Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
ACM = Air Chief Marshal, a senior Royal Air Force officer.
Russian exceptionalism is a sight to behold – after five years of practicing missile launches from BLACKJACKs, BACKFIREs, BEARs, and FENCERs against NATO nations, a mere six Buffs flying practice sorties from Fairford elicits a very loud response. ACM Peach on Russia, Turkey, and INF. INF update. Russia accelerates testing of the hypersonic Kh-47M2 Kinzhal. Russian MoD orders 100 new-build Il-76MD-90A CANDIDs and derivative Il-78MD-90A MIDAS’ – how Russia will pay for them is not explained. Chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Duma Federation Council Col-Gen Bondaryev bemoans the standard of conscript training and concludes a third of the Russian military does not know how to fight and will never learn.
Ponomaryev and Ikhlov conclude that Russia is turning back to Stalinism, while Pavlova compares the post-Soviet period to Lenin’s 1920s новая экономическая политика or NEP, the decade of free market economy before Stalin’s Holodomor and Terror. More on nostalgia for the USSR. Poland excludes Russia from WW2 commemorations. More on meddling in Europe.
Crimea analyses. Donbas update. Kidnapped Ukrainian teen Hryb sentenced to six years in prison, and not expected to survive. Media reports and BDA footage of Ukraine’s new Turkish developed MAM-L (Smart Micro Munition) micro-GBU.
Extensive election update – comedian Zelenskiy continues to lead strongly. Politics/economy update. Paganism in Russia.
Hans Kristensen on Twitter: “Russian media says US B-52 was intercepted off Kaliningrad and flew to within “191 kilometers” of St Petersburg https://t.co/ZABHvXqVMA No independent confirmation yet, but for that to be true, bomber would have to pass over eastern part of Estonia or Gulf of Finland.”
The bombers, flying from the United Kingdom, are operating close to Moscow’s borders.
The U.S. has sent six nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to Europe for “theater integration and flying training” with NATO partners and local allies amid tensions with Russia.
MOSCOW has accused Washington of creating “additional tensions” after two Russian fighter planes chased a nuclear-capable US B-52 bomber away from Russian airspace.
The Russian government reportedly criticized the U.S. Thursday for deploying nuclear-capable B-52s bombers near its border, saying the move escalates regional tensions.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said “such actions by the United States do not lead to a strengthening of an atmosphere of security and stability in the region.”
The U.S. deployed six nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to Europe last week to conduct training with NATO allies and partners, American officials reported, in a move promptly criticized by the Kremlin Thursday.
The Kremlin on Thursday complained that flights by U.S. nuclear-capable B-52 strategic bombers across the Baltic Sea near Russia’s borders were creating tensions in the region, but Washington said they were needed to deter potential adversaries.
Since June 2018, Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach has led NATO’s Military Committee, advancing the mantra of collective defense while balancing distinct threats of a more capable Russia, a more belligerent Iran and omnipresent terrorist activities.
Trump’s dismissive and disparaging treatment of NATO is reckless and dangerous. But the alliance begins its eighth decade in extraordinarily robust shape despite—and in part because of—Donald Trump.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that Russia will not destroy systems with the 9M729 missile as requested by the United States, reports RIA Novosti. Washington blames Moscow for violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) by testing the 9M729 missile. The United States demanded that Russia destroy the missiles within six months and threatened to withdraw from the INF Treaty if this does not happen. “We cannot agree to destroy complexes with our missile,” stated representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry. The Kremlin called the United States accusations regarding testing 9M729 missiles range, which violates the Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles groundless, and the ultimatum “unacceptable in both form and substance”. It also accused the U.S. of rejecting “the very idea of reciprocity” in the matter of claims settlement. “The proposals for the settlement remain in force, but we will not knock on the closed door,” added the Russian Ministry.
U.S. Defense Department to begin making components for new ground-launched cruise missile systems once banned under terms of the now-suspended INF Treaty. The U.S. Defense Department will begin fabricating components for new ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) systems formerly banned under the terms of the now-suspended Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a spokesman confirms to Aviation Week. The move reestablishes U.S. manufacturing for a major class of weapons, ending a 32-year hiatus only weeks after the Trump administration announced a decision to suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty. The Pentagon also tells Aviation Week that research and development on non-nuclear GLCM concepts began in late 2017. Until now, that work stopped short of fabrication activity, as building components for new missiles would have been “inconsistent” with the terms of the treaty, a Pentagon spokesperson says.
Nearly 20 Russian missiles that the U.S. is currently unable to defend against were recently moved to a military testing site, signaling another milestone for the Kremlin’s hypersonic weapon, according to people who have direct knowledge of American intelligence reports.
Nearly 20 Russian missiles that the U.S. is currently unable to defend against were recently moved to a military testing site, signaling another milestone for the Kremlin’s hypersonic weapons program, according to people who have direct knowledge of American intelligence reports. The weapon is slated to join the Kremlin’s arsenal as early as 2020.
In Washington, the European Deterrence Initiative is cast as a demonstration of America’s commitment to European allies. In reality, however, it’s a duplicative program which functions as yet another U.S. entitlement to Europe.
The Russian Defense Ministry has announced plans to buy more than 100 Ilyushin Il-76 military aircraft before 2030 as part of the massive contract. According to a statement, the Defense Ministry plans to buy more than 100 Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A military transport aircraft before 2030, as well as air tankers developed on their basis. “This is the main aircraft in Defense Ministry’s plans. Potentially, the Defense Ministry plans to buy more than 100 aircraft, and this number grows if we add flying tankers produced on the basis of this plane,” Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told state news agency TASS on Thursday. The Russian Defense Ministry will get the first serial Il-76MD-90A military transport plane next week, Russian aircraft manufacturer and design bureau Ilyushin said on Thursday. “The first serial plane is fully ready. It is expected to be handed over next week,” a company source told reporters. The company confirmed that no Il-76MD-90A planes have been handed over to the Russian Armed Forces since 2014. Prior to that, the military transport aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces received two such aircraft as a pre-production delivery. According to the current information, It is an upgraded version of the IL-76MD which itself is based on the IL-76 cargo aircraft platform. The Il-76MD-90A, also known as project Il-476 during the design stage, is developed to transport a range of military equipment, armed personnel, heavy and long size vehicles and cargoes. The latest modification is distinguished by new equipment, including a glass cockpit, modern PS-90A-76 engines, a modified wing and reinforced chassis. Il-76MD-90A is used to develop Il-78M-90A air tanker. The 1st serial production Il-76MD-90A was rolled out at Aviastar’s Ulyanovsk plant on 16 June 2014.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 21 – Vladimir Putin’s push to make the Russian military an all-volunteer force has fallen short, and Russia continues to rely on the draft to fill roughly a third of all billets in the services. But to limit the impact of the draft on the economy and win popular backing, the Kremlin leader in 2008 cut the length of service for those drafted to only one year. That has dramatically reduced training time, and some Russian generals and politicians are now complaining that while the Russian army has not declined in size, it has in effectiveness because in the words of one retired general, many Russian soldiers now don’t know how to fight and will never learn to do so (svpressa.ru/war21/article/227956/). That observation belongs to Viktor Bondaryev, a retired colonel general who serves as chairman of the defense and security committee of the Federation Council; and it constitutes both a direct attack on Putin, although the president was not named, and a warning that the Russian army is not the well-trained fighting machine the Kremlin insists it is. Instead, Bondaryev’s statement suggest, the Kremlin has cut the length of service too much given the increasingly high-tech environment in which soldiers must operate. If they do not receive the necessary training in how to use these weapons, they are useless however impressive they may be in the abstract. According to Svobodnaya pressa commentator Sergey Ishchenko, Bondaryev’s conclusions are shared by many senior military commanders, even though most of them have remained silent because Putin made the decision and challenging him openly at the very least is not career enhancing. Seven years ago, Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov broke this silence and complained about the poor training of draftees given the brevity of service. In his words at the time, Ishchenko says, the soldiers and sailors really only receive serious weapons training for six months, the first six months of their time in uniform is dedicated to adapting them to military life. There were indications at the time that many officers agreed with him, but they were not prepared to risk speaking out. And there have been echoes of those objections indirectly since that time; but Bondaryev’s criticism is the most open so far, an indication that there is growing concern about where Putin’s military program is leading. (Another problem that reducing the service time to only a year was supposed to solve was dedovshchina, the mistreatment of those who have been in service for short periods by those who have been longer. But military prosecutors reported two years ago, Ishchenko says that this has not proved to be the case.) But now the situation in the military has deteriorated to the point that the military analyst says means that one in every three draftees never has the kind of training he needs to be an effective combat soldier. And the rapid turnover caused by such short service periods is undermining unit cohesion as well. Ishchenko adds that the defense ministry has even stopped requiring that Russian battalions “really learn how to fight because in the existing conditions” of a rapid turnover of poorly trained draftees “this is impossible.” Either Putin or his successor, the commentator says, are going to have to make changes or Russia won’t have the military it thinks it has or needs.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 21 – All too often, Lev Ponomaryev and Yevgeny Ikhlov warn in a new commentary, observers focus on one or another Moscow action in isolation and do not connect the dots; but if one does, they say, it becomes obvious that the Kremlin is preparing on a “rushed” basis the foundations for a return to totalitarianism. Wherever one looks, the human rights activist and commentator say, the Putin regime is engaged in repression, persecution, faked judicial procedures and new laws that can be used much as Stalin did; and one must conclude that they are part of a broader plan rather than mere accidents (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C9328C96AB3D). “Political repressions in contemporary Russia have occurred earlier, but they bore a targeted character,” the two say. Now, “a new stage has arrived: legal norms, judicial and police practice are again being reoriented toward a policy of mass political persecutions” with laws like those against “fake” news and any criticism of the authority. “In essence,” Ponomaryev and Ikhlov say, “the new laws are a return to the provisions of the infamous paragraph 191.1 of the RSFSR Criminal Code about ‘slander on the Soviet state and social system.’” Moreover, the new law on “’criminal communities’” can be used not just against professional criminals but against business leaders as well. But as bad as the texts of these laws are, they continue, the fact that the authorities routinely ignore the laws in order to punish anyone they want, either to take revenge or to spread terror in the population. And everywhere one looks, this pattern is spreading, affecting ever more activities and ever more groups and individuals. And as popular anger increases, the regime is putting in place all the mechanisms it needs to “fabricate thousands of criminal cases.” They catalogue case after case of persecution and conclude that “all this shows that the mechanism of mass political terror and repressive totalitarian practices has been created and is ready to be used.” Russia may not yet be at another 1937, although they suggest there are many cases with strong parallels to that horrible year; but its government now has all the tools to do the same things in the near future – and in the current environment, the existence of such tools and their increasing use acts to intimidate Russians in the latest “hybrid” fashion. In a separate article (echo.msk.ru/blog/lev_ponomarev/2392263-echo/) appended to this one, Ponomaryev traces the ways in which a trial in St. Petersburg that has just begun represents the first trial of the Putin era that fully resembles those of 1937, a confirmation of the argument that he and Ikhlov advance. They are not alone in seeing a sea change in Russian realities in the direction of Stalinism at a time when many commentators are suggesting that the Putin regime is in trouble or may even collapse. Irina Pavlova, a US-based Russian historian, is one of them (ivpavlova.blogspot.com/2019/03/blog-post_20.html). She argues that what is occurring now is “the end of the Putin NEP. Just as in the NEP of the 1920s, the present-day New Economic Policy also has not led to a civilizational change of the Western type.” And “just as in the 1920s, the regime has used NEP for its purposes not only economically but politically.” “Behind its façade,” Pavlova says, “all these years has occurred the foundation of a new edition of Stalinism” because Russia’s current leaders have no other idea for the future except one taken from the past and “modernized” slightly. Russia as so often in the past, the historian observes, is moving cyclically rather than escaping from its past. “The problem is that neither Russia nor the West want to soberly look at the past and draw lessons from it for their future survival.” Ponomaryev and Ikhlov’s article, as well as Pavlova’s, may help to change that.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 21 – Many Russians, encouraged by Vladimir Putin and his regime, are nostalgic about one or another aspect of the Soviet past; but Vyacheslav Polovinko says that “ever more Russians believe that in fact they live in the USSR” and in an entirely “serious” way, they have “their own ministries, coups and shootings in absentia.” The Novaya gazeta journalist not only visited several hotbeds of Soviet revivalism but surveyed three experts on why this phenomenon has appeared and why it is likely to continue to expand (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/03/20/79945-shinel-dzerzhinskogo-usy-stalina-i-brovi-brezhneva). Polovinko’s first stop was at a Stalin-era apartment building near the Semenovskaya metro station in Moscow. There, he reports, he quickly entered “a parallel Universe,” on in which there was a Supreme Soviet of the USSR, a Soviet government, and an active group of Soviet restorationists. The first deputy chairman of this Supreme Soviet, Vladimir Kladinov, told him that the group had existed for a little over a year. He added that he woke up to the need to do something in 2015 when he decided that it was necessary to take steps to “go to the USSR” and thus escape “occupied” Russia. He quickly attracted a group of enthusiasts around him, including Valentina Reunova, who launched a program on Youtube that has attracted 30,000 visitors and that seeks to have Soviets elected in all parts of the RSFSR and the Union republics, to restore the 1977 Soviet Constitution, and to resist plans by the British monarchy to take over Russia. Asked about how many places had done so, Kladinov replied that “we will not talk about statistics. What good are they? If you look around, you will see that about 70 percent of the people support us.” Ever more are applying for Soviet passports or joining Soviet-style trade unions, although their validity isn’t recognized by everyone. According to these Soviet activists, the current “’RSFSR documents’ are simply papers like those which were issued on territories occupied by the Nazis” during World War II. Those who take Soviet passports now, the activists say, can look forward to a glorious future because the USSR has “830 quadrillion Soviet rubles” in its electronic accounts. The group has its own Soviet council of ministers, admittedly incomplete – some have died – but ready to take action. One of its actions has been to sentence Petro Poroshenko and other leaders of “’false Ukraine’” to death in absentia. Plans are afoot to do the same for German Gref, Elvira Nabiullina and Aleksey Miller. As for Vladimir Putin, the Soviet government has decided not to touch him for the time being because he “’must serve the people.’” Despite being “a young state,” USSR 2.0 as some refer to it has already experienced its first attempted coup with some activists seeking to displace others. The coup failed and those who won want to read the others out of the movement. But neither side has had much success in getting its supporters to take part in public demonstrations. One partisan, Sergey Lemkin of the USSR Trade Union recalls a Soviet-era anecdote in which Stalin returns to life and is asked what should be done: he says shoot the entire Duma and government and pain the Kremlin green. He is then asked, why green? Obviously, the situation with regard to the existing regime and what should be done with it need no discussion. Polovinko observes that “dreams about the revival of the Soviet state” are far broader in society than just the followers of Reunova and Demkina. There exist “dozens of organizations which to one degree or another want to “revive the socialist giant,” although their visions vary from the purely Soviet to Russian nationalist. Among the latter, the Novaya journalist says, Kommersant has reported that there were approximately 150,000 who had enrolled in something called “the Union of Slavic Forces of Russia,” “SSSR” in Russian or USSR in translation (kommersant.ru/doc/3579737). All of them agree that the Russian Federation is “an organized criminal group that has occupied the USSR.” Polovinko asked experts for their opinions about this marginal but growing group. Commentator Dmitry Oreshkin said that those in such groups are taking part because of their growing disappointment with the current regime and their inability to imagine anything other than the past as a way forward. Psychologist Sergey Yenikolopov said that such groups are common when societies have changed radically. Ilf and Petrov, for example, talked about followers of monarchism in the early Soviet period. Declaring oneself Soviet is a response to the anomie that all too many Russian citizens feel. And political analyst Pavel Pryanikov said that such nostalgia for the USSR will only grow given that a majority of Russians think the Brezhnev era was a golden age as far as social supports were concerned. He suggested, however, that some of these actions may be a form of trolling to identify who thinks what.
A bill that expands the grounds for forced hospitalization in psychiatric clinics has been put forward in the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg. According to Zaks.ru, the document was drafted by a group of members of the S.M. Kirov Military Medical Academy and legal experts. At present, persons suffering from psychiatric disorders can be forcibly hospitalized without a court order if they pose a threat to themselves or those around them. The authors of the bill consider the term “those around them” to be insufficiently specific, and propose to amend the wording as follows: “hospitalization is required if the person is dangerous to themselves and the interests of persons, societies or state that are safeguarded by law”.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 21 – In a move that perfectly embodies the “hybrid” way the Putin regime does things, the FSB has announced that it is declassifying documents concerning the trial and execution of Admiral Kolchak, the anti-Bolshevik leader in Siberia in 1919-1920, but will not allow anyone in the public to have access to them. The declassification of these documents will no doubt be invoked by Putin’s supporters in Russia and abroad as evidence of a new openness by the Russian security services, but the simultaneous decision to block access to these unclassified documents will ensure that in, fact, nothing has really changed, although the latter point is not one Moscow will be making. Kommersant reported this development today (kommersant.ru/doc/3917226), and opposition sites picked up on it, suggesting that it is the latest example of how the Putin regime can be counted on to act (e.g.,echo.msk.ru/news/2392797-echo.html and graniru.org/Society/History/m.275624.html). But the upshot of the FSB’s action may be exactly the reverse of what it hopes for: more interest in Kolchak and his rehabilitation (rusk.ru/newsdata.php?idar=84008 andbeloedelo.com/actual/actual/?508) and more questions among Russians about how long they will have to wait to learn the truth about their own past. As one Russian specialist on Soviet history puts it, “How long must we wait until we can be acquainted with [documents concerning Kolchak and other victims of Soviet power]? Another hundred years? Or even 300?” Such questions by their very nature are subversive of the values Putin wants to promote. And that makes the FSB’s actions truly counterproductive. If the organs and the Kremlin behind them didn’t want to release anything, they should have left things as they were, with the documents beyond reach because of classification. But in the pursuit of positive reviews from some, they have generated more negative ones by far more people.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 21 – It has long been common ground in the West that declining oil prices, either as the result of government policy or technological innovation, helped to bring down the Soviet Union and undermine Putin’s Russia because lower prices mean that Moscow doesn’t get the income that it had when the prices were higher. That conviction has only been reinforced by the problems Vladimir Putin has had over the last decade at least in part because of falling oil and gas prices brought on by the shale oil revolution and declining international demand. And in most cases, this Western belief has been echoed by analysts and commentators in Russia itself. But in today’s Izvestiya, Dmitry Migunov argues such views are mistaken. In fact, he says, falling oil and gas prices have slowed the turn to other forms of energy and thus ensured Russia’s possession of major oil and gas reserves will remain a major source of income for it far longer than expected (iz.ru/858440/dmitrii-migunov/podslastili-slantcevaia-revoliutciia-v-ssha-okazalas-vygodna-rossii). Because prices have fallen, he says, the shift to alternative forms of energy has slowed in many places. The price of oil is now so low that it makes more economic sense, at least in the short term that most businesses and governments care about, to remain with petroleum than to shift to solar, wind or other sources. For Russian oil producers and the Russian state, Migunov says, all this is “good news” over the longer term if not in the short. According to the Izvestiya writer, “there are no reasons to suppose” that this situation will change significantly in the foreseeable future – and so exporting oil will be a winner for Russia even at lower prices. “All this means that the demand for heavy kinds of oil will only be increasing, and Russia as a key producer of such oil will be able to earn billions if not tens of billions of additional dollars” – a development that should allow it to be in a good defensive position if technology or politics change. Migunov’s argument is not without holes — in the short term, falling prices mean lower incomes — but it is compelling in two ways. On the one hand, it suggests that Moscow is coming to terms the new price of oil. And on the other, it represents a cautionary note to all those who have believed that falling oil prices will be the end of the Putin regime or even Russia.
Krzysztof Szczerski, Chief of Cabinet for Polish President Andrzej Duda, explained the president’s decision not to invite Vladimir Putin to the events commemorating the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II, Radio Liberty reports. Szczerski told the Polish Press Agency that Poland will commemorate the date alongside representatives of countries that cooperate with Warsaw to ensure peace on the basis of compliance with international law and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries. “Breaking these rules was a hallmark of the aggressors of 1939, and remains the greatest threat to peace today,” Szczerski observed. The heads of NATO states, including Germany, and of Eastern Partnership countries such as Ukraine and Belarus, have received invites, as well as the UN Secretary General. On Wednesday the Russian Foreign Ministry commented that it was surprised by President Duda’s decision not to invite Putin, and that the decision “ignores historical logic”. In response, Szczerski said that it is problematic to invoke “historical logic” if one takes into account the context of September 1939 (on 17 September 1939, Soviet troops began seizing territories in Eastern Poland, annexing them to the Ukrainian and Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republics). The decision not to invite Putin was made despite the Polish Foreign Ministry’s recommendation that he be invited. The Russian President was one of the guests at the commemorative events for the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II, which were also held in Poland.
After an objection by the Ukrainian Embassy in Latvia, an exhibition on the fifth anniversary of the annexation of Crimea organized by the …
The tensions come after Czech media reported that the Russian government agency responsible for Russian property outside the country was renting out Prague apartments intended for diplomatic person…
The Russian Ambassador in the Czech Republic, Aleksandr Zmeievsky, was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, …
Hungary, Russia strike gas deal disregarding Ukraine. Hungary will be able to buy some natural gas in Austria. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has responded to the recent statement by President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman proposing that Ukraine amend its Constitution, calling such statements “broadcasting Russian propaganda.” The spokeswoman noted that it was a shame to hear from President Zeman a message regarding decentralization in Ukraine, because this reform had already been recognized by the European Union as one of the most successful ones implemented by Kyiv. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has responded to the recent statement by President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman proposing that Ukraine amend its Constitution, calling such statements “broadcasting Russian propaganda.” The spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, Kateryna Zelenko noted that Zeman “just answered the question, not having better alternatives,” Obozrevatel reports. “The Czech President simply repeated what he had already voiced earlier. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry took this statement into account. We are well aware of Mr. Zeman’s views. It’s a shame he still fails to understand that it’s Russian aggression, not civil war, that has been ongoing for the fifth year already in the east of Ukraine, where our patriots die almost every day, and many of them are Russian speakers who defend not only our state, but also Europe and its values. Such statements by the Czech president seem to be broadcasting narratives of Russian propaganda,” Zelenko said. Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/politics/10488534-broadcasting-russian-propaganda-mfa-ukraine-responds-to-putin-friend-milos-zeman-s-advice.html
The United States could soon freeze preparations for delivering F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, officials told Reuters, in what would be the strongest signal yet by Washington that Ankara cannot have both the advanced aircraft and Russia’s S-400 air defense system.
U.S. President Donald Trump has commented on a media report after Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko gave an interview to U.S.-based The Hill and Ukrainian lawmaker Boryslav Rozenblat shared an audio tape allegedly proving Director of the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) Artem Sytnyk’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. The conversation mentioned the transfer of the so-called “black ledger” to Hillary Clinton.
Russia’s Crimea Invasion Imperils 21st-Century Peace – Austin Bay: On March 18, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin imperiled 21st-century .03/22/2019 10:06:58AM EST.
Over Crimea’s five years under the Russian rule, the peninsula has been used in a number of ways to support various Russian activities in Syria.
When I come across an article like ‘Crimea: five years on’ of March 7 by the Ambassador of Russia to Malta, Vladimir Malygin, I can’t help being reminded of Lord Acton’s famous definition of an ambassador as “an honest man sent abroad to lie for the good of his country”. I have never met Malygin, but I am confident he is an honest man and like so many Russians in Malta warm-hearted and friendly. But there is no escaping the fact he represents Russia’s President Putin. Today, Orwell’s 1984 is everywhere – from the flood of deliberate disinformation from the Russian government designed to undermine democracy to the sustained assault on media impartiality from the Trump White House. Orwell’s overwhelming fear was that: “The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history… If the Leader says of such and such an event, ‘It never happened’ – well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five – well, two and two are five.” When I read in Ambassador Malygin’s article of “the voluntary reunification of the Republic of Crimea” and “the 2014 anti-constitutional coup in Ukraine”, I despair about whether the ambassador and I are talking about the same historical facts.
On March 21, 2019, Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin met with a delegation of the US Congress headed by Senator Mike Crepy, which also included Senators John Barrasso, John Kennedy and House of Representatives, Ras Fulcher and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. During the meeting, ways to deepen the strategic partnership between Ukraine and the United States in the political, security and economic spheres have been discussed. Particular attention is paid to additional steps to counter Russian aggression and NATO’s participation in this process, as well as to continue the application of sanctions against Russia and the threats posed by the North Stream -2 project. Pavlo Klimkin highlighted the importance of United States leadership in further mobilizing and coordinating international support for Ukraine, both in terms of protecting sovereignty and territorial integrity, and in implementing domestic reforms in Ukraine. In turn, American lawmakers confirmed the bipartisan support of Ukraine in the US Congress and assured that the United States will continue to provide active assistance in strengthening Ukraine’s defense capabilities on the basis of NATO standards, as well as strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law.
22.03.19 07:12 – Seven attacks by Russian proxies yesterday: one Ukrainian soldier killed, three terrorists destroyed March 21, Russian occupying forces violated the cease-fire 7 times, while four of them involved the use of 40 mines of 120- and 82mm. View news.
Russian occupation forces violated ceasefire seven times, using weapons banned under the Minsk agreements four times, in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in eastern Ukraine over the past day. — Ukrinform.
Since the beginning of 2019, some 19 attacks on water supply systems in Donbas have already been recorded. The UN Children’s Fund UNICEF has called to stop the aggression.
Russian-led occupiers will start issuing Russian passports to residents of the so-called “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” (“DPR” and “LPR”). The procedure will allegedly start in April and will cover primarily “civil servants” and pensioners.
Since March 8, five Ukrainian servicemen have been killed in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas. — Ukrinform.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said the SBU Security Service of Ukraine in 2018 blocked the activities of several networks created by the Russian military intelligence. Poroshenko separately noted the recent raid against the Russia-controlled psy-ops group code name “Sapphire.”
This is despite not only Russia’s illegal abduction of Pavlo Hryb from Belarus, and the lack of any grounds for the charges against the young man, but also the fact that his medical condition means that he should not be in detention at all –
A Russian court has sentenced 20-year-old Ukrainian citizen Pavlo Hryb to six years in prison on a charge of “promoting terrorism” which he denies.
22.03.19 11:23 – Court in Russia sentenced Pavlo Hryb to six years in prison The North Caucasus Regional Military Court in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don sentenced Ukrainian Pavlo Hryb to six years in standard regime penal colony for terrorism. View news.
Hunger strike, imprisonment will lead to the death of Ukrainian Pavlo Gryb kept in Russia
Ukrainian political prisoner Pavlo Hryb might not make it through his prison term in Russia, his distressed father Ihor Hryb has told UNIAN. Lawyers will appeal the verdict.
Ukrainian citizen Pavlo Hryb, sentenced by a Russian court to six years in prison, declared a hunger strike, Hromadske reports. — Ukrinform.
The European Union has condemned the Russian court’s verdict against Ukrainian political prisoner Pavlo Hryb, who was sentenced to six years of imprisonment. — Ukrinform.
Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 strike drones purchased for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and tested in Khmelnytskiy region are armed with MAM-L precision-guided air bombs manufactured by Turkey’s Roketsan. As the experience of the Turkish army has proved, precision-guided munitions and a relatively small warhead allow the use of MAM-L bombs against the enemy forces who use the cover of civilian infrastructure – without the risk of engaging civilian population. Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 strike drones purchased for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and tested in Khmelnytskiy region are armed with MAM-L precision-guided air bombs manufactured by Turkey’s Roketsan. “Tactical unmanned aerial vehicles Bayraktar TB2, which successfully passed tests in Ukraine skies March 20, are armed with MAM-L precision-guided air bombs by the Turkish company Roketsan. These and other precision-guided munitions were procured along with a batch of strike drones for the Ukrainian Army,” the press service of Ukroboronprom defense giant wrote. The company noted MAM-L (Smart Micro Munition) is a special lightweight guided munition designed for strike drones. The bomb is equipped with a high-precision laser beam guidance system and is designed to glide toward targets. The ammunition guidance system ensures strike accuracy within a meter.
March 21, 1933 About weapons of the drone drone Bayraktar TB2 Bayraktar TB2 tactical unmanned aerial vehicles, successfully tested on March 20, are armed with high-precision MAM-L bombs from the Turkish company Roketsan. These and other high-precision ammunition were purchased with a batch of shock drums. MAM-L (Smart Micro Munition) special lightweight controlled ammunition designed for shock absorbers. This bomb is equipped with a high-precision laser beam guidance system and provides a glider flight to the target. An ammunition homing system allows you to reach an error of not more than one meter. MAM-L: weight – 22.5 kg; mass of combat part 8/10 kg, length – 800 mm, diameter – 160 mm. MAM-L combat effectiveness has already been proven during the use of Bayraktar TB2 by the Armed Forces of the Republic of Turkey. As the experience of the Turkish Army proved, high-precision munitions and a relatively small military component, it allows the use of MAM-L against an enemy that is sheltered by civilian objects without risk to the civilian population. Together with the UAV, Ukraine bought high-precision air bombs The Bayraktar TB2 is equipped with a powerful optical power station, which allows operators to track the enemy even at a considerable depth of enemy positions and obtain accurate target coordinates in real-time. This information allows us to promptly strike with high-precision weapons, including the modern Ukrainian missiles “Neptune” and “Vilkha”. Recall that Bayraktar TB2 beat the world record among unmanned aerial vehicles in the class of tactical mid-height UAVs over the duration of the flight. During the test flights in June and August 2014, at an altitude of 8 km, he was in the sky for 24 hours and 34 minutes.
State Concern “Ukroboronprom” Published on March 21, 2019 Bayraktar TB2 operational tactical unmanned aerial vehicles, successfully tested on the 20th of March in the skies of Ukraine, are armed with high-precision MAM-L bombers from the Turkish company Roketsan. These and other high-precision ammunition were purchased with a batch of shock drills for the Ukrainian army. MAM-L (Smart Micro Munition) special lightweight controlled ammunition designed for shock drills. This bomb is equipped with a high-precision laser beam guidance system and provides a glider flight to the target. An ammunition homing system allows you to reach an error of not more than one meter.
The European light launch vehicle (LV) Vega with a Ukrainian engine has successfully placed in orbit Italy’s Earth remote sensing satellite PRISMA.
22.03.19 13:26 – Vega rocket with Ukrainian engine launches Earth-watching PRISMA satellite for Italy. VIDEO Vega, Arianespace’s light-lift vehicle, took off from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana at 3:50:35 Kyiv time. PRISMA, the PRecursore IperSpettrale della Missione Applicativa satellite, separated from the rocket 54 minutes later. View news.
Today, March 21, a team of NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy handed the naval complex of Ukrainian production “Valkyrie” worth 150 thousand hryvnias to the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The chairman of the board Andriy Kobolev said about this in a message on Facebook. БПАК АСУ-1 “Valkyrie” – unmanned aviation complex of military and civilian use for monitoring, aerial intelligence, video surveillance and correction of artillery fire day and night. “This equipment is needed to control the situation, timely and adequate response to the enemy’s actions,” – wrote Andriy Kobolev. – In general, employees of Naftogaz have already handed over to the marines equipment and equipment worth over 820 thousand UAH, in particular: 15 Plate Carrier Perun 3M Armor Plates with Velmet ARM-600 AX Plates 15 Tor-D ballistic helmets 15 sets of active headphones with headset MSA Sordin # 75305 Supreme Pro 8 sets of insurance systems Rockempire Skill Uni Police, snappy TG carbines and “eight” 4 GPS navigators Garmin GPSMap 64S and other necessary equipment Naftogaz handed over to the Navy APK Valkyrie He also said that employees of the company monthly transfer part of their salaries in support of the army – “we help hospitals and military units, buy medical equipment and equipment for the fighters.”
The Security Service of Ukraine says it prevented a terror attack at the Industrialna subway station in Kharkiv, the agency’s press service says. A local resident had been recruited for $15,000. He has been detained.
Employees of the Ukraine’s SBU State Security Service have prevented a terrorist attack in the Kharkiv metro – they detained a resident of Kharkiv, recruited by Russian special services, who left an explosive device at the Industrialna metro station.
Ukraine’s SBU detains man who prepated terrorist attack in Kharkiv underground
Ukrainians hold some of the most dismal views of their national institutions, including the lowest confidence in national government globally. The clear majority see corruption as endemic in businesses and government within the country.
A Ukrainian politician, Viktor Medvedchuk, who met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Friday, has declined to say whether he was planning a similar meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyi and the actual President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko top the election race.
Clashes occurred beween representatives of the National Corps and police at the rally in support of Presidential candidate, incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, in Ivano-Frankivsk.
Presidential candidate of Ukraine, showman Volodymyr Zelensky allows for bilateral negotiations with Moscow to end hostilities in eastern Ukraine. zPresidential candidate of Ukraine, showman Volodymyr Zelensky allows for bilateral negotiations with Moscow to end hostilities in eastern Ukraine. “I would like to do everything to stop shooting in the east of Ukraine, so that our people won’t die anymore. (…) We must carry out the offensive on the diplomatic front, and not wait for it to be done for us. We need to negotiate. We need to resume meetings in the Normandy format and involve the United States and the United Kingdom in multilateral negotiations. If we recognize it necessary, together with our allies and partners, then it may be necessary to conduct bilateral negotiations with Russia,” Zelensky told the Novoye Vremia magazine, responding to questions of the edition in the framework of the project “The Moment of Truth.” According to him, Ukraine needs “strong diplomacy, economic growth, a strong army and an active information policy” to be able to win. At the same time, the main principle should be preserved: “no one has the right to decide something regarding Ukraine without Ukrai ne’s participation.” “And there can be no concessions in matters of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. At the same time, we need to advance with Ukrainian initiatives to end the hostilities, de-occupy Donbas and return Crimea. In fact, there have been no Ukraine initiatives since the Minsk agreements. Political will is needed,” the candidate voiced his vision. Zelensky called a strong economy another pledge of peace: “We must attract investments from all over the world to Ukraine. If enterprises with foreign capital work in our country, this is the best guarantee against any war.” He also focused on making a powerful army. “Integration into NATO is primarily a way of reforming the army and ensuring Ukraine’s sovereignty. I believe that NATO membership should take place only through an all-Ukrainian referendum. But the army needs to switch to NATO standards, learn from NATO specialists. Salaries of soldiers and social protection should be at the level of NATO armies,” said Zelensky. In addition to solving the conflict in Donbas, he called two more of his priorities as president: the fight against corruption – “the main internal enemy of Ukraine” – and the roads. “I really want Ukraine to finally have normal roads with cement concrete pavement. We, with the Kvartal, are constantly touring the country in all regions. I know about the condition of Ukrainian roads not from the news,” the presidential candidate emphasized.
Zelenskyy says talks with Russia inevitable. “There is nothing you can do, you need to talk to representatives of the Russian Federation.” Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Turchynov supports Poroshenko for president. He is the “best prepared candidate”. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
A resolution condemning Russia’s attempts to meddle in the presidential elections in Ukraine has been submitted to the U.S. Congress House of Representatives. Congressmen urge the U.S. government to provide assistance to the Ukrainian government in efforts to protect the country’s electoral system from cyber and other threats.
EU has been showing support for Petro Poroshenko as the candidate during the upcoming presidential elections in Ukraine
United States Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch has stressed the need to prevent violence by extremist groups during the upcoming presidential elections, the first round of which is scheduled to be held March 31. Yovanovitch noted the important role and responsibility of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov to counter such threats.
Another Roshen confectionery store attacked in Kyiv. Attackers tried to set it on fire. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Several new Ukrainian government policies could lead cultural identities to be redefined in a way that divides citizens where formerly no division existed.
The court up until April 21 extended a preventive measure to ex-chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Volodymyr Zamani, a suspect of treason. As the correspondent of UNIAN reports, in this way Pechersk district court of Kiev partially satisfied the petition of prosecutors of the military prosecutor’s office regarding the extension of the term of Zamani’s detention. Prosecutors asked the court to extend Zamani’s arrest until May 25. On February 25, he became aware of the arrest of Zamani, who served as the head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces from February 18, 2012 to February 19, 2014. Zakhani was declared suspected of committing state betrayal. On February 25, the Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said that the reform of the structure of the Ukrainian Armed Forces during the time of Zamani’s stay as Chief of the General Staff actually envisaged the annexation of the Crimea and the creation of the so-called “Novorossiia”. In turn, Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoly Matios argued that Zamana in January-February 2014 ignored intelligence data on Russia’s preparations for an armed incursion into Ukraine. Zamana himself calls the case against him “custom and political”.
Ukraine highly appreciates the strategic partnership with the United States of America and the contribution of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch to the development of Ukraine-US relations. — Ukrinform.
22.03.19 12:41 – Lutsenko’s statement on NABU interference in US 2016 presidential election is absurd, – NABU The National Anti-Corruption Bureau denies information about the possible interference of the bureau in the presidential elections in the United States, as was previously stated by the Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko. View news.
The National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) denies allegations of the attempts to influence the U.S. presidential election in 2016. NABU noted that over the four years of its work, the Иureau had repeatedly proved that it was an apolitical law enforcement agency that prosecutes senior officials.
The National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) has added electronic communications between persons mentioned in the Bihus.info journalist investigation of corruption in Ukraine’s defense industry, Specialized anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) head Nazar Kholodnytsky has said.
The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) in conjunction with SWIFT will launch a project to bring Ukraine’s payments infrastructure in line with the international ISO 20022 standard. — Ukrinform.
Ukraine is seen as a leader of innovations in the field of non-cash transactions compared with the neighboring countries in Western and Eastern Europe. — Ukrinform.
The United States is concerned about the consequences of changes to NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine’s charter. According to the amendments to the Charter, the head and members of the board will now be elected without the submission of the supervisory board.
A working group has been set up in Luhansk region to coordinate the construction of the renewable energy facilities. — Ukrinform.
In 2018, the trade turnover between Hungary and Ukraine totaled EUR 4 billion, being larger than the same indicator of Hungary-Russia economic cooperation. — Ukrinform.
In 2018, 14.2 million tourists visited Ukraine, according to the Economic Development and Trade Ministry. — Ukrinform.
SBU busts Ukrainian wing of Russian drugs syndicate. The operation was described as unprecedented. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Paul Goble Staunton, March 21 – Sakha, a republic within the Russian Federation that is by itself larger than all the countries of the European Union put together, seldom attracts much attention unless there is a scandal in the diamond industry or there are ethnic conflicts like the one that has broken out in Yakutsk this week between local people and Central Asian immigrants. But there are far more intriguing and even compelling reasons to pay attention to that republic and its people, not least of which is the unusual modus vivendi that has emerged between the ancient popular faith which Russians classify as paganism and the Russian Orthodox Church. Spektr journalist Vyacheslav Shushurikhhin in a new article explores “why in Sakha, neither the USSR nor the ROC was able to wipe out these dual beliefs and why Orthodoxy even now gets along with pagan traditions” (spektr.press/yazychestvo-na-byudzhete-pochemu-v-yakutii-ni-sssr-ni-rpc-ne-smogli-slomat-dvoeveriya-i-pravoslavie-i-sejchas-uzhivaetsya-s-yazycheskimi-tradiciyami/). For decades, he writes, “a significant portion of the population of Sakha” lives according to the notion that there are “two worlds and two clergies,” that of the traditional popular animist religion and that of Russian Orthodoxy. Both have their own institutions and the former is actively supported even financially by the republic government. Local officials participate in the ceremonies of both as do the religious leaders, seeing no fundamental contradiction in the two faiths – both after all believe in spirits – or at least being unwilling to suffer the isolation or negative political consequences of coming down on one side or the other. As a result, Shushurikhhin says, “today in Sakha the two traditions, Orthodox and pagan, coexistence in the consciousness of a large number of residents.” They see no contradiction in this and the religious leaders of both groups don’t either. Some Orthodox wish it were otherwise but note that it is often said “’Russia was baptized but it wasn’t enlightened.’” Soviet officials had it easier: they opposed both pagans and Orthodox; but today, while the Russian government tilts toward Orthodoxy, the Sakha government goes in the other direction, funding a cultural center which in fact is a major supporter of pagan religious rites and celebrations. An Orthodox leader explains this situation both by the way in which Orthodoxy was originally spread, solely in Russian even if those in its audience knew not a word of that language, and by the way in which Orthodox priests actually behave: they have to show respect to the local people and their faith. “’One must not all the time speak with someone in a language other than his native one,’” this leader says. “’If an urban resident is either bilingual or in general a Russian speaker, then one need only go a little outside Yakutsk and every other person will say that it is difficult for him to speak Russian.’” “’To offer the fundamentals of faith in a non-native language is completely impermissible,’” this Orthodox activist says. Consequently, even Sakha who become Orthodox remain pagan in large measure because their popular faith penetrates all aspects of life and links people to the nature around them. Those who want to attack this head on as some Orthodox radicals might are missing the point. The two faiths in fact have much in common and even, she suggests, something to learn from one another about the world and life itself.