Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (61)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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A very busy day for Russia and its propaganda machine. Aside from viral coverage of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report, the UNGA votes against Russia over its unlawful conduct in the Black and Azov Seas. The latter produced a typical tirade of alternate reality invective.

Reports Russia is engaging China over the INF, the Iskander M employed in Syria, and the new SATAN 2 to be further tested. Arguments in Russia over the reports that the Kurile Islands are to be returned to Japan. Russian meddling in Moldova exposed.

Russia’s spoofing and jamming of GPS detailed. Belarus versus Russia, and the likelihood of its invasion and annexation.

Excellent OpEd by Blank and Cagan on the West’s toothless response to the Kerch attack, that will most certainly encourage Russian escalation. Coffey on the need to deal with Russian dirty money. MacKinnon on war hysteria in Russia. Amb McFaul on the Vozhd’s folly. Calls to kill Nordstream 2.

UNGA vote detailed. Update on Kerch debate, and some bizarre claims by Russia. Updates on Russian buildup in Crimea, Donbas and border regions. SBU to vet all personnel with relatives in Russia or Russian relatives. Political and economics reports.


UNGA Approves Ukraine Resolution on Navigation in Azov, Black Seas – Sputnik International

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United Nations General Assembly passed by a 2/3 majority vote Ukraine’s draft resolution calling on Russia to stop restricting international navigation in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

UN assembly approves Ukraine-sponsored resolution on Azov Sea affair, with nearly half abstaining — RT World News

The UN General Assembly has voted for a Ukraine-sponsored draft denouncing “militarization” of the Azov and Black Seas. About half of member-states abstained and Moscow said it’s like giving Kiev a blank check to scapegoat Russia.

66 nations voted for whatever provocation now comes from Kiev – Russian senator — RT Russia News

The nations which voted for the Ukrainian resolution on Crimea at the UN General Assembly will bear shared responsibility with Kiev, if it chooses to escalate tensions with Russia, a Russian senator said.

More US weapons to Ukraine will only make conflict worse – Russian lawmakers — RT World News

Additional and “ongoing” US weapons deliveries to Kiev would escalate tensions and undermine efforts for peace in Ukraine, Russian officials said after US special envoy Kurt Volker announced such plans, along with more sanctions.

Russian FM Pledges Moscow Will Not Wage War on Ukraine Despite Provocations – Sputnik International

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov vowed on Monday that Moscow was not going to start a war with Ukraine amid intensified provocations on Kiev’s part.

US Vows to Work With EU States Against ‘Russian Aggression’ After Kerch Row – Sputnik International

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The United States will continue working with European countries as a unified front against Russia’s “aggression,” the US State Department said in a statement, commenting on the Kerch Strait incident.

UK psyops bigwig pushed plan to ‘mine Sevastopol Bay’ during 2014 Crimea crisis – leaked documents — RT World News

In the midst of the Crimean crisis, a special adviser to the UK House of Commons Defence Committee had a suggestion for Kiev – to lay mines in Sevastopol Bay, leaked documents have revealed.

UN Passes Resolution Criticizing Crimea Militarization, Russia Expresses Regret

Russia said it regretted a newly passed United Nations resolution criticizing its militarization of “temporarily occupied” Crimea. The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on Monday voicing “grave concern over the progressive militarization of Crimea” and calling on Russia to “end its temporary occupation of Ukraine’s territory,” Ukraine’s Mission to the UN reported. In a 66-19 vote, the resolution submitted by Ukraine condemned Moscow’s building of a bridge connecting mainland Russia to the annexed peninsula and called for the release of Ukrainian sailors and warships seized in November.

Kosachev: UN resolution on Crimea can lead to tragedy | Vestnik Kavkaza

The United Nations General Assembly’s resolution on Crimea will give Kiev a free hand in taking any steps which can lead to tragedy, chairman of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs Konstantin Kosachev wrote on his Facebook page. According to the senator, the resolution will not have legal consequences, but it may have military-political consequences. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution proposed by Ukraine on “militarization problem” of Crimea and the waters of the Azov and Black Sea. 66 countries supported the document, 19 were against it, 72 – abstained. According to the resolution, presence of the Russian military in Crimea contradicts the national sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The document also condemns Russia because of constructing a bridge across the Kerch Strait.

Russia readies itself for Ukraine’s “provocation” by year-end, threatens with “retaliation” | UNIAN

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said Ukraine has been masterminding an act of “provocation” on the Russian-Ukrainian border, which may happen late in December, therefore he has promised “retaliation.” Lavrov alleges the president of Ukraine is discussing the operation on the border with Crimea with his “Western supervisors.”

Russia doesn’t want ‘to lose the rest of Ukraine’

Russia doesn’t want “to lose the rest of Ukraine” by mishandling other embattled regions in the eastern part of the country, Moscow’s top diplomat said Monday.

World War 3 warning: ‘US ready to fight to the last Brit’ as NATO and Russia tensions rise | World | News | Express.co.uk

AMERICA would be willing to “fight to the last Brit” in any armed conflict with Russia, according to a senior military analyst.

US negotiator cancels meeting with Putin’s adviser – LB.ua news portal

US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker has cancelled his December meeting with Russian presidential adviser Vladislav Surkov because of the Russian aggression in the Kerch Strait. “I suggested I visit Moscow this month. I was preparing for this trip when Russia attacked Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea,” he told journalists at a video conference. He recalled that US President Donald Trump had cancelled his meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin because of the Kerch Strait attack. Volker added that he decided to do the same for as long as Russia keeps Ukrainian sailors I captivity. “Unfortunately, things look bad… I would certainly hope that Russia may release the sailors as a kind of gesture before Christmas but there are no signs that this can happen now,” he added.

UAWire – Media: Russia is trying to include China in the negotiations on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

Russia has asked China to take part in negotiations on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, reported Nikkei, citing sources familiar with …

Russian officials confirm use of Iskander-M short-range ballistic missile in Syria – Defence Blog

The use of new 9K720 Iskander-M mobile short-range ballistic missile system in the Syrian Civil War has been confirmed by the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov. Russia used the Iskander-M missile system during combat operations against terrorists in Syria, said Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov. He added: “The Iskander-M missile system of the Ground Forces has proved to be effective, as well as the Tornado-G and Smerch multiple launch rocket systems.” The 9K720 Iskander-M, a mobile ballistic missile system codenamed SS-26 Stone by NATO, replaced the Soviet Scud and Tocha-U missiles. Its two guided missiles have a range of up to 500 kilometers (about 300 miles) and can carry either conventional or nuclear warheads. The Iskander was designed to overcome air defense systems. This missile travels at supersonic speed. In the terminal phase of the flight it excessively maneuvers and releases decoys. In some cases this ballistic missile can be used as an alternative to precision bombing. Russia also used its Tu-160 supersonic strategic bombers, Tu-22M3 supersonic bombers, and Tu-95 bombers – as well as ship-based MiG-29K fighters and Ka-52K helicopters – for the first time in Syria, Borisov said.

Russia says it will begin tests of most advanced Sarmat ICBM in “nearest perspective” – Defence Blog

Russia’s Strategic Missile Force Commander Colonel-General Sergei Karakayev said that flight tests of the most advanced Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) will begin in “the nearest perspective.” According to Karakayev, the necessary infrastructure for the flight tests of Sarmat ICBM is being constructed at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in north Russia. “Flight tests of the complex will start in the nearest perspective and its success will provide for the serial production of its components,” he said. The rearmament of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces with the most advanced Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile will begin with the the Uzhur-based strategic missile force division in 2021, Karakayev said. “Wе plan to start the rearmament with this missile complex starting in 2021 in the Uzhur-based missile force division, which currently has in operation its predecessor – the Voyevoda missile complex,” Karakayev said. The Sarmat is scheduled to replace an older generation of Russian missiles as the RS-20B Voyevoda in the 2020s. According to earlier reports, the serial production of the Sarmat ICBM is expected to begin from 2020 and in 2021 the first regiment armed with this missile is expected to assume combat duty. The RS-28 Sarmat is the Russian promising silo-based missile complex with the heavy liquid-propellant ICBM capable of carrying nuclear charges. It weighs about 200 tonnes and has a throw weight of about 10 tonnes.

Protesters Detained Outside Moscow FSB Headquarters

Russian police have arrested seven people protesting outside the headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Moscow, according to OVD-Info, an independent group that monitors crackdowns o…

As Peace Treaty Talk Heats Up, Russian Lawmakers Want Clarification On Kurile Islands

Russian lawmakers have asked for an explanation following media reports quoting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying that Moscow could potentially hand over two islands in the disputed Southern…

Russia Builds New Military Barracks On Disputed Islands Near Japan

Russia says it has built new barracks to house its troops on a disputed island chain near Japan and will build more military facilities there next year.

It’s time the UK cracked down on dirty Russian money | TheHill

“The assets stored and laundered in London both directly and indirectly support President Putin’s campaign to subvert the international rules-based system…”

UAWire – Russia caught interfering in Moldovan elections

Chisinau has declassified a report investigating interference by the Open Dialogue Foundation and its Russian founder, Lyudmila Kozlovskaya, in Moldova’s internal affairs by financing Moldovan political parties, reported the Moldovan state news agency, citing the press service of the Moldovan parliament. “The commission has reached the conclusion that Open Dialogue’s actions were of a subversive nature and constituted a threat to the state security of the Republic of Moldova,” the report states. A large number of officials were invited to testify at the commission session, including senior representatives from the Information and Security Service, Interior Ministry, and Warning and Money-Laundering Combating Service, Prosecutor General’s Office, Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Affairs, the Central Electoral Commission, as well as representatives of the political parties “Action and Solidarity”, the “Dignity and Truth Platform”, and of the Promo-LEX Association. The investigation into Open Dialogue’s activity was begun after information came out that the Action and Solidarity and the Dignity and Truth Platform parties had been financed through it. The foundation itself was also discovered to by financed through the Laundromat – an illegal operation which saw tens of billions of dollars from Russia laundered through Moldova. Lyudmila Kozlovskaya, the head of the fund, was deported from the EU and banned from reentering. She is now considered a Russian intelligence agent. After declassification, the report was published on the Moldovan parliament’s website, and given to the European Parliament, European Commission, US State Department and Congress, the EU, and the parliaments of Romania, Poland and Ukraine, as well as the OSCE, Council of Europe, UN and other international organizations and national institutions.

U.S. Senate Reports Examine Russia’s Swaying Of U.S. Voters In 2016

The Russian influence campaign on social media in the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign sought to deepen divisions in society and suppress turnout among Democratic voters, according to the r…

The GPS Wars Are Here – Foreign Policy

Location-based services are universal, critical, and horribly vulnerable.

Alexey Venediktov: Kremlin views Belarus just like it viewed Crimea

The Chief Editor of

UAWire – Media: Lukashenko held a secret meeting to discuss ‘Russian pressure’ on the independence of Belarus

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko held a secret meeting with high-ranking officials. The participants of the meeting discussed what measures should be taken “under the conditions of pressure from the Russian side”, reported the Nasha Niva newspaper. “There was a big meeting with the president. The participants decided to stand for independence till the end. Everybody supported this decision,” the source of the newspaper said. According to the interlocutor of the newspaper, some representatives of the government said that “it was necessary to respond to the [Kremlin] tax maneuvers with reforms, not with meetings”. “They raised the question of Russia. Among tasks, it was decided to closely monitor the information field,” said another source from the government structures. The secret meeting preceded Lukashenko’s statement in which he spoke about the intention of the Kremlin “to incorporate Belarus” into Russia. The president of Belarus expressed his discontent on this matter. The situation is due to the so-called tax maneuver in the oil industry of the Russian Federation. Oil export duties are supposed to be zeroed by 2024. At the same time, there will be an increase in mineral extraction duties. This implies higher prices for imported oil and lower refining margins for Belarus.

Belarus says no to Russian air base on its soil – Defence Blog

Belarus is against establishing a Russian air base on its soil, Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko told at a meeting with media outlets from Russia. Alexander Lukashenko said that the “issue of accommodating” a Russian air base on the territory of Belarus is not on the agenda. “No one needs this base. (No need to) build some base at an old airfield. I ask [Russian President Vladimir] Putin a question: aircraft from Russia will have a flight time of 3-4 minutes. Why is it necessary to bring the airfield to the front line, if a war begins? One missile would be enough to finish off the runway,” Belarus’ leader added. “This is some ill-conceived PR move,” Alexander Lukashenko also noted during meeting with media outlets from Russia. Early, Russian news agencies reported that Russia was considering opening air base in Babruysk, in eastern Belarus. Belarus currently accommodates two Russian military facilities: a separate radio-technical center in Gantsevichy and a communications compound in Vileyka. Under the Russian-Belarus’ accords of January 6, 1995, they, together with land plots, were transferred to Russia for use until 2020.

Stephen Blank and Debra Cagan | Russia pays no price for piracy in Kerch Strait | TheHill

Russia’s posturing emulates China’s demands in the South China Sea.

Luke Coffey | It’s time the UK cracked down on dirty Russian money | TheHill

“The assets stored and laundered in London both directly and indirectly support President Putin’s campaign to subvert the international rules-based system…”

Mark MacKinnon | As the Russian economy and Putin’s popularity tumble, the war drums grow louder and critics take cover – The Globe and Mail

The Kremlin is sending strong signals to anti-Putin opposition and regional neighbours: Prepare for a crackdown — and war. In another country, opinion polls showing that support for the President is falling would be cause for optimism among the political opposition. Not in Russia. As support for Vladimir Putin tumbles to its lowest level in five years, anxiety – rather than hope – is growing among his critics. Some fret that a continuing crackdown on dissent will widen as the Kremlin seeks to head off any expression of the growing dissatisfaction. Others worry the Russian government may instigate new fighting in neighbouring Ukraine as a way of whipping up both patriotic feeling and support for the President. A buildup of troops and tanks along Russia’s border with Ukraine and the deployment of new missile systems to Crimea suggest Mr. Putin is at least considering a major military operation against Ukraine, says Pavel Felgenhauer, a Moscow-based military analyst. In response to the buildup, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has declared martial law in 10 provinces, including all those that share a border with Russia, and called up some reserve soldiers for training exercises. “Both sides are readying for a major regional war,” Mr. Felgenhauer said in an interview. “The situation is very precarious.” Mr. Putin still has an approval rating of 66 per cent, a level few Western leaders could dream of achieving. But that’s Mr. Putin’s lowest support level since 2013, before Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and down 16 points just since spring, according to regular surveys conducted by the independent Levada Centre. Another Levada poll found that only 39 per cent of Russians named Mr. Putin as the politician they trusted most, down 20 points from a year earlier. The plunging poll numbers are widely attributed to Mr. Putin’s October decision to sign a law raising the country’s retirement age, and delaying pension payouts, by five years. The move revealed how grim Russia’s economic picture has become after years of sanctions and low oil prices. The same hard economic truths – the country’s gross domestic product shrank in 2015 and 2016 before beginning a modest recovery last year – mean Mr. Putin’s administration has a limited number of policy tools with which to assuage public anger. With few carrots to offer, the Kremlin appears to be resorting to the stick. On Dec. 5, veteran human-rights activist Lev Ponomarev was arrested and given a 16-day jail sentence for his role in an October demonstration against the torture of political detainees. Supporters believe the real motivation for Mr. Ponomarev’s arrest was to warn others away from joining an unsanctioned peace march that he was helping to organize. About 50 people did gather on Sunday in front of the state security building in the centre of Moscow. At least seven people were arrested.

Michael McFaul | Why Vladimir Putin is a terrible strategist – The Washington Post

Putin’s victories have planted the seeds of long-term isolation and weakness for his country

Window on Eurasia — New Series: When the League of Nations Expelled the USSR for Bombing Finland

Paul Goble Staunton, December 16 – Seventy-nine years ago, on December 14, 1939, the League of Nations expelled the Soviet Union from membership for its actions against Finland, an act of principle by an organization most people consider to have been incapable of that and one that has not been equaled by international bodies for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Georgia and Ukraine. The motion to exclude the Soviet Union for its actions was introduced by Argentina on the basis of the League’s own 1933 resolution defining aggression, Russian commentator Yury Khristenzen recalls, along with information about Stalin’s bombing of Helsinki that has an all-too-disturbing echo in the words of Putin representatives now (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C153AA75C3E2). At the time that Soviet planes were bombing the Finnish capital, Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov insisted that the Soviet bombers were not dropping bombs but rather “food for starving Finns. That led the Finns in turn to refer to Soviet bombers as “Molotov’s bread delivery trucks.” In a similar way, the Finnish army began to refer to homemade weapons it used to fight the Soviet invaders as “Molotov cocktails,” a name that has survived. Unfortunately, the principled position of the League of Nations has not. To be sure, the League’s actions did not stop Stalin, but they did underscore that the international community viewed him as a criminal. The great Russian memoirist Nadezhda Mandelshtam famously observed that “happy is the country in which the despicable will at least be despised.” Sometimes despising evil is all that someone can do; but at the same time, it should be the minimum.

 

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. 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.

Nord Stream 2 can be justified if Ukraine’s interests safeguarded, German minister says | UNIAN

Germany’s economy minister said he believed the Russian-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline can go ahead while preserving Ukraine’s vital interests, but that Berlin is also in talks to diversify its energy supply with liquefied natural gas. Washington is concerned the pipeline, which will bypass Ukraine by running under the Baltic Sea, will strip Ukraine of important transit revenues and says Moscow is using the project to divide Europe.

UAWire – The USA calls on Germany to abandon Nord Stream 2 pipleline

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 Kremlin-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline as a political project. We urge Germany to heed the concerns of the many neighbors whose security will be damaged by this pipeline. We also welcome the unanimous decision of the European Council to extend economic sanctions against Russia. We support the EU position that Russia’s November 25th attack on Ukrainian vessels in the Black Sea constituted a violation of international law and welcome the EU’s efforts to provide support to areas of Ukraine negatively affected by Russian aggression in the Sea of Azov. The United States will continue to hold Russia accountable for its actions, and we will continue to work with European partners and Allies to present a unified front against the Kremlin’s aggression.

On EU Resolve in Holding Russia Accountable

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 Kremlin-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline as a political project. We urge Germany to heed the concerns of the many neighbors whose security will be damaged by this pipeline. We also welcome the unanimous decision of the European Council to extend economic sanctions against Russia. We support the EU position that Russia’s November 25th attack on Ukrainian vessels in the Black Sea constituted a violation of international law and welcome the EU’s efforts to provide support to areas of Ukraine negatively affected by Russian aggression in the Sea of Azov. The United States will continue to hold Russia accountable for its actions, and we will continue to work with European partners and Allies to present a unified front against the Kremlin’s aggression.

Ukrainian World Congress calls for cancellation of Nord Stream 2 project – 18.12.2018 14:48 — Ukrinform News

Europe's energy security requires the cancellation of the&nbsp;Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

UNGA votes for resolution calling for end to Russia’s occupation, militarization of Crimea | UNIAN

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has voted in favor of a draft resolution initiated by Ukraine to call for an end to Russia’s occupation and militarization of Crimea. Some 66 countries voted for the document.

UNGA adopts Ukraine’s resolution on condemnation of Russian aggression – 112.international

UNGA adopts Ukraine’s resolution on condemnation of Russian aggression

UkrInform: UN General Assembly adopts resolution on Crimea | KyivPost

The UN General Assembly has adopted a Ukraine-initiated resolution entitled “Problem of the Militarization of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol, Ukraine, as well as Parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.”

Poroshenko: UN resolution on Crimea important step toward end of its occupation | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said the UN General Assembly resolution initiated by Ukraine against the militarization of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the waters of the Black and Azov Seas is another important step toward the end of the Russian occupation of the peninsula. The president noted the civilized world is extremely concerned about the danger posed by Russia, both on land and at sea.

UN resolution on Crimea will be a tool in de-occupation of peninsula – MFA – 18.12.2018 12:40 — Ukrinform News

The approval of the UN General Assembly resolution on Crimea on December 17,&nbsp;2018&nbsp;has confirmed the clear position of the international community in support of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and condemnation of Russian aggression.

U.S. Ukraine Envoy: Idea Of Extra Russia Sanctions ‘Gaining Traction’

A drive to impose more sanctions on Russia seems to be “gaining some traction” following a naval confrontation in the Black Sea last month, according to the U.S. special envoy for Ukraine.

U.S., Ukraine Press Europe to Increase Russia Sanctions – WSJ

U.S. and Ukrainian officials called for tougher measures against Russia over its seizing of three Ukrainian vessels in the Black Sea late last month. European leaders have so far hesitated to take steps beyond condemning the incident.

UAWire – Ukraine calls on Europe to introduce sanctions against Russia because of Kerch Strait attack

Ukraine and the European Union must consolidate the international pressure against the aggressor-country and strengthen the policy of sanctions.  …

Mogherini: EU supports ambitious plans of Ukraine – 17.12.2018 17:15 — Ukrinform News

The European Union supports Ukraine&rsquo;s ambitious plans to deepen bilateral relations in such key areas as energy, justice and home affairs, customs and the digital economy.

EU to increase support for Ukrainian regions affected by Russia’s actions – 17.12.2018 15:45 — Ukrinform News

The European Union will always stand by the people of Ukraine in difficult times and will consider ways to further increase assistance to the country's regions affected by Russia's actions in the Sea of Azov.

Groysman, Tusk discuss initiatives to support Sea of Azov region – 17.12.2018 16:28 — Ukrinform News

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and European Council President Donald Tusk have discussed initiatives to support the Sea of Azov region.

Claims of Ukraine “preparing offensive” in Donbas deflect attention from Russia’s actions – Volker | UNIAN

U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine negotiations Kurt Volker says the claims by Russia-backed militants of Ukraine allegedly staging provocations and preparing an offensive in Donbas are aimed at deflecting attention from Russia’s actions. The assertions are made by pro-Russian entities in order to deflect attention away from what Russia’s doing, Volker believes.

National Security Secretary calls Russian statements about Ukrainian provocations near Crimea “hogwash” – 112.international

Statements of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov about the armed provocations prepared by Ukraine at the administrative border with Crimes are “hogwash”. Oleksandr Turchynov, the National Security and Defense Secretary (NSDC) made such statement as NSDC reported. “The “disposed” by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov “offensive of the Ukrainian Army along with the American and British instructors at the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation planned for the last decade of December” as well as other passages such as “Nazi” and “neo-Nazi regime” and so on can be commented by one phrase. I will do it in the language understood by the Russians: “hogwash”,” Turchynov said.

Sheer nonsense – Turchynov on Lavrov’s statement on Ukraine’s alleged offensive

Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov has commented on a statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about the Ukrainian army’s alleged preparation for an attack on the Russian Armed Forces.

Statements of Russia’s Foreign Minister are attempts to justify undisguised armed aggression, – Groysman – 112.international

Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman called the statements of Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about possible provocations held by Ukraine as an attempt to justify the Russian aggression. He made such statement during the joint briefing with High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini on December 17 as Interfax-Ukraine reported. “How to comment on the words of Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation. My first reaction on your question is that he came up with it, then, he stood out and made it sound. Thirdly, what he is lacking, – he needs to implement his absolutely inadequate plan,” Groysman said.

Lavrov said Kiev is preparing an armed provocation on the border with the Crimea | Zvezda TV

The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergey Lavrov, announced Kiev’s plans to carry out armed provocations on the border with the Russian Federation. The Foreign Minister spoke about this in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda radio station. The Minister shared information on the congregation of the APU fighters on the contact line in the Donbass. According to Lavrov, Kiev sent 12 thousand troops there. “Additional information that we have appeared and which we tend to believe that Poroshenko is planning an armed provocation on the border with the Russian Federation, on the border with the Crimea for the last decade of December,” Lavrov said. Kiev has already strained relations with Moscow to the limit. On November 25, the Ukrainian authorities decided on a rough provocation in the Kerch Strait, sending three warships there, whose captains and crew violated the state border of the Russian Federation and did not respond to the legitimate demands of the Russian side.

Lavrov said that Russia will lose the rest of Ukraine if it recognizes the “DPR” and “LNR”

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes that Russia will lose the rest of Ukraine if it recognizes the so-called “DPR” and “LNR”. He stated this at a press conference in Komsomolskaya Pravda, answering a question on why Russia does not recognize the so-called “DNR” and “LNR”, reports TASS. “Do you want to recognize the LNR and the DPR? And then? Lose all the rest of Ukraine, leave it to the Nazis?” – he said. Also, the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation said that the Ukrainian regime has all the features of the neo-Nazi. “We do not fight with the Ukrainian regime, Ukrainian citizens who live in the Donbass are fighting with the Ukrainian regime, which has all the features of the Nazi and Neo-Nazi regime,” the minister said. At the same time, he noted that the internal problems of Ukraine “are much wider and much deeper than just LDPR and the DPR”. Lavrov also assures that Russia will not wage war with Ukraine. “I believe that the Minsk agreements have no alternative. We will not fight with Ukraine, I promise you,” Lavrov said.

Russia vs. Ukraine War: Moscow Deploys More Fighter Jets to Occupied Crimea as It Warns of Imminent ‘Provocation’

Tensions have risen between Russia and Ukraine ever since Russian troops attacked three Ukrainian navy ships that were traveling into the Sea of Azov from the Black Sea via the Kerch Strait on November 25.

Russia deploys fighter jets to Crimea amid Ukraine tensions – Ifax | Reuters

Russia’s Ministry of Defence said on Monday it was deploying more than 10 Sukhoi SU-27 and SU-30 fighter jets to Crimea after Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov alleged Ukraine was preparing “a provocation” near Crimea before the end of the year.

World War 3: Russia-Ukraine tensions BOIL OVER as Putin sends FIGHTER JETS to Crimea | World | News | Express.co.uk

MOSCOW is gearing up to send more than 10 Sukhoi SU-27 and SU-30 fighter jets to the Crimean Peninsula amid fears of escalating conflict in the beleaguered region.

Ukraine insists on OSCE’s presence in Azov Sea area – 18.12.2018 15:30 — Ukrinform News

Ukraine insists on the presence of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in the area of the Sea of Azov.

UAWire – Ukrainian President: Putin refuses to talk about Kerch Strait incident because he has nothing to say

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin is disingenuous when saying that the reason he is refusing a telephone conversation because of the election process in Ukraine. In Poroshenko’s opinion, the head of the Kremlin simply has nothing to say. At a press conference on Sunday, the President of Ukraine said: “When, during the act of aggression, I called him to talk, he refused to have a conversation not because, as he explains, the election process in Ukraine. He refused because he has nothing to say.” Poroshenko believes that Putin did not expect that Ukraine will be able to collect evidence so quickly regarding Russia’s attack on the Ukrainian ships near the Kerch Strait. According to him, Ukraine has satellite imagery, audio interceptions, and video confirming the illegal nature of the seizure of Ukrainian ships. “He wasn’t ready for this and had nothing to say. That is why, he refused the conversation,” said the President of Ukraine.

Spy ship of British Royal Navy enters the Black Sea – 112.international

The spy ship HMS Echo (H87) of the British Royal Navy entered the Black Sea through the Bosphorus on December 17 as Ukrainian military portal reported. “The visit to the Black Sea takes place within the agreement of Ukraine and Britain reached on November 21, 2018, during the visit of Ukraine’s Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak to London. Then, British Secretary of State for Defense Gavin Williamson announced, expressing the support to Ukraine, that HMS Echo (H87) will be sent to the Black Sea,” the message said. Related: Turkey begins construction of naval base in Black Sea It is noted that the main designation of HMS Echo (H87) is the holding of the research hydrographic or geodetic operations and support of the amphibious operations; besides, the ship can be used for the management of the naval operations, for mine actions, search and identification of the undersea features. The ship has the heightened conditions of comfort for the crew, which is placed in the double cabins (except the commander and his aide). Enterprise is equipped with the most modern systems for the fulfillment of the assigned tasks: side-scan survey, multi-beam and single-beam echo sounders, equipment for the analysis of samples from water at different depth and ground, pressure gauge, system of mapping and research of the seabed. Besides, it has one hydrographic boat, which can act in some autonomy from the ship-carrier.

Ukraine flag unfolded in mountains in Russian-occupied Crimea in support of Ukrainian sailors (Video) | UNIAN

Volunteers of the InformNapalm international intelligence community have unfolded the flag of Ukraine on the summit of a mountain near in the Laspi Pass in Russian-occupied Crimea in support of the 24 Ukrainian sailors captured by Russian special forces off the coast of Crimea on November 25. The video is also available on the Ukrainian Navy’s official page on Facebook.

UAWire – Ukrainian President proposes establishing Crimean Tatar autonomy in Crimea

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expressed his readiness to introduce to the Verkhovna Rada a draft amendment to the Ukrainian constitution …

US confirms Russia has ‘significant military capacity’ along Ukraine’s borders

Russia has amassed “significant military capacity” on Ukraine’s borders, a top U.S. diplomat confirmed Monday amid fears Russia has its eyes on another piece of the country.

Ukraine sends tanks to front line as Russian invasion fears grow | Daily Star

UKRAINE has deployed dozens of tanks and fighter jets to face down Russian-backed separatists in its far east amid fears Vladimir Putin is preparing his forces for an invasion.

Russia pulls over 300 tanks to military base near Ukraine border – Poroshenko | UNIAN

President Petro Poroshenko said that before martial law was introduced in Ukraine, Russia had pulled over 300 main battle tanks to a military base located just 18 km from the Russian-Ukrainian border. The president stressed the importance of martial law in 10 regions of Ukraine.

Russian ground force aggression in Ukraine to result in catastrophe for Russia, – Interior Ministry – 112.international

The possible ground aggression of Russia in Ukraine will turn out to be a catastrophe for the federation. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov made such statement as the press service of the ministry reported. “We are in the situation of martial law, in expectation, whether the aggressive actions from the side of Russia will continue. It is very important for us to be ready for any aggressive actions, which can occur from the side of the enemy. If it commits the ground aggression against Ukraine, military law will be continued, we will mobilize all forces. For Ukraine, it will be a very difficult challenge, but for Putin’s Russia it will be a catastrophe. We are ready for such challenges in full,” Avakov noted.

Poroshenko: martial law to be extended only if Russia goes for large-scale invasion | UNIAN

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that the terms of martial law will not be extended unless Russia goes for a major invasion. The president noted his principled position was that martial law should not interfere with the holding of elections.

Russia Threat High With Troops at Border, Ukraine President Says – Bloomberg

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that his country still faces threat of Russian invasion and there has been no de-escalation after recent flare-up.

Putin is avoiding negotiations, but martial law will not be extended, says Poroshenko | Euronews

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of avoiding negotiations to release Ukrainian sailors captured last month

Martial law not to be extended unless large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine begins, – Poroshenko – 112.international

martial law, which is now in effect in 10 regions of Ukraine, will not be extended

This time, Russia deploys troops toward Ukraine border not for training purpose – Poroshenko | UNIAN

Today, the threat of Russian invasion prevails, the president believes. The troops were this time brought there without any explanation, Petro Poroshenko says.

Russia might use Ka-52 helicopters to destroy Ukrainian SAM sites – Defence Blog

Some military experts were pointed out that in the event of active hostilities, Russia might use Ka-52 helicopters to destroy surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites in the South of Ukraine. Babak Taghvaee, a military analyst based in Malta, claimed in a tweet that at least several consecutive days the 3rd Squadron of the 39th Helicopter Aviation Regiment has practiced Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) mission using Ka-52 attacks helicopters. He added: “It means, in case of war with Ukraine, its 16 Ka-52s might be used to destroy SAM sites near the frontline.” During a SEAD mission, pilots fly into enemy airspace to find and suppress surface-to-air missile systems, radars on the ground. This unique mission set is important because without it all the other aircraft are essentially unprotected from surface-to-air missiles. In modern warfare SEAD missions can constitute as much as 30% of all sorties launched in the first week of combat and continue at a reduced rate through the rest of a campaign.

Russia might use Ka-52 helicopters to destroy Ukrainian SAM sites – media | UNIAN

Some military experts were pointed out that in the event of active hostilities, Russia might use Ka-52 helicopters to destroy surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites in the South of Ukraine. The Russian Ka-52 attacks helicopters from Dzhankoy air base in Crimea could pose a real threat to Ukraine’s South regions.

Commander of Russian-led terrorist forces eliminated in Donbas (Photo) | UNIAN

Commander of the Russian-led forces in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, Aleksej Biryulin, was eliminated on December 6. The terrorist was on Ukraine’s Myrotvorets database.

Ukraine’s Joint Forces in Donbas check combat readiness of air defense systems (Video) | UNIAN

Military units of Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation (JFO) in Donbas have checked the combat readiness of air defense systems. The examination has shown the air defense units of the Joint Forces are ready to quickly respond to any aggression from the air.

Russia sends Chechen snipers to positions outside Ukrainian-controlled Mariupol | UNIAN

Russia has sent a sniper unit made up of representatives of Chechen nationality to positions outside the Ukrainian-controlled strategic port city of Mariupol in Donetsk region. A sniper unit consists exclusively of persons of Chechen nationality.

New casualties of Russian-led forces reported in Donbas (Photo) | UNIAN

Officer of the 53rd separate mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Anatoliy Shtefan has reported new casualties of the Russian-led forces in Donbas, eastern Ukraine. Two terrorists were killed in blasts of an unknown explosive device.

Russia does not want to talk about release of political prisoners and hostages – Poroshenko – 16.12.2018 19:00 — Ukrinform News

The whole world now sees that Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, are held accountable for the illegal detention of Ukrainian political prisoners and hostages.

Poroshenko: Medvedchuk de facto “Putin’s representative” in Minsk talks | UNIAN

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko says that the leader of the Ukrainian Choice organization, Viktor Medvedchuk, at the Minsk talks on Donbas settlement is a de facto representative of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia is not releasing hostages because of Vladimir Putin’s personal reluctance to make such move.

Sergeant of Border Troops Yevhen Kolisnyk, who was previously reported missing, is found dead with gunshot wounds – 112.international

A 23-year-old Sergeant of Border Troops Yevhen Kolisnyk, who was previously reported missing, was found dead wita h gunshot wound. The adviser to the State Border Service Head, Oleh Slobodian, stated this on his Facebook page. “As a result of a few-hour search, the Border Guard inspector was found without signs of life, with a gunshot wound a few kilometers from the place of his service,” he noted. The State Border Service officials suggest that the sergeant could commit suicide because of family troubles. The National Police in Odesa region opened a criminal case on his death. “The State Border Service is also conducting an internal investigation into the incident. His colleagues from the ministry express condolences to the family and friends of the deceased,” concluded Slobodyan.

Ukrainian Marines start exercises amid martial law | UNIAN

The Ukrainian Navy have launched tactical exercises involving Marines and first-stage operational reserves. The military are working out landing of an airborne assault force, an airstrike on naval targets, engaging a conditional enemy by artillery forces, and de-blocking along the coastline.

Poroshenko: Decision on possible dismissal of SBU officers with ties to Russia to be taken after vetting | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that a decision on possible dismissals of officers of the SBU Security Service and other law enforcement agencies over their or their relatives’ ties with Russia will be taken after vetting. First Deputy of the SBU Chief Serhiy Semochko is suspected of high treason.

Poroshenko calls on SBU to check all Ukrainian state servants for having relatives with Russian citizenship

President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine has asked the SBU’s chief Vasyl Hrytsak to order the SBU’s Counterintelligence Department to check state servants in Ukraine for having relatives with Russian citizenship and in case such cases are revealed to bring those servants to responsibility, including their dismissal if need be.

Poroshenko instructs to check all Ukraine’s officials for having relatives with Russian citizenship – 112.international

President Petro Poroshenko instructed the Security Service of Ukraine to check all government officials

Poroshenko apologizes for giving false hopes on war end, 112.international – I feel ashamed for raising expectations about war ending, – Poroshenko – 112.international

I feel ashamed for raising expectations about war ending, – Poroshenko

Poroshenko: In next 5 years, Ukraine must see peace, overcome effects of economic crisis, meet criteria for joining EU, NATO | UNIAN

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that in the next five years, the country needs to achieve peace, overcome the effects of the economic crisis, and meet all criteria for joining the European Union and NATO. The president spoke about three main things that need to be done in the next 5 years.

2,914 Ukrainian soldiers and officers killed since start of Russian aggression – 17.12.2018 17:55 — Ukrinform News

2,914 Ukrainian soldiers and officers have been killed since the start of Russian aggression.

UAWire – Ukrainian President on possible defeat in elections: if someone is more worthy, I will help them

President Petro Poroshenko stated that he has not yet decided whether to run in the 2019 election. At the same time, Poroshenko promised that if …

Ukrainian authorities forget about promises after attacks on activists – Amnesty International | UNIAN

Amnesty International Ukraine has said there was no effective investigation in most cases of attacks on activists in Ukraine, while representatives of the authorities publicly made promises to find the perpetrators, but “forgot” about them after the cases had disappeared off the radar screen. Over 50 attacks on activists and human rights defenders were registered in Ukraine in 2018.

UkSATSE receives EASA certificate as national provider of air navigation services | UNIAN

The Ukrainian State Air Traffic Services Enterprise, or UkSATSE, has received a certificate of compliance with the norms of the European Union as a national provider of air navigation services. The certificate was issued at the headquarters of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Cologne, Germany, on December 17.

Ukrainian movie about Donbas lands on Oscars shortlist in Documentary Feature category (Video) | UNIAN

A Ukrainian movie about Donbas events called “The Distant Barking of Dogs” has been included in the 91st Oscars shortlist in the Documentary Feature category. The TOP 5 nominees would be announced in January.

Ukraine plans to complete liquidation of over 40 banks – 18.12.2018 13:23 — Ukrinform News

Ukraine's Deposit Guarantee Fund plans to complete next year the liquidation of over 40 banks that were transferred to its management during the 2014-2016 crisis.

Ukraine’s airline industry shows increase of 30% for three years in a row – Poroshenko – 18.12.2018 12:55 — Ukrinform News

Three years in a row the Ukrainian airline industry has shown an increase of 30%, President Petro Poroshenko has informed on Twitter.

Over 60% of Kyiv residents support Ukraine’s accession to EU – poll | UNIAN

Nearly two thirds of Kyiv residents (63%) support Ukraine’s accession to the European Union. A mere 5% of Kyiv residents choose the country’s Russia-oriented foreign policy.

Ukraine’s Anti-Raider Commission returns almost 6,000 ha of land to citizens | UNIAN

The Commission under the Justice Ministry of Ukraine for the consideration of complaints in the field of state registration (Anti-Raider Commission) in 2018 canceled the illegal registration of almost 6,000 hectares of land and more than 100,000 square meters of real estate. The abolition of illegal registration that led to the loss of real estate by baby food producer LLC Econia is among the Commission’s high-profile cases.