Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
A curious little battle in the information sphere is drawing some attention to the British actions, but the Russian reaction is almost overlooked. Ofcom, the British arbiter of fairness and objectivity in broadcasts within the UK is reviewing the objectivity of RT’s broadcasts following the Kerch Straits incident. Ofcom says Russian broadcaster RT broke its rules – CNN The Russian response is a knee-jerk reaction, examining the objectivity of BBC’s broadcasts with Russia. I have no doubt whatever the final verdict of Ofcom regarding RT will be commensurate of Roskomnadzor’s finding with the BBC. Russian justice is fair, objective, impartial, and legal? Russia’s Media Regulator Checks Legality OF BBC Operations Pshaw.
Pay close attention to the source of the articles in this compilation. The propaganda is strong on the Russian side, almost unbelievable, and usually legible only if I squint my eyes and shut down a part of my brain. You know, the part where logic rules.
The major Russia topic is the blowback from the Vozhd’s annual talkback, and its amplification by other Russian agencies – notable are incessant attacks on Ukraine, none especially original, and more nuclear saber-rattling, also none of which is original. A good catch by Portnikov.
Updates on Russian PMCs, EU hacking by China, INF breaches, Amb Herbst on a decade of Russian Cold War ignored until no longer ignorable. Holland may sue Russia over MH17. Surveys indicate nostalgia for the USSR peaks again.
In the UK, Ofcom investigation of RT finds it has breached codes on impartiality. Russia in turn threatens BBC. Lithuania bags several Russian covert operators.
In Ukraine, FM Klimkin publishes a good OpEd in Politico, spelling out ground truths too many Western politicians fail to recognise. Much on Ukraine’s proposed Azov Sea FONOPS.
Good analyses by Umland on the implications of Tymoshenko replacing Poroshenko as President – Tymoshenko as PM put the 25th VDV on combat alert to toss the Russian garrison out of Crimea. Western media excited about a fight in the Kyiv parliament.
Ukraine takes delivery of the first two of twenty two French Super Puma helos for NGU and Interior Ministry. Update on Stiletto API small arms ammo, and 9mm ammo production.
Russian president also condemns the creation of a Ukrainian Orthodox Church independent of Moscow, saying it violated religious freedoms and drove a wedge between the nations.
Kiev is considering sending its Navy ships through the Kerch Strait again, a high-ranked official said weeks after a tense standoff between Russian and Ukrainian vessels in the area.
A resolution by US Senators calling on President Donald Trump to spearhead “multinational freedom of navigation operation” in the Black Sea is inciting Ukraine to commit new military provocations, a Russian lawmaker says.
President Petro Poroshenko sent Ukrainian servicemen to die in a provocation against Russia in the Kerch Strait, in hopes of boosting his approval rating, Vladimir Putin has claimed, adding that thankfully this didn’t happen.
Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed Ukrainian government was disappointed that Russian troops did not kill Ukranian service members.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russian-US relations have become a victim of the provocation which the Ukrainian authorities have carried out in the Kerch Strait, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said on Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his 14th annual end-of-the-year press conference on 20 December, having touched upon a wide array of issues, including relations with the US and Ukraine, anti-Russia sanctions, and arms control.
The IMF’s approval of a new $3.9 billion loan for Ukraine has already been hailed as a victory in Kiev. It’s just enough to cover some pension payments but will take a long time to pay off, said Russian President Vladimir Putin.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that he was willing to respect a Russian-Ukrainian accord governing the joint use of the Azov Sea and that Moscow wanted to normalize the situation around the waters. Moscow last month seized three Ukrainian navy vessels and their crews
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia is not increasing its military presence in the Sea of Azov, its forces there are guarding the Crimean Bridge, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday.
THE US has risked infuriating Russia after dozens of Senators passed a resolution yesterday which called on Donald Trump to try and block Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
The press conference lasted almost four hours. This will take you 5 minutes.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Kiev’s provocation in the Kerch Strait, when Ukrainian Navy ships illegally crossed the Russian border and as a result were seized by Russian border guards, has been successful in terms of boosting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s ratings ahead of next year’s election, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated.
The official representative for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova commented on the statement made by the Secretary of the National Security Council Oleksandr Turchynov that Ukraine is preparing another passage of ships through the Kerch Strait. According to her, this can “aggravate the situation.” The spokeswoman for the MFA said that Turchynov’s statement is “provocative.” “It [the statemen]) is absolutely irresponsible, and it is intended to aggravate the situation. Yet again many of Ukraine’s partners are trying, so to speak, to relieve themselves of the tension in this situation, looking for ways to de-escalate. Moreover, against the backdrop of these attempts made by many including EU governments, they make such a statement? They are just trying to provoke; this is the calling card of the current regime in Kyiv,” Zakharova said. Earlier, in an interview with BBC, Turchynov said that Ukraine had invited international partners to take part in the passage of Navy Ships from the Black Sea to the Azov Sea, through the Kerch Strait.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Journalists from Asia, Europe, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the United States will participate in the upcoming large news conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said.
Russia may easily respond to the US withdrawal from the milestone INF Treaty by developing new types of land-based missiles, Vladimir Putin said, warning that Washington’s decision to pull out “is one step towards an arms race.”
The figure of Stepan Bandera, who was killed in Munich on October 15, 1959, is still tearing Ukrainian society apart
Vladimir Putin is holding his annual news conference, a marathon event that comes at a time with the Russian leader’s popularity is down. Join our live blog for minute-by-minute updates, the best…
Russian leader: U.S. destabilizing arms control
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that the threat of nuclear war should not be underestimated, but that he hoped that common sense would prevail.
Speaking at his annual media press conference, Putin was asked by one journalist to assess the threat of nuclear war or a third world war.
The ex-KGB hard-man was bragging about a “serious breakthrough” in his missile development programme to Kremlin war chiefs when he issued the threat
The Russian President revealed the country will be forced to take countermeasures should Donald Trump withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces
Russian President Vladimir Putin is holding his annual news conference, fielding questions in what is usually an hours-long event and this year it is being held at a time when his ratings have fall…
Russian President Vladimir Putin was taking questions from journalists Thursday during his annual news conference in Moscow.
Russia has banned the ubiquitous street displays of the currency’s value, and perhaps nostalgia, to hide any hint of weakness.
Russia’s media regulator, Roskomnadzor, says it has started checking the legality of the BBC World News channel’s Russian operations and the BBC’s websites, following British media watchdog Ofcom’s allegations that Russia’s RT television channel had violated impartiality rules.
Kate Maltby writes that Putin’s sudden embrace of rap music does not mean he has embraced free speech. Rather, the Russian President has found a form of dissent too potent for him to control.
Despite his own reputation for autocratic rule, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was worried by what he described as democratic values falling apart in the “Anglo-Saxon world.” He made the comments during his annual news conference in Moscow on December 20. Putin cited a lack of acceptance of the election of Donald Trump in the United States and of the Brexit referendum in Britain.
Ukrainian journalist asks Putin how much Russia spends on Donbas
Paul Goble Staunton, December 17 – Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov says Moscow will not recognize the Donbass republics because to do so would be “to lose all the rest of Ukraine and leave it to the Nazis,” a clear indication from “Putin’s Ribbentrop” that the Kremlin wants to control all of Ukraine and not just part of it, Vitaly Portnikov says. That is not surprising, of course, the Ukrainian commentator says. It has long been the conclusion of Ukrainian and Western analysts; but now Lavrov has confirmed it and in a way that makes his words even more threatening to the people of Ukraine (espreso.tv/article/2018/12/17/vitaliy_portnykov_lavrovu_potribna_vsya_ukrayina). As Russia has done so often, before it invades another country, Moscow insists that it is saving that country from a regime its population hates, Portnikov continues. What Lavrov has said is simply a reiteration of that approach, as is his insistence that Ukraine is preparing a provocation involving military force against Russia. “This accusation is a direct indication,” the Ukrainian commentator says, that Russia has not ceased its preparations for a direct military invasion of Ukraine and has not forgotten about a land corridor to occupied Crimea,” however much some would like to believe otherwise on the basis of Kremlin propaganda. The references to Nazism are especially important, Russian commentator Anton Orekh says for what they say about Moscow’s thinking and about its assumptions concerning the Russian people. Lavrov mentioned Nazis in Ukraine four times, an indication this reflects the views of Russia’ (echo.msk.ru/blog/oreh/2335521-echo/). And Lavrov insisted, Orekh continues, that the Poroshenko regime displays all aspects of Nazism and not just some. Thus one must look for racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, the supremacy of the Ukrainian nation, the use of symbols from the Third Reich and praise for Adolph Hitler. That is obviously absurd, although those who believe it aren’t going to be susceptible to rational arguments. “But Lavrov isn’t insane,” Orekh says. And that means “there must be a cause for a serious statesman to say such things.” In fact, there is, Orekh says. And it is simple: “we must explain why Ukraine suddenly was transformed into an enemy. We must explain why we seized Crimea and why we support the revolt in the Donbass” – and do so in a way that even the densest will understand and immediately accept. “Our chief historical achievement,” the Russian commentator says, “is the victory over the fascists and Nazis.. And propaganda mobilizes this aesthetic. For not only in Ukraine do Nazis rule. There are Nazis in the Baltics, Nazis in Poland, Nazis practically everywhere where people don’t agree with us.” In reality, there are no more Nazis in any of these places than there are in Russia – and perhaps even fewer – but Lavrov and his ilk find it useful to use this ideological model about others rather than about anyone in Russia today.
During his annual end-of-the-year press conference, Vladimir Putin was asked to comment on the activities of Evgeny Prigozhin’s “Wagner” private military company. “All my cooks are Federal Protective Service agents,” the president said about Prigozhin, a catering magnate. “I don’t have any other cooks.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin did not refute information on the presence in Donbas of Wagner private military company, saying that the main thing to ensure is that they do not violate Russian law, “pushing their interests anywhere in the world.” The Russian president says over a million people are employed in the field of “security.”
The SBU, Ukraine’s state security service published more information about the crimes committed by Wagner private military company. The Ukrainian authority’s press service reported that on Thursday evening. The SBU reiterated that Russian reporters Orkhan Dzhemal, Aleksandr Rastorguyev and Kirill Radchenko were killed while on duty, as they looked into the illegal activity of the Russian mercenaries in Central Africa. The Russian government denies any involvement in their murder or the very fact of the presence of Wagner PMC in the Central African Republic. The available data says that the PMC Wagner mercenaries were sent to the Central African Republic by the leaders of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces yet in early 2018. The legal cover appeared to be M-Finans LLC, based in St. Petersburg and headed by Russian businessman Yevgeniy Prigozhyn. The M-Finans’s security service is officially authorized to train the members of local armed units and secret transportation of the gems from Central Africa to Russia in the interests of the top leadership of the state and the Russian special services. Some of the mercenaries came to Central Africa using Prigozhyn’s private aircraft. The Ukrainian service identified another 37 Russian citizens involved in the secret missions in the Central African Republic; the Russian military intelligence recruited them. It appeared that most of the fighters took part in the military actions in Donbas and Syria. When the Russian special service learned that the reporters came to Africa, the leader of security service of M-Finans was ordered to avoid any media leaks about Wagner company’s presence in the country. ‘The secret actions of Russian mercenaries of Wagner in the Central African Republic should become the subject of the international investigation. The Russian government is not interested in revealing the truth since it is about the ‘private army of Putin’, who have the blood of thousands of peaceful citizens in Ukraine and Syria on their hands. We all have to finally realize that the silence of the world community kills’, said Vasyl Hrytsak, the Head of the SBU.
RUSSIA could be stockpiling nuclear warheads in its illegally-held Crimean enclave, according to leaked European Union memos.
Hacked EU cables released this week warn that Russia may already have nuclear weapons in Crimea. The private diplomatic messages describe annexed area of Ukraine as a ‘hot zone,’ and Donald Trump as a ‘bully.’ You can read them here in PDF. “The cables include extensive reports by European diplomats of Russia’s moves to undermine…
The latest development gives the U.S. even more ground to make up as Russia and China bolster their arsenals with hypersonic weapons at a breakneck pace.
The Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO), Jens Stoltenberg stated in an interview with Postimees that the Alliance is giving …
The elimination of weapons prohibited within the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) had been completed in 2000, said the Russian …
Paul Goble Staunton, December 18 – Sometimes a single statistic gives a picture far broader than itself. One such has now appeared: the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat reports that in the last year, China built 88 buildings taller than 200 meters, while the Russian Federation built not a single one (skyscrapercenter.com/year-in-review/2018 and snob.ru/news/169797). Part of the explanation, of course, lies in the economic boom China is experiencing and the economic crisis Russia is suffering as a result of its own policies and Western sanctions. But a larger part of it has deeper roots that may not change quickly even if the current economic situations in the two countries do. And that reality is reflected in comments by Russian economist Vladislav Inozemtsev who observes that “the Chinese have built new businesses while we have divided up old ones” both in the course of oligarchic privatization and in the fight over existing assets now rather than in the creation of new ones (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2018/12/14/78942-kitaytsy-stroili-novye-biznesy-poka-my-delili-starye). That was especially the case during oligarchic privatization, the economist continues, because Russia sold off the major natural resource producers and the new owners did little to develop them. China didn’t sell its counterparts and the managers were forced to compete with the private sector. They did and improved production. Where Russians did start from nothing as many businesses do everywhere, they often worked miracles, developing new products, offering new jobs and making money for those behind them. China understood that and was willing to have that be a major part of the economy. In Russia it happened but without that understanding. Unless Russia focuses on developing new businesses rather than dividing up existing ones as it has up to now in the largest cases, it will fall further and further behind, Inozemtsev suggests.
We’re constantly reading about cybersecurity weaknesses and cyber break-ins at our banks, department stores, and large corporations. The results include disclosure of our credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and other personal information. But cybersecurity breakdowns can have much …
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Eurasia Center Director at Atlantic Council John E. Herbst says Moscow has been waging the Cold War against the West for over a decade. Russia’s rhetoric is the rhetoric of war, Herbst said. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Eurasia Center Director at Atlantic Council John E. Herbst says Moscow has been waging the Cold War against the West for over a decade. “If you read Russian newspapers and magazines, watch Russian TV programs, you know that the Kremlin has been waging the Cold War against the West, against the United States for 12-14 years. Their rhetoric is the rhetoric of war. They describe the West, especially America, in black colors,” he said in an interview to the Novoe Vremya weekly, answering a question about the situation with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), as well as the possibility of a new Cold War. “And when we begin to soberly but pointedly speak about their policy [Russia], they shout that we are starting a cold war. But in fact, they started it long ago. And they have been violating the INF Treaty for several years. And when we say: ‘As a result of your violation, we do not have to comply with this treaty,’ they say: ‘Well, you are violating the treaty!’ Typical Kremlin tactics,” the diplomat said.
In a letter, the Netherlands’ foreign minister said that Russia had rebuffed talks about a possible settlement for the victims of a civilian plane shot down over Ukraine.
The Soviet Union fell apart about 27 years ago, but many Russians wish it were still around.
The number of Russians who regret the break-up of the Soviet Union has risen to its highest since 2005, amid rising economic concerns and nostalgia for the Soviet welfare system, the Levada pollster said on Wednesday.
More Russians regret the collapse of the Soviet Union than at any point since 2004, according to an independent survey published ahead of the 27th anniversary of the Soviet fall. Public polling has increasingly shown that a growing number of Russians regret the Soviet collapse and approve of Soviet-era policies. The union collapsed on Dec. 25, 1991 with the resignation of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who handed over power in the Kremlin to Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
It was bloodiest of Europe’s anticommunist uprisings. Nearly three decades later, we revisit the exact sites from Romania’s 1989 revolution.
RT faces potential penalties after Britain’s media regulator ruled that its coverage of the Skripal poisonings breached impartiality rules.
Russia’s state-run broadcaster RT broke Britain’s broadcasting code in its reporting about the March poisoning of a Russian former spy in England, Britain’s media regulator says.
Ofcom says Russian-backed channel broke impartiality rules seven times in six weeks
The RT news channel broke broadcasting rules by failing to preserve due impartiality in seven news and current affairs programmes over a six-week period, Ofcom has announced.
Russian state-backed news net RT could be banned from airing in Britain after regulator Ofcom found that it had broken impartiality rules.
Britain’s media regulator Ofcom said on Thursday Russian broadcaster RT had broken impartiality rules in news and current affairs programmes aired in March and April, including coverage of the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
Several Lithuanians have been arrested and charged with spying for Russia, the Baltic state’s chief prosecutor said, drawing an angry reaction from Moscow.
A Russian businessman who was found dead in southern England six years ago likely died of natural causes, a British inquest has found.
The United States has imposed sanctions on more than a dozen current and former Russian military intelligence agents, including two tied to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England earlier …
MICHAEL CARPENTER Our prevailing approach to sanctions has manifestly failed to change the Kremlin’s behavior. There is a better way. Even proponents of sanctions against Russia (and I count myself among them) have to admit that they have failed to change the Kremlin’s aggressive behavior. Russia continues to wage a brutal war in eastern Ukraine.…
Share Tweet Forward 20 December 2018 *TRENDS OF THE WEEK* You Got It All Wrong: Russia Is Innocent, Always Blame The West According to pro-Kremlin outlets, this week the Americans should be proud of successfullyorganising the ‘yellow vest’ protests in France and autocéphale in Ukraine. Yet Kremlin-linked media also state that Americans are increasingly in love with Russia and President Putin. But…
Pavlo Klimkin on Twitter: “Russian hybrid threat remains hybrid: disinformation, social unrest and election meddling. As Ukraine prepares for elections, Putin will be looking to destabilize,delegitimize and disrupt the process at every possible turn.The stakes are increasingly high https://t.co/xGATCMHGrI”
Kiev needs international help to deescalate volatile situation in Sea of Azov, writes Ukraine’s foreign minister.
Ukraine plans to make a new passage through the Kerch Strait with the involvement of international partners, said NSDC Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov. In an interview with BBC News Ukraine, he described details on the introduction of a martial law, what was done in these conditions and what results can already be said. The communication lasted more than an hour and all this time Mr Turchynov was traditionally calm, sometimes joking. To Russia’s statements about Ukraine’s preparations for the offensive, he replied: “It can not be ruled out that Lavrov predicts the near future.” We interviewed Oleksandr Turchinov, whether the military situation will end in December, whether the danger of an invasion has passed or not and how Ukraine is ready to defend itself.
Ukraine plans to again send its warships into the Sea of Azov, a move that could set the stage for another clash with Russia.
A top Ukrainian official said the military would place new missiles onshore that would be capable of taking out distant targets, specifically mentioning the bridge linking the disputed Crimean Peninsula to Russia.
This may well be the ultimate information operation by Ukraine. It should another win-win situation for Ukraine and could be, as well, for Russia. Ukraine is clearly sending a message to Russia. “We have free right of passage through the Kerch Straits into the Sea of Azov and back and there is nothing you can legally do to stop it.” There are many different ways to ensure safe passage in and out of the Sea of Azov. Include a very heavy press contingent on Ukraine vessels Very publicly include NATO, UN, or, perhaps, OSCE officials on a boat. Include a NATO warship as part of the small group of ships entering and exiting the Kerch Straits. Include a NATO, UN, or OSCE helicopter Advertise the heck out of the “freedom of navigation tour” and make sure Russia loses face for not being able to “defend” their bridge if they do not cooperate. Make it about publicity. Make it about information. Make it public, make it loud. Russia can even save face and state ‘this is how it should be done’. Then Russia should release all the hostages, er, POWs, um, criminals, as a show of good faith. The first indicator that Russia is going to cooperate is how they respond to this statement. If they say it’s a provocation, they are not cooperating and Russia should be clearly shown as, once again, a rogue nation. Russia is being offered the rare opportunity to look good on the world stage. Let’s see if they accept the olive branch or if they go full-tilt rogue. Do it before Christmas, it could be a great Christmas gift to the world a la Christmas Truce of 1914. Now if we could only get all the Russian tanks to withdraw from Ukraine’s borders. </end editorial>
Ukraine plans to again send its warships into the Sea of Azov, a top Ukrainian official said, a move that could set the stage for another clash with Russia.
Ukraine will send warships back to its Azov Sea ports again, a security official said on Wednesday, despite Russia’s seizure of three navy vessels and their crew in the area last month.
Despite the aggressive actions of Russia, on the Azov Sea will continue to create a naval-naval grouping of the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as provided for by the relevant plans. This was stated by the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchinov in an interview with BBC News Ukraine. “We systematically work on strengthening the coastal defense of the Black and Azov seas. To this end, new and upgraded rocket systems will be involved. This will allow us not only to effectively counteract any landing operations, but also to destroy any ship threatening our country at a distance of 300 kilometers even when it is located at the port of landing, – he said. – We must prove to the whole world that Ukraine has not lost its positions in the Sea of Azov, and this is a sea where international law is in force, and there may be both Ukrainian and foreign ships. ” Turchinov said that Ukrainian warships will continue to pass the Kerch Strait: “This is for us in principle. If we stop and retreat, Russia will actually fulfill its task of seizing the Azov Sea, presenting itself to the world with new sea borders in the Black Sea, de facto legalizing the occupation of the Crimea. ” He said that Ukraine offers foreign partners to take part in the passage from the Ukrainian Black Sea ports to the Ukrainian ports on the Azov coast. “We will invite representatives of the OSCE and other international organizations to attend our ships in order to prove to the whole world that Ukraine and its sailors do not violate any laws and international rules. We have no alternative to such actions “, – summed up Alexander Turchinov.
Ukraine will send warships back to its Azov Sea ports again, a security official said on Wednesday, despite Russia’s seizure of three navy vessels and their crew in the area last month. Ukraine and Russia have been at loggerheads since Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, with more than 10,000 people dead in battles between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists. The dispute deepened when Moscow last month seized two small Ukrainian gunboats and one tugboat — with a combined crew of 24 — off Crimea, accusing them of illegally entering Russian waters as they headed from the Black Sea via the Kerch Strait. The United States and European Union have demanded the sailors’ release, and President Donald Trump canceled talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in protest. “Russia’s aggression will not stop our plans to create a naval group in the Sea of Azov,” Oleksandr Turchynov, secretary of the Ukrainian government’s national security and defense council, said in an interview with the local BBC branch.
Ukraine will again send its navy ships to pass the Kerch Strait after Russia attacked Ukrainian ships that tried to cross it in November, said Oleksandr Turchynov, the secretary of Ukraine’s Security and Defense Council. In a BBC interview published on Dec. 19, Turchynov said that Ukrainian vessels must try to cross the strait connecting the Black and Azov Sea to prevent Russia from solidifying its control over the key water pass and over the Azov Sea, into which the strait is the only waterway. “We have no choice,” said Turchynov. “If we stop and retreat, Russia will fulfill its task of seizing the Azov Sea, bringing the self-defined new sea borders in the Black Sea to the world, de facto legalizing the occupation
Editor’s Note: The chairman of Ukraine’s National Security and Council, Oleksandr Turchynov, said in an interview with the BBC’s Ukraine Service on Dec. 19 that Ukraine was preparing to send more of its warships to the Kerch Strait and into the Sea of Azov. The previous attempt resulted in an open attack by Russian naval forces on three Ukrainian military vessels. The vessels were captured and their 24 Ukrainian crewmembers imprisoned. The Kyiv Post polled some top military experts for their opinion about Turchynov’s proposal to send mor
<p>It would be very logical for NATO ships, invited by Ukraine to the ports of the Sea of Azov, to prove that Russia must comply with international law. However, this initiative has not received a response yet.</p> — Ukrinform
A UKRAINIAN official has confirmed the country will send warships into the Sea of Azov, igniting another potential clash with Russia.
<p>The creation of a naval base on the Sea of Azov will be a priority task for the Defense Ministry of Ukraine.</p> — Ukrinform
Ukraine’s defense ministry assigns a number of priorities in 2019; one of them is the creation of the new naval base in the Sea of Azov. Stepan Poltorak, the defense minister said that at a press conference in Odesa, as Hromadske quoted him. ‘We need to increase our presence in the Sea of Azov and react to the threats available in this region, and we will never say yes to another attempt of the Russian Federation to capture new territories, the entire the Sea of Azov’, Poltorak said. Apart from the new base in the Sea of Azov, the Ministry intends to create a new HQ of the Navy. As is known, previously the UN General Assembly supported the resolution ‘The Issue of Militarization of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, as well as parts of the Black and Azov Seas’.
Both sides accuse the other of provocations that could lead to war.
On December 18, while commenting on the Russian Defense Ministry’s statement about the deployment of more than ten Su-27SM and Su-30M2 fighters …
<p>NATO continues to closely follow the situation in the Sea of Azov region and calls on Russia to release the captured Ukrainian sailors.</p> — Ukrinform
HMS Echo, a multi-role, oceanographic survey ship from the British Royal Navy docked in Ukraine’s southeastern coastal city of Odesa on Dec. 19, one day before a group of key British lawmakers also arrived in Ukraine for an official visit to the troubled Sea of Azov. The British warship was due to deploy to the Black Sea in early 2019, under an agreement with Ukraine, as part of U.K. strategic plans for a freedom of navigation maneuver in support of the country. The ship can remain in the Black Sea for up to 21 days, according to international law. It is the first NATO warship to enter the Black Sea since Russian ships attacked Ukrainian naval vessels on Nov. 25, illegally seizing three boats and arresting 24 Ukrainian sailors, who still remain imprisoned in
Roman Mokryak is a Ukrainian naval officer and one of 24 sailors captured by Russia during a violent encounter at sea on November 25. In his hometown of Karlivka, Ukraine, his parents say they’ve been unable to contact their son as he awaits trial in Russian-controlled Crimea.
Russia’s attack on Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait explained by an ex-commander of US Forces in Europe and policital scientist from University of Toronto
Hybrid war, Ukraine history, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute,
<p>Russia has increased its army groups along the border with Ukraine, in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and in annexed Crimea, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said.</p> — Ukrinform. He said this in his address to servicemen of the 72nd Mechanized Brigade performing their tasks in the area of the Joint Forces Operation, which was broadcast live on the Facebook page of the head of state. “The army groups of the Russian Federation along the Ukrainian border, in the temporarily occupied territories of Donbas and Crimea consist of 28 battalion tactical groups, over 1,120 tanks, 2,600 armored vehicles, 1,230 artillery systems and 442 multiple-launch rocket systems, and six operational tactical missile systems,” Poroshenko said. According to him, space intelligence data show the placement of Russian tanks at a distance of 18 kilometers from the Ukrainian border. The president said that in one sector the number of tanks had almost tripled since mid-September – from 92 to 250. In this context, the head of state said that the decision to introduce martial law in a number of regions in Ukraine had been made not only because of a Russian attack on Ukrainian sailors in the Kerch Strait, but also due to the fact that Russia has considerably strengthened its groups along the border and in the occupied territories since August. On November 25, Russian border ships committed aggressive actions against Ukrainian naval vessels that were en route from the port of Odesa to the port of Mariupol. They fired on and seized three Ukrainian ships with 24 sailors on board in the Kerch Strait. On November 26, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the law approving a presidential decree on the introduction of martial law for 30 days in ten regions of the country due to Russia aggression.
<p>During a working visit to Donetsk region, President, Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko met with the troops performing tasks in the area of the JFO.</p> — Ukrinform
Pro-Russian terrorists and certain Russian media are spreading fake reports claiming Ukraine forces are preparing an offensive near Mariupol, including with the use of chemical weapons, according to Deputy Minister of Information Policy of Ukraine, Dmytro Zolotukhin. Russians draw parallels with Syria’s White Helmets case.
Ukraine’s SBU Security Service has reported on the arrest of three sabotage groups deployed by Russia’s military intelligence in eastern Ukraine. The raid was carried out by Ukraine’s counterintelligence forces.
The U.S. Air Force’s “extraordinary” surveillance flight over Ukraine in early December 2018 flew nowhere near Russian forces, one expert concluded. In fact, the OC-135 flew a comfortable flightpath deep inside Ukraine.
Russian citizen Valery Ivanov died in a penal colony in western Ukraine’s Lvov Region.
The territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions that are not under the Ukrainian’ control will soon be returned to Ukrainian jurisdiction, …
The Luhansk Information Center reports that the head of the LPR Leonid Pasechnik, at a meeting with the President of South Ossetia Anatoly …
My recent article “What Would a Tymoshenko Presidency Mean?” caused indignation among numerous experts and journalists in Ukraine and indigestion among some in Washington. Obviously, there are a number of problems with Yulia Tymoshenko and her presidential bid, such as her leftish populist slogans and the financial sources behind her expensive campaign. Yet, the fact remains that the real choice in Ukraine’s 2019 presidential elections will likely be between incumbent President Petro Poroshenko and Tymoshenko, not a young reformer and a representative of the Kuchma-period elite. Given these realities, I argued that the West should start establishing a constructive relationship with Tymoshenko as the most likely future leader. As starting points for such a rapprochement, I listed some positive aspects of Tymoshenko’s possible rise in 2019. She would become Ukraine’s first female president, she built up a real political party over the last twenty years, and she has offered many new—if partly half-baked—ideas for rebuilding Ukraine during her recent election campaign. “Shut up!” was one of the more polite responses I received. Dozens of commentators claimed that Tymoshenko paid me to write this text. But why would Tymoshenko’s campaign spend money on an article asking “where the enormous amounts of money that Tymoshenko is currently spending on her campaign come from”? The libel concerning my alleged sell-out to Tymoshenko, and many less defamatory but also dismissive comments, misunderstood the point of the piece. They saw it (a) as a contribution to Ukrainian rather than Western debates, (b) as an expression of a political position rather than a policy prescription, or/and (c) as a propagation rather than introduction of Tymoshenko for the Western audience. Some unforgiving readers apparently either do not care or do not comprehend well the dynamics of Western discourse and policies regarding Ukraine. Many experts and journalists in Ukraine believe that a Tymoshenko presidency would be a disaster for Ukraine. Their respective comments—when publicized in English or other European languages— fall on fertile ground. These days, many of Kyiv’s foreign partners are uncertain about Ukraine’s future. Even without doomsday scenarios for a Tymoshenko presidency, European and North American officials, businesspeople, journalists, and activists wonder about their continuing roles, impact, and status within Ukraine after the elections. Among some public critics of Tymoshenko, there may be hope that the harsher they attack her in English, the more the West will either try to prevent her victory or attempt to neutralize the effects of Tymoshenko’s presumably calamitous presidency. Yet, this is not how the West’s international relations in general and specific interactions with Ukraine work. Their gloomy warnings may have the opposite effect: Western reactions to doomsday scenarios from Kyiv may cause temporary disengagement. Western actors may start calculating how to minimize the effects on their own countries of some unfortunate turn of events if Tymoshenko comes to power. Currently mobilized Western political, economic, and non-governmental actors who take seriously these gloomy predictions may decide to put on hold their collaboration with, or to even withdraw from Ukraine. Some actors are now, in any way, adopting a wait-and-see approach until after the elections in Ukraine. Whoever wants to further postpone Western investments, projects, and cooperation there should support the current alarmist campaign against Tymoshenko. This will trigger more Western risk-averse partners in Ukraine to freeze their activities. Continuing talk of imminent Kyiv chaos, Ukrainian decay, and reform reversal may result in more Western cautiousness and bewilderment. It can reorient foreign investment toward more predictable destinations, or international attention toward equally burning yet less confusing global challenges. Even more damaging foreign after-effects can follow for Ukraine from the, among some Ukrainian critics, popular reference to the infamous 2009 gas contract signed between Naftogaz and Gazprom when Tymoshenko was Ukraine’s prime minister. Rather than explaining this problematic treaty as a result of enormous foreign pressures on Kyiv at the moment of the Russian-Ukrainian agreement’s signing, some opponents of Tymoshenko see her behavior in January 2009 as self-serving, or even as criminal, if not treacherous. If one takes this narrative seriously, Yanukovych’s imprisonment of Tymoshenko in 2011 was apparently a justified measure. Moreover, the EU’s immediate demand to release Tymoshenko in 2011 and Brussels’s staunch insistence on her freeing until she was finally released in February 2014 was, within such a narrative, either mistaken or duplicitous. Worse, Yanukovych’s postponement of the signing of the EU’s Association Agreement was then apparently justified too. Ukraine’s fourth president was in no position to follow-up on Brussels’s condition that Tymoshenko be released for the mammoth treaty to be signed, at the 2013 Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. In late 2013, Yanukovych, it would in conclusion appear, was defending Ukraine’s rule of law while the EU was trying use its leverage to get the political felon Tymoshenko out of jail. Only Vladimir Putin was, it seems, seriously trying to help the embattled Ukrainian rule-of-law-defender Viktor Yanukovych. The Euromaidan uprising was apparently based on a spectacular misunderstanding: Yanukovych had been merely trying to preserve Ukrainian justice against the EU’s attempt to save Tymoshenko from responsibility for her deceitful actions. If that is indeed how the Ukrainian regime change of 2013-2014 came about, the EU may want to cancel its Association Agreement with Ukraine, reduce economic sanctions against Putin’s Russia, withdraw its financial help for Kyiv, and make Yanukovych a candidate for its next Sakharov Prize. The West still doesn’t understand Ukrainian domestic and foreign affairs well. Ukrainian-language political bickering within Kyiv and English-language commentary about Ukraine’s upcoming elections are therefore two different arenas. Worse, there is a dearth of assessments of Tymoshenko as well as of analyses of her likely electoral victory next year. In the West, some may, as a result of the current mood among many political observers in Kyiv, see Tymoshenko’s possible triumph in the 2019 elections as the beginning of the end of Ukraine. A possible reduction of such uncertainty was the sole purpose of, and—alas—the only gratification for my article “What Would a Tymoshenko Presidency Mean?” for the Atlantic Council, and its extended version “As Good as It Gets” with VoxUkraine.
Many Western observers would like to see a change in Ukrainian leadership following the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections. Some would prefer to see a young MP from parliament’s Euro-Optimists group become president; others hope the country’s next leader will come from one of Ukraine’s new parties, such as Democratic Alliance or Power of the People. The most likely scenario, however, is that Yulia Tymoshenko will become the next president, and that her party’s share in parliament will significantly increase. It is possible that Petro Poroshenko will remain president, but as of November 2018, Tymoshenko is the leading candidate. And for the parliamentary race, her party leads in the polls with a significant margin. What will happen if the former prime minister, her party, and their allies take over government next year is difficult to predict, but the West should prepare now for that possibility. In part, such a preparation would entail identifying inconsistencies in Tymoshenko’s behavior in parliament and speeches in public. But her prospective ascendancy should also be seen as a chance for a new start, improved relations with the West, and progressive development of the country as a whole. Certain aspects of her current position and career could serve as starting points for a forward-looking approach. First, Tymoshenko would be the first female president in the eastern Slavic world. This by itself would be a noteworthy achievement in the context of Orthodox Christian civilization and neo-Soviet behavioral patterns, which have historically been unsupportive of female power. Tymoshenko already broke barriers in 2005 as the first female prime minister, and her ascendancy to the presidency would be a large step forward for sexual equality in the entire post-Soviet world. Second, Tymoshenko has managed to build a pro-Western party, Batkivshchyna (Fatherland), over the last twenty years. Her creation of this organization has strengthened Ukrainian democracy. Unlike most other political projects in Ukraine, Batkivshchyna possesses functioning regional as well as local branches that are more or less evenly spread over Ukraine’s territory. It has had a faction in Ukraine’s parliament for several years now and is an observer with the European People’s Party, the alliance of the EU’s Christian Democratic parties. Batkivchshyna is popular not only because of Tymoshenko’s personality, but also because of its socio-economic initiatives. In other words, it is closer to a Western political party than to a post-Soviet “political-technological” project or pseudo-party, of which Ukraine had many since 1991. Third, while it is true that Tymoshenko belongs to the old cohort of post-Soviet appointees, she is different from them. She was a minister under Leonid Kuchma, who was Ukraine’s president from 1994 to 2005, but was also briefly incarcerated in 2001. And when Poroshenko was a minister under Yanukovych in 2011-2012, she was again in prison, from 2011 to 2014. These detentions are by themselves not necessarily a recommendation, but they indicate that Tymoshenko may not be quite of the same material as Kuchma, Yushchenko, Yanukovych, and Poroshenko, none of whom was ever arrested for opposition activities during their political careers. Arguably, Tymoshenko’s two arrests as an opposition politician testify to the fear among her opponents of her resoluteness, rather than to any exceptional misbehavior. Finally, over the last few months, Tymoshenko and her party have been engaged in a series of well-organized conferences that have allowed wide participation and pluralistic discussion. The relative openness of these events was illustrated by incidents in which unscheduled speakers spontaneously took the floor without any hindrance. The meetings featured substantive speeches and interactive debates that included a large array of innovative, if sometimes half-baked, approaches, as well as many activists and specialists who did not belong to Batkivshchyna. In fact, the New Course conferences introduced so many novel plans that they were, in their entirety, difficult even for political experts to digest. None of these circumstances guarantees a good Tymoshenko presidency. One wonders where the enormous amounts of money that Tymoshenko is currently spending on her campaign come from, and what that will mean for her potential presidency or government. Notwithstanding, given that she is likely to win, these aspects of Tymoshenko’s biography can serve as starting points for a constructive discussion between her and Ukrainian civil society and Western actors. Foreign diplomats and Ukrainian activists should begin exploring whether and how much a future presidential administration under Tymoshenko would support pushing reforms through an oligarchically-subverted parliament, a corruption-plagued government, and a reform-adverse bureaucracy. One of Tymoshenko’s most consequential actions as newly appointed prime minister in 2005 was reversal of the flawed privatization and transparent re-privatization of Ukraine’s largest steel-mill, Krivorizhstal—which, as a result, became ArcelorMittal Krivyi Rih. This action could indicate that Tymoshenko is more serious about reducing oligarchic influence in Ukraine than Poroshenko has been. Tymoshenko has been criticized because of her populist stance, unrealistic social plans, and seemingly unconstructive behavior in parliament. Yet these actions are not uncommon among Western opposition parties that are out of government. Chances are, in the same way that Western parties adapt after electoral successes, Tymoshenko and her team will significantly adjust their positions once in power. Given the narrow range of movement allowed of any Ukrainian government, a Tymoshenko government will likely cooperate more productively with the IMF, European Union, and other donors than their current electoral rhetoric suggests. Andreas Umland is a senior fellow at the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation in Kyiv, and is general editor of the ibidem-Verlag book series “Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society” distributed by Columbia University Press. Editor’s note: A longer version of this essay will be shortly published on the website of the Foreign Policy Association in New York.
A brawl erupted during a session of the Ukrainian parliament on Thursday over a poster accusing one member of working for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
There have been multiple fights between Ukrainian lawmakers since 2014.
A fight broke out in Ukraine’s parliament as deputies removed a poster calling for the prosecution of a Ukrainian politician who has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Andriy Parubiy, announced a break on December 20 after members of two rival opposition parties traded punches.
A fight broke out in Ukraine’s parliament as deputies from the Opposition Bloc removed a poster calling for the prosecution of a Ukrainian politician who has ties to Russian President Vladimir Pu…
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has dismissed Polish Ambassador to Ukraine Jan Piekło as of January 31, 2019. Piekło has been head of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Kyiv since 2016.
<p>Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova signed a memorandum on creation of an interagency platform for the exchange of experience in the integration of territories not controlled by the governments and the counteraction to the Russian Federation.</p> — Ukrinform
According to Istvan Grezsa, the Ministerial Commissioner for cooperation of the border regions of Hungary and Ukraine, the Hungarian government …
The passenger traffic through the Ukrainian border reached 93 million people. 29% of them, which is around 27 million people, are foreigners, as the press office of the Border Guard reported. “Ukraine’s Border Guard Service informs on the growth of the general passenger traffic, which the border guards recorded. Since the beginning of the year this index makes 93 million citizens and given the time left in December, it might exceed 100 million people per year. It should be noted that 29% out of the total number of registered citizens are foreigners, which is 27 million people. The statistics demonstrate a steady tendency to the increase in the number of foreign citizens who cross the Ukrainian border. This index is falling down now,” the border guards inform.
Рогозин-на-орбите on Twitter: “Poroshenko: “As part of the addition to the contract, we must also receive Airbus combat helicopters, which will strengthen the combat power of the Armed Forces of Ukraine … The second stage will be the implementation of this particular direction”” https://t.co/XyDfJS5gIo”
UA:Новини on Twitter: “#Бориспіль: The first two French helicopters Airbus H225 Super Puma flew to Ukraine. They will receive STNS and NGU departments-within the framework of the creation of a single system of aviation security and civil protection of MIA. This is a system of prompt emergency response. https://t.co/7NiY6kk7E3”
He said this during a ceremony to transfer the first two Airbus helicopters to the National Guard and the State Emergency Service, an Ukrinform correspondent said. “I set a clear task during negotiations that the Ukrainian Armed Forces should be involved in these processes. As part of annexes to this contract, we should have Airbus combat helicopters that will strengthen the combat capability of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to protect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of our state. The second stage will be the implementation of this particular direction,” Poroshenko said. At the same time, he said that Ukraine’s acquisition of helicopters of foreign production would not hamper the development of the domestic helicopter construction industry. “The demand for helicopters is extremely great in our country, and this, on the contrary, will increase competition and the speed of modernization,” Poroshenko said. The National Guard and the State Emergency Service received the first two Airbus helicopters on Friday, December 21. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry and the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France in March this year signed an agreement for the supply of 55 helicopters by Airbus Helicopters to Ukraine.
The first two H-225 Superpuma helicopters arrived in Ukraine, which are procured for the needs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. On the morning of December 20, aircraft crossed the border between Ukraine and Hungary. A day earlier they made a flight from Italy to Budapest. During the flight, the helicopters had a temporary foreign registration (MABJZ and MABJX), and inscriptions pointing to belonging to the Ukrainian departments were sealed. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov posted a video of a couple of helicopters. https://twitter.com/AvakovArsen/status/1075658928837537793?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw It is clear from the photo of Italian photographer Vito Zechetto that the first helicopters will arrive to the air connections of the National Guard of Ukraine and the State Emergencies Service.
The Stiletto Systems Ltd. released footage of new shooting tests of new BS-12 armour piercing incendiary bullets on social media. According to the Stiletto’s report for shooting tests performed on December 19, the ballistic trials were carried out to ascertain the cappable of next generation of ammunition with an added explosive effect to obliterate enemy combat vehicles. Cartridges with BS-12 armour piercing incendiary bullets demonstrated capable of ripping through any armour and set engines and fuel tanks on fire. The main element of a new bullet is a special penetrator. It has a large amount of kinetic energy and will penetrate any existing or known armour. But new bullet also included of a special high-explosive incendiary module. The initial collision ignites the incendiary material in the tip, triggering the detonation of the high-explosive charge. The second incendiary charge will also ignite. This burns at a very high temperature and is not easily extinguished. The new guns with Stilleto bullets will offer major improvements in capabilities compared with the decades-old Soviet and US-made weapons.
The Vinnytsya Fort plant has launched a full-cycle production of pistol cartridges for the Interior Ministry. The plant manufactures bullets and shells for 9×18 mm (Makarov) and 9×19 mm (Luger) cartridges. These pistols are used by police, the National Guard and the Border Guard Service. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said these agencies’ demand for ammunition would be met in full while the excess could be sold to other agencies or exported. Currently, two shifts can manufacture 14m cartridges per year.
The Ukroboronprom state concern will start switching of defense production to NATO technical standards in practice in 2019. The press service of the concern reported that the respective plans are outlined in decisions of the 27th meeting of the Ukraine-NATO joint working group in Brussels headed by Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleh Hladkovsky and Assistant NATO Secretary General Camille Grand held on Tuesday. During the meeting it was mentioned that by the end of 2018 the working group, which consists of representatives of NATO, Defense Ministry, Economic Development and Trade Ministry and Ukroboronprom, achieved tangible progress in preparations for the implementation of NATO standards in the Ukrainian legislative base, including documents of the Defense Ministry and the concern. In order to accelerate the transition to the new standards of the Ukrainian defense industry, in the summer of 2019, NATO technical experts will visit the enterprises of Ukroboronprom, which are part of aviation and radar clusters, the press service said. “Completion of adaptation procedures and the full implementation of NATO standards in the documents of the defense sector and the defense industry of Ukraine are scheduled for the end of 2020,” the concern said.