Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (59)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

I continue to be mystified by Russian logic. Russia makes claims with no evidence, Russia refuses humane actions, Russia refuses diplomatic meetings, Russia intensifies threats while Putin ratings plummet. 

Russia and Putin just might be so desperate to turn things around that he might just invade Ukraine and commit state-level suicide in the process. Support for Ukraine in the West is increasing every day.  Actions, mostly economic, against Russia by the West increase almost daily.  

Russia is going to implode before the West bends.  Again. 

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Russia’s multithreaded  “firehose” campaign continues but is not producing much traction in the West. Russia rejects the notion of releasing POWs to get summit meeting with the US. Russia’s FM Lavrov claims Ms. Butina was tortured into cooperating with the Bureau. Russia threatens to block Google in Russia, probably more futile than blocking Telegram was. The Vozhd continues to dive in polls and becomes the focus of public disdain in Russia. Venezuelan stunt continues.

Interesting analyses by Honchar, Motyl, Johnston, and Pynzenyk.

UNGA to vote on Crimea and Azov Sea. NATO and EU support measures for Ukraine detailed. Ukraine supporters appeal to POTUS for further aid. Canada expected to increase aid. Adm Voronchenko, Commander of the Ukrainian Navy arrives in DC to brief on Russian attack. AFU intel briefs on Russian VKS reinforcements in Crimea. Crimea’s demographic collapse detailed, as Soviet-era retirees die out.

Update on Donbas.

Kremlin has no intention to release Ukrainian POW sailors in return for Putin-Trump meeting | UNIAN

Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov has said the Kremlin is not going to release Ukrainian POW sailors captured in the Kerch Strait in return for a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Peskov stressed the Russian side remains ready for a bilateral meeting at the highest level.

Kremlin commented on Trump’s refusal to meet with Putin –

Kremlin commented on Trump’s refuse to meet with Putin

Bolton: No Trump-Putin Meeting While Russia Holds Ukrainian Ships, Sailors

U.S. national-security adviser John Bolton says there will be no meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin while Moscow still holds the Ukrainian ships and sailors…

No Trump-Putin meeting while Russia holds Ukraine ships – Bolton | Euronews

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – There will be no meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin while Russia still holds Ukrainian ships and

Bolton says no plans to reschedule Trump-Putin meeting | TheHill

National security adviser John Bolton said Thursday there are no plans to reschedule a meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

No Trump-Putin meeting while Russia holds Ukraine ships: Bolton | Reuters

There will be no meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin while Russia still holds Ukrainian ships and sailors seized near Crimea, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said on Thursday.

Russian foreign minister says Maria Butina was ‘tortured’ into cooperating with U.S. law enforcement — Meduza

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has commented on Maria Butina’s cooperation with American law enforcement, claiming that she was subjected to “a kind of torture.”

Kremlin Says Allegations Against Accused Russian Agent Butina Groundless

The Kremlin says that allegations against Maria Butina, a Russian woman accused of acting as an agent of Russia’s government in the United States, are “groundless.”

Russian National Butina Pleads Guilty To U.S. Charge Of Foreign-Agent Conspiracy

A Russian woman has pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to act as a foreign agent in a case that the U.S. government said highlighted Moscow’s efforts to influence Washington’s foreign policy.

Russian agent’s guilty plea intensifies spotlight on relationship with NRA – The Washington Post

Maria Butina told prosecutors that the gun rights group was a pathway to influence the Republican Party.

UAWire – Kremlin threatens to block Google in Russia

The Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, also known as Roskomnadzor, will start to …

Putin’s Ratings in 2018, a Sign of Things to Come? An Interview With Alexei Levinson

Alexei Levinson, the Levada Center’s head of research, discusses the science behind Vladimir Putin’s ratings.

Half of Russians now say Vladimir Putin is responsible for the country’s problems, according to new poll — Meduza

For only the third time in Putin’s presidency, more than half the country currently holds him responsible for Russia’s problems and the rising cost of living, according to a new poll by the Levada Center. Late last month, 55 percent of the country said Putin is to blame for these trends. (Sociologists recorded previous spikes in August 2012, at 51 percent, and in August 2014, at 65 percent.)

Majority of Russians Hold Putin Responsible for Rising Costs of Living, Poll Says

A majority of Russians have said they hold President Vladimir Putin responsible for the problems the country is facing and rising costs of living, according to a new poll released by the independent Levada Center pollster. Putin’s approval rating has dropped to five-year lows on the back of an unpopular law he signed in October that raised the population’s pension eligibility age.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Share of Russians Ready to Protest Even Politically Jumps from Eight Percent in March to 30 Percent Now, Poll Finds

Paul Goble Staunton, December 13 – Thirty percent of Russians are now prepared to take part in public protests, a Levada Center poll finds, including 22 percent who say they are ready to do so in actions making political demands. Both figures are dramatically higher than nine months ago, when they were eight percent and six percent respectively. These figures, reported at, track with the declines in public trust in and support for Vladimir Putin and other government leaders; and while they are still a minority of the population, these numbers do suggest that more Russians will be ready to go into the streets in the coming months than at any point since 2011. Indeed, unless Putin can turn things around, possibly with some “good little war” or domestic crisis where he can show himself to be a national savior, the wave of protests once the weather warms up next year is likely to be every bit as much a challenge to his rule as were the demonstrations of 2011-2012.

Russia Slams Trump Administration Hypocrisy Over Venezuela Bombers, Says Half U.S. Military Budget Could Feed All of Africa

The comments were strange from a country “half of whose military budget would be enough to feed the whole of Africa,” a Kremlin spokesman said.

After a spat with the US, Russian bombers in Venezuela carried out drills over the Caribbean | Business Insider

Days after their arrival in Venezuela triggered a verbal duel between Washington and Moscow, two Russian strategic bombers carried out drills over the Caribbean Sea, Russia’s defence ministry said Wednesday.

World War 3: Russia BLASTS US as ‘hypocritical’ over Venezuela comments | World | News |

RUSSIA has hit back at the US over military spending, after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Moscow of corruption and of wasting public money aiding Venezuela.

Meet Maduro, Venezuela’s copycat dictator | TheHill

It sounds like the Cuban Missile Crisis, but history is repeating itself in Venezuela.

Mykhailo Honchar | How to stop Nord Stream 2 and destroy Russian-German alliance bound with gas and corruption | UNIAN

Russia has long been using civilian infrastructure for military purposes, like creating a pretext for boosting military presence. The European Parliament this week adopted a resolution condemning the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline bypassing Ukraine. The document recognizes that the pipeline poses a threat to European energy security, and also calls for the halt to the Nord Stream 2 construction. It is important that this resolution coincided in time with that of the U.S. House of Representatives, also opposing the construction. It is also worth recalling that U.S. legislators in both chambers of Congress are considering bills related to sanctions over Nord Stream 2. An almost simultaneous adoption of such resolutions will have a certain cumulative effect and further worsen the conditions for the project implementation by joint German-Austrian-Russian efforts. The documents will not directly affect the project. However, they undoubtedly harmonize, organize and strengthen resistance to the pipeline, both on the part of the European community and on Washington’s part. That’s because both Europe and the U.S. have clearly understood that Nord Stream 2 is not just a gas pipe, it also symbolizes the emergence of new geo-economic and geopolitical realities – a kind of Russian-German alliance bound by gas and corruption. It is most often noted that the Russian interest in the project is to sell as much gas as possible, while the German interest is to buy Russian gas at cheaper prices and sell it in Europe, and Austrian interest is similar to German. But in reality, a new phenomenon has emerged – an alliance of the three countries, whose project has not been completed yet, but it has already shaped European and Atlantic solidarity. Most in Europe, the United States and Canada have already realized that once this pipeline is built and operational, a completely new configuration will emerge in Europe. And then the North Atlantic Alliance will unlikely be able to carry out a mission of protecting its allies, for example, in the Baltic states, if they are subjected to Russian aggression. Against the background of what Russia is doing against Ukraine, also continuing their subversive activities in Europe, as well as in the wake of the latest Black Sea incident with Ukrainian ships, it is easy to conclude that Russia will further shift their aggressive and subversive actions onto the Baltic States. Under these circumstances, if there is a need for immediate aid, including military assistance, to the Baltic States, such NATO Allies as Germany will at the very least take its time to first “figure out” what is happening and whether there is in fact an act of Russian aggression, especially if it is “hybrid type,” whether it is worth taking any real steps or it would be enough to express concern. At the very most, such allies would simply block any action aimed at counteracting Russia’s aggressive behavior against the Baltics. This is something that is already making many in Europe anxious, as was evident from the outcome of the vote in the European Parliament. There, they are aware of the risks that have emerged, and now these are no longer risks but threats. The European Parliament has never shown any support for Nord Stream 2, and neither had it any neutral attitude towards the project. There has always been clearly stated that the project does not meet the EU interests, especially against the backdrop of an Energy Union created in the EU as an energy solidarity mechanism. Therefore, these resolutions – of the European Parliament and the United States – create a cumulative effect of pressure on the governments of several countries: to a greater extent – on those of Germany and Austria, and to the smaller – France and the Netherlands, who support the project, but not too pro-actively. For an even greater cumulative effect, only one thing remains – for NATO to express their position. After all, the project should be evaluated not only from the standpoint of business interests and energy security but also through the prism of military security, because we already know how Russia uses civilian infrastructure for military purposes. We saw this on the example of captured Ukrainian gas exploration and drilling platforms on the Black Sea shelf. After seizing them, Russia equipped them with hydro-acoustic intelligence devices for monitoring underwater movements in the north-western sector of the Black Sea. In this sector lies our main trade traffic, NATO warships enter the area, and military assistance is provided.

Alexander J. Motyl | Is Russia About to Invade Ukraine?

Vladimir Putin must be kicking himself. Four years ago, he could have invaded and seized most of Ukraine in a few weeks. Believing that Ukrainians were an “artificial” nation led by “fascists,” however, he figured an invasion was unnecessary and the state would collapse on its own. Now, Ukrainians are daily demonstrating their desire to leave the Russian zone of influence forever. An invasion may be the only thing that could postpone the inevitable, but it’s an extremely risky undertaking that could result in Russia’s collapse. So, what’s Putin to do? He’s caught between a rock and a hard place. Although war—whether big or small—would serve no Russian interests, it is all the more likely as Putin grasps at straws to sustain his declining legitimacy. Like all increasingly impotent and unpopular dictators, Putin probably senses that a war with Ukraine might just succeed in distracting Russians and saving his regime. Alas, war with Ukraine would be no simple matter. Although Russia’s armed forces and weapons arsenals vastly exceed Ukraine’s, Ukraine’s army is no longer the pushover it was in 2014, when it consisted of some 6,000 battle-ready troops. A large-scale assault by the 80,000 Russian troops and 500 tanks amassed along Ukraine’s frontiers would result in a land battle that would kill tens of thousands of ethnic Ukrainian and ethnic Russian civilians and as many Russian and Ukrainian soldiers. The West would respond with enhanced weapons deliveries to Ukraine, impose severe sanctions such as cutting off Russia from the Swift banking system, and nix the Nord Stream II pipeline. Worse, the shock to Russia’s economy and society of a less than victorious and less than quick and easy war would in all likelihood induce elites to mobilize against Putin and the population to engage in protests. Putin’s Russia is anything but stable. His power rests on an awkward coalition of situationally allied interests—his inner sanctum of advisors, the forces of coercion, oligarchs, and organized crime. Neither of these groupings has a stake in Putin qua Putin or in Russia qua Russia. They’re in the game for their own good, and if and when the system appears to be tottering, they will, like Mafiosi the world over, jump ship and turn their knives on their former master. Russian popular attitudes are no less mercurial, as the recent protests over the Kremlin’s decision to raise the pension age showed. People may want to keep Crimea, but they know that keeping it afloat is a long-term expense that Russia’s economy can little sustain. The Russians’ initial enthusiasm over the occupied eastern Donbas has also flagged, as they’ve come to realize that the region is a useless hell hole that only drains the purse. No one in Russia is willing to shout that the emperor has no clothes, but the number of serious Russian analysts who believe that Putin has driven Russia into a dead end is growing. Compounding the problem is the fact that Putin has foolishly extended Russian hard power into Syria and Africa, thereby placing Russia into a predicament similar to that of the Brezhnevite Soviet Union. A stagnant economy incapable of innovation and only a fraction of the size of America’s cannot sustain an activist and interventionist foreign policy. Russia, like the USSR, is thus a brittle, weak, and overextended state that needs only to experience some shock to collapse. A large war with Ukraine could be just that shock. Putin surely believes that Russia is strong and stable. He also surely believes that whatever setbacks he may have incurred in the last decade must be due to bad luck or some combination of dastardly Western interference in the natural order of things. The prospect of a good war going bad is almost certainly beyond his comprehension. Quite the contrary, voices of doom could just as easily persuade him that the forces of evil are amassing and that a quick strike is imperative. We don’t know how Russia’s aging dictator will react. We can point to the long list of blunders he’s committed in trying to keep Ukraine within Russia’s sphere of influence. It was Putin’s misguided—and, frankly, downright dumb—policies that brought about the Maidan Revolution, empowered Ukrainians and enhanced their sense of identity, compelled them to embark on impressive reforms, and seek to integrate with the West. Contemporary Ukraine is, to a significant degree, the unintended product of Putin’s stupidity. As a result, we cannot discount the possibility of a massive Russian invasion of Ukraine—both because of the alarmingly high number of Russian troops and tanks arrayed along Ukraine’s border and because of Putin’s unpredictability and proneness to error. An invasion makes no sense for Russia—and is therefore perfectly possible for Putin. No less possible are smaller-scale incursions, such as attempts to capture the Kherson canal that provides water to Crimea or, more ambitiously, to establish a land corridor along the Sea of Azov from Russia to Crimea. Nor could incursions into Ukrainian-controlled parts of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces be ruled out. The problems with such scenarios are evident. On the one hand, limited assaults would do little to enhance Putin’s legitimacy or popularity. They could hardly qualify as the quick little wars that bring eternal glory to Mother Russia. Would Russians really rally to the flag over the Kherson canal or the port city of Mariupol? On the other hand, even such small-scale assaults would be risky. Ukraine would fight and the West would respond severely. If pushed back, Ukrainian forces would continue to shell Russian-occupied territory. As a result, a limited incursion could easily and quickly become a major land war—with all the consequences already discussed above. Once again, however, such rational considerations will not necessarily persuade Putin. He will attack Ukraine or not attack Ukraine, not because either of these options will be good for Russia, but because he will see them as being good for him. The comparison with the late Hitler is inescapable. Even as Germany was in flames, he—irrationally—believed in ultimate victory. The only thing that stopped him was force. The moral for policy toward Putin’s Russia is clear. Ukraine must remain armed and suspicious, never being willing to trust Putin or his cronies, though always ready to reach a deal that can be enforced. It must also do what it’s succeeded in doing in the last four years—continue to reform, grow economically, and remain democratic. Western democracies must, in turn, support Ukraine unflinchingly as the only thing between them and Putin’s irrationality and Russia’s collapse. Alexander J. Motyl is a professor of political science at Rutgers University-Newark, specializing on Ukraine, Russia, and the former USSR.

Vladimir Putin trying to seize ‘land bridge’ to Crimea, says Ron Johnson

A top Seante Republican on Thursday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to seize key Ukrainian cities that would grant him a “land bridge” to the annexed peninsula of Crimea.

Robert Johnston | Russia ramps up cyber warfare as it loses economic footing in Ukraine | TheHill

Look for Russia to increase its cyber efforts to influence foreign policy and disrupt electoral politics.

Interview with Viktor Pynzenyk, 112 International – Tensed relations with Russia made Ukraine’s manufacturers reorient to West –

Ukrainian MP and financier Viktor Pynzenyk on 2019 state budget, the impact of the martial law, and the pressure of public debt on the country’s economy.

UAWire – UN General Assembly to consider a resolution on the situation in the Crimea and the Sea of Azov

The militarization of the annexed Crimea, as well as part of the Black and Azov will be discussed at the UN level. On December 17, the UN General Assembly will vote on the draft resolution, stated Oleh Nikolenko, the official representative of the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN, in an exclusive interview with “On December 17, the UN General Assembly will vote on the draft resolution “The problem of the militarization of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol (Ukraine), as well as parts of the Black and Azov seas’”, he said. He added that the draft resolution was initiated by Ukraine and submitted to the General Assembly on behalf of a large group of like-minded countries, which indicates the relevance of the problem for the international community and points to the high political significance of the document. As of today, the resolution has a total of 39 co-authors. Nikolenko noted that the situation in the Russian-annexed Crimea is not a new fact for the UN member states. He recalled that the General Assembly passed three resolutions in 2014-2017. Two of these resolutions were aimed at the protection of human rights from gross violations by the occupying state. The General Assembly is expected to pass another updated resolution on human rights in late December. According to him, The resolution on militarization opens up a new direction for “countering Russian aggression in the Crimea and the waters of the Black and Azov Seas”. The document contains tough provisions, including demanding the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Crimea and the immediate termination of temporary occupation by the Russian Federation. It is noted that Russia grossly violated its obligations under the Budapest Memorandum by occupying the Crimea.

Public, political leaders ask Trump to tighten sanctions against Russia, help Ukraine strengthen naval forces

A group American politicians and public figures appealed to U.S. President Donald Trump with the request to tighten sanctions against Russia as much as possible and to provide military assistance to Ukraine in strengthening its defense potential in the Black and Azov Seas. Some 45 public and political figures sent D. Trump a letter dated December 12, 2018, in which they note that Russia’s aggression against Ukrainian ships in international waters near the Kerch Strait and the Sea of ​​Azov represents a serious threat to international security and the free movement of world trade. The letter notes that “Russia’s actions require a strong and clear response from the United States.” “Mr. President, you currently have it in your power to swiftly raise the costs on Russia for its latest illegal actions—and by making visible preparations to impose even higher costs for future aggression. The United States must not waver: the costs must rise until Russia’s leaders no longer wish to bear the burden of challenging peace in Europe,” the letter says. The signatories suggest that the American leadership begin with the rigid implementation and observance of the already existing American sanctions against Russia to the maximum extent permitted by law. “Second, providing additional security assistance to strengthen Ukraine’s maritime capabilities, specifically by providing systems such as radars, coastal defense missiles, ISR equipment, and patrol boats for defense and deterrence against future attack on Ukraine’s Black and Azov Sea littoral zones,” the letter says. “Third, employing the bully pulpit of your office to ensure that all European allies hold firm in maintaining their own financial penalties on Russia for its previous illegal actions in Crimea and press our allies to maintain a robust NATO maritime presence in the Black Sea in order to defend freedom of navigation. Fourth, immediately imposing either new or more restrictive sanctions on Russian financial instruments and banks, including Vnesheconombank (VEB), Promsvyazbank, Gazprombank, and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF),” the letter says. The fifth step, proposed to D. Trump by the signatories, is to rally the European allies of the United States around the goal of convincing the German government to suspend official support for the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline due to the latest Moscow aggression. The letter was signed by 45 people, including American-British journalist and writer Anne Applebaum and several retired ambassadors and U.S. generals.

NATO Pledges Support For Ukraine Over Sea Of Azov Incident

NATO has pledged support for Ukraine’s navy more than two weeks after Russia seized three of Kyiv’s naval ships and arrested 24 sailors in the Kerch Strait that links the Black Sea with the Sea of …

UAWire – NATO gives Ukraine military equipment during President Poroshenko’s visit to Brussels

The North-Atlantic Alliance promised that Ukraine would be given military equipment during a visit by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to Brussels, Evropeyska Pravda reported, citing a source familiar with the details of the shipment. On Thursday, in a joint press-conference with Poroshenko in Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg promised that the Alliance would soon deliver secure communications equipment for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. As it turns out, the promise was fulfilled that same day. Ukrainian Representative to NATO Vadym Prystaiko confirmed the delivery. “Yes, the delivery project has already been completed,” he said. NATO did not comment officially on the date of delivery, but did disclose several details about the contents of the assistance package. “The communication equipment mentioned by the secretary general was financed by the NATO C4 (Command, Control, Communications and Computers) trust fund. We will give the Armed Forces of Ukraine encrypted radio communication devices and portable GPS trackers,” a NATO official noted. In this assistance package, the secure radio stations mentioned by Stoltenberg have key significance. Not only will they provide a secure communication channel, they are also resilient to the jamming devices used by the Russians on the demarcation line in the Donbas, a source in the Alliance explained. Another source said that the cargo was meant to be delivered to Ukraine on Thursday using a plane belonging to Air Ukraine. Since there was only one such plane in Brussels at the time, the one which brought the official delegation, President Poroshenko apparently had to share the plane with the military cargo from NATO on his return flight.

NATO to provide secure comms to Ukrainian Armed Forces by year-end | UNIAN

Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg has said NATO and its Allies will deliver secure communications equipment for the Ukrainian Armed Forces by the end of this year. Stoltenberg says the Alliance provides Ukraine with strong political and practical support. Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg has said NATO and its Allies will deliver secure communications equipment for the Ukrainian Armed Forces by the end of this year. “NATO provides Ukraine with strong political and practical support. This includes around 40 million euros pledged by Allies for NATO-Ukraine Trust Funds,” he said at a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Brussels.

Ukraine supports NATO’s intention to establish monitoring mission in Black Sea – 13.12.2018 17:15 — Ukrinform News

The NATO presence in the Black Sea is a factor of de-escalation of tensions, so Ukraine welcomes NATO's intention to establish the naval and airborne monitoring missions in the region. We welcome the establishment of NATO’s naval and airborne monitoring missions. We will be grateful for permanent and regular exchange of information with NATO to ensure a better joint assessment of the situation in the Black Sea and throughout the region. It is important that Ukraine is going to participate in NATO’s Regional Airspace Security Programme,” President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said at a press conference following the meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, an Ukrinform correspondent reports. Poroshenko also thanked the Secretary General of the Alliance for an effective response to Ukraine’s request for the development of secure satellite communication systems. Significant progress has also been made in strengthening Ukraine’s cyber security, which remains one of the priorities of bilateral cooperation with NATO, the President noted. “I am looking forward to launch of a new project, which will provide for strengthening the cybersecurity of Ukrainian electoral infrastructure, in particular, the information system. I am grateful to the partners for the high level of understanding and cooperation in this issue,” Poroshenko added.

U.S. urges Hungary not to block Ukraine’s NATO engagement | Reuters

The United States urged Hungary on Thursday to repair relations with neighboring Ukraine and not try to block Kiev’s cooperation with NATO, saying “if Ukraine fails, Hungary will be on the front line of Russian aggression”.

U.S. urges Hungary not to block Ukraine’s NATO engagement – media | UNIAN

The United States urged Hungary on Thursday to repair relations with neighbouring Ukraine and not try to block Kyiv’s cooperation with NATO, saying “if Ukraine fails, Hungary will be on the front line of Russian aggression.” Cornstein said Hungary, which is heavily reliant on Russian oil, gas and nuclear expertise, was playing with fire by cosying up to President Vladimir Putin.

EU requests immediate release of all detained Ukrainian seamen, return of seized vessels

The European Council expresses its utmost concern regarding the escalation at the Kerch Straits and the Azov Sea and Russia’s violations of international law, according to the conclusions of the European Council on the first day of work when discussing the situation in Ukraine.

EU Leaders Prolong Economic Sanctions On Russia

EU leaders at a summit in Brussels on December 13 said economic sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine will be prolonged for another six months with the official rollover expected next…

EU ready to strengthen support for Ukraine after Russia’s blocking of Azov shipping | UNIAN

EU leaders of all 28 member states declare their readiness to strengthen support for the affected regions of Ukraine after Russia blocked shipping in the Sea of Azov. The European Council reconfirmed the EU’s policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea.

Poroshenko: EU prepares new sanctions over Russia’s actions in Azov-Kerch water area

14.12.18 14:27 – Poroshenko: EU prepares new sanctions over Russia’s actions in Azov-Kerch water area Another step in countering Russian aggression against Ukraine is the introduction of a new package of sanctions over the Azov Sea clash. View news.

Adoption of “Azov sanctions package” should become next step against Russian aggression, – Poroshenko –

Ukraine’s President has urged to extend the sanctions pressure on Kremlin

Volker calls on Russia to “get serious” about implementing Minsk agreements | UNIAN

United States Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker has called on Russia to get serious about implementing Minsk agreements. Back in 2014, the EU imposed the first set of economic sanctions against the Russian Federation, related to its aggression against Ukraine.

Canada should expand Operation UNIFIER in Ukraine – parliamentary report – 14.12.2018 10:44 — Ukrinform News

Canada's training mission in Ukraine, Operation UNIFIER, which is scheduled to end in March 2019, should be continued.

Canada’s National Defence Committee urges to increase sanctions against Russia – 14.12.2018 11:50 — Ukrinform News

Canada should respond to the latest escalation of Russian aggression against Ukraine by expanding sanctions against the Russian Federation.

Pentagon tells about U.S. visit of Ukraine Navy Commander | UNIAN

Ukrainian Naval Forces Commander Ihor Voronchenko has arrived in Washington, where he is scheduled to meet with U.S. Department of Defense officials, in particular, with Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson. The visit comes following the Russian attack on Ukrainian naval vessels near the Kerch Strait. Ukrainian Naval Forces Commander Ihor Voronchenko has arrived in Washington, where he is scheduled to meet with U.S. Department of Defense officials, in particular, with Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson. The parties will talk Russian aggression against a group of Ukrainian naval boats, Voice of America reports. U.S. President Donald Trump previously stated that he wanted to know whether Ukraine had warned Russia before the boats sailed toward the Kerch Strait. Besides the Kerch Strait incident, Ukraine and the United States will discuss bilateral cooperation in the field of security and the implementation of the new strategy of the Ukrainian Navy.

Admiral Ihor Voronchenko, the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Navy arrived in Washington to discuss Russian naval aggression in Kerch Strait –

Admiral Ihor Voronchenko, the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Navy arrived in Washington to discuss Russian naval aggression in Kerch Strait

Poroshenko: “Putin hates European success of Ukraine” | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that Russian President Vladimir Putin hates to see Ukraine as a successful European state. Poroshenko says Russia is afraid of the unity and solidarity of the world with Ukraine in countering Russian aggression. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that Russian President Vladimir Putin hates to see Ukraine as a successful European state. “Putin hates European success of Ukraine. This is an additional motivation for us to be more resolute in the reforms, the return of Ukraine to the family of European nations,” Poroshenko’s press service quoted him as saying at a meeting with Vice-President of the European Commission on Euro and Social Dialogue, Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union Valdis Dombrovskis in Brussels on Thursday, December 13. “We very much appreciate the position of the European Commission, the Vice-President that the door for Ukraine should remain open.” The Ukrainian president thanked for the European Union’s decision to provide another tranche of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine. “This symbolizes the support for Ukraine in difficult times and will contribute to financial stability. This, as well as the future decision of the IMF [International Monetary Fund], will provide additional confidence to investors who are planning to come to Ukraine,” he said. “This is a recognition of the progress of Ukraine on the path of European transformation. I want to confirm that we are working hard to make it happen. We have met all six conditions on reforms for the allocation of the first tranche. After the assessment mission, the EU has made this decision. Today, we discussed the next steps required for the second tranche,” Poroshenko said. The implementation of the Association Agreement, which is a powerful boost for reforms in Ukraine, was discussed during the talks, Poroshenko said. “Ukraine is determined to move forward in the context of the reform agenda. As head of state, I am fully committed to this reform program. I am proud to be the leader of reforms and we do our best to implement them in the best way possible,” he said.

Poroshenko in Brussels: Things about Ukraine that irk the Kremlin (13.12.18 17:03) « Ukrainian Politics | Censor.NET

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko named three things the Russian Federation fears most. “Russia is afraid of three things: first, our unity and solidarity. Second, it hates the international presence in Ukraine — whether in the Donbas, Crimea or the Sea of Azov. Third, Putin hates Ukraine’s European success,” the president said during his working visit to Brussels, Censor.NET reports citing the head of state’s Twitter. Source:

Russia deploys in Crimea 100 new type combat aircraft – Ukraine intel | UNIAN

Ukrainian military intelligence official, Vadym Skibitsky, has said Russia additionally deployed in Crimea a hundred of new type combat aircraft in Crimea. “These are Su-27 and Su-30 aircraft, whose range allows them to operate throughout the Black Sea region and over almost the entire territory of Ukraine,” he said. According to Skibitsky, Russia has also reinforced its military grouping in Crimea with six modern submarines, capable of carrying Kalibr missile systems able to hit ground targets at a range of up to 1,500 kilometers. In addition, Russian occupation forces have boosted defenses of the Crimean peninsula coast with 16 Bastion and Ball missile systems able to engage targets in almost the entire Black Sea region.

Ukrainian sailor captured in Kerch Strait shares cell with ex-minister of unnamed Caucasian republic –

Lawyer visited Ukrainian sailor Vyacheslav Zinchenko, one of those captured by the Russian military on the damaged Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Deaths Will Exceed Births in Crimea Every Year Through 2035, Russian Occupiers Say

Paul Goble Staunton, December 13 – The Crimean Statistical Agency, a branch of the Russian occupation authorities, says that deaths will exceed births there by an ever-increasing amount over the next 16 years, with deaths outnumbering births in 2025 by more than two do one, a pattern that is among other thing an indictment of the Russian occupation. People living under the occupation are choosing to have fewer children because of the bleak conditions the occupation offers, many in prime child-bearing cohorts are leaving as well, and the number of deaths, while reflecting the aging population, is larger than it would otherwise be because of declining medical care. The devastating figures have been published by the occupation’s CSA at and are discussed today by the QHA news agency In 2019, the number of deaths is projected to be 27,000, while the number of births about 19,000, meaning that in the absence of in-migration, the population of the Ukrainian peninsula will decline by about 8,000. By 2035, the number of deaths is projected to rise to more than 29,000, with the number of births to less than 15,000, for a natural decrease of more than 14,000. The occupiers say they plan for 4127 immigrants next year, a figure that the CSA projects will fall by 100 to 200 each year, until it amounts to 3373 in 2025. Added together, that means the population of the Crimean peninsula now under Russian occupation will fall from 1,908,949 to 1,754,304 sixteen years from now. Ukrainian experts say the projected natural rates of change are consistent with their models as long as the Russian occupation lasts, but they say that Moscow is arranging for the arrival of far more Russians – 100,000 since 2014 – and have forcibly expelled the more than 30 percent of Crimean Tatars who have refused Russian citizenship. Moreover, these experts continue, the Russian figures do not include the thousands of uniformed FSB, Russian Guard and Russian military forces now there.

WW3: Russia preparing to launch global clash within next six years – NSDC Ukraine | UNIAN

Russia is preparing for the next world war, which might start within the next 6 years, that’s according to a head of the Information Security Department at National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Valentyn Petrov. The plan is to invade Ukraine and then get to the Baltic States and Poland via Belarus. Russia is preparing for the next world war, which might start within the next 6 years, that’s according to a head of the Information Security Department at National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Valentyn Petrov. Analyzing the escalation of Russian armed aggression against Ukraine at a Kyiv presentation on Thursday, Petrov noted that Ukraine is not Russia’s ultimate goal, but only an element of their preparation for a wider offensive. “If you look at modern Russian military initiatives, you could say that this is not only about preparing for a war with Ukraine, it is one of the elements of a broader strategic deployment of the Russian offensive machine. It stretches from the North Sea to Syria. In fact, we can talk about preparations for a world war,” said Petrov. According to the head of the NSDC’s information security department, such global conflict may develop in the coming years.

Russia to deport Ukraine’s pro-Russian journalist for violation of migration rules | UNIAN

Russian authorities have decided to deport Ukraine’s pro-Russian journalist Olena Boyko for violation of Russia’s migration rules. The decision was taken by Moscow’s Preobrazhensky District Court.

Journalists, Activists Urge Ukraine Separatists To Release Detained Reporter

More than 20 journalists and human rights activists have called for the immediate release of Ukrainian blogger and RFE/RL contributor Stanislav Aseyev, who has been held for more than 18 months by Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Two servicemen from a Detached Airborne Assault Brigade of Ukraine lost their lives in Donbas –

Two servicemen from a Detached Airborne Assault Brigade of Ukraine lost their lives in Donbas

Heavy casualties in Ukrainian army in past day: two soldiers killed as Russian mercenaries mounted 22 attacks

14.12.18 11:43 – Heavy casualties in Ukrainian army in past day: two soldiers killed as Russian mercenaries mounted 22 attacks Russia-led forces continue using Minsk agreements-banned heavy weapons against the government troops in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) zone which resulted in two Ukrainian soldiers being killed over the past 24-hour period. View news.

Ukrainian combat engineers defuse explosive under Siversky Donetsk-Donbas water pipeline –

Demolitions experts of Ukraine’s Armed Forces found and disarmed the explosive under the Siversky Donetsk-Donbas water pipeline

UAWire – Ukrainian court rules it was unlawful to disclose that Manafort’s name appeared in Yanukovych’s party black ledger

The Kyiv District Administrative Court has ruled that it was unlawful for National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) director Artem Sytnyk and …

Hungary not to grab Ukraine’s Zakarpattia – expert | UNIAN

Hungary will not be seizing Zakarpattia from Ukraine, says Taras Chornovil, a Ukrainian political analyst and foreign relations expert. “Hungary, unlike Russia, is part of the civilized world. Its policies could be uncivilized, and pro-Russian in some ways, but there are fundamental principles in the EU and NATO. They could destabilize the situation -not in the whole of Zakarpattia region, but in two of its districts – but they can never claim a revision of borders, this will never happen, under any circumstances,” he said during an online Q&A session with the Ukrainian news outlet Glavred’s readers. In addition, the policy of issuing Hungarian passports plays against the Hungarians themselves, the analyst believes. He explained that many new EU citizens from Hungarian villages and towns leave Zakarpattia, but choose to live and work in other EU countries rather than stay in Budapest. There is an ongoing, gradual extinction of these territories, according to the expert.