Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 16 July 2017

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Speculation on Russian nukes in Crimea. Estonia prepares for Zapad-2017. WSJ details Helsinki tunnel system, while Finland legislates against LGM. SASC transcript on Montenegro coup. Polish Patriot batteries to be adapted to launch Israeli David’s Sling (Stunner) SAMs.

Russian descent continues. Yakovenko defines post-modern “Putinist Fascism” (COCW! Eclectic?).  Kissane on Putin’s payback agenda (also often observed in spiteful dealings with Russophone nations). More policy to inflame religious divisions, while Tatarstan dispute improperly “resolved”. Kadyrov tirade popular in MSM. Much more on MH17, discussions of trials in absentia (defendents yet to be named). Siemens may bug out of Russia, as may others. Multiple Belarus reports, including lopsided Russian arms sales, and a ploy by a pro-Russian Minsk cabinet member to legalise LGMs in Belarus.

PLA cyberstrategy detailed.

Donbass fires continue, while Russian Gen Staff sends high-level Commission to Donbass to deal with corruption and theft of materiel. With SEA BREEZE and SHABLA exercises under way, UA VDV paratroopers practice assaults across Ukraine, and jointly with Navy, practice an amphibious assault from an LST (attached). NB the high mobility ADA elements using MT-LB hosted ZU-23 and SA-13. Multiple corruption case arrests, including one involving theft and laundering of US$12B under the pro-Russian regime.

Iraqis not convinced Baghdadi is KIA (why did the Russians claim this so adamantly?). Mosul mopup continues. Erdogan crows over coup victory.

DPRK Pu stock, ICBMs and campaign risks dominant MSM topics, while Liu Xiaobo dominant in PRC traffic.

US domestic Russia debate grinds on ….

Russia / Russophone Reports

Is Russia getting ready to launch a nuclear strike from Crimea? -Euromaidan Press On July 7 at a joint meeting of the Military Council of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National Academy of Sciences, the Chief-of-Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko declared that Russian troops were getting ready to place nuclear weapons in occupied Crimea. “They’ve started working on restoring storage facilities for nuclear weapons – the Feodosiya-13 site – and a strategic aviation base at Gvardeyskoye airfield. At least one frigate and three submarines of the Black Sea Fleet are equipped with modern rocket systems (Kalibr-type cruise missiles) that can be armed with nuclear weapons. Leonid Polyakov believes that the probability of such a strike is very high: “The information supplied by Muzhenko indicates that Russia is getting ready to deploy and use nuclear weapons. The targets of these attacks would be any NATO administration or base: headquarters, military bases and aircraft carriers, such as those stationed in France and the United Kingdom, as well as missile defense systems that are deployed in Turkey, Romania and Poland.” Speaking at the European Parliament in December 2016, the leader of the Crimean Tatar people, Deputy of Ukraine Mustafa Dzhemilev announced that Russia had already delivered nuclear weapons to Crimea.

Beneath Helsinki, Finns Prepare for Russian Threat – WSJ As Moscow plans its biggest military exercise in years, its neighbor Finland is developing a subterranean city beneath Helsinki that forms a crucial line of defense for the capital.
Finland prepares to go underground if the Russians attack | Daily Mail Online Most of the subterranean tunnels date back to the 1960s, but have been adapted over recent decades with defence in mind.
UAWire – Media: Finland building tunnels in case of Russian invasion The Finnish authorities explain the operating concept of a network of underground tunnels to the country’s civilian population, Wall Street Journal reports. The decision was made in response to military exercises by Russia on the border with Finland. The infrastructure is located near Helsinki, and the total length of the tunnels is about 200 kilometers. Underground routes connect a single network of shopping centers, parking, electricity and water supply lines. Separate tunnels will be used only by the military for unobtrusive movement between the home stations of various units. The entrances to the tunnels are closed with doors made of a special metal alloy capable of withstanding an explosion. The site premises were planned in such a way as to accommodate all 600,000 inhabitants of the Finnish capital. Zapad-2017 joint exercises by Russia and Belarus will be held from September 14 to 20. 13,000 military personnel will take part in the maneuvers. The training exercises will be the largest since the end of the Cold War. NATO has repeatedly criticized the forthcoming exercises.

New Finnish law prohibiting unidentified militia comes into force | Yle Uutiset | President Sauli Niinistö signed stricter security policies into law Monday, making it illegal for unidentified military groups to cross the border and conduct activities in Finland as of today, Saturday. The move is meant to tighten Finland’s territorial integrity against a situation like that seen in Ukraine in 2014, when what Ukrainians coined “little green men” who claimed they were local militia led an insurgency. The separatists seized government buildings and police stations, and held unrecognised status referendums. At least some of the unmarked men were largely understood to be from the Russian Army, although Moscow denied it. The new Finnish law defines unidentified militia as an organised military group that is kitted out or armed, supported or encouraged by a foreign power and whose country of origin cannot be ascertained. It bans such groups outright from entering or residing in the country, making any violations punishable as a criminal act in the Criminal Code. The Ministry of Defence says the amendment is intended to protect Finland’s domestic security and safeguard its territorial sovereignty and integrity. It says the change is necessary to meet the changed security situation and new kinds of threats. Sources Yle

Estonia Prepares For Provocations In Course Of Zapad-2017 Maneuvres – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk Estonia’s Ministry of Defense will closely monitor the maneuvers. Estonian Defense Minister Jüri Luik does not exclude possible provocations during the Russian-Belarusian exercises West 2017, scheduled for September. He believes that Estonia is ready for them. “We cannot exclude incidents in the air and at sea, the provocative behavior of Russian aircraft and ships against NATO. (…) Estonia is ready for possible incidents, ” – Jüri Luik said on Thursday in an interview with the broadcasting portal ERR, reports. At the same time, according to him, “Estonia’s attitude to the exercises is calm and confident, there are no special grounds for concern.” “We and the NATO allies are closely following the exercises. They do not significantly increase the level of threat in our region, ” – the Estonian Minister said. Speaking about the readiness for possible incidents, he recalled that “in addition to the British battalion as part of the combat group and the company of France that is part of it, Estonia will have companies from Estonia and Hungary at that time, NATO’s presence in other Baltic States and in Poland”. The Minister believes that, given the experience and scope of previous exercises, the current maneuvers West-2017 are also aimed at developing scenarios for the attack on NATO. ” He estimates that these will be large-scale exercises, in which about 100,000 Russian soldiers and officers will be involved. Jüri Luik complained about the lack of transparency during the exercises: “Belarus promised to invite us, but Russia didn’t. We expect much more transparency from Russia.” The head of the military department believes that the increased presence of NATO troops in the region “is extremely moderate compared to Russian troops on the other side of the border, it has a positive impact, as it is the best guarantee of peace.”

Rachel Ansley | Zapad: A Window into Russia’s Military Mind? Russia’s large-scale military exercise to be conducted in September can provide critical insight for NATO allies seeking to improve their readiness posture against an increasingly revanchist Russia, according to an Estonian defense official. “Russians train exactly as they intend to fight, thus Zapad will give up ample information on their military and political thinking as it is right now,” Kristjan Prikk, undersecretary for defense policy at Estonia’s Ministry of Defense, said at the Atlantic Council on July 11. According to Prikk, “we don’t consider this year’s Zapad exercise in itself to be a direct threat to us [NATO] or a cover for an attack, but we have to keep in mind that the Russians have the nasty habit of hiding their actual military endeavors behind exercises.” “We have to be calm, vigilant, flexible,” in the months leading up to and following Zapad 2017, said Prikk. In September, Russia will conduct a joint military exercise with Belarus—Zapad. Based on initial indications and past Zapads, the exercise, which will take place in Belarus, will assess the readiness of Russia’s military across many forces—land, sea, and air—and test a range of capabilities—not only conventional, but also cyber and nuclear, within a particular set of scenarios. This will be the first Zapad exercise since 2013. Zapad, which is also the Russian word for “west,” will take place against the backdrop of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, ongoing war in Ukraine, military intervention in Syria, and meddling in the US and French presidential elections. According to Evelyn Farkas, Atlantic Council senior fellow and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, “this is a military exercise, but there is also a political component.” The size of the force tested and the nature of the scenario will send a message to NATO that Russia is ready, reinforcing the adversarial stance between Moscow and the West, she said. In opening remarks at the event, Marko Mihkelson, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in Estonia’s parliament, said: “Russia is the only country today in the world that has a national strategy… to confront NATO as an enemy.” He urged NATO allies to watch closely and asses the implications of Zapad, an exercise due to be a “show of force,” and part of the Kremlin’s process of “building up muscle memory for total war against the West.”

#ZapadWatch: A Closer Look at Slavic Brotherhood 2017 From June 6 to 14, the third annual Slavic Brotherhood exercise between Russia, Belarus, and Serbia took place in Belarus. The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed the goal of the exercise was working…

Damon M. Wilson | The Attempted Coup in Montenegro and Russian Malign Influence in Europe Testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Chairman McCain, Ranking Member Reed, Members of the Committee: In June 2014, NATO foreign ministers met in Brussels to consider Montenegro’s accession to NATO. Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was working hard toward a consensus that Montenegro would be invited to begin accession talks to become NATO’s next ally. Just three months prior, the Russian Federation had annexed Crimea. Many, including me, argued at the time that a NATO decision to invite Montenegro into the Alliance was not only merited on its own terms, but would also contribute to a decisive response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Others urged a delay, emphasizing de-escalation of the crisis unfolding in Ukraine. In the end, ambivalence among key allies and opposition by the United States led the Alliance to punt, forcing an exasperated Secretary General to announce that NATO would reconsider the issue by the end of 2015, 18 months later, removing this decision from the agenda of NATO leaders who would meet in Wales that September. As NATO ministers failed to reach consensus on Montenegro that tumultuous summer, Moscow saw an opening. NATO had blinked. With the successful seizure of Crimea and the emergence of what the Kremlin believed would become Novorossiya, Russia was on offense. The West was stunned. True to form, Moscow’s success emboldened the Kremlin. The thinking in Moscow was that its seizure of Ukrainian territory would surely block Ukraine’s move toward NATO and the European Union (EU). But might the Kremlin also be able to stop the integration process in Southeast Europe? The lack of a NATO decision on Montenegro signaled ambivalence, leaving a vacuum which Moscow was intent to fill.

Poland to buy Israeli-made Patriot missiles – Israel News – Jerusalem Post The deal with US defense contractor Raytheon, which would see Poland buy eight Patriot missile defense systems, is expected to be finalized in November of this year. While a spokesman for Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems stated that no deal has yet been signed, according to reports, the company would make an estimated $1b. from the deal, making it one of the largest deals ever signed by Rafael. Once the deal is signed, Poland will become the first export client of David Sling’s interceptor missile. According to Ynet news, Warsaw insisted that the Patriot system be configured to use the Israeli missile due to its superior performance at only 10% of the cost of the American Patriot missile, which is designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, low-flying cruise missiles as well as aircraft. While a Patriot missile costs $4.5 million, a David’s Sling missile costs $450,000. Marketed abroad under the name “Skyceptor,” David’s Sling is a joint Israeli-US project, with Rafael collaborating with Raytheon, which also produces the Patriot missile system. Other components of the system were developed by Elta – a subdivision of Israel Aerospace Industries – which developed the system’s radar, and the Elisra subdivision of Elbit Systems, which developed the command and control mechanisms. Israel’s air defenses currently include the Iron Dome, designed to shoot down short-range rockets, and the Arrow system, which intercepts ballistic missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. The David’s Sling missile defense system is designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets, as well as cruise missiles fired at ranges between 40 km. and 300 km.

Poland To Buy ‘Tailored’ Patriots From U.S. | AWIN_Defense content from Aviation Week Poland has signed a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. to purchase a “tailored” version of Raytheon’s Patriot missile and air defense system.

Poland signs memo with US outlining road map to buy Patriot, but no done deal yet Poland announced a two-phased plan to buy a missile defense system from the U.S. in a memorandum of intent that makes political headway, but is no closer to minting an actual deal than it was earlier this year when the country said it would buy Patriot missile defense systems by the year’s end.

The SAMP-T Conundrum: A Sign of A Deeper Malaise …?   It struck Defence Analysis that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark”, when yet another European country has chosen to buy Raytheon’s Patriot over MBDA’s SAMP-T. Poland’s decision for its Wisla programme came as a blow, but then came the Romanian decision to follow suit, too. The decision in Poland can partly be explained by some strained relations between Warsaw and Paris – the decision to sell amphibious assault ships to Russia went down like a lead balloon in Poland, so there are long memories there …. But once a country which has had ever-deepening links with the core of Europe, as is the case with Romania, also opts for Patriot, well, summat is afoot! So, what is it that is obviously “wrong” about SAMP-T, and / or what is “right” about Patriot? First off: a high degree of the background of this analysis is based on what European leaders say in public about topics such as defence. Yes, we know, how endearingly naive, choosing to listen, let alone believe what people say! But bearing in mind that mid-June saw the start – agreed by all, now that the UK has headed for the doors – of the strengthening of European (read: EU-led) defence, surely it cannot be that wrong to judge people on what they say? And a key aspect of “European Defence” cash should be spent on European projects inside Europe, and not always on US default systems. Capability It is entirely fair to suggest that the US has/is investing far more on an annual basis on Patriot – hence the plethora of different rounds for the different target sets, be they general air, ballistic missiles and the like. All fair and proper. However, one cannot write-off SAMP-T for several reasons: • Italy is hardly an “anti-American” procurer of defence equipment, is it? Rome has a track record – F-16, AV-8B, F-35 to name but three – for opting for US equipment above European. In which case, why did Italy replace Patriot as its south-facing ATBM system with SAMP-T? • On the same line, why is it that Singapore, equally hardly opposed to buying American equipment, opt for SAMP-T?

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putinist Fascism Not an Ideology but Rather a Set of Criminal ‘Understandings,’ Yakovenko Says Paul Goble Staunton, July 16 – Vladimir Putin’s fascism, the first “post-modern” fascism, is able to include under its banner so many radically different people because it is not an ideology – no basic text could be prepared about it – but rather a set of “understandings” like those which govern criminal subcultures, according to Igor Yakovenko. The Moscow commentator begins by pointing to the collaboration of three radically different Russian activists – Aleksandr Prokhanov, Mikhail Leontyev, and Maksim Shevchenko – on propaganda in support of Putin’s criminal aggression in Syria. The only thing they share, Yakovenko says, is that they are all fascists ( Prokhanov, he points out, “is an anti-Semite, an anti-liberal, ‘the last soldier of the empire,’” who longs for the Soviet imperial past and deifies the terrorists of Hamas. Leontyev, in contrast, is a “super-radical liberal,” and Shevchenko “doesn’t like Israel” and considers Hamas “an analogue of Christian democracy.” All three are fascists, the commentator says. To be sure, this is “the special fascism of a contemporary type – Putinism, the first fascism in post-modern history. It can’t be called an ideology or a philosophy or a religion.” It doesn’t have “a system of views” that could be printed in a book like Mein Kampf or the Short Course. An analogous book “under the title ‘Putinism’ is impossible because if one tries to find the commonality which unites everything that goes into the term Putinism, one will discover that there is no system of views.” Instead, there is a set of “’understandings’ like those which the criminal world has developed that create a parallel subculture opposed to that of normal people.” “The ‘understandings’ of Putinist post-modern fascism are organized in trinities: each of which helps the Putinist fascist to correctly arrange his relations with a specific part of the world,” Yakovenko says. With respect to the outer world, this trinity is “Imperialism-Militarism-Nationalism.” These are the fundamental values of Putinist fascism, the notions that allow its followers to divide everyone into “ours” and “not ours.” And that has some important implications that are often overlooked. “A Putinist fascist can be simultaneously a Tatar, Chechen or Jewish nationalist. That is his private affair … ‘nationalism as a hobby,’” as it were. But he must subordinate that to “Russian nationalism of the imperial type.” (Other kinds of Russian nationalism are alien and that is why Putinists suppress them.) As far as the thought processes of Putinist fascists are concerned, they too are based on a trinity: “Irrationalism—Eclecticism—Traditionalism.” That puts their views inside the definition of fascism Umberto Eco offered two decades ago, Yakovenko says. And it too explains the superficial diversity of the Putinist fascists. “A Putinist fascist can be an atheist or an agnostic, but these personal shortcomings should not … be put on display. That is because, the commentator continues, “the correct fascist of the era of the post-modern must be Orthodox. Otherwise, he is in some ways an incorrect fascist.” And Putinist fascism defines its relationship to other value systems by yet another trinity: “Anti-Westernism –Anti-Humanism—Anti-Liberalism.” Those come together in this variety of fascism’s homophobia, “in essence, the chief and if you will only clearly defined pretence of Russian fascism to the West” and those who support Western values. “The homophobia of [Russian] politicians is easy accepted by the mass consciousness of Russians, above all as a result of the deep penetration in this consciousness of the culture of prisons. In a country, where 25 percent of adult males have been behind bars, it could hardly be otherwise.” According to Yakovenko, “the principle distinguishing characteristic of present-day Russian fascism is that its leader, Vladimir Putin, never declared, never wrote, and never said aloud certain of the dogmas which have just been enumerated.” He is “not the author of the text of a book with the title ‘Putinism’ or ‘Russian Fascism.’” Instead, the Kremlin leader is “the producer of spectacles in the course of which on the scene under the title ‘Russia and Its Neighbors and Those Further Afield’ are created an atmosphere of fascism and a completely fascist policy is carried out.” If this process is to be stopped, Yakovenko concludes, then “all thinking people in Russia and in the entire world must understand Putinism is Fascism” and having understood must respond in an “adequate” way.”

To understand Russia’s Vladimir Putin, you need to know what drives him—commentary Here’s why reading a Russian poet can help Trump understand what drives Russian President Vladimir Putin, says NYU’s Carolyn Kissane. “I am Russian,” wrote Tyutchev. “Russian by heart and soul, profoundly devoted to my land.” Putin is more than a little guilty of borrowing from the poet. “In contemplating strategy toward Russia in the Trump administration, I would recommend they read Tyutchev’s poetry and understand Putin has an ax to grind. Revenge is something he does well.” And now to humiliation theory. Bettina Muenster and David Lotto in their work on humiliation describe it as “associated with retaliatory behavior, even at additional cost to the retaliator. When humiliated, individuals and groups seem to have a particular appetite for revenge. The self, it is feared, will never be the same unless injustice is addressed.” This describes Putin’s motivations and actions 17 years after taking the reins of Russia. The U.S. did not show him, nor Russia, the respect he believed his great country deserved. Putin brought strength and confidence back to Russia — a decade of decline and criticism took its toll, and he alone was going to make Russia a country that generated awe rather than contempt and mockery. Putin’s overtures to Trump are not to be trusted; Putin doesn’t respect Trump, and the West should be wary of cozying up to someone seeking revenge. A bit of history is required here to round out the picture of why any rapprochement with Russia should warrant suspicion and extreme caution. Putin has a long list of wrongs he wants to right, and he sees an opportunity to do so with Trump at the helm. Do not be fooled — Putin harbors long-lasting and negative emotions towards the west. It is best to view Putin’s moves through the lens of payback and retaliation. (Putin is a nationalist, and his world view is anti-western.)

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Support for Religious Facilities in Factories Explosive on Two GroundsPaul Goble Staunton, July 17 – Vladimir Putin’s suggestion that opening “churches, mosques, synagogues or Buddhist shrines” in Russian plants and factories may sound anodyne but in fact it sets the stage not only for a further retreat from secularism toward religion as a political ideology but also for intensifying religious divisions in Russia. The Kremlin leader said the opening of such religious facilities was an entirely good thing “from the point of view of the spiritual state of the people who work at these enterprises” and therefore the practice should be extended from a Belgorod factory to similar facilities elsewhere in Russia ( No one could object to workers seeking spiritual sustenance especially at a time when the economic situation is so dire. But opening churches or other religious centers in factories has the effect of officializing religion and thus represents a reversal of Boris Yeltsin’s order to ban all political cells in factories. On the one hand, many Russians will see any moves in this direction as an indication that the Russian Orthodox Church is becoming a revived form of the ideological department of the CPSU Central Committee, the chief source and imposer of ideological values on the population, a worrisome prospect in and of itself. And on the other – and this will certainly prove a more serious threat to the Russian order – allowing such things will force plant managers to decide which religion is to gain such facilities. That sets the stage for serious conflicts, like those over the construction of churches generally, among followers of different religions. What will happen if a factory manager in a predominantly Muslim region decides to allow the opening of a mosque within the enterprise’s walls? Will ethnic Russian and presumably Orthodox workers go along quietly? Or will they protest, demanding equal or more likely special treatment? The latter outcome is more likely and that will not only ensure that religious feelings will be exacerbated but that labor and other conflicts will be infused with religious content, something that will make any disputes more difficult to resolve and cause no end of trouble both regionally and for Russia as a whole

Window on Eurasia — New Series: If Kadyrov Didn’t Exist, Putin Would Have to Create Him, Eidman Suggests Paul Goble Staunton, July 16 – Vladimir Putin needs Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov so that “compared to him,” the Kremlin leader will appear “in the eyes of the West to be the lesser evil,” Igor Eidman says. Thus, it works to Putin’s benefit to ascribe to Kadyrov all possible horrors and crimes. In the West, the Russian commentator for Deutsche Welle says, the following “picture of the [Russian] world” is being created: “In Chechnya there exists a pirate state headed by Kadyrov. His people kill in Moscow important politicians. Only Putin can somehow restrain this monster” ( Indeed, he continues, it appears that many in the West accept the notion that if Putin were to leave his position, “a new ISIS would appear in Chechnya and Chechen terror would spread to Europe. Therefore,” such people appear to think, “it is better that [Putin] remain at the head of Russia.” By focusing on Kadyrov’s crimes, Eidman suggests, the West ignores or at least minimized Putin’s and fails to see that the Chechen leader is Putin’s agent, doing what Putin wants but doesn’t want to acknowledge and helping him remain in power rather than being any threat to the Kremlin leader.

Chechen leader invokes damnation for gay persecution claims – The Washington Post Chechnya’s strongman leader has harshly denounced claims that his southern Russian republic has tortured and even killed gay men, denying that there even are any homosexual men in his region.

Chechen president and MMA promoter says gays are ‘devils,’ should be taken to Canada – Outsports Ramzan Kadyrov says he is ready to nuke the United States ‘and screw it from behind.’

Chechnya: Ramzan Kadyrov Denies Persecution of Gay Men | Chechnya’s strongman leader has harshly denounced claims that his southern Russian republic has tortured and even killed gay men

Chechen Strongman Blasts Claims Of Gay PersecutionThe Kremlin-backed strongman leader of Chechnya has lashed out at accusations that the Russian republic has tortured and killed gay men, and denied even the existence of homosexual men in his region….

The Magnitsky Act, A U.S. Law Named After A Russian Lawyer, Is Part Of The Election Meddling Saga : NPR The U.S. law bans Russian human rights abusers from entering the U.S. The Russian president has railed against it since Congress passed it in 2012. The act now features in the Russia investigation.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Will Allow Tatarstan to Retain Post of President but Not to Have a Treaty, Kremlin Source Says Paul Goble Staunton, July 15 – Moscow will allow Tatarstan to retain the position of president until Rustam Minnikhanov’s term runs out in 2020, but it won’t extend the power-sharing agreement between Moscow and Kazan that runs out this month, today’s Kommersant reports, citing an unnamed source close to the Russian leadership. The future of the title and other arrangements in Tatarstan that had been governed by the power-sharing treaties in the past are to be the subject of a bilateral commission with representatives from both the Russian government and the Tatarstan government, the source says ( The source said that the Kremlin had reached this decision on the basis of an appeal from the Tatarstan State Council earlier this month that had called for talks about the provisions of the power-sharing agreement but that did not specifically call for its extension or replacement, the Moscow paper says. In the discussion of that appeal, Farid Mukhametshin, speaker of the Tatarstan State Council, said that without the extension of the treaty there would be “legal collisions” between Moscow and Kazan and htat any changes in the arrangements that the power-sharing accord had specified would require a referendum in the republic to approve constitutional changes. Rafael Khakimov, vice president of Tatarstan’s Academy of Sciences and former advisor to President Mintimer Shaymiyev, told Kommersant that the Kremlin proposal to extend the position of president of the republic was acceptable and talks could certainly take place to discuss extending it further. But he pointed out that what Moscow is doing violates federal law which called of retitling the office of president of Tatarstan in 2016. Obviously, Khakimov continued, there will be many issues that will now be “unregulated,” including in particular the passport inserts Tatarstan now has, and will require negotiations. The treaty created a format for both sides to operate. “It didn’t interfere with either side for ten years,” and thus the question remains, why should it not be extended as Tatarstan wants? Moscow undoubtedly has concluded that by giving Kazan half a loaf, it can push the problem of relations between the center and Tatarstan down the road even as it continues to chip away at regional and republic rights in particular and Russian federalisms in general. But there are three reasons why the central authorities are almost certainly wrong. First, these talks are going to attract the attention of officials in other republics and regions and thus open the door to discussions about greater rights for the federal subjects whether Moscow wants that or not. For 20 years, Tatarstan has stood as an exception. By challenging that, Moscow will make other republics want to gain what Kazan already has. Second, Kazan can be counted on to mobilize the Tatar nationalists in its population to try to put more pressure on Moscow to make concessions. With the treaty, that strategy was precluded. Now, it is the obvious one. As a result, more clashes are certain to occur in the coming months. And third, ethnic relations within Tatarstan, which have been exemplary up to now, are likely to suffer. Some Russian nationalists there have already called on Moscow take a tougher line ( They will be angry by what they will see as a sell-out and that will cause problems too.

MH17 — What Happened? What exactly do we know about the events of July 17, 2014, when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was blown out of the sky over Ukraine, killing 298 people?

Australia says MH17 perpetrators may be tried in absentia The perpetrators who brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in July 2014, killing all 298 aboard, may be tried in absentia, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Sunday.

Australia Urges Russia To Cooperate With Initiatives To Prosecute MH17 Suspects Australia has urged Russia to cooperate with new moves to prosecute suspected perpetrators, who brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July 2014, killing all 298 aboard. Dutch investigators concluded in 2015 that the jet was shot down by a Russian-made Buk missile over conflict-torn eastern Ukrainian territory held by Russia-backed separatists. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop urged Russia to comply with UN Security Council resolution 2166, authored by Australia. “That calls on all states to cooperate to ensure that those responsible for the killing are brought to justice,” Bishop said on July 16. Last month, the Netherlands said that suspects in the case would be tried in a Dutch court, and under Dutch law. Russia, which denies any involvement in the fighting in eastern Ukraine, also denies one of its rockets could have been used to bring down MH17. Most of those on board the Boeing 777 on the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, were Dutch, but it was also carrying other passengers from 17 countries, including dozens of Australians. …

Three Years On, Families of MH17 Victims Still Seeking Justice Evert van Zijtveld doesn't want to talk about the 2014 plane crash in eastern Ukraine that took the lives of his two teenage children. He wants justice. But three years after the downing o…

Situation with possible shipment of Siemens turbines to Crimea sends negative signals to foreign investors The situation developing in Russia with the possible shipment of Siemens-manufactured turbines to Crimea bypassing the sanctions regime existing between the European Union and Russia is detrimental to foreign investors’ confidence in Russian partners, a European diplomatic source in Moscow has told Interfax. “Such actions on the part of Russian partners seriously undermine confidence in economic relations while securing and implementing contracts, which sends a negative signal to foreign investors,” the source said. As reported, Siemens turbines were shipped for the construction of a power plant in Taman. Commissioner, Technopromexport, then put this equipment for sale, but unsuccessfully. Sources said following it that two turbines had been shipped to Crimea. Russian power plant builder Technopromexport (TPE), which is building the plants in Crimea, issued a statement on July 6 saying that it had acquired four gas turbine sets for the Crimean power plants on the secondary market. TPE said it modernized the turbines at Russian plants with the help of Russian engineering companies. The project initially factored in certain technical solutions, and the acquired turbines had to be brought in line with the initial conditions and requirements of the project. On July 11, Siemens filed a lawsuit against TPE with Moscow’s Arbitration Court.– Media: Siemens considers leaving Russia The German company, Siemens, is considering the possibility of abandoning its assets in Russia due to the delivery of turbines to the Crimea, as reported on Friday, July 14th, by German business weekly, Wirtschaftswoche, citing sources in Siemens. It is noted that the CEO of Siemens AG, Joe Kaeser, is considering not only the possibility of withdrawing from Siemens Gas Turbines Technologies – a joint venture with Russian company, Power Machines, that assembled turbines, but also leaving the Russian company, Interavtomatika. “The working group is currently reviewing the situation,” Wirtschaftswoche interlocutors noted. Previously, the media reported that Interautomatica has retrofitted the Siemens turbines in such a way that they can no longer be identified as manufactured by a German company. Siemens, however, denies this. The German corporation sold four gas turbines to Technopromexport in 2015. Both companies claimed that this equipment would be transported to the Taman Peninsula, separated from the Crimea by the Kerch Strait. The day before, Siemens confirmed that the turbines were delivered to the Crimea and not Taman “against the will” of the company. The German company filed an action with the Moscow Arbitration Court against the Russian state-owned company Technopromexport, which is building power stations in the Crimea, demanding the return of gas turbines that were delivered bypassing sanctions against the Russian-annexed peninsula. In 2014, the EU banned Eurozone companies from doing business with the Crimea.

Russia Selling Su-30 Fighters to Nigeria | Council on Foreign Relations According to Russian media, the Nigeria is buying twelve Su-30 fighter jets from Russia, two of which have already been delivered. The aircraft has two seats for long-range missions and is known for its high maneuverability. It is is manufactured by the Sukhoi Aviation Company. There has been no public announcement of the cost or how Nigeria will pay for them, but, according to past transactions, the fighter jet can cost upwards of $30 million each. Su-30’s have be seen in sub-Sahara Africa before: according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Uganda and Angola inked deals to purchase the fighters within the last decade. The Su-30 fighters, and their subsequent iterations, remain a mainstay of the Russian air force and have seen considerable action in Syria. Among other things, the Su-30 fighter is used in air-to-ground operations. Presumably, the Nigerian government is buying them for use against Boko Haram, the Jihadist terrorist group in the north. They might also be used against Niger delta militants operating in the country’s oil patch.

TASS: Military & Defense – Russia’s advanced MiG-35 fighter jet to go into serial production in 2019 LUKHOVITSY (Moscow Region), July 14. /TASS/. The serial production of Russia’s advanced Mikoyan MiG-35 (NATO reporting name: Fulcrum-F) fighter jet will begin within the next two years, MiG Aircraft Corporation CEO Ilya Tarasenko said on Friday. “We are now holding the trials. Following their results, serial production will begin,” the chief executive said, adding that this would happen in the next two years. The MiG-35 is Russia’s most advanced 4++ generation multipurpose fighter jet developed on the basis of the serial-produced MiG-29K/KUB and MiG-29M/M2 combat aircraft. The fighter jet features improved flight and technical characteristics, the most advanced onboard radio-electronic equipment and a wide arsenal of air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. The plane can develop a speed of 2.23 Mach and its operational radius exceeds the range of its predecessor MiG-29 by 50% The flight tests of MiG-35 fighter aircraft began on January 26 and the plane’s international presentation was held in the Moscow Region on the following day. Russia’s state armament program through 2020 stipulates the deliveries of MiG-35 fighter jets to Russia’s Aerospace Force. Commander-in-Chief of Russia’s Aerospace Force Viktor Bondarev said earlier that the purchases of over 30 such fighter jets were planned.

Sukhoi SU-24 Completes 50 Years Since First Flight – DriveSpark Birth anniversaries of a few legendary humans are marked in style with many people across the world recognising it. Turns out, the same doesn’t apply to legendary aircraft, as the legendary Sukhoi SU-24’s 50th anniversary was just marked by one report on a Russian news reporting website. The Sukhoi SU-24 Fencer, a tactical bomber and supersonic attack aircraft used by the Soviet Union and afterwards by the Russian Aerospace Forces first flew on 2nd July, 1967. Development of the aircraft began a few years earlier as the Soviet Union was in need of an aircraft to counter the F-111 multi-role tactical fighter developed by the…

Finnish grave hunter brings over 100 war dead home from Russia for burial | Yle Uutiset | A Finnish man has brought back the remains of more than 100 fallen soldiers from Russian territory to be laid to rest on home soil. Seasoned grave hunter Ismo Mikkonen said that his aim is to ensure that the Finnish men who fought in World War II are identified and get proper burials. In 1942, a fierce battle raged in the Kriv forests on the Maaselkä Isthmus north of Lake Onega in Soviet Russia. Over three days and nights, some 73 Finnish soldiers were cut down during the fighting. During the entire World War II conflict, war fatalities in the area reached just shy of 650. Savonlinna resident Ismo Mikkonen has been combing the area for decades in search of the remains of Finnish soldiers. By Mikkonen’s count, the forest still conceals the remains of at least 15 servicemen. “These people’s lives had no value,” he lamented. Mikkonen is accompanied by a Russian couple, Nina and Oleg Stolepov, who are exploration hobbyists. At nearly 80 years old, Mikkonen has been combing these forests for 24 summers. “People were brought here in their prime to kill or die. We cannot forget anyone and the least we can do is to try and find them with the means and measures that we have,” Mikkonen said.

New arms for Belarus and Russia’s military plans in the region | Belarus Digest – News and Analysis of Belarusian Politics, Economy, Human Rights and Myths On 20 June, Belarus signed a contract with the Russian Irkut corporation to purchase 12 Su-30SM fighter jets for $600m. This would be the largest ever arms deal between Minsk and Moscow. Earlier in June, Minsk also received its first batch of T-72 tanks, which were modernised in Russia. At first glance, Russia seems to be arming Minsk. This fits with conjectures that the Kremlin is becoming increasingly hawkish and Minsk and Moscow are colluding to put their regional and Western opponents under pressure. However, a more scrupulous analysis of such arms deals, as well as the armaments the Belarusian army possesses, paints a different picture. Moscow refuses to bolster the steadily declining Belarusian military’s capacity to conduct offensive operations, including joint large-scale operations with Russia. Does the Kremlin really want to arm Belarus? Su-30SM. Image: Irkut.ruOn 21 May, the head of Russia’s Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation, Dmitry Shugaev commented that ‘Russia is interested in ensuring that the Belarusian army has modern equipment.’ Meanwhile, even, a media outlet with probable (close) links to the Belarusian army, has repeatedly criticised Russia’s policy regarding weapons for Minsk over the past several months. One of the publication’s authors, Valery Berazhnoi, recently lashed out at the Kremlin for refusing to supply Minsk with S-400 surface-to-air (SAM) systems and Iskander tactical ballistic missile systems. He noted that Russia had already given S-400s to China and Iskanders to Armenia.

Edward Lucas: West Should Focus On Belarus – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk The ignoring of the Belarusian problems by Europe does not lead to anything good. Edward Lucas, senior editor of the British liberal edition The Economist, has told Svaboda about the threats that the West-2017 exercises might carry, and about the attempts of Western politicians to hold Lukashenka in check: – I believe that we are at risk when we do not pay attention to Belarus. This country is situated in the geopolitical heart of Europe and it has the last dictatorship. There are so many issues that we do not attach importance to, though we should. I hope that the West-2017 exercises will raise Belarus higher on the Western countries’ agenda. We need to know, first, how they will look like, and secondly, what will happen after these exercises. Will there be any provocations and political consequences of the exercises? We cannot have any relations with the Belarusian “parliament” and “government,” but we must open our universities, markets and other spheres of our society for Belarusians. We want the Belarusians to feel themselves as a part of Europe, we want to compete with Russia in this. We have tried a lot things regarding Belarus: we have been tough, have tried to be gentle, tried to ignore Belarus, thinking that the problems would be solved themselves, but nothing happened. No one can look at the Western policy towards Belarus and say: “Guys, you’ve done a good job.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Does Minsk’s Call for Creation of Popular Militia Presage Pro-Russian Separatism in Belarus? Paul Goble Staunton, July 16 – Given that Belarus now has seven times as many police per 100,000 residents as it did in Soviet times, Natalya Radina says, it is far from clear why Interior Minister Igor Shunevich has called for creating a new popular militia to help the militia fight crime. Indeed, his words provoke concern such a force may be used for an entirely different purpose. The chief editor of the opposition Charter 97 portal says that one possibility is that these forces will be used not to defend Belarusians from crime but to spark pro-Moscow separatism much as such organizations were used by Russian forces in the early days of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine’s Donbass ( She says that recent comments by Aleksandr Petrulevich, the former head of Ukraine’s national security service in Luhansk oblast ( show this isn’t a far-fetched idea. According to the Ukrainian security official, “under the form of ‘people’s militias,’ Russia activated its network of agents in eastern Ukraine at least as early as January 2014, a month before the victory of the EuroMaidan, the flight of president Viktor Yanukovich, and the invasion of Crimea.” “Already on January 27, 2014,” Petrulevich says, a special session of the Luhansk oblast Soviet occurred at which was adopted a decision about the creation of so-called people’s militias, the formation of which was assigned to the local administration of the MVD and the SBU.” That means, he continues, that Russia “activated its ‘sleepers’ in the east of Ukraine” exactly then. The Ukrainian security officer stresses, Radina says, that “Eldar Nadriashvili, an advisor to the head of the Luhansk oblast administration worked on the formation of the militias” and then later went over to the side of the militants of ‘the LNR.’” These units stored the Luhansk SBU headquarters when Russian forces intervened. And Petrulevich says that precisely these “’people’s militias’” became the first “’armed forces of the LNR.’” It is worth noting, the Belarusian editor continues, that “the Belarusian interior minister is a native of Luhansk oblast and clearly monitors local pro-Russian separatists” in his new country. But what is especially “strange,” she says, is that this initiative has surfaced just before the Zapad-2017 exercises that will bring massive numbers of Russian troops into the country. And it is likely that the first to be included in such “people’s militias” will be “members of pro-Russian militarized organizations which have grown under the patronage of the Russian Orthodox church, ‘the Cossacks,’ and various military-sports clubs.” They could easily be ordered to so something other than fight crime. The risk of that is especially great given that the author of this proposal is someone who “frequently has sent signals to Moscow” that he is on its side, Radina argues; and thus it is worth reflecting about this danger given that “as the Ukrainian case has shown, from ‘popular militias’ to pro-Russian separatism is a single step.”

Lukashenka To Dodon: For You I’ll Do Everything You Want At Any Moment – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk The dictator called the pro-Russian president of Moldova a close friend, from whom he does not hide anything. Belarus is ready at any moment to do everything it can for Moldova, Lukashenka said at a meeting with Moldovan President Igor Dodon on Thursday. “We are ready at any time to do whatever you want, if we are capable of doing that. Everything you’ve seen, starting from industrial tractors, BelAZ trucks, MAZs, agricultural enterprises,” – Lukashenka’s press service quotes his words. “We do not hide anything from you, you are a close person to us. We adhere to almost identical views with you. You remember that we are ready to help at any time, to lend our shoulder,” –the Belarusian ruler added. Lukashenka noted that he has great respect for Moldova and its people. “For some reason they say in Moldova: “We are a small state, a small nation.” This is a great nation, this is a normal state by average European standards,” – he said. “You’ve seen Belarus, you, one could say, have palpated its industry, agriculture. You’ve visited cultural sites, seen our attitude to the memory. We do not hype ourselves or tell how miserable we are and how difficult it was for us at the war. We treasure this memory,” – Lukashenka stressed. “Your such a prelude to our meeting is very valuable. I can talk with you as with a person who got to know Belarus,” – he added.

Villagers In Russia Drown Byelorussian Who Refused To Sell Them Phone – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk A guest from Belarus was careless enough to drink alcohol with Russians. An investigation into the criminal case of premeditated murder committed by a group of individuals has been completed in the Ivanovo region, the website reports. According to the investigation, two friends born in 1984 and 1989 were drinking alcohol with a citizen of the Republic of Belarus in the village of Blagoveshchenie, Lukhsk district at the end of August 2016. A guest from Belarus promised his co-drinkers to sell them a mobile phone, but then changed his mind. Lukhsk dwellers got angry so much that they attacked the Belarusians and began to beat him. Then the attackers took the foreigner out of the village and again beat him. Then they brought their victim to the pond, dragged him into the water and kept him under water until he ceased to give signs of life. Making sure that the man is dead, the attackers disguised the corpse with grass and left. Mushroom pickers accidentally found the skeleton in a pond at the end of September 2016. The suspect in the murder were arrested. They were charged. In the near future, the criminal case will be sent to the court.

IW/IO/Cyber Reports

Beijing’s Views on Norms in Cyberspace and Cyber Warfare Strategy Pt. 1 By LCDR Jake Bebber USN The following is a two-part series looking at PRC use of cyberspace operations in pursuit of its national strategies and the establ

Beijing’s Views on Norms in Cyberspace and Cyber Warfare Strategy Pt. 2 By LCDR Jake Bebber USN The following is a two-part series looking at PRC use of cyberspace operations in pursuit of its national strategies and the establ

Ukraine Reports 

British Ambassador: Ukraine’s security is European security Exclusive blitz interview with British Ambassador to Ukraine Judith Gough for the Interfax-Ukraine News Agency

UAWire – Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs: Ukraine decided not to introduce visa requirements with Russia The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) decided not to introduce a new visa policy with Russia. This was announced in the Verkhovna Rada by Pavlo Klimkin, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. “The plan for the future is the decision approved by the NSDC to create an integrated system. Not a separate step, as some wanted, but a system that provides for the collecting of biometric data from foreigners and stateless persons, effective control of movement through Ukraine, and other activities. This system will be introduced gradually, stage by stage,” he said in response to a question about when the new visa policy with Russia would be introduced. According to him, the introduction of visas will not create the necessary effect and will make problems for Ukrainian citizens in the annexed Crimea. “This will create significant problems as Russia will likely take advantage of this to further provocations and a conscious policy to restrict citizens of Ukraine who live in the occupied Crimea to move to Ukraine,” he said. Klimkin said that the NSDC’s decision was based on a detailed analysis and has the support of western partners. The decision to introduce a new visa policy was adopted by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine in March 2014. The authorities did not dare to take this step then. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that many Ukrainians are interested in preserving the visa-free regime, primarily in the east and south of Ukraine, as they travel to Russia for work and have family on the other side of the border. As a result, it was decided to strengthen the control at the border with the Russian Federation. Andriy Parubiy, the First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, along with other deputies presented the resolution on the termination of the visa-free regime agreement between Ukraine and Russia in February 2016.

UAWire – Security Service of Ukraine detains Russian spy in Kyiv Employees of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) detained a Russian special services agent in Kyiv who tried to obtain secret military …

Donbas war update: 26 enemy attacks, 1 killed in landmine blast, 1 WIA in past day Russia's hybrid military forces continued shelling Ukrainian positions in Donbas, using large-caliber artillery systems; in total, 26 attacks were recorded in the past day, according to the press center of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) headquarters. News 16 July from UNIAN.

Areas near Ukraine’s port city of Mariupol turn into hot spot of Donbas war in past day Russia's hybrid military forces violated the ceasefire in Ukraine's east 13 times in the past day, and they became most active in the sector near the Ukrainian-controlled strategic port city of Mariupol in Donetsk region, according to the press center of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 13 July from UNIAN.

Self-proclaimed Donetsk republic declares “special entry-exit status” in occupied Siedove Members of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (&quot;DPR&quot;) have declared a &quot;special entry-exit status&quot; at the Russian-occupied town of Siedove in Donetsk region, having denied the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM)&nbsp;access to the town, according to an OSCE update. News 16 July from UNIAN.

Self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic admits arrest of Ukrainian journalist Aseyev Members of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (&quot;DPR&quot;), who earlier denied any involvement in Ukrainian journalist Stanislav (Stas) Aseyev's disappearance in the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk, have officially confirmed his arrest. “Stas’ mother has been given a written statement. He is accused of espionage, as is the case with all previously detained journalists. He is facing 12-14 years in prison with such charges. His mother was allowed to visit him. Stas stays strong, being aware that one should not expect a fair trial. His only hope is a swap of prisoners,” his friend and former Ukrainian lawmaker Yehor Firsov wrote on Facebook. Read also Union federations seek answers after journalist goes missing in Ukraine The statement was issued by the so-called “DPR” Ministry for State Security. Aseyev who published materials in Ukrainian media outlets under the pen name Stanislav Vasin, staying in the occupied Donetsk, went missing on June 2, 2017. His family members and friends feared that he had been arrested by the occupying authorities and was facing torture and ill-treatment. Until now, there had been no reliable report about his whereabouts. “DPR” representatives claimed they did not have any information about the journalist’s disappearance.

The commission of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces arrived in Donetsk – intelligence This is reported on the Facebook page of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. A commission of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation arrived to Donetsk to conduct a comprehensive check of the connections and units of 1 AK. This is reported on its Facebook page by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. “In order to conduct a comprehensive inspection of the formations and units of 1 AK, a commission of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation arrived to Donetsk to identify the misuse and theft of funds, fuel and lubricants, ammunition, as well as the exposure of the corruption component among the commanders of the corps,” intelligence service.

Ukrainian, U.S. military air forces complete training within Sea Breeze 2017 exercises under NATO standards More than 20 aircraft from the Navy, Air and Land Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine and the U.S. Navy took part in air training within the Sea Breeze 2017 international exercises in Mykolaiv.

Mass-Media Day of the Land Force Component of the Ukrainian-American Sea Breeze 2017: Demonstrating the Interaction of Participating Countries on the Ground On July 15, on one of the grounds of the Mykolaiv region, a media day of the ground component of the Ukrainian-American Sy Breeze 2017 exercise was held. Demonstration of the elements of improving the interaction of the participating member states was held in several training blocks. Marine infantrymen from Ukraine, the United States, Georgia and Romania jointly worked out elements of fire, assault, assault, engineering training, tactical actions, firing and fire artillery control, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in the performance of combat missions. According to the head of the ground component of the international maneuvers of Lieutenant Colonel Sergei Kuz, the main objective of training units is to work out the elements of interaction and interoperability while performing combat missions in the course of possible peacekeeping missions. He noted that daily training enabled the military to achieve true combat fraternity on a high professional level. Captains 2nd rank of Constantine Plakhotnyuk (navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine) and Captain 1 rank Michael Willigas (US Navy) stressed the importance of conducting these maneuvers. The military members of the participating countries have a good opportunity to exchange experience, including combat, and work out the tasks in close cooperation with NATO standards. Press Center Command Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

In Bulgaria, the active phase of the international tactical exercises with live-fire “Shabla-2017” began The official opening ceremony of the international tactical exercises with Shabla-2017 fire fighting took place at the “Shabla” range of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria .As planned, in the conduct of the practical phase of the firing, which began on July 14, in addition to representatives of the anti-aircraft missile forces of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Republic of Bulgaria, personnel and technology of air defense systems from the United States and Serbia will take part. Press center of the Air Forces Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

In the air, at sea, on the ground: in Ukraine, brigade tactical exercises of airborne forces are taking place In selected regions of Ukraine, brigade tactical exercises with firing and firing of personnel of 79 separate airborne assault and 81 separate airborne brigades of the Airborne Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue. According to the head of the training, commander of the High-Military Allied Army of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Lieutenant-General Mikhail Zabrodsky, the training takes place in close co-operation with the Naval Forces, assault and military aviation of the Air Forces, Army Aviation of the Land Forces, operational support units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
– Two brigades of airborne forces operate in one direction jointly and coherently, working out the smallest details from which real combat can depend on the execution of combat missions, as well as the preservation of the lives and health of our boys, “said Lieutenant-General Mikhail Zabrodsky. The practical phase of tactical exercises in Mykolaiv oblast began where the landing units from Nikolaev and Donetsk Oblast overcame the Southern Bug River with the help of a ferry crossing. To create conditions close to combat, used means of aerosol disguise. At the crossing, a curfew was organized, and military equipment was transported on a clear schedule. To repel the enemy’s air attack, anti-aircraft missile complexes were on duty at the crossing. On the water patrolled small artillery boats of the Navy of Ukraine. In the rear of the conditional enemy from aircraft of military transport aviation on parachuting platforms were landed cars with anti-aircraft units. Immediately after them, a tactical airborne landing along with cargo with heavy infantry and ammunition was landed. Ensuring the successful actions of the main forces, the paratroopers fought on certain lines and went to defense. After that, the soldiers were transferred to the Odessa region in a combined way. At the Bolgrad landfill, the practical phase began with the firing of a fire with assault aircraft and combat helicopters Mi-24. After the defeat of the enemy’s air defense facilities, tactical airborne landing took place to capture and take control of important objects. Subsequently, after crossing the armored machinery with a water barrier, the main forces of the Airborne Forces units deployed in an offensive and defensive battle. The practical phase of the loading of the landing and assault division at the middle landing ship of the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was completed. The sea crossing lasted more than twenty hours. During this time, the mariners, along with the paratroopers, took part in practical exercises to combat the survivability of the ship. Shooting from small arms and naval weapons was carried out. Once unloaded, the unit arrived at the “Oleshkovsky Sands” training ground. The practical phase began to reflect the attack of a conventional opponent and strike an attack by assault aircraft and combat helicopters, after which the paratroopers worked out raids in the rear of the conventional opponent. The following practical stages of brigade tactical exercises will be held in other regions of Ukraine. Press service of the Airborne Forces Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Mykolayiv paratroopers together with the military sailors worked out the training tasks during the transition to the sea The delivery of paratroopers along with armored vehicles from Odessa to Kherson region was carried out by the average landing ship of the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. During the transition of the Black Sea, the personnel of the ship together with the paratroopers conducted training to fight for the survivability of the ship. In particular, military sailors and paratroopers worked on the elimination of the consequences of a fire and emergency on the ship. Also, on the signal of anxiety, the paratroopers, together with the ship’s crew, trained to repel the attacks of the conventional high-speed boats of the enemy. In this case, automatic machine guns, grenade launchers and ship weapons were used. As Commander-in-Chief of the High-Military Army of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lieutenant-General Mikhail Zabrodsky, said, in the framework of fruitful cooperation and joint combat training with the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the landing-assault unit was delivered by sea to a designated area.
 – Ukraine is a maritime state that has been fighting for three years. Therefore, the paratroopers should be prepared for decisive action in a different environment, even while on the high seas on the ship, “said Lieutenant-General Mikhail Zabrodsky. Also, the commander of the Airborne Forces said that for most of the paratroopers it was the first exit to the sea. However, joint combat training measures with naval seamen will continue to be continued. Press service of the airborne command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Lviv armour plant director arrested – news portal Lviv armour plant director arrested. He can be bailed out for 2m hryvnyas. Political – news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Director of Lviv Armor Plant arrested for two months with alternative of UAH 2 mln bail The Solomiansky District Court of Kyiv has elected a pre-trial restriction for the director of Lviv Armor Plant, Roman Tymkiv, in the form of two months in custody with an alternative of a bail in the amount of UAH 2 million.

Ukraine’s army will get seventy-two T-72 tanks by year-end Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has announced that seventy-two T-72 tanks will be delivered to the Ukrainian army by the end of the year. “According to my instructions, 72 modernized T-72 tanks should be sent to the Armed Forces this year. We’re buying the newest vehicles manufactured in Lviv, we saw the potential of a new fire engine based on the T-72,” he said during his visit to Lviv armor vehicle factory on Friday, July 14. On top of that, 20 Dozor-B light armored personnel carriers will be handed over to the Ukrainian army, he added. “Lviv armor vehicle factory will be paid UAH 920 million, and this is not only for the tanks and the fire engines. The 20 Dozor-B cars that are now behind my back will also be ready to go to the army,” Poroshenko said. The president stressed that the Ukrainian army should be equipped with the best technology, both combat and auxiliary, “as it is forbidden to use tank brigades without evacuation vehicles.”

President: It is a great pleasure to hear positive feedback from servicemen regarding the quality of your work — Official website of the President of Ukraine In the course of the working trip to Lviv region, President Petro Poroshenko examined the tank plant of Lviv.

President: Petro Sahaidachnyi National Army Academy was, is and will be — Official website of the President of Ukraine “Nobody will take away any student, lecturer or educational mechanisms from the academy. I will not allow that. We need more tankmen. And Lviv is the best place to raise not only professionals, but also patriots,” the President said in the tank plant of Lviv.

Contract with Thailand for supply of Oplot tanks will be executed in full Ukraine will fully execute the contract signed in 2011 for the supply to Thailand of new Oplot-T MBTs manufactured at Malyshev Plant (Kharkiv), Ukroboronprom state concern has stated. “It [the contract] will be executed in accordance with all the agreements provided. The executor of this order and the manufacturer of Oplot tanks is Malyshev plant, which is part of the concern,” a press release from the state concern reads. Ukroboronprom Director General Roman Romanov stated the state concern also has enough production capacity to fulfill the order for the deliveries of Oplot armored vehicles to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. “Ukroboronprom is able to produce the best Oplot tanks for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the mass production of these vehicles is well established,” he said.

UAWire – Former Ukrainian minister accused of embezzling $12 billion Deputy Prosecutor-General Antatolii Matios has said that the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine (GPO) has evidence that the Former Minister of Revenues and Duties, Oleksandr Klymenko, is guilty of illegally withdrawing to offshore accounts and laundering $12 billion, reports UNN. “96 billion UAH was laundered; this is established by the evidence. The amount is large, but we are still working; 96 billion UAH is $12 billion,” he said. This money was actually withdrawn from the state budget in the form of taxes not received by the treasury and stolen through eight main tax sites, the GPO head explained. Then, he said, it was withdrawn to offshore jurisdictions and laundered “by buying real estate, offices, land and operating businesses in Ukraine.” According to Matios, law-enforcement ‘closed’ the business that was bought with the stolen funds. “Having stolen $12 billion from the budget of Ukraine, Klymenko, thus, stole from every Ukrainian,” added the military prosecutor. According to him, on average, Klymenko stole $300 from every Ukrainian. Earlier, Matios had said that searches of the editorial board of media holding Vesti in Kyiv were related to the case of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Oleksandr Klymenko. According to Matios, in just one day searches related to the case were conducted at 183 premises owned by Klymenko, among them the Gulliver office building, where the editorial office of Vesti is located. After the change of power in Ukraine in 2014 and the removal of Yanukovych from the country’s administration, a criminal case against Klymenko was filed under art. 364 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (abuse of power or official position). In addition to laundering illegally withdrawn funds, law enforcement officers accused Klymenko of involvement in an organized crime group that committed crimes against state property.

Kyiv’s court gives the thumbs up to trial of Azarov in absentia Kyiv’s Pechersky District Court has permitted Ukrainian prosecutors to conduct a special investigation (in absentia) against former Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine has reported. “The court has given the thumbs up to the special investigation,” the Prosecutor General’s Office told Interfax-Ukraine, recalling that Azarov is suspected of misappropriation and embezzlement of property.

MP Mykhaylo Dobkin placed in custody – news portal MP Mykhaylo Dobkin placed in custody. He has five days to deposit a 50m-hryvnya bail. Political – news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

UAWire – Kyiv court arrests former Kharkiv governor The Pecherskyi District Court of Kyiv arrested former Kharkiv governor Mikhail Dobkin. According to channel 112 Ukraine, the court decided to …

Ukraine-EU: summit without joint statement There should be no drama around the fact that the Ukraine-EU Summit saw no traditional joint declaration. Actually, it hasn’t been adopted for a single reason: Kyiv insisted that the phrase from the Association Agreement be repeated in the statement – the one on the EU supporting Ukraine’s European aspirations. The very significance of the summit is that it has opened a new stage of cooperation between Ukraine and the EU as the Association Agreement has been fully and definitively ratified. This means it is beginning to be enforced not only de facto but also in a legal field. This also means that Kyiv has received a road map of the country’s transformations, to be implemented jointly with the European Union. It really brings Ukraine’s relationship with the EU to a totally new phase. According to unverified reports from various undisclosed sources, a very detailed, seven-page declaration was expected to be signed following the summit, where all these points should have been written out and repeated, just as laid out in the Association deal. Why hasn’t the declaration been adopted, and why did it not include a provision on the support of Ukraine’s European aspirations? In my opinion, this is mostly due to certain internal political considerations of some EU member states. It is known that this was the Netherlands’ position – not to repeat the wording. We remember that the Dutch authorities had held an advisory referendum that complicated the Association deal’s ratification process. But Ukraine has untied this knot with the help of the EU, the Dutch, and the Ukrainian diplomacy. Nevertheless, the Netherlands has retained their reservation – they don’t want to promise Ukraine any prospects of EU membership. Moreover, sources said the Dutch position was also supported Germany and France. But this is rather an appeal to the electorate of these countries and to the part of the society in these countries, wary of the EU enlargement. In fact, this statement does not mean that Ukraine is automatically moving toward EU membership. It’s just fixing the current stage of relations. Indeed, there are some things about Ukraine that Brussels is anything but happy about, For example, the dragging and non-effective fight against corruption. These issues are discussed at the highest level, and, I think it’s a good thing that the EU is putting pressure on Kyiv authorities to force Ukraine introduce the changes it needs so much. This is a normal thing. But in this case, it’s about the principled position of the Ukrainian side, who was faced with a real dilemma – either to sign an extensive declaration without this phrase, or not to sign anything. All cons and pros considered, Ukraine decided that it would be worth maintaining a principled stance. That’s because everything laid down in the declaration has already been enshrined in the Association Agreement and will be implemented anyway. Obviously, Ukraine has decided that it is extremely important to have this provision laid out straight. And if the Europeans, or rather the three countries, don’t want to do this, let them think of why they don’t. Thus, Kyiv has, to a certain extent, exacerbated the situation, confronting the EU with a simple question: “Hey, EU, where are your principles now? If it’s been laid down in the Association Agreement, why are you so afraid to repeat it?” So, Kyiv has shown Brussels that Ukraine would not sign everything, only based on the EU considerations. Ukraine has its own internal consolidated political position and it enjoys public support. After all, Ukrainians have died and are still dying at the front line for a European idea. So we threw the ball to the EU pitch, saying: “Hey, EU, think about your values. After all, your position should be principled and consistent.” I emphasize that the situation changes absolutely nothing in terms of the plan of the Association Agreement’s implementation. Ukraine will continue to move along its path, to receive EU assistance, and to do its “homework” as this is primarily in the country’s own interests. Oleksiy Haran is a Research Director at the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, Professor of Political Science at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

Klimkin: we need statements from EU summits fixing new important agreements, not repeating previously announced Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin believes the statements made at Ukraine-EU summits should fix new important agreements and breakthroughs in relations, while there is no sense in statements that will simply repeat what has already been said and recorded. “It’s very simple: why do we need one more piece of paper that repeats what has already been said in the association agreement? The achievements have already been fixed. We need to pass to statements that fix new, very important agreements. I’m not a fanatical supporter of just some statements that will be forgotten in 15 minutes,” he said in the Details of the Week (Podrobytsi Tyzhnia) program on Inter TV Channel, commenting on the situation with the absence of statements following the Ukraine-EU summit. “Why do we need a text on three, four, five pages that only experts will read and which does not contain really breakthrough things?” Klimkin emphasized.

Ukraine intends to join Customs Union with EU – Poroshenko Ukrainian President states Ukraine intends to join the Customs Union with the EU and integrate into the Schengen zone, according to&nbsp;an UNIAN&nbsp;correspondent. News 13 July from UNIAN.

Ukraine’s Rada passes bill on Constitutional Court | UNIAN The Verkhovna Rada has adopted draft law No. 6427-d on the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, according to&nbsp;an UNIAN&nbsp;correspondent reporting from the session hall. News 13 July from UNIAN.

Juncker: independence, authority of anti-corruption court created in Ukraine important The issue of the utmost importance is the creation of an independent, effective judicial body with the necessary powers and resources in Ukraine, and the name and structure of this authority are already details, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has stated.

Google Ukraine Country Manager Discusses Future of IT in Ukraine – YouTube Dmytro Sholomko, country manager for Google, explains Google’s role in Ukraine, and the health of the Ukrainian tech sector. _ Follow UATV English: Facebook:…

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

IS leader Baghdadi still alive in Syria: Iraqi interior ministry official Islamic State’s supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still alive in Syria, a senior official at the Iraqi Interior Ministry said……………………..

Russia sees growing acceptance of Assad as key to Syria talks U.N.-led Syria talks have a chance of making progress because demands for the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad have receded, Russia’s ambassador in Geneva, Alexei Borodavkin, told reporters on Saturday.

Here are some of the toughest battles still to be fought against ISIS – The Washington Post The battle in Mosul is finally over, but the militants still control a sizable area, mostly in Syria but also Iraq.

Iraqi Military Forces Parade Through Baghdad To Celebrate Mosul Liberation Iraqi military forces paraded through the Iraqi capital Baghdad to celebrate the recapture of Mosul, the country&rsquo;s second-largest city and former self-declared capital of the Islamic State (IS…

Battle against ISIS: Families return to Mosul to collect bodies – The Washington Post Thousands were killed in the nine-month offensive, aid workers say. But a final death toll may never be known.

“Take to the Streets”: Turkey’s Failed Coup, One Year Later It has been one year since the failed coup attempt in Turkey and — aside from the senior putschists themselves — no one has any idea what actually happened

Over 11,000 cases filed against FETÖ members in Ankara 9,271 suspects arrested as part of investigations into FETÖ, Ankara’s Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office says

Turkey: Erdogan says behead traitors – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — delivering feisty and stirring messages on the one-year anniversary of a failed coup aimed at unseating him — lauded the popular resistance that helped stop the coup, and promised to decapitate “traitors,” a sign that his harsh crackdown against his foes over the last 12 months will continue.

US FETÖ complex silent one year after failed coup – Daily Sabah A group of demonstrators and media personnel were removed Saturday from the front of the compound where Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) ringleader,…

Erdoğan addresses hundreds of thousands on Istanbul bridge to commemorate coup attempt victims – LOCAL Millions of people have begun marking the first year anniversary of the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt in all 81 provinces, with people in Istanbul gathering on July 15 Martyrs Bridge

News Transcript Media Availability With Secretary Mattis in the Pentagon Press Operations Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis            Q: Can I ask you about Turkey? They announced yesterday that they’re going to buy four Russian S-400s, advanced anti-air. Does that put any tension in the U.S. military to Turkish military relationship? That they’re a NATO ally buying a very advanced Russian hardware? SEC. MATTIS: The problem is, how do you interoperate in the NATO system with Russians? They’ll never interoperate. They’re built — you don’t just layer on interoperability at the end. So, we’ll have to see, does it go through? Do they actually employ it, do they employ it only in one area? All that kind of stuff. But I — you know, we’ll have to take a look at it. Obviously, it’s not going to be interoperable with NATO systems. Q: Does the U.S. approve of them buying Russian… (CROSSTALK) SEC. MATTIS: This is a sovereign decision, so.

Kurdish independence, Jedi mind tricks for your career, and a massive job/internship list And when should the United States recognize a country as a country? With Kurdistan due to vote on independence in September, these questions have fresh urgency. Breakaway regions and revolutions appeal to us as Americans, since our own country was founded in a war of independence, and continues to hold the consent of the governed as the foundation of political legitimacy. Yet revolutions and bids for independence often fail, and if you back the losing side, the winning side might hold that against you. And so there’s a serious tension here between our national ideals and our national interests, between recognizing legitimate national aspirations and doing what’s best for the American people, whose interests our government is constituted to serve. As you’ve read in this space before, John Quincy Adams was adept at navigating this tension. And much of his skill came from handling the Kurdish Question of his own day: the Latin American republics that declared their independence from the Spanish Empire. The Spanish did not look kindly on states that supported challengers to their sovereignty, and the powerful Holy Alliance states saw democratic revolutions anywhere as a threat to their own rule. Further complicating things, some of the revolutionary governments didn’t control all of the territory they claimed. Others were unstable, and it was not clear that Spain couldn’t send a fleet over and restore its authority.

Maryam Mirzakhani, Prize-Winning Mathematician, Dies At 40 : The Two-Way : NPR Maryam Mirzakhani was the first woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal. She worked at Stanford University, which confirmed her death Saturday.

Maryam Mirzakhani, only woman to win mathematics Fields Medal, dies from cancer Maryam Mirzakhani, the only women ever to have won the Fields Medal, the highest recognition in math, just died after a long battle with cancer.


Winning a war against North Korea would come at ‘great cost’: Here’s what it might look like A full-blown war with North Korea would be “catastrophic,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said more than once. A war, he says, would be “more serious in terms of human suffering than anything we’ve seen since 1953,” the year the Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. In testimony before Congress last month, the veteran Marine commander and respected scholar of military strategy predicted victory for the U.S. and its South Korea and Japanese allies, but said, “It would be a war that, fundamentally, we don’t want” and would win only at “great cost.” When fighting ended in the last war on July 27, 1953, almost 3 million people, military and civilian, had died on all sides, including 36,574 U.S. troops.
This time could be almost as bad, military experts say. “To initiate military options takes you from a world of zero casualties to a world of tens of thousands in a best case, and quite possibly a million or more, especially if they use nuclear weapons,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a senior foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution. In other words, risking war with the unpredictable regime of Kim Jong Un is “unthinkable,” except that for more than 60 years, an army of Pentagon planners has thought of little else. Most of U.S. wargaming over the years has focused on the problem of repelling an invasion from the North. The Pentagon’s off-the-shelf war plan for the defense of South Korea, known as “OPLAN 5027” is updated regularly and includes a massive logistics scheme for quickly reinforcing the roughly 28,500 U.S. and 500,000 South Korea troops that would face off against North Korea’s million-man army.

A surgical strike against North Korea? Not a viable option | Fox News Despite recent statements by top Trump administration officials, there are no neat or efficient military solutions to the mounting threat posed by the regime of Kim Jong-un.

North Korea asks for U.S. retreat as nuclear facility stays active – North Korea is demanding the United States remove all its weapons from the South.

N. Korea may have more plutonium than previously thought, experts say | Recent thermal images suggest the production of “an undetermined amount of plutonium” at North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facility.

US, South Korea, Japan aircraft mission after North Korea ICBM test – Business Insider “Let me be clear, if called upon we are trained, equipped and ready to unleash the full lethal capability of our allied air forces.”

Liu Xiaobo’s ashes scattered at sea in hasty funeral Brief event for Nobel Peace winner marks end of China’s effort to contain criticism

Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo’s ashes buried at sea amid Beijing’s apparent attempt to prevent pilgrimage site | The Japan Times The ashes of China’s late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo were buried at sea on Saturday, depriving his supporters of a place to pay tribute to the pro-democracy

Hong Kong vigil for Liu Xiaobo sends powerful message to Beijing | World news | The Guardian March is only large-scale commemoration for dissident in China, with Hong Kong maintaining freedoms non-existent elsewhere

Liu Xiaobo dies at 61: Tibetans in McLeod Ganj stand in solidarity with late Nobel laureate Firstpost Photo 1 Tibetans living in exile in Himachal Pradesh’s McLeodganj carried out a candlelight vigil in the momory of Liu Xiaobo, who died on Thursday,Firstpost Photos.

Australia Urges China to Release Dissident Liu Xiaobo’s Widow – NBC News Australia on Sunday called on China to lift curbs on the widow of Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident Liu Xiaobo, who died of liver cancer in custody last week.

Foreign Policy Reports

Tony Blair says Brexit must be stopped to halt harm to UK LONDON (AP) – There’s a chance Britain won’t leave the European Union, former Prime Minister Tony Blair said Saturday, arguing that stopping Brexit is “necessary” to avoid severe economic damage.

Bulgarian President Radev: Former defence minister Nenchev ‘crashed’ in MiG-29 overhaul deal | The Sofia Globe Bulgaria’s President and former Air Force commander Roumen Radev said on July 4 that former defence minister Nikolai Nenchev had “crashed” in concluding a contract with Poland for the overhaul of MiG-29 fighter jet engines. Radev was speaking to journalists outside court at the Palace of Justice, where he was called to give evidence in the trial of Nenchev, who was Bulgaria’s defence minister from 2014 to 2017. A member of the second Borissov government from the quota of coalition minority partner the Reformist Bloc, Nenchev faces charges in connection with the deal with Poland to overhaul the engines of Bulgaria’s ageing Soviet-made jet fighters. Nenchev denies wrongdoing. Radev, who resigned as Bulgarian Air Force commander to stand in Bulgaria’s presidential elections in late 2016 on a socialist-backed ticket, has for months been a public critic of Nenchev. When Radev resigned his commission, his first public remarks were directed against the then-defence minister. Speaking to reporters on July 4, Radev described Nenchev’s actions as ignorance and indifference.

INVASION OF EUROPE CONTINUES | Herald Sun Illegal immigrants from the Third World continue to invade Europe. This is an invasion by people likely to form a resentful underclass.

US Domestic Policy Reports

UAWire – Kremlin: the US has no right to demand any conditions in exchange for the return of Russian diplomatic property The return of Russian diplomatic property seized in the United States may not be subject to any conditions, as stated by Dmitry Peskov, the Press Secretary of the Russian President, Interfax reports. “The return to Russia of its diplomatic property may not and should not be under any conditions, it definitely contradicts international law”, Peskov said. A Kremlin representative also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has not made any decisions yet on the expulsion of US diplomats in response to US actions. “The head of state, who determines Russia’s foreign policy, has not made any decisions yet,” said Peskov, answering the correspondent’s question. In December 2016, the administration of former US President Barack Obama introduced additional anti-Russian sanctions, and expelled 35 Russian diplomats and members of their families from the United States and closed access to the suburban dachas of the Russian Federation’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York and Embassies in Washington. Earlier, the White House said that US authorities could return Russia’s diplomatic property if they would “see the Kremlin’s desire to maintain a ceasefire in Syria.”

UAWire – Kremlin: the US has created extremely difficult work conditions for Russian diplomats Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said on Russia 1 TV that the conditions in which Russian diplomats work in the United …

Alexandra Chalupa, former DNC contractor denies working with Ukrainian officials – The former Democratic National Committee contractor at the center of allegations that Democrats worked with Ukrainian officials to dig up dirt on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump told CNN Friday that DNC officials never asked her to “go to the Ukrainian Embassy to collect information.”

Huge Manafort payment reflects murky Ukraine politics – NYT Paul J. Manafort, U.S. President Donald Trump&rsquo;s former campaign chairman, recently filed financial reports with the U.S. Justice Department showing that he earned nearly $17 million for two years of work for a Ukrainian political party with links to the Kremlin, The New York Time reports. News 15 July from UNIAN.

Huge Manafort Payment Reflects Murky Ukraine Politics – The New York Times How did an organization that reported spending of less than $15 million over two years pay Donald J. Trump’s former campaign chairman $17 million?

No One Cares About Russia in the World Breitbart Made – The New York Times If you’re not a Republican, watching Republicans react to the news can feel a bit like witnessing a mass hallucination.

Kushner and Bannon Team Up to Privatize the War in Afghanistan | The Nation Blackwater’s Erik Prince was a shoo-in for the plan. But who is Stephen Feinberg?

The Ultimate Cold War Nightmare: A Nuclear War Between Russia and America | The National Interest Blog Just how bad would it have been?

A vast oasis of aircraft lies deep in the Arizona desert – CNET The incredible Pima Air and Space Museum is home to dozens of legendary aircraft, like the B-52, the SR-71 Blackbird, the B-17, and more. Here are more than 50 photos to take you there.