Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Russia attempts to intimidate Ukraine with armor exercise in Voronezh, while making grandiose recapitalization plans that remain to funded. US Army discloses new AMD framework. More on 3rd WG EX.
The biggest Russia topic is the Lithuanian war crimes trial of dozens of Russians, mostly in absentia, involved in the Soviet attacks on Lithuanian protesters in 1991. ECHR genocide finding against Russia. H.R. 1616 to counter Nordstream 2 passes HoR, Senate vote pending. Denmark refuses to permit Nordstream 2 construction. Multiple reports on Russian propaganda and meddling – Zabuzhko interview is very good. Poland and Turkey updates.
SECSTATE Pompeo comments on further sanctions to be agreed at upcoming NATO anniversary event. Pres Poroshenko rejects bilateral negotiation with Russia. NATO warships in Black Sea. Largest ever wave of FSB raids on Tartar community in Crimea. Euromaidan publishes a transcript of 2014 NSDC meeting on responding to the Russian invasion of Crimea. Donbas update. AFU given confiscated Russian SA-3 GOA reloads. Ukrainian Interior Ministry forces to be equipped with Turkish license built Heckler&Koch MP5s.
A very large election update comprising Western and Ukrainian reports and analyses. Most interesting are the FIS summary of expected Russian attacks, SBU exposes a large network of Russian controlled and funded social media trolls inside Ukraine, StopFake’s “Fake Narratives in Times of Presidential Elections: How Hybrid War Reshapes The Agenda of Ukrainian TV”, pro-Russian politicians Boyko and Medvedchuk to be charged with criminally visiting Russia without permission, much argument over Zelenskiy vs. Poroshenko contest, with the most scathing critique of Zelenskiy by Prof Taras Kuzio. Politics/economy update.
Church of Scientology in St. Petersburg raided by the FSB.
Минобороны России on Twitter: “Composite grouping of troops of the General Army #ЗВО destroyed more than 400 units of “enemy” armored vehicles within the framework of a large-scale exercise in The Voronezh region https://s.mil.ru/2JKVzcz #Танкисты #СухопутныеВойска #Учения #Погоново #Танки #Мотострелки #Артиллерия #БоеваяПодготовка… https://t.co/AYcqsyTcQ7″
The Russian Navy Navy will grow by more than 180 warships and vessels over the next eight years, Russia’s Defense Minister Army General Sergei Shoigu said at a meeting with defense chiefs on Wednesday. “We will begin today’s meeting with the discussion of the draft program on the development of the moorage space of the Navy’s bases through 2030. In accordance with the 2018-2027 state armament program, the Navy is to get over 180 ships and vessels of new Projects,” the defense minister said. This year alone, 15 warships and combat boats, and also 20 logistics vessels will arrive for the Navy, according to the TASS. “You face the task of creating modern conditions for the moorage and all types of support for the most advanced Yasen-and Borei-class nuclear-powered missile-carrying submarines, blue-water multirole frigates, warships furnished with long-range precision weapons and other ships and vessels,” the Russian defense minister said. For this purpose, work is underway to reconstruct the existing and build new bases, in particular, in Kaspiysk, for the Caspian Flotilla’s forces, Shoigu said. The draft armament program is aimed at both reconstructing the moorage places and engineering infrastructure facilities and optimizing the number of moorages, which will considerably cut expenses on their maintenance, the defense minister stressed. “The program has been drafted on the basis of the budget funds allocated to the Defense Ministry and won’t require any additional appropriations,” the defense minister stressed.
The Russian defense industry is developing a new combat helicopter for use in Airborne Assault Troops, known as VDV. Source in the domestic defense industry said in an interview with TASS agency published on Wednesday that Russia is developing a new combat helicopter for the Airborne Force’s helicopter-mobile units. “In the interests of the Airborne Troops’s helicopter-borne units of the new type, work has been stepped up to upgrade the existing [helicopters] and develop a principally new helicopter – the airborne combat vehicle,” the source said, adding that the new chopper would “conceptually develop the Mi-24-Mi-35M helicopters.” The new helicopter will eventually become the mainstay of a whole family of rotorcraft for the Airborne Troops, the source specified. These will be special, transport, command and control, reconnaissance and electronic warfare helicopters. Pursuant to the requirements set by the military, “all the helicopters should act in a single information and command contour of the Airborne Troops,” the source added. Before a new combat helicopter is developed, operational helicopters should be modernized for the Airborne Troops: “the Mi-24 to the level of the Mi-35M, the family of Mi-8/17 helicopters to the level of the Mi-8AMTSh-VN (the Mi-8 version developed taking into account the Syrian experience was showcased for the first time at the Army-2017 forum), heavy Mi-26T transport helicopters to the level of the Mi-26T2V,” the source said. TASS does not have an official confirmation of this information yet.
The Army has released its new air and missile defense strategy that aims to pursue multimission units and counter emerging threats like drones and hypersonic missiles. HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The U.S. Army released its new air and missile defense framework March 27 that aims to pursue multimission units and counter emerging threats like drones and hypersonic missiles, the Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command chief told Defense News in an interview just ahead of the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Symposium. Lt. Gen. James Dickinson said the strategy will chart the course for future air and missile defense forces by using capabilities already fielded and currently under development. The key tenets of the new strategy, which has been in the works for several years, are meant to ensure AMD forces can protect maneuvering ground forces and defend critical assets in theater and other areas of operation. The AMD force is intended to help “create windows of superiority” in the air so that the joint force can gain access and exploit terrain, according to a summary of the strategy obtained by Defense News. The strategy is built around an AMD force that aligns with the Army’s wider goal to have a fully modernized force executing multidomain operations by 2028.
24 F-22 Raptor stealth fighters from the 3rd Wing and 477th Fighter Group taken part in a close formation taxi with an E-3 Sentry and a C-17 Globemaster III, known as an Elephant Walk, March 26, 2019, during a Polar Force exercise at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Elephant Walk, is a U.S. Air Force term for the taxiing of military aircraft right before takeoff, when they are in close formation. “This two-week exercise gives squadrons an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities to forward deploy and deliver overwhelming combat airpower,” according to a news release put out by U.S. Air Force. Photographs of the close-formation taxi were posted on Facebook by Air Force officials who said the display was part of Polar Force, a two-week exercise giving squadrons a chance to demonstrate their ability to forward deploy and deliver overwhelming combat airpower. The benefits of an Elephant Walk include being able to show the capability of the units as well as teamwork. It is often performed to prepare squadrons for wartime operations and to prepare pilots for the launching of fully armed aircraft in one mass event.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused Lithuania of “unfriendly and provocative” actions after a court in Vilnius found a former Soviet military chief and a senior KGB officer guilty of committin…
In January 1991, a total of 14 people lost their lives in the Lithuanian capital during the dual power period and street clashes
A Lithuanian court found former Soviet Defense Minister Dmitry Yazov guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity on Wednesday for his role in a 1991 crackdown against the Baltic state’s pro-independence movement. The Vilnius court sentenced Yazov, 94, in absentia to 10 years in prison. He was the highest-ranking person on a list of 67 former military officials and army officers being sentenced after the three-year trial. While only two of the accused were present in court on Wednesday, all 67 were found guilty and received sentences of between four and 14 years in prison. The Russian Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Russia has refused to cooperate with the trial, calling it illegal and in violation of the fundamental principles of justice, and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, 88, declined to testify.
Dmitry Yazov was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison for his role in the violent January 1991 crackdown on Lithuania’s pro-independence movement.
A Lithuanian court has convicted a former Soviet military chief and a senior KGB officer of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during Moscow’s 1991 crackdown on the country’s indep…
A Lithuanian court found former Soviet defense minister Dmitry Yazov guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity on Wednesday for his role in a 1991 crackdown against the Baltic state’s pro-independence movement.
A former Soviet defence minister is among those convicted in absentia over a bloody 1991 crackdown.
Is the Soviet Union guilty of genocide? For Ukrainian historians and politicians, the answer is unequivocal, but to date, it has been impossible to prove this guilt in a legal manner. Moreover, the UN convention, which introduced the term “genocide” in international law, was written with the participation of Soviet diplomats who worked very effectively to ensure that Soviet operations did not fall under the definition of this crime. Today, the situation may have changed… The recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Drelingas v. Lithuania is, in fact, revolutionary because it basically expands the scope for the term “genocide”. Is punishment inevitable? Commenting on the trial of Nazi criminal Adolf Eichmann (one of the organizers of the Holocaust, tried and executed in Israel in 1962), the famous philosopher Karl Jaspers wrote: “Something other than law is at issue here and to address it in exclusively legal terms is a mistake.” Similar thoughts are regularly heard when it comes to taking court decisions as a means of establishing historical truth or, in other words, trying to write a history textbook in the courtroom. However, better options have not been invented. Hence, criminal liability for such crimes as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and, with certain reservations, crimes of aggression, is well-rooted on both national and internationally levels. There is no statute of limitations for criminal liability, but the International Criminal Court (ICC), created in compliance with the Rome Statute of 1998, is intended to complement existing national judicial systems when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals or when the United Nations Security Council or individual states refer situations to the Court. In practice, a large number of serious crimes against international law committed after the creation of the ICC (in particular, in Ukraine after 2014) remain unpunished, and it is difficult for specialists to find persons that are confident in the victory of international justice in the short run. One way or another, the international community now has a tool for reviewing new crimes against humanity. However, many nations remain deeply traumatized by crimes of the past, and without addressing them, some countries simply cannot move forward. This is one of the most difficult tasks facing countries that were part of the former Soviet Union. There are three reasons. First, the USSR is accountable for an incredible number of the most brutal and massive crimes against its own citizens and entire nations that were part of it. Secondly, it is complicated to establish such historical data due to the efforts of Soviet authorities to hide the truth (aggressive imposition of myths and lies, destruction of documents and witnesses, etc.), and also due to the current position adopted by the Russian Federation, which sees itself as a continuation of “glorious Soviet history” and spares no efforts to whitewash its image. Thirdly, modern wording describing the most serious crimes, such as genocide, was created after the Second World War, with the direct involvement of the USSR and the Western powers, who carefully worded the corresponding definitions to suit Nazi crimes, but made it more difficult to apply to their own crimes. The first draft of the Convention included political killings, but the USSR along with some other nations would not accept that actions against groups identified as holding similar political opinions or social status would constitute genocide, so these stipulations were subsequently removed in a political and diplomatic compromise.
On 25 March, the US Congress House of Representatives ratified bill H.R. 1616, which calls for the suppression of the Russian energy supply to Europe. The text of the document is available on the official Congress website. The short title of the bill is the “European Energy Security and Diversification Act of 2019”. Its primary goal is to assist “European and Eurasian countries to reduce their dependence on energy resources from countries that use energy dependence for undue political influence, such as the Russian Federation”. “The Russian Federation, led by Vladimir Putin, has long used energy as a weapon to coerce and manipulate European countries. As American energy production continues to rise, we have a prime opportunity to support our allies and provide an alternative to the stronghold Russia employs over energy sources,” commented Adam Kinzinger, co-author of the bill, after the voting. Through the bill, Washington hopes to stimulate the flow of US investments into Europe’s energy infrastructure and to promote the exportation of US energy resources and technology. For this purpose, the US State Department could spend an estimated $1 billion by 2029, partially through the especially created Countering Russian Influence Fund. The funding can be used in various ways, from supporting the development of gas transport infrastructure to investment in renewable energy sources. The act will come into force once it has been ratified by the Senate and signed by President Donald Trump.
Text – H.R.1616 – 116th Congress (2019-2020): To prioritize the efforts of and enhance coordination among United States agencies to encourage countries in Europe and Eurasia to diversify their energy sources and supply routes, increase energy security in the region, and help the United States reach its global energy security goals, and for other purposes. | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Text for H.R.1616 – 116th Congress (2019-2020): To prioritize the efforts of and enhance coordination among United States agencies to encourage countries in Europe and Eurasia to diversify their energy sources and supply routes, increase energy security in the region, and help the United States reach its global energy security goals, and for other purposes.
Denmark has refused to grant permission for the construction of the Nord stream-2 gas pipeline in its territory, reported the Ukrainian state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz on its twitter account. “Gazprom has received another refusal from Denmark regarding the route of the Nord stream-2, ” reads the post of Naftogaz on Twitter. The Head of Naftogaz, Andriy Kobolyev also confirmed the information. “Gazprom has received another refusal from Denmark regarding the Nord Stream-2 route. Of course, it does not kill the project. However, they have to look for a new route again. And the Baltic Sea is not so big, and there are enough those [countries with access to the Baltic Sea] who either want to build it [Nord Stream 2] or bury it,” wrote Kobolyev on his Facebook page. The permits for the construction of Nord Stream 2 have already been issued by Germany, Finland and Sweden. According to Russia’s gas giant Gazprom, Denmark’s refusal will not significantly affect the timing of the pipeline commissioning. Russia has already started looking for an alternative route for the pipeline. About 10% of the gas pipeline was expected to be in Denmark’s territory.
Danish authorities refused to construct the gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 within its waters. Ukrainian state energy company Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev reported this on Facebook. “Gazprom faced with another refusal to construct the gas pipeline way Nord Stream 2 in Denmark. Of course, it has not killed the project yet,” Kobolyev said. Earlier, Polish President Andrzej Duda urged the German government to give up on Nord Stream 2 construction. He insisted that the new pipeline would breach the current energy balance, posing danger to the energy safety of some countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Russian president Putin claimed that the Russian Federation was ready to save the gas transit through Ukraine after the launch of the Nord Stream 2. Gazprom and its partners intended to begin the realization of the Nord Stream 2 project, which costs ten billion dollars. It is expected that the 1,200-km gas pipeline will be laid through the Baltic Sea, and will connect Russia and Germany bypassing Ukraine, Poland, and Baltic countries. The capacity of the gas pipeline will be twice increased compared to that of the first Nord Stream. The construction is estimated to be completed by the end of 2019.
The town of Baltiysk on Russia’s Vistula Spit was once a strategic military zone, and until recently, only armed services personnel and local residents could get there. Today, the spit has turned into an open-air museum that is visited by about 100,000 people a year. But historical buildings are under threat from the elements and tourism.
The Russian Defense Ministry already has its own TV channel. Now it’s building a film studio, too.
What’s happening? Russia’s Communications Ministry has announced a public comment period on a new bill that would amend a number of the country’s federal laws. On paper, the proposal is just “a clarification of identification and authentication procedures,” but a large portion of the text is devoted to the development of digital profiles. Before long, every Russian citizen will have one: the bureaucratic infrastructure for digital profiles has already been laid out in Russia’s nationwide Digital Economy project. 2 What kind of profile is this? The program under development is an entirely new system. It will allow users to receive access to any piece of information the government has ever gathered about a particular individual or organization. Part of that data will be stored directly in the system itself, and some of it will be stored in a separate database that can be accessed within 15 seconds at any time. 15 seconds is also the amount of time set aside for the program to synchronize new information; the system is meant to be updated continuously. According to Vedomosti, each digital profile will consist of three components: Basic identifying information (passport number, individual insurance account number, taxpayer ID number) Links to other information about the individual located in other government information systems A registry where the individual can grant permission for government organizations to process their personal information The bill leaves the task of determining exactly which data will be stored in the digital profiles for the Russian government to take on at some later date. Olga Skorobogatova, the lead vice president of Russia’s Central Bank, announced that 57 data categories will be included in each profile.
Dated, but always relevant. The last paragraph, nearly two years old, is prescient. </end editorial> by John Sipher November 3, 2017 The 2016 election will be remembered for, among other things, Russian attacks including cyber theft, propaganda, trolls, bots, disinformation, efforts to use social media to stoke negative passions and possible espionage (in common parlance, collusion). …
Share Tweet Forward 28 March 2019 *TRENDS OF THE WEEK* A (Kremlin) Star Is Born Christmas came early for the Kremlin this year in the form of Vasiliy Prozorov, an alleged defector from Ukraine’s state security service, who is zealously promoting all manner of conspiracy theories about his homeland. In Russia, where he is currently taking…
If you want to understand Ukraine, its spirit, its strengths and weaknesses, books or articles about events are not enough. Unexpected details about Ukraine’s past and present were illuminated in an interview with Ukrainian writer and public intellectual Oksana Zabuzhko. As she herself wrote on Facebook, the interview was supposed to be about her recent award of the Shevchenko prize, but it soon billowed into “where are we coming from, and where are we going…the 1970s and 1990s…the war and the elections…historical optimism and its grounding” and many other topics we don’t usually see in our media…” Oksana Zabuzhko was born in 1960. She is a Ukrainian novelist, poet, essayist, and one of the most translated writers among contemporary Ukrainian authors. She has written a number of poetry collections, fiction novels and philosophy books, essays on Ukrainian national identity and culture, and on gender issues. On 9 March 2019 she was awarded the Shevchenko Prize, the highest state award in Ukraine, for the book And I’m Again Entering the Tank. The work is a collection of her articles, essays, interviews, and memoirs, written and published from 2012 to 2016. This is the critical period preceding the Revolution of Dignity and leading into the war with Russia. Below we publish several fragments from her recent interview that unfolded like a manuscript, covering major Ukrainian problems, their causes, and possible solutions. ……………… To work for all those who were killed We did not talk about education… did not talk about the process of total “intellectual degradation.” My book “And I’m Again Entering the Tank” is specifically about this, about global information war, about the bombing of brains, the disintegration of connections in the human mind. About the generation that switched to gadgets, has the memory of aquarium fish, and can no longer write a full sentence. But then there is a direct link between how much this country reads and how much this country votes for populists. With such gaping holes in our cultural history, Ukrainians are now paying for a culture actually destroyed. If a tree is cut, there are no apples. We have stumps, at every step, and only sprouts grow from them. But sprouts continue to grow, and eventually stumps can grow again into trees. We are alive and it could be worse. It can’t be as in Britain, where the writer needs only to solve their own creative challenge… I need to work for all those who were killed So the best answer to the question “what to do?” in my opinion was given by the Bernardines. They have a motto, ora et labora, “pray and work.” I think it is very optimistic. We are coming out of the previous century, in which we had to be killed, and entering our own new century, in which we have a role to play in the historic scene, in the great drama of peoples. This is a profound role for which we have not begun to prepare. It is time to pivot on a head. Ukraine is at the forefront of a huge world battle that will transform humanity. We are at the solar plexus itself in which history is being made. I would harken the words of Viacheslav Lypynskyi [Ukrainian political philosopher], who quoted a wise Galician peasant: “It seems that God wants to fashion a solid and sharp-edged axe from us, since he hardens us so firmly.” We withstood in 2014-2015, but the challenges have not ended, they crop up one after another.
In May 2017, the President of Ukraine put into effect a decision of the National Security and Defence Council (RNBO) to impose economic sanctions on 468 Russian companies. The largest Russian social network, Vkontakte (VK), was banned, among others. Last year, Ukrainian analysts working for the NATO StratCom analyzed more than 300,000 Ukrainian VK user profiles to define the results and efficiency of the ban. Amid a threefold decline in the number of active users, analysts also came to another surprising conclusion in their report: the remaining VK users have become more interconnected, radicalized and anti-Ukrainian. The case is important to develop other more effective policies countering Russian propaganda and disinformation The Ukrainian Law “On Sanctions” states that sanctions have been imposed in order “to protect the national security and territorial integrity of Ukraine, to counteract terrorism, and to prevent violations of the rights, freedoms, and interests of the citizens, society, and state of Ukraine”. The largest Internet companies banned include the Russian social networks VKontakte (VK) and Odnoklassniki, the search engine company Yandex (including its sites using the .ua domain), and the email service Mail.ru. According to SimilarWeb, the audience for VK in Ukraine decreased by more than 60% as a result of the ban.
This month, the Netherlands, Australia and Russia have held their first meeting in an attempt to determine Russia’s responsibility for downing …
The Polish Ministry of Defense intends to purchase new tank destroyers on a tracked chassis to increase anti-tank defense and replace old cars 9P133 “Malutka”. Defence24.pl with reference to the press secretary of the Office of Inspection on Armaments Affairs Krzysztof Ploteka reports that applications for technical dialogue were filed by 13 companies: Lockheed Martin Global Inc. (Polish Branch) Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa SA WB Electronics SA OBRUM Sp. z oo H. Cegielski – Poznań SA Rheinmetall Defence Polska Sp. z oo Wojskowe Zakłady Motoryzacyjne SA Huta Stalowa Wola SA MBDA UK Ltd. IMI Systems – Elbit Systems Ltd. BAE Systems Sweden BAE Systems USA Combat Vehicles Milrem AS It should be emphasized that the description of the subject of the technical dialogue refers to the divisional set, and therefore all equipment of such a unit, including management and provision. New cars are planned to be equipped with technically advanced anti-tank guided missiles capable of dealing with heavy armored combat vehicles, including modern tanks, in particular, equipped with active protection systems. This project is one of the official priorities of the new program for the development of the Polish armed forces. Poland is equipped with new tank fighters It is supposed that new weapons will enter, among other things, the 14th antitank artillery division in Suwalki, which will be deployed to the regiment in accordance with the new Arms Development Program. At present, the military unit is equipped with the “Malyutka” TRTR, on the chassis BRDM-2 (9P133). In addition to the “Little” Polish army has more than 250 portable launchers Spike-LR . Also attempts are being made to integrate this system with RosMoK. Armored personnel carriers should get new ZSSW-30 towers manufactured by HSW and WB Electronics. The same towers (modules) will receive the future BMP Boruk, developed by HSW. The plan for technical modernization of the Polish Army also includes the purchase of a lightweight Pustelnik anti-tank missile system, which should be carried by one soldier and be easy to use. This weapon is intended, among other things, for the territorial defense troops.
Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa and the American company Lockheed Martin signed an agreement within the framework of the Wisła program regarding the partial localization of the Patriot SAP production. This is reported by Defense24 In accordance with this program, missile elements and launchers PAK-3 MSE will be manufactured in Poland, as well as a missile testing laboratory for the Patriot anti-aircraft missile system. PGZ president said that “one complete section of the rocket engine” PAC-3 MSE will be produced in Poland. However, he did not want to talk about technical details, explaining it as a commercial deal. Recall that Poland and the US in March 2018 signed an agreement on the purchase of Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems. MIM-104 Patriot anti-aircraft missile system is an American anti-aircraft missile system developed and manufactured by the American company Raytheon. The Patriot ARM consists of an air-to-air missile and a high-performance radar system. The Petriot was developed in the Redstone Arsenal, located in Huntsville, Alabama, known for the development of the Safeguard Program intercepting ballistic missile system and its component, Spartan and Sprint missiles. Currently, an improved version of the system, “Patriot” PAC-3, is being operated and delivered to other countries.
Excluding NATO-member Turkey from the trillion-dollar F-35 fighter jet program would be challenging due to Ankara’s integral role in the stealthy jet’s production process, but not impossible, U.S. sources familiar with the situation said.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he hopes to be able in the coming days to announce additional measures along with Western allies to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine. “Next week I am hopeful, when our NATO colleagues are in town, we will be able to announce another series of actions that we will jointly take together to push back against what Russia is doing there in Crimea and the Sea of Azov and the region,” Pompeo told a House of Representatives hearing on March 27. NATO members are scheduled to be in Washington on April 4 to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Western military alliance. Pompeo, who was not more specific about any potential measures, also said that “I don’t know that we’ve done all that we can yet” to address Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. “We are constantly evaluating whether we’re not only providing enough resources to Ukraine…but whether it’s the right tools. Not only the tools you see — munitions and arms — but intelligence-sharing…All the things [for which] we have the capacity.” The United States and European Union have slapped a series of sanctions on Moscow for its activities in Ukraine in recent years, helping to send ties between Russia and the West plunging to post-Cold War lows.
The U.S. Department of State announced new sanctions measures against Russia in connection with its aggression in Ukraine. — Ukrinform.
28.03.19 10:39 – Pompeo urges NATO to take new measures “in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday he hoped to announce with NATO allies visiting Washington next week additional steps to push back on Russia over its aggression in Ukraine. View news.
U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo claims additional measures along with NATO against Russian aggression
The U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo stated that aid the U.S. provides to Ukraine is visible
The United States welcomes the appointment of Ambassador Yasar Halit Cevik of Turkey as Chief Monitor of the OSCE SMM to Ukraine, stressing that his public service as a diplomat makes him well-suited for this position. — Ukrinform.
The president said this in an interview with Ukrainian TV channels on Wednesday, answering the question about the format of bilateral talks with Russia after the election, the press service of the head of stated reported. “Can there be bilateral negotiations? Well, of course, we are a sovereign independent state. But will Ukraine’s position be weaker if we go without the support of our international partners in the pro-Ukrainian coalition? Yes, obviously. Can we discuss, for example, immediate release of Ukrainian sailors? Can we discuss the freedom of navigation or the return of Ukrainian vessels? Yes, we can. But a comprehensive position must be discussed when we have a great power,” the president said. “That’s why we are heading to NATO, because NATO is not every man for himself. NATO is when one for all and all for one. NATO is when 30 member states ensure the inviolability of borders,” he stressed. “Remember, if you did not watch Russian films carefully: Moscow does not believe in tears. Moscow recognizes only power. The power of the Ukrainian state, the power of the Ukrainian army, the power of the world coalition,” Poroshenko said.
Ukraine should lead comprehensive talks with the Russian Federation, involving international partners, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has said. “Can there be bilateral formats of the negotiation? Of course, they can – we are a sovereign, independent state. But will Ukraine’s position be weaker if we go without the support of our international partners? Obviously, it will be weaker,” he said, answering a question whether he admits the bilateral format of negotiations with Russia in the event of his victory in the presidential election in an interview with Ukrainian television channels, aired on Wednesday.
“Crimea is Ukrainian. Donbas is Ukrainian. And no compromises are possible in this issue,” the Head of State said in an interview to Ukrainian TV channels, the President’s press service reports. At the same time, the Head of State acknowledged that various formats of negotiations with the Russian Federation on peace were possible, but at the same time, the stance of Ukraine must not be weak. Poroshenko also said that the liberation of Crimea remained his top priority. “I want to say that my first priority, immediately after the elections, will be the Crimean issue. I am grateful to Crimeans. I am grateful to the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, Mustafa Dzhemilev, Akhtem Chiygoz, Refat Chubarov, who have supported me. And for me, this issue is fundamental,” the Head of State said. “We do not intend to trade Crimea, as someone does. We are not going to say that Crimea is something to be addressed later. Crimea will be one of the first items on the agenda,” the President said. According to him, there is a multinational platform for the de-occupation of Crimea, and many countries are the participants in this platform. It was created, inter alia, in the format of the UN General Assembly and has a number of directions, primarily, the sanctions. “Do not believe anyone who says that sanctions are inefficient. Sanctions over Crimea, Donbas sanctions, the Kerch Strait, sanctions, sanctions… This is the price Russia pays for the aggression against Ukraine,” Poroshenko underscored. He noted that according to Bloomberg, the losses of the Russian economy amounted to USD 150 billion, more than 10% of GDP of Russia. Sharp decline in living standards is observed in the country. Petro Poroshenko stressed that Ukraine would manage to return its territories particularly through sanctions, court decisions, the UN International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the stance to protect the investments and make Russia pay huge, multibillion-dollar fines for seizing foreign investments. “And the coordination group set up in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government of Ukraine clearly, step by step, counters Russia, motivating it to liberate Crimea,” he said. The President also noted that the deployment of the UN peacekeeping mission would be a step towards restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty and liberation of Ukrainian Donbas and Crimea: “Peacekeepers are a classical mission that must be deployed on the entire occupied territory, including the uncontrolled section of the Ukrainian-Russian border. And only this can be a model for returning peace to Donbas. Only this may be the first step for the de-occupation of Donbas.”
Well-known pro-Russian activist Johan Bäckman and three others have been added to a list of sanctioned individuals. Ukraine has added four Finnish citizens to its sanctioned persons list, reports news consortium Lännen Media. According to LM, Johan Bäckman, Janus Putkonen, Jon Hellevig and Jarmo Ekman are not permitted to enter the country or make use of any property or capital they may…
NATO ships will stay in the Black Sea during the elections of the President of Ukraine and the vote counting. — Ukrinform.
Two vessels of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 arrive in Odesa port
At about 6 AM on 27 March, Russian security forces raided more than 20 houses of Crimean Tatars in occupied Crimea. At least 20 men were arrested and accused of participation in the pan-Islamic organization Hizb ut-Tahrir. The next day, three more Crimean Tatars were arrested in Rostov-on-Don. Hizb ut-Tahrir advocates for the expansion of Islam but rejects violent measures. It was criminalized by Russia in 2003 as a “terrorist group” despite none of its members ever having committed terrorist acts; it is legal in most countries, including Ukraine. After occupying Crimea, Russia enforced its criminal code on the territory in violation of the Geneva Conventions and used this ban as an excuse to persecute the Crimean Tatar ethnic minority of the peninsula. But the evidence presented as proof of the Crimean Tatars’ involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir is often falsified. The raid on 27 March was no exception. The Crimean Solidarity association, which offers support for political prisoners and their families informed that employees of the Russian FSB, police, and Rosgvardiya searched the homes of Crimean Tatar families in the Strohgonovka and Kamenka villages near Simferopol and the Vladimirovka village in the Bilogorodka district. As of the evening of 27 March, Shaban Umerov, Rustam Seitkhalilov, Farid Bazarov, Dzhemil Gafarov, Seiran Murtaza, Alim Karimov, Tofik Abdulgaziyev, Bilyal Adilov, Medzhit Abdurakhmanov, Rustem Sheikhaliyev, Seytveli Seitabdiyev, Yashar Mudeinov, Izet Abdulayev, Asan Yaikov, Enver Ametov, Ruslan Suleimanov, Akim Bekirov, Erfan Osmanov, Server Gaziyev, Riza Izetov – 20 men in total – were arrested and taken to the FSB HQ in Simferopol, Crimean Solidarity reported. Some of the arrested are Crimean Solidarity members. Izetov received a protocol which says he is suspected in “keeping objects and documents testifying to the preparation of a crime.” These were the brochure “Davvat practical recommendations” and the books “The Concept of Hizb ut-Tahrir,” “Islamic State,” “Party rally,” “Al-Wai.” All these books, Izetov says, were planted in his house during the search.
Crimean Tatars confronted Russian security forces as homes were searched in and around the city of Simferopol. Twenty people were detained in what Russian officials said was a sweep for suspects of a banned Islamic group. But many believe Crimean Tatars have been targeted for speaking out against Russian rule in the peninsula annexed from Ukraine.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) announced today that it had arrested 20 members of the terrorist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami in the Crimean Peninsula. The FSB wrote that those arrested allegedly “promoted terrorist ideology among the residents of the peninsula and carried out recruitment efforts to fill their ranks among Crimean Muslims.” FSB agents attempted and failed to arrest four more individuals. The agents searched 25 homes belonging to Crimean Tatars in Simferopol and the Belogorsk district, according to Ukrinform. Lutfiye Zudiyeva, an activist involved in the Crimean Solidarity movement, published the names of 27 people who may have been affected by the searches.
Russia-controlled court arrests nine Crimean Tatar activists. Twenty-four activists were detained on 27 March. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
A court in the occupied Simferopol arrested four more Crimean Tatar activists suspected of involvement in the activities of the Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is recognized in Russia and the annexed Crimea as a terrorist organization. — Ukrinform.
Three more Crimean Tatars have been detained in Russia’s Rostov-on-Don. Two of them are civilian journalists and do live streaming for Crimean Solidarity.
Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, Member of Parliament of Ukraine Refat Chubarov has said 22 Crimean Tatars detained by Russia on March 27 have 55 minor children. These children have joined 113 children of those political prisoners who have already been in prison.
The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine expressed concern over the raids and detentions, which the Russian security officers conducted in the occupied Crimea. — Ukrinform.
The Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Ukraine has said Russia has not noticed that its terror in Crimea will not defeat the Crimean Tatars. Russian law enforcers later reported on the detention of 22 individuals.
Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the UN Volodymyr Yelchenko told the Secretary-General of the organization about Russian aggression in Crimea
At a meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) in Minsk, the Ukrainian delegation has condemned mass searches in the houses of the Crimean Tatars in Crimea. — Ukrinform.
A Ukrainian delegation to PACE appealed to Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland and PACE President Liliane Maury Pasquier in connection with the new wave of repressions against Crimean Tatars in the temporarily occupied Crimea. — Ukrinform.
Ukraine’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has called on Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland and PACE President Liliane Maury Pasquier to use all mechanisms possible to defend the rights of the indigenous population of Crimea and demanded an end to attempts to restore Russia’s PACE delegation mandate. The appeal came a day after about 20 Crimean Tatars were arrested by Russia-occupation forces on the peninsula.
Five years ago this week, Russia was finishing its illegal annexation of Crimea, trying to legitimize it by a so-called referendum. The annexation was going on for a whole month from 20 February 2014, until Russia established full control over the peninsula. However, during this whole month, the 15,000 Ukrainian troops located in Crimea didn’t shoot to defend themselves and the peninsula from the Russian invasion. A transcript of the National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) meeting held on 28 February 2014, which we publish below, reveals the real state of Ukraine at the end of February 2014 and allows judging whether Ukraine’s decision to not protect Crimea by force was right. How many Ukrainian soldiers were actually prepared to resist the Russian “green men” in the Crimea and who betrayed Ukraine? What did the “western partners” advise Ukrainian authorities to do? What did the Ukrainian politicians propose and decide and could they have stopped the Russian invasion of Crimea? Debates still erupt in Ukraine on whether the post-Euromaidan government made the right decision to restrain from military conflict in Crimea: as we all know, the military conflict in Ukraine started in Donbas, not from the Russian occupation of Crimea. But at that time, Ukraine, still reeling from the Euromaidan revolution and flight of ex-President Yanukovych, needed at least some time to improve the extremely low combat capability of its armed forces and redeploy troops in order to secure all 1974 kilometers of the border with Russia in the East. At the onset of Russian aggression on 21 February 2014, 20,000 Russian soldiers were already in Crimea and 38,000 more stood along the Ukrainian border in the East. Meanwhile, only 5,000 Ukrainian troops were combat ready. The Ukrainian government had several weeks to mobilize and prepare the rest of its forces while Russia was preparing to hold its sham “referendum.” Critics say it could have acted.
28.03.19 07:15 – 13 attacks against JFO positions yesterday: no loses among Ukrainian soldiers, one terrorist destroyed March 27, the Russian occupying forces attacked JFO positions 13 times, 10 times using Minsk-proscribed weapons. View news.
Russian-led forces mounted 13 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in the past 24 hours. There were no Ukrainian army casualties.
On March 27, Russian occupation forces violated ceasefire in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas 13 times, using weapons banned under the Minsk agreements ten times and firing 117 shells into Ukrainian troops. — Ukrinform.
28.03.19 12:50 – Ukrainian soldiers destroyed four Russian terrorists and enemy dugout. VIDEO Fighters of the battalion Azov destroyed four terrorists from the third motorized rifle brigade of the Russian occupation forces and the enemy dugout. View video news.
After the K-2 group of the 54th Brigade completely destroyed the terrorist command post in Luhansk region, Ukrainian forces gave the enemy some time to “cool down” and began the second phase of the operation, a Ukrainian volunteer Yuriy Mysiahin wrote. Terrorists suffered losses in the strike that lasted under four minutes.
Creating safety zones and taking certain localities in the ‘grey area’ of Donbas under control are the most important achievements of the Joint Forces Operation over the previous year. Serhiy Nayev, the Joint Forces Operation Commander said this in his interview with Golos Ukrainy newspaper. Answering the question about the most notable things that happened over the year of his management in the Operation, Nayev said the following: ‘Speaking of the success, it is, of course, the creation of safety zones in the Joint Forces Operation area and taking a number of inhabited localities under control’. According to him, these localities are in the area between the Ukrainian forces and the Russian occupants. ‘This strengthened the positions of the Joint Forces and the safety zones themselves’, Nayev said. He also mentioned the reformed system of subordination in the structure of Ukraine’s national security.
The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has agreed to transfer 36 anti-aircraft guided missiles 5В27Д previously confiscated at the port in the Odessa region for the arming of the Armed Forces of Ukraine This was announced by the Attorney General Yuriy Lutsenko in his Facebook page On the eve of law enforcement officers found 36 anti-aircraft missiles of the ground-air class 5В27Д, which are part of the anti-aircraft missile complex S-125 “Pechora” in one of the ports in the Odessa region These missiles attempted to smuggle into Eritrea (a state in East Africa). The investigation revealed that in 2007, Rosoboronexport officials from Russia, after a preliminary conspiracy with the officials of the enterprises of the defense industry complex of Ukraine, tried to illegally move to a country under sanctions of the UN Security Council. “The rocket of the aggressor country will now protect the peaceful sky above the Ukrainian cities,” wrote Yuriy Lutsenko As a result of the coordinated work of the SBU and the GPU today, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine agreed to hand over missiles for the needs of the Armed Forces. Recall that the S-125 SAM was returned to combat duty in Ukraine
The German arms company Heckler&Koch has denied negotiating or signing any contract on the supply of MP5 submachine guns to the Ukrainian police, its representative Florian Bokermann has told Deutsche Welle. He pointed out that Heckler&Koch had been following the so-called “green country strategy” under which it only sells its products to a limited number of countries, including members of the EU and NATO as well as countries close to NATO or those of particular security interest to Germany. Ukraine is not one of them. National Police chief Serhiy Knyazev first mentioned plans to move to Heckler&Koch’s MP5 submachine guns back in summer 2018. In late March 2019, he said their purchase was a done deal.
Proposed by the head of the National Police plans for arming the police with gun pistols MP5 is expected to be executed at the expense of purchases from a Turkish manufacturer. Negotiations on the supply of this weapon by the special corps of police KORD began in 2016, the Ukrainian military portal , citing sources in the field of arms trade, reports. The supplier is scheduled to perform the Turkish state-owned company MKEK, licensed by Heckler & Koch, and produces MP5 machine guns of various modifications since 1984. Recall that for the first time Sergei Knyazev , head of the National Police in August 2018, informed the police about the possibility of providing police with modern samples of stopping weapons, in particular, on the future use of modern weapons – the machine gun Heckler & Koch MP5.
On March 27, 2019, in the social networks, a photo of a helicopter Mi-24P on the territory of the Motor Sich in Zaporozhye was published. It is reported by MilitaryAviation.in.ua From the photo it is clear that the helicopter previously performed tasks in the United Nations peacekeeping mission and painted in a corresponding livery. It should be noted that in November 2017, the publication “All power” reported that the Mi-24P UNO-881 was transferred to Zaporizhzhya for a trial repair. It is indicated that the board was damaged in case of unsuccessful landing – “The nose part was strongly struck, in geometry it went to the side. A special stamp is being designed now. In order to return to the place and restore the efficiency and combat capability of the helicopter. ” From the register of court decisions, it is estimated that on May 25, 2017, between Motor Sich and Military Part A3595, a contract No. 1323/658-Е17-094-UA840 (ВДД) was concluded for carrying out experimental overhauls of the first Mi-24P helicopter № 3532434116263 ( m. Brody), according to which the Contractor in pursuance of Decision No. 2014/05 / M “On the development of the organization of repair of helicopters type Mi-8, Mi-8MT (MTV), MI-24 Public Joint Stock Company” Motor Sich “, approved on 20.10 .2014 Minister of Defense of Ukraine, undertakes in 2017 to provide the Customer with a research capital repair at the first helicopter Mi-24P 3532434116263 experimental batch number, and Customer accept such services. Terms of service – until 01.12.2018
28.03.19 11:42 – Details from Russia replaced by domestic counterparts, – Ukroboronprom Ukroboronprom announced the resolution of critical problems with Russian details. View news.
Threats of the RF’s Interference In the Election Process in Ukraine Peculiarities of Russia’s Approaches to the Influence on the Process and Results of the Elections in Ukraine The main action plan of the Russian Federation on the Ukrainian direction in the short and medium terms envisages further provoking a comprehensive destabilization of the situation…
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has exposed a deep-rooted network of the internet agitators, which gathered the citizens of Kyiv, Odesa, Mykolaiv, Zaporizhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Sumy and Chernihiv regions as the SBU reported. “The members of the network spread the destructive materials aiming for the artificial escalation of the public and political situation on the eve and during the holding of the presidential elections through Facebook, VKontakte and Twitter social networks as their curators ordered,” the message said. According to the SBU, the Russian curators had over 50 groups in the social network with the audience of over 1,5 million users. It is noted that the SBU officers processed 17 facts of the interference of the Russian special services into the elections process in the country by spread of fake information only during the first quarter of 2019.
The attack’s goal is to put into doubts the legitimacy of the electoral process
The Russian Special Forces encourage Ukrainian citizens, who immigrated to work in Belarus and Kazakhstan, to take part in mass ‘right’ voting process in order to influence the political views of Ukrainians. The press service of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine reports this. “Securing of mass ‘right’ voting of the Ukrainian working immigrants, who work in Belarus and Kazakhstan, is described as the situation of the political apathy,” the report said while naming the directions of the Russian activity during the elections. Besides, the Russian forces intend to use the ethnic Ukrainian, who live near borders, in order to influence the public view of Ukrainians in the border regions.
Russia expressed its support of peace plan proposed by Viktor Medvedchuk
The report of Ukrainian media watchdog StopFake “Fake Narratives in Times of Presidential Elections: How Hybrid War Reshapes The Agenda of Ukrainian TV“ by Anastasiya Hrynko with contributions from Artem Laptiev focuses the fake narratives spread by Ukrainian opposition TV channels during the 2019 presidential election campaign. The study is based on one-month long monitoring of talk shows on two channels, NewsOne and 112. The authors analyzed the themes of the shows aired on both channels and found that they both spread typical narratives of Russian propaganda. StopFake’s newest research analyzes the content of talk shows on two Ukrainian opposition TV channels, NewsOne and 112. And the researchers have found that the oppositional TV channels tend to give airtime to promoting Ukraine-related fake narratives that are mostly centered on Ukrainian domestic agenda issues. The two channels were picked for the analysis because both 112 and NewsOne were previously criticized by the independent media watchdog Detector Media and the National Council of TV and radio broadcasting for their utilization of hate speech, disseminating of fakes, and “setting agenda that is too close to Russian propaganda.” Importantly, the political talk shows of the oppositional TV channels faced the strongest criticism.
Yuriy Lutsenko, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, has said that on Wednesday criminal case will be opened on illegal border crossing in connection with the trip of MP, presidential candidate Yuriy Boiko and leader of the Ukrainian Choice – The Right of the People movement, representative of the Opposition Platform – For Life Viktor Medvedchuk to Russia. “Dear Mr. Prime Minister, dear Mr. Interior Minister, with your permission, I will inform you that today criminal case will be opened on illegal border crossing. But the question is not only for aerial services, but also for the Border Guard Service, which let these persons pass the border contrary to the established procedure. However, the case will be opened and the corresponding reaction will not take long,” the prosecutor general said, speaking at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on Wednesday, responding to the relevant comments of Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov.
The National Democratic Institute (NDI) has announced the arrival of a high-level international delegation to observe the March 31 presidential election in Ukraine. The 32-member delegation includes representatives from nine countries and has been accredited by the Central Election Commission, the NDI said in a statement. The delegation will issue a preliminary statement of its findings at a press conference scheduled for April 1. “The delegation includes political leaders, diplomats, former elected and government officials, and regional and electoral experts, including: William Taylor, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and executive vice president of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP); Dame Audrey Glover, chairman of the Foreign Policy Centre and former director of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR); Birgitta Ohlsson, former Swedish minister of EU affairs; Laura Jewett, NDI’s regional director for Eurasia; and Mary O’Hagan, global associate and NDI senior resident director in Ukraine,” the statement said.
Follow all of the latest developments as they happen.
Both the latest opinion polls and odds are unanimous about who the three leaders of Ukraine’s presidential race are. However, pollsters and bookmakers differ on who will be number one on election day, 31 March 2019. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko led the polls in 2018, but the latest surveys call comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyi the favorite. However, according to the odds, incumbent President Petro Poroshenko is the most likely person to win. If so, he will be the second Ukrainian president to run for a second consecutive term in office. The Central Electoral Commission of Ukraine registered 44 presidential candidates for the election, a record number in Ukrainian history. Thus, this time the voters will receive the longest ever 115-centimeter long ballot. It can be even compared to a computer DDoS attack, when too many simultaneous requests may slow down a web server, making the web sites it hosts inaccessible to visitors. Similarly, a large number of the so-called “technical candidates” can reduce the overall number of the votes cast for the leaders of the race since many people, especially senior citizens, can simply fail to find their candidate on the list. As of now, however, before the final design of the ballots was approved, five minor candidates have withdrawn their registration, shrinking the list to 39 and bringing the ballot to the still-record length of 80 cm. Out of those five, three (MP Dmytro Dobrodomov, Lviv mayor Sadovyi and former journalist Dmytro Hnap) withdrew their candidacy in favor of former Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko who polls place at 5th-6th position. Opposition MP Yevhen Muraiev endorsed another former member of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, Oleksandr Vilkul. Another former candidate, Serhiy Kryvonos, declared support to incumbent President Petro Poroshenko. Finally, oligarch Serhii Taruta supported former Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, however, his name will remain in the ballot since he has withdrawn after the CEC approved the final list. Thus, Taruta’s name will be crossed out of the ballot papers manually by the members of the local electoral commissions.
Showman Volodymyr Zelensky continues to lead among presidential candidates, followed by incumbent President Petro Poroshenko and Batkivschyna Party leader Yulia Tymoshenko. These are the results of a survey by the Sociological Group Rating conducted from March 22 to March 27. According to the results of the poll released on Thursday, Zelensky leads with 20.6% support, followed by Tymoshenko with 13% and Poroshenko with 12.9%. Among respondents who have decided on their preferred candidate and intend to vote, Zelensky leads with 26.6%, followed by Poroshenko and Tymoshenko, with 17% each. The survey was conducted from March 22 to March 27, 2019. Some 3,000 Ukrainian citizens 18 and older participated in the survey in a face-to-face interview. The margin of error is not more than 1.8%.
The Ukrainian electorate has run out of patience.
A comedian livens up Ukraine’s presidential election, as many voters feel let down by politicians.
I am heartened and saddened by Ukrainian opinion polls. Saddened because Volodymyr Zelenskyi is in first place and according to these polls he could win in round 2. Heartened because in other opinion polls when Ukrainians are asked who they believe will win the elections only 5% say Zelenskyi [at the time of publication, a poll by the Rating group placed that number at 19.5% – Ed.]. Why there is such a discrepancy is a question for sociologists and not political scientists such as me. I would only caution that opinion polls failed to give us the right outcomes in the British Brexit referendum and the 2016 US presidential elections. There are three very important reasons why a comedian such as Zelenskyi should not be president of Ukraine. The first one is that Ukrainians are not only election a president but also a commander-in-chief in a time of war. 72% of Ukrainians believe Ukraine and Russia are in a state of war, including 62% in the south and 47% in the east. The war will continue for a long time and certainly until 2024 when Vladimir Putin and the next Ukrainian president both end their terms in office. Responsibility for the war is placed on Vladimir Putin by Ukrainians which is why 80% hold negative views of him, the State Duma and Russian government. That is why Ukrainians believe there is greater chance of peace after 2024. But, sadly, they are wrong because they do not take into account that Putin is president for life. And even if he dies or is overthrown, there are many other Russian chauvinists similar to or worse than Putin in Moscow. Therefore, Ukrainians are electing a commander-in-chief who will have to fight a war with Russia until the end of his term in 2024. That should be a person who has respect in the armed forces and Ukrainian citizens, who can successfully negotiate international support in the West and halt Russian aggression. That person cannot be a comedian with no experience of politics or international affairs! The second is that electing a comedian would confirm in Moscow that Ukrainians are a fake nation. The roots of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine is national identity with Russians believing Ukraine is an artificial and failed state and Ukrainians are a branch of the “Russian people.” Russia does not respect Ukraine’s right to exist, its sovereignty or territorial integrity. Of course, the above is not true. But if Ukrainians elected a comedian all of the above would be confirmed in the eyes of Russian chauvinists, nationalists and imperialists. Moscow would even more so begin to look at Ukraine as fake news, a joke, a temporary entity that needed to be returned to the bosom of the Russian World. Zelenskyi is still under the illusion that Ukrainians view Russians as their “brothers” – a majority no longer do. But, his willingness to go on his knees before Putin is nothing other than capitulation and surrender. “Я очень хочу обратиться к господину Путину. Уважаемый Владимир Владимирович! Не допустите со своей стороны даже намека на военный конфликт. Потому что Россия и Украина – действительно братские народы. Если вы хотите, я могу вас умолять на коленях. Но не ставьте на колени, пожалуйста, наш народ,” – сказал он. “I really want to turn to Mr Putin. Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich! Do not allow for your part even a hint of military conflict. Because Russia and Ukraine are really fraternal peoples. If you want, I can beg you on my lap. But do not put on your knees, please, our people,” he said. Zelensky’s toadiness to Putin would spell the end of Ukraine’s integration into Europe and a return to a pro-Russian multi-vector foreign policy. The third is that Ukrainians would be not just electing a comedian but a crook and a comedian. It is no secret that Ihor Kolomoyskyi is funding Zelenskyi and that he is seeking revenge on Petro Poroshenko for taking from him his two illegal sources of money – Pryvat Bank and UkrNafta. Kolomoyskyi is Ukraine’s biggest corporate raider and his reputation is nearly as bad as that of Rinat Akhmetov. In electing Zelenskyi, Ukrainians would be giving their country over to Kolomoyskyi. This is what the oligarch expected President Poroshenko to do in 2014 as gratitude for his patriotism. If Ukrainians elected the comedian Zelenskyi they will be first, ruining one of Poroshenko’s major achievements of building for the first time a Ukrainian army; second, they will be proving to Moscow that Ukraine and Ukrainians are fake news; and third, they will in electing Kolomoyskyi as Zelenskyi’s Chief of Staff, acting in contradiction of their own beliefs that oligarchs have too much power in Ukraine. Ukrainians should not destroy their country and the last five years achievements by electing a comedian and Kolomoyskyi’s puppet.
President Petro Poroshenko has answered the question whether he has a Plan B in case he gets defeated in the presidential election. “Yes, I have a plan. The only thing is that it is not Plan B. Unlike Plan Yu or Plan Z, I have Plan P. Plan P is to build a great country of free, wealthy and happy people. This plan is to bring the country to a full membership of the EU and NATO,” he said in an interview with Ukrainian TV channels. “Am I planning to take part in a parliamentary [election] campaign? I can admit that yes, I will take part [in it] as a candidate during an election to the European Parliament after accession to the EU,” he said. Earlier, he promised to file an application for Ukraine’s accession to the EU if gets re-elected for the second term.
Petro Poroshenko’s reelection campaign focuses on his leadership amid armed conflict with Russia-backed separatists, but his failure to stamp out corruption is also weighing on the minds of Ukrainian voters.
The BBC has apologised and agreed to pay damages to Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko. The apology relates to an incorrect report claiming a payment was made to extend a meeting between Mr Poroshenko and US President Donald Trump. An article, published last May but since removed from the BBC website, alleged $400,000 was paid to Mr Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen. The allegation, relating to a meeting in June 2017, was untrue. The BBC also featured the report in a News at Ten television bulletin in the UK. BBC corrections and clarifications “We apologise to Mr Poroshenko for any distress caused and have agreed to pay him damages, legal costs and have participated in a joint statement in open court,” the broadcaster said.
Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz has announced he is withdrawing his candidacy from Ukraine’s presidential race. — Ukrinform.
The expert also draws attention to the fact that the possible re-election to the Verkhovna Rada will fall on the summer
Rebecca Harms, expert for Eastern Europe and member of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament, will be in Ukraine from March 28 as an election observer with a European Parliament delegation. — Ukrinform.
The latest poll ranked political satirist and actor Volodymyr Zelenskyi as the leader in the presidential race – he is supported by 24.9% of those who will go vote on election day, 31 March. According to the new poll by Rating sociological group published on March 11, former prime-minister Yulia Tymoshenko overtook Petro Poroshenko (18.8% vs 17.4%). Yuriy Boiko is number four (10.2%). After Andriy Sadovyi and Dmytro Hnap withdrew in favor of Hrytsenko, his rating increased to 9.4%, but he is still in fifth place. Meanwhile, Ukrainian journalists calculated campaign expenditures of all the candidates. Overall this campaign already can be called the most expensive one in Ukraine’s history.
Less than a week before the Ukrainian presidential elections, heated discussions on who will get to the second round are intensifying. Supporters of the various candidates have become more bellicose, dramatizing the negative consequences of a victory for their opponents. In fact, it is not the victory of any particular candidate that should be the greatest concern — the political rivalry that disrupts the democratic process, including right-wing extremist street groups, may be the real worst scenario. For the 2019 presidential elections, the Central Election Commission registered 139 Ukrainian NGOs monitoring the election process, a record. Among them is the Natsionalni Druzhyny (“National Militia”), a far-right organization associated with the Minister of Internal Affairs, Arsen Avakov. The organization has already warned that in the event of violations during the process, they would physically intervene without hesitation. On 10 March in Cherkasy, as a result of clashes between the police and militants at Petro Poroshenko’s election rally, 22 police officers were injured. Although Avakov emphasizes that during the election the police will have “a monopoly on force,” the radicals’ close involvement in the electoral process casts doubt over his assurance. The following week in Kyiv, the National Militia repeated their protest against Poroshenko because of a corruption scandal in Ukroboronprom (abbreviated from “Ukrainian defense industry”). On the “Day of Anger,” as they called the protest, they came with a larger number of members, and instead of aggression used toys to protest, but they failed to get massive support. Even the Right Sector, another right nationalist group, did not come to their aid.
As Ukraine’s presidential election draws near, its ultranationalist groups are becoming increasingly visible, posing a dilemma for the West.
National Militia, police clash in Vinnytsya. Three nationalists were detained. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
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earning Ukrainian online has become easier, now that the government is offering a free online course “SpeakUkrainian.” The course is an initiative arising from the Ukrainian Ministry of Information Policy. The front page provides this introduction: “This platform (SpeakUkrainian) is intended for everyone who needs to improve the Ukrainian language – both Ukrainian citizens and foreigners, therefore the English language is auxiliary.” Ministry Secretary Artem Bidenko, program initiator, explains that one of the main goals of the project is to change the attitude of Ukrainians themselves to the language–to popularize Ukrainian and make it appealing to people of all ages. This is not a dull and dry learning tool–it is completely interactive and meant to be both easy and enjoyable.
Tourists visiting the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster have left so much litter that volunteers have been dispatched to clear it up. Radiation levels in the area around the former nuclear plant in Ukraine, though much higher than natural levels, have dropped considerably over the decades.
Federal Security Service agents raided the office of the Church of Scientology in St. Petersburg on Thursday, according to the local news outlet Fontanka, citing sources in the city’s police department. The specific reasons for the search are still unclear. Five leaders of the Church of Scientology in St. Petersburg have been under criminal investigation since June 2017 on charges of illegally operating a business, creating an extremist society, and inciting hatred. So far, however, the case has yet to come before a judge.