Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 31 July 2017

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Everything Russia is doing indicates Russia is quickly strategically running out of options, has its back to a wall, and is backing into a corner. 

Militarily, Russia is still strong, but it would sacrifice everything if they were to launch an offensive campaign. 

That severely limits their options, due to the repercussions. 

</end editorial>

USA Today reports that NSC is now considering the supply of lethal aid to Ukraine, and Joint Chiefs studying specific options. After Russia’s latest round of toxic escalation, arming Ukraine would be an appropriate counter-play – after all, it will only hurt the Russians if they escalate their attacks on Ukraine or launch a full-scale invasion. Note observations by Prof Karber, Amb Herbst and Dr Farkas. Whitmore and Sanger on how Putin’s play against POTUS “backfires spectacularly”.  VP Pence visits Estonia for a summit with the three Baltic Presidents, his speech to assembled troops is excellent. Supply of Patriot into the Baltics being discussed. Noble Partner kicks off in Georgia.

Eidman argues the only option for Russia is in a revolution, as Putin’s “adventurist policy will inevitably lead to new military conflicts,” and “The very existence of this aggressive and inadequate regime, with its nuclear weapons, sharply increases the risk of global war and nuclear catastrophe.” Kashin elaborates on the folly of neo-Stalinism, while the regime bans VPNs and proxies, and Mirkin comments on 15-20 national disaster zones inside Russia where nation-sized parts of the country exist like Third World nations, comparisons made to “Bhutan, Honduras, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, Mauritania, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Togo”. Anybody care for “Upper Volta with missiles”? More reports on Crimea, and Siberian methane eruptions.

Rogozin’s outburst over Moldova and Romania and threat of payback is claimed to have produced viral ridicule in Russian social media, cite: “One Twitter user jokingly speculated their country [Ed: Russia] would “ban films and burn books about Count Dracula””. So Dmitry wins the COCW Award a second time around.

United States Army Europe Gen Ben Hodges interviewed by Kyiv MSM. Tymchuk reports Russian Army to exercise with Donbass proxy force during Zapad 2017. Donbass fires continue. Russian court releases three former proxy force troops who in 2014 brutally beat and then shot to death a 16-year-old high school student in Kramatorsk, his ethnic Russian mother holding a Russian passport was also later killed. Ukrainian MSM speculates on whether British law enforcement will deal with Graham Phillips, who has repeatedly aided the Russian propaganda campaign in Donbass.

Qatar dispute appears to escalate.

Kazianis speculates on an alliance between the DPRK and Russia but does not elaborate on Russia’s media campaign post-Crimea, lionizing the DPRK and its Dear Leader as icons of virtue. For all we know, Moscow and Pyongyang may already be working together. Much debate on how to deal with the DPRK, and some interesting backfill reports. PLA parade dominates China reporting.

Venezuelan mess continues, another Russian client in self-induced meltdown. Germany’s SDP lobbies EU for ‘countermeasures’ against Congressional Russia sanctions – those Gazprom board seats must be desperately wanted. Wikileaks posts Macron emails, unknown whether tainted. Some excellent strategy essays and interesting IW/IO/cyber reports, the latter again dominated by Russia.

Some excellent strategy essays and interesting IW/IO/Cyber reports, the latter again dominated by Russia.

US domestic reports dominated by Russian demand that the US downsize diplomatic staff by 755, Amb McFaul noting the number exceeds the number of diplomats posted to Russia. Buzzfeed investigates the untimely demise of Putin associate Lesin in DC.

Russia / Russophone Reports

Oren Dorell|United States mulls arming Ukraine as Russian menace grows | USA TODAY

The U.S. military for the first time is putting together a plan to provide lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine to counter a growing Russian military menace to Ukraine and Europe. The planning underway by the Joint Chiefs of Staff requires White House approval, which puts President Trump in a bind because it threatens to upend his hopes of improving relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. An official at the White House’s National Security Council told USA TODAY the U.S. government has not ruled out providing defensive weapons to Ukraine. The official requested anonymity because of the sensitive subject. The issue is being debated in the White House as violence spikes in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed insurgents have stepped up attacks on Ukrainian government forces, and as Russia prepares for a large military exercise that analysts expect will put more tanks on the borders of Ukraine and NATO countries. On Monday, Vice President Pence warned of the “specter of aggression” by Russia as he began a visit to the Baltic nation of Estonia, which worries about Russian threats. Estonia and two other former Soviet republics, Latvia and Lithuania, now belong to NATO. The proposal to arm Ukraine comes as Trumps prepares to sign new legislation that strengthens sanctions on Russia over its involvement in neighboring Ukraine, a move that prompted Putin Sunday to expel 755 American diplomats. The logic behind arming Ukraine, which the Kremlin opposes, was endorsed this week by Trump’s special representative to Ukraine, former NATO envoy Kurt Volker. “Defensive weapons, ones that would allow Ukraine to defend itself, and to take out tanks for example, would actually help” stop Russia threatening Ukraine, Volker said in a BBC interview published Tuesday. “I’m not again predicting where we go on this. That’s a matter for further discussion and decision. But I think that argument that it would be provocative to Russia or emboldening of Ukraine is just getting it backwards,” he said. Nineteen Ukrainian troops have been killed and 65 injured in July in shelling, sniper fire and firefights, according to the Ukraine Crisis Media Center in Kiev. After nine Ukrainian soldiers were killed in a series of attacks on July 19, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert blamed “so-called separatists” who she said are “Russian-led and Russian-backed.” Nauert said Russia’s military is in Ukraine leading and advising anti-government forces, a claim Putin has repeatedly denied. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has not decided whether to recommend lethal aid to Ukraine, Nauert said Thursday. Air Force Gen. Paul Selva testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on July 18 that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and European Command are preparing a proposal to arm Ukraine. “It will be more than just a military recommendation,” Selva said. “This will be a policy choice on whether or not we’re going to give the Ukrainian government the tools they need to defend themselves against what we believe to be a Russian-supported insurgency movement in the Donbass” region of eastern Ukraine. Such planning marks a change in U.S. thinking about the conflict since it began in 2014, when President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said more weapons would provoke a Russian escalation and military buildup. “But the Russians are doing all this anyway,” and now threaten other NATO countries in eastern Europe, said Phillip Karber, a former Defense Department official under President Ronald Reagan who now heads the Potomac Foundation in Vienna, Va. “There’s a realization that there has to be a response, at least by the military.” Karber has recommended in briefings on Capitol Hill and with defense and White House officials that the U.S. provide Ukraine with anti-tank weapons that would blunt an armored advance by Russia. Russia has reconstituted, moved or upgraded three large military units, which are now positioned near Russia’s western border, opposite Ukraine and U.S. allies in Eastern Europe, Karber said. Russia brought back the First Guards Tank Army, which was disbanded after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, ending the Cold War. That unit is now manned with veteran professional soldiers rather than conscripts or reservists, and will be sent to Belarus, north of Ukraine, to take part in the military exercises that Russia holds every few years. The Russian military recently moved the 20th Army, a combined infantry and mechanized unit, from near Moscow to near the Ukrainian border opposite the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, roughly midway between Ukraine’s north and south, Karber said. And Russian’s 8th Army has been deployed near the Russian city of Rostov, near southeastern Ukraine. Two headquarters subordinate to the 8th Army are stationed in insurgent-held Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, Karber said. Russia’s exercises, which date back to the Soviet era during the 1970s and 1980s, were revived in 1999 by Putin when he became prime minister, Karber said. The last exercise took place in 2013, and involved a simulated attack on a NATO country and the simulated use of nuclear weapons. Russia ordered 200 railway cars to transport tanks for the drill. This year, Russia ordered 4,000 rail cars to move the 1st Guards Army’s tanks to September’s exercise, Karber said. “That will be the largest buildup since the Cold War and right up against the Baltics,” he said, referring to former Soviet republics Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, now NATO members. “It’s a big deal.” John Herbst, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who is at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington, D.C., joined Karber and former NATO commander Gen. Philip Breedlove at a recent event in Washington to urge arming Ukraine with defensive weapons. If Trump’s special envoy Volker “wants a real shot at getting a change in this war, he has to raise the cost to the Kremlin,” Herbst said. He needs to “persuade the Kremlin that aggression is not a winning option,” he said.

United States mulls arming Ukraine as Russian menace grows near NATO border – To Inform is to Influence

Oren Dorell, USA TODAY Published 7:01 a.m. ET July 31, 2017 The U.S. military for the first time is putting together a plan to provide lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine to counter a growing Russian military menace to Ukraine and Europe. The planning underway by the Joint Chiefs of Staff requires White House approval, which puts…

Ex-deputy assistant secretary of defense [Dr Evelyn Farkas]: U.S. should give Ukraine weapons – 31.07.2017 12:37 — Ukrinform News

31.07.2017 12:37. The United States should hand over modern defensive weapons to Ukraine in order to help Kyiv regain control over occupied territories in the east of the country.

Putin’s Bet on a Trump Presidency Backfires Spectacularly – The New York Times

If the sanctions passed by Congress last week sent any message to Moscow, it was that Mr. Trump’s hands are tied in dealing with Moscow, probably for years to come.

The Morning Vertical, July 31, 2017

ON MY MIND So there’s apparently not going to be any reset. Vladimir Putin’s regime appeared to believe that by interfering in the U.S. election it would get a partner in Washington that would be ready to agree to a detente on Moscow’s terms. Instead, as the sanctions bill that passed the U.S. Congress last week illustrates, what it got instead was a systemic and bipartisan backlash. As David Sanger shows in a piece featured below, Putin’s bet on a Trump presidency seems to have “failed spectacularly.” And Moscow’s retaliatory measures illustrate, the Kremlin doesn’t know what to do next. So it has reverted to “escalating the dispute, Cold War-style.”

GALLERY, VIDEO: Pence meets with Baltic presidents at Kadriorg | News | ERR

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrived at Kadriorg on Monday morning, where he was received by President Kersti Kaljulaid and joined by Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė.

GALLLERY, VIDEO: Pence attends allied troop formation | News | ERR

At midday on Sunday, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, currently on a visit to Estonia, joined Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Gen. Riho Terras and the presidents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania at a formation of allied NATO units at the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces.

Pence: We will ‘hold Russia accountable for its actions’ – POLITICO

Pence’s remarks came before members of the U.S., French, British and Estonian militaries.

GALLERY, VIDEO: Pence, Baltic presidents deliver joint press conference | News | ERR

On the second day of his visit to Estonia, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met with the presidents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in Kadriorg, where they delievered a joint English-language press conference. ERR News streamed the press conference live.

Pence Raises Possibility Of Patriot Antimissile System In Estonia, PM Ratas Says

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on July 30 raised the possibility of deploying the Patriot antimissile defense system in Estonia, the country&rsquo;s prime minister said. &quot;We spoke about i…

VP Pence in Estonia: Attack on 1 NATO ally is attack on all – The Washington Post

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Monday strongly pledged America’s commitment to protecting NATO allies against attacks, including the Baltic states, which have anxiously watched a growing Russian military presence in the region.

‘We Stand Together’ – Pence Reaffirms U.S. Commitment To Baltic States

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence reaffirmed the United States’ military commitment to the Baltic states in the face of the “specter of aggression” from Russia. He made the comment on July 31 during a joint press conference in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, with the leaders of the Baltic states. (AP)

Mike Pence tells Eastern Europe: ‘We are with you’

Vice President Mike Pence said he hopes his trip in Eastern Europe shows the Baltic States the United States stands with them. “President Trump sent me to Europe with a very simple message. And that is that America first doesn’t mean America alone,” he said in an interview with Fox News during a stop in Tallinn, Estonia

Mike Pence begins Baltics visit – YouTube

It is being described as a show of US support for NATO allies in the Baltics worried about the reach of Russian influence. US Vice President Mike Pence has a…

How a tiny Baltic nation became a top destination for U.S. officials – POLITICO

Mike Pence’s visit reflects Estonia’s outsized clout amid a growing threat from Russia.

Pentagon on Alert as Russia Preps for Huge Military Exercise – To Inform is to Influence

July 27, 2017 Pentagon on Alert as Russia Preps for Huge Military Exercise Sandra Erwin RealClear Defense July 27, 2017 The investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election is consuming the White House and gripping official Washington. The Pentagon, meanwhile, is turning its attention to Russia’s increasing military might. Defense and military experts…

Denmark to educate soldiers in combatting disinformation – To Inform is to Influence

July 27, 2017 – 19:27 Context By East StratcomTraining in how to combat pro-Kremlin disinformation is a “top priority” for the 200 Danish soldiers who will be deployed to Estonia as a part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence. This was the message from Denmark’s defence minister, Claus Hjorth Frederiksen, in an interview last week with Denmark’s public broadcaster,…

Pence to Visit Estonia, Georgia, Montenegro on NATO, Russia | Political News | US News

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence is visiting three nations in Russia’s neighborhood beginning Monday to signal support for them and NATO.

U.S., U.K., Ukraine, Others Begin Massive Military Drills In Georgia

Some 2,800 troops from host Georgia, the United States, and six other countries have begun a major military exercise in the South Caucasus nation. Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili an…

Georgia hosts NATO’s Noble Partner drills, Ukraine among participants

NATO’s large-scale Noble Partner 2017 drills have started in Georgia, participating are 2,800 servicemen from eight countries, including from Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian-language service Radio Svoboda (Radio Liberty). News 30 July from UNIAN.

UAWire – Georgian Minister of Defense: Noble Partner exercises in Georgia this year will be more ambitious than before

The joint military exercises, Noble Partner 2017, with the participation of the US in Georgia this year will be more ambitious both in terms of …

UAWire – Media: Putin had with him a ‘nuclear suitcase’ during his official visit to Finland

A journalist from the Finnish publication Ilta-Sanomat (IS), who attended a meeting between Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Punkaharju, saw the so-called “nuclear suitcase” in the hands of the Russian President ‘s aide-de-camp. The journalist’s estimation is based on the external similarity of the suitcase to the black briefcase that an officer in naval uniform had with him. “As a rule, the operator of the ‘Cheget’ device is an officer with a rank not lower than a captain of the second rank. Traditionally the rank has been in the Navy, although it in fact represents the Signals Corps. The officer has a badge from the Signals Corps. Everything indicates that he is the operator of the ‘Cheget’, and that inside the briefcase is a data communication terminal,” said Arto Pulkki, an expert in weapon systems, in the IS commentary. The “Cheget” device holds the codes for the activation of Russia’s nuclear arsenal. One “copy” is kept by the president (Supreme Commander-in-Chief), the second by the Minister of Defense, and the third by the Chief of the General Staff. However, none of them can activate the nuclear forces alone. This requires a coded signal from at least two persons.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Alternatives to Revolution in Putin’s Russia are Not Elections but More Wars,’ Eidman Says

Paul Goble Staunton, July 31 – Last week, Pskov parliamentarian Lev Shlosberg argued that the only alternative to revolution in the Russia of Vladimir Putin are elections but Igor Eidman argues that in fact, Putin has no intention of holding real elections but instead will, in the absence of a revolution, unleash still more wars of aggression. The Russian commentator argues that “the alternative to revolution in the present-day situation is not elections which do not exist and under the current regime will not take place but war. The Putin powers are already conducting regional wars in Syria and Ukraine” but “of course, the regime will not stop at these” ( The Kremlin’s “adventurist policy will inevitably lead to new military conflicts,” Eidman says. “The very existence of this aggressive and inadequate regime, with its atomic weapons, sharply increases the risk of global war and nuclear catastrophe.” And thus the continued existence of Putin’s regime threatens people far more than any revolution. The commentator points out that “the overwhelming majority of European revolutions of contemporary times, including [Russia’s] in 1991” did not lead to civil war,” and consequently, those who suggest that any future overturning of the Russian regime will have that outcome are frightening people in ways that help keep the regime in power. “Unfortunately, there is no fairytale figure who could lead out of the Kremlin the enormous army of rats in uniform and not who have settled there, headed by a kind who long ago lost his adequacy” to rule. “They won’t go by themselves,” Eidman says, “and to hope for that is to deceive oneself and those around us.” And he continues: “Only a revolution can liquidate the Putin regime, the currently most dangerous source of threats of a global catastrophe.” And thus a revolution and not anything is “is the single chance for people striving to ensure that their families have a secure future.”

The Daily Vertical: The Kremlin’s Ingermanland-Phobia (Transcript)

The Kremlin is apparently quite worried about something called Ingermanlandia. The Russian authorities seem pretty spooked about something called the Free Ingria Movement. Last year, they arrested one of the movement’s leaders. Earlier this month, they blocked its website. And this past weekend, police raided a concert the Free Ingria Movement had sponsored. WATCH: Today’s Daily Vertical For those who don’t know, Ingermanlandia is the historic name for the territory that today comprises St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Oblast. And the Free Ingria Movement seeks to have the two united into a single Russian region and have the historical name restored. Seems a bit quixotic and it seems pretty much harmless. But Vladimir Putin’s regime has no time for this kind of regionalism, which it fears could eventually turn into separatism. It’s cracked down on regionalist movements in Siberia and Kaliningrad. It has forced people like Vadim Shepta, a regionalist leader from Karelia, into exile. And of course, last week, it allowed Tatarstan’s autonomy agreement with Moscow to expire. The reason behind all this is obvious. Putin and his cronies are haunted by the regionalism, separatism, and parade of sovereignties that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. They’re determined not to let history repeat itself. And in doing so, they may be setting the stage for the scenario they fear most.

Russia flaunts military might across the world with Navy Day celebrations –

Russia’s full naval might was on display Sunday as the country celebrated its annual Navy Day in multiple time zones, with parades and demonstrations held in all four corners of its vast territory, as well as at Russian bases abroad — including in Syria and in annexed Crimea.

Russia Shows Off Sea Power With Naval Parade

Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw a display of Russia’s military might in St. Petersburg to mark the country’s Navy Day on July 30. Some 50 warships and submarines and 40 aircraft took part in the naval showcase along the Neva River, while smaller naval parades were under way in other Russian ports from Vladivostok to Crimea. (AFP)

Putin Addresses Sailors On Russian Navy Day In St. Petersburg

Russian President Vladimir Putin attended a naval parade held in St. Petersburg to mark Russia’s Navy Day on July 30. Dozens of military vessels were showcased on the city’s Neva River as aircraft flew overhead. (RTR via Reuters)

UAWire – Russia bans internet anonymizers

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law banning the use of tools to bypass blocked internet access. The decree has been published on …

Russian censorship law bans proxies and VPNs

It’s going to be much harder to view the full web in Russia before the year is out. President Putin has signed a law that, as of November 1st, bans technology w…

Putin Signs Controversial Law Tightening Internet Restrictions

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed controversial legislation prohibiting the use of Internet proxy services — including virtual private networks, or VPNs — and cracking down on th…

Russian censorship law bans proxies and VPNs – To Inform is to Influence

All communications in Russia is monitored.  With this law, most of the ways to communicate securely are outlawed. Only outlaws will communicate by VPNs and proxy, and the former FAPSI pieces now in the FSB and the Roskomnadzor are going to track them down.  What this also means is that illegal activity on the internet IS being monitored by…

Oleg Kashin | The anniversary of 1937. What you need to remember about the Soviet terror

The current fashion for anti-Stalinism is in some ways harmful. A big story is exchanged for the current nonsense and quickly depreciates. In the famous story Solzhenitsyn vigilant commandant of the railway station handed over to the state security of a passenger who did not know about the renaming of Tsaritsyn to Stalingrad. The editor-in-chief of Novy Mir, Tvardovsky, at the publication did not believe that such a situation was possible-in fact, by the beginning of the war, when the action of the story took place, Tsaritsyn had a new name for a decade and a half-were there really people who did not know about this? Solzhenitsyn insisted that it was, the story was printed and became a textbook. If you read it now, the episode with Stalingrad does not cause doubts for a long time, but you can stumble in another place, where the difficulties of transferring from Soviet to non-Soviet work strictly on the contrary – there the commandant does not understand the passenger, who, arguing about general suspicion, pointed out that she Began before the war – “after the thirty-seventh”, and the commandant is surprised: “What was in the thirty-seventh? The Spanish War? “In 1962, when the story was written, the phrase” thirty-seventh “already became an unequivocal symbol of all Stalinist repressions, but this is the branding of the thirty-seventh – a feature of the subsequent epochs, beginning with Khrushchev’s. Now the epithet “Stalinist” refers more to perestroika and sixties journalism, which naively tried to separate Stalinism from the rest of Soviet history. The ominous glory of the thirty-seventh year faded in comparison with other dostolinsky, Stalinist and post-Stalin years, and the first subversion of the memorable date, ironically, was the same Solzhenitsyn, who in the Gulag calls 1937 the “Volga of people’s grief” in the sense that before And after that the volume of grief was with the Ob and Yenisei, respectively, rivers fuller but less glorified than the Volga (“Tell the Crimean Tatar, Kalmyk or Chechen -” thirty-seventh “- he will only shrug his shoulders.) And Leningrad is thirty-seventh, whenwas before the thirty-fifth? ”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia Now has 15 to 20 Enormous and Horrifying ‘National Disaster Zones,’ Statistics Show

Paul Goble Staunton, July 31 – Statistics issued by Rosstat and the United Nations show that Russia now consists of 15 to 20 “national disaster zones,” enormous regions larger than many countries and having standards of living which are “similar to the very poorest developing countries,” Yakov Mirkin says. The Moscow commentator gives as an example the Republic of Tyva. There GDP per capita is 66 percent lower than in Russia as a whole and amounts to 2460 US dollars (in 2015, the last year for which data are available). This puts it alongside Bhutan, Honduras, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea and other third world countries ( Life expectancy in Tyva is 63.1 years on a par with Kenya, Mauritania, and Papua New Guinea, which rank 149th to 151st among the world’s countries. For Tyvan men, the situation is even worse: Their life expectancy is 58 years, on par with Benin, Burkina Faso, and Togo, Mirkin says. At the same time, he continues, Tyva ranks fourth among federal subjects in terms of the number of crimes per 100,000 residents, with 2682 annually, “two thirds more than the average for the country.” And he concludes: “we cannot fail to direct our attention to these ‘national disaster zones.’ They very much need our support to rise” to something closer to the all-Russian figures the Kremlin and its supporters take so much delight in reporting. “The saving of human souls” is at stake. At the very least, Mirkin says, Russians and others “need to begin to talk about this in public.”

Russian Court Sentences Ukrainian On Terrorism Charges

A court in Russia has sentenced a Ukrainian citizen to 12 years in prison on terrorism charges. The North Caucasus Regional Court on July 31 found Oleksiy Syzonovych guilty of planning a terroris…

“Stay, my people!” – last word of Crimean Tatar political prisoner Zeytullaev -Euromaidan Press |

Propaganda saturated with falsehood will vanish, just as darkness vanishes when it’s touched with a ray of light. On 27 July 2017, the Russian Supreme Court extended the lawless prison sentence on the Crimean Tatar activist Ruslan Zeytullaev to 15 years. He is one of at least 46 Ukrainian citizens held political hostage in Russia and occupied Crimea. Ruslan, who was tried solely for his privately expressed thoughts on morals, politics, and religion, addressed both his Crimean Tatar compatriots and his tormentors with a powerful “last word” speech. Euromaidan Press publishes its full translation.

UAWire – Putin signs law on visitor’s tax for the Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that would impose a fee for the use of resort infrastructure in three regions of Russia and …

UAWire – Expert: Blackout in the Crimea was due to a shortage of power supply in neighboring Russia

The Director of the Center for Global Studies, Strategy XXI, Mykhailo Gonchar, believes that the blackout in the Crimea was due to a shortage of electricity in the neighboring regions of Russia, as he stated in a commentary with Krym.Realii. “The so-called energy bridge is in fact not very reliable. The neighboring region of Russia, Taman, which provides the power is as energy-deficient as the Crimea. If it’s hot there, it’s hot in the Crimea. We can assume that everyone turned on their air conditioners and are cooling down, however there is not enough of power. Consumption rose sharply and as a result there was a blackout,” the expert explained. According to the expert, a blackout in the Crimea is another confirmation that the construction of the energy bridge is “a sham and it cannot effectively supply the peninsula with electricity.” The annexed Crimea was left completely without power on July 28th, as a result of an accident in the Krasnodar Krai region of neighboring Russia. All four branches of the energy bridge to the Crimea were turned off. According to Russian authorities in the Crimea, at the moment the energy supply is fully restored, all power lines supplying the energy to the Russian-annexed Crimea will be working. The Crimean headquarters of the Ministry of Emergency Situations confirmed: there are no threats to life or the safety of citizens due to the restriction of electricity supplies in the Crimea. Earlier it was reported that the reason for the blackout in the entire Crimea was the anomalous heat, which led to the emergency shutdown of power lines. The electricity supplied from the mainland of Ukraine to the Crimea was stopped in December 2015 due to the damage to the transmission pylons in the Kherson region. Now the Crimea is supplied by its own generation, generators from Russia, and through the energy bridge from the Kuban.

Prominent Russian Punk-Rocker Defects To U.S. Over Jehovah’s Witnesses Ban

Prominent Russian punk-rocker Fyodor Chistyakov says he has decided not to return from the United States, citing Russia’s new ban on the Jehovah&rsquo;s Witnesses. A member of the religou…

Siberian craters: Big releases of methane could pose broad problems

In northern Siberia, rising temperatures are triggering massive changes to the region’s landscape and ecology, and could pose broad threats.

Belarus Reports

Mikalai Statkevich: People Might Not Wait For Dialogue – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

80% of the population hate Lukashenka and his gang. One of the leaders of the Belarusian National Congress Mikalai Statkevich posted this on Facebook. “The bootlickers at power seem to be confident that they will live and rule forever. Now, in all major cities, private houses are taken away from people. They disregard the fact that it is illegal, that several generations grew up in those houses. They got to my family as well. They do not even think that they are creating a dangerous precedent for themselves and their families. They build mansions in Dradzy and mini-Drazdy across the country for themselves. And what will happen if the people’s tolerance expires and they regain power? What will happen to the inhabitants of millions of palaces built on unknown money? Even if those bootlickers will be treated in accordance with the “laws” that they wrote for us. Now, they do not even want to talk with representatives of the people. What if the people do not wait for that dialogue? When the suppressed hatred of 80% of the population explodes, there’ll be hell to pay. Maybe then some will regard prison as happiness. They even meddle in their opponents’ families. They sent my wife a subpoena to the court on her birthday. As if they do not think about the future destiny of their own relatives and descendants. However, bootlickers can only think with the spinal cord. However, the chief bootlicker and his associates should have switched on their brains from time to time. If they have not lost this ability yet.”

Lukashenka Makes Debts Again – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

The external state debt of Belarus has grown by 14,2% since the beginning of the year, to $ 15,6 billion.

Lukashenka’s Economy Is Still Weak, Economists Say – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

It’s too soon for officials to get excited.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

Russian official voices angst with Europe in poetry – BBC News

Barred from entry: Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister voices his angst in social media verse.Last week, Mr Rogozin was thwarted in a planned visit to Moldova. His plane was unexpectedly denied passage by Hungary and Romania, and forced to land in Minsk instead. Mr Rogozin has been banned from travelling to the European Union since March 2014 over his backing of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. He singled out Romanian authorities in an outburst on Twitter, saying the decision had “endangered the lives of passengers”. “Wait for our response,” he added. This triggered a wave of online ridicule from many Russian social media users. One Twitter user jokingly speculated their country would “ban films and burn books about Count Dracula”.

Ukraine Reports


31.07.17 10:40 – Commanding General of United States Army Europe Ben Hodges told Censor.NET in an exclusive interview about the threat of Russian invasion, U.S. strategy of aiding Ukraine, capabilities of the Ukrainian Army, and three priorities of military reform in Ukraine on the pattern of the U.S. Army.

— Now let’s talk about the military situation. Do you think we could stop Putin only with diplomatic methods?

— What I have seen is Ukrainian soldiers did stop the Russians. The military I’ve watched, the Ukrainian military rapidly improve its capability over the last three years. They are very technically savvy, more than I realized, with counter-fire radar [provided by the U.S. – ed.], for example. They learn very fast, they’ve adjusted. I’ve seen examples where units were innovative with their small UAVs, drones. So that’s been impressive to me. The fact is even though at the start of the war they were not prepared, they have adjusted and learned, and you see the result was to stop the Russian forces. And so that gives me some optimism about the potential that’s in the [Ukrainian] military.

— OK, but is it possible to achieve peace without decisive combat activities on our part? Diplomats say “We want peace, not war,” but these incantations are powerless without strength.

— So we [the U.S. – ed.] support the Minsk process. I believe that’s the ultimate, the only solution

— getting the Russian Federation to seriously and genuinely participate in the process right now. Because the Russians do not allow the special monitoring mission of OSCE to do their job. So we have no idea how much ammunition and equipment Russians are moving back and forth across the border between Russian Federation and Ukraine into the Donbas. They threaten them [OSCE – ed.], they’ve shot at them. These very brave men and women of the special monitoring mission are not allowed to fully do their job. If Russia was serious about Minsk being successful, then they would allow OSCE to do its job better. So the key to success is Russia getting serious about full implementation of Minsk. Now Germany, France have led a good process, and I’m glad that the United States is getting involved in that process, supporting, continuing to demand the return of Crimea, for example, keeping the sanctions in place. The EU sanctions are extremely important.

— Of course sanctions are important, but Russians continue the war with new kinds of weapons, and they have advantage in many types of artillery, for example. Do you think the United States could help us more with the new kinds of weapons so that we were able to destroy Russian artillery batteries?

— Of course that’s a decision at the president level whether or not to change the policy. I have made my recommendation to my commander [U.S. president – ed.] on what I think the policy should be, so it would not be appropriate for me to say publicly what I shared in private with my commander. Whatever decision is made, it should be taken in the context of will it keep Europe unified so that the sanctions remain in place? And what will the Russian reaction be? And ultimately, what is the strategy with regards to Russia? Because Ukraine obviously is a critical part of that, just like Secretary of State Tillerson said: Russia must have a better relationship with the United States, and it starts with Ukraine. So it’s all connected. To just give [lethal] weapons by itself, that’s not a strategy. That may be a part of overall strategy, but whatever the decision is, it should always take into account how will Russia react, the West and other countries. You can see all kinds of advantages [in this matter – ed.] but you can also see potential downsides, so that’s why it’s a sensitive issue. Certainly you know several senior people have testified in Congress already on what they think, and there is strong support in the Congress for expanding that policy [of military aid to Ukraine – ed.]. But that’s all available, you can say that in public. I’m not trying to be evasive, I’m not trying to avoid the question, but I think my role is to give recommendation. You can be sure: whatever the policy is, whether it’s what it is today or if it changes, the U.S. Army will do everything to maximum extent of what the policy says.

U.S. General estimates probability of Russian invasion in central Ukraine

Commanding General of United States Army Europe Ben Hodges told Censor.NET in an exclusive interview about the probability of Russian invasion in central Ukraine. News 31 July from UNIAN. “I would say it’s unlikely, but the reason people are worried is because the Russians are not transparent. There’s no media there, nobody knows what they do, they speak in a very threatening [manner] about nuclear weapons. They have recreated offensive strike formations like the 1st guards tank army. Their modernization effort is all very offensive. So you can see why people in Eastern Europe are concerned with what Russian capabilities are being developed,” he told Censor.NET. “I don’t think that’s likely because why would they do it? What would be the objective? It certainly would make impossible for Russia to have any kind of a normal relationship with the United States or the West,” Hodges said.

“Ukrainian soldiers did stop the Russians,” – US Army Europe Commander Hodges

31.07.17 13:25 – Ukrainian soldiers did stop the Russians, – US Army Europe Commander Hodges Ukrainian army is making significant progress in becoming a fully capable fighting unit. View news.

Russia to conduct exercises in occupied Donbas in August-September – Tymchuk – 31.07.2017 14:31 — Ukrinform News

31.07.2017 14:31. Russia will conduct exercises in the occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk regions in August-September, the coordinator of the Information Resistance group, Dmytro Tymchuk, has reported on his Facebook page.

Donbas militants getting ready for joint “drills” with Russia – NGO

Militants of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (&quot;DPR&quot; and &quot;LPR,&quot; or &quot;LDPR&quot; combined) are preparing for a series of exercises that will be held jointly with the Armed Forces of Russia in August and September, according to Information Resistance, a non-governmental project on information security. News 31 July from UNIAN.

Russian military aggression in eastern Ukraine. UCMC 31.07.2017 – YouTube

Topic: “Russian military aggression in eastern Ukraine” Vilyen Pidgornyy, MOD Spokesperson Note: briefing is given in English only

Militants launched 26 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas in last day – 31.07.2017 09:22 — Ukrinform News

31.07.2017 09:22. Militants launched 26 attacks on positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in ATO area in Donbas over the past day.

Ukraine reports 26 enemy attacks, 4 WIA’s in last day | UNIAN

Russia’s hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 26 times in the past 24 hours, with four Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 31 July from UNIAN.

Ukraine Says One Soldier Killed, Nine Injured In Fighting With Russia-Backed Separatists

Ukraine says that one of its soldiers was killed and nine others injured in fighting with Russia-backed separatists in the east of the country. Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Counci…

Ukraine army’s tank drills outside Mariupol – Photo story


Ukraine marks Special Operations Forces Day – Photo story


Ukrainian marines to participate in Multinational Exercise Platinum Lion 2017 in Bulgaria | Міністерство оборони України

The Ukrainian marines have left for Bulgaria to participate in Multinational Exercise Platinum Lion 2017 where they will enhance their skills while participating in joint maneuvers under the NATO standards. Along with their foreign peers, they will work out defensive and offensive, raiding actions, as well as combat firing, patrolling, etc. The exercise will last till August 11. Press Service, Ukrainian Navy Command

Russia frees Donbas militant who killed teenager in occupied Kramatorsk in 2014

Russian law enforcement agencies in occupied Crimea have freed Vadim Pogodin, 46, a militant who fought for the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (&quot;DPR&quot;) as commander of the Kerch Battalion under the nom de guerre &quot;Kerch&quot; and is accused of torturing and murdering a 16-year-old Ukrainian in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, in 2014, when the town was occupied. “Russian occupier Vadim Pogodin from the Kerch Battalion who shot dead Ukrainian schoolboy Stepan Chubenko in the east of Ukraine in June 2014 (five bullets to the head, with all teeth knocked out before that) has returned home today. He was freed from a detention center in Simferopol [in Russian-occupied Crimea]. His two other accomplices also avoided the punishment. One has been released, the other is at large,” pro-Ukrainian journalist from Moscow Alexander Tverskoy wrote on Facebook on Saturday, July 29. “Stepan was detained for a [Ukrainian yellow and] blue ribbon on his backpack. Before the murder, the looters took off his sneakers. [They] wrapped [him] in duct tape and shot almost at point blank,” he added. He also posted a screenshot of a post by Gleb Glinka, Pogodin’s lawyer, who wrote on Russian “DPR” fighter Eldar Khasanov’s Facebook page: “Vadim has been freed!”


They beat his teeth out, then – five shots in the head

Schoolboy Stepan Chubenko was shot in “DNR” in July 2014. One accused soon can go free, another has already left, the third “lost” in Russia. June 20, 2017 in Yalta (along the line of Interpol) was detained ex-battalion of the “DNR” forty-six year old Vadim Pogodin, call sign “Kerch”. Yalta City Court arrested him “to ensure the possibility of extradition to law enforcement agencies of Ukraine.” Pogodin is accused not just of murder, but of the fact that he commanded the execution of sixteen-year-old student Stepan Chubenko. On July 23, 2014, Stepu was detained in Donetsk (which was already occupied), because a blue and yellow ribbon was noticed on the backpack of the tenth grade student, and among the things found the scarf of the football club “Carpathians” – that was enough. Home, in Kramatorsk, Stepa no longer returned.

Separatists included Russian military Ageyev into prisoner exchange list – news portal

Separatists included Russian military Ageyev into prisoner exchange list. In exchange, “DPR” agreed to exclude from the list two dozen criminal criminals. Main – news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

British precedent. With Stimson behind bars, is Graham Phillips next? – news portal

British precedent. With Stimson behind bars, is Graham Phillips next?. London is reviewing its position on Brits fighting in Donbas. The first indication of such changes is the news that British national Benjamin Stimson was sentenced to more than five years in prison. In the meantime, his friend Graham Phillips is still at large. But if you factor in all the facts, he has every chance to follow his compatriot’s way. Political – news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Suspected Maydan activist abuser in custody – news portal

Kyiv’s Pecherskyy district court has placed Oleksandr Volkov in custody on murder, torture and abduction charges until 26 September 2017. He is suspected of arranging the abduction of Euromaydan activists Ihor Lutsenko and Yuriy Verbytskyy and killing the latter in January 2014. Volkov was detained early on 29 July, according to MP Mustafa Nayem. Volkov is believed to be a proxy of so-called “spirit king” Oleksiy Chebotaryov who managed notorious titushkos (hired heavies) during the Euromaydan. Lutsenko and Verbytskyy were abducted from the Oleksandrivska hospital in the early hours of 21 January 2014. They were brought to the suburbs where they were tortured and left in a forest separately in subzero temperatures. Lutsenko was rescued whereas Verbytskyy was found dead. Volkov denied involvement in the abduction.

U.S. Embassy: Integrity concerns of Ukraine Supreme Court nominees remain

The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine says it still has integrity concerns of many nominees to the Supreme Court of Ukraine. Latest UNIAN news from 31 July.

You’re Not Getting Rid of Saakashvili That Easily | Foreign Policy

You’re Not Getting Rid of Saakashvili That Easily « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

UAWire – Saakashvili refuses to change his citizenship and ask for asylum outside of Ukraine

In an interview with the Georgian television company Rustavi 2, Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia and the former governor of the Odessa region of Ukraine, declared that he is not going to accept the citizenship of any other country or ask for political asylum anywhere and that he considers himself a citizen of Ukraine. “I have no intention, desire or plans to apply for political asylum in another country,” Saakashvili said. According to Saakashvili, President Petro Poroshenko violated Ukraine’s Constitution and international obligations by revoking his citizenship. He considers Poroshenko’s decision to be an illegal act. Saakashvili said he is optimistic and said that in the autumn of this year he and his team are going to carry out “a great mobilization in Ukraine”. “We are planning a big mobilization in Ukraine in the autumn. We will go through all the relevant judicial authorities. Ukrainian lawyers are working towards this and foreign lawyers are helping us,” he said. At the same time, Saakashvili believes that President Poroshenko has harmed himself with this decision, since he actually recognized Saakashvili as his main opponent by expelling him from the country. “Such things usually end very badly,” he concluded.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

Saudi Arabia says that calls for internationalization of holy sites ‘a declaration of war’

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister called what he said was Qatar’s demand for an internationalization of the Muslim hajj pilgrimage a declaration of war against the kingdom, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said on Sunday, but Qatar said it never made such a call.

Economic War Against Qatar Backfires on Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates | HuffPost

The pampered petro-states of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates expected a quick victory after imposing a quasi-blockade on neighboring Qatar. …

British jihadi widow Sally Jones ‘tries to flee Raqqa’ | Daily Mail Online

Jones, 50, is said to be keen to run away from Raqqa as coalition forces prepare an assault on the ISIS-held area, but her 12-year-old son Jo-Jo has been brainwashed by and is refusing to go.


Harry J. Kazianis | How Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un could become partners in crime

You don’t need to study international politics at Princeton to understand a basic truth: Shared enemies create shared interests. And shared interests create powerful reasons for nations that might not have much in common — even enemies — to work towards shared goals. Heck, they can even become allies if the stars align just right. This is why Washington needs to start worrying about the possibility of an alliance it won’t be thrilled about: Russia and North Korea. With both countries soon to be slapped with further sanctions by the United States, don’t be shocked if Moscow tries to woo Pyongyang back into its orbit, an old pairing that once seemed fated to the history books. In many respects, this is a reunion of old comrades who in the past aligned against America and the West. The then-USSR and North Korea were allies for decades, with Moscow providing important economic and military aid to Pyongyang. And when the Soviet Union collapsed, it was Russian scientists in search of cash who went to North Korea to jumpstart that nation’s missile program. It’s no coincidence that so many of Kim’s mighty missiles look like old Soviet designs — from Russia with rocket fuel.

North Korea threatens ‘merciless blow’ to US as data shows Moscow aiding regime – To Inform is to Influence

Russian exports to North Korea essentially doubled in the first five months of 2017, according to new data. Some experts suggest Moscow will continue to use North Korea as a lever point to extract concessions from Washington on Syria, Ukraine and other issues. In response to the CIA director embracing regime change in North Korea, a…

Pence: ‘We believe China should do more’ on North Korea | TheHill

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday said the administration thinks China should be doing more to combat North Korea’s aggression.

Pence pressures China on North Korea and defends Trump on Russian meddling –

Vice President Mike Pence spoke forcefully about reining in North Korea’s nuclear program during his trip to Estonia on Sunday, saying that “all options are on the table” in countering the threat.

Haley: I am done discussing North Korea | TheHill

United Nations Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Sunday said she is “done” discussing North Korea, noting that combatting its aggression will require the help of regional partners.

‘Time for talk is over’: US grapples for new approach on North Korea –

Washington will not seek UN Security Council action following North Korea’s latest missile test, according to US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who says that the “the time for talk is over.”

U.S. ‘done talking’ about North Korea, China must act: U.N. envoy

The United States is “done talking about North Korea” and China is aware they must act, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Sunday after North Korea fired its second long-range missile this month and amid a push by Washington to impose stronger U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang.

Japan Backs Trump with ‘Further Action’ on North Korea, Pressure on China – NBC News

Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe has “fully agreed” with Donald Trump that China should put more pressure on North Korea after the latest missile launch.

Time to tighten the screws on North Korea | The Japan Times

Kim Jong Un’s drive to make North Korea a nuclear power won’t be halted without tougher steps taken by the international community.

Tough talk on N. Korea

By Tong Kim North Korea defied an outsider’s prediction again. It did not test-launch another ballistic missile on July 27, marking the 64th anniversary of the Korean armistice, on the contrary to the widely reported warnings that it would according to officials in Washington and Seoul.But it test-fired an ICBM on July 28 after the one conducted on the Fourth of July. Although the armistice is claimed by the North as

China hits back at Trump criticism over North Korea

China hit back on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted he was “very disappointed” in China following Pyongyang’s latest missile test, saying the problem did not arise in China and that all sides need to work for a solution.

U.S. displays military firepower after Pyongyang’s latest ICBM test – The Washington Post

American forces sent two B-1 bombers over the Korean Peninsula and conducted a missile defense test.

US, allies prepared to use ‘overwhelming force’ in North Korea, general says | Fox News

The U.S. and its allies are prepared to use “rapid, lethal and overwhelming force,” if necessary, against North Korea, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Air Forces warned Saturday night.

U.S. flies bombers over Korean peninsula – Photo story

U.S. flies bombers over Korean peninsula

In North Korea, a generation gap grows behind the propaganda – San Francisco Chronicle

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — She dances beneath portraits of two smiling dictators, a modern young woman in a central Pyongyang plaza who twirls to music calling on North Koreans to die for their leader. When she speaks, a torrent of reverence tumbles out for North Korea’s ruling family, as if phrases had been plucked at random from a government newspaper: “The revolution of the Great Leader” … “Laborers trust and venerate Marshal Kim Jong Un.” And as hundreds of students dance behind her in a choreographed display of loyalty, she is adamant about one thing: North Korea, she insists, has no generation gap. “The spirit of the youth has remained the same as ever!” Ryu Hye Gyong says. But look more closely — look beyond her words, beyond the propaganda posters on every street, and the radios playing hymns to the ruling family — and the unspoken reality is far more complicated. A 19-year-old university student with a confident handshake and carefully styled hair, Ryu lives in a city that today feels awash in change. There are rich people now in Pyongyang, chauffeured in Mercedes even as most citizens of the police state remain mired in poverty. There’s a supermarket selling disposable diapers. On sidewalks where everyone once dressed in drab Maoist conformity, there are young women in not-quite miniskirts and teenage boys with baseball caps cocked sideways, K-pop style. In this profoundly isolated country, a generational divide is quietly growing.

North Korea Gives Landmark ‘Pyramid’ Hotel a Makeover – Bloomberg


‘How Many Spies Did We Catch?’: How Kids Are Educated in North Korea (PHOTOS) – Sputnik International

Sputnik decided to look into how children are educated in North Korea, which has again grabbed international headlines with another ballistic missile launch. Is their childhood that terrible as depicted by mass media?

U.S. to Bar Travel to North Korea Amid Rising Tensions – The New York Times

American passports will not be valid for travel in, through, or to North Korea, after the death of the college student Otto F. Warmbier.

China shows off newest intercontinental ballistic missile – Defence Blog

China demonstrated its new DF-31AG intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time at the military parade, marking the 90th anniversary of founding the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), on Sunday. The parade, long anticipated but only officially announced Saturday, was part of the celebrations of the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). More than 100 planes flew during the parade and almost 600 types of weaponry were on display for the occasion — nearly half of which were making their debut in public, according to the Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman. Also, a spokesman said China showed off the DF-31AG mobile intercontinental ballistic missile, an upgrade to the DF-31A that was introduced in 2009.”The AG version has “The AG version has better off-road ability and is believed to carry multiple warheads,” he said. “The DF-31A is fitted with one warhead. Deploying multiple warheads on China’s strategic missiles gives them better abilities to penetrate US missile defense.” DF-31AG is an intercontinental ballistic missile with a reported range of more than 10,000 kilometers (more than 6,200 miles). The latest upgrade, the DF-31AG, incorporates three new features, including an off-road vehicle chassis that improves missile mobility and a multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle, which enhances penetration capability. The third feature is an unsupported random launching system that greatly improves mobility and launch concealment, thus improving missile system survivability.

China’s big military parade featured an understated but key element: dust — Quartz

In September 2015 China shut down factories and roads in order to ensure blue skies for its WWII military parade in Beijing. But at a parade on Sunday (July 30), part of celebrations surrounding the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army on Tuesday, the military brass welcomed a little dirt. Ren Guoqiang, a spokesman of…

China Shows Off Military Might, and Xi Jinping Puts Rivals on Notice – The New York Times

In a week that began with a purge and culminated in a parade of troops, China’s president opened a public campaign to deepen his grip on power in a coming leadership shake-up.

Chinese President Oversees Military Show of Strength |

China’s president Xi Jinping emphasized the combat readiness of the People’s Liberation Army, long criticized as corrupt.

Military parade in China – photo story

Military parade in China REUTERS Read more on UNIAN:

Kids and the PLA – Global Times

Today marks the 90th birthday of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). As the country’s military capacity grows so too has its military might, and the PLA has come a long way since its infancy on August 1, 1927. Now boasting 2 million servicemen and the world’s most cutting-edge equipment, the PLA shoulders the great responsibility of protecting its people and maintaining world peace.

Foreign Policy Reports

Defying international calls, Venezuela holds contentious election – The Washington Post

The vote will usher in an authoritarian system with all branches of government under firm socialist control, critics say.

Venezuela’s Maduro claims poll victory as opposition cries foul – BBC News

The opposition disputes the turnout figure of 41.5% saying fewer voted for the constituent assembly.

Venezuela Vote: Many Polling Places Empty as Millions Stay Home – NBC News

As protesters clashed with police , only about 9 percent of eligible voters went to the polls, the opposition said.

Venezuela’s election losers | Fox News

This sham election is the result of Nicolas Maduro’s shameful unwillingness to admit his is a failed presidency.

German minister urges ‘countermeasures’ against US for Russia sanctions

German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries asked the European Commission to look into possible countermeasures against the United States.

Brigitte Zypries – Wikipedia

Brigitte Zypries (born 16 November 1953) is a German politician of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). Since January 2017, she has been serving as Minister for Economics and Energy in the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel. She is the first woman to hold that office in German history.

Croatia, Russia, and the Balkan Great Game | Foreign Affairs

Croatia’s moderate government is currently the West’s strongest ally against Russian expansion in the Balkans.

Campaign emails from French President Macron part of latest political leak – The Washington Post

The disclosure of more than 70,000 emails by WikiLeaks showed no immediate bombshells.

Passchendaele 100: Mud and Welsh honours – BBC News

Battle honours and tragic losses 100 years ago in Flanders.

Passchendaele: Ceremony honours ‘bravery’ – BBC News

Tributes are paid to those killed in one of WW1’s bloodiest battles, 100 years after it began.

Strategy / Capability Publications

A 21st century Truman Doctrine

This year, 2017, is the 70th anniversary of the Truman Doctrine. The thought experiment is to extract lessons from the Truman Doctrine—could we conceive of a similar sort of grand strategy now that would be comprehensive? Editor’s Note: The following is based on the remarks that Senator Tim Kaine delivered at the Brookings Institution on July 19, 2017, at an event titled “A 21st century Truman Doctrine?: U.S. foreign policy with Senator Tim Kaine.” This year, 2017, is the 70th anniversary of the Truman Doctrine. That doctrine was a grand strategy; it was a comprehensive foreign policy and national security strategy, and it lasted until 1991—through presidents and Congresses of both parties. That seems virtually impossible now. And so the thought experiment was to extract lessons from the Truman Doctrine—could we conceive of a similar sort of grand strategy now that would be comprehensive?

The Russian Grand Strategy | Georgia Today – To Inform is to Influence

In recent weeks, interesting political and military developments have been taking place in the breakaway territories across the former Soviet Union. Military escalation in east Ukraine, continuing “border” movements in South Ossetia, and the coordinated actions of Kiev and Chisinau in Transnistria to strangle the Russian presence there, are good tools for Moscow to control…

Will China’s Disinformation War Destabilize Taiwan? – To Inform is to Influence

There is evidence to suggest that China is increasingly dependent on computational propaganda in its efforts to destabilize Taiwan. J. Michael Cole July 30, 2017 While analysts continue to pay close attention to the increasingly frequent passages by People’s Liberation Army vessels aircraft near Taiwan, an equally important development is the ongoing saturation of Taiwan…

Hyten says information warfare will be key to future conflict – To Inform is to Influence

Stratcom Worried by Slow Pace of U.S. Nuclear Modernization Hyten says information warfare will be key to future conflict BY: Bill Gertz July 31, 2017 5:00 am The commander in charge of American nuclear missiles, submarines, and bombers is concerned by the slow pace of modernizing aging U.S. weapons in the face of growing threats from…

U.S. Air Force To Pick Laser For ‘SHiELD’ Fighter Demo | Aviation Week & Space Technology content from Aviation Week

The Air Force Research Laboratory could soon decide which contract will supply the high-power laser for flight testing on a Boeing F-15.

The Navy’s EMALS Electric Catapult Launches Jet from USS Gerald Ford

The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) is a fully electric, magnetically-powered way of launching fighter jets.

IW/IO/Cyber Reports

New Kremlin Watch Policy Paper: What to do about Facebook & Google – To Inform is to Influence

Good morning, Our Kremlin Watch Program has just published a new report which reviews the state of play of policy debate on online platforms like Facebook or Google. Here are our recommendations: Governments: Examine the use of algorithms by online platforms in order to reveal potential errors and biases; understand to what extent the algorithms…

Facebook ‘dark ads’ can swing political opinions, research shows – To Inform is to Influence

Monday 31 July 2017 05.07 EDT Last modified on Monday 31 July 2017 08.41 EDT Using “psychographic” profiles of individual voters generated from publicly stated interests really does work, according to new research presented at the Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ads targeted using profiles generated from individual voters’ stated interests are more…

Chinese Cyber Diplomacy in a New Era of Uncertainty – To Inform is to Influence

By Adam Segal Sunday, July 30, 2017, 9:30 AM PDF VERSION Last month the Hoover Institution published my paper entitled “Chinese Cyber Diplomacy in a New Era of Uncertainty” as part of its Aegis Paper Series. I argue that after initially taking a relatively defensive, reactive position on the global governance of cyberspace, China under President…

The future of fake news: don’t believe everything you read, see or hear – To Inform is to Influence

Olivia Solon in San Francisco @oliviasolon Wednesday 26 July 2017 01.00 EDT A new breed of video and audio manipulation tools allow for the creation of realistic looking news footage, like the now infamous fake Obama speech In an age of Photoshop, filters and social media, many of us are used to seeing manipulated pictures – subjects become…

Hackers break into voting machines in 90 minutes at competition – To Inform is to Influence

BY JOHN BOWDEN – 07/29/17 06:21 PM EDT Hackers at at a competition in Las Vegas were able to successfully breach the software of U.S. voting machines in just 90 minutes on Friday, illuminating glaring security deficiencies in America’s election infrastructure. Tech minds at the annual DEF CON in Las Vegas were given physical voting machines…

What’s the difference between cyber and IT?

This is part three of a series exploring the differences between military cyber forces, capabilities, mission sets and needs.

‘Big hunt’ for Russian hackers, but no obvious election link


A look at alleged Russian cybercriminals arrested in Europe

Five alleged Russian cybercriminals have been arrested across Europe in American-initiated operations in the past nine months. Here’s a look at who they are, how they were caught and what they’re accused of doing.

Does Russian meddling count as hacking an election? [Black Hat 2017]

Fifth Domain editor Aaron Boyd asks Black Hat attendees if they consider Russian meddling a hack.

FBI to hackers: Use your skills for good or it won’t end well

Fifth Domain talks cyber recruiting with the FBI at Black Hat.

Researcher: Metadata the ‘most potent weapon’ against critical infrastructure security

One researcher is warning leaders in government and industry of an old threat that, fueled by recent legislation and commercial practices, is quickly surpassing zero days and APTs as perhaps the greatest risk to critical infrastructure security.

Global Cyber Definitions Database – To Inform is to Influence

Global Cyber Definitions Database There have been a lot of serious discussions by seniors in the cyber community about definitions and resources containing them. This labor of love by Robert Morgus is an ongoing effort to establish a community resource for the definitions in the global cyber world. I put together a pretty comprehensive and searchable…


Scientist-Warrior Geeks: Turning Knowledge Into Power

Sharon Weinberger, The Imagineers of War. The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World (Alfred A. Knopf, 2017) Since antiquity, ph

US Domestic Policy Reports

The Briefing: Reset Interrupted

There’s apparently not going to be any new reset. Moscow retaliates against new&nbsp;sanctions by ordering the United States diplomatic missions in Russia be drastically&nbsp;slashed. On th…

A U.S.-Russia Low Point After U.S. Diplomats Expelled : NPR

The former diplomat who coordinated U.S. sanctions against Russia weighs in on the current low point in U.S.-Russia relations after the Kremlin orders more than 700 U.S. diplomats to leave the country and seizes diplomatic properties.

Russia Wants A Reset – To Inform is to Influence

An article by TASS, Ryabkov: US needs to show political will to normalize ties with Russia, mentions the famous “reset” with the United States. The United States needs to show political will, so that Moscow and Washington can normalize bilateral relations. This was underscored in the interview of ABC television company on Sunday released by  Russian Deputy Foreign Minister…

Russia’s Response to Sanctions Shows Restraint (Op-ed)

On Friday, Russia ordered the United States to reduce its diplomatic staff in Russia and restricted access to two U.S. properties in Moscow. The move looks like a direct response to a Senate vote on fresh Russia sanctions. Russia’s response is designed to vent Moscow’s outrage, but it is also designed to avoid irreparable damage to its relationship with President Donald Trump. Putin hasn’t given up entirely on his personal investment in Donald Trump. The staff cuts are actually a delayed response to President Barack Obama’s decision in December 2016 to expel 35 Russian diplomats and seize diplomatic compounds in the United States. With promises of close Russian cooperation on Trump’s signature issues like combating international terrorism and illegal immigration, Moscow’s statement radiated support for Trump. It even blamed “Russophobes” in Congress for ruining the U.S.-Russia relationship.

Putin Says Russia Held Back on Counter-Sanctions for a ‘Long Time’


U.S. Denounces Putin Demand To Cut 755 From Diplomatic Staff In Russia – To Inform is to Influence

A note of clarification by Vice President Pence. “But at the same time, as we make our intentions clear, we expect Russian behavior to change,” Pence said. </end editorial> July 30, 2017 20:39 GMT RFE/RL The U.S. State Department called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demand that U.S. diplomatic staff in Russia be slashed by 755…

McFaul: Not so many U.S. diplomats in Russia as Putin wants to expel

Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul says the U.S. Embassy in Moscow does not have as many American diplomats as Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to expel as a response to new U.S. sanctions. News 31 July from UNIAN.

Kremlin Says Up To U.S. To Decide Which Diplomatic Staff To Cut

The Kremlin says it is up to the United States to determine which members of its diplomatic and support staff in Russia will be cut after Moscow demanded that Washington drastically reduce personne…

Putin says the U.S. Mission in Russia needs to cut 755 employees. What do all these people do? – The Washington Post

The majority of those workers are charged with running the the U.S. Embassy and consulates, visa processing and handling other diplomatic tasks.

Putin announces expulsion of 755 U.S. diplomats, stepping up confrontation over sanctions – LA Times

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Sunday that 755 U.S. diplomats would be expelled in the latest escalation of tensions over U.S. sanctions.

Putin, Responding to Sanctions, Orders U.S. to Cut Diplomatic Staff by 755 – The New York Times

The move was a major escalation in the Kremlin’s fight against a law passed in Congress last week expanding sanctions against Russia.

Putin Says 755 U.S. Diplomats Must Leave Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin says 755 U.S. diplomats must leave Russia in comments that have come after Moscow directed Washington to reduce the size of its diplomatic staff in the country in a…

Russia pledges ‘long overdue’ retaliation against U.S. over any new sanctions – The Washington Post

The warning comes after the White House said last week that Trump plans to sign the punitive legislation that cleared Congress.

UAWire – Kremlin: Russia will continue supplying rocket engines to the USA

Russia still intends to continue supplying rocket engines to the United States, as stated by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in an …

The Russians Were Involved. But It Wasn’t About Collusion. – The New York Times

Russian intelligence was probably behind Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Kremlin-linked people last year, and they meant for it to be discovered.

High-Profile Russian Death In Washington Was No Accident — It Was Murder, Officials Say

The US government ruled Mikhail Lesin’s death an accident, but multiple intelligence and law enforcement officials suspect it was a Russian hit. The government is withholding information, so today Buz



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