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Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (135) – NATO 70th Anniversary


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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It is the 70th anniversary of NATO and member nation leaders are gathered in DC. NATO SECGEN meets POTUS, and presents a superb address to a joint sitting of Congress – well worth listening to in its entirety. A great many news, analysis, retrospective and critique articles and essays. Turkey’s intransigence over the S-400 continues and may well escalate to promote a domestic agenda. And some Muscovy propaganda on NATO from their media and little helpers.

Other developments: The 2nd BW continues its good work in Europe. MDA looks at 1 MegaWatt lasers. US Army repainting AFVs for European theatre. Russia launches an SLCM from an SSN moored at a pier. More on GPS spoofing.

Meduza on the RuNet. Baltics updates. VTsIOM poll indicates annexation of Belarus would produce opposite effect to annexation of Crimea. Morozov on the persistence of Russian exceptionalism. Russia’s proxies in Libya. India buys MH-60R Sea Hawk, rejecting Russian helos.

Amb Hutchison on NATO Black Sea package against Russia – Muscovy objects loudly. Crimea update. Donbas update – Russia kills two Ukrainians with 152mm barrage, AFU retaliates. Defense industry update – Pres Poroshenko calls for polygraph tests. Leaders of pro-Russian party investigated over unlawful flight to Muscovy, and Ukraine bans charter flights to and from Russian (RPT was banned early during the war). Dnipropetrovsk Oblast to become Sicheslav Oblast, completing decommunisation of geographic naming.

Election update – most interesting is the report on diaspora voting, where Pres Poroshenko trounced Zelenskiy, illustrating the very different perspectives of Ukrainians living inside versus outside the country. A number of analysis essays, while Zelenskiy camp argues over the television debates. Tymoshenko not reacting well to her loss.

OCU and ROC updates – Russia extends schism to Asia, separating its dioceses from Constantinople.


U.S. B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers conduct flights to Poland, the Netherlands – Defence Blog

The U.S. Air Force has announced that B-52H Stratofortress aircraft conducted flights from RAF Fairford, England, to Poland and the Netherlands on April 1, 2019. In Poland, a B-52 conducted air interdiction and close air support training, including release of inert munitions, with Polish Joint Terminal Attack Controllers on the ground. In the Netherlands, B-52s conducted close air support training, including release of inert munitions, at the Vliehors Range. JTACs are military personnel – usually air force – attached to a ground unit that direct the fire of combat aircraft providing close air support. Seamless interoperability between aircrew and JTACS is a key aspect of coordinating joint military operations. The flights also allowed aircrews to conduct theater familiarization and to demonstrate U.S. commitment to allies and partners through the global employment of our military forces. U.S. Strategic Command regularly tests and evaluates the readiness of strategic assets to ensure we are able to honor our security commitments. The B-52s, part of the Bomber Task Force currently deployed to the U.S. European Command area of responsibility, are from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. The aircraft arrived in theater on March 14-15 and are temporarily operating out of RAF Fairford.

 

U.S. Missile Defense Agency wants a new 1,000 kilowatt-class laser weapons – Defence Blog

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency is looking for information on a 1,000 kW-class electrically-pumped laser for defending the United States, its deployed forces, allies, and friends against all ranges of enemy ballistic missiles in all phases of flight. The post on the federal business opportunities website is asking industry for information on a capability to demonstrate a 1,000 kW-class electrically-pumped laser in the 2025-26 timeframe. Missile Defense Agency does not provide a specific platform or strategic mission at this time. The proposed ground demonstrator laser system would be designed to have technology maturation and lightweight engineering paths to potential future platforms. According to Pentagon’s moted, the Ballistic Missile Defense System architecture will consist of weapons, sensors, command and control, battle management, communications, and integrating functions that provide, to any Combatant Command, a rapidly deployable missile defense system which will defeat ballistic missiles of all types and ranges while in all phases of flight. In parameters of interest, the Missile Defense Agency indicated: Laser Performance Parameter Goals Near diffraction-limited beam quality at laser power ≥ 1,000 kW with a goal of vertical beam quality of 1.1 at 0.25 lambda/D. Laser wavelength (lambda) shorter than one micron is desirable to offer higher intensity on target at long range. Laser system mass efficiency of 2 to 4 kg/kW. The laser system is defined as including the laser device and the electric power and thermal management subsystems. The 1,000 kW-class ground demonstrator laser system may have lower mass efficiency (higher kg/kW) as long as the respondent has a clearly defined path to increase mass efficiency to 2 to 4 kg/kW. High laser device electrical-to-optical efficiency with a goal of 48% or better. Laser shot durations from 2 to 60 seconds continuous. An energy storage system capable of ≥ 120 seconds of full power laser runtime without recharging. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency requests high power laser solutions which feasibly could lead to a laser scaling ground demonstrator that could destroy an enemy ballistic missile during the boost phase of flight.

U.S. Army prepares its combat vehicles for a possible Russian attack in Europe – Defence Blog

The U.S. Army is working for several years to paint all of its ground combat vehicles in shade of woodland green as part of the readiness plan to counter increasing Russian ground force threat. Army’s Bradley fighting vehicles, M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers, and even M1A2 Abrams tanks will use the woodland pattern to match new terrain. Army now has a new advanced coating system for ground vehicles that suppresses ground vehicle heat signatures, making the vehicles much more difficult to detect. All ground combat vehicles to receive new visual camouflage pattern using brown, black and green instead desert camo from time in the Global War on Terror. Early the U.S. Army has given further details on the capabilities of its new advanced coating system for ground combat vehicles. The Ground Vehicle Coating System was developed by a joint venture between the Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center, the Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory and the Army’s Manufacturing Technology program to reduce detectable infrared signatures that are emitted from vehicles, making them much more difficult to detect and track. This new coating also mitigates the effects of chemical agents that adversaries may use to injure, incapacitate or kill Soldiers. In addition to reducing the cost of the coating per gallon by approximately 75 percent from when the program originally started, the coating can be applied to vehicles in existing facilities, including depots and arsenals, using equipment already in the Army’s inventory. This will decrease application costs and increase production output. The return to the forest colors coincides with security concerns among eastern NATO allies since Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. Pentagon makes no secret of his concern about the growth of Russia’s activity in Eastern Europe and calls on NATO allies to assemble 30 land battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 combat vessels capable of deploying in 30 days or less by the year 2020.

Russian sub launched cruise missile without leaving port | The Independent Barents Observer

“Severodvinsk” is Russia’s most advanced submarine and is based less than 60 km from the border to Norway. By Thomas Nilsen April 03, 2019 The Russian Northern Fleet’s newest and most advanced multi-purpose submarine, the “Severodvinsk”, has fired a Kalibr cruise missile without leaving the pier, Izvestia reports. It is said to be the first time a nuclear-powered submarine has launched a cruise missile directly from the base, a move drastically shortening the time it takes to make a submarine’s weapons ready for combat. During Cold War times, Soviet ballistic missile submarines were ready to launch intercontinental nuclear weapons while moored, but according to Izvestia, this hasn’t previously been the case with multi-purpose submarines. The submarine-launched version of Kalibr cruise missile has a range of up to 660 km.

Russia Regularly Uses GPS Spoofing – Report – To Inform is to Influence

Tom Jowitt, April 3, 2019, 11:19 am When Russian President Vladimir Putin comes to town, a bubble of spoofed GPS signals surrounds him A report has highlighted the fact that Russia disrupts Global Positioning System (GPS) signals as part of its security practices. The GPS system is a product stemming from the cold war, but since 2000 it…

NATO Ministers In Washington For Two-Day Meeting Dedicated To The Bloc’s 70th Anniversary

Foreign ministers from NATO’s 29 member countries are scheduled to open a two-day meeting in Washington on April 3 to honor the alliance’s 70th anniversary and discuss security threats, including R…

NATO Chief Meets Trump As U.S. President Calls For Increased Defense Spending

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has thanked U.S. President Donald Trump for his “strong commitment” to the military alliance, while the president pressed his demands that the allies do more to pay fo…

Trump Takes Credit for Turning Around NATO

WHITE HOUSE — Cindy Saine at the State Department and Valeria Jegisman of VOA’s Russian Service contributed to this report. U.S. President Donald Trump is warming toward the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), praising the alliance and its leader Tuesday during meetings with its secretary-general. “Tremendous progress has been made,” Trump said of improved burden-sharing among the pact’s 29 independent member countries, but stated that “Germany, honestly, is not paying their fair share.” Trump reiterated his concern that while America spends a lot of money to protect Europe, “they’re taking advantage of us on trade.” Trump, alongside Jens Stoltenberg in front of the Oval Office fireplace, praised him for an excellent job running NATO. “We get along really well,” Trump said of the former Norwegian prime minister.

With Trump, NATO Chief Tries to Navigate Spending Minefields – The New York Times

Jens Stoltenberg is the European leader who has shown the most deft hand with President Trump. But his credit of the president for spending increases has annoyed fellow European officials.

WATCH LIVE: NATO Secretary General addresses joint session of Congress | PBS NewsHour

Jens Stoltenberg’s speech comes a day after President Donald Trump urged NATO countries to further increase their financial contributions to the alliance.

NATO Chief to Address Joint Session of Congress

State Department correspondent Cindy Saine and VOA Russian service reporter Valeria Jegisman contributed to this report WHITE HOUSE — North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary-General Jens S…

NATO chief’s invitation to address Congress points to divide between Trump, GOP leaders over alliance’s value – The Washington Post

Trump did not invite alliance leaders to Washington to mark the 70th anniversary this week, a relief to members who feared another blowup.

Donald Trump, NATO leader meet amid tensions over military spending

Marking NATO’s 70th anniversary, Donald Trump and Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg meet in the wake of attacks on allies’ spending for mutual defense.

Trump hopes Russia won’t be threat to NATO security – news world | UNIAN

U.S. President Donald Trump during a White House meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he hopes Russia will not be a threat to NATO security. The president once again expressed an opinion that it would be possible to “get along” with Russia. U.S. President Donald Trump during a White House meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he hopes Russia will not be a threat to NATO security. “I hope that it [Russia] is going to be a security threat,” he told reporters. “I hope we have a good relationship with Russia and, by the way, China and everybody else.”

Trump says NATO countries burden-sharing improving, wants more

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday NATO member nations have improved in bearing a greater share of defense costs but added that he hoped to see them spend even more in future years.

NATO Celebrates 70th Anniversary, But Demands Rise For European Burden-Sharing

For the transatlantic alliance to continue, Europe will have to make a greater contribution, say analysts

NATO leader plays down divisions as alliance marks anniversary

The United States and its allies are stepping up cooperation in response to Russian aggression, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday while playing down differences among members as the military alliance marks its 70th anniversary.

NATO Secretary General pre-ministerial press conference, 1 APR 2019 – YouTube

NATO News Published on Apr 1, 2019 Press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on April 1st 2019 ahead of the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers on 3 and 4 April 2019 in Washington, D.C.

Interview with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg: U.S. 100 Percent Behind Us – SPIEGEL ONLINE

In an interview, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg discusses recent tensions between the Trump administration and its European partners in the alliance, Germany’s military spending and what China’s growing military power means for the trans-Atlantic community.

Donald Trump has shattered European complacency on NATO, says George Robertson – The Scotsman

Donald Trump’s criticisms of NATO could be good for its future, it has been claimed by a former Secretary General of the military alliance. Former Labour defence secretary, George Robertson, who led NATO for four years, has said that the US President’s disparagement of the organisation should “remind other allies of both the value of NATO and their own responsibilities” to it. Lord Robertson, who was NATO Secretary General from 1999 to 2003, said that “a complacency that America will always be there with its clout and resources” had held back investment from Canada and European members. He added: “Donald Trump has shattered that complacency and for that, if nothing else, we should be grateful”. The peer, who was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003 by President George W Bush, made the controversial comments as he marked the 70th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Writing in the Scottish Review, he said: “In the last few weeks we are told that the present occupant of the White House, in NATO’s strongest ally, has been reported as questioning US membership of the alliance. “Worrying as that undoubtedly is, it may have reminded other allies of both the value of NATO and their own responsibilities to ‘bear the burden’ of its means. Nothing underlines the importance of American leadership in the world than the thought of losing it. “Burden sharing has long been a theme of American politicians, including the cheerleaders for the alliance – and with good reason. But a complacency that America will always be there with its clout and resources has held back the investment required for Europe’s (and Canada’s) contribution to the common effort. Donald Trump has shattered that complacency and for that, if for nothing else, we should be grateful.”

Europe is spending more on its defence. Can Trump take credit? | News | Al Jazeera

Europe is spending more on its defence. But the spree may be more cyclical than the result of US pressure, analysts say.

NATO’s subdued 70th birthday overshadowed by skeptic-in-chief | War Is Boring

By Nick Wadhams Bloomberg News In normal times, NATO’s 70th anniversary would bring alliance leaders together for elaborate ceremonies, self-congratulatory speeches and declarations of unshakable unity. Not when they’re meeting in Donald Trump’s Washington. Instead, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has opted for a more subdued commemoration this week. As foreign ministers gather at the State Department and fan out across town for speeches and conferences, they’ll be watching their Twitter feeds to see whether President Donald Trump uses the occasion to belittle their efforts and question their cause. “NATO is not looking for a high-profile event with Donald Trump,” said Doug Lute, a former U.S. ambassador to the alliance during the Obama administration. “This is unprecedented. We’re at the 70th anniversary but the first time where allies have doubted the commitment of the American president.”

Livestream: ‘NATO Engages: The Alliance at 70’ – Defense One

Watch the 2019 ‘NATO Engages’ summit, with VP Mike Pence, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and more, live from Washington, D.C.

NATO Engages 2019: The Alliance at 70 – YouTube

AtlanticCouncil Started streaming 112 minutes ago

On NATO’s Eastern Frontier, Let’s Not Lose a War Before It Starts – Defense One

The alliance needs more forces in Poland — and the logistics and enabling capabilities that will allow them to operate effectively.

3 Ways Europe Is Looking at a Fraying NATO – Defense One

A close look at France, Germany, and Poland reveals important divisions in the 70-year-old alliance — and suggests a way forward.

It’s NATO week in Washington, amid tense years for the alliance – Axios

The Secretary General will meet President Trump and address Congress.

Donald Trump to round on Germany to demand more Nato spending: ‘We’re still asking for it’ | World | News | Express.co.uk

DONALD Trump is set to increase pressure on Nato allies to increase their annual contributions on defence ahead of the alliance’s 70th birthday celebrations in Washington.

Turning 70, NATO’s head to address US Congress – YouTube

seattletimesdotcom Published on Apr 1, 2019 NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg visits Washington this week as the military alliance marks its 70th anniversary. He’ll have face to face meeting with one of the defense pact’s biggest critics, President Donald Trump. (April 1) — The Associated Press

After Crimea: Does NATO have the means to defend Europe? | European Council on Foreign Relations

Military spending may now figure in public conversation about NATO. But the alliance, at 70 years old, still lacks military capabilities strong enough to protect Europe from Russia

What’s the secret of Nato’s long life? It’s not just a military pact | Peter Ricketts | Opinion | The Guardian

The US and western Europe should work on rebuilding trust, says the former diplomat Peter Ricketts

China Threat Rises to NATO’s Agenda – WSJ

NATO ministers this week hold their first formal discussion about perceived threats from China, including Chinese investments in European infrastructure and communications.

Installing Chinese 5G Gear is Dangerous and Probably Inevitable: NATO Report – Defense One

Alliance members should look to mimic Britain, which created an entire government office to scrutinize Huawei’s products for security problems.

Huawei, 5G, and China as a Security Threat | NATO CCDCOE

Concerns about the Chinese technology giant Huawei as the potential supplier of 5G technology for next generation wireless networks have generated lively debate among cybersecurity community. This paper discusses the strategic and legal issues raised by potential reliance on Chinese technology in the rollout of 5G, explores the national responses, and offers recommendations for a balanced approach. The paper Huawei, 5G, and China as a Security Threat written by Kadri Kaska, Henrik Beckvard and Tomáš Minárik, researchers at the CCDCOE, recognises that it is rational to require the highest possible security assurance from 5G technology used for critical communication. The pursuit for technological innovation is accompanied by concerns about cybersecurity with implications to a broader national security context. Possible loss or interruption of availability, integrity or confidentiality in critical networks could have a significant adverse effect on society. Many countries have expressed their concerns about the potential consequences of ties between Chinese communications technology companies and its intelligence services, reinforced by China’s political and legal environment requiring cooperation with intelligence agencies. Accordingly, 5G rollout needs to be recognised as a strategic rather than merely a technological choice. The authors claim that viable alternatives to Huawei technology are necessary to preserve flexibility of choice and to prevent being trapped with one supplier without a way out. Solid accountability, transparency, and risk mitigation mechanisms are the essential minimum in order to benefit from the socioeconomic benefit of 5G without jeopardising national security. To this end, R&D investment and strengthening regional industry are not purely issues of global competitiveness, but should also be considered – and more importantly, pursued – for their security dimension. The publication is a product of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. The CCDCOE does not speak on behalf of NATO and the research done in the Centre does not necessarily reflect the policy or the opinion of NATO or the CCDCOE.

Dutch Security Agency Warns Against Chinese, Russian Technology

The recommendation came as the Dutch government is weighing options for a new 5G telecommunications network in the coming years

NATO approves spending at US forces support site in Poland, eyes expanded presence in Black Sea – Europe – Stripes

NATO said construction on the site near Powidz, Poland, will begin this summer and is expected to take about two years to complete.

Klympush-Tsintsadze in Washington to meet with representatives of NATO countries

Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze will meet with representatives of NATO member states in Washington as part of events dedicated to the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Alliance. — Ukrinform.

Turkey’s turn toward Russia mars NATO’s 70th anniversary celebration

The Trump administration’s decision not to send cutting-edge fighter jets to Turkey could foreshadow a breakdown in military cooperation and even a U.S. blacklist against the key NATO ally due to its turn toward Russia.

US plays F-35 card against S-400 deal to ask Turkey for endless concessions – Daily Sabah

U.S. attempt to stall the delivery of F-35 jets to Turkey due to the S-400 deal with Russia is not the cause of tensions between the two NATO allies. Rather, it is a symptom of strained ties resulting from Washington asking for a series of concessions from Ankara, which are not in compliance with the norms of diplomacy

US hopeful Turkey will choose Patriots, drop purchase of S-400 amid spat – Daily Sabah

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Tuesday that he expected to resolve a dispute with Turkey over its purchase of Russia’s S-400 air…

U.S. Withholding F-35 From Turkey Could Give Russia The Chance It Needs To Export SU-57 – The Drive

Russia may attempt to fill the vacuum created by a U.S. embargo on F-35 exports to Turkey with an export variant of its Su-57 advanced fighter.

Shanahan: Turkey will drop purchase of Russian missile system amid F-35 pressure | TheHill

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Tuesday indicated that he expects Turkey to abandon its plans to buy a Russian air defense system, a day after Washington halted all deliveries of F-35 fighter aircraft equipment to the NATO ally over the purchase. Shanahan said he was “very confident” that Turkey would choose to buy the American-made Patriot anti-missile system over Russia’s S-400 long-range air defense system. “I expect we’ll solve the problem so that they have the right defense equipment in terms of Patriots and F-35s,” Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon prior to meeting with his Mongolian counterpart. ADVERTISEMENT The United States has been pressuring Ankara for years to give up its plans to buy the S-400, which defense officials have said will be used to gather closely guarded information on the F-35. U.S. officials have instead offered Turkey the Patriot system at a discounted rate. Turkish officials, however, have repeatedly said they will not back out on their deal with the Russians, prompting Washington on Monday to freeze delivery of F-35 equipment to Turkey. “The United States has been clear that Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400 is unacceptable … 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,” chief Pentagon spokesman Charles Summers said in a statement at the time. There is wide consensus from top U.S. military leaders that Turkey should not get the F-35 if it follows through with buying the S-400. Earlier on Tuesday, Gen. Tod Wolters — the nominee to take command of NATO forces and U.S. forces in Europe — told lawmakers that the American and Russian systems “are not compatible.” “If Turkey proceeds down a path to procure and operate the S-400, they should not get the F-35,” Wolters told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing. Wolters currently serves as commander of U.S. air forces in Europe and Africa.

US defense secretary predicts Turkey will get the F-35 – POLITICO

Pat Shanahan says he expects the diplomatic problems between the US and Turkey will soon be resolved.

Pentagon says it expects to resolve row with Turkey over S-400 | Turkey News | Al Jazeera

A day after US halted F-35 delivery, the acting US defence secretary says he expects to resolve row over Russia’s S-400.

Turkey’s marriage of F-35 and S-400 ‘absolutely unsustainable,’ says EUCOM nominee

US general: Turkey ‘should not get’ F-35

EUCOM Nominee: Turkey’s Purchase of Russian Air Defense System ‘Not Compatible’ With F-35 Buy – USNI News

U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander, speaks during an all-call at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey on Dec. 6, 2018. US Air Force Photo Turkey’s intention to buy a sophisticated Russian air defense system is “not compatible” with its purchasing 100 F-35 Strike Lightning II or manufacturing components for the fifth-generation fighter, the general nominated to be the top American officer in Europe testified Tuesday. Gen. Tod Wolters, now serving as the senior Air Force officer in Europe, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he backed steps taken to end Turkish pilot training on the F-35 at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and to hold up or cancel the sale of the fighters to Ankara. Turkey having a Russian air defense system and the American- designed aircraft was “absolutely unsustainable” as options, Wolters said. Proprietary and classified information concerning the aircraft would be exposed to Russian espionage and the two systems are not be interoperable “It speaks a different language than English,” Wolters said, explaining the rationale behind his recommendation and the administration’s moves. Wolters added the current U.S. European Command commander, Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, “probably spends 65 percent of his time on Turkey” dealing with concerns about the air defense sale; their role in the Syrian civil war working with Russia, Iran and the regime of Bashar al-Assad; and their description of the Kurds fighting in the American-supported Syrian Democratic Front as terrorists. Wolters said he planned to “continue along the same glide path” as his predecessor to ensure good relations with an important ally in the Middle East. Ankara’s apparent decision to go ahead with the buy, after turning down an offer to purchase the NATO-standard Patriot PAC III air defense system, “is not an action one would expect from an ally,” Sen. Roger Wicker, (R-Miss.), said. “It is troubling and calls into question our long-time ally in Turkey.”

General Tapped to Head NATO: Cancel F-35 Sales to Turkey | Military.com

Turkey’s commitment to acquiring Russia’s S-400 anti-air system is unacceptable, Air Force Lt. Gen. Tod Wolters said.

Washington Struggles With Next Move After Halt To F-35 Part Shipments To Turkey « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

Senators, generals, and the acting Defense Secretary all tried to present a united front on Tuesday, but questions remain.

Turkish pilots will keep training on F-35s in Arizona, despite possibly being cut from the program

Turkish pilots will continue training to fly the F-35A joint strike fighter in Arizona, officials said.

U.S. and Turkey Escalate Feud Over Russian Missile System – Foreign Policy

Erdogan may be using the S-400 dispute with Washington to deflect attention from problems at home.

Turkish lira tumbles after US halts F-35 equipment delivery | Arab News

ISTANBUL: The Turkish lira weakened more than 2 percent on Tuesday, briefly reaching 5.6125 against the dollar, after the US halted delivery of equipment related to the F-35 fighter aircraft to Turkey. The lira stood at 5.5570 against the US currency in early London trade, compared with a close on Monday of 5.4913. The lira has been volatile in the uncertain aftermath of local

TASS: Military & Defense – NATO-Russia relations key item on the agenda of upcoming NATO foreign ministers’ meeting

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg saidd that on the outcomes of the April 3-4 ministerial meeting in Washington, NATO members would release a statement on Russia and the INF Treaty

TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Kremlin dismisses NATO plans for Ukrainian ships’ passage through Kerch Strait

NATO earlier announced plans to take steps to ensure Ukrainian vessels’ safe passage through the Kerch Strait

TASS: Military & Defense – Russian cruise missile frigate repels air attack in Black Sea drills

The Black Sea Fleet’s Su-24M frontline bomber simulated an enemy aircraft in the drills

Patrick J. Buchanan | Trump Should Close NATO Membership Rolls

When Donald Trump meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg today, the president should give him a direct message….04/03/2019 7:40:29AM EST.

‘Isolation’ of Russian Internet may require providers to use government-approved encryption techniques — Meduza

The State Duma committee on information policy is developing a new modification to current plans to isolate Russian Internet traffic from the World Wide Web, according to RBC. If the committee’s proposal moves past the development stage and is ultimately approved, both state-owned information systems and private Internet service providers will be required to employ encryption technology that is both produced in Russia and approved by the Russian federal government. Experts interviewed by RBC said the deployment of Russian encryption technology on a mass scale would allow government authorities to encrypt all online traffic in the country.

Polish defense official promises to defend Lithuania with Patriot anti-missile systems – news world | UNIAN

Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces Rajmund Andrzejczak says Lithuania and Poland could agree on synchronizing their air defense systems and consider protecting Lithuanian facilities with the help of the U.S. Patriot anti-missile systems being purchased by Poland. “We are NATO Allies and we have common airspace,” Andrzejczak said.

Latvian resident sentenced to five years for Russian-paid fighting in Donbas – Human Rights in Ukraine

A Latvian court has sentenced 29-year-old Artem Skripnik to five years’ imprisonment and then a further two years’ parole for taking part in the fighting in Donbas on the side of the Russian-backed and armed militants –

A former Soviet defense minister has been sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Lithuanian court. What for? Why now? — Meduza

On March 27, a Lithuanian court sentenced Dmitry Yazov, a former defense minister of the USSR, to 10 years in prison in absentia. He was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the deaths of pro-independence Lithuanians during mass protests in Vilnius in January of 1991. In total, 67 people were charged in retroactive cases related to the protests. Here, Meduza explains what happened in Vilnius, what charges Yazov faced as a result, and why the case against him came to a close almost thirty years after the events that sparked it.

Key Russian missiles ‘damaged en route to China’ – To Inform is to Influence

This article portrays a major delay in a shift in strategic power with the denial of the 40N6 missiles needed for the Russian S-400 air defense system. Why were the missiles being shipped by sea and not rail? Why did all the missiles have to be destroyed? Even allegations that Russia sabotaged its own shipment…

Russia Accuses Norwegian Man Of Nuclear Submarine Espionage

A Norwegian man on trial on espionage charges in Russia is accused of acquiring classified information on nuclear-powered submarines, prosecutors say.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Wouldn’t Get a Bounce from Annexing Belarus – He Might Even Lose Support, New Poll Suggests

Paul Goble Staunton, April 2 – Annexing Crimea gave Vladimir Putin a major boost in his standing at home, and many have assumed that his standing would rise again if he absorbed Belarus. But new poll numbers suggest that would be unlikely. Indeed, the Kremlin leader might even see his ratings fall as many Russians say they don’t want another Anschluss. Today, on the occasion of Day of Unity of the two Slavic republics, Izvestiya featured an article by Angelina Galanina on the findings of a new VTsIOM poll. The numbers can’t be encouraging to those who would like to see Putin take this next step in bringing back the Soviet Union whose demise he has called “the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century.”. Only 17 percent of Russians – fewer than one in five – favor combining the two countries into one; and 48 percent say that they do not see any reason to join the two together. Worse yet, perhaps, most Russians said they’d heard about the 20year-old Union State only this year (iz.ru/862881/angelina-galanina/ostanemsia-sosediami-rossiiane-ne-stremiatsia-k-obedineniiu-s-belorussiei). The fact that almost three times as many Russians oppose a union state between the two as support the annexation of Belarus does not mean Putin may not try to take this step; but it does mean that he won’t be gaining new support because he does and could even lose more of what he still has. The Izvestiya headline thus carries a clear message to the Kremlin leader: “Let us remain neighbors: Russians aren’t striving for unification with Belarus.” And it should also be read by those who view Crimea as a precedent for further Russian aggression and expansion to rethink their assumptions.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Unexpectedly has Let Two Dangerous Genies Out of the Bottle, Morozov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 2 – Russians born in the 1950s have been amazed by two steps Vladimir Putin one of their number has taken because they overwhelming assumed that neither would be because of the dangers they represent and because they recognized how difficult it would be to put these genies back in the bottle once they were released, Aleksandr Morozov says. The first, the political analyst who was born at that time (as was Vladimir Putin) says, is that they were convinced that “this generation in no circumstances would turn back to easily understood ideological practices, myths and models of collective behavior which in the past had already led Russians to self-destruction” (blog.newsru.com/article/02apr2019/generation). “Of course,” Morozov says, “history proceeds along various paths and it is not necessarily the case that the very same models will necessarily lead to self-destruction. But I think,” he says, there is an entirely reasonable “’presumption’” that if such an approach is accepted again, it will open the way to another “gigantic” act of self-destruction. And the second thing most in his generation did not expect, the political analyst says, is that when people his age came to power, they would be infected with the same sense of the leaders they succeeded that “’we are the smartest.’” Yes, they can be smart and even smarter than some others, but “they must not be ‘smarter than everyone else.’” Putinism, however, carries within itself “this absurd certainty that ‘we already are smarter than everyone else,’ including the Rothschilds, the Masons, Merkel, the US Congress, all our neighbors; smarter indeed than Stalin and Hitler, and that there is no one on this earth who is smarter that M. Zakharova and the screaming TV experts.” There is “a great illusion” that all such things can “easily be driven back into the bottle.” But that is an illusion: it won’t be easy. But what Morozov says he cannot understand is how this happened with his generation who experienced all the negative consequences of these two things and should have known better than to let them out in the first place.

Declaring Putin ‘Dead To Citizens Of Russia,’ Activists Install Mock Gravestone In His Hometown

For at least the third time in a month, critics of Vladimir Putin have put up a mock gravestone bearing the name of the Russian president.

While You Weren’t Looking, General Haftar Has Been Taking Over Libya – Foreign Policy

Despite the drawn-out political instability plaguing the country, a negotiated rise to power for Haftar is not the answer. [Ed: Haftar supported by Russia]

India to purchase US-made MH-60R instead of Russian helicopters – Defence Blog

The U.S. State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of MH-60R Sea Hawk multi-mission helicopters, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 2 April. It said the proposed sale was worth an estimated $2.6 billion and included 24 MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopters for the Indian Navy (IN). As noted by the DSCA, in addition the potential sale would include 30 APS-153(V) Multi-Mode radars, 60 T700-GE-401C engines, 24 Airborne Low Frequency System (ALFS), 1000 AN/SSQ-36/53/62 sonobuoys; 10 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles; 38 Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) rockets; 70 AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Devices and an assortment of radars and other parts. “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defensive partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region,” said in a statement.

UAWire – NATO to guarantee safe passage for Ukrainian ships through Kerch Strait

The North-Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) plans to take steps to ensure that Ukrainian ships have safe passage through the Kerch Strait, US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison told foreign reporters on Tuesday 2 April. Hutchison confirmed that a corresponding package of measures should be approved during a two-day conference in Washington starting on Wednesday. “The package will step up aerial surveillance, and will involve sending more NATO ships to the Black Sea in order to guarantee the safe passage of Ukrainian ships through the Kerch Strait and the Azov sea,” she said. The US representative commented that at present “more attention is needed to guarantee that these waters are liberated” and that the countries in the region are “free from Russian interference”. “Russia has been deploying defensive weapons in Crimea, but Crimea is part of Ukraine,” Hutchison remarked. “It is very important that the inhabitants of Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Georgia feel at home in the Black Sea zone, both in the water and on land,” she said, adding that the package of measures is a response to November’s Kerch Strait incident. “It is unacceptable that Ukrainian sailors are being held in prison in Moscow. We must ensure that we have the ability to restrain Russia’s aggression,” she remarked. “We will discuss Russia’s violation of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which resulted in the US being forced to withdraw from it. We now have to be capable of adjusting our [military] potential to restrain those who violate the missile treaty,” Hutchison continued. She noted that the alliance will also discuss counterterrorism. “We must ensure that there are no terrorist networks in Afghanistan that could spread their influence to our country or any other alliance country.”

NATO preparing package of measures against Russia in Black Sea, – US Permanent Representative

03.04.19 10:17 – NATO preparing package of measures against Russia in Black Sea, – US Permanent Representative US Permanent Representative to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison during a Washington briefing ahead of the NATO foreign ministerial April 2 stated that the Alliance was preparing to adopt the Black Sea package against Russia. View news.

Air surveillance, more ships: NATO preparing package of measures against Russia in Black Sea – news politics | UNIAN

U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison during a Washington briefing ahead of the NATO foreign ministerial April 2 stated that the Alliance was preparing to adopt the Black Sea package against Russia. Hutchinson said Russia’s destabilizing behavior in the region was “unacceptable.”

Kremlin concerned about NATO’s Black Sea package statement – news politics | UNIAN

The Kremlin has reacted to NATO’s plans to send ships to ensure the safe passage of Ukrainian ships across the Kerch Strait to the Sea of Azov. The situation with the Kerch Strait and navigation is “well known,” claims Peskov.

UAWire – Ukrainian President Poroshenko plans to visit Germany

Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine, could be visiting Germany before the second round of elections, Reported LB.ua news outlet in the …

UAWire – Russia conducts air-defense missile exercises in Crimea

Russia began air-defense missile exercises in the annexed Crimea. The units of the air-defense missile regiment from the army corps of the Black Sea Fleet began exercises near Saki and Kacha airfields in the Crimea, the press service of the Russian Black Sea Fleet reported. “More than 300 servicemen from air-defensecrews of the air-defense missile regiment have launched a set of combat training tasks, including the deployment of firing positions, preparation for opening fire, as well as target reconnaissance practice,” the press service said. Su-24M front-line bombers, An-26, Be-12 planes and naval aviation helicopters are used for the training of the combat crews. Russian military also began exercises of the air defense forces on the Black Sea coast of Krasnodar Krai. More than 1.5 thousand servicemen from the combat crews of the anti-aircraft missile brigade have been deployed at the Molkino training range near Krasnodar. Since June 2014, the Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea has been opened 1506 criminal cases concerning the “occupation of the peninsula”. 144 indictments have been sent to court.

HRW Blasts Russia Over ‘Escalating Pressure’ On Crimean Tatars

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has condemned the recent arrests of 23 Crimean Tatars by Russian authorities, calling it an “unprecedented move to intensify pressure on a group largely critical” of Moscow’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

15 attacks against JFO positions yesterday: two Ukrainian soldiers killed, three terrorists destroyed

03.04.19 09:18 – 15 attacks against JFO positions yesterday: two Ukrainian soldiers killed, three terrorists destroyed April 2, the Russian occupying forces attacked JFO positions 15 times, 14 times using Minsk-proscribed weapons. View news.

Two Ukrainian servicemen killed in Donbas – LB.ua news portal

Two soldiers of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) were killed in action and two more were wounded in action as a result of shelling by pro-Russian militants in Donbas on 2 April, the press service of the JFO HQ has said on Facebook. The two killed are well-known army support volunteer and fighter Yana Chervona and Junior Sergeant Oleksandr Milyutin, both from the Donbas-Ukraine battalion. “Bad news from the front line. Positions of the 54th detached mechanized brigade came under mortar fire. A direct bomb hit at a dug-out. Losses. Yana Chervona and Oleksandr Milyutin were killed today by an enemy bomb. The defenders of Ukraine. I knew Yana as a volunteer and a jolly person. It is difficult to believe,” President Petro Poroshenko said on Facebook. Yana Chervona (aka Vidma) took part in the Euromaidan protests in Kharkiv and provided support for the army as a volunteer. She then volunteered to join the special-purpose battalion Donbas-Ukraine as a machine gun operator. She is survived by her husband and two children.

Donbas death toll rises as Ukraine reports 2 KIAs on Tuesday – news war | UNIAN

In the past 24 hours, Russia’s hybrid military forces mounted 14 attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, with two Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action and another two as wounded in action. Three enemy troops were killed in action and another eight were wounded as Joint Forces returned fire, intelligence reports say.

Escalation in Donbas: Two Ukrainian soldiers killed, two wounded amid 10 attacks on Tuesday – news war | UNIAN

Two members of Ukraine’s Joint Forces have been killed in action and another two have been wounded in action amid 10 enemy attacks on Ukrainian positions in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, since Tuesday midnight. Russian-led forces widely use banned weapons, namely 120mm mortars and 152mm artillery systems, to shell Ukrainian positions.

Ukrainian military reveal details of bloody battle in Donbas that brought casualties – news war | UNIAN

A major battle erupted near the town of Popasna in Donbas on April 2, resulting in two Ukrainian defenders being killed in action. The female soldier, Yana Chernova, had “no chance of surviving in this hell,” according to the Donbas Battalion commander. A major battle erupted near the town of Popasna in Donbas on April 2, resulting in two Ukrainian defenders being killed in action. A 120mm projectile hit the trench, according to TSN. The battle began at noon and lasted for several hours. After its ending, fragments of not only a 120mm, but also 152mm projectile were found at the position where the troops had been killed. In total, four projectiles hit the position, the report says. “Their drone was operating at a little over a 1,000 m altitude over our positions. Most likely, it was spotting fire,” Commander of the Donbas Battalion, Viacheslav Vlasenko, said.

Retaliation: Joint Forces return fire, destroy positions of Russian proxies (Video) – news war | UNIAN

Officer of the 53rd Separate Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Anatoliy Shtefan, says a number of positions of Russian-led forces in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, have been destroyed as the government’s Joint Forces returned fire following an enemy attack. Data on enemy losses are being verified.

OSCE spots Russia’s brand new military equipment in occupied Donbas – news war | UNIAN

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine has spotted Russia’s brand new military equipment near the village of Yuzhna Lomuvatka in Russia-occupied Luhansk region. These are jamming systems.

The Armed Forces and NGU trained to storm the dominant heights in Lugansk region | MIL.IN.UA

In Lugansk region there were joint training of units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National Guard of Ukraine for assault and stripping of the ruling height under the control of the enemy. This is reported by the press service of the National Guard The advance of the attacking groups of the Ukrainian military took place with the support of mortar, tank and grenade launchers. In the scenario of exercises from the front working tanks and mortars, flanking the group of fighters to assault and stripping. For everything – 25 minutes. The task of fire support is to “disassemble” the enemy’s defense, attack aircraft – to go in, clean and hold positions. “We have to be ready for any possible action of the enemy. According to the scenario of the tactical-special lesson, it is the restoration of previously lost positions. This happens by the forces of the rota-tactical group. It covers the attacking units along with the NSU subdivision. After the restoration – consolidation, and possible reflection of the counterattack of the enemy “, – explained the military officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with the callous” Witcher “. The military personnel of the Donbas Battalion, part of the 15th separate NSU regiment, were satisfied with the coherence of the actions of the counterparts from the Armed Forces: “We, as part of the calculations of the AGS, supported the fire assault units. – the commander of the company of the department of NMU Andriy tells. – People are trained, understand what they are doing. They brought weapons to normal combat, determined the distance, and fulfilled their task. We struck enemy’s fire points with fragile ammunition. This is a powerful weapon that does not give the enemy the opportunity to get out of the shelves when calculating the AGS. ”

Expert comments on likelihood of “DPR-LPR” recognition by Russia – news politics | UNIAN

Had Russia planned to grab the occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (the so-called “DPR” and “LPR”), they would have long done that, says head of Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation Iryna Bekeshkina. Russia has been using these areas as a constant source of destabilization in Ukraine. Had Russia planned to grab the occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (the so-called “DPR” and “LPR”), they would have long done that, says head of Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation Iryna Bekeshkina. “But Russia’s main goal is to have these territories back in Ukraine, in a way that Russia retains control over them, while Ukraine finances them. Such a Trojan horse, or a cancerous tumor, which they are trying to plant into Ukraine’s body. Of course, Ukraine stands against this. So far, the ‘DPR’ and the ‘LPR’ are being used as a source of destabilization in Ukraine. And Moscow doesn’t need these territories to accede to Russia as Moscow doesn’t want to take care of them forever,” the expert wrote for the Ukrainian news outlet Glavred.

269 civilians killed in land mine blasts in Donbas since start of Russian aggression

Since the beginning of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation in Donbas, 269 civilians, including 27 children, have been killed in land mine blasts. — Ukrinform.

‘I Don’t See A Future Here’: Life In Eastern Ukraine After Five Years Of War

A UN official says civilians living under the control of Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine “have lost their livelihoods” and seen their limited resources “exhausted.” We spoke to 12 civi…

An artillery boat was launched in Kiev

Today in Kiev for the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine launched a small armored artillery boat This is reported by the Navy Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the official page of Facebook Descent took place at the solemn ceremony at the “Smith on Rybalsky” enterprise. Upon completion of all factory tests, he will go on his journey to Odessa, where he will start the state tests, which, as a result, will be included in the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This boat began to be built last year and during the laying of the eighth small armored artillery boat 58155, the code of the “MBAC” and the third landing and assault project 58503 type “Centaur-LC” in February 2019, the company carried out works on its assembly:

In Mykolayiv, they are testing a future gas turbine installation for the fleet

The state-owned enterprise “Zorya” – “Mashproekt”, which is located in Mykolaiv, developed and produced a prototype gas turbine engine (GTD) and began its testing. This is reported by the press-service of the company on its Facebook page It will become the basis of the propulsive complex of perspective ships of the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The new turbine has a unique design that allows its use in the civilian sector as a mechanical drive of compressors in gas transmission networks and as a mechanical drive of generators. Its capacity is – 32 MW.

AvtoKrAZ handed over to the military a special recovery vehicles

AvtoKrAZ handed over to the Ukrainian military a special truck KrAZ-6322 with a mounted crane manipulator. This is reported by the press service of the AutKrAZ The difference from similar machines in the lineup is the Palfinger truck mounted crane mounted cab. Cross-country vehicle has standard equipment. Its purpose is loading platforms and transporting aggregates and equipment, as well as towing trailers on all types of roads and in off-road conditions. The cabin provides space for the attachment of personal weapons to the driver and passengers, installed tire pressure control system for driving under difficult conditions of impassability.

UAWire – Ukrainian President Poroshenko orders polygraph test for Ukroboronprom leadership after corruption scandal

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has instructed the Cabinet of Ministers to have the leaders of the state-owned defense concern …

Top managers at Ukroboronprom must be tested on lie detector: Poroshenko – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said the whole senior management of Ukraine’s defense giant Ukroboronprom must be tested on lie detector. The president will appeal to the government to ensure immediate financing of the international audit at Ukroboronprom. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said the whole senior management of Ukraine’s defense giant Ukroboronprom must be tested on lie detector. “We appeal to the Government to ensure the organization of testing of the entire senior management of Ukroboronprom on lie detector. Separately prepare the lists of those who are to undergo the test. I ask you to include the heads of state enterprises of the defense industry, both CEOs and those responsible for finances,” Poroshenko said at a meeting with Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov and Deputy Secretary of the NSDC Serhiy Kryvonos, according to the president’s press service. The president heard a report by Serhiy Kryvonos on the proposals for inspecting Ukroboronprom and reforming the defense sector. “In case you find relevant grounds, I ask you to hand the results of lie detector tests over to SBU counterintelligence or law enforcers. That’s if certain circumstances of a crime committed are revealed,” Poroshenko said. The president also stressed that based of the recommendations of Colonel Kryvonos he would appeal to the Government for the immediate financing of the international audit at Ukroboronprom. He added the decision would be made in April. Poroshenko said the audit should be also conducted by the State Audit Service of Ukraine.

State Investigation Bureau opens case over Boyko’s Moscow visit – LB.ua news portal

The State Investigation Bureau has opened a criminal case over possible abuse by officials of the State Border Service and the State Aviation Service of Ukraine with regard to the flight to Moscow by a co-founder of the Opposition Platform-For Life movement and presidential candidate, Yuriy Boyko, and the Ukrainian Choice movement leader and member of the For Life party, Viktor Medvedchuk. The case was opened over the officials’ decision to allow the two to cross the air border of Ukraine to Russia. On 22 March, Boyko and Medvedchuk visited Moscow to hold negotiations with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller. Their meeting was broadcast live by the Ukrainian TV channels 112 Ukrayina and NewsOne controlled by Medvedchuk.

Ukraine Bans All Flights To Russia After Opposition Politicians’ Moscow Visit

The Ukrainian government has banned unscheduled flights to Russia after a recent visit to Moscow by two opposition politicians.

Ukraine closes sky for direct chartered flights to Russia – news politics | UNIAN

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has imposed a ban on chartered flights between Ukraine and Russia, with the exception of those required by missions of the United Nations, the Red Cross, and the Organization for Security Cooperation of Europe. The move comes following a bizarre Moscow visit of presidential candidate Yuriy Boyko and Vladimir Putin’s crony Viktor Medvedchuk where the two met Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has imposed a ban on chartered flights between Ukraine and Russia, with the exception of those required by missions of the United Nations, the Red Cross, and the Organization for Security Cooperation of Europe. “We’ve analyzed [head of the Opposition Bloc, presidential candidate Yuriy] Boyko’s flight to the aggressor state. He took advantage of a loophole in our legislation, got the green light from Russia’s FSB, and flew from Kyiv to Moscow for talks with the aggressor state’s prime minister. Therefore, we propose a resolution to amend regulations on the use of the Ukrainian airspace,” Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said at a government meeting on April 3, as reported by an UNIAN correspondent. The resolution was submitted for consideration to protect state security by eliminating loopholes for irregular air services between Ukraine and Russia.

Cabinet of Ministers bans non-schedule flights between Ukraine and Russia

03.04.19 14:38 – Cabinet of Ministers bans non-schedule flights between Ukraine and Russia The Cabinet of Ministers has supported the draft resolution on amending the provisions on the use of Ukraine’s airspace because of the recent “voyage” of MP Yurii Boiko to Russia. View news.

Cabinet of Ministers bans non-schedule flights between Ukraine and Russia

The Cabinet of Ministers has supported the draft resolution on amending the provisions on the use of Ukraine’s airspace because of the recent “voyage” of MP Yuriy Boiko to Russia — Ukrinform.

Constitutional Court okays renaming of Dnipropetrovsk Region – LB.ua news portal

The Constitutional Court has found the bill on the renaming of Dnipropetrovsk Region into Sicheslav Region to be in line with the constitution, Ukrainian News has reported, quoting a source in the court. It would require 226 votes to pass the bill in parliament in the first reading and 300 votes at the next session to give it the second reading. The Ukrainian parliament asked the Constitutional Court to check the bill on 7 February. After Dnipropetrovsk was renamed Dnipro, President Petro Poroshenko suggested the region’s name should be changed accordingly but parliament rejected this idea.

Moldovan consul detained in Odesa, consulate searched – LB.ua news portal

Operatives of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office and the National Centre for Preventing Corruption (NCPC) have detained Moldova’s consul in Odesa, Sergiu Șeptelici. The NCPC said that they had searched the consulate and the consul’s flat before the detention, according to Interfax-Ukraine. The consul is suspected of passive cooperation. According to investigators, on 6 April 2018, he illegally issued a 60-day Moldovan visa to a citizen of an Arab country for a 100-euro regard. He did not plead guilty. The consul was sent back where he was then banned from leaving the country for 30 days. If proven guilty, he risks a fine of around 2,900-5,800 dollars and a ban on holding certain posts for up to five years. Sergiu Șeptelici is a career diplomat. This is not his first diplomatic mission. He also worked at the Moldovan embassy in Moscow, from which he was recalled ahead of term for “work reasons”.

Ukrainian Diaspora Voters Show Starkly Different Political Preferences for Kyiv

Ukraine’s foreign polling stations saw traveling and internationally based citzens give a commanding victory to President Poroshenko in Sunday’s first-round election. This story originated in VOA’s Ukrainian Service. Pete Cobus contributed to this report. LONDON – Ukrainians who live abroad strongly prefer sitting President Petro Poroshenko to other candidates in last weekend’s first-round presidential election, contradicting the choice of voters who reside within the eastern European nation. According to official tallies of votes cast in Ukraine, comedian-turned-actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy was the preferred choice of 30 percent of the electorate, giving the novice politician a commanding lead over the incumbent Poroshenko, who came in a distant second with roughly 16 percent of the vote. According to official tallies from Ukraine’s 101 foreign polling stations, however, the majority of Ukraine’s 20 million-strong expat community — less than a half-million of whom are registered to vote — gave Poroshenko 38.9 percent of their estimated 55,000 ballots, leaving Zelenskiy with 26.1 percent, and the difference split among the first round’s other 37 candidates. Geographic voter preferences Like their Ukraine-based counterparts, who handed victory to Zelenskiy in 20 of 25 reporting oblasts — the five outliers located the country’s far east and west respectively — voter preference among members of the country’s global diaspora also tended to be geographically clustered. Poroshenko, for example, was the clear favorite among Ukrainians based the United States, where he garnered 56 percent of the vote. He enjoyed similarly strong showings in Canada (49.9 percent), the United Kingdom (52 percent), France (46 percent) and Germany (42 percent). He also claimed landslides (between 53 and 59 percent) in Ireland, Switzerland, Norway, Montenegro, Thailand and Australia.

Command Performance? On Ukraine’s Front Lines, Troops Aren’t Necessarily Sold On Poroshenko

Petro Poroshenko is trying to burnish his image as commander in chief to boost his reelection chances in a presidential runoff. But when it comes to the troops, is their wish really his command?

Reuben F. Johnson | Future Ukrainian NATO Membership In Question With Possibility of New President

KIEV, Ukraine—The Ukrainian presidential election will head to a runoff April 21 after Volodymyr Zelensky received 30.3 percent of the vote. KIEV, Ukraine—The Ukrainian presidential election will head to a runoff April 21 after Volodymyr Zelensky received 30.3 percent of the Ukrainian vote and current President Petro Poroshenko received 16 percent in the first round of voting, according to exit polling. Observers say Ukraine’s hopes for NATO membership may be in jeopardy with the possibility of a new president. Ukraine’s sitting president, Poroshenko had been working toward membership in the European Union as well as the NATO alliance. Zelensky had been leading significantly in the polls up until the March 31 vote, but his lead in exit polling was much higher than anticipated. The Ukrainian constitution only allows for two candidates on the final ballot. Zelensky in contrast to Poroshenko has no political experience. He has a majority of the youth vote in his corner. His name recognition and popularity are due to his roles on television and as a member of a well-known comedy troupe in Ukraine. It would be as if, said one diplomat in Kiev, “a popular star from America’s popular Saturday Night Live show ran for president and received almost double the votes of the sitting U.S. commander-in-chief.” Zelensky’s youth and inexperience have been touted by a number of commentators as real dangers for Ukraine—should he defeat Poroshenko in the April 21 second round election. Observers who look skepticly at a Zelensky presidency say that efforts to join NATO could falter should he be the next-round victor. Ukraine under a new president could be drawn further into war with Moscow, they say. Most NATO members are not interested in a direct confrontation with Russia and would shy away from offering Ukraine a place at the table. In this scenario, Russian President Vladimir Putin could a new offensive in the Donbas using a fabricated Ukraine provocation as justification. Then at a critical moment, Putin would offer to sit down and negotiate with the new, inexperienced Ukrainian president and attempt to out-maneuver or intimidate him. The result could be more loss of life and territory and no future prospects for NATO membership. The history of Ukrainian presidential elections in this century is a troubled one. A 2004 election was declared to have been rife with falsification by the supreme court, resulting in a second presidential ballot that was won by Viktor Yushenko in early 2005. Five years later he failed in his re-election bid against Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Moscow candidate who Yushenko beat in the previous election. Yanukovych was forced to flee the country in February 2014 when the massive Maidan Revolution threatened to spill over into civil war. At the time, Yanukovych had lost control of his security services and more than 100 protesters had been shot dead on the main square in Kiev. Armed protesters threatened battle with the security forces, at which point the highly unpopular president flew from Ukraine to exile in Moscow where he remains to this day. Poroshenko was then elected in a snap election in March 2014. Poroshenko’s time in office has been beset by accusations of corruption. Some of the scandals have involved the defense budgeting process and the country’s arms export and military procurement monopoly, UkrOboronProm. This has become a larger issue as the Ukrainian military continues to battle a Moscow-backed invasion and insurgency in the Eastern Donbas region. In an article for Real Clear Defense written in January 2017, former U.S. Naval officer James Durso quoted a former senior Ukrainian military officer as stating that almost half of the defence budget was being stolen. What is not being stolen, according to others whom he spoke to, ends up as orders to “factories indirectly owned by President Petro Poroshenko,” and that this “staggering corruption divides the self-interest of the elites from the national interest.” Durso worked in Iraq with the Coalition Provisional Authority and was also a member of the commission examining wartime contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The stream of reports like his and so many others partially account for the fact that some of Zelensky’s strongest support in the polls came from the same embattled Donbas provinces that border Russia. Poroshenko downplayed the idea that Ukraine’s prospective NATO membership was in jeopardy. He told a crowd of his supporters that with Sunday’s elections “Ukraine had successfully completed its test for Europeanization” and that “this solidly supports the course for Ukraine to enter the EU and NATO.” The head of Poroshenko’s party in the parliament, Artur Gerasimov, stated that the only real loser in this election was the Kremlin “in that the [election] procedures were all conducted transparently and democratically.” This positive note about this election was echoed by a manager at a well-known downtown Kiev wine shop. “In our election here there is actually some question as to who the next president will be. Over the border in Russia, there is never any mystery—you know it’s going to be Putin no matter what. The Russian elections are a sham—theatre of the absurd. Despite all our other shortcomings today shows we are still more advanced politically than the Russians.”

Daniel Szeligowski on Twitter: “Now it is time to take a closer look at those who have Zelensky’s ear. There are four main groups of people hanging around him and trying to influence his way of thinking [THREAD]”

Ukraine election: Zelensky in big lead as 99.89% votes counted – news politics | UNIAN

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has processed 99.89% of the protocols of precinct election commissions in the first round of presidential elections held on Sunday, March 31. A total of 18,873,399 votes have been counted following the first round of elections. The Central Election Commission (CEC) has processed 99.89% of the protocols of precinct election commissions in the first round of presidential elections held on Sunday, March 31. According to an UNIAN correspondent, showman Volodymyr Zelensky so far saw support of 30.23% of the voters. Some 15.95% of voters voted for the incumbent head of state, Petro Poroshenko, and 13.39% – for leader of the Batkivshchyna Party, Yulia Tymoshenko, meaning that the latter has not made it to the runoff.

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.

Team Zelensky come up with list of demands to Poroshenko ahead of runoff election stage – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian presidential election frontrunner Volodymyr Zelensky’s headquarters has put forward a number of demands to incumbent President Petro Poroshenko as the two are readying for a face-off in the second round of the people’s vote. Among the demands is to publish a list of Poroshenko’s “offshore companies, banks in which these companies have accounts, as well as the financial statements of these companies over the past five years.” Ukrainian presidential election frontrunner Volodymyr Zelensky’s headquarters has put forward a number of demands to incumbent President Petro Poroshenko as the two are readying for a face-off in the second round of the people’s vote. “We have carefully read the statement of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko saying he had heard the young people who voted against him. Therefore, we demand that before the end of his tenure as president of Ukraine, through the parliamentary majority he controls, as well as the heads of law enforcement agencies, he must ensure the adoption of the law on the abolition of the declaration of income and expenditure for public activists; restart the work of the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) by forming a new composition of this body with the participation of international experts and the introduction of an external audit of its operations,” Team Zelensky wrote on Facebook. They also require that Poroshenko ensure the adoption of an electoral law to introduce a proportional system with open lists for the next parliamentary elections, as well as to revoke his bill criminalizing illegal enrichment and instructing the coalition to support the draft law developed with the participation of international experts. In addition, the team expects from the current president appointments of judges and ensuring the implementation of measures that will help unblock the launch of the High Anti-Corruption Court.

Zelenskyi come up with list of demands to Poroshenko ahead of runoff election

03.04.19 13:29 – Zelenskyi come up with list of demands to Poroshenko ahead of runoff election Among the demands is to publish a list of Poroshenko’s “offshore companies, banks in which these companies have accounts, as well as the financial statements of these companies over the past five years.” View news.

Comedian faces scrutiny over oligarch ties in Ukraine presidential race | Reuters

Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy is leading the race to become Ukraine’s next president thanks to an insurgent campaign that rails against corrupt politicians influenced by rich oligarchs.

Ukraine election polls latest: When is second round – who will win? | World | News | Express.co.uk

COMEDIAN Volodymyr Zelenskiy is leading the race to become Ukraine’s next president after the first round of voting on May 31.

Leader of Radical Party of Ukraine ‘flushes’ Zelensky’s phone number to Facebook – 112.international

Oleg Lyashko made another two phone numbers public; they belong to oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky and Director General of 1+1 TV channel Oleksandr Tkachenko. The politician did this in revenge, after someone from 1+1 ‘flushed’ his number

Ukraine Election: After the tears, comedian Volodymyr Zelensky and Petro Poroshenko face off in second round battle | The Independent

Showman and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky has cemented his dominant position after the first round of Ukraine’s presidential elections.

Zelensky’s team issues ‘demands’ to Poroshenko, including law on elections, work of NACP, HACC

The team of presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky expects incumbent President Petro Poroshenko to act on several issues prior to ‘leaving office at the end of his term.”

Zelensky ready for debates, their format to be made known after second round announced

Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky said he is ready to participate in debate before the second round of the presidential election, but one should first wait for it to be officially announced, Dmytro Razumkov, a political consultant and an adviser with Zelensky’s headquarters, said.

Zelensky’s team makes demands to Poroshenko

The team of presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky has put forward demands to incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, according to a report posted on the Facebook page of the Zelensky team. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine’s ex-PM accuses incumbent president of rigging vote | Fox News

Ukraine’s former prime minister, who polled third in the nation’s tight race for the presidency, claims that the incumbent president rigged the results in his favor.

Ukraine elections: Political analyst says open union with Tymoshenko risk for Zelensky – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian showman Volodymyr Zelensky, a frontrunner in the first round of the Ukraine presidential election, may lose votes in the runoff if he unites with leader of the Batkivshchyna Party Yulia Tymoshenko, says Andriy Zolotariov, political scientist and head of the Third Sector analytical center. Tymoshenko should also realize there is no need to go for any public steps and announce the union, the expert believes.

Tymoshenko accepts defeat, accuses Poroshenko of election fraud | KyivPost – Ukraine’s Global Voice

Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko accepted her defeat at the March 31 presidential election though she claimed it wasn’t a fair play. Tymoshenko received about 13 percent of the vote based on the data from 99 percent of election protocols, being behind political satirist Volodymyr Zelenskiy with 30 percent and President Petro Poroshenko with 15.9 percent of votes. Tymoshenko claimed Poroshenko overtook her using several unfair methods. “He (Poroshenko) shouldn’t be in the second round, he got there in an unfair way,” she told the press on April 2 in her office, wearing the same red dress she had during her party congress that nominated her for the presidency in January. She looked sad but determined.

Tymoshenko denies support to Zelensky, Poroshenko in 2nd round of Ukraine’s presidential election | KyivPost – Ukraine’s Global Voice

Batkivschyna Party leader Yulia Tymoshenko, who ran in the March 31 first round of Ukraine’s presidential election, has said she believes that neither Volodymyr Zelensky nor Petro Poroshenko, who have gone forward to the second-round run-off, can cope with the problems Ukraine is facing today. “The country is in crisis. It is embroiled in war. It is in economic ruins and is facing extreme poverty. Its government institutions have been destroyed. Ukraine is facing very serious challenges. Ukraine is in great trouble. And I think that neither of the candidates in the second round on the decision of the CEC [Central Election Commission] can cope with these challenges and end the war or resolve these problems,” Tymoshenko said at a press conference in Kyiv on Tuesday. “Therefore, I can’t assume responsibility for any advice now,” she said. Tymoshenko said that her team will focus on averting any falsifications during the second round of the presidential election. Once it became clear that Zelensky and incumbent President Poroshenko would compete in the second-round run-off, experts suggested that Zelensky could win the second round if he gained Tymoshenko’s support. However, Zelensky and Tymoshenko immediately said that they were not holding any talks on consolidating their efforts. Zelensky said that no negotiations with Tymoshenko and her campaign staff were underway when asked after the first round’s completion on March 31 whether he could confirm reports that Tymoshenko was allegedly ready to support him in the second round if their two political forces formed a coalition following the parliamentary election.

How funny is the comedian who may be Ukraine’s next president? | Stage | The Guardian

Volodymyr Zelenskiy is the leading candidate to take the top job in his country – so who is he, and will he bring the laughs?

The Answer to Ukraine’s Problems Is…a Comedian? | The New Republic

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, triumphing in Ukraine’s first round of presidential elections, has become the world’s latest entertainer-politician.

​Ukrainian elections: the pace and reaction of the world – портал новостей LB.ua

Let’s try to understand what position with respect to the main candidates will take in the western countries after the results of the first round. Igor Solovey Igor Solovey, Head of MIR Department, LB.ua Photo: EPA / UPG The official conclusion of the OSCE’s international observers, agreed with the G-7 ambassadors, was that the first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine was competitive and citizens had the opportunity to freely express their will. “We can say, of course, that it was a competitive election and was given the opportunity to vote for the candidate elected by the citizen. Of course, everything will be determined in the second round, “said Ilko Kanerva, Special Coordinator of the Organization, Honorable President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. He also expressed the hope that the second round elections would inspire Ukrainians “to continue their democratic development in the world and security … with European values.” Ilka Kanerva Photo: EPA / UPG Ilka Kanerva In Kiev, they do not conceal that they are satisfied with such an assessment. “The international assessment of our elections is expected, they are recognized as free and democratic – and this is despite the war and the hybrid influence of Russia”, – said high-level diplomat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine LB.ua. According to him, in conversations with Ukrainian representatives, Western partners stress the importance of a consistent foreign policy: the continuation of the pro-European / transatlantic course and important reforms. “We can already show that prophecy and nationalism have not passed,” he added. “Next time, when the Russian ambassador starts to nudity to my colleagues in the EU on the power of nationalists in Ukraine, in response, I will silently show the result of a single nationalist candidate in the first round of the presidential election – 2% (the exit poll data),” the ambassador wrote in Council of Europe Dmitry Kuleba on his Twitter before announcing official results. Prediction against uncertainty Petro Poroshenko met with many leaders of foreign states during his period of cadence, with particularly close working and even friendly relations. And with some – not formed. And, with the dismissal of Poroshenko, some foreign diplomats called him a failure to comply with his words: Poroshenko does not always fulfill what he promised to his Western counterparts. But against the background of its current competitor, it remains for many understandable partner. Photo: Presidential Press Service On the other hand, Western leaders can not but ignore the possible presidency in Ukraine of Volodymyr Zelensky, who won a convincing victory in round 1 – all trying to understand his essence and future behavior as a potential head of state. True, while the reviews on him from foreign partners are generally more than skeptical. Next, we will try to understand what position the main candidates will take in the western countries after the results of the first round. USA Before the first round, the Americans refused, according to the “European Truth”, to give a public signal, whom they support during the campaign – the current president or his opponents. In the current election, the United States is trying to avoid all possible actions that could be considered as a call to vote for Petro Poroshenko – or vice versa, against him. Such a demonstrative neutrality of the States is likely to persist even before the second round. EU Instead, the EU, contrary to its own traditions, habits and practices, has won one of the candidates – Petro Poroshenko. On March 20 he visited Brussels with a rather unexpected visit. The Ukrainian delegation was jointly hosted by all three of Europe’s top officials: the President of the European Commission, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Parliament. Even at full summits with foreign leaders, they rarely gather together – but for the sake of Poroshenko took time. Therefore, now also such “passes” are not excluded. Chairman of the European Council Donald Tusk, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker during the EU-Ukraine Summit in Brussels, March 20, 2019. Photo: president.gov.ua Chairman of the European Council Donald Tusk, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker during the EU-Ukraine Summit in Brussels, March 20, 2019. Germany About the close working relations of Petro Poroshenko with Angela Merkel has long been known. “Believe the word: there is no leader of another state as our president, with whom the German leader would speak on the phone more often. So there is a personal contact – and it is extremely tight, “said Ambassador of Ukraine to Germany Andriy Melnyk earlier in an interview with LB.ua. Due to this contact, Merkel’s visit to Kyiv became possible just before the start of the season of political turbulence – before the presidential campaign on November 1, 2018. This step is assessed by the current president’s team as a signal of support. Help yourself and Ukraine. Or why Angela Merkel comes to Kiev Right now, just after the first round Poroshenko and Merkel held a telephone conversation, during which the German leader congratulated Poroshenko on going to the 2nd round of elections. Moreover, according to LB.ua, now

CEC processed 99.88% of ballots: Zelenskyi – 30.23%, Poroshenko – 15.95%, Tymoshenko – 13.39%

03.04.19 09:32 – CEC processed 99.88% of ballots: Zelenskyi – 30.23%, Poroshenko – 15.95%, Tymoshenko – 13.39% Central Election Commission processed 99.88% of the protocols. View news.

The Pro-Kremlin Media’s Spin On The Ukraine Election

Pro-Kremlin media in Russia focused heavily on violations of election law as Ukrainians voted to choose a new president. International observers said the vote was generally free.

Orthodox Church of Ukraine opens in Slovenia | KyivPost – Ukraine’s Global Voice

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) began its operations in Slovenia on March 31, the Ukrainian embassy to this country reports, adding that the first Holy Liturgy took place in the church of Saint Urh. “The Orthodox Church of Ukraine began its operation in Slovenia on March 31. Ambassador Mykhailo Brodovych and his wife, embassy staff and representatives of the Ukrainian community in Slovenia visited the first Holy Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, which was served in the church of St. Ur h,” the Ukrainian Embassy to Slovenia said on Twitter on March 31.

Ukraine: Russian Orthodox Church & Moscow Join to Squelch Religious Freedom | National Review

Russia and its Ukrainian dependents are persecuting religious minorities in the name of the Christian church.

Orthodox church schism extends Putin’s reach in Asia – Nikkei Asian Review

MOSCOW/TOKYO — A religious power struggle rooted in the Russia-Ukraine conflict is spilling over into Asia. The conflict pits the Russian Orthodox Church, which has close ties with President Vladimir Putin’s government, against the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul, recognized as the highest authority of what is officially known as the Orthodox Catholic Church. The Russian church has effectively struck out on its own to open dioceses in Southeast Asia. This comes as Moscow also looks to strengthen its political and economic relations with the region, including by increasing arms exports. A bigger religious presence could help Putin exert more influence across the bloc. “Four dioceses have been formed as part of the Patriarchal Exarchate in Southeast Asia: the Singaporean, Korean, Thai and Filipino-Vietnamese,” Vladimir Legoyda, head of the Russian church’s Synodal Department for Church, Society and Media Relations, told reporters in February. “It has been decided that Metropolitan Sergei of Singapore and Southeast Asia will be the governing archbishop of the Singaporean diocese, and he has also been entrusted with the temporary running of the other three,” Legoyda said. This encroaches on the turf of the Eastern Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, which is under the Constantinople patriarchate.