Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia / Strategy Media Update – 10 August 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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OSINT now suggests Russian movements of land force offensive equipment attributed to the Zapad 2017 exercise are not only far in excess of what was planned and announced, but appearing in other places, especially along the borders of the Baltic States and Ukraine. This closely reflects Soviet practice of using exercises as cover for offensives. Russians propagating rumours of an intended offensive to form a corridor from Crimea to Transnistria, overrunning Odessa Oblast in Ukraine. Poland alleges explosive damage on the crashed presidential Tupolev. US polling shows strong support for defending the Baltic States.

In Russia, Voinovich argues Russia needs to focus on a future, not the past. Kholmogorov blames separatism on the West. More Caucasus dischord. More meltdown reports. COCW applies to repurposed Soviet era jokes now about Putin.

Nikitenko spells out the manifold cultural differences between Belarusians and Russians, and why the Russian notion of a  “triune nation” is a delusion. Environmentalists oppose Belarus plan for Baltic – Black Sea canal network.

Rogozin and citizenship dominate Moldova reports.

Amb Herbst forensically eviscerates the recent crop of articles arguing against arming Ukraine. He is far too polite, as these authors assert Russian propaganda constructs as fact, making them de facto Russian proxies. McLaughlin argues correctly that building a strong and healthy Ukraine is the best way to cure Russia’s social/cultural/political ills. More on Dickinson’s essay about Russian delusions. Zakharchenko backtracks on Malorossiya. Donbass fires continue. Russian proxy force advocates in Russia despair over Ukrainian robotic machine gun system. Interesting defence industry reports, including discussions about joint ventures with China’s defence industry. More ugly reports from Crimea.

Iran and Russia discussing military cooperation. Iran in a major spat with Tajikistan over meddling. More on ISIS in Iran.

DPRK presents a deluge of MSM traffic, ranging from the good to the bad and the ugly, and Rice grandstanding as well. The DPRK is continuing an escalation game as in their estimation the US cannot or will not use force. Most interesting is interview with rocket scientist Robert Schmucker who argues that the DPRK is using Soviet tech, and that key components were sourced from Russia (or clients), and that they would have needed help to make it all work. China’s woes with indigenous Uigurs are now arising, for the same reasons of inept policy, with ethnic Kazakhs in Western China.

Venezuela meltdown continues.

More on Gen Milley’s effort to retool the US Army to fight peer competitors. The 7.62mm might be making a comeback. Slovakia and Romania retiring Soviet helos, introducing US made replacements.

In the US, Alex Jones hosts Dugin, the same Dugin who publicly advocated a genocide of Ukrainians. More on alt-right campaign against HR. More on Manafort.


Russia / Russophone Reports


Maneuvers “Zapad-2017” is used to cover the transfer of armored shock groups (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Zapad-2017 – a cover for the active transfer of armored vehicles In turn, the volunteers of the international intelligence community InformNapalm, during the monitoring of social networks and the analysis of photographs, established that from the beginning of the month of 2017 large-scale movement of Russian military equipment began across the entire European border of the Russian Federation: from the shores of the Baltic Sea to St. Petersburg and to the coast The Black Sea, including the occupied Ukrainian Crimea. We will provide a number of photos and video materials that detail our findings: 08/02/2017 . The composition of Russian military equipment at the railway station “Liski”. The city of Liski, Voronezh region.

In Russia, an unprecedented movement of military equipment towards Ukraine was recorded – a journalist (photo)

In Russia this week there is an unprecedented movement of military equipment: the Moscow region, Kostroma, Samara, Volgograd, St. Petersburg. This is reported on his Facebook page by journalist Andrei Tsaplienko. According to him, even soldiers from Novosibirsk are transported by planes to the European part of Russia, covering themselves with maneuvers before the exercises “Zapad-2017”, which will begin on September 14 at six training ranges in Belarus. “But on these fresh photos there are military equipment, which for some reason is not moving to Belarus (where the Zapad -2017 exercises – UNIAN) will be held, but in the opposite direction: towards Ukraine, the Voronezh Region, Krasnodar and Crimea, “The journalist said in a statement. According to him, in the lower photo – the train at Rossosh station, from where to the Ukrainian border – half an hour. “What makes an armored armada a thousand kilometers and a month before the exercises remains a mystery.” Apparently, they lost their way, “Tsaplienko summed up. Earlier, volunteers showed how Russia was drawing military equipment along the border from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

In Russia this week’s unprecedented movement of military technology. – Andriy Tsaplienko

In Russia this week’s unprecedented movement of military technology. Moscow region, kostroma, Samara, volgograd, Petersburg… even with novosibirsk aircraft voyakiv perekydayutʹ in European part of Russia. They say exercise “Zapad-2017”. they start the 14th of September on the six ranges in Belarus. But on these fresh pictures – military equipment , which for some reason is not in Belarus, but the other side. In the side of Ukraine. Voronezh Oblast, Krasnodar and Crimea… by the bottom of the photo – yesterday’s eshelon at the station station. To the Ukrainian border – half an hour. What makes armada of a thousand miles (and a month) to hackathons, it’s remains. Probably lost…

Maskirovka buildup by Russia – Petri Mäkelä – Medium

Exactly a year ago I wrote about the Russian Maskirovka mobilizations that are also known as “snap drills” or “readiness inspections”. Some of these drills have been massive and enough troops were…

Maskirovka buildup by Russia – To Inform is to Influence

Petri Mäkelä Finn with Security and foreign policy analysis. Aug 9 Exactly a year ago I wrote about the Russian Maskirovka mobilizations that are also known as “snap drills” or “readiness inspections”. Some of these drills have been massive and enough troops were set in motion, that the forces could’ve invaded a small nation. While the snap…

Kremlin considering deployment of troops in Odesa region to set up “corridor” to Transnistria – MP

Certain reports are coming up in Russia elaborating on plans for an offensive military operation in the southern part of Ukraine&rsquo;s Odesa region, including landing of Russian troops tasked with making a base for organizing a so-called &ldquo;corridor&rdquo; to the unrecognized and traditionally pro-Russian Transnistria, that&rsquo;s according to a Ukrainian MP, member of the Rada National Security and Defense Committee Iryna Friz. The deputy wrote on Facebook that such developments in the south-western direction require from Ukrainian authorities decisive political and diplomatic moves. Besides, the MP notes continuous “worrisome signals” coming from the self-proclaimed unrecognized “Transnistrian Moldovan Republic,” which point at actual steps on withdrawing from the peace agreement and their alternate perception of international treaties on Transnistrian settlement. Read also Turchynov, Balan discuss Russia’s hybrid aggression against Ukraine, Moldova Also, the so-called Prime Minister of the TMR, Alexander Martynov, announced Tiraspol’s intentions to legitimize judicial executive officers of the Russian Federation in the territory of the unrecognized Transnistria. “In this regard, I am submitting to the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchynov, an appeal with proposals to minimize threats of Russian subversive activities against Ukraine from the territory of the TMR, as well as on Tiraspol’s return to fulfillment of obligations under the peace agreement,” the deputy wrote. Read also Ukrainian analysts to share proof of Russia’s aiding Taliban – Rada member As MP Friz stated earlier, Russia had been implementing a “Transnistrian scenario” in eastern Ukraine. Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/politics/2073669-kremlin-considering-deployment-of-troops-in-odesa-region-to-set-up-corridor-to-transnistria-mp.html

marc bennetts on Twitter: “Russian leftist leader Sergei Udaltsov, newly freed from prison, calls pro-Russia fighters in Ukraine “heroes.””

The United States Urges Russia To Respect Georgia’s Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity

The United States views the visit of President Putin to the Russian occupied Georgian territory of Abkhazia as inappropriate and inconsistent with the principles underlying the Geneva International Discussions, to which Russia is a party. The United States fully supports Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders and rejects Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The United States urges Russia to withdraw its forces to pre-war positions per the 2008 ceasefire agreement and reverse its recognition of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

U.S. Says Putin Visit To Georgia’s Abkhazia Region Was ‘Inappropriate’

The United States on August 9 criticized a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia to show support for separatists, calling it &quot;inappropriate.&quo…

‘Traces of explosion’ found on Smolensk plane – Radio Poland

&quot;Traces of an explosion&quot; were found on the left wing of the Polish presidential plane that crashed and killed all 96 people on board in Smolensk, western Russia, in 2010, a special new commission investigating the crash has said, according to Radio Poland. News 09 August from UNIAN.

War in Europe: Most Americans Support Sending Troops to Baltics If Russia Attacks

Last year, most Americans saw “friendly cooperation” as the way forward with Russia, but now they want Russia’s power actively limited.

Nearing 85, Writer Voinovich Urges Russia To Stop Looking Backward

MOSCOW — Under President Vladimir Putin, Russian politics turned to face the past, focusing on purported achievements in Russia's ancient and recent history instead of building toward a vision o…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Weakness of Regional Media in Russia Allowing West to Promote Separatism, Kholmogorov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 9 – Western information projects directed at Russia have little impact on the residents of the capital or the country as a whole, Yegor Kholmogorov says; but they are often extremely effective in regions where the local media are so poorly developed that people turn to Western “voices” and become infected with separatism as a result. Western radio stations like Voice of America and Radio Liberty, whose funding the US is now increasing, the Russian commentator says, have always promoted various “separatist” ideas in Russian regions such as Idel-Ural, “a mythological construction” but listed in the Captive Nations Week law, the Russian commentator says (nakanune.ru/articles/113150/). Now, these outlets promote their ideas “via Facebook and other social networks and in the future there will appear a whole range of similar projects directed already at the Caucasus, the Finno-Ugric regions, Siberia and the Far East,” all of which will seek to promote “separate regional sovereign units” within the borders of the Russian Federation. “The danger,” Kholmogorov says, “is that [Russia’s] regional media are underdeveloped.” They are tightly controlled by local officials and do not feature the kind of discussions which attract people. Because they are boring, people in many regions are quite ready to turn to “’Western voices’” and are infected by separatist values. Russia must and can oppose this, first and foremost by developing “independent regional media” that can hold their own against these “voices.” That is already the case at the all-Russian level and as a result, these Western projects have little influence at the center or for the country as a whole. But that isn’t the case in the regions. In some regions, the media are doing a good job; and where they are developed, the West’s ability to influence the situation is very limited. But in others, the media are weak, people aren’t attracted to it, and many turn to Western outlets, especially online, to get news and information without recognizing the ideology that comes along with these things. Consequently, Kholmogorov says, Moscow has a vital interest in promoting strong and flourishing regional media; but until that goal is achieved, the center needs to ban and “if necessary block” Western channels directed at particular regions. Where these are effective, they need to be stopped “without ceremony.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Daghestan Continues ‘Resettling’ of the Lak Nation

Paul Goble Staunton, August 9 – Twenty-five years ago, the government of Daghestan began to move the members of the Lak nation from their historical homelands to other locations, a process within that North Caucasus republic that continues to this day and that eerily echoes in a soft way the more horrific deportations of Stalin’s time. The Laks, who number more than 160,000, are followers of Sunni Islam and have traditionally lived in isolated mountain fastnesses. Although they are commonly thought to be the first Daghestani people to have created feudalism, they continue to rely on the most ancient forms of animal husbandry. In the name of “improving” their lives, the central authorities have sought to move them into the valleys, a process that the Laks have resisted not only because it takes them away from the lands of their ancestors but also because it means that they will be mixed together with other ethnic groups and quite likely subject to assimilation. But because they remain largely independent of Makhachkala in their isolated villages, the republic government wants them moved and are pushing to complete their “resettlement” however much the Laks resist. That pressure and that resistance were on view this week at a meeting of the republic government (chernovik.net/content/lenta-novostey/konca-pereseleniyu-lakcev-iz-novolakskogo-rayona-eshche-ne-vidno). Speaking to that session, Deputy Prime Minister Rayudin Yusufov provided clear evidence that the resettlement program has not won the support of the Laks and is not being sufficiently well-funded or developed by the republic authorities. “We have to resettle more than 13,000 people, having created for them all the necessary conditions for existence,” Yusufov said. There needs to be schools, roads, hospitals, cultural institutions and other infrastructure. Part of this has been built, but in many places, key structures are not yet in place. Among the statistics he gave showing how far the republic still has to go to realize the 25-year-old project, more than 660 additional homes must be constructed, more than a quarter more than have already been built. He gave no dates for the completion of these projects but insisted that “the resettlement of the Laks” go ahead anyway.

Released Russian Activist Udaltsov Vows To Continue Protests, Won’t Back Navalny

Sergei Udaltsov, a prominent Russian opposition activist who was released on August 8 after nearly five years in custody, has vowed to revive his dormant Levy Front (Left Front) movement and hold ne…

Russian Activist Sentenced To Prison Over March 26 Protest

A Russian court has sentenced a man who took part in an antigovernment protest on March 26 to four years in prison. The Tver district court in Moscow on August 9 found Andrei Kosykh guilty o…

‘We Work In Hell’ – Russia’s Miserable Milkmaids

Working on a Russian dairy farm can be tough. It’s a dirty job, with low pay, and long hours. Yelena Garayeva describes life as a milkmaid in the Ural village of Shumikha as “hell.” But there’s one person in the barn that seems to udderly enjoy her job, the cow inseminator. (Current Time TV)

Two Months Before Its Release, Campaign Against Nicholas II Film Swings Into High Gear

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has joined the growing campaign calling for a ban on a forthcoming film about a love affair between the future Tsar Nicholas II and a ballerina.

Detained Russians, Serbs Leave Kosovo After Paying Fine

Six Russians and five Serbs have left Kosovo after being detained by police for illegally crossing the border from Serbia. The 11 people detained on August 8 were traveling in two vehicles whe…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians Mark Putin’s 18th Year in Power by Reprising Brezhnev-Style Anecdotes

Paul Goble Staunton, August 9 – Eighteen years ago, Vladimir Putin was named Russian prime minister putting him on course to become the ruler of Russia under various titles ever since. Those born on August 9, 1999, who became legally adults today have never lived under any other leader (takiedela.ru/2017/08/vsyu-zhizn-s-putinym/). In the intervening period, Putin has won enormous authority not only among those who have known no other ruler but also among their elders, but he has also suffered the fate of previous Moscow rulers who remained in office a long time: he and his regime have become the subject of Russian anecdotes that resemble those Soviets told about Leonid Brezhnev. Brezhnev’s reign which lasted from 1964 to 1982 was in the view of most observers the golden age of Soviet anecdotes because they allowed Russians the opportunity to make fun of a leader who was increasingly vain and out of touch with the population in a way that did not carry enormous risks. But as many dissidents pointed out, every anecdote was “a little revolution” because it broke through the official line and showed that the population whatever officials claimed viewed the world and especially the aging leader and his system in very different ways than the official media invariably claimed. Tatyana Pushkareva of the Politobzor portal assembles some of the best of the recent rich harvest of Brezhnev-era jokes about Putin and his regime as they surpass his record for remaining in office. (politobzor.net/show-140083-odnazhdy-putin-tramp-i-schuka-politicheskie-anekdoty.html).

  • Putin doesn’t use the Internet and so the video of his vacation has been put on Moscow’s First Channel. · US President Trump signed a law on sanctions against Russia because it helped him become president. Such black ingratitude has never been seen before.
  • Putin’s movements are a military and state secret but it is difficult to keep them that way because everyone can see where new asphalt is being put down on the roads and where houses are being repaired and painted. · Putin happily travels along highways in Kostroma oblast at a speed of 120 kilometers an hour. Just ahead of him, however, moving at a speed of 200 kilometers an hour are those laying the asphalt down on the roads.
  • The harshest US sanction toward Russia is a decision to take away Dmitry Medvedev’s iPhone and iPad.
  • A young man asks his father: what’s a democracy? His father replies that it is the form of government in a country which works for US interests.
  • “If you don’t lie and steal, you’re not a liberal” – a sentence that rhymes in Russian.
  • The eternal Russian dilemma is whether to tighten the screws or pound in the bolt.
  • The most horrific curse today: “May you live on the amount of money you’ve declared to the authorities.”
  • A Russian announces to a foreigner: We’re from Russia. To which the foreigner replies with a question: By saying that, are you already threatening us?

Once Putin, Trump and a Pike … Political jokes

Putin does not use the Internet, so the video from his release is posted on Channel One. Putin spent two hours chasing a pike during his underwater hunting until he shot her. It remains to neutralize the swan and cancer – and we will live! US President Trump signed a law on sanctions against Russia for having helped him become president. Such black ingratitude had not yet seen the light. The movement of Putin is a military and state secret, which is kept in a terrible secret. But still it is slightly issued fresh asphalt on the streets and freshly painted facades of houses. Putin cheerfully rode along the freeway at a speed of 120 km / h, admiring the state of the roads of the Kostroma region. And ahead with a speed of 200 km / rushed asphalt paver and road team. The most severe sanction of the US in relation to Russia may be the decision to withdraw the iPhone and iPad from Dmitry Medvedev. Poroshenko flew the MiG-29 fighter. Now he has to ride on the Tavri, find an amphora on the bottom of the Black Sea, catch a pound kilogram for 20 and divorce … The distribution of the budget and property in Ukraine received an additional patriotic rationale: “Putin will come here, but there is nothing here.” “Papa, what is democracy?” “It’s such a power in a country that works for the interests of the United States.” If you did not lie, did not steal, So, you’re not a liberal … The eternal Russian dilemma: to tighten the nuts or to hammer the bolt? Installation of a more tight spring on the door reduced by 30 percent the number of visitors to the Pension Fund. – Look, in the supermarket once a month there is an action, and I buy sausages for 400 rubles at 200 rubles, with a discount of 50%! Hence I conclude that their real price is 200 rubles! Am I not a genius? – No. Genius is the director of the supermarket, who buys them for 100 rubles. The most terrible modern curse: “So that you live as you declare in declarations!” – Hello! We are from Russia. – And what are you already from the threshold threatening?

How Good Is Putin at Spearfishing Really? (Op-ed)

The videos show that Putin doesn’t even dive to shoot his prey. Instead, he swims on the surface of the water and shoots a pike—of rather modest size for the wilds of Siberia, even if RT did call it “giant.” Here, I should add that pike is sometimes speared from the surface in shallow rivers. You glide down the current, watching for pike hiding in grass or amid sunken branches. But in lakes or slow-moving parts of rivers, spearos typically dive down and then slowly explore or lie on the bottom, hoping the predator will come check them out. Another sign of Putin’s lack of skill is that the Russian leader doesn’t even dive to retrieve his speared trophy. The NTV footage clearly shows someone else, with a camera on his forehead, diving down to take hold of the fish and then helping Putin handle it. And no way did Putin catch the pike “with his bare hands” as claimed in Zvezda’s headline for the video. That Putin holds the pike by the eyes shows that his spearfishing instructor or cameraman, who appears to hand him the fish, knows a thing or two. The fact that this assistant is wearing a smooth-skin freediving suit—which is more elastic and generates less friction, but can easily be torn if not handled with care—also indicates he has some diving skills and experience. Zvezda’s footage also clearly shows that the Russian president doesn’t know the technique of swimming in long free-diving fins. Instead of making long movements from the hip with legs outstretched, as free divers and free-diving spearos do, he makes frequent up-down movements with knees bent, which is what novices instinctively do. Rather than carry weights on a diving belt on his waist, Putin wore a diving vest. This can be hazardous in freshwater because the vest can get entangled in sunken trees and isn’t as easy to ditch as a belt. But this could be to protect his back, which has given him trouble before. On the other hand, you’ve got to hand it to Putin. That was a pretty good shot, given his distance, the length of the gun and the angle. That said, if Putin really did “chase the pike for two hours” as his spokesman said, then we don’t know how many times he shot and missed before finally nailing the sharp-toothed beast.


Belarus Reports


Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Belarusians aren’t Russians and Never Will Be’

Paul Goble Staunton, August 9 – In 2003, Leonid Kuchma published a book emphasizing that “Ukraine is Not Russia” in response to increasing Russian insistence that Russians and Ukrainians are not separate nations. Now, faced with Moscow’s continuing denial of their distinctiveness, many Belarusians are making a similar argument about themselves. Many of the articles and books which make the case that Belarusians aren’t Russians just like their counterparts that Ukrainians aren’t Russians are easily dismissed because their authors insist that their nation is the repository of everything good and the other is the manifestation of everything bad. But there are cases which deserve close attention because they go beyond that, acknowledge shortcomings in their own nation as well as pointing them out in the other and that admit that the cultures have been intermingled as a result of political history and social engineering, even though such processes have not eliminated key distinctions. Writing on the Belarusian opposition portal Charter 97, Viktor Nikitenko avoids these pitfalls and focuses as he says on both commonalities and differences in the characteristics and models of behavior of Belarusians and Russians before pointing out that the differences overwhelm the commonalities (charter97.org/ru/news/2017/8/9/259150/). “The main distinction of the Russian from the Belarusian,” the commentator says, “is the powerful emotionalism” of the former and are often manifested in “maximalism and extreme judgments.” The Belarusian in contrast is “the opposite of the Russian: he is pragmatic, quiet and doesn’t like extreme ideas or actions.” Russians are more inclined to “blindly following ideas and slogans” and to rush forward without reflecting on their implications. Belarusians in contrast take their time and don’t get so excited about ideas. That works both to their benefit but also to their detriment in some cases, Nikitenko says. Another major difference, he continues, is that Russians are far more open to people different than themselves than are the Belarusians who are more inclined to a focus on their own community and to social “isolationism” than to “collectivism.” That too works both for and against the Belarusians – and one could add the Russians as well. The two peoples because of a history which has often linked them together are both given to hero worshipping their leaders. But this hero worship is very different in the two cases. Russians simultaneously deify their leaders while retaining an anarchic streak of changing from one leader to another. Belarusians in contrast don’t go as far in either direction. Another distinction between the two nations, Nikitenko says, is the relationship of their behaviors in public and private. Among Russians, there is not a large gap in most cases; but among Belarusians, especially now, the distance between how they have in public and how they behave in the privacy of their homes can be enormous. He gives the following example: A Belarusian may spend thousands on a foreign car and stylish clothes to display when he is among others. But when one visits his apartment, it is unlikely to have been updated or even repairs. Indeed, Nikitenko says, it often looks like in style “a back to the USSR” advertisement. When suffering from difficulties or a lack of hope, he continues, “a Belarusian will love to identify with the effective speeches of banal populists … who say what the suffering want to hear at a given movement. In large measure, Russians also like to be self-deceived and to put liars and clowns in the center of attention.” The two nations divide in this, however. The Russian may give lip service to the grand schemes of his leaders; but the Belarusian will “slowly but scrupulously” try to implement what the leaders say “even if this process doesn’t have any sense.” Ethnic Russians “very much love to destroy everything old and build on the ruins something new and are inclined to adventurism and revolutionary methods of resolving problems. The Belarusian ability to remember and preserve their history and the Russian habit of instantly forgetting the past” lead to fundamentally different approaches to public life. The willingness of Belarusians to go along and their “latent xenophobia” are “the foundation on which the authoritarian power in Belarus is built. Infantilism dominates the personality of the Belarusian and is something immanent.” It is concealed in many cases by xenophobic attitudes. At the same time, certain Russian characteristics like a proclivity to revolt and then submit completely are “absolutely alien” to Belarusians. Also different are the greater propensity of Russians for “spiritual simplicity” and “hospitality.” Belarusians are more complicated and more reserved. “Beyond any doubt,” Nikitenko says, “Belarsians and Russians are two different people, and therefore the nationalists of Belarus are absolutely right when they speak about the cultural-social identity of their country and recall the history of the life of their ancestors in the Grand Principality of Lithuania.” That doesn’t mean they haven’t been affected by each other. “The Belarusians have learned from Russians both good and bad things.” Today, Russian television makes this worse, spreading vulgarity from Russians to Belarusians. But even that powerful channel has not succeeded in obliterating the underlying differences. “In the final analysis,” the commentator says, “Belarusians will remain Belarusians and Russians will continue to be Russians. And that outcome will only strengthen the fact that these peoples never were a single whole and never will become one.”

Leanid Zaika: Revolutionary Struggle With Parasitic Nomenclature Is Going On – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

Belarusians have been listening to La Traviata for 15 years already.

Ecologists Of Three Countries Unite Against Belarusian Authorities’ Water Venture – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – Minsk

More than 20 environmental organizations issued petitions against the water route connecting the Baltic and Black seas. A joint petition against the construction of the E40 waterway was published by more than twenty environmental organizations from Belarus, Poland and Ukraine. Everyone can sign it, the media-polesye.by site writes. Such public organizations as Ahova Ptushak Batskaushchyny, Bahna, Ekadom, Green Network (Belarus), the World Wildlife Fund (its representative offices in Poland and Ukraine), the Ukrainian Bird Protection Association and others are among the authors of the petition. “The purpose of the petition is to draw the attention of the public, authorities and potential investors to the negative consequences of creating a new transport artery and to stop the development of this project,” – the organizing committee of the campaign Stop E40! Preserve Our Rivers Together informs. Ecologists of the three countries are concerned that the project envisages a serious change in the hydrological regime of the rivers forming this waterway: the Visla, Mukhavets, Pina, Prypiats, Dnepr rivers and the Dnepr-Bug canal. New dams may appear on our rivers, their waterways might be straightened, and the banks enclosed in concrete. Such human intervention threatens to change these rivers forever, destroying the existing ecosystems. In particular, irreparable harm can be done to more than seventy specially protected natural areas in all three countries, where a lot of rare species of animals and plants live. Environmentalists urge national governments and investors to abandon plans on building the E40 waterway and suggest focusing on other projects in the transport sector that will not carry such a threat to nature and that guarantee a positive economic effect in the short and long term.


Transnistria / Moldova Reports


Vladimir Kara-Murza: Enforcing the travel ban on Putin’s deputy PM | KyivPost

The biography of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin reads like a guide to whatever is trending in Russian politics: a rising star in Communist Youth in late Soviet years; a defender of democracy at the White House barricades and cofounder of a liberal party in the early 1990s; a nationalist and imperialist firebrand from the mid-1990s as President Yeltsin’s policies became increasingly unpopular. With Vladimir Putin’s rise to power and the consolidation of authoritarian rule, Rogozin firmly allied himself with the Kremlin. Though he continued with nationalist rhetoric—speaking and throwing neo-Nazi salutes at far-right rallies—he has consistently defended Kremlin interests, whether as head of the Russian delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe or as leader of the hastily created Motherland bloc that was (successfully) designed to divert votes from the opposition in the 2003 parliamentary elections.

Chisinau: Pro-Russian socialist MPs do not give up Romanian citizenship

In Moldova, in the electoral campaign in November 2014, the leader of the Socialist Party, Igor Dodon, today head of state, said that the socialist deputies holding the citizenship of Romania would give up this. Or, to date, this has not happened, and six Socialist MPs continue to enjoy European citizenship, criticizing at the same time what is European. In an article published by the Moldovacurata.md portal, social workers Alla Doliniu, Corneliu Furculita, Anatolie Labunet, Radu Mudreac, Ghenadi Mitriuc and Adrian Lebedinschi continue to hold dual citizenship, even if in 2014 the socialist leader declared that The socialist deputies will give up the citizenship of another state, the procedure in this sense being even started. The author of the article mentions that the Association of Independent Press has requested the National Authority for Citizenship of Romania (ANCR) the information about the socialist deputies who currently hold the citizenship of the Romanian state. The ANCR came with an answer, confirming that six of the 24 elected representatives of the Party of Socialists are still Romanian citizens. For example, Socialist Deputy Adrian Lebedinschi has Romanian citizenship, obtained in 2006, writes moldovacurata.md. European Lebedinschi registered this year a bill according to which the flag of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) should be flown together with Moldova and the EU on official institutions and events. The author said that as long as the Republic of Moldova is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the CIS flag must be flown alongside the state. “I think that once the Republic of Moldova is not even officially candidate for EU membership but only a potential candidate, the flagging of the given flag is unjustified and artificial,” said Deputy Lebedinschi. The Socialist refused to say why he has not yet renounced Romania’s citizenship, as his party leader has stated. And Anatolie Labunet, another socialist deputy, has been a Romanian citizen for 12 years. In the 2014 parliamentary elections, he stated that he had filed a request for renouncing Romanian citizenship and that the proceedings had begun. The information provided by ANCR shows the opposite. Labunet recently approached the media after insulting Anatol Salaru, president of the National Unity Party (PUN). Anatol Salaru criticized Igor Dodon’s initiative to decorate Moldovan soldiers, Russian peacekeepers and separatist forces in the Transnistrian region. Labunet repudiated on his Facebook page: “Salaru, suka (bitch) pro-Romanian. How long will you disturb our Moldova? Under the guise of Basik (Traian Băsescu) and Guţu (Ana Guţu) at home in Romania “. Another deputy with Romanian citizenship is Ghenadi Mitriuc, currently deputy chairman of the parliamentary commission for national security, defense and public order. Recently, after Igor Dodon refused to promulgate a protocol to amend the Military Cooperation Agreement between Romania and the Republic of Moldova, Mitriuc again sent the initiative to the Legislature, arguing that the Agreement would contain unconstitutional provisions.

Moldova criticized for offering citizenship for cash – The Washington Post

An anti-corruption group has criticized Moldova’s government for offering citizenship to people who invest hundreds of thousands of euros in the East European state.


Ukraine Reports


John E. Herbst | Why the Case Against Arming Ukraine Doesn’t Hold Water

Armchair strategists have come out of the woodwork to explain why it would be a mistake for the United States to arm Ukraine. They argue that Russia is stronger than Ukraine and can outmatch any escalation, Moscow has a greater interest in Ukraine than Washington, and Ukraine’s government is corrupt and undeserving of such support. These arguments are based on hoary myths, outdated analyses, and an incomplete understanding of Kremlin policy and American interests. In “Don’t Arm Ukraine,” Michael Brendan Dougherty claims that “Ukraine is a deeply divided country,” echoing the infamous CIA National Intelligence Estimate from the 1990s that said Ukraine might split in two. But that prediction proved false and, while differences between east and west Ukraine have not disappeared, they have lessened considerably since 2014. Dougherty wrongly asserts that “Russian-speaking Ukrainians see the United States as complicit in overturning a democratic result in 2015.” First, he probably meant 2014, when President Viktor Yanukovych fled following massive protests. Second, the vast majority of Ukrainians speak Russian and the vast majority of Ukrainians welcomed Yanukovych’s departure after he either ordered or permitted the use of snipers against demonstrators. It is true that the Kremlin is peddling the falsehood that the United States was responsible for Yanukovych’s ouster, but it has gained little traction even in the parts of the country where sympathy toward Moscow was once substantial. That sympathy is much reduced because of the Kremlin’s ongoing war in Ukraine. Dougherty observes that “successive governments in Kyiv have turned out to be ineffective and/or hopelessly corrupt.” While there is much truth in this statement, it is incomplete and ultimately misleading. Under Poroshenko, reform in Ukraine has been impressive. The government has cleaned up the banking sector, introduced a transparent system for government procurement, and moved toward a single, market price for natural gas. This last measure cleaned up the country’s most corrupt sector, removed its dependence on Russia for natural gas, and reduced its budget deficit by 80 percent. While corruption remains a major problem, the IMF and EBRD give Ukraine good marks overall for reform, especially since these efforts are taking place in the midst of a war. Former NSC Senior Director Charles Kupchan joins Dougherty in claiming that the United States has no major interests in Ukraine. But as Secretary of Defense James Mattis has pointed out, Russia is “resurgent and more aggressive” and has placed the “international order under assault.” Moscow is the world’s other nuclear superpower with the second or third most powerful conventional military. Russian President Vladimir Putin claims the right to intervene on behalf of ethnic Russians and Russian speakers wherever they live and wants a sphere of influence within the former Soviet Union, if not beyond. To achieve these aims, he went to war with Georgia in 2008 and has been at war with Ukraine since 2014. His ambitions go far beyond Ukraine. The United States has a vital interest in keeping the peace in Europe, and a vital interest in the strength and viability of NATO and the European Union. The Kremlin seeks to weaken both institutions and the ties binding the United States to Europe. The most cost efficient way to counter the Kremlin’s revisionist policies is to increase the cost of its aggression in Ukraine. Thanks to Congress, we are raising the economic costs on Moscow through sanctions. But that is not sufficient. Another error in Dougherty’s article is the suggestion that the Russian public, like the Putin government, is “willing to lose troops in battle.” Kupchan shares this view, claiming that the master public manipulator Putin “would hardly fold his hand if Russian casualties were to increase.” In fact, numerous polls by the Levada Center, the premier Russian polling institution, show that Russians do not want their soldiers fighting in Ukraine. For that reason, Putin hides his casualties from the public. Providing defensive arms to Ukraine—specifically Javelin missiles that destroy tanks—would make it harder for the Kremlin to conduct additional offensives because it would mean more Russian casualties. Leonid Bershidsky argues that it is futile to send anti-tank weapons to Ukraine because Moscow has 20,000 tanks and can always provide more. In addition, he asserts, there have been few changes in territory around the contact line over the past two years and, therefore, anti-tank weapons would be used in a Ukrainian effort to take back the territories currently occupied by Moscow. This is simply wrong. Ukrainians have fought the Kremlin to a standstill, but there are casualties every day, and since the Minsk II ceasefire, Moscow has taken hundreds of additional square kilometers of Ukrainian territory. Providing anti-tank missiles will help deter Moscow from taking more. Kupchan also claims that sending arms would “cause a rift between the United States and its main European allies.” While Germany and France oppose the move, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said and German officials have told me privately that if the United States provided arms, they would still cooperate with Washington on seeking peace in Ukraine. The United States made a commitment to guarantee Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity when it gave up its nuclear weapons in 1994. Providing defensive weapons to Ukraine will honor that commitment and raise the cost of the war for Moscow. Over time, that may help persuade the Kremlin to withdraw from the Donbas. Even if it does not, it will force Moscow to waste additional resources in Ukraine and make them think twice about challenging us in the Baltics, where our NATO commitments would compel us to respond more forcefully. Providing defensive weapons to Ukraine actually decreases the odds of a dangerous US-Russian confrontation. John E. Herbst is Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council. He served as the US Ambassador to Ukraine from 2003 to 2006.

Giving Ukraine weapons to complicate Kremlin’s advance – Herbst – 10.08.2017 09:58 — Ukrinform News

10.08.2017 09:58. If the United States provides Ukraine with the necessary defensive weapons, it will be able to reduce the odds of a dangerous confrontation with Russia, according to former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst.

U.S. special envoy for Ukraine to meet Putin’s aide before end of August – media

U.S. State Department Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker will meet with Russian President's aide Vladislav Surkov in the last two weeks of August in Moscow, the Izvestia newspaper reported, referring to a diplomatic source. News 10 August from UNIAN.

JOHN McLAUGHLIN | The Smart Way to Deal With Putin’s Russia – The New York Times

America must aim not to crush Russia, but to restrain it from its worst tendencies by restoring U.S. leadership in critically important regions. We cannot keep Mr. Putin from aspiring to overseas adventures like his expedition into Syria. But if the Trump administration can ever get its act together, we can work to restore our leadership in critical regions, which was diminished somewhat by the caution of the Obama administration and has since been damaged globally by Mr. Trump’s low credibility, along with the chaos in his White House. Leadership is slipping through our fingers, but it’s too soon to give up. As for changing Russia domestically, a member of Ukraine’s Parliament told me in Kiev, “Ukraine is the only former Soviet state that can change Russia.” She meant that Russians regard Ukraine as the birthplace of the historic Slavic state (in the ninth century) and see Ukrainians as their closest ethnic relatives. If Ukraine could overcome its endemic corruption and develop a prosperous democracy, it would spur support for similar governance in Russia. Helping Ukraine is our most promising strategy and one that Mr. Putin fears. That’s why he invaded Ukraine. In other words, today’s challenge is not how to see Russia crushed again, as it was when the Soviet Union collapsed; it’s about constraining its worst tendencies as it revives. That requires showing unrelenting firmness on what matters most to the United States, creating space for like-minded Russians to push for integration into the global system and in the meantime remaining alert for issues on which American and Russian interests converge enough to permit at least limited cooperation.

Kremlin’s idea of Kyiv’s potential return to Russian orbit delusional – media

The late July announcement by the Kremlin proxies of the foundation of &ldquo;Malorossiya,&rdquo; seen as a bizarre attempt to replace Ukraine with a &ldquo;Little Russian&rdquo; vassal state, was one more indication of how hopelessly out of touch Russian policymakers are with Ukrainian public opinion, Peter Dickinson wrote in an article titled &ldquo;Putin Still in Denial over the Loss of Ukraine,&rdquo; which first appeared on the Atlantic Council website. However, key Putin aide and curator of Ukraine talks Vladislav Surkov called it a way of sparking debate within Ukraine while emphasizing that Donbas is not fighting to separate from Ukraine but for the country’s future, reads the article on the Atlantic Council site. “Kyiv wants a pro-European utopia,” he commented. “The Donbas responds with Malorossiya.” Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced similarly optimistic sentiments during the July G20 summit in Hamburg, where he accused the Ukrainian leadership of “trading in Russophobia” and blamed a handful of Kyiv politicians for driving an artificial wedge between Russia and Ukraine. “I am absolutely convinced the interests of Ukraine and Russia, of the Ukrainian and Russian people, fully match,” he claimed, before accusing the West of preventing Ukraine and Russia from moving closer together “at any cost.” These developments provide insight into Moscow’s apparent delusions over the catastrophic loss of Russian influence in Ukraine since 2014. The Kremlin clings to the idea that a silent majority of pro-Russian Ukrainians lies ready and waiting, poised to take over the reins in Kyiv at the right moment and steer Ukraine back into the Kremlin orbit. However, although Putin refuses to admit it, the sun is setting on centuries of Russian pre-eminence in Ukraine, and he has only himself to blame. When historians look back at the collapse of Russia-Ukraine relations, they will likely pinpoint the invasion of Crimea as the decisive moment. The 2014 military takeover of Ukraine’s southern peninsula and the subsequent Kremlin-led hybrid war in the east have forced Ukrainians into a fundamental reassessment of their attitudes toward Russia. On a personal level, the impact has been particularly painful. Thousands of extended families living on both sides of the border are no longer on speaking terms. Lifelong friendships have fallen victim to the polarization of propaganda. On the national level, survey after survey has reflected a massive shift in Ukrainian public opinion. Formerly solid support for closer ties with Russia has evaporated, while membership of the European Union and NATO have become increasingly appealing. Read also Another flare-up in Donbas: Ukraine reports 3 KIA, 9 WIA One of the key problems facing the Kremlin in Ukraine is the loss a pro-Russian electorate. This electorate now finds itself disenfranchised by Putin’s hybrid war. With almost two million internally displaced people currently experiencing different regions of Ukraine for the first time, the post-war political landscape in the Donbas is likely to be far more pluralistic.

Russia-Backed Separatist Leader Says ‘Little Russia’ A Bust

The leader of Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region says his plan to create a country called Little Russia has failed. In a statement on August 9, Aleksandr Zakharchenk…

Donbas militant boss reverses on earlier “Malorossiya” announcement

Self-styled leader of the so-called &quot;DPR&quot; Alexander Zakharchenko says that the project he has earlier proposed will not bear the name of &quot;Malorossiya&quot; [Little Russia], according to Radio Svoboda. News 10 August from UNIAN.

Militants launched 16 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas in last day – 10.08.2017 09:45 — Ukrinform News

10.08.2017 09:45. Russian-backed groups reduced the number of attacks over the past 24 hours, compared to previous days, but they increased using of weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements.

Enemy Grad hits ATO forces in Shyrokine, Vodiane – HQ | UNIAN

Over the past day, Russian-backed illegal armed groups in eastern Ukraine violated the ceasefire 16 times. As a result of the shelling, a Ukrainian soldier suffered a combat injury, as reported by the press center of the ATO Headquarters. News 10 August from UNIAN.

“After four SPGs arrived, we decided to eliminate this disgrace and run them under ground”, – Ukraine Army fighters speak of night skirmish at Butivka. VIDEO

09.08.17 16:55 – After four SPGs arrived, we decided to eliminate this disgrace and run them under ground, – Ukraine Army fighters speak of night skirmish at Butivka. VIDEO Ukrainian defenders at Butivka mine stroke back against Russian mercenaries who fired at them from large-caliber machine guns and grenade launchers. View video news.

Donbas militants active in Luhansk sector, use mortars, IFVs

Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas seven times on August 9, mostly in the Luhansk sector, the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters reports. News 09 August from UNIAN.

Yuriy Butusov – Director of the Russian TV channel ANNA-News: “Units of the Lugansk and Donetsk corps of the People’s Militia often can not oppose anything to the enemy”

Nothing so charges with optimism as reading reports of Russian mercenaries about the strength of the Ukrainian army, which they feel on themselves. I was personally pleased to see how the volunteer projects of several of my friends were appreciated by the enemy, which amaze me with their dedication and effectiveness in creating autonomous projects increase the fighting efficiency of our army. And so, it turns out, the Ukrainians were able to build a video monitoring system – but the enemy did not manage to implement a similar plan, here they drew the scheme for placing video surveillance, but they could not build it. True, Ukraine all this received without a penny the aid of the Western allies and even without a penny of the state budget – all the optics and the whole system, including the control center in Kiev, the self-sacrificing group of enthusiasts built independently and independently broke through the project, collecting funding from voluntary donations of citizens of Ukraine! It is also pleasant to read from the enemy what tremendous efforts brought the effective use of a remotely controlled machine gun on a new machine, which was built and helped to use at the front one unique fan of machine gunning. The quality of our people, will, self-discipline, self-organization of civil society is our main advantage, which Russian special services and analysts can not understand, they do not realize that the Russian army is getting it in the teeth not from some “American PMCs for the money of NATO”, but ordinary Ukrainian patriots. A few quotes: “Today, along the line of contact from the AFU are motivated contract servicemen who receive a high salary by Ukrainian standards.” Yes, they receive it and this is a fact. According to its list structure, the availability of weapons and military equipment, the APU is three times more efficient than the combined capabilities of the Donetsk and Lugansk corps of the people’s militia. And this is not my conjecture, it’s official statistics … Recently I was told a story from the Avdeevskaya industrial zone, when a group of scouts of the DNR could not suppress a machine-gun nest of the AFU for several days. At this machine-gun point, practically everything was used, from the RPG to the ATGM, but they could not suppress this machine-gun point. It turned out that it was an ugly and ungainly robotic machine gun of the AFU on remote control. By the way, to destroy this “machine gun on wheels” scouts of the DNR did not succeed … “. The author – mercenary Vladimir Orlov lives in Moscow, born in 1977, technical director of the psychological warfare unit of the Russian special services “ANNA-News” TV channel, the organizer of the support structure of the IGO “Veche” mercenaries.

Official says Russia will leave Donbas in 2018 – 10.08.2017 10:52 — Ukrinform News

10.08.2017 10:52. Ukrainian Deputy Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons Yuriy Hrymchak has said he is confident that Russia will leave Donbas in 2018.”According to calculations, Russia will leave Donbas in 2018… The only thing is that, in our opinion, this process was slightly delayed by the blockade [of Donbas],” he told Ukraine’s Channel 5. Hrymchak said that Ukraine’s budget had not received a lot of money due to the blockade: “We had GDP growth of 2.3% in the first quarter, and the forecast was 4%. We lost 1.5% due to the blockade.” He also added: “There are suspicions that the last battle for Ukraine will probably happen in November, when [Russia] will try to use all that it has to destabilize the situation in Ukraine so as not to leave [Donbas].”

Probe shows deadly mortar in Maryinka was doubled-loaded – LB.ua news portal

Probe shows deadly mortar in Maryinka was doubled-loaded. Servicemen made a mistake in the heat of the fight. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

NABU checking validity of deal to buy Tryton armored vehicles by Border Guard Service from Poroshenko’s plant

09.08.17 15:27 – NABU checking validity of deal to buy Tryton armored vehicles by Border Guard Service from Poroshenko’s plant Court has allowed NABU to access and seize original documents from the State Border Guard Service on purchasing of Tryton-0103 armored vehicles from Leninska Kuznia plant. View news.

Motor Sich to start helicopter production in 2018 – 10.08.2017 12:47 — Ukrinform News

10.08.2017 12:47. JSC Motor Sich plans to start the production of helicopters in Zaporizhia in 2018, Motor Sich President and General Designer Viacheslav Bohuslayev has told an Ukrinform reporter.

Ukraine in talks to sell Pakistan 100 tanks

In addition to export sales, Ukroboronprom is also producing Oplots for the country’s armed forces.

stailker | Ukraine and China discussed the possibility of creating defense joint ventures

First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleg Gladkovsky held a meeting with the delegation of the People’s Liberation Army of China during which they discussed the possibility of creating joint defense enterprises As reported by the National Security and Defense Council, on August 8, a working meeting of the First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleg Gladkovsky with the delegation of the People’s Liberation Army of China led by Lieutenant-General Liu Sheng, Deputy Chief of the Main Directorate for the Development of Arms and Military Equipment of the People’s Republic of China. “During the meeting, organized within the framework of the twelfth meeting of the Intergovernmental Ukrainian-Chinese Coordination Commission for Military Technical Cooperation, the parties discussed the current state of bilateral military-technical cooperation and expressed common interest in its further development,” the report said. Also, within the framework of the working meeting, they noted the significant potential of the defense industry of the two countries, the possibility of cooperation and the need to improve communications between enterprises and institutions of Ukraine and China. Source: RBC-Ukraine

The Rich Rides Of Ukraine’s SBU

Some staff at the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) drive top-range cars, but won’t explain how they got them. RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service witnessed a string of expensive vehicles over several days in an SBU parking lot in Kyiv.

Suspects in Wall project embezzlement served indictments, – NABU

10.08.17 09:45 – Suspects in Wall project embezzlement served indictments, – NABU … View news.

Names of seven people detained for embezzlement in Wall project made public

09.08.17 16:10 – Names of seven people detained for embezzlement in Wall project made public Prosecutors of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office will serve indictments to persons that were detained as suspects of embezzling funds of the Wall project, aimed at enhancing Ukraine-Russia border. View news.

ATO Veterans Go From Protecting Their Country to Protecting Its Cats – YouTube

Follow UATV English: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UATVEN Twitter: https://twitter.com/UATV_en Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uatv.en Medium: http…

President to table bill on Crimean Tatar autonomy in September – LB.ua news portal

President to table bill on Crimean Tatar autonomy in September. Its text is to be prepared by the constitutional commission. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Kerch bridge and Tavrida highway: Russian occupants demolish houses and evict people. VIDEO

10.08.17 11:03 – Kerch bridge and Tavrida highway: Russian occupants demolish houses and evict people. VIDEO Russian authorities are demolishing property of residents of the occupied Crimea to construct the Kerch bridge and federal highway Tavrida that leads to it. View video news.

Russia Closes Kerch Strait Connecting Donbas to Black Sea – YouTube

Russia has made the Kerch Strait off limits for ship travel. The strait connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, separating the Kerch Peninsula of Crimea …

Dmitry Bykov: The initiators of the May 2 tragedy were those who wished to have Odesa join the “Novorossiya” project… That’s what we need to remember

An acclaimed Russian poet and TV host Dmitry Bykov in an interview with UNIAN compared the events in Odesa on May 2, 2014, with the Beslan tragedy, told readers why he considered Odesa a city of tragic fate, and with whom of the Ukrainian poets he would sit down to have a talk. News 10 August from UNIAN.

New Australian ambassador prepares for work in Kyiv – 10.08.2017 09:18 — Ukrinform News

10.08.2017 09:18. Newly appointed Australian Ambassador to Ukraine Melissa O'Rourke has held several meetings with Ukrainians in Australia before beginning to perform her duties as head of the Australian diplomatic mission in Kyiv, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

Hearing in high treason case again former President Yanukovych. Live updates

10.08.17 10:20 – Hearing in high treason case again former President Yanukovych. Live updates … View news.


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Iran and Russia to enhance military ties after new US sanctions – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

While the sanctions are meant to punish the two countries, they appear to be pushing them together.

Russian Deputy PM, Iran’s Defense Minister Confirm Aim to Develop Defense Ties – Sputnik International

Russian Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin and Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan reiterated on Saturday the course for bilateral defense relations, the Iranian Defense Ministry said.

Tajikistan Accuses Iran Of Involvement In Killings

Tajikistan on August 8 accused Iran of backing high-profile killings in the wake of the Central Asian country's 1990s civil war, including the assassination of former parliament chairman Safaral…

New Hitch In Tajik-Iran Relations As Dushanbe Asserts Tehran Role In 1990s Killings

A Tajik state TV broadcast incriminating Iranian officials for political assassinations in Tajikistan in the 1990s appeared to be the bluntest assertion of its kind between Dushanbe and Tehran. Bu…

Arrests, Crackdown Put Spotlight On Islamic State Threat In Iran

A fresh wave of arrests of alleged Islamic State (IS) militants, while scant on details, is helping build the case that the extremist group's activities in Iran go beyond the recent deadl…


DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


South Korea to US: Welcome to our world – CNNPolitics

The last 24 hours have seen a rapid ramping-up of the rhetoric coming out of the White House toward North Korea’ rogue regime.

OPINION | Sanctions against North Korea didn’t work then and won’t work now | TheHill

OPINION | “The only real answer is that the Kim regime must go, quite preferably without a hot war…” While President Trump threatens “fire and fury” against North Korea, his diplomats are talking up remedies based on sanctions and diplomacy, in hope that Kim Jong Un’s regime can be persuaded to embark on talks over stopping its nuclear missile program. Unfortunately, sanctions won’t suffice, and any deal with Pyongyang would be a disaster.  In particular, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and America’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, have been celebrating last week’s diplomatic victory at the UN, where all 15 members of the Security Council, including permanent members China and Russia, voted unanimously to approve the toughest sanctions ever imposed on North Korea. In remarks Wednesday to the press, Tillerson reiterated his hope of pressuring North Korea, “with the engagement of Russia and China” toward “a dialogue about a different future.” That might sound good in theory, but it’s a discouragingly familiar scene in practice. For more than a decade, the UN Security Council has been passing sanctions against North Korea, all of them approved unanimously. In other words, Russia and China, rather than abstaining, have actively signed on to the entire stack of existing UN sanctions. None of those diplomatic victories for the U.S. has sufficed to stop the flow of resources into the North Korea weapons programs now enabling Kim to threaten the U.S. with a nuclear strike.

Susan E. Rice | It’s Not Too Late on North Korea – The New York Times

The United States must take every reasonable step to reduce the threat of North Korean nuclear weapons. But we can deter them without war.

Richardson: North Korea catching U.S. off guard “a massive intelligence failure” – CBS News

Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. says there's a strong risk of starting a war by accident

North Korea says it will finish plans to attack Guam by mid-August – The Washington Post

“I want to reassure the people of Guam that currently there is no threat to our island or the Marianas,” Guam Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo said Wednesday.

North Korea: Plan to attack Guam will be complete by mid-August | TheHill

North Korea on Wednesday escalated already heightened tensions with the United States, warning that a plan to attack waters near Guam will be in place by mid-August and that President Trump understands “only absolute force.” The country’s military also starkly dismissed Trump’s warning, issued the day before, that he will unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea if it continues to threaten the U.S. as a “load of nonsense,” according to reports. “The U.S. President at [golf] links again let out a load of nonsense about ‘fire and fury,’ failing to grasp the ongoing grave situation,” a commander of the North Korean army said, as reported by CNN. “It seems that he has not yet understood the statement. Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work with him.” ADVERTISEMENT Tensions have been heightened for months amid the accelerating pace of North Korea’s ballistic missile tests and the death of American student Otto Warmbier, who had been held prisoner in the country for 17 months. But the tensions reached a new high on Tuesday after it was reported that North Korea had developed a miniaturized nuclear warhead capable of being attached to a missile. Trump responded furiously to that development, telling reporters at his Bedminster, N.J., golf club that if Pyongyang’s threats against the U.S. continued, North Korea would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” The president’s inflammatory rhetoric quickly prompted a response from North Korea’s military, which said that it was considering a preemptive strike on Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific that hosts about 6,000 American troops in addition to thousands of civilians. Democrats and some Republicans quickly denounced Trump’s remarks as reckless. The administration acknowledged Wednesday that Trump’s specific comments were not planned in advance, though it denied being caught off guard. In a statement, Defense Secretary James Mattis indicated the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) could face a military response for its actions, not its threats. “The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Mattis said. “The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”

North Korea responds to US threats with Guam attack plan: ‘Only absolute force’ can work on Trump | Fox News

North Korea on Wednesday responded to a new round of threats from President Trump and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — with a claim that it could launch four missiles in Guam’s direction within just a week.

North Korea details Guam strike plan, calls Trump’s warning a ‘load of nonsense’

North Korea dismissed on Thursday warnings by U.S. President Donald Trump that it would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States as a “load of nonsense”, and outlined detailed plans for a missile strike near the Pacific territory of Guam.

Mattis to North Korea: Cease actions that would lead to end of regime – CNNPolitics

US Defense Secretary James Mattis issued a dramatic ultimatum to North Korea on Wednesday to “cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and destruction of its people” — strong words that come just one day after President Donald Trump warned that the US could unleash “fire and fury” on Pyongyang.

Trump, Mattis warnings to North Korea backed by aging but potent nukes

Conservatives, on the other hand, blamed Obama and Clinton for the crisis.

How a nuclear war in Korea could start, and how it might end

IT WAS March 2019. America and South Korea were conducting an annual large-scale military exercise, Foal Eagle, involving nearly 20,000 American troops and about 300,000 Korean counterparts. The drill was taking place against a backdrop of continuing missile tests by the North Koreans.

U.S. Needs ‘5 Minutes’ To Nuke North Korea For Guam Attack

There are pretty much only two options how the U.S. could retaliate for North Korea Guam missile attack: launch an all-out war against North

“Nuclear war” dominates social media amid North Korean tensions – CBS News

According to social media platform company SocialFlow, Facebook and Twitter users this week retweeted and shared posts more than they pressed the &quot;like&quot; button

Fallout: Trump’s ‘fire and fury’ sends officials scrambling | TheHill

U.S. officials scrambled Wednesday to clarify the administration’s position on North Korea after President Trump’s warned that “fire and fury” would come to Pyongyang if it threatens the United States. The White House pushed back on reports that Trump’s national security advisers were caught off-guard by Trump’s statement, but acknowledged the president’s exact phrasing was not planned. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump was trying to send a message to North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, in words he would understand, but also downplayed the possibility of armed conflict. Defense Secretary James Mattis delivered a different message, matching Trump’s fiery rhetoric in a statement that warned of America’s military superiority. “The [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Mattis said in a statement Wednesday. “The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people. “ But even as Mattis backed Trump in tone, he made a crucial distinction. While Trump said U.S. action would come if North Korea made “any more threats to the United States,” Mattis said it would be Kim’s actions, not his words, that would elicit a military response. “The big picture is that Tillerson and Mattis both tried to do a corrective on the irresponsible language that came out of that opioid meeting,” said Carl Baker, director of programs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Pacific Forum. On Tuesday, after reports that North Korea has surpassed a significant milestone in its nuclear weapons quest by shrinking a nuclear warhead to fit on a missile, Trump told a group of reporters at the top of a meeting about opioid addiction that “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States.” “He has been very threatening beyond a normal state,” Trump said at his New Jersey golf club. “And as I said, they will be met with fire, fury and, frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.” Hours later, North Korean state media carried a statement from the country’s Army that said it was considering a plan to strike a U.S. military base on Guam. The North Korean threat was typical of the rogue state’s bellicose rhetoric, but took on new weight after Trump appeared to a draw a red line at threats alone. On Wednesday, Tillerson, who was on his way Guam after a visit to Asia, said there was no imminent threat from North Korea and that Americans should “sleep well at night.” Trump, Tillerson said, was just speaking Kim’s language. “What the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un can understand because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language,” Tillerson told reporters. “I think the president just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime on the U.S. unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies, and I think it was important that he deliver that message to avoid any miscalculation on their part.” Meanwhile, amid reports that members of Trump’s national security team were unaware of what Trump planned to say Tuesday, White House spokespeople stressed that the president had consulted with top advisers. Trump discussed the “tone and strength” of his message with senior national security advisors before his remarks, but “the words were his own,” according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. While some accused the administration of mixed messaging on North Korea, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert insisted her boss, the White House and Defense Department were all “speaking with one voice.” Baker, a retired Air Force officer who served as an international political-military affairs officer for the U.N. Military Armistice Commission and as a political and economic intelligence analyst for U.S. Forces Korea, said that the rhetoric from Trump plays into Kim’s narrative of a U.S. “hostile policy” toward North Korea. Having Tillerson and Mattis seem to take a different line from Trump does create an “uncertain atmosphere,” Baker said, but helps to reinforce that the United States will abide by international norms and not launch a pre-emptive strike. “The narrative that we’re trying to create is we follow the international norms,” he said. “That’s what useful of Mattis and Tillerson’s response.” Richard Klass, a retired Air Force colonel now on the board of the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, said Wednesday morning mixed messages from the administration are an indication that the administration still lacks key personnel and a rigorous interagency review process. “There’s no process for which to examine a problem like North Korea and come up with options and alternatives,” Klass said. “The important point is that there is no Trump administration, and that’s why we have to handle this based on what side of the bed Trump got up on in the morning.” Lawrence Krauss, chair of the board of sponsors of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which sets the famed Doomsday Clock, said he assumed the statement from Mattis had been drafted after significant thought and discussion. Krauss said he worries, though, that Tillerson has already been too defanged to have any effect on policy. “Had Tillerson been a strong secretary of State who already demonstrated leadership in diplomacy, it might be easier to take what he says seriously,” Krauss said. “It’s important and good that some people are trying to defuse it, but people have already recognized that Tillerson is not taking the lead.” Tags Rex Tillerson James Mattis

Stop or we’ll destroy you, US warns Kim | News | The Times & The Sunday Times

The Trump administration warned North Korea last night to drop its quest for a nuclear missile capable of reaching the US or face “the end of its regime and

OPINION | Contain, deter, transform: A winning strategy on North Korea | TheHill

Even a surgical strike on North Korea carries massive risks of escalation. In response to a pinprick attack on its facilities, North Korea would likely move them underground and accelerate its nuclear program, only bringing closer the day of ultimate reckoning. The North has threatened large-scale retaliation against the ROK, Japan, and now Guam and the continental United States. Pyongyang might be bluffing — no one can be sure — but if it fulfilled such threats, a major war would be on. Hundreds of thousands could die. China might well side with the North; it has suggested that the movement of U.S. forces into North Korea could be an act of war. During the Cold War, the United States and the USSR developed elaborate procedures, systems and rituals to ensure that local fights did not escalate. No such formalized system exists between Washington and Pyongyang. Meantime, South Korea has adopted a doctrine of disproportionate response — to hit back several times as hard as any North Korean provocation. It is easy to imagine how a small fight could become a very big one. These hard realities leave a number of unsatisfying, but strategically sensible, policy options. Reinforce the deterrent posture in the region and make crystal-clear the destruction that North Korea would court with any aggression. Bolster the U.S.-ROK alliance, and encourage China to impose consequences for armed provocations. Respond quickly but with moderation to low-level North Korean attacks. Pressure the North for a pause in its nuclear development through economic sanctions and multilateral diplomacy, while being very explicit — as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has done — that the U.S. welcomes meaningful negotiations. Redouble efforts to shut down North Korean currency-generating activities, and take powerful steps to maximize the flow of information and the pace of social change inside the North. Contain, deter and transform. Not a radical solution, but one that has worked before — and an approach that holds out the hope of preserving U.S. interests while avoiding war. Michael J. Mazarr and Michael Johnson are senior researchers at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation, a global policy think tank originally formed to offer research and analysis to the United States Armed Forces.

Targeting Guam: Will Kim Jong Un do it?

North Korea’s is threatening to attack Guam. But experts say the regime’s missiles lack the precision and its leaders lack the political will needed for a successful strike.

Can North Korea missiles hit Guam?

Analysts believe North Korea has several missiles in its arsenal capable of reaching the Pacific island of Guam.

Guam under threat: Can the US shoot down North Korean missiles? – CNN

The United States is likely to “seriously consider” shooting down any North Korean missiles tests aimed at the waters around the US territory of Guam, but experts warn the technology isn’t guaranteed to work.

Guam’s worries grow as tensions rise between US, North Korea

Residents of the tiny Pacific island of Guam say they’re afraid of being caught in the middle of escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea after Pyongyang announced it was examining plans for attacking the strategically important U.S. territory.

McCain warns Trump to watch his words after North Korea ‘fire and fury’

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain said Tuesday that President Donald Trump has to watch his words after the president threatened North Korea in a potential nuclear standoff.

Tillerson: North Korean Leader ‘Doesn’t Seem To Understand Diplomatic Language’

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that North Korea needs to reconsider its nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions and engage in dialogue with the international community. He spoke to journalists on a flight to the U.S. territory of Guam, one day after President Donald Trump’s August 8 warning to Pyongyang of “fire and fury” unless it ceases threats against the United States. (AP)

President Trump vs. Rex Tillerson, His Secretary of State – The Atlantic

How reassuring can Rex Tillerson be when his boss can undercut him with a tweet?

Rex Tillerson just erased the reckless red line Trump drew on North Korea – The Washington Post

But this raises a whole different set of reasons for alarm. Here’s why.

North Korea’s Suspected Missile Range

Pyongyang claims its missiles can strike Guam, the U.S. Pacific territory 3,400 kilometers away. Here’s what experts believe.

The fear factor in Trump’s nuclear showdown with North Korea – The Washington Post

Trump’s “fire and fury” comment and news of North Korea’s rapidly developing arsenal came as 75 percent of Americans said they view Pyongyang’s nuclear program as a critical threat.

North Korea Is a Threat to America, but Not an Existential One | The National Interest

Large numbers of civilian casualties and the loss of several American cities would be horrific, but not existential.

Trump sparks debate over war resolution for North Korea | TheHill

President Trump’s warning that North Korea could “face fire and fury like the world has never seen” has reignited a debate about whether the commander in chief needs congressional approval before launching a preemptive military strike. So far, congressional leaders from both parties have been silent on the issue. They’re reluctant to tie Trump’s hands as Pyongyang threatens to bomb a specific target: the U.S. territory of Guam. They also recognize how unpopular and divisive a vote on a war resolution would be for lawmakers facing reelection next year. But many rank-and-file Democrats, and a handful of Republicans, say Trump needs to come to Congress first and formally request an authorization for use of military force or AUMF, especially as he appears to threaten a nuclear attack. “We know that the president is suggesting potential use of military force. … This is a conversation that needs to take place,” Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) said Wednesday on CNN. “The authority of Congress should be asserted, particularly in the case of this president where he seems to be somewhat erratic when it comes to what he suggests is American foreign policy.” Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), who serves on the Armed Services Committee and comes from a state that could be a top North Korean target, said “preemptive war” on the Korean peninsula “would require the authorization of Congress.” “Article I of the U.S. Constitution is very clear about that,” Sullivan, an Afghanistan war veteran, said during an appearance Tuesday on Fox News. Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) said he has not fully evaluated whether it would be legal or constitutional for Trump to strike first against North Korea.

Dodging blame, China urges U.S. to stop hurling threats at North Korea – The Washington Post

But even in Beijing, experts say China’s proposal for dialogue with the isolated regime seems like a non-starter.

Don’t Count on China or Russia to End the North Korea Crisis

The U.S. and China have different goals, and Russia is happy to take a back seat.

Germany urges China, Russia to rein in North Korea

Germany on Wednesday called on China and Russia to dissuade Pyongyang from pursuing policies that would lead to a military escalation on the Korean peninsula after North Korea said it was considering a missile strike on Guam.

The Game Is Over and North Korea Has Won | Foreign Policy

Donald Trump can whine all he wants, but we’re now living in a world where American power is less relevant than ever.

The Bubble: Trump and Kim Jong Un are an ‘axis of idiocy,’ liberals say

Conservatives, on the other hand, blamed Obama and Clinton for the crisis.

Rocket-scientist: North Korea scares all with Soviet missiles | Engineer-rocket scientist, Professor Robert Schmucker believes that North Koreans do not develop missiles themselves, but use Soviet technologies. | DW | 09.08.2017

The world watches with tension the escalation of the conflict between the US and the DPRK. Soon after US President Donald Trump promised Pyongyang “fire and fury,” the North Korean leadership said it was developing a missile strike plan for the US airbase on Guam Island in the Pacific. These threats are a bluff, I’m sure the famous German rocket engineer Robert Schmucker (Robert Schmucker). 74-year-old Schmucker worked on the engine for the space shuttle, the Space Shuttle, and today is a professor at the Technical University in Munich. He is confident that the main components of the missiles, which demonstrate to the world of the DPRK, arrived in Pyongyang from abroad. DW: The United States and North Korea are exchanging terrible threats against each other. Is it time for mankind to worry, or is it a bluff? Robert Schmucker: This is a political bluff. Neither side really wants to start a war. “But Pyongyang tested the intercontinental missile.” It can theoretically fly to North America. Is this not a serious threat? – What is called the intercontinental Hwaseon-14 missile, was launched into the air twice, both times almost vertically upwards. We tried to reconstruct its course. According to my calculations, the range of the missile with weight per ton will be 5200 kilometers. We do not know whether North Korea has nuclear weapons and, even more so, how powerful it is. If they still have it, then it can not be used as a warhead for missiles. Therefore, I proceed from the fact that these missiles, probably, can overcome a great distance, but this is not what I would call an intercontinental missile. There is another very important point. It’s not far to shoot – you still have to hit the target. But so far we have not seen a single launch that would have reached some remote point. No such tests. So these are beautiful demonstration launches, but no more: 70-80 percent of rocket launches since 1984 are pure demo- version launches, with Soviet missiles. – You once said that there is clear evidence that without Russian help there could not have been . What kind of evidence is this? – Previous missiles, which the North Koreans now and then launch, are rockets such as “SCUD”, “Nodon” and “Tochka” – all these are Soviet developments. From photographs from military parades, it is clear from the launches that the overwhelming majority of them are old Soviet missiles. But the new missiles, which launched in the last 12-14 months, are based on a different technology, which is no longer related to SCUD and others. They had to create this technology literally out of nothing. But even here, we see that the engines used in these missiles have come exactly from Russia. ” Why should Moscow render such help to Pyongyang ?” – It was not necessarily the Russian authorities. But missiles or their components come from Russia, and also, probably, from the countries of the former USSR, in which there were such missiles. I do not knowingly assert that this is a matter for some government. These can be non-state structures, individuals or organized crime. But there must be people who transport certain components to North Korea and then help the Koreans manage these missiles. ” You say that missiles are to some extent created outside of North Korea .” In your opinion, the number of test launches speaks in favor of this . Explain your point of view . “When I develop a rocket, I need a certain number of prototypes.” I start them, measure the trajectory, draw conclusions about the behavior of the rocket, correct errors, create a ballistic test table. Without numerous successful tests, rocket launch is impossible, including all possible launch conditions. Nothing we have not seen. – Maybe they skillfully hide these tests? – No. Everything that is done in the missile sector, be it static tests, when a rocket is fixed on the ground and it is allowed to burn, and even more so, flights are clearly visible. Today there are not any long flights that we could not see. North Korea is under constant surveillance. – Over the past 14 months, the regime in Pyongyang has introduced 7 new types of missiles. This is certainly a very costly project. How is this possible? – The cost of them had to be enormous. You need seven project teams, several factories for the production of missiles of different diameters, they need different materials, fuel and so on. To carry out such work in parallel, and even so that almost all the launches from the first time were successful? Nobody could achieve this. Well, or the missiles came from outside. – You said that in the missiles, which DPRK was experiencing recently, new technologies were used. What is this technology? – Yes, this is also the development of 60-70-ies of the last century! We have clearly determined that missiles like “Musudan” or “Khwason-10″ are in fact modified missiles for Soviet submarines. This can be clearly seen from the rocket engine, construction and so on. – It turns out that North Korea manages to keep the world in suspense by modifying old technologies ? – Yes, and I am sure that Mr. Kim Jong-un has very few such missiles, if at all they belong to him, and are not given to him for storage and for launches. ” However, is North Korea capable of realizing the threat and striking at the US military base in Guam ?” “I’m not sure that they’ll get it if they try.” Libya attempted to strike at Lampedusa (an Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea – Ed . ) With the help of SCUD missiles. Quite a large island – a few square kilometers. Gaddafi did not work, which shows how difficult it is.

Lack of real-world testing raises doubts on U.S. missile defenses

When simulating missile attacks from North Korea or Iran, the U.S. military says its defense system and network of radars allow it to successfully track and destroy incoming warheads.

North Korea: How Australia insulted rogue nation

THERE is no North Korean embassy in Canberra the reason has been the topic of speculation and myth for more than 40 years.

China’s New Security Concern – The Kazakhs

Relations between Kazakhstan and China have been good for more than two decades now and they enjoy excellent economic ties. Recently, however, security concerns have crept into the relationship between the two countries.


Foreign Policy Reports


Venezuela May Be on the Brink of Civil War | The Nation

The international left should do everything in its power to prevent it; we must support a negotiated solution.

Peru Fears Venezuela Headed Toward Civil War: Foreign Minister | Top News | US News

US News is a recognized leader in college, grad school, hospital, mutual fund, and car rankings. Track elected officials, research health conditions, and find news you can use in politics, business, health, and education.

Venezuela inches closer to default – Aug. 7, 2017

Venezuela is expected to make a debt payment of $251 million Monday after a weekend of chaos under a new legislature with immense power.

Venezuela: U.S. Oil Industry Pushes Back on Sanctions | Time.com

Economic sanctions have yet to materialize amid an outcry by the U.S. oil industry

Chevron and Total Are Pulling Staff From Venezuela Amid Crisis | Fortune.com

The departure of workers will be a concern to the government of Venezuela, where unrest has roiled since July

How Should the Trump Administration Respond to the Venezuelan Crisis? | The New Yorker

William Finnegan writes about the political crisis in Nicolás Maduro’s Venezuela, and how the United States should respond.


Strategy / Capability Publications


The Army chief of staff wants you to get a head start on preparing for the next big war

Urban warfare. Near-peer conflict. Russia. Korea. Those buzz words are in the news constantly, so Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley wants bookworm soldiers to brush up on what they mean for the future of the military.

BREAKING: 7.62mm Rifle to REPLACE M4 Carbine – Interim Combat Service Rifle Solicitation Released by US Army – The Firearm BlogThe Firearm Blog

The US Army has released a solicitation for a new 7.62mm infantry rifle to replace the M4. The Interim Combat Service Rifle program, known to be in the works since April of this year, would replace M4 Carbines in use with combat units with a new weapon in the 7.62x51mm caliber. The new solicitation requires companies to submit 7 weapons plus ancillaries for testing, and includes the promise of up to 8 Other Transaction Agreements (OTAs, non-contract transactions), leading to the eventual selection of 1 weapon for a contract of 50,000 units. The primary justification for the ICSR program are improved ceramic body armors that are resistant to existing forms of small arms ammunition. The logic goes that the Army’s new 5.56mm M855A1 round cannot penetrate these new armors, and therefore the service must switch to a new round. However, this is misleading, as current 7.62mm M80A1 is incapable of penetrating these body armors either – and specialty tungsten cored ammunition in both 5.56mm and 7.62mm calibers are capable of penetrating armor of this type. The US Army seems to be banking on its yet-undescribed XM1158 ADVAP round to bridge this gap – however Chief Milley himself admitted in testimony to Congress that the ADVAP’s design could be applied to either 7.62mm or 5.56mm ammunition. These facts leave us with very little justification for the move to 7.62mm. It’s difficult to ignore the picture that a move towards a larger caliber infantry rifle has been lobbied for by manufacturers for over a decade, as it would give whoever won a toehold on a highly lucrative exclusive contract. Sadly, all this program will do is take a load off Chief Milley’s back, and put it on the backs of our troops. One wonders if General Milley is willing to write to families of the dead when ICSR-equipped units run dry of ammunition and are overrun by 5.45mm-armed foes.

Army Officially Launches Competition For A New 7.62mm Combat Rifle

The U.S. Army published a solicitation for a new 7.62mm Interim Combat Service Rifle, or ICSR, for infantry units that can penetrate body armor.

Romania plans to buy AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters | Defence Blog

Romania’s defence ministry has signed a letter of intent on price and availability regarding the acquisition of attack helicopters from US manufacturer Bell Helicopter, the Romanian government said on Thursday. The letter of intent will be addressed to the US government. Under the plan, the U.S. manufacturer is to establish a joint venture with a subsidiary of the country’s state-owned defense group Romarm to produce copters in Romania. The designed plant is expected to produce AH-1Z Viper twin-engine attack helicopters. The value of the planned contract was not disclosed. That was reported by defensenews.com. “This decision will have a considerable direct impact on the economic development of our country, being at the same time a generator of security in the area,” the government said. The intention to purchase attack helicopters is based on the arms procurement plan recently approved by Romania’s Supreme Council of National Defence, CSAT. The AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter entered service with the United States Marine Corps in 2011. It is currently operated in some of the world’s harshest conditions and is environmentally hardened to resist severe weather conditions. The AH-1Z Viper shares 85% commonality of major components with Bell Helicopter’s UH-1Y Venom utility rotorcraft, enhancing deployability and maintainability, while reducing training requirements and the logistical footprint between the two platforms and ultimately lowering total life cycle costs in terms of acquisition, operations, maintenance and support. The AH-1Z is equipped with the most accurate, longest range helicopter sight available. The Viper’s Targeting Sight System (TSS) from Lockheed Martin provides a crucial advantage by allowing the pilot to positively identify and track multiple enemy targets at ranges beyond the maximum range of its weapons system in order to acquire and destroy enemy targets.

Slovak Air Force receives first two UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters | Defence Blog

The Slovak Air Force has received the first two Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters. That was reported by Ministry of Defence of Slovak Republic. The UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters were officially handed over on 3 August in a ceremony attended by Slovak Defence Minister Peter Gajdos and among others. The new US-made helicopters are set to replace the current Mi-17s, which are nearing the end of their lifespans. “I trust that the first two [helicopters] will be gradually joined by another seven under an agreed deadline in line with the approved contract,” said Gajdoš as cited by the TASR newswire. “This modernisation of the Slovak Armed Forces and Air Force in particular will enable the Air Force to provide support to the military operations of ground forces and special forces and, of course, also provide domestic crisis management during crisis situations such as floods, snow drifts and fires.” According to the spectator.sme.sk, the ministry will purchase a total of nine multipurpose helicopters for $261 million. The sale is completed via the US governmental programme Foreign Military Sales. Another two Black Hawks are due to be supplied from the USA next year and another five in 2019.

New missile-armed Stryker vehicle displayed in Alabama | Defence Blog

A previously unseen version of the Stryker armoured vehicle with Hellfire weapons able to destroy enemy drones, aircraft and incoming attacks was displayed at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, this week. The new vehicle is a Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense Launcher integrated on Stryker vehicle. Boeing and General Dynamics Land Systems have teamed up to equip the U.S. Army’s Stryker armored fighting vehicle with missiles, guns to bring offensive and defensive fire-power close into the fight where armored Strykers can operate more effectively than tactical vehicles. According to the scout.com, General Dynamics Land Systems has engineered the vehicle, called a Stryker Mobile SHORAD (Short-Range Air Defense) Launcher – or Stryker MSL – to address an Army urgent operational need for closer-in air defenses in mechanized or asymmetrical combat scenarios. The emerging prototype Stryker MSL platform, which uses a three-man crew, is able to fire a Hellfire missile, AIM-9X or Longbow Hellfire, Land Systems developers said. General Dynamics engineers designed the vehicle by removing parts of the back of a Stryker to create a platform with a Boeing-built Avenger turret mounted onto the chassis, Kendall Linson, Business Development Manager, Stryker and Specialty Wheeled Vehicles, General Dynamics Land Systems, told Scout Warrior in an interview.

US Army tests prototypes of new helmet inspired by video games | Defence Blog

The US Army last month tested prototypes of its new helmet, or Integrated Head Protection System(IHPS), for suitability in airborne operations. The new helmet for the US soldiers looks very similar to the helmet from Halo video game. Troops from the 57th Sapper Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, out of Fort Hood, Texas, jumped with the new helmets from a C-17 Globemaster III at 1,250 feet over the Sicily drop zone at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. “Operational Testing is about Soldiers. It is about making sure that the systems developed are effective in a Soldier’s hands and suitable for the environments in which Soldiers train and fight,” said Col. Brad Mock, director of ABNSOTD. The IHPS is one of the six components of the Soldier Protection System (body armor), providing a larger area of protection for the head and face, and includes a system to measure head trauma. According to Leon L. Price, a test officer with ABNSOTD, the purpose of operational test using Airborne paratroopers is to collect data to evaluate the suitability and safety of the IHPS when worn during static line Airborne operations. Overall, IHPS is only a little lighter than the current Army Combat Helmet, while including numerous accessories, like a mandible, visor, night vision goggle attachment device, rails and a modular ballistic applique (not attached during airborne operations). During the test, Soldiers participated in New Equipment Training, which included familiarization, fitting, and suspended harness. All this was followed by a live parachute jump from a C-17 high performance aircraft at 1,250 feet above ground level over Fort Bragg’s Sicily Drop Zone. “I gave fair, honest and comprehensive feedback on the IHPS helmet,” said Cpl. Samuel Emling, a Combat Engineer with the 57th. “I enjoyed the testing. The test personnel were extremely professional.” “Soldiers and test units have the ability to impact the development of systems by training while executing doctrinally-realistic missions, and then provide direct input to the combat developer of the system,” said Lt. Col. Vinny Intini, executive officer at ABNSOTD. “Their feedback is invaluable.”


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


China and Russia go further in squelching Internet freedom – The Washington Post

Their moves against virtual private networks show their leaders fear the free flow of information.

Russian online portals out of top ten most popular websites in Ukraine

The blocking of Russian Internet resources in Ukraine has significantly changed the situation with the popular websites of the Ukrainian audience and by the end of July this year Russian websites dropped out of ten most popular online portals in Ukraine, according to a CMeter research conducted by Kantar TNS. According to a press release posted on Kantar TNS’ website, the top ten popular sites in Ukraine in July are as follows: google.com.ua and google.com (the coverage of 84.08%), youtube.com (72.57%), facebook.com (55.41%), olx.ua (46,44%), wikipedia.org (40.1%), privatbank.ua and privat24.ua (40.37%), rozetka.com.ua (38.06%), ukr.net (32.05%), prom.ua (29.81%), and sinoptik.ua (28.79%). At the same time, the company notes that despite the ban, Vk.com, Mail.ru, Yandex.ua still remain in the Ukrainian top rating, but already outside the top ten resources. Despite the fact that Facebook became the most popular social network in Ukraine, Vk.com, which ranks 11th, in July increased the coverage in comparison with June (from 23.8% to 26.42%). Instagram.com is also actively growing (in June 17.88%, in July 19.44%). But Ok.ru dropped out of the top 25 online portals and in July gained 12.63%.

Cyber threats prompt return of radio for ship navigation – To Inform is to Influence

The US Naval Academy recently resumed teaching navigation using sextant and stars, in response to this very real concern. </end editorial> Cyber threats prompt return of radio for ship navigation Jonathan Saul LONDON (Reuters) – The risk of cyber attacks targeting ships’ satellite navigation is pushing nations to delve back through history and develop back-up…


US Domestic Policy Reports


Alex Jones hosts Russian ultra-nationalist to pressure Trump to fire McMaster

Alex Jones hosted a Russian ultra-nationalist this week to push President Donald Trump to fire his national security adviser — who has become a target of the so-called “alt-right.” The InfoWars broadcaster invited Russian political philosopher Aleksandr Dugin to discuss the “globalist” threats to Trump’s agenda — particularly national security adviser H.R. McMaster, reported Business Insider. Dugin, who’s been called Vladimir Putin’s Rasputin by the right-wing Breitbart News and has close ties to Russian fascists, agreed that McMaster helped demonize Russia to distract from a “satanic” plot against Christian values. “They are on the same side of the battle,” Dugin said. “Putin plays here the role of defender — of Christian civilization, of traditional society, and of human nature.” McMaster has come under attack by administration officials loyal to former Breitbart chief Steve Bannon, and the hashtag #FireMcMaster has been heavily promoted this week by U.S. right-wingers and Russian Twitter bots. “He is purging anybody who does not want to have, basically, a war with Russia,” Jones said.

H.R. McMaster becomes Trump diehards’ top target as tensions with Steve Bannon rise

President Trump’s national security adviser has drawn the wrath of Trump’s populist supporters, friendly media outlets and allies of chief strategist Steve Bannon as the dynamics of the West Wing once again shift amid a staffing shake-up that shows no signs of slowing down. Tensions between Bannon and H.R. McMaster, who took the reins of the National Security Council in February, bubbled over late last week after McMaster dismissed a top NSC aide who was widely viewed as an advocate for the president’s campaign promises. Amid the subsequent backlash from Trump’s nexus of populist supporters, the president issued a rare statement of support for McMaster. Internal rivalries have ebbed and flowed throughout Trump’s young presidency with little lasting effect on the White House hierarchy until recently. The White House’s roster of top staffers remained stable through months of intrigue until the recent departures of press secretary Sean Spicer and outgoing chief of staff Reince Priebus. For example, Bannon and Priebus sparred in the early weeks of the administration before developing a close alliance, and Bannon feuded with Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner before the two reached a detente in April at the president’s request. But the increasingly public rift between Bannon and McMaster does not stem from disagreements over access to Trump or battles for influence in the West Wing, sources familiar with the situation say. Bannon and McMaster have clashed for purely ideological reasons, a fact that could make their conflict more intractable and prolonged than the infighting that preceded it. A source close to the White House told the Washington Examiner the removal of Ezra Cohen Watnick, senior intelligence director on the NSC, “never would have happened under Reince” and said Trump did not sign off on the move because he had already given incoming chief of staff John Kelly broad permission to oversee hiring and firing decisions below the senior counselor level. Multiple sources said Trump was not informed in advance of Cohen Watnick’s termination, which Kushner previously resisted when McMaster raised the possibility weeks earlier. The source said Cohen Watnick’s removal was a “red line for a lot of people.”

The Pro-Trump Media’s Assault Against H.R. McMaster – The Atlantic

Rumors have circulated for days that the national-security adviser’s job is on the line, and the pro-Trump media have launched an all-out assault against him.

Russia is helping ‘the most well-organised campaign in the history of the alt-right’ target H.R. McMaster | Business Insider

National security adviser H.R. McMaster has…

Russian Surveillance Plane Flies Low Over Washington, Creating Stir

A Russian plane has conducted a surveillance flight over the U.S. Capitol building, Central Intelligence Agency, Pentagon, and other critical government centers in Washington after being cleared b…

U.S. expelled two Cuban diplomats after embassy employees in Cuba developed unexplained ailments – The Washington Post

Officials said Americans suffered non-life-threatening symptoms, but didn’t directly blame Cuba.

Donald Trump Is Dropping Bombs at Unprecedented Levels | Foreign Policy

The candidate who once warned America about Hillary Clinton’s hawkishness is turning into a war machine.

Commentary: Trump’s dysfunctional NSC a threat to national security

By Daniel R. DePetris The White House National Security Council (NSC) has no shortage of crises at the moment. Nuclear and missile proliferat

Fact-checking Trump’s tweet on the US nuclear arsenal

Amid nuclear tensions with North Korea, the president boasted America’s nuclear arsenal is “far stronger and more powerful than ever before.” But is it?

Paul Manafort’s Home Was Raided by FBI in Connection to Russia Investigation – YouTube

Paul Manafort has been at the center of many scandals – most recently, his ties to Russia and work for corrupt ex-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. He w…

FBI Agents Search Home Of Ex-Trump Campaign Chairman

The FBI has searched the Virginia home of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, U.S. media report, amid an ongoing investigation into Russian interference in th…

Why is the FBI so interested in Paul Manafort that agents were literally at his door before dawn? – The Washington Post

In many ways, Trump’s former campaign chairman is in the eye of the Russia storm.

FBI raid on ex-Trump aide’s home shows Russia probe intensifies

A raid on the Virginia home of President Donald Trump’s former 2016 election campaign manager showed an investigation of possible ties between the campaign and Russia is intensifying and focused on the financial dealings of Trump associates, sources familiar with the probe said.

Defense Contractor Billed Government for Porsches, Million-Dollar Salaries and Secret Guns – Oversight – GovExec.com

A contractor providing intelligence and training services to the Defense Department billed luxury cars to the government, sought reimbursements for the salaries of well-connected secretaries who did little in the way of actual work and exceeded statutory caps for executives’ pay, according to a new audit. All told, the Defense Contract Audit Agency questioned $50 million the British company New Century Consulting billed to the Pentagon, according to a report summarized in a letter from Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. The vehicles, including Porsches, a Bentley and an Aston Martin, were used exclusively by the CEO and other top executives at the company, DCAA found. New Century operated as a subcontractor for Imperatis Corp., which has an extended history of problematic dealings with the federal government. Last year, Imperatis abruptly quit a cybersecurity contract it had with the Office of Personnel Management and the Homeland Security Department, citing “financial distress.” Defense contracted with Imperatis on its Legacy East project to provide “counterinsurgency intelligence experts” to train Afghani security forces.

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