Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Russian reaction to Buff EX effort in Baltics is very odd – deploying an S-300PM2 / SA-20B battery on a narrow spit in the Baltics, making a joke of the shoot and scoot capability of the system. Wagner in CAR, Belarus meddling, Eidman on the gullibility of Western far Left and Right political communities, ultranationalist Shishkin blames WW2 on the UK and US, NATO expansion and OAF anniversary in Belgrade, more on Russia’s Internet restrictions.
NATO in Black Sea, Zakharova on how Russia will exploit the Golan statement in arguing Crimea. Crimea and Hryb updates. Donbas update and more combat footage. Lviv Radio Repair Plant now overhauling mothballed SA-15A GAUNTLET inventory for operational use. Politics and economy updates.
An extensive update on the election, and some good backgrounders. Polls favour comedian Zelensky, but as Mefford points out, polls in Ukraine tend to be inaccurate.
OCU and ROC updates – the OCU is breaking new ground.
The Russian army began moving components of its S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems from Gvardeysk to Baltiysk, westernmost town in Russia. In a series of posts on Twitter on 22 March, military blogger Petri Mäkelä reported that Russian Defense Forces has deployed S-300 systems at the westernmost point of the enclave of Kaliningrad, near the border with Poland. “Russia has deployed and dispersed S-300 SAM units from Gvardeysk to Baltiysk, presumably to cover better the Baltic Fleet assets,” said Petri Mäkelä. Deployment of S-300 air defense systems come against the backdrop of rising tensions with the United States. The US Air Force activated its B-52H bombers training flights and has repeatedly approached the Russian border in the Baltic region. 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. B-52 bombers conduct flights to several places in Europe, including to the Norwegian Sea, the Baltic Sea. 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 Kremlin has repeatedly censured what it perceives as mounting anti-Russia hysteria and Russophobia in Europe, and calls NATO’s military buildup at its doorstep a threat to its national security.
Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation reported on Saturday, that Russia’s Aerospace Force has twice scrambled the on-duty Su-27 fighter jets over the past 24 hours to intercept the U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers. “Two US aircraft had been detected by the Russian airspace monitoring system at a considerable distance from the state border of the Russian Federation and then were taken to escort,” the statement says. Russian Defence Ministry claimed that the Su-27 crews prevented the foreign strategic bombers from infringing country’s airspace. Later Russian military officials released video showed U.S. strategic bomber incepted by Russian fighter jets in international airspace over the Baltic Sea. According to the Russian National Defense Control Center, the US Air Force’s strategic aircraft have already made seven sorties over the Baltic Sea since March 14. According to a news release put out by U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa, four U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress aircraft conducted flights from RAF Fairford, England, to airspace over the Baltic Sea for a 24-hour period on March 22, 2019, demonstrating U.S. ability to maintain sustained combat capacity for a prolonged duration. “The purpose of the flights was to conduct theater familiarization for aircrew members and to demonstrate U.S. commitment to allies and partners through the global employment of our military forces. U.S. Strategic Command regularly tests and evaluates the readiness of strategic assets to ensure we are able to honor our security commitments,” said in USAF statement.
Russia has scrambled Su-27 fighter jets twice during the day to escort American B-52H strategic bombers over the Baltic Sea, RIA Novosti reported citing Russian Defense Ministry. The Russian Defense Ministry stated that the U.S. Air force bombers flew over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea. The Su-27 fighters prevented them from approaching the Russian border. The Ministry did not provide the exact time when the incidents occurred. However, the Russian military added that since March 14, the U.S. strategic Aviation has conducted seven such flights over the Baltic sea. According to RIA Novosti, March 21 was the last time that American aircraft was noticed over the Baltic sea. Then, one US bomber flew over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea. A pair of Russian Su-27 fighters scrambled to escort it. Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov, commenting on this incident, said that sending American bombers to Europe and their flights near the Russian borders lead to increased tension in the region.
U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortresses long-range bombers continue training off the coast of Russia’s western enclave of Kaliningrad in the Baltic Region. Four U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress aircraft conducted flights from RAF Fairford, England, to airspace over the Baltic Sea for a 24-hour period on March 22, 2019, demonstrating U.S. ability to maintain sustained combat capacity for a prolonged duration, according to a news release put out by U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa. The purpose of the flights was to conduct theater familiarization for aircrew members and to demonstrate U.S. commitment to allies and partners through the global employment of our military forces. U.S. Strategic Command regularly tests and evaluates the readiness of strategic assets to ensure we are able to honor our security commitments. The B-52s, 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 U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s forward operating location for bombers. A statement from NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu claims that: “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 United States has deployed strategic bombers in Europe at least once a year since 2014. Since then, all three US bomber variants – the B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers – have deployed to Fairford airbase for exercises with European NATO Allies, including to Exercise Baltops and Exercise Sabre Strike.
Putin’s Chef, Prigozhin, deployed members of Wagner Private Military Company to the Central African Republic, supported by Russian trolls pushing a pro-Russian, anti-French position. This is today’s Russian operation with built-in deniability, because these aren’t Russian soldiers, per se. These are Russian mercenaries which operate in the grey area of international law. This is the…
Paul Goble Staunton, March 22 – In yet another example of Russian fake news intended to ratchet up tensions in Belarus, the Tsargrad television channel, a nationalist outlet sponsored by the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, says that Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka is not only planning to retire but to flee to a country in the Middle East. The story which can be found online attsargrad.tv/news/lukashenko-gotovit-pobeg-v-belorussii-popolzli-sluhi-o-skorom-uhode-prezidenta-strany_190315 has no basis in reality, Belarusian outlets say but is very much part of the diet of fake news that Tsargrad has been feeding Russians about Belarus for years (by24.org/2019/03/22/escape_for_lukashenko/). Citing “the anonymous Internet community, Kompromat Belarus,” the Russian channel says that “the security service of the president of the Belarus Republic has been given an order to work up plans for evacuating Aleksandr Lukashenka. It is planned,” Tsargrad continues, “that he will be evacuated to Arab countries.” Such “news” is unlikely “to sow panic among Belarusians,” given that the Tsargrad channel does not have a license to broadcast there; but it may convince some Russians that the Belarusian state is on the brink of collapse – yet another way the Kremlin may be preparing in deniable form for a move into Belarus of one kind or another.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 23 – Since Moscow and Minsk signed the agreement calling for the formation of a union state in 1996, pro-Russian groups in Belarus have marked the Day of the Unity of Belarus and Russia every year on April 2. But this year, if they do so, they will be acting without the official permission they had always received in the past. Today, the Belarusian newspaper Nasha Niva reports that the Minsk City Executive Committee has rejected an application for a demonstration that organizers wanted to take place in front of the Museum of the Great Fatherland War on Victory Avenue (nn.by/?c=ar&i=227498; in Russian at by24.org/2019/03/23/no_integration_day/). This is a striking change. Many times in the past, this demonstration attracted not only the usual pro-Russian, national Bolshevik groups but even members of the Belarusian government up to and including Alyaksandr Lukashenka himself who at one point even made it a day off for Belarusians so they could take part. What the Russian side and especially the Russian embassy will do in response and how the day will be marked is far from clear. But in taking this action, Minsk has shown that it is more than ready to take important symbolic steps away from Russia given Moscow’s increasingly aggressive stance toward its western neighbor.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 23 – In Soviet times, Moscow was able to attract support from the far left in other countries; but under Vladimir Putin, there has been a remarkable change, Igor Eidman says. Now, Moscow is viewed positively not only by the far left but it viewed equally or even more positively by the far right, because of its carefully targeted propaganda messages. Not long ago, the Russian sociologist and commentator says, a delegation of the KPRF to Venezuela was shocked to learn that many in that Latin American country believe that the communists still rule Russia and that “Putin is a communist or at worst a socialist” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C94FCA3A5D67). “Paradoxically, many far right Westerners consider the Russian dictator to share their views just as the leftwing groups they hate do.” The Kremlin leader has been able to achieve this support from many on the left, many on the right, many “radical separatists” and many “conservative traditionalists” by “new and effective means of propaganda.” According to Eidman, “the Kremlin uses precisely targeted ‘rockets with independently targeted warheads,’ each of which flies toward a specific goal. Various groups of the population of Western countries are sent various and often contradictory ideological messages,” and thus is created “a system of myths directed specifically at each of them.” There is only one thing these messages have in common: “they are based on crude lies and do not have anything in common with reality.” In the first of what he promises to be a series of articles analyzing these messages, the Russian commentator points to three, contrasting what Moscow is saying to what in fact it is doing. Eidman says that one of the myths Moscow promotes for the left, pacifists, and anti-American conspiracy believers is that “Putin is the main opponent of American hegemony and militarism, the powers of the world financial oligarchy, international corporations, and speculative international elites.” He is thus “the natural ally of ‘progressive humanity.’” In reality, Putin’s Russia “cultivates everything that the left throughout the world condemns” – social inequality, an attack on worker and immigrant rights, discrimination against sexual minorities, sexism, militarism and clericalism. “The Russian oligarchy is closely connected with the most reactionary parts of the world elite.” Moreover, Eidman continues, in recent years, it has been the Kremlin, not the White House that has engaged in military expansion by attacking neighbors and sending mercenaries to prop up dictatorial regimes. But Moscow’s propaganda to the left is so successful that many on the left in the West believe otherwise. For the far right, conservatives and Christian clericals, the Russian commentator says, Moscow offers a different message, namely that “Putin’s Russia is the last outpost of Christian values, traditional morality and the family and a country which opposes the attacks of migrants, ‘perverts,’ and Islamists.” “In reality,” he says, Russia is a country of “total corruption, a very high level of drug use and crime, and numerous pedophile scandals involving deputies, officials and priests. The Russia elite is bogged down in luxury and dissipation and engages in the orgy-style of life of Roman patricians of the era of the decay of empire.” “Russia is the world leader in the number of divorces, abortions, abandoned children, and the growth of HIV infections, and there are more illegal migrants from Islamic countries in Moscow than in any other Rusisan capital. The Kremlin in fact has created and continues to support Kadyrov’s militant Islamist enclave in Chechnya.” And yet a third myth is directed at Russians abroad. According to Moscow propagandists, “Putin is concerned about you, while in Europe there are Russophobes all around and Russian speakers are mistreated. Only Russia can defend you.” The reality is entirely different, Eidman argues. “The Kremlin needs Russian speakers abroad only as an instrument of influence and a weapon of hybrid war.” Otherwise it ignores them entirely or participates in exactly the kind of actions that its propaganda insists is not the case. A decade ago, for example, Putin agreed to end dual citizenship for Russians in Turkmenistan. As a result, 100,000 Russians were left stateless “in a despotic state where they are really subject to discrimination. They pose no interest to the Russian powers that be.” Instead, Moscow focuses on Russians in democratic Western countries where Russians are not mistreated but welcomed. This list can easily be extended and Eidman promises to do so. But the approach he adopts is a useful model for all those who are confronted by the messages of his regime, messages based on lies carefully designed to appeal to those who aren’t prepared to check their facts.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 23 – Warsaw’s decision not to invite Russia to send a delegation to its planned commemoration of the beginning of World War II is entirely understandable. After all, the Soviet Union which the Russian Federation views itself as being the successor state participated in the dividing up of Poland when Stalin was an ally of Adolf Hitler. But also understandable, given the increasingly official Russian narrative about World War II that ignores everything before the Germans turned on Moscow and invaded the USSR in June 1941, is the outraged reaction of some Russians close to the Putin regime who object to any reference to Moscow’s role in what actually occurred between 1939 and 1941. The key issue now as in the past is the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in which Stalin and Hitler divided up the lands between them opening the way to the war because it meant that Hitler did not have to fight on two fronts and an accord which gave Stalin the opportunity to annex the Baltic countries, western Belarus and western Ukraine in Poland and portions of Bessarabia. Until Gorbachev, Soviet authors simply denied that there were any secret protocols to the Pact, rejected the idea that the agreement constituted an alliance despite the pledges each side made and that the Soviets carried out, and insisted that at worst it was a defensive measure forced on Moscow by the West that wanted the Nazis and Communists to fight one another. Once even Soviet authors had to acknowledge that the secret protocols to the pact did exist, some of them, a minority, argued that this was a Stalin-era crime, while most insisted that what Stalin did bought the Soviet Union time and allowed the Soviet Union to build up its strength. Over the last 25 years, the attitudes toward the Pact and its secret protocols have changed from denial to defensive to an insistence that whatever unfortunate results it had in the short term, it was a good thing in the longer term because it put the USSR in a better position to fight and defeat Hitler after he turned on Stalin as they say was inevitable. Now, in a way consistent with the re-Stalinist restoration in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, some Moscow analysts have taken the next step and argued that the Pact and its consequences were an unalloyed triumph for Soviet diplomacy and must be recognized as such by all Russians and everyone else as well. One taking this position is Igor Shishkin, the deputy director of the Moscow Institute for the CIS, who says that it is long past time for Russia to be apologizing for the Pact and instead recognize and insist that others recognize that it was “a triumph of Soviet diplomacy which to a large extent guaranteed victory in 1945” (regnum.ru/news/polit/2596781.html). According to this Moscow analyst, the Pact “postponed a full-scale war,” small comfort to those who were victims of the military actions and occupations of both the Nazis and the Soviets between 1939 and 1941, and that this point of view “must be insisted upon not only internationally but within Russia itself in the educational system.” “The reunification of Western Ukraine, Western Belarus and the Baltics was a triumph of Soviet diplomacy,” he says, something that must be “clearly declared.” To that end Russians “must stop apologizing” for what happened or tolerating those who do not accept that version of events. Moscow didn’t react sufficiently a year ago when Poland tore down monuments to Soviet “liberators,” Shishkin says. But it should react now both by insisting that Molotov-Ribbentrop was a positive development in the war against fascism and by arguing that the Warsaw commemoration is a failure as such. Indeed, the Moscow analyst says, not being invited to take part constitutes yet another victory for Russia given who is assembling there. According to him, the countries that will be represented in Warsaw are those who are “responsible for unleashing the war” rather than those who defeated Hitler in it. “We really do not have any relationships to this. This was a fight of thieves for hegemony in Western civilization. Great Britain and the US bear responsibility for this war. The war touched the Soviet Union only on June 22, 1941; it won this war, and that is the end of it,” Shishkin suggests. No Soviet ideologue ever went further than Shishkin in offering an Orwellian vision in which black is white, freedom is slavery, and war is peace.
During a visit to Georgia, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg again said that the South Caucasus country will eventually joint the Western military alliance, despite the Kremlin’s fierce oppos…
Dozens of supporters of the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS) marched in Belgrade on March 24 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of air strikes launched by NATO in 1999 in response to Belgrade’s killings of Kosovar Albanians. The protesters carried a banner with a slogan, “EU + NATO — Serbia’s enemies.” The gathering also condemned the life-imprisonment verdict issued by a UN court for former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. The Serbian far-right party is led by Vojislav Seselj, himself convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia of crimes against humanity.
NATO has confirmed that it plans to establish a storage facility in Poland for U.S. military equipment, including armored vehicles, ammunition, and weapons to arm a full brigade.
Twenty years on from the launch of NATO air strikes to stop bloodshed between Serbs and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, then-and-now images trace the physical and political scars.
Twenty years ago, NATO planes began air strikes on Yugoslavia in an effort to end the 1998-99 Kosovo War and bloodshed between ethnic Albanians and Serbs. The 78-day bombing campaign that started on March 24, 1999 eventually put an end to the conflict that killed more than 10,000 people. Two decades later, ethnic Albanians and Serbs have very different feelings about the anniversary.
On March 18, Vladimir Putin signed two new laws penalizing Internet users who publish fake news or posts that show disrespect to the Russian government. Users who violate the new regulations would not face a criminal sentence, but they would be made to pay administrative fines. The two laws were approved two and a half months after the partial decriminalization of Article 282 of Russia’s Criminal Code. Certain parts of that law, which penalizes “inciting hate and enmity,” were shifted from their original, criminal status to become administrative regulations after a series of criminal charges were brought against social media users in response to provocative posts. Pavel Chikov, who leads the international human rights group Agora, told Meduza about the consequences of Article 282’s partial decriminalization and discussed the laws the Russian government may now use to limit freedom of speech.
Next month, the State Duma will likely vote on a second reading of legislation drafted by Senator Andrey Klishas that would guard against and simultaneously facilitate the isolation of the Russian Internet. In mid-February, the bill’s first reading passed with support from 334 of the Duma’s 450 deputies; 69 lawmakers didn’t vote at all, and just 47 voted against the legislation. Meduza recently attended a town hall meeting with Nikolai Gonchar, one of the deputies who voted for the bill. When we asked him about Internet isolation, Gonchar offered several questionable justifications for the legislation. Here’s how they hold up against fact checking.
Today’s hilarious news is Putin is encouraging British businesses to support the Russian economy while simultaneously deeming Britain as Russia’s enemy #1. Can anybody remotely take Putin seriously with this request? I’m also confused as to how a British business can invest in Russia and avoid breaking sanctions. If Russia is going to invest hundreds…
25.03.19 12:17 – Stoltenberg: NATO buildup in Black Sea caused by Russia’s aggression NATO builds up its military presence in the Black Sea in response to Russia’s active militarization of this region after the illegal annexation of Crimea and the recent aggressive actions against Ukrainian ships in the Sea of Azov region. View news.
NATO builds up its military presence in the Black Sea in response to Russia’s active militarization of this region after the illegal annexation of Crimea and the recent aggressive actions against Ukrainian ships in the Sea of Azov region. — Ukrinform.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has assured that Ukraine can get an action plan on NATO membership until 2023. — Ukrinform.
The Russian Foreign Ministry intends to adjust its communication strategy on Crimea in light of the US’s pledge to recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, the department’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook in response to a statement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. On Saturday, a Sky News reporter suggested that by condemning the annexation of Crimea but recognizing the annexation of the Golan Heights, the US is demonstrating double standards in its policy. Pompeo denied this, claiming that Washington’s decision merely recognizes “the reality on the ground and the security situation necessary for the protection of the Israeli state”. “That is why Washington and Brussels are doing everything to prevent the world from finding out the reality in Crimea – otherwise recognition would take place automatically, following the secretary of state’s logic. We have all understood and are adjusting our communication strategy. Thank you, Mr. Pompeo,” Zakharova wrote. Many western countries have criticized Trump’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which came under Israel’s control at the end of the Six Day War of 1967. Experts have pointed out that the Kremlin could exploit the decision in its attempts to justify Russia’s annexation of Crimea. On 22 March, US President Donald Trump announced that the US would recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Goland Heights. The Syrian Foreign Ministry responded that Syria “decisively condemns the irresponsible statements of the American President on the occupation of Syria’s Golan Heights”. European Council President Donald Tusk said that the EU does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territory captured in 1967. The Golan Heights lie between Israel and Syria. The contested territory is periodically bombarded from Syria, to which Israel responds with retaliatory attacks. The last such incident took place in January 2019.
Pavlo’s father reported that his son probably had Alzheimer’s symptoms
French Navy Éridan-class Minehunter Capricorne (M653) entered Odesa port.
The United States condemned the Russian court’s verdict against Ukrainian political prisoner Pavlo Hryb and called on Russia to immediately release him and return home, the U.S. Department of State has stated. — Ukrinform.
The U.S. Department of State has condemned Russia’s conviction and a six-year sentence of Ukrainian political prisoner Pavlo Hryb. Russia should immediately return Hryb to Ukraine, and vacate his conviction, according to the U.S. Department of State.
On March 22, the North Caucasian District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced 19-year-old Pavel Grib to six years in prison for abetting terrorist activity. According to prosecutors, Grib tried to convince a young woman in Sochi named Tatyana E. to stage a terrorist attack at her high-school graduation ceremony. Officials also accused him of supporting the “Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People’s Self-Defense,” which is banned in Russia as an extremist organization.
Ihor Hryb, the father of the illegally convicted Ukrainian national Pavlo Hryb, stresses that his son requires an urgent surgical intervention, otherwise there is a risk of internal bleeding that will lead to his death. The father of the political prisoner declares that the family’s pleas fall on deaf ears.
There are also strong grounds for believing that the Russian prosecution’s main witness against Crimean political prisoner Yevhen Karakashev is giving testimony under duress –
The Russian Ministry of Defense is holding large-scale exercises of airborne forces in the illegally-annexed Crimea. More than 1,500 troops and over 300 units of military equipment have been deployed to take part.
Paul Goble Staunton, March 24 – The costs of Vladimir Putin’s Crimean Anschluss are incalculable because they involve international isolation and the stunted development of the Russian economy and Russian society, but efforts to measure the costs, direct and indirect continue, a reflection of the fact that ever more Russians see Crimea as a burden rather than an achievement. The latest such effort is by Russian economist Sergey Aleksashenko who has prepared a book-length study on the subject, a portion of which has been published in advance by Forbes (forbes.ru/obshchestvo/373707-cena-krymskoy-zagoguliny-ekonomist-aleksashenko-o-tom-vo-skolko-oboshlos-rossii). He says that very crudely, Crimea has already cost Russia 1.5 trillion rubles (23.5 billion US dollars) or approximately 10,000 rubles (160 US dollars) for every Russian man, woman and child. To put that in perspective: Crimea has cost what Moscow spends on education over two years or on health care for three years or on culture for 15 years. Or, and this is the most dramatic figure, the Crimea costs are equal to what the Russian government spends on the Academy of Sciences for a total of 357 years, Aleksashenko says. Despite these figures, however, polls show that a majority of Russians (70 percent) currently do not think the annexation has had a negative impact on their lives. But the drumbeat of such assessments, showing that Moscow is sending more money to Crimea than it is on many more immediate social and economic needs of Russians may change that, especially if economic conditions in Russia continue to deteriorate.
25.03.19 07:15 – Three attacks by Russian proxies yesterday: no loses among Ukrainian soldiers, two terrorists destroyed March 21, Russian occupying forces violated the cease-fire three times, while four of them involved the use of 38 mines of 120- and 82mm. View news.
On March 24, the Russian occupying forces three times fired at the positions of Joint Forces, according to the press center of the JFO HQ. Not a single enemy shelling was left without an adequate response.
A video has been uploaded on Facebook, apparently shot from an unmanned aerial vehicle, showing a strike hitting an enemy Ural military truck in the Joint Forces Operation zone. It is noted that a militant was eliminated in the attack.
25.03.19 12:31 – “Like sinking ball into pocket”, – Ukrainian soldiers destroy enemy supply truck in Donbas. VIDEO The truck had delivered ammunition and weapons to the front line. View video news.
The Russian armed formations again neglected the norms of the humanitarian law and shelled two schools in Donetsk region. — Ukrinform.
During the past day, March 23, Russian occupation forces in Donbas three times violated the ceasefire. Ukrainian units suffered no losses.
The enemy fired the positions Armed Forces of Ukraine near Stepove, Bohdanivka and Zolote-4 villages
No citizens and means of transport have passed through the checkpoint Zolote today yet
The leader of the so-called Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), Leonid Pasechnik, stated that the LPR authorities intend to block the checkpoint in …
Ukrainian law enforcement authorities detained a militant from the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in Kharkiv, the press center of the …
The number of such cases has increased since January of this year
Security Service of Ukraine detained the DNR militant, who moved to Ukraine
The European Union is ready to finance the improvement of the transport connection between Mariupol and the rest of Ukraine, reported the press …
UNICEF has published its global “Water Under Fire” report to attract attention to the threats children are facing in countries where protracted conflicts are ongoing. In 2018, in the east of Ukraine, 89 attacks were recorded on water infrastructure facilities, which affected many children living in the conflict-struck areas.
EMPR launches campaign for the US State Department to designate the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics as Terrorist Organizations. ISIS, al-Qa’ida,
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has congratulated the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on its 27th anniversary. — Ukrinform.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine, which were created in an extremely short period of time, have become the pride of the country. — Ukrinform.
State-owned enterprise (SOE) Lviv Radio Repair Plant, a member of the Ukroboronprom state concern, is accelerating the pace of works to overhaul air defense weapons of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the press service of the concern has reported. According to the report, today, the enterprise can repair 27 types of air defense equipment. The concern said that recently anti-aircraft weapon system BM9K330 Tor, intended to defense facilities of critical infrastructure of the country and troop trains of the ground forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, was successfully tested at the Yahorlyk training area (Kherson region). The Tor anti-aircraft weapon system is able to destroy aircraft flying over 12 km high, the press service said. Ukroboronprom also said that among the works currently being provided by the Lviv enterprise is repair of the S-125 air defense missile systems, as well as the production of antennas and gearboxes for radar stations. According to the concern, in 2018, the volume of production of the Lviv Radio Repair Plant was UAH 143 million. The press service did not specify comparative figures.
The association agreement with Ukraine is the most powerful and most ambitious one, which the European Union has ever signed. — Ukrinform.
Ukraine will have to pay $15.7 billion in foreign debt, the press service of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) reported. According to the NBU, …
Ukrainian economy has been growing for the longest continuous period of nine years. — Ukrinform.
Police say a Saturday explosion in an apartment block in Kyiv’s Holosiyivsky district killed a Russian citizen, who had been wanted by Ukrainian law enforcers for manslaughter. Fragments of an explosive device were discovered at the scene, as well as passports of several states and a number of mobile phones.
In 2016-2018, the growth of capital investments in Ukraine made up 67.7%, according to First Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Economic Development and Trade Stepan Kubiv. — Ukrinform.
Ukraine’s police are investigating two companies and a factory over a coal deal which some anti-corruption campaigners say epitomizes the difficulties of doing business in the east European country. Police are now probing Volynvuhillia over the non-payment of UAH 5.9 million ($220,000) in salaries from July 15 to September 5, 2018.
Ukrainian police are investigating two companies and a factory over a coal deal which some anti-corruption campaigners say epitomizes the difficulties of doing business in the east European country.
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.
25.03.19 13:47 – 32.1% pollees questioned by KIIS ready to vote for Zelenskyi, 17.1% for Poroshenko, 12.5% for Tymoshenko on March 31. ИНФОГРАФИКА 32.1% of pollees questioned by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology are ready to vote for TV presenter, Volodymyr Zelenskyi; 17.1% for incumbent president; and 12.5% for Chairperson of the Batkivschyna All-Ukrainian Association party, Yuliia… View news.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) has registered 65 more official observers from foreign countries for the presidential election in Ukraine scheduled for March 31, 2019. — Ukrinform.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin states that Russian observers cannot monitor Ukraine elections either from the political or the legal points of view. Monitors representing the aggressor state cannot observe the holding of democratic elections, the foreign minister stressed.
About 61% of Ukrainians consider participation in the presidential election as a civic duty of every citizen of Ukraine, and more than 80% of respondents know where their polling stations are located. — Ukrinform.
Presidential candidates spent a total of UAH 623 million from their election funds on advertising in mass media, according to the Ukrainian NGO Committee of Voters of Ukraine. — Ukrinform.
The Central Election Commission of Ukraine has handed over to the precinct election commissions of the overseas voting stations the ballots for the scheduled election of the President of Ukraine for voting in the electoral precincts abroad on March 31, 2019. — Ukrinform.
About 5,000 nationalist demonstrators have held a protest in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev calling for arrests in a defense industry corruption case.
The front-runner in the election race in Ukraine, showman and politician, Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking about his views on the Crimea and Donbas issue in an interview with the ICTV channel, announced that he considers a change of power in Moscow to be the only condition for returning the Crimea to Kyiv’s control. “Crimea will return only when power changes in Russia. There is no other choice, “said Zelensky. Speaking about the status of Donbas, Zelensky stressed that he does not believe in the Minsk agreements in their current version. “All that we have is the Minsk agreements, but they do not work, they need to be expanded. It is possible to introduce peacekeepers on the demarcation line and implement the Volker plan, but I believe that the problem is an internal question [of Ukraine],” he explained. According to him, there are two scenarios for Donbas return to Kyiv’s control. The first involves a large-scale information war, which the Ukrainian side wins. Residents of Donbas should “realize that they are Ukrainians,” stressed Zelensky. The presidential candidate believes that in order to achieve this, the first step should be the creation of an international channel that will broadcast the “truth about the political life” of Ukraine. In addition, Kyiv authorities could show residents of conflict regions that they remember them and consider them as citizens of Ukraine. “We have to pay pensions. Yes, this is a big loss for the country’s budget, but Luhansk and Donbas are also part of our country,” Zelensky said. According to the study conducted by the public organization Advanced Legal Initiatives, 34.04% of voters are ready to support Zelensky. This is more than double than 14.22%, achieved by the current president of the country, Petro Poroshenko. In third place with 12.9% is the leader of the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party, Yulia Tymoshenko. According to the survey’s data, Zelensky is leading in almost all regions with the greatest support shown by the residents of the Dnipropetrovsk region (45.73% of interviewed voters). Presidential elections will be held in Ukraine on 31 March 2019. The list of candidates, which was approved by the Central Election Commission of Ukraine CEC on March 8, includes 39 names.
Volodymyr Zelensky, who polls say is now a frontrunner in the presidential race in Ukraine, believes that negotiations on Donbas need to additionally include representatives of the United States and United Kingdom. He thinks it necessary to seriously address the issue of counter-propaganda in the occupied areas.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko condemns the visit of presidential candidate Yuriy Boiko and leader of the movement Ukrainian Choice – The Right of the People, member of the For Life Party Viktor Medvedchuk to Russia and negotiations with leaders of the government and Gazprom. “They are discussing the economy … They are discussing the issue of making Ukraine dependable again on the Russian gas, they are already discussing unions, which will be created after the presidential elections, after the parliamentary elections. And now they all claim that everyone will unite. Whom will they unite against? Against Ukraine, against each of us,” Poroshenko said at the Regional Development Council in Chernivtsi region on Saturday. The president stressed that representatives of some political forces went to Moscow, and representatives of other political forces in Ukraine are ready to kneel before the president of the Russian Federation. According to him, Russian President Vladimir Putin, making sure that he cannot defeat Ukraine at the front, wants to change it from the inside and change power. “Moscow sees the strength of NATO and it does not dare to attack the strength of the Alliance. Moscow sees a strong Ukrainian army and understands that the price for an irresponsible decision of widespread aggression against our state will increase significantly, and Putin therefore has a plan to change tactics – not through victory on the front – it is already impossible for him, but to change the power in Ukraine from the inside, because then it will be possible to change our European and Euro-Atlantic course,” Poroshenko noted. As reported, on March 22, Yuriy Boiko, a presidential candidate and the leader of the Ukrainian Choice-People’s Right movement, and Viktor Medvedchuk, a member of the For Life party, met with Prime Minister Medvedev and Gazprom chief Alexei Miller in Moscow. The meeting focused on Ukraine continuing to transit Russian natural gas and the possibility of trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. Miller backed Medvedchuk’s proposal to revisit the idea of setting up a consortium to run Ukraine’s gas transit system.
Tymoshenko has a reputation as a politician with great skill in political “survival,” writes the Financial Times
I read the headline of the below article and I snorked. Snorking is this endearing quality of a laugh I share when something is so funny I blast it past the barriers of my self-control. Like being an acolyte in church, sneaking in a comic book, and laughing at a funny part during the sermon. Yeah, this sort of hit me that way. Let’s start with the headline: “Poroshenko wants to use the SBU to fraudulently win elections”. Ukraine President Poroshenko? Pray tell, how does the “Donbass Insider” get this information? From their vast network of sources in Kyiv? Did President Poroshenko come down and give you an interview to you exclusively, because nobody else has that sort of a source. The Donbass Insider is not going to scoop any newspaper, so you know this is fabricated propaganda, plain and simple. He wants to use the SBU? Pray tell, again, the SBU is almost maxed out trying to prevent the Russians, better known as the Donbass Insider’s benefactors, from physically and psychologically intimidating Ukrainian voters. This, despite all the times that Russians actually say “we would NEVER interfere in anyone else’s elections”. No, the SBU will not be used to rig Ukraine’s Presidential election. They do that in Russia, not Ukraine. “Elections”? Pardon me, Donbass Insider, it is an election. Singular, not plural. For the Presidency of Ukraine. I suggest a new editor. I actually skimmed the rest of the article. Some poor schmuck was told to write this, mostly by copying and pasting quotes from other articles. Most of the facts and quotes are taken out of context and woven together into a silly series of unbelievable mish-mash, otherwise called Russian propaganda. The source, understandably is ukraina.ru. Oh. Donbass Insider? Change your name. It’s Donbas, not Donbass. Donbass is the Russian spelling, it looks much too close to Dumb Ass. </end editorial>
March 22, Boyko and Medvedchuk have unexpectedly arrived in Moscow
The biggest and most terrible mistake of the current government is the fact that Kyiv did not extend the treaty of friendship with Russia
Ukraine’s representative to the Trilateral contact group believes no Ukrainian politician will succeed in making concessions on Donbas on Russia’s terms as the Ukrainian society will not agree to such terms. The representative of Ukraine to the Tripartite Contact Group for resolving the situation in Donbas, Yevhen Marchuk, considers speculative a recent Moscow visit by one of the presidential candidates, Yuriy Boyko, along with the chairman of the political council of the “Opposition Platform – For Life” Party Viktor Medvedchuk. “This shows [the visit’s] simple speculative nature – if there is such a naive idea that even if there is a new president he will be able to retreat from a constant that the whole society praises,” he said, answering the question on what the visit of the presidential candidate to Moscow could indicate. Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/politics/10491336-envoy-says-presidential-candidate-s-visit-to-moscow-speculation.html
U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch urges Ukrainians to vote in the presidential elections on March 31. — Ukrinform.
U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch has urged Ukrainian citizens to cast their ballots on election day a week from today. Earlier this week, Ambassador Yovanovitch met with Interior Minister Arsen Avakov to stress his role in and responsibility for preventing acts of violence by extremist groups during the elections.
On March 31, Ukrainians will select their sixth president. The election is seen a referendum on the incumbent Poroshenko administration and his record since the watershed Euromaidan Revolution that decisively moved Ukraine onto a pro-Western path. Polls put political newcomer Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the lead, with Poroshenko and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko fighting for second place. The top two candidates will face off in an April 21 runoff. Here are five predictions about the first round. 1) This is likely to be the cleanest and least fraudulent election in Ukraine’s history. As someone who has observed every Ukrainian election since 1999, the signs point to an election day result that will reflect the will of the voters. This has often not been the case in Ukraine, as one recalls the more notorious cases, such as Kuchma’s re-election in 1999, the second round of the 2004 Orange Revolution election, and the 2010 local elections. My prediction contrasts with sensational news stories and allegations of how “dirty” this election already is. Keep in mind that allegations of dirty tricks, wiretaps, and bribing voters are nothing new in Ukrainian politics. These have been a staple of elections, but they were never reported to such a degree as they are now. Under former President Viktor Yanukovych for example, such allegations were never public, and instead were desperate pleas behind closed doors to Western diplomats. In addition, while bribing voters with money, vodka, and buckwheat continue to occur, the pressure on state workers, media, and civil society is a mere fraction of what it was under Yanukovych. Much attention has been drawn to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and the criminal cases that are being investigated by the police into election fraud. Never before has an Interior Minister cared enough about election fraud to fight it publicly; Avakov has wisely deduced that by pointing out violations by all candidates (including the incumbent’s campaign), it enhances his political standing in the West and enhances his influence with the Ukrainian electorate. Self-interest triumphs. Fortunately, the end result is that the heightened attention on potential election problems has actually scuttled many attempts at fraud and improved the overall conduct of the campaign. 2) Poroshenko and Tymoshenko need strong turnout to make the second round. Zelenskiy will be in the runoff; the only question is who he will face in round two. This is the first time in Ukraine’s history that the candidates in the runoff are not known ahead of time. Polls in Ukraine are abundant, but they are too often political gimmicks to promote a candidate, rather than objective scientific tools. If one averages all polls over the last week (and disregards obvious partisan polls), the president maintains about a 1.5 percent lead over Tymoshenko. In addition, the powers of the incumbency will also benefit the president on election day. The key measure to watch is not the response to an individual’s political sympathies, but rather how motivated that individual is to actually vote. This reality strongly benefits both Poroshenko and Tymoshenko, with polling showing the president having a slight edge in voter intensity. Thus, Poroshenko’s and Tymoshenko’s numbers on election day may be higher than their current poll ratings. Based on all of these factors, Poroshenko is more likely to make the runoff against Zelenskiy. 3) If Poroshenko doesn’t make the runoff, Yuri Lutsenko is to blame. Despite their close friendship, it seems that Yuri Lutsenko is doing everything possible to ensure the president loses the race. Whether its threatening politically motivated criminal investigations against Tymoshenko and former defense minister and presidential candidate Anatoliy Hrytsenko, his accusation that the US ambassador gave him a ‘do not prosecute’ list, or his whining about not receiving a planned $4 million in US technical assistance, every time the prosecutor general opens his mouth, he drives a wedge between Washington and Poroshenko. For Poroshenko to win, he needs Washington’s support. Thus, he would be wise to banish Lutsenko from Ukraine for the remainder of the campaign and replace him as soon as possible. 4) If Tymoshenko doesn’t make the runoff, it will be because of her sense of entitlement. Similar to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, Tymoshenko’s statements suggest that she sees this election as a coronation rather than a real contest. Also similar to Clinton’s “deplorable” comment, Tymoshenko’s campaign hit a low when she accused US born Health Minister Dr. Ulana Suprun of being sent “by foreigners” who want to “experiment on Ukrainians.” Unlike the Clinton campaign though, Tymoshenko is actively campaigning in every region of the country, but her similar sense of entitlement is likely to be her downfall. 5) Pay no attention to current polls regarding the runoff, as the dynamics will be completely different. At the moment, polls predict that Zelenskiy easily wins the second round. However, those who say they are voting for Zelenskiy are not voting for him, but rather against the status quo. His candidacy is a classic protest vote. The first round gives voters a chance to register their disapproval, but in a runoff when the vote really matters, voters may reevaluate their support for Zelenskiy. Brian Mefford is the director of Wooden Horse Strategies, LLC, a government relations and strategic communications firm based in Kyiv, Ukraine. He is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.
The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has not opened any investigations against President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, reports European Truth ( …
the US has initiated criminal cases against several members of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s close circle, according to an article by …
The United States cannot leave Ukraine unattended or in the care of a new ambassador. According to Mirror Weekly article by journalist Tatyana …
25.03.19 12:03 – Calls grow to remove Obama’s US Ambassador to Ukraine, – Donald Trump Jr. Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. jumped on the Ukraine bandwagon by tweeting post that demanded the removal of former President Barack Obama’s US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. View news.
The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko supports the U.S. Ambassador Yovanovitch
If the head of what was formerly known as “Moscow Patriarchate”, Metropolitan Onufry, agrees to become part of the newly-created orthodox Church of Ukraine, Patriarch Filaret will welcome such decision. He also debunked the myth that the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Alexiy had allegedly considered the possibility of giving the Ukrainian church complete independence.
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine implements reforms and imposes new regulations in the churches, as RBK-Ukraine reported. In particular, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine might allow setting benches in the churches, let women not cover their heads in the temple and cancel the ban on burial service for Catholics. The bishop of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine of Zaporizhia and Melitopol region Photios urged the priests to listen to the voice of the heart and act in compliance with the commandments of love. “If a person was christened in a church of another submission and he died – we will conduct burial service for him,” he stated. The bishop noted that regarding the latter case, the priests need to specify why the Catholic appealed to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine for a burial service. Earlier, Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Filaret said that the current church constitution provided by Constantinople does not satisfy him.
Copy of Tomos of the autocephaly to be set in chapel of Akademik Vernadsky polar station
Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom has pledged to allocate 6 million euros ($6.8 million) to decorate the interior of the Church of St. Sava in Belgrade. Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej and Gazprom manager Olga Andreyeva signed an agreement on the donation on March 23 in Belgrade. Serbian and Russian officials attended the signing ceremony. The construction of St. Sava’s Church started in 1935 but was never completed.