Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (86)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

</end editorial>



The slow death of the INF continues. Russian threatens deployment of a hypersonic GLCM – which they would have done regardless with the Tsirkon / Kinzhal, as nearly all Russian ASCMs have been adapted eventually as ALCMs and GLCMs. Update on Nudol ASAT. Russian MP Korotchenko makes some unusually vulgar and bombastic comments about the US. Two reports on counter-propaganda in the Baltics and Visegrad nations. Prigozhine denies involvement with Wagner PMC. Russia bypasses EU sanctions on RPV propellers. Update on Russia’s fake news legislation. Five digests by Prof Goble on Russia’s internal meltdown. An Orban apologist attempts to challenge Blank’s very good analysis with very lame arguments.

Updates on Azov Sea and Donbas. Bundesmarine MCM ship arrives in Black Sea. Illegal immigrants from Transnistria detained with an arsenal of weapons in Odessa. Update on Russian buildup on Ukraine’s border, and Iskander deployments.

Legislation on direct importing of military materiel becomes law. Myslivets/Duet SAM system using Igla and Kolibri MANPADS rounds. Update on AA-10 ALAMO upgrades.

Political and election reports.

OCU/ROC update: Head of OCU inaugurated, Pres Poroshenko comments, and a major survey indicates only 15% of Ukrainian church believers intend to remain loyal to the Russian church – latest indications are nearly 200 parishes have already defected to the OCU.


Trump didn’t kill the INF Treaty. Putin did

The Trump administration was right to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. But it’s inaccurate to say the U.S. is scrapping the treaty. Russia scrapped it years ago.

Putin announced to develop land-based hypersonic missile – Defence Blog

President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia to develop a new land-based hypersonic missile with an intermediate range. “It (US) has announced research and development works, and we will do the same,” Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday. According to the Tass news agency, Russia starting research and development works after the Trump administration officially has withdrawn from a nuclear missile treaty with Russia. “I agree with the Defense Ministry’s proposals to start the work on ‘landing’ Kalibr missiles and developing a new area to create a land-based hypersonic missile with intermediate range,” Putin noted. According to Shoigu, apart from R&D works on production of missiles of intermediate and shorter range, Russia has witnessed real breaches of the provisions of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) by the US for some time already. “In other words, the United States has started production of those missiles,” he said. On Friday, US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that Washington would suspend its liabilities under the INF Treaty starting February 2 and would quit it within six months if Russia fails to comply with its demands. The US accused Russia of violating the treaty for the first time in July 2014. Since then, Washington has been repeating its claims on many occasions, while Moscow has been rejecting them and advancing counter-claims concerning the implementation of the treaty by the US side. The INF Treaty was signed between the former Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987 and entered into force on June 1, 1988. It covered deployed and non-deployed ground-based short-range missiles (from 500 to 1,000 kilometers) and intermediate-range missiles (from 1,000 to 5,500 kilometers).

In Tit-For-Tat Move, Putin Announces Russian Suspension Of INF Treaty

Russian officials and politicians blasted the U.S. decision to suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, with one lawmaker saying Washington had “taken ano…

Putin says Russia also suspending key nuclear arms treaty after U.S. move to withdraw

President Vladimir Putin said Saturday Russia will suspend the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty after the United States announced its intention to withdraw a day earlier.

Pompeo announces suspension of nuclear arms treaty with Russia – CNNPolitics

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Friday that the US is suspending the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a key pact with Russia that has been a centerpiece of European security since the Cold War.

Trump administration to suspend nuclear treaty with Russia | TheHill

The Trump administration announced Friday that it would suspend its obligations under a decades old Cold War arms control pact with Russia on Saturday, citing Moscow’s violations of the treaty.

Trump makes it official: US is leaving key nuclear treaty – To Inform is to Influence

By: Aaron Mehta , Associated Press , and Joe Gould WASHINGTON — The Trump administration will begin the process of leaving a key nuclear arms control treaty with Russia on Saturday, setting the potential for a new ground-based cruise missile arms race in Europe. However, administration officials said it will be some time before the Pentagon is able to produce and deploy any new system…

INF Treaty: Democrats Should Welcome Trump’s Withdrawal – Bloomberg

What is the point of the U.S. adhering to an agreement that the Russians weren’t honoring?

The INF Treaty Is Dead. Is New START Next? – Foreign Policy

Experts worry about a new arms race after U.S. withdrawal from nuclear pact.

Russia prepares plan to neutralize threat of arms deployment in space – Defence Blog

Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency quoted a representative of the Russian President Vladimir Putin on 2 February as saying that Russia will prepare a plan to neutralize the threat of arms deployment in space. Russian President Vladimir Putin has tasked Defense Minister to prepare a plan to combat the treat of weapons deployment into outer space by the beginning of a series of traditional meetings on defense procurement program in Sochi. “We are aware of the plans of certain countries to deploy weapons in outer space. I want to listen to how that potential threat will be neutralized as well,” he said at a meeting with heads of Russian Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry on Saturday. On January 17, US President Donald Trump unveiled the new strategy of developing the American missile shield system (the Ballistic Missile Defense Review) stating that it should be capable of intercepting any missile fired against the United States, including a cruise or a hypersonic missile. The 108-page document released by the Pentagon notes that the United States will no longer recognize any limitations in developing and deploying its missile shield elements. The strategy also sets the task of bringing detection capabilities and, potentially, interceptors into outer space. On 20 January, new commercial satellite imagery shows hidden launch areas of the Russian anti-ballistic missile and anti-satellite weapon system in the area of Plesetsk spaceport in northern Russia. In reports released by Russia’s media, researchers said that launch areas of the newest PL-19 Nudol anti-satellite weapon system located it the Plesetsk military spaceport (approximately 800 kilometers north of Moscow), at the ex-launch site of the Cyclone-2 rocket. Also, commercial satellite imagery captured on April 2018 shows the newest Peresvet laser combat system in Ivano region, near the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) base at Teykovo.

UAWire – Polish Foreign Minister: Warsaw supports deployment of US nuclear missiles in Europe

The Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jacek Czaputowicz, said in an interview with Spiegel that Warsaw supports the deployment of US nuclear …

Korotchenko Says Russia Should Grab The US By The ***** And Squeeze – To Inform is to Influence

This statement was made on Russian television station Rossiya 1 – state-owned, state-sponsored, and most assuredly state-controlled. Notice, the most incendiary statements don’t come from the Russian top-tier players like Putin, Lavrov, Peskov and Maria Zakharova.  The honor of speaking out of line seems to rotate between the Duma and other Ministries. Allow me to translate…

Latvia bans broadcasts of channel RTR-Russia for inciting hatred towards Ukrainians – To Inform is to Influence

The National Electronic Mass Media Council of Latvia or NEPLP has restricted the Russian television channel RTR-Russia from broadcasting in the country for three months. As Latvian news agency Leta reports, Latvian authorities found incitement to hatred toward Ukrainians was found in their programs. The agency found hate speech against the Ukrainian government in the program “Evening with Vladimir…

Proposed Rodchenkov Act Drives Russia Apoplectic – To Inform is to Influence

Russia is officially protesting a bill in the Senate which can charge athletes that dope their blood as a fraud. The below article is on RG.ru, the official website of the Russian government. It seems that Russia almost must officially lie. The Russian Foreign Ministry points out that the bill is being examined against the backdrop of the reluctance of the Americans themselves to give an adequate assessment of the latest high-profile revelations connected with the large-scale and systematic use of doping by famous American athletes. “[L]arge-scale and systematic use of doping by famous American athletes”? I believe the last time an American was caught doping was Lance Armstrong in 2012. Large scale and systematic? Hardly. This is also a case of Whataboutism and propaganda. Even the link in that sentence just leads to another article damning the Rodchenkov Act. RG.ru can say Americans widely dope but provides no evidence for their outrageous statement. Russia is especially irate because of Russia’s state-sponsored doping program which banned Russia from sending a team to Rio 2016 or PyeongChang 2018. A neutral team was sent, instead. Russia’s only legitimate concern is the accusation that the US is overreaching. They claim a US law can be applied externally to the US, which is an overreach. Thanks to Dr, Rodchenkov, the former head of the Russian ADA, who fled Russia in 2015 fearing for his life and is now in witness protection in the US, and other whistle-blowers, the extent of Russia’s doping was revealed by two World Anti-Doping Agency-funded (Wada) investigations in 2015 and 2016. </end editorial>

Prague: The Semantic War | Film Screening and Discussion – To Inform is to Influence

When: 26.02.2019 – 18:00 – 20:00 Where: Americké centrum, Tržiště 13, Praha 1 – Malá Strana Admission: free, please register by clicking at “sign up” above the picture The Semantic War (2018, 90 mins) is a documentary film about Kremlin propaganda and its impact on European society. The director argues that most people in Russia do not critically examine information from…

‘Putin’s Chef’ Denies Existence of Mercenary Group Wagner – To Inform is to Influence

February 01, 2019 William Echols “At the Defense Ministry, which I have no connection with, I cannot negotiate the financing/supply of a private military contractor that doesn’t exist.” Source: The Bell, January 29, 2019 FALSE Prigizhin’s denials confronted by facts. On Tuesday, January 29, The Bell, an Estonia-based media startup, released a report documenting the history of…

Is Russia violating EU sanctions? – To Inform is to Influence

By: JULIAN RÖPCK Published on 01.02.2019 – 09:38 Uhr Is Russia’s army violating a European Union sanction targeting the purchase of goods that can be used for military purposes? The sanction has been in place since 2014. BILD has inquired into whether Russian forces are using propeller blades – so-called “folding propellers” – manufactured in Germany…

Bild: German propellers on Putin’s drones: Is Russia violating EU sanctions? – news world | UNIAN

BILD has inquired into whether Russian forces are using propeller blades – so-called “folding propellers” – manufactured in Germany for seven types of drones in their drone fleet. The respective German companies did not know about this until now. Since 2015, the Ukrainian army has taken down numerous Russian army drones with German propellers – or they have crashed over Ukrainian territory due to technical faults.

UAWire – Media: Russian combat drones used in Donbas war built with German parts

The German edition Bild reports that Russia, in spite of the European Union sanctions, continues to buy German propellers for its unmanned …

The Week In Russia: Crime, Corruption, And A Showdown Across The Ocean – To Inform is to Influence

February 01, 2019 15:37 GMT By Steve Gutterman The handcuffed hands of Russian lawmaker Rauf Arashukov who was arrested this week on two counts of murder. The drama unfolds up the street from the Bolshoi Theater this time, as a lawmaker is detained in parliament on murder charges. The Justice Ministry proposes legalizing corruption in certain…

Russia Proposes To Outlaw Fake News Or The Emperor Has No Clothes – To Inform is to Influence

The language is clear, but the purpose appears to be studiously avoided. Russia is awash in fake news, conspiracy theories, and outlandish stories. The more bizarre the better, it seems. Entire scenarios are built around a fabricated accusation and published on Cont.ws, LiveJournal or on one of the hundreds of blog and faux-news sites. If equally applied, that would deny the Russian government the vast majority of articles they use to reference or provide citations for their fake news. The sites most likely to be shut down are the ones disclosing the truth. If this is applied strongly, independent news sources in Russia will wither and die. The other thing that is terribly wrong is the standard(s) of what constitutes fake news. The bill defines unreliable news as “untruthful socially significant information” that is presented as trustworthy. “Untruthful socially significant information” can mean reports on anything from inconsistencies in government spending to environmental catastrophes. Who declares what is truthful? Who decides what is fake? Everything Russia does seems to violate logic, everything they say and write seems to be the opposite of reality. I once asked Dr. Igor Panarin if he believes the words that he writes, as they are so outlandish. He replied, “yes, every word”. Clearly, there must be a separation in Russian minds between the ground truth and what Russian propaganda says. Otherwise, Russians would suffer greatly from cognitive dissonance. I see this as a way to force the Russian ‘party line’ more widely than is already done, force newspapers to print the Russian truth, and enforce a ‘fake news society’ that supports a ‘Russian reality’. The emperor has no clothes, indeed. </end editorial>

Russia Is Attacking the U.S. System From Within – To Inform is to Influence

A new filing by Special Counsel Robert Mueller shows how Russia uses the federal courts to go after its adversaries. NATASHA BERTRAND6:00 AM ET A new court filing submitted on Wednesday by Special Counsel Robert Mueller revealed that a Russian troll farm currently locked in a legal battle over its alleged interference in the 2016 election appeared…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians Deeply Depressed and Searching for Someone to Blame, Rostovsky Says

Paul Goble Staunton, February 1 – For the first time since 2006, more Russians are pessimistic about their situation and that of their country than are optimistic about either, Mikhail Rostovsky says, creating “a new reality” for Russians in which Putin is in office but “there is no happiness” among them. To be sure, the Moscow commentator writes in Moskovsky komsomolets, “the period after the end of the New Year’s holidays is not the best time for conducting sociological surveys in Russia.” The parties are over, the days are still short, and the nights are dark and long (mk.ru/politics/2019/02/01/putin-est-a-schastya-net-rossiya-stolknulas-s-novoy-realnostyu.html). But the new pessimism, he continues, is not just the product of the weather and the time of year. “Russian society has fallen into a deep depression. [It] has lost a feeling of social optimism and a sense of prospects,” something that was evident to all observers even before the poll results were released. Indeed, the real situation may be worse than they. One should nonetheless avoid overstating just how bad things are. Twenty years ago, Russians were in worse shape. “Putin’s political magic as before is ‘more living than all the living.’ The stability of the present Russian political regime in the short and medium term is not threatened by any ‘specters.’” “But the psychological self-assessment of the country will change even further for the worse, Rostovsky says. The demonstrations of 2011 and 2012 were by people who were well off but angry about politics. Now, people are angry about the fact that their pockets have been picked and the shelves in stores are empty or with goods whose prices they can’t pay. Instead of facing up to these problems and showing some understanding and sympathy, the Russian powers that be have made the situation for Russia and themselves worse by making outrageous statements showing their contempt for the population and its suffering and adopting policies they do not need to adopt that take money from the people and give to the elites. As a result, the commentator says, Russian society, “accustomed to the idea that the term ‘Putin’ and ‘fat years’ are intertwines suddenly has encountered a new and unexpected reality, a reality in which as before Putin is present but there is not the accustomed ‘positive’ nature” of their lives. Russians are looking for someone to blame for their problems. So far, many accept the idea that the West or lower-ranking officials are. But with time, Rostovsky says, this search for someone to be held responsible “will begin inevitably to rise up the vertical of power” within the Russian Federation. At some point, unless things change, Russians will turn their anger on Putin, who is at the top of this “pyramid.” The main political question in Russia now is whether or not Putin will be able to counter this trend.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia Tragically Can’t Adequately Compete with or Alternatively Join East or West, Epstein Says

Paul Goble Staunton, February 1 – Russia’s tragedy, one that has been manifested in its radical shifts from one thing to another, is that it can’t form a civilization of its own capable of competing with those of the West or East, but it is too large and proud to be willing to become part of other civilizations and come to terms with a subordinate role, Mikhail Epstein says. And as a result, the Russian-American literary theorist at Emory University says in an essay for Moscow’s Novaya gazeta, it “constantly rebels against the world order even though it cannot establish order even within itself” (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/02/01/79391-v-rossii-dumayut-o-rossii). Like Dostoyevsky’s “underground man,” Epstein continues, “Russia is an ‘underground’ state,” one in which is has repeatedly happened that a revolutionary “’underground’” has been elevated “to the heights of power,” a trajectory that only encourages those who pass along it to think they can and should challenge all existing orders. Russia throws out “challenges to all,” including the successful, even though “it is itself incapable of establishing its own civilization to which other peoples could be attracted. It tortures itself and others – and in this is its existential foundation, its ability to remind everyone (including itself) that it is alive.” If it were not making these efforts, Russia would “long ago have been transformed into a dead open space – only suffering which it brings to others and itself enlivens it.” And that makes it “a dangerous and threatening country which does everything in order that its population splits into two unequal parts, thieves and criminals, and martyrs and saints.” In this way, Epstein argues, “Russia is a rare case of collective existential existence, all the time testing itself to the limit and acting beyond the limits. Already for more than a thousand years, the country has been seeking itself, projecting itself as a task and subject of reflection and questioning.” As a result, he says, Russia is “not a nation in the traditional sense but a nation as project like Israel or America.” But unlike Israel it is not defined by God and unlike America it is not successful in building economic power. Instead, “Russia is what wants to become Russia, a tautological idea, a nation as an existential reality.” Epstein reaches those conclusions after considering that “the special feature of Russia is precisely its readiness to raise the question about ‘its own idea’ – and its inability to find a definite answer to that question.” Instead, it is ready to try one thing and then the exact opposite and then returning as before, Phoenix-like. As Fazil Iskander wrote, “the chief task of Russia is to think about itself,” and to do that in stead of acting. It quickly falls in the sway of new ideas and just as quickly rejects them because it sees itself as a work in progress and an experiment, with the more radical the shift from one idea to its negation, the better. That has many implications, Epstein says. Among them is that “a revolution in Russia is not a leap forward, not a one-time event but rather a pivot around which everything continuously revolves.” And ideas about this are understood by its intellectual leaders as a kind of apophatic theology in which Russia is defined not by what it is but by what it is not. Russia thus “understands itself via the rejection of all that it had become earlier,” and consequently, it is incapable of overcoming its geographic and historical space but rather continues to focus on how those make it different from everyone else and even from its own history. “The country then does not so much move forward in time as test out ever newer variants of its historical fate.” And in this, Epstein argues, is the secret of its intellectual and political life. It acts like the philosophy of the existentialists who argue that “existence precedes essence.” Such is the case with Russia: its space expanded before it defined what it was. According to the existentialists, the individual moves from nothing through everything back to nothing. Russia has raised this to a national level. “If the nation continuously alienates from itself in the form of ‘another true Russia,’ this means that this act of alienation … forms its existential concern.” “Neither Orthodoxy, nor collective life, nor communism, nor cosmism, nor Eurasianism is capable of exhausting and expressing the essence of Russia because this essence is defined as a task, and in this way it remains unresolved, always being put off further from where it is now,” the scholar says. According to him, “Russia tests itself in various historical genres, from anarchy to totalitarianism, from stagnation to times of troubles, from revolution to conservatism, from slave holding to capitalism, from communism to fascism – but the nature and essence of any social system is not as important to it as the moment of testing” and thus trying to learn what it is. That approach, Epstein says, constantly leads the country from one extreme to another and back again and to the testing of all limits both within its own borders and beyond, an existential dilemma that there is no sign that Russia in its existing borders will ever be capable of moving beyond.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Increasingly Worried about Regionalist Movements Its Own Policies are Radicalizing, Shtepa Says

Paul Goble Staunton, February 1 – The Russian government is clearly more worried about the rise of regionalism in Russia than journalistic and scholarly attention there or in the West would suggest, Vadim Shtepa says, especially given that Moscow’s own policies are leading to the radicalization of many regional groups. Regionalism is found in almost every country and especially in one as large and diverse as the Russian Federation, the editor of the Tallinn-based Region.Expert portal says; and despite what many believe, regionalism is not coterminous with ethnic republics but is found in most Russian oblasts and krays as well (icds.ee/ru/dvizhenija-kotoryh-net-regionalizm-v-sovremennoj-rossii/; reposted at region.expert/regionalism/). Indeed, Shtepa says – and this is one of the most important points of his article as prepared for Estonia’s International Centre for Defence and Security – regionalism is the more general term, of which non-Russian nationalisms are a subset, in every case raising regional concerns albeit with an ethnic coloration. Moreover, he points out, regionalism, including that based on ethnic groups, will become secessionist only if the authorities refuse to treat it with respect. But unfortunately, that is what Moscow has been doing since Vladimir Putin came to power; and now, some Russian regions like non-Russian ones are reflecting whether they can achieve their goals within Russia. From Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg in the west to Vladivostok in the east, there are important regionalist groups, most existing online, because the regionalist parties that existed two decades ago have been banned. In these movements, young people, especially students and members of the creative intelligentsia, are dominant. Most are in predominantly Russian areas, he says; but regionalism in the Middle Volga and the North Caucasus often displays a more ethnic face, largely because of the question of language instruction in the schools. But there the issues that agitate non-Russians in most cases resemble those that agitate ethnic Russians in other places. That is demonstrated by the emergence of groups like European Tatarstan which appeared in 2013 and devotes its attention to issues far beyond the ethnic. (For background on that group, see region.expert/eurotatarstan/). Moscow is obviously concerned about all this. Putin banned all regionally based parties early on; and in the last two years, his regime has blocked 23 social network groups dealing with Urals regionalism alone as well as numerous others in other parts of the Russian Federation (andrey-lf.livejournal.com/112308.html). These actions are based on a 2014 law banning anything that can be interpreted to be “a call for the violation of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation,” language that the authorities apply to anyone seeking greater rights for regions or republics, regardless of nationality. The situation appears set to become even worse for regionalist groups. Russia’s justice ministry has proposed amending the basic laws on public organizations which will require that all groups, including those which now exist on social networks alone, be subject to registration as NGOs have been (kommersant.ru/doc/3854782). “These amendments,” Shtepa argues, “will in fact ban any regionalist movement” as they would give the authorities the power to ban even informal social network-based groups. It is another matter how effective state action in this area would be; but it would certainly give the powers that be yet another way to tighten the screws on Russian society. Some groups may in fact close; but members of many others are likely to be radicalized. And as a result, Moscow will be confronted by problem far more serious than the one it would have had it only been willing to show respect to and address in a serious way the issues of concern to regions. If such groups conclude that they cannot have a future in a Moscow-dominated state, that will do more to threaten the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation than anything any regional movement has done in that country up to now.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: A Danger Sign for the Future: Moscow Media Go Beserk about Language in Sakha School

Paul Goble Staunton, February 2 – A school in Sakha created for Sakha speakers has provoked outrage in the Moscow media, forced the authorities in the Sakha Republic to gut its program, and providesd a possible indication of how Russian officials plan to do away with any efforts in the republics to save their titular languages. Over the past few days, the Moscow media have been filled with horrified reports that a school in Sakha is not admitting Russian children in violation of the law and good sense and that the situation must be rectified now. (For examples, see mk.ru/social/2019/02/01/bez-russkikh-v-yakutii-otkazalis-prinimat-detey-v-nacionalnuyu-shkolu.htmlregnum.ru/news/society/2564832.html,regnum.ru/news/society/2564554.html and regnum.ru/news/society/2564532.html.) The facts of the case are both less and more alarming than the Russian media in Moscow suggest, the Region.Expert portal says (region.expert/sakha-school/). The school in question is located in the 203rd micro-district of Yakutsk, one of the few Sakha language schools there and whose opening parents have sought for 14 years (news.ykt.ru/article/82631?day.theme). Because the neighborhood was new and growing so rapidly, Region.Expert reports, “the city authorities simply did not foresee the need for the construction of ordinary general educational schools.” When Russian-speaking parents tried to register their children at this one school, they were told they would need to take them to another. Russian parents were outraged as what they saw as “’discrimination’” and began to complain to city, republic and country authorities. That had consequences which are absurd in the short term and a threat to the survival of non-Russian education over the longer haul. The Sakha-language school was forced to stop being that and instead to offer several different programs with various languages of instruction even though it continues to be called “a national school (sakhapress.ru/archives/243839). That could easily become the model of how the Russian authorities will behave to any attempt at maintaining non-Russian schools – keeping the name so they will be counted as such but eliminating their content. What is especially distressing, Region.Expert says, is that the new Yakutsk mayor, Sardana Avksentiya, whom many have viewed as independent-minded, quickly fell in line with the demands of the Moscow media and quite likely of Moscow officials on this issue (meduza.io/feature/2019/01/30/ty-bolshe-ne-devochka-ty-mer).

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Toward a Tipping Point? Regional Leaders Now Almost as Popular as Putin

Paul Goble Staunton, February 2 – One of the moments when it became clear that the Soviet Union was headed for the dustbin of history was when the leaders of the national republics, often having won elections for their positions even when Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev had not, became more popular than the incumbent in the Kremlin. Something similar has not yet happened in the Russian Federation. Vladimir Putin remains more popular than the heads of the federal subjects in most polls, but the decline in his standing means that he is no longer head and shoulders above them, something that must be of concern in the Kremlin (club-rf.ru/news/52694). However, it is likely that this shift now does not mean what it did in 1989-1991. That is because, as Kazan political analyst Ruslan Aysin points out, at present even more than at the end of Soviet times, “all government institutions – courts, parliaments, executive organs, fiscal services and political parties are rapidly degrading” (business-gazeta.ru/article/411918). The rating of the president is falling rapidly, and consequently, his ability to moderate the struggles of informal structures like clans which have assumed the role of formal institutions in the past has been significantly reduced. Hence the arrests of the Arashukovs, a measure of the center’s weakness rather than its strength. This all means, Aysin says, that “the uncontrolled scenario of the transfer of power is sharply increasing. The systemic crisis is deepening, and soon we will be almost in the position of Venezuela and Maduro.” Somewhat ominously, he adds, “the current political construction [in Russia] is finally and completely worn out.” The models of state and society that were appropriate in the past no longer work now despite the assumptions of many, the Kazan analyst says. “It is already past time to view things as they are. Russia, of course, has ‘a special path,’ but in this case, that is clearly insufficient” to ensure that it does not face disaster.

Gergely Varga | Why the Hungarian Link in Russia’s Grand Strategy Is Overblown

Editor’s Note: This article is a response to Stephen Blank’s essay, Putin’s Energy Strategy Is More Ambitious than You Think, which we published on January 4, 2019. Energy policy is a crucial part of Russia’s strategy to maximize its influence in Europe and divide the European Union. As highlighted by critics of Russia’s assertive energy strategy in Europe, the two flagship Russian-sponsored pipeline projects, Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream, are much more than business: they are also geopolitical tools aimed at increasing Russia’s leverage over Central and Eastern Europe. However, an increasing number of articles in the West falsely portray NATO member Hungary as a satellite state within Russian President Vladimir Putin’s grand European strategy. These claims are misplaced. A key element of the criticism Hungary receives is linked to its energy politics. One of the first strategic decisions of the second government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in 2010-2011 was to buy back the share that Russian oil and gas company Surgutneftegas owned in the Hungarian flagship energy company MOL, with the objective of posing clear limits for Russian influence in the Hungarian energy market. If anything, MOL—in which the Hungarian government owns 26 percent—and Russian energy firms are competitors in the region, especially with regard to Russian intentions in Croatia. Any notion that MOL or any other major Hungarian company is a geopolitical tool in the hands of Moscow is baseless. Moreover, since 2010, Hungary has taken numerous steps to decrease its energy dependence on Russia by building interconnectors, increasing storage capacities, supporting the energy infrastructure investments of the Three Seas initiative—the list could go on. The current debates with Croatia about the LNG terminal in the island of Krk and possible future Hungarian gas purchase through Croatia are not about whether diversification is a necessity, but about the price tag. With respect to natural gas, Hungary is highly dependent on imports and on one source—Russia. Like many other EU members, it has two strategic objectives: diversification of sources and diversification of transit routes. In some cases, the two objectives converge, as with the interconnectors toward Romania and Croatia. In other cases, Hungary is taking steps to increase the number of supply routes from the Russian source, but that doesn’t mean it’s abandoning its other objective. Meanwhile, other major European-Russian energy deals such as Nord Stream 2 or the Yamal LNG—supported by other EU members such as Austria, Italy, France, and Germany—have much greater potential geopolitical ramifications than any of the Russian-Hungarian deals, due to their sheer volume, economic size, and political impact. Moreover, high-level meetings between Putin and many other leaders of EU or NATO members are as least as frequent as those between Orbán and the Russian president. The claim that Hungary is currently pursuing irredentist policies to make way for Russian meddling also needs revision. The relationships between Hungary and those of its neighbors with which it historically had the most tensions—Slovakia, Serbia, and Romania—are excellent from a historical perspective. Any recent disputes about Hungarian minority rights with these countries are a far cry from those of the previous decade or of the 1990s. Furthermore, the political objectives Hungary has put forward in its support for Hungarian minorities are well within the boundaries of European norms. It is indisputable that Hungarian-Ukrainian relations have taken a downturn in recent years. However, the primary cause of this development was the adoption of a controversial education law by Kyiv in 2017, which was criticized in a detailed opinion by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission that called for some corrections. Hungary’s objective is for Ukraine to comply with the recommendations of the Venice Commission. Hungarian support for Ukraine’s stability, territorial integrity, and Euro-Atlantic orientation has been consistent since 1991. Hungary has displayed nothing but staunch support for Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity, EU visa liberalization, and signing of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area agreement; Hungary has also supported sanctions against Russia after Crimea and has stood up for NATO reassurance and deterrence measures against Russia. It’s true that Hungary has blocked ministerial-level meetings of the NATO-Ukraine Commission since March 2017, but it’s also true that Budapest has not objected to any other format of high-level meetings or to any other form of NATO-Ukraine cooperation. Budapest uses this platform in its dispute with Kyiv because it is concerned about existing minority rights. From the Hungarian perspective, Ukraine’s transition needs to be based on Euro-Atlantic principles to be lasting and successful. All of this is not to say that Hungary’s approach and decisions related to Russia should be free of debate from an Atlanticist perspective. However, portraying Hungary as a “Trojan horse” of Russia which is bent on advancing Putin’s interests to the detriment of its NATO allies is off the mark. Hungary is pursuing its national interests in line with many other NATO members’ policies as it applies a pragmatic, economics-centered approach in its relations with Russia, while at the same time setting clear limits for its support of Moscow’s conduct in the region. Gergely Varga is a senior research fellow at the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade in Budapest and is a former visiting fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University.

Stephen Blank | Putin’s Grand Energy Strategy Is More Ambitious than You Think

Energy politics are critical in Russia’s long war on the West and Ukraine. Indeed, energy functions as a Swiss army knife for Moscow, cutting simultaneously in several directions. Energy provides the basis for the revenue stream that enables all government operations, comprises a ready source of constant corruption of European elites and institutions, and furnishes an unending source of leverage and corruption over European governments and politics. Russia’s war against Ukraine only heightens energy’s vital importance to Moscow in its overall European strategy. Upon seizing Crimea, Moscow expropriated Ukraine’s energy platforms off Crimea’s coast. Likewise it is trying to make Ukraine economically dependent on Russia by building the Nord Stream II pipeline that will bypass the Baltic States, Belarus, Poland, and Ukraine and send gas to Germany, isolating Ukraine, and undermining support for Kyiv in Europe. This last point is not sufficiently understood abroad. Having bought up distribution networks in Germany, Moscow will have leverage over Germany and also on Germany’s supposed re-export of the gas from Nord Stream II to Central and Eastern Europe.

No negotiations with Russia until it releases detained Ukrainian sailors – Volker

U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker called on Russia to immediately release the Ukrainian sailors captured in the Kerch Strait. — Ukrinform.

UAWire – Volker: US and EU considering new sanctions on Russia for capturing Ukrainian sailors

US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker believes that Russia is holding the Ukrainian sailors in order to put political pressure on …

EU demands that Russia immediately release Pavlo Hryb and Ukrainian sailors

The European Union called on Russia to immediately provide Ukrainian political prisoner Pavlo Hryb with medical care and release him. — Ukrinform.

Infrastructure Minister: We believe the Azov set of sanctions will be adopted. This will hit Russia, again – news economics | UNIAN

In April, it will be exactly three years that you’ve occupied a top post in the Ministry of Infrastructure. What goals have you already achieved? The Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine in an interview with UNIAN told about the ongoing work with the western partners on a new package of sanctions against Russia over the aggression in the Sea of Azov and our losses as a result of this aggression, Ukraine’s plans for road repair and construction, his attitude to the NABU probe against him, and changes ahead in railway transportation. The Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine in an interview with UNIAN told about the ongoing work with the western partners on a new package of sanctions against Russia over the aggression in the Sea of Azov and our losses as a result of this aggression, Ukraine’s plans for road repair and construction, his attitude to the NABU probe against him, and changes ahead in railway transportation. In April, it will be exactly three years that you’ve occupied a top post in the Ministry of Infrastructure. What goals have you already achieved? One of the main achievements is the creation of a Road Fund, that is, a full-fledged system that is steadily financing construction and repair of roads. Over the past few years, over 7,300 km of roads have been repaired and built, of which 3,800 km last year alone. These are very good indicators, with few European countries able to boast of such a pace.

UAWire – UN denies involvement in new Donbas peace plan proposed by OSCE special representative Martin Sajdik

The UN has no involvement in the new plan on settling the situation in Donbas, relayed by OSCE Special Representative Martin Sajdik, said the UN …

Ukraine’s minister for occupied territories criticizes Sajdik’s ‘peace plan’ for Ukraine

The so-called “peace plan” for Ukraine proposed by OSCE envoy to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) Martin Sajdik requires a number of decisions by the parliaments of Ukraine and other countries and is questionable, Ukraine’s Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons Vadym Chernysh.

OSCE Officials Reveal Concept for International Mission in Ukraine’s East – Jamestown

Moscow is no longer inclined, even pro forma, to consider the terms of a United Nations peace mission in Ukraine’s east. A full year has elapsed since the Kremlin’s negotiator on this issue (and overseer of Ukraine’s Russian-occupied territory), Vladislav Surkov, last consented to meet with the US State Department’s special envoy, Kurt Volker, in Dubai, in January 2018. Since then, the Russian side has rebuffed Volker’s efforts to reactivate the discussion about the terms of a UN peace mission. This persistent blockage has apparently caused Kyiv and Washington to consider possible alternatives to a UN mission. On January 28, Volker and Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations, Volodymyr Yelchenko, met to discuss possible steps toward an “international peace mission” in Ukraine’s east (Ukrinform, January 28, 2019). The term “international,” rather than United Nations as heretofore, denotes that a joint UN-OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) mission is now being considered. It looks like a tentative move at this juncture, possibly seeking a middle way between the Ukrainian and US preference for a large and “robust” UN-led military contingent versus Moscow’s idea of a weak UN mission that would merely provide police escorts to the OSCE’s mission. Kyiv’s cautious willingness to at least explore a joint UN-OSCE mission seeks to build on a comprehensive plan recently prepared by certain OSCE officials “in their personal capacities.” This plan, for all its flaws (see below), has generated a limited momentum where there was no momentum left in this debate. The plan’s main author is the senior Austrian diplomat Martin Sajdik, chairman and coordinator of the Minsk Contact Group (tasked with implementing the Minsk “agreements”) from 2015 to date. Ambassador Sajdik revealed an outline of the plan on January 24, 2019, in an exclusive interview with the Austrian daily Die Kleine Zeitung, which serves the Austrian Lands of Styria and Karinthia. It took, apparently, five days for translations of the lengthy German-language interview from that provincial newspaper to reach Ukrainian media and officials in Kyiv.

Russia Defends the Minsk Agreements and Status Quo in Ukraine’s East – Jamestown

The new plan for peace in Ukraine’s east, disclosed by Ambassador Martin Sajdik (see EDM, January 30, 2019) and the reactions to it from Kyiv, Moscow, Donetsk and Luhansk (see below), illustrate three basic facts about the Russian-imposed Minsk “agreements” and their non-implementation from 2014/2015 to date. First, as is generally recognized, “the Minsk agreements do not work”; more to the point, they do not work the way Moscow designed them against Ukraine, because Ukraine has immunized itself militarily, legally and politically from those “agreements’ ” destructive potential. Second, the Minsk dispensation is not one “without alternatives”; hence Sajdik’s plan itself (for all its flaws) seeks to move the negotiations from the level of the Minsk “agreements”—a bilateral Russia-Ukraine affair—to a new level, that of a multilateral international settlement. Sajdik’s plan, in turn, repackages Washington and Kyiv’s initiative (2017–2018) for a United Nations–led peacekeeping mission in Ukraine’s east, designed to circumvent the destructive political clauses of the Minsk “agreements”: an alternative to them, while still paying the inevitable diplomatic lip service to them. And third (as a corollary), Russia can fiercely defend the system of Minsk “agreements” and forums because this system helps to preserve Russia’s gains in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Moscow, Donetsk and Luhansk have instantly perceived Sajdik’s plan as threatening their own conception of the Minsk “agreements” as inviolable, immutable and “obligatory” on Ukraine. In particular, Sajdik’s plan jeopardizes the status of the Minsk dispensation as “without alternative,” since Sajdik’s plan itself outlines a possible alternative—albeit suboptimal, compared with the 2017 US-Ukrainian initiative for a UN-led peacekeeping operation. Although parts of Sajdik’s plan contravene Ukraine’s interests while favoring Russia’s (see EDM, January 30, 2019), Moscow and Donetsk-Luhansk have attacked Sajdik’s plan vituperatively, and his person scurrilously. The Kremlin’s authorized voice, Aleksei Chesnakov, responded: “The Minsk agreements must be fully carried out. Any talks about ‘adding to’ and ‘further development of’ Minsk, are manipulative attempts at enabling Ukraine to avoid its obligations”. Initially assuming that Sajdik was acting on his own initiative, tolerated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Chesnakov warned the latter: “The OSCE’s own representative is casting this organization’s effectiveness into doubt. The OSCE’s official, responsible for the fulfillment of the Minsk agreements, is attempting to renege on them.” Sajdik’s was an “empty document,” “unworthy of serious consideration,” “incomprehensible to anybody…even to him.” “Obviously fatigued at the end of his career, he tries to propose at least something, so as not to look so helpless” (TASS, January 28, 2019). Chesnakov is generally deemed the public voice of Vladislav Surkov, Kremlin overseer of the Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” (DPR, LPR). Shortly after his initial reaction, Chesnakov reconsidered and exculpated the OSCE: “It has now become obvious that the United States is behind Sajdik’s plan. This is not Sajdik’s plan, not even the OSCE’s plan. This is [Kurt] Volker’s plan. Sajdik was simply ordered to air it. Volker unlea

German naval ship Werra to reach Black Sea in February as part of the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two – 112.international

Werra, the warship of the German Navy will join the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG 2) in the Black Sea. Deutsche Welle reported that referring to the German defense ministry’s official. The floating naval base will reach the Bulgarian seaports in Burgas and Varna. The German authority does not plan to send any more vessels to that area. Previously, U.S. battleship Donald Cook (DDG 75) entered the waters of the Black Sea and spent over a week there; it reached the Georgian port of Batumi. Pytlivyi (Watchful) vessel of the Black Sea Fleet kept the track of its course.

UAWire – German warship to enter Black Sea for NATO mission

The Werra, a replenishment ship belonging to the German Navy, will travel to the Black Sea in February as part of a permanent NATO anti-mine …

Losses of marine industry caused by Russian aggression amount to $360 millions -112.international

The Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine mentioned the adoption of Azov sanctions package

Turkey will never recognize annexation of Crimea – Cavusoglu

Turkey consistently supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine, condemns the annexation of Crimea and will never recognize it, defends and will continue to defend Crimean Tatars. — Ukrinform.

Grenade launchers, explosive and Russian passports seized from Transnistrian immigrants in Odesa – 112.international

The workers of the Security Service of Ukraine uncovered the group of immigrants from the unauthorized Transnistria. The members of the group were making all the preparations for committing loud crimes that were supposed to destabilize the situation in Ukraine. The press-service of the Security Service of Ukraine reports this. Related: Ukraine’s Security Service to reveal information on “Wagner” activity in Sudan So during the sanctioned searches of the residences of two foreigners, citizens of Transnistria, and one Ukrainian, the citizen of Ukraine, who was born in Transnistria and who visits this territory on the regular basis, the law enforcement found our two rocket launchers, one explosive, passports and a driving license of the Russian Federation. Related: Vyshynsky’s case: Russia opens criminal proceeding against Ukraine’s Security Service officer “Drugs, over 1000 newspapers, which encouraged to join to the illegal armed forces due to so to speak the illegitimacy of existing authorities and the law enforcement of Ukraine, were seized from the wrongdoers”, – the report said. The Security Service of Ukraine continues investigation on finding their functions in creating of illegal armed forces “The Ukrainian People’s (National) Army”. Earlier, pro-Russian separatists in Transdniester declared independence from Moldova in 1990. Later, the separatists conducted was against the Government’s forces when around 1000 people were killed. “The conflict has been frozen since Russian troops stationed in Transdniester during the Soviet era intervened on the side of the separatists. Transdniester’s independence is not recognized by any internationally recognized country, but Moscow has been unofficially backing the separatists’ self-declared government,” the news agency reports.

Russia deploys at least 28 battalion tactical groups near Ukrainian border – Defense Ministry – news war | UNIAN

Speaker for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Chernobay has said Russia deployed at least 28 battalion tactical groups near the Ukrainian border. The groups are 100% staffed by contract servicemen and equipped with modern (modernized) weapons and military hardware. At least 28 battalion tactical groups are in readiness for immediate use on the border with our state. They are 100% staffed by contract servicemen and equipped with modern (modernized) weapons and military hardware,” he told UNIAN about Russia’s military presence along the border with Ukraine. “Their number can be increased in a short time due to the operational transfer of battalion tactical groups from other military districts,” Chernobay added. As UNIAN reported earlier, Chernobay said the Russian Federation had deployed 12 Iskander nuclear-capable ballistic missile launchers at a distance of 250 km from the border of Ukraine.

Russia deploys 12 nuclear-capable ballistic missile launchers near Ukraine border – Defense Ministry – news war | UNIAN

Speaker for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Chernobay has said the Russian Federation deployed 12 Iskander nuclear-capable ballistic missile launchers at a distance of 250 km from the border of Ukraine. Satellite images obtained exclusively by Fox News revealed a new Russian deployment of Iskander missile batteries and launchers near the border with Ukraine.

Donbas warzone update: Two Ukrainian soldiers wounded amid 10 enemy attacks in past day – news war | UNIAN

Two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded amid 10 enemy attacks in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, on Saturday, February 2. Since Sunday midnight, Russian-led forces have not opened fire yet.

Donbas warzone: Ukraine reports five enemy attacks in past day – news war | UNIAN

Russian-led forces mounted five attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in the past 24 hours. There were no Ukrainian army casualties.

Russia-led forces attack Ukrainian army positions in Donbas twice on Friday – To Inform is to Influence

Illegal armed formations attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, twice from 00:00 to 18:00 Kyiv time on Friday, February 1, no casualties have been reported. “Members of the Joint Forces have not suffered from criminal attacks by the Russian occupation forces,” the press service of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) said on Facebook…

Donbas: Man detained for trying to join Russian army – 112.international

The arrested man is transferred to the law enforcement bodies to investigate the case

Ukrainian political prisoner in Russia Pavlo Hryb tells court of torture – news politics | UNIAN

A Ukrainian political prisoner, a 20-year-old Pavlo Hryb, complained to the court in Russia during the latest hearing in his case where he is being tried on trumped-up “terrorism” charges that he had been subjected to physical and psychological pressure by investigators during the pretrial probe, aimed at making him “confess”, his father, Ihor Hryb, told UNIAN. Russian security officers applied physical and psychological violence against him to make the young Ukrainian “confess” to a crime he had not committed, he says.

“Like trapped animal”: Gryb writes letter from prison in Russia – 112.international

Pavlo Gryb, a Ukrainian political prisoner kept in Russia, wrote a letter, in which he compared himself to “trapped animal”, as “Novaya Gazeta” reports. He also wrote he suspected that the meeting with Tatiana Yereshova was a trap as well. Related: Ukrainian political prisoner Gryb has Alzheimer symptoms, – father I undertand I am not guilty, but I am like a trapped animal. I blame myself only for the fact that I knew where and to whom I intended to go. I felt I was not coming back. But I haven’t listened to anybody’s warnings, so I went. The thing is: I do not have to suffer in vain. I could have not forseen everything. It was a trap, and I am still trapped here. Why did I go to the trap knowing that some situationas would force me to do something out of the order?” – Gryb wrote.

Law on signing treaties on defense articles import by Defence Ministry comes into force – 112.international

The Verkhovna Rada agreed the bill on right of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine to be the subject of international contracts with 236 votes on January, 17. The law № 2672-VIII on right of the Defence Ministry to sign treaties on defense articles import comes into force today.

UAWire – President Poroshenko signs decree allowing Ukrainian Armed Forces to buy arms directly from foreign manufacturers

The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko signed the decree enabling the Ministry of Defense, the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the General Staff …

Law allows Defence Ministry to sign treaties on defense articles import – 112.international

The law № 2672-VIII on right of the Defence Ministry to sign treaties on defense articles import will come into force tomorrow, as the “Ukraine’s voice” reports. The law grants the right to the subjects of the defensive order, namely the Ministry of Defense, to be the member of international contracts directly without any other representatives and to import the defense articles.

Ukraine is interested in starting a large-scale purchase of high-tech defense equipment from the United States – Deputy Prime Minister – 112.international

Ukraine is interested in starting a large-scale purchase of high-tech defense equipment from the United States, including additional lethal weapons complexes (Javelin). This was stated by Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Ivanna Klympush-Tsyntsadze, the press service of the Cabinet of Ministers reports. According to her, Ukraine hopes to become an active participant in the US program “Foreign Military Financing”. “US assistance continues to improve the training of combat units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, their equipment, medical and logistical support. I hope that our cooperation will become even stronger with the new legislation,” she said. In turn, the representative of the United States in the group of high-level strategic advisers to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Lieutenant-General of the United States Armed Forces, Keith Dayton, noted that his team focused on helping Ukraine implement high-quality defense sector reforms. “I understand the complexity of the conditions in which Ukraine finds itself, however, it’s not necessary to look for reasons hindering the process of transformation in the country. With the available opportunities, it is necessary to work hard without stopping the process of reforming security and defense sector of Ukraine,” the US representative added.

Ivanna Klympush on Twitter: “Highly appreciate the support & assistance provided by Defense Reform Advisory Board. Convinced that due to his unique experience and knowledge Keith Dayton as new #US Rep in #DRAB will give additional impetus for cooperation in #UA defense reform… https://t.co/QJrsC07r0t”

The promising “Myslyvets” SAM and the HYBRID MANPADS + ATGW

In the continuation of the theme of the new anti-aircraft missile complex near the KSPP “Arsenal”, the site Defense Express shared the workings of another participant – Diamond Defense Systems. Recall that initially the project was developed jointly with the German company Rheinmetall, which subsequently stopped participating in this and other projects through the prohibition of the German government. As already written in the Ukrainian Military Pages, the concept of a new short-range MRK consists of combining two universal dual launch units “Duet” into a single module and integrating the complex into an easy mobile platform (for example, an armored car). The promising MIS “Myslyvets” and the HYBRID MANPADS + PTRK The promising MIS “Myslyvets” and the HYBRID MANPADS + PTRK Module “Duo” at the exhibition “Weapons and Security 2018” The UPM “Duet” can be armed with various missiles – like the old modifications of the Soviet era “Igla”, as well as future samples, in particular “Kolibri”. The only module for the two “Duets” is the Achilles remote control station from the private company Diamond Defense Systems. It is also planned to use the optoelectronic multifunctional fire control system from Roda Computer GmbH, which manufactures secure computer equipment for military use.

Germany has blocked the development of a joint SHORADS with Ukraine

The German government blocked the Ukrainian-German development of a short-range mobile anti-aircraft missile system, carried out by the Arsenal joint-stock company, together with Rheinmetall. Oleksandr Klochko, deputy director of the Arsenal special engineering company, said in a comment to the Defense Industrial Courier . KSPP Arsenal, a developer of the new domestic MANPADS Kolibri , and Rheinmetall jointly developed a short-range anti-aircraft missile system (up to 5 km) based on the Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile. Rheinmetall was responsible for integrating it into a mobile platform and targeting and tracking system. But the German government has banned such cooperation with Ukraine. Currently, the project is carried out independently by the Arsenal KSPPP. A module “Duet”, armed with two anti-aircraft guided missiles, has already been created. The task is to unite the two “Duets” and integrate the complex into an easy mobile platform of the type “Kozak-2M”. The development of the module is carried out jointly with the private company Diamond Defense Systems.

“Fire and forget”: Ukrainian missile R-27 will receive new opportunities – Ukrainian military portal

Ukrainian Defense Industrial Enterprise The state-owned joint-stock holding company “Artem” is developing a new version of the air-to-air missile R-27, which will have considerably greater scope for use. This was on the air of the Defense Line program, said Anton Karpenko, director of the ARKH “Artyom” Compared to the previous version of the rocket, they will have a greater range of target delimitation and greater resistance to interference. Now work is underway to create new guidance sekers, including active ones (ARH), which allow pilots to work on the principle of “fire and forget” and not endanger their lives on a plane and destroy them: “We are currently carrying out two design and research works on the modernization of this missile: new seekers (self-guidance – ed.) Are being created – both radar-type and infrared-type,” said Anton Karpenko Expecting practical launch and testing of upgraded missiles with new active seekers should be expected after 2021. The R-27 air-to-air missile family provides interception and destruction of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as cruise missiles in the far and near, maneuverable air combat. It has a three-module design, consisting of an apparatus unit with a head, a military unit and a solid-fuel engine, with three power units of a suspension bracket. It is part of the MiG and Su military aircraft. Depending on the version, the range of the rocket can range from 50 to 110 km. Technical characteristics of rocket modifications which are now issued at the enterprise of the State Joint-Stock Holding Company “Artem”:

SBGS will repair artillery boats of the type “Shmel [Bumblebee]”

Odessa detachment of marine security of the State Transport Service of Ukraine announced a tender for the repair of artillery units PT-76B of three ships of the marine protection project 1204 “Shmel ‘” (Bumblebee) for 5 340 267 UAH. The start of the auction on February 14, the period of repair until June 30, 2019. It is planned to dismantle artillery units (turrets) from ships, their complete disassembly, defective casing, parts, sights, devices, guns, etc., repair, dyeing or restoration of protective cover, assembling and testing at the range. In particular, it is noted that the structure of the turrets are damaged, and the guns need to be inspected in connection with prolonged operation, the drives have a high level of recoil, stabilizers of tank armament, gunpowder removal systems, numerous damage to ship’s turrets tracks, etc. Ships of the Sea Guard Ave. 1204 “Shmel ‘” (Bumblebee) – the project of river artillery boats of the USSR, intended for carrying patrol service on rivers and lakes, support of ground forces by artillery and machine gun fire, transportation of personnel with arms during transfers and actions in the pools rivers, as well as for actions in the coastal shallow areas of the seas. The armament of boats consists of a 76-mm tank-gun D-56TS in a turrets from a light tank PT-76B (with a 7.92-mm machine gun coupled), a rocket launcher BM-14-17 and a 25-mm two-barrel automatic shipbuilding artillery. Also boats have the opportunity to plant small marine anchor and bottom mines.

“Empire not to hand over its spies”: Lutsenko estimates chances of Yanukovych’s extradition from Russia – news politics | UNIAN

Russia never hands over its spies and agents of influence, so it is not worth expecting that they will return a fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych, says Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko. The prosecutor general stressed that on the first day after Yanukovich’s escape, only UAH 120,000 remained in the state treasury.

Ukraine prosecutors complete investigation of Maidan shootings: suspects face life in prison – news politics | UNIAN

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine has completed the pre-trial investigation of the Maidan deadly shootings of 2014 and is ready to take the case to court, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko says. Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said that the prosecutor’s office is ready to take the case to court.

Political consultations on FTA between Ukraine and Turkey to be held soon – Klimkin

Political consultations on the introduction of a free trade area (FTA) between Ukraine and Turkey will take place in the near future, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has said.

Ukraine bans over 13 books with Russian propaganda – 112.international

Some children books were banned as well, as they contained communist or Russian symbols

ISW on Twitter: “#Ukraine is set to hold a major election two months from now. #Russia has been targeting the #NATO partner state in a wide-ranging campaign leading up to the vote: https://t.co/gMWZdkVKQ8… https://t.co/adxwZm5Hij”

EU refuses to comment on Poroshenko’s words about Ukraine’s request for EU membership in 2024 – news politics | UNIAN

High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini has refused to comment on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s words that Ukraine will apply for EU membership in 2024. With Ukraine, but also with Moldova and Georgia, the EU have managed to achieve the three main objectives.

Yatsenyuk advocate successful participation of People’s Front in parliamentary election campaign

Leader of People’s Front party Arseniy Yatsenyuk has said that his political force counts on victory in the parliamentary election in 2019 and he will not participate in the presidential race.

Opposition candidate splashed with brilliant green in Berdyansk – LB.ua news portal

Opposition candidate splashed with brilliant green in Berdyansk. He was met with the chant “Suitcase – railway – Russia”. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Joint Forces colonel running for president on own initiative – command – LB.ua news portal

Joint Forces colonel running for president on own initiative – command. He is on leave for the time of the election campaign. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Election watchdog: 28 presidential candidates registered – LB.ua news portal

Election watchdog: 28 presidential candidates registered. Two more were registered today. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

From Kruty to Rostov – news politics | UNIAN

The authorities, overwhelmed by their pre-election panic, are now destroying their own achievements (or, to say the least, those implemented under their rule thanks to the incredible efforts and pressure of Western partners and public activists). The authorities, overwhelmed by their pre-election panic, are now destroying their own achievements (or, to say the least, those implemented under their rule thanks to the incredible efforts and pressure of Western partners and public activists). Over the past two years, independence of anti-corruption bodies from the central government has been completely eliminated Zarub Alasania, the first head of Ukraine’s public broadcaster that once used to suck on budget funding who has not become the “servant” of the highest authorities, was dismissed for “failing to broadcast the president sufficiently.” At one time, in the wake of post-revolutionary euphoria, people tried to turn our public broadcaster from the bleak UT-1 channel that served the information needs of the authorities, into a Ukrainian equivalent of the British BBC. But this appeared to be too uncomfortable for the Bankova and the Cabinet. Instead of broadcasting meaningless boring events with the participation of Petro Poroshenko, they began airing stories about the relationship between the president and Putin’s crony Viktor Medvedchuk. Over the past two years, independence of anti-corruption bodies from the central government has been completely eliminated. While the presidential team managed to get “their” people to the National Anti-Corruption Agency right away, it took more time for them to tame the head of the Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office, Nazar Kholodnytsky. The last to fall was the National Anti-corruption Bureau, which fabulously failed their own case against the above-mentioned head of SAPO. Even the recorder hidden in the aquarium at his office was of no help, it appeared.

UAWire – Kyiv: 11 assassination attempts on President Poroshenko were thwarted in 2018

Chief of the Ukrainian State Security Administration Valeriy Heletey stated in an interview with Ukrainske Radio that in 2018, eleven …

Ukrainian Orthodox Church Enthrones Epifaniy As Leader

The new Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) has installed its first metropolitan, Epifaniy, at a ceremony in Kyiv on February 3, in a process that further establishes the new church body’s independence.

Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy inaugurated as Primate of Orthodox Church of Ukraine – news ukraine | UNIAN

Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy (Epiphanius) has been inaugurated as Primate of the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The event took place in Kyiv’s Saint Sophia Cathedral.

Enthronement of Metropolitan Epiphanius – 112.international

The Metropolitan Epiphanius of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine has been officialy enthroned today, the broadcast of the ceremeny is on the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Facebook page.

Poroshenko: There will be no state-controlled church in Ukraine – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has announced there will be no state-controlled church in Ukraine and invited the Orthodox Church of Ukraine for partnership. The president congratulated the nation on the completion of the new church’s formation. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has announced there will be no state-controlled church in Ukraine and invited the Orthodox Church of Ukraine for partnership. “Let me stress once again that the recently registered Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine, is and will be separated from the state. There will be no state-controlled church in Ukraine. This constitutional principle has been in force and will remain in force,” Poroshenko said during the inauguration of Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy (Epiphanius) as Primate of the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU). According to him, the enthronement of the Primate of the OCU symbolizes that “this great issue of the state has been resolved with God’s help.”

Metropolitan Epifaniy calls Russian Orthodox Church Putin’s last vanguard in Ukraine – news politics | UNIAN

Leader of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy has called the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) the last vanguard of President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. Epifaniy says the ROC has a great influence. Leader of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy has called the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) the last vanguard of President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. “There are many who now almost understand, but do not fully understand what has actually happened. They are convinced the things that happened took place in a non-canonical way, that the Ecumenical Patriarch did it wrong, he had no right, etc.,” he said in an interview to Radio Liberty. He stressed the Ukrainians were waiting for Constantinople to provide autocephaly at first, and now they are waiting for recognition by other Orthodox churches. “That is, the ROC has a great influence. And we believe that when we unite, and all Orthodox Ukrainians will be in a single local Orthodox church, the war in Donbas will end and Crimea will be returned to Ukraine. Because Putin will lose here, in Ukraine, the support he had before that time. For if he had not had this support, there would have been no war in Donbas,” Epifaniy said. At the same time, he said the support exists. “Therefore, we will gradually assert ourselves as a single church, recognized, canonical in Ukraine. And Russia will gradually lose this influence through the souls of Orthodox Ukrainians here,” he added.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Majority of Orthodox Believers in Ukraine Identify with Ukrainian Church, New Poll Shows

Paul Goble Staunton, February 2 – A new poll conducted by the Sotsis Center, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology and the Razumkov center reports that a majority of those Ukrainians who say they are Orthodox identify with the new Ukrainian Orthodox Church rather than with the one controlled by the Moscow Patriarchate. According to the survey, 70.7 percent of Ukrainians identify as Orthodox Christians, with 43.9 percent saying they view themselves as part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and only 15.2 percent indicating loyalty to the Moscow Patriarchate church (socis.kiev.ua/ua/2019-01/?fbclid=IwAR1cc7_Kkhc0oIuWunNctxlcE3LA5IQXHizzhh9PHWlosHyhav-vjWO8c1Q). The poll also found that 38.4 percent consider themselves Orthodox but do not affiliate themselves with either. Other findings of interest include that 6.9 percent of Ukrainians say they are Greek Catholics, 1.3 percent Roman Catholics, and one percent Protestants and Evangelicals. Just under ten percent said they were not affiliated with any church. That pattern suggests that ever more parishes will transfer to the UOC despite Russian efforts with flying squads moving from place to place to block that. As of yesterday, “close to 200” parishes in Ukraine had shifted to the national church (unn.com.ua/ru/news/1777424-blizko-200-religiynikh-gromad-khochut-ofitsiyno-priyednatisya-do-ptsu). The tectonic shift this represents was highlighted by Archbishop Yevstraty of Chernihov and Nezhinsk. He said that Moscow wants to maintain control of the Ukrainian church because only in that way can the Kremlin have any hope of regaining control of all of Ukraine (risu.org.ua/ru/index/all_news/community/religion_and_society/74554/). As long as Moscow controls the Ukrainian church, the archbishop declared, it could position itself as “the third Rome;” but without Ukraine it shows itself to be something else, “Moscow as the second Golden Horde.”

Ivanna Klympush on Twitter: “Very alarming statements by #Kremlin & Russian Orthodox Church. Last time when #Putin decided to ‘protect’ Ukrainian citizens, he started the military invasion of #Ukraine. Freedom of religion is fully respected in Ukraine. We won’t let #Russia use 🇺🇦 believers in its games”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘The Moscow Patriarch, Israel’s Chief Rabbi and the Dalai Lama are All in Boat’

Paul Goble Staunton, February 1 – Occasionally a new and memorable anecdote appears in Russia at precisely the right time. This past month, as Moscow has marked the tenth anniversary of the enthronement of Patriarch Kirill, one has been circulating that seems particularly apt not only for what it says about him but also what it says about Russian attitudes toward other faiths. As recounted by Maximonline (maximonline.ru/humor/made-in-web/_article/esche-14-luchshih-anekdotov-yanvarya/), the story goes as follows: “The Moscow patriarch, the Dalai Lama and the Chief Rabbi of Israel are aboard a boat on a lake when they suddenly see a café on the shore. The rabbi exclaims “It wouldn’t be a bad thing to eat something!’ He jumps out of the boat and runs across the surface of the water to the shore. “Having watched this, the Dalai Lama also jumps out of the boat and without hurrying walks on the water toward the rabbi. “The Moscow patriarch sits and thinks: ‘How can this be? These two non-Christian are walking on water as if it were dry land. Should not I, the head of the Moscow Orthodox Church, God’s representative on earth, not be able to repeat their performances?’ “He jumps out of the boat and immediately sinks to the bottom of the lake. “Observing this, the rabbi looks out at what is happening as says to the Dalai Lama: ‘Probably we should have told him about the wooden causeway just under the surface?’ “The Dalai Lama responds: ‘What causeway?’”