The only ATO map available now is no longer in English.
Some apt observations by AUSA panel members on Russia. Nice WSJ essay on Artic meddling by Russia. More on NATO Black Sea group.
More on Putin’s Foreign Legion. Siberians now living at living standards of “the level of the poorest African nations”, decline of Russian science, gastarbeiters from Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus being displaced by Central Asians and Caucasians, as the Eastern Europeans pursue work in the West, Russian Finance Minister Siluanov warns that low oil prices and high defence spending may lead Russia to collapse like the USSR did, Putinist scheme to give passports to anybody who can show ancestors who once lived in any part of the Tsarist Empire or USSR re-emerges, more reports on political repression, corruption and internal power shuffles. The dive down the abyss continues ….
Belarus invited to EU Eastern Partnership summit, and prospects for regime change analysed.
Some very apt observations, beyond the ability of too many dummies in the West to comprehend, by Marusya Zvirobyy on the problem of the “eternal enemy”. Erdogan visits Kyiv and declares support for Ukraine. In a fit of pique, the Putin-aligned Hungarian government demands that the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement be reconsidered (the same Hungary put on notice for violating EU rules), the vigorous debate on the Donbass reintegration bill continues. Zhdanov challenges Gen Muzhenko’s assessment of combat losses likely to be incurred by forceful ejection of the Russians from Donbass. Donbass fires continue. Kidnapped border guards were attending a scheduled official meeting with Russian border guards when abducted. Kyiv arms show sees prototypes of the T-64B based Sentinel tank / helicopter / infantry destroyer, the redesigned BTR-4MV1, and the redesigned BRDM-2 recon vehicle.
Multiple articles on the Iran deal, Iran makes a range of threats against the US over the deal, Russia alleges the US is only pretending to fight ISIS, large Russian ground force contingent deployed for the Deir ez-Zor offensive, an Su-24M FENCER D crashes with crew KIA at Khmeimim, Turkey warns Russia that the S-400 deal will not proceed if tech transfer expectations are not met – the cause of the HQ-9 deal cancellation, Turkey escalates diplomatic spat with the US.
Nice essay by Bay on media inability to comprehend POTUS interaction with DPRK. At AUSA, military leadership comments on DPRK risks, RoK politician discloses that DPRK hack of RoK network may have given them access to multiple RoK OPLAN documents for fighting DPRK, UNSC bans four DPRK cargo ships, DPRK restarts Kaesong Industrial Complex without consent of RoK, multiple background reports on DPRK, more on RoK BLU-114/B look-alike“Blackout-Bomb” graphite bomb program, trial of clueless assassins continues.
Catalan chaos continues.
Machine Gun Reflex Sight for Ma Deuce, multiple essays on Che Guevara, the best by Rogan, and a good WSJ article on cellphone induced loss of cognitive faculties.
Eight very interesting reports on IO/IW/cyber, COCW applies on burgers!
US domestic reports mostly on Russian election meddling, with excellent reports by Starr, and Confessore and Wakabayashe.
Russia / Russophone Reports
Russia is the most pressing near-term threat to the United States, while China remains a more long-term threat, said the U.S. Army Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Brig. Gen. Kevin Wulfhorst, during a panel at the Association of the United States Army Monday. “These great power competitors have invested heavily in anti-access area denial capabilities to compensate for their own perceived military weaknesses against the United States,” Wulfhorst said. “Both have demonstrated a desire and capacity to challenge the United States in their respective regions.” But state-sponsored information operations to intrude on the United States’ internal affairs are mostly practiced by the Russian Federation, and are especially concerning today, Wulfhorst said. Much of that Russian influence began in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, said Vera Zakem, director, Strategy and Partnerships for the Center for Strategic Studies at the CNA Corporation. One of Russia’s primary objectives is “to discredit Western institutions and what Western institutions stand for,” she added. “Where there are frictions in society, where there are internal divisions in society, Russia has tried to play up these divisions,” Zakem said. “If there are grievances to attach yourself, Russia will use those grievances.” Zakem pointed to Russia’s use of radio shows, such as Sputnik International, television shows, such as Russia Today, and social media posts as examples of a media propaganda portfolio Russia employs not only in the United States but across Eastern Europe. “It’s part of a constant campaign,” Zakem said. “So if you’re putting out constant lies, deception and propaganda, it actually becomes, to some degree, virtually impossible to counteract.” Weak institutions and cultural division in the Balkan states, for instance, are ripe for Russian interference, Zakem said. Russia has managed to kindle a strong alliance with Serbia exactly because there is a weak media vacuum it can occupy with RT and Sputnik and a strong sense of cultural identity it can exacerbate, she added.
I am alarmed when I read that the US Army wants to update its doctrine to include “space, cyberspace and traditional combat”. Unless explicitly stated, it appears the Army may overlook information as a key battlespace. As it is, the Army is already hobbled with three ‘centers’ for IO, all led by Colonels, with no…
Norway this week will decide whether to maintain unprofitable coal-mining operations that serve as a symbol of a power struggle between the NATO member and Russia.
NATO launched a new multinational force in Romania on Monday to counter Russia along its eastern flank and to check a growing Russian presence in the Black Sea following the Kremlin’s 2014 seizure of Crimea.
10.10.17 14:18 – NATO to increase its Black Sea group up to 4,000 people to retaliate Russia in own way NATO will strengthen its presence in Romania in response to Russia’s increase of its grouping in the Black Sea. View news.
A recent RAND wargame  on a potential Russian offensive into the Baltics brought talk of a “new Cold War” into sharp focus. The game made clear that NATO would struggle to prevent Russian forces from occupying the Baltics if it relied on the conventional forces now available.
Date 08.10.2017 Author Benas Gerdziunas (Lithuania) From the hacking attack on Estonia in 2007 to the fake news targeting the NATO battalions on the alliance’s eastern border in 2017 — the Baltic states have been the bull’s-eye of Russian-backed digital warfare. Ten years ago, Estonians awoke to find the country paralyzed by a mass cyberattack and in…
Paul Goble Staunton, October 9 – Vladimir Putin’s decision to allow foreigners to serve in the Russian military not only reflects Russia’s demographic problems and his desire to rope in more people from the former Soviet republics but also and perhaps more important is part of his ongoing effort to hide Russian combat losses from the Russian people. To the extent that the Kremlin leader succeeds, that will make his use of force abroad even more likely because it will remove one of the last constraints, admittedly already a weak one, on his actions — the feelings of the Russian people about the losses of their husbands and sons in Putin’s foreign adventures. One way Moscow has used to hide military losses is to simply lie about them. That is what many Russians appear to assume given the readiness of the Kremlin to disown those who are captured(babr24.com/msk/?IDE=165889, graniru.org/opinion/milshtein/m.264448.html and polit.ru/article/2017/10/05/syr/). Another related technique is to employ a wide variety of mercenary groups whose subordination to the Russian military command can be plausibly denied (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59D6208A93A07). But neither of these tactics have stopped Russians from asking how many of their own have died in Syria? In today’s Novaya gazeta, Irek Murtazin addresses that question and says that Russian experts tell him that the numbers Russians have been given, a few dozen or even less, are implausible on their face, given the losses one would expect in any military operation of this size (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/10/09/74125-ih-prosto-net). He discusses in detail the Vagner group, a mercenary outfit which the Russian defense ministry doesn’t take responsibility for and thus whose losses, although they are very much part of the Russian effort, are things the Russian military isn’t going to feel any responsibility for reporting. According to Murtazin, there is a debate within the Russian defense establishment as to whether the Vagner forces should be legalized as part of the Russian military, something a 2015 law allows for. Opponents of doing that include a deputy defense minister and the FSB’s military counter-intelligence branch. Backers are led by the head of the Main Intelligence Administration of the General Staff. While this is being sorted out, Russian losses will continue to mount, “hybrid” losses as it were in yet another “hybrid” war. It seems likely that Putin will use any foreigners who join the Russian military in a similar way, giving him the kind of deniability of responsibility he has used since “the polite little green men” went into Crimea.
Paul Goble Staunton, October 9 – Siberia, an enormous region whose people are fleeing or dying out because they have seen their standard of living reduced in recent years to the level of “the poorest African countries,” Yakov Mirkin says, should be declared one of “the zones of national disasters.” But what is still worse, the Moscow commentator suggests, is that what is happening to Siberia now may happen to Russia as a whole, in large part because the authorities are reinforcing the same negative trends that have hurt Siberia and failing to turn the country around (newizv.ru/article/general/09-10-2017/sibir-zhivet-na-urovne-bedneyshih-afrikanskih-stran). Moscow is proud that Russia as a whole has achieved an increase in life expectancy to 72.5 years, a figure that puts it between 95th and 100th place in the world. It is less enthusiastic about telling the world that in Siberia, the figure is much lower and is in fact at “the level of the poorest African nations,” Mirkin says. People who live in Moscow often forget about these differences or about the differences in GDP per capita. In the Russian capital, residents were responsible for about 33,000 US dollars in GDP per capita in 2013 and now in the midst of the crisis for about 17,000 US dollars in GDP per capita. But in Siberia, the figure now is only “a little more than 8,000 US dollars per capita,” one roughly half of that in Moscow and closer to sub-Saharan countries than to European ones. This reflects the continuing dependence of Russia as a whole and Siberia in particular on the export of raw materials rather than on a more diversified economy. Mirkin notes that it is sometimes said that ten million people could handle the extraction and export of raw materials. “But then the question arises: If 10 million people [are enough for that] what are the remaining 136 million people with their abilities and talents supposed to be doing?” Over the last two decades, he continues, the Russian economy has seen its structure simplified with many branches simply ceasing to exist and only the raw material exporting sector showing any significant growth. But instead of trying to help diversify the economy and promote economic development and a better life, the government is moving in the opposite direction. Its tax policies and its banking policies are driving things in exactly the wrong way, Mirkin says. It needs higher taxes so as to be able to deploy more resources to promote development lest the country fall further and further behind the rest of the world; and it needs banking policies that promote the development of new firms not simply support old ones. If there is not a change in direction soon, he suggests, Siberia’s sad fate will be Russia’s as a whole.
Paul Goble Staunton, October 9 – Vladimir Putin’s power is “not legal because he was not once chosen in correspondence with the law,” but it is “legitimate” because “the majority” of those people under his control recognize it as such since they know that they have little chance to change it, Igor Yakovenko says. Like criminal groups who took over portions of Russia at various points in the last two decades, Putin “came to power over the corpses of blown up apartment blocks, the deaths of hostages at Beslan,” and then” as his power grew, via the oppression of “tens and hundreds of thousands in Ukraine and Syria” (afterempire.info/2017/10/09/legitimacy/). The legitimacy Putin now enjoys has “nothing in common with the classical types of legitimacy described by Max Weber,” the Russian commentator says. It is not of the traditional kind because Putin is too cowardly to restore the tsarist system. It is not charismatic because only the most naïve could see him as an outstanding personality. And it is not legitimacy conferred by democratic, legal or rational arrangements. Indeed, Yakovenko argues, “the fake character of elections has transformed the power in Russia into something illegal and makes the legal type of legitimation impossible.” But his power is legitimate because the population puts up with it and isn’t prepared to challenge it. “The basic source of Putin’s legitimacy and that of his power is total state force and total state lies.” The forms of the former are varied and selective, and he forms of the latter are “unprecedented in history.” Together, they give Putin the kind of legitimacy that the Stockholm syndrome gives a hostage taker among his hostages. According to Yakovenko, “this type of legitimacy in Russian history has predominated more than two hundred years,” and its current hyperbolic form has an important consequence: “Power is becoming in principle alien,” just as that of criminal bosses are alien to the smaller groups of people they oppress. There is a myth that Yeltsin was weak and that Putin is strong. In reality, both the one and the other were weak, the commentator says. “But by his personal qualities, Yeltsin was an immeasurably stronger leader than Putin.” Unlike his successor, he wasn’t afraid of competitors or strong regional leaders. Under Yeltsin but not under Putin, Russia could justifiably be called “a federation.” And for a time, it almost ceased to be an empire.” But that time has passed. Putin because of his cowardliness and weakness cannot bear anyone in the country to have “the slightest signs of their own legitimacy.” He alone must have that quality, however it has been achieved. Such an arrangement is inherently unstable, Yakovenko says, but it is a mistake to predict where and when everything will come apart. It could start in the North Caucasus and especially in Daghestan or it could come from “any region” such as Siberia, the Urals, or even Moscow and St. Petersburg” whose interests Putin has denigrated just as much. But one thing is clear, the commentator says, and it is this: “the longer this regime holds on, the greater is the possibility that is fall will lead to the disintegration of Russia into independent states” and at the same time “the less likely it becomes that these independent states will again have the chance to come together into some kind of confederation or federation.” The reason for that is that “with each year the Putin regime lasts, the degradation of legal institutions and the alienation of people from the power grows; and this means that the base of the post-Putin independent states could become precisely regional [criminal groups]” who will maintain themselves by force and lies and by displaying hatred to the idea of Russia as a whole.
Paul Goble Staunton, October 9 – On Friday, Aleksandr Sergeyev, the new president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said Russian science was “not in a complex situation but in a bad one” and could not be expected to achieve great results without larger investments in infrastructure (rg.ru/2017/10/06/aleksandr-sergeev-ran-dolzhna-stat-glavnoj-nauchnoj-organizaciej-strany.html). The academician’s bleak assessment was in a way confirmed when over the last week, the Nobel Prizes were awarded, and again as has been the case every year since 2010 not one Russian scientist was named a recipient. One news agency offers four comments on the situation (rosbalt.ru/piter/2017/10/07/1651452.html and rosbalt.ru/blogs/2017/10/08/1651572.html). Each of them provides insights into the broad problems now having an impact on Russian science and hence on Russia’s future. Yegor Zadereyev, a senior scholar at the Institute of Biophysics at the Siberian Division of the Academy of Sciences, points out that fundamental breakthroughs require enormous infrastructure projects, the kind which Russia has not been building since the end of the Soviet Union. Just how underfunded Russian science now is, the Siberian scholar says, is reflected in the fact that the Russian government provides about the same amount of money for the entire Russian Academy of Sciences as a single major university in the United States spends on its operations each year. Aleksandr Nevzorov, a Moscow commentator, says that there is no conspiracy against Russians. Instead, the Russians are doing themselves in for how can one talk seriously about scientific research if there is a theology faculty at many supposedly scholarly institutions in Russia. Now, he continues, “we are observing a cult of ignorance, darkness, and thoughtlessness. “For science to develop, there will have to be another state with a different ideology … All this will not appear,” he continues, “in that caricature in which we live.” Andrey Stolyarov, an embryologist, agrees. He says that “in science there is no freedom, It has become clan-based, including in Russia,” and that makes it hard for individual scholars without a strong community and good infrastructure to break through. Moreover, “in Russia, there is no money for science.” And Sergey Leskov, a journalist, says the situation is not only bad but getting worse: “With each passing year, the likelihood of the awarding of a major scientific award to a scholar working in Russia is falling. We are more likely to receive an Oscar for a film than a Nobel for science.”
Paul Goble Staunton, October 9 – Over the last year, there have been serious reductions in the number of gastarbeiters in Russia from Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova that have been more than matched by increases in the number from Central Asia and Azerbaijan, according to new statistics gathered by the Presidential Academy of Economics and State Service. And because the new arrivals are more culturally distinct from Russians – most are Muslims – than are those they are replacing – many of whom are Orthodox Christians and speak Russian – that sets the stage for new tensions between the guest workers, on the one hand, and Russians, on the other. Indeed, there is every possibility that this demographic shift could reignite many of the xenophobic attitudes among Russians about Central Asians that had declined largely as a result of the Russian government’s incessant anti-Ukrainian and anti-Western propaganda over the last several years. The statistics are published in Moscow’s Komsomolskaya Pravda today (kp.ru/daily/26741.5/3769430/). They are given below. The first number is the number of gastarbeiters from a particular country on August 1, 2016; the second is the number on August 1 of this year; and the third is the change plus or minus: Uzbekistan 1,827,000; 1,975,000; an increase of 148,000 Tajikistan 987,000; 1,077,000; an increase of 99,000 Kyrgyzstan 576,000; 622,000; an increase of 46,000 Azerbaijan 515,000; 555,000; an increase of 40,000 Armenia 528,000; 518,000; a decrease of 10,000 Kazakhstan 597,000; 568,000; a decrease of 29,000 Belarus 727,000; 686,000; a decrease of 41,000 Moldova 491,000; 430,000; a decrease of 61,000 Ukraine 2,541,000; 2,325,000; a decrease of 216,000 Kazakhstan is the only exception to a pattern that is making the gastarbeiters more Muslim and hence more distinct from the Russian population; and it may not be as much of an exception as it appears. That is because it is at least possible that many of the gastarbeiters from that country are in fact ethnic Russians from its northern regions.
Paul Goble Staunton, October 10 – Yesterday, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov became the most senior Moscow official to say what many independent analysts have said before: large increases in defense spending and falling oil prices led to the disintegration of the USSR, and the same two trends can have the same impact on the Russian Federation. The finance minister said that spending on the army and the production of military goods has now reached the level of three trillion rubles and that such spending, unlike investments in other sectors, “does not have a productive character” (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/silaunov-sravnil-rossiyu-s-sssr-pered-razvalom-1003529776). The Soviet authorities at in the 1980s faced the same problems when they increased military spending, Siluanov continued, and “when to this was added a decline in the price of oil, we saw what this led to: the state disintegrated.” Failure to recognize these linkages can have equally serious consequences for the Russian Federation.
Konstantin Zatulin is not giving up on his dream of turning passports into weapons. Back in March, the State Duma deputy proposed legislation that would grant Russian citizenship to any Russian speaker who lived in the Soviet Union, as well as to the Russian-speaking descendants of those who lived in the Russian Empire. Zatulin’s bill — which he co-sponsored with Natalya Poklonskaya — has not passed. But it has also not gone away. And the lawmaker has been busy this week lobbying for it in interviews with Russian media. WATCH: Today’s Daily Vertical Under the proposed legislation, millions of Ukrainian, Belarusian, Georgian, Moldovan, and Kazakh citizens would suddenly become eligible for Russian passports. So would many EU citizens, as the bill would also cover Russian speakers in the Baltic states, Finland, and Poland — all of which, of course, were once part of the Russian Empire. The potential for mischief — for the Kremlin to meddle in the affairs of its neighbors under the pretext of protecting Russian citizens — is, of course, enormous. Remember, Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008, which resulted in Abkhazia and South Ossetia becoming de facto Russian protectorates, was preceded by the Kremlin issuing Russian passports to residents of those territories. Passportization can easily become a pretext for annexation. What is not clear at this point is how much Kremlin support Zatulin’s bill actually enjoys. It could be a quixotic quest by an overzealous lawmaker. Or it could be an elaborate psyop. But what is clear is that this legislation’s fate is an important barometer of Vladimir Putin’s intentions regarding Russia’s neighbors.
ON MY MIND Vladimir Putin has been firing a governor almost every day. He has already sacked two this week. Last week, he dismissed four. And he canned three more in late September. As I noted yesterday on The Daily Vertical, this amounts to an attempt to give the regime a fresh appearance in advance of presidential elections in March. The reshuffle is also consistent with media reports that have suggested that Putin’s election campaign will focus on populist themes and present the Kremlin leader as the champion of ordinary people against corrupt officials. Which is pretty laughable when you think about it. But the Kremlin’s media machine will pull out all the stops to make it work. What this indicates is that the Kremlin understands that Russia is not immune to the antiestablishment anger that is shaking up politics in the West — and is spooked by Aleksei Navalny’s ability to tap into that anger. In a piece featured below, Nabi Abdullaev argues that the reshuffle is designed to showcase “Putin’s commitment to improving and modernizing governance.” But Abdullaev adds that the new governors have neither plans to conduct reforms nor a mandate from Moscow to do so. Which means this is a Potemkin solution to a problem that is not going away.
The director of Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s Anticorruption Foundation (FBK), Roman Rubanov, was briefly detained and told to return to a law enforcement agency for questionin…
Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed that all investigations into election violations detected in elections in Russia last month will be completed. Russian media said Putin made the pledg…
Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the governor of the Ivanovo Oblast, the 10th regional leader to lose his job in recent weeks ahead of a March 2018 presidential election. In a decre…
The Russian Justice Ministry has warned Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that it may impose restrictions on some of the broadcaster’s operations in Russia and Ukraine’s annexed Crime…
World leaders, designer labels, artists and more unveiled their tributes to Russian President Vladimir Putin for his 65th birthday.
My apartment building was made to house the first generation of Soviet élite. Instead, it was where the revolution went to die.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has vowed to spend tens of billions of dollars to prop up the country’s oil-and-gas sector, which has been hurt by low global prices and fallin…
Allan Chumak, a self-styled "distance healer" whose televised sessions drew in millions of viewers seeking a cure for their ills in the years before the Soviet collapse, has died in Mosco…
BRUSSELS — EU sources say that for the first time, the bloc is ready to welcome Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to its Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit next month. Sources close to th…
(PONARS Policy Memo) Popular protests shook Belarus this past February-March. Tens of thousands of people—significant by the country’s standards—went out on to the streets of the capital and in various towns.
A Belarusian firm has become a player in the global theme park business by producing robotic dinosaurs. (RFE/RL’s Belarus Service)
“Eternal enemy” – volunteer and military instructor Marusya Zviroby on the war with Muscovy
Russia will never cease encroachments on Ukrainian lands. Given that this is happening for hundreds of years, the only way for Ukraine in such a situation is to always be ready for a worthwhile rebuff to occupiers. A military instructor, volunteer Marusya Zvirobyy announced this on ObozTV . “The army has taught that underestimating an opponent can not be in any way. And if you look in the context of the historical, against this young state, which calls itself “Russia”, then it should be noted that when there were raids on the Kievan Rus on the other hand, when these nomads attacked us, if we gave Trendyuli in response, they never retreated. They step back, analyzed the situation, gathered resources and attacked again. This is as much as there is Muscovy, “Zviroby noted. According to her, this is just another turn of aggression on the part of the northern neighbor, which lasts for hundreds of years. “They will never stop, this is our eternal enemy. It must be understood that this is an eternal war. We must be prepared for it forever. We can not afford to relax and wait until Russia collapses, “the volunteer stressed. Also, the volunteer is confident that the aggressor will come again with the war in the future. “At least all the people who have actively participated in this war – they have stuck their nose just in the wall, more precisely in the book of history, and now they know that this is our eternal war. Moreover, now they know that not only we must be ready, but also our children should be prepared. If in this war there will not be a point, then this same enemy will come to my children and grandchildren “, – summed up the volunteer.
KYIV — During a visit to Kyiv, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country will continue to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. "We neither did, no…
10.10.17 11:39 – Turkey one of top 5 trade partners and top 10 foreign investors in Ukraine, – Poroshenko The Ukrainian and Turkish delegations discussed the cooperation between two countries in trade, economy and investment in detail during the talks on Oct. 9. View news.
In the opinion of the Hungarian authorities, growing international pressure on Kyiv is the only way to influence Kyiv
Foreign minister responds to Siarto’s statement on revision of EU association accord. “I plan to address all issues in Budapest on 12 October.” Main – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Ukraine should resist provocations of Hungarian politicians – opinion. “Relations between Moscow and Budapest are no secret to anyone and Hungary is not a role model.
Members of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine propose imposing temporary restrictions on trips to Russia for Ukrainian state employees, officials and politicians, according to draft law No. 7187 on amendments to certain legislative acts of Ukraine (concerning the introduction of temporary restrictions on the rights of Ukrainian citizens to travel from Ukraine to the aggressor state). News 10 October from UNIAN.
10.10.17 15:01 – After Russia is recognized aggressor country, only people with specific functions will be able to travel there, – Turchynov After Ukraine recognizes Russia as the aggressor country, only people performing specific tasks, like spies and scouts, will be able to travel there. View news.
This will be a chapter or an article on instruments and international activities in liberation and de-occupation of the Crimea
10.10.17 10:58 – Amendments on Crimea to be included in Donbas bill, – Iryna Lutsenko Presidential Envoy in the parliament, deputy head of Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction Iryna Lutsenko stated that the bill on reintegration of the occupied areas will be amended, including on occupied Crimea matter. View news.
KYIV — Ukraine’s top prosecutor has claimed that the killing of a former Russian lawmaker who was shot dead in Kyiv in March was ordered by a former partner of the victim’s wife, an…
A statement made by the General Staff Chief, Viktor Muzhenko, about the numerous losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine should the Donbas be liberated by force is more political than military. Its goal is to confirm the opinion in the minds and souls of Ukrainians that there is no alternative to Poroshenko’s peaceful plan, military expert Oleg Zhdanov stated in an interview with 24 TV. According to the expert, Muzhenko can’t make comments about the other option since he supports Poroshenko’s policy. It is possible, Zhdanov says, to forecast various variants of losses. In one case, the losses will be huge, and in the other one, they will be minimal. If the enemy has 200 tanks, 300 combat vehicles, 100 multiple rocket launchers, and 200 guns, then it will be necessary to attack, as in 1941, and the losses will be serious. The main factors in these calculations are the strength of the enemy’s troops, the number of tanks, guns, and aircraft, and the strength of the defensive forces, as well as their motivation. The Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, Oleksandr Turchynov, officially announced the number of the enemy forces at about “35,000 – 40,000 people, including mercenaries and collaborators. At the same time, Russian intelligence estimates our forces to be about 80,000 – 90,000, giving us an almost threefold advantage,” Zhdanov notes. Therefore, the military notes, it is difficult to say on what ratios Muzhenko based his calculations that estimated such big losses. After all, Ukraine still has partners who help us. In particular, two aviation units are concentrated in Poland and the Baltics. Nobody will let Russia escalate the conflict in the Donbass. If the Russian Federation decides to use aviation, then NATO will do the same, alongside the Ukrainian Air Defense Forces. In order to talk about aviation success, it is necessary to destroy our Air Defense Forces,” Zhdanov stressed. Earlier, the chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Viktor Muzhenko, said that if there were a forceful return of the Donbas, Ukraine would suffer huge losses among both military and civilian populations. Muzhenko noted that, according to the General Staff’s calculations, a ten-day military operation involving aviation could result in the loss of 10,000 – 12,000 personnel.
Militants launched 12 attacks on positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in ATO area in Donbas over the past day.
Russia’s hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 12 times in the past 24 hours, with four Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 10 October from UNIAN.
10.10.17 15:48 – Ukrainian Spetsnaz trained by US counterparts to conduct night operations. PHOTOS+VIDEO U.S. military experts, within joint projects on international technical aid to Ukraine, trained Ukrainian Spetsnaz to conduct special night operations. View video news.
10.10.17 13:39 – Ukrainian border guards were kidnapped during consultation meeting, – Border Service Head Tsyhykal The State Border Guard Service has decided to limit the number of border consultation meetings with Russia due to kidnapping of two border guards in the Sumy region. View news.
In 2018, the Turkish government will ship to Ukraine FM-band tactical communication systems
Next year the Defense Ministry plans to significantly increase the financial resource for modernization and purchase of new equipment.
The Ukrainian military–industrial complex meets all the basic needs of the army, the National Guard, the Security Service, border guards, police and other law enforcement agencies.
At the XIV International Specialized Exhibition “Weapons and Security 2017”, which will start tomorrow in Kyiv, the state concern “Ukroboronprom” will demonstrate the achievements of the defense industrial complex of Ukraine. In particular, a premiere demonstration of the new warrior “Sentinel”, which is a joint project of Zhytomyr and Kiev armored factories and the ARChC “Artem”, which are part of the State Enterprise “Ukroboronprom”, is taking place. The new development is intended for the fire support of tanks on the battlefield, ensuring their protection and destruction of both aerial and ground targets – from calculations of anti-tank missile systems, to enemy armored vehicles and helicopters.
The state-owned enterprise “Mykolayiv Armored Plant”, a part of the concern “Ukroboronprom”, will present a new version of the modernization of the Soviet armored intelligence machine BRDM-2 at the exhibition “Weapons and Security 2017” in Kyiv. The version of BRDM-2 with enhanced protection and improved tactical and technical characteristics is developed in accordance with the requirements of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and requests of a number of foreign customers. The arrangement of the nose of the BRDM has been substantially modified. In order to strengthen the reservation of the front, it was decided to completely abandon the hatchways of the driver and commander. It is possible to install additional armor protection. It was also anticipated that an updated combat vehicle will receive a more powerful and economical diesel engine FTP Iveco Tector.
photo © Pavel Voloshin
image © vk.com/ukrainian_arsenal
Ukraine’s MP Nadia Savchenko on fistfights in Ukraine’s parliament, release of the hostages, and lost opportunities of Ukraine’s territorial cohesion
Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports
Iran Focus London, 9 Oct – During a dinner for military commanders and their spouses last week, United States President Donald Trump made reference to the “calm before the storm”. There has been much speculation about what the president meant by this comment, but there are rumours that he was sending a strong message to Iran and North Korea about their current behaviour. It may be his way of warning the two countries that unless they change their behaviour, there will be some serious consequences. Both countries have been testing to see how far they can push Trump and to see what action he will take. Iran is working on its own weapons and North Korea is testing long-range missiles and nuclear weapons. During the election campaign, Trump spoke a lot about how he would act faced with rogue players in the international community and criticised leaders who announced what action would be taken, giving the rouge players warning about what would happen. He maintained that any action should come unannounced and he seems to be keeping to his promise. Dealing with Iran and North Korea is a real challenge because both nations have made it very clear that traditional diplomacy will not work. He needs to decide whether economic sanctions on North Korea will continue, despite them having little effect now. He must also decide whether to decertify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal. His deadline to decide about Iran is 15th October. If he does decide not to recertify Iran, like he has done twice already in the past (albeit reluctantly), Congress will have 60 days to decide whether pre-agreement economic sanctions will be reimposed. Many believe that Trump will de-certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal, but will then encourage Congress to hold off on reimposing the crippling economic sanctions. This will enable Trump to address and properly deal with Iran’s actions and all the issues that are not dealt with in the deal – all without actually scrapping it. If the sanctions were to be reimposed, the deal would almost certainly unravel and Iran has already threatened to start enriching uranium if this happens. Experts have warned that Iran and North Korea could be cooperating and sharing knowledge and expertise on their nuclear programs, and it is feared that Iran will become an even more serious threat than North Korea. Trump described the deal as “one-sided” and an “embarrassment” to the United States, and unfortunately these descriptions are very true. Former President Barack Obama who negotiated the deal was so desperate to leave this as his legacy that he conceded to Iran’s demands and requests time and time again. The result was a deal that gives Iran the capability to construct a huge nuclear arsenal while adhering to the letter of the agreement. So, now all we can do is wait and see what the “storm” brings. Hopefully it will not be a military storm, but Trump has always said that this option is not off the table. Diplomatic options may prove to be pointless with the two rogue regimes, so an economic solution may be the most likely. Whatever it is, it is certain that there needs to be a “storm” because both nations will continue with their aggression and threats if no action is taken.
As U.S. President Donald Trump threatens the Iran nuclear deal, those living in Tehran feel that an accord they have yet to benefit from may already be doomed, hardening their skepticism about America.
Commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards know Trump will brand them terrorists and pull out of the nuke deal, so they’re readying their responses against U.S. bases in the region.
The head of Iran’s nuclear agency warned the United States on Tuesday against undermining the 2015 nuclear deal, saying international nonproliferation efforts as well as Washington’s international standing would suffer as a result.
Iran told the United States on Tuesday that it will keep “all options on table” if President Donald Trump designates its elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a terrorist organization.
Though U.S. defense officials say the landmark nuclear accord is in America’s interest, Trump looks poised to decertify it – where does the rest of the Western world stand?
The timing of THAAD sale is reminiscent of Patriot interceptor sale approved two weeks after Iran deal signed in 2015.
The United States and its allies ought to think in terms of \’viable partners,’ ‘irreconcilables,’ and ‘unknowns.’
The accusation is the latest sign of rising tensions between Moscow and Washington.
Russia on Tuesday accused the U.S. of only pretending to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq to purposely slow the advance of the Syrian army, which is backed by Russia, Reuters reported.
Russia accused the United States on Tuesday of pretending to fight Islamic State and of deliberately reducing its air strikes in Iraq.
A large number of Russian troops are on their way to Syria to take part in Deir ez-Zor offensive, reports Al Masdar news agency citing its …
A Russian warplane veered off a runway at the country’s air base in Syria and suffered damage, killing its crew, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said. The Sukhoi Su-24 jet was taking off fro…
An Su-24 military aircraft has crashed at Khmeimim Airbase in Syria after overshooting the runway, the Russian Defense Ministry reports. The crew has been killed.
The Kremlin says an agreement to sell Russian missiles to Saudi Arabia does not pose a threat to any other country. Speaking on October 9, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the deal to suppl…
CRAIOVA, Romania (Reuters) – NATO ally Turkey is not seeking to antagonize the U.S.-led alliance by purchasing Russian S-400 surface-to-air missiles and is in talks with France and Italy to buy similar weapons, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. Ankara’s decision to buy the Russian system has been seen in some Western capitals as a snub to the alliance, given tensions with Moscow over Ukraine and Syria, while the deal raised concern because the weapons cannot be integrated into NATO defense. But Stoltenberg said it was a sovereign decision and that he had talked it through with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. “There hasn’t been any request from Turkey to integrate the S-400 into NATO air defense system,” Stoltenberg told Reuters in an interview on a Belgian military plane returning from Romania late on Monday.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey could seek a deal to acquire a missile defense system with another country if Russia does not agree to joint production of a defense shield, its foreign minister was quoted as saying on Monday. NATO member Turkey is seeking to buy the S-400 system from Russia, alarming Washington and other members of the Western alliance, and President Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara has already paid a deposit on the deal. Turkey hopes that the deal would allow it to acquire the technology to develop its own defense system, and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, in an interview with Turkish newspaper Aksam, said the two countries had agreed on joint production. “If Russia doesn’t want to comply, we’ll make an agreement with another country,” he said when asked about reports that Russia was reluctant to share the technology. “But we haven’t got any official negative replies (from Russia)”. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, asked in a conference call with reporters if the deal would go ahead if Moscow did not agree to joint production, said: “Contacts and negotiations at an expert level in the context of this deal are ongoing. This is all I can say for now.” Cavusoglu said Turkey had initially hoped to reach agreement with producers from NATO allies. Western firms which had bid for the contract included U.S. firm Raytheon, which put in an offer with its Patriot missile defense system. Franco-Italian group Eurosam, owned by the multinational European missile maker MBDA and France’s Thales, came second in the tender.
With its arrest warrants and visa freezes, the Turkey-U.S. standoff looks more like a flashpoint between enemies than a difference of views among friends.
Last month President Trump said Washington and Ankara were “as close as we have ever been.”.
Ankara asked for the reversal of the U.S.’ decision to suspend visa procedures for Turkish citizens while indicating that it is Turkey’s right to try its citizens
Bass, who previously served as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, has been a central figure who continually and provocatively came out in support of terrorist orga…
The United States has punished Turkish and U.S. citizens alike by suspending visa services, Turkey’s prime minister said on Tuesday, accusing Washington of taking an emotional and inappropriate decision against an ally.
DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports
North Korea has a choice: Chinese intervention and survival or Donald Trump’s war of annihilation.
President Trump tweeted Monday that U.S. policy on North Korea has been unsuccessful, and that America has given “billions of dollars”…
North Korea and the U.S. have been enemies for decades, but tensions have increased significantly over the past several months.
This week marks two significant dates for North Korea – the anniversaries of its first nuclear test and the foundation of the ruling Worker’s Party of Korea.
North Korea is widely expected to conduct another missile test within the next ten days to mark two major political events.
U.S. defense chief tells annual gathering of the Association of the U.S. Army that emphasis is for now on diplomacy and sanctions but counsels preparedness if they fail.
America’s relationship with North Korea remains a diplomatic one, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said Monday, but he urged members of the military to be prepared in case the situation breaks down.
US Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley made clear Monday what a bind the US is in when it comes to solving the challenge of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, stating there are “no risk-free options” but said there is also not an “indefinite amount of time” to solve the crisis.
Suspicions that South Korea’s classified wartime operational plan may now be in the hands of the North Korean army continued to roil South Korea on Tuesday after a lawmaker revealed more disturbing details about the alleged North Korean hacking of South Korea’s military network system last year. According to Rep. Rhee Chul-hee of the ruling Democratic Party, a trove of operational schemes drafted by the South Kor…
The tensions with the North took on a different tone this summer, and remain a constant backdrop for a trip to Seoul, where military cyberwar sometime spills into the civilian world.
With rare expediency, Security Council implements new measures to try and stop banned trade with rogue nuclear state
Signs of vehicle movement and electricity use within the joint industrial park in the North Korean city of Kaesong have been detected since March, Seoul’s Unification Ministry revealed Tuesday, amid growing concerns over the North’s unilateral operation of the zone. The ministry warned that the North should refrain from operating the complex without Seoul’s consent, stressing that South Korean firms hold the prope…
South Korea’s unification ministry said Tuesday that North Korea should not unilaterally resume operations at a now-shuttered joint industrial complex, as the move violates the property rights of local firms running factories there.The government said that there are no specific signs that confirm North Korea’s reopening of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, though some bus movements and illuminated street lamps have bee…
Security researchers say penetrating North Korea’s hacking operations and even its domestic intranet is possible. But not enough to stop its nuclear threat.
On the nights when the winds are light and the skies are dark, hundreds of helium-filled balloons are sent up and away from multiple points in South Korea, destined a few miles away and into North Korea.
min Park and James Pearson
Five defectors on growing up under the Kim regime, and what the U.S. gets wrong about Pyongyang.
Roughly 70% of all North Korean defectors are female .
South Korea is adding the weapons to its arsenal as part of one of recently-developed military programs, the so-called “Kill Chain.”
South Korea is prepared to use non-lethal graphite bombs — also known as “blackout bombs” — to short-circuit the North’s electrical grid in the event…
The former Clinton and Obama Administration intel chief takes the pulse of the nuclear crisis.
SHAH ALAM, Oct 10 – Malaysia is the second country ever involved with VX nerve agent attack, the High Court here was told today. Dr S. Raja, 42, who heads the Chemistry Department’s Chemical | Malaysia | Malay Mail Online
The view shows what may be Kim Jong Nam’s final recorded moments of life after he fell perilously ill at the airport
Foreign Policy Reports
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says Madrid will “do everything that legislation allows” to prevent Catalonia from acting on an Oct. 1 referendum that overwhelming went for independence.
The anarchists, free marketeers and social democrats united in a quest for sovereignty agree on little else, which could become a problem.
The Catalan government’s determination to break from Spain faces its moment of truth, as the regional parliament meets to consider a declaration of independence that risks an ironclad backlash from Madrid, the threat of economic meltdown and international isolation.
As Spain and Catalonia head toward a constitutional collision over the region’s claim to independence, lawmakers on both sides of the crisis are pointing to a way out: north, to Basque Country.
Strategy / History / Capability Publications
The new sight, called the MGRS, or Machine Gun Reflex Sight, comes with two ballistic cams, which allows an operator to easily switch between use with the M2 or M240.
Che Guevara was definitely evil, almost certainly a moron, and possibly also a psychopath. This is worth noting because Monday is the 50th anniversary of Guevara’s death. Consider the Che’s life story. In his early years, Guevara seemed genuinely moved by the injustices visited upon the rural peoples of South America. Unfortunately, he took his righteous anger and translated it into a pursuit of perpetual war. Cuba was his first major adventure. As soon as Castro’s revolution had been effected, Guevara became the proud servant of communist moral delusion. Acting as Castro’s Treasury Secretary, Guevara ignored the failures and associated moral hardships his collectivist policies imposed. But like Napoleon the pig, Guevara was convinced of his own innate better-knowledge. In Cuba, Guevara’s economic leadership would set the tone for the horrors yet to come. That’s important to note, because Guevara’s Cuba period is that most idolized by his fans. Yet the history shows that Guevara in Cuba wasn’t a Robin Hood for the people, but rather, an ideological fanatic. Indeed, the Latin American Nikita Khrushchev was determined to one-up the Soviet overlord. When Khrushchev removed nuclear warheads from Cuba and ended the Cuban Missile Crisis, Guevara was furious: he hated America and would never yield to compromises for peace. This evil fanaticism to a broader point: Guevara may have been a psychopath. In Jon Lee Anderson’s biography of Guevara, the author notes a little-noticed excerpt from Guevara’s diary in which the Che describes executing a peasant, Eutímio Guerra. Accusing Guerra of betraying him, Guevara explains, “The situation was uncomfortable for the people and for Eutimio so I ended the problem giving him a shot with a .32 pistol in the right side of the brain, with exit orifice in the right temporal. He gasped a little while and was dead.” Why such detail in the description? Either because he was a psychopath, or because for ideological zealots like Guevara, purifying the Earth of non-believers is an act of the highest moral order. In Guevara’s blood lust, we see his mental union with the propaganda offerings of ISIS: both revel in the artistry of taking lives. Nevertheless, Guevara was also intellectually defective to the point of being a moron. Once, lamenting the support for capitalism in the United States, Guevara lamented that “it is not always possible to make the people in general see this.” Here we see Guevara’s triumph of ideological intransigence over introspection and honest analysis. In many ways, Guevara’s fervent obstinance planted the roots of far-left delusion that prevail today. It doesn’t matter that every population that tries out capitalism, such as that of Vietnam, does better than under communism. Instead, whether Venezuela or the United States, the far-left embraces the Che’s myth of a delusional public in need of an omniscient “more equal” class to rule over them.
National security adviser Walt Whitman Rostow called the execution “stupid” in a memo to President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Che Guevara was killed 50 years ago, on Oct. 9, 1967.
Military planners in Israel are looking to 3-D printing to bolster wartime self-sufficiency in the event of embargoes or supply chain disruptions.
Research suggests that as the brain grows dependent on phone technology, the intellect weakens.
Choke on Coffee Warning applies. Everything about this article in Pravda is wrong, Turkey suddenly backpedals on its alliance with Russia. The article was published at 17:32 local time, here in Washington DC. I cannot, however, find ANYTHING to corroborate the story. Even the link to the corresponding Pravda.ru article reads nothing like this English version. Turkey…
An international beef sizzled over the weekend after social media grilled a fake Russian report about a New York restaurant honoring President Vladimir Putin’s 65th birthday with a special hamburger. Russian state media served up a story on October 7, Putin’s birthday, claiming that Lucy’s Cantina Royale in New York City had created a special…
Seldom have I had the stuffings scared out of me by something which appears so sinister, right out of a Spectre role in a James Bond film. Seriously, if these guys do not remind you of the former KGB, you don’t know enough about the KGB. They also destroy almost any faith I have in…
When Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono met at the State Department in August, it was taken as another sign that the two nations consider cybersecurity as important as land, air or sea defensive capabilities.
With more than half of its 1.4 billion people online, the world’s most populous country is home to a slew of cyberspies and hackers. Indeed, China has likely stolen more secrets from businesses and governments than any other country.
While Israel demonstrated many of the integrated C4I capabilities in Israel’s 2014 Gaza war, the drill marked the first time the IDF could evaluate technologies, tactics and procedures on such a broad scale.
The program harvests and remixes real tweets to generate a convincing online environment for wargames large and small.
Which leads me to ask, are there any secure VPNs out there that really don’t keep logs? What does this mean to the Circumvention Technology folks? Does this mean that there is no actual or real anonymity on the internet? If the FBI can do this, what is to prevent the same from being done…
US Domestic Policy Reports
U.S. government-sponsored Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) said on Monday Moscow had threatened to brand their Russian language service projects as “foreign agents.”
American voting machines are full of foreign-made hardware and software, including from China, and a top group of hackers and national security officials says that means they could have been infiltrated last year and into the future.
Once we begin to see Russia as a supremacist state, we will be able to identify its tactics.
By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and DAISUKE WAKABAYASHI OCT. 9, 2017 YouTube videos of police beatings on American streets. A widely circulated internet hoax about Muslim men in Michigan collecting welfare for multiple wives. A local news story about two veterans brutally mugged on a freezing winter night. All of these were recorded, posted or written by Americans. Yet all ended up becoming grist for…
Full disclosure, here is the article in which I worked with the author. </end editorial> With hacks, pro-Putin trolls and fake news, the Kremlin is ratcheting up its efforts to turn American servicemembers and veterans into a fifth column. By BEN SCHRECKINGER June 12, 2017 In the fall of 2013, Veterans Today, a fringe American…
Oxford University researchers show that not only have current and former military personnel been targeted with Russian propaganda on social media, but they have been interacting with it to a significant degree, indicating that the messages may be having some impact.
Russia targeted U.S.
The Washington Post is reporting that Google has for the first time uncovered evidence that Russian operatives used the Internet giant’s platforms in an effort to interfere in the 2016 U.S…
Google has discovered it sold tens of thousands of dollars worth of online ads to Russian-linked actors trying to influence the 2016 presidential election, according to the Washington Post. The Post reported that the ads cost less than $100,000 and were deployed on a variety of Google’s platforms, including Youtube, Gmail and in search results. People…
Google has reportedly uncovered a Russian disinformation campaign across its ad platform