Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (39)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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While the NATO summit politics, speculation on Helsinki and fallout from Russia’s deployment of Novichok dominated media through the week, other areas have remained highly active. Russia’s internal meltdown continued, and there is no shortage of reports.

Belarusians appear to be pushing back against Russification at a grassroots level. Strange Russian movements of munitions in Transnistria continued.

Ukraine sees increasing Russian mischief in the Azov Sea, the ongoing debate on Donbass as Russians ramp down fires before Helsinki (they always do this), while the Russian inspired dispute with Hungary continues.

Many reports on the DPRK and China.

European issues, especially Nordstream 2, POTUS visit to the UK, German and UK politics were dominant in media coverage.

Many reports on cyber and influence, especially Russian.

US domestic politics remain marginally stable.

NATO / EU / Russia Reports

UAWire – Putin prays before meeting with Trump
Russian President Vladimir Putin left on Wednesday for his annual trip to Valaam. The Kremlin’s press service reported that Putin “attended a solemn liturgy at the Valaam Monastery Transfiguration Cathedral, which was conducted by Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus, and then walked along the cloister with the Patriarch”. The visit took place on the church memorial day for the miracle-workers Venerable Sergius and Herman. Last year on July 11 the Russian president also traveled to the island and spent two days there, TASS notes.
Trump And Putin Get Set For Summit In Helsinki
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are set to hold their first bilateral summit in Helsinki on July 16. The meeting takes place under a shadow of high tensions between the countries amid continued U.S. sanctions on Russia and an investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The Week In Russia: What To Expect From The Trump-Putin Summit
​On July 16 in Helsinki, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin hold their first full-fledged meeting since the U.S. president took office 18 months ago. This week, the Week in Russia takes a look at wh…
Trump View Of Putin As ‘Competitor, Not Enemy’ Provokes Ire In Congress
U.S. President Donald Trump’s assertion that Russia is a “competitor,” not an “enemy” has provoked alarm and outrage among some prominent lawmakers in Washington.
Trump Says Putin ‘Competitor’ Not ‘Enemy’
U.S. President Donald Trump said Russian President Vladimir Putin was a “competitor” and neither a friend nor an enemy, in closing remarks at the NATO summit on July 12. Speaking ahead of his first bilateral summit with Putin, he said he could not say what would happen with Crimea — when asked whether he would accept Russia’s annexation of it.
Trump won’t rule out ceasing military exercises if Putin asks – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump capped off his dramatic appearance at the annual NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday by teasing another controversial possibility, saying he would not rule out ceasing NATO military exercises in the Baltic States if Russian leader Vladimir Putin requested it during their upcoming meeting in Helsinki, Finland.
Trump: “I would not have allowed Russia to annex Crimea” | UNIAN
U.S. President Trump said early Thursday that he would not have allowed Russia to annex Crimea, stressing that it happened on “Barack Obama’s watch.” “I’m not happy about Crimea,” the U.S. president said. U.S. President Trump said early Thursday that he would not have allowed Russia to annex Crimea, stressing that it happened on “Barack Obama’s watch.” “That’s an interesting question,” he said when asked at the end of a tumultuous NATO summit in Brussels if he would recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea, The Hill reported. “Long before I got here, President Obama allowed that to happen. That was on his watch, not on my watch.” “People like to say, ‘Oh, Crimea,’ but the fact is they built bridges to Crimea, they just opened a big bridge that was started years ago. They built, I think, a submarine port, substantially added billions of dollars,” he added.
What’s at Stake at the Trump-Putin Summit – Defense One
Presidents Trump and Putin have little to show for their rapport so far. Their summit will not be seen as a success without fresh approaches to issues …
The Trump-Putin Summit: What the Europeans Fear – Defense One
A U.S. leader meeting a Russian one is not particularly unusual. The context is.
UAWire – Ukrainian President Poroshenko discusses with Trump his upcoming meeting with Putin
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the US President, Donald Trump, spoke about the upcoming meeting in Helsinki (Finland) where the US leader and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet, said Poroshenko on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels. “We very thoroughly discussed President Trump’s upcoming meeting, which will take place in Helsinki on Monday, July 16. We also thoroughly discussed the issue of “Nord Stream-2”- stated Poroshenko. Poroshenko said that he told his American counterpart about the progress of reforms in Ukraine. At the same time, the Ukrainian President made it clear that he cannot disclose all details of the conversation. “Some of what was said in my conversation with President Trump I cannot disclose, of course. This was a conversation based on trust and I am very pleased that Ukraine was given a priority. It was of utmost importance that we have this conversation with the President of the United States Donald Trump before Helsinki. I am completely satisfied with our conversation” he said. The head of the Ukrainian state also stated that the priority of all the meetings including the meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the issue of Ukrainian political prisoners detained in Russia, including the release of the Crimean Tatar activists. Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will meet in Helsinki on July 16th. According to Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, the presidents will to discuss a number of very difficult issues.
Trump meets Poroshenko at NATO summit in Brussels –
The meeting of Trump and Poroshenko lasted for 20 minutes
Trump says he will discuss Ukraine at meeting with Putin
U.S. President Donald Trump has said that he intends to discuss Ukraine during his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said at a press conference in Brussels as part of the NATO summit on Thursday that he would meet with President Putin on Monday and talk about Syria and meddling in elections. Trump said that the Ukrainian issue would also be discussed. As reported, Putin and Trump are scheduled to meet in Helsinki on July 16.
Meeting between Trump and Putin will confirm that Ukraine is on frontline of European and transatlantic politics – FT – 10.07.2018 15:56 — Ukrinform News
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko expects that the upcoming meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will confirm that Ukraine is on the frontline of European and transatlantic politics.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will go to Helsinki, where the U.S. and Russian delegations will negotiate on July 16 –
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will go to Helsinki, where the U.S. and Russian delegations will negotiate on July 16. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will go to Helsinki, where the U.S. and Russian government delegations will meet for negotiations on July 16. The website of the Department of the State reported this, saying that Pompeo will accompany president Donald Trump during his meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. During the visit, Pompeo will meet his Russian colleague Sergei Lavrov and Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini. The meeting of the Russian and American leaders is slated for July 16 in Helsinki.
Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin will likely discuss North Korea
The world’s largest nation by size stands to benefit, both economically and politically, from a denuclearized North Korea.
Opinion | Ask Putin About the Nerve Agents – The New York Times
The Novichok poisonings in Britain show that President Trump needs to push his Russian counterpart to comply with the Chemical Weapons Convention it signed.
‘Very stable’ Trump? European leaders beg to differ – POLITICO
The president’s wild shifts in tone left many NATO allies concluding no hidden strategy lies behind his unpredictability.

Trump disrupts NATO summit with blasts at allies, especially Germany, and new defense spending demands
President Trump kicked off his two-day visit with NATO allies by doing exactly what many of them feared, worsening tensions among allies by claiming that Germany, a bulwark of the transatlantic democratic order, “is totally controlled by” and “captive to Russia.”
Mikheil Saakashvili: Trump is right that Germany is too cozy with Russia
When President Trump called Germany a “captive of Russia” Wednesday at the NATO summit in Brussels, it sounded like a vindication for all of us in the region.
Trump vs. NATO: It’s Not Just About the Money – Defense One
The president’s emphasis on spending obscures a much deeper skepticism of alliances.
Trump’s NATO – Carnegie Europe – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
The 2018 NATO summit was more than the United States haranguing and bad mouthing its Europeans allies. It was about an attempt to reorder the transatlantic relationship.
The Coming Split in NATO – Defense One
Trump wants our European allies to build their military strength. What will it look like if they do?
From Brussels without love: Trump hits Europe at NATO summit | TheHill
Despite its economic heft, Europe is a much safer target than countries with leaders who have freedom to punch back hard.
NATO Welcomes Start Of Macedonia Membership Talks As Moscow Fumes
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg officially greeted Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev in a ceremony to mark the start of membership talks, a development that drew an angry response from Moscow.
NATO Commander: Baltic Presence ‘Necessary’ To Stop Russian ‘Aggression’
NATO’s deployment of additional resources to the Baltic region despite Russia’s opposition was a “necessary step” based on Moscow’s “aggressive actions,” the Western military alliance’s supreme com…
UAWire – Estonia, Latvia and Denmark to establish Divisional Headquarters North
During a recent NATO summit in Brussels, the Defense Ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Denmark signed a joint statement of establishment for the Multinational Divisional Headquarters North, the Estonian Minister of Defense Jüri Luik stated. “It is a natural step to strengthen deterrence and defense of NATO. The Baltic Sea region is now one of the most vulnerable in NATO, and it is important for the command structure of the Alliance to be consistent with actual threats,” Luik stated. According to an issued statement, the Divisional Headquarters will be tasked with an ongoing operational review of the situation in the region. The Headquarters will manage brigades under its command, and be in charge of the coordination, planning and synchronization of military exercises and operations within various departments and auxiliary units. The Divisional Headquarters and its support subdivision will be comprised of roughly 300 people. It will report to the Headquarters of the Multinational Corps North-East, located in Szczecin, Poland. The NATO Summit is currently being held in Brussels from the 11th-12th of July.
UAWire – NATO promises to increase its presence in Eastern Europe
On Wednesday, July 11, at the NATO summit in Brussels, NATO leaders adopted a new final declaration. A significant part of it is devoted to the Alliance’s relations with Russia. “We continue to respond to the deteriorated security environment by enhancing our deterrence and defense posture, including a forward presence in the eastern part of the Alliance. Moreover, the Alliance has suspended all practical civilian and military cooperation between NATO and Russia ‘while remaining open to political dialogue.’ NATO does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia,” the document says. Alliance’s decision was motivated by “Russia’s aggressive actions, including the threat and use of force to attain political goals that challenge the Alliance and are undermining Euro-Atlantic security and the rules-based international order.” During the Summit, Donald Trump proposed to increase defense expenditures to 4% of the GDP. He reiterated the demand that Germany increase its defense expenditures and stated that Berlin “is under the full control of Russia.” However, the initiative did not become a formal proposal. NATO countries agreed on the increase of military expenditures up to 2% GDP by 2024 but only five of the 29 NATO member countries can reach this goal this year.
NATO leaders urge Russia to withdraw its forces, all militant groups from Donbas | UNIAN
NATO Heads of State and Government have called on the Russian Federation, as a party to the Minsk agreements, to withdraw heavy weapons from Donbas and all militant formations under its control. NATO and Ukraine called on Russia to return to the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination (JCCC) in order to ensure the facilitation of local ceasefires.
NATO not to interfere in Ukraine-Hungary conflict – 13.07.2018 14:42 — Ukrinform News
Ukraine and Hungary have to resolve themselves their disagreements on the law on education. The alliance will not interfere in this process. Head of the NATO Representation to Ukraine Alexander Vinnikov said this at a briefing on Friday, an Ukrinform correspondent reported. According to him, Hungary is a valuable partner of NATO, and Ukraine is an important partner of NATO. Therefore, it is in the interests of all parties to solve this situation. The alliance’s position on the law on education remains unchanged. Ukraine has to fully comply with the recommendations of the Venice Commission, Vinnikov said. He noted that the alliance could not influence Hungary’s position, because according to the rules, even one NATO member country can block any issue, and therefore an important NATO strategy is finding consensus on any issues. No NATO member wants the situation between Ukraine and Hungary to continue, Vinnikov said. He expressed hope that the countries would come to an understanding. As reported, Hungary blocked the holding of a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the highest level due to the law on education.
Hungary set to continue blocking Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations | UNIAN
Hungarian Foreign Ministry’s Minister of State for Communication Tamás Menczer says the Hungarian government is set to continue blocking Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations until Ukraine “stops stripping minorities of their rights and does not return the rights that have been removed.” The adoption of a new education law by Ukraine is seen by Hungary as a major obstacle in bilateral relations.
UAWire – Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs: Budapest will not step back from blocking Ukraine’s cooperation with NATO
Hungary will not support the rapprochement of Ukraine with NATO until Kyiv stops their attacks on the Hungarian minority, the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs cites Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó as saying. Szijjártó noted that Hungary is outraged by the fact that the highest level of politics in Ukraine is becoming a platform for extremism and anti-Hungarian sentiments. According to Szijjártó, the country that speaks of European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations cannot allow ultra-nationalist and anti-minority ideas. “Hungary made it clear, that it, in no way, can we support the rapprochement of Ukraine [with NATO] until the situation in this area improves. Hungary will continue to support the Hungarian minority until Ukraine provides legal guarantees”, stated the Minister. As reported, the NATO Secretary General confirmed that, at the summit of the Alliance, there will be no decision made about including Ukraine in the Enhanced Opportunities Partners program. Stoltenberg did not confirm or deny the statement of Ukrainian MP Anna Hopko that the decision on this statute was blocked by Hungary. He did, however, advise Ukraine to cooperate with Hungary in this matter.
Poroshenko: Russia finally recognized “aggressor” in NATO documents | UNIAN
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stressed Russia had been finally recognized as an aggressor not only in words but also in NATO documents. Poroshenko said the peacekeepers need to bring peace and stop killings in the east of Ukraine.
Poroshenko in Brussels: No country, even Russia will manage to block Ukraine’s accession to NATO | UNIAN
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that no country, including the Russian Federation, will manage to block Ukraine’s access to NATO. Ukraine needs to ensure the transition to NATO standards of defense and security.
Ukraine aims to put the NATO membership aspirations in its Constitution –
Ukraine aims to put the NATO membership aspirations in its Constitution. Ukraine aims to put the NATO membership aspirations in its main law, the constitution. President Petro Poroshenko said this during his meeting with Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO, which took place on Thursday. The Alliance also officially confirmed Ukraine’s aspirations in this direction. The NATO leader, in turn, urged Russia to stop supporting armed mercenaries in Donbas and withdraw its regular troops from these territories. He also said the Alliance supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. He condemned the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014. Stoltenberg also marked that the only way to settle the conflict in Donbas is to abide by Minsk agreements. As it was reported earlier, Poroshenko announced that Ukraine is going to reach NATO standards by 2020 and for this purpose, it introduces an annual national program under the auspices of the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC). He added that he hopes for NATO’s practical assistance to Ukraine upon the results of the summit.
Nothing can stand between Ukraine and its European ambitions – Poroshenko | UNIAN
This is a significant week for Ukraine as it faces substantial challenges to its security and stability. It started with Monday’s Ukraine-EU summit in Brussels, followed by the Nato summit, in which Ukraine will also participate, according to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The price of Russian aggression must be seen to be high.
Trump likes NATO; Ukraine sees 1,200 ceasefire violations a week; DPRK skips repatriation talks; How China, Russia, US AI centers differ; and just a bit more… – Defense One
Government news resource covering technology, performance, employment, telework, cybersecurity, and more for federal employees.
White House on John Kelly’s reaction at NATO breakfast: ‘He was expecting a full breakfast and there were only pastries and cheese’ – The Washington Post
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said General John Kelly “was displeased because he was expecting a full breakfast and there were only pastries and cheese.”
Pentagon goes into ‘damage control’ mode to reassure NATO allies
U.S. military leaders embarked on a “damage control” operation with calls to allies to reassure them that America will abide by its NATO defense commitments.

The U.S. Spends Billions Annually On Russian Oil
President Trump slammed Germany this week for increasing its reliance on Russian natural gas, but the U.S. is also a steady customer for Russian energy exports.
Why Putin Is Not Okay – To Inform is to Influence
Excellent article but it misses one GIANT bit of information.  Russia has been waging Information Warfare against the world, nonstop, on an unbelievable scale, since late 2013 and perhaps earlier.  Russian Information War puts Political Warfare on steroids and seeks to accomplish three goals.  Undermine Western democracy Sow chaos and confusion in the West Promote…
Russian Special Forces Just Practiced Invading an Island Near Finland – Defense One
It’s the latest in a series of military exercises that regional observers call provocative and intimidating.

Russia / Russophone Reports

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Dispatches Yet Another ‘Private Military Company’ to Syria and More to Africa
Paul Goble Staunton, July 5 – Moscow has now dispatched another of what it calls “a private military company” to fight in Syria, a reflection of its desire to avoid having regular army units there, its unwillingness to rely on the Vagner group alone, and its interest in having a force that will do some of its dirty work on a deniable basis. The new group, called “Patriot,” the independent Moscow television channel Dozhd says, is mentioned alongside an appeal to the authorities signed by retired General Leonid Ivashov, Vladimir Petrov of the Honor and Motherland organization, and Yevgeny Shabayev of the All-Russian Officers Assembly who confirm its existence ( In their appeal, the three mention that it is long past time to legalize the status of groups like Vagner and Patriot. Under existing Russian law, such groups are illegal because they are mercenaries, something the authorities use despite a longstanding Russian legal prohibition against doing so. According to Shabayev, most of those in these groups have served in the regular military. Ivashov for his apart adds that the fighters in such organizations are assisted by specialists from the Main Administration of the General Staff, military lawyers, and special operations forces. Those in Patriot are paid more than those in Vagner, the three say, with salaries varying “depending on speciality from 400,000 to one million rubles a month (6600 to 16,000 US dollars a month). Most serve in its ranks only a month or two. The commanders get even more both directly and as a cut of their men’s pay. According to Dozhd’s sources, one result of the appearance of the Patriot group is that is has set up competition with the Vagner organization, with the two vying for the same contracts and thus at least potentially reducing the costs for the Russian government. The authors of the appeal add that Patriot is not the only new group, there are “other new groups which have entered “this market,” although they say that they “do not know their exact names.” They are being used in Libya, Yemen, Sudan, and Brunei. Now there is an entire complex of consultations about African countries as well,” Shabayev says. One of these nameless groups now guards the construction site of a Russian bank in Burundi, according to the television channel’s other sources who say that it coordinates its work with the foreign ministry, the Military-Space Forces of the Russian government and, of course, the FSB.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Gun Manufacturer Wants Russians to Be Allowed to Own Up to 10 Weapons Each
Paul Goble Staunton, July 6 – The Kalashnikov arms company is calling for the Duma to amend Russian law so that Russian citizens will be allowed to own as many as 10 guns each, to ease restrictions on purchasing certain kinds of weapons, and to allow gun sellers to provide more training to gun owners ( It may be that the firm assumes that in today’s depressed economy, such a change would allow it to make more money and keep more of its employees, and that consequently the Russian government will be more disposed to support its ideas than it has shown itself to be in the past. In reporting this initiative today, Ekho Moskvy said that if the Duma were to agree to this proposal, it would become far easier for Russians to buy and use weapons and that almost certainly that would have “sad consequences” for the country where the use of weapons during the commission of crimes is increasingly common. According to Russian experts, there are at least 25 million guns in private hands in Russia today, just over one for every six Russians in all; and some 80 percent of these are held illegally without the necessary government registration and restrictions. The proposed measure would likely increase both of these numbers ( Debates about gun ownership have been going on in Russia since the early 1990s, with Russian supporters and Russian opponents of any change in gun ownership rules echoing those in other countries (
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Subsidies to Regions for Nationality Policy Suggest Where Moscow Thinks It has the Most Problems
Paul Goble Staunton, July 5 – The Federal Agency for Nationality Affairs has announced its subsidies to the 69 federal subjects which applied; and if one excludes those with high earnings from oil and gas production, its awards provide a useful ranking of the places where Moscow is most concerned about ethnic issues. The seven republics to which FADN is giving the most money in rank order are Bashkortostan which will receive 16.6 million rubles (250,000 US dollars), Daghestan, North Ossetia, Mari El, Karelia and Tatarstan (10.8 million rubles (160,000 US dollars)) (П-14_от_09.06.18.PDF?1529673116). The smallest subsidies went to petroleum rich regions which presumably can afford to finance activities like Days of the Russian Language on their own. They received from 998,000 rubles (17,000 US dollars) in the case of the Khanty-Mansiisk AO to 729,000 rubles (12,000 US dollars) for the Nenets AO. Significantly near the bottom were the republics of the western portion of the North Caucasus and the republics of southern and eastern Siberia. Many predominantly Russian federal subjects like Kursk, Kaluga, Kirov, Ivanovo, Vologda, Kemerovo, Leningrad, and Penza oblasts and Perm Kray are very unhappy with being left out in the cold, according to Nazaccent ( Moscow is clearly overlooking Russian areas, they complain. In response to a Nazaccent query, FADN said that 60 percent of its money had gone to the non-Russian republics, 18 percent to krays or cities of federal importance, and 22 percent to oblasts and autonomous districts. But it pointed out that the number of federal subjects receiving grants had nonetheless risen from 43 in 2015 to 62 this year.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian ‘Siloviki’ Want to Form a Left Pro-Putin Party on the Left to Support Imperial Agenda
Paul Goble Staunton, July 6 – Ever more Russians are criticizing the Russian government for undermining the social state, a position that neither the existing systemic parties nor the extra-systemic ones have been able to exploit, the former because they are defenders of the governments actions and the latter because they criticize the Kremlin from liberal positions. As a result, the systemic parties, including United Russia, are losing support without the extra-systemic ones gaining it, a situation in which the powers that be may find themselves without a horse to ride on in the upcoming parliamentary elections and one in which one of the legitimating foundations of the state could fall away. As US-based Russian analyst Kseniya Kirillova points out, this has prompted some pro-Kremlin siloviki to begin talking about the possibility of forming a new party, one combining social justice appeals with support for an imperial agenda and thus a real and potentially very attractive “loyal ‘opposition’” ( She points to a June 29 article by Moscow commentators Aleksandr Staver and Roman Skomorokhov on the influential Vooyennoye obozreniye site entitled “The Real New Opposition Against the Eternal Putin” in which they argue that United Russia no longer reflects the attitudes of the Putin majority and that a new party is needed ( The two concede that many of the problems with United Russia have arisen because Moscow has promoted the social justice themes of Soviet times as well as taken liberal steps including on wages and pension ages that understandably have offended and alienated many members of what has been up to now the reliable “Putin majority.” Such unexpected criticism both implicit and direct should not obscure the real message of Staver and Skmorokhov, Kirillova says. They are not making any case for the existing opposition systemic or extra systemic; instead, they are calling for the formation of an entirely new political party or movement that would support Putin’s imperialist course while backing greater social welfare, a kind of national socialism if you will. The two, the Russian journalist says, “not only do not see the ‘extra-systemic liberal opposition” either as a threat or a replacement for Putin. Instead, they directly say that “it does not have any right to existence” because it has sold out to the West and engages in “illiterate populism.” Worse, it opposes the Kremlin’s expansionist foreign policy. They call for the replacement of the current “party of power” with one that doesn’t feature the current liberal members of the government, is “younger,” and does not include just the United Russia electorate and leaders. For them, “the chief enemies of the country are again declared to be ‘the liberals’ both systemic and even more extra-systemic.” In short, Kirillova says, “the criticism of the authorities here is made only from the unofficially permitted ‘hurrah patriotic’ positions, in exactly the same key that this is done by the sadly well known Girkin-Strelkov and his ‘militant comrades in arms’” from the Donbass front against Ukraine. And it should surprise no one that Staver and Skmorokhov draw the conclusion that “there is no alternative to Putin,” despite their words of criticism. Instead, what they are seeking is the formation of a new party, left of center in its domestic views to recapture Russians unhappy with Moscow’s social policy but fully supportive of its imperialist agenda abroad. They thus are proposing as a model for this movement the now almost forgotten ideas of Sergey Udaltsov who in 2014 was sent to jail for his role in the Bolotnoye protests against Putin but who fully supported the Kremlin leader’s Anschluss of Crimea and his efforts to recreate the USSR. (Udaltsov laid out his ideas in 2014 at ( The two Voyennoye obozreniye writers say that “in contras to the many who shout that there is ‘no alternative’ [to Putin’s course] we have found an alternative,” a party and leaders like Udaltsov who just as supportive of an aggressive foreign policy as Putin but who want to return to a social state the current leftward drift of Russian society will support. Such a party could help generate an ultimate successor to Putin or in the meantime lead to the formation of a more moderate social policy, both things that some in the Kremlin are clearly interested in. At the very least, it is an important indication that those around Putin are thinking how to exploit the leftward tilt of the population rather than simply suppressing it. At the same time, Kirillova notes, the possible formation of such a party and the development of such a trend in Russian society should remind Ukraine and the West that they should not expect any softening of Putin’s aggressive foreign policy even after he leaves – and that moderation at home may be the basis for that rather than its antithesis, as many now think.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Echoes of an Old War – Descendants of Boers whom Russians Backed Now Moving to Russia
Paul Goble Staunton, July 7 – More than a century ago, many prominent Russians went to South Africa to fight on the side of the Boers, the Dutch Protestants opposed to British rule. Now, some of the descendants of the Boers are coming to Russia, an exodus that a Vzglyad commentator says reflects what he describes as almost a genocide against whites in South Africa now. The history of Russian involvement in the Boer War has attracted some interest among historians (For a celebration of that involvement and a bibliography, see Apollon Davidson and Irina Filatova, The Russians and the Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902 (Cape Town, 1998) at So far, however, Eduard Birov’s article yesterday in Vzglyad is the only prominent one devoted to the decision of some of their descendants to move to Russia, an article that is important because it suggests how Moscow will use this migration as an ideological theme ( Putin’s Russia has cast itself as a defender of Christian civilization against Islam from the south and the radical secularism of the West, a pose that has won it support from Christian fundamentalists and the right in many countries, including not unimportantly the United States; and this has made it easier for some in these countries to push for rapprochement with Moscow. But now Birov has highlighted what is really going on: Russia is positioning itself as the last defender of the white race against attacks by members of other races, a much more visceral and perhaps among some white activists more powerful message however morally repulsive it clearly is. The journalist reports that some 15,000 Boers are now prepared to move to Rusisa, although only a handful have done so up to now. The reasons for this migration, he says, lie in what has been going on in South Africa over the last 20 years: “attacks against whites by the Negro population” which he says “with each passing year, ever more recall genocide.” According to Birov, in the last year alone in the Transvaal, there have been 345 attacks by blacks against whites and 70 people have died as a result. This comes on top of “the hundreds who have died over the last decade” and “the thousands who have suffered,” about whom “no one is collecting statistics.” But despite this, he continues, “international human rights organizations and freedom loving Western media demonstratively prefer not to speak about the suffering of the Boers, limiting themselves to dry reports and communications.” They fail to note that what is happening in South Africa is the rebirth of “something like apartheid but now against whites.” The Boers have been leaving South Africa as a result and mostly seeking to settle in the West, Birov says; but “being religious people who retain traditional values, the Boers have encountered a lack of understanding in the post-modernist West where everything traditional is driven into a corner.” As a result, they are now seeking to come to Russia where that isn’t true. “The traditionalist and anti-globalist Boers oppressed by black racissts and not accepted by liberal Europe see their salvation in Russia as the bastion of the last healthy forces of the Christian world,” Birov says. Their “choice is not simply about a suitable territory for leaving as about spiritual issues.” Moving to rural areas in Russia is no easy matter for anyone, he continues; and those who do so like the Boers are not looking for an easy life. What they care about is coming to a country which is today “the antipode of the decaying and unjust world order” that has allowed them to be oppressed. “They see in Russia a defender of the Gospel and of traditional values, including the principles of the equality of peoples and justice,” Birov argues. As a result, “Russia is fated to become a new Ark, which will remain the only place not harmed by the destructive forces of chaos and in which all the remaining healthy forces of humanity will find a home.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: New Russian Law Opens the Way for Broader Use of Punitive Psychiatry Against Dissent
Paul Goble Staunton, July 9 – The World Cup circus may not have distracted Russians from the Kremlin’s plans to force them to work longer before receiving a pension – indeed, the transparency of what Moscow was doing may have had the opposite effect – but it has distracted the attention of many in the West to new repressive measures the Putin regime is taking. Among the worst is a new law, approved by the Duma on third reading last week, that allows prosecutors to commit to psychiatric hospitals on an involuntarily and forced basis those who are found guilty not just of criminal laws but of administrative rules, significantly expanding the number of Russians at risk of such treatment ( Psychiatrist Andrey Bilzho says the new law is extremely dangerous and opens the way to the restoration of the Soviet practice of using forced psychiatric hospitalization against dissidents who were completely healthy in psychological terms but had offended the powers that be by their opposition to the Kremlin. The political abuse of psychiatry in this way, he says, is relatively well known. What is not is an equally horrific spread of its use for still other purposes much in the same way that denunciations were used in Stalin’s time: to get someone out of an apartment one wanted to occupy and so on. Such things were common outside of Moscow, Bilzho says. Now, they could easily return, although with the political abuses. The new law does differ from its Soviet predecessor in one detail, the psychiatrist says. In Soviet times, the procuracy wasn’t involved. Officials simply called emergency services and asked that so and so be taken to a psychiatric hospital for treatment, a place where they ensured in advance that he or she would be “treated” appropriately – that is, inappropriately. In the new law, everything appears “normal,” except for “one ‘small’ condition.” The procurator involved must be free, independent and honest, and the psychiatrists must have a similar freedom to find that someone doesn’t need treatment. In a “normal” country, that would be the way it would work. But as Bilzho points out, Russia isn’t a normal country; and that isn’t how things will work out. Consequently, there is every reason to fear that this new law will be abused. Russians and others must denounce it and be on alert for new attacks by the regime against the rights of the population.
Evidence suggests Russians are growing fed up with Edward Snowden | Daily Mail Online
This month saw the fifth anniversary of Snowden’s escape from his Hawaii home to Moscow via Hong Kong, having committed the largest leak of top-secret intelligence data in history.
Russia’s federal censor warns telecoms that using Telegram could pose ‘reputational risks’ — Meduza
Russia’s federal censor, Roskomnadzor, has reportedly distributed a letter to telecommunications companies, warning that using the instant messenger Telegram to provide “information and help services” could pose “reputational and other risks.”
Hidden In Plain Sight: LGBT Activists Troll Russia’s World Cup
A group of activists have found a stealthy way to display the rainbow flag during Russia’s moment in the spotlight.
U.S. State Department, OSCE Condemn Russian Ruling Against RFE/RL Over ‘Foreign-Agents’ Law
The U.S. State Department and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have denounced a Russian court ruling that found Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty had violated a controversial “foreign-agents” law.
RT and France Have a Hate-Hate Relationship – To Inform is to Influence
RT is not getting a good reception in France.   First, France called out RT for false reporting. In response, Russia warned France 24.  Russia Warns French TV After France Calls Out Falsified RT Report.  Now RT is trying to establish its presence in France and is not getting a good reception. In France, RT is getting no…
U.S. issues statement on Russian actions towards mass media in Crimea and Donbas – 07.07.2018 15:00 — Ukrinform News
The U.S. is concerned about the worsening conditions for the work of mass media outlets in the territories of Crimea and Donbas that are occupied by Russia, as well as in the Russian Federation itself.
Report: Greece To Expel, Ban Russian Diplomats
Greece will expel two Russian diplomats and ban entry to another two over suspicions they attempted to undermine a deal between Athens and Macedonia last month, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reports.
Russia Raises Tariffs On U.S. Products In Reaction To Washington’s Actions
Russia says it is imposing additional import tariffs on some U.S. products in response to U.S. moves to slap duties on foreign steel and aluminum.
Two Veteran Rights Defenders Detained In Moscow Over Rally Supporting Titiyev
Two leading Russian activists were detained in central Moscow while demonstrating to demand the release of the head of the human rights group Memorial’s office in the North Caucasus region of Chech…
Inside Stalin’s secret WW2 bunker |
A telephone sits on a desk inside Stalin’s Bunker, a bunker complex built in 1942 as an alternative headquarters for the Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin, in Samara, Russia. REUTERS/David Gray
‘Wolves Of The Russian Spring’: Examination Of Night Wolves As Proxy For Russian Government – Analysis – To Inform is to Influence
 July 7, 2018 Canadian Military Journal  0 Comments By Canadian Military Journal By Matthew A. Lauder* Contrary to most portrayals by the mainstream media of the Night Wolves Motorcycle Club (MC) as Russia’s equivalent to the Hell’s Angels,1 the organization is not an outlaw motorcycle gang – which implies a rejection of mainstream culture, strict loyalty to the…
Russian Team’s World Cup Dream Ends, But Country Hails ‘Heroes’
Russia’s hopes of a home-country World Cup championship have ended with a loss to Croatia and plenty of tears, but the country’s leaders, citizens, and even a prominent opposition activist expressed gratitude to the overachieving soccer squad.
U.S. State Department calls out Russia on “eroding press freedoms” – CBS News
The State Department statement comes one day after a Russian court fined Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty for violating its &quot;foreign agent&quot; law
Russian aviation plant catches fire at Irkut – Defence Blog
A Russian aviation plant, that builds the Su-30 and Yak-130 military aircraft, caught fire late on Monday in the southeastern part of the country. On 9 July, Russian emergency services were dispatched to an aviation plant, where a fire was burning openly at one of the facilities owned by Irkut Corporation Joint-Stock Company. The fire, as noted, began at about 15:20 (10:20 Moscow time) in one of the shops of the enterprise. This is an anodic paint shop, where the tanks with acids (sulfuric and nitric) are located. 50 employees at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant (IAP) were evacuated. There was a burning roof on an area of 800 square meters. m, then the area of the fire increased to 1000 square meters. m. The press service of the Irkut corporation specified that “according to preliminary information, the fire occurred in the casing under the bathroom, in which the processing of titanium spare parts.” The plant has manufactured nearly 7000 aircraft of more than 20 types since 1934, which were delivered to 40 countries. Its current production list comprises Su-30МК and Su-30SM multirole fighters besides Yak-130 new-generation combat trainer aircraft and Yak-152 primary trainer. In addition, the plant has launched a new assembly line for civil aircraft manufacture where production of the MC-21 family of airliners is organized. Witnesses shot video of the fire on their cell phones after workers left the plant.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Since Tsarist Times, Some Non-Russians have Not Been Subject to the Draft
Paul Goble Staunton, July 9 – After the demise of the Soviet Union, Moscow for many years did not draft men from the North Caucasus for service in the Russian Army because of fears that they would cause problems within the military or acquire skills that they might subsequently use in fighting the Russian state. But more recently, both because of demography – the share of 18-year-old males among Muslim nationalities is much higher than that among Russians – and because non-Russians wanted their “military ticket” so they could serve in the military, Moscow backed down, although it is still drafting a far smaller share of the Muslims than of the Russians. (For background on this back and forth, and While many have treated this situation in the North Caucasus as sui generis, in fact, the Russian state, tsarist, Soviet, and post-Soviet, has a tradition extending back to 1874 when the tsarist government imposed supposedly “universal” military service. It wasn’t then, and it hasn’t been since, although the nations excluded from it have varied over time. The Russian 7 portal provides an extremely useful discussion of this history, pointing out that in tsarist times, Finns and people from the most distant regions of the empire – including much of Siberia and the Far East, Siberia, Central Asia, and even portions of Arkhangelsk gubernia — were not called to serve ( Among the indigenous peoples of the Caucasus who were not subject to the tsarist draft were the Kurds, the Abkhazians, the Nogais, the Azerbaijanis “and many others.” Muslims in the Terek and Kuban regions were also excused, although they were required to pay a special tax. Significantly, both Irkutsk and Yenisey Cossacks were excused from the draft as well. The Soviets continued this tradition, even after Moscow adopted the law on military service that nominally made it a universal requirement. At the start of World War II, Moscow drafted people from the Caucasus and Central Asia, but problems with language and education limited their utility and the draft in those regions was suspended. On July 30, 1942, the State Defense Committee in fact banned drafting representatives of North Caucasus mountaineers and extended that ban at least as far as service at the front was concerned to Uzbeks, Turkmens, Tajiks, Kazakhs Kyrgyz, Georgians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Daghestanis, Chechens, Ingush, Kabardins, Balkars, and Ossetins. Moscow also ended the drafting during the war of Germans, Poles, Svans, and Khezsurs, although in these cases and all others, the government did allow for volunteers. Between 1948 and 1953, Moscow suspended the drafting of various categories of people, mostly ethnic Russians, to allow for the recovery of the economy. But after the death of Stalin, it restored a universal draft, something that led to a significant increase in the number of non-Russians in the military and ethnic clashes between them and the ethnic Russian majority. But even during this period, Russia 7 says, some were not drafted, most prominently the representatives of the numerically small peoples of the Russian North and the Amur River basin, a total of 39 nationalities. With the collapse of Soviet power, the Russian military extended that arrangement for the numerically small peoples to those in the Caucasus and elsewhere as well. “In fact,” the portal says, “representatives of other peoples living in Siberia and the Far East were not called to serve” because the young men live too far from cities to allow for the organization of a draft. Given the centrality of military service to citizenship especially in Russia, the exclusion of these groups makes them truly second class citizens more than beneficiaries of a concession by the center because it signals just as it did earlier the state’s view that they are less than fully reliable (
Russian Tycoon Deripaska Wins Million-Ruble Claim Against ‘Nastya Rybka,’ ‘Sex-Guru’ Partner
Kremlin-connected Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska has won a million-ruble moral-damage claim against a Belarusian escort and model known as Nastya Rybka and her partner, self-styled “sex guru” Aleksa…
The Russian bots are back — and now they’re fueling the #WalkAway propaganda attack on Democrats – To Inform is to Influence
A little more than a year ago, I posted and pinned the following predictive tweet: “Get ready. A year from right now we’ll be up to our asses in Russian fake news, malware, hacks, mayhem aimed at the midterms. Pinning this.” Granted, it wasn’t a difficult forecast knowing what we knew at the time. Today, in…
‘Medieval’ — Activists Slam Russian Zoo
Animal rights activists say a traveling zoo is “like something out of medieval times” and are demanding Russia tighten laws on animal cruelty.
Brezhnev’s Grandson Dies Of Heart Attack In Crimea
A grandson of late Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev has died in Russian-controlled Crimea.
Crimean Tatar Close To Dzhemilev Says He Was Tortured By Russian FSB
A driver for the wife of veteran Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev says he was tortured by officers of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) in Crimea.
Ukraine Officials: Rebels Were Trying To Down A Russian Passenger Plane, To Create Pretext For Invading Ukraine
The Ukrainian government has turned over evidence that Russian-trained missile operators in east Ukraine intended to shoot down an Aeroflot A320 bound for Cyprus on July 17, but blame Ukraine for the tragedy. The rebels downed instead the Malaysian Boeing 777, by accident. “This cynical terrorist attack was planned for the day when the [Malaysia Airlines] plane happened to fly by, planned by war criminals as a pretext for the further military invasion by the Russian Federation; that is, there would be a casus belli,” said Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, the head of Ukraine’s Security Service, to Ukraine Interfax News.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

UAWire – Russia transfers modernized MiG-29 fighters to airbase in Armenia
Two MiG-29 fourth generation fighters were transferred to the Russian airbase in Erebuni, Armenia, Interfax reports. The Russian Southern …
Rights Activist’s Drug-Possession Trial To Begin In Chechnya
Amid severe concern from fellow activists, the head of the human rights group Memorial’s office in Chechnya is due to be tried on a drug-possession charge he contends was fabricated as a reprisal f…

Belarus Reports

Belarus citizens shifting away from under Moscow influence | UNIAN
In Belarus, a civic petition was put forward suggesting that the government ban the “St. George” ribbons, initially used in Russia to honor the WW2 heroes but then becoming one of the notorious symbols of the “Russian world” the Kremlin has been imposing on neighboring states, yet another instrument in its “soft power” toolkit. In Belarus, a civic petition was put forward suggesting that the government ban the “St. George” ribbons, initially used in Russia to honor the WW2 heroes but then becoming one of the notorious symbols of the “Russian world” the Kremlin has been imposing on neighboring states, yet another instrument in its “soft power” toolkit. A corresponding petition appeared the other day on the online platform. The author believes that the St. George’s ribbon became “a symbol of lawlessness, chaos, instability and hundreds of victims of separatism,” and that its use “threatens the territorial integrity of Belarus.” To prevent the threat, it is proposed to introduce administrative liability for the promotion of such ribbons on the country’s territory. The author suggests, including, forbidding production, public display, and distribution of such ribbons in Belarus. The petition has already collected more than a thousand signatures in its support, and in a few days it will be submitted for consideration to the Council of Ministers and the House of Representatives of the National Assembly. On the one hand, “what is a thousand voices?” you might ask, adding that we, Ukrainians, within 24 hours managed to crash the FIFA and Gazprom’s Facebook rating… On the other hand, it’s not about us. It’s about those living in a country which has no physical border control with Russia as such. Here, the very fact of such petition emerging is truly important.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Belarus and Russia Agree to Demarcate Their Common Border by 2026
Paul Goble Staunton, July 9 – Minsk has both delimited and demarcated its borders with Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine, albeit after many delays and long talks; but it has not done so with Russia up to now, largely because as the two are members of a union state, neither Minsk nor Moscow felt any immediate need to do so. (The Belarus-Polish border was demarcated in Soviet times.) But now, in the wake of events in Ukraine, Ilya Zakharkin says, Belarus is more interested in doing so; and Moscow has agreed to begin the task first of drawing a precise line on maps (delimitation) and then putting up signs to indicate where it is (demarcation) by 2026 (–2018-07-09–belorusskaja-granica-bez-demarkacii-ne-obojtis-37405). “At first glance,” the Belarusian analyst says, “the demarcation of the border between our two countries which are part of a Union state isn’t necessary since it is only a formal sign designating the territorial limits of the states.” But in fact, there are many symbolic and practical reasons for doing so. In May 1995, Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Russia’s prime minister at the time, Viktor Chernomyrdin, put up a symbolic border post, but the border services of the two countries did not move up to that border but rather remained where they had been, in Pskov and Smolensk for Russia and Brest for Belarus. According to official information, the analyst continues, “the Belarusian border guards from that time forward never carried out any defense of the segment of the state border between our two countries.” Instead, they shared it with Russia which assumed responsibility for Belarus at Russia’s external border and vice versa. Up to 2014, the Russian-Belarusian border was relatively stable, although there were occasional bureaucratic problems. Tariff barriers were formally annulled in 2011. But from the time of the Maidan in Ukrane, the situation changed in a radical way. Border fences went up, the Northern Fleet expanded patrols, and free passage across the border effectively ended. In February 2017, Moscow announced that it was establishing a border zone along the Belarusian border, and fights from Minsk to Russian destinations were shifted from domestic to international terminals with their passengers required to go through customs (
Belarusian Journalist Is Tried On Charge Of Assaulting Police Officer
A Belarusian journalist known for his reports on the war in eastern Ukraine, where he was held by Russia-backed separatists in 2014, is on trial on a charge of assaulting a police officer.
Belarus shows off ‘Praying Mantis,‘ a tank hunting robot
Belarus build a small robot tank built to fight other tanks, while hidden humans remotely control it from nearby.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

UAWire – Moldova: ‘strange’ movement of Russian weapons and equipment observed in Transnistria
In Transnistria, dozens of cargo trucks with no license plates have been moving weapons and ammunition to unknown locations from a warehouse in …

Ukraine Reports

Expert speaks of Putin’s new major front of his war against Ukraine | UNIAN
Military expert Valentyn Badrak, who is a Director of the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies, believes that for Russian President Vladimir Putin, the main “front” of his war against Ukraine will become the territory of elections scheduled for 2019. The Russian leader is fully prepared for war, the director of the Center for Army Studies, Conversion and Disarmament said.
UAWire – US conducts military exercises in the Black Sea ahead of Trump and Putin meeting
One week before the meeting of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in Helsinki, the US Navy has begun large-scale exercises in the Black Sea. The …
Volker: Ukrainians also shooting in Donbas, but it’s their country | UNIAN
U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Ambassador Kurt Volker has told Germany’s Bild that the Ukrainian military have the right to open fire on their territory, protecting it from foreign military forces. The overwhelming majority of ceasefire violations, including most serious ones, take place in the Russian-occupied territory, Volker said.
Poroshenko to take part in 20th Ukraine-EU summit July 9 | UNIAN
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday will visit the EU institutions to participate in the 20th Ukraine-European Union Summit. A joint press conference will be held with the President of the European Council and President of the European Commission, and a joint statement will be released.
UAWire – Head of European Council: Crimean Bridge one of the reasons for extending sanctions against Russia
The Crimean Bridge has become one of the reasons for extending the economic sanctions of the European Union against Russia, stated the Head of …
UAWire – Merkel: Russian annexation of Crimea and war in Donbas justify increase in German defense expenditures
Russia’s annexation of the Crimea and its support of separatists in the East of Ukraine have become prime reasons for Germany to increase its …
UAWire – Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs presents Donbas ‘de-occupation’ strategy to G7 ambassadors
Arsen Avakov, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine presented to the ambassadors and diplomats of the Group of Seven countries the Donbas “de-occupation” strategy named “Small Steps Mechanism” that was developed by the Interior Ministry, the Ministry’s press service reports. According to Avakov, this strategy is “an instrument of interaction” of all services: the State Border Guard Service, the State Emergency Service, the National Guard and the National Police of Ukraine. “The plan envisages the involvement of only 2,000 peacekeepers that will monitor the border and take part in some police missions,” Avakov explained. He noted that the strategy involves not only the return of the territories to Ukraine’s control but also “carrying out active counter-propaganda and the fight for the favor of the people.” “We propose a mechanism of ‘small steps’ where Ukraine first demonstrates the quality of life and respect for civilians in the already liberated territories. This is a counter-propaganda mechanism that should also work and this is the fight for the minds of people who are being bamboozled and filled with fantasies by Russian propaganda. This plan can be implemented only with the support of international partners and the willingness of Ukraine itself. Russia, the aggressor should accept these rules,” the Minister stressed. Avakov said that after control of the entire territory of the Donbas is regained, the time would come to introduce the amendments to the laws of Ukraine that refer to “collaborationism” and “amnesty.” However, he promised that no amnesty would be applied to “those who killed the Ukrainian military and civilians.” The Minister also proposed to hold a public discussion about those who are eligible for amnesty.
Taking back Donbas: Will Colombia experience fit Ukraine? | UNIAN
The undeclared war has been ongoing in Ukraine for four years already. And although there are no clear signs that it is nearing completion, the state is obliged to look for mechanisms to this end. It is also important to understand how we will build a post-conflict dialogue, support victims of the conflict, hold accountable those who took up weapons against Ukraine, and much more. The process of reintegration of the occupied territories and the people living there will not be an easy task. Therefore, now it is necessary to develop tools to this end and take into account possible risks. Armed conflict in Colombia between the government and militants of the paramilitary organization FARC lasted more than fifty years and ended only in 2016 with the signing of a peace treaty. UNIAN tried to figure out from the former head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Colombia how this experience could be useful to Ukraine.

Sea Breeze-2018 drills start in Odesa
The Sea Breeze 2018 international drills with the participation of U.S. Navy will start today, July 9, in Odesa and Mykolaiv regions, as well as in the northwestern part of the Black Sea. Ukraine will be represented by about three dozen ships, boats (not only of the Navy, but also coast guards), aviation, and a 1,500-strong force.
The Kremlin describes Ukraine-U.S. drills Sea Breeze 2018 as an attempt to provoke tensions –
The Kremlin describes Ukraine-U.S. drills Sea Breeze 2018 as an attempt to provoke tensions. The Kremlin describes Ukraine-U.S. drills Sea Breeze 2018 as an attempt to provoke tensions. This is mentioned in the message on the website of Russia’s foreign ministry. ‘We consider holding the drills as an attempt to once again provoke the tensions – not only in southeastern Ukraine but also the Black Sea region in general. The responsibility for any possible negative consequences lies with the countries, which drag Ukraine into the dangerous games with fire, constantly blaming Russia for threatening the regional stability’, the message says. The Russian authority added that under these conditions, any attempts to project power are not likely to help stabilize the situation in this area. ‘Those of Ukraine’s partners who support the ‘party of war’, which dreams of all sorts of blitzkriegs, should understand this’, Russia’s Foreign Ministry insisted.
Russia to stage huge missile exercises in response to U.S. and Ukraine maneuvers in Black Sea – Defence Blog
The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation conducting huge military drills with missile launches at the Black Sea region, Russia’s Ministry of Defence announced in an 11 July statement. In accordance with the plan of combat training, calculations of anti-ship missile systems of the black sea fleet conduct training on strikes on the sea target using mobile coastal missile systems, said in the statement. Divisions of newest Russian Bastion and Bal coastal missile systems, mobile coastal reconnaissance systems of sea and air conditions, crews of Su-30SM multirole fighter aircraft of naval aviation and air defence of the Black Sea Fleet are involved in the realization of combat training activities. Russia conducts massive war games over the Crimean peninsula just days after U.S. and Ukraine have kicked off the Sea Breeze 2018 multinational maritime exercise held in the Black Sea.
Russia continues “creeping” annexation of Ukraine’s exclusive maritime economic zone – Navy chief | UNIAN
Vice-Admiral Ihor Voronchenko, Commander of the Naval Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, says the Russian Federation continues the creeping annexation of the exclusive maritime economic zone of Ukraine. A very tense situation has developed in the Azov and Black Seas, Voronchenko said.
UAWire – Kyiv: 100 Ukrainian ships detained by Russia in Sea of Azov since April
Since the end of April, Russian border guards have detained almost 100 Ukrainian ships in the Sea of Azov, Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure …
Russia sets new “record” by detaining 7 vessels in Sea of Azov off UA coast in just 24 hours (Map) | UNIAN
Coast guards of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) over the past day detained in the Sea of Azov seven merchant ships heading to or from the Ukrainian sea ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk. The vessels were intercepted off Ukraine coast near Berdyansk and Mariupol.
Ukraine’s Navy reports of tense situation in Black Sea, Sea of Azov – Ukraine’s Navy reports of tense situation in Black Sea, Sea of Azov –
Ukrainian-American military drills Sea Breeze 2018 started on July 9
FSB stops seven Ukrainain vessels in Sea of Azov – FSB intercepts seven vessels on route Mariupol-Berdiansk in Sea of Azov –
Six vessels were intercepted on July 8 and one –on July 9
UAWire – Ukrainian Parliament calls for withdrawal from Azov Sea treaty with Russia
Ukrainian deputies introduced a bill to the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliamnent) that would cancel the treaty between Russia and Ukraine on the joint use of the Azov Sea and the Kerch Strait. The corresponding message is posted on the website of the Verkhovna Rada. The draft resolution is addressed to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak. The bill was registered on July 10 by members of the Samopomich (Self Reliance) party. However, the document has not yet been posted on the Ukrainian parliament’s website. Semen Semenchenko, one of the draft authors said during the Verkhovna Rada meeting, “The draft law resolution requires from the Ukrainian president to immediately introduce to the Verkhovna Rada a bill denouncing the treaty between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on cooperation and use of the Azov Sea and the Kerch Strait.” Interfax-Ukraine points out that the bill implies recognition of a Russian Kerch Strait bridge as “a flagrant violation of international maritime law and violation of the exclusive economic zone of Ukraine.” The deputies have also suggested terminating a cooperation agreement due to “the systematic violations of the freedom of navigation, as well as the detention and obstruction of ship calls to the Ukrainian Azov Sea ports by the Federal Security Service of Russia.” In the document, actions of the Russian Federal Security Service were also described as aggressive.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kyiv Must Denounce 2003 Accord with Moscow on Sea of Azov and Rely on 1982 Law of the Sea, Meshcheryak Says
Paul Goble Staunton, July 11 – Many are urging Kyiv to turn to international arbitration courts to force Russia to live up to the terms of the November 2003 accord with Moscow on use of the Sea of Azov, Sergey Meshcheryak says; but they are wrong because that agreement is so poorly drawn that Moscow can and will exploit its ambiguities to avoid living up to its responsibilities. Instead, the senior Ukrainian diplomat who has specialized in international agreements argues, Kyiv must denounce the 2003 accord and rely instead on the provisions of the 1982 Law of the Sea treaty which both Kyiv and Moscow have ratified and which offer Ukraine real advantages ( The 2003 agreement, Meshcheryak argues, is “distinguished by legal indefiniteness in the regulation of the regime of water space and the continental shelf and correspondingly with a lack of clear legal norms which would allow holding the Russian Federation to account for its illegal actions” on the sea. Consequently, he says, “the legal path for the resolution of the situation consists in the denunciation of this 2003 treaty and the application of the terms of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea to the Sea of Azov.” That measure is precisely drawn, recognized by Russia, Ukraine and most countries around the world – the US is an exception – and benefits Ukraine. Those opposed to such a step argue that denouncing the Azov convention would have a direct and negative impact on the January 2003 accord between Ukraine and Russia on their state borders; but that is not the case as a close reading of Article 5 of that accord shows, Meshcheryak says. And therefore, he says, Kyiv has little choice but to denounce the Azov agreement and invoke the Law of the Sea provisions if it is to have a firm legal basis internationally for mobilizing international support against Russia’s actions in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Straits, actions that clearly violate the Law of the Sea.
Ukraine starts searching for oil and gas on Black Sea shelf anew –
Today, on Friday, July 6, an expedition began to search for oil and gas in the North-Western shelf of the Black Sea. Seismic and geochemical works will be conducted during 15 days, as the Head of Oleh Kyryliuk reported on Facebook. “Today, on July 6, 2018, the only in Ukraine research vessel Iskatel will set off from Odesa. It will search for oil and gas on the North-Western Black Sea shelf,” he wrote.
Satellite imagery confirms environmental disaster in Crimea (Photo) | UNIAN
The Ukrainian Ministry for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons says a significant reduction in vegetation was recorded in the Russia-occupied Crimea via satellite imagery. Russian invaders are not interested in Crimea development, the ministry said.
Court In Russian-Held Crimea Sentences Ukrainian Man To Eight years In Prison
A court in Russian-controlled Crimea has sentenced Ukrainian national Yevhen Panov to eight years in prison on sabotage charges that Kyiv contends are groundless.

Militants violated ceasefire in eastern Ukraine 24 times in last day – 13.07.2018 09:55 — Ukrinform News
Militants launched 24 attacks on Ukrainian positions in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in eastern Ukraine over the past day.
JFO chief: Many chances Donbas war “may end quickly” | UNIAN
Commander of Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation (JFO) Serhiy Nayev says today there are many chances hostilities in eastern Ukraine may cease soon cease. Nayev says it is more convenient for Putin to blackmail Ukraine along the Transnistrian scenario.
Donbas update: Militants violate truce along almost entire contact line | UNIAN
Over the past day, July 7, Russian-occupation troops violated the truce along almost the entire line of contact in Donbas, according to the morning report by the Joint Forces’ press center.   Ukraine reported no losses over the past 24 hours.
Russia employing “psychological warfare” tools targeting phones of Ukraine troops | UNIAN
While the intensity of enemy attacks on Ukraine’s Joint Forces in Donbas has somewhat subsided in the Luhansk direction amid the latest “harvest ceasefire,” Russian propaganda masterminds never ceased their efforts to undermine the morale of Ukraine troops, according to the Ukrainian Military Television. “We’re just laughing at this all,” a Ukrainian soldier says.
UAWire – Ukraine accuses Russia of disseminating fake news about defective Javelins
A fake letter from the Design Bureau Luch addressed to National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov appeared on …
UAWire – Separatist Commander Bezler returns to Donbas
The former commander of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Igor Bezler, known as “Bes,” returned to the uncontrolled part of Donbas, as shown …
The participant of the DNR terrorist organization was hiding from justice in one of the military units of the United forces – Military counterintelligence exposed Armed Forces soldier, who earlier fought for DNR –
The participant of the DNR terrorist organization was hiding from justice in one of the military units of the United forces
Ukraine’s Draft Law 6688: Internet Suppression, Censorship, or Security? – To Inform is to Influence
Is Ukraine going the way of Russia, suppressing free speech, enforcing censorship, or is it attempting to ensure national security with Draft Law 6688?   It is not necessarily how the law is written in its current form. It is more what is left unwritten and how that can be interpreted. There does not appear to…
Joint Forces Commander says Ukraine Army changed tremendously over past four years | UNIAN
Commander of Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation (JFO) Serhiy Nayev says the Ukrainian army has undergone tremendous changes over the past four years, after the obsolete Soviet-era military standards were removed. Commanders today do not hide from their soldiers’ problems.Commander of Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation (JFO) Serhiy Nayev says the Ukrainian army has undergone tremendous changes over the past four years, after the obsolete Soviet-era military standards were removed. “Both soldiers and commanders have changed. I’ve changed, too. Before the war, there was a ‘sovok’ [a term derived from the word “Soviet,” describing a typical mindset and predisposition of citizens toward their government/military jobs] in the army. Our Armed Forces that we had in 2013-2014 had been built according to the old ‘sovok’ methodology. The Amy functioned under the Soviet Union statutes, although formally it was considered Ukrainian. Over these four years, the ‘sovok’ was largely ‘squeezed’ out of the army,” Nayev told the Ukrainian online newspaper Vysoky Zamok. According to the Commander, he is now more confident in his soldiers. “In 2014-2015, there were personnel issues. Although many mobilized soldiers were very motivated and patriotic, there were also those who were afraid of war. Therefore, our forces were non-uniform. Units had real leaders and those who were lagging behind…,” he said.

Antonov state enterprise took a nosedive – Ukraine’s aircraft construction industry takes a nosedive –
Russian plant in Ulyanovsk could resume production of Ruslan, this plant was built in Soviet times specifically for the release of Ruslan. Author : Olena Holubeva | After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rupture of the economic chains, Antonov’s business began to deteriorate rapidly. Ukraine has inherited “Antonov,” a real giant of the aircraft construction, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Ukrainian aircraft construction was represented by two aircraft construction sites in Kyiv and Kharkiv, a flying base in Gostomel and a design bureau, where cargo log giants Ruslan and Mriya were created during the Soviet era. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rupture of economic chains, enterprise’s business began to deteriorate rapidly: orders were still being received, but most of them were dictated by political rather than commercial expediency. The key factor was the colossal dependence of the enterprise on Russia – more than half of the components for the aircraft assembled by the company came from the neighboring country. Even chassis for the AN were manufactured by a Russian company in Nizhny Novgorod. No systemic steps have been taken to somehow change this situation.In early June, Ukroboronprom appointed Olexandr Donets as the president of “Antonov”. He replaced acting president Olexandr Kryvokon. Donets became the fourth head of the company for the last three years: since June 2015, it was headed by Mykhailo Gvozdev, and since June 2016 – by Olexandr Kotsyuba. The predecessor of Donets, Olexandr Kryvokon, has left the enterprise with a loud scandal. “The reason was the numerous official appeals of the scientific and technical council of the enterprise, trade unions, in which the collective expressed distrust to the ex-president. This was not even an appeal, but a real cry of the staff’s soul. We understood that it could end in a collapse for the enterprise,” Donets tells. According to the new president, his predecessor “could not get along with the “Antonov” team.” Kryvokon was dismissed “by the agreement of the parties”.

Helicopter police to be created in Ukraine –
Law enforcers will receive the first unit of French Airbus helicopters before the year-end
Ukraine may soon face influx of illegal migrants – Сhief border guard | UNIAN
Head of the Ukrainian Border Guard Service Petro Tsyhykal has said Ukraine may face the problem of a sharp influx of illegal migrants against EU toughening its migration policies. Tsyhykal named several priority areas to prevent a possible migration crisis.
Polish President Duda arrives in Lutsk – news about politics
On July 8, President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, arrived in Lutsk, Volyn’s regional center in Ukraine, according to an UNIAN correspondent. Today, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko is also expected to visit Volyn.
Strategic partnership between Ukraine, Poland to be best response to Kremlin’s aggressive policy – Poroshenko | UNIAN
A strong strategic partnership between Ukraine and Poland will become a powerful response to the Kremlin’s aggressive policy, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said Sunday, speaking in Volyn at the event honoring the memory of Ukrainians, victims of the Polish-Ukrainian conflict of 1943-1944, the presidential press service reported. Poroshenko believes that the Ukrainian-Polish dialogue on the painful pages of the past should be as balanced as possible.
Emergency situation on South Ukraine Atomic Power Station, – SBU, – SBU warns about emergency situation on South Ukraine Atomic Power Station –
The representatives of SBU noted that the people in charge of the enterprise “created the conditions for a creation of an emergency situation of technological hazards”
UAWire – Editor-in-chief of RIA Novosti-Ukraine accused of illegal possession of weapons
The editor-in-chief of the Ukrainian of RIA Novosti- Ukraine,Kirill Vyshinsky,  who was previously indicted in Ukraine on charges of treason,  …
UAWire – President Poroshenko calls for ‘mutual forgiveness’ between Ukrainians and Poles
“We have to abandon political assessments of the historical past,” said President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on the 75th anniversary of the …
Ukrainian Soviet-Era Dissident Lukyanenko Dies At 89
Levko Lukyanenko, a Ukrainian dissident who spent 26 years in Soviet prisons, has died in Kyiv at age 89, the country’s president says.
SBU foils Russian intel’s technogenic disaster plot in Ukraine | UNIAN
The SBU Security Service of Ukraine has blocked Russian special services’ attempt to penetrate a computer network of a chlorine distribution plant located in the settlement of Auly, Dnipropetrovsk region. The targeted company supplies to sewage stations across Ukraine liquid chlorine for water purification. The SBU Security Service of Ukraine has blocked Russian special services’ attempt to penetrate a computer network of a chlorine distribution plant located in the settlement of Auly, Dnipropetrovsk region. The facility is part of the country’s critical infrastructure, the SBU reported July 11. “Specialists of the cybersecurity service established that within a few minutes the enterprise’s process control system and that for detecting emergencies were deliberately struck from the Russian territory by a VPNFilter computer virus,” the SBU wrote on Facebook.
Member of C14 nationalist group indicted over alleged involvement in attack on Roma camp in Kyiv | UNIAN
A coordinator of the C14 Ukrainian nationalist group has been indicted over alleged involvement in an attack on a Roma camp in Kyiv’s Holosiyivsky park. The police raided his flat in the town of Boryspil earlier that day.
UAWire – Ukrainian President calls for closing the border with Russia
The Kremlin must agree to deploy a UN peacekeeping mission to the separatist-held areas of Donetsk and the Luhansk region including the Ukraine- …
Poroshenko said Ukraine would not support projects with Russian participation –
According to the President, such projects are undermining Ukraine’s security
Ukraine ratifies deal with the Netherlands on joint probe of MH17 crash | UNIAN
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Ukraine’s parliament, has passed the bill, submitted by the president, on the ratification of the agreement with the Kingdom of the Netherlands on international legal cooperation in relation to crimes connected with the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 on July 17, 2014 (No. 0194). The agreement should resolve the issue of prosecution and conviction in the Netherlands of persons involved in the shooting down of an aircraft.
Ukrainian Lawmakers Approve Anticorruption-Court Amendment in Bid For IMF Aid
Ukrainian lawmakers have approved an amendment to a law establishing an anticorruption court in an effort to secure more funding under a $17.5 billion aid-for-reforms program with the International…
Ukrainian who went to Russia to get medicine for his child jailed on “spying” charges – KHPG | UNIAN
Ihor Kiyashko has been in Russian custody since April 9, 2018, with the FSB likely to have been using torture or other illegal methods to extract “confessions” to “spying.” The man reportedly plead guilty to a lighter charge (smuggling), while categorically rejecting the accusation of “spying” which only emerged later.Ihor Kiyashko has been in Russian custody since April 9, 2018, with the FSB likely to have been using torture or other illegal methods to extract “confessions” to “spying.” It is difficult otherwise to explain why the far more serious espionage charge surfaced only two months after his arrest, and why Kiyashko has been prevented from having an independent lawyer, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group wrote. 42-year-old Kiyashko is a former police major, who qualified as a defense lawyer in 2012. According to his wife, it was because of their son’s recurring staphylococcal infections, that Ihor traveled to Nizhny Novgorod in Russia on April 9. She explains that the bacteriophage that he went there to collect destroys the staphylococcus. You can only buy stocks brought into the country through unofficial channels and these are never as effective, she explains, and says that this was not the first time Kiyashko had gone to Nizhny Novgorod where there is a factory producing the bacteriophage.
Most Ukrainians say Ukrainian must remain only state language – Rating survey
More than half of Ukrainians (61%) believe that the Ukrainian language should be the only state language, while the Russian language should be freely used in all spheres of life, according to a poll conducted by the sociological group Rating. According to the results of the poll released Thursday in Kyiv, 17% of respondents believe that the Russian language should be granted official status in certain regions and at the same time Ukrainian should retain state status. . Some 19% spoke for the possibility of the state status of both Ukrainian and Russian languages. According to the survey, the largest number of supporters of the provision of the Russian language with a certain status is in southern and eastern areas of Ukraine. At the same time, even in these regions, the number of those who favor the preservation of the status quo of the state language policy is 40-45%.
UAWire – Groysman forbids Ukrainian ministers from talking to Russia without consent of Foreign Ministry
Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman has forbidden members of the Cabinet of Ministers from conducting any negotiations with Russia without the consent of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. During a government meeting on Wednesday, he asked the Minister of Energy Ihor Nasalyk about a letter to Rosatom, which appeared in the media the day before. The minister replied that the information that was in Ukrayinska Pravda was “fake.” “The Ministry is not resuming cooperation [to build a nuclear plant] but completing cooperation. All information is available on the website of the Ministry of Energy and Coal,” Nasalyk said. Groysman then said that government members should respond more quickly when fake stories appear in the media. “Secondly, none of you is authorized to conduct talks with the country that is an aggressor and our enemy. We did not attack them, they attacked us. They will regret this for a very long time. All of these things must be coordinated through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and done within the framework of directives and mandates that are provided by the government,” he said.
First GE diesel locomotives to arrive in Ukraine in autumn – Groysman – 13.07.2018 11:55 — Ukrinform News
GE Transportation, a division of U.S. company General Electric, will provide Ukraine with first diesel locomotives this autumn.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

Three Reasons Why Trump May End the ‘Forever War’ – Bloomberg
The president has so far lived with his predecessors’ stalemate in Afghanistan, but the adults have left the room.
Pompeo in Afghanistan: The Taliban ‘cannot wait us out’
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Kabul Monday for his first visit to Afghanistan since becoming Secretary of State, declaring shortly after landing that President Donald Trump’s strategy for winning America’s 17-year-long war is working.


Kim Jong Un sends Trump a ‘very nice’ letter, teases possible 2nd meeting | Fox News
President Trump on Thursday said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent him a “very nice note” on future relations between the United States and North Korea, days after the Hermit Kingdom slammed “regrettable” talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s delegation.
Trump’s administration should avoid pursuing an unreachable end with North Korea | TheHill
The administration must not make complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization a precondition to more meaningful and specific negotiations.
Trump administration says North Korea violates sanctions, urges halt to oil transfers – CBS News
The U.S. report came on the same day that President Trump tweeted a &quot;very nice note&quot; from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
Nikki Haley’s team: China and Russia ‘must immediately stop’ delivering oil to North Korea
China and Russia “must immediately stop” delivering oil to North Korea, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley demanded this week in a report that her team filed with the United Nations Security Council.
U.S. Accuses North Korea of U.N. Sanctions Breach, Demands End to Fuel Sales | 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.
U.S. urges U.N. to halt all oil transfers to North Korea – The Washington Post
In a letter to the U.N. sanctions committee, the United States said North Korea has been evading sanctions through increasing ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum.
South Korea’s Moon says North Korea-U.S. talks ‘on track’, criticism a ploy | Reuters
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday that North Korea’s criticism of the United States after recent talks on denuclearisation was part of its strategy and negotiations between them are on the “right track”.
Moon presses Trump, Kim for breakthrough in nuclear talks | South Korea News | Al Jazeera
South Korean leader says leaders of US, North Korea ‘face the stern judgment’ of the world if deal is not carried out.
America and North Korea Are Having Two Different Conversations – Defense One
One country’s “productive” talks are another’s “gangster-like” demands.
Pompeo’s North Korea meeting went as badly as it could have gone’ – CNNPolitics
It began with great expectations, an eagerly-anticipated meeting with a reclusive leader, and a gift bag that included an Elton John CD.
North Korea state media release photos of Kim at potato farm after Pompeo visit | TheHill
North Korean state media released a series of photos of Kim Jong Un visiting a potato farm, suggesting that he may have opted to visit the farm instead of meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
America’s Moment of Truth With North Korea Is Coming – Defense One
Mike Pompeo’s visit wasn’t it. But the visit hinted at what it might look like.
Trump says he still has ‘Rocket Man’ CD for Kim, plans to give North Korean dictator another ‘little gift’ – ABC News
Trump told reporters Tuesday he has another “little gift” for Kim as well.
Media, Hardliners Play Up North Korean Nuclear “Deception” Claim
Trump: ‘I have confidence’ Kim Jong Un will honor agreement
The tweet comes after contentious talks between North Korean officials and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the first high-level meeting since Trump and Kim’s summit in Singapore.
China says its position on North Korean issue is consistent | Reuters
China’s foreign ministry on Tuesday said that Beijing’s position on the North Korean issue is consistent and that it acts in a responsible manner.
Tension on display as Pompeo meets with Kim Yong Chol for second day – ABC News
Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol spoke on Saturday morning.
Pompeo says made progress with North Korea, more work needed | Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday he had made progress “on almost all of the central issues” in talks with North Korea, including on setting a timeline for its denuclearisation, but work remained to be done.
Pompeo holds more North Korea talks, both sides seeking to ‘clarify’ | Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a second day of talks in North Korea on Saturday in an attempt to agree details on dismantling the North’s nuclear program after both sides said they had things to “clarify” from the previous day.
Pompeo shrugs off North Korea’s ‘gangster’ comment, claims progress
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brushed aside North Korea’s accusation of “gangster-like” demands, and said his recent visit to the country was producing results.
Donald Trump & North Korea: Diplomatic disconnect spells trouble for administration – CNNPolitics
Less than a month after President Donald Trump talked about opening “a new chapter” between the US and North Korea, the relationship between the two nations has taken a tense and hostile, but predictable turn.
With Trump’s Help, North Korea’s Divide and Conquer Strategy Is Working
Kim Jong Un believes the government in South Korea cares more about his proposals for a lasting peace on the peninsula than about his nukes.
North Korean Ex-Diplomat Says Blackmail Is Part of Regime’s Playbook – WSJ
A former North Korean diplomat’s account of a $1 billion demand to Israel shows how Pyongyang has tried to use the threat of weapons proliferation to shake down its adversaries for cash, in a lesson on regime strategy for U.S. negotiators.
What really happened when Mike Pompeo was in Pyongyang?
WHY THE NASTY RHETORIC? When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left Pyongyang Saturday after negotiations with Kim Yong Chol, North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency declared “all issues arising in sincerely implementing the joint statement” adopted by President Trump and Kim Jong Un were “profoundly discussed.”
What now? Pompeo exits North Korea emptyhanded, leaving US with three options — all of them bad | Fox News
Kim Jong Un seems to be carrying on a tradition in international relations begun by his grandfather and father, who ruled North Korea before him: lie, lie and lie again.
North Korea says US attitude ‘regrettable’ after Pompeo talks – YouTube
CNN Published on Jul 7, 2018 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left Pyongyang seemingly optimistic after two days of high-level talks, but without announcing any concrete steps North Korea would take or a timeline towards denuclearization.
Gordon Chang | Trump’s North Korea Policy Just Collapsed
Pyongyang, by humiliating Secretary of State Pompeo, exposed the fallacy at the heart of American policy.
North Korean negotiator teases and flatters as Pompeo enters second day of talks – The Washington Post
“You might have not slept well” after the first day’s “serious” talks, North Korea’s former spy chief said to the U.S. secretary of state.
North Korean Ex-Diplomat Says Blackmail Is Part of Regime’s Playbook – WSJ
A former North Korean diplomat’s account of a $1 billion demand to Israel shows how Pyongyang has tried to use the threat of weapons proliferation to shake down its adversaries for cash, in a lesson on regime strategy for U.S. negotiators.
North Korea is reportedly working on a new submarine capable of firing nuclear-armed missiles | Business Insider
North Korea appears to be working on a new submarine capable of firing nuclear-armed ballistic missiles, according to information gathered by South Korea’s military.

It’s clear China is behind North Korea’s latest flip
Confused by North Korea’s sudden hard line? Look to China for answers. Last week Pyongyang reverted to taunts, calling Mike Pompeo’s trip there…
REVEALED: China plans to expand military to ‘WIN A WAR’ and overtake the US | Daily Mail Online
China’s plans to reform and expand its military have been revealed in leaked documents, which talk about the need to have stronger armed forces in order to surpass the US.
Welcome to the modern military: China’s new combat units prepare for electronic warfare – Military & Aerospace Electronics
BEIJING – Thousands of fresh graduates of new combat units from the People’s Liberation Army – China’s military – have begun a week-long drill in electronic warfare, experts say. The South China Morning Post reports.
China tests electronic warfare assets in Spratlys — report – To Inform is to Influence
Original source:  China is quietly conducting electronic warfare tests in the South China Sea </end editorial> By: Frances Mangosing – Reporter / @FMangosingINQ China is “quietly” testing its recently-deployed electronic warfare assets in its fortified bases in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, American television network CNBC reported. These electronic warfare assets are designed to “confuse or…
In battle of wills with Beijing, Trump needs to keep the upper hand | TheHill
Trump has made it clear there will be consequences for aggressive Chinese economic and military actions across the board, including aiding North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
Two US warships sail through Taiwan Strait amid China trade war: officials | Fox News
Two U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyers sailed through the Taiwan Strait separating mainland China from the island of Taiwan, a message likely to stoke more tensions between Washington and Beijing amid an ongoing trade war.  
US destroyers sailed through Taiwan Strait – CNNPolitics
In a move that could heighten tensions between Washington and Beijing, two US Navy destroyers have sailed through the Taiwan Strait, a US Navy official has confirmed to CNN.
Germany and China sign deals, lobby against US trade tariffs
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang stressed their commitment to a multilateral trade system Monday in the wake of Washington’s decision to impose widespread tariffs.
Hominins Left Africa for Asia Much Earlier Than Thought | The Scientist Magazine®
The dating of stone tools in China puts members of the Homo genus there more than 2 million years ago.

Russian military planes violate South Korean air defense zone four times, report says | Fox News
Two Russian military planes reportedly violated South Korea’s air defense zone multiple times Friday — the latest provocative air maneuver from Russia, which has previously tested American and European zones.
Japan Sarin Attack Doomsday Cult Leader Shoko Asahara Finally Executed
The cult leader masterminded the 1995 chemical attack on Tokyo’s subway that killed 13 people.
Japan Executes Cult Leader Responsible For 1995 Sarin Gas Attack On Tokyo Subway : NPR
Shoko Asahara, the leader of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult, was hanged after being sentenced to death in 2004. Six of his followers were also put to death.
Kevin Rudd on Xi Jinping, China and the Global Order (Asia Society Policy Institute 26/6/2018)) | John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations
(On Tuesday, June 26, 2018, Asia Society Policy Institute President Kevin Rudd delivered an address to the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore for The Significance of China’s 2018 Central Foreign Policy Work Conference. Below is the transcript of the speech. ) On 22-23 June 2018, the Chinese Communist Party…
New Zealand government approves purchase of four P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft – Defence Blog
New Zealand government approved procurements of four P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft worth USD 2.346 billion for the Royal New Zealand Air Force, according to a report released to the official website of the New Zealand Government on 9 July. “The four aircraft will replace the aging six P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft that have been operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force since the 1960s. The current Orion fleet will reach the end of their expected operational life in 2025,” said in the report. A potential deal will cover the new aircraft, training systems, infrastructure and introduction into service costs will total $2.346 billion. They will be delivered and begin operations from 2023. At to date, the Airborne Surveillance and Response Force (ASRF) is provided by No 5 Squadron RNZAF that is equipped with a total of six P-3K2 Orion aircraft. The current Orion fleet will reach the end of their expected operational life in 2025.
New Zealand’s new strategic defense policy statement calls out China, Russia – To Inform is to Influence
By: Nick Lee-Frampton WELLINGTON, New Zealand ― New Zealand’s defense minister, Ron Mark, has released the country’s Strategic Defence Policy Statement, at Victoria University, Wellington, on July 6. The report says that “‘complex transnational threats will disrupt New Zealand’s neighbourhood in ways not previously seen,“ and highlights disruptive behaviors by China and Russia. While acknowledging that China…

Foreign Policy Reports

If America Is Divided, So Is Europe – WSJ
A Polish philosopher-politician on NATO’s future, ‘degenerate’ liberalism, and what it’s like to be a ‘dissident’ nation in the EU.
Trump Says Europe Is ‘Losing’ Its Culture Because Of Immigration
Migrants have “changed the fabric of Europe,” he told The Sun.
Donald Trump: Immigration has ‘changed the fabric’ of Europe
“I think what has happened to Europe is a shame,” Trump added. “Allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame.”
Donald Trump in UK: Protests today in London with “Trump baby” balloon as centerpiece 2018-07-13 – Live updates – CBS News
First Lady Melania Trump makes an entrance at Blenheim Palace wearing a yellow J. Mendel gown
Trump’s choice of pale yellow was meant to pay homage to Queen Elizabeth II, who is said to also favor the color, stylist Herve Pierre said.
Trump calls Queen Elizabeth II ‘tremendous woman’ ahead of meeting
Even amid his bomb-throwing comments about British politics, there was one subject President Donald Trump treated with unusual graciousness: the queen.
The queen and the boy from Queens: Inside Trump’s long fascination with the British royals – The Washington Post
The U.S. president’s captivation with the monarchy extends back to controversial remarks about Princess Diana.
Donald Trump: The Queen is a ‘tremendous woman’ – CNNPolitics
US President Trump described Queen Elizabeth II as a “tremendous woman” in an interview with The Sun newspaper, hours before he and first lady Melania Trump are due to meet the monarch for tea on Friday.
Melania Trump Reaches for President Trump’s Hand on U.K. Visit |
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have a complicated history with hand-to-hand contact, but after their most intimate hand…
Trump, May pledge cooperation on trade after explosive interview | Fox News
President Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May pledged full cooperation on trade and other issues Friday, easing tensions following Trump’s explosive interview in which he criticized her handling of ‘Brexit’ and called into question a U.S.-U.K. trade deal.
In UK, Trump throws fuel onto Britain’s fiery political debate over Brexit | Fox News
The U.K. woke Friday to discover that President Trump had thrown fuel onto the country’s already fiery political debate — on a day in which he will hold a joint press conference with under-siege Prime Minister Theresa May, meet with Queen Elizabeth II and witness tens of thousands of demonstrators march through London in protest of his three-day working visit.
Donald Trump: Theresa May’s Brexit plan will ‘kill’ US trade deal
Donald Trump criticises Theresa May’s Brexit approach and says Boris Johnson has “got what it takes” to be prime minister.
Trump detonates Brexit bomb ahead of May talks – CNNPolitics
With a friend like Donald Trump, Theresa May doesn’t need enemies. The President delivered an astonishing political knifing of the British Prime Minister on Thursday.
Trump: May is in a mess after failing to take my good advice on Brexit | News | The Times
President Trump has said that Theresa May took the “opposite” approach to Brussels negotiations than the path he advised, in a damning assessment of her Brexit talks.He insisted that he got on “nicely” with the prime minister and denied that he had likened her to a schoolmistress. He was scathing ab
Trumps dine with UK Prime Minister after Trump made false claims about NATO spending – YouTube
CNN Published on Jul 12, 2018 The President and first lady Melania Trump attend a formal dinner hosted by Prime Minister Theresa May. At an earlier unscheduled press conference in Belgium, Trump declared that all NATO members had “agreed to substantially up their commitment,” adding “They’re going to up it at levels that they never thought of before.” French President Emmanuel Macron rejected that claim.
Trump battles with media at fiery UK press conference, refuses questions from CNN and praises Fox News | Business Insider
President Donald Trump attacked NBC News and CNN reporters during a rare press conference with American and British reporters in the UK on Friday.
Melania Trump promotes kindness in London after President bashes May – CNNPolitics
US first lady Melania Trump took her “Be Best” platform abroad on Friday, visiting with schoolchildren and veterans at an event hosted by Philip May, husband of British Prime Minister Theresa May, at Royal Hospital Chelsea.
Trump: I don’t take questions from CNN | TheHill
President Trump on Friday at an international press conference lashed out at CNN, declaring that he would not take questions from the network.
British Prime Minister May’s government appears in turmoil amid resignations tied to Brexit
The British government says Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has resigned, amid a widening split in Prime Minister Theresa May’s government over Brexit.
Boris Johnson resigns in major Brexit blow to UK PM Theresa May – CNN
The government of British Prime Minister Theresa May has been plunged into turmoil with the resignation of two senior Cabinet ministers in a deep split over her Brexit strategy.
Boris Johnson resigns as UK Foreign Secretary – YouTube
Boris Johnson Criticized for Posing With Resignation Letter – The New York Times
His opponents seized on the pictures as evidence of self-interest during a deepening political crisis in Britain.
Opinion | Good Riddance, Boris Johnson – The New York Times
The resignation of Britain’s foreign secretary could make it easier for Prime Minister Theresa May to reach a more reasonable agreement on Brexit.
Queen hails ‘tenacity and gallantry’ of RAF as Royal family watch centenary flypast over Buckingham Palace
The Queen has praised the Royal Air Force for its &quot;tenacity, skill and gallantry&quot; as she was joined by senior members of the Royal family at the centrepiece of events marking the force’s 100th year.

U.S. warns of sanctions risk for firms invested in Russian pipeline | Reuters
Washington repeated a warning on Wednesday to Western firms invested in Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany that they were at risk of sanctions, and said Moscow was using the project to divide Europe.
Reuters: U.S. warns of sanctions risk for firms invested in Russian pipeline | UNIAN
Washington repeated a warning on Wednesday to Western firms invested in Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany that they were at risk of sanctions, and said Moscow was using the project to divide Europe. The United States believes that the Nord Stream 2 project would undermine Europe’s overall energy security.
Russian politician explains why EU could block Nord Stream 2 | UNIAN
Russian opposition politician Konstantin Borovoi says the EU states could block the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline if they accept Washington’s radical stance. Borovoi suggests that the pipe is today a tool for Germany to combat tariffs that the U.S. intends to introduce to balance out competition in the European U.S. markets.
UAWire – Ukrainian President: Nord Stream 2 pipleline has no economic sense
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko stated on Twitter that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project does not make any sense in economic terms.    …
UAWire – Ukraine-EU summit participants call Nord Stream 2 pipeline a mistake
During a joint press statement with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on the results …
Germany-Russia gas links: Ukraine more concerned than Trump | UNIAN
Donald Trump may have used typically emotive – if premeditated – language from the outset at the NATO summit in Brussels to lambast Germany for its willingness to build a gas pipeline, but the U.S. president’s view that this will make Europe particularly dependent on Russian gas is widely shared by European politicians, thinktanks and energy specialists, including some in Berlin. Politicians and energy experts say Nord Stream 2 will make Europe reliant on Russian gas.

China, Russia fail to curb activists’ role at U.N. rights forum: campaigners – To Inform is to Influence
Stephanie Nebehay 6 July 2018 GENEVA (Reuters) – China, Russia and Pakistan lost their bid on Friday to weaken a U.N. resolution upholding the crucial rule of activists in shedding an international spotlight on human rights violations, campaigners said. The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution calling on all states to protect civil…
Jean-Claude Juncker held up by world leaders as he struggled to stay stand up | World | News |
WORLD leaders were forced to step in and help on Wednesday when European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was seen stumbling and losing his balance ahead of a Nato dinner.
Germany’s Angela Merkel won’t pay the price to truly lead Europe
President Trump has made the German chancellor one of his favorite rhetorical targets, especially over Germany’s anemic defense expenditures. This has led to worries about the future of the trans-Atlantic alliance, and reflexive support for Merkel among the American political elite.
Angela Merkel: No longer the ‘refugee chancellor’ – CNN
In late summer 2015, as tens of thousands of refugees were arriving on Europe’s shores, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made two decisions that would define her tenure.
Germany’s Interior Minister Unveils ‘Master Plan’ to Cut Immigration – WSJ
Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer unveiled scores of measures aimed at limiting immigration, in the latest sign of a backlash against the arrival of 1.5 million refugees since 2015.
Majority of Germans FURIOUS over Merkel’s government CHAOTIC immigration row | World | News |
EIGHT out of ten Germans are dissatisfied with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, a new poll has revealed, following the ongoing chaos in Berlin’s government over the long-standing immigration row between Ms Merkel and German interior minister Horst Seehofer.
UAWire – Germany confiscates historic castle from Russian tycoon
On Tuesday, July 10, the land administration office of the Free State of Thuringia in Central Germany decided to expropriate the Reinhardsbrunn Castle. The decision was unprecedented in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany. “I am very happy about this decision. It showed that the way we’ve chosen to take the land of the castle and a park back to state ownership proved its worth. Now the decay [of the property] and emergency measures taken by the authorities for the protection of monuments are behind us,” Prime Minister of Thuringia Bodo Ramelow assured in the communiqué issued by the press service of the Land Government, DW reports. The decision to nationalize the castle took a year and a half to implement. The reason for the expropriation was the threat of ultimate destruction of the monument, whose fate had never mattered to the Russian owners since they purchased it in late 2008. According to DW’s investigation, the Ostryagin family from the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug of Russia had owned the property for about ten years. Former Deputy of the Russian State Duma from the United Russia party Anatoly Ostryagin is at the head of the family’s business.
Czech Premier Reaches Power-Sharing Deal With Communists – WSJ
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis signed a power-sharing agreement on Tuesday that would win parliamentary approval for his minority government by bringing the Communist Party closer to power than it has been since 1989.
If a President Is Dying, and Nobody Says Anything, Does It Make a Sound? – To Inform is to Influence
Please excuse my previous now deleted post about disinformation about CZ President Milos Zeman.  It turns out his health is truly failing.  One Czech doctor friend confided to me that he is basically a walking corpse.  “People wonder if Zeman has cancer, and what type.” “he is no longer mentally able to perform the function” [of…
Greece Moves To Expel, Ban Russian Diplomats
Greece has moved to expel two Russian diplomats and to block two others from entering over suspicions they attempted to undermine a deal between Athens and Macedonia last month, a Greek official to…
Romanian MiG-21 fighter jet crashed during Borcea Open Day – Defence Blog
The MiG-21 fighter jet of the Romanian Air Force has crashed at Base 86 Borcea during Borcea Open Day, with the loss of the pilot. The aircraft, which was participating in Borcea Open Day demonstration flight, came down at Base 86 Borcea at approximately around 13.30 LT on Jul. 7. The 36-year-old, initially reported as ejected from the aircraft, has been declared dead in the accident. Lieutenant-commander Florin Rotaru was 36 years old and served as Chief Pilot at 861 Air Force. He was the first-class pilot, he had over 400 hours of flight, of which about 250 on MiG-21. He was a graduate of the Air Force Academy “Henri Coanda” since 2005. Television reports quoted witnesses as saying the pilot might have tried to avoid hitting the crowds and instead chose to crash on a nearby field. The public attending Open Day has been evacuated from the airbase and the rest of the flying display, cancelled. The ministry said the cause of the crash, some 240 kilometers (150 miles) east of Bucharest, was being investigated. Romania, a NATO member since 2004, received its first six F-16 fighter jets from Portugal in 2016, as it phases out its communist-era MiGs.
Hilarious moment politics professor’s cat interrupts live TV interview by leaping on his HEAD  | Daily Mail Online
A politics interview was interrupted when a cat climbed onto a professor’s head. Dr Targalski wasn’t phased and carried on talking.
Trump keeps suggesting an invasion of Venezuela, and the government there keeps taking advantage of it | Business Insider
When President Donald Trump said on August 11, 2017 that he was “not going to rule out a military option” in Venezuela, observers in the US and throughout the region were surprised, but the idea was one Trump had already mentioned to advisers, who discouraged it, and one he would later bring up to other world leaders, who rejected it.

Strategy / History / Capability Publications

South Korean KF-X Design Approved, First Flight Due In 2022 | Combat Aircraft content from Aviation Week
Grown in size, the KF-X has arrived at a weight category halfway between the Eurofighter Typhoon and Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning.
Now Northrop Grumman Wants to Build Japan’s New Fighter Jet
Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin could be headed for a showdown in Tokyo.
Slovakia picks U.S. fighter planes to replace Russian-made jets | Reuters
Slovakia has agreed a $1.9 billion (1.43 billion pounds) deal to buy 14 U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to replace its ageing Russian-made MiG-29s, its defence ministry said on Wednesday.
Slovakia to acquire fourteen F-16 fighter jets from US – Defence Blog
Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic plans to procure fourteen F-16 Block 70/72 fighter jets from the United States, said an announcement on 11 July. The Slovak Ministry of Defence announced on 11 July plans to procure 14 F-16 Block 70/72fighter jets for replacing of Soviet-made MiG-29s that Slovakia’s Air Forces uses now. “Based on thorough analyzes, we have chosen the best solution because they are state-of-the-art modern aircraft that have no competition in terms of price, quality and capabilities, and what we can afford as a country,” said Slovak Defence Minister Peter Gajdos. Earlier on Wednesday, the Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini also said that government will pay USD1.86 billion for the aircraft, ammunition, training of pilots and logistics services for two years. The F-16 Block 70/72 is a is the newest and most advanced F-16 production configuration, combining numerous capability and structural upgrades developed byLockheed Martin. According to the company, the Block 70/72 builds on its thousands of predecessors and proven combat experience, while also bringing new technology to the forefront. With improved radar systems, advanced weapons capabilities and enhanced battlespace awareness, the aircraft advances its strong, combat-proven legacy and goes beyond – to meet needs for tomorrow.
F-16 Block 70
The F-16 Block 70 is unlike any fighter jet seen before. The Block 70 is the newest and most advanced F-16 production configuration, combining numerous capability and structural upgrades. This is the F-16 Block 70, the newest generation of Fighting Falcon.

Close Air Support Fly-off Farce
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is finally going up against the battle-proven A-10 close air support attack plane for the long-promised close air support fly-off. The unpublicized tests began on July 5, and will conclude on July 12, according to a copy of the testing schedule reviewed by the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight. But the tests, as designed, are unlikely to reveal anything of real value about the F-35’s ability to support ground troops in realistic combat situations—which the F-35, as the presumptive replacement for the A-10, must be able to demonstrate. A close air support test should involve large numbers of ground troops in a highly fluid combat simulation in varied terrain, across many days. It should test the pilot’s ability to spot targets from the air in a chaotic and ever-changing situation. The test should also include a means of testing the program’s ability to fly several sorties a day, because combat doesn’t pause to wait for airplanes to become available. But the Air Force scheduled just four days’ worth of tests at desert ranges in California and Arizona. And, according to sources closely associated with the fly-off, not a single event includes ground troops, or any kind of fluid combat situation, which means these tests are hardly representative of the missions a close air support aircraft has to perform. These tests put Air Force leadership in a difficult position. They want their largest and highest-priority weapons buy, the troubled $400 billion F-35 multi-mission fighter, to quickly replace the A-10 close air support attack plane they’ve been trying to get rid of for over two decades. The now-former Pentagon weapons testing director, Dr. J. Michael Gilmore, said in 2016 that a close air support fly-off would be the only way to determine how well the F-35 could perform the close air support role compared to the A-10—or whether the F-35 could perform that role at all. The testing office and the various service testing agencies had already meticulously planned comparative tests to pit the F-35 against the A-10, F-16, and the F-18, because the F-35 program is contractually required to show better mission effectiveness than each of the legacy aircraft it is to replace.
The Long Awaited A-10 vs. F-35 Flyoff Is Off to a Sketchy Start
The Pentagon wants to know which is the better close air support aircraft, but a government watchdog claims the testing schedule is too short and biased in favor of the F-35.
Can America’s New Stealth Fighter Out-Fly a ’70s Retro Plane?
The contest, which began in near-secrecy at desert ranges in California and Arizona, is continuing.
The F-35’s Ongoing Cost Challenges | Aviation Week & Space Technology content from Aviation Week
Money is central to many of the JSF’s issues, ranging from whether to repair or replace, to clearing testing and driving down the per-unit price.
Fully 74% of Export F-35s Delivered Until 2023 Are Obsolete
PARIS — Three-quarters of all the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters delivered to foreign customers until 2023 are obsolete and will require major retrofits before they can deliver their promised performance. An analysis of F-35 contracts awarded to date shows that fully 343 – or 74% — of the 460 export F-35s that Lockheed is to deliver until end 2024 will be in the current, obsolete Low-Rate Initial Production configuration. These 343 aircraft are limited both in terms of operational capabilities and of the weapons they can use. They are, and will remain, obsolete because their software is incomplete and because their sensors – designed over 20 years ago – have been overtaken by several generations electronics progress. Lockheed and the F-35 Joint Program Office have quietly decided that all of the planned sensor and avionics upgrades needed to bring the F-35 to full capability will be deferred until 2023, when the first Full-Rate Production (FRP) aircraft (Lot 15) will begin to roll off the production lines. All this, however, is a best-case scenario, and assumes that the F-35 will pass its Initial Operational Test & Evaluation (IOT&E). Due to be completed in 2019 or 2020, IOT&E will allow the Pentagon to take the (Milestone C) decision to launch Full-Rate Production (FRP). If it doesn’t – and the GAO reported on June 5 that “As of January 2018, the F-35 program had 966 open deficiencies, of which 111 category 1 (critical)” – then all bets are off, and the program will have to undergo a major restructuring.
Italian Defence Minister: We won’t buy any more F-35s – Defence Blog
Italy will not buy more F-35 aircraft, Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta, said in an interview with Italian broadcaster La7 on Friday. According to Elisabetta Trenta, Italy will not buy other aircraft, adding that the order for 60 F-35A and 30 F-35B fighter jets, which Italy concluded in 2012, might be placed under review. “We won’t buy any more F-35s,” Defence Minister said in a television interview. “We are assessing what to do regarding the contracts already in place.” Minister also noted that the cancellation of contract can negatively impact Italian workers who are employed in the production. “No one is hiding the fact we have always been critical … In view of the existing contracts signed by the previous government, we are carrying out a careful assessment that exclusively considers the national interest,” she said. Italy became the only country with an F-35’s production facility outside the US, where is set to produce a total of 30 F-35Bs to be delivered to the Italian Navy, Italian Air Force and the Royal Netherlands Air Force. In May 2017, were rolled out the first F-35 jets. However, they were to be delivered to the US naval base in Maryland for certification and crew training.

The Su-57 should be considered as an aircraft with export potential, and efforts should be concentrated on the creation of a fighter of the 6th generation – Gutenev
Moscow. 4th of July. Interfax-AVN – The Su-57 fighter should be considered as a fine aircraft with export potential, but the main efforts should be focused on creating a transitional machine, the head of the State Duma commission for legal support of the development of defense industry organizations, the first vice- president of the Union of Machine Builders of the Russian Federation Vladimir Gutenev. “I believe that the sixth-generation fighter will be a transitional vehicle between manned aircraft and unmanned intellectual shock complexes (BIOK) – in this case we are talking about aerial BIKU that can, thanks to their intellect, carry out the tasks set, including those that are sufficiently massive groups, “he said, commenting on the statement by Yury Borisov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, that there will be no mass deliveries of the fifth generation of Su-57 fighters to Russia. “I am largely in agreement with the words of Yuri Ivanovich (Borisov) about the fact that it is hardly worthwhile to expect a massive purchase of the Su-57,” Gutenev said.
Russia develops new weapons renouncing Armata tanks and PAK Fa fighter jets
Both the Su-57 fighter jet and Armata tanks are much cheaper than Western analogues, but at the same time they are quite expensive for the massive rearmament of the Russian army
Russia Will Not Mass-Produce 5th Generation Stealth Fighter Jet | The Diplomat
Mass-production of the Su-57 is not needed now, according to Russia’s deputy defense minister.
Russia won’t mass produce SU-57 because it’s ‘one of the best’ | Asia Times
The fifth-generation jet is ‘our trump, which we can always play when the aircraft of previous generations will start to lag behind,’ says defense official. Russia is in no hurry to begin mass production of the country’s answer to America’s F-35 fighter, a defense official announced earlier this month, despite the fact that it is “one of the best aircraft” in the world. “The plane has proven to be very good, including in Syria, where it confirmed its performance and combat capabilities,” Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said on Russian television, as reported by The Diplomat. “You know that today the Su-57 is considered to be one of the best aircraft produced in the world. Consequently, it does not make sense to speed up work on mass-producing the fifth-generation aircraft,” Borisov explained. The Su-57, he went on, is “our trump, which we can always play when the aircraft of previous generations will start to lag behind in capabilities when compared to similar aircraft from the world’s leading countries.” Borisov’s upbeat assertion aside, the article from The Diplomat cited Russia’s overstretched defense budget as one reason for the decision. As of July, the Russian military had yet to sign a contract to purchase the initial pre-production batch of 12 aircraft.
Russia admits defeat on its ‘stealth’ F-35 killer by cancelling mass production of the Su-57 fighter jet | Business Insider
Russia announced earlier this month that the Su-57, its proposed entry into the world of fifth-generation stealth-fighter aircraft, would not see mass production.
Russia admits defeat on its ‘stealth’ F-35 killer by cancelling mass production of the Su-57 fighter jet | Business Insider
Russia announced earlier this month that the Su-57, its proposed entry into the world of fifth-generation stealth-fighter aircraft, would not see mass production.
Stealth killer? Russia’s sixth-generation fighter might have a “radio-photonic radar” – Military & Aerospace Electronics
MOSCOW – Russia’s future sixth-generation fighter well as its next generation unmanned aircraft could be equipped with what is described as a “radio-photonic radar.” The National Interest reports.

Commentary: Western armies are losing their high-tech edge | Reuters
When America goes to war, its soldiers, sailors and pilots typically have long been used to having a spectacular technological edge. Those days are ending fast.
Why an unmanned fighter fleet isn’t yet viable, in the words of Britain’s Air Force chief
It wasn’t that long ago some in Europe were talking about having an unmanned combat air capability ready for service by 2030.
China, Russia, and the US Are All Building Centers for Military AI – Defense One
But their burgeoning approaches to state-sponsored research are divergent as the countries themselves.
10 Technologies That Are Reshaping Aerospace | Farnborough Airshow 2018 content from Aviation Week
As the 2018 Farnborough Airshow showcases the latest and greatest in aviation and aerospace, we look at some of the technologies shaping the industry’s future.
MIT’s New Cheetah Robot Navigates While ‘Blind’ – Nextgov
No eyes? No problem.
Air Force quietly, and reluctantly, pushing JSTARS recap source selection ahead
The Air Force wants to cancel the JSTARS recap program. But source selection may be further ahead than you think.
Russian company blatantly copies US unique inflatable antenna system – Defence Blog
Director of the Russian company “NEBO” Artem Mazanov, during an interview, that they successfully developed the new inflatable antenna system. According to a news report published on news website, Russia’s company from Chelyabinsk has developed the unique ultra-portable inflatable antenna system on the technologies used by the US military. “We’ve been approached by the radio engineering institute in Rostov-on-Don and asked if we could develop the same antenna… I dealt with it personally at my own expense simply because it was interesting to me – I got this idea on fire. In fact, now there are such antennas only in the USA. And now we have,” – noted director of NEBO company. The new Russian antenna system is a sealed ball made of durable material, the seams are glued together by special equipment. Together with all the equipment it weighs only a few tens of kilograms and can be used for mobile groups.
Army Anti-Aircraft Stryker Can Kill Tanks Too « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
With its eyes firmly on Russia, the US Army is racing to field 8×8 Strykers with an array of weapons that can down enemy aircraft — from drones to helicopters to jets — and incidentally make enemy tanks think twice. The first prototypes will be delivered next year, with up to 144 (four battalions) by 2022, although the contract details are still being negotiated. With the IM-SHORAD (Initial Maneuver Short Range Air Defense) Stryker, “you’ll have more combat power, more lethality, than the Bradley fighting vehicle,” says Ed House, the retired Army infantry colonel who runs the program for Leonardo DRS. Now, before everyone gets too excited, this doesn’t mean the new Stryker is a substitute for the Bradley as an infantry assault vehicle. The Stryker’s got lighter armor, and wheels instead of tracks, so it can’t handle all the threats or terrain a Bradley can. Plus, this variant’s interior volume will be largely filled with spare missiles, leaving little room to carry troops. But it does raise intriguing tactical possibilities for IM-SHORAD Strykers to take up positions right behind the frontline forces — ideally on hills with good fields of fire — to provide both air defense and long-range shots against enemy armor. It’s similar to how the German’s famous 88mm high-velocity cannon of World War II did double duty as flak gun and tank killer. Rolling Arsenal Put together by Leonardo DRS and then installed on the Stryker by the vehicle’s original manufacturer, General Dynamics Land Systems, the package includes an intimidating arsenal of weapon — and the flexibility to add more: Two Hellfire missiles, capable of hitting both air and ground targets. Hellfire has not only a larger warhead than the Army’s standard Stinger anti-aircraft missile (18-20 pounds vs. 6.6) but a long range than the TOW anti-tank missiles on its M2 Bradleys and ATGM Strykers (5 miles vs. at most 2.8). Four Stinger missiles for less well-armored aircraft targets, in a new quad launcher put together by Raytheon. A 30mm automatic cannon, an upgraded model (M230LF) of the gun on the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter and considerably more powerful than the Bradley’s 25 mm. A standard 7.62mm machinegun as backup and to kill targets that don’t merit a 30 mm round, such as slow-moving drones and infantry in the open. An electronic warfare package to jam drones’ control links without having to shoot them. A Rada multi-mission radar to track both air and ground targets. What’s more, the weapons are all mounted on a multipurpose unmanned turret, Moog’s Reconfigurable Integrated-weapons Platform (RIwP, pronounced “rip”), which House said could take a wide range of alternative layouts as technology, tactics, and threats evolve. It could also be adapted to other vehicles, with Leonardo having tried a counter-drone version on an M-ATV truck. “It takes us about four hours to put the RIwP turret on an M-ATV,” House told me. While they’ve haven’t put one on a Stryker yet, once General Dynamics preps a Stryker — which includes cutting the appropriate hole in the top armor — “it won’t be any harder to mount it on the Stryker.” The loaded turret weighs less than the TOW missile turret already installed on the Stryker’s anti-tank variant, he said. (By contrast, a rival proposal from General Dynamics and Boeing involved a much larger turret that would have required cutting off the back half of the Stryker’s cargo bay). With the turret installed and loaded, the vehicle has two Hellfires and four Stingers ready to fire and more would be carried in the hull. The three-man crew should be able reload the Stingers and the 30mm without leaving the vehicle, although they’d be partially exposed in an open hatch. The Hellfires, however, are simply too big and heavy to fit through the hatches, so the crew would have to get out and clamber on top of the vehicle to reload those. That’s an awkward operation under fire and another reason the IM-SHORAD Stryker shouldn’t hang out in range of enemy machineguns alongside the Bradleys. If fewer or no reloads are needed for a particular mission, House said, some or all of the Stryker’s cargo/passenger area would be available for supplies or troops. But with Short-Range Air Defense identified as one of the Army’s glaring shortfalls against a modern adversary like Russia or China, the IM-SHORAD Stryker probably won’t have much time for odd jobs. Rushing vs. Russia The Army is rushing to fill multiple gaps in Europe, not just air defense. It’s developing a new scout helicopter and adding Trophy Active Protection Systems (APS) to its M1 Abrams heavy tanks to protect them from Russian anti-tank missiles. But while armored brigades of M1 tanks and M2 Bradleys regularly deploy to Europe, the heaviest force stationed there permanently is mounted on Strykers. So the Army is rushing to upgun these relatively lightweight armored vehicles with anti-armor weapons from 30 mm cannon to Javelin anti-tank missiles, as well as the effectively dual-purpose IM-SHORAD package. How fast is that schedule? September 2017: The Army conducts a SHORAD “shoot off” of potential systems. February 2018: Army issues a Directed Requirement for what they call an “initial material solution” for SHORAD. April: The Army holds an industry day with interested companies. May: An Army panel evaluates companies’ White Paper proposals and selects Leonardo DRS for the weapons, turret, and electronics (the Mission Equipment Package); Raytheon for the upgraded Stinger Launcher (which the government then provides to Leonardo); and General Dynamics to integrate everything on the Stryker. August 31: The Army’s target date to award contracts. Mid-2019 (3Q FY19): First prototype to be delivered. 2020: First IM-SHORAD battery deployed. 2022: Up to four IM-SHORAD battalions fielded. At this point the Army may either keep upgrading IM-SHORAD — note it’s called the “initial” solution, not the “interim” one as is sometimes reported — or choose another system. Different missiles, improved electronic warfare, and entirely new weapons such as lasers are all options, with 50 kilowatt lasers planned for 2023.
Serbian Terminator air defense system continues comprehensive trials – Defence Blog
The Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia has released imagery showing the new PASARS-16 short range air defence system, also known as the Terminator, being used during a live fire exercise of the 98th Air Brigade of the Serbian Air Force and Air Defence. The Serbian Ministry of Defence reported that the new PASARS-16 Terminator short range air defense system takes part at military exercises of the 98th Air Brigade of the Serbian Air Force and Air Defence at the Pasuljanske Livade training range. According to the statement, the upgraded variant of the new PASARS-16 Terminator short range air defense system successfully conducted initial firing trials. The first example of the PASARS-16 is fitted with Bofors 40 mm automatic cannon. It is based on a 6×6 FAP 2026 military truck chassis with an armoured cabin with two seats.
New Drone ‘Cockpits’ Aim to Make Remote Warfare Feel More Real – Motherboard
Improved ergonomics alone can’t lift the moral burden on drone operators far removed from the battlefield, for whom life-or-death decisions are all in a day’s work.
Caplan, B.: The Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money (Hardcover and eBook) | Princeton University Press
Why we need to stop wasting public funds on education

IW/EW/IO/Cyber Reports

Tomorrow’s Quantum Computers Are Already Threatening Today’s Data – Defense One
Large-scale quantum computing could be just five years away.
Hacker Caught Selling Maintenance Manuals for Military Drones – Defense One
A poorly configured router allowed the theft of drone manuals, a list of maintainers, material on the Abrams tank, and more.
Details on an Air Force drone? $200 on the dark web
The hacked documents represent embarrassing security vulnerabilities and raises questions about basic cyber-hygiene in the U.S. military apparatus.
StopFake Exposes More On How Russia Spreads Their Message – To Inform is to Influence
StopFake, once again, is leading the way with this critically important reports exposing how Russia spreads their message.  Hat tip to Sarah Hurst.  Through a series of followers, many legitimate, this tracks the Russian mission to the UN’s use of Twitter, that is picked up, echoed, and amplified, again and again by Pro-Russians.  The article exposes…
AUTHOR: Anna Ūdre The number of fake news stories coming out of Russia appears to be on the rise.  One could wonder if this coincides with the 2018 World Cup in Russia, perhaps being used as cover. This does not make a lot of sense, however, it mildly stretches one’s imagination. It does coincide with…
Facebook gave Russian internet giant special data extension – media | UNIAN
Since March, when news broke that the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used a Facebook app to amass data on as many as 87 million people without their consent, the social network operator has been forced to repeatedly answer for how it has given away user data and who it has given that data to. Recent concern over Russia’s manipulation of social networks in the run-up to the 2016 election may cast the relationship between Facebook and in a new light.Since March, when news broke that the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used a Facebook app to amass data on as many as 87 million people without their consent, the social network operator has been forced to repeatedly answer for how it has given away user data and who it has given that data to. Facebook also rushed to defend itself, saying that in 2014, it changed an element of its API to prevent apps from collecting data on their users’ friends, as the Cambridge Analytica app did, according to the Wired. Facebook has since clarified that while it announced this change in 2014, apps that already had access to people’s friends’ data continued to have access until May 2015. The company also acknowledged that some apps had this access for up to six months longer, to allow them to “come into compliance” with the new rules. There were dozens of companies on the list, one of which may raise more than a few eyebrows in Washington: the Russian internet giant According to Facebook, was given a two-week extension to wind down a feature on two messaging apps that enabled users to see their Facebook friend lists and message with people who also had the apps. During the extension, at least, the app only had access to people’s friend lists, not any information about those friends’ likes or interests. And yet, long before that extension was in place, Facebook says ran hundreds of apps on the platform, all of which operated under Facebook’s old rules, which did allow app developers to collect their users’ friends’ data. Some of those apps began operating as early as 2009.
Russian Influence Campaign Sought To Exploit Americans’ Trust In Local News – To Inform is to Influence
I first discovered Russia’s use of local websites in 2016, long before the election.  VisitWinchesterVirginia Is A Russian Proxy Site Winchester, Virginia is local to the Washington DC area, so I am familiar with the area. It’s only a 90-minute ride from my home.  Little did I know then how big this would become. Nobody else…
Guess which world leader is urging cybersecurity cooperation
President Vladimir Putin on Friday called for closer international cooperation in fending off cyberattacks.
Pro-Russian bias at Facebook? – To Inform is to Influence
There have been long-denied accusations of pro-Russian bias at numerous social media corporations. This appears to lean in the direction of pro-Russian bias at Facebook. Intentional?  It certainly appears so. One could argue that with her background, she would understand how to meet and work within the confines of the Russian legal system. One could…
The coming cyberbattle will be worse than people think
The full integration of cyberwarriors into the Army and the ability to integrate cyber capabilities into the core functions of war fighting still face many cultural battles that could slow much-needed momentum.
Air Force moves to improve electronic warfare effectiveness
BAE Systems is transitioning a radio frequency detection and disruption system to a new type of aircraft.
Polar fitness app broadcasted sensitive details of intelligence and service members
More than 6,500 users who worked at more than 200 sensitive sites across the world appear to have been unknowingly broadcasting their exercise location and their name to the entire world.
Facebook broke the law and faces maximum fine for Cambridge Analytica scandal, UK watchdog says
Don’t Call Us Information Warriors – To Inform is to Influence
US government-funded channels like “Current Time” face a test in the age of Putin and Trump FEATURE Eduard Saakashvili Washington, D.C. 11 Jul 2018 Cufflinks glinting on his wrists, anchor Roman Mamonov looked into camera as the production assistant gave the final countdown. “Five, four, three, two…” It was 1 p.m. in the Washington, D.C.…
Stolen U.S. Military Drone Documents Found for Sale on Dark Web, Researchers Say – To Inform is to Influence
The Pentagon’s budget for UAVs just doubled.  Has security kept pace?  It doesn’t look that way. </end editorial> By Dustin Volz July 11, 2018 5:30 a.m. ET Discovery comes amid heightened concern about how U.S. military secrets may be insufficiently protected from hackers An unidentified hacker tried to sell purported U.S. military documents containing information about…
The Marine Corps wants to protect its Hornets from GPS jammers
The Corps is facing down increased threats from electronic warfare. In Syria, adversaries have used EW attacks against AC-130 gunships.
The Air Force needs more autonomous jets, less human input
A new paper suggests the Air Force should adopt more autonomous systems as a way to compete against Russia and China.
IRS systems found vulnerable to unauthorized access
An Inspector General report found that Internal Revenue Service oversight of system security practices was not up to standard.
Is South Carolina’s voting system vulnerable to hacking?
South Carolina election officials are accused in a new lawsuit of failing to keep the state’s voting processes secure.
Kyiv, not “Kiev”, Russian tanks, not “separatist” in the Donbass – US Congressman
Радіо Свобода Україна Published on Feb 9, 2018 During a joint Atlantic Council meeting with Victor Pinchuk Foundation in Washington, US Congressman Will Herd addressed the audience with a speech in which he spoke about his first visit to Ukraine and explained how the capital’s name sounded and also emphasized the incorrectness of the word “separatism” on Donbass. Among other participants discussing cyber-attacks of Russia in Ukraine and beyond was Dmytro Shymkiv, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration.
Fighting fake news spread in online social networks: Actual trends and future research directions – IEEE Conference Publication
In this paper we present how fake news spread in the current online social networks. We discuss how existing social network technologies such as influence

US Domestic Policy Reports

Trump’s Political Warfare Tool – Belligerent Language – To Inform is to Influence
bel·lig·er·ence bəˈlij(ə)rəns noun aggressive or warlike behavior. After reading through mountains of reports about President Trump’s tough talk at the NATO Summit, I realized anyone quoted was a career diplomat or politician.   I don’t have any personal grudges against diplomats or politicians, I just do not trust the words coming out of their mouths.  A…
U.S. GOP Senator Blasts Putin, Russia’s ‘Mafia’ Government
A U.S. senator who traveled to Russia with a Republican congressional delegation last week said President Vladimir Putin could not be trusted and likened dealing with Moscow to “dealing with the mafia.”
GOP Senator Warns Against Trusting Putin ‘Mafia’ | Louisiana News | US News
WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. senator who just returned from a congressional trip to Russia is warning against trusting President Vladimir Putin. He also says that dealing with the Russian government is like “dealing with the mafia.”
John Kennedy to Russian government officials: ‘Stop screwing with our election’ – CNNPolitics
Sen. John Kennedy told Russian government officials to “stop screwing with our election” on a congressional visit to Russia last week, the Louisiana Republican told CNN on Monday.
Trump Ex-Campaign Chairman Asks To Relocate Trial, Citing Negative Publicity
Lawyers for U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, have asked a judge to relocate a criminal trial starting later this month, arguing that his case might be tainted …
Paul Manafort in Jail: Private Bathroom, Personal Phone, No Prison Uniform – WSJ
Details emerged from prosecutors as defense team for the former Trump campaign chairman seeks to delay his trial.
Manafort Is Transferred From Jail Where He Was Treated Like a ‘V.I.P.’ – The New York Times
After complaining of the distance they had to travel to meet with their client, lawyers seeking to delay a trial of the former Trump campaign chairman objected to the judge’s decision.
Think Russian elections-meddling is fake news? Lawmakers disagree
The Senate Intelligence Committee announced it agreed with a 2017 assessment that said that Moscow preferred Trump during the 2016 presidential elections.
Two Convicted In $30 Million Insider-Trading Scheme With Links To Ukraine
Donoghue said the men were key players in what he called a “massive” and “sophisticated” scheme involving 10 defendants, a “criminal network” including seven New York-based traders and three Ukrain…

Launching the sixth branch of the US armed forces
If we want to build a truly resilient architecture, we need to seize upon the innovation that is occurring today and develop a portfolio of options to meet the challenges in space.
The U.S. Navy Wants to Ditch Missile Defense
The ballistic missile defense mission stretches an already stretched fleet.
The Pentagon Wants to Automate Some Classification Decisions – Defense One
The proposed software would help defense officials make classification decisions and automatically enforce them.
The Pentagon Is Overhauling the Security Clearance Process – Defense One
That includes a hunt for new ideas and companies to do background checks.
US Navy dedicates ship to McCain | TheHill
The U.S. Navy dedicated one of its guided missile destroyers to Sen. John McCain on Thursday. The ship is one of the of two destroyers that were involved in fatal accidents last year in the Pacific.

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