Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Administration sends envoy to Muscovy. Russia deploying new Polye-21 GPS/RPV jammer. Five reports on new Russian Internet legislation that appears mostly focused on isolating the Russian public. Five reports on neo-Stalinism.
Former Hungarian intelligence officer Katrein briefs on how Hungary has subordinated itself to Russian intelligence agencies – Orban is a true proxy of Muscovy. Polish legislator Nitras comments to media on Orban’s attempt to enlist Polish support to annex Transcarpathia in 2014. NATO update.
Russia declares POL embargo on Ukraine, which procures much of its POL from Belarus, refined from Russian crude – this is intended to cause mayhem for whoever wins the election this weekend. Crimea and Kerch update.
Gen Muzhenko, Chief of GenStaff, provides a long interview for Fakty.ua on the war in the Donbas, the events of 2014-2015, and makes headlines by noting that “Russia can turn the war in the Donbas into full-scale conflict within an hour”. No less interesting was his observation that “Putin’s meeting with the security forces took place in the Russian Federation. They told him: “Without air power, we can not overcome Ukrainian defenses today.””. Gen Muzhenko is properly warning Ukraine’s public and political class not to let their guard down with Russia. National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Chair Turchynov states the FSB and GRU should be declared terrorist organizations – after Salisbury and the IRGC, the case is irrefutable and the precedent has been set. The Beeb interviews JFO Commander Lieutenant-General Nayev on the Donbas war – at length.
Donbas update – Muscovy replaces the supervisor of the whole Donbas operation. Melitopol court rules Russian MANPADS/DShKM kill against CANDID at Luhansk AP in 2014 was not due to enemy action (!). Retired Deputy Chief of the General Staff LtGen Romanenko tells media that “Ukraine needs missiles that would at least reach the Urals, and cover the entire territory of the Russian Federation” to deter Russian attacks. 1L220UK CBR to enter production. SP artillery mobile CPs, on MTLB/MTLBu, being recapitalized. MoD states 170,000 tons of the missiles and munitions relocated to hardened storage.
Prosecutor-General Lutsenko admits his claim to The Hill on the non-prosecution list was fiction. Other political updates,
There is a deluge of election reports and many interesting developments. No less than thirty Western reports, including an Editorial Board OpEd in the NYT. Western media has all but anointed Zelenskiy the winner. Most interesting is the detailed RFE/RL expose on the relationship between Zelenskiy and Kolomoiski that grossly exceeds what either admitted to the public – this election may well be by proxy little more than a repeat of Ukraine’s traditional contests between oligarchs and their respective camps. Jankowicz interview on Russian IW – and the domestic IW campaigns of both Zelenskiy and Poroshenko is most interesting.
Zelenskiy finally starts talking seriously to media and makes headlines by labeling Putin as an “enemy of Ukraine”, stating his Donbas policy that looks almost identical to Poroshenko’s. He rejects any dealings with the pro-Russian legislators, or Bloc Poroshenko (the latter may change if he wins). He also makes some statements on domestic policy that will send many conservative Ukrainians ballistic.
Pres Poroshenko makes a video address to the nation, summarising both his accomplishments and mistakes, and pleads with the voters for their forgiveness. He also correctly reminds the public of the limitations of his office, and what he cannot do. Whether he can persuade angry voters that he can do better in a second term remains to be seen – much of the vote for Zelenskiy is driven by anger and disappointment with Poroshenko.
Negotiations over the debates continue. Another poll suggests a Zelenskiy landslide, but also does a poor job of identifying undecided voters. A court in Kyiv rules that the nationalization of Kolomoiski’s PrivatBank was unlawful.
Friday’s debate(s) will be most interesting.
First Lady Maryna Poroshenko meets Metropolitan Epifaniy of the OCU. Another update on Russian repression of religious minorities – in this case, the underground Orthodox Church that refused to fuse with the state.
An adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump has traveled to Russia for talks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on April 18.
Russian electronic warfare (EW) units are set to receive the Polye-21 (‘Field-21’) EW system designed to counter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and reduce the effectiveness of cruise missiles, according to a 15 April report from Russian state-owned news outlet RIA Novosti. Major General Sergei Tailors, an officer from the headquarters of Russia’s EW forces, is quoted by RIA as saying, “We expect this year the arrival of the Field-21 interference modules to counter unmanned aerial vehicles and lower the efficiency of cruise missiles.” The general indicated that the Central Military District would be the first to receive the system as part of its continuing efforts to field at least 70% modern equipment.
On April 16, the State Duma of the Russian Federation, in the third and final reading, has adopted a law on ensuring the stable operation of the …
Paul Goble Staunton, April 17 – Now that the Duma has passed on third reading a bill that will allow Moscow to try to cut off the Russian Internet or Runet from the world wide web, most discussion has focused either on the impossibility of its being able to do so or on the ways in which such self-imposed isolation will harm Russia itself. But one provision of the bill, almost certain to be approved by the Federation Council and signed into law by Vladimir Putin, may prove to be one of the most consequential. Under the measure’s terms, Agentura.ru’s Andrey Soldatov points out, Moscow can shut off Internet service region by region (newtimes.ru/articles/detail/179590). It almost certainly can do that more easily and more effectively than it can for the country as a whole, and it can likely escape the kind of withering criticism it would face if it shut down access in Moscow or St. Petersburg. Indeed, if used against restive regions and republics, many Russians might even support such actions. But if Moscow uses this measure to provide legal cover for that kind of repressive action, it may find that it will backfire. On the one hand, it will make it even more obvious than now that the powers that be view Russians in the regions and non-Russians in the republics as second class citizens, something that may add to regional and national protests. And on the other, as the situation in Ingushetia is demonstrating, if Moscow attacks electronic connections in places where protests are happening, even more people may come into the streets to find out what is happening and add themselves to the movement, exactly the reverse of what Moscow hopes for.
Alexander Zharov, the head of Roskomnadzor, told RNS that the law on the isolation of the RuNet, whose enforcement his agency would lead, would be dormant should it take effect. The potential for its activation would stimulate companies that are not located under Russia’s jurisdiction to comply with Russian laws, including censorship regulations, in their online operations. The Internet isolation law passed its final reading in the State Duma on April 16. It will fall to the Federation Council’s consideration on April 22.
The State Duma has given its final approval to a bill that would enable the isolation of the Russian segment of the Internet. On April 22, the Federation Council will consider the bill, and upon approval, it will be sent to President Vladimir Putin for his signature. If the RuNet is ultimately isolated from international severs, just a small part of the World Wide Web will be based in Russia. About six million websites, less than 2 percent of the total number of domain names, are registered under the .ru and .рф domain zones. The RuNet’s readership is around 90 million people out of almost four billion Internet users around the globe. According to Cisco, only 3 percent of global Web traffic reached Russia in 2017.
In 2018, the Internet contributed 3.9 trillion rubles ($61.1 billion) to the Russian economy — an 11-percent jump from just a year earlier, according to statistics released by the Russian Association of Electronic Communications. E-commerce generated a large chunk of this income — about 1.95 trillion rubles ($30.5 billion). Marketing and advertising brought in another 263 billion rubles ($4.1 billion); Internet infrastructure, including domain, hosting, and cloud services, earned 106 billion rubles ($1.7 billion); and media and entertainment generated 75 billion rubles ($1.2 billion).
71% of Russians have a positive attitude to Joseph Stalin’s role in their country’s history, with just over half the population saying that they view a dictator responsible for the death of millions “with respect”. The Levada Centre has been carrying out surveys into attitudes to Stalin and other historical figures since 2001, and says that their poll in March 2019 showed a record level of approval for the dictator. While the number of those who spoke of ‘admiration’ for Stalin had remained fairly stable at 4%, there had been a huge increase (from 27% in 2001 to 41% now) in the numbers who ‘respected’ Stalin. Together with the largely unchanged percentage of Russians who view the dictator ‘with liking’, this means that 51% have a positive attitude to him. Equally disturbing is the sharp rise in the percentage of Russians willing to justify the number of victims of the Stalin era. This has risen from 27% in 2008 to almost half the population (46%) in 2019. The major change seems to have come from 2015, with the number of Russians since then with a neutral or negative attitude to Stalin, or answering that they don’t know, rising. The Levada Centre notes that this is in contrast to Ukraine, where the attitude to Stalin and his role in history is becoming more negative. In a survey carried out in February 2016, together with the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, a negative attitude to Stalin was found to dominate in Ukraine, with more than twice as many people having a negative than a positive attitude (38% against 17%). People are only allowed to give one answer, although there are around three possible positive, and three negative answers. Nonetheless, it is indicative that on 3% of the Russian respondents described their attitude to Stalin as ‘revulsion, hatred’. This was against 17% in Ukraine. It should, perhaps, be noted that the survey in Ukraine could not be carried out on occupied territory in Donbas, and occupied Crimea. There are certainly indicators that the same kind of glorification as seen in Russia can now be found in Crimea, and, probably, in occupied Donbas. It is for sociologists to determine whether their inclusion in 2016 would have influenced the result in Ukraine. Holodomor [the artificially-caused Famine of 1932-32] in Ukraine, the 1944 Deportation of the entire Crimean Tatar people and the atrocities committed by the NKVD after the Soviet Union invaded Western Ukraine (then part of Poland) on 17 September 1939 may be more imprinted on Ukrainians’ memory than Stalin’s crimes in Russia. The reason may also, however, be in what Russians are seeing on television and what children are studying in schools. In marking the opening of a museum and bust of Stalin in the Tver oblast in June 2015, Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s Culture Minister, wrote an article for Izvestia, entitled ‘We must stop laying our problems on Stalin’. In it he spoke of the place the dictator holds in the country’s history and historical memory. Although he did not precisely justify Stalin’s crimes, it would be most unlikely that readers not intimately familiar with the scale of the crimes involved would have understood what kind of mass murderer he was talking about. He wrote, for example, about Stalin “as a state figure, commensurate with the gigantic scale of our terrible and equivocal era. His achievements, his mistakes and failures are our historical experience.” He claimed that there should be no secrets about the past, yet it is specifically the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin that in 2015 put the archives of all the secret police [officially ’state security’] bodies (Cheka, NKVD, KGB, etc.) under lock and key for another 30 years. One Russian (Vladimir Luzgin) has been prosecuted for reposting a text which accurately stated that the Soviet Union invaded Poland together with the Nazis in 1939. Two Russian historians – Yuri Dmitriev and Sergei Koltyrin – who have devoted decades to revealing the crimes and the mass graves of Stalin’s Terror are in prison on fabricated charges. Dmitriev’s arrest may in fact be linked with efforts to deny that the mass graves at Sandarmokh in Karelia, a place of pilgrimage for many Ukrainians, Poles and other nationalities, as well as for many Russians, are of victims of the Terror. A recent survey by VCIOM found that almost half of young people, aged from 18 to 24 had never heard of the repression of the Soviet times. This is hardly surprising. In an address to history teachers in June 2007, Putin expressed concern about the presentation of Russian history, noting that “up till quite recently we read things in textbooks that made our hair stand on end…” Putin was commenting on certain ‘positive moves’ like, for example, a manual for teachers in which the author, Alexander Filippov described Stalin as “one of the most successful leaders of the USSR”. Monuments to Stalin have been appearing over the last few years, as well as highly doctored information about Stalin’s role in the Second World War. In 2017, Putin appointed Olga Vasilyeva Education Minister. She is known for an extremely specific view on Stalin and for remarks denying the number of his victims. The reappearance of portraits and busts of Stalin reached a crescendo in 2015 around events marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. At least in Novosibirsk, there are also a huge number of streets named after Stalin. If young people are not learning about the crimes against humanity which Stalin and his regime were guilty of, and the television program is full of programs glorifying everything about the Second World War and treating security service officers as heroes, it is not surprising that in 2017 Russians named first Stalin, then Putin, as ‘the most outstanding figures in history’.
The Russian version of the comic-book remake scraps reference to the Soviet dictator, replacing him with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 17 – There are few easier ways to spark arguments among Russians or Western intellectuals than to suggest that Stalin was as bad or even worse than Hitler. But Russian distributors of the new film, “Hellboy,” leave no doubt as to the side of that debate they’re on – or assume they must be to show the film in Russia. Megogo Distribution, the Moscow-based company which is distributing the new horror movie in Russian theaters changes one detail that says a lot: “Instead of Joseph Stalin who is mentioned in the original, Russian viewers hear the name of Adolph Hitler,” the Kinopoisk portal says(kinopoisk.ru/news/3351752/). In one scene in the original version of film, Hellboy meets with Baba-Yaga when the latter is “trying to revive the leader of the Soviet people.” But in the version of the movie being shown in Russian theaters, the reference to Stalin as an evil leader some would like to bring back is replaced both on the soundtrack and in the subtitles by Hitler. The distribution company did not respond to Kinopoisk’s queries about this, but the firm has a history of taking such steps. Last year, it made an analogous change in the movie “The Killer’s Bodyguard.” In the English-language version, the character Gary Oldman plays is the president of Belarus. In the version for Russians, he is described as the president of Bosnia. Commenting on this, the Yekaterinburg news portal Politsovet says that the change made in “Hellboy” doesn’t take anything away from the film. It turns out,” the portal says, “that the revival of Stalin would be approximately the same thing as the revival of Hitler” (politsovet.ru/62482-rossiyskie-prokatchiki-priravnyali-stalina-k-gitleru.html).
Two of the biggest names of the Soviet Union were back in the news this week, for very different reasons that happened to involve the number 70. That’s the age iconic singer Alla Pugacheva reached on her birthday — and the percentage of Russians who think Josef Stalin played a positive role.
Russian veterans want to ban a film about Soviet troops in Afghanistan they say is unpatriotic. “Leaving Afghanistan,” by the Russian director Pavel Lungin, depicts the chaotic withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989, following a 10-year war.
In Kazakhstan, villagers living close to military test sites struggle with “mysterious” illnesses and a toxic nuclear legacy. For 40 years, the Semipalatinsk test site was a massive experiment on the effects of nuclear explosions on land, water, animals, and people. Even after its closure in 1991, Kazakhstan leased territories to Russia to test modern weapons. Thousands live near the borders of the test sites. Many live on contaminated land and struggle with illnesses.
Former counter-espionage official says Russian intelligence services pose a major threat to the European Union. “Is your boss working for Moscow?” It isn’t a question any Western counter-intelligence officer wants to be asked by counterparts in agencies from allied NATO countries, but for Ferenc Katrein it wasn’t such an infrequent query during his decade-and-a-half at Hungary’s Constitution Protection Office. Worst of all, there were grounds for suspicions about Hungary’s civilian intelligence services, doubts Katrein himself harbored. Five-and-half years ago Katrein left Hungary’s counter-espionage agency, where he’d risen to become executive head of operations and later chief adviser to the director. “There comes a point when you have to say no,” he told me as we sipped coffee in a cafe near a railway station. “It was both a matter of being asked to do things I didn’t think right and blocked from doing things we needed to do,” he adds. The final straw for Ferenc was being obstructed from mounting operations to counter Russian intelligence activity in Hungary by, among other things, targeting Russian officers in a bid to recruit them as double agents. ‘Russian’ bank relocation Katrein, who now lives outside Hungary, agreed to be interviewed by VOA amid a political storm in Budapest over a controversial decision by the government of Viktor Orban to agree to the relocation to the Hungarian capital of a Russian-controlled development bank steeped in Cold War history. ……. One of the first triggers for Hungarian agents to question operations in their agencies was in 2007, a decade after Hungary had joined NATO. During the socialist administration of Ferenc Gyurcsany, the then-chief intelligence director Lajos Galambos invited Russian operatives to help him find the source of political leaks to Orban’s party, Fidesz. Sixteen Hungarian intelligence officers were polygraphed by two Russian operatives, who pretended to be Bulgarian psychologists, according to documents declassified and released by Hungary’s general prosecutor last week. Katrein says the focus was on up-and-coming younger officers, many of whom are now in leadership positions in the agency. “The polygraphs were very deep and probing and they have a lot of information on those people. If I had that information on the leaders of Russian counterintelligence, I’d consider that a big coup,” he says. Counterintelligence in crisis The politicization, as well as demoralization, of the counterintelligence agency continued under Orban, who was re-elected in 2010 replacing Gyurcsany, says Katrein. Around 100 experienced intelligence specialists have left the agency in the past eight years, frustrated by having their hands tied when it comes to combating Russian espionage activity. “Hungary is being used as a logistical base to launch operations in other European Union countries,” Katrein explains. “They can organize operations and missions in Hungary without many worries,” he adds. Asked how he would characterize the Russian espionage and active measures threat to Europe, he doesn’t hesitate in replying, “It is grave.” Katrein adds, “I have no problems with Russians; I like the culture. But the Russian government is very aggressive against the European Union. You shouldn’t underestimate these guys.”
Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary offered Poland to capture some of the Ukrainian territories. Slavomir Nitras, the member of Polish Sejm said this in his interview with Оnet.pl. Orban urges us to capture the lands during the Ukrainian crisis and share them. He dreams of changing the borders in Europe, just like Vladimir Putin… Orban is extremely dangerous and a very smart man,’ Nitras warned. The politician added that Hungary is a ‘very dangerous country with huge historical complex, which emerged after it lost part of its territory’, but Poland does not want to destabilize Europe. Previously, Orban stated that Hungary supports Ukraine in conflict with Russia – in spite of the fact that the Ukrainian government took an anti-Hungarian position. On another occasion, he said that Ukraine has no prospects of entering the EU and NATO unless it gets back onto the path of friendship and strategic partnership with Hungary. Ukraine-Hungary relations worsened when the Ukrainian Parliament approved the education law, which stipulates that the kids representing the national minorities in Ukraine will be gradually transferred to education based on the use of Ukrainian language, and they will be able to learn their mother language optionally.
NATO’s multinational battlegroup in Lithuania began exercise Eager Leopard in Pabrade on Wednesday (17 April 2019). According to a statement released by NATO, the exercise mobilizes around 650 troops, including Czech, Dutch, German and Norwegian forces. It provides an opportunity for the battlegroup to enhance its readiness, testing its ability to deploy troops and equipment. The battlegroup will conduct three training sequences of 36 hours, testing defensive and offensive tactics. “This exercise is the perfect chance for the German, Dutch and Czech companies to increase their readiness and capabilities. This is especially important in order to prepare for the Level 3 Field training exercise Iron Wolf, which we will conduct with our Lithuanian partners in June”, said Lt. Col. Peer Papenbroock, Commander of the battlegroup in Lithuania. NATO deployed four multinational battlegroups to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in 2017. These battlegroups, led by the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and the United States respectively, are multinational, and combat-ready. Their presence makes clear that an attack on one Ally will be considered an attack on the whole Alliance. NATO’s battlegroups form part of the biggest reinforcement of the Alliance‘s collective defense in a generation.
U.S. lawmakers are threatening Turkey with sanctions, and blocking the sale of U.S. F-35 fighter jets, if it ends up buying a Russian air-defense system.
Exclusive: in confidential internal report seen by the Guardian, bank says scandal has hurt global brand
Russia is banning exports of crude oil, petroleum products and coal to Ukraine. “A few days ago the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers took the latest unfriendly step with respect to our country and expanded the list of Russian goods which cannot be imported to Ukrainian territory. In these conditions we are forced to protect our interests and take response measures,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a meeting of the Russian cabinet. Medvedev said he had signed a resolution “banning the export of Russian crude oil and petroleum products to Ukraine.” The document “determines a list of those goods that it will be possible to export to Ukraine only on the basis of separate decisions from June 1.” “This category includes fuel and energy products, including coal as well as the oil and petroleum products,” he said.
The Russian Government has banned exports of Russian oil and petroleum products to Ukraine. — Ukrinform.
The Russian government has banned the exports to Ukraine of Russian oil and petroleum products, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told a government meeting on Thursday, according to an UNIAN correspondent in Russia. The Russian Federation is also expanding the ban on the imports of some Ukrainian goods.
17.04.19 17:52 – Putin says no Normandy Four meeting on his schedule Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he is unaware of any new meeting in the so-called Normandy Format, which Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko mentioned earlier. View news.
Deputy Minister for the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, Yuriy Hrymchak, has said hope remains that the Normandy Four summit will be held June 6, 2019. If Russia agrees to the peacekeeping mission, it will have three months to withdraw its forces from Ukraine, according to Hrymchak.
NATO and the European Union stand united in calling on Russia to release Ukrainian sailors, who were captured during the Russian provocation in the Sea of Azov in November last year. — Ukrinform.
The EU representatives attended a hearing in the Lefortovsky District Court in Moscow, at which the arrest of 24 Ukrainian prisoners of war was extended. — Ukrinform.
Ukraine has changed significantly over the past five years. It has become more powerful and should remain in the spotlight of international politics. — Ukrinform.
UK Member of the European Parliament Julie Ward has called on Russia to release all Ukrainian political prisoners, including journalist Roman Sushchenko. — Ukrinform.
The European Union has responded to a recent decision by Moscow’s court to extend captive Ukrainian sailors’ detention for another three months. The EU has repeatedly stated its expectation that Russia immediately and unconditionally release the 24 captured Ukrainian sailors.
The United States has described the Russian court’s decision to extend the detention of captive Ukrainian sailors as appalling and called for the immediate return of servicemen and vessels to Ukraine. — Ukrinform.
Olga Besperstova, “FAKTY” In the spring of 2014, a new era in the history of modern mankind began. Having trampled the world order, Russia hastily occupied the Ukrainian Crimea, and then unleashed a war on the Donbas. After the Russian-led crowd of marginals began to seize administrative buildings in Donetsk, Lugansk, Kharkiv and other cities, then the country’s leadership announced the launch of an anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine. Chief of the General Staff – Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General Muzenko, in an exclusive interview with FAKTY, talked about the events of the hottest phase of the war and about the current state of the Ukrainian Army. Earlier in the interview to FACTS, the commander of the United Force, Lieutenant-General Sergei Naev, said that the main goal of the All-Ukrainian Armed Forces and, personally, the full reintegration of the Donbas. “Ukraine is standing on the road to realization of Russian ambitions” – Victor Nikolaevich, just five years ago, on April 14, 2014, an anti-terrorist operation began in the country. Hardly anyone had assumed at that time that she would be so tight. When did you personally realize that this bloody drama could last so long? – At the end of February – early March, when events in the Crimea were already in full swing, probably, they still did not understand what this could lead to. Although the first decisions about the possibility of taking control of at least parts of the Crimea have already given an understanding that armed confrontation may begin, including. – We had chances to defend the Crimea? – I still believe that they were. And they should have been used. When they argue that there was no army, this is not entirely correct. The Armed Forces as a state institution existed. But the question is, in what state they were and how capable they were to withstand the emerging threats. The capabilities of the Armed Forces were limited. True, spontaneous volunteer and voluntary movements arose there. It was thanks to them that the SCU were able to perform their functions. Understanding the possibility of resisting Russian aggression at the first stage of the occupation of Crimea, probably, was not at all. Here is an example. In March 2014 a grouping was created in the Crimean direction (on the territory of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions). I had to organize and form it. During the course of our work we moved south of the country. And in the middle of the month, I arrived in Odessa to organize an interaction with the State Border Guard Service. We flew by four helicopters (two transporters, accompanied by two combat aircraft). I was met by the commander of the air frontier guard: “Lieutenant Colonel is one such”. When he was greeted, his hand, which he brought to the cape’s cap, was trembling tremulously … After all, I had a form that was different from the one that was common at that moment (we were given it to us at one time in exercises). I introduced myself: “Deputy Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant-General Muzenko.” He asked: “What is the General Staff?” – Horror! – He answered: “We have one General Staff – the Armed Forces of Ukraine”. People had some kind of numbness. They expected riots to begin in Odessa, Nikolaev and elsewhere, and did not understand how things would evolve. * “It was thanks to the Volunteer and Volunteer Movement that the All-Union Armed Forces in 2014 were able to fulfill their functions”, – says General Muzhenko – Today the situation is also very disturbing. According to experts, Putin may well use a very favorable moment for the offensive, because Ukraine is uneasy. Is our army now ready for scripts that even aloud to say is scary? What the SCU is capable of answering, if, God forbid, a large-scale war will begin? – The peculiarity of the Russian-Ukrainian war is that within one hour (!) It can turn into a full-scale convention conflict involving land, naval, aviation components and Special Operations Forces. The deployment of the Russian troops (shock units formed by them along the Ukrainian border, including in Belarus and in the occupied Crimea) are organized in such a way that they can begin active combat operations without special training. According to our calculations and according to NATO calculations, these units are ready to fight for 70 per cent. The only question is how much the Russians will allow such an environment to take place within our country. If there is chaos here, then the most favorable time will come to start such actions. The interests of the Russian Federation are much larger than the seizure of the Crimea and parts of the Donbas. They are trying to restore the territory of the former Soviet Union, to become a global player in geopolitics. And Ukraine has a way to realize these ambitions. This is the first. The second one. Russia needs industrial defense potential of Ukraine in order to maximize its capabilities. We have enterprises that supplied units, units, armament systems for the Soviet, and then the Russian army. Russia is short of them now, and this is due to some inhibition of programs for the rearmament of their Armed Forces. We are talking about missile systems, power plants, ship engines and helicopters of the respective classes that are produced by us. So they have a number of serious motivations for offensive aggressive character. Read also: Kurt Volker: “The whole world understood that Russia is responsible for the conflict on the Donbas” When talking about problems in the army now, I think: what was in 2014, and now, as they say in Odessa, there are two big differences. I’ll name a few digits. In comparison with the beginning of 2014, the number of military units (brigades, regiments, separate battalions, etc.) increased by 44 (from 99 in 2014 to 143 in 2018), including military units of 33. Reserves of the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces have been created in the OS. We have gained the experience of forming an operational reserve. By the end of last year, its number reached almost 200 thousand people. Over the past five years, about 80 weapons and military equipment have been used for weapons, more than 150 specimens have been allowed to operate under control; about 2500 units of new or modernized armament and military equipment were supplied to the troops; more than 16,200 units of armament and military equipment have been restored. During the past and the current year, the military received domestic anti-tank missile systems “Corsar” and “Stugna”, unmanned systems “Aist” and “Fury”, armored vehicles. The combat launches of the restored small and medium range RVs were conducted. Recently, the tests of the newest Ukrainian missile systems “Neptune” and “Olkha-M” have passed. The mortars of calibers 60, 82 and 120 millimeters and ammunition for them were developed and adopted. Work continues on developing artillery systems and large-caliber ammunition. So the Armed Forces are able to protect the country from external threats and to contain aggression in the Donbas. Of course, we need the support of international partners. Our course on NATO is unchanged, and we constantly announce it. “The Russians could not believe that the Ukrainian army could provide such stubborn resistance” – Let’s move on to the next topic. Victor Nikolayevich, you had to see such that no TV reports or articles could be transmitted. Guards-war veterans admit that they were crying in the war. From the pain of loss, despair, impotence, anything to change. Do you have tears? – You know, the predisposition to some kind of sentimentality was felt not during active fighting, but after. Especially during solemn events, when the children of deceased warriors received awards for their fathers. The most recent example. Recently, the widow of Sergeant Andrey Konoplev (who died on January 23, 2015, near the village of Nikishino of the Donetsk region – Avt.) Handed over the Star of the Hero of Ukraine. She went out to receive her with her sons. And now the five-year-old boy, to whom my mother gave the reward, kissed this star and quietly said: “Glory to Ukraine!” The Story from several hundred servicemen unanimously replied: “To Heroes of Glory!” This could not but cause tears. We need to think about the future of these children. Will this child repeat his words in five or ten years and proudly show his father’s reward? Or maybe there will be another perception of fatherly feats? Will it not happen that a man in uniform will be afraid to be shown on the street because of the condemnation of his fellow citizens? Suddenly, the information policy will be formed in such a way that the consciousness of people will turn over? I think that this may become, perhaps, the most terrible thing. We know what went through what we needed. The battle losses for today are 2536 dead. And each of them has parents, families, relatives, friends. Unfortunately, in our country information is biased – in the interests of certain parties, oligarchic groups, etc. There is no single understanding of either threats, prospects, the past, or the newest history. I recently traveled to one of the brigades. In a conversation with the contractors, he inquired: “Do you know the history of their brigade?” They began to proudly say that this brigade with the “brand” is one of the best combat connections. But my question, what happened in it in 2014, did not answer. But there were also waste, and shoots, and the transfer of some fighters to the territory of the Russian Federation. Those who passed on that side were subjected to appropriate psychological influence and after a while they returned back. * For five years, the Armed Forces of Ukraine defend the sovereignty of our country. Thanks to the courageous, brave, brave warriors, most of us do not notice that war is in the country … – The transition to the Russians was massive in nature? – I would not say. But in the history of separate military units such negative cases were. For example, in July 2014, more than four hundred people moved from the 72nd brigade. We just took control of almost our entire border, except for 40-50 kilometers from Izvarino to Parkhomenko (this is east and south-east of Lugansk). And here began firing from the Russian territory. We supposed that there would be such a thing, but we did not think that they could act so cynically – to fire on people who can not answer them. If we began to fire in the territory of a neighboring country in an unpublished war, this would give the aggressor an occasion for a large-scale invasion, and Ukraine was not ready for adequate response at that time. In the units there was a very serious psychological tension. People could not stand it. They believed that it was better to move to the territory of the Russian Federation (they were constantly offered to them in the Esemesques). Read also: No one in the world is going to fight Russia from Crimea or Donbas, – Alexander Levchenko There is one more point. Why does society know little and does not understand what was at the beginning of the war? Because we (probably this was a mistake) tried not to illuminate their activities then, knowing what it threatened with those close to those who fought at the front. Only when July 3, I was appointed Chief of the General Staff, many learned that it turns out that General Muzenko since May is in charge of ATO. On the other side there were rumors that the operation was commanded by a NATO general, whether it was Polish or American. They could not believe that the Ukrainian Army could provide such stubborn resistance. And even more so, to carry out active offensive actions, which we conducted in June-July. The Russians did not understand the status of our Armed Forces. They also “went by the ears”: there is no Ukrainian army, it is completely unbalanced, demoralized and can not resist them. But that was not the case. Therefore, they also found an excuse, they say, NATO troops are fighting against them, some mercenaries, etc. This information vacuum was then filled by volunteer units. Because of this, there was an opinion in society that at the first stage only the volunteers protected the state. This, to put it mildly, does not quite correspond to reality and greatly diminishes the role of the Armed Forces. And for some reason the voluntary movement is mistakenly associated with the battalions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Yes, they also contributed. But in the Armed Forces and battalions of territorial defense, after all, there were also volunteers. And a lot – almost 40 thousand people. Yes, there is merit of the volunteers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, here without questions. But I can now sit down with representatives of any volunteer battalions and on the map to show where in that period fought a subunit of the All-Ukrainian Armed Forces and where there were volunteers. “You have a chance to go to Ilovajsk. Russians do not dare there ” – You recently wrote in Facebook that history does not forgive mistakes. What mistakes did you make? Or is it too early to talk about it? After all, your name is associated with Debaltsevsky and Ilovaisky boilers. – The word “boiler” itself is a product of the Russian agitprop, a stamp that was embedded in the consciousness and society, and partly in the military. Yes, there was an operational environment, as the military says. There were serious problems with the delivery of ammunition, so we delivered them by air. And the pilots, realizing that they entered the zone of defeat, deliberately went to this risk. This is also a feat. But for some reason he found no reflection in either the consciousness or the information field. Many have questions. Especially when someone tries to shift their mistakes to the shoulders of the Armed Forces leadership and the anti-terrorist operation. The operation in Ilovisk was carried out by the battalions of the Ministry of the Interior. None of them were part of the ATO’s forces and means. That is, de facto and de jure (first of all), we had no right to give them any orders. So it turned out that General Khomchak, who commanded the “South” sector, stayed in Ilovysk and took over the leadership of the process. Although it was supposed to lead the first deputy minister of internal affairs, which simply went aside. It was enough to have one of the officers of the Khomchak headquarters, which would provide interaction with the volunteer battalions. There was a request for help in armored vehicles. We were able to transfer one mechanized company of the 51st brigade. I was against the operation. She did not give us anything in that situation. Ilovaysk is a large railway junction through which the traffic to Makeyevka and further to Donetsk is carried out. But we had already taken control of Kuteinikovo. That is, cut the railway south. After this, from the point of view of military logic, there was no point in storming Ilovaisk. However, there was a perception that there was almost no special arrangement for the SCU there (though this was not the case!) To discredit well-being. Therefore, the demonization (again, our inability to build the correct information policy) began Muzhenko, Nazarov, Defense Minister Geleteya, and then the army as such and the political leadership of the country. But so far, no one has figured out the end of that tragedy. I do not know why. Although all the materials – plans, documents – there is. I, in particular, gave a lot of detailed interviews on the situation in the summer of 2014. I can say that we did then all that was required of us, having the limited resource that was. “By the way, the understanding of how long the war will last will come just after Ilovaysk,” continues General Muzhenko. -When we realized that there is nothing to close the gap in the defense, that additional forces and means are needed.We needed time to restore the combat capability of the units, bring them to positions and form new parts. It took almost a year to group and create a system of control from separate battalions and even from battalions of personnel brigades that operated in different directions, and with a gap of 200-300 kilometers. We did not even have it before the beginning of 2015. It was a process. The Russians understood that if we were given half a year, it would be even more difficult. Therefore, the situation arose in January-February 2015.Debaltsevo I consider successful defensive operation. This is not my estimate. So say foreign military. For example, American General Clark said that this was the most successful and most difficult operation of this war. After all, the exit from the environment is extremely difficult to organize. But we did it successfully, which undermined the offensive potential of Russians. After this, according to our information, Putin’s meeting with the security forces took place in the Russian Federation. They told him: “Without air power, we can not overcome Ukrainian defenses today.” It was also an estimate. – It is possible to perceive the incident differently, – says Victor Muzhenko. – Yes, we left, took away the troops. For the people, the same success – when they took control of new territories, moved forward. No, sometimes success is when the enemy’s movement is stopped forward. After Debaltsevo, the Russians made another attempt to go ahead – on June 2, 2015 in the Marinka region. This extreme offensive ended for them to be a complete failure. Thereafter, no attempts were made to engage in active hostilities. During Debaltsevo we once again realized that the confrontation is becoming a protracted form. Just went to the second Minsk, where they talked about the control of the border by international organizations (but so far this issue has not been resolved, which showed their inability to influence the situation in a decisive manner). By the way, I was recently in Croatia. I was interested in how the operation “Storm” was conducted, and before that “lightning”. At the same time, many of us advocate for the Croatian scenario. So, there was no exit of Croatian troops to the border with Serbia. This issue was solved with the assistance of international organizations. Then came the process of peaceful integration of the border areas that had a border with Serbia, Croatia. All the other enclaves were in the middle, that is, they were isolated. It was not possible to supply weapons, equipment and human resources there. This is one nuance. The second is the ratio of forces and means. In Operation Lightning, the ratio in favor of Croatia was one to six in terms of personnel, for different types of weapons – one to three, four, five. In the Storm operation, the ratio of personnel was one to five. This is despite the fact that the regular army did not cross the border. Otherwise, serious sanctions could be followed. And nobody issued such an ultimatum to Russia. International organizations now do not control the Ukrainian-Russian border. – At the first stage of the war, I gave an interview and said that in a month we would end the ATO (it was dated July 31, 2014 – Aut.). Now I do not make such forecasts, – continues Victor Muzhenko. – In fact, we could complete everything, if Russia did not intervene, first by launching artillery strikes and firing off our territory from rocket jet systems. And later he introduced a regular Armed Forces without signs of recognition. Confirmation – the captives we captured. This is also the ten paratroopers of the 98th airborne division, and Russian prisoners of war who died at the exit of the column from Ilovaysk. I am accused of having conducted some kind of incomprehensible separate negotiations with the Russians that I have arranged for those corridors of the passage. I would say that yes, the negotiations were such. I talked several times with the head of the General Staff of the Russian Federation Gerasimov and with his first deputy General Bogdanovsky. But! At a final stage, when they offered us an exit without weapons, I clearly told them: “We will not accept such conditions.” Why ours then went on those routes – a question. Then I told General Khomchak: “You have a chance to go to Ilovaysk. There Russians do not hesitate. ” The Russians understood that they had limited time to stay in our territory. If everything is tightened, it will be presented as real aggression, followed by appropriate sanctions, condemnation of the world community. We had a chance to return to Ilovaysk again and stay there. The grouping of troops was sufficient for this, there were sufficient supplies. Russians, remembering that they had done in Grozny, would never go to Ilovyksk and would not enter into protracted battles. I’m sure that the victims could be at times, and perhaps even less. There were more options. But everything turned out as it turned out … And all the blame was transferred to the leadership of the Armed Forces and ATO. Although this does not really correspond to reality. Read also: After the battle, the Russians gathered three KamAZs of their “two hundred”, a veteran ATO on the Ilovaisky boiler Another point. The Ilovaya operation was for those who planned it, something like compensation for the fact that sometime a week before, we took control of the northern part of Yasinovata. We passed the territory of the National Guard, which came out that same night. And when the question of returning to their positions in Yasinovata arose, a proposal was made: “And let’s take Ilovaisk better.” People did not understand the general situation. They planned to put a fat point in ATO in this way. One of these “heroes” expected that he would receive the corresponding dividends in the elections to the Verkhovna Rada or the placement of personnel in the Armed Forces. There are many versions of how and with whom it was all organized. They are confirmed and not confirmed. But personally I have a lot of questions. How did the units come from? How did individual groups of people come from? Why did we search for them for three days, and then they appeared completely in other places? There’s nothing so simple. So serious study of all nuances is required, so that the final conclusions can be drawn. Probably, for somebody else it is not time to tell about everything completely. After all, there was a threat that the Russians would go to Mariupol. In addition, there were fights at the Lugansk airport, and this was also one of the main directions. We could not create some kind of powerful grouping, although they were planning. Therefore, people were invited to return to Iloyawsk and to keep defense there. And we would get there two assault brigades – 79th and 95th. But they have come up after everything has happened. P.S. The second part of the interview with the head of the General Staff – the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine General Muzhenko read in the next few days on the site “FAKTY”. Earlier in an exclusive interview with FAKTY, a security expert, veteran of foreign intelligence, Lt. Gen. Vasily Bogdan said that the turning point in the war on the Donbas has already happened, and he does not favor Russia.
Chief of the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Gen. Viktor Muzhenko has said Russia may turn Donbas hostilities into a full-scale war within an hour. All Russia is waiting for is chaos. Chief of the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Gen. Viktor Muzhenko has said Russia may turn Donbas hostilities into a full-scale war within an hour. “The peculiarity of the Russian-Ukrainian war is that within an hour (!) it may turn into a full-scale conventional conflict involving land, sea, aviation components, and special operations forces. The deployment of Russian troops (they have formed strike groupings along the Ukrainian border, including in Belarus and in the occupied Crimea) is organized in such a way that they may launch active military missions without any special training,” he said in an interview with the Ukrainian daily newspaper Fakty. Muzhenko believes Russia is waiting for chaos to emerge in Ukraine to go for a full-scale offensive. “According to our calculations and according to those of NATO, these units are 70% ready for combat action. The only question is how the developments in our country allow Russians to act. If there’s chaos, this would be the most favorable period to launch such actions,” the general said. Muzhenko believes the interests of the Russian Federation are much broader than the seizure of Crimea and parts of Donbas, and the Russians are trying to restore the territory of the former Soviet Union and become a global player in geopolitics. In addition, according to Muzhenko, Russia needs Ukraine’s industrial defense potential to ultimately increase its own capabilities. “We have enterprises that supplied components, parts, weapon systems for the Soviet, and then Russian army. Russia is lacking them now, and this is the reason why their rearmament programs are dragging. This is about missile systems, power-plant units, engines for ships and helicopters of relevant classes, which we manufacture. So they have a number of serious motivations for offensive aggressive actions,” Muzhenko added.
The peculiarity of the Russian-Ukrainian war is that within an hour it can turn into a full-scale conventional conflict involving land, naval and aviation components and special operations forces, Chief of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Viktor Muzhenko has said. — Ukrinform. “The peculiarity of the Russian-Ukrainian war is that within one hour (!) it can turn into a full-scale conventional conflict involving land, naval, aviation components and special operations forces,” Muzhenko said in an interview with Ukraine’s Fakty i Kommentarii newspaper. According to him, the deployment of Russian troops (shock units formed by them along the Ukrainian border, including in Belarus and in the occupied Crimea), are organized in such a way that they can begin active military operations without special training. “According to our calculations and NATO calculations, these units are 70% ready to fight. The only question is how much the environment in our country will allow Russians to act so. If chaos arises here, then it will be the most favorable time to start such actions,” he said.
Ukraine could have defended Crimea in 2014, as Chief of the General Staff and the commanding officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko said in an interview for Fakty news agency. He has a positive answer to the question of whether Ukraine had chances to defend Crimea. “I still think that there were chances. They had to be used,” Muzhenko said. Related: “LNR” militants detained on border with annexed Crimea According to him, the Armed Forces of Ukraine existed as a state institute in 2014, but it could carry out its functions only thanks to the volunteers.
Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov has said Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (GRU) should be recognized as terrorist organizations, and Russia – as a state sponsor of terrorism. Turchynov says Russia should be recognized as a state sponsoring terrorism.
The Federal Security Service and the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Federation should be recognized as the terrorist organizations, while Russia should be regarded as a state which spreads terrorism in the world. — Ukrinform.
18.04.19 12:15 – Russia’s Security Service and General Staff should be recognized as terrorist organizations, – Turchynov The Federal Security Service and the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Federation should be recognized as the terrorist organizations, while Russia should be regarded as a state which spreads terrorism in the world. View news.
Vyacheslav Shramovich BBC News Ukraine April 17, 2019 Share this Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this VK Share this Classmates To share Image copyright Image Press Center The recent war of five years in the Donbas has overthrowned the hotly-contested presidential campaign in recent months. Although fighting with daily reports on killed and wounded do not stop. Lieutenant-General Sergei Nave has commanded the Joint Forces Operation (OOS) in the Donbas for almost a year, and in general he was at the front since the beginning of the war. In an exclusive interview with BBC News Ukraine, the commander of OOS told how the election campaign in Ukraine affects the situation in the Donbas and the discipline of the fighters, which results in the loss of the combined forces and their opponent, as well as how many territories were able to win over the past year. What was and what will be the war in the Donbas Elections 2019: who and how will command the army Sergei Naev: There is no notion of a “gray zone” in the Donbas, it’s been introduced by the media Local offensive actions around the front Image copyright Image Press Center BBC News Ukraine: What is the war in eastern Ukraine now? Sergei Naev: From the side of the enemy, the conflict is completely controlled by the Russian leadership (the Kremlin denies the participation of its military in the fighting in the Donbas – Ed.) If necessary, at any moment, the Russian leadership gives the team and in a few hours there is an aggravation. It is necessary for the Kremlin to have an opportunity to influence politics through military actions and an increase in the degree of tension in the east of our country. The danger is also caused by a constant presence along the state border, in particular near the area of the OS, the forces of the Russian army, which increase combat readiness. The number of updated, upgraded and even up-to-date equipment is increasing. Constant training is conducted – aviation and complexes of distant fire impressions, in particular the newest missile complexes, which are now entering parts of the Russian army. Copywriting of the UNIAN image Image caption After the first round on the front it became hotter, says Sergey Naev That is, at any moment there may be an aggravation, up to local offensive actions throughout the line of collision … But in the years of the ATO and the first year of the OSCE, Ukrainian servicemen, armaments and military equipment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces changed qualitatively. The Ukrainian Army of 2019 is not the army that we had five years ago. We are constantly improving, because the enemy often changes tactics and strategy. There is plenty of power to respond adequately to all attempts by the aggressor to change the situation not only in military terms, but also in a wide range of hybrid challenges. Copywriting of the UNIAN image Image caption The half-ruined premises of the former police station in Marinets on the Donetschine, April 2019 BBC News Ukraine: Did the situation change at the front through elections? SN: After the first round of elections, the degree of stress has risen. So Russia shows Ukrainians – do not forget that you have a problem that we stand on, and it depends on us only how the conflict between Russia and Ukraine will develop. Losses BBC News Ukraine: What is the situation with losses? There is little news everyday about the dead. SN: During the year, the number of losses has been substantially reduced. We take measures for the security of combat missions at the forefront, and also eliminate the danger of disabling the enemy’s fire points, which drive fire on our positions. The opponent continues to use mortars of the 120th and 82nd caliber, artillery systems of caliber 152 and 122 mm. Recently, the use of self-made missile jet systems “Partizan” near Orlovka was again recorded. BBC News Ukraine: What’s the biggest loss? SN: Depends on the combat situation. At the beginning of the GOP years ago, the enemy fired our positions with large-scale artillery, sometimes rocket-propelled rocket systems. And the main losses were from fragments of shells and mines. Then the efforts of the Joint Forces to use the barrel artillery dropped. In the fall, the enemy already fired more from anti-tank missile systems (PTRK), automatic grenade launchers and small arms. And now the fighting is conducted by the same PTRK, mortars and snipers. Facebook image of Yana Chervoya Image caption Yana Chervona served in 46th separate Donbas-Ukraine battalion, died on April 2 in Lugansk region BBC News Ukraine: Why did Yana Chervona die? The media had various data on direct access to the dugout. SN: There was an interception in the observing post – it was not a dugout. Two mines from mortar “Nona”. Yana Chervona is the story of a dead volunteer and a machine gun The war against the Tankists BBC News Ukraine: How is the “anti-tank complex war” going? The Ukrainian side has started to use them much more in recent months. SN: The combined forces got the latest samples of Ukrainian production vehicles, personnel training improved – training takes place in special training centers outside the OOS region. The war against the Tankists BBC News Ukraine: How is the “anti-tank complex war” going? The Ukrainian side has started to use them much more in recent months. SN: The combined forces got the latest samples of Ukrainian production vehicles, personnel training improved – training takes place in special training centers outside the OOS region. Copywriting of the UNIAN image Image caption Over the last year, the Ukrainian Army has received many anti-tank missile systems “Stugna” and “Corsar” Brigade commanders send guards who are capable of studying and have motivation. And then the brigade arrives in the district of the OS with already trained calculations and the latest TRTRs, and applies them throughout the military science. BBC News Ukraine: How does the Ukrainian STRK “Stugna” show itself? SN: “Stugna” met all expectations. When they began to receive them last summer, they held competitions between the antitank units. There were calculations for Soviet-style prototype vehicles, Sturm and Fagot, and with Stugnami. In the Soviet complexes there were problems, for example, the absence of missiles or missiles. And “Stugna” them far exceeded – noticed that every shot to the target. BBC News Ukraine: Opponent also uses the latest weapons? SN: Russian-occupying troops in the Donbas test their PTRK – we noticed the “Cornet” complexes, as well as the shells “Krasnopol” (Noviy Russian guided missile 152 or 155 mm – Ed.) There are not many of them, but there are cases. Civilian Getty Images image copyright BBC News Ukraine: What is the situation with the civilian population in the area of hostilities? SN: We have introduced the concept of “area of hostilities” and “security zones”. The first – an area covered by military actions along the line of collision … And “security zones” are located in controlled areas next to the line of demarcation. There, according to my decision, access to security may be restricted or denied, in order to protect the civilian population in case of aggravation. There are special methods for preventing civilian casualties, fix and analyze all emergencies. And now it has been possible to significantly reduce the number of injuries or deaths of civilians. This is also confirmed by international humanitarian organizations … (According to the UN Human Rights Mission, in 2018 there were 55 dead and 224 civilian casualties in the Donbas, which is “twice less than the number of civilian casualties in 2017 and the lowest annual figure for all conflict. “However, it is a question of the situation on both sides of the front.” – Ed.) Getty Images image copyright Image caption The unidentified “DNR” accused the Ukrainian army of constant shelling of settlements BBC News Ukraine: And what of the other side? SN: We are aware that last autumn last year three children died in Gorlovka due to the blow to the mine-explosive barriers of the Russian-occupying troops. The children were able to calmly go to the line of collision … A month ago, people who returned through the Trinity Church, blew up on a mine-and-bust barrier for several dozen meters from the enemy’s checkpoint on its territory. Their “mouthpiece” Bessonov (Speaker of the “People’s Police of the DPR” – Ed.) Explained that the driver was guilty. That is, there work on the protection of civilians is completely ineffective. Recovered 20 km Image copyright Image Press Center Image caption Sergey Nayev from March last year heads the Joint Operational Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and April 30 will be the year from the beginning of the Operation of the Joint Forces in the Donbas, which commandes Nayev BBC News Ukraine: Not so long ago, it was reported that the Allied forces were being promoted to Gorlivka. What is the situation with moving forward in general? SN: During the period of the GOP, indeed, several territories were taken under control and an improved tactical position in certain areas. Including those near Gorlivka, where the control over the settlements South (formerly Leninskaya) and Shumi was restored. In general, over time, the OEC in some places managed to improve the tactical position at a depth of two to five kilometers, and the total area of the territory returned under the control of the Ukrainian authorities – about 20 square kilometers. Thus, we are restoring the situation in accordance with the Minsk agreements – that is, the United forces do not cross the line established by the agreements. And we also create an opportunity to restore the infrastructure and safe conditions for civilians. Copy image of Unian Image caption Avdeyevka Promsona – one of the hottest points in the Donbas BBC News Ukraine: Does the enemy make similar attempts? SN: Yes, but it was never possible for him. We remember how the attack on the position of the 24th Battalion was at the stomach on Lugansk Region on the Day of the State Flag. She did not succeed. (The language of the battle was the death of four fighters of the Aidar assault battalion on August 23, 2018, and seven others were wounded. At the headquarters of the OOS then it was reported that the losses of the enemy were even greater. The unrecognized “LNR”, on the contrary, argued for attempts by the Armed Forces to attack and their losses. – Ed.) There are even smaller attempts – the withdrawal of sabotage and reconnaissance groups (DRGs) trying to seize our leading positions. It happens almost every day, but every time it is unsuccessful. BBC News Ukraine: What are the most problematic places on the front? SN: DRGs are active in the direction of Mariupol, in Donetsk – from the side of Spartak, there are attempts at Avdeyevsky industrial zone, under Popasnoy, and also near Crimean in Lugansk region. 2 thousand “personnel of the Russian Federation” Getty Images image copyright Image caption Kyiv has already said for the fifth year that Russian military personnel are fighting in the “army corps” of unrecognized “DPR” and “LNR” personnel. In Moscow, such accusations consistently reject and recognize only that in the Donbas can actually fight the citizens of, but not active, and former military personnel BBC News Ukraine: The Ukrainian side has repeatedly stated the presence of Russian nongovernmental personnel in the Donbas. SN: Russian presence here is not really limited to the supply of ammunition or fuel. According to our data, the Russians complete executive positions of “republican bodies of state administration”, “military command” operational and tactical level, command posts of individual units. And although there is a tendency to reduce the presence of Russian native personnel, Russian staff officers and generals occupy the core of the commanding staff from the battalion to the “army corps”. They consider “business trip” to the east of Ukraine as a mandatory stage of promotion. Also, Russian n officers are military advisers, instructors, commanders of combat and operational units. Their number is estimated at more than 2 thousand people. BBC News Ukraine: If theoretically there were guarantees of Russia’s non-interference with the situation on the Donbas, during what time the Ukrainian army could take control of the territory of the “republics”? SN: We are considering different variants of hostilities, therefore, of course, there are such plans. As for the time-frame, the operation on the liberation of the temporarily occupied territories should be very, very fleeting. “Legends” of the enemy Image copyright Image Press Center Image caption Sergey Nayev insists: the data released by the HQ headquarters on enemy losses are carefully checked for several sources BBC News Ukraine: Everyday reports from the press center of the OOP are spoken every time about the loss of the so-called “DNR” and “LNR” – they are almost always there significantly higher than on the Ukrainian side. And while constantly talking about incompleteness in their divisions. Therefore, sometimes such data about the loss of an opponent cause distrust. How do I get this information? SN: This information can be trusted in the same way as our intelligence information. We take information about the loss of an enemy from several sources: radio interception, hospital data on surnames and the nature of injuries or fatalities. And the very coincidence of information from different sources makes it possible to make it public. BBC News Ukraine: What about the incompleteness of their divisions? Are they mobilizing? SN: It’s not about mobilization, but the lack of personnel in them is catastrophic. These intelligence shows that the staffing of their units is much lower than ours. This, incidentally, was said by the captives captured in the vicinity of the villages of Piski and Marinka. BBC News Ukraine: Svetlana Dryuk, who was part of the command of a “DNR” unit and recently moved to the Ukrainian side, said that in their “army corps” allegedly prepared documents for the recruitment of Russian military personnel in the event of a major deterioration. Have you checked this information? SN: In the case of large-scale or local action, the plans of the enemy really have plans for strengthening at the expense of the Russian-occupying forces. There may be an event by individual groups of Russian military who will receive documents “with a legend” of battalions and brigades of the 1st and 2nd “Army Corps”. Getty Images image copyright Image caption Svetlana Dryuk on the T-72 tank of one of the DPR units, September 2016. In early 2019, with the participation of the SBU, she moved to the side of Ukraine In addition, all Russian military personnel and FSB officers stationed in temporarily occupied territories, declare themselves to different officials of the occupation authorities – as if they are actually from Donetsk and Lugansk region. Intelligence clearly tracks who and under which legend works. BBC News Ukraine: It was also reported that during the transition of Svetlana Dryuk to the “DPR” a sabotage took place and seven or eight tanks broke out. SN: They have occasions when the equipment fails due to incorrect operation at the landfills. As for the tanks, then, according to our information, there was negligence, which led them to explode. It was about six tanks. BBC News Ukraine: In Ukrainian social networks, video blogger Stefan “Stirlitsa” is slipping over the destruction of technology and fire points of the enemy. What is this video? Are they real? SN: Anatoliy Stefan is not only a blogger but also an active officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. He works in this direction and, as far as I know, his videos are real. He works in this direction and, as far as I know, his videos are real. There is no time to think about politics Copywriting of the UNIAN image BBC News Ukraine: We can not ask about how politics and elections affect the OOP? SN: During the election period, the number of provocations in the information space is increasing, especially in the area of the OS. The “fake” from different problematic issues, the emphasis on important moments of the enemy, are attempts to disorient the society and spread panic attitudes. Here is the basis of the goal – the so-called “controlled chaos” … “Kiborgs Julia”: what the military says, who publicly supported Tymoshenko We in the United Forces understand that the period of the election for the enemy is perhaps the best moment for the hidden special operations to shake the situation, make a split in public opinion, create unnecessary tensions among the local population, which can destabilize the situation in the region. As a result, at the time of the election, the Joint Force led the whole range of measures to normalize the situation and counter hostile information aggression. From the enhanced protection of public order to daily informing the society about the events of the OS, we do our best to enable citizens to calmly and consciously make their own choices. Image caption Nayev: Discipline in the United Force through the election did not suffer BBC News Ukraine: What is the impact of the election on the united forces themselves? Influencing discipline? SN: On discipline, I can say that we managed to reduce not only combat losses, but also non-combatants. Improved law enforcement – several times reduced crime in the units of the OS. For example, recently I was arrested by one commander who arranged for illegal collection of funds from his subordinates for his own needs. BBC News Ukraine: So, did not affect the entire pre-election fever on discipline in the OS? SN: Army and United forces – always out of politics, we have something to do. Before us is an enemy, and when each day reflects the enemy’s shelling and thinks how to prevent the threats to the next day, then there is no time left for something else. BBC News Ukraine: In social networks, you can find posts where the military promises to retire from the army if one or another presidential candidate wins. Did you meet such mood? SN: The procedure for military service is clearly regulated. There are no grounds for resignation from the Armed Forces. The mood is one – to beat the enemy.
The Commander of the Joint Forces operation tells about the attacks near Krymske village in Luhansk region
Over 2,000 regular Russian soldiers stay on the territory of occupied Donbas as BBC News Ukraine reported citing Serhiy Nayev, the Commander of the Joint Forces Operation. “According to our information, the Russians occupy the leadership positions of the “republican bodies of state government”, “bodies of the military administration of the operative and tactical level”, command positions of particular detachments. Besides, the regular Russian military officers are the military advisors, instructors, commanders of the detachments of the military and operative provision. Their number estimated as over 2,000 people,” Nayev said. Related: 24 hours in Donbas: No casualties among Ukrainian forces According to him, the tendency for the decrease of the presence of the regular Russian military men in Donbas is observed; however, “the Russian officers and general make the core of the command staff from battalion up to army corps”. Serhiy Nayev emphasized that the Russian military men “consider the “trips” to the east of Ukraine as an obligatory stage for their promotion”.
18.04.19 07:17 – Eight attacks against JFO positions yesterday: no losses among Ukrainian soldiers, two terrorists destroyed April 17, the Russian occupying forces attacked JFO positions eight times, twice using Minsk-proscribed weapons. View news.
Russian occupation forces launched eight attacks, using weapons banned under the Minsk agreements twice, on positions of Ukrainian troops in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas over the past day. — Ukrinform.
Russia-led forces mounted eight attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in the past 24 hours. No casualties were reported among Ukrainian troops.
K-2 battle group of 54 OMBR with response fire eliminated three occupants, wounded three Russian terrorists, destroyed the dugout and damaged enemy’s combat equipment. As reported by Censor.NET, Ukraine Armed Forces officer Anatolii Shtefan posted a corresponding video on his Facebook page. “K-2 combat group of 54 OMBR once again conducted a masterful operation in response to provocative shelling of the Russian occupation forces … According to intelligence data, three terrorists were killed and three- wounded. One unit of military equipmen and dugout were destroyed”, – Stefan posted. Source: https://censor.net.ua/en/v3122968
The Armed Forces of Ukraine managed to regain control from 2-5 km in some places, according to the Commander General of the Joint Forces operation
Russian President Vladimir Putin has changed the head of the department in charge of overseeing the paramilitary groups of the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics , as well as Georgia’s separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Aleksey Filatov replaced Oleg Govorun in this role, according to Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe. The new head of the department had previously dealt with the self-proclaimed South Ossetia. Last year, Filatov as the deputy head of the department began to handle the DPR and LPR affairs.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has replaced head of the presidential directorate for cross-border cooperation Oleg Govorun, who oversaw terrorist organizations of the self-proclaimed republics in Donbas, the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) and “Luhansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”), along with Georgia’s Russia-occupied South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The decree was signed on April 17. Russian President Vladimir Putin has replaced head of the presidential directorate for cross-border cooperation Oleg Govorun, who oversaw terrorist organizations of the self-proclaimed republics in Donbas, the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) and “Luhansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”), along with Georgia’s Russia-occupied South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The reshuffling is stipulated in a presidential decree posted on his official website. The decree was signed on April 17.
Russia may offer passports to people living in breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine, according to lawmakers, a move that would reignite tensions in the conflict with the government in Kiev that’s backed by the U.S. and Europe.
Reports spun in the media citing various sources claiming Russia mulls issue of national passports to residents of the occupied parts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions are designed to put out social discontent that has accumulated to dangerous levels, according to a Donbas-based writer Olena Stepova. Russia has sharply cut payments to the population in the areas of eastern Ukraine controlled by its proxy forces and curtailed “humanitarian aid.” Reports spun in the media citing various sources claiming Russia mulls issue of national passports to residents of the occupied parts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions are designed to put out social discontent that has accumulated to dangerous levels, according to a Donbas-based writer Olena Stepova. “Now social tensions in the occupied territories are caused not only by the reluctance of the Russian Federation to recognize the ‘young republics’, but also by more prosaic factors. Russia has sharply cut payments to the population of the occupied territories and curtailed ‘humanitarian aid’,” she told Obozrevatel, a Ukrainian news outlet. “This causes discontent among those who have grown accustomed to demanding things,” the writer went on to say. At the same time, Stepova reminded that the rumors about Russian passports soon to be issued to Donbas residents had been spun for years, from time to time, and these spins start at the peaks of social tensions in the occupied territories.
Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko says that the problems in the army that existed in 2014 differ much from the current ones. — Ukrinform.
Melitopol town district court ruled that the death of Oleksandr Bily, the commander of Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft over Luhansk in June 2014 was not due to the armed aggression of the Russian Federation in Ukraine. This is stated in the court’s decision released on April 16; Bily’s widow received it. The copy also ended up at Hromadske news agency. The decision only contains an introduction and the resolution, thus the court did not provide any arguments in favor of such a decision. Judge Yulia Gorbachova could not give any comments on her decision, referring to lack of time because of the court session. At the same time, the acting head of the jury Tamara Mishchenko said that Gorbachova could not shape the arguments in time because she’s got too much work, and she promised to release the full version of the decision on April 22. Ukraine’s Il-76 was shot down near the airport of Luhansk on June 14, 2014; it was an attack by Russian occupants who used a man-portable anti-aircraft missile launcher. The plane caught fire and crashed, killing everyone aboard.
Officials say 7 people were arrested who were allegedly sent by Russian security services to carry out political killings
The former Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lieutenant-General Ihor Romanenko, believes that Kyiv should follow the example of the United States, which withdrew from the Treaty on the Elimination of Medium and Short Range Missiles, and do the same by withdrawing from the Budapest Memorandum signed with Russia. According to Romanenko, this agreement deprives Ukraine of, not only nuclear, but also missile weapons, which could serve as a deterrent. “The only thing we have left is the Tochka-U with a range of 120 kilometers. And now we are paying the price,” the general said in an interview to the Ukrainian newspaper Glavred. “Ukraine needs missiles that would, at the very least, reach the Urals and cover the whole territory of the Russian Federation. Such missiles would be viewed as a deterrent.” Additionally, Romanenko recalled that Russia placed Iskander missile systems with a range of up to 500 kilometers on the eastern border with Ukraine. According to the Budapest Memorandum, signed on December 5, 1994, Ukraine forfeited the right to deploy nuclear weapons and long-range missiles on its territory in exchange for guarantees of its territorial integrity.
In Ukraine, they successfully test rocket weapons, stressed Igor Romanenko. Recently, Ukraine has been actively conducting missile tests: among them are the Neptune rocket , the RSZO Alder and the OTRK Grom-2, said former deputy chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, lieutenant-general of the reserve, candidate of military sciences, doctor of technical sciences, professor Igor Romanenko. He explained that according to the Budapest Memorandum, Ukraine was deprived of not only nuclear, but also missile weapons. “We still had only the old Tochka-U with a range of 120 kilometers. And now we are reaping the benefits of such an approach,” the expert stressed during a chat at Glavred . He noted that the test of missile weapons in Ukraine is successfully moving forward. “But restrictions still apply to Ukraine – the range of our missiles cannot exceed 300 kilometers. Neptune hits a target at a distance of 280 kilometers. What is there to say! Ukraine needs missiles that would at least reach the Urals and cover would be the entire territory of the Russian Federation. Such missiles could be considered as a weapon of deterrence, “the military expert believes. He recalled that the Russian Federation had deployed Iskander missile systems on the eastern border of Ukraine, whose range is up to 500 kilometers. “Putin stated that when Russia annexed Crimea, she was ready to use tactical nuclear weapons in the event of an aggravation of the situation. Moscow tried to intimidate both Ukraine and our allies. Of course, having heard this, the Allies said to Ukraine:“ Do not worry, then everything will be decided ” But how they “decided” – we see … “, – stated Romanenko. According to him, this situation indicates that Ukraine should have reserved operational-tactical missiles. “I once commanded an anti-aircraft missile brigade, and we were armed with missiles with nuclear warheads – this could not be given. But we were told how to properly and well voluntarily give up nuclear weapons, they say, this is the first time in the world. However, it should be understood that today units of new missiles are being tested, and we need mass production of such missiles, which, moreover, would have an increased radius of action. After all, the United States and Russia withdrew from the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles. But on the part of Ukraine, which is forced to wage war against Russia and defend itself, so far there have been no statements that we are withdrawing from this treaty. Is this normal? “, – added Romanenko.
“A counter-battery radar has undergone field test operations within the framework of state tests. They were successful enough. The radar is currently in the workshop and is being prepared for the next stages of state tests, which we must complete by the end of May. We expect this item of equipment to be put into service,” Yuriy Pashchenko, the director of the State Enterprise “Iskra” said, an Ukrinform correspondent reports. According to him, the design of this radar is a breakthrough in domestic radio detection and ranging. After all, such type of military equipment has been designed and manufactured in Ukraine for the first time. “Ukraine has not had such equipment. The armed forces need it very much. We have heard the feedback from the officers who serve in the Joint Forces Operation area. They are waiting for this radar, and we will do everything that depends on us to put it into the service of the armed forces in the near future,” the director of the state enterprise said. Zoopark-3 counter-battery radar (1L220UK) is intended for detecting the location of the enemy artillery. The radar can “see” all the artillery weapons of the enemy: mortars, cannon artillery, air defense missile systems. It helps to determine where the projectile was fired from, a place of its fall and burst.
Author: Revision April 17, 2019 News of the military-industrial complex 0 Comments State-owned enterprise “NSC” Iskra “is ready to start production of domestic counterbalanced radars 1L220UK” Zoo-3 ” This was told today by the director of the company Yuriy Pashchenko during the presentation of the facilities of the plant. According to him, the development of this radar is a breakthrough in domestic radar, this is the first such experience for the industry of our country. At the moment, Iskra is preparing to serial production of this counterattack radar, new stations are being created at the enterprise, new state-of-the-art technologies are being implemented. Already by the autumn of this year mass production must begin. It’s about manufacturing four or more plants per year. The company’s management has indicated that it expects to receive a serious order from the Ministry of Defense. “The Counter-Batar Radar has undergone field trials in the framework of state tests. They were successful enough. He is currently in the workshop and is preparing for the next stages of state testing, which we must complete by the end of May, and we expect the installation of this product, “Pashchenko said. The new counterbattery radar is made on a modern electronic base, which can already be manufactured at the enterprise. The relevant samples were shown today to correspondents who visited “Iskra”: The Counter-Batar Radar 1L220UK is intended for exploration of enemy artillery positions. The radar can “see” all of the artillery weapons that are on the enemy’s armament-mortars, all trench artillery, anti-aircraft missile complexes. With its help you can determine where the projectile is released, the point of its fall and rupture.
Author: Revision April 18, 2019 News of the military-industrial complex 0 Comments For the first time in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the 732nd Central Artillery Base has started the modernization of a complex of self-propelled artillery fire control vehicles. This is reported by the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine First of all, major repairs of each unit of armaments are carried out and its complete disassembly with the replacement of all technical elements. According to the specified tasks, it is envisaged to re-equip the software and hardware complex of combat vehicles, which will allow to take into account all aspects of the preparation and management of martial arts and provide departmental management in an automated mode. Work on the restoration of MTLB case on self-propelled artillery fire control vehicle Photo: Ministry of Defense In self-propelled artillery fire control cars, radio stations will be replaced with modern western and domestic counterparts, digital data transmission systems will also be replaced. In the future, the modernized equipment will be distributed in parts of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Units and assemblies for storage of self-propelled artillery fire control vehicles Photo: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine The artillery fire control machine is a unified command-and-control (command-and-staff) artillery machine designed to automate the fire control and combat operations of artillery units. Previously, work on the modernization and production of such complexes was carried out exclusively at enterprises of the defense and industrial complex, for the first time the rebel of the military parade on the Independence Day was shown to the Artillery Artillery Machine Control Complex (AO) Obolon-A, the development and production of the Lviv Plant LORTA “, executed on a chassis of a multipurpose tractor MT-LBu. A screenshot of the video rehearsal of the parade from the KAO “Obolon-A” KAO “Obolon-A” is an automated control system of the new generation and high intellectual level. During the development of the units of the complex machines, a modern element base of the leading foreign manufacturers was used.
All arsenal of the rockets of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was moved to the protected storages as the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported. “To preserve the arsenal of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the considerable work was held on dispersal, hiding on the protected storages and evacuation from the territory of left-bank Ukraine,” the message said. It is reported that over 300 tons of the munitions (over 100 military echelons) were divided between the arsenals, bases and storages. It is noted that the protected storages accepted over 170,000 tons of the missiles and munitions, which allowed to hide 100% of the ordnance of the multiple rocket launchers and particular nomenclatures of the munitions. About 34,000 tons of the munitions were re-poped. The storages replaced over 33,000 tons of the munitions and air ordnance since the beginning of 2019. The General Staff added that the events on the mine clearance at the objects of the storage of the arsenal, where the accidents took place, continue. The Armed Forces of Ukraine hold the surface clearance of the technical territories of the military units from the explosives. Totally, 735 hectares were cleared in Balakliya, Kalynivka and Ichnia. Earlier Ukrainian military servicemen have prevented the attempt to set the arsenal of the Defense Ministry on fire.
The basic design of the rocket’s first stage was developed by the Ukrainian Yuzhnoye State Design Office.
Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has admitted that U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch did not give him a do not prosecute list, which he had previously stated. Lutsenko shared details about his meeting with the U.S. ambassador way back in 2017.
Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko has admitted that US ambassador Marie Yovanovitch has not given him a “do not prosecute” list. Lutsenko described details of the visit in an interview with The Babel. “The meeting was at the Prosecutor-General’s Office, right at this table in January 2017. It was not one on one. She was not alone, and I was not alone. Mrs Yovanovitch was interested in the case of Vitaliy Kasko . The thing is that Mr Kasko registered his mother in his office apartment, who never left Lviv, there were signs of abuse in this,” Lutsenko said. “According to her, Kasko was an outstanding anticorruption activist, and the criminal case discredited anticorruption activists. I presented the details and explained that I could not open and close production at will. I also named a number of so-called anticorruption activists mentioned in the cases. She said that it was unacceptable because it could undermine the credibility of anticorruption activists. I took a piece of paper, wrote down the surnames I had mentioned and said: “Dictate the list of those intact.” She said: “No, you got it wrong.” I said: “No, I got it right; earlier such lists were written in Bankova [street where the presidential office is located], and you are offering new lists from Tankova [the former name of Sikorsky Street, where the US Embassy is located]. The meeting ended. I am afraid that the emotions were not very positive,” he said. In early March, Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko said in an interview with The Hill that the US ambassador gave him a list of people who should not be prosecuted. The Department of State called his statement “an outright fabrication”.
The Russian company Gazprom has recently increased the volume of gas it is transporting to Europe through Ukraine by 25%, according to a …
Russia has not yet received the International Court of Arbitration’s ruling on the Ukrnafta lawsuit through the official diplomatic channels, …
18.04.19 13:05 – Constitutional Court postpones consideration of lustration law The Constitutional Court of Ukraine has postponed consideration of the Law of Ukraine “On Government Cleansing” (Lustration Law). View news.
The Constitutional Court of Ukraine has postponed consideration of the Law of Ukraine “On Government Cleansing” (Lustration Law). — Ukrinform.
The German Government supports Ukraine in different directions, including in the field of energy efficiency in various sectors of the economy. — Ukrinform.
The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) has congratulated all Ukrainians and friends of Ukraine around the world on the upcoming Easter. — Ukrinform.
The State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) is conducting a pre-trial investigation into the receipt of a $500,000 bribe by Artem Sytnyk, director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU). — Ukrinform.
Ukraine and Japan concluded an interstate agreement on a grant for the purchase of special equipment for the National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine to the tune of over $2 million. — Ukrinform.
Euromaidan Press on Twitter: “Hutsuls are Ukrainian mountain folk residing mainly in Ivano-Frankivsk, Zakarpattia & Chernivtsi regions of Ukraine. They are a freedom-loving and independent people, living close to nature. #PeopleofUkraine… https://t.co/Icm4CMKvjD”
The Ukrainian candidate Volodymyr Zelensky is hardly the first entertainer to get into politics — and he just might win. Vasyl Petrovych Holoborodko was a high school teacher whose rant against government corruption went viral and catapulted him into the race for president of Ukraine, which he miraculously won. He’s also not real, nor was the election. But Volodymyr Zelensky, who stars as Mr. Holoborodko in the hugely popular Ukrainian television show “Servant of the People,” is. And now Mr. Zelensky — whose political party shares a name with his TV show — has a strong chance of winning the actual race for president of Ukraine.
Opinion | The Russian authorities have never been inclined to consider Ukraine a truly separate state.
Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy is campaigning as an outsider who will clean up politics, but he’s backed by one of the country’s richest men. (With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters)
Will a media, metal and aviation tycoon be the big winner of the Ukrainian election? KIEV — With the second round of Ukraine’s critical presidential election less than a week away, it’s looking increasingly likely that the 41-year-old comedic actor Volodomyr Zelenskiy will trounce incumbent Petro Poroshenko on April 21. Zelenskiy — a young comedian who rose to fame playing a humble schoolteacher who becomes president of Ukraine in the hit television show, “Servant of the People” — appeals to Ukrainians frustrated with the country’s oligarchic elite, and the failure to drain the swamp after the country’s 2014 revolution. Ukrainians hope that Zelenskiy will fight for the common man instead. It’s a powerful narrative that has catapulted this political unknown within spitting distance of the presidency. There’s just one major problem with it: the oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, whose television station 1+1 hosts Zelenskiy’s hit show. Kolomoisky’s media outlet also provides security and logistical backup for the comedian’s campaign, and it has recently emerged that Zelenskiy’s legal counsel, Andrii Bohdan, was the oligarch’s personal lawyer. Investigative journalists have also reported that Zelenskiy traveled 14 times in the past two years to Geneva and Tel Aviv, where Kolomoisky is based in exile. Neither man could be reached for comment.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy, front runner to be the next Ukrainian president, has connections to one of the country’s wealthiest tycoons that are undermining his image as an insurgent who will sweep aside the powerful moneyed elite.
Open letter by 20 news outlets calls on presidential candidate to stop avoiding journalists ahead of runoff vote.
Voters hoping for change risk being disappointed by the frontrunner comedian
In the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election, the leading pro-Russian candidate secured 11 percent of the vote. Compare this to 2010 when pro-Kremlin candidate Viktor Yanukovych received 49 percent. This dramatic decline reflects the scale of the damage done to Russian interests in Ukraine by Vladimir Putin’s ongoing war. Russian aggression has alienated millions of Ukrainian voters while disenfranchising many more, leading to an unprecedented collapse of Kremlin influence in a country that has been at the heart of Russia’s imperial identity for centuries. Could the remarkable rise of comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy help to reverse this Russian retreat? Any talk of a Kremlin comeback seems fanciful in the current climate. The majority of Ukrainians hold Putin directly responsible for an ongoing conflict that has traumatized the nation, killing over 13,000, and shattering millions of lives. Unsurprisingly, this has driven Ukrainian public support for Euro-Atlantic integration to new heights, while at the same time leading to a precipitous drop in enthusiasm for the rival Russian trajectory. Moscow’s occupation of Crimea and the Donbas has undermined Russia’s ability to shape Ukraine’s democratic choices by removing large swathes of the Kremlin’s traditional support base from the Ukrainian electorate. Donetsk, Luhansk, and Crimea all voted overwhelmingly for Yanukovych in 2010. In 2019, they did not vote. Demographically, the odds are also stacked against Moscow. Most of the remaining Ukrainian support for pro-Russian candidates comes from pensioners, who are being slowly but surely replaced by a new generation whose attitudes toward Russia owe more to the current war than to rose-tinted nostalgia for the shared past. With the Russian colossus no longer looming quite so large in the Ukrainian imagination, the country’s horizons have broadened significantly. Visa-free travel to the EU is having a major impact on how Ukrainians view their relationship with the rest of Europe. This newfound mobility is fueling an air travel boom that is bringing Ukrainians physically closer to their European neighbors than ever before. The large-scale labor migration of recent years also reflects the shift in Ukraine’s geopolitical center of gravity. Whereas previous generations would typically look north to Russia for employment, the outflow since 2014 has been predominantly to Poland and the Czech Republic. The estimated $14 billion in remittances this migrant workforce sent to Ukraine in 2018 represents a huge boost to the economy, but the experience of EU life they bring home will eventually have an greater impact on the nation’s future. Meanwhile, the trade components of Russia’s hybrid war have obliged Ukrainian businesses to leave the post-Soviet comfort zone and expand internationally. Since 2014, Ukrainian exports to the EU have reached record highs and are poised to grow further. India has become Ukraine’s largest agricultural export market, with China and Egypt not far behind. Thanks to the loss of Russian markets, the Kremlin’s former breadbasket is now feeding the world. Similar processes are underway throughout the Ukrainian economy. In the energy sector, Ukraine has taken great strides toward energy independence in a bid to protect itself from what has traditionally been Russia’s most powerful non-military weapon. Institutional reforms have shaken up the Ukrainian gas industry, while government incentives have helped attract international investors and spark a renewable energy boom. Elsewhere, Ukraine has signed landmark cooperation deals with titans of Western industry such as General Electric, Boeing, and Airbus. Nor can the Kremlin count on the kind of overwhelming soft power ascendancy it once took for granted in Ukraine. Russia’s war has forced Ukrainian society to demarcate the previously blurred boundaries between the two countries’ cultural universes, fracturing the formerly indivisible Russian and Ukrainian showbiz scenes and forcing celebrities on both sides to consider the political implications of collaborations that were previously second nature. The resulting combination of bans, language quotas, and hardening public opinion has reduced the Russian footprint in everyday Ukrainian life. Russian-made serials and movies no longer dominate Ukraine’s TV schedules, while Russian pop is not nearly so ubiquitous on Ukrainian radio playlists. Online, efforts to block Kremlin-controlled social media platforms have encouraged Ukrainians to use international alternatives. Given all these negative trends, it is no wonder many now regard Russian influence in Ukraine as being at its lowest ebb since the Ukrainian statehood bid of the early twentieth century and the Cossack glory days of the 1600s. The elephant in the room, of course, is Volodymyr Zelenskiy. The TV comic is projected to win Ukraine’s presidential race and detractors claim this would represent a major victory for Putin. Indeed, President Poroshenko has sought to position the second-round vote as a direct choice between himself and the Russian strongman. The evidence cited in support of this argument is considerable but largely circumstantial. Zelenskiy has longstanding business ties to Russia and a campaign team featuring numerous personalities with pro-Russian pasts. He defends the Russian language while struggling to speak fluent Ukrainian. He is also undoubtedly popular among Ukraine’s pro-Russian electorate, and his candidacy has received approving coverage on Kremlin TV. Perhaps most damningly, Zelenskiy’s comedy career is replete with examples of him joking at the expense of Ukrainian national identity. Moderate critics see him as a threat to the processes of desovietization and Ukrainianization underway since 2014, while his staunchest opponents claim he is a Kremlin Trojan horse who would return the country to the Russian sphere if given the chance. Zelenskiy’s own deliberately vague election platform has helped fuel these concerns, but what little he has said suggests that those hoping for a Russian reunion will be left disappointed. The comedian has spoken clearly and unambiguously about Russia’s responsibility for the ongoing war. He has backed Ukraine’s European choice and voiced his support for the country’s EU and NATO membership bids. Crucially, Zelenskiy has also committed himself to a reformist agenda that tallies with the ideals espoused on Maidan five years ago, while selecting well-respected and experienced reformers to serve as advisors. If this is the Kremlin’s best hope in Ukraine, it says much about how low Russia’s fortunes have fallen. The even bigger elephant in the room is Zelenskiy’s backer Ihor Kolomoisky. Virtually all Ukrainian politicians have client relationships with one or more of the country’s oligarchs. Indeed, this is perhaps the defining characteristic of the country’s fledgling democracy. Nevertheless, the closeness of Zelenskiy’s relationship with Kolomoisky is exceptional. The two have been business partners for many years and Zelinskiy owes much of his superstar status to the blanket exposure he has enjoyed on the oligarch’s flagship TV channel. Inevitably, this has led many to assume Zelenskiy is little more than a cleverly curated virtual candidate fronting for his billionaire benefactor. Kolomoisky’s fingerprints are all over the Zelenskiy campaign, and he would doubtless expect to benefit greatly should his protégé win. However, while Ukrainians have every reason to fear the prospect of Kolomoisky as the power behind the throne of a Zelenskiy presidency, this outcome would not necessarily offer Russia much comfort. After all, Kolomoisky has strong anti-Russian credentials, having been instrumental in stemming the tide of Putin’s spring 2014 invasion. As the emergency governor and de facto warlord of strategically vital Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, he did much to inspire the fight back that saved Ukraine from partition. At a time when other Ukrainian oligarchs hesitated, Kolomoisky bankrolled the military resistance, putting bounties on the heads of Russia’s “little green men,” and publicly ridiculing Putin as a “short schizophrenic.” If Zelenskiy’s campaign statements make him an unlikely Russian ally, Kolomoisky’s past actions position him as an outright adversary. Ukrainian voters will be taking an enormous risk if they elect Zelenskiy on April 21. Huge question marks remain over his suitability for the role, ranging from his lack of knowledge and experience to his suspect temperament and acute sensitivity to criticism. As head of state, his stance on Ukraine’s nation-building process would come under scrutiny. There has been much talk over the past five years about the emergence of Ukraine as a political nation that has moved beyond the narrow linguistic and ethnic definitions of old. A Zelenskiy presidency would put these notions of a more inclusive Ukrainian national identity to the test. Russia would welcome the potential chaos of a Zelenskiy presidency, much as they would cheer the political demise of Kremlin nemesis Poroshenko. However, Moscow would be wise to keep the champagne on ice. Zelenskiy may be culturally far closer to the Kremlin than Ukraine’s current leader, but his public positions on most key issues differ little in substance from those of his presidential rival. Unless we assume that his entire campaign is an elaborate façade, Zelenskiy would likely maintain Ukraine’s trajectory away from the Russian orbit. Ultimately, it is hard to see how any presidential candidate could reverse the long-term decline of Russian influence in Ukraine. Putin’s war has succeeded in shattering the myth of Slavonic fraternity and compelled Ukrainians to distance themselves from their closest neighbor in ways that would have been unthinkable prior to 2014. Russia now finds itself branded as an aggressor state and deprived of the economic, social, and cultural levers necessary to recover its previously preeminent position. All wars eventually end, and it is reasonable to assume that Russian-Ukrainian relations will experience a thaw in the future. However, the days when pro-Kremlin politicians could hope to win national elections in Ukraine appear consigned to history. Russia will remain a disruptive factor in Ukraine for many years to come, but it is no longer in a position to dominate. Peter Dickinson is a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council and publisher of Business Ukraine and Lviv Today magazines. He tweets @Biz_Ukraine_Mag.
Why the choice of an unlikely figure as Volodymyr Zelensky to become President provides Ukrainians reason for hope. As of early April 2019, it looks more likely than not that Volodymyr Zelensky will become Ukraine’s sixth post-Soviet head of state. A Zelensky presidency would be not only a political, but also a historical aberration in post-Soviet Ukraine. Zelensky is not merely an outsider to Kyiv high politics. He would also be the first such newcomer who will have made it as high. In 2014, former box champion Vitaly Klychko became Mayor of Kyiv. And while other outsiders have advanced into Ukraine’s parliament and to high ministerial posts before, no total political novice come as close to occupying Ukraine’s highest public office as Zelensky has. Disappointment with the governing class The obvious explanation for Zelensky’s advance is the deep disappoint¬ment of Ukrainians with their governing class. After almost 30 years of electing either relatively pro-Russian or officially pro-Western men from the country’s supposed economic and political elite to the presidential office, Ukraine remains one of the poorest nations of Europe. To be sure, many of the country’s more recent economic problems are results of external factors – Russia’s ruthless hybrid war against Ukraine, Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and the Kremlin’s hidden occupation of much of the Donets Basin. Yet, at least in the Ukrainian population’s perception, the slow recovery from the shock of 2014 and many other of the country’s continuing problems are largely due to Poroshenko & Co’s various failures as reformers and statesmen (few women are to be found in important positions) rather than only results of Kremlin meddling. There are indeed not only many destructive repercussions of the ongoing Russian subversion and occupation of Ukraine. There are also various weighty reasons for Ukrainians’ fundamental disappointment with their old ruling circles. Against this specific background, Ukraine’s resulting choice of a successful showman not linked (or, at least, not visibly tied) to the old political class as head of state is less surprising than it would otherwise be. It is also less an expression of some deeper socio-political pathology than the sudden rise of dubious personalities like Donald Trump in the United States or Beppe Grillo in Italy. Subjective feelings of alienation Subjective feelings of alienation from the “old system” in Ukraine and the West may be partly comparable. Yet, the objective situation of Ukraine as a country fighting a long war and suffering from extreme poverty as well as being haunted by an especially large degree of systemic corruption and personal insecurity is different. It makes Ukrainian current problems not fully comparable to the various issues and challenges that average Western citizens may encounter during their lives. Ukraine’s citizens face a far more daunting task of materially, physically and psychologically managing their own professional and private affairs than in any Western country. That fact of life makes this society’s functioning principally different from that of most EU and NATO member states, including the Ubited States and Italy. Ukraine’s election of Zelensky is thus only on the surface a continuation of larger transformative trends in the electoral politics and public affairs of many countries of Europe. The context of the Zelensky detour from earlier Ukrainian political patterns is driven by other factors, if not of a different nature, than by seemingly similar curiosities in advanced Western democracies. ……. Conclusion Zelensky is – apart from his English-language proficiency and degree in law – not well-prepared for any of these tasks. Yet, he can and hopefully will appoint competent ministers and bureaucrats with relevant higher education and work records in these fields. Ideally, he will be modest enough to let himself being partly guided by them.
The second round of Ukraine’s election for president takes place on 21 April; the comedian and political novice Volodymyr Zelensky is in the lead
Zelenskiy’s likely success in Ukraine’s upcoming presidential elections will be an enormous aberration. It will create high risks because of the new president’s lack of experience, yet also provide new opportunities of integration between Ukraine’s state and society. Large parts of Ukraine’s elite, chatting class, diaspora and foreign friends are nothing less than horrified by the likely outcome of the second round of the presidential elections on April 21st. After winning the first round on March 31st with a wide margin, it looks now almost certain that the actor, comedian and businessman, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, will become Ukraine’s next president. To be sure, the second-placed candidate (from the first round), incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, still has a chance to overtake Zelenskiy in the second round. Yet, as of mid-April, it appears far more probable that Zelenskiy will also win the second round. This is not only because Zelenskiy attracted the support of more than 30 per cent of the votes on March 31st and thus almost twice as much support as Poroshenko. So far, it seems likely that many (if not most) of those who voted for other candidates in the first round (i.e. Yulia Tymoshenko, Yury Boiko and Oleksandr Vilkul) will vote for Zelenskiy rather than Poroshenko, in the second round. Unless some major scandal arises during this week that manages to damage Zelenskiy’s reputation, he seems destined to become Ukraine’s sixth post-Soviet head of state. How should one interpret this fateful turn of events? Why Zelenskiy rose A Zelenskiy presidency would not only be a political aberration, but a historical one as well. Zelenskiy is not merely an outsider to Kyiv high politics. He would, moreover, be the first such newcomer who would have made it so high. In 2014, the former boxing champion, Vitali Klitschko, became the mayor of Kyiv. Other outsiders have advanced into Ukraine’s parliament or taken high ministerial posts before. Yet never before has a political novice come as close to occupying Ukraine’s highest public office. The obvious explanation for Zelenskiy’s popularity is the deep disappointment many Ukrainians feel with their governing class. After almost three decades of electing either relatively pro-Russian or officially pro-western candidates from its supposed economic and political elite to the presidential office, Ukraine remains one of the poorest and insecure nations in Europe. To be sure, many of the more recent socio-economic problems are a result of Russia’s ruthless hybrid war against Ukraine, Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and the Kremlin’s hidden occupation in much of the Donets Basin. Yet at least in the Ukrainian public’s perception, the slow recovery from the 2014 shock, and other continuing problems, are largely due to Poroshenko & Co.’s various failures as reformers and statesmen (few women are found in important positions). Indeed, there are not only many destructive repercussions as a result of the ongoing Russian occupation of, and war against, Ukraine. There are also various weighty reasons for Ukrainians’ fundamental disappointment with their old ruling circle. Against this specific background, Ukraine’s choice of a successful showman not linked (or, at least, not visibly tied) to the old political class as head of state is less surprising than it would otherwise be. It is also less an expression of some deeper socio-political pathology than the sudden rise of dubious personalities like Donald Trump or Beppe Grillo. Many populist voters’ subjective sense of alienation from the “old system” in Ukraine and the West may be partly comparable. Yet the objective situation in Ukraine, as a country fighting a long war and suffering from extreme poverty, as well as being haunted by a high level of systemic corruption and personal insecurity is different. It makes Ukraine’s current problems a lot more pressing compared to the challenges that average western citizens encounter during their lives. The far more daunting task of managing one’s professional and private affairs as an average Ukrainian citizen, makes this society’s functioning principally different from that of those in most of the EU and NATO member states (including the US and Italy).
Volodymyr Zelensky is a Ukrainian comedian who could very likely become the next president of the Ukraine in an unlikely media showing. Though he claims he will stand up to Putin, a stand-up routine is all that the Russian conqueror is likely to get.
Support for this article was provided by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. KYIV, Ukraine—“Everything,” Dmytro Zolotukhin tells me, “is going like they wanted.” Slumped in a chair in a café here in the Ukrainian capital, Zolotukhin wasn’t talking about the campaign of Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian who is favored to win the country’s presidential elections this weekend, or the incumbent, Petro Poroshenko. No, they are the Russians. Moscow has used Ukraine as a disinformation laboratory for years—and Zolotukhin is one of the men charged with fending them off. The Kremlin stands accused of interfering in elections the world over, driving division in societies through an array of tactics, chief among them online disinformation. Using fabricated or misleading news stories and fake accounts, Russian operations have sought to sow doubt in the democratic process. Ahead of European Parliament elections next month and the American presidential contest in 2020, Putin’s online armies are auditioning their tactics in Ukraine. Kyiv isn’t just the laboratory for Russia’s information warfare tactics, though; it’s also a proving ground for possible solutions, where officials such as Zolotukhin, Ukraine’s deputy minister of information policy, struggle to walk the line between defending democratic discourse and trampling freedom of speech. As the United States prepares for another contentious presidential race and social-media regulation looks inevitable, the Ukrainian government’s efforts highlight how difficult it is to fight disinformation in a polarized information environment. But offices such as Zolotukhin’s are often under-resourced, and in a divisive electoral period in which campaigns are themselves combatants in the information war, separating fact from fiction, patriot from enemy, and friend from foe is not as simple as it once was. The Ministry of Information Policy (MIP) sits at the top of a Soviet-era building just off Khreshchatyk, Kyiv’s sweeping main boulevard, where relics of czarism and communism mix with more eclectic modern architecture. Founded in 2015, the ministry is charged with protecting Ukraine’s information space. Its logo, the state seal adorned with four USB cords, makes clear where the government sees the biggest threat: online. I first became acquainted with Zolotukhin and the MIP when I worked as a strategic communications adviser to Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry in 2016. The MIP was created in response to an onslaught of fake news from Russia, and one of its stated objectives is to “counteract … informational aggression”—Moscow has been blamed for ongoing disinformation campaigns in Ukraine, including during the Euromaidan protests in 2013 and when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine the following year. Yet the ministry is also charged with protecting freedom of speech, a duty that at times has placed it in contradiction with itself. Unlike Washington, which has mustered hardly any official response to Russia’s use of disinformation to influence the 2016 presidential election, Kyiv has taken action. In May 2017, Poroshenko banned the Russian search engine Yandex and the social-media networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki within Ukraine, a decision backed by the MIP. A year later, the government blocked an additional 192 websites that supposedly had pro-Russian sympathies, relying on the MIP’s advice to compile the list. The bans have, in one sense, served their purpose; officials say that overt Russian-originated disinformation has decreased. Yet as Zolotukhin alluded to in his conversations with me, that has not meant Moscow’s goals have not been met. In response, Ukraine has been accused—by allies as well as critics—of pushing the boundaries of acceptable democratic behavior. “We received immediate feedback from all of our partners, saying, ‘Well, this is an attack on free speech and attack on free expression,’” Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister for Euro-Atlantic and European integration, told me. “We had a really hard time explaining to our partners … don’t forget that we are a country at war. We are losing people every other day, if not every single day.” The situation has only become more delicate during the election period—Zelensky and Poroshenko were the top-two vote-getters after the first round of polling last month and are employing dirty outreach tactics ahead of Sunday’s final round. “If you see a certain story in Ukrainian media,” Zolotukhin tells me, “now you absolutely do not have any basis to call it a Russian narrative, because usually it’s a certain position that is being supported by some number of Ukrainians.” In 2014, Russian trolls attempted to spread outright fake stories. In 2019, disinformation is more grounded in the issues at the heart of this election: corruption, quality of life, and assessments of Ukraine’s progress since Euromaidan.
The reelection campaign of President Petro Poroshenko is utilizing the services of Ukrainian digital agency Postmen to run a “black PR” ad campaign against election frontrunner Volodymyr Zelenskiy on social media, according to an investigation by TheBabel, a news site with ownership ties to oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky. While it is impossible to know the exact cost of the campaign, TheBabel estimates that the campaign of Facebook ads in just five groups cost at least Hr 2 million (roughly $75,000). The revelation comes amid a sustained campaign of negative social media ads portraying comedian-turned-politicians Zelenskiy as drug addict who will direct Ukraine back into Russia’s orbit. In a number of cases, the “black PR” has even crossed the line into clear disinformation, according to experts. Previously, the Kyiv Post reported that domestic disinformation had largely out shadowed foreign disinformation during the 2019 presidential election. Read more: Disinformation, ‘black PR’ emerge before April 21 runoff election TheBabel journalist Yevhen Spirin used his Facebook account’s ad settings page to determine which political groups sent him the most advertisements between in late March and early April, the most active period of the president campaign. This led him to President Poroshenko’s official account, two pro-Poroshenko pages, and five other pages with negative ads aimed at other top contenders in the election’s first round March 31: former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, former Defense Minister Anatoliy Grytsenko, and Zelenskiy. Once the first round ended, the five pages critical of other candidates then turned their attention to Zelenskiy, the presidential frontrunner and Poroshenko’s opponent in the second round. According to theBabel, the anti-Zelenskiy pages were significantly more popular than the pro-Porosheneko ones, which largely shared endorsements of the president from prominent Ukrainians, promoted his pro-Western policy positions, and called on social media users to support him. The news site also found that one of the Facebook groups in question posted a controversial ad that showed Zelenskiy being hit by a truck. Previously, Poroshenko denied any connection to the video. That National Police have said they will investigate that ad. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, whom some believe opposes Poroshenko, characterized the ad as a threat against a public figure. In March 2019, Facebook made information about who pays for political ads available to the public. As a result, Spirin examined the advertiser information provided with these ads. There he discovered that all eight groups were connected to one woman, Hanna Sipacheva. TheBabel found her on Facebook, where she listed Postmen as her workplace. TheBabel reached out to both the woman in question and Postmen. The former did not respond to phone calls or messages. The latter declined to comment, although a company representative said they might comment after April 21, the day of the runoff vote. The site also reached out to the Poroshenko campaign headquarters, where Volodymyr Horkovenko, deputy head of the Presidential Administration’s information politics division, confirmed that the campaign had indeed worked with Postmen. He did not respond to questions about whether the campaign used Postmen for “black PR.” Postmen has previously worked with Poroshenko’s allies. Between 2016 and 2018, the Petro Poroshenko Bloc party paid Postmen Hr 4.7 million ($176,000) to run ad campaigns on Facebook and make videos for the party, theBabel reported citing publicly available information. In 2015, the company also ran a “black PR” campaign against Sergii Leshchenko, a pro-reform Poroshenko Bloc lawmaker who openly criticized his party and the president, in Facebook groups, a former Postmen employee told theBabel on condition of anonymity. Leshchenko publicly announced that he left Poroshenko Bloc’s party and is now part of Zelenskiy’s team.
A TV comic is tipped to become Ukrainian president, but his rival is a political heavyweight.
Researchers say the hacks appear to be authentic, but some of the allegations are impossible to verify.
Claims surfaced online that Russian secret services and eastern Ukrainian rebels are financing Zelenskiy’s campaign. Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) is reportedly investigating allegations that presidential front-runner Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s campaign could be financed by Kremlin-linked figures. Polls have forecast a heavy defeat for President Petro Poroshenko in the second round of Ukraine’s presidential elections on Sunday. Zelenskiy, a comedian and actor with no political experience, won twice as many votes as Poroshenko in the first round on March 31. news The SBU is verifying information as part of a criminal case that Russian secret services and eastern Ukrainian rebels are financing Zelenskiy’s campaign, the Ukrainian News Agency reported Tuesday. Claims first appeared on a Ukrainian hacking group’s website claiming that Zelenskiy’s campaign is allegedly financed on behalf of longtime Kremlin aide Vladislav Surkov and billionaire Konstantin Malofeev, Russia’s The Insider investigative news website reported on Wednesday. Surkov is one of the most influential figures determining Russia’s policy over Ukraine, including the undeclared war in the Donbas. Publicity-shy billionaire Malofeev backs the Russian nationalist right and was reportedly deeply — if unofficially — involved in the 2014 Russian campaign against Ukraine. The Insider said it found no indication that the leaks were falsified. Zelenskiy’s press service called the leaks “100 percent fake from Mirotvorets” and said the front-runner’s camp had asked the SBU to investigate the leaks, The Insider reported. Despite his popular anti-corruption campaign message, Zelenskiy has been accused of being the puppet of a wealthy businessman who owns the television channel his show airs on.
Facing a potentially huge defeat in a run-off vote on Sunday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is fighting to close the gap by winning votes in the country’s largely conservative Western regions and expanding his appeal elsewhere. Up against Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian with no previous political
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko thought he could rely for his re-election in part on the votes of soldiers who have spent years fighting pro-Russian separatists. But a visit to the frontline found low morale and little enthusiasm for him.
Poroshenko’s heavy political reliance on support from the military and defense industry helps explain why a journalistic investigation into corruption involving the state-owned concern Ukroboronprom, released just a month before the elections, had such a negative impact on Poroshenko’s ratings (YouTube, February 25; see EDM, February 28). Despite the fact that the investigative reporting ultimately failed to provide much in the way of credible evidence to directly link the president to the corrupt schemes, news of the scandal nevertheless further spoiled the image of Poroshenko as the leader who revived the AFU and Ukraine’s defense industry. The corruption scandal was likely one of the reasons why Poroshenko appeared to do relatively poorly in the first round among military and security services voters stationed on the frontline (Cvk.gov.ua, April 4). The incumbent won in only 40 out of the 79 polling places specially set up for Armed Forces personnel serving in Donbas, with 12,836 troops in the warzone casting ballots for Poroshenko, while almost the same amount, 12,423, voting for the ultimately victorious Volodymyr Zelensky (Kyiv Post, Facebook/butusov.yuri, April 3). Special advisor to the Ukrainian president, Yuri Biryukov, has tried to minimize this disappointing showing by suggesting that some civilians, and not purely military personnel, had cast their votes at these frontline polling stations (Facebook/yuri.biryukov, April 3). One way or another, Poroshenko faces a foreboding situation going into the second round, scheduled for April 21. According to the widely reported results of a recent poll by the sociological group Rating, 71 percent of voters expressed their intention to vote for Zelensky, while less than 30 percent support the incumbent (Kyiv Post, April 11). Clearly, more decisive support from military service members and their families will be crucial come election day.
A comedian who plays a president on a popular television show who has no political background may unseat Ukraine’s deeply unpopular and pro-western president, Petro Poroshenko this Sunday.
A comedian-turned-politician is a strong favorite to win Ukraine’s presidential election run-off vote this coming Sunday, despite little being known about his political policies and plans.
Ukrainians fed up with entrenched corruption and hungry for change are likely to elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedian with no previous political experience, as their next president in a run-off vote on Sunday.
A fresh opinion poll shows Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedic actor with no political experience, far ahead of incumbent Petro Poroshenko just days before Ukraine’s presidential runoff.
Just under a half of Ukrainians (48.4 percent) said they would vote for Volodymyr Zelenskiy and 17 percent for the incumbent, Petro Poroshenko, were the second round of the presidential election held right now, according to the findings of a poll conducted by the Kiyv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) on April 9-14. Seventeen point nine per cent were undecided, 1.6 percent were going to ruin the ballot, 6.3 percent did not intend to go to the polls and 8.8 percent refused to answer the question. KIIS interviewed 2,004 respondents in 129 towns across Ukraine; in Luhansk and Donetsk region, the poll was conducted only in Ukraine-controlled parts of the regions. The runoff is due to be held on April 21.
A comedian who plays a president on television has a commanding lead in the Ukrainian presidential race, according to a poll released Tuesday.
Ukrainian comedian and presidential front-runner Volodymyr Zelenskiy has hired a Washington lobbying firm to burnish his international image and set up meetings between members of his camp and offi…
Preparations continue for the scheduled debate between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his challenger, the comic actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Talks over a potential presidential election debate between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and challenger Volodymyr Zelenskiy appear to have hit another snag over the starting time for the ev…
President Petro Poroshenko is attempting to reinvent himself and his campaign after a distant second-place finish in the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election.
Christopher Miller on Twitter: “Poroshenko campaign trying to attract the youth. It just released this sticker pack on its @telegram channel. Stickers feature the president’s “think” slogan, as well as his new “You want a stadium, you got a stadium.” And of course there’s one of him in camo firing a rifle.… https://t.co/Et2CzUpPsn”
Christopher Miller on Twitter: ““You want a stadium, you got a stadium.” That was incumbent President Petro Poroshenko’s response to comic Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s slick video appeal to debate him at Kyiv’s Olympic Stadium. And then he accepted his call for a literal pissing contest. https://t.co/ay2ISQhO5G”
In Ukraine’s current presidential elections, the first round of voting left actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy on top. In a sense, Zelenskiy has already held the Ukrainian government’s leading role — at least in Sluha Narodu (Servant of the People), a television series produced by his company, Studio Kvartal 95. Shortly before the election took place, Meduza correspondent Ilya Zhegulev visited Ukraine to find out how the enormously popular comedian decided to transfer his presidential image from a sitcom into the real world — and what Zelenskiy the politician has to offer besides his already evident skills in showmanship.
Ex-official allegedly playing for Team Zelenskyy. He and Zelenskyy’s party head met representatives of US establishment. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
ZeTeam denies cooperation with lobbying companies and agencies, as the press center of the headquarters reported on Facebook. “As another disinformation distributed in media on the eve of the second round of the presidential elections in Ukraine, we officially state: the team of Volodymyr Zelensky did not work with any lobbying companies or agencies to organize the visit of our representative to the U.S. We don’t have contract with Signal Group,” the message reads. It was also noted that Oleg Dubyna, former First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and ex-Head of Naftogaz, never was and is not the member of ZeTeam. ZeTeam informed that they do not distribute future posts, mandates and seats on the quiet. They are convinced that such position makes them different from the old political elites. Earlier, Radio Liberty correspondents reported that Ukraine’s presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky hired Signal Group to improve his international reputation and organize meetings with the U.S. officials.
World media are at one thinking that Mr. Zelensky, a front-runner at the first round of Ukraine’s presidential elections, is a favorite candidate to the second round on April 21 and in case he wins he is going to face a lot of difficulties in international politics, economy sector, fight against corruption and countering his oligarch’s allies and counterparts. Let’s check the most reputable world outlets who turned to the Ukrainian issue again.
Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky has called Russian President Vladimir Putin an enemy. When asked by an RBC-Ukraine journalist during an interview whether Russian President Vladimir Putin is an enemy for him, Zelensky said: “Of course, he is.” He also said that, if elected president, he is not going to sign the law on amnesty for the militants of the so-called “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.” In addition, Zelensky does not believe Donbas should have a special status.
Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskyi has called Russian President Vladimir Putin an enemy. Censor.NET reports citing RBC-Ukraine. When asked by an RBC-Ukraine journalist during an interview whether Russian President Vladimir Putin is an enemy for him, Zelenskyi said: “Of course, he is.” He also said that, if elected president, he is not going to sign the law on amnesty for the militants of the so-called “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.” In addition, Zelenskyi does not believe Donbas should have a special status.
Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky has said Donbas does not need to be granted any special status. If elected president, Zelensky is not going to sign the law on amnesty for the militants of the so-called “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.” Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky has said Donbas does not need to be granted any special status. “I think this is a huge story, and it will take us long to get out of this criminal situation. Perhaps, it will be precisely information war that will help us here. I really hope to return these people information-wise to the state of mind of realizing that Ukraine needs them, they need Ukraine, and they are, too, Ukrainians. But a lot of humanitarian steps will have to be done, plenty of things. See, there’s a fence that has been set up. What do our politicians say? Build a wall, and so on… It was built, but of bricks. It’s even worse. It seems there is no wall, but it is scary anyway, information-wise. Those people in those territories who don’t receive pensions… And the fact that we don’t talk to them is the worst thing,” he said in an interview with RBC-Ukraine. Zelensky also said that, if elected president, he is not going to sign the law on amnesty for the militants of the so-called “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.” In addition, he does not believe that Donbas should be granted any special status. The presidential candidate said his team wanted to create a separate large European media portal that will broadcast in Russian, “which will be broadcast throughout Europe, which will say true things and report on events in Ukraine they [people in Donbas] want to hear.” Zelensky said Ukraine needs to “send an impulse and lend a helping hand” to Donbas residents, letting them know “you are hostages.”
The areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions uncontrolled by Kyiv should not be given any special status, Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky said. “In my opinion, this is a big deal and we will spend much time getting out of this criminal situation,” Zelensky said on Thursday. “Information warfare can help us in this case. I very much hope to use information for bringing those people to a situation, in which they will need Ukraine as much as Ukraine needs them, and for showing that they are Ukrainians, just like anyone else. Many humanitarian steps will have to be made. A lot of anything,” Zelensky said. There is an information wall between people living on Donbas territories uncontrolled by Kyiv and the rest of Ukraine, Zelensky said, adding that his team planned to create a major European media portal to broadcast its programs in Russian. It “will be aired throughout Europe, […] tell the truth, and report Ukrainian events they want to hear about,” Zelensky said. “We will send this impulse and tell them: we are waiting for you, see, you are being held hostage. This is what should be said. Our hostages are being kept there,” Zelensky told RBC Ukraine in an interview. He also opposed the adoption of a law to guarantee amnesty for the enemy.
Ukraine’s presidential election hopeful Volodymyr Zelensky says in case he wins the election runoff, he is not willing to form a coalition with the ex-members of [pro-Russian political force of the times of former president Viktor Yanukovych] the Party of regions Yuriy Boyko and Viktor Medvedchuk, as well as with the incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko. Yulia Tymoshenko, leader of the Batkivshchyna Party who stopped short of making it to the election runoff, earlier said she was not in talks with Zelensky about a possible coalition either. Ukraine’s presidential election hopeful Volodymyr Zelensky says in case he wins the election runoff, he is not willing to form a coalition with the ex-members of [pro-Russian political force of the times of former president Viktor Yanukovych] the Party of regions Yuriy Boyko and Viktor Medvedchuk, as well as with the incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko. Asked by RBC-Ukraine whether a situation could be imagined where Zelensky forms a coalition with Boyko and Medvedchuk, Zelensky responded “No.” The presidential candidate added he did not intend to form a union with the incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, who is also his rival in the second round of the election. As UNIAN reported earlier, Yulia Tymoshenko, leader of the Batkivshchyna Party who stopped short of making it to the election runoff, said she was not going to support any of the presidential candidates in the second round, and also said she was not in talks with Zelensky about a possible coalition.
Ukraine’s presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky stated that medical marijuana can be legalized in Ukraine as well as prostitution within one particular city in the country, as he said on the interview for RBK-Ukraine. “I think that medical marijuana is normal, it is sold in droplets. Bu the way, I talked about this with Yevhen Komarovsky (pediatrician, a doctor of the highest category and a TV presenter (“The School of Doctor Komarovsky” show), – ed.). I support the legalization of the droplets,” he stated. Speaking of legalization of the prostitution in Ukraine, Zelensky said that there should be an opportunity to “pay for sex” on the territory of one city. “Pay for sex? Frankly, guys, I think we have such possibility, and I will answer all the previous questions, we can create Las Vegas. The society would agree, and they would pay taxes. To give such opportunity to one city, one territory and do it all there,” Zelensky explained. At the same time, the presidential candidate says that men in Kryvyi Rih, his native town, “will not understand that”. Also, he believes that gambling can be legalized on the territory of one city. “Yes, take it all and move it there, create an opportunity. Please, party there. It’s not a closed territory. We can develop some city which nobody visits,” he noted. Earlier, Acting Health Minister of Ukraine Ulyana Suprun urged to support the legalization of medical cannabis.
Ukraine’s presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky says it is possible to legalize medical marijuana, as well as prostitution, within limits of a certain Ukrainian city. The presidential candidate also believes gambling could be legalized within a single selected city.
Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky believes Ukrainians should also praise modern day heroes, those working in art and literature, on all heroes of Ukraine. Bandera is a hero for a certain part of Ukrainians, Zelensky said. Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky believes Ukrainians should also praise modern day heroes, those working in art and literature, on all heroes of Ukraine. “There are indisputable heroes. Stepan Bandera is a hero for a certain part of Ukrainians, and this is a normal and cool thing. He was one of those who defended the freedom of Ukraine. But I think that when we name so many streets, bridges by the same name, this is not quite right,” he said in an interview with RBC-Ukraine. “By the way, this is not about Stepan Bandera. I would say the same about Taras Shevchenko. I respect his tremendous work a lot. But we should remember modern day heroes, the heroes of art, the heroes of literature, all heroes of Ukraine. Why aren’t we naming [streets] by their names – the heroes who unite Ukraine today? There is such a tension in society that we must do everything possible to unite Ukraine. I was once asked why wasn’t any street named after Andriy Shevchenko [Ukrainian football star]? He is a hero for me, I really think so,” Zelensky said.
Almost half of Ukrainians expect an improvement in the situation in the country after the presidential election, while a quarter of respondents in the poll have no hopes for positive change. Half of the respondents believe the new president’s team should be given at least a year to show positive results.
Ukraine’s Finance Minister Oksana Markarova has said political uncertainty in Ukraine in connection with presidential and parliamentary elections directly affects the country’s fiscal risks. The risks have a negative impact on investment inflow, as well as reduce access to capital markets and possibilities for refinancing foreign debts.
Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky has commented on whether he intends to dissolve the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, if elected president. The presidential election hopeful is aware of the fact that the law provides for a short timeframe for such a move.
It is very risky to experiment with the post of President and Supreme Commander. This is not a joke. This is about the security of the country and the security of each of us! In the program of my opponent there is no word about the European Union. So, I’m not surprised that Moscow is agitating from Zhirinovsky and Zyuganov to our emigration, headed by Azarov, who has already packed suitcases for returning to Ukraine. Like the group of fugitive oligarchs, and the plan of one of them in the event of Zelensky’s victory – return to itself Privatbank. And as you see, they do not tolerate, they have already begun the realization of this plan. And such an adventure is threatened by the loss of money to tens of millions of customers. And the country as a whole – a default and an economic crisis. Therefore, the Government and the National Bank are doing the right thing, challenging this decision. The 5-year presidency is not a comedy that can be switched on in any episode, if it’s not funny. And not a horror movie that’s easy to stop. When you come to the district, do not think about Poroshenko or Zelensky. Think about Ukraine how to save it! Do not let it turn into Little Russia!
I appeal to you as President on the eve of a very important event that will take place on April 21. We have covered a difficult path together. First of all, I will mention what did not work out and what I am discontent with … And for what I once again sincerely apologize. The worst thing is that we didn’t manage to end the war – because the key to peace is not in our hands. It is a shame that millions of people live in poverty. And we have not yet overcome all the consequences of the crisis caused by Russian aggression. We have not reached enough progress in the fight against corruption. But politics is an art of possible. And even if one believes that the President can do everything, he cannot do all at once. And only the one who does nothing does not make mistakes. I personally made many tactical miscalculations. But I am sure I did not fail in matters of state strategy. Our main achievements are the army, the Association Agreement with the European Union, the visa-free regime, the international coalition in support of Ukraine, the regime of sanctions, which weakens Russia, restrains its aggression, Tomos, decentralization. And for all this, I would like to thank you. Because I could not have done anything if it hadn’t been for your support inspiring me. In five years, Putin has not achieved any of his strategic goals as regards Ukraine. He tried to attack us on the front and undermine from the rear. He failed. He wants revenge. He did not retreat from plans to destroy Ukraine, to deprive us of independence and to blur our national identity. The first thing he seeks to do is to immediately stop our movement towards the European Union and NATO as a system of collective security. It is more than a match for Russia and it can securely protect us. The Kremlin will make considerable efforts to form a majority loyal to Moscow. This is concerning the results of the parliamentary elections. And now, Putin counts on a weak, unprepared, incompetent neophyte serving as President of Ukraine … Which is easy to beat on security, diplomatic and political frontlines. Ukraine needs a leader who can withstand Putin and disrupt his predatory plans for our country. Ukraine needs a Supreme Commander-in-Chief capable of organizing a strong army, strong defense and achieving peace on this basis. Ukraine needs a head of the foreign policy sphere familiar to the world leaders. Who speaks the same language with them. Who understands the intricacies of the world diplomacy. Ukraine needs a President, which will ensure the irreversibility of the European and Euro-Atlantic course. I respect the choice of those who supported my opponent. This choice indicates that there is a strong demand in society for the renewal of the entire political elite. It cannot be ignored. Parliamentary elections will take place in autumn. And they provide not a chance, but a real opportunity to win, form a coalition and come to the Government. Keys to all the necessary changes are there. And this is how you can start your real path to politics. But it is very risky to experiment with the post of President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief. This is not a joke: this is about the security of the country and the security of each of us. The program of my opponent contains no word about the European Union. So I am not surprised that Moscow is agitating for him: from Zhirinovsky and Zyuganov to our emigration, headed by Azarov, who has already packed suitcases to return to Ukraine. As well as a group of fugitive oligarchs. One of them plans to return PrivatBank in case of Zelensky’s victory. As you see, they are already in the process of implementing this plan. Such a venture poses a threat of the loss of money for dozens of millions of customers, and for the country as a whole – a threat of default and a new economic crisis. Therefore, the Government and the National Bank are right to challenge this decision. And soon the revenge-seekers are planning to abolish lustration and electronic declaration for civil servants. Fellow Ukrainians! The five-year presidency is not a comedy that can be switched in any episode when it’s not funny. And not a horror movie that’s easy to stop if it’s really scary. The country is at the crossroads today. We either confidently continue to move towards the European Union and NATO, or the revenge takes place. It will not be a radical turn right away. This will be at first insignificant, creeping, but steady return to the sphere of Russian influence. I know how much complaints you have about me. I know how hard it is for each of you to forgive me my mistakes and believe me again. This is my fault. Yes, I’m not perfect. But I am convinced that we do not have the right to cross out everything achieved and abandon the European future. To complete what has been started and not to waste what has already been done, I ask for your support on April 21. And I will accept any decision, because the will of the people is above all! However, when you come to the polling station, do not think about Zelensky. And do not think about Poroshenko either. Think about Ukraine, how to save it. Just as in 2014 you stopped Novorossiya, now, please, do not allow the transformation of Ukraine into Little Russia. Glory to Ukraine!
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has stated that he has made many tactical mistakes over the past five years but chose the right state strategy. — Ukrinform.
Dear Ukrainians! I appeal to you as a president on the eve of a very important event that will take place on April 21. We have paced along an uneasy path together and first of all, I’ll mention what didn’t work, and why I myself am not happy, and for which I sincerely apologize. “The most painful thing is that the war is not finished as the key to peace is not in our hands. It’s a shame that millions of people are living in poverty and we have not yet overcome the consequences of the crisis caused by Russian aggression. We have not advanced enough in the fight against corruption, but the politics is an art of possible, and even if we believe that the President can do anything, he cannot do everything at once actually. And it’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes,” Poroshenko said. He also admitted that he had made some tactical mistakes, for example in the fight against corruption. “I have committed many tactical mistakes, but I am sure that I chose the right state strategy. Our main achievements are the army, the association agreement with the EU, the visa-free regime with the EU, the international coalition in support of Ukraine, the regime of sanctions that weakens Russia and restrains its aggression, the Tomos [of autocephaly of Ukrainian Orthodox Church], the decentralization reform,” head of state said. According to him, the first Putin’s goal is to stop Ukraine’s course towards the European Union and NATO as a collective security system. “It’s too tough for Russia, but it will actively protect us. The Kremlin will make a lot of efforts to form a majority loyal to Moscow.” Poroshenko admitted, Poroshenko believes that Ukraine needs a leader who is able to resist Putin’s plans. “Ukraine needs a supreme commander in chief, who is able to organize a strong army, a strong defense and attain peace on this basis,” he concluded. Poroshenko asks voters to support his candidacy in the second round of presidential elections, which will be held on April 21, but notes that he will accept any decision. “I know how difficult it is for each of you to forgive my mistakes and believe me again. It’s my fault. And yes, I’m not perfect. But I’m sure that we don’t have the right to cross out everything we’ve achieved and refuse the European future. To complete the work begun and not to squander what has already been done, I ask for your support on April 21. And I will accept your any decision. After all, the will of the people – above all,” said Poroshenko in a video message.
“Ukraine needs a leader who can withstand Putin and disrupt his predatory plans for our country. Ukraine needs a Supreme Commander-in-Chief capable of organizing a strong army, strong defense and achieving peace on this basis. Ukraine needs a head of the foreign policy sphere familiar to the world leaders. Who speaks the same language with them. Who understands the intricacies of the world diplomacy. Ukraine needs a President, which will ensure the irreversibility of the European and Euro-Atlantic course,” the Head of State underscored.
During the conversation with public activists and representatives of public initiatives, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko emphasized the importance of continuing the reform of the judiciary in Ukraine. The Head of State noted that during the preparation and implementation of the judicial reform the best world and European experience had been used. “Every letter of the judicial reform was reviewed by the Venice Commission,” Petro Poroshenko said and thanked the public activists for their work in this direction. The President also noted that the work of the Supreme Court, which was reformed, can now be assessed “more positively”, despite fair criticism of the public about the work of the entire Ukrainian judicial system. “There are no scandals or terrible decisions that accompanied the old Supreme Court,” he added. “I’m not a torturer or a judge. And the President, at least President Petro Poroshenko, has no right to call a judge to imprison someone. And that is demanded from me … I’ve been fighting against it. We are a European country. And the court must be independent. And I also have the question why corrupt officials are not in jail, I have the same question to the leaders of the anticorruption structures,” Petro Poroshenko stressed. The Head of State also noted that in the investigation of many anticorruption cases there was a political and image factor, when “some activists and even prosecutors go to a press conference. “And as a result, they destroy the cases, destroy the relevant structures,” he said. The President emphasized the importance of completing the judicial reform in the courts of the first instance and warned the public against the attempts to return the “old judicial system of Yanukovych’s time”.
“In five years, Putin has not achieved any of his strategic goals as regards Ukraine. He tried to attack us on the front and undermine from the rear. He failed. He wants revenge. He did not retreat from plans to destroy Ukraine, to deprive us of independence and to blur our national identity,” the Head of State noted.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko emphasized that presidency was not a comedy, thus, it is necessary to make a responsible choice on April 21. “And I will accept any decision, because the will of the people is above all. However, when you come to the polling station, do not think about Zelensky. And do not think about Poroshenko either. Think about Ukraine, how to save it. Just as in 2014 you stopped Novorossiya, now, please, do not allow the transformation of Ukraine into Little Russia,” the President noted.
During the presidential election campaign, some experts and politicians are beginning to say that after the election of a new president on April 21, 2019, there is a risk of early dissolution of parliament. Basically, all the arguments are reduced to the fact that the coalition in the current Verkhovna Rada is too weak, it lacks votes, and if the current president is not reelected for a second term, then coalition is more likely to cease to exist. Could the extraordinary elections of deputies become a reality? Well, this question has a clear legal answer. As a general rule, the parliament is elected for a five-year term, and the powers of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine are terminated on the day of the opening of a new convocation first meeting. However, according to Art. 90 of the Constitution of Ukraine, if within one month a coalition of factions in the Verkhovna Rada is not formed, then the president really has the right to early terminate its powers. The main law provides for a kind of “preventer” against manipulation. In particular, the powers of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine cannot be terminated ahead of time by the President in the last six months of the term of Verkhovna Rada or the President of Ukraine. Here it is important to find out when the last six months of the powers of the current parliament end. This is a fundamental point. Let me remind you that the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the 8th convocation was elected in October 26, 2014. Its first meeting took place on November 27, 2014, and at the same time the powers of the previous parliament were suspended. According to Art. 77 of the Constitution of Ukraine, regular parliamentary elections are held on the last Sunday of October of the fifth year of power of the Verkhovna Rada. That is, if everything goes according to plan, then the next parliamentary elections will be held on October 27, 2019. Articles 98 and 99 of the Law of Ukraine “On elections of MPs of Ukraine” state that the CEC establishes the results of elections of MPs in the national and single-mandate constituencies no later than the fifteenth day from the voting day. This should happen no later than November 11, 2019.
The show is finally on. Preparations have started for a presidential debate between President Petro Poroshenko and his challenger, comedic actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to be held on April 19 at the Olimpiysky Stadium in Kyiv. However, the two camps can’t agree on the format of the debate. Zelenskiy’s campaign claimed that Poroshenko’s campaign wants to install two stages for the two candidates and divide the viewing area into two fan zones. “Where in the world have you seen a debate between two candidates on two stages?” Zelenskiy said in a video posted on social media late on April 17. “They (Poroshenko campaign) want to divide people into their supporters and ours. They again divide the people.” The official spokesman for Poroshenko’s campaign, Oleg Medvedev, said the debate has to be a multiple hour discussion, not a show. And the format should be in line with the law, he said. According to the law, the presidential debate has to take place two days before Election Day in the television studio of the national broadcaster, Suspilne. Poroshenko, who accepted Zelenskiy’s challenge to a debate at 7 p.m. at the Olympic Stadium, has insisted on continuing the televised debate on Suspilne at 8 p.m. In response, Zelenskiy suggested holding the debate via video link where he would be at the stadium, and Poroshenko – at Suspilne.
President asks to postpone official debates
Poroshenko, Zelensky to debate at Suspilne TV Channel on April 19 at 9 p.m.
17.04.19 17:16 – Poroshenko’s team appeal to CEC regarding changes to debates timeline Representative of the election headquarters of the presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko, Ruslan Kniazevych, will appeal to the Central Election Commission (CEC) on Wednesday regarding changes to the order of conducting debates by presidential… View news.
The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) calls upon Ukrainians from around the world to take part in the second round of the presidential election in Ukraine and support the #Vote initiative. — Ukrinform.
Ukrainian Interior Ministry units are ready to ensure the security of citizens on the day of the presidential debate between showman Volodymyr Zelensky and incumbent head of state at the Petro Poroshenko at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv on Friday, April 19. — Ukrinform.
More than 50,000 police officers will be involved in guarding district and precinct election commissions in Ukraine, Deputy Head of the National Police Oleksandr Fatsevych has said. — Ukrinform.
Russian TV Channels will broadcast the debates between candidates for the presidency in Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and Volodymyr Zelensky on April 19 as Interfax reported. Russia 24 will broadcast the debates. Besides, Russia Today will hold the broadcast at RT Russia TV channel as channel’s chief editor Margarita Simonyan said. Moreover, Ruptly, which enters RT agency, will also hold the broadcast. All of the broadcasts will take place with translation. Svetlana Gulyaeva, the Executive Producer of Dozhd TV Channel announced the broadcast. She said that a special broadcast will take place on Friday. On April 3, Zelensky replied to Poroshenko’s invitation to participate in debates and put forward his conditions. He wanted to hold debates at Olympiysky Stadium. Poroshenko’s team said, “the President does not perform at stadiums”. A few hours later Poroshenko changed his mind and agreed to participate in the debates.
18.04.19 15:41 – Kremlin to watch Zelenskyi, Poroshenko presidential debates However, it is unknown whether Russian president Vladimir Putin will watch the broadcasting of the debates. View news.
For years Viktor Medvedchuk was one of a select few Ukrainians allowed to fly direct from Kiev to Moscow, where he led back-channel negotiations with Russian leader Vladimir Putin over the proxy war in Ukraine’s south-east. But after another visit last month to promote closer ties with Russia during Ukraine’s election campaign, Mr Medvedchuk found himself accused of treason by President Petro Poroshenko. Not only was Mr Medvedchuk made the target of a secret service investigation, Mr Poroshenko’s cabinet also changed a regulation to ban him from any further attempts to cross the border. Mr Medvedchuk, a prominent advocate in Ukraine for rapprochement with Moscow and the leader of a pro-Russia party, admits his cause is a hard sell. “In the last five years Poroshenko has made Russophobia and anti-Russian hysteria state policy,” he said in an interview this week at his Kiev headquarters. Mr Medvedchuk’s ties to the Kremlin — the US once described him as a “longtime proxy and close personal friend” of Mr Putin — give him a rare vantage point ahead of a Ukrainian presidential election over which Russia looms heavily. “Putin wants Ukraine to be a normal country,” he said. Public opinion in Ukraine has swung firmly against Moscow since it annexed Crimea in 2014. The war Russia began soon after has claimed more than 10,000 lives and spread to a new theatre late last year when Moscow arrested 24 Ukrainian sailors following naval clashes in the Sea of Azov. In the run-up to the election — and with his negative ratings well over 50 per cent — Mr Poroshenko has ramped up hardline anti-Russian policies, accused his opponent, comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, of being a “Russian puppet” and put up billboards depicting a “decisive choice” between himself and Mr Putin. Mr Zelensky’s surprise surge — polls predict he will coast to victory in Sunday’s second round — has been greeted with glee on Russian state television in recent weeks thanks to his animosity to Mr Poroshenko and more conciliatory policies towards Russian speakers. The Kremlin, no fan of Mr Poroshenko, was initially resigned to his re-election: one senior Kremlin official described him as “someone we know, and know we cannot work with”. But it is cautious about prospects for reconciliation under Mr Zelensky. Related: Medvedchuk: Issue of impeachment to president regulated by Constitution Even though both Mr Poroshenko and Mr Zelensky say they plan to exclude Mr Medvedchuk from further peace negotiations, he said he continued to advocate for Ukrainian prisoners in a private capacity and was “hopeful” for the release of the 24 sailors after flying — via Belarus — to meet Mr Putin this month. “Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin didn’t tell me at our last meeting that he supports Zelensky or is against Poroshenko. He said we will work with whoever is elected. But it depends on who is elected and what views they have,” Mr Medvedchuk said. Mr Medvedchuk, whose party had a candidate in the presidential election first round, and the leader of a rival pro-Russian party, each accuse Mr Poroshenko of engineering a split in their ranks to help his own chances. Mr Poroshenko scraped into the second round but if the pro-Russia vote had been combined, a single candidate could have made the run-off along with Mr Zelensky. Mr Medvedchuk fears the comedian’s popularity in the east, where he carried six of the eight predominantly Russian-speaking provinces in the first round, could harm his own party’s chances in parliamentary elections this year. But he cautiously endorsed Mr Zelensky’s calls for peace. “Poroshenko doesn’t want peace,” Mr Medvedchuk said. “If Zelensky really wants peace and wants to restore Ukraine’s economic potential, then our party . . . will support his actions.” Related: Medvedchuk: Proportional election system with open-lists is fair and objective A former presidential chief of staff, Mr Medvedchuk was a surprise choice as liaison to the Kremlin shortly after war broke out in 2014. He had campaigned heavily against a trade deal with the EU and the pro-western revolution that brought Mr Poroshenko to power. The US imposed sanctions on him for “violating Ukrainian sovereignty” once Russia annexed Crimea. Despite the fallout from his Moscow trips, Mr Medvedchuk says he met Mr Poroshenko as recently as last week. News channels owned by a close friend have covered the president’s entourage favourably, fuelling criticism that Mr Medvedchuk’s continued prominence points to a modus vivendi for Russian interests in Ukraine. “He always came to me with requests, I always fulfilled them,” Mr Medvedchuk said. “We are still talking about what we can get done now.” Mr Medvedchuk said he was able to secure the release of 485 prisoners before he fell out with Mr Poroshenko last year over what he claims was the president’s violation of Ukrainian commitments. The exchange deal collapsed. He laments that the business ties that once bound Ukraine’s oligarchs to Moscow’s have frayed since the country deepened its relationship with the EU. “It’s still in the interests of our country for Russia to invest and grow business in Ukraine,” he said. “Now that’s gone . . . We lost $20bn in export potential,” he said.
According to the results of the first round of the presidential election in Ukraine, wannabe prez Volodymyr Zelensky has got 30.24% of votes. The second round to take place on April 21, where Zelensky would face off current president Petro Poroshenko. In the meantime, we will acquaint you with Olena Zelenska, the wife of a presidential candidate and a potential first lady of Ukraine. What do we know about Olena Zelenska? In fact, we do not know much – she has always preferred to stay in the shadow of her famous husband, even while he was a popular comedian and showman. Olena Zelenska was born in Kryvyi Rih on February 16, 1978. She and her future husband were schoolmates, but they were not acquainted. Zelensky once said, he knew many of her classmates, but he did not know about Olena. They got acquainted much later – when Olena Kiyashko (birth surname) studied at the Faculty of Civil Engineering at Kryvyi Rih National University, and Volodymyr Zelensky got a degree in law at the Kryvyi Rih Economic Institute.
Some 58% of Ukrainians say they would vote for presidential candidate, showman Volodymyr Zelensky in the April 21 runoff, while incumbent President Petro Poroshenko would gain 22%. Among those who intend to vote in the runoff and have already decided on their choice, 73% would vote for Zelensky, while 27% would choose Poroshenko.
18.04.19 12:39 – Zelenskyi leads presidential race, followed by Poroshenko, – Rating survey According to a poll from April 12 to 16, 73% of Ukrainians among those who intend to vote in the second round and make their choice will vote for Vladimir Zelensky, and 27% for the current head of state, Petro Poroshenko. View news. According to a poll from April 12 to 16, 73% of Ukrainians among those who intend to vote in the second round and make their choice will vote for Vladimir Zelensky, and 27% for the current head of state, Petro Poroshenko. Censor.NET reports citing Rating socialogical survey. According to the survey conducted by the Sociological Group “Rating” based on the outcomes of the second week of April, 2019, the respondents’ answers to the question “Whom will you vote for in the second round of the Presidential elections?” are as follows: 52% would vote for Zelenskyi, 19% – for Poroshenko. 19% have not decided, 10% do not intend to vote. Among those who intend to vote in the second round: 58% – for Zelenskyi, 22% – for Poroshenko. 20% have not decided. Among those who intend to vote in the second round and have decided on the choice: 73% – for Zelenskyi, 27% – for Poroshenko. Zelenskyi overcomes his competitor within all age categories. He is also the leader among the residents of the East, South, and Center. At the same time, in the West, the positions of both candidates are almost equal just as it was earlier. 62% of the polled believe that Zelenskyi will become the next President of Ukraine; 17% think the same about Poroshenko. 22% have not decided on the answer. Among the electoral groups of candidates who gained significant results during the first round, the relative majority is convinced that Zelenskyi will become the next Head of the State. Among the sympathizers of Poroshenko, half is convinced of the victory of their favorite, while somewhat more than a quarter believes that Zelenskyi will win. Source: https://censor.net.ua/en/n3122935
Poroshenko took part in the live broadcast on 112 Ukraine TV channel during which the audience was shown the results of a public opinion poll. According to the results, on April 12-13, the current president lagged behind Volodymyr Zelensky by 27% of the votes, and then two days later this difference was reduced to 23% of the votes. Based on this, Poroshenko said that he has a chance to win the second round. “Seeing these figures, one can say that my support among citizens is growing, and the support of my opponent is falling. I do not want to speculate on this topic. The main thing is the choice of the Ukrainian people, “said Poroshenko. Based on the results of the poll, which were shown on the 112 Ukraine TV channel, 61.9% of voters are now ready to support Zelensky and 38.1% would vote for Poroshenko. The channel did not specify who conducted this survey. This data is different from the results that were previously published by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology. These results showed that more than 70% of voters are ready to vote for Zelensky and around 25% for Poroshenko. During the broadcast, a volunteer asked Poroshenko why most of the military voted against the president. To this, Poroshenko replied that he was proud to have won the support of the army in the first round. The current president did not give any specific figures but stressed that his success in the armed forces, as the commander in chief, was important for him. At the same time, Poroshenko noted that during his presidency, “the armed forces at the frontline had come a long way.” “Our army was deep in the red,” said the president, noting that since 2014 a huge number of generals had been sent to retirement, and those who had agreed to go to the frontline in the Donbas received better career prospects. The president recalled those generals who resigned after being sent to the frontline. “Why do we need such generals in the army who are afraid to fight for their native land?” wondered Poroshenko. The news outlet Vesti Ukrajne, immediately after the results of the first round of the presidential elections, published the official voting results of the military who are stationed in the Donbas. The results showed that most of them supported Volodymyr Zelensky, not Poroshenko. Therefore, the actor won the elections among the key military in settlements in Marinka (Donetsk region) as well as in the Stanytsia Luhanska (north of Luhansk).
Al Jazeera English Published on Apr 17, 2019 Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky maintains lead over Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko in opinion polls ahead of Sunday’s runoff of in presidential election. Al Jazeera’s Robin Forestier-Walker visited the Ukrainian sea port of Odessa to find out more as Poroshenko struggles for his political survival.
Kateryna_Kruk on Twitter: “2010: investigative journalist Leshchenko reveals how Dubyna(Naftogaz ceo) and Tymoshenko(prime minister)basically gave up Ukrnafta to Kolomoisky. 2019: Leshchenko and Dubyna are advising presidential candidate Zelenskiy, supported by Kolomoisky. https://t.co/eIec3vN1e6”
Kolomoyskyy promises to return to Ukraine after Zelenskyy’s victory. The oligarch has lived in Israel since September 2018. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Ukrainian businessman Ihor Kolomoisky says he is going to return to Ukraine if Volodymyr Zelensky wins the Ukrainian presidential elections. Kolomoisky moved from Switzerland to Israel in September 2018.
KYIV — A Ukrainian court has ruled that the 2016 nationalization of a major bank owned by a powerful tycoon was illegal. The court in Kyiv ruled on Thursday that Pryvatbank, owned by tycoon Ihor Kolomoyskyi, was nationalized in 2016 illegally. It was not immediately clear how the government would return the bank, once Ukraine’s biggest private lender with a reported capital shortfall of $5 billion, to Kolomoyskyi. Ukraine’s National Bank vowed to appeal the ruling. Kolomoiskyi’s figure has loomed large in Ukraine in the past few weeks as the country goes to the polls to elect a new president Sunday. Kolomoyskyi is an archrival of incumbent President Petro Poroshenko. The tycoon is believed to have ties to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedian who emerged as an odds-on favorite in the race.
Kyiv’s district administrative court invalidates Privatbank’s nationalisation. The court upheld Kolomoyskyy’s lawsuit against the NBU and the Cabinet of Ministers. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) disagrees with the Kyiv’s District Administrative Court ruling recognizing the nationalization of PJSC CB PrivatBank unlawful. The ruling has not entered into force and will be appealed, the statement says.
The return of PrivatBank to its former owners due to the court ruling that declares nationalization of PrivatBank illegal is impossible. — Ukrinform.
National Bank of Ukraine states Privatbank cannot be returned to ex-owners after nationalization
President on the court decision as regards PrivatBank: Such an adventure poses a threat of the loss of money for dozens of millions of customers, and for the country as a whole – a threat of default and a new economic crisis — Official website of the President of Ukraine
“As you see, they are already in the process of implementing this plan. Such an adventure poses a threat of the loss of money for dozens of millions of customers, and for the country as a whole – a threat of default and a new economic crisis,” the Head of State noted.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has warned that a court decision declaring the nationalization of a major bank was illegal could pose great risks to Ukraine if the bank is returned to its prev…
The Ukrainian Finance Ministry is preparing to file an appeal against a court ruling regarding the illegal nationalization of PJSC PrivatBank, the ministry’s press service has reported. — Ukrinform.
President’s wife Maryna Poroshenko met with His Beatitude Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy. During the meeting, the parties discussed joint charitable projects and the fate of Ukraine. “We must preserve the freedom and integrity of Ukraine in order to have a future. After all, without a free and integral state, the Ukrainian people have no future,” Metropolitan Epifaniy said. The Primate emphasized that Ukrainians should appreciate the current achievements. According to him, Ukraine has managed to localize the wound in the east due to the efforts of Ukrainian defenders, volunteers and authorities. “They managed to localize this wound in the east, so that the public doesn’t feel this war, which is continued there. People do not understand that they can lose freedom, for which our society paid with the blood of the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred during the Revolution of Dignity,” the Primate noted. Also, in the course of the conversation, Metropolitan Epifaniy stressed that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church prayed for the presidential elections to be held in a fair and transparent manner, so that everyone can make a free choice. “We will believe in the best and pray to God for Ukraine to win,” Maryna Poroshenko noted.
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine is praying for the presidential election to be fair and transparent so that everyone can make a free choice. — Ukrinform. Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine – His Beatitude Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy said this at a meeting with President’s wife Maryna Poroshenko, the official website of the head of state reported. “We must preserve the freedom and integrity of Ukraine in order to have a future. After all, without a free and integral state, the Ukrainian people have no future,” Metropolitan Epifaniy said. The primate emphasized that Ukrainians should appreciate the current achievements. According to him, Ukraine has managed to localize the wound in the east due to the efforts of Ukrainian defenders, volunteers and authorities. “They managed to localize this wound in the east, so that the public doesn’t feel this war, which is continued there. People do not understand that they can lose freedom, for which our society paid with the blood of the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred during the Revolution of Dignity,” the primate noted. “We will believe in the best and pray to God for Ukraine to win,” Maryna Poroshenko noted.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 17 – Concerned the Kremlin may soon attack Orthodox groups the Moscow Patriarchate considers schismatics (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2016/07/orthodoxy-even-more-divided-in-russia.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/03/russia-on-brink-of-khrushchev-style.html), Father Superior Innokenty (Pavlov), a leader of that denomination, has called for recognition of the True Orthodox Church as a separate denomination. In a commentary for the Credo.Press portal, Innokenty, a much-published expert on the True Orthodox and one of its leaders, says that the True Orthodox Church in Russia deserves that because it is a bulwark against the nationalism and hegemonism that infect many other churches, including the ROC MP (credo.press/224068/). The risk that Moscow will go after the True Orthodox reflects three things: first, the True Orthodox Church is relatively small, with only a few dozen parishes willing to make themselves publicly known. Second, the church itself has links with Ukraine that make it a particularly tempting target as far as Moscow is concerned in the current environment. And third, while many in Russia and the West know about the simultaneously tragic and heroic history of the catacomb church in Soviet times, few are aware that much of this church has emerged as the True Orthodox Church since 1991. Consequently, if it is viewed only as a breakaway from the ROC MP, it will have fewer supporters than it deserves. Innokenty appeals in the first instance to Russian specialists on religion but his call should be heeded by all people of good will: “Consider True Orthodoxy in [Russia] a separate confession, distinct from ‘world’ Orthodoxy … [a church] which is trying to embody the original Christian ideal of love without which no true church is possible.” (For background on the history of the True Orthodox Church under the Soviets, in emigration, and since 1991 in Russia, see the detailed article in the Orthodox Encyclopedia at pravenc.ru/text/675029.html and Father Superior Innokenty’s publications (inn-pavlov.narod.ru/ On recent events, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/03/catacomb-church-continues-to-exist-in.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2016/07/orthodoxy-even-more-divided-in-russia.html.)
Paul Goble Staunton, April 17 – In an article under that title, Andrey Melnikov, the editor of NG-Religii, reports on a conference this week at the Russian Cultural Center in Budapest devoted to the growth of conservative national consciousness in the members of the European Union and the rest of the world (ng.ru/ng_religii/2019-04-16/11_463_conference.html). The meeting, which attracted representatives from 24 different countries, is formally the 25th Conference of the International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Peoples, a group that, in Melnikov’s words, has “positioned itself as an international conservative organization” which criticizes globalization from the perspective of “fundamentalist Christianity.” The meeting is taking place in Budapest, the Moscow journalist says, because Hungary today is “much more friendly toward Russia,” where the foundation has its headquarters. It is important because it is “the first after the rupture of eucharistic communion of the Moscow and Constantinople patriarchates.” Speakers at the meeting have praised FIDESZ and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Urban for their nationalist and pro-Moscow stances. But the Hungarian leaders are not the only ones the meeting has been expressing support for. Valery Alekseyev, the head of the foundation that sponsored the meeting, praised US President Donald Trump. Alekseyev said that “the American leader not only has adopted a course based on the insistence of national interests and religious traditionalism as the bases of social life in his country but is also prepared to actively promote the same values in Europe so that the Old World will turn from its left-liberal trend toward the Judeo-Christian basis of Western civilization.” The Moscow official singled out for particular praise Steve Bannon, whom he described as “an advisor of the president,” even though Bannon has resigned from his White House job. Thanks to Trump and Bannon, Alekseyev continued, “the entire Western world will be captured by the conservative project.” If western Europe returns to traditionalism, the Moscow foundation boss said, then Russia which has been at odds with “left-liberal” Europe will be able once again to find a place in the new conservative “European context.”