Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (90)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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The Vozhd’s annual phone-in talkback event is the single biggest Russia related theme in the media today, especially the saber-rattling and some of the more outrageous claims made. Notable is that sanctions appear to be causing real pain, finally, as it is a recurring theme in the Austrian outbursts as well as the talkback event. Bragging about new weapons is the usual fallback then everything else is losing or has lost traction. Threatening nuclear war over sanctions is an extreme display of weakness.  RFE/RL summarise some of the more interesting topics intentionally dodged during the event. Ukraine responds to Russia’s threats. Russia’s banking system looking increasingly fragile.

Babchenko sting debate is dissipating, possibly as piqued Western media do not like being hoist on their own petard.

Reports that the UK is to announce shortly a new rapid reaction capability to deal with Russia’s assassins, which Sputnik immediately denounced. A short sampling from one of Russia’s little helpers.

Most notable Syria report is of another Russian airstrike killing civilians. Israeli charm campaign continues, while China moves to exploit Iran sanctions.

No Fireworks As Putin, Officials Read From Same (Dull) Script During Call-In Show

The Kremlin tried to spice up Putin’s annual call-in show by having federal and local officials respond directly to public’s complaints. Instead, the officials were dull and – well – official.

‘What Are We, A Banana Republic?’: The Biting Questions Putin Didn’t Answer

For the second straight year, President Vladimir Putin’s annual call-in show featured questions and biting criticism apparently texted in by the public. He ignored the most scathing ones.

More Questions Than Answers: The Awkward Queries Putin Ignored

Here are some of the questions posed by ordinary Russians that Putin left unanswered during his annual Direct Line call-in show.

Putin Calls for New European Security System, Strategic Parity

Putin warns of a third world war, saying the US seeks to undermine strategic parity by withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty

Putin replied to question about Abramovich and thieves with money

The project is oriented towards the revelation of corrupted officials, organized crime representatives, who are tied to the law enforcement and ruling establishments.

Putin tells oligarchs to ‘stay home and keep their money in Russia’ | Daily Mail Online

Vladimir Putin said Russian tycoons were being persecuted in countries like Britain as he spoke during his live televised annual phone-in with the Russian public.

Russian Embassy Lambasts UK Plans to Create ‘Rapid Response Unit’ Against Moscow – Sputnik International

UK Prime Minister Theresa May will use the G7 summit in Canada to sound out fellow leaders on a multinational rapid reaction force to counter Russia’s alleged aggression, US media said.

There Are Forces in EU Capable of Ending Anti-Russian Sanctions – Analyst – Sputnik International

Russian President Vladimir Putin has delivered his annual Direct Line session with the country’s citizens today. Dr. George Szamuely, political analyst and author of “Bombs for Peace: NATO’s Humanitarian War on Yugoslavia,” has shared his take on the widely covered event in an interview with Sputnik.

Ex-Trudeau Adviser: Russia’s ‘Isolation’ Portrayed by US Media is Fantasy – Sputnik International

Jocelyn Coulon, an international relations analyst who served as an adviser to Trudeau’s foreign minister, Stephane Dion, says the image of Russia and its diplomacy has been distorted in the media and diplomatic circles in Canada and the United States.

Vladimir Putin warns against World War 3 | The Week UK

Russian leader blames US for disrupting global power balance

World War 3 WARNING: Putin warns sanctions put world on brink of conflict | World | News |

VLADIMIR Putin has warned the world is on the brink of World War Three with a major global conflict that ‘could end civilisation’.

‘Faster than Mach 20, twenty times the speed of sound’: Putin boasts new hypersonic missiles guarantee parity with US | South China Morning Post

He made the comments during a live phone-in broadcast, after initially announcing the new arsenal in March

Putin boasts about new hypersonic missiles which guarantees parity with US – Vanguard News

Putin claims 15,345mph hypersonic missiles are ‘the absolute weapon’ | Daily Star

RUSSIAN president Vladimir Putin has claimed a hypersonic missile system that can be launched at 20 times the speed of sound is already being used by his army.

Putin announces NUCLEAR-POWERED nuclear missile capable of staying airborne permanently | World | News |

A RUSSIAN nuclear missile capable of staying airborne indefinitely and threatening every corner of the globe is just months away from being deployed, Vladimir Putin announced today.

TASS: Military & Defense – Putin assures that Avangard hypersonic missile system will enter service in 2019

The Sarmat super-powerful missile will come into operation in 2020, according to Putin

Putin teases new arms: Lasers & hypersonic missiles in service, but ‘that’s not all’ — RT World News

All the recently unveiled cutting-edge Russian weapons will be put into service in time, while some are already adopted, President Vladimir Putin said during his annual Q&A session in Moscow, teasing more surprises to come.

🇷🇺President Putin holds his annual ‘direct line’ appearance – YouTube

Al Jazeera English Published on Jun 8, 2018 Russian president Vladimir Putin has held his annual ‘direct line’ TV appearance. People from across the country call, write or send videos asking a myriad of different questions which he then answers. As usual most of the discussion were concerning domestic affairs, with the often repeated message that Russia is heading in the right direction. But Putin rarely wastes an opportunity to tell the West that it’s political and financial pressure won’t work. Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands reports from Moscow on what was discussed this year.

The Latest: Putin says ‘always thinking’ about successor

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on President Vladimir Putin’s annual call-in television show (all times local): 4:30 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin say

Russia denies hitting Syria rebel-held in Idlib with airstrikes on Zardana, de-escalation zone home to displaced today 2018-6-8 – CBS News

Monitoring group says Russian jets were behind deadliest assault this year in northern Syrian province to which thousands have fled

How Russia’s Largest Companies Have Weathered Sanctions

The biggest sanctioned entities in Russia have snubbed their noses at Washington.

Ukraine’s NSDC secretary Turchynov defies Putin’s threats over Donbas | UNIAN

Regardless of the threats voiced today by Russian President Vladimir Putin during the national Hot Line, the Ukrainian state will prevail, says Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov. According to Turchynov, the Ukrainian military will respond to any threats adequately. Regardless of the threats voiced today by Russian President Vladimir Putin during the national Hot Line, the Ukrainian state will prevail, says Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov. “No matter the threats by the Russian president, the Ukrainian state does and will exist!” Turchynov stressed. The NSDC secretary noted that a “distressed Russian national” called Putin from the occupied Donbas, who is part of Russian-terrorist units (an odious writer-turned militant Zakhar Prilepin), voicing “concerns that the Ukrainian army might go on the offensive during the World Cup,” while the Russian president said that such actions could lead to “grave consequences for the Ukrainian statehood as such.”

UAWire – Hundreds of Russian banks are at risk of collapse

Based on the results of Russia’s Central Bank stress tests, problems were identified in 117 banks. There exists a risk of a gap appearing in their capital if oil prices go down sharply. Moreover, the bankruptcy of several organizations can lead to a domino effect that will affect another 107 banks, RBC reported with reference to the report of the Russian banking regulator. According to the Central Bank of Russia, these 117 banks account for about 30.6 percent of all banking assets. The Central Bank warns that in case of negative scenarios there is a serious risk of capital deficit. The total volume of a gap in the capital of 117 banks is estimated at 500 billion rubles or eight billion dollars. The stress scenario that the Central Bank used to test the banks included a sharp drop in oil prices and the increase of the ruble exchange rate. The last stress test forecasted a 39 percent drop in the ruble’s value and a fall in oil prices to $25 per barrel, while the Russian economy fell by 3.9 percent of the gross domestic product over this period. The tests were conducted in 2017 but the results of the analysis have only recently been published. “Even considering the income that can be received during a stress period, the activity of the banking sector will be unprofitable,” the Central Bank of Russia acknowledged, noting that in the event of a shock scenario, 51 out of 117 banks would simply collapse and fail to meet the capital sufficiency standards. These banks account for 19.1 percent of all banking assets, the regulator said. In addition to capital insufficiency, the Central Bank assessed that a potential domino effect, an avalanche of bankruptcies among banks caused by the bankruptcy of counterparties could lead to the collapse of 107 financial institutions, accounting for 9.8 percent of bank assets. Stress tests are necessary to assess the potential risks in the market, to assess the potential costs of the Central Bank for the rehabilitation of key players in the banking sector, and to issue instructions to banks to eliminate flaws to avoid potential problems in the future.

Reaction of the figurants to ‘hit list’ of 47 Ukrainian bloggers and journalists –

The notorious list of 47 was written make-do-and-mend, the spelling of some surnames was wrong, they were not listed in alphabetical order, with birth dates instead of addresses, and the “victims” were randomly selected. The notorious list of 47 was written make-do-and-mend, the spelling of some surnames was wrong, they were not listed in alphabetical order, with birth dates instead of addresses, the “victims” were randomly selected, and moreover, the name of Arkadiy Babchenko, whose attempted homicide was brilliantly prevented by Ukraine’s Security Service, was not even mentioned on the list. Social media have immediately noticed a number of discrepancies in the so-called “list of 47” potential victims of Russian special services. The list was published by “”. According to the media’s sources in the Security Service, “a document” allegedly appeared on May 21, it was handed by the suspect in the organization of the murder of Babchenko Borys Herman to his supervisor from counterintelligence – Dmytro (officially, the authorities deny this). He himself allegedly received the list from his Moscow acquaintance, a representative of Putin’s personal fund, Pyvovarnyk.

Theresa May set to announce a international unit to deal with Russian assassins | Daily Mail Online

The force is being set up in the wake of the attempted murder of Russian ex spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on the streets of Salisbury. Boris Johnson reveled the force would be set up at a dinner with Tory activists. Being set up in wake of poisoning of ex spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Theresa May is expected to announce the plans today at G7 summit in Canada.

England’s World Cup fans left vulnerable by the Skripal poisoning row with Russia, MPs warn

The Foreign Affairs Committee has declared the booting out of 23 diplomats from Moscow has left UK authorities ‘ill-equipped to protect England fans from violence’.

Foreign office warns football fans of ‘anti-British sentiment’ in Russia | Euronews

British fans attending the World Cup in Russia have been warned they may come up against “anti-British sentiment” by MPs and the country’s Foreign Office (FCO).

Australian government joins U.K. in state boycott of World Cup in Russia – media | UNIAN

The government of Australia is steering clear of the World Cup, deciding against sending an official delegation to the tournament hosted in Russia. This week, Bishop confirmed to AAP there will would be no Australian representatives traveling to Russia.

Joining Some Dots On The Skripal Case: Part 1 – An Official Story That Doesn’t Hold Water | Zero Hedge

“Given the toxicity of A-234, being around 5-8 times more toxic than VX, had the Skripals come into contact with it… What they would not have done is spent the next four hours swanning around Salisbury, going for a drink and then for a meal in a restaurant.”

Joining Some Dots On The Skripal Case: Part 2 – Four “Invisible” Clues | Zero Hedge

“…in each instance they are clearly significant aspects, and so the fact that they are being ignored or forgotten, together with the official story being implausible, only goes to arouse suspicions that they may be crucial pointers to what really happened on 4th March.”

Joining Some Dots On The Skripal Case: Part 3 – The Agitated Mr Skripal | Zero Hedge

“He didn’t seem ill physically, but perhaps mentally ill with the way he was shouting…”

Rob Slane

Netanyahu: Iran nuclear deal is dead – BBC News

Israel’s PM says he is not trying to persuade Europe to abandon the 2015 accord because it is “dead”.

UAWire – Netanyahu: Israel prepared to attack Syrian army

Israel is prepared to attack not only Iranian forces in Syria, but also the Syrian army itself, stated Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu in London on Thursday. “I think [Syrian President Bashar] Assad should take the following seriously. Now that the war with ISIS is over, and he [Assad] has called on Iran and allows it to attack Israel from the territory of Syria, his regime is no longer safe,” news agency France-Presse quoted Netanyahu as saying. “His regime is not immune. If he fires at us, we will destroy his forces,” added Netanyahu, pointing out the need for a “new approach” in relations with Syria. “Israel will not tolerate the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria against Israel. The consequences are not merely to the Iranian forces there but to the Assad regime as well,” the Israeli Prime Minister said.

Israel blames Iran for Gaza border violence – BBC News

Iran is trying to inflame tensions, Israel says, amid plans for fresh Palestinian protests on Friday.

Putin: Russia military ‘will stay’ in Syria – but not long-term | Syria News | Al Jazeera

In a televised call-in show, Russian president calls Syrian war ‘a unique tool by which to improve our armed forces’.

How Russia angered Iran in Syria and had to pull its troops from the Lebanese border – Israel News –

A rare case of Russia acting out of sync with President Bashar al-Assad’s Iran-backed allies in the war

Suspected Russian Air Strikes Kill Dozens In Syria

Suspected Russian air strikes in a rebel-held region in Syria have killed at least 44 people overnight, a war monitoring group says.

Russian Airstrike Kills Dozens in Rebel-Held Village in Syria, Monitors Say – The New York Times

The attack was said to be the deadliest this year in Idlib Province, the Syrian opposition’s last major stronghold. The toll, which includes women and children, could rise.

Airstrike on rebel-held northwestern Syrian village kills 35 | Fox News

A Syrian war monitor and paramedics say an airstrike on a rebel-held northwestern village has killed at least 35 and wounded dozens, including children.

Trump’s claim that an Obama administration effort on Iran was ‘totally illegal’

The president is calling for a probe of a proposed transaction that the Senate investigated — and did not find to be illegal.

Trump calls for probe into claims Obama administration tried to give Iran access to US banks | Fox News

President Trump on Thursday called for an investigation into allegations that the Obama administration tried to give Iran access to the U.S. financial system by sidestepping sanctions.

China steps up business with Iran after Trump exits nuclear deal – Washington Times

China’s adeptness at doing business with Iran through state-owned companies not exposed to the American financial systems could make Beijing the big beneficiary of President Trump’s move to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on foreign companies doing business with Tehran.

Deal With Turkey Threatens Trump’s Iran Strategy – Bloomberg

Negotiations to remove Kurdish troops from a small Syrian town could push away America’s allies.

Russia Sells Deadly Missile Systems to Turkey and India, Sparking Controversy With U.S.

The Russian S-400 system is effective against stealth aircraft, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.