Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (98)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

It appears Russia is deliberately provoking a Ukrainian response with aggressive racetracks by combat aircraft and the open display of prohibited weapons along the contact line.

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UK SECDEF Williamson evidently getting under Muscovy’s skin. Muscovian INF theatrics continue. Wagner PMC widow denied benefits and complaining. Shevchenko on the risk of genuine fascism in Russia. Eleven Russian analysts respond to Surkov’s bizarre article – little of it is complimentary.

A great many reports on the Munich Security Conference, most notable being China’s rejection of a new INF including the PLA.

Reports that Col. Skripal’s health has deteriorated. Sturgess parents in distress.

Ukraine participation in the MSC detailed. Russian VKS orbits an A-50 MAINSTAY and Il-20M COOT over the Azov Sea for four days, likely attempting to collect ELINT and SIGINT on the AFU IADS in the area. Donbas update.

IDEX 2019 show – KB Luch unveil the Neptun ASCM/GLCM system, and the Vilkha GMLRS, both on KrAZ 8×8 vehicles. New up-armoured BTR-4MV1 displayed at IDEX – it looks more like a Boxer than the classic BTR-4E. Update on the Sapsan / Hrim 2 TBM program with some good detail. Centaur-LK Class Fast Assault Craft (FAC) detailed. New RAM “suicide drone” detailed. Ukrainian Defense Review #1 [January-March 2019] now online.

ROC update – Russia abandons its clerics who lost their parishes to the OCU, this is predicted to cause increasing numbers of ROC clerics to defect to the OCU. More on ROC collaboration with the KGB.


Lavrov Slams U.K.’s Williamson As ‘Minister Of War’

A day after accusing Russia of trying to “goad the West,” British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson has been labeled the “minister of war” by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Russia’s Lavrov dubs UK’s Williamson ‘minister of war’ | Reuters

A day after British Defence Minister Gavin Williamson accused Moscow of “trying to goad the West” in a bellicose speech, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called him Britain’s minister of war.

Russian minister calls Gavin Williamson ‘minister for war’ | World news | The Guardian

Sergei Lavrov criticises UK defence secretary after he says Russia has ‘blood on its hands’

Russia MOCKS Gavin Williamson – Defence Secretary branded ‘Minister of WAR!’ | UK | News | Express.co.uk

RUSSIA has mocked Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson after he accused Moscow of ‘trying to goad the West”, branding him Britain’s minister of war.

Russia dubs Gavin Williamson ‘minister for war’ in latest controversy surrounding gaffe-prone defence secretary | The Independent

Russia has dubbed Gavin Williamson the “minister for war” in the latest controversy surrounding the gaffe-prone defence secretary. Sergei Lavrov, Moscow’s foreign minister, hit out at Mr Williamson after he accused the Kremlin of using mercenaries to “get away with murder while denying the blood on their hands” and of “trying to goad the west into a new arms race”.

TASS: Military & Defense – West to give joint response to suspension of INF Treaty, says German minister

The response includes «joint assessments and the use of combined forces and means, which will be needed if Russia fails to make concessions,» Ursula von der Leyen said

TASS: Military & Defense – NATO statements on Russia deterrence absurd in context of US exit from INF — diplomat

«The paradox is that it is the US who exited the INF treaty, yet they plan to deter Russia,» Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said

UAWire – Widow of mercenary from Wagner private military companu asks Kremlin to declassify operation in Syria

A contractor of the Russian Private Military Company Wagner, Dmitry Makarelov, who served on the territory of Ukraine, was killed in 2017 in Syria fighting a secret mission in the interests of Russia. His ex-wife asks the Kremlin to “take responsibility” for the killed PMC private military contractors, reports Reuters. “People still know everything. There is no point to keep silent and hide that, yes, they were in Syria on some combat assignments,” said Olga Markelova. “I would like to appeal to the authorities to recognize our husbands as soldiers.” The news agency wrote that this “recognition” from the authorities would be the basis for receiving state benefits. Markelova decided to go public because she and her daughter are unable to access social benefits after her ex-husband’s death. Russian government agencies say that Makarelov was not in Syria. Russia has repeatedly refused to recognize the presence of its military in various conflicts. Markelova divorced her husband before his death. A copy of his death certificate issued by the Russian consul in Syria indicated that Markelov died on January 29, 2017, from shrapnel and bullet wounds.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Threat of Fascism in Russia is ‘More than Real,’ Shevchenko Says

Paul Goble Staunton, February 16 – Ever more signs indicate that Vladimir Putin is moving along the same path that Mussolini and Hitler trod and threatening to establish a fascist state in Russia, Maksim Shevchenko says, adding that only the communists and the left more generally have any chance of stopping this march. Not only does it appear that Putin may use Donbass veterans to be the core of this movement, the Russian commentator says, but Vladislav Surkov’s latest article represents an appeal “to Putin and cosmopolitan capital standing behind Putin and Putinism to use artificially created veterans of artificially created wars to change the political paradigm and rearrange the political elite” (echo.msk.ru/blog/shevchenkomax/2372351-echo/). “All of this was planned long ago,”” the leftist journalist says, on the model of Mussolini’s march on Rome and Hitler’s positioning himself as the head of “the political party of ‘the German World.’” The Italian variant looks more likely, with Prilepin in the role of Toscanini in Fiume and Surkov in that of the ideologist D’Annuncio.” Indeed, Shevchenko continues, this has been clear at least since 2014 when Putin loyalist Andrannik Migranyan declared that “Hitler did everything correctly” until he went off the rails because of anti-Semitism. “Deep Putinism is the direct rule of cosmopolitan capital with the assistance of a dictatorship” which relies on “zombified militants the brains of which are soaked in a sauce of Nietzsche, Zombart, Gumilyev, Howard and various kinds of heroic fantasies.” Such people want to do away with parties and the institutions of Western democracy, they want to dispense with social and judicial institutions, and they will suppress all left or neo-socialist ideas, Shevchenko says. They will dispense with federalism and declare that “the nationality question has been solved.” “The dream of major cosmopolitan speculative capital about decisive, cruel, and primitive storm troopers” who will operate with the assistance of “cynical technologists” and destroy “the public social and democratic agenda” in order that there will be no obstacles to capitalism “is close to that which coming into view.” The rise of fascism in Russia should be opposed by communist and leftist forces, he argues; but just as in Italy and Germany some of them are falling victim to “national-state demagoguery as was the case in Italy and in Germany.” But despite that problem, these leftist forces remain the only obstacle to the rise of fascism in Russia. “Only the left has a vision of the people as a historic community and consistently fights for the institutions of development and social rights both of the individual and of society as a whole,” Shevchenko says. But to succeed, they must have Stalin’s penetrating vision and Lenin’s decisiveness. “The threat of fascism is more than real: Only the blind and the deaf (in the political sense or the hidden accomplices of fascism are incapable of not seeing this.” Shevchenko’s remarks reflect three important things: the continuing importance of Marxist views on fascism among many in Russia, the real dangers that Putin’s behavior represents of transforming Russia into a fascist state, and the despair many on the left feel about the unwillingness of the KPRF and the left more generally of fighting him more directly.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Does Putinism Even Exist? Experts Disagree

Paul Goble Staunton, February 16 – Vladislav Surkov’s recent article has sparked discussions in Russia as to the nature of Putinism and even whether Putinism as an ideology and praxis even exists. Kazan’s Business-Gazeta surveyed eleven Russian and Tatar experts. Their answers capture a large part of this discussion (business-gazeta.ru/article/413672).

  • Yevgeny Minchenko of the International Institute for Political Consulting, says that Putin as a judo master has not ideology. And Surkov’s asserting that he doesn’t is “the only phrase” in his article with which one can agree. “Putin would be very surprised if he were called a Putinist.” Putin came with the desire to “save Russia” and he has tried out various means to do so, discarding those that didn’t work. He has no master plan.
  • Viktor Minin, a political technologist, agrees. Putin does not have an ideology but continually maneuvers, seeking to protect himself and his country. “He retreats like Kutuzov and wins time. But there hasn’t yet been a Borodino and therefore no decisive battle so far.”
  • Maksim Kalashnikov, a futurologist commentator, disagrees. He says Putinism consists in “the preservation of an economy based on the export of raw materials and stagnation in scientific-technical development, the shift of the economy in whatever way will support war and the enrichment of the elite, support for the security agencies as the core of the state, the destruction of courts and legislative bodies, and the promotion of feudalism which involves “first the degradation of the masses and then of the rulers.” Even the ethnic Russians, the state-forming people, have been reduced to second-class citizens. “Naturally, there is no ideology of the future.”
  • Vladislav Zhukovsky, an economist, says that Surkov has offered nothing new. He is simply trying to attract the attention and praise of his boss. Everything in his article is propaganda and political manipulation to try to suppress any protest. But whether Surkov and his bosses like it or not, the oppressed people are beginning to wake up.
  • Mikhail Veller, a writer and commentator, says that Putinism is usually associated with negative things – economic decline, increasing repression, and harsh conflict with the West. Surkov has tried to capture the term and include within it only good things – the territorial integrity of the country, the spiritual firmness of is people, and Moscow’s opposition to the decaying West. But in fact, all Surkov offers is a more sophisticated version of Vyacheslav Volodin’s suggestion that Russia exists as long as Putin does because without Putin, there will be no Russia. There is no reason to take his arguments seriously.
  • Valentin Katasonov, an economist, says that Putinism is generally used by Russia’s opponents as the functional equivalent of Hitlerism. Surkov wants to change that, but what he is talking about does not constitute an ideology.
  • Iskander Izmaylov, a Tatarstan historian, says that Surkov’s words are “a quite ordinary edition of the much-ballyhooed principle of ‘Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality.” It thus turns out “that the ideology of Putinism is a return to empire and to imperial ambitions,” something very far from the constitution or worldwide trends. Empires are not going to be the future of humanity. And Surkov is deceiving himself about the people. The Russians in 1917 began on their knees before the little father tsar but then they rose up and shot him together with his unhappy family.”
  • Viktor Yerofeyev, a writer, also says there is “nothing new in Putinism or in Surkov’s essay either. In general, this is a repetition of Alexander III and Pobedonostev with a certain addition of Stalinism.”
  • Marat Bikmullin, head of the Information Systems company, says that “Putinism is whneparliament and all organs of power become imitations, although wars remain real.” As such, “this policy has no future.” Putin was fine for a recovering state but he should have left the scene long ago. “The moor has done his work; the moor can go.”
  • Marsel Shamsutdiinov, a Tatar leader of the Parnas Party, says that Putinism is nothing more than the latest edition of feudalism.
  • And Pavel Smakov, head of the SOlNTse School, says that Putinism encompasses what Putin does. It consists of a harsh centralized rule. “I like democracy,” Smakov says; “but it doesn’t work. With us, a harsh system which rules an enormous country and which works so that all will submit does. Without popular risings, scandals and conflicts.”

What Happened To The Pointy Communist Hat?

The rise and fall of the Red Army’s “budyonovka” cap.

Garry Kasparov on Twitter: “Having Russian officials speak the Munich Security Conference is like having a medical conference on fighting cancer and inviting tobacco companies to explain why cancer isn’t really a problem.… https://t.co/ZTpKRlyzZL”

The Munich Security Conference – GOV.UK

Gavin Williamson gave a speech at the 2019 Munich Security Conference outlining the UK’s commitment to NATO and European security. It’s a huge privilege to attend my first Munich Security Conference. While you have heard this message before many times, we will continue to repeat. Whilst the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, I want to start by saying our commitment to European security remains steadfast. We have delivered European security long before the creation of either the European Union or NATO and we will continue to deliver it when we leave the EU. Britain will remain an outward looking nation. We will look for new opportunities, enhance our bilateral relationships and take Brexit as an opportunity to do more on a global stage. Delivering the leadership that the world turns to Great Britain to actually provide. For me, one of those key bilateral relationships is with Germany.

Demands for ‘more Europe in NATO’ as leaders gather for Munich Security Conference – EURACTIV.com

Demands for a stronger EU and foreign policy, more commitments to NATO and concerns over Russia’s assertiveness were the leitmotifs as the 55th Munich Security Conference kicked off on Friday (15 February).

Munich Security Conference Reveals A Growing Rift Between U.S. And Its Allies : NPR

German Chancellor Angela Merkel received a standing ovation for a speech that critiqued U.S. foreign policy. Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Pence defended U.S. global leadership.

EU, Germany reject US call to leave Iran nuclear deal | The Times of Israel

European officials hit back after Pence criticism, say salvaging 2015 accord ‘fundamental’ to continent’s security

Trump-era US, Europe rift wide open at Munich security talks | The Times of Israel

EU leaders voice dismay at Trump decisions deemed hostile NATO allies, as Merkel warns against erosion of multilateral cooperation to tackle global problems

Angela Merkel takes direct aim at Trump’s go-it-alone policies – The Washington Post

Angela Merkel and Joe Biden lead a rebuke of president’s go-it-alone approach.

Trump-era US Europe rift wide open at Munich security talks

Trump-era US Europe rift wide open at Munich security talks

Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech | TheHill

Vice President Pence was met with silence on Friday when he mentioned President Trump at a security conference in Munich.

Mike Pence Brought Greetings From Trump To Munich And No One Applauded | HuffPost

The Trump administration is not popular with Munich Security Conference attendees.

Watch: This is What Happened When Mike Pence Brought up Donald Trump in a Speech to European Leaders

“I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump,” Pence told the crowd.

China rebuffs Germany’s call for U.S. missile deal with Russia | Reuters

China rejected on Saturday German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s appeal to join a Cold War-era arms control treaty that the United States accuses Russia of breaching, saying it would place unfair limits on the Chinese military.

US, China, Germany debate best security policy at Munich conference – YouTube

CGTN America Published on Feb 16, 2019 China and the U.S. traded barbs at the Munich Security Conference–Washington is calling Chinese telecom giant Huawei a global ‘threat,’ but Beijing denies the allegation and says the company is working closely with other governments.

What Is the Munich Security Conference, and Why Does It Matter? – The New York Times

Significant changes in American foreign policy and a shifting world order have brought changes at a meeting once known for its unity.

Ex-V.P. Biden Warns Of Election Interference, Citing Russia

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has warned of efforts by foreign countries to interfere in upcoming elections, “particularly coming from Russian” actors.

Dueling vice presidents: Pence and Biden joust in Munich over foreign policy

MUNICH — Vice President Mike Pence and his immediate predecessor, Joe Biden, on Saturday offered competing visions of American leadership abroad, presaging major divides and campaign cudgels heading into the 2020 presidential race.

US commits another diplomatic fumble in Warsaw (opinion) – CNN

Instead of unifying its allies under a common cause, the Trump administration only highlighted the growing rift between the US and Europe during a conference in Warsaw, Poland, this week on Middle East security, writes Frida Ghitis.

Fears for poisoned MI6 spy Sergei Skripal after health worsens | News | The Times

The former MI6 spy who was poisoned in a botched assassination attempt by Russian agents in Salisbury has suffered a deterioration in his health and is being treated by doctors, The Sunday Times can reveal. Sergei Skripal, 67, who along with his daughter, Yulia, 33, was poisoned with the nerve agent novichok last March, is under medical supervision amid concerns that he is unlikely ever to recover fully from the chemical attack which assaults the nervous system. The former colonel in the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, and his daughter were in a critical condition when they were admitted to Salisbury District Hospital after the attack. The pair staged a miraculous recovery — Yulia was discharged in April last year and her father was released in…

Novichok attack: Sergei Skripal put public at risk, say poison victim’s family | The Times

The parents of a woman killed by a nerve agent that was intended for the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal have criticised the government for allowing him to settle in Salisbury before the attack.Stan and Caroline Sturgess spoke publicly for the first time to express their anger over their d

Parents of Novichok victim query why UK settled ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury

Dawn Sturgess died after coming into contact with a nerve agent allegedly used in last year’s poisoning of Skripal and his daughter.

Novichok victim Dawn Sturgess’s parents blame UK government ‘for putting Skripal in Salisbury’ | The Independent

The parents of the only person who died in last year’s novichok poisonings in Wiltshire have spoken of their anger towards the UK government over their daughter’s death. Dawn Sturgess, 44, died after she was accidentally exposed to the same nerve agent as former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in July 2018.

Russian intelligence agency GRU still targeting Sergei Skripal after Salisbury claims MI6 | UK | News | Express.co.uk

RUSSIAN security services continue to pose a threat to Sergei and Yulia Skripal, who were poisoned in Salisbury back in March, according to a warning from MI6 boss Alex Younger.

Novichok victim Dawn Sturgess’ parents reveal doctors’ heartbreaking instruction as she lay dying – Mirror Online

Devastated Stan and Caroline Sturgess have broken their silence eight months after their “bubbly” and “brave” daughter was poisoned by the nerve agent in Amesbury, Wiltshire

Parents of woman killed by ‘poison used on Skripal’ blame… UK govt, British media, but not Russia — RT UK News

The grieving parents of Dawn Sturgess, the only person killed in the bizarre Skripal poisoning affair, say they are angry at the British government and press, but don’t hate Russia, which London made the villain in the story.

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

Moscow wants Ukraine’s leader ‘removed from power’: US diplomat

A US envoy for Ukraine on Saturday accused Russia of seeking to remove Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko from power in the March polls, in the hope of working out a favourable deal with a different government.

Moscow wants to remove Poroshenko from power in coming elections, – Volker – 112.international

Kurt Volker, the US special envoy for Ukraine, believes that Russia is seeking to remove the current president, Petro Poroshenko

Putin complains to Macron about ban on Russian observers to come to Ukrainian elections – 112.international

The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin complained during the phone conversation with the President of France Emmanuel Macron about the ban on Russian observers to come to Ukrainian elections. The press service of Kremlin reports this. “While exchanging the thoughts on Ukraine, Putin brought Macron’s attention to the active anti-Russian campaign by Ukrainian authorities on the coming Ukrainian elections. It is emphasized that the Ukrainian side decided not to include the Russian observers in the observing list and also refused from organizing polling stations in Russia, what contradicts to the general and democratic rules of OSCE”, – the report said.

Poroshenko discusses with Merkel preventing Russian intervention in presidential elections in Ukraine – 112.international

Poroshenko discussed the issues of preventing Russian intervention in the presidential elections in Ukraine with the Federal Chancellor of Germany

Ukraine grateful to U.S. partners for strong support – president

President Petro Poroshenko stresses that Ukraine is grateful to U.S. partners and partners from the EU for a strong and constant support of our state. “I thanked the vice president and asked to convey words of gratitude to the president of the United States, the Congress for the financial support of Ukraine. You know that the budget provides more than USD 700 million for the additional support of our state. And this is the position of a true friend and partner,” Poroshenko told the media representatives after the meeting with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, the press service of the head of state reported. “I am grateful to our American partners and our European partners for a clear and consistent position of support for Ukraine,” Poroshenko added. The president said that a very thorough discussion took place at the meeting with the U.S. vice president. “He [Mike Pence] emphasized at the very beginning that Ukraine was a reliable and strategic partner of the United States of America. We firmly count on cooperation, including in the defense sector, including in the supply of all types of weapons to Ukraine, after we have adopted the law that allows the Defense Ministry to directly provide the supply of weapons,” the head of state said. The parties discussed further steps to be taken in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine as well as the policy of sanctions. The interlocutors also agreed on the further support for our state and support for reforms. “We agreed that the firm support of Ukraine would be continued in the United Nations General Assembly during the debate on the occupied territories, as well as in other international organizations,” the head of state said. In turn, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence assured of the U.S. support for Ukraine during the meeting. “I want to express a simple message to Ukrainians: “We are with you”. Recent developments in the Kerch Strait remind of the challenges of Russian aggression faced by Ukraine. I want to assure you that the United States supports Ukraine,” he said. He also noted the economic reforms that made possible additional cooperation between Ukraine and the IMF. “I look forward to your further progress in the economy and hope that we will find additional ways to strengthen security in Europe,” Pence added.

Poroshenko: There will be no Ukraine if it ceases to defend itself

If Russia stops shooting, peace will come to Donbas. If Ukraine stops shooting, there will be no Ukraine. — Ukrinform. If Russia stops shooting, peace will come to Donbas. If Ukraine stops shooting, there will be no Ukraine. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said this during his speech at the Munich Security Conference today, an Ukrinform correspondent reported. “I hate the idea when I hear some people say that Ukraine and Russia must stop shooting. If Russia stops shooting, there will be peace. If Ukraine stops shooting, there will be no Ukraine,” Poroshenko said. He added that Ukraine defends its sovereignty, territorial integrity, democracy and freedom in the center of Europe in the 21st century. Poroshenko thanked international partners for the five-year support, in particular, for supporting reforms in Ukraine and the sanctions policy against the Russian Federation. As reported, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on February 15-16 is on a working visit to Germany and participates in the 55th Munich Security Conference.

Neutral status of Ukraine in 2014 did not protect it from Russian aggression – Poroshenko

President Petro Poroshenko in Munich has recalled that in 2014 Ukraine did not have a program for NATO membership and had non-aligned status, but this did not help protect the state from the Russian aggression. The president said this during his speech at the panel discussion “Security in Eastern Europe” within the framework of the Munich Security Conference, an Ukrinform correspondent reported. “Sometimes they say to me that we should not make Russia nervous. Therefore, Ukraine should not be a member of NATO. I want to remind everyone that Ukraine did not have a program for the future NATO membership in 2014 and had a neutral status. It did not protect us from the Russian aggression,” Poroshenko said. He also noted that Ukraine is now the eastern flank of NATO and Europe. Ukraine is a member of the European family and is seeking to become a member of the EU. As reported, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on February 15-16 is on a working visit to Germany and participates in the 55th Munich Security Conference. On February 7, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the law introducing amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine (regarding the strategic course of the state for acquiring full-fledged membership of Ukraine in the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

EC President Tusk to visit Ukraine on fifth anniversary of Revolution of Dignity – news politics | UNIAN

European Council President Donald Tusk is to visit in Ukraine during the celebration of the fifth anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity on February 18-20. Tusk is to meet with Poroshenko and Groysman.

UAWire – Russian warplanes fly along the Ukrainian border for the fourth consecutive day

For the last four days Russian combat aircraft have been flying near the Ukrainian border. They fly erratically making sudden turns, TSN reports. Three times in the morning it seemed from the ground that they were flying to Mariupol. However, after practicing in the air in close proximity to Ukrainian territory, the planes flew to Russia. At the same time, Russian barges from Taganrog follow in the sea. Sometimes the planes flew straight above or next to the cargo vessels. “The plane flew in from the occupied territories and circled over our positions,” said a Ukrainian fighter who witnessed the appearance of this uninvited guests. According to the Deputy Commander of Environmental Protection for Aviation and Air Defense Dmitry Karpenko, the aircraft “are spinning in a circle, 5 km away from the border with Ukraine, go along the border, not crossing it. They make a U-turn in the sea and go in a circle. The general is sure that they were Il-20 and A-50 aircraft. It is noted that these maneuvers coincided with aggravation on the front line when Donbas militants again began openly using weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements. Earlier, it was reported that from the beginning of the day until 12:00 on Friday, February 15, militants purposefully fired on Ukrainian Armed Forces defensive positions in the Donbas five times, as a result of which one Ukrainian serviceman was killed.

JFO: One Ukrainian soldier wounded in action in Donbas Feb 16 – news war | UNIAN

Russia’s hybrid military forces mounted two attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas on February 16, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as wounded in action. The situation in the area of the Joint Forces Operation remains under control of Ukrainian troops.

One Ukrainian soldier killed, another wounded in enemy shelling in Donbas on Saturday – news war | UNIAN

One Ukrainian soldier was killed in action, another one was wounded in attacks by Russia-led forces in Donbas on Saturday, February 16; another Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action on Sunday, February 17. Five enemy troops were killed and another four were wounded.

UAWire – Putin’s adviser Surkov and former DPR head Borodai hold Donbas militants congress in Moscow

On Friday, February 15, the so-called “Council of Donbass Volunteer Commanders“ congress was held in the President-Hotel in Moscow. The …

Ukraine lost 2,945 soldiers in Donbas, 948 of them killed after signing of Minsk agreements

Ukraine has lost 2,945 soldiers during the whole period of military operation in Donbas. It has lost 948 soldiers after the signing of the Minsk agreements. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine showcases new high-precision multiple rocket launching system at IDEX 2019 – Defence Blog

Ukraine’s state-owned defense industrial group,Spetsteсhnoexport, has unveiled for the first time the new model of high-precision multiple rocket launching system Vilkha at the international Defense exhibition IDEX-2019 in the UAE. According to a company statement, the new Ukrainian high precision multiple rocket launching system Vilkha with 300 mm caliber missiles is considered to be one of the most powerful in the world in its class. The system is intended for the purpose of defeating the targets of any type on the distant approaches. The system is capable of launching 12 missiles in just 45 seconds on a distance of up to 120 km. In such a distance, the missiles hit the target with a circular error probable less then 30 meters. At the same time, the mass of one 300 mm missile Vilkha is 800 kg. The Vilkha high-precision multiple rocket launching system based on KrAZ-7634 chassis as toNeptuncruise anti-ship missile system. A number of the Middle East countries have been already interested in both systems for a long time. Conducting successful firing trials of Neptun and Vilkha missiles in 2018 created the preconditions for reaching specific agreements with potential foreign customers. The products of Spetstechnoexport and other Ukrainian defense enterprises are presented at the IDEX 2019 exhibition at the joint stand of the Ukroboronprom.

Ukraine discloses Neptun cruise anti-ship missile development – Defence Blog

Ukraine’s state-owned defense industrial group,Spetsteсhnoexport, has disclosed some new details about Neptun cruise anti-ship missile systems during IDEX 2019 exhibition. According to the company, the Neptun cruise anti-ship missile is capable of striking warships with up to 5000 tons of water displacement at a distance of up to 280 km (the export version). The system consists of four anti-ship missiles, their launchers and a land mobile platform. The weight of each missile is 670 kg, and its fragmentation-explosive warheads weights 145 kg. The Neptun is a subsonic coastal missile system with cruise missiles designed to engage enemy surface fighting ships and auxiliaries vessels both single and belonging to Task Forces. Modern truck-mounted anti-ship missile developed by the Kyiv-based LUCH design bureau provides rapidly relocatable, vehicle-mounted capabilities to deny access to surface threats in littoral and strategic areas. The system will be used to guard straits and territorial waters, to protect offshore sea lines, naval bases, coastal infrastructure, as well as to defend the coast at amphibious landing threat directions within the missile launch range. A typical battery is composed of 1 command and control vehicles based on the KrAZ 6×6 truck, one support vehicle, four launcher vehicles based on the KrAZ-7634НЕ 8х8 chassis each operated by a 3-man crew and holding four missiles, and two loader vehicles. A number of Middle East countries have been already interested in this system for a long time. Conducting successful firing trials of “Neptun” missiles in 2018 created the preconditions for reaching specific agreements with potential foreign customers.

Spetstechnoexport showcases the missile systems “Neptun” and “Vilkha” to the international market

Spetstechnoexport Company presented for the first time the new models of the cruise anti-ship missile system “Neptun” and high-precision multiple rocket launching system “Vilkha” at the international Defense exhibition IDEX-2019 in the UAE. The combat units for both systems were developed and produced by the State Kyiv Design Bureau “Luch”. Both systems uses mobile KrAZ-7634 chassis. 27 tonne cab chassis truck is used for conversion to vehicle equipped with heavy special equipment. It is provided with powerful engine rated at 460hp and automatic transmission with maximum torque rated at 2500 N/m. Such a combination of engine and transmission with through-type powertrain help achieve excellent performance.

Ukraine debuts new BTR-4MV1 armoured personnel carrier with increased armour – Defence Blog

Ukrainian state-owned company Ukrspecexport, part of the Ukroboronprom conglomerate, has debuted new BTR-4MV1 armoured personnel carrier with increased armour at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) 2019 in Abu Dhabi. The newest version of Ukrainian BTR-4, called the BTR-4MV1, demonstrated in the framework of the international IDEX 2019 exhibition for the first time, received a new increased armour and opto-electronic sight with a powerful thermal imager, coupled with a high-precision digital fire control system. The BTR-4MV1 armoured personnel carrier offers significant improvements over the BTR-4 series. An advanced modular armour protection system provides the vehicle with NATO STANAG-standard from bullets, guns, and weapons. When creating BTR-4MV1 developers used a modular approach in constructing armor protection, using spaced armor. Such a modular approach allows to quickly replace elements of the upper layer of armor in the field conditions. The new engineering solution offers a high level of protection for the vehicle’s occupants against improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mine blasts. The vehicle has mine-resistant seats and spall liners. The wheeled armouredfighting vehicle has a rear ramp with doors for troop entry and exit. It has a crew of three consisting of the driver, gunner, and commander and hold six troops. Thanks to these measures, BTR-4MB1 protection significantly exceeds any APC or IFV sample, Ukrainian defenders are armed with. The BTR-4MV1 is equipped with a German Deutz engine and the American Alisson transmission. It is capable of sustained speeds of 110 km/h on level roads. According to the company, the vehicle weight 24-25 tons, which is 2-3 tons more than BTR-4. In addition, the BTR-4MB1 retained the possibility of forcing water obstacles by swimming, at speeds up to 10 km/h.

Serhiy ZGHURETS | A BURST OF “THUNDER” [Sapsan TBM]

Ukraine’s 27th Independence Day parade displayed for the first time a prototype mockup of a Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) for a short-range ballistic missile system under development by KB Pivdenne (aka Yuzhnoye), Dnipro. The TEL is a key element of the operational-tactical missile system variants intended for the domestic and export markets. Ballistic Missile Project Sapsan Plans regarding the indigenous development of a new ballistic missile program were first discussed on March 7, 2006 at a National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) meeting attended by the then President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko. It then became evident that the country’s missile defense shield was in urgent need of modernization. Ukraine’s Missile Forces were able to reach targets no longer than 120 km away with aging Soviet-developed Tochka-U ballistic missile complexes that only Russian companies were entitled to overhaul and upgrade. The NSDC meeting agreed that there was a need for developing a new, multifunctional operational-tactical missile system (MFMS) to offer a non-nuclear deterrence capability for Ukraine’s Armed Forces. The domestic defense industry was set to the task of developing a system that would combine the features of tactical missile complexes and multiple launch rocket launchers, i.e. be multifunctional in nature. M.K. Yangel KB Pivdenne, a State-owned design & development company based in Dnipropetrovsk (now renamed into Dnipro) that previously had developed 12 out of 20 Soviet brands of intercontinental ballistic missile systems, was assigned the job of developing the MFMS project that was assigned the designator name “Sapsan” (meaning “peregrine falcon” in Ukrainian). Operational requirements document for the Sapsan MFMS was agreed upon between the Ministry of Defense and KB Pivdenne in September 2007. It was foreseen that the project would be a broad collaboration between up to 60 domestic defense industries. The new indigenously developed MFMS was supposed to replace the aging Soviet-designed counterparts operated by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. In 2009-2010, however, funding for the Sapsan project was put on hold due to economic decline in Ukraine, in the wake of the Global 2008 Financial Crisis, and resumed after Sapsan had been formalized into a federally targeted program in November 2011. Approved with a budget of just $ 0.825 million, the program got only 5-10 percent of the funding to which it was entitled. In August 2013, the Ministry of Defense, then led by Pavlo Lebedev, terminated the funding for the Sapsan program, citing wastage of the program’s budget by KB Pivdenne.

CENTAUR CLASS FAST ASSAULT CRAFT PROMISES NEW CAPABILITIES FOR THE UKRAINIAN NAVY

The Ukrainian Navy is anticipating the addition of two Centaur-LK Class Fast Assault Craft (FAC) to its fleet. The lead ship of the series carrying series number 01 was ceremonially launched on September 14, 2018. The ships are being built by Kuznya na Rybalskomu shipyard in Kyiv on order from Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense for the Ukrainian Navy. The need for the new FACs was motivated by objective reasons, first of all, the urgent requirement for augmenting the Ukrainian Navy with new warships, as well as the lack of naval capabilities needed to asymmetrically respond to Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine. The Ukrainian FAC project was initially based on a concept design previously tested by the Swedish Navy with its Combat Boat 90 (CB90) Fast Assault Craft and later adopted by Russia for its Project 03160 Raptor Class. Fast and low observable, FACs can be used for a broad range of missions that are commonly assigned to naval forces at times of war. This factor made FAC the warship of choice for a lot of navies seeking effective defenses against more powerful adversaries at sea. A significant factor in the context of Ukraine’s security is that 8 out of 11 Project 03160 Raptor FACs built by Leningrad Pella Shipbuilding Plant for the Russian Navy are now deployed with Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Officially listed as anti-sabotage boats, in actual practice they are used by Russia’s naval fleets for special maritime reconnaissance missions. The Centaur-LK Class FAC has a welded steel hull divided into compartments. The forward hull accommodates armor plated pilot house with navigation equipment, communications and situational awareness facilities and the Propulsion control panel as well as controls of remote weapon stations. The high degree of automation allows the crew to operate all shipboard systems, including weapons, remotely from the pilot house. In the aft pilot house is a lightweight antenna mast for the DRS4D-NXT radar and communication facilities, including the Iridium Pilot satellite terminal among others. Located right beneath the pilot house are crew living quarters that have direct access to the Battle Station circumventing the open upper deck. The central hull is occupied by Marine living compartment complete with all the amenities needed for comfortable stay of a Marine squad, a subversion/recon group and other special personnel. The Marine compartment is linked to the retractable forward ramp to ease landing to the shore or in shallow water. The aft hull accommodates the engine room with the Main Propulsion consisting of 2 diesel engines driven by two Hamilton Jet propellers. The pilot house, Marine compartment and engine room have splinter protection to protect the key systems and personnel from fragmentation damage. Beyond this, the hull is built with features for low radar cross section and low profile. The Centaur-LK FAC, if compared to its foreign brand counterparts, has a far more capable weapons package consisting of two remote weapon stations, one positioned atop the pilot house and the other atop the Marine compartment, each armed with a 12.7 mm machine gun and a 40 mm grenade launcher. Located on the roof of the pilot house is a smoke grenade dispenser used for setting smoke screens to facilitate the detection of incoming missile threats and laser emissions. Once a threat is found out, a smoke screen is automatically set up to screen the craft in the infrared and visible spectrums or to block laser beams of enemy laser guidance systems and laser rangefinders. Defense against aerial attacks is performed primarily with MANPAD weapons. Finally, the Centaur-LK is equipped with capabilities for transport and placement of sea mines. By way of comparison, all known foreign brand counterparts of our Centaur FAC have no armaments other than machine guns only… The Ukrainian steel-hull fast assault craft has more than twice the displacement of aluminum-hull Swedish and Russian counterparts (47 t versus 23 t), a more powerful weapons package and a significantly larger complement (32-36 Marines vs 20) while having only marginally deeper draught when unloaded (1 m vs 0.9 m) and being capable of higher speeds (up to 50 kt vs 48 kt) and a significantly longer range (500 mi vs 300 mi) at economic speed.

RAM UAV – FLY TO KILL

Defense & Electronics Technology Company (CDET) LLC, Kyiv, unveiled its latest RAM UAV/loitering munition at the 3rd edition of IMEX-2018 International Unmanned Systems Exhibition & Conference held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, from 25 to 27 February 2018. The new loitering munition has now been fielded and successfully used as intended. SpecTechnoExport is promoting RAM UAV for export. RAM UAV is meant to search and attack air defense batteries and armored targets to be located in the target area on land or at sea. The RAM UAV kamikaze drone is built with extensive use of composite materials, which its designer claims makes it very low-observable to enemy air defenses. Propelled by a low acoustic signature electric motor, the RAM UAV can covertly attack by surprise, even from a short distance from the target. An electric motor enables it to fly to 30 km at 70 km/h cruising speed. Launch is catapult assisted. The drone takes only 10 minutes to go from unpack to launch. It can stay aloft for up to 40 minutes, which is quite enough to get a target detected and destroyed by lethality.

Ukrainian Defense Review #1 [January-March 2019] by Defense Express – issuu

Ukrainian Defense Review is the Ukrainian magazine published by Defense Express (Media&Consulting Company). It contains News and Analysis on issues of defense industry and arms trade of Ukraine and the World trends. It is issued once a quarter in Eng…

IMF’s Lagarde urges deeper structural reforms in Ukraine – media – news economics | UNIAN

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Saturday urged Ukraine to forge ahead with deeper structural reforms needed to achieve stronger economic growth. Lagarde met with former Ukrainian Prime Minister and one of candidates running for president in Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko in Munich, Germany.

Ukraine’s trade with EU grew by 60% for three years – president

Trade between Ukraine and the EU has increased by 60% for the past three years. — Ukrinform.

Lagarde comments on meeting with Tymoshenko in Munich

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has stated that Ukraine needs to continue the implementation of structural reforms under the IMF’s Stand-By Arrangement. — Ukrinform.

Possible change of some Orthodox holidays, – Head of Ukrainian Orthodox Church – 112.international

The Metropolitan Epiphanius of Kyiv and All Ukraine does not rule the possibility of changing some the dates of some Orthodox feasts, but only then, when it will be appropriate. The Metropolitan said during his visit to Chernivtsi, as Ukrinform reports. “We will implement new reforms into church normally and gradually. It is not going to be very fast. But I believe that we can add change to our calendar, which is not Christian dogma. Whenever we see the society is ready for changes, we will do that. However, now it is not topical yet. First of all, we have to educate and explain to people that the calendar is not a dogma. But we have to work hard in order to achieve this”, – Epiphanius said. Besides, the Metropolitan stressed that a person, who visits the church for the first time, should not be criticized for their look. As an example, he mentioned the obligatory wearing scarfs by women to the church.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Patriarchate Won’t Allow Many of Its Priests in Ukraine to Return to Russia: It Wants Martyrs, Experts Say

Paul Goble Staunton, February 15 – Now that more than 300 parishes have shifted from the Moscow church in Ukraine to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, many of the priests involved have sought to return to Russia; but the Moscow Patriarchate is limiting that flow because it wants to have martyrs in Ukraine, according to experts. URA journalists Stanislav Zakharkin and Mikhail Bely say that the Ukrainian state and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are seeking to have as many parishes as possible make this shift and to see Moscow loyalists among the Orthodox clergy leave the country for Russia (ura.news/articles/1036277561). Some Russian commentators, like Kirill Rogov of the Moscow Institute of CIS Countries, and Sergey Petrov, a specialist on religious affairs, say that Russian priests are at risk of physical reprisal in Ukraine and not surprisingly want to leave. But the numbers who have actually fled are still quite small. According to the former head of the ROC MP’s department for church and society relations Vsevolod Chaplin, only about “10 to 20 ‘refugees’” from Ukraine are now back in the Russian Federation. The ROC MP makes that hard because it requires that parish priests get authorization from their bishops, something the bishops rarely give. According to Petrov, “the ROC has taken the position that its priests in Ukraine must remain in their own country despite mortal danger. The logic here is this: each pastor is a soldier and he must accept any tests.” Christ did not run from danger, and priests must not either, the religious specialist says the ROC MP believes. Moscow’s position on this, however, may backfire. If priests who have been loyally service the Russian church in Ukraine come to realize that that church isn’t going to protect them, then at least some of them may be even more ready to change sides, something that will only accelerate the pace at which the Ukrainian national church will take shape.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Orthodox Leaders Cooperated with KGB Did to Show Loyalty and Help Church, Putin’s Man in ROC MP Says

Paul Goble Staunton, February 16 – With some sad exceptions, most Russian Orthodox hierarchs and priests who cooperated with the Soviet security agencies did so to show loyalty and help the church, according to Metropolitan Tikhon of Pskov, who said that he had been approached by the KGB in 1989 but refused, something perestroika made possible. Tikhon, widely viewed as Vladimir Putin’s favorite in the church hierarchy and thus the odds’ on favorite to succeed Patriarch Kirill, made that remark in the course of a long interview he gave to Jaanus Piirsalu of Estonia’s Postimees newspaper (rus.postimees.ee/6524228/otec-tihon-ponimaet-svyashchennikov-sotrudnichavshih-s-kgb-radi-cerkvi-nado-bylo-proyavlyat-loyalnost). The Soviet Union “was a state with an atheist ideology,” he says. “Priests and believers understood that to preserve church services, schools and their culture, an individual had to remain loyal to the political system. The overwhelming majority of believers lived without staining their conscious by betrayal and subordinating themselves to evil.” “This is obvious to every objective researcher,” the metropolitan continued, “although there were some sad exceptions.” Tikhon says that his own spiritual father had to write denunciations to the KGB’s predecessor in the early 1950s. “But thank God, these were relatively rare cases. There are many examples among hierarchs, especially now, when materials of their cases have become accessible which on the contrary defended the interests of the church and believers.” Consider Patriarch Aleksii II, who was closely linked to Estonia, Tikhon continues. So much abuse has been heaped on him, but when he was metropolitan in Estonia, “he could not refuse to cooperate with the state administration for religious affairs, which itself was part of the security system. By cooperating, he saved many church institutions and many believers. Had Aleksii refused, Tikhon says, the church would have lost a great deal. Nonetheless, other religious leaders had the possibility of refusing without such consequences and many did. The metropolitan adds that he was approached by the KGB in 1989 but “simply said ‘no.’ In this there was nothing heroic as this was already at the end of the 1980s” and things had changed. Among many other observations Tikhon made, the following stand out: · General Vlasov who cooperated with Hitler was a traitor but one cannot say that all those who worked for him were. · Russia today resembles the first half of the rule of Alexander III. “Russia then also was under sanctions” by the West after the Crimean War. · Russia is fated to be an empire, but “an empire and imperialism are completely different things.” An empire is simply a country where many different peoples are ruled by a single center. “Whether one likes this or not, Russia by its structure is an imperial state. This is not the occasion for pride or stupid vanity.” · Metropolitan Tikhon says that he considers it “absolutely correct” that the ROC MP is not “a state church.” · Any state, including a democratic one, will seek to weaken the church in order to boost its own power. “The church must always be prepared for this.” At the same time, “the church cannot and must not interfere in government affairs.” It can and must, however, express its views on important questions. · Many have called Tikhon an anti-Westerner, but he says that he “doesn’t consider himself one.”