Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (123)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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A/SECSTATE Poblete is correct that Russia is a serial violator of arms control treaties, in fact over the last five years they have likely violated every single treaty they or the Sovs ever signed. DOne commentary on Muscovy’s nuclear saber-rattling makes some good points. In Russia, Klimov lambasts the Poseidon / Canyon / Status 6 doomsday weapon as non-viable and a risk to Russia (that will not stop Western media from inflating it). Some interesting updates on BMD and hypersonics.

Some nice articles on Savchuk the “troll slayer” and her expose of the Troll Factory. Harding on the Rosgvardia – copycatting Ukrainian VDV, Spetsnaz and other elite formations. Five digests by Prof Goble that illustrate Russia’s descent into the fascist abyss. Germany reneges on NATO funding, a very good critique by Gady.

More on Crimea – most interesting are essays by Khrushcheva (granddaughter of Nikita) and Zevelyeva, exposing the Vozhd’s hypocrisy. CACDS on the Russian buildup. Razumkov poll shows most Ukrainians retain a hardline position on Russia – Walesa was right three years ago, warning the Russians against aggravating Ukrainians, who have long memories and seldom forgive slights. Levada poll in Russia shows that the US and Ukraine top Russia’s public rankings of foreign enemies. Donbas update – most interesting is the visit by a Swedish delegation seeking cooperation in dealing with Russian“hybrid threats”.

Pres Poroshenko attends a handover event, where 400 items of equipment are transferred to the AFU, and the Bayraktar TB2 RPV (armed Gnat lookalike) is demonstrated (the HD video clip on Youtube is very good, including some PGM drops). Updates on two Lviv overhaul plants, LDARP and LRRP. Politics and election updates. Revival of the Chernobyl Hasidic community.


US Criticizes Russia as Serial Violator of Arms Control Treaties

A US official accuses Russia of breaking agreements on biological, chemical and intermediate nuclear weapon. GENEVA — A senior U.S. official accuses Russia of breaching several arms control treaties considered critical for maintaining world peace. Assistant Secretary of State Yleem Poblete spoke at the U.N. Conference on Disarmament as the United States assumed the rotating presidency of the body.  Poblete made a blistering attack against what she called Russia’s aggressive, destabilizing activities. She cites Moscow’s invasion of neighboring countries, the annexation of Crimea and its failure to comply with arms control treaties as actions that threaten global stability. She says there are many concerns regarding Russia’s observance of the Biological Weapons Convention. She says Russia’s use of a military-grade nerve agent in an assassination attempt in Britain, as well as its tolerance of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, are clear violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention. She says Russia’s development and fielding of a ground-launched cruise missile is in clear violation of the INF or Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. “The Russian Federation’s violation of the INF Treaty poses a direct threat to European, U.S., East Asian, and global security,” Poblete said. “It is destabilizing and has a corrosive effect on arms control and disarmament.”

Russia Is Turning Up Its Nuclear Rhetoric. That’s a Problem – Defense One

U.S. and NATO officials have an interest in steering Russian bluster away from its rising focus on nuclear weapons.

UAWire – Expert: Russia’s Poseidon nuclear underwater drone dangerous to Russia itself

The Russian “Poseidon” nuclear underwater drone will soon be tested practically, which is unsafe, observes Russian military expert Maxim Klimov in an article for the Russian newspaper “Military Review”. As an example, the expert mentions the long-range traceless self-guiding 53-61 torpedo, which the Russian Navy only realized was unsuitable for combat ten years after it was commissioned. Klimov says that the reason for this was the “deliberately inadequate statistics and the inadequate testing depth”. “However, let us look at the US Navy’s statistics for combat training with shots: the number of torpedo shots exceeds the number of missile shots by nearly an order of magnitude!” Klimov observes. The expert doubts that the Poseidon will be capable of moving quietly. “With the capacity (4-4.5 megawatts) needed to move with the cited speed (55 knots) and the huge power density (more than 156 horsepower per cubic meter) the Status (Poseidon) will simply have no space (or chassis diameter) to effectively use means of acoustic protection,” the military specialist writes. Klimov notes that the nuclear underwater drone could strike “even after the enemy has asked for peace, or at another politically unsuitable moment” when it will be “impossible to stop the already launched torpedo”. The expert believes that the US has already been working on its anti-torpedo Tripwire system, whose characteristics indicate that it would be capable of destroying targets like the Poseidon. He estimates that after the weapon is launched, the US will have more than 24 hours to intercept the nuclear underwater drone, leaving little chance that the Poseidon will avoid destruction. In Klimov’s opinion, creating the nuclear underwater drone is “senseless and inexpedient from a military perspective, and could have severe political consequences”. Instead, he proposes that the Russian Defense Ministry should focus on developing submersibles, including nuclear powered ones, with a high level of stealth, equipping diesel submarines with compact nuclear power units, developing deep-water submersibles and dealing with the Armed Forces’ “other critical problems”. Earlier in March, the expert wrote that the Poseidon’s movement at a depth of 1 km would create “the ideal conditions for it to be detected, due to its being near the axis of the deep sound channel”, and questioned the drone’s lack of subsonic spectrum. In December 2018, Klimov said that Russia is lagging critically far behind the West in its military implementation of modern hydroacoustic concepts and devices. Russia’s nuclear underwater drone was officially launched in March 2018 under the name “Poseidon”. The weapon of mass destruction had been known since 2015 as the “Status-B”.

Italian Eurofighters scrambled to escort Russian Tu-142 planes off Iceland coast – Defence Blog

Two Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon jets were scrambled to intercept Russian Tu-142 long-range reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft heading for the Iceland coastline, according to NATO Allied Air Command. The two Eurofighter Typhoon fighters of the Italian Air Force were raised in alarm by the Keflavik airfield in Iceland due to two Russian anti-submarine aircraft Tu-142 seen on the country’s eastern border. “On 18 March, two Aeronautica Militare Eurofighters currently stationed in Iceland to support NATO’s Air Policing operations were launched to meet two Russian Tu-142 planes flying in international airspace in the vicinity of Icelandic borders,” said in a statement. The Tupolev Tu-142 is a Russian maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft derived from the Tu-95 turboprop strategic bomber. A specialized communications variant designated Tu-142MR was tasked with long-range communications duties with Soviet ballistic missile submarines. The Tu-142 was designed by the Tupolev design bureau and manufactured by the Kuibyshev Aviation and Taganrog Machinery Plants from 1968 to 1994. The Russian military has shown a repeated pattern of buzzing close to or within Icelandic airspace, often without warning or without communicating with Icelandic authorities ahead of time. On one occasion, they also flew close to an Icelandic passenger plane. Foreign Affairs Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson stated that the Italian aircraft’s response was fully in line with NATO’s working regulations. Gudlaugur says the incident “is yet another example of the importance of airspace surveillance and air policing in Iceland.” The Italian intercept was the first since they arrived in Iceland in early March showcasing the importance of the mission for the Ally in the High North. Within NATO air patrol mission over Iceland, Italian pilots provide intercept capabilities and train together with the Icelandic Coast Guard and the NATO Control and Reporting Centre. The Italian jets will complement the air surveillance which Iceland executes with its four remote radar and communication sites.

Putin claims Su-57 stealth fighter is world’s best military plane – Defence Blog

Vladimir Putin says Russia’s Su-57 stealth fighter jet is the world’s best plane “by all its operational characteristics and by its armament”, according to news agency TASS. “This is the best plane today, the world’s best aircraft,” Putin said at a meeting with the winners of the Russian Leaders contest. This is the world’s best plane “by all its operational characteristics and by its armament,” the Russian leader added. “No other aircraft can fly as well as our plane,” the head of the Russian state stressed. The Su-57 is a Russian-made fifth-generation multirole fighter designed to destroy all types of air targets at long and short ranges and hit enemy ground and naval targets, overcoming its air defense capabilities. Compared to its predecessors, the Su-57 combines the functions of an attack plane and a fighter jet while the use of composite materials and innovation technologies and the fighter’s aerodynamic configuration ensure the low level of radar and infrared signature. The Su-57 took to the skies for the first time on January 29, 2010. But it is worth to mention that the Russian longstanding plan to acquire and commission its fleet of the fifth-generation multirole fighter into service by 2018–19 has been further postponed due to technological hurdles and, above all, engine problems. Russia will not buy Su-57 in the serial configuration before 2020 and deferred mass production of the fighter for a number of possible reasons, but it hasn’t canceled the program outright. Initially, it was expected that the contract for the serial Su-57 will be signed in 2018, but later the TASS reported that contract for serial batch of fifth-generation fighter jets to be signed in 2020.

A Technological Path Out of the Missile-Defense Security Dilemma – Defense One

As boost-phase defenses become viable, they could reduce the destabilizing effects of longer-ranged defenses on great-power relationships.

Northrop launches hypersonic defense push

One of the world’s largest defense firms is positioning itself early to nab counter-hypersonic contracts.

Technology – DEFEATING HYPERSONIC MISSILE THREATS

Find the latest in news, media and more regarding Northrop Grumman’s activities in Space.

A Russian ‘troll slayer’ went undercover at a troll factory – Business Insider

The operation was run by a local restauranteur who was placed under US sanctions for attempting to interfere with US elections.

Inside a Russian troll factory

Russian journalist Vitaly Bespalov worked in the now-infamous Internet Research Agency, which employed internet trolls to reinforce state-sanctioned messages.

Russian “troll slayer” goes undercover at troll factory, finds hundreds working in rotating shifts – news world | UNIAN

Lyudmila Savchuk is a Russian journalist who first exposed the story of Russia’s disinformation campaign back in 2014, after she applied to the Internet Research Agency (IRA) as a blogger and got the job. The whistleblower believed her work would help Facebook understand how its platform could be gamed, but no longer believes the fight against trolls is winnable. Lyudmila Savchuk is a Russian journalist who first exposed the story of Russia’s disinformation campaign back in 2014, after she applied to the Internet Research Agency (IRA) as a blogger and got the job. “I wanted to get in there to see how it works, of course,” says Savchuk, according to Business Insider. “But the most important thing was to see if there was some way to stop it.” Savchuk was stunned to see hundreds of mostly younger Russians working as paid trolls in rotating shifts. Roaming the halls when she could — cameras were everywhere — Savchuk discovered the IRA was full of different “departments.” There was the “news division,” the “social media seeders”, and a group dedicated to producing visual memes known as “demotivators.” Each worker had a quota to fill every day and every night. Despite the division of labor, the content was remarkably uniform. The U.S., the EU, Ukraine’s pro-European government, and Russia’s opposition were regular targets for scorn. And then there was Russian President Vladimir Putin — seemingly no Russian triumph under his rule was too small to warrant a celebratory tweet, meme or post.

Russia has banned fake news, while also being one of the world’s prime exporters of fake news | Business Insider

Russia has passed a law banning the spread of fake news – even though the country has been linked to spreading more fake news abroad than anywhere else.

Putin’s Rosgvardia Are Pussies, Er, Pose With Cats – To Inform is to Influence

Putin’s Personal Praetorian Guard, Rosgvardia, 350,000+ Russian troops that work exclusively for Russian President Putin, have an image problem. Perhaps this huge personal palace guard with the highest tech weapons are seen as dictatorial tools, or perhaps they are seen as the result of official paranoia surrounding Russian President Vladimir Putin’s desire to avoid assassination. To ‘soften’ their image, therefore, they chose to pose with… cats. In the hyper-macho world surrounding the testosterone-heavy, clothing-doffing President, some of these elite troops are posed with… felines. Yes, the same professionals that are intended to eradicate threats to one of the world’s foremost oppressive authoritarian figures, who are equipped with the most ruthless weapons intended to eviscerate innocent protestors are somehow being shown as… humanitarian? Naive, imbecilic, and nauseating are appropriate adjectives. Russian Rosgvardia PR fail. </end editorial>

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Overcoming Putinism will Be Much Harder than Overcoming Communism, Milshteyn Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 18 – Russia has yet to complete the difficult business of overcoming the consequences of 70 years of living under communism, Ilya Milshteyn argues; but that task pales in comparison to the far more difficult one that Russia and the world will face in trying to overcome the impact of Putinism. Many Russians assume that overcoming Putinism will be far easier, the Russian commentator says. All that will be necessary will be to eliminate some horrific laws, get out of the Donbass, dismiss the propagandists from television, and change the country’s relations with the West. And then, voila, “a new life!” (graniru.org/opinion/milshtein/m.275577.html). “Alas,” Milshteyn says, “this point of view is far too optimistic.” Marxism-Leninism was a doctrine than when it ceased to work was quickly dispensed with by the Russian people who had never had more than instrumental reasons to accept it. Putinism, which is based on an idea of patriotism, touches something deeper and will be harder to get rid of. Patriotism, “especially in its present-day fascist form,” is “a simple idea and understood by millions of citizens,” the commentator continues. It is superficially healthy, warm, and close to the heart, and it can mobilize people far more readily than any more supposedly elevated doctrine, as shown by Hitler and now by Putin. Opposing outsiders and defending what one believes to be one’s rightful patrimony work. “Our Austria. Our Sudetenland. Our Crimea and Donbass, Minsk and Aktyubinsk. Our Sofia. Prague. Bratislava. Warsaw.” “These are all our brothers and one need not be a corporal gassed during World War I … or a KGB lieutenant colonel who suffered as a result of the disintegration of a great power and the destruction of the socialist camp in order to dream about revenge and about again uniting with brothers,” Milshteyn says. One may need the corporal or the lieutenant colonel to head the state that takes that kind of action, but the motivation on which they draw is far more widespread. It was in Germany; and it is in Russia – and will not disappear along with Putin. It will continue to affect people’s thinking and to mobilize them for certain goals. For Germany, it took defeat in World War II and then Allied occupation to suppress it; and so the question arises: What will it take in the case of Russia after Putin? Changing laws, TV hosts, and foreign policy rhetoric voluntarily certainly will not be enough, despite what many now think. “Five years later,” Milshteyn says, “it is obvious that Crimea is a catastrophe of planetary dimensions and a misfortune not only for Russia.” But it is especially disastrous because Russians continue to celebrate this as something patriotic and something that demonstrates their power to act regardless of what others want. “It wasn’t difficult to settle accounts with Marx, not to speak of Engels,” he says. “They were aliens.” But this kind of aggressive patriotism is not something that is going to be easily or quickly cured. It is going to be with Russians and the world for a long time to come even after Putin exits the stage.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: A ‘Lost Generation’ Bringing Fascism to Russia Just as It Did to Germany in the 1930s, Yakovenko Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 19 – The horrors of World War I left behind a generation that could not find its place in the modern world, with some overthrowing the existing order altogether and others reduced to an inability to respond effectively, Igor Yakovenko says. Nearly a century, the demise of the USSR has left in its wake in Russia a similarly divided “lost generation.” Tragically, this Russian “lost generation” has something more in common with its predecessor than just this division: like its namesake, it is giving rise to fascism and killing off ability of the others to resist. The lost generation of the 1920s is well known; the Russian one since 1991, much less so, the commentator says (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C8F72B6B7826). “In the Russian generation of those shot down, there are two fractions who hate one another: those that were shot down by the 1990s; and those who were shot down in the succeeding two decades, Yakovenko says. The first has an obvious and emblematic leader: Vladimir Putin. At the end of the 1980s, he suffered “the entire complex of the flier shot down: the collapse of the USSR which became by his definition, ‘the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century was for an FSB lieutenant colonel also a personal one.” Before it happened, he felt himself all powerful on a flight into the heavens, a sense given to him by membership in the secret service, Yakovenko says. But then he was reduced to the pathetic position of an assistant to the rector of Leningrad State University, a trajectory rapidly downward he was not alone in following. “Having experienced ‘the cursed 1990s,’ this generation of imperialist who had been ‘shot down’ came to power and organized their revenge by trying to revive the empire and thus wipe from history all the signs of ‘the greatest geopolitical catastrophe.’” And unlike Boris Yeltsin, they went after their enemies and instilled fear in them. They orchestrated political murders as a matter of routine not just to get inconvenient people out of the way but to intimidate everyone else. That proved effective, Yakovenko says. “Stalin killed millions in order to frighten tens of millions: Putin showed that it is enough to kill several well-known figures and several hundred less well know in order to frighten all the rest.” Moreover, this lost generation having returned to power was quite prepared for the same reasons to dispatch its opponents to prison, drive them into emigration and irrelevance, coopt them and put them in positions where they were totally dependent on the powers that be and thus totally incapable of resisting them. “There is a very widespread point of view that the Russian opposition is so weak and hopeless because Russians are a nation of slaves, genetically incapable of resisting the powers. This Nazi myth is very popular in liberal assemblies,” Yakovenko says. Anyone who challenges this notion, however, risks being dismissed as “a hurrah patriot.” In reality, Russians are not a nation of slaves because of their genetics. That is racist nonsense. They are slaves because they have been good reason to be afraid and because those who do oppose the increasingly fascist authoritarian regime under which they live engage in maximalism and disputes rather than working together to get rid of the regime. And because such things leave the opponents of the regime with the idea that nothing is possible, they descend even further into the kind of population that the representatives of the Russian lost generation returned to power can easily intimidate into silence and obedience, Yakovenko suggests. “The Russian opposition very much needs a success in any direction,” he argues. If it has some, it will begin to believe in itself. That will cure the chief disability of its being the other part of the lost generation. And if it does so, it will be in a position to oppose and eventually defeat that very different part of the lost generation now in power.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Soon Will Soon Face a Choice Between More Terror and Degradation, Pastukhov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 19 – Vladimir Putin’s current strategy of using carefully dosed out amounts of terror in order to have “administered chaos” in which his regime stays within his comfort zone has been extremely effective, may last for some time more, but ultimately will force him to make a Hobson’s choice, Vladimir Pastukhov says. “In the foreseeable future,” the London-based Russian analyst says, he will either move in the direction of restoring the administrative capacity of the system by means of “terrorism with a human face” or face the prospect that Russia will descend into chaos beyond his ability to control (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/03/18/79914-vybor-shestogo-sroka-terror-ili-smuta). Many currently think that “there is no terror in Russia or if there is, then only a ‘hybrid’ or ‘vegetarian’ kind – that is, not entirely real” because many of the attributes of terror under Stalin are lacking; but such people forget that the measure of terror is not the amount of violence used but the level of fear produced in the population, Pastukhov argues. “Terror,” he says, “is like being pregnant – it either is or isn’t.” No one has ever observed “hybrid pregnancy.” Moreover, he continues, terror is distinguished from ordinary authoritarian forms of rule “above all by the unpredictability of repression. It is carried out as if autonomously, subordinate only to its own logic that is hidden from outsiders.” As a result, “terror is capable of giving rise to total and paralyzing fear. This is always a game without rules, within which there is no model of behavior or personal strategy which will guarantee that ‘the player’ will remain outside the zone of risk,” the Russian analyst says. If one examines the current struggle with corruption in Russia from this point of view, Pastukhov argues, one can see that terror is being used because under the conditions of the Putin regime almost anyone can be charged with a crime and no one can insure himself against landing in prison or worse. That creates a general sense of fear. But Putin faces a problem, one that at least in part is of his own creation; and that is the rise of favorites who are untouchable. That puts this group of people directly at odds with the principle of terrorism because it means that some but not all are at risk of running afoul of the system and its leader. “Under Stalin,” Pastukhov points out, “no one slept peacefully, not Molotov, not Khrushchev, not even Beria himself.” Each of them knew that he could be next. But now there are some in the Russian hierarchy who know that they won’t be – and that limits the effectiveness of terror. “The Kremlin favorites strive at any price to extend the radius of their untouchability,” exactly the opposite of what those running a terror state want. And the Putin regime of “’administered democracy’ would never have taken shape if society had not been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder which arose as a result of the Great Terror,” Pastukhov says. Because most Russians are still suffering from PTSD, he argues, the amount of terror needed to keep them in line is far lower than would otherwise be the case. But the existence of favorites makes this algorithm less certain than any regime would like and contributes on its own to the degradation of the system. It appears likely, Pastukhov says, that “the speed of the degradation of the system will not e as high as it seems to those who find signs of a rising political typhoon within society.” The system can extinguish these for a long time and thus maintain the stability which both the rulers and the ruled crave. “But its effectiveness is not infinite” — although it may last several years or even “a whole decade,” the London-based analyst says. And that suggests that at some point, there will be only a choice between “two extreme scenarios: either total terror or total degradation.” It seems likely that the current campaign against corruption could be the trigger for that choice. If the regime starts to use a minimal amount of terror given the existence of favorites, it is likely to find that it will have to use ever more terror in order to achieve the same ends and prevent the collapse of the state administration. Indeed, Russia would appear to face a choice between a North Korean approach, which is Stalinist, or a Venezuelan one, which is chaos. Putin will not have a free hand in either case as the imposition of total terror will lead to new forms of resistance among those who feel they are beyond his reach and the descent into chaos will lead to the rise of others who will demand that order be restored one way or another. But how Russia will develop will depend on his choices in the coming months. They will put Russia on one of two unattractive paths.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Russian Officials Consider Themselves to be Gods and the People Bugs,’ Shcheglov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 19 – Lev Shcheglov, a sexologist who is rapidly assuming a role as a social commentator like the one Igor Kon occupied at the end of Soviet times, that the scales are falling from the eyes of Russians and that they now can see that “Russian officials consider themselves to be gods while they view the rest of the population as little more than bugs.” In an interview with the Znak news agency, he says that it is wrong to use the term “elite” to describe the situation at the top of the Russian pyramid. They may be the rulers of Russia, but they are in no way a genuine elite of the most talented people (nak.com/2019-03-18/seksolog_lev_cheglov_o_psihiatricheskom_portrete_elity_i_naroda_rossii). The several dozen people at the very top are “completely unconcerned about the future of the country. They are typically short timers. They have an insane amount of money, and each has property abroad.” As a result, they have no reason to think about the best interests of the Russian people or its future. Such people, Shcheglov says, are concerned about only two things: keeping their power and then monetarizing it. When the economy was expanding, they sought to get more money; now that it isn’t, he suggests, they simply engage in intrigues intended to get money from others who have it and put it in their own pockets. The whole system is based on negative selection with “unprofessionalism the most important characteristic for an official [because] it allows him to fit into the structure of power.” There are more bureaucrats than ever before, and their incomes have risen, at the expense of the people. Because of this, “any individual who is attached to the powers that be feels himself to be special,” and “beginning from the very lowest level … these officials consider themselves to be divinities and to view ordinary people as microbes.” Such an attitude is so widespread as to be openly acknowledged. Under the current system, the fewer commitments an individual has to honor, conscience, reputation and so on, “the greater will be his chances for career success.” And as a result, those who steal something from a store will be punished as shoplifters but those who steal from the country will be rewarded. While it is true that this reflects the principle that “existence defines consciousness,” he says, in this case “consciousness in passing form one generation to another has gradually formed a reverse influence: consciousness is beginning to define existence,” Shcheglov argues. “Beginning with the Horde and the victory of Muscovy over democratic Novgorod the Great, cruelty, justice, servility, and lies have been passed down by inheritance.” Modern Russian history, especially in Soviet times, has only exacerbated this process, the sexologist and social commentator says. Muscovy’s victory over Novgorod thus froze the development of society and kept it at the patriarchal level. And that quality continues to dominate Russians. Some younger Russians were detached from this during the 1990s, but at the same time, Shcheglov says, some older Russians held on to it all the tighter in the face of change. If Russians are to avoid seeking yet another “’father of the nation’” after Putin passes from the scene, the social analyst says, there will need to be very deep transformations “as in the time of perestroika; and they will have to be kept up rather than undermined by a declining standard of living, the growth of banditry and a declining interest in freedom. What must Russians do today? Shcheglov recommends three steps: the introduction of serious term limits, the creation of an independent judiciary, and the bringing to justice of the most obvious thieves whatever their nominal position. Moreover, parents must assume responsibility for raising their children in a non-paternalistic way.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Protests in Yakutsk Highlight Dangers of Kremlin Plan for 10 Million New Immigrants

Paul Goble Staunton, March 19 – A spontaneous protest on Sunday by Yakutsk residents after reports that three Kyrgyz had raped a local girl and a 6,000-strong meeting on Monday at which republic officials who pledged to get to the bottom of this case highlight the dangers ahead if Moscow goes through with its plan to bring in 10 million additional gastarbeiters from abroad. Both the population and officials in Sakha are united against having move immigrants come in and are demanding far closer screening lest such crimes by them be repeated, an indication of just how much on edge people there are (novayagazeta.ru/news/2019/03/19/150123-v-yakutske-arestovali-obvinyaemogo-v-iznasilovanii-mestnoy-zhitelnitsy-migranta). Such attitudes are not limited to Sakha but the events there on Sunday have provoked an alarmed discussion in the Moscow media as to how immigrants can be handled in such a way that there will not be similar problems elsewhere, problems that some see as triggering a new wave of nationalism beyond the capacity of the regime to cope with (regnum.ru/news/2592708). Ildus Yarulin, a political scientist at Russia’s Far Eastern Federal Unversity says that the authorities in Sakha must pay more attention to such things because they are the tip of a much larger iceberg. In fact, he says, it is already clear that this conflict is at risk of exploding given that officials have put guards around the local mosque (regnum.ru/news/accidents/2592619.html). The Sakha authorities need to meet with the representatives of all the diasporas in that republic and try to determine why it is that they and the people of the region seem to be so hostile to one another. They need help, the scholar says, but “there are practically no experts on nationalities in the Far East” where they are desperately needed. But that problem is not limited to Russia east of the Urals, Yarulin says. “In Russia today to a great extent, no one is involved in the analysis of inter-ethnic relations. Yes, polls are conducted, but their results are either not very high quality or they are not taken into account by the authorities.” Instead, he says, “the authorities which should be regulating these processes, are sticking their heads in the sand.” The result is what is taking place in Sakha and may easily occur elsewhere as well.

UAWire – Norway gives Kremlin evidence of Russia’s involvement in GPS failures during NATO exercises

The Norwegian Defense Minister, Frank Bakke-Jensen, announced that Norway received electronic evidence about Russia's interference with the …

Franz-Stefan Gady | Why Germany Should Further Boost Defense Spending, and Why It Probably Won’t – Defense One

Also: why the Trump administration should shut up about it. French President Emmanuel Macron challenged Europe on March 4 to create a new “European Renaissance” that includes more defense spending and a new defense and security treaty. The proposal drew some quick applause from Germany: Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who succeeded German Chancellor Angela Merkel as head of Germany’s center-right Christian Democratic Union, responded five days later with her own proposal to build a “European aircraft carrier” and rebuild European strategy and organizations to ensure global security and peace. It is unlikely, however, that Kramp-Karrenbauer’s ideas, which were endorsed by Merkel, will move beyond symbolic gestures any time soon. This is bad news for Macron — without support from both halves of Europe’s Franco-German core, major political changes on the continent are unlikely. It is also bad news for Germany. In a country still haunted by its militarist and totalitarian past, German politicians have little incentive to reconsider their cautious approach to the military. But the world is at the dawn of a new age of great power competition between the United States, Russia and China, and Europe is caught in the middle. Germany faces the very real possibility that its much-prized “Weltinnenpolitik” — an “international system with highly constrained exercise of the use of force and a legitimate authority to arbitrate” — could quickly crumble. Persuading the country will not be easy. While 43 percent of Germans, according to a September 2018 poll, are in favor of increasing defense spending, 55 percent are against Germany playing a more active diplomatic and military role in international crises.

Merkel rejects criticism of German defense spending | Fox News

Chancellor Angela Merkel is rejecting criticism of Germany’s defense spending amid suggestions it might decline after next year that have angered the U.S. The finance minister’s budget plan reportedly foresees Germany’s defense spending rising to 1.37 percent of national income in 2020, then declining to 1.25 percent by 2023.

Merkel on Cybersecurity, Defense Spending, Brexit, Banks: Full Interview – YouTube

Bloomberg Politics Published on Mar 19, 2019 Mar.19 — German Chancellor Angela Merkel discusses cybersecurity, Brexit, defense spending and the merger talks between Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG. She talks with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait at the Global Solutions Summit in Berlin.

Germany, Belgium Propose New Tool to Police EU Democracies

Supporters say the proposal would create space for member states to flag rule-of-law concerns early on rather than wait for problems to escalate

Nina Khrushcheva | Russia’s Crimea invasion was good for Putin. But five years later, the nationalist glow is gone.

Crimea annexation anniversary: Russia’s annexation of Crimea was good for Putin. But five years later, Russians want freedom, not military parades.

Russian Opposition Leader: Putin Paying Steep Political Price for Crimea

Western sanctions and ongoing military engagements abroad have cost normal Russians and the Kremlin leadership alike, says Alexei Navalny

What has Russia gained from annexing Crimea? | Europe | Al Jazeera

Five years ago Russia annexed Crimea, then began a conflict in eastern Ukraine that has claimed 13,000 lives.

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.

UAWire – Kremlin: Russia deployed long-range bombers in Crimea

The Chairman of the Federation Committee on Defense and Security, Viktor Bondarev, announced that Russia has deployed Tupolev Tu-22M3 strategic …

Russia returns Ukraine’s note over Putin’s visit to Crimea without consideration – Russian media – news politics | UNIAN

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has returned a note of protest sent by Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry over President Vladimir Putin’s visit to occupied Crimea, without considering it. Ukraine insists the visit violates its state sovereignty and territorial integrity.

UAWire – Putin invites Turkish President Erdogan to visit annexed Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited his counterpart Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit the annexed Crimea to take part in …

Ex-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine names necessary steps to return Crimea

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine stated that sanctions facilitate the process of Crimea’s de-occupation

Russia’s annexation of Crimea: Five years later

Russia’s so-called “referendum” at the barrel of a gun in Crimea five years ago was a farce rightfully condemned by the international community

Crimean ‘court’ arrests ex-president of Crimea Yuriy Meshkov

Central District Court of Simferopol arrests Yuriy Meshkov, the ex-president of Crimea in 1994-1995

Window on Eurasia — New Series: The Crimean Revolution Moscow Stole from the Peninsula’s Russian Nationalists Lives On, Scholar Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 19 – In the five years since the Crimean Anschluss, Moscow has made the holding of the referendum on the Ukrainian peninsula the centerpiece of its narrative about how the region passed from Ukraine to the Russian Federation, a tactic intended to make the seizure of Crimea by Russian security forces appear entirely legitimate. But that storyline, Olga Zevelyeva, a Russian studying at Cambridge University, says in an article posted online today does not square with the memories of ethnic Russians on the peninsula who date the transition earlier, on February 27-28, 2014, and ascribe to themselves a key role in making it happen (republic.ru/posts/93306). Indeed, they view themselves as having carried out a revolution on the peninsula which opened the way for Russian forces to intervene, but Zevelyeva says, “neither Ukraine, nor Russia nor the West” finds that such stories about “a nationalist Crimean revolution” fit with what each of these three has come to believe. The sociology graduate student interviewed more than 80 Crimean residents in 2016-2017, and in the course of them, she says, “many respondents spoke about ‘the revolution’ of 2014, about the victory in it of Russians who blocked the development of events according to the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar scenario.” “Even the most pro-Kremlin residents of the peninsula, Zevelyeva continues, “did not repeat the customary narrative which the rest of the population of Russia sees on TV screens,” a narrative which makes “’the peaceful referendum’ of March 16” the central event in the changes on the peninsula. For her respondents, she says, “the decisive turning point” occurred more than two weeks earlier, on February 26 and 27.” On February 26, two groups of demonstrators faced off against each other outside the Crimean Parliament. One, consisting of Crimean Tatars, supported the new government in Kyiv; the other, consisting of Russians, opposed doing so. The two groups clashed, resulting in dozens of injuries and two deaths. By that evening, however, “armed people had seized the Crimean Parliament and raised the Russian flag over it.” According to Zevelyeva’s sources, “already at that time, local residents actively supported the Russian special services.” As a result, “already at the end of February,” the pro-Russian portion of the population became certain that the peninsula would pass from Ukraine to Russia. Very soon thereafter, “repressions of the Crimean Tatars followed, and Russian nationalists for the first time felt their own strength.” There were other signs of this shift: Until March, the Russian-language Krymskaya Pravda described itself as “an independent social-political Russian newspaper of Ukraine.” Afterwards, both the word “Ukraine” and the word “Russian” were removed as no longer necessary. “Despite the sense of triumph among nationalistically inclined pro-Russian Crimeans, some of them said that they could not openly talk about their contribution to the events of 2014.” To do so would not only call into question Moscow’s narrative but also create problems in the current geopolitical situation. According to Zevelyeva, “local Crimean media and local officials were more wiling to talk about the revolutionary drive of 2014 than the federal media have been.” On March 16, for example, Crimean head Sergey Aksyonov said that history had been made there by the people and not shadowy forces. Among the Russian nationalist revolutionaries, she says, were many who looked to Russia as a social state that would better take care of their needs than had Ukraine. “The people who made the revolution,” one of her sources said, “were not members of the intelligentsia. They were drivers, workers, salespeople. They were active” and unlike the intelligentsia ready to act. As Zevelyeva points out, these “revolutionaries of Crimea represent a danger to the ontological integrity of the narratives of all the geopolitical players.” The West and Ukraine want to stress only the role of Russian forces from outside the region in the annexation, while Moscow doesn’t want to talk about Russian nationalists as revolutionaries. That is because, she argues, they “are dangerous in that they were ready to fight not only with external enemies but internal ones as well.” For Moscow, there must be only unity in Crimea. Those who showed that was not the case or who acted on their own initiative are thus a threat. “Having fulfilled their function as supporters of the special operation in 2014,” Zevelyeva concludes, “the pro-Russian revolutionaries became an inconvenience for the Kremlin.” But they remain and talk about February 2014: For them, “the peninsula will never fit in the sterile history of the Crimean referendum.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Pastukhov Floats Idea of Joint Ukrainian-Russian Administration of Crimea

Paul Goble Staunton, March 18 – Vladimir Pastukhov, one of the most insightful analysts of Russian affairs, says that neither Russia nor Ukraine can retreat from their current positions about Crimea. No conceivable Russian government will ever give Crimea back to Ukraine, and no Ukrainian government will ever drop its insistence that Crimea belongs to Kyiv. Because that is so, the London-based Russian analyst says, it is time to think outside the box and consider the possibility of a joint Ukrainian-Russian administration of Crimea, an arrangement that would allow each side to claim that it was not backing down and prevent the Crimean situation from further poisoning life in Russia, Ukraine and the West. In an essay on the Republic portal today, Portnikov says that “the most important thing that we have lost in this war and that makes peace today impossible is the ability to like those with whom one does not agree” and thus be in a position to examine problems on which there are deep divisions in an open and potentially fruitful way (republic.ru/posts/93300). “The problem,” he continues, is not that with regard to Crimea it is impossible to agree because of diametrically opposed approaches to the problem. The problem is that not one of the proposed approaches for various reasons is acceptable.” Both sides have a basis for claims to the peninsula, and neither is prepared to recognize any merit in the claims of the other side. However much one objects to what has happened, it is not possible to simply go back to the status quo ante; but it is also not likely that the world will tolerate an eternal war given that as long as the Crimean problem is not resolved in some way, the war, “at least a cold one,” will continue. According to Pastukhov, “there are no simple solutions. And those who say ‘Crimea is ours’ are lying. And those who say that it is possible to go back to the past are foolish. And those who hope that all will wind down and be forgotten are deceiving themselves. This is an unusual situation.” Everywhere “there is a dead end.” Consequently, the Russian analyst argues, “it requires unusual moves at that moment when conditions for its resolution arise.” The pro-war party in Moscow has made two serious miscalculations. On the one hand, it assumed that after the annexation of Crimea, the rest of Ukraine would quickly disintegrate and fall into Moscow’s hands either fully or partially. And on the other, it believed that the West would complain for awhile but gradually come to terms with the new de facto situation. But Ukraine has succeeded in surviving – that is its greatest achievement, Pastukhov says – and the West, fearful that changing the border in the case of Crimea could spark a series of similar changes and completely undermine the existing international order, has proven unexpectedly steadfast to principle. As a result, “’the price of Crimea’ has turned out to be much higher” that many in Moscow thought five years ago, Pastukhov suggests. It has turned out to be “one of the most significant geopolitical catastrophes in the history of Russia since the time of the formation of the Empire.” It has involved Russia in a war with the West that will go on forever and a war that because of its smaller resources, it cannot possibly win and may lose in ways that will cost it the territorial integrity of Russia itself. “This is,” the analyst says, “worse than Afghanistan, albeit still less obvious and therefore still more dangerous.” Nonetheless, neither Putin nor any future Russian government, except one installed by those who might defeat it militarily, will agree to give Crimea back to Ukraine; and Ukraine will not have the military strength to take it back from Russia. That means if disaster is to be avoided, some kind of compromise is necessary. One possibility would be to transform Crimea into “an independent subject of international law operating under a mutual protectorate of Russia and Ukraine and with guarantees from the EU and the US.” That would save the face of both Moscow and Kyiv and avoid a humanitarian disaster in Crimea. Arranging this would be difficult but perhaps not impossible. There would need to be an agreement on Crimea’s demilitarization and on Crimea’s functioning as a free zone, under joint administration. Of course, there would be enormous problems in getting to this point and sustaining it; but the possibility it could prevent a bigger disaster means it should be explored.

Kremlin demonstrating full readiness for military intervention in Ukraine

The conclusion was made by the experts of the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies” (CACDS). “In the first half of March, 2019, the CACDS experts recorded a significant deterioration of the security situation around Ukraine. First of all, this state of affairs is a consequence of the intensification of domestic political struggle in the country and the creation of conditions in neighboring Russia for use of such a situation, including power scenarios. It is important to note the full readiness of the Kremlin to engage in military intervention in order to change power in Ukraine and establish a Russian protectorate,” reads the analytical report. The greatest challenge of the time, the authors of the article believe, was the appearance and public discussion of the new military doctrine of Russia, which was presented by Chief of Staff of the Russian Federation Valery Gerasimov on March 2. Although the document is formally aimed at intimidating the West, mainly to change the rhetoric of Washington’s communication with Moscow, it directly threatens Ukraine. “In fact, any destabilized course of election events, including those created artificially by, for example, a series of provocations or sabotage, may be used by the Kremlin to use a power scenario against Ukraine,” the experts emphasize. As noted, the presidential election campaign becomes a determining factor in the impact on the future scenario of state development. “Powerful and influential moment in the election campaign was, in particular, the opposition of Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov,” the report reads. The confrontation between the Security Service of Ukraine and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, the corruption scandal around the State Concern “Ukroboronprom”, etc. are the factors, which significantly exacerbate already complicated political situation inside the country. In addition, the experts point to the significant deterioration of the geopolitical situation, which has created an opportunity for Russia to implement extremely risky scenarios. “So, in the occupied Crimea, Russian troops planned to conduct military exercises with the participation of 10 thousands of artillerymen and about three thousand units of missile artillery weapons (the report “Crimea Realities” referring to the Russian media), which could really threaten Ukraine. In particular, the negative rhetoric of the Moscow-Washington Dialogue can transform into a transformation of Ukraine into the area of settling disputes between the Russian Federation and the United States,” the analysts note. As noted, during the exercises it is planned to launch missile complexes “Iskander-M”, “Bal”, “Bastion”, missile launchers and barrel artillery systems. The training will also be held at 20 landfills – in Astrakhan, Rostov, Volgograd regions, Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, in the North Caucasus, as well as in the territories of Russian military bases in Abkhazia, Armenia, and South Ossetia. “This testifies to the real introduction into the life of the “doctrine of Gerasimov.” In this context, it is worth mentioning the pace of training the troops. For example, on March 1, Russian missile launchers trained to launch missile attacks using Bastion and Ball in the occupied Crimea. In general, after the occupation of Crimea in 2014, Russia has been regularly conducting the military exercises on the peninsula,” the authors of the article emphasize. Analyzing the situation at the international level, the CACDS experts stress that more Western experts are inclined to believe that Ukraine needs more political support, and the United States and their closest European allies need to develop a Ukrainian version of the Marshall Plan. “Under the current regime of the Kremlin there is no military solution. In particular, the National Interest in March of this year noted if Ukraine succeeds in creating a viable, comprehensive and well-functioning democratic state, Russia will cease to expand and is likely to collapse, as happened with the Soviet Union at 1991 year,” the experts note.

Most Ukrainians support tough policy towards Russia

59% of Ukrainian citizens believe that peace in Donbas should be achieved only on conditions acceptable to Ukrainian society, while 29% of Ukrainians advocate achieving peace at any cost. — Ukrinform. The corresponding results of a public opinion poll conducted by the Ukrainian Centre for Economic and Political Studies named after Olexander Razumkov have been presented at the Ukrinform agency. According to the poll results, 59% of respondents are convinced that peace in eastern Ukraine should be achieved only on conditions acceptable to Ukrainian society. At the same time, 29% of respondents advocate achieving peace at any cost, while 11% are undecided. In addition, 52% of respondents advocate adhering to a tough policy towards Russia and believe that good neighborly relations with the Russian Federation are impossible until the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine are fully restored (until Donbas and Crimea are returned) and damages caused to Ukraine as a result of aggression are compensated for. At the same time, 35% of respondents believe that it is necessary to seek reconciliation and restoration of economic ties with Russia, even if this requires making certain concessions. 13% of respondents are undecided. The public opinion poll was conducted by the sociological service of the Razumkov Center on February 7 – February 14, 2019 in all regions of Ukraine except for Crimea and the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. 2,016 respondents aged 18 years old and over were interviewed.

Russians still negative toward U.S., Ukraine – poll – news politics | UNIAN

Russians have retained negative attitudes toward the United States and Ukraine. At the same time, 87% of respondents have a positive attitude to Belarus. Russians have retained negative attitudes toward the United States and Ukraine. Such estimates are maintained for at least the past 12 months, according to a public opinion poll conducted by Russian NGO Levada Center, an UNIAN correspondent in Russia reports. In particular, answering the question of how they feel about the United States as a whole, 34% of respondents answered “very good” and “mostly good.” Some 56% of respondents have the opposite opinion (“mostly bad” and “very bad”), while 11% of respondents found the question hard to answer. Read alsoRussia’s losses over five years of illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea estimated at over US$150 bln When asked how they feel about the European Union, 42% of respondents answered “very good” and “mostly good.” The opposite opinion is held by 45% (“mostly bad” and “very bad”), while 13% of respondents found the question hard to answer. At the same time, when asked how they feel about Ukraine, 34% of respondents said “very good” and “mostly good.” Another 56% have the opposite opinion (“mostly bad” and “very bad”), while 10% found the question difficult to answer. At the same time, 87% of respondents have a positive attitude to the Republic of Belarus, with only 6% being negative, and 7% failing to answer. The survey was conducted on February 15-20 on a representative all-Russian sample of the urban and rural population. A total of 1,600 people aged from 18 were questioned in 50 regions of Russia. The margin of error does not exceed 3.4%. Read more on UNIAN:https://www.unian.info/politics/10486074-russians-still-negative-toward-u-s-ukraine-poll.htmlRussians have retained negative attitudes toward the United States and Ukraine. Such estimates are maintained for at least the past 12 months, according to a public opinion poll conducted by Russian NGO Levada Center, an UNIAN correspondent in Russia reports. In particular, answering the question of how they feel about the United States as a whole, 34% of respondents answered “very good” and “mostly good.” Some 56% of respondents have the opposite opinion (“mostly bad” and “very bad”), while 11% of respondents found the question hard to answer. Read alsoRussia’s losses over five years of illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea estimated at over US$150 bln When asked how they feel about the European Union, 42% of respondents answered “very good” and “mostly good.” The opposite opinion is held by 45% (“mostly bad” and “very bad”), while 13% of respondents found the question hard to answer. At the same time, when asked how they feel about Ukraine, 34% of respondents said “very good” and “mostly good.” Another 56% have the opposite opinion (“mostly bad” and “very bad”), while 10% found the question difficult to answer. At the same time, 87% of respondents have a positive attitude to the Republic of Belarus, with only 6% being negative, and 7% failing to answer. The survey was conducted on February 15-20 on a representative all-Russian sample of the urban and rural population. A total of 1,600 people aged from 18 were questioned in 50 regions of Russia. The margin of error does not exceed 3.4%.

Documentary about Ukrainian political prisoners of Kremlin showed at EP. VIDEO&PHOTOS

20.03.19 11:03 – Documentary about Ukrainian political prisoners of Kremlin showed at EP. VIDEO&PHOTOS March 19, a documentary dubbed Putin’s hostages: Ukrainian political prisoners of the Kremlin was shown in the session hall of the European Parliament. View news.

7 attacks against JFO positions yesterday: no losses among Ukrainian soldiers, three terrorists destroyed

20.03.19 07:18 – 7 attacks against JFO positions yesterday: no losses among Ukrainian soldiers, three terrorists destroyed March 19, Russian occupying forces violated the cease-fire 7 times, while 6 of them involved the use of 51 mines of 120- and 82mm. View news.

Ukraine reports seven enemy attacks in Donbas in past 24 hours – news war | UNIAN

Russian-led forces mounted seven attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in the past 24 hours. The day has brought no casualties across the warzone.

Another enemy drone taken down near Avdiyivka – LB.ua news portal

Another enemy drone taken down near Avdiyivka. A reconnaissance drone was shot down in the area recently. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

OSCE spots Grad projectiles in residential areas of Ilovaisk – news war | UNIAN

Observers who are part of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine have spotted projectiles from a Grad multiple launch rocket system in the town of Ilovaisk, Donetsk region. The Mission earlier reported nearly 30 howitzers in the occupied territory.

OSCE SMM again spots Russian radio-electronic jamming systems in Donbas

An unmanned aerial vehicle of the OSCE SMM to Ukraine again spotted Russian cutting-edge radio-electronic jamming systems in the occupied territories of eastern Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine’s Joint Forces show video of MiG-29 fighters, Su-25 attack aircraft in combat training flight over Sea of ​​Azov – news war | UNIAN

A MiG-29 fighter wing and a pair of Su-25 attack aircraft performed scheduled flights over the Sea of Azov, providing an air cover for Ukraine Navy ships sailing in the area. Warplanes were fully loaded with weapons.

Ukrainian prosecutors insist on 14-year imprisonment for Brazilian mercenary from Donbas – news ukraine | UNIAN

Ukrainian prosecutors insist on 14-year imprisonment for Brazilian citizen Rafael Lusvarghi who fought alongside with terrorists of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” against the Ukrainian army. The accused’s final plea is scheduled for May 2.

Ukraine and Sweden to cooperate to counter security threats

Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Vasyl Bodnar during a meeting with the delegation of the Defense Commission of the Swedish Parliament discussed further consolidation of efforts in countering Russian aggression, the Foreign Ministry’s press service reported. — Ukrinform. “Ukraine’s experience in countering Russian military and hybrid threats, as well as cyberattacks, is of considerable interest to Stockholm. During the meeting, the sides said that Russia’s aggressive policy towards Ukraine is also part of the Kremlin’s plans to destabilize the European continent and undermine public trust in democratic institutions,” the ministry’s press service reported. Vasyl Bodnar also informed the Swedish delegation about the current situation in Donbas and stressed the importance of further consolidation of international community to put more pressure on Moscow so that to return to occupied territories. The deputy minister thanked the Swedish delegation for the strong support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and said that “this support is particularly noticeable in the EU and the UN, where our Swedish partners are co-initiators of all important decisions, resolutions and other documents in support of Ukraine.” Members of the Swedish delegation, in turn, assured that Sweden remains a reliable partner of Ukraine in advocating its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as a sincere friend in providing practical assistance in conducting reforms.

Ukrainian defense minister meets with strategic advisers from NATO member countries

Defense Minister of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak met with a group of strategic advisers from NATO member countries and thanked for assistance in building a perspective system of the military management of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the ministry’s press service reported on Tuesday evening. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine’s Night Train to the Front Lines

Ukraine is gearing up for presidential elections at the end of this month, a vote that holds huge implications for a country still at war with Russian-backed separatists. There are other issues on the agenda too – not least getting around this vast country. The dilapidated infrastructure means long night trains are the only practical transport. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell jumped on board to chat with some of the passengers heading east.

Ukraine Army receives first Bayraktar armed UAVs from Turkey – Defence Blog

The Armed Forces of Ukraine has received into service its first Bayraktar TB2 armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), the UkrOboronProm said on Wednesday. According to a 20 March press release from state-owned company UkrOboronProm, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Starokonstantinov handed over 420 units of aircraft and military equipment to the Ukrainian military, including the first Bayraktar TB2 unmanned systems. Tests of the Turkish unmanned aerial vehicle Bayraktar TB2 have been successful, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said. “Testing of the drone Bayraktar TB2, which was put into service with the Ukrainian army, was successful. I congratulate the Armed Forces of Ukraine, partners from Turkey. Today we have a completely new weapon –aerial attack drones. You see camera mounted on UAV that tracks the accuracy of the strike,” Poroshenko said after testing the UAV at the test site in Khmelnytsky region on Wednesday. The president said the acquisition of the drone has opened new opportunities for Ukraine’s special forces, as well as for Ukrainian paratroopers. The new UAV is developed and manufactured by the Turkish Baykar Makina company. According to the Baykar Makina company, the Bayraktar unmanned aerial vehicle is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance class system developed for tactical reconnaissance and surveillance missions. Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle can carry a maximum payload of more than 55kg. Bayraktar can fly up to 22,500 feet and loiter for more than 24 hours. Prototype Development Phase started within 2007 based on competition model. Bayraktar Tactical UAS with its critical all subsystems including Flight Control, INS-GPS, Automatic Take Off-Landing systems developed in house demonstrated fully automatic taxi, take off, cruise, landing, parking phases in 2009 and was selected as the winner of the program.

The Bayraktar TB2 strike drones have been successfully tested in the sky of Ukraine – YouTube

State Concern “Ukroboronprom” Published on March 20, 2019 Bayraktar TB2 operational-tactical unmanned aerial vehicles successfully tested in the sky of Ukraine. During the flight, UAV drills worked out finding different types of targets, transferring their coordinates to the command center, and striking high-precision weapons.

Ukraine successfully tests Turkish combat drones – president

Turkey’s Bayraktar unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) have been successfully tested in Ukraine, President Petro Poroshenko says. — Ukrinform.

Petro Poroshenko | The tests of Turkish armed drone “Bayraktar” | Facebook VIDEO

The tests of Turkish drone “Bayraktar”, which were put on the arming of the Ukrainian army, have been successful. I congratulate the Ukrainian Armed Forces and our partners from Turkey, as well as all Ukrainians – today we have a completely new modern weapon. It is an excellent contribution to strengthening the defense capability of our state!

Turkish strike drone Bayraktar passed successful tests in Ukraine, – Poroshenko. VIDEO

20.03.19 12:28 – Turkish strike drone Bayraktar passed successful tests in Ukraine, – Poroshenko. VIDEO Tests of the Turkish strike drone Bayraktar TB2 in the Khmelnitskyi region were successful. View news. Tests of the Turkish strike drone Bayraktar TB2 in the Khmelnitskyi region were successful. “Tests of the strike drone Bayraktar TB2, which was put into service to the Ukrainian army, was successful. I congratulate the Armed Forces of Ukraine and partners from Turkey. Today we have a completely new weapon – strike drones. You see the camera that runs directly on the drone and you see the accuracy hits,” said president Petro Poroshenko after tests in the Khmelnitskyi region. Censor.NET reports citing Interfax.

Ukraine Army testing Turkish strike drones – Poroshenko – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 strike drones are now being tested in Ukraine. The president added that the Army would soon receive new models of military equipment and weaponry.

More than 400 units of military equipment were transferred to the Armed Forces

March 20, 19 More than 400 units of military equipment were received by the Armed Forces of Ukraine Today, on March 20, in Starokonstantinov, in Khmelnitsky, units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine received a regular party of new and modernized military equipment. The event was attended by the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, who presented the star of the Hero of Ukraine to Lieutenant Colonel Vinnik Ivan Ivanovich and the wife of the deceased Hero, Senior Sergeant Konoplyov Andriy Anatoliyovych, a serviceman of the 128th Mountain Attack Brigade, who saved his combat companions valuable self-life. Before the award ceremony for military equipment, demonstration trials and demonstration flights of Turkish armed drone Bayraktar TB2 were carried out, during which the RPV successfully hit the target. The President instructed to complete the whole complex of tests as soon as possible and put this complex on the arming of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The troops received a new and renewed and upgraded technique:

  •  An-26sh military transport aircraft
  • multipurpose fighter MiG-29MU1
  • transport helicopter Mi-8MTV
  •  two multi-purpose helicopters Mi-2MSB
  •  Bayraktar TB2 RPVs (383 separate SKLE regiment)
  •  T-64BV tanks, armored personnel carriers BTR-3DA
  • 82 mm mortar
  • 122-mm self-propelled artillery units 2C1 “Gvozdika”
  • multipurpose armored cars “Kozak-2”
  • Sparrow Unmanned Systems
  • BRDM-2L1
  • Military vehicles of OZAR
  • radar station 35D6 and two radar “Malakhit”
  • repair workshops ТРМ-80, МТО-80, ПРЗ-80
  • Passenger cars Ford cars (transmitted by the Canadian government)

Ukrainian Armed Forces receive over 400 weapons and military equipment

On Wednesday, March 20, the Armed Forces of Ukraine received another batch consisting of more than 400 units of weapons and military equipment. — Ukrinform.

Ukroboronprom’s Lviv aircraft repair plant expands technological capabilities for restoring tactical fighters MiG-29

State-owned enterprise (SOE) Lviv Aircraft Repair Plant, a member of the Ukroboronprom state concern, is upgrading its facilities and expanding its technological capabilities for restoring tactical fighters of MiG-29 type, the press service of the concern has reported.

Lviv Plant has mastered the overhaul of 27 types of air defense equipment

The State Enterprise “Lviv Radio Repair Plant” is increasing its pace with the development of the repair of air defense equipment of the Ukrainian Army and has already mastered the repair of 27 types of equipment. In particular, recently the state testing ground Yagorlik, which in the Kherson region, successfully completed the next stage of testing the anti-aircraft missile complex 9K330 Tor, which was restored by the Lviv Radio Repair Factory. In addition, the Lviv enterprise moved to an independent production of antennas for radar stations and mastered the production of actuators for them. And also carries out the repair of S-125s, which are armed with the Ukrainian army. In this state the launchers of the C-125 are delivered to the repair company: Lviv Plant has mastered the repair of 27 types of air defense technology And these come from the workshops of the plant: Lviv Plant has mastered the repair of 27 types of air defense technology

President: Legislative amendments on the reform of Ukroboronprom must be immediately considered by the Verkhovna Rada — Official website of the President of Ukraine

During the participation in the Freedom of Speech program on ICTV channel, President Petro Poroshenko stressed that the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine should consider legislative changes in the reform of Ukroboronprom as urgent. The relevant bill is being prepared by the newly appointed Under Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Colonel Serhiy Kryvonos and will be submitted to the Parliament by the President of Ukraine as urgent.

Russian ombudsperson Moskalkova arrives in Kyiv – news ukraine | UNIAN

Russia’s Commissioner for Human Rights Tatyana Moskalkova has arrived in Kyiv. Prosecutors sent his indictment to Kyiv’s Podilsky district court.

Neither Kremlin nor its “representatives” in Rada can hinder adoption of language law – Speaker – news politics | UNIAN

Verkhovna Rada Speaker Andriy Parubiy has said passing a law on the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language cannot be hindered either by the Kremlin or its representatives in Ukraine, including in the Ukrainian parliament. Parubiy urges lawmakers not to delay the bill’s consideration.

SBU blocks imports of anti-Ukrainian print – news ukraine | UNIAN

The SBU Security Service of Ukraine has prevented the imports of printed materials charged with anti-Ukrainian narratives. After the books were revealed at one of Kyiv’s customs offices, they were sent for an examination by a regulator, the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting.

Zelenskyy firmly in lead in presidential run – poll – LB.ua news portal

Zelenskyy firmly in lead in presidential run – poll. He is traditionally followed by the incumbent president and an ex-prime minister. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Over 82% of Ukrainians ready to vote in presidential election – poll

More than 82% of Ukrainians are ready to vote in the presidential election on March 31, 2019. — Ukrinform.

To survive with Russia as a neighbor, Ukraine must have a strong army – President — Official website of the President of Ukraine

During the Prykarpattia Regional Development Council, President Petro Poroshenko emphasized the importance of supporting the Ukrainian army.

NATO membership will allow us to increase local development budgets – President — Official website of the President of Ukraine

President Petro Poroshenko stresses the importance of Ukraine’s accession to the North Atlantic Alliance, which will release a significant part of the security and defense sector resources for local development budgets.

President: The stake in this year’s elections is whether Ukraine will be able to preserve real independence from Russia — Official website of the President of Ukraine

President Petro Poroshenko stressed the historic importance of this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections. The Head of State said this during a speech at the meeting of the Regional Development Council of Prykarpattia held in Kolomyia.

Thousands visit Chernobyl’s dead zone, where a Hasidic dynasty was founded

For centuries, Chernobyl was home to an important Hasidic movement. Now, one man—and his 50,000 relatives—are reclaiming their history.

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