extend its reach and influence far beyond its borders. Today, it is in many ways the nexus of Russia’s strategy aimed at reestablishing hegemony over its southern neighborhood – a strategy based on disruption and destabilization rather than mutually beneficial cooperation. Given the political, economic and human rights implications of Russia’s destabilizing policies, all NATO Allies are stakeholders in the security of the Black Sea region. Since its illegal annexation of Crimea, Russia has undertaken a major militarization of the occupied peninsula. It has significantly upgraded and enlarged the Black Sea fleet with new submarines and warships armed with long-range cruise missiles. It has deployed advanced air defenses (such as the S-400) and coastal anti-ship defenses, and Russia is rumored to be planning the reintroduction of nuclear weapons and dual-capable delivery systems like the Iskander missile complex that can reach NATO territory (and, of course, Ukraine). Occupied Crimea has become a bastion for the Russians’ ‘anti-access and area denial’ – or A2/AD – capabilities that provide the Russians the potential to impede the movement of regional forces and disrupt NATO efforts to reinforce Allies’ defenses. At the same time, the Kremlin still sponsors and orchestrates the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, with casualties and ceasefire violations reported on a daily basis, largely caused by Russian-led forces. While it nominally claims to support the Minsk accords, Russia has not fulfilled its obligations as a Minsk signatory – including ending the violence, withdrawing heavy weapons and removing the thousands of Russian soldiers that remain in the Donbas in overall command of military operations. (Removing their insignias or pretending they’re on vacation doesn’t make the troops any less Russian.) As a result of Russia’s intransigence, the diplomatic process has reached a standstill, despite the efforts of Ukraine, Germany and France within the so-called Normandy Format. And we should not forget that Russia is still fostering tensions and instability in the wider region – including by perpetuating the ‘frozen’ conflicts in NATO partner countries Georgia and Moldova, where Moscow continues to arm and sustain its proxies in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria. Altogether this creates a loop of instability around the Black Sea that threatens to prolong insecurity throughout the region and prevent countries such as Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia from pursuing their aspirations to integrate with Europe. The question is of course, how should the West respond going forward? Since Russia launched its aggression in 2014, NATO has implemented a series of measures to reassure its eastern Allies and bolster deterrence along the Alliance’s eastern flank. These included more frequent exercises and rotational deployments by Allied air and ground forces, increased AWACS surveillance flights, and the intensification of NATO maritime patrols in the Black Sea. As part of the decisions adopted at the Warsaw Summit in 2016, NATO is delivering the biggest reinforcement of its defense and deterrence posture in a generation – four battalion-size battlegroups in the Baltics and Poland and, on top of that, a tailored forward NATO presence in the Black Sea region, including a multinational brigade in Romania. And despite early concerns about the direction of the Trump administration, the US 2018 defense budget includes an increase of more than one billion US dollars for the European Deterrence Initiative – a sign of the continued US commitment to European defense and security. Likewise, it was encouraging to hear President Trump unequivocally commit to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, as he did in early June, after missing the opportunity to do so at the May 25 NATO mini-Summit in Brussels. Although these are all positive steps, there are still some significant gaps in NATO’s deterrence posture in Europe – including gaps in maritime presence and insufficient air and theater missile defense. Russia is exploiting those gaps. Also, we need to recognize that Russia’s strategy in the Black Sea is not done in isolation. It is part of a broader strategy to assert Russian power from the Arctic to Syria, with a view to weakening and challenging NATO’s unity and undermining our resolve. To meet this challenge, our approach must be equally comprehensive and broad. In this regard, let me highlight five elements that the Western alliance must continue to address going forward: We must continue to strengthen our capabilities and collective security. To this end, we need to invest more in our own defense. While his tone may have been harsh, President Trump was right to challenge allies to live up their pledge to increase defense spending toward the 2% of GDP target during his May visit to Brussels. Indeed, his predecessors have all insisted on the same thing. What’s different is that most European states seem to have finally gotten the message, and have plans to increase their defense budgets over the coming years. Along with spending more money on defense, Allies need to ensure the highest levels of interoperability – the ability of their militaries to cooperate against common threats. Interoperability is an essential consideration for governments buying new equipment and military platforms. Cooperation between Allies – especially between our Black Sea Allies Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, and involving the United States – will be key to meeting the security challenges we face. But partners like Ukraine should be involved as well. NATO needs to consider a more persistent military presence in the Black Sea region, especially when it comes to maritime capabilities. This means building a presence that is robust and persistent, but defensive and non-permanent, fully in compliance with the Montreux Convention. NATO cannot just circle the wagons and look after its own members’ security. Allies also need to bolster the capabilities of Russia’s neighbors, like Ukraine and Georgia, who are threatened by Moscow. Since 2014, NATO has expanded its assistance through the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package and Comprehensive Assistance Package for Ukraine, and it has deployed a team of resident defense advisors to each country. But these efforts are relatively under-resourced in comparison to European Union efforts in the police and judicial sectors, and it’s time that they be expanded, including a greater focus on countering cyber and other hybrid threats. NATO should maintain its Open Door policy. While the issue of NATO membership for Ukraine is a delicate question and not on the immediate agenda, Allies should not rule this out in the medium and long term – both as a matter of principle and because the freedom to choose one’s security arrangements is enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act, a document that Russia helped write. In fact, the best answer to Russia’s aggression would be a strong, secure and economically prosperous Ukraine. For this, I’d like to leave you with three concrete steps that I think are absolutely necessary if we are to help Ukraine succeed: While Ukrainians bear the ultimate responsibility for their own destiny, Europe needs to step-up its support for Ukraine’s reforms. Critical decisions are needed in the coming months on judicial reform, anti-corruption courts, pension reform and land market privatization, all areas where the European Union can help. In this regard, Europe should consider new ways of integrating Ukraine with the EU looking beyond the Association Agreement, as well as supporting it financially and helping rebuild its war-torn East. Washington, for its part, needs to step up its own support by giving the Ukrainians the tools to defend themselves from Russian aggression and thus deter further attacks. This means providing Ukraine with a broader range of defensive weapons to better protect the forces along the line of contact, and to raise the costs to Russia of its daily aggression in Eastern Ukraine. The goal of additional assistance is not to promote a military solution, but to convince Moscow to accept a political settlement that restores Ukrainian sovereignty over the Donbas. Toward that end, Europe and the United States need to breathe new life into the negotiating process. The Minsk process is clearly not delivering on its intended goal, and the fighting in the East has continued despite multiple ceasefires. In fact, the violence has intensified since the beginning of the year, as Russian and proxy forces violate the Minsk ceasefire on a daily basis with almost complete impunity, raining down artillery and rocket attacks and inflicting significant civilian casualties. A stronger US diplomatic role (to include the possible appointment of a special envoy), working hand-in-hand with Kyiv, Berlin and Paris, is needed to secure a lasting ceasefire and full implementation of the Minsk agreements. Implementing Minsk, and restoring Ukrainian sovereignty over the occupied territories in the East, must remain the precondition for normalization of relations with Moscow and for any easing of the economic sanctions. In fact, Europe and the United States should be prepared to tighten sanctions further if Moscow continues to block a solution. Thank you for your attention and thanks, once again, for the opportunity to address this seminar.

Vera Zimmerman | War in Ukraine Was Years in the Making Ukraine is the only country in the world that has ongoing experience with a hybrid war—a simultaneous and adaptive military strategy that blends conventional and non-conventional means. As a result, it offers valuable lessons that could help the West better understand emerging threats. In the last three years, Ukraine has found itself drawn into the burgeoning confrontation between an insolent Russia and a timid West. Taken by surprise, violated, and robbed by a neighbor who for decades touted the historical and ethnic ties between them, Ukraine was forced to quickly mobilize its scarce resources and learn how to fight a sophisticated enemy in a new type of warfare. In a new comprehensive study, “The World Hybrid War: Ukrainian Forefront,” experts from Ukraine’s National Institute for Strategic Studies (NISS) examine the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the context of the global security crisis. In the monograph, they conceptualize hybrid war, trace its origins, look at the evolution of Russia’s revanchist ambitions, single out Ukraine’s vulnerabilities and its response, and advocate a new strategy. The authors aim to share Ukraine’s experience of hybrid war with Western readers and leave no doubt about the true nature of Russia’s goals.

CPJ To Release Report On Ukrainian Probe Into Sheremet’s Death The Committee to Protect Journalists says it will release next week a report on the Ukrainian investigation into last year&rsquo;s death of Pavel Sheremet, a Belarusian-born Russian journalist. Th…

Relative calm in Donbas: 13 enemy attacks, 2 WIA’s in last day Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 13 times in the past 24 hours, with two Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 06 July from UNIAN.

Militants launched 13 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas in last day – 06.07.2017 09:30 — Ukrinform News 06.07.2017 09:30. Militants launched 13 attacks on positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in ATO area in Donbas over the past day.

Russia, militants claim 69 Ukrainian hostages in captivity, not 132 as Kyiv insists – Humanitarian Envoy Representatives of the Russian Federation and Moscow-controlled Donbas militants have stated that there are currently 69 Ukrainian hostages being held in captivity in the occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, despite the Ukrainian side&rsquo;s information on 132 prisoners, according to the Ukrainian humanitarian envoy at the Tripartite Contact Group for Donbas settlement in Minsk, Irina Gerashchenko. News 05 July from UNIAN.

Kremlin looking into all means to protect Russian citizens detained in Ukraine, – Peskov 05.07.17 16:44 – Kremlin looking into all means to protect Russian citizens detained in Ukraine, – Peskov The Russian side is looking into all means to protect interests of Russians who have been detained in Ukraine. View news.

FSB officers Kuznetsov and Kulub sentenced to 15 days of arrest and 320 hryvnia fine for illegal border crossing of Ukraine, – InformNapalm. PHOTOS 06.07.17 09:39 – FSB officers Kuznetsov and Kulub sentenced to 15 days of arrest and 320 hryvnia fine for illegal border crossing of Ukraine, – InformNapalm. PHOTOS The Kalanchak district court of the Kherson region has sentenced two Russian FSB officers detained in Ukraine to 15 days of administrative arrest and a fine of 320 hryvnia ($12.3). In addition, the court decision has many inaccuracies. View photo news.

UAWire – Ukrainian military commander: Foreign volunteers want to join Georgian Legion in eastern Ukraine An international unit will soon be formed at the Georgian National Legion of the Ukrainian Armed Forces which is taking part in the military …

UAWire – Ukraine wants to build an An-77 aircraft jointly with the US The Ukrainian aircraft factory Antonov State Company (SC) (Kyiv) has invited the US to engage in cooperation on the project development of the An-77 medium military transport aircraft. Interfax Ukraine reported , citing a statement by the company. The company has reported that the factory delivered a proposal on cooperation to the American side during a visit by a delegation of the Transport and Infrastructure Committee of the US House of Representatives to Antonov SC. The company believes that the An-77 can occupy a niche between the US military transport plane Lockheed C-130 Hercules, with a commercial load of up to 21 tons, and a strategic Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, with a load of up to 76 tons. Antonov SC noted that the implementation of cooperation would require interaction between the State Aviation Service of Ukraine and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). At the same time, an “important step” should be the conclusion of a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement, added the company. Antonov State Company is a Ukrainian aircraft developer and manufacturer. By government decision, in 2015, Antonov State Company was merged into the state concern Ukroboronprom. The company was founded as a design bureau at the Novosibirsk aircraft plant under the direction of Oleg Antonov, and has been in Kyiv since 1952.

Poroshenko enacts NATO cooperation law – News about politics | UNIAN Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a bill into law to deepen Ukraine's cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in order to gain membership of the Alliance. News 06 July from UNIAN.

Poroshenko signs law on Ukraine’s course towards NATO membership – 06.07.2017 11:32 — Ukrinform News 06.07.2017 11:32. President Petro Poroshenko has signed the Law of Ukraine &quot;On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on the Foreign Policy of Ukraine,&quot; which determines membership in NATO as one of the priorities of the national interests of the state.

NATO and Ukraine Celebrate 20 Years of Distinctive Partnership – YouTube In an exclusive interview, the head of NATO’s representation to Ukraine speaks about how the military alliance is providing Ukraine support against Russian a…

Poltorak, Fallon discuss security situation in Ukraine and world – 06.07.2017 10:00 — Ukrinform News 06.07.2017 10:00. Defence Minister of&nbsp;Ukraine General of&nbsp;the Army of&nbsp;Ukraine Stepan Poltorak and Secretary of&nbsp;State for Defence Sir Michael Fallon discussed in London the security situation in Ukraine and in the world.

UK trains over 5,000 Ukrainian troops – British defense secretary British instructors have trained over 5,000 troops of the Ukrainian Armed Forces since 2015,” UK Dсfense Secretary Michael Fallon has said.

Poltorak satisfied with level of British instructors Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak has met with his British counterpart Michael Fallon in London.

Ukraine initiates consultations on setting up FTA with UK – PM Groysman Ukraine and the UK agreed to start consultations on the creation of a free trade area, the need for which is conditioned by the Britain&rsquo;s withdrawal from the European Union, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman told reporters in London July 5. News 05 July from UNIAN.

Ukraine, UK foreign offices announce Ukraine Reform Conference in London on July 6 The foreign offices of Ukraine and the United Kingdom have announced the Ukraine Reform Conference to be hosted by London on July 6. Latest UNIAN news from 05 July.

Canada sees great opportunities for development of bilateral relations with Ukraine – Freeland – 06.07.2017 12:00 — Ukrinform News 06.07.2017 12:00. Canada is proud of the opportunity to support Ukraine and sees great potential for the development of bilateral relations.

EU, Japan to discuss assistance to Ukraine – 06.07.2017 11:02 — Ukrinform News 06.07.2017 11:02. The European Union and Japan will discuss the situation in Ukraine, as well as further consolidation of international efforts to counter Russian aggression.

UAWire – Ukrainian PM: The IMF postponed its next loan tranche to Ukraine due to delays with land reform The next tranche of the loan from the International Monetary Fund for Ukraine will be postponed because parliament will not have time to …

Ukraine ranks 64th of 128 countries in living standards – study Ukraine ranked 64th in living standard ranking among 128 countries, entering the group of states with social development level above average, according to Deloitte international consulting firm, referring to the results of the 2017 Social Progress Index, developed by the U.S.-based NGO Social Progress Imperative with the support of Deloitte. News 05 July from UNIAN.

UAWire – The Hague Court of Arbitration will consider Ukrnafta’s claim against Russia The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague accepted the claim of the Ukrnafta Oil Company against the Russian Federation in cases of loss …

Ousted Ukrainian President Says Will Not Participate In Kyiv’s Treason Trial Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych announced that he will not participate in a high treason trial against him that is scheduled to resume in Kyiv on July 6. Yanukovych said he i…

High treason trial of Yanukovych: former president revoked lawyers, hearing postponed until July 12. Live updates 06.07.17 12:40 – High treason trial of Yanukovych: former president revoked lawyers, hearing postponed until July 12. Live updates On July 6, at 10 a.m., Obolonskyi district court of Kyiv held its third hearing in the case of high treason by former president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, who is charged with high treason, assistance in waging aggressive war, assistance in violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and immunity that lead to human casualties or other grave consequences. The day before, Yanukovych announced he would revoke his… View news.

Yanukovych decided not to participate in high treason trial and revoked his lawyers 06.07.17 10:02 – Yanukovych decided not to participate in high treason trial and revoked his lawyers Former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych has announced he had decided not to participate in the trial on his high treason and wants to revoke his lawyers. View news.

Yanukovych’s lawyers withdraw from trial process in Kyiv Vitaliy Serdiuk and Ihor Fedorenko, the lawyers of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, have announced they are withdrawing from the trial in Kyiv's Obolonskiy district court, according to an UNIAN correspondent. News 06 July from UNIAN.

Ukraine’s Ambassador to the Netherlands: “Russia is obliged to provide legal assistance [to the Netherlands] in criminal matters” The Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Ukraine to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Vsevolod Chentsov, in his interview with UNIAN has told what the grounds were for making a decision to pass the right to prosecute those guilty of the MH17 crash to the Dutch court, when will this court start its hearings and whether anything is able to force Russia to cooperate in the criminal investigation. News 05 July from UNIAN.

Sales of used cars in Ukraine soar by 6.5 times in H1 2017 Sales of used vehicles in Ukraine's primary market formed by imports rose by 6.5 times in January-June 2017 (H1) year-over-year (y-o-y), to 22,800 cars, according to the Ukrautoprom Association's press service. News 06 July from UNIAN.

UAWire – Since the beginning of the year, 70 Russian artists have been barred from entering Ukraine Since the beginning of the year, the State Border Guard Service has banned entry into Ukraine for 70 artists, including those who, bypassing …

How to create a soul, a language, and a country -Euromaidan Press | Journalist Vitaly Portnikov discussed Ukrainian literature, language and identity at his book presentation in Lviv.

Kyiv Gliding Champions Soar Above Competition -Euromaidan Press | The Ukrainian Gliding Championships were held in the Kyiv region. The best pilots gathered at the aerodrome outside Kyiv to show off their flying skills


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Tillerson Says Trump, Putin to Seek Common Ground Over Syria – Bloomberg President Donald Trump will raise the possibility of U.S. and Russian cooperation on easing the Syria conflict when he meets his Russian counterpart in Hamburg, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

 

Tillerson Says U.S. Prepared To Cooperate With Russia On Syria No-Fly Zones U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States is prepared to cooperate with Russia in Syria, including on military matters, in a renewed gesture at reconciliation ahead of a meetin…

Russian strategic bombers hit ISIS targets with newest Kh-101 cruise missiles | Defence Blog Russian Tu-95MS long-range bombers struck Daesh targets in Syria with brand new Kh-101 (X-101) cruise missiles, the Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, strikes were made from a range of about 1,000 kilometers using the newest high-precision Kh-101 missiles. This strike marked the sixth time that Russia has used the Kh-101 in combat. The Tu-95 strategic bombers took off from an airfield in Russia. “Russian Su-30 fighters based at the Hmeymim airfield [in Syria’s Latakia province] provided air cover. After successfully accomplishing the task of the combat mission, all Russian aircraft returned to their airfields,” the ministry said. The Kh-101 (in Russian: X-101) is a strategic, air-launched Russian cruise missile, manufactured using modern technology to reduce radar visibility. It can destroy a target up to 4,500 kilometers away. This type of missiles could be equipped with a nuclear warhead. The Kh-101 uses GLONASS, the Russian satellite navigation system, for trajectory correction and is reported to have an accuracy of five to six meters.

Russia, Turkey, Iran Fail To Agree On Details Of Syria De-Escalation Zones Diplomats from Russia, Iran, and Turkey have failed to reach agreement on final details regarding so-called &ldquo;de-escalation zones&rdquo; in parts of war-torn Syria. However, Moscow&rsquo;…

The Post-Caliphate Gauntlet in Eastern Syria The war against the Islamic State (ISIL) has hit a pivotal, dangerous phase in eastern Syria. For the Trump administration, this poses a slew of challenges

Egyptian FM: Qatar’s response to Arab quartet’s demands ‘very negative’ – CNN.com Qatar’s response to four Arab states’ demands was “very negative” and “indicates a lack of awareness of how dangerous the situation is,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Wednesday in Cairo.

Saudi-led group: Qatar not serious about demands | Qatar News | Al Jazeera Foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain voice regret over Doha’s reply to 13-point list of demands.

Defense Chief Says Turkey Ironing Out Fiscal Issues Regarding Russian S-400 Systems (Source: TASS; posted July 04, 2017) ANKARA — Technical aspects concerning the purchase of the Russian S-400 missile systems have been agreed on, but financial issues are still under consideration, Turkey’s Defense Minister Fikri Isik told the TRT TV channel on Tuesday. “All the technical issues have been solved, we are now working on the financial issues of the S-400 purchase,” he said. Isik confirmed that “Turkey knows that in case S-400 missiles systems are purchased from Russia, it will be impossible to incorporate them into the NATO system.” In late June, Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov said that Moscow was not planning to provide a loan to Turkey for the purchase of the S-400 missile systems. The S-400 Triumf is the most advanced long-range antiaircraft missile system that went into service in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range ones, and can also be used against ground objectives. The S-400 complex can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km.

UAWire – Iran puts Russian S-300 anti-missile systems into operation Iran has put the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems into operation, announced by General Amir Farzad Esmaili, commander of Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base, as reported by TASS. The commander announced that the S-300 have been “placed on combat duty and are operational”, but did not specify in which region the systems were deployed. The general also spoke of the preparation and testing of the Iranian-developed Bavar 373 missile system towards the middle of March 2018. According to the him, this system and the Russian surface-to-air system will then become part of “the country’s unified anti-air defense shield”. It was reported previously that the Iranian military had successfully tested the Russian S-300 systems. The missiles successfully hit training targets, both aircraft and missiles. The contract to deliver Russian S-300 systems to Iran was made in 2007. According to unofficial data, the value amounted to $800 million. However, in 2010 Russia vetoed the delivery of the systems. Iran filed a lawsuit against Rosoboronexport for $4 billion at an arbitration court in Geneva. In 2015, the P5 + 1 countries signed an agreement regarding the “nuclear deal” with Iran, and the international economic sanctions were eased in October 2016. Even before signing the final agreement, the Russian president signed a decree to remove the ban on the delivery of the S-300 systems. Russia and Iran signed a new contract for the delivery of surface-to-air systems in November 2015. The delivery of the systems was completed in October 2016. At the start of 2016, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin announced that Moscow had received a guarantee from Tehran concerning the withdrawal of the lawsuit against Rosoboronexport. In February 2017 Sergey Chemezov, director general of the state corporation Rostec, placed the value of the contract with Iran at $1 billion.


DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


John Schilling | North Korea Finally Tests an ICBM | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea John Schilling analyzes North Korea’s first ICBM test conducted on July 4.

 

Trump puts North Korea on notice: U.S. weighing ‘pretty severe’ response – LA Times On eve of talks with Putin, Trump declines to hold Moscow solely responsible for election interference

Trump Weighs a ‘Pretty Severe’ Response to North Korea’s ICBM Test – The Atlantic The president said “something will have to be done about” the Kim Jong Un regime’s actions.

Trump pledges to act on North Korean threat | Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump vowed on Thursday to confront North Korea “very strongly” following its latest missile test and urged nations to show Pyongyang that there would be consequences for its weapons program.

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Considers Diplomatic Options In North Korea : NPR NPR’s Robert Siegel speaks with former Secretary of Defense William Perry about the diplomatic options available to the Trump administration to deal with North Korea.

Former Defense Secretary ‘Not Optimistic’ North Korean Diplomacy Will Work “To be honest with you, I’m not hopeful,” William Perry said.

China, Russia offer plan for easing North Korea tensions Russia and China on Tuesday proposed a plan for defusing tensions over North Korea, suggesting that Pyongyang declare a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests while the United States and South Korea refrain from large-scale military exercises.

US warns North Korea that diplomatic window is closing The United States warned Wednesday that North Korea was “quickly closing off” the prospect of a diplomatic resolution to its provocations, as the Trump administration launched a government-wide effort to identify options for confronting Pyongyang following its unprecedented intercontinental ballistic missile launch.

Will America Wage War with a Nuclear-Armed North Korea? | The National Interest America is facing a countdown that ends with a verified North Korean ability to strike the continental United States with a nuclear weapon.

North Korea: Is the US being forced back to the negotiating table? – CNNPolitics.com North Korea, a tiny isolated state with a population the size of Texas, has left the world’s most powerful nation with a diplomatic dilemma.

Pentagon says U.S. defenses can counter threat from any North Korean ICBM | Reuters The U.S. military assured Americans on Wednesday that it was capable of defending the United States against any threat from North Korea’s newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which Pyongyang says can carry a large nuclear warhead.

North Korean missile advances put new stress on US defenses North Korea’s newly demonstrated missile muscle puts Alaska within range of potential attack and stresses the Pentagon’s missile defenses like never before. Even more worrisome, it may be only a matter of time before North Korea mates an even longer-range ICBM with a nuclear warhead, putting all of the United States at risk.

North Korea’s ICBM Test Renews Calls For Space-Based Kill Layer | Defense content from Aviation Week North Korea’s test of a two-stage intercontinental ballistic missile has been met by renewed calls in Washington for a space-based missile defense layer.

Mapped: The Countries With the World’s Most Dangerous Missiles | Foreign Policy What’s more dangerous than a nuclear warhead? An ultra-long-range missile capable of delivering that nuclear warhead to distant shores. And now, that’s exactly what North Korea’s rogue communist regime has, making it the seventh country in the world to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs. On June 4, Pyongyang launched a Hwasong-14, the first successful test of its kind. State news agency KCNA claimed that the missile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. The missile’s demonstrated range was more than 4,000 miles. “The successful test means that “North Korea can hit the United States with a nuclear weapon,” said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia non-proliferation program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

Five Blunt Truths About the North Korea Crisis – The New York Times The Trump strategy toward North Korea is failing. Then again, the Obama and Bush strategies failed, too — but here’s what might work.

North Korea crisis: Pyongyang wants to ‘de-couple’ US from Korea Former U.S. ambassador to South Korea says North Korea’s latest missile launch suggests an attempt to de-couple the U.S. from the Korean peninsula.

The messy data behind China’s growing trade with North Korea – The Washington Post Trump complains that the trade is up — and he might be right.

Kim Jong Un vows North Korea’s nukes are not on negotiation table – POLITICO The missile test, North Korea’s most successful yet, was a direct rebuke to U.S. President Donald Trump.

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.

‘Guest workers’: the North Korean expats forced to feed the regime | World news | The Guardian Washington lambasts countries that ‘aid and abet’ Kim Jong-un’s regime by hosting North Korean workers who may number as many as 100,000

The West’s hyperbole on North Korea will only fuel Kim Jong-un’s propaganda North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s rhetoric and actions is brinkmanship, aimed at maintaining his domestic grip on power.

North Korea missile test: Does Australia need an antimissile system? The risk of a North Korean nuclear missile attack on Australia was very low and our defence strategy should be on contributing capabilities like sensors to allied antimissile systems rather than interceptors, says an expert on the weapons platforms.

Chinese naval engineers claim they’ve developed a super quiet sub to track US ships | We Are The Mighty Pump-jet propulsion is already in use by American and British submarines, but if China deploys it on PLAN boats, it could prove a major threat to U.S.

Sikkim standoff: Pakistan piggybacks on China’s sabre-rattling, brandishes Nasr to scare India Pakistan’s rhetoric after the trial of its improved Nasr missile appears timed with the Chinese threats.

China says India militarising border as stand-off continues China said on Thursday it was absurd for India to use the excuse of Chinese road-building to cross over their border, and accused India of militarising its side of the frontier.


Foreign Policy Reports


U.S. to remain guarantor of security in Central and Eastern Europe in response to Russia’s actions – Trump – 06.07.2017 12:47 — Ukrinform News 06.07.2017 12:47. The United States is committed to maintaining peace and security in Central and Eastern Europe.

Germany warns of Russian cyberattacks ahead of election – Fifth Domain | Cyber BERLIN (AP) — The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency and Germany’s interior minister warn that Russia is engaged in hacking attacks and that officials “assume there will be such attempts on Germany” ahead of national elections on Sept. 24. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Tuesday that documents stolen from the German Parliament in 2015 in a major cyberattack may get leaked to undermine lawmakers or members of the government in the coming weeks. The files have so far not yet been published anywhere. Hans-George Maassen of the BfV agency said that such attacks may not be so much about weakening one particular party, but to “hamper the trust in the functioning of our democracy.”

French Central Bank Chief Warns of Sovereign Debt Risk – The New York Times France’s new government must lose no time reining in its budget deficit, the central bank governor said on Thursday, warning that rising interest rates could trigger a sovereign debt shock.

Venezuelan lawmakers injured in clash at National Assembly – CNN.com Supporters of embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro stormed the opposition-controlled National Assembly on Wednesday, injuring several lawmakers, witnesses said.


US Domestic Policy Reports


Phone taps, power plays and sarcasm: What it’s like to negotiate with Vladimir Putin – The Washington Post The Russian leader is not ‘theatrical’ like Trump, but has his own set of tricks to bully and bluster his opponents.

Vladimir Putin needs a time-out – by robyn-purchia – July 6, 2017 – The San Francisco Examiner Russian intelligence operatives are driving around, presumably doing reconnaissance on our nation’s telecommunications infrastructure. These and other nefa

Trump: CNN has been ‘fake news for a long time’ | TheHill

Inside the White House’s policymaking juggernaut – POLITICO National Economic Council director Gary Cohn has found himself at the center of the administration’s fiercest policy battles.

Senate panel alarmed by frequency of White House leaks | New York Post WASHINGTON – Unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information are occurring “at the rate of one a day” under the Trump administration, a Senate panel…

How Donald Trump has played Vladimir Putin’s game The US president’s America First stance has seen him surrender his nation’s power

President Trump Hosts Chibok Schoolgirls at the White House | whitehouse.gov

President Trump Reaffirms America’s Commitment to its Allies on His Second Trip Abroad | whitehouse.gov

Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Meeting with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic of Croatia | whitehouse.gov

Remarks by President Trump at 4th of July Military Appreciation Event | whitehouse.gov

Condition Update: Rep. Steve Scalise Progress – MedStar Washington Hospital Center

 

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