Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (112)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Russia appears to be responding to the old question of “how low can you go?”  In reply, Russia appears to answer with “Here, hold my beer.” 

</end editorial>



PM Medvedev’s absurd demand continues to generate media traffic. Bershidsky and Golts on Gen Gerasimov color revolution commentary – Bershidsky puts it down to fear of a public uprising, Golts to greed for roles and missions competing against other siloviki agencies. The Vozhd on the immense threat of foreign espionage and how Russian is riddled with agents of the West seeking to steal its vital secrets – this is Vozhd Mk.1 Redux 80 years later. Excellent essay by Dr. Blank on Nordstream 2 and its implications – Russia truly has compromised much of the Left of German politics to the very core (no differently than the NSDAP did 90 years ago). Denmark may delay this trojan horse. Duma passes new censorship legislation that rivals the Soviet. Stalin commemoration accurately labeled a ‘Sabbath Of Evil’ – sadly it does not attract the global media condemnation that worship of the Fuhrer does. Three digests on Russia’s internal meltdown.

Erdogan refuses to back down on the S-400 procurement.

Salisbury update.

UNSECSTATE Hale visits Kyiv. ZSU and Turkey EX. Azov/Crimea update. Donbas update – Russia employs banned 152mm arty, and blocks ICRC aid convoy. Photoessay on Nov 2018 Yagorlyk SAM LFX. Ukraine to launch production of new lethal RPVs. Turkish Bayraktar Gnat/Predator-lookalike RPVs delivered to Ukraine. Thirteen reports on the defense industry corruption investigations. Election update – Russian meddling, hacking and domestic bribery. Politics / economy update.

In Russia, two Mormons arrested. Almost a third of Russian believers complain the ROC is meddling outside of its role.


Russia Demands U.S. Missiles Be ‘Eliminated’ from Europe | National Review

Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday that the Kremlin wants U.S. nuclear weapons and missile systems completely removed from Europe, a day after Russia said that it was suspending its obligations under a Cold War-era nuclear-arms deal.

World War 3: Russia issues STARK warning to US over nuclear missiles after INF withdrawal | World | News | Express.co.uk

RUSSIA could “be forced” to deploy missiles capable of firing upon the “whole” of Europe, the Russian Ambassador to Washington has warned.

Europe at risk of ‘new nuclear arms race’ warns expert | World | News | Express.co.uk

THE collapse of a landmark Cold War treaty means Europe could be the scene of a “new nuclear arms race” – with Russia and the US urged to rule out deploying new deadly weapons systems to prevent a dangerous arms build-up.

Leonid Bershidsky | It’s Not the Pentagon Russia’s Military Fears, It’s Russians – Bloomberg

It’s not the U.S., even if Moscow’s chief military strategist thinks the Pentagon’s goal is regime change.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Military Finds a Way to Have a Domestic Control Role, Golts Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 6 — The Russian high command has long wanted to have a domestic crowd control role, rather than as has been the case in recent years standing by as the FSB and the interior ministry gain influence in the Kremlin because of what they do in that regard, Aleksandr Golts says. Now, General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian General Staff, has provided a justification for such a role, Golts says, a supposed American plan to use Russian opposition groups as part of its military strategy, an approach that justifies the use of the Russian military against them (openmedia.io/exclusive/pochemu-genshtab-gotovitsya-voevat-s-rossijskoj-oppoziciej/). In an article entitled “Why the General Staff is Preparing to Fight with the Russian Opposition,” the independent military analyst argues that “American strategists are working on a new strategy of conducting military action under the code name, ‘Trojan Horse,’” a strategy involving “the active use of the protest potential of ‘a fifth column’ for destabilizing opponents.” Obviously, Gerasimov continues, the military as part of its “strategy of active defense” must be involved in “neutralizing” this threat to the security of the state, an argument that invokes a supposed US strategy as the basis for doing what the Russian military has long wanted to do, serving as a force for domestic control as well as foreign action. Since 2013, Gerasimov has argued that “there are no essential differences between a period of open war and times of peace.” In the second, “confrontation is carried out by non-military means, with the aid of secret and information operations.” That justified Russia’s various hybrid wars. Now the chief of the general staff has taken the next step and provided what he sees as an unanswerable reason for the Russian military to be deployed against opposition elements in Russia in order to protect the country’s national security. And that this is his primary purpose is shown by one telling detail. Gerasimov misquotes the US general as far as this new American strategy is concerned even going so far as to claim that the American has said things he did not say, Golts continues. Indeed, he suggests, this invention was “no accident” but rather an effort to “link potential protest with immediate military aggression.” A decade ago, Makhmut Gareyev, the president of the Academy of Military Sciences, “well-known for his unique ability to tell which way the wind is blowing,” suddenly began to talk about the need “to find a military answer to non-military threats.” Gerasimov has taken the next step. Because the Kremlin so fears color revolutions, it was perhaps only a matter of time before it would be fated to hear about “the military dimension” of such popular actions. As Golts points out, the latest version of the Russian Military Doctrine (2014) does speak of popular uprisings as “a new form of military action.” Gerasimov builds on that. His speech last week thus represents but the latest attempt to tie together “’military’ and ‘non-military methods” of defense. The innovation is that he suggests any such protests won’t simply be the work of hostile special services but will be accompanied by the use of precisely targetable weaponry. “The logic is clear,” Golts continues. “If an enemy could go to the point of coordinating protest actions with air strikes, then the General Staff must develop plans to counter this combination” – and those plans would include “the use of forces against the people on the streets of Russian cities.” That represents another step to what the General Staff has long wanted, the independent Moscow military analyst says, one that gives them a new high-profile role but also one that sets them on the path to conflict not only with the provisions of the Russian Constitution but also with the FSB and interior ministry who have long viewed taking such action as their prerogative.

U.S. doesn’t yet have a plan to prevent Russia from building more missiles as treaty collapses, top general says – The Washington Post

The comments by Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti came five months before the INF Treaty expires, owing to the Trump administration’s withdrawal.

Amy Mackinnon | Russia’s New Missiles Are Aimed at the U.S. – Foreign Policy

But Moscow’s hypersonic weapons may be more bark than bite.

Putin: Russia foiled work of almost 600 spies – BBC News

The Russian president accuses foreign intelligence services of beefing up activities in Russia.

Putin: Russia Cracking Down On Foreign Spies, But Needs Stronger Protection Of Military Secrets

President Vladimir Putin has called on Russia’s FSB domestic security service to strengthen the protection of information related to new weapons and other sensitive data, saying that foreign intell…

Vladimir Putin says terrorism-related crimes in Russia have declined 110-fold in the past decade. Published statistics say he’s wrong. — Meduza

“I must note that the number of crimes related to terrorism has been decreasing in recent years; the [FSB] director will certainly mention this in his remarks. In general, over 10 years, this figure has declined dramatically, from 997 to nine last year. At the same time, please note that the number of prevented terrorist attacks remains high — about 20 a year. This level has been maintained for the last three years,” Vladimir Putin recently told an audience at the Federal Security Service (FSB), according to the Kremlin’s website.

Stephen Blank | European Involvement with Nord Stream 2 Is a Deal with the Devil

Since having seized Ukrainian territory and energy installations in 2014, Russia and its gas company, Gazprom, have been waging systematic economic warfare against Ukraine in an attempt to destroy Naftogaz—Ukraine’s energy company and the single biggest source of state revenue—and the Ukrainian state. To date, however, Russia has failed. Indeed, Naftogaz won three arbitral awards against Gazprom in 2017 and 2018; these were about Gazprom’s efforts to divert gas using the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, blocking Central Asian gas from traveling through Ukraine. But Gazprom has refused to pay the $2.6 billion arbitration award granted to Naftogaz. Instead, Russia is blocking that award, building Nord Stream 2, and trying to use the pipeline to suffocate Ukraine’s economy and strengthen its grip on European energy supplies. Moscow also is working assiduously to promote a Ukrainian presidential candidate (or two) that is connected to Russia through corruption and would end Naftogaz’s current submissions to European arbitration. Unfortunately, it now looks like Nord Stream 2 will go through, even though the Trump administration has threatened German firms with sanctions if it does. It is important to understand what it means to the EU for Nord Stream 2 to be built. Apart from the bypassing of Ukraine and the potential corrupting of German politics, Nord Stream 2 essentially forces German and Eastern European states and customers to subsidize Russian state expenses and unwittingly assist in Naftogaz’s destruction. Those expenses may result in the rearming of the Russian army, which threatens the sovereignty and integrity of EU and NATO members. It also means that despite their connections to the EU, the investors in this pipeline are winking at the flouting of international law, as embodied in the arbitration verdicts that have ruled against Gazprom. Gazprom, thus encouraged, will continue corrupting European governments and energy policies; and European legal institutions will continue to be impotent against Russia. Indeed, it is energy revenues above all else that funds Muscovite subversion of European governments: through direct subventions to right-wing anti-EU parties like the National Front in France and Matteo Salvini’s Five Star Movement in Italy, not to mention the Alternative for Germany and a host of other right-wing movements. Energy revenues are also the largest source of the funding that has traveled from Moscow to Balkan political operators to subvert, corrupt, or even overthrow governments there. Putting pressure on Gazprom to conform to these arbitral decisions is not only sound legal doctrine but also sound defense of European states’ political interests, as well as Ukraine’s vital interests. The application of such pressure on Gazprom also reinforces the decisions of the European Commission concerning the need for transparency and fair market practices in European energy policy. Those decisions certainly merit support by EU members in order to maximize opportunities for energy security and promote the rule of law and transparency in the energy business. For all of Moscow’s rhetoric about international law and the need to observe it, in reality its position resembles that of Thrasymachus in Plato’s Republic: the view that justice is nothing more than the advantage of the stronger, or “might makes right.” After all, nobody in Europe has stated that Russia’s seizure of Crimea, the Donbas, and those regions’ energy facilities is legally justifiable. But failing to support Ukraine and supporting Nord Stream 2 in effect justifies those usurpations retroactively. At a time when a global gas market is fast developing and alternative suppliers who are much less morally or politically compromised are increasingly available, why should European governments undermine their interests and values for no discernible gain? That question must be posed with real urgency, for sooner or later European governments may have to answer even more difficult questions, likely under duress and without the luxury of their current peace. Stephen Blank is a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council. He is the author of numerous foreign policy-related articles, white papers, and monographs focused on the geopolitics and geostrategy of Russia and Eurasia. He is a former MacArthur Fellow at the US Army War College.

Denmark may not green-light Nord Stream 2 due to Russian aggression – Samuelsen

The Danish Energy Agency has not yet decided whether to allow a joint German-Russian gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2, to pass through its territorial waters, Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen has said. — Ukrinform.

Denmark: No decision yet on Russian-German pipeline – AP – news world | UNIAN

Denmark’s Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said Wednesday his country hasn’t yet decided whether to allow a joint German-Russian gas pipeline to pass through its territorial waters, but suggested Moscow’s continued aggression in Ukraine was making it less likely to be approved. If the routes are rejected, Gazprom would have to make alternate plans that would be more costly and delay the project.

UAWire – Russia sets conditions for the continuation of gas transit through Ukraine

Russia has linked the continuation of gas transit through Ukraine to EU countries with Kyiv implementing a number of conditions. Among other things, the signing of a new agreement depends on the stability of the political situation, said Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in an interview with Luxemburger Wort newspaper, published on Tuesday, March 5th, on the official page of the Russian government. According to Medvedev, it is also necessary to regulate relations between companies interested in gas transit. For Moscow “profitable economic and commercial parameters of the deal” are essential. “We are not refusing transit through existing pipelines. Neither the Nord Stream-2 nor the Turkish Stream means that a decision was made in relation to Ukraine or in relation to other countries. In particular, we are ready to keep the transit of gas through the Ukrainian gas transit system even after 2019,” stressed the Russian Prime Minister. The current transit agreement between Russia and Ukraine expires at the end of 2019. Critics of the Nord Stream-2 pipeline construction fear that after the start of the pipeline’s use, Moscow will refuse to continue gas transit through Ukraine due to the political conflict between the countries. In particular, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel repeatedly expressed that she supports the continuation of gas transit.

Russia to jail people for 15 days if found guilty of ‘disrespecting’ the government – CNN

Russia’s parliament has advanced strict new internet laws allowing the authorities to jail or fine those who spread fake news or disrespect government officials online.

Russian Duma Passes Bills Banning ‘Fake News’ And ‘Insults’

Russia’s State Duma has approved legislation that would block websites that publish what the authorities deem to be “fake news” and penalizing websites that “insult” authorities, state symbols, and…

Russia will soon require digital journalists to delete ‘fake news’ ‘instantly.’ Here’s what that actually means. — Meduza

On March 6, lawmakers passed the second reading of a bill that will make it illegal to post “fake news” on the Internet. The final vote tally was 327 deputies in favor, 42 deputies opposed. A day later, the State Duma will pass the third and final reading of the legislation, sending it to the Federation Council, which will then pass it along to Vladimir Putin, who’s expected to sign it into law.

‘Sabbath Of Evil’: Protests At Stalin Commemoration

Russian activists were arrested and fined for throwing flowers at a monument to Josef Stalin on Moscow’s Red Square on March 5, the 66th anniversary of the Soviet dictator’s death.

‘I didn’t want to be an accomplice’ A Russian activist explains why he risked arrest to yell ‘Burn in Hell!’ at a Stalin memorial — Meduza

On Tuesday, hundreds of elderly Russians lined up outside the Kremlin’s walls to lay flowers at the foot of a monument to Joseph Stalin, honoring the dictator on the 66th anniversary of his death. This year’s ritual was disrupted, however, by two “Decommunization Project” activists, Evgeny Suchkov and Olga Savchenko, who threw their carnations at the Stalin memorial, resulting in their immediate detention by police. (Suchkov also yelled, “Burn in hell, executioner of the people and murderer of women and children!”) Officers charged the two with the misdemeanor offense of violating Russia’s public assembly laws, and a court promptly fined them 500 rubles (about $8). Evgeny Suchkov told Meduza why he decided to crash the Communists’ memorial event.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: US Working to Form ‘Anti-Russian International,’ Kadyrov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 6 – On his personal telegram channel yesterday, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov says that the United States is seeking to form “an anti-Russian international.” He uses the term for non-ethnic Russian (rossiyskiy), but as often happens that notion is likely to be invested with ethnic meaning and become anti-Russian (russkiy) in the ethnic sense. Like the flamboyant head of the LDPR Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Kadyrov often says things that are leading indicators of where the Kremlin is heading. If that should be the case here, it would point to a major worsening of East-West ties (capost.media/news/politicheskiyblog/kadyrov-vashington-fakticheski-stremitsya-sozdat-antirossiyskiy-internatsional/ The risk that Russians in the Kremlin and elsewhere are likely to invest such a propaganda meme with ethnic meaning is all the more likely because of the criticism the US has levelled at Moscow for its ethnic and religious policies, criticism which many in Russia feel ignores the special nature of their state and is unacceptable outside interference. And such feelings guarantee that the Russian government can be expected to denounce as an American project a draft resolution introduced yesterday in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine calling on Western institutions, including the EU and NATO to denounce Moscow for its treatment of the indigenous peoples of Russia (idelreal.org/a/29804201.html). There is no question that such criticism is justified. What those who call for it must recognize is the way such criticism is made is critical because in the current environment, as Kadyrov’s words suggest, a reasonable criticism of one thing may lead to an explosive reaction delivered in quite another place.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Wealthy Russians around Putin Want a Paternalistic State for Themselves Just Not for the People, Shelin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 6 – A casual observer of the Russian scene might assume that the heads of the biggest corporations there are devoted followers of the philosophy of Ayn Rand and who want the state to get out of their way so that they can make money, but exactly the reverse is the case, Sergey Shelin says. In fact, the people around Putin are just as committed to having a paternalistic state as are most poorer Russians. The only difference is that these so-called business leaders want the state to take of them rather than of the people, while the people want the state to take care of the people rather than these businessmen (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2019/03/05/1767823.html). There are, of course, real entrepreneurs in Russia who share the capitalist visions of Ayn Rand, but they are not the heads of the largest corporations and they do not set the weather. Those who do depend on the state for their incomes and wealth, and so are much more like those they are usually seen as being in opposition to than anyone imagines. Unfortunately, many do not understand this reality and assume that Russians will great wealth are somehow like the swashbuckling capitalists who built the huge fortunes in the United States in the past and who will thus form the kind of countervailing power to the state that those with such wealth did in the US. Instead, those Russians with enormous wealth are in almost all cases people who have got their wealth from the state. And as a result, they are its chief defenders rather than its potential opponents, let alone gravediggers. Only the relatively small group of genuine entrepreneurs could serve those functions. But they currently are too small to matter.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: 1996, Not 1991 or 1993, Made Current Authoritarian Reaction in Russia Inevitable, Pastukhov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 5 – Ever more often, the 1990s are becoming “a new line of the ideological front,” with Russians divided on which year, 1991, 1993 or 1996, set in train the forces which have led Russia to where it is today. Most plump for the first two, but Vladimir Pastukhov argues that 1996 is the critical year. From today’s perspective, the London-based Russian analyst says, 1996, when the re-election of Boris Yeltsin was achieved by the most outrageous means, became “the time for saying goodbye to hopes the country would be able to pass through the Scylla of reaction and the Charybdis of revolution (mbk-news.appspot.com/sences/devyanostye-kak-liniya-fronta/). After that year, Pastukhov continues, “Russia was condemned to reaction,” a development that was not long and coming – and an outcome that is especially disturbing because there was an alternative, Russian liberals knew it, and yet they fatefully made the wrong choice. “Reaction is inevitable after any revolution, like a sunset after a sunrise,” and so some kind of reaction was to be expected after 1991. It was “inevitable,” the analyst says. “But the choice made by the political class in 1996 prefigured the form of this reaction,” backing a corpse and thus ensuring that it would ultimately get a new one forever. There was, of course, no possibility that Russia could in a consistent way “continue ‘liberal reforms’ in ‘a European spirit.” Russia simply wasn’t’ ready for that and very clearly, it needed a breather. In 1996, the choice in the election was “between reaction” which Zyuganov and his nomenklatura represented and “the reaction” which Yeltsin’s family did. Had Zyuganov been allowed to win – and he almost certainly would have had the vote been free and fair rather than rigged in Yeltsin’s favor – “Russia would have acquired the experience of a democratic transfer of power via lawful elections, something which it has not yet had up to now,” Pastukhov continues. “This experience and this precedent would have allowed for the hope that Zyuganov’s pullback wouldn’t have become a chain reaction.” At the very least, it would have meant that Russia would not have continued on the course that led to the self-destructive Anschluss of Crimea in 2014. There was no reason to expect otherwise, but Russian liberals made their choice. And that is one of the other “essential differences’ between 1993 and 1996. “In 1993, there was no particular choice for those who did not belong to the narrow circle of those supporters of Yeltsin who were sitting in the Kremlin.” But “in 1996, there was a choice,” Pastukhov says; and the decision to support Yeltsin was a consensus one.” Moreover, it was “a conscious choice” of a large number of people and one that was “deeply mistaken. There are situations when losing means winning; and the 1996 elections were precisely one of those.” Many say that Russians have a short memory when it comes to the 1990s, Pastukhov concludes; but the problem isn’t that it is short but that it varies widely and is highly selective. The past, as Faulkner observed, isn’t over – it isn’t even the past.

On Monday, OCCRP published its latest investigation into Russia’s offshore money schemes. Here’s what happened next. — Meduza

On March 4, Meduza published an investigative report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) about an offshore empire that belongs to Ruben Vardianian, the former director of the investment bank Troika Dialog. Based on the same research, other major news outlets including The Guardian and Suddeutsche Zeitung published similar reports on Monday. The next day, across Europe, figures and institutions named in OCCRP’s materials found themselves under scrutiny. Meduza summarizes the immediate fallout from the “Troika Laundromat” investigation.

Erdogan Says No Intention Of Backing Out Of S-400 Missile Deal With Russia

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country is determined to go through with a deal to purchase S-400 missile-defense systems from Russia, despite opposition from Washington.

Russian S-400 missile purchase a done deal, Turkey’s Erdogan says | Russia News | Al Jazeera

Ignoring US warnings, President Erdogan says contracts for the advanced Russian missile defence system already signed.

Erdogan says Turkey will not go back on missile defense deal with Russia | Reuters

Turkey will not go back on its agreement to buy S-400 missile defense systems from Russia, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, adding that Ankara may subsequently look into buying S-500 systems.

Scaparrotti says to not sell F-35 jets to Turkey amid Russian missile system deal

In short, these two big ticket weapons systems, the S-400 and the F-35, can be used against each other.

U.S. may restrict cooperation with Turkey due to purchase of Russian S-400

America wants Turkey to refuse from cooperation with Russia

Here’s the identity of a top Russian spy kicked out of the UK after Russia tried to assassinate Sergei Skripal

On March 14, 2018, British Prime Minister Theresa May expelled 23 Russian diplomats. That expulsion order was precipitated by the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal, who had defected from Russian intelligence to British intelligence, and Skripal’s daughter Yulia. That botched assassination attempt by Russia’s military intelligence arm known as GRU injured the Skripals, a police officer, and later, killed an innocent Briton who stumbled across the GRU nerve-agent device.

Russian Embassy publishes letter of son of British victim poisoned by Novichok to Putin

The project is oriented towards the revelation of corrupted officials, organized crime representatives, who are tied to the law enforcement and ruling establishments.

TASS: World – Russian ambassador to UK suggests meeting with Novichok victim’s son

Ewan Hope, 20, is one of Dawn Sturgess’ three children

Poroshenko, Hale note need to increase pressure on Russia – news politics | UNIAN

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and U.S. Undersecretary of State David Hale during their meeting in Kyiv March 7 noted the need to further increase pressure on Russia over its aggressive policies undermining world stability and security. The parties discussed further joint steps to counter Russia’s aggressive actions in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, as well as measures in response to the Russian armed attack on Ukrainian ships.

The United States is Ukraine’s main partner on security issues — president

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko held a meeting with U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale. — Ukrinform.

U.S. Under Secretary of State: Presidential election is key test for Ukraine

The United States of America supports the people of Ukraine, not a concrete presidential candidate, in the upcoming presidential election scheduled for March 31. — Ukrinform.

Hale backs U.S. ambassador’s statement on Kholodnytsky

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale has supported a statement by U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch on the need to replace Chief of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) Nazar Kholodnytsky. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine’s energy security is very important for USA – Hale

The issue of Ukraine’s energy security is very important for the United States in the context of both national interests and security and stability in Europe. — Ukrinform.

Klimkin, Hale discuss security and defense cooperation to counter Russian aggression

Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale have discussed the development of security and defense cooperation to counter Russian aggression, the press service of the Foreign Ministry reported. — Ukrinform.

U.S. Under Secretary Hale in Kyiv: Russia must return sailors and ships to Ukraine – news politics | UNIAN

United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale says that Russia must return Ukrainian sailors and boats to Ukraine. Hale is on a visit to Ukraine on March 5-7.

Poroshenko, Hale discuss further joint steps to counter Russia’s aggressive actions in Black, Azov Seas

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has met with U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale noting a significant strengthening of the Ukrainian-U.S. strategic partnership over the past four years, including a significant increase in security and defense cooperation, as well as active growth in trade and economic cooperation.

NATO-Ukraine Commission discusses situation in Crimea – news politics | UNIAN

The NATO-Ukraine Commission met at NATO Headquarters on March 6, 2019, to discuss the current situation in Russia-occupied Crimea. Allies reaffirmed NATO’s unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Ukraine, Turkey Navies hold joint maneuvers in Black Sea off Odesa coast (Photo) – news politics | UNIAN

The crew of a small Vyshgorod armored artillery boat of the Naval Forces of Ukraine has conducted PASSEX-type joint exercises with two Turkish ships, the TCG Barbaros frigate and the TCG Marti missile boat, which arrived in Odesa yesterday. After the maneuvers, the Vyshgorod artillery boat returned to its permanent base, and the Turkish ships moored to the berth of the seaport.

UAWire – Ukraine and Turkey hold joint naval exercises in the Black Sea

The crew of the small armored artillery boat Vyshhorod of the Ukrainian Navy carried out PASSEX type joint exercises with TCG Barbaros frigate …

Ukraine has to strengthen its defense due to cessation of INF Treaty, – Poroshenko

The President outlined that Ukraine understands the U.S. reasons for exiting from the treaty

Chief of General Staff tells foreign military attaches about reform of Ukraine’s Armed Forces. Photos

The Armed Forces of Ukraine solve four groups of tasks, including defense against Russian aggression, not only of Ukraine, but also the entire Europe; army reform; introduction of new system of training personnel and equipping the army with modernized weapons and military equipment. — Ukrinform.

UAWire – US to give Ukraine new types of weapons

The US plans to supply Ukraine with sniper systems and possibly weaponry for the Navy, said General Curtis Scaparrotti, Supreme Allied Commander …

UN Security Council to discuss situation in occupied Crimea

The UN Security Council will discuss the situation in the temporarily occupied Crimea on March 15. — Ukrinform.

UAWire – Google decides to show annexed Crimea as part of Russia and not Ukraine on Russian users maps

Google has reported that &quot;it has corrected an error that caused a small number of Russian users of Google maps to see incorrect information&quot;,  …

Russian-occupied Crimea sees housing price hikes caused by Crimean Bridge construction – news economics | UNIAN

Real estate prices have soared in Crimea following the construction of the Kerch Strait Bridge, which was illegally built by Russia to link the occupied peninsula with its mainland Krasnodar Krai. In Crimea’s used real estate market, prices are growing at double the pace in Moscow’s.

Ukraine’s Ambassador: Crimea shown as Russia territory on Google Maps goes against U.S. policy – news politics | UNIAN

Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly says that showing Crimea, the peninsular annexed by the Russian Federation from Ukraine in 2014, as Russian territory on Google Maps goes against the clear-cut stance of the U.S. Administration, U.S. Congress and the United Nations on this issue. Google Inc. earlier assured the Russian authorities that Crimea annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014 was shown as Ukrainian territory “for technical reasons” and “there is no politicization.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Google Puts Profit before Principle on Crimea, Portnikov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 6 – Moscow media outlets are celebrating Google’s decision to show Crimea as part of Russia, even though it will continue to show it was part of Ukraine everywhere else, as a first step toward international recognition of the Russian occupation as legitimate, Vitaly Portnikov says. But in fact, the Ukrainian commentator says, this change by the giant media corporation has little to do with the principle of recognition or non-recognition of the Russian Anschluss. It has far more to do with the company’s pursuit of profit and desire not to be cut out of the Russian market (ru.krymr.com/a/vitalij-portnikov-google-i-krym/29806354.html). “I do not know whether I’m revealing a state secret or not,” Portnikov says, “but Crimea remains Ukrainian territory even on the maps of Yandex,” the Russian media firm. It “understands very well the difference between the territory of Russia and the occupied territory of Ukraine.” He Apparently unwittingly, he suggests, Google by its action has highlighted just how isolated Russia is in believing that Crimea is legitimately part of Russia. The company won’t have to change its maps very much because there are “practically no” other countries who agree with Moscow. As far as Russia itself is concerned, Portnikov continues, the notion that Crimea is Russia is of “a temporary, ‘Putinist’ character. Sooner or later, Putin will not be around, and neither will be ‘Russian’ Crimea.” By its actions in this case, Google has shown that for it, profit is more important than the laws of any particular country, including those of the US where its headquarters is based, or international law either. And that suggests how the US and the EU should proceed in this case, Portnikov argues. The two should “turn their attention not only to the problems of copyright and fakes, disinformation and propaganda in the work of technological giants but also on this question of principle.” And they should take steps that will cost Google more than Moscow can over the issue of the status of Crimea. That may be the only way to get its attention.

Russian proxies used proscribed 152 mm artillery first time in 2019, two terrorists destroyed, no losses among Ukrainian soldiers

07.03.19 11:30 – Russian proxies used proscribed 152 mm artillery first time in 2019, two terrorists destroyed, no losses among Ukrainian soldiers March 6, the Russian occupation troops opened fire at Ukraine’s army positions nine times. They used arms prohibited by the Minsk agreements, having fired 121 shells and mortar rounds. The terrorists also used 152mm artillery for the first time in… View news.

Russian proxies in Donbas open fire from 152mm artillery, first time this year – news war | UNIAN

Over the past day, Russian proxy forces nine times fired at Ukrainian positions in the Joint Forces Operation zone, including 11 times from weapons proscribed by Minsk agreements. According to intelligence data, on March 6, two invaders were killed and three were injured.

Soldier of 128th Brigade Bohdan Sloboda fatally wounded in Donbas. PHOTO

07.03.19 14:50 – Soldier of 128th Brigade Bohdan Sloboda fatally wounded in Donbas. PHOTO Lieutenant Bohdan Sloboda from Novoiavorivsk died of a fatal wound in the Joint Forces Operation area. View photo news.

Russian-led forces launched nine attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas in last day

Russian occupation forces launched nine attacks on positions of Ukrainian troops in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in eastern Ukraine over the past day. — Ukrinform.

Joint Forces destroy enemy position in Yasynuvata (Video) – news war | UNIAN

The footage does not disclose when the strike was made.

Russian proxies in Donbas block ICRC aid – news ukraine | UNIAN

The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (SBGSU) says Russian proxy forces in Donbas have denied access of three trucks with humanitarian aid deployed the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to the occupied areas of Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. A convoy of four trucks with 83 tonnes of humanitarian aid was set to cross into the occupied territory through the Novotroyitske checkpoint.

Militants stop three ICRC trucks with humanitarian aid on way to Donbas

Russian illegal armed formations did not let three trucks with humanitarian aid from ICRC to Donbas

Why Russia put on hold “humanitarian aid” to Donbas – news ukraine | UNIAN

The Russian Federation suspended the deployment of “humanitarian convoys” to the occupied Donbas. The last convoy sent arrived in the occupied areas on December 20, 2018. As explained by the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov, this is due to the “demand assessment”.

Live-fire launches by air defence missile detachments of the Air Forces and Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine | Flickr (November 8, 2018 )

More than 30 anti-aircraft missiles were launched from seven types of anti-aircraft missile systems: S-300PS, S-300PT, S-300V1, Buk-M, Osa-AKM, S-125M1, and S-125-2D1 against real and simulated targets. Combat launches of anti-aircraft missile units SAM S-300PS, S-300PT Buk-M1, control flight tests of missiles to the S-125M1 missile system and state tests of the modernized Osa-AKM rocket launcher took place at the state-run Yagorlik field in the Kherson region. Defensive departmental tests of the S-125-2D1 were conducted, state tests of the upgraded OSA-ASM, firing firing of the Buk-M1 missile and special firing of the S-300V1 anti-aircraft missile systems were continued. With the involvement of leading specialists of the defense industry enterprises, the technical condition of the “Kub”, “Tor” and missile anti-aircraft missile systems is being tested. Work on real targets – airplanes of the Air Force, with simulated launches of missiles was held on the eve, and already on November 1-2, the role of real targets was played by UAV VR-3 “Reis”. Almost all targets are destroyed. Among the S-300 type missile, the first place was taken by the anti-aircraft missile division S-300V1 from the town of Uman, which for the first time in history launched launches from standard armament. Second place for rocket-propellers of S-300PT missiles from Nikopol, and the third – a division of the S-300PS division from Kyiv region. The winners received from the Commander of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Colonel-General Sergey Drozdov monetary certificates for the amount of 150,000, 100,000 and 50,000 hryvnia, respectively. Among the anti-aircraft missile divisions Buk-M1, both units from Stryi, which is in Lviv region, became better. They received certificates for the amount of 150 and 90 thousand hryvnia. Photo by Yuri Ignat Press Center Command of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Ukraine to launch mass production of strike drones, anti-ship missile complexes in 2019 – Poroshenko at NSDC – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has announced Ukraine is to launch large-scale production of the reconnaissance and strike drone “Sokil” (“Falcon”) and the coastal anti-ship missile complex “Neptun” (“Neptune”) this year. Poroshenko says the Ukrainian army is prepared now better than ever in the history of our country.

Poroshenko: Turkish Bayraktar tactical UAS already in Ukraine – trials about to begin

Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 tactical unmanned aerial vehicle systems on supplies of which the Ukrainian and Turkish sides have previously agreed are already in Ukraine and their trials will begin soon, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said.

Poroshenko: Turkish strike drones Bayraktar delivered to Ukraine

06.03.19 18:00 – Poroshenko: Turkish strike drones Bayraktar delivered to Ukraine Turkish strike drones Bayraktar TB2, delivered to Ukraine under contract previously agreed between the Ukrainian and Turkish sides, will undergo tests in the near future. View news.

Turkish Bayraktar UCAVs delivered to Ukraine

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has announced that Turkish Bayraktar unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) are already in the territory of Ukraine. — Ukrinform. “We are going to test new powerful Bayraktar UCAVs. I agreed on the deliveries of the vehicles with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. I can even say that they are already in the territory of Ukraine,” Poroshenko said during a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, an Ukrinform correspondent reports. In January, the representatives of the State Company Ukrspecexport, which is part of the State Concern “Ukroboronprom”, and the Turkish company Baykar Makina, signed the agreement on the purchase of Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs for the Ukrainian army.

Ukrainian space sector anticipates big changes

Ukrainian space sector anticipates big changes

United States allocates USD 350 mln to support Armed Forces of Ukraine

The United States in 2019 allocated USD 350 million in support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and intends to continue the Sea Breeze international exercises. — Ukrinform.

Poroshenko proposes including representatives from NATO member states in Ukroboronprom’s supervisory board

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko proposes including representatives from NATO member states in the supervisory board of state-run Ukroboronprom Concern.

Poroshenko announces international audit of Ukroboronprom – LB.ua news portal

Poroshenko announces international audit of Ukroboronprom. Poroshenko proposes including foreign experts in Ukroboronprom’s supervisory board. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council considers military-industrial complex reform

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine considered at its meeting the issue of reforming the military-industrial complex. — Ukrinform.

Poroshenko calls for amending laws to make state military purchases more transparent

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called for changes in legislation to eliminate excessive secrecy of information regarding state defense purchases (referred to as the state defense order).

President of Ukraine wants to declassify part of defense order

The President of Ukraine demands to ensure the widespread use of competitive procedures in defense procurement. — Ukrinform.

Security & Defense Council decides on audit, inspection of Ukroboronprom by foreign experts – news politics | UNIAN

The National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine has decided on an audit and inspection of state-run Ukroboronprom Concern and its enterprises by foreign experts. The government is also tasked to consider the creation of a central executive agency to implement state policy in the military-industrial sector and manage state-owned military industrial facilities.

UAWire – US ambassador calls for audit of Ukrainian defense industry conglomerate

US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch believes that an audit of the Ukrainian state defense industry concern Ukroboronprom will assist the …

Prosecutor General: 480 criminal proceedings launched into violations at Ukroboronprom enterprises since 2014 – news ukraine | UNIAN

Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko claims that since 2014, some 480 criminal proceedings have been reported to the Unified Register of Pre-Trial Investigations. Lutsenko says 112 people are now suspects in these cases.

NABU conducts around 20 searches involving suspects in ‘defense sector’ corruption case, incl. residences of Oleh, Ihor Hladkovsky – Sytnyk

The National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) conducted a number of searches of suspects named in the investigative journalist story about corruption in Ukraine’s defense production sector. They included searches at the residences of ex-First Deputy Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Oleh Hladkovsky and his son Ihor, NABU Director Artem Sytnyk has said.

Court arrests SpetsTechnoExport director, four ex-officials

Director of state-run enterprise “SpetsTechnoExport”, which is part of the State Concern “Ukroboronprom”,  Vladyslav Belbas has been arrested with an alternative of bail set at UAH 7 million (about $260,000). — Ukrinform.

SpetsTechnoExport director arrested in defense embezzlement case, bail set at $260,000 – news politics | UNIAN

Director of state-run SpetsTechnoExport Enterprise Vladyslav Belbas has been arrested in keeping with a court ruling in a case related to large-scale embezzlement in the defense industry, and bail was set at UAH 7 million, or nearly $260,000. He was detained by NABU on March 4.

Weeks Before Ukraine Election, U.S. Envoy Urges Firing Of Top Anticorruption Official

The U.S. ambassador to Kyiv has called on Ukrainian authorities to fire the country’s special anticorruption prosecutor and tackle its corruption problem.

Embezzlemet in Ukraine’s army: All you need to know about scandalous investigation

Oleg Gladkovsky is a 49-year-old Ukrainian manager, entrepreneur, and politician. His surname was Svynarchuk, but in 2014 he changed it to Gladkovsky

Hackers trying more often to gain access to computers of state officials as elections near

The number of cases of targeted spamming and phishing messages to state officials is increasing as the presidential elections near, Ukraine’s Cyber Police has said.

Ukraine’s Security Service detains hacker hired to interfere in operation of state bodies

Ukraine’s Security Service arrested hacker hired by Russia to interfere with Ukrainian state establishments

Party head said caught trying to bribe presidential candidate – LB.ua news portal

Party head said caught trying to bribe presidential candidate. His accomplice is at large. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Two arrested for trying to bribe presidential candiadte Tymoshenko to quit election. PHOTOS

07.03.19 12:12 – Two arrested for trying to bribe presidential candiadte Tymoshenko to quit election. PHOTOS Ukraine’s prosecutor-general Yuriy Lutsenko says two people have been arrested for trying to bribe Yurii Tymoshenko into dropping him run for president. View photo news.

Lutsenko: MP from Batkivschyna Party Dubil behind attempt to blackmail, bribe presidential candidate Yuriy Tymoshenko

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has said Batkivschyna Party member and Member of Parliament Valeriy Dubil is the organizer of an attempt at blackmail and bribe presidential candidate and Member of Parliament (People’s Front Party faction) Yuriy Tymoshenko to quit the race.

Yulia Tymoshenko demands name of Yuriy Tymoshenko be removed from ballots

Ukrainian Batkivschyna party leader and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko has suggested that Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko bar presidential candidate Yuriy Tymoshenko from the election race.

Zelensky says several criminal cases against him, provocations planned in LPR

Showman and presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky has said that provocations and several criminal cases against him are being planned in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR).

Wannabe prez Zelensky as Kolomoisky’s bargaining chip in struggle for his lost business

And Kolomoisky is unlikely to easily accept the idea of buying his own bank

Kryvonos quits presidential race in Poroshenko’s favor

07.03.19 13:34 – Kryvonos quits presidential race in Poroshenko’s favor Deputy commander of the Ukrainian Special Operations Forces and presidential candidate Serhii Kryvonos has announced that he is withdrawing from the presidential election in favor of incumbent head of state Petro Poroshenko. View news.

SBU counterintelligence detained Kharkiv City Council official who spied for Russia

07.03.19 14:40 – SBU counterintelligence detained Kharkiv City Council official who spied for Russia Representative of SBU’s Counterintelligence Department Volodymyr Naidiuk says a Russian spy, who turned out to be the head of a Kharkiv City Council department, has been detained. View news.

Ukraine’s Security Service detains official suspected of cooperation with Russian special services

Ukraine’s SBU arrested Kharkiv official allegedly for ties with Russian special services

Ukraine’s economy growing faster than international experts predicted – Rozenko

Ukraine’s economy is growing faster than international financial institutions predicted, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Rozenko has stated. — Ukrinform.

Ambassador Betsa discusses ways to expand presence of Ukrainian business in Estonia

Ukraine’s Ambassador to Estonia Mariana Betsa discussed with the leadership of the Estonian Association of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises the possibility of expanding the presence of Ukrainian business in the country. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine Urged To Protect Women’s Solidarity Events From Violent Attacks

Amnesty International is urging the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that participants in events marking International Women’s Day on March 8 are “protected from violence.”

U.S. says tolerance, restraint key principles for people with different religious affiliations – news politics | UNIAN

The U.S. says tolerance and restraint are key principles for people with different religious affiliations. The U.S. government supports all Ukrainians’ ability to “worship as they choose.” The U.S. says tolerance and restraint are key principles for people with different religious affiliations. “The U.S. government supports all Ukrainians’ ability to worship as they choose. Tolerance and restraint are key principles for people with different religious affiliations to be able to live together and prosper,” the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine wrote on Twitter, following the visit of St. Sophia Cathedral by United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale. As UNIAN reported earlier, the Unification Council of members of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches in Kyiv on December 15 elected Metropolitan of Pereyaslavsky and Bila Tserkva from the then Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate Epifaniy (also known as Epiphanius I) as head of the new local Orthodox church in Ukraine.

Two Mormons Detained In Russian Black Sea Port, Amid Religious Clampdown

Russian law enforcement officials have detained two members of the Mormon church in the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk on unspecified charges.

2 American Mormons detained in Russia – CNN

Two US citizens have been detained in the southern Russian city of Novorossiysk, the Russian Foreign Ministry told CNN on Wednesday.

Two US Latter-Day Saints detained in Russia since Friday, church says | Fox News

The Mormon church says two of its U.S. members are being detained by Russian authorities, and its officials are criticizing the move as disturbing and unwarranted.

Two Americans detained in Russia for alleged violation of social-religious laws

Two American members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were detained in Russia Wednesday, the nation’s Foreign Ministry said.

Two American Mormons ‘detained in Russia since Friday’ | Daily Mail Online

The young volunteers, said to include Kole Brodowski, pictured, were imprisoned by authorities Friday evening ‘while engaged in a meeting at a local meetinghouse’, the church says.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: One in Four Russians of All Faiths Says Moscow Patriarchate Interferes Where It Shouldn’t, New Survey Finds

Paul Goble Staunton, March 6 – Twenty-seven percent of Muslims, 28 percent of Catholics and Protestants, and 24 percent of Orthodox believers in Russia say the Moscow Patriarchate gets involved where it shouldn’t, although only slightly smaller shares in each case say they favor an increase in its influence on the Kremlin, according to a new Public Opinion Foundation poll. These figures suggest that the Moscow Patriarchate’s activism on many issues offends followers of other faiths as well as some Russian Orthodox but that there is some support among all religious groups for having the Moscow Patriarchate take the lead in promoting religious values in society. These figures are appended at the end of an article by Milena Faustova in NG-Religii today which discusses the controversies now swirling in Russia over just how many Russians are followers of this or that faith and especially concerning the differences between poll results and the claims of leaders of religious communities (ng.ru/ng_religii/2019-03-05/10_460_opros.html). Measuring religious belief is almost impossible and the meaning of identification with this or that faith varies widely. Some will say they follow a faith but only because it is a national or cultural marker, as is typical with Orthodoxy and Islam in Russia while others will identify as believers only if they in fact take an active part in religious life (Protestants and Catholics). Moreover, the number of people who will say they are followers of one or another religion to pollster depends to a great degree on the way in which questions are posed. Consequently, different polls yield different results; and all sides in this debate can point to some survey that they like and others that they don’t. The current controversy over religious adherence in Russia has been triggered by a Public Opinion Foundation survey which reported that 65 percent of Russians were Orthodox, “no more than seven percent” Muslims, and that only one percent were Western Christians. It also said that 21 percent of Russians do not consider themselves believers at all. The Moscow Patriarchate regularly insists that about 80 percent of the Russian population is Orthodox, but experts on religion like Roman Lunkin of the Institute of Europe say that figure is wildly inflated. They note that a Sreda poll in 2012 found that only 41 percent of Russians identify with the ROC MP and only single digits take part in religious life. Muslim leaders too are convinced that Russian polls routinely understate the number of followers of Islam. Gulnur Gaziyeva of the Union of Muftis of Russia (SMR) says that in 2005, Moscow officials said there were 24 million Muslims in Russia on the basis of the 2002 census; but that number disappeared – and since then officials have used only he figure of 14 million. They have done so even though census figures show that Muslim peoples have continued to grow in number. Moreover, all Russian government figures contradict the conclusions of the Saudis who say there are “no fewer than 24 million” Muslims in Russia and allocate haj slots on that basis. Lunkin agrees that the seven percent figure for Muslims is too low, perhaps, he suggests, because the Public Opinion Foundation did not sample sufficiently in historically Islamic regions. He also says that Muslim believers are far more active in the religious life of mosques than Orthodox Christians are in churches. According to Lunkin, the figures the Foundation gives for Catholics and Protestants are more adequate in one way: the one percent of Russians who follow Western Christian faiths declare they are members of these faiths if and only if they actually practice. Looked at from that perspective, one percent of all Russians in these faiths is actually a large number. Bishop Konstantin Bendas, a senior churchman with the Russian United Union of Evangelical Christians (Pentecostals), says that his organization surveyed Russians recently to determine how many Russians actually participate in religious life of the organizations they say they identify with or are members of. That survey found that only 9.5 percent of Russians are active in church life. The other 90 percent, the bishop says, know about religion and may have some views about it but are not really part of their religions. In that context, the one percent of Russians who say they are actually Protestants or Catholics is actually more than 10 percent of the genuinely religious. Muslims also form a higher share of active believers, but the Russian Orthodox a much lower one. Consequently, the Catholics and Protestants may equal the number of active Orthodox; and the Muslims may exceed all three Christian groups taken together. If that calculation is correct, the religious balance in Russia has really changed even if the Kremlin acts as if it hasn’t.