Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Read our anonymous expert’s summary, then the referenced articles very carefully. Russia is restricting immigrants to “pure Russians”. That sounds like extreme racism to me. It reminds me of the massacre in Christ’s Church, where Russian neo-Nazis symbols were worn. Coincidence? Unfortunately, no, this appears incidental to the new ‘improved’ Russia of Putin. The hatred, the racism, the arrogance – is palpable.
SECDEF (Acting) and Chairman of the JCS testify to SASC, more on SACEUR testimony. Gen. Tod Wolters (USAF) nominated as next SACEUR. VKS deploy another S-400 / SA-21 battery to Kaliningrad. USAF sorties a Buff from RAF Fairford over the Baltic, Russians get very excited.
Houston conference becomes a Nord Stream 2 debate. Sweden concerned about Russian espionage and covert ops. Romania intends to procure more F-16s.
Fascinating commentaries by Gannushkina and Sukhanov, given Burckina’s comments on the Russian government understating its demographic (birth rates / deaths) collapse – it appears that ethnic Russians in former Soviet republics who are descendants from mixed marriages with non-Russians are now no longer allowed to migrate to Russia, only “pure Russians” are now permitted to enter Russia to live there as Russian nationals. This is coherent with other reports of an increasing obsession with ethnicity – taken to the limit this thinking leads to the expulsion of Russians who are not purely ethnic Russian, which would mean up to a third of self-identified Russians with Ukrainian and Belarusian heritage would have to be expelled, as well as descendants of Tartars, Volga and Baltic Finns, and other minorities (looking at what Russia is like and where it is heading, they would probably be better off migrating to other countries). Sokolov on Russia’s delusions about its own history. Two MH17 reports. Muscovy MoD would like a million children enrolled in the Yunarmia (labeled as RussianHitlerjugend) by 2020. EU very unhappy with Muscovian proxy Orban, and Kazakhstan genocide documentary now available on Youtube.
The 5th anniversary of the invasion of Crimea has produced a great many public statements. The EU gives Muscovy a major serving. Statements by the US and other nations on Crimea. Poroshenko states he will lobby for the NATO MAP aiming for late 2019. Russia loudly objects to new EU, US, UK, Canadian and other sanctions. Update on Mariupol problems due to Russian blockade. US increases the number of Island class CG cutters for Ukraine to four hulls. Crimea water crisis is far worse than earlier suggested and well detailed in Makarenko’s analysis. While the US labels the 2014 fake referendum as a sham, disaffected Crimean residents put up leaflets calling for the votes to be withdrawn. In Russia, support for Krymnash collapses from 67 percent to 39 percent – a majority of Russians now think it was a bad idea. Leading Tartar Kashapov on the creeping deportations of Tartars from Crimea (the Russians moved the Greek population out of Crimea to Mariupol during the 1780s).
Donbas update. Political debate over the defense industry. Industry update and a decent summary of the PSU in the KP. A very big election update. Politics update. OCU / ROC updates.
Department of Defense Budget Posture Date: Thursday, March 14, 2019 Time: 09:30 AM Location: Room SD-G50, Dirksen Senate Office Building Agenda To receive testimony on the Department of Defense budget posture in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2020 and the Future Years Defense Program. Witnesses Honorable Patrick M. Shanahan Acting Secretary of Defense Adobe Acrobat Document Download Testimony General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., USMC Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adobe Acrobat Document Download Testimony Honorable David L. Norquist Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) NO ELECTRONIC STATEMENT SUBMITTED.
During a meeting in the U.S. Senate, which was broadcasted on the website of the Senate Committee on Armed Forces, the Chairman of the Joint …
The Pentagon believes that the modernization of the armed forces of China and Russia allows them to act quickly to put the US in front of a fait accompli. Russian military strategists are seriously studying the possibility of using nuclear weapons in limited military conflicts, a senior American general warned. “I think this is part of the Russian doctrine and their method of warfare, if you like,” Curtis Scaparotti, head of the European command of the US, who is also the supreme commander of NATO forces in Europe, told the House Committee on Armed Forces. In a statement, he refuted the suggestion that Russia is developing such weapons solely in order to cause alarm to the Pentagon, which plans to modernize US nuclear forces, taking into account the new threats. Representatives of the Pentagon believe that Russia, which cannot compete with the US military in a long conflict with the use of conventional weapons, is thinking about using nuclear weapons for quick victories over weaker neighbors before American forces can intervene. “Escalation to dominate is how they look at it,” Scaparotti told lawmakers. – And if you look at the modernization of their weapon systems today, I think you will notice how they can be used for these purposes with a certain escalation. I believe that they are really being developed for this. ” Scaparotti’s civilian colleague agreed with this, noting that the Chinese military strategists had developed a similar theory of victory in conflicts. Both countries are seeking to lead the US to a difficult dilemma. “The modernization of the Russian and Chinese armed forces, combined with the problems caused by time and distance, we face, give these actors the opportunity to act quickly, to use what is commonly called the fait accompli scenario,” said the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Catherine Wilbarger. “If it becomes clear that such a scenario is involved, the United States will find itself in an unfavorable situation when they have to react in such a way that it can be considered an escalation of the conflict, which is an extremely problematic course of events during confrontation with nuclear powers,” she added. Russia supports this strategy with “active stocks consisting of approximately 2,000” weapon systems capable of delivering “non-strategic,” that is, relatively small nuclear weapons, Skaparotti noted. “Russian stocks of non-strategic nuclear weapons cause concern because they support Moscow’s erroneous conviction that the limited use of nuclear weapons by the first, possibly low-powered weapons, will give Russia a power advantage in crises and at lower levels of conflict,” he said.
The commander of the American forces on the European continent (EUCOM) and the commander-in-chief of the combined forces of NATO in Europe, …
U.S. President Donald Trump has nominated the top U.S. Air Force general in Europe to serve as the next supreme allied commander in Europe and head the U.S. European Command.
President Donald Trump has nominated Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters for the position of NATO’s supreme allied commander.
The press service for the Russian Ministry of Defense reported that Russia deployed a battery of Triumph S-400 missile system in the Kaliningrad …
A US B-52H Stratofortress large-payload multirole strategic bomber aircraft practiced a mock attack on a Russian naval base in the Baltic Sea region. A strategic bomber of the U.S. Air Force approached to within about 99 miles (160 km) of the border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on Friday, according to flight data from air traffic network Plane Radar. “16:25 Moscow time. A US Air Force Boeing B-52H Stratofortress strategic bomber, registration number 61-0009, engaging in imitation of the bombing of the base of the Russian Baltic Fleet,” Plane Radar announced on Twitter on 15 March. The B-52 is one of the oldest airframes that the Air Force still operates. The Stratofortress bombers have been in every conflict since the Vietnam War. As to date, B-52s have been modified for low-level flight, conventional bombing, extended-range flights and transport of improved defensive and offensive equipment — including ballistic and cruise missiles that can be launched hundreds of miles from their targets. B-52H Stratofortress is capable of carrying and launching nuclear weapons. According to the current information, the bomber can fly at high subsonic speeds at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet and can be armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles or a conventional payload of up to 70,000 pounds. The B-52H bombers currently in service were built between 1961 and 1963, and are expected to fly until 2040. The Air Force will replace them with the new B-21 Raider bomber, currently under development.
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed Saturday that a US B-52H Stratofortress multirole strategic bomber aircraft flew over the Baltic Sea approached to within about 93 miles (150 km) of Russia’s border. “On March 15, 2019, a US Air Force B-52 aircraft with the transponder switched on performed a flight over international waters of the Baltic Sea parallel to Russia’s territorial waters,” the ministry said. “The plane did not approach Russia’s border closer than 150 kilometers and turned around immediately after Russian air defense systems on combat duty tracked it.” According to official reports, a B-52 plane was last spotted over the Baltic Sea in 2017. Early, air traffic network Plane Radar has reported that a US B-52H Stratofortress large-payload multirole strategic bomber aircraft practiced a mock attack on a Russian naval base in the Baltic Sea region. A strategic bomber of the U.S. Air Force approached to within about 99 miles (160 km) of the border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on Friday, according to flight data from air traffic network Plane Radar. “16:25 Moscow time. A US Air Force Boeing B-52H Stratofortress strategic bomber, registration number 61-0009, engaging in imitation of the bombing of the base of the Russian Baltic Fleet,” Plane Radar announced on Twitter on 15 March. According to the current information, the bomber can fly at high subsonic speeds at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet and can be armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles or a conventional payload of up to 70,000 pounds.
Government officials and executives from the U.S. and Europe square off in tense debates over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline at a major energy conference. Some of the tensest moments at a major energy conference in Houston were over a Russian-German natural gas pipeline. The debates this week show that Germans and their counterparts in the U.S. and Poland cannot even agree on why the line is being built. Berlin sees Nord Stream 2 as a purely economic project, while its opponents see it as a tool of Russian influence over Europe.
Should the U.S. Navy be worried?
Sweden calls Russia the main threat
Romania is looking to acquire additional F-16 fighter jets to replace its ageing MiG-21 Lancer fighter aircraft, National Defense Minister Gabriel Les said. According toScramble Magazine, the National Defence Minister Gabriel Les announced that the Fortele Aeriene ale Romaniei (Romanian Air Force) started the procedure for acquiring more F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft to replace the last MiG-21 Lancer aircraft. It is reported that the air force expressed a need for 36 F-16 Fighting Falcons. To date, Romania bought a total of secondhand 12 F-16 Block 15 Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) fighter jets (nine F-16AMs and three F-16BMs) from Portugal and officially took delivery the first six in late September. Minister Gabriel El also reported that starting on 14 March 2019, the Romanian Air Force commenced flying Air Policing missions under Romanian command with the Baza 86 Aeriana F-16s. In the past, these missions were flown with its MiG-21s. In the near future, Romania will also conduct these kinds of missions under NATO command after the squadron will complete the NATO certification process. “On Thursday, 14 March, the F-16 National Air Police Service will be operational. So far, we conducted this service with MIG aircraft, if we are to talk about the Romanian Air Forces,” said Gabriel Les. According to the current information, the Block 15 change feature larger horizontal stabilizers, the addition of two hardpoints to the chin inlet, an improved AN/APG-66(V)2 radar, and increased capacity for the underwing hardpoints. The Block 15 also gained the Have Quick II secure UHF radio. To counter the additional weight of the new hardpoints, the horizontal stabilizers were enlarged by 30%. Block 15 is the most numerous variant of the F-16, with 983 produced.
Documents newly unsealed Thursday in a case involving a Russian entrepreneur and anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele reveal that a tech company owned by the Russian was used to hack Democratic Party leaders.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 15 – Russian immigration policy both reflects and intensifies the increasing role of ethnicity in Russian life, with officials ever more often using ethnicity as a test to decide who is allowed into the country and who is not, under what terms and for how long, Svetlana Gannushkina says. Until 2015, Russia operated more closely to the provisions of the international convention on refugees, a document Moscow has signed but not ratified; but now, the immigrant rights activist says, the Russian authorities have dropped any pretenses that they are doing so (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/03/11/79830-otbrakovka-lyudey-po-etnicheskomu-priznaku). In large measure, this reflects the impact of the large number of Ukrainians who fled to Russia in 2014-2015. Many Russians were happy to welcome them at first only to turn on them when the Ukrainians proved less “angelic” and less grateful than Russians assumed they should be if they were to remain in Russia. And the Russian government, which initially trumpeted its willingness to take in these people, generally ceased to be interested in them as soon as their propaganda value was exhausted and in those many cases when the Ukrainians refused to take Russian citizenship. As a result, many have been forced into impossible situations within Russia or forced to leave. Not only does this mean that Russia is increasingly closed to refugees – except for those who agree to cooperate with the FSB, Gannushkina says – but it is also leading to a situation in which ethnicity is being elevated to the point that Moscow wants not just ethnic Russians but “’pure Russians,’’” a much narrower category. She gives as an example of this the case of Larisa Iosiashvili, her colleague at Civic Action. Larisa is the product of an ethnically mixed marriage. Her father, a Georgian, left the family early on and she know no Georgian, speaking only Russian and considering herself a Russian despite her name. But when she sought to get Russian citizenship “as a bearer of the language,” officials weren’t even willing to give her a test. She was told that in their view, she was “not a bearer of the Russian language,’ that in fact, she was a ‘not human’ because the ability to speak is what separates us from the animals, and Russian is the only language Larisa knows.” “In explanation,” Gannushkina continues, after she succeeded in convincing the officials to allow her to take the test, she was told that she had failed because she “’did not understand the hidden meanings’” behind the text. Maybe she didn’t discuss a saying the way they wanted, but that is because she is an ordinary person, not an alien. If Russian officials can exclude someone in this way, the rights activist says, they can exclude anyone and do so apparently in the name of ethnic “purity” whatever they think that means.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 14 – The Guild of Interethnic Journalism today carries on its website one of the most amazing and in its way both disturbing and instructive headlines with regard to ethnic relations in the Russian Federation and especially the attitude of indigenous ethnic Russians there to ethnic Russians in other countries. That headline reads “How I lost my nationality.” In the article beneath it, Kira Sukhanova, a student at the Pskov School of Inter-Ethnic Journalism describes how, on coming from Uzbekistan to Russia, she “ceased to feel herself Russian” (nazaccent.ru/content/29434-kak-ya-poteryala-svoyu-nacionalnost.html). “One fine day,” she writes, “I lost my nationality.” It happened when I moved from my home in Tashkent to Russia. While in Uzbekistan, being Russian was always important; and her family always felt that it was important to maintain good relations with Uzbeks as they, ethnic Russians, were guests among them. Her grandfather, Sukhanova says, was especially insistent about the idea that it was necessary to be proud of being a Russian but tolerant of those around them who were Uzbeks. When he died, his neighbors buried him according to Orthodox and also Muslim traditions, a measure of his place as someone with good ties to both. The young journalist says that she had thought that was the norm, that “every Russian person” thought that way “until I came to Russia.” When she arrived, people asked where she was from and what her nationality was; and then “suddenly it happened that they didn’t believe [her] when [she] said [she] was Russian. My new acquaintances guessed that in fact [she] was an Uzbek ora Tatar.” They made that assumption not because she was different but because she was committed to being a Russian. “It seemed to them,” Sukhanova says, “that “I in this way was trying to separate myself out from migrants or conceal my true origin because I was ashamed of it. I ceased to be regarded as a representative of the Russian people. No one believed that I simply was returning to my native nest.” “’What kind of Russian is she?’ was the question in their eyes,” the Russian from Tashkent now in Pskov continues. “‘She has simply invented her genealogy” so as to confuse us. Alas, it is much easier to believe that the earth is flat than that someone with a passport of a different color could be a Russian.” In this way, she says, “I lost that which was with me from my birth, but without which, as it turned out, it is possible to get along, my nationality.” At first, Sukhanov says, she was angry and upset; but over time, she realized she didn’t have a nationality or need one. “It is possible,” she says, “that it is necessary to divide people by nationality in order to deprive them of their self-respect, to suppress them with tyranny or unleash a war against them. The sense of one’s own national identity allows one to celebrate it and oppress others.” But “this is an occasion for pride which you do not deserve … National distinctions are useless.” And so Sukhanova concludes, “my nationality now lies somewhere, lost and covered with dust.” Perhaps someone will find it again but perhaps not. “I do not know,” she says; “I know only that I certainly will never return to it.”
Paul Goble Staunton, March 16 – As negative as Rosstat’s figures are for Russia’s demographic problems in recent months (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/03/economic-crisis-talk-of-war-making.html), the real figures are likely five to ten percent worse than the Russian statistical agency is reporting, according to a blogger who compares Rosstat numbers with other statistics. The blogger, who posts under the screen name Burckina, compared Rosstat numbers for seven predominantly ethnic Russian regions (Belgorod, Vladimir, Ivanovo, Saratov, Tula, Kostroma, and Tambov) with the figures of the registration offices in these same oblasts. The results are disturbing (burckina-new.livejournal.com/1627168.html). In every case, the decline in total population in January of this year was from 89,500 to 103,800 greater according to the registration offices (ZAGS) than according to Rosstat. If the former figures are correct, then that means both the overall decline of the population of the Russian Federation and the decline in the number of ethnic Russians is far steeper than Moscow is admitting. That in turn means that the population of the country is going to get smaller faster than Russian officials acknowledge and, more seriously, that the share of ethnic Russians in that population is going to get smaller even faster, something that in many regions will change the ethnic balance against Moscow. That Rosstat routinely falsifies numbers is commonly recognized and that it has been especially inclined to do so after the withering criticism it received last year for being too negative and after a new director was appointed. But the comparison with ZAGS figures nonetheless should be treated with caution. ZAGS data in Russia are also prone to inaccuracies and especially to late reporting. To give but one example, if an oblast registration office did not include births in one month but listed them in the next, it might overstate a decline in population in the earlier month. That problem may be especially likely during January with the long winter holiday. But at the same time, this comparison of figures is important as a reminder that Russian statistics and especially Rosstat statistics should be used with caution and that the demographic decline of Russia is something very real and very likely far worse than anyone in or near the Kremlin wants to face.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 15 – Only a few years ago, many analysts and commentators were pronouncing nations and nationalism as survivals of the past which would give way to civic identities under the growing impact of immigration and globalization. But now it is obvious that the prediction of their demise was premature, Dimitry Savvin says. Indeed, the Russian nationalist editor of the Riga-based Harbin portal says, there are five compelling reasons why nations and nationalism are even more important now than they were and why it is entirely appropriate to suggest that the world is entering “an era of new nationalism” (harbin.lv/natsiya-v-globalnom-mire-oidzd). As he points out, migration doesn’t mean what it once did: people no longer break all their ties with where they are from because of the power of the Internet, and the size of migration flows are such that new arrivals may be acculturated but are ever less likely to be assimilated. At the same time, their arrival provokes a new ethnic assertiveness among the host population. His first argument is that “any nation is a political community, but in the future, only those in the basis of which there is a strong ethnic or ethno-confessional core will have a chance to survive. All the rest,” Savvin says, “are condemned to assimilation or disintegration: there further existence has no sense.” Second, “the functioning of the nation remains the same as it was earlier: the defense of its own ethno-cultural (ethno-confessional) identity and also the rights and freedoms of its representatives and providing them with the maximum possible favorable conditions. But the role of the state in that will continue to contract.” Third, Savvin argues, there will be “a weakening of the ties between the state and the nation as a political subject.” The state on whose territory representatives of a nation are located will become one resource among many for those people and in some cases not the most important. Fourth and this is something very new, “the nation is losing its territorial borders as it unites its representatives around the world.” That unity, promoted and maintained by the rapid flow of information and people, will in many cases overwhelm the capacity of the state to control it. The situations of the Armenians and Kurds are especially instructive in that regard. And fifth, the new nationalism will be based on securing representation not just in states but in broader institutions, giving it leverage over all the places where its representatives happen to find themselves. Those nations that are best represented in these institutions will be in the best position to survive and even flourish.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 16 – Historians see as their task determining whether something happened or not and then explaining it. That is, their focus is on whether something is true or false. But ordinary Russians, Nikita Sokolov says, don’t care about that. They care only about whether their image of the past is good or bad, something entirely different. That is why, the deputy director of the Yeltsin Foundation says is a major reason why Russians engage in so much mythmaking about the past and hold onto the myths even after these are shown to be false and why fights over history are so intense and bitter (rosbalt.ru/moscow/2019/03/16/1769716.html). Sokolov made this observation in leading off a discussion jointly organized by the Yeltsin Foundation and the Gaidar Foundation at Moscow’s Jewish Museum on “Homo Soveticus: Soviet Man at 100.” And he insisted that as a result, “the struggle about historical assessments is not a struggle for the past but for the future.” Other speakers elaborated on this theme and showed the ways in which it has pernicious influence on a wide variety of issues. Nikolay Petrov of the Higher School of Economics, for example, pointed out that Russian history is “the history of rulers, and it is to a large extent projected by them.” “The powers that be today,” he continues, are such that all tsars by definition must be good. We study history not to learn how people lived. We study only how our heroic country gave back as good as it got and extended its territory.” Indeed, Petrov says, in the heads of both ordinary citizens and those in power, “the main elements of our greatness are above all two: nuclear weapons where we rank second in the world behind the US and a gigantic territory.” Sokolov for his part notes that the Russian economy has always been extensive rather than intensive, seizing new resources rather than developing those it already has. As a result, the authorities aren’t concerned about developing schools and laws but in destroying them if they get in the way of its unlimited access to resources. Petrov adds that the state has not been entirely successful in imposing its vision of history because “the Russian people knows it much better than its television suggests.” It will be led far in any direction but there are limits, including in the population’s assessment of Stalin, he suggests. One place where people get more realistic pictures of the past is in the study of local history. But over the last decade or so, the current Russian government has done what it can to destroy such history, not only because it encourages a diverse view of the Russian past but because it promotes a more honest one, Petrov continues. “When an individual views history not as abstract, when he sees his country through his family, his city, or his village, he is less given to accepting myths,” he says. “But we are a country deprived of its roots on its own territory. Because of the enormous movement of peoples, there is no place we associate with our family.” Instead, Russians have the sense that they are accidentally in any one place and may soon be shifted to another, an attitude that undermines an honest approach to the past but that is exactly what the current powers that be in Russia want, Petrov concludes.
The European Commission has slammed Google for what it says is a lack of action in fighting disinformation ahead of elections to the European Parliament in May.
On the podcast: The founder of the group Bellingcat on using open sources to investigate war crimes and abuses.
In October 2018, Twitter published a database of over 9 million tweets that from Russian Internet Research Agency, believed to be a state-backed troll factory. Ukrainian think tank VoxUkraine identified more than 750,000 tweets related to Ukraine by the keywords and analyzed how the Russian troll factory has been working against Ukraine; and who, how, and what was tweeted.
Russia’s Defence Ministry is reportedly seeking the creation of ‘Yunarmia’ [‘Youth Army’] units at all defence industry enterprises in its drive to get one million children and young people ‘enlisted’ by 2020 in a structure that has been compared to the Nazi Hitlerjugend –
In the separatist regions of eastern Ukraine, young people prepare to defend themselves—and their nation.
The center-right European People’s Party faces off with its Hungarian partners that keep bashing Brussels and migrants.
424,963 views 10K 903 Download Share Save Independent channel Published on Jan 30, 2019 The Kazakhstan premiere on Youtube of a true film about the massive famine in Kazakhstan in the 20s and 30s – “Zulmat. Genocide in Kazakhstan
The European Union’s foreign policy chief has marked the fifth anniversary of Russia’s seizure and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula with scathing criticism of the Kremlin.
The European Union is determined to pursue the policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and will continue imposing restrictive measures. The illegal restrictions to passage via the Kerch Strait have negative economic consequences for Ukraine’s ports in the Sea of Azov and the whole region.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has announced Moscow will respond to fresh sanction action by the European Union.
President Petro Poroshenko congratulated the North Atlantic Alliance on its 70th anniversary and promised to raise the issue of the Action Plan regarding Ukraine’s membership at the NATO summit in December 2019. This is mentioned in the letter of the head of state to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, which was published by the press service of Ukraine’s mission to NATO, reports Ukrinform. The President assured that on the eve of the 70th anniversary of NATO he is proud that the partnership with Ukraine has become an important page in the history of the alliance. According to him, Ukraine highly appreciates the solidarity of the Alliance with Ukraine and the continued support of the country in the face of Russia’s aggression. “As we discussed at the Munich Security Conference, the visit of the North Atlantic Council to Ukraine would send another strong signal that NATO firmly supports Ukraine in political and practical terms. I would also like to assure you that Ukraine remains a reliable partner of NATO in building our common and secure future, “the president added. He stressed that Ukraine is fully committed to carrying out reforms, in particular, according to the course towards integration into NATO. “Considering that Ukraine is at the very forefront of the defense of the Euro-Atlantic community, I believe that the allies can use the NATO summit in London this year as a favorable opportunity to start a substantive discussion on updating our partnership, including by giving Ukraine the action plan for NATO membership,” the president stressed.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expressed his hope for a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the North Atlantic Alliance summit scheduled for December 2019 in London. As reported on the page of the Mission of Ukraine to NATO in the social network Twitter on Friday, the head of the Ukrainian state wrote in his congratulation to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with his 60th anniversary. “Given the fact that Ukraine is at the forefront of the defense of the Euro-Atlantic community, I believe that the Allies can use the London summit of NATO this year as a good opportunity to begin a substantive discussion on raising our partnership level, including the provision of Ukraine MAP “, – writes P.Poroshenko. In his congratulations, the President notes that E. Stoltenberg, “being a recognized leader of the strategic vision, has made a significant contribution to the development of strong ties between Ukraine and NATO.” Mr Poroshenko also assured NATO Secretary General that Ukraine “remains a reliable NATO partner in building our common and secure future” and “fully committed to reforms, especially on the path to our NATO integration course.”
NATO has again confirmed future membership for Ukraine in the Alliance, noting strengthened political and practical support for Kyiv since illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and events in Donbas. This message was delivered in the annual report by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, which was released on Thursday at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The section, titled “NATO’s Open Door,” says “In light of Ukraine’s restated aspirations for NATO membership, Allies also stand by their decisions taken at the Bucharest Summit and subsequent Summits.” As reported, at the Bucharest Summit, which took place in April 2008, said allies “welcome Ukraine’s and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO.” The declaration also said a membership action plan (MAP) was “next step for Ukraine and Georgia on their direct way to membership” and “today we make clear that we support these countries’ applications for MAP.” Stoltenberg’s 2018 report under the section, titled “Assistance to Ukraine,” says “A sovereign, independent and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security.” “Since Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO has stepped up political and practical support to Ukraine. This commitment was reconfirmed at the Brussels Summit in July 2018, where NATO leaders met with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine, together with President Giorgi Margvelashvili of Georgia,” the report says. Stoltenberg recalled that in 2018 the Ukraine-NATO commission continued to discuss the security situation in and around Ukraine, including Crimea, eastern Ukraine and the Black Sea. “It also discussed Ukraine’s wide-ranging reforms aimed at implementing Euro-Atlantic principles and standards against the background of Ukraine’s aspirations for NATO membership,” the report said. Stoltenberg also said “NATO’s commitment to assisting Ukraine’s security and defense sector reforms through the Comprehensive Assistance Package – including 10 Trust Funds – remains high.”
Russia will respond to new European Union sanctions, its foreign ministry said on Saturday, without saying what action it would take. The Russian side said it would not leave this unfriendly action by the European Union unanswered.
Measures target Russian officials over Moscow’s actions against Ukraine, including 2018 naval clash in the Kerch Strait.
The U.S., Canada and European Union on Friday imposed financial sanctions on more than a dozen officials and entities accused of supporting Russia’s occupation of southeastern Ukraine.
Transatlantic community imposes sanctions on Russia. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Friday, March 15, designated six Russian individuals and eight entities in response to Russia’s continued and ongoing aggression in Ukraine, including in the Kerch Strait. The U.S. action targets individuals and entities playing a role in Russia’s unjustified attacks on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Kerch Strait, the purported annexation of Crimea, and backing of illegitimate Nov 11 elections in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas, according to the U.S. Treasury.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated six Russian individuals and eight entities in response to Russia’s continued and ongoing aggression in Ukraine. — Ukrinform.
Great Britain calls for release of the 24 detained Ukrainian sailors and seized vessels in the Kerch Strait
The United States, Canada and the European Union simultaneously announced the imposition of the Azov package of sanctions against Russia as a powerful transatlantic strike against its plans to occupy the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait. — Ukrinform.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has commented on the decisions of the European Union, the United States and Canada to impose sanctions in response to Russia’s continued aggressive acts against Ukraine. The solidarity and unity of Ukraine’s friends and partners are the key to the effectiveness of sanctions against the Russian Federation, Klimkin said.
The USA and Canada imposed sanctions against Russia due to the attack of the Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait
The United States and the United Kingdom will never recognize the occupation of Crimea and call on the world to thwart the legalization of the annexation of the peninsula by Russia. — Ukrinform.
Five years ago today, on March 16, 2014, Russia stage-managed a sham referendum in Crimea and two days later illegally annexed the peninsula, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE) wrote in a statement published on Saturday morning. Crimea has become a bridgehead for the Russian armed forces striving to control the whole Black Sea region and thus to cement Russian influence in the wider area.
The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine has said the United States does not and will not recognize the Kremlin’s control of Crimea. Five years ago, Russia organized an illegitimate referendum on the annexation of Crimea.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey has released the official statement on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, reiterating the support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. — Ukrinform.
Russia must release detained Ukrainian servicemen and return the vessels of the Ukrainian naval forces seized near the Kerch Strait in November last year. — Ukrinform.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic says that the ongoing militarization of Russian-occupied Crimea represents a blatant breach of international law. Since the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, the fundamental human and civil rights of the Crimean Tatars, as well as those of other ethnic and religious communities, have been violated.
Ukraine proposes to include the issue of Crimea de-occupation in the Minsk negotiation process, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Serhiy Kyslytsia said, speaking at the Arria-formula meeting on the Russian occupation of Crimea on Friday, March 15. Ukraine is calling on Russia to fully implement Minsk Agreements.
Ukraine insists on Russia’s full implementation of the Minsk agreements and proposes to include the issue of Crimea in the Minsk process. — Ukrinform.
The Mariupol port has lost 33% of its fleet and up to 140,000 tonnes of exported metal products a month due to construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait and the restrictions on passage of ship, which height exceeds 33 meters, imposed after its construction, according to a posting on the Facebook page of Ukraine’s Ministry for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP). The Mariupol port has lost 33% of its fleet and up to 140,000 tonnes of exported metal products a month due to construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait and the restrictions on passage of ship, which height exceeds 33 meters, imposed after its construction, according to a posting on the Facebook page of Ukraine’s Ministry for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP). “As a result of the construction of the Kerch Bridge, Russia restricted the height of vessels: from now on, vessels of Panamax type cannot pass through the canal. With the restrictions on the movement of vessels, the canal bottom is growing shallow and silting up,” Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories and IDP Vadym Chernysh said during his visit to Mariupol. However, he said that, despite the blockade of the Kerch Strait by the Russian Federation, the Mariupol port continues operating and remains one of the strategically important enterprises of the city. The maximum capacity of the port allows transshipment of cargo up to 21 million tonnes per year, but after the aggression of the Russian Federation in the east of Ukraine, the port’s capacity decreased almost 67%. “In order to improve the situation in the ports of Mariupol and Berdiansk, several possibilities are now being discussed. One of them is the use of domestic financial resources that could remain in the ports. The EU additional funds are an equally important financial resource,” the minister said.
During a hearing in the United States House of Representatives ,The Commander-in-Chief of the United NATO forces in Europe Curtis Scaparrotti stated that the United States intends to send two more Island-class boats to Ukraine. “We have worked and will continue to work on the naval sector with their [Ukrainian] Navy. We have a good relationship with them, and now there is an increase in funding that we request from Congress for the transfer of marine funds to Kiev, primarily two ships, island class patrol boats to start replenishing their Navy. Other resources are also mentioned,” he said. Earlier the commander of the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Ihor Voronchenko said that two Island class patrols boats which were transferred to Ukraine from the United States of America in September would arrive at the port of Odessa in July. In the summer of 2017, Ukrainian officials announced that the US would send Island-class boats to Ukraine. Last April crews were formed for training on American Island boats.
Occupied Crimea is on the brink of an environmental disaster. In 20 years, most of the peninsula could become a salty desert. Crimean residents already face a shortage of fresh water. The Kremlin and the self-proclaimed “authorities” of the peninsula are not able to solve the problem and blame Kyiv for destabilizing the situation in the region. Serhiy Stelmakh [the name was changed due to the security reasons], a Crimean journalist of RFE/RL, assumes that Russia is preparing an ultimatum to Ukraine – either it unblocks the channel which provided water to the peninsula, or the Kremlin will use its power. The situation with water is so critical that even Russian authorities have to recognize it and speak about it openly. “The situation with providing water resources to the population and economy of the Crimean peninsula is rather complicated. The total water intake in 2016 fell fivefold compared to 2014,” Nikolay Matrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of Russia, stated on 27 June 2017 while visiting Simferopol. He said that the problem was most acute in eastern Crimea, where the area of irrigated land fell by 92%, and fisheries and industrial enterprises suffer, while the problem of supplying water to the other parts was solved. Traditionally all the blame was put on the Ukrainian side. To a great extent, the Crimean peninsula depends on water from the Dnipro river which was brought from the mainland through the North Crimean canal. After Russia occupied Crimea in 2014, Ukraine dammed the canal. Despite making loud statements, Russia could not find any alternative to it. Let’s take a look at the situation from the beginning.
The United States Department of State has called the “referendum” conducted by Russia in Ukraine’s Crimea five years ago “a farce.” This farce was rightfully condemned by the international community.
It appears that the dissatisfaction of many Crimeans with life under Russian occupation is becoming more vocal. On the fifth anniversary of the “referendum,” which Russia held on 16 March 2014 to legitimize its occupation of the Ukrainian peninsula, the Crimean city of Yalta was plastered with leaflets criticizing life in Russia and calling to “withdraw” signatures in the sham referendum of 2014. The photos of the leaflets were reportedly posted to Crimean forums. As twitter user wasily_crimea noted, the user who originally posted the photos is now unavailable, being supposedly blocked. However, photos of the leaflets had by that time spread like wildfire in the internet.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 15 – The share of Russians who consider the annexation of Crimea to be useful has fall from 67 percent in the spring of 2015 to 39 percent now, according to the results of a Public Opinion Foundation poll released on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of Vladimir Putin’s signature achievement, the Crimean Anschluss (https://fom.ru/Politika/14182). And while the percentage saying that this action was harmful rose only from five percent to seven percent, those saying that the pluses and minuses were nearly equal rose from 15 percent in 2015 to 39 percent now, hardly the verdict the Kremlin would like Russians to have on this event. According to the Newsru agency, sociologists say that this pattern reflects the fact that even those who passionately supported Putin’s actions early on have begun to feel the impact of sanctions and of Moscow’s spending on Crimea rather than on the needs of the rest of the country (newsru.com/russia/15mar2019/krym_worse.html). The scholars with whom Newsru consulted say that “the initial euphoria from the annexation of Crimea led to a growth of collective self-assessment, pride, patriotic self-respect, and at the same time to ‘the growth of unaccountable concerts and a cloudy understanding that the growing confrontation between Russia and the US and Russia and NATO can lead to the outbreak of a real major war.” As a result, they say, Russians overwhelmingly now want normal relations with the West rather than the current hostile standoff. A year ago, about half of Russians wanted improved ties with the US and the West; now 79 percent do, an indication that the positive feelings Russians may have had about the Crimean Anschluss are now overwhelmed by the impact of sanctions.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 16 – When Stalin deported the Crimean Tatars in 1944, he loaded all of them on trains in the course of a few days and sent them to Central Asia, an action that is almost universally recognized and denounced as an act of genocide. But today, Vladimir Putin is doing much the same thing but in slow motion and getting away with it. In the five years since invading and annexing Crimea, the current Kremlin leader has expelled some 40,000 Crimean Tatars and destroyed almost all of their cultural institutions in their immemorial homeland, effectively presenting them with a Hobson’s choice of assimilation or expulsion. Few people are prepared to put the issue so starkly and so truly, but one who does so is Rafis Kashapov, the former leader of the All-Tatar Social Center (VTOTs) and current émigré head of Free Idel Ural. In an interview with Kazkaz Omarov of the Yenicag portal, he makes these parallels clear (yenicag.ru/tatarskiy-politik-posle-anneksii-kre/). “We remember the deportation of the Germans, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Karachays, and Balkars and that the Crimean Tatar people shared the same tragic fate as they. Such a horrific tragedy many peoples experienced [because] this was the continuing practice of the communist regime,” the activist says. “Fifteen peoples and more than 40 nationalities were deported” in Soviet times. “About 3.5 million people were driven from their native places, in fact from their historical motehrlands. Many of them died during the deportation,” Kashapov continues. Tragically, that old would has not yet healed; and it is being made worse by new ones. “In Crimea, a new wave of widespread repression toward the Crimean Tatars is going on. Since the beginning of the annexation of Crimea, from 30 to 40 thousand Tatars have left the peninsula; and therefore, one cannot speak about the rehabilitation of the repressed.” And the occupiers have closed schools, mosques, newspapers and governing institutions. The world is thus fully justified to speak about a new “deportation” albeit one that has not been total or all at once. The situation is “deteriorating and will deteriorate still further,” Kashapov continues, arguing that as a result of Putin’s actions, “the Crimean Tatars have once again fallen into ‘the prison house of peoples of Russia.’” Fortunately, the Crimean Tatars are continuing to struggle against the occupation. Fortunately, too, far more of them who have been expelled from their homeland are in countries like Ukraine and Turkey where they can continue the fight and are doing so. Unfortunately, too many in the West are unwilling to see Putin’s crime for what it is – a recrudescence of Stalin’s.
Russia-led forces mounted two attacks on Ukrainian positions in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian army’s casualties included: one soldier killed, another one was wounded in action. The Ukrainian army’s command says the situation in the JFO zone is under control.
Russia’s hybrid military forces mounted two attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas on March 16, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action and another one as wounded in action. The situation in the area of the Joint Forces Operation remains under control of Ukrainian troops.
Russian occupation forces violated ceasefire six times in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in eastern Ukraine over the past day. The weapons banned under the Minsk agreements were used thrice. — Ukrinform.
Russian-led forces mounted six attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in the past 24 hours. There were no Ukrainian army casualties.
Commander of the Joint Forces Serhiy Nayev has said that the Ukrainian military reliably control the contact line in Donbas and never fire on settlements.
There is no militia in the Donbas – all the fighters there are paid to fight against Ukraine, said Igor “Strelkov” Girkin, former head of the so-called the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), during an interview on Roy TV. The video was uploaded on Facebook by Anatoly “Shtefan” Shtirlitz, an officer in the Ukrainian Armed Forces. “They do not receive money from the treasury of the ‘republic’. They are not a ‘militia’, there is no more ‘militia’. The ‘militia’ ended after Debaltseve [battle]. They are contractors, they are willing to shoot at even their own people for money. They are not a ‘militia’, I stress. There is no more ‘militia’,” Girkin said. Recently, Girkin announced his intention to auction the gold medal he had been awarded for his involvement in Russia’s occupation of Crimea in 2014, starting the bidding at 1 million rubles ($15,000). He admitted that he needed the cash to deal with certain “financial problems”.
The press service of the National Police of Ukraine stated that from the beginning of 2019, ten militants from the self-proclaimed Donetsk …
In Ukraine’s once proud mining region of Donbas, war, mismanagement and a stretched economy are combining to create an environmental catastrophe in the coal mining industry.
True budgets of fake states. A common feature of the economies of “fake states” is their non-transparency which usually screens highly corrupt local elites and a significant proportion of capital of criminal origin, as well as the fact that 80-90% of current expenditures of “independent” quasi-states are covered by the Russian Federation. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
At the meeting of the Regional Development Council in Poltava region, President Petro Poroshenko stressed that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had radically changed and received new modern equipment and weapons thanks to the support of the entire Ukrainian people. He especially noted the complete re-equipment of the army, including the provision of troops with new secure communications, which became strategic in the context of the war. At the meeting of the Regional Development Council in Poltava region, President Petro Poroshenko stressed that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had radically changed and received new modern equipment and weapons thanks to the support of the entire Ukrainian people. He especially noted the complete re-equipment of the army, including the provision of troops with new secure communications, which became strategic in the context of the war. “I am proud of the fact that we have restored the Armed Forces of Ukraine in unprecedentedly short terms. Restored is the wrong way to say. And I know it exactly as the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. Because we created them from scratch, not even from scratch, but from a deep “minus”. Revived the army and the entire security sector, which were literally saturated by corruption and FSS officials,” Petro Poroshenko said. “Now, the Ukrainian army is one of the strongest in the continent and our allies already learn our experience of how to beat the enemy and rebuff the aggressor in the hybrid war,” the President stressed. Petro Poroshenko said: “As President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief, I report to you – the strength of our troops is increasing day by day. Every week we buy new weapons. We are assisted by our partners. Defense enterprises started working for the army. I personally visit the ceremonies of transferring weapons and equipment to the troops. It is already not repaired, but modernized equipment, and sometimes a completely new and modern weaponry. We raise the monetary security of our soldier and officer”. The President recalled that when he was elected, a mobilized sniper from the 3rd Special Purpose Regiment received 600 UAH per month. “Today, only an additional payment on the frontline is 12 thousand UAH. And from April 1, snipers, paratroopers and military mountain assault brigades will receive 24 thousand UAH if they are on the frontline,” he said. At the same time, he noted that “money is not the first priority, because today being a military is prestigious again”. “Thousands and thousands of boys and girls associate their future with the army,” Petro Poroshenko said.
President, Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko instructed the Minister of Defense to resolve the issue of raising the amount of financial support for the servicemen of the mountain assault units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. He said this during a working visit to Zakarpattia region.
Posted by: Editorial March 16, 2019 International News 0 Comments In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the Ministry of Defense of the Kingdom of Denmark in the field of aviation transport transport and technical agreement, a joint Ukrainian-Danish military transport operation “North Falcon 2019” on fuel transportation began. This is reported by the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine A group of Ukrainian aviators, headed by Colonel Sergei Artemenko, commander of the Ukrainian Air Forces Command Air Force, flew from the airfield of the Boryspil airport to the airbase “Aalborg” of the Royal Air Force of Denmark on the Il-76MD aircraft. Ukrainian military plan to transport more than 600 thousand liters of fuel and other cargo from the US Air Force “Thule” to the Danish Arctic Arc “Nord” on Greenland. As Colonel Sergiy Artemenko told, this year, five ground service representatives and four flight crew members will be involved in the task for the first time in Greenland. So the Air Force will be replenished with personnel who will gain experience in the extreme conditions of the Far North “This operation is a serious test for the crew, both for ground service and for aviation engineering,” said the officer. – All the time it is necessary to work in conditions of low temperatures, now it can be lowered to the mark minus 50 degrees Celsius. Difficulty adds a strong gusty wind, a limited runway at the station “Nord” length of 1800 m and the absence of any visible landmarks. So even the slightest error can lead to unpredictable consequences. It should be noted that the Ukrainian military transport aircraft IL-76MD, in terms of its flight characteristics, allows the loading and unloading of large cargoes with the help of crane equipment of the aircraft and take-off and landing on truncated bands, minimally equipped with navigational aids. Il-76MD before the operation Northern Sokol-2019 Photo: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine For comparison: transport aircraft C-130 “Hercules” and C-17 “Globmaster”, which can fly to the station “Nord”, have certain limitations. Thus, the “Hercules” has considerably less possibilities for transportation of dimensional goods, and “Globmaster” does not have crane equipment, which makes it impossible to transport large-sized tanks specified by the objectives of the technical agreement.
How law enforcement authorities turn a blind eye on corruption in defense sector. How criminal proceedings against them are being ceased. How much does condoning attitude of tax authorities and SBU cost?
Several hundred people have gathered in Kyiv at a protest organized by a far-right group to call for arrests of figures linked to an alleged military corruption scandal.
Several hundred people have gathered in Kyiv at a protest organized by a far-right group to call for arrests of figures linked to an alleged military corruption scandal. The rally in the center of the Ukrainian capital on March 16 was called by the National Corps, the political wing of the Azov battalion.
The state enterprise “Ukroboronservis” has put to the buyer in the United States of America another party of almost three thousand 7.62-mm Mosin rifles of the 1891/30 model. According to the data of the open export / import database Great Export Import, in January-February 2019, Ukroboronservis placed 2760 units of the 7.62 mm rifles of the 1891/30 model, American American Tactical Imports (231 Deming Way Summerville, SC 29483) with a bayonet and accessories (known as the Mosin or Mosin-Nagan rifle or the “three-line”). Earlier, in December 2018, “Ukroboronservis” put the same company in the party with 3200 Mosin rifles. The cost of one rifle was $ 128. It should be noted that according to reports from the State Export Control Service of Ukraine, the USA is the largest buyer of small arms in the Ukrainian market. In particular, during 2007-2017, American companies bought in Ukraine over 400,000 rifles and carbines. Recall that “Ukrspetsexport” in November 2015 demonstrated the modernization of the Mosin rifle – a sniper rifle VM2 MP-UOS, received a new aluminum chassis, modern optics, a negative box-office, silencers and sophisticated socks. In March 2016, the first batch of rifles was handed over to the National Guard.
VASYLKIV and VINNYTSIA, Ukraine — On a chilly morning in early spring, humid mist and low clouds hang over the air base of Vasylkiv, a city of 36,000 people located 30 kilometers southwest of Kyiv. It is home to the Ukrainian Air Force’s 40th Tactical Aviation Brigade. By midday, the sky has cleared, and to the great joy of the brigade’s pilots, the base’s flight control center gives the go-ahead for a flight session — for the first time in this week of poor weather. The session starts with meteorological reconnaissance — a silver Mikoyan MiG‑29 fighter with blue-and-yellow tridents on its twin tail fins is towed to the runway. After a half-hour of tinkering, the senior service technician reports that the aircraft is fully fueled and ready to go. The pilot locks the glass dome of his cockpit, and the jet slips in the gray skies, its turbofan engines roaring and spitting trails of hot smoke. The Ukrainian Air Force or UAF regularly conducts such practice flights these days, but this was not always the case. During their careers, many Ukrainian pilots were frequently grounded for want of jet fuel, while their warplanes were being scrapped or sold off by the dozen. But country’s rising defense budget, which has been skyrocketing since 2014 to a record-breaking $8 billion planned for 2019– almost 6 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product — has offered them hope. Crippled by years of underfunding, drastic post-Soviet cuts, and a rapid loss of skilled personnel, the UAF is trying to rise again as a combat-potent force. The mission is now to prevent Russia, the world’s second greatest air power, from encroaching on Ukraine’s integrity and independence. With swarms of Russian warplanes based closer to Ukraine’s borders every month, the UAF is now feverishly training more pilots and modernizing their aircraft. But its aging fleet, inherited from Soviet times is drawing close to the end of its operating lifetime. Within the next decade, the UAF needs a new fleet of modern warplanes capable of conducting a full spectrum of military operations — otherwise, Ukraine’s skies will be largely defenseless. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London-based research institute, the UAF now has nearly 125 combat-ready aircraft. These include approximately 37 MiG‑29 and 34 Su‑27 fighters, 14 Su‑24M attack aircraft, 31 Su‑25 close air support aircraft, nine Su‑24MR and three Antonov An‑30 reconnaissance aircraft, 32 L‑39 training planes, and five Ilyushin Il‑76 and three An‑26 military transport aircraft. The force also has a pool of 14 Mi‑9, 30 Mi‑8, and two Mi‑2 helicopters. Ukrainian skies are also guarded by 250 S‑300P/PS/PT and 72 Buk-M1 surface-to-air missile systems. While today’s UAF is a shadow of what it was in 1992, Ukraine still remains among the few nations operating all principal branches of air power — bombers, fighters, attack aircraft, reconnaissance, transports, and drones, in addition to missile and electronic warfare forces. Increased spending on air power, reaching a total of Hr 8.3 billion ($320 million) in 2019, has allowed the gradual resumption of regular practice flights. Ukrainian fighter pilots now get between 40 and 60 flying hours a year, and all airbases hold two or three flight sessions every week. “That’s more or less enough to maintain piloting skills,” said Lieutenant Colonel Artur Gaika, a fighter squadron leader with the 40th Tactical Aviation Brigade. “But we aim for a lot more, especially for the young pilots.” There are no illusions regarding the strong adversary the young pilots will face in the case of all-out war. So the old hands drill them in close-combat tactics, which, they believe, would somewhat negate Russia’s technological superiority in combat. They are trained hard to fly as low as possible to avoid Russian radar detection. “You should have your jet’s belly painted all yellow from sunflowers on the ground,” pilots joke. Like any active air force, the UAF from time to time suffers tragic accidents that take the lives of even its most experienced flyers. As recently as Oct. 27, 2018, a Su‑27 crashed during the Clear Sky 2018 multinational aerial drills near Vinnytsia, killing Colonel Ivan Petrenko and his co-pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Seth “Jethro” Nehring from the U. S. National Guard’s 144th Fighter Wing. Limit of strength The overall increase in defense spending due to the war has allowed the UAF to upgrade some of its aircraft. According to UkrOboronProm, Ukraine’s giant state-run defense production concern, the air force received over 50 modernized and repaired aircraft in 2018, with better navigation systems and radars installed on some of the UAF’s workhorse jets. But a more serious and strategic problem is the aging of warplanes that have operated since 1970s and 1980s. “What we have is generally enough for fulfilling our current tasks as for now,” Lieutenant Colonel Ignat said. “But you can’t repair and modernize planes endlessly — most of them are now older than their pilots. Their airframes are drawing closer to their operational limits, and their service lives are getting harder and harder to extend.” Soon the UAF could be left with no planes to fly, he added, and the nation needs to start thinking about purchasing new aircraft abroad. “Ukraine will not be able to design and produce its own new jet fighter in the foreseeable future,” the officer said. “To create one would take at least $10 billion and at least 10 years. But we don’t have those billions or those years.” But meanwhile, little progress is being made. Plans to launch the licensed production of Swedish-designed Jas‑39 Gripen fighters in Lviv, mulling since 2014, eventually ended in nothing. The only purchase made so far was of 12 Turkish Bayrakatar strike drones in late 2018. They have just been delivered, and are not yet in service. As the UAF’s chief aviation engineer Major General Petro Skorenkiy told the Kyiv Post, presently budget funding is insufficient either for foreign purchases or a full modernization of aircraft, and the national defense industry can provide only 30–35 percent of the work required by the UAF. “We’re modernizing virtually everything we have,” the general said. “But we still have big problems with aiming sights. In terms of target acquisition, we’re lagging behind both Western militaries and the Russians. But we’re working on this.” He said the UAF still has up to two decades of operational life left — but that’s the most upbeat assessment. “We hadn’t flown much for years, so even when it comes to the old planes, their operating lives are not exhausted. I believe we can make it to nearly 2040.” “But nonetheless, as early as within the next 10 years, we need to start replacing the whole air fleet, squadron by squadron.” Meanwhile, Russia, which, according to Ukraine’s military intelligence, has based nearly 500 tactical jets and 340 strike helicopters close to Ukraine’s border and in occupied Crimea, is quickly gaining numerical and technical superiority. While Ukraine’s modernized warhorse fighters, such as the MiG‑29 and Su‑27, are 4th generation jet fighters, Russia operates the more advanced 4+ generation Su‑30 and Su‑33, and the 4++ generation Su‑35 warplanes, and is preparing to introduce ultramodern 5th generation Su‑57 fighters.
Anatoliy Baronin, appointed to the position of Acting Rector of the Foreign Intelligence Service Institute of Ukraine, is reforming the school in accordance with NATO standards, Ukraine’s Foreign Intelligence Service (FIS) said on Thursday. “Baronin’s main task is to implement the reform of the educational institution in accordance with NATO standards, turning it from an inefficient structure, which only eats budget funds, into a modern specialized educational institution of postgraduate education for the training of specialists in the best practices of the CIA, MI 6 and MOSSAD,” FIS said in a statement. Baronin joined the Service on November 13, 2018 as the lead adviser on the analytical work of the Foreign Intelligence Service head, and from February 12, 2019, he was entrusted with the duties heading the Foreign Intelligence Service Institute. “Baronin is the grandson of the legendary Ukrainian intelligence officer Anatoliy Viktorovych Baronin. He is a brilliant analyst who, from the beginning of Russian aggression on volunteer principles, worked to counteract the hybrid aggression of the Kremlin,” the FIS said.
The direction of Ukraine’s movement was determined by millions of Ukrainians, who participated in the Revolution of Dignity. — Ukrinform.
Public discontent surrounding Ukrainian president is too high.
In an increasingly familiar pattern worldwide, a political neophyte, the comic actor Volodymyr Zelensky, is leading in the polls in Ukraine’s presidential race.
A MEMORIAL COMPLEX featuring photographs of brave protesters fills Kiev’s Independence Square, or Maidan. Displays reproduce Ukrainians’ Facebook posts from key moments during the movement that overthrew the former president, Viktor Yanukovych, five years ago.
Ukraine holds an election on March 31 at a vulnerable time.
Trust is a scarce resource in Ukrainian politics. Could a TV president be the one to deliver it in the upcoming elections?
Yulia Tymoshenko has been Ukraine’s prime minister twice, was the global face of a revolution, imprisoned by two different presidents, and the target of an operation to discredit her by President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager.
Facebook introduced new transparency requirements for ads related to politics and elections in Ukraine that become effective on March 18, less than two weeks before Ukrainians are to vote in presidential elections on March 31. The new policy will allow Facebook users to see who paid for an ad. It already functions in the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, and India. A similar policy has also been rolled out in Israel ahead of the election to the national legislature on April 9. It obliges advertisers to identify their ads as political. They also must confirm their identity and provide a “Paid for by” disclaimer, which has to be approved by Facebook. Authorized Facebook pages in Ukraine will display all locations of the page administrators in the “Info and Ads” section. In addition, Facebook has created a public database with all Ukraine-related political ads with disclaimers that will be archived for seven years. The library will also contain ads that run without a disclaimer if they are reported and determined to contain political content. “This is a big step towards transparency but it won’t curb the problem with Russian disinformation,” said Ruslan Deynychenko, a co-founder and executive director of StopFake.org, Kyiv-based fact-checking group that debunks fake news – mostly produced by Russia. “There are still ways to circumvent the rules, for instance, by registering an organization under false identity and paying for ads through a third party. And one can hire a page admin based in Ukraine,” Deynychenko said. Facebook is the most popular social networking site in Ukraine with about 13 million users. But besides paid-for political ads, a lot of disinformation is distributed in a form of organic content through news sites and individual accounts, as well as on other social media platforms such as YouTube and Twitter. Deynychenko also points at the fact that the information about sponsors of political ads will be valuable to investigative journalists and scrupulous users who pay attention to sources, but for most users the new feature won’t change anything. Facebook drastically reconsidered its approach to political ads on its platform after the exposure of a network of fake accounts operated by so-called “troll factories” in Russia across social media platforms to artificially boost support for Donald Trump and discredit his opponent, Hillary Clinton, during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Last February, U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russians and three companies for interfering in the election. The biggest social media operation was run by the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, a company linked to the Kremlin.
Ten people were reported arrested after nationalist protesters attempted to disrupt a campaign appearance by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in the central city of Poltava.
In the run-up to presidential elections in which national security is a top issue, the country is strengthening the border with Russian-annexed Crimea and with the breakaway Transnistrian region of Moldova.
On March 31, the day Ukrainians are set to vote in the presidential election, a major provocation involving violence is being plotted in the occupied Donetsk, according to Dmytro Tymchuk, who is a Ukrainian MP and coordinator of the Information Resistance OSINT Group. Tymchuk says a terrorist attack cannot be ruled out, which could become a pretext for a full-fledged Russian invasion of the Ukrainian territory.
Debate on whether Ukraine should align with European Union or look toward Moscow appears to be over — at least for now
Ukraine is bracing itself for the upcoming elections on March 31. The results of said elections could have major repercussions on both Ukraine’s internal developments and the surrounding region as the country struggles to keep its territorial integrity in the view of Russian military and economic moves in eastern Ukraine and the Black and Azov seas. Surprisingly, the polls conducted in February gave 41-year-old Zelensky 25% of the vote, a 10-point lead over incumbent Petro Poroshenko and political veteran Yulia Timoshenko, who are also running for office in the national election. The popularity of the current leader of the race reflects the thinking of many Ukrainians nowadays and their deep mistrust towards the ruling political elite. Zelensky is associated with one of the powerful Ukrainian oligarchs, Ihor Kolomoyskiy, who recently also endorsed him publicly. Despite numerous allegations that his government has been marred in deep corruption, it was still under Poroshenko that Ukraine saw a veritable divorce with Russia in almost every aspect of geopolitics. In the last five years since the Ukraine crisis broke out following the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, Kiev has managed to reinforce the Ukrainian army amid ongoing conflict and contain the conflict with Russia to eastern Ukraine and the Azov Sea. Ukraine also ratified the Association Agreement with the European Union, the non-signing of which actually deposed the former president Viktor Yanukovych. Moreover, Ukraine also got visa-free access for its citizens to the EU (except for the UK and Ireland) and four other Schengen-associated countries. Recently, Ukraine’s Orthodox Church gained autocephaly (independence) from the Russian Church. Beyond this, Ukraine’s trade has been redirected to Europe rather being mostly dependent on Russia, as was the case before 2014. Thus, it is highly unlikely that Ukraine’s foreign policy will change if Zelensky wins: there are simply too many economic, military and ideological strides that now connect the country to the West. In addition, there is also a very simple reason why Ukraine is unlikely to become pro-Russian or even try to be neutral. The very fact that Russia has taken away Crimea and supports the separatist elements in eastern Ukraine will always keep Kiev’s willingness to cooperate deeper with the West. And this is a major flaw in the Russian strategy. Moscow is simply pressing too hard on Ukraine, leaving very little, if any, possibility for improvement in the relations or hope that Kiev will abandon its pro-Western path. It is like what Georgia experienced a decade ago. Where, before the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, some sections of the Georgian political and cultural elite argued that it would still be possible to work with the Russians and maybe even get back control of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region, in 2008 these legitimate hopes were dashed. In other words, the Russians dissipated hopes among Georgians for a geopolitical rapprochement with Moscow.
The presidential election and Russia’s new gas pipeline could change the landscape
Pavlo Klimkin, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, stood for the idea of dual citizenship legitimization for the representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora, as Ukrainian radio reports. “I would like to legitimize the dual citizenship for those Ukrainians and I gradually support this idea”, – Klimkin stated. The Minister of Foreign Affairs outlined that Ukraine should implement new criteria, on which the dual citizenship could be issued. “Surely, we should head to this. We lose thousands and thousands of Ukrainians, who could work here and not only in state organizations, in bureaucracy, or in the business field, but also to create the contemporary Ukrainian culture”, – Klimkin said. Earlier, the status of dual citizenship should be legitimized in Ukraine, as UNIAN reported citing Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin. The Foreign Minister specified that dual citizenship will allow involving foreign specialists for the work. “So many good specialists can come from other countries to help us in the reforms. Look, even the situation with Ulyana Suprun tells a lot to us. We should come to it but clearly determine who can apply for it,” Klimkin said.
On March 15, Uzhhorod International Airport resumed its work after a three-year break. — Ukrinform.
The Foreign Intelligence Service (FIS) of Ukraine has refuted the information regarding its leadership, which was previously provided to the UNIAN news agency. UNIAN assumes such an unexpected report on the official website of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine regarding the refutation of the previously provided information is associated with an ambiguous perception of Serhiy Semochko’s personality in the society.
A plaque honoring slain Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov has been unveiled at a park near the Russian Embassy in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
A public garden named after Boris Nemtsov was opened in Kyiv Friday, March 15. The daughter of the murdered Russian opposition leader attended the opening ceremony, accompanied by Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 16 – The Open Omsk portal has announced that Viktor Korb, a prominent independent journalist and human rights activist in that city, is now being sought for arrest on the basis of trumped up charges (rmx.ru/?p=100001235). Suspicious that this was about to happen, Korb fled to Kyiv two weeks ago (victor-korb.livejournal.com/1732667.html). The Omsk journalist has been one of the leaders in that Siberian city in coming to the defense of others whom the Putin regime has sought to repress and silence, and his work has been recognized by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Reporters without Borders, Memorial and others (region.expert/viktor-korb/). The author of these lines is especially disturbed by this news because only yesterday I wrote up one of Korb’s most recent articles about the nature of regionalism in Russia as a Window on Eurasia (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/03/russian-regionalists-as-diverse-as.html). Fortunately, Korb is now in Ukraine beyond the immediate reach of the Russian siloviki and where one hopes he will receive political asylum until changes in his homeland allow him to return to Omsk. One can only hope that he will remain safe and active and that those changes will come sooner rather than later.
The United States Embassy in Ukraine on Friday, March 15, released a “Demonstration Alert” regarding the upcoming rally of National Corps activists set to be held at Kyiv’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) March 16. The group has been linked to violence and public disorder, the Embassy stressed.
Remarks by Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Ukraine Crisis Media Center’s founding, March 5. Source: U.S. Embassy Kyiv.
WASHINGTON – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is alarmed at increasing pressure directed against its investigative journalists in Ukraine, following no fewer than three incidents in recent months.
Ukrainian border guards detained a “suspicious Russian,” who was planning to get to the EU countries
Russians dominate the list as tensions between Moscow and Kiev have reached a post-Soviet era high. What is the list about and who is on it?
Almost half (46%) of Ukrainians communicate with their closest relatives (parents, grandparents, and siblings) mostly or only in Ukrainian, according to a survey conducted by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS), UNIAN learned. Russian is the only or major language spoken in the family for 28.1% of Ukrainians, the survey says.
According to the politician, the attitude towards Russia of the Ukrainian people is improving
It has been two years since Anatol Jung last saw his children. In 2013, the German native’s Ukrainian wife took their first son on a trip to Ukraine. She never returned. At the time, she was pregnant with their second son. Jung has spent over six years fighting to have a relationship with his children. Under the best conditions, he was allowed to see them for six hours per month in his ex-wife’s presence. Under the worst, he went years without seeing them. “No one ever accused me of being a bad father,” Jung told the Kyiv Post. However, “she denies me access, she denies my (child) support, and she has quiet support from the Soviet-minded authorities.” Jung is far from alone. In Ukraine, thousands of fathers say that their former partners have prevented them from being part of their children’s lives, according to lawyers who have represented such disputes. The fathers find themselves tangled up years of court hearings. But while Ukraine’s confusing legal system and byzantine bureaucracy are confusing for anyone, they are especially mystifying for foreign fathers who often don’t know the language. Even when courts rule in their favor, it hardly helps. Legal experts say Ukraine has a longstanding problem with failing to enforce court decisions — particularly in custody battles, child abduction cases, and cases that blur the line between the two. The culprits are the country’s weak judiciary, ineffective police, and biased local government committees. The Kyiv Post tried to contact mothers who allegedly kept their kids from their dads, but only one responded and consented to an interview. Jung’s ex-wife refused to answer her door, despite being home when the Kyiv Post came to ask for her comment, and didn’t answer requests for comment sent via Facebook. Love gone wrong Jung met his future wife, Iryna Jung, while hiking in Crimea in 2010. They were married in Kyiv and had their first son, Emil, there. The couple then moved to Munich County in Germany, where Jung worked as a safety engineer.
Patriarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Kyiv Patriarchate Filaret explained under what conditions the newly created church could receive the status of the Patriarchy, as Hlavkom news agency reports. Filaret stated that he was not invited to Istanbul on the ceremony of granting Tomos because he has the Patriarch rank, and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine has the status of the Metropolitanate. ‘I’m the patriarch, if I visit the ceremony as patriarch, it will mean that the Ecumenical Patriarchate recognizes the Orthodox Church of Ukraine as the patriarchy’, Filaret pointed out. According to the Patriarch, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has not ruled out the possibility that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church can receive the status of patriarchy. “If we unite all the orthodoxy in one church, the reason for granting the status of patriarchy will appear. We are the patriarchy, but only in Ukraine, in other words, we have not been recognized yet. But we have been recognized as the Kyiv Metropolitanate. That’s why our aim is continuing the uniting process with the parishes and clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate. When we are united, we will ask the Ecumenical Patriarch to grant us the status of patriarchy”, – Filaret added. Earlier today, the Patriarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate Filaret stated that he is not pleased with the current status of the Ukrainian church granted by Constantinople. According to Filaret, the current status of the Ukrainian church does not appeal to him enough, so that’s why on the next Pomistnyi Cathedral it is necessary to adopt the Statute of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Earlier, it was reported that the members of the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate signed the Tomos on providing autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew passed the Tomos of autocephaly and bishops’ crosier to the apostle of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Epifaniy. The event happened during the festive service in St. George’s Cathedral in Istanbul.
Patriarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Kyiv Patriarchate Filaret stated that he is not pleased with the current status of the Ukrainian church granted by Constantinople. Filaret said in the interview to Hlavkom news agency. According to Filaret, the current status of the Ukrainian church does not appeal to him enough, so that’s why on the next local convention it is necessary to adopt the Statute of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. “There’s a status of the Kyiv metropolitanate as the part of the Constantinople patriarchy, because now we do have this status, the Greek status. We are the autocephalous church, so we should have our own Ukrainian status, which has to be approved on the Pomistnyi Cathedral. That is why, we are waiting for the convocation of the council of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, where we should adopt the new status for our church”, – Filaret said. “The most important is to change the amount of the constant members of the Synod. We need not 3, as it is right now, but 12. For others, it will be possible to be temporary members of the Synod in turns. The constants members of the Synod should be authoritative bishops from different regions, so that all of Ukraine could be represented at the Synod by constant members, in other words, as it used to be in the Kyiv patriarchy”, – Filaret answered to the question, what difference will between the statuses. Filaret does not think that the conflict with Constantinople could appear due to the change of the status. “They said the following: use our Status, which we suggest to you, and when you receive the Tomos, your church becomes an autocephalous one, so you can adopt the status you need. Our acts are lawful ones, not against the Ecumenical Patriarchate”, – Filaret added. Earlier, it was reported that the members of the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate signed the Tomos on providing autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew passed the Tomos of autocephaly and bishops’ crosier to the apostle of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Epifaniy. The event happened during the festive service in St. George’s Cathedral in Istanbul.
Another attempt to seize the temple of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) by representatives of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) was made in the Vinnytsia region. This is reported by Strana with reference to the press service of the UOC Vinnytsia Diocese. According to the report, on the evening of March 15, supporters of the UOC poured locks on the doors of the Spaso-Preobrazhenska Church with resin to prevent the Divine Liturgy scheduled for Saturday morning. However, the parishioners broke locks and spent the whole night in the building. On Saturday morning, the UOC supporters closed the parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church inside the temple and blocked the entrance to prevent the holding of the service. The standoff lasted more than four hours, people to defend the temple. Archbishop Varsonofiy, together with hundreds of believers in the village, performed a liturgy.
When the primate of Ukraine’s independent Orthodox church was formally enthroned in early February, there were hopes for some easing of the bitter atmosphere over the new church’s break with Russia’s …
Moscow • Authorities in Vladivostok, the largest city in far eastern Russia, plan to erect a gigantic statue of Jesus Christ on a site once designated for a monument of Vladimir Lenin. The statue, which has not yet been approved by the Russian Orthodox Church, is to be 125 feet high — the same height as the Christ the Redeemer monument in Rio de Janeiro, according to blueprints made public by Vyatsky Posad, a Russian Orthodox Christian center. The statue will stand on top of a hill looking east over the Pacific Ocean. Soviet authorities issued orders for the construction of a 98-foot-high bronze statue of Lenin at the site in 1972. Another statue, of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, was planned to be built on a neighboring hill. But construction hitches meant the plans repeatedly were postponed, before eventually being scrapped altogether in 1990. Supporters of the Jesus statue are enthusiastic, despite the lack of details about the project. Descriptions of the statue as a “symbol of the unity of the Russian people” that would “bless” ships leaving and arriving in the port city were later deleted from the Vyatsky Posad’s website, for reasons that remain unclear. Attempts by Religion News Service to contact the Vyatsky Center for comment were unsuccessful.