Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (74)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Ukraine is doing its best to replace and/or upgrade old dependencies on Soviet and Russian parts, people, places, and agreements. 

Russia remains uncharacteristically quiet.

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Muscovy’s Whelan game continues. Ukrainians lobby to strip Russia of UNSC veto powers. US Amb Grenell sends letters to German companies warning of Nordstream II sanctions. TASS report that V-MF plan deployment of four new SSNs armed with Poseidon / Status 6 nuclear powered autonomous torpedos, upgrades to 949A OSCAR SSGNs to launch the weapon, and a warstock of thirty rounds. Russian MoD to regain authority to shoot down passenger aircraft  “violating” Russian airspace. Voronenkov assassination suspect abducted in Moscow. USN to conduct Arctic FONOPS. Japanese FM to meet Lavrov over Kurile Islands. Russia condemns UK basing plans. CAST publish statistics on new fighter deliveries to VKS. RT launches personal attack on Georgetown InfoWar expert. Chesney and Citron on deepfakes.

Pastukhov on Russia’s return to Soviet-like ideological rather than pragmatism driven strategy – Suslov Redux. Eidman on Soviet leopards changing their spots. Prof Goble compiles Belarusian assessments on why it will be very expensive for Russia to now annex Belarus. Volchek on Ukraine’s release of NKVD archival data on Gestapo and NKVD collaboration before the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed – Stalin handed German Communists back to the Gestapo (

In Ukraine, JFO CO comments on Russian agendas. Update on Black / Azov Seas and POW hostage game. Lithuania’s Chief of Defence Gen Žukas on Donbas escalation risks. Donbas update – Russians shoot down OSCE RPV. Pres Poroshenko on the strategic impact of the Javelin ATGW.  German AfD party implicated in Polish neo-Nazi arson attack on Hungarian cultural center in Ukraine – this was clearly false flag and the trail will inevitably lead back to Russia via its proxies in the AfD camp.

Ukraine signs for six Turkish Predator-lite Bayraktar TB2 armed RPVs. Antonov announces the redesign of the An-124 CONDOR to purge Russian made components is almost complete, permitting domestic assembly of new build An-124 CONDOR aircraft, and obviously sustainment of the legacy fleet. SKP-11 mobile control towers being refurbished.

Two good essays by Petersen and MP Bielkova. Colonel-General (Rtd) Ihor Smeshko, former head of the SBU, to stand in the Presidential election. Updates on politics and economy.

Paul Whelan made for a convenient target for Russian intelligence: Ex-officials – ABC News

Experts say Paul Whelan’s military background and curious social media use raises eyebrows, but Russia has yet to produce hard evidence.

Russia just officially charged American tourist Paul Whelan with spying — Quartz

Formal charges may now shed more light on the case of US citizen Paul Whelan.

Monitors not allowed to speak with British ‘spy’ in Moscow jail

A Russian prison watchdog has been barred from communicating with alleged British spy Paul Whelan during a cell visit on Friday.

Paul Whelan: British ‘spy’ Paul Whelan moved from solitary confinement | The Independent

Paul Whelan, the British citizen detained in Moscow over allegations of spying, has been transferred from solitary confinement to a two-person cell, The Independent has learned.  Late on Friday, authorities allowed a group of independent prison monitors to visit him for the first time. A spokesman for the group Yevgeny Yenikeyev, said he saw a man in “reasonable condition,”

American Paul Whelan formally charged with espionage in Russia – ABC News

It also reportedly said a prisoner swap was not currently on the table.

UAWire – Kremlin denies reports of possible exchange of Paul Whelan for Russian agent Maria Butina

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied media publications that claim that Moscow may exchange US citizen Paul Whelan, arrested on …

Ukraine advocates phased abolition of veto power in UNSC – Envoy | UNIAN

Volodymyr Yelchenko, Chairman of Ukraine’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, has stressed Ukraine’s position in favor of phasing out veto powers in the UN Security Council. Russia has been abusing its veto power in the organization, paralyzing its work. Volodymyr Yelchenko, Chairman of Ukraine’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, has stressed Ukraine’s position in favor of phasing out veto powers in the UN Security Council. “It is important to find an active model of UN participation in addressing the complex challenges Ukraine is facing in the context of the ongoing Russian aggression – in the political, security, and humanitarian dimensions,” Yelchenko wrote in an op-ed for the Dzerkalo Tyzhnia weekly. The Ambassador has added that Ukraine has taken a pro-active position on the issue of reforming the UN Security Council. The diplomat is convinced there should be more Eastern European states in the body.

US Ambassador Richard Grenell threatens German firms over Russian pipeline | News | DW | 13.01.2019

The US ambassador to Berlin, Richard Grenell, has sent threatening letters to German companies working on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, according to a German newspaper. Grenell reportedly warns of possible sanctions. German companies building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Germany and Russia received letters from US Ambassador Richard Grenell warning them of “a significant risk of sanctions” if they did not pull out of the project, Germany’s mass-circulation Bild am Sonntag has reported. The large pipeline is set to deliver gas from northwestern Russia to northern Germany under the Baltic Sea and effectively double the amount of gas Germany imports from the country. The US opposes the project over fears that the gas link would tighten Russia’s control of Europe’s energy supply and diminish the importance of gas transit countries such as Ukraine. US companies are also keen to sell gas obtained by fracking to many European countries.

Germany’s Foreign Minister: We’ll help with Russia sanctions fall-out – media | UNIAN

Germany will try to protect German and European companies from some potentially “massive collateral damage” if Washington levies further sanctions against Russia, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Friday. But Maas said he had told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that sanctions targeting Nord Stream 2 would not be appropriate.

DW: U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell threatens German firms over Russian pipeline | UNIAN

German companies building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Germany and Russia received letters from U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell warning them of “a significant risk of sanctions” if they did not pull out of the project, Germany’s mass-circulation Bild am Sonntag has reported. Grenell reportedly warns of possible sanctions.

Russia plans to place over 30 Poseidon underwater nuclear drones on combat duty – Defence Blog

According to the source in the Russian defense industry, the Russian Navy plans to place more than 30 Poseidon underwater nuclear drone on combat duty. Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency quoted a source in the Russian defense industry on 12 January as saying that two Poseidon-carrying submarines are expected to enter service with the Northern Fleet and the other two will join the Pacific Fleet. Each of the submarines will carry a maximum of eight drones and, therefore, the total number of Poseidons on combat duty may reach 32 vehicles. The special-purpose nuclear-powered submarine Khabarovsk currently being built at the Sevmash Shipyard will become one of the organic carriers of the Poseidon nuclear-capable underwater drone. Also, special-purpose submarines and Project 949A nuclear-powered underwater cruisers operational in the Russian Navy may be used as the carriers “after their appropriate upgrade,” the source noted. TASS has no official confirmation of this information. Early also was reported that the maximum speed of the Poseidon drone will be more than 107 kt (200 km/h), the maximum depth at which it can move is more than one kilometer. For comparison, the maximum speed of modern nuclear submarines is 32 kt, torpedoes – 48 kt. The Poseidon, also known under Ocean Multipurpose System Status-6 or “Kanyon” by the U.S. intelligence community, is a new Russian strategic drone propelled by a miniaturized nuclear reactor. The Poseidon is designed to create a tsunami wave up to 500 metres (1,600 ft) tall, which would contaminate a wide area on an enemy’s coast with radioactive isotopes, as well as being immune to anti-missile defence systems such as anti-ballistic missiles, laser weapons and railguns that might disable an ICBM or a SLBM.

Russian Defense Ministry Proposes Law To Allow Shooting Down Of Passenger Planes

Russia’s Defense Ministry has outlined draft legislation that would allow Russian forces to shoot down civilian passenger planes within the country’s airspace.

UAWire – Kremlin prepares decree allowing Russian military to shoot down passenger planes that violate Russia’s border

The Russian Defense Ministry drafted a government decree that would again grant permission to shoot down passenger planes that violate the state …

Russia may allow downing passenger jets violating country’s airspace | UNIAN

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation has drafted a resolution that would allow shooting down passenger aircraft that violated the country’s airspace. The defense ministry believes passenger planes could pose a threat to “strategic facilities.”

Man allegedly involved in assassination of ex-MP Voronenkov abducted in Moscow – media | UNIAN

Criminal boss Yuriy Vasylenko, who is believed to be involved in the case of the ex-State Duma deputy Denis Voronenkov’s murder in Kyiv, was seen shot at and abducted in Moscow. The incident unfolded at the “Bazilik” restaurant which Vasylenko used as his office, Rosbalt reported Jan 11, referring to its source in law enforcement circles. “Last night, a group of physically fit men came and ordered that he [Vasylenko] follow them. He tried to escape. There was a fight outdoors. They shot at him. Then these unidentified men threw the wounded ‘kingpin’ into their car’s trunk and drove off in an unknown direction,” the publication wrote. The source claims that recently the crime boss feared for his life as he had received several calls to “have a chat” by a “major member of the Russian mafia.” Read more on UNIAN:

UAWire – US Navy destroyer armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles enters the Baltic Sea

On Thursday, USS Gravely (DDG-107), a guided missile destroyer of the US Navy passed the Danish Straits and is now in the Baltic Sea, reported …

Cold War Games: U.S. Is Preparing to Test the Waters in Icy Arctic – WSJ

The Navy is planning to expand its role in the Arctic as climate change opens up more ocean waterways and the U.S. vies with great-power rivals Russia and China for influence in the far north.

Cold War games: U.S. is preparing to test the waters in icy Arctic – WSJ | UNIAN

The U.S. Navy is planning to expand its role in the Arctic as climate change opens up more ocean waterways and the U.S. vies with great-power rivals Russia and China for influence in the far north. Navy explores expansion of operations in far North, going head-to head with rivals Russia and China.

UAWire – Russia to continue gas transit to Kaliningrad through Lithuania

The governor of the Kaliningrad region Anton Alikhanov said on TV channel Vesti 24 that despite the launch of a terminal for receiving liquefied …

Japanese FM To Visit Moscow For Talks On Disputed Islands

Russia’s Foreign Ministry says Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono plans to visit Moscow next week for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the four Pacific islands that have been d…

Russia Condemns British Plans To Build Military Bases

Moscow has condemned Britain’s plans to build new military bases in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, saying Russia is prepared to take retaliatory measures if its own interests or those of its all…

Russian Air Force got 50 new combat aircraft in 2018 – Defence Blog

The Russian air force in 2018 received more than 36 new+bild combat aircraft, included modern Su-35S fighter jets. According to the report of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), the Russian Air Force took the delivery in 2018 of 14 Su-30SM and ten Su-35S fighter aircraft, 12 Su-34 Su-34 fighter-bombers, and 14 Yak-130 advanced jet trainer/light attack aircraft. In 2018, deliveries of new combat aircraft to the Armed Forces of Russia decreased compared to previous years, and in quantitative terms fell to about the level of 2013. At the same time, the Armed Forces of Russia faced an acute scarcity of shortage of flight personnel for the operation of available aircraft. Regarding exports, CAST reported that, in 2018, the Russian aerospace industry delivered new-build 26 combat aircraft, including 12 MiG-29M / MiG-29M2 fighters to Egypt, four Su-30SM fighters to Kazakhstan and ten Su-35 fighters to China, as well as four Yak-130 advanced jet trainer aircraft to Laos. Deliveries of new combat and trainer aircraft to the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in 2008-2018

‘Hiring flat-Earther to teach geography’: Russiagater to lecture on ‘hybrid warfare’ at Georgetown — RT USA News

An “information warfare expert” spending her days spinning anti-Russian rhetoric on Twitter has now gotten the chance to do so in the name of ‘education’ – teaching a course on “hybrid warfare” at Georgetown University.

RT Attacks Molly McKew, Amusing “Experts” Contribute – To Inform is to Influence

Full disclosure, Molly McKew is a friend of mine. She is smart, witty, and very experienced. We share many, if not most, of the same opinions of Russian information warfare. I ran across this article in RT today and immediately sent her a congratulatory note. If RT notices you and writes a smear piece on you, that means you’ve made it. You’re having an effect on Russian information, they’re angry, and you’ve upset their apple cart. Pissed in their cornflakes. You know, ticked them off in a good way. In this case, it might be a matter of RT being petty and attempting to divide counter-Russian propaganda efforts. In this case, Molly is teaching a course on Russian information warfare at Georgetown University, the prestigious school in Washington DC which teaches many future leaders. One of the best things about this article for me is that I also learn who attacks American experts at the request of RT. I gathered the following names who are attacking Molly without merit. Gregory Afinogenov (asst prof of Imperial Russian history at Georgetown) Leonid Bershidsky‏ (Europe Columnist, Bloomberg Opinion) In Leonid Bershidsky’s case, Molly blocked him because he showed all the signs and symptoms of preparing an information attack on her when he asked her if she spoke Russian. This is a common Red Herring attack by pro-Russians, her blocking action was preemptive. Gregory Afinogenov tweeted 10 times attacking Molly. RT, of course, took maximum advantage of his attacks and only used a few to create the article. He later labeled RT a propaganda network, as a response to the article. The interesting thing is when Louise Mensch got involved and inserted her opinion: Without evidence, Louise Mensch accused Molly of working for the CIA. Louise is a fervent anti-Russian propaganda hunter but her rabid anti-Trump activities dilute her effectiveness opposing Russia. My biggest problem is that here we have three fairly serious people attacking Molly but none have offered a better candidate. Molly has been countering Russian propaganda for well over a decade, has testified to the US Congress about Russian propaganda and disinformation, has been instrumental in helping the US counter Russian disinformation, and is widely recognized as an expert. None of these so-called experts have the bona fides she does against Russian propaganda and disinformation programs, yet they seemingly gleefully contribute to Russia’s efforts to undermine US counter-Russian disinformation efforts by attacking her. </end editorial>

TASS: World – Kiev suggests 3 mln Ukrainians living in Russia should vote on Ukrainian territory

The Foreign Ministry explained the recommendation by security concerns

Deepfakes and the New Disinformation War – To Inform is to Influence

The Coming Age of Post-Truth Geopolitics By Robert Chesney and Danielle Citron A picture may be worth a thousand words, but there is nothing that persuades quite like an audio or video recording of an event. At a time when partisans can barely agree on facts, such persuasiveness might seem as if it could bring a welcome clarity. Audio…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ideology Not Pragmatism Driving Putin to Disaster, Pastukhov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, January 12 – The “collective Putin” with its siloviki is rapidly on its way to becoming a “collective Suslov,” where ideology trumps pragmatism, Vladimir Pastukhov says. Although this is “a bad sign,” many do not recognize it yet because “they have forgotten what the power of ‘the ideologues’ looked like” at the end of Soviet times. Vladimir Putin’s press conference at the end of last year, the London-based Russian historian says, was “a master class of propaganda” which demonstrated that “Putin does not live according to reality; he creates it” ( The Kremlin leader’s four-hour-long performance “did not have any relationship to politics or the media in the generally accepted meaning,” Pastukhov continues. It was ideology of the purest kind.” The relationship between his words and reality “doesn’t interest him.” His purpose was to “give society instructions on how to correctly interpret those facts.” “In a certain sense,” the historian continues, “Putin by himself represented in today’s Russia the CPSU Central Committee and his annual press conferences are a kind of sublimated ‘plenums’ by means of which the Communist Party in Soviet times brought to the population a adapted version of the current political course.” “The main conclusion” which one can draw from this year’s “plenum,” he continues, is that “the process of the reincarnation of the basic ideas of late-Soviet ideology is close to its completion and that the country is ready for the restoration of the Soviet regime in almost its full extent.” It simply is not true, as some think, that “the current regime does not have an ideology.” It does and it is very close to the one that the Soviets professed, with only a few elements changed. The most important of these is that communism as a source of legitimation and definer of goals has been replaced by patriotism. As in its Soviet variant, “the key role” in the Putinist ideology is devoted to “the image of ‘the main enemy’ and the division into ‘ours’ and ‘not ours’” – the simplified duality an authoritarian regime needs to survives where there are “only two forces, we who it seems are pure white and they who are entirely black.” In this update of Soviet ideology, “’American imperialism’” has been replaced by “the socially neutral ‘Anglo-Saxons’” which both reflects and promotes the shift in Russia from class conflict as the source of antagonism to the rest of the world to “traditional religious and ethno-cultural confrontation.” But despite this shift, its underlying guidance remains the same. “As the USSR earlier supported all fighters against imperialism from left radicals in Europe to Arab terrorists in the Middle East, so now Russia invests its oil dollars in all who are capable of breaking apart Western unity.” And as in the past, all means are good because “the end justifies the means.” Putin feels all this intuitively, Pastukhov argues; and he gives direction to others in the Russian pantheon. Thus, what they do, be it the poisoning of the Skripals of the attacks on Browder “are not excesses of the executors” but a well-developed means to restore “’the architecture’” of the now-dead communist ideology. “The lie is the only possible form of the existence of the regime,” the historian continues, because this regime is capable of live only to the degree that it can hold the consciousness of the masses within the myth it has created.” As a result, the problem of the Putin regime is not that it lies but that it lies in ways that do not inspire anyone. “After a quarter of a century, it has not been able to create any new myth and so uses an old one” and used it as it were as a rentier. But this is increasingly obvious to almost all because Putin’s ideology is so “stale” that it puts off more than it can hope to attract, Pastukhov continues. However, the most dangerous consequence of this ideological revival is that it “has a much stronger impact on the authorities themselves than on society. Instead of hypnosis, there is self-hypnosis,” with those who are conducting it to zombify others unintentionally but in fact zombifying themselves. When Putin came to power, he was viewed as a pragmatist, but ever more often he has become an ideological “dogmatist” who makes decisions less with an eye to realities than with an assumption that the false view of the world he puts out is in fact the correct one. That can entail serious mistakes. An example of how ideology can prove self-destructive is provided by Mikhail Suslov, the gray cardinal of the Kremlin at the end of Soviet times. He pressed for the invasion of Afghanistan over the objections of the Soviet military because he believed that action was required by communist ideology. The consequences were disastrous, Pastukhov says. “Afghanistan became one of the sharpest nails in the lid of the coffin of the USSR.” “It is not excluded that the decision about annexing Crimea and about getting involved int the Syrian conflict will be assessed by historians in the near future in an analogous way. One way or another, they too were adopted in the main by starting from these essentially ideological considerations rather than pragmatic ones.” And most likely, the Russian historian adds, “this is only the beginning. Ever more often the Kremlin’s actions are likely to be dictated by ideological considerations” And “sooner or later, one of the decisions taken on that basis will turn out to be fatal.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia Proves Marx Wrong: For Its Elite, Being Doesn’t Define Consciousness, Eidman Says

Paul Goble Staunton, January 13 – Marxists argue and many non-Marxists accept that “being defines consciousness and the economic basis the political superstructure,” Igor Eidman says. But in fact, the experience of the Russian elite over the past 25 years proves just the reverse: they may wear Armani suits, but they remain Stalinist guards. Their consciousness has not changed even though their appearance has, the Russian sociologist observes. “They have become major property owners, control factories and yachts, travel throughout the world, their children study in the best universities, and their wives dress in fashionable designer smocks” ( But underneath those externalities which impress so many, Eidman continues, their comments and actions demonstrate that they remain what they were, “Stalinist guards” in boots and jackets who view those below them with contempt and who are prepared to suppress them when those above call for it. “No fashionable suit will make out of a prison guard a civilized human being,” he says. “No property will transform him into a respectable bourgeois. The guars alays will operate on the basis of crude force, showing contempt for the rights and freedoms of others and using their dependent position to denigrate and rob them.” Today’s Russian ruling elite, “inherited this guard’s world view from its Stalinist forefathers, and there is thus nothing surprising when it justifies the GULAG and restores the cult of the main guard of all times and peoples – Stalin.” Indeed, it would be surprising if such people would do anything else. It is bad enough that Marxists believed the nonsense that putting such people in suits and having them own property would transform Russia, but it is far worse that those who claimed to have been the greatest opponents of the Soviet system did the same, counting on economic change alone to change the political and economic culture of that country. After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Western governments rushed to proclaim as the new Russian elites, counting on changed economic circumstances to change them from Stalinists into supporters of democracy. That of course didn’t happen, and Eidman is absolutely right to point out that it hasn’t. Far more will be needed, and it will have to begin with the recognition that to change politics, one must use political means rather than assuming that economics alone will do the job.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Russia has Already Lost Belarus’ – Three Analysts on Why Annexation of Belarus Now Unlikely

Paul Goble Staunton, January 13 — The past few weeks have been so filled with apocalyptic warnings that Vladimir Putin is about to annex Belarus in the name of his “Russian world” that it may be especially useful to take note of the following often neglected reality: ever more people are arguing it won’t happen. Just as both Vladimir Putin and Alyaksandr Lukashenka have used the threat of annexation for their respective and in this case very different agendas, the three analysts whose arguments are explicated here are self-interested as well. But because they highlight features of the current situation that are all too often neglected, they are worthy of consideration. In a Novaya gazeta commentary entitled “Minsk is Not Ours,” Vitaly Sklyarov, a political operative who has worked in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and the US, argues that any Moscow “Minsk is ours” operation will fail because it doesn’t have supporters in Belarus ( Twenty years ago, he says, Lukashenka might have been the governor of a Russian oblast; but in the intervening period, Belarusians have become a full-fledged nation used to be an independent state and one very different from Russia and they are used to having their country independent, albeit one still very dependent on Moscow grants. As a result, there are two four major “contradicitons” between Belarus and Russia that make any effort at amalgamation at least extremely difficult and problematic and at worst dangerous and explosive. First of all, Shlyarov says, Belarusian nostalgia for the Soviet Union is not directed at Moscow. “It would be a misconception to think that kinds can do anythingthey want, that a personalit autocrat is equivalent to his country and thus free to take any decisions,” even if they “radically contradict” public attitudes. And Belarusian public opinion, while divided on many things, is “completely consolidated on the issue of integration into the Russian Federation. From the very first loyalist to the last opposition figure, from the provincial pensioner to the hipster in the capital, no one wants to become the 86th region of the eastern neighbor.” Consequently, Shklyarov continues, “the very same people who in Ukraine viewed Russia as the stronghold of the lost Soviet past in Belarus see it as a world of the wild East” whereas they see their own country as an island of “the stability of socialism, government control, defense and concern.” As a result, “the very same attitudes that significantly helped the Kremlin in Crimea and in the Donbass would become a major obstacle in Belarus.” That is because in Ukraine, nostalgia for the Soviet past was directed at Moscow while in Belarus, it is focused “on itself and on Aleksandr Grigoryevich.” Second, while it is the case that “people in the Rusisan leadership who take major foreign policy decisions can ignore objective reality,” as time passes even they are forced to recognize some elements of the way things are in the world beyond their imaginations. Thus, the problems Moscow has had because of its actions in Ukraine serve as a constraint regarding Belarus. Third, the Kremlin is going about Belarus in an entirely different way that it did in Georgia in 2008 and in Ukraine in 2014. In the earlier cases, it did not talk much about what it was planning to do but just acted. Now, it is talking and talking – which allows objections to be raised that couldn’t have been in the two earlier cases. This lengthy promotion of “public tension without real steps is uncharacteristic for this kind of action in the past,” Shklyarov says. The longer this is discussed without movement, the more likely that those experts with an adequate understanding of the situaiton will gain a hearing and may even be listened to. And fourth, given that many are aware of the costs Moscow’s actions in Ukraine have entailed, there will be a reluctance to move against Belarus, Shklyarov suggests. But nonetheless, the fact that Crimea boosted Putin’s ratings showed that such a strike can do that – and it is not impossible that is all the Kremlin leader now cares about. Belarusian security analyst Andrey Porotnikov also offers four reasons why he does not believe that Belarus will be annexed. In his view, that “train already left the station – and long ago at that.” He too offers four reasons for that conclusion ( First of all, any new Russian move will end any chance for Moscow to prevent the further disintegration of the post-Soviet space. Even now, “it is difficult to say with which of the former Soveit republics Russia has managed to preserve friendly relations.” If it invaded Belarus, it would lose its only nominal friend – and Minsk plays on that. Everyone should take note that Lukashenka continues to use the “’fraternal’ rhetoric’” in his talks with Moscow but that it has essentially changed from being about ties between the governments to about ties between the two nations. Russians have noticed this and now rate Lukashenka as highly as they do Putin. Second, Porotnikov says, “for the Kremlin, relations with Belarus have not been a priority for a long time.” Trying to make them such from so low a point is something that will take enormous time and effort. And Moscow may not be able to achieve its goal regardless of what it does. Third, any move to tighter integration or annexation “without taking the position of Minsk into account” will be politically and legally difficult and entail “all kinds of negative consequences.” These costs are especially problematic because it seems to many in Moscow that there is no need to take this step now. And fourth, he continues, “as the experience of Crimea nad Chechnya show, annexing territory is expensive and holding it is even more so. The new possessions create many problems and “the bonuses [in this case] are not obvious.” Behind these, Porotnikov says, is one additional and perhaps determining factor: “For the Kremlin, Lukashenka is a known quantity,” admittedly costly but known. Annexation would almost certainly lead to his removal – and those who might come after him could be far more difficult and expensive as well. Finally, a Russian who blogs under the screen name “Masyaskin” says bluntly: “Belarus has been lost.” Moscow should have learned from Ukraine but it hasn’t and now is losing positions in Belarus and even in Armenia. Still worse, it has given the US time to respond and to intervene in its own way ( According to him, there are three reasons Russia can’t pick up the pieces in Belarus: 30 percent of its population is Catholic and already looks West, “the marriage between Minsk and Moscow” was always one of convenience and based on aid Moscow can no longer afford, and Belarus as a country without exportable natural resources will inevitably drift Westward. Consequently, he says, “Russia has already lost Belarus, above all because it put all its eggs in one basket and supported only Lukashenka.” Had it done otherwise, it might now have serious support there. But it didn’t. And “Lukashenka plays to the West with the complete certainty that Russia isn’t going anywhere as far as he is concerned.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Stalin’s NKVD and Hitler’s Gestapo Cooperated Closely Even Before Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

Paul Goble Staunton, January 12 – Perhaps the only thing that outrages Russian defenders of Stalin more than the obvious parallels between his regime and Hitler’s is any reference to the alliance the two dictators formed in 1939 with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, one that opened the way to war in Europe and lasted until Hitler turned on his former ally in June 1941. But now there may be something even more offensive to such defenders of Stalin and his system: the discovery of documents which confirm that the NKVD cooperated closely with the Gestapo well before the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed and that may have paved the way to its signature. Dmitry Volchek of Radio Svoboda reports that documents recently released from the archives of the KGB offices in Ukraine show that “the NKVD handed over to the Gestapo refugees from Germany who had hoped to find in the USSR salvation from Hitler” ( Beginning well before 1939 and continuing right up to the German invasion, the Soviet secret police sent “hundreds” of refugees to their imprisonment, torture and in many cases death at the hands of the Gestapo. At first, it involved mostly German citizens; but later, this “cooperation” expanded to include others as well. German historian Wilhelm Mensing has set up a website, “The NKVD and the Gestapo” at devoted to the fate of those who fled Hitler’s Germany only to be arrested in the USSR, sent to the GULAG or handed back to the Nazis. (Mensing is also the author among other books of Von der Ruhr in den GULAG (2001).) The documents from Ukraine are especially important for two reasons: In East Germany, any reference to this practice was prohibited; and there are few documents about it in Stasi files, Mensing says; and in Russia, the secret police files that presumably do contain documents about it remain classified and thus inaccessible to researchers. Volchek asked Mensing about similarities between the NKVD and the Gestapo. The German historian answered that they shared “the specific qualities of the secret police. The Gestapo exterminated the Jewish population in occupied countries: this was its unique feature.” On the other hand, “the number of victims of the NKVD was apparently larger.” “The numbers varied, but the pitilessness was the same,” he continued. “Both the Gestapo and the NKVD were instruments in the hands of criminal rulers and despotic tyrants.”

Joint Forces Commander: Russia needs Sea of Azov to make a land bridge to Crimea

The Azov Sea region is of particular interest to Russia in terms of further military advancement into the territory of Ukraine and, above all, making a land bridge to the occupied Crimea. — Ukrinform

UAWire – Ukrainian military commander: Russia wants to create land corridor to annexed Crimea

Russian troops in the Donbas are currently concentrating their forces in the Mariupol direction in the area of the Azov Sea since Moscow wants …

Russia seeks to create “land corridor” to occupied Crimea – Joint Forces Commander | UNIAN

Russian occupation forces in Donbas focus their efforts mainly on the Mariupol direction and in the Azov Sea area, Commander of Ukraine’s Joint Forces Serhiy Nayev says. Moscow sees an opportunity for further encroachment on the Ukrainian territory.

Russia wants to “suffocate” Donbas, Southern Ukraine, Klimkin warns in Vilnius

VILNIUS – By stepping up control in the Azov Sea, Russia is trying to “suffocate” the Donbas region controlled by Moscow-backed …

Russia seeks to “suffocate” Donbas, southern Ukraine, Klimkin warns | UNIAN

By stepping up control in the Azov Sea, Russia is trying to “suffocate” the Donbas region controlled by Moscow’s proxy forces and also southern Ukraine, Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin warned in Vilnius on Thursday. The top diplomat said Russia had been carrying out a “creeping occupation” in the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov.

Lawyers of captured Ukrainian sailors demand open court hearings

The lawyers of the captured Ukrainian sailors, who are now held in Moscow’s remand prisons, demand the open and transparent court hearings. — Ukrinform

Ukrainian human rights commissioner arrives in Moscow

Verkhovna Rada Human Rights Commissioner Liudmyla Denisova has arrived in Moscow. — Ukrinform

Russian Court To Consider Prolonging Pretrial Detention Of Ukrainian Sailors

A court in Moscow says it will consider a request by the Russian Investigative Committee to prolong the pretrial detention of 24 Ukrainian sailors detained by Russian forces who attacked three Ukrainian navy vessels in the Black Sea in November.

Investigation into case of captured Ukrainian sailors extended until May 25

The preliminary investigation into the case of the Ukrainian sailors, who were captured by the Russian special services in the Kerch Strait, has been extended until May 25. — Ukrinform

Yelchenko, Mardini discuss access to captured Ukrainian sailors

Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations Volodymyr Yelchenko met with Permanent Observer of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the UN Robert Mardini. — Ukrinform

Ukraine’s Ombudsman arrives in Moscow, tries to get to Lefortovo court hearing on POWs –

Ukraine’s Ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova arrived in Moscow where she will try to get to the session of Lefortovo court on the case of Ukrainian POWs, as she wrote on Facebook. Tomorrow, on January 15 the court will consider the appeal of the prosecutors concerning the extension of the sentence term for the Ukrainian sailors.

Ombudsperson says wounded Ukrainian POW sailors deprived of medications | UNIAN

Wounded Ukrainian sailors who were captured by Russia’s FSB in neutral waters in the Kerch Strait area and are now being held in the Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention facility in Moscow have not been given any medication since the beginning of 2019, that’s according to Liudmyla Denisova, the Verkhovna Rada human rights envoy. On January 15, the trial will start in their “illegal border crossing” case.

Russia jails prominent Crimean Tatar lawyer defending Ukrainian POWs TWICE for a video posted in 2013 – To Inform is to Influence

07.12.2018 | Halya Coynash Emil Kurbedinov has been sentenced to five days’ imprisonment for an entirely innocuous video posted a year from Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea.  The sentence handed down by ‘judge’ Anton Tsykurenko means that Kurbedinov will have been jailed twice for this same video.  The latter was quite obviously a pretext for imprisoning Kurbedinov,…

Russian Justice Ministry Calls For ‘Brave’ Crimean Lawyer’s Expulsion From Bar Association

Human Rights Watch says Russian authorities are increasing pressure on Emil Kurbedinov, a prominent Crimean lawyer who has been working on high-profile cases that human rights organizations and Wes…

UAWire – Ukraine to spend nearly $6 million on lawyers in Crimea assets court case against Russia

Naftogaz Ukraine intends to procure the services of legal advisers for its lawsuits against Russia in 2019 demanding compensation for seized …

Worst-case scenario for Europe: Chief of Lithuania’s army on possible escalation of Donbas war | UNIAN

Chief of Defence of the Armed Forces of Lithuania Jonas Vytautas Žukas says possible escalation of the war in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, will be the worst-case scenario for Europe. “Such a scenario is the worst scenario. If it happens, then we will not return to the discussion of the political situation. It will be important to everyone, not only to us, but also to Latvia, Estonia and to the entire Europe,” he said during the Ukrainian-Lithuanian telethon “Together for Victory” (“Kartu Iki Pergales”), broadcast by Ukraine’s TV Channel Pryamiy on January 12. “This is a very big conflict and a big army. I think we need to somehow prevent this. And we are aware that there is no turning back and we must fight to ensure that this does not happen,” he said. He described the current situation in Donbas as a full-scale war. “This is war. There are many dead people there. And this are real hostilities. This is such a scenario. We remember when the Russian army invaded, they said it was not them, it was some unknown people who had come. And now we see that it is war. And I hope we don’t have escalation. God forbid,” he said. Lithuania raised EUR 110,000 during the telethon. All the funds will be spent on the Ukrainian army and victims of Russian aggression in Ukraine. Chief of Defence of the Armed Forces of Lithuania Jonas Vytautas Žukas says possible escalation of the war in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, will be the worst-case scenario for Europe. “Such a scenario is the worst scenario. If it happens, then we will not return to the discussion of the political situation. It will be important to everyone, not only to us, but also to Latvia, Estonia and to the entire Europe,” he said during the Ukrainian-Lithuanian telethon “Together for Victory” (“Kartu Iki Pergales”), broadcast by Ukraine’s TV Channel Pryamiy on January 12. Read alsoUkraine intel: One member of Russian hybrid forces in Donbas eliminated, one wounded in past day “This is a very big conflict and a big army. I think we need to somehow prevent this. And we are aware that there is no turning back and we must fight to ensure that this does not happen,” he said. He described the current situation in Donbas as a full-scale war. “This is war. There are many dead people there. And this are real hostilities. This is such a scenario. We remember when the Russian army invaded, they said it was not them, it was some unknown people who had come. And now we see that it is war. And I hope we don’t have escalation. God forbid,” he said. Lithuania raised EUR 110,000 during the telethon. All the funds will be spent on the Ukrainian army and victims of Russian aggression in Ukraine.

OSCE UAVs detect Russia-occupation military equipment in Donbas – JFO HQ

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have detected military equipment belonging to Russia-occupation forces banned by the Minsk agreements, the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) headquarters has said.

OSCE spots 22 Grad rocket launchers south-west of Russian-occupied Luhansk – To Inform is to Influence

Russia is breaking the Minsk agreement near Luhansk, they were spotted by the OSCE.  The Minsk agreement apparently means nothing to Russia.  As I count, Russia has the following out of position: 22 x GRAD MLRS, 122 mm 3 x 2S1, 122 mm SP howitzers 3 x T-72 tanks 2 x T-64 tanks w/end removed…

Ukraine intel: One member of Russian hybrid forces in Donbas eliminated, one wounded in past day | UNIAN

One member of Russia’s hybrid military forces in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, was eliminated and another one was wounded in the past day, according to the press center of Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation (JFO). No Ukrainian army casualties were reported.

OSCE Monitoring Drone Shot Down Over Eastern Ukraine

A surveillance drone operated by monitors for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in eastern Ukraine has been shot down near the government-controlled village of Popasna …

Militants fire on OSCE SMM mini-UAV near Popasna

The armed formations of the Russian Federation and their mercenaries in Donbas fired on a mini-unmanned aerial vehicle of the OSCE SMM to Ukraine. — Ukrinform

Donbas warzone: Ukraine reports two WIAs as Russian proxies violate truce seven times in past day | UNIAN

On January 11, two servicemen of the Joint Forces were injured as a result of the attacks of Russian occupation forces in eastern Ukraine’s zone of hostilities, the JF Operation Headquarters reports. The enemy did not employ artillery and mortars.

Russia-led militants violate cease-fire seven times in Donbas, two servicemen of Ukrainian Armed Forces wounded — JFO HQ

Russia-led militants violated the cease-fire in Donbas seven times on January 11; as a result, two servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were wounded, the press center of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) headquarters has said.

UAWire – Ukrainian President Poroshenko: American Javelin anti-tank systems have changed situation in Donbas

By 2020, the Ukrainian army will fully transition to NATO standards, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said during a meeting with residents of Zdolbuniv in the Rivne province, the presidential press service reported. According to Poroshenko, although it is far weaker than the Russian army, the Ukrainian army is still ready to oppose the enemy. It has also not yet reached the limits of its combat capabilities. An amount in excess of 5% of the country’s GDP is being allocated to the military’s needs. Investments are also being made into the defense industry complex, and the operation of the construction bureaus is being resumed. “Each month, the Ukrainian army receives tens and hundreds of units of new and modernized weaponry and equipment, including planes and missiles, and not just this,” the president observed. Thanks to the efforts of Ukrainian diplomacy, the international community is united on the need to maintain the anti-Russian sanctions, to keep training specialists at newly built or refurbished training grounds, and to send Ukraine weapons such as the Javelins. The head of state observed that previously, the positions of Ukrainian defenders had been fired on from tanks. “As soon as they learned that our armament had received Javelins, the Russian tank drivers refused to go out to the positions, and this has been an effective psychological effect of the arrival of the Javelins in the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” he added. “In 2020, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be organized and capable of acting completely according to NATO standards, in accordance with the law on national security,” Petro Poroshenko resumed. On July 11 last year, the participants in a NATO summit in Brussels supported a declaration which confirmed Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

Tons of ammonia stored at plant in Donetsk region; it can lead to chemical catastrophe –

The tons of the chemical substances are stored at “Styrol” plant near Horlivka, Donetsk region and it can lead to the chemical catastrophe as the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and IDPs reported. According to the ministry, a large amount of ammonia is still stored in the workshops for the production of the sulfuric acid, fertilizers and nitric acid. Such depots are harmful for the citizens of the settlements near the plant. Related: Ukraine in JCCC: Donbas on the verge of ecologic catastrophe It is known that the plant does not work. According to the ministry, the chemical substances are not loaded or unloaded there. It means that the plant is halted and will be used as the depot of the hazardous substances. At the beginning of 2018, about 80 tons of ammonia were stored there. In the case of the chemical catastrophe, all citizens of Horlivka, 250,000 people, will suffer.

Far-Right German Journalist Implicated In Firebombing Of Hungarian Center In Ukraine

KRAKOW, Poland — A Polish man accused of involvement in the firebombing of a Hungarian cultural center in western Ukraine last year says he received instructions on the attack from a German journalist who has worked as a consultant for a German parliament deputy with the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. Michal Prokopowicz, 28, told a Krakow court on January 14 that German journalist Manuel Ochsenreiter provided instructions for the February 4, 2018, attack on the headquarters of the Hungarian Cultural Association in Uzhhorod, the capital of the Zakarpattya region in western Ukraine. No one was injured in the attack, but the incident — and another fire attack on the building weeks later — exacerbated already strained relations between Kyiv and Budapest over a Ukrainian education law that Hungary says restricts the right of ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine to be educated in their native language. Prokopowicz is one of three Polish suspects with links to far-right movements who went on trial in Krakow on January 14 for the attack. Ukrainian authorities investigated the case and passed it along to their counterparts in Poland, where the three men were subsequently detained. Polish public broadcaster TVP reported on January 5 that the authorities were investigating a German journalist in connection with the attack but did not identify the individual. Ochsenreiter, 42, has ties to Polish right-wing activists, including Mateusz Piskorski, founder of the pro-Russian Change (Zmiana) party who was arrested in 2016 on suspicion of spying for Russia and China. Reached by RFE/RL last week via the Russian social-networking site VKontakte, Ochsenreiter called the suggestion by Anton Shekhovtsov, a researcher of European far-right movements, that he might be the German journalist in question “bullshit.” Ochsenreiter did not respond to follow-up questions and subsequently made his account private.

Deputy Commander of Ukrainian Ground Forces gets in car accident –

Lieutenant General Serhiy Kropyvchenko, Deputy Commander for Logistics of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, was in a car accident near Mykolaiv city, the press office of the Ground Forces reported. The accident occurred on Mykolaiv-Blahovishchenske highway on the evening of January 11, near Sebyne settlement in Mykolaiv region.

Russia smuggles tonnes of coal from occupied Donbas – minister | UNIAN

Russia illegally exports from the occupied Donbas some 2.8 million tonnes of anthracite coal worth $288 million annually, that’s according to Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine, Vadym Chernysh. Ukraine is aware of Russia’s shady schemes for smuggling coal illegally mined in parts of Donbas occupied by Russian proxies to foreign seaports.

UAWire – Ukrainian Minister: Russia exports tons of coal worth millions of dollars from Donbas

Russia exports from the territories of the Donbas, which are controlled by pro-Russian militants, amount to almost 2.8 million tons of …

This Street Once Brought Ukrainians And Russians Together. Now It Divides Them

Friendship Of Peoples Street long served as more of a bridge than a divide between two towns along the Russia-Ukraine border. Now, a fence bisects the street, driving a visible wedge between neighb…

429,000 explosive items disarmed in Donbas since outbreak of hostilities –

Since the outbreak of hostilities in eastern Ukraine, sappers have inspected about 30,000 hectares of territory and eliminated 429 thousand explosive items. It is reported by the Office of Environmental Safety and Mine Action of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, reports UNN. “Since the beginning of the hostilities, about 30 000 hectares of territories have been checked and over 429 thousand explosive objects have been destroyed,” the ministry said. At the same time, the territories are still not considered completely safe and ready for transfer to the use of local communities.

Ukraine under information fire – To Inform is to Influence

January 10, 2019 – 14:04  By EU vs Disinfo 2018: Assessing the damage  Ukraine tops the EUvsDisinfo database as the most frequent target with 461 references among a total of 1,000 disinformation cases reported in the course of 2018. Out of the 212 reports appearing in the “anti-fake” section of the independent Russian outlet The Insider in 2018, 60 were about Ukraine…

Ukraine orders Turkish unmanned combat aerial vehicles – Defence Blog

Ukraine’s state-owned defense exports and industry agency Ukrspecexport signed a contract for the procurement of six Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles from the Turkish company Baykar Makina. On 12 January Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has reported that the agreement between the State Company Ukrspetsexport, which is part of the State Concern “Ukroboronprom” and the Turkish company Baykar Makina, is part of the measures to expand the military-technical cooperation between Ukraine and Turkey. “As we have agreed with the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an agreement was signed on the purchase of Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones for the Ukrainian army,” said Petro Poroshenko. According to the Baykar Makina company, the Bayraktar unmanned aerial vehicle is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance class system developed for tactical reconnaissance and surveillance missions. Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle can carry a maximum payload of more than 55kg. Bayraktar can fly up to 22,500 feet and loiter for more than 24 hours. Prototype Development Phase started within 2007 based on competition model. Bayraktar Tactical UAS with its critical all subsystems including Flight Control, INS-GPS, Automatic Take Off-Landing systems developed in house demonstrated fully automatic taxi, take off, cruise, landing, parking phases in 2009 and was selected as the winner of the program. Final production stage officially started in 2012.

Ukraine signs agreement on purchase of Turkish combat UAVs

An agreement on the purchase of Bayraktar TB2 Turkish combat UAVs for Ukrainian troops has been signed. — Ukrinform


Ukraine to buy Turkish strike drones – Poroshenko | UNIAN

Ukraine is set to purchase Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 strike drones, says Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The deal is part of measures to expand military-technical cooperation between the two countries.

Ukraine, Turkey sign agreement on acquisition of strike drones for Ukrainian military –

Ukrainian Ukrspetsexport arms trading company and Turkish Baykar Makina company concluded an agreement on purchasing Bayraktar TB2 combat UAV for the Ukrainian Army. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko reported this on January 12. Related: Ministry of Defense plans to increase acquisition of new weaponry in 2019 ‘As we have earlier agreed with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the agreement for the acquisition of Turkish Bayraktar TB2 combat drones for the Ukrainian military was signed. The brand-new strike aerial vehicles of the operation-tactical level, in addition to high-tech features, can be equipped with additional modern high accuracy missile system to destroy armored units, engineering and fortification facilities, including marine targets,’ Poroshenko said.

Ukraine, Turkey sign contract on purchase of assault drones Bayraktar TB2 for Ukrainian Army – Poroshenko

The state-owned company Ukrspecexport and the Turkish company Baykar Makina have signed a contract on the purchase for the needs of the Ukrainian Army of assault unmanned aerial vehicles Bayraktar TB2 (UAVs), President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine has said.

Ukraine able to replace Russian-made components in An-124 Ruslan this year – Ukroboronprom | UNIAN

First Deputy Director General of Ukraine’s state-run military-industrial Ukroboronprom Concern Serhiy Omelchenko says Ukrainian-based State Enterprise Antonov, which is part of the Concern, is able to replace all Russian-made components in the An-124 Ruslan aircraft this year and launch their local production in Ukraine. “The replacement of components used in the aircraft is of critical importance to Antonov. Now we are actively cooperating with several international aircraft manufacturers in that direction. Therefore, if we don’t replace those nodes and units manufactured by the Russian Federation, it will be impossible to assemble that aircraft without Russia,” he told Ukraine’s Pryamiy TV Channel on January 11. “But we are already at the final stage of replacing the aircraft’s entire electronics. We hope they will be finally accepted by Antonov’s engineering and design teams this year to start assembling the first aircraft that will be free from any Russian parts,” Omelchenko added.

The production of missile boats of the “Lan” type is delayed due to the conflict between the developer and the manufacturer

The production of missile boats of the “Lan” type for the Ukrainian fleet was delayed all year round as a result of the conflict between Mykolayiv developers and Kyiv producers. A representative of the Navy, commenting on plans to install two missile boats by the end of 2018 at PJSC “Plant” Smith on Rybalsky “, which had not been implemented, said this in an interview with the information agency ” Defense and Industrial Courier ” on the condition of anonymity. The source informed that by September 2018, the design bureau of the “Smith on Rybalsky” plant had completed the project “Lani” from the Nicholas DPCK to the version of the 64-meter boat “Lan-LK” (the export version known as “Vespa” ), with a total displacement of 640 tons and a speed of 40 knots – under the armament developed by the LC “Ray” anti-ship winged missiles (equipped with an armament of 8 PKR “Neptune”). Speedboat “Vespa” Speedboat “Vespa” The model of the RCC Vespa at the 15th International Specialized Exhibition “Weapons and Security 2018” The military sailors noticed that the boat, although not out of its class, was too heavy. “He’s a good 200 tons heavier than the necessary platform for missile defense, which is a very large resource. Each additional tonne displacement of the ship will cost the Navy in 100-150 thousand dollars. And if all the same take such a boat, then it would be worthwhile foreseeing a helicopter on it “- such an assessment was given by a specialist of the Navy. The VMSU was informed that the Experimental Design Center for Shipbuilding (DPCP) insisted on installing on the boats the gas turbine plant of the Mykolayiv NPP “Zorya” – “Mashproekt”, the factory “Smith on Rybalsky – on the use of the diesel installation, since the gas turbine plant is still it does not exist in nature, and it will only take its creation at least two years. And authorized officials of the military department against the background of the conflict could not make a decision.

UAWire – Ukrainian Ambassador: Kyiv will receive first shipment of weapons from Canada

In 2019, Ukraine may receive the first batch of Canadian sniper rifles, Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada Serhiy Shevchenko told in an interview with Ukrinform. “We have already received permission from the Canadian government to purchase high-quality sniper rifles that currently hold the world record for firing range. I expect the first batch of rifles to be delivered to Ukraine this year,” Shevchenko said. The ambassador spoke about the need to look for various forms of cooperation with Canada in the arms sector. “We view this as a joint investment in security and new technologies, something that Canada is also interested in. The arms market loves silence, so I cannot disclose details. I believe that we have all chances to see the first practical results of our cooperation,” he said. It was reported earlier that a Canadian arms company signed a contract for the supply of sniper rifles to Ukraine. In December 2017, Canada added Ukraine to the list of countries to which firearms can be supplied.

“Telekart-Prilad” mastered the repair of air traffic control systems

The national producer of modern digital communication systems – Telekard-Prilad, has mastered the repair and upgrade of the air traffic control command posts for the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This is reported by the information portal Defense Express .

SOV – SKP-11 (mobile ATC command post) : Soviet Union (SOV)

mobile command post

Ukrainian Armed Forces received about 26,000 units of armament, military equipment from Ukroboronprom since start of Russia’s military aggression – Poroshenko

Over the past five years, the state-owned concern Ukroboronprom has transferred about 26,000 units of weapons and military equipment to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, head of the Ukrainian state Petro Poroshenko has said.

Poroshenko: We will continue to strengthen combat capabilities of Ukrainian army

President Petro Poroshenko has said that Ukrainian army will continue to strengthen its combat capabilities in order to defend our state. — Ukrinform

The “Yastreb [Hawk]” that did not fly

Until the beginning of the 1960s, the development of tactical missile weapons in the world came to a logical deadlock – it became clear that the era of uncontrolled missiles had passed. The future of missiles with control systems. However, it was not possible to develop such systems in the Soviet Union very quickly. And that is why they decided to create the first models on the basis of anti-aircraft systems, the production of which has already been mastered by industry. The first such project was the “Hawk”, which used a solid rocket with radio command control on the active part of the trajectory. The preliminary study of the project began in March 1963, and it took two years. Only in 1965 began sketch design. The main work on the project relied on OKB-2, with the development of a special combat unit and all the associated equipment was engaged KB-11. One of the interesting innovations of the project was the use of a self-propelled launcher (produced by the Bryansk Automobile Plant), which also had to serve as a control machine. The hawk did not take off Due to the control with the help of the installed radar for the parameters of the flight and their timely adjustment, it was proposed to increase the accuracy of the output on the required trajectory. The radar antenna itself was located on the roof of the military vehicle building, behind the cabin, and covered with a radio-transparent casing. A controlled ballistic missile of the “Hawrub” complex was based on the design of the anti-aircraft missile B-611 from the warehouse of the ship complex M-11 “Storm” and received the designation of the B-612. From the existing project with minimal changes borrowed the design of the body and planes, control system, engine and other units. The solid propellant engine allowed the rocket to accelerate to 1200 m / s and fly to a target at an average speed of 800 m / s. Due to the large fuel reserve, the maximum range of the complex was 55 km. According to available data, the missile B-612 had to be completed only with a special military unit. The power of such combat equipment is unknown. There is no information about the possibility of developing and applying conventional combat units. According to available data, the development of the “Hawk” complex has stopped at the stage of designing sketch design. The fact is that in parallel, the employees of OKB-2 worked on the “Point” complex (not related to a more recent complex with the same name) with another missile system. Comparison of the two projects showed that the use of radio command control leads to an excessive complication of the self-propelled launcher. The hawk did not take off In addition, the launching system of the “Hawk” system was forced to remain on the firing position for some time after the launch, executing the missile output on the desired trajectory, due to which it was at high risk of fire damage by the enemy. In addition, the unification of ballistic and anti-aircraft missiles did not allow for sufficiently acceptable indicators of firing range. Thus, an interesting and promising project could hardly hold the army and reach mass exploitation. No later than 1965-66, the Hawk project was officially closed. As far as we know, until the completion of the “Hawk” project, only the experimental chassis for the self-propelled launcher was built. Other elements of the complex have not yet reached the prototype production and testing.

Nolan Petersen | Ukraine’s Leap of Faith Is a Step Toward Ditching Russian Influence

When it comes to Ukraine’s overall divorce from Russia, “culture is one of the most difficult knots, which gradually needs to be untied.”

Olga Bielkova | Two More Ways to Make Ukraine Independent | Atlantic Council

Ukraine’s Orthodox Church just broke with Moscow, and it’s time for us to move farther away from Russia in the energy sector as well. Even though it is an election year, Kyiv must deliver on the country’s two strategic priorities: increasing gas production in Ukraine and jointly operating Ukraine’s transmission system. After all, energy independence is a matter of sovereignty and national security for Ukraine. Priority #1: Scale up domestic production. Market pricing is the first precondition in this realm, but we must enshrine it not just in law, but in practice. And for that we need all companies, global and local alike, playing by the rules when they produce and trade gas in Ukraine. Passing legislation is the first step, but a culture of transparency and fair competition will fail to take root unless the private sector shows leadership, and reputable international companies enter the Ukrainian market and bring along the best practices, the newest technologies, and solid corporate governance. This is the only sure way to lock in our legislative gains and deter politicians who might dare to reverse the rules and try to bring back energy subsidies for inefficient companies instead of vulnerable customers. A new round of auctions for production licenses and production sharing agreements was recently announced. This is a big deal, to say the least. The State Geological Service of Ukraine released thirty onshore petroleum blocs for sale in online auctions at the public procurement platform ProZorro.Sale, which has been widely recognized as a major victory against corruption in government tenders. The concession blocs will be auctioned in a series of licensing rounds in a process that guarantees a new level of transparency and accountability. We welcome bids by global energy companies, and I’m personally convinced that a successful tendering of new permits will be a major stepping stone toward Ukraine’s energy independence, which is achievable within a decade. This new approach promises to end the decades of non-transparent distribution of access to natural resources in Ukraine. We need more gas, more companies to compete with each other for the right to develop natural resources, and most important, new technologies to boost production. In total, Ukraine has opened the 2019 licensing rounds offering forty-two onshore blocs with acreage of nearly 12,000 square miles. More information can be viewed here: Another major opportunity lies in the redevelopment of legacy fields. The state-owned firm UGV had signed agreements with several leading oil field service companies—Schlumberger, Halliburton, and Baker Hughes—and it is seeking a further partnership for cooperation under the Production Enhancement Contracts (PEC) for development of its depleted mature brownfields and unconventional formations. The PEC tenders have already been launched by UGV, and the results are expected to be announced in March. Priority #2: Joint operation of Ukraine’s gas transit system (GTS). Ukraine’s GTS is unique; it has 145 billion cubic meters of annual transportation capacity and 30 billion cubic meters of storage; in 2017, the Ukrainian gas transit system moved 94 billion cubic meters from east to west with plenty of spare capacity left. Importantly, in one transit corridor, Ukraine’s GTS is comprised of several pipelines. That allows for uninterrupted transmission even in the event of malfunction or routine maintenance. The additional advantage of the existing land infrastructure is that it is much easier to monitor performance and diagnose issues as opposed to undersea pipelines such as Nord Stream. It is an irrefutable win-win for Europe and Ukraine to operate this vital geostrategic infrastructure together. The costs of transit could be lucrative for both suppliers and consumers of natural gas, especially with long-term contracts of ten or more years. The Kremlin, on the other hand, continues to push for Nord Stream II, a project that is designed to divide Europe and has been recognized even by Russia’s own analysts as commercially unsound. It is truly encouraging to see that the newly elected leader of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, has recognized the threat this pipeline poses to Europe’s security. The current estimates for maintenance and investment needed for Ukraine’s GTS stand at the range of $100-300 million per year to ensure that the system can transmit up to 110 billion cubic meters of gas. The annual operating cash flows of several billion dollars easily cover these needs. To keep the Ukrainian system fully operational is to ensure it is sufficiently utilized and generates revenues. The best way to secure Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and energy security is to integrate it fully into EU markets. Partnership with global energy companies is the antidote to Russian aggression toward Ukraine and its neighbors, where energy is often the weapon of choice. Though I am a parliamentarian, 2019 should be a year of implementation rather than legislation. With elections looming, our international friends and partners—as well as all of us in Ukraine—should focus on locking in these reforms and leveraging the laws already on the books. A competitive energy market that utilizes many international players, new technologies, and best practices in corporate governance will be the best guarantee of Ukraine’s independence. Olga Bielkova is a member of Ukraine’s parliament and sits on its energy committee. She tweets at @OlgaBielkova.

Why a Comedian’s Bid for Ukraine’s Presidency Is No Laughing Matter –

Most experts have reacted negatively to the announcement that Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy will stand in the presidential election in spring 2019. Indeed, Zelenskiy’s candidacy is problematic for at least three reasons. Still, for all the skepticism, Zelenskiy’s participation in the race may also have a bright side. First the problems. Zelenskiy has no political experience. He has not held any governmental or any other public sector office before. His main competitors, incumbent President Petro Poroshenko and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, have held parliamentary seats, party chairpersonships, as well as executive posts. They are also well-connected internationally, while Zelenskiy seems to have had no noteworthy foreign affairs exposure. In peaceful times and under stable conditions, a Zelenskiy presidency might be an experiment worth considering. Yet, as Ukraine’s geopolitical situation is extremely complicated, a Zelenskiy presidency would be a chancy development. His partially naïve statements on Ukraine’s international relations and announced recruitment of an explicitly non-political team indicate that there could be confusion at the beginning of his tenure. Ukraine and her various foreign challenges may not have time for such a transition period. Second, skeptics contend that a Zelenskiy presidency may be no different from earlier oligarchic rule. Zelenskiy is right to emphasize his clean hands and non-involvement in the shadowy schemes of Ukraine’s post-Soviet clan rule. He has become legitimately rich as a popular television star and producer of successful entertainment programs. But there is suspicion about his links to Ihor Kolomoyskiy, a notorious oligarch and owner of the influential 1+1 TV channel that airs most of Zelenskiy’s programs. Zelenskiy brilliantly played the incorruptible and oligarch-slaying Ukrainian president Vasyl Holoborodko in the popular TV sitcom “Servant of the People.” But few believe that the real president Zelenskiy would be as effective at fighting corruption as the fictional Holoborodko. Third, the political satirical aspects of Zelenskiy’s comedy work and his major TV show “Vechernyi kvartal” (Evening Block) have acquired a strange aftertaste after Zelenskiy got into the race. His “95-yy kvartal” (95th Block) team has made fun of various presidential candidates, including Poroshenko and Tymoshenko, numerous times. Now these still airing sketches have suddenly become parts of Zelenskiy’s electoral campaign.

Head of Presidential Committee for Intelligence to run for presidency in Ukraine –

Ihor Smeshko, the ex-head of Ukraine’s state security service (SBU) and the current chairman of the Presidential Committee for Intelligence will be running for presidency during the election this spring. The candidate himself posted the repsective piece of information on Facebook. ‘I began to fil in the documents to complete the registration procedure at the Central Election Committee to be teh candidate for the president of Ukraine’, he wrote. As is known, the presidential campaign in Ukraine kicked off on December 31, 2018, with the election day slated for March 31, 2019. The Central Election Committee already registered several candidates to run for presidency in Ukraine, including ex-Lviv mayor Andriy Sadovy, MP Serhiy Kaplin and another ex-leader of SBU Valentyn Nalyvaichenko.

Former SBU head to stand for Ukrainian presidency

Colonel-General Ihor Smeshko, who headed the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in 2003-2005, has said he is going to nominate his candidacy in Ukraine’s presidential election. — Ukrinform

Ex-chief of Ukraine’s SBU Smeshko to run for president | UNIAN

Ex-chief of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine Ihor Smeshko has announced plans to run for president in 2019 and started preparing documents for registration with the Central Election Commission (CEC). The presidential elections are scheduled for March 31, 2019.

UAWire – President Poroshenko: Ukrainian Army will reach NATO standards by 2020

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stated during a trip to Rivne Oblast on Thursday, January 10th that beginning next year, the Armed Forces …

Ukrainian general speaks of country’s NATO membership prospects | UNIAN

Former deputy chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lieutenant General (Reserve) Ihor Romanenko said Ukraine could be ready for NATO membership within 5-10 years. Commenting on a Thursday statement by the Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, that the Armed Forces will be able by 2020 to operate fully in line with NATO standards, Romanenko said that “given what is being done now, I can say that this is quite realistic.” However, the general adds, it’s not the armed forces but the state which has to join the Alliance. “In this regard, we have statements by our officials, who said, by 2020, only 1300 public requirements of NATO standards would be met, but there are also classified requirements,” he said. Romanenko noted that for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, there is a corresponding reform plan that has been developed until 2020. “The principal step in the process is that Ukraine is moving away from the Russian-type control system, where the General Staff was part of the Ministry of Defense, as it was in Tsarist Russia, in the Soviet armed forces, and now remains in the modern Russian Federation. We proceed to the so-called Anglo-Saxon system, where the defense ministry performs purely military-political functions, comprehensively providing for the operations of the armed forces,” the former defense official said. A lot of work has already been done on reforming the defense sector to meet NATO standards, General Romanenko notes. “The momentum was gained, and I think that everything concerning Ukraine’s Armed Forces should be completed by 2020, while in terms of the state, a lot of work is still ahead,” the expert is convinced. However, he noted that today, even some NATO Allies have not yet met all standard requirements set before them. Answering the question on how long it will take Ukraine to join NATO, Gen. Romanenko said: “I think, no earlier than 5-10 years.” As UNIAN reported earlier, on January 10, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko declared that by 2020, the Ukrainian army will have been organized and able to act fully in line with NATO standards.

Ukraine border guards ready for possible introduction of biometric visas with Russia | UNIAN

Speaker for the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine Oleh Slobodyan has said the border guards are ready for the possible introduction of a biometric visa regime with the Russian Federation. Slobodyan reiterates the border guards have already carried out biometric control since the beginning of 2018.

UAWire – Kyiv: Ukraine is terminating 40 treaties with Russia

Ukraine's Deputy Minister for the Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons, Yuriy Hrymchak stated on Channel Pryamyi  …

Ukraine’s Security Service detains anti-Ukrainian agitator in Odesa –

The Security Service of Ukraine detained a local resident of Odesa for disseminating anti-Ukrainian materials via banned Russian social networks, the service reports on its Facebook. The woman has been constantly publishing information calling to change the state border and the constitutional system of Ukraine. Besides the abovementioned things, she was promoting “Luhansk/Donetsk People’s Republics” terrorist organizations. The agitator received the materials from propaganda outlets and websites of the militants.

Ex-defense minister is called for questioning to provide information on occupation of Crimea and Donbas –

Anatoliy Hrytsenko, leader of Civil Position political party and former defense minister was called for questioning to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), as an individual, who can provide information on circumstances of the Russian occupation of Donbas and annexation of Crimea, reports the press office of the SBU.

UAWire – Kyiv refuses to extradite to Moscow Russian citizen who fought for Ukraine

The Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine refused to extradite to Russia a member of Right Sector, whom Kremlin wants to prosecute for …

Ukraine refuses to extradite member of ‘Right Sector’ to Russia –

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine refused to extradite member of the Right Sector movement nicknamed ‘S’ to Russia. Larysa Sargan, Spokesperson of Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko reported this on Facebook. ‘Today, Deputy Prosecutor General Yevhen Yenin decided to deny the extradition of member of the Right Sector ‘S’ (man’s alias, –, who was brought to criminal responsibility in the Russian Federation for participating in the war for Ukraine’s independence. As Yenin promised, not a single volunteer will be ever given in the hands of the aggressor,’ Sargan claimed.

Nobody can stop Ukrainians who build their own state – Poroshenko

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said that nobody can stop Ukrainians who build their own state and remove the yoke of the Moscow church. — Ukrinform

Ukraine Ombudsperson names number of Ukrainians illegally held in Russian prisons | UNIAN

More than 80 Ukrainians are being illegally held in Russian prisons, according to Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova, who recalled that today Ukraine marks Day of Ukrainian political prisoner. “The Russian regime, surpassing Soviet totalitarianism, once again launched terror campaign against the Ukrainian people. It seeks to completely eliminate the linguistic, cultural, and national identity in the occupied territories of our state. This is happening massively in the occupied Crimea. People are being abducted, searched, arrested, tortured, indicted on trumped up charges. In reality, Ukrainians can become political prisoners in Russia only for their civil stance,” the Ombudsperson noted. She recalled that among modern political prisoners are Oleh Sentsov, Stanislav Klykh, Pavlo Hryb, Roman Sushchenko, Kazim Ametov, Asan Chapukh, Bekir Degermendzhi, Remzi Memetov, and Nuri Primov. Read more on UNIAN:

More than 800 Russians not allowed to Ukraine after martial law ended –

Over 800 Russian citizens failed to enter Ukraine after the martial law ended on December 26, reports the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. Spokesperson of the border service Oleh Slobodyan stated that 160 Russians were refused to enter Ukraine during the New Year holidays. ‘When aliens and stateless persons, as well as the citizens of the Russian Federation cross the border, the border guards constantly separate risk groups and take additional measures to prevent people to enter Ukraine as they might be involved in provocative or illegal actions on the territory of our state,’ they say.

Documentary about Ukraine wins prize of Cinema Eye Honors

Documentary The Distant Barking of Dogs by Danish director Simon Lereng Wilmont about the life of 10-year-old boy and his grandmother in Hnutove village on the front line in eastern Ukraine won the prize of the Cinema Eye Honors. — Ukrinform

German doctors remove bullet from Ukrainian activist’s lung | KyivPost

Ukrainian anti-corruption activist Oleg Mykhailyk underwent surgery in Munich, Germany on Jan. 11, to remove a bullet from his lung – a vital piece of evidence that could shed a light on who tried to kill him in Odesa, Ukraine’s National Police reported on its website. Mykhailyk, who was a critic of the local authorities and who previous organized many protests against illegal construction in Odesa, was shot near his house on Sept. 22. Police arrested three suspects on Sept. 25, but Mykhailyk doubts they were the real attackers. He went to Germany for an operation to remove the bullet, which was lodged in his lung. He feared that in Ukraine the law enforcement could switch it for another one, which would make impossible to find the gun from which he was actually shot. His trip and surgery are sponsored by the German government. Earlier Mykhailyk said that his operation was scheduled for Jan. 9, but that it had been postponed because Ukraine’s police and prosecutors had failed to send the papers to their German colleagues allowing them to examine the bullet and submit it as evidence in court. The police report said that they managed to collect and send all the necessary papers to Germany on Jan. 10. Ukraine’s police officers also asked through Interpol for their German counterparts to collect the evidence, the report said. Mykhailyk confirmed on his Facebook page late on Jan. 10 that German police officers had visited him in the clinic and were planning to be present during his surgery at the request of their Ukrainian colleagues. The activist also said that the German experts offered to perform ballistic forensic tests on the bullet right after the operation. German government offered to pay for these tests as well. Nevertheless, the German experts cannot conduct the tests without the permission of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office. Mykhailyk publicly called on Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko to make this crucial check possible. “My recent experience shows that only public pressure and an information campaign can force the National Police and Prosecutor General’s office perform their duties,” Mykhailyk wrote on his Facebook page before the operation.

Turkey extends quotas for livestock, meat supplies from Ukraine | UNIAN

Ambassador of Ukraine to Turkey Andrii Sybiha says Turkey has extended quotas on imports of cattle, goats, sheep, and meat from Ukraine with zero customs rates until the end of 2019. Ukrainian producers in April 2018 obtained the right to export beef onto the Turkish market.

Czech Airlines to resume flights to Odesa

CSA Czech Airlines will resume flights on the Odesa-Prague route from May 30, 2019. — Ukrinform