Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Russia appears to be flailing, grasping for a way, any way, to make the Sea of Azov situation a win. Russia obviously did not think the situation through and miscalculated the threshold for a Western reaction.
Damn, there’s that word again. Threshold. I am convinced there is a way to both calculate and portray that ‘line in the sand’ where we will react to aggressive actions. If there is such a way, will somebody please teach me?
The Russian leadership seems to be determined to insult, offend and aggravate POTUS as much as they can – media reporting over the last day is unambiguous. Not a sound political or strategic play, given Russia’s current circumstances. Attempting to add embarrassment by disclosing business dealings prior to POTUS’ nomination is politically dumb, but if we consider almost everything this regime has done since 2008, it has been politically and strategically dumb. Like the NSDAP regime, domestic propaganda displays come first.
Russia is being chastised over the Azov attack by G7, ECHR, the CDU in Germany, advocating that Russian ships be denied access to US and EU ports, and the Visegrad Four nations – including, curiously, traditional Russian proxy Hungary. Moreover, Hungary backflips publicly declaring its support for Ukraine in its dispute with Russia – one wonders what compelled Orban to so quickly abandon his de facto ally Russia so abruptly (curious comments on the matter by FM Klimkin in Kyiv). Russia’s critics inside the EU/NATO have been given all the political ammunition they could ask for to deal with Russia’s proxies inside the EU/NATO camp – clearly Muscovy was so mesmerised with the opportunity to hurt and embarrass the detested Ukrops that the wider political and strategic consequences of an overt unprovoked Russian flagged maritime attack were not considered. Kempe OpEd also argues for lethal military aid – supporters of lethal aid are rapidly gaining numbers in the Western media, for the first time since 2014, outnumbering the advocates of talkfest solutions.
Two UK officials brief CNN on the Salisbury attack and state that the operation had to be approved by the Vozhd himself, give the large amount of CW agent employed.
Update on developments in Ukraine – Donbas fires continue. Russians unhappy about border controls.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov revealed two emails on Friday from U.S. President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty the previous day to lying to Congress about a project in Moscow. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov revealed two emails on Friday from U.S. President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty the previous day to lying to Congress about a project in Moscow. Peskov said that Cohen had used the January 2016 emails to request a meeting either with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s then-chief of staff Sergei Ivanov or Peskov himself. In the emails, which Peskov showed to reporters, Cohen expressed interest in discussing a proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow. U.S. prosecutors referred to the emails in court documents related to Cohen’s plea deal. “Over past few months I’ve been working with the company based in Russia regarding the development of Trump tower, a project in Moscow City,” Cohen wrote in one of the emails that Peskov showed. “I am requesting your assistance. I request someone preferably you contact me, so I might discuss the specifics as well as arranging meetings with appropriate individuals.”
Putin’s speech was a veiled swipe at Trump, who has advocated an ‘America First’ policy on trade, and has pledged to snub Putin in Buenos Aires in protest at Russia’s skirmish with Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with his American counterpart Donald Trump can only be planned when both sides are willing to hold it.
Trump abruptly canceled the meeting after his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to lying about Trump’s attempt to land a major project in Moscow. Donald Trump announced that he has canceled his private meeting with Vladimir Putin during the G-20 Summit, but Russia apparently has other plans. Not long after Trump said he would not be meeting Putin during the upcoming summit of world leaders in Argentina, Russia responded by saying it “rejects” Trump’s decision and is still ready for contact with Trump, Raw Story reported in citing a story published in the Jerusalem Post.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia believes U.S. President Donald Trump canceled his meeting with Vladimir Putin due to domestic issues rather than the Ukraine situation, its foreign ministry said on Friday. “Is the provocation started by Kiev in this area (Azov Sea) a real reason for the cancellation? We
Russian officials on Friday cast doubt on President Trump’s official reason for canceling a planned bilateral summit with Russian Presiden
“I think the true reason is rooted in the domestic political situation in the United States.” A Kremlin spokesperson dismissed Donald Trump’s claim he cancelled a G20 meeting with Vladimir Putin over the situation in Ukraine, saying the real reason was the Mueller probe, Reuters reported Friday. The president announced via his Twitter Thursday that he was pulling out of a planned face-to-face with Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina, because Russia had not returned sailors and ships seized in a maritime confrontation off the coast of Crimea on Sunday. Trump had earlier told reporters he was still open to meeting with Putin, but shortly after his personal former fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying about a Trump Organization bid to build a tower in Moscow, he abruptly cancelled the meeting. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed on Friday that Putin would still have a brief impromptu meeting with Trump at the summit. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Friday that she didn’t buy Trump’s excuse — and that the president’s “domestic political situation” was to blame. READ MORE: Trump says the Moscow Trump Tower project Cohen lied about was totally above board
The White House denies Kremlin claims that Presidents Trump and Putin will have an informal meeting at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires.
White House official says ‘There is no scheduled pull-aside’ in response to Russian claim
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will have a “brief, impromptu” meeting at the G-20 summit in Argentina despite Trump’s abrupt cancellation on Thursday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told a Russian news agency. First flagged by Reuters, the meeting has not yet been confirmed by U.S. sources. A White House official told pool reporters Friday morning: “There is no scheduled pull aside.”
Fox Business Published on Nov 29, 2018 Hudson Institute’s Rebecca Heinrichs and former State Department official David Tafuri on how President Trump canceled his meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
The tweeted decision was seen as a sudden turnaround, as roughly an hour earlier, the U.S. President had told reporters he would probably meet with Putin at the summit and said it was “a very good time to have the meeting.” Here is how Russian officials reacted to the news:
Donald Trump, who has advocated an “America First” policy on trade, has pledged to snub Putin in Buenos Aires in protest at Russia’s naval skirmish with Ukraine in waters near Moscow-annexed Crimea.
Russia is putting on a brave face after U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly junked a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It’s all about internal U.S. politics and “anti-Russian hysteria,” Russian officials shrug.
Samantha Vinograd writes that Trump’s decision to cancel his meeting with Putin over Ukraine is hardly believable. But if it is the real reason, Trump just let Putin get a relatively free pass on his military aggresion toward his neighbor.
Bloomberg Politics Published on Nov 30, 2018 Nov.30 — Aivaras Abromavicius, former minister of economic development and trade in Ukraine, discusses Russia’s capture of Ukrainian ships and soldiers in Crimea, why President Trump canceled his meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit, the type of support they are looking for from other countries and how the action is impacting Ukraine’s economy. He speaks on “Bloomberg Markets: European Open.”
U.S. President Donald Trump says he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at the appropriate time.
President Trump said Friday that Russia’s military clash with Ukraine is the “sole reason” he canceled a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, rejecting Moscow’s argument that he caved to political fallout from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
President Trump on Friday said Russia’s recent military actions against Ukraine were the “sole reason” he decided to scrap a planned meeting
Senior Russian officials publicly chided U.S. President Donald Trump following his announcement on Thursday that he would no longer meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during the G-20 summit of world leaders in Argentina this week.
U.S. and Russian officials also disagree on the real reason why Trump canceled a planned sit down with the Russian leader.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday that the Russia probe has nothing to do with President Trump’s decision not to meet with Vladimir Putin
While running for president, one of Donald Trump’s businesses tried to build a big, new real estate development in Moscow and his company cozied up to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime to make it happen.
U.S. President Donald Trump has defended his decision to seek a business deal in Russia in 2016 even as he pursued the Republican presidential nomination.
President Trump canceled his meeting with Vladimir Putin over the crisis between Russia and Ukraine. Yet Trump might still want a good relationship with Putin. WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib explains. Photo:
Michael Cohen’s latest plea is proof.
U.S. President Donald Trump has defended his decision to seek a business deal in Russia in 2016 even as he pursued the Republican presidential nomination.
In 2016, when his company was negotiating a potential deal in Moscow, Donald J. Trump suggested that there was no need for the United States to penalize Russia over Crimea.
President Trump raised eyebrows during the 2016 presidential campaign for trying to make nice with Russia. Now it’s clearer than ever that closer ties between the two countries could have paid dividends for his private company.
In an article Thursday about a planned meeting at this weekend’s G20 summit between the U.S. and Russian presidents, the Wall Street Journal (sorta) called President Trump a Russian plant.
The Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialized countries have called Russia’s seizure of three Ukrainian vessels unjustified and demanded the release of the 24 captured Ukrainian sailors, saying th…
Foreign ministry heads of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, the United States, and the EU High Representative have expressed extreme concern over Russia’s actions against the Ukrainian Naval Forces ships in the Kerch Strait, according to a joint statement published on the website of the Government of Canada.
World leaders are meeting in Argentina for their annual Group of 20 (G20) summit amid new tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
The press service of the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice reported that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has requested that Russia …
The U.S. and European Union have to consider closing their ports for Russian vessels coming from the Sea of Azov. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Secretary General of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany claimed this in Berlin, Reuters reports. The politician says that such actions have to be the response to the capture of Ukrainian military vessels in the Black Sea. The Christian Democratic Union of Germany noted that such measures have to be in force until the situation in Ukraine is not resolved. As we reported earlier, the coast guard ships of the Russian Navy acted aggressively against the ships of the Ukrainian Navy, which have been carrying out a scheduled transition from Odesa port to Mariupol port in the Sea of Azov. ‘Today, November 25, the ships of the Ukrainian Navy with two armored gunboats and a sea mule tugboat have been carrying out a scheduled transition from Odesa port to Mariupol port in the Sea of Azov. The intention to make the transition was informed in advance in accordance with international standards in order to ensure the safety of navigation. However, contrary to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Treaty between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on cooperation in the use of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, the Russian coast guard ships – Sobol class patrol boat, Don border guard cruiser, Mangust class patrol boat and Suzdalets anti-submarine warfare ship performed blatantly aggressive acts against the ships of the Ukrainian Navy,’ reads the message.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the issues related to Ukraine on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina.
The foreign ministers of the countries comprising the Visegrad Four – the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, have expressed their support of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine by condemning the situation surrounding the Kerch crisis, Radio Liberty reports. According to the Slovak Foreign Ministry, during the discussion of the problem, “the strong support of all four ministers of the four countries was voiced for the territorial integrity of Ukraine in the dispute with Russia, in the spirit of the jointly made statements of the EU and NATO”. At the Visegrad Four meeting, which was held in Bratislava, the foreign ministers of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic – Jacek Czaputowicz, Miroslav Lajcak, Peter Szijjarto and Tomas Petricek respectively – also discussed matters pertaining to preparation for the upcoming summit of the Visegrad Four and the Eastern Partnership. The summit is scheduled to be held in spring next year, on the 10-year anniversary of the Eastern Partnership program, with the aim of activating and reinforcing the collaboration between the countries in the partnership.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says he expects a thaw in relations with Hungary in the near future. Relations between Ukraine and Hungary deteriorated after the Verkhovna Rada adopted a new law on education in 2017.
Minister of Foreign Affair of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin expressed hope that Hungary to actively support an assistance from the EU and NATO to Ukraine in connection with Russia’s attack on the Ukranian military ships in the Kerch Strait. The Minister reported this on Facebook. ‘We come up with some groundwork to our meeting with a Hungarian colleague, which to take place the next week in Milan. We could have stopped on this but I can’t skip one more aspect. Last Saturday’s event in the Black Sea shook Ukraine and the world. This is the first armed attack performed by Russian army without hiding their flag. Hopefully, Hungary knows that this threat is not only to Ukraine,’ Klimkin said.
“Hungary backs Ukraine in a conflict with Russia, despite the Ukrainian government taking anti-Hungarian positions,” Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban said during a visit to Prague on Friday, Reuters reports. He added that Hungary’s stance was clear-cut. “We are a pro-Ukraine government, so we stand behind Ukraine,” Orban said in response to a reporter’s question. As reported, the conflict between Budapest and Kyiv broke out after the adoption of the Law of Ukraine “On Education”, which defines Ukrainian as the language of the educational process in Ukraine. In September this year, the relations between the countries further deteriorated after the video had been released showing Ukrainian citizens receiving Hungarian passports at Hungary’s consulate in Berehove town in Zakarpattia region. Kyiv responded by expelling a Hungarian consul from Berehove. In particular, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin stated that the Hungarian consul had violated Ukrainian legislation and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Budapest also expelled a Ukrainian consul.
Hungary supports Ukraine in the conflict with Russia, notwithstanding, the Ukrainian government taking an anti-Hungarian position. Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban claimed this during his visit to Prague on November 30, according to Reuters. ‘Hungary’s stance is clear-cut, we are a pro-Ukraine government, so we stand behind Ukraine,’ Orban said in response to a reporter’s question. Related: Russian hackers show interest in Brexit ‘There is a pro-Ukraine government in Hungary, while there is an anti-Hungary government in Ukraine. Despite that, we have not changed our stance and we will stand behind Ukraine in this conflict,’ Orban added. As we reported earlier, the coast guard ships of the Russian Navy acted aggressively against the ships of the Ukrainian Navy, which have been carrying out a scheduled transition from Odesa port to Mariupol port in the Sea of Azov.
Some 500 pro-government media outlets, national and regional, will be brought together under an umbrella group, the Central European Press and Media Foundation (CEPMF), said a statement from the new group earlier this week
Poland hopes that Russia's aggression against Ukraine in the Sea of Azov will change the circumstances related to the construction of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. “In principle, the construction of Nord Stream 2 can still be blocked. We hope that the current situation with Ukraine can change the circumstances related to construction,” Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said in an interview with Ukrinform. According to the minister, Poland understands what a problem poses to Ukraine the construction of this gas pipeline as the Ukrainian gas transportation system could become irrelevant. In addition, Nord Stream 2 is a tool to blackmail Ukraine as well as a way to deprive Ukraine of budget revenues, Czaputowicz underscored. He noted that the project had not only economic, but also political and geopolitical significance and also affected the energy security of Poland and other countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The Polish foreign minister drew attention to the fact that this project is dangerous in the military dimension as well. “Since Russia protects its industrial infrastructure in the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, then if it has it in the Baltic Sea, it may have a desire to protect it as well,” Czaputowicz said. Poland and the Baltic countries feel it, he noted. “There is also an issue of financial gains from gas trading. Russia uses them not to improve the quality of life of its citizens but to enhance the combat capability of its army. We stand in solidarity with Ukraine in the issue of the Nord Stream 2 and oppose its construction,” the Polish foreign minister emphasized.
In London, Ukrainians and friends of Ukraine launch a month-long campaign in response to the escalation of Russian aggression.
Appeasement’s price is always high. It encourages malevolent actors to escalate their ambitions as they calculate what they wish to achieve against reduced risk and resistance. The Atlantic Council’s Fred Kempe details a three-pronged approach to deter the emboldened Russian president. ….. – Given the more direct Russian military involvement, it’s also time to increase surveillance and other monitoring of the Sea of Azov by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and Western drones. A stronger message would be to widen NATO and U.S. military presence in the eastern Black Sea by increasing freedom of navigation operations. Finally, the U.S. and allies should provide additional defensive naval armaments to Ukraine, including coastal defense surface-to-ship missiles, patrol boats, radar, and additional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets. Critics might argue that such actions would be provocative. History has taught us, however, that appeasement is the most inflammatory action. That is the lasting lesson of Munich.
I first went to Russia in 1969 as an exchange student. I’ve studied, lived, worked and traveled there ever since. I’m now considered an “expert” on Russia, a word which always strikes me as an exaggeration when it comes to understanding a country as complex as this.
The UK has assessed that the brazenness of the attacks that killed one Briton and sickened a former Russian spy and his daughter — including the amount of nerve agent used — point to approval by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, two officials familiar with the matter told CNN.
Intelligence officials in the U.K.
Even if you take all that the Kremlin has said about the incident at face value, Russia’s actions still constitute a violation of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation has confirmed its armed forces participation in an attack on Ukrainian naval vessels on 25 November in Kerch Strait. On it informs the independent Interfax and state-owned TASS news agencies referring to the head of the National Centre for State Defence Control, Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev. “Thanks to the effective cooperation of the border service of the Federal Security Service of Russia, Rosmorrechflot and the forces of the Southern Military District, on November 25, provocative actions of the Ukrainian Navy vessels that illegally invaded the territorial sea of the Russian Federation were stopped,” said Mikhail Mizintsev. In addition, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has extended an announcement, which notes on the new undeniable evidence of Russian aggressive armed attack Ukrainian Navy According to a statement, SBU received uncontested proof of Russian armed offensive on Ukrainian Navy, on 25.11.2018 in Kerch Strait. Ukrainian Security Service officers used technical means to get the crew negotiations of the Russian Su-30SM fighter aircraft and the Ka-52 helicopter and relevant command points. “These talks leave no doubt that the Russian military command deliberately ordered the use of weapons against Ukrainian ships,” the Deputy Head of the Service Oleg Frolov noted.
Russia has deployed an additional S-400 surface-to-air missile unit to Crimea, which it annexed from Ukraine in 2014. The extra unit, deployed on November 29, reinforces three units already based there.
Russia deployed fighter aircraft and other military equipment at the Belbek airfield, which is located in the occupied by Russia Crimea. The press office of the Ministry for temporarily occupied territories and internally displaced persons reported this. It is claimed that a satellite imagery detected 24 units of fighter aircraft, including 16 units of Sukhoi Su-27 of different modifications, 8 Mikoyan MiG-29 fighter aircraft, as well as approximately 150 special-purpose vehicles and other military equipment. According to specialists’ assessment, An increase in the number of aircraft parks and storage areas for aircraft armament on the military part of the airfield can be used to increase the capabilities for receiving combat aviation, including strategic. Such actions of the Russian Federation reaffirm the fact that the occupying country considering the temporarily occupied Crimea solely as just another military base, which will keep the entire European continent in suspense,’ the Ministry noted.
A lawyer for one of the Ukrainian sailors detained by Russia on November 25 off the Russia-occupied Ukrainian region of Crimea has said the case against the seamen was “a political trial.”
Twenty-one of the men are being held in the Lefortovo remand prison in Moscow, three others who were wounded are in a hospital wing of a jail
Radio interception, as an evidence of purposeful aggressive escalation of the situation
Two foreign cargo ships were damaged while maneuvering in the southern anchorage of the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea on November 30. Both ships were en route from Constanta Romania to ports of Russia and Ukraine on the Sea of Azov.
Ukraine will use all the opportunities of martial law to strengthen the army’s defence capacity, as the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said at the meeting dedicated to the security issues, 112 Ukraine reports. “We will use all the opportunities the martial law provides to strengthen the capabilities of Ukraine’s Armed Forces to counter Russian aggression. I set a separate task to inform the international community about Russia’s aggressive actions and Ukraine’s position concerning these actions. This multi-billion machine of propaganda Russia turned on to try to assign responsibility to Ukraine,” the President said. Related: Poroshenko entrusts local governors to provide assistance to families of captured sailors He also noted that he was satisfied with the position of West on the current situation. “The whole world is with us now. We are so grateful to the international community and the leaders of the world powers for a clear and consistent support of Ukraine, clear requirement concerning Russia on immediate release of the Ukrainian POWs and Ukrainian military vessels, for demanding Russia to de-escalate the situation in Azov and Black seas, in Kerch Strait,” Poroshenko stressed.
SBU: Russia fired four missiles on Ukrainian ships on 25 Nov. “It was a miracle that Ukrainian servicemen survived.” Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Ukraine has blocked Russian men between the ages of 16 and 60 from entering the country as a feud with Moscow over a naval incident continues to escalate.
Spokesperson for the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service Andriy Demchenko says 99 Russian citizens have been refused entry to Ukraine since November 30, when the ban on entry of all male Russian nationals aged 16-60 was introduced in Ukraine for the entire period of martial law. At the same time, more than 780 Russian citizens crossed the border and entered Ukraine, Demchenko said.
‘They denied everyone, little boys, little girls — it didn’t matter’ Meduza speaks to Russian citizens turned away at the Ukrainian border in Kyiv, immediately after the government’s entry ban — Meduza
On November 30, the Ukrainian government announced that it was banning all Russian men between the ages of 16 and 60 from entering the country until December 26, when President Poroshenko’s recent martial law decree is scheduled to end. Meduza spoke to several Russians who landed at Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv immediately after the ban was imposed. These individuals say they were denied entry into Ukraine on the formal grounds that border officials are admitting neither men nor women.
Some Ukrainians didn’t even know an unprecedented state of martial law had come into force, while others trained for all-out war.
Ukraine restricts foreigners’ access to occupied Donbas. The decision has to do with the introduction of martial law. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Russia’s hybrid military forces mounted six attacks on the Ukrainian army in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in the past day, using weapons banned under the Minsk agreements twice. The Ukrainian Army reported no casualties in the past day.