Information operations

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (87)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Apologies if the formatting is screwed up. I’ve never posted from my phone before.

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The Vozhd’s visit to Austria becomes a major opportunity to propound alternate reality nonsense, reinforced by Putin’s little proxies in Europe, sadly too much of this tripe regurgitated with no context by too many dummies in the Western media. Curiously, the remarks on Ukraine have reverted to fantasies promoted during the 2014 NovoRossiya campaign, while NATO and EU remain targets. Yaffa essay on domestic oppression, Harding, Treverton on Russian subversion, and Mead on Russia’s play in the MidEast, noting:  “… if China is a tiger, Russia is a pussycat on stilts.”

Much on NATO EX Saber Strike, being conducted in the Baltics and Poland, and the first ever NATO exercise to include a visiting Israeli contingent. Former SACEUR LtGen Hodges argues against US basing in Poland, on the basis that this feeds Russian proxies inside NATO trying to create discord.

The Babchenko sting again producing much traffic. Pro-Russian media platform publishes a hitlist of 47 targets, now suspected to be Russian disinformation. One actual hitlist target tells Reuters there is no point in hiding in the West, as he could simply end up like Colonel Skripal. Western media and analyst whining about the sting continues unabated. NP and STL survey murders of journalists and Kremlin critics. Ukrainian journalist Sushchenko sentenced to 12 years jail in Russia for  “espionage” – more hostage taking by Muscovy. Accomplished Ukrainian movie producer, known for two documentaries related to the Russian invasion, found dead in what may be a staged suicide.

Salisbury attack cost UK police  £7.5 million. NCA starts probing dirty money, while reports emerge that a meeting between the UK and Russia collapsed when the Russians insisted their oligarchs being excluded from NCA inquiries. British MP Seely releases his new report A Definition of Contemporary Russian Conflict: How Does the Kremlin Wage War?, which is a good summary of the all of the mischief Russia has been up to globally, with good critiques by Harding and others.

More on THAAD in Germany, Russia in Syria, Israel’s charm offensive in Europe, Iran’s bizarre rants, Qatar, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Russia’s games in the MidEast oil / LNG market, Erdogan as the new “Caliph in waiting”, and Israel orders more F-15I strike fighters, and upgrades to existing ones.

Putin: Russia Not Seeking to Divide EU, Interested in United Partner – Sputnik International

VIENNA (Sputnik) – Russia is not seeking to divide the EU member states, on the contrary, Moscow is interested in the bloc being united and prosperous, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Austrian ORF broadcaster.

Putin says Russia not aiming to divide EU – BBC News

Ahead of a trip to Austria, Vladimir Putin says Russia wants the EU to be united and prosperous.

‘Russia Not Aiming To Divide EU,’ Putin Says Ahead Of Austria Visit

Russia has no interest in weakening the European Union, President Vladimir Putin has said ahead of his first trip to an EU country since his recent reelection.

Vladimir Putin: Russia does not want to split EU

The Russian president is traveling to a EU country for the first time since his re-election in March. The Austria trip is also his first to a Western European country since last July.

Russia Wants ‘United and Flourishing’ Europe, Putin Claims in Rare Interview

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an interview broadcast on Monday, said he did not want to divide the European Union as he prepared to visit Austria in his first bilateral trip to a West European country in almost a year. “We do not pursue the objective of dividing anything or anyone in the EU,” Putin told broadcaster ORF. “We are far more interested in the EU being united and flourishing because the EU is our most important trading and economic partner.”

TASS: Business & Economy – Putin: Russia created good conditions for next steps in economic development

He also recalled that, by the end of 2015, inflation was almost 13%, and now inflation is at the record low for the entire modern history of Russia – 2.5%

Putin Calls U.S. Indictment Of Kremlin-Connected Tycoon ‘Ridiculous’

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ridiculed the U.S. indictment of a Kremlin-connected billionaire for allegedly meddling in the 2016 presidential election, scoffing at the idea that someone des…

Putin Scoffs at US Indictment of Russians in Campaign Probe | World News | US News

MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin has ridiculed the U.S. indictment of 13 Russians, scoffing at the notion that a person described as his chef could interfere with the U.S. presidential election.

Russia abhors the very idea of a nuclear war between its neighbor North Korea and the US – Putin — RT World News

Russia would least of all want to see a nuclear war with North Korea raging near its border, President Vladimir Putin told Austrian TV, adding that Moscow will “exhaust every effort” to resolve the tensions there peacefully.

Putin: Federalization, rejection of NATO could resolve “Ukrainian problem” | UNIAN

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the federalization of Ukraine and the rejection of NATO could resolve the “Ukrainian problem.” Putin wants Ukraine to build independent statehood on federative principles. Russian President Vladimir Putin says the federalization of Ukraine and the rejection of NATO could resolve the “Ukrainian problem.” “This is one of the problems, but not the only one,” Putin said in an interview with Austria’s ORF TV channel, answering a question from ORF news presenter Armin Wolf whether the Ukrainian problem would be resolved if Ukraine declared itself a neutral country like Sweden or Austria and would not join NATO.

TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Putin says Russia will not cede Crimea under any circumstances

Putin reiterated, «Crimea gained independence not as a result of the invasion of Russian troops, but through the will of the people of Crimea expressed in an open referendum»

Putin excludes return of Crimea to Ukraine on any terms –

President of Russia Vladimir Putin excludes return of occupied Crimea to Ukraine on any terms as he claimed to the Austrian TV channel ORF. ‘No, there is no such terms’, Putin said when he was asked about the terms on which Russia will return Crimea to Ukraine.

Vienna calling Putin – POLITICO

The Russian president is heading to Austria, where he’s sure to get a warm welcome.

Austria’s vice-chancellor advocates halt to EU Russia sanctions | UNIAN

Leader of Austria’s Freedom Party Heinz-Christian Strache says he wants to end EU sanctions imposed on Russia in response to the Ukraine crisis. The official says the measures have damaged the Austrian economy.

Former Commander of US Army in Europe Warns Against Permanent US Base in Poland – Sputnik International

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Poland’s request for the United States to establish what would be the first such facility in Eastern Europe is unlikely to achieve consensus within the 29 member NATO alliance because the move would be unnecessarily provocative toward Russia, retired three-star US Army General Ben Hodges said on Monday.

FSB General on the attempt on Babchenko’s life —

FSB General on the attempt on Babchenko’s life

ON TARGET: Journalist’s ‘death’ just another sham | The Chronicle Herald

On Tuesday, Ukrainian officials announced that Arkady Babchenko had been shot and killed in his apartment. Dramatic photos were released showing Babchenko’s body lying in a pool of blood. His distraught wife was inconsolable.

Putin blames ‘fierce’ U.S. politics for delaying meeting with Trump – POLITICO

The possibility of a Trump-Putin summit was raised in March.

Putin says ‘fierce’ US politics hindering summit with Trump – AOL News

Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed political ructions in the U.S. for difficulties in arranging a summit with Trump, in remarks broadcast on Monday.

The US is planning for a summit between Trump and Putin, and experts say that means ‘Putin already won’ – AOL News

Experts say the U.S. has nothing to gain and everything to lose from a meeting between Trump and Putin given current U.S.-Russia relations. The US and Russia are currently in talks to arrange a summit between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Experts say the US has nothing to gain and everything to lose from a meeting between Trump and Putin given current US-Russia relations and Trump’s personal affinity for Putin. “But that seems to be the pattern of Trump’s dealmaking,” said one former State Department official. “We move the US embassy to Jerusalem and get nothing in exchange. We give the North Koreans a summit and get nothing in exchange. We pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and get nothing in exchange. This is par for the course.”

Trump and Putin may meet at a summit to discuss thorny issues: Wall Street Journal

Talks for a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are in early stages, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Juncker should demand Russia stop aggression, not an end to “Russia bashing” – Human rights NGO | UNIAN

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has demanded an end to what he called “Russia-bashing” and said that it is time to “reconnect with Russia”.  While specifically stating that the EU “would never accept what Russia did with Crimea and eastern Ukraine”, he made it alarmingly clear that it is Russia’s size and importance that make him want to “reconnect”.   Council of Europe will share responsibility for grave human rights violations if it gives in to Russia now, the watchdog says.

The Network: Russia’s Odd, Brutal, and Maybe Invented Pre-World Cup Terrorism Case | The New Yorker

Joshua Yaffa writes on the young Russian anarchists and anti-Fascists who were jailed and tortured by Vladimir Putin’s F.S.B. for an alleged terror plot that seems never to have existed. On the evening on January 23rd, Viktor Filinkov, a twenty-three-year-old software engineer, was at the departures terminal in Pulkovo Airport, in St. Petersburg, waiting to board a flight to Minsk. From there, Filinkov planned to catch a connection to Kiev, where his wife, Alexandra, was living. He never made it. Filinkov was approached by several men who identified themselves as agents from the F.S.B., a successor agency of the K.G.B., and took him to a waiting dark-blue minivan. What happened next, according to Filinkov, was a five-hour-long torture session, which ended with Filinkov in jail, awaiting trial on charges that could send him to prison for up to ten years. Filinkov is formally accused of belonging to a terrorist organization, part of a sprawling case against nine young men in St. Petersburg and Penza, a town four hundred miles southeast of Moscow, who, to varying degrees, identify as anti-Fascists or anarchists, or have overlapping friends in those communities. Those detained, according to the F.S.B., have been planning a violent uprising, aimed at “stirring up the masses for further destabilization of the political situation in the country.” The the group calls itself Syet, or the Network.

Active Measures – To Inform is to Influence

I asked a colleague to write an article on Active Measures after I read a lot of reports which made me gag, they misused the term Active Measures terribly. My colleague knows Active Measures, it was a specialty of theirs. A personal note, this report only scrapes the surface of former Soviet Active Measures and…

Addressing Hybrid Threats – To Inform is to Influence

Gregory F. Treverton, Andrew Thvedt, Alicia R. Chen, Kathy Lee, and Madeline McCue Title: Addressing Hybrid Threats Authors: Gregory F. Treverton, Andrew Thvedt, Alicia R. Chen, Kathy Lee, and Madeline McCue © Swedish Defence University and the authors, 2018 No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission. Swedish material…

Walter Russell Mead | Putin’s Success Masks Russian Weakness – WSJ

Things are breaking his way. But if China is a tiger, Russia is a pussycat on stilts. …. For the moment things are breaking Mr. Putin’s way. If Syria is to be a playing field for outside powers, the U.S. and Israel would prefer Russia be the leader rather than Iran. Mr. Putin can tell Benjamin Netanyahu that Russia is the best security against the Iranian forces on Israel’s border. At the same time, Mr. Putin can promise Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that Russia will keep Bashar Assad in Damascus and the U.S. out. Despite Mr. Putin’s successes, Russia remains weak, and its leverage over other nations is limited. China can woo its neighbors with multibillion-dollar projects like its “One Belt, One Road” trade initiative. Russia has much less to offer: If China is a tiger, Russia is a pussycat on stilts. Mr. Putin can obstruct Germany’s faltering European project, but he lacks the resources to offer an alternative. In the Middle East, the Kremlin’s position depends on American forbearance. If President Trump decides to make opposing the Assad regime a crucial part of his anti-Iran strategy, Mr. Putin may have to stand by and watch his client fall. Meanwhile, developments at home counsel restraint as well. While Mr. Putin’s string of dramatic foreign-policy successes has shored up his domestic popularity, Russia’s sclerotic economy and corrupt social order ensure that the foundations of his power remain weak. Mr. Putin has made Russia great again on the international stage, but the Russian people would rather see him use that daring and finesse to improve the situation at home.

Pompeo/Mattis Ramp Up Pressure On Russia Along NATO Borders And With Ukraine – Tsarizm

Pompeo/Mattis Ramp Up Pressure On Russia Along NATO Borders And With Ukraine. NATO’s Saber Strike 18 exercises involving some 18,000 troops.

NATO Launches Massive Saber Strike Maneuvers In Poland, Baltics

NATO’s Saber Strike 18 exercises involving some 18,000 troops from 19 nations have kicked off in Poland and the Baltic states, as the Western alliance looks to boost readiness on its eastern flank.

NATO exercise starts in Poland and the Baltics – CNN

A massive US-led military exercise involving 18,000 soldiers from 19 nations, primarily NATO members, kicked off along the alliance’s eastern border Sunday.

NATO war games: 18,000 troops in eastern flank maneuvers | News | DW | 03.06.2018

A major US-led exercise in Poland and the Baltic states has kicked off. It comes amid interest from Poland in welcoming a permanent US military presence on its territory.

Saber Strike 18: U.S. Leads Massive Europe War Game Near Russia Border

America is leading a drill with 18 other nations in Europe’s northeast.

Air assaults, tank fights on tap for US at Eastern Europe’s Saber Strike drill – News – Stripes

One of the largest annual U.S.-led military exercises kicked off Sunday in Eastern Europe, where about 18,000 soldiers from 19 nations have joined together for war games.

Lithuania hosts major NATO exercise – YouTube

euronews (in English) Published on Jun 4, 2018 Eighteen thousand military personnel gather for the exercise. The US led Saber Strike event sees service members from Estonia, Latvia and Poland as well as Britain, France, Italy and Canada and others, practicing working together…

US-led NATO exercise starts in Baltics, Poland

A major U.S.-led military exercise with 18,000 soldiers from 19 primarily NATO countries has kicked off in the alliance’s eastern flank involving Poland and the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.

Israel joins Nato in drill along Russian border | World | The Times

A US-led exercise involving 18,000 soldiers has started in the Baltic states and Poland. Eighteen Nato members have been joined for the first time by Israel in the two-week drill, known as Sabre Strike 18. The US army said it was “a demonstration of the commitment and solidarity of the alliance” at

In first, Israel participates in major NATO exercise near Russia – World News –

Non-NATO member Israel will be taking part in Saber Strike for the first time. Several dozen Israeli paratroopers are being sent to Eastern Europe to take part in the exercise. Until now it has been one huge exercise but this year it was decided to split it into two different scenarios; one scenario is a large exercise of 18,000 fighters from many countries, while the second, in which Israel will take part, will have a more limited number of troops. During the exercise the fighters will be trained in combat in several countries, contend with airstrikes by foreign forces, and cross bridges and rivers.

Israel takes part in NATO’s Saber Strike drill for first time | The Times of Israel

Several dozen soldiers from IDF’s Paratroopers Brigade said participating in major combat exercise near EU’s border with Russia

Israel participating in two large scale military drills in Europe – Israel News – Jerusalem Post

IDF paratroopers are in Eastern Europe taking part in Swift Response, Saber Strike.

Don’t put US bases in Poland – POLITICO

NATO can and must do a lot more to deter Russia without dividing allies.

Does a permanent base in Poland make sense?

Poland wants to spend $2 billion to get a permanent U.S. base but is it in the best interest of the United States and NATO?

Nowhere to hide from Russia, says Ukrainian journalist named on hit-list | Reuters

Ukrainian journalist Matvei Ganapolsky sees no point in hiding abroad from Russians who might be trying to kill him, because if they want to find him, geography won’t stop them.

Nowhere to hide from Russia, says Ukrainian journalist named on hit-list – media | UNIAN

Ukrainian journalist Matvei Ganapolsky sees no point in hiding abroad from Russians who might be trying to kill him, because if they want to find him, geography won’t stop them. Ganapolsky is on a list of 47 people who Ukraine says Russia has targeted for assassination, a list which also includes Yevgeny Kiselyov, a veteran anchorman who became one of Russia’s best known television journalists in the 1990s, as reported by Reuters. Ukrainian authorities say they obtained the list after faking the murder of exiled Russian dissident Arkady Babchenko, a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, in a ruse staged to flush out a genuine plot against him. Ganapolsky, 64, was offered protection by the Ukrainian state after being told, after Babchenko’s sudden reappearance, that he too was a Russian target. Read alsoChief prosecutor elaborates on Babchenko list with 47 potential victims Fleeing abroad won’t help, he says, as the poisoning of the Russian former spy Sergei Skripal in Britain in March showed.

Fake Hit List? – To Inform is to Influence

Unian published an unverified copy of the “SBU’s list with 47 potential assassination victims leaked to media (Document) revealed by the Babchenko assassination scam. But, hold on a second. Hold the printing press or hold off on the publish button! I wrote to InformNapalm in Ukraine and received an almost immediate response, privately. …it was originally…

SBU’s list with 47 potential assassination victims leaked to media (Document) | UNIAN

A list naming 47 Ukrainian journalists and bloggers who were to be targeted for assassination has been leaked to the media. The authenticity of the list is not confirmed.

Pavlo Klimkin on Twitter: “Somewhere journalists are protected, somewhere they are put behind bars. In Roman #Sushchenko’s case nobody expected anything else from the Russian Federation. Ukrainian journalist has been sentenced in Russia to 12 years in a high-security penitentiary.”

Garry Kasparov on Twitter: “Ukrainian intelligence & a Russian journalist stopped a Kremlin murder plot while EU leaders do business with Putin. My @DemocracyPost article:”

Arkady Babchenko: sting or stunt – the surreal fake murder of a Russian journalist

Whatever the reason for faking Arkady Babchenko’s death, this episode will not make journalists any safer.

A Russian journalist faked his own death. But death hoaxes have a long history. – Vox

How people fake their own death — and why

Babchenko’s Staged Assassination: Political Consequences for Ukraine and the West – Jamestown

In the week since Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko’s staged assassination on May 29 (see EDM, May 31), plenty of smoke and dozens of unanswered questions remain. At this point, Ukrainian law enforcement and the security services have still not provided any clear evidence of the Kremlin’s involvement in the alleged attempt on Babchenko’s life. Indeed, on the same day of his surprising resurrection and appearance at a press briefing organized by the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU), where Babchenko was accompanied by SSU head ‎Vasyl Hrytsak, more bizarre details of the alleged assassination emerged. Notably, Oleksiy Tsymbaliuk, a member of a Right Sector nationalist volunteer battalion that participated in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, confessed in a Facebook post after the press briefing that he was one of the co-organizers of Babchenko’s staged murder, closely cooperating with the SSU on this case (, May 31). Initially, the spokesperson of the Security Service denied the claim, but shortly thereafter the SSU confirmed Tsimbaliuk’s statement. As it turned out, this Right Sector fighter’s face was quite similar to a suspect’s picture released by the National Police a few hours following Babchenko’s staged assassination (RBC, May 29). According to the Kyiv prosecutor’s office investigating the case, in the beginning of April Ukrainian businessman Boris Herman ordered Tsymbaliuk to murder Babchenko. Herman then paid Tsymbaliuk half of his agreed-upon fees of $14,000, which included money for weapons purchases. After that monetary exchange, Tsymbaliuk notified the SSU about the plot against the Russian opposition journalist (, May 31). On the same day, Herman was detained by the SSU (BBC—Russian service, May 31).

Fake hit on journalist adds to Ukraine’s tragic history of spectacular assassination plots | National Post

In Ukraine, divisive politics and being an enemy of the Russian state seem prime drivers of the Wild West vibe captured in shocking headlines.

MOSCOW | A glance at Russian journalists attacked or killed | STL.News

MOSCOW — The brazen killing of exiled Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Tuesday evening has highlighted the dangers of working as a journalist in Russia. Dozens of Russian journalists have been killed or brutally beaten in recent years, in clear retribution for their work. In most cases, their attackers walked free. Here’s a look at some of the high-profile cases:

Russian Anticorruption Journalist Killed Last Year Honored

Nikolai Andrushchenko, a prominent Russian anticorruption reporter who died last year after being beaten up, was among 18 journalists commemorated in Washington on June 4 for being killed while pur…

Sushchenko convicted for trying to learn about “DPR” attack on Mariupol – Russian media | UNIAN

A Moscow city court has sentenced Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko, a correspondent of the Ukrainian Ukrinform news agency, to 12-year imprisonment in a colony with a strict regime reportedly for trying to learn about a possible attack by the Russian-controlled forces of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) on the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol in Donbas. The Russian FSB is said to think that Sushchenko, who flew from Paris to Moscow to his cousin in September 2016, used his vacation not only to meet with the relative, but also to gather information. A graduate of military school, Sushchenko, who had the rank of colonel, allegedly worked for the Ukrainian intelligence service under the guise of a journalist, the Russian edition Korrespondent said. According to Russian investigators, he was interested in structural details of the recently created National Guard of the Russian Federation. In addition, the FSB alleges, Sushchenko was trying to find out confirmation from the former Russian military whether a new offensive by the Russian-backed “DPR” forces against Ukraine’s Mariupol was possible or not. The journalist’s friends claim the FSB was aware of his military past, which became a pretext for spying on him. As UNIAN reported earlier, Moscow’s city court on June 4 sentenced Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko, a correspondent of the Ukrainian Ukrinform news agency, to a 12-year term in a high-security colony. The prosecutors insisted on a 14-year term for Sushchenko.

Sushchenko convicted for sniffing about new attack on Mariupol, – source –

Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko, sentenced to 12 years in high-security prison in Russia, was accused of an attempt to clear up the possibility of a new attack on Mariupol by the “DNR” terrorists. report that citing their source. According to the Kommersant, Russia’s FSB believes that Sushchenko came from Paris to Moscow to visit his cousin in September 2016 to collect information. “Allegedly, being a graduate of a military school, Sushchenko with a colonel rank worked for Ukrainian intelligence under the guise of a journalist. According to the investigation, he was interested in finding out structural details of Russia’s Federal National Guard Troops Service, created shortly before that. Apart from that Mr. Sushchenko, according to FSB, was trying to clear up the possibility of a new attack on Mariupol from “DNR”,” reports the outlet. As it was reported earlier, the Moscow City Court of Russia has sentenced Roman Sushchenko, the citizen of Ukraine to 12 years in the hard labor colony for the espionage. The court session against Sushchenko took place in the closed regime and the court announced only introductory and resume parts of the decision. Ukrainian Roman Sushchenko, the reporter of Ukrinfiorm news agency, was detained in September 2016 in Moscow and accused by the FSB of espionage. For this, he faces 20 years in prison. Ukraine has appealed to Russia with a demand to release the Ukrainian journalist multiple times.

Moscow Court Sentences Ukrainian Journalist To 12 Years In Prison For Espionage

A Russian court has sentenced Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko to 12 years in prison after convicting him of spying in a case that Kyiv and rights activists say is politically motivated.

Russian court sentences Ukrainian reporter to 12 years for spying | Daily Mail Online

Roman Sushchenko was convicted of espionage after being accused of collecting state secrets on Russia, but Ukraine say the case is ‘politically motivated’.

Russia jails Ukrainian journalist for 12 years for spying | Reuters

A Russian court sentenced a Ukrainian journalist, Roman Sushchenko, to 12 years in a maximum security prison on Monday after convicting him of spying in a case his lawyer and Ukraine said was fabricated for political reasons.

Poroshenko comments on Sushchenko’s sentence – Sushchenko’s sentence is an “unprecedented show of cynicism”, – Poroshenko –

Sushchenko’s sentence is an “unprecedented show of cynicism”, – Poroshenko

Journalism Watchdogs Condemn Russia’s Imprisonment Of Ukrainian Reporter

Kyiv and journalism watchdogs have strongly condemned the sentence given to Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko by a Russian court after it convicted him of spying.

Revealed: the grim reality of Ukraine’s ‘frozen conflict’ | The National

Chris Law, SNP International Development and Climate Justice spokesperson and MP for Dundee West, writes for The National about his recent…

Director of film about opera singer killed in Donbas shot himself –

On June 4, famous Ukrainian movie maker Leonid Kanter shot himself as Vysoky Val reported. A body of 36-year-old movie maker with gunshot wounds was found at his house in Obyrky village, Chernihiv region. The press service of the National Police in Chernihiv region also reported on the suicide of a man. ‘The operational investigative group of the police found a body of a man with a through-and-through gunshot wound in the jaw at the site. The police also found arms near him’, the message said. Informational on the crime was put in the United register of pretrial investigation, the criminal proceeding was opened, all circumstances of the incident are checked.

Salisbury nerve agent attack ‘cost police force £7.5m’ – BBC News

Wiltshire Police have also revealed Det Sgt Nick Bailey was contaminated at the Skripals’ home.

National Crime Agency ‘dirty money’ probe targets Russian oligarchs | News | The Sunday Times

Russian oligarchs and multimillionaires are among 130 people who face having their assets frozen in a crackdown by British authorities on dirty money. “Corrupt elites and their illicit wealth” are being investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA) under new powers known as unexplained wealth orders. Introduced in January, the orders force those suspected of serious crime to explain the origin of their assets, including properties worth more than £50,000. NCA officials are understood to have scaled up investigations into businessmen linked to Vladimir Putin’s regime after the attempted murder of a Russian former spy in Salisbury. Britain’s intelligence community blamed Russia for the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal, his daughter Yulia and a police officer in March.

Russia-UK post-Skripal secret deconfliction talks fall through over oligarchs issue – source | UNIAN

Last week Russia and UK representatives had secret talks on post-Skripal deconflicting, in an undisclosed South-Western EU city, that’s according to Christo Grozev, one of Bellingcat’s contributors and a senior researcher at Risk Management Lab, a think-tank with a focus on security threats at New Bulgarian University (Sofia). “Talks fell through as main ask by RU was to ‘leave oligarchs alone’,” he tweeted citing a source familiar with the matter. The report comes amid recent developments in the UK suggesting that the National Crime Agency’s “dirty money” probe is targeting Russian oligarchs. According to The Times, Russian oligarchs and multimillionaires are among 130 people who face having their assets frozen in a crackdown by British authorities on dirty money. “Looks like the UK National Crime Agency is going to start targeting Putin cronies with Unexplained Wealth Orders to confiscate their UK assets. If true, this will be a powerful step,” tweeted Bill Browder, an American financier, vocal Putin critic and, architect of the “Magnitsky Act” who detained (but then released shortly) in Spain on yet another warrant Russia initiated via Interpol. NCA officials are understood to have scaled up investigations into businessmen linked to Vladimir Putin’s regime after the attempted murder of a Russian former spy in Salisbury. Britain’s intelligence community blamed Russia for the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal, his daughter Yulia and a police officer in March.

A Definition of Contemporary Russian Conflict: How Does the Kremlin Wage War? – To Inform is to Influence

Yesterday, British Member of Parliament Bob Seely, presented his paper, A Definition of Contemporary Russian Conflict: How Does the Kremlin Wage War? at the Henry Jackson Society in London. For the first time, a report clearly states that Russia is engaging in a whole-of-government war against the West.   In this context, the term Hybrid War is appropriate.  The…

Vladimir Putin’s Russia using Cold War KGB tactics in WAR on West – Henry Jackson society | World | News |

RUSSIA is using tactics similar to those used by the KGB at the height of the Cold War to undermine the UK and the rest of the West as part of a “contemporary Russian conflict” that will threaten democracies for years to come, a new report released today has suggested.

HJS Report Launch: “A Definition of Contemporary Russian Conflict: How Does the Kremlin Wage War?” | Henry Jackson Society

Russia is waging conflict with the West. It is a conflict in which the full spectrum of state tools are combined in a dynamic, efficient, and integrated way. These tools are military and non-military, overt and covert. Russia has been waging this conflict for at least two decades, even though it has only attracted attention over recent years. It is a conflict that raises profound questions about how Western states and societies operate. By kind invitation of Chris Bryant MP, the Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to an event with Bob Seely MP that marks the launch of his new HJS report “A Definition of Contemporary Russian Conflict: How Does The Kremlin Wage War?” Dr Mark Galeotti will serve as discussant and provide us with his expert analysis on how Russian warfare operates.

A Definition of Contemporary Russian Conflict: How Does the Kremlin Wage War? | Henry Jackson Society

Bob Seely MP today offers the first comprehensive definition of the nature of modern Russian warfare in a peer-reviewed paper for The Henry Jackson Society – and draws a direct comparison between Cold War-era KGB ‘Active Measures’ and the aggression of Putin’s Russia. A Definition of Contemporary Russian Conflict: How Does the Kremlin Wage War? warns that the West faces a new kind of conflict: one in which military and non-military tools are combined in a dynamic, efficient and integrated way to achieve political aims. Until now, there has been no common agreement on what we are fighting – but Seely offers a comprehensive definition. In his paper, the Conservative MP and Russia researcher offers the term ‘Contemporary Russian Conflict’ to describe the covert and overt forms of malign influence used by the Kremlin. In this co-ordinated approach to warfare, at least 50 tools of state power are used, grouped into seven elements: Political Conflict; Culture and Governance; Economics and Energy; Military Power; Diplomacy and Public Outreach; and Information and Narrative Warfare. At the heart of this is the seventh element: Command and Control.

A Definition of Contemporary Russian Conflict: How Does the Kremlin Wage War? by Henry Jackson Society

PDF Full Paper

UAWire – Media: Trump to respond to Putin’s missiles by deploying anti-missile systems in Germany

The animated video clips of missiles destroying the US, which Russian President Vladimir Putin presented in an address to the Federal Assembly, have been noted by the Pentagon. As Reuters reports, the US has begun negotiations with Germany concerning the placement of US anti-missile defense systems in the European country. A THAAD system may be installed at the Ramstein Air Base, where the command of the US Air Forces in Europe and the joint NATO Air Force Command are based, an official in the Trump administration said. The preliminary results of the negotiations are such that “Germany will most likely not object to the placement of a THAAD”, the American official said, adding that “this will be another political message to Europeans” that Washington “takes the protection of allies seriously”. According to another source, the German government is open to the idea of deploying anti-missile defense in order to reinforce the protection of the civilian population. Under the existing agreements concerning US forces based in Europe, Washington does not need permission to install anti-missile systems. Nevertheless, the US has decided to solicit Berlin’s support, and will notify Germany before taking any action, the sources claim.

The Russian Gordian Knot begins to unravel | Asia Times

Iran, on the other hand, is obviously trying to turn Iraq, Syria and Lebanon into semi-sovereign satellite countries, which Putin is not interested in. On the other hand, he cannot challenge Iranian interests directly and thus will be very happy for Russia to play the role of spoiler to Iranian strategic plans. The same is true for Hezbollah and Hamas, which is simply of no concern to Russia or Assad. Neither has any incentive to oppose Israeli defense plans on its periphery and, in fact, both are apparently happy to guarantee that there will be no Iranian presence on the Israeli-Syrian border in the Golan Heights; all of which is very good news to Israel and to the US. Russia has for all practical purposes become a tactical regional ally of both countries. As for Iran, it may well be that the ayatollahs and their acolytes will not react very strongly to Czar Vladimir’s new ukase. Between large ethnic minorities that despise them and secular Persians who hate them, relatively low natural gas and oil prices, and a disastrous ongoing drought, coupled with anti- regime demonstrations taking place almost daily throughout the country, the mullahs might well welcome an excuse to declare victory and evacuate Syria in order to concentrate the forces of repression in their home country. After all, survival is priority number one for the theocracy that misgoverns Iran. The southern Sunni powers, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states (with the usual exception of Qatar), will welcome Putin’s initiatives with open arms. They have long decided that Israel is an important, if unacknowledged, ally and Iran their principal concern. As for the other significant regional player, Turkey is in no position to oppose Russian plans, and as the domestic economic and political situations continue to deteriorate, it will have to imitate Iran in paying more attention to the domestic front and less to adventures abroad. Significant developments indeed!

Russia’s Experimental Arsenal Takes to Syria’s Skies

The Kremlin seems determined to portray its stealth fighters in the best possible light as prospects fade for mass production of the troubled warplanes.

What’s the frequency, Putin? 5 questions about Russia’s EW capability

To understand electronic warfare, we must first understand how Russia has adapted and trained to fight for supremacy of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Israel’s Netanyahu Urges Germany to Help Curb Iran – WSJ

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday urged his counterpart in Germany to help curb Iran’s nuclear and regional ambitions after the U.S. broke with its European allies to pull out of the 2015 nuclear accord.

Israel will not back down on Iran nuclear deal despite Merkel pressure, ex-envoy claims | World | News |

ANY hopes Angela Merkel has of persuading Benjamin Netanyahu to reconsider his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal with Iran are sure to be dashed, a former ambassador has said, on the day the Israeli PM arrives in Berlin for talks with Germany’s Chancellor.

The Latest: Iran’s top leader vows response to any attack | Fox News

The Latest on the Iran nuclear deal (all times local): 8:30 p.m. Iran’s top leader says anyone who fires one missile at his country will be hit by 10 in response, but dismisses fears of war as propaganda by the West.

Iran to inform IAEA of start of process to boost uranium enrichment capacity: ISNA | Reuters

Iran will inform the U.N. nuclear watchdog in Vienna on Tuesday over its start of a process to increase the country’s uranium enrichment capacity, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told ISNA news agency.

Iran nuclear deal: Tehran to give notice of uranium work – BBC News

It is to inform the UN that it is starting the process of increasing its capacity to enrich uranium.

Khamenei says Iran set to boost enrichment capacity if nuclear deal founders | Reuters

Iran’s top leader said on Monday he had ordered preparations to increase uranium enrichment capacity if a nuclear deal with world powers falls apart after the U.S. withdrawal, and he vowed never to accept limits on Tehran’s ballistic missile program.

Iran calls on world to stand up to Trump, save nuclear deal | Reuters

The world should stand up to Washington’s bullying behavior, Iran’s foreign minister was quoted as saying on Sunday by state media in a letter to counterparts, as the top diplomat intensifies efforts to save a nuclear deal after a U.S. exit.

Javad Zarif: World must stand up to US ‘bullying’ | USA News | Al Jazeera

Trump abandoned nuclear deal arguing he wants to rein in Iran’s support for proxies in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon.

Iran urges countries to stand up to Trump’s ‘bullying’ on nuke deal | TheHill

Iran’s top diplomat is pressing other countries to stand up to President Trump’s bullying and save the nuclear deal signed under former President Obama.

After US Exit, Iran Urges Other Signatories to Preserve Nuclear Deal

Foreign Minister Zarif calls US withdrawal from 2015 agreement illegal; says it discredits rule of law, challenges UN charter

Shah-Era Iranian Diplomat Warns Against Creating ‘Another Iraq’

The tough U.S. line on Iran and speculation that Washington is pursuing regime change in Tehran have prompted a shah-era foreign minister to warn from Swiss exile against “turning [Iran] into a mess,” citing the example of neighboring Iraq. Eighty-nine-year-old Ardeshir Zahedi, a former Iranian ambassador to the United States, was following up on a New York Times piece last week in which he challenged U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent list of a dozen “simple requirements” of the Iranian regime as “bewildering and saddening.” Pompeo’s list came on the heels of the U.S. abrogation of the Iranian nuclear deal, and included moves ranging from coming clean on its previous covert nuclear activities, to ceasing missile development, withdrawing forces from Syria, and ending its support for “terrorist” groups like Hizballah or Hamas or the Taliban in Afghanistan, as well as Huthi rebels in Yemen. “I don’t want another Iraq to be created,” Zahedi told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda, suggesting that Iraq — where U.S. forces led an international coalition that deposed Saddam Hussein — had turned “into a mess.”

Iran says it supports Russian efforts to bring south Syria under army control | Reuters

Iran supports a Russian-led effort to impose Syrian government control over the south of Syria, a senior Iranian security official was quoted as saying on Saturday, amid reports that Damascus is preparing a major military offensive in the area.

What do the Iranian people want? | Middle East | Al Jazeera

Faced with a false choice between authoritarianism and imperialism, the Iranian people reject both. In mid-May, an open letter was sent to the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini signed by 200 well-known intellectuals. It was an appeal to save the nuclear deal and to avoid a potential military escalation between Iran and the United States. The letter reflects a widely held belief that Washington and its aggressive policies lie at the core of Iran’s misfortune and suffering. US President Donald Trump is perceived as the main culprit and evil-doer. He is, but his policies are not the only reason behind the suffering of the Iranian people. The Islamic Republic’s much-lauded nuclear programme has had a devastating impact on the lives of ordinary Iranians, both economically and politically. Contrary to the regime’s claims, having such a programme does not reflect the popular will of the people. Instead, the nuclear programme reflects the ambitions of the top nomenklatura of the Islamic Republic which has been unfazed by and, in fact, has benefited from sanctions imposed as a result of it. Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear agreement and the reinstatement of sanctions has presented political activism in Iran with a dilemma – one with which all Middle Eastern peoples have grappled for decades. The Iranian people stand between domestic authoritarianism and Western imperialism and neither force has their interest in mind.

U.S. and Turkey Agree on Kurds’ Withdrawal From Syrian Town – The New York Times

Turkey objected to the presence of U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in the city of Manbij. Turkey threatened to invade the city in January.

AP News Guide: What to know about the year-old Qatar crisis | Fox News

The diplomatic crisis gripping the energy-rich country of Qatar will enter its second year on June 5.

US mulling direct military assistance to help seize key Yemen port: report | TheHill

The U.S.

U.S. Weighs Expanding Military Role in Yemen War – WSJ

The Trump administration is weighing an appeal from the United Arab Emirates for direct U.S. support to seize Yemen’s main port for humanitarian aid from Iranian-backed Houthi fighters, a move that American officials worry could have catastrophic effects on the country.

U.N. Yemen envoy in talks with Houthis to cede Hodeidah port: sources | Reuters

The U.N. Yemen mediator is in talks with the Houthi movement to hand over control of Hodeidah port to the United Nations in an attempt to avert a possible assault on the city by a Saudi-led coalition, Yemeni political sources said.

Russia’s Middle East Strategy Explained |

Nowhere has Russia’s resurgent power been more on display than in the Middle East, where Moscow has undeniably matched, and some would say, outstripped Washington in areas concerning diplomacy, defence, and energy. An unusual coming together of circumstances has reinvigorated Russia’s Middle East policy. Providing this country, with an impressive array of possibilities mostly associated with superpower status. This has consequences for Moscow in the following fields: energy, arms, and international standing. Russia has achieved this through a strategy that combines the needs and weaknesses of the Middle East, while coincidentally benefitting from the relative decline (by choice) of the United States in the region. The war fatigue caused by the US’ involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq led to the withdrawal from both countries by the Obama administration. Although US troops never fully left, the power vacuum created opportunities for others alike to exert influence. With Washington’s hands tied Moscow has been able to quickly fill the gap.

OPEC And Russia Prepare For Long-Term Control Over Oil Market |

OPEC is up for a tough meeting in June, and expectations are that Saudi Arabia and Russia are persuading the others that longer-term stability is preferable to short-term high oil prices. In a tight oil market reacting with price gains to concerns about supply shortages, the leaders of the OPEC and non-OPEC nations part of the production cut deal—Saudi Arabia and Russia—hinted last week that easing the cuts was an option that they had discussed and that would be up for talks at the OPEC and allies’ meeting in less than a month. Oil prices plunged from three-and-a-half-year highs on reports that the Saudis and Russia may add as much as 1 million bpd of supply to offset crumbling Venezuelan production and possible loss of Iranian oil exports with the return of the U.S. sanctions. Many analysts don’t think the group would add the reported 1 million bpd of supply, but the oil market lapped up the news and concerns about a return to oversupply have dominated the OPEC chatter news flow for nearly a week. As the June 22 meeting is drawing closer, oil prices will likely react to any new hint, comment, or report about OPEC’s efforts to “address consumer anxiety over security of oil supplies.”

Russia’s Gazprom begins LNG supplies to India –

India will import LNG worth an estimated USD 25 billion over the contract period of 20 years years from Russia, he adding,

Qatar crisis widens fissures among US allies – ABC News

A bloc by Gulf Arab countries to counter Iran looks increasingly more divided.

Is Turkish secularism under threat? | Recep Tayyip Erdogan | Al Jazeera

As elections near, the president has been nicknamed a ‘Caliph in waiting,’ reigniting the debate over Turkey’s identity.

Israel to buy more F-15s – report

Hot on the heels of announcing it had conducted the world’s first combat operations with the F-35, Israel looks set to bolster its Boeing F-15I fleet with an order for 25 additional jets. The additional jets would be acquired under a new US$4bn (A$5.3bn) package for which the Israeli government was reportedly considering either additional F-35s or F-15s. The F-15s will be built to Boeing’s Advanced F-15 standard which includes a wide screen cockpit display, AESA radar, structural enhancements and two extra wing weapons stations. Flightglobal says the F-15 was chosen over the low observable F-35 because of the former’s greater load carrying capability which comes into play after air superiority has been gained, and that the IDF’s current fleet of 25 F-15Is which were delivered in the late 1990s and early 2000s will be upgraded to a configuration common to the new jets.