Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (119)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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A bizarre allegation from Russia that the US is cheating on arms control deals and building a secret arsenal of nukes (does this mean Russia is about to be found out to be cheating on START?). Post INF missile updates. Piontkovsky predicts a major Russian bluff and blackmail play using nukes, while Saakashvili speculates that Finland or Sweden may be the next invasion targets as they are not part of NATO – if Russia wanted to divide NATO this would give all of the Muscovy appeasers an excuse to vote against a NATO intervention. NATO update – annual report, Turkish and Hungarian shenanigans. Update on EU sanctions.

An excellent but lengthy essay by Rud on Russia’s alternate reality games and how easily so many Western leaders were suckered in. Prof Blank on meddling in Northern Africa. Updates on Whelan hostage detention, Nordstream 2, Russia’s demographic collapse, while the speaker of the Duma is demanding that Ukraine compensate Russia for the time Crimea was part of Ukraine – will Russia next demand to be compensated for the centuries that Ukraine was independent before Russia invaded 330 years ago? Given this mindset and an 800-year long history of invasions, can Ukrainians be blamed when they call this the “forever war”?

Black Sea / Azov / Crimea updates – VKS sorties two BACKFIRE C over the Black Sea. Donbas update – an interesting commentary by Girkin on the proxy force is getting a lot of coverage in Ukrainian media. GUR report on the proxy force desertion problem.  GUR/DIA collaboration.

Capability/industry update – notable reports are that the new MiG-29MU2 upgrade will be PGM capable, and Lutsk Motor Repair Plant is overhauling Indonesian Al-31F FLANKER engines. Politics, industry and election updates.

ROC/OCU reports – Germany returns a 300-year-old decree signed by Peter the Great to Ukraine, adding documentary evidence to early Russian government meddling in church affairs. Mitrokhin predicts the Chekist regime will turn on the ROC.

U.S. Begins Work on New Missiles as Trump Scraps Treaty With Russia – Foreign Policy

Some worry the deployment of these weapons could spark a nonnuclear missile race.

Russia-US World War 3 news: Moscow says US hiding NUCLEAR weapons – Trump-Putin latest | World | News |

RUSSIA claims the US is hiding nuclear weapons amid concerns the country is building a secret arsenal.

After Treaty’s Demise, Pentagon Will Develop Two New Midrange Weapons – WSJ

The Pentagon plans to develop two types of conventional land-based missiles following the demise of a 1987 treaty with Russia, with flight tests beginning in August, defense officials said.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin, His Position Shaky, May Begin New Aggression with Nuclear Threats, Piontkovsky Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 14 – Russia is not in a position to engage in an arms race with the United States, Andrey Piontkovsky says; but Vladimir Putin does have “a plan for victory.” It involves using nuclear blackmail on the assumption that if he threatens to use nuclear weapons, the West will back down rather than respond to any Russian threat or first use. In the event of a clash between Russian and NATO forces or a Russian invasion of the Baltic countries, the Russian commentator says, Putin plans to say that “’either you retreat and admit defeat or I will use nuclear weapons.’” This is the advantage any “bandit” has, Piontkovsky continues ( Putin supposes, he says, that “in response, the West will retreat and capitulate,” and a weaker Russia will defeat a stronger opponent. A major reason he thinks so is that one of the reasons Ukraine did not contest Moscow’s invasion and annexation of Crimea was that Russia has nuclear weapons and Ukraine does not. This perspective makes “Putin much more dangerous than the Kremlin leaders at the end of the Soviet period.” After the Cuban missile crisis, “they understood that a nuclear confrontation threatens the mutual destruction of all humanity” and did not make threats of this kind. Putin’s approach is that of a gang member from the St. Petersburg streets who now in the Kremlin has “raised nuclear blackmail to the chief instrument of [Moscow’s] foreign policy.” Because that is the case, one need not fear an arms race as much as the continuing use of nuclear blackmail by Putin. And that is all the more so now when Putin’s “power is shaking, the Putin myth is death, and his support is falling away.” In such circumstances, making such threats and the possibility that they will be believed is all the more likely given that the Kremlin leader likely sees them as a way out of his current dilemmas. The recent speech by the chief of the Russian general staff is a clear indication of this and should serve as a warning to the West.

Mikheil Saakashvili | Russia’s Next Land Grab Won’t Be in an Ex-Soviet State. It Will Be in Europe. – Foreign Policy

First he came for Georgia, then for Ukraine. Vladimir Putin’s next target is likely to be a non-NATO nation in the EU.

Saakashvili: Finland or Sweden is Russia’s most likely target in near future – news world | 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 says that Finland or Sweden is Russia’s most likely target in the near future. It would be relatively simple for Moscow to execute a land grab in a remote Arctic enclave or on a small island, like Sweden’s Gotland.

NATO Enlargement To Central Europe Turns Twenty

Today we speak of NATO expansion almost exclusively in the context of tensions between the United States and Russia. But that history should not obscure the one that belongs to central and eastern Europeans, whose own actions in the decade after the fall of Wall in 1989 had much to do with their countries’ accession to the alliance in 1999.

NATO report: Only 7 members meeting defense spending targets – CNNPolitics

Despite many European countries boosting their defense budgets, only seven of the 29 NATO allies are currently reaching the recommended spending target of 2% of gross domestic product, according to NATO’s annual report, which was published Thursday.

NATO edges toward Trump’s spending demands, Germany lags | Reuters

More European allies in NATO increased defense spending in 2018, with sharp rises in the Baltics, Poland and the Netherlands, but only six governments met a target sought by the United States – while Germany lagged and Canadian outlays fell.

NATO edges toward Trump’s spending demands, Germany lags – Business Insider

More NATO allies increased defense spending in 2018, with sharp rises in the Baltics, Poland, and the Netherlands, but only six met the US’s target.

NATO members increase defense spending for fourth year in row following Trump pressure – The Washington Post

But the modest increases were unlikely to shield the alliance from the White House’s ire.

From NATO, new proof that Belgium and Germany are pathetic allies

The Belgians’ and Germans’ actions continue to betray their words.

U.S. sees Turkey’s Russian missile deal as national security problem for NATO | Reuters

Turkey’s pending purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system presents a national security problem for NATO, which would not be able to deploy F-35 aircraft alongside the Russian systems, senior U.S. officials said on Thursday.

US sees Turkey Russian S400 deal as national security problem for NATO – Business Insider

Turkey’s pending purchase of the Russian S-400 air-defense system presents a national security problem for NATO, senior US officials said Thursday.

Hungary blocking important meetings with Ukraine’s partners in NATO – Klympush-Tsintsadze

Hungary’s blocking the European integration aspirations of Ukraine prevents the holding of a series of important meetings with its EU partners at the official level, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze has said. — Ukrinform.

EU Slaps Sanctions On Russians Involved In Seizing Ukrainian Naval Vessels, Crew

The European Union has added eight Russian officials to its sanctions list for their involvement in the seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels and their 24 crew members near the Kerch Strait in N…

European Parliament Urges EU To Adopt Legislation Like Magnitsky Act

The European Parliament has overwhelmingly passed a resolution urging EU member states to adopt a sanctions framework similar to the Magnitsky Act in order to punish human rights offenders.

Victor Rud | Repurposing the Human Brain: Lessons in Russian- and our own- reality reversal – Foreign Policy Blogs

Eleven years later, on the eve of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a State Department cable concluded: “A Soviet invasion would probably redound to the disadvantage of global strategic interests. It would deal a severe blow to detente with the West.” In a White House briefing for members of Congress, President Carter was puzzled: “It’s difficult to understand why the Soviets took this action [invade Afghanistan]. I think they probably underestimated the adverse reaction from around the world.” Twenty four years later, following a meeting called by Putin with Western journalists and think tank representatives, Fiona Hill, today’s Russia expert on the National Security Council, wrote in a September 4, 2004 New York Times Op-Ed, “Stop Blaming Putin and Start Helping Him”. (This was already seven years into the blueprint for Russia’s assault against America.) After Putin invaded Georgia in August 2008, another Russia expert, Condoleezza Rice, in a December 12, 2008 New York Times interview assured: “Everybody is now questioning Russia’s worthiness as a partner. They’ve come out of this badly. And I think it could help deter them from trying something like that again.” In February, 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine. On January 17, 2017, Samantha Power (President Obama’s UN Ambassador) though criticizing Russia nonetheless lauded Russia’s “proud history of standing up to imperialist powers.” The tenacity of our denial, erasing awareness of Russia’s attendant prowess in rewiring the synapses of a nation’s brain, has come home. Catalyzed by Western fecklessness in Ukraine, Russia’s accelerated war against Western society was preordained. With the KGB apparat today controlling Russia as it never controlled the USSR, its full frontal assault against cognitive, empirical reality penetrates ever deeper into our senses. The 19th century Russian writer Alexander Herzen feared a “Genghis Khan with a telegraph.” Today, social media means big data mining and advertising . . . for us. For Putin, it’s private sector espionage and mind control. A highway to a hologram supplanting reality is a bargain for the toll that Moscow paid to Facebook ten years ago. Putin advisor, Vladislav Surkov, wrote this February that American‘s should forget about Russia’s election interference and understand that democratic choice on how they’re governed is an illusion. Further, “Foreign politicians ascribe to Russia interference in elections and referendums across the globe. In fact, the matter is even more serious – Russia interferes in their brains, and they do not know what to do with their own altered consciousness. . . European and American experts begin to err in their forecasts more and more often. . . . Everyone, including the Americans themselves, is dissatisfied with America.” This is not admission, but jubilation. Not arrogance, but febrile contempt. Confidence rockets to conviction, perception of risk shrivels, and caution is defenestrated. We’re feeding a looming catastrophe. Thomas Hobbes was right–“Hell is truth seen too late.” * * * I set the File aside for the moment, and focus on the faded photograph on the wall. The young man, in his late 20’s, returns my gaze. I visualize the rubber apron. It’s not a long arc from the moment of my grandfather’s murder to Moscovy’s slaughter of the Western mind today. It’s a straight line.

Stephen Blank | Russia Turns to the Maghreb

Anyone observing the travel routines of high-ranking Russian officials would note a growing number of trips to the Maghreb recently. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov alone has made six visits to Algeria. The Maghreb is not normally thought of as a key strategic region, so the purpose of these visits cries out for an explanation. In this regard, we must remember that Moscow considers the Maghreb important because it is part of the two regions where Russia is determined to gain recognition as a great global power: the Middle East and Africa. The Russian Foreign Ministry has been showcasing how Moscow pays regular attention to the Middle East and to the Sahel. In fact, we may postulate that the Russians’ high-level visits display Moscow’s deepening involvement and drive to prove that it is, in fact, a resurging global power whose influence must be reckoned with by North African states and other countries with strategic interests there. In other words, Russia wants to minimize Western positions in the Middle East and the Maghreb and fill the ensuing vacuum, as it has done in Syria. As if to corroborate this objective, the Foreign Ministry stated before Lavrov’s last visit in January that, “We are guided by Russia’s fundamental position that the peoples living in this region can and must independently shape their future without any interference from outside, settling internal tasks through a broad national dialogue.” Russia’s Tools of Influence

Why Putin Won’t Fix Russia’s Economy

Adjusting for inflation, household disposable incomes in Russia have declined each of the past five years. It’s no wonder that Russians are beginning to ask questions.

American detained in Russia on spy charges says he’s being treated badly – The Washington Post

Paul Whelan must stay in a Moscow prison through the end of May. His charges are still not clear.

Paul Whelan’s lawyer says he is a victim of a set up – ABC News

Paul Whelan, the former U.S. Marine arrested in Moscow on espionage charges, says he is the victim of a setup by Russia’s security services, the American’s lawyer said on Thursday. Whelan was detained in Moscow in late December by Russia’s domestic intelligence agency and accused of unspecified “spying activity.” On Thursday, Whelan appeared again in a Moscow court, which rejected his appeal to be released on bail. Russia has not provided any details on the spying charges against Whelan, but his lawyer has previously said he is accused of receiving “state secrets” on a memory card given to him by a Russian acquaintance during his trip in December. The lawyer has said Whelan, though, had not known what he was receiving — believing he was being given holiday photographs.

UAWire – Kremlin calls US actions against Nord Stream-2 ‘international racketeering’

The press secretary of the Russian President, Dmitry Peskov, stated that the Kremlin sees the United States’ hostile attitude towards the Russian project “Nord Stream-2″ as attempts of unfair competition, reports RBC news agency. “We are all aware that we are dealing with attempts of unfair competition, and sometimes with actions that are actually comparable to racketeering and raiding on the international level,” he said. Peskov added that instead, the White House should think about how to convince Europeans to buy the United States liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is ten percent more expensive than Russian gas. Earlier, on March 12, The Wall Street Journal, citing several U.S. administration officials, said that the U.S. authorities intend to impose sanctions on the investors and companies that are involved in laying the Nord Stream-2 pipeline. In August 2018, the newspaper wrote that the United States sanctions bill, which could stop the construction of the pipeline, is almost ready. Previously, the United States President, Donald Trump, claimed that the flow of the” pipeline dollars” from European countries to Russia is unacceptable. The construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline began in 2018 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019. The 1220-km pipeline will run along the bottom of the Baltic Sea from the Russian coast to the coast of Germany. The capacity of each of the two lines is 27.5 billion cubic meters per year. The new gas pipeline will double the capacity of the first Nord Stream, the route of which it will basically repeat.

Trump’s administration opposes implementation of Nord Stream II, – U.S. Secretary of Energy

The construction of this pipeline will not be instrumental for diversification of energy supply routes to Europe; instead, it will concentrate two-thirds of Russian gas supplies to the EU, Rick Perry said

UAWire – Denmark refuses to authorize Nord Stream 2

Denmark is threatening to make things difficult for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. Russia has already laid one third of the pipeline …

UAWire – Wealthiest 98 Russians have more money than the rest of Russia’s population combined

The Russian billionaires continue to amass wealth while the earnings of the population at large decline and the economy becomes increasingly …

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kremlin Hopes to Cover Russia’s Demographic Collapse by Attracting 10 Million Russian Speakers from Abroad Unlikely to Be Realized

Paul Goble Staunton, March 14 – For much of the past decade, immigrants to the Russian Federation have covered the decline in the number of the indigenous population of that country. Now, that has ended both because fewer immigrants are coming and because the decline in the indigenous population is accelerating. To reverse that, the Kremlin has set up a special commission in the Presidential Administration to attract up to 10 million Russian speakers from abroad, primarily from the four countries where they are most numerous – Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Moldova – but from others as well ( Were Moscow able to do so – and the odds against it are long not only because there are ever fewer jobs for immigrants because of the economic crisis and because many of the potential immigrants are doing better where they are than they would in Russia – it would be in a position to claim that Russia’s population is still growing, when in fact it is not. But there are three reasons why this project almost certainly will prove yet another stillborn one. First, while the Kremlin has created a high-profile committee to oversee it, there is little evidence as yet that it is willing or even able to put the resources behind it that would make such a campaign a success. Indeed, any money it spends on such a project will likely be viewed by other Russians as money that should have been spent in the first instance on them. Why should a Russian from Uzbekistan be funded but not one in Russia’s regions? – yet another sign of what some Russians refer to as “bombing Voronezh.” Second, if the regime does attract new immigrants, it will be creating more problems for itself. Not only will these “’new Russians’” be competing with indigenous ones for jobs, but their appearance will highlight just how different they are and even more have become from Russians in Russia over the last generation. Despite Kremlin claims and the willingness of both Russian commentators and Western observers to accept them, the Russian nation is extremely diverse: Russians in Siberia are not like Russians in Pskov are not like Russians in Tambov. Adding new groups of Russians from abroad will only intensify that and make Moscow’s rule more problematic. And third, while some of the countries from which such Russian speakers might be drawn would not be unhappy with their departure, others will be furious, seeing this as the kind of intensified brain drain that they represent and viewing this project as a reason to be even more suspicious of and hostile to Moscow. That will be the case whether Moscow succeeds or not. If it succeeds even in part, the countries around Russia will be even more mono-ethnic than they are today, thus depriving Russia of one more lever in them and making the post-Soviet space even less likely to be reincarnated as “the Russian world” Putin talks about. And if it fails as seems likely, it will also have negative consequences, first in Russia and then in the other countries. In Russia, it will show that Putin’s plans can’t be realized; and in the other countries, this Russian attempt will lead some countries to view the Russian speakers in them with greater suspicion and thus more willing to push their titular languages.

The Week In Russia: Blue Balloons, Blood Feuds, And A Trial In Chechnya

The Kremlin shrugs at the top Chechen legislator’s “blood feud” threat against a blogger, while a top human rights activist in Chechnya faces a verdict in a drug-possession trial denounced as a “tr…

As Russians protested ‘Internet isolation’ last weekend, hackers launched DNS attacks against Yandex, exploiting flaws in the government’s censorship system — Meduza

Several major Russian Internet companies, including Yandex and the news outlet RBC, suffered massive network attacks this week that were made possible by vulnerabilities in the system the federal government uses to block websites. Sources told RBC that the perpetrators carried out DNS attacks, hijacking domain name system servers and domain registrars to direct traffic away from legal websites, like Yandex, to IP addresses that have been blacklisted by Roskomnadzor, Russia’s state censor.

Northrop Grumman contracted for Poland next-gen air and missile defense – Defence Blog

U.S. weapons maker Northrop Grumman Corp has announced on Thursday that the company awarded $713 million for Poland next-generation air and missile defense. “The U.S. Army has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) a $713 million contract for the production of Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) for the first phase of Poland’s WISŁA air and missile defense program,” said in a statement. According to a news release put out by Northrop Grumman, IBCS to provide leap-ahead capabilities for Poland’s national air and missile defense program while increasing NATO security efforts. “Poland is taking a leadership role in today’s complex threat environment by selecting IBCS over legacy stove-piped systems that were designed decades ago for a much different threat profile. IBCS is the future of multidomain operations and with it, Poland will have a state-of-the-art system to modernize its integrated air and missile defense capabilities,” said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. “Through the acquisition of IBCS, Poland will be in line with the U.S. Army’s future direction. Poland will have the flexibility to consider any radar and any interceptor, optimize sensor and effector integration and keep pace with an evolving threat.” Under this foreign military sales contract for WISŁA, Northrop Grumman will manufacture IBCS engagement operations centers and integrated fire control network relays and deliver IBCS net-enabled command and control for four firing units. The IBCS engagement operations centers will be integrated with IBCS battle management software that maximizes the combat potential of sensors and weapon systems. IBCS engagement operations centers and network relays will be transported by Polish Jelcz vehicles. “Northrop Grumman continues to work closely with the Polish Ministry of National Defense and Polish industry toward a comprehensive offset program that meets the program goals and requirements. We look forward to continued collaboration and partnership with PGZ and its consortium of companies on this and future phases of the WISŁA program,” said Tarik Reyes, vice president, business development, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. “We are pleased with the opportunity to deliver cutting-edge, net-centric IBCS technology to Poland and support the Ministry of National Defense’s modernization priorities.” IBCS is the air and missile defense command-and-control solution of choice for Poland. In March 2018, Poland signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance with the U.S. government to purchase IBCS and became the first international partner country to acquire this advanced capability. By implementing IBCS, Poland will transform its IAMD capabilities in a manner consistent with the U.S. Army. IBCS creates a paradigm shift for IAMD by replacing legacy stove-piped systems with a next-generation, net-centric approach to better address the evolving complex threat. The system integrates disparate radars and weapons to construct a far more effective IAMD enterprise. IBCS delivers a single integrated air picture with unprecedented accuracy and broadens surveillance and protection areas. With its truly open systems architecture, IBCS allows incorporation of current and future sensors and weapon systems and interoperability with joint C2 and the ballistic missile defense system. IBCS is managed by the U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

РБК on Twitter: “Volodin called for compensation from Ukraine for the “terrible period” that Crimea spent in its composition…”




Chairman of Russia’s State Duma says Ukraine must pay for 25 years of Crimea’s “annexation” – news politics | UNIAN

Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Viacheslav Volodin says Ukraine’s “annexation” of Crimea lasted for 25 years and it should pay “compensation” to Russia. Volodin also proposed that the issue of the “responsibility” of Ukraine and the European Union for the social and economic situation in Crimea should be considered.

Russia to demand compensations from Ukraine for loss of Crimea when it was Ukrainian

Russia offers to demand the compensations from Ukraine for “economic loss of Crimea when it entered its structure”

Two RF VKS Tu-22M3 long-range bombers rose to the sky above the Black Sea

Anastasia Evdokimova 19:02 14.03.2019 During the flight, the crews of long-range bombers of the VKS of the Russian Federation overcame about 4,5 thousand kilometers and were in the air for more than five hours. Two distant bombers Tu-22M3 performed a planned flight in airspace over the neutral waters of the Black Sea. This is reported by the Ministry of Defense of Russia. During the flight, the crews of distant bombers overcame about 4,5 thousand kilometers and were in the air for more than five hours. Long-range airmen fly regularly over the neutral waters of the Arctic, the North Atlantic, the Black and Caspian Seas, and the Pacific Ocean. All flights of the Russian Aerospace Forces are carried out in strict compliance with the International Rules for the Use of Airspace. Tu-22M3 – a distant supersonic bomber-rocket carrier with a wing of variable sweptness. The aircraft can carry three anti-ship cruise missiles X-32, X-15P, bombs. The armament of the VCS of Russia is more than 60 Tu-22M3. The planes were used in several armed conflicts, including repeated attacks on terrorists in Syria. ■

Russian Tu-22M3 bombers fly near Ukrainian coast in the Black Sea – Defence Blog

Two Russian Tu-22M3 strike bomber flew near the contested Crimea peninsula and Ukrainian coast in the Black Sea. The Russian Defense Ministry reported on Thursday that: “Two Tu-22M3 long-range bombers performed a scheduled flight in the airspace over international waters in the Black Sea.” During the flight, crews of long-range bombers covered about 4,500 kilometers and were in the air for more than 5 hours. The Defense Ministry noted that Russia’s long-range aviation regularly performed flights over international waters in the Arctic, North Atlantic, the Black and Caspian Seas and the Pacific Ocean. Russian Defense Ministry representative said: “All flights of the Russian Aerospace Forces are carried out in strict accordance with the International Airspace Management System without violating the borders of other states.” Tu-22M3 is a long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber developed by Tupolev for the Soviet Air Force. The aircraft is currently in service with the Russian Air Force and Russian Naval Aviation. According to, Tu-22M3 bomber aircraft, which remained in production until 1993, is primarily used to conduct nuclear strike and conventional attack operations. It can also be deployed in anti-ship and maritime reconnaissance missions.

UAWire – Ukraine at EU Parliament: Russia setting stage to attack Ukraine by sea

Russia’s actions in the Kerch Strait and the Azov Sea are designed to “kill the economy of Ukraine’s Azov coast and set the military stage for attacking Ukraine from the sea,” said Oleksii Makeiev, director of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s political department, during a special joint session of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Subcommittee on Security and Defense in Strasbourg. At the special session on the 5th anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression against Ukraine, the experts discussed “the threat of Russian hybrid war against the international order”, the Ukrainian Mission to the EU reported. During the session, Makeiev drew attention to Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian military boats and their crews, and pointed out that, at the time of the incident, Russia did not officially announce the closure of the Kerch Strait, and that it is clear from intercepted Russian radio communication that “the attack was neither an accident nor spontaneous”. “It can only be considered an act of aggression against Ukraine in terms of the UN General Assembly resolution of 1974. Russia only understands force, and it is necessary to negotiate with Russia from a position of force. Today we have heard that the word ‘sanctions’ is actually unpopular, unfortunately, here in Brussels, and in many European capitals. But please understand that this is the only peaceful instrument that Europeans have with which to stop Russian military operations and aggression,” Makeiev emphasized. Russia’s actions near the Kerch Strait have been criticized by a number of European countries and the US. NATO is closely monitoring developments in the Kerch Strait, and has called for restraint and the de-escalation of tensions. On 25 November last year, Russia attacked and captured the Ukrainian military boats Berdyansk and Nikopol and the tugboat Yany Kapu in neutral waters. All 24 Ukrainians on board were accused of violating the Russian state border, arrested, and transferred from Kerch to Moscow. Ukraine considered this an act of military aggression, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recognized the captured sailors as prisoners of war.

Azov package of EU sanctions only the beginning – Poroshenko

The so-called Azov package of sanctions imposed by the Council of the European Union for Russia’s armed aggression in the Black Sea is only the beginning, and these restrictive measures will be strengthened if Moscow continues the same policy, President Petro Poroshenko has said in a statement published on his Facebook page. — Ukrinform.

Poroshenko: EU’s ‘Azov’ sanctions package to be expanded, strengthened if Russia continues to attack Ukrainian ships, obstruct freedom of navigation

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has expressed gratitude to the European Union for the extension of sanctions against persons and organizations that undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, as well as the introduction of the so-called “Azov” package of sanctions against eight Russians.

EU adds eight Russian officials to sanctions list – news politics | UNIAN

The European Council on March 15 added eight Russian officials to the list of those subject to restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. The Council also extended the validity of these restrictive measures for a further six months, until September 15, 2019.

Snatched In Plain Sight: No Justice In Crimean Tatar’s Slaying Five Years After Russian Annexation

A Crimean Tatar was killed after being abducted in broad daylight while protesting Russia’s seizure of Crimea in March 2014. Five years later, the case remains unsolved.

UAWire – French officials and ex-politicians arrive in annexed Crimea

The Russian media reported that officials from France have arrived in the Crimea. According to the Head of the Crimean Parliament Committee for …

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry condemns French politicians’ visit to occupied Crimea

The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine has strongly condemned the visit of a group of French politicians to illegally annexed Crimea. — Ukrinform.

Berlin urges Moscow to restore Ukraine’s sovereignty

Germany is not going to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea, regardless of how much time has passed since this violation of international law. — Ukrinform.

UAWire – Russia to launch two new power plants in annexed Crimea during Putin’s visit

The Russian engineering company Technopromexport plans to officially launch new power plants in the Crimea on March 18 during the planned visit …

In the Kerch Strait, the ship under the flag of Liberia was stranded

In the Kerch Strait, the Maryland ship under the flag of Liberia has landed. About it it is reported in the press service of Rosmorrechflot. According to information from an open FleetMon ships and ports database, the Maryland ship, IMO 8418758, was from Port Maripool to the Italian port of Marghera. At present, the vessel is located in the Kerch-Enikalsky Canal, between the Kerch coast and the Tuzla slope. As reported in the Rosmorrechflot, two tugs were trying to pull the vessel from the clay, later attracted two more tugboats, but the attempts have not yet been crowned with success. At the same time, the department claims that the cause could be a low draft of the vessel. “Initially, a limitation on precipitation of up to five meters was introduced, approached, measured the depth, it did not interfere with navigation, and the restriction was lifted. Since this morning there are no restrictions on the Kerch-Enikalsky channel, the movement is in the regular mode “, – quotes the representative of the agency, the Russian news agency RIA Crimea. This is not the first incident involving this dry cargo, March 1, 2019, Maryland received minor damage after collision with a cargo ship Zakamsk, when expected transit through the Bosphorus. According to media reports, Zakamsk walked in full swing and hit Maryland. Earlier, the site of “Kerch FM” with reference to the documents available at the disposal of the actual depths of the water area of ​​the port reported that the approach channel of the Kerch Sea Commercial Port melts after the construction of the Kerch Bridge. On the night of December 25, 2018, a SUROV cargo ship, under the flag of Mongolia, landed in the Black Sea near the Taman Peninsula. At the end of 2018, a tugboat that sank into the port due to bad weather sank in Kerch during a storm. Since July 2014, the Ukrainian government has officially halted the operation of all ports annexed by the peninsula, the harbors of the Crimea are closed for international shipping.

Ukraine reports four enemy attacks in Donbas in past day – news war | UNIAN

Russian-led forces mounted four attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in the past 24 hours. There were no Ukrainian army casualties.

Two members of Russia-led forces eliminated by Ukrainian troops in Donbas (Photo) – news war | UNIAN

Officer of the 53rd separate mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Anatoliy Shtefan has revealed identities of two members of the Russian-led forces who have been eliminated in Donbas lately. Cargo 200 is a code name for casualties for transportation in the Russian military. “On March 13, 2019, one more mercenary, Aleksandr Kamenev, aka ‘Hooligan’ from the village of Novo-Oleksandrivka, Luhansk region, joined the notorious ‘[Cargo] 200 Brigade,'” the Ukrainain officer said. Cargo 200 is a code name for casualties for transportation in the Russian military. Kamenev was born on June 1, 1991. The terrorist was on the database of the Ukrainian Myrotvorets (Peacemaker) website, which features individuals who pose a threat to Ukraine’s security.

Terrorist Girkin: Only mercenaries fighting in Donbas ready to shoot at “their [own] people” (Video) – news war | UNIAN

Former “Defense Minister” of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) Igor Girkin, nom de guerre Strelkov, has said that mercenaries in the self-proclaimed republics in Russian-occupied Donbas, eastern Ukraine, are contract servicemen who are ready to shoot even at “their own people” for as little as RUB 15,000 (US$230). There is such a contingent, except for certain units, who do not care at all, Girkin said. Former “Defense Minister” of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) Igor Girkin, nom de guerre Strelkov, has said that mercenaries in the self-proclaimed republics in Russian-occupied Donbas, eastern Ukraine, are contract servicemen who are ready to shoot even at “their own people” for as little as RUB 15,000 (US$230). Read alsoOnetime Russian hero selling gold Crimea medal bearing ‘despised’ Putin – media “If needed, they will shoot at their people for the RUB 15,000, which is very good money there. There is such a contingent, except for some units, who do not care at all,” Girkin told Russian Roy TV, according to a video posted on Facebook by officer of the 53rd separate mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Anatoliy Shtefan. “The money paid to them is not from the treasury of the ‘republic’… They are not ‘militants’ – such a term as ‘militants’ no longer exists. It ceased to exist after Debaltseve [the battle of Debaltseve in January-February 2015 where Ukrainian forces took heavy casualties in fighting with Russian regular troops],” he said.

Crying Girkin: ex-ringleader of the militants acknowledged that the “militia” no longer exists

One of the former leaders of the “DPR”, Igor Strelkov-Girkin, admitted that only contract soldiers who are ready to kill even their own people are fighting for “L / DPR” On the air, “Roy TV”, he said that “there are no militias in the Donbas.” The relevant video was shared on Facebook by the officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Anatoly (Stefan) Stirlitz. According to Girkin, a contingent gathered in the ranks of the militants, who does not care at all. “They receive money not from the” treasury of the republic. ” They are not “militias”, there is no more “militia”. “Militia” ended after Debalcevo. These are contract soldiers, they are ready to shoot their own for money and money. This is not a “militia”, I emphasize. There are no more “militias,” the terrorist said. Earlier, the IP group reported that Girkin was offended by the Russian-speaking Ukrainians for having fought with him .

Occupants lie to their soldiers to contain desertion in units of the Russian Armed Forces in the Donbas – GUR

According to the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the command of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is stepping up measures to prevent cases of desertion of servicemen from a group of Russian occupation forces in the temporarily occupied territory in Donetsk and Lugansk regions. In particular, in the enemy troops deployed the so-called. “Explanatory work” with bringing to the whole personnel the information and propaganda materials developed by the Russian special services to discredit the program of the Security Service of Ukraine “You are waiting for you at home”. To intimidate the soldiers of the Russian occupation forces, they are imposed on false and distorted information about “terrible consequences” for those who, by their will, will move to the territory controlled by Ukraine. At the same time, the Russian occupation administrations are taking measures to strengthen the work of the checkpoints in order to prevent the Russian occupation forces from leaving the territories of Donetsk and Lugansk regions controlled by Ukraine. Earlier, the IP group reported that gadgets were hastily seized from the personnel of the Russian occupation forces in the Donbas.

UAWire – Ukrainian military intelligence: Russia intends to further destabilize Europe

Ukrainian military intelligence has provided the US intelligence community with proof that Russia intends to further destabilize the situation in Ukraine and Europe, announced the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine (HUR MOU) following a visit by its chief Vasyl Burba to the US. “During talks with Robert Ashley, Director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, the leaders of the CIA and the leaders of the US intelligence community, HUR MOU Head Colonel-General Vasyl Burba drew attention to Russia’s aggressive and provocative actions in the occupied territories of Ukraine and in the Azov-Black Sea region,” the report states. During the meeting Burba also “showed his American colleagues proof of Russia’s further intentions to destabilize the situation in Ukraine and in European countries”. At the end of the Ukrainian delegation’s visit, the US agreed to continue collaborating and to help improve the ability of Ukraine’s military intelligence to oppose Russia’s armed aggression. The US draft defense budget for 2020 includes $250 million for improving Ukraine’s security, the US Embassy to Ukraine reported. Compared to the budget request for 2019, the presumed assistance amount for Ukraine has been boosted by $50 million, which may be used for lethal weaponry. General Curtis Scaparrotti, Commander of the US European Command, said recently that he considers it possible that the US will provide Ukraine with new types of weapons, including sniper systems and systems and ammunition for the Navy. The US has already provided equipment for the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ information technology centers – the Rapid Response to Cyber Security Incidents Center, the Operational Control and Monitoring Center of the Joint Operational Headquarters, and the Main Command Center of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Previously the US sold Ukraine Javelin anti-tank missile systems for $47 million. US President Donald Trump is requesting $750 billion for the Pentagon’s 2020 budget, 4.7% more than the budget for 2019 ($716 billion).

U.S. intelligence community to cooperate with defense intelligence of Ukraine

The United States Intelligence Community (IC) will help strengthen the ability of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry to counteract Russia’s armed aggression. — Ukrinform.

U.S. intelligence to cooperate with Ukraine to deter Russia’s armed aggression

Ukraine, US intelligence agencies agree to cooperate to deter Russian hybrid aggression in Ukraine


State Enterprise “Lviv State Aviation Repair Plant” continues research and development works on modernization of MiG-29MU2 fighters This is reported by the press service of “Ukroboronprom” As a result of the new modernization, the aircraft will be equipped with PGMs for land-based purposes. The colleagues from drew attention to the fact that on the demonstrated photo from the workshop of the State Enterprise “Lviv State Aircraft Repair Plant” the MiG-29MU2 was marked with the guided aerial bomb KAB-500 on the pylon: On MiG-29MU2 it is possible to install missile and bomber weapons with TV heads of type Kh-29T and KAB-500KR. Previously, the company already saw the MiG-29 on which the Kh-29 missile was installed, which is intended to damage the ground targets: Earlier, the MiG-29 fighter could with little success work on land targets only uncontrolled missiles and aircraft guns. In addition, the modernization of the MiG-29MU2 aircraft received a “glass cabin”, that is, analogue indicators were replaced by digital. The MiG-29MU2 aircraft is equipped with VOR, ILS, DME – on-board equipment, which will automatically control aircraft landing and flying on international routes.




MiG-29MU2 prototype with KAB-500Kr EOGB GBU.









LSARP has expanded its technological capabilities

LSARP has expanded its technological capabilities to repair airplanes Lviv State Aircraft Repair Plant, which is part of the State Enterprise “Ukroboronprom”, has expanded its technological capabilities for the restoration of military aviation. The enterprise purchased a modern automated diagnostic complex, which is intended for diagnostics of complex digital and digital-analog variable elements of electronic equipment. LSARP has expanded its technological capabilities to repair airplanes Also, during 2018, for own working capital, repairs and reconstruction of the premises of the preparation line and the multilayer coating of the galvanic section of the mechanical workshop were carried out. The equipment and galvanic baths of the Ukrainian manufacturer of modern thermoplastic materials are installed. The section was modernized by DC-type rectifiers. Due to the new equipment, the nomenclature for repairing the units of aviation, radio-electronic equipment and aviation armament of MiG-29 military aircraft was expanded. In addition, the company continues research and development work on the modernization of MiG-29 fighters to the MiG-29MU2 version. As a result of further upgrading, the aircraft will be equipped with PGMs for land-based purposes.


On the facilities of the Lutsk Motor Repair Plant a contract for the repair of aviation engines for the Air Force of Indonesia This is reported by the Ukrainian Military Portal These are the engines of the brand AL-30F, mounted on the Su-27 fighter.  There are five Su-27SK fighters and about ten Su-30 fighters on the air force of Indonesia. The latter are equipped with an upgraded version of the engine – AL-30FP, which have a controlled thrust vector. The first two Su-27SK fighter jets shipped by Russia to Indonesia in 2003 during December 2015 through July 2017 were repaired at the 559 Aircraft Repair Plant in Baranovichi, Belarus. The Su-27SK is an export variant of the Soviet fighter plane of the fourth generation of the Su-27, which was put into service in the USSR in 1982. Was developed at OJSC “Research and Development Bureau of Sukhoi” in Russia.

Another 250 soldiers and cat settled in comfortable hostels

Today, on March 14, two newly-built dormitories of improved planning were opened in Lviv region, this time for the ordinary staff of the 16th separate Brigade of the Army Aviation “Brody”. The hostel is built according to a typical project – a two-storey building of block type for 125 people for 5 people in a room, in the block (two rooms) their shower and sanitary knot, on each floor a kitchen with modern equipment and a laundry with automatic washing machines. Also, the houses have autonomous heating. In addition, the construction of a multi-apartment building for officers has begun, and soon the reconstruction of the old house of the squadron headquarters will begin – this will be a house for sergeants.

UAWire – Kyiv: US increased aid to Ukrainian defense sector by $50 million

The press service of the Ukrainian Embassy to the US wrote on Facebook that the United States defense budget for 2020 may include $250 million …

TIC meeting on investigation of thefts in the Armed Forces (VIDEO)

A regular session of the Interim Commission of Inquiry of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine was held to investigate thefts of thefts in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the defense industry. Today, on March 14, a regular meeting of the Temporary Investigative Commission of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine was held to investigate the facts of theft of the Armed Forces and the defense capabilities of the state from 2004 to 2017, as well as the facts of the abuses disclosed in the media about the purchase of spare parts, components and equipment for enterprises of the DC “Ukroboronprom”. The meeting was attended by representatives of the State Investigation Bureau, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, the Ministry of Defense and the State Enterprise “Ukroboronprom”. Also invited, but not arrived: Yuriy Yekhanurov (Defense Minister from December 2007 to June 2009), Valery Ivashchenko (Minister of Defense from June 2009 to May 2010), and Ivan Sveda – Chief of General Staff – Chief of the Armed Forces from November to May 2010.

Ihor Hladkovsky was participant in illegal defense industry deals – Prosecutor general

The son of ex-First Deputy Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Oleh Hladkovsky, Ihor Hladkovsky, participated in illegal schemes in the defense industry, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has said.

Controversial chief to co-chair Ukraine’s foreign intel agency until new head appointed – news politics | UNIAN

First Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Service Serhiy Semochko will co-chair the agency until a new chief has been appointed by the president of Ukraine. The two first deputies will serve in accordance with their focus area.

Tusk, Poroshenko to meet in Brussels on March 20 – European Council website

President of the European Council Donald Tusk and President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko will meet in Brussels on March 20.

Court opens proceeding to dismiss Interior Minister Avakov due to insufficient language skills

Court opens proceeding after lawyer files a claim to dismiss Interior Minister Avakov due to insufficient language skills.

Over 950 industrial facilities built or reconstructed in Ukraine in 2018

In 2018, 957 industrial facilities were built and reconstructed in Ukraine, according to the government report for 2018. — Ukrinform.

PM Groysman orders that talks with IMF on gas price for population be launched

Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman has ordered NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine and the Finance Ministry to initiate talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the gas price for Ukrainians. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine might become raw material colony of developed countries againUkraine might become raw material colony of developed countries again

introduction of export duty for scrap had a huge positive effect

Ukraine, Finland launching joint project to support New Ukrainian School

Ukraine and Finland are launching a joint four-year project to support the reform of the New Ukrainian School. — Ukrinform.

SBU exposes hackers preparing for cyberattacks during Ukraine elections

Ukraine’s SBU Security Service has exposed a group of hackers who were preparing for cyberattacks on the computer systems of Ukrainian government agencies during the March 31 presidential election, the SBU’s press center has reported. — Ukrinform.

Corruption Sinks a Nation and May Turn a Comedian Into President

(Bloomberg Businessweek) — There’s nothing funny about why a comedian is getting a shot at becoming president of Ukraine, a country at war.

YouTube blocks ‘Ze President Servant of the People’ channel dedicated to Zelenskiy | KyivPost

The video hosting website Youtube has blocked the channel “Ze President Servant of the People,” dedicated to presidential candidate of Ukraine, showman Volodymyr Zelenskiy. “This account has been blocked for numerous or serious violations of the Terms of Use for YouTube, including in relation to spam, deception and misleading users,” the ‘President Servant of the People’ page says on Youtube. Head of the digital department of Zelenskiy’s campaign headquarters Mykhailo Fedorov has confirmed the information on blocking the channel to the Ukrainska Pravda ezine. The first round of presidential elections in Ukraine is scheduled for March 31.

Zelensky says YouTube has unblocked his channel

Presidential candidate of Ukraine, showman Volodymyr Zelensky has reported unlocking of his channel on the video hosting website YouTube. Presidential candidate of Ukraine, showman Volodymyr Zelensky has reported unlocking of his channel on the video hosting website YouTube. “All media resources, news channels, Internet trumpeted that our YouTube channel is blocked … Everything is working already. No hacker attacks are terrible for us, enjoy our video blog,” he said in a video message on his Facebook page on Thursday evening. As reported, the video hosting website YouTube blocked the channel “Ze President Servant of the People,” dedicated to presidential candidate of Ukraine, showman Volodymyr Zelensky. “This account has been blocked for numerous or serious violations of the Terms of Use for YouTube, including in relation to spam, deception and misleading users,” the ‘President Servant of the People’ page says on YouTube.

Central Election Commission registers 699 international observers

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has registered 16 more official observers for the March 31 presidential election in Ukraine from foreign countries – Japan and Poland, according to a report posted on the CEC website. — Ukrinform.

About 47,000 soldiers to vote at Ukraine’s presidential elections at special voting stations in JFO zone – CEC

The Central Election Commission expects that about 47,000 Ukrainian military personnel who perform tasks in the area of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) in Donbas will be able to vote in the presidential elections in Ukraine at the polling stations specially created for them.

About 47,000 servicemen to vote in Donbas during presidential elections – CEC – news politics | UNIAN

Member of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Ukraine Mykhailo Verbenskiy has said that about 47,000 servicemen will vote at special polling stations in the zone of the Joint Forces Operation in Donbas during the presidential elections in Ukraine. The protocols of election commissions from the polling stations and other documents will be transferred to the relevant district election commissions in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Germany returns Ukraine church letter of Peter the Great on Kyiv Metropolis

Germany returned the letter of Peter the Great on the order of Metropolitan Josaphat on Kyiv Metropolis. Germany has returned the letter of Peter the Great on the order of Metropolitan Josaphat on Kyiv Metropolis, which was taken out of Kyiv during World War II as Ukraine’s Ambassador to Germany Andry Melnyk reported on Twitter. “It is a really historic day. Germany returned the letter of Peter the Great dated 1708 to Ukraine, which urges Metropolitan of Kyiv Josaphat not to favor to the Ecumenical Patriarch. But it did not work: it will familiarize with our Tomos soon,” he wrote.

TASS: Society & Culture – Germany gives Ukraine historic 300-year-old decree signed by Peter the Great

Since the 1950s, the original 1708 document has been in the library of the Institute for Eastern European History and Area Studies of the University of Tubingen

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia on Brink of Khrushchev-Style Anti-Religious Campaign, Mitrokhin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 14 – Nikolay Mitrokhin, a specialist at the University of Bremen on religious life in Russia, says that Russia is on the brink of a Khrushchev-style anti-religious campaign, a reference to that Soviet leader’s effort to revive Lenin’s effort to close down religious life in the USSR in 1959-1961. But there is one major difference, at least so far. While the Russian authorities have gone after non-traditional religious groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and are now turning their attention to traditional ones like the Muslims, Jews and even Buddhists, they have not yet launched an attack on Russian Orthodoxy. (Khrushchev’s anti-religious efforts are remembered in Russia as especially horrific, even though many in the West overlook it because of Khrushchev’s simultaneous de-Stalinization program. For a survey of this campaign, see Dimitry V. Pospielovsky, A History of Soviet Atheism in Theory and Practice, and the Believer, vol 2 (New York, 1988).) Mitrokhin’s comments come in response to an advance copy of the SOVA Center report on the status of anti-religious actions by the authorities and the population that RBC has obtained a copy of and that journalist Vladimir Dergachev has written up for that news agency today ( The chief targets of Moscow’s actions so far are the Jehovah’s Witnesses, 120 of which have been subject to legal sanction and “approximately 5,000” of whom have been forced to seek political asylum abroad. The campaign against them and other Protestant groups, like the Pentecotals, Baptists and most recently Mormons, the SOVA Center says, continues unabated. But the regime’s attention has not been limited to Protestant groups. Instead, it has spread to Jewish ones: six Israeli citizens were fined for engaging in missionary activity in Russia last year, to Muslim ones and even to Buddhist groups, followers of three of the so-called “traditional” faiths of Russia who had largely escaped persecution until recently. The significant exception, at least so far, are the Russian Orthodox, although the regime has gone after groups the Moscow Patriarchate considers schismatic like the True Orthodox, often referred to as “the catacomb church’ and even some Old Believers. The problems the Orthodox face come from another direction: the population. During 2018, there were demonstrations against the construction of new Orthodox churches in Petersburg, Izhevsk, Chelyabinsk, Chita, Pervouralsk, Sverdlovsk oblast, the Altai, Yekaterinburg and Moscow. In addition to legal sanctions against believers, the Russian authorities during 2018 used some “non-standard” forms of discrimination including the expulsion of religious leaders from the country as in the case of a rabbi and his family in Ulyanovsk oblast and unjustified refusals of entry to religious leaders from abroad. What is especially worrisome, the SOVA report suggests, is that the Russian authorities are increasingly using the nearly universal conviction of religious groups that their doctrines are true as being evidence of an attack on other faiths because of the supposed implication that if their faiths are true, then others are not. Such a line of legal reasoning, of course, opens the way for official sanctions against all believers, including the Orthodox.