Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (122)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Buff = B-52

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Russia’s new Internet censorship legislation is dominating media coverage of Russia – its existence reflects the regime’s fear of its own people. In Russia, ISIS recruitment shifts to ethnic Russian converts, likely as these are less connected with wider Muslim communities that see ISIS for the toxic rabble it is, and thus susceptible. Russia’s demographic collapse to be addressed by bringing in non-Russian immigrants – ethnic Russians outside Russia are unwanted as they are needed where they are to provide for the Volksdeutsche meddling game. Much on Russian meddling in Europe, Africa – Egypt to procure 20 x Su-35S FLANKERs.

Prof Blank explains the risks in Ukraine developing and deploying genuine IRBMs and long-range GLCMs. We still do not know whether Pres Poroshenko was referring to the Sapsan TBM and Korshun GLCM, or newer longer ranging systems. Russia announces the deployment of a squadron of Tu-22M3 BACKFIRE C in Crimea ostensibly to counter the US BMD system in Romania. While the aircraft deployed are the baseline M3 variant, Muscovy was eager to expound on the new M3M upgrade, with an ESA radar, digital avionics, glass cockpit, and other components migrated from the Tu-160M BLACKJACK upgrade, the M3M is armed with the digital Kh-32, itself an upgrade to the classic Kh-22 Burya / AS-4 KITCHEN, the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic cruise missile, and other modern Russian PGMs. Notably, Crimea is problematic as a FOB for the VKS due to its exposure, and challenges in resupply. Buffs training in Romania.

In Kyiv, Dzhemilev comments on claims that the Vozhd is now privately regretting his impulsive decision to pull the trigger on the Crimea invasion contingency plan five years ago, but cannot bug out as it would be “political hara-kiri”. Amb Volker comments on a range of issues relating to the Russian invasion, and counsels against a military campaign to drive the Russians out of Crimea (which is difficult to reinforce and resupply, and thus defend). A great many reports on Crimea, and a large Donbas update. Industry update – Turkish RPVs to be tested this week. Election/politics updates.

500 parishes have now defected to the OCU, Sviatogorsk Lavra essay is mindboggling – this community actively aided and abetted the Donbas invasion. More on the arrests of the Mormons in Russia.

Putin Signs ‘Fake News,’ ‘Internet Insults’ Bills Into Law

Insulting state symbols and the authorities, including Putin, will carry a fine of up to 300,000 rubles and 15 days in jail.

Insulting Putin May Now Land You in Jail Under New Russian Law – Bloomberg

President Vladimir Putin signed laws punishing online media and individuals for spreading “fake news” or material that’s considered insulting to Russian officials.

Russia’s Putin Signs Into Law Bills Banning ‘Fake News,’ Insults

President Vladimir Putin has signed legislation enabling Russian authorities to block websites and hand out punishment for “fake news” and material deemed insulting to the state or the public.

Vladimir Putin signs sweeping Internet-censorship bills | Ars Technica

Publishing “unreliable socially significant information” can lead to big fines.

REPORT: Putin Signs Law Allowing Russia To Detain Citizens Who Spread Fake News | The Daily Caller

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law allowing Moscow to punish and potentially imprison citizens who spread misinformation on the internet.

Putin signs bill banning “blatant disrespect” for Russian state online – Axios

Critics have labeled the legislation “direct censorship” and yet another step toward autocracy.

Russia’s Putin signs law banning fake news, insulting the state online | Reuters

President Vladimir Putin has signed into law tough new fines for Russians who spread what the authorities regard as fake news or who show “blatant disrespect” for the state online, an official portal for legal information showed on Monday.

Putin Outlaws ‘Fake News’ and ‘Blatant Disrespect’ for Russia Online

Critics fear the law could lead to state censorship.

Russia’s President Putin signs bill punishing those who insult the state | Vancouver Sun

Fines introduced for publishing materials showing disrespect to the state, its symbols or government organs. Repeat offenders could face a 15-day jail sentence

Russia’s New Law Banning Fake News Is Censorship, Critics Say : NPR

President Vladimir Putin signed the new law, which allows punishment of individuals with fines and jail time for the spread of “fake news.”

Putin signs bills outlawing ‘fake news’ | TheHill

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a series of bills that would criminalize the spreading of “fake news” or “blatant disrespect” for the state, but which critics say is intended to chill free speech critical of the government.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ISIS Shifts in Russia from Seeking Influence among Muslims to Recruiting Ethnic Russian Converts to Engage in Terrorism

Paul Goble Staunton, March 17 – The case of two ISIS fighters killed by Russian counter-terrorist operatives in Stavropol kray suggests that the Islamic State is shifting from seeking influence among traditional Muslim groups in the North Caucasus and Middle Volga to recruiting outsiders including ethnic Russian converts to carry out terrorist attacks. One of the two ISIS fighters who were killed last week by Russian counter-terrorist forces in Stavropol Kray where they came to promote the Islamist radicalization of young people there was almost certainly an ethnic Russian convert to the faith from Volgograd, according to Andrey Serenko, an expert from the latter place. That there are such people from Volgograd, Serenko tells the Kavkaz-Uzel news agency, “is no surprise.” “In 2017,” he continues, approximately 60 people from Volgograd Oblast left for the Islamic State. And these did not include only representatives of Muslim nationalities” ( “But how many didn’t go?” Serenko asks rhetorically. “I risk suggesting that the number who stayed home was no less. Therefore today, they act according to the same principles which the propagandists of the Islamic State gave them. And those mean that it isn’t necessary for them to go on jihad in Syria, Iraq or elsewhere.” They can act in the same way in Russia. Now they have tried to do so by going from Volgograd to Stavropol, two predominantly ethnic Russian regions. At the same time, Serenko suggests that there has not been a general massive radicalization of Muslim young people in the North Caucasus. Instead, what has occurred and is continuing to occur is what he calls “targeted radicalization,” where ISIS loyalists seek to recruit those who can carry out specific tasks as assigned. There are relatively few radicals among the 50 to 70 thousand Muslims living in Volgograd Oblast, he continues; and so ISIS recruiters are looking at converts to Islam from other ethnic groups or among arrivals from elsewhere who have not integrated into the traditional Islamic community there. Such limited but dangerous individuals form “sleeper cells,” which are “beyond doubt” extremely difficult for the authorities to track and neutralize. Another analyst with whom Kavkaz-Uzel spoke, Aleksandr Saygin, points out that “terrorist can appear anywhere at all: this is a transnational and transborder phenomenon.” At the same time, “radical propaganda cannot interest the overwhelming part of young people in the region.” But if even a few are recruited, they can carry out a terrorist attack. Mufti Beta Kifakh Mokhamad in Volgograd says that radical Islamism is declining in influence in the region, but he noted that there are some who continue to work “underground.” They may be few in number, they may be from outside traditional Muslim communities, but precisely because they are, they are hard to track and very dangerous. Unfortunately, he continues, “the level of professionalism of the officers of the special services leaves much to be desired. They see their task as eliminating a political opposition and not in struggling against extremism. Without the participation of the Islamic authorities, it will be impossible to defeat extremist groups who attempt to speak in the name of Islam.” And as long as the current situation continues, the mufti concludes, “if the Islamic authorities do struggle successfully with extremism, they risk acquiring problems for themselves from the siloviki.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kremlin Plan for More Immigrants Seen Pushing Down Wages,Boosting Unemployment, and Creating Ghettos

Paul Goble Staunton, March 17 – Russians reacting with horror to the Kremlin’s plan to cover the country’s demographic losses by attracting ten million new immigrants over the next six years ( Some of them are convinced that the new arrivals will drive down wages and increase unemployment. According to Leonid Fedorov of the URA news agency, the authorities hope that such arrivals will help compensate for the impact of the decline in the number of the indigenous population on the economy; but Nikita Maslennikov of the Institute of Contemporary Development says that is a false hope ( Maslennikov says that Moscow will not be able to attract the highly skilled workers it hopes for but only more of those with fewer skills at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid. And Oleg Ivanov, head of the Center for the Resolution of Social Conflicts, says that the newcomers will create a dangerous “demographic imbalance” given that many won’t be able to fit it. The immigrants who will come, he says, are going to be from Central Asia and the Caucasus, not Ukraine and Belarus as the Kremlin imagines; and the former know Russian less well and are significantly more culturally different. That is going to create potentially serious conflicts. Leonty Byzov of the Moscow Institute of Sociology says that it will be extremely difficult to acculturate let alone assimilate these people. “We often see that they socialize us more rapidly than we do them. In a number of population points of Russia, migrants form a majority.” And there will be more such places if the Kremlin’s plan goes into effect. Nikita Isayev of the Institute of Actual Economics says that that development will lead to the formation of ethnic enclaves and ghettos, isolated and at odds with the surrounding Russians who will have yet another reason to dislike such people: the new arrivals will push down wages still further, making the impact of the current economic crisis even more severe.

Norway says it proved Russian GPS interference during NATO exercises – Reuters – news world | UNIAN

Norway has electronic proof that Russian forces disrupted global positioning system (GPS) signals during recent NATO war games, and has demanded an explanation from its eastern neighbor, the Nordic country’s defense minister said on Monday. Both Norway and Finland protested to Russia, which dismissed those allegations when they were first made.

Russia ‘will sow dissent during European parliament elections’ | World | The Times

Germany is a prime target for Russian meddling in the European parliamentary elections in May, a spy agency has warned.The Kremlin is stirring up support for Eurosceptic parties such as the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the French National Rally in an effort to build a right-wing populist inter

Czech intel reveals Russian hackers using IT company front: media – news world | UNIAN

A Czech publication Respekt has just published a story which provides more detail on a recent successful intelligence operation carried out by country’s BIS counterintelligence service, an agency that has been criticized for incompetence by President Miloš Zeman. These companies got their equipment delivered by vehicles under Russian diplomatic cover. A Czech publication Respekt has just published a story which provides more detail on a recent successful intelligence operation carried out by country’s BIS counterintelligence service, an agency that has been criticized for incompetence by President Miloš Zeman. The weekly says that BIS shut down a group of Russian hackers, who were part of a wider international network, in early 2018, according to Radio Praha. A few months ago, Czech President Miloš Zeman attacked the Security Information Service (BIS), saying that the Czech counterintelligence was incompetent and had not revealed a single Russian or Chinese spy in six years. This caused a reaction not just from the media but from BIS itself. Its chief, Michal Koudelka, said via the agency’s website that BIS had stopped the activity of tens of Russian and Chinese intelligence officers, providing the destruction of a Russian intelligence network on Czech soil as an example.

Hungarian leader tussles with EU as corruption concerns rise – ABC News

Hungary’s Viktor Orban has bashed Europe for years. Will Europe’s most important political party finally kick him out? – The Washington Post

The center-right bloc will consider ejecting him on Wednesday.

Hungary’s Viktor Orban faces scrutiny over government corruption as showdown with EU looms | The Independent

Viktor Orban is facing calls for greater scrutiny of his government’s spending of EU funds as tensions between the Hungarian prime minister and the EU near breaking point.

Germany Plans to Renege on Pledge to Raise Military Spending, Defying Trump – WSJ

The German government is poised to renege on its pledge to raise military spending, the latest gesture of defiance by Chancellor Angela Merkel toward President Trump.

Germany news: Trump administration FURIOUS as Germany’s defence budget surges by €2.1bn | Politics | News |

GERMANY has upped it defence spending to €2.1billion – but the hike is sill not enough to meet US President Donald Trump’s NATO goal of two percent GDP.

UAWire – Kremlin: Central African Republic interested in Russia’s assistance with social and economic security

The authorities of the Central African Republic have expressed interest in Russia’s assistance  with the country’s social and economic …

Russia & Egypt seal $2 billion deal for supply of Su-35 fighter jets — RT Business News

Egypt and Russia have signed a $2 billion dollar contract for the purchase of more than 20 Russian Su-35 multi-role air-defense fighters and air-launched weapons.

Russian Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft defense systems spotted in Ethiopia – Defence Blog

The Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) is operating at least one Russian-made Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft defense systems, footage released on a national TV has confirmed. Russia’s main arms exporter Rosoboronexport declined to comment when asked about the Pantsir-S1′ delivery to Ethiopia. People familiar with the talks said that Ethiopia ordered some number of modern and upgraded air defense systems and radars in Russia and Ukraine to increase the capability of its Armed Forces. The footage aired on national TV showed the recently received Pantsir-S1 air defense missile/gun system that is designed for air defense of small military, administrative and industrial installations and areas against enemy aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and precision-guided weapons. For reference, the Pantsir missile system is a family of self-propelled, medium-range surface-to-air missile systems. Pantsir-S (NATO reporting name SA-22 Greyhound) is a combined short to medium range surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system produced by KBP of Tula, Russia. The system is a further development of 2K22 Tunguska (NATO reporting name: SA-19/SA-N-11) and represents the latest air defense technology by using phased array radars for both target acquisition and tracking.

Stephen Blank | Bad Advice | Atlantic Council

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko recently advocated building intermediate-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles to target and presumably use against Russia. No doubt Poroshenko calculated that he might gain a political advantage during the final days of a tough campaign for reelection by adopting this hawkish stance. And he may have also thought it made military sense as well. It appeals emotionally to a population that has been fighting Russia for five years with little overt progress. And since this advocacy casts Poroshenko as an aggressive patriotic defender of Ukraine, this posture might conceivably yield him political dividends. However, it would be a disastrous decision for both strategic and operational reasons. In 1993-94 during the height of the controversy over whether or not Ukraine should seek control over the Soviet nuclear weapons it inherited, I argued that doing so would pose an intolerable threat to any Russian government—including a democratic one—that Moscow could not ignore. Even if Ukraine did not threaten Russia then, the possession of nuclear weapons there constituted a threat as well as an incitement and, de facto, an invitation to Russia to preempt Ukraine and take out those weapons. Even though today’s situation is vastly different and Ukraine is under attack by Russia, any Ukrainian effort to build intermediate-range ballistic missiles would almost certainly drive Russia to attack it preemptively. Moreover, no one in Europe would do anything to prevent Moscow from doing so given the weakness that characterizes too much of European defense policy. The United States wouldn’t retaliate either under such circumstances. Thus strategically, building such missiles, even though it is understandably emotionally satisfying and perfectly within Ukraine’s right after the United States backed out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, invites a much greater strategic disaster. Operationally too, this would be a misguided decision because it responds to the wrong threat while overlooking the existing threat. The correct response to the current threat—a conventional invasion using land and sea forces—is in Ukraine’s hands. Ukraine has the means to decide to build these capabilities or to obtain them from abroad. Moscow has steadily reinforced its ground and naval forces confronting Ukraine. The so-called separatists, in reality Russian forces, are now wholly assimilated into the Russian army. Russia has also built up twenty-eight tactical battalion groups, naval, and air forces in Crimea and may well be contemplating a new offensive as we approach spring. If the upcoming Ukrainian election turns out to have negative consequences for Moscow’s interests, a new offensive becomes more likely. While we cannot be sure that Moscow will attack, Ukraine undoubtably needs major upgrades to its defensive capability to ward off any possible offensive on land or sea. Rather than high-precision missiles, Ukraine needs land-based short-range missiles, anti-ship, and anti-air missiles and all the elements of a combined arms defense of its maritime borders, including the Sea of Azov and Kerch Strait; it also needs radar and counter-battery mortars along with command and control and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment to ensure the precision guidance of these missiles. The combined arms defense of Ukraine’s maritime frontiers should begin with land-based shore defenses and then extend into anti-air and anti-ship capabilities that would impose high costs on the Russian Navy if it attacked. Producing such capabilities or acquiring them from external powers like the United States would go far to negate Russia’s ability to launch this offensive. But for this to happen, Ukraine needs major defense reform first. Kyiv is only now taking possession of two US cutters that have been sitting for years in the Baltimore harbor, where they did nobody any good, due to the government of Ukraine’s obstruction and malfeasance. (The United States offered the boats in 2014.) Such incompetence is intolerable, especially during war, and is not confined to this episode. Poroshenko or his successor if he loses the election must make defense reform a priority. The Ministry of Defense and Ukraine’s defense industrial sector (Ukroboronprom) must produce the right capabilities needed to impose severe costs upon Moscow and blunt any possible Russian offensive. Chasing after chimeras like intermediate-range ballistic missiles achieves nothing operationally or strategically for Kyiv. It does quite the opposite. Though calling for such aggressive ripostes to Moscow may play well in Kyiv or Odesa, strategy should be made of sterner stuff. Stephen Blank is a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council. He is the author of numerous foreign policy-related articles, white papers, and monographs focused on the geopolitics and geostrategy of Russia and Eurasia. He is a former MacArthur Fellow at the US Army War College.

UAWire – Ukrainian President promises to begin missile program if reelected

During a speech in Kyiv that was broadcast by the TV channel 112 Ukraine, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko promised to start implementing the renewed military missile program if he wins the upcoming presidential elections. Poroshenko said that at the start of his first term as president he had to “look for not only helmets and bulletproof vests for the army, but even pants, socks and linen”. “Our road to peace is through the further reinforcement of the army,” he observed. He also promised to restore the occupied territories through political and diplomatic means. “When [Russian President Vladimir] Putin sees that in the elections Ukrainians have voted against capitulation, he will be simply forced to agree both to the UN’s blue hats and to our other proposals,” the Ukrainian president believes. Last week Poroshenko announced that Ukraine intends to develop new missile weaponry after Russia and the US withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Kyiv is “no longer bound by any missile range limitations,” the president emphasized. “We need high-precision missile weapons with an increased range in order to destroy targets deep in the enemy’s rear. This will make the aggressor more restrained, and our defense more reliable. For me, the safety of Ukrainians is of utmost importance,” Poroshenko remarked. Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak announced in December last year that Ukraine will obtain new precision weaponry “which will allow us to damage the enemy and protect our country”. He said that the Ukrainian army will receive as many as 20 new models of domestically produced weapons. In autumn 2018, the Vilkha (Alder) missile system with adjustable ammunition was adopted into Ukraine’s armament.

Rob Lee on Twitter: “Viktor Bondarev said a squadron of Tu-22M3 bombers have been stationed in Crimea in response to the deployment of US missile defenses in Romania, and he said Russia’s Iskander missile systems now control the Black Sea Coast including the Bosporus.”

Russia confirms deployment of Tu-22M3 strategic bombers in annexed Crimea

The missile aircraft undergo deep modernization; they are capable of destroying any target in Europe, – Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Defense Committee. The Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3 strategic bombers were deployed in occupied Crimea, as Interfax reported citing Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Defense Committee Vladimir Shamanov. According to him, the issue is about “the missile aircraft, which undergo deep modernization, and they are capable to destroy any target in Europe.” Viktor Bondarev, the Head of the Defense and Security Committee of the Russian Federation Council, stated that Russia deployed the Tupolev Tu-22M3 supersonic strategic bombers on the peninsula and deployed Iskander mobile short-range ballistic missile system in Crimea as well. “The S-300, S-400, Buk-M2, Pantsir-S1, surface-to-air missile systems and Iskander of two modifications deployed in Crimea,” Bondarev said. He added that “the range of Tupolev Tu-22M3, the distance of the cruise missiles allows to carry the warhead to any spot in Europe, hitting any object of the enemy’s missile defense and anti-aircraft warfare and the further modernization in the next few years up to M3M and installing of the new types of the aviation ordnance will make at the universal means for strikes at all types of targets at the range of thousands of kilometers.” Earlier Russia’s Defense Ministry reported that two Tupolev Tu-22M3 strategic bombers carried the flight over the neutral waters of the Black Sea.

Russia confirms deployment of bombers in Crimea ‘capable of destroying any target in Europe’

Russia has deployed in the annexed Crimea Tu-22M3 supersonic long-range missile-carrying bombers capable of striking sea and ground targets at a considerable distance from home airfields with guided missiles and aerial bombs. — Ukrinform.

Russia’s New Tu-22M3M Bomber Has Arrived (Armed with Some Very Dangerous Weapons) | The National Interest

“The Tu-22M3M’s most notable weapons change is its compatibility with nuclear-capable Kinzhal warheads…”

Meet Russia’s Tu-22M3M Backfire Bomber: Everything We Know So Far | The National Interest

A 3,700-mile endurance, roughly translating into an 1,850-mile range, could allow the upgraded Backfires to strike targets in the mid-Atlantic. With new weapons, the farther-flying Tu-22M3Ms could pose a new threat to American ships and other targets.

Upgraded ‘Backfire’ Rolled Out at Kazan | Defense News: Aviation International News

Tupolev has engineered a major modernization of the Tu-22M3 strategic bomber, the first trials example of which has been unviled at the KAPO works : “#Russia|n MoD has published this image gallery of Long Range Aviation(DA) bombers taking off from Dyagilevo Airbase (ZVO): Note #Tupolev-22M3 01 Red w/ Kh-32 missile on the RHS pylon, LHS might also be a Kh-32(?) but with somewhat unusual paint scheme.…;

Next Gen Kh-32 ant-ship cruise missile tests drawing to a close in Russia

Russia is finalizing the trials of a sophisticated cruise missile designated as Kh-32 and intended to equip the Tupolev Tu-22M3 supersonic long-range bomber fleet, according to the Izvestia daily. The cutting-edge missile is virtually invulnerable to ground-based air defenses and interceptors of a potential adversary. Once launched, the product of the Raduga Design Bureau climbs to an altitude of 40 km, to the stratosphere, to dive on the target at a steep angle.

CivMilAir  on Twitter: “🇺🇸 US Air Force B52 bomber mid-air refuelling over #Romania”

Putin expresses regret in his immediate entourage and wishes he hadn’t ordered to occupy Crimea, – Dzhemilev

According to famous human rights defender, leaving Crimea is “political hara-kiri” for Putin. Mustafa Dzhemilev, famous human rights defender, former Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, Ukrainian MP and the presidential envoy for the affairs of Crimean Tatar people, stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin expresses regret in his immediate entourage and wishes he hadn’t ordered to occupy Crimea. The Pryamoy TV channel reports that. “Now there’s simple no way out for Putin. What you think, can Putin leave Crimea without losing his public face? There’s no such a way. Can Putin admit he made a mistake? By the way, in his immediate entourage he is already speaking about that. We do have this accurate information. These are the trusted sources. He says – we made a mistake with the Crimea, though we won’t admit it,” Dzhemilev says. He added that leaving Crimea is “political hara-kiri” for Putin as he chose the role of “the gatherer of the Russian lands”, thus he can’t admit he made a mistake. “There’s a Chechen song: everyone makes mistakes, but only a true man can say ”I was wrong”. However, there’s no such men left in Kremlin. I am sure,” Dzhemilev said. Mustafa Abduldzhemil Dzhemilev, is former Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People and a member of the Ukrainian Parliament since 1998. He is the recognized leader of the Crimean Tatar National Movement and a former Soviet dissident. Dzhemilev was born on 13 November 1943 in Ay-Serez, Crimea, at the time under Nazi German occupation. He was only six months old when his family, with the rest of the Crimean Tatar population, was deported by Soviet authorities in May 1944, soon after Soviet forces retook the peninsula. He grew up in exile, in the Uzbek SSR. In May 1989, he was elected to head the newly founded Crimean Tatar National Movement. The same year he returned to Crimea with his family, a move that would be followed by the eventual return of 250,000 Tatars to their homeland. The Soviet regime considered Dzhemilev a dangerous enemy. Between 1966 and 1986, Dzhemilev was arrested six times for anti-Soviet activities and served time in Soviet prisons and labor camps and lived under surveillance. Dzhemilev is also remembered for going on the longest hunger strike in the history of human rights movements. The hunger strike lasted for 303 days, but the activist survived due to forced feeding. In the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election, Dzhemilev who had previously served as the MP was re-elected into parliament after being in the top 10 of the electoral list of Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc. The famous human rights defender, the former chairman of Mejlis of Crimean Tatars and currently the MP of Ukrainian Parliament, Dzhemilev is well known for fierce support of his people in the Russian-occupied Crimea. He and other leaders of the Crimean Tatar people strongly condemned the illegitimate ‘referendum’ in the Russian-annexed Crimea in March 2014, demanding that Russia leave the peninsula. Back in 2016 Dzhemilev was nominated for Sakharov Prize. ‘Mustafa Dzhemilev, the former leader of Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people, ex-Soviet dissident and Ukrainian MP has been struggling for human rights and rights of national minorities for over 50 years now. As he was only six months old, he and his family were deported to Central Asia, along with other Crimean Tatars. 45 years after that, he returned. Now that Russia annexed Crimea, the human rights defender is once again banned to enter the peninsula’, reads the note at the European Parliament’s Website.

Lucian Kim on Twitter: “In conference call, special US envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, says sanctions against Russia will be ratcheted up until Moscow “engages seriously.”…”

Volker: There is personal animosity between Putin and Poroshenko

US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker believes that there is a development of personal animosity between president Putin and president Poroshenko. Censor.NET reports citing UNIAN. In light of the fifth anniversary of Russian annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, both the United States and the European Union insist that they will never recognize the seizure and vow to continue sanctioning Moscow until it completely restores Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, as Kurt Volker, the U.S. Special Representative to Ukraine, asserted on March 18. When asked about his calculations regarding a possible outcome of the upcoming March 31 presidential elections in Ukraine, Volker noted that no matter who would win the race. Besides, although asserting that the United States supported the principles of freedom and democracy rather than any specific candidate of Ukraine’s presidential race, Volker also noted that the Kremlin clearly sought to see the country’s currently serving President Petro Poroshenko failing to get elected for the second term. “I think it is true…and it is something that Russia itself has said, that they want Poroshenko defeated, and that’s simply a fact,” Volker said. “I think that there’s just been a development of personal animosity between president Putin and president Poroshenko, and (Moscow) is just looking for a change. “I’m not sure however that identifies any particular candidates, saying ‘This is our candidate that will win and we’ll get something from that. And that’s because of what we have talked about before — Ukrainian society has become so cohesive in the sense of national identity and demands what its government will do, so I’m not sure if any candidate, no matter who wins, will be in a position to really give presents to Russia as a result.” Source:

Poroshenko: I’m not going to cook porridge with Putin

Monday, March 18, 2019, 23:28 President Petro Poroshenko responded to Vladimir Putin’s statement about his misunderstanding “only with the Ukrainian authorities.” Poroshenko made a statement on the program “Freedom of Speech” on ICTV. “As for the fact that someone from some kind of porridge is not cooked there, I’m not going to cook or eat porridge, nor do I go fishing, like some of our candidates,” said Poroshenko. He also expressed confidence in resuming talks on the introduction of a UN peacekeeping mission in the occupied Donbas area in the event of his victory. “And immediately after the presidential election, when Putin will be forced to restore the negotiations on the implementation of the Minsk agreements and resume negotiations on the restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty in the Crimea, go to the United Nations Security Council to discuss the implementation of the mission of peacekeepers – in accordance with the UN standards” , – says Poroshenko. According to him, “the lion’s share of the UN member states is ready to introduce a peacekeeping mission as a necessary component of the security package for the implementation of Minsk.” Recall: On the 5th anniversary of the annexation of Crimea on March 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived on the occupied peninsula. He stated that “the Russian and Ukrainian peoples have never quarreled,” and that he had a misunderstanding “only with the Ukrainian authorities.”

Putin’s Crimea visit “violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty”: Poroshenko – news politics | UNIAN

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko called the “illegal” visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the temporarily occupied Crimea “violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.” The president also commented on Putin’s statement claiming no prospects for any “positive result” in Kyiv-Moscow relations under the current leadership in Ukraine.

There will be new sanctions until Russia stops aggression – Volker

The United States, the European Union and other Western countries will periodically impose new sanctions against Russia if it does not stop its aggression against Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine could receive another batch of Javelins – Volker – news politics | UNIAN

U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker says Washington could sell to Kyiv more Javelin anti-tank guided missiles. The Special Representative also notes the need to boost Ukraine’s air and coastal defenses.

Volker: Return of Crimea by force to trigger military catastrophe

US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker expressed such a conviction at a video press conference on Monday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports. “There is no military solution in the sense that Ukraine could return Crimea by force. It would be a military catastrophe that would lead to the loss of thousands and thousands of people,” the US representative said. In this regard, he underscored the need for restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine by diplomatic means, as well as the need for the return of the Crimean Tatars to their historic homeland. Discussing the political process of settling the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, both within the Normandy format and in the context of the UN resolution on Crimea, Kurt Volker emphasized that progress in achieving peace is insufficient, and the West cannot be blamed for this. “Russia is the only country, which can be blamed. Russia continues to control military operations, exercises absolute command control through its regular officers. It pays money to contract servicemen involved in military operations, it ensures intelligence operations, it finances the leadership of civilian administrations, which it created,” the US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations said.

Stoltenberg: NATO remains open to Ukraine

NATO remains a reliable partner of Ukraine in gaining its membership in the Alliance. — Ukrinform.

UkrInform: Poroshenko says Ukraine will be ready to apply for EU, NATO by 2023 | KyivPost

Ukraine’s Global Voice

Ukraine will be ready to apply for membership in EU and NATO by 2023

Ukraine will be ready to apply for the membership in the European Union and NATO by 2023. — Ukrinform.

Poroshenko: Russian troops deployed along Ukraine border ready to invade – news politics | UNIAN

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko says Russian divisions deployed along the Ukraine border are ready to invade. According to the president, every step Ukraine takes on its way toward EU and NATO membership is “Putin’s defeat”.

UN Secretary-General supports call for Russia to cease occupation of Crimea. Video

UN Secretary-General António Guterres strongly supports the UN General Assembly resolution, which points to the regional security threats posed by the Russian militarization of Crimea and calls on Russia to cease the occupation of the peninsula.  — Ukrinform.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt: I condemn illegal annexation of Crimea

18.03.19 18:10 – Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt: I condemn illegal annexation of Crimea Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt called on Russia to put an end to illegal control over the Crimean peninsula and attempts to redraw European borders. View news.

Jeremy Hunt: UK will never recognise Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea

The UK will never recognise Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and calls on Russia to end attempts to redraw the boundaries of Europe. — Ukrinform.

UAWire – German Foreign Minister: Russia’s annexation of Crimea a ‘fatal violation of international law’

On the anniversary of the Crimea’s annexation by Russia, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas deplored Russia’s actions in the peninsula. “This …

Japan’s position on annexation of Crimea remains unchanged

Japan’s position on non-recognition of the annexation of Ukrainian Crimea by Russia remains unchanged. — Ukrinform.

Australia imposes sanctions against Russians over Kerch Strait incident

Australia imposed sanctions against the Russian citizens involved in the seizure of Ukrainian vessels and sailors that were attempting to pass through the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018, as well as against “leaders” of separatist-held areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. — Ukrinform.

Klimkin: ‘Minsk’ is not dead, but in a coma because of Russia

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has said the Minsk agreements on resolving the situation in the east of Ukraine are in a “coma,” which only Russia can end.

U.S. Mission to OSCE: There will be no peace in Donbas until Russia ends ongoing violations in Ukraine

Donbas will see peace only when Russia stops violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the U.S. Mission to the OSCE said.

“They’re sobering up”: Crimean Tatar leader on “cardinal” change in public moods in Crimea – news politics | UNIAN

Head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, Refat Chubarov, noted the change in the mood of the population in the occupied Crimea five years into the Russian occupation of the peninsula. The general attitude of Crimeans to the occupation forces is dramatically different from what it was five years ago, the head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people said.

Sanctions knock up to $150 billion off Russia’s economy since 2014. INFOGRAPHICS

18.03.19 15:06 – Sanctions knock up to $150 billion off Russia’s economy since 2014. INFOGRAPHICS The economy of the world’s biggest energy exporter is more than 10 percent or $150 billion smaller compared with what might have been expected at the end of 2013. View news.

“Do not forget about Crimea”. Ukrainian historian on Crimea five years since annexation | Hromadske Radio

Crimean native now PhD Student in Canada Maksym Sviezhentsev speaks to Alex Wishart: ‘Crimea is still occupied. The international community is accepting the annexation as the new status quo.’

Ben Hodges and Lucan Way on Russian attack on Ukrainian sailors in Black Sea not far from Kerch strait | Hromadske Radio

Russia’s attack on Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait explained by an ex-commander of US Forces in Europe and policital scientist from University of Toronto

Nayev: Victory to depend on Ukrainians’ unity, allies’ consistency if Russia wages full-scale war – news war | UNIAN

Commander of Ukraine’s Joint Forces Serhiy Nayev says that should Russia wage large-scale war, Ukraine’s victory will depend on the Ukrainian people’s unity and international partners’ consistency. The Russian army has advantages in terms of personnel and military hardware.

Ukrainian Naval vessels, Navy aviation conduct joint drills in Azov Sea –

The command of the Joint Forces Operation checked the combat readiness of close support aviation of the Ukrainian Navy. During the joint drills in the Sea of Azov, the vessel crews repelled a simulated attack from the air and opened fire on the sea targets. The warships scrambled on alert and reached the designated area in the sea; they performed various maneuvers, too.

Three attacks by Russian proxies yesterday: one Ukrainian soldier killed, two terrorists destroyed

19.03.19 07:19 – Three attacks by Russian proxies yesterday: one Ukrainian soldier killed, two terrorists destroyed March 18, Russian occupying forces violated the ceasefire three times, using weapons banned by the Minsk agreements. View news.

JFO: One Ukrainian soldier killed in Donbas in past day – news war | UNIAN

In the past 24 hours, Russia’s hybrid military forces mounted three attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action. According to intelligence reports, two enemy troops were eliminated and another two were wounded.

Officer uploads another video of JFO strike on terrorists’ positions in Donbas – news war | UNIAN

The strike was carried out from an anti-tank missile system, resulting in two militants being eliminated. Ukrainians fired an anti-tank missile, eliminating two terrorists.

Another Russian-produced strike drone shot down in JFO area. PHOTOS

19.03.19 15:45 – Another Russian-produced strike drone shot down in JFO area. PHOTOS Ukrainian military brought down self-made Russian drone in Donbas near the positions of the Joint Forces Operation. View photo news.

Ukrainian Joint Forces shoot down Russian drone near Avdiivka

Ukrainian Joint Forces servicemen have shot down another Russian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in Donbas, the JFO Headquarters press center has reported. — Ukrinform.

Ukrainian military shoot down enemy drone in Donbas (Photo) – news war | UNIAN

A Joint Forces unit stationed near Avdiyivka in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas downed an unmanned aerial vehicle deployed by Russian occupation forces, the JFO HQ press service reported Monday. Invaders had tried to spot the location of defensive lines of the Ukrainian forces.

10 attacks against JFO positions yesterday: one Ukrainian soldier killed, two injured, three terrorists destroyed

18.03.19 10:14 – 10 attacks against JFO positions yesterday: one Ukrainian soldier killed, two injured, three terrorists destroyed March 17, Russian occupying forces violated the ceasefire ten times, while 7 of them involved the use of 122-mm artillery systems, 120- and 82-mm mortars. The attacks at Ukrainian strong points also involved anti-tank missile systems, various types… View news.

Donbas war update: One Ukrainian soldier killed, two wounded in past day – news war | UNIAN

Russia’s hybrid military forces mounted 10 attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in the past 24 hours, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action and another two as wounded in action. According to intelligence reports, three enemy troops were eliminated and another four were wounded.

Poroshenko thanks Canada for extension of Operation UNIFIER

President Petro Poroshenko thanked Canada for the decision to extend Operation UNIFIER, the Canadian Armed Forces military training mission in Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

Canada Expected To Announce Extension Of Ukraine Training Mission

Canada is set to announce it will extend its 200-member military training mission in Ukraine, Reuters reports, citing a source directly familiar with the matter.

Ukraine takes part in NATO Training Group meeting. Photos

The experts of the Ivan Cherniakhovsky National Defense University of Ukraine participated in the meeting of the NATO Training Group on Individual Training & Education Development in the Kingdom of Denmark. — Ukrinform.

Ammo dump fire near Ichnia: no charge papers served, probes continue

18.03.19 11:09 – Ammo dump fire near Ichnia: no charge papers served, probes continue The military prosecutor’s office of the Chernihiv garrison reported that an investigation into ammo dump near Ichnia in the Chernihiv region goes on under articles “sabotage” and “careless attitude to military service”. View news.

Poroshenko: 2,955 Ukrainian soldiers killed during Russian aggression

A total of 2,955 Ukrainian servicemen have been killed over the period of Russian aggression against Ukraine, President Petro Poroshenko has said. — Ukrinform.

Conditions of Pavlo Hryb’s imprisonment in Russia don’t change after Ukrainian doctor’s visit – news ukraine | UNIAN

Conditions of Ukrainian political prisoner Pavlo Hryb’s imprisonment in Russia have not changed after Ukrainian doctor Vasyl Prytula’s visit and given recommendations. He is diagnosed with portal hypertension

Luhansk mines have debt for suppling energy, blackout is possible – Luhansk mines may face blackout; authorities appeal to government, National Security Council –

Local authorities of Luhansk region will appeal to Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman and National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine concerning the situation with the possible blackout of the mines in the region. Such decision was made on the results of the session of the regional commission on technogenic environmental issues and emergencies as local authority reported. Deputy Chairman of the Regional City Administration Yury Klymenko informed that the administration and coal enterprises got the message from Ukrinterenergo about possible stop of energy supply to the Pervomaiskvugillya and Lysychanskvugillya mines. Related: Ukrainians’ debt for public utility grew by 12,6% in January, only one solution is possible, – Medvedchuk According to the law of Ukraine “On the marker of electricity”, since January 1, 2019, these coal-mining enterprises get electricity from the mentioned enterprise as the supplier of the “last hope”. The debt for the consumed electricity makes $2,8 million. “The supplier demands to restrict these consumers up to the level of the current economic or technological reservation. Considering the fact that the proper enterprises do not have it, the complete blackout can take place. The most difficult situation is at Pervomaiskvugillya, where blackout can lead to the flooding of the mines from objects situated from another side of the demarcation line,” the message said.

Residents of occupied territories are Ukrainian citizens – Gerashchenko

First Deputy Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Iryna Gerashchenko has reiterated that people living in the temporarily occupied territories are Ukrainian citizens. — Ukrinform.

Occupation of Donbas wrecks 25% of Ukraine’s industrial potential – President Poroshenko

The unemployment rate in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions has reached 60-70%, leading to a humanitarian crisis, President Petro Poroshenko has said. — Ukrinform.

Poroshenko: Ukraine will have no private armies

Ukraine has only one army, and no private armies can exist. — Ukrinform.

Poroshenko: No one other than state will have monopoly on use of armed forces

Ukraine does not have and will not have any private armies, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said.

Poroshenko: New combat drones to be tested on March 20

Earlier Turkey has provided Ukraine with unmanned combat aerial vehicle Bayraktar. Testing of new military combat drones will take place on Wednesday, March 20. The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko reported this on the regional council of the Rivne region, broadcasted by 112 Ukraine. Related: Ukraine buys advanced Turkish strike drones “The power of the Ukrainian army increase every day, as every week we get new military equipment. I would like to share a secret with you: in two days we are going to test new combat drones”, – Poroshenko said. Turkey has provided Ukraine with unmanned combat aerial vehicle Bayraktar. Ukraine purchases Bayraktar TB2, the combat drones developed by Turkish designers; they can carry missiles and are capable of engaging the naval targets. Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian leader said this. Bayraktar TB2 are capable to develop the maximum speed of 222 km per hour. The effective flight range makes 150 kilometers; it can be armed with anti-tank guided missiles and aviation bombs.

NSDC preparing bill on Ukroboronprom’s reform – news economics | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said newly appointed Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine Serhiy Kryvonos is preparing a bill to reform Ukraine’s state-owned defense giant Ukroboronprom and increase the level of transparency in the implementation of the state defense order. The president stressed the NSDC had already made a decision on a full audit at Ukroboronprom enterprises.

Full reform of Ukroboronprom to take six months – NSDC deputy secretary

Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Serhiy Kryvonos has said that six months are needed to fully reform State Concern Ukroboronprom, which includes more than 130 state-owned enterprises of the military-industrial complex. — Ukrinform.

UAWire – President Poroshenko begins to reform Ukraine’s defense procurement system after corruption scandal

Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, signed a decree enacting the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine( NSDC) &quot;On …

Ukroboronprom: concern not exporting weapons, military equipment to Russia since 2014, SIPRI estimates incorrect

The estimates of the volume of exports of weapons and military equipment from Ukraine in 2014-2018 with a 23% share of exports to the Russian Federation, published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in March, are incorrect and do not correspond to the reality, Ukroboronprom state concern has stated, noting that it has not been exporting weapons and military equipment to Russia since 2014.

Ukroboronprom refutes allegations of arms supplies to Russia – news economics | UNIAN

Ukraine’s state-owned defense giant Ukroboronprom has denied earlier reports claiming Ukraine had allegedly supplied weapons and military equipment to Russia after the start of Russian military aggression against Ukraine in 2014. Allegations were voiced following a report by Stockholm Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Ukraine’s state-owned defense giant Ukroboronprom has denied earlier reports claiming Ukraine had allegedly supplied weapons and military equipment to Russia after the start of Russian military aggression against Ukraine in 2014. Allegations were voiced following a report by Stockholm Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Obozrevatel wrote. In response, Ukroboronprom published on its website a relevant response. “In the reporting period of 2014-2018, which was chosen by SIPRI, Ukraine supplied the AI-222 turbojet engines, which are installed on the Russian Yak-130 combat training aircraft. We should note that the engine manufacturer is a private Zaporizhia-based company Motor Sich, which is not a member of the Ukroboronprom Group of companies. In addition, contracts for the supply of engines were concluded in 2006, while the actual delivery took place in 2009-2014,” the statement reads. The notes to the SIPRI research state that, most likely, the engines were supplied until 2014, the year when the ban on arms and military equipment exports to Russia was introduced. SIPRI researchers suggest that after 2014, these engines could be manufactured by the Russian side independently. Read alsoNuclear weapon-possessing states developing, modernizing existing systems – SIPRI Ukroboronprom also commented on the reported “deliveries” to Russia of the An-140-100 and An-148-100E aircraft. “SIPRI experts report that the execution of these contracts was terminated in 2014, after exports to Russia were banned. In addition, the An-140 and An-148 aircraft were produced in Russia under a license granted by Antonov State Enterprise. Therefore, SIPRI views them as imports from Ukraine, since there is a legal contract concluded between the parties,” the statement reads. Ukroboronprom also reported on the naval gas-turbine installations DS-71, produced by the Mykolayiv-based Zorya-Mashproekt, which, according to SIPRI, were imported to the Russian Federation. Read alsoRussians trying to squeeze Ukrainian defense companies out of Kazakhstan, Indonesia “The delivery was carried out before the ban on the export of weapons and military equipment to the Russian Federation. The delivery date for the engines and power units is determined by SIPRI experts after the manufacture of certain types of military equipment and armaments has been completed by Russian producers and the aircraft and ships have been transferred to the Russian armed forces, rather than the actual date of delivery of individual components,” the statement explains. “Therefore, engines or power units could be supplied before 2014, but in the study, they are reflected as supplies made in the later period,” Ukroboronprom said.

Peskov: Kremlin would prefer “candidate with sober judgment”

19.03.19 15:12 – Peskov: Kremlin would prefer “candidate with sober judgment” Moscow would like the future leader of Ukraine “to be the president of peace, not war”. View news.

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

19.03.19 15:43 – Zelenskyi, Poroshenko, Tymoshenko, Boiko, Hrytsenko among leaders in presidential race, – Rating survey Volodymyr Zelenskyi remains the leader of the presidential race, Hrytsenko ranked fifth. View news.

Zelenskyi and Poroshenko have better electoral support than Sluha Narodu and BPP Solidarnist, – survey

19.03.19 13:43 – Zelenskyi and Poroshenko have better electoral support than Sluha Narodu and BPP Solidarnist, – survey Nine Ukrainian political parties can get into Verkhovna Rada. View news.

Leading Ukraine Candidate Fights ‘Fakes With Fakes’ As Facebook Tests New Political Ad Rules

Beginning today, Facebook advertisers in Ukraine need the social network’s authorization to reach users — and ads from annexed Crimea and separatist-held areas are banned outright. But 13 days bef…

The Daily 202: Russia may experiment with new forms of interference in Ukraine’s elections, experts warn – The Washington Post

European races this year could offer a taste of what the U.S. can expect in 2020.

Exclusive: Tymoshenko Defends Decision Not To Fight Over Crimea, Attacks Minsk Process

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is a leading candidate in the country’s March 31 presidential election, has defended her support for Kyiv’s 2014 decision not to use military force to resist Russia’s annexation of the Black Sea region of Crimea.

Tymoshenko Defends Decision Not To Fight Over Crimea, Attacks Minsk Process

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is a leading candidate in the country’s March 31 presidential election, has defended her support for Kyiv’s 2014 decision not to use military force to resist Russia’s annexation of the Black Sea region of Crimea. Tymoshenko said that if elected she would reject the Minsk process for resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine and launch a new process guided by the terms of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. In a sit-down interview to RFE/RL in Kyiv on March 18 Tymoshenko also slammed incumbent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko – also a candidate — accusing him of embezzling “the defense budget through illegal deals with the aggressor [Russia]” and calling on him to resign, a demand she has expressed before.

I can sign new program with IMF on reduction of gas tariffs, – Yuliia Tymoshenko

18.03.19 12:52 – I can sign new program with IMF on reduction of gas tariffs, – Yuliia Tymoshenko Yuliia Tymoshenko assured that in case of her victory in the presidential election in Ukraine, she will be able to sign a new financing program with the IMF without “illogical tariffication”. View news.

Tymoshenko promises to bring Poroshenko, his entourage to justice

The current president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and all his associates will be accountable before the law for making money on their own army during the war and for their tariff policy, Batkivschyna Party leader and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko has said.

Fake firms depositing money with PrivatBank to buy votes for Poroshenko – Batkivschyna

Fictitious firms have been depositing money with PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest bank, to buy votes in favor of incumbent President Petro Poroshenko in the upcoming presidential election, Serhiy Sobolev, a deputy head of the Batkivschyna parliamentary faction, said on Monday.

Zelensky’s associates to keep parallel count of votes in Ukrainian presidential election

The team of Ukrainian entertainer Volodymyr Zelensky, who is running for president, will keep a parallel count of the votes in the upcoming presidential election.

Presidential elections to be held in line with European standards – Poroshenko

The presidential elections in Ukraine on March 31 will be held in line with the standards of the European Union, President Petro Poroshenko has stated. — Ukrinform.

“Unprecedented” number of observers registered for upcoming presidential election in Ukraine – CEC – news politics | UNIAN

An unprecedented number of Ukrainian non-governmental organizations were registered as observers in Ukraine’s upcoming presidential elections, that’s according to a Central Election Commission official Natalia Bernadska. That’s including about a 1,000 foreign monitors.

Central Election Commission registers 967 international observers

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has registered 225 more official observers from foreign countries for the March 31 presidential election in Ukraine, according to the CEC press service. — Ukrinform.

Most distant polling station for Ukrainian election arranged in Antarctica

34 people will vote in Antarctica during Ukrainian presidential elections

Adrian Karatnycky on Ukraine election 2019, Ulana Suprun, IMF and presidential candidates | Hromadske Radio

Adrian Karatnycky’s hard talk: superficiality and reality in the election, media, and reforms

Paul D’Anieri | Hromadske Radio

Political Scientist Paul D’Anieri speaks to Marta Dyczok about Ukraine’s Election Year 2019: War, Wildcards, and Winning

Trump retweeted article on possible involvement of NABU in discrediting his election team during 2016 US presidential election

18.03.19 16:24 – Trump retweeted article on possible involvement of NABU in discrediting his election team during 2016 US presidential election US President Donald Trump retweeted an article describing how NABU allegedly helped headquarters Hillary Clinton to discredit Paul Manafort. View news.

UAWire – Klimkin wants to issue Ukrainian passports to Ukrainians living abroad

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin supports the provision of dual citizenship to Ukrainian living abroad. “Ukrainians are forced to leave …

Volker hopes Hungary, Ukraine to settle issue of minority rights in Zakarpattia – news politics | UNIAN

U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker hopes Hungary and Ukraine will settle the issue of Hungarian minority rights in the context of education. The diplomat expects Hungary to take up a position of full support for Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian aggression.

U.S., EU ambassadors, IMF mission ask Ukraine to postpone consideration of bills regarding illegal enrichment – MP – news politics | UNIAN

Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Legislative Support of Law Enforcement, Andriy Kozhemyakin, states that the U.S. and EU ambassadors, as well as the IMF mission, are asking to postpone consideration of bills regarding illegal enrichment. The parties note the “imperfection” of said draft laws.

Ukraine’s finance minister: All benchmarks of cooperation program with IMF fulfilled – news economics | UNIAN

Ukrainian Finance Minister Oksana Markarova says her ministry has fulfilled all the benchmarks of the program of cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), having implemented the lion’s share of the conditions under the program. The implementation of a number of the conditions of the Memorandum and Ukraine’ obligations to the EU depends on the Verkhovna Rada.

UAWire – Ukraine sentences Putin’s representative to 13 years in prison in absentia

Kyiv Svyatoshinsky district administration sentenced the authorized representative of the President of the Russian Federation, Oleg Belaventsev, …

Poroshenko: Ukraine becomes first world country to diversify nuclear fuel supplies

Ukraine has become the first country in the world to diversify the sources of nuclear fuel supply. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine Reports 11 Measles Fatalities, More Than 30,000 New Infections This Year

Health officials in Kyiv have said that 30,794 cases of measles have been reported in Ukraine since the beginning of the year.

Ukraine’s Ecology Ministry proposes to enlist Ternopil caves in UNESCO sites

It is proposed to add Optymistychna Cave, the length of discovered paths of which is 2114 km, to UNESCO World Heritage Sites Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology suggests adding Ternopil region caves to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This was announced by the Ecology Minister Ostap Semerak, as the ministry’s press service reports. “Ternopil region is known all over the world for its unique natural sites. This is the only such complex of caves on the European continent. There are similar caves in the United States. I do not think there is a need to persuade anyone that such natural sites belong to more than one country, that they are a natural heritage of mankind, therefore we have initiated the enlistment of Ternopil caves in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites,” Semerak told. He noted that the ministry held preliminary consultations with the Institute of Geological Sciences of Ukraine and Ternopil Region State Administration was also involved. In particular, it is proposed to add Optymistychna Cave to this list. The length of explored paths of this cave is 214 km. Earlier it was included in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest gypsum cave and as the second largest cave trail in the world. Optymistychna Cave is second only after the Mammoth-Flint Ridge Cave System in the United States.

Over 500 parishes become part of Ukraine’s new independent Church – news ukraine | UNIAN

Over 500 parishes have already taken the decision to move from the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, formerly known as the Moscow Patriarchate, to the newly formed Orthodox Church of Ukraine. President Petro Poroshenko praised the high number of parishes who have already made their decision to join the new church independent of Russian influence. Over 500 parishes have already taken the decision to move from the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, formerly known as the Moscow Patriarchate, to the newly formed Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Volyn region remains Ukraine’s transition leader with a number of parishes that have switched to the OCU having already exceeded a hundred. The total number of registered religious communities of the former Moscow Patriarchate in the said region is one of the largest in Ukraine – more than 600, according to the Dukhovniy [Religious] Front online outlet. Many parishes also decided to move to the OCU in Vinnytsia, Khmelnytsky, Zhytomyr, Rivne, and Lviv regions. Read alsoSBU exposes “writer” working for Russia to sow religious discord in Ukraine In particular, in one of the districts of Lviv, all parishes of the former Moscow Patriarchate switched to the OCU. Speaking at a Freedom of Speech panel show on ICTV, President Petro Poroshenko praised the high number of parishes who have already made their decision to join the new church independent of Russian influence.

Orthodox Church of Ukraine established. First comments from a leading expert on Eastern Christianity | Hromadske Radio

Historical theologian Prof. Jaroslav Skira talks to Marta Dyczok about the background and significance of the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

RUSSIA-UKRAINE The wounds of division among the Orthodox pilgrims in the Donbass

In the self-declared pro-Russian republic of Donetsk and Lugansk, the monks of Sviatogorsk remain neutral on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. But they deprecate the

UAWire – Russian court lays new set of charges against two American Mormons detained in Novorossiysk

The Gulkevichi Regional Court in the Russian Krasnodar Krai region took legal actions against two US citizens for violating Russian laws on freedom of conscience and religious associations, reported CurrentTime TV. They were fined thirty thousand rubles or over $460. According to court documents, David Udo Hague and Cole Davis Brodovsky, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were arrested in Novorossiysk on March 1, 2019. US media earlier named one of the detainees as Cole Brody. The Mormons were initially detained in Novorossiysk for violating Russian immigration laws. According to the court, they allegedly taught English while not having pedagogical education but when they were obtaining visas they said that they intended to do missionary work in Russia. But this time, they have also been convicted for “illegal missionary work”. According to the court’s decision, they preached and distributed leaflets on the streets when Russian law dictated that they could do so only in specially designated areas. The court found that they violated Part 5 of Article 5.26 of the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses. One of the Mormons pleaded not guilty. He claimed that he did not preach on the streets of Novorossiysk, but only talked with pedestrians. Now, the US citizens are being held in a temporary detention center for foreign citizens in Gulkevichi.