Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Muscovy makes an effort to further inflame the partisan political debate in Washington. Russians refuse to comply with INF and declare everything to be the fault of the US, again playing the victim card. A tirade of toxic invective aimed at Japan over the Kurile Islands – a backflip likely motivated by nationalist objections inside Russia. The hostage game around Whelan continues – it “worked” in Ukraine, why not in DC? While Amb Grenell spells out ground truths in the media, German FM Maas, SDP, travels to Muscovy. Saudis complain the Russians are breaching their deal with OPEC – how could Russia possibly break an agreement? Security Council Secretary Patrushev makes some bizarre claims about Ukraine, reminiscent of the bizarre claims being made despite evidence to the contrary in 2014. Crocodile tears from Muscovy over Brexit. The long-awaited initial production order for the Su-57 is reported to be planned for 2020.
EU to sanction Salisbury suspects.
In Moscow, show trial hearing sees Ukrainian POW detention extended. Gen Muzhenko visits NATO HQ. Multiple reports on Kerch and Crimea. DEFMIN Poltorak on Russia’s creeping maritime offensive.
Update on Donbas. Environmental threats emerging in Donbas as Russians shut down mitigation measures at contaminated sites. Euromaidan campaign in the US to have L/DPR declared terrorist organizations (as Russian proxies that would make Russia a state sponsor). Annual Defense appropriation approved. DEFMIN Poltorak comments on the costs of full NATO compliance.
Updates on presidential election campaigning and Russian meddling, Russian subversion, and espionage, politics, and economy.
Russia’s Lavrov Mocks Suggestion That Trump Worked for the Kremlin
US president has forcefully denied collusion with Russia.
A Kremlin official on Wednesday dismissed reports that President Trump was being investigated for possibly working for Russia, calling the idea “stupid.”
Top Russian officials have dismissed allegations that U.S. President Donald Trump could have worked for Moscow’s interests, calling them “absurd” and “stupid.”
Russia’s foreign minister on Wednesday dismissed a report that President Donald Trump is working on behalf of the Kremlin and accused the US news media and Congress of trying to sabotage his administration.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held his annual large press conference on 16 January, having addressed the results of Russian diplomacy in 2018 and touched upon, among other issues, relations with the United States, the European Union, NATO as well as the Syrian crisis, nuclear arms reduction, and the much-hyped Trump-Putin Helsinki summit.
euronews (in English) Published on Jan 16, 2019 Sergey Lavrov held his annual press conference on Wednesday in Moscow. He was questioned on many topics, not least the arrest of US marine Paul Whelan.…
U/S of State Andrea Thompson on Twitter: “(2 of 3)… before the 60-day deadline announced on December 4. The meeting was disappointing as it is clear Russia continues to be in material breach of the Treaty and did not come prepared to explain how it plans to return to full and verifiable compliance.”
The administration’s new approach is expected to include more efforts to stop missiles either before they are launched or just after launch, when their booster engines are still burning.
The United States has rejected a Russian proposal on saving a key Cold War arms control treaty because the pact cannot be properly verified.
Russia remains “in material breach” of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the United States has said after a new round of bilateral talks ended with no progress.
The closed negotiations between Russia and the US on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty have ended inconclusively. The American delegation is “disappointed” with the results of the meeting, which was held in Geneva on Tuesday, said US Under Secretary of State Andrea Thompson. According to her, the results of the negotiations – the first since the US threatened to withdraw from the INF Treaty – “have clearly shown” that Russia is still “in material breach of the treaty”, which prohibits it from testing and adopting into its armament missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 km, which could be used against NATO’s European member-states. The Russian delegation “did not come prepared to explain how it plans to return to full and verifiable compliance” tweeted Thompson, who headed the US delegation at the meeting. “Our message was clear: Russia must destroy its noncompliant missile system,” she said in a later tweet. The Russian delegation to the negotiations, which were held only three weeks before the expiry date of Washington’s ultimatum, were headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. “Recently we have noted that the American party has even toughened its tone, this is not a very favorable signal to us,” he said before the start of the consultation. On December 2, the US gave Russia 60 days to destroy or modify its 9M729 missile, whose specifications Washington believes are in breach of the treaty. In support of its stance, the US showed NATO allies satellite photos of tests in which the missile flew a distance prohibited by the treaty. The alliance then made a joint statement, accusing Russia of violations. The deadline of the US’s ultimatum is February 2, after which the US itself will stop abiding by the treaty. Russia’s response accusation against the US is that its MK-41 universal vertical launching systems installed in Europe are a breach of the treaty, since they can be used to fire not only anti-missiles, but also offensive missiles, Russia’s Defense Ministry believes.
Russia is demonstrating “goodwill” by going to the negotiating table with the US on the missile issue, said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov ahead of the consultations with the US in Geneva, TASS reports. The deputy foreign minister stated that Russia is “by no means more interested than the US” in furthering the dialog. “Under conditions in which they have tried and continue to issue all kinds of ultimatums, preconditions and demands, we are demonstrating significant goodwill. Because this is not the genre, the style, the approach in which a solution to complex problems can be sought out,” Ryabkov said. According to the diplomat, the Russian delegation is committed to serious work. “Let’s see what we can achieve tomorrow,” he said. In October, US President Donald Trump announced that Washington intends to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The US has repeatedly accused Russia of violations, and Moscow has responded with counter-accusations. The issue, according to the US State Department, is that Russia is testing a new missile system titled the 9M729 (or SSC-8 cruise missiles). Russian President Vladimir Putin later claimed that the US has provided no proof of any Russian violations. In December, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US will cease to observe the treaty in two months’ time unless Moscow meets all its obligations again. The only way Russia can save the treaty, he said, is by admitting to its violations. The consultations in Geneva on January 15 will be the first since the start of the conflict surrounding the possible US withdrawal from the treaty. Ryabkov’s counterpart in the consultations will be US Under Secretary of State Andrea Thompson. “On January 15 in Geneva in an interdepartmental format there will be consultations on the topic of the INF Treaty. It is the only issue on the agenda. We are pleased to note that America ultimately consented to these consultations after our repeated offers,” Ryabkov commented. The Russian diplomat noted that the fate of the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty would not be touched on during the current negotiations in Geneva. “The only matter we will work on is the INF Treaty. In principle, there is enough material for an entire day,” he observed.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the “rules-based order” is actually an excuse “to be able to put pressure on disagreeable states and often even on allies.”
RUSSIA has warned the United States that the likelihood of conflict between the two superpowers has increased.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The two countries have been technically at war after failing to sign the post-WWII peace treaty over a territorial dispute. Japan lays claims to four islands off its northern tip, which Russia considers its soil.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the United States of seeking to dismantle the system of weapons pacts and said that Moscow is willing to continue trying to preserve the Intermedi…
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that Moscow and Tokyo are still “far from being partners” despite renewed efforts to resolve a decades-old conflict over disputed islands. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are to meet in Moscow next
The two countries have been locked in a territorial dispute over a remote island chain since the end of the conflict.
World War II ended in 1945, and in the decades since, Japan and Russia have never signed a peace treaty to formally end hostilities. That’s partially because the two countries have been in a territorial… World News Summaries. | Newser
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denied on Wednesday that Moscow was imposing an ultimatum on Japan in talks to end a decadeslong territorial dispute
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that Moscow and Tokyo are still "far from being partners" despite renewed efforts to resolve a decades-old conflict over disputed islands. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are to meet in Moscow next week for talks on The four…
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that statements by the Adviser to the Prime Minister of Japan about US interest in the negotiations in Moscow and Tokyo on a peace treaty were outrageous, Interfax reports. “As for the statement by the Assistant Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, Prime Minister Abe, that the US should be interested in concluding an agreement between Russia and Japan, since this will, as he described it, strengthen the bloc [of countries] which would contain China: this is an outrageous statement,” said Lavrov after meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono. Earlier, Katsuyuki Kawai, Special Advisor for Foreign Affairs to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated during his speech at the Hudson Institute in Washington that the United States should support Japan in the conclusion of a peace treaty with Russia to counter the threat from China. Lavrov also said that there are important disagreements between Moscow and Tokyo on the issue of a peace treaty, but the dialogue continues. According to the Russian Foreign Minister, Japan must fully recognize the results of the Second World War, including Russia’s sovereignty over all the Kuril Islands, to advance on the issue of a peace treaty. Speaking about the talks with Kono, Lavrov emphasized that the parties identified a range of issues that must necessarily be taken up and clarified, and that an agreement to each of the issues must be reached through generally acceptable approaches.
Negotiations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe are scheduled to take place in Moscow on January 22. …
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the talks between the foreign ministers of Japan and Russia, held on January 14 in Moscow, a «good start»
Japan Issue Receiving Lots Of Attention In Russian Press. Kurill Islands At Forefront Of Discussions To End WWII.
Moscow didn’t nab American citizen Paul Whelan with plans to swap him for Russian nationals being held overseas, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
Russia said it captured Paul Whelan, an American man who was accused of spying in the country, “red-handed.”
A top Russian official said Wednesday that a U.S.
Russia said on Wednesday that it had caught former U.S. marine Paul Whelan, who is being held in Russia on spying charges, while he was in the act of carrying out illegal activities in his Moscow hotel room.
A former U.S. Marine who holds citizenship in Ireland, Canada, Britain, and the United States, Paul Whelan was detained in Moscow on December 28 and charged with spying.
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project was developed solely in order to create an alternative route for transporting Russian gas to Europe that does not involve Ukraine, US Ambassador to Berlin Richard Grenell told the Rheinische Post in an interview. “The problem with Nord Stream 2 is that it is not an economic project. It was developed for only one reason: to create an alternative route for transporting Russian gas on the way to Europe that does not pass through Ukraine. And so the issue is, do the European governments want to become more dependent on a country that uses chemical weapons to kill an opponent in Europe? Will Europe become more dependent on a country that invaded a sovereign state and illegally annexed territory?” Grenell said. On 13 January, news came out that Grenell had sent the German companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 project a letter reminding them of the risk of coming under US sanctions. “The content of these letters is no different from the statements we made publicly: companies that operate in the Russian energy export sector risk possible sanctions. The US government and Congress have clear warnings concerning energy security and the geopolitical influence of Nord Stream 2, and I will continue the US policy,” the diplomat said. “Putin clearly said that he wants to stop the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine. Two projects which will give him the opportunity to do this are Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream 2. These two projects together will make Russian gas transit through Ukraine virtually unnecessary,” he explained. According to Grenell, the danger is that Russia will once again decide to use energy as a weapon against Europe, or engage in other destructive behavior. “Although it is unlikely that Germany will become the object of such measures, Germany’s eastern neighbors could suffer. European unity is at stake here,” he added.
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is not an economic project, but rather an alternative route for transporting Russian gas to Europe bypassing Ukraine, according to U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell. “The problem with Nord Stream 2 is that it is not an economic project. It was developed for one reason only: to create an alternative route for transporting Russian gas on its way to Europe that does not pass through Ukraine,” Rheinische Post cited the Ambassador as saying in an interview published in German. Speaking with RP, the diplomat noted that the question is whether European governments want to become more dependent on a country that uses chemical weapons to kill a political opponent in Europe and that has invaded a sovereign state and illegally annexed its territory. On Jan 13, 2019, came the reports saying Ambassador Grenell had informed the German companies contributing to the Nord Stream 2 project that they were facing risks to fall under U.S. sanctions. Commenting on the issue, the diplomat said that the content of these letters was no different from statements U.S. authorities made earlier: companies working in the field of Russian energy-export sector risk possible sanctions. The U.S. government and Congress have clear reservations about energy security and the geopolitical impact of the Nord Stream 2, the diplomat said. Read alsoNord Stream 2 kills Ukraine – Poland’s Foreign Minister He recalled that Putin had said clearly that he wanted to halt Russian gas transit via Ukraine, and that the two projects that will enable him to do so are Nord Stream 2 and Turk Stream 2. Together, these two projects make the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine virtually superfluous, according to the Ambassador. The diplomat notes that danger that Russia may once again decide to use energy as a weapon against Europe or to pursue with some other type of destructive behavior. While it is unlikely that Germany will become the target of such measures, Ambassador Grenell believes Germany’s eastern neighbors may be affected. Here, “European unity is at stake,” he said.
On Friday, January 18, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will go to Russia and then to Ukraine. — Ukrinform
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on European integration, Olena Zerkal, says representatives of Russia’s energy giant Gazprom disrupted technical tripartite consultations involving Ukraine, Russia, and the European Commission regarding future gas transit through the Ukrainian territory. The ministry says its team is preparing for all possible scenarios of further developments, not only the tripartite talks at a political level.
Far-fetched scenarios of the Turkish navy fighting the Russian Black Sea fleet will continue to be peddled by misinformed think tanks, oblivious to the inevitability of the Russia-Turkey energy partnership. Without Turkey, NATO is a cripple in the Black Sea region. Intriguing developments such as a Viking Silk Road across the Intermarium won’t alter the fact that Poland, the Baltics and Romania will continue to clamor for “more NATO” in their areas to fight “Russian aggression”. And it will be up to a new government in Kiev after the upcoming March elections to realize that any provocation designed to drag NATO into a Kerch Strait entanglement is doomed to failure. Ancient Greek sailors had a deep fear of the Black Sea’s howling winds. As it now stands, call it the calm before a (Black Sea) storm.
The world’s largest oil producing countries, having signed another deal in December to maintain world oil prices, are now facing internal strife, finanz.ru reports. Saudi Arabia, the largest member of OPEC in terms of extraction, and the only country in the world capable of rapidly upscaling or downscaling its oil extraction, believes that Russia’s efforts as part of the market stabilization agreement are inadequate. By undertaking to reduce extraction by 228,000 barrels per day, Russia is acting too slowly, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told CNBC in an interview. According to the Russian energy ministry, in the first week of January, oil companies reduced production by 30,000 barrels per day compared to October last year, and will bring this figure to 50,000 barrels by the end of the month. Russia was initially unwilling to cut extraction by more than 150,000 barrels per day. Now Moscow is acting “more slowly than would be desired”, Al-Falih emphasized. The situation with Russia’s oil exports, which does not formally fall under the OPEC+ agreement, is nevertheless reminiscent of sabotage, the Saudi minister observed. According to Platts, as early as December, Saudi Arabia cut back its oil shipments to the world market from 8.17 to 7.52 million barrels per day, and plans to reduce them further to 7.2 million in January – an 11% cut. Russia, on the other hand, is reducing its exports by only 1% for the quarter, according to the Russian Energy Ministry’s shipment plan, as cited by Reuters.
Russia’s security chief said that Kiev’s reliance on Western support may contribute to Ukraine’s loss of statehood. Russia’s top security official has warned that neighboring Ukraine may no longer be a country soon as the former Soviet republic is divided by competing interests. Beset by unrest since a 2014 political uprising ousted former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Kiev’s successor government has accused Moscow of seizing the Crimean Peninsula in a disputed referendum and sponsoring an eastern insurgency. Nearly five years into the conflict, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev warned Tuesday that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s current pro-West strategy could lead to a total dismantling of the state. “The U.S. administration actually controls the Kiev authorities and Poroshenko personally. Even Ukrainian experts are skeptical of the four-year work of Petro Poroshenko as head of state,” Patrushev told Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta. “The Kiev authorities are doing everything to split Ukraine, implementing the West’s scenario for separating Ukraine from Russia, while ignoring the interests of their own people. In the end, the country was effectively split,” he added. “The continuation of such a policy by the Kiev authorities may contribute to Ukraine’s loss of statehood.”
Russia is not rubbing its hands with glee over Britain’s chaotic departure from the European Union despite its troubled relations with London and wants the EU to be strong and united, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday. Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a resounding defeat
The top diplomat says Moscow is ready to cooperate with Brussels and London, regardless of how the UK’s exit from the EU is completed
Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed Moscow’s ambassador to the Central African Republic (C.A.R.), where three Russian journalists were killed last summer under suspicious circumstances.
MOSCOW, January 16. /TASS/. The second contract to manufacture 13 Su-57 fighter jets for the Russian Aerospace Forces is to be signed next year, a source in Russia’s aircraft-making industry told TASS on Wednesday. “In 2020, we plan to sign the second contract to manufacture and deliver 13 Su-57 fighter jets, some of them equipped with the second-stage engines,” he said. “The preliminary timeframe for the new contract is five years.” The first contract envisages the delivery of two fifth-generation aircraft in 2019-2020. “In line with the contract signed in 2018, one serial Su-57 jet with first-stage engines will be delivered to the Aerospace Forces this year, the other aircraft featuring the same type of engine – in 2020.” The aircraft’s manufacturer, the United Aircraft Corporation, refrained from commenting on the report. More: http://tass.com/defense/1040167
I’m being trolled by pro-Russians on another website, asking multi-faceted and long questions, demanding detailed answers, and basically trying to tie me up. Their basic purpose is to get me so wrapped up in defining terms that I’ll give up, get branded as a US propagandist, and they will basically try to trip me up.…
Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, has said that Russia and international terrorism are major challenges for the alliance. — Ukrinform.
Regime change has gone digital.
European Union ambassadors agreed on January 16 to impose sanctions on four Russian military intelligence officers who the EU says are responsible for carrying out chemical attacks, including the p…
Rose Gottemoeller on Twitter: “Serious discussion with Ukrainian CHOD Viktor Muzhenko @NATO HQ today. Allies fully support #Ukraine. It is essential that #Russia releases the Ukrainian sailors and ships it seized. We continue to work w/ Ukraine to strengthen security & sustain progress on defence reforms.… https://t.co/2u4aON3VCC”
NATO maintains its presence in the Black Sea region and attaches great importance to the development of cooperation with Ukraine. — Ukrinform
Russia must release Ukraine’s sailors immediately, not use them as political pawns, the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine wrote on Twitter Tuesday. Earlier on Tuesday, Moscow’s Lefortovo district court extended the detention term for 12 captive Ukrainian sailors until April 24.
The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine has urged Russia to immediately free Bekirov and all other Ukrainian political prisoners. The U.S. remains gravely concerned about Bekirov’s deteriorating health and poor treatment in Russian custody.
A Moscow court has prolonged the pretrial detention of 24 Ukrainian sailors detained by Russian forces who attacked three Ukrainian Navy vessels in the Black Sea in November.
On January 15, the Ukrainian sailors detained in the Kerch Strait refused to answer questions at Moscow's Lefortovo district court citing the …
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry protests against the extension of sentence term for 24 Ukrainian sailors imprisoned by Russia near the Kerch Strait in November 2018. The body urges the international community to enhance pressure upon Moscow to provide a quick and unconditional release of the POWs, as the press office of the Ministry reports. “The trial of these Ukrainian servicemen runs counter to international humanitarian law. The closed-door court hearing today is clear evidence that the Kremlin is fully complicit in this sham trial. According to the 1949 Third Geneva Convention, Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, there can be no dispute that these captured Ukrainian sailors have the legal status of Prisoners of War. We therefore strongly demand that the Russian Federation treats them in full accordance with their status and with full respect to their rights under international humanitarian law,” the message says.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Ukraine expresses its resolute protest over the illegitimate decision taken by Moscow’s Lefortovo District Court to prolong the pretrial detention of 24 Ukrainian servicemen captured by the Russian Federation in the Black Sea on November 25, 2018. The trial of the Ukrainian servicemen runs counter to international humanitarian law, the diplomats said.
Two dozen Ukrainian sailors taken prisoner by Russia when it seized three Ukrainian navy ships in November, have appeared in a Moscow court for the first time, as Ukraine said their trial violates the Geneva Conventions. The 24 sailors were captured when Russian coast guard vessels fired on and then boarded their three small Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea close to Crimea in late November, setting off a major international crisis. Russia impounded the Ukrainian ships and is now placing their crews on trial, charging them with border violations. Ukraine and Western countries have accused Russia of violating international law and have demanded their release. President Donald Trump cited the sailors’ detention when he canceled a planned meeting with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in December, saying he could not sit down with Putin until they were let go.
A court in Moscow on Tuesday ordered eight Ukrainian sailors seized by Russia last year off the coast of Crimea to be kept in pre-trial detention until April 24, Russian news agencies reported.
Within the meeting with the ministers Sven Mikser from Estonia, Saulius Skvernelis from Lithuania and Jacek Czaputowicz from Poland Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko noted the need to enhance a consolidated pressure upon Russia, as the President’s Administration reported. “The necessity to enhance a consolidated international pressure upon Russia with a demand to immediately release the Ukrainian sailors, return captured vessels and provide freedom of navigation in Azov and Black Sea,” the message says.
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko met with the President of the Austrian National Council Wolfgang Sobotka. He raised the issue of the release of the Ukrainian sailors and navy personnel illegally kept in Russia’s jails, as the President’s Administration reported. Poroshenko noted Austria’s firm position during its representation in the EU Council concerning prolongation of anti-Russian sanctions as a reaction to Moscow’s block of a peaceful process in Donbas, continuous occupation of the Crimean peninsula and another aggressive attack in the Kerch Strait.
Russia infringes on rights of the Ukrainian national minority who disagree with the Russian occupation of Crimea and aggression in the part of Donbas, according to the Council of Europe’s Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. “Infringements on the right to freedom of expression concerned in particular persons belonging to the Ukrainian minority when making statements that are not in line with the Russian policy regarding Crimea and the conflict in Eastern Ukraine,” reads the fourth opinion of the Advisory Committee, published Jan 15, 2019. The Advisory Committee noted “with concern” the case of the former director of the state-run Library of Ukrainian Literature in Moscow, who was accused of “inciting hatred and enmity through misuse of office” under Article 282 of the Criminal Code and of fraudulent use of library funds. Since the annexation of Crimea and the start of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, Russian government-controlled media are fuelling a patriotic mobilization of society against Ukraine, according to the report. Read alsoRussia wants to hold “court hearings” on captive Ukrainian sailors behind closed doors – lawyer “The Advisory Committee is concerned that this discourse risks side-lining not only persons belonging to the Ukrainian national minority but also anyone not aligning with the majority, including persons belonging to other national minority groups,” the opinion says. Also, it is noted that the new legislation on “foreign agents” has made it very difficult for many national minority organizations to receive funding from abroad, in particular from countries with which the Russian Federation has problematic inter-state relations. “The Advisory Committee is deeply concerned about reported repression of leaders of existing organisations in several regions. Intimidatory practices have been reported to the Advisory Committee based on a wide interpretation of the anti-extremism legislation […] Publishing information about the great famine in Ukraine during the Stalin era (“holodomor”), for instance, would reportedly be considered extremist activity,” the Committee reported.
16.01.19 13:04 – Russia almost lifted Azov Sea and Kerch Strait blockade after tough reaction by Ukraine and its Western partners, – Omelian Russia aggressive actions at sea should be punished by sanctions on its ports in the Azov and Black Sea regions. View news.
The Russian Federation will not force Ukraine to refuse from its legal right of the passage through Kerch Strait, as 112 Ukraine reported citing Defense Minister of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak. “One of the tasks set by Russia, when it organized the provocation in Kerch Strait was to provoke us to the response, to make us shell and use this possibility to begin open aggression against Ukraine. The second aim was to make us to refuse from the passage through Kerch Strait and Azov Sea and actually to hold the annexation of the Sea of Azov. But we will never agree on such step. We will not give over any piece of our land,” Poltorak said.
ormer U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst (2003-2006) says that Russian-occupied Crimea may have the same future as “the Baltic States in the Soviet Union since 1940.” “I don’t see Kyiv agree on compromise and trade Crimea with Moscow for peace in the east. And neither do I see Moscow be ready to give Crimea back this year, in 10 or 15 years. Therefore, they can decide to keep it as is. And the West will not recognize Russian jurisdiction – [Crimea] will be like the Baltic States in the Soviet Union since 1940,” Herbst told Ukrainian TV Channel Pryamiy in an interview in Russian.
Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley has been elected as a new co-chair of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus. — Ukrinform
16.01.19 13:22 – Sanctions will force Moscow to leave Donbas, – Herbst Sanctions cause significant damage to Russian economy, so they have to force Moscow to leave Donbas. View news.
Russia strengthened the anti-air defense of annexed Crimea with additional Pantsir-S medium-range surface-to-air missile systems, Interfax …
The OSCE representatives in the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk proposed creating a joint peacekeeping mission with the UN in Donbas, which would have military and police components and an international administration. — Ukrinform.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak has said the Russian Federation continues its creeping offensive not only in the Azov Sea, but also in the Black Sea. Russia conducts drills to obstruct the movement of merchant ships.
The Lieutenant General of Ukrainian Foreign Intelligence, Vasily Bogdan stated in an interview with the news outlet Fakty that Ukraine has a plan to liberate the territories of the Donbas which are held by the pro-Russian militants, and the country’s leadership hopes this will be achieved without the use of force. “As far as I know, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces prepared a plan for the return of Donbas to Ukraine. A military operation is also being considered. However, Ukraine will firstly put forth an effort to settle the situation through diplomatic means. We will use a military operation as a last resort,” he said. At the same time, the general refused to answer a question regarding the circumstances that could cause the start of a military offensive. On December 19th, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stated that the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions not under Ukraine’s control would soon be returned to Ukrainian jurisdiction. Earlier, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Turchynov said the law on reintegration of the Donbas “does not eliminate a military method of liberating the occupied territories and creates prerequisites for this”.
Russia’s hybrid military forces mounted 11 attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, on Wednesday, January 16. Ten invaders were eliminated and another three were wounded, Ukrainian intelligence reports said.
16.01.19 10:28 – Russia proxies employed 120-mm mortars near Krymske: one Ukrainian soldier wounded, four terrorists destroyed, – JFO center January 15, Russian occupation forces violated the ceasefire five times. View news.
15.01.19 12:10 – 12 attacks against Ukraine army in past day: one soldier killed, two wounded, four terrorists destroyed, – JFO center January 14, Russian occupation forces violated the ceasefire 12 times. View news.
Four Russian militants were killed, and another three sustained combat wounds in Donbas combat zone on Tuesday. The Ukrainian military inteligence claimed this on early Wednesday. It is also reported that no attacks have been observed yet since early hours of January 16. On Tuesday, the pro-Kremlin armed terrorists attacked positions of Ukrainian troops twice. The enemy used grenade launchers to attack the Ukrainian outposts near Novooleksandrivka and Slavne. One of the servicemen of the government forces was wounded in action. The Ukrainian troops returned fire to suppress the hostile activity. Earlier, we reported thar the combat actions in Donbas took the life of Mykola Semeniuk, the Junior Sergeant of the 72nd Detached Motorized Brigade. This is mentioned in the message on the military unit’s Facebook page. ‘Mykola Ivanovych Semeniuk, callsign Said, our warrior from the brigade deceased during the combat mission, because of the enemy attacks by the pro-Russian terrorists yesterday, January 14’, the message said. The battle-hardened veteran served with the Ukrainian military since 2014. He saw action near Starohnativka, Avdiivka and Svitlodarsk bulge.
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) has said in a January 15 report that heavy weapons of Russian-controlled armed forces in Donbas are located beyond the withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites. — Ukrinform
16.01.19 18:17 – Russia tests experimental weapons in Donbas, intelligence reports Russia proxies in Donbas have stepped up preparations to enhance reconnaissance and sabotage activities in the Joint Forces operation area. View news.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that, after the Armed Forces of Ukraine received Javelin anti-tank missiles, tank attacks on Ukrainian positions in Donbas by the Russian occupation forces ceased. “I’d like to draw attention to the psychological effect of the provision of Javelins to Ukraine,” the president said as he was addressing representatives of businesses and public in Volyn region, according to an UNIAN correspondent. As soon as the Russian tankers heard that the Ukrainian military, armed with Javelins, could be at this sector of the front, able to ‘shoot and forget’,” Russian tank crews “refused to deploy and shell Ukrainian positions.” “We’re not seeing tank attacks now. This is the effect of only one type of weapon,” the head of state added. As UNIAN reported earlier, at the end of 2017, the Donald Trump Administration decided to sell Ukraine lethal weapons, in particular Javelin anti-tank missile systems. On March 2, 2018, the U.S. State Department approved the sale to Ukraine of 210 Javelin missiles and 37 launchers worth a total of about $47 million.
Ukraine purchases Bayraktar TB2, the combat drones developed by Turkish designers; they can carry missiles and are capable of engaging the naval targets. Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian leader said this during his working visit to Volyn region, as Interfax reported. ‘These are the tactical UAVs; apart from their high technological features, they also can be armed with high-precision missile load to destroy the armored vehicles, engineering structures and fortifications. They can also be used to destroy the naval targets’, the head of the state said. ‘Now, I can admit: over the past 2.5 years of embargo on lethal arms supplies, no one sold us any weapons. We protected the state within our own means, all by our own’, he added. According to Poroshenko, currently, Ukraine gets the spare parts for the missiles. The President added that Ukraine tested cruise missiles and attack drones and modernized its aircraft. Bayraktar TB2 are capable to develop the maximum speed of 222 km per hour. The effective flight range makes 150 kilometers; it can be armed with anti-tank guided missiles and aviation bombs.
According to the “Information Resistance” OSINT group, Russian President Vladimir Putin is drafting a decree allowing holders of the unrecognized “DPR” and “LPR” passports in the occupied areas of eastern Ukraine to obtain a legit Russian passport.
KYIV – The Ukrainian parliament has adopted a bill setting the procedure for changing the affiliation of religious communities in the country. The January 17 vote in the Verkhovna Rada comes amid tension over the creation of an independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Earlier this year, the church was formally granted independence, or autocephaly, despite fierce opposition from Moscow. A total of 229 Ukrainian lawmakers voted in favor of the amendment to the law on freedom of conscience and religious organizations, while 35 voted against it, and two abstained. Under the proposed legislation, religious congregations will be able to vote to choose what teaching or branch they belong to. The bill will become law once published in the official gazette. A Ukrainian church linked with Russia, the Ukrainian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, has said that by the end of 2018 it had 12,092 parishes across Ukraine. Efforts by Ukrainians to establish an independent church intensified after Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and began supporting separatists shortly thereafter in parts of Ukraine’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
One of the sensitive problems, the solution of which is directly related to the de-occupation of Donbas, is the local environmental situation. In the 20th century, the Soviet government made Donbas a top-developed industrial region. Overloading the region with various mining, coke-chemical, chemical, and metallurgical enterprises caused a large number of hazardous waste repositories and disposal sites. Due to the temporary occupation of Donbas, this “heavy legacy” remained in the territories of the so-called republics. During 2018, public activists and bloggers, and the official Ukrainian authorities raised the issue of the deteriorating environmental situation in the self-proclaimed republics. Here is a brief list of the most problematic and well-known objects. Firstly, “Yunkom” or Young Communard Yenakiivska mine (in the 70s a series of underground nuclear explosions was carried out there). Secondly, ammonia dumps on the former Stirol concern in Horlivka. There are 450 thousand tons of sulfate dumps with an area of three hectares at a distance of about one and a half km. In addition to sulfates, chemical production wastes, including explosive ones, are located there. Related: Crimean plant “Tytan” avoids paying environmental fees since 2016 Of course, the uncontrolled flooding of mines by the militants makes the situation with chemical and nuclear repositories really unpredictable. In Horlivka, all the mines were closed; in Donetsk and Makiyivka, only private mines stay afloat. The industrial subsidence would lead not only to the pollution of groundwater with saturated elements but also to the ingress of corrosive waters into chemical and nuclear burial grounds. Within a few years, this would turn the areas of Donbas into a territory uninhabitable. At the same time, due to the break of the Donetsk Ridge, all this will inevitably fall into Russia’s Rostov region, the waters of the Azov Sea and, subsequently, the Black Sea. According to the insider information, in November 2018, representatives of the Russian Emergencies Ministry and the “Donetsk People’s Republic” conducted a survey of the storage facilities. According to the results of a visual inspection of containers with these wastes, the Russians came to the conclusion that they are not subject to transportation for subsequent disposal.
Ukrainian MPs have honored the memory of those who died during the defense of the Donetsk airport in 2014-2015. — Ukrinform
“The Donbas has never been Ukrainian!”, “Eastern Ukraine always bowed down low before the Soviet authorities!”, “Russian ideology continues to thrive in Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts!”… How many other stereotypes have we heard about these eastern regions of Ukraine?! This vision of the Donbas has been imposed throughout the country for years on end. Few people know that the OUN, the UNR army and local guerrilla groups opposed the Soviet regime and fought for the independence of Ukraine, that the Donbas rose up against collectivization, and dozens of Donbas farmers were labeled as “kulaks” and had their property confiscated.
During 2018, SBU’s Department of Counter-Intelligence Protection of the State’s Information Security (DKIB) implemented a set of measures aimed at counteracting Russia’s hybrid aggression in the information sphere. SBU investigators conduct pre-trial investigations in 83 criminal proceedings against owners and administrators of anti-Ukrainian communities who deliberately circulated the calls for the overthrow of the constitutional system and state power, for mass disturbances and other unlawful actions. In the current year, 23 people received notice on suspicion, while 15 cases resulted in convictions. Over the year, special attention was also paid to the prevention of offenses in the information sphere. In particular, preventive measures have been taken against 220 administrators of Internet communities distributing destructive content to more than 10 million Internet users. This means that SBU prevented crimes covered by Article 109 (actions aimed at the forceful change or overthrow of the constitutional order or take-over of government), Article 110 (trespass against territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine), Article 258-3 (creation of terrorist group or terrorist organization) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. DKIB also blocked access to more than 300 Internet resources used by Russia in its hybrid war against Ukraine and by international criminal groups that spread destructive information content. Together with the education authorities and with the support of NGOs, the SBU launched the “Safe Internet and Media Literacy” project that aims to teach information security skills to students and young people using socially-oriented Internet resources. Prepared by DKIB methodological materials were used in lectures on legal measures attended by the employees and the management of the state authorities focused on compliance with IT security. The Security Service of Ukraine calls on Internet users to critically evaluate the information content distributed in social networks and to remember that in conditions of Russia’s hybrid aggression against Ukraine, key methods of Russian special services include biased distribution of materials and misinformation, which aim for manipulative influence on the public consciousness of Ukrainian citizens. – See more at:https://ssu.gov.ua/en/news/4/category/21/view/5545#.cODLpB2U.dpbs
EMPR launches campaign for the US State Department to designate the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics as Terrorist Organizations. ISIS, al-Qa’ida,
The European Commission and the World Bank have co-authored a plan for the development of infrastructure in the Eastern Partnership countries, namely Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Armenia. Some projects are planned to be implemented by 2020.
17.01.19 11:34 – Poroshenko approves NSDC secret decision on state defense order Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko has signed the decree No. 10/2019 on the enactment of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) secret decision of Dec. 26, 2018 on key indicators of the state defense order for 2019-2021. View news.
President Petro Poroshenko has enforced the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) on the state defense order for 2019-2021. — Ukrinform.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak has said Ukraine’s complete transition to NATO standards requires a lot of money and could take a long time. “It’s not the armed forces and the Defense Ministry which will accede to NATO. It’s the entire country. To achieve this, we need to work hard. We have defined the main standards for reforming the Defense Ministry and military according to Alliance standards by the end of 2020,” Poltorak told journalists in Kyiv on Wednesday evening. “But we can fully implement the transition to all NATO standards only when we have enough financial resources. Reforming the military is very expensive,” Poltorak said, noting that Poland is in NATO for 20 years and “is still switching over to new equipment, new weapons and standards.” Poltorak said the transitioning to NATO standards without the necessary financial resources is a lengthy task.
Almost five years into the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the Kremlin’s use of information as a weapon against Ukraine has not decreased. According to the “EU versus Disinformation” website, Ukraine still stands out as the most misrepresented country in pro-Kremlin media. In 2018, the country remained the most frequent disinformation target, with 461 references among a total of 1,000 disinformation cases reported in the course of the year by EU vs Disinfo, Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza wrote. The EU created the disinformation watchdog in 2015 by joint decision of Member States. It aims to track and respond to Russian disinformation. Experts say the lies of the Russian media target voters in Russia, Ukraine, and other countries. Ukrainians are being dehumanized in the eyes of Russians who are told that Ukraine is ruled by “successors of the Nazis” in Kyiv. Also, Russian propaganda is trying to demoralize Ukrainian voters by spreading, for example, stories about the alleged weakness of the country’s Army. At the same time, Russians seek to convince western audiences that it is Ukraine, not Russia, that is to blame for the start of war in Donbas.
Facebook has deleted 107 pages, groups and Facebook accounts, as well as 41 Instagram accounts created in Russia and operating in Ukraine, for participating in coordinated misbehavior, Nathaniel Gleicher, head of Facebook Cybersecurity Policy, said during a conference call on Thursday.
Facebook will introduce stricter ads rules in the countries with big 2019 votes in keeping with which only local advertisers will be able to run electoral ads. In Ukraine, this policy will take effect in February.
Leader of the Civil Position Party Anatoliy Hrytsenko, leader of the Nashi Party Yevhen Murayev, and independent parliamentarian Vitaliy Kupriy, have been officially registered as candidates for the presidency of Ukraine.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has called on diplomats to deliver truth about the undeclared war waged by Russia against Ukraine. — Ukrinform.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says the Kremlin is banking on undermining Ukraine from within and Moscow hopes that the politicians it controls will be elected during the presidential and parliamentary vote in 2019. Poroshenko predicts the year 2019 will be decisive.
President Petro Poroshenko is grateful to the world partners for solidarity with Ukraine, in particular, with regard to Russia’s aggression in the Sea of Azov, for which the Kremlin will pay a high price. — Ukrinform.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has stated that the authorities of the country implement the most large-scale reforms in its history despite the ongoing war. — Ukrinform.
During an annual address to the representatives of foreign diplomatic institutions and representative offices of international organizations, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Russia had been fine-tuning new technologies of hybrid war in Ukraine. The president asked foreign diplomats to deliver truth about the undeclared war waged by Russia against Ukraine.
Authorities in Ukraine say they have detained a journalist accused of undermining the country’s territorial integrity.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) says it has deported a man it it says is an agent of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) who planned to collect information about Russian military forces in…
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) stated that last year it uncovered 29 foreign citizens suspected of spying against Ukraine, the SBU press service reports. — Ukrinform.
The Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons refused to disclose the list of citizens of the Russian …
The Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine suspects ex-Minister of Defense Dmytro Salamatin of high treason “in the interests of Russia,” …
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that Russia will seek the return of chief of the Russian RIA Novosti’s Kyiv office Kirill Vyshinsky through international channels rather than through an exchange for Ukrainian citizens. Lavrov called the case against Vyshinsky “ridiculous.”
Ukraine in 2018 managed to achieve the best macroeconomic indicators for the last five to seven years, Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Yakiv Smolii has said at a press conference in Kyiv.
National Bank Governor Yakiv Smolii has stated that Ukraine completed 2018 with the highest GDP growth in seven years and the lowest inflation in five years. According to Smolii, it is equally important that the NBU has increased foreign-exchange reserves to $20.8 billion, the highest figure since the end of 2013.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said the Constitutional Tribunal of Poland has declared that provisions on “Ukrainian nationalists” in the amended Act on the Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation are unconstitutional. Poroshenko thanked his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda for initiating the case and welcomed the decision.
Ukrainians have voted for a new, substitute name for cognac in Ukraine in an online poll. Ukraine’s Agrarian Policy and Food Ministry will consider the results of the poll late in January.
A successful entrepreneur, graduate of the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, winner of a popular cooking show, social media influencer, and brand chief at several Kyiv restaurants, it would seem that thirty-one year old Ievgen Klopotenko has it all. However, few know that his most ambitious plan isn’t about business. He wants to change the food culture of Ukraine. And the first step, he believes, is reforming the catering system in Ukrainian schools. “One could wonder why I don’t use time devoted for this project for leisure or doing business,” laughs Klopotenko. “But I still remember the horrible taste of goulash at the school canteen. Eating at school was pure torture. Besides, I really hate the Soviet Union and everything about it. The school catering system in Ukraine is nothing but Soviet.” As a child, Klopotenko was exposed to international cuisine when his grandmother moved to England and he spent a few weeks in Italy on an exchange program. After his travels, he returned to the “world of harsh reality,” or the school cafeteria. Klopotenko admits he used to sprint across the street to grab a sandwich at home, but his mother, the head teacher, sat next to him, forcing him to eat “hateful liver” instead. Klopotenko is absolutely right. It is hard to imagine, but in the twenty-seven years since Ukraine became independent, no one has made any changes to the recipes governing school canteens. Even worse, the official cookbook that school cooks are obliged to follow hasn’t changed since 1957. The system needs a change, but not only because of its age. It is simply not tasty, nor is it healthy.