Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (18)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Too many threads of events in all categories to do a summary in a sensible amount of time, and the trend is not improving as the chaos mounts. So a basic package this week.

Ukraine, Syria, Cyber, and US Domestic are of most interest this week.

The Russians are neck deep in blowback effects after four years of meddling in everything they can conceivably meddle in – their campaigns to destabilize the West and the Middle East are yielding dividends of a different kind to those envisaged four years ago.

NATO / EU / Russia Reports

Munich Security Conference To Open With World On ‘Brink Of Significant Conflict’

The battered relations between Russia and the West will once again be at the forefront as senior officials gather for a high-profile annual security conference whose chairman warns that the world h…

Current EU-Russia relations may become more dangerous than Cold War – envoy | UNIAN

Current EU-Russia relations may become more dangerous than Cold War – envoy. View news feed in world news for 15 February from UNIAN Information Agency

NATO Ministers OK New Command Centers, Expanded Iraq Presence

NATO defense ministers have wrapped up two days of talks in Brussels during which they approved plans to create two command centers in response to what the military alliance called a “changing”…

Edward Lucas | The Brussels to-do list | CEPA

Six tasks face NATO as it counts down to its summit in Brussels in July. Each of them is difficult. Each is solvable—with the right leadership and determination. The first is to bolster the tripwire forces in the Baltic states and Poland. Without air defenses and maritime support, these are worryingly thin. Moreover, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania want “U.S. boots on the ground” and will raise this in their 3+1 summit with President Donald Trump (using pretzel-like contortions to avoid mentioning the word “Russia”). But the details are difficult. Would extra U.S. forces be permanent? If so where would they come from? Where would they train? And would they displace existing forces from other alliance countries? An unintended consequence might be to weaken NATO’s overall commitment to the frontline states. Next is reinforcement. NATO’s military might vastly outstrips Russia’s. But it is mostly not in the places that Russia could conceivably attack. Getting heavy armor and other forces into position would take months. Moving any military personnel, ammunition and equipment across Europe takes weeks because of bureaucracy—and would need to happen in peacetime conditions when the roads and railways are busy with other traffic. That has to change. The best solution would be to put Germany in charge of changing the rules and rebuilding the infrastructure for rapid deployment. This spending could count towards Germany’s target of spending 2 percent of its GDP on defense. Third is decision-making. NATO countries do not fully agree on Russia. How would they respond to an ambiguous threat, probably at a time when the big countries were distracted with other problems—real or invented—by Russia? The big worry is that NATO reaches the wrong decision, or the right one, but too slowly. So the alliance needs to work on its crisis decision-making. One option is to give military leaders the right to deploy forces without waiting for politicians to agree. Another is to have a “coalition of the speedy”—countries that are willing and able to deploy troops very quickly, without waiting for the cogs to turn in Brussels. Fourth is deterrence. Reversing a Russian fait accompli is much more dangerous than preventing one in the first place. For that, the Kremlin must feel that any provocation of the West carries a high risk. For now, NATO’s deterrence rests too narrowly on nuclear weapons, particularly American ones. The need is to think of other forms of deterrence—chiefly, in my view, financial and economic sanctions that can be escalated in a matter of hours in the event of a crisis. In addition to economic and financial measures, NATO needs to develop more comprehensive cyber and informational offensive capabilities that could be deployed against the Putin regime in the event of a new offensive against any NATO state. Fifth is enlargement. The European Union has opened its door to countries in the Western Balkans. NATO should do the same. In particular, all alliance leaders should make a big effort to seize the current chance to solve the dispute over Macedonia. The question of whether that name applies rightly only to the northern provinces of Greece, or the former Yugoslav republic across the border, has bedeviled the region for 20 years. Getting NATO and EU membership talks underway for Greece’s small, weak and vulnerable northern neighbor would benefit everyone. Sixth is NATO-EU relations. Europe is now taking defense more seriously. NATO, and particularly the United States, should explain what it will welcome in strengthened European defense cooperation, and what it regards as unnecessary or outright harmful. NATO and the EU should also coordinate their diplomacy. A top priority is Turkey; bad relations with the Ankara authorities have a dreadful price. They should coordinate support for, and pressure on, Ukraine. And they should speak with one voice towards the kleptocratic xenophobes in Moscow.

Envisioning a Russia-NATO Conflict: Implications for Deterrence Stability | European Leadership Network

Since 2014, Europe has entered an era of increasing tensions between Russia and NATO. The risks of direct conflict have consequently risen, but they have too rarely been sufficiently and comprehensively assessed. This ELN report, drawing on the results of an expert workshop organized by the European Leadership Network and the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich (CSS), looks into how a NATO-Russia conflict could break out, unfold and be terminated. A Russia-NATO war is far from inevitable and indeed unlikely at this point, but this report makes the case that a clear-eyed analysis of the conflict is the best way to avoid it.

Europe’s Geo-Tactical Trap – Carnegie Europe – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Unless Europeans resolve their tension between being part of a place and becoming a global player, others will decide Europe’s strategic future.

To Help NATO Allies Get Off Russian Equipment, the United States Should Revive Defense Lending – War on the Rocks

Last June, a Romanian fighter jet crashed in a wheat field along the country’s Black Sea coast. The fighter was participating in a Romanian and Bulgarian m

NATO Says More Members Plan To Reach Spending Goal By 2024

Fifteen of NATO’s 29 members have laid out plans to meet the alliance’s defense spending goal by 2024, overall increasing spending by $46 billion, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

The Trojan Horse of Russian Gas – Foreign Policy

What’s Good for Russian Gas Is Good for America – Foreign Policy

The Daily Vertical: Lithuania’s Anti-Imperial Century (Transcript)

A century ago today, a new European country was born. A century ago, a small nation with an ancient history struck a blow against the age of imperial domination. On February 16, 1918, amid the chaos following the Bolshevik Revolution, Lithuania became the first of the three Baltic states to declare its independence from the Russian Empire. Estonia followed suit a week later and Latvia joined them later in the year. Just like its fellow Balts, Lithuania’s century of independence was, of course, brutally interrupted by half-a-century of occupation. And even after restoring its sovereignty from Moscow’s domination more than a quarter of a century ago, Lithuania, in the words of Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius, “can never feel relaxed.” The main reason for this is because of all the empires that declined and fell in the aftermath of the First World War, only one has fought tooth and nail over the past century to remain intact. That empire, of course, is the Russian Empire and its Soviet successor — and the so-called Russian World, which largely exists in Vladimir Putin’s imagination. And this is why Lithuanian independence — like that of Estonia and Latvia — is important and relevant today. It’s an ongoing affirmation that the age of empires and the world of spheres of influence is over — and that in a rules-based international order, the sovereignty of small countries is no less sacrosanct than that of great powers. So, happy Independence Day Lithuania! Keep telling me what you think in the comments section, on The Power Vertical’s Twitter feed, and on our Facebook page.

Lithuania hopes the next century is quieter than the last – Charlemagne

IT TOOK Thomas Mann just a few days to fall for the Curonian Spit.

Czech Republic: The greatest threat to us is Russia, being a champion of hybrid wars, warns General Šedivý – To Inform is to Influence

The biggest security threat to the Czech Republic is Russia and its hybrid war. An Army General and former Chief of Staff Jiří Šedivý said in the CT24 Interview . According to him, the first phase is an attempt to destabilize the community, for example, by spreading false news and making people sick – as the Czech Republic has already…

Estonian Spies Understand the Russian Threat – Bloomberg

Finally, a comprehensive look at Putin’s ambitions backed by real expertise.

Estonia, Russia Swap Convicted Spies After Presidential Pardons

Estonia and Russia have swapped two convicted spies after both men received presidential pardons, Estonian authorities say.

UAWire – Russia says that it will continue deploying Iskander strategic missiles in Kaliningrad despite Western protests

The Russian State Duma has commented on Washington's plans to monitor the deployment of the Russian Iskander missile system in the Kaliningrad …

UAWire – Russia expels British journalist Madeline Roache from annexed Crimea

British reporter Madeline Roache was forced to leave the Crimean peninsula by local authorities for several alleged rules violations. Roache was …

Russia Seeks to Regulate Private Military Contractors | World News | US News

MOSCOW (AP) — A senior lawmaker says the Russian parliament is working on a bill to regulate private military companies, amid reports about an unknown number of Russian military contractors killed in a U.S. strike in Syria.

Putin Personally Ordered Crimea Annexation, Ex-Duma Deputy Testifies

A Russian former lawmaker has testified before a Kyiv court that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014.

Former Russian MP Ponomarev: If resistance was offered in Crimea, it wouldn’t be annexed, no war would be waged in Donbas

14.02.18 16:24 – Former Russian MP Ponomarev: If resistance was offered in Crimea, it wouldn’t be annexed, no war would be waged in Donbas Former State Duma Deputy Ilya Ponomarev says that it would be possible to prevent occupation of Crimea and the Donbas if Ukraine resisted Russia’s aggressive actions in 2014. View news.

Putin decided to annex Crimea on short notice on February 23, 2014, – ex-Russian MP – 112.international

Russian leader Vladimir Putin decided to annex Crimea at the drop of a hat on February 23, 2014; Ilya Ponomarev, the former lawmaker from the Russian State Duma said that at a session of Obolon district court in Kyiv, as the jury considered the case of ex-president Viktor Yanukovych. ‘The decision was made on either late February 22 or early February 23. And it was a personal initiative of Russian president Putin. I trust this piece of information to be correct since it comes from the actual participant of that meeting in Moscow (which involved Putin and his close aides, – 112 International). I am quite sure that the Russian leadership had already carried out certain plans regarding Crimea,’ he said. Crimea was annexed by Russia by the illegal referendum held in March 2014. Earlier the Russian militaries that stayed there without any marking conquered all the force and state bodies of strategic military objects and building. The results of the referendum were not recognized by Ukraine and the world society. The number of the European and world countries, including Ukraine imposed the economic sanctions against Russia.

Vershbow: Russia will have to return Crimea in the long term – 15.02.2018 10:21 — Ukrinform News

Former Deputy Secretary General of NATO Alexander Vershbow has stated that Russia is bound to return Crimea to Ukraine.

Saakashvili and Why Color Revolutions Can’t Be Exported – Bloomberg

Authoritarians blamed U.S. agents, but the uprisings came from within.

Modernized Tu-160 to boost Russia’s long-range striking power

In Kazan, east of Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin watched as a massive, stark-white shape emerge from a dense, low-hanging fog.

Large anti-submarine ship catches fire in Russian shipyard – Defence Blog

A Russian large anti-submarine ship of the Pacific Fleet caught fire in the Far Eastern port of Vladivostok, local media reported Friday. “Yes, this has indeed taken place. We are helping to extinguish the fire,” the local emergencies department told RIA Novosti news agency. No casualties have been reported so far and the crew has been evacuated, said an official from the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Center. A source in the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Center in Vladivostok told TASS that 106 people were evacuated from the ship, with no deaths or casualties reported. The firefighting effort involves 11 vehicles and 48 firemen, the source added. A fire broke out was on board of the ‘Marshal Shaposhnikov’ Udaloy I-class destroy. The ‘Marshal Shaposhnikov’ is a Project 1155 large anti-submarine warfare (ASW) ship providing support to the Russian Navy`s submarines and defensive screening of surface combatants. They have a full displacement of 7,570 t, a length of 163.5 m, a maximum speed of 32 knots and a cruising range of 5,000 nautical miles (at a speed of 14 knots).

Russia / Russophone Reports

Russia says it has proof of Western influence in its upcoming election – CNN

Russia said Thursday that it has “concrete proof” that Western nations have attempted to interfere in its presidential election next month.

Putinism With Human Faces

They may look and act like opposition candidates, but they appear to be the human faces of Putinism.

The Daily Vertical: Putin’s Image Police (Transcript)

Like any head of state, Vladimir Putin has an army of bodyguards to protect him. But unlike most heads of state, he now seems to also have guards protecting pictures of him as well. Police have apparently been deployed in Kuzbass and Yakutsk to guard Putin’s campaign billboards. According to a report by RFE/RL’s Russian Service, the billboard bodyguards were dispatched after somebody wrote the word “liar” on a Putin campaign poster in the Kremlin leader’s hometown of St. Petersburg. WATCH Today’s Daily Vertical Now, one can say a lot of things about this. One can say it reflects the deep insecurity that lurks beneath the Putin regime’s bravado. One can also say it illustrates, yet again, that Russia’s election next month is not an election at all, but a ritual aimed at sanctifying the national leader. But I think the most relevant thing one can say about this is that it’s a perfect metaphor for Putin’s long rule. Because on one hand you have the well-documented reality of the Kremlin regime today — the cronyism, the widespread corruption, the arbitrary application of the law, the ossifying and ageing ruling elite, and the declining living standards for ordinary Russians. And then you have the image Putin’s army of spin doctors promote — that of the adored great leader who has restored Russia’s greatness. But an army of spin doctors is no longer enough to protect this image. Now, doing so requires a team of armed guards.

Sign Of The Times? Putin Billboards ‘Under Guard’ By Off-Duty Police

A spate of vandalism targeting Vladimir Putin’s campaign ads sends local police across Russia scrambling for their car heaters.

Special Operation “President’s Billboard”

In the Kuzbass and Yakutia on the eve of presidential elections in Russia, police officers were instructed to guard posters depicting the incumbent head of state Vladimir Putin. A source in the police told the “Siberia.Realy” correspondent. Near the posters depicting the President of Russia round-the-clock security is organized. The duty will last until March 18. To say what prompted the siloviki to put security at the banners with the president, the interlocutor “Sibir. Reality” in police Novokuznetsk found it difficult. However, he noted that probably this is due to the fact that earlier in St. Petersburg on one of the billboards depicting Vladimir Putin the unknown wrote the word “liar”.

The Morning Vertical, February 14, 2018

What would happen if Vladimir Putin simply decided he didn’t feel like campaigning? Would it even make a difference? It’s a valid question and one Oleg Kashin playfully asks in a piece featured below. Playing off Putin’s cancellation of his upcoming public appearances amid reports that he has a cold, Kashin speculates about what would happen if Putin “was too lazy to campaign at all.” He writes: “When Putin is healthy, some of his ‘working meetings’ are shown on television. And when Putin is ill, they also show ‘working meetings.’ There is no difference at all, and that makes the news of Putin’s cold senseless.” Likewise, the Kremlin has plenty of footage it could use to give the appearance of a campaign. “Vladimir Putin’s media file is huge, and if he does not want to do anything now, it’s time to turn to the archives,” Kashin notes. Kashin’s piece is tongue-in-cheek, of course. But like most satire, it hits close to home. Russia isn’t having an election. It’s having a TV show about an election.

The Morning Vertical, February 13, 2018

Sometimes the Kremlin’s political operations don’t exactly go off as planned. And according to a piece in Novaya Gazeta featured below, this appears to be the case with Communist candidate Pavel Grudinin. At first, Grudinin seemed to suit the Kremlin’s needs perfectly. He’s a former member of the ruling United Russia with ties to Putin dating back to the 2000 presidential election. As the head of the Lenin Collective Farm outside Moscow, Russia’s largest producer of strawberries, his business interests are highly dependent on the goodwill of the authorities. And as a fresh face, he promised to boost turnout in an election that Vladimir Putin’s regime has been struggling to make exciting. But then something unexpected happened. Grudinin’s poll numbers started rising to levels the Kremlin considered dangerous. According to the Novaya Gazeta report, one on-air poll on Vesti-FM in late December showed him getting 45 percent of the vote. The regime then clearly got spooked and began smearing Grudinin with “kompromat” in the state-controlled media. Of course, this could all be highly choreographed “pokazukha.” But if Novaya Gazeta’s account is accurate, it illustrates that the Kremlin’s political machine is slipping in its ability to stage-manage the show in this campaign.

The Daily Vertical: That Election Movie (Transcript)

Are we watching a movie about an election? Or an election about movies? What Vladimir Putin’s regime insists on calling elections have, of course, always been all about political theater. But if you’ve followed the news out of Russia in recent weeks, it actually appears to be more about political cinema. First, we had the Culture Ministry’s decision to ban Scottish director Armando Iannucci’s highly acclaimed black comedy The Death Of Stalin, which lampoons the power struggles, intrigue, and backstabbing that followed the Soviet dictator’s demise in 1953. WATCH: Today’s Daily Vertical A film about what happens when a powerful authoritarian leader shrouded in a cult of personality passes from the scene clearly touched a nerve in the Kremlin as Putin prepares for what many in Moscow assume will be his last campaign. But Iannucci’s film wasn’t the only one making headlines. Two nominal opposition candidates, Ksenia Sobchak and Grigory Yavlinsky, have filed formal complaints over Russian state-controlled Channel One’s rebroadcast of The Putin Interviews, Oliver Stone’s four-part documentary film that is — to put it gently — extremely flattering of the Kremlin leader. It will be interesting to see how that turns out, especially with Putin canceling his upcoming public appearances, apparently due to a cold. In the absence of Putin, what would the Putin campaign do without movies about Putin? As political commentator Oleg Kashin playfully wrote today in Republic.ru: “The symbol of Vladimir Putin’s 2018 campaign is a television rerun of Oliver Stone’s film about Vladimir Putin.” My guess is that the complaints will be rejected, which will only lead more people to watch Stone’s documentary. So it appears we are, indeed, watching a movie about an election and an election about movies — all at the same time.

A candidate or a delegate? Why Ksenia Sobchak flew to Washington

The unexpected voyage to Washington of the now registered candidate for presidency of Russia Ksenia Sobchak is difficult to explain from the political point of view, but it was well and accurately calculated as a new tool in Russia’s diplomatic game to break out of confrontation with the United States. It is in this foreign policy foreshortening that it should be evaluated. Sobchak, of course, solved her tasks, but at the same time she worked for the country and helped solve important tasks of the Kremlin. Sobchak said in her speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, and then in an interview with the Russian service of the Voice of America, that her trip is of a foreign policy nature. She came to build bridges in a situation where relations between our countries are at the lowest point. The most important direction of her election campaign is to demonstrate that these relations can improve in the near future. In her opinion, in the conditions of a new cold war, non-governmental public diplomacy is important, allowing to say possible points of compromise, which can not yet be discussed on an official level. She “acts for the good of the country” as an ambassador of goodwill. As one of eight people theoretically able to lead Russia in a month, Sobchak has no less, or maybe even more political status, than SVR director Sergei Naryshkin or FSB director Alexander Bortnikov, who visited the US capital for about the same purposes two weeks earlier. On a direct question of the journalist of the Voice of America Danila Galperovich, did not she bring some secret message from Vladimir Putin, who does not have a very good relationship with the US, Sobchak confidently responds that her message is only her own, but the results of her visit and contacts with representatives of the US administration, she will bring to the attention of Putin and other political actors of the Russian Federation in the framework of an open political discussion. The answer is stylistically flawless, but it does not completely dispel doubts. The very organization of a trip to Washington is suggestive. US sources say that the initiative, very persistent, came entirely from Sobchak’s headquarters and all public events (at CSMI, Georgetown University, Woodrow Wilson Center, National Press Center) were organized at her request. In other words, in the US, Sobchak, in general, no one called. That is, in the midst of the election campaign, when the issue of registration of a candidate has not yet been resolved, when for agitation a little more than a month remains (with a stagnating rating within the statistical error), the headquarters takes an action that has a net negative electoral effect, because valuable time is lost for agitation and meetings with voters, competitors are given a favorable topic for a counter-campaign (a trip to the country of a likely enemy for “cookies”). It is difficult to imagine that the most experienced political technologists working with Sobchak could give her such unprofessional advice and so clearly act against the interests of their candidate. One can only guess what an acute need was at the root of the decision “to Washington on business, urgently,” but the version that it could be a request from “senior comrades” just explains the rush and “electoral self-fire.” For the Kremlin, Sobchak’s voyage benefits from several aspects. First, it is the legitimization of Russian elections in the West. A small but unlike chance that the results of presidential elections in Russia will not be officially recognized in the West remains a very unpleasant scenario for the Kremlin, launching a color revolution, according to the “textbooks” of the late Gene Sharp. Sobchak in Washington partially removes the problem of “not real elections”, which Aleksey Navalny seeks to represent them for the world public opinion. Here is an opposition candidate who voices an alternative agenda and criticizes Putin personally, what kind of elections are not these? The most real.

The Morning Vertical, February 15, 2018

It appears that Aleksei Navalny has really touched a nerve with the video he released last week targeting Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko and Kremlin-connected oligarch Oleg Deripaska. According to reports this morning, Internet providers in Russia have begun blocking access to opposition leader and anticorruption crusader Aleksei Navalny’s website following an order from Roskomnadzor, the country’s communications regulator. Russian authorities are also threatening to block YouTube and Instagram for hosting the video. It’s just the latest example of how spooked the Kremlin is by Navalny. (In fact, some Moscow residents say the only way they can get officials to clear the snow in the Russian capital is to write Navalny’s name on it.) He’s been barred from the ballot in Russia’s so-called presidential election. But even though he is a noncandidate officially, he is the only person who is actually behaving like a candidate.

Navalny Website Blocked In Russia In Dispute Over ‘Rybkagate’ Report

Internet service providers in Russia have begun blocking access to opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s website following an order from the country’s communications regulator, according to news reports and social-media posts by Navalny and others.

In Russia, they began blocking access to the Navalniy website

Roskomnadzor began blocking the website of opposition leader Aleksey Navalny. This is done on the basis of the lawsuit of billionaire Oleg Deripaska, demanding to restrict access to personal information.

A Russian dissident pulls off a virtuoso trolling of the Putin regime – The Washington Post

There are lessons for America, too

Russia Is Trying to Bury This Video—And Might Shut Down YouTube to Do It – Mother Jones

Navalny Links Kremlin to Trump Campaign Aide Paul Manafort

Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska has dismissed the investigation as slander

UAWire – Russia bans investigative documentary of opposition leader Navalny about oligarch Deripaska

The documentary of Alexei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) about the ties of businessman Oleg Deripaska and Russian Deputy Prime …

Russian Media Regulator Moves To Block Latest Navalny Exposé

Russia’s media regulator has moved to prohibit material related to an investigation by opposition leader Aleksei Navalny that exposed a meeting between a Russian billionaire and a senior government…

First Lady Of Femen: Topless ‘Sextremist’ Relishes Presidential Challenges

Femen’s Anzhelina Diash has grabbed headlines with topless protests targeting European presidents. In addition to the jail time, her actions have also lost her a job as a kindergarten teacher.

Putin ill – spokesman – world news | UNIAN

Putin ill – spokesman. View news feed from Ukrainian Independent Information Agency UNIAN – world news for 12 February

The Daily Vertical: Putin Has A Cold (Transcript)

What would happen if Vladimir Putin simply decided he didn’t feel like campaigning? Would it even make a difference? Would anybody even notice? It’s a valid question and one that Russian opposition journalist Oleg Kashin playfully asked in a column earlier this week after the Kremlin announced that Putin was suffering from a cold and had canceled his upcoming public appearances. WATCH: Today’s Daily Vertical Kashin called the news “senseless,” noting that: “When Putin is healthy, his ‘working meetings’ are shown on television. And when Putin is ill, his ‘working meetings’ are shown on television. There is no difference at all.” Noting that “Putin’s media file is huge,” Kashin added that if he didn’t feel like campaigning, then “it’s time to turn to the archives.” He has a point. Of course, Putin doesn’t need to campaign. Consider the following: According to a recent study by the Kremlin-connected VTsIOM polling agency, Putin appeared in the Russian media no less than 59,130 times from February 8-13. In case anybody is doing the math, that is more than 10,000 times a day, more than all of the other candidates combined. Now, this all hits on a truth — not just about this event the Kremlin insists on calling an election, but about the Putin regime in general — that is both obvious and also fundamental to understanding its nature. It is based on an illusion and on a collective hallucination. But the man at the center of the illusion and the hallucination appears to be getting bored with even going through the motions of maintaining it. As the Dutch journalist and publicist Diederik Kramers noted on Twitter: “In Soviet times, when the leader had a cold, people thought he was dead. Now they think he is just dead tired of his election.”

The Morning Vertical, February 16, 2018

Your daily roundup.

Putin Isn’t a Genius. He’s Leonid Brezhnev. – To Inform is to Influence

Why Russia’s strongman economy can’t reform. BY CHRIS MILLER | FEBRUARY 12, 2018, 4:17 PM “There are two absolutely very well-known historical experiments in the world — East Germany and West Germany and North Korea and South Korea. Now these are cases that everyone can see!” So spoke Russian President Vladimir Putin in an address to the Duma…

Putin ally warns of arms race as Russia considers response to U.S. nuclear stance – The Washington Post

Sergey Chemezov, a longtime Putin friend and a senior figure in Russia’s weapons industry, said in an interview that the prospects for new U.S.-Russia arms control talks look bleak.

Moscow sends mixed messages over “Kremlin list” – CEPA STRATCOM PROGRAM.

Russia Threatens to Block YouTube and Instagram, After Complaints From an Oligarch – The New York Times

The oligarch, Oleg V. Deripaska, was once close to President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

In Russia, a grass-roots bid to expose Stalin’s ‘Great Terror’ – CSMonitor.com

The nascent movement mirrors efforts in many countries – Japan, Germany, Rwanda, and the United States, to name a few – to confront elements of a dark past.

Russia’s Human Rights Groups No Longer Have a Role Model (Op-ed)

The former Soviet Union is clinging on to values that reflect the worst of the current world order

Criminal research: A Russian court sentences a college student to 2.5 years in prison for reposting ‘extremist’ images that he says were part of his thesis research — Meduza

By nearly all accounts, Alexander Kruze is a model citizen. When he finished high school, instead of grabbing an academic exemption from the military, Kruze deferred his college enrollment and served in Russia’s armed forces. When he returned to civilian life, he resumed his education, studying criminal law at an institute in Voronezh. To pay his tuition and raise money for his ailing father’s medical treatment, Kruze moonlighted at a candy factory. This spring, now 23 years old, Kruze was supposed to defend his thesis on “countering contemporary extremism.” Instead, he’ll spend the next two and a half years behind bars, after a court convicted him last December of using the Internet to incite extremism. The same court also banned Kruze from using social media for the next 18 months. His crime? He reposted four images on Vkontakte. On February 12, a district appeals court upheld the verdict. Meduza summarizes a special report by Eva Merkacheva in the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, cataloguing Kruze’s Kafkaesque nightmare.

Russian Historian Accused Of ‘Religious Hatred’ Over Account Of Solovki Gulag

Orthodox believers have complained to the authorities that a 2017 history of the Solovki Islands offends their religious feelings. The author’s supporters say the complaint is part of broader effor…

Instagram submits to Russia censor’s demands – BBC News

Service blocks access to corruption claim-related posts despite YouTube failing to meet similar demand.

Wolf of the Apparatus, competitor of Lavrov

The hero of the investigation of Navalny Sergei Prikhodko heads the government apparatus. Who is he?

Bank of Russia Worry List Grows Even With Inflation Vanquished – Bloomberg

The Bank of Russia is refocusing its sights on trying to support economic growth after inflation settled at the lowest level in the country’s modern history and geopolitical risks receded.

UAWire – Russian Soyuz rocket fails to launch again

The launch of the Soyuz 2.1A carrier rocket with the Progress MS-08 transport cargo vehicle was postponed to its reserve date, February 13. …

‘False’ Radiation Alert Causes Scare In Russia

Residents of Russia’s Yaroslavl region got a scare when local TV and radio stations broadcast a radiation warning, but the Emergency Situations Ministry said the broadcast was a mistake.

Russian FSB Detains Ukrainian In Crimea On Suspicion Of Spying

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) says it has detained a Ukrainian national in Russian-controlled Crimea on suspicion of espionage.

Ukrainian national Kostiantyn Davydenko detained on espionage charges in Russian-occupied Crimea

12.02.18 14:26 – Ukrainian national Kostiantyn Davydenko detained on espionage charges in Russian-occupied Crimea The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) apprehended Ukrainian citizen Kostiantyn Davydenko in Simferopol, Crimea. View news.

news about political prosecutions in Crimea – Russia’s FSB claims detention of ‘Ukrainian spy’ – 112.international

Russia’s Federal Security Service detained Ukrainian citizen in Simferopol (annexed Crimea)

Russian Court Declares Mom A ‘Man’

A Russian woman has been ruled unfit to care for two foster children by a court that claimed she identifies as a man — an assertion she rejects.

Russian woman killed her boyfriend in a sex game | Daily Mail Online

Anastasia Onegina, 21, a student, admits killing lover Dmity Sinkeich, 24, during a sex game at their apartment in Oryol, Russia, before using a large kitchen knife to dismember his corpse.

Ukrainian Jailed On Sabotage Charges In Russia-Controlled Crimea

The top Russian court in Ukraine’s Moscow-controlled Crimea region has sentenced Ukrainian national Andriy Zakhtey to 6 1/2 years in prison on sabotage charges that Kyiv contends are unfounded.

Pro-Russia AfD delegation in Crimea sparks outrage in Kiev

Epic fail at Crimea bridge construction – news about economy

Epic fail at Crimea bridge construction. View news feed from Ukrainian Independent Information Agency UNIAN – news about economy for 13 February

Doomed Russian Plane’s Speed Gauges ‘May Have Been Iced Up’

Russian investigators say the plane crash that killed 71 people near Moscow on February 11 could have been caused by speed gauges being iced up.

Plane Crashes Are a Recurring Nightmare for Russia – The Atlantic

As more people choose to fly, the country’s airliners are having a tougher time finding qualified personnel.

Russia plane crash raises new questions about safety of Antonov jet

Wading through knee-deep snow, hundreds of emergency workers searched a vast field near Moscow on Monday for remains of the 71 victims from the crash of a Russian airliner, and aviation experts began deciphering the jet’s two flight recorders.

Ukraine’s Antonov ready to join Russia’s plane crash probe – Russian media | UNIAN

Ukraine’s Antonov ready to join Russia’s plane crash probe – Russian media. View news feed in news about social life for 12 February from UNIAN Information Agency

No survivors reported as Russian passenger jet with 71 aboard crashes outside Moscow (Video) | UNIAN

No survivors reported as Russian passenger jet with 71 aboard crashes outside Moscow (Video). Current news and events for 11 February from UNIAN Information Agency

Footage shows Russian plane crashing near Moscow | Daily Mail Online

Disturbing CCTV footage appears to show the moment the Russian passenger plane crashed near Moscow on Sunday, killing all 71 people aboard.

Tough Conditions Hamper Work At Russian Plane-Crash Site

Searchers at the grim site of a crash that killed all 71 passengers and crew on a flight from Moscow to the Urals are hunting for clues in the scattered wreckage of the aircraft outside the Russian capital.

Olympic athletes from Russia is a craven euphemism for a craven Olympic Games.

A phrase as clumsy as the compromise that produced it.

Russian foreign minister: We’re banned from Olympics because U.S. ‘can’t beat us fairly’ – The Washington Post

Lavrov claimed that American officials engineered the ban “to find and keep their place as indisputable world leader in sport.”

Russian Olympic doping mastermind Grigory Rodchenkov on the run – CBS News

Grigory Rodchenkov was once the mind behind Russia's elaborate doping program that helped them cheat in the Olympics. Now he's talking about it and he fears for his life

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

Living on the Shifting Border of Georgia and Russia – The New York Times

For over a year, Tako Robakidze has visited villages across Russian-occupied Georgia, photographing those for whom borders seemed to change overnight.

Belarus Reports

Lukashenko: And where are our weapons?

The Belarusian leader is again dissatisfied: the Russian Federation equips its army, and, according to him, leaves the CSTO allies without support in the face of world threats. Alexander Lukashenko, speaking at a meeting of the Security Council of the Republic of Belarus, expressed his claims to Russia: in his opinion, both in Moscow and the CSTO seriously underestimate the danger of the emerging situation. “It’s about the fact that for the first time since the middle of the last century the world is a step away from the emergence of a global confrontation with the most unpredictable consequences. We are very concerned about the speculations of some countries on nuclear weapons, the militarization of the Eastern European region, and the unprecedented build-up of the military potential of our neighboring countries, “the Belarusian president said. He recalled that last year Belarus presided over the Collective Security Treaty Organization. “We managed to take a number of measures aimed at developing the armed forces of the CSTO countries, strengthening their military and technical cooperation, strengthening their positions in the world,” Lukashenko said. – It is difficult to reconcile issues that bear large material costs. I mean armament. … Russia in itself modernizes the armed forces. We are trying something together with other members to arm, modernize and so on. Everyone in itself. ”

EU Extends Belarus Arms Ban, With An Exception

European Union diplomats have decided to extend the EU arms embargo on Belarus by another year but to make an exception for small-caliber sport guns.

Belarus Puts Ukrainian Journalist On Trial For Espionage

The Supreme Court of Belarus says it has started the trial of a Ukrainian journalist charged with espionage.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

Moldova Introduces Fines for ‘Russian Propaganda’ – To Inform is to Influence

13 FEB 18 The authorities have begun to impose financial penalties on media outlets in an attempt to prevent alleged attempts to spread Russian propaganda in Moldova. Madalin Necsutu   Moldova’s Audiovisual Coordinating Council, CCA has fined 11 radio and TV stations and seven cable network providers 5,000 lei (around 240 euros) each because they…

Moldova Says Troops To Join Military Maneuvers In Romania

The Moldovan Defense Ministry says its troops will participate in military exercises in Romania along with troops from the United States, Georgia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and the host country.

Moldovan Winemaker Lists Shares On Romania Stock Exchange

Moldova’s Purcari Wineries company has listed its shares on Romania’s stock exchange, amid efforts by the country’s investors to switch to European markets following a Russian embargo.

Ukraine Reports

‘Ukraine fatigue’ in Washington is not warranted | TheHill

We should not dismiss criticism of Ukraine’s progress, but it is important to take into account the context in which reforms are being undertaken and the dangerous region.

Poroshenko unveils details of phone talk with Putin – 112.international

Poroshenko unveils details of phone talk with Putin

Poroshenko phones Putin on anniversary of Minsk accords – media | UNIAN

Poroshenko phones Putin on anniversary of Minsk accords – media. View news feed in news about politics for 14 February from UNIAN Information Agency

Donbas reintegration law not to rule out liberation of occupied territories by force – NSDC secretary | UNIAN

Donbas reintegration law not to rule out liberation of occupied territories by force – NSDC secretary . Current news and events for 13 February from UNIAN Information Agency

UAWire – Turchynov: the threat of Russia’s offensive from the Crimea still exists

The threat of Russia’s offensive from the annexed Crimea remains even today, as stated by the Secretary of the National Security and Defense …

Russia can escalate situation in Ukraine at any moment – Poroshenko | UNIAN

Russia can escalate situation in Ukraine at any moment – Poroshenko. View news feed in news about politics for 12 February from UNIAN Information Agency

Ukraine joining NATO to depend on results of reforms, – Stoltenberg – 112.international

The issue of Ukraine joining NATO will depend on the progress of the reforms, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a press conference in Brussels, according to the website of the Alliance. “The focus now is on reforms. And I welcome that Ukraine has so clearly stated that their focus now is on reform, and then based on the progress they’re making on reform, then, of course, the issue of membership will be assessed based on the progress Ukraine is making,” Stoltenberg said.

U.S. Accuses Russia Of Stoking Conflict In Ukraine

The United States has accused Russia of stoking the conflict in Ukraine by disregarding its commitments under peace accords.

news about Ukraine conflict – U.S. ready to assist in restoring peace in Donbas, but Russia must choose peace, – Volker – 112.international

The United States is keen on stopping the military actions in Donbas, but for that to happen, Russia should choose peace, – Kurt Volker, U.S. special envoy for Ukraine-related affairs

Report: Ukraine Crisis Needs 20,000-strong UN Force

Conflict still simmering in eastern Ukraine

Ukraine crisis needs 20,000-strong U.N. force: report

The United Nations should consider a force of some 20,000 soldiers from non-NATO countries and 4,000 police to help resolve the crisis in Ukraine, according to a new report to be presented to top officials this week.

Vershbow: UN should deploy peacekeeping mission in Donbas – 12.02.2018 17:26 — Ukrinform News

It&rsquo;s time to deploy the UN peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine. Otherwise, the United States and the European Union should tighten sanctions against Russia.

The Daily Vertical: A War Of Choice Continues (Transcript)

Three years ago, the guns in Ukraine were supposed to fall silent. Three years ago, the killing and the aggression were supposed to stop. Three years ago today, the Minsk II cease-fire was signed. But the guns in the Donbas have not fallen silent. WATCH: Today’s Daily Vertical In the last day alone, Kyiv authorities say pro-Moscow separatists have launched no less than nine attacks on Ukrainian forces. And the killing has not stopped. In fact, the war in the Donbas has claimed more than 10,000 lives and wounded tens of thousands more. And it has resulted in nearly 2 million people being displaced. Three years after Minsk, Russia’s war in the Donbas goes on. And amidst all the politics, all the diplomacy, all the spin, all the disinformation, and all the posturing; amidst all the violated cease-fires, all the finger-pointing, and all the Normandy Format meetings; amidst all of this, it’ss important to remember one thing: This is a war of choice. If Vladimir Putin had not chosen to make the decisions he made back in 2014, there would have been no need for a Minsk cease-fire on February 12, 2015. And if Putin had not chosen to continue that war even after the cease-fire that was signed, the killing in the Donbas would not be continuing today. This is Putin’s war, and it is only continuing because Putin chooses to continue it.

Video: War in Ukraine drags on, three years after peace deal – France 24

FOCUS : In eastern Ukraine, the conflict drags on, despite the signature of a peace deal three years ago. Parts of the eastern regions of Donetsk…

Russia wants to swap Donbas for Crimea – expert | UNIAN

Russia wants to swap Donbas for Crimea – expert. View news feed from Ukrainian Independent Information Agency UNIAN – news about politics for 12 February

Poroshenko urges Putin to stop killing people – 12.02.2018 15:38 — Ukrinform News

Russian leader Vladimir Putin must withdraw his troops from eastern Ukraine, stop violating international law and killing people.

Ukrainian news on Donbas – Lavrov accuses Ukraine of “breaking the Minsk agreements” – 112.international

Ukraine will make a mistake by breaking the Minsk agreements, if it finally approves the law on the reintegration of Donbas

TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Lavrov says results of Volker-Surkov latest meeting on Ukraine are not hopeless

The minister stressed that Russia has always offered to foreign partners concrete measures to get out of dead-end situations

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov: Russia does not recognize ‘DPR’, ‘LPR’ – 12.02.2018 10:16 — Ukrinform News

Russia is going to adhere to the Minsk agreements and will not recognize the terrorist organizations &ldquo;Donetsk People&rsquo;s Republic&rdquo; and &ldquo;Luhansk People&rsquo;s Republic.&rdquo;

“This is first step to junk Minsk agreements,” – Russia’s Lavrov on Ukraine’s law designed to put end to Donbas occupation

12.02.18 11:23 – “This is first step to junk Minsk agreements,” – Russia’s Lavrov on Ukraine’s law designed to put end to Donbas occupation Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Ukraine will make a huge mistake by reneging on the Minsk agreements, if the bill on the reintegration of the Donbas is signed into law. View news.

Russia’s reluctance to fulfill its obligations is what scraps Minsk agreements, – Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry on Lavrov’s statement

12.02.18 12:56 – Russia’s reluctance to fulfill its obligations is what scraps Minsk agreements, – Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry on Lavrov’s statement The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine responded to the statement by Russian FM Sergey Lavrov regarding the so-called “Donbas reintegration bill” regulating certain aspects of state policy to ensure Ukraine’s state sovereignty in temporarily… View news.

Russia hasn’t fulfilled any Minsk peace provision – Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry | UNIAN

Russia hasn’t fulfilled any Minsk peace provision – Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry. View news feed in news about politics for 12 February from UNIAN Information Agency

The Briefing: Resurrecting Minsk In Munich

Can Minsk be revived in Munich? Listen to the new Power Vertical Briefing.

The Future Agenda of US-Ukrainian Military Relations | SLDInfo

Stephen Blank looks at Ukrainian dilemmas and how the United States might help.

U.S. military aid to Ukraine should not be limited to Javelin missiles – American analyst – 12.02.2018 13:00 — Ukrinform News

The U.S. military assistance to Ukraine should not be limited to the provision of Javelin anti-tank missiles.

U.S. military aid to Ukraine not to be limited to Javelins – expert | UNIAN

U.S. military aid to Ukraine not to be limited to Javelins – expert. View news feed in news about politics for 12 February from UNIAN Information Agency

Those who support lifting sanctions off Russia either naive or poorly informed, – Poroshenko – 112.international

The public figures supporting cancelation of international sanctions against Russia either are naive or do not have enough information about the state of affairs in war-torn eastern Ukraine and in the Russian-annexed Crimea. Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian leader, said that in his commentary for Bild outlet. ‘Everything is perfectly clear: we are not a part of the fancy Russian Empire, we are a sovereign state. I guess people like Mr. Hoeness (Ulrich Hoeness, the president of Bayern Munich FC, – 112 International) should visit Ukraine at least once – not Kyiv, but eastern Ukraine. And then, he will realize it’s about one single thing: Putin should get his troops out of Ukraine’, Poroshenko said.

How to Fix the Eastern Ukraine Problem – Bloomberg

A UN expert has devised a near-perfect plan — which will only work if both Russia and Ukraine believe in their stated goals.

Russian war pilots in Crimea train to strike mainland Ukraine | UNIAN

Russian war pilots in Crimea train to strike mainland Ukraine. View news feed in news about politics for 15 February from UNIAN Information Agency

Russia activates its Aerospace Forces near border with Ukraine – 112.international

Russia has activated its Air Forces near the border with Ukraine, carrying out flights of fighter jets and bombers. This was reported on the page of the Air Force command of Ukraine’s Army in Facebook. “Ukraine’s Army Air Forces during air defense drills detected the activation of Russian Aerospace Forces along the eastern air border of Ukraine. The fighter and bomber aviation of the aggressor country flew from Kursk, Millerovo, Gvardeyskoye and Saki airfields with the maximum approach to the state border of Ukraine and the delimitation line, “the Armed Forces reported. In addition, a group of strategic Tu-95 rocket-carrying bombers escorted by a pair of Su-30 fighter jets flew in the airspace of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and practiced hypothetical launches of cruise missiles towards the mainland of Ukraine.

UAWire – Ukrainian deputy proposes a military option for the return of Crimea and Donbas

In an interview with 112 Ukraine TV, the deputy of the Ukrainian Rada from the &quot;People's Front&quot; faction, Yuriy Bereza said that the return of …

UAWire – Turchynov: EU is learning from Ukrainian experience in combating Russian propaganda

European parliamentarians are studying Ukrainian methods of combating Russian propaganda and disinformation, Secretary of the National Security …

Militants shell six times, one Ukrainian soldier killed – 112.international

Illegal armed groups fired from 82-mm mortars, large-caliber machine guns and IFV weapons

Ukrainian prosecutors confirm murder of four marines near Shyrokyne | UNIAN

Ukrainian prosecutors confirm murder of four marines near Shyrokyne. View news feed in war news for 15 February from UNIAN Information Agency

Four Ukrainian Marines Found Dead, Two Fellow Servicemen Arrested

Four Ukrainian marines have been found shot dead in their living quarters in eastern Ukraine and two fellow servicemen have been detained on suspicion of killing them, authorities said.

Ukrainian Marines found dead in Shyrokyne area, Donetsk region – 112.international

Several Ukrainian Marines were found dead in their house not far from Shyrokyne, Donetsk region (Ukraine-held territories, – 112 International). Counter-terrorism operation HQ reported that on February 15. The actual number of the deceased is not disclosed yet. ‘The military police are now sorting out the details of the incident, which ended up in deaths of servicemen of the detached brigade of the Ukrainian Marines. The bodes were found at a house where they lived,’ the message says. A source told 112.ua news agency that the tragedy took place due to irresponsible drinking; the servicemen appear to have opened fire.

Christopher Miller on Twitter: “Wow. All of Shyrokyne was already a literal minefield. Every footstep there is taken with caution. 705 more mines…is nuts. Remember, the UN has called eastern Ukraine one of the most mined areas in the world. https://t.co/K5D6wgAjCp”

Alexander Vershbow on Twitter: “Reminder that Eastern #Ukraine is definitely not a ‘frozen conflict.’ Time for a robust #UN peacekeeping force to enable full implementation of #Minsk agreements — or else tighten US and EU sanctions against #Russia..… https://t.co/146J0JvzCp”

Putin has no idea what to do with Donbas – Poroshenko | UNIAN

Putin has no idea what to do with Donbas – Poroshenko. View news feed in war news for 12 February from UNIAN Information Agency

The Morning Vertical, February 12, 2018

Today marks the third anniversary of the signing of the Minsk II cease-fire. And as I note on today’s Daily Vertical (featured below), the war rages on and the Minsk process has long been written off as dead in the water. On this week’s Power Vertical Briefing (also featured below), we take a look at a new round of diplomacy on Ukraine that appears set to begin at the annual Munich Security Forum later this week. Can Minsk be revived in Munich? Be sure to check out this week’s Power Vertical Briefing!

Ukraine: The forgotten victims of Donbass | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 16.02.2018

Wives and mothers are fighting for the return of soldiers who went missing in the conflict between the Ukrainian military and separatists in the Donbass. Florian Neuhof reports on their desperate search for answers.

UAWire – US strategic drone conducts reconnaissance flight over Donbas and Crimea

As Interfax reported, a RQ-4 Global Hawk strategic drone from the US Air Force conducted a reconnaissance flight along the line of demarcation …

Poroshenko: We are ready to exchange Russian soldiers detained in Donbas for Sushchenko – 12.02.2018 14:08 — Ukrinform News

Ukraine is ready to exchange Russian soldiers detained in Donbas for Ukrainian hostages held in Russia.

Butusov: “Givi” liquidated by the Ukrainian special services

One of the leaders of the “DNR”, the commander of the battalion of militants “Somali” Mikhail Tolstoy, known under the nickname ” Givi “, was eliminated by Ukrainian special services. Yuri Butusov, a journalist, wrote about this on his Facebook page . “Givi” was once identified as the number one in the list of animals destined for disposal. The operation was planned and prepared for two years. “Givi” was the last promoted in the Russian media and media leader of mercenaries in the occupied territories, who was in the service, “he writes. Butusov said that Tolstoy took serious security measures, so it was not easy to get to him. After the murder of “Givi” , the journalist notes, no such major retaliation actions in the occupied territories were carried out any more. “Someday, these events will be written books and movies, something like” Munich “, only much more dramatic and difficult. And they will learn about this as one of the most brilliant operations conducted by patriots of Ukraine. A page of history that we will all be proud of, “Butusov said. As is known, “Givi” died on February 8, 2017 on the territory of the military unit in occupied Makeyevka. In his office detonated an explosive device.

UAWire – Russian court upheld the deportation to Ukraine of a participant of the capture of Slovyansk

On January 15, 2018, the Reutov City Court of the Moscow Region ruled to enforce the deportation of a participant of the capture of the …

Film ‘Cyborgs’ breaks record on number of views in Ukraine, – 112 – Film ‘Cyborgs’ breaks record on number of views in Ukraine – 112.international

Ukrainian film “Cyborgs’ has broken the record on the box office and number of views in the times of independent Ukraine, as Pylyp Illenko, head of Ukrainian State Film Agency said, according to UNN. He says that the movie earned over $845.000 and was viewed by 310.569 people. Illenko also told that the state budget of Ukraine for 2018 allocated almost $19 million for film production. “As of today, the state budget of Ukraine allocated for financing $18.8 million of government support, $17.8 of which are for feature movies,” he said.

‘Cyborgs’ war drama replays real-life Ukraine battle – YouTube

A new Ukrainian feature film called “Cyborgs” has become the first to depict the bloody war against Russian-backed separatists, focusing on a battle for a highly symbolic airport.

Canada hopes to sell assault rifles to Ukraine as country looks to upgrade weaponry – media | UNIAN

Canada hopes to sell assault rifles to Ukraine as country looks to upgrade weaponry – media. Current news and events for 15 February from UNIAN Information Agency

US donates AN/PVS-14 night vision monoculars to Ukraine – Defence Blog

The Armed Forces of Ukraine received new AN/PVS-14 night vision monoculars donated by the United States on 14 February. The AN/PVS-14 night vision monocular developed by Harris is in widespread use by the United States Armed Forces as well as NATO allies around the world. It features the superior performance of the Gen 3 F9815 image intensifier tube with a variable gain control to achieve an optimum balance in the images seen by both eyes. The AN/PVS-14 provides increased versatility without the need to carry multiple types of specialized equipment. According to the Mil.in.ua, the equipment was officially handed over in a ceremony at the US Embassy in Ukraine, with the participation of the Head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Viktor Muzhenka. The United States has donated a total 2500 AN/PVS-14 night vision monoculars worth approximately USD5.8 million to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, noted Ukrainian military website.

Ukrainian Army receives 2,500 US night vision devices worth $5.8 million. PHOTOS

14.02.18 15:15 – Ukrainian Army receives 2,500 US night vision devices worth $5.8 million. PHOTOS The U.S. government handed over 2,500 night vision devices worth $5.8 million to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. View photo news.

New Ukrainian 3D radar 80K6T_SpetsTechnoExport – YouTube

Ukrainian designer inject new ideas into military vehicle for U.S. Marines – Defence Blog

The U.S. Marine Corps launched the program to harnesses industry and innovative solutions to create new Modular Logistics Vehicle that will meet a range of logistical missions. According to the U.S. Marines, this Modular Logistics Vehicle (MLV) will exemplify the innovative-hacker spirit of the Marines, turning it into something available to the entire Marine Corps. For this, are considered technical ideas and concepts from all comers. In this project already participates Ukrainian designer of military equipment Andrii Melnyk, who offered his concept of new Folded Module Logistic Vehicle.

Ukroboronprom CEO steps down – news about economy | UNIAN

Ukroboronprom CEO steps down. View news feed from Ukrainian Independent Information Agency UNIAN – news about economy for 12 February

Ukroboronprom to modernize air defense system Pechora – Ukroboronprom to modernize air defence system Pechora, – Poroshenko – 112.international

State enterprise Ukroboronprom is getting ready to modernize the air defence system Pechora, as President Petro Poroshenko wrote on Facebook. “State enterprise Ukroboronprom continues designing means of air defence for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Not so long ago, the modernized surface-to-air missile system S-125M Pechora went through a successful test,” Poroshenko wrote. The President noted that the modernized complex can reach targets that are 40 km away, while the maximum height of its range is 25 km. “Ukrainian experts managed to considerably enhance the aiming and hitting of highly manoeuvrable targets. Now the enterprise is getting ready for mass modernization of these missiles. Continuing to strengthen the defence capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine!” Poroshenko emphasized.

Петро Порошенко – State Concern “Ukroboronprom” continues to develop air defense assets for the Armed Forces.

State Concern “Ukroboronprom” continues to develop air defense assets for the Armed Forces. Recently, successful tests were performed on an upgraded S-125M “Pechora” air defence missile system.The maximum range of the kill zone of the upgraded system is more than 40 km, and the maximum altitude of the kill zone is 25 km. Ukrainian experts have been able to significantly increase the accuracy of targeting and defeat of highly-maneuvrable targets. At present, the company is preparing for the mass modernization of such missiles.We continue to strengthen the Defense Forces of the Armed Forces!

Ukraine set for serial upgrade of Pechora air defense missile system – Poroshenko | UNIAN

Ukraine set for serial upgrade of Pechora air defense missile system – Poroshenko. Current news and events for 11 February from UNIAN Information Agency

TESTING AA MISSILE SYSTEM C-125M “PECHORA” BY SKDB “LUCH” AND “RADIONICS”- VIDEO – Ukroboronprom

UKROBORONPROM State Kyiv Design Bureau “Luch” – together with domestic company “Radionics” – conducted successful tests of the modernized anti-aircraft missile complex C-125M “Pechora”. AA missile system C-125 underwent an integrated modification of all elements, including modernization of missiles, as well as the use of a new radar station built on solid-state elements. During the tests, firing at air targets was conducted using new missiles 5В27D-М2 with a semi-active radar homing device. This ensures detection and engagement of the fighter-class air target at a distance of not less than 20 km. This greatly increases guidance accuracy, ensuring engagement of even highly evading target. Due to the fact that on the initial section the missile moves along the aerobalistic trajectory, C-125M engagement area significantly increases. Engagement area with new missiles is more than 40 km, the maximum height of the engagement area is 25 km.

Tests of the S-125M “Pechora” from the DKBB “Luch” and “Radionix” – video – YouTube

State Concern “Ukroboronprom” Published on January 17, 2018 The State Kyiv Design Bureau “Luch”, a part of the State Enterprise “Ukroboronprom”, together with the national company “Radionix”, conducted successful tests of the modernized C-125M “Pechora” anti-aircraft missile complex.

Ukraine, Norway build on old ties with trade boost in 2017 | KyivPost

Norway, a rich Scandinavian country with an inclusive economy, seems to have little in common with poor, corrupt Ukraine. But the two nations share rich and ancient historical ties. “Scandinavian Vikings played a major role in developing the early Kyivan Rus state almost 1,200 years ago, and Kyiv became the center of this state, strategically placed on the trade route between Scandinavia and Asia. So we have common roots,” said Asbjørn Tandberg, a Norwegian-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce member and director of Tandberg Value Creation consulting company, based in the Norwegian capital Oslo. The Viking Rurik dynasty ruled Kyivan Rus in the 860s, seizing control of the area from local Slavic tribes. One of the most famous princes of the medieval epoch, Oleg, was a Viking, and other Vikings served in the military of the Kyivan Rus. The old ties are still celebrated today: Ukrainian and Norwegian historians met in December in Oslo for the first “Ukraine-Norway: Connected by History” conference. Today Norway, with only 5.3 million people, is one of modern Ukraine’s biggest supporters, both politically and financially. Norway has financed at least 30 development projects, supporting startups and young business leaders. It has helped soldiers settle back into civilian life. Since the EuroMaidan Revolution that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 22, 2014, Norway has given Ukraine more than $100 million in assistance. In addition, Norway has supported sanctions against Russia to punish the Kremlin for its war against Ukraine, even though this has triggered counter-sanctions from Moscow that banned Norwegian fish exports to Russia. However, when it comes to business, Norwegians are still cautious about taking the plunge into Ukraine’s economy. The State Statistic Service of Ukraine reported that, as of October 2017, Norway’s foreign direct investment in Ukraine was only $7.2 million out of the $39 billion that Ukraine has received since independence. Ukraine’s exports to Norway in 2017, while on the rise, were worth just $17 million out total exports of $40 billion, while imports were $192 million out of a total of $45 billion.

Ukrainian news on decommunization – Decommunization in Ukraine has actually been completed, – Director of Institute of National Memory – 112.international

Director of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory Volodymyr Vyatrovych declares that the process of decommunization in Ukraine has actually been completed. Director of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory Volodymyr Vyatrovych declares that the process of decommunization in Ukraine has actually been completed. This he said in an interview with Radio Liberty. “Decommunization in the context of the deprivation of the symbols of totalitarian regime has actually been completed, we have renamed settlements – about a thousand, almost all of them. I say “almost” because after the renaming we have 9 or 10 non-obvious Communist names, nevertheless they fall under the law about decommunization,” Vyatrovych said. According to him, almost all the monuments to Lenin were dismantled in Ukraine. “There are about 2,500 monuments not only to Lenin but also to other Communist leaders, but we can not say that this is exactly everything, because a significant part of these monuments is simply not mentioned in any records. So we can react only on the fact of revealing these monuments,” said Vyatrovych. Note that the Verkhovna Rada in April 2015 adopted a government bill to condemn the communist and Nazi totalitarian regimes, banned their propaganda and symbols. According to the law, the symbols and propaganda of Nazism, National Socialism, their values, any activity of Nazi, fascist groups in Ukraine are prohibited.

Ukraine Parliament Will Adopt Anti-Corruption Court Law by May: Speaker | World News | US News

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

Can Ukraine Win Its War on Corruption? | Foreign Affairs

Ukraine’s future as an independent and sovereign state will depend on winning its internal war on corruption.

Ukraine’s fight against corruption has started to work

International cooperation and recent investigations can be seen as a success stories, but there is still a long way to go in the country’s struggle against corrupt officials.

Odesa Mayor Trukhanov detained at Kyiv Boryspil Airport | UNIAN

Odesa Mayor Trukhanov detained at Kyiv Boryspil Airport. View news feed in news about politics for 14 February from UNIAN Information Agency

APA – The biggest problem of Ukraine is corruption – Poroshenko

news about U.S. financial aid to Ukraine – U.S. to assign 200 million dollars for strengthening Ukraine’s security and defense sector – 112.international

The 2019 draft federal budget of the U.S. includes 200 million dollars of financial assistance for Ukraine; the aid is supposed to fund Ukraine’s efforts in defense and security area

Ukraine news – Unknown paint monument to Ukrainian Insurgent Army soldiers in Polish flag colors – 112.international

At the moment, Kharkiv police is looking for the people involved in the act of vandalism

U.S., NATO Urge Hungary, Ukraine To Settle Language-Law Dispute

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and the United States are urging Hungary and Ukraine to resolve their differences over Ukraine’s new minority language law, which prompted Hungary to block a…

Holtec wants to produce new nuclear reactors in Ukraine – 15.02.2018 10:59 — Ukrinform News

The management of Holtec International, a global supplier of equipment and systems for the energy industry, is currently considering expanding its facilities in Ukraine for the production of modern and more promising small modular reactors for nuclear power plants.

UAWire – Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs: Poland wants to settle historic argument with Ukraine

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Jacek Czaputowicz said after a meeting with a top Estonian diplomat in Warsaw that he would like to see a …

UAWire – Poland recognizes Ukrainian migrants as one of the country’s major economic drivers

In a rating of the “50 most influential people of the Polish economy” compiled by Gazeta Prawna, a Polish newspaper, the second place was collectively occupied by labor migrants from Ukraine, who in terms of their influence on the country’s economy yielded only to the Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawieski. “The collective hero of the Polish economy and, at the very least, an important and bright factor on our labor market. After the beginning of the Russian aggression in Crimea and a conflict in Donbas, Ukrainians began to appear not only in our farm economy or horticulture, but also across many other areas,” the newspaper wrote. According to data from the Ministry of Labor of Poland, in 2017, Polish entrepreneurs filed work permits for nearly 1.7 million Ukrainians. This is a more than a one third increase from previous levels, while a “migration surge from the east” has grown exponentially by 350% since 2014. Among other signs, a surge of migrants from Ukraine positively affects the social insurance system of Poland because labor migrants are required to pay social dues. In addition, Ukrainian migrants help resolve demographic problems as they help contain, to a certain degree, a rapidly aging Polish society due to a low birth rate. The newspaper even expressed concerns that wealthier countries from Western Europe could over time lure a large volume of Ukrainian migrants away from Poland as the country has neglected creating conditions for their permanent settlement (“rooting”). Mateusz Morawieski, who topped the ranking, was credited with the impressive growth of tax revenues, a sustainable surplus of the state budget, high rates of economic growth, cutting down national debt, and generally making positive effects over all important decisions that shaped the economic policy. In December 2017, in an indirect polemic with Morawieski, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin argued that Ukrainians actually were saviors of the Polish economy. “Ukrainians with their work really rescue Polish economy. I know cases where Ukrainians are offered a higher pay [than Poles] because they are more flexible and extremely focused on what they do,” Klimkin said. According to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s estimates, as of December 2017, there were approximately 1 million Ukrainians living in Poland. “Then there is a legitimate question: who rescues whom? In this sense, we rescue the Polish economy. But with our Polish friends we will always maintain a friendly dialogue, including on sensitive matters from our shared history,” Klimkin said.

Ukraine Looks To Boost Domestic Nuclear Capacity | OilPrice.com

Ukraine is looking to boost its nuclear capacity further as the country deepens its independence from Russian energy imports

A More Assertive Ukraine Returns to Russian Natural Gas

Although Kiev plans to resume importing Russian energy in March, it is doing so on its own terms as Moscow’s influence over it fades.

Railroad to be built between Kyiv and Boryspil Airport before year’s end, – 112 – Railroad to be built between Kyiv and Boryspil Airport before year’s end – 112.international

Ukraine’s Prime Minister announced the plan to build a railroad for an easier access to Boryspil Airport from Kyiv, – 112

Right-Wing Factions Clash With Police In Kyiv

Members of right-wing factions clashed with police outside a court in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, after Odesa Mayor Hennadiy Trukhanov was released without bail pending a corruption investigation. The right-wing activists had apparently gathered to confront Trukhanov’s supporters. At least 30 people were detained and one police officer suffered a gunshot wound.

news from Ukraine – Ukrainian beekeepers to help saving Canada’s disappearing population of insects – 112.international

The All-Ukraine Brotherhood of Ukraine’s Apicultirists will help Canada to restore the fading population of bees in this country

In search of surrogates, foreign couples descend on Ukraine – BBC News

Demand for surrogacy in Ukraine, one of Europe’s poorest nations, is soaring. But what happens to the women involved?

Ukrainian monument to Jewish Holocaust victims vandalized | Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Taras Kuzio: Why it was right to deport Saakashvilli from Ukraine | KyivPost

Imagine a guest you had invited into your home after a short while began to publicly attack you (his host), make radical demands for the re-organization of your home and, after taking money from domestic and possibly hostile neighbors, paid pickets to set up tents outside your front door. He then went on a foreign holiday and you decided not to let him back in but he then with the force of his paid protestors forcibly crossed into your home pushing aside private security guards. Would you consider that he had abused his stay? Would you most probably insist in strong language that he forever vacate your premises? Such thoughts are in the uppermost minds of Ukrainians. One cannot imagine the Poles, British, Americans, French or others looking nonchalantly at the antics of a person they had given political asylum to who then attempted to organize a revolution against them, putting up tents in front of their parliaments and paralyzing major thoroughfares through their cities. It is inconceivable the British and Americans, for example, would permit a protest tent city to be encamped outside parliament and congress or permit Whitehall and Pennsylvania Avenue to be paralyzed for months on end. A protest tent city filled with radicals who sporadically attempted to storm parliament and congress would be viewed as a potential security threat by MI5 and the secret service and FBI. One can only imagine the level of force US customs and border protection officers would have used against an illegal crossing into the US that attempted to push aside law enforcement officers. Opinion polls showed that Ukrainians have similar thoughts to what European and Americans would have had. Ukrainians never warmed to the idea of a foreigner seeking to create a revolution. Irrespective of his Ukrainian citizenship Mikheil Saakashvilli was always viewed as a Georgian. His Movement of New Forces, registered by the Ministry of Justice in February 2017, never received more than 2% support. Even if his Ukrainian citizenship had been restored, Saakashvilli could not have stood for parliamentary election or as a presidential candidate as he had not lived in Ukraine for the legally proscribed time prior to the 2019 elections. A second reason why Ukrainians did not warm to Saakshvilli was because his antics were at a time when Russia is at war with Ukraine. This has cost over 20, 000 lives, or 10, 000 civilian and 10, 000 military casualties (of which 3,000 are Ukrainian). This year the Ukrainian government is spending 6% of GDP on defense – a figure higher than any of NATO’s 29 members. To put it simply, very few Ukrainians believe this is the right time to have a third Maidan which would only play into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hands. A third factor was that Saakashvilli is a hypocrite with no legs to stand on. In October 2011, when he was Georgian President, Saakashvilli stripped Bidzina Ivanishvili of his citizenship just after he had called for Misha’s overthrow (http://dfwatch.net/billionaires-citizenship-was-unlawfully-revoked-lawyer-says-92258-742). Coming at a time when his regime was becoming increasingly authoritarian, Saakashvilli has no moral high ground to stand on. Saakashvilli never understood the views of Ukrainians because his fiery Georgian populism turned his dismissal as Odesa governor into a personal crusade against President Petro Poroshenko. This was wrong for two reasons. Firstly, Saakashvilli should act like the European he claims to be and take responsibility for his poor performance in Odesa where his loud rhetoric and PR hype was never matched by concrete performance and fulfilled objectives. His time in Odesa proved what is true of all populists, whether during Yulia Tymoshenko’s and Party of Regions governments or abroad, that populist politicians are really bad at government. Secondly, many commentators about Ukrainian politics forget that Ukraine is a parliamentary system where the executive is divided between the government and president. President Poroshenko therefore shares responsibility for reforms and fighting corruption with two other branches – parliament and government. It was therefore wrong for Saakshvilli to focus all his criticism against Poroshenko when blame should be apportioned. Throwing around accusations of responsibility, as Saakshvilli and other populists such as Tymoshenko and Radical Party leader Oleh Lyashko routinely do, is irresponsible because it seeks to mask the actions of their own chameleon parliamentary deputies and factions. This is particularly the case with Saakashvilli’s biggest supporter, Tymoshenko, who regularly rose to his defense and went to meet him in Lviv after he had illegally crossed the border. In studying the voting preferences of deputies on reform legislation, Vox Ukraine found that half of Tymosenko’s faction vote regularly with the ruling coalition and half with the odious pro-Russian Opposition Bloc. And yet in Washington just last week, Tymoshenko presented herself as an ally of the US and supporter of reforms in Ukraine.

Saakashvili gets ID card in Netherlands – 112.international

Saakashvili gets ID card in Netherlands

Saakashvili Arrives In Netherlands After Expulsion From Ukraine

Mikheil Saakashvili has arrived in the Netherlands, his wife’s home country, after being expelled from Ukraine into neighboring Poland.

After Dramatic Expulsion From Ukraine, What’s Next For Saakashvili?

Plucked from a Kyiv eatery and banished from Ukraine, Saakashvili says he will be “10 times” more dangerous from abroad.

‘We will wring the neck of the Ukrainian oligarchy,’ vows deported Saakashvili – CBC News | The National

A deeper dive into the day’s most notable stories with The National newsletter’s Jonathon Gatehouse.

‘Poroshenko Hasn’t Much Time Left,’ Banished Saakashvili Says

Mikheil Saakashvili has vowed to push ahead with his struggle against Ukraine’s leadership in defiant remarks in Warsaw, a day after he was seized in Kyiv and banished to Poland in a dramatic expulsion he has blamed on President Petro Poroshenko.

Saakashvili: Ukraine government ′treated me like criminal organization would′ | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 13.02.2018

Ukraine’s government has deported former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to Poland. In an interview with DW, he called on Ukrainians to take to the streets in protest, and discussed his plans in Warsaw.

Is This the End of Mikheil Saakashvili in Ukraine?

Today opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili was deported to Poland. For months he has been leading protests outside of Ukraine’s parliament, urging President Petro Poroshenko to resign. The Saakashvili drama has been ongoing; last year he was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship and then reentered the country illegally. In December, he was arrested and then broke free. We asked Atlantic Council experts and UkraineAlert friends the following questions: Have we seen the end of Saakashvili’s days as a Ukrainian politician? What does the process of deporting an opposition politician after stripping him of citizenship say about the health of Ukraine’s democracy? Is Saakashvili a special case, or does his deportation send a signal to opposition leaders and civil society groups that they are next?

Saakashvili asks for help from EU, Merkel – news about politics

Saakashvili asks for help from EU, Merkel. View news feed from Ukrainian Independent Information Agency UNIAN – news about politics for 13 February

Ukraine opposition leader Saakashvili deported to Poland by armed officers – NBC News

Ukraine’s border guard agency said it had to use force to counter Mikheil Saakashvili’s supporters at the Kiev airport.

Ukraine Ejects Ex-Georgian President, Deporting Him To Poland : The Two-Way : NPR

Mikheil Saakashvili faces prison time in the country he led for nearly a decade, and Ukrainian officials don’t like him either. Now they’ve deported him to Poland, a move he has called an “abduction.”

Saakashvili Arrives In Warsaw After Being Deported By Ukraine

Opposition politician Mikheil Saakashvili has been deported from Ukraine, the State Border Guard Service said, after reports he had been detained by “kidnappers” in Kyiv and taken to an airport.

Video Appears To Show Arrest Of Saakashvili In Kyiv

Video posted to the Facebook page of Mikheil Saakashvii says it shows the arrest of the former Georgian president in Kyiv on February 12. He was deported to Poland later the same day. Saakashvili served as governor of Ukraine’s Odesa region 2015-2016. (Facebook: Mikheil Saakshvili/Serhiy Hayday)

UAWire – Saakashvili says Ukrainian authorities want to deport him to Poland

In an interview with the Georgian TV channel Rustavi 2, former Governor of the Odessa region Mikheil Saakashvili said that the Migration Service …

Risking Everything for Democracy – The New York Times

Marci Shore’s “The Ukrainian Night” describes the protesters of a still-unfinished revolution.

Ex-Def. Minister: Ukraine army wasn’t ready to shoot at Russians at start of war | UNIAN

Ex-Def. Minister: Ukraine army wasn’t ready to shoot at Russians at start of war. Current news and events for 15 February from UNIAN Information Agency

I did not order to shoot down helicopter with Yanukovych, – National Security Secretary – 112.international

I did not order to shoot down helicopter with Yanukovych, – National Security Secretary

Turchynov: Ukraine cannot declare war on Russia | UNIAN

Turchynov: Ukraine cannot declare war on Russia. View news feed from Ukrainian Independent Information Agency UNIAN – news about politics for 15 February

Turchynov: Putin could use nukes if Ukraine resisted Crimea seizure | UNIAN

Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchynov, who served as acting president of Ukraine from February 23 to June 7, 2014, says Russian President Vladimir Putin declared readiness to employ nuclear weapons had the Crimea seizure operation seen any resistance. “More information is now popping up… When they once again celebrated [the anniversary of] the Crimea seizure, Putin even said that he had been ready to use nuclear weapons to complete the operation in Crimea had someone started interfering militarily… That is, he was ready to use nuclear weapons if his operation saw any resistance. This is classic aggression, classic annexation,” Turchynov said Thursday, testifying in the Viktor Yanukovych treason case, an UNIAN correspondent reported from a courtroom at the Obolonsky district court of Kyiv. “Those who fled to the Russian Federation leaked loads of classified information… But we began to take first steps in restoring our intelligence. Its then-head, Mr. (Viktor) Hvozd, informed me that according to the intel they had received from sources in Russia, the decision was being drafted in the Russian parliament to be passed March 1, 2014, on the introduction of troops into Ukraine. He also said that, according to his intel, there had been an appeal by Yanukovych in this regard,” he said.

Ukraine initially expected invasion by 200,000-strong Russian army – Turchynov | UNIAN

Ukraine initially expected invasion by 200,000-strong Russian army – Turchynov. View news feed in news about politics for 15 February from UNIAN Information Agency

Russia planned to invade Ukraine, gain control over Kyiv, – Turchynov – 112.international

The Russian Federation in spring of 2014 planned to invade the mainland of Ukraine without resistance, took control of the south and east of the state and seized Kyiv after having occupied the Crimea. This was stated by the Secretary of Ukraine’s Defense and Security Council Oleksandr Turchynov during the questioning as a witness from prosecution side in Obolonsky court on the case of the former president Viktor Yanukovych. This was broadcasted by 112 Ukraine TV channel. According to him, since the seizure of the building of Crimean Council of Ministers and the Parliament, an active phase of the occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea began. At the same time, according to the reports of Ukrainian intelligence and foreign partners, the concentration of Russian Army forces began on the northern and eastern borders of Ukraine in order to prepare an invasion to the mainland of Ukraine. “Russian Parliament agreed with President Putin to use the Russian Armed Forces on the territory of Ukraine and according to plans of Russian military and political leaders, the occupation of Crimea and disarmament of the Ukrainian units were to end on March 1. They aimed, having occupied Crimea, provoking the deaths of civilians in the Crimea, to use the chaos and lack of governance to invade Ukraine without resistance and take control over the south and east of the country and over Kyiv to restore by force the power of the puppet regime of Yanukovych,” Turchynov said.

Ex-Russian MP: Yanukovych got $1 bln for refusal to join EU | UNIAN

Ex-Russian MP: Yanukovych got $1 bln for refusal to join EU. View news feed in news about politics for 14 February from UNIAN Information Agency

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

The Middle East’s Coming War – The New York Times

Israel and Iran avoided a huge confrontation on Saturday. Next time we might not be so lucky.

Israel and Iran are on the brink of war | TheHill

The only beneficiaries of the administration’s ineptitude to date have been Iran, Assad, and Russia.

Avigdor Liberman on Syria: This is not the time to bark, but to bite – Arab-Israeli Conflict – Jerusalem Post

“There are no restrictions, we do not accept any restrictions. We acted with determination and responded to every provocation. We will continue to defend our vital security interests,” he said.

Steinitz: Assad in danger if he allows Iran to attack Israel from Syria – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

“Assad and Hezbollah are the same, and if there will be an attack against us, we will not be obligated only to act against the the source of the attack.”

Ex-Israeli intelligence chief warns of “very delicate” situation with Iran – CBS News

Cockpit video from an Israeli helicopter shows what could be a new front in the Syrian civil war

Weapons factories are the real Israel-Lebanon flashpoint – not the border wall – Israel News – Haaretz.com

If the Israeli army uses force to thwart Iran’s plans in Syria, Hezbollah’s response could be violent

Israel: Iran’s ballistic missile program must be stopped | The Times of Israel

Missiles tested Wednesday are designed to carry nuclear warheads, says Jerusalem, ‘raise questions’ about Tehran’s commitment to deal

Iran Unveils New Homemade Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missiles Amid Massive War Celebrations

Iran unveiled a series of new homemade nuclear-capable ballistic missiles during military parades held over the weekend.

UAWire – Iran unveils new Qadr ballistic missile

Tehran has unveiled a new ballistic missile, the “Qadr”, with a range of 2,000 kilometers. The liquid fuel missile was presented on the occasion …

Iranian-Canadian Activist Dies In Tehran Prison, Family Told

An Iranian-Canadian academic and environmental activist detained in Iran last month has died in a Tehran prison, his family and activists say.

How a rock star of Iranian digital activism built a culture of misogyny and fear – The Verge

The news came down on Thanksgiving Day. ASL19 founder Ali Karimzadeh Bangi, one of the leading lights of the expat Iranian digital rights community, appeared in court on charges of sexual assault and forcible imprisonment. The following day, he would be forced to cut ties with ASL19 entirely.

How do Iran’s ‘corrupt networks’ operate?

The fight against corruption in Iran will remain a key challenge until new ways are devised to address this challenge.

Review: ‘Tehran Taboo’ Exposes Double Standards About Sex in Iran – The New York Times

The director Ali Soozandeh uses rotoscoping, a form of animation, in this ensemble piece involving a prostitute, a judge and a musician, among others.

Husband of British mum jailed in Iran speaks out | Daily Mail Online

The husband of jailed British mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has spoken for the first time of her ‘torture’ in an Iranian jail.

Is Kavous Emami’s suicide in Iran ‘a cover-up’? | News | Al Jazeera

Rights groups call for independent probe on the circumstances behind the death of Kavous Seyed Emami while in detention.

Canada Presses Iran for Details on Death of Iranian-Canadian in Tehran Jail | World News | US News

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

Another American Confirmed Held in Iran – WSJ

Iran is holding an American-Iranian businessman as part of an expanding domestic crackdown on dissent. Morad Tahbaz was one of at least nine environmental activists detained late last month, his family and human rights activists said.

Iranian intellectuals call for referendum amid political unrest | World news | The Guardian

Letter with 15 signatories says Iran’s leaders have failed to deliver on republican ideals

An Iranian Photographer’s Unflinching Look at His Country’s Revolution – The New York Times

Kaveh Kazemi’s images of the Iranian revolution and its aftermath reveal the country’s transition from a different era, and a contrast with its social upheaval today.

Iran faces uphill battle to profit from its role in Syria war

Islamic Republic’s hope for contracts stymied by Russian presence

Pushing back on Iran, part 1: The Why – AEI

The more Iran is allowed to shape the trajectory of the Middle East, the more likely the region will grow even more unstable than it is today.

Pushing back on Iran, part 2: An overview of the strategy – AEI

Any strategy worth its salt needs to be comprehensive and integrated. It’s not enough for each piece to make sense on its own merits.

Pushing back on Iran, part 3: The Syrian Civil War – AEI

Nothing about confronting Iran is easy. Nothing about Syria is easy. And nothing about confronting Iran in Syria will be easy either.

Iran Takes Closer Look At Russian Passenger Jet As Airbus And Boeing Deals Face Ongoing Delays

A Russian-built Sukhoi Superjet 100 landed at Tehran’s Mehrabad International airport as part of a renewed attempt by the company to find customers in Iran for its passenger jet.

West used lizards for nuclear spying, says Iran military official | World – Geo.tv

Hassan Firuzabadi, senior military adviser to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was responding to questions from local media on the recent arrest of environmentalists

US used lizards to spy on Iran, official claims

Lizards with the ability to “attract atomic waves” were reportedly used to gain intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program.

No, Iran, Lizard ‘Spies’ Can’t Detect Uranium

An Iranian military advisor recently claimed that lizards could attract radioactivity and detect uranium mines, but that claim makes no sense, experts said.

Iran, Israel battle openly in race to define ‘rules of the game’ – NBC News

The shift from covert attacks to open fighting between Iran and Israel illustrates that Tehran feels emboldened enough to confront and provoke its rival.

What Iran Is Really Up To in Syria – The Atlantic

The recent flare-up with Israel gives Tehran and its Shiite allies a chance to further entrench their dominance.

Iran and Hezbollah Intend to Remain in Syria, US Ambassador Nikki Haley Warns UN Security Council | Jewish & Israel News Algemeiner.com

Russia Can Keep the Peace Between Israel and Iran – The Atlantic

But following the hostilities over the weekend, does Putin want to?

Mission Accomplished? What’s Next for Iran’s Afghan Fighters in Syria – War on the Rocks

When Hussain Fedayee was killed in Aleppo in 2015, the 41-year-old Afghan had fought in three wars in as many countries. He got an early start as a teenage

Russian Mercenaries Take The Lead In Attacks On US And Allied Forces In Syria – The Drive

Despite the Kremlin’s denials and the US government downplaying the situation, the two sides appear headed for a serious confrontation.

Russia is betting it can push the U.S. out of Syria. That would be devastating. – The Washington Post

The United States can’t afford to cede control.

UAWire – Protests take place in Moscow against Russian military involvement in Syria

On Sunday there were a series of solitary pickets against Russia’s military campaign in Syria outside the Ministry of Defense building in Moscow. Muscovite journalist Denis Styazhkin wrote in his blog that picketers held banners with anti-military slogans and criticism of the Russian government, the Echo of Moscow reports. The publication states that three days after US strikes on Assad’s forces in Syria, the Russian authorities have not reacted to the reports on the death of “possibly dozens of Russian citizens”. According to US and Kurdish sources, an airstrike was made against the advancing pro-government forces in the region of Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria. The Russians who were killed were in all likelihood not regular soldiers, but members of the so-called private military companies, Echo of Moscow reports. On February 9, a team of investigators from the Conflict Intelligence Team wrote on Facebook that according to sources in the Pentagon there were “Russian mercenaries” among the pro-Assad forces killed in the international coalition’s airstrike. This information has not been confirmed or denied officially. The private military companies are independent of the State, and so their losses are outside the competence of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This was the opinion expressed by LDPR party leader and presidential candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

Russia Plans To Help Syria Rebuild Devastated Oil, Power Industries

Russia plans to help Syria rebuild energy facilities that have been devastated by years of war, Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak has said.

Russian Lawmaker Klintsevich Resigns Defense Committee Post

A prominent Russian lawmaker has resigned from his post as deputy chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s defense committee, saying unnamed critics did not like his “openness,” Russian media r…

Civil War In Syria Has Entered a Dangerous New Phase | Time

After seven years of war that has killed as many as 400,000 people, the conflict in Syria is no longer about the future of Bashar al-Assad.

Syria’s war mutates into a regional conflict, risking a wider conflagration – The Washington Post

As Russia, Turkey, Iran, Israel and the United States compete for influence over the shape of a post-war Syria, planes are falling from the skies and new battles are brewing.

Syria’s War Is Fueling Three More Conflicts – Defense One

As ISIS evaporates, the buffer zones between armed combatants of several opposing groups and nations have disappeared.

As Alliances Shift, Syria’s Tangle of Wars Grows More Dangerous – WSJ

With so many actors ramping up involvement in Syria through fleeting alliances of convenience, the potential has grown for a disastrous miscalculation—and for the conflict to expand beyond Syria’s borders.

Syria Developing ‘Deep-Rooted Foundations of Friendship’ with North Korea

Syria’s ruling Assad dictatorship has announced it plans to develop closer ties with North Korea.

France will ‘strike’ if proven Syria using chemical arms: President Emmanuel Macron – The Financial Express

France will launch attacks if proof emerges that the Syrian regime has used banned chemical weapons against its civilians, President Emmanuel Macron said today.

‘Unspeakable numbers’: 10,000 civilians killed or injured in Afghanistan in 2017 | Global development | The Guardian

Casualties above 10,000 for the fourth consecutive year, despite small drop on 2016 figures, as UN describes ‘appalling human suffering’

De Mistura: Civilians killed on horrific scale in Syria | News | Al Jazeera

Violence in country called the most ‘violent and worrying moment’ as US and Russian diplomats again trade blame at UN.

UAWire – UN reports 230 civilians were killed over the past week in air strikes by Assad’s and Russian air forces in Syria

Over the past week, 277 civilians were killed in Syria, 230 of whom perished in air strikes by the government forces of Bashar al-Assad and …

APA – US and Russia dispute over Syria in UN Security Council

UAWire – USA: Russia is preventing the coalition from battling ISIS in Syria

Russia’s presence in Syria makes it difficult for the Americans to fight against ISIS, according to a report from the Office of the Inspector …

Putin Is Playing a Dangerous Game in Syria – The Atlantic

The Russian president is learning that it’s much easier to get into a Middle Eastern conflict than to get out of one.

Putin Is Playing a Dangerous Game in Syria – Defense One

Is he in control in Syria, or stuck in the sand? The honest answer: a bit of both.

Will Russia be held responsible for its “soldiers of fortune” in Syria? | UNIAN

As a rule, Russia conceals the number of losses in any campaign so the latest devastating blow on the units of its private military company called “Wagner” in Syria will not lead to any revelations by the Kremlin on the real death toll. Moscow may only recognize some insignificant losses, only to hide more significant ones. Moscow desperately needs to convince everyone that the number of those killed in action was rather small, that’s in order not to suddenly face repercussions as a result of that combat failure, even more so the one by the PMC Wagner, which is not part of the Russian armed forces and not an official government structure of any kind and, accordingly, can qualify as an illegal paramilitary group. These days, Russia is trying to at least somehow determine their status. Anyway, the Kremlin must be held accountable for the operations of its illegal troops. Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/world/10008836-will-russia-be-held-responsible-for-its-soldiers-of-fortune-in-syria.html

UAWire – Kremlin says no Russian forces hit by American strike in Syrian Deir ez-Zor, users of social networks prove otherwise with their posts

The first death of Russian soldier killed in the American strike in Deir ez Zor on February 7 has been reported on social networks. On February …

“Russians told us they had no forces there,” – top US military Mattis on Russian mercenaries killed in Syria

12.02.18 12:41 – “Russians told us they had no forces there,” – top US military Mattis on Russian mercenaries killed in Syria U.S. Defense Secretary, four-star General James “Mad Dog” Mattis commented on the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes that killed about 100 pro-government troops who had attacked coalition-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near Syria’s Deir… View news.

Mattis: ‘Self-Defense’ Attack Doesn’t Mean US Getting into Syrian Civil War 

US officials say pro-government fighters launched an assault on the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces

Russian toll in Syria battle was 300 killed and wounded: sources

About 300 men working for a Kremlin-linked Russian private military firm were either killed or injured in Syria last week, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

Russian Widow Says Husband Died In Syria ‘For No Reason’

Yelena Matveyeva says her husband Stanislav was killed in Syria, where he was fighting alongside pro-government troops as a private mercenary. She wants Russian government recognition of her husband’s service so that she and her children can feel proud of him.

Russia says U.S. airstrike killed 5 of its citizens – To Inform is to Influence

Initial reports from Ghirken/Strelkov were of 644 killed, subsequent reporting said 215 were killed.  Now Russia is saying 5 were killed.  Russian news is saying: Russia Slams Report Of “Hundreds Of Russian Fighters” Killed In Syria As Fake News, but Zerohedge has also reliably published Russian propaganda in the past as well.  This report is from…

Moscow: Five Russian Fighters May Have Been Killed In U.S. Strikes In Syria

The Russian Foreign Ministry says that five Russians who were not military personnel may have been killed in a clash with U.S.-led forces in Syria last week and claims that reports putting the Russ…

Russia: Five citizens may have been killed in US airstrike in Syria

Moscow acknowledged for the first time that five Russians may have been killed in the U.S. airstrike in Syria last week.

Kremlin confirms Russians were among those killed in U.S. air strike in Syria, but says they were not Russian military

The recent deaths of Russians in Syria has cast a spotlight on private companies in Russia that provide mercenaries to fight in conflicts.

The small Russian village that sends mercenaries to Syria | Daily Mail Online

The central Russian village of Kedrovoye has few distinguishing features apart from the fact that it is home to a disproportionate number of mercenaries now fighting and being killed in Syria.

Russia sends new Typhoon-K armoured vehicles to Syria for testing – Defence Blog

The new Russian K-53949 armoured personnel carrier was spotted in Syria, a photo of a new vehicle was published by Dmitrii Peimenov at lostarmour.info website. Russia uses the conflict in Syria for ultimate testing ground for Russian troops, equipment and combat capabilities. The new K-53949 armoured personnel carrier developed by Remdizel has been no exception. The K-53949, known as the Typhoon-K, is a 4×4 mine-protected armoured vehicle designed for safely transport troops and military cargoes in mine-inflated zones. The vehicle is a special-purpose mine-resistant armoured wheeled vehicle with a combat weight of 15 tons. The vehicle accommodates two crew members and eight fully equipped troops. It’s 350 hp engine producing a maximum road speed of 105 km/h. The hull features four side doors and a rear door.

Enduring defeat of Islamic State not yet achieved: Tillerson

The end of major combat operations against Islamic State does not mean the United States and its allies have achieved an enduring defeat of the militant group, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday.

The US Has Nearly Defeated ISIS in Syria, But It May Be Stumbling Into A Bigger War

There are serious concerns over where the United States currently finds itself in Syria, and what direction the road ahead may eventually lead.

ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is alive but injured, say reports

He has been hiding west of the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, Iraq’s intelligence chief Abu Ali al-Basri said.

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi injured in airstrike last May, sources say – CNN

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was wounded in an airstrike in May last year and had to relinquish control of the terror group for up to five months because of his injuries, according to several US officials who spoke exclusively to CNN.

Iraq Says Reconstruction After War on Islamic State to Cost $88 Billion | World News | US News

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

Trump Tells Putin ‘Now Is Time’ To Work For Israeli-Palestinian Peace

U.S. President Donald Trump has told Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that “now is the time to work toward an enduring peace” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the White House says.

Trump to Israel Hayom: The Palestinians are not looking to make peace – Israel Hayom

Turkey assails US over ties with Syrian Kurdish militia – The Washington Post

Turkey’s foreign minister assailed the United States on Monday, claiming that American forces in Syria are intentionally stalling the fight against Islamic State militants as an excuse not to cut ties with Syrian Kurdish militiamen as Ankara has demanded.

The US Is Drifting Toward War With a NATO Ally – Defense One

It\’s not too late to stem Turkey\’s turn toward Russia — and defuse a World War I-style conflict.

US and Turkey look to mend ties as Syria tension grows | Syria News | Al Jazeera

On a visit to Turkey, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hopes to ease anger over US support for Syrian-Kurdish YPG.

The US Must Stop Turkey Now – Defense One

Americans are wrong to placate Erdogan and permit his attacks on northern Syria. Here\’s how Washington can get it right.

Newest Turkish attack helicopter shot down by Kurdish fire – Defence Blog

A Turkish T129 ATAK attack helicopter has been shot down by YPG’s anti-aircraft fire in Kırıkhan district in the southeastern province of Hatay, killing two soldiers. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has confirmed the incident while speaking in Istanbul on Feb. 10. “[The perpetrators] will pay a heavy price [for downing the Turkish helicopter],” Erdogan said, speaking at a ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s provincial meeting. “Of course, all these will happen. We’re at war,” Erdoğan said.

Turkey to bolster fight in Syria with new armored vehicles, helicopters

Amid a costly military incursion into neighboring Syria, Turkey’s government and military leaders have endorsed plans for the acquisition of scores of new armored vehicles and a pair of utility helicopters.

UAWire – Turkey suffers greatest troop losses in Syria

Since the start of the Turkish army’s “Olive Branch” operation against the Kurds in Syria, 30 Turkish soldiers have been killed and more than 70 have been wounded. On February the 10th, two Turkish soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash in Turkey’s Hatay province on the Turkey-Syria border, and a total of 11 soldiers were killed in that 24-hour period. This was reported by the news outlet Anadolu, citing the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces. Photos have been published of six of the eleven soldiers who were killed. “Another four of our military comrades have died in operation ‘Olive Branch’ in Afrin, and another two soldiers have been wounded,” the report states. Turkey has also lost its first aircraft, a T129 ATAK helicopter, along with its entire crew. The Turkish Armed Forces claim to have killed 1,141 terrorists in Afrin. On January 20, the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces announced the start of Operation Olive Branch against the People’s Protection Units (YPG, part of the Syrian Democratic Forces) and against the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Afrin, where roughly 1.5 million Kurds and refugees from other Syrian provinces are living. As reported previously, a Kurdish Women’s Protection unit attacked the Turkish military’s position in Syria, and succeeded in destroying a Leopard 2A4 tank.

US admits picking ‘bad alternative’ in Syria

The United States has indirectly admitted that its decision to collaborate with the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria was “not the best alternative,” as Ankara intensifies its pressure on Washington to cut ties with the group it considers terrorist and a threat to its national security.

Iraq receives first T-90S tanks from Russia – Defence Blog

The Iraqi Army on 15 February received the first T-90S and T-90SK main battle tanks (MBTs) that it purchased from the Russia government. The first batch of T-90S and T-90SK main battle tanks recently arrived in Iraq’s port by sea. The local source released images showing new Russian-made tanks transported in a convoy. The batch was prepared for shipping to the customer in December 2017. Russia has begun delivery of a first bath of the T-90S main battle tanks (MBTs) to Iraq under a 2014 government-to-government contract. According to the contract, Iraq had ordered 73 T-90S and T-90SK tanks with a special vehicle for repair and transported.

Abbas In Moscow To Seek Support On Jerusalem, Peace Conference

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas arrived in Moscow on February 12 for meetings with President Vladimir Putin as he seeks Russia’s support in the face of rising tensions with the Unite…

When the Islamic State Came to Libya – Defense One

Since the fall of Qaddafi, the war-torn country’s militias have sought to contain extremism. But at what cost?

Afghan Taliban say they want to end war through dialogue

The Taliban said on Wednesday, in a rare statement to the American people, they wanted to end Afghanistan’s 17-year war through talks, while warning the message should not be seen as a sign of weakness and the fight against U.S. forces would go on.

General Gromov dethroned the myths about the conflict in Afghanistan

MOSCOW, February 15 (Itar-Tass) – RIA Novosti. Today, Russia and the remaining 14 former Soviet republics mark the 29th anniversary of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA). The nine-year conflict was a major episode of the Cold War, and its consequences still affect the international security system and regional stability. Although the American war in Afghanistan lasts for 17 years, it is with the Soviet military campaign – due to Western military experts – a lot of errors and inaccuracies. To debunk the most common myths about the conflict, Sputnik spoke with Colonel-General Gromov, the last commander of the 40th Army, which formed the backbone of a limited contingent of Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Myth I: “Soviet-Afghan War” “The very first misconception about the conflict lurks in his name,” – says the general. “The so-called Soviet-Afghan war implies that the conflict was bilateral, that is, it was a confrontation between the USSR and Afghanistan, and this is actually wrong.”

Burma Welcomes Genocide Deniers to Rohingyas’ Home

Burma’s government won’t let the UN into Rakhine state, site of its alleged slaughter of Rohingya Muslims—but it just rolled out the red carpet for a group of genocide deniers.

Reuters Publishes Account of Myanmar Massacre After Journalists’ Arrests – The New York Times

The news agency used photos and witness accounts to describe the killings of 10 Rohingya men. Two reporters who worked on the article were charged with obtaining state secrets.

Massacre in Myanmar: One grave for 10 Rohingya men

Reuters uncovers how Myanmar forces burned, looted and killed in a remote village.

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports

Trump and Japan Get Tough on North Korea, Say ‘No Meaningful Dialogue’ Without Denuclearized Pyongyang

The two leaders spoke on Wednesday night and vowed not to enter into dialogue with North Korea.

Trump administration’s North Korea trap is set | Fox News

The Trump administration was ready for the Kim regime’s propaganda push.

Trump to Putin: more steps needed to scrap North Korea nuclear program

U.S. President Donald Trump told Russian President Vladimir Putin that more needs to be done to scrap Pyongyang’s nuclear program, the White House said.

Admiral says North Korea aiming to reunify Korean Peninsula | Politics | pilotonline.com

WASHINGTON (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s long-term goal is to reunify the divided Korean Peninsula under his totalitarian government, the senior U.S. Navy officer overseeing military operations

Ex-CIA analysts explain why a bloody nose policy on North Korea would backfire

As former Central Intelligence Agency analysts, with combined 45 years of experience in studying the North Korean regime, we believe that any military strike against North Korea is likely to unleash a series of events that could lead to devastation and massive casualties and undermine US policy.

No ‘bloody nose’ plan for North Korea: U.S. official, senators

The senior U.S. diplomat for Asia, Susan Thornton, said on Thursday she understood the Trump administration had no strategy for a so-called bloody nose strike on North Korea, but Pyongyang would be forced to give up its nuclear weapons “one way or another.”

U.S. Denies Plan for ‘Bloody Nose’ Strike on North Korea – Bloomberg

The Trump administration doesn’t have a “bloody nose” strategy focused on a military strike against North Korea, according to senators who’ve been briefed by the White House.

North Korea an increasing threat, warn top intelligence officials

North Korea won’t give up its nukes, and Americans shouldn’t fall for the regime’s charm offensive, top intelligence officials say.

All Eyes on North Korea – Foreign Policy

‘Trump should give talk with North Korea a chance’

With US President Donald Trump’s administration raising the prospect for direct talks with North Korea amid an inter-Korean Olympics detente, the US should pursue dialogue if Pyongyang continues to suspend nuclear and missile tests until after the Olympics, Washington-based security scholars said. In an email interview with The Korea Herald, the analysts noted such initial talks without preconditions are necessary …

Here’s How U.S.-North Korea Crises Typically End – Defense One

Donald Trump says he won\’t repeat the mistakes of the past. But the past offers clues to what he might do.

Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s ’10-Foot-Tall Baby’ – POLITICO Magazine

Trump thinks he’s a madman. CIA veteran Jung Pak says he’s got it all wrong.

Jung H. Pak | The education of Kim Jong-un

In a new Brookings Essay, Jung Pak sheds light on the personality, upbringing and goals of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

U.S. ready to negotiate with North Korea, – Pence – 112.international

While the U.S. pressure on North Korea remains, Washington is still open to talks, – Michael Pence, the Vice President of the U.S.

What Happens After America Destroys North Korea? | The National Interest Blog

Once America achieves the military destruction of North Korea, what next?

Is This North Korea’s Fatal Missile Flaw? | The National Interest Blog

Look to the mobile launchers.

General: ‘100 percent confident’ in North Korea missile defense | TheHill

The military official in charge of the command that defends the United States from missile threats says she’s “100 percent confident” in her ability to protect the country from a North Korean ballistic missile attack

This American scientist has seen North Korea’s nuclear program up close | PBS NewsHour

How advanced is North Korea’s nuclear weapons program? Just ask the few Western experts who have seen glimpses of the program and its evolution, like nuclear scientist Sig Hecker, who has visited seven times and given eye-opening access to their facilities. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien reports on how experts try to access the North’s capabilities.

North Korean ship spotted possibly violating sanctions 3 times in 3 months – CNN

A North Korean tanker has likely violated United Nations sanctions for the third time in recent months, according to authorities in Japan.

North Korea: Cracks in U.S.-Japan-South Korea alliance start to show – CBS News

Vice President Mike Pence's Olympic tour, meant to blunt North Korean propaganda, is taking a back seat to meetings between the North and South Korean President Moon

North Korea Invites South’s Leader to Pyongyang—and Creates a Dilemma for Allies – WSJ

The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang for a summit, a dramatic gesture that came just hours after the two countries’ athletes marched into the Olympic opening ceremony together.

North Korea says it is unable to pay U.N. dues, blames sanctions – NBC News

North Korea is unable to pay its share of the 2018 U.N. budgets because of international sanctions on its foreign exchange bank.

North Koreans ‘lap up reports of soldier’s daring defection’

North Koreans have been &ldquo;captivated&rdquo; after finally learning of the daring defection of a soldier through the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom in November, according to dissident sources.

At the Olympics, It’s Not Just North Koreans Rooting for North Korea – WSJ

While the coordinated chants of Pyongyang’s delegation of cheerleaders have grabbed the spotlight, nationals of other countries have also been waving the North Korean flag.

Life in North Korea a horror. Why are we so hesitant to tell the massive Olympic audience about this reality? | Fox News

Watching the media fawning over the North Korean delegation at the Pyeongchang Olympics, I recalled a picture that my old boss, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, kept under the glass of a table in his office — a satellite photo of the Korean Peninsula at night.

A Night Out With North Korea’s Cheerleaders: Matching Snowsuits, Military Discipline and Chaperoned Bathroom Trips – The New York Times

They have garnered more attention than most athletes competing at the Winter Games. “Goodbye!” they called out to an empty arena before boarding buses back to their condos.

North Korea’s Weapons of Mass Distraction – WSJ

By bringing 10 times more cheerleaders than athletes, North Korea has deployed a tool that has polarized the Olympic crowd.

Podcast: Why Is the Media So Enthralled With North Korea at the Olympics?

It’s insanity to laud a tyrannical regime like this.

Winter Olympics: Kim Jong-un calls for further reconciliation – BBC News

North Korea’s leader advocates “livening up” relations with the South after decades of mistrust.

Inside North Korea’s Hacker Army – Bloomberg

The regime in Pyongyang has sent hundreds of programmers to other countries. Their mission: Make money by any means necessary. Here’s what their lives are like.

North Korea’s hacker army was “just a bunch of poor, low-paid laborers

North Korean hackers sent to China to make money for the impoverished Kim regime don’t have it particularly easy, a defector to South Korea tells Bloomberg Businessweek. He was part of group of hackers who made pirated versions of commercial software, hacked gambling sites to sell information to cheating players, and used bots to build … <a href=”https://www.fastcompany.com/40530229/north-korea-hacker-army-was-just-a-bunch-of-poor-low-paid-laborers” class=”more-link”>Continue reading “North Korea’s hacker army was “just a bunch of poor, low-paid laborers””</a>

North Korea: what war with the US would look like – Vox

A full-blown war with North Korea wouldn’t be as bad as you think. It would be much, much worse.

Chinese stealth fighters combat-ready, Beijing says – CNN

China says its newest stealth fighter is combat-ready.

New fighter jets will be used in ‘more regular’ patrols over South China Sea | South China Morning Post

But military expert says although J-20 stealth fighter has entered combat service, its status and readiness is still unclear

China inducts J-20 stealth fighter to counter US’ F-22 Raptor

China formally commissioned J-20 ‘fifth-generation’ multirole fighter into air force combat service – Defence Blog

China’s latest J-20 ‘fifth-generation’ multirole fighters have been commissioned into air force combat service of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), said a spokesperson, on 9 February. According to a report of PLAAF, the J-20 signals that China’s air force has greatly increased its ability to deal with new security threats in airspace, and made steady progress in the aero equipment system. According to the spokesman, J-20 played a vital role in the air force’s Red Sword 2017 exercise and laid a foundation for the enhancement of its new war capacities.

China appears to have rushed its J-20 stealth fighter into service with an ’embarrassing’ flaw | Business Insider

China’s Su-35 fighter jets, J-20 stealth jets to maintain airspace safety – Xinhua | English.news.cn

Is China’s J-20 Stealth Fighter Really ‘Operational?’ | The National Interest Blog

China’s Further Vulnerabilities

PLA growing in ability to win a war in South China Sea: experts – Global Times

The People’s Liberation Army is making remarkable progress in its ability to safeguard national sovereignty and win a war in the South China Sea, a Chinese military expert said on Saturday in response to a US admiral pledging to defend freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. The US will counterbalance China’s rising influence in the South China Sea, Phillip Sawyer, commander of the US Navy’s seventh fleet, was quoted as saying in a Chinese-language report from the Kyodo News Agency on Friday. In response to the Chinese navy’s expanding activities, it was important for the US to send ships into the region to protect freedom of navigation, Sawyer said. So-called freedom of navigation is the only approach for the US in the South China Sea and Washington will not drop this “principle” for a long time to come, Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert, told the Global Times on Saturday. Sawyer’s remarks showed the US Navy will further implement US’ Indo-Pacific strategy, further meddle in the South China Sea and increase patrols in the region, Li said. Sawyer was named commander of the seventh fleet in August. Based in Japan, the fleet is the largest US naval force outside the country. Its area of operation spans more than 124 million square kilometers and encompasses 36 maritime countries and regions. The PLA Navy’s ability to safeguard national sovereignty and marine interests has improved greatly, Li said. The commissioning of the Type 052D destroyer, successful test of the intercontinental ballistic missile Dongfeng-41, Su-35 fighter jet patrols in the South China Sea and China’s most advanced stealth fighter the J-20 are facts that showed that the gap was shrinking between the Chinese and US militaries, Li said. The Chinese strategy of theater commands formed two years ago and their coordination with military services has improved greatly, he said. China now has increasing confidence on its capability to win a war in the South China Sea, Li said. Sawyer’s remarks were the second by a senior US official in February reaffirming so-called freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Tina Kaidanow on January 5 said that US ships would conduct freedom of navigation operations in the region. The US and its strongest military ally in Asia have increased cooperation in recent years. In May 2017, Japan dispatched its biggest ship since World War II to protect a US supply ship in the first such operation during peacetime.

British Defense Secretary Says Warship Bound for South China Sea: Media | World News | US News

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

UK risks Beijing anger with South China Sea navy mission

British anti-submarine frigate to sail through contested Asian waters

Chinese Sub Commanders May Get AI Help for Decision-Making – Defense One

But can a recent news report be taken at face value? A CNAS fellow unpacks the intersection of Chinese tech, messaging, and naval power.

How China Is Locking Up Critical Resources – FNArena

There’s a Global Race to Control Batteries—and China Is Winning – WSJ

Chinese companies dominate the cobalt supply chain that begins in Congo, giving them a huge advantage as electric-car production rises.

China Taking the Lead in Lithium for Electric Vehicles and Power Storage

LOS ANGELES, January 18, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — China Taking the Lead in Lithium for Electric Vehicles and Power Storage.

Seven Chinas | Center for Strategic and International Studies

No. 3 l February 2018 The debate about China’s changing role in global affairs is often framed as a dichotomous choice between a peacefully rising China that seeks to be a constructive stakeholder and an increasingly dangerous China that is challenging the status quo, both in terms of its norms and the place of the United States. The reality is more complicated. There are not only signs of both elements, but the foundations shaping Chinese behavior is multifold. Most international relations scholars examine China through one or another version of realism or liberalism. David Kelly, head of research at China Policy, offers an alternative approach that examines the nature of Chinese identity, or rather, Chinese identities, plural, and how they exhibit themselves in Chinese foreign policy. Using his renowned skills in reading Chinese-language official documents and the broader commentary, Kelly teases out seven narratives that Chinese tell themselves and the world, and he provides a codebook for explicating shifting Chinese behavior in different arenas. Kelly concludes that some of these narratives facilitate cooperation, but most point toward deep-seated tensions between China and the West in the years ahead.

Baystreet.ca – China Dominating Lithium Race, Securing Lithium Supply Chain

Emerging as the leading market player for electric and hybrid cars, China isn’t taking any chances on securing their future for the lithium needed to keep up the pace. Although domestically, China has only 20% of the world’s lithium …

Beijing Has Started Giving Latin American Generals ‘Lavish,’ All-Expenses-Paid Trips to China – Defense One

Inspired by the U.S.’s own programs to train and befriend foreign officers at American military institutions, Beijing is wooing the militaries of the …

X-ray vision: Chinese woman crawls through railway security scanner to keep an eye on her handbag | South China Morning Post

Spooky images of passenger’s skeleton become an instant hit online

Russia and China battle US in race to control Arctic

As the Arctic ice retreats, governments are racing in to tap the region’s vast resources in an effort to become the next polar power.

Japan unconvinced by North Korea’s overtures, East Asia News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

While China and South Korea have largely applauded North Korea’s abrupt attempts at reconciliation, Japan is doggedly unconvinced.. Read more at straitstimes.com.

South China Sea: Japan puts missiles on island that could become front line in war with China – Times of India

China News: If war is to break out, then Ishigaki would be the front line.

US ignores China ‘at our peril’ and lags on missile tech, Pacific commander warns | Fox News

A warning that the U.S. has fallen so far behind in missile tech compared with China, it may not be able to win a future war against Beijing.

PACOM Harris: U.S. Needs to Develop Hypersonic Weapons, Criticizes ‘Self-Limiting’ Missile Treaties – USNI News

As Trump focuses on North Korea, Cambodia slips toward China

On the coattails of China, Cambodia’s economy is growing, thanks to Chinese tourists and a boom in manufacturing.

Foreign Policy Reports

Poland to build gas pipeline in opposition to ‘Nord Stream-2’ – 112.international

The Polish ‘Law and Justice’ Party intends to implement the Baltic Pipe project that provides the building of its own gas pipeline along the bottom of the Baltic Sea in the opposition to the building of the ‘Nord Stream-2’ from Russia to Germany as Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported. ‘The Baltic Pipe project will lead from the Polish coast to Denmark and will allow the Polish state pipeline company Gaz-System to tap into the Norwegian gas network’, the message said.

Poland opens new gas reservoirs close to Ukraine’s border – 112.international

Poland opens new gas reservoirs at border with Ukraine

Czechia: A mutually beneficial symbiosis.’ Alternative media are still being subjected to extremists, writes the interior Zdroj – To Inform is to Influence

15 FEBRUARY 2018 5:00 LIDOVKY.CZ PRAGUE In the last few months of last year, alternative media was subjected to right-wing and left-wing extremists. Intention? Raise their influence and weaken democracy. Such conclusions state in its quarterly report on extremism the Ministry of the Interior. While right-wing extremists failed to show up after parliamentary elections, the anarchists continued to radicalize. “The so-called…

It doesn’t look good: Germany ridiculed over botched coalition | World | The Sunday Times

Britain’s political class has been pushed into second place by Germany’s on the European scale of ridicule as the ruling parties in Berlin tear themselves a

′No more missions for Germany′s navy,′ warns armed forces ombudsman | News | DW | 11.02.2018

Germany’s parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces has urged the navy to stop deploying frigates to NATO, EU and UN missions. Hans-Peter Bartels says the military simply doesn’t have enough ships.

Afraid of a major conflict? The German military is currently unavailable. – The Washington Post

The German military’s lack of equipment forced it to use broomsticks instead of machine guns during an exercise in 2014.

Germany: Martin Schulz steps down as SPD head | News | DW | 13.02.2018

Embattled former European Parliament President Martin Schulz has resigned as the head of Germany’s Social Democrats. Andrea Nahles has been nominated to take his place, but she still faces a party vote in April.

Germany’s social democrats sink to new levels of unpopularity after doing deal with Merkel’s conservatives | The Independent

Germany’s main centre-left party has plumbed historically unprecedented depths of unpopularity after negotiating a coalition with Angela Merkel’s conservatives.

112: Germany responsible for WWII concentration camps, – Merkel – Germany responsible for WWII concentration camps, – Merkel – 112.international

Another German delegation to visit occupied Crimea | UNIAN

Another German delegation to visit occupied Crimea . View news feed in news about politics for 10 February from UNIAN Information Agency

Dutch Leader Survives Confidence Vote After Minister Admits Lying About Putin

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte overwhelmingly survived a late-night vote of no-confidence just hours after his foreign minister quit, admitting he had lied about attending a meeting with Russian P…

Energy expert on TurkStream: Putin’s goal to deprive Ukraine of transit state status | UNIAN

Energy expert on TurkStream: Putin’s goal to deprive Ukraine of transit state status. Current news and events for 12 February from UNIAN Information Agency

Pro-Putin right-wingers from EU behind arson attempt at Hungarians Union building in Zakarpattia – Governor | UNIAN

Law enforcers in Ukraine’s western Zakarpattia region have identified those responsible for an arson attempt at office of the Hungarians Union building near the Consulate General of Hungary in Uzhgorod overnight Feb 4. Speaking at a briefing attended by Hungarian diplomats and Hungarians Union leaders, Regional Governor Gennady Moskal said that the investigation revealed that the two perpetrators happened to be citizens of one of the EU members states. The official did not specify the state, only stating it is not Hungary. Both are members of a right-wing radical organization that “professes” Putin’s policies and whose members took part in hostilities in Donbas on the side of Russia-backed terrorist groups. “The criminals are foreigners, they are two young guys from the right-wing radical organization of one of the EU countries, I can say at once that these are not Hungarian citizens. Members of this organization took part in hostilities in Donbas on the side of the militants… and they profess the ideology of pan-Slavism under the aegis of Russia, support Putin’s policies and are in close contact with the Russian rightists led by [Eduard] Limonov … Thus, we state that it was the third party that tried to rock the situation on interethnic grounds in Zakarpattia. The act is clearly in the interests of Russia. I responsibly declare that these attempts will not affect friendly relations between Ukrainians and Hungarians, as well as representatives of other ethnic groups living in Zakarpattia,” Moskal said. Read also U.S., NATO urge Hungary, Ukraine to settle language-law dispute – media He noted that law enforcers had identified arsonists with the help of video records from CCTV cameras at the Uzhhorod border checkpoint with Slovakia. Now the passport data of the criminals and their places of stay in Ukraine are revealed, as well as the details of how they committed the crime. The two men are expected to be put on an international wanted list after they are declared suspects in absentia.

British Judge Rules Soviet-Era Dissident Bukovsky Too Ill To Stand Trial

A British judge has ruled that Soviet-era dissident Vladimir Bukovsky is too ill to stand trial on charges of creating and possessing indecent images of children.

To See The Future Of Social Media Manipulation In Politics, Look To Mexico – To Inform is to Influence

02.15.18 4:30 PM The country’s high level of internet access and history of corruption make it a frequent testbed for digital manipulation techniques often later seen elsewhere. Many Americans first learned about the role of online bots in influencing elections in 2016, when Russia-linked software reportedly spread disinformation to boost President Trump’s campaign. But just…

Here’s What Invisible Brain Weapons Did to U.S. Diplomatic Workers in Cuba – Defense One

The long-awaited report names no culprits and fails even to determine how the damage was done. But it documents real, long-lasting damage.

Polish authorities try to prove that Polish people are “martyr of history” – 112.international

The law on the National Memory Institute (INP), adopted by the Polish Sejm and signed by President Andrzej Duda, has launched a big international scandal. Although the law has not yet been approved by the Constitutional Court of Poland, it caused an earthquake-like reaction of the world community. The document itself consists of three main parts: Criminal punishment for denying crimes committed by Ukrainian nationalists (Banderites) during the Second World War. Criminal punishment for using “Polish death camps” expression, which actually suggests Poland was responsible for the camps where millions of people were killed. Criminal punishment for attempts to hold responsible the Polish nation of the crimes against the Jewish population of Poland. The first point has been opposed only by Ukraine, while all the Western allies of Poland, as well as Israel, went on their hind legs because of the second and especially the third points. The main argument is that the law blocks the possibility of further investigation on the Holocaust in Poland, and also prevents finding the truth about the crimes committed by the Poles against Jews. But earlier, all the western partners of Poland recognized that the expression “Polish death camps” was nonsense, and they were also trying to omit the issue of Polish anti-Semitism. So why did the aggravation happen right now? Apparently, we should talk about a combination of several factors. First, this Polish law was adopted at a very inconvenient moment, when Warsaw’s nationalist policy threatens the unity of the European Union and the West at large. Secondly, from the point of view of the European and American neo-liberals, it is time to put the present Polish government, who violates a number of basic ideological principles of the neo-liberal Western civilization, in his place. These include not only the anti-Semitism issue, but also political correctness, the rights of women and LGBT people, freedom of the press, and multiculturalism. However, the real “bomb” in the text of the new Polish law was an item on the denial of the collective or partial responsibility of the Polish nation for the Holocaust. The Polish government claims that the Poles are not responsible for crimes against Jews in Poland: the country was under German occupation, and therefore all crimes of this period, including the genocide of Jews, are exclusively related to Nazi terror. To corroborate its words, the Institute of National Remembrance (INP is the initiator of the current law) cites data according to which there were no Poles in the protection and servicing of concentration camps, these were mostly Ukrainians, Latvians, and Lithuanians. The service of the camp guards and warders also included “Trawniki men” – mobilized mainly in the territory of Western Ukraine soldiers of the Red Army, captured and sent to the service of the Germans. One of the “Trawniki men” was the infamous Ivan Demjanjuk, nicknamed “Ivan the Terrible.” “Trawniki men” have distinguished themselves in the course of the ruthless suppression of the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto in 1943. Probably, the Poles did not take part in the auxiliary services and troops because the Germans simply did not trust them. In occupied Europe, only two peoples – the Poles and the Serbs – did not go for extensive cooperation with the Nazi authorities. All the rest (including the French) cannot boast of this. The INP notes that while the Nazis began recruiting local residents throughout occupied Europe, the leadership of the Polish underground resistance issued the strictest order not to cooperate with the German invaders. Nevertheless, the document issues remain unresolved. And they concern “people’s anti-Semitism”, which was historically extremely developed in Poland, as well as in Western Ukraine and the Baltics. Numerous anti-Semitic crimes of wartime, including pogroms and the extradition of Jews to the Germans, are connected with this phenomenon. There are numerous cases of robbery of Jewish property, the extradition of Jews who fled from the concentration camps to the German authorities. The Jedwabne pogrom (July 1941) is especially notorious: local Poles killed more than 1,500 Jews. There are other crimes against Jews, which took place in 24 districts of Poland. This conclusion was reached in due time by the Polish government commission, and in 2001 the then Polish president Alexander Kwasniewski brought to the Jewish people an apology for these crimes. However, not everyone in Poland supports this position. Most of Poles believe (according to the survey) that the sufferings of the Polish population during the war have never ceded the sufferings of the Jews. For a long time, the Poles cherish the idea (and it became the basis of national ideology) that the Polish people is a “martyr of history”. And external criticism can only strengthen this position.

Poland’s ‘Death Camp’ Law Tears at Shared Bonds of Suffering With Jews – The New York Times

The president signed a law making it a crime to blame “the Polish nation” for the crimes of Nazi Germany. Scholars say it could whitewash history.

Ukrainians in Poland are questioned about Bandera to get permission to stay – 112.international

The Ukrainians who plan to get the permission to stay in Poland are questioned about their attitude toward Stepan Bandera and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) during the interview. RP.pl reported this citing Natalia Panchenko, the Head of ‘Euromaidan Warsaw’ organization. If a person doubts during the interview or does not express the attitude clear enough, the application will be rejected. According to Panchenko, the possibilities for the manipulations and malpractice by the officials who analyze the answers are created in such way.

Strategy / History / Capability Publications

Back to the Future: The Potential of Great-Power Conflict | The National Interest

“We are facing global disorder, characterized by decline in the long-standing rules-based international order.”

Russia, China developing ‘destructive’ space weapons: US intelligence

Russia and China could soon possess “destructive” weapons that could be used against the U.S. in a potential space conflict, American intelligence said.

Army delivers first electronic warfare weapons to troops in Europe – FederalNewsRadio.com

The Army is giving soldiers electronic warfare weapons to help them maneuver without being disrupted by enemy electronic warfare tactics.

The Navy’s stealth destroyers to get new weapons and a new mission: killing ships

The Navy is asking Congress to fund a conversion of its 600-foot stealth destroyers from primarily a land attack ship to an anti-surface, offensive strike platform.

RAF declares FOC for RC-135W Airseeker

Air Force to kill JSTARS recap program for new battlefield management plane

The Air Force intends to cancel the JSTARS recap program in its fiscal year 2019 budget submission, tanking one of the service’s few remaining aircraft production opportunities still in contention.

Is JSTARS the right way forward? Even Lockheed says it’s a question worth asking.

Next week, the U.S. Air Force is expected to announce its decision on whether to continue the JSTARS recap program, but a top Lockheed Martin executive contends that an alternative to JSTARS might actually be the best approach.

A peek inside the B-2 bombers sent to Guam as a warning to North Korea – MarketWatch

These radar-evading stealth bombers date back to the 1980s, but don’t kid yourself into believing they are outdated.

Soldiers will inevitably put devices in their bodies. Then what?

The Defense Department must prepare for the massive amount of cybersecurity back-end needed to secure not just the devices a person uses, but the devices people put into their bodies.

Army Testing New Rifle With Better Range, Accuracy Than The M4

Soldiers and Marines could have the new rifle ‘in the not too distant future,’ Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said on Tuesday

The US Air Force Is Giving Its Anti-Drone Efforts a Silicon Valley Twist – Defense One

A new kind of investor-innovation partnership may help speed emerging technology to the front lines.

‘Wouldn’t It Be Great If We Could Shoot Someone in the Face at 200 Kilometers?’ – Defense One

What the U.S. Air Force wants out of artificial intelligence — and an exclusive look into its next project to fuse everything.

Pentagon Requesting $66 Million For Laser Drones to Shoot Down North Korean Missiles – Defense One

The Missile Defense Agency is rushing to put more solutions in the field and trying to put past failures behind them.

How the Army plans to use virtual humans powered by artificial intelligence

The Army requested funding in the fiscal 2019 budget to develop techniques that will allow virtual humans to

No GPS? In new budget request, that could be less of a problem

The Department of Defense’s budget request for fiscal 2019 stresses the need for military teams to operate in environments when GPS signals are jammed or denied by enemies.

The Army’s next network strategy: halt, fix, pivot

The Army has submitted a report to Congress that describes the Army’s strategy for modernizing its networks.

How large-scale quantum computers could become a security nightmare

If large-scale quantum computers are ever built, they may be able to break many of the public-key cryptosystems currently in use.

New jetpacks stun crowds, but have no place on the battlefield … for now

What, if anything, should the Defense Department take from Richard M. Browning’s demonstration of a jetpack?

The Navy May Have the Perfect Weapon to Kill Russian and Chinese Submarines | The National Interest Blog

The Sea Hunter has arrived.

Perfect weapon to kill Russian submarines – media tell of largest unmanned vessel | UNIAN

Perfect weapon to kill Russian submarines – media tell of largest unmanned vessel. Current news and events for 11 February from UNIAN Information Agency

Artificial Intelligence: Going Mainstream Faster Than You Think – Appian Blog

Russia ordered new generation of main battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles – Defence Blog

Russia’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has ordered the batch of new main battle tanks and heavy infantry fighting vehicles bases “Armata” universal combat platform. According to the source in MoD, the Russian military has already been ordered about 80 4th generation main battle tanks and about 20 heavy infantry fighting vehicles based on the “Armata” universal combat platform. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov specifically noted that the contract for two battalions of T-14 tanks and one battalion of the T-15 heavy infantry fighting vehicles has already been signed. After the tests, a decision will be made about large-scale purchases. “There is no need to speed up the work. Tactico-technical characteristics of products are constantly being modernized: for example, work on a new ammunition is concurrently being completed. But the existing characteristics today is quite satisfied with the troops. Their level is confirmed by the high export potential of these models, “said Yury Borisov.

Raytheon completes first lot production of Small Diameter Bomb II – Defence Blog

Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has completed Lot 1 production of the Small Diameter Bomb II, a new weapon that will give fighter pilots the ability to destroy moving targets at any time and in all-weather conditions. The U.S. Air Force has also contracted with Raytheon to produce Lots 2 and 3. The SDB II™ bomb is a gliding precision weapon with a one-of-a-kind tri-mode seeker that uses millimeter wave radar, uncooled imaging infrared guidance and semi-active laser guidance to find its targets. The weapon’s two-way datalink allows it to receive in-flight target updates. Once fielded, SDB II will enable pilots to engage more targets at ranges greater than 40 miles using fewer aircraft.

IRIS-T: Diehl Defence

For decades, national and multinational armed forces have relied on the competence of Diehl Defence. The corporate division employs more than 3,000 persons at 18 locations around the world. With its continuous research and development work as well as technically mature products and services, they provide optimum protection and security for the Bundeswehr and their international allies.

IRIS-T SLS: Diehl Defence

For decades, national and multinational armed forces have relied on the competence of Diehl Defence. The corporate division employs more than 3,000 persons at 18 locations around the world. With its continuous research and development work as well as technically mature products and services, they provide optimum protection and security for the Bundeswehr and their international allies.

IRIS-T SL: Diehl Defence

For decades, national and multinational armed forces have relied on the competence of Diehl Defence. The corporate division employs more than 3,000 persons at 18 locations around the world. With its continuous research and development work as well as technically mature products and services, they provide optimum protection and security for the Bundeswehr and their international allies.

Middle Eastern customer looking to buy new Chinese ‘sniper’ grenade launcher – Defence Blog

According to Defence Blog’s source. the China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) received an order from a Middle East customer to delivery new ‘sniper’ grenade launchers. An undisclosed customer in the Middle East is looking to buy LG5 “sniper” automatic grenade launcher able to fire all 40 mm high-velocity grenades. The LG5 is an export variant of the QLU-11 automatic grenade launcher which is currently in service with the Chinese Marine Corps and developed by NORINCO. It can use standard “high-speed” 40×53 mm HV NATO ammunition; in addition, for him in China, were developed special “sniper” 40mm high-precision BGJ-5 rounds with a high-explosive grenade. Also, LG5 can use low-velocity grenades specifically designed to defeat small unmanned aerial vehicles. The magazine is capable of holding 4 or 15 rounds (depending on the type).

Sukhois sizzle in Singapore – YouTube

Last working S-200V Part 1 – YouTube

Last working S-200V Part 2 – YouTube

New Russian Multiple Rocket Launcher System 9k515 Tornado-S [1080p] – YouTube

Tough trucks for one of the toughest roads in the world – Viva Energy Australia

Russia’s New Generation Warfare  The Potomac Foundation

Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing as a National Security Threat | Center for Strategic and International Studies

Download the Report

IW/IO/Cyber Reports

Commanding the Trend: Social Media as Information Warfare – To Inform is to Influence

One derivative article is titled: Russia took to Twitter to stoke fear during protests at Mizzou: Report </end editorial> Lt Col Jarred Prier, USAF Abstract This article demonstrates how social media is a tool for modern information-age warfare. It builds on analysis of three distinct topics: social networking, propaganda, and news and information sharing. Two case…

China and Russia’s game of distortion – The Washington Post

Are Beijing and Moscow manipulating you?

U.S. Condemns Russia for Cyberattack, Showing Split in Stance on Putin – The New York Times

The attack was aimed at Ukraine but crippled computers around the world.

Australia joins US, UK in accusing Russia of NotPetya cyber attack – 112 – Australia joins US, UK in accusing Russia of NotPetya cyber attack – 112.international

The Australian government came to this conclusion after studying the materials of the intelligence, – 112

Foreign Office Minister condemns Russia for NotPetya attacks – GOV.UK

UK judges that the Russian government was responsible for the NotPetya cyber-attack of June 2017.

White House Threatens ‘Consequences’ for 2017 Russian Cyber Attack – Defense One

In an unusual public statement, the White House fingered Russia and said it would respond with unspecified “international consequences\” to NotPetya.

White House blasts Russia for NotPetya cyberattack – CNNPolitics

The White House lambasted Russia in a statement Thursday for “the most destructive and costly cyber-attack in history” and said it “will be met with international consequences.”

White House Slams Russia Over ‘Destructive’ Ukraine Cyberattack – The Daily Beast

Trump administration threatens “international consequences” over the “reckless” action.

White House blames Russia for massive Ukraine cyberattack – POLITICO

The unusually strong language is notable given the White House’s reluctance to strongly criticize Putin’s regime.

Kremlin deems blame for NotPetya cyber attack on Ukraine “Russophobia” | UNIAN

Kremlin deems blame for NotPetya cyber attack on Ukraine “Russophobia”. View news feed in news about politics for 15 February from UNIAN Information Agency

UK blames Russia for ‘malicious’ NotPetya cyber-attack – BBC News

The defence secretary points finger at Kremlin for Ukraine attack, which also hit British businesses.

Britain Blames Russia For ‘Malicious’ 2017 Cyberattack

Britain has blamed Russia for a cyberattack last summer that disrupted companies across Europe, warning that the West will not tolerate such “malicious” activities.

UK officially accuses Russian army of cyber-attack of NotPetya virus – 112.international

UK officially accuses Russian army of cyber-attack of NotPetya virus

Recovered tweets detail scope of Russian trolling – To Inform is to Influence

By Andrew Blake – The Washington Times – Wednesday, February 14, 2018 Hundreds of thousands of tweets attributed to Russian internet trolls deleted by Twitter have been recovered by NBCNews and published online, offering new insight into the weaponization of social media amid ongoing concerns raised by Moscow’s involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential race. NBC News on Wednesday published a database containing…

Russian hacker elaborates on Moscow’s meddling in U.S. elex | UNIAN

Russian hacker elaborates on Moscow’s meddling in U.S. elex. View news feed in world news for 13 February from UNIAN Information Agency

Russian hackers hunt hi-tech secrets, exploiting US weakness

Russian cyberspies pursuing the secrets of military drones and other sensitive US defense technology tricked contract workers into exposing their email to theft, an AP investigation found.

Trust War: Dangerous Trends in Cyber Conflict

In 2007, Idaho National Laboratory conducted a test in which hypothetical hackers opened and closed a diesel generator’s circuit breakers. The video of the

FACT CHECK: Was a Russian Nuclear Executive Killed in a Plane Crash to Cover Up Clinton Corruption?

Conspiracy theorists falsely linked a deadly Moscow plane crash to Uranium One, a debunked Hillary Clinton “scandal.”

In Europe began to consider the division of Ukraine – micetimes.asia

Hackers Steal $6 Million In SWIFT System Attack In Russia

Hackers stole 339.5 million rubles ($6 million) in an attack on the SWIFT international payments system in Russia last year, the Russian Central Bank said on February 16.

Russian Gets 12 Years In U.S. For Role In Credit-Card Hacking Scheme

A U.S. judge sentenced a Russian man to 12 years in prison on February 14 for his role in a hacking scheme that prosecutors said caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage through the sale of…

VOA – What’s Up? You’re Copying Sputnik? – To Inform is to Influence

A friend pointed out a problem with a VOA healine.  See the picture below. Mikheil Saakashvili made the wild claim to having been kidnapped, and that wild claim was then picked up by a number of reputable sources, but come on now… Mikheil Saakashvili’s claim was wild, an attempt to get headlines, and just plain…

State Department’s Global Engagement Center to focus on Russia

As Russia continues to interfere in U.S. domestic politics, the State Department’s program for countering state-sponsored propaganda is yet unfunded.

US Domestic Policy Reports

Moscow Downplays U.S. Threat Of New Sanctions

Moscow says any new sanctions imposed by the United States would have little effect on its people or economy after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he would impose new punitive measures …

U.S. Treasury ‘Working’ On New Sanctions Against Russian Oligarchs

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he will, “in the near future,” issue new sanctions against wealthy Russians in retaliation for Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Russia used mainstream media to manipulate American voters – The Washington Post

The use of links to popular news sources bolstered the credibility of Russian-backed accounts, researchers say.

The far-right influence in pro-Kremlin media and political networks | Southern Poverty Law Center

In an editorial published on Monday, January 15, Russia Insider, one of the most important pro-Russia news and analysis hubs in the West, declared, “hostility to Putin’s Russia is largely a Jewish phenomenon.”

Russian trolls went on attack during key election moments

Russian trolls chose targeted moments during the presidential election to infiltrate and divide the online conversations of millions of Americans.

Democratic senators pressure Trump on Russia sanctions – media | UNIAN

Democratic senators pressure Trump on Russia sanctions – media. View news feed in world news for 13 February from UNIAN Information Agency

Can The U.S. Combat Election Interference If Some Don’t Believe It’s Happening? : NPR

Senate intelligence committee members want to sound the alarm about the persistent threat to U.S. elections from foreign interference. But critics say the White House isn’t doing enough.

U.S. intel agencies expect Russia to keep meddling – NBC News

The nation’s intelligence chiefs gave a stark warning Tuesday, just six months from the midterms: Russia is again trying to disrupt U.S. elections.

U.S. Intel Chiefs Warn Russia Intending To Meddle In Midterm Elections

The heads of the lead U.S. intelligence agencies warned that Russia intends to use cyberattacks, more propaganda, and other tactics to try and influence upcoming elections for the U.S. Congress and in some European countries.

U.S. Embassy In Moscow To Get New Address?

Moscow is considering giving the U.S. Embassy a new address in apparent retribution for a street honoring slain reformist Boris Nemtsov in Washington.

U.S. and Russia Revive Cold-War Game of Provocative Street Names – The New York Times

Moscow takes up a proposal to change the name of an alley near the U.S. Embassy to 1 North American Dead End, after Washington renames a block for a slain Russian dissident.

A shadowy Russian tried to lure US officials into falling for ‘kompromat’ on Trump | Business Insider

Was Carter Page a Spy? For the Russians? Or for the US?

Was Page working for Russian intelligence or FBI counterintelligence? Or neither?

Obama admin discussed how much to share about Russia with incoming Trump team – CNNPolitics

President Barack Obama met in January 2017 with then-FBI Director James Comey and other top national security officials to discuss sharing information related to Russia with the incoming Trump administration, where Obama stated that the Trump-Russia investigation should be handled “by the book,” according to an email made public Monday and a source familiar with the matter.

Was Clinton attack dog Sidney Blumenthal involved in launch of Russia collusion investigation? | Fox News

A name long associated with the Clinton machine has surfaced as a behind-the-scenes figure in the Trump-Russia collusion story, prompting some to speculate that the investigation began at least partly as a dirty tricks operation.

Democratic ties to Russia are ample, and often ethically dubious | TheHill

The media is ignoring a wide range of evidence that suggests Democrats have “colluded” with Russia more than any Trump official.

Are Tech Companies Avoiding Taxes? | The National Interest

Do recent anti-avoidance provisions and public pronouncements signal that the practices of multinational tech companies may soon change?

Scraping Rust From the Iron Triangle: Why the Pentagon Should Invest in Capability

Since the Cold War ended, the United States has assumed that its dominant military-technological advantages were a given that would not be challenged in ou

Trump Proposes Privatizing U.S. Operations On Space Station

U.S. President Donald Trump has proposed turning over to private businesses U.S. operations on the International Space Station, which is currently run jointly by the U.S. and Russian governments.

Russian Twitter bots seize on gun hashtags after Parkland – To Inform is to Influence

Propaganda-tracking sites report uptick in shooting-related terms following deadly spree in Florida. BY STEVEN MUSIL FEBRUARY 15, 2018 4:15 PM PST A day after the deadliest school shooting in the US in five years, Russian bots on Thursday began inundating Twitter with gun-related tweets. Shooting-related terms dominated the trending hashtags and trending topics at Hamilton 68, a…

Pro-Gun Russian Bots Flood Twitter After Parkland Shooting | WIRED

In the wake of Wednesday’s Parkland, Florida school shooting Russian bots have taken to Twitter to stoke the gun control debate.

Army To Purchase 150,000 Artillery Shells Ahead Of Next Big War

The Army’s fiscal 2019 budget calls for purchasing 825 percent more 155mm shells from last year to replenish wartime reserves and stockpiles

US approach to security is deeply troubling – and it’s not just about Trump

Mounting evidence suggests we are so mesmerised by the theatre around Donald Trump that we have lost sight of how the US security establishment wields power.

The Discrimination Problem: Why Putting Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons on Submarines Is So Dangerous – War on the Rocks

The United States has the most diverse and potent nuclear force on the planet, capable of deterring and, if necessary, defeating and destroying any militar

Opinion: The New Cold War | Aviation Week & Space Technology content from Aviation Week

Winners in the boosted Pentagon budget are likely to include space, cyber and nuclear weapons.

How Many B-21s? Answer Pending, Says AF Global Strike « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

CAPITOL HILL: Gen. Robin Rand, head of Air Force Global Strike Command, made it pretty clear he’d like more than the 100 B-21 bombers to which the service is currently committed. He would probably like close to half again that many. Rand told a Mitchell Institute breakfast that the US currently has 156 bombers “in our inventory,” of which 96 are “combat coded.” While 96 is fewer than 100, Rand made it clear the US would put bombers into the air if the situation warranted regardless of whether they were combat coded…  “If the stuff hit the fan we’d bring out all stops.” But does that mean he thinks the US needs 156 bombers? “Where I haven’t been clear is where the ceiling is, because we are working our way through it,” he told me candidly when I asked this morning. Some of the current bomber fleet will remain, he told us. One would assume that means some of the 76 grand and ancient B-52Hs, which will probably be flying through 2060. They are perfect for carrying standoff weapons such as the Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) replacement known as the Long-Range Stand-Off (LRSO) weapon. (We are still hoping to hear whether the B-52 really is the Arsenal Plane that Defense Secretary Ash Carter touted in his big Third Offset speech.) And it may well include at least some of the 20 B-2s, which are being upgraded. That would mean retirement of the B-1 bombers, which are much older than the B-2 fleet and not capable of carrying as many stand-off munitions as the B-52s can haul into the air. Rand was careful to say, however, that he wasn’t saying which bombers the B-21 would replace. If you keep the B-2s, add 50 of the B-52 fleet and add the 100 B-21s, that gets close to the 175 bombers Rand mentioned earlier this year. But that is just guesswork, and Rand seemed pretty keen to get more B-21s because of their greater ability to penetrate deep into high-threat environments such as western China and Russia. His bottom line: “I can’t imagine how we can do our job with fewer bombers than we currently have,” Rand said. Has he may backed off a bit from his earlier estimate of a total fleet of 175 to 200 bombers. Hard to tell. And that may well be part of the strategic ambiguity the Air Force and senior Pentagon leaders have pushed hard to maintain when it comes to their plans and capabilities of the B-21. Rand also said he hopes Air Force acquisition acts very soon on the UH-1N helicopter replacement. “I’m hoping we’re talking weeks, not months when that (Request for Proposal) will be released,” he said pointedly, noting he’d given AF/AQ the requirements for the new helicopter to accompany nuclear warheads on their to and from missile fields and to respond to threats to the silos. Sikorsky, as Breaking D readers know, had hoped for a sole source contract award to replace the UH-1Ns with Blackhawk helicopters. Under pressure from Capitol Hill and industry, the service folded and agreed to an open competition.

USAF Plans To Retire B-2s, B-1s As B-21 Comes Online | Defense content from Aviation Week

 

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