Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (91)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

US SOUTHCOM Commander’s use of “wounded, declining bear” to describe Russia is appropriate. Russia is indeed flailing like a cornered, wounded animal. Bear? Not so much.

Rather lengthy compilation, 42 pages worth. Enjoy your leisure afternoon reading!

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Reports Russian INF cheating may have been more extensive than previously stated. Muscovy’s ridiculous theatrics continue, complaining about imagined IRBMs and GLCMs in the Baltic States and Romania. Apt observation by Amb Pifer: “FM Klimkin notes that #Ukraine also was party to #INFTreaty. With treaty now on path to demise, Ukraine will be free to develop, test & deploy ground-launched ballistic & cruise missiles with ranges of 500-5,500 kilometers. Wonder if Kremlin considered that?” – noting a GLCM based on Soviet tech could be developed very quickly indeed as most key components are already being built for other programs. Krepinevich and Betts on the declining effect of deterrence – the less the opponent knows, understands or cares, the less effective traditional deterrence will be.

Adm Faller captures Russia in one succinct soundbite: “…wounded, declining bear that’s just lashing out …” – as it descends further into the abyss, it will make increasing risky and short term focussed choices, regardless of long term consequences. Brussels a playground for Russian intel operators. NATO update, the good, bad and ugly.

Nordstream 2 update, comprising contradictory reports on the French position. More US pressure may be required to sink this political trojan horse. Russia update – sacking of interior ministry generals, Wagner PMC in CAR, MH17, and Kiyan comments on Russia’s lost nukes and 1,200 radioactive objects left on the seabed.

Bulgaria to investigate what is now suspected to have been a Novichok attack in 2015

In Kyiv, the Verkhovna Rada calls for a NATO MAP at the earliest (long overdue already). Pres Poroshenko argues the NATO and EU case. Crimea, Donbas updates – Russia again reported to be using blinding laser weapons.

Capabilities – Vilkha GMLRS attracts export customer interest, Luch discusses future SAMs, more armored gunboats and assault boats being built.

Election updates – Poroshenko, Tymoshenko, Zelinskiy and Medvedchuk, and the OSCE leadership curiously complains that Ukraine will accept observers from anywhere but Russia. Politics update – Makarevich is actually quite correct, and Ukrainians do appear to be serving a similar purpose in Russian propaganda theatre as many minorities did in the Nazi propaganda space.

Russian intel reported to be recruiting Ukrainians to torch ROC held churches in Ukraine, for a $2,000 payment. More parishes defect to OCU. ROC clergy harassing defectors with SMS calls to repent, and other threats. Police now investigating, following the audit of inventory that found no less than eight priceless 11th-century icons, and two other period articles had vanished while the monastery was under lease to the ROC. Russians closing down last OCU church in Crimea, and more on Russia’s persecution of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Report: Russia Has Deployed More Medium-Range Cruise Missiles Than Previously Thought

Russia has deployed its controversial 9M729 cruise missile at more locations than previously thought, a German newspaper reports. Citing an unidentified Western intelligence source, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAZ) said on February 10 that missile battalions were stationed in Mozdok in North Ossetia and in Shuya, close to Moscow. That’s in addition to a training battalion stationed at the rocket-testing development site in Kapustin Yar in southern Russia and one in Kamyshlov, east of Yekaterinburg, the paper said. On February 2, the United States announced that it will withdraw from a key Cold War-era nuclear arms control agreement, after Washington and NATO repeatedly accused Moscow of violating the accord by developing the 9M729 cruise missile, also known as the SSC-8. Russia, which denies the accusation, said it was also withdrawing from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which banned both countries from developing, producing, and deploying ground-launched cruise or ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. Each of Russia’s four 9M729 battalions has four launchers on wheels, each of which had four missiles, according to FAZ. That means Russia has at least 64 such missiles, which can be armed either with conventional or nuclear warheads, according to the newspaper. With a range of up to 2,350 kilometers, FAZ said, the missile in their current positions could reach Eastern and Northern Europe. And moving the weapons systems could put the whole of Europe within range with the exception of Portugal, the paper wrote. Russia claims its missile has a range of 480 kilometers.

Blame Russian Cheating, Not America, for Killing the INF Treaty | RealClearDefense

When it turned 30 in 2017, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (inf) treaty was ailing. Russia had proposed ripping up the pact in 2005. When it was rebuffed it tested an illegal cruise missile, the 9m729. A few years later the Obama administration called out Russian cheating. In December 2018 America’s nato allies belatedly backed America. So, when Russia failed to meet a deadline to destroy the missile this month, America pulled out of the treaty and Russia soon followed. The only pact to ban an entire class of nuclear weapons will thus expire in August. The task for America and nato is to meet the Russian challenge without triggering an arms race that would split the alliance and jeopardise what is left of global arms control. Under the treaty, America and the Soviet Union scrapped all ground-based missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500km (310-3,400 miles), weapons that could quickly reach targets deep into enemy territory. The intention was to remove missiles that strike so quickly that leaders might be panicked into rash nuclear escalation.

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 – Russia: US must destroy MK-41 launchers and attack drones to save INF Treaty

Russia demands that the US meet a number of conditions before the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty can be reinstated, Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said on Thursday, 7 February, as reported by Interfax. “The Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation has advised America to take the necessary measures to return to strict compliance with the treaty during the period before the INF Treaty expires,” he said. According to Konashenkov, Russia has advised the US to destroy its MK-41 universal launchers deployed on the ground. The Russian Defense Ministry believes these launchers were developed to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles. Moscow has also advised Washington to destroy its target missiles that are similar in their characteristics to intermediate and short-range ground-based ballistic missiles. Furthermore, the Kremlin demands that the US destroy its attack drones. Konashenkov said that, according to their characteristics, these unmanned aerial vehicles fall under the INF Treaty’s definition of the term “ground-based cruise missile”. The US military attaché to Moscow has been invited to the Russian Defense Ministry to receive a memorandum on the INF Treaty.

Steven Pifer on Twitter: “FM Klimkin notes that #Ukraine also was party to #INFTreaty. With treaty now on path to demise, Ukraine will be free to develop, test & deploy ground-launched ballistic & cruise missiles with ranges of 500-5,500 kilometers. Wonder if Kremlin considered that?”

Ex-U.S. envoy wonders whether Kremlin ever considered Ukraine could make own missiles after INF Treaty collapse – news politics | UNIAN

The failure of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty will open up possibilities for Ukraine do develop and deploy relevant missiles, according to ex-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer. Ukraine will need to respond to new challenges, the country’s foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin said earlier. The failure of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty will open up possibilities for Ukraine do develop and deploy relevant missiles, according to ex-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer. “With treaty now on path to demise, Ukraine will be free to develop, test & deploy ground-launched ballistic & cruise missiles with ranges of 500-5,500 kilometers. Wonder if Kremlin considered that?” he wrote on Twitter, according to RFE/RL. “Of course, they did,” a Canada-based political analyst Ariana Gic responded to Pifer’s tweet, adding that Ukraine needs years to develop missiles. “What does Russia plan to do to Ukraine in the meantime?” she asked. The discussion unfolded following an interview Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin gave the Voice of America during his latest Washington visit. “This behavior on the part of Russia led to a new logic of the arms race. It is for certain, since other partners will do the same. And in this situation, Ukraine will need to respond to new challenges. And we must respond to them with dignity, because we have experience, we have the necessary intelligence, we have the need to protect our country,” stressed Klimkin. “We already have certain potential in the field of missile weapons, and it is we who will decide which missiles we need for the future,” the foreign minister said. Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would hand over to Russia an official notification of U.S. withdrawal from the Treaty if Russia fails to come back to fulfilling its provisions. Washington sees Russia’s new 9M729 missiles as an example of a violation of the deal.

US step closer to developing hypersonic missile that travels at five times the speed of sound | The Independent

The United States is racing to develop hypersonic missiles that can travel at five times the speed of sound, officials have confirmed.  Heather Wilson, secretary of the US Air Force, said the effort was being made to keep pace with other nations like Russia and China while speaking on Friday at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.

Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr. | The Decline of Deterrence as a Defense Strategy

Thus far the chief purpose of our military establishment has been to win wars,” the American nuclear strategist Bernard Brodie wrote in 1946. “From now on its chief purpose must be to avert them.” Brodie’s injunction summed up the grim lesson of the first five decades of the twentieth century: after two horrific world wars and the development of nuclear weapons, it was clear that the next major conflict would produce no winners—only survivors. As U.S. President John F. Kennedy put it a decade and a half later, in the midst of the Cuban missile crisis, “Even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth.” For decades, U.S. policymakers followed Brodie’s and Kennedy’s lead, putting deterrence—preventing rivals from attacking in the first place—at the center of U.S. defense strategy. Applied effectively, deterrence discourages an adversary from pursuing an undesirable action. It works by changing the adversary’s calculation of costs, benefits, and risks. A country can, for instance, convince its opponents that an attack is so unlikely to succeed that it is not even worth the attempt: deterrence through denial. Or a country may convince its opponents that defeating it would be so costly as to be a victory in name only: deterrence through punishment. In either case, a rational adversary will decide to stay put. Through the threat of denial or punishment, deterrence has helped keep the peace among major powers for over seven decades. Even 30 years after the end of the Cold War, it remains at the heart of U.S. defense strategy. The 2018 National Defense Strategy, for instance, begins by declaring that “the Department of Defense’s enduring mission is to provide combat-credible military forces needed to deter war and protect the security of our nation.” By now, that declaration has been made so many times, over so many decades, that it has become an article of faith.

Richard K. Betts | The Lost Logic of Deterrence | Foreign Affairs

Deterrence isn’t what it used to be. In the second half of the twentieth century, it was the backbone of U.S. national security. Its purpose, logic, and effectiveness were well understood. It was the essential military strategy behind containing the Soviet Union and a crucial ingredient in winning the Cold War without fighting World War III. But in recent decades, deterrence has gone astray, and U.S. defense policy is worse for the change. Since the Cold War ended, the United States has clung to deterrence where it should not have, needlessly aggravating relations with Russia. More important, it has rejected deterrence where it should have embraced it, leading to one unnecessary and disastrous war with Iraq and the risk of another with Iran. And most important, with regard to China, Washington is torn about whether or not to rely on deterrence at all, even though such confusion could lead to a crisis and a dangerous miscalculation in Beijing. Mistakes in applying deterrence have come from misunderstandings about the concept itself, faulty threat assessments, forgetfulness about history, and shortsighted policymaking. Bringing these problems into focus can restore faith in deterrence where it has been lost, lower costs where the strategy has been misapplied, and reduce the danger of surprise in situations where the risk of conflict is unclear. Deterrence is a strategy for combining two competing goals: countering an enemy and avoiding war. Academics have explored countless variations on that theme, but the basic concept is quite simple: an enemy will not strike if it knows the defender can defeat the attack or can inflict unacceptable damage in retaliation. At best, applying deterrence when it is unneeded wastes resources. At worst, it may provoke conflict rather than hold it in check. And even when deterrence is appropriate, it might not work — for example, against an enemy who is suicidal or invulnerable to a counterattack. Thus, it is more useful against governments, which have a return address and want to

Joan Johnson-Freese and David T. Burbach | The Best Defense Ever? Busting Myths About the Trump Administration’s Missile Defense Review

Unveiling the 2019 Missile Defense Review, President Donald Trump declared in typical hyperbolic fashion that the United States will build a defense system to protect the American public against missiles “anywhere, anytime, anyplace.” The text of the review was only slightly less ambitious, calling for six lines of expanded effort including new space-based and/or directed-energy weapons and extending U.S. missile defense goals beyond protection against limited regional threats toward a global protection system. The president’s lofty vision for U.S. dominance in space was consistent with his calls to create a separate “Space Force” military service and the hope he floated that NASA could land an astronaut on Mars as soon as next year. Indeed, the only thing missing from the document’s over-the-top unveiling was an announcement that the United States would accomplish this goal with the Warp Drive, powered by unobtainium. In practice, the administration’s missile defense accomplishments are likely to remain rather more earthbound. The 2019 Missile Defense Review is only the latest in a long series of attempts to “solve” dilemmas of defense with dreams of new technologies. There is no reason to believe these dreams will materialize this time either — though unwelcome reactions of adversaries will be real enough. Regardless of viability, the vision of an umbrella rendering the United States invulnerable to nuclear weapons has become embedded in U.S. strategic thinking and, in fact, political culture. As a statement of belief, the Missile Defense Review reflects that reality. As a policy proposal, though, after Pentagon and congressional action the most likely outcome will be moderate increases for existing “kinetic kill” systems, but no great leap toward the radical and risky new programs that Trump promised

In the US Armed Forces, Russia called “a wounded, declining bear that just lashes out”

The United States should not rule out the possibility of a Russian military presence in Venezuela, said the new head of the United Allied Command Forces in the Central and South American region. WASHINGTON – The United States should not rule out the possibility of a Russian military presence in Venezuela. In the exclusive interview with Voice of America, the new head of the United Allied Command Forces in the Central and South American region, Admiral Craig Faller of the United States said. According to Faller, Russia behaves like “a wounded, declining bear that just throws itself” to democratic interests in the region. “If we talk about Russia, then everything is possible here,” said Faller, “we saw what they did (in Syria), and I think we need to be prepared for what may happen in the future.” In an interview, the US military also said that in the case of Venezuela, the US military focused on “supporting a political and diplomatic solution,” and did not directly answer the question of whether the issue of deploying peacekeeping forces to Venezuela is being considered. At the same time, the military noted that in the “undemocratic” countries of the region of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua there is an influence of Russia and China. “If we talk about Russia, then everything is possible here. The US national defense strategy pays attention to Russia and China, and we are already paying a lot of attention, planning and resources to respond to the challenges we face.” But this is a different situation: China is an economic power that is intensifying and they have quite legitimate economic and business interests in the world, but they do not play according to well-established rules, but Russia is almost like a wounded, weakened bear that just throws itself and I can not predict what Russia will do, and I do not want to prophesy. We ba or what they did, and I think we should be prepare to what might happen in the future “- said Faller.

Russia behaves like “wounded, declining bear that’s just lashing out”, – U.S. Navy Admiral –

The United States should not rule out the possibility of the Russian military involvement in Venezuela, according to the new head of U.S. Southern Command. Craig Faller, Navy Admiral and the new head of U.S. Southern Command, claimed that Russia reminded him a “wounded, weakened bear that’s just lashing out” against democratic interests in the region. The voice of America reports this.

Head of US Southern Command on Russia in Venezuela: ‘Anything’s Possible’

Navy Admiral Craig Faller, speaking exclusively in his first in-depth interview since taking command of the U.S. Southern Command, told VOA that Russia was acting like a “wounded, declining bear that’s just lashing out” against democratic interests in the region.

‘Hundreds’ Of Chinese, Russia Agents ‘Operating’ In Brussels

Hundreds of Russian and Chinese intelligence agents are operating in Brussels, the EU’s foreign service has warned.

How the Decline of Liberal Democracy Threatens NATO

Just when NATO is needed as much as ever to meet challenges from without, the foundations of its power are at risk of crumbling because of challenges from within.

Europe in 2019: A Critical and Transitional Year | Center for Strategic and International Studies

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David A. Wemer | Pompeo’s Trip to Central Europe Aims to Bring NATO Allies in From the Cold

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s upcoming trip to Central Europe is “the right call” by the Trump administration, according to Daniel Fried, a distinguished ambassadorial fellow at the Atlantic Council. After the enlargement of NATO and the European Union to encompass these countries by 2004, “a lot of Americans thought our work in the region was done, and yet it was not so,” Fried explained. With US attention shifting to other regions of the world, the once very close partnerships between the United States and these countries “became eerily normal,” said Damon Wilson, executive vice president of the Atlantic Council. “Central Europe began to be taken for granted as Washington’s attention understandably shifted elsewhere.” Pompeo’s visits to Budapest, Bratislava, and Warsaw from February 11 to 13 mark one of the first appearances of a senior US official in the region in years. It has been a decade and a half since as US secretary of state has visited Bratislava and seven years since one has visited Budapest. Wilson noted that “it has been twelve years since an American president [visited Budapest],” while “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin visited twice last year.” The perceived disinterest by Washington toward the region has also been driven by concern about specific internal policies within the region on immigration, media freedom, and the rule of law. Some US analysts, Wilson said, “are arguing for malign neglect” of the region, leading a “policy of shunning and shaming those allies,” who have pursued these policies. “The United States tended to fall back to a scolding, finger-wagging mode,” Fried explained. But added that “it didn’t do much good.” But the Trump administration’s new policy of “combined outreach to the governments with careful and, when needed, pointed messages about some of the problems” has already seen some movement, Fried argued. While Washington certainly can’t take too much credit, in Poland “some of the issues of greatest concern eighteen months ago… have been moving in the right direction,” Fried said, noting a November 2018 letter from the US Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher to the Polish government criticizing its treatment of journalists. Engagement, not isolation, is what can provide results on dissuading these countries from slipping away from democratic norms, Wilson and Fried argued. “Freezing people out is not going to help,” Fried said. “The United States has enormous political capital. We need to use it and not walk away and think problems will solve themselves.” The Trump administration has begun to reverse this policy, Wilson and Fried said, as a response to the growing understanding that, as Wilson said, “the Russians and the Chinese are showing up.” Pompeo’s trip to the region comes as the European Union is still debating the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which could increase Central European energy dependence on Russia, and considering new provisions to limit the activities of Chinese telecom giant Huawei. A senior Trump administration official told reporters in a background briefing on February 8 that on his trip Pompeo “will underscore the role in all three of these stops that the US played in supporting that transition and encourage US allies to strengthen their resistance to Russia and China across the board in commerce, energy, security, and rule of law.” The secretary will “emphasize that the United States intends to compete for positive influence in Central Europe,” the official added. While some commentators like to point fingers at the region—especially Hungary—for attempting to cozy up to Moscow, Wilson noted that all three countries have joined in the expulsion of Russian diplomats, have not broken the EU’s sanctions regime against Russia, and are continuing to contribute to NATO missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo. On top of that, Wilson added, Poland remains one of the only allies to meet NATO’s 2 percent of GDP defense-spending targets and Hungary and Slovakia have made firm commitments to reach that goal by 2024. Slovakia recently approved a €1.6 billion purchase of US F-16 fighter jets and Wilson said the United States is working on signing bilateral defense cooperation agreements with both Budapest and Bratislava, following the signing of a Poland-US strategic partnership in 2018. The United States is also working on implementing the Three Seas Initiative with regional partners and the European Union in order to lessen the dependence of the region on Russian energy. Despite these successes, deeper and more consistent engagement from Washington can avoid any potential desire by the region to get closer to Moscow, Fried and Wilson said. The United States, Fried argued, needs to convince “the Central Europeans—all of them, both sides of the old Iron Curtain line— that the Americans are serious in their Russia policy, serious about their relations with Europe, and present. That tends to work better than both withdrawal and wagging their finger at the same time.” “It is not too little, to late,” Wilson added, “but we have to be in a mindset of how to keep our allies, our allies.” For too long, Wilson argued, these regional partners have felt as if they were “not backed up” on painful questions such as energy and Chinese economic diplomacy. The growing competition for influence around the globe from China and Russia means the United States cannot take these partners for granted, Wilson said. Washington needs to define “our allies…as part of the free world with us,” Wilson argued, as the United States looks to confront these new challenges to the global order. David A. Wemer is assistant director, editorial, at the Atlantic Council. Follow him on Twitter @DavidAWemer.

A Sovereign Democracy and a Dud Partner: Explaining the Slide in U.S.-Turkey Relations

What’s wrong with U.S.-Turkey relations? For over a decade, ties between the United States and its NATO ally have been a rollercoaster ride, leading some

Turkey expects to receive first Russian-made S-400s this year – Defence Blog

The Turkish Armed Forces will receive its first recently ordered S-400 surface-to-air missile systems this year, the Vice President of Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) Celal Sami Tufekci told TASS on 8 February. “We tend to say 2019, this year,” the official said after delivering a speech at the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) in Washington. Tufekci added that the relevant decision has already been made at the supreme level. During the speech in SETA, Tufekci said Turkey decided to buy Russian-made systems because it was not satisfied by the terms of Washington’s proposal to buy US-made Patriot systems. “What led Turkey to the acquisition of the S-400 was the policy put forward by the US. During the negotiations price was an issue, production location was an issue and technology transfer was an issue,” he said. According to the official, it took US too long to finalize details of its proposal, which was received by Turkey only last month. Earlier in the day, Turkey’s NTV channel reported citing a US source that the United States will call off the Patriot deal if Turkey persists with its intention to purchase the S-400 missile systems from Russia. The S-400 deal, reportedly worth some $2.5 billion and in the works for more than a two years, has worried the West because the system cannot be integrated into NATO’s military architecture. According to the CNBS channel, the Russian-made S-400 missile system, which is equipped with eight launchers and 32 missiles, is capable of targeting stealth warplanes like the F-35 fighter.

Greece Ratifies North Macedonia’s NATO Protocol

The Greek Parliament has approved a measure for North Macedonia to join NATO, ending a decades-old dispute.

The Latest: Greece backs Macedonia’s NATO accession | Fox News

The Latest on Greece-Macedonia relations (all times local): 10 p.m. Greece’s parliament has approved a measure for Macedonia to join NATO, ending a decades-old dispute.

Russia Warns EU Over ‘Obstacles’ In Constructing Nord Stream 2

Russia has warned the European Union not to adopt tighter energy rules that could complicate plans to build a gas pipeline between Russia and Germany under the Baltic Sea.

UAWire – Kremlin: Russia is ready to continue gas transit through Ukraine on its own terms

Russia is ready to continue the transit of gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine, stated the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Alexander Pankin in an interview with RIA Novosti. “We are ready to continue Ukrainian transit, but under the conditions we need,” explained Pankin. At the same time, according to him, there is “a whole range of elements that Ukrainians cannot go for yet”, as well as “the uncertainty of Ukraine itself regarding its gas-transport system, its successor, consortium, and so on.” The official did not rule out that the current contract for the transit supplies could be continued “with the introduction of some necessary changes,” but noted that, “it looks like Ukraine rejects this option.” Pankin suggested that by the next round of transit negotiation talks in May, “changes in position”, “certain institutional development, and legal development of processes” could occur in Ukraine. Speaking about the Nord Stream 2 project, Pankin said that if they “will create obstacles” to “force Russia to pump gas through Ukraine on their terms, with their tariffs, with uncertainty in legal matters, this number probably not will pass.” He also pointed out possible difficulties for European consumers in the event that the Russian Federation and Ukraine cannot agree on the transit of gas and “the problems with the Nord Stream – 2 continue”. The pipeline, which is criticized by a number of European countries, should be installed across the Baltic Sea parallel to the already existing Nord Stream. This work is planned to be completed in 2019. The agreements between Moscow and Kiyv on the transit of gas through Ukraine expires the same year. The European Union supported a compromise decision on the project and made amendments to the Third Energy Package of the EU. According to them, the EU Member State, on whose territory the sea gas pipeline for the first time connects to European power grids, is responsible for the gas pipeline coming from a third country. Thus, Berlin, not Brussels will regulate the “Nord Stream – 2”

Why Did France Just Save Nord Stream 2?

Despite threatening to block the controversial Russian gas pipeline yesterday, today France reached a compromise with Germany and backed off. What did the Germans say to convince them?

France, Germany reach compromise on Nord Stream 2 – news economics | UNIAN

France and Germany have reached a compromise that will unlock the process of amending the EU Gas Directive, which also concerns the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline built by Russia. The support of France is crucial for the adoption of the changes.

UAWire – Media: France intends to openly oppose Nord Stream 2 pipeline

France suddenly decided to join the countries that oppose the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, Gazprom’s third effort to bypass Ukraine with the gas pipeline in the past six years. Suddeutsche Zeitung reports, citing sources in the French Government, representatives of Paris intend to vote for the amendments to the EU Gas Directive that would deprive Gazprom of control over the pipeline and could inhibit the planned maximum supply of 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The second Nord Stream pipeline will add “strategic problems” to already tense relations between the EU and Moscow, a high-ranking French official told the newspaper. “We do not want to increase dependence on Russia or harm the interests of EU countries such as Poland and Slovakia,” the official added. He specified that France intends to take that position in the upcoming vote. Amendments to the gas law initiated by the European Commission in November 2017 would regulate Nord Stream 2. They will not block the construction of the gas pipeline but they can significantly restrict its operational capacity. The law would prohibit any company from being both a gas supplier and a transit company at the same time. Moreover, mandatory access to a gas pipeline of independent suppliers is required. Gazprom will be unable to own the infrastructure, and gas volumes delivered could be halved like they did with the Opal gas pipeline, a key branch of Nord Stream’s first string for many years. Germany and Austria still oppose the amendments and they managed to gain the support of Belgium, Greece and Cyprus. The USA actively supports the amendments, urging European countries to support the restrictions in the upcoming vote. “Europe should maintain control over its energy security,” ambassadors wrote, stressing that paying for Russian gas will implicitly sponsor Russia’s military aggression.

Nord Stream 2: Angela Merkel FIRES BACK at Macron over Russia pipeline | World | News |

ANGELA Merkel clarified Germany will not become dependent on Russia through the second gas pipeline if the country “diversifies”, after Emmanuel Macron spoke out against the controversial plan.

Nord-Stream 2 cut in half –

The representatives from France and Germany managed to strike a compromise about the EU gas directive concerning the Nord Stream II project, as Interfax-Ukraine reports. The compromise is now being examined by the Committee of Permanent Representatives in the European Union (Coreper), the EU Head, currently it is Romania, is supposed to make amendments to the gas directive. The new EU gas directive is due to come into force by the end of May, 2019.

German banks maneuver in Washington to temper Russia sanction risk – media – news world | UNIAN

German banks are seeking to blunt any fresh U.S. sanctions against Russia so they can continue existing business with Russian clients, according to an internal briefing paper prepared by a financial industry lobby group. The three-page paper calls for exceptions to be made which would allow “German banks and companies to complete business that cannot be unwound easily.”

German banks maneuver in Washington to temper Russia sanction risk | Reuters

German banks are seeking to blunt any fresh U.S. sanctions against Russia so they can continue existing business with Russian clients, according to an internal briefing paper prepared by a financial industry lobby group.

The Week In Russia: Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics — And Eye of Newt

“Putin’s chef” serves up a poisonous allegation against prominent Putin foe Aleksei Navalny, who accuses him of lying, while an upbeat economic report prompts suspicion that the Russian statistics …

Steve Gutterman’s Week In Russia — February 8, 2019 – To Inform is to Influence

Editor’s Note: To receive Steve Gutterman’s Week In Russia each week via e-mail, subscribe by clicking here. “Putin’s chef” serves up a poisonous allegation against prominent Putin foe Aleksei Navalny, who accuses him of lying, while an upbeat economic report prompts suspicion that the Russian statistics agency is cooking the books, and pro-Putin witches try to…

Putin Dismisses Nine Russian Generals

Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed nearly a dozen senior military officers holding government positions.

UAWire – US: Russia has 175 Wagner mercenaries in Central African Republic

The US is concerned by Russia’s growing presence in African countries, said General Thomas Waldhauser, commander of the US Africa Command,  …

Russia Agrees To Talks With Netherlands On Downing Of MH17

Moscow is ready to engage in talks with the Netherlands about the 2014 downing of a Malaysian passenger jet over territory held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, said Russia’s Deputy F…

MH17 crash: Russian Foreign Ministry ready for negotiations with the Netherlands –

The Russian authorities are ready to negotiate with the Netherlands over the crash of the flight MH17 Malaysia Airlines over Donbas in July 2014. This was stated by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Alexander Grushko, reports “Interfax”. “Our dialogue has not been interrupted, including at the political level. We concern these issues, we are ready for a conversation, first of all, on the assumption that it will concern such issues as the failure of Ukraine to provide the primary data to the investigation team that conducts this deal in the Netherlands “, said Grushko. At the same time, the Russian Foreign Ministry declares that Ukraine should be responsible for the fact that it did not close its sky. “We should also talk about the responsibility of Ukraine, which has not closed its space, and all other aspects related to the non-consideration by the Netherlands side of the information that we provided them in The Hague as part of legal cooperation,” added Grushko. By the way, the government of the Netherlands sees no reason for bringing Ukraine to justice for the crash of the MH17 plane in the skies over Donbas for not closing the airspace.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Delayed Action Mines’ under Russia a Reality Not Just a Metaphor, Moscow Analyst Says

Paul Goble Staunton, February 7 – One of the metaphors employed in Russia to talk about looming disasters is the supposed existence of “delayed action mines” be they as Vladimir Putin has it the non-Russian republics left over from Soviet times or Putin’s past and present policies which are leading to disaster as his critics would have it. But the notion of “delayed action mines” is not just a metaphor: it is a dangerous reality, Igor Kiyan says. There are real mines and real bombs under Russia left over from the past that are just waiting to explode or to leak their dangerous components into the land, sea and air ( Unexploded bombs left over from World War II and the Cold War, explosives of various kinds, and aging buried containers of dangerous chemicals are too be found throughout Russia and the adjoining seas. After the collapse of the USSR, Moscow established a Registry of Potentially Dangerous Underwater Objects, but it is at best incomplete even regarding the seas. By 2008, the registry listed such dangerous objects; by 2015, that number had risen to 24,000. “Just how many there will be a year from know is unknown: the sea does not reveal its secrets” and the government is unwilling to report on all such “objects” lest it spark panic in the population. Kiyan provides details on some of the more infamous of these, including sunken German submarines and transports in the Baltic Sea, unexploded ordinance in the Black Sea as well, and a massive dump of explosives in the mouth of the Yenisey River. He also talks about Soviet programs of disposing nuclear waste in the Arctic. But certainly the most alarming if not necessarily the most immediately threatening are nuclear weapons that may lie on the sea beds as a result of the crash of Soviet aircraft carrying or at least capable of carrying nuclear weapons that Moscow was unable to recover and that presumably are still there. One case involves the crash of a Tu-95 known to be carrying nuclear weapons near the shores of Sakhalin. It is suspected but now confirmed that the US was able to raise these and take them back to America for study. A second occurred in 1964 when a Soviet bomber known to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons crashed in the Baltic. According to Kiyan, there are at least 1200 objects on the floor of the sea with radioactive materials in them. Most consist of nuclear waste that Soviet officials disposed of, but some consists of more dangerous things, as the two cases that are known suggest given that there may very well be more no one knows about. In addition to these seabed “unexploded mines,” of course, there are dangerous materials buried or even lying on the surface in many places in Russia, something that helps to explain the passion many Russians display in opposing the opening of dumps near their homes and that means every metaphorical reference to “unexploded bombs” has an additional meaning.

State Dept. Taps Ex-Fox News Correspondent to Counter Propaganda – Defense One

Pompeo hails \”vision\” of long-rumored appointee Lea Gabrielle.

The Russian Air Force’s Biggest Problem (Not the F-22 or F-35) | The National Interest

What good is buying lots of sophisticated combat aircraft if there aren’t enough aerial tankers to refuel them?

Bulgaria Set To Probe Report Of Third Skripal Suspect

Bulgarian officials say they will investigate reports that a third suspect in the 2018 nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain may have also been involved in a 2015 poisoning in Bulga…

Mystery In Sofia: Did ‘Third Russian Agent’ In Skripal Poisoning Target Bulgarian Businessman?

The cybersleuths at Bellingcat say a Russian GRU officer in the United Kingdom at the time of the Skripals’ poisoning in March 2018 was also in Bulgaria just days before a local entrepreneur and hi…

UAWire – Ukrainian Parliament calls on NATO to provide Ukraine with Membership Action Plan

The Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada asked NATO member countries to support Ukraine’s intention to become a member of the Alliance and to start a formal dialogue on a Membership Action Plan at the NATO Summit in London in December 2019, Interfax-Ukraine reports. The draft decision and request were supported by 243 People’s Deputies at the plenary meeting of the Parliament on Thursday. “We are calling on the heads of NATO member states to approve… the given decision at the anniversary Summit of the alliance in London in December 2019. That would… formally start an individual dialogue regarding recommendations and practical support that will establish an action plan for Ukraine’s NATO membership,” said Deputy Chairperson of the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Foreign Affairs, Borys Tarasyuk as he read the text of the request. The Ukrainian Parliament appealed to the North Atlantic Council and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, national parliaments of the NATO member states, to support Ukraine’s intentions to get NATO membership. Meanwhile, People’s deputies stated that from the time of the Revolution of Dignity (Maidan), a special partnership between Ukraine and NATO has undergone deep, qualitative changes and needs new forms of institutional dialogue. Earlier, the Verkhovna Rada supported amendments to the Ukrainian Constitution solidifying Ukraine’s course towards NATO membership and European integration .

Rada urged NATO to start a dialogue at the December 2019 summit on giving a MAP to Ukraine

The Verkhovna Rada appealed to the NATO member states to support Ukraine’s intentions to become members of the Alliance and to begin a formal dialogue at the NATO summit in London in December 2019 on the provision of an Action Plan on Alliance membership (MAP). According to the Interfax-Ukraine correspondent, 243 deputies voted for the corresponding draft resolution with an appeal at a plenary session of parliament on Thursday. “We urge the leaders of the NATO member states to approve … at the anniversary summit of the alliance in London in December 2019, this decision will develop the position of the NATO Bucharest summit and formally begin an individual dialogue with our state on recommendations and practical support that will establish an action plan for Ukraine’s membership in NATO “, – read the text of the appeal, Deputy Committee on Foreign Affairs Boris Tarasyuk. In addition, the Ukrainian parliament appeals to the North Atlantic Council and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the national parliaments of the NATO member states to support Ukraine’s intention to become members of NATO. Meanwhile, deputies state that since the Revolution of Dignity, a special partnership between Ukraine and NATO has found profound qualitative changes and needs new forms of institutional dialogue. The appeal of the Verkhovna Rada was initiated by Maxim Burbak and Artur Gerasimov, the heads of the factions “Popular Front” and “Petro Poroshenko Bloc”.

Ukrainian President Vows To Push For EU, NATO Membership As He Launches Reelection Campaign

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says Kyiv must join the European Union and NATO to protect itself from Russia as he officially launched his reelection campaign.

Ukrainian president vows to push for EU, NATO membership – ABC News

Ukraine’s president says the nation needs to join the European Union and NATO to protect itself from Russia’s expansionist actions.

Poroshenko: In 2023 we plan to apply for EU membership and get a NATO Membership Action Plan

President Petro Poroshenko is convinced that full membership of the European Union and NATO ultimately guarantees state independence, national security of Ukraine, and will be a guarantee of citizens’ freedom and well-being. As informs Tsensor.NET with reference to the press service of the President, the head of state said about this during his speech at the All-Ukrainian Public Forum “Open Dialogue”. “In 2023, we plan, when Ukraine will meet certain criteria, apply for membership in the European Union and receive a NATO Membership Action Plan,” Poroshenko said. The President recalled the event that took place this week : “This event clearly outlined our strategic perspective decades ahead. From now on, the course of Ukraine for full-scale membership in the European Union and NATO is enshrined in the Constitution and has the force not just of the law but of the Basic Law.” The head of state also emphasized that the number of people’s deputies who voted for his initiative is of particular importance and even more legitimacy for this decision. “They are 334 from all factions, from power to opposition, Iryna Gerashchenko as the first vice speaker of the parliament says that they have 335 because they did not have time to reach and press the button. And each of these 335 deputies supported this unmistakable and extremely important for the further fate of Ukraine and every Ukrainian decision, because it is in the highest degree consistent with the national interests of Ukraine “, he stressed. “Otherwise, I would not just suggest it to Parliament,” Poroshenko said. Джерело:

Activists Rally In Kyiv Marking Birthdays Of Two Ukrainians Jailed By Russia

Dozens of human rights activists have gathered in Kyiv’s central square to mark the birthdays of two Ukrainian citizens jailed by the Russian authorities.

Ukraine sends Russia three hundred diplomatic notes demanding release of political prisoners

Ukraine has sent Russia hundreds of appeals and about 300 diplomatic notes demanding the release of Ukrainian political prisoners. — Ukrinform.

EU’s Foreign Affairs Council to have comprehensive discussion on Ukraine

The Foreign Affairs Council, which will convene in Brussels on February 18, will have a comprehensive discussion on Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

Kyiv, Warsaw agree on visit of Poroshenko to LITPOLUKRBRIG headquarters

On February 8, 2019, the 27th meeting of the Advisory Committee of the Presidents of Ukraine and the Republic of Poland was held in Warsaw under the chairmanship of Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Kostiantyn Yelisieiev and Secretary of State – Chief of the Cabinet of the President of the Republic of Poland Krzysztof Szczerski. — Ukrinform.

Crimea Is Ours: Russia Up In Arms After Google ‘Incorrectly’ Maps Peninsula

Google has faced numerous threats of suspension from the Russian government. Now another scandal over its mapping service has some lawmakers in an uproar.

Director Mikhalkov to Comrade Putin,: “Two generations have grown up in Ukraine that will never come to Russia, only through blood.” VIDEO

Putin’s Russian director and propagandist Nikita Mikhalkov believes that Russia has lost Ukraine and can only change the situation by “force”. As Tsensor.NET reports, he stated this on the channel “Russia 24”

Vladimir Putin’s Game Plan in Ukraine

With presidential and parliamentary elections fast approaching in Ukraine, Russia sees a chance to return the country to its sphere of influence.

Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland Give $14 Million To UN Aid For Eastern Ukraine

The governments of Denmark, Sweden, and Switzerland have announced they will pledge some $14 million over the next three years to a UN project to promote social cohesion and strengthen regional gov…

JFO: Ukraine reports three WIAs amid 10 enemy attacks in Donbas in past day – news war | UNIAN

Russia’s hybrid military forces in the past 24 hours mounted 10 attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas, with three Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action (WIA). According to intelligence reports, two invaders were killed and another two were wounded.

Militants violated ceasefire in eastern Ukraine nine times in last day

Militants violated ceasefire in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas nine times over the past day, using weapons banned under the Minsk agreements twice. — Ukrinform.

Day in Donbas: Militants attack Ukraine positions, suffer losses as Joint Forces return fire – news war | UNIAN

On February 8, Russian occupation troops nine times violated the cease-fire regime, including twice with the use of arms banned by Minsk accords. According to intelligence, on February 8, six occupiers were killed in action and another seven – injured.

One Ukraine soldier killed, two wounded amid shelling by Russian-led forces on Friday – news war | UNIAN

One Ukrainian soldier was killed in action, another two were wounded in action amid shelling by Russian-led forces in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, on Friday, February 8. The Ukrainian army fired back to suppress the enemy fire.

Russian mercenaries in Donbas use laser weapons to blind Ukrainian border guards, again – news war | UNIAN

Russian occupation forces continue neglecting the norms of international law, using banned weapons, in particular, lasers, against the Ukrainian troops in Donbas, according to the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. A relevant report on the signs of Russian proxies using banned lasers was provided to international and human rights organizations.

Russian mercenaries at night used laser weapons against border guards in the area of ​​the KPVV “Stanitsa Lugansk”, – the press center of the JFO

Border guards from the Joint Forces this night recorded signs of using Russian mercenaries of laser weapons. Tsensor.NET informs about this, with reference to the press center of the OS. “Up to four o’clock this morning, starting from 22:00 on February 8, in the area of ​​the KPVV” Stanitsa Lugansk “, the border dresses covering the road corridor fixed from the side of the temporarily occupied territory rays of light purple colored periodically every 2-3 minutes. Due to the features of the relief the places where the occupants are located and the danger of the use of optical and thermal imaging devices, the exact places of the output of the beam could not be established, “- said in a message. Read also: One Ukrainian soldier was killed, two others were wounded, six mercenaries of the Russian Federation were destroyed, terrorists opened fire 9 times, – EOS headquarters It is noted that the units of the State Border Guard Service of the Joint Forces have already recorded such cases. During the 2016-2018 years, five servicemen of the Kramatorsk frontier detachment suffered damage to the organs of vision during the service. They supervised the Russian-terrorist forces using optical devices.

Four shots – four hits: Enemy equipment destroyed by Ukrainian analogue of Javelin – news war | UNIAN

Ukraine’s 10th Mountain Assault Brigade destroyed four units of Russian-led forces’ equipment in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in the past five days, using a Ukrainian-made analogue of U.S.-made Javelin anti-tank guided missile systems. All cases occurred when enemy forces attempted to attack the Ukrainian positions.

Lt. Gen. Cavoli visits Tennessee troops deployed to Ukraine | Article | The United States Army

U.S. Army Europe Commanding Officer, Lt. Gen. Christopher Cavoli visits U.S. Troops and multinational Soldiers deployed to the Yavoriv Combat Training Center, Feb. 8.

Sixty-three Ukrainian combat veterans undergo medical rehabilitation abroad

Last year, 63 participants in the combat operations in eastern Ukraine underwent medical rehabilitation abroad. This year, the rehabilitation is planned for 15 people every month. — Ukrinform.

Artist Draws On Mother’s Life And Death In Donbas

Kyiv-based artist Alevtina Kakhidze draws on her mother’s experience of war in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region.

Ukrainian missile complex “Vilkha” creates interest abroad

Two Middle Eastern states are actively negotiating with the Ukrainian side regarding the acquisition of the Vielha rocket complex. About it in an interview Tsensor.NET reported the general designer – the general director of KB “Luch” Oleg Korostelev. Kiev KB “Luch” is the developer of the high-precision missile complex “Vielha”. It represents an alternative to the Soviet-Russian 300-millimeter rocket jet system Smerch and completely assembled from Ukrainian components. Also read: The United Force soldiers checked the combat readiness of the Smerch RSZO, headquarters. VIDEO Oleg Korostelev did not name the approximate export value of “Velychi”. “I can only say that the world’s cost of one rocket of such a complex is more than $ 200 thousand,” – said the general designer. According to him, very little money was spent on the development of the product in Ukraine – about $ 10 million of budget funds: “It took only 2.5 years to develop. It’s possible to say that we managed in an unprecedentedly short time.” Speaking about when Vilkha arrives at the disposal of the Ukrainian Army, Oleg Korostelev said that the Ministry of Defense made an advance for serial production of hundreds of missiles that will be ready in the second half of 2019. “A certain number of launchers will be ready to be sent to troops in the first half of 2019,” added Korostelev. He also recalled that the LC “Luch” did not just clone the “Smerch” RSZO, but did large-scale work on the creation of a de facto new missile and the entire missile system. “As a result, the Ukrainian missile complex got two new qualities: first, it became high-precision, and secondly, it was possible to assign a target to each missile … Now, each launcher can strike a precision punch on 12 different objects of the enemy,” Oleg said.

Ukraine lays the foundation for creating its own air defense missile system

Working on the Vilha and Neptun missile systems, Ukraine lays the foundation for the creation of a national air defense system. This was reported in an interview with Tsenzor. There is NO general designer, general director of Luch Design Bureau Oleg Korostelev. Kiev Luch Design Bureau is the developer of the high-precision rocket complex “Vilha” and the complex of cruise missiles “Neptune”. According to Korostelev, launchers, loader systems and support for ground-based missile systems are being created on universal platforms that can be used for new projects, including anti-aircraft missile systems. “In addition, we have domestic radar stations that detect air targets at a distance of up to 400 km … The Vilha missile will have to be seriously refined. But in general, we will have a base to create a domestic air defense missile system capable of striking airborne targets at a distance of up to 100 km and at an altitude of up to 25 km, “explained Korostelev. The General Designer clarified that if the financing of the work starts now, the own air defense system will appear in Ukraine within 2-3 years. Источник:

At the “Forge” there was a keel laying of two new boats of the Navy

Today, on February, 8th, at the Kiev factory “Forge on Rybalsky”, a solemn keel laying of the third landing and assault and the eighth armored artillery boats was held. Production of boats ordered by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine will last for four months – already in the beginning of summer, their descent into water will be felt.

Small armored artillery boat project 58155, code “MBAC” (Gyurza-M)

Projector 58155, the code “MBAC” (Gyurza-M) is designed for patrolling, escorting and performing other tasks in coastal waters. Developer: SE “DPCK”, Mykolaiv / PJSC “Factory” Smith on Rybalsky “, Kiev Manufacturer: PrAT “Factory” Smith on Rybalsky “, Kiev From the beginning, the project was developed by the State Enterprise “Experimental and Design Center for Shipbuilding”, as a development of the 58150 “Gyurza” avenue, for patrol service on rivers, lakes, external raids and coastal marine areas with a distance of up to 50 miles from the port of departure.

High-speed assault boat пр. 58503, “Centaur-ЛК”

The high-speed assault boat “Centaur-LC”, implemented by the “Smith on Rybalsky” plant, is based on the project of the “Centaur” landing and assault boat (project 58181). Developer: PrAT “Factory” Smith on Rybalsky “, Kiev Manufacturer: PrAT “Factory” Smith on Rybalsky ” The boat is based on the project 58181 (Centaur code) Mykolayiv State Enterprise “Experimental Design Center for Shipbuilding” (DPCK).

Record 44 Candidates To Run In Ukraine’s Presidential Race

Ukrainian election officials said a record 44 candidates have registered to run in the March presidential election.

Ukrainian FM to facilitate work of OSCE/ODIHR EOM during presidential elections

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine is going to facilitate the activities of the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission (EOM) to monitor elections in Ukraine and is also interested in the maximum number of observers to be sent to Ukraine, Deputy Foreign Minister Serhiy Kyslytsia has said.

Ukraine’s Exclusion of Russian Election Observers Unprecedented, But Not a Violation of International Law

While Ukraine’s banning of Russian citizens from entering the country to take part in the OSCE election monitoring mission is “without precedent,” it does not violate international law, and there w…

Kyiv’s refusal to accredit Russian observers for elections contravenes Ukraine’s OSCE commitments – ODIHR head

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is disappointed at the decision of the Ukrainian authorities to ban Russian representatives from the accreditation as observers at the presidential election in Ukraine, OSCE ODIHR Director Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir said.

Maximum number of international observers to monitor Ukrainian elections excluding Russians — Klimkin

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has said Ukraine is ready to receive any number of international observers from any country but Russia and suggested that “the lid be put on the matter in all the discussions.”

Parubiy signs law banning Russians from being elections observers in Ukraine, sends it to president for signing

A law banning Russian nationals and persons suggested by the Russian side to serve as official observers at the presidential, parliamentary and local elections in Ukraine has been signed by Ukrainian Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy and then sent for signature to the President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine.

OSCE offers Ukraine to reconsider ban on election observers from Russia – news politics | UNIAN

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Miroslav Lajčak, who is also Slovakia’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, and Ukraine Foreign Minister Klimkin on Friday discussed during a phone call the upcoming Ukrainian presidential election. In turn, Ukrainian foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin proposed to cross the t’s and dot the i’s on the issue.

UAWire – Russian observers will try to enter Ukraine on Monday as part of OSCE mission

Two Russian observers in the long-term mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) intend to fly to Kiyv on Monday, February 11, to observe the Ukrainian presidential campaign, announced the head of the Russian Public Institute of Election Law, Igor Borisov. “An attempt will be made if nothing else happens. They are part of the ODIHR mission, which currently does not refuse the Russian segment as part of the mission in Ukraine,” Interfax-Ukraine quotes Borisov as saying. Representatives that will be sent to Ukraine are Elizaveta Borisova from the Russian Public Institute Election Law and Kristina Bogdanova from the “Institute for Public Electoral Diplomacy”. “Both of our representatives already have quite a wide international observation experience, including work in the OSCE/ODIHR,” added Borisov. “If tomorrow the OSCE ODIHR director says that we cancel Russia, then this is also a stalemate situation. The same as it happened in the PACE when we were told to pay contributions without taking part. ODIHR will not do this, however, there is a question of how they will insist on the fulfillment of international requirements of the rule of law, and hinder attempts to circumvent this,” says Borisov. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a bill that prohibits Russian citizens to be observers at the elections in Ukraine. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has already said several times that it will not register observers from the Russian Federation at the Ukrainian presidential election. Last week, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin expressed hope that the Central Election Commission will make the same decision.

Tymoshenko rejects idea of Donbas’ autonomy

Ukrainian presidential candidate and Batkivschyna party leader Yulia Tymoshenko has categorically objected to the establishment of an autonomous region in Donbas as a way of settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian presidential candidate and Batkivschyna party leader Yulia Tymoshenko has categorically objected to the establishment of an autonomous region in Donbas as a way of settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine. “There have been calls for establishing an autonomous region in Donbas: this is absolutely inadmissible. This is our territory, this is our land and, same as the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, this is Ukraine,” Tymoshenko said on the air of 1+1 TV channel. The proposal has been made by Viktor Medvedchuk, the Chairman of the Political Council of the Opposition Platform – For Life party. The war “waged on Ukraine by the Russian Federation as an aggressor country” must not be transformed into “a civil war in which Ukrainians are allegedly fighting each other,” Tymoshenko said. The law on the special status of Donetsk and Luhansk regions adopted by the Verkhovna Rada did not directly describe Donbas as autonomy “but actually endorsed its autonomous status,” she said. Once again, Tymoshenko called for holding the Donbas settlement talks in the Budapest format involving signatories of the Budapest Memorandum. On February 5, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office granted the request of People’s Front deputy Andriy Teteruk and entered information about Medvedchuk’s crimes, encroachment of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and treason, in the Unified Register of Pretrial Investigations. The prosecutor general’s press secretary, Larysa Sarhan, said that Medvedchuk made a loud statement at the party’s congress in Kyiv on January 29, 2019. He called for establishing “the autonomous region of Donbas,” which would have its own parliament and government, and for legalizing this status in the Ukrainian Constitution. He also said it was possible to agree on the status of Donbas in the quadripartite format involving Kyiv, Donetsk, Luhansk, and Moscow.

Only members of NATO, EU may guarantee Ukraine its security, independence, welfare – Poroshenko

Only Ukraine’s accession to the European Union and NATO may be the guarantee of the country’s independence, security, and welfare, President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine has said.

Poroshenko: I can firmly guarantee inalterability of decentralization policy

President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine has said he is going to deepen decentralization processes in Ukraine in case Ukrainian citizens elect him for his second term in office.

President: Putin sees 2019 elections as battle for Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin sees the 2019 Ukrainian elections as a battle for Ukraine, a remote chance to return it to Russia. — Ukrinform.

Putin sees Ukraine elections as “general battle for our state” – Poroshenko – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says Russian leader Vladimir Putin sees Ukrainian elections 2019 as a “general battle” for Ukraine, which he has a “manic will” to return to the Russian sphere of influence. Russia is trying to intervene in the Ukrainian elections just like they meddled in elections in the U.S. France, Germany, and referendums in the UK and the Netherlands, Poroshenko says. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says Russian leader Vladimir Putin sees Ukrainian elections 2019 as a “general battle” for Ukraine, which he has a “manic will” to return to the Russian sphere of influence. “Putin’s plan is obvious – to destroy the independent Ukrainian state and democracy, to deprive Ukrainian of the right to live in peace and security,” Poroshenko said, addressing the All-Ukrainian public forum “Open Dialogue” held in Kyiv Saturday, according to an UNIAN correspondent. Putin’s plan is obvious – to destroy an independent Ukrainian state and democracy, deprive Ukrainians of the right to live in peace and security. Read alsoRussian intel offering Ukrainians US$2,000 for setting on fire churches of former Moscow Patriarchate “For Putin, the elections of 2019 are like a general battle for Ukraine, which he maniacally strives to return,” he said. The president noted that “Russia is trying to interfere in our elections in the same way as it did during the elections in the USA, France, Germany, during the referendums in Britain and the Netherlands”. “Now they are planning to use these technologies in Ukraine, because their motivation is much stronger,” he said, adding that “Ukrainians will not allow that”. “Ukrainians won’t allow a Russian agent to get in the office of the Ukrainian President, as it was from 2010 to 2014,” Petro Poroshenko said, adding that “Ukrainians don’t need a president and supreme commander-in-chief who will kneel down before the Kremlin”, who will “flirt or chuckle with Putin,” and whose “first document to be signed will be the act of surrender to Moscow.”

I support federal system in Ukraine, – Medvedchuk, “Opposition Platform – For Life” –

The Chairman of the political council of “Opposition Platform – For Life” Viktor Medvedchuk stated he supported federal system in Ukraine on air of “Maga” program. “Personally, I support federalism, I always did and I always will support this system. I think that federalism is the only way to prevent our country from destruction. But this can wait. The thing is that the Constitution of the existing unitary state provides for the autonomy of one of the regions – Crimea. The autonomy statute is written in the Constitution of the unitary state. And I don’t propose anything new. Though I could, and even a federal system, as I realize that it might be implemented only by amendments to the Constitution, and this is not separatism. These the actions directed at the legal settlement of base with deals with legal relations in the country,” he said.

I met with Putin lots of times over past 5 years, – Medvedchuk –

The Chairman of the political council of “Opposition Platform – For Life” Viktor Medvedchuk told how many times he had met with the Russian President Vladimir Putin over the past five years on air of “Maga” program. “Of course, I never counted, but I should say we have met many, quite many times. You know, this is communication with such person, the leader of the state, a person known in the whole world… There are nuances of awareness of what you say. I always said it, obviously, we do talk about Donbas situation all the time. About release of people. Moreover, despite some personal relationships, I was trying, and I am trying and I will try to use my opportunities, our relationships and his attitude towards me in the interest of Ukraine. And have proven that it worked. But not in such amounts, as you say: “Well, Medvedchuk is communicating and won’t say..”, he stated.

Comedian who portrays Ukraine’s president on TV series leads real race for country’s leader | Fox News

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who plays the president in a popular TV series, is the leading candidate in Ukraine’s upcoming presidential election.

Ukraine: Stuck Between A Comedian And A Hard Place

Comedic actor Volodymyr Zelinskiy is getting all the attention. But Ukraine’s new president likely to be same old same old, but with a twist.

From tragedy to farce: Ukraine heads to the polls | The Independent

Ukraine’s democracy might be lacking in many important regards – but on the participative principle, it excels to the extreme.  On Friday, Kiev’s Central Elections Commission kicked off the presidential campaign by announcing it had registered a record 44 candidates for the 31 March vote. This was over twice the number that took part in the last elections in 2014, and left

Ukraine Crisis Media Center: The price of the joke or a Ukrainian take on “Welcome Mr. President!” – To Inform is to Influence

The price of the joke or a Ukrainian take on “Welcome Mr. President!” Five years after the Revolution of Dignity the time has come for Ukraine to renew its political elites. Presidential elections will take place on March 31, 2019; parliamentary elections will happen in autumn 2019. Candidates for the post of the President have…

Ukrainian Banderites issue should be severely criticized, according to Zeman –

President of Czech Republic Milos Zeman has reproached Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek that he evaluated the issue of “Banderites” not critically enough” during the visit to Ukraine as TV Barrandov reported. “I reproached him that he noted the Banderites issue not enough; I think that he underestimated this phenomenon,” the Czech president stated. Besides, Zeman said at the end of January during the meeting with the senior officials that “the issue of glorification of the Banderites really concerns” him. President of Czech Senate Jaroslav Kubera stated it. The work of Petricek was also criticized by the representatives of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia. Head of the political force Vojtech Filip stated after the meeting with Zeman that “Mr.President expressed the concern by work of Mr. Petricek and we agreed on it”.

Myth 10. The Nuremberg Tribunal condemned Ukrainian nationalists

It is documented that only in the territory of Ukraine, the Nazi and assassinated crimes killed 5.3 million people. The participation of OUN-UPA “warriors” has been proved, as well as their cooperation with the Nazis … Therefore, based on the principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal, which are recognized throughout the world, Bandera and Bandera are war criminals. That is why many of them were sentenced by the courts after the war, and Bandera himself was destroyed. Alexander Voloved, Professor, Department of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Criminology, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, March 6, 2014 The essence of the myth Bandera personally and the OUN and the UPA in general condemned the Nuremberg Tribunal, and even if they did not condemn it, they were still war criminals. Facts are brief Ani Stepan Bandera or Roman Shukhevych personally, neither the OUN nor the UPA as an organization were convicted by the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg. None of the 42 volumes of the materials of the Tribunal have a conviction on them. Facts more The materials of the Nuremberg Tribunal contain an exhaustive list of individuals and organizations that have been found to be criminal. There are no Ukrainian nationalists in this list. Of the 42 volumes of the case in the USSR, 7 were published in Russian, which opened the space for large-scale falsifications and distortions. Critics of Ukrainian nationalism are hoping to find Bandera’s verdict in one of the unknown volumes. However, the analysis of the materials shows that no mention of Bandera can be interpreted against him. Volume 25 states that more and more Ukrainians in labor camps cling to the “Bandera camp” and that emigrants set up “movements like Bandera and Melnik” against the Germans. The 27th volume contains evidence that some mass executions were revenge for “bandera groups.” Volume 29 mentions the “Bandera Movement” aimed at achieving statehood. Volume 38 deals with the loyalty of Ukrainians and the “Bandera Movement” to the idea of ​​autonomy. Volume 39 contains an order to eradicate groups to destroy Bandera as fighters for Ukraine’s independence. Here is a brief document in full: Ainzac Command C / 5 Security Police and SD November 25, 1941 Kiev Dnipropetrovsk Mykolayiv Rivne Zhytomyr Vinnytsia. Concerned: OUN (Bandera movement) It is veraciously established that the Bandera movement prepares a rebellion in the territory of the Reichskommissariat, with the ultimate goal of establishing an independent Ukraine. All participants of the Bandera should immediately be detained and after a detailed interrogation under the guise of marauders without the slightest publicity eliminated. Interrogation protocols to be submitted to the C / 5 operational unit. After knowing, this document will be destroyed by unit commanders. ObersturmbanfuuserSS Signature (undisguised) Russian researchers like to refer to colonel Abwehr’s questioning, Erwin Stolze, who recalled the order of “the leaders of the Ukrainian nationalists” to Melnyk, the code name “Consul I”, and Bandera to immediately gather during the German invasion of the Soviet Union and provoke demonstrations in Ukraine in order to to break the immediate rear of the Soviet armies, and also to convince the international public opinion in the alleged “collapse of the Soviet rear.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘If Ukraine Didn’t Exist, Moscow would have to Invent It,’ Makarevich Says

Paul Goble Staunton, February 7 – If Russian television weren’t talking about Ukraine, it might be talking about Russia – and that might be far worse for the powers that be, Andrey Makarevich says, adding that this suggests that “if Ukraine didn’t exist, Moscow would have had to invent it” ( The commentator is saying no more than what others have, but his observation raises bigger questions: what would happen in a Russia without a Ukraine? Could any other country serve the same functions? Could this be the greatest contribution the existence of Ukraine as the subject of media attention? And could any other country serve the same functions? That Vladimir Putin’s regime has used its aggression in Ukraine to build up Russian patriotism and build up support for itself is widely recognized; but less often admitted is that those results may have been more important to the regime than any tangible benefits it obtained from illegally annexing Crimea or conducting its aggression in the Donbass. Because Ukraine is superficially similar to Russia in some regards, Moscow gained the additional benefit of being able to point to problems Ukrainians now face as an object lesson of what Russians must avoid doing – even if most of the problems Ukrainians now encounter were created by the Russian state itself. No other country in the post-Soviet space offers such a rich opportunity for the Kremlin relative to its own people. The Caucasus and Central Asia are too exotically different. Belarus and Moldova are ultimately too small. And the Baltic countries are so firmly part of the West as members of the EU and NATO. That doesn’t mean that one or more of these countries won’t be the object of Russian aggression: it has already invaded Georgia, subverted the territorial integrity of that country and Moldova, and engaged in subversion elsewhere. But no other country could serve the multiple functions Ukraine does. Consequently, one can only agree with Makarevich that if Ukraine didn’t exist, the Kremlin would have to create one. But its ability to do so is far more limited than many imagine. And as a result, that has another consequence even more important for the future: Ukraine may prove to be not the beginning of the imperial reassembly Putin hopes for, but its end as well.

Amnesty: Ukrainian Authorities ‘Slow To React’ To Attacks Against Journalists, Rights Advocates

Ukraine has failed to prevent or investigate “numerous” human rights violations committed last year against rights activists, political opponents, and ethnic minorities, according to Amnesty In…

Anti-riot squad suppress, detain nearly 40 activists outside police station in Kyiv (photo, video) – News of Ukraine | UNIAN

Law enforcers on Saturday used force against a group of activists who, police say, attempted to storm their district station. C14 members claim police took their personal belongings, while law enforcers say the group attempted to storm the police station.

Political candidates fuel hatred among society, – Avakov –

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Arsen Avakov commented on Facebook the clashes between the law enforcement and activists near the Podolsk police department in Kyiv. Related: Clashes with police in Kyiv: State Investigation Bureau opens case of police abuse “Political candidates? You claim you all are honest and perfect, but you provoke clashes between officers and then you pay them dirty money for that. But we see respectful, honored politicians in public every day, although they order the law enforcement to act in a very bad way”, – the Minister wrote.

Olena Holubeva | Kruty 1918: History of Ukrainian pain, told in spirit of Soviet propaganda –

The Battle of Kruty has been staged for the big screen – for the first time in Ukraine. It’s been one of the most important cinema projects, a well-funded one. The Head of the State Cinema Agency Pylyp Illyenko was present at the premiere in Kyiv; he never denied or tried to hide the fact that the movie was filmed not as a high-grossing film, but more like a film that ‘is almost a hundred years late’. The team got just exactly what they did: it’s something driven by formalism and formaline, which is typical for everything they do in this fashion. The history teachers who don’t need to be persuaded about the value of Ukrainian nationalist ideas, will most likely love the film. A history teacher, who thanked the produiction team at a press conference, might not have a slightest idea of how precisely she had described the situation: ‘The details don’t matter. The key thing is the film that I can finally show to my students’… Kruty 1918 is based on the real events of the fight that took place next to Kruty station, northern Ukraine, in the freezing winter of 1918. The Bolsheviks were advancing on their path to Kyiv, and a handful of volunteer students stepped in to protect the young Ukrainian People’s Republic, which the world was ready to recognize by that time. The 18-19-year-old youngsters had their first combat experience in the battle of Kruty, and they managed to repel the assault of the Bolsheviks armed to the teeth for several days straight. The talented Ukrainian actor Vitaliy Saliy portrayed Mikhail Muravyov, the former officer of the Imperial Army who sided with the Reds – and led the assault in that battle. At that, the production team of Kruty 1918 noted that it is, above all, a motion picture, not the re-enactment of true historical events. Despite the presence of living historical figures (Mykhailo Hrushevsky, Symon Petliura, Averkiy Honcharenko, Mikhail Muravyov and his chief Vladimir Antonov-Ovsienko), the official press release says that the majority of these heroes are a ‘collective image’. This is the ground for deployment of the characters who build the plot. The list includes double agent Berg, Ukrainian General Savitsky, and the main characters – Andriy and Oleksiy, Savitsky’s two own sons. Andriy was portrayed by Yevhen Lamakh, one of the most promising Ukrainian actors. So, the idea of the production team is that Andriy is a student, the map-maker-to-be. He is a pacifist who refuses to shed a drop of blood – even if it’s the enemy blood. He tells his friends that the fact that his father and brother serve with the military does just enough. However, there’s also a prototype of the real-life character in this film. It’s Hryhoriy Pypsky, a humble and silent student of a gymnasium who performed in a church choir – which is why they called him The Alto. The production team assumes it was him who sang the future national anthem of Ukraine in front of the Bolshevik bayonets. So, all main heroes, Andriy, Oleksiy, Pypsky met in snowed Kyiv at Sofiyivska Square. These guys will also be in the platoon near Kruty (Valerik – Oleksandr Piskunov, Volodia – Maksym Donetsk, student Kolyunka – Mykola Perestyuk). In the same place, a viewer acquaints for the first time with Sofia, a girl, in whom both brothers Savitsky are in love. She is flirting in a conversation with Andriy: “where else can I be, than Sofiyivska Square”. Sofia is at Sofiyivska Square. The friends listen to the speech of Head of the Ukrainian Central Council Mykhailo Hrushevsky (Serhiy Dzialyk). He urges to stand up for Ukrainian People’s Republic. Symon Petlyura appears on the podium to deliver a speech. Dmytro Stupka played him in “Kruty:1918” and it is worthy to note that after film “Secret Diary of Symon Petlyura”, in which he is depicted as delicate and quietly unconvincing intellectual, Stupka succeeded to rehabilitate his figure. At least, after his speech, there is no question how Petlyura could lead thousands of the Ukrainians. The friends of Andriy also enter the list of volunteers after the speech of Petlyura. All of this reminds Maidan, during which guys entered the self-defense ranks and went to the east to fight against Russia. However, Andriy remain faithful to his pacifistic belief. He joined friends later. But the reason, which encourages him to take up arms, hardly can be the driving motivation for someone in the real life. However, the obvious iconization, which is counter by demonization, is much worse than obvious implausibility and excessive theatricality of particular scenes. There are no ideas that we are all people and all of us are sinners: only black vs. white, good vs. bad. There is no hint of nobility or good human features in the images of Berg and Muravyov: they are despicable, depraved, in a word, bad as bourgeois, who tortured Kibalchish in the famous work of the red propaganda. Even plastoons will appear at the side of good in the film. In the best tradition, so to speak. General Savitsky, the father of Pypsky (Yevhen Nishchuk), sister (daughter of director of the movie – Masha Shaparyova) are exclusively positive and great characters. The scene of the visit of The Alto by father and Marichka in the barrack is so icky, that mouth is clumped. They pass a scarf, which bears one of the main roles and meaning in the film, to a guy. A fair sotnyk (he held the military training) is not less icky; exactly he harshly suppresses derision of fellow-students over Pypsky due to the scarf. Actually, it is unclear why the same sotnyk tried to discourage Andriy after the fight in his searches of the friends. He persuades him: there are victims in the war. The characters of Bolsheviks in the movie are disputable. It happened due to the ideological beliefs of the Director Olexiy Shaparev (he made some great works like animated series Esquimau, comedy Kyiv Cake, dramatic series The Fight Rules). The Director decided to avoid personification except from Muravyov, Berga and Antonov-Ovsiyebko so that the role of the negative characters is not overstated. At some point, you might think that there is nobody in an armored train, which reflects a dirty arrack of the red on Kyiv, except from these three and a couple of stokers… It looks like the capital of the Ukrainian People’s Republic is going to defend against a single armored train, where a perverted and self-confident addict rampages. The feeling of implausibility is enhanced after an episode where Muravyov without any help takes students captive on Kruty station… Those who believe that the heroes of Kruty died in an uphill battle with weapons in their hands might be surprised that the filmmakers chose the episode where Bolsheviks execute disarmed guys for the end of the movie. Despite the fact that a little evidence about those events, history lovers say that the version with the execution is actually close to historical truth. At the same time, the execution scene in Kruty 1918 was made in such a way that at the moment you suppose to cry, you ask yourself: good gosh, is it a theatre or a circus? The viewers find out about tortures only from the titles (it is well known that Bolsheviks were severely torturing the guys). Bolsheviks are kind in Kruty 1918, they did not even took away sweets, and that important scarf. The romantic line in the movie looks unconvincing as well. Relationships between Sophia and Andriy are more friendly, than romantic. Not a single hint for passion. Erotic scenes and kisses are not presented in the movie. Andriy and Sophia are completely alone in their apartment, the lights go out… and this is all the romance. Olexiy wants to propose to Sophia, but he did not take out the ring. There are many questions about the movie itself, the sequence of events and their motivation. It is a bit unclear who and how captured the arsenal of the Bolsheviks and whether the main characters have something to do with it. It is not clear how Andriy, who was earlier with his friends, appears in the train (taking the surviving Ukrainian defenders to the rear), where did the horse he found in the woods come from… It is not clear how he does not get to his comrades, and instead turns out at the station … where he meets his brother. Throughout the year, while the film was preparing for running, cinematic couloirs rumored that they the film was filmed in the way they cannot assemble it. Shaparev did not deny that there were certain editing problems, but assured that this was a common phenomenon inherent to many projects. The worst thing is that, despite all the delicacies, the value of the heroic act by Kruty fighters remains outside the frame. There is no answer to the question: what was the meaning of their sacrifice? What did this give Ukrainian People’s Republic? What was significant about the fact that these boys held back the Bolshevik offensive? And most importantly, we will not hear the answers to one of the most acute questions of the Ukrainian nation, which captured Berg poses in the film. He will ask the Ukrainian general Savitsky, the father of Oleksa and Andriy: what is the point of sacrificing so much for a “nation that never existed”? And he does not hear the answer… In general, the picture is beautiful: exemplary scenery, historical reconstruction of the elements of the old interior, perfect costumes and cool camera work. The real pleasure – some scenes with talented actors. There are elements of action, as in Matrix, and spectacular clips. Actually, you get a real pleasure from the movie, if you do not take into account frank propaganda issues, and perceive the film as a collection of cool videos with a wonderful sound.

Russian intel offering Ukrainians US$2,000 for setting on fire churches of former Moscow Patriarchate – news ukraine | UNIAN

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) prevented an attempt by Russian intelligence to recruit a Ukrainian citizen, offering a US$2,000 reward, to set on fire a temple of what was until recently called the Moscow Patriarchate, aiming to sow tensions and discord on religious grounds, provoking further destabilization. Russian spies and Moscow-controlled “security services” in the occupied parts of Donbas have been working to recruit Ukrainian nationals who would commit arson attacks on temples operated by Orthodox priests of what was until recently called the Moscow Patriarchate. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) prevented an attempt by Russian intelligence to recruit a Ukrainian citizen, offering a US$2,000 reward, to set on fire a temple of what was until recently called the Moscow Patriarchate, aiming to sow tensions and discord on religious grounds, provoking further destabilization. According to the SBU press service, security operatives revealed that Russian intelligence and Moscow-controlled “security services in the occupied parts of Donbas had been working to recruit Ukrainian nationals who would commit arson attacks on temples operated by Orthodox priests of the former UOC-MP. The targeted Ukrainian was promised to receive the reward on his bank account once he provided a video proving he had done the job. Read alsoUkraine must be prepared for Russia’s religious provocations – expert The SBU shared an intercepted instruction the Russian intelligence agency drew up for the potential executioner of the crime: “Draw any of the proposed symbols at the site; start shooting a video, shoot in darkness, and then show the moment the fire starts. Shoot the church burning for 10 seconds. You don’t need to burn it to the ground. The main thing is that the church must start burn. Any of them. Whatever you choose. Be sure it’s MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE. Going on the job, grab a phone WITHOUT A SIM-CARD; when shooting, put the phone in airplane mode so that it doesn’t show up on some Wi-Fi.” The SBU press center noted that the Security Service of Ukraine had prevented the said attempt to attract the Ukrainian man. “However, the foreign intelligence service continues its recruiting attempts. In this regard, the Security Service of Ukraine calls on citizens to be vigilant and, if they receive such “orders”, immediately inform the security service,” the report reads. As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Moscow continues provocations aimed against the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine: the enemy seeks to incite conflicts on religious grounds.

Russian special services recruit Ukrainians for arson of UOC-MP churches | Censor. NET

Russian intelligence services recruit Ukrainians for the arson of religious buildings of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). Tsensor.NET informs about it, referring to the SBU press center. SBU staff found that the RF special services and the “MDB LNR / DNR” subordinate to them search for executors who are ready to commit Ukristan MPs’ worship for 2 thousand US dollars. Providing filming of criminal acts as a report, the attacker has promised to send $ 2,000 to a card account opened in one of the Ukrainian banks. Джерело:

The SBU revealed plans of Russian special services to destabilize the situation in Ukraine :: The Security Service of Ukraine

12:01, 09-02-2019 The Security Service of Ukraine has exposed the plans of the special services of the Russian Federation, aimed at destabilizing the situation in our country on a religious basis. The SBU staff found that the Russian intelligence services and their subordinate MGB LNR / DNR are searching for executors who are willing to commit two-thousand-dollar U.S. MP trapped religious buildings. Subject to filing a video of a criminal act, the attacker has promised to send two thousand dollars to a card account opened in one of the Ukrainian banks. The algorithm proposed by the foreign secret service was as follows (in the original language): “Draw in place of any of the proposed characters; Start shooting, take off the darkness and the moment of ignition. Remove 10 seconds of combustion. It’s not necessary to burn it, the main thing is that the building of the temple began to burn. The object of any. To choose. Mandatory MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE. For a stock phone to take WITHOUT SIM-CARD, at the time of shooting to put the phone in air mode, so that the pipe did not light up on any va-fay. ” The Security Service of Ukraine has already prevented an attempt to involve a Ukrainian citizen in commission of a Russian party for such a crime. However, recruiting activities of the foreign intelligence service continue. In this regard, the Security Council of Ukraine calls on citizens to be vigilant and, in the event of receiving such “orders”, immediately inform the national intelligence service.

The parish in the historical church-fortress of the 15th century in Khmelnytsky transfered to the OCU. PHOTOS

In the Khmelnytskyi oblast, the temple of the Holy Protection Church, the fortress of the fifteenth century, which is located in the village of Sukkivtsi, passed to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. As Tsensor.NET reports , Metropolitan Anthony (Mahotta) reported this on Facebook . It is noted that the transition of the parish from the Moscow Patriarchate to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine was held on February 7. Metropolitan Anthony also gave a brief historical reference. Read also: PCU has 7 thousand religious communities, about 11 thousand in the UOC-MP, – Yevstratiy (Zorya) “At first, the Pokrovsky church-fortress in Sukkivs was built as a defensive structure, because the village was on the Kuchmaan road, the usual route of the Tatars in Podillya. In 1476, the fortress was rebuilt under a church with an arrangement in the first tier of a brick vault on ribs and Gothic tongs over the second the tier of the central space “. In addition, the clergyman wrote that in the XVI century the walls of the first tier were painted with fresco painting, fragments of which have been preserved to this day.

Crimean Archbishop Clement will lead the mission of assistance to political prisoners – Epiphanius

At the first meeting of the holy synod of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, an Orthodox mission to help victims of human rights violations and persons deprived of their liberty was created, Metropolitan Epiphanius, the head of the CPU, said. According to Tsensor.NET , referring to Radio Liberty , this mission will be managed by the Archbishop of Simferopol and Crimean Clement. “Bishop Clement did it on his own initiative as a bishop who is in the occupied territory. I think he understands these guys better because he is both in spiritual occupation and in occupation in the Crimea, and for him it is a certain sense of life. “- said Epiphanius. Now work is underway to create a statute for this mission, in which the rights and responsibilities of its chairmen will be recorded. Джерело:

Tomos on autocephaly included to history of Ukraine program this year –

In 2019 the new manuals of the history of Ukraine will be published, they will cover the information of receiving Tomos on the autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The press service of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine reported this, according to UNN. “Students study the history of independent Ukraine in the 11th grade, and this year we will publish new manuals. When we received Tomos on the autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, I instructed the Ministry to include the events to the new school program of the history of Ukraine. The last meeting of members of the Ministry took place yesterday. We will approve new changes to the program for the 11th grade by the decree of the Ministry of the Education and Science of Ukraine next week. The authors, who are going to publish new manuals this year, should bear this information in mind”, – Lilia Grynevych, the Minister of the Education and Science of Ukraine, said. According to the Minister, new methodological recommendations will be published as well for the history teachers, in order to explain the new topic of receiving Tomos on autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to students properly. Regarding the external independent testing, the new program will be included to the test no sooner than in two years. Related: Metropolitan Epifaniy enthroned as head of new independent Orthodox church “We do have very strict rule concerning the external independent testing, we can add changes to the test program no sooner than two years before writing the test. In other words, students in the 10th grade already have the test program. So we will add changes to the test program of the history of Ukraine this year, but they will come into force only for the graduates in 2021”, – Grynevych added. As we reported earlier, it was reported that the members of the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate signed the Tomos on providing autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew passed the Tomos of autocephaly and bishops’ crosier to the apostle of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Epifaniy. The event happened during the festive service in St. George’s Cathedral in Istanbul.

Hierarch of Russian Church in Ukraine puts pressure on priests joining new Orthodox Church of Ukraine – news ukraine | UNIAN

The Zhytomyr Diocese of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) says Metropolitan Vissarion of Ovruch and Korosten, Hierarch of the Russian Church in Ukraine, is putting pressure on priests who joined the newly created OCU since the unification council and the creation of the local OCU, independent from Russia’s Orthodox Church. In particular, Vissarion is sending SMS messages to the clergy with threats and calls for repentance. “Metropolitan Vissarion is also warning that Russian priests and people who ‘can help repent’ will arrive in the [religious] communities that have left his diocese. The Ovruch diocese [in Zhytomyr region] of the Russian Church also campaigns in the parishes, distributing leaflets of provocative content…, and calling for repentance of all who have joined the Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” the Zhytomyr Diocese of the OCU said on its website on February 10. It is noted that such actions have already affected the religious communities in the villages of Hranitne, Maklayivka, and Fedorivka in Zhytomyr region’s Malyn district, as well as other areas of the region. “The Zhytomyr Diocese of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine states that all transitions of parishes and clergymen [of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) to the new church] are taking place in line with the current legislation of Ukraine and the canons of the Orthodox Church. Therefore, any intimidation and threats are unacceptable as they contradict the foundations of the Christian faith,” the diocese added.

Criminal proceedings upon disappearance of property from Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra opened by police –

The national police opens criminal proceedings on the fact of the disappearance of cultural property from the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. This is stated in the message of the Security Service of Ukraine. The ministry noted that the Security Service officers involved in the inspection found a lack of ten items of cultural value. “According to the Security Service, the investigative department of the National Police registered criminal proceedings under Part 3 of Article 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (“ Assignment, embezzlement of property or seizing it by abusing official position ”) on the fact of embezzlement of valuables that were deposited by officials of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra “, – reported in the department. Investigative actions are continuing. We recall, at the initiative of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, a special commission was established. It included staff from the Ministry and the National Kyiv-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Reserve. The purpose of the commission was to check the existing church treasures and shrines, which were transferred to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, since 1988 – since the opening of the monastery after the revival. On November 28, commission members began checking for the presence of relics in the near and far caves of the Lavra. After checking, it turned out that the Lavra lacks eight icons of the XIX century, a wooden bowl and a cross.

Russia-occupied Crimea’s de facto authorities want to close cathedral of new Ukrainian church – news ukraine | UNIAN

Russia-occupied Crimea’s de facto authorities want to close the major cathedral of the newly created Ukrainian Orthodox Church – the Cathedral of Saints Volodymyr and Olha in the center of Simferopol. The occupying authorities have ordered the priests to leave the premises.

Russia to shut down last Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Crimea –

The occupational authorities of Crimea demand from the clergy and the churchgoers to get out of the building of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Simferopol. Yevstratiy Zoria, Archbishop of Chernihiv and Nizhyn, wrote this on Facebook. “The archbishop Kliment and the churchgoers of the Sts. Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Church in Simferopol need all of us to pray for them, as the occupational forces of Crimea demanded from them “to leave the building”.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Continuing Repression of Jehovah’s Witnesses Raises Questions about Putin’s System, Sedov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, February 7 – Given Vladimir Putin’s statement in December that there was no reason to repress the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a statement that gave many people hope, the continuing repression of the followers of that denomination raises broader questions than just about religious rights. It opens questions about the Putin regime itself, Yegor Sedov says. Ever more Russians, including some officials, are outraged by what Russian officials are doing to members of a religious community that scrupulously obeys the law and does not because of its basic principles present any threat to the country. The Kasparov portal offers a remarkable collection of such outrage ( The Moscow commentator takes the next step and considers not just how the Putin regime is violating basic human rights in this case (as it does in so many others) but what these acts of violation say about the nature of the regime itself, given that its leader has said such actions shouldn’t happen ( The overarching explanation, of course, Sedov argues, is that “the only means of existence for authoritarian governments” is the need to posit conspiracies that only it can respond to adequately. But that raises the question in each case: why this target rather than some other, especially if the target chosen seems so implausible or even rejected by the leader. That suggests that perhaps officials at the lower levels don’t care about the president says: they have their own goals. In that case, there is no “power vertical” however much Putin’s propagandists celebrate it. Or it may be that Moscow doesn’t care about domestic affairs but only wants to send messages to Europe and the West. That seems to have been the case with the persecution of LGBTs, Sedov says, where the Kremlin was positioning itself as the defender of “traditional” family values and thus an ally of one part of the political spectrum in the West. And it could be that the attacks on Jehovah’s Witnesses reflect some similar project, especially as the latest victim is a Danish citizen. However, doing either is not so simple given that “people all the same are not fools.” They can see through such propagandistic methods, and they are certainly more likely to focus on the words of the leader – “there’s no basis for attacking the Jehovah’s Witnesses” – than on any actions by his minions. Instead, what appears to be happening in a replay of Stalin’s Doctor’s Plot of early 1953 without the anti-Semitism, a totally absurd conspiracy in both cases that someone threatened the ruler and thus could be used to inspire terror in the population. The parallels of the attacks on Jehovah’s Witnesses now and on “murderers in white coats” then are too close for comfort. Both are based on having propaganda create an enemy out of whole cloth, thus demonstrating the power of the state to do anything and the inability to challenge its actions on the basis of facts. To the extent that the regime can do that, it can plunge the country into the abyss. Stalin’s plan to do so was stopped by his death at which point his comrades in arms immediately reversed the doctor’s plot nonsense. One wonders, Sedov implies, whether Putin’s plan with the Jehovah’s Witnesses will suffer a similar fate or will despite his denials plunge Russia into something equally horrific. Of course, Sedov concludes, there is another possible explanation. One should never neglect the role of stupidity. But then the question becomes: whose stupidity? Is Putin part of this or is he incapable of doing anything to enforce his will in this case? On the answers to these questions depend both the fate of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia and the fate of Russia itself.