Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (131) – Election Update


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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The export push for the Su-57 PAK-FA is definitely gathering momentum. Some whining from Muscovy over the 48th deploying to Poland. Shevtsova reaches the obvious conclusion, that the Mueller report will relegate Russia to where it belongs in US politics, a meddling rogue regional power with delusions of grandeur. DN give Pukhov an opportunity to propound the Muscovy party line, Russian exceptionalism and all.

Some relevant observations on Russia by Inozemtsev, Ikhlov, Komrakov and Nezavisimaya gazeta. More on Turkey and the S-400 – suggestions are Turkey may buy into the Su-57E as well to spite the US. NATO to fund the US pre-positioning depot in Poland. Sanctions on Russia over CW use in the UK are coming.

More on Crimean Tartar persecution. Donbas update – Kyiv and Girkin confirm that AFU troops entered outer boundary of Horlivka suburbs, reclaiming ground the Russians previously occupied in breach of Minsk deal. Another major Russian weapons cache seized by the SBU in Odessa. Ukraine sells twenty microwave bombs to India, developed with Saudi funding, with further sales being negotiated.

Another major election update, mostly comprising Western reports, mostly of dubious quality. As always, most Western media interpret different cultures as if they were Western cultures, overlooking the corrosive effects of 330 years of Russian colonial occupation of Ukraine, and the intensive nationalism this produced in Ukrainian communities. Zelensky remains a favorite topic in Western media – if he does not win many will be very embarrassed. Russia’s social media influence tactics are evolving – to evade easy detection of fake user accounts by Facebook, they are paying treasonous Ukrainians for the use of their Facebook identities, emulating the very same street rent-a-crowd tactics employed in 2014 to create the illusion of strong public support for the invasion. Prior to the election reporting blackout, Pres Poroshenko did allege that oligarch Kolomoisky funded Zelensky’s and Tymoshenko’s campaigns to pay him back for his actions against Kolomoisky’s Privatbank. Whether this can be proven is another matter, but then many of the allegations being thrown around by players in this campaign may be difficult to prove – in this respect this Ukrainian election campaign differs little from many contemporary Western campaigns. Tomorrow we learn exactly how accurate Ukrainian polling has been, how effectively the campaigners promoted their respective positions, and exactly how the voting public read this.

Finally, an update on the ROC.


Russia’s Fifth-Generation Su-57 Jet Already Has Export Permit – Source – Sputnik International

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia’s Sukhoi Su-57 (also known as the PAK FA product and T-50) fifth-generation fighter jet already has an export permit, and the Russian government is currently reviewing documents to officially rename the aircraft from T-50 internal designation to Su-57, a source in the aviation industry told Sputnik Friday.

US Revives Strategy of Unpredictable Troop Deployment to Europe – Report – Sputnik International

This comes after the Pentagon deployed a group of US F-15 tactical fighters to Poland for drills, which Washington claimed underscores the US commitment to security in the region and is not related to any current world event.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Mueller Report Further Marginalizes Russia in American Thinking, Shevtsova Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 28 – For the last three years, Russia has been near the center of American thinking, Liliya Shevtsova says, a place that Russians welcome as an indication of their own view of themselves as the second super power; but the findings of the Mueller Report will have the effect of pushing Russia out of that place and thus marginalizing it for the US. “The irony” of suspicions that Trump and Putin had colluded in 2016, the Russian commentator says, is that they were “the last manifestation of ‘the bipolarity’ of Russia and the US when the two acted on an equal basis. Even more: in the view of many, Trump owed Putin,” something that could only elevate Putin and Russia (echo.msk.ru/blog/shevtsova/2396981-echo/). “But now,” she continues, “’the Russian factor’ is departing from American life.” There will be some additional investigations of “’the Russian trace’” in US political life. Americans are “tired” of the Russian issue and “do not want to keep it as a quality of intrigue of American politics.” They will now turn to other things – and for them, Russia will disappear as an issue. In fact, Shevtsova argues, there will be “an exclusion of Russia out of the American system of priorities.” That may lead to a reduction in sanctions against Russia, something Moscow will welcome; but it will mark the departure of Russia from the American view of the world and force the Kremlin to rethink its foreign policy which has been “American centric.” The latter shift is far more important, she continues, because the way Russians view themselves as a power is based on their relationship to the US, “the world superpowers” is “the most important basis of our sense of ourselves as a power.” But “a time is coming when America doesn’t need Russia anymore” and indeed isn’t interested in it. The US “no longer ill look at Russia as a subject for equal relations.” Instead, Washington will focus on “a different interest – the formation of a world order which will integrate China as a partner-competitor. This will be the new bipolarity, and there on’t be any basis for hopes about a triangle of ‘the US, China and Russia.’” Not long ago, she notes, the RAND Corporation issued a report Russia – a Rogue but Not a Competitor; China – a Competitor but Not a Rogue (rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PE310.html) that perfectly reflects the emerging US view of the world that will now only be intensified by the Mueller Report findings. The report says that the US must contain a declining Russia but develop “’a strategic balance’ and constructive cooperation” with China, a formulation that shows that the US already views Russia as a “second echelon” state rather than one that plays a key role in defining the world order. “Of course, the Kremlin will be able to dream up an occasion to attract the attention of the Americans and force them to return to dialogue. But what will this be besides nuclear confrontation which will be destructive for Russia?” — however many cartoons of rockets its leaders show the world. That is the underlying and bitter reality the Mueller Report’s findings really offer Russians, Shevtsova says; and that, not any increase in Trump’s ability to make nice with Putin. Even if that happens, it isn’t going to matter the way Putin or most Russians hope. The world has changed, and Russia no longer has the importance it did.

Ruslan Pukhov | NATO is the obstacle to improving Russian-Western relations

In this first of a two-part commentary, a Russian analyst discusses Moscow’s perspective of NATO, and the future of relations with the West.

Ruslan Pukhov | NATO’s growing membership, demonization of Putin drive anti-Western policies

Is NATO adding fuel to the fire? This is the second of a two-part commentary on a Russian perspective of NATO, and the future of Russian-Western relations.

The Week In Russia: Ford Hits The Brakes, Moscow Channels Mueller, And A Medvedev Ally Is Arrested

pioneer retreats as U.S. auto icon Ford announces the closure of three plants in Russia, while an ally of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is jailed on a corruption charge.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Unlike at End of Soviet Times, End of Putin Regime Won’t be Peaceful, Inozemtsev Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 28 – It is often said, Vladislav Inozemtsev says, that “Russia is becoming like the USSR.” But this is “far from the case.” At the end of Soviet times, the country’s political leaders generally did not violate their own laws; but now, all who are part of the Putin powers that be do so “openly and massively.” The fact that the leaders at the end of the Soviet period generally obeyed their own laws meant that their loss of power did not automatically mean that they would be confronted by criminal charges, the Russian economist says. As a result, they were less afraid to leave office and did not fight to the end (echo.msk.ru/blog/v_inozemcev/2396955-echo/). But now, the leaders of Putin’s Russia know that if they ever leave office, they will be brought up on charges of violating the laws that they themselves have put in place. Consequently, they will fight to the end. “The current bureaucracy has nowhere to retreat.” And that means that there is little reason to believe that the transition will be easy or peaceful. Inozemtsev draws those conclusions on the basis of the much-discussed criminal case that has been brought against Mikhail Abyzov, someone who violated the laws the Putin regime put in place but that nearly all of those who are part of that regime have violated as well. This case is a reminder to all the elite of what they could face when Putin goes.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Any Effort to Establish a Dictatorship in Russia Will End with a Stalinist One,’ Ikhlov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 28 – The recent arrests of Abyzov and Ishayev like the earlier ones of Belykh, Ulyukayev and Serebrennikov are harbingers of still more arrests and clear evidence that “any effort to establish a dictatorship in Russia will end with one that resembles Stalin’s,” Yevgeny Ikhlov says. What is happening now is what happened earlier: when the ruler runs out of resources, he turns to the liquidation of his own subordinates to ensure his power, the Russian commentator says. That is what Stalin did in the 1930s; it is what Vladimir Putin is doing now (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C9D0416DC132). Unfortunately, Ikhlov continues, “there are in Russia no social patterns (behavioral and ideological models) of despotism except for Stalinism.” And consequently, “any attempts to create a dictatorship in Russia will end with a Stalinist dictatorship” with almost all the features of that regime. Once again, wreckers will be found, the ruling class will have to be destroyed, and propaganda will become increasingly shrill in pointing to conspiracies linked to foreigners. And as a result, repression will once again be “the only reliable instrument of constructing society” according to the desires of the ruler. Of course, there is this difference, Ikhlov says. “Stalinism cultivated asceticism and collectivism while Putinism as one would expect from a fascist-type phenomenon atomized individualism and private ownership of property.” But that difference does not change the underlying nature of a dictatorship in the country. “Our ‘Stalinist-Hitlerite’ system knows only two universal methods of solving domestic crises – a great (eschatological) war or a great (anti-nomenklatura) terror.” Now, “when all resources of militarization, xenophobia, and imperial revanchism appear exhausted,” Ikhlov concludes, “the system organically has begun the transition to … anti-elite purges.” No one should be surprised, he suggests; but everyone should be very much afraid.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia Not Just Losing Highly Skilled People: It’s Replacing Them with Janitors, Komrakov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 28 – Russia is not just experiencing a massive brain drain which is leaving the country without the skilled people it once had, Anatoly Komrakov of Nezavisimaya gazeta says; it is replacing them with janitors, the immigrants that the Kremlin wants to attract to compensate for Russia’s demographic decline. That double whammy is a far greater threat to Russia’s future than either part would be on its own, the commentator suggests (ng.ru/economics/2019-03-28/4_7543_ottok.html). According to a new study, “about 18 percent of patent applications in Europe and the United States are being submitted by those who have left Russia because they could not find a place for their professional ambitions at home but only in the West,” Komrakov says. All of these people have higher educations, and that is a clear sign of an enormous brain drain. This substitution of poorly educated for highly trained people is “catastrophic,” Vadim Kvachev, an expert with the Russian Trade and Industry Chamber says. Moreover, “it is already impossible to act as if nothing special is taking place.” Russia has become a supplier of brains to the West and a receiver of migrants from the post-Soviet space. The poorly educated immigrants may help the Russian business community to make profits now, but the departure of the educated will preclude that in the future, he and other experts say. The flight of expertise is truly tragic and is getting worse. According to Nadezhda Reingand, head of Patent Hatchery, Russians submitted about 300 patent applications in the US in 2009 but now submit about 900. And she says many of these are among the best submissions: Russian applicants get approval in about half the cases; American ones, only in a third. And Komrakov points out that this replacement is not only costing Russia its intellectual future but leading to a rapid rise in xenophobic attitudes toward the new arrivals, making life in Russia that much worse and the attractiveness of moving abroad for Russia’s educated that much greater. Typically, the Russian government treats these two trends as separate and distinct; but in fact, the commentator suggests, they are increasingly interrelated and increasingly work against Russia’s longer term interests. Posted by paul goble at 2:24 AM

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kremlin Success with Political Technology Obscures Growth of Opposition, ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 27 – The Kremlin’s success in using political technology against its opponents has obscured just how rapidly opposition to the Putin regime has grown not only from the population at large and many analysts but from the senior people in the regime itself, according to the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta. The Kremlin assumes and many others do as well that political technology can be equally effective for a long time to come, keeping political opponents off the ballot or defeating them if they nonetheless succeed in gaining a place on the ballot; but that assumption is misplaced, they say in a lead article (ng.ru/editorial/2019-03-26/2_7540_red.html). Instead, the editors argue, the very success the regime has had with political technology has had two consequences both of which are extremely dangerous. On the one hand, it has convinced the regime that it doesn’t have to engage in real politics, offering proposals that will win support, because it can remain in power without doing so. And on the other, the success the regime’s political technological approach has had in keeping opponents off balance and out of office has concealed from almost everyone just how much anger there is at the regime and its policies. That in turn means that when the opposition does emerge, it may do so in profoundly extra-systemic, even revolutionary ways. Both the federal center and its regional representatives continue to believe that political technology will be sufficient to keep them in power more or less forever, the Moscow paper says. But in fact, this use of political technology as a substitute for real politics only puts off the day of reckoning and makes an explosion more rather than less likely. And that in turn means, the editors say, that the Kremlin may not be able to sense “that moment when protest voting is transformed into a revolt and by so doing blocks the mechanism of the legitimation of the powers that be via elections.” They add that everything points in that direction now.

Will Russia try to occupy Belarus? – The Washington Post

Will Russia try to occupy Belarus? Earlier this year, several public figures sounded that alarm, including former NATO general secretary Anders Rasmussen and Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum. That concern clashes with the idea that Belarus is Russia’s closest ally. So where did they get that idea? Over the past four months, the Kremlin has been proposing closer ties within the Union State of Russia and Belarus, an agreement that aims toward deeper integration between the two. That treaty was signed in 1997 — but has had few tangible results. Some Russian elites are rumoring that creating a fully functioning union might enable Vladimir Putin to stay in power after he reaches his term limit as president in 2024. He could simply assume the role of chairman of the Union State. But is this realistic? A closer look at the evidence suggests that the chances of Putin governing Belarus are slim. While Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka may publicly say that the two countries may integrate more, long-term trends show that Belarus is gradually distancing itself from Russia, as I’ll explain below.

Turkey: air defense purchase from Russia ‘a done deal’ | Reuters

Turkey will honor its air defense deal with Russia, Ankara said on Friday after four U.S. senators introduced a bill to ban the planned delivery of F-35 fighter jets if Turkey ignored U.S. opposition and accepted the S-400 system.

Turkey rejects US pressure over Russian S-400 missile deal | USA News | Al Jazeera

Turkish foreign minister says Ankara will go ahead with the purchase of the missile system despite US sanctions threat.

UAWire – Estonian President to visit Russia for the first time in eight years

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid will visit Moscow on April 18 to open the historic Baltic embassy building. According to the statement …

Ruslan Pukhov | NATO foots bill for massive US combat depot in Poland

Alliance members will fund construction of a storage site for American combat vehicles in an attempt to deter Russia. COLOGNE, Germany – NATO officials are putting together the largest alliance construction project in recent memory to realize a storage site for American combat vehicles in Poland. The depot is meant to stash U.S. warfighting equipment in the eastern European nation in case a confrontation with nearby Russia becomes a possibility. Pentagon officials consider the future facility in Powidz, western-central Poland, part of a global network of hardware stashes meant to serve as faraway armories for U.S. soldiers when there is fighting to be done. Construction of the site is slated to begin this summer, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told the Wall Street Journal in an interview earlier this month. The decision to build the depot was made by the alliance some years ago, predating Poland’s formal “Fort Trump” proposal, an attempt to flatter U.S. President Donald Trump into deploying a permanent American troop presence in the former Soviet Bloc country. Former U.S. Army Europe head Ben Hodges is on record in 2017 envisaging the Powidz air base as a hub for American forces on NATO’s eastern front. The Army Corps of Engineers published an industry solicitation in 2018 requesting tree-cutting services for 38 hectares, or 71 football fields, around the base. Clocking in at $260 million, the funding mechanism for the Powidz site is noteworthy. The money comes from the so called NATO Security Investment Program, or NSIP, to which all 29 alliance members contribute according to a key tied to their gross domestic product. As the wealthiest contributor, Washington’s share is capped at somewhere between 20 and 25 percent of a given project.

European Union co-finance joint defense projects worth $562M – Defence Blog

European Commission has adopted work programmes to co-finance joint defense industrial projects in 2019-2020 worth up to €500 million ($562 million). A further €25 million ($28 million) have been earmarked to support collaborative defense research projects in 2019. This programme, called the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), will be implemented by the Commission through annual calls for proposals, to be published in 2019 and in 2020. The programme, with a financial envelope of $562 million will co-finance the joint development of defense products and technologies. The calls for proposals are based on a 2-year work programme defined in close cooperation with EU countries and adopted by the European Commission on 19 March 2019. There will be 9 calls for proposals in 2019, and 12 in 2020. The 2019 calls for proposals will address 9 categories of defense capabilities.

U.S. Said to Be Readying Russia Sanctions for U.K. Poison Attack – Bloomberg

The White House has received a long-awaited package of new sanctions on Russia, intended to punish the Kremlin for a 2018 nerve-agent attack on a former Russian spy in the U.K.

EU Calls On Russia To Stop Targeting Crimean Tatars

The European Union has called on Russian authorities to stop targeting Tatars in Russian-annexed Crimea.

Raids in Crimea: 20 arrested Tatars transferred to Rostov-on-Don

March 27 The Russian forces detained 23 Crimean Tatars

Azov Crisis: Russian FSB appoints new expertise

The Federal Service of Russia intends to check the working capacity of the artillery detachments the Nikopol artillery boat and the Berdiansk artillery boat

Escalation in Donbas: One Ukrainian soldier killed, four wounded amid 19 enemy attacks in past day – news war | UNIAN

Russia’s hybrid military forces in the past 24 hours mounted 19 attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action, and another four as wounded in action. The enemy employed artillery systems, mortars, cannons of infantry fighting vehicles, grenade launchers, heavy machine guns and small arms.

JFO: One Ukrainian soldier killed, two wounded in action in Donbas March 29 – news war | UNIAN

Russia’s hybrid military forces mounted 10 attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas on March 29, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action and another two as wounded in action. The situation in the area of the Joint Forces Operation remains under control of Ukrainian troops.

UAWire – Kyiv confirms advance of Ukrainian Armed Forces near Horlivka

Former Head of Donetsk regional administration Pavlo Zhebrivskyi, speaking on Ukrainian Pryamiy TV, confirmed the advance of the Ukrainian military near the city of Horlivka. According to him, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have captured the territory near Horlivka, which was not controlled by any side. The pro-Russian militants used to come there and shell the Ukrainian positions. “Is it possible to take back Horlivka? I am convinced that three days is enough for our Armed forces to take it. There is no escalation only because Russia can move in the troops. If, considering the current level of training and armament of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, we were given guarantees by NATO that Russia would not interfere during the liberation of these territories, it would take a maximum of two weeks and minimal losses to regain control over the whole territory of the so-called DPR and LPR. And we can surpass the Croatian scenario when the captured territories were retaken in six days,” he said. Zhebrivskyi pointed out that the only factor that does not allow Ukraine to start “de-occupation of Donbass” is the likelihood of a large-scale Russia aggression with Iskander missiles and other weapons. At the same time, he stressed that the Ukrainian army is ready for a quick liberation of these territories. Earlier, pro-Russian militants reported about the advance of the Ukrainian Armed Forces near Horlivka. In particular, former DPR commander Igor Girkin wrote on his VKontakte page that the Ukrainian military have not entered the city [Horlivka] yet, but they have advanced considerably – at a distance of 350 meters from the positions of the Army Corps of DPR and LPR on the outskirts of Horlivka.

United States recon UAVs fly along occupied territories

US Strategic Unmanned Aircraft RQ-4B-30 Global Hawk Airlines today flies along a line of collision with Russian-terrorist forces in the Donbas and the coast of the occupied Crimean peninsula This is reported by the Ukrainian Military Portal At about 6 am he ran from Sigonella Air Base in Italy and, having made a flight through Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, entered the airspace of Ukraine in the Chernivtsi region. Already on the 11th RQ-4B-30 Global Hawk made several circles along the demarcation line in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. On the 15th, he completed his flight over the Donbas and headed south where at 16:25 he was already monitoring along the coast of Russia occupied by Crimea. As it is known , the Armed Forces Air Forces receive intelligence from American UAVs , therefore, information from today’s flight, as well as from the rest, comes to the disposal of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. RQ-4 Global Hawk is a strategic reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle. The first flight took place on February 28, 1998 from the United States Air Force Air Base in California. The first device, Global Hawk, was handed over to the US Navy in 2004, and began launching combat missions in March 2006.

How much do Ukrainian soldiers earn?

This year, the cash collateral for the Ukrainian military has been finally increased. From April 1, it will increase for the military on the front lines and military personnel serving in the waters of the Sea of Azov. Last year, the Defense Ministry sounded the alarm: the army was losing officer cadres. The wages did not correspond to the inflationary processes and the rapid rise in prices in the country, experienced officers, and those who had combat experience, went back to civil life to get more decent incomes to private companies. In the beginning of summer, a letter to Minister of Defense Stepan Poltorak to the Cabinet of Ministers published in the media said that from January to June, 11,000 officers and contract servicemen, who had combat experience (they had the right to dismissal from military service), left the army, and by the end of the year dismissal of another 18,000 took place.

Ukraine’s Security Service seizes ammunition except rockets in Odesa

The Security Service of Ukraine commented on the situation with Russian rockets found in one of the ports in Odesa region. “The law enforcement officers seized the grenade launchers RPG-7, RPG-18, RPG-22, anti-tank shells TM-62M, anti-personnel mines MOH-100, and TNT blocks at the amount of 200 kilograms. The grenades for RPG-7, powder charge packages to PG7PM, boxes with electric detonators and MCH-62 blowers were detected as well”, – the report said. The rockets belonged to the JSC Rosoboronexport, the sole state intermediary agency for Russia’s exports/imports of defense-related and dual-use products, technologies and services. The military cargo has not been stored in accordance with its name, but only with the number of containers and estimated weight. According to the report, the Russian Federation used Ukrainian Sea ports as the transit point for supplying ammunition to the third countries. “This weapon arsenal could be used by the Russian Special Forces in order to create the so-called ammunition depot on Eastern Ukraine. The purpose of this was to destabilize the situation in the region by the Russia-baked diversion groups”, – the report said.

Thanks to foreign investments in Ukraine, electromagnetic weapons were created

Enterprises of the defense complex of Ukraine have developed and mastered the production of electromagnetic weapons. This weapon is intended for the defeat of various types of military electronic equipment, including energy supply systems and data transmission systems. Taking into account the high level of knowledge and considerable financial expenses that were required for the development of a new type of weapon, Spetstechnoexport, a part of the State Enterprise “Ukroboronprom”, in 2014-2015, has been working to find foreign partners who were ready to invest in Ukrainian development and made an agreement with a defense company from India. The attracted foreign funds were directed to the creation of scientific and technical documentation and the production of prototype samples. According to the operation of the new electromagnetic weapon creates a powerful electromagnetic radiation that leads to the failure of electronic equipment that is in the arms and military equipment, or creates significant obstacles to its regular functioning. “Thanks to the work done, Ukrainian scientists and developers received the appropriate funding, which allowed them to produce new knowledge and implement them in new cost-effective products, and thanks to this project, Ukraine joined the closed club of states working on the creation of high-performance electromagnetic weapons”, – said Vladislav Belbas, director of the DPPD “Spetstechnoexport”. This kind of weaponry uses only the energy of electromagnetic radiation, therefore its effect does not have a lethal effect on people, but it is able to disable any equipment or infrastructure objects equipped with electronic systems. Electromagnetic munitions can be located on both rocket and aircraft carriers, including unmanned aerial vehicles. Thus, a new electromagnetic weapon can effectively be used against strategically important enemy targets, including command and administrative centers, communication centers, power stations, air defense facilities, etc., without the risk of causing damage to civilians. It should be noted that in February 2019 the Spetstechnoexport Company has already delivered to India the first batch of a new type of weapon and is negotiating for the supply of an additional batch of these products. At the same time, the defense enterprises of Ukraine are ready, in the case of interest from the security forces and the sending of the corresponding order, to deploy serial production of electromagnetic weapons for the Ukrainian army. It should be noted that about 10% of its annual income Spetstechnoexport company receives from the implementation of research projects. In general, in 2018, the company completed foreign economic contracts with a total value of $ 152.6 million. USA, which is 27% more than in 2017. At the same time, in 2018, 148 new defensive contracts were signed for a record amount of 282.5 million dollars over the past 5 years. USA. Significant growth has been shown both by the export and import directions of the company’s operations.

UAWire – Ukraine develops electromagnetic weapon

The Ukrainian state enterprise Spetstechnoexport, which is a subsidiary of the state defense concern Ukroboronprom, announced that Ukraine has developed and begun production of an electromagnetic weapon designed to destroy various types of military radio-electronic devices, including power supplies and data transmission systems. Development of this technology was made possible through foreign investments. Between 2014-2015, Spetstechnoexport looked for foreign partners who would be willing to invest funds in Ukrainian development and signed an agreement with an Indian defense company. The solicited funds were used to draw up scientific and technical documents and to produce prototypes of the new weapon. “The operating principle of the new electromagnetic weapon creates powerful electromagnetic radiation that causes the failure of radioelectronic devices, which form part of weapons and military equipment, or creates significant obstacles to their proper functioning,” the announcement states. This type of weapon uses electromagnetic radiation energy, and is not lethal to humans, but it can cause equipment or infrastructure with electronic components to malfunction. The electromagnetic charges can be carried by missiles and by aircraft, including drones. “In this way, the new electromagnetic weaponry can be effectively used against strategically important enemy targets, including command and administrative centers, communication nodes, power stations, anti-air defense facilities etc., without the risk of harming the civilian population,” Spetstechnoexport emphasized. In February 2019, the company shipped the first batch of the new weapons to India, and it is currently negotiating additional shipments. “The Ukrainian defense enterprises are ready, if there is interest from the security forces and the corresponding order is sent, to begin serial production of the electromagnetic weaponr for the Ukrainian army,” the company states.

Saudi Arabia to develop ‘microwave weapon’ using Ukrainian supplied technology – Defence Blog – Jan 22, 2019

Ukrainian media claims that Saudi Arabia is developing electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons, also sometimes called a ‘microwave weapon’, using Ukraine’s supplied technology and know-how. Ukraine has transferred some technologies that will help in the development of Saudi Arabia’s electromagnetic weapons, according to a report by the ‘National Industrial Portal‘ news agency on 21 January. Citing unnamed defense officials, the report states that the Yuzhnoye State Design Office transferred EMP technology to the King Abdulaziz City For Science And Technology. Noted that Ukrainian company has delivered to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia technical documentation for an electromagnetic pulse generator, or EMP. The new weapon system could use invisible microwaves and electromagnetic energy to overload electricity grids, and electric and electronic circuits and burn them out. A single EMP attack against even a country the size of the Israel or Iran would have a devastating effect. The explosion itself might not pose much danger to those below, but the EMP would damage or destroy phones, power grids, communications networks, computers, laptops, smart cards, vehicle electronics, fuel pumps, medical equipment, industrial robots, and just about anything else that has a microchip or even a slightly advanced electrical circuit. Most likely in Saudi Arabia are interested in Ukrainian development, applicable to bomb designs as a KAB-500 or MK.84.

Nord Stream 2 won’t be launched from Jan 1, 2020

Andriy Kobolev, the chairman of the board of Naftogaz Ukrainy, is confident that after Denmark’s refusal to agree on the passage of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, its operation will not start in the period announced by the Russian side, on January 1, 2020.

Prosecutor Kulyk says Presidential Administration putting pressure to slow down charges against Poroshenko’s allies – news politics | UNIAN

Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) Department of International Legal Cooperation, Head of the Criminal Procedural Management Department Kostiantyn Kulyk says the Presidential Administration of Ukraine is putting pressure on the prosecutor’s office to slow down charges against President Petro Poroshenko’s allies. Kulyk said the Prosecutor General’s Office on March 28 summoned Boris Lozhkin, Valeriya Gontareva, Oleksiy Filatov, Konstantin Stetsenko, and Mykola Zlochevskiy to the prosecutor’s office early next week to officially served them with charge papers in the Ukrainian oligarch Serhiy Kurchenko’s case.

“Do-not-prosecute” list passed to Prosecutor General by U.S. Ambassador revealed

There are 13 names in the list: MPs Serhy Leshchenko, Mustafa Nayyem, Svitlana Zalyshchuk, Serhy Berezenko, Serhy Pashchynsky, ex-Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, ex-Head of the National Bank of Ukraine Valeriya Hontareva, ex-First Deputy of the National Security and Defense Council Oleh Hladkovsky, judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Oleksandr Pasenyuk, candidate for presidency Anatoly Hrytsenko, singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, journalist Dmytro Hordon and ex-Head of the Presidential Administration Borys Lozhkin. Almost people from the list were involved in different scandals during the last five years. Particularly, Oleh Hladkovsky was recently dismissed from his post due to the corruption scandal in the defense sphere. Serhy Leshchenko became known due to the purchase of the flat for $275,253 and the number of the information attacks at well-known politicians and businessmen. Serhy Pashchynsky was tied with the hostile takeover of confectionary factory in Zhytomyr. Earlier Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko stated that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch a do not prosecute list. Lutsenko’s Press Secretary Larysa Sarhan in a commentary for BBC Ukraine specified that this list contained names of the Ukrainian MPs.

Swedbank dismisses its president due to corruption schemes tied with Yanukovych

Swedbank Board of Directors made a decision to dismiss President of Bank Birgitte Bonnesen after reports about schemes of money laundering tied with the units of the financial institution in the Baltic States as Radio Liberty reported. “Sweden TV (SVT) and its partners in the Baltic States spoke of the company, which used the account in Swedbank to supposedly conceal the briberies of former president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. In a few days, the TV Company showed that this company, Vega holding, also made payments of Inlord Sales LLP, the British company, which was mentioned in Paul Manafort case,” the message said.

Ukrainian tried to smuggle medical drugs from Belarus. VIDEO

29.03.19 18:13 – Ukrainian tried to smuggle medical drugs from Belarus. VIDEO At the Pishchia checkpoint on the border with Belarus, the border guards seized medicines that a citizen of Ukraine was trying to smuggle into the country. View video news.

Ukraine observes pre-election silence ahead of presidential election – news ukraine | UNIAN

Ukraine on March 30, Saturday, is observing a pre-election silence ahead of presidential election scheduled for March 31, Sunday. Campaigning is prohibited during the 24 hours preceding Election Day.

Russia prepared hacker attacks at top Ukrainian media

Russian special services were preparing hacker attacks at popular Ukrainian media, as the press office of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) reported on Facebook. “The officers of the situation center of SBU cyber security prevented an attempt of the hacker group controlled by the Russian special forces to carry out a preparatory phase of a cyber attack aimed at popular media and telecommunication facilities of Ukraine,” the message reads. It was noted that over a couple of months the executors were creating an extensive Internet-infrastructure which has several dozens of domains which by their named coincide with or are similar to the official domains of popular Ukrainian electronic media, telecommunication providers and major telecommunications companies.

Kiselyov Claims Only Rigged Vote Can Secure Poroshenko Win | Polygraph.info

Likewise, Konstantin Skorkin, writing for the Carnegie Moscow Center, said a Poroshenko victory is no longer an “impossibility.” “Poroshenko’s rapid advance was possible because, today, the incumbent president is essentially the only noteworthy politician appealing to patriotic voters,” Skorkin wrote. And so combining varying poll results with the independent analysts, Polygraph.info finds Kiselyov’s claim, that Poroshenko can win only through vote-rigging to be misleading.

In Ukraine, Russia Tests a New Facebook Tactic in Election Tampering – The New York Times

With Facebook focused on weeding out fake pages, Russian agents are spreading propaganda on the pages of real people willing to sell or rent them out.

Ukraine’s Election Is a Mess—and That’s Exactly What Putin Wants – Foreign Policy

A chaotic campaign, feuding oligarchs, and Russian disinformation efforts have combined to shake public faith in the electoral process.

Ukraine’s War on Russian Disinformation Is a Lesson for America | The New Republic

Forget the Mueller report. Russia is still meddling in democracies everywhere, and Ukraine is trying to fight back.

Ukraine election: Russia is watching

Ukrainians will vote in a presidential election with three contenders still in the running.

Ukraine Preparing for Presidential Elections

Ukrainian voters will find 39 candidates on the ballot Sunday. However, the election appears to be a three-way race between the current president, Petro Poroshenko, the well-known politician Yulia Tymoshenko, and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Ukraine: President claims tycoon backed rivals for revenge | Fox News

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says his two top election rivals are backed by a self-exiled tycoon who wants revenge for the nationalization of his bank.

Ukraine president accuses Israeli tycoon of meddling in election for revenge | The Times of Israel

Petro Poroshenko says exiled businessman Ihor Kolomoyskyi supporting rivals Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Yulia Tymoshenko in Sunday vote over nationalization of his bank

Ukraine’s Jester Is the Presidential Front-Runner. Seriously

TV comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy is leading in the race to be the next Ukrainian president, thanks to his populist appeal. But who will get the last laugh: his supporters or his critics?

Ukraine’s unenviable choice – POLITICO

Presidential vote takes place against backdrop of conflict, poverty and corruption, five years after uprising.

Ukraine’s election has pitted a comedian against a candy baron and a populist ex-PM. Who will have the last laugh? – The Globe and Mail

In a country at the fraught frontier between Russia and the West, a man who plays the president on TV is polling higher than the incumbent, whose bid for a second term has been hampered by corruption allegations

Ukraine election: will voter anger propel TV comic to presidency? | World news | The Guardian

Actor Vladimir Zelenskiy is tapping into the protest vote as favourite in Sunday’s vote

Ukraine’s election contrast: Gloomy mood but comedian as front-runner – The Washington Post

Volodymyr Zelensky, who plays a president on TV, leads in polls. The key question Sunday is whether incumbent Petro Poroshenko can take second for a runoff.

Artists use Ukraine president’s candy wrappers for critical portrait | Reuters

As Ukraine heads in a presidential election on Sunday, two artists have created an unflattering portrait of incumbent Petro Poroshenko using sweet wrappers and bullet casings.

Ukraine’s election contrast: Gloomy mood but comedian as front-runner – The Washington Post

Volodymyr Zelensky, who plays a president on TV, leads in polls. The key question Sunday is whether incumbent Petro Poroshenko can take second for a runoff.

Eager for change, these Ukrainian voters back a comedian for president. Seriously – Los Angeles Times

A comedian best known for playing a schoolteacher who becomes president is testing his TV role on the real stage. Volodymyr Zelensky is leading the polls before Ukraine’s presidential election on Sunday.

Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky could win Ukraine’s presidential election — Quartz

It wouldn’t be the first time that a political outsider banking on public recognition would beat out establishment figures.

Volodymyr Zelensky Plays A President On TV. Now He Wants To Be The Real Deal.

Welcome to Ukraine, where an actor who played the president on TV is leading the polls and the actual president is slugging it out with a former prime minister for second place.

Meet the Comic Who Could Become Ukraine’s President After Playing Him on TV | Hollywood Reporter

Volodymyr Zelenskiy — who played Eastern European country’s leader in a TV comedy — is leading in the polls.

Kharkiv’s pro-Russian protesters still mistrustful of Kiev | Ukraine News | Al Jazeera

Some in Kharkiv see Ukrainian government as ‘illegitimate’ and will not vote in Sunday’s presidential elections.

Election Watch: Intrigue starts over April 21 runoff | KyivPost – Ukraine’s Global Voice

ditor’s Note: Election Watch is a regular update on the state of the presidential race in Ukraine. The country will elect its next president on March 31, 2019, with a possible runoff on April 21. The Election Watch project is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy. The donor doesn’t influence the content. Go to kyivpost.com for more election coverage. It’s showtime. On March 31, Ukrainians will vote for the next president. President Petro Poroshenko will try to stay in his chair for five more years while 38 other candidates will try to stop him — but only two of them, Yulia Tymoshenko and Volodymyr Zelenskiy, have realistic chances. Polls show that none of the candidates win a majority of the votes — and so a runoff election between the top-two candidates awaits the nation on April 21.

Crisis-hit Ukraine desperate for savior in presidential election | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 28.03.2019

Amid corruption woes and and conflict, voters in Ukraine are set to choose their next president. A TV comedian is currently leading the polls, but his victory is not a given. DW breaks down the election:

Jews, Israel Take Center Stage in Ukraine’s Surreal Presidential Contest – Tablet Magazine

On Sunday, the first round of the Ukrainian presidential elections will take place, pitting almost 40 registered candidates against one another. Polling shows that only nine percent of the population identify themselves as happy with the direction of the country. In the final weeks, the race has narrowed to three candidates, one of whom will not make it to the second round runoff on April 22: incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, former Prime Minister and political prisoner Yulia Tymoshenko, and the comic television actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy. As of press time, Poroshenko seems like the odd man out. Ukraine’s Jewish population numbers 250,000, making it one of the largest in Europe, and can appear to wield both practical and symbolic influence far beyond its numbers. At the end of January, Poroshenko took a break from an increasingly frenetic election campaign to pay a visit to Jerusalem in order to sign a long-awaited free trade accord, seven years in the making, which is expected to raise annual trade between the two nations above the symbolic billion-dollar threshold. The speech that followed the deal’s signing reiterated a now popular Ukrainian trope: Surrounded by powerful enemies after centuries without any concrete experience of self governance, Ukrainians should emulate the Israeli experiment. But Poroshenko isn’t the only candidate playing the Jewish card: Zelenskiy, the current front-runner, is a 41-year-old Jewish comedian whose primary suitability for the job is his experience playing a school teacher who becomes president of Ukraine due to a surreal turn of fate. If Zelenskiy actually does become president of Ukraine, which now seems entirely possible, it will be one of the more spectacularly consequential cases of life imitating art. The show that served as the platform for Zelenskiy’s political rise, Servant of the People (now also the name of the candidate’s political party), was a hit on a station owned by Igor Kolomoisky, a wickedly funny Jewish oligarch who is also caricatured on the show—and who may or may not be backing the young comedian for the sake of revenge against the president. Kolomoisky, who is living in Israel for the duration of the election, is in the midst of a dispute with the government over a billion-dollar-size hole in the balance sheet of his since-nationalized Privatbank, which he is alleged to have used as a private piggy bank. Yet after five years of war, a 70-percent depreciation of the currency, and widespread exasperation with the pace of reforms, Ukraine’s young activists have taken to clustering around Zelenskiy, who has run a sophisticated media-driven campaign heavy on stand-up comedy.

Ukraine minister: President and rival both bribing voters

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s interior minister has accused both the president and a former premier of waging campaigns that involve bribing voters ahead of Sunday’s presidential election — a…

Two leading Ukrainian presidential candidates are offering bribes: minister | CP24.com

Ukraine’s interior minister has accused both the president and a former premier of waging campaigns that involve bribing voters ahead of Sunday’s presidential election – a blunt claim seen as part of the increasingly vicious infighting in the top echelons of the Ukrainian government.

Separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine divides young voters

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Five years after a deadly separatist conflict broke out in eastern Ukraine, the front line between government forces and Russia-backed separatists has become a de-facto border, cutting off a generation of first-time voters from Sunday’s presidential election.

Militants not to allow Donbas citizens to vote at Ukrainian presidential elections, – Security Service

The compulsory events will take place in the occupied territory of Donbas. During them, the thesis that Donbas people do not recognize elections occurring at the territory controlled by Ukraine is going to be spread as Pryamy reported citing Security Service (SBU) Chairman Ihor Huskov. “On March 31 the forced events are prepared in occupied territory of Donbas under the guidance of the so-called “State Security Minister” and “Interior Ministry” of the so-called “DPR” (Donetsk People’s Republic) and “LPR” (Luhansk People’s Republic) ; during them the main thesis that Donbas people do not recognize the elections taking place at the territory controlled by Ukraine will be actively covered,” he stated. Particularly, Huskov noted that the attempts of the local citizens to come to the territories controlled by Ukraine and vote will be blocked. “Today “State Security Ministries” of “DPR” and “LPR” create special units consisting of pro-Russian activists, who should block any attempts of the local citizens from occupied territories Donbas to come to the territory controlled by Ukraine and vote. Almost 90,000 citizens of Donbas made a decision and changed the place of the registration to participate in the elections,” the SBU said.

Nolte: BBC Ordered to Pay Damages for Fake News About Trump and Ukraine President

The BBC was ordered to pay damages for its false claim Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko paid $400,000 to Michael Cohen.

BBC Issues Correction After Erroneously Reporting Michael Cohen Was Selling Access to Trump

The BBC issued a correction to a story that reported Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, was selling access to the president for $400,000.

Elections-2019: National Police to guard all polling stations in Ukraine from today

The ballot papers are brought to almost 9,000 polling stations

Central Election Commission: no changes to ballots will be made

29.03.19 17:03 – Central Election Commission: no changes to ballots will be made The public statements, which have been made by certain presidential candidates in recent days, do not entail any legal consequences, and the changes to the ballots will no longer be made. View news.

UAWire – Ukraine accuses Russia of attempts to buy elector votes for food

The Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine (also known as SZRU, Sluzhba Zovnishnoi Rozvidky Ukrainy) has uncovered Russia’s methods aimed at influencing the presidential election results, reads the report published on its official website. According to the SZRU, the Russian special services want to collect passport data of deceased persons or persons who went missing in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, in order to use their votes under the guise of Ukrainian citizens. “For the consent to vote in the elections with a fake passport, the so-called special services of DPR and LPR offer monetary remuneration and food packages to the residents of the region,” says the report. Also, the Foreign Intelligence Service suggests that Russia could organize a pilgrimage to Kyiv shrines, sending special services and “Orthodox militants”, who will use the religious factor to destabilize the situation in Ukraine under the guise of believers. According to Ukrainian intelligence, the Russian special services also intend to ensure the “correct” voting of labor migrants from Ukraine working in Belarus and Kazakhstan. The SZRU noted that such citizens are characterized by “political apathy”. The ministry said that Russia plans to strengthen information attacks in the Ukraine media space, use a network of bots and trolls to influence the electorate, and hack accounts of candidates for the presidency of the country as well as the authorities’ information resources.

Scientology Properties Raided In Russia Amid Broader Clampdown On Foreign-Based Faiths

Authorities claim the church’s Russian chapters are involved in a lucrative business of siphoning donations to its headquarters in the United States

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Barring a Miracle, Russian State has Only 30 Years Left to Live, Archpriest Smirnov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, March 28 – Archpriest Dimitry Smirnov, who plays a role in the Moscow Patriarchate analogous to the one Vladimir Zhirinovsky plays in the larger state by expressing in extreme form what many think but do not say, suggests that Russia along with Ukraine and Belarus is dying out and that the Russian state has only 30 years left to live. In a comment on Turkish proposals to transform Constantinople’s Hagia Sophia cathedral into a mosque, Smirnog, who heads the Patriarchate’s family commission, says that Russians need to recognize that soon there will be a minaret over the Kremlin in place of the bell tower of Ivan the Great (rusk.ru/newsdata.php?idar=84067). “Ukraine, Belarus and Russia are all dying,” the archpriest says. “The Russian state has only about 30 years left to exist” barring a miracle leading to changed preferences for family size among the Slavs. And it can completely disappear, he says, just as Byzantium, a center of the world, did earlier. Only God can produce a miracle and save Russia, Dimitry says, just as happened centuries ago when Tamerlane approached Moscow and planned to burn it. But the Virgin Mary appeared to him in a dream and the Mongol leader reconsidered and then withdrew. She appeared, he continues, because all Russians prayed for this. “But who is praying now? They drink beer and go fishing.” Unless that changes, Russia and the Slavic world will die out in the not distant future. Such predictions are certainly overblown, but they reflect the apocalypticism which infects not only the upper reaches of the Russian Orthodox Church but also many throughout the Russian leadership and the Russian people – and it is this vision of future horrors that helps to explain why Russians are not alienated by Putin’s talk of war and mass destruction. If Russia is on the way off the historical stage anyway, those who think as Dimitry does feel, why would it be wrong to take others with it?