Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (126)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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The 2nd BW Buffs remain an active media topic. Compendium on Russian IW. FSB Spetsnaz discussed (they did poorly in Donbas). Three reports on meddling. MBK commentary on respect in Russia is priceless. GLSDB detailed – another useful tool to deal with Russian armored formations.

Golan statement not welcomed in post-Soviet nations as it is expected to present a welcome precedent for legitimizing the invasion of Ukraine. The conviction of Hryb, kidnapped as a teenager while traveling in Belarus, is producing a lot of political pushback in the West. Multiple Crimea / Ukraine analyses. Donbas update. More clips on the equipment handover and TB2 RPVs.

An extensive election update, possibly criminal visit to Muscovy by the pro-Russian candidate and his backer. An excellent summary by Prof Motyl, and a Gallup survey of public attitudes – despite all of the good Poroshenko has done, it appears the public is impatient and expects more – in a sense Poroshenko may be suffering as Churchill did after WW2 the problem of the successful wartime leader. Politics, economy and culture reports.

An excellent interview by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the Serbian media, and a no less articulate reply to the Albanian Orthodox Church – the historical record shows multiple breaches by the ROC. More on the ROC’s misdeeds and self-inflicted woes.


Did Russia really chase a US bomber out of its airspace? – CNN

At first glance, it looked like a scene out of “Dr. Strangelove:” The Russian Ministry of Defense this week published a video of what it claimed was a pair of fighters chasing an American B-52 bomber away from Russian airspace.

U.S. Air Force denies reports that Russian jets chased B-52 bomber away from the Baltic Sea – Defence Blog

The U.S. Air Force in Europe and Africa spokeswoman Renae Pittman on Thursday denied claims that two Sukhoi SU-27 fighter jets made a B-52H bomber turn away from the Russian border over the Baltic Sea. Russia’s SU-27 jets did not chase the U.S. B-52H bomber away from the Russian border over the Baltic Sea and the plane managed to complete its mission, US Air Force in Europe and Africa spokeswoman Renae Pittman told TASS news agency. “On March 20th, the B-52 had a routine interaction with a Russian Su-27 while conducting operations over the Baltic Sea. The pilots were using transponders and operating in conformity with international law. The Russian aircraft did not chase the B-52 away, and the bomber was able to complete its mission. Operations and engagements with our allies and partners demonstrate and strengthen our shared commitment to global security and stability,” she said. The U.S. Air Force has sent six B-52 long-range bombers to the United Kingdom for a series of training activities over Europe. The aircraft and over 450 airmen arrived at Royal Air Force base Fairford on Thursday (14 March 2018) from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. Recently, four U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortresses flew from RAF Fairford, England to several places in Europe including the Norwegian Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. United States Strategic Command demonstrates commitment to U.S. allies and partners through the global employment of military forces. Bomber missions, like those from RAF Fairford, represent our unwavering support to our allies and our commitment to regional security. NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said: “This is a routine deployment, but it shows that the US nuclear umbrella protects Europe and demonstrates the unique capabilities the US could bring to Europe in a crisis. The B-52 deployment is yet another sign that the United States is strongly committed to NATO”. The strategic bombers, part of the Bomber Task Force currently deployed to the U.S. European Command area of responsibility, are from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. The aircraft arrived in theater on March 14-15 and are temporarily operating out of RAF Fairford. The deployment of strategic bombers to the U.K. helps exercise RAF Fairford as the U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s forward training location for bombers. The United States has deployed strategic bombers in Europe at least once a year since 2014.

Kremlin criticizes US B-52 flights near Russian borders | TheHill

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 accuses U.S. of stoking tensions by flying bombers near its borders | Reuters

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.

Russia news: Kremlin jets intercept US B-52 bomber stationed in Britain | World | News | Express.co.uk

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.

WAR BOOKS: RUSSIAN INFORMATION WARFARE – To Inform is to Influence

This compilation of books appears to be an honest aggregation of attempts to explain Russian Information Warfare, I commend CPT Allen for his effort.  I have a few problems with this list, however. The first problem is the lack of a US ‘official’ definition of “information warfare”. I have participated with experts throwing around the…

Why Russia’s Alpha Group Commando Team Is Truly Terrifying – To Inform is to Influence

Whenever I hear that any soldiers, sailors, marines, or airmen are brutal, I want to remind them of Soviet and now Russian Spetsnaz.  Spetsnaz brutality makes the worst that you can imagine and makes it look tame.  Russian Spetsnaz have no scruples, no morals, no humanity, and no limits to all of that. They follow…

Responding to Turkey’s Purchase of Russia’s S-400 Missile System – Center for American Progress

The United States and Turkey have been at odds for at least six years, driven by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s descent into autocracy; his assertive brand of Turkish nationalism and anti-American rhetoric; and repeated clashes between the two nations over how to handle the Syrian civil war.1 This prolonged crisis in relations between the two NATO allies is now entering a new, decisive phase. The litany of disagreements, as well as the domestic trends underpinning them, are discussed in a 2018 Center for American Progress report.2 Most recently, the United States has sought to dissuade Turkey from its planned purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system, dispatching several delegations to convince Ankara to purchase the American-made Patriot system instead.3 These efforts appear to have failed; earlier this month, Erdoğan announced that Turkey will not turn back from its deal to buy the S-400.4 This decision should prompt a fundamental re-evaluation of U.S.-Turkish security ties.

UAWire – The US accuses two Russian citizens of illegally supplying electronics to Russia

The Prosecutor’s Office of the Northern District of California has filed charges against a Russian and an Estonian citizen for illegally …

UAWire – Two employees of Lithuanian air base accused of spying for Russia

In Lithuania, two former employees of the Šiauliai Air Base of the country’s Air Forces spied for the Russian Federation, reported BNS new agency. The NATO Air Force squadron is located at this air base. The investigation found that the employees of the Šiauliai military base made photocopies of official documents and other closed but non-classified data under the instruction of the Russian intelligence services from the fall of 2014. Both former employees of the air base pleaded guilty to espionage for Russia. The case was heard by the Šiauliai District Court. “On Friday, March 22, the Šiauliai District Court questioned both defendants accused of spying for Russia, and they pleaded guilty,” the court representative Vytautas Jončas said. As a result of the subversive activity of these employees, the Russian Federation received data on the activities of the air base and staff who serve in the Lithuanian army, as well as the army of another state.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ten Reasons Russians have to ‘Respect’ Their Leaders

Paul Goble Staunton, March 22 – Now that Russians are legally required to show respect their leaders, the satirical page of the MBK portal has provided in a video a list of ten reasons that Russians have to respect them (mbk-news.appspot.com/d36k). In fact, each is a good reason for Russians or anyone else living under similar conditions not to:

  1. They are very rich. 
  2. They all have expensive watches, yachts, and cars. 
  3. Their children study in the best schools and universities of the world. 
  4. They help their relatives and friends achieve unprecedented success in careers and business. 
  5. They take good care of their own physical wellbeing. 
  6. They travel a lot and take wonderful vacations. 
  7. They are quite well acquainted with offshore economics. 
  8. They have shown unbelievable success in finding enemies foreign and domestic. 
  9. They control the media, courts and police. 
  10. They act above the law and can adopt any law they want. 

 

Can the rulers of any other civilized country do this all at the same time? But ours can! How can’t this be the basis for the deepest respect by the poor, ill, rightless population of our country? 

As the Putinists appear to have forgotten, it has often been observed that authoritarians can survive anything except being laughed at – and now it appears that they are the object not just of disdain but of contemptuous mirth.

Saab, Boeing promotes its new long-range precision weapon system – Defence Blog

The Saab and Boeing team have commenced a renewed push to sell its new long-range precision weapon system, called the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB). According to a news release put out by Saab on 22 March, the defense team has together developed the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) – the rocket artillery munition designed to meet the evolving needs of the armed forces. With a range of 150 km, the ability to hit targets across a wide area, and a precision so high it can hit the target within a radius of one meter. Ground forces all over the globe are facing missions that require greater range than ever before. Saab has together with Boeing developed the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), as the solution for these requirements. The Ground-Launched guided munition offers high precision together with a long range. The Small Diameter Bomb I (SDB I) is the warhead of the GLSDB. The SDB is a well-proven precision-guided glide bomb that has been in production since 2006. More than 20 000 SDB have been produced and 10 000 used in combat. It is well known for high accuracy and reliability. SDB has users all over the world, including the U.S. Air Force, the Norwegian Air Force, and thirteen other countries. GLSDB leverages the investment made by these Air Forces and provides a low cost capability for land forces. The SDB family of warheads provides a variety of ground launched solutions, with current variants for moving/re-locatable targets and ultra-low collateral damage. The SDB capability roadmap also provides for operations in GPS-denied environments, area attack and engaging energy emitting targets. “The GLSDB is the ultimate solution for a customer that is looking for an affordable, high precision and long range solution”, says Svein Daae, head of marketing of GLSDB at Saab.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Trump’s Golan Heights Decision Unsettles Post-Soviet Space

Paul Goble Staunton, March 22 – US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a region Israeli forces seized militarily and have occupied since 1967 and regularly condemned by the United Nations, has roiled not only the Middle East but also affected the post-Soviet space as well. Despite the fact that the Russian Foreign Ministry has condemned this American action and despite statements by US officials that Western sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns Crimea to Ukraine and leaves the Donbass, commentators in both Moscow and Kyiv argue that Trump’s move helps Moscow make its case about those territories. Fyodor Lukyanov, a senior Moscow foreign policy commentator, makes that point today (vz.ru/news/2019/3/22/969571.html), as does Ukrainian analyst Andrey Kovalenko (dsnews.ua/world/eho-golanskih-vysot-kak-tramp-spaset-netanyahu-i-pomozhet-22032019101300). Meanwhile, and again despite the fact that US officials continue to say that Washington respects the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan, some commentators in Moscow and the Caucasus suggest that Trump’s move on the Golan opens the way for movement on Karabakh (regnum.ru/news/polit/2596487.html and kavkaz-uzel.eu/blogs/83772/posts/37046). Recognizing Israeli sovereignty over territory it acquired by force alone, of course, does not automatically mean that the United States is now ready to accept territorial changes elsewhere achieved by similar means. But this move does have two consequences, both of which are far from negligible. On the one hand, it will, indeed, it already has, raised expectations among some in Moscow that Washington is prepared to back away from a principle first articulated by Secretary of State Henry Stimson in 1932 that the US will never recognize territorial changes achieved by force alone. And on the other, it will reduce the effectiveness of American efforts to maintain the territorial integrity of Ukraine and Azerbaijan not only by offering a new argument by those committed to making such changes but by reducing support for this principle as many in the US are sympathetic to making this change for Israel and not wish to be accused of double standards.

Trump, Merkel Discuss NATO, Ukraine In Phone Call

U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have spoken by phone on issues including NATO funding, Ukraine, and trade, officials from the White House and German government say.

U.S. concerned about unjust decision on six-year imprisonment of Ukrainian citizen Hryb in Russia – news politics | UNIAN

The United States says it is concerned about an unjust decision by a Russian court on Ukrainian citizen Pavlo Hryb’s six-year imprisonment. Foreign Minister Klimkin called on the international community to exert pressure on Russia to release Hryb.

U.S. Embassy concerned due to verdict of Ukrainian Pavlo Gryb in Russia

The USA called on Russia to release all political prisoners immediately

EU calls Russia to release Ukrainian Pavlo Hryb immediately

22.03.19 16:54 – EU calls Russia to release Ukrainian Pavlo Hryb immediately The European Union condemned the verdict of the Russian court regarding the Ukrainian political prisoner Pavlo Hryb to six years imprisonment on the grounds of “promoting terrorism”. View news.

European Union demands Russia immediately release illegally convicted Pavlo Hryb – news politics | UNIAN

The European Union demands the immediate release of Ukrainian citizen Pavlo Hryb, who has been convicted in the Russian Federation illegally and sentenced to six years in prison. He was just 19 when he was abducted by the FSB from Belarus on August 24, 2017.

British foreign secretary demands that Russia immediately release Pavlo Hryb

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt called on Russia to immediately release Ukrainian political prisoner Pavlo Hryb, who was sentenced to six years of imprisonment. — Ukrinform.

Polish MFA calls on Russia to release Ukrainian Pavlo Hryb, other political prisoners

The Foreign Ministry of Poland is concerned about the decision of the Russian court on sentencing Ukrainian political prisoner Pavlo Hryb to six years of imprisonment and is calling on the Russian Federation to release him immediately, the press service of the Polish Foreign Ministry said.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland calls on Russia to release Pavlo Gryb immediately

Poland supported political prisoner Pavlo Gryb

Russia refuses to exchange Gryb for Russian mercenary Sedikov

Russia does not want to exchange its citizen sentenced in Ukraine for political prisoner Gryb

Russia abducts gravely ill Ukrainian student Pavlo Hryb & sentences him to 6 years on fabricated charges – Human Rights in Ukraine

The Northern Caucuses Military Court in Rostov-on-Don has taken just minutes to pass a six-year sentence on Pavlo Hryb, Russia’s youngest Ukrainian political prisoner –

AP Interview: Ukraine minister claims Russia on its knees | Fox News

With President Petro Poroshenko slipping in the polls a week ahead of elections, Ukraine’s government is trying to put a brave face on his achievements, insisting it is well on its way to delivering on the demands of the Maidan protest movement that drove the previous Russia-backed president from power in 2014.

10,500 Russian servicemen participate in operation targeting Crimea

Court’s verdict for Belaventsev reads 10,500 Russian servicemen took part in operation taking over Crimean peninsula

UAWire – Dzhemilev: Around 10% of Crimean Tatars left Crimea because of Russia’s oppression

Russia uses the Russian Empress Catherine II strategy in the occupied Crimea by evicting the Crimean Tatars and populating the peninsula with …

Former US Diplomats Slam Response to 2018 Russian Attack on Ukrainian Ships

Current administration official pushes back on criticism, pointing to real-time US responses

We war-gamed an escalation of the Ukraine-Russia crisis – here’s what it taught us about the real world

Five years after Crimea returned to Russia, the east-west stalemate over Ukraine is far from stable.

A divided Ukraine could see two radically different states emerge [2014]

It is increasingly difficult to predict what the future holds for Ukraine. One scenario sees the country becoming divided along roughly ethnic lines, with an ethnic Ukrainian western state and a more Russia-oriented…

Beto O’Rourke Was Rare Vote Against Tough-on-Russia Bills After Invasion of Ukraine

Then-Rep.Beto O’Rourke was often joined by then-Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who was infamous for his close ties to Russia.

Russian-led armed formations violate ceasefire six times in Donbas

Russian occupation forces violated ceasefire six times, using weapons banned under the Minsk agreements five times, in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in eastern Ukraine over the past day. — Ukrinform.

Kyiv Says Ukrainian Soldier Killed In Conflict In East

Ukraine says one of its soldiers has been killed and two wounded as a result of clashes with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Military doctor dies in Donbas conflict zone

The enemy’s sniper killed the man

Ukrainian soldier Maksym Syrin fatally wounded in JFO area near Avdiivka

22.03.19 15:58 – Ukrainian soldier Maksym Syrin fatally wounded in JFO area near Avdiivka March 21, near Avdiivka city, Donetsk region, Maksym Syrin, a soldier of one of the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, was killed in a battle with a group of Russian mercenaries. View news.

Downed Russian intelligence drones shown at Ukraine’s Parliament

Downed Russian UAV presented in the Verkhovna Rada

Poroshenko: 2,956 Ukrainian soldiers killed during Russian aggression

A total of 2,956 Ukrainian servicemen have been killed over the period of Russian aggression against Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

Poroshenko says Ukraine needs powerful security service operating under EU, NATO standards – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says Ukraine needs a powerful and dynamic Security Service operating under the highest standards of the EU and NATO. Ukraine established the Main Directorate of Military Counterintelligence and separate units for counteraction to Russian special services in Crimea, detection of sabotage and reconnaissance groups and intelligence agencies.

UAWire – UK urges Ukraine to amend law on demining Donbas

The UK urges the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to urgently make amendments to the new law on demining, and to allow donors to directly fund the …

Air Force Command of UA Armed Forces – Facebook (VIDEO)

Fighters, transport aircraft, helicopters, SAM systems, radars and … strike drones! Getting Airborne Forces March 20, 2019, see the exclusive story of the Air Force Command Press Center.

#БАСТІОНИ_№018 – Air Force Command of UA Armed Forces (VIDEO)

Today, in the program of the press center of the Air Forces Command The Armed Forces of Ukraine: – Turkish “Bayraktari” in the Ukrainian sky – Fighting aerial battles in the clouds – Manevers “Bukov” in Lviv region – What technique the Ukrainian army received on March 20 in Starokonstantinov

Olena Tregub: Why Ukraine’s defense sector corruption is worse than we thought | KyivPost

As the March 31 presidential election approaches, Ukraine has been shaken, yet again, by a disturbing corruption scandal. Investigative journalists from Bihus.Info exposed corruption schemes through which at least 9 million euro were embezzled from within UkrOboronProm – the state-owned defense conglomerate of over 100 companies. The investigation exposed that UkrOboronProm knowingly purchased equipment either smuggled from Russia, or stolen from Ministry of Defense storage of decommissioned items from intermediary companies at inflated prices. This expose was louder than previous similar investigations. First, the investigation showed direct involvement of President President Poroshenko’s business partner, Oleh Hladkovsky, (formerly Svynarchuk), who was appointed the deputy secretary of the National Defense and Security Council in 2015. By way of a leak from Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, the authenticity of which was confirmed by Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, the public was able to hear incriminating and quite entertaining dialogues between an alleged group of embezzlers. The group includes – among others – the head of UkrOboronProm, Pavlo Bukin and the son of the recently dismissed deputy head of the National Security and Defense Council Igor Hladkovky. The Independent Defense Anti-Corruption Committee, better known as NAKO, was created by Transparency International to help Ukraine fight defense corruption. It has been focusing on reforming UkrOboronProm and the Ministry of Defense since 2016. Under the influence of civil society volunteers and Western partners, the ministry has partially opened up and achieved some of the reform progress, including introducing the transparent and competitive e-system Prozorro for 55 percent of its procurements, UkrOboronProm has not changed much. Without changing the situation of UkrOboronProm, which supplies over 50 percent of the state defense order (arms and related goods and services) for the Ukrainian army, one cannot speak of defense sector reform. The recent scandal revealed that the steps NAKO advocates — such as an independent international audit and an independent supervisory board — is more urgent than ever. First, one of the exposed corruption schemes describes how Ukroboronprom resold unaccounted for and undocumented equipment stored by Ukroboronprom to its own companies. In 2010, the Ministry of Defense transferred equipment to UkrOboronProm for storage. In some cases paperwork regarding the transfer was not preserved. Last year, the Ministry of Defense created a commission to verify the status of decommissioned equipment stored at UkrOboronProm companies. The commission concluded that at least Hr 48 million worth of equipment was missing from storage in Lviv, Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Kharkiv and the Mykolayiv tank factories. Notably, the estimated amount is not the market value. At current market prices, this equipment could have been sold at 100 times higher price. Second, the scale of embezzlement is larger than previously thought.

More lethal aid to Ukraine? US trainers, Javelins have already made Russians a little more nervous

The U.S. has been providing lethal aid in the form of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine since May, and Russian armor is reportedly deterred by the investment.

Ukrainian presidential candidate meets Russian PM in Moscow

MOSCOW (AP) — A Ukrainian presidential candidate has traveled to Moscow to meet with the Russian prime minister to discuss gas supplies. Yuri Boyko, a rare openly pro-Russian candidate,…

AP: Ukrainian presidential candidate meets Russian PM in Moscow – news politics | UNIAN

A Ukrainian presidential candidate has traveled to Moscow to meet with the Russian prime minister to discuss gas supplies. Boyko said he would like Ukraine to resume gas purchases from Russia, which should lower the skyrocketing utility bills for Ukrainians.

SBU to check Boyko’s meeting with Russian PM – LB.ua news portal

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) will give a legal assessment to the Moscow visit of presidential candidate Yuriy Boyko and the head of the For Life party’s political council, Viktor Medvedchuk, and the statements they made there. “At the same time, we do not rule out a possible indirect connection between this event and an averted terrorist act in the Kharkiv subway,” the SBU press service said on Facebook. SBU chief Vasyl Hrytsak said the available information shows that Russian special services are trying to distract public attention from the exposure of corrupt financing schemes used by one of the Ukrainian presidential candidates with whom “the Kremlin was and is pleased”. “For this, while forfeiting the little things, Russia is doing its best to push the SBU to ‘switch to an unwanted object’, using special services’ terminology, to help those with whom Vladimir Putin is personally pleased to come to power,” Hrytsak said. Boyko and Medvedchuk came to Moscow to meet Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Gazprom CEO Alexei Medvedev, slightly more than a week before the presidential election in Ukraine.

Boyko, Medvedchuk meet Russian PM, Gazprom CEO in Moscow – LB.ua news portal

Presidential candidate Yuriy Boyko and the head of the For Life party’s political council, Viktor Medvedchuk, have come to Moscow to meet Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller. Their meeting was shown live by the Ukrainian TV channels 112 Ukrayina and NewsOne. The talks were apparently initiated by the Ukrainian guests. “Indeed, in our opinion, we have an important reason to request a meeting with you because economic relations between Ukraine and Russia are extremely important to our economy. Today they are coming through perhaps the most difficult period of their history,” Boyko said. In particular, they discussed the situation with the gas transit contract expiring this year and Ukrainian goods’ access to the Russian market. Russian President Vladimir Putin is the godfather of Medvedchuk’s daughter.

Poroshenko condemns visit of Medvedchuk and Boyko to Russia

Poroshenko condemns visit of Medvedchuk and Boyko to Russia

Resolution of Russian-Ukrainian gas issues could be sped up – Ukrainian opposition politicians after meeting with Medvedev, Miller

The Russian authorities are demonstrating the mood to resolve gas supply issues with Ukraine swiftly and favoring the idea of setting up a joint gas transit consortium, Yuriy Boiko, a Ukrainian presidential candidate and the leader of the Opposition Platform-For Life, said after meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Friday.

Tycoon Kolomoisky denies he financially supports Zelensky, Tymoshenko

Prominent Ukrainian businessman Ihor Kolomoisky has denied allegations that he is providing financial support to Ukrainian presidential candidates Volodymyr Zelensky and Batkivschyna Party leader Yulia Tymoshenko. “There are contractual relations with Zelensky: between the television channel in which I am a stakeholder and his production studio. I believe the 1+1 television group is really interested in a contract with Zelensky’s Kvartal, for which he is the front man. This is all about our relations. We have no common business,” Kolomoisky said in an interview with BBC News Ukraine posted on Friday. “A man with a lower IQ and erudition cannot influence a more intelligent and talented one. Therefore, I can say that he is independent enough, even absolutely independent,” Kolomoisky said. A lack of political experience is not a problem for Zelensky, Kolomoisky said. “A change of generations is always a painful process. It always seems: how can we allow younger ones to take the steering wheel, they have no experience and can’t do anything, and it makes sense to leave experienced politicians. But this gives no result,” he said. Kolomoisky also denied providing financial support to either Zelensky or Tymoshenko. “You can rule out financial support outright. Even if I wanted to support [them] financially, I couldn’t, because I am restricted with the assets having been frozen by the High Court of Justice in London,” he said when asked whether he has given financial support to the two candidates. Asked whether Tymoshenko could be a good president, Kolomoisky said, “I believe that, even though she doesn’t belong to the young generation of politicians, this is a person who’s gone through fire and water and seen rises and falls […] She would definitely be better, but we should make way for the young,” he said. As regards incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, Kolomoisky said, “I don’t want him to get another term. I believe the first term has been five years of frustration because of his rule.” Kolomoisky, who is currently staying abroad because of problems with the incumbent authorities, said he might come to Ukraine soon. “I am thinking of coming to Ukraine before the first round [of the election] or between the first and the second, so as to make our distinguished Petro Oleksiyovych [Poroshenko] happy,” he said.

Zelensky: Kolomoisky isn’t my boss, I don’t have any agreements with him

Volodymyr Zelensky, a presidential candidate of Ukraine, again emphasizes that he does not depend on and has no agreement with businessman Ihor Kolomoisky, on whose (1 + 1 TV channel) television projects of the Kvartal 95 studio are shown.

Tycoon denies sponsoring presidentia frontrunners – LB.ua news portal

Tycoon denies sponsoring presidentia frontrunners. He may visit Ukraine to “please” Petro Poroshenko. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Zelensky suggests waging information “war” for Donbas, launching special intl Russian-language channel

Volodymyr Zelensky, a presidential candidate of Ukraine, believes that in order to resolve the conflict in Donbas and restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity, it is necessary to win an informational “war” and work to make the population in the occupied territories feel part of Ukraine.

UAWire – Ukrainian presidential elections front-runner Zelensky would consider negotiating with Moscow over Donbas

Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian actor who is one of the leading candidates in the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election, would be willing to negotiate with Moscow in order to obtain a ceasefire in the Donbas. “I would like to do everything in order to stop the shooting in eastern Ukraine, so that our people stop being killed… On the diplomatic front we must lead the attack, and not wait until this is done for us. We need to negotiate. We need to reestablish meetings in the Normandy Format and invite the US and UK to multilateral negotiations. If we and our allies and partners consider it necessary, we may even need to hold bilateral negotiations with Russia,” Zelensky said during an interview for the Ukrainian news outlet Novoe Vremya. Zelensky believes that, in order to triumph, Ukraine needs “powerful diplomacy, economic growth, a strong army and an active information policy”. The country must also adhere to the primary principle: “no one has the right to decide anything concerning Ukraine without Ukraine’s involvement”. “And there can be no compromises in matters of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. At the same time, we need to propose Ukrainian initiatives towards putting an end to the combat, the de-occupation of the Donbas, and the return of Crimea. Since the Minsk Agreements, there have been virtually no such initiatives from Ukraine. We need political will,” the candidate said. He also emphasized the importance of building a powerful army. “Integration into NATO is first and foremost a way of reforming the army and ensuring Ukraine’s sovereignty. I believe that joining NATO should only be done through an all-Ukrainian referendum. But the army needs to transition to NATO standards and to learn from NATO specialists. The salaries and social protection for soldiers need to be on the same level as NATO armies,” Zelensky emphasized. Aside from resolving the conflict in the Donbas, he said that his two other priorities as president would be to fight corruption – “Ukraine’s primary internal enemy” – and to build roads.

Poroshenko promises to protect the choice of Ukrainians

President Petro Poroshenko promises to do everything possible to protect the choice of Ukrainians and ensure free, fair and transparent presidential election. — Ukrinform.

Poroshenko says he is ready to accept any choice of Ukrainian people

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko declares that he will accept any result of the presidential election in Ukraine.

By joining NATO, Ukraine will reduce defense spending, increase security level, end Donbas conflict – Poroshenko

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has said that by joining NATO, the country could potentially reduce spending on the defense and security sector from the current 6% of GDP to 2% of GDP envisaged for members of the Alliance, improve the security situation in the state, and stop the deaths of Ukrainians in the Donbas conflict.

Oligarchs and their media outlets influence Ukraine’s presidential election | The Ukrainian Weekly

Five years since the Euro-Maidan and the Revolution of Dignity fervently rejected systemic corruption and graft, Ukrainian politics continues to experience enormous influence from local oligarchs. In this environment, Ukraine’s presidential election campaign is in full-swing, with the vote scheduled for March 31. To date, 59 declared and 28 registered candidates are vying for the country’s top position in government (Ukrayinska Pravda, February 1).

Police name four most popular voter bribery schemes – LB.ua news portal

Police name four most popular voter bribery schemes. Police have opened 193 criminal cases since the start of the election campaign. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

G7 Letter Takes Aim At Role Of Violent Extremists In Ukrainian Society, Election

In a letter on behalf of the rich countries’ club, France warned top Ukrainian cop Arsen Avakov that “extreme political movements” are trying “to usurp the role of the National Police.”

Alexander J. Motyl | Ukraine’s Poroshenko Paradox – Foreign Policy

In upcoming elections, the incumbent president may well lose to a man who plays one on TV.

Ukraine’s Election: Voters Disenchanted Ahead of Key Vote

Voters in Ukraine will head to the polls on March 31 for only the second time since the Maidan revolution. Gallup looks at life in Ukraine ahead of this important election.

Leonid Bershidsky | Ukraine Needs Its Revolutionary Passion Back – Bloomberg

Technocrats can help seal the anti-corruption gains of the 2014 rebellion, but not without a rebirth of amateurish revolutionary abandon.

SBU warns “leak” being plotted to discredit law enforcers – LB.ua news portal

SBU warns “leak” being plotted to discredit law enforcers. The cyber police have identified hackers behind it. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Canada extends sanctions against Yanukovych and his associates

The Government of Canada extended economic sanctions against former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and 15 of his associates. — Ukrinform.

MFA fruitfully cooperates with Ambassador Yovanovitch and thanks her team for partnership, – Zelenko

22.03.19 16:55 – MFA fruitfully cooperates with Ambassador Yovanovitch and thanks her team for partnership, – Zelenko The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine fruitfully cooperates with the US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and is grateful to the American diplomat and her team for their contribution to the development of the strategic partnership between… View news.

Czech proposal to decentralise Ukraine is Russian propaganda, Ukrainian official says – Emerging Europe

RFE/RL: U.S. authorities move to seize painting stolen by Nazis from Kyiv museum – News of Ukraine | UNIAN

U.S. authorities have moved to seize a French painting that was taken by Nazi forces from a Ukrainian museum near the end of World War II. In recent years, U.S. officials have stepped up efforts to locate art seized from Ukraine by Nazi forces and return it to Ukraine.

“Jews and the New Ukraine”: a seminal discussion in London | The Ukrainian Weekly

LONDON – Jewish communities have lived on the territory of contemporary Ukraine since the late ninth century, yet the Jewish-Ukrainian identity is a very recent phenomenon. Jews in Ukraine who previously self-identified as Soviet Jews or Russian Jews increasingly see themselves as Ukrainian Jews, particularly following the Euro-Maidan revolution of 2013-2014.

U.S. Authorities Move To Seize Painting Stolen By Nazis From Kyiv Museum

U.S. authorities have moved to seize a French painting that was taken by Nazi forces from a Ukrainian museum near the end of World War II.

UAWire – Ukrainian Security Service reopens criminal case against Saakashvili

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) resumed investigation against the former President of Georgia and the leader of the Ukrainian political …

Capsules for Ukrainian Hyperloop to be produced in Kremenchuk, – Omelyan

The passenger capsules are suggested to be produced at Kriukivskyi wagon building plant

GE pleased with cooperation with KCBW, to expand localization of locomotive production

Ukrzaliznytsia has completed the first phase of strategic cooperation with General Electric on supplies of locomotives, according to a posting on the website of the Infrastructure Ministry of Ukraine, referring to Minister Volodymyr Omelyan.

Supreme Court cancels decision to return Zaporizhia titanium-magnesium plant to state – Group DF

The Supreme Court of Ukraine has overturned the decision of the Economic Court of Zaporizhia region on the claim of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) in the interests of the state against the offshore company Tolexis Trading Limited (Cyprus), part of Group DF, on the termination of the agreement with the State Property Fund of Ukraine (SPF) on the establishment of Zaporizhia Titanium and Magnesium Combine on the basis of the eponymous state-owned enterprise.

Firtash remains titanium giant after Ukraine Supreme Court ruling | KyivPost

The Cyprus offshore company Tolexis Trading Limited, part of Group DF owned by exiled Ukrainian billionaire Dmytro Firtash, is set to keep one of its most valuable assets, the Zaporizhzhya Titanium and Magnesium Combine. The revelation comes despite a legal challenge arguing that Firtash and his company had not lived up to the terms of its privatization in 2013. The only producer of titanium sponge in Ukraine and Europe is located in Zaporizhzhya, the provincial capital of 750,000 people located some 550 kilometers southeast from Kyiv. The Supreme Court of Ukraine overturned the decision of two previous courts, the Central Economic Court of Appeal and the Commercial Court of Zaporizhzhya Oblast, which ruled to return the titanium combine to state ownership. DF Group announced in a statement on March 22: “The college of judges of the Supreme Court decided to cancel the decisions of the first and appellate instances as not complying with the norms of Ukrainian legislation.” Now, the case will go back to the Zaporizhzhya court for reconsideration.

Retired UK ambassador devotes himself to Ukraine | KyivPost

LONDON — Robert Brinkley, a British diplomat with 34 years experience, is now retired and devoting himself to Ukraine, a country where he served as ambassador from 2002-2006. He witnessed the 2004 Orange Revolution that brought President Viktor Yushchenko to power. Brinkley’s interest in Ukraine remains strong. His house is located in a quiet western London suburb. Behind the living room’s window, Mary Brinkley, the ex-diplomat’ wife, is fluffing the pillows on the sofas. She picks up the phone: “Hi. I think we are ready for your visit.” Robert, 65, shows up in the corridor smiling. The living room is filled with sunlight and books occupy an entire wall. Pointing to the shelves Brinkley says he reads a lot especially since he retired in 2011.

In The Wake Of Ukraine’s Civil War, Students Learn How To Identify Fake News : NPR

A new report says students who received media literacy training were 18 percent better at identifying false reports than students without the lessons. Girls gained more knowledge than boys.

Interview of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew by journalist Zivojin Rakocevic for the Serbian newspaper “Politika” – Archon News Article – Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

Thank you for your time and your noble intention to give readers of “Politika” answers to very sensitive issues that characterize the positions of Orthodoxy in the modern world, namely – as you feel and know well – answers to very interesting questions about the Church of Ukraine. We admit that among the Serbian public, your explanation for this situation and your arguments have not been presented to a satisfactory degree. In contrast to this, the view and attitude of the Russian Church is constantly repeated in the Serbian media, and readers are fully familiar with them. With this interview, I am taking the opportunity to clarify your positions and recent actions. In this interview, we would like to start with some general issues, and then move on to more specific questions. Interviewer: How would you describe the position of Orthodoxy in the modern world? What is your role as Ecumenical Patriarch? I have in mind the Serbian theologian Stojan Gosevic, who once expressed the view that “if there was no Ecumenical Patriarchate, we should have to create it.” Could there be Orthodoxy without the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople? Ecumenical Patriarch: First of all, thank you for your effort and your concern in visiting the Ecumenical Patriarchate and giving us, through this interview, the opportunity to communicate with the pious clergy and the Christ-loving Serbian people. The position of Orthodoxy in the modern world is no different from what it was in previous years, beginning with the Upper Room at Pentecost. We may have new information today, socially, scientifically, etc., but the purpose and mission of the Church have not changed. The Church is the Ark of salvation and truth, as the Triune God revealed to the world. It is the place where the transformation of man is accomplished and his union with God is achieved. The Church, in other words, is “the Kingdom of God” in the world. Everything else that we see today, which can impress us and cause admiration, such as such as philanthropic, cultural, social, academic, or developmental works, as important as they may seem, do not cease to be ancillary to the basic purpose and goal of the Church. And, of course, they can by no means replace the sovereign and primary mystical and soteriological character of our Orthodox Church.

Patriarch Bartholomew provides historical precedents for Ukraine decision | The Ukrainian Weekly

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew issued a letter on March 14, providing historical precedents that support his decision to grant autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

Russian Orthodox Church Inc. | Kharkiv Observer | News and opinions in English from Kharkiv – the second largest city in Ukraine

Oleksandr KRAVCHENKO Recently, the Guardian published the article “Ukraine deports Orthodox bishop after stripping citizenship” which underlines the issue of the harmful influence of Russian Orthodox church in Ukraine, in particular, its bishops, one of which was abandoned to enter Ukraine. This article induced one to look deeper into this issue and to examine motives of such acts by Ukrainian state agencies.

Paul Goble | Cossacks in Ukraine back Kyiv autocephaly; Cossacks in Russia want it for themselves

Cossacks in Ukraine and Russia are not the unquestioning soldiers of empire and repression that Moscow, Hollywood and the Western media routinely portray them as being. Certainly, some of the neo-Cossacks that President Vladimir Putin has created to more or less surreptitiously carry out the Kremlin’s agenda at home and abroad do fit that model. But the overwhelming majority, who outnumber these “official” Cossacks by more than four to one (Kaluga24.tv, March 18, 2019), want freedom for themselves and respect the freedom of others, choosing to defend Ukraine rather that help Putin dismember it (Rufabula.com, June 4, 2014; Krymr.com, June 5, 2018; Windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com, June 5, 2014 and June 5, 2018). This should come as no surprise: Many Cossacks have long had close links with Ukrainians given that their largest host lives astride the Russian-Ukrainian border. In Russia’s Kuban region, for example, Ukrainian was, in early Soviet times, the official language; and many Kuban Cossacks still speak it and thus are still part of the extended Ukrainian cultural community. Such cultural links are even stronger among most Cossacks living in Ukraine itself, with many identifying with the Ukrainian nation or even believing that most Ukrainians are Cossacks (Svobodnaya Pressa, May 11, 2017; Russian7.ru, April 17, 2018; Windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com, May 14, 2017 and April 17, 2018). The Cossacks in Ukraine, who are concentrated in the south and east and number upwards of a million, are among those most likely to identify themselves not as Russian Orthodox but as “just Orthodox.” Such a characterization serves as a means for the Ukrainian Cossacks to stress their own nationhood. Moreover, that self-identity idiosyncrasy becomes an important “halfway house” toward making the transition to the autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The Universal Patriarch in Constantinople officially granted a tomos of autocephaly (independence) to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church earlier this year. Though the exact numbers of Ukraine’s Cossacks who reject the “Russian Orthodox” label are unknown, the trend is clear—especially now that more than 500 parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate–linked Church in Ukraine have changed sides (Dsnews.ua, June 1, 2017; UNIAN, March 19, 2019). To the extent it continues, this development will help Kyiv in its drive to build a national church and solidify the country’s independence. However, an even more important echo of Ukrainian autocephaly is now sounding within the borders of the Russian Federation, where the All-Cossack Social Center has formed its own Cossack Orthodox Apostolic Church and announced that it will seek a grant of autocephaly from the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople just as Kyiv has. That may strike many as unthinkable: it certainly is for Putin partisans. But it has deep and completely understandable roots in the Soviet past. The Kremlin’s propaganda notwithstanding, Orthodoxy in Russia today is, if anything, even more divided than Orthodoxy in Ukraine. In the Russian Federation, there exist, of course, the officially supported but hollow Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and the largely tolerated and much more committed Old Believer communities. But there is also a popular and semi-underground “catacomb church,” which rejects the Soviet-captured and Kremlin-supported official Orthodox structure. The catacomb church is subject to increasing attack—and that has widespread support among Cossacks (Ostrova.org, accessed March 19; Windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com, March 11). Behind this link up of the catacomb church and Cossacks in Russia is the rejection by the latter of the Moscow Patriarchate’s notion that Orthodox believers are “slaves of God.” Cossacks have never been anyone’s “slaves,” the organizers say; and they point to the existence of a separate and distinct Cossack church since the 18th century, when Russian rulers “completely destroyed the sovereignty of this special people,” Artur Priymak of NG Religii says (NG Religii, December 18, 2018). Members of the Cossack church, the journalist continues, view Ivan Mazepa as a hero, want to canonize Bohdan Khmelnitsky, and insist on the rehabilitation of Grigory Semenov, Gerasim Vdovenko, Petr and Semen Krasnov, Andrey Shkuro, Gelmut von Pannwitz and “many other Cossack heroes killed by the Bolsheviks.” Its leaders expect to receive autocephaly from Constantinople Patriarch Bartholemew “on the model of Ukraine.” According to Priymak, the leaders of this church movement say that “the main population of Ukraine consists of ethnic Cossacks… [and the] Cossack church will not interfere in Ukrainian affairs.” The Cossacks of the Russian Federation are now ready “to conclude an alliance with any political force that calls for the recognition of the rights of the Cossack people,” a nation some estimate to include as many as five million in all. That makes the Cossacks the third largest nation in Russia, after the ethnic Russians and the Tatars (NG Religii, December 18, 2018). The Cossack church does not yet have its own building, given Russian government opposition to it. But it has announced plans to build one in Podolsk “not far from the private Museum of the Anti-Bolshevik Resistance,” which is largely devoted to the efforts of the Cossacks to defeat Joseph Stalin during World War II, Priymak writes. For many in Russia and the West, this may seem an ethnographic curiosity, amusing but not terribly important. However, it is anything but. This is almost certainly the most likely and powerful way that the independence of the Ukrainian Church will undermine the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate within the Russian Federation. Were this independent Cossack church to legally take shape, it would deprive the Moscow Patriarchate of hundreds if not thousands of parishes, in addition to those the Russian Church is currently losing in Ukraine. Moreover, it would give Ukraine a powerful ally within Russia, one that would make it more difficult for the Kremlin to continue its aggression against Ukraine and its repression at home. And it would give Cossack nationalism a boost. For all those reasons, Moscow is certain to crack down on the Russian Cossacks’ catacomb church. Yet, the consequences may go against the Russian authorities’ intent: The catacomb church will simply go more deeply underground, and its Cossack adherents will see this as yet another manifestation of the liquidation of their ancestors that Moscow conducted in the first decades of Soviet power. That will further raise “non-official” Russian Cossacks’ interest in developments in Kyiv (and vice versa) as well as provide one more reason to look to the Ukrainian model for the future.

Ahead of Romania trip, Pope recognizes seven martyrs under communism

Ahead of his May 31-June 2 trip to Romania, Pope Francis on March 19 officially recognized seven Romanian Greek Catholic bishops killed under the country’s communist regime as martyrs.