Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
While the Russian propagandists drone on, Kasparov spells out what is now obvious, and concludes that “Russia and the Russians who would have to pay the price for Putin’s policies in Ukraine and elsewhere, “just as nations have always paid for the crimes of their dictators.”” Russia preparing to disconnect from global Internet. Stratfor survey. Voenno-Promyshlenniy Kurier bemoans advances in Western ASW. Social media in Russian politics – TV is now in decline, interesting observations by Polubota, Solovey, Mirovich, Portnikov and Eidman. Regime launches “De-Germanification” campaign in Kaliningrad (that should be returned to Germany).
Salisbury first responders interviewed.
Six opeds and analyses on Kerch. Updates on Kerch, Donbas, another kidnap of a Border Guard. PSU loses an Su-27 FLANKER at Ozernoe AB, Maj. Olexander Vasilievich Fomenko killed in the landing accident.
Washington seeks to impose economic sanctions on Moscow in order to deprive Russia of a strong army and navy, former US Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst said on Friday.
The urge to accuse Russia of wrongdoing is sometimes so overwhelming that it overcomes the ability to comprehend what one reads, as this tweet by Ukraine’s gas transit company proves.
«It is high time for London to finally make public the interim results of the investigation, which are based on reliable facts,» the embassy said
Russia says two nuclear-capable bombers whose flight to Venezuela prompted criticism from the United States and other countries in the Americas have returned to their home airfield.
RUSSIA has called for showdown talks between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump amid simmering tensions between Moscow and Washington.
A prominent Kremlin critic says Russia has been rapidly losing its standing on the world stage due to President Vladimir Putin’s “aggressive” policies. “The main problem of the Kremlin is not connected to the ability or inability to control the processes inside the country, but the fact that the regime began to rapidly lose its international standing,” said Garry Kasparov, a former world chess champion turned opposition activist. “Sooner or later it had to happen, because this aggressive policy of the Kremlin, it had to convince the free world that it was pointless to negotiate with Putin,” Kasparov told RFE/RL’s Russian Service in an interview on December 14. Echoing allegations in the United States, Kasparov accused the Kremlin of meddling in other countries’ affairs, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Kasparov said that Russia invested “enormous resources” to ensure Donald Trump’s victory against Hillary Clinton. “Russian propaganda portrayed Trump’s election victory as Putin’s triumph,” Kasparov said. However, the “triumph” in Moscow has been short-lived because, “as it turned out, the president of the United States, with all his enormous political power, is limited in his ability to pursue the policy that Putin would have expected from him,” Kasparov added. The allegations of Russian election meddling have dogged Trump’s presidency and have given rise to an investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into potential collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign. Trump denies the allegation, calling it a political witch hunt. Kasparov also said that another blow to Putin has been the European sanctions imposed in response to the annexation by Moscow of Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine in a conflict that has killed more than 10,300 over the past 4 1/2 years. On December 13, the European Union prolonged the sanctions for another six months. The sanctions, which mainly target the Russian banking and energy sectors, were first imposed in the summer of 2014 and have been extended every six months since then. However, Kasparov pointed out that Putin’s policy of trying to “create division in the Western world” is “far from over.” “So far, this policy has been counterproductive,” Kasparov said, adding that Putin’s “tactical victories turn into strategic defeats.” Kasparov said that in the future it would be Russia and the Russians who would have to pay the price for Putin’s policies in Ukraine and elsewhere, “just as nations have always paid for the crimes of their dictators.”
A bill on the need to ensure the autonomous operation of the Russian segment of the Internet if there is no access to foreign servers has been submitted to the State Duma. The draft was placed on the State Duma’s website on December 14. An attached note explains that the draft amendments to the Law on Communications have been worked out “taking into consideration the aggressive nature of the September 2018 U.S. national cybersecurity strategy,” in which “Russia directly and without any evidence is accused of cyberattacks.” “The bill makes it possible to minimize transfer to other countries of data exchanged by Internet users in Russia,” the authors of the proposal write, adding that connections of Russian networks to foreign ones will be identified for that purpose. The group of lawmakers that authored the bill is led by Andrei Klishas, head of the Committee on Legislation of the Federation Council. According to the bill, “technical devices” will be installed in the Russian segment of the Internet to locate traffic sources. Those “technical devices” will be used when necessary to limit access to online resources with banned information,” the bill says. Russia will also establish its own national DNS (Domain Name Server) system — a decentralized naming system for computers, services, or other resources connected to the Internet or a private network, which will help to identify computers from which data is being added to the Internet.
Russian TASS news agency reports that the State Duma of the Russian Federation introduced a bill that, according to the authors of the document, …
For 2019, Stratfor has forecast the continuation of problems between Russia and the West, a marriage of convenience between Moscow and China and more. But what do Russians think about all of this? We set off to find out.
Russia’s Navy has its hopes set on anti-ship missiles, but these hopes are baseless, says military expert Maxim Klimov in an article titled “Submarines to the slaughter” on the Military-Industrial Courier (VPK) website. The specialist believes that, when it comes to implementing modern sonar concepts, the Russian fleet lags critically far behind western forces. As examples of this, he mentions the project 20380 corvette and the project 22350 frigate, which lack multi-position radar. “Taking into account the status of matters of stealth, sonar and the overall operational situation, in the majority of tactical situations, the fight will start with a surprise attack on us. Due to a significant lag in torpedo matters, we have developed an unsubstantiated hope in the anti-ship missile (including Kalibr and Oniks missiles). However, the moment the first anti-ship missile is launched, our vessel will effectively lose stealth, after which the powerful opponent will raid it with aircraft,” Klimov believes. The specialist acknowledges that in the present day, stealth torpedo attacks are technically possible due to the limited range of anti-submarine defense, but “this is implemented in western weapons, not Russian”. “We have a severe problem with the noisiness of the torpedoes used. The question is effectively: is it realistic, taking into account the capabilities of our industry, to meet the prospective demands for the low-noise levels of 53 cm caliber torpedoes or do we need to transition to a larger caliber?” the expert observes. In his opinion, creating Russian fifth-generation Husky-class submarines is pointless unless the matter of low-noise torpedoes is also dealt with. “The appearance and effectiveness of a weapon are the determining parameters of prospective submarines. We, however, without having satisfactory answers concerning the weapons or the stealth, are already getting hold of budget funds to design 5th generation submarines,” he concludes. In December Klimov said that the Russian Navy does not possess modern equipment to detect low-noise American submarines.
Without modern search techniques, building fifth-generation submarines is pointless. The main tactical property of submarines is stealth. With this in mind, the dramatic increase over the past quarter century of the effectiveness of their search and defeat tools has firmly raised the question of revising the appearance of modern and promising submarines, their role and models of use in modern warfare. Until the issues of protection against detection have been resolved, it is pointless to start designing the next generation of boats. According to the theory of the question, science still argues, but the fact remains a number of successful discoveries and search operations performed by anti-submarine aircraft of naval aviation with special tuning of conventional search radar “Initiative” (60s of development), which detected submerged submarines following the surface .
The project is oriented towards the revelation of corrupted officials, organized crime representatives, who are tied to the law enforcement and ruling establishments.
Paul Goble Staunton, December 14 – In “the new political reality” Russia has entered, one in which anti-elite attitudes are predominant, political technologists say that online social networks and especially Telegram are now far more important tools to mobilize voters than any of the traditional political methods. That is the conclusion offered in a report prepared by the committee on political technologies of the Russian Association for Ties with Society on the basis of interviews with 80 political technologists. Significantly, 83 percent of them agreed with the thesis that Russia is now in such “a new political reality” (rbc.ru/politics/14/12/2018/5c12814e9a794783f8363ef4). Two years ago, a survey of this same group concluded that door to door visits, medica campaigns and advertising on the media were far more important than social networks; but now with growing anti-elite attitudes, the role of social networks has risen while these other tools have declined in importance. The political technologists mentioned Telegram most often as an influential social network. It was followed by VKontakte, YouTube, Instragram, Odnoklassniki, WhatsApp, and Facebook. Two years ago, the three leaders were VKontakte, Facebook and Odnoklassniki, the study says. It further argued that “Telegram is viewed as an effective means of influence not so much on the mass audience as on elites.” The regime’s efforts to get Telegram to turn over its keys and Telegram’s refusal to do so, the study says, only served to attract attention to it as a channel that powers that be are afraid of, Yevgeny Minchin’s of Minchenko Consulting adds. The study’s main conclusion is that there has been “a sharp change in the structure of information consumption and the factors of success in elections,” the sociologist continues, one driven less by technology itself than by the growth of distrust to elites, traditional media and VIP agitators.” What the Russian electorate wants now, Minchenko says, is dialogue, “a new sincerity,” and a sense of emotional involvement. That follows a worldwide trend when voters are moving away from the “rational” models of the past toward more “emotional” reasons for the votes they cast. Other Moscow analysts caution against making too much of the report’s conclusions. Andrey Kolyadin, former head of the Presidential Administration department for regional affairs, says that “the Internet is only one of the communication channels … and far from the most effective” in particular locations. “For example,” he says, “in Vladivostok, radio is comparable to television in terms of influence on electoral outcomes, and in a number of districts of Primorsky kray, local newspapers enjoy the greatest level of trust.” Meanwhile, government employees with higher educations there “actively use information from WhatsApp.” In short, each region is different. Vyacheslav Smirnov, a Russian political technologist, agrees that Telegram channels have great influence on journalists and bosses but argues that “70 percent of the materials in the political channels is commercially placed” and that consumers of these channels are well aware of that fact and do not put too much trust in them. Other social networks, like Odnoklassniki, WhatsApp and Instagram, have more influence because they spread rumors that help people decide what to believe from television and mainstream media outlets. They also use these and Telegram to try to divine what the bosses in fact want.
Paul Goble Staunton, December 14 –Vladimir Putin’s suggestion this week that Russians should rely on themselves rather than look to the state for help would likely have been accepted as little more than a banality; but coming on the heels of remarks by officials that the state doesn’t owe them anything, his words are being viewed by many as an indication Putin is one of them. Svobodnaya pressa commentator Aleksey Polubota points to recent remarks by Olga Glatskikh, a Sverdlov official, to the effect that the state doesn’t owe young people anything, by Saratov’s Nikolay Ostrovsky that the people “owes” the state, and by Anatoly Chubais that the people should say thank you to the oligarchs (svpressa.ru/politic/article/219045/). And then quotes Putin’s comments to the effect that Russians should not expect anything from the powers that be to suggest that he is saying much the same thing. Dmitry Zhuravlyev of the Moscow Institute of Regional Problems agrees, arguing that Putin’s words take on a new meaning given the recent expressions of contempt for the population by members of the elite. That elite thinks that its status is forever, and it members have not lost the sense that “the people will swallow anything. If the elite continues to be cut off from reality, what happened at the end of perestroika will happen again: the powers that be will lose the support of society.” And when that happens, they will lose everything. Leonty Byzov of the Moscow Institute of Sociology says that this is a particular risk for Putin because he began his presidency by opposing social Darwinist ideas. In fact, he continues, “the entire phenomenon of Vladimir Putin was based on the idea” that he was conducting his policies to defeat this “humanity-hating ideology.” Putin told the country that the strong might do very well under him but that he would never forget the weak, Byzov says. And that is what he did in the first part of his rule. But now that social contract has been torn up; and the Kremlin leader appears to be taking the side of the strong at the expense of the weak. In these conditions, the sociologist continues, accusing society of passivity and calling on it to take responsibility for itself is an attack on “good sense.” People are “angry” because “it is one thing when there is a common misfortune: all then are ready to be patient. That is part of the Russian character.” “But when some are drowning in luxury while others are living in poverty, this is something we in Russia have never accepted and do not want to accept.” Suggesting that we should, the scholar says, destroys the foundations of social peace, especially if the signal that Russians have to comes from the man now on top.
Paul Goble Staunton, December 16 – The powers that be in Russia, the roughly 100 people who run things, are increasingly afraid because they sense that something “extremely undesirable and potentially extremely dangerous” is happening beneath them, Valery Solovey says. But “they cannot understand what because they have lost their connection with society. Sociological polls in which the Kremlin puts so much faith, “do not help,” the MGIMO professor says, because today Russians are concealing their opinions from pollsters just as they did in Soviet times. As a result, the authorities are increasingly flying blind, fearful but they know not what (echo.msk.ru/programs/personalno/2331795-echo/). According to the Moscow commentator, something “evil” is growing in strength and intensity and there is the sense that the next two or three years will be extremely difficult because people will have to make choices that they do not want to make between good and bad. And they will be doing so as the authorities both increase repression and make mistakes. Solovey says that “the fall of United Russia will occur exactly as the fall of the CPSU did – precipitously and instantaneously. And all those who today are in it, not all but many, will say that they always were against it, that they in fact went into the party to destroy it from the inside” and so on and on. “This history,” the MGIMO professor says, “is repeated in all countries in all times in the same way. Russia will not be an exception.” This is not about some historical cycle, Solovey says. Rather it is the result of the fact that the same causes typically lead to “one and the same” results. But that collapse of the current ruling structures will not lead to the disintegration of the country. “The Russian Federation has no potential for disintegration. That is all a scarecrow.” The Caucasus lives on federal money. “Where could it go?” The Far East has no ideas and consists of people more or less like those in central Russia. It isn’t going anywhere either. What is far more likely, Solovey says, is a change in the political system at the center beginning with certain changes in the Constitution. The current basic law was adopted under Yeltsin. “Then Russia was weak and was forced to include in the Constitution certain things which in fact aren’t needed but which the West insisted on.” Among the changes likely to be coming, he suggests, are a lifting of the ban on a state ideology, the homogenization of regions and a reduction in their number to about 20, the formation of a state council to run things, and restrictions on personal rights and freedoms, Solovey continues. Work on this will occur during 2019, he says; and these changes will be introduced in 2020. The non-Russian republics aren’t going to like being absorbed into Russian regions, and that may lead the center to back away from going as far as it would like to lest it provoke an explosion. The course of events depends on what the center fears, what it knows and doesn’t know, and how the republics will react to any proposed change.
Paul Goble Staunton, December 15 – Many people are inclined to blame whatever bad behavior they observe among Russians as the product of the wild 1990s, Maksim Mirovich says; but in fact, the way they act now is the product of seven ways in which the Soviet system inflicted serious and long-lasting harm on their psyches (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C14A65AE72BE). First of all, the Russian blogger says, the Soviet system taught people to avoid work because they were never able to be interested in the results of their labors. No one was fired for doing bad work, and no one was given more for doing good. Consequently, Russians learned that there was no reason to work hard because it wouldn’t benefit them. When the Soviet system crashed, those who accepted that principle most fully lost their positions, Mirovich says; and consequently, in the years since, they have constantly spoken about how good things were in the USSR when the state took care of you and how bad things were in the 1990s when it no longer did. Second, after the Bolsheviks seized power, “for more than 70 years, citizens of the country were entirely and completely excluded from participation in the administration of the state and lived like slaves of the CPSU.” Russians became used to that, and when the current powers that be resumed excluding them from participation, most didn’t object too much. Third, under the Soviets, Russians were denied the right to own property and learned to hate the rich. Anything that they did not in fact occupy, they learned to treat with complete contempt as shown in how they treated the “public” spaces in and around communal apartments. And anyone who had more than they did was viewed as an enemy by definition. Fourth, because the Soviet system was so bleak and because few had any prospects, many Russians turned to drink. That happened not because of any Dulles plan or Western conspiracy but because the Soviet way of life “drove people to drink.” And to profit from this, the Soviet authorities made the situation worse by opening alcohol stores everywhere. What made this especially noxious, Mirovich says, is that Russians drank not wine or beer but “in the best case” vodka and in the worst all kinds of surrogates filled with poisons. And they drank not in a measured way but in binges that made the impact of their alcoholism worse than would otherwise have been the case. Fifth, the Soviet authorities sowed hatred within society not just against foreigners. Anyone who did not fit into the model of “the Soviet man” was an enemy and treated in the worst possible way not just by the authorities but by his fellow Soviet citizens. This allowed the regime to keep power by ensuring that the population was divided against itself. Sixth, Mirovich continues, the Soviet system encouraged Russians to believe that their country was surrounded by enemies who spent all their time thinking about how to destroy the USSR. Any outsider who criticized anything about the Soviet system was an enemy and working toward that end. Soviet propaganda presented such a negative picture of life in the West that many Russians assumed that any Russian advance would not be aggression but constitute “the liberation of enslaved peoples from under the capitalist yoke” – and therefore would be welcomed by those peoples in every case. And seventh, the Soviet system in the name of maintaining stability which was another way of saying “maintaining the Soviets in power” deprived the Russian people of any future. Many fans of the USSR say that the 1990s took the future away from Russians. In reality, the Soviet system did that. The 1990s just brought all this out into the open.
Paul Goble Staunton, December 15 – The decision of the EU to continue but not increase sanctions against Russia represents the current “European consensus” of how to respond to Moscow’s aggressive actions, Vitaly Portnikov says. That is because the countries of the continent are sharply divided about the Russian threat. Within the EU, the Ukrainian commentator says, “there is a group of countries which are certain that it is necessary to respond to each act of aggression by Moscow with new sanctions, to raise the level of reaction, and to show Putin that he will not remain unpunished” (ru.espreso.tv/article/2018/12/14/vytalyy_portnykov_prodolzhenye_y_neuzhestochenye_sankcyy_evropeyskyy_konsensus_po_rossyy). “But the position of these countries has been weakened by the process of the withdrawal of Great Britain from the EU and the conflict of Poland with the European Commmssion, The Baltic countries themselves can do only so much,” Portnikov continues. At the same time, there is another country which “very much would like to end sanctions against the Putin regime.” Their position has been significantly strengthened after the formation of the new government in Italy, among whose members are “open supporters of Putin.” The appearance of this government has led to calls for a full-scale discussion of sanctions policy. Between these two poles, Portnikov says, are countries which don’t want to expand or eliminate sanctions but rather consider it “necessary to maintain the status quo.” They don’t want to appear either pushovers for the Kremlin or too hard line for their own populations and business communities. The leaders of this group are Germany and France who want to avoid any escalation of tensions but don’t want to look weak and who will do what they can to restart talks they hope will end the crisis. Ukraine, of course, would like the EU to take a tougher line “but Russia would like more, the lifting of sanctions with the help of its supporters in the EU.” However, “objective reality” suggests that Europe will impose even harsher sanctions in the future as it becomes obvious that Russia isn’t going to respond in a positive way anytime soon. That is because Moscow views the continuation of the current level of sanctions as a hostile act and therefore is unlikely to see any reason to change course. Russia thus almost certainly will “force the Europeans to react more harshly even if they do not want to do so,” Portnikov concludes.
Paul Goble Staunton, December 15 – In Soviet times, Moscow sent out a single ideological message to the world; now, the Kremlin send carefully targeted messages to different groups, an eclectic approach that makes it vastly more effective than its Soviet predecessor, according to Russian sociologist and commentator Igor Eidman. Sometimes these messages contradict one another, he continues; but that is not an indication as some have suggested that Moscow has no ideology at all but rather that it has a well-defined “ideology of hybrid war” which makes it a far greater threat to the West (facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2160927287303572&id=100001589654713). Moscow has ideological messages for “all strata of Western society,” Eidman continues; but it specifically targets right and left radicals, Russian speakers and those who are dissatisfied with one or another aspect of their lives. Supporting these groups, he continues, is designed to boost their influence and to undermine and then destroy democratic institutions. For the right, it calls attention to those of other faiths, gays and George Soros, Eidman says; for the left, it talks about the crimes of the world financial oligarchy and transnational corporations; for Russian speakers abroad, it plays up the idea that the West is working to harm Russians. And for the right, the Kremlin “positions itself as the last defender of traditional Christian values” while for the left, it suggests it is “an opponent of American hegemony and the international bourgeois elites.” “For all its eclecticism,” the sociologist says, “the propaganda of the Putin regime has a definite ideological core consisting of anti-liberalism and anti-Americanism (for all except the Americans themselves).” And for all, including the Americans, it is intended to undermine the trust of the population in democratic institutions and values and in North Atlantic unity. According to Eidman, the Kremlin’s chief ideological message for Europeans and residents of other democratic countries is that “the US is guilty for all misfortunes in the world and that your ‘democracy is only a cover for being an American puppet. Putin wants peace but th Americans are heading toward war.” The Kremlin’s message to Americans, of course, is different. For them, Moscow says that “Europeans and other allies are deceiving and robbing you.” Thus, Eidman concludes, “the ideology of hybrid war is extremely eclectic but it does exist. This is an ideology of a new type, corresponding to the era of targeted advertising when each is told what he wants to hear. Therefore,” the sociologist says, “it is particularly dangerous.”
SOVYETSK, Russia — The 235th anniversary of the birth of German poet Max von Schenkendorf passed quietly in the city of his birth on December 11. And the annual December 17 birthday tribute to internationally recognized actor and author Armin Mueller-Stahl, who was also born in this city, has been canceled this year. Both developments appear to be part of a bid to recast the past in this formerly east Prussian city known as Tilsit, which sits on the eastern border of Kaliningrad Oblast just across the Neman River from Lithuania and is presently the second-largest city in Russia’s westernmost exclave. In fact, the entire region seems to have been closing the door for years on its German past, an effort that has noticeably gathered steam in recent months. Kaliningrad Oblast was annexed into the Soviet Union from Germany after the end of World War II as an exclave of the Russian soviet republic. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Baltic states and Poland joined the European Union and NATO, and the region and its roughly half-million Rusian citizens were geopolitically isolated. “These days, for some reason, some people think that knowledge of our region’s prewar history will lead to the transformation of public opinion and engender separatist yearnings,” said Anzhelika Shpilyova, the former director of the local History Museum in Sovyetsk.
Georgia Online reports that the Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg, at a meeting of the NATO-Georgia …
A black-and-white Polish-made film, Cold War, won five awards, including best picture, while The Death of Stalin took the prize for the best European comedy at the European Film Awards.
Case of Maria Butina shows Moscow’s ‘astute understanding’ of how US works, expert say
Russia’s government wants people to have a laugh – as long as it’s at its opponents’ expense, and not Mr Putin’s.
Miss Skripal, who had just arrived on a visit from Russia, and her father were targeted by a Kremlin hit squad who smeared the deadly nerve agent on the door of his home on March 4.
Sgt Tracey Holloway and PC Alex Collins give their first detailed account of Salisbury novichok attack
Sergeant Tracey Holloway and PC Alex Collins, from Wiltshire Police, began their shift just an hour and 15 minutes before Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia collapsed on a park bench on March 4.
The ongoing Russian-Ukrainian drama at the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov shows that the Kremlin attitude to international law has changed. Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin has made clear by his actions that his chief foreign policy goals are to destabilize the U.S. internally, drive a wedge between America and our NATO allies, and enhance his influence in neighboring countries.
Russia’s latest move against Ukraine isn’t an outlier, it’s the new normal.
WASHINGTON D.C. â€“ Condemnation mounted from influential groups in Washington D.C. this week for Russiaâ€™s aggression against Ukrainian navy vessels in the Kerch Strait. The critics emphasized the fact that they represented both of Americaâ€™s main political parties – the Democrats and Republicans. A Washington-based think tank, the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), which focuses on Central and Eastern Europe, published an open letter calling for the United States to raise the penalties for Russia because of the Kerch Strait incident last month. Then Russian vessels, backed by helicopters and fighter jets, opened fire on two small armed Ukrainian naval vessels and an unarmed tug boat wounding six Ukrainian sailors. The vessels were seized by the Russians and the 23 crew remain in captivity. The CEPA letter was signed by 46 recognized experts on the region including senior former U.S. officials, ambassadors, and a general – whose views contribute to shaping American political opinion. They included former U.S. Ambassadors to Ukraine and Russia John Herbst and Alexander Vershbow,Â former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark, and journalist and author Anne Applebaum. American President Donald Trump has been criticized for his slow and soft response to the maritime incident – the first time Moscowâ€™s military has openly attacked Ukraine.Â Previously the Kremlin denied that its regular forces have been engaged in a war in Ukraine, claiming the fighting was being waged by pro-Moscow separatists from Ukraine or by Russian volunteers, or even Russian soldiers on their vacations.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has offered a sanitized account of the failed “Normandy” meeting (Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France) that discussed the crisis in the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait. The meeting was held in Berlin on December 11 in almost complete secrecy (see accompanying article), and a visibly disappointed head of the German government provided a glimpse into it on the following day, in her regular (pre-scheduled) questions-and-answers session in the Bundestag (DPA, December 12).
Author : German radio station Deutschlandfunk. For many, NATO means No Action, Talking Only. The Ukrainians are still counting on NATO’s more active participation in terms of Russian aggression and Azov crisis in particular. The harbor waters of Mariupol resemble gray dust. The edge of the pier is soiled with gulls. Yellow-blue cranes, the arrows of which are directed towards the sea, are not moving. If it goes on like this, a volatile situation might arise in the society, says Olexandr Olinyk. Even before the recent incident, 140 Ukrainian ships, which so far regularly came to Mariupol, could not reach the port due to a new Crimean bridge at the “entrance” to the Sea of Azov. “Cargo transshipment is now carried out in the southern Ukrainian ports – Odesa and Chornomorsk, in the “Yuzhny” port. This mainly concerns iron ore. We lost a million tons of ore in the “Yuzhny” port. It negatively affects the peaceful coexistence of people, – Volodymyr Omelyan, Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure, complains.- Many people employed in the ports will lose their jobs, they definitely don’t like it, and they will blame everyone for it. First, Ukraine for not being able to defend their jobs and the right to earn a living. And they will be 100% right.” Mariupol and “Russian invasion” Mariupol is a front-line city, battles for it took place in 2014. And even today, checkpoints and anti-tank barriers could be found on the access roads to the city. Officials assure that Mariupol is militarily prepared for a new aggravation of the conflict. Accurate numbers cannot be achieved. Experts believe that Russia has more than 60 naval vessels in the Sea of Azov, among which are also landing craft intended for transporting soldiers to the other, Ukrainian side of the sea. According to Ukraine, apart from a handful of small Soviet-made warships, it has nothing to oppose the Russian naval forces. The conflict on land is developing under the supervision of the OSCE – the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. This organization does not have the mandate to monitor events in the Sea of Azov. Until recently Alexander Hug headed the OSCE mission. He avoids answering a question of expanding the observation mission to the sea conflict region. “The weapon is ready for battle. The political situation in Ukraine and around it is also unstable. And therefore we consider it important to closely monitor every step. As soon as signs of escalation emerge, we will take measures aimed at easing the tension.” Such incidents as the one that occurred on November 25, when Russia blocked the passage under the Crimean Bridge, detained three Ukrainian vessels and arrested 24 seamen, were long awaited. For example, this case justified the expectations of Andriy Klymenko, chief editor of the Ukrainian Black Sea News portal. He has long condemned NATO for providing the Black Sea to Russia. Ukraine was virtually unarmed and passed into the hands of its armed neighbor, Klymenko is sure. “I want your listeners in Germany to understand: if there are no NATO ships in the Black Sea, this will open up plenty of opportunities for Putin to aggression against Ukraine from the sea.”
The Kremlin on Friday rebuffed a U.S. call to release Ukrainian ships and sailors, saying it could not take precedence over Russia’s justice system, but added that Moscow remained interested in a top-level meeting with the United States.
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.
At a press conference, after the U.S. – Canada 2+2 Ministerial meeting, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Canadian Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan both pledged the joint support for NATO European partners and to Ukraine amid Russia’s recent military escalation in Europe. “We are united in NATO, where we uphold trans-Atlantic unity and stand with European allies against the full scope of Russian malign influence, to include Moscow’s recent, brazen contempt of international law in the Kerch Strait and action against the Ukrainian people,” Mattis said. “Canadian and US trainers in western Ukraine, and our battalions in the Baltics represent our combined efforts to build stability and deter further provocative activity,” Mattis added. Sajjan, in turn, condemned Russia’s destructive behavior in the region. “Canada supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression,” he stated. Sajjan said, “We have trained more than ten thousand Ukrainian soldiers as part of Operation Unifier, and at any given time we have… over 800 Canadian Armed Forces members deployed on Operation Reassurance, and they are supporting NATO deterrence measures in Eastern and Central Europe alongside our American allies.” On Friday, December 14, in Washington, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland and Canadian Minister of Defense Harjit Sajjan took part in a “2+2” format meeting where they discussed bilateral relations and international policy.
The representatives of the United States and Canada discussed a Ukrainian issue and condemned Russia’s recent aggression in the Sea of Azov. U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis hosted Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland and Canadian Minister of Defense Harjit Sajjan for policy discussions at the Department of State in Washington, D.C. on December 14. “In addition to domestic priorities, we worked through a range of global issues as well. We talked about our work in collaboration as members of NATO. We discussed our response to the situation in Ukraine,” Pompeo said during the 2+2 Strategic Dialogue.
Heads of the foreign policy and defense departments of the United States and Canada have met at the U.S.-Canada 2+2 Ministerial event to discuss, among other things, interaction in the international arena to respond to Russian aggression against Ukrainian vessels near the Kerch Strait linking the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. They condemn Russia’s harassment of shipping in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait.
Press Statement Robert Palladino Deputy Spokesperson Washington, DC December 15, 2018 The United States welcomes recent steps by the EU and its Member States to hold Russia accountable for its aggression against Ukraine. The European Parliament’s December 12 resolution reiterates the importance of Ukraine’s role in the European energy supply network and condemns the construction of…
The United States welcomes recent steps by the EU and its Member States to hold Russia accountable for its aggression against Ukraine, according to State Department’s deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino. The U.S. would continue to “present a unified front” against the Kremlin’s aggression.
Canada should support Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia in their resistance to Russian hybrid attacks.
Warsaw and Bratislava support Ukraine in the context of Russia's aggressive actions.
The United States urged Hungary to restore relations with Ukraine and not to try to block cooperation between Kyiv and NATO, stating “if Ukraine fails, Hungary will be at the front line of Russian aggression,” the Voice of America reported. US Ambassador in Budapest David Kornstein told the Parliament Committee that Hungary can do more for “establishing priority alliances” while Russia again poses a threat to Ukraine and Europe. “Now more than ever, Russia is testing the West,” Kornstein noted in a statement published by the US Embassy. ”We are convinced that for the NATO allies, the best way to promote reforms in Ukraine is to do that through dialogue with Ukraine, not blocking cooperation between Ukraine and NATO.” Kornstein stated that Hungary, who relies heavily on Russian oil and nuclear energy resources, is playing with fire by “flirting” with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “We should remember the whole picture,” he said. “Putin is not interested in national sovereignty. He has neo-imperialist views. If Ukraine fails, Hungary will be at the front-line of Russian aggression.” Levente Magyar, Hungarian Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs told Hungarian Parliamentary Committee that the differences between the USA and Hungary are not strategic and that he expressed hope that the dialogue will help to solve them, the state information agency MTI reports. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban supported western sanctions against Russia for annexing the Crimean peninsula and supporting Russian separatists in the east of Ukraine, but Orban also criticized these sanctions. Relations between Ukraine and Russia worsened in 2017 when the Verkhovna Rada adopted the law on education that Hungarians saw it as an attempt to restrict the rights of the Hungarian diaspora in the Zakarpattia region. Because of that, the Hungarian Foreign Ministry started to block Ukraine’s participation in NATO activities.
The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, wrote on Facebook that the decision of the EU summit to continue sanctions against the Russian …
Valentyn Petrov, head of Information Security at the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, claimed that Russia could in fact be preparing for a “world war,” Poland’s niezalezna.pl news website reported on Friday. “If you look at modern Russian military initiatives, you may say that it is not only a preparation for a war with Ukraine, it is one of the elements of a broader strategic deployment of the Russian offensive machine,” Petrov said, as quoted by Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council on its rnbo.gov.ua website. He added: “In fact, we can talk about preparations for [a] world war.” A “global conflict may be unleashed in the coming years,” thernbo.gov.ua website said, citing Petrov. “All plans for rearmament of large powers, in particular, the Russian Federation, are scheduled for 2023-2025,” Petrov said, as quoted by rnbo.gov.ua. “The world can be prepared for a global conflict literally in 6 years, but it can break out even earlier.” In a hypothetical third world war, “Russia, strengthened by Ukraine’s resources, will be a completely different Russia,” Petrov said, according to his country’s National Security and Defence Council. Petrov also argued next year would be “vital” for Ukraine because of presidential and parliamentary elections in that country “in which the aggressor will try to interfere,” rnbo.gov.ua reported. “It is absolutely clear that our opponent will try to take advantage of this,” Petrov said, according to the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council. He added that “military units are being deployed at the border.” “It is really a terrible force, and this force is not only for Ukraine – it is to pass through Ukraine and move further, enter the Baltic States and Poland through Belarus,” Petrov asserted, as quoted by the Ukrainian website.
At present, Russia is not planning to take large-scale military action against Ukraine, said General Mykola Malomuzh, former head of Ukraine’s Foreign Intelligence Service between 2005 and 2010, in a comment to InfoResist. In his opinion, Russian troops are being brought close to the Ukrainian border primarily for the psychological effect. “First and foremost, I can say that lately Russia has been constantly expanding its contingents on the western borders for two reasons. The first reason is that they are receiving information that we are trying to conduct an offensive operation to liberate the territory. For this reason, they are already clearly not only giving signals that they will bring in troops if we attack, they are also moving new contingents of tank, armored, missile, rapid response and similar army corps there, a whole army. And so this first component is a possible response to our offensive operation.” “The second component is that they are operating in the context of an overall idea, reinforcing the western borders in terms of possible resistance of NATO. Not yet in a combat format, but in the format of so-called deterrence, as they say. That is, this is a game of such military muscles, the deployment of new corps, brigades and regiments in order to show NATO that forces are being formed in the western region which were not previously present. This is more of a psychological factor,” Malomuzh observed. Malomuzh said he does not believe that Russia is planning an attack. “Concerning the real threat of an attack, at present we are very focused on the situation in this way. I just got back from Washington, I spoke to colleagues from the German, British, US and French intelligence. According to them and according to us, there is information that Russia is not planning any offensive operations in the next few months or weeks. Because it would cause the military system problems, victims, and even a collapse. Attacks by them today are not very realistic. If there is nothing more active on our part, those large contingents will not be used. Perhaps only partially, in individual sectors. But these would not be the scales that would create a real global threat to Ukraine today, and in future it may even switch to NATO,” he added. He thus views the Russian system as a deterrent to offensive action by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. “The pressure on us is psychological, when a new contingent is deployed, or forces are deployed, ready for a possible attack. But according to all our information, no real action is being planned to prepare for large-scale offensive operations today,” Malomuzh resumed.
Analysts predict an ‘imminent’ surge in conflict between Russia and Ukraine in and around the Black Sea. Russia appears poised to escalate hostilities in Ukraine, according to a new analysis – signs of an uptick in the broader war that the country’s top naval officer says is directed exclusively by Russian President Vladimir Putin. “It is extremely centralized power in Russia. Everything is in the hands of Mr. Putin,” Ukrainian Vice Adm. Ihor Voronchenko tells U.S. News. Twenty-four Ukrainian sailors and seamen on Wednesday remained in Russian custody following a November encounter between the two countries’ navies and security forces in the Black Sea. Russian ships have also blocked access to the Black and Azov seas, limiting Ukraine’s ability to use critical commercial ports and raising the specter of war following four years of simmering conflict. “I can say with 100 percent probability, all command and control in this operation was run from Moscow. Not Rostov, not Crimea. Everything was given instructions by Mr. Putin,” Voronchenko says. Russia’s latest activity has followed a monthslong, intense propaganda campaign seeking to spread disinformation about Western activity in Ukraine – home to a U.S.-led military training mission in place since Russia began supporting separatist rebels in the country’s east in 2014. Moscow appears prepared to escalate the conflict. During a meeting last week, NATO members did not agree on a unified response to Russia’s latest activities, though the U.S. has begun preparations potentially to sail a naval vessel into the Black Sea in defiance of what it considers Russian aggression. American aircraft have also stepped up surveillance flights, including at least one through Ukrainian airspace as an affront to Moscow and show of support for Kiev.
During the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on Thursday, December 13 in Vienna, Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to …
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said that Ukraine rejected his initiatives to help end the war in the Donbas. “Given that Russian …
HUNDREDS of Russian tanks look poised for a mass invasion of Ukraine as tensions over Crimea threaten to boil over.
Ukrainian officials have raised alarms about Russian military activity along the countries’ border, though Western analysts have been cautious.
Key message: Russia’s aggression is expanding to southern Ukraine and further to the West. Corruption is one of the Kremlin’s main weapons of war in undermining democracies.
Commander Volodymyr Lisovyi, the crew member of detained by Russia ‘Yany Kapu’ sea mule tugboat in the Black Sea, claimed that he considers himself a prisoner of war. His lawyer Mykola Polozov reported this on Facebook. ‘Yesterday, the lawyer of our defense team visited prisoner of war, Ukrainian sailor Volodymyr Lisovyi. Lisovyi stated that he thinks he is a prisoner of war,’ reads the message. Related: Ukrainian Ombudsman asks Russia’s FSB to allow her visiting Ukrainian sailors The meeting took place on December 14 in the investigator’s office in the Investigation Department of the Federal Security Service of Russia at the beginning of the investigative actions. ‘Volodymyr feels good, didn’t express any complaints or asked a favor. He received his package. According to him, he doesn’t need anything, as of now. The same as the rest of the sailors, who were visited by the lawyers of our crew, Lisovyi claimed that he considers himself a prisoner of war,’ reads the message.
Commander of Nikopol Ukrainian armored boat Bohdan Nebylytsia detained by Russian military near the Kerch Strait on November 25, refused to plead guilty and called himself a prisoner of war. Lawyer Mykola Polozov, who coordinates the defense of the Ukrainian sailors, reported this on Facebook. ‘Emil Kurbedinov, lawyer of the Ukrainian sailors visited Commander of Nikopol artillery boat Bohdan Nebylytsia. According to the lawyer, Nebylytsia is doing alright. Looks cheerfully and smiles. At the same time, he was transferred to different cells four times for the period of him being in Lefortovo remand center. There is another man with him in the cell, the name is Muhammad. Their relations are normal, but they do not communicate much,’ Polozov said. The same as with the other sailors, investigative actions were carried out with Nebylytsia, he became familiar with several resolutions on the appointment of examinations. An interrogation was carried out, during which he said that he is a prisoner of war.
Bohdan Nebylytsia, the captain of the Nikopol gunboat detained in the Kerch Strait, said at the questioning at the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) that he considers himself a prisoner of war.
Ukrainian Ombudsman asks Russia’s FSB to let her visit Ukrainian sailors
When Russia fired on Ukrainian naval vessels, some say it was looking to rewrite the rules in the Sea of Azov and possibly elsewhere, just as China has done in the South China Sea.
A vast trading port in Ukraine lies mostly empty, after a sea-clash when Russia seized three boats.
The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has created an interagency commission in charge of generalizing the legal stance of the state of Ukraine in repelling and suppressing Russia’s armed aggression and drafting a consolidated claim of Ukraine to Russia to bring it to responsibility for an armed aggression against Ukraine.
More than 10,000 members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have been trained by Canadian instructors as part of the Canadian Armed Forces Operation UNIFIER. The United States and Canada are united in NATO for support of transatlantic unity.
Militants launched 10 attacks on Ukrainian positions in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas over the past day.
The Security Service of Ukraine has recorded massive attempts by Russian security services to use open toolkits of Facebook and Twitter to meddle in future presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine. The Security Service of Ukraine asks Ukrainian users to be cautious and report such cases. The Security Service of Ukraine has recorded massive attempts by Russian security services to use open toolkits of Facebook and Twitter to meddle in future presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine. The Internet Research Agency, which has widely been “involved in Russian Federation’s intelligence and subversive operations and in meddling in many electoral processes in democratic countries around the world,” is reportedly engaged in the implementation of this scheme, the SBU said in a statement.
Russian special services are trying to use social networks, in particular, Facebook and Twitter to interfere in the election processes in …
Computer and information security specialists record the massive attempts of the Russian special services to gain access to the accounts of Ukrainians in Facebook and Twitter. It is reported by the Ukrainian Security Service. The aggressor country operates through the Internet Research Agency LLC, which, according to operational data, is involved in the intelligence and subversive activities of the Russian Federation, and intervenes in the electoral processes of many democratic countries in the world. In fact, it is a huge troll factory. Russians act disguised, they turn to the citizens of Ukraine allegedly with a commercial offer from advertisers. They ask to provide temporary access to social networks accounts for a monetary reward, ostensibly for distribution of targeted advertising and promotion of commercial interests through them. In fact, the Russian special services are planning to engage in intelligence and subversive activities through Facebook and Twitter accounts, manipulate the public poinion and distribute anti-Ukrainian materials aimed at destabilizing the social and political situation. Thus, they plan to influence the results of the presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine in 2019. “The Security Service of Ukraine once again appeals to Ukrainian users of social networks with a request to be attentive. In case of receiving such proposals from unknown people, as well as revealing the facts of posting publications on social networks containing signs of crimes, report to the SSU hotline. In addition, we note that the responsibility for possible unlawful actions, according to the current legislation, will be assigned to the owner or the person who registered the account in social network, ”warns the Security Service.
A 23-year-old Sergeant of Border Troops Yevhen Kolisnyk gone missing in Odesa region on the state border with Moldova, according to the press office of the National Police in Odesa region. ‘General Directorate of the National Police in Odesa region is searching for Sergeant of Border Troops Yevhen Kolisnyk, born in 1995, who on December 16, 2018, at 6:30 a.m. has been on a duty on the border with Moldova at the address: Slov’yanoserbka village, Velyka Mykhailivka District, he left the recessed shelter, in order to call someone and disappeared,’ reads the message. According to the law enforcers, the border guard had an AK-74, 120 ammo and special equipment.
SBU opens first criminal case over border trespassing. The case was opened against a 32-year-old Moldovan national. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
In Brussels, Ukraine and NATO signed an implementation agreement on neutralization of explosive items and countering improvised explosive devices.
A Ukrainian air force pilot was killed when his fighter jet crashed during a landing attempt on December 15, the country’s military announced.
Ukrainian Su-27 aircraft has crashed while landing in Zhytomyr region, resulting in a pilot died. The circumstances and causes of the incident are being investigated.
In the Zhytomyr region on Saturday, December 15th, the Su-27 crashed. The flight was planned. According to Tsensor.NET, Alexander Vasilievich Fomenko was born in 1975 in the city of Shostka, Sumy region. 1st class military pilot, Major, Head of air and fire and tactical training of the air force tactical air force “Center” of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The military prosecutor’s office of the Central region began investigating the fall of a fighter in Zhytomyr region. It is reported by Tsensor.NET with a link to the agency’s website. “15.12.2018, about 15:00 in Zhitomir oblast during the approach for 2 km from the airfield Luzern crashed military fighter plane Su-27, flight number 55, assigned to the airship 1435. The accident occurred during a scheduled flight. According to preliminary information from the scene, pilot Aleksandr Vasilievich Fomenko was killed. 15.12.18 DBR submitted to the Unified Register of Pre-trial Investigations information on the grounds of a criminal offense provided for in Art. 416 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, “Violation of flight rules or preparation for them”. At the moment, all the circumstances of the tragic event are being investigated “, – inform the prosecutor’s office. According to the press center of the command of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, their special commission and specialists of the flying aviation-technical laboratory also work on the site.