Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia / Strategy Media Update (320) – 29 September 2017


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Apologies for the delay.

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Lethal aid and Donbass UN peacekeeper debate continues.

Huntsman confirmed as Amb to Russia. Piontkovsky on catastrophic impact of sanctions, Gazeta argue that Russia is already in a state of “a hybrid civil war” driven by “Orthodox fundamentalists”, Eidman argues that “Putin-Backed ‘Orthodox Christian Jihadists’ Prepared to Start a Nuclear War” (and he may be right judging from materials posted in 2014-2015), Sergeyev argues that traditional media losing effect in Russia, arsonist attacks Lenta.ru offices, multiple disturbing reports from Crimea – and kudos to Tartar leader Umerov for his last words at the show trial “See you in the Hague!”, and more on political repression.

Zapad 2017 remains a major topic in Belarus, Ukraine asserting that some Russian troops remained. Putinist Pres Dodon continues his campaign to promote Russian interests over Moldovan.

In Ukraine the very acrimonious and loud public argument over the now extinguished fire at the Kalynivka depot continues, we have yet to see an accounting of losses. Reports of a bizarre Hungarian proposal to use its military against Ukraine to help hapless ethnic Hungarians in Western Ukraine – Orban is truly a proxy of Moscow (and the Hungarian military would not last long against the AFU). Donbass fires continue, and more Minsk violations exposed – likely the Russians have not complied with a single agreed term. PSU L-39 crashes during training, killing two aircrew from the 7th Tac Air Bde (FENCER). Practika display new upgrades for the BMP-1 and the BTR-60, the latter a LAV-lookalike.

In Syria, Russians losing more troops due to claimed deadline for withdrawal. Russia again aiding Iran on the nuclear front. More on Kurds, ISIS, Taliban and Rohinga.

Reports emerging that China is beginning to apply genuine sanctions pressure on Pyongyang. Interesting observation by Gen Petraeus – he is right. Kramer’s observations on Russia’s use of the DPRK to damage the US is correct. Green comments on war risk, Zakaria wins COCW Award, Chalmers @ RUSI on war risk, some good argument on BMD effectiveness. The Warmbier murder has brought the DPRK Gulag back into the media cycle – some earlier material included, and anybody who doubts the Kirby report observation comparing the DPRK to Nazi Germany should read Browning, courtesy of Archive.org.

Schroeder now Chairman of Rosneft, Merkel negotiating coalition, Russian meddling in Catalonia – notably Spain was one of the most forgiving EU nations over Ukraine and now Russia is rewarding them for their naivete.

Four interesting strategy essays all of which could be argued about at length.

Fake news is a major theme today in the IW/IO/cyber media.

US domestic debate again saturated with Russian exploitation of US social media, and the inability of the managements to apprehend the extent to which Russia has used their commercial product as a delivery system for IW attacks against all Americans.


Russia / Russophone Reports


Javelins are an important tool to prevent Russians from any further incursions, – Will Hurd – 112.international

On what terms the U.S. is going to provide lethal weapons for Ukraine’s defense? Elina Beketova sat with Congressmen Will Hurd in the frameworks of 112 International Insight

Russia claims Ukraine’s demands for UN peacekeepers “derail” Minsk deal

Moscow believes that Kyiv&rsquo;s plea to the UN to deploy a peacekeeping mission along the Russian-Ukrainian border in Donbas violates the succession of the Minsk agreements’ stages, Russian Foreign Ministry spox Maria Zakharova said on Thursday, according to TASS news agency. News 28 September from UNIAN.

Beware – This Film Was Made by the West to Destabilise Russia! -Euromaidan Press |

Thanks to the pro-Kremlin disinformation media, we already know that foreign cartoons can make Russian children obey secret orders. We also know that the popular fidget spinner is in fact part of an anti-Kremlin conspiracy, and that Pokemon Go was created by foreign secret services as a tool for espionage. Most recently, we learned that comedy movies can be a “planned provocation” and part of a western plot to destabilise Russia. Such are the words from the Russian authorities about Armando Iannucci’s new film, The Death of Stalin. As The Guardian highlighted, Pavel Pozhigalo, a high-ranking adviser to Russia’s culture ministry, used the words “planned provocation” to describe the movie. The Presidential spokesperson said he trusted the culture ministry would “act responsibly” when deciding whether to grant the film a distribution license. The film, which stars Steve Buscemi in the role of Nikita Khrushchev, has mostly angered Russia’s communist party. Alexander Yushchenko, a spokesperson for the party, called the film an attempt to spark discontent.

U.S. Senate Unanimously Confirms Huntsman As Ambassador To Russia

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Jon Huntsman, a former U.S. envoy to China and governor of the state of Utah, as ambassador to Russia. Also on September 28, the Senate confirmed John Bass a…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: New US Sanctions Mean Russia and Its Relations with West Will Change — Possibly for the Worse, Piontkovsky Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 29 – The sanctions law adopted by the US Congress in August and reluctantly signed by President Donald Trump gives “a fundamentally new character to US relations with Putin’s kleptocratic regime,” shaking it to its foundations and quite possibly leading to a serious deterioration in Russia’s relations with the West, Andrey Piontkovsky says. That measure, the Russian analyst writes in a commentary for Radio Liberty, requires that US government financial experts identify “all the shares belonging to the top of the Russian ruling class beginning with Vladimir Putin and then publishing data on them” (svoboda.org/a/28760464.html). This represents a sharp departure from past American practice with regard to Russia which until now has been willing to benefit from the more than a trillion US dollars invested in Western countries, Piontkovsky says. But Moscow’s desire to use this wealth to gain geopolitical power and recognition as “ruler of half the world” has gone too far. The new US measure, he continues, is “not only a threat to the shares of ‘Putin’s friends;’ it represents the collapse of their entire way of life … This is present-day Western medicine which promises not only political but if you live even biological immortality, the education of children and grandchildren, property in the best resorts of the world” and so on. In short, Piontkovsky argues, “a personal war has been declared against the hundred biggest thieves of the Russian Federation.” That means that “the former post-communist Russia” will no longer exist because that Russia “required the active and far from unselfish cooperation of Western elites.” As a result, “both the Russian state and its relations with the West will be organized according to a different set of principles. Perhaps, these will be much worse; but there is no question, they will be different.” Russia’s wealthiest and most powerful are thus now in “a very difficult situation.” “For the West, they are thieves, and some of them in addition are military criminals,” Piontkovsky says. “the path to the West and above all to its shares for them and their offspring from now on is closed. The fourth world war has been lost. There will not be any ‘Yalta,’ and they will never be accepted as real members of the bourgeoisie.” As one can already see, he suggests, the first thing they will try is “hybrid capitulation, that is the ending of the hybrid world war, something the West might be prepared to accept as the Kremlin’s retreat and that could be sold to the Russian TV viewer as a victory of a Russia that has risen from its knees.” But the US isn’t prepared to accept what Moscow has offered so far, the idea of UN peacekeepers in the Donbass. However, what is important to note, Piontkovsky says, is that Russian rhetoric has changed since the passage of the law, with the Kremlin not making the usual kind of threats it has made in the past. Some in Moscow may hope that Washington will back down, but the provisions of the law and especially its 180-day time limit on publishing information on Russian holdings make that unlikely. And various proposals to help save Russia’s face in all this are unlikely to go anywhere either, Piontkovsky argues. The top Russian businessmen and officials are soon going to recognize this and are going to demand action to defend their interests both at home and abroad. They may turn to Western courts to fight the American law, but given what their actions appear to be leading to in Russia itself, that possibility raises some even more interesting questions. “Ever more thinking people of the most varied political views,” Piontkovsky says, “while looking at events [in Russia] are talking about a foretaste of civil war and the dividing up of the country, intentionally unleashed from above.” If that happens, then one needs to ask the following: “What suits in which courts will the Kazan Imamate, the Rostov Peoples Republic, the St. Petersburg Orthodox Pahanate, or the Ulus Juchi in fact bring?”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘A Hybrid Civil War’ has Broken Out in Russia, ‘Gazeta’ Warns

Paul Goble Staunton, September 28 – Each day brings fresh evidence that Russians both individually and collectively are taking matters into their own hands and using violence against those they disagree with, a trend that reflects the government’s loss of a monopoly on the use of force and has sparked “a hybrid civil war” within Russia, according to the editors of Gazeta. Some groups threaten to use violence if a film is shown and others if it isn’t, elections in local councils are generating news like that from a military front, and this public violence is echoed at the personal level where clashes between individuals and within families is becoming ever more severe, the paper says (gazeta.ru/comments/2017/09/21_e_10900730.shtml). “It appears,” the paper continues, “that the government has released the genie of force from the bottle and now doesn’t know how to put it back in — or what would be still worse, doesn’t intend to do that, having concluded that it is easier to run the country at this point if it fails to do so.” The government’s uncertainty about what to do was very much on public view this past week. First, the authorities detained Aleksandr Kalinin, the head of the Christian State – Holy Rus’ organization; then they let him go; and then they arrested him again, apparently because Moscow hasn’t sent a clear signal on how to deal with “’Orthodox fundamentalists.’” Given that one of Kalinin’s followers has admitted organizing attacks on theaters showing Mathilda, the authorities’ course should be clear. “But to predict confidently what will happen with these ‘Orthodox activists’ under current Russian conditions, is difficult,” especially as passions around the film about the last tsar and the ballerina continue to run high. And even if they cool, the paper’s editors say, there is another fight on the horizon,m, over the Franco-British satire, “The Death of Stalin.” One can be certain that Russian believers in the holiness of “’the leader of all peoples’” will feel themselves offended by its treatment of the dictator. If they are, then soon “through Russian cities will march not only protesting columns of believers who have been offended but also columns of Stalinists who have been offended as well.” And they will be followed by those offended by the treatment of Ivan the Terrible or Kalashnikov or someone else. Such a scene would have seemed “phantasmagoric” only yesterday, but now “it is a completely real pattern of the development of events,” with both “’patriotic’ and ‘Orthodox’ fundamentalists” on the march and ready to use violence against those whom they see in opposition to their views. “’A hybrid war’ cannot remain only a foreign one,” the editors say. “It cannot go on exclusively in Ukraine or in Syria. Such a war inevitably breaks through the borders and seeps into the country.” All recent events since the murder of Boris Nemtsov show that “’a hybrid war’ is inside Russia,” dividing the country even as the Kremlin demands unqualified loyalty. “Will the government be able to restrain and stop this ‘hybrid war,’ which it in large measure is responsible for starting?” the Gazeta editors asks. “That depends on when it sends the command ‘stop.’” But so far, it hasn’t done so; and at some point, even if it makes that demand, no one will pay it any heed.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Some Putin-Backed ‘Orthodox Christian Jihadists’ Prepared to Start a Nuclear War, Eidman Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 29 – The fanatics opposed to the Mathilda Film “are only one of the manifestations of the growing movement which one can call Orthodox Jihadism,” Igor Eidman says, a movement that divides the world between the followers of the true faith and everyone else and some of whose leaders are prepared to start a nuclear war in support of their cause. In a Kasparov.ru commentary, the Russian commentator who lives in Germany and broadcasts on Deutsche Well says that many of its adepts believe conflict between “the correct ‘Russian world’ and the rotten West” will “inevitably involve military clashes” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59CCDCE82DD9E). They are not afraid of nuclear war, he continues, and “the only thing which one of their ideologues Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov [former head of the Patriarchate’s office for work with the siloviki] fears is that there won’t be found people who ‘have enough courage to push the nuclear button,’ because ‘the people have been spiritually diminished’” by the powers that be. In the 1990s, Eidman writes, Orthodox fundamentalists were a marginal group. “Their rise began under Putin when arrived in office the most militantly inclined part of the Russian ruling elite, the so-called ‘siloviki.’ Among these ‘hawks’ are many who spring from the special services.” Such people because of their background and training are filled with “hatred to Western and democratic values” and favor aggressive moves in Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere. Indeed, it was in the Donbass where the Orthodox fundamentalists were able to form “the Russian Orthodox Army of the Donbass,” a seedbed for Orthodox jihadism. (“It is interesting that in parallel with the increasing activity of Orthodox fanatics, Putin’s Chechen satrap Kadyrov has created in his republic what is in fact an Islamist state” with all the features seen elsewhere when Islamist groups take power, Eidman says.) “Why is Putin allowing all this?” the Russian commentator asks rhetorically. On the one hand, it is clearly because there is a great deal of support for Orthodox Jihadism within the ranks of his regime. And on the other, it pays him political dividends at home and abroad by allowing him to present himself as a moderate at least compared to them. “’If Putin goes, things will be even worse,’” many in Russia and abroad say, according to Eidman, with some adding “’without Putin, there will be a war: only his tough authoritarian power is capable of reining in the extremists of all kinds.” But all this is “only propaganda” and distracts attention from the policy role such Orthodox Jihadists play. According to the commentator, “Putin’s ideological worldview and that of his entourage is based on the theory of the eternal opposition of Russia and the West. According to it, Russia is the defender of traditional values and morality, based on the Orthodox faith.” And that is why the “rotten” West tries so hard to destroy “the last bastion of Christian traditions.” Such messianic and apocalyptic views, Eidman continues, and the re-militarization of the country suggest that “the country is being prepared for a big war.” Consequently, what is most worrisome is not the activity of “’the new Jihadists’” so much as “the strengthening of their influence” on the ruling stratum because that carries with it “the heightened risk of war.” Two other articles this week provide additional details on this phenomenon. In the latest issue of Neprikosnovenny zapas to be posted online, Viktor Shnirelman of the Moscow Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology traces the ways in which Orthodoxy and radicalism have converted in Russia in the last decade (magazines.russ.ru/nz/2017/3/kto-i-kak-oskorblyaet-chuvstva-pravoslavie-i-radikalizm.html). And in a report on the URA.ru news agency portal today, Roman Silantyev, a specialist on Islam close to the Moscow Patriarchate, points out that 24 of the 27 groups the Russian government has banned as extremist have religious roots. “Almost all are Islamist,” two are Buddhist, and five have “a Russian origin” (ura.news/articles/1036272434). These groups are responsible, Silantyev says, for approximately one terrorist act a week in Russia. Consequently, banning them isn’t enough. Instead, he says the Russian government must adopt even tougher anti-extremism measures, especially but not exclusively against groups based on Islamist ideas.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘The Refrigerator is Beginning to Defeat the TV,’ ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Commentator Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 28 – Sixty-five percent of Russians now say that the media doesn’t cover the economic situation in Russia fully, the highest figure ever, and many of them say that their main fears are inflation, loss of savings and shortages of goods, according to Mikhail Sergeyev, the chief economics correspondent for Nezavisimaya gazeta. As a result, he says, one is fully justified in concluding that as the Russian expression has it, “the refrigerator is beginning to defeat the television,” with what people see in their own lives being more important to their views than what they are told they should think by state television (ng.ru/economics/2017-09-28/1_7083_holodilnic.html). It is increasingly the case, Sergeyev continues, that “the real picture of economic problems in the eyes of the population looks completely different than the one presented in official statistical reports,” something that he says is confirmed even by “pro-government” survey organizations like VTsIOM. Other experts agree. Mark Goykhman, an analyst at TeleTrade, says that “people feel on the basis of their own experience that the conditions of their lives do not correspond to the victorious claims of the media.” As a result, the optimistic attitudes television seeks to promote are fading. And fading along with it, he continues, is public trust in the mass media, which as things have gotten worse in real life has become even more upbeat than before, thereby raising questions in the minds of many who earlier were prepared to accept a certain disjunction between the two. Meanwhile, Andrey Novikov-Lanskoy, an analyst at the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service, adds that “traditional media, including television are gradually losing their influence on public opinion. Everyone is turning to social media, to blogs and videoblogs. The chief channels of communication … are quietly becoming the net media.” In his view, such changes in public attention reflect not only the gap between life and reporting but also “the problem of the quality” of economic journalism, “which is conducted either by journalists without special economic education or by economics who have not mastered very well the habits of journalism.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia’s Long-Haul Truckers Say They are Being ‘Destroyed’ by Authorities

Paul Goble Staunton, September 29 – The leaders of long-haul truckers unions in Daghestan and North Ossetia, two centers of last spring’s 33-day strike against Moscow’s imposition of the Plato fee system say that they have been unable to mobilize support, that regional officials have reneged on their promises, and that they are now being “destroyed.” Abdurashid Samadov, the head of the Daghestani truckers union, has not driven since the end of June. He can’t afford to pay the massive fines officials have imposed on him for not paying the Plato fees before then, a situation that he suggests is true of many of his colleagues as well (kavkazr.com/a/nas-unichtozhayut/28758459.html). Until the last, he and they had hoped, he says, that “the country would support their protest, but a miracle didn’t happen.” Regional officials made promises but, either because they lacked the authority or were ordered from above, haven’t kept them. “Everything has thus ended as one might expect.” Now, the drivers are being “destroyed,” Samadov says, because they can’t make any money if they pay the fees and will be fined if they don’t. In North Ossetia, apparently, more drivers are choosing to pay the Plato fees rather than risk fines. That has left them with far lower incomes and a great deal of anger; but one of their number says that there won’t be any protest actions in the future because the past one failed and the drivers are too discouraged to try again.

Russian Lenta.ru News Website’s Moscow Office Attacked By Arsonist

Russia’s Lenta.ru online news site says an unknown assailant has thrown improvised firebombs into the company’s main office in Moscow.

“See you in the Hague!” Last word of Crimean Tatar leader Umerov at Russian show trial -Euromaidan Press |

Ilmi Umerov On 27 September 2017, a Kremlin-controlled court in occupied Crimea sentenced Ilmi Umerov, one of the senior leaders of the Crimean Tatar national movement and deputy head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, to 2 years of settlement colony. Umerov was found guilty of violating Russia’s territorial integrity on the pretext of his public denial of Moscow’s “right” to Crimea. One of the most striking things about his conviction is that a Russian prosecutor demanded only a suspended sentence but the court decided in favor of a real one. Ilmi Umerov has a number of chronic diseases and needs constant medical care.

Russia Detains Two Suspects In Crimea As Spies For Ukraine

Russia&rsquo;s Federal Security Service (FSB) says a Russian soldier has been detained, along with a &quot;female acquaintance,&quot; on suspicion of spying for Kyiv in the Russian-occupied Crimea…

Serviceman detained in Crimea switched to Russian army after annexation – General Staff – 29.09.2017 14:18 — Ukrinform News

Russian FSB employees have detained in Crimea a Russian serviceman, Dmitry Dolgopolov, who previously served in the Ukrainian Armed Forces and in 2014, after the occupation of Crimea, he crossed over to serve in the Russian army.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Crimea Suffering from ‘East German Syndrome,’ Moscow Scholar Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 28 – There have been almost as many premature deaths in Crimea as a result of rapidly rising mortality rates on the Ukrainian peninsula since the Russian Anschluss as there have been combat losses in the Donbass, 9400 compared to 10,000 respectively, Igor Gundarov, an independent medical expert in Moscow says. For the fourth year in a row – that is for the period since Vladimir Putin seized the peninsula – “Crimeans have been under the influence of a growing increase in mortality rates, the cause of which has still not become the subject of scholarly analysis, he writes in today’s Nezavisimaya gazeta (ng.ru/kartblansh/2017-09-28/3_7083_kartblansh.html). What is happening in Crimea now, Gundarov says, resembles what happened in Russia in the 1990s and even more what happened in East Germany after reunification. It does not reflect what was the case before Crimea was annexed: “From 2005 through 2013, mortality” in Crimea as in Ukraine and in Russia, he points out, “had fallen without interruption.” Medical risk factors like smoking and drinking don’t explain this because they don’t change so quickly, and in Crimea over the last four years, deaths from overconsumption of alcohol have even fallen. And there are other inexplicable developments as well, the Moscow medical expert says. “For the first time in the history of demography, the acceleration of the growth of mortality among women has exceeded that of men. If in 2014, for every 1000 men aged 35 to 59 there were 1256 women, in 2015, that had fallen to only 982 women per 1000 men, that is, by 28 percent fewer.” According to Gundarov, “contemporary medicine isn’t capable of explaining the cause of super-high mortality in Crimea,” but events in Russia in the 1990s and in the GDR at the time of reunification point to a possible explanation, the impact on geography of “a deformed public consciousness.” This involves such things as theft, violence, murders, divorce and general criminality, factors that reflect how people really feel about developments in contrast to what they say. In Russia in the 1990s and East Germany at the time of reunification, people said they were pleased by the development. The same is true in Crimea, he reports. But their actions, which reflect their “subconscious” feelings, point in a different direction and do have demographic consequences. Unfortunately, the link between subconscious feelings and demography and the impact of cognitive dissonance between conscious and unconscious feelings are “typically ignored by sociologists.” What is taking place in Crimea now, Gundarov says, might best be termed “the GDR syndrome,” with rising crime, most of it economic, reflecting the “impoverishment of the population and the vulgarization of social relations. An MVD officer in Stavropol says that crime is up because unemployment is up. “There is no work, but people want to live.” “Two-thirds of those who commit crimes do not have a permanent source of income,” and increasingly they are committing ever more violent crimes, including murder, battery, and other attacks. And at the same time, they are turning away from activities of intellectual and cultural development. Moreover, “the number of divorces has increased 200 percent.” All these factors taken together have depressed the birthrate and produced what can only be called “a humanitarian catastrophe,” the product the medical scholar says of “the GDR syndrome” there. What is especially unfortunate, he continues, is that the methods the authorities there are using to address this are not going to work. Consequently, the GDR syndrome is likely to last far longer than it did in Germany.

European Lawmakers To Consider Resolution On ‘Rights Abuses’ In Crimea

BRUSSELS — The European Parliament is scheduled to debate and vote on a resolution highlighting what European lawmakers say are human rights abuses by Russian-installed authorities in Ukraine’…

Navalny Detained, Says ‘Old Man Putin’ Trying To Prevent Him From Attending Rally

MOSCOW — Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny was detained outside his home in Moscow on September 29, a move he said was aimed at preventing him from speaking at a rally in the city o…

Navalny Posts Video Of Police Detaining Him

Leading Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny posted a video on his Instagram account of the moment when police arrived to detain him, as he was preparing to depart for a rally with supporters in Nizhny Novgorod.

Alexey Navalny’s group published new info about a pro-Kremlin TV pundit’s enormous private wealth. This was the response — Meduza

Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation published documents this week revealing the property holdings of pro-Kremlin television pundit Vladimir Solovyov. Information about his Moscow apartments, his cabin outside the city in Peredelkino, and his villa in Italy was already public, but this time Navalny’s group also posted drone footage of Solovyov’s Italian villa. The TV pundit responded almost immediately, claiming that there’s nothing objectionable about his homes, insofar as he is not a state official. Solovyov hosts several programs on Rossiya-1, a state-owned TV network that belongs to the All-Russia State Television and Radio Company (VGTRK) holding company.

Russian Police Remove Navalny Campaign Tent

Russian police began tearing down a tent set up in preparation for a campaign event by opposition politician Aleskei Navalny in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, shortly after Navalny was detained in Moscow. (Reuters)

Putin Replaces Krasnoyarsk Governor As Regional Shake-Up Continues

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree accepting the resignation of Krasnoyarsk Krai Governor Viktor Tolokonsky. Putin also named Aleksandr Uss, the chairman of the regiona…

Homemade Buggies Go Off-Road In Russia

This is how they roll in Russia’s Ural region. These vehicles go anywhere. (RFE/RL’s Russian Service/DIGIM)

Customer brings two strippers into bank in Russia | Daily Mail Online

An unnamed customer at Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, brought the strippers into a Moscow branch and got them to dance on the desks in order to protest poor customer service.

The Aviationist » New Video Shows Russian Tu-22M3 Bomber Overshooting Runway During Take-Off Accident at Shaikavka

A new video has been published of the crash of a Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3 “Backfire” on Sept. 15, 2017. The heavy bomber, said to be near maximum take-off weight at the time of the accident according to Russian language reports, ran off the end of the runway at Shaikavka Airbase during Zapad 2017 exercise. The video was released today by the media outlet “Vzglyad”, a Russian-language online news source. The aircraft is attributed to the 52nd Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment. One Russian language news outlet quoted a “high-ranking source” as saying, “The cause of the accident was the failure of speed sensors during the take-off, resulting in the crew decided to stop taking off.” There have been no official statements released about the cause of the accident. The four crew members on board the large supersonic strategic bomber were not injured in the accident. This is the third similar incident reported in Russian media during take-off of a Tu-22M3 bomber. The first two incidents were less serious since the aircraft involved were at lower take-off weights and could stop short of the end of the runway.


Belarus Reports


Russia Left Troops in Belarus After Wargames: Ukraine | World News | US News

By Matthias Williams and Pavel Polityuk MELITOPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) – Russia has left troops behind after staging war games in Belarus despite promising not to, Ukraine’s Commander in Chief Viktor Muzhenko told Reuters. In an interview on a military plane on Thursday evening, Muzhenko said Russia has withdrawn only a few units from Belarus and had lied about how many of its soldiers were there in the first place. His comments could increase tension between the two neighbors and contradict the Belarussian defense ministry spokesman, who said the last train of Russian troops and equipment had left Belarus on Thursday. Russia’s defense ministry did not respond to an immediate request for comment. Relations between Kiev and Moscow nosedived after Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and the outbreak of a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 10,000 people. Ukraine sees itself as being at war with Russia and has accused Moscow of sending troops and hardware to fight in the Donbass region, which Moscow denies. There are frequent casualties despite a notional ceasefire agreed in 2015. The Zapad wargames, held by Russian and Belarussian troops on territory in both countries in September, are a new source of concern for neighboring Ukraine and NATO member states on Europe’s eastern flank.

Zapad on Belarus’s mind: 7th Belarus Reality Check Non-Paper | BelarusDigest

The European Union’s ‘critical engagement’ policy has contributed to attitude change by the Government of Belarus as well as procedural improvements. However, as the March 2017 crackdown on peaceful protesters suggests, there are no substantial political changes in Belarus….

Russia kidnaps a Ukrainian in Belarus undermining Belarus’s reputation | BelarusDigest

On 24 August 2017, Russian Federal Security Service agents kidnapped 19-year-old Ukrainian citizen Pavel Grib on the territory of Belarus. He is the son of a minor Orthodox Church official and army reserve officer, Igor Grib. Ukrainian society is…


Transnistria / Moldova Reports


UAWire – President Dodon outraged at barring of Russian journalist from Moldova

Russian journalist Daria Aslamova, who set out for Chisinau for an interview with President Igor Dodon, has been refused entry into the country, …


Ukraine Reports


Single explosions continue at Kalynivka depot, more than 110 explosives seized by field engineers, – State Emergency Service. PHOTOS

29.09.17 11:32 – Single explosions continue at Kalynivka depot, more than 110 explosives seized by field engineers, – State Emergency Service. PHOTOS Rescuers say locals may return to their homes despite single cases of shell detonations at the Kalynivka ammo depot. View photo news.

Defence ministry to install early warning systems in all arsenals – LB.ua news portal

Defence ministry to install early warning systems in all arsenals. Installation of security system in Kalynivka munition depot to kick off in the next few days.All Ukraine’s defence arsenals will be equipped with early warning systems before the yearend, Chief of the Armament of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Gen. Mykola Shevtsov, told a briefing on Friday, 29 September. He said in the next few days the installation of a tower for the system of early warning and equipment for combating unmanned aerial vehicles will begin at the Kalynivka ammunition depot. Preparatory works have been carried out before the fire, he said. After the March explosions in Balakliya warehouses, 200 mn hryvnya were allocated to beef up survivability of army munitions depots across the country, including 25 mn for Kalynivka warehouses. The budgets have remained unused, though.

The explosions at the armament depot of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Kalynivka (Vinnytsia region) will not influence the decision of the US to supply the arms to Ukraine – 112.international

Fire in Kalynivka to not influence US decision on arms supply to Ukraine, – Volker

Fire at Kalynivka ammunition depot: Consequences and punishment of perpetrators – 112.international

Chief military prosecutor of Ukraine Matios noted that protection of the military depot in Kalynivka was inadequate

Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman claims that de-mining of the territories near the armament depot in Kalynivka region (Vinnytsia region) can last until the end of November – 112.international

De-mining in Kalynivka region can last until November, – Groysman

The Prosecutor’s Office finds the security of the armament depot of the Defense Ministry in Kalynivka (Vinnytsia regions) insufficient – 112.international

Prosecutor’s Office finds security of armament depot in Kalynivka insufficient

The law enforcements detained two drunker officers who guarded the armament depot for Tochka-U missiles – 112.international

Law enforcements detain two drunken officers securing armament depot

NSDC chief Turchynov blames General Staff head for ammo depot fire

Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Oleksandr Turchynov says that the country’s top brass, including Chief of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Viktor Muzhenko, are responsible for the fire at ammunition depots in the village of Kalynivka in Vinnytsia region. “This is the responsibility of the entire vertical of those who are in charge of national defense, starting with the chief of the General Staff. We have shown that we are unable to protect strategic arsenals. So, there is a question about the quality of our national defense. We will never stop counting casualties and losses as long as top-ranking officers who fail to fulfill their duties properly are not held liable,” Turchynov said at a briefing in Kyiv on Thursday, September 28. “This is the responsibility of the entire vertical of those who are in charge of national defense, starting with the chief of the General Staff. We have shown that we are unable to protect strategic arsenals. So, there is a question about the quality of our national defense. We will never stop counting casualties and losses as long as top-ranking officers who fail to fulfill their duties properly are not held liable,” Turchynov said at a briefing in Kyiv on Thursday, September 28. Read more on UNIAN: Muzhenko immediately dismissed the allegation. “For those who still don’t understand: you can’t accuse me and my subordinates of inaction. You can’t make scapegoats of us,” he wrote on Facebook in response. “To control the Armed Forces, a clear vertical with the commander-in-chief at its top has been built. Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are getting stronger and stronger every day. Only unity and stability in the state will lead to victory over the enemy,” he wrote.

Blaming me and my subordinates of inactivity will fail, – Muzhenko of Kalynivka fire

28.09.17 17:11 – Blaming me and my subordinates of inactivity will fail, – Muzhenko of Kalynivka fire The chief of the Generals Staff is asking not to shake the combat readiness of the army. The chief of the Generals Staff is asking not to shake the combat readiness of the army. Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko has announced that skillful, coordinated, and “even heroic” actions of the military in Kalynivka, the Vinnytsia region allowed localizing and extinguishing the fire in the ammo depot in 16 hours. Muzhenko wrote on Facebook, Censor.NET reports. The chief of the General Staff believes that timely decisions made by the command allowed avoiding personnel and civilians losses. Seven tanks were involved in the fire fighting. “Together with SBU, State Emergency Service, and National Police, the Armed Forces of Ukraine demonstrated coordination and professionalism in solving the problem. I am grateful for quick reaction and mutual support. “Speaking of the emotional situation and hysteria. The adversary reminded that the war is underway. The key target for its attack are the Armed Forces as the foundation of the national security of Ukraine. There are people who want to shake the combat readiness and entirety of the Armed Forces,” Muzhenko wrote. He said these people want to convince the society that the command of the Armed Forces is not able to adequately react to threats and kill the trust in the army. “For those who hasn’t got it: blaming me and my subordinates of inactivity will fail. Finding punching bags will fail. To command the Armed Forces, there is a strict vertical led by the supreme commander,” he wrote.

General Staff chief refused to take blame for Kalynivka fire – LB.ua news portal

General Staff chief refused to take blame for Kalynivka fire. Main – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Orban reportedly mulled use of Hungarian forces in Ukraine – LB.ua news portal

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban considered an option of using the Hungarian armed forces on Ukrainian territory, according to the article entitled “What is behind Hungary’s belligerent rhetoric on Ukraine?” “Viktor Orban instructed the Hungarian Defence Ministry to analyse options of how the Hungarian uniformed agencies can defend the Hungarian diaspora on Ukrainian territory,” it reads. However, the Hungarian military took it without much criticism. Besides, according to their conclusions, first, Hungary’s physical interference in the situation in Transcarpathian Region would have unpredictable consequences for the country. Second, the current combat capacity of the Hungarian armed forces would not allow them to carry out any force actions as the majority of combat units would not be able to move out of their units with their equipment. The only possible option is for Hungary to set up stations for refugees from Ukraine “who suffered from anti-Hungarian actions of the central authorities”. By the way, it tested this option during the active phase of the Revolution of Dignity in 2013-2014. As reported earlier, Hungary promised to “deal a painful blow to the future of Ukraine” after President Petro Poroshenko signed the law “On education”. Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said that Hungary would block any Ukrainian initiative aimed at European integration and within the Eastern Partnership project. The head of the Ukrainian parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, Hanna Hopko, said Hungary’s threats stemmed from “warm relations with Putin’s regime” and a low political culture of politicians in Budapest.

What is behind Hungary’s belligerent rhetoric on Ukraine? – LB.ua news portal

What is behind Hungary’s belligerent rhetoric on Ukraine?. Already after LB.ua published “No right to a ghetto”, an article explaining why the language law needs to be adopted, Hungary issued yet another round of threats against Ukraine. Taking into account such response, we feel it is important that we share a part of this article which concerns specifically Hungary.  We also take a look at Kyiv’s reaction to Budapest’s threats. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

We could not but strengthen role of Ukrainian language in education. Nothing to discuss here – Poroshenko

Ukrainian authorities could not but strengthen the role of the Ukrainian language in education, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko stated during his Thursday meeting with Ukrainian teachers in Kyiv,&nbsp;an UNIAN&nbsp;correspondent reports. News 28 September from UNIAN.

X Soviet on Twitter: “Another Ukrainian has been abducted by Russia, a 28-year-old nationalist from Kherson. He is now in jail in Bryansk. https://t.co/7NmdsVHrXG”

Lithuanian MP Egidjius Vareikis: If we want peace in this region, Ukraine should be a Western-type state

The deputy of the Lithuanian Seimas and member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, an acclaimed political scientist and expert on international security, a fellow at Vilnius and Kaunas universities Egidjius Vareikis has told UNIAN, how he sees a UN peacekeeping mission in Donbas, how Russia could be forced to change its objectives, and why the economic component of the so-called &quot;Marshall Plan&quot; for Ukraine is just not enough. News 29 September from UNIAN.

Accessories of separatist TV sentenced to nine years – LB.ua news portal

Berdychiv Court on Thursday found Kyivan Dmytro Vasylets and the resident of Berdychiv Yevhen Tymonin guilty of assisting a terrorist organization and sentenced them to nine years in prison. Under Ukrainian legislation the defendants faced from eight to 15 years in prison. Vasylets and Timonin were detained by the SBU in Kyiv and have been jailed since November 2015. They have spent a long time on the territory of the “DPR” and provided consultations and practical assistance to the separatist TV channel “New Russia TV”. In a statement, the SBU said that the defendants have helped setting up the broadcast of news and video material, helped organizing interaction between the channel’s units, trained the company’s personnel, programmed the necessary equipment and software, and registered and tuned the “New Russia TV” broadcast on popular video hosting sites. Earlier, the detainees were members of the public council under the Ministry of Information Policy.

Donbas: 16 attacks on Ukrainian emplacements – 112.international

Over the last 24 hours, since Thursday morning, Russian mercenaries fired on positions of government troops 16 times

Occupants continue violating Minsk deal: tanks, Rapiras, Gvozdikas, and D-30 howitzers 16 km from contact line. PHOTOS

29.09.17 13:34 – Occupants continue violating Minsk deal: tanks, Rapiras, Gvozdikas, and D-30 howitzers 16 km from contact line. PHOTOS Russian military units of the 1st occupation army corps in the Donetsk region of Ukraine continue to grossly and systematically violate the Minsk agreements. View photo news.

UAWire – SBU: the DPR ‘representative office’ in France was opened by politicians sponsored by the Kremlin

Marginal French politicians and experts financed by the Kremlin took part in the opening of a fake &quot;representative office&quot; of the separatist DPR …

Warcraft crashed in Khmelnytskyi area, two pilots killed (updated)

29.09.17 13:57 – Warcraft crashed in Khmelnytskyi area, two pilots killed (updated) A military aircraft crashed today, Sept. 29, some 20-30 kilometers from Khmelnytskyi. View news.

Military aircraft crashes in Khmelnytsky region – 112.international

Ukraine’s Air Force plane crashed in Khmelnytsky region, central Ukraine, on September 29

Both pilots of Ukraine’s crashed military aircraft deceased – 112.international

Both pilots of Ukraine’s crashed military aircraft L-39 have deceased; the light training plane hit the ground during a regular training flight, Ukraine’s Air Force Command says [7th Tac Air Bde]

Practika offers BMP-1 tracked infantry fighting vehicle upgrade

Ukraine-based scientific and production association “Practika” announced details of a BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle upgrade during the first All-Ukrainian forum of private defence enterprises. That was reported by Defence Blog. According to Sergie Vilkov, head of development at Practika, the company has developed an upgrade package for the BMP-1 amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle. BMP-1 is a Soviet-made light armoured vehicle being able to transport troops and to provide firepower and protection on the battlefield. The upgrade brings the basic specifications of the BMP-1 to the level of modern armoured vehicles. The upgrade kit allows drastic increasing of the APC’s protection. The modernized vehicle received a new armored hull. Ergonomics for the crew and troops has also been improved. On the upgraded BMP-1 fuel tanks were relocated.

Practika unveils new Otaman wheeled armoured vehicle

The Otaman wheeled armoured vehicle is a four-axle, amphibious 8 x 8 vehicle. Ukraine-based Practika has developed an Otaman upgrade package for the BTR-60 armoured personnel carrier (APC) and was unveils during the first All-Ukrainian forum of private defence enterprises. That was reported by Defence Blog. The new upgrade package for the BTR-60 APC is the enhancements are focused on mobility and firepower. The new hull is made of modern steel and is being tested to various international standards; it can also be fitted with applique ceramic armour to enhance protection. It has a projected ballistic protection level of STANAG 4569 level II.

Statements of illegal weapon deliveries to South Sudan by Ukraine are another attempt to damage our state, – Turchynov

28.09.17 17:58 – Statements of illegal weapon deliveries to South Sudan by Ukraine are another attempt to damage our state, – Turchynov Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) Oleksandr Turchynov believes the statements by Amnesty International and some media of illegal weapon deliveries from Ukraine to South Sudan are incorrect. View news.

The workers of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the National Police prevented the attempt of the holding of the anti-Ukrainian campaign in Brussels – 112.international

SBU prevents attempt of Russia to hold anti-Ukrainian campaign in Brussels

Ukrainian City Councilor Shot Dead After Interview On Corruption

Officials in the central Ukrainian city of Cherkasy say a municipal councilor has been shot dead just hours after the broadcast of a television interview he gave about corruption within the city’s utility services.

IMF demands that Ukraine creates anti-corruption court

29.09.17 17:59 – IMF demands that Ukraine creates anti-corruption court The anti-corruption reform is one of the key prerequisites for continuation of Ukraine’s cooperation with the International Monetary Fund. View news.

CPJ Urges Ukraine To Free Uzbek Journalist Sought By Uzbekistan

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on Ukrainian authorities to release Uzbek journalist Narzullo Okhunjonov from detention, allow him to remain in Ukraine, and reject any request to extradite him.

President Poroshenko, First Lady honor memory of Babyn Yar victims

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his wife Maryna Poroshenko took part in the ceremony of honoring the memory of the Babyn Yar victims. Latest UNIAN news from 29 September.

Bloomberg: Russia helps Ukraine rebels export coal for cash, minister says

Russia is helping Ukrainian rebels sell coal on international markets to raise much-needed cash for pensions and social needs, evading a blockade imposed by the government in Kyiv as efforts to implement a peace deal remain stalled, according to Bloomberg. News 29 September from UNIAN.


Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Losses in Syria on the Rise Because Putin Wants to End War Before Election

Paul Goble Staunton, September 28 – There are four reasons why Russian military losses in Syria are rising sharply, Novyye izvestiya reports today but “the main one” is that Vladimir Putin wants that conflict over before presidential elections next spring (newizv.ru/article/general/28-09-2017/chetyre-prichiny-po-kotorym-rezko-vyrosli-poteri-rossiyskoy-armii-v-sirii). The Moscow paper reproduce the argument of a Russian blogger whose screenname is Starley as picked up by the popular Russian news aggregator site Newsland.ru (newsland.com/community/4109/content/pochemu-v-sirii-rezko-vozrosli-poteri-rossiiskikh-vks/6012771). Reports about the death of a Russian general and two colonels coming on top of additional reports about combat losses among lower ranks has raised the question as to why there should be an uptick in the number of dead and wounded if the war is going as well as the Moscow media say, the blogger suggested. He offers four explanations for this: · First, it is theoretically possible that “the Russian side has ceased to conceal true losses in Syria. But in fact this is hardly possible,” given past practice and the government’s control of the media. · Second, the losses reflect a heightened level of participation by Russian forces in the fight with the Islamists. That is certainly the case given that the size of the Russian military contingent there has reached its largest level ever and its members have been thrown into the fight. · Third, the United States has supplied more arms via third parties to those against whom Russian forces are fighting. With better weapons, Russia’s opponents can inflict more damage. · And fourth, he says, there is “the main cause: The Kremlin has established definite time frames for the conclusion of the war with the Islamists.” The war must be over before Putin’s reelection next spring. Given that time frame, the blogger says, the Russian forces are fighting harder – and because they are and because their opponents are better armed than in the past, they are suffering more losses and among the higher ranks.

U.S. Says Russia Trying To ‘Shield Iran’ From Some Nuclear Inspections

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on September 28 said Russia is trying to &quot;shield Iran&quot; from inspections by the UN’s nuclear watchdog of some activities that could contribute t…

‘Iran-Korean nexus’ complicates pending US nuke deal decision – American Politics – Jerusalem Post

The Trump administration has warned that Iran will become “the next North Korea” if the JCPOA remains as is.

As Kurdish Borders Close, War of Words Heats Up – The New York Times

Kurds insist on independence talks, and warn of retaliation as Iraq increases its crackdown, shutting off flights and closing borders.

Iran and the Kurds | Foreign Affairs

For Iran, a country that has seen its historic territory chipped at for centuries, Kurdistan isn’t just a concerning prospect—it’s an existential threat.

Iranians Mourn Soldier Beheaded By Islamic State In Syria

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Tehran to mourn a soldier beheaded by the extremist Sunni group Islamic State (IS) in Syria. Crowds carrying pictures of Mohsen Hojaji and red flag…

ISIS leader seemingly breaks 11-month silence in audio recording – CNNPolitics

The leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, appears to have broken his eleven-month silence with a long audio message. In it he mocks the United States, calls on jihadis to rally in defeating the Syrian regime and insists that ISIS ‘remains’ despite its rapid loss of territory.

Islamic State Releases Purported Audio Message From Leader Baghdadi

The extremist group Islamic State (IS) has released what it says is a new audio recording of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The date of the 46-minute recording, released via the IS-linked A…

Taliban Targets Medical Clinics In New Afghan Insurgency Strategy

TARIN KOWT, Afghanistan — When Sultan Mohammad’s wife went into labor in Uruzgan Province last week, the medical clinic in Deh Rawood was not an option — it had been shut down along with othe…

While the World Sleeps, Myanmar Burns | Foreign Affairs

Over the past month, 436,000 Rohingya have fled from their homes in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State to neighboring Bangladesh.

How Bangladeshis are coping with half a million new Rohingya refugees from Myanmar – The Washington Post

A village discussion echoes a global conversation about the costs of compassion.


DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports


China support for North Korea clampdown growing: U.S. official

China is making progress in enforcing sanctions imposed on North Korea, a U.S. State Department official said on Thursday, and urged skeptical members of Congress not to rush to enact new ones before giving Beijing’s efforts a chance to take effect.

On China’s border with North Korea, a reduced trade lifeline is still a lifeline – The Washington Post

Chinese traders complain that sanctions are hurting, but they are still not effective enough to strangle Pyongyang.

US notes China’s growing cooperation over N. Korea

WASHINGTON — China has made growing progress in efforts to denuclearize North Korea, reflecting a shift in its views of the longtime ally, a senior US official said Thursday.Susan Thornton, acting assistant secretary of state for Asian and Pacific affairs, gave the assessment during a Senate hearing on the effectiveness of sanctions in getting the North to give up its nuclear weapons program.”We recognize that the s…

China Orders North Korean Businesses Closed Under U.N. Sanctions – NBC News

China, long North Korea’s diplomatic protector, has gone along with the latest penalties out of growing frustration with leader Kim Jong Un’s government.

China’s Refusal of North Korean Defectors Is Enabling a Growing Human Rights Crisis – Pacific Standard

Amid international attention on Pyongyang’s missile tests, there is another life-threatening crisis emanating from North Korea that few are watching.

In Tillerson’s China Stop, Questions on North Korea but Slim Chance of Clarity – The New York Times

The secretary of state is to arrive in Beijing to discuss North Korea. Chinese officials are likely to see if he can clarify inconsistent statements made by U.S. officials.

David Petraeus: Trump’s North Korea taunts may actually be a warning for China

China has been hesitant to isolate North Korea too much, for fear that the relationship with Pyongyang is severed.

Rep. French Hill: Trump is making progress on North Korea where past presidents faltered

America is returning to her rightful place as an engaged world leader.

Russia says ready to work with North Korea to resolve missile crisis

Moscow is prepared to work with Pyongyang to try to find a peaceful resolution to the North Korean missile crisis, the Russian Foreign ministry said on Friday.

David J. Kramer | Russia Isn’t the Answer to America’s Problems With North Korea | Foreign Policy

As tensions near a boiling point between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, some observers have suggested that Russia could step in and play a helpful, moderating role. North Korea, they argue, should be one of the few issues on which Washington and Moscow can find common ground. In fact, the Trump administration should not look to Moscow for any serious help in dealing with North Korea. Not only does Russia have less influence over Pyongyang than China does, but uses that influence in ways that undermine the international sanctions against the regime. Russian President Vladimir Putin also views the North Korea situation, as with other international issues, through a zero-sum lens: If American standing in the region is under strain, Russia will attempt to enhance its position accordingly. Similarly, if Beijing gets tougher with North Korea, Moscow might look to step in and fill any void left by China. The Kremlin is not interested in seeing the conflict explode into war, but it is willing to exploit every advantage at the expense of Beijing and Washington, even as the situation grows increasingly worrisome. That is why calls to look to Moscow for help with North Korea should be viewed very skeptically. The head of the Carnegie Moscow Center, Dmitri Trenin, argued in the New York Times last week that Russia “can help nudge Pyongyang toward strategic restraint, and help defuse tensions in the meantime, by offering it new economic prospects.” Russia could be a broker in de-escalating tensions, he argued. Former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov took a similar position in a separate op-ed.

Russian, North Korea Diplomats To Meet In Moscow On September 29

Moscow says Russian and North Korean diplomats will meet in Moscow on September 29 to discuss the Korean crisis. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on September 28 that Ole…

Michael J. Green | Are we facing war with North Korea? | TheHill

The United States has no good choices with North Korea. There is near universal condemnation of the president’s ad hominem attacks on the North Korean leader from both conservative and liberal experts on North Korea. For one thing, North Koreans are masters of smack talk and will only use presidential tweets for propaganda effect within their country. More importantly, North Korea will use the president’s escalating rhetoric to isolate the United States internationally. Pyongyang knew that there would be sanctions and international pressure after their nuclear and missile tests. Their goal now is to frighten China, South Korea and others into pressing the United States to back away from pressuring the regime. The growing list of governments calling for calm and offering to mediate between Washington and Pyongyang only demonstrates how the president’s rhetoric is playing into that North Korean strategy. Quite apart from rhetoric aimed at North Korea, the president’s criticism of South Korean president Moon Jae In and threats to abandon the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, only further the risk of U.S. isolation from our closest ally on the front lines. If the administration is blowing it in terms of rhetoric, they deserve enormous credit for putting in place the first truly serious sanctions policy against North Korea in a generation. The executive order issued by the White House last week allows the Treasury Department to sanction any North Korean individual or entity in addition to any foreign individual or entity guilty of violating United Nations Security Council sanctions on North Korea. Pyongyang was able to get around past sanctions with dummy companies and assistance from Chinese or other foreign collaborators. That will now become much harder. This may not be enough to convince North Korea to give up nuclear weapons in the near term, but it will constrict its access to money and technology and the regime’s ability to proliferate outward (as they did by helping Syria build a nuclear power plant until the Israeli Air Force destroyed it in 2007). Over time, the new sanctions could set the conditions for a different calculation by North Korea. The sanctions will have to be backed by improved intelligence collection and international collaboration, but the financial tools announced by the White House are impressive. There have been repeated calls by international experts for a negotiated resolution of the North Korean nuclear crisis, but these are generally not coming from veterans of past negotiations with Pyongyang. North Korea has cheated on every agreement it ever made regarding nuclear weapons and changed its constitution in 2012 to establish itself as a permanent nuclear weapons state. To the extent that the international community has been able to engage in dialogue with North Koreans, the answer has been consistently the same: The nuclear program is not on the table. One cannot therefore fault the administration for somehow losing a diplomatic opportunity for disarmament. There is no such opportunity. On the other hand, this is a dangerous moment with North Korea. For that reason, there is merit in conducting a quiet but authoritative dialogue with the Kim regime to ensure they understand U.S. intentions clearly amidst the cacophony of public propaganda by both sides. Perhaps that is happening beyond our view, though I doubt it. The U.S. deployment of B-1 bombers off the North Korean coast and the president’s threat to destroy the regime if it uses force against the United States or our allies will have some observers alarmed. But this is precisely the time to demonstrate that the United States will not be cowed by North Korean threats. This is important for three reasons. First, North Korea and our allies must all understand that even with a North Korean missile threat to the American homeland, there will no diminishment in the American preparedness to retaliate with massive force against North Korea should it use nuclear weapons. Second, North Korea must understand that nuclear weapons will not deter us from responding forcefully to lower level North Korean attacks in cyberspace or against conventional American or South Korean forces. Finally, North Korea will have to assume from recent deployments that the United States is prepared to use massive force to preempt any attempt to use nuclear weapons. In addition to these three reasons, the administration has suggested that it is prepared to use military force in “preventive war” to stop North Korea before it fully develops a nuclear weapon that could be loaded on an intercontinental ballistic missile and survive re-entry into the atmosphere above the United States or our allies. This threat of preventive war is much less credible, since the risk to South Korea and Japan from a North Korean nuclear and missile backlash would outweigh the benefits of possibly arresting parts of North Korea’s weapons development. However, the other three purposes of signaling a readiness to use force are critical, particularly since Kim Jong Un may use his newest weapons for blackmail and intimidation to force the United States to make concessions (specifically, to end international sanctions, provide economic payments, remove U.S. protection of Japan and Korea and legitimize the regime, all demands made by Pyongyang in the past). Credible readiness to use force removes any leverage North Korea might hope to get from threatening to use its growing arsenal. The reality is that there are no good choices with North Korea. Neither diplomacy nor preventive war will make this problem go away. The administration has taken some important steps from sanctions to military deployments that could position us to contain and eventually roll back the North Korean threat. The president’s rhetoric is the biggest problem. As Theodore Roosevelt might have said, “Time to speak softly and carry that big stick.”

Fareed Zakaria | There’s a way out on North Korea – The Washington Post

Convening an international conference on nuclear proliferation that includes Pyongyang could offer a peaceful way forward.

Rep. John Velis trained with the army in South Korea amid Kim Jong Un’s missile tests: Here’s what he saw | masslive.com

State Rep. and U.S. Army Reserve Captain John Velis spent a month participating in military exercises in South Korea.

North Korea-US war now ‘a real possibility’, warns influential Rusi think tank | The Independent

A war between North Korea and the US is now a “real possibility”, and would likely result in thousands of people being killed or injured, a respected defence think tank has warned. War between the two countries would likely involve a full scale invasion of North Korea, and combat would be neither “surgical nor short”, the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) said in a report. In the event of an attack by either country, the UK would only have a few hours “at most” to decide how to respond, it adds.

Malcolm Chalmers | Why the UK Needs to be Thinking Now about a Possible Korean War | RUSI

A new Korean War is now a real possibility. There is still some hope that the recent inflammatory rhetoric from President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could give way to serious talks. Yet time may not be on diplomacy’s side. The North Korea programme is moving forward more rapidly than most experts had expected a year ago.

We Are More Likely to Go to War With North Korea Now Than Ever, Former NATO Commander Says

The key to solving this quagmire could be China, North Korea’s largest trading partner.

Donald Trump’s Tweets Could Start a War With North Korea | World Report | US News

President Trump runs a very real risk of starting war with the Hermit Kingdom.

We Made Allies Of Our WWII Enemies. The Same Can Happen With North Korea.

Ending the nuclear threat is a priority, but the ultimate goal is peace and reconciliation. We shouldn’t forget that.

Could The U.S. Shoot Down North Korea’s Missiles? | WWNO

Whether or not the U.S. could shoot down North Korea’s missiles is a key question as Kim Jong Un and President Trump ramp up their threats of war. North

No, We Cannot Shoot Down North Korea’s Missiles – Defense One

It’s time national leaders speak realistically about missile defense.

North Korea seeks help from Republicans on Trump – CNNPolitics

The proverbial game of chicken between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has only escalated in recent months, but amid the public name-calling and threats of annihilation, regime officials have been quietly attempting to set up meetings with Republican analysts in an apparent attempt to better understand the mixed messages coming from the Trump administration.

What does North Korea want? – The Washington Post

North Korea wants to understand Trump, but it doesn’t want to part with its nuclear weapons.

North Korea claims almost 5 million have signed up to join its already enormous army – The Washington Post

The Korean People’s Army is already estimated to make up 5 percent of North Korea’s population.

South Korea expects more provocative acts by North Korea in mid-October

China is making progress in enforcing sanctions imposed on North Korea, a U.S. State Department official said on Thursday, and urged skeptical members of Congress not to rush to enact new ones before giving Beijing’s efforts a chance to take effect.

Soldier found dead with mystery gunshot wounds at the North Korean border amid fears his was assassinated by Kim Jong-un’s henchmen

The 22-year-old victim was shot as he was walking back to his base in Gangwon Province, South Korea

Japan’s defense chief warns of possible North Korea provocation on October 10

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera urged caution on Friday because more provocation was possible from North Korea on Oct. 10, when the start of lower house election campaigns in Japan coincides with one of the North’s main anniversaries.

Australia should prepare for North Korean attack, former Pentagon missile boss warns – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Australia must develop greater missile defences to ward off a strike from North Korea, a former high-ranking Pentagon official says.

Two North Korean Spies, a Ukrainian Jail and a Murky Tale – The New York Times

Imprisoned for trying to steal missile technology, the two mostly keep to themselves but closely follow news about their nation’s nuclear weapons program.

Chilling graphic shows spread of radioactive cloud if North Korea detonates nuclear bomb over Pacific 

A chilling new graphic has revealed the devastating reach of an &ldquo;atmospheric burst&rdquo; that could be released from a hypothetical nuclear explosion over the Pacific Ocean.

North Korea prison: Defector reveals brutal 10 years in Yodok camp after Warmbier’s death | Daily Star

A FORMER prisoner of North Korea has revealed the brutal conditions in their most feared prison death camp.

North Korea’s Horrors, as Shown by One Defector’s Drawings – The Atlantic

Horrors of the North Korean Gulag – YouTube

Life in a North Korean Labor Camp: ‘No Thinking … Just Fear’ – NBC News

Slideshow: Images from North Korea’s Gulag | Freedom House

BROWNING Ordinary Men. Reserve Police Battalion 101 And The Final Solution In Poland ( 1992) : Browning : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive

North Korean propaganda posters readying people for war | Daily Mail Online

New propaganda posters in North Korea warn of a ‘great and decisive war against America’ while urging the need for ‘unity’ and ‘self-reliance’, images smuggled out of the country show.

North Korean Anti-American Propaganda Museum – To Inform is to Influence

Horrifying portraits of American soldiers torturing women with pliers and murdering babies are used for propaganda by North Korea as posters created by Kim Jong-il’s regime are displayed in public Paintings believed to be from 2005 claim to depict atrocities by Americans during the Korean War   Propaganda art shows Americans torturing women by removing their…

North Korea: US is exploiting Otto Warmbier’s death | New York Post

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea accused the Trump administration Thursday of exploiting the death of an Ohio student who died soon after being released from…


Foreign Policy Reports


German Ex-Chancellor Named Chairman Of Rosneft Board

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has been made chairman of the board of Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft. Schroeder was added to the company’s board during a shareholders meetin…

German public backs Angela Merkel′s plans for a ′Jamaica coalition′: survey | News | DW | 29.09.2017

Chancellor Angela Merkel has the backing of nearly 60 percent of voters to form a ruling coalition with the Greens and FDP, a new survey says. However, Germany may have to wait until the new year for a new government.

UAWire – Media: Hackers from Russia help in preparing referendum in Catalonia

Hackers from Russia are helping to support sites about Catalonia’s referendum for independence and keep them operational, reported the newspaper El Pais, citing as a source in the Civil Guard of Spain. The newspaper notes that after law enforcement agencies blocked the physical channels for preparing a referendum, websites remain the only source of information on the lists of polling stations. “According to the Civil Guard, a group of hackers in Russia and its satellite countries are constantly creating new links to many duplicate sites about the October 1 referendum, so the Spanish justice authorities and police have not been able to shut them down,” reports El Pais. It was noted that it is easier for Spain to find a hacker who works from the territory of the EU. In turn, there is no agreement between Russia and the European Union in the area of digital legislation. After the first official website, referendum.cat, was shut down, President of the Generalitat Carles Puigdemont posted on his Twitter account two new web addresses with servers in the UK and Luxembourg. Both sites are closed by court order. After that, Catalan hackers copied the sites and began to use other countries. The newspaper said that the process of closing a website abroad is long, because it requires sending a judicial order to the police of another country, who must first evaluate it. To date, law enforcement agencies in Spain have closed 144 websites related to the referendum. The paper noted that Russia’s choice in the matter is not coincidental. “In recent weeks, social networks and political sites in Spain have made the Catalan crisis a trend, the goal of which is to deepen existing contradictions and weaken not only Spain, but the entire EU,” noted El Pais. It is well known that the referendum on the independence of Catalonia is due to take place on October 1, but Madrid is doing everything possible to prevent it from happening.

Rhetoric heats up over Catalonia independence vote – The Washington Post

A parade of farmers’ tractors rolled into Barcelona on Friday in support for Catalonia’s independence vote as Catalan and Spanish authorities issued conflicting statements on whether the disputed referendum would even take place on Sunday.

Catalonia’s Bonds Almost Catatonic About Independence – Bloomberg

There’s good reason to look past what the bookies are saying.

‘Nothing To Be Cheerful About’: Bosnians, Traumatized By War, Modern Life, Turn To Antidepressants

The use of antidepressants is on the rise in Bosnia — one, albeit unwanted, measure by which Bosnia is indeed matching or exceeding European norms.&nbsp; Comprehensive data is not available, bu…

US Urges No Travel to Cuba, Cuts Embassy Staff

Senior U.S. officials say the United States is pulling roughly 60 percent of its staff out of Cuba and warning American travelers not to visit due to specific attacks that have harmed U.S. diplomats.


Strategy / History / Capability Publications


The Future the US Military is Constructing: a Giant, Armed Nervous System – Defense One

Service chiefs are converging on a single strategy for military dominance: connect everything to everything.

US Military Eyes New Mini-Nukes for 21st-Century Deterrence – Defense One

The Joint Chiefs’ vice chair says smaller-yield weapons are needed to deter the use of same.

Decapitation Is Not an Effective Counterterrorism Policy

Targeting a terror group’s leadership does not shorten its lifespan or reduce its frequency of attacks. In some cases, the policy can be counterproductive.

Civilization of Soldiers: Was the Western World Forged by the Fire of War? – Modern War Institute

Reed Robert Bonadonna, Soldiers and Civilization: How the Profession of Arms Thought and Fought the Modern World into Existence (Naval Institute Press, 2017) Retired Marine Col. Reed Bonadonna’s new book, Soldiers and Civilization, makes a remarkably bold claim right in its subtitle: that the profession of arms “thought and fought the modern world into existence.” That statement, well-supported in this book, is sometimes under-emphasized in discussions about the rise of modern civilization. I was glad to see the point made in such a logical and well-supported manner. I was also intrigued by the endorsements on the back cover, which included glowing reviews from the likes of Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and retired Gen. Robert Scales. But while an intriguing big idea and strong endorsements might have initially attracted me to the book, as a serving military professional and educator, what kept me hooked was its content. Covering in turn military and social developments from ancient Greece to modern Iraq, Soldiers and Civilization explains in detail how military developments and operations have, often unintentionally, resulted in the formation of complex governing structures and the spread of human rights. Bonadonna also addresses the importance of the military in state formation, maintenance, and cohesion but also points out that over the course of history, militaries have also brought down the societies they were intended to protect. Over the course of the book Bonadonna also reveals many paradoxes of the role of the military throughout the ages. For example, in the introduction he asserts, and then explains, that the soldier is “both the least civilized and the most civilized of persons.” He goes on to draw compelling causal links between militaries’ unique characteristic and the societies they represent and serve, attributing, for example, the success of Western civilization to what he describes as a distinctly Western way of warfighting. I also found his explanation of Charles Moskos’ “five aspects of the postmodern military” intriguing. And I appreciated his coverage of the impact of military academies and even special operations, two oft-overlooked subjects in the examination of the forces that shape both modern warfare and modern society. I found the conclusion, in which Bonadonna summarizes the past, present, and future of warfare and the military’s complex relationship with the state and people that it serves, to be particularly compelling. While emphasizing some of the positive influences of the military on the development of Western civilization, Bonadonna does not shirk from pointing out its shortcomings and failures. More importantly, he also acknowledges that the military is not fully able to achieve a “civilizing” role on its own and that understanding the military’s subordination to civil authority remains essential for both members of the profession of arms and their military masters.

EW: ATHENA laser weapon ‘kills’ 5 ‘outlaws’ – To Inform is to Influence

Directed Energy weapons are now a reality to the warfighter, now they are being used against drones / UAVs / RPVs.  This is a big deal. Defending against drones is incredibly difficult, Athena had a 100% success rate.  </end editorial> ATHENA laser weapon ‘kills’ 5 ‘outlaws’ By Allison Barrie, Fox News Silent, invisible, deadly. The powerful…

Rheinmetall to modernise Bundeswehr’s fleet of Leopard main battle tanks | Defence Blog

Rheinmetall has been awarded a contract to upgrade 104 Leopard 2 main battle tanks of the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr), the company said in a statement. The Düsseldorf-based technology group for mobility and security will be responsible for key parts of a combat performance upgrade programme that will bring 104 Leopard 2 tanks up to state-of-the-art design status. Coupled with additional services, the modernization package is worth a total of €118 million. The first serially retrofitted Leopard 2 A7V tanks will reach the Bundeswehr starting in 2020. Rheinmetall will be transforming a total of 68 Leopard 2A4, 16 Leopard 2A6 and 20 Leopard 2A7 main battle tanks, bringing them up to A7V standard. In the process, Rheinmetall specialists will be eliminating obsolescent features in the fire control computers and control consoles as well as installing a new laser rangefinder and thermal imaging device. In addition, Rheinmetall will be supplying the new L55A1 gun for the 68 Leopard 2A4 MBTs to be modernized. These tanks will therefore be able to fire the latest generation of armour-piercing ammunition in the upper pressure zone. All 104 Leopard 2A7V tanks will be capable of using Rheinmetall’s new programmable DM11 multipurpose round. The order underscores once again Rheinmetall’s leading role in tank main armament design and electronic components for modern fighting vehicles.


IW/IO/Cyber Reports


The Pope Is Writing a Document on Fake News – and That’s the Truth

The Pope Is Writing a Document on Fake News – and That’s the Truth

RT: Russophobia: RT rates the top 10 Kremlin critics & their hilarious hate campaigns – To Inform is to Influence

Seldom will I carry a full RT story because they are simply painful reading.  This time, however, RT names their top ten critics. No, I’m not on the list of these heavyweights. I’m glad to say I’ve chatted with two of them.  Not Hillary, however.  For her, bashing Russia is all about selling her book…

Corruption and disinformation: Backstage at Russian television – To Inform is to Influence

25 September 2017 | News and analysis, Top Story Recently a number of Russian media organisations and media professionals have found themselves under pressure. The news here is that, for a change, we are not talking about the kind of pressure that independent media experience when they are harassed by the authorities, when their journalists are  attacked, sometimes killed, or threatened to…

The pro-Kremlin pulp mill – To Inform is to Influence

28 September 2017 | Disinformation Review, Top Story This week, pro-Kremlin propagandists wrapped themselves in red tape. Significant paper work is needed to dig into the details: it’s all about official documents and agreements. The first target of the disinformation stream was Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s proposal for peacekeepers that would cover the whole of eastern Ukraine including the border…

The Rise of the Authoritarian Internet – To Inform is to Influence

SEPTEMBER 28, 2017 | DANIEL HOFFMAN In May 2015, Russia and China signed a “nonaggression pact” in cyberspace. They agreed not to target each other with cyber attacks and promote the idea of sovereignty in cyberspace. China and Russia are now seeking to eliminate virtual private network services (VPN’s) from their respective internet space. Russian President Vladimir…

Fake news: Washington Post clone emerges in China – To Inform is to Influence

By Lucy Hornby in Beijing and Matthew Garrahan in London The masthead said Washington Post, the Chinese-language articles credited the Post’s reporters and the news of the day mirrored the selection on the US website. The only problem? The Washington Post Chinese edition, which in a few months since launching has built up a loyal…

‘I screwed up royally’ accused leaker confessed to FBI agent

A young woman charged with leaking U.S. secrets to a news organization told FBI agents she was frustrated with her job as a government contractor when she tucked a classified report into her pantyhose and smuggled it out of a National Security Agency office in Georgia, according to court records.


US Domestic Policy Reports


CNN Exclusive: Fake black activist accounts linked to Russian government – To Inform is to Influence

CNN has proven a link between Twitter and Facebook accounts named Blacktivist and the Russian Government. Both accounts were created and used exclusively to fan the flames of racism, specifically in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD. The above image from their Twitter account has nothing to do with Black Lives Matter and everything to do…

Russian campaign on Twitter and Facebook aims to splinter America | World | The Times & The Sunday Times

Thousands of Twitter accounts linked to the Kremlin were churning out material designed to splinter America along political, racial and religious lines yesterda

Update: Russian Interference in 2016 US Election, Bots, & Misinformation

Twitter Suspends Accounts Linked To Alleged Russian Election Meddling

Twitter says it has suspended about 200 Russia-linked accounts and found nearly 2,000 ads placed by Russia’s RT television group in its investigation of Moscow’s alleged efforts to influenc…

Reuters: Twitter suspends Russia-linked accounts, but U.S. senator says response inadequate – To Inform is to Influence

Twitter suspended 200 Russian accounts, which appears absurdly low.  </end editorial> 28 September 2017 Dustin Volz, Joseph Menn Twitter declined to comment when asked about Warner’s comments. In addition to the private testimony by its officials, the company published a public blog post Thursday with its most detailed discussion to date of the steps it was…

Analysis: Twitter and Facebook help shape politics, for good… and ill | World | The Times & The Sunday Times

Russia has unleashed a shadowy propaganda campaign against the West. The use of Twitter and Facebook is new, but Moscow’s tactics echo the frostiest periods of

Warner blasts Twitter’s Russia presentation – POLITICO

Twitter’s briefing to intelligence staffers was ‘inadequate on every level,’ the senator said.

Senator Berates Twitter Over ‘Inadequate’ Inquiry Into Russian Meddling – The New York Times

Twitter told lawmakers investigating Russian election interference that it identified about 200 accounts linked to Kremlin disinformation, far fewer than others have found.

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