Russia’s descent into the abyss continues. Whitmore’s MV focuses on Levinson’s observations on the popularity of Putin’s revanchist foreign policy, noting this is an innate problem in part of the Russian public – Putin would be less inclined to invade neighbors if it did not sell so wonderfully with so much of the populace. Russian human rights groups identify a problem with ethnic Russians discriminating against Ukrainians, and other ethnic minorities in Russia, the ground truth contradicting the “triune nation” propaganda constructs – Ukrainians are treated as a toxic alien ethnicity, yet they are one with Mother Russia when it comes to overrunning Ukrainian territory. Stalinist Udaltsov released from jail to provide a counter to Navalny. Debt problem in regions out of control. Piketty et al identify Russian wealth in the West as a high-value target for sanctions. More on Crimea, including a good article on the Kerch Strait bridge. Feminists being persecuted.
In Belarus, Lukashenko airs his concerns about the direction the relationship with Russia is heading in – Russia is bullying Belarus. Three interesting reports from Moldova, especially the intent to track movements of Transnistrian officials in Moldova.
Refat Chubarov, the leader of the Tartars, chastises German politicians for trying to separate Crimea from Donbass in dealings with Russia (this is about letting Russia keep Crimea, as a trade for Donbass, so sanctions can be removed and pockets filled with Russian cash). Donbass fires continue. Social meltdown in occupied Donbass due to Russian not paying pensions to 600,000 residents despite promises to do so. UK/UKE Stilleto and Canadian Magnum bid for new munitions plant contract.
Russians blocking UN prosecution of Assad for war crimes. Iran threatens nuclear deal break out. Russia loudly objects to Prince proposal for Afghanistan, indicating it might work far better than its critics suggest.
Two major DPRK themes today, Guam and Pivdenmash RD-250 engines. DPRK is clearly playing a propaganda game with Guam IRBM strike stunt, to feed the Western MSM and thus pressure Western politicians into rolling over and giving them cash and freedom to behave badly – media take the bait as the cash earnings on advertising are irresistible. US to investigate PRC abuses of US IP. PRC and India building up in the Himalayas.
Elleman’s IISS report on the DPRK’s likely use of an RD-250 engine is producing a firestorm. The Ukrainians are unimpressed, with Turchenov, Presidential Administration, Information Ministry and Pivdenmash taking strips off Elleman for treating comments gleaned from Russian sources as fact. The problem is not as much the report as his interviews, in which he elaborates on what a [most likely Russian] source told him about claimed Pivdenmash experiments to build a single chamber derivative of the SS-18 SATAN engine. The Ukrainians are blunt, saying it is a Russian provocation and Elleman was wrong to believe it. They have a point – moving big rocket engines covertly out of Ukraine to the DPRK is a challenge, and North Koreans in Ukraine would draw attention, assuming any examples of these out-of-production Cold War ICBM engines could be still found in Ukraine. Conversely, Russia has an immense pool of North Korean laborers working inside Russian, providing easy and deniable cover for DPRK personnel. Russia and the DPRK share a border and are connected by a railway bridge, with a well-sized marshaling yard at Khasan on the Russian side of the border. Russia owns a now worthless stock of around 150 retired SS-18 SATAN ICBMs that post-Crimea will not be used up as Dnepr ELVs. Russia had multiple motives and immense opportunity to supply these engines to the DPRK and will do so deniably, as it could be blamed on theft and smuggling of stock if blaming the Ukrainians doesn’t work. Proving that the Russian govt covertly supplied the engines to the DPRK will be a challenge. In the meantime, Western MSM can have fun trashing the Ukrainians and feeding pro-Russian proxies in Western politics.
Interesting report on disinformation in Czechia. Venezuela’s descent continues.
LtGen Stewart commentary on the changing warfighting environment, noting that these “information-centric capabilities” should enhance the conventional, as they cannot replace conventional. DARPA mosaic model appears poorly defined. China shows first Xian H-6N ASBM (Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile) carrier – this is an ALBM, where the missile is an ASBM – GAM-87 Skybolt Redux.
More on the versatile Troll Factory in St Petersburg.
US domestic Russia debate continues. DePetris and Karabell essays are examples of what editors should simply reject.
Russia / Russophone Reports
The New York Times reported in late July that 60,000 to 100,000 Russian troops would be sent to…
ON MY MIND In a piece featured below, Levada Center sociologist Aleksei Levinson notes that the Russian electorate wants changes in domestic policy but is by-and-large happy with the confrontational line Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin is taking with the West. This is hardly surprising. The problem of a revanchist Russia is, of course, not solely a function of Putin’s regime. Rather, it is deeply rooted in Russian public opinion and will remain after Russia’s current rulers pass from the scene. Putin’s Kremlin has, of course, encouraged, nurtured, and exploited this revanchist element in Russian public opinion. And this raises a bit of a conundrum should future Russian rulers seek to liberalize the economy and raise living standards. Recent research by economists Filip Novokmet, Thomas Piketty, and Gabriel Zucman on inequality in Russia (featured below) suggests this will probably be necessary. But reforming Russia’s economy will require investment and access to Western credits, which, in turn, will require better relations with the West. And this means dialing back the revanchist foreign policy. The Russian electorate wants domestic changes without foreign-policy changes. But it probably can’t have one without the other.
Paul Goble Staunton, August 14 – Russia’s leading human rights groups say that ethnic Russians are now actively discriminating against ethnic Ukrainians even though Vladimir Putin invariably insists that Russians and Ukrainians are one people and also persecuting Crimean Tatars, Roma, North Caucasians and numerically small peoples of the North. Earlier this month, Yekaterina Trifonova of Nezavisimaya gazeta writes today, the Russian government gave an upbeat report about the state of ethnic and racial discrimination in Russia to a United Nations commission examining the state of ethnic relations and human rights in Russia in the wake of the Ukrainian events (ng.ru/politics/2017-08-14/3_7050_oon.html). Now, a group of leading Russian human rights groups, including Memorial, Crimea SOS, the SOVA center, and the Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has presented an alternative report which says the official report “minimizes” the number of violations of human rights in the Russian Federation and in the occupied territories. In a joint statement, the rights groups pointed to “forced disappearances, illegal deprivation of freedom … limits on the use and study of native languages and on religious and cultural practices,” as well as “the application of torture even to children.” And they noted Russian officials have repeatedly failed to keep promises to the groups and to international bodies like the UN. Among the most persecuted groups are the Roma, people from the North Caucasus and Central Asia. Even when they have Russian citizenship, such people can’t rent apartments, get decent work, gain access to education and health care, or serve in the ranks of the Russian army on the basis of ethnicity alone. The independent report also noted that “often NGOs which defend the rights of the indigenous peoples of the North and the Far East suffer as well: Many of them have been declared ‘foreign agents’ or ‘extremist organizations.’” Moreover, Moscow’s struggle against extremism has become a cover for suppression of all dissent. Perhaps most ominously of all, the authors of the report say, is that “quite often officials allow themselves to make public calls for racial discrimination.” They called for the Russian government to make such calls illegal and impose criminal penalties on anyone who violates such laws.
Russia’s leading human rights groups say that ethnic Russians are now actively discriminating against ethnic Ukrainians even though Vladimir Putin invariably insists that Russians and Ukrainians are one people and also persecuting Crimean Tatars, Roma, North Caucasians and numerically small peoples of the North. Earlier this month, Yekaterina Trifonova of Nezavisimaya gazeta writes today, the Russian government gave an upbeat report about the state of ethnic and racial discrimination in Russia to a United Nations commission examining the state of ethnic relations and human rights in Russia in the wake of the Ukrainian events. Now, a group of leading Russian human rights groups, including Memorial, Crimea SOS, the SOVA Center, and the Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has presented an alternative report which says the official report “minimizes” the number of violations of human rights in the Russian Federation and in the occupied territories. In a joint statement, the rights groups pointed to “forced disappearances, illegal deprivation of freedom … limits on the use and study of native languages and on religious and cultural practices,” as well as “the application of torture even to children.” And they noted Russian officials have repeatedly failed to keep promises to the groups and to international bodies like the UN.
Paul Goble Staunton, August 14 – Rumors now circulating that the enormous debt load in the Komi Republic might force it to seek to combine with Yamal and the Nenets Autonomous District may be overstated, according to regional experts; but they could indicate a strategy Moscow may employ to overcome regional resistance and restart Putin’s amalgamation program. Such a conclusion seems not unreasonable given that the federal subjects are in most cases increasingly mired in debt as a result of the economic crisis, the unfunded liabilities Moscow has imposed as it shifts responsibilities for ever more things onto the regions, and significant cutbacks in federal transfer payments. But observers are probably correct that such a restart of Putin’s plan to reduce the number of federal subjects by folding in smaller non-Russian areas into larger and predominantly ethnic Russian-dominated ones won’t take off until after next year’s presidential election lest it spark the kind of controversies the Kremlin has clearly indicated it doesn’t want now. On URA.ru today, journalist Vyacheslav Yegorov says “the latest wave of rumors about the integration of [petroleum-rich] Yamal with neighboring regions was unleashed on the Internet a few days ago” and this time involves supposed plans to unite Yamal to the Nenets Autonomous District and the Komi Republic (ura.news/articles/1036271813). Not surprisingly, he continues, these rumors have become the focus of discussions about a possible “future ‘Tyumen matryoshka,’” a single Russian-dominated federal subject that would include one or more non-Russian units within it. Behind the rumors, Yegorov says, is the massive debt of the Komi Republic and the wealth available in Yamal. “Sources in the Yamal government say that such a fusion would certainly save the Komis but that it would very negatively affect the economic situation of Yamal itself,” given that Yamal would have to provide so much money to the impoverished Komi that it would become impoverished itself. But because amalgamation has support in Moscow, this new set of rumors is sparking even more rumors in other places. Now, the journalist says, there is talk that the Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous Oblast and the Yamal-Nenets AO may be split up with the Kirov oblast will be combined with Udmurtia and Mari El. Regional political analysts say, the URA.ru journalist continues, that all such talk is connected with the upcoming gubernatorial elections, that Moscow won’t risk doing anything before next year at the earliest, and that the rumors reflect the desperation of some governors rather than a breakdown in the consensus that existing arrangements are tolerable.
Paul Goble Staunton, August 14 – Soviet people joked that if you lived anywhere in the USSR there were only “three ways out” – Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo – the three airports of Moscow. But it was no laughing matter that to go from one oblast to its neighbor, residents often had to fly thousands of kilometers out of their way via the capital city. But it is not often appreciated that in the 25 years since the Soviet Union collapsed, air routes within the Russian Federation have become more rather than less focused on the capital, the result of the collapse of regional carriers, the use of private jets by elites, and the increasing centralization of Putin’s regime. In 1990, Pavel Luzin points out, there were in fact far more airports (over 4,000 versus fewer than 990 now), fewer flights which originated or ended in Moscow (26 percent as opposed to 74 percent today), and fewer regional carrier flights (27 percent compared to under three percent now) (afterempire.info/2017/08/14/avia/). Given the enormous distances within Russia and the absence of reliable roads and railways in many areas, a network of flights that allows people to move around the country is essential if Russia is to have any hope of developing normally. But the increasing Moscow-centricity of that network precludes such a trend. Since Vladimir Putin became president, Luzin writes, “control over all these routes little by little has become concentrated in one center – in Moscow,” a reflection of the fact that businesses and political decisions are all based there and that except for those involved in extractive industries – who have private planes – everyone needs to be there. Indeed, most of the remaining inter-city routes that don’t link into Moscow are serviced by much smaller planes than those which do pass through the capital; and consequently the hyper-centralization of the air network is even more extreme than even the gross statistics suggest. For the situation to change, the analyst continues, four “fundamental” shifts are required. First, human freedom must be recognized “at the political level” as the highest value. Second, “the regulating and controlling functions of Russian power must be reduced as much as possible. Third, there must be a recognition of the importance of local administration. And fourth, Luzin concludes, “Russian society must be opened again to the world and to itself.” Unfortunately, none of these is likely, and “the colonial model of administration” appears certain to continue for some time and perhaps even get worse, far worse in fact than in Soviet times.
He’s a bare-knuckled street brawler. He’s a firebrand leftist. And he’s an unapologetic Stalinist who wants to restore the Soviet Union. For nearly five years, Sergei Udaltsov has been Russia’s most invisible political prisoner. The public didn’t read his prison letters. Rights groups didn’t take up his cause. He didn’t become a media star. But with his release from prison last week, Udaltsov has suddenly become an important political barometer. WATCH: Today’s Daily Vertical Because as soon as Udaltsov walked free, the rumors, the speculation, and the innuendo swirled that he had cut a deal with the Kremlin: that in exchange for his freedom he had agreed to be co-opted by the system and play the role of the spoiler. Now, we don’t know how much credence to give this speculation, but it would certainly fit the Kremlin’s playbook — and its political needs of the moment. Vladimir Putin’s regime fears the anti-establishment mood that opposition leader Aleksei Navalny has so effectively and skilfully tapped into. And it fears the politically active and nonconformist youth. And what better way to neutralize this threat than to use a streetwise leftist firebrand to divide it, to turn Udaltsov into a housebroken anti-Navalny. In his initial comments after his release, Udaltsov seemed to play the role. He criticized Navalny and expressed support for the annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas. But as opposition journalist Oleg Kashin wrote in a recent column, the role of Kremlin patsy doesn’t really suit the fiercely ideological Udaltsov. For five years, Udaltsov has been the Russian opposition’s invisible man. But what he does now has suddenly become very consequential.
The example of Tatarstan proves that formal institutions in Russia are eroding
The West should stop relying on sanctions and instead target Russia’s massive offshore wealth.
Add another category to the long list of people deemed a security threat to the Russian state: feminists. Early this morning, a group of men broke into a tiny cottage near Dzhubga, a village in Russia’s southern Black Sea region of Krasnodar. The cottage was rented by five women who had traveled to the region for a feminist gathering.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) says it has detained a senior reconnaissance officer of a Ukrainian military unit who was allegedly planning acts of sabotage in Crimea.
Russia detains Ukrainian intelligence officer in Crimea
Recent images from the Kerch Strait show work moving apace to connect Russia with the annexed Crimean Peninsula.
Russian authorities say they have thwarted terrorist attacks directed by the extremist group Islamic State (IS) in Syria. The Federal Security Service (FSB) said on August 14 that four people wer…
TBILISI — Georgia's president and prime minister have issued separate statements voicing hope for reconciliation on the 25th anniversary of the outbreak of war over the breakaway Abkhazia region…
TBILISI — Georgia's opposition United National Movement (ENM) party has called for an independent forensic testing of an audio recording in which the Ukrainian and Georgian interior ministers ar…
The preparation for the military exercises West-2017 is coming to the end.
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said that he is concerned about the negative dynamics in the development of relations between Belarus …
MINSK — The leader of an independent labor union in Belarus says he has been charged with tax evasion. Henadz Fyadynich, chairman of a union that represents workers in the industry that make…
Transnistria / Moldova Reports
The Moldovan government is discussing the idea of introducing a system of exit notices for officials from Transnistria, which is not controlled …
Moldova will maintain neutrality and will not join NATO or any other military block, Moldovan President Igor Dodon said. “Moldova should participate in military actions neither in the west nor in the east; we will not join NATO or any other military blocks. We are a neutral country. Moldova will not join any combat actions or regional conflicts,” Dodon said at a briefing on Monday, commenting on his visit to a Moldovan National Army range in Bulboaca. The Moldovan president also ruled out the possibility of a new conflict in Transdniestria breaking out. “I would like to say that there are currently no threats of destabilization of the situation or outbreak of conflict. As president and commander-in-chief of the Moldovan Armed Forces, I will not allow any actions that would lead to destabilization of the situation. I have enough powers to block any actions capable of resulting in destabilization,” Dodon said. He visited the military range on Monday to have a look at the situation on the ground, he said. “No actions capable of destabilizing the situation are ongoing there. I will inspect all military units in the Republic of Moldova in the next few days to make sure that everything is fine everywhere. I also intend to convene a session of the Supreme Security Council before the end of August in order to draw some conclusions following visits to military units and take measures, if necessary,” Dodon said. A number of media outlets said earlier that the U.S. Navy will build eight facilities in Bulboaca, including social facilities and a shopping center. The Moldovan Defense Ministry denied these reports, saying that work was being done under a grant, implementation of which has been ongoing for five years, rather than a new program for building facilities in Bulboaca.
Moldovan President Igor Dodon says he discovered nothing "dubious" during an inspection of a Moldovan Army training base that a Russian media report claimed would house U.S.-funded &quo…
15.08.17 10:51 – German politicians playing with Minsk agreements, – Chubarov Head of Crimean Tatar Mejlis Refat Chubarov believes that all issues related to the invasion of Russia in Ukraine must be considered within a single formula. View news.
Militants launched 31 attacks on positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in ATO area in Donbas over the past day. Eight Ukrainian soldiers were wounded.
Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 31 times in the past 24 hours, with eight Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 15 August from UNIAN.
Eight Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) zone in eastern Ukraine over the past day.
14.08.17 17:02 – Avdiivka was major hot spot yesterday, shelling lasted more than nine hours, – ATO spokesperson Russian mercenaries in Avdiivka area used mortars several times and fired from different directions simultaneously. View news.
Ukrainian expert says militants step up reconnaissance. They are sourcing information on the Ukrainian positions. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
When trying to cross the border into Mariupol, an informant of the separatists was detained, reported the press service of the Donetsk…
Ukrainian authorities have deported Russian journalist Tamara Nersesian over national security concerns.
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine says it has once again recorded the deployment of multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) in the occupied territories of Donbas in eastern Ukraine. News 15 August from UNIAN.
15.08.17 09:38 – OSCE drone recorded eight MLRSes, 19 howitzers, 16 tanks of pro-Russian separatists deployed in violation of withdrawal rules A drone of the OSCE mission in Ukraine has recorded multiple launch rocket systems and other hardware of Russian mercenaries in the area of occupied Miusynsk. View news.
Russian export company, Promsyrieimport, owned by the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation is a monopoly supplier of fuel to the …
About 586,000 Ukrainian citizens who live in the conflict zone haven’t received pensions and social benefits since the beginning of the previous …
Ukraine’s defense export agency UkroBoronProm has unveiled a new upgraded variant of the T-72 main battle tank (MBT) known as the T-72AMT. Developed as a private venture by the Kiev Armoured Plant, the new design incorporates a number of lethality, survivability and systems enhancements.
Ukraine to display the upgraded T-72AMT main battle tank at the parade Ukrainian Independence Day on August 24 in Kyiv. The tank will be shown at the static display area along with other latest models of Ukrainian military vehicles. According to the UkrOboronProm, the upgraded T-72AMT main battle tank developed by SE “Kyiv Armored Plant”. The T-72AMT main battle tank is a heavily modified variant of the T-72A tank. The T-72AMT is one of the more advanced T-72 variants by means of installing, among other things, multiple protection explosive reactive armor modules NOZH, these being supplemented by passive armor array, and more advanced radio stations by Aselsan, navigation system СН-3003 BASALT. In addition, the modification of the T-72AMT received modern satellite navigation equipment. The T-72AMT tank is equipped with an 840 horsepower В-84-1 diesel engine. The upgraded tank is compatible with the anti-tank guided missile systems KOMBAT, its range could reach 5,000 m. The KOMBAT laser-beam riding precision-guided missile can launch from the 125-mm smoothbore guns mounted on the T-72, T-80UD and OPLOTmain battle tanks equipped with fire control systems compatible with it. The missile can be fired while both of the host vehicle and the target are in motion.
Ukrainian-British Stiletto Systems Ltd. jointly with Canadian-based Magnum announced plans jointly to build a new facility in Ukraine, which will produce a new type of ammunition for Ukrainian Defence Forces and export customers. “Stiletto Systems Ltd. in alliance with Magnum and its division Waterbury Farrel are interested in participating in a possible tender of the ministry and are ready to offer a wide range of infantry and artillery ammunition, taking into account the request of the Defense Ministry and the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” told by Interfax-Ukraine the head of Stiletto Ukraine Roman Karpenko.Head of Stiletto Ukraine Roman Karpenko told Interfax-Ukraine the British-Canadian alliance has practical experience in designing and building modern ammunition production facilities in a number of countries and is ready to provide the construction of a new ammunition plant in Ukraine. Earlier, Stiletto Systems Ltd. has revealed details of the new BS-13 bullet, its upgrade of ammunition for sniper and assault rifles. The new series of ammunition by Stiletto Systems is designed to support tactical level operations on the battlefield. The new ammunition is provided to penetrate all current body armor and light armored vehicles include infantry fighting vehicles.
The Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) of Ukraine has published the report following the investigation of the tragic events in Donetsk region in 2014 the media call the Ilovaisk pocket, when over 360 Ukrainian soldiers were killed during the retreat. News 14 August from UNIAN.
Defense Minister of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak and National Defense Minister of the Republic of Poland Antoni Macierewicz discussed prospects for military cooperation between the countries.
On Tuesday, a standard-bearing group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will take part in the parade on the occasion of the Polish Army Day.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expresses its protest and outrage over the new wave of persecution by Russia of ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars in Crimea and demands to immediately release them.
KYIV — The in-absentia treason trial of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is scheduled to restart on August 15. It is expected that Ukraine's former ambassador to the United Nation…
Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports
Hassan Rouhani warned the United States to end the “language of threats and sanctions”.
International Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said that the investigation of crimes in Syria has yielded enough evidence to prosecute President …
The US military contingent must leave Afghanistan, as Washington’s campaign has proved to be inconclusive, said Zamir Kabulov, Russian Special …
Powerful Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar has met with Russia's foreign and defense ministers in Moscow. Russia backs the efforts by Haftar and the prime minister of Libya's U…
DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports
North Korean despot Kim Jong-un has reportedly backed away from plans to launch missiles toward Guam, but could change his mind. The leader of the rogue,…
North Korea delayed a decision on firing missiles toward the U.S. territory of Guam while he watches the actions of the U.S. a little longer
North Korea’s ruler says he won’t launch missiles towards Guam, easing the immediate threat against the U.S. territory
North Korea’s leader has delayed a decision on firing missiles towards Guam while he waits to see what the United States does next, the North’s state media said on Tuesday, as South Korea’s president said Seoul would seek to prevent war by all means.
North Korea put its army on alert on August 15 but said it would hold off firing any missiles at U.S. territory after the U.S. Pentagon chief warned that such a move could "very quickly"…
North Korea’s leader received a report from his army on its plans to fire missiles towards Guam and said he will watch the actions of the United States for a while longer before making a decision, the North’s official news agency said on Tuesday.
U.S. Joint Chiefs chairman stresses diplomacy, but notes ‘full range’ of military options at ready
Kim Jong Un offers praise for his military.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned on Monday that the U.S. military would be prepared to intercept a missile fired by North Korea if it was headed to Guam, while North Korean leader Kim Jong Un alerted his army that it should always be fire-ready.
The U.S. military has missile defense systems in Guam, South Korea and aboard naval ships to counter the threat from North Korea.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis issued a strong warning to North Korea Monday: “If they shoot at the United States, I’m assuming they’ve hit the United States. … If they do that, then it’s game on.”
President Trump used unusually restrained language in opening a trade offensive against China as his military advisers tamped down talk of war with North Korea.
The foreign policy establishment is aghast at Trump’s belligerence. Tranquilized by decades of “strategic patience,” they have no new ideas, in fact no ideas at all.
How the U.S. can convince Beijing to exert its leverage against the North Korean nuclear threat.
The UN approved sanctions against Pyongyang this month that could cost the country $1bn a year.
The measure could result in a wide range of penalties as the administration seeks a new way to deal with what it calls Chinese violations of the rules of international trade.
Intellectual property theft and expropriation costs US businesses up to $600bn a year
Trump is right to crack down on a $600 billion drain on the American economy.
Xu Li’s software scans more faces than maybe any on earth. He has the Chinese police to thank.
Beijing’s response to the financial crisis caused asset bubbles it has yet to tackle
A peaceful resolution to a border dispute high in the Himalayas looks distant, and China’s and India’s militaries are preparing for the worst.
When it comes to the disputed waters of the South China Sea, Vietnam’s leaders must feel very lonely these days.
How has North Korea managed to make such astounding progress with its long-range missile programme over the last two years? Here, Michael Elleman shares the first solid evidence that North Korea has acquired a high-performance liquid-propellant engine from illicit networks in Russia and Ukraine.
Background: Before joining the IISS, Mr Elleman spent five years at Booz Allen Hamilton, a US consulting firm, where he supported the implementation of Cooperative Threat Reduction programmes sponsored by the US Department of Defense and the Department of Energy. He also provided weapons proliferation analyses to the Advanced Systems and Concepts Office (ASCO) at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Previously, he spent 18 months at the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) as a missile expert for weapons inspection missions in Iraq. Prior to joining the UN, he spent two decades as a scientist as Lockheed Martin’s Research and Development Laboratory, where his activities focused on solid propellants, weapons elimination technologies, nuclear effects and special materials research. From 1995 to 2001, he led a Cooperative Threat Reduction program in Russia, aimed at dismantling obsolete long-range missiles. He is a graduate of physics from the University of California, Berkeley.
As tensions intensify between the U.S. and North Korea, a provocative new report suggests the engines for its new missiles come from a factory in Ukraine. Sp…
The Ukrainian government has denied supplying advanced missile engines to North Korea after a report said Pyongyang’s latest ICBMs use motors produced in a factory in former Soviet state.
Deputy Ministry of Ukraine’s Information Policy Ministry Dmytro Zolotukhin has said the specialist cited in the article appearing in The New York Times on August 14, titled “North Korea’s Missile Success Is Linked to Ukrainian Plant, Investigators Say,” Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, has close ties with Russia. Elleman from 1995 to 2001 headed the Cooperative Threat Reduction program in Russia, aimed at dismantling obsolete long-range missiles. “It’s interesting the article appearing in this always worded-up publication is based in large measure on the remarks of one rocket expert, who from 1995 to 2001 headed the program in Russia to dismantle rockets. This is not included in his LinkedIn profile,” Zolotukhin said on his Facebook page on Monday, adding a link to Elleman’s LinkedIn profile. “It turns out that the majority of “western experts,” who criticize Ukraine have former ties with Russia. This is not conspiracy theory, but it’s interesting, nonetheless,” the deputy minister said. Zolotukhin said Ukraine is typically accused at a minimum once a year of illegally exporting weapons. Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Head Oleksandr Turchynov and the Dnipro-based Pivdenmash rocket factory on August 14 flatly denied manufacturing military missiles or missile systems in the years of [Ukraine’s] independence. Pivdenmash officials said the only serial engine that had been exported in the past several years – the RD-843 shipped to Italy for the European launch vehicle Vega – is designed to operate in outer space, and its features, including its thrust, makes it unsuitable for use in military ballistic missiles. “The information presented in the report is not consistent with reality: in particular, Pivdenmash is far from being a primary producer of missiles for Russia, and it also does not supply Russia with any missiles or its components or elements, including rocket engines,” a statement from Pivdenmash says.
The reports about the alleged supply of Ukrainian missile technology to North Korea are based on statements provided by an expert affiliated with Russia, Deputy Minister of Information Policy Dmytro Zolotukhin wrote on Facebook. News 14 August from UNIAN.
Mike Elleman, who was referred to by The New York Times in an article on the alleged Ukrainian engines in the ballistic missiles of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), has said that he did not speak in affirmative form about the involvement of the Ukrainian authorities in the supply of rocket engines to North Korea. “Let me be clear about DPRK’s source of ICBM engine: Yuzhnoye is one of several possible sources, there are other potentials in Russia,” Elleman wrote on Twitter on August 14, 2017. “I don’t believe Ukr gov’t condoned or knew, if the engines were sourced in Ukr. To the contrary, Ukr arrested North Koreans in 2012!” he tweeted.
The Ukrainian state-owned Pivdenmash (Yuzhmash) machine-building plant, Ukraine’s leading rocket manufacturer located in the city of Dnipro, has denied allegations published by The New York Times that it may have covertly contributed to North Korea’s missile program, describing the report as an attempt to discredit Pivdenmash and Ukraine. “The speculation by the reports’ authors and the ‘expert’ quoted by them concerning Ukraine’s possible role in the DPRK’s progress in developing its missile technology has nothing in common with reality: Pivdenmash has never had and does not have any relation to North Korea’s space or defense rocket programs. As a state enterprise, Pivdenmash fully complies with the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), in which Ukraine has participated since 1998,” Pivdenmash said in an official statement shared with Interfax-Ukraine on Monday. “Pivdenmash has not manufactured and is not manufacturing military missiles or missile systems in the years of [Ukraine’s] independence. The only serial engine that has been exported in the past several years – the RD-843 shipped to Italy for the European launch vehicle Vega – is designed to operate in outer space, and its features, including its thrust, makes it unsuitable for use in military ballistic missiles,” it said. “The information presented in the report is not consistent with reality: in particular, not only is Pivdenmash not a primary producer of missiles for Russia, but it also does not supply Russia with any missiles or its components or elements, including rocket engines,” it said. Pivdenmash said that, while it regretted the report, “provocative in its nature and based on an incompetent expert opinion,” it said that “the position of a number of Ukrainian media outlets is also disappointing, in that they allowed the circulation of fantasies discrediting Pivdenmash and Ukraine without attempts to verify this information directly with the enterprise.” The New York Times reported on Monday with reference to conclusions by a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies that the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile launched by the DPRK in July may have been powered by an engine designed on the basis of the RD-250, which was developed for Soviet ICBMs in the 1960s. The report names Pivdenmash, which The New York Times describes as “one of Russia’s primary producers of missiles even after Ukraine gained independence,” as the most likely supplier of technology for building the engine for the North Korean missile. Pivdenmash is a key enterprise of Ukraine’s space rocket industry, which manufactures launch vehicles and civil, research and military satellites.
Ukraine’s state-owned Yuzhmash plant has not had anything to do with the North Korean space or defense missile programs, according to a statement published on a company website in connection with the publication by The New York Times of Aug.14 2017 "North Korea's Missile Success Is Linked to the Ukrainian Plant, Investigators Say." News 14 August from UNIAN.
Head of the Information Policy Department of the Presidential Administration Volodymyr Horkovenko considers provocation the data in the article of The New York Times about the alleged involvement of the Ukrainian Yuzhmash plant in the successful launch of DPRK missiles. Horkovenko has compared the media reports that North Korean intercontinental missiles supposedly have Ukrainian components with a scandal related to the alleged supply of Kolchuga automated intelligence stations to Iraq in 2002. “Now seriously. How can you quietly and imperceptibly deliver a huge engine for an intercontinental ballistic missile to the DPRK, moreover, bought on the black market? Let’s imagine a market, something like a ‘flea market.’ The DPRK Defense Minister is approaching a seller and says: ‘Give me some of these engines, please.’ By the way, the Siemens engines have left so many ‘tracks’ behind. Even a camel or a cow purchased on the black market leave traces. And here, rockets for intercontinental ballistic missiles,” he wrote on Facebook. In addition, the representative of the presidential administration said that the ballistic missile engines were not a dual-use product. “That is, if the engine is made for a combat intercontinental missile, it cannot bring a satellite into the orbit. Even the wheels, which are all round, are not suitable for every car,” he added. “The story with the engines from Yuzhmash resembles a provocation such as the sale of the Kolchuga radar system by former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. It was widely discussed before, but there are still no facts,” Horkovenko said. As UNIAN reported earlier, The New York Times has posted an article claiming North Korea’s success in their tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile, allegedly able probably to reach the United States, was possible thanks to the purchase of powerful engines on the black market, likely originating from the Ukrainian-based plant. In turn, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov that the Ukrainian defense industry had not supplied rocket engines and missile technology to the North Korean regime. The state-owned Yuzhmash has stated that it has never had any links with North Korean space or defense-purpose missile programs.
Ukraine has denied allegations of selling missile rocket engines to North Korea. Top government officials have denied Ukraine’s involvement in response to a …
Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov said that the information alleging Ukrainian supplies of rocket engines to North Korea is part of an anti-Ukrainian campaign incited by Russian intelligence. News 14 August from UNIAN.
North Korea may have used illicit trade networks to purchase powerful rocket engines once produced by a Ukrainian factory that was instrumental to the Soviet missile program — a claim that could help explain the surprising leap forward in long-range missile capability demonstrated by the rogue nation in recent months, according to new analysis from the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
A new report claims the North could not have developed better rockets so quickly without foreign technology.
Foreign Policy Reports
Michael Colborne in Czech Republic, Disinfo, Elections, Russia June 24, 2017 Source: https://michaelcolborne.com/2017/06/24/recent-czech-survey-data-elections-a-disinformation-sites-dream/ The most recent round of Eurobarometer stats just came out, and they’re bad news for pretty much anyone in Czech politics right now. Only 18% of Czechs trust their government right now, a decline of 10% from autumn 2016 – by far the sharpest decline in the EU – and…
“The United States has many options” for dealing with Venezuela, Vice President Mike Pence said Monday in Colombia.
VP Mike Pence: US not going to stand by while Venezuela ‘crumbles’
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Strategy / Capability Publications
Does warfighting in the information age still look like two armies clashing on a battlefield – a violent clash between hostile forces each trying to impose their will on the other?
DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office recently revealed updates on its current research into how the U.S. military can use complexity as an asymmetric weapon against adversaries.
The new Xian H-6N anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) carrier with a nose-mounted inflight refueling probe was spotted in China. The new H-6N aircraft is a special naval version of the H-6K strategic bomber. The H-6N can carry the special version of DF-21 anti-ship ballistic missile externally underneath the fuselage. The H-6N with ASBM is intended to provide a capability to attack a moving aircraft carrier strike group or land-based mobile launchers from a long-range distance. The ASBM is thought to employ maneuverable reentry vehicles with a terminal guidance system. The H-6N is expected to be supported by the newly acquired IL-78 tanker due to its large fuel capacity.
The numbers game in the age of information warfare Published on Monday, 14 August 2017 09:29 Category: Articles and Commentary Written by Zselyke Csaky and Gergely Romsics In Between Europe is a podcast that discusses politics and current events in Central Europe, bringing you experts and a history minute for each episode. The show is hosted by Zselyke Csaky…
by Bellingcat Investigation, Team In July 2015 Lawrence Aleksandr published a work exposing some alleged Ukrainian news sites that are actually run by the so-called “troll factory”, located at Savushkina, 55, St. Petersburg, Russia. Lawrence discovered the connection between these sites due to the general Google Analytics code, which means that the management of all the sites is…
By Dan Boylan – The Washington Times – Thursday, August 10, 2017 The value of the shadowy digital currency known as Bitcoin has jumped to record highs this month, sending shock waves through America’s defense and intelligence agencies, which fear its growth signals a surge in use by terrorists, drug kingpins, white-collar criminals and Russian cybercriminals who…
US Domestic Policy Reports
Russia’s ability to survive under the impact of Western sanctions is down to a combination of prudence, social policy and true grit. It could be the West who is in a bind.
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Trump campaign adviser reportedly sent an email with the subject line Meeting with Russian Leadership — Including Putin