Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Russian propaganda remains focussed on Ukraine and INF. UNGA adopts resolution on human rights violations in Crimea. Eidman on the Vozhd’s reality disconnect – believing his own propaganda. Aybusinov on the Vozhd’s media conference, laced with errors of fact. Mlechin on the persistence of “Chekism” in Russian society – the messianic pursuit of absolute power for whoever is Russia’s Tsar/Vozhd of the day, and his inner circle of followers. A superb argument by Eidman on Russia’s pervasive fakery, he argues that even Russia’s Fascism is fake, even though its toxic manifestations are very real. Golts comments on the Russian military’s ‘Paper Divisions’, understrength or incomplete formations that exist on paper, but are unable to operate due to shortages in equipment and personnel. Nemtsova comments on how Tsymbaliuk challenged Putin during his media conference.
EU extends sanctions. Russia declines on Budapest Memorandum meeting. LtGen Deptula on the Russians doing more clever aggression in Ukraine next year. More on Russia’s internal meltdown. Latvia outs KGB agents, and suffers for money laundering Russian cash. More on propaganda, lawfare, and related political posturing.
UK SECDEF Williamson visits Odessa, meets HMS Echo crew with DEFMIN Poltorak, meets with families of Ukrainian Navy POWs, makes several statements that produce apoplectic reactions in Russia, and announces the RN will deploy a contingent of officers to help rebuild the Ukrainian Navy and set up suitable training programs. The US Senate passes a very strong resolution calling on POTUS to take strong measures over the Kerch attack. In the US, State announces US$10M of aid for the Ukrainian Navy, eliciting sharp criticism from the Baltic States, who observe that the small amount will simply feed Russian propagandists and demonstrate a lack of commitment from the US end – they do indeed have a point here as the Russians measure everything by the level of commitment, not by eloquent language, which they view as propaganda akin to the daily drivel they churn out. The announcement of the aid was thus a double propaganda freebie to Russia, as the Baltic nations observed very acutely. The Russians pay attention to things that really hurt them, such as aid packages in the billions, as a number of parties in the US have proposed repeatedly.
In Ukraine, Russia deploys an additional squadron of the latest FLANKER variants to Belbek AB in occupied Crimea. Updates on Ukrainian politics. Amended law on war veteran benefits now also covers UPA and other anti-Soviet resistance combatants.
Last Friday, at Ozernoye AB, Pres Poroshenko hands over to the AFU 206 items of new, refurbished and upgraded military equipment. This included: “Il-76MD CANDID, Su-25M1K FROGFOOT, MiG-29MU1 FULCRUM C, Mi-8 HIP helicopters, including two electronic attack variants, RPVs of the “Lelek-100″, A1SM ” Fury ” , PD-1, Sparrow types, S-300PT GRUMBLE A air defense systems, more than 70 armored vehicles, in particular T-64BV, T-72, T-80VV tanks, BMP-1 and BRDM-2L1 combat and reconnaissance machines, more than 30 artillery systems – MLRS BM-21 “Grad” and 122-mm SPH 2S1 “Gvozdika”, demolition vehicles, BREM, repair and maintenance facilities, automated 9S162-1R “Oreanda” C3 systems, KrAZ-5233 trucks, Bogdan-6317 , Otokar buses and “Varta” armored cars.” Notable items are at least two batteries of overhauled and upgraded S-300PT / SA-10A+ GRUMBLE, and two Electronic Attack derivatives of the HIP, the Mi-8MTPB BISON COMJAM, and Mi-8MTPI standoff jammer.
Last week, Pres Poroshenko also accepted the first two French Super Pumas for the Interior Ministry / NGU, and states Ukraine’s intent to procure combat helicopters from Airbus as well. Updates on new small arms API ammo and Vilkha GMLRS.
The deployment of a hydrographic survey ship, the HMS Echo, which docked in Odessa on 19 December, to Ukraine was announced by UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson last month.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States is providing Kiev with additional funding to build up its navy in light of the Kerch strait incident, the State Department said in a press release.
UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) – The UN General Assembly adopted the Ukrainian resolution on human rights violations in Crimea. A total of 65 countries voted for the adoption of the document, 27 countries voted against, while 70 others abstained.
The UN General Assembly December 22 supported a resolution condemning human rights violations in Russian-occupied Crimea. Russia, Belarus, China, India, Serbia, Syria, South Africa, Nicaragua, and Venezuela voted against the resolution.
23.12.18 12:57 – UNGA passes new resolution on Russian-occupied Crimea, Ukrainian political prisoners Late on Dec. 22, the United Nations General Assembly backed a resolution condemning human rights violations in Russian-occupied Crimea. View news.
Igor Eidman, a Russian sociologist based in Berlin, points out a troublesome worry. Is Putin making decisions informed by ‘Russian Reality’ or the facts on the ground? In Eidman’s article on Facebook, he vehemently blasts Putin. “Even Brezhnev was less cut off from reality and periodically allowed himself some criticism of the situation in the country,” the commentator continues. “But Putin in recent years isn’t prepared to admit that anything is fundamentally wrong. Instead, he exists “in a permanent maniacal euphoria and doesn’t want to leave that state.” Eidman points out that all the Russian achievements Putin noted in this week’s annual Presidential press conference were “fake”. According to Eidman, Putin is an utter and absolute failure on every front, including decline and isolation. Eidman’s last paragraph is harsh. He claims that Putin’s euphoria is due to cocaine shipped in from Columbia. The accusations of Putin’s cocaine use have been widely reported, so perhaps this accusation is close to the truth. It has become so painful, as a matter of fact, that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs officially denied it. Whenever Russia denies something… Bloomberg article, “Cocaine Bust Is the Latest Sign of Putin’s Weakness” These are harsh words from a professional Putin watcher. But words mean things and Putin had best be listening and reading words based on reality, rather than Russian fakery. Either that or the Russia we know will, once again, collapse. </end editorial>
Paul Goble Staunton, December 21 – Vladimir Putin’s performance at his press conference this week confirms that he has lost the last links with reality and lives in a hermetically sealed world, a manifestation of deep psychological problems and a state that not even the late Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev ever reached, according to Igor Eidman. For Putin, the Russian sociologist and Deutsche Welle commentator says, Russia has 160 million residents rather than the 145 million statisticians count, the economy is growing rather than in the crisis other Russians see around them, and “all problems are being successfully overcome” (facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2169620266434274&id=100001589654713). Moreover, Eidman says, in Putin’s mind, “this hallucinogenic Russia has created super weapons of unbelievable power and holds the entire planet by the throat.” And “even on the personal front, everything is remarkable with Putin: As a normal man, he will sometime marry someone, and it isn’t important when or whom. One can congratulate him already now.” “Even Brezhnev was less cut off from reality and periodically allowed himself some criticism of the situation in the country,” the commentator continues. “But Putin in recent years isn’t prepared to admit that anything is fundamentally wrong. Instead, he exists “in a permanent maniacal euphoria and doesn’t want to leave that state.” Indeed, his press conferences now appear to be less about communicating his views to others than about reassuring himself that “everything is going well and that he is a remarkable and successful ruler,” although “in the depths of his soul, he cannot fail to understand” that his rule has brought “complete failure on all fronts, decline and isolation.” All of Putin’s proclaimed achievements are “fake,” Eidman says. They could all collapse “in a single day.” The pacification of Chechnya has left Russia paying tribute to “Kadyrov’s bandit regime.” Economic stability rests on the price of oil. The annexation of Crimea has left Russia isolated and sanctioned. And that is not to mention the complete failure “of all attempts to shift the economy onto innovative rails, to catch up with European countries, and so on.” According to Eidman, “the Putin regime, like a rotten tree, awaits a good kick which will leave it in rotten shards. But the dictator himself is in euphoria. Apparently from the embassy in Columbia a new shipment of coke has arrived.” How long that and the inactions of others will allow that to shape his mental state remains to be seen.
Paul Goble Staunton, December 22 – At his press conference, Vladimir Putin got one thing right that he has never done before: he said three times that Russians and Ukrainians are separate nations, something Andrey Illarionov says is “the first result” of Ukrainian autocephaly and the most important ideological message of the session (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C1E6B79B610F). But if he got that right, Syrlybay Aybusinov, a fact checker for the Open Media Foundation, says, Putin made at least 23 factual mistakes, some of which were sufficiently obvious and serious that the Kremlin had to introduce corrections in its published transcript (openmedia.io/exclusive/skolko-raz-vladimir-putin-oshibsya-na-press-konferencii/). Both the errors themselves and the Kremlin’s all-too-transparent effort to cover them up call into question Putin’s pose as the all-wise and all-knowing leader that he and his supporters invariably claim him to be. They also suggest he is slipping with age as he rarely made that many mistakes in earlier press conferences. Many of these mistakes were about far from unimportant issues: Putin misstated the size of Russia’s economic growth over the last decade and the impact of sanctions; he gave the wrong figures for Russia’s natural gas reserves; and he said Russia produces 80 percent of the medicines it needs, a vast exaggeration. When discussing private military companies, Putin treated them as legal when in fact in Russia they are not. He gave incorrect figures about the Sea of Azov and the Crimean bridge built to the occupied Ukrainian peninsula. And perhaps most outrageously, he claimed that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate was “completely independent.” Exactly the reverse is true. Unlike most world leaders, Putin has seldom been subject to intense fact checking. Aybusinov is to be praised to taking up this task. Unfortunately, he may find as fact checkers do in the United States that his national leader has only the most distant links to reality and facts about it. Indeed, one involuntarily recalls the pamphlet the great Swedish explorer Sven Hedin published almost a century ago about another fantast in Russia, Ferdinand Ossendowski, whose enormous popular works about the Russian civil war in the Far East were a pastiche of fact and invention. Hedin called his brief book, Ossendowski and the Truth: Two Strangers. One fears that any similar book compiled now will be far longer – and much more important.
Paul Goble Staunton, December 20 – Today, the Day of the Chekist is being marked by the Russian Federation, perhaps the only country in the world to have a special holiday devoted to the security services and an indication not only the Chekism “cannot be destroyed,” as one KGB officer put it, but that in Russia today, it is triumphant, Leonid Mlechin says. The historian of the Russian security services begins his reflections on this point by quoting General Valery Vorotnikov, the former head of the Fifth Chief Directorate of the Soviet KGB: ‘How to destroy Chekism? Chekism cannot be destroyed. Hundreds and thousands of people have been trained on its principles” (newtimes.ru/articles/detail/175012). “If you want to create a new service, you have the power to do so,” Vorotnikov said in the early 1990s, “but keep in mind that with these people you will create nothing but the KGB of the USSR because you will not be able to reeducate these people. To establish a new service, you would have to remove every single one and assemble entirely new people.” After the USSR disintegrated, all Russian government structures absorbed the Soviet ones, except for the KGB. It in contrast “swallowed the Russian structure,” Mlechin says, and managed to create a situation that was best for itself, one in which no outsider like the CPSU Central Committee could change its basic values and approaches. Of course, the successor to the KGB couldn’t restrict travel abroad as it had in the past and couldn’t vet appointments except in the state apparatus. But that had consequences: the new security agency focused on “the spiritual situation of society” in order to ensure its influence under the new political system. The appearance in the 2000s of new laws restricting criticism in fact gave the FSB new possibilities. As former FSB director Col.Gen. Nikolay Golushko warned, “the application of these norms of the criminal code will bring on more problems” that the earlier Soviet ones about slandering the Soviet state system. As an experienced specialist, Golushko understood that “such laws push the operational worker down the old path,” not to fight terrorism or espionage but to “try to influence the attitudes in society and to direct them,” Mlechin continues. That is because the security agency consists of people who believe that strict control and subordination are always required. They are recruited and trained to be suspicious to everyone around them and to view the world as “sharply divided between us and them. And they are accustomed to act with methods which often are unacceptable in civic life,” the historian says. Moreover and quite rapidly, they spread their values into many other spheres of Russian life. Post-Soviet Russian businessmen were glad to recruit former siloviki but they quickly discovered that in the new system, they could not get along without them. The former KGB officers moved into all kinds of other positions as well, “but they rarely became deputies or ministers. That too was part of the Soviet tradition.” In Soviet times, only rarely did KGB officers become senior party officials. There were only three exceptions: Geydar Aliyev in Azerbaijan, Boris Pugo in Latvia and Givi Gumbaridze in Georgia. The first was installed to fight corruption; the second and third weren’t really professional Chekists but rather party and Komsomol workers who went into the KGB. The FSB like the KGB before it won support from politicians because it suggests that any shortcomings are not the result of mistakes by leaders but rather the product of criminal conspiracies that must be rooted out and that only the security service has information, not available to others, that allows the system to defend itself. In the short term, this gives the security services enormous power; but their influence over time corrupts the political leadership and even gets it in trouble by robbing the latter of the ability to view the world accurately and encouraging them to give the security services their head, something that may land the politicians in trouble, Mlechin says. Over the last 15 years, the security services have triumphed sometimes helping the political elite but sometimes acting in ways that undercut the goals of the rulers, the historian continues. The turning point was the February 2004 murder of Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, a Chechen leader, in Qatar. That FSB action showed that once again the Russian security agencies could act on the basis of their own conclusions rather than in cooperation with political leaders who might have decided on a different approach. Since then, the situation has become even more problematic with the FSB acting abroad in ways that instead of furthering Russia’s interests, undermine them. But Chekism is now triumphant in the Kremlin; and the Kremlin has to live with the consequences of that. How long it will be able to do so very much remains to be seen, the historian suggests.
Paul Goble Staunton, December 19 – In Putin’s Russia, Igor Eidman says, “even fascism is fake” but the brutality of the people, the chauvinism, the xenophobic hysteria and war are unfortunately “completely real,” a threat to the country’s own people and to all those who come in contact with it abroad. This is obvious to anyone who cares to look, the Russian sociologist who writes commentaries for Deutsche Welle says. “Hatred of Western countries is promoted by those who long ago took their children and money there; homophobia by not terribly well concealed gays, and the cult of the traditional family by those who divorce regularly” (http://kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C1B405ED267C). Moreover, Eidman continues, Russian nationalism is promoted by “participants of criminal groups of various ethnic groups, and Orthodoxy by Chekists and Komsomol activists.” None of what is on offer is genuine. Instead, it is invented by those who do not even believe in what they are saying and promoted by others who do not understand what they are doing. The Putinists, he says, go into hysterics “about the attack of migrants in Europe but act so that there are more illegal immigrants in Moscow than in any other European capital. They condemn Islamists but themselves crawl on their bellies before Kadyrov; and they tell horrific stories about financial oligarchic regimes (of various Rothschilds and Rockefellers) bu themselves shamelessly serve the Russian oligarchs.” According to Eidman, “only one thing in this ideology is genuine: its anti-liberalism behind which is concealed anti-humanism, a deep contempt of the human personality, his worth, rights and freedoms. This is of course fascism all the same, but it is at the same time completely fake.” It is real in that it has many of the same consequences of genuine fascism even though its authors believe in none of the causes that fascists do, only in the ends that fascists both real and fake inevitably contribute to.
Russians are pessimistic about the future, compounding Russian economic problems. The economic downturn is being amplified by four things. The ruble has been de facto devalued Interest rates have risen Money is being pulled from Russian banks due to fear of future sanctions Russian money is in “capital flight”, it is being sent outside Russia…
Paul Goble Staunton, December 20 – By the end of next year, Moscow will have formed 40 new brigades and divisions while cutting the size of its military, thereby the kind of “paper divisions” that plagued the authorities in the past, units which sound impressive but in fact are hollow shells incapable of performing their tasks, Aleksandr Golts says. The reason this is happening, the military observer argues, is that Russia has entered a new cold war against the United States whose military budget is almost 20 times the size of Russia’s and one that Moscow has no possibility of responding to except by creating these “paper” units (openmedia.io/exclusive/pochemu-v-armiyu-vozvrashhayutsya-bumazhnye-divizii/).At the meeting of the defense ministry collegium this week, a session which Vladimir Putin attended as the supreme commander, Russia’s efforts looked impressive: the military announced it had formed ten new brigades and divisions this year and plans to form another 11 in 2019, bringing the total of new units created since 2014 to about 40. But despite the formation of these new units, Golts points out, the size of the Russian armed forces “not only have not grown but are declining.” Since 2015, for example, the number of professional soldiers has not increased; and the size of the draft quota this year was 14,000 fewer than in 2017. These new units just as in the Soviet and Russian past, are being staffed by officers. “Such regiments and divisions formed 80 percent of the Russian army before the Serdyukov reforms; and they were absolutely incapable of performing their mission,” as anyone could see from the Chechen wars and the military conflict with Georgia. Despite that failed past, “now ‘paper divisions’ evidently are returning. And with them low military preparedness,” Golts continues. But that is hardly the only problem that the December 18 meeting called attention to. Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu spoke about having met all his plans for rearming the military. But a comparison of his promises a year ago with what he is saying now shows that this has not happened. “In 2018,” Golts says, “the forces were supposed to receive 203 planes and helicopters.” In fact, they got 126. Long-range aviation was supposed to get six new planes: it got five. The navy was supposed to get 35 new ships; it received only 25. Promised refittings were delayed; and so “in the best case,” the Russian military fulfilled only about 70 percent of its goals. These shortcomings are probably why Putin and Shoygu are holding such high-level meetings for frequently: they can’t count on the system to meet its goals and so are moving to take direct hands-on control of the situation. But they too appear to be under some illusions about what is possible given budgets and still talk about “miracle” weapons. Golts points out that “the leader of the state is not required to know everything, but someone has told him some obvious nonsense.” He appears to think that the US wants out of the short and intermediate range missile restrictions because of cruise missiles on ships and planes. That isn’t true. The Americans are concerned not about those rockets but about the land-based 9M729 Novator systems. That is because Moscow has put more of them into operation because it is “much cheaper” to install land-based rather than air- or sea-based ones. Putin’s remarks this week thus represent a confirmation of US charges rather than a refutation. The December 18 meeting of the defense ministry collegium was clearly intended to give Russians “the certainty that their security is under reliable protection. I fear,” Golts concludes, for an attentive reader, the effect produced is just the opposite.”
“Trump is God’s gift that keeps on giving,” one analyst said. “Russia can just relax and watch and root for Trump, which Putin does at every TV appearance.”
Paul Goble Staunton, December 21 – Vladimir Putin’s press conferences should not be analyzed as information measures like those the leaders of other countries hold. Instead, Fyodor Krasheninnikov says, they are “part of a state cult” intended to reaffirm to all the status quo in Russia, with its irreplaceable leader who has the answers to all questions. Only the naïve or the very young without any experience could expect otherwise from an event that the Kremlin leader has organized with regularity for 14 times, the Yekaterinburg commentator says. Such actions are not occasions for announcing change but rather for suggesting that there haven’t been and won’t be any (newtimes.ru/articles/detail/175125). Ordinary Russians who watch these performances expect that, and Putin provides them with that reassurance. Believers go to Church and Russians watch Putin to hear from their “spiritual leader” not something new but rather to be strengthened in their faith reassured that neither its object nor their beliefs need to change. To think it could be otherwise, he continues, is to be in the position of the foolish atheist who, when attending a religious service, expects the priest to announce that God does not exist and that everything the priests have said in the past is wrong. That doesn’t happen in church or with Putin. “Putin in fact is not as public a man as someone in his position ought to be,” Krasheninnikov says. Most leaders meet with the media and interact with their supporters and opponents all the time. But Putin prefers to “meet with the press rarely” albeit for a long time in each case – this time around for four hours – and thus provide his propagandists with quotations. What Putin’s appearances do — indeed, it is their most important task — is to shift the accent and focus from one issue to another. In earlier years, Crimea was central to Russian politics; now, Putin has downgraded that region to a status like all others, lest Russians begin to ask whether its annexation is worth the price they are paying. Otherwise, Putin in these performances is upbeat about the main directions of Russian policy even if he is critical about some executors. This time around, Krasheninnikov says, Putin suggested that sanctions have not affected the economy and that any shortcomings are the work of Russophobia and the world financial crisis. It could not be otherwise in Putin’s mythology. After all, “Oceana has always fought with East Asia?” What could one add to that?” This all works to Putin’s advantage because it keeps Russians from focusing on specific problems, their costs and who is responsible for them. And it reflects Putin’s decision to avoid any real discussion with his opponents, a position he can take because he feels “completely confident” that he is in control of the situation. Putin’s press conferences, the Yekaterinburg commentator says, “a modernized version of the plenums of the CPSU Central Committee. Twice a year Putin personally and fully speaks about everything he considers necessary.” For those who do not agree with him, there is no sense in watching and analyzing” just as there wasn’t in Soviet times. In the case of Putin’s seances just like the CPSU Central Committee plenums, Krasheninnikov concludes, “the meaning of the activity is that it occurs again and again and that something really new happens only when this event does not occur with its current organizers for some reason or another.”
During the Russian president’s long press conference, a Ukrainian journalist confronted him directly about fears of a major war. …. But Ukrainian journalist Roman Tsymbaliuk became a hero of the day by pushing the Ukraine war into Putin’s face. He asked the Russian president directly how much money Russia was spending on the rebel-controlled “occupied Donbas” in the east of the country. Several journalists from Kremlin-loyal publications began to laugh, some of them a little nervously. Looking straight into Putin’s eyes, Tsymbaliuk, a reporter for the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN, continued to accuse Putin of turning people in the eastern regions of Ukraine into “slaves.” Tsymbaliuk was speaking quickly. At first, Putin just nodded. Tsymbaliuk went on: “You are afraid of a nuclear war, getting prepared for a war with NATO—but in reality, you are shooting at Ukrainian citizens, that was you, who, as a commander in chief, ordered to fire at the sailors.” The reference was to an incident last month in the Kerch Strait, where Ukrainian gunboats were attacked by the Russian navy and their crews arrested while sailing from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov through the narrow gap between Russian-occupied Crimea and the Russian mainland. Two major Ukrainian ports are on the Sea of Azov and the waters are supposed to be shared. But since Crimea’s annexation in 2014 and the construction of a bridge across the strait, Moscow has taken measures that restrict and impede Ukraine’s vessels, especially over the last year. The Ukrainian journalist finished his speech, which was by far the most charged we’ve heard a Ukrainian journalist deliver to the Russian leader, by saying that there would be no dialogue between Kiev and Moscow as long as Putin kept his job. Putin grew emotional, his eyes angry: “It was Ukrainian authorities who established an economic blockade on the territory that they consider their own,” he said, referring to the situation in rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine. “They shoot at the citizens who they consider their own citizens.” As for the 24 Ukrainian crewmen, who are kept in Moscow’s Matrosskaya Tishina prison, Putin was not going to free them: “Not before the end of the criminal investigation,” he said. More broadly, the Russian leader blamed external enemies for creating tensions and the West for giving Ukraine bad advice. He blamed Kiev for public calls by some radicals who said they should blow up the new bridge over the Kerch Strait. “Obviously, we cannot allow this to happen,“ he said. Over the last few weeks, Putin repeated several times that it is unpopular Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko who needs a war with Russia in order to stay in power after elections in March.
U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine negotiations Ambassador Kurt Volker says the Russian Federation rejected the idea of holding a meeting within the framework of the Budapest Memorandum to discuss Ukraine and the issue of restoring its territorial integrity. The U.S. special envoy says Russia is reluctant to end the conflict and take responsibility for own actions.
The European Union has formally extended economic sanctions against Russia, first imposed more than four years ago for Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula.
From tensions with Russia to what the darkening budget outlook means for weapons spending, defense experts listed the issues that are expected to shape the defense sector in 2019. One of the experts notes that the U.S. defense buildup has likely peaked as budget hawks increasingly worry about the size of the deficit
From tensions with Russia to what the darkening budget outlook means for weapons spending, here are the trends that Forbes defense contributors expect to shape the defense sector in 2019, and their predictions for surprises that may be in store.
Former head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine, General of the Army of Ukraine Mykola Malomuzh says that the role of sanctions imposed by the West on Russia is exaggerated. By introducing limited sanctions, Western countries invite the Kremlin to dialogue. Former head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine, General of the Army of Ukraine Mykola Malomuzh says that the role of sanctions imposed by the West on Russia is exaggerated. “The conclusions regarding the negative consequences of the sanctions imposed on Russia are exaggerated. [Statements about] Russia’s vulnerability are also exaggerated,” he said during an online Q&A session with the Ukrainian news outlet Glavred’s readers. “Russia’s natural potential and financial reserves are big. It also has the resources that are currently in demand on global markets (oil, gas, energy, electricity, nuclear fuel, titanium, minerals). If Russia does not cooperate with Europe much, it cooperates with China, India, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Africa, etc. Therefore, Russia can survive, and the role of the sanctions is exaggerated,” he said.
“The Attorney General’s Office has received no official requests to review the actions of enterprises like the ‘Wagner’ private military company. If we receive such appeals, we will consider them according to established procedures, in strict accordance with the law,” said Alexander Kurennoi, the spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office.
Paul Goble Staunton, December 21 – Vladimir Putin’s promotion of Russian at the expense of other languages not only copies the policies of other countries he has criticized for doing the same thing with the languages of their titular nationalities but puts “a bomb under the federation” just as Soviet language policy did in the years leading up to 1991, experts say. Everyone knows how that ended, but the powers that be appear oblivious to the consequences of attacking the languages of the non-Russian republics of the Russian Federation now, consequences that could have exactly the same effect of blowing the country apart (rosbalt.ru/russia/2018/12/21/1754678.html andidelreal.org/a/29668946.html). The Rosbalt Political Club of experts met this week to discuss Putin’s law eliminating required instruction in the titular languages of the non-Russian republics while keeping the study of Russian there obligatory and to consider the implications of legislation that only now is being implemented. Rosbalt’s Aleksandr Zhelenin reports on their arguments. “At the very beginning of the discussion,” he points out, “it was noted that the Russian authorities with this law are in large measure following the path that the authorities of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union did. And that this led to two collapses of the state in the 20th century, in 1917 and in 1991.” Commentator and activist Maksim Shevchenko said that Putin’s law will in fact “lead to the destruction of national self-consciousness. An individual has the right to feel himself a Russian, a Ukrainian, a Chechen or a Tatar, and when he is forced not to feel the way that he does, this is called repression.” According to him, the struggle for language rights is “part of the struggle for freedom and democratic principles” and as such is “in the interests of the ethnic Russian people.” Consequently, “all Russian patriots should support our Tatar, Sakha, Chechen and other brothers in their struggle not to be assimilated into that uncertain community which the ruling elites of Russia are trying to put in place of the nationalities.” Ruslan Aysin, head of Tatarstan’s TatPolit firm, says that “formally” Putin’s law doesn’t end instruction in the non-Russian languages but it will ultimately have that effect: If schools don’t offer the language, universities won’t train teachers, and there won’t be anyone to teach. Moreover, with language training in the universities, the non-Russian nations will suffer. The Tatar expert adds that the reduction in non-Russian languages has been going on for “a long time.” Moscow’s requirement that school-leaving tests be in Russia and the elimination of the national component in all schools all set the stage for this next move against the non-Russian languages. And Aysin pointedly notes that Russian officials “regularly raise questions about instruction in Russian in the Baltic countries and in Ukraine” without acknowledging that they are doing “exactly” the same thing.” He says, Zhelenin reports, that “this is called a policy of double standards,” precisely what Moscow is always complaining about. Beslan Uspanov, a journalist from the North Caucasus, says that Putin’s policies have as yet had little additional impact in his region because in some republics, like Chechnya and Ingushetia, representatives of the titular nationality form a significant majority, while in others, the members of the titular nationality are in a minority. Unfortunately, the current situation in which pupils receive native language instruction for only an hour or two a week does little to save the languages, given the dominance of the Russian-language media and the obvious advantages to some in learning that language well rather than retaining their own. And Platon Shamayev, a Sakha lawyer, says that the situation with regard to non-Russian languages is especially worrisome because many children, although members of the titular nationality, come to school without a basic knowledge of their national languages. Without special help, they may lose them altogether. According to Zhelenin, those taking part in the meeting “recalled that the disintegration of the Soviet Union began in large measure as a result of problems involving native language instruction in the national republics.” Earlier these languages had enjoyed some support but by the 1990s, they were losing it. “How all that ended is quite well known,” he concludes.
Paul Goble Staunton, December 19 — Even Russians who fled abroad to seek freedom overwhelming support Vladimir Putin and the far from democratic system he has put in place, a pattern that the Kremlin seeks to promote and one that many in the West fear means that the Russian diaspora constitutes a kind of “fifth column” and thus a threat to their societies, Kseniya Kirillova says. Russian propaganda toward the diaspora is far more effective than its Soviet predecessor, the US-based Russian journalist says, in large measure because it is based on “the exploitation of the feeling of guilt” that many Russians living abroad have about their advantages abroad and their apparent betrayal of their homeland (day.kyiv.ua/ru/article/podrobnosti/ideynyy-cinizm). Playing on that is “especially effective” because in Russian history, the state always seeks to subordinate the country to it. In Russia where there is no inviolable private property and independent court system and the individual feels completely defenseless against arbitrary actions, loyalty to the state is often the only means of feeling a sense of having a defense.” “For many Russians, except those who consciously choose to become dissidents,” Kirillova says, there is a continuing “trauma” of having broken with the state by leaving and a desire to resolve that subconscious feeling of dread by maintaining or restoring some contact with the Russian authorities. That is why Moscow promotes so many organizations abroad and why it gives its consulates a particular role in them. That makes Russians abroad in many cases feel still part of Russia even though they are living elsewhere because life is better for them there than in the homeland of their birth. Moscow plays up this conflict and then exploits it. The Russian authorities are able to do so, she continues, because of the extraordinarily weak development of horizontal ties among emigres. Even where such organizations do arise, Moscow works hard to take them under its wing or to undercut their operations by funding nominally similar groups. That is especially true in the Russian-language media. Moscow also plays up the image of the enemy and in ways far more sophisticated than did the Soviets. Current Russian propaganda doesn’t deny the obvious, that life in the West is better than in Russia, but rather it suggests that the West doesn’t deserve what it has and therefore Russians should take it one way or another, by emigration or even war. In place of the Marxist theory of “class war,” Kirillova says, “Russian propagandists operate today on misty discussions of geopolitics, the essence of which in their treatment reduces to the postulate that ‘the end justifies the means,’” a notion that allows some in the diaspora to see no conflict between taking advantage of the West and wanting it destroyed. The frequent suggestions that this kind of thinking works only with those in the diaspora who have failed to find their place in the West; but such notions are true only in part. Yes, Kirillova argues, failures do look to this attitude to justify themselves; but many successful emigres accept this idea as well. “The ideology of cynicism is at times attractive for successful people because cynicism itself is often associated by them with success. The desire ‘to sit on two stools’ and ‘to deceive the enemy’ in combination with the principle that ‘in war one must fight with all means’ does not depend on social status, education, or the standard of living of the individual.” Kremlin ideologists understand this even if many in the West do not, and their willingness to send various messages to various groups gives them the flexibility to win over far more than they should. If the West is to respond effectively, it must begin by understanding that the world of the diasporas is far more complicated than many are inclined to think.
Paul Goble Staunton, December 21 – Russian commentators are celebrating Donald Trump’s decision to pull American forces from Syria, with some calling it the US president’s early Christmas gift to Vladimir Putin (ehorussia.com/new/node/17588) and others referring to it as the work of Russia’s “Agent Donald” (news-front.info/2018/12/19/agent-donald-skazal-agent-donald-sdelal-vojska-ssha-vyhodyat-iz-sirii-colonel-cassad/). But perhaps the most devastating Moscow commentary comes from Petr Akopov of Vzglyad who entitles his essay about the most recent news coming out of Washington, “Trump’s Policy Completely Corresponds to Russia’s National Interests” (vz.ru/politics/2018/12/21/956628.html). Trump, Akopov writes, “is an opponent of foreign intervention and games at playing ‘world gendarme,’ and this was one of his main election slogans,” the Moscow journalist says. “By keeping his promises and beringing American soldiers home, he increases his already not bad chances to be re-elected in 2020.” That of course means, he continues, that the globalist majority of the American establishment and indeed all the Atlanticist super-nationalist elites will have to deal with [Trump] until 2024.” It is one thing to block him for two years; it is quite another to block him for six. “What is Trump doing?” Akopov asks rhetorically. “He is thinking strategically: globalization of the Anglo-Saxon kind has failed. On the one hand, the US doesn’t have the strength” to maintain it. And on the other, “the growth of alternative historical centers of force like China, Russia, India and the Islamic world” preclude it. Trump and those who support him may be called “American nationalists, anti-globalists, conservatives, anti-interventionists, neo-isolationists or traditionalists,” he says. “The terms aren’t precise and to a large extend they do not have any importance in and of themselves.” “What is most important,” Akopov continues, “is that Trump loves the US … He really wants to ‘make America great again,’ that is, to strengthen its economy, society and statehood. In order that it can not only withstand the storms ahead … but also preserve its place as the first country in the world” not as a policeman but as a model of advanced society. It is for this reason, the Vzglyad writer says, that those who do not understand his strategy hate him. And those who hate him also “demonize Vladimir Putin because Russia is so interfering with their plans.” Thus, they have come up with their failed effort to “find the nonexistent Russian traces in [Trump’s] victory.” The only thing that the opponents of Trump have been able to do is to block his meetings with Putin. “This, of course, is no small thing because there is nothing more horrific for the globalists than the very probability of a coming together and coordination of the actions of their two main enemies. The internal enemy is Trump; the external enemy is Putin.” It is clear to them and to everyone else that “the goals of the two presidents coincide on the main things: both want to make their countries as strong as possible and as sovereign as possible and fully independent.” They view the world in far more similar ways “than it seems” to many. “And the main thing which unites them is that the world must be run by national states and not by super-national structures.” Of course, Akopov says, even if the two are able to form “a new world order,” there will be tensions and competition between them. “But there will be an understanding of the spheres of the vital interests of each other and a tough agreement about this or that regional or world problems and a profitable cooperation on this or that economic projects.” “On the path to such a world order, much remains to be done. But Donald Trump with all his strengths is moving America in that direction. He may fail, although this would be a catastrophe for the US, they may kill him, but while he does what he does, this completely corresponds to the national interests of Russia.”
For a century, the leaders of the Soviet and Russian governments either died without leaving their posts or left power for a quiet, private retirement. The only exception to that rule has been the final general secretary of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party and the first president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev. After witnessing the collapse of the country he led and handing over power to one of his political opponents, Gorbachev used his status as one of the most popular politicians in the world to make his own living and fundraise extensively for research and service projects. In the process, he also made multiple attempts to regain political authority in his homeland. On the 27th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Meduza correspondent Ilya Zhegulev reports on how the former Soviet leader has spent his time in retirement.
After becoming one of the primary “laundromats” for laundering shady capital from Russia, the Latvian banking system is now facing the threat of …
On December 20th, The National Archives of Latvia opened access to the KGB archives containing lists of agents of the Soviet special services. …
A Russian court has issued an arrest warrant for Bill Browder, the latest effort in a long-running campaign by Moscow to prosecute the British-American financier.
The move comes after UK regulators said Russia’s RT broke impartiality rules.
Before Mr Donald Trump deployed the term, and before Russian trolls tried to influence the 2016 US elections, the problem of fake news began in …
Fake News has entered public consciousness in a big way. Why are such stories so pervasive and problematic? How are social fault lines widened by fake news and what are ways to mitigate its effects?
The top U.S. intelligence official says that Russia, China, Iran, and other foreign powers sought to influence voters in the 2018 midterm elections, but there were no signs that the results were co…
What DNI Coats looked for: Compromise of nation’s election infrastructure that would have prevented voting Changed vote counts Disruption of the ability to tally votes Regarding influence: “Russia, and other foreign countries, including China and Iran, conducted influence activities and messaging campaigns targeted at the United States to promote their strategic interests.” There does not…
New assessment ordered by President Trump finds no votes were changes but that influence operations on social media continued in the run-up to November’s vote
COMPLETELY unrelated to what this blog is about, but relevant to understanding the mindset of one Yevgeny Prigozhin, who runs the Russian Troll Farm, I submit to you an article about the case against him as a result of the indictment by Robert Mueller. Even though I know the players, I know the case against Prigozhin, and I know what he and the Troll Farm have done, this article and its description of Prigoshin’s defense tactics confuse the heck out of me. If Prigozhin is seeking to stymie the court, he won’t succeed, but after one quick read, I was totally confused. After a second read, it became clear. After three reads, I understand. …and the investigators have over 3 million pages to both translate and comprehend. An old W.C. Fields saying comes to mind. “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” That appears to be Prigozhin’s legal team’s tactic. That is a good characterization of many Russian Information Warfare tactics. Funny how they coincide, eh? </end editorial>
I helped write a paper several years ago for RAND Corporation, regarding Russian Information Warfare. In my original draft I included “Lawfare” as one of the tools of Russian Information Warfare. This article takes a slightly different but just as relevant perspective on Russia’s use of the law to support their hegemonic tendencies. </end editorial>
President Trump’s decision to give just $10 million to fortify the Ukrainian navy drew condemnation from Baltic officials, with one saying it was part of a hands-off U.S. policy that was “music to Putin’s ears.” President Trump’s decision to give just $10 million to fortify the Ukrainian navy drew condemnation from Baltic officials, with one saying it was part of a hands-off U.S. policy that was “music to Putin’s ears.” “It’s better than nothing,” a Baltic diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic, told the Washington Examiner. “It’s not big enough — and not just in terms of money but in terms of the reaction.” The reaction was constrained by disagreements within Europe and the United States over how forcefully to respond to Russia’s attack on three Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea last month. Russia’s seizure of the vessels was “unacceptable” and marked a “dangerous increase of tensions” in the war that followed the annexation of Crimea, the European Union said in November. A call for new sanctions, however, foundered as Western European powers touted “the need to continue diplomatic efforts” with Russia. Trump’s team declined to react much more forcefully than the European Union to a crisis just a few hundred miles from their capitals, limiting the U.S. response to $10 million “to further build Ukraine’s naval capabilities,” as the State Department announced. “We do so in solidarity with Lithuania and the United Kingdom, also planning to increase their security assistance to Ukraine,” Robert Palladino, the State Department deputy spokesman, said in a Friday evening announcement. “The United States calls on Russia to immediately return to Ukraine the seized vessels and detained Ukrainian crews, to keep the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov open to ships transiting to and from Ukrainian ports, and to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters,” he added. It’s an unimpressive response, from the perspective of Baltic officials most threatened by potential Russian aggression. “It’s better than nothing, but $10 million isn’t a huge sum,” an official from a second Baltic nation told the Washington Examiner, in an unconscious echo of other criticism. The funding is a far milder show of support than a top Senate Republican was urging the Trump administration to take last week. Sen. Ron Johnson, who chairs the Foreign Relations subcommittee for Europe, urged the White House to lead a “multinational” flotilla of Western warships into the Black Sea, as a way of warning Russian President Vladimir Putin not to try to seize more territory from Ukraine. “If not, I think Russia will view that as a real sign of weakness,” the Wisconsin Republican told the Washington Examiner. “I don’t want to see a hot war. I don’t want to see a gun fired … [but] we need to put him on notice, we’re not going to allow that to happen.” President Trump’s decision to give just $10 million to fortify the Ukrainian navy drew condemnation from Baltic officials, with one saying it was part of a hands-off U.S. policy that was “music to Putin’s ears.” “It’s better than nothing,” a Baltic diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic, told the Washington Examiner. “It’s not big enough — and not just in terms of money but in terms of the reaction.” The reaction was constrained by disagreements within Europe and the United States over how forcefully to respond to Russia’s attack on three Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea last month. Russia’s seizure of the vessels was “unacceptable” and marked a “dangerous increase of tensions” in the war that followed the annexation of Crimea, the European Union said in November. A call for new sanctions, however, foundered as Western European powers touted “the need to continue diplomatic efforts” with Russia. Trump’s team declined to react much more forcefully than the European Union to a crisis just a few hundred miles from their capitals, limiting the U.S. response to $10 million “to further build Ukraine’s naval capabilities,” as the State Department announced. “We do so in solidarity with Lithuania and the United Kingdom, also planning to increase their security assistance to Ukraine,” Robert Palladino, the State Department deputy spokesman, said in a Friday evening announcement. “The United States calls on Russia to immediately return to Ukraine the seized vessels and detained Ukrainian crews, to keep the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov open to ships transiting to and from Ukrainian ports, and to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters,” he added. It’s an unimpressive response, from the perspective of Baltic officials most threatened by potential Russian aggression. “It’s better than nothing, but $10 million isn’t a huge sum,” an official from a second Baltic nation told the Washington Examiner, in an unconscious echo of other criticism. The funding is a far milder show of support than a top Senate Republican was urging the Trump administration to take last week. Sen. Ron Johnson, who chairs the Foreign Relations subcommittee for Europe, urged the White House to lead a “multinational” flotilla of Western warships into the Black Sea, as a way of warning Russian President Vladimir Putin not to try to seize more territory from Ukraine. “If not, I think Russia will view that as a real sign of weakness,” the Wisconsin Republican told the Washington Examiner. “I don’t want to see a hot war. I don’t want to see a gun fired … [but] we need to put him on notice, we’re not going to allow that to happen.”
The Defence Secretary visited the crew of HMS Echo docked at the Ukrainian port of Odesa. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson reaffirmed the United Kingdom’s commitment to working closely with Ukraine in the face of shared threats when he met Ukrainian Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak on a visit to Odesa. Mr Williamson visited Royal Navy vessel HMS ECHO, whose planned deployment to the Black Sea and Ukraine he accelerated. This is a clear demonstration of the UK’s unwavering support both to Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and freedom of navigation. This followed the latest in a pattern of Russian hostile acts, the illegal seizure of Ukrainian vessels and 24 servicemen by Russia last month. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: The UK is a steadfast partner to Ukraine as it faces continued illegal acts of aggression against its sovereignty. HMS Echo’s deployment is a further demonstration of our resolute support and commitment to cooperate with the Ukrainian military. While in Odesa the Defence Secretary also gained an insight into the personal cost Russia’s actions have wreaked on the people of Ukraine when he met with families of the detained servicemen. He reaffirmed that the UK stood shoulder-to-shoulder alongside the international community in calling for their immediate release. In conversations with Mr Poltorak the Defence Secretary discussed the progress being made on the UK’s military training mission to Ukraine Operation Orbital, which he announced would be extended until 2020 on his last visit in September. Further to the deployment of HMS Echo – whose passage through the Black Sea was notified to regional authorities through the Montreux Convention – the UK will also be offering support and mentoring to the Ukrainian Navy and deploying training teams made up from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and the Army in January and March 2019. The UK and Ukrainian Armed Forces will also gain further opportunities to develop capability and share expertise by committing to bilateral exercises next year. Since the start of 2015, British personnel have trained over 9,500 of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Robert Palladino on Twitter: “In response to Russia’s dangerous escalation & unjustified attack on Ukrainian naval vessels near the Kerch Strait, @StateDept, subject to Congressional approval, will provide an additional $10 million in Foreign Military Financing to further build #Ukraine’s naval capabilities.… https://t.co/HABAAuBRhu”
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate Thursday unanimously approved a resolution condemning Russia’s recent attack on Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait and calling for the immediate release of all Ukrainian sailors. Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, introduced the resolution on Tuesday. The following cosponsors commented on the resolution’s passage:
“Vladimir Putin is testing the West, and he needs to know we will not stand for this sort of provocation. I am pleased the Senate spoke with one voice to reaffirm our support for the Ukrainian people, the Ukrainian government and Ukraine’s territorial integrity and make it clear that Russia’s aggression cannot be tolerated,” Sen. Johnson said.
“Today, the Senate took action and sent a clear message to Putin that his government’s aggression against Ukraine in the Sea of Azov will not be tolerated. We strongly condemn any military action taken by Russia to unilaterally rewrite international rules,” said Sen. Murphy.
“The United States should stand firmly alongside Ukraine in the face of this most recent Russian aggression,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio). “Russia’s unprovoked action against Ukraine is a violation of international law and it highlights the urgent need to bolster Ukraine’s ability to defend its sovereign borders. I’m pleased that this resolution acknowledges my amendment to the FY 2018 NDAA authorizing naval security assistance to Ukraine. As Sunday’s events showed, the Black Sea and Sea of Azov have become hotspots in this conflict and increased naval assistance as well as international condemnation is appropriate and necessary.”
“Through cyberattacks, propaganda, military intimidation, and outright invasion, Russia continues to attack Ukrainian sovereignty and international standards. By escalating the tension in the region, Russia’s campaign of aggression in Eastern Europe blazes on. Such blatantly hostile acts must be universally condemned. I’m proud to join my colleagues from both sides of the aisle on this resolution reaffirming that the United States Senate stands arm and arm with our friends in Ukraine,” Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) said. “President Trump should forcefully tell Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit to stop continued meddling in American and western democracies and that the U.S. will not stand idly by while Russia bullies Ukraine in the Azov Sea.”
“This resolution reaffirms the U.S. Senate’s steadfast commitment to defending Ukraine and the transatlantic community against escalating Russian aggression,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). “The Kremlin’s latest assault wasn’t just an attack on Ukraine – it was a signal to the entire world that Russia’s assaults threaten our collective security and global stability. This behavior cannot go unanswered. I’ll continue to urge Congress, as well as our transatlantic allies, to prioritize response measures that hold the Kremlin accountable for its rogue actions. As Ukraine navigates this perilous time, I urge Ukrainian lawmakers to continue to maintain the higher ground they’ve always held in the battle against Russia’s aggression.”
Full text of the resolution can be found here.
In the US Senate, they advocated a “tough operation” to liberate the Kerch Strait for navigation. For such a move, President Donald Trump called on almost half of the senators. The authors of the resolution, which was signed by almost forty members of the Senate, believe that this is a necessary response to Russia’s actions in the Kerch Strait. On November 25, Russian border guards opened fire and captured three Ukrainian ships in the Sea of Azov. Three Ukrainian sailors were injured. The crews of the ships were arrested by a Russian court. The authorities of Ukraine called the incident an act of military aggression, and President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree imposing martial law. The resolution was prepared by the chairman of the Senate National Security Committee, Republican Ron Johnson, and Senate Democratic Party organizer Richard Durbin. Johnson also chairs the Senate Security Subcommittee for Europe. The resolution was signed by 39 senators, among them the head of the Senate Committee on the Armed Forces, Jim Inhofe. A total of 100 people sit in the Senate. “The United States and our allies should immediately respond to Russia’s military aggression in the Kerch Strait with a strong and decisive step,” said Johnson. “An international maritime operation on freedom of navigation should ensure a safe passage from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov.” In his opinion, this is exactly the answer “Putin should see.” The resolution calls on President Trump to jointly with the Allies to “quickly conduct” a powerful operation to free the Kerch Strait for navigation. It must demonstrate “support for internationally recognized borders, bilateral agreements” and ensure the safe passage of ships through the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov. Senators believe that such a move “will repel Russia’s excessive territorial claims.”
The US Senate has called for a “tough operation” to liberate the Kerch Strait for navigation, with nearly half of senators urging President …
Moscow hopes that Israel and Turkey will eventually recognize the "legitimacy of the reunification of the Crimea and the Russian Federation", …
A RUSSIAN missile frigate is moving in the direction of the Azov Sea from Crimea amid World War 3 tensions between Moscow and Ukraine.
The United States says it will provide an additional $10 million in military financing to Ukraine to help bolster its navy after Russia captured three of Kyiv’s ships at sea in late November.
A Royal Navy presence in the Black Sea will show solidarity with Ukraine, the defence secretary says.
British defense minister Gavin Williamson visited Ukraine on Friday where he told his Ukrainian counterpart that the Black Sea did not belong to Russia and that Britain had sent a Royal Navy ship there to show Kiev did not stand alone.
British defense minister Gavin Williamson visited Ukraine on Friday where he told his Ukrainian counterpart that the Black Sea did not belong to Russia and that Britain had sent a Royal Navy ship there to show Kyiv did not stand alone. Williamson on Friday met Stepan Poltorak, his Ukrainian counterpart, and visited the port of Odesa where a British Royal Navy ship, HMS Echo, docked earlier this week.
The HMS Echo reconnaissance ship of the British Navy, which entered the port of Odesa, is a signal to Russia, indicating support for Ukraine in the face of the threat of aggression. This was announced by the Minister of Defense of Great Britain Gavin Williamson during his visit to Ukraine, reports BBC. “What we are saying to Russia, what we are saying to President Putin, – they cannot continue to act and ignore international laws and norms,” the minister said. According to Williamson, other warships will follow this ship as part of a more permanent British presence. It is also reported that the Minister of Defense of Great Britain organized meetings with the families of 24 captured Ukrainian sailors. However, the HMS Echo ship will not proceed along the Kerch Strait, where the incident with the Ukrainian military occurred. The publication reports that Moscow said that the ship of Britain is a spy.
Minister of Defense of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak and State Secretary for Defense of the United Kingdom Gavin Williamson met in Odesa, where held talks on the realization of measures connected with the aggression of Russia in the Kerch Strait, as the press office of the Ministry of Defense reports. ‘Decisions that we adopted come with the beginning of the work for training the marines. Yet in January, a group of servicemen from the UK Navy will arrive in Ukraine for the organization of cooperation, planning joint exercises, as well as determining the necessary financial and technical assistance to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, directly to the Naval Forces,’ Poltorak claimed. Related: Ukraine is ready to respond to threats in Sea of Azov and other areas, – Poltorak He has also mentioned that the sides looked at a possibility of boosting the cooperation on the full range, starting from expanding the format of preparation within Orbital training program, achieving the new level of preparation and ending with deployment, as well as the expansion of our cooperation in the issues connected with military-technical cooperation. The Minister of Defense of Ukraine advised that the sides agreed on the creation of ‘Office of Ukraine’s friends’, designed for coordinating actions to assist in the reform of the Armed Forces, the Navy, as well as building up the combat capabilities of the Ukrainian Navy.
Britain has warned Moscow that a British Royal Navy warship sent to Ukraine will send a strong message to Moscow that the Black Sea should remain free …
<p>A group of British Navy officers will arrive in Ukraine in January to plan joint exercises with the Ukrainian Navy.</p> — Ukrinform
<p>Defense Minister of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak and UK Secretary of&nbsp;State for Defence Mr&nbsp;Gavin Williamson met in Odesa with the families of Ukrainian sailors illegally detained by the Russian Federation in the Kerch Strait.</p> — Ukrinform
<p>The ships of the British Navy demonstrate that they have the right to navigate through the international waters, and it is very important for other countries to send their ships to the territory of Ukraine.</p> — Ukrinform
<p>UK Secretary of&nbsp;State for Defence Mr&nbsp;Gavin Williamson will meet in Odesa with Defense Minister of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak and will visit a naval base, the press service of the Defense Ministry has reported.</p> — Ukrinform
The United States will provide an additional $10 million to Ukraine in response to the incident near the Kerch Strait, U.S. Department of State Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino has said.
USA to give Ukraine $10m to boost Navy. The USA called on Russia to return the captured Ukrainian vessels and sailors. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
FAMILIES of the captured Ukrainian sailors being held in a Moscow prison have begged the Queen to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin to release them.
It is high time the rest of the world stood up to Russian aggression. The attack in the Sea of Azov on November 25th was a cynical move, designed to deflect attention from a deteriorating domestic economy.
ODESA, Ukraine– Russia’s attack on the Ukrainian Navy ships in November may have come as a shock to many, but not for Ukrainian Navy and coast guard officers. To them, the attack fit just right into what Russia has been doing in the Black Sea in the past four years. Although the Black Sea is international, Russia has been behaving like it has more rights to it than anyone else. Ever since Russia annexed Crimea and orchestrated a war in Ukraine’s east in spring 2014, it has been aggressive towards Ukraine in the Black Sea and the smaller Azov Sea. It culminated when Russian coast guard ships attacked and captured three Ukrainian Navy vessels and their crews on Nov. 25, triggering
Nineteen captured Ukrainian sailors identify themselves as PoWs. They demand Russia treat them in line with the Geneva Convention. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
More than a dozen advanced Russian fighter jets have arrived at a base in the Ukrainian region of Crimea, which Moscow occupied and annexed in 2014.
Russia is preparing for another provocation by deploying additional fighter jets to Crimea, stated by US Acting Deputy Chief of Mission to the OSCE Gregory Macris, Voice of America reports. “The United States is alarmed by reports that Russia is deploying additional fighter jets to Crimea, supposedly in preparation for another so-called “provocation” by Ukraine,” Macris stated. He claimed that Russia’s disinformation campaign seeks to justify it’s ongoing militarization of the Crimea. He added that the United States welcomes the UN General Assembly’s December 17 resolution condemning the Russian militarization of the Crimea, the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. “Russia’s policy of sabotaging Ukrainian commercial networks is another attempt to destabilize Ukraine,” the statement reads. The OSCE reported that monthly cargo volume at the Port of Mariupol declined from 700,000 to 450,000 tons since Russia began to restrict access to the Azov Sea in April.
The United States is alarmed by reports that Russia is deploying additional fighter jets to Crimea, supposedly in preparation for another so-called “provocation” by Ukraine, Acting Deputy Chief of the U.S. Mission to the OSCE Gregory Macris said. More than a dozen SU-27 and SU-30 fighter jets which Russia is deploying to boost its air force, amid heightened tensions with Ukraine, arrived in Crimea on Saturday. Russia’s disinformation campaign seeks to justify Moscow’s ongoing militarization of Crimea, noted in a statement. In addition, he added that the United States welcomes the UN General Assembly’s December 17 resolution condemning Russian militarization of Crimea, the Sea of Azov, and the Black Sea. The resolution correctly states that Russia’s actions pose further threats to Ukraine and undermine the stability of the broader region. The United States takes note of the SMM’s December 11 report on the effects of Russia’s illegal actions and obstruction of commercial shipping in the Kerch Strait and the Azov Sea. As we have stated before, Russia’s policy of sabotaging Ukrainian commercial networks is another attempt to destabilize Ukraine. The SMM reported that monthly cargo volume at the Port of Mariupol declined from 700,000 to 450,000 tons since Russia began to restrict access to the Azov Sea in April. The United States supports adding resources to ensure that the SMM retains the capacity to measure and report on the effects of Russia’s destabilization efforts at sea.
More than ten Russian Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30 arrived at Belbek airfield near Sevastopol on December 22. Reuters reported citing its sources in the annexed Crimea. Meanwhile, Russian media report that two Russian Sukhoi Su-30M2 fighter jets tested new airstrip at Belbek airfield. The planes carried out flight from Krymsk in Krasnodar Krai. Related: Russia deploys fighter aircraft at airfield near occupied Sevastopol Earlier, the Ministry of Defense of Russia claimed that the construction works at the airfield were started in the spring of the current year. The construction of first priority objects is completed already: a new runway with a length of 3450 meters, taxiways and aircraft parking lots and a special purpose site, which makes it possible to carry out scheduled flights and flights of military aircraft around the clock under different weather conditions. Russia reported that after the completion of all work on the airfield, a squadron of Su-27SM and Su-30M2 fighters, which were relocated to Krymsk, would return to Belbek.
Russia is telegraphing all the signs of an invasion of Ukraine. Now a senior commander is supposedly on the ground in Crimea, for the Air Force and Air Defense. if this is not in preparation for the real thing, this is a very expensive show of force. </end editorial>
More than a dozen SU-27 and SU-30 fighter jets, which Russia is deploying to boost its air force, amid heightened tensions with Ukraine, landed at Belbek air base near Sevastopol in Russian-occupied Crimea on Saturday, December 22. According to Russian media, Commander of the Russian Southern Military District’s Air Force and Air Defense Army Viktor Sevostyanov has arrived there by one of the planes.
More than a dozen fighter jets which Russia is deploying to boost its air force, amid heightened tensions with Ukraine, arrived in Crimea on Saturday.
<p>Russia has deployed more than a dozen Su-27 and Su-30 fighter jets to occupied Crimea to boost its air force on the peninsula, Reuters has reported, referring to its witness.</p> — Ukrinform
Al Jazeera is very neutral, much to my surprise. I read articles from the West, from Russia, from all over, and Al Jazeera has been a gem in the sea awash with biased reporting. The Crimean Tatars are raised, once again, on the stage for their abuse by Russia. Russia has a rich history of abusing Crimean Tatars and other ethnic minorities. This article may help awareness for their cause. Human rights have always been a problem for Russia. Crimea was never this way under Ukraine. Crimea is Ukraine. </end editorial>
The Foreign Intelligence Service and the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine have taken the British model of cooperation between the Foreign Office and the Secret Intelligence Service (Mi-6) as an example. “To further strengthen this institutional cooperation, the law ‘On diplomatic service’ provides that diplomats can be sent on an attachment to the Foreign Intelligence Service for a certain period of time. And the other way around. This is the model of the British diplomatic service and Mi-6,” the state secretary of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Andriy Zayats, said in an exclusive interview with LB.ua. He praised this kind of cooperation for giving practical, clear and specific results. He confirmed that the appointment of a diplomat as head of the Foreign Intelligence Service facilitates cooperation between the offices. “This fully corresponds to the reality. Yehor Valeriyovych Bozhko’s work as head of the Foreign Intelligence Service – I can confirm this indeed – ensures very close cooperation between the foreign policy and intelligence offices. Although we have different functions and methods of work, we both work on the foreign political front,” Zayats said.
<p>Ukrainian delegation headed by First Deputy to the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleg Hladkovskiy took part in the 27th meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Joint Working Group on Defense and Technical Cooperation.</p> — Ukrinform
The condition of political prisoner Pavlo Gryb is deteriorating, especially the eyesight, his lawyer Maryna Dubrovina claimed this in the interview to Glavkom. ‘His eyesight significantly worsened, he is basically blind. In most cases, he is not able to read the documents I pass him, he experiences difficulties seeing people’s face,’ the lawyer said.
U.S. authorities have moved to claim a 107-year-old painting of Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible that was stolen from an Ukrainian art museum during World War II and discovered in a home in the U.S. …
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin supports the idea that decisions regarding the country’s energy independence, such as the agreement between Energoatom and TVEL (Russia) for the supply of nuclear fuel, should be in the joint competence of the Cabinet of Ministers and the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC). “From the very morning all the media are savoring information about the secret agreement on the supply of nuclear fuel in 2025 between Energoatom and Russia’s TVEL. I believe that those involved in making the decision that allows Russia to retain key positions in the nuclear power industry that is strategic for Ukraine “owed” at least an exhaustive explanation to the Ukrainian society and our foreign partners,” Klimkin said on Facebook. He noted that the Foreign Ministry has always been and remains a supporter of real energy independence from the Russian Federation and reorientation towards cooperation with nuclear fuel suppliers from democratic countries. “In general, the adoption of such decisions should be a matter of joint competence of the Cabinet of Ministers and the NSDC, which, in my opinion, is more than obvious,” the minister stressed.
KYIV. Dec 22 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Yuliya Tymoshenko, leader of the All-Ukrainian Union Batkivschyna (Fatherland) party, and incumbent President Petro Poroshenko will compete in the second round of the 2019 presidential elections, Vadym Karasiov, director of the Institute for Global Strategies, has said.
Almost one half of Ukrainians believe that there no political leaders in Ukraine now that would be capable of effectively managing the country, and 60% of them would like to see “a strong hand,” a poll conducted by the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine with the support of the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation has shown.
The Department of Counterintelligence Protection of State’s interests in the sphere of Information Security of the State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in 2018 blocked access to more than 300 Internet resources used by Russia in its hybrid war against Ukraine, as well as by international criminal groups to spread destructive information content. Twenty-three persons were declared suspects and 15 convictions were handed down by the court, the SBU said.
Law enforcement officers did not find explosives at the Central Railway Station in Kyiv
Kyiv police received an anonymous message about the “mining” of the Central Railway Station on Vokzalna Square in the capital – Central Railway Station in Kyiv evacuated due to mining threat – 112.international
Kyiv police received an anonymous message about the mining of the Central Railway Station on Vokzalna Square in the capital
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed a law, which expands the list of participants in hostilities by the warriors of a number of forces, which fought for the independence of Ukraine in the 20th century, including the members of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and armed units of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, the Ukrainian Parliament reports. Related: Poroshenko signs law obliging Ukrainian Church of Moscow Patriarchate to indicate its links with Russia The law provides for granting the status of a combatant to citizens who took part in all forms of armed struggle for the independence of Ukraine in the 20th century as part of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, Ukrainian Insurgent Army of Ataman Taras Borovets (Bulba) “Polissian Sich”, Ukrainian People’s Revolutionary Army, armed units of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. The law amends Art. 6 of the law on the status of war veterans, guarantees of their social protection Related: Poroshenko signs law on termination of Ukraine-Russia Friendship Treaty Soldiers of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army who participated in hostilities against the Nazi invaders in the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine in 1941-1944, did not commit crimes against peace and humanity and were rehabilitated are recognized as combatants. The procedure for granting the status of the war veteran to designated individuals will be established by the Cabinet of Ministers. The law will take effect three months from the date of its publication.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has enacted amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On the Status of War Veterans, Guarantees of their Social Protection” regarding the enhancement of social protection of participants in the struggle for the independence of Ukraine in the 20th century. The parliament passed the legislation on December 6. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has enacted amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On the Status of War Veterans, Guarantees of their Social Protection” regarding the enhancement of social protection of participants in the struggle for the independence of Ukraine in the 20th century. The new No. 8519 law with the amendments was returned with the president’s signature, an announcement on the parliament’s website said. The parliament passed the legislation on December 6. A total of 236 out of the 326 lawmakers registered in the session hall voted the draft law. According to the document, the list of combatants also includes those who took part in all forms of the armed struggle for Ukraine’s independence in the 20th century as part of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), Polissian Sich, the Ukrainian People’s Revolutionary Army (UNRA), the Carpathian Sich People’s Defense Organization, the Ukrainian Military Organization (UVO), and the armed units of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN).
The transfer of 206 units of armament and equipment to the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine took place at the airfield in Ozernoye, in Zhytomyr Region, with the participation of President Petro Poroshenko. “Today, we have met with you for a solemn event – the report” Ukroboronprom “about what was possible to do in this short time. Accelerating the speed, speed and quality of the work of the defense industry “, said Petro Poroshenko. “I can emphasize that today about 10% of what the defense industry managed to do in a year is transferred to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. And this is very important, because today’s army is waiting for the latest and upgraded salvo fire systems. We are struggling to increase the capabilities of armored vehicles, artillery, “the Head of State said. Armed Forces received both new and upgraded and repaired equipment: Il-76MD, Su-25M1K, MiG-29MU1, Mi-8 helicopters, some of which are designed for electronic warfare, unmanned aviation complexes “Lelek-100″, A1SM ” Fury ” , PD-1, Sparrow, anti-aircraft missile systems С-300ПТ, more than 70 units of armored vehicles, in particular T-64BV, T-72, T-80ВВ tanks, BMP-1 and BRDM-2L1 combat and reconnaissance machines, more than 30 arts systems – RZZ BM-21 “Grad” and 122-mm SAU 2C1 “Carnation”, demolition vehicles, BREM, repair and maintenance facilities, automated system Command of the 9C162-1R “Oreanda” troops, KrAZ-5233 trucks, Bogdan-6317 , buses Otokar and armored car “Warta”.
Ukrainian Air Force has returned two unique electronic warfare versions of Soviet-era Mi-8 helicopters to service. On 21 December at the airfield of the Ozerne Air Base, during a solemn ceremony of transferring modernized and repaired weapons and military equipment to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Ukrainian Air Force has returned overhauled Mi-8MTPB and Mi-8MTPI electronic warfare helicopters to service. Two unique electronic warfare versions of Soviet-era Mi-8 transport helicopter were overhauled at the SE”Konotop Aircraft Repair Plant “Aviakon”, part of UkrOboronProm. The Mi-8MTPB is provided with long-range communication equipment and a radar, and it can carry equipment with phased-array antennas for suppression of enemy electronic attack and air defense facilities, such as airborne radars, air defense (artillery) weapons control radars, surveillance and target detection radars and missile radar homing heads. The electronic countermeasure equipment can work both in the reconnaissance and electronic countermeasure modes or in the reconnaissance mode. Mi-8MTPB The Mi-8MTPI, as well as Mi-8MTPB, is an airborne jamming platform and communications intelligence platform, with a unique antenna array either side of the fuselage. Mi-8MTPI Both versions are quite rare and now there are only a few flying helicopters of this type in the world, including in Russia.
Ukraine can purchase battle helicopters of the European company Airbus Helicopters to renew the Army Aircraft Park of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This was announced today by President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko during the ceremony of transferring two helicopters to Airbus H225 units of NSU and DSNC , Defense Express reports. ” We must have Airbus combat helicopters that will increase the combat power of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to protect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine He added that the second stage of cooperation with Airbus will be the use of combat helicopters for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In addition, the President said that the use of French-German helicopters will increase competition and the speed of modernization of aircraft machines among Ukrainian producers. Recall that earlier – in November Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak already reported that Ukraine is negotiating with foreign partners on the purchase of shock helicopters. Airbus Helicopters produces several models of modern combat, multipurpose and military transport helicopters. Among them, the multi-purpose NHI NH90 (which can be used as antisubmarine), already known for H145, H125, H225 (in the modification of “M”) and H135M, marine multi-purpose AS565 MBe and the striking-reconnaissance Eurocopter Tiger. Ukraine may purchase Airbus Helicopters for the Armed Forces of Ukraine
<p>President Petro Poroshenko has said that the Ukrainian Armed Forces will receive Airbus military helicopters.</p> — Ukrinform
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said Ukraine received the first batch of Airbus helicopters for the needs of the National Guard of Ukraine and the State Emergency Service of Ukraine. Airbus Helicopters signed a contract with the Ukrainian Interior Ministry on July 14.
Today, on December 21st, the first two helicopters of the Airbus H225 Super Puma were delivered in the framework of the creation of the Unified Aviation Security and Civil Protection System of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. One machine was transferred to the unit of the State Emergency Service, the other – the National Guard of Ukraine. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that these were only the first “swallows” of the Ukrainian aviation security system, and by the end of 2021 they would be 55.
Stiletto Systems Ltd Published on Dec 20, 2018 Shooting tests of new BS-12 armour piercing incendiary bullets developed by Stiletto Systems Limited
Implementation of the project for the creation of a high-precision missile complex “Velyka” and the launch of lines for its serial production cost almost 1 billion UAH. This was stated during a press conference by First Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Economic Development and Trade Stepan Kubiv, UNIAN reported. ” The creation of a high-precision armament production line “Velyka” was completed in the Design Bureau “Luch” in Kyiv. This means the start of serial production of the missile “Velyka”. The cost of the project amounted to 130 million hryvnias, about 800 million hryvnias were used to create a missile fuel line, which is being supplied to Wilh. Fuel is also produced in Ukraine at the Pavlograd Chemical Plant Recall that the state testing of the missile complex was completed in the spring of 2018 , after which the State Commission recommended that it be put into service .
The unique computer was developed specially for solving of engineering and scientific tasks using methods of computational physics Opening of Computer Center is just the first phase for implementation of high-production computer technologies. In the future, the productivity of super computer can be doubled and computer infrastructure of CC will become the main platform of Yuzhnoye SDO’s departments electronic activity. The project was implemented owing to Yuzhnoye SDO’s international commercial contracts, without involvement of state budget funds. Introduction of super computer is a strategic investment of Yuzhnoye SDO not only in its production base, but also in strengthening of scientific and technical capabilities of Ukrai