Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (90)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Nuclear saber-rattling and bizarre demands continue, including a statement demanding the US destroy its Aegis Ashore BMD system in Romania over an imagined Tomahawk capability. Norway threatened over proposed submarine resupply pier in Tromso. Baltics threatened over imagined deployment of imagined nuclear-armed missiles in Baltic states territory. Reports Russia has continued testing the Burevestnik / SSC-X-9 SKYFALL nuclear engine powered GLCM and the Poseidon / Status 6 doomsday autonomous nuclear powered UUV. Russia to restart Cold War era Arctic CAPs by MiG-31BM FOXHOUNDs.

France sides with EU against Germany on Nordstream 2 – this Russian play may yet crash and burn, and the later this happens, the more expensive for Russia as they are already laying the pipeline. Macedonia update.

Galeotti on Prigozhine, and Whitmore interviews Lithuanian FM on rebooted now CEPA Power Vertical podcast series. Carnegie report on increasing infighting within the Chekist Power Vertical structures – every man for himself it seems. How Butina played the NRA while helping anti-American groups elsewhere. Dutch govt on MH17. CNO proposes much stronger responses to Russian (and PLA) naval provocations. Ukrainians publish a list of 66 Wagner mercenaries KIA by US forces in the Syrian turkey shoot.

Turkey restricts the ever-increasing volume of Russian oil tanker traffic via Bosporus, given the spate of recent maritime accidents involving Russian shipping a prudent policy. Estimates now suggest US oil production could exceed inside 6 years that of Russia and Saudi Arabia combined, putting the final nail in the coffin of Russia’s plundered economy – the price of  “Making Russia Great Again” at the expense of prudent economic management (who needs an economy when you can play-act USSR?).

Latest Bellingcat OSINT report connects the third Salisbury attacker with a near fatal and unexplained poisoning attack in Bulgaria in 2015.

Responses to Ukraine’s NATO/EU centric constitutional changes. Azov and Donbas updates – the new Stugna ATGW fire teams appear to be performing well. IOC of Vilkha 300mm GMLRS in now imminent and performance claims include a Mk.82 class warhead, and Mach 3.4 class terminal velocity making it difficult to engage by Counter-PGM systems.

Politics, economy, and election updates – very good argument by Mammadova on lessons to be learned in the West on countering Russian meddling. Yanukovich update and analysis of Russian invasion preparations in 2010.

Church reports – Russian JW persecution and more bizarre aspects of ROC promotion.

Russia Demands U.S. Destroy Missile-Defense System In Romania, Military Drones

Russia says the United States should destroy its MK-41 missile-defense launch system deployed in NATO-member Romania in order to return to compliance with a landmark Cold War-era nuclear treaty.

Russia Pledges Response to Norwegian Military Activity

Russia on Thursday accused Norway of pushing ahead with a military build-up which it said increased the risks of military action and required some kind of Russian response. Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Moscow had watched as NATO member Norway had become more and more active in helping the Western military alliance build up its presence in the Arctic region. Zakharova singled out what she said was a Norwegian plan to this year equip a port near Tromso to be able to receive nuclear submarines.

Russia to prevent deployment of US missiles to Baltic States – Defence Blog

Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency quoted a Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on 7 February as saying that Russian diplomats and military will do everything possible to prevent the deployment of US missiles to the Baltic States. “I will make every possible effort to prevent it,” he said. “I am sure that everyone who is somehow involved in our foreign policy, defense and security activities will work as a team to prevent a situation that would mean everything that was a cornerstone of European security for decades has perished,” the senior Russian diplomat said. Colonel General Viktor Yesin, an adviser to the Russian Strategic Missile Force commander and former Strategic Missile Force chief of staff, told TASS earlier that US intermediate-range ballistic missiles, should they be deployed to the Baltic countries, will be able to reach Moscow in three to four minutes. According to him, the time of arrival will depend on the type of missiles and their flight path. “The arrival time of Tomahawk missiles will be about an hour, while intermediate-range ballistic missiles will be able to reach Moscow in three to four minutes,” Yesin said. The White House announced that the United States was withdrawing from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty as of February 2, setting the stage for the treaty to terminate in six months. Russia has followed suit. The United States has repeatedly accused Russia of violating the INF — something Russia has repeatedly denied.

UAWire – Kremlin: Russia will not deploy missiles in Belarus in response to US withdrawal from Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty

Mikhail Babich, the Russian Ambassador to Belarus, and special representative for the development of trade and economic cooperation stated that …

INF nuclear missile treaty: Russia will exit in six months – CNN

Russia says it will mirror the United States’ withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty between the countries, formally exiting the agreement in six months.

Russia: we would be open to U.S. proposals for new nuclear pact | Reuters

Russia would be prepared to consider new proposals from the United States to replace a suspended Cold War-era nuclear pact with a broader treaty that includes more countries, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday.

Russia Conducts Test of Nuclear-Powered Cruise Missile | The Diplomat

The test is the thirteenth to date to involve the experimental Burevestnik. Russia conducted a partially successful test of its developmental nuclear-powered cruise missile, the Burevestnik, on January 29, 2019, according to U.S. government sources with knowledge of Russia’s weapons programs who spoke to The Diplomat. The test took place at Russia’s Kapustin Yar missile test range and is the thirteenth to date involving the missile. The test marks the first involving the Burevestnik in nearly one year. The missile had not been tested since February 2018. According to one source, U.S. intelligence assesses that Russia’s development efforts on the missile continues. The United States intelligence community internally calls the missile the KY30 or the SSC-X-9 SKYFALL. The Burevestnik was first tested at Kapustin Yar in June 2016. According to U.S. military intelligence, only one test of the missile has been moderately successful to date. That test took place in November 2017 from Russia’s Pank’ovo test site in Novaya Zemlya and resulted in recovery mission involving specialized Russian ship crews to retrieve the missile’s debris and nuclear materials from the Barents Sea after a crash.

Russia test-fires new ‘Skyfall’ nuke cruise missile that can fly around globe for DAYS to find holes in US defence systems

The top secret trial took place at Kapustin Yar, one of Vladimir Putin’s major weapons testing grounds

UAWire – Media: Russia has tested Putin’s new ‘doomsday’ weapons at sea

Russia has tested the reactor of the Poseidon, the unmanned underwater vehicle which Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted of last year, reported TASS with a reference to its source in the Russian military-defense industry. According to the source, the test was carried out at sea and confirmed “the previously declared specifications of its unlimited range of use and speed of over 200 kmph”. The information has not been officially confirmed by the Kremlin. Putin first spoke about the unmanned underwater vehicle in March 2018. He said that Poseidon will be equipped with both conventional and nuclear payloads and will be able to destroy the enemy targets from a distance. The weapons of the Russian Status-6 project were called the “doomsday machine” by British media. In early February, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States planned to withdraw from the Treaty on the Elimination of Medium and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty) due to the fact that Russia has been violating the terms of the agreement for years. The United States called on the Russian Federation to renounce the use of the 9M729 missile or to modernize it. The Kremlin decided to give the United States “a mirror-like response” and withdrew from the INF Treaty.

Russia resumes North Pole patrols with fighter jets | The Independent Barents Observer

Combat ready MiG-31BMs will protect Russia’s northern regions by circumnavigating the airspace around the North Pole, Defense Ministry announces.

Russia Resumes Fighter Patrols Over the North Pole

Two squadrons of aging interceptors will fly a route to intercept U.S. bombers in wartime.

A Missile Defense Review to Intensify an Arms Race

The recently released National Defense Review spells out plans for the U.S. to develop a more robust missile defense system. That’s not likely to please anyone in Moscow and Beijing. The U.S. Missile Defense Review envisions the allocation of resources for military projects that would give an edge to the United States in its competition with Russia and China. Developing and fielding missile defenses that could counter the other great powers will be no easy task, considering the financial and technological barriers. Moreover, the potential for progress on missile defense systems will alarm Russia and China, further intensifying the great power competition and the global arms race.

For Putin, reality dampens appetite for arms race

With his ratings down and state funds needed to hedge against new Western sanctions and raise living standards, Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot afford to get sucked into a costly nuclear arms race with the United States. Alleging Russian violations, Washington said this month it was suspending its obligations under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and starting the process of quitting it, untying its hands to develop new missiles. That raises the prospect of a new arms race between Washington and Moscow, which denies flouting the treaty. Putin responded by saying Russia would mirror the U.S. moves by suspending its own obligations and quitting the pact. But Putin, who has sometimes used bellicose rhetoric to talk up Russia’s standoff with the West and to rally Russians round the flag, did not up the ante. He did not announce new missile deployments, said money for new systems must come from existing budget funds and declared that Moscow would not deploy new land-based missiles in Europe or elsewhere unless Washington did so first.m “…We must not and will not let ourselves be drawn into an expensive arms race,” Putin told Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Trump’s Nuclear Blunder: Can the INF Treaty Be Saved? – Bloomberg

The U.S. has a choice: forge a new INF deal with Russia, or face a global arms race.

France set to undermine Nord Stream 2 pipeline deal | News | DW | 07.02.2019

Paris has signaled it will support changes to EU guidelines regulating gas imports. Germany has thus far ignored opposition to its project, but it may not be able to any longer.

France Backs Changes To EU Energy Rules Seen As Threat To Nord Stream 2

France says it supports proposed amendments to rules on the European Union’s energy market that could potentially threaten the completion of an underwater natural-gas pipeline between Russia and …

In blow to Germany, France to back EU rules on Nord Stream 2 | Reuters

France plans to back an EU proposal to regulate Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, its foreign ministry said on Thursday, potentially threatening its completion and dealing a blow to Germany which has been trying to garner support for the project.

First sign of rift between Merkel and Macron as France moves against German pipeline

France is set to challenge a controversial gas pipeline project between Germany and Russia in the first sign of a rift between Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel.

Gas wars: The problem with Nord Stream 2 – BBC News

Nord Stream 2 is the name of the undersea pipeline that should soon pump more Russian gas into Europe.

Senate committee to consider resolution against Nord Stream 2 pipeline | Reuters

Republican and Democratic U.S. senators on Thursday unveiled a resolution calling for the cancellation of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, a link under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.

Now That NATO Door Is Open, North Macedonia Gets To Show That It Belongs

As a nascent North Macedonia gets its ducks in a row over a decades-old dispute with Greece, it’s at the center of a tug-of-war for influence between Russia and the West that gives its imminent mem…

Donald Trump Doesn’t Need North Macedonia in NATO – Bloomberg

Letting a small country with a puny defense budget join the military alliance serves no purpose.

Mark Galeotti | The Kremlin’s New Ogre (Op-ed)

Everyone knows about the Kremlin’s trolls, but what about its ogres? In a time when much of politics is about signal and drama, it needs figures to represent the worst, the most dangerous, the most unpredictable side of the system. Yevgeny Prigozhin appears to be the latest figure to assume this role. Rather than a Power Vertical, with all its implications of rigid discipline and a clear, universal hierarchy of command, today’s Russia has a Power Theatrical. Beyond the overt expressions of Kremlin will, the presidential decrees and ministerial resolutions, there are many more expressions of governance by hint and whisper, shadowplay and pantomime. A particular role in these dramas is that of the ogre-oprichnik, the fearsome agent of the Kremlin who is only partly bound by his chains. His role is at once to be a cautionary tale — do what you’re told or the ogre will get you — and also a legitimate role, as the sacral king is known in part by his ability to keep the ogre in check. Without the king, the implication is, the ogre would be unbound. The leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov is the longest-running ogre, a man who can bring together the traditional Russian image of the wild man of the south, the traditional Chechen image of the abreg, or bandit avenger, and a very modern image of the gangster. The very fact that even today there are those who believe — implausibly — that he could be a king or kingmaker himself outside Chechnya speaks to the power of his performance. How long before the villain demands a starring role, though, and the right to edit the script? Kadyrov is an increasingly uncomfortable ogre for the Kremlin itself, as he plays violent border games with Ingushetia and demands absolute guarantees for the generous federal subsidies that bankroll his regime.

The Power Vertical Podcast at CEPA by Brian Whitmore on Apple Podcasts

Download past episodes or subscribe to future episodes of The Power Vertical Podcast at CEPA by Brian Whitmore for free.

Kremlin Says Don’t Look for Common Sense From Russia’s Rulers

Don’t rely on common sense if you want to understand how modern Russia is run. That’s the advice from President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov. “In governing, we can’t operate on the basis of common sense,” Peskov told reporters Thursday on a conference call. “First of all, we operate in terms of what is legal and illegal.” It’s unclear whether the law and common sense are entirely separate concepts in Putin’s Russia, where critics have long alleged that the Kremlin has bent parliament, the courts and the media to his personal will. Peskov was responding to a question on a six-year jail term handed to Dennis Christensen, a Danish Jehovah’s Witness, by a regional Russian court on Wednesday.

Senator’s Arrest Exposes Cannibalization of Russia’s Power Vertical – Carnegie Moscow Center – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The powerful, monolithic, and robust state that Putin has been building since he came to power in 2000 is now devouring itself from within, demonstratively and ruthlessly locking up governors, ministers, and senators as though there were no Putin system or Putin appointees. The president, having focused too much of his attention on geopolitics, has opened the floodgates for the de-Putinization of the power vertical, creating a situation in which virtually no one except the head of state remains protected by the system’s legitimacy. The recent arrest of Rauf Arashukov, a senator in the Federation Council—the upper chamber of the Russian parliament—on suspicion of ordering contract killings apparently came as a complete shock not only to the senator himself, but to all of Russia’s political establishment. The situation is reminiscent of the equally unexpected arrest on corruption charges of Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev in 2016 as he was leaving the headquarters of Rosneft after meeting with the oil giant’s CEO, Igor Sechin. If in previous years the siloviki mostly moved against politicians on a regional scale, in the last couple of years, even federal figures have become vulnerable, and the value of parliamentary immunity has fallen sharply. The difference between the latest arrest and that of Ulyukayev is that this time the blow fell simultaneously on a multitude of political institutes, structures, and influence groups, while the real victor will be the Federal Security Service (FSB, a successor agency of the KGB). The Ulyukayev case was of a political nature and was not only aimed at discrediting the minister himself, who had dared to oppose Rosneft’s intention of buying rival oil company Bashneft, but was also a way of revealing the bias and corruptibility of the liberals in the government (Ulyukayev was charged with accepting a bribe from Sechin). It was also a chance for the head of a major company—Sechin—to demonstrate his power and teach state officials a thing or two.

Putin Wants to Dissolve the Russian People and Elect Another – Foreign Policy

The Russian president was a man of the common people—until the common people started making demands.

Russian spy Maria Butina promoted anti-American militia groups while cozying up to NRA leaders

NRA leadership embraced Russian double agent Maria Butina during the same period that she helped to arm anti-American groups overseas.

Major Russian media are under the centralized control of the Kremlin, investigation shows |Euromaidan Press |

How well-coordinated is the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign? To what degree is the output in Russian media subject to direct control by the authorities? These kinds of questions are important. Hypothetically, one could imagine that propaganda narratives would appear spontaneously, reflecting a fundamental mindset shared by Russia’s leadership and the editors and journalists on RT, Sputnik, and the Russian domestic TV channels. However, a new investigation carried out by independent Russian journalists confirms and adds further details to existing knowledge about a centralized media control system managed from the top of the Kremlin.

Why authoritarians love the concept of the big conspiracy |Euromaidan Press |

The idea of a Shadow World Government has always been very popular among conspiracy theorists. Its manifestations might be different, but generally, the concept conjures up the image of a small group of men, deciding the fate of the world behind the scenes; puppet-masters, covertly controlling the world. Rulers of the rulers. EUvsDisinfo has described such cases frequently; here, for instance, or here. The appeal of conspiracy theories is that they are virtually impossible to debunk. The premise on which they are based is the fact that everything is going on behind the scenes; behind veils, covertly, in the shadows, carried out by the world’s most powerful people with limitless resources. The complete absence of proof of the existence of the Shadow Rulers is actually the proof that they exist and that they are successful. We have encountered this logic in other cases as well. Any attempt to disprove the concept will be met with the counter-claim – “Yes, of course, you deny it; you are also part of it!” As the Shadow Government, the Deep State, by definition is covert, it must, logically, be malign. Why would they hide if they weren’t into something bad?

Dutch ‘Confident’ Moscow Will Agree To Talks on Findings Of MH17 Downing Probe

The Netherlands says it is “increasingly confident” Russia will agree to formal talks about the findings of an international investigation that Moscow bears legal responsibility for its role in the…

Dutch confident Russia will agree to talks about downed flight MH17 | Reuters

The Dutch government said on Thursday it was “increasingly confident” that Russian officials will be willing to meet soon for private talks on who was responsible for the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in 2014.

US Navy chief says America needs to hit first and get ‘muscular’ with Russian and Chinese ships | Business Insider

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson called for the US to go on the offensive against Russia and China as the great power US adversaries use their navies in increasingly aggressive land, sea, and power grabs. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson called for the US to go on the offensive against Russia and China as the great power rivals use their navies in increasingly aggressive land, sea, and power grabs. Russia and China have both directly challenged the US Navy with dangerous and aggressive flying and sailing, and now the US Navy wants to start moving first. Richardson emphasised the need for patience, diplomacy, and establishing rules, but was clear that if the rules are broken, the US needs to crack down.

US General Warns of Russian, Chinese Inroads in Africa

The commander of US forces in Africa warns that Moscow’s militaristic approach is giving it access to leaders and resources

List of 66 Wagner mercenaries destroyed by US military in Syria published. LIST

08.02.19 15:43 – List of 66 Wagner mercenaries destroyed by US military in Syria published. LIST The list of Wagner PMC (off-line unit of Russia AF) mercenaries, who were defeated by the U.S. military near Deir ez-Zor, Syria on Feb. 7, 2018 and in Sudan while performing the reconnaissance tasks for Russia Ministry of Defense, has been published. View news.

UAWire – Turkey blocks Russian oil tankers en route to Europe

Shipments of Russian oil to Europe through the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea continue to face difficulties due to Turkey’s decision to change the rules for ships passing through the Bosporus and the Dardanelles, reports. The congestion of Russian oil tankers and grain carriers departing from Novorossiysk keeps growing, and is reaching all-time records. On 6 February, 55 ships were waiting for permission to enter the Turkish straits, including 26 Aframax-class and 21 Suezmax-class tankers, with a total of more than 51 million barrels of oil on board. In one day, the congestion grew by another 4 tankers with 2.3 million barrels of oil, Bloomberg reports, citing the Turkish port operator Tribeca Shipping. Whereas in summer there was a 1-2 day waiting list for the straits, and not more than 5-6 days last winter, the waiting period is now 16 days for ships leaving the Black Sea and 15 for those entering it. As a result, every tanker transporting Russian oil and then returning to the port for a new load must take into account nearly a month of waiting on the border of Turkey’s territorial waters. The delays began in autumn after Turkey tightened its rules, adding to the list of ships that are obligated to make use of tugboats in the straits. “If the delays continue to increase, the Mediterranean Sea oil refineries will quickly find themselves in a difficult position,” observes James Davis, director of Facts Global Energy. The Novorossiysk Port, through which Russia ships roughly 14% of all its oil exports – roughly 720,000 barrels per day – is falling behind schedule due to the delays with the tankers. Another route for the tankers to Europe is through the Baltic Sea. The Primorsk and Ust-Luga ports are expected to offload 18.8 million tons between January and March, roughly one third of all Russia’s oil exports.

U.S. Set To Pump More Oil Than Russia And Saudis Combined |

U.S. total liquids production could be about to surpass that of Russia and Saudi Arabia combined in within the next 6 years

bellingcat – Third Skripal Suspect Linked to 2015 Bulgaria Poisoning – bellingcat

Bellingcat has determined that a third Russian GRU officer, who was in the United Kingdom at the time of the Skripals’ Novichok poisoning in March 2018, arrived in Bulgaria just days before a local entrepreneur and his son became seriously ill after being poisoned with an unidentified substance. The third man, a 45-year-old Russian travelling under the alias Sergey Vyacheslavovich Fedotov, has been conclusively identified by Bellingcat as a senior GRU officer. Like the other two Skripal suspects, GRU officers Anatoliy Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin, his cover identity was created in 2010, with no prior records of a person with this name ever existing. Sergey Fedotov was first identified as a person of interest by the Russian news outlet Fontanka. Bellingcat and its investigative partner The Insider (Russia) have traced Fedotov’s prodigious travel itinerary since his cover identity was created in 2010 until his last overseas trip to London in March 2018. Over these eight years, “Fedotov” traveled extensively in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, often appearing in hot spots just days before news-making events. A trip taken by Fedotov to Bulgaria in April 2015, however, stands out due to its eerie resemblance to the circumstances around the Skripals’ poisoning in March 2018. On April 24, 2015, “Sergey Fedotov” arrived on a flight from Moscow to the Bulgarian seaside resort of Burgas. He had a return flight for a week later, on April 30, from the capital city of Sofia back to Moscow. However, he did not show up for the return flight. Instead, late on the evening of April 28th, he showed up at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport and bought a last-minute ticket to a flight to Moscow. Earlier that day, a Bulgarian entrepreneur, Emilian Gebrev, was hospitalized after collapsing at a reception he was hosting in Sofia. At around the same time, his adult son and one of the executives at his company fell suddenly ill. All three were hospitalized with symptoms of severe poisoning. Emilian Gebrev’s condition quickly deteriorated and he fell into a coma. Doctors surmised that the poison had been applied or consumed in the day or days preceding April 28. However, as they could not identify the poison, they could not be sure of its effects or mode of progression. As first reported by Bulgarian weekly Capital, Emilian Gebrev then requested assistance in identifying the poison from two leading laboratories specializing in control of chemical weapons. One of them, Verifin at the University of Helsinki, undertook a thorough analysis. The lab was unable to identify the poison conclusively, but discovered traces of two different organophosphates in Mr. Gebrev’s urine sample: One of these they managed to identify as a strong pesticide, while the other remained unidentifiable with the standard testing tools for chemical weapons. A month after initially being admitted to hospital, Emilian Gebrev’s status improved substantially and he was released. He told Bellingcat that several days later, in late May, he felt ill once again and was re-admitted to hospital.

Third Skripal suspect linked to 2015 Bulgaria poisoning – Bellingcat – news world | UNIAN

Bellingcat has determined that a third Russian GRU officer, who was in the United Kingdom at the time of the Skripals’ Novichok poisoning in March 2018, arrived in Bulgaria just days before a local entrepreneur and his son became seriously ill after being poisoned with an unidentified substance. Gebrev could think of two hypothetical reasons why he might have been targeted. One was his company’s exports of specialized defense-related equipment to Ukraine.

Петро Порошенко on Twitter: “Today is a historic day! The Verkhovna Rada has supported my draft law “On amendments to the Constitution regarding the strategic course of the state on acquisition of Ukraine’s full membership in the EU and NATO)”…”

Ukraine’s path toward EU and NATO: Point of no return – news politics | UNIAN

More than five years ago, on November 21, 2013, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine under ex-President Viktor Yanukovych suspended preparations for the signing the Association Agreement with the EU, the main tool for bringing Ukraine and the EU closer together, which contributes to deepening political relations, stronger economic ties and mutual respect for common values. Also, the economic part – the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement – provides Ukraine with the opportunity to expand trade relations and economic development, opening up new markets and contributing to harmonization of legislation, standards, and regulations in various economic sectors. On Thursday, February 7, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine leveled out the “achievements” of the fugitive ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, enshrining in the Constitution of Ukraine the country’s strategic course toward the EU and NATO. What do these changes mean and is it possible that Ukraine will one day make another U-turn toward Russia?

NATO recognizes Ukraine’s aspiration to join Alliance, calls for further reforms – news politics | UNIAN

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) recognizes Ukraine’s desire to join the Alliance and urges the Ukrainian authorities to continue to implement a wide range of reforms. NATO encourages Ukraine to continue its reform path.

EU reiterates need for full implementation of Association Agreement with Ukraine – news politics | UNIAN

The European Union has said each country has the right to make changes to its Constitution, but reiterated the need for the full implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Earlier today, Ukraine Parliament backed the amendments to the Constitution on the country’s path toward the EU and NATO.

Mejlis Chairman Chubarov: Ukraine’s aspirations towards NATO and EU drawing near return of Crimea

Chairman of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatar People, MP Refat Chubarov believes that the introduction of amendments on Ukraine’s course for NATO and the EU to the Constitution of Ukraine draws near the return of Crimea. — Ukrinform.

U.S. Secretary of State in Europe to raise Ukraine’s issue

Next week, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo will be on a European tour, during which he will visit at least five countries and discuss issues of security, economy, Ukraine, and threats from Russia and Iran. — Ukrinform.

United Kingdom assures Ukraine of its support

Harriett Baldwin, the UK’s Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Minister of State at the Department for International Development, made a relevant statement during a meeting with Olena Zerkal, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine for European Integration, the press service of the Foreign Ministry reports. “The parties paid special attention to the situation in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov after the Russian aggression against the Ukrainian Navy. Olena Zerkal told Harriett Baldwin about the current situation in the Azov-Black Sea region related to Russia’s illegal restrictions on shipping, blockade of Ukrainian ports, and active and purposeful actions of the Russian Federation aimed at undermining the economic infrastructure and destabilizing the social situation,” reads the statement. The parties agreed to further mobilize the joint efforts in order to release the Ukrainian sailors, who had been captured in the Kerch Strait. The issue of legislative regulation of mine action in Ukraine was separately discussed. In particular, since 2016, the specialists of the British foundation “HALO Trust” have cleared more than 25 million square meters of land in eastern Ukraine. The parties agreed that one of the important steps in this area was the adoption of the Law of Ukraine “On Mine Action in Ukraine”, which entered into force on January 25. The parties noted the deepening of bilateral cooperation between Ukraine and the United Kingdom. The issues of Ukrainian-British cooperation in the field of countering Russia’s meddling in the presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine and the visa issues related to Brexit were discussed.

Bundestag considers Russia’s blockage of navigation in Azov and Black Seas unacceptable

The issue of Russia’s occupation of Crimea remains relevant on the agenda of the German Bundestag. Russia’s violation of the norms of international law concerning the blockage of navigation in the waters of the Azov and Black Seas is unacceptable. — Ukrinform.

U.S. calls on Russia to immediately release Ukrainian sailors held in captivity for 75 days (Video) – news politics | UNIAN

The Embassy of the United States of America in Ukraine has called on the Russian Federation to immediately release 24 Ukrainian sailors, who have been held captive for 75 days. Three sailors were wounded during the attack.

Iryna Gerashchenko: Ukraine will continue to ‘squeeze out’ Russians from all missions until occupation of Crimea, Donbas ends

Verkhovna Rada First Deputy Chairperson, Ukraine’s envoy to the Trilateral Contact Group’s humanitarian subgroup Iryna Gerashchenko has responded to a response from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) office on Ukraine’s refusal to allow Russian citizens monitor Ukraine’s upcoming presidential elections. Verkhovna Rada First Deputy Chairperson, Ukraine’s envoy to the Trilateral Contact Group’s humanitarian subgroup Iryna Gerashchenko has responded to a response from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) office on Ukraine’s refusal to allow Russian citizens monitor Ukraine’s upcoming presidential elections. She said Ukraine would continue to prohibit Russian citizens from taking part in missions until Russia ends its occupation of Crimea and Donbas. “I, as a co-author of the law banning Russian observers during our elections, am pleased with yesterday’s vote in the parliament. We will continue to squeeze Russians out of all missions until Crimea and Donbass are de-occupied. We remind the OSCE and other organizations that we should not play along with evil and allow Russia to discredit these organizations and contribute to their degradation,” Gerashchenko said on Facebook on Friday. Gerashchenko said Ukraine’s participants in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) have consistently fought to reduce the number of Russians in the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM). “A strange coincidence: as soon as the composition of the SMM changed and there were fewer Russians and their satellites, the SMM immediately began to record columns of Russian equipment, new Russian radar systems, etc.,” she said. As reported, on February 7, Ukraine’s parliament adopted a law that prohibited citizens of Russia and persons nominated by Russia to be official observers at the presidential, parliamentary and local elections in Ukraine.

Ukraine, France outline priority areas of cooperation to strengthen Armed Forces

Defense Minister of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak met with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to Ukraine Isabelle Dumont and representatives of the defense enterprises of France. — Ukrinform.

First int’l human rights mission since occupation reports on how Russia crushes opposition in Crimea |Euromaidan Press |

Almost five years have passed since the Russian Federation occupied Crimea in 2014. The Russian Federation has consistently denied international monitoring missions access to the peninsula. Crimea was inaccessible until representatives from Human Rights Houses managed to get in during 14 – 18 September 2018. Recently, the findings from this visit were summarized in the report and presented in Strasbourg at the PACE January session.

Czech Communist lawmaker calls Ukrainian government “fascist regime” – news politics | UNIAN

Stanislav Grospič, representative of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, has called the Ukrainian government a “fascist regime.” Ukrainian diplomats expect his statements will be condemned by the leadership of the Chamber of Deputies.

Ukraine’s embassy indignant at statements by Czech MP on ‘fascist regime’

Ukraine’s Embassy in the Czech Republic has expressed indignation at unacceptable statements made by Czech MP Stanislav Grospic in relation to the Ukrainian government and expects them to be condemned by the leadership of the Chamber of Deputies, according to a statement posted on the embassy’s website. — Ukrinform.

Six attacks against Ukraine army in past day: no losses, one terrorist destroyed, – JFO center

08.02.19 09:52 – Six attacks against Ukraine army in past day: no losses, one terrorist destroyed, – JFO center Feb. 7, Russia occupation forces violated the ceasefire six times employing weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements two times. View news.

Militants launched six attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas in last day

Militants launched six attacks, using weapons banned under the Minsk agreements twice, on positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas over the past day. — Ukrinform.

JFO: Ukraine reports six enemy attacks in Donbas in past day – news war | UNIAN

Russian-led forces mounted six attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in the past 24 hours. No one was hurt in the attacks, the report says.

“Azov” conducted the first successful operation after returning to the front line

The servicemen of a separate detachment of the special purpose “Azov” made the destruction of the enemy group, which tried to come closer to Ukrainian positions under cover of mortar shelling. This is reported by the press service of the unit As a result of the opening of the fire by the fighters “Azov” in response to the enemy, a group of mercenaries was eliminated. As a result of the successful defeat of the enemy on the frontline on February 6, the troops received the departmental awards and certificates from the hands of the command of the Joint Operations Command. The task for the elimination of the enemy was executed by the fighters of the 1st Azov battalion with callers: Aksid, Bo, Solo, and Mitya. According to fighters, the density of fire was such that the opponents could not even raise their goals. “At that moment they thought about their brothers who perished for Ukraine,” Azovs say. Recall Azov, after the withdrawal from the advanced summer of 2015, returned to “zero” and started assignment tasks in conjunction with the 30th individual mechanized brigade named after Konstantin Ostrozky as part of the Grouping of the Joint Operations.

“Stugnas” at “Edelweiss”: 4 units of equipment [killed] in 5 days

In five days, the tank destroyers of the 10th Mountain-Assault Brigade destroyed four units of Russian-terrorist troops. This was stated on the Facebook page by the officer of the brigade, Gleb Babich All liquidated machinery was the result of the use of domestic anti-tank complexes “Stugn-P” for the development and production of the Design Bureau “LUC”. By dates it is: • January 30 – KAMAZ with militants • January 31 – MT-LB from ZU-23-2 and crew • February 3 – MT-LB from ZU-23-2 and crew • February 4 – KRAZ with militants On the occasion of January 31, we reported: Also, later there was a video on the work of another calculation of the anti-tank missile complex in the area of ​​operation of the Joint Forces: It will be recalled that the beginning of mass deliveries of the anti-tank missile complexes “Stugna-P” to the Armed Forces of Ukraine became known last year, when there were several public transfers of this type of armament The Stugna-P anti-tank missile system is designed to damage tanks and other armored targets, including those equipped with modern means of dynamic protection, with the help of a 130-mm P-2C guided missile. A guided missile R-2C can be equipped with various types of combat units: • tandem shaped charge • frag-explosive • Thermobaric

Poroshenko affirms borders and list of temporarily occupied localities in Donbas. LIST

08.02.19 10:47 – Poroshenko affirms borders and list of temporarily occupied localities in Donbas. LIST President Petro Poroshenko has signed a decree No. 32/2019 establishing borders and listing towns and districts in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. View news.

Depression Among ATO Veterans | Smithsonian Photo Contest | Smithsonian

A photo from the series about depression among ATO veterans. The ATO is the term officially used by the Ukrainian government for Russia’s war against Ukraine in the Donbas, which has been ongoing since April 2014.

Why Are Ukrainian Pensioners Dying in Donbas?

Since the start of 2019, nine pensioners have died going through the checkpoints between Ukraine’s controlled and uncontrolled territories. The latest reported case was about a man born in 1951 who, according to the Right to Protection NGO, died at Stanytsia Luhanska, Luhansk region’s only official entry-exit checkpoint, on January 28. The exact cause of his death is still unknown. There are 1.2 million Ukrainian pensioners living in the non-government controlled territories of Ukraine, according to the country’s Ministry of Social Policy. Most of them received Ukrainian pensions at least once in their life since the start of occupation. But only 700,000 do it on a monthly basis. Forced to Break the Law While the remaining 500,000 could have personal reasons for not claiming their payments, the difficulty of this process can play a big part in the decision. Pensioners living in occupied Donbas can only receive their pensions if they register as internally displaced persons (IDPs). Technically this is breaking Ukrainian law, but for them it’s the only way to survive in their homes now the so-called Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics.

President: Russian repressive machine hasn’t broken political prisoners Sushchenko and Balukh

Ukrainian political prisoners Roman Sushchenko and Volodymyr Balukh have not broken down and remained courageous and committed to their ideals, despite the methodical pressure of the Russian repressive machine. — Ukrinform.

UAWire – Belarus builds military roads to Ukrainian border

In the Almany Mires nature reserve in Belarus’s Brest Oblast, which borders with Ukraine, operations are underway to upgrade the roads, which could be used for military purposes, Charter 97 reports, citing a source in one of Ukraine’s ministries. The source explained on condition of anonymity that the road infrastructure being built in Belarus will make it easier for border guards to reach their service locations, and will also provide an additional way to move Belarusian military equipment to the Polessky training ground. The motorway infrastructure could also be used to transport soldiers, weapons and military equipment right up to the Ukrainian border. Between 2014-2017, the Belarusian government constructed a number of access roads and forest roads from the country’s rear regions, with a length of roughly 96 km. Access roads have been built up to the Almany border outpost, which borders with the Ukrainian town of Perebrody, as well as to the Mutvitsa, Khinichev and Selishche border posts, which border with the Ukrainian towns of Drozdyn, Zabolottya and Poznan. The Ukrainian cities of Zhytomyr and Novohrad-Volynskyi are in the close vicinity of this stretch of the Belarusian-Ukrainian border. The capital, Kyiv, is also dangerously close. As reported previously, Lithuania’s intelligence agency said that Russia is using Belarus as a “buffer” state with whose help it is demonstrating its military might and planning military operations.

“Vilkha” for the AFU: the first launches of missiles this year

Already this year, the first launches of the national missile complex “Vilkha” will arrive in the Armed Forces of Ukraine This is reported by the Ukrainian Military Portal In an interview for Tsensor.NET, Oleg Korostelov, General Designer of the “Luch” BP, said that their troops will be held this year. It’s about at least a hundred rockets ordered this year “The estimated number of launchers will be ready for deployment to the troops in the first half of 2019. The Ministry of Defense paid us an advance payment for the mass production of hundreds of missiles. They will be ready in the second half-year, “Korostelov said The missile complex “Vilkha” will have a controlled 300-mm missile munitions. Start of a salvo of 12 missiles – in 48 seconds. Leave the start zone – in 3-4 minutes. The packet does not change the package position. Missile mass – within 800 kg. Engine weight – within 500 kg. Control system – within 70 kg. The rocket’s velocity on the final section of the trajectory is within 3.4 M. The weight of the combat unit is about 250 kg.

Branding of the Ukrainian military: a shield as a reflection of military traditions

The “Rebranding” of the Ukrainian Army, which has been going on for several years now, brought the first results. The Ukrainian military received a new form of clothing, new signs of distinguishing titles, emblems of the troops, and much more. Currently, the process of filling this form with a new content continues: awards, armbands, badges and other elements. However, the development of a new “content” is impossible without an integrated approach to this issue. This is especially true for armpit emblems. As the world experience shows, the recognition of the servicemen of the armies of the developed countries, first of all, of NATO members, depends on the use of uniform to the creation of armored emblems of military units. The key to this issue is the shape of the emblem’s shield and its colors. If the question of colors has already been considered in the expert environment (See: “Branding” of the Ukrainian army: who the colors are used for ), the question of the shape of the shield remains insufficiently studied. Therefore, the experience of the armed forces of other countries, in particular the parts of the Ground Forces (NATO) of NATO countries, deserves careful analysis in order to ensure that the Ukrainian Army has worked its own approach to armored emblems. Today, in the NATO countries, there are two approaches to the form of insoles with insoles: monotonous and diverse. The first involves the use of a uniform shield for virtually all compounds and parts of the JI. The second one – does not set strict rules that would restrict the designers of the armband symbols, and allows them to use different forms of boards, depending on each case. On the one hand, monotony allows for the construction of a clear system that simplifies the identification of the soldier at a distance. On the other hand – somewhat restricts creativity. So let’s take a look at the symbols of the Alliance’s JI parts to find out: what shields are used in their arm insignia, and, accordingly, what kind of filling they have. According to the analysis, it was found that only sixteen countries use a uniform shield as a basis for the armored emblems of the parts of the JI. The only form allows us to form a peculiar set of symbolic parts, which provides uniform military personnel of one or another uniqueness and identity. The first in this list is the US Army, which is considered to be one of the largest and most professional armies in the world, and which has one of the most advanced institutes of military symbolism. Having worked out their own approach to the development of armhole emblems, American experts came to the conclusion that limiting itself to the only form of shield for all parts is not worth it. At the same time, in land military symbolism, many emblems have the same shield, which is more typical of troops than a separate unification (army, corps) or a union (division). For example, on the sleeves of servicemen who serve in parts of the air defense, you can see the insoles emblem with the same shape of the shield – an elongated rectangle with rounded upper and lower sides. Under this scheme, the armlets of the training units, for which the use of the diamond-shaped shield with rounded corners is foreseen. The unifying element in them is the image of a burning torch, the only one for all educational units of the species. In this case, the colors of the emblem clearly correspond to the distribution of colors, assigned to the families and services of the US Army. This is also a characteristic feature of American military symbols. This practice allows one of the largest armies in the world to be equipped with laconic and intelligible armored emblems.

Ukrainian judge persecuted, physically attacked & prevented from joining Anti-Corruption Court after exposing corruption – Human Rights in Ukraine

Ukraine’s Supreme Court has revoked a questionable reprimand issued against Larysa Holnyk, the judge who publicly exposed an attempt originating from the Mayor of Poltava to bribe her into providing the ruling he wanted. The reprimand has already served to prevent Holnyk from competing for a post in the new Anti-Corruption Court, unlike a very large number of judges whose professional integrity and commitment to fighting corruption have been questioned. Holnyk’s courage in blowing the whistle on corruption has earned her the respect of many civic organizations both in Ukraine and abroad. It has also highlighted everything that judicial reform in Ukraine, five years after Euromaidan, has still not become. Since 2015, she appears to have suffered considerable harassment from the president of her court (the Oktyabrsky District Court in Poltava),inexcusable delay in confirming her life tenure as a judge, and numerous court suits. She and her husband were also the victims of a vicious attack on 22 November 2017. It was in connection with this that in 2018 Holnyk was placed on the ‘Handziuk List’ of 55 Ukrainians who had been the victims of attacks which were either entirely unsolved or only partially solved. The list is named after civic activist Kateryna Handziuk who died on 4 November 2018 of injuries after being sprayed with a huge amount of sulphuric acid.

Ukrainians Working Abroad Send $1 Billion Home Per Month – Fryday™

Ukrainians Working Abroad Send $1 Billion Home Per Month….Foreign Exchange Freedom Starts Today…Wage Remittances Prop up Hryvnia, Buy Time for Government to Attract Investment…Agro Businesses Power Crop Growth…Sunflowers Up, Sugar Down By James Brooke

Attitudes to Ukrainians get better in Poland – poll – news world | UNIAN

A total of 31% of Poles like Ukrainians, while 41% retain a negative attitude, that’s according to the Polish Public Opinion Research Center (CBOS). Poles have shown better attitudes toward almost all nations mentioned in the survey.

World Bank looks forward to continuing “excellent cooperation” with Suprun in Ukraine – news politics | UNIAN

The World Bank looks forward to continuing “excellent cooperation” with Ulana Suprun, the acting Ukrainian Health Minister who has been suspended by a court decision. Muller met with Suprun to discuss Ukraine’s “historical and wide-ranging healthcare reforms.”

577 investigations opened, 44 people declared suspect, 61 people charged due to work of NABU in past six months, – Sytnyk. PHOTO

08.02.19 15:23 – 577 investigations opened, 44 people declared suspect, 61 people charged due to work of NABU in past six months, – Sytnyk. PHOTO Due to the work of National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), 577 investigations have been opened in the second half of 2018. View news.

Ukraine reduced gas imports by almost 25 percent last year

In 2018, Ukraine imported 10.6 billion cubic meters of gas, 24.8% down compared with 2017. — Ukrinform.

Minister: Cabinet no Hogwarts, has no magic wand to repair all Ukrainian roads – news economics | UNIAN

Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan says the Cabinet of Ministers is not Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry so it is unable to repair all Ukrainian roads that have not been overhauled for decades. About UAH 200 billion (US$7.4 billion) is required annually to overhaul all Ukrainian roads, the minister said.

Jamila Mammadova | Ukraine’s lessons for the West – CapX

Europe faces a twin threat to its security – internal incompetence and external provocation. Ukraine has lessons for the West on how to deal with the tide of Russian disinformation. Is it time the UK had an alternative, fact-based, alternative to Russia Today? “Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others”, goes a famous line from Otto von Bismarck. As the Paris protests have recently exposed, European societies currently face a twin threat – the inability of their own elites to deal with internal crises and external agents using those same crises to stoke unrest. Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) has claimed that the Russian secret service has trained the “radicals” involved in disturbances not only in France, but Germany, Belgium, Spain and Bulgaria. What does this mean for Britain, being at the crossroads of its own history as it prepares to leave the European Union? Clearly, the UK does not face the same level of interference as Ukraine, which for five years has been dealing with sabotage and disinformation efforts backed by the Russian state, while simultaneously engaged in a military conflict with Kremlin-backed separatists. Western Europe is nowhere close – yet. Things may change though, if those in power do not start learning from the experiences of their not-so-distant-neighbours. Ukraine is holding presidential elections in March and its security services have already raised the alarm about what to expect from Russian saboteurs. Hacking of the electoral system to sway the results, as well as escalating military clashes in the eastern region of Donbass are only part of the problem. The Russian secret services also use a network of agents of influence, working to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty without the authorities being aware of its true extent. Some in Kyiv fear the Kremlin may intervene by throwing its support behind a “convenient candidate”.

Volker changes position on Russian observers in Ukraine’s elections

U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker has called “real” a threat that Russian observers may pose to the presidential election in Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

EU comments on Ukraine’s ban on election monitors from Russia – news politics | UNIAN

The European Union has commented on Ukraine’s ban for Russian citizens to monitor Ukraine elections. Ukraine should ensure that ODIHR will be able carry out observation “in full accordance with the usual practice,” the EU says.

Russian lawyer: Kremlin bets on meddling in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections – news politics | UNIAN

Russian lawyer and human rights activist Nikolay Polozov has said the Kremlin will use captured Ukrainian sailors to influence Ukrainian domestic politics, in particular, parliamentary elections. “The Kremlin is going to exploit the issue of prisoners of war to influence Ukrainian internal politics – not at the presidential but rather at parliamentary elections. That’s because Ukraine is a parliamentary-presidential republic,” he told Pryamiy TV Channel. The lawyer said some opposition politicians might use captured sailors for PR. “I won’t be calling out names of certain politicians, but if two, three, or five prisoners of war are returned and some opposition politician says: ‘I did it,’ they’ll show them on TV, people will be seeing this, saying ‘Good job…” or their political force could do this.”

Tymoshenko, Hrytsenko, Sadovyi, Bondar, Shevchenko sign fair elections memorandum

08.02.19 11:46 – Tymoshenko, Hrytsenko, Sadovyi, Bondar, Shevchenko sign fair elections memorandum Presidential candidates Yuliia Tymoshenko, Anatolii Hrytsenko, Andrii Sadovyi, Oleksandr Shevchenko, Viktor Bondar signed a memorandum on fair elections on Thursday, Feb. 7. View news.

Tymoshenko with five other presidential candidates sign memorandum on fair elections – news ukraine | UNIAN

Presidential candidates Yulia Tymoshenko, Anatoly Hrytsenko, Andriy Sadovy, Oleksandr Shevchenko, Viktor Bondar, and Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday, February 7, signed a memorandum on fair elections. The said politicians will create a coordinating council in the coming days.

Police establish 36 facts of bribing voters, – Avakov

08.02.19 12:27 – Police establish 36 facts of bribing voters, – Avakov As of Feb. 7, the police have established 36 facts of bribing voters. View news.

OSCE reports silent about Russia’s illegal “elections” in occupied Crimea – Ukraine official – news politics | UNIAN

First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Iryna Gerashchenko has said the Ukrainian side is deeply disappointed and concerned over the fact that the OSCE reports on the results of the Russian presidential elections and the State Duma are silent about falsified and illegal “elections” in the occupied Crimea. Ukraine regards such position as playing along with Moscow’s scenarios of creeping legitimization of Crimea seizure. First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Iryna Gerashchenko has said the Ukrainian side is deeply disappointed and concerned over the fact that the OSCE reports on the results of the Russian presidential elections and the State Duma are silent about falsified and illegal “elections” in the occupied Crimea. “We regard such silence as playing along with scenarios of creeping legitimization of Crimea theft. We will continue to express deep concern over this shameful fact at all of our meetings with the OSCE and other international partners. We are no less disappointed and concerned over the fact that, despite its mandate to work throughout Ukraine, the OSCE SMM fails to monitor the security and humanitarian situation in the Kerch Strait and Crimea, and does not insist on having constant access to the uncontrolled part of the Ukrainian-Russian border,” she wrote on Facebook, commenting on the OSCE’s statement where the organization expressed disappointment about Kyiv’s decision to ban election observers from Russia.

Ukraine Moves To Bar Election Monitors From ‘Aggressor State’ Russia

Ukrainian lawmakers have voted to ban Russian citizens from serving as election monitors in the country.

EU To Call For Ukraine Support Ahead Of Elections, In Document Seen By RFE/RL

Eighteen European Union member states have called on the bloc to be “ready to act” in support of Ukraine in case Russia tries to undermine the country’s presidential and parliamentary electio…

After Slip In Polls, Tymoshenko Goes Low In Ukraine Campaigning

Presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko claimed this week without evidence that Ukraine’s American-born acting health minister was sent to “experiment” on Ukrainians and that President Poroshenko w…

CEC publishes Poroshenko’s election program

Incumbent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, as a candidate for the second presidential term, plans to file an application for EU membership in 2023 and in the next five years make Ukraine a leader in the agricultural and IT sectors, a transport hub in Eastern Europe and one of the most visited European states. — Ukrinform.

I adapted to negativity, – Medvedchuk, “Opposition Platform – For Life” –

The Chairman of the political council of “Opposition Platform – For Life” Viktor Medvedchuk outlined his attitude to criticism on air of “Maga” program. As he put it, Medvedchuk adapted to negativity towards him. “They always say: “Why do you read this?” And I reply: “To know”. “Probably, you want to know who your enemies are?” I say: “I am not sure that people who write this are my enemies. They are indeed my opponents. And they do envy. Why do I read? I have adapted to this dirt, to this negativity, as one should be strong for this. So that when you see that it’s a lie, and you understand that you are better than this. This is not true. My wife tells me: “You should go to court”, he said. He added that he won around 30-40 trials on the protection of his reputation. “Do you know how many trials I won? Around 30-40 over these years. Do you think it’s a pleasure for me? No. Dirt is everywhere, and you, as a media representative, you know that dirt spreads and it becomes relevant, when it spreads. And when the court has a verdict and one has to deny, first of all, they don’t want to deny, secondly, it’s not relevant anymore, and also they say, the as a rule, any story lives three days, it’s not interesting. I say – there is no point. Though I am in a place where this is radical and uncontrollably, I react all the time and appeal to the courts. But I have the power to adapt to this dirt,” Medvedchuk added.

NewsOne TV fined for hate speech – news portal

NewsOne TV fined for hate speech. Its broadcasts are full of Russian propaganda. Political – news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today. The National TV and Radio Council has fined Novyny 24 Hodyny Ltd (NewsOne TV) based on the results of the 5 October 2018 inspection. The channel will have to pay 96,530 hryvnyas, or around 3,580 dollars. Hate speech was found in statements by the TV channel’s guests and presenters, including pro-Russian politicians Olena Lukash, Vyacheslav Pykhovshek, Ruslan Kotsaba, Yevhen Chervonenko, Andriy Lesyk, Mykhaylo Dobkyn and Dmytro Spivak. The council also received a letter from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) which said that certain shows contained statements carrying signs of “discreet calls to aggressive actions and programming of aggressive behaviour among viewers”.

2019 world freedom rating – Freedom House report: Ukraine’s place on the map of world democracy –

World 2019 report, released by Freedom House on February 4, evaluates the state of freedom in 195 countries and 14 territories during 2018. What is Ukraine’s place on the map of world democracy? “In 2018, Freedom in the World recorded the 13th consecutive year of decline in global freedom. The reversal has spanned a variety of countries in every region, from long-standing democracies like the United States to consolidated authoritarian regimes like China and Russia. The overall losses are still shallow compared with the gains of the late 20th century, but the pattern is consistent and ominous. Democracy is in retreat,” says the report. Let’s try to examine Freedom in the World 2019 report in more detail.

Russia prepared to occupy Crimea back in 2010 and other things we learned from Yanukovych’s treason trial |Euromaidan Press |

On 24 January, the one-and-a-half year long treason trial of ex-President Viktor Yanukovych finally ended. The fugitive ex-head of state was charged with high treason, encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine, and complicity in Russia’s aggressive warfare. Since Yanukovych has been hiding in Russia since early spring of 2014, he was tried in absentia. The court summoned Yanukovych several times, but he ignored the requests. Later, the former president planned to give evidence via video connection from Russia but it failed. Later, Yanukovych was going to remotely deliver his final statement but the hearings were postponed as his attorney stated that his client was taken to a hospital. Later Yanukovych didn’t take part in his trial. In total, more than 100 witnesses were interviewed for the case, including the former Russian MP Denis Voronenkov, who was shot dead in Kyiv in March 2017. The courtroom testimonies of Ukrainian officials shed light on the unknown and disregarded details of Russia’s occupation of Crimea. Here’s what we learned from the trial.

Russia provides government security for Yanukovych –

The Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov stated that Ukraine’s ex-President Viktor Yanukovych uses Russia’s state security, as Interfax reported. Answering the question whether Russia guards Yanukovych, Peskov said: “Under the order of the President of Russia he is guarded”. “State security is provided under the decision of the Head of State,” he added.

Yanukovych under state protection in Russia on Putin’s order – news politics | UNIAN

Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov has said former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, convicted in Ukraine for high treason, came to the Russian Federation “as a legitimate president,” and from that moment, he was granted state protection.. The Kremlin insists he initially came to Russia as a legitimate president of Ukraine.

New hopes for reopening of famous Greek Orthodox seminary on Turkish island – The Washington Post

During a visit to Turkey, the Greek prime minister urged that the decades-old deadlock over Halki seminary be resolved

🇬🇷 🇹🇷 Greek PM Alexis Tsipras visits shut orthodox school in Turkey | Al Jazeera English – YouTube

Al Jazeera English Published on Feb 7, 2019 Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has boosted a long-running campaign to reopen a Christian theological school in Muslim-majority Turkey. Halki Seminary in Istanbul was the main school of theology for the Eastern Orthodox Church in the country until the Turkish government shut it down in 1971. Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu reports from Istanbul.

Russia’s Crackdown on Jehovah’s Witnesses Hits Critical Milestone (Op-ed)

By cracking down on Jehovah’s Witnesses, the authorities sent a clear signal to all religious minorities in Russia.

Meet the luxury, Orthodox-friendly Russian phone dubbed ‘Tsar Vladimir’ (No, not THAT one) — RT Russia News

A Russian company has revealed a gold-plated phone dubbed ‘Tsar Vladimir,’ complete with an Orthodox Christian cross symbolizing “transformation from violence to mercy.” The device hasn’t exactly received a royal welcome online. A Russian company has revealed a gold-plated phone dubbed ‘Tsar Vladimir,’ complete with an Orthodox Christian cross symbolizing “transformation from violence to mercy.” The device hasn’t exactly received a royal welcome online. Those hoping for a fresh Vladimir Putin reference will be disappointed, as the brand-new ‘Tsar phone Golden Vladimir’ in fact refers to a 10th-century ruler credited with bringing Christianity to Russian soil. The phone not only features a massive cross on its back, but is also meant to resemble the sword of Vladimir the Great – as well as the exuberant finery of the Russian Orthodox Church. In a somewhat cartoonish crash course in history, the manufacturer Caviar explains that the concept was inspired by “Vladimir’s unique spiritual transformation from paganism and violence to Orthodox Christianity and mercy.” The three-nines-fine, gold-plated device sells for 279,000 rubles ($4,240).

Russia’s Investigative Committee Seeks Donations for Archangel Statue, Reports Say

The head of Russia’s Investigative Committee is reportedly seeking donations for the construction of a bronze Archangel Michael statue at the entrance of his agency’s new headquarters in Moscow as religious symbols gain an increasingly prominent place in Russian state institutions. The Russian Orthodox Church has become a powerful political force since the anointment of Patriarch Kirill as its leader in 2009. Last year, the Russian military began collecting donations for its state-of-the-art military cathedral with six golden domes dedicating to the patron saint of each military branch.