Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (102)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Russia’s rhetoric and weapons development are rapidly growing worrisome, again, after a long stretch of relative quiet.

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The Vozhd’s State of the [Neo-Soviet] Union address was a major saber-rattling exercise, complete with nuclear threats against the US and European NATO – extensively covered by the media. The underlying (non)-reasoning is well explained by Prof Blank in The Hill. Timing possibly to distract from Pres Poroshenko’s UNGA address – if so a bad play as the tirade reinforced the message in the UNGA. The Vozhd’s promises of concurrent global nuclear warfighting supremacy over the West, and dramatically increased spending on social welfare are not selling with the Russian public it seems – a thousand too many a fib it would appear. More on Russia’s intent to have an isolated national Internet, the social media ban for the military, Russian hacking of think tanks, and hostage taking.

Salisbury Journal on the flag stunt – was it a Russian play to distract the media from Bellingcat’s latest?

Pres Poroshenko addresses the UNGA – and he does not mince his words, calling for Russia to be stripped of veto powers. Sen Ernst visits Donbas and briefed by JFO leadership. Donbas update.

PSU conducts live fire tests and trials at Yagorlik range of the newly digitized 2K12 Kub / SA-6B GAINFUL, the newly digitized Tor / SA-15A GAUNTLET, digitized SA-3B GOA, and the new digital ZSU-23-4 complete with digital AESA, thermal imager, and SA-16 quad pack launcher – very revealing Youtube clip by MoD. The ZSU is building up a very nasty IADS mostly by digitally enhancing what used to in its day very nasty Soviet equipment. An-132 being offered to India.

Politics and election updates – Hungary bit off far more that it could chew handing out passports and citizenship for votes. Medusa on the ‘Hardcore Russophobia’ game – wicked.

Church update mostly reports on Russian persecution of non-ROC Christian denominations.

Stephen Blank | Why Russia covets hypersonic weapons | TheHill

Clearly, Moscow sees nuclear weapons as usable instruments of war.

Putin says Russia’s new hypersonic rocketry is as historic as the launch of Sputnik — Meduza

In his annual address to the Federal Assembly (a speech similar to the U.S. president’s State of the Union Address), Russian President Vladimir Putin compared contemporary Russian breakthroughs in military rocketry to the 1957 launch of Sputnik, the planet’s first artificial satellite. Putin says both Sputnik and Russia’s new Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle raise the country’s defensive capabilities and national security, and strengthen Russian science’s potential, “forming unique technological capacities.”

Putin to U.S.: I’m ready for another Cuban Missile crisis if you want one | Reuters

President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia is militarily ready for a Cuban Missile-style crisis if the United States is foolish enough to want one and that his country currently has the edge when it comes to a first nuclear strike.

Putin challenges US to measure his missiles

The U.S. should study Russia’s military capabilities before it decides to deploy is own military assets around the world, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.

Putin Ratchets Up Nuclear Warning Against U.S. – WSJ

President Vladimir Putin said Russia would target the U.S. with new advanced weapons if Washington deploys intermediate-range missiles in Europe, a threat that appeared aimed at holding the line but leaving open the possibility of negotiations after the breakdown of a nuclear treaty.

Moscow ready to cut time for nuclear strike on U.S. if necessary: Putin | Reuters

Moscow will match any U.S. move to deploy new nuclear missiles closer to Russia by stationing its own missiles closer to the United States or by deploying faster missiles or both, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

Putin threatens to target US if it deploys missiles to Europe: ‘Let them count the range and speed of our weapons’ | The Independent

President Vladimir Putin threatened the United States with an expanded array of strategic weapons on Wednesday, announcing a new hypersonic missile and the early deployment of nuclear submarines equipped with long-distance underwater drones.

Putin Warns U.S. Not To Discount Russia’s Weapons Capabilities

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the United States not discount the power of his country’s weapons. In his annual state-of-the-nation address on February 20, Putin said that he wanted friendly relations with Washington but any serious threats to Russia’s security would be reciprocated.

Putin: Russia ready to destroy U.S. missiles if Washington deploys them in Europe – news world | UNIAN

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia will be ready to destroy medium-range missiles if they are deployed in Europe. The Russian leader sees them as a real threat to his country.

Putin sternly warns US against putting missiles in Europe | The Times of Israel

Russian leader says Washington abandoned a key arms control pact, further inflaming tensions between the two countries

Putin warns: Russia will target US with new weapons if it deploys missiles to Europe | Fox News

President Vladimir Putin, speaking during his state-of-the-nation address Wednesday, warned that Russia will target new hypersonic missiles at the U.S. should it deploy new intermediate-range missiles in Europe.

NATO Hits Back at Vladimir Putin Over His ‘Unacceptable’ Threats to Attack U.S. and Allies

NATO responded to Vladimir Putin’s threat that Russia would target the U.S. if it placed intermediate-range missiles in Europe.

Putin’s threat to US! Russia will target ‘decision-making centres’ if US deploys missiles in Europe – The Financial Express

The United States has repeatedly accused Russia of violating the INF by developing banned weapons and this month President Donald Trump said Washington was starting a process to withdraw from the treaty.

Putin warns new missiles could target ‘decision-making centres’

Putin warns new missiles could target ‘decision-making centres’

Putin accuses U.S. of ignoring Russia’s “legitimate interests,” threatens with “future weapon systems” – news politics | UNIAN

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of ignoring the “legitimate interests” of the Russian Federation and threatened Washington with “future weapon systems.” Putin claims Russia is not interested in confrontation with such a global state as the United States.

President Vladimir Putin Threatens To Retaliate If U.S. Deploys New Missiles In Europe | TIME – YouTube

TIME Published on Feb 20, 2019 Russian President Vladimir Putin sternly warned the United States against deploying new missiles in Europe, saying Wednesday that Russia will retaliate by fielding new weapons that will take just as little time to reach their targets.

Putin Says He Wants Peace, But Threatens to Use New Weapons If US Deploys Missiles in Europe

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his state-of-the-nation address to the Federal Assembly Wednesday. In it, he laid out the governments work on upgrading their defense systems and his thoughts on the countrys relations with the U.S….02/21/2019 5:39:20AM EST.

Putin Just Threatened the U.S. with New Nukes—But He Actually Backed Himself into a Corner

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shot himself in the foot…and is reloading.

Japan to Host US Missiles Despite Russian Claim That They Violate the INF Treaty – Sputnik International

Tokyo has acquired Aegis Ashore air defence systems and plans to install them within four years in order to mitigate the nuclear threat from North Korea. Moscow believes that the deployment of these systems contradicts the Cold War-era treaty because they can be used to launch cruise missiles.

Putin Wages This Cold War on a Budget Built for Future Battles – Bloomberg

A look at Russia’s books suggests Vladimir Putin is preparing for war, though not necessarily the kind involving the invincible hypersonic missiles and nuclear torpedoes he’s been bragging about for a year.

Despite Putin’s swagger, Russia struggles to modernize its navy | Reuters

President Vladimir Putin calls improving the Russian navy’s combat capabilities a priority.

Russia’s Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile: Can we stop it?

Russian President Vladimir Putin highlighted the new Zircon missile and threatened to aim new weapons at the West.

Russia Tests ‘Satan 2’ Nuclear Missile and Drone That Travels Under Water Amid Threats to Target U.S.

“The main goal of this work is to ensure the military security of this country without increasing the current budget expenditures or joining an arms race,” Russia’s defense minister said.

Russia’s First ‘Poseidon’ Underwater Drone-Carrying Submarine to Be Launched in 2019 | The Diplomat

The first nuclear-powered submarine capable of carrying the Poseidon underwater drone will be launched this spring, according to Vladimir Putin.

1st ever VIDEO of Russian Poseidon underwater nuke drone ‘field-test’ released by MoD — RT Russia News

The Russian Defense Ministry has released the first video ever showing an underwater ‘field-test’ of the Poseidon, a huge robotic nuclear-capable mini-submarine with a miniature nuclear reactor.

Russia’s nuclear-powered devastating underwater drone REVEALED in new footage | World | News |

RUSSIA’s lethal Poseidon nuclear-powered underwater drone was today unveiled by Vladimir Putin for the first time.

TASS: Military & Defense – All laser systems Peresvet to enter duty in December 2019

Laser systems Peresvet and aviation complexes armed with hypersonic missiles Kinzhal have confirmed their unique parameters during experimental combat duty, Putin said

A US-Russia pact preventing nuclear Armageddon is in trouble

Fresh talks on the

The Highlights of Putin’s Federal Assembly Address

Putin gave a speech to 2,000 senior government officials on Wednesday. In his annual address to the Federal Assembly, President Putin outlined goals to revive Russia’s ailing economic and social situation.

Five Takeaways From Putin’s State-Of-The-Nation Address

With his public approval rating down, President Vladimir Putin has promised to spend huge sums of money on improving Russians’ welfare. Critics ask where those funds will come from.

Opinion: Putin′s empty promises | Opinion | DW | 20.02.2019

In his annual speech, Russia’s Vladimir Putin tried to fight sinking political popularity with often heard promises. But these are shattered by a reality that he has been responsible for, says DW’s Ingo Mannteufel.

Putin Announces Social Handouts in Bid to Stop Opinion Poll Slide

In the past when his political star has waned, Putin leader has turned to adventurism abroad to shore up support, but offering up foreign policy triumphs unlikely to improve his domestic standing, say analysts

Russia’s Vladimir Putin Turns to Domestic Policy – Bloomberg

But his plans to improve ordinary Russians’ lot face formidable obstacles of his own making.

Threatening U.S., Putin Promises Russians Both Missiles and Butter – The New York Times

President Vladimir V. Putin, facing falling popularity, talked of huge social spending and updated weapons. He did not say how he would pay for it all.

Putin threatens missiles, hate groups and teachers on strike: Wednesday’s news

From Russian missiles to hate groups reaching a record high. Here’s Wednesday’s top news.

Putin suggests US ‘deep state’ working against Trump | TheHill

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday suggested that there is a “deep state” in the U.S.

Putin’s 2019 State of the Nation address, in a nutshell — Meduza

Vladimir Putin has delivered yet another annual address to Russia’s Federal Assembly (a speech similar to the U.S. president’s State of the Union Address). You can watch a video of the whole thing here and read a transcript of the speech here. Meduza summarizes the 88-minute spectacle below.

Putin explains why the Americans would be fools to shut off Russia’s global Internet access — Meduza

Russia must build own internet in case of foreign disruption: Putin | Reuters

Russia must prepare for possible Western attempts to deny it access to the global internet by creating its own self-sufficient ‘segments’ of the web, President Vladimir Putin was quoted as saying on Wednesday by Russian news agencies.

Russian Military Says Nyet to the Internet – Foreign Policy

Putin wants soldiers to stop revealing secrets of his shadow wars on their social media pages.

Russia bans smartphones for soldiers over social media fears – BBC News

The decision comes after social media use by soldiers raised national security issues.

Microsoft says discovers hacking targeting democratic institutions in Europe | Reuters

Microsoft Corp on Wednesday said it had discovered cyber attacks directed at democratic institutions, think tanks and non-profit organizations in Europe and would offer a cyber security service to several countries to close security gaps.

Jailed U.S. Investor Calvey Formally Charged With Financial Fraud

An American investment-fund manager who is being held in Russia in pretrial detention has been formally charged with financial fraud, his lawyer says.

Russia Intelligence Seeks To Extend Detention Of Ex-U.S. Marine Accused Of Spying : NPR

Michigan resident Paul Whelan has been held in a Russian prison since he was arrested in December on suspicion of spying. His family says he was just attending a friend’s wedding in Moscow.

US military steps up winter training to prepare for war in Russia, China and North Korea | Daily Mail Online

Hundreds of marines are currently undergoing training high in the Sierra Nevada mountains to replicate conditions they might face in Russia or North Korea, as threats from those countries grow.

Estonia preparing for war – defense ministry official – news world | UNIAN

National Armaments Director at the Ministry of Defense of Estonia Kusti Salm has said the nature of Estonia’s investment in defense shows that the country is preparing for war. Defense ministry official made a statement, admitting that it may sound politically incorrect. National Armaments Director at the Ministry of Defense of Estonia Kusti Salm has said the nature of Estonia’s investment in defense shows that the country is preparing for war. “The most important thing I’ll say right now is that, despite the fact that it is a bit politically incorrect, but with real investments in defense and building up our defense forces, today we are actually preparing for war,” he said on February 20, according to Estonian daily newspaper Postimees. Read more on UNIAN:

Everyone’s wondering who climbed the scaffolding to hang a Russian flag at Salisbury cathedral | Salisbury Journal

UNDER the cover of darkness on Saturday night, someone scaled the scaffolding to hang a large Russian flag on Salisbury Cathedral. At the time of…

Statement by President of Ukraine at the United Nations General Assembly Debate on agenda item 67 “The situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine” — Official website of the President of Ukraine

Madam President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to start by expressing my gratitude to President of the UN General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés for her leadership in steering the work of the UN main policymaking and representative body. Today marks the fifth anniversary of the start of the foreign military aggression against my country, Ukraine. I want to express my gratitude to the UN General Assembly, which for over these past years has been taking a strong stand in support of Ukraine, in opposing aggression and occupation. Five years ago hundred innocent lives, not only Ukrainians, but also Belarusians, Armenians, Jews and many others were lost in the name of Ukraine’s independence, dignity and freedom. When after the loss of the Heavenly Hundred in Kyiv the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution on territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine with hundred votes in favor, it was not only symbolic – it was the right thing to do. This Assembly proved its meaningful role in discussing questions related to the maintenance of international peace and security. Every year when I came to address annual session of the General Assembly, I felt great sympathy to the Ukrainian people. And, the sympathy underpinned with practical steps. It was the case, when the General Assembly, without any loss of time, adopted a resolution in March 2014 reiterating Ukraine’s sovereignty within internationally recognized borders. It was a timely reaction to Russia’s illegal attempts to redraw the borders in Europe with the illegal annexation of Crimea. It was also the case, when – now for a third year in a row – the General Assembly adopts the resolution on the human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. Unbelievable for many, but this resolution recognizes Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, as an occupying power. It was also the case, when just a few months ago the General Assembly supported Ukraine’s request and adopted a resolution condemning the militarization of Crimea, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. I am grateful for maintaining such a close attention of the Assembly to Ukraine and our region, in where Russia is getting extremely aggressive – both on the land and on the sea. The UN’s ability to address properly this challenge will have, without any doubt, a direct impact on the future of the rules-based international order. Today’s consideration by the UN General Assembly of a new agenda item ”Situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine” is a clear testimony of Assembly’s readiness to address pressing issues. Madam President, On this very day in 2014, Russia started its covert military invasion in Ukraine in clear violation of norms and principles of the UN Charter. On March the 3rd this war claimed its first victim: Reshat Ametov – a Crimean Tatar. He went on a peaceful one-man protest against aggression. Russians detained him, tortured and murdered him. The cause of the death: stab in the eye. This was just the beginning of the horror in the Russian occupied Crimea. Just think about the fact that for five years the Ukrainian people have been living amid the longest hot conflict in Europe in modern history. Russia has started the war against its neighbor, whom it calls «brotherly», and it is showing no intention to stop. Almost daily, we lose our best sons and daughters. This is what my heart bleeds about every given day. This is what I would never be able to accept. First, Russia grabbed Crimea, then it turned Donbas into a battlefield, and then it continued its aggression in the Sea of Azov, the Black Sea and the Kerch Strait. As a result, 44 000 square km, or 7% of Ukraine’s territory, including Crimea and eastern parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, are currently under occupation. The Russian aggression has left 13 thousand people killed and more than 28 thousand wounded. This number also includes 298 passengers of flight MH17, shot down in July 2014 by the Russian military from a BUK missile system. More than 1.8 million residents of Crimea and Donbas had to leave their homes due to Russia’s aggression and occupation. The once peaceful life of the people in these regions has now turned into a nightmare – marked by fear and terror. Yet, they have never turned into a wave of immigrants, and created no problem to our European allies. We have managed to cope with the challenge and prove that a government-controlled part of Ukraine is much more resilient and healthy than an occupied one. As in any war, the first casualty of Moscow’s aggression was the truth. The occupation started with infamous “little green men” and Kremlin’s outright and shameful denial of its military involvement in the takeover of the Ukrainian Crimea. Instead, the world and the public were fed with lies about “mythical local self-defense units”, which somehow overnight became equipped with the latest Russian weaponry. Only later, the Russian President publicly admitted that it had indeed been the operation by the Russian military. Putin’s confession makes the Russian narrative regarding the so-called “local referendum” a surreal one. The vote was held at a gunpoint, and it was nothing but part of the Russia’s aggressive plan. Let me repeat: the referendum in March 2014 was a fake. I witnessed it myself when I was in Crimea in late February 2014. I came right at the door of the Crimean Parliament to talk and to stop the farce. Alone. Without any security. I saw myself that it was encircled by the Russian military. It has absolutely nothing to do with democracy, nor with the free will of people. Russia also wanted to spread chaos to all eastern and southern regions of Ukraine. It was only the resistance of our people, who refused to be victims of the “Russian word” that stopped further occupation. Unfortunately, direct military intervention by Russian regular troops in Donbas has led to the occupation of parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. On April 13th 2014, this war claimed its first victim in Donbas. His name was Hennadiy Bilichenko. He was a Ukrainian officer, a part of the group that had strict orders “not to respond to provocations”. Back then we had an illusion that the war was still avoidable. This group was ambushed near the city of Sloviansk. Hennadiy died from a gun fire. Six days later, the same Russian officers detained Volodymyr Rybak, a local politician in Horlivka who wanted to raise Ukrainian flag in his town. Alongside with him was 19-year-old activist Yuriy Popravko. They tortured them, then split their stomachs open and pushed them, still alive, in a river. This is how Russia’s war in Donbas started. We know who did this! We know how they did this! The Kremlin continues to deny any involvement of the Russian military in the war in Donbas, despite the overwhelming evidence proving the opposite. Only recently 21 Russian military men, who were captured on the battlefield and are currently in Ukrainian custody, pleaded with president Putin to exchange them for Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia. The Kremlin has not reacted. It shows just how much careless the Russian authorities are about those whom they sent to this undeclared war. Five years onwards, Moscow continues to send its regular military forces and proxies to Donbas. Donbas literally became a production line for Russia’s killing machine. As cynical as it is, they even send their young military cadets to Donbas to get practice in the battlefield. In mothers’ place, I would ask Russian president where their sons are? Last November the Russian naval forces committed a direct, brutal and unprovoked attack on Ukrainian warships in the international waters of the Black Sea. Russia’s actions fall exactly under the definition of aggression according to UN General Assembly Resolution of 1974. As a result, the vessels were damaged and seized, 24 crew members, including 3 wounded, were captured and are now in illegal detention in Russia. I want to stress that they are not criminals; they must be treated as prisoners of war under Geneva Conventions. But Russia turns a deaf ear to numerous calls for their immediate and unconditional release, including those contained in the resolution adopted by this General Assembly last December. Today I brought with myself an appeal to the Secretary General to press on Moscow to release the Ukrainian crewmembers. It was signed by thousands of Ukrainians over the last few days. And I speak on behalf of all of them. We sincerely count on your support. This is a call signed by Ukrainian leaders. And this is the list of signatures. Which are now here in New York. And I give it to the Secretary-General. Moscow’s hybrid war also includes covert operations and hacker attacks against Ukrainian institutions and critical civilian infrastructure. This kind of Russian activity is by now well-known far beyond Ukraine’s borders. In addition, Russia wages unprecedented propaganda war against Ukraine – a war that has actually started before the first victims died on Kyiv’s Maidan square. Every day, with no pause or consideration for holidays and weekends, all of Russia’s major TV channels broadcast torrents of lies and fake news about Ukraine. These lies especially target the population of occupied territories, where the Ukrainian TV and radio channels are being blocked. It’s a virtual state-run hate machine working 24/7. Ukraine is topic #1, #2 and #3 in the Russian news and talk-shows. They treat Ukraine as a domestic, not foreign issue. Five years ago, this war began under the pretext of defending Russian-speakers in Ukraine. It goes on now under the pretext of defending the Orthodox believers. President Putin publicly confirmed his readiness to use military force for this purpose in response to Ukraine creating its own independent Orthodox church. While continuing its undeclared war against my country the Kremlin desperately keeps trying to convince the international community that it is not a party to the conflict. It says, it is Ukraine’s internal conflict, where Russia is only an objective and impartial mediator. It is a truly twisted reality that the Russian Federation tries to spread. Some may be tempted to go along with the Russian narrative for the sake of political convenience. I stand here today to let you know that we will not let the lies prevail. We will fight tooth and nail to prevent any and all attempts to present the Russian aggressive behavior towards my country as anything else but what they actually are – a war waged in plain sight of the international community. Let’s set the record straight once and for all. There is no so-called “crisis in Ukraine” nor “internal conflict in Ukraine”, but an ongoing military occupation and armed aggression by Russia against Ukraine. It is noteworthy that the report of the ICC leading prosecutor recognized conflict in Crimea and Donbas as armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea as an ongoing state of occupation. These are ICC’s words. It’s truly mind-boggling that even after all these decisions the Russian Federation is still trying to present itself as a peaceful state that fully implements its obligations under the UN Charter. There are no so-called “de-facto authorities” but the Russian occupation administration in the temporarily occupied territories of Donbas and Crimea, as well as Russian state bodies and agencies, which are in charge of administering these occupied territories. There are no rebels but Russian regular armed forces under the Defense Ministry and formations of special and secret services. There are no insurgents but Russian advisors, instructors, irregular illegal armed groups created, equipped, funded and controlled by Russia. Madam President, For your better understanding of the price paid by Ukraine for its freedom and democracy, I would like to share with you some figures, which speak for themselves. By February 2019, in the occupied Crimea Russia has deployed up to 32.5 thousand military personnel, 88 artillery systems, 52 multiple launch rocket systems, 372 armored combat vehicles, 113 warplanes, 62 combat helicopters, as well as 6 combat ships and 6 submarine ships equipped with sea launch cruise missiles “Caliber”. One cannot exclude eventual deployment of nuclear weapons in the peninsula. The infrastructure is already there, and Russia has used the past five years to restore and modernize it. Thus, we are witnessing an unprecedented militarization of the Black Sea area. Russia changes the strategic balance in the region and well beyond its borders. It turns Crimea into a launch pad for its missiles. Does anybody still have illusions about why Russia had done everything to ruin the INF Treaty? Don’t be naïve: Russia transforms into a military base any land it grabs or take under its control. In Donbas, Russian armed formations have 496 tanks. Please know that this number is bigger than that of Germany or France, Spain or Italy. And it is Ukraine who contains this Russian force, that also has 938 armored combat vehicles, 128 Multiple Launch Rocket System, 776 artillery systems (including self-propelled ones). It makes Ukraine a true Eastern flank of NATO in defense of trans-Atlantic freedom and democracy. Last year the OSCE Special monitoring mission in Donbas on several occasions took video coverage of convoys of the Russian military hardware, illegally crossing the section of the Ukrainian-Russian border not controlled by the Ukraine authorities. Monitors also determined the presence in the occupied territory of the newest Russian systems of radio electronic warfare and radio intelligence as well as electronic UAV jamming systems. These systems have never been in a possession of the Ukrainian armed forces. There is only one country capable to produce and supply them: Russia! To hide these illegal supplies, the Russian Federation simply blocks the SMM OSCE monitoring activities in the areas, close to the temporarily uncontrolled segment of the state border. The SMM also continues to suffer from huge restrictions on its every day activity in the occupied territory. Taking the opportunity, I would like to express my gratitude to all nations that actively contribute to the SMM OSCE work. Back to the figures, I have to underline that the overall number of illegal armed formations stands now at around 35 thousand militants, along with 2 100 servicemen from Russian regular armed forces. The total number of the Russian armed forces along the Russian-Ukrainian border is over 87 000 military. Military experts would tell it straight that an armed grouping at the Russian border with Ukraine is an offensive strike group personnel. It has nothing to do with defense. They are meant for military strike. This is what the Kremlin is being prepared for. Thus, further escalation to a full-scale war is not an unrealistic prospect. That is why we should ensure a comprehensive, a real-time monitoring of the situation along the Russian border with Ukraine. Knowing the aggressor as I know him, I would like to assure you that most of all he is afraid of transparency, public attention and the world knowing his plans. The price we pay for the Russian adventure in Donbas has a wide-raging and multidimensional character. Apart of the direct military consequences, Ukraine is facing now the most serious humanitarian challenges since independence. Critical infrastructure facilities, electricity, gas and water supplies, damaged by shellings require urgent repair. Civilians continue to face serious risks to their safety due to the saturation of landmines and other explosive ordnances in the occupied Donbas. This area, according to the UN, has already become the most mine-contaminated stretches of land in the world. To overcome humanitarian consequences of the Russian military aggression, over the last five year UN agencies have mobilized more than USD 460 million. We are grateful for the assistance provided by our international partners to millions of people in need. The economic and environmental damages caused by the Russian occupation are also immense. 27% of Donbas industrial potential has been illegally moved to Russia, including the equipment of 33 local industrial giants. The remaining enterprises cannot be fully operational because of the lack of professional staff, financial resources and the loss of cooperation ties with other parts of Ukraine. The ecological situation in the occupied Donbas is also deteriorating, in particular due to the flooding of coalmines, which pose a risk of water contamination. There are a number of potentially dangerous objects near the line of contact which, due to regular shelling by armed formations of the Russian Federation, could become an epicenter of the ecological and technological disaster. And this is not a complete list of the problems brought to our land by the Russian aggression. Madam President, I’d like to draw your attention to the human rights situation in the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine – people, our citizens, continue to suffer from Russian aggression on a daily basis. Murder, torture, harassment, sexual violence, arbitrary detentions and arrests, enforced disappearances and persecution of journalists, human rights defenders, social media workers and bloggers have become a daily reality for the residents of the occupied territories. People live in fear of being labeled as extremists, terrorists or Ukrainian spies and risk being thrown behind bars or abducted without a trace. The occupation administrations have introduced disgusting practice of extracting under torture false confessions in politically motivated prosecutions. The free exercise of religion is also under threat there. Recently the occupation authorities demanded to clear the church building in Simferopol that belonged to the Ukrainian Orthodox worshipers for many years. The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission, invited by the Government of Ukraine, continue reporting the growing number of human rights violations and abuses in the temporarily occupied territories. Effective implementation of its mandate is hindered by the Russia’s continued denial of access for UN monitors to the occupied Crimea and parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. In April 2017, the International Court of Justice adopted a provisional measures order in the case of Ukraine vs. Russian Federation. In its decision, the ICJ urged Russia to refrain from maintaining or imposing limitations on the ability of the Crimean Tatar community to conserve its representative institutions, including the Mejlis, and to ensure the right for Ukrainian citizens to study Ukrainian language. Like so many other decisions within this Organization, including those adopted by this August Assembly, the Court’s binding Order remains unimplemented by the Russian Federation. The issues related to the Russian unlawful behavior against Ukraine and its people are now considered by the International Criminal Court, International Court of Justice, European Court of Human Rights and in the framework of the arbitration proceedings under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. In this light, I highly appreciate a remarkable manifestation of support and solidarity with Ukraine throughout the world. We also need to double down seeking the release of over 70 Ukrainian hostages held in Russia and in Crimea, and the exchange of detainees envisages by the Minsk arrangements. Only last year Ukraine transmitted to Russia 13 proposals regarding a potential detainee’s swap. Kremlin turned its back to all of them. I am convinced that even though the Kremlin remains blind and deaf the international pressure and inevitable responsibility for grave violations of human rights is the only way to stop Moscow abuses in this sphere. I call upon all your countries to strengthen efforts in demanding respect for human rights by the Russian Federation, along with unconditional release and return of all Ukrainian hostages and prisoners of war. Madam President, Ukraine is a peace-loving nation with no expansionary plans or territorial claims. No inch of Russia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity was violated by us. Utmost respect for the UN Charter and for the OSCE Helsinki principles has been the foundation of our foreign policy since independence. To underline the point, I would like to draw your attention to the events of December 1994 in Budapest, when Ukraine gave up the third largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world in exchange for security assurances. In 2014, our goodwill was repaid by a stab in the back by one of the signatories of the Budapest Memorandum – the Russian Federation. By resorting to the military aggression against Ukraine, Russia violated all possible fundamental norms and principles of international law, including the UN Charter. The Charter, which entrusts Security Council members to uphold international peace and security instead of unleashing conflicts throughout the world. So what could the international community do as regards Russia? For instance, in 1939, for its aggressive behavior, Moscow was expelled from the League of Nations – a right and justified move. Maybe it is time to put Russia in its place – start with depriving it of its veto right, at least when it comes to issues related to the Russian aggression against Ukraine? What else could we do in order to bring peace to Ukraine and find a long-lasting solution to the Russian aggression? Back in March 2015, I requested the UN Security Council to deploy in the territory of Ukraine a peacekeeping operation under the mandate of the UN Security Council. This initiative was blocked by the Russian Federation, which rejected a possibility for a full-fledged UN involvement to resolve the conflict. The Russian Federation distorted the very idea and objectives of a peacekeeping operation in Ukraine. I am still a strong believer that an UN-mandated multinational peacekeeping operation with a clear objective to end the Russian aggression and restore Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity could be a decisive factor in bringing peace to Donbas. We are ready for a constructive discussion of this initiative. And a Technical assessment mission which the UN Secretary General could send to Donbas in order to elaborate respective options would definitely assist to this discussion. For Ukraine, it is a matter of principle that any decision on establishing a peacekeeping operation in Donbas extend its mandate over the entire occupied territory, including border, and provide for withdrawal of Russian troops and proxies and their weaponry from our territory, as well as dissolution of all illegal bodies and structures. It is also important that any peacekeeping operation is based on key UN peacekeeping principles – to be impartial, unbiased, and neutral in the first place. I would like to assure you that such a mission does not contradict the Minsk arrangements as Russia tries to present it. It would, instead, greatly assist in making Russia fulfil the Minsk arrangements in good faith. Ukraine has always demonstrated goodwill with real steps to go further on. And what we received in return – nothing! Aggression continues! Because Russia is not interested in the settlement at all! It does not care for Donbas or Crimea! It needs all of Ukraine to restore the Soviet Union second edition! The Ukrainian people are not going to give up on their hard-won independence and bend the knee before the aggressor. The Russian aggression will be over once the Kremlin leadership decides to stop it and to withdraw its troops from Ukraine’s territory and to return the control of Ukraine-Russia state border to where it belongs. I would like to remind everyone: when you call on Russia to stop fighting, you call for ending the war, and when you call on Ukraine to stop fighting for defending itself, you call for giving up Ukraine’s sovereignty. Madam President, Looking back from a 5-year retrospective, I have to reconfirm that there is no alternative to a peaceful settlement of this international conflict. That is why I reaffirm yet again, from this highest world rostrum, Ukraine’s firm commitment to multilateralism and international law. The Kremlin’s aggression towards us had an absolutely opposite effect. Instead of submitting to Russia, we have defied them. Instead of giving up our European dream, we have accelerated our path towards it. Instead of bowing down our heads, we have raised them high saying to Putin: “You will not break us down!”. I urge Russia as party to the conflict to honor its own obligations under the Minsk arrangements. I ask this house to support us, to stand with us and deny the Kremlin’s imperial ambitions. Only together we can force Russia – an occupying power and aggressor – to accept its responsibility and cease with its aggressive actions. And we believe that the United Nations has an important role to play in countering the aggression. Limiting United Nations’ engagement to humanitarian action or human rights monitoring in Ukraine is not enough. We felt hopeful when in 2018 Secretary-General Antonio Guterres listed the issue of resolving the Russian-Ukrainian conflict among his priorities. Regrettably, not much progress has been made. Yet it has to be made. It must. For Reshat Ametov, for Volodymyr Rybak, for Yuriy Popravko. For thousands other victims of this cruel, ugly, unnecessary war. For the civilians. For the soldiers. For the families. For those who never came back. For those who spend sleepless nights crying for them. For the world. For the peace, For the honor of this mankind. Thank you.

Poroshenko, Guterres agree on visit by UN Under-Secretary-General to Ukraine

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have agreed on a visit by the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs to Ukraine, Deputy Head of Ukraine’s Presidential Administration Kostiantyn Yeliseyev has said. — Ukrinform.

Poroshenko: Time to deprive Russia of its veto right at UN – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that it is time to deprive Russia of its veto right at the United Nations. Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine violated all possible fundamental norms and principles of international law, including the UN Charter.

Russia preparing to attack Ukraine, further escalation to full-scale war looming – Poroshenko at UNGA

Further escalation of Russian aggression against Ukraine to full-scale war is already a reality because of the concentration of a large assault group of Russian military forces on Ukraine’s border, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said.

Poroshenko: Kremlin being prepared for military strike on Ukraine – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that the Kremlin is being prepared for a military strike on Ukraine. The Ukrainian president insists on a comprehensive, a real-time monitoring of the situation along the Russian border with Ukraine. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that the Kremlin is being prepared for a military strike on Ukraine. “Military experts would tell it straight that an armed grouping at the Russian border with Ukraine is an offensive strike group personnel. It has nothing to do with defense. They are meant for military strike. This is what the Kremlin is being prepared for. Thus, further escalation to a full-scale war is not an unrealistic prospect,” he said at UN General Assembly debates in New York City on Wednesday, February 20.

Poroshenko suggests sending UN technical assessment mission to Donbas to prepare for introduction of peacekeepers

The introduction of an UN-mandated multinational peacekeeping mission in Donbas will be a pivotal factor in bringing peace to the region, and Kyiv is willing to discuss this initiative, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said.

33 European states call on UN members to consider non-recognition measures against Russia for Crimea – news politics | UNIAN

Ambassador João Vale de Almeida, the head of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations, says at the UN General Assembly 67th plenary meeting titled, “The situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine,” that 33 European countries call on all UN member states to consider non-recognition measures. The EU expresses concern about the ongoing militarisation of the Crimean peninsula and the Black and Azov seas.

EU ambassadors agree to slap sanctions on eight Russians over Kerch Strait incident – news politics | UNIAN

The European Union’s ambassadors have agreed to slap sanctions on eight citizens of the Russian Federation over the capture of Ukrainian sailors near the Kerch Strait linking the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Twenty-four Ukrainian sailors were captured on November 25, 2018.

Russian armed formations in Donbas have more tanks than Germany or France – Poroshenko at UNGA – news war | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that Russian armed formations in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, have more tanks than Germany or France has. The Ukrainian president says Ukraine has de facto become a real eastern flank of NATO.

Washington threatens Russia with new sanctions due to its aggression against Ukraine

The United States has described Russia’s occupation of Crimea in 2014 as “brazen” and said it would keep pressure on Russia in place until it implements the Minsk Agreements and de-occupies the Ukrainian peninsula. — Ukrinform.

Ex-chief of NATO sees annexation, war in Belarus as probable scenario – news world | UNIAN

Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says that Russia’s plans include the annexation of Belarus and movement closer to the borders of Western Europe. Lukashenko is unlikely to choose a pro-European policy. Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says that Russia’s plans include the annexation of Belarus and movement closer to the borders of Western Europe. “The key risk is the repetition of the Ukrainian scenario with war and annexation in Belarus,” he told in an interview with the Ukrainian news portal “Such a scenario is awaiting that country if it does not start reforms.” He advised the Belarusians to begin reforms leading to democracy and freedom “in order to protect themselves from Russian aggression.”

U.S. pledges diplomacy, sanctions against Russia, security assistance to support Ukraine – news politics | UNIAN

Acting U.S. Permanent Representative of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations Ambassador Jonathan Cohen says the United States pledges diplomacy, sanctions, and security assistance to support Ukraine. The U.S. envoy also called on Russia to free all hostages, political prisoners and prisoners of war. Acting U.S. Permanent Representative of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations Ambassador Jonathan Cohen says the United States pledges diplomacy, sanctions, and security assistance to support Ukraine. “The United States will continue to draw on the range of measures we have at our disposal, including diplomacy, sanctions, and security assistance to support Ukraine and make clear to Russia that the only resolution the international community can accept is the end of Russia’s efforts to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We’ll continue to coordinate our efforts with the many other countries supporting Ukraine,” he said at the UN General Assembly’s 67th plenary meeting on the situation in Ukraine.

U.S. doesn’t recognize annexation of Crimea by Russia after five years

The United States does not recognize the annexation of the Ukrainian Peninsula Crimea by Russia, the U.S. Embassy to Ukraine has reported.

JFO commander shows more evidence of Russian armed aggression in Donbas to U.S. delegation

Commander of the Joint Forces Lieutenant-General Serhiy Nayev has informed the U.S. delegation led by the representative of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Forces and Security Joni Ernst about the current operational situation in the area of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) in eastern Ukraine and showed evidence of the Russian military presence in Donbas. The meeting took place in one of the JFO base camps on Wednesday, the JFO staff said on Facebook. Nayev showed the guests evidence of recent incidents of the use of corrective 152-mm shells of the Krasnopol type by Russian troops, which are exclusively used by the Russian army. In addition, the guests were shown the Orlan UAV and other types of weapons, ammunition and uniforms of the Russian army. Also, the Commander of the JFO showed the U.S. delegation a video demonstrating the shelling of settlements in Donetsk and Luhansk regions by Russian troops from the beginning of the current year. “Yesterday, in the JFO area, the number of weapons used against the Ukrainian army by the Russians was record since the beginning of the current year. During the past day, the enemy spent 387 artillery shells and mines banned by the Minsk agreements on the positions of our troops. Of these, there were 317 of 122-mm caliber and 37 of 120-mm caliber,” he said. Nayev also briefed Ernst about the JFO’s measures for the development of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and also informed her about the course of civil-military cooperation measures.

Joni Ernst – Wikipedia

Joni Kay Ernst (née Culver, July 1, 1970) is an American politician currently serving as the junior United States Senator for Iowa since 2015. A Republican, she served in the Iowa Senate from 2011 to 2014. She served in the Iowa Army National Guard from 1993 to 2015, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. Ernst is the first woman to represent Iowa in the United States Congress and is the first female combat veteran elected to the United States Senate from any state.

Lithuanian Foreign Ministry issues statement on 5th anniversary of Crimea’s occupation

Lithuania condemns the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and calls for the release of Ukrainian sailors and other Ukrainians illegally detained by Moscow. — Ukrinform.

Norway in UN: Russia’s aggression in Kerch Strait is global concern

The armed aggression of the Russian Federation and the seizure of Ukrainian Navy ships together with crew members in the Kerch Strait, as well as blocking access to the Sea of Azov by Russia is not bilateral, but a global concern. — Ukrinform.

Justin Trudeau honors Heavenly Hundred Heroes

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau honored the memory of the fallen Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred. — Ukrinform.

Constitutional amendments confirming Ukraine’s path toward EU, NATO enter into force – news politics | UNIAN

Today, February 21, amendments to the Constitution came into force, fixing Ukraine’s aspiration to become a member of the European Union and NATO. The Constitution now enshrines “the European identity of the Ukrainian people and the irreversibility of the European and Euro-Atlantic course of Ukraine”.

Nord Stream 2 will diversify gas supplies to EU together with transit via Ukraine – Altmaier

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline will help diversify gas supplies to the EU, German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier said.

Belarus cuts supply of petroleum products to Ukraine – news economics | UNIAN

Belarus has reduced the supply of petroleum products to Ukraine by 11.9% to 3.16 million tonnes in 2018, while increasing the value of exports by 15%, to $2.09 billion. As reported earlier, the Kremlin has been applying pressure on Belarus to stop such supplies to Ukraine, while also putting pressure on financial and industrial groups in the CIS member states to destabilize Ukrainian foreign trade.

Russian-led forces fire 125 mortars into Ukrainian troops in Donbas

Russian occupation forces launched 13 attacks, using weapons banned under the Minsk agreements 11 times, on Ukrainian troops in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in eastern Ukraine.  — Ukrinform.

Russia’s proxies fired some 400 shells and mortar rounds yesterday: three Ukrainian soldiers wounded

20.02.19 17:10 – Russia’s proxies fired some 400 shells and mortar rounds yesterday: three Ukrainian soldiers wounded Feb. 19, Russian occupying forces violated the cease-fire 16 times while the Minsk-proscribed weapons were used 15 times with 387 shells and mortar rounds of 122mm, 120mm and 82mm caliber having been fired at JFO strong points. This comes as the most… View news.

563 deceased Ukrainian soldiers were identified by DNA tests in Ukraine, – MP

As of February 18, 563 deceased Ukrainian soldiers were identified by DNA tests in Ukraine as UNN reported citing Head of Healthcare Committee and MP Olha Bohomolets. “As of February 18, 2,175 samples of the unidentified bodies of 973 persons were stored in the database of DNA profiles. 563 persons out of them were identified thank to the comparison of the DNA profiles of the relatives, who are looking for the missing relatives. 410 persons are still unidentified,” the MP reported. Related: Farewell ceremony to deceased Air Force pilot took place in northern Ukraine She noted that not all relatives of missing people gave samples of DNA; there are only 1,654 samples in the database. “There is a high probability that part of the unidentified remains of bodies belongs to the representatives of the opposite side, which holds the war against us. The relatives of that side, who are looking for their missing people, also have the possibility to give the DNA samples for identification in Ukraine. It is a gesture of the goodwill to implement the humanitarian plan on the decrease of the tension between the sides of the conflict,” Bohomolets noted.

Ukraine’s Security Service to probe into Nazi propaganda in Kyiv mall

Ukraine’s Security Service started a probe under the article of the Criminal Code of Ukraine on “propaganda of Nazi totalitarian regime” concerning the incident when swastika graffiti appeared in Kyiv mall Gorodok Gallery, SBU reports. It was reported that on February 19, SBU and the Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation under the article of the Ukrainian Criminal Code on production, distribution of communist, Nazi symbols, propaganda of communist and national-socialistic totalitarian regimes for setting Nazi symbol in one of capital’s malls.

Tests of upgraded Kub [SA-6B GAINFUL] and Tor [SA-15 GAUNTLET] SAM systems have been completed. [NB also SA-3B GOA and digitised ZSU-23-4 with 4 x SA-16]

The tests of upgraded anti-aircraft missile systems “Kub” and “Tor” which are returned to the combat personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are being completed. The head of the General Staff – the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Victor Muzhenko informed that he took part in the tests of anti-aircraft missile defense systems of the Land Force and the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which are taking place at the state testing ground “Yagorlik” in the Kherson region. Thanks to the efforts of military scientists and defense industry specialists, it was possible to further upgrade and upgrade the 2K12-2D “Kub” and 9K330 “Tor”, which this year was the first to perform experimental firings this week. “This will give us the opportunity to form new units, to significantly increase the capabilities of the anti-aircraft missile forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and to fully improve the effectiveness of the air defense system and the forces and the state

The final stage in the testing of air defense missile systems – YouTube

General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Published on Feb 21, 2019 Завершальний етап випробувань зенітних ракетних комплексів протиповітряної оборони / The final stage in the testing of anti-aircraft missile defense systems

Ukroboronprom agrees to modernize Egypt’s air defense systems – news economics | UNIAN

Ukraine’s state-run Ukroboronprom Concern has reached an agreement to modernize Egypt army’s air defense systems. The parties are also considering a project to establish joint production of high-precision and conventional ammunition for artillery systems of various calibers.

Ukranian-Saudi An-132 targets An-32 replacement for India air force (video) – news economics | UNIAN

Ukrainian Antonov and Saudi Arabia’s Taqnia Aeronautics have displayed An-132 military transport aircraft for the first time at the ongoing Aero India 2019 airshow. The An-132 is a modernized variant of the An-32 cargo plane is going to have better capabilities when it comes to the carried payload, while the airframe is designed in a way to be able to carry out unprepared runway operations.

Ukrainian transport aircraft wowing the crowd with impressive maneuvers at Aero India 2019 – Defence Blog

The Ukrainian manufacturer of the infamous AN-225 and AN-124 cargo planes, a division of the Ukrainian Defense Industry presented the latest multi-purpose transport aircraft at an international defense exhibition in India. During Aero India 2019 exhibition in Bangalore, Antonov company has unveiled a prototype transport aircraft that it claims can compete with Airbus C295 and Leonardo C-27J range. The latest Ukrainian multi-purpose transport aircraft, called the AN-132D, took to the skies and showcased its capabilities wowing the crowd with a series of high- and low-speed maneuvers. Exhibition’s visitors were particularly impressed by an unexpected aerial maneuver – barrel roll when a plane makes a complete rotation on both its longitudinal and lateral axes, causing it to follow a helical path, approximately maintaining its original direction, like a fighter aircraft. The AN-132 is designed to carry up to 9.2t of cargo at altitudes up to 28,000ft. It comes equipped with a suite of updated technologies, including Dowty propellers and a Liebherr air management system. Due to improved aerodynamic characteristics of the aircraft its relative fuel consumption per kilometer is 4.7% less compared to AN-32. Besides, the AN-132’s fuel tanks have more capacity. Due to this, the flight range was increased. Onboard loading equipment of the AN-132 meets the western standards and provides the possibility of operation within an international logistic system as well as transportation and airdropping of 463L NATO standard pallets. . AN-132’s cargo compartment is longer in comparison with AN-32. So, the new aircraft can carry more military personnel, paratroopers and cargoes. During this international event, the Ukrainian side is promoting AN-132 transport aircraft as a potentially replaced for AN-32 fleet of the Indian Air Force in the future.

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

The combat units for both systems were developed and produced by the State Kyiv Design Bureau “Luch”

Ukraine announces mass production of new rocket launchers – Defence Blog

Ukrainian state-owned Ukroboronprom conglomerate formally beginning mass production of Verba 122mm and heavy Vilkha 300mm artillery rocket systems. According to a UkrOboronProm’s statement, SE Shepetovka Repair Plant (part of conglomerate ) formally launched production of an improved Ukrainian rocket launcher systems. It expected that the first Verba and Vilkha rocket launcher systems will be delivered to the Ukrainian army in this year. The Verba is a 122mm Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) mounted on KrAZ 6×6 truck chassis and equipped with cabin for 5 people. Fire control, aiming and even recharge is performed automatically from the cabin, without soldiers’ direct intervention. The weight of the new MLRS is nearly 20 tons, though “Verba” can increase the speed up to 85 km/h. The Verba is intended to replace ageing Soviet-era BM-21 Grad rocket launcher systems. The “Verba” MLRS developed by “Kharkiv Morozov Machine-Building Design Bureau” and will manufacturing at SE Shepetovka Repair Plant. As to the Vilkha, it is heavy artillery rocket system developed by the Kyiv-based LUCH design bureau. Vilkha with 300 mm caliber rockets 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 rocket has a solid motor and can be armed with various types of warheads. It has so-called inertial correction system, which provides for angular stabilization of the round at the boost phase and flight. 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. 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.

«Centaur-LК» goes to sae with marines onboard

«Кентаври» здатні перевозити 36 морських піхотинців з озброєнням та спорядженням

World Affairs Council of Philadelphia presents International Statesman Award to Poroshenko. Photos

The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia presented the International Statesman Award to President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. — Ukrinform.

Self-deception: Hungary first generously hands out passports to Ukrainians, then struggles with “new Hungarians” – news politics | UNIAN

Recently it became known that the Prosecutor’s Office of Hungary opened 370 criminal cases against Ukrainians who had obtained Hungarian citizenship. The first targets of the investigation were those seeking Hungarian pensions. Meanwhile, mediators in Ukraine didn’t blink an eye and further help future Hungarian pensioners get citizenship. According to the Hungarian Prosecutor General Peter Polt, the investigation into each particular “fake Hungarian” starts when it turns out that the applicant obtained citizenship without any knowledge of Hungarian language, or when the language test was passed by someone else. Some sixty investigations are currently being actively conducted, while another 32 cases are at their initial stage. In general, court rulings have been handed down in 108 cases, two of which have not yet seen a final verdict. The funny thing about this situation is that Hungary itself, willingly, violating Ukrainian legislation, massively distributed passports to Ukrainians, and then actively used this fact against Kyiv. It should be recalled that after the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the new version of the law on education in 2017, Hungarian authorities threw a real tantrum, promising to block any rapprochement between Kyiv and NATO. According to the legislation, the Ukrainian language should become the main language of instruction in schools and universities starting from 2020 (as Hungarian language is in Hungary). But it was precisely this point that did not suit the Hungarian government – and, since the adoption of the law, Hungary has consistently stated the alleged violation of the rights of Hungarians living in Ukraine (whose number Budapest diligently “increases” by generously handing out their passports to Ukrainians). Then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary Peter Szijjarto demanded that Ukraine amend the law on education and postpone its implementation until 2023. The diplomatic conflict between the countries aggravated when, in September 2018, a video emerged where Ukrainians were seen being granted Hungarian citizenship directly in the Hungarian consulate in Berehovo in Zakapattia region, while diplomats asked applicants not to inform the Ukrainian authorities about the fact. And although dual citizenship is prohibited in Ukraine, official Budapest sees no problem in giving citizens of Ukraine second citizenship. More precisely, it didn’t see it until recently. Ultimately, amid the scandal, the SBU set about investigating the illegal facts of Hungarian passports being issued in the region, Ukraine and Hungary mutually expelled their consuls and agreed a draft deal on the avoidance of cases of dual citizenship. But, as Ekaterina Zelenko, the speaker for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, recently stated, the ministry has not received any response from Hungary yet. In general, it looks extremely ironic and very cynical that, by preventing Ukraine from teaching Ukrainian citizens their own language, Hungary initiates criminal proceedings against those who have not mastered the rather difficult (and not too common) Hungarian language. Read more on UNIAN:

Ukraine loses 80% of oil and gas deposits in Black Sea due to annexation of Crimea

“Ukraine has lost 80% of oil and gas deposits in the Black Sea and a significant part of the port infrastructure due to the annexation of Crimea. The negative impact caused by the loss of ports is now being aggravated by Russia’s obstruction of the vessels in the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. Up to now, 115 out of 150 coal mines are located in the temporarily occupied territories. The defense industry suffered nearly the biggest losses. We lost 13 state-owned enterprises in the annexed Crimea and ten enterprises in the temporarily occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” First Vice Prime Minister – Economic Development and Trade Minister of Ukraine Stepan Kubiv said at the Cabinet’s meeting, an Ukrinform correspondent reports. In addition, he said, the traditional sales market for the Ukrainian defense industry was lost as it had been focused mainly on the CIS countries. “The hybrid aggression of the Russian Federation triggered the crisis in 2014, but Ukraine managed to defend its independence thanks to the decisive actions of real patriots and statespeople,” Kubiv stressed. As the First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine noted, the Revolution of Dignity brought Ukraine back to the epicenter of world politics five years ago.

PGO announces opening treason case involving damage to Ukraine’s military defense capability

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) has announced opening a criminal case under “high treason” in connection with damaging the military defense capability of the country as a result of actions taken by former officials at Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, Member of Parliament (Petro Poroshenko Bloc) Ivan Vinnyk has said. ‘There was a discussion about whether the actions of previous ministers of defense did not contain elements of a crime that qualifies under Article 111 (high treason). From the letter that the National Security and Defense Committee (NSDC) received from the PGO, we learned that the case is being pursued under Part 1 of Article 111 (high treason),” Vinnyk said at a meeting of the parliament’s temporary investigative commission he heads to study information about the facts about plundering Ukraine’s Armed Forces and undermining Defense Ministry capabilities during 2004-2017. Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko on February 4, 2019, at a meeting of the commission said actions of the chiefs of the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces and defense ministers from 1991 to 2017 contributed to a decrease in the country’s defense capability and could be qualified as acts of treason.

Ex-riot police operative suspected of murdering Maidan protesters allegedly killed in Syria – news ukraine | UNIAN

Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office received from residents of Vinnytsia region information claiming that former Berkut riot police operative Ruslan Horbik, who is one of the suspects in the Maidan shooting case, could die in action in Syria during a mission involving Russia’s “Wagner” private military company The man had reportedly been deployed there as part of the Wagner private military company.

Poroshenko Wants UN To Move Ahead With Peacekeeping Mission In Eastern Ukraine

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called on the UN secretary-general to draw up options for a peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine, saying such a mission could be a “decisive factor” in ending the conflict there.

Foreign Ministry: 13,000 killed and 30,000 wounded within five years of Russian aggression

“The results of the aggression are wrenching and unprecedented for post-war Europe: about 13,000 people killed, 30,000 wounded, 1.5 million internally displaced persons, massive destruction of Donbas, usurpation of Ukrainian property in occupied Crimea, large-scale violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the occupation authorities, political persecution and intimidation of Ukrainian citizens in order to suppress any manifestations of anti-occupation sentiments, stepped-up militarization of the occupied peninsula,” reads the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the beginning of Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine. As the Foreign Ministry reminds, Russia began the occupation of Crimea five years ago by grossly violating international law. And although the illegal fake referendum and the Russian status of Crimea were not recognized by the world, the unwillingness of the international community to respond decisively to Russia’s bold act of aggression allowed the Kremlin’s criminal regime to continue the aggression and occupy part of the Ukrainian Donbas. And on November 25, 2018, Russia once again committed an open act of aggression against Ukraine, attacking Ukrainian Navy ships in the Kerch Strait and the neutral waters of the Black Sea. At the same time, the Ministry stressed that the heroic efforts of the Ukrainian soldiers, the growing political and practical support of the international partners helped Ukraine to restrain aggression. A powerful international coalition has been created and actively supports Ukraine, stepping up pressure on Russia, demanding complete de-occupation of the Ukrainian territories and raising the cost of the continuation of aggression. In this regard, the Foreign Ministry stressed that Ukraine and the international partners call on Russia to immediately release all political prisoners and prisoners of war. Further delay in fulfilling this requirement by Moscow should have very specific consequences, including sanctions, the statement reads. In addition, the Ministry insists that an end to the aggression of the Russian Federation in Donbas should be supported by the deployment of a full-fledged peacekeeping mission of the UN, and its mandate should cover the entire conflict zone. The statement also highlights that the international community supports Ukraine in the Crimean issue, as evidenced by a number of UNGA resolutions, which provide a straightforward estimation of the Moscow’s policy, urge Russia to comply with international humanitarian law and to de-occupy the peninsula, condemn the militarization of Crimea and adjacent parts of the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.

‘It Was A Tragedy Then. We Have Another Tragedy Now.’ Ukrainians Rue Lack Of Justice For Euromaidan Killings

Five years later, there have been arrests and convictions over some of the 106 killings during the Euromaidan uprising. But only a few included prison time, and none involved former police officers.

Two thirds of murderers who killed Maidan activists fled to Russia – Lutsenko – news ukraine | UNIAN

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has said the investigation into the shootings during the Maidan uprising in 2014 established 66 perpetrators who are suspected of murder, including 46 who fled to the Russian Federation, while the rest are now under arrest. Lutsenko promised the case on the shootings on the Maidan would be forwarded to court immediately after the Verkhovna Rada decides to extend the procedure of conviction in absentia.

‘Hardcore Russophobia’ New first-person shooter gives players ‘Decommunization’ award for destroying Lenin monument — Meduza

On February 15, the first-person shooter for PC, PS4, and Xbox One Metro Exodus went on the market. The game was developed by the Ukrainian studio 4A Games and published by Deep Silver, a subsidiary of the German-Austrian company Koch Media. The game depicts fictional events that take place in Russia following a nuclear war, and its plot is based on the Metro fantasy series by the Russian writer Dmitry Glukhovsky. Glukhovsky worked with 4A Games developers to write the screenplay for Exodus.

From storytime to millions of hits How a rural preschool teacher became the star of Ukrainian rap — Meduza

In October of 2018, the rapper Alyona Alyona posted a nine-minute video on YouTube. The satirical clip, entitled “Ribki 2” (“Fishies 2”), begins as a parody of a rural children’s television show but quickly merges into a burst of impressively energetic, lightning-fast Ukrainian rap. The video went viral, and Alyona Alyona has published four equally popular music videos since. Each has received no less than a million views along with dozens of Russian-language comments declaring that the emerging Ukrainian artist already has the entire Russian hip hop world beat. However, what makes this story truly special is that 27-year-old Alyona Savranenko worked until very recently as a preschool teacher in the town of Baryshevka near Kyiv, and her day-to-day life there plays a prominent role in her videos. Meduza asked Savranenko about stardom, childhood, and body positivity.

Zelenskyi, Poroshenko, Tymoshenko, Hrytsenko, Boiko among leaders in presidential race, – Razumkov Center poll

20.02.19 18:10 – Zelenskyi, Poroshenko, Tymoshenko, Hrytsenko, Boiko among leaders in presidential race, – Razumkov Center poll As the presidential race is gaining momentum, Ukrainians are still giving their biggest support for the showman Volodymyr Zelenskyi. The current head of state Petro Poroshenko ranks second, while Batkivshchyna Party leader Yuliia Tymoshenko follows… View news.

Zelensky, Poroshenko to reach second round of presidential election – poll

If the presidential election in Ukraine were held next Sunday, comedian Volodymyr Zelensky and incumbent President Petro Poroshenko would come to the run-off, according to a nationwide survey conducted by the Razumkov Center’s sociological service from February 7 to 14, 2019. — Ukrinform.

CEC already registers 348 international observers for presidential election

The Central Election Commission of Ukraine has registered 41 more official observers from the international organizations for the presidential election in Ukraine scheduled for March 31. — Ukrinform.

‘Electric Shocks, Suffocation’: Jehovah’s Witnesses Say Russian Police Tortured Church Members

Jehovah’s Witnesses, a U.S.-based religious denomination that Russia has branded extremist and banned, says that police in Russia’s Khanty-Mansi region have tortured several members of the congre…

Russian Religious Persecution: ‘Electric Shocks, Suffocation’: Jehovah’s Witnesses Say Russian Police Tortured Church Members – To Inform is to Influence

Russia considers Jehovah’s Witnesses a criminal organization and treats them as such.  This is religious persecution of the first degree, and it is state-sanctioned.  From Newsweek,WHY IS VLADIMIR PUTIN’S RUSSIA SO AFRAID OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES? The Russian Supreme Court maintains that the country needs to be protected from disloyal religious fanatics. “Disloyal”.  In other words,…

Moscow’s Attack on Religious Groups Means West May Again View Russia as the Evil Empire, ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Says – To Inform is to Influence

Sunday, February 17, 2019 Paul Goble              Staunton, February 17 – Moscow’s recent moves against religious groups, the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta say, mean that the West may again define the country centered on Moscow as “an evil empire,” a term introduced by Ronald Reagan that the paper says had more to do with religion than with ethnicity (