Russia complains loudly about US BMD capabilities, claiming performance well in excess of US reports. Russia complains about US forces in Baltics. Nordic / Baltic reactions to Russia. Russia may deploy more Iskander / SS-26 STONE to Kaliningrad.
Multiple reports on Russia’s descent – “Orthodox radicalism is the byproduct of Russian propaganda” vs. ethnic / regional separatism, concentration of power at the top, inversion of migration flows, personality cults, corruption – all self-inflicted.
Belarus workforce problems as personnel depart to work overseas. Moldova loses EU funding for a year.
Ukraine sees proposal for “Syvash Canal” to bypass Kerch Strait bridge. Russians threatened kidnapped border guards with jail – Russia’s predilection to snatch hostages. FP on Ukraine at AUSA, Amb Chaly on US aid. Donbass fires continue. Arguments over language bill persists.
POTUS expect to introduce more aggressive Iran policy to discourage foreign interventions by Tehran. Risk of clashes between Kurdish militia and Iraq. Turkey declares interest in new Russian S-500 ABM.
Former EMP commission members testify that a successful large scale high altitude EMP attack by the DPRK could kill 90% of US population by starvation and breakdown of essential services – they may be right. DPRK hack claimed to have yielded 235 GB of classified data. China and Malaysia trade with DPRK dives. Former Singapore diplomat proposes Japan and RoK acquire nuclear weapons. More DPRK background reports. Tectonic damage at Punggye-ri test site.
More on Russian funded political corruption in Europe, PACE gives up on Russia sanctions to retain Russian funding contributions, what cannot be bought with Russian money in Europe? Sound recordings from Havana.
China bans export of Chengdu J-20. US researchers emulate adaptive camouflage on octopus.
Russian TV propaganda.
Reports Facebook and Twitter deleting evidence of Russian mischief from 2016.
Russia / Russophone Reports
Even today, the United States’ anti-missile defense ensures not only the detection of the launch, but also the possibility of intercepting Russian ballistic missiles, Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Alexander Emelyanov said during a Russian-Chinese briefing on anti-missile defense, on the sidelines of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly. “Even now, the information and reconnaissance facilities of the American anti-missile defense system ensure that Russian ballistic missile launches are detected, their flight trajectories tracked, and also that target designations are given to the anti-missile defense firing systems in order to intercept ballistic missile warheads,” Emelyanov explained. The Defense Ministry spokesman gave examples of hypothetical scenarios in which Russian missiles were intercepted by American anti-missiles. Notably, one of the scenarios proposes the interception of a Russian intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by an anti-missile defense system located on a US military ship in the Baltic Sea. Emelyanov noted that during the modeling of this scenario by Russian specialists, “the interception was successful, and was even carried out during the ascending phase of the ICBM’s flight”. In another scenario, Russian specialists modeled the interception of a ballistic missile launched from a Russian submarine in the Barents Sea. The hypothetical interception was made by a US anti-missile ship with Standard-3 missiles in the Norwegian Sea. “The results provided by the modeling are evidence that, taking into account the high speed of anti-missiles, the interception of targets is possible in both cases even during the initial flight phase,” Emelyanov pointed out. In the third stage, Russian experts modeled the interception of an ICBM launched from the central part of Russia by an anti-missile from US territory. Emelyanov also added that the US could secretly arm the universal facilities of their anti-missile defense systems in Europe with cruise missiles. In that case, the entire European part of Russia would be in range of the cruise missiles. He noted that the MK 41 universal launch systems, which are used by ships to launch anti-missiles and cruise missiles, are used at the US anti-missile defense bases in Romania and Poland. “The premise that in the ground version of the Mk 41 launchers the cruise missile launching capabilities are forfeited is unconvincing. Substituting anti-missiles at the European anti-missile defense bases for cruise missiles… could be done secretly and in a short period of time. In this case, the entire European part of Russia would be in range of cruise missiles,” Emelyanov explained. He drew attention to the fact that the possibility of using ship launchers in the ground version for deploying cruise missiles “is a direct violation of the obligations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty”. “We have repeatedly brought the Russian concerns regarding violations of international obligations by the US to our American partners, but there is no reaction,” the Russian Defense Ministry Spokesperson emphasized.
The arrival of new U.S. troops in Poland has Russia pondering deploying additional nuclear-capable Iskander missiles right across the border.
Baltic and Nordic countries turn to education as much as military hardware to counter Moscow’s hybrid threats.
The popularity of Finland’s military is a product of its willingness to listen to its soldiers.
In a summer of multinational exercises in Europe, the first thing the U.S. Army learned was: ‘Borders are hard.’
It is far more revealing to look at the forces and capabilities each country sends abroad on alliance missions.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a telephone conversation on October 12 expressed support for further contacts between Russian special representative Vladislav Surkov and his U.S. counterpart Kurt Volker, according to the press service of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). News 13 October from UNIAN.
Russia may send more of its most advanced missiles to its Kaliningrad region in response to U.S. military deployments on NATO's eastern flank, a prominent Russian lawmaker said. Retired Genera…
Paul Goble Staunton, October 12 – In three ways, the Kremlin is unintentionally taking actions that are giving rise to forces that may prove its Nemesis: It is pushing the leaderships of non-Russian republics into the arms of nationalists there, it is pursuing economic policies that promote rather than prevent separatism, and it is encouraging by its incautious propaganda Orthodox radicalism. None of these is necessarily fatal – Moscow retains enormous leverage to counter the forces it is producing – but each of them presents the center with problems that a more sophisticated policy could have avoided and that together suggest the Putin regime will be using ever more forceful methods against them. And that raises a question: at what point will such use of force, against non-Russians, against Russians outside of Moscow, and against Orthodox activists who have taken the regime’s words about the Russian world more literally than perhaps intended, prove counter-productive at well, radicalizing the population rather than intimidating it? First of all, there has been a fundamental change in Moscow’s nationality policy. For the first 17 years of his rule, Vladimir Putin approached Tatarstan in a way that encouraged republic elites to keep nationalists on their territory in check. Indeed, he offered an implicit deal: if you keep such people under control, I will allow you to act on your own and enrich yourselves. But in the last six months, the Kremlin leader has not only refused to renew the power-sharing agreement with Kazan that the leaders there had invested so much in but attacked what they see as a basic prerogative, their right to require all residents of the Republic of Tatarstan to learn its state language. Now, according to some observers, the Kazan leadership who had been playing the Kremlin’s game is trying to protect itself and the republic by turning to the very people it had cooperated in oppressing, Tatar nationalists, in the hopes that they can provide the republic leadership with support (idelreal.org/a/tatarstan-national-karta/28786379.html). Second, the Kremlin has failed to understand the basic mechanics of separatist movements. People do not normally seek to leave when they are impoverished and have few prospects for the future: they do so when they are doing well and feel they can do even better without having to remain within the existing regime. If Putin understood that, he would recognize that his fire brigade approach in dealing with impoverished areas is likely to be counterproductive. Indeed, what he views as a guarantee of loyalty may prove exactly the reverse, with regions that are doing relatively better deciding to leave what they may view as a sinking ship. Thus, one new analysis suggests, separatism within Russia may emerge just as it does elsewhere not among the most impoverished but among those who are doing relatively better or who can see that the wealth they are generating is not staying with them but rather being confiscated by Moscow (afterempire.info/2017/10/11/separatism/). And third, Putin by his incautious propaganda has released from the bottle the genie of radical Orthodox nationalism not only in the case of Mathilda but on cultural issues more generally. Many are now warning that “Orthodox radicalism is the byproduct of Russian propaganda” (ng.ru/blogs/davydov/pravoslavnyy-radikalizm-pobochnyy-produkt-rossiyskoy-propagandy.php). Putin has certainly benefitted from some of this upsurge of Orthodox nationalism; but like the Sorcerer’s apprentice, he may find that what he has created could become a threat to him – and at the very least, pose the challenge of putting it back in the bottle before it grows and provokes a new and negative reaction among many Russians and non-Russians as well.
Paul Goble Staunton, October 12 – The real threat to Russia’s future development, Grigory Golosov argues, lies not in the various repressive actions Vladimir Putin has taken but in the presidential system enshrined in the Russian Constitution which makes “any strong president” into “a potential Putin.” Writing in the Takiye Dela portal today, the St. Petersburg European University political scientist says that under the existing constitutional arrangements, any such president “can not only concentrate all power into his own hands but then hold onto it as long as he wants.” If Russia is to be a democracy, this must be changed (takiedela.ru/2017/10/takaya-rossiyavlast/). Many Russians find it difficult to imagine that until 1990, their country had no president. Only in March of that year did Mikhail Gorbachev create and assume the position of Russian president to protect himself against being ousted by CPSU leaders in much the same way Nikita Khrushchev had been in 1964, Golosov says. But even having become president, Gorbachev ruled over a country that maintained “a fictional parliamentary system with a party core,” and as a result, his power “hung in the air.” Then in August 1991, the party leadership tried to take power but failed. And after that, Gorbachev lost “both stools,” the presidency and the party leadership. Boris Yeltsin’s trajectory as president was rather different, Golosov says. He first had himself elected president of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet and only in June 1991 did he become “the first elected president of Russia.” But despite that, significant changes of Russian political institutions did not immediately follow. “Formally,” Golosov says, “power as before belonged to the soviets and the authority of Yeltsin was primarily ceremonial. In this regard, the differences between the statuses of Gorbachev and Yeltsin were almost nonexistent.” But the political situation was different, and thus their real status was completely so. “Gorbachev didn’t need broad governmental authority, but Yeltsin did,” the political scientist says. The latter’s victory in August 1991 allowed him to “concentrate in his hands enormous power.” Moreover, “from November 1991 through June 1992, Yeltsin combined the presidency with the post of head of government of Russia.” Then the conflicts between Yeltsin and the Supreme Soviet only grew, leading to “a miniature civil war in October 1993,” a conflict Yeltsin won. As a result, he was in a position “to dictate any constitution and to take for himself as much authority as he wanted,” Golosov continues. There were only two limiting factors: Western public opinion which didn’t want to see a dictatorship established, and Yeltsin’s own lack of interest in domestic affairs. The Russian constitution that emerged thus did not fulfill the main task of such documents: “It did not define the authority of state institutions in a clear and exhaustive manner.” Indeed, it made the situation worse by declaring the president “the guarantor of the Constitution” without specifying what that meant and thus opened the way to a situation in which “the president could use practically unlimited power” and override the legal government in anything it did. “The 1993 Constitution wasn’t written for Vladimir Putin,” Golosov says; “but he found a way to use it in his own interests.” Semi-presidential systems of the kind Russian had under Yeltsin tend toward instability, a danger that Putin ended by moving in ways so that by the early 2000s, “Russia has ceased to be an electoral democracy” and headed toward authoritarianism. Semi-presidential systems give an active leader like Putin an additional “bonus,” the analyst says. “If the president for some reason must leave his post, he can preserve almost all the opportunities for influence by becoming head of government.” That happened in 2008-2011 and it could happen again after 2024. And in addition, such systems only encourage a leader to blame all problems on the government and to engage in the kind of foreign policy adventurism that can win him support at home, Golosov says. There are various ways this situation can be fixed, he argues. Rewriting the constitution and defining the powers of particular positions and institutions is one way, something that could lead to the establishment of a parliamentary system with a figurehead president or that could keep the president as in France strong in certain areas but not in others. But it is essential that the president not remain “’the guarantor of the Constitution.’ In a normal political system, he is only an official of high rank.” And the prime minister in such a mixed system should be removed only if he loses his parliamentary majority not if the president wants that to happen. At the very least, Russians should be discussing how to move toward a more defined system without waiting for some dramatic breakthrough to a Constitutional convention. Otherwise the future of the country is bleak even after Putin eventually passes from the scene.
Paul Goble Staunton, October 12 – “All empires,” Pavel Luzin says, “stimulate migration from the metropolitan center to the colonies and among the colonies,” sometimes by economic stimuli and sometimes by force. “Russia in the past was no exception to this pattern.” But today it is, and that casts doubt on the future of the empire as such. In a discussion on the After Empire portal, the Russian commentator says that the Russian metropole followed the same pattern of other empires in the past, but in the last generation, not only has the center given independence to much of the periphery but “colonial migration in post-Soviet Russia has ceased” (afterempire.info/2017/10/12/migration/). Instead of moving from the center to the colonies, every year now “hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens prefer independently to leave small cities and settlements and move to major cities or leave the country entirely.” The only exceptions are moves to oil and gas extraction points. This might not seem to be a serious problem, Luzin continues, but “without colonial (administered) migration, the empire can no longer plan its own economic development and support its own rule over it subjects.” Instead, the imperial center becomes something “unnecessary” for them. “Of course,” the Russian analyst says, “the metropolitan center is still powerful and overwhelmingly controls the economy.” But “this resource isn’t infinite,” and over time, the economy without imperial migration, more or less rapidly “loses its effectiveness in maintaining rule over its subjects” who view the center as an obstacle rather than an asset. Given the importance of colonial migration, he continues, it is no surprise that “since the beginning of the 1990s,” there have been many proposals advanced to try to restart it. Some want to send university graduates to work in distant areas, others want to decentralize management, and still others say Moscow should give citizenship to those who settle the Far East. But none of these things has really taken off, and “without the return to a colonial (administered) migration system, the next step will be the deconstruction of the empire itself,” Luzin suggests. Talk will continue, but it is unlikely to have the desired result of restarting something that has lost its meaning. Imperial migration always rested in the final analysis on the profitability of the colonies, “but Russian colonies, the regions, with the exception of oil and gas provinces, in the existing system of organization of power rely on subsidies from the center and in the best case can only support their own existence.” “Without economic modernization, the majority of colonies are condemned to continual decline,” Luzin argues. But modernization presupposes an influx of foreign technology and “this flow stopped long ago.” To change that will require fundamental change, and “systemic modernization will mean the disintegration of the imperial mechanism.” According to the analyst, it is no accident that “the majority of empires disappeared in the last century.” Russia has lost part but not all of its empire. And it hasn’t found a way to have people move to places where the economy is the least promising. Russians are too educated and too knowledgeable to want to move from where things are better to where they are worse. Luzin’s argument is at a high theoretical level, but this week brought three stories about the specifics of what he is talking about. Another Russian expert pointed out that the differential pay system intended to get Russians to move to the north “no longer exists except on paper” (svpressa.ru/society/article/183330/). A former leader of the Sakha Republic argued that development of the North must be suspended until Moscow can improve the IT network there (regnum.ru/news/polit/2333350.html). And despite what many believe, Russians aren’t moving to the oil and gas fields. Instead, non-Russians and even Ukrainians are doing so (ura.news/articles/1036272589).
Paul Goble Staunton, October 12 – Leader cults have been an integral part of the Russian political system from the time the tsar was overthrown up to today, but they have evolved over that period reflecting the very different situations and personalities of the individual leaders from Aleksandr Kerensky to Joseph Stalin to Vladimir Putin. Many assume that the Bolsheviks or at least Stalin came up with the cult of personality, Aleksey Miller, an historian at St. Petersburg’s European University says; but that is not the case. In fact, between March and the summer of 1917 with unbelievable energy was formed the cult of personality of [Aleksandr] Kerensky.” That cult arose and formed a critical element of “the political culture” of Russia after the overthrow of the tsar because “in place of the monarchy, a vacuum arose,” one that could not be filled by any of the usual forms of legitimation Max Weber classically defined (znak.com/2017-10-10/istorik_miller_shans_vyrvatsya_s_periferii_rossiya_utratila_v_1917_godu_i_navsegda). Miller’s observation made during a speech earlier this month in Tyumen concerning the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolutions of 1917 thus provide a key to understanding why Kerensky’s successors promoted personality cults. They did so because they lacked alternative legitimating principles for a population used to a single monarch-style leader. On the occasion of Vladimir Putin’s 65th birthday, Moscow commentator Igor Yakovenko offers a comparison of the three great leader cults that were promoted by those in office. (He does not address the very different leader cult of Lenin which was pushed not by the Bolshevik leader himself but by his followers for their own reasons.) In Yezhednevny zhurnal, Yakovenko points out that “the cult of Brezhnev was a remake of the cult of Stalin and like the majority of remakes gave rise to parody.” It was “completely ‘puffed up,’ artificial, and purely an affair of the apparatus,” but even members of the apparat told jokes about the party leader (ej.ru/?a=note&id=31674). Some Stalinists, he continues, “loved to repeat the words of Sholokhov: ‘Yes, there was a cult, but there was also a personality.” And some joked “even during Brezhnev’s lifetime that he was promoting “’a cult without a personality.’” The cult of Putin, in contrast, is entirely a creation of the media and show business. That sets it apart from the cult of Stalin which was “the nucleus of propaganda and a central point of a quasi-religious ideology” and that of Brezhnev which was imposed by the regime’s propagandists without any response really expected. “Putin is a strictly media product,” Yakovenko says; “he came out of the television. His cult was created and supported by [nominally independent] media activity which had exclusively commercial goals and had nothing in common with ideology. But the powers stimulated it with the help of their control of TV” and thus “gave it a green light.” The first case of this use of popular culture to promote “’a show cult’” in Russia occurred in 1996 when culture figures overwhelmingly supported Boris Yeltsin’s re-election. But that case involved the pursuit of a specific “concrete” goal: his re-election. And because that is so, no cult of Yeltsin aroses Putin, however, “decided to restore the empire, to reverse ‘the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century, and his power became a life-long case. Without a cult, such tasks are not solved, and thus arose the show cult of Putin. A cult without personality, a cult without ideology, simply a cult alone standing in the midst of a cleansed political field.”
His system can’t rely on loyalists anymore, but it will be hard to attract the next generation.
Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab said on October 12 that it has expanded its relationship with global law enforcement agency Interpol, agreeing to share threat data to help the global figh…
A video allegedly showing the moment Russia's former Economics Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev accepted a payoff from an oil company executive was played in court during the ex-government official…
Russia is introducing a new banknote showing images of Ukraine's annexed Crimea region. The new 200 ruble ($3.5) note was presented by Central Bank chief Elvira Nabiullina at a press conferenc…
The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to visit Iran on November 1 to take part in a meeting with his Iranian and Azerbaijani counterparts. "Preparations for the visit ar…
Applications for nearly 3.5 million tickets have been received for the 2018 World Cup soccer championships in Russia during the initial sales period, which ran September 14 to October 12. FIFA, th…
The story of the rise and fall of Gulnara Karimova, the elder daughter of Uzbekistan's late president, has been gradually unearthed and corroborated by reporters and police in multiple countrie…
Trade unions were puzzled by the fact that Belarus is losing its labor resources. “Today, the districts report that they are creating new jobs according to the approved plans, but there are two natural questions: Why is the number of people employed in the economy reduced and the Social Protection Fund is not replenished? – said the chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions, Mikhail Orda at a meeting of the National Council for Labor and Social Affairs. “The most obvious answer in this situation is this: we simply lose our manpower,” said Mikhail Orda. “It’s not a secret for anyone that today tens, if not hundreds of thousands of our citizens have gone to work in Russia, which means that we do not receive enough contributions to the Social Protection Fund, we lose production that can not work without highly qualified personnel. The meeting also discussed the fact that the working-age population is shrinking, and this trend may accelerate in the coming decades. However, the process of partial compensation of population reduction due to labor migration is complex and ambiguous. To address this issue, the Federation of Trade Unions believes, it is necessary “to pursue a policy of planned and effectively managed migration and labor mobility and taking additional measures in this direction, taking into account the emerging employment trends.” “We believe that the situation needs to be changed radically,” Mikhail Orda said. – In our opinion, a definite solution may be to bring to the districts plans for the number of economically active population in comparison with the number of the working-age population. This will help solve the problem of “hidden reduction” of workers and will stimulate the regions to create new jobs and industries, thus ensuring employment and self-employment of people. In the first six months of this year, over 11,000 Belarusians, according to official statistics, went abroad to work under contracts and contracts. This is almost 1.2 thousand more than in the same period last year. Recall, at the meeting of the National Council for Labor and Social Affairs also discussed the salaries of state employees. According to the Federation of Trade Unions, in Belarus every fourth employee of organizations financed from the budget – 27% – receives an additional payment to the minimum wage. According to monitoring data, this mainly applies to maintenance personnel – room cleaners, storekeepers, cloakroom attendants, nurses, nurses, cooks and others.
Transnistria / Moldova Reports
Moldova risks facing political and economic difficulties, experts say, after the European Union stopped aid to the country, citing a lack of reforms to the judicial system.
Moldovan and Syrian consuls face prison terms for corruption acts
Washington Outlook: Ukraine rebuilds industrial base, Pentagon acquisition chief ceding power to services, open skies spat, forming national UAS regulations.
By finalizing the construction of the Kerch Bridge (see EDM, September 6), Russia is completing its geopolitical project of fully cutting the Crimean Peninsula—which it illegally annexed in March 2014—off from mainland Ukraine. Russia’s chief gains from this effort are first of all to obtain direct road-and-rail access to Crimea without having to cross Ukrainian territory.Second of all, Moscow’s de facto control of both sides of the Kerch Strait, combined with its activities that limit freedom of navigation for Ukrainian vessels there, essentially turn the Azov Sea into a “Russian lake.” As such, Russia is progressively pushing to deprive Ukraine of its economic and political sovereignty in and around the Azov Sea. Ukraine and the West have several potential options to countervail Russian preponderance in the Azov Sea. First, Ukraine can try to send naval forces, preferably together with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) vessels, in order to enforce Kyiv’s freedom of navigation rights through the Kerch Strait and in the Azov Sea, where Ukraine’s strategically important ports of Mariupol (Mariupil) and Berdyansk are located. Indeed, even the Washington-based Atlantic Council recently called for such freedom-of-navigation operations by the United States Navy (Pravda, September 2; Atlanticcouncil.org, August 29; Interlegal.com.ua, April 4, 2016). Such actions, however, would presumably be incredibly confrontational for Moscow and could even erupt into a military incident between US and Russian forces in the area. A more peaceful solution for Ukraine, therefore, would be to find an alternative waterway to reach the Azov Sea. Indeed, this is Kyiv’s second option: to build an artificial alternative waterway—the “Syvash Canal”—to access its Azov Sea ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk. Reportedly, this idea was offered already in 2015 by Ukrainian engineering company UkrHydroProject (Ukrop, April 1, 2015). The initial proposal was to construct a canal 120 kilometers long, 100 meters wide, and 15 meters deep across the Perekop Isthmus (just north of occupied Crimea), which is controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. Such a waterway would effectively turn Crimea into an artificial island. For years, this idea was referred to mainly on pro-Russian websites. However, in 2017, the proposed canal project popped up again as an “electronic petition” on the official website of the president of Ukraine (President.gov.ua, August 29). Nevertheless, the project’s feasibility is probably relatively low because of Ukrainian state’s difficult financial situation and a lack of clear political will from its politicians.
In the spring of 2018 Russia is going to start construction of a so-called wall along the border between mainland of Ukraine and the annexed …
The FSB, Russian federal security service, released the footage of interrogation of Ukraine’s border guards; Ihor Dzyubak and Bohdan Martson’ are charged with ‘illegal border crossing’ and may face up to six years in prison
The Security Service of Ukraine detained a National Guard Servicewoman named Rodionova, who, according to the investigation, was recruited by …
In the market for a robotic ground vehicle made in Ukraine? How about an armored personnel carrier? You’re in luck. For the first time ever, UkrOboronProm, a government-run collection of enterprises from across the Ukrainian defense industry, is showing its products at the Association of the United States Army exposition this week in Washington, D.C.. Why, when Ukraine is asking the United States to provide lethal military equipment, is the company that provides weapons for its own forces touting its arms abroad? “Considering our experience, we came here to show our expertise and potential — to show that we can be partners,” Roksolana Sheiko, director of communications policy for UkrOboronProm, told Foreign Policy in an interview at AUSA. “We are not politicians … we are ready to develop, to produce, and to supply.” UkrOboronProm is in Washington to to look for Western partners, according to company representatives. Until 2014, over 50 percent of Ukraine’s military equipment was supplied by Russia. The annexation of Crimea in 2014 and then the war with Kremlin-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine have removed Russia from the picture. And so, in 2015, Ukraine began mass production of new weapons — and looked to replace Russia by working with, among others, U.S. partners.
Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States Valery Chaly and Director General of State Concern “Ukroboronprom” Roman Romanov held meetings with members of the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee Doug Lamborn and Duncan Hunter at the AUSA 2017 exhibition in Washington. “Ambassador Chaly thanked the congressmen for the consistent support for Ukraine in countering Russian aggression. In the context of formation of the US defense budget for 2018, the Ukrainian ambassador discussed with the congressmen the prospects for expanding assistance programs for Ukraine in the military and technical sector in the US defense budget in 2018,” reads the statement of the Ukroboronprom press service. The Director General of Ukroboronprom informed the congressmen about the activity of the enterprises of the Ukrainian military-industrial complex and noted the interest in deepening the military and technical cooperation between the arms producers of Ukraine and the United States. Chaly stressed that a diplomatic solution to the situation in Donbas is possible only if Ukraine has strong and modern army and enjoys further support from the partners, primarily the United States.
13.10.17 09:43 – One Ukrainian military wounded in combat yesterday, 22 attacks by Russian hybrid troops reported, – ATO HQ Over the past 24-hour period, Oct. 12, the situation in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) area remained unchanged. The enemy concentrated its fire activities in Donetsk direction using mortars and infantry weapons. View news.
Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 22 times in the past 24 hours, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 13 October from UNIAN.
The Russian occupation forces lost six people in Donbas on October 3-10, according to Information Resistance, a Ukrainian non-governmental project on information security. News 13 October from UNIAN.
More than 313 000 attacks spotted in Donbas in 2017, – Hug
Authorities of the so-called DPR (Donetsk People’s Republic), most likely, will execute the captured Ukrainian "saboteurs," as stated by the …
While Ukraine’s power plants are short of fuel, coal from the unrecognized Luhansk “people’s republic,” located in the Moscow-proxy-controlled eastern part of Donbas, has been smuggled to Poland, journalists from the Polish newspaper Dziennik have found. Doncoaltrade, a firm linked to Oleksandr Melnychuk, a former deputy coal minister of the unrecognized Luhansk authority, has been exporting coal from Luhansk to Poland via Russia (Dziennik.pl, October 4). Moreover, Roman Zyukov, the son of former Ukrainian deputy energy minister Yury Zyukov, is Melnychuk’s partner in Doncoaltrade, although the younger Zyukov denies involvement in smuggling coal to Poland. Kyiv suspects Yury Zyukov of having links to Moscow’s proxies in Donbas (Pravda.com.ua, October 6). Any exports from Luhansk and the other unrecognized “republic” in Donbas, Donetsk, are illegal because the area is out of reach for Ukrainian tax and customs authorities. Legal coal purchases from the area had been possible, in theory, until last spring, via firms registered in Kyiv-controlled Ukraine. But Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, under pressure from populist and nationalist groups, outlawed trade with entities located in the Russian-occupied areas last March; in response, the local Moscow-backed authorities “nationalized” those entities, the bulk of which are coal mines (see EDM, March 29). Polish Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchórzewski conceded that coal from Donbas reached Poland, but he claimed only 11,000 tons of it was imported. Tchórzewski said that would suffice for one power unit a day, implying that small volumes were purchased (Biznesalert.pl, October 4). However, the Ukrainian website Liga.net calculated, citing official Russian railroad and customs data, that at least 93,000 tons of coal was exported from the rebel-held areas in Donbas to Poland via Russia in January–September (Liga.net, October 5).
The investigation into the embezzlement of state funds by Ukrainian Defense Ministry officials should be conducted in the shortest possible time, President Petro Poroshenko has said.
Fuel procurement scandal: Who is who and what does it have to do with Poroshenko – 112 International – Fuel procurement scandal: Who is who and what does it have to do with Poroshenko – 112.international
National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine exposed the corruption scheme with embezzlement of public funds in the amount of over 5,7 million USD n the purchase of fuel for Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense
Volodymyr Hulevych, one of the four high-ranked official in Ukrainian Defense Ministry charged with embezzlement is put under house arrest – Another busted Defense Ministry official put under house arrest – 112.international
Volodymyr Hulevych, one of the four high-ranked official in Ukrainian Defense Ministry charged with embezzlement is put under house arresth, one of the four high-ranked official in Ukrainian Defense Ministry charged with embezzlement is put under house arrest
Despite the recognition of the Russian Federation as an aggressor state, Kyiv will not proactively abrogate the wide-ranging Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, whose consecutive-10-year term of validity will expire in 2018, writes journalist Igor Solovey in the article “Are diplomatic relations possible with the aggressor state?” published by LB.ua news website. “It is not a question of the break of diplomatic relations [with Russia],” a high-level interlocutor from Ukrainian diplomatic circles told LB.ua. The “Big Treaty” is an agreement between the Russian Federation and Ukraine that formalized the principle of strategic partnership, recognition of the inviolability of existing borders, respect for territorial integrity and mutual commitment not to use its territory to the detriment of each other’s security. The document was signed on May 31, 1997 by Leonid Kuchma and Boris Yeltsin. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine ratified the treaty on January 14, 1998 while the State Duma did the same on December 25, 1998. At the end of 2008, the contract was automatically extended for 10 years to 2018. Now, if neither party notifies the other about its desire to abrogate, through written notice not less than 6 months beforehand, the agreement will be extended for another decade. It is not simply for Kyiv to terminate diplomatic relations between the two countries due to “hybrid” nature of the war that Russia wages against Ukraine. According to Solovey, Kyiv must not respond in a manner that “cuts off the nose to spite the face.” It would be far better if Ukraine’s reciprocal response should also be “hybrid”.
The issue of the review of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union is not on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union on October 16, but Hungary may add it to the "Other Items" section, according to a high-ranking European diplomat. News 13 October from UNIAN.
The language issue has pushed relations between Ukraine and Hungary to their lowest point since Kyiv won independence in 1991.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has expressed concerns over articles in Ukraine’s new education law relating to teaching in minority languages. …
Ukraine tried resolve language issue from the position of a state, sieged by the enemies, but Council of Europe is guided by interests and human rights
Ukraine’s decision to restrict the use of minority languages in schools benefits the Kremlin immensely.
Ukraine’s SBU security service has warned that hackers are preparing to launch a massive new cyberattack on Ukraine. The attack will target both Ukrainian government institutions and private companies, according to an SBU statement issued on Oct. 12. The SBU said hackers would focus on large companies “in order to disrupt the operations of information systems, which could destabilize the situation in the whole country.” Information obtained by the SBU suggests that hackers may attack Ukrainian computers using bugs in their operating system updates, as well as in updates of other software installed on computers. The security service said the cyberattack would be similar to the one that took place in June. Then, Ukraine found itself at the epicenter of global cyberattack, with about 12,500 machines around the country being attacked by ransomware called NotPetya (also known as Petya). The malware encrypted vital data on Windows-run devices and demanded money for the key to decrypt it. The June attack is reckoned to have been the biggest in the country’s history so far. In order to protect themselves from attack, the SBU says computer users should update their anti-virus programs, back up any vital data, and regularly check for updates of software, including the Windows operating system.
This summer’s nationwide public opinion survey of Ukrainians revealed a strong support for the NATO and EU and a slight improvement in the public perception of the country’s direction. However, last June only 18% thought that Ukraine was headed in the right direction against 68% of those pessimistic about the overall situation. Meanwhile, an additional poll in four cities revealed that Ukrainians are much more optimistic about local improvements than about general nationwide situation. This may mean that the decentralization reform works.
Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Ihor Nasalyk has announced that his ministry and National Nuclear Energy Company Energoatom have extended the timeframe for planning repair campaigns at nuclear reactors from one year to four years. News 12 October from UNIAN.
Many events worldwide are commemorating the centenary of the Russian revolution of 1917. Most are funded by the Russian government and rarely include Ukraine in the discussion. The artistic exhibition FALLEN. Revolution — Propaganda — Iconoclasm in the University of Essex (UK) fills in that gap by focusing on the global relevance of Ukrainian issues, as the country recently demolished all the symbols reminding of the 1917 Revolution in its process of decommunization.
Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports
Trump will announce a combative new strategy toward Iran on Friday, decertifying the country’s adherence to the nuclear deal but stopping short of scrapping it.
White House slams Obama administration’s “myopic focus on Iran’s nuclear program to the exclusion of the regime’s many other malign activities.”
President Trump will declare on Friday his intention not to certify Iran’s compliance with the 2015 accord, an act that kicks to Congress a decision about whether to reimpose sanctions on the country.
Decertifying the nuclear deal without walking away gives the Trump administration an opening to confront the Islamic Republic’s foreign meddling.
Iran Focus is dedicated to providing comprehensive, up-to-date information and news on the Persian Gulf and Middle East region in a fair and balanced manner.
If Trump dertifies the Iran nuclear deal, he will be putting the United States and Iran on a collision course that could mean outright conflict, writes Trita Parsi.
By most reports, there is no enthusiasm in either party for re-imposing the sanctions on Iran, at least for now.
U.S. President Donald Trump has until October 15 to decide whether to certify if Iran is in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, under which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. What happens if he decides to “decertify”? We asked Scott Lucas, an Iran specialist at Birmingham University in the U.K.
The Republican senators plan to introduce legislation that would dovetail with Trump’s move to decertify Iran’s compliance with the pact.
The Iran nuclear deal is in critical condition. And if it does ultimately die an untimely death, one of the key figures implicated in its demise will be Se
US President Donald Trump is expected to “decertify” the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran. Germany has defended the agreement and warned that a US withdrawal would push the EU to Russia and China.
If President Donald Trump moves to scuttle the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Israel’s nationalist government can be expected to be the loudest — and perhaps only — major player to applaud.
The recent tension has surfaced when the Kurdistan Region held a vote on independence on September 25, including in Kirkuk that is part of the disputed or Kurdistani areas claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad. Photo: social media Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has called on the international community, including the UN Security Council, to rapidly intervene to prevent a “new war” between Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the aftermath of the Kurdish independence referendum. A potential war, if caused by Iraqi forces with the support of foreign countries, will lead to “direct, grave consequences” whose impact not only will be felt in Iraq, but across the entire region, he said. — 3:22 p.m. Following a meeting of the Kurdish Peshmerga commanders south of Kirkuk, Shiekh Jaafar, a senior Kurdish Peshmerga commander, told reporters that the Iraqi forces had issued “threats” Thursday night and demanded the Peshmerga to return back to the so-called Green Line that used to separate the Iraqi and Peshmerga forces before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. He said the Iraqi forces that also included the Iranian-backed mainly Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi were among those forces who wanted to make advances into the Kurdish-controlled areas, such as some oil wells, and the Kirkuk airport. The Iraqi forces set the Peshmerga about two hours to leave their posts south of Kirkuk, Jaafar said, something vehemently rejected by the commander of the southern Kirkuk, Wasta Rasul. The Kurdish Peshmerga had studied and assessed the capability of the Peshmerga positions near Kirkuk about 15 days ago, the commander said, adding that they came to the conclusion that some of the positions, that were initially set for the fight against ISIS were regarded weak that cannot stand a potential military aggression by the Iraqi forces. He said therefore they decided to withdraw from some of these areas to where they believe the line of defense can be well protected with minimum loss of lives. The abandoned positions were regarded as “failed lines” where it would have put the lives of the Peshmerga fighters unnecessarily at risk, the commander said. He added that Kurdish Peshmerga were able to “prevent them [Iraqi forces] from implementing their plan,” that they set themselves to be carried out within hours Thursday night. “The Peshmerga are now stationed in key positions,” Jaafar said, referring to positions and areas that they believe are vital with regard to defending the province of Kirkuk. “We promise the people of Kirkuk, and this area, that the Peshmerga forces will be their defenders. We will fight to the last person and will not allow the enemy to enter any of these areas,” the Kurdish commander vowed, while standing next to other Peshmerga commanders. Kurdistan’s Security Council, that heads the Kurdish intelligence and security services, said in a tweet on Friday that the Peshmerga forces “must be in highest state of readiness to defend people and land of Kurdistan and retaliate against all threats [and] attacks.” It said Thursday night that the advancing Iraqi forces, including the Hashd al-Shaabi, were armed with “tanks, artillery, Humvees and mortars.” The Security Council added last night that they had intelligence that the Iraqi forces who were only 3 km away from the Peshmerga positions had the intention to takeover nearby oil fields, airport and military bases.” Kurdistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani said Friday that the “Iraqi military moves on Kirkuk will lead to a devastating conflict. Wisdom must prevail, advances must cease [and] dialogue must begin.”
Turkey-US relations have taken a rapid dive after the arrest of a US consular staff member, sparking one of the worst diplomatic disputes between the nations in decades.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that his country, which recently announced plans to buy S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia, is also interested in acquiring a future Russia…
In a wide-ranging interview, Gen. John W. Nicholson laid out some details of the new U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and explained how it will work. “We can move now in the right direction,” he said.
Rohingya Muslims are not native to Myanmar, the army chief told the U.S. ambassador in a meeting in which he apparently did not address accusations of abuses by his men and said media was complicit in exaggerating the number of refugees fleeing.
DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports
Experts warn that 90 percent of Americans would die within a year after a North Korea EMP attack.
The North warned that a planned drill by the United States and South Korea would compel a “military counteraction.”
The president refused to discuss his strategy on North Korea, holding on to his belief that unpredictability is a virtue.
Does the ominous rhetoric from President Donald Trump and repeated flights by U.S. strategic bombers over the Korean Peninsula mean Washington is readying for what many feel is unthinkable — a military conflict with a nuclear-armed North Korea that would put millions of civilians at risk?
North Korea’s impressive cyber capabilities, explained.
China’s trade with North Korea slumped in September, amid United Nations sanctions aimed at deterring Kim Jong Un from pursuing his missile and nuclear-weapons program.
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Northeast Asia is on the cusp of a major strategic shift. Sanctions have not prevented North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons. It is already a de facto nuclear state. Sooner or later, Pyongyang will acquire nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles that can directly threaten the continental United States.
While Trump aims his threats at North Korea, the Central Intelligence Agency is looking at China.
Once established, a six-way balance of mutually assured destruction — among the U.S., China, Russia, Japan, South Korea and North Korea — will be stabilizing.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said Thursday that Americans should be concerned about North Korea’s ability to reach the United States with an intercontinental ballistic missile, cryptically telling reporters that if the threat grows “beyond where it is today, well, let’s hope that diplomacy works.”
The U.S. should consider a 90-day pause with North Korea where both sides refrain from actions that escalate the crisis.
In 2009, a pop video from North Korea celebrated a new national hero – one that outside experts would later realize was at the heart of the secretive state’s banned nuclear and missile programs.
Kim Seong Ryeol is one of around 30,000 North Koreans who have escaped their totalitarian regime and fled to South Korea.
The nuclear test has made the mountainous location unsuitable as a base.
Scientists say Kim Jong Un’s 6th, most powerful nuclear test may have rattled Earth’s tectonic plates to the point of no return
US president to speak to family of Megumi Yokota, taken in 1977 aged 13, in bid to press North to resolve cold war abductions
The threat of war between the United States and…
Foreign Policy Reports
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a decision aimed at lifting political sanctions against the Russian Federation. The proponents of the resolution argue that it’s unacceptable having a Council of Europe member which doesn’t pay its membership fees, which Russia cut down on after being denied the right to vote over its aggression in Ukraine. However, instead of punishing Russia for not paying the fees, the new initiative essentially proposes turning a blind eye to all of Russia’s violations just so the country restores its work in PACE. The arguments of the resolution’s authors of doing this for the sake of human rights in Russia are unprecedently cynical, as Russia has ignored all the PACE resolutions denouncing its human rights violations in Ukraine.
Currently, Czech President Miloš Zeman represents the newest stalwart Soviet holdout that supports lifting sanctions on Russia. To many in Czechia, he represents the ‘old guard’, the former Soviet State, the red star loyalists, and the last of the holdouts. Some seek the totality of Soviet control, the mindless routine of total control and surveillance. Let me be clear, Russia is clearly behind these words and utterances. Russia manipulates, coerces, bribes, blackmails, or forces them. Dropping sanctions against Russia benefits only Russia, and only sometimes will Russia pay its debts to those that sacrificed their career to help free the burden on Russia brought on by oppressive behavior, playground bully behavior by a sovereign state, and wildly unpredictable behavior in what is supposed to be a civilized world. </end editorial>
Berlin, Oct 11 (CTK) – The German government’s stance on Crimea has remained unchanged, it has been an integral part of Ukraine, the German government’s spokeswoman told CTK on Wednesday in reaction to Czech President Milos Zeman’s speech in which he called the Russian annexation of Crimea a “fait accompli.” “The position of the federal government remains the same. According to the unanimous view of the international community, Crimea has been an integral part of Ukrainian territory,” she said. In his address delivered in the the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Tuesday, Zeman said the anti-Russian sanctions were not effective. He promoted the view that an effort to make Crimea part of Ukraine again would lead to a European war and proposed that Russia compensate Ukraine. Zeman’s statements were broadly criticised both in the Czech Republic and abroad. Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka Zeman said had no mandate from the cabinet for his speech in the CE and his words were at variance with Czech foreign policy. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko resolutely rejected Zeman’s view that the annexation is a fait accompli. Zeman has been known for his support for Moscow and he repeatedly challenged the sanction imposed on Russia.
Activists in Ukraine demonstrated with a live goat outside Prague’s embassy in Kyiv on October 12, after controversial comments made earlier this week by Czech President Milos Zeman. He told the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg on October 10 that Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region was a “fait accompli.” Zeman added that there should be discussions of possible Russian compensation to Ukraine, with gas, oil, or money. The comments were quickly rejected as private and not official policy by the Czech prime minister and other top officials in Prague, but they sparked anger in Kyiv. Russia seized Crimea in March 2014, sending in troops and staging a referendum denounced as illegal by dozens of countries. (RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service)
The Croat President’s recent visit to Carasova in Romania put the spotlight back on a tiny, ancient community whose exact origins are lost in the mists of time.
The first public recording of high-pitched, cricket-like sounds out of Havana could be linked to the attacks on U.S. Embassy workers.
WASHINGTON (AP) — It sounds sort of like a mass of crickets. A high-pitched whine, but from what? It seems to undulate, even writhe. Listen closely: There are multiple, distinct t
Stream The Sound in Havana by User 493247881 from desktop or your mobile device
Strategy / History / Capability Publications
The Chengdu J-20 is a stealth, twin – engine, fifth generation fighter aircraft which is being produced by the Chengdu Aerospace Corporation for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). The J-20’s first appearance was made on 11 January 2011 after which six prototypes were produced with various modifications. The latest two prototypes of the J-20 are equipped with active electronically scanned array radar. Three of the six J-20 prototypes were delivered for test flights in the year 2014. Chengdu Aircraft Company has produced J-10 and JF-17 for overseas markets, but China has made a decision not to export the J-20 overseas. This news is likely to disappoint the manufacturer of the fighter aircraft. The J-20 is expected to be operational during 2017-2019. China wants to keep the J-20’s high-end military equipment all to itself. The ban on export of the Chengdu J-20 was revealed in an interview with the China’s Phoenix TV news program. “The export of advanced Chinese military technology is prohibited,” Song said. “This is in order to keep J-20’s fifth-generation technology out of hostile hands.” The J-20 prototypes are said to be very similar to the Lockheed Martin’s F-22. While in shape, weight and engine power the J-20 resembles the McDonnell Douglas’s F-15C which was designed during the Cold War Era. The J-20’s maximum weight is estimated to be 36 tons. Suspicions are that China’s J-20 is produced using America’s F-35 data, which was stolen by some Chinese hackers. “If one day the United States decides to export the F-22, China might consider lifting its ban, as well,” he said. The reason for the ban according to Song is that if American allies possess F-22s, China’s allies need the J-20s to balance it out. The J-20’s disadvantage is that China is still not able to build a powerful engine for it. The power of the engine is the same as the F-15C. The engine approaches the thrust of the F-22 only when the afterburner is turned on, but the afterburner can be turned on only for a few minutes because of excess fuel consumption. The J-20 is able to super cruise without an afterburner just like the F-22, Eurofighter and the Gripen. China has been trying to develop a more powerful WS-15 engine for almost two decades but the date has not been set as to when it’ll be fitted to the J-20 fighter. On the other hand China plans to export the J-31 fighter to global customers who cannot afford the Lockheed Martin F-35. The J-31 was revealed at the Aviation Industry Corporation of China Exhibition hall on Nov 10 during a pre-show of that week’s airshow China in Zhuhai. The aircraft is designated with “J” for fighters and “FC” for export. The J-31 was referred to as the FC-31, which meant the FC-31 was ready for export.
The membrane can inflate to mimic everyday objects, such as potted plants or a clump of rocks.
For the octopus and cuttlefish, instantaneously changing their skin color and pattern to disappear into the environment is just part of their camouflage prowess. These animals can also swiftly and reversibly morph their skin …
Russia is sending up an experiment and NASA doesn’t know what it is.
How limestone, rocks, and volcanic ash allowed humanity to build the modern world.
There’s a new series on Russian network television called “Sleepers.” Directed by Yuri Bykov (best known for the films “The Major” and “The Fool”) and written by Sergey Minaev (whose credits include “Soulless” and “Media Sapiens”), the show is about competing Russian and American intelligence agents. It costars Igor Petrenko as Federal Security Service officer Andrey Rodionov and Dmitry Ulyanov as a journalist named Ivan Zhuravlev — two characters with diametrically opposite political views. On the show, foreign “sleeper” agents “activate” during an international crisis, in order to orchestrate a “color revolution” in Russia. The premiere prompted a wave of accusations that “Sleepers” amounts to Kremlin propaganda, as well as criticisms that it relies on genre cliches and stilted dialogue. Egor Moskvitin took a closer look at the show and discovered that it’s actually not half bad.
The intrigue surrounding Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab is deepening after reports that the company’s software may have aided Russian spying operations against the United States.
US Domestic Policy Reports
In the asymmetric warfare of espionage, playing fair means Moscow wins.
Russia on October 12 accused the United States of denying entry to military officials who were planning to conduct a joint Russian-Chinese briefing criticizing U.S. missile defense systems at th…
And why it was so hard to see it coming
Facebook scrubbed thousands of posts shared…
The White House chief of staff made an unusual appearance from the briefing room podium on Thursday, addressing head on rumors about his future in the West Wing.
Former attorney general Loretta Lynch and former U.N. ambassador Samantha Power will talk to the intelligence committees behind closed doors.
Donald Trump was supposed to implement new sanctions on Russia by Oct. 1. Lawmakers are wondering why this hasn’t happened yet.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry says subsidizing coal and nuclear power plants would make the grid more reliable. An unlikely array of critics say the move is expensive and unnecessary.