Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (96)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Dang.  Must read: Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putinism is a Genuinely New Threat and Not Simply a Revival of Earlier Ones, Yakovenko Says

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INF debate including NATO meeting deliberations, Fmr Pres Gorbachev oped in MT. US sanctions described by Muscovy as  “insane”, “reckless” and as “racketeering”, all motivated by “Russophobia” – cause and effect is explained away as an “absolutely emotional” bias against poor victim Russia. Germany’s BfV (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz) security agency investigating Russian involvement with right wing parties, including the pro-Russian AfD. Belgium investigating a senior counter-intel officer for espionage, on behalf of Russia. Updates on Nordstream 2, Moldovan election meddling, Russia in the CAR, Russian social media, and Turkish S-400 procurement.

Excellent essay by Yakovenko on Russia’s fake fascism, and how its absence of a coherent ideology confuses Western observers – this is one of the best summaries written to date. Prof Goble digest on Russia’s effort to fight pan-Turkism (were Prof Huntington still with us, wouldn’t he be chuckling :-D).

Bellingcat identify the third GRU officer involved in the Salisbury attack as Denis Vyacheslavovich Sergeev – producing a lot of media traffic.

Ukraine a major topic at the NATO meeting – statements by acting SECDEF Shanahan and UK SECDEF Williamson. NATO and US increasing aid funding to Ukraine, NATO to increase naval presence in Black Sea. In DC Interior Minister Avakov briefs on Donbas deoccupation.

Azov and Donbas updates. Politics, economy and election updates – Tymoshenko may be in difficulty.

More on the deportation of the ROC bishop, and two of five disturbing reports from Russia involve persecution of religious minorities.


NATO Defense Ministers Weigh Responses to Russian Missile Threat – WSJ

NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels weighed responses to Russia’s cruise-missile deployment that may upend that INF Treaty ranging from arms controls to missile defenses and boosting the number and speed of reaction forces.

After Trump INF withdrawal NATO prepares for Russia with more missiles – Business Insider

The withdrawal process won’t be complete until August, but NATO is already preparing for a more heavily armed future in Europe.

NATO in search of options to prepare for post-INF world – EURACTIV.com

In the aftermath of US President Trump’s withdrawal from the landmark nuclear arms-control accord earlier this month, NATO allies on Wednesday (13 January) met in Brussels to plan for a future that includes a “Russia with more missiles.”

UAWire – Stoltenberg: NATO prepares an ‘effective response’ to Russia’s violations of Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg stated at the Brussels meeting of NATO defense ministers, which was held on February 13th,  that NATO’ …

UAWire – NATO does not intend to deploy nuclear missiles in Europe after US withdrawal from INF Treaty

The Deputy Secretary General of the Alliance, Rose Gottemoeller, made an announcement before the opening of the two-day NATO summit in Brussels …

Why Withdrawing from the INF Treaty Might Be Unconstitutional – Defense One

No one really knows who gets to cancel treaties, but courts may defer to a Congress that prefers not to.

Mikhail Gorbachev: A Nuclear Arms Race Will Produce No Winners (Op-ed)

Despite everything, it is still in our power to avoid nuclear confrontation.

US Interested in Arms Control Talks: DoD Claims China, Russia Lack Enthusiasm – Sputnik International

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The US administration is willing to engage in dialogue on arms control but Washington does not believe there is a lot of enthusiasm for such negotiations on the part of China and Russia, Guy Roberts, the US assistant defence secretary for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programmes, said.

German Ex-Air Force General: ‘US Betrayed European Security’ – Sputnik International

A former head of NATO’s Military Committee has slammed the US move against the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) as “extremely dangerous” for Europe. This comes after Washington had suspended its obligations under the agreement that ended the arms race between the East and West back in the 1980s.

Trump risking nuclear war to gratify his ‘narcissistic need for power’: psychiatrist and nuclear weapons expert

Russia attacks proposed US sanctions – ‘It’s INSANE’ | World | News | Express.co.uk

FURIOUS Russian officials have attacked the US, branding proposed new sanctions against the country as “insane” and “reckless”.

Russia calls U.S. sanctions due to aggression against Ukraine “racketeering” – 112.international

Spokesperson of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov called the new draft sanctions in the response to the Kremlin’s aggression against Ukraine “racketeering” as Interfax reported. “We see the manifestations of the disease Russophobia, it is slanted Russophobia, absolutely emotional, which is not based on the expert data. Otherwise, there will be no issue about destabilizing role of Russia in Syria in such draft law, instead, the key role of Moscow in the saving of the region from the terrorism will be recognized,” Peskov stated. According to him, the measures directed at the disruption of different energy projects of Russia, subversion of the activity of the Russian banks with the public involvement “is nothing else but the attempt of the unfair competition”. “We do not agree on it, we find it unacceptable, and think that such actions can potentially run counter universally recognized rules of the international trade and have very harmful consequences,” Peskov said. As we reported the U.S. bipartisan group of senators presented a Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA) of 2019 to the Senate aimed at enhancement of economic, political and diplomatic pressure upon Russia. Earlier it was reported that the U.S. sanctions against the Russian Federation will remain in place until Moscow completely abides by the Minsk agreements and gives Crimea back to Ukraine.

German spy agency probes Russia links to right-wing parties – report | Euronews

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s domestic spy agency is examining Russia’s ties to far-right parties, including the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), the RND group of

EU spying fears as Belgian accused of being double agent for Russia | News | The Times

A senior Belgian counter-intelligence officer is under house arrest after allegations that he spied for Russia in a case that could highlight the security threat to Nato and European Union headquarters in Brussels.The major, head of a division in Belgium’s external security department of the General

Belgium’s counterintel chief accused of spying for Russia: media – news world | UNIAN

The head of Belgium’s counterintelligence service has been suspended amid claims that he spied for Russia, according to reports. The claims that he spied for Russia appeared in a letter by a Belgian counterintelligence officer.

Klimkin at Warsaw conference urges to counter Russia’s cyber threats

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin called for close cooperation to counter the challenges and hybrid threats that Russia creates for the whole world. — Ukrinform.

EU amendments on Nord Stream 2 may lead to Russia’s more aggressive behavior – Ukraine’s MFA – news economics | UNIAN

Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of (MFA) for European Integration Olena Zerkal says the amendments to the EU Gas Directive, which will regulate, among other things, the Nord Stream 2 project, may lead to Russia’s more aggressive behavior. Additional sanctions may be imposed to increase pressure on Russia.

Facebook Removes ‘Coordinated’ Fake Accounts In Moldova Ahead Of Elections

Facebook says it has removed 168 accounts, 28 pages, and eight Instagram accounts from its social-media platforms after they were discovered to be “engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior targ…

Elections in Moldova: Games of oligarchs, Russia’s and Ukraine’s interests – 112.international

Parliamentary elections will be held in Moldova on 24 February 2019. Campaigning began in November 2018. The ruling parties of the pro-European coalition led by the Democratic Party of Moldova, the oppositional Socialist Party of the Republic of Moldova, the extra-parliamentary parties Party of Action and Solidarity, the Dignity and Truth Platform Party, which formed the ACUM election bloc, Șor Party (“Republican Socio-Political Movement Equality”). The intrigue of the upcoming elections is that the political participants have significant differences in their foreign policy priorities. Socialists, including President Dodon, are in favor of rapprochement with Russia, the ruling parties and political projects Sandu and Năstase are supporters of integration into the EU and NATO. Moldovan society is split in its political preferences. For Ukraine, the election results in Moldova are not of the least importance, since the position of our neighbor on the issue of Russia’s aggression might depend on them.

UAWire – UN investigates possible Russian involvement in tortures of civilians in the Central African Republic

The UN started investigating reports of tortures in the Central African Republic with the alleged participation of Russian citizens, stated United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) spokesperson Vladimir Monteiro. “We confirm that we are investigating the accusations of a person from Bambari that he was arrested and tortured by Russian citizens in January this year,” he said. He explained that the investigation is being carried out within the UN mandate in CAR. MINUSCA is in contact with the Republic’s leadership. Agence France-Presse reported on the UN investigation on January 15, citing a CAR report dated that same day. The document stated that a resident of the city of Bambari was arrested by Russians for five days and was tortured. His back was mutilated, and he had a finger cut off. The UN report also contained photos of scars on the man’s back and his mutilated hand, AFP writes.

Selfies and security: Russia moves to ban certain millennial behavior in the military

The Russian government has wrestled for years with operational security breaches that exposed Russian presence in eastern Ukraine and preparations to enter Syria.

TASS: World – 55th Munich Security Conference expected to become world’s biggest

Over 35 heads of states and governments, about 50 foreign ministers and 30 defense ministers are expected to attend

US asserts NATO concerns over Turkey’s S-400 deal, despite bloc ‘OK’ with purchase – Daily Sabah

The United States has voiced concern over Turkey’s purchase of S-400 air defense systems, urging Ankara to abandon its agreement with Moscow, eliminating…

UAWire – NATO exercise Agile Spirit 2019 to be held in Georgia in the summer

Over 3,000 military personnel from NATO member states and their partner countries will participate in the Agile Spirit 2019 Multinational …

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putinism is a Genuinely New Threat and Not Simply a Revival of Earlier Ones, Yakovenko Says

Paul Goble Staunton, February 14 – Putinism represents a new threat to the world, one very different in fundamental ways from those of earlier imperial dictatorships, Aleksandr Yakovenko says; and the greatest danger today is that many people are refusing to recognize how “new” it is and are dealing with it as if it were a revival of something that existed earlier. “Generals,” the Russian commentator rights, “always prepare to fight the last war. And today, being confronted by Putinism, the world is trying to evaluate this threat in terms drawn from the past. But “not one of these terms is suitable for the description of the Putin regime” without significant modifications (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C65677FC4255). Putin’s Russia is indeed both an empire and a fascist state, but in each case, Yakovenko argues, it is fundamentally different and more dangerous than others in those categories – and the world must take note of those differences if it is to be effective in countering the spread of Putinism within and beyond Russia’s current borders. Russia today is “the last existing empire,” and “an imperial type of consciousness corresponds to this type of state. And even when the empire is dying, this imperial consciousness continues to live in the heads of certain politicians and part of the population, sometimes in the heads of the majority.” Putin’s rise to power, Yakovenko argues, “is a clear example of an attempt at imperial ‘life after death,” given that “from talk about the disintegration of the USSR as the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century to attempts at restoring the empire is but a single step” – and Putin took that step in Crimea and the Donbas. While there are other countries in which the desire for imperial revival lives, including China, Iran, and Turkey, “only Putin’s Russia in the 21st century has the entire range of imperial attributes, from an autocratic domestic system to a clearly expressed foreign policy manifested in the carrying out of two aggressive wars against Ukraine and Syria.” But “Putinism is distinguished from previous historical forms of the Russian Empire by the fact that in place of internal colonization, there has come internal occupation.” Moscow no longer offers the regions and republics any positive model of change as the Soviets claimed to do.

Instead, it simply occupies and exploits them. The Kremlin today, Yakovenko says, needs only one thing from the population: “submission and quiet. And it would be better for it if instead of 140 million there remained only ten million for serving the pipelines. This isn’t colonization,” as many are inclined to think. This is internal “occupation.”

Equally important differences set Putinism fascism apart from the fascisms of the past. In one way or another, the analyst says, the Putin regime manifests all 14 signs of fascism that Umberto Eco famously listed in 1995 (interglacial.com/pub/text/Umberto_Eco_-_Eternal_Fascism.html). But in nine cases, it is fundamentally different; and those differences need to be recognized.

  • First, it is “fascism without an ideology and consequently without propaganda.” Those institutions many call propaganda outlets are in fact instruments of information war rather than the spread of propaganda. They spread only feelings and emotions, not ideas.
  • Second, unlike fascist states in the past, the Putinist variant is parasitic on the West and cannot be otherwise.
  • Third, it isn’t trying to conquer the world, only to disorder it so that the Putinist elites can continue to steal and enrich themselves. If they took over the West, they’d have fewer opportunities to steal.
  • Fourth, lying is the foundation of Putinism, a substitute for the power it does not otherwise have.
  • Fifth, the Putin elite “lives by rules that are directly opposed to those which it declares as the norm for the population.” It promotes hatred of the Western countries where it keeps its money and its children.
  • Sixth, in the absence of ideology, the Putinist elite focuses on its own “unlimited enrichment by means of total corruption,” something that undermines the elite.
  • Seventh, “Putinism is fascism with nuclear weapons,” the only fascist regime ever with the capacity to destroy the world.
  • Eighth, “Putinism is Orthodox fascism,” focused on using the church as an ideology and having a church more devoted to its leaders than was any religion in any other fascist state in history.
  • And ninth, Putin’s system is “Chekist fascism,” where the security services have absolute power.

According to Yakovenko, Putinism is the last stage of the Russian empire, one that is fated to die because fascism ultimately defeats itself by manifesting the worst rather than the best of the people under its control and because it seeks certainty in a world that by its nature cannot have everything fixed once and for all.

Putin himself accelerated this process of self-destruction by three acts. He destroyed the social contract with the population by his pension reform. He undermined the loyalty of his elites by showing them that loyalty isn’t enough and turning more often to fear. And he wrecked the accord with the West by showing he won’t live by the international rules of the game.

The demise of Putinism is “objectively inevitable,” Yakovenko says; but this doesn’t mean that it will happen “automatically” or soon “without all kinds of efforts by the leading countries of the world and the Russians themselves.” The basis for such actions, he concludes, is an adequate understanding of the nature of the enemy.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Are Russians Now Understating Their Support for Putin? ‘Nezavisimaya gazeta’ Asks

Paul Goble Staunton, February 14 – Up to now, most analysts have assumed that polls conducted in the Russian Federation overstate the amount of support that Russians have for Vladimir Putin, with those surveyed either afraid to give a different answer or convinced that declaring that they back the Kremlin leader is the only “correct” response. But now that Putin’s poll numbers are falling, the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta say, Russians may be telling pollsters what they think the latter want to hear now, even if they continue to support Putin, much as some Americans did with regard to Donald Trump in the run-up to the last American presidential election (ng.ru/editorial/2019-02-13/2_7506_red.html). In the US at that time, as subsequent investigations and the vote itself shows, many who supported Trump did not report that to pollsters, possibly on the assumption that those conducting the surveys didn’t want to hear it. Now, one must ask, the editors of the Moscow paper say, whether “a Trump effect” is occurring in Russia. Indeed, some poll results suggest that this may be the case. The Levada Center asked Russians whether they believe other Russians report honestly to pollsters their views on Putin. Twenty-eight percent said that “the majority or practically all hide their true thoughts and attitudes.” The saying this has gone up 10 percent since last year. Most commentators nonetheless continue to assume that “citizens think about the authorities and about Putin worse than they are prepared to acknowledge,” the editors say. But that may not be the case. Instead, they may now be saying what they think others want them to say given Putin’s much-trumped decline in popularity. The American experience is instructive in this regard. In 1982, polls and exit interviews showed that Tom Bradley, a black American, would win. “But his white competitor did. In interviews with others, the voters wanted to look progressive,” but when it came time to vote, they acted like “real conservatives.” “Approximately the same thing was observed during the last presidential elections in the US,” Nezavisimaya gazeta says. Americans appeared reluctant to say that they were going to vote for Trump even though that is was they ultimately did. Nothing like this has yet been observed or documented in Russia, the paper continues; but that doesn’t mean that similar things couldn’t happen there. It is entirely possible now that “Russians in what they say want to appear more liberal than they are in fact,” exactly the same pattern as in the US. The editors note that Vladislav Surkov in his recent article spoke about “the deep people,” a term of art which is a synonym to “the silent majority,” a phenomenon “familiar to historians and anthropologists.” And to the extent that such a thing now exists in Russia, it could lead to poll results that will mislead, but mislead in just the opposite way that many assume.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: FSB Reportedly Setting Up ‘Turkish Departments’ to Combat Pan-Turkism among Russia’s Turkic Peoples

Paul Goble Staunton, February 14 – Two telegram channels, Nezygar and Kremlyovsky bezBashenik, report that the FSB is planning to set up special “Turkish departments” in its Economic Security Service to combat pan-Turkism, an effort in which the Presidential Administration is also involved. “The goal is the neutralization of the work of the Turkish special services toward the establishment of a single Turkic state” given that “Turkey has finally become a center of the Islamic world,” the former says, and that Ankara has already established close ties with Kyiv, a worrisome development from Moscow’s point of view. And it is doing so, the latter reports, because of what some in Moscow see as “the ineffectiveness of the Service for the Defense of the Constitutional Order in the struggle with terrorism “inside Turkey itself,” IdelReal journalist Ramazan Alpaut recounts (idelreal.org/a/29759517.html). Moscow worried not only about the spread of terrorism but also about Turkey’s promotion of pan-Turkist ideas in the North Caucasus and the Middle Volga, Nezygar continues. “Turkic-language peoples of Russia live mostly in such regions as Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Chuvashia, Bashkortostan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Daghestan, Karachayevo-Cherkessia and other regions of the North Caucasus.” “To one degree or another,” the telegram channel continues, “the ideas of pan-Turkish have penetrated everywhere, but at various levels and various amounts. Many say that they exist most strongly among young members of Tatar elites.” Rakhim Rakhimov, an independent analyst, says that he views these reports as “disinformation.” Turkey does not have the significant influence among the Turkic peoples of Russia that such efforts suggest. He suggests that the reports are intended as a warning to Turkey not to ally itself with Ukraine. It is also possible, Rakhimov says, that there are anti-Turkish groups within the Russian elite who are not happy with Moscow’s rapprochement with Ankara. Another expert, Osman Pashayev of the UA-Krym television company, says that he does not think that Turkey is currently actively promoting pan-Turkist ideas in Russia. There may be some in Turkish elites who would like to do so, he says; but such an effort certainly is not settled state policy. At most such reports are a warning to Ankara and to regional elites. According to Alpaut, Turkey appears to have responded to this already, with an article suggesting that Moscow is seeking to “marginalize” the Muslim population of the Russian Federation (trtworld.com/opinion/is-russia-on-the-path-to-marginalising-its-muslim-population-23927). That article reflects both the historical intertwining of Islamic interests and pan-Turkish ideas and the current interest in Ankara in presenting itself as the defender of the Faith. Those two factors may also help to explain why Moscow is nervous and why the telegram channel reports are true even if they are based on a misreading of what is happening on the ground.

bellingcat – Third Suspect in Skripal Poisoning Identified as Denis Sergeev, High-Ranking GRU Officer – bellingcat

Bellingcat previously confirmed that a third GRU officer was present in the UK during the time Sergey and Yulia Skripal fell into a coma, after what the UK authorities said was a deliberate poisoning with Novichok. In addition, Bellingcat established that this same officer traveled multiple times to Bulgaria during 2015, including a trip days before a Bulgarian arms trader and his son were severely poisoned with a yet-unidentified poison. Following a four-month joint investigation with our investigative partners The Insider (Russia) and Respekt (Czechia), Bellingcat can now reveal the true identity and background of this GRU officer, who operated internationally under the cover persona of Sergey Vyachaeslavovich Fedotov. In fact, this person is Denis Vyacheslavovich Sergeev, a high-ranking GRU officer and a graduate of Russia’s Military Diplomatic Academy.

Salisbury poisonings: Third Russian linked to UK and Catalonia visits before key votes, report claims – CNN

New details have emerged about a third Russian linked to the 2018 Salisbury poisonings by the investigative website Bellingcat. According to travel records revealed yesterday by Bellingcat and seen by CNN, the same man appears to have flown in and out of the UK and Catalonia multiple times in the run up to their referendums.

Bellingcat Names Possible Third Russian GRU Agent Suspected Of Skripal Poisonings

The British-based open-source investigation group Bellingcat says that it has established the identity of an alleged Russian military intelligence officer who was in England when former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok.

Skripal poisoning: Bellingcat names ‘third man’ in Salisbury case – BBC News

He is claimed to be a Russian intelligence officer who was in the UK at the time of the 2018 attack.

Latest Suspect Accused In Skripal Poisoning Is Russian Intelligence Officer : NPR

The suspect is a high-ranking officer in Russia’s military intelligence agency, Bellingcat says. The group accuses the Russian government of expunging documents to conceal the man’s identity.

Third Suspect in Skripal Poisoning Identified as High-Level GRU Officer: Report

A GRU official who reportedly traveled to Bulgaria just before prominent arms trader was poisoned.

Wet Work in Salisbury: Sergei Skripal and the Human Factor of Russian Active Measures

Mark Urban, The Skripal Files: The Life and Near Death of a Russian Spy (Henry Holt, 2018). On Sunday, March 4, 2018, in the sleepy English city of

Third suspect in Skripal poisoning is Russian GRU agent: Bellingcat | Reuters

A third man suspected of involvement in the nerve agent poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in England last year is a high-ranking Russian military intelligence agent, the investigative website Bellingcat said on Thursday.

Russian military agent named as third Salisbury poisoning suspect | News | The Times

The true identity of a third Russian spy suspected of involvement in the Salisbury nerve agent attack has been uncovered, according to an investigative online group.Investigators at Bellingcat said yesterday that the senior GRU agent who used the alias Sergey Fedotov was Denis Sergeev, a 45-year-old

Bellingcat Names Third Russian GRU Agent Suspected of Skripal Poisoning

A third man suspected of involvement in the nerve agent poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in England last year is a high-ranking Russian military intelligence agent, the investigative website Bellingcat said on Thursday. “Bellingcat can now reveal the true identity and background of this GRU officer, who operated internationally under the cover persona of Sergey Vyachaeslavovich Fedotov,” Bellingcat said. “In fact, this person is Denis Vyacheslavovich Sergeev, a high-ranking GRU officer and a graduate of Russia’s Military Diplomatic Academy.” Bellingcat was the first to identify the two Russians Britain has accused of carrying out the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury last March.

TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Kremlin: Russia’s stance on Skripal saga unchanged after ‘revelation’ of ‘third suspect’

According to Sky News, the suspect «is thought to be a senior member of Russia’s GRU agency» who uses the alias Sergei Fedotov

U.S. praises Ukraine for making reforms in defense sector

The United States highly appreciates Ukraine’s achievements in terms of reforms in the defense sector and calls for further progress. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan said this during a meeting with Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday, February 14, the U.S. Department of Defense informed in a report. “Secretary Shanahan praised Minister Poltorak for his leadership in making reforms to Ukraine’s defense sector and emphasized the need for continued progress in implementing key provisions of Ukraine’s Law on National Security in support of a secure and democratic Ukraine,” the report says. In addition, Secretary Shanahan reaffirmed U.S. commitment to security assistance efforts to build the capacity of Ukraine’s forces to more effectively defend itself against Russian aggression. He condemned Russia’s unjustified attack on Ukrainian naval vessels near the Kerch Strait, and reaffirmed U.S. commitment to maintain pressure on Russia to immediately return detained crew members and seized vessels. At the same time, he reiterated that the United States remains steadfast in its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. As reported, on February 13-14, a delegation of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine headed by Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak made a visit to NATO Headquarters. The Ukrainian delegation took part in events within a meeting of NATO’s North Atlantic Council at the level of defense ministers of NATO member states. ish

U.S. supports boosting Ukraine’s defense capability, – Shanahan – 112.international

The U.S. highly evaluates Ukraine’s achievements in terms of reforms conducted in the defense and security area. The Pentagon urged Kyiv to continue walking this path, stressing its readiness to support Ukraine’s efforts to boost the defenses in the view of the Russian aggression. Ukrinform news agency reported that, quoting U.S. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. Related: Law on treaties on defense articles import by Ukraine’s Defence Ministry comes into force ‘Minister Shanahan highly evaluated the leading role of Minister Poltorak in conductiong the reforms in Ukraine’s defense sector, and marked the necessity of further progress in terms of the key provisions of the Law of Ukraine on the national security for the support of safe and democratic Ukraine’, the message said. The high-rank U.S. official also confirmed his country’s commitment to the cause of security in Ukraine and the improvement of Ukraine’s defense capabilities. Related: Russia deploys Iskander missile launchers near border with Ukraine, – Defense Ministry Acting Defense Secretary condemned the Russian aggression against the Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait. He ‘confirmed the commitment of the U.S. to save pressure on Russia to see to it that the detained vessels and crew members are returned immediately’.

Britain to continue supporting Ukraine, encourage all allies to do this – Secretary of Defense Williamson

Britain will offer assistance to Ukraine, maintain a dialogue with it, and also encourage all its allies to help Ukraine with specific actions, Secretary of State for Defense of Great Britain Gavin Williamson has said.

UAWire – Kyiv requests a separate package of NATO assistance for Ukraine’s Navy

Ukraine's Permanent Representative to NATO Vadym Prystaiko said that Kyiv has asked NATO to arrange for a separate assistance package for the …

NATO partners ready to scale up assistance to Ukraine

“The Allies highlight Ukraine’s vigor and desire to master the NATO standards. They are ready to scale up ongoing support and provision of the resources to strengthen our defense capabilities. This applies, in particular to the training of troops, the sale and supply of modern weapons, the development of military infrastructure. Special attention will be paid to the development of the Navy and the air capabilities of our country,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said at a meeting with journalists in Brussels following his visit to the NATO Headquarters, an Ukrinform correspondent reported. The minister told about the bilateral meetings, which he held during his visit to the NATO Headquarters with the colleagues from the USA, Canada and Romania to discuss the further development of military and technical cooperation. “During a meeting with U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan, we agreed on the key measures for adoption of a decision by the U.S. Congress on allocation of the second tranche of security assistance [to Ukraine]. A significant part of this resource will be directed to the needs of the Naval Forces, strengthening the coastal infrastructure in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov region,” the Ukrainian minister said. According to him, Ukraine, in cooperation with the American partners, will also pay particular attention to reforming the military administration system in accordance with the NATO standards and strengthening the ability of the Defense Ministry to exercise democratic civilian control. In addition, during the meeting, the United States confirmed the intention to assist Ukraine in reforming the military-industrial complex. “The five-sided meeting with participation of the defense ministers of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Lithuania and Poland was very important. This 5+1 group includes our strategic partners that provide Ukraine with the greatest assistance. I informed the colleagues about the five priorities of the reform of the Armed Forces and the Defense Ministry of Ukraine for 2019, and we discussed their assistance in implementing of these reforms,” Poltorak noted. He recalled that the first priority concerned the defense management system, including the formation of a modern military administration system pursuant to NATO standards, the creation of modern military administration points and the introduction of automated systems. The main purpose in this context is the high-quality training of future military leaders of the strategic level, who will head the key areas of development of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The second priority, the minister noted, is the capability-based defense planning. “We and our NATO partners will carry out a defense sector review to prepare the strategic documents for the next cycle of reforms after 2020. Here we plan to use specialized support programs and NATO best practices in this process,” the Ukrainian minister noted. The third priority is the optimization of the military procurement system. The fourth priority is the optimization of forces and capacities, which will aim to get rid of redundant or unpromising defense structures. The fifth priority, Stepan Poltorak noted, is associated with the use of soft and hard power to protect the national interests of Ukraine. “We have a whole range of activities, which we will carry out with our partners, so that Ukraine can strengthen the capabilities of the Armed Forces and the ability to defend its territorial integrity, its borders, and stop Russia’s aggression against Ukraine,” the Ukrainian Defense Minister underscored. As Poltorak noted, the NATO member states stand in solidarity with Ukraine in its struggle against Russian aggression and express their intention to continue the pressure and sanctions against the Russian Federation to assist Ukraine in restoring its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Stoltenberg: NATO ships to enter Black Sea in a few days to conduct exercises

A group of NATO ships will enter the Black Sea in a few days to conduct exercises as part of the build-up of the presence of the Alliance forces in the region. — Ukrinform.

NATO seeks to expand presence in Black Sea area – Stoltenberg – news politics | UNIAN

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has noted that the Alliance is looking into strengthening its presence in the Black Sea region to support Ukraine. NATO warships will enter the Black Sea in the coming days to take part in naval drills.

EU calls on Russia to stop providing financial and military support to armed formations in Donbas

The EU reiterated its deep concern regarding information about the presence of Russian military equipment and personnel in Donbas and called on Russia to stop providing support to the armed formations. — Ukrinform.

OSCE SMM needs access to Crimea and Ukrainian-Russian border – EU

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission must be provided with free, safe and unhindered access throughout Ukraine, including the territory of Crimea and along the Ukrainian-Russian state border. — Ukrinform.

U.S. to provide Ukraine with second tranche of military aid – Poltorak – news economics | UNIAN

Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Stepan Poltorak, states that Ukraine has agreed with the United States of America on measures for receiving the second tranche of security assistance. The minister spoke of the outcome of his meeting with Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper. Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Stepan Poltorak, states that Ukraine has agreed with the United States of America on measures for receiving the second tranche of security assistance. Speaking with journalists in Brussels where he attended the NATO defense ministers’ meeting, He elaborated on the outcome of his meeting with Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper. “We agreed on key measures for the U.S. Congress to decide on the allocation of the second tranche of security assistance. Incidentally, a significant portion of resources will be allocated for the needs of the Navy and strengthening our coastal infrastructure in the Black Sea-Azov region. Special attention will be paid to reforming the military command system to meet NATO standards and expanding the defense ministry’s capacities to exercise democratic and civilian control,” said Poltorak.

U.S. Congress to increase aid for Ukraine by $75 million – 112.international

The U.S. Congress proposes to increase the aid for Ukraine by $75 million provided from the budget 2019, as the Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. reported on Facebook. “The draft law on fund allocation of the State Department, foreign transactions and a related program for 2019 financial year” provides $445,7 million aid for Ukraine, which exceeds the allocation by 25 million for 2018,” the message says.

Defense ministers of Ukraine and Canada discuss main priorities of cooperation

During a working visit to Brussels, at the NATO Headquarters, Defense Minister of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak met with Minister of National Defense of Canada Harjit Sajjan. — Ukrinform.

Poroshenko to take part in Munich Security Conference

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko will make a working visit to Germany on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the Munich Security Conference, the press service of the head of state has reported. — Ukrinform.

Kyiv mayor to attend Munich Security Conference

Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko will participate in the 55th Munich Security Conference which will take place on February 15-17, his press service has reported. — Ukrinform.

UAWire – Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs presented ‘Donbas de-occupation plan’ in US

Minister of Internal Affairs, Arsen Avakov, announced that the United States Institute of Peace hosted a round table with the participation of authoritative experts, members of parliament, the U.S. State Department, international organizations and representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. According to him, participants discussed the possibilities and risks of the Donbas de-occupation plan and formulated its key points. “The U.S. Institute of Peace has held a round table with the participation of authoritative experts, members of parliament, the U.S. Department of State and international organizations. They openly discussed the possibilities and risks of the Donbas de-occupation plan. The beginning of the international dialogue is a crucial step towards the implementation of our plan … 16 ambassadors, Department of State representatives, and experts together formulated the main paradigms,” wrote Avakov on his Twitter account. Last April, Avakov presented his plan for the peaceful return of the “occupied territory of Donbas to Ukraine”. Among other things, the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs proposes to deploy UN peacekeepers into the uncontrolled territory in stages.

UAWire – Ukraine to send two landing ships to the Sea of Azov

During a press briefing, the deputy chief of the Department of Defense Planning of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Vyacheslav Demyanenko announced that in 2019 an artillery boat and two landing ships would be added to the six small armored artillery boats of the Ukrainian naval forces in the Sea of Azov. “The Navy has received six small armored artillery boats. In the current year it is planned to include one more artillery boat and two Kentavr landing ships. The development of the technical design of the Lan-class missile ships with Neptune missiles is continuing.” The USA transferred two Island-type patrol boats to the Ukrainian Navy as part of the international military assistance program. Measures are being taken to form a set of naval forces on an ongoing basis to perform tasks on the coast and in the Azov Sea waters,” said Demyanenko. When speaking about army reforms, he noted this includes Navy command, command of marines, changing the organizational structure of combat and logistics. Also, according to the speaker, a division and auxiliary vessel group will be created to ensure the functioning of the Navy ships. The General Staff representative said that as of today 16 models were accepted for service, there are 32 trial weapons and military equipment about 8,000 units of new or modernized military equipment and 5000 units of ammunition has been sent to the troops. “The United States has provided five radar counter-battery stations and 2500 night vision devices for the Ukrainian troops,” said Demyanenko.

Russian-backed militants launched 12 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas in last day

Russian-backed militants launched 12 attacks, using weapons banned under the Minsk agreements eight times, on positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas over the past day. — Ukrinform.

JFO HQ reports 3 WIA amid 12 enemy attacks in Donbas in past 24 hours

Russia’s hybrid military forces mounted 12 attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas in the past 24 hours, with three Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action (WIA), the press center of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) has reported.

12 attacks against Ukraine army in past day: three Ukrainian soldiers wounded, two terrorists destroyed, – JFO center

15.02.19 10:09 – 12 attacks against Ukraine army in past day: three Ukrainian soldiers wounded, two terrorists destroyed, – JFO center Feb. 14, Russia occupation forces violated the ceasefire 12 times employing weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements eight times. View news.

Ukrainian troops down four enemy’s UAVs in past day, – JFO staff

15.02.19 12:37 – Ukrainian troops down four enemy’s UAVs in past day, – JFO staff Jan. 14, the enemy actively deployed UAVs in adjusting artillery fires. View news.

OSCE spotted Russian Torn radio intelligence system in the occupied part of Ukraine – Defence Blog

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) has spotted the Russian Torn radio intelligence system at the non-government-controlled areas on in eastern Ukraine. A statement from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission claims that the Russian Torn radio intelligence system has been spotted near Debaltseve, in Novohryhorivka. “An SMM mini-UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle)spotted: two IFVs (BMP-1) (of which one was parked in the yard of a residential house) and a TORN radio intelligence system on a truck (KamAZ) parked near a residential house in Novohryhorivka,” said in a SMM statement. According to OSCE, the SMM recorded Russian signals intelligence (SIGINT) systems at the same location where there had repeatedly seen last two years. Ukrainian InformNapalm OSINT (Open Source INTelligence) platform also repeatedly says about Russian SIGINT systems in the occupied part of Donbas, Eastern Ukraine. For reference, Torn SIGINT system gather information from adversaries’ electronic signals, whether communications between people or from equipment signals at the distance of 2000 km. This system plays a vital role in troops and provides a critical advantage on the battlefield.

JFO: Three Ukrainian soldiers wounded in action in Donbas in past day – news war | UNIAN

Russia’s hybrid military forces in the past 24 hours mounted 12 attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas, with three Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action (WIA). Two invaders were killed and another four were injured in the past day, intelligence reports say.

Kremlin preparing new “referendum” in occupied Donbas – OSINT group – news politics | UNIAN

Russian-occupation administration in the certain parts of Donetsk region plans to conduct this year a “DPR population census”. Invaders seek to include in the census questions that add to it certain signs of a referendum.

War Vets March On: From Afghanistan To The Donbas

Thirty years after Soviet troops retreated from Afghanistan, veterans of that conflict can now be found on the front lines of eastern Ukraine.

New Ukrainian weapons, equipment incorporate NATO standards – Turchynov

The development and creation of new weapons and military equipment in Ukraine is carried out in accordance with NATO standards, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Oleksandr Turchynov has said. The development and creation of new weapons and military equipment in Ukraine is carried out in accordance with NATO standards, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Oleksandr Turchynov has said. “In the development of new weapons, military technology, we immediately lay down the standards of NATO,” he said at a round table on state military orders in Kyiv on Thursday. Turchynov said that since 2014 Ukraine’s military-industrial complex has been one of the priorities of the NSDC and financing of the defense sector has increased 19.5 times since then. He said in conditions of military confrontation, the resource that Ukraine owns is not enough to ensure full-fledged defense and security of the country. “One of the priorities of our state is the unconditional increase in gross domestic product, the strengthening of the national economy, without which the defense complex cannot develop,” he said. Turchynov said it is impossible to significantly improve the quality of Ukrainian weapons, military equipment without a systemic investment, a systemic innovation resource for the industrial complex. “Here, of course, we need to talk about real problems that need to be solved. This is a question of the corporatization of our state defense enterprises, the modernization of their fixed assets. The myriad of tasks also includes new technologies for managing work organization. These are numerous tasks that need to be addressed … today,” he said, adding that more than 50% of the state defense order is fulfilled by private enterprises. Turchynov said he is convinced that significant changes in the structure of the military-industrial complex will be possible only with the support of the Verkhovna Rada. The NSDC head emphasized that, in fact, in Ukraine there is no “real competition both in the formation and implementation of the state defense order,” adding that corruption risks increase significantly as a result, along with the danger of receiving low-quality or outdated products at unnecessarily high prices.

Financing of Ukraine’s defense sector increased 19.5 times since 2014 – Turchynov

Financing of the security and defense sector of Ukraine has increased 19,5 times since 2014. At the same time, it needs investments and transparency in procurements while implementing the state defense order. — Ukrinform.

Rada adopts 12 laws in pursuance of ‘roadmap’ of legislative support for Ukraine-EU Association Agreement – Parubiy

The Verkhovna Rada adopted 12 laws in pursuance of the “road map” on legislative ensuring of the implementation of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament Andriy Parubiy has said.

U.S. Embassy outlines priority reforms for Ukraine

Reforming the fiscal and tax services and the energy sector, combating corruption, continuing transparent privatization and preparing land reform should be priorities for Ukraine in the year of presidential and parliamentary elections. — Ukrinform.

Poroshenko: Ukraine stops to import over 50,000 commodity items from Russia

Over the past two years, Ukraine has substituted more than 50,000 commodity items as part of a policy on the substitution of products previously imported from Russia. — Ukrinform.

Poroshenko boasts Ukraine’s success in import substitution of Russian goods – news economics | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says Ukraine for the last two years has stopped importing over 50,000 product items from Russia as part of an import substitution program. The president says Ukraine was able to preserve its defense industry.

Ukraine’s real GDP grew by 3.4% in fourth quarter of 2018

Real GDP of Ukraine increased by 3.4% in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, the State Statistics Service of Ukraine has reported. — Ukrinform.

Investigation into case of ex-head of Ukrkosmos completed – SAPO

Prosecutors of the Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) have decided to complete the pretrial investigation into a criminal proceeding regarding the failure to implement the program to launch the national satellite communication system, the key element of which should have been the Lybid first Ukrainian satellite.

Kyiv court rules to arrest suspected organizer of Handziuk murder – news ukraine | UNIAN

Kyiv’s Shevchenkivsky court has ruled to arrest Chairman of Kherson Regional Council Vladyslav Manger, who is suspected of organizing Kherson activist Kateryna Handziuk’s murder, for 17 days with bail set at UAH 2.49 million, or US$91,981. Manger’s lawyers said they would appeal the court decision.

Case of mass shootings on Maidan cannot be transferred to court without change in legislation, – SBI

15.02.19 11:56 – Case of mass shootings on Maidan cannot be transferred to court without change in legislation, – SBI The Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) cannot transfer criminal proceedings against organizers of mass murders of Euromaidan protesters to the court until the Verkhovna Rada makes amendments to the legislation on in absentia legal proceedings, said… View news.

Martians have more chances to observe Ukraine’s presidential election than Russia does, – Klimkin – 112.international

Martians have more chances to become observers on the presidential election in Ukraine than the Russian citizens. Pavlo Klimkin, the foreign minister of Ukraine reported that on Twitter. ‘Some people just can’t calm down about the Russian observers on presidential elections in Ukraine. Martians have more chances to observe the Ukrainian election – of course, if they manage to complete all procedures and join the OSCE. But they will certainly better at living up to its basic principles’, Klimkin said. Earlier, Oleg Slobodyan, the Spokesperson of Ukraine’s Border Guard Service, said that border guards would check the international observers before letting them enter Ukraine. Only accredited observers would be allowed to enter the country.

Ukrainian official: Hacking intensifies as election nears

Russian hackers are redoubling their efforts in the run-up to presidential elections in Ukraine, according to the head of Ukraine’s cyber-police.

Zelensky’s Sluha Narodu Party takes the lead in poll ahead of 2019 parliamentary vote – news politics | UNIAN

The Sluha Narodu (Servant of the People) Party led by comedy actor, public figure Volodymyr Zelensky has taken the lead in a poll ahead of the 2019 parliamentary elections. The Sluha Narodu Party would enjoy the greatest support among voters.

Anti-corruption body states about illicit enrichment of MP Tymoshenko – 112.international

The Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) filed the statement about illicit enrichment and declaration of false information by MP Tymoshenko as the Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine reported. The statement does not specify the name of the MP; however, the surname is declined as feminine (there are two MPs with such surname Yury Tymoshenko and Yulia Tymoshenko in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine). It is noted that on February 14, Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko “got the statement on the commitment of the criminal offenses by MP Y. Tymoshenko provided by Part 2, Articles 368-2, 366-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine”.

PGO gives SAPO statement on Tymoshenko’s crimes for resolution

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) has given a statement to the Special Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) about criminal acts committed by Verkhovna Rada deputy and Batkivschyna Party leader Yulia Tymoshenko for review and resolution. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) has given a statement to the Special Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) about criminal acts committed by Verkhovna Rada deputy and Batkivschyna Party leader Yulia Tymoshenko for review and resolution. The PGO said on Friday on Facebook that Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko received a statement about crimes committed by Tymoshenko under Part 3 of Article 368-2 (Illegal enrichment) and Article 366-1 (declaration of incorrect information) of Ukraine’s Criminal Code. The PGO said according to legislation, investigation of the alleged violations is the prerogative of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU). “The law prohibits entrusting pretrial criminal investigation suspected by the NABU with any other body (Part 4, Article 36 of Ukraine’s Criminal Procedure Code) … Taking this into account, the PGO has decided to forward the statement of alleged criminal acts to SAPO for organizing a review of the charges and making a decision pursuant to Ukraine’s Criminal Procedure Code,” the PGO said.

High integration into Europe will help increase wages in Ukraine — Poroshenko

The investments that are now coming to Ukraine lay a solid foundation for the future and contribute to the integration of our country to Europe and the increase in wages of Ukrainian workers. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine deports Russia-aligned priest, strips citizenship, in church rift – media – news ukraine | UNIAN

Ukraine has taken the extraordinary step of deporting a senior cleric of the Moscow-aligned Orthodox Church and stripping him of his citizenship, marking a political escalation in the historic rift that has shaken the Eastern Orthodox world and further raised tensions between Kyiv and Moscow. Ukrainian authorities claimed he had lied about losing the passport but then found it on him during the interrogation.

Ukraine Deports Russia-Aligned Priest, Strips Citizenship, In Church Rift

Ukraine has taken the extraordinary step of deporting a senior cleric of the Moscow-aligned Orthodox Church and stripping him of his citizenship, marking a political escalation in the historic rift…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Five More Disturbing Developments in Russia Just Today

Paul Goble Staunton, February 14 – Some days, disturbing developments in Russia occur in such numbers that it is difficult to keep track. On the one hand, this overload may be simply an accident; but on the other, it may reflect a deliberate pattern in which the authorities act in an ugly way one place so that what they are doing elsewhere may be ignored. Whatever the case, this year on Valentine’s Day, there were at least five reports that raise new concerns about the direction that Vladimir Putin is taking the country. And while some of what happens may be different than he intends, as his defenders insist just as Gorbachev’s did, the Kremlin leader is sufficiently powerful that he must be assigned responsibility. The five pieces of bad news are the following:

  1. Russian officials in Novosibirsk have fined Jews visiting their co-religionists there for engaging in missionary activity (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C6536B56B055).
  2. New textbooks in occupied Crimea say that the Crimean Tatars actively participated in Hitler’s invasion force, a slander that Stalin used to justify their deportation in 1944 and that Moscow is now reviving (qha.com.ua/kryimskie-tataryi/mezhnatsionalnaya-rozn-i-kleveta-v-uchebnike-po-istorii-kryma-uchat-nenavidet-krymskih-tatar/).
  3. A senior member of the Russian Academy of Sciences wants to restrict the foreign travel of young Russian scholars lest they go abroad and then fail to return to their homeland and serve it (news.rambler.ru/other/41711612-akademik-ran-predlozhil-ogranichit-molodym-uchenym-vyezd-iz-rossii/).
  4. Russian-language tests required of Circassians coming from Syria and elsewhere abroad who want to gain permanent residence or citizenship in their historical homeland now within the borders of the Russian Federation are required to know Russian at the level of professional philologists, activists say, yet another means of keeping them out (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/331727/).
  5. Moscow is fully justified in banning the Jehovah’s Witnesses and all other religious groups whose headquarters are abroad because most are connected with Western intelligence services working against Russia, a Russian commentator says (iarex.ru/articles/64425.html).

 

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