Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (117)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russian rejection of START. Modified OSCAR SSGN to carry 6x Status 6 100MT+ doomsday weapons. HoR passes multiple bills targeting Russia and the Vozhd’s money, and Crimea Annexation Non-recognition Act. More on Congressional invite to NATO SECGEN. More on the European Parliament resolution dumping partnership relationship with Russia. Polish Pres Duda warns of Russian aerial intrusions, predicting Russian aircraft over European capitals if Russia is not opposed. Multiple reports on Nordstream 2, including comments on EP resolution. Novoprudsky on the Great Firewall of Russia, its necessity to save the Putin regime, and its unimplementability. Nikolayev on how regime war hysteria further exacerbates existing downward demographic trends for ethnic Russians – with no money, collapsed healthcare and the risk of impending war, couples do not want to start families, and the elderly die earlier.

SECSTATE correctly observes Russian agenda in Crimea and Donbas included theft of Ukrainian oil and gas reserves – the liberated area of Donbas contains what has been called Europe’s largest shale gas deposit, unusable as it is exposed to Russian artillery. LtGen Hodges comments on the risk that unopposed, Russia may attempt to annex Odessa and move into Romania. Update on lapsing of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Ukraine and Russia. US defense appropriation includes USD250M of aid to Ukraine. Updates on POWs and Azov Sea – maritime harassment campaign continues. Tsipko on how Russian historians understood during the 1950s that the primary Ukrainian agenda for three centuries was always separation from Russia.

Donbas update. SBU takes down major GRU bot farm. Capabilities and defense industry update.

Election update – Pres Poroshenko’s numerous enemies are working hard to make him lose. Politics / economy update.

OCU and ROC updates – Russia is working its proxies hard.


New New START a Nonstarter: Russian Ambassador – Defense One

The last major arms control agreement between Russia and the United States receives another blow.

Russia says it’s going to arm a secretive submarine with 6 nuclear ‘doomsday’ devices

Russia has repeatedly threatened the US and Europe with the weapon, which it said it could park off a coast and detonate at a time of its choosing.

Russia: Project 09852 Nuclear Torpedo-Carrying Sub to Enter Service in 2020 | The Diplomat

Russia’s first submarine capable of launching the Poseidon nuclear-tipped torpedo will reportedly be operational next year.

Oscar-class submarine – Wikipedia

Project 949 (Granit) and Project 949A (Antey) are Soviet Navy/Russian Navy cruise missile submarines (NATO reporting names: Oscar I and Oscar II respectively). Project 949 submarines were the largest cruise missile submarines in service, until the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines were converted to carry cruise missiles in 2007. They are the fourth largest class of submarines in displacement and length. Only the Typhoon-class Soviet/Russian submarines, the American Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines and the Russian Borei-class submarines are larger.

UAWire – US to start producing components for missiles prohibited by Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

The US intends to start producing components for ground-based cruise missiles after it withdraws from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) …

House passes series of measures hitting Russia, Putin | TheHill

The House passed a series of bills on Tuesday meant to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable for his country’s actions, including a measure condemning the Russian leader and his government for their alleged roles in covering up the 201

House votes to investigate Vladimir Putin’s ‘ill-gotten wealth’

The House on Tuesday passed legislation that would require the Trump administration to investigate Russian President Vladimir Putin’s wealth.

U.S. Lawmakers Overwhelmingly Condemn Kremlin For Nemtsov Killing

U.S. lawmakers have passed a measure that sharply criticizes Vladimir Putin for what it says is the Kremlin’s involvement in the killing of opposition activist Boris Nemtsov and the targeting of …

Lawmakers to invite NATO chief to address Congress

The invitation comes at a tense time in the alliance.

Pelosi invites NATO secretary-general to address Congress – CNNPolitics

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday invited NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to address a joint session of Congress next month.

Congressional Leaders Invite NATO Chief to Speak, in Jab at Trump – The New York Times

Congressional leaders extended a bipartisan invitation on Monday to the head of NATO to address Congress, underscoring support for the alliance often criticized by President Trump.

Putin plans visiting Crimea on anniversary of annexation of peninsula

Putin intends visiting Crimea on fifth anniversary of the Ukrainian peninsula’s annexation

U.S. House of Representatives passes Crimea Annexation Non-recognition Act

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Crimea Annexation Non-recognition Act by an overwhelming majority. — Ukrinform.

U.S. House of Representatives backs Crimea Annexation Non-recognition Act – news politics | UNIAN

The United States House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the United States Congress, has backed the Crimea Annexation Non-recognition Act. The Act was backed by 427 congressmen.

U.S. House of Reps approves law prohibiting Washington from recognizing Crimea as Russian

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, by a majority of votes, supported a bill that bans the United States government from recognizing Crimea as Russian territory.

U.S. House of Representatives approves bill on ban to recognize Crimea as Russian

US Congress House of Representatives has approved the draft bill, which defines the non-recognition of the sovereignty of the Russian Federation over Crimea

UAWire – The US House of Representatives prohibits recognition of Russia’s annexation of the Crimea

The US House of Representatives adopted a bill prohibiting the United States Government from recognizing Russia’s annexation of the Crimea as …

U.S. law on non-recognition of Crimea’s annexation not to influence Russia, – official

Russia thinks that the American law, which defines non-recognition of the sovereignty of the Russian Federation over Crimea as the policy of the U.S., will not have any real consequences as Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council Konstantin Kosachev reported on Facebook. “The approval of the law, which bans the U.S. to recognize Crimea as Russian by Congress House of Representatives, of course, will not have any consequences either for the real status of crimes or the international environment around it. But such a goal was not put. The majority of the acts of the American lawmakers on Russia are adopted only for the internal use,” Kosachev said. He is sure that “if Congress is forced to ban the recognition of Crimea as Russia for purpose, it means that, firstly, such possibility is not hypothetical anymore and, secondly, they are aware that Crimea can be considered Ukrainian only in the senseless attacks not in the reality”.

UAWire – US Ambassador to Russia intends to boycott St. Petersburg Economic Forum due to Michael Calvey’s arrest

It is unlikely that US Ambassador to Moscow Jon Huntsman will attend the St. Petersburg Economic Forum while Michael Calvey, the head of the …

Russia can no longer be considered a ‘strategic partner’, say MEPs | News | European Parliament

On Tuesday, MEPs agreed that the EU should remain open to imposing further sanctions if Russia continues to violate international law. On Tuesday, MEPs agreed that the EU should remain open to imposing further sanctions if Russia continues to violate international law. Parliament adopted on Tuesday a resolution by 402 votes to 163, with 89 abstentions, assessing the current state of EU-Russia political relations. Sanctions must be prolonged MEPs note that new areas of tension between the EU and Russia have arisen since 2015, including Russia’s intervention in Syria, interference in countries such as Libya and the Central African Republic, and continuous aggressive action in Ukraine. They also highlight Russia’s support for anti-EU parties and far-right movements, and that it keeps meddling in political elections and violating human rights in its own state. Taking stock of these violations of international law, MEPs stress that the EU should stand ready to adopt further sanctions against Russia, especially those targeting individuals. Sanctions should be proportionate to the threats posed by Russia, they add. In December last year, the Council prolonged economic sanctions until 31 July 2019. Addressing global challenges together The resolution underlines that the EU should review its current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Russia and limit cooperation to areas of common interest. Global challenges, such as climate change, energy security, digitalization, artificial intelligence and the fight against terrorism call for selective engagement, MEPs say. Closer relations will only be possible if Russia fully implements the so-called Minsk agreements to end the war in eastern Ukraine and starts respecting international law, says the text. Response to disinformation MEPs condemn Russia‘s disinformation campaigns and cyber attacks, aimed at increasing tensions within the EU and its member states. They are deeply concerned that the EU‘s response to propaganda and disinformation is insufficient and should be further strengthened, in particular before the upcoming European elections in May 2019. In this regard, the funding and human resources for the EU‘s East Stratcom Task Force must be substantially increased, they stress. Threat to the neighbors Parliament strongly denounces Russia‘s violation of the airspace of EU states, especially in the Baltic Sea region, where territorial waters and the airspace have been repeatedly breached. This disregard for international rules poses a threat to Russia‘s neighbors in the Black Sea, Baltic Sea and Medditeranean regions. Nord Stream 2 MEPs also reiterate their concerns that the Nord Stream-2 project could reinforce the EU‘s dependence on Russian gas supplies and threaten the EU internal market. Support to authoritarian regimes and disruptive political forces MEPs are concerned about Russia‘s continuous support for authoritarian regimes and countries such as North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and Syria. They also regret that in order to destabilize EU candidate countries, Russia gives its support to organizations and political forces like those opposing the Prespa Agreement that has resolved the long-standing dispute on the name between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece. Russia‘s economic warfare MEPs condemn illegal financial activities and money laundering by Russia, potentially amounting to hundreds of billions of euros being laundered through the EU every year, which poses a threat to European security and stability. The report underlines that EU countries concerned must end all ‘golden visa/passport’ programmes, which benefit Russian oligarchs. Quote “The time for nice and diplomatic language is over. There is very little room for any cooperation as long as Russia continues to occupy parts of Ukraine and attacks other European countries”, , said rapporteur Sandra Kalniete (EPP, LV).

No More ‘Business As Usual,’ Russia Not A Strategic Partner, European Parliament Declares

The European Parliament has overwhelmingly voted to approve a report stating that Russia “can no longer be considered a ‘strategic partner’” and that “the EU cannot envisage a gradual return to ‘business as usual’ until Russia fully implements the [2015] Minsk Agreement.

European Parliament deprives Russia of strategic partner status

EU does not consider Russia as a strategic partner anymore

Russian airplanes could appear over Warsaw, Prague and Berlin, – president of Poland Duda

Without NATO’s reactions to Russian provocations, its aerial forces may soon appear over European cities. It was said by Polish President Andrzej Duda at celebrations in honor of the 20th anniversary of NATO expansion o the east, Censor.NET reports citing PolskieRadio24. He admitted that NATO should respond to Russian provocations such as airspace violation in NATO member states. Duda thinks that in such a way Russia can test the reaction of NATO. “If these actions remain untrammeled, tomorrow we will have Russian planes over Prague, over Warsaw, and the day after tomorrow – perhaps over Berlin,” the Polish president warned. He states that in recent years people in Poland understood the importance of NATO membership. “The geopolitical situation from 2008 to 2014, when Russia first attacked Georgia, and then Ukraine, has triggered the return of the old associations from the past – the imperial policy of Russia, the persecution of the West, the expansion of the sphere of influence, the occupation of more countries, and so on. .. And that is why we like NATO in Poland so much,” said the Polish leader.

Three Russian military jets approach Latvian sea border

Latvian army reported another fly-by of the Russian military aircraft near this country’s airspace. The National Armed Forces of the Latvian Republic reported that on Twitter. The Russian jets were spotted over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea. ‘On March 12, the patrol jets identified two Sukhoi Su-27s and a Tupolev Tu-134 of Russia’s Armed Forces over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea’, reads the message.

Russia’s Pipe Dreams Are Europe’s Nightmare – Foreign Policy

Putin’s plans to run the TurkStream pipeline through the Balkans won’t end well.

EU confirms Nord Stream 2 threatening its internal market – news economics | UNIAN

The European Parliament has confirmed a possibility of higher EU dependency on Russian gas supplies and a growing threat for the EU internal market in case the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project is implemented. The EP says it no longer considers the Russian Federation its strategic partner.

Russia no longer EU’s “strategic partner” – journalist – news world | UNIAN

Brussels reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Rikard Jozwiak has said the European Parliament voted in favor of a report stating that Russia can’t be considered “a strategic partner.” An amendment calling for the resumption of the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee has failed narrowly.

The strange case of a ‘European aircraft carrier’

An idea out of left field has Germany’s defense intelligentsia abuzz. COLOGNE, Germany — France and Germany should band together and build a European aircraft carrier to boost the continent’s defense capabilities, according to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a confidante and possible successor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Kramp-Karrenbauer, who leads the Christian Democratic Union since Merkel stepped down from that job last fall, pitched the idea in a Sunday commentary in the Germany newspaper Die Welt. The article was meant as a response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s plea days earlier toward something of a European renaissance ahead of the European Parliament’s elections in May. “Germany and France already are working on a future European combat aircraft, where other nations are invited to join,” Kramp-Karrenbauer wrote, referring to the Future Combat Air System, or FCAS. “As a next step, we could start the symbolic project of building an aircraft carrier to give shape to the role of the European Union as a global force for security and peace.” The proposal comes at a time when the armed forces here are preoccupied with maintaining a basic level of readiness. While the reasons for the crisis are debatable — some blame management faults, others point to underfunding — this much is clear: The idea of massive power projection by way of an aircraft carrier is squarely outside the country’s national security vernacular. Perhaps that is why some French analysts dismissed Kramp-Karrenbauer’s pitch. “The ‘European aircraft carrier’ is such a ridiculous and meaningless proposal (don’t get me wrong, I can imagine some French politicians having the same ‘idea’) that it does not even deserve a rebuke,” Bruno Tertrais, deputy director at the Paris-based Fondation pour la Recherce Strategique, wrote in an email to Defense News. Ulrike Franke, a London-based defense analyst with the European Council on Foreign Relations, struck a similar chord in a Monday post on Twitter: “I am all for strengthening European capabilities, yes please. … But this appears … not particularly well thought through…?”

UAWire – Estonia puts forward territorial claims against Russia

The city of Ivangorod in Russia’s Leningrad region and part of the Pskov region belonged to the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, and should …

UAWire – European Committee for the Prevention of Torture condemns Russia for human rights abuse in Chechnya

The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture accused Russia of not cooperating on the situation in Chechnya and two other republics of …

Russian Bills Banning ‘Fake News,’ Insults Head To Putin For Signature

Legislation enabling Russian authorities to block websites and hand out punishment for “fake news” and material deemed insulting to the state or the public is headed to President Vladimir Putin’s d…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘The Kremlin Firewall is Doomed But without It, the Kremlin Itself Is,’ Novoprudsky Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 12 – The Kremlin’s efforts to isolate the Russian-language Internet from the rest of the world on the Chinese model are doomed because of Russia’s small size, small market, and dilatoriness in creating alternatives to Western Internet platforms as Beijing as done, Semen Novoprudsky says. But the Russian leadership can be expected to continue to try because if views the Internet, the last media space it does not control as a threat that could give rise to a color revolution in Russia and threaten its rule, the Russian commentator says (spektr.press/cheburnet-offline-pochemu-kremlevskij-fajervol-obrechen-a-bez-nego-obrechen-sam-kreml/). In short, Novoprudsky says, “the Kremlin firewall is doomed to fail, but without the imposition of one, the Kremlin itself is doomed” – and what may be even more important, the regime appears to recognize this even though it hasn’t come up with any new strategies but instead insists on using its old ones that clearly do not work. That reality makes the contest between the Kremlin and its lawmakers who want to isolate the Runet from the world and the large number of Russians who want to see the free flow of information continue, some of whom went into the streets to protest on Sunday, far more important and fateful than many assume, the commentator argues. “The chief cause of the meeting for Internet freedom,” he says “was not even the legislative prohibition on offending the Russian powers that be and state symbols or disseminating fake news as socially significant information.” Instead, it was about whether the Russian security services will make further inroads in controlling the Internet. Exactly a month ago, the Duma approved on first reading a bill that would create what Russians are calling “’a sovereign Internet’” (svoboda.org/a/29765367.html). That measure presupposes the complete isolation of the Runet in the name of defending it against hacker attacks but in fact allows the security services to intervene more broadly than ever before. This measure has been a long time coming. Already in April 2014, a Russian senator proposed creating a domestic Russian Internet “’in order to get out from under the wings of the US.’” That prompted the Presidential Administration to create a working group to come up with ways to expand government control over the Russian Internet space. That group did not move quickly because some in the Presidential Administration were opposed, but by 2017, the FSB declared war against the popular messenger system Telegram of Pavel Durov. It secured a court decision imposing a massive fine on the system, but it wasn’t able to close the telegram channels down. At the same time, the Russian authorities stepped up their efforts to block opposition sites and to create their own messengers on the Internet – the so-called “trolls” – to spread the Kremlin’s message across a platform where other voices were and remain dominant (rbc.ru/business/30/12/2017/5a465d969a79472a87a3c920). Moscow’s goals were completely “logical,” Novoprudsky says. “The Internet is the only part of the information space where it is still possible to actively present another point of view and where the Kremlin propaganda machine does not have unqualified dominance over what Russians hear.” Moscow chose as its role model on how to recover its position what the Chinese have done. But “the chances of Russia repeating the experience of Beijing are extremely small for economic, technological and demographic reasons,” the commentator says. “The most important global Internet companies and social networks are ready to subordinate themselves to the demands of the Chinese authorities, but they are not prepared to do the same in Russia above all because of the enormous difference in the size of the markets of these two countries.” Moreover, Novoprudsky points out, “China before beginning to introduce limitations on foreign Internet networks put out its own analogues to the most important world Internet services, like AliExpress for Amazon, WeChat for WhatsApp, SinaWeibo for Twitter, and so one and one. Russia has done none of this (kompravda.eu/daily/26225/3108639/). Consequently, in its drive for control in this sector, the Kremlin starts in a hole and is unlikely to be able to climb out of it despite the fact that its failure to do so will have the most negative impact on the Putin regime’s ability to control the situation in Russia in the future.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Economic Crisis, Talk of War Making Russia’s Demographic Situation Worse, Nikolayev Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 12 – The demographic numbers for Russia in January 2019 are in, Igor Nikolayev says, and they show that the country’s “demographic pit is becoming a chasm,” the result in the first instance of the economic crisis and the Kremlin’s talk of war and one that is hitting ethnic Russians harder than anyone else, Igor Nikolayev says. In the middle of this decade, the Kremlin celebrated the first positive demographic numbers since the end of Soviet times with births up, deaths down, and migration boosting the total population. Then things went off track and now, the economist continues, all three are heading the wrong direction (echo.msk.ru/blog/nikolaev_i/2386915-echo/). Russian officials seek to blame this as a echo of the 1990s when low birthrates meant that fewer future mothers were born, but that is a trend that was knowable in advance and should have given pause to the upbeat claims of several years ago. Now, however, Nikolayev says, it is clear that the chief culprits are the economic crisis and the talk of war. On the one hand, with falling incomes, people are less willing to take on the additional responsibilities that having children impose and those in other countries do not see the same opportunities in Russia that they saw earlier and thus are not coming in the first place or going home or elsewhere instead or remaining. And on the other, all the talk about Russia being “a besieged fortress” and war being a very real possibility hardly creates the kind of conditions in which potential parents are going to think about having children. Even if they want them, they seem likely to put off having babies until the situation clarifies itself. Last year, according to Rosstat, “the size of the population of the country fell by 93,500. Such an absolute decline had not happened in Russia since 2008 when the population fell 10,300.” Not only were there fewer births and more deaths, some the result of the aging population, but immigration was insufficient to cover the decline in Russia itself. Figures provided by the central ZAGS register for January 2019 are even worse: “the number of children born in January 2019 fell by 10.4 percent compared to January 2018.” The natural decline of the population for one month alone increased from 30,308 in January 2018 to 44,307 in January this year, Nikolayev says. What all this means, the economist continues, is that the demographic situation in 2019 will “significantly worsen.” Another indication of that is this: “In January 2018, there were 49,500 marriages; but in January 2019, there were only 31,185, a decline of 36.4 percent. “ Of course, children are born out of wedlock as well, “but all the same …” The government talks about the aid it is giving to parents, but this is insufficient, Nikolayev argues. Unless the economic situation improves and unless the government stops talking about war and about Russia being at risk of being destroyed, Russians are not going to have more children. They are going to have ever fewer – and the population will fall. Within these figures are ones that will disturb many ethnic Russians even more: The regions of the country with the highest death rates in 2018 are those who are primarily populated by ethnic Russians (rg.ru/2019/03/12/reg-skfo/v-kakih-regionah-samaia-nizkaia-smertnost-v-rossii.html). That means that as the overall population of the country declines, the share of ethnic Russians in it will decline by even more, making the Kremlin’s claims on that point unsustainable as well, as some Russian nationalist commentators are already pointing out (zen.yandex.ru/media/burckina_new/o-vymiranii-istoricheskoi-rossii-5c85f0730f8f1500b33866b8). And some analysts are even suggesting that the real figures are far worse than those Rosstat has put out (apn-spb.ru/opinions/article29836.htm). If that is true, then the real demographic picture of Russia under Vladimir Putin is far worse than even the most convinced pessimists have ever suggested.

Pompeo calls Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to control oil and gas reserves

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves. — Ukrinform. He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports. Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage. The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran. Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals. “We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe. Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Pompeo: Russia using gas pipelines to put political pressure on Ukrainians – news politics | UNIAN

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the Russian Federation is using gas pipelines to put political pressure on the people of Ukraine. The United States doesn’t want its European allies to be hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project. “We all know the story in Russia. It invaded Ukraine to gain access to oil and gas reserves. It in turn deprived Ukraine of the possibility of developing those resources for itself and using its pipelines and its networks to bring energy to its own people. Rather, it uses those pipelines to put pressure – political pressure – on the people of Ukraine,” Pompeo said at CERA Energy Week’s “Reshaping the Energy Future” conference in Houston, Texas, on March 12, 2019. “We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project any more than we ourselves want to depend on Venezuela for our oil supplies,” he said. “This need, this desperate need for diversification is why we exported more crude oil last year to countries all across the globe,” Pompeo added.

Russia might try occupying Odesa, Romania over next several years, – Hodges

Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, the ex-commanding officer of U.S. troops in Europe, expressed confidence that there’s a threat of a war with China over the next decade. Besides, there’s a chance that in the next few years, Russia might try occupying Odesa and the territory of Romania. He said that at a security conference timed to the 20th anniversary of Czech, Hungarian and Polish membership in the NATO. ‘The United States needs a very strong European pillar. I think in 15 years — it’s not inevitable — but it is a very strong likelihood that we will be at war with China’, he said as quoted by Česke Noviny. The Lieutenant General admitted that NATO ‘should demonstrate Russia its power’. He also urged Germany, one of the key NATO members to increase the defense expenditures. Hodges also added that terrorism poses a threat for many human lives; however, NATO member countries should be also keeping an eye on potential threats from Russia and China. He insisted the Alliance needs to bolster its opportunities in the Black Sea. ‘This is the area where Russia has been executing the largest and the most powerful aggression. If the West does nothing to the annexation of Crimea, it is quite possible that Odesa would be the next city to be occupied – and, perhaps Romania as well’, Hodges concluded.

General Hodges: If West does nothing with annexation of Crimea, Odesa may be next

Europe and the United States should strengthen the transatlantic partnership in the light of possible spread of Russian aggression. — Ukrinform. Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, former commanding general of the United States Army Europe, made a corresponding statement at the conference in Prague dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the membership of the Czech Republic and other Visegrad Four countries in NATO, the Czech news channel STK reports. “If we are not fully united, it will immediately induce them [Russians] to resort to aggression,” the General said, adding that Moscow would use any “cracks” in the Alliance. Hodges is convinced that NATO needs to build up capacities in the Black Sea region. “It is the area where Russia commits the greatest and strongest acts of aggression. If the West does nothing with the annexation of Crimea, it is quite possible that Odesa and, probably, Romania will be occupied next,” he said. According to Hodges, the Alliance must clearly understand the threats it faces in order to continue to be successful. In this context, the General noted that terrorism is “dreadful”, but NATO must also counter potential threats posed by Russia and China. ol

Russia regards termination of Friendship Treaty unsuitable for nations’ interests

Dmitry Peskov believes that termination of the Treaty on Friendship between Ukraine and Russia does not comply with the interests of the other nations

Ukraine’s Deputy PM explains why Friendship Treaty with Russia not terminated ahead of time – news politics | UNIAN

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister on European and Euroatlantic Integration Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze has explained why Ukraine did not terminate the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership with Russia ahead of time. The agreement is valid until March 31, 2019 inclusively.

Foreign Minister about termination of Friendship Treaty with Russia: Ukraine does everything right

Ukrainian side got the note from the Foreign Ministry of Russia on Kyiv’s intention not to continue Friendship Treaty

Russia confirms discontinuation of 1997 Friendship Treaty, – Ukraine’s foreign ministry

Russia confirms that 1997 Friendship Treaty with Ukraine loses effect

U.S. Defense Department asks $250 mln for Ukrainian military in 2020

13.03.19 12:44 – U.S. Defense Department asks $250 mln for Ukrainian military in 2020 The money will be also allocated for replacement of any weapons or defensive articles provided to the Ukrainian government from the inventory of the United States. View news.

U.S. Defense Department asks $250 mln for Ukrainian military in FY 2020 budget request – news politics | UNIAN

The U.S. Department of Defense has asked $250 million for the Ukrainian military and national security forces in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget request. The money will be also allocated for replacement of any weapons or defensive articles provided to the Ukrainian government from the inventory of the United States.

Ukraine, Turkey intend to strengthen naval cooperation in Black Sea

Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak and Turkish Ambassador to Ukraine Yağmur Ahmet Güldere discussed defense cooperation, in particular, its strengthening in the Black Sea region. — Ukrinform.

UAWire – Russian FSB ships escort Ukrainian tugboat through the Sea of Azov

Three ships from the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) escorted the Ukrainian tugboat Korets that entered the Sea of Azov for exercises,  …

UN: Ukrainian sailors detained by Russia could be considered PoWs – LB.ua news portal

UN: Ukrainian sailors detained by Russia could be considered PoWs. A single hostile encounter between the armed forces suffices to trigger the application of international humanitarian law Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

OHCHR calls Ukrainian sailors captured by Russia POWs, urges Moscow to provide them with medical assistance, access to lawyers

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has said Ukrainian sailors captured by the Russian Federation in the Kerch Strait could be considered prisoners of war (POWs) and urged Moscow to provide medical assistance and access to lawyers and consuls.

Ukrainian sailors captured by Russia could be considered POWs – OHCHR – news politics | UNIAN

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has said Ukrainian sailors captured by the Russian Federation in the Kerch Strait could be considered prisoners of war (POWs). Ukrainian crew members are protected by the Third Geneva Convention.

U.S. Embassy: Psychiatric examinations violate rights of captured Ukrainian sailors in Russia

The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine is deeply concerned by Russia’s treatment of the captured Ukrainian sailors. — Ukrinform.

Eight persons to be added to existing sanctions list of EU’s ‘Azov sanctions’ – source in EU Council

The eight persons, sanctioned by the European Union because of armed aggression against Ukrainian sailors in the Kerch Strait, will be added to the existing list of individuals sanctioned by the EU in March 2014 for actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.

French politicians to visit Crimea

A group of French politicians led by a former parliamentarian is planning to visit Russian-occupied Crimea to mark the fifth anniversary of the annexation of the peninsula, according to Crimea.Realities. — Ukrinform.

Deputy Chairman of Crimean Tatar Mejlis: Nuclear warheads most likely deployed in occupied Crimea

It is most likely that several nuclear warheads have been already deployed in the annexed Crimea in view of active militarization of the peninsula and the restoration of military bases, particularly in Sevastopol. — Ukrinform.

UAWire – Kremlin: Russia increased its military presence in annexed Crimea

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu stated at a meeting of the State’s Duma Committee on Defense that Russia strengthened its military …

Over 140,000 Crimean residents got Ukrainian biometric passports

Crimeans receive Ukrainian international passports

Talking Crimea 5 Years After Annexation: Simon Ostrovsky

This March, we’re marking five years since Russia’s illegal occupation and annexation of the Crimean peninsula. In February 2014, Russian soldiers without any

Yelchenko thanks Kaljulaid for supporting Ukraine

Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations Volodymyr Yelchenko thanked President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid for her support of Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Only Reinforced Ukrainians’ Desire to Look Away from Moscow, Tsipko Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 12 – Many Russians think that had Moscow not annexed Crimea and begun its military interference in Ukraine in 2014, Ukrainians and Russians could have remained fraternal peoples, Aleksandr Tsipko says; but these actions only reinforced the longstanding desire of Ukrainians to escape Moscow’s orbit and ally with those who oppose Russia. Russian have begun to think about how it happened that those they called “’brother Ukrainians’” had turned into “a hostile nation.,” the Moscow scholar says. To be sure, now at least, Russian media aren’t calling them fascists any longer; but they are now treated as “a tribe lost by us, the allies of hostile America” (mk.ru/politics/2019/03/12/zabyt-ob-imperii-pochemu-molodye-ukraincy-ne-khotyat-druzhit-s-rossiey.html). Moreover and not unimportantly, Moscow television is now speaking about “two generations of young Ukrainians who ‘don’t want to look towards Russia.” But beneath such propagandist treatment, Tsipko says, there is now “something new: a desire to recognize our own guilt in the destruction of the Russian world and in Kyiv’s flight from Moscow.” “In my view,” the philosophic commentator continues, there is something missing in the analysis of many. Too often, Russians today blame the exit of Ukraine from the Russian orbit on the machinations of the United States without asking whether the US did so by telling the Ukrainians exactly what they wanted to hear. It has turned out, he says, that “the spirit of the Ukrainian in fact always was open to the lure of the West which it has lost with its specific forms of behavior and freedom.” One reason that Russians can’t face up to that reality is that “we can in no way ever agree” to what the Ukrainians have always wanted. Almost 60 years ago, émigré Russian historian Nikolay Ulyanov, in his book The Origins of Ukrainian Separatism, argued that the core of the national consciousness of Ukrainians is being anti-Russian and has been at least from the 17th century. Thus, Ukrainian interest in moving away from Russia need not ever be explained by the actions of outside powers. Already at the start of the 1990s, Tsipko says, “it was obvious that if the Ukrainian SSR left the USSR, it would never be pro-Russian” because Ukrainians would always be worried about Muscovite revanchism. And because that is the case, it was also obvious that Ukraine would seek to ally itself with “the main enemy of Russia,” now the US but in the past other powers as well such as Germany in 1918. Russia’s actions in 2014 and since that time have exacerbated such feelings among Ukrainians, but they did not create them. And recognition of that reality is the beginning of wisdom for Russians who hope to fashion some modus vivendi with Ukraine at some point in the future.

Russian-led forces launch three attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas

Russian occupation forces launched three attacks, using the weapons banned under the Minsk agreements, on positions of Ukrainian troops in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in eastern Ukraine over the past day. — Ukrinform.

Three attacks by Russian proxies yesterday, no losses among Ukrainian soldiers, two terrorists destroyed

13.03.19 07:12 – Three attacks by Russian proxies yesterday, no loses among Ukrainian soldiers, two terrorists destroyed March 12, the Russian occupying forces violated the cease-fire three times, using weapons banned by the Minsk agreements View news.

“DPR” militants shoot “commander,” flee to “LPR” – news war | UNIAN

Terrorists of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) have shot their “commander” after a reprimand for drinking alcohol and fled to the other self-proclaimed “Luhansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”). No official confirmation has followed yet. Terrorists of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) have shot their “commander” after a reprimand for drinking alcohol and fled to the other self-proclaimed “Luhansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”). Read alsoFormer leader of “DPR election commission” surrenders to Ukraine – MP (Photo) “Militants in the ‘DPR’ shot their commander after he had reprimanded them for drinking alcohol, then they fled to the ‘LPR,'” officer of the 53rd separate mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Anatoliy Shtefan wrote on Facebook on March 12, with reference to a tweet by Anton Semakin. No other details of the incident were reported. No official confirmation has followed yet. As UNIAN reported earlier, member of the Russian-led forces in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, Andrey Grishchenko aka ZAS, was eliminated in Luhansk region on March 7.

Counterintelligence uncovers Russian bot farm in Luhansk – LB.ua news portal

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has uncovered a bot farm under the codename Sapphire set up by the Main Directorate of the Russian General Staff in occupied Luhansk, the head of the SBU’s military counterintelligence, Serhiy Levchenko, has said at a briefing. The information unit consisted of 15 people managed by Ukrainian national Kateryna Vasylina, born 1988. The unit prepared and conducted anti-Ukrainian information campaigns, collected information about top officials of Ukraine and its Armed Forces as well as intelligence. According to investigators, the unit is behind around 12,000 fake stories, including a fake decree of the Defence Ministry allegedly suspending all additional payments to Ukrainian servicemen, calls for antigovernment rallies and the president’s impeachment and so on. The unit created 50 accounts and 130 groups in social networks. The SBU said the main handler of the Sapphire unit was Russian career officer Aleksandr Alekseyevich Sazonov, born 1985, known under the covername of Pavel Bodrov. The SBU has detained four agents of this network in a government-controlled territory of Donbas. They are in custody facing charges of assistance to terrorism, collection and transfer of information about the Armed Forces in the Joint Forces Operation area, and conduct of special information operations.

Cabinet approves bill ratifying agreement with France on drinking water supply in Mariupol

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved a bill on the ratification of a framework agreement between the governments of Ukraine and France on the official support of the project on drinking water supply in Mariupol. — Ukrinform.

Poroshenko dismisses head of SBU in Sumy region – decree

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko by his decree dismissed Vladyslav Kosynsky from the post of head of the Directorate of Ukraine’s SBU State Security Service in Sumy region.

SPAAGM “Pantsir-C1” in 2014 on the Donbass. Video proof

The video has been published online, which is likely to be proved by the use of Russian armies in the territory of Ukraine in the summer of autumn 2014 of the anti-aircraft rocket-gun complex “Panzir-C1”.

All MLRS rockets are moved to hardened storage

In the protected storage facilities of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, 100% of shells were transferred to the rocket jet systems. This was announced at a briefing by the Chief of Arms of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Major General Nikolay Shevtsov. In addition, scarce ammunition inventories were also covered. After the emergence of emergencies in military arsenals, the construction of secure reinforced concrete storage facilities for the containment of ammunition was identified as a priority. “In protected shelters, 178.0 thousand tons of missiles and ammunition were displaced, which allowed the closure of 100% of rockets into rocket rocket systems and scarce ammunition inventories. Recruited about 34 thousand tons of ammunition, “- said Shevtsov. The head of the Central Security Service of the Military Service of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel Mykola Shvets, said that last year, projects for the reconstruction of technical areas of arsenals and bases on which 136 protective reinforced concrete bulk storage facilities would be constructed were developed. Data storage will be equipped with modern fire extinguishing systems, object security alarm systems, video surveillance, early detection system and all necessary for safe storage of missiles and ammunition. In general, the need for secure reinforced concrete storage facilities for the containment of ammunition is 336 units.

UAWire – Poroshenko announces new Ukrainian missile program following collapse of Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty

Following the withdrawal of Russia and the US from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Ukraine intends to develop new missile weaponry, announced Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at a session of the Cherkasy regional development council, Ukrinform reports. “Russia has de facto violated the INF Treaty, and the US has legally withdrawn from it, and we have also been relieved of certain obligations which we complied with previously. We are no longer bound by any restrictions with respect to the flight range of our missiles,” the Ukrainian president said. Poroshenko stressed that Kyiv does not intend to “repeat the errors of the Budapest Memorandum”. This agreement, signed on 5 December 1994 by the leaders of Ukraine, the US, Russia and the UK, guaranteed Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and in exchange, Ukraine had to sign the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty and dispose of its Soviet-era nuclear weapons. “We need high-precision missile weapons with an increased range in order to destroy targets deep in the enemy’s rear. This will make the aggressor more restrained, and our defense more reliable. For me, the safety of Ukrainians is of utmost importance,” Poroshenko remarked. Earlier in March, Poroshenko said that Kyiv is “understanding” of the US’s decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty. “We consider this decision justified in response to the current security situation, both on the European continent and in the world at large,” said Poroshenko, explaining Kyiv’s stance. In December 2018, Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak announced that Kyiv intends to equip its army with domestically produced precision weaponry in the near future.

The President instructed the Design Bureaus to increase the range of Ukrainian missiles

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko set design bureau and defense enterprises to develop high-precision missile weapon of the extended radius of action. “We now task the design bureau, the defense industry – we need a high-precision missile weapon of an increased radius of action, capable in response to aggression to strike the targets far into the enemy’s rear”, – said P.Poroshenko during the visit of 95 separate assault and assault brigades of the assault troops of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Zhytomyr region on Monday. He recalled that until recently, Ukraine adhered to the restrictions in accordance with the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Short-Range Missiles, but after the Russian Federation violated this treaty, Ukraine, as well as its partners, make the necessary conclusions. Earlier, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko said Ukraine did not intend to repeat the mistakes of the Budapest memorandum and plans to develop high-precision missile weapons.

Completed tests of the new BTR-4 version

The two companies will manufacture the BTR-4 using their own production sources

The Armed Forces of Ukraine received IT equipment from the United States

Today, March 12, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine hosted a presentation of the troop control system, implemented through the equipment and information technology provided by the United States government. The ceremony was attended by the United States Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Ukraine Mari Yovanovich, the Chief of the General Staff – the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Viktor Muzhenko, the leadership of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff, as well as representatives of the US armed forces. “The equipment that is installed today should become the core and core of the management system that is being implemented in the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” said Viktor Muzhenko. The equipment of the Main Command Center of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Center for Rapid Response to Cyber ​​Security incidents and the Joint Operations Headquarters Operational Management and Control Center are foreseen. Also, the program includes the creation of kernels of logistic and medical information systems, the informatization of the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the modernization of IT infrastructure to ensure the functioning of the above-mentioned systems and personnel training. “This assistance will help Ukraine’s Armed Forces achieve interoperability with NATO, and will enable Ukrainian units to better prepare for the challenges they face in eastern Ukraine,” Mrs. Mari Yovanovich said.

ROBUST CUPOLA

Ukrainian Aviation Systems (UAS), a privately-run R&D and production company, is a developer and manufacturer of high-quality drag chutes for deceleration of front-line airplanes while landing. Over the years since 2014, Ukrainian industries have been challenged to provide domestic replacements for the components, assemblies, and products that had been sourced from Russian suppliers prior to the onset of Russian military aggression in Eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian Aviation Systems has met this challenge by producing indigenous replacements for aircraft deceleration chutes and airdrop systems. The Company has thus entered the export market with products that compete in quality and price with the ex-Soviet and Russian brands that used to dominate that marketplace previously. Founded in May 2006, the ‘Ukrainian Aviation Systems’ R&D and Production Company is focusing on design engineering, prototype production and industrial production of replacement and assembly parts for aircraft and related systems. Being a full-cycle company, UAS provides a complete design and production package, from concept design to product development, production and marketing. In 2017, the Company obtained certification verifying compliance with quality management requirements according to ISO 9001:2015, which guarantees that the in-house quality management system is committed to providing the highest quality of the products and services provided. The extensive experience and expertise UAS has in the aviation industry enables it to remain aware of the latest technology and market development trends, to adequately prioritize its business activities, participate in global, future-oriented projects, and to respond, in a flexible and timely manner, to market needs. One of the Company’s principal areas of expertise is in the development and production of braking parachute systems for fighter jet airplanes. With a braking parachute, the landing run of an airplane is reduced by 1.5-2 times, resulting in a substantial reduction in the tire and brake wear and tear. Deceleration parachutes are advantageous in that the parachute produced drag force is unaffected by the runway’s current status due to meteorological conditions: no matter whether it is icy or wet concrete runway, the parachute will do its job anyway. A deceleration parachute has a light weight and takes little space when packed. UAS offers aircraft deceleration parachutes that are made from modern, high-quality foreign-brand fabrics based on high modulus para-aramid fibers (Kevlar®, Twaron®). UAS parachutes are reliable and easy to operate, and offer an increased service life compared to rival brands.

Ukroboronprom State Concern could be dissolved, – MP Vinnyk

Provisional investigatory commission of Verkhovna Rada is going to propose a bill on the reformation of Ukroboronprom. It is supposed to dissolve it and to transfer the management of defense enterprises to the government system. The chairman of the Provisional investigatory commission of Verkhovna Rada Ivan Vinnyk told journalists about probes on large-scale corruption in the defense sector of Ukraine in the period from 2004 to 2017, Censor.NET reports citing UNIAN. “The commission will probably come up with a decision, perhaps in the form of a bill on reformation of the Ukroboronprom. There is no intrigue: this commitment has been assumed by Ukraine, having adopted a law on national security, we must dissolve Ukroboronprom, and transfer the management of state defense enterprises to the Cabinet of Ministers”, Vinnyk admitted. In his opinion, it is necessary to eliminate the risks of corruption, which arise because “Ukroboronprom performs both regulatory and defense functions in the sphere of security and defense”. According to Vinnyk, there are already some recommendations on amendments to the law on protection of national security information, which will reduce the level of secrecy of procurement under the State defense order Source: https://censor.net.ua/en/n3116318

Global arms trade: US increased dominance, Ukraine’s precipitous fall

Slowly but surely. Ukraine continues to lose its positions as an exporter of weapons. A country that has recently been among the top five major world arms suppliers is not even in the top ten today. Who has bypassed it and how is the situation on the international arms market in general? Let’s try to understand by analyzing the data from the Stockholm Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in this area. Ukraine dropped to 12th position According to the SIPRI report “Trends in the World Arms Trade, 2018” released a few days ago, over the past five years, the export share of Ukrainian weapons on the world market has fallen by 47%. According to the researchers, from 2009 to 2014 it was 2.7%, but in the period from 2014 to 2018, it almost halved to 1.3%. Thus, our country dropped from the eighth to the 12th position in the rating of the world’s largest suppliers of weapons. And sometime earlier, it was among the top five exporters…

Embezzlement in Ukraine defense sector: NABU director speaks of “large amount of work” done in probe – news politics | UNIAN

Artem Sytnyk, Director of the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine, said that the Bureau had launched an internal investigation following a journalistic investigation by the Nashi Groshi project. Also, the top anti-corruption official noted several inaccuracies in the journalistic investigation that alleged NABU involvement in corruption schemes.

Corruption in Ukraine defense sector involves associates of Poroshenko. Flying high

A week ago BIHUS.info published the first and second parts of investigation on corruption in Ukraine defense sector. They told about a trio of daring

Ukraine, EU to discuss Russian aggression and situation ahead of presidential election

Members of the European Parliament will discuss the state and prospects of Ukraine’s relations with the EU on the fifth anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity, including the situation in the state on the eve of the presidential election. — Ukrinform.

Russia preparing for series of cyberattacks during elections in Ukraine – Tymchuk

Russian intelligence services are preparing for a series of cyberattacks aimed at destabilizing the situation in Ukraine during the presidential election campaign and after the elections, the coordinator of the Information Resistance group, Dmytro Tymchuk, has reported on Facebook. — Ukrinform.

Kremlin’s destabilization strategy ahead of Ukrainian presidential elections

Russia will try to interfere in the presidential elections in Ukraine in March using different factors

NATO, EU, Russia: where presidential candidates drive Ukraine to?

The leaders of the upcoming presidential elections have already been defined. And as the date of elections approach, voters are having more and more questions about different points of the election campaign. External policy, for example, is a cornerstone for the contemporary president of Ukraine. That is why it attracts a lot of attention, as well as approaches of candidates to this issue. These are the quotes taken from the sources that will give you an idea about it. Volodymyr Zelensky “Ukraine’s movement to NATO and other defense unities are the guarantee of our security, in which I believe and which should be confirmed by all-Ukraine referendum.” “We will pose the issue before the guarantors of the Budapest Memorandum and EU partners of support for Ukraine in its striving to end the war, return the occupied territories and make an aggressor reimburse all the caused damage.” Yulia Tymoshenko “Ukraine will be in NATO and EU. I am sure of it. And the next president will do it.” “The task of Ukrainian diplomacy headed by the president is to persist and press for collective measures to force the aggressor to make peace and return Crimea and Donbas. We will achieve the real negotiation process and restoration of peace in accordance with the Budapest Memorandum.” Petro Poroshenko “Our mission is an accession to the European Union and NATO. Only the affiliation in the European Union and the Alliance will finally and irreversibly guarantee our Ukrainian state independence and our national security.” “I insist that the main way of Ukraine should be the accession to the European Union and NATO. I consider it is the key point in my strategy for the next five years and I am deeply concerned that presidential candidates avoid this issue in their programs.” Anatoliy Hrytsenko The following quote belongs to Svitlana Zalishchuk, the representative of the campaign office of Anatoliy Hrytsenko and a candidate to the Head of Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry: “European and Euro-Atlantic integration is an absolutely undeniable choice of Ukrainians. And to be honest, there’s only one way to overcome our major challenges. The first challenge is security, the second one – rule of law and internal transformation.” Yuriy Boyko “Today yet again we witness how the parliament was dragged into the President’s election campaign. Everyone realizes that neither NATO, not the EU shall embrace Ukraine today.” “Specifically, this also comes to the changes to the Constitution on Ukraine’s focus on the EU and NATO. This is absolutely pre-election PR crap aimed to bring the next controversy in the society. It won’t have any practical consequences, as the EU and NATO do not accept Ukraine, and they gave us their strong signal. Besides, its constitutional entrenchment is a conscious infringement of a rule of regulations of the constitutional law. There’s only one aim for that – power, built up on war, poverty, civil resistance.” “We now need to seek the ways to recover economic cooperation of Ukraine and Russia. The present authorities offer only military way, and Ukraine needs peace, people need jobs and a decent life. To do that, the government must begin direct negotiations with Russia.”

Poroshenko Camp In Damage-Control Mode As Ukrainian Election Nears

Corruption charges against two close allies. Accusations of vote-buying from his government. The ire of a notorious far-right paramilitary group. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s road to reel…

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 second round of the election, according to a survey conducted by the Socis Center for Social and Marketing Research from March 5 to March 10, 2019. — Ukrinform.

Zelenskyi, Poroshenko, Tymoshenko, Hrytsenko, Boiko among leaders in presidential race, – Socis survey

13.03.19 15:07 – Zelenskyi, Poroshenko, Tymoshenko, Hrytsenko, Boiko among leaders in presidential race, – Socis survey Volodymyr Zelenskyi remains the leader of the presidential rating (27,7%), Poroshenko (19.6%) takes the second position, Tymoshenko (14.8%) – the third. View news.

Zelensky is pro-Russian candidate? No way!

Today Zelensky is one of the candidates who is targeted to get the votes both on the East and on the West of Ukraine. Zelensky is being “depicted” as a pro-Russian candidate, “throwing” him out of the patriotic front. However, is Zelensky that “pro-Russian” as he is called? The answer is absolutely not. Who else is helping Ukrainian army, mocking the “Russian world” in comedian sketches by Kvartal-95 comedy show, impolitely speaks of people on the uncontrolled territories? And main points if his political program to add – high rates, cooperation with IMF, focus on the EU and Ukrainian language as the only official language. And now, please tell me, which “pro-Russian” candidate can boast of the actions and statements like that? To conclude – the quotation of the maestro of Ukrainian political though Mykola Pohrebinsky: “Why they put labels on Zelensky? Petro Poroshenko’s team is doing that. If Zelensky looks like a pro-western politician, then Poroshenko’s votes go to Zelensky, as a new man in politics. That is why he should be called a “pro-Russian” politician not to be dangerous for Poroshenko,” Pohrebinsky said. Therefore, please know that a “pro-Russian” Zelensky is a thing found by competitors’ head quarters. Zelensky himself of pro-Western and patriotic to the same extend as his “colleagues” – Tymoshenko, Poroshenko, Lyashko, Hrytsenko, Koshulynsky, etc!

Alleged tapped phone call between Tymoshenko, Kolomoisky sparks insults in parliament (VIDEO) | KyivPost

The closer it gets to the March 31 presidential election, the more scandals and dirty tricks come into play. With actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy leading the race, President Petro Poroshenko and ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko are competing for second place and a chance in the April 21 runoff. And their teams are openly warring with each other. On March 12, Artur Gerasymov, the head of Poroshenko’s faction in parliament, speaking from the parliament’s rostrum, played from his phone a taped phone conversation, where a woman with a voice like that of Tymoshenko warmly congratulates on his birthday a man with a voice resembling that of billionaire oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky. The intercepted conversation was published on March 7 by British news service Liveleak, and since then it has been widely shared, mostly by Poroshenko’s supporters, on YouTube and on social media. “I want to thank you on your birthday for all, for the fact that you can be a real friend, a real partner in all of the most important issues,” the woman is heard saying on the tape. “I want to tell you that I very much appreciate this.” The woman also wished also said she hoped that “all bad things stay in the past, in the last year.” “Keep your spirits up. I know you’re having not an easy time,” she also said. “We will not stop until we reach our goals,” answered the man, with the voice and tone similar to that of Kolomoisky. Kolomoisky, who now lives in Israel, celebrated his birthday on Feb. 13. He fiercely criticizes Poroshenko and is battling Ukraine’s government in court over his former bank PrivatBank, which the government nationalized in December 2016 to save it from collapse. Privatbank now sues Kolomoisky and his business partner Hennadiy Boholyubov for allegedly siphoning billions of dollars from the bank before the nationalization. Kolomoisky, in his turn, is suing to challenge the nationalization of his bank. After playing the phone call in parliament, Gerasymov said Kolomoisky now sponsors the campaigns both of Tymoshenko and of Zelenskiy. Kolomoisky’s 1+1 television channel airs Zelenskiy’s comedy shows, but both have claimed they have only business connections. Tymoshenko’s spokesperson neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of the tape. When Gerasymov was playing the alleged intercepted conversation, Oleksandr Abdullin, a lawmaker of Tymoshenko’s party and also a political technologist of her campaign, jumped up to him and called him an “idiot.”

CEC creates 101 polling station commissions abroad

The Central Election Commission (CEC) of Ukraine has established 101 polling station commissions abroad for the upcoming presidential elections in Ukraine scheduled for March 31, 2019. — Ukrinform.

Why Ukrainian politicians try to save traditional values

Nihil novum sub sole: from time to time Ukrainian politicians promote the issue of the “traditional family values.” From time to time, Ukrainian MPs are trying to prohibit abortions, punish LGB individuals, and adopt a single declarative decree on the protection of the family. Until now, the authors of such projects have been on the sidelines, but over the past year or two, traditionalists have manifested themselves at the highest levels of power – right up to the country’s president. What are traditional family values? This question is not easy to answer. March 8, a march of women’s rights took place in Kyiv. Its opponents came to the rally under the slogan “God! Motherland! Patriarchate!” so perhaps this triad is the basis for traditionalism? One of the posters held by the followers of this movement contained the following statement: “Modern feminism disfigures God’s image of a woman.” The word “god” makes it possible to name at least one component of the traditional values – faith. Faith combined with patriarchy adds a second component – the dominance of a man over a woman in the biblical understanding of the word. How relevant is this idea in the 21st century? The traditionalism notion also includes Motherland that is, patriotism. All atheists and agnostics, as well as all those who advocate the synergy of a man and a woman (equality of the sexes), are thus denied the right to be considered patriots. And the monopoly on morality is close to the church. It is wrong to believe that traditional values are the denial of LGBT people. The program of traditionalists is much wider. The traditionalists have invented the term “neo-Marxism” to mark everything that opposes them. Ironically, Kateryna Levchenko, Commissioner for Gender Policy, comments ironically that for them it is most likely a synonym for all the bad things.

Saakashvili: Poroshenko in 2014 spoke about “swapping” Crimea for Ukraine’s EU, NATO membership – news politics | UNIAN

Leader of the Movement of New Forces Party in Ukraine, ex-Governor of Ukraine’s Odesa region and ex-President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has said Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told him once in 2014 that Ukraine would become part of the European Union and NATO in exchange for Russian-occupied Crimea. Saakashvili says Crimea could be seen as a “territorial dispute” to deny Ukraine membership in the European Union and NATO. “I had a conversation with Poroshenko, and he told me: you almost got used to the idea that South Ossetia and Abkhazia would never return to Georgia. In the same way, we should get used to the idea that Ukraine will never have Crimea back, but we will swap it for membership in the European Union and NATO,” he said in an interview with journalist Dmytro Gordon. At the same time, Saakashvili says Crimea could be seen as a “territorial dispute” to deny Ukraine membership in the European Union and NATO.

Court opens criminal proceeding on voting for Ukraine’s strategic course to EU, NATO membership

Kyiv District Court opened a criminal proceeding on the lawsuit of the Ukrainian MP from “Opposition Bloc” faction Dmytro Shentsev to the Spokesperson of the Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy concerning voting for the strategic course towards EU and NATO membership, as the press office of the court reported. “The claimant (Dmytro Shentsev, – ed.) asks the court to recognize the actions of the Spokesperson of the Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy during the consideration and adoption of the draft law on amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine on the strategic course of the state towards full membership in the EU and NATO concerning organization of personal ballot of the Ukrainian MPs with violation of the Constitution of Ukraine and the law “On regulation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine”, the message says.

Border guards respond to Saakashvili’s plans to return to Ukraine

Ukrainian border guards are not planning to let Mikheil Saakashvili, one of the leaders of the Movement of New Forces, enter Ukraine, Oleh Slobodian, an aide to the head of the State Border Guard Service, has told an Ukrinform correspondent. — Ukrinform.

Saakashvili plans to return to Ukraine on April 1. Border guards say he has no grounds for it

13.03.19 11:46 – Saakashvili plans to return to Ukraine on April 1. Border guards say he has no grounds for it Mikheil Saakashvili said that he plans to return to Ukraine in the nearest future. View news.

Council of Europe urges Ukraine to adopt language bill after elections

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic stated this on Tuesday, according to Ukrinform’s correspondent in Strasbourg. Mijatovic said that when discussing a new bill or reform of language policy, member states of the Council of Europe should carefully adhere to the balance between the legislative objective of supporting the state language and the duty to protect and support minority languages and preserve cultural diversity. According to her, different linguistic communities should be effectively involved in the process of working out such laws and policies, and their views should be duly taken into account. In her opinion, in the context of the election campaign, such discussions are often polarized and do not contribute to the achievement of balanced solutions. In this regard, Mijatovic urged the Ukrainian parliament to postpone the approval of this important legislation until the post-election period. On October 4, 2018, the Verkhovna Rada adopted at first reading the bill “On ensuring the functioning of Ukrainian as a state language.” The language bill was prepared for second reading for about four months. During this time, the Verkhovna Rada’s committee on culture and spirituality worked out over 2,000 amendments to the document that were proposed by people’s deputies. In particular, the document proposes creating the national commission on the standards of the state language and introducing the post of commissioner for the protection of the state language. Lawmakers started considering the document at second reading on February 28. The Verkhovna Rada continues to review amendments to the bill during March 12-15.

Tycoon Akhmetov’s DTEK sells electricity in Ukraine at higher prices than in Hungary – media – news economics | UNIAN

Ukraine in February 2019 bought electricity from coal-fired power plants at prices that are 50% higher than Europe bought electricity from Ukrainian tycoon Rinat Akhmetov’s group. The group has virtually monopolized electricity exports, as it controls both coal mining and coal-fired power plants, which sell electricity abroad. Ukraine in February 2019 bought electricity from coal-fired power plants at prices that are 50% higher than Europe bought electricity from Ukrainian tycoon Rinat Akhmetov’s group. State-run enterprise Energomarket said that the average selling price of electricity set by thermal power plants (TPPs) in the wholesale electricity market in February 2019 was UAH 2,167 (EUR 70.2) per MWh with a cumulative total (EUR 0.72 per kWh), the Ukrayinska Pravda online newspaper said, citing a probe by the Nashi Groshi journalists. Thus, the heat generation tariff increased by 16% compared with January 2019. “This is a new record high tariff by TPPs in Ukraine’s history,” the newspaper said.

Ukraine found in violation of the prohibition of torture over treatment of life prisoners – Human Rights in Ukraine

The European Court of Human Rights has issued a crucial judgement slamming Ukraine’s treatment of people sentenced to life imprisonment and ordering the Ukrainian government to reform a system that gives life prisoners no hope of release –

U.S. EXIM Bank starts financing projects in Ukraine

The Export–Import Bank of the United States, which reopened its two programs in Ukraine after a five-year pause, started to register first transactions on certain projects. — Ukrinform. Alex Gordin, Managing Director of Broad Street Capital Group, told Ukrinform on Tuesday after a meeting organized by the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC) in Washington. According to Gordin, after EXIM officially resumed two programs in Ukraine in December 2018, it is now engaged in processing a package of first transactions. In particular, this concerns the projects on the creation of solar power plants. “Many companies deal with the installation of solar power plants because it is profitable, and several have already started to buy this equipment in the United States to install them in Ukraine,” said Gordin. In addition, according to him, a number of agricultural producers, who need to purchase agrarian equipment, seeds, consumables, also launched the work on purchasing these products from American companies. As Ukrinform reported, the U.S. EXIM Bank decided to resume its cooperation with Ukraine after a five-year interruption. EXIM reopened its programs for both private and public sectors. The U.S.-Ukraine Business Council called this step “a terrific signal” to U.S. companies seeking to supply the Ukrainian market with U.S. goods and services. In addition, it also sends “an encouraging message” to investors on the improving economic condition in Ukraine. The short-term EXIM programs of the bank, in particular, provide additional guarantees, a kind of non-payment insurance, for exporters to sell their goods and services in Ukraine. Medium-term programs are primarily aimed at supplying U.S. equipment or launching small projects in Ukraine.

Klimkin, Epiphanius discuss protection of rights of believers in occupied territories

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has met with Metropolitan Epiphanius to discuss the fight against the violation of the rights of the faithful in temporarily occupied territories and the protection of freedom of religion. — Ukrinform. Klimkin wrote this on his Twitter account. “At the beginning of Great Lent, I met with His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphanius. We talked about the eternal and secular: the work of the Public Council on Cooperation with Religious Organizations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the counteraction to the violation of the rights of the faithful in temporarily occupied territories, and the protection of freedom of religion,” Klimkin wrote.

Agreement between Ukraine and Ecumenical Patriarchate made public

The Ecumenical Patriarchate acting through its representation will promote the constitution of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine

Andreas Umland | Complications in Tbilisi’s Friendship with Kyiv

After 1991, Georgia and Ukraine, along with other Eastern European countries, bonded over efforts to reform their economies and governments. In 1997, Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova created between themselves a multilateral consultative forum that later became the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, better known under the acronym GUAM. Georgia and Ukraine have become close political allies over the last two decades. That closeness may be currently under threat, however. Despite the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s groundbreaking autocephaly, or independence, from the Russian Orthodox Church at the beginning of 2019, the Georgian Orthodox Church has failed to congratulate Ukrainian authorities or take any official position on the move, which also reveals tensions within the Georgian Orthodox Church. Given the importance of the Orthodox Churches in both Georgia and Ukraine, Tbilisi’s lasting silence on Ukrainian autocephaly could spill over into political affairs, and create a schism in diplomatic relations and strategic cooperation between the countries. After 1991, Georgia and Ukraine, along with other Eastern European countries, bonded over efforts to reform their economies and governments. In 1997, Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova created between themselves a multilateral consultative forum that later became the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, better known under the acronym GUAM. With the 2003 Rose Revolution and 2004 Orange Revolution, Georgia and Ukraine respectively left their “post-Soviet” trajectories and took resolutely pro-Western paths. In summer 2008 during the Russian-Georgian war, then-President Viktor Yushchenko travelled to Tbilisi to demonstrate Ukraine’s support for Georgia. And starting in spring 2014, Georgians returned the favor, helping Ukrainians in a myriad of ways during their violent confrontation with Russia. A number of Georgian politicians have taken high-level positions in various Ukrainian state offices. People-to-people contacts are also getting stronger; since March 1, citizens’ trips between the two countries have become exceptionally simple; they only need to present national ID cards. Clouds on the Horizon Georgia and Ukraine’s recent common history and challenges have largely created a broad and firm basis for a special relationship between the two countries. However, recent religious affairs are raising the question of how far Georgia’s political support can go and whether it will be strong enough to overcome Russian pressure. Such doubts have arisen as a result of the Georgian government’s failure, so far, to officially welcome and support the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in its autocephaly, which occurred in January 2019. The main reason for Georgian officials’ silence on this issue lies within the Georgian Orthodox Church; the institution is not rushing to take an official position on Ukraine’s newly united Orthodox Church. The last 2018 meeting of Georgia’s Holy Synod on December 27 postponed the church’s official verdict on the issue. “The Church of Georgia will make a decision relating to Ukraine at the next Holy Synod meeting, as it was promised,” announced Michael Botkoveli, secretary of the Patriarch of Georgia. The January 2019 visit of a high representative of the Constantinople Patriarchate to Tbilisi again raised the question; the meeting between the Ecumenical Patriarch’s emissary and the Georgian church’s leaders did not lead to any clear announcements. Metropolitan Emanuel merely stated that the “Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia has the wisdom to make the proper decision.”

UN: Autocephaly sharpens contradictions among Ukrainian Orthodox

The UN has published a report on the human rights situation in Ukraine on eve of the elections named “Public space and fundamental freedoms on the eve of the presidential, parliamentary and local elections in Ukraine”. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights prepared it. The report was about the violation of rights and freedoms of the religious people, who belong to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The informational department of the church published the document. The UN notes that the autocephaly has sharpened confrontations among the orthodox in Ukraine. The Orthodox Church of Ukraine is a victim mostly. “Over the reporting period, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights recorded ten cases when clergy and worshippers the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (of Moscow Patriarchate) were threatened or intimidated. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is concerned about the fact that the existing political environment create tensions which have negative effect on the freedom of religion and beliefs, with possible adverse effects on the other human rights, including the right for freedom of thought and expression, on the eve of elections,” the document says. It was noted that in November 2018, after the Ukrainian Orthodox Church refused to join the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) opened a number of criminal cases under the accusation of incitement to religious hatred.

Serbian church doesn’t recognize new Orthodox Church of Ukraine – news ukraine | UNIAN

The Serbian Orthodox Church has refused to recognize the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) as canonical and calls it “an artificial confederation of schismatic structures.” The Serbian Orthodox Church recognizes only the Ukrainian Orthodox Church belonging to the Moscow Patriarchate. “The Serbian Orthodox Church considers the intrusion by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew into the territory of the Russian Orthodox Church and his decisions related to Ukraine to be non-canonical,” the Politika pro-government Serbian newspaper wrote, Ukraine’s TSN news service reports. “The Kyiv-based Metropolia cannot be equated with current Ukraine as it has been under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate since 1686,” according to a letter allegedly sent by the Serbian church to other churches. They also added the Serbian Orthodox Church recognizes only the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, headed by Metropolitan Onufriy, which is part of the Moscow Patriarchate. Serbia also “recommended” that all its bishops and priests refrain from liturgical and canonical communication with “Epifaniy [head of the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine] and all those who are in unity with him.” The Belgrade newspaper reiterates such a position of the Serbian Orthodox Church was expected, since its bishops’ council in November and January expressed a critical attitude to the decisions of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.