Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Russian aerial games of chicken continue, the riskier the better, and likely yet another photoshopping exercise on Sea of Japan ops. Ukraine’s SBU dumps a major cache of data on Wagner PMC, concluding that the organization is in effect a front for the GRU, using GRU support assets. Solovey and Novaya Gazeta on Russia’s buildup against Belarus and Western Europe. Nordstream 2 update, and Germany’s immense generosity toward Russian WW2 survivors.
Seven essays and digests on Russia’s internal meltdown – Shevtsova is right, Muscovy may not like a world where Beijing is dominant and asserts its power over Russia (Hint: Mongol-Tartar Yoke Redux). The essay on Mongolia is interesting and shows divisions between pro-Beijing and pro-Moscow camps. Update on Kuriles. Russian propagandists attack Georgetown academic Molly McKew (evidently she is having effect).
Update on Ukraine’s strategic politics, Senate resolution on military aid, weak OSCE peace plan, and the bizarre outburst by FRG FM Maas insisting Ukraine “de-escalate” its conflict with Russia (yes he did say that with genuine conviction).
Azov / Black Sea updates, notably PSU flies maritime strike EX with FROGFOOT shooters escorted by A/A warshot loaded FULCRUMs. Yet another Crimean environmental mess, yet again ignored by Western environmentalists.
Donbas update, Gen Nayev on Russian buildup, while Russians lay new minefields along demarcation line. GUR identifies names of 5,000 Russian officers serving or who served in Donbas. PSU FLANKER and FENCER EX.
Election update, Facebook measures to frustrate Russian meddling, Poroshenko officially launches his campaign. Updates on politics and economy. 2014 Maidan shooter identified as Russian national dressed in Ukrainian Ministry of Interior BDUs.
“NORAD’s top priority is defending Canada and the United States,” General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the NORAD commander, said.
US and Canadian fighter jets were scrambled to intercept two Russian strategic bombers heading for the North American coastline. Two F-22 and two CF-18 jets identified the Russian nuclear-capable aircraft when they entered an area near Alaska patrolled by the Royal Canadian Air Force, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
THE US and Canada desperately deployed fighter jets after two Russian nuclear bombers were spotted breaching the North American coastline, amid growing military tensions.
Russia’s Defense Ministry released new footage shows a Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet intercepted a US P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft over the Baltic Sea. The airspace control equipment registered a target over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea approaching the Russian state border, the ministry said. “A quick reaction alert Su-27 fighter jet from the Air Defense Force was scrambled to intercept the target in the air. The Russian fighter’s crew approached the air object at a safe distance and identified it as a P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane of the US Air Force,” the ministry noted. After the removal of a foreign aircraft from the state border of the Russian Federation, the Russian fighter returned safely to the home airfield, the ministry added.
Russian media erupted after the release of photos that seem to show a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet locked in the crosshairs of a Russian fighter jet. Russian media on Monday sparked a social-media frenzy after the release of photos that seem to show a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet locked in the crosshairs of a Russian fighter jet during mock combat. A source claiming to represent a Russian fighter-jet pilot surfaced with the picture and said two Su-35s tailed and “humiliated” the US jets until a Japanese F-15 surfaced to support the F/A-18s, which the Russians also said were out-maneuvered and embarrassed. The US neither confirmed nor denied the incident, but US Navy F/A-18s have operated in the area recently. Russian media runs a lot of propaganda stories, and this one doesn’t prove anything.
Chief of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine, Vasyl Hrytsak, says travel documents issued to mercenaries of Russia’s Wagner Private Military Company confirm that the PMC is a secret detachment of the country’s military intelligence. The SBU head says peculiarities of the issue of travel passports for a group of troops that set off for Venezuela proves they are a “secret detachment of outsourced assassins hired by Russia’s military intelligence.”
The SBU published part of the data on Wagner PMC activities, particularly the list of 149 people taking part in Sudan democratic protests suppression in the early 2019. As reported by Censor.NET citing the SBU webpage, an analysis of passport data of over a thousand PMC Wagner operatives testifies that the overwhelming majority of their travel documents were processed by a same Moscow-based unit of the Federal Migration Service, which also issued cover documents for ‘Petrov’ and ‘Boshirov’, Russian military intelligence officers who had carried out a chemical attack in British Salisbury. Series and registration numbers of several hundreds of passports of “Wagner’s men” show the IDs were issued in bulk, one after another. According to the report, the SBU found out that Russian military intelligence was also sent to citizens from other countries: Belarus, Moldova, and the self-proclaimed republics supported by Russia, as part of the African rotations of the Wagner private security complex.
Paul Goble Staunton, January 26 – All the speculation to the contrary, Moscow will not annex Belarus, Valery Solovey says. The costs are simply too much greater than the benefits. But at the same time he warns that the probability of a major war is growing because those in the Kremlin assume it is coming and are acting in ways that will make one likely even if they lose it. In an interview with Olga Kurnosova of the After Empire portal, the MGIMO professor argues that in his view, Moscow will not absorb Belarus or even significantly tighten its integration into Russia because “the possible risks and negative consequences” vastly exceed “the economic gains” from such a move (afterempire.info/2019/01/25/valeriy-solovey-voina/). Belarus represents an attractive target for business interests in Russia to divide up, Solovey says, especially given that there are few new targets within Russia. But the costs of absorbing it and the loss of Russia’s only real ally make such a step “strategically” unprofitable for Moscow. Even more, he continues, any Russian move against Belarus would become “the unique case when despite how tired Belarusians are of Lukashenka, they would be together with him” against Moscow “because they would not like to see the Russian economic model carried out” in their country. According to Solovey, “Belarusian youth in general is oriented toward the West in cultural and what is most important economic sense.” They can visit both Russia and the West and make comparisons, none of which “are in favor of the Russian Federation.” The Kremlin will try to frighten Lukashenka and apply pressure, but in the end, it “will have to pull back.” That doesn’t mean that Putin has given up on absorbing Belarus: that country isn’t going anywhere. The West won’t take Lukashenka in and “unlike Ukraine, Belarus will not be able to leave, at least now.” More to the point, Russians now wouldn’t be enthusiastic about losing an ally and gaining new burdens, at least for the moment. If the risks of a conflict over Belarus are smaller than many think, “the probability of a major war is growing,” not local conflict but “a big war.” That is the assumption people in the Kremlin are making and preparing for; and even if war is ultimately avoided, tensions between Russia and the West will remain in place or even escalate. Putin will want to demonstrate that he is a major figure both to his audience at home and to Western leaders; and he assumes he can do so only by flexing his military muscle given Russia’s lack of other forms of influence and power. And Putin will do so, Solovey says, because he really gets “satisfaction” from doing so. The Kremlin leader “isn’t very interested in getting involved with economic development or internal affairs; he considers that the situation on the whole is under control. The Kremlin is absolutely certain” that that is the case; and so it and Putin are looking for new worlds to conquer – or to intimidate by using force in Europe which has been at peace for so long. Putin believes, and Solovey thinks he is right, that in the current circumstances, “the threat of using force may turn out to be no less strong an argument that actually using force.” That is fortunate because if it came to a clash of forces between Russia and NATO, Russia would lose quickly given its lack of resources for a major conflict. Western experts have told him, the MGIMO professor says, that such a war if it remained non-nuclear would last no more than two or three weeks and that Russia would lose. Consequently, Putin will try to raise the stakes without crossing the line of actually using force because that is the only strategy has that may allow him to win.
Please recognize Russia’s reverse logic. Russia holds a number of exercises on their Western border and begins building up their forces arrayed against the West. The West built up their defenses. Because the West has built up their defense to stop a Russian invasion, Russia is increasing the number of tanks to head off Western aggression out of Poland. Yes, that is circular logic, it is illogical because a real buildup would be never-ending. The source for this article is Nezavisimaya Gazeta, usually a fair and objective source. </end editorial>
The US has stepped up the pressure on EU countries to halt the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, the German newspaper Handelsblatt reports, citing an anonymous White House official. Despite the cold winter months, work on the German-Russian gas pipeline has continued. One third of the 1,230 km gas pipeline has already been laid on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, and the construction is scheduled to finish by the end of the year. However, this is not to the US’s liking, Handelsblatt observes. “The time has come to act,” the American diplomatic source told the newspaper, emphasizing that Washington wants the EU to “take measures before Russia exerts a huge influence on [the US’s] European partners”. “We want the project stopped,” the source added. The US government has once again warned the European countries that if the Nord Stream 2 project is realized, they could end up dependent on Russian gas. “As soon as the gas pipeline is completed, Europe will lose significant capabilities to maneuver in the direction of Russia,” the unnamed US official observed. The source also supported the recently made statements on this topic by US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell. The diplomat sent letters to a number of German companies involved in the project warning them of the “significant risk of sanctions” if they continue to support Nord Stream 2. The official noted, however, that these messages were not meant to be discussed in public. Grenell’s letters to German companies were first published by the German newspaper Bild at the start of January, and elicited a widespread public response. The American diplomat criticized Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Angela Merkel’s successor as leader of the Christian Democratic Union. The German politician responded that Grenell’s behavior was “undiplomatic”. German Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier called for non-interference in the Nord Stream 2 project. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the US ambassador’s pressure on the German companies is part of the “program to contain Russia”. The Nord Stream 2 project involves the construction of two gas pipelines with a capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year from the Russian coast, through the Baltic Sea, to Germany. The US is opposed to the project, claiming that its realization will give Russia “yet another instrument for political pressure”. In summer last year, US President Donald Trump said that the stream of “pipeline dollars” to Russia is unacceptable. The Kremlin responded by claiming that such statements by the US are an attempt to force Europeans to buy more expensive American gas.
In an interview with Interia, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki spoke about the obstacles faced by European countries that do not want the construction of Nord Stream 2. “Two powerful countries, one of which is a world power, Russia, and the other, Germany, the fourth economy of the world, decided to build a gas pipeline. These are two powerful States and… it is not easy to prohibit them from doing something. We believe that it contradicts European rules. It is egoistic activity. We also believe that it contradicts security guarantees for this part of the world: for Ukraine and Poland,” Morawiecki said. “We need allies that will seriously raise the question [of the need to construct the gas pipeline],” the Prime Minister stressed. The strategic impossibility of stopping Nord Stream 2 was also recognized by Naftogaz of Ukraine. Director for Business Development Yuriy Vitrenko stated in November 2018 that the main obstacle is “direct corruption” by which German authorities and many European countries support the construction of the gas pipeline. He stressed that the gas transit through Ukraine could be stopped completely if the gas pipeline is put into operation. The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will be laid under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany. The investors of the project are Shell, Engie, OMV, Wintershell and Uniper. The pipeline is designed to carry 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year and it costs €9.5 billion to build. According to the survey conducted by the sociological institute Forsa, 73% of German citizens support the construction of Nord Stream 2. Apart from Poland and Ukraine, the USA is also against the construction of the gas pipeline. In January, German media revealed US Department of State threats to impose sanctions against the European companies Allseas and Saipem that are contractors of the project.
German commission recommends phasing out coal power over the next 19 years – which will provide additional arguments to build the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia, which both the European Commission and the US have reservations about.
Germany announced today that the country will pay €12 million to help Russian World War II veterans and siege survivors, but Moscow said the cash was not enough.
Germany’s government has said that it will allocate € 12 million to upgrading hospitals for war veterans in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), a German-Russian meeting center for the Russian and German public, as well as assistance for people who survived the Siege of Leningrad, Deutsche Welle reports. German and Russian foreign ministers Heiko Maas and Sergey Lavrov announced this in a joint statement, welcoming the German government’s humanitarian gesture. “We are confident that this voluntary action will improve the quality of life of the siege victims who are still alive, and will serve as a historic reconciliation between the people of our two countries, as the basis of our bilateral relations in the future,” the ministers said in their joint statement, which was made on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the complete lifting of the siege. The foreign ministers noted that the decision to assist siege victims was based on “taking responsibility for the unlawful action committed in the name of Germany”. The ministers emphasized that the siege of Leningrad “has gone down in history as a cruel crime against an entire city and its population”.
Paul Goble Staunton, January 26 – Many Russians are so pleased with the decline of American power that they have failed to notice the most important consequence of this: Russia will be in a far worse position strategically and psychologically in a China-led world than it has been in a US-led one, according to Lilya Shevtsova. “For the three decades after the fall of the USSR,” the Russian commentator based at London’s Chatham House says, “Russia retained its power by inertia and the recognition of the world community, even though, except for history, geography, and the nuclear button, we have no justification for this” (echo.msk.ru/blog/shevtsova/2357937-echo/). According to Shevtsova, “the West, not knowing how to deal with Russia and fearing that it would be offended agreed to play along,” implicitly recognizing a Russian sphere of influence in the post-Soviet space and agreeing that there was a special relationship between the two largest nuclear power, the US and Russia. But today, the basis for all this is collapsing. Ukraine is moving away from Russia, and Belarus is no longer willing to play the role it did. “But much more important is the fact that the US is unwilling to preserve ‘bipolarity’ with Russia as the basis of world security. America has ceased to maintain the notion that Russia remains a world power worth wasting time on.” That is both unexpected and offensive, as “the most pro-Kremlin US president ever is burying our notion of state power,” Shevtsova says. Russia might have been able to tolerate this given its displays of power in Syria and Venezuela if it weren’t for the rise of China which “not only if filling the sphere of influence of Russia in Central Asia but is beginning to push out America as well” and if Washington and Beijing weren’t dancing a power tango for which there is no place for Russia. The Kremlin likes to talk about Russia’s alliance with China failing to recognize that China’s rise leaves Russia in an impossible position. Europe too fails to take the rise of China into account, arguing over whether Moscow will use the gas weapon against it without seeing that European pipelines increasingly are “in the hands of the Chinese.” But there is something even more serious for Russia to contend with, Shevtsova suggests: China has a very different model of world leadership than the one Russia has been used to with the US. Beijing promotes itself economically and makes itself attractive to others rather than relying on force to get its way. China wants in this way “to force the world voluntarily to accept the Chinese rules of the game.” It is becoming the dominant player in high technology, and this is a world that Russia is absolutely incapable of competing in, unlike one in which force alone is still useful as a means of asserting primacy. That is not to say that China is not developing military power. It is rearming at a rapid rate. By 2023, its military budget will exceed 300 billion US dollars. Even now it is spending 152 billion US dollars, compared to Russia’s 46 billion. And it is not just spending more but developing new weapons systems as well. Russia is entering “a new world,” one in which it will be nostalgic for American supremacy because “in the new world, Anglo-Saxon politeness and concessions won’t be a feature. There will be a harshness which we have not yet experienced.” And Russia will suffer losses of all kinds as China establishes its leadership in ways Russia can’t counter. Moscow can continue to threaten the world with destruction but this will change little if “for us there is no place in the train of world progress.” Russia is used to contending with opposition, Shevtsova says; but it has no recent experience of being ignored and treated as less than a dominant power.
Paul Goble Staunton, January 23 – For a pro-Kremlin commentator to suggest Mongolia is “just like Ukraine except in the East” is both intriguing because it suggests the Russian leadership is applying the model it has for post-Soviet republics to other former communist countries and disturbing because it indicates what Moscow might do in response. In an article for the pro-Kremlin Rex news agency, Aleksandr Zapolskis argues that developments in Mongolia are going in the same direction as those in Ukraine – and that more generally both countries, along with others in the region, show the fatal weaknesses of democratic arrangements the West has promoted (iarex.ru/articles/63568.html). At the end of the 20th century, the Russian analyst says, the West insisted that post-communist countries adopt democratic systems with divisions of powers and competitive party systems; but that effort is now collapsing because in ever more places such regimes are failing to deliver either because local elites subvert them or because they are simply incapable of doing so. That failure has been much in evidence in Eastern Europe and in Ukraine, but despite the fact that it has not attracted much attention from the international media, it is occurring in Mongolia as well as the population is coming to recognize that the democratic regime is only a cover for elites who are robbing the population of its present and future. A corruption scandal that broke out three months ago was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, he suggests. It showed that 124 of the 134 most important businessmen had close ties to the regime and profited because of these corrupt relationships and that the regime was refusing to clean house, with ministers refusing to resign and parliamentarians refusing to allow their fellow members to be tried. While the attention of the world has been focused elsewhere, Mongolia is proceeding along “almost the Ukrainian path,” with the regime increasingly out of touch with the people and the people outraged that supposedly democratic arrangements are not giving them a better life but only enriching elites. Since the start of this year, Mongolia has roiled by protests. Given that 46 percent of the population lives in the capital, “in fact all the events have been limited to Ulan Bator.” Increasingly, Zapolskis says, those taking to the streets are demanding not just a change in the cast of characters who control the state and economy but regime change of a more radical kind. What will happen if the government falls and how Mongolia’s two largest neighbors, China and Russia, will respond remains very much an open question. But one aspect of Zapolskis’ critique of democracy, an aspect he doesn’t mention, deserves perhaps even closer attention. The problems he points to in Mongolia, with clans controlling the economy and the government unresponsive to the population despite the existence of democratic forms, apply with equal or even greater force to the Russian Federation. At some point, perhaps, even Russians will follow the Ukrainians and the Mongols in seeking the unfulfilled promise of democracy.
Paul Goble Staunton, January 27 – Vladimir Putin’s arbitrary behavior has given birth to thousands of little Putin’s whose arbitrary actions are no different than his except in terms of scale, Vladimir Pastukhov says, a pattern that means the Kremlin leader’s much-ballyhooed “power vertical” isn’t working because by definition it can’t. If the powers that be at the top do not limit themselves by law, the London-based Russian historian says, those below them cannot be expected to do so. Instead, they will behave in arbitrary and by turns absurd and pathetic ways that will make any effort at policy consistency impossible (mbk-news.appspot.com/sences/putino-pupkinskaya-vertikal/). In a country with thousands of little Putins, Pastukhov continues, one cannot expect anything other than a continuing display of “uncontrolled force” by people who feel they are entitled to act as those above them act. That is the only way such a system can “function,” although its very manner of operation condemns itself to ultimate disaster. “From an investigator who is required to fulfill illegal orders of the supreme power in the name of supposedly higher state interests, it is impossible to demand that in all other cases, he strictly observe the law,” the historian says. That won’t happen: the investigator and others like him will act as those above them act without regard to any interest higher than their own. This “hellish” turn of events, he continues, “can be stopped only by the introduction of limitations on all – from Putin to all the little Putins.” Otherwise, those below will insist on having that power as long as those above them continue to assume they can act without any regard to the law. Still worse, this “political arbitrariness will lead inevitably to the growth of ordinary crime as well,” to a reduce back to the 1990s out of which Putin’s “power vertical” was supposed to lead the country. But the very idea of a power vertical is “deeply defective and mistaken,” Pastukhov says. “It is an evolutionary dead end out of which Russian society will never be able to escape” unless the idea of such an arrangement is dispensed with and rule of law is introduced. Changing officials will never be enough although many need to be changed, Pastukhov concludes. Changing the concept itself is what is required.
Paul Goble Staunton, January 23 – The decision of a Chechen court to cancel the gas debts of Chechens lest this burden spark public protests in that republic shows something more disturbing, Politsoviet says. The Kremlin is clearly provoking the kind of economic protests that it just as clearly has good reason to fear. In that case, prosecutors argued and the court admitted that the decision had to be made “in order to avoid mass protests,” thus suggesting that “even the threat of such protests can force the authorities to begin to act in the interests of the population,” the Yekaterinburg portal says (politsovet.ru/61556-kak-vlast-pridala-protestam-ekonomicheskiy-smysl.html). Gazprom is appealing, but however the case turns out, the news and analysis site suggests, this is something new. “If one considers the previous mass protests in Russia, then their meaning more often was political or social – and that means abstract. Demands for honest elections or struggle with corruption … are not something that the population takes personally or sees as necessary for their well-being.” For that reason, Politsoviet continues, “those protests even having become large all the same did not attract a significant part of society.” That was the case even with pension age increases. While those affected everyone in the long term, they immediately hit only a few; and thus, they were more about the unresponsiveness of the Kremlin than about economic interests. Indebtedness for gas and more generally for communal services, the site says, “is an entirely different thing. A very large number of Russians have such debts, they are constantly growing, and this is a problem of the present and not of the distant future. And if people see that the threat of protests can allow them to avoid these debts,” that will have consequences. And as a result, “the consequences for the political system may turn out to be unpredictable.” The Grozny court decision thus has created “several problems” for the authorities as a whole, but perhaps the most important is that it shows that the authorities are really afraid of protests and prepared to make concessions, even if that leads to competition among regions or tensions between the state and businesses who oppose such write offs. The Kremlin has acknowledged as much when Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov declared that the situation is “extraordinarily complicated” because the authorities must take into account both the situation of the population and the situation of business. That means the Kremlin isn’t now prepared to tell the population to pay what it owes. For the central authorities, there are three possible outcomes, none of which is without problems, Politsoviet says. First, it can vacate the Grozny ruling but at the cost of a growth of protest attitudes and possibly real protests in Chechnya. Second, it can allow the decision to stand but prohibit other regions from adopting it, thus infuriating many of the latter. Or third, “the most utopian,” it can allow all regions to write off these debts. The population will be delighted and the rating of the powers that be will likely go up. But this will be “at the same time” a shock to the energy sector, “whose support for the authorities is no less important.” But there is one thing the Kremlin cannot do: act as if nothing important has happened. It has, and it has once again come out of Chechnya.
Paul Goble Staunton, January 22 – After a brief respite late last fall, telephone bomb threats are again, in the wake of the Magnitogorsk tragedy, forcing the evacuations of Russians from schools, hospitals, airports, railway stations, and apartment blocks in cities and towns across the Russian Federation. The only difference from a similar spate of such calls between September 2017 and October 2018, when more than a million Russians had to be evacuated, is that many of the threats are coming in via the Internet rather than by phone (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/09/more-than-million-russians-have-been.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/11/telephone-bomb-threats-again-empty.html). But three things remain the same: First, the Moscow media have largely ignored these cases except when they happen within the city. Second, the threats have in all cases been found to be without foundation and only a few of those who have made them have been arrested. And third, these attacks have exacerbated Russian fears about today and tomorrow in their country. Some idea of the spread of these attacks can be gleaned from the reports that have surfaced in recent days. They include the following: in-news.ru/news/proishestvia/v-nizhnevartovske-evakuirovali-uchashchikhsya-vsekh-shkol-i-chastichno-detskikh-sadov-.html, 1yar.tv/ru/article/all/short_news/incidents/190232, bryansk.kp.ru/online/news/3358030/, ekb-on-air.ru/45059,udm.aif.ru/incidents/crime/yuriskonsult_iz_udmurtii_chetyre_raza_minirovala_shkoly_v_votkinske, novayagazeta.ru/news/2019/ 01/22/148546-neizvestnye-soobschili-o-minirovanii-sotsialnyh-uchrezhdeniy-na-kamchatke, echochel.ru/news/2019/01/21/78132/,31tv.ru/novosti/pjanyj-vzryvatel-reshil-protestirovat-rabotu-specsluzhb-na-juzhnom-urale.html/, yarreg.ru/articles/v-yaroslavskoy-oblasti-zaderjali-terrorista/, delo.kg/zilaliev-v-sude-razvlekaetsya/, gazeta.spb.ru/2080508-0/ and versia.ru/na-kamchatke-vsled-za-magnitogorskom-zaminirovali-neskolko-shkol-i-bolnic. Two URA news agency journalists, Stanislav Zakharkin and Mikhail Bely spoke with specialists in the siloviki and the expert community about this plague. The experts were unanimous that such false reports will spread because some people not prepared to engage in violence enjoy sparking fear in society (ura.news/articles/1036277360). This presents real dangers to Russia, the experts said. On the one hand, there simply aren’t enough police personnel to track down all the leads and arrest the perpetrators, something that gives those who engage in these actions a feeling of security. And on the other, real terrorists will make use of these waves of false telephone terrorism. They can do so either by engaging in it themselves to undermine social cohesion or by counting on the authorities to be unable to track them if it they are trying to find telephone terrorists. In either case, some of them will get through; and that possibility too spreads the kind of panic throughout society on which terrorists thrive. The return of telephone terrorism is not the only unfortunate revenant on public view in Russia. First, Russian athletes are again having to compete under neutral flags because of doping (sport-express.ru/athletics/news/iaaf-odobrila-zayavki-lasickene-shubenkova-i-esche-40-legkoatletov-rf-1503206/). Second, activism among long haul truckers appears to be resuming at precisely the time that shortages in some stores are occurring, thus giving the drivers the kind of leverage which may gain them more success than earlier (forum-msk.org/material/news/15360776.html). And today, in a real throwback, a passenger on a domestic Russian route tried to hijack it to Afghanistan. His plot was foiled, but it revived some unfortunate memories (znak.com/2019-01-22/passazhir_reysa_surgut_moskva_potreboval_napravit_samolet_v_afganistan).These things are not related, but they come together in the minds of people, adding to a sense of anger and hopelessness about the future that cannot fail to have consequences for how Russians think about their country and its current leadership.
Mass youth organizations were a childhood staple in the Soviet Union. The Little Octobrists (ages 7 – 9), the Young Pioneers (ages 9 – 14), and the Komsomol (ages 14 – 28) served an analogous purpose to the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts in the United States, but in 1991, they collapsed along with the state that sponsored them. Anna Gerlinger, the principal of School 35 in the southern industrial city of Novokuznetsk, decided that her school’s Young Pioneer organization would not follow suit: she feared that the school would “lose its identity.” 28 years later, School 35 is now a lyceum, and Octobrists and Pioneers still roam its halls. They have formal salutes, wear the Pioneers’ signature red kerchiefs, and sing the organization’s classic songs, but communist ideology no longer plays a major role in their activities. Meduza’s special correspondent Irina Kravtsova traveled to Novokuznetsk to meet the present-day Pioneers and their teachers.
On January 24, the State Duma voted to approve the first reading of two bills that place certain limits on freedom of speech in Russia. One essentially prohibits citizens from publishing unreliable news stories on the Internet while applying the same prohibition to news outlets both online and in other media. The other penalizes using the Internet to express disrespect to society, the government, the Russian state’s official symbols, the Constitution, and other sources of legal authority in a particularly obscene or irreverent way. Both bills were introduced in mid-December and will likely be modified to some degree in the amendment process that will precede their second reading. However, there is little doubt that both bills will pass in some form.
During the program “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin” broadcast on Russia 1 TV channel, Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary of Russian President, said that in the negotiations with Tokyo, Moscow’s basic task is to conclude a peace treaty with Japan rather than find a solution to the issue of the Kuril Islands. “Our basic task is to conclude a peace treaty, not to give or receive anything,” TASS quoted Peskov as saying. “We need to end World War 2 and sign a peace treaty with a very important partner of us in the Far East,” he added. According to Peskov, the fact that Tokyo supports the sanctions regime against Moscow creates an obstacle for concluding a peace treaty. “This is one of the issues and one of the situations that hinder, greatly hinder the conclusion of a peace treaty,” said the press secretary of Vladimir Putin. According to Peskov, Russian authorities record “a very powerful breakthrough in the development of bilateral relations between Russia and Japan”. “All of this strives to help us conclude a peace treaty,” Peskov said. For 70 years now, Russia and Japan have not been able to conclude a peace treaty since the Soviet-Japanese Declaration of 1956. The conclusion of an agreement is greatly hindered by the issue of disputed territories. Referring to the Treatise on Trade and Borders of 1855, Japan insists that Russia give the Kuril Islands of Kunashir, Shikotan, Iturup and Habomai to Japan. Meanwhile, Russia claims that the islands became the territory of the USSR based on the results of World War 2.
The Press Secretary to the Russian President, Dmitry Peskov said that one of the obstacles to signing a peace treaty is that Japan actively supports the sanctions against Russia, Interfax reports. “They support the sanctions and this is one of the questions and one of the situations that prevents us from signing the peace treaty,” Peskov noted during the program “Moscow.Kremlin.Putin” on channel Russia-1. He recalled that last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to sign the peace treaty with Japan without preconditions, and then to start solving the problem. However, according to Peskov, Japan did not understand that position. He noted that Japan believes that problems in relations should be solved together with signing the treaty or even before that. “To simplify this situation, that is how it is. But it does not mean that we are at an impasse,” Peskov stressed. Negotiations between President Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe took place on January 22 in Moscow. Russia’s official position today is to continue active consultations on the peace treaty based on the Declaration of 1956. The document presupposes that after signing the peace treaty, the USSR will turn over Shikotan Island and the Habomai islands to Japan while the Kunashir and Iturup islands remain with the USSR. Japan is an active ally of the USA and earlier supported anti-Russian sanctions and did not recognize the Crimea’s integration into Russia.
Molly McKew, a recently hired adjunct professor teaching a course on Russian disinformation campaigns for the School of Foreign Service, has faced criticism from colleagues and news outlets for her former status as a foreign lobbyist. McKew, who holds a masters degree in Russian and Post-Soviet Studies and has served as an advisor to political parties in Georgia and Moldova, is teaching her first course at Georgetown this semester. The course, entitled “Russian Hybrid Warfare,” focuses on the history of Russian ideology and information warfare. McKew also currently serves as the CEO of Fianna Strategies, a consulting firm.
Russian propagandist media are once again circulating new fakes on the theme of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 which was shot down over Russian separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine in July 2014, killing all passengers and crew on board. This time, Russia’s Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Vinnichenko told the pro-Kremlin news service RIA Novosti that “no evidence of Russian involvement in the MH17 tragedy has been provided”. The usual suspects – Ukraina.ru, Lenta.ru, News Front, Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Sputnik quickly disseminated this latest fake.
The Uran-9 combat unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), that failed trials in Syria, has quietly entered military service, according to Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency. In a recent interview Kalashnikov boss, Vladimir Dmitriev, said the Uran-9 combat UGV, also called the 766 UPDK has been finally been accepted by the Russian military. “We are currently completing the production of the first series lot,” also he told Russian journalists. “The Uran have a good scientific and technological potential for developing further products.” Russian troops tested Uran-9s in Syria, and according to Dmitriev, the experience helped find new ways of improving the drone before starting mass production. An early, Russian source claimed, noting that industry is now working to increase the Uran-9’s range, response time, and data bandwidth. As it turns out, rumors of its effectiveness have been greatly exaggerated. In June 2018, a classified report of the Senior Research Officer, the 3rd Central Research Institute of the Russian Defense Ministry has leaked to the Internet and showed details of horribly Uran-9’s trials results in Syria. According to a leaked report, Russian high-tech combat UGV tank couldn’t operate as far away from its controllers as expected, had problems firing its 30mm gun, and couldn’t fire while moving, amid other problems. Uran-9 lost contact with the control station 19 times–17 times for a minute or less, and at least in one case up to 1.5 hours. The problem was exacerbated in urban fighting centers with buildings blocking the radio signal. The remote fire control system is also a problem, with the 2A72 experiencing a lag before firing six times and an outright failure once. Another problem with the Uran is that the armament, optics, and sensors aren’t stabilized for firing on the move, requiring the vehicle to stop first.
25.01.19 16:41 – Resolution calling for increased military aid for Ukraine submitted to United States Senate A resolution calling for increased military aid to Ukraine and supporting the abolition of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has been submitted to the U.S. Senate. View news.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has adopted a resolution titled “The Escalation of tensions around the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait and threats to European security”, which calls for the immediate release of captured Ukrainian sailors, condemns construction of the Kerch Strait bridge and selective search of Ukrainian ships in the Sea of Azov, also supporting the idea Germany and France on the introduction of foreign observers in the Kerch Strait. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has adopted a resolution titled “The Escalation of tensions around the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait and threats to European security”, which calls for the immediate release of captured Ukrainian sailors, condemns construction of the Kerch Strait bridge and selective search of Ukrainian ships in the Sea of Azov, also supporting the idea Germany and France on the introduction of foreign observers in the Kerch Strait. First of all, the resolution allows Ukraine to continue exerting pressure on Russia. After all, Moscow’s failure to hear the calls and comply with PACE requirements may one day become one of the grounds for introducing new sanctions against Russia. And it’s quite predictable that Moscow won’t comply. Never before did Russia take into account any other PACE resolutions or those of other organizations, so there is no reason to expect anything else this time. Ukraine should use all diplomatic options available to constantly maintain the issue of Russian aggression on top international agenda. After all, what is happening in the Sea of Azov is a dangerous precedent not only for Ukraine but for the whole world. For example, China is now acting in nearby seas almost like Russia is in the Sea of Azov, which causes similar indignation among their neighbors. That is, such behavior of certain world powers in seas is a serious international problem
Denmark’s foreign minister called on Tuesday for European Union-wide sanctions on Russia over a stand-off with Ukraine in the Azov Sea.
The settlement of the situation in Ukraine will be a key topic of discussion in the UN Security Council in the coming months. — Ukrinform.
Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko met with U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, Ambassador Kurt Volker in New York on Monday, January 28, to discuss the situation in the occupied Ukrainian territories of Donbas and Crimea. — Ukrinform.
Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations, Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko met with United States Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker in New York City on Monday, January 28, 2019, to discuss the situation in the occupied territories of Ukraine – in Donbas and Crimea. Special attention has been also paid to the release of Ukrainian hostages kept by Russia.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman had an audience with Crown Prince Haakon of Norway during which they discussed the development of relations between the two countries. — Ukrinform.
The new plan for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Donbas, which should replace the Minsk agreements, must be approved by the Normandy Four countries – Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany, according to Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), Ambassador Martin Sajdik, who is the lead author of a new peace concept. — Ukrinform.
Peaceful plan on Donbas proposed by OSCE Special Representative of Chairman to Ukraine and Trilateral Contact Group Martin Sajdik is acceptable; however, it leaves issues as 112 Ukraine reported citing Georgy Tuka, Deputy Minister of Temporarily Occupied Territories. “Words of Sajdik in mass media are just general theses and it is hard to argue them; I would like to note that I find them acceptable. But, at the same time, according to our bitter experience, devil is in details and we do not know the details, at least our ministry did not get the detailed plan,” he said. Related: Donbas conflict: four violations of ceasefire spotted “I am interested, how the demilitarization of the illegally armed formations is provided? What are the terms, ways of withdrawal of the foreign troops from Donbas? What is meant under amnesty? There are so many questions,” Tuka emphasized. On January 28, Martin Sajdik provided new plan of the peaceful settlement of Donbas Conflict. The close cooperation of the UN and OSCE under the unified leadership, the creation of Agency on Reconstruction, temporarily administration and amnesty entered the list of the plant.
Ukrainian Deputy Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons George Tuka has said a new plan to resolve the situation in Donbas proposed by Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group, Ambassador Martin Sajdik, is acceptable, but open to question. Tuka said the plan is acceptable, but open to question.
As Russia’s war against Ukraine is about to enter its sixth year, there is still widespread international reluctance to acknowledge the global significance of Vladimir Putin’s invasion, leading to a preference for the kind of euphemistic language that blurs the lines between victim and aggressor. International appeals for both sides to de-escalate have become a depressingly regular feature of the dialogue surrounding the conflict, serving as the diplomatic equivalent of victim blaming. As Russia’s war against Ukraine is about to enter its sixth year, there is still widespread international reluctance to acknowledge the global significance of Vladimir Putin’s invasion, leading to a preference for the kind of euphemistic language that blurs the lines between victim and aggressor. This ostrich-like approach to the realities of the new Russian imperialism was on display during German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’s recent visit to Kyiv, where he called on “all sides to contribute to de-escalation,” publisher of Business Ukraine magazine Peter Dickinson wrote in his piece for the Atlantic Council titled “Ukraine’s Slow but Steady Strangulation Is Taking Place in Plain Sight.” The author says Maas was “apparently untroubled by the absurdity of urging Ukraine to de-escalate its own invasion and dismemberment” and criticizes top German diplomat for “coming to the capital of a country fighting for its life and delivering a lecture on the need for moderation.” International appeals for both sides to de-escalate have become a depressingly regular feature of the dialogue surrounding the conflict, serving as the diplomatic equivalent of victim blaming. Russia must take much of the credit for this state of affairs. While few believe the Kremlin’s ongoing denials of involvement in Ukraine, the plausible deniability underpinning Putin’s brand of hybrid warfare has created just enough ambiguity to muddy the waters.Pretending the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a mere border skirmish will not make it go away. On the contrary, “the Kremlin may be settling in for a long campaign,” having built a number of new Russian army bases along the Ukrainian border and redirecting Russian railway lines, which points to “preparations for future land operations inside Ukraine,” the article says. In recent months, Moscow has also tightened its grip on the Azov Sea and Ukraine’s southeastern seaboard, while at the same time pushing to increase the encirclement of the country from the north through a greatly enhanced military presence in Belarus. The West’s refusal to recognize the scale of Russian imperial ambitions in Ukraine is also a matter of ignorance and misconceptions. The depth of Russian resentment over the country’s diminished post-Soviet status is simply incomprehensible to modern Western audiences who are more inclined to assume that Russians broadly share their values. Outside understanding of Ukraine is even more limited. Ever since 1991, most Westerners have tended to view the country through the distorting and outdated prism of Russian narratives. Calling on Ukraine to compromise with the Russian invader is also “strategically foolish” as the West already “finds itself locked in a new Cold War with Moscow that has its roots firmly planted in Ukraine,” the author writes, adding that, until the war in Ukraine ends, this confrontation will continue to escalate. “In the coming months, any talk of both sides de-escalating needs to be replaced by clear and unambiguous support for Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression,” Dickinson believes. “Moscow should be made painfully aware of the consequences should it seek to test Western resolve and Ukrainian resilience any further.” The new Cold War is the direct result of Western efforts since 2014 to appease Moscow and avoid the uncomfortable reality of a revanchist Russia, according to the author who says that this brand of “wishful thinking must give way to the kind of clarity that won the first Cold War.” “Ultimately, there can be no equivalence between Ukrainian resistance and Russian aggression. If Russia stops fighting, there will be no war. If Ukraine stops fighting, there will be no Ukraine,” he wrote. Chief of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine, Vasyl Hrytsak, says travel documents issued to mercenaries of Russia’s Wagner Private Military Company confirm that the PMC is a secret detachment of the country’s military intelligence. “Russia keeps lying cynically, trying to justify its crimes committed across the globe. The Kremlin keeps yelling that the armed units of its military intelligence don’t protect dictatorial regimes in Sudan, Syria and have not been involved in the murder of journalists in the CAR who tried to shed light on their clandestine activities,” the SBU reported on their website. The Security Service of Ukraine reminded that on January 25, materials testifying that Russian mercenaries and weapons were delivered to Sudan and other countries of the region “directly by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation on the request of M Invest LLC, a company owned by ‘Putin’s chef’ Yevgeny Prigozhin.” Moreover, the SBU chief adds, it was through “M Invest” that tickets were purchased for the “passengers” of flights performed by the Russian defense ministry’s 223rd flight squad, who turned out to be outsourced operatives of Russia’s military intelligence from Wagner PMC. “From August to December 2018, Tu-154M planes (RA-85041, RA-85155 registration numbers) brought to Sudan, the CAR, and other African countries on a rotational basis 1,012 ‘we-are-not-there’ troops, whose tickets, personal, and passport data are today at the SBU disposal,” reads the statement. The SBU published part of the available information, in particular, the list of 149 people who “directly partook in suppressing democratic protests in Sudan in early 2019.” “An analysis of passport data of over a thousand PMC Wagner operatives testifies that the overwhelming majority of their travel documents were processed by a same Moscow-based unit of the Federal Migration Service, which also issued cover documents for ‘Petrov’ and ‘Boshirov’, Russian military intelligence officers who had carried out a chemical attack in British Salisbury. At the same time, passport series and registration numbers of several hundreds of passports of “Wagner’s men” show the IDs were issued in bulk, one after another. Read also Russian mercenaries help put down Sudan protests – media Hrytsak says this once again confirms that Wagner PMC is “a secret detachment of outsourced assassins hired by the Russian military intelligence.” According to the report, the SBU also found that Russian military intelligence was also sent to citizens from other countries: Belarus, Moldova, and the self-proclaimed republics supported by Russia, as part of the African rotations of the Wagner private security complex. “In addition, the available information indicates the target recruitment to the Sudanese“ business trip ”of PMC Wagner of traitors to Ukraine from among the residents of the temporarily occupied Crimea, who received Russian citizenship as a reward for helping the Russian aggressor,” added the Security Service. Read alsoNew evidence ties murder of three Russian journalists in CAR to “Putin’s chef” – media It is also noted that more than 90% of mercenaries deployed in Africa had taken part in Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine in 2014-2015, in particular, in the offensive on the Lugansk Airport and the city of Debaltseve. The SBU also found that since the end of 2018, as part of the efforts to create in Sudan a “military-technical support point for the Russian Navy,” former Ukrainian Navy officers were deployed there, who in the spring of 2014 had betrayed Ukraine and sided with the Russian occupants, signing contracts with the Russian navy.
Russia’s war against Ukraine is about to enter its sixth year, but many remain in denial over the true nature of the conflict. There is still widespread international reluctance to acknowledge the global significance of Vladimir Putin’s invasion, leading to a preference for the kind of euphemistic language that blurs the lines between victim and aggressor. This ostrich-like approach to the realities of the new Russian imperialism was on display during German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’s recent visit to Kyiv, where he called on “all sides to contribute to de-escalation.” Maas was apparently untroubled by the absurdity of urging Ukraine to de-escalate its own invasion and dismemberment. Indeed, it says much about the current climate that one of Europe’s top diplomats felt comfortable coming to the capital of a country fighting for its life and delivering a lecture on the need for moderation. Nor is he alone. Ever since the onset of Russian aggression in spring 2014, international appeals for both sides to de-escalate have become a depressingly regular feature of the dialogue surrounding the conflict, serving as the diplomatic equivalent of victim blaming. Russia must take much of the credit for this state of affairs. While few believe the Kremlin’s ongoing denials of involvement in Ukraine, the plausible deniability underpinning Putin’s brand of hybrid warfare has created just enough ambiguity to muddy the waters. What should be a cut and dried case of the first European invasion since the Second World War has instead drifted out of the headlines as an unwelcome but opaque issue that defies coherence. One suspects that this has not been entirely unwelcome in some quarters, particularly as it has relieved the West of the obligation to mount a more appropriately resolute response. In that sense, Russia is far from the only beneficiary of Putin’s fig leaf referendums and proxy armies. Pretending the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a mere border skirmish will not make it go away. On the contrary, the Kremlin may be settling in for a long campaign. Work has finished on a number of new Russian army bases dotted along the Ukrainian border, while the redirection of Russian railway lines and other changes to army logistics consistently point to preparations for future land operations inside Ukraine. In recent months, Moscow has also tightened its grip on the Azov Sea and Ukraine’s southeastern seaboard, while at the same time pushing to increase the encirclement of the country from the north through a greatly enhanced military presence in Belarus. The slow but steady strangulation of Ukraine is taking place in plain sight. Why is this not producing an urgent international response? The West’s refusal to recognize the scale of Russian imperial ambitions in Ukraine is not exclusively the product of hybrid war trickery and willful geopolitical blindness. It is also a matter of ignorance and misconceptions. The depth of Russian resentment over the country’s diminished post-Soviet status is simply incomprehensible to modern Western audiences who are more inclined to assume that Russians broadly share their values. Most Westerners have grown up entirely comfortable with the idea of retreat from empire, regarding it as an inevitable process. Few can begin to fathom that today’s Russians might actually be prepared to sacrifice their living standards, never mind their lives, in pursuit of archaic colonial conquests. Outside understanding of Ukraine is even more limited. Ever since 1991, the West has struggled to grasp the enormous geopolitical implications of an independent Ukraine and has typically treated the country as an uninvited guest. On the relatively few occasions when they have deigned to pay attention, most Westerners have tended to view the country through the distorting and outdated prism of Russian narratives. This has fuelled a culture of excessive caution and prevented the kind of engagement that other newly independent Eastern Bloc nations in Central Europe and the Baltics have enjoyed. It is striking to note that even now, after two pro-democracy revolutions and a five-year armed conflict in support of Western integration, Ukraine remains firmly trapped in post-Soviet no man’s land with membership roadmaps for the European Union and NATO both conspicuously absent. Calling on Ukraine to compromise with the Russian invader is not only morally reprehensible. It is also strategically foolish. The West already finds itself locked in a new Cold War with Moscow that has its roots firmly planted in Ukraine. Until the war in Ukraine ends, this confrontation will continue to escalate. Since it first attacked Ukraine, Russia has expanded its hybrid hostilities on a dizzying array of fronts, ranging from Syria to the 2016 US presidential election. Africa is now emerging as a new Cold War theater, while Kremlin efforts to undermine the democratic process throughout the West are showing no signs of slowing. Nevertheless, all roads still lead to Kyiv. Putin’s hybrid war in Ukraine remains at the epicenter of the global conflict and the struggle is now entering what could be a decisive period. Ukraine will hold presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019, with both votes likely to cement the country’s historic pivot toward Euro-Atlantic integration. The election of another pro-Western president and parliament would be a devastating blow for Russian imperial ambitions and one that could persuade the Kremlin to consider increasingly drastic measures. Faced with the prospect of demotion, from hero of Crimea to the man who lost Ukraine, Putin will be acutely aware that his regime may not survive such a debacle. This makes it essential that the international community sends the right signals to the Kremlin now. In the coming months, any talk of both sides de-escalating needs to be replaced by clear and unambiguous support for Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression. Moscow should be made painfully aware of the consequences should it seek to test Western resolve and Ukrainian resilience any further. The new Cold War is the direct result of Western efforts since 2014 to appease Moscow and avoid the uncomfortable reality of a revanchist Russia. This brand of wishful thinking must give way to the kind of clarity that won the first Cold War. Ultimately, there can be no equivalence between Ukrainian resistance and Russian aggression. If Russia stops fighting, there will be no war. If Ukraine stops fighting, there will be no Ukraine. Peter Dickinson is a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council and publisher of Business Ukraine and Lviv Today magazines. He tweets @Biz_Ukraine_Mag.
Russia is strengthening its forces near the Ukrainian border and preparing a large-scale offensive, stated joint Forces Commander Serhiy Nayev in an interview with Novoe Vremya magazine. According to Nayev, the proof lies in the presence of twelve tactical battalions near the Ukrainian-Russian border where there used to be only eight battalions. The number of combat-ready aircraft on the other side of the front line near Donetsk has also increased. The General explained that Russian subversive-reconnaissance groups are observed in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. They were discovered as a result of the interception of separatists’ conversations. Nayev added that capturing the Ukrainian sailors near the Kerch Strait was a part of Russia’s plan to take control of the whole coast of the Sea of Azov. Earlier, Ukrainian positions in the combat zone in the Donbas were shelled. Soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces came under fire eight times over the last 24 hours. Weapons prohibited by the Minsk Agreements were used at least once during the shelling.
Ukrainian military pilots on January 27 conducted drills over the Sea of Azov to work out a number of tasks, in particular, strike aircraft’s support of offshore operations of Ukraine’s Navy and the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine that patrol the waters within the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) zone. The event was authorized by Commander of Ukraine’s Joint Forces Serhiy Nayev. Ukrainian military pilots on January 27 conducted drills over the Sea of Azov to work out a number of tasks, in particular, strike aircraft’s support of offshore operations of Ukraine’s Navy and the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine that patrol the waters within the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) zone.
Military pilots, sailors from the Ukrainian Navy and the State Border Guard Service from the Joint Forces have conducted exercises in the waters of the Sea of Azov, the press service of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry has said. — Ukrinform.
Last Sunday, an inspection of the readiness of the Ukrainian military aviation forces on combat duty with vessels of Ukraine’s Naval Forces and State Border Service was held in the Sea of Azov under Joint Forces Operation (JFO) control, JFO Commander Lt. General Serhiy Nayev has said. The level of interaction between different units was tested. Last Sunday, an inspection of the readiness of the Ukrainian military aviation forces on combat duty with vessels of Ukraine’s Naval Forces and State Border Service was held in the Sea of Azov under Joint Forces Operation (JFO) control, JFO Commander Lt. General Serhiy Nayev has said. The level of interaction between different units was tested. On Monday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Facebook that “an inspection (training) of assault aircraft supporting naval operations of the Ukraine’s Armed Forces and the State Border Service of Ukraine, operating as part of JFO in the Sea of Azov” had been held. A number of tasks were worked out, in particular, air support for the actions of Ukraine’s Navy and providing air cover. Practical targeting of the enemy’s naval targets was carried out by Ukrainian ships on duty in the Sea of Azov, as well as responding to enemy targets at sea. “The military pilots, naval sailors and seamen of the State Border Service of Ukraine coped with the tasks and were rated ‘ready for missions,'” the report said.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak says Ukraine is staking measures to boost its defensive capabilities at sea. Poltorak said Ukraine was doing everything possible to ensure the safety of its seaports.
The SBU Security Service of Ukraine along with the prosecutor’s office in Vinnytsia region have blocked the illegal export of military helicopter engines. The buyer was from a UN-sanctioned country.
Artificially created road fills toward the Kerch Strait Bridge, which was illegally built by Russia to link occupied Crimea with its Krasnodar Krai, have slid after snowfalls. Recent landslides broke down the drainage system in some places.
Dmytro Tymchuk, the coordinator of the Ukrainian-based Information Resistance OSINT community, says there is a high probability of a sharp deterioration in the environmental situation in Russian-occupied Crimea, namely near the city of Kerch. This may bring a host of diseases. Dmytro Tymchuk, the coordinator of the Ukrainian-based Information Resistance OSINT community, says there is a high probability of a sharp deterioration in the environmental situation in Russian-occupied Crimea, namely near the city of Kerch. “This is due to the dismantling by Russian-controlled commercial construction firms of the facilities used to store waste from metallurgical production at the Kamysh-Burun Iron Ore Plant in the context of the production of mining additives for construction materials,” he wrote on Facebook. Tymchuk says the Lower Cherbush and Upper Cherbush metallurgy waste storage facilities built on the Crimean lakes are repositories containing toxic substances in the form of fine particles. The content of phosphorus, chromium, vanadium and arsenic in them exceeds the permissible concentration levels by 30–150 times, depending on the place of sampling. “At the same time, the accumulated stocks of bulk waste are currently used as additives in the production of cement and concrete sand. Such a situation may lead to an outbreak of mass diseases among the population, as well as threatens flora and fauna hundreds of kilometers from the waste repositories via spreading toxic substances by the seawater along the Black Sea coast,” the expert said. UNIAN memo. The Kamysh-Burun Iron Ore Plant is an enterprise for the extraction, enrichment and agglomeration of iron ores (including with arsenic, phosphorus, etc.) near the city of Kerch. The plant has previously produced fluxed iron ore agglomerate and fluxed limestone. The company includes three iron ore and one limestone open pits, crushing and processing and sintering plants, etc.
Police in Simferopol have arrested the intoxicated man who vandalized the city’s bronze monument to Russia’s unmarked soldiers who arrived in Crimea in February 2014, ahead of the secessionist referendum that led to Moscow’s annexation of the peninsula.
Russia is most likely preparing for a large-scale offensive against Ukraine, as evidenced in particular by a significant increase in the number of Russian tanks, aircraft, and special operations teams. — Ukrinform.
Russia’s hybrid military forces mounted one attack on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas in the past 24 hours. No Ukrainian army casualties were reported over the period under review.
28.01.19 10:00 – One attack against Ukraine army in past day: no losses, two terrorists destroyed, – JFO center Jan. 27, Russia occupation forces violated the ceasefire once. View news.
Russian proxy forces in Donbas continue to brazenly mine the territories near the line of contact, thus endangering Donbas civilians, according to the Ukrainian side to the Joint Center for Control and Coordination of ceasefire (JSCC). The OSCE SMM first recorded a mine warning sign in Russian, installed some two meters off the road.
The Ukraine’s Military Intelligence has identified the names of Russian officers involved in war against Ukraine in Donbass.
On January 29, 2019, a framework agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of France regarding the official support of the project on supply of drinking water to Mariupol will be signed. — Ukrinform.
28.01.19 17:47 – Pavlo Hryb reports torture used during his abduction from Belarus. PHOTO The FSB officers who have kidnapped Ukrainian Pavlo Hryb in the territory of Belarus tortured him and filmed it on camera. View news.
The Czech Republic is investigating the involvement of at least 10 of its citizens in combat in support of the so-called Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LPR & DPR) in eastern Ukraine. The Czech news outlet Denik N reported that a Czech by the name of Pavel K traveled to the Donbas through Russia at 22 years of age, and stayed there between the summer of 2015 and May 2016. The news outlet would not disclose the suspects’ names or cities of origin before the trial, in order to protect their relatives. Adam Basny, Deputy Head of the High Public Prosecutor’s Office in Prague, confirmed the reports and said that one Czech citizen had been charged with terrorism in February 2018, Radio Svoboda writes. “He was accused of committing a crime recognized by the law as an act of terror, for active armed activity as part of the illegal separatist structure called the Donetsk People’s Republic (whose goal is to violate the primary political and economic structure of sovereign and independent Ukraine by controlling its territory), against the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Basny noted.
KYIV. Jan 28 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Over a half of polled Ukrainians support the cessation of the war in Donbas even under the condition of relinquishing the certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Oleksiy Borovskiy, the director of the Seetarget polling institution, said. KYIV. Jan 28 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Over a half of polled Ukrainians support the cessation of the war in Donbas even under the condition of relinquishing the certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Oleksiy Borovskiy, the director of the Seetarget polling institution, said. “Over a half of the population of Ukraine, almost 60% [59.2%] want peace at any cost,” Borovskiy said at the presentation of the sociological survey ‘Ukraine in the Focus of Sociology: Social Sentiments during the Electoral Campaign in 2019’ at Interfax-Ukraine in Kyiv on Monday. Even by means of relinquishing the territories outside Kyiv’s control, he said. According to Borovskiy, 24.1% of respondents chose the option of continuing the military conflict by any means, including the force, until Ukraine gains control over the separate areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. According to the poll, 73.1% of residents of the east of Ukraine stand in favor of the end of the war. “This matter virtually divides Ukraine into two political camps or two large social groups,” Borovskiy said. In addition, despite the armed conflicts, the majority of Ukrainians hold a negative attitude towards the implementation of legal initiatives on the freedom of selling arms. Therefore, 77.6% of respondents do not support free trade of arms under the condition of more severe responsibility for crimes using firearms and illegal circulation of weapons. And only 18.1% of those polled deem it acceptable. Seetarget interviewed 2,010 respondents aged 18 and older between December 17 and 23, 2018, ahead of the presidential election in March. The margin of error is not higher than 2.3%.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine will adopt for service about 20 new types of weapons in 2019. — Ukrinform.
28.01.19 14:00 – 2019 state defense order includes 20 new armament items, – Poltorak The state defense order for 2019 makes provisions for the supply of armament items that have not previously been deployed by Ukraine Armed Forces. View news.
The defense enterprises of Kharkiv city have received over UAH 10 billion in budget funds from the Defense Ministry. — Ukrinform.
28.01.19 16:25 – Reserve tank brigade created in Ukraine in case of Russia’s overt aggression, – Poltorak Over the past few years, reserve corps and reserve tank brigade have been created in Ukraine in case of overt aggression against the state. View news.
Russia has applied against Ukraine terrorist tactics of petty provocations in an attempt to intimidate the Ukrainians, according to deputy director of Ukrainian Institute for Extremism Research, Bohdan Petrenko. The expert believes this tactic suits Russia much better than a major terrorist attack, which would mobilize the society in the wake of an atrocious act, Obozrevatel reports. Meanwhile, the tactic applied by the Kremlin “leads to a firm idea being formed among Ukrainians that their country is in danger.” Poroshenko says Moscow pursues provocations against autocephaly of Ukrainian church It is about “forming a sense of insecurity and lack of government guarantees,” explained Petrenko. According to the expert, today Moscow is focused on destroying the credibility of Ukrainian government agencies and “atomizing” Ukrainian society, to make people seek protection from organizations that, on the one hand, are believed to be “capable” of providing it, but on the other hand, are not affiliated with government, like private security firms or radical political organizations.
Tetyana Stadnyk posted a link to “Egor Bozhok, Head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine: Russia and its satellites – the greatest threat to the global distribution community”: Russian special services have received an additional 350 MILLION DOLLARS for interference in #Ukraine’s 2019 elections According to Egor Bozhok, the Head of the Foreign Intelligence…
The social-media giant Facebook has announced that it will prohibit electoral ads bought outside Ukraine from appearing there in the run-up to the country’s presidential election this spring.
Facebook says it is beefing up its rules and safeguards regarding political advertisements to “prevent foreign interference” in elections in Europe and elsewhere.
Chief of the National Police of Ukraine Serhiy Knyazev says said that the Russian Federation will make attempts to destabilize the situation through massive provocation in Ukraine during the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019. The presidential vote in Ukraine is scheduled for March 31, 2019; parliamentary elections are planned to be held on October 27, 2019.
At least 60,000 police officers should be attracted to provide the security of the polling stations during the presidential elections in Ukraine as 112 Ukraine reported citing Deputy Head of the National Police Olexandr Fatsevych. “Considering 33,000 of the district and local elections commissions, it is needed to involve at least 60,000 law enforcers to provide their security. It is so, if we talk about two officers for each polling station. Besides, the reserves of the officers of the special detachments and patrol police should be additionally created,” Fatsevych said.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has said the ministry will not register observers from Russia for the upcoming presidential elections in Ukraine. Klimkin reiterated only two agencies in Ukraine may officially register observers, namely the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Central Election Commission (CEC).
Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has told law-enforcers to respond toughly to possible frauds during the presidential elections scheduled for March 31 related to absentee ballots cast in western Ukraine.
29.01.19 11:21 – Casting ballots instead of citizens working abroad to be punished by prison term, – Avakov Ukraine Minister of Interior Arsen Avakov encourages police officers to react toughly to possible fraud during the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for March 31, such as voting instead of a citizen working abroad. View news.
29.01.19 14:45 – Ambassador Yovanovitch: US to support democratic Ukraine in upcoming elections The United States do not support particular candidates but Ukrainian people. Democratic Ukraine with prosperous economy is a strong partner. View news.
U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch has said she hopes that the 2019 elections in Ukraine will be held calmly and that people engaged in election campaigns should not be afraid of persecution. — Ukrinform.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has announced he will run for president in Ukraine in 2019. According to the president, welfare, security and order are no less important than the army, language, religion. “The feeling of deep responsibility toward the country, fellow men, the old and next generations of Ukrainians has prompted me to make a decision to run again for president in Ukraine,” he said at Kyiv’s International Exhibition Center during the Forum titled: “From Kruty to Brussels. We are going our way.” Poroshenko asked the voters for a mandate “to guarantee the irreversibility of European and Euro-Atlantic integration, our independence, to restore the territorial integrity of the country and bring advantageous peace to Ukraine in order to complete the construction of a strong, successful state capable of ensuring order, well-being and security of every Ukrainian.” According to the president, welfare, security and order are no less important than the army, language, religion, “so that to build solid walls and a solid roof over the solid foundation that we have laid in the five years.” Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/politics/10426005-poroshenko-will-run-for-president-in-2019.html
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said Ukraine will apply for EU membership in 2024 and will receive an Action Plan regarding NATO membership. Poroshenko says Ukraine will undoubtedly become an EU member state. “We will apply for membership in the European Union in 2024, and there is no doubt that we will receive it, and we will begin to implement the Action Plan regarding NATO membership,” he said at Kyiv’s International Exhibition Center during the Forum titled: “From Kruty to Brussels. We are going our way,” according to an UNIAN correspondent. As UNIAN reported earlier, President Poroshenko said that the Ukrainian army would be able to act fully in accordance with NATO standards as early as in 2020.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said Ukraine needs a “cold” peace with Russia. Poroshenko said the topic of war and peace is one of the main at the elections since the Ukrainian people will elect not only the president, but also the supreme commander. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said Ukraine needs a “cold” peace with Russia. “Of course, we need peace with Russia. Cold but peace. People are tired of war. Russian propaganda and its lineshooters in Ukraine tirelessly play on this painful emotion,” he said at Kyiv’s International Exhibition Center during the Forum titled: “From Kruty to Brussels. We are going our way,” according to an UNIAN correspondent. Poroshenko said the topic of war and peace is one of the main at the elections since the Ukrainian people will elect not only the president, but also the supreme commander. According to him, the enemy came neither for Crimea, nor for Donbas, but for returning the “runaway” [Ukraine] to the “prison of the peoples” as the Russian empire was called by French traveler Astolphe de Custine two hundred years ago. “Peace is the complete restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the unquestioning recognition by Moscow of our right to go our own way. Even if this path is the path away from Moscow,” Poroshenko said. “We will continue the line for the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine by political and diplomatic means, ensuring the unity of the pro-Ukrainian coalition, using the tool of sanctions and the mechanism of a UN international mission throughout occupied Donbas,” the president added.
29.01.19 12:21 – Tymoshenko promises to hold Poroshenko accountable for corruption Batkivshchyna party leader Yuliia Tymoshenko has officially started her election campaign and declared that after being elected a president she will hold accountable everyone who has been involved in corruption for the past five years. View news.
Seven attackers on journalists of the Stop Corruption project in Kyiv’s Holosiyivsky district are facing 10 years in prison and have been placed under house arrest during the evening hours. The incident happened on January 24.
28.01.19 12:41 – Hroisman: Ukraine, Norway sign collateral contracts for $1.5B Ukraine and Norway have signed collateral contracts for almost $1.5 billion, of which $1 billion is an investment in renewable energy. View news.
The global anti-corruption organization Transparency International has published its Corruption Perception Index 2018 (CPI), where Ukraine has somewhat improved its score. Ukraine’s score is better only than that of Russia.
25.01.19 17:19 – FIS to investigate if Novynskyi keeps Russian passport, – head of FIS Bozhok Before appealing to the court intelligence has to be 200 percent sure that MP Novynskyi retains his Russian citizenship. View news.
Klimkin stated that 120,000 Ukrainians are working in the Czech Republic legally
On Wednesday, January 27, a torchlight procession was held in Kyiv in memory of heroes of the Battle of Kruty. The participants of the rally walked from Arsenalna subway station to Askold’s Grave, as Ukrainian News reported. The torchlight procession began on Arsenalna subway station towards the Park of Eternal Glory. The members of the procession walked with torchlights, flags and slogans from Arsenalna square to Askold’s Grave, then to the monument dedicated to the memory of heroes of the Battle of Kruty.
In February 2016, the then US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt said: “Ukraine is already one of the world great agricultural producers, but it should become an agricultural superpower.” After hearing Geoffrey Pyatt’s statement, I immediately recalled the so-called Morgenthau Plan. Henry Morgenthau, United States Secretary of the Treasury, was at first an amateur farmer, operating near the Roosevelt estate in upstate New York. He was a friend of Warren, a specialist in agricultural economics at Cornell University. Related: First Ukrainian Agricultural Cooperative to establish agricultural clusters in Khmelnytsky region Morgenthau became Finance Minister due to the fact that William Woodin was forced to resign due to problems with health. Therefore, Morgenthau was hastily appointed. By the way, before this appointment, he worked as a chairman of the Agricultural Advisory Commission, founded by Franklin Roosevelt. Henry Morgenthau was a financier with an agricultural bias. It has ideologically led him to develop a plan for Germany, turning it into an agricultural power. When it became clear that the Allies were winning the Second World War, the question arose: what should be done with Germany, which had launched two world wars in the previous 30 years. Morgenthau made a plan in 1944, which made it possible to secure the world from a militant nation. He proposed to completely destroy German industry and turn it into an agricultural country.
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Yanukovych’s verdict and more – Weekly Update on Ukraine #3, 21-27 January
Participants of the Ukrainian-Norwegian Business Forum in Oslo considered the possibility of cooperation in the film industry and the prospects for creating joint films. — Ukrinform.
The first footage from Agnieszka Holland’s “Mr. Jones, which world premieres in Official Competition at the 69 Berlin Film Festival, the Variety published The movie was filmed in Poland, Ukraine and UK. Mr. Jones” tells the little-known story of Gareth Jones, a young British journalist who travelled to the Soviet Union in 1933. He wanted to tell the world about the appalling reality of the communist regime, Stalin and the government-induced famine in Ukraine. His efforts are frustrated not just by Soviet censors, but other Western journalists ignored him as well. Jones’ story helped to inspire George Orwell on creating the novel “Animal Farm.”
Traditional Ukrainian postoli shoes are becoming a rare commodity as one of the last Carpathian Hutsul shoemakers struggles to continue the craft.
Yanukovych’s trial is also Putin’s trial, because the court ruling clearly states that Russia’s used Yanukovych‘s letter to Putin for …