Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Another bout of nuclear saber-rattling in Muscovy. Analyses of the damage done to Muscovy by Macedonia’s accession to NATO – including comments by Pres Poroshenko. Sweden’s FOI on Russian training for large conflicts. Vedomosti on FSB push to control 5G security. Lithuanian intel assessments. Poland standing up cyber force.
Salisbury update – it appears the third covert operator did not exfiltrate from the UK or did so covertly.
In Kyiv, Verkhovna Rada (parliament) approves amendments to the constitution that include national aspirations to accede to NATO and enter EU. This is a major loss for Russia politically and symbolically. In DC, FM Klimkin meets with NatSec Advisor Bolton and State.
Updates on POWs, Crimea, Azov region and Donbas. Lithuania donates surplus ammo warstocks to Ukraine. Politics updates. Election update and controversy over Rada banning Russian nationals from election monitoring teams. Good Beeb report on Zelenskiy. Updates on Medvedchuk and Yanukovich.
On the ecclesiastical front, the ROC suffers a catastrophic loss in Kyiv with the defection of its “brains trust” of 12 leading clerics to the OCU, authors of church doctrine, policy, and key public relations figures. The collapse of the ROC in Ukraine is accelerating.
In Russia persecution of the Witnesses escalates, while a coven of Witches casts spells on the Vozhd’s enemies, producing a media frenzy – Russia is truly descending into its medieval past. Future historians may label this period the Second Oprichnina, as many Russian observers suggest it is.
The claim comes after the U.S. withdrew from a weapons control treaty, but some experts say it may be a bluff, because Moscow cannot afford an arms race.
Russia will have to develop new types of weapons in a limited time frame in response to the US’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said in a conference call on Tuesday. The defense industry has been given two years to create a ground-based variant of the Kalibr system with the long-range cruise missile that “proved itself” in Syria according to Shoygu. “In this same time frame, we will have to create a ground-based missile system with a long-range hypersonic missile,” the minister added, emphasizing that all these measures are a necessary part of the “mirror response” to the US’s actions. “They are actively working to create ground-based missiles with a range greater than 500km that exceeds the treaty limits. In connection with this, the Russian President has instructed the Defense Ministry to take response measures,” Shoygu said. According to the Russian general, there is no need for additional funds to be allocated from the federal budget, the new projects will simply be allocated funding from the existing resources of the state arms program. The most recent version of the program was signed by President Putin at the start of 2018, and allocates 22 trillion rubles ($335 billion) to arms production and procurement for the Defense Ministry, Interior Ministry, Russian National Guard and other departments. “Using sea and air-based missiles in ground usage will make it possible to significantly reduce the production times of the new missile weapons and the financing [required],” Shoygu emphasized. Deputy Defense Minister Alexey Krivoruchko has been tasked with overseeing the budget for the new missiles. He is expected to “initiate the relevant development activity in a short time as part of the allocations for the 2019 state defense order and the 2020-2021 planned period by reallocating funds to carry out the mentioned operations,” Shogyu said. On 2 February, the US announced that it was suspending the INF Treaty, five years after former President Barack Obama sent Putin an official letter accusing Russia of violating the 1987 agreement, which prohibits the testing and deployment of missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 km. Before the treaty, the Soviet Union had missiles of this category aimed at NATO’s European member-states. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that if Russia fails to return to compliance with the treaty within six months, the US will completely break off the treaty. Over the next 10 years, Washington intends to invest $494 billion in a completely updated “nuclear triad”, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office. This is 23% more than was proposed by last year’s long-term military budget ($400 billion). The Pentagon will allocate $234 billion to maintaining and upgrading the nuclear weapons delivery systems; $15 billion will be used to finance tactical nuclear weapons, and $106 billion to develop new systems. The new arms will include reduced capacity W76-2 warheads and new cruise missiles for submarines. The US also intends to add 12 new nuclear submarines to its fleet.
Russia successfully test-fired an enhanced version of RS-24 Yars intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from the Plesetsk spaceport in the Arkhangelsk Region on 6 February. “At 11:31 a.m. Moscow time on February 6, a mobile Yars solid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile armed with multiple warheads was test-fired from the Plesetsk state testing spaceport,” said in a statement of the Defense Ministry,” – said in a statement of the Defense Ministry. Also noted that the warheads arrived at the designated area at the Kura practice range on the Kamchatka Peninsula, in the Russian Far East. The purpose of the launch was to check tactical, technical and flight characteristics of the advanced intercontinental ballistic missile system. The RS-24 Yars is a Russian strategic missile system comprising a mobile or silo-based solid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile with MIRVed (multiple independently targetable vehicle) warheads. The ICBM was developed by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology under the supervision of Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yuri Solomonov. The Yars is a modification of the Topol-M missile system. Russia has conducted a new test of the RS-24 Yars while tensions increased among Russia and USA after Donald Trump pulled the US out of a nuclear arms control treaty in place since the Cold War. Last week, US President Donald Trump announced the US would leave the pact, which it has long accused the Russians of violating. Russia then did the same. The moves have raised concerns about a new arms race.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg commented on Washington and Moscow pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The Alliance doesn’t want a new arms race, NATO chief stressed.
Another U.S.-Russian nuclear treaty could soon expire without renewal following Washington’s withdrawal from a Cold War-era arms-control pact, a senior Russian diplomat has said.
Political analysts said the accession of the country now known as North Macedonia to NATO, which could be complete by year’s end, was a setback for Russia.
Macedonia is on its way to join Nato next year – despite a Russian push-back in the Western Balkans and beyond.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says the Republic of North Macedonia has destroyed Russia’s plans to block the accession of the country to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The path of North Macedonia to NATO was very difficult but the country demonstrated unity, the head of state said. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says the Republic of North Macedonia has destroyed Russia’s plans to block the accession of the country to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). “The path of Northern Macedonia was very difficult, but the country demonstrated unity and destroyed the plans of Russia, which tried to stop this extremely important move to strengthen security in Europe. NATO has opened ‘doors’ for the 30th member state,” he said at a February 7 session of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, before voting for amendments to the Constitution on Ukraine’s path to the European Union and NATO. The head of state added that on the same day, February 6, the European Commission decided on the membership of North Macedonia in the European Union. “This is another demonstration of how these processes are interconnected, namely accession to NATO and the EU,” the president said. As UNIAN reported earlier, on February 6, in Brussels, permanent representatives of all 29 countries of the Alliance signed a protocol on the accession of the Republic of Northern Macedonia to NATO in the future. Parliaments of all NATO member states shall ratify the protocol. Henceforth, representatives of Northern Macedonia will take part in meetings of NATO and the North Atlantic Council as a guest country’s envoys. Athens and Skopje earlier ratified a historic agreement on a new name for Macedonia, that is the Republic of Northern Macedonia, which put an end to a 27-year dispute that blocked Skopje’s intention to join NATO and the EU. On February 6, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov announced that the new name of the country would finally be approved as soon as the amendments to the Constitution came into force. On January 8, head of the Mission of Ukraine to NATO Vadym Prystaiko said Ukraine could join the Alliance after Macedonia.
Russian military exercises have become increasingly extensive during the last ten years, according to a report from FOI. Although Russia previously focused on managing small-scale conflicts, it now practices how to start and conduct large-scale war.
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) proposed to transfer the fifth-generation mobile communications in Russia to domestic SIM cards, Russian cryptography and replace networks equipment, in particular, on base stations from foreign to locally manufactured, reportsfinanz.ru. According to the newspaper Vedomosti, the initiatives were proposed by the FSB representatives at a meeting of the network infrastructure working group of the Digital Economy project on January 30. Cryptographic algorithms are used to authorise subscribers, so SIM cards must support these algorithms, explained one of the interlocutors of Vedomosti. In August 2018, the FSB military unit announced a closed tender for 3 million rubles with a proposal to develop requirements for the IT security of fifth-generation networks based on Russian crypto algorithms, SIM cards and equipment for both subscribers and providers. According to the website of public procurement, the FSB was supposed, to finalise the tender in September, and the winner to complete the research in December 2018. The FSB has long believed that foreign cryptography and equipment pose risks to national security, and suggests switching to domestic cryptography, recalls Cisco security expert Alexey Lukatsky. The FSB proposed improvements are very expensive, and it is necessary to assess the real need in order to decide whether to participate in this tender, said the Huawei representative. In order to use Russian crypto algorithms, the equipment of each base station will probably have to be certified according to the requirements of the FSB for encryption tools, explains Lukatsky, it is easier and cheaper to protect only traffic between base stations with Russian cryptography. If traffic is encrypted between the end devices, he believes that base stations can not be certified, but this option is unrealistic because operators will not be able to fulfill SORM (Russian System for Operative Investigative Activities ) requirements and they will have difficulties with foreign networks. It is unlikely that Russian cryptography will be supported by international SIM standards.
Delfi.it reports that the Department of State Security and Military Intelligence of Lithuania has blocked the investments of a Russian corporation into a Lithuanian company because the company is suspected of of collecting cartographic data for the Russian army. According to the Lithuanian special services, the Russian oligarch Vladimir Yevtushenkov’s company Sistema was planning on acquiring a Lithuanian company through the investment firm of his son, specializing in cartography and aerial photography. In addition, the Sistema holding company owns the Russian company Kronstadt, which several years ago won the Russian government’s tender for equipping the center of electro-cartographic data in Russia.
According to the Annual Threat Assessment prepared by two Lithuanian special services, the Department of State Security and Military Intelligence of Lithuania, Russia consistently strengthens military facilities in the Kaliningrad region, however, the additional NATO forces deployed in the Baltic region and the growing national forces of Baltic countries reduce the likelihood of conflict, Interfax reported. “The [Russian] military group deployed in the region is consistently being strengthened: the old one is being updated and new military infrastructure is being created. New military units are being formed, new armaments and military equipment are being supplied, and intensive military training is being conducted on land and sea landfills of the region,” the document said. According to the Threat Assessment, Belarus, which is bordering on Lithuania, is given the role of a “buffer” state in the Russian military doctrine. The Russian Federation uses Belarus to plan military operations and demonstrate military power, and the deepening military integration and economic dependence reduces the ability of Minsk to implement independent defense and security policies. According to the Lithuanian special services, by expanding the military presence in the Kaliningrad region, Russia increases the ability to conduct military operations within 24-48 hours from the moment of receiving an order. On the other hand, the authors of the document emphasize that in the event of a military conflict, the increase in the national armed forces of the Baltic countries and the NATO facilities deployed in the region will allow avoiding the wide involvement of NATO and reducing the likelihood of a conflict in the region. Earlier, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko ordered to strengthen border security and demanded to take “exhaustive measures” to increase border guard units and form new ones.
Poland’s Ministry of National Defense is set to establish its own Cyberspace Defense Forces following the NATO's recommendations, announced …
The departments of Justice and Homeland Security delivered their joint review of meddling during 2018 to the White House.
In an article for Carnegie Moscow Center, political expert Tatyana Stanovaya says Vladimir Putin has left Russia’s elites to fend for themselves as he wanders off to worry almost exclusively about geopolitics. Stanovaya argues that the current murder investigation against Senator Rauf Arashukov recalls the 2016 arrest of then Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukaev, but today’s case has more sweeping political repercussions and weakens multiple political institutions, structures, and key influence groups.
In 2016, Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation identified a private jet likely used by catering mogul Evgeny Prigozhin and his family: a Raytheon Hawker 800XP with the tail number M-VITO, captured in a photograph shared on Instagram by Prigozhin’s daughter, Polina. The plane belongs to an offshore company registered in Seychelles whose owners are unknown, and Prigozhin’s family regularly appears in photos taken in the cabin of a similar-looking jet. Based on Navalny’s research, the newspaper Novaya Gazeta tracked M-VITO’s flights for the past couple of years for a new special report.
A third Russian agent implicated in the Salisbury nerve agent attack aborted his planned exit from the UK, raising the prospect he remained in the country. A third Russian agent implicated in the Salisbury nerve agent attack aborted his planned exit from the UK, raising the prospect he remained in the country. The Russian military intelligence officer – using the false name Sergey Fedotov – travelled to the UK on the same day as two hitmen who carried out the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal. Fedotov was then booked on to the same flight back to Moscow with the assassins. But it is now understood, according to sources, that Fedotov checked himself and his baggage off the plane before departure. It is not clear why but it raises the prospect that Fedotov stayed in the UK, at least in the days after the deployment of military-grade nerve…
The military officer, who entered the UK under the name Sergey Fedotov, came to Britain on the same day the other two hit men travelled to the UK to assassinate Sergei Skripal.
The third Russian agent implicated in the Salisbury nerve agent attack aborted his planned exit from the UK, raising the prospect he remained in the country. He was using a passport whose number differed by only a few digits from the fake passports used under the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.
Russian intelligence created a false trail linking the double agent Sergei Skripal to the former MI6 officer behind the Trump dossier before carrying out the Salisbury nerve agent attack, the Telegraph has been told. Well-placed sources now believe that the plot to kill Col Skripal may have included a ‘black ops’ attempt to sow doubt on the veracity of the explosive dossier that claims Donald Trump received Kremlin backing. The year before the attempted assassination of Col Skripal, a mysterious post on LinkedIn suggested his MI6 handler, who is not being named, worked as a “senior analyst” at Orbis Business Intelligence, the firm that produced the Trump dossier. Orbis was co-founded by Christopher…
Abigail McCourt, 16, gave first aid to Sergei and Yulia Skripral after they collapsed
EXCLUSIVE: Former spy Sergei, who is being held at a top secret location, wanted to attend Liudmila’s resting place on what would have been her birthday
Nearly 3 months after deeming Russia in violation of a chemical weapons law, the Trump administration has yet to impose new sanctions required by the law.
Det Sgt Nick Bailey was contaminated while investigating the Salisbury Novichok attack in March.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Leaks exposing the UK’s role in the notorious Skripal affair shine a light on London’s strategy to revive Cold War tensions and to justify increasing its intelligence budget, former Pentagon adviser Karen Kwiatkowski told Sputnik.
The Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has approved in its final reading a constitutional amendment that reflects the country’s strategic goal of becoming a member of NATO and the European U…
Ukraine’s Parliament adopted a bill No. 9037 on amendments to the Constitution on Ukraine’s foreign policy on EU and NATO membership. 334 MPs voted “for” the document. 112 Ukraine broadcasted the session.
The Verkhovna Rada has adopted the law introducing amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine (regarding the strategic course of the state for acquiring full-fledged membership of Ukraine in the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization). — Ukrinform.
The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, has backed amendments to the Constitution on Ukraine’s path to the European Union and NATO, according to an UNIAN correspondent. A total of 334 deputies of 385 registered at the session hall have supported the law.
07.02.19 12:40 – Verkhovna Rada formalizes Ukraine’s EU and NATO course in constitution The Verkhovna Rada adopted the amendments to Constitution of Ukraine considering the state’s strategic course towards EU and NATO membership. View news.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini has issued a declaration on the alignment of certain third countries with the European Council’s decision concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilizing the situation in Ukraine. — Ukrinform.
John Bolton on Twitter: “Had a productive meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Klimkin, discussing regional security, Russian interference, and expectations for free and fair elections. Confirmed our mutual commitment to realizing a prosperous Ukraine, whole, free, and at peace.… https://t.co/YWynFFvcmA”
U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton has welcomed a meeting he held on Wednesday with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, reaffirming the common positions of Washington and Kyiv. — Ukrinform.
United States Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker has said the U.S. is working to strengthen Ukraine’s resilience and deter further Russian aggression. It’s time for peace for Ukraine, Kurt Volker says. United States Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker has said the U.S. is working to strengthen Ukraine’s resilience and deter further Russian aggression. “Pavlo Klimkin had good meetings in DC. We are working together to strengthen Ukraine’s resilience and deter further Russian aggression. It’s time for peace for Ukraine,” Volker wrote on Twitter on February 7, 2019, following the meetings of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin with top U.S. officials.
Resolutions are adopted to be implemented, and the UN monitors their implementation. This also applies to the “Crimean” resolution, which demands the release of captured Ukrainian sailors. — Ukrinform.
The European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) has cancelled the planned February 27 public hearing on Ukraine’s suit against Russia involving Crimea and has decided to postpone it, the Kyiv-based Ukrainskaya Pravda ezine has said, citing the court’s press service.
The Moscow City Court has rejected appeals against the court ruling to extend the arrest of the first four Ukrainian sailors captured by Russian military in the Kerch Strait, the coordinator of the team of lawyers, Nikolai Polozov, has reported on Facebook. — Ukrinform.
The Ukrainian-based Prosecutor’s Office for the Autonomous Republic of Crimea jointly with the police have begun a pretrial investigation into the illegal pollution of the Black Sea with toxic waste in Russian-occupied Crimea. The pretrial investigation is conducted by prosecutors jointly with the Ukrainian police.
The Embassy of Ukraine in France has called on the French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) to fix the map where Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula is designated as Russian territory. The map was posted on Twitter.
The Russian State Duma instructed the National Security and Corruption committee and Information Policy, IT and Communications Committee to find …
07.02.19 10:13 – 11 attacks against Ukraine army in past day: no losses, two terrorists destroyed, – JFO center Feb. 6, Russia occupation forces violated the ceasefire 11 times employing weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements three times. View news.
Russian-led forces mounted 11 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in the past 24 hours. No one was hurt in the attacks, the report says.
One invader was killed in the strike.
07.02.19 14:20 – 33 convicts transferred from occupied areas in Luhansk region to Ukraine-controlled territory, – Denisova. PHOTOS On Thursday, the “LPR” representatives transferred 33 convicts to Ukraine-controlled territory, so they could further serve their sentences here. View news.
Ukraine’s State Border Guard’s naval forces in cooperation with Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other units of the Joint Force Operation have conducted training exercises in the Sea of Azov. The aim of the exercises was to repel a mock enemy attack from the sea. Ukraine’s State Border Guard’s naval forces in cooperation with Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other units of the Joint Force Operation have conducted training exercises in the Sea of Azov. The aim of the exercises was to repel a mock enemy attack from the sea. According to the press service of Ukraine’s State Border Service on Wednesday, the drills involved an intruder vessel, which ignored the requests and legal requirements of Coast Guard ship and Naval Forces ships and carried out dangerous maneuvers at high speed, trying to approach the shore for a possible landing. No landing of sabotage group was allowed. JFO Commander Serhiy Nayev noted a high level of training and coordination. “Such exercises allow us to hone our professional skills, additionally check the coherence of all interacting forces and be always ready to respond to developments in our area of responsibility,” Donbas Coast Guard ship Captain Hlushak said following the drills.
In the northern part of the Sea of Azov there was a complex of training marine, aviation and artillery components, which provide control over the water area in the area of operation of the combined forces. This is reported by the Ukrainian Military Portal In the training complex the interaction of the naval group in the composition of the ships of the State Border Guard Service and the Naval Forces of Ukraine was worked out. Their actions were covered with air by regular airplanes and helicopters of the Joint Forces, air defense and artillery. The training took place in difficult meteorological conditions and with limited visibility.
U.S.-donated night vision devices were stolen from the Ukrainian military, according to the country’s State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). Seven thermal imaging sights and eight night-vision devices, which doted by the United States government, were stolen from the Ukrainian Army’s warehouse located Lviv region. “In November 2018, unknown persons stole 7 Archer thermal imaging sights and 8 night-vision devices from one of the military units in Lviv region. Optics were donated to Ukraine by the U.S. government as part of an international technical assistance program,” the SBI report said. Also noted that the damage is estimated at $170 thousand. According to investigators, the abduction of military property occurred due to the negligent attitude of the warehouse manager to the accounting and security of the entrusted property. Washington has provided Ukraine with more than $1 billion in “security assistance” funds since February 2014. The United States is a strategic partner for Ukraine. Out of the total amount of assistance that has been provided to Ukraine’s Armed Forces, U.S. aid accounts for about 90 percent.
Ukrainian soldiers repelling Russian proxy forces in Donbas have spoken with EUobserver to tell about the simmering conflict in eastern Ukraine that has been ongoing for four and a half years already. The grey zone between the warring sides is also a grey zone in terms of information. Russia keeps spreading disinformation, claiming the “DPR” and “LPR” are “separatists” fighting a “civil war”.
AvtoKrAZ unveiled a new video with the combat vehicle RZZB BM-21 UM Berest on the basis of the KrAZ-5401Ne chassis, which was first introduced at the exhibition “Weapons and Security 2018”. The modernized rocket launchers system was developed by Shepetovsky repair factory in cooperation with other enterprises of the national defense industrial complex. As a base, the KrAZ-5401Ne (4×4) cross – country chassis with a carrying capacity of 9 tons was developed by PJSC AvtoKrAZ in 2016.
The Government of the Republic of Lithuania has passed a resolution to donate munitions worth EUR 255,000 to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. The Baltic State has been supporting Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian aggression in 2014.
The Government of the Republic of Lithuania has passed a resolution on the free transfer of small arms to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine with the total value of 255 thousand euros. It is about ammunition for Soviet-made small arms that is no longer used by the Lithuanian Army, according to the government website of the Republic of Lithuania. “The transfer of reserves is a consistent and comprehensive part of Ukraine’s support for strengthening its defense capabilities and ensuring the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state,” said Reimundus Karoblis, National Defense Minister. Lithuania previously provided material support to the Ukrainian Army and elements of military weapons, in particular rocket munitions.
Ukraine’s operating banks received a net profit of UAH 21.7 billion (US$802.8 million) in 2018, which is the maximum historical indicator. The last time the banking system made a profit was four years ago.
World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Cyril Muller has said Ukraine has been reaching a sustainable approach to the implementation of reforms and the World Bank will continue to provide its assistance to it.
First Deputy Head of the National Police of Ukraine, Vyacheslav Abroskin, has said a suspect in organizing the murder of a Ukrainian activist Vitaly Oleshko aka “Sarmat” was detained in Lviv on February 7. The man has been hiding from law enforcement across Ukraine for the past five months.
There were eight Ukrainian citizens among the sailors of the SEA SCAN 1 vessel seized off the coast of Portugal while carrying 2.5 tonnes of cocaine. The vessels was seized on January 30.
The Verkhovna Rada in the framework of de-communization directed to the Constitutional Court a bill on the changing the name of the Dnipropetrovsk region to Sichaslavsk region. The session was broadcasted by official channel Rada. In the fall of 2018 the parliament did not have enough votes to send this bill to the Constitutional Court. The Constitution of Ukraine and the Rules of Procedure of the Verkhovna Rada determine the procedure for amending the Basic Law of Ukraine. Only the president or 150 people’s deputies can register such bill. Then the document is considered by the Verkhovna Rada Committees and recommends to the parliamentarians whether to consider legislative initiatives or not. If it is not the decision to be made through a referendum, the draft amendments to the Constitution should gain at least 226 votes in the parliament in order to be further send to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. The Constitutional Court has to publish a conclusion as to whether the initiative contradicts Art. 157 and 158 of the Constitution: whether it limits the rights and freedoms, whether the changes are directed to restrict independence or territorial integrity, whether the changes are made in conditions of martial law or public emergency, whether the Parliament considered the same changes within the year and whether current convocation of parliament changed the same norms.
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine prohibited observers from the Russian Federation to participate in the election process in Ukraine. The law #9524 was adopted generally and 232 MPs voted in the affirmative as 112 Ukraine reported. The law provides the amendments to the law on the elections of the president, lawmakers and local elections. It is established that a person, who is a citizen of a state aggressor and a person, whose offer initiated or submitted by a state aggressor cannot be the observers at the elections (including the representatives of the foreign states). The Chief Scientific Expertise Department noted that “there are well-founded grounds in the current conditions that the principle of the political impartiality of the observers from Russia will not be observed”. So, the department sees no legal obstacles for the adoption of this law.
07.02.19 15:59 – Verkhovna Rada bans Russian observers from monitoring elections in Ukraine The Verkhovna Rada has adopted a law, which bans Russians from serving as official monitors during Ukraine elections. View news.
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has passed a law banning Russian nationals and persons suggested by the Russian party to serve as official observers in the presidential, parliamentary, and local elections in Ukraine.
The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, has introduced amendments to the electoral legislation, which ban citizens of the aggressor state from being official observers in Ukraine’s elections. — Ukrinform.
U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker called on the Ukrainian authorities to allow Russian observers to monitor the presidential election in March 2019. — Ukrinform.
Earlier President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko announced he is going to give an order to the State Border Guard Service not to let Russian observers to the presidential elections on March 31
The mutual absence of citizens of the conflicting countries in OSCE has never prevented the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) from monitoring an electoral process, therefore its mission must be successful in Ukraine as well. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Kateryna Zelenko said this in comments to Ukrinform in response to a request to comment on the statement by U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker on the possibility of admission of Russian observers to the Ukrainian presidential election. “Ukraine will ensure democracy and compliance with all electoral standards. The mutual absence of citizens of the conflicting countries in the OSCE has never prevented ODIHR from successfully conducting the election observation process,” Zelenko said. She recalled that official observers from Ukraine did not go to the presidential election of Russia in 2018. “We are confident that the absence of Russian observers will not prevent ODIHR from conducting a qualitative observation over elections,” the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman stressed. As reported, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker called on Ukrainian authorities to allow Russian observers to monitor the presidential election in March 2019.
The OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights has proposed to include two Russian citizens in the list of observers for Ukraine’ …
Head of the election observation mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Ambassador Peter Tejler says that Ukraine’s intention to bar Russian observers from monitoring the presidential elections is contrary to the country’s commitments to the OSCE. Talks on members of the foreign observation mission are currently under way between the OSCE/ODIHR and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
Polls suggest comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy is a frontrunner in Ukraine’s presidential election.
KYIV. Feb 7 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The fact-checking VoxCheck project “Liars and Manipulators Rating” has analyzed statements of Ukrainian politicians. According to its results, the least amount of truth was contained in statements made by Batkivschyna Party leader Yulia Tymoshenko. She was followed in the anti-rating by Vadym Rabinovych, co-chairman of the Opposition Platform – For Life Party and leader of the Radical Party of Oleh Liashko. According to the 2018 Liars and Manipulators Rating, which was presented at a press conference at the Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine on Thursday, among 248 analyzed quotes by Tymoshenko, only 31% were truthful. Most were of manipulations – 27%, lies – 33% and exaggerations – 8%. According to VoxCheck, 444 citations of Rabinovych were analyzed. Manipulations accounted for 24% of the statements, lies – 40% and exaggerations – 4%. Only 32% of what he said was true. Of 285 Liashko’s quotes, the percentage of manipulations was 17%, lies – 31% and exaggerations – 11%. Only 41% of what he said was true. Among politicians whose statements contain higher percentages of truth is Civil Position Party leader Anatoliy Hrytsenko. Some 68% of what he says is true. “We tracked the politicians represented here during the year on the central TV channels, as well as in the largest media. We watched what comments they gave, their interviews. We did not check the regional media, because very often politicians just repeat what they said in the central media,” VoxUkraine media director and VoxCheck Project Coordinator Olena Shkarpova said. In total, the sample included 1,962 claims on reforms and financing of the army, the state of the economy and the fight against corruption, medicine and education, pensions and subsidies.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on his Twitter account on Thursday afternoon launched an opinion poll regarding the accession of the Ukrainian state to the North Atlantic Alliance.
07.02.19 14:54 – CEC registers Poroshenko as presidential candidate Central Election Commission (CEC) has registered the acting head of state Petro Poroshenko as a presidential candidate in the upcoming elections scheduled for March 31. View news.
Viktor Medvedchuk, the representative of the “Opposition Platform – For Life” told how Ukraine could reach an agreement with Donetsk in 2014. He said it on air of “Maga” program which comes out on Saturday, February 9 on 112 Ukraine. “Moreover, I will say it in public for the first time: we could agree on May 14-18, 2014. Not with Shufrich, but Ukraine with these prodigal sons, prodigal people. There was a chance. I arrived, we explained the position to Turchynov. I said: “They are ready, we sit down and write an agenda and the issues we should agree on”. Bolotov said then: “I don’t get your constitutions, but there is Crimea, and we need autonomy. Give it to us and that’s it”. I smiled and replied: “Let’s sit and discuss it”. I told Turchynov we were ready to go, to catch up this list of questions and start a dialogue. He said: “Hostages are there”. There were hostages from both sides, we had to release them. Then, I and Shufrych wanted to negotiate. I called them and stated that our leader had a proposal to release the hostages. They said: “Come here, we will discuss the hostages”. And we were told: “No, don’t do that, if so, we don’t need this talks”. Then, it was resumed in June, in a month after a new President was elected, when Trilateral Contact Group appeared,” Medvedchuk said.
This was not the former Ukrainian President’s first press conference since he fled to Russia after the bloodshed on Maidan and as on previous occasions, his message seemed closely coordinated with that coming out of the Kremlin – Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych appeared at a press conference on 6 February in the Moscow offices of the state-controlled ‘Russia Today’ agency. It was not the first such event since he fled to Russia after the bloodshed on Maidan and as on previous occasions, his message seemed closely coordinated with that coming out of the Kremlin. This time the performance appeared aimed at trying to influence the Ukrainian presidential elections at the end of March. The press conference came two weeks after Yanukovych was convicted, in absentia, by the Obolon District Court in Kyiv of state treason and sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment. There are several reasons for concern about that court trial due to flaws in the law enabling trial by absentia and some other details, however Yanukovych’s attempts to present himself as the victim of political persecution were less than convincing. He could probably feel confident that he would not be asked what you should call appealing to Russian President Vladimir Putin to send troops into Ukraine if not treason. Nonetheless, his account of the events five years ago was heavily edited and only likely to convince Russians who had been hearing the same narrative about a state coup, etc., from Russian state television. His claim that the political pressure allegedly brought to bear on the court in Kyiv was “unprecedented” was a particularly memorable moment from an ex-President in hiding who had imprisoned his main rival and several of her associates. Perhaps the only unexpected moment in the event came with Yanukovych’s assertion that Interpol has not issued a Red Notice on him and that he can, allegedly, travel where he wants. Considering that Interpol has placed at least one young Ukrainian – the friend of abducted student Pavlo Hryb – on its list despite very strong grounds for believing the case to be politically motivated, it is rather baffling that it has refused in the case of Yanukovych, citing fears that his prosecution could be political. Neither he, nor Putin’s press secretary, were willing to explain what his status is in Russia. Russia is known to have given several Berkut special force officers wanted for crimes against Maidan Russian citizenship, as well, reported, as some of the high-ranking people close to Yanukovych, like Vitaly Zakharchenko, the former Interior Minister. Yanukovych had not given one of these ‘press conferences’ for a year, and, like the previous ones, it had been hyped up in advance. In fact, most of it repeated the themes that Yanukovych – and the Kremlin – have repeated before about Maidan, the supposed ‘coup d’état ‘ in Kyiv, Donbas, etc. There was nothing new about Crimea either, with its “loss” attributed to the Ukrainian authorities having divided the country. Looking heavily made up, Yanukovych came out with some pronouncements that bore absolutely no scrutiny. One was the assertions that his “lawyers have passed documents to the investigative bodies to start an investigation, who was really to blame for the loss of Ukraine. The specific culprits: who violated the Constitution of Ukraine and carried out a military coup in Ukraine?” In short, almost exactly the refrain from the Kremlin, even to the cynical assertion that it was Maidan activists who gunned down Maidan activists. The events around the creation of a united Ukrainian Orthodox Church cane well after Yanukovych’s previous press conference, but here too there were no surprises, with Yanukovych repeating Putin’s line about this supposedly being the Ukrainian state’s ‘interference’ in religious matters. The key difference to previous press conferences was the constant reference to the coming presidential elections. President Petro Poroshenko, Yanukovych claimed, cannot possibly win through fair elections, so if he does win, this will mean that the elections were rigged. One might think that Yanukovych, more than anyone, should know about rigged elections, however UNIAN’s Moscow correspondent Roman Tsymbalyuk reports that even here Yanukovych was simply parroting the prevailing Russian narrative. Yanukovych asserted that Ukraine should allow polling stations in occupied Crimea and Russia, claiming that it was fear of votes against those now in power in Ukraine that made them refuse to do so. While there certainly are arguments on both sides, at least with respect to Crimea, the recent Russian ‘elections’ illegally held there, and the methods used to force people to take part make it difficult to understand how the Ukrainian Central Election Commission could prevent mass election fraud. Moscow is not concealing how much it wants Poroshenko out. What active measures it may take to support another presidential candidate and to generally influence the outcome, first of the presidential, then the parliamentary elections in Ukraine should be the subject of very close scrutiny over the next months. Putin effectively spelled out one extremely negative method soon after Russia’s attack on three Ukrainian naval boats near Crimea and the seizure of 24 Ukrainian POWs on 25 November 2018. Explaining why he was refusing to speak with Poroshenko about the situation and the men taken prisoner, Putin said that he did not want “to take part in Poroshenko’s election campaign”. It seems likely that this is why there has been no movement for so long on exchanges of POWs and civilian hostages in occupied Donbas, or of political prisoners held in occupied Crimea and Russia.
Political consultant Viktor Ukolov has said the Kremlin is preparing a pretext for intervention against Ukraine with the help of Ukraine’s fugitive ex-officials. Ukolov assured the Kremlin’s intervention scenario would not succeed.
Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s pro-Russia former president, has again rejected his conviction by a Ukrainian court on charges of high treason over attempts to quash a 2014 pro-Western uprising known …
Speaking at a press conference in Moscow, the disgraced president said the agreement had been signed together with the leaders of the then opposition, however Russian representative Vladimir Lukin, who was present at the talks, did not sign the document. Yanukovych also said he had just returned to Russia after he received treatment for his injury abroad.
Disgraced ex-President Viktor Yanukovych would be better off if he availed himself of his right to defend himself, came to Kyiv and argued his position in the court of appeals, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has said.
07.02.19 12:16 – Lutsenko: 18 policemen killed on Maidan also victims and part of Heavenly Hundred 18 policemen killed on Maidan in 2014 are also victims and part of Heavenly Hundred. View news.
Twelve Kyiv priests of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) have joined the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine. They were the intellectual elite of their former organization. Twelve Kyiv priests of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) have joined the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The Moscow Patriarchate banned them from serving for “a schism,” the Kyiv-based Metropolia of the former UOC-MP said on its website. As is seen from the list of the priests’ names, the intellectual elite, who for a long time were involved in the formation of church policy and education, and also played a significant role in Ukraine in creating a positive public opinion about UOC-MP, left their former organization, the Religion in Ukraine portal said.
On the site of the Kyivan Metropolitanate of the UOC (the Moscow Patriarchate) posted a list of clerics who went “into a split,” that is, to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which in January 2019 received autocephaly from the Constantinople Church. From the list, it follows that the intellectual elite, which for a long time was involved in the formation of church politics and education , went from the UOC-MP (MP) , reports Religion in Ukraine. “For evading into a split, it is forbidden to serve twelve clerics of the Kyiv diocese of the UOC,” says the website of the Metropolitanate. These clerics of the Metropolitanate of the UOC (MP) have forbidden not only to serve, but even to partake in communion. The list includes: – archpriest Peter Zuev, rector of the temple in honor of St. umch Catherine, on Podol of Kiev – archpriest Igor Savchenko, full-time priest of the Kirillovsky monastery in Kyiv, – archpriest Nikolay Pavlenko, full-time priest of the temple in honor of the Nativity of John the Baptist on the Zvirynetsky cemetery of Kyiv, – archpriest George Kovalenko, rector of the religious community of the martyrs of Faith, Hope, Love and their mother Sofia of Kyiv, – archpriest Oleg Sknary, rector of the Holy Protection Church of the Main Military Clinical Hospital of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine in Kyiv, – the priest Sergei Berezhnoy, the rector of the religious community in honor of the Cathedral of the Kiev Saints in Obolonsky district of Kyiv, – group of clergers of the Stavropigian Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in the Holosiivskyi district of Kyiv: Archpriest Andriy Dudchenko, Mykolay Tyshkun, Taras Kozko, Protodeacon Rostislav Vorobyy, John Gichun, Savva Zarytsky. Apparently, among the aforementioned clergy there are known priests in Ukraine, including archpriest George Kovalenko, who for a long time headed the Synodal Information and Educational Department of the UOC (MP), created and headed the Main Editorial Board of Television Programs of the UOC-MP), was a spokesman for the PM UOC (MP ) Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sabodan) and editor-in-chief of the official websites of the UOC-MP (MP); archpriest Andriy Dudchenko is the editor-in-chief of the site “Orthodoxy in Ukraine” of the UOC (MP) in 2006-2008, editor-in-chief of the program Chronicle: Time of Communication on the Glas channel in 2009-2010, the founder of the famous missionary and the theological and educational portal “Kievan Rus” kiev-orthodox.org ; Archpriest Oleg Sknary is the most famous military captain of the UOC (MP), associate professor of the Department of Biblical Studies of the Kyiv Theological Academy of the UOC (MP), candidate of theology; archpriest Peter Zuev, who had previously headed the Department of Information and Public Affairs of the Kyiv diocese of the UOC (MP), and during the time of Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sabodan) was a member of the Synodal Commission of the UOC (MP) in dialogue with the UAOC and the working group responsible for training dialogue with representatives of the UOC-KP. It follows from the list that the intellectual elite, which for a long time was involved in the formation of church politics and education, and also played a significant role in creating a positive public opinion about the UOC (MP), left the UOC-MP. With the coming to power of Metropolitan Onuphri in 2014, Metropolitan Volodymyr’s previous course of openness to society and dialogue was curtailed, and the abovementioned ministers were pushed to the background. Now they will continue their ministry in the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
Primate of the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy (Epiphanius) says he sets three key tasks for himself. Ukraine’s lavras may become subordinate to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in the coming years, perhaps even a within year, Epifaniy said. Primate of the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy (Epiphanius) says he sets three key tasks for himself. “The first task is to preserve unity that was declared at the Unification Council [of members of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches in Kyiv]. The second one is to pay particular attention to education. This issue is very important for me since I was rector. Education is our future. And the third task is the attracting young people to church. But without spiritual education, in general, and without the development of education, we won’t be able to do this,” he told the Novoye Vremya weekly on February 7. Epifaniy also touched upon the issue of the status of lavras. “Lavras are the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Ukrainian people. I believe that the Lord will create such conditions where lavras will become part of the local [Orthodox] church of Ukraine. I think that this will happen in the coming years, perhaps even within a year. I’d like Lavra monks to independently come to realize that there is no other way than the unification to create our modern history together,” he said. The Metropolitan also spoke about relations with priests of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP). “After the Unification Council was held and we received a tomos, I have never crossed paths with the hierarchs and clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. That is, they have no will for dialogue, that’s because they have no arguments. But I am ready to communicate with them and find time for dialogue about the unity of all Orthodox Christians in the united church. However, they are not willing to have such dialogue,” he said. Epifaniy added he had not received any threats from Moscow so far. “The process [of uniting churches into a single autocephalous church of Ukraine] was complicated since external forces interfered in our internal affairs […] It was obvious that Russia was trying (and will try) to destroy from within what we’ve managed to unite,” he said.
Orthodox Christians hope Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s visit signals that Turkey, which closed the historic Halki seminary in 1971, might let it reopen.
Russian witches and seers performed on Tuesday one of their most powerful rituals, “the circle of power,” to pass on their mystical energy to President Vladimir Putin. Dozens of people who claim to have supernatural powers stood side by side, reading spells in their effort to support the Russian head of state. Self-proclaimed leader of the Russian witches Alyona Polyn said the main intention of the gathering is to enhance quality of life in Russia, the whole world in general and to support the president.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is getting some paranormal support from a coven of Moscow witches looking to cash in on his popularity.
Dozens of witches and seers gathered in the Russian capital Moscow on Tuesday, chanting spells and incantations to protect President Vladimir Putin.
Russian witches and seers performed one of their most powerful rituals, “the circle of power”, to pass on their mystical energy to President Vladimir Putin.
Russian witches and seers performed a ritual called the 'circle of power' on Tuesday, to pass on their mystical energy
A RUSSIAN group of women conducted a “circle of power” that is dedicated to using magic to support Vladimir Putin and casted spells and curses against Russia’s enemies.
“Come up with the greatness, the power of Russia, direct the way of Vladimir Putin right and correctly throughout the word of mine,” head witch Alyona Polyn chanted.
A coven of witches in Russia performed a “circle of power” as a way of sending mystical energy to help Vladimir Putin defeat his enemies. The gathering of…
Vladimir Putin: Turning to the Jehovah’s Witnesses: […] We must treat all religions equally — that’s a fact. But we also need to consider the country and the society in which we live. That doesn’t mean, however, that we should be counting the representatives of religious communities among the various destructive or even terrorist organizations. Jehovah’s Witnesses are also Christians, and I don’t really understand why they’re persecuted. So we just need to analyze this. That’s what we need to do. I will speak to [Supreme Court Chief Justice] Vyacheslav Mikhailovich [Lebedev], and we will try to do this.
Police in two Russian regions have detained more members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a day after a Russian court convicted a Danish adherent of the religious group to six years in prison.
Dennis Christensen was arrested during prayer. “I hope today is the day Russia defends religious freedom,” he said before the verdict. Critics call it a severe crackdown on religious freedom.
A Russian court on Wednesday found a Danish adherent of the Jehovah’s Witnesses guilty of organizing a banned extremist group and jailed him for six years in a case critics condemn as crushing religious freedom.
The US-based organisation – which has eight million followers – was outlawed by the Kremlin’s courts in 2017