Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (140)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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A curious complaint by Amb Antonov in DO. New R-37M / RVV-BD / AA-13 ARROW displayed. New AK-12 and AK-15 assault rifles to enter mass production. Retired KGB three star Leonov fears Russia is on track to lose Crimea, Kaliningrad, Far East and Middle Volga due to Muscovy centric policies. Solovey slams regime. Skobov complains the Chekist regime is dismantling even the few gains Russia made during the Soviet era.

NATO updates. Reports that Germany is attempting to manipulate PACE votes to get expelled Russia re-instated. ECHR on MH17. Russian proxy AfD makes the US media. Poland/Visegrad update.

Robinson in State observes to Austrian media that “Ukraine was Putin’s biggest failure. If it was his intention to prevent Ukraine from coming to the pro-western orbit, then with his aggression against Kyiv he achieved exactly the opposite result – Kyiv set a clear pro-western course. Ukraine made a decision in favor of Europe and against Russia”. G7 on Ukraine. Media on former VP Biden and Ukraine. Turkey’s growing engagement with Ukraine. Crimea update.

Russia responds toxically to a Facebook comment by Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Omelyan – priceless.

Donbas update. New Iskra 1L220UK Zoopark-3 CBR completes trials.

Politics and economic reports. Again, a deluge of election reports – Felgenhauer and Ruvinsky providing Russian perspectives. Lukashenko bets on Poroshenko winning.

OCU and ROC updates – Russia is going medieval.


Amb Anatoly Antonov | America, You’re Not Listening to Us – Defense One

Russia’s ambassador: We’re ready for urgently needed security dialogue — when our U.S. counterparts are ready to engage in good faith. You can’t have a conversation if one party won’t listen to the other. Looking back on the discussions at the annual International Nuclear Policy Conference, hosted last month in Washington, D.C, by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, we have a strong feeling that all reasonable U.S. experts recognize an urgent lack of dialogue between Russia and the United States on key international security issues. As a result of this vacuum created in recent years, the number of unresolved problems continues to multiply — and therefore, so does the potential for conflict and the risks for global stability. This issue grows more relevant as the United States reconsiders its attitude towards the international system of strategic stability agreements. As Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted on March 20 in his statement to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, “The U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, and now from the INF Treaty, paves a way to a large-scale arms race with unpredictable consequences.” The realities of today’s rapid technological progress suggest that such a race will occur, because many countries aspire to have their own nuclear and missile capabilities as the sole true guarantors of their national security. So it is quite surprising that the Western national-security community sometimes acts as if they do not wish to hear our arguments. Let’s take the INF Treaty, for instance. A quick reminder: U.S. allies in NATO abandoned their own security interests and blindly supported Washington’s unfounded accusations that Russia has “violated” the Treaty. The alleged proof presented so far by the United States—coordinates and dates of the “banned” missile tests—is absolutely insufficient for such grave accusations. If there is more evidence, it should be presented. Without it, all U.S. accusations made against us once again prove that Washington lacks arguments to back its biased stance. Meanwhile, our attempts to save the Treaty, including by proposing unprecedented transparency measures, are rejected by the Trump administration.

Rob Lee on Twitter: “MiG-31BM with a R-37M long-range air-to-air missile. The missile’s stated max range is 200 km. https://t.co/GPn77xuyLs… https://t.co/XoKM41shpL”

Военный Осведомитель | VK

Mig-31BM with long-range guided missiles R-37M! ⚡ Photos of the MiG-31BM fighter-interceptor with long-range guided missiles R-37M have appeared on the Internet. Probably, these are the first photos of this rocket made directly in the combat units of the VKS – before that, the rocket “glowed” only in the form of layouts at exhibitions and as a weapon for the Mig31M interceptor (the aircraft was not put into mass production). We have prepared for you a small collage showing a comparison of rockets suspended on an airplane with available photos of the R-37M rocket. The R-37 is a long-range missile designed to destroy air targets (fighters, attack aircraft, bombers, BTA aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles), at any time of the day, from all angles, in the REP conditions, against the background of the earth and water including multichannel shelling on the principle of “let-forget”. Photos taken from open sources, the author of the photo: “Homo sapiens”, collage: “Military Informant”

UAWire – Russian production of spacecraft and missiles decreases dramatically

The production of high-tech manufacturing industries has decreased by almost 5% after two years of growth, RBC reported. The decline was caused by the collapse in production of civilian and military aircraft, helicopters, spacecraft and intercontinental missiles. According to the news agency, in 2018, the production of Russian aircraft, including spacecraft, decreased by 13.5%, although in 2014-2017, the production was growing by 9-20% annually. The decline continued in early 2019. The production of aircraft fell by 48% in January and February compared to the same period of 2018. Due to the collapse of aircraft production, the index of high-tech manufacturing industries fell by 4.9% in 2018, following the 5 and 6% growth in 2017 and 2016 respectively. In particular, this index covers civilian and military aircraft, helicopters, artificial satellites, orbital stations, space shuttles and intercontinental ballistic missiles. According to experts, one of the reasons for the decrease could be the intention of the United States to ban the supply of electronic devices and dual-use components to Russia, due to which manufacturers had to find alternative components.

Russia orders 150,000 latest Kalashnikov assault rifles – Defence Blog

The Russian Army will finally start receiving new Kalashnikov assault rifles chambered for the 5.45×39 mm and 7.62×39 mm rounds after a long-awaited contract was signed with Concern Kalashnikov. The Russian Defense Ministry and the Kalashnikov Concern signed a three-year contract for the supply of 150,000 AK-12 and AK-15, according to the Interfax news agency. Interfax also notes that the Russian army will receive 50 thousand AK-12 and AK-15 general purpose military assault rifles in 2019, 2020 and 2021. According to several media reports, the new weapon has been described as a successor to the famous Soviet-era AK-47 assault rifle, for which the Kalashnikov name is most closely associated. It is expected that the Ak-12 assault rifle will become the basis for the Russian armed forces. New general purpose military assault rifles are designed and manufactured by Kalashnikov Concern (formerly Izhmash). It is one of the modern derivatives of the Russian AK-Pattern series of assault rifles The assault rifles received new indices of GRAU 6P70 (5.45 mm caliber AK-12) and 6P71 (7.62 mm caliber AK-15). On December 20 last year, the Kalashnikov Media portal announced that the concern had begun the first deliveries of AK-12 assault rifles as part of the state defense order. The volume of the shipped consignment was 2.5 thousand automatic machines. The AK-12 was developed as part of the “Ratnik” program as an element of a promising set of equipment for the soldiers of the Russian Armed Forces. The concern noted that the Ministry of Defense of Russia is still the only customer of the AK-12, which will gradually replace the AK-74M in the army. But, according to CAWAT’sreport, Qatar has displayed what appear to be newly acquired AK-12 assault rifles in a parade to mark the country’s National Day on 18 December. Qatar revealed itself to be the first known exporter user of the modern Russian-made Kalashnikov AK-12 assault rifles.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia Now at Risk of Losing Crimea, Kaliningrad, Far East and Even Middle Volga, Former Head of KGB Analysis Says

Paul Goble Staunton, Nikolay Leonov, a KGB lieutenant general who headed that organization’s analysis department from 1973 to 1991, says that he very much fears that Russia is at risk of losing not only Crimea, Kaliningrad and the Far East but even the Middle Volga as a result of ignorance, incautious actions and rapid demographic change. In the course of a long interview in which he discusses the KGB’s role in the last two decades of Soviet power, the qualities of various Soviet leaders, and the failure of the country’s political leadership to take seriously the warnings his agency issued, Leonov also talks about the situation now (eadaily.com/ru/news/2019/03/29/nikolay-leonov-ya-opasayus-za-sudbu-kryma-kaliningrada-i-primorya). He suggests that if anything the gulf between those who provide accurate information and analysis and those who make decisions may be even greater than it was at the end of Soviet times. As evidence of that he points to “the history with Crimea.” That action has produced a counter-reaction that should have been considered before the decision to annex the peninsula was taken. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and the situation now is very much worrisome. “What price are we paying The real situation that exists now in the world about Russia and also the domestic conditions in the country when the temperature is gradually rising are causing me to become increasingly concerned,” the former KGB analysis chief says. Leonov says that he is even “concerned about the fate of certain of our territories.” “Kaliningrad, for example” where “time is working against us. “The population there never went to the Soviet Union and already doesn’t remember it. The oblast is gradually being drawn into relations with the West.” It already has “special relations” with Poland, Lithuania, and so on. Western leaders can see this and are getting ideas. “I am very much afraid as well for the territory of the Far East, the Primorsky kray. They are ever more being drawn into the orbit of China, Japan and South Korea. What ties them to Russia? The single Trans-Siberian railway? Rising prices for airline tickets are such that I don’t know who flies except on business,” Leonov continues. Moreover, he says, “when people tell me that in Vladivostok there is almost not a single car of Russian manufacture, I am not surprised.” The region produces for Japan and buys from japan. “Russia for the people there is very far away … what will the situation in that region be in 10 to 15 years?” Vladislav Surkov says that Russia can be held together by administrative means alone. But portions of the country are heading in different directions, and such “bindings” won’t be enough. A single explosion could trigger the falling of dominos in many places. “I very much fear such a scenario,” the KGB analyst says. He suggests that he is also worried a bout Tatarstan and Bashkortostan. Not long ago, we experienced plans about the creation of a ‘Caucasus emirate.’ There have also been ideas about establishing a “Urals Republic,’ and the separation out of the south of Russia.” These challenges must be recognized and be countered by becoming the basis of policy. People are kept together by “social and economic unity,” Leonov says. “But with us in Russia the structure is becoming rickety. Therefore, I have more concerns than optimism” about the future.” Demography is working against us as well, and “when I hear that Moscow soon will be the largest Muslim city in the world, I can hardly stand it.” Given that people in power in Russia today experienced the end of the USSR, they should be aware of how quickly things can turn against the center, Leonov says. But it is clear that many decisions are being made without adequate information not only about Russia’s regions but also about Russia’s neighbors. Trends there are also working against Moscow, but there seems to be “an information vacuum” in which decisions are being made without an adequate appreciation of realities. Some of Leonov’s comments may be dismissed as no more than an example of a former senior official who not unreasonably believes he and his generation did a better job of things than the current one; but the fact that he made these (and other) comments shows both just how nervous some in Moscow are and how upset they are about the way the Putin regime is acting. The former KGB analyst’s argument rests on the almost universally recognized principle that good analysis doesn’t guarantee good policy because that those who make policy can ignore it but that good policy in the absence of good information is almost always a random act – and not something that any leader or country can count on for long.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Solovey Speaks His Mind Even More Forcefully than Usual

Paul Goble Staunton, April 7 – In recent weeks, Valery Solovey, an MGIMO professor and commentator, has been extremely outspoken about the situation in Russia, the shortcomings of the Putin regime, and the increasing divergence between the powers that be and the population. But in a new interview withActivist.msk.ru, he exceeds even the high standard he has set earlier.

Below are twelve of his main points, presented in the order they were in the interview and not in order of importance. All of them deserve attention as an indication of Solovey’s underlying views about Russia today (activist.msk.ru/2019/04/spiski-tekh-kogo-nuzhno-zaklyuchit-pod-strazhu-byli-gotovy-v-2012-godu.html).

  1. Moscow could launch a new war against Ukraine after the presidential elections there, “but politically and strategically this has no sense. This war would not be the walkover that it might have been in 2014. Now it would be a real bloody war with major losses. And what is most important, it would not bring anything to Russia. I am certain the Kremlin’s position is more realistic.”
  2. “Russia is a country populated largely by poor people, either impoverished or at the edge of poverty. This is shameful for a country with such a quantity of natural resources and with the value of those resources which have already been extracted and sold.”
  3. The Kremlin is preparing for war and is displaying “the worst traditions” of the Russian state in pursuing a policy that is harming the population because the powers that be don’t care what happens to the people. As a result, “we a re in a state of social and already anthropological catastrophe if one judges by the level of mortality in Russia.”
  4. The Kremlin’s staging of games and competitions “have no practical sense. More than that, they end in the most shameful fiascos.” In the case of the Sochi Olympiad, they ended in the toilet “in the direct meaning of that word.”
  5. The Kremlin isn’t interested in the people whom it views only as material “for the solution of government and state tasks” or as the source of resources for the government to pursue its goals.
  6. The current pursuit of officials like Abyzov is easily explained: “the best way to keep the elite in tone are arrests.” That ensures loyalty, and “for the Kremlin this is problem number one. It is very much afraid of betrayal and conspiracies” and will do whatever it can to prevent their emergence.
  7. Charges are corruption, but no one in Russia believes that what is going on has anything to do with a struggle against corruption. Society thinks that this will not have any impact on corruption” because the entire bureaucracy is corrupt. The Russian people are “very realistic” on this point.
  8. There are people in the Putin vertical who would like the Kremlin to move from “vegetarian” repression to the real thing. They are prepared for “much more massive measures: “Lists of those who must be arrested without preliminary charges were prepared already for 2012” and they have been updated. “In Moscow, there are about 1500 to 2,000 people” on such lists. Such people could be “interned.” Putin has resisted moving in this direction, but he is under pressure to do so.
  9. Moscow knows little or nothing about what is happening beyond the ring road because the regime doesn’t want problems like the Ingush protests covered. People are angry about that as well, and it is likely that “in the coming year,” there will be more such local protests and that they may grow into “an all-Russia wave.”
  10. The powers that be are prepared to shut off the Internet in the event of any political or social conflicts. They’ve already done that in Ingushetia. But the consequences will be the reverse of what the Kremlin wants. Instead of participating virtually, even more people will come into the streets to find out what is going on.
  11. “Russia is an aging and dying country. And this is a national catastrophe. Women do not want and cannot give birth: they have no money or place to live. How can you have children if there is nowhere to live How can you have a second child if you are having trouble supporting one? Forty percent of Russian families are buying food on credit now.”
  12. The situation in Russia is so uncertain that people are turning to fortune tellers and the like. “This is nature,” Solovey says, “but the extent of this phenomenon is something you can’t even imagine.”

 

Window on Eurasia — New Series: 1991 was Russia’s Revolution of Dignity, One that Putin, following Yeltsin, is Working to Do More than Just Reverse, Skobov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 7 – Many people excuse Putinism because they argue that the USSR was “’a traditional society’” and that all the current Kremlin leader is doing is building on that background, Aleksandr Skobov says. But in fact, the Soviet Union was not a traditional society but rather “a modernizing project” as the perestroika period showed. Unless that is appreciated, the Russian commentator says, the full horror of what Putin and Putinism are doing to Russia in their drive to reverse not only the democratic gains of the early 1990s but even the modernization that the Soviet system is not obvious (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5CA6275D1C403). “The USSR was hardly the frozen desert or ‘traditional society’” many imagine, Skobov says. “’The Bolshevik project’ was ‘a modernization project.’ It aspired to be an alternative to ‘European modernization’ and as a result reached a dead end. But many common ‘primary modernization’ tasks it did in fact address and solve.” “As a result of its authoritarian nature,” of course, it did so “in an ugly and one-sided way and at a horrific price, but it did solve them.” It used slave labor, but “at the same time, it promoted a progressive change of the structure of employment, urbanization and, connected with this, more contemporary forms of life, mass education and the development of science.” In an improbable way,” Skobov continues, “the Soviet regime was able to the very end to combine a cannibalistic, in fact fascist cult of state force with a declared attachment to the classic set of ‘progressive humanistic values,’ values which arose in the Renaissance and Enlightenment.” And its official culture, which was entirely controlled by the CPSU, provided a continuing inoculation of Soviet citizens against xenophobia, chauvinism, aggression, and oppression and celebrated the struggle for liberation and justice.” This combination produced schizophrenia, which required Soviet citizens “to think one thing, say another and do a third.” “But all the same,” Skobov says, “the majority of participants of perestroika’s democratic movement took their ideas about freedom, justice and humanism not so much from Western radio stations and samizdat as from Soviet children’s books and Soviet films directed at children.” At the time of the onset of perestroika, “the USSR was a highly-developed industrial society standing at the brink of a transition to the post-industrial stage. In the West, this transition had already occurred;” but in the USSR, it was being held back by “the Stalinist social system, economic and political.” But that system was based “only on state force, and when the state weakened, the society was ready to move ahead. “Soviet society was completely ready to adopt both a market economy and political democracy.” What had to happen was the liquidation of “the Soviet (Stalinist) model” and that largely happened during perestroika. No one should doubt that Soviet people “carried out ‘the velvet revolution’ of 1991.” To be sure, many of the leaders were part of the nomenklatura. But “the face of the revolution was given by those who made it and not by those who manipulated them.” It was the people who kept the events bloodless: many above them were quite prepared for violence. “Civic movements in fact did not become a decisive political force,” Skobov concedes. “But this doesn’t mean that they weren’t political actors. Yes, important political decisions were taken without their participation in a purely nomenklatura milieu. But success in the struggle of elite groups was secured precisely by mass movements from below.” The population at that time accepted a democratic “but not liberal” ideology including support for “freedom of speech, assembly and organizations,” “the supremacy of law” as a check on the powers that be, the parliament as a manifestation of popular rule, and “anti-imperialism” based on the acceptance of the idea that no people should be ruled by another by force alone. Those who launched the August coup suffered a humiliating defeat, Skobov says, because they were viewed by people in the two capitals at least as aspiring to do away with these things and to restore a system in which the rulers could do anything they wanted regardless of the views of the people. Tragically, Boris Yeltsin, who was “flesh of the flesh” of the old nomenklatura, betrayed these principles too, not in 1991 but in 1993 (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5CA88CF755751). And now Putin is doing the same, not building on what the Soviet system achieved but rather seeking to destroy even that.

Reports: UK Nerve Agent Victim Meets Russia’s Envoy in London

Charlie Rowley, 45, whose partner Dawn Sturgess died after exposure to the toxin, held a 90-minute meeting with Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko at Russia’s embassy in London, Britain’s ‘Sunday Mirror’ said

Barbora Maronkova: NATO at 70 shows power of alliance in preserving peace | KyivPost – Ukraine’s Global Voice

When NATO turned 60 in 2009, many commentators made jokes about NATO reaching its “retirement age.” Ten years later, NATO is ready to celebrate its 70th anniversary on April 4, facing the most complex security challenges in a generation. These include a more assertive Russia, cyber and hybrid threats, terrorism, and instability across the Middle East and North Africa, In response, NATO has stepped up again, responding to many challenges at the same time. At no time in its history has NATO had the luxury of resting — for forty years, NATO successfully deterred the Soviet Union from aggression against Western Europe. In the 1990s, NATO undertook its first out of area operations and crisis management function helping to end conflicts in the Western Balkans. It oversaw a successful enlargement from 16 to nearly 30 members of the Alliance in the span of 20 years. NATO stays committed to its Open Door Policy and assists with reforms to those who expressed their aspiration to join the Alliance, including Ukraine. After 9/11, NATO took a lead role in the international response in Afghanistan and continues in its fight against terrorism, for example by training Afghan and Iraqi security forces and contributing to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. NATO has expanded its network of partnerships around the world including with international and regional organizations such as the United Nations, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Union, and the African Union. Over more than 25 years, the Alliance has developed a network of partnerships with non-member countries from the Euro-Atlantic area, the Mediterranean and the Gulf region, and other partners across the globe. NATO pursues dialogue and practical cooperation with over forty nations on a wide range of political and security-related issues. NATO’s partnerships are beneficial to all involved and contribute to improved security for the broader international community.

EU East StratCom Task Force: European Elections: Are We Ready? – Disinformation Review Special Edition – To Inform is to Influence

Share Tweet Forward 8 April 2019 *SPECIAL EDITION* European Elections: Are We Ready? In May, EU citizens will choose their representatives to the European Parliament. The choice we make at the ballot box will have a substantial impact on how the EU works for the next five years.In the EU, the right to vote also…

Germany seeks to lift Russian sanctions in Council of Europe – media – news politics | UNIAN

German diplomats and deputies are openly taking active steps to lift the sanctions pressure from Russia in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and plan to do this at the current PACE session. German diplomats are unprecedentedly active in negotiating with representatives of other states about the return of Russians to PACE without sanctions. German diplomats and deputies are openly taking active steps to lift the sanctions pressure from Russia in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and plan to do this at the current PACE session. The representatives of Germany have never concealed the fact they prefer a “dialogue” with the Russian Federation even if this requires moving away from putting pressure on it, the Ukrainian media outlet European Pravda reported on April 8, referring to several Western diplomats, as well as representatives of the expert community. But the data available to the media outlet suggest that now this refers to a coordinated campaign that has grown considerably in the run-up to the PACE spring session. “It is noteworthy that this activity is non-partisan: it covers representatives of both key forces of the government coalition – [the Christian Democrats] CDU/[the Christian Social Union in Bavaria] CSU and the Social Democrats. Recently, the deputies from the CDU and [the Social Democratic Party of Germany] SPD sent a letter to the PACE president to revise the sanctions rules, removing the Assembly’s right to impose sanctions on delegations from violating states when approving their powers,” the publication wrote. At the same time, German deputies are conducting explanatory work in PACE, persuading other parliamentarians that the struggle between Ukraine and Russia is an “election technology” and Europe should not support it, the European Pravda said. Parliamentarians also claim Angela Merkel personally supports the idea of forgiveness of Russia. However, the chancellor has not yet made public her position on this issue. But German diplomats are also unprecedentedly active in negotiating with representatives of other states about the return of Russians to PACE without sanctions, according to the publication. Official Berlin insists this will allow “saving Russia’s membership in the Council of Europe,” although their opponents question this logic. According to sources, the acceleration of the plan is among the options with the de facto liquidation of sanctions mechanism at the PASE session in April. UK Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe Christopher Yvon reported on unprecedented activity in this regard, although without indicating the state involved in this. “I was told today by a close follower of the work of the Council of Europe that this week it was doing self chemical castration. Surely we don’t want that,” he wrote on Twitter on Sunday, April 7. In his previous tweets, the British diplomat said he insisted on punishing Russia for violating the principles of the Council of Europe. As UNIAN reported earlier, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland proposed that the rules of the Council of Europe be changed to return the Russian delegation to PACE. At the PACE session in January, Jagland officially initiated work on amendments to the Statute of the Council of Europe to solve the crisis with Russia’s participation in the work of the Council of Europe and with the Russian non-payments.

European Court of Human Rights demands answers from Russia over downing of MH17 over Ukraine – Human Rights in Ukraine

The European Court of Human Rights has requested answers from the Russian Government in connection with two claims brought against Russia over the downing of Malaysian airliner MH17 over militant-controlled parts of Donbas on 17 July 2014 –

Russia puppet rumors, dubious donors plague German far right | Fox News

A series of potential scandals is plaguing the far-right Alternative for Germany party ahead of next month’s European Parliament elections.

UAWire – Nearly one quarter of Russians lack access to sewerage systems

In modern Russia, 22.6% of the population does not have access to centralized sewerage systems, according to a survey performed by the Russian Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) in September 2018. The investigation into the quality of life in Russia showed that most of these families (16.8%) use a pipe to a pit latrine, and 5.8% of Russians simply lack any sewerage system. There is no centralized sewerage system for 66.5% of Russians residing in rural areas (half of them use pit latrines and one fifth do not have access to any system). In cities, where Russians primarily live in apartment buildings, the situation is better – only 9% of city dwellers reported a lack of access. The rural population does not have sewerage systems, a normal water supply, and effectively lacks any centralized gas supply, observes Yevgeny Blekh, deputy director of housing and public utilities at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. Blekh says that the utilities for towns in rural areas are given the lowest priority for financing. “This is how it was, is, and will be for years to come,” the expert laments. Rosstat notes that the situation has improved slightly in the last few years – in 2016, 23.6% of the population had no access to sewerage facilities, with 16.5% using pit latrines and 7.1% lacking any such facilities. 73% of the country had access to sewerage systems in 2014, 77% between 2015-2016, and 78% in 2017. According to the international organization WaterAid, 23% of Russians living in cities lack access to safe, private toilets, making Russia the fifth worst for this indicator after India, China, Nigeria and Indonesia. The situation in Russia is worse than in Bangladesh, the Republic of the Congo, and Brazil.

As NATO banks on Poland, is the country becoming the new face of a nervous Europe?

NATO plans to turn a town in central Poland into a key storage hub for U.S. combat equipment.

Czechs View NATO and EU as Cornerstones of Peace and Prosperity

The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined the EU in 2004, five years after the three nation states became members of NATO

US Signs Defense Cooperation Agreement with Hungary

WASHINGTON — On the sidelines of two days of events marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United States signed a bilateral defense cooperation agreement with Hungary, an act that went almost unnoticed by American media. Hungarian media, however, widely published the news Saturday, quoting Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peter Szijjarto, as saying this is a “modernized version” of an agreement reached 20 years ago. In a statement, David B. Cornstein, U.S. ambassador to Hungary since June 2018, said “This agreement will modernize our previous status of forces agreement to reflect new realities in defense.” Daniel S. Hamilton, a transatlantic expert at Johns Hopkins University, told VOA that the agreement serves as a means to channel U.S. funding to signatory countries under the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), “largely for infrastructure improvements but also related to missile defense coop(eration).” The United States, he said, has similar agreements with a number of allies and is negotiating with more. The European Deterrence Initiative, known earlier as the European Reassurance Initiative, was first put in place in 2014 in response to Russia’s actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, and has “grown steadily,” researchers say, “amidst a firestorm of presidential tweets and fractious international gatherings, reaching just over $6.5 billion for fiscal year 2019.” Hours after the U.S. – Hungary defense agreement was signed, Hungary’s foreign minister declared at an event in Washington that his government “applauds” how the current U.S. Administration treats his country and Central Europe as a whole, which he described as a drastic departure from the previous Administration. The Obama Administration was “more critical of Hungary’s slide to illiberal democracy than the Trump Administration,” says Johns Hopkins University’s Hamilton. The latter’s criticism, he says, “has been directed more to Hungary’s links to China and Russia rather than domestic issues.” The Hungarian government, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has often stated the need to “protect European Christian culture” as well as the need to “halt migration.” In spite of his electoral victories, Mr. Orban also has a significant number of critics, both domestic and foreign, including the pastor who presided over Mr. Orban’s wedding and christened his two eldest children. In its announcement of the agreement’s signing, the U.S. State Department credited both Hungary’s commitment to strengthen ties with the United States as well as the U.S.’s commitment to bolster bilateral ties in Central Europe. Details of the Agreement are not yet available.

Relocation of ‘Russian’ Bank Alarms Western Security Officials

BUDAPEST — Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban made his name as a young anti-Communist dissident delivering a fiery anti-Russian speech at the 1989 reburial of Imre Nagy, leader of the Hungarian revolt of 1956 against the Soviet Union. Among the KGB officers dispatched by the Kremlin to help quash the Imre Nagy-led Hungarian uprising was Nikolai Kosov, a young intelligence officer, whose wife had given birth just a few weeks earlier to their first child, a son. Fast forward more than half-a-century, and the son, also named Nikolai, was one of the first visitors earlier this year to Viktor Orbán’s new prime ministerial office in a former Carmelite Monastery overlooking the country’s parliament. There the two — the onetime dissident and son of a legendary Communist spy — discussed the relocation to Budapest of a Russian bank, itself steeped in Cold War history. Kosov was handpicked in 2012 to head the bank by Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Now known as the International Investment Bank, formerly as Comecon, or the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, the Russian-controlled financial institution is obscure and has a small-scale balance sheet of a mere $350 million. But its planned move to Budapest has become the latest flashpoint in an increasingly strained relationship between the Hungarian government and Washington.

Ukraine has become Putin’s biggest failure – U.S. official

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has become the biggest failure of Vladimir Putin’s policy. — Ukrinform. Christopher Robinson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, said this in an interview with Austrian newspaper Wiener Zeitung. “Without the implementation of the Minsk Agreements there will be no improvement in relations. Ukraine was Putin’s biggest failure. If it was his intention to prevent Ukraine from coming to the pro-western orbit, then with his aggression against Kyiv he achieved exactly the opposite result – Kyiv set a clear pro-western course. Ukraine made a decision in favor of Europe and against Russia,” the U.S. diplomat said, when asked about Ukraine’s role in relations between the United States and Russia. He added that the best way to thwart Russia’s goals in Ukraine is to jointly help Ukraine achieve economic and political success. Robinson added that, on the whole, the list of Putin’s failures is “very long.” It includes, in particular, the failed attempt of a coup in Montenegro, an ineffective attempt to undermine negotiations between North Macedonia and Greece, he said. According to Robinson, the Russian president is “against our system, against our values, against the European architecture of collective systems of cooperation.” Separately, the U.S. diplomat also commented on the construction by Russia of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which, he said, will increase Europe’s dependence on Russian energy resources and slow down Europe’s transition to alternative energy. “Increasing Europe’s dependence on Russia’s energy supply is not a good idea. Russia is not a reliable partner. Moreover, Nord Stream 2 will slow down Europe’s movement towards alternative energy. In short, Nord Stream is not in the European interest. This project should not be viewed through the economic prism, but from the geopolitical perspective,” Robinson said.

Poroshenko expects soonest resumption of Normandy Four talks on Donbas | KyivPost – Ukraine’s Global Voice

The Normandy Four talks (Ukraine, Germany, France, and Russia) will be resumed soon, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said. “We are going to Berlin now. Our partners have made a statement that the Normandy format will restart its activity urgently. We have something to work on. We know where, when and how to advance for sure,” Poroshenko said on the Ukraina TV Channel on April 7. As reported, Poroshenko will visit Berlin at German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s invitation on April 12. On April 6, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that he has called for preserving Germany’s and France’s mediating role in the settlement of the Donbas crisis, Deutsche Welle reported. At the last Saturday’s meeting of the G7 foreign ministers in the city of Dinard in France, the German foreign minister stressed the importance of the talks seeking a political settlement in Donbas to continue after the Ukrainian presidential election. The current Normandy format, which is also joined by Germany and France along with Ukraine and Russia, should be preserved, Maas said. Both Berlin and Paris hope for further talks in this format following the Ukrainian presidential election, the German foreign minister said.

G7 urges Russia to release Ukrainian sailors, ready to introduce new sanctions | KyivPost – Ukraine’s Global Voice

The foreign ministers of the G7 countries have called on Russia to release Ukrainian seamen, who on November 25, 2018, were forcibly seized in the Kerch Strait area. “We call on Russia to release the detained crew and vessels and refrain from impeding lawful passage through the Kerch Strait,” the communiqué issued after the ministerial meeting in France said. “There is no justification for Russia’s use of military force against Ukrainian ships and naval personnel. We urge restraint, due respect for international law, and the prevention of any further escalation,” the document says. The G7 foreign ministers also expressed extreme concern about the security situation and the humanitarian situation in Donbas.

Ukraine deal fuels trouble for ‘Creepy Joe’ Biden’s son, Hunter | World | The Sunday Times

Joe Biden has spent much of the past week in a defensive crouch, the target of a series of complaints about his habit of making women uncomfortable by being overly tactile. But the “Creepy Joe” narrative is just one of the pitfalls that awaits the former vice-president as he edges closer to declarin

Ukrainian to US prosecutors: Why don’t you want our evidence on Democrats? | TheHill

The prosecutor general has evidence to present to US Attorney General Barr regarding election interference and money spirited out of Ukraine.

Joe Biden’s 2020 Ukrainian nightmare: A closed probe is revived | TheHill

Biden persuaded Ukraine to fire its prosecutor while he was investigating a natural gas firm that employed Biden’s son on its board.

Ukraine: Russia’s anger but Turkey’s hunger – CGTN

A drone deal, a logistics hub project, joint navy drills –Turkey-Ukraine ties are visibly blooming, though Moscow regarded the drone deal as an action that would “worsen the crisis” in the region. As the year 2019 is “special” for Russia and Turkey in regards to their intensified cooperation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to visit Moscow for a session of the High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council on Monday, in which the regional security issue will be put back on the table. What does Turkey want? Erdogan has been working hard to strengthen ties with Ukraine and is continuing to invest in major projects calculated to have a significant economic and political impact throughout the region.

Austria supports anti-Russian sanctions, as Russia violated international law, – Kneissl

Karin Kneissl says Austria supports anti-Russian sanctions

UAWire – Chairman of Ukraine’s Parliament: Children in Crimea are being trained for war against Ukraine

Russia is using its education system in annexed Crimea as a weapon against motherland Ukraine, said Andriy Parubiy, Chairman of Ukraine’s parliament, at the 140th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Qatar. “The children of Ukrainian citizens in the illegally occupied territory are being forcibly indoctrinated and turned into supporters of the Russian imperial idea. Russia, in breach of international humanitarian law, is deliberately training the Ukrainian citizens residing in Crimea for service in the Russian army and for the war against Ukraine. Ukrainians have to kill Ukrainians – that is Putin’s plan,” Parubiy commented. He emphasized that the Russian authorities’ refusal to allow any international monitoring missions, even the UN special representative, onto the occupied peninsula is direct evidence that “the criminal is aware of his crime”. “Russia is systematically using education in the occupied territories in order to mentally enslave the local population and undermine the security of its neighbors, including Ukraine. Putin’s government is using education as a weapon against Ukraine. Russia is violating the law on education in one’s native language, systematically degrading the Ukrainian citizens residing in the occupied territories,” Parubiy observed.

UAWire – Russian missile ships conduct exercises in the Black Sea

A group of ships from the Russian Black Sea Fleet conducted missile firing exercises in the Black Sea and returned to the naval base in annexed Sevastopol, reported Alexei Rulev, the head of the fleet’s press service. “Together with missile ships Ivanovets and R-60, which carried out the missile test firing, 14 ships and support vessels of the Black Sea Fleet returned to the permanent deployment places. They participated in the closure of the marine test site to ensure the safety of civilian shipping,” states the report. The press service of the Black Sea Fleet has not officially announced the exercises. Earlier, it was reported that Russia held anti-aircraft missile exercises in the annexed Crimea.

🇺🇦 «I gotta go to Moscow ASAP» – Volodymyr Omelyan

“I gotta go to Moscow ASAP”  Is everyone a comedian now? The day before, they’re like “let’s cancel all flights”. Today, they’re inviting is to a meeting in Moscow to discuss the unified transport zone of the Eurasian Union, “whose membership includes Ukraine, at the behest of Putin”. Guys, your man won’t win – so stop trying! And don’t you worry – we’ll get to Moscow eventually! With our allies! In tanks! With signs that read “On my way to Moscow!” We’ll repeat Sahaidachny’s feat!

Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny – Wikipedia

In 1618, Sahaidachny joined the Anti-Turkish Holy League.[4] While he was battling the Turks, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth requested his assistance for war with Muscovy (Russian Tsardom); they wanted him to provide Władysław IV Vasa, the King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, with 20,000 Cossacks near Moscow. Sahaidachny did, and seized the forts in the cities of Putivl, Kursk, Livny, Yelets and many others. Near Serpukhov Sahaidachny forced the Muscovite army to flee. The Muscovite troops under command of the voivode G. Volkonsky forced Cossacks to take a detour, but were unable to stop the advance of the Cossacks regiments to Moscow. In September 1618 he forced to flee the army of another Muscovite nobleman Vasilii Buturlin. Later, united army of Jan Karol Chodkiewicz and Sahaidachny sieged Moscow and 11 October unsuccessful attempted to take the Arbat Gates.

Russian Officials Snap Back at Ukrainian Threat to Bring Tanks to Moscow

“Dear comrade, the Moscow you’ll be in ‘with allies in tanks’ is located in Idaho,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said. Russian officials took to social media with posts mocking a Ukrainian minister’s pledge to storm Moscow with tanks. Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan wrote on Facebook Thursday that Ukrainian tanks will “eventually” arrive in the Russian capital alongside its allies. His post was made in response to an invitation from Moscow to discuss Ukraine’s membership in a Eurasian Union unified transport zone. “Dear comrade, the Moscow you’ll be in ‘with allies in tanks’ is located in Idaho. So be my guest,” said Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. Senator Alexei Pushkov crowed that “Only Adolf Hitler seriously planned to go to Moscow in a tank, but at least he had many tanks and a plan of action.” “Kiev’s chatterboxes have neither,” he tweeted. “They can only drive into a dug-up hole.” Ruslan Balbek, a State Duma lawmaker from Crimea, also mocked the comment, saying that “we’ve seen these Ukrainian ‘heroes’ already,” the state-run RIA Novosti news outlet reported. “Some are hiding in Kiev, while the others are detained in Russia. Neither have ultimately reached Moscow.”

One Ukrainian soldier wounded amid 10 enemy attacks in past day – news war | UNIAN

Russia’s hybrid military forces in the past 24 hours mounted 10 attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as wounded in action. Four invaders were killed and another 14 were wounded on Sunday, intelligence reports say.

Another Ukraine army’s strike on terrorists’ positions near Yasynuvata captured on video – news war | UNIAN

Officer of the 53rd Separate Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Anatoliy Shtefan, has uploaded a video, showing a strike by Ukraine’s Joint Forces on enemy fortified positions in the area of the Yasynuvata road junction in Donbas, eastern Ukraine. According to intelligence reports, two occupiers were killed and another five were wounded.

Ukraine: The forgotten war | | Al Jazeera

Despite the Minsk ceasefire agreement, conflict continues to affect everyday life in eastern Ukraine.

The hot cold war: Inside Canada’s military training mission in Ukraine | CBC News

It’s a long way from the killing fields of Kandahar to the laneways of Lviv, Ukraine — but for Lt.-Col. Pierre Leroux, the newer conflict carries echoes of the older one.

Almost 800 Kyiv residents to be called up for military service – military commissar – News of Ukraine | UNIAN

Military commissar of the Kyiv city military registration and enlistment office Serhiy Kliavlin says 780 Kyiv residents will be called up for military service within the spring-summer conscription campaign. In general, the draft reserve in Ukraine’s capital city exceeds 30,000 people.

Петро Порошенко on Twitter: “Українські захисники визначатимуть на відстані десятків кілометрів точне місцезнаходження ворожих гармат,мінометів, ракетних комплексів протиповітряної оборони та тактичних ракет Це стало можливим завдяки контрбатарейному радару 1Л220УК, який успішно пройшов польові випробування… https://t.co/FA0m4l24iw”

New Ukrainian counter-battery radar successfully completes field trials – Defence Blog

Field trials of the new Ukrainian artillery reconnaissance system have been completed, the UkrOboronProm has announced on 8 April. The new 1L220UK mobile weapon locating system, commonly known as counter-battery radar, designed to detect and track incoming artillery and rocket fire to determine the point of origin for counterbattery fire. The tests, which took place at one of the ranges of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, allowed to confirm the technical specifications of the 1L220UK, which significantly exceeds the counter-battery radars, which are now in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Counter-battery radar 1L220UK intended for reconnaissance positions of enemy artillery. Thanks to a powerful radar station that operates in the microwave range, the radar “sees” the artillery shells, and the powerful digital system “builds” the trajectories of their flights. When locating enemy artillery, the radar tracks the up-going trajectory of shells, calculates their points of origin and impact and, with other information, displays it to the radar operator(s). The new 1L220UK has a larger antenna and can detect guns at 28 km, mortars at 30 km and rockets at 55 – 80 km depending on their size, and locate targets. The 1L220UK provides effective firing activity under the conditions of reduced visibility and enemy electronic counter-measures; increase of the reconnaissance and killing area by a factor 8 to 10 times, in comparison with the battalions equipped with standard facilities; reduction of fire mission execution time by a factor of 1,5 to 2 times; reduction of the ammunition expenditure by a factor of 2,5 to 3 time. UkrOboronProm, after successful completion of field tests, is ready for serial production of 1L220UK to provide the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Ukrainian Armed Forces successfully test new counter-battery radar

The counter-battery radar 1L220UK, which has successfully passed the tests, will accurately determine the location of the enemy and destroy it, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has reported on Twitter. — Ukrinform. “Ukrainian defenders will determine at a distance of tens of kilometers the exact location of enemy guns, mortars, air defense missile systems and tactical missiles. This was made possible thanks to the counter-battery radar 1L220UK, which has successfully passed field trials,” the head of state wrote. The press service of the Ukroboronprom State Concern, in turn, reported that the radar had been developed by Iskra Scientific and Production Complex, part of the concern. The tests, which took place at an artillery site in Ukraine, helped confirm the tactical and technical characteristics of the 1L220UK, which significantly exceeds in this regard the counter-battery radars currently used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

New counter-battery radar system tested in Ukraine

Counter-battery radar 1L220UK tested in Ukraine

Armed Forces successfully tested new counter-battery radar. VIDEO

08.04.19 15:06 – Armed Forces successfully tested new counter-battery radar. VIDEO The counter-battery radar 1L220UK, which has successfully passed the tests, will accurately determine the location of the enemy and destroy it. View video news.

“Zoopark-3”: field trials are successfully completed

Author: Revision April 08, 2019 News of the military-industrial complex 0 Comments The Counter-Battery Radar 1L220UK “Zoo-3”, which was developed and manufactured by the State Enterprise “NSC” Iskra “successfully completed the field stage of state tests. This is reported by the press service of Ukroboronprom Tests were held at one of the artillery sites of the Chernihiv region. They allowed to confirm the tactical and technical characteristics of 1L220UK, which far exceeds the counterbalanced radars that are currently in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The Counter-Battery Radar 1L220UK is intended for exploration of enemy artillery positions. Thanks to the powerful radar station operating in the microwave range, the radar captures shells, and a powerful digital system calculates their trajectories.

Counter-Battery Radar 1L220UK from Iskra successfully completed field trials – YouTube

State Concern “Ukroboronprom” Published on April 8, 2019 The Counter-Battery Radar 1L220UK, which was developed by the NPC “Iskra”, which is part of the State Enterprise “Ukroboronprom”, successfully completed the field stage of state tests.

UAWire – Poroshenko promises to equip Ukrainian Army with Neptune cruise missiles very soon

During the tests of the Neptune cruise missiles, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko promised to equip the Ukrainian Navy and Land Forces with these missile systems “within extremely short timeframes”. “Today we are ready to complete the tests. And I gave the order, to put the system into service and arm the units of the Navy and the Land Forces within extremely short timeframes ,” said Poroshenko. Neptune missiles are designed to destroy enemy ships with a displacement of up to 5 thousand tons, as well as ground targets. Their development in Ukraine has been conducted by State Design Bureau Luch since 2013. The systems were developed on the basis of the Soviet Kh-35 missile. The last series of the Neptune missile tests was held at the Ukrainian Armed Forces testing ground in the Odessa region. Poroshenko praised the increase of the missile range which was achieved by the manufacturer of the missiles, the Luch design Bureau. Previous tests of Neptune missiles were held in the Odessa region in August and December last year.

The Armed Forces received a modernized Su-25 attack aircraft

Posted by: Editorial April 08, 2019 News 0 Comments The Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine received a regular attack aircraft Su-25, which was undergoing major overhaul and partial modernization. This is reported by the Ukrainian Military Portal Relevant works were carried out at the Zaporizhzhya State Enterprise “MIGRemont”. The photo of the plane was published by Sergei Tryukhan on his Facebook page: Su-25 board number 32 Photo: Sergey Tryukhan The photo shows that the attack aircraft is equipped with means of protection “Adros” KUV 26-50. Most likely, this aircraft was upgraded to the version of the Su-25M1K, which is supplied to the Army Air Force from 2015. Supplementary equipment installed on the MIGRAMONT SOURCE in the Su-25M1K version: Su-25M1K Last year the company ZDARZ “Migremont” transferred to the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine three such aircraft.

Reform of judiciary in Ukraine complies with standards of Council of Europe

In 2017-2018, the Council of Europe conducted research into new competitive procedures for selection and appointment for judges within the framework of the reform of the judiciary in Ukraine and made a conclusion that the reform complied with the standards of the Council of Europe. — Ukrinform.

Peter Simon: Despite short-term economic growth, Ukraine’s current system still corrupt | KyivPost – Ukraine’s Global Voice

Last weekend, after the first round of Ukrainian presidential elections, veteran Eastern European investor Harvey Sawikin said that despite the free elections, investors should remain wary of investing in the country. He claimed that money can be made in corrupt autocracies or free democracies, but never in corrupt democracies. But is he right? Has Ukraine really made no progress under President Petro Poroshenko? Is there no money to be made? Or is Ukraine just still too risky? Positive developments Last year was net positive for Ukraine’s investment picture. Gross domestic product in 2018 grew at its fastest rate in seven years —3.3 percent — pushing the country’s total output to $131 billion. Agricultural productivity, coupled with strong consumption and investment, drove the acceleration in growth. Similarly, retail was strengthened on the back of wage growth and consumer demand. But consumers were not alone—large companies such as Metinvest saw their profits surge by over 90 percent in 2018. Even Ukraine’s largest bank PrivatBank, which was caught with a hole in its ledger to the tune of Hr 148 billion (roughly $5.5 billion, or 4 percent of total Ukrainian GDP at the time) just a few years ago, returned to profitability last year, and is on track to earn even more in 2019. These positive developments, along with several others, contributed to a favorable outlook for Ukrainian public markets. The PFTS Stock Exchange, Ukraine’s stock market, was among the top performers worldwide in 2018, rising just over 80 percent in 2018. The MSCI Emerging Market Index by comparison was down over 14.5 percent in the same time frame. But there are also several developments that will help to sustain growth over the long term. For one, the National Bank of Ukraine and Clearstream—an international central securities depository (ICSD)— signed an agreement on March 13th. Clearstream gives international investment managers uninhibited access to Ukrainian local debt, thereby increasing liquidity, diversity of ownership, and transparency.

Ukraine’s Cabinet starts competitive selection in state banks’ supervisory boards – news economics | UNIAN

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has begun a competitive selection of candidates as independent members of the major state-owned banks in Ukraine, including PrivatBank, Oschadbank and Ukreximbank. The memorandum with the IMF provides for the appointment of independent supervisory boards in Ukraine’s state-owned banks.

Ukraine starts pumping gas into underground storage facilities – news economics | UNIAN

Ukraine on April 5 started the season of pumping natural gas into its underground storage facilities (USFs). The daily volume of gas injection into the USFs was estimated at 12 mcm as of April 5.

Ukraine boosts protection of post offices – news economics | UNIAN

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) says postal service operators in Ukraine that have applied for a license of the regulator to carry out foreign exchange transactions or have already received it should strengthen protection of their premises before April 1, 2020. The NBU’s relevant resolution came into force on April 6.

Poroshenko replaces governor in Odesa region – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has dismissed Maksym Stepanov as Head of Odesa Regional State Administration and appointed First Deputy Head Serhiy Parashchenko as acting governor. The relevant decrees are published on the president’s website.

Ukraine-Turkey trade grows by almost 30 percent

Ukraine-Turkey trade turnover has increased by 28% over the past two months. Last year, Turkey was 6th largest importer of Ukrainian agri-food products. — Ukrinform.

Transmitter disconnections worry Ukraine

Media Group Ukraine (MGU) has criticised the disconnection of a number of transmitters in the country by the Broadcasting, Radiocommunications and Television Concern (BRT). In a statement, it has called on the Council of Ministers to pay attention to the BRT, which owes significant amounts to money to energy companies in various parts of Ukraine. Most recently, the disconnection of broadcasting signals have taken place in several parts of the Lugansk region.

Ukrainian ‘Black Widow’ model wins a £65,000 pay-out | Daily Mail Online

Ganna Ziuzina (pictured) – now known as Julianne Moore – was accused at an inquest in 2017 of being behind the hit-and-run killing of businessman Barry Pring, 47, in Kiev in 2008.

Lion attacks trainer during performance in Ukraine

Caught on camera, a scare at the circus involving a&nbsp;lion tamer being attacked while performing in Ukraine.

Pavel Felgenhauer | Moscow Hopes Ukrainian President Poroshenko Will Finally Be Ousted – Jamestown

President Petro Poroshenko may be the most Moscow-hated Ukrainian politician today. The Russian state-run propaganda machine has been lambasting Poroshenko for months ahead of the March 31 presidential election, and top officials publicly joined in. According to the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, Ukraine is ruled by Americans from Washington who support Poroshenko because he is their pawn. “If Poroshenko stays in power through massive vote rigging,” Patrushev insisted last month, “it will be impossible to restore relations with Russia, the crisis in Ukraine will worsen and the country may disintegrate” (Izvestia, March 25). Ukraine is seen in Moscow and in the Kremlin as a critical battleground in the global standoff between Russia and the United States. It all began in 2004 with the so-called “Orange Revolution,” when massive protests in Kyiv against alleged systemic vote rigging prevented the election of Moscow-friendly president Viktor Yanukovych. Although eventually rising to the presidency in the election of 2010, Yanukovych was ousted in February 2014 by another popular revolt—the “EuroMaidan Revolution” (also known as the “Revolution of Dignity”). After the Orange Revolution, President Vladimir Putin and the ruling Russian elite dramatically changed Moscow’s strategic direction from cooperation and partnership with the West to rivalry and confrontation, combined with a massive military/nuclear buildup. The ouster of Yanukovych in 2014 was followed by the occupation and speedy annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and the military conflict in eastern Donbas. In February 2019, Poroshenko initiated a constitutional amendment, approved by the Supreme Rada (Ukrainian parliament), proclaiming the country’s intent to integrate with the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, this constitutional amendment, “signed by Poroshenko with so much pomp,” was a “provocation aimed at destroying the Minsk accords on conflict resolution in Donbas” (Militarynews.ru, February 21). The codification of Ukrainian intent to join NATO is seen in Moscow as the ultimate proof of Western (i.e., US) long-term strategic intentions to transform Ukraine into a forward operational base: a gun aimed at the heart of Russia. Poroshenko was elected in May 2014 with over 50 percent of the popular vote. But by 2018, he lost most of his support, which is typical for Ukraine. Since independence, in 1991, only one incumbent president ever succeeded in being reelected: Leonid Kuchma, in 1999. Still, by election day on March 31, 2019, Poroshenko, who ran a well-organized campaign, managed to make it into the runoff election, scheduled for April 21, by obtaining almost 16 percent of the vote. He came in second place to political satirist/comedian Volodymyr Zelensky (41), who was born to a Jewish family in the predominantly Russian-speaking industrial city of Kryvyi Rih, in central Ukraine. Since October 2015, Zelensky has played the role of high school professor Vasyl Holoborodko, who, by chance, is elected Ukrainian president as an anti-corruption (anti-oligarch) candidate in the popular television show Servant of the People, which runs on the Ukrainian channel 1+1 and is distributed internationally by Netflix. The 1+1 channel belongs to Ihor Kolomoyskyi, a powerful Jewish-Ukrainian oligarch, who was initially an ally of Poroshenko, but bitterly broke with him in 2015 and is now in self-imposed exile in Switzerland. In June 2018, Kolomoyskyi told journalists Zelensky could run and win the presidency despite lacking previous political/administrative experience. Zelensky has denied he is a Kolomoyskyi puppet or that his campaign is bankrolled by the oligarch (Moskovsky Komsomolets, April 2).

Vladimir Ruvinsky | We Want It Like in Ukraine

Opinion | The planned Ukrainian presidential televised debates offer a powerful and positive image of potential change in Ukrainian politics.

Zelenskyi says he ready to negotiate with Putin on war and peace in Donbas

Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskyi has said he is ready to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on war and peace in Donbas. Censor.NET reports citing Interfax. When asked on the Ukraina television channel if Zelenskyi is ready for talks with Putin, he said: “Yes.” “But we will never sacrifice territories and people. The integrity of Ukraine should be constant,” he said. When asked how much time he needs to resolve the issue of war and peace in Donbas, Zelenskyi said that this process could not be long. “For the first stage – it’s a ceasefire in the east – we cannot afford a long process at all. We understand that every day means every single life, every human destiny. We cannot warm up, like in sports. We have to come and fulfill our task,” Zelenskyi said. He also expressed confidence that Ukraine should pay pensions to the population of the occupied territories. “We have to reach every Ukrainian living in the occupied territories – not only to promise them something but to restore relations. […] We should start paying pensions to people who live there [in the occupied territories] and tell them that they were deceived, that we are waiting for them, that we love them, that we will win, the shooting will end soon, and they will return to Ukraine – all the occupied territories,” the candidate said. Source: https://censor.net.ua/en/n3120956

Ukrainian Presidential Rivals Propose Different Dates For Public Debate

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and rival Volodymyr Zelenskiy have proposed different dates for a public debate ahead of their presidential runoff on April 21.

Poroshenko, Zelensky to face off in electoral debates on Apr 14

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said that he is expecting Ukrainian presidential candidate and showman Volodymyr Zelensky to take part in debates prior to the Ukrainian presidential runoff at the Kyiv Olympiysky Stadium on Sunday, April 14.

Poroshenko waiting for Zelensky to debate at Kyiv’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium April 14 – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said he is waiting for presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky to debate at Kyiv’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium on April 14. Poroshenko invites the audience and all TV channels.

Poroshenko waiting for Zelensky at Olimpiskiy Stadium on April 14

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is waiting for Volodymyr Zelensky to debate at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv on April 14. — Ukrinform.

Poroshenko waiting for Zelensky to debate on April 14 and 19 – president’s envoy – news politics | UNIAN

President’s envoy in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Artur Gerasimov has said President Petro Poroshenko is waiting for presidential candidate Voloymyr Zelensky to debate on April 14 and 19. Poroshenko has called on Zelensky to undergo a drug test at the World Anti-Doping Agency.

April 14: President Poroshenko invited Volodymyr Zelensky to debate at the Olimpiyskyi stadium — Official website of the President of Ukraine

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko invited candidate at the presidential elections Volodymyr Zelensky to debate at the Olimpiyskyi stadium on April 14. “Mr. Volodymyr Zelensky offered the stadium. I personally believe that the stadium is definitely not the best place for this discussion. But I emphasized: so be it. If he chose and refuses to hold a debate anywhere else, I would like to emphasize – on April 14, next Sunday, at the Olimpiyskyi stadium, exactly where Mr. Zelensky offered, I am waiting for him to hold a debate,” the Head of State said during the interview to Ukraine TV channel. “I think that 19:00 or 20:00 will be the best time. And I invite the audience, as Mr. Volodymyr Zelensky wanted. I invite all the channels for the debate to be held as Volodymyr Zelensky wanted in order not to let him retreat from his suggestion. It would be irresponsible in relation to the country, irresponsible in relation to the voters,” he added. Answering the question that voters should be able to assess the quality of the discussion, the submission of information, and even singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk urged – not the form, but the content of the debate, the Head of State remarked: “Svyatoslav Vakarchuk is absolutely right: the debate is not a show, not a competition. The debate is an absolutely meaningful and serious discussion about the future of our state and every individual citizen”. “It is very important that under these conditions we should not sell a “pig in a poke”, because for today, a thorough and meaningful discussion is crucial for the future of the state. The loser is not the one who took the second place, but in case of the wrong choice, when people made a mistake, not knowing the content – the country loses. It will be deprived of the future,” Petro Poroshenko emphasized. The President stresses that Ukraine is now at the crossroads and there is a choice: either the country will continue its course to the European Union, where there is a rule of law, democracy, secured rights and freedoms, including free expression of will of the citizens, and NATO, where security and defense of the state will be provided, or it will be turned back and either crawl, or be pulled back to Russia. “It’s not about the declarations made by the candidates. It is about whether the President is strong enough to confront the challenges that the aggressor country poses. To confront and defend the state as President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief. Because Putin wants a weak President to ensure the revenge. I firmly believe that Ukraine will not allow this,” Petro Poroshenko said. The President stressed that the discussion on the form should be stopped: “Nobody is interested in that anymore. There has to be a transition to a substantive discussion. And this can only be done at the debate”.

President to voters: I heard you. It is a strong incentive to analyze mistakes and a lesson for the next five years — Official website of the President of Ukraine

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko emphasizes that he heard those Ukrainians who supported him in the first round of elections and those who voted against him. At the same time, the Head of State stresses that for the next five years he has a clear vision of what needs to be done, taking into account the lessons of the past five years. He told this on Ukraine TV channel.

Zelensky releases new video on debate at Olimpiyskiy Stadium

Showman and candidate for the post of Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has said that he will come to the debate at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium on April 19, not April 14, as earlier proposed by President Petro Poroshenko. — Ukrinform.

Zelensky plans to debate with Poroshenko on April 19 (Video) – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky has said he plans to hold a debate with incumbent President Petro Poroshenko on April 19. Zelensky also urged to write him questions in the comments that are worth asking Poroshenko.

Zelensky campaign HQ asks police for protection

The headquarters of presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky has appealed to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry to provide protection for its candidate, the ministry has said.

Kateryna_Kruk on Twitter: “Oh, this is going ugly: FB paid ad claims that Zelensky is in fact doing drugs and should stop doing it if he wants to become a president.… https://t.co/BHZjkG8FVR”

The Supreme Commander-in-Chief cannot be a person addicted to drugs – President Poroshenko — Official website of the President of Ukraine

“I think it is an extremely high threat when there is a suspicion that a person who might be a drug addict can become a candidate or even President of Ukraine, Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Both candidates and every Ukrainian who will make a conscious choice in exactly two weeks are interested in closing this issue,” President Petro Poroshenko said on Ukraine TV channel. The Head of State stressed that a candidate to the highest post in the state cannot have such an addiction. “Because drug dependence of a candidate is a direct threat to national security. A threat to every Ukrainian. And every Ukrainian must get an absolutely clear answer regarding both Poroshenko and Zelensky. This is their right. And the rights of Ukrainians must be respected,” the President emphasized. Answering the question regarding Volodymyr Klitschko’s initiative to test the candidates at the World Anti-Doping Agency, the Head of State noted that he was ready to do so.

Billionaire Ukrainian Oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky Under Investigation by FBI

Ihor Kolomoisky, who’s been accused of ordering contract killings and is said to be behind the comic who may win Ukraine’s presidency, is being probed for alleged financial crimes.

Kolomoyskyy: give me $2 billion capital back, I don’t need PrivatBank

08.04.19 13:36 – Kolomoyskyy: give me $2 billion capital back, I don’t need PrivatBank Businessman Ihor Kolomoyskyy says he does not intend to regain the nationalized PrivatBank, but wants to return capital in the amount of $2 billion. View news.

Kolomoisky: I do not need PrivatBank, give me $2 billion capital back

Businessman Ihor Kolomoisky says he does not intend to regain the nationalized PrivatBank, but wants to return capital in the amount of $2 billion. — Ukrinform.

Grytsenko will endorse Zelenskiy if he announces his team | KyivPost – Ukraine’s Global Voice

Anatoliy Grytsenko, a former defense minister and candidate in the first round of Ukraine’s 2019 presidential election, says he will endorse frontrunner Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the runoff should the candidate announce his nominees for five key government offices. Zelenskiy won the first round with 30.24 percent of the vote. He will stand against incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, who won 15.95 percent, in the runoff election on April 21. Zelenskiy has promised to announce his team closer to Election Day. A fervent opponent of Poroshenko, Grytsenko made his announcement in a Facebook post after meeting with Zelenskiy on April 6. “Is he ready for the presidency?” Grytsenko wrote on Facebook. “No, he is not, but he is aware of the responsibility that comes with it and is ready to make efforts and intends to rely on professionals.” “Will he tolerate corruption and looting? No, he will not,” Grysenko continued. “Will he surrender Ukraine to (Russian President) Vladimir Putin, reject the course toward NATO and the European Union, and belittle the Ukrainian language? No, he will not. “Does he have any commitments to oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky? He assured that he does not. “Does he have any agreements with current top officials to keep them in office or have them on his team? No, he does not. He assured me that everything that has been circulating on social media (names of prime ministers, prosecutors, security service chiefs) is fake.” According to Grytsenko, Zelenskiy has not yet decided on nominees for five top government positions that are appointed by the president: the Security Service of Ukraine chief, prosecutor general, national bank chairman, defense minister, and foreign minister. However, Zelenskiy’s decision to challenge Poroshenko to a public debate is sincere, the former presidential candidate wrote: “Will he go to a public debate with President Petro Poroshenko at the Olimpiyskiy stadium? Yes, he will, and he is preparing seriously.”

Meet the comedian about to become Ukraine’s next President – VICE News

An actor who plays the Ukrainian president on TV looks set to do it for real.

Meet The Comedian About To Become Ukraine’s Next President (HBO) – YouTube

VICE News Published on Apr 7, 2019 Ukraine’s second presidential election since the 2014 revolution is an unlikely race – between the current president, Petro Poroshenko and a popular TV star, Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukraine President takes drug test before debating comedian in 70,000-seater stadium – CNN

Ukraine’s sensational presidential election campaign took another surreal twist on Friday, as the incumbent and his comedian challenger, Volodymr Zelensky, both underwent blood tests on live television ahead of a debate.

Lukashenko thinks Poroshenko will win Ukraine’s presidential election

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said he thinks that incumbent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will win the second round of the presidential election in Ukraine on April 21. — Ukrinform. He said this in an interview with Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, according to the Belarusian Telegraph Agency (BelTA). “[Volodymyr] Zelensky leads after the first round, Poroshenko is behind him. Nobody dares to predict how the second round ends. Still, I tend to think that Poroshenko will win this presidential election,” the Belarusian leader said. Lukashenko noted that he would not be engaged in analytics and would not compare the two candidates. According to him, if some Ukrainians believe that none of the candidates is suitable for the post of new president of Ukraine, then new elections should be held. The first round of presidential elections took place in Ukraine on March 31. According to their results, showman Volodymyr Zelensky and incumbent head of state Petro Poroshenko advanced to the second round. The Central Election Commission on April 7 scheduled the second round of presidential elections in Ukraine for April 21.

Lukashenko: Poroshenko will win Ukraine’s presidential election

08.04.19 16:28 – Lukashenko: Poroshenko will win Ukraine’s presidential election Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said he thinks that incumbent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will win the second round of the presidential election in Ukraine on April 21. View news.

First Lady of Ukraine: Who is Maryna Poroshenko and what does she do

Details about Maryna Poroshenko, First Lady of Ukraine and wife of President Poroshenko

Lady Ze! Who is Olena Zelenska and what does she do

Detailed information about Olena Zelenska, the wife of presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky

Law does not envisage Ukrainian language tests for presidential candidates – Ukraine’s CEC

The Ukrainian law on presidential elections does not require presidential candidates to have a “good” command of Ukrainian, but considers it an indispensable requirement for them to be able to speak the state language, Ukrainian Central Election Commission (CEC) Deputy Chairman Yevhen Radchenko has said.

A woman’s mission to preserve Ukrainian churches | KyivPost – Ukraine’s Global Voice

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Ukrainian-American woman learned through a series of coincidences that her relatives – a probably uniquely prolific father and son team of architects – designed and built some 360 Ukrainian churches in the 19th and 20th centuries. She has started a foundation that is working to restore and preserve the churches, many of which have been battered by war, communist-era neglect and the elements. Kristina Lew, said her great grandfather, Vasyl Nahirny, and his son, Yevhen, were accomplished architects in the city of Lviv. The elder Nahirny began designing churches in the 1880s. He drew up plans for around 200 Ukrainian Greek Catholic churches, usually to be constructed of wood and stone.

The Right-Wing Undercurrents of the Romanian Orthodox Church

The church may be careful to distance itself from the radical right, but its leadership refuses to discipline prominent clergymen who support extreme nationalist ideas.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Personal Confessors Increasingly Important at Top of Russian Politics and Society

Paul Goble Staunton, April 7 – Metropolitan Tikhon of Pskov, now the odds-on favorite to succeed Patriarch Kirill as head of the Moscow Patriarchate, achieved that status because of his role as the personal confessor to Vladimir Putin. But Tikhon is not the only personal confessor near the top of Russia. Instead, he is one of many; and the phenomenon is becoming ever more important. In a report for MBK News, journalist Aleksandr Mavromatis points out that “in present-day Russia, personal confessors have appeared among many officials, well-known sportsmen and even entire government institutions.” And in that capacity, they are having an outsized influence (mbk-news.appspot.com/suzhet/duxovniki-rossii/). Tikhon met so often with Putin and has such definite views of his own that he became known in Moscow as “the Sechin in robes” (medium.com/@mbkmedia/сечин-в-рясе-как-тихон-шевкунов-стал-главным-идеологом-российской-реакции-fd30c88467f). Among appointments he pushed were Olga Vasilyeva as education minister and Anna Kuznetsova as children’s ombudsman. To limit his influence, Kirill “exiled” Tikhon to Pskov; but that didn’t work: Pskov under Tikhon has become a center of pilgrimage and Putin has visited, an especially significant development given that the Kremlin leader met with Tikhon after Kirill had lost the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. No less well-known as a confessor near the top of the political pyramid is Father Sergii (Romanov) who works with Natalya Poklonskaya, the former procurator of Crimea who is now in the Duma. His background is notorious – he was convicted of various crimes in the 1980s and served time — but now he is very influential. Father Sergii has also served as confessor to Russian hockey player Pavel Datsiuk and, before his death, Sverdlovsk criminal leader Timur Mirzoyev, with whom it is said, Sergii spent time together in the camps. He has also gained notoriety for casting out demons and fighting any moves toward digitalization of passports, which he says will lead to war. Like the head of the Catholic Church, Patriarch Kirill has his own confessor, Father Iliy who gained notoriety by going further than most in promoting participation in the recent presidential elections with a clear message that Russians should vote for Putin, an approach that forced the Patriarchate to issue clarification. Some state corporations have their own personal confessors as well: Roskosmos has Archpriest Sergii who sports a blue corporate jacket and blesses not only those who work for that institution but their space ships and rockets, actions that have scandalized some, Mavromatis suggests. And Archpriest Andrey serves as a personal confessor to members of the Russian Olympic team and even continued to take confessions from those who had to compete under a neutral flag. Not all such people live modestly, the journalist says. One got into a car accident in which police found alcohol and three million rubles. He then threatened witnesses by saying “I am a servant of the church and tomorrow you will die.” Later he tried to claim that his twin brother and not he was at the wheel.

Militants search Ukrainian Orthodox church in Luhansk – LB.ua news portal

Luhansk and Starobilsk Afanasiy (Yavorskyy), who manages the Luhansk eparchy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, has complained about intimidation by pro-Russian militants. He said the office of the Luhansk eparchy and the St Trinity Cathedral in Luhansk were searched by the service for fighting economic crimes in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic. The service confiscated religious and Ukrainian national symbols, church books, letters and computers. The houses of two priests were also searched. The priests are interrogated five to six hours a day, it was “recommended” to them not to leave the city, he said. They were also banned from leading services in the St Trinity Cathedral.

 

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