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Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (134) – Election Update


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

I can’t help but notice that Russia is the catalyst for NATO coalescing into a real military alliance.  Russia will, of course, state this is Western aggression, but none of this would have happened had Russia not attacked Ukraine twice and Georgia twice (as well as helped strip off a piece of Moldova in Transnistria). Now we are seeing Sweden, Finland, and Ukraine openly declared as NATO allies. We are seeing the construction of a POMCUS site in Poland. We are seeing interoperability at the highest levels.  Simultaneously, we are seeing Russia…  doing nothing but complain, crying “provocation”. 

Ukraine’s Presidential election continues to further irritate Russia, but the election is clean, without major problems, and heavily endorsed as fair. 

The F-35 issue with Turkey is it’s own doing, trying to placate both Russia and the US. 

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The immense volume of media traffic (around 100 items) on the Ukraine election, especially in Western mainstream media – whatever the eventual outcome of the election the visibility has been immensely valuable for Ukraine and toxic to Russia’s propaganda effort to damage Ukraine in the West. The count is completed and numbers remain essentially as yesterday, with the runoff to be fought by Zelenskiy and Poroshenko. Election monitors all report a very clean effort and congratulations from a great many Western leaders and cognoscenti. Some very good analyses by Baev, Amb Herbst, Ash, Motyl, and especially Portnikov who is highly critical of volatile and fickle Ukrainian voters. Every observation worth making on the domestic politics, and future plays with Russia given either outcome, has been captured by one or more of these authors. The Poroshenko camp and supporters like Motyl label Zelenskiy as a Russia appeaser, but the toxic invective against Zelenskiy emanating from Muscovy and its numerous Western proxies reflects the fact that Zelenskiy’s associate (and claimed sponsor) Kolomoisky is detested in Muscovy as much as Poroshenko, as he funded a number of the nationalist militias that hobbled the early phases of the Russian invasion, and he offered bounties for the capture of any Russian covert operatives or special forces operating in Ukraine (posted on billboards as UAH for capture of “Moskals”).

The bigger difficulty for a Zelenskiy presidency will be the lack of a party to support him in the parliament – even with the largest number of seats held by the Blok Poroshenko party, Pres Poroshenko has confronted repeated problems getting bills pushed through the legislature. The chorus of media and public complaints about Poroshenko not doing enough about reforms naively ignores how difficult it has been to get what he needs out of the legislature. A Zelenskiy presidency, without an aligned party in the legislature, would see a President forced to make concessions every time he needed an important bill passed. With three weeks of campaigning ahead, we should expect to see some very vicious Ukrainian style politics, but also likely escalating nationalistic language and policy positions, as both sides try to capitalize on public animosity toward Russia. The conclusion at this stage is that this election is highly toxic to Russia and either outcome will also be toxic, in different ways.

Other developments: More reports on the NATO pre-positioning site being constructed at Powditz. Wieslander on the de facto NATO membership of its Scandinavian partners. An excellent digest of Eidman’s analysis of Russia’s immense network of proxies in Germany, pivotal to the destabilization and strategic/political paralysis of this key NATO nation. UK signs for E-7 AWACS-Lite, Estonia and Denmark recapitalize AFVs, US DoD suspends Turkish F-35 partnership over the S-400 (the arguments are sound as the Russians would do whatever it takes to collect MASINT on the F-35). Egypt’s Su-35S order explained by Kommersant, likely two SQNs. Filimonov details the potential for separatism in the Russian Far East, a century ago seen as an ethnic Ukrainian enclave.

Crimea and Donbas updates – Russian lost at least 56 KIA and 85 WIA over the last month mainly in combat operations.


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.

Nato to spend $260m on new military site in eastern Poland | World | The Times

Nato is preparing to bolster its power on its front lines against Russia by boosting support to non-members Ukraine and Georgia and building up its arsenal in eastern Poland.The alliance will fund a new $260 million weapons store at an airbase close to Powditz in central Poland, which will cut down

UAWire – Stoltenberg confirms funding for US army depot in Poland

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has confirmed that the alliance will allocate $260 million to the construction of a military storage …

Anna Wieslander | What Makes an Ally? Sweden and Finland as NATO Partners – Atlantic Council

When NATO kicked off Trident Juncture, its largest collective defense exercise in decades in Norway in October 2018, militarily non-aligned Sweden and Finland not only contributed substantial troops, they were actively involved in planning the exercise from the start. Over the years, Sweden and Finland have moved closer to NATO, more so than any other Alliance partner, in order to meet the challenge of defending the Baltics. In 2014, Ukraine, also a NATO partner, came to the realization that there is a red line between the Alliance’s partners and allies when it comes to collective defense. For Sweden and Finland that red line may be more of a gray zone. In 2017, then US Defense Secretary James Mattis said in a meeting with his Swedish counterpart that “we will stand by Sweden… It’s not a NATO ally, but it is still, from our point of view, a friend and an ally.” Then UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon visited Finland shortly thereafter and claimed that as members of the Joint Expeditionary Force, which is part of the NATO Framework Nation Concept, Finland and Sweden could “consider the other seven countries their natural allies.” Of course, Sweden and Finland are not NATO allies in a formal sense. Neither has signed the North Atlantic Treaty nor do they seek NATO membership. While official inquiries in both countries have examined the option and concluded that joining NATO would increase deterrence, the dominant thinking among the political leadership is that changing the security doctrine would be too dramatic. Remaining militarily non-aligned is viewed by policy makers as a contribution to predictability and stability in the Baltic Sea region. For Russia, this is good news. Although Sweden and Finland left neutrality behind when they became members of the European Union (EU) in 1995, Russia continues to refer to both of them as “neutrals.” Moscow realizes that Finland and Sweden would stand by their EU and NATO friends in a crisis, but it rarely misses an opportunity to point out that formal NATO membership for Sweden and Finland would raise Russian concerns about balance of power in the Baltic Sea region. Hesitation toward Alliance membership has not prevented Sweden or Finland from closer cooperation with NATO on territorial defense. This is a remarkable shift given both the history of NATO and the cautiousness of the non-aligned Nordic countries. At the end of the Cold War, Sweden and Finland were neutrals and their militaries hardly interoperable with allied forces. Now they are active EU members and NATO’s closest partners with almost full interoperability. The main driving force for this shift has been the strategic and operational situation in the Baltic Sea area where the security of one country is indisputably interlinked with that of all the others. No regional country is big enough to counter an adversary by itself, hence outside support is needed. In short, NATO, Finland, and Sweden have a mutual interest to cooperate on the defense of the Baltics regardless of Alliance membership. Table-top exercises have illustrated both the vulnerability of the region and how the prospects of successfully handling a crisis or war situation substantially improve through collaboration. There clearly are incentives for Sweden, Finland, and NATO to align in case of a threat and meet it in concert. Such joint action would naturally depend upon decisions taken in Stockholm, Helsinki, and Brussels. Sweden and Finland’s status as Enhanced Opportunities Partners (EOP) for NATO has let them participate in the working procedures of the Alliance on an equal footing with the member states. Sweden and Finland have also committed to pursue their partnership with NATO with a high degree of political will and energy. Finally, it has helped that Sweden and Finland are identified as sharing the Western community’s norms, values, and practices, hence placing them within its “circle of trust.” The two countries’ status as informal allies in the Baltic Sea region has strengths as well as weaknesses. On one hand, it can strengthen collective defense by preparing for joint action if necessary. But if the status is not openly recognized, it can blur, and thus undermine, the joint commitment made by allies to each other. For Sweden and Finland, this status most likely means that they would both get, and would be expected to give, support from NATO in the event of a crisis in their vicinity. But this is a fragile position that depends on circumstances. In addition, both countries lack formal access to Alliance decision-making and joint operational planning. Developed consultation mechanisms and increased information exchange on operational planning could serve to address these drawbacks and speed up action in case of a crisis. “There are no rules, we invent as we go along,” a NATO diplomat told a Swedish diplomat in 2000, explaining NATO’s culture. The inclusion of NATO partners in collective defense would be yet another step in the pragmatic evolution of the Alliance. As NATO turns seventy on April 4, it needs to strike the right balance between carrying out its core tasks as efficiently as possible, while not undermining itself as a multilateral institution. A strategic discussion on how to make the most of partners in this regard could be a useful step ahead. Anna Wieslander is the Atlantic Council’s director for Northern Europe and secretary general of the Swedish Defence Association. Follow her on Twitter @AnnwieAnna.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Regime has Set Up Not One but Five Fifth Columns in Germany, Eidman Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 1 – In the third article of his series on Moscow’s influence operations in the West (for analyses of the first two, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/03/putin-winning-support-from-far-right-as.html andwindowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/03/moscow-propaganda-tries-to-hide-that.html), Igor Eidman says that Putin has established five “fifth columns” in Germany. In many Western countries, Moscow has used a carrot and stick approach to bring elites into line with its desires, paying off many members of the elites with its enormous and shadowy funds, and threatening others with falsified compromat in order to frighten the immediate targets and others a well, the Russian sociologist says (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5CA10DE833BB9). But in no country has this effort gone further than in Germany, Eidman suggests, where Moscow has succeeded in forming “no fewer than five columns of agents of influence.” 

They include the following: 

  1. Radical and above all xenophobic groups, often marginal in German society, whose actions exacerbate conflicts within Germany life and even engage in street disorders. 
  2. Radical and “at the same time to a significant degree pro-Kremlin parliamentary parties like AfD and Die Linke, who contribute to conflicts in the country’s political institutions and thus destabilize Germany’s government. 
  3. Russian language organizations connected with the Kremlin like the Coordinating Council of Organizations of Russian Compatriots, Die Einheit, Kartina TV and so on. “The support xenophobic forces by helping them intensify the domestic political crisis in the country.” 
  4. Agents of influence in the political and business elite. They promote Kremlin programs like the Northern Flow2, and there are today Kremlin “lobbyists in the leadership of all parliamentary parties” in Germany “except for the Greens.” 
  5. Experts within the academic and think tank worlds and journalists like Gabriele Krone-Smalts and Alexander Rahr. “Their task to is work over public opinion and elites in the spirit of ‘understanding’ Putin and promoting rapprochement with the Kremlin.” 

Recruiters and financiers of these columns “are the most odious Putinist oligrachs” like Prigozhin and Malofeyev “and also ‘ideologues’ like Dugin, and of course, the special services, Eidman says. The Russian language column is organized by Russian television, the Russian World foundation, the Russian Foreign Ministry and the special services. And Eidman adds, “the column of pro-Putin politicians, businessmen and experts are supported” in many casdes by more serious and respectable lobbyist organizations like the Deutsch-Russische Wirtschaftsallianz.” But not far below the surface are Chekist officers and groups they control like the infamous Dialogue of Civilizations.

UK signs E-7 airborne early warning contract

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed plans to acquire five Boeing 737-based E-7 airborne early warning and control system aircraft, with the platforms to be modified by Marshall Aerospace & Defence Group. Announced on 22 March and worth £1.5 billion ($1.98 billion), the contract will lead to the adapted narrowbody airliners being introduced to service from the early 2020s. They will replace the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) current Boeing 707-based E-3D Sentry fleet.

Netherlands completes delivery of CV90 combat vehicles to Estonia – Defence Blog

The Netherlands has completed the delivery of 44 infantry fighting vehicles to Estonia, according to the headquarters of the defense forces. Baltic News Service reported that all 44 CV90 IFVs purchased from the Netherlands have been handed over to the defense forces and all vehicles have also reached Estonia. “At the end of 2014, Estonia concluded an agreement for the purchase of 44 units of CV9035NL IFVs and six auxiliary vehicles built on the chassis of Leopard 1 main battle tank from the Netherlands for 113 million euros. The purchased IFVs are second-hand. All vehicles went through maintenance and, if needed, repairs in the Netherlands before being handed over to Estonia,” said in news report. In late 2014, Estonia signed a contract with the Netherlands for the purchase of 44 CV9035 IFVs and six Leopard 1 tank-based support vehicles. The procurement is worth $126 million. The first of the 44 CV903 combat vehicles purchased from the Netherlands arrived in Estonia in October 2016. The CV90 (Combat Vehicle 90) is a family of Swedish tracked combat vehicles designed by FMV, Hägglunds (BAE Systems Hägglunds) and Bofors during the mid-1980s. The CV9035 is the second of the export models of BAE Systems Hägglunds, CV90 (Combat Vehicle 90) tracked IFV. The Royal Netherlands Army was the first export customer to order the CV9035 in 2004. The CV9035 is the first of the CV90 IFV models to feature an Commanders Independent Sight, enabling him to search, engage or hand over targets to the Gunner, much like a 3rd Generation Main Battle Tank.

Danish Army receives new Piranha 5 armored personnel carriers – Defence Blog

The Royal Danish Army has received the new Piranha 5 armored personnel carriers, it was announced on 27 March. After 55 years in the Danish Defense and four updates, the classic M113 armored personnel carriers are finally phased out for the benefit of the new Piranha 5 vehicles, and together with the also new Eagle 5 armored patrol vehicles will constitute the rootstock in building the new brigade. “Our soldiers need modern equipment that meets the demands of the future battlefield – and so does Piranha 5 and Eagle 5,” said Defense Minister Claus Hjort Fredriksen during the ceremony of formally handed over the first production examples of the Piranha 5 8×8 armoured personnel carrier and the Eagle 5 4×4 patrol vehicle. According to Chief of Defense, General Bjørn Bisserup, the transfer of the new vehicles marks a milestone for the future army. “Piranha 5 provides increased security for the soldier and is designed to solve tasks in the future of defense. The new vehicles together with modernized and up-to-date tanks, new patrol vehicles and new artillery and air defense ensure that the Army is strong in resolving the tasks of the future,” said General Bjørn Bisserup. The Danish Army has awarded a multi-year framework contract to General Dynamics European Land Systems for the upgrade and to provide on-going support for its fleet of wheeled armored vehicles. For more than 20 years, General Dynamics European Land Systems has been a trusted partner to Denmark, supplying vehicles and related life-cycle support to the Danish Army. The Piranha is one of the most successful Western 8×8 wheeled armoured vehicle in the world. More than 12,000 vehicles of the PIRANHA family are in service with 20 user nations including and several European countries: Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Romania, Spain, and Switzerland. The vehicles offer a full range of standout features, such as custom built driveline, modular protection, unrivalled payload to gross vehicle weight ratio, almost unlimited range of weapon stations, amphibious capability and the renowned Piranha mobility.

US stops F-35 fighter jet parts delivery to Turkey

After months of warnings, the United States has stopped delivery of F-35 fighter jet parts to Turkey in retaliation for Ankara’s decision to move ahead with the purchase of a Russian surface-to-air missile system, U.S. officials said Monday.

Pentagon Halts F-35 Equipment Delivery To Turkey | Defense content from Aviation Week

The Pentagon has decided to halt Lockheed Martin F-35 equipment delivery to Turkey. The Pentagon has decided to halt Lockheed Martin F-35 equipment delivery to Turkey after a bipartisan Senate bill called for the transfer delay until it is certain the nation will not purchase Russia’s S-400 Triumph defense system. The Defense Department has initiated steps necessary to ensure resiliency of the F-35 supply chain and secondary sources of supply for Turkish-produced parts that are now in development, Pentagon spokesman Charles Summers said in an April 1 statement. “We very much regret the current situation facing our F-35 partnership with Turkey, and the DOD is taking prudent steps to protect the shared investments made in our critical technology,” Summers said. “Our important dialogue on this matter will continue. However, until they forgo delivery of the S-400, the United States has suspended deliveries and activities associated with the stand-up of Turkey’s F-35 operational capability. Should Turkey procure the S-400, their continued participation in the F-35 program is at risk.” Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the head of U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, told Congress on March 5 that the U.S. should withhold F-35s from Turkey if the NATO member accepts delivery of the S-400. “My best military advice would be that we don’t then follow through with the F-35, flying it or working with an ally that is working with Russian air defense systems with … what I would say is one of our most advanced technological capabilities,” Scaparrotti said.

Pentagon Suspends F-35 Fighter Jet Deal With Turkey – WSJ

The U.S. is suspending delivery of support equipment and supplies to Turkey for F-35 jet fighters because of Ankara’s pursuit of a Russian antiaircraft system over repeated U.S. objections, the Pentagon said.

U.S. suspends Turkey’s participation in F-35 fighter program over Ankara’s purchase of Russian system – The Washington Post

The action was the most direct response yet to Ankara’s planned acquisition of a Russian air defense system.

U.S. Suspends F-35 Deliveries To Turkey Over Russia’s S-400 Missile Deal

The United States says it is halting deliveries to Turkey related to the F-35 fighter jet program in response to Ankara’s decision to move ahead with the purchase of Russian missile-defense systems.

Pentagon stops deliveries of F-35 parts, manuals to Turkey over purchase of Russian air defense system | Fox News

The Department of Defense announced Monday that it had “suspended” deliveries of F-35 fighter jet parts and manuals to Turkey over the Middle Eastern country’s decision to purchase a Russian air defense system over Washington’s objection.

U.S. halts F-35 equipment to Turkey, protests its plans to buy from Russia | Reuters

The United States has halted delivery of equipment related to the stealthy F-35 fighter aircraft to Turkey, marking the first concrete U.S. step to block delivery of the jet to the NATO ally in light of Ankara’s planned purchase of a Russian missile defense system.

Pentagon halts F-35 fighter jet equipment deliveries to Turkey | USA News | Al Jazeera

Shipments put on hold until Turkey agrees to cancel purchase of Russian-made S-400, Pentagon says.

Turkey says S-400 delivery talks still on, despite US bill to block F-35

Turkey still talking S-400 delivery with Russia, despite bill to ban F-35 sales.

UAWire – Russia to sell Egypt Su-35 fighter jets for $2 billion

Russia has agreed to sell Cairo several dozen Su-35 multipurpose fighter jets for a price of $2 billion, Kommersant reports, citing two senior managers in the Russian defense industry. Egypt will also be buying MiG-29M and 29M2 fighters. At present, the Egyptian Air Force is using US-produced F-16s, French Mirage 2000s, Soviet-era MiG-21s and Chinese J-7s. According to an agreement signed at the end of 2018, Russia will also supply aircraft weaponry. The delivery is scheduled for 2020-2021. In recent years, Egypt has been one of the primary buyers of Russian weapons and military equipment. Experts connect this to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who began a large-scale rearmament of the military shortly after replacing Mohamed Morsi. After 2014, Russia agreed to sell Egypt 46 MiG-29M/M2 fighters (for around $2 billion) and 46 Ka-52 helicopters (for over $1 billion). According to the sources, both agreements are currently being implemented. While actively collaborating with Russia in the arms trade, Egypt tends to diversify its policy in this area. In 2015, Egypt bought 24 Rafale fighters from France, as well as a FREMM frigate and Scalp-EG tactical cruise missiles, at a total price of €5 billion. In October 2015, Egypt purchased two Mistral-class helicopter carriers from France. The carriers had originally been commissioned for the Russian Navy, but France broke off the deal with Russia in connection with the situation in south-eastern Ukraine. In June 2016, the helicopter carriers ENS Gamal Abdel Nasser and ENS Anwar El Sadat joined the Egyptian Navy.

Su-35 will strengthen Egyptian power – Газета Коммерсантъ № 46 (6526) от 18.03.2019

Cairo joined the club of the largest buyers of Russian weapons | As it became known to “Kommersant”, Russia signed a contract with Egypt for the supply of several dozen heavy Su-35 multifunctional fighters. Together with the MiG-29M / M2 medium fighters supplied to Egypt, in the coming years they should significantly increase the combat potential of the Egyptian air force fleet, which is still armed with the outdated Soviet MiG-21 and Chinese J-7. The contract itself, estimated at $ 2 billion, confirms Egypt’s status as one of the largest buyers of Russian weapons.The fact that Egypt has signed an agreement for the supply of Su-35 fighters, “Kommersant” was told by two top managers of defense industry enterprises. According to them, the relevant agreement, which implies the supply of “over two dozen machines” and aviation aids to them in the amount of about $ 2 billion, entered into force at the end of 2018, and the supplies themselves can begin as early as 2020–2021. The interlocutors of “Kommersant” noted that the contract “guarantees the utilization of the capacity of the manufacturer of the machine, the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant, for several years ahead.” At the same time, one of the interlocutors of “Kommersant” stressed that the production capabilities of the factory line allow the company to produce about 20 such machines for the needs of Russian aerospace forces without problems in 2019–2020. In the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation and Rosoboronexport (a special exporter of Russian arms), “Kommersant” refrained from commenting on this topic.In recent years, Egypt is one of the largest buyers of a wide range of Russian weapons and military equipment. This activity is directly related to the figure of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who came to power in Egypt during the coup d’état in 2013. According to military sources, the former Minister of Defense al-Sisi, who replaced Mohammed Mursi as head of state, very quickly realized the real need of the army for mass rearmament. Already in 2014, Moscow and Cairo signed a package of contracts for the supply of weapons involving the delivery of various air defense systems (anti-missile systems Antey-2500 and Buk-M2E), artillery, small arms and other weapons worth about $ 3.5 billion. The actual package of contracts signed then became the first real example of the resumption of military-technical cooperation between Cairo and Moscow since 1972, when Soviet military advisers left the country at the request of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Subsequently, a number of iconic contracts for weapons were concluded: an agreement to supply 46 MiG-29M / M2 fighter jets (worth about $ 2 billion) and 46 Ka-52 combat helicopters (worth more than $ 1 billion). in the process. Note that, against the background of such large-scale purchases in Russia, Egypt did not refuse to offer other countries. For example, in February 2015, the Egyptian military bought 24 fighters Rafale in France, a frigate of the type FREMM and cruise tactical missiles Scalp-EG worth about 5 billion euros. Later, however, it was reported that the United States is blocking the sale of these missiles to Egypt: La Tribune noted that Scalp-EG contains US-made components that require an authorization license to export (according to the International Restriction of Arms Trade). Without this, the delivery of missiles to another country is impossible. But in October 2015, with the consent of Russia, the Egyptian military purchased from France two Mistral-type helicopter carriers destined for the Russian Navy, but not transferred to it for political reasons (then-President Francois Hollande directly linked deliveries to stabilizing the situation in south-eastern Ukraine). In June 2016, both ships – the “Gamal Abdel Nasser” and “Anwar Sadat” – became part of the Egyptian fleet. Note that in 2017, Russia also won the Egyptian tender for the supply of Ka-52K ship-based helicopters: after signing a firm contract, the Egyptian naval forces plan to deploy several helicopter squadrons on two Mistrals (combined, about 32 ka. 52K helicopters). At about the same time, the first reports appeared about Egypt’s readiness to purchase the Su-35: local media (for example, the El Watan newspaper) reported that Egypt would buy 12 such cars from Russia, since they “outnumber any of the existing ones in their technical characteristics and combat capabilities. currently in the world of fighters “, including the American F-35 and F-22. From about that time, parties with varying degrees of intensity were negotiating on the subject of the Su-35, but the real shift came after the fighters were activated during a Russian operation in Syria, says one of the Kommersant’s military interlocutors: Egypt was interested in not only to replace the physically obsolete Soviet MiG-21s and their Chinese J-7 derivatives (the MiG-29M / M2 was acquired for this task), but also to increase the combat readiness of the main fleet of its air force consisting of American F-16 and French x Mirage 2000. Egypt is one of those countries that tend to purchase different types of weapon systems, the expert of Strategies and Technologies Analysis Center, Konstantin Makienko: “The only thing that somewhat hinders their enormous requests, this resource constraint.” Recall that until recently, it was aware of two firm contracts for the Su-35: in November 2015, an agreement was signed with the PRC for the supply of 24 Su-35 fighter jets (a contract worth over $ 2 billion was completed at the end of 2018, when the customer was the last four cars were delivered), and in 2018 11 Su-35s contracted Indonesia (the contract is estimated at $ 1.1 billion, of which about half comes from counter-deliveries of non-military products). At the same time, for the first time, so-called secondary sanctions were applied to China for this deal within the framework of CAATSA (“On counteracting the opponents of America through sanctions”). For example, in September 2018, restrictive measures were imposed on the equipment development department of the Chinese Army of the Central Military Council and its director Li Shanfu for forbidden cooperation with Russia. Similar US sanctions threatened the Indonesian authorities, but the country’s defense minister Riamizard Riachudu said that Jakarta did not intend to cancel the Su-35 deal, despite US anti-Russian sanctions and possible restrictive measures for cooperation with Moscow. Delivery of the first Su-35 to Indonesia may begin as early as the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020.

UAWire – Gazprom CEO sees no obstacles for Nord Stream-2

The head of Gazprom, Alexey Miller, in the interview with the program Moscow. Kremlin. Putin. stated that there are no obstacles for the …

Russian Man Sentenced In Treason Case Linked To FSB Cyberscandal

A Russian Internet businessman has been sentenced by a Moscow court to seven years in prison on treason charges in a case linked to a scandal at the Russia’s main security agency.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Dormant Volcano’ of Separatism May Erupt in Russian Far East, Khabarovsk Scholar Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 1 – Aleksey Filimonov, a historian in Khabarovsk, says that the defeat of United Russia candidates last September and the new charges against Viktor Isayev, a former regional head, suggest that “’the dormant volcano’ of separatism” may soon erupt in the Russian Far East in ways that recall the movements that led to the disintegration of the USSR. The collapse of public trust in Vladimir Putin and indeed in the entire system of rule he represents, Filimonov says, is intensifying especially in regions far from Moscow and could lead to efforts by people in them to have their regions exit from the Russian Federation and become independent countries (newsader.info/specialist/krymu-mozhno-a-dalnemu-vostoku-net-is). Interviewed by Newsader journalist Aleksandr Kushnar, the historian says that Putin’s official ruling party is bankrupt and that the population increasingly sees it. Membership in it is toxic for any candidate, and “there are now no means which would allow United Russia to return is lost popularity,” something that has been obvious since the ill-fated pension reform. The problem with that reform, Filimonov says, is not that it occurred but that the powers that be tried to sell it in a completely tone-deaf way. If they had said that the country is surrounded by enemies and that Russian need to tighten their belts, people would have gone along. But United Russia said it would benefit them, something that was obvioiusly not the case. Such absurd suggestions recall the worst cases of counterproductive propaganda at the end of Soviet times, the historian continues. But that is not the worst of it: Kremlin candidates for governors want to talk about foreign policy which is not their province, and people want to know who they think they are. As a result, both within United Russia and in the country as a whole, each part is acting on its own without concern for others – and that leads to chaos and possible disintegration. “Formally, there are no such tendencies” at the moment, because of the certainty of being punished for them. But there are reasons to think they are growing below the surface. Two reasons for that are provided by the Kremlin itself: On the one hand, Filimonov continues,“when Russia wants to get the territory of another country, it appeals to the opinion of the citizens, but on its very own territory, it prohibits the citizens from calling for separation.” Russians can see that and are beginning to ask questions. And on the other, Moscow and especially United Russia act as if people beyond the ring road are irrelevant. People can see that and are angry. If a regional politician starts talking about the need to “stop feeding Moscow,” he or she will get support – and both regional politicians and the population know that. That could allow “the dormant volcano” of separatism to erupt. There are other reasons as well: Some of them lie beyond the borders of Russia and include China and Japan. People in those countries are asking “why is it possible for Crimea” to change from one country to another but not the Russian Far East? “What indeed is the problem with that?” “I am not saying that this is good or bad,” the historian concludes, “but within the next ten to fifteen years, such a possibility exists.”

Poroshenko, Merkel discuss elections, peacekeeping mission and release of hostages

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko had a phone conversation with Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, the president’s press service reported on Monday evening. — Ukrinform.

U.S., Spain, Romania discuss Russian Aggression in Black Sea region – news world | UNIAN

Deputy Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, Robert Palladino, said State Secretary Mike Pompeo had discussed with Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu and Spain’s top diplomat Josep Borrell during their meeting in Washington on Monday Russian aggression in the Black Sea. The parties have recognized there are issues on NATO’s eastern flank that the Alliance must address. Deputy Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, Robert Palladino, said State Secretary Mike Pompeo had discussed with Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu and Spain’s top diplomat Josep Borrell during their meeting in Washington on Monday Russian aggression in the Black Sea. The sides discussed cooperation with Romania, “a stalwart NATO Ally,” recognizing that there are “challenges facing NATO on its eastern flank.”

NATO recognizes Ukraine’s aspirations for membership, but wants to see reforms: Stoltenberg – news politics | UNIAN

Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg says the Alliance recognizes Ukraine’s aspirations for NATO membership, but stresses the need to continue reforms, including the fight against corruption in the defense and security sectors. NATO helps Ukraine modernize its defense and security institutions.

NATO not to comment on elections in Ukraine until second round – Stoltenberg

Elections are a normal democratic procedure for NATO and for all allies, but it will be possible to comment on presidential elections in Ukraine after they are over, that is, after the second round vote. — Ukrinform.

NATO frigates Toronto and Santa Maria already in Odesa port. Photos

Two NATO ships have arrived in the port of Odesa on a three-day visit. — Ukrinform.

U.S. envoy to NATO counts on Ukraine, Georgia joining alliance

Ukraine and Georgia are working closely with NATO and in Washington hope that these countries will be able to become members of the North Atlantic Alliance, U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison has said.

Foreign minister Klimkin: Ukraine to continue to move towards EU, NATO whoever next president is

Ukraine will not change its foreign policy focus on the accession to the EU and NATO whoever the next president is. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine still hopes to reclaim Crimea and Donbass from Russia

The battle to reclaim Ukraine’s occupied territories back from Russia is far from over, according to the country’s foreign minister.

President Poroshenko met with widow of U.S. Senator McCain

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko met with Cindy McCain, the widow of former U.S. Senator John McCain, the president’s press service reported on Monday evening. — Ukrinform. “President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko met with Cindy McCain, the U.S. Senator John McCain’s widow, who is in Ukraine as part of the election observation mission of the International Republican Institute… Petro Poroshenko told Cindy McCain that one of the streets of Kyiv soon would be named after Senator John McCain – a great friend and advocate of Ukraine,” reads the report. During the meeting, special attention was paid to the Ukrainian presidential elections. It was noted that the first round of the presidential elections was fair and democratic, with high standards of electoral race and political competition.

Коммерсантъ FM 93,6 on Twitter: “Situation in Kiev leaves little chance for normalization of relations with Ukraine- MP Karasin”

 

HRW: Russia should release Crimean Tatars detained last week

The Human Rights Watch calls on Russia to release the Crimean Tatars, who were detained on March 27-28 in the occupied Crimea. — Ukrinform.

Prime-time news show on Russian state TV: One lie per minute |Euromaidan Press |

Head the Russian government-owned international news agency Rossiya Segodnya and deputy director of Russian state TV holding company VGTRK Dmitry Kiselyov keeps living up to his reputation as one of the Kremlin’s most passionate propagandists. On 17 March, while celebrating the fifth anniversary of Crimea’s annexation on his show, the Russian state TV host managed to formulate a total of three lies in a matter of fewer than three minutes. However, Mr. Kiselyov’s statements were picked apart already on the following day in an article titled “Dmitry Kiselyov’s Three Fakes at the Anniversary of Crimea’s Annexation,“ published by the independent Russian outlet The Insider.

Faces of the Crimean Solidarity group who Russia baselessly arrested as “terrorists” |Euromaidan Press |

Article by: Sofia Kochmar-Tymoshenko On 27 March, in its largest raid yet, Russian special services tore into the homes of several dozen Crimean Tatar families in occupied Crimea. Read more: Russia arrests 23 Crimean Tatars after largest raid ever in occupied Crimea Sons, husbands, fathers and brothers make up the faces of those arrested at home in the early morning, led away in handcuffs, and taken to the Crimean FSB HQ. According to their lawyers, they were then transported to Rostov-on-Don (Russia). At least 20 men were arrested and accused of supposed participation in the pan-Islamic organization Hizb ut-Tahrir. The next day, three more Crimean Tatars were arrested in Rostov-on-Don. Edem Yachikov has disappeared. And Tair Ibragimov was arrested near court in Simferopol, where he came to support his friends. 55 children and three more to be born have lost their fathers as a result of the FSB operation. Officially, all the Crimean Tatars are accused of participation in Hizb ut-Tahrir, which advocates the expansion of Islam but rejects violence. 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. However, since occupying Crimea, Russia has used this law as a means to persecute Crimean Tatars. In fact, most of the arrested persons were to a greater or lesser degree members of the Crimean Solidarity association, which offers support to political prisoners and their families. Since Russia annexed the peninsula, FSB officers raid Crimean Tatar houses almost every week. More than fifty people have been arrested. Crimean Solidarity helps with coordination between family and lawyers, attends court sessions and provides reports on the court sessions via Facebook, broadcasts video from court sessions and helps families deliver things to their relatives in prison. Scroll down for a list of names and life stories of people baselessly accused of being “terrorists” by the Russian regime.

UAWire – Ukrainian POWs made to undergo psychiatric examinations in Russia

Second rank Captain Denys Hrytsenko, one of the Ukrainian sailors captured by Russia off the coast of Crimea, said that he and his fellow …

2,500 Crimeans to serve in Russian army

2,500 citizens of Crimea, Sevastopol to serve in Russian Army

Kremlin Falsely Claims Russia not Occupying Ukrainian Territory

After winning the first round of the presidential poll, Volodymyr Zelensky said a return of Ukrainian territory and talk of compensation would be preconditions for meeting Vladimir Putin. Putin’s…

Ukrainian officer reveals enemy death toll in Donbas in March (Photo) – news war | UNIAN

Officer of the 53rd Separate Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Anatoliy Shtefan, has disclosed the enemy death toll in Donbas in March 2019. The figures could be higher due to the efforts by Russian occupation forces to conceal their losses, the officer admits. Officer of the 53rd Separate Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Anatoliy Shtefan, has disclosed the enemy death toll in Donbas in March 2019. “In March, some 56 occupiers who had been part of the units of Russian occupation forces of the so-called ‘Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics’ were killed in action, while about 85 mercenaries sustained injuries of varying severity,” the officer wrote on Facebook. According to Shtefan, non-combat losses amounted to nine terrorists who died as a result of violations of safety measures, suicide, or murder. Sixteen more militants were injured off combat. According to the Ukrainian officer, the figures could be higher due to the efforts by Russian occupation forces to conceal their losses.

Russian-led forces launch 18 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas

Russian occupation forces launched 18 attacks, using weapons banned under the Minsk agreements five times, on positions of Ukrainian troops in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas over the past day. — Ukrinform.

Russia-led forces mount 18 attacks on Ukraine army positions in past day, three soldiers WIA

Fighters of Russia-led illegal armed groups opened fire on the positions of Ukraine’s Joint Forces 18 times in the past day, three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in action, the press center of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) said in a morning update on April 2.

JFO: Three Ukrainian soldiers wounded in Donbas in past 24 hours – news war | UNIAN

Russia’s hybrid military forces in the past 24 hours mounted 18 attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas, with three Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action. Two invaders were killed and another six were wounded on Monday, intelligence reports say.

Ukrainian soldier Dmytro Kravchenko died from heart attack in JFO area. PHOTOS

02.04.19 14:21 – Ukrainian soldier Dmytro Kravchenko died from heart attack in JFO area. PHOTOS On March 31, the soldier of the 93rd brigade “Kholodnyi Iar” of Ukraine’s Armed Forces died. View photo news.

Ukroboronprom preparing road map to bring current defense industry standards in line with NATO standards by 2022

The Ukroboronprom state concern in cooperation with profile institutions – the Economic Development and Trade Ministry, the Defense Ministry and state-owned enterprise (SOE) Ukrainian Research and Training Center of Standardization, Certification and Quality – is working out practical steps on modernization of the current standardization in the defense industry and its switch to NATO standards.

Ukraine’s Vice PM Kubiv: Export generates about 50% of GDP

Development of export is a key priority for Ukraine as it generates about 50% of GDP. — Ukrinform.

Photographs capture an abandoned world inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Photographs capture an abandoned world inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Chernobyl: Photographer documents a quarter-century of decay – CNN

David McMillan’s photos are an astonishing look at a ghost city largely untouched since the Chernobyl disaster, while exploring the enduring power of nature and the inevitability of decline.

The big loser in Ukraine’s presidential election? Vladimir Putin – Los Angeles Times

Russian President Vladimir Putin wasn’t running in the Ukrainian presidential election. But he was by far the biggest loser of the night.

Pavel K. Baev | Ukrainian elections challenge Putin’s autocracy

In an odd historical coincidence, the last meaningful and even fateful elections Russia saw happened exactly 30 years ago, when Mikhail Gorbachev, driven by a desire to modernize the sclerotic state, opened up the super-rigid Soviet system—only to find it crashing down around him less than three years late. Moscow finds some comfort in the fact that, so far at least, Ukraine’s successful democratic transition has not delivered an acceleration of economic growth (Vedomosti, March 25). That said, Russia’s own period of strong growth in the mid-2000s has also given way to protracted and inescapable stagnation. What the Kremlin cannot accept—and also cannot fail to see—is that post-EuroMaidan Ukraine has taken a major step forward in consolidating its statehood and upholding national unity, despite the great diversity of domestic positions and preferences (Svoboda.ru, March 29). The Ukrainian public’s angry disapproval of the hypocrisy of ruling elites and its refusal to tolerate corruption, which have shaped the content of these elections, are delivering Ukraine closer to Europe—more so than any association agreements with the European Union ever could on its own (Carnegie.ru, February 7). Russian aggression continues to be a grave threat and heavy burden for Ukraine, but it has failed to push Ukrainian society into dismay and disunity; rather, it propels the partly dismembered but resolutely undefeated country westward, along the hard road toward its European future. Ukraine continues to be tied to Russia via numerous economic, social and cultural connections, which were deformed but not wholly severed by the bitter conflict. These ties are further stretched by Ukraine’s democracy-building and Russia’s simultaneous drift toward deeper and more comprehensive autocracy (see Commentaries, March 21). Russia’s trajectory is, however, more complicated than its ruling kleptocracy believes: it involves deeper and harder-to-register shifts in attitude occurring in many strata of its disillusioned and discontented society. The plain fact that Ukrainians have multiple and free choices to decide the character of their leadership resonates destructively inside Putin’s pyramid of power, despite all the propaganda of self-glorification and Ukraine-denigration. Responding with harsher domestic repressions may be a natural impulse in the Kremlin, but it is difficult to perform because of the police-state’s overwhelming corruption. Faking indifference is another natural pose, but it may suddenly mutate into hysterical over-reaction. Topics:

Herbst on Zelenskyi and Poroshenko: they both have good chance of winning

Incumbent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyi, who reach the second round of presidential elections according to preliminary results, have good chances of winning despite a significant gap between them in the first round. Censor.NET reports citing Ukrinform. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst, who currently serves as director of the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, said this in an interview. “I think they both have a good chance of winning. I don’t think that [gap between the two candidates] will be closer in the round two than it was in the round one,” he said. He also commented on what each of the candidates may focus on in order to increase chances of winning the second round. “They may focus their attention on their own strengths and their opponent’s weaknesses. So, for Zelenskyi the big issue is corruption, for Poroshenko the big issue is the national security,” Herbst said. The expert also suggested that if Poroshenko wins, he will be able to build his own policy depending on the results of parliamentary elections and the new political configuration of other government agencies. Meanwhile, if Zelenskyi wins, the Kremlin will “do some provocations to test him.” At the same time, if Zelenskyi’s close ties with well-known Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoiskyi prove true, this will greatly weaken his presidential ambitions and opportunities at the post. Source:https://censor.net.ua/en/n3119996

Both Poroshenko and Zelensky have good chances of winning – Herbst

Incumbent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, who reach the second round of presidential elections according to preliminary results, have good chances of winning despite a significant gap between them in the first round. — Ukrinform.

Timothy Ash: Zelenskiy emerges as favorite to beat Poroshenko on April 21 | KyivPost – Ukraine’s Global Voice

This was a big win for Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the March 31 first-round election. All those people who said that Zelenskiy voters were young, soft and would not come out and vote were proved wrong. Zelensky out-performed expectations in the first round, with 30.46 percent as of 71.27 percent of votes counted. President Petro Poroshenko’s team will be relieved that they got into the second round, beating ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, but they must be disappointed with only 16 percent of the vote despite all the benefits of incumbency. They must have hoped that when people got to the ballot box they would vote for what they knew — stability and security. In an age of anti-establishment candidates, incumbency is a chain around Poroshenko’s neck. I cannot see him ridding himself of that major handicap. The second round run-off vote will be bitter, with gloves off from the Poroshenko camp, trying to expose Zelenskiy’s lack of experience versus “the commander in chief.” But Zelenskiy is unlikely to engage. The question is whether Poroshenko can get any punches to land. Interesting speaking with some Poroshenko supporters in Kyiv, and they still think their candidate can win. I just cannot see it, unless Zelenskiy self-destructs. This is Zelenskiy’s election to lose. But looking at the math, he has 30.5 percent, I think the eastern vote for Yuriy Boyko and Oleksandr Vilkul will mostly fall for Zelenskiy, or they will not vote. I think that could push Zelensky up to 40 percent. Poroshenko probably will take most of ex-Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko’s vote. Or maybe not, given that ex-Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk and ex-Economy Minister Aivaras Abromovicius have sided firmly now with Zelenskiy. But I give two-thirds of this vote to Poroshenko. Ex-Security Service of Ukraine head Ihor Smeshko’s 6 percent might also mostly go to Poroshenko. I am not sure about Tymoshenko and Oleh Lyashko, but that’s 18 percent combined, so could be the defining vote. Tymoshenko and Zelenskiy’s teams likely will be talking, but I don’t see a formal link-up as being to the benefit of either. But I would guess that most Tymoshenko’s voters will go for Zelenskiy, as she will likely think her best chance of becoming prime minister would be under a Zelenskiy presidency. I cannot see Tymoshenko trusting Poroshenko much after her experience with Poroshenko after the 2004 Orange Revolution that brought Viktor Yushchenko to power. And she would see a weak Zelenskiy presidency as her best chance of dominating the political scene through the Rada, and perhaps after constitutional reform. Putting the above together in my mind its a real uphill struggle for Poroshenko to win now from here in the second round. For me also its really notable that both Danylyuk and Abromavicius have declared for Zelenskiy. Both will be important gatekeepers for the Zelenskiy team, and Danylyuk must have his eye on the post of prime minister under Zelenskiy, albeit getting there could still be tricky given the Verkhovna Rada mix, and the current constitution. It might be difficult ousting Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman this side of parliamentary elections.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ukrainians Once Again are Voting for Someone They Hope has a Magic Wand, Portnikov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 1 – No one should have been surprised that Vladimir Zelensky ran far ahead of all other candidates in the first round of the Ukrainian presidential election, Vitaly Portnikov says. His victory shows that Ukrainians continue to vote their hopes that someone will come to office with a magic wand and solve all their problems. The Ukrainian commentator says that what this shows is not that Zelensky is some special phenomenon – in fact, the television personality was simply boosted into the top position by oligarch Igor Kolomoysky — but that “the Ukrainian voter has not changed over the last two and a half decades” (svoboda.org/a/29853834.html). According to Portnikov, the Ukrainian voter “traditionally casts his or her ballot not for a manger or a political leader but for a magician and then after a year or so having become convinced that his or her idol has no magic wand grows disappointed with the choice and begins to blame him rather than himself or herself.” Over the last 28 years, he continues, “only one of [Ukraine’s] presidents has succeeded in being re-elected for a second term,” Leonid Kuchma. “But now few recall that it was precisely Kuchma, who also unexpectedly for many having won the 1994 elections was the first Ukrainian ‘president of great hopes.’” But having won, he rapidly showed he was no miracle worker. “The next Ukrainian president of hopes was the idol of ‘the orange Maidan,’ Viktor Yushchenko.” But when he sought re-election, he had lost so much support that he did not even get into the second round. Instead, he lost to Viktor Yanukovich, “the president of the hopes of the Ukrainian east,” who ultimately was ousted by the Maidan of 2013-2014. Poroshenko, too, came out of nowhere and became another “president of hopes, hope that the legitimacy of the presidency would be restored, that the war would be finished, and that the occupied territories would be recovered.” But he was unable to achieve what Ukrainians hoped for when they voted for him. And so the cycle is continuing. “In this sense,” Portnikov argues, “Vladimir Zelensky is the Kuchma, Yushchenko and Poroshenko of 2019, the candidate of hopes in a pure form,” given that even more than his predecessors he has no record and people can invest in him whatever their hopes dictate without fear of immediate contradiction. What’s likely to come next “is not so difficult to predict,” the commentator says. Poroshenko will be able to defeat Zelensky in the second round “only if there is a maximum consolidation of the national-democratic electorate – and that the voters view Zelensky as unpatriotic and his election a threat for the future of Ukraine.” But those conditions may not be met, and Zelensky may be elected, Portnikov says. And what that will mean is suggested not only by the last decades of Ukrainian politics but also by the behavior of Zelensky himself. During the campaign, he said he would get on his knees to ask Putin for peace. But once he won the first round and looks set to become president of “Ukraine and not some other country,” he said that he would “meet with the Russian president only after the return of the occupied territories and only in order to demand compensation for the occupation of Crimea and the Donbass.

Tymoshenko not to support Zelensky, Poroshenko in second tour – Yulia Tymoshenko thinks that any of the candidates can stop the war

Yulia Tymoshenko, the candidate for the presidency in Ukraine and leader of “Batkivshchyna” political party stated that any of the candidates, who enter the second tour of the presidential elections, are able to solve the challenges faced by Ukraine as 112.uareported. “The country is in the crisis, war, economic devastation, extreme poverty and demolition of the institutions of governance. Ukraine faces great challenges, the misfortune is great. I think that any of the candidates, who enter the second tour according to the decision of the Central Election Commission, will cope with these challenges and stop war and misfortune,” Tymoshenko stated.

In Moscow, Some See Opportunity in Comedian’s Victory in Ukraine

The three leading candidates took tough lines on relations with Russia, with which Ukraine has been at war since the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russian forces. “The Kremlin didn’t believe Zelenskiy could win until March as they just don’t understand these things,” said Gleb Pavlovsky, a Moscow political

Alexander J. Motyl | Ukraine’s TV President Is Dangerously Pro-Russian – Foreign Policy

Volodymyr Zelensky could become the country’s next real-life leader. If his show is any guide, Ukrainians should be worried.

Ukraine’s Democratic Actor – WSJ

A TV celebrity leads the presidential race. Does he have any ideas?

Comedian Leads in First Round as Ukraine Votes for President – WSJ

A comedian with no political experience was poised to win the first round of Ukraine’s presidential elections Sunday as disillusionment with the political elite simmers ahead of a likely runoff on April 21.

In Ukraine Presidential Runoff, It’s Comic Versus Chocolate King – The New York Times

An actor with no political experience easily finished first in Ukraine’s election, and will face the incumbent president in an April 21 runoff.

Between Zelensky and Poroshenko, Ukraine will be stuck with an oligarch-linked president – The Washington Post

And there is much to fight against.

Ukraine election: What would a comic president mean? – BBC News

The actor played the president on TV and is now well placed to land the role for real.

Comedian surging towards Ukranian Presidency faces questions over ties to billionaire oligarch | Daily Mail Online

Volodymyr Zelenskiy surging ahead in the Presidency race in the Ukraine thanks to an insurgent campaign that rails against corrupt politicians influenced by rich oligarchs.

Ukraine’s Joker in the Pack Wins First Round

For voters who backed 41-year-old TV comic Volodymyr Zelenskiy in first round of balloting, art and life are in harmony

Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy leads Ukraine presidential vote

KIEV, Ukraine — Early results in Ukraine’s presidential election show a comedian with no political experience maintaining his strong lead against the…

Jewish comedian is top vote-getter in first round of Ukraine’s presidential election – Europe – Haaretz.com

Volodymyr Zelensky will face either incumbent Petro Poroshenko or former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko in a run-off on April 21

Comedian faces scrutiny over oligarch ties in Ukraine presidential race

One of Ukraine’s most popular TV channels 1+1, owned by oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, has given Zelenskiy a powerful platform in recent months during his meteoric rise to the brink of the presidency. On Saturday, a day before Zelenskiy won the first round of the presidential contest and set up a run-off

Ukraine Set for Final Campaigns in Zelenskiy-Poroshenko Runoff

Yulia Tymoshenko eliminated in first round after falling short

Jewish comedian most voted in first Ukraine’s presidential election round – Diaspora – Jerusalem Post

Zelensky, 41, whom the local media call “the Ukrainian Donald Trump,” portrays a history teacher turned president in his hit television show “Servant of the People.”

Ukrainian comedian a step closer to taking office for real | Fox News

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has no political experience, but that’s no problem for the people of Ukraine who have already seen him performing the role of president.

Another Election Sours for Ukraine’s ‘Gas Princess’ – Bloomberg

Yulia Tymoshenko failed again to become Ukraine’s president. We look at the up-and-down career of the country’s most recognizable politician.

Comic Volodymyr Zelensky rides a wave of voter anger to top Ukrainian presidential poll | World | The Times

A professional comedian with no political experience is on course to win the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election. Volodymyr Zelensky, 41, held 30.2 per cent of the votes at 9am today with 50.4 per cent of ballots counted. The incumbent President Poroshenko and the former prime minister

Comedian advances to runoff against incumbent in Ukraine presidential race

Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who plays Ukraine’s president on television, has won the first round of the struggling country’s presidential election and is set to face the incumbent in a runoff this month.

Ukraine’s President Poroshenko Praises Anti-Russia Sentiment In Election Victory

Poroshenko takes on a famous actor — Volodymyr Zelinsky — who has made corruption and a weak economy his campaign centerpiece.

A Comedian is Leading the Presidential Election in Ukraine | Time

Ukraine comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy currently has a sizable lead over rivals, including incumbent President Petro Poroshenko.

‘I’m very happy, but this is not the final action’ – BBC News

A comedian has won the most votes in the first round of Ukraine’s presidential elections, according to exit polls.

Comedian takes lead in Ukraine presidential vote – Japan Today

A comedian with a popular anti-corruption message but no political experience took the lead in the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election on Sunday, exit polls showed. Volodymyr Zelenskiy, 41, who plays a fictional president in a TV show, had consistently led opinion polls in a three-horse race against incumbent…

No joke: Poll shows comedian leads Ukraine presidential race

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who stars in a TV sitcom about a teacher who becomes, led the field of 39 with 30.4% of the vote, exit poll shows

Comedian Zelenskiy to face Poroshenko in Ukraine presidential run-off, exit poll shows – Daily Sabah

A comedian with no political experience raced ahead in the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election on Sunday, offering a fresh face to voters fed up…

Zelensky’s ability to make inroads into parliament to be critical in determining his effectiveness in governing – Goldman Sachs

Given Volodymyr Zelensky’s larger-than-expected margin of victory over Petro Poroshenko, the base case for Zelensky to prevail in the run-off vote in three weeks’ time has now strengthened somewhat, but Zelensky’s ability to make inroads into parliament will be critical in determining his effectiveness in governing, Goldman Sachs has said in an analytical report.

Ukraine Decides

Ukraine Set for Brutal Final Campaigns in Zelenskiy-Poroshenko Runoff – YouTube

VOA News Published on Apr 1, 2019 Ukraine is preparing for three weeks of impassioned political campaigning, as a television comedian goes head-to-head with the incumbent for the presidency. As widely predicted, satirist Volodymyr Zelenskiy easily won the first round of voting Sunday with around 30% of the ballots. President Petro Poroshenko came in second with around 16%. As Henry Ridgwell reports, the newcomer’s policy positions are likely to come under greater scrutiny ahead of the April 21 runoff. Originally published at –https://www.voanews.com/a/ukraine-set

Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy rejoices at first exit poll victory in Ukraine’s election – YouTube

Guardian News Published on Mar 31, 2019 ‘Thanks for all the Ukrainians who did not cast their vote as a joke,’ comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy said as he took the lead in the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election. Zelenskiy, 41, who plays a fictional president in a popular TV show, has consistently led opinion polls in a three-horse race against incumbent Petro Poroshenko and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. He has no political experience but has risen on a popular message of anti-corruption. ‘People are above all for me, [they are more important] than political activity and ambitions’. According to a preliminary exit poll, two hours before voting closed, Zelenskiy had secured 30.4% of votes compared to Poroshenko’s 17.8%. Tymoshenko, who had won 14.2%, immediately challenged the accuracy of the result, saying her internal polling put her in second place behind Zelenskiy Subscribe to Guardian News on YouTube ►http://bit.ly/guardianwiressub

Comedian Zelenskiy leading Ukraine presidential election – YouTube

euronews (in English) Published on Apr 1, 2019 A comedian with no political experience is leading Ukraine’s presidential poll with more than 50% of ballots counted. … READ MORE : https://www.euronews.com/2019/03/31/u… What are the top stories today? Click to watch: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list… euronews: the most watched news channel in Europe Subscribe!http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c… euronews is available in 13 languages: https://www.youtube.com/user/euronews… In English: Website: http://www.euronews.com/news Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/euronews Twitter:http://twitter.com/euronews Google+: http://google.com/+euronews VKontakte: http://vk.com/en.euronews

Why Ukraine Might Make a TV Actor Its President | Council on Foreign Relations

Ukraine’s presidential campaign—the first since the upheavals of 2014—is drawing to a close, and the most improbable of candidates has taken the lead. Could he really become the country’s next president?

Rob Portman on Twitter: “Encouraged by the peaceful and fair first round of presidential elections in #Ukraine. Urge the candidates and international community to respect the electoral process.”

Elections in Ukraine demonstrated sharp contrast with Russia – Senator Menendez

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has congratulated Ukrainians on holding a transparent and democratic first round of presidential elections and stressed that this demonstrated a “sharp contrast” with current realities in Russia. — Ukrinform.

Margot Wallström on Twitter: “Yesterday’s Ukrainian election was “assessed positively overall, and paves the way to the second round”, according to @osce_odihr. This is an important testimony to Ukraine’s democratic development. Sweden participated with over 50 observers. #UkraineElections”

Linas Linkevicius on Twitter: “I congratulate #Ukraine, having reaffirmed its democratic credentials by conducting 1st round of Presidential elections in essentially free, fair & highly competitive manner. Regret that due to RU aggression elections could not be held in occupied Crimea & parts of Donbass.”

Helen Clark on Twitter: “#Ukraine 🇺🇦 presidential election goes to a 2nd round on 21 April with contest between incumbent Poroshenko & challenger Zelenskyy, a comedian. @bbcworld asks “what would a comic president mean?” ⁦@NZinWarsaw⁩ https://t.co/GijeTbpIup”

Donald Tusk congratulates Poroshenko on reaching runoff of presidential elections

President of the European Council Donald Tusk congratulated President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on reaching the runoff and praised compliance with democratic standards during the elections. — Ukrinform.

Germany’s CDU comments on Zelensky’s win in first round of Ukraine election – news politics | UNIAN

The Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) faction in Germany’s Bundestag has commented on the victory of showman Volodymyr Zelensky in the first round of the Ukraine presidential election. “Over the next three weeks before the [runoff] vote, Zelensky must specify what he stands for and which team of politicians will support him. Ukraine cannot afford to rely on inexperienced leadership in the conflict with Russia and in its difficult economic and social situation,” Chairman of the CDU/CSU faction Johann David Wadephul said in a statement. According to Wadephul, this will only play into the hands of Moscow “and encourage it to intensify its destabilization policies toward Ukraine.” “Zelensky must also clarify how he wants to achieve his goal – to deprive oligarchs of power, given that oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky largely supported his election campaign,” the German politician said. Wadephul also believes that a high share of votes cast for Zelensky is an indicator of a decrease in public confidence in political elites and disappointment about the reform process carried out by President Petro Poroshenko. “Most of the population also hopes that Zelensky will decisively fight against corruption and the influence of oligarchs,” he added. The CDU/CSU also recalled Yulia Tymoshenko. “Yulia Tymoshenko’s new failure indicates that voters don’t trust her incomprehensible domestic and foreign policy. First of all, she failed to convince voters of the benefits of her costly, but hardly financially feasible, election promises that would only worsen Ukraine’s development,” Wadephul said.

Merkel greets Poroshenko on reaching second round of presidential election – news politics | UNIAN

German Chancellor Angela Merkel greeted presidential candidate and incumbent President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on reaching the second round of the presidential election. Poroshenko thanked Merkel for her special attention to the situation in Ukraine.

Warsaw has no favorites in Ukraine’s presidential election – Polish official – news politics | UNIAN

Warsaw says Poland has no favorites in Ukraine’s presidential elections and that it will support any democratic choice of the Ukrainian people. Poland will closely monitor the election campaign ahead of the second round, Szczerski said.

Kasparov explains how Ukrainian elections differ from those in Russia – news politics | UNIAN

Garry Kasparov, a former world chess champion and a prominent Kremlin critic, has said an institution of competitive elections and the turnover of power was formed in Ukraine, which fundamentally distinguishes it from Russia. He also told why Russian propaganda outlets are “throwing tantrums” regarding the Ukraine vote. Garry Kasparov, a former world chess champion and a prominent Kremlin critic, has said an institution of competitive elections and the turnover of power was formed in Ukraine, which fundamentally distinguishes it from Russia. In an interview with Delfi.TV, he said the results of the first round of Ukrainian elections fully reflected sociology results of the previous weeks. “It became obvious that Ukraine had already completely passed into another dimension if we compare it with Russia. First Ukrainian President [Leonid] Kravchuk lost the election 25 years ago. And this clear trend has been recorded in Ukraine for 25 years that the supreme power is not something that is eternal, it must constantly fight for its survival. It has to prove that it was not there by chance, and that people, if they are disappointed in it, simply drive it away,” the politician said.

Ukrainian elections meet international standards – UWC Observation Mission

The first round of presidential elections in Ukraine held on March 31, 2019 met international standards for the conduct of democratic elections, according to the preliminary observation report by the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) International Election Observation Mission. — Ukrinform.

Ukrainians can be proud that elections were free and competitive – ENEMO observation mission head Vujovic

Ukrainians can be proud that the latest presidential elections were free and competitive, the Election Observation Mission of the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO) has said.

International Election Observation Mission: Presidential election in Ukraine was competitive (Video) – news politics | UNIAN

The International Election Observation Mission has concluded that the March 31, 2019, presidential election in Ukraine was competitive. The mission praised the Ukrainian Central Election Commission’s work.

Ukraine elections keep getting better: U.S. officials assess first round of presidential vote – news politics | UNIAN

While there were a few instances of minor procedural violations, the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) election observation mission noted a transparent and smooth voting process with Ukraine’s citizens demonstrating a strong commitment to democracy, according to the International Republican Institute delegation report. The observers believe that election results are trustworthy. While there were a few instances of minor procedural violations, the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) election observation mission noted a transparent and smooth voting process with Ukraine’s citizens demonstrating a strong commitment to democracy, according to the International Republican Institute delegation report. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, who observed the election as part of the National Democratic Institute team, believes that Ukraine elections keep getting better, according to the Voice of America. He says the main thing is to make sure the voice of Ukrainian voters is heard. Senator Rob Portman tweeted: “Encouraged by the peaceful and fair first round of presidential elections in Ukraine. Urge the candidates and international community to respect the electoral process.” In turn, Senator Bob Menendez, a ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee issued a statement congratulating the people of Ukraine for a “successful election process on Sunday.” “International election observers affirmed that voters were able to freely exercise their right to choose from a broad choice of candidates the polls, who were also able to campaign freely,” he wrote, urging the two candidates set to compete in the runoff “to engage in a substantial dialogue with the Ukrainian people over the next few weeks so that voters can make the most informed choice for president.”

EU looks forward to free and fair second round of presidential elections in Ukraine – news politics | UNIAN

The European Union says it looks forward to a free, fair and transparent second round of the presidential elections in Ukraine. The EU says it remains unwavering in its support to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.

PACE praises holding of democratic presidential elections in Ukraine

The PACE positively assessed the competitive and democratic first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

G7 Ambassadors welcome OSCE/ODIHR preliminary conclusions on Ukraine’s presidential vote – news politics | UNIAN

G7 Ambassadors have welcomed OSCE/ODIHR preliminary conclusions on Ukraine’s March 31 presidential vote, saying it was competitive and peaceful. They called on the candidates to adhere to the relevant law in good faith.

EU recognizes Ukraine’s presidential election as democratic

The European Union says that the first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine, which took place on March 31, was held according to democratic principles and in compliance with international standards and procedures. — Ukrinform.

ENEMO recognizes elections in Ukraine as transparent and effective

The first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine was transparent and effective, mostly in line with Ukrainian laws and international democratic standards. — Ukrinform.

Elections in Ukraine were free, competitive – OSCE mission

The first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine was competitive and citizens had the opportunity to freely express their will, the OSCE PA Election Observation Mission in Ukraine has said.

Ukraine’s election competitive, with citizens’ opportunity to choose – OSCE observers

The first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine was competitive and citizens had the opportunity to freely express their will, the OSCE PA Election Observation Mission in Ukraine has said.

Merkel notes fairness and competitiveness of electoral process in Ukraine, – Poroshenko

The phone call between Petro Poroshenko and Angela Merkel happened on the initiative of the German party

Hackers attacking Ukraine’s electoral system for two days – interior minister

There are attempts of cyber interference in the work of Ukraine’s electoral system from some IP addresses both in Kyiv and Russia, but specialists are tracking and blocking them. — Ukrinform.

Attempts to access electoral system via Russian IP addresses reported

The CEC experts are blocking attacks and protecting the electoral system, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine

CEC processes 100% of protocols from overseas polling stations

The Central Election Commission of Ukraine (CEC) has processed all 100% of voting protocols from the overseas polling stations in the presidential elections in Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

Over 97% of votes counted: Zelensky has almost twice Poroshenko’s share – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian presidential candidate, showman Volodymyr Zelensky has almost twice the votes cast for his nearest competitor, incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, 30.23% vs. 15.92%, respectively, after the Central Election Commission (CEC) has processed 97.10% of voting protocols of Ukraine’s March 31 presidential election. The CEC has already counted 18,290,706 votes.

96,16% of ballots processed: Zelensky 30,22%, Poroshenko 15,93, Tymoshenko 13,39

Central Election Commission have processed 96,16% of ballots and reported that Zelensky still wins in the presidential run

95% protocols processed in Lviv region, Poroshenko gets first place

Anatoly Hrytsenko got the second place, and Volodymyr Zelensky got the fourth place in Lviv region

Voting in JFO area: Poroshenko upstaged Zelenskyi, 900 Ukrainian soldiers voted for Boiko and Vilkul

01.04.19 17:49 – Voting in JFO area: Poroshenko upstaged Zelenskyi, 900 Ukrainian soldiers voted for Boiko and Vilkul Poroshenko upstaged Zelenskyi by 300 votes, 900 JFO fighters chose pro-Russian Boiko and Vilkul chose. These are the results of voting in the Joint Forces Operation area. View news. “High results of two pro-Russian candidates, Boiko and Vilkul, who demonstrate ties with Moscow and readiness to turn over Ukrainian lands to Putin are an unpleasent surprise. The fact that Ukrainian servicemen are quietly voting for supporters of the union with the Russian Federation shows extremely weak work with personnel, problems of moral psychological education in military units. They vote because they don’t see any problems with it, they don’t think it’s bad, and don’t find it necessary to even hide their point of view. It means nobody speaks with them about it. This is the result of not paying attention of the command of the Armed Forces to the recruitment of troops, lack of officers and sergeants, recruitment of random people to fill full-time positions in conditions of a large shortage of personnel, lack of command attention to people’s moods, extremely weak ideological work. How can people who don’t believe in Ukraine’s independance to defend its future? What is the real combat capability of such servicemen?” Butusov concludes. Source: https://censor.net.ua/en/n3119832

Poroshenko wins Ukraine election in foreign constituencies – news politics | UNIAN

After all ballots were processed in Ukraine’s foreign constituencies, the Central Election Commission announced that incumbent President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko had won the first round of elections in these constituencies by a large margin. The runner-up is showman Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukraine election update: Zelensky far ahead with over 92% of votes counted – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian presidential candidate, showman Volodymyr Zelensky is far ahead of his two close competitors, enjoying 30.25% of votes after the Central Election Commission (CEC) has processed 92.09% of voting protocols of Ukraine’s March 31 presidential election. Zelensky and Poroshenko will face each other in a run-off on April 21.

90,26% of ballots processed: Zelensky 30,26%, Poroshenko 15,98, Tymoshenko 13,36

Central Election Commission have processed 90,26% of ballots and reported that Zelensky still wins in the presidential run

CEC processed 87.71% of ballots: Zelenskyi, Poroshenko, Tymoshenko

01.04.19 18:03 – CEC processed 87.71% of ballots: Zelenskyi, Poroshenko, Tymoshenko Central Election Commission processed 87.71% of the protocols. View news.

Violations at polling stations in Ukraine were not critical – OPORA

Cases of the violation of Ukrainian legislation at polling stations were not a critical obstacle for citizens to exercise their right to vote and be elected during the presidential election in Ukraine on March 31, 2019, according to a statement of the OPORA civil network on preliminary results of election observation. — Ukrinform.

UAWire – Ukrainian elections: One third of Ukrainians voted for Zelensky

After announcing his candidacy on New Year’s Eve, Volodymyr Zelensky needed only three months to come first out of 40 other candidates in the first round of Ukraine’s presidential elections on 31 March. According to three authoritative sociological services, the results are unprecedented in Ukraine’s recent history. A comedian and political debutant, Zelensky received roughly 30.4% of the votes, whereas current president and candidate Petro Poroshenko came second with only 16.4%. Former prime minister Yulia Timeshenko came third with 13.1% of votes. Zelensky, who was already leading in popularity, has now reinforced his lead, and could actually win in the second round on 21 April. The 41 year-old actor was in excellent spirits when he appeared at his election headquarters in Kyiv after the exit poll results had been announced. He smiled constantly and was cheerful with the press, but did not, however, rush to make any grandiose claims. Petro Poroshenko was also full of smiles, despite losing to Zelensky, a slap in the face from his country. Speaking from his headquarters after election stations were closed, the 53 year-old incumbent president seemed like someone whose worst fears had not come to pass. Apparently he had been seriously concerned that he might not make the second round. The candidate Yulia Tymoshenko told the press with a straight-face that she may refuse to recognize the election results. She called the exit polls “fake”, and cited her own data that would place her in second place with roughly 20% of the votes. 58 year-old Timoshenko’s response to the results evoked a sense of deja vu. After losing to Viktor Yanukovych by a mere 3% in the second round of the 2010 elections, she initially refused to acknowledge those election results, citing falsification of ballots. At the time, Tymoshenko said that she would fight the results in court, but would not convene another Maidan. How she will behave this time remains an open question. A group of sporty youths gathered outside the Central Election Commission on Sunday afternoon, but Tymoshenko distanced herself from them. The primary outcome of this first round is that one third of Ukrainians are willing to experiment by electing a candidate from the show business who has spent the last 15 years making fun of the political elite. This culminated in the extremely popular series “Servant of the People”, in which Zelensky depicts a history teacher who becomes president. The series created considerable hype, especially among the youth in the east and south of Ukraine, and a desire to participate in the elections. The popular Ukrainian TV channel 1+1, which belongs to the disgraced Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi, played a significant role in this. Although officially Zelensky is only connected to Kolomoyskyi through business ties, some speculate that they teamed together to stop Poroshenko from being reelected. In the days and weeks leading up to the elections, 1+1 has been screening Zelensky’s films and shows almost uninterruptedly, blending fiction with reality. Another outcome of the results is that Poroshenko either underestimated his popularity, or decided to take a gamble by proceeding to the second round. The low turnout in western Ukraine, whose patriotism he was counting on, must have come as an unpleasant surprise. The widespread dissatisfaction with corruption and the low standard of living clearly outweighed the current president’s achievements in the foreign policy department – creating closer ties with the EU and facilitating the establishment of an Orthodox Church that is entirely independent of Russia.

Tymoshenko Claims Election ‘Falsified’ But Won’t Challenge Result

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who failed to qualify for a presidential runoff election after official results put her in third place in the first round, has said that she believ…

Tymoshenko not to challenge election results in court

Batkivshchyna Party leader Yulia Tymoshenko has stated that she will not demand a recount of election results. — Ukrinform.

Elections 2019: Tymoshenko not to appeal against results

Presidential candidate Yuliya Tymoshenko stated she would not protest the results of the presidential elections

Tymoshenko claims Poroshenko dishonestly gets to second round, but she won’t appeal March 31 vote results

Yulia Tymoshenko, a presidential candidate and Batkivschyna Party leader, says she is convinced that incumbent President Petro Poroshenko has made it to the second round of the presidential elections dishonestly, but she does not plan to appeal to the results of the March 31 vote.

Ukraine election: Tymoshenko has no chance of making it to runoff after 98% of ballots processed – news politics | UNIAN

The Central Election Commission has already processed 98.16% of the protocols of precinct election commissions in the first round of presidential elections held on Sunday, March 31. A total of 18,526,978 votes have been counted.

UAWire – Zelensky ready to meet with Putin after the return of occupied territories

Ukrainian Presidential candidate, Vladimir Zelensky, said he would meet with Vladimir Putin after the return of the &quot;occupied territories&quot;.  “ …

UA:PBC calls on Facebook audience to invite Zelensky, Poroshenko to debate

The National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine (UA:PBC) has called on the Facebook audience to invite presidential candidates Volodymyr Zelensky and Petro Poroshenko to come to the political debate, UA:PBC has reported on its Facebook page. — Ukrinform.

Zelensky suggests holding referendum before Ukraine’s accession to EU, NATO – adviser

Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky suggests holding a referendum before a decision is made on the issue of Ukraine’s accession to NATO and the European Union so that no one can revise this decision in subsequent changes of administration in the country, Dmytro Razumkov, a political consultant and an adviser with Zelensky’s headquarters, said. “The position on European integration is reflected in the program and speeches of Volodymyr Zelensky. We are moving toward Europe. It’s a choice Ukrainian society has made. The only thing our opponents are trying to get to is a referendum,” he told Interfax-Ukraine on Monday, commenting on the position of President Petro Poroshenko’s headquarters that the incumbent president should be supported by the pro-European candidates in the second round of the election. Referendums need to be conducted before accession to NATO and the EU to prevent anyone from revising their outcomes in changes of the administration, Razumkov said, adding that “it was the president’s idea, the parliament’s vision, the idea of the prime minister, some separate minister or the entire Cabinet of Ministers,” he said. “It will be a decision of the people of Ukraine, which will be very, very difficult to contest. Unlike our opponents, we aren’t doing it during the election campaign, we aren’t trying to pull a PR stunt by making changes to the Constitution that don’t take Ukraine even half a step closer to entering NATO and the EU,” the adviser with Zelensky’s headquarters said. Razumkov also said pro-European approach is definitely not determined by the scandals that shook Ukrainian society in the past months or the abolition of the article on illegal enrichment five years after the start of the anti-corruption reforms. He said he believes many steps taken by the incumbent president and the political elite are not supported by Ukraine’s European partners and “play into the hands of Russian aggression.”

Zelensky’s headquarters speaker makes statement on debate with Poroshenko – news politics | UNIAN

Political scientist and Ukrainian election frontrunner Volodymyr Zelensky’s headquarters speaker Dmytro Razumkov has said Zelensky is ready for a debate with incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, but if his schedule as artistic director of the Studio Kvartal 95 comedy show production allows. The speaker assured Volodymyr Zelensky is ready for the debate.

Zelensky’s campaign headquarters says debate with Poroshenko makes no sense

An advisor to Volodymyr Zelensky, a former member of the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption, Ruslan Riaboshapka, has said that the comedian’s political debate with incumbent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is meaningless, according to the Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (Mirror Weekly) newspaper. — Ukrinform.

Zelensky’s advisor regards debates with Poroshenko pointless

The advisor of presidential candidate Zelensky Ryaboshapka stated that political debates with the current President are pointless

Zelensky’s advisor sees no point in debate with Poroshenko – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian election frontrunner Volodymyr Zelensky’s advisor Ruslan Ryaboshapka says there is no sense for the candidate to engage in debate with incumbent president Petro Poroshenko ahead of the runoff where the two are set to compete April 21. He says there is nothing to debate about with someone who over the five years in top office failed to “prove or explain everything with his actions.” Ukrainian election frontrunner Volodymyr Zelensky’s advisor Ruslan Ryaboshapka says there is no sense for the candidate to engage in debate with incumbent president Petro Poroshenko ahead of the runoff where the two are set to compete April 21. “Here is a question: what’s the debate supposed to be about? About the fact that for these five years, he was at the top post in the country and could have proven and explained everything with his own actions? If you have any five-year plan, why didn’t you do it then? I just don’t see the point of starting these, excuse my language, dog fight, where people make a talk show rather than a discussion or exchange of opinions on their campaign programs,” Ryaboshapka told Hromadske. Zelensky’s advisor doesn’t see any sense in discussing with Poroshenko the candidate’s team members or his program. Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/politics/10501560-zelensky-s-advisor-sees-no-point-in-debate-with-poroshenko.html

Zelensky’s team talks about discrepancies in CEC data, its own counting in number of regions

The results of a parallel calculation of voting results in the presidential elections of Ukraine on March 31 by the team of presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky disagree with the data of the Central Election Commission of Ukraine (CEC) in a number of regions, ZE!Team coordinator Oleksandr Korniyenko has said.

Ukraine’s National Public Broadcasting Company invites candidates to TV debates

The TV channel will send the official invitations to the presidential candidates, who entered the second tour, after the official results of the first round of the presidential elections will be declared

Power of people in ‘Dreamland’: Election program of Volodymyr Zelensky

“I will tell you about Ukraine of my dreams.” This is the beginning of Volodymyr Zelensky election program. The leader of the 95 Kvartal show is one of the favorites of the presidential race 2019. According to a number of recent polls, he is holding the first place, leading a group of politicians claiming to enter the second round. By the way, the total number of presidential candidates is 44. The program of Zelensky will be subjected to our detailed analysis today. Let’s take a closer look at how he sees “The Ukraine of his dreams.” General concepts Our presidential candidate wants Ukraine to be a country where business “can be officially established in an hour, you can get a passport in 15 minutes, and vote in elections in one second.” Also in Zelensky’s “Ukraine of dreams,” doctors and teachers get real wages, and corrupt officials – real penalties, and “my grandmother gets a decent retirement, not a heart attack from a utilities bill.” Foreign policy Volodymyr Zelensky is going to ask for support the guarantors of the Budapest Memorandum and partners in the European Union on three points: A) In an effort to end the war. B) To return the temporarily occupied territories. B) To force the aggressor compensate the damage. Quote from the program: “The Ukraine’s path to NATO and other security associations is a guarantee of our security, in which I believe and which should receive confirmation through an all-Ukrainian referendum.” The presidential candidate also claims that he considers his task the establishment of military salaries “at the level of NATO standards.” First draft law Candidate’s first bill will be called “On power of people.” The essence of the draft law described in the program is as follows: consolidation of the mechanism by which “the people of Ukraine will form the main tasks for the government through referendums and other forms of direct democracy.” This is all planned to be done “with the maximum use of the latest technologies.” More bills: In addition to the above, Zelensky promises to submit several draft laws to the Verkhovna Rada: – “On lifting immunity from the president of Ukraine, people’s deputies and judges.” – “On the impeachment of the President of Ukraine.” – “On the summoning back the MP of Ukraine”.

Four illusions of candidates dispelled by presidential race

Generally speaking, these elections are not much different from those five or ten years ago. The same tools of political marketing, only adjusted for the online-communications. Despite expectations, neither the Maidan, nor the war could not push the society to a qualitatively different level of consciousness. Only a very small percentage of citizens are ready for active participation in the political life of the country or for a rational analysis of political processes. The absolute majority is still easily susceptible to massive media pressure. There are still some reasons for optimism. Ukrainian society is developing. And the abovementioned example of successful fundraising for a candidate is an obvious illustration of this process. However, it is important to understand that in the near future, the public activities of politicians will be carried out within the framework of person marketing. And the advantage will be given to the candidates who have fresh marketing resources and actively use them. This is especially important for those who see themselves as MPs on the future elections. They shouldn’t fall in illusions again.

About 40% of policemen, rescuers and national guardsmen could not vote – Avakov – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has said about 40% of policemen, employees of the State Emergency Service and officers of the National Guard could not vote in the first round of the presidential election. The ministry said they would try to resolve this issue before the runoff.

Russian State Media Mocks Ukraine’s Election As ‘Dirty And Dishonest’

Russians keeping track on state TV found themselves bombarded with coverage of Ukraine’s failures as an independent state and reports of alleged electoral fraud.

Kremlin: After Ukraine’s elections, Donbas settlement possible only based on Minsk accords – news politics | UNIAN

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that after the presidential elections in Ukraine, the settlement of the conflict in Donbas is possible only based on the Minsk agreements. Moscow would not like to see a “war party” at helm in Ukraine but the one aiming at a real step-by-step settlement based on the existing agreements.

Neither Poroshenko nor Zelensky will (or can) fix ties with Russia – journalist to RT — RT World News

Relations between Moscow and Kiev won’t improve beyond 2019 as both Ukrainian presidential rivals, Poroshenko and Zelensky, are either unwilling or unable to do so, journalist Bryan MacDonald told RT, predicting a “nasty” runoff.

Ukraine election: The West’s Poroshenko gamble blows up as joker Zelensky tops poll — RT Op-ed

TV comic Volodymyr Zelensky has won 30 percent of the vote in the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election. He’ll face the beleaguered Western-backed president, Petro Poroshenko, in a run-off.

TASS: World – Comic Zelensky routs Poroshenko with twice as many votes after 97.8% ballots counted

The CEC also announced that 1.18% of ballots were invalid

A Comedian as President? Time to Be Serious

Opinion | Zelenskiy is emerging as the winner of Ukraine’s election. Volodymyr Zelenskiy is emerging as the winner of Ukraine’s election. What would his presidency look like?

Volodymyr Zelenskiy: the Comedian and Next President of Ukraine? – Bloomberg

Volodymyr Zelenskiy is emerging as the winner of Ukraine’s election. What would his presidency look like?

Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky may have played Ukraine’s president on TV – but could he really run the country? | The Independent

Some in Ukraine may feel that April Fool’s Day 2019 started a few hours early, at 8pm the previous evening to be precise, when the polls in the first round of the country’s presidential election closed and the exit polls showed an actor who plays a fictional president beating the real president into second place by a margin of almost two to one.

UAWire – Russian media representatives were not allowed to enter Ukrainian polling station in Minsk

Russian media representatives were not allowed to enter the polling station in Minsk for the election of the president of Ukraine. They could …

Protestant pastor arrested for ‘illegal worship’ in Russian-controlled Luhansk ‘republic’ – Human Rights in Ukraine

Although Mykola [Nikolai] Muratov and several other people were released after being interrogated and held for many hours, they faced ‘prosecution’ for supposedly ‘illegal’ worship.   –

Russian Court Finds Jehovah’s Witness Guilty On Extremism Charge

A Russian court has found a Jehovah’s Witness guilty of being a member of the now-banned religious group — the second such ruling against the group’s believers this year.