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Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (49)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Zakharova’s peculiar comments on invading Ukraine attracting some attention, even though she attempted to later backtrack. The Vozhd makes many pronouncements at the G-20 on Ukraine, admitting Russia is at war with Ukraine, and saying it will not end until Ukraine has a Russia-friendly government, which of course is probably infeasible for many generations unless Russia invades, conquers Ukraine, and imposes a puppet regime. Merkel attempts to reason with the Vozhd. Pastukhov, Shmulyevich and Oreshkin on the regime’s intransigence and war hysteria – they correctly identify the fact that the regime has sold itself on revanchism and has nowhere to go if it cannot deliver. Worth noting quite a few in Western media are regurgitating Russian propaganda as fact, including for instance the Beeb who are unable to tell the difference between rebels and paid for mercenaries, while the Daily Star manages to confuse Russia and Ukraine in its headline.

POTUS interviewed at G-20, SECSTATE Pompeo comments on Ukraine, and SECDEF Mattis spells out some ground truths on Russia’s duplicity and inappropriate conduct, describing the Vozhd as “clearly a slow learner” and spelling out exactly why – this is of course a Western perspective that leaders should do what is good for their nations, rather than what is good for themselves at the expense of their nations, this leadership non-ethic was a feature of Tsarism and Communism, and is now a feature of Putinism.

Pres Poroshenko’s Sky News interview continues to reverberate in Western media, he offered much the same brief on the Russian buildup during the handover of several refurbished fighters and helicopters (note the add-on armour) this weekend. European leaders continue to criticise Russia’s behaviour, and it appears more sanctions are very likely. The argument for more lethal aid for Ukraine slowly gathers momentum in the US. No major developments in Ukraine, Bellingcat analysis of OSINT supports the Ukrainian case, and Russian attacks in Donbas continue.

UAWire – Kremlin hints at possibility of invading Ukraine

At a briefing in Moscow, the spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova indicated that there is the possibility of occupying those regions of Ukraine where Russian diplomatic institutions are located. Zakharova, in response to the question of whether it’s possible, considering the constant protests at Russian diplomatic missions in Ukraine, to move the diplomatic consulates from Kyiv and Lviv to the separatist-held territories of the Donbas, stated: “Regarding what you asked, it’s not if there were no thoughts regarding moving those missions (in Kyiv and Lviv) to somewhere see. Our recent historical experience suggests that sometimes moving them is not needed, sometimes the status of diplomatic missions changes”. “We, for example, had our general consulate in Simferopol, and then it became a representative office of our foreign affairs in that region. Something like this,” said Zakharova. Later, Maria Zakharova on her Facebook page denied Russia’s intentions. “The quote regarding the status of the general consulate in Simferopol refers to the outcome of Western policies towards Ukraine, which I spoke about at length, at the briefing,” she said. Earlier, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that, after the attacks of “Ukrainian radicals and nationalists” on Russian diplomatic missions, “the patience of the Russian public is wearing thin,” which can lead to an attack on diplomatic missions of Ukraine in Russia.

War will continue so long as Ukraine government stays: Putin

“The current Ukrainian authorities have no interest in resolving the conflict, especially by peaceful means,” Putin told reporters at the end of the G20 summit in Argentina. The conflict pitting Russian separatists against Ukrainian government forces is estimated to have claimed more than

Putin Says War Will Continue as Ukrainian Govt Has no Interest in Resolving Conflict – News18

The conflict pitting Russian separatists against Ukrainian government forces is estimated to have claimed more than 10,000 lives — one-third of them civilian — since it broke out four years ago.

‘War will continue’ as long as Ukraine government in power, says Russian President Vladimir Putin

The conflict pitting Russian separatists against Ukrainian government forces is estimated to have claimed more than 10,000 lives – one-third of them civilian – since it broke out four years ago.

Putin accuses Ukraine of not wanting peace

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Ukraine of not wanting a peaceful solution to its conflict with Russia.

Putin says no talks with Ukraine about release of sailors | Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday there had been no discussion with Ukraine about the possible release of the Ukrainian sailors who were seized along with their ships by Russia last month.

Peskov Denies Blockade of Ukraine-bound Shipping Through Kerch Strait

While Russian shipping seems unaffected, Ukraine reports that ships bound for its Sea of Azov ports are still being denied access through the Kerch Strait.

Moscow: Tit-for-Tat Response to Kiev’s Ban on Russian Men Would be ‘Irrational’ – Sputnik International

The move follows a decision by Poroshenko, who signed a decree declaring martial law in several Ukrainian regions located near the Russian border and the coasts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, which will be in place for 30 days, due to the Kerch Strait incident.

NATO to Keep Monitoring Black Sea Following Ukraine’s Kerch Strait Provocation – Sputnik International

Earlier, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called on NATO to deploy its warships to the Sea of Azov to support Ukraine in the wake of the incident in the Kerch Strait near Crimea last Sunday, when three Ukrainian vessels were seized by Russia after entering Russian territorial waters.

WATCH Ukraine Hold Drills Along Azov Sea Aimed at Defeating ‘Enemy Air Forces’ – Sputnik International

Earlier, Kiev called on NATO to deploy warships in the Sea of Azov after last Sunday’s incident which led Russia to seize three Ukrainian warships for illegally entering Russian territorial waters in the Kerch Strait.

Putin explains Russian stance on Kerch Strait crisis to Merkel over caviar breakfast at G20 (VIDEO) — RT World News

The Russian president drew a diagram of the border violation committed by Ukrainian ships off the coast of Crimea last week for the benefit of the German chancellor, as he hosted a lavish working breakfast at the G20 in Argentina.

Vladimir Putin joins Angela Merkel for a G20 breakfast meeting – YouTube

Daily Mail Published on Dec 1, 2018 Angela Merkel (right) expressed concerns to Vladimir Putin (left) over the escalation of violence in the Kerch Strait off Crimea. They met early on Saturday morning on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The pair were all smiles as they shook hands before sitting down to a business breakfast. But Putin is facing growing pressure from the West as he ramps up his military action in Ukraine. President Donald Trump cancelled his meeting with the Russian President citing concerns over Russian manoeuvres in the war-torn region. Merkel and Putin left to join the other world leaders on the crucial final day of talks at the G20 summit.

Merkel, Putin agree to more four-way talks on Kerch Strait tension | Reuters

Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia will hold further talks at the advisor level about a shipping standoff in the Kerch Strait, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, urging Moscow to let Ukrainian vessels enter the Sea of Azov.

Putin, Merkel Discuss Sea Of Azov Crisis At G20 Summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged “freedom of shipping into the Sea of Azov” in a private talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires.

Putin Says He And Trump Briefly Discussed Ukraine Naval Confrontation

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he and U.S. President Donald Trump briefly discussed the recent naval confrontation in the Black Sea between Ukrainian and Russian naval ships.

White House: Trump had ‘informal’ conversation with Putin at G-20 | TheHill

President Trump had an “informal” conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Buenos Aires on Friday night, the White House announced.

Putin SHUNS international demands to release Ukrainian sailors seized by Russia in clash | World | News | Express.co.uk

VLADIMIR Putin is resisting international demands to release the Ukrainian sailors who were seized along with their ships by Russia during a clash at sea last month.

Russians warn: Civil conflict possible in whole of Ukraine – WorldEnglish – on B92.net

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Russia ‘must be ready for WAR’: Ukraine’s EXPLOSIVE threat over ‘brutal Putin’s arrogance’ / Russia ‘must be ready for war’ blasts Ukraine’s Pavlo Limkin | Daily Star

UKRAINE’S politicians have warned of war with “arrogant” Russia because of Putin’s “aggression” in the Black Sea.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘In Russia Today, I See a Country Preparing for a Major War,’ Pastukhov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, December 1 – Russia today, Vladimir Pastukhov says, is “a country preparing for a major war,” because Vladimir Putin understands that the policies of bluff and bluster he has used with effect in Georgia and Ukraine will at some point not sustain his goals because the world will come to understand both what he is about and what Russia’s real power position is. In an extensive interview for Ekho Moskvy’s “Personally Yours” program yesterday, Pastukhov, a London-based political analyst, says that Russia today, “unfortunately,” is “situated on the periphery of the main trends of the development of humanity” and is unprepared to accept what that means (echo.msk.ru/programs/personalnovash/2324381-echo/). “Russia today is much weaker above all in military affairs,” Pastukhov continues. And the situation is going to get worse. At the scientific-technical level, “humanity is moving forward by gigantic steps and some kind of new arms systems are going to come online in the near future.” Putin is leading others to devote more resources in that direction by his “bold behavior.” “Over the last 20 years,” the analyst says, he “has made quite a lot of predictions. Practically not a single good one has occurred, while all the bad ones have.” That makes what he sees in Putin’s Russia now especially disturbing because it is difficult to see how it will not lead the world to a major war. There is ever greater danger that the situation in the world will get out of control, with one or both sides misreading the actions of the other and miscalculating. “I can assuredly say only one thing,” Pastukhov continues. “I see a country which is preparing for a major war.” That is the only possible explanation for Putin’s pension reforms: he needs money for arms. “Wars begin,” he points out, “not because someone doesn’t sympathize with someone else. Wars begin because there arise contradictions in relations between states which cannot be resolved by other means.” Right now, “the irresolvable contradiction is the growing imperial ambitions of Russia” and the desire of the rest of the world to live differently. For Russia, Pastukhov argues, “today’s wars are profoundly imperialistic ones. These are wars of the 19th century model. Russia seeks to maintain at any price its direct (not indirect) imperial influence on the territory which it considers to be its from time immemorial – the territory of the former USSR and in part Eastern Europe.” No other civilized country having nuclear wars is doing anything like that, he says. In a related comment, Pastukhov says that US President Donald Trump is “Richard Nixon in reverse.” Nixon was an anti-communist opponent of Russia forced by circumstances to begin détente. Trump in contrast is an admirer of Putin and wants good relations with Moscow but is being forced by circumstances at home and abroad to move in the opposite direction. One aspect of this is that Trump will be forced to avoid meeting with Putin in public as was the case in Argentina. But it is a mistake to make too much of this: “Putin and Trump have other channels of communications,” and they will use them. In fact, Pastukhov says, Putin prefers such backchannels because he prefers “the secret to the obvious and hidden mediators to career diplomats.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Preparing for Third World War to Force Ukraine and West to Make Some Hard Choices, Shmulyevich Says

Paul Goble Staunton, December 1 – Vladimir Putin is actively preparing for a third world war, Avraam Shmulyevich says, one in advance of which Ukraine and the West must decide whether Kyiv is “an ally of the West or part of the Putin system.” Indeed, the Kremlin leader’s actions are designed to show the West just how expensive it will be for it to support Ukraine against him. The Israeli political analyst makes those comments in the course of an interview with Taavi Minnik, a journalist for Tallinn’s Postimees newspaper, ones in which he makes clear that Putin is not planning for “’the small victorious war’” many talk about but rather about something more (rus.postimees.ee/6466473/avraam-shmulevich-putin-zhazhdet-revansha). Putin is very much in control however much the situation in Russia has deteriorated, Shmulyevich says. “There is no opposition in Russia; all opposition figures (except perhaps Navalny) are either in the West or more likely under the control of the FSB. The West isn’t supporting any real opposition or spending money to oppose Russian propaganda.” Moreover, and far from the least important, the Israeli analyst says, “Putin has a very powerful repressive apparatus. In fact, nothing threatens him.” “The West’s problem is that it doesn’t listen to Putin who with remarkable candor says what he wants,” Shmulyevich says. He said it already in Munich: he is seeking to reestablish the Russian Empire. Putin wants the greatness of Russia as he imagines it at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20 centuries.” According to the Israeli analyst, “Putin wants to return what was lost with the disintegration of the Soviet Union. He has pursued that goal through his entire period in office, building up a repressive apparatus and a military and putting the economy on military rails.” Russia’s strength has grown but the standard of living of the Russian people has not. “In order to return to the status of empire, Russia must recover Ukraine. Putin has more than once said that Ukraine is a state that should arose as a result of a mistake and which should not exist because Ukrainians are part of the Russian people.” Putin in Crimea and the Donbass has used a strategy of “creeping annexation.’” Given this goal, Shmulyevich says, “Putin doesn’t need ‘a small victorious war’ but a big war which will give him control over Europe and the world.” (emphasis supplied) What has just happened in the Kerch Strait raises the stakes and show how far Putin is now prepared to go, the analyst continues. “Never before has the Russian regular army opened fire on Ukrainian forces. The transfer of Crimea took place without a single shot being fired. And Russia had denied that its forces are in the Donbass.” Now, however, “Putin has attempted to annex the Sea of Azov de facto and for the first time has opened fire on Ukrainian ships in international waters.” Today, “the question, ‘Is NATO prepared to defend the Kerch Straits?’ is equivalent to the question ‘Is NATO prepared to die for Narva?” To avoid disaster, Shmulyevich says, “there must be a clear reaction and not just words expressing concern.” Ukrainian elites and Ukrainian society are not ready to fight an all-out war with Russia, he adds. They have used various euphemisms to avoid facing up to the sweeping nature of Moscow’s aggression. That has had the effect of only leading Putin to conclude that he can go further and further. Putin’s aggression now echoes Hitler’s in the years before World War II, and the response of many in Europe to it now echoes the reaction of many Europeans in that period as well. Everyone must understand that “Putin is preparing for a third world war and for revenge,” Shmulyevich says. “Ukraine must define itself: either it is an ally of the West or it is part of Putin’s system. To continue to sit on two stools at the same time is no longer possible. I very much doubt,” the Israeli analyst concludes, “that European politicians understand this truth” and the stake not only for Ukraine but for themselves as well. As long as they don’t, he suggests, Putin will continue his advance, pocketing anything he can.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian People Aren’t Going to Save World from Putin’s Aggression, Oreshkin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, December 2 – As the economic crisis in Russia has deepened and the West has shown itself less than committed to coming to Ukraine’s aid, many Ukrainians are hoping that the Russian people will go into the streets and force Vladimir Putin to change course; but such hopes, Dmitry Oreshkin says, are without foundation. Mass street protests in any country become possible, the Russian commentator argues, only when there is a split in the elites. That does not yet exist in Russia. Instead, “Putin very hardly controls that which Gleb Pavlovsky has called ‘the Putin consensus of elites.’ They are still held in his fist” (apostrophe.ua/article/world/ex-ussr/2018-12-02/rossiya-idet-po-doroge-kotoroy-net/22183). “It seems to me,” Oreshkin continues, “that those who say that the [Russian] people will come into the streets and begin a revolution are deceiving themselves.” This is not the first time those who face Putin’s repression and aggression have taken solace in this false vision of a Russian future. It was widespread among Russians commentators in 2012 and 2013. But “today there is no basis for saying that people will come into the streets and pull down the powers that be. There are neither demographic nor socio-cultural resources for this.” Ukrainians should recall that their Maidan occurred only because there were many within the Kyiv elite who were on their side. That divided the security services in Ukraine and had the effect of restricting what the powers that be at that time could do. As a result, a space was opened for the mass public protests that overturned the pro-Moscow regime. But “in Russia now, there will not be such a split in the siloviki elites.” If Putin gives the order to suppress street protests, they will obey and do it “quite quickly.” And Russians know that, Oreshkin suggests. To the extent that one can judge, the Russian analyst continues, “Ukrainian society like Russian society in the 1990s overrates its role. People are terribly proud of the Maidan just as in Russia, people were terribly proud of the fact that in 1991 hundreds of thousands of people went into the streets and said ‘we’ve had enough of the Soviet Union.’” Russians went into the streets then “but no one shot at them because the siloviki themselves were not certain that this model was something they needed. Instead, the chekists sat in the Lubyanka, kept quiet and allowed Feliks Dzerzhinsky to be pulled down. They had weapons, but they didn’t have the conviction that then was the time to shoot at the people.” Now, however, Oreshkin says, they have this conviction. Thus, Russians won’t behave as they did in 1991 or as Ukrainians did in the Maidan. Expecting them to is expecting them to engage in a suicidal adventure. “If at the end of the 1980s, Stanislav Govorukhin made a film entitled ‘We Mustn’t Live Like That’ about Soviet reality … people in [Putin’s] circle consider that it is quite possible for them to live as they do now. As a result, there will not be any street protests, and there is no reason to keep talking as if that were a real possibility.”

Interview: Trump On Russia, Ukraine, Brexit

U.S. President Donald Trump said it wouldn’t be right to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the wake of Russia’s recent seizure of Ukrainian vessels, but he said the meeting would go ahead at another time. In his November 30 interview with VOA contributor Greta Van Susteren, Trump also discussed Brexit, the U.S. economy, and immigration among other things.

Pompeo: Russia must return Ukraine’s sailors, vessels before administration consider rescheduled Trump-Putin summit | UNIAN

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Russian aggression against Ukraine in the Kerch Strait near Crimea was the sole reason for President Donald Trump’s cancellation of his G20 meeting with Russia President Vladimir Putin and Russia must return Ukraine’s sailors and vessels before the administration would consider a rescheduled Trump-Putin summit. The President wanted to send a clear, unambiguous message that we find that type of behavior unacceptable, so we canceled the meeting, Pompeo said.

Pompeo: ‘Ludicrous’ to suggest Trump canceled Putin meeting over Cohen news – CNNPolitics

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted that Russian aggression against Ukraine in the Kerch Strait near Crimea was the sole reason for President Donald Trump’s cancellation of his G20 meeting with Russia President Vladimir Putin, calling suggestions that it was influenced by developments in the special counsel’s probe “ludicrous.”

Mattis on Putin’s aggression, Iranian mischief, Khashoggi – YouTube

Fox News Published on Dec 1, 2018 Bret Baier interviews Defense Secretary James Mattis at the Reagan National Defense Forum.

Mattis cites Putin for ‘duplicitous’ actions on missile pact | Fox News

Defense Secrertary Jim Mattis is accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of “duplicitous violation” of a Cold War-era arms treaty and condemning Russian actions in a naval confrontation last weekend with Ukraine.

U.S. Defense Chief Accuses Putin Of ‘Duplicitous’ Action On Missile Treaty

The U.S. defense secretary strongly criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of deceit involving a key Cold War-era arms control treaty, and acting recklessly in last week’s nava…

Mattis blasts Russia’s ‘brazen contempt’ toward Ukraine

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Saturday blasted Moscow following the Russian navy’s “brazen” violation of a waterway treaty with Kiev and the seizure of three Ukrainian vessels. Mattis was speaking before an audience at a defense forum in California, a day after President Donald Trump

Mattis Accuses Putin for Ukraine and Messing with Elections | Time

Defense Secretary Mattis accuses Russian President Putin of trying to “muck around” in the U.S. midterm elections and with Ukraine.

Jim Mattis: Vladimir Putin ‘is clearly a slow learner’

Russian President Vladimir Putin is “clearly a slow learner,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Saturday while discussing efforts to deter Kremlin’s regional aggression.

Mattis Rips ‘Slow Learner’ Putin: ‘He Tried Again to Muck Around in Our Elections’

Defense Secretary James Mattis harshly criticized Vladimir Putin in an interview Saturday, calling the Russian president a “slow learner,” adding relations with

Mattis: Putin a ‘slow learner’ who tried to ‘muck around’ in midterms – POLITICO

&quot;There is no doubt the relationship has worsened,&quot; Mattis said of U.S.-Russian relations.

Pentagon chief slams ‘slow learner’ Putin over election meddling | Reuters

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis accused Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday of being a “slow learner” who again tried to meddle in U.S. elections in November, adding that he had no trust in the Russian leader.

James Mattis blasts Putin as ‘slow learner’ and reveals Russia attempted to interfere with midterms | TheBlaze

Defense Secretary James Mattis didn’t mince words on Saturday, as he never does, in speaking about Russian interference with American elections. Speaking Fox News anchor Brett Baier at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, Mattis not only said that Russia attempted to interfere in our 2018 mideterms, but that the U.S. won’t tolerate their interference and will do what it takes to stop them. “This is a very complex situation because Mr. Putin is clearly a slow learner,” said the former Marine General. “He is not recognizing that what he is doing is actually creating the animosity against his people. He’s not acting in the best interest of the Russian people, and he is actually causing NATO to rearm and to strengthen…the unified stance of all the democracies together.”

Mattis: Russia tried to interfere in 2018 midterms | TheHill

Defense Secretary James Mattis said Saturday that Russian operatives attempted to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections, apparently confirming for the first time that Moscow attempted to meddle in last month’s elections.

Mattis condemns Russia for treaty violations and election interference | World news | The Guardian

US defense secretary attacks Moscow over seizure of Ukrainian vessels, attempt to ‘muck around’ with midterms, and nuclear treaty

Mattis reveals Russian government attempted to interfere in U.S. midterm elections earlier this month – ABC News

Defense Secretary James Mattis said Russia’s government was behind the scheme.

Mattis Slams Putin; Says No ‘Smoking Gun’ on Khashoggi Murder « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

REAGAN DEFENSE FORUM: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis accused Russia of trying to influence the 2018 midterm elections and accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of being “duplicitous” in violating international treaties. The secretary’s statements come one day after President Trump chatted on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina with Putin, this after Trump cancelled a planned longer meeting between the two. Trump had cited Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian navy ships in the Sea of Azov.   “There is no doubt the relationship [between the US and Russia] has worsened,” Mattis said, adding that Moscow “tried again to muck around in our elections this last month.” He also accused Putin of being a “slow learner” due to his failure to grapple with the fact that his moves are leading NATO to rearm, with the alliance spending tens of billions more on defense to meet the Russian threat. One critical treaty the Russians have violated is the Cold War-era INF pact, which bans ground-launched missiles with ranges between 300 and 3,300 miles. The Trump administration recently said that it would pull out of the treaty unless Moscow came back into compliance. The White House is also seeking to pull China into the agreement, something Beijing is unlikely to do since the vast majority of its missiles fall within the outlawed range. “There are no US missiles in Europe, but there are new Russian missiles,” Mattis said, a situation which demands a “long-overdue recapitalization of our nuclear deterrent to keep it safe and secure. Recognizing the stability it has brought over 60 years, we are investing to keep our triad safe and credible.” That recapitalization is slated to cost $1.5 trillion over the next 30 years, and has been criticized by Adam Smith, the Democrat likely to take over the House Armed Services Committee next year in the new Democratically-controlled House. The Saudi Problem Mattis also repeated his earlier contention that he has seen no direct evidence that would tie Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi: “Except for the past 24 hours, I have seen all the intel on Khashoggi’s murder, and right now we do not have a smoking gun.” This past week, senators, angry over being denied a briefing with CIA director Gina Haskell about the Khashoggi murder, voted 63 to 37 to bring to the floor a bill to limit presidential war powers in Yemen. The move is the culmination of increasing international condemnation of the Saudi-led war against Houthi fighters in Yemen, in which Saudi aircraft have repeatedly bombed civilian targets using American-supplied weapons. Several European nations have stopped selling weapons to the Saudi government, something the Trump administration has so far refused to do. In December 2016, the Obama administration halted the sale of about 16,000 guided munitions kits to the Saudis, which allow so-called dumb bombs to more more accurately strike targets. The Trump administration reversed that block. Speaking on a separate panel, Andrea Thompson, undersecretary of State for arms control, defended ongoing US arms sales to Saudi Arabia despite the outrage over Yemen and reports that the CIA has concluded bin Salman ordered the Khashoggi killing. Don’t look at the relationship between Washington and Riyadh in terms of “days and weeks, but in the years and decades,” Thompson said. Arms sold to Saudi help to protect American citizens traveling in the Middle East, and are an effective tool for deterring Iran in the region. “It’s important to the American people,” she said. Underscoring the growing rift between Congress and the Trump administration on the issue, Republican Rep. Kay Granger said that while Congress was still gathering information, “if we have the full picture on [Khashoggi], I would say no, we should not sell” arms to Saudi Arabia. She was speaking on the same panel with Thompson.

Jim Mattis warns top Democrat: Defense cuts could lead to war

Congress should not cut defense spending next year due to the renewed rivalry with Russia and China, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Saturday during a defense policy forum.

Defense Secretary quotes Nike saying when the president asks you to serve ‘Just Do It’ – ABC News

Defense Secretary James Mattis is showing no public signs that he will step down anytime soon.

US Senate rebukes Russia attack on Ukraine ships, urges Trump to follow suit

Hours after Trump announced he was canceling a meeting with Putin at G20, the Senate passed a resolution urging a strong response to Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian navy ships and crew.

President in the interview to Sky News: We must put pressure on Russia to bring it back to the civilized world, because it is a threat to global security — Official website of the President of Ukraine

In the interview to Sky News, President Petro Poroshenko emphasized that he expected solidarity with Ukraine from the international community and organization of pressure for de-escalation of the situation and liberation of Ukrainian sailors. “I have already seen the reaction of US President Donald Trump – he wrote in Twitter that he had made a decision to cancel his meeting with Putin unless he reacted to the request to release the soldiers. I think this reaction means that Putin found himself in total isolation. After the chemical attack in Great Britain, after the terrorist attack on MH17, aggression in the east of my country, after Syria, after all these dreadful things – Putin is in isolation,” the Head of State added. “We have to put pressure to bring Russia back to a civilized world. Because this is a disaster, this is a great threat to global security … This is a problem not only for Ukraine. We are fighting not only for sovereignty and territorial integrity (of Ukraine – ed.), but also for freedom and democracy,” the Head of State said. The President stressed that nobody knew where Putin would appear the next day. “Probably Putin may decide to defend the Nord Stream 2. Therefore he may decide to attack the Baltic states, Scandinavian states. There are no “red lines” for Putin,” he added. The Head of State stressed that in the current situation it was very important to act as a single front – not only leaders, but also nations of the whole civilized world must act together. “And this is extremely important for global security,” he said.

UAWire – Ukrainian President: cancellation of Trump’s meeting with Putin shows Putin’s isolation

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that the cancellation of the meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shows Putin’s absolute isolation. “I have already seen President Trump’s reaction. He tweeted that he has made a decision – if Putin does not respond to the request to release the Ukrainian sailors, he will have to cancel their meeting. I believe this reaction shows that Putin is entirely isolated. After the chemical attack in the UK, after the terrorist attack on MH17, after the aggression in the east of my country, after the events in Syria, and all these terrible things, Putin is in isolation,” Poroshenko said. The Ukrainian president believes that it is necessary to use international pressure to return Russia to the civilized world. “Because it is a disaster, it is a great threat to global security,” Poroshenko’s press service quoted him as saying. The president said that Putin’s aggression is unpredictable. “It is possible that Putin will make a decision to defend the Nord Stream 2 project and will attack the Baltic and Scandinavian countries. There are no ‘red lines’ for Putin,” Poroshenko said.

EU plans to suspend partnership agreement with Russia | UNIAN

The European Parliament will consider the suspension of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Russia in March 2019. Nord Stream 2 reinforces EU dependency on Russian gas supplies, the draft report said.

EU will extend Russia sanctions in December: Tusk | Reuters

The European Union will extend its existing economic sanctions on Russia next month, a top official with the bloc said on Friday after Moscow’s action against Ukraine’s navy in the Sea of Azov.

UAWire – Members of the European Parliament call for new sanctions against Russia

According to the Mission of Ukraine to the EU’s post on Facebook, seven members of the European Parliament called on High-Representative …

Russia’s aggression in Kerch Strait to be discussed at ministerial meetings of NATO, OSCE, and EU Council

The issue of Russia’s aggressive actions in the Kerch Strait against Ukrainian ships will be discussed at the ministerial meetings of NATO, the OSCE and the Council of the European Union, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz has stated.

The Latest: Merkel: Russia can’t block Ukraine’s ports

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The Latest on the current dispute between Russia and Ukraine (all times local):

Merkel, Macron press Putin to free Ukrainian sailors | Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Russian Vladimir Putin to release Ukrainian sailors who were seized along with their ships by Russia last month, Putin’s spokesman said.

UAWire – Germany unveils strategy to bring peace to Ukraine

The German Foreign Ministry unveiled a strategy consisting of five steps aimed at achieving peace in Ukraine. “After Russia illegally annexed the Crimea and supported separatists in the East, more than ten thousand people were killed in Ukraine. A serious conflict in close proximity to Europe is also a serious risk to the security of Germany,” writes the German Foreign Ministry on its website. The strategy includes the implementation of the Minsk agreements, preventing the violation of international law, the need to strengthen and protect the OSCE mission, the deployment of UN peacekeepers and support for reforms in Ukraine. “It is clear for Germany: a wrongful act cannot create a new, legally valid country. The federal government is determined that Ukraine gain its territorial integrity,” states the German Foreign Ministry.

UAWire – Germany considers closing its ports to Russian ships after incident in Kerch Strait

Following the incident in the Kerch Strait, German authorities are considering new restrictions for Russia if it doesn’t release detained …

Groysman, Polish FM discuss possibility of equivalent retaliation to Russian aggression, opposition to Nord Stream 2

Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman and Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz have discussed the possibility of an equivalent retaliation to Russia’s hybrid aggression, toughening sanctions and active opposition to the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project.

Estonia fears Russia wants another piece of Ukraine

Russia might be angling to take control of the key Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, a top Estonian defense official told the Washington Examiner.

The US, UK, and French air forces just practiced defeating a Russian blitzkrieg

Coming on the back of a far larger NATO exercise, Point Blank proves that the major allies are ready to fight and can win against Russia.

Hungary’s Orban says stands behind Ukraine in crisis with Russia | Reuters

Hungary backs Ukraine in a conflict with Russia, despite the Ukrainian government taking anti-Hungarian positions, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said during a visit to Prague on Friday.

John Herbst | Thwarting Moscow’s latest escalation | TheHill

John Herbst says it is essential for US and European security to take strong steps against the Kremlin’s latest escalation.

Andrei Kolesnikov | Kerch blockade aims to make Putin great again | Asia Times

Millions of people have now watched a video of a Russian coast guard vessel ramming a Ukrainian tugboat in the Kerch Strait. For some Russians, this show of force undoubtedly aroused a sense of pride, much to President Vladimir Putin’s pleasure. But for many others, the footage evoked feelings of fear at the prospect of a full-blown war in Ukraine. Most Russian parents, like parents everywhere, would prefer to send their 18-year-old children to study, not to fight.

Russia Military Tests Missile Defense as Ukraine Prepares for War Against Its Only ‘Enemy’

Ukrainian commander Serhiy Nayev said that the “presumed enemy is Russia.”

President on the reinforcement of the Ukrainian army with modern weaponry and equipment: The Kremlin continues to challenge the global order — Official website of the President of Ukraine

President Petro Poroshenko stresses that Russia will not retreat from the aggressive intentions towards Ukraine and will continue to test the world for strength. That is why our state will continue to strengthen the Ukrainian army with modern weapons and military equipment. During the solemn ceremony of transferring military equipment to the personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Head of State reminded that on this day in 1991, more than 90% of Ukrainians had confirmed the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine and made a historic choice – the construction of a free, sovereign, European Ukraine. At the same time, the President said that Russia wants to turn the wheel of history back in the past. “In general, around the territory of Ukraine, along the state border, in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea there is a ground group with a total of more than 80 thousand servicemen, about 1400 artillery systems and MLRS, 900 tanks, 2300 armored combat vehicles, more than 500 planes and 300 helicopters,” he stressed. The Head of State added: “In the waters of the Black Sea, Azov Sea, Aegean Sea more than 80 ships and 8 submarines carry out missions, including 23 attack ships and 6 attack submarines”. Petro Poroshenko emphasized: “The recent act of aggression by the Russian Federation against the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Kerch Strait is directed, I emphasize this separately, not only against Ukraine. The Kremlin continues to challenge the global order – would the world agree on the transformation of the Azov Sea, and then the Black Sea into the “Russian lake”. He stressed that Russia represents a “colossal threat” and Ukraine, together with its allies, is looking for a proper political and diplomatic response to this threat. “But our internal correct answer is the strengthening of the Ukrainian army by modern means of arms and military equipment, in the first place by means of air defense: anti-aircraft missile complexes and fighter planes,” the President said. The Head of State once again stressed that in response to the threat of expanding Russian aggression, martial law was introduced in ten regions of Ukraine. “I emphasize that this preventive step in no way aims at restricting the constitutional rights and obligations of citizens, it does not affect any freedoms. It expands the capabilities of the Armed Forces and the entire security sector to respond quickly to the threats that grow as a snowball,” he said. According to the Head of State, the enhancement of the protection of the state border with the Russian Federation and the administrative border with Crimea is now under way. Orders have been given to switch the defense industry complex to a special mode of work. “We are increasing the protection and defense of critical infrastructure objects: nuclear and hydroelectric power plants, objects of the chemical industry, ports of Ukraine in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. All necessary measures will be taken to strengthen air defense, which covers important state facilities, industrial districts, administrative centers and troops from air strikes,” the President said. In addition, according to him, the objects of a single state civil defense system and all its components are fully prepared. There will also be military exercises and redeployment of military units in strict accordance with the Strategic Plan for the use of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In the areas where martial law was declared, training sessions with reservists and territorial defense began. “Martial law is a preventive measure. It is introduced for the first time in the latest Ukrainian history and only for 30 days. This time will be used to reduce our threats, to strengthen our defense and the ability to protect citizens from the attack of the enemy. It should not be unexpected anymore. We will be able to confine ourselves to the listed measures and I hope, it will not be necessary to extend it,” the Head of State once again noted. The President stressed that Ukraine is moving its way. “Our way to the European Union and to full-scale membership of NATO, to the strengthening of independence and high standards of security, economy and social protection. No one can stop us because Ukraine is a sovereign and independent state, and Ukraine has patriotic, courageous, well-trained and armed AFU. Every day we confirm our independence. Free independent European Ukraine will be established,” he summed up.

Ukraine cites massive buildup of Russian forces along border | Fox News

Russia is building up its land forces and weapons along the border, Ukraine’s president said Saturday as German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Russia not to block Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov.

The Latest: Ukraine: Huge Russian military buildup on border | Fox News

The Latest on the current dispute between Russia and Ukraine (all times local): 6:25 p.m. Ukraine’s president says Russia is building up land forces and weapons along its border with Ukraine as tensions between the two countries flares in the wake of a recent naval clash in the Black Sea.

Ukraine’s Poroshenko Says Russia Amassing Forces Along Border

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said that Russia is amassing ground forces and weaponry along the border between the two countries.

Poroshenko: Over 80,000 Russian troops in and around Ukraine | Ukraine News | Al Jazeera

Ukrainian leader warns of the Russian military build-up as he rallies for action after the first open attack by Moscow.

Russia ‘testing the strength of the global order’ – Poroshenko

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko warned that Russia is building up its military presence along the border with Ukraine, while speaking at a military

Poroshenko comments on Putin’s accusations of provoking incident in Kerch Strait | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has commented on Putin’s statement, which called the Ukrainian side and personally the head of state guilty of provoking an incident in the Kerch Strait to distract Ukrainians from the decreasing popularity of the president and postpone the presidential election date. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine are at stake, Poroshenko said.

World War 3: Russian invasion imminent? Ukraine SHUTS border in panic over Putin’s army | World | News | Express.co.uk

A GLOBAL outbreak of war could be on the horizon, amid fears in Ukraine that a Russian invasion is imminent, as they implement a shock ban against Russian men aged between 16 and 60 from entering the country.

Russia is gathering tanks on our border, says Ukraine, as it activates sweeping martial law powers | Business Insider

Ukraine’s president has said that Russia is gathering tanks on its border as the conflict between the two countries escalates and Ukraine activates its sweeping martial law powers to “protect” its border.

Ukraine Threatens to Escalate Russia Standoff After Ship Detentions – WSJ

A top Ukrainian official said Kiev could respond in kind to the detention of three of its naval ships by Russia. This comes after Ukraine put its armed forces on full military alert and declared a state of emergency.

Russia is trying to ‘starve’ port cities in Ukraine, says former ambassador | TheHill

Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, said Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to cut off Ukraine and “starve” its port cities along the coast to establish further territorial control in the region.

UAWire – Ukraine asks international partners to ban Russian ships from entering certain ports

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, speaking on the Ukrainian TV, announced that Ukraine and its international partners are discussing the …

Russia prepares for ‘show trial’ of Ukrainian sailors as it quietly strangles Kiev in Sea of Azov

The transfer of two dozen captured Ukrainian sailors from Crimea to Moscow has set the stage for the next phase of the Russia-Ukraine standoff, a high-profile show trial with inescapable geopolitical undertones.

Left to go it alone, Ukraine’s navy waits for Russia’s next move – CNN

As Maxim Nosenko strides the decks of one of Ukraine’s moored naval gunships, he’s left to contemplate Kiev’s unlikely response to the apparent bid by Moscow to annex the sea behind him: inactivity.

UAWire – Russia deploys more warplanes and equipment to Belbek airbase in Crimea

The Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine reports that Russia placed fighter jets and other …

The militarization of the Russian Federation of the temporarily occupied Crimea continues

According to the results of satellite processing at the open spaces of the Belbek airdrome near Sevastopol, about 24 units of fighter planes were found, including 16 SU-27 aircraft of different modifications, 8 planes – MIG-29, and about 150 units of special automotive and military equipment.

Мілітаризація Російською Федерацією тимчасово окупованого Криму продовжується | Міністерство з питань тимчасово окупованих територій та внутрішньо переміщених осіб

За результатами обробки супутникової зйомки на відкритих стоянках аеродрому “Бельбек”, що знаходиться поблизу м. Севастополь виявлено близько 24 одиниць літаків винищувальної авіації, серед яких 16 літаків СУ-27 різної модифікації, 8 літаків – МІГ-29, а також близько 150 одиниць спеціальної автомобільної та військової техніки.

Ukraine Stops 100 Russians From Entering Country Amid Ban

Ukraine’s border guard service says some 100 Russian male nationals were stopped from entering the country on December 1.

bellingcat – Investigating The Kerch Strait Incident – bellingcat

An open source analysis of the Kerch Strait incident that involved a violent clash between the Russian and Ukrainian navies. From this information, several things are made clear. Firstly, based on geolocated video footage, Ukrainian ships did enter Russian-claimed territorial waters, both that of Crimea and mainland Russia in the Kerch Strait. Ukraine nonetheless argues this was legally permissible due to the 2003 agreement between the two countries. Secondly, we can say that the Ukrainian tug ‘Yani Kapu’ was intentionally rammed at least four times over a period of at least an hour. Thirdly, based on information provided by the Russian FSB which appears to incriminate themselves, the shooting of the ‘Berdyansk’ most likely took place in international waters. (18:31 GMT – 1/12/18 – This article was updated to reflect that the ownership of the territorial waters extending from Crimea is disputed between Russia and Ukraine. They are in fact only Russian-claimed territorial waters, rather than internationally recognised boundaries. )

Bellingcat: Shooting of “Berdyansk” boat most likely took place in international waters | UNIAN

The team of investigative journalists has analyzed the data released by both Ukraine and Russia regarding the incident in the Black Sea, when Russian Navy vessels first rammed and then later fired on and captured three Ukrainian Navy vessels, marking the first time Russian-flagged military units had officially attacked those of Ukraine. The Ukrainian tug “Yani Kapu” was intentionally rammed at least four times over a period of at least an hour, Bellingcat said.

Russian special services trying to falsify their radio talks while seizing Ukrainian ships – SBU | UNIAN

Ihor Huskov, chief of staff of the SBU intelligence agency, has said the seizure of Ukrainian warships could be the beginning of a more cynical provocation of the Russian special services. The SBU expressed surprise why the Russians had not encrypted communication channels when they realized they were listening.

Mother of capture Ukrainian sailor calls for his release – YouTube

AFP news agency Published on Nov 30, 2018 Pensioner Olga Oprysko first heard from a neighbour in her small western Ukrainian village that Ukrainian navy ships had been captured in the Azov Sea. She then saw on her television Russian border guards holding Ukrainian sailors after a confrontation in the Kerch Strait.

Ukraine bans entry to Russian men ‘to prevent armies forming’ | World news | The Guardian

Men aged 16-60 will be turned away, Ukraine says, while there are reports of women also being stopped from crossing the border

Ukraine Bans Russian Males From Entering Country, Upping Ante In Conflict | HuffPost

The announcement follows President Donald Trump’s decision to scrap a meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit.

Ukraine bans Russian men; Orthodox church splits from Moscow – UPI.com

Ukraine said Friday it’s banning entry for Russian men, a move President Petro Poroshenko said will stop Moscow from sneaking in “private army units.”

Ukraine Bans Russian Men of Military-Service Age | Fortune

Ukraine is concerned about the possibility of a Russian invasion and has banned all Russian men of military age in response.

Russia vs Ukraine: What is sparking tensions between Putin and Ukraine? | World | News | Express.co.uk

RUSSIA and Ukraine have a long history of conflict, but tensions have been reignited significantly since a clash in the Kerch Strait on Sunday. So what sparked this development?

Ukrainian military holds artillery drills near Azov Sea as tensions with Russia mount – YouTube

Global News Published on Nov 30, 2018 Ukrainian armed forces carried out tactical drills on Thursday near the Azov Sea coast as tensions between Ukraine and Russia soar. The drills, forcused on air defence of the city of Mariupol, coincided with Russia’s deployment of S-400 missile defence systems along Crimea’s bottleneck Ukraine border.

Ukraine reports 15 enemy attacks in Donbas over past 24 hours | UNIAN

Russian-led forces mounted 15 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in the last 24 hours. The Ukrainian Army reported no casualties in the past day.