Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (155)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

This has been one of the most peaceful transitions between Presidents in Ukraine’s history. Ze’s first challenge, the easing for Donbas residents to Russian citizenship from Putin, has been aptly met with a most appropriate statement from Ze. I am rather certain that Poroshenko helped ink Ze’s response. 

“These actions are yet another confirmation of Russia’s true role as an aggressor state that is waging a war against Ukraine. Unfortunately, this decree does not bring us closer to the ultimate goal of stopping the war. … Ukraine will do everything in its power to protect, provide adequate assistance, and ensure the rights of its citizens who are forced to reside in the occupied territories. Ukraine also looks forward to the support of the international community…and … expects increased diplomatic and sanction pressure on Russia” from the international community”

Bottom line, Russia appears to be the loser in the propaganda war between Ukraine and Russia. As a matter of fact, Russia’s loss almost appears comical.

</end editorial>



Belgorod SSN, OSCAR-stretch, launched, reported to be equipped for Poseidon nuke UUV. More on Project 955 Borei–class SSGN variant. A MiG-31 FOXHOUND FOX3s its wingman during LFEX. The story of fake Putin tombstones. Other Russia reports. Belarus POL crisis expands – given Russia’s hybrid warfare against Belarus, sabotage is more likely than an accident.

The Vozhd makes his opening move against Ze, by signing the decree on Russian passports for occupied Donbas residents as soon as the election outcome is known. Pres-elect Ze responds thus: “These actions are yet another confirmation of Russia’s true role as an aggressor state that is waging a war against Ukraine. Unfortunately, this decree does not bring us closer to the ultimate goal of stopping the war. … Ukraine will do everything in its power to protect, provide adequate assistance, and ensure the rights of its citizens who are forced to reside in the occupied territories. Ukraine also looks forward to the support of the international community…and … expects increased diplomatic and sanction pressure on Russia” from the international community”. Pres Poroshenko compares the move to the annexation of Georgian territory, and NSDC Chair Turchenov explains why it creates a legal pretense for an invasion to protect oppressed Russian nationals. Ukraine files protest in UN noting this is yet another breach of the Minsk deal.

Ze is being tested to see if he blinks, or even buckles – the inevitable outcome is that Ze will very soon share Poroshenko’s understanding that the only message Muscovy truly understands are long Gruz-200 convoys back to Russia.

VP Pence calls Ze to congratulate,  PM May calls, and with SECSTATE Hunt issue formal media releases, inviting Ze to the UK, and Russia objects very loudly. SECGEN NATO calls and invites Ze to Brussels. ECP Tusk calls Ze. Ecumenical Patriarch congratulates Ze. Lavrov declares there will be no further discussion on Crimea.

Donbas buildup continues, Donbas update, 12 Russians KIA in 3 days, 18 WIA. 20 Russians poisoned by sewage entering water supply. Luch Barrier-V ATGW tests on Mi-8 HIP gunship. Ukraine will be mass producing replacement rotor blades, heads and gearboxes for HIP and HIND helos, for which there is a huge export market beyond domestic consumption.

Yanukovych, convicted of treason and living in Muscovy, states his intention to return to Ukraine, AG Lutsenko states: “I am glad Yanukovych wants to return. The sentence for state treason along with an indictment for the organization of shootings in Maidan are waiting for him here, Verkhovna Rada voted “against” prolongation of the trial in absentia twice. Therefore, we are waiting for Yanukovych with a convoy and handcuffs.”

Many reports on politics and economy – Ze calls for discussions with IMF on subsidies for gas to household consumers, one of the major issues that burned Poroshenko. Shuffling of seats in the Rada begins.

Another deluge of election-related reports, but heavier on analysis. The leading topic is dealing with a toxic Russia. Eidman’s analysis of why Ze is an existential threat to the Vozhd’s regime is on target, for all of the reasons previously discussed – Russia started the war to prevent the emergence of a modern liberal democracy in Ukraine. Interesting analyses by Lynch, Varfolomeyev, Bayer, Karatnycky, Sasse and especially Grant. Saakashvili oped. Five reports in the Israeli media – Ze is definitely a hit in Israel.

Quite a few Russian reports, mostly propaganda by Muscovy and its proxies. Kurnosova on why Ze terrifies the Kremlin – it is as Eidman notes bigger, a genuine existential threat problem.

Soldatov identifies the ROC as a potential flashpoint that Russia may use against Ze. Finally a major digest by Goble on the ROC’s immense expansion effort in the Pacrim.


Russia Launches Belgorod, the World’s Longest Submarine

The Belgorod will carry out underwater spy missions and launch Poseidon nuclear torpedoes.

Russia Launches New Submarine Believed Capable Of Carrying Nuclear-Armed Drones

Russia has launched a new, special-purpose, nuclear-powered submarine that is believed to be capable of carrying a new nuclear-capable underwater drone.

Russia launches its “super-submarine” designed to carry nuclear-armed underwater vehicles – Defence Blog

A new Project 09852 special-purpose nuclear-powered submarine Belgorod built for Russian Navy has been launched on 23 April. Russian President Vladimir Putin watched the submarine’s launch ceremony via a TV link-up. As Sevmash Head Mikhail Budnichenko said during the ceremony of floating out the submarine from the slipway, “the enterprise’s shipbuilders will fulfill all the tasks of building ships within the established timeframe and with high quality.” After that, Ship Commander Captain First Rank Anton Alyokhin traditionally smashed a bottle of champagne against the ship’s board. According to TASS state news agency, the Belgorod is a nuclear-powered special-purpose and research submarine. Its exact operational characteristics have been classified. Russia’s Defense Ministry did not officially comment on media reports on this submarine. But, sources familiar with the matter say the new submarine is designed to carry the Poseidon nuclear-capable underwater drones or a nuclear-armed underwater vehicle. The submarine was laid out at the Sevmash Shipyard on July 24, 1992. On December 20, 2012, it was laid down again under Project 09852. Belgorod would be the first carrier of Poseidon nuclear-capable underwater drones. Presumably, the Poseidon has been developed as a result of R&D work under the Status-6 program. The new submarine would be able to carry six strategic underwater drones. The completion of the submarine’s construction afloat, the tests of its nuclear reactor and its dockside trials are expected to be implemented during 2019. A TASS source said the Belgorod would undertake shipbuilders’ sea and state trials in 2020, after which it would be delivered to the Navy by the end of that year.

H I Sutton on Twitter: “#Russia launched its super-submarine Belgorod today. Putin present. No photos(!!). Here’s my analysis-based illustration of what I think they are not showing you. Will update as more info creeps out. More info https://t.co/Niienq0adX #Navy… https://t.co/4BTeLhZ0lt”

Russia mulls building Borei-class cruise missile sub

Russian Ministry of Defense is considering building two Project 955 Borei–class nuclear-powered guided missile submarines

Russian MiG-31 Foxhound Shot Down Its Wingman During Disastrous Live Fire Exercise – The Drive

A new report, citing a leaked Russian government document, says that a crash of MiG-31 Foxhound in Siberia almost two years ago was actually the result of a friendly fire incident during a botched training exercise. In addition, the summary of the mishap suggests that there could be dangerous problems with the aircraft’s Zaslon-AM radar and Baget-55 fire control system that might increase the risk of more accidental shootdowns occurring in the future. crash of MiG-31 Foxhound in Siberia almost two years ago was actually the result of a friendly fire incident during a botched training exercise. In addition, the summary of the mishap suggests that there could be dangerous problems with the aircraft’s Zaslon-AM radar and Baget-55 fire control system that might increase the risk of more accidental shootdowns occurring in the future. Baza, a relatively new Russian independent online investigative news outlet, revealed the new information on Apr. 23, 2019. The incident in question had occurred on Apr. 26, 2017, over the Telemba proving ground in Buryatia, a semi-autonomous republic within Russia that borders Mongolia. At the time, the Kremlin said that the plane had been on a training exercise, but offered no additional details about the mishap. Both of the Foxhound’s crew survived the incident.

Russian MiG-31 fighter jet was downed by “friendly fire” – Defence Blog

Russian MiG-31 supersonic interceptor aircraft was mistakenly shot down by “friendly fire” during a training flight near the Telemba proving ground in Siberia almost two years ago, according to a leaked Russian government document. The incident with MiG-31BM had occurred on 26 April 2017. “A MiG-31 interceptor jet of the Eastern Military District crashed during a training flight near the Telemba proving ground, the Republic of Buryatia, at 12:05 Moscow time. Both crewmembers reportedly ejected themselves,” the Russian Defense Ministry said. “A search and rescue service helicopter was dispatched to the site of the incident.” “The plane crashed at a proving ground in an unpopulated area. Both pilots ejected themselves. They were promptly evacuated. Their life is not in danger,” the Defense Ministry said. But now, the authoritative Baza source reported that Russian Air Force MiG-31 fighter jet had been hit by an air-to-air missile launched from the second fighter, which also took part in the exercises. “… the accident of the MiG-31 aircraft as a result of the crew’s violation of safety measures and missions for flight, expressed in the premature activation of the aircraft’s on-board radar station by the navigator and the unauthorized launch of the R-33 guided missiles by the commander of the MiG-31 fighter aircraft,” said in leaked government document. It is necessary to clarify that the R-33 long-range air-to-air missile when launched, requires radar homing of the target, so the navigator turns it on before the launch of the rocket. In a combat situation, the commander will have to make a decision on the launch himself – without the sanction of the command being on the ground and often not seeing the target. According to The Drive, the investigators concluded that the crew in the plane that got shot down had improperly followed procedures, allowing them to stray into the potential line of fire during the live-fire exercise. It also faulted aviators flying the other Foxhound for turning on their Zaslon-AM’s fire control function at the wrong time, cueing an R-33 missile right at their wingman. They further blamed the pilot for firing the weapon when this individual should have known they were not engaging a target drone. The Russian Air Force refused to comment on speculation that the MiG-31 interceptor aircraft, which crashed in 2017, may have been “accidentally” shot down by another fighter jet.

The Week In Russia: Stalin, Alla Pugacheva, And A Tale Of Two Icons

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.

For more than a month, mock graves for Putin have been popping up around Russia. We talked to an activist leader about where they came from. – To Inform is to Influence

Meduza 11:46, 23 April 2019 Since March 2019, members of multiple activist groups in cities around Russia have been putting mock gravestones for President Vladimir Putin in public places. The activists have said that the trend has become a kind of national protest meant to show that “Putin has died in the eyes of Russian…

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin ‘Gravestones’ Popping Up All Over Russia

Paul Goble Staunton, April 23 – Animated by the sense that “Putin is dead for the citizens of Russia” and that there is a desperate need to come up with new ways to protest his totalitarianism, activists linked together by the Internet have erected gravestones of the Kremlin leader showing the date of his death as being 2019 in no fewer than seven Russian cities over the last six weeks. In two places, a group known as Agit Rossiya has taken responsibility. Medusa news agency journalists have now spoken with Grigory Kudryavtsev, the press secretary of this group who was arrested for ten days on false charges of putting up a Putin gravestone in St. Petersburg (meduza.io/feature/2019/04/22/v-gorodah-rossii-bolshe-mesyatsa-ustanavlivayut-nadgrobiya-putinu-kto-eto-delaet-i-v-chem-smysl-aktsii). Agit Rossiya, he says, was created by several activists who were not politically active until 2017 and who wanted to fine “a niche” no one else had occupied. Many didn’t and don’t know each other personally but are linked by the Internet and are animated by “a common desire to fight the dictatorship, totalitarianism and Putinist propaganda. Before deciding to erect the Putin gravestones, Agit Rossiya activists distributed lists of “the gifts” Putin and Medvedev have given the Russian people – higher taxes, delayed pensions, and rising communal services. The group’s members are committed to expanding their activity but are limited by official harassment. The first Putin gravestone appeared in Naberezhny Chelny, the second in Moscow, and the third in Berlin, Kudryavtsev says. He adds that the gravestone idea emerged because Putin’s policies demonstrate that he is “dead” to the interests and concerns of the citizens of the Russian Federation. Because the group operates as a flashmob and because members rarely come into contact with each other or even know who is involved, it is very difficult for the authorities to stop. And that is its attraction, the activist says. The FSB can arrest street protesters, but it can hardly arrest all those who think Putin is “dead” to them. Their number is growing, and the number of Putin gravestones is thus likely to grow as well.

Russian Court Fines First Defendant Under New Law On Insulting Authorities

An unidentified person in Russia’s Novgorod Oblast has become the first person to be convicted and fined under a controversial new law penalizing “disrespect toward the authorities.”

How Russian motorcycle gangs, fake news and cyber attacks could threaten NATO, and how US forces can help

Hypothetical: A Russian motorcycle gang rolls up to an Estonian border outpost and begins to harass the guards. Are they a drunken band of miscreants, or state-sponsored interlopers?

Russian S-400 not to threaten NATO security systems, – Çavuşoğlu

Çavuşoğlu confirms Turkey will buy Russian S-400 defense systems

UAWire – Poland reports deterioration of Russian oil quality

Poland has recorded a deterioration in the quality of oil received from Belarus via the Druzhba pipeline, reports Forsal citing the Polish pipeline operator PERN. PERN received a fax from Gomeltransneft, which reported an increased content of organochlorine compounds in the raw materials, and later “noted this in crude oil that entered Poland”. PERN informed the Polish and German refineries about the decline in oil quality. “We are monitoring the situation on an ongoing basis,” stated the operator. The deterioration of the quality of Russian oil received from Belarus became known on April 19. The Belarusian national oil company Belneftekhim reported that organochlorine compounds in oil “exceed the limit tenfold.” Mozyr Oil Refinery stated that their expensive equipment was damaged by the poor quality oil. Russian Transneft confirmed problems with the quality of raw materials and later reported that it had discovered a source of contamination in the Samara-Unecha pipeline section. The Belneftekhim management announced plans to demand compensation from the Russian company for the supply of low-quality raw materials.

UAWire – Belarusian oil refinery blames Russian oil for the equipment damage

The representatives of the Mozyr Oil Refinery in Belarus stated that poor-quality Russian oil led to the breakdown of expensive equipment, informs BelTA. “The poor quality of the processed raw materials affected the work of the equipment,” told representatives of the refinery. They clarified that the company processes Urals oil with high chloroorganic content and high corrosive activity. On April 19, the Belneftekhim corporation reported a deterioration of the oil quality coming from Russia . The corporation noted that the raw material contains organochlorine compounds “exceeding the limit tenfold.” Transneft confirmed oil quality issues and reported that they analyze samples to determine the contamination source. The company later said it had found a contamination source at the Samara-Unecha pipeline site. Because of this situation, Minsk decided to temporarily limit the export of Russian oil products. The chairman of Belneftekhim, Andrei Rybakov, said that they will demand compensation from Transneft for the supply of poor-quality raw materials.

Putin’s Closest Ally Fears Takeover as Kremlin Plots Succession – Bloomberg

President Vladimir Putin may look beyond Russia for a mechanism to keep power after his current term ends. That’s making Moscow’s closest ally nervous amid spiraling tensions over Kremlin threats to slash economic subsidies.

What Zelensky’s victory means for Belarus

Apparently, Ukraine would have a new president soon – Volodymyr Zelensky. What does this mean for Belarus? Let us begin with an erroneous forecast of the Belarusian president, who betted on Poroshenko’s victory twice, and only then slightly softened his position. Lukashenko’s bet is clear: he doesn’t like changes, he has a good relationship with Poroshenko. The latter is rather predictable, his enmity with Russia is the invariable status quo, against which image of a mediator could be created. Zelensky is a pig in a poke. In another situation, Lukashenko’s mistake would be a trifle. The personal contact of the leaders is extremely important in the relations between Minsk and Moscow or Minsk and Kyiv. The Belarusian president will have to build relations with a new person not from scratch, but with awkwardness. Before analyzing the possible consequences of Zelensky’s presidency, it is important to note: Ukrainians do not choose a king. According to the constitution of our southern neighbor, the Ukrainian president has many powers in foreign policy and the military sphere. He can veto the laws of the Verkhovna Rada. But MPs, in turn, can block almost any important appointment of the head of state. The ruling coalition, not the president, forms the government.

Liz Claman on Twitter: “YES: Good for #Ukraine Pres-elect #Zelenskiy: No longer the comic, this Breaking News just hit: UKRAINE PRESIDENT-ELECTSAYS RUSSIA WAGING WAR AGAINST UKRAINE, WILL DO EVERYTHING TO DEFEND ITS CITIZENS AGAINST #RUSSIA.”

Christopher Miller on Twitter: “President-elect Zelenskiy on Putin’s decree: These actions are yet another confirmation of Russia’s true role as an aggressor state that is waging a war against Ukraine. Unfortunately, this decree does not bring us closer to the ultimate goal of stopping the war.”

Christopher Miller on Twitter: “More Zelenskiy: “Ukraine will do everything in its power to protect, provide adequate assistance, and ensure the rights of its citizens who are forced to reside in the occupied territories. Ukraine also looks forward to the support of the international community…””

Christopher Miller on Twitter: “Zelenskiy continues, saying he “expects increased diplomatic and sanction pressure on Russia” from the international community.”

Poroshenko: illegal issue of Russian passports under South Ossetia scenario is attempt to legitimize Russia’s presence in Donbas

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko considers the decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin to simplify the procedure of issuing Russian citizenship to the residents of certain areas of Luhansk and Donetsk regions (ORDLO) to be an attempt to legitimize Russia’s military presence there. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko considers the decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin to simplify the procedure of issuing Russian citizenship to the residents of certain areas of Luhansk and Donetsk regions (ORDLO) to be an attempt to legitimize Russia’s military presence there. “The illegal issuance of passports of the Russian Federation according to the so-called South Ossetia and Transdniestria scenario is an attempt to justify and legitimize Russia’s military presence in the occupied territory of Donbas,” Poroshenko said in a video message.

Putin creates legal conditions to use Russian Armed Forces against Ukraine, – NSDC Secretary

Putin’s decree on facilitation of the process of obtaining the Russian citizenship for the residents of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk regions is a conscious escalation of aggression against Ukraine and pressure on the authority, as Oleksandr Turchynov, Secretary of National Security and Defence Council, said, the press office of the establishment reported. Turchynov noted that this decree creates legal conditions for formal use of Russia’s Armed Forces against Ukraine. “This is due to the fact that Russian legislation allows the use of the Armed Forces to protect Russians outside of Russia’s territory,” he said.

NSDС secretary fears Russian troop deployment against Ukraine after simplification of Russian citizenship procedure for Donbas residents

The Russian president’s decree making it easier to get Russian citizenship for people from the occupied areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions is a deliberate attempt to escalate aggression and the pressure on the Ukrainian leadership, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov has said.

Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs calls on Donbas citizens to refuse from Russian passports

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin called on inhabitants of the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk not to take the Russian passports. He urged to so after Putin’s decision on the simplification of the issuance of the Russian passports to citizens of occupied Donbas, as Klimkin wrote on Twitter. “I call on the Ukrainian citizens on the occupied territories by Russia not to take Russians passports. Russia has deprived you of the present, but now it encroaches on your future,” Klimkin said. According to the Minister, this simplification of the issuance of the Russian passports is the new step of occupation of Donbas.

Russia tests Ukraine’s new president with passports for breakaway regions | World news | The Guardian

Decree issued by Moscow causes anger in Kyiv and will be challenge for Volodymyr Zelenskiy

Putin Simplifies Russian Citizenship Process for Eastern Ukrainians

Putin signed the decree shortly after Ukraine officially declared Volodymyr Zelenskiy the winner of its presidential election. President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree making it easier for residents of separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine to obtain Russian passports and citizenship, the Kremlin said on Wednesday. In 2017, Putin signed an executive order recognizing the passports from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics as valid in Russia. The move was widely regarded as the first step toward the official recognition of the two breakaway regions.

Russia offers Ukrainians in conflict zones quick citizenship

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Wednesday to expedite citizenship applications from Ukrainians who live in parts of Ukraine held by Russia-backed separatists, a move…

Putin Signs Decree Easing Russian Citizenship Procedure For People In Separatist-Held Parts Of Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree simplifying the procedure for people living in parts of eastern Ukraine held by Russia-backed separatists to obtain Russian citizenship.

Russia eases path to citizenship for east Ukraine residents – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an order simplifying the procedure for obtaining a Russian passport for residents of separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine, prompting an angry response from Kiev.

Putin signs decree easing Russian citizenship procedure for people in occupied Donbas – news war | UNIAN

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree simplifying the procedure to grant Russian citizenship to people living in Russian-occupied Donbas, eastern Ukraine. The decree shall come into force on the day of its official publication.

Putin: we don’t want to cause problems for new Ukraine president – Reuters

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday it was unacceptable that residents of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions had no rights, but he said Moscow did not want to create problems for the new Ukrainian leadership. Putin earlier signed an order easing the procedure for obtaining a Russian passport for residents of the separatist-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Kiev condemned the move. “We don’t have any desire to create problems for the new Ukrainian leadership,” Putin said, explaining the passport move.

Russia to offer citizenship to residents of occupied Donbas – To Inform is to Influence

Russia is de facto annexing Donbas into Russia by offering Russian citizenship to those living in the LDR and DPR. Once again, Russia is circumventing or even breaking international law, trying to illegally annex neighboring territory from another country. This might conceivably increase the Russian population by 3.2 million people, a 2.2% increase in the Russian population from 144.5 million. Obviously, this is illegal, unethical, and immoral and should be universally opposed. </end editorial>

Ukraine appeals to UN Security Council over Putin’s move to issue Russian passports in occupied Donbas – news politics | UNIAN

Ukraine has requested the United Nations Security Council to consider the “provocative” move by the Russian Federation to simplify the procedure for granting Russian citizenship to residents of the temporarily occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s envoy to the UN stressed that Putin’s decision violated the Minsk Agreements on Donbas settlement.

Kyiv appeals to UN Security Council due to Putin’s decree about simplified issue of Russian passports to ORDLO residents

Ukraine has appealed to the UN Security Council in connection with the introduction by Russian President Vladimir Putin of a simplified procedure for issuing Russian passports to the residents of certain regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (ORDLO), the permanent representative of Ukraine to the organization, Volodymyr Yelchenko, has stated.

Ukraine appeals to UN Security Council due to Russian citizenship for occupied Donbas citizens

Ukraine appeals to the UN Security Council as Russia simplified the procedure of citizenship granting for citizens of occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions as Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the UN Volodymyr Yelchenko reported on Twitter. “On behalf of President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, we appealed to the UN Security Council. This daring step contradicts the Minsk Agreements approved by the Security Council,” Yelchenko noted.

TASS: Press Review – Press review: Russia-Belarus oil dispute hits Ukraine and Zelensky to get invite to Crimea

Top stories in the Russian press on Wednesday, April 24

Christopher Miller on Twitter: “The Donetsk separatist response to Putin’s decree, from DNR head Denis Pushilin: “We have been waiting for this step for a long time and are immensely glad that this day has come.” https://t.co/vSvXBozVqX”

Christopher Miller on Twitter: “France’s ambassador to Ukraine: “We condemn Russia’s decision to facilitate the granting of Russian nationality to the inhabitants of Donetsk and Luhansk. This decision contradicts the Minsk agreements and does not facilitate efforts to resolve the conflict.”… https://t.co/27KVY2jobh”

Vice President Mike Pence on Twitter: “Spoke to President-Elect Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine today to congratulate him on his victory. @POTUS and I look forward to working with his administration to support a strong, democratic, and prosperous Ukraine.”

U.S. looking forward to working with Zelensky’s administration – Mike Pence – news politics | UNIAN

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has congratulated Volodymyr Zelensky on his victory in the presidential elections in Ukraine, saying the United States is looking forward to working with his administration. Pence also congratulated Zelensky on his victory in the second round of the presidential elections.

Pence, Trump wait for cooperation with the new President Zelensky

The U.S. Vice President Mike Pence congratulated Zelensky with his new post

Senator Ron Johnson on Twitter: “Congratulations to Volodymyr Zelensky on his victory in #Ukraine’s presidential election. I look forward to working with him to continue strengthening the relationship between our two nations.”

PM call with President-elect of Ukraine: 23 April 2019 – GOV.UK

Prime Minister Theresa May calls President-elect of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. A Downing Street spokesperson said: The Prime Minister spoke to the President-elect of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, today to congratulate him on his success in the Presidential elections. She assured President-elect Zelenskiy of the UK’s support for his upcoming Presidency and Ukraine’s democratic future, and our willingness to continue and increase our already deep partnership across a range of areas. The Prime Minister reiterated support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and our desire to expand our already significant defence and security cooperation. The Prime Minister stressed the importance of our two countries working together alongside the international community to deter Russian aggression. The Prime Minister invited President-elect Zelenskiy to visit the UK at the earliest opportunity and they agreed to remain in close touch.

UK’s May, Zelensky discuss importance of joint efforts to deter Russian aggression – news politics | UNIAN

British Prime Minister Theresa May on April 23 spoke to Ukraine’s President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky over the phone to discuss the importance of joint efforts to deter Russian aggression. Theresa May reiterated support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

May urges Zelenskyi to work together to deter Russian aggression

24.04.19 11:51 – May urges Zelenskyi to work together to deter Russian aggression British Prime Minister Theresa May, in a telephone conversation with president-elect of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi, has pointed out the need to work together to restrain “Russian aggression”. View news.

Foreign Secretary Statement on Ukraine Presidential Elections – GOV.UK

Following presidential elections in Ukraine, the Foreign Secretary congratulated Volodymyr Zelenskiy on his success. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: I would like to send my warmest congratulations to Volodymyr Zelenskiy on his election as the next President of Ukraine and express my gratitude to President Petro Poroshenko for his service to Ukraine and his efforts to find peace and drive reform. I also congratulate Ukraine for holding peaceful and competitive presidential elections, which underline Ukraine’s continuing commitment to democracy and the Euro-Atlantic path that its people have chosen. The UK has a vital interest in supporting Ukraine. Not only does it stand on the front-line of Russia’s challenge to the rules-based international system, its stability is essential for Europe’s security. We look forward to working with President-elect Zelenskiy and to continuing the UK’s strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. This includes our growing cooperation on defence and security, as well as our shared commitment to delivering the economic and political reforms which are vital to Ukraine’s resilience and future prosperity. The July Ukraine Reform Conference in Toronto represents an excellent opportunity to assess progress and demonstrate commitment to these crucial efforts.

UK names priority directions of cooperation with Ukraine under President Zelensky – news politics | UNIAN

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt defined priority directions of cooperation with Ukraine after President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky has been sworn in. Hunt has noted that the UK has a vital interest in supporting Ukraine.

TASS: World – London is using Ukraine as a tool in confrontation with Moscow — Russian embassy

The Russian Embassy in London commented on British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s statements made as he was congratulating Vladimir Zelensky on being elected as President of Ukraine

Jens Stoltenberg on Twitter: “Just spoke with Ukraine’s President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky. I congratulated him on his victory & invited him to visit #NATO HQ in the near future. NATO will continue to provide strong political and practical support to Ukraine.”

Stoltenberg invites Zelensky to visit NATO HQ – news politics | UNIAN

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has invited Ukraine’s President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky to visit NATO HQ in the near future. Stoltenberg also congratulated Zelensky on his victory in the second round of the presidential elections.

Donald Tusk on Twitter: “First, good phone call with Ukraine’s President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky. I assured him of the EU’s steadfast support to Ukraine. Looking forward to our cooperation and EU-Ukraine Summit in July.”

EU steadfast in support for Ukraine, EU’s Tusk tells new Ukraine leader – Reuters

The European Union is steadfast in its support for Ukraine, European Council president Donald Tusk said in a tweet on Tuesday after a telephone conversation with Ukraine’s president-elect, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Zelensky will use strong mandate to carry forward democratic reforms, Jagland hopes

Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland has congratulated Volodymyr Zelensky on his election as the President of Ukraine and expressed hope for the continuation of democratic reforms. — Ukrinform.

No exact date for Juncker, Zelenskyi meeting – EC representative (24.04.19 15:22) « World | Censor.NET

24.04.19 15:22 – No exact date for Juncker, Zelenskyi meeting – EC representative Negotiations on the future meeting of the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, with the President-elect of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi, are still ongoing, for this reason, there is no specific date yet. View news.

Andrii Sybiha 🇺🇦 on Twitter: “H.A.Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew greeted V.Zelensky on election as President of Ukraine. Mother Church noted progress in Ukraine, blessed continuation of reforms, confirmed it would support well-being and spiritual prosperity of UA people… https://t.co/FcE7w20DzF”

Ecumenical Patriarchate congratulates Zelensky on electoral victory – news ukraine | UNIAN

Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has congratulated Volodymyr Zelensky on his victory in the second round of the presidential elections in Ukraine. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has praised the progress made by Ukraine day by day.

Patriarch Bartholomew congratulates newly elected President of Ukraine

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has congratulated Volodymyr Zelensky on his election as the new President of Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

Merkel speaks to Ukraine’s new president, invites him to Germany – Reuters

Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by telephone on Tuesday with Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and invited him to Germany, a German government spokeswoman said.

Trudeau, Zelenskyi looking forward to strengthening bilateral cooperation

Trudeau reiterated Canada’s unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Censor.NET reports citing Ukrinform. Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau on April 23 had a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky, during which the parties discussed the deepening and strengthening bilateral cooperation and partnership. “The two leaders noted the warm relationship between Canada and Ukraine, which is buttressed by strong people-to-people ties and the vibrant Ukrainian-Canadian community. They looked forward to deepening and strengthening bilateral cooperation and partnership, including through the Ukraine Reform Conference, which will take place in Toronto this July,” according to a statement on the official website of the Canadian prime minister.

Ukraine comic-president invited to EU capitals

EU leaders have invited Ukrainian TV comic Volodymyr Zelensky to Berlin and Brussels after he became the country’s new president in a landslide victory on Sunday.

Ukraine terminates two agreements with CIS

The Cabinet of Ministers has adopted the decision on Ukraine’s withdrawal from two agreements within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the press service of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine has reported. — Ukrinform.

West unable to change status of occupied Crimea – Lavrov – news politics | UNIAN

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, once again declared that the question “on the reunification of Crimea with Russia” has been completely closed. “Whether you like it or not,” the minister claimed. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, once again declared that the question “on the reunification of Crimea with Russia” has been completely closed. Lavrov believes that Western powers will not be able to change the status of the occupied Crimea, according to an UNIAN correspondent in Russia reporting from a presentation of the collection “Crimea in the Development of Russia: History, Politics, Diplomacy. Archive documents of the Russian Foreign Ministry.” “The issue of the reunification of Crimea is completely closed. Whether you like it or not. No declarations by Washington, the European Union or NATO are able to change this situation either from a legal or a political point of view,” said Lavrov.

Ukraine, Russian hold consultations on liberation of captured sailors in The Hague

Today, Ukraine and Russia have held consultations in The Hague. The meeting on Ukraine’s lawsuit filed to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on the liberation of Ukrainian captured ships and sailors began at 10:00 local time and lasted more than three hours. — Ukrinform.

Russia changes tone in talks with Ukraine on POW sailors – MFA Ukraine – news politics | UNIAN

At a meeting of Ukrainian and Russian delegations in The Hague, the Russian side radically changed its tone on the subject of POW sailors and seized naval ships, according to Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for European Integration of Ukraine, Olena Zerkal. A Ukrainian diplomat said that the meeting in The Hauge confirmed the existence of a legal dispute regarding the application of international law of the sea in the case of the captured Russian sailors.

ITLOS to hear Ukraine’s lawsuit against Russia on May 10-11

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) has announced on its official website that it will hold a hearing on May 10-11 in the case on the application of provisional measures to Russia due to the violation of the immunity of three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crew members. — Ukrinform.

Russia continues building up military groups near Ukraine borders – Defense Minister Poltorak – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak has said Russia continues building up military groups near the borders of Ukraine. Poltorak says there are no signs of improvement in the military and political situation. “There are no signs that the military and political situation is getting better while the Russian Federation continues building up military groups near the borders of Ukraine,” he wrote on Facebook, following a meeting with Danish Minister of Defence Claus Hjort Frederiksen. According to Poltorak, the main task of Ukraine under such conditions is to enhance the capacity of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and strengthen the defense capability through the introduction of military reform.

Nine attacks against JFO positions yesterday: Ukrainian soldier killed, another – wounded, four terrorists destroyed

24.04.19 07:15 – Nine attacks against JFO positions yesterday: Ukrainian soldier killed, another – wounded, four terrorists destroyed April 23, the Russian occupying forces attacked JFO positions nine times, using Minsk-proscribed weapons twice. View news.

One Ukrainian soldier killed, one wounded in Donbas amid nine enemy attacks in past day – news war | UNIAN

Russia’s hybrid military forces in the past 24 hours mounted nine attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action, and another one as wounded in action. Four enemy troops were killed and another four were wounded on Tuesday, intelligence reports say.

Ukrainian officer reveals enemy death toll in Donbas in past three days – news war | UNIAN

Officer of the 53rd Separate Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Anatoliy Shtefan has disclosed the enemy death toll in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, over the past three days. One piece of military equipment was also destroyed. “On April 20-23, the losses among representatives of the 1st and the 2nd Army Corps of the Russian occupation troops totaled 30 people: 12 were killed and 18 were wounded. One piece of military equipment, namely an infantry fighting vehicle, was destroyed,” he wrote on Facebook. Earlier, troops of the Azov Regiment on combat duty at the Svitlodarska Duha bulge destroyed an enemy infantry fighting vehicle.

Ukrainian officer posts raw video of double strike on enemy positions in Donbas – news war | UNIAN

Officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Anatoliy “Shtirlitz” Shtefan has shared a video of a double strike on the positions of Russian occupation forces in Donbas, eastern Ukraine. The Joint Forces adequately respond to each shelling by the Russian occupation forces.

UAWire – Kyiv: about 20 Russian soldiers poisoned by polluted water in Donbas

About 20 Russian soldiers were hospitalized with poisoning due to sewage entering the water supply system in the territory of the Luhansk region controlled by pro-Russian militants, reported speaker of the Ministry of Defense Alexander Motuzyanyk at a press briefing, referencing foreign intelligence data. “Due to a lack of funding for repairs, the water supply system in the Luhansk region malfunctioned and sewage contaminated the water. Many local residents have fallen ill due to the use of polluted water, including one of the adversary’s motorized rifle brigades,” said Motuzyanyk. Since early April, more than 20 Russian servicemen have been hospitalized with a “poisoning” diagnosis. Others who displayed symptoms of poisoning have been treated on an outpatient basis. The speaker of the Ministry of Defense did not disclose any information on how many were affected among the civilian population.

Dozens of warships and aircraft: General Staff elaborates on scale Sea Breeze 2019 exercise – news ukraine | UNIAN

About 30 warships, 30 aircraft, and more than 900 Marines from different countries are planning to take part in the Ukrainian-U.S. exercises Sea Breeze 2019. International exercises will be held in the northwestern part of the Black Sea, in Mykolayiv and Odesa regions of Ukraine.

Степан Полторак – Home

Today, during a meeting with the Minister of Defense of the Kingdom of Denmark, Klaus Hjort Frederiksen, stressed the importance of supporting the dialogue. at the highest military-political level with the partner country, and expressed gratitude for the political, financial, economic and logistical support of Ukraine in modern security conditions. The realization of the right of Ukraine to free and independent choice of its own way of development takes place in the difficult conditions of Russian aggression. There are no trends to improve the military-political situation, as Russia continues to build military groups near the borders of Ukraine. Under such conditions, Ukraine’s main task is to increase the capabilities of the Armed Forces and strengthen its defense capabilities through the implementation of defense reform. The Parliament of Ukraine approved changes to the Constitution, which consolidated the country’s course of integration into the European Union and NATO. We expect from our foreign partners to continue and strengthen the political and sanction pressure on the aggressor country, to increase the presence of Alliance forces and means both in Ukraine and the Black Sea-Azov region, as well as assistance in building the capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, first of all in sphere of military-technical cooperation. And most importantly, we are counting on the systematic decisions of our partners to support Ukraine’s accession to NATO. With five years of experience in repressing armed aggression, Ukraine can make a significant contribution to the Alliance’s defense capability and the strengthening of European security. #StrongerTogether

UAWire – Danish Defense Minister visits Donbas

Lieutenant General Sergey Naev, commander of the Joint Forces Operational Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, held a meeting with a delegation led by Danish Minister of Defense Claus Frederiksen in Kramatorsk, reported the press center of the Ukrainian Joint Forces Operational Headquarters of the Armed Forces on Facebook.

Ukroboronprom ready to join Motor Sich’s cooperation program on creation of Ukrainian helicopter gunships

The Ukroboronprom State Concern is ready to join the national cooperation program on the creation of Ukrainian helicopter gunships on the basis of PJSC Motor Sich (Zaporizhia). The Ukroboronprom State Concern is ready to join the national cooperation program on the creation of Ukrainian helicopter gunships on the basis of PJSC Motor Sich (Zaporizhia). As reported by the press service on Tuesday, referring to Head of the state concern Pavlo Bukin, the plans of the sector cooperation under the program were discussed during the recent working visit to Motor Sich of the head of Ukroboronprom. “The Zaporizhia-based enterprise has developed a program to create Ukrainian helicopter gunships. I am convinced that in close cooperation with the enterprises of the aviation cluster of the concern, as well as with other defense private enterprises, it is possible to achieve high-quality results and create a reliable fighting machine,” the press service said, citing the head of the concern. In addition, among the first results of the program cooperation, gyro-stabilizing platforms already created by the participants in the cooperation program to equip Mi-type combat helicopters, the PM-LKT suspension module for searching, detecting and recognizing ground-based military targets and targeting high-precision weapons, and the OPSN-I next generation optical sighting station. The use of new combat platforms makes it possible to carry out sighting on the laser channels of guided missiles of the Barrier-V missile system from helicopters, and in the future – from attack aircraft, specified in the state concern. During his working visit to Motor Sich, Bukin also studied the preparation of mass production of blades for Mi-type helicopters, as well as with the mass production of the main helicopter units and knots, including gearboxes BP-17 and BP-24, the press service reported.

Ukroboronprom ready to produce modern guidance systems for helicopters

A number of state-owned and private defense enterprises have developed new gyro-stabilized platforms for Mi-type helicopters, a module that ensures the search for, detection and recognition of ground targets and a new-generation optical station, the press service of the Ukroboronprom State Concern has reported. — Ukrinform.

UAWire – Ukraine is developing new weapons for military helicopters

The director general of the Ukrainian defense concern Ukroboronprom, Pavel Bukin, during his visit to the Motor Sich enterprise in Zaporizhia, announced the Ukroboronprom subsidiaries have developed gyro-stabilizing platforms, which are integrated in the Barrier missile control system used in Mi-type combat helicopters, reports Ukroboronprom’s press service. “Zaporizhia enterprises have now developed a program to create Ukrainian combat helicopters. I am convinced that in close cooperation with the corporation’s aviation cluster companies as well as with other private defense enterprises, it is possible to achieve high-quality results and create a reliable combat vehicle,” said Bukin. At the moment, the Ukroboronprom factories have created two gyro-stabilizing platforms for helicopters. The state enterprise Photopribor has developed the PM-LKT suspension module designed to provide search, detection and identification of tanks or armored vehicle-type ground targets. In addition, it leads high-precision missiles on such objects. Last year the PM-LKT module successfully passed field tests. Meanwhile, Izyum Instrument-Making Plant, together with other Ukrainian defense sector factories, developed a new-generation optical gunsight station OPSN-I according to NATO standards. It still needs to be tested to confirm its ability to work under extreme conditions. OPSN-I includes high-power optics, a thermal imager, laser controls and range finders. It can be installed on various types of military equipment, in particular helicopters, airplanes, drones, armored vehicles and ships. The use of the above-mentioned platforms will allow the targeting of the Barrier-V complex guided missiles via laser channels from helicopters, and in the future from attack aircraft.

Video of Mi-8 test appeared during the shooting of “Barrier” [ATGW] | MIL.IN.UA

In the fall of 2018, a test of a Mi-8MSB-B helicopter with an opto-electronic module for detecting a target and a missile (PM-LKT) was announced during a firing by a P-2V-controlled rocket “Barrier-B” anti-tank missile system , development and production of KB “Luch”. Today, the press service of the State Concern “Ukroboronprom” has published a video of tests. The development of PM-LKT was carried out by the State Concern enterprises in cooperation with PJSC “Motor Sich”, as well as a number of other private enterprises of the defense complex of Ukraine. The corresponding video has been published by the press service of the Ukroboronprom: The video is the work of the gyrostabilizing platform for the development of the State Enterprise NVK “Photoprilad” for helicopters of the “Mi” type. It provides search, detection, recognition of ground targets such as tank, armored vehicles, etc., as well as targeting high precision missiles. At present, two gyrostabilizing platforms for Mi-type helicopters have been created by the Concern’s enterprises.

Suspended module PM-LKT from the State Enterprise NKK “Fotoprilad”- YouTube

State Concern “Ukroboronprom” Uploaded on Apr 23, 2019 DP NVK “Fotopribor” developed a suspension module PM-LKT, which provides the search, detection, recognition of ground targets such as tank, armored vehicles, etc., as well as targeting high precision missiles. In 2018, this module has already passed field trials.

Another enterprise has mastered the manufacture of hulls for the BTR-4 | MIL.IN.UA

State Enterprise “Kharkiv Machine Building Design Bureau named after. O. Morozova (KhBKM) launched its own mass production of BTR-4 hulls for the Ukrainian army. This is reported by the press service of Ukroboronprom The first BTR-4 with the HBKM case successfully passed the testing complex and the company began mass production of the next batch of domestic armored personnel carriers BTR-4. Thus, the issue of the most “narrow” place in the production of BTR-4, which previously depended on the capacities of a single private armored car manufacturer, was successfully resolved. To do this, in 2018, KMBM, for its own working capital, repaired a shop that had been idle in production for several decades, and also purchased and upgraded a modern production line. In addition, the “KMDB” appealed to the Ministry of Defense with a proposal to allow the use of BTR-4 in the manufacture of newest grades of NATO-made bronze stones. These armor stances are used in Allied combat vehicles and meet the requirements of NATO standards. And currently, the relevant NATO armament samples have already been tested in Ukraine. In addition to eliminating the dependence on a private provider, this allowed to increase the overall profitability of the production of a combat vehicle by 4.5% and create additional jobs.

New reconnaissance ship deployed by Ukraine’s Navy

The ship is equipped with modern means of radio, radar, optoelectronic reconnaissance

First spy ship for Ukrainian Navy launched

The first middle-sized reconnaissance ship for the Ukrainian Navy has been launched, the press service of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry has reported. — Ukrinform.

Yanukovych hopes to return to Ukraine after Zelenskyi’s inauguration

24.04.19 13:03 – Yanukovych hopes to return to Ukraine after Zelenskyi’s inauguration Ukraine’s fugitive ex-president Viktor Yanukovych, convicted of treason, wants to return to Ukraine after Petro Poroshenko leaves the presidential post. View news.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General waits for Yanukovych with convoy and handcuffs

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko reacted to Yanukovych’ intentions to come to Ukraine under the new President Volodymyr Zelensky. On his Facebook page, Lutsenko reminded Yanukovych about the sentence and criminal cases. “I am glad Yanukovych wants to return. The sentence for state treason along with an indictment for organization of shootings in Maidan are waiting for him here,” he noted. “Verkhovna Rada voted “against” prolongation of the trial in absentia twice. Therefore, we are waiting for Yanukovych with convoy and handcuffs,” Prosecutor General concluded.

Ukraine’s President-Elect Calls For Talks With IMF To Lower Natural Gas Price

Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called on the government and the state energy company Naftogaz Ukrainy to hold talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to lower t…

Zelensky team calls on Naftogaz, Cabinet to conduct consultations with IMF to reduce gas prices for population from May 1

The team of the winner of the presidential elections in Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, has called on Naftogaz Ukrainy and the Cabinet of Ministers to hold consultations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to reduce gas prices for the population from May 1.

Zelenskyi team calls on Naftogaz, Cabinet to conduct consultations with IMF to reduce gas prices for Ukraine

24.04.19 11:36 – Zelenskyi team calls on Naftogaz, Cabinet to conduct consultations with IMF to reduce gas prices for Ukraine The team of the winner of the presidential elections in Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, has called on Naftogaz Ukrainy and the Cabinet of Ministers to hold consultations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to reduce gas prices for the… View news.

Verkhovna Rada reviews almost all amendments to bill on state language

First deputy speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Iryna Gerashchenko closed the morning session, broadcasted by the official website of the Verkhovna Rada. During the morning session, the MPs continued reweaving the amendments to the bill on state language and finished with 2060 out 2082. MPs are going to work in committees, spin parties, and groups. In particular, the profile session of the committee concerning culture takes play today at 2:30 p.m., where the draft law on state language is planned to be approved. Earlier, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine will consider the draft law #5670-d “On provision of the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state” in the second reading. On October 4, 2018, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has supported the draft law #5670-d “On provision of the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language” as the basis. Earlier we reported that the status of Ukraine’s state language will be endorsed over the course of the next ten years when the government implements the respective program. On February 28, 2018, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine produced a ruling in regards to the law “On the principles of the state language policy” #5029-VI (the so-called “Kolesnychenko-Kivalov” law). The Law “On the Principles of language policy” was submitted to the Verkhovna Rada by MPs Vadym Kolesnichenko and Serhiy Kivalov. According to the law, the language of the Verkhovna Rada and acts of public authorities, is Ukrainian. When it comes to the language of elections, referendums, science, and education, the focus is on the human right to freely use any language.

UAWire – Poroshenko’s party begins preparations for Ukrainian parliamentary elections

On the evening of April 23, the head of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc Solidarity (BPP) parliamentary faction in the Verkhovna Rada, Arthur Gerasimov, after a party meeting in Kyiv announced that Petro Poroshenko Bloc Solidarity party will take part in the elections to the Verkhovna Rada. “We are going to the parliamentary elections. We started thoroughly discussing this topic,” he said. According to him, BPP Solidarity intends to carry out a change of personnel and form a list based on the primaries. “In addition, of course, there will be personnel decisions. I mean, first of all, the party structure. Now, when recruiting the team, we will hold primaries among those who want to become members of our team, “said Gerasimov. “There are no rose-colored glasses, we clearly understand what needs to be done, and we are already analyzing the mistakes that have been made,” he added.

Zelenskyy ready to work with Groysman after inauguration – LB.ua news portal

Zelenskyy ready to work with Groysman after inauguration. The Servant of the People party is not in parliament yet. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Ukrainian premier plans to run for parliament with new party – LB.ua news portal

Ukrainian premier plans to run for parliament with new party. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Vice PM Klympush-Tsintsadze calls on lawmakers to focus on European integration bills

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine should focus on the adoption of the European integration bills despite the internal political changes in the country. — Ukrinform.

Verkhovna Rada Chairman Parubii ready to resign after language law signed

24.04.19 11:20 – Verkhovna Rada Chairman Parubii ready to resign after language law signed Verkhovna Rada Chairman Andrii Parubii has said that he will put to the vote the question of his dismissal from the post immediately after he signs the law on the functioning of Ukrainian as a state language and after the signatures for his dismissal… View news.

Ukrainian PM To Contest Upcoming Elections With ‘New Political Forces’

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroysman said he will take part in the October parliamentary elections with a party other than that of incumbent President Petro Poroshenko.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Look at Us: Everything is Possible’ – Zelensky’s Existential Challenge to Putinism

Paul Goble Staunton, April 23 – Whatever policies he adopts or concessions he makes, Vladimir Zelensky has so challenged Vladimir Putin’s vision of the world that he already has turned the Kremlin leader into his mortal enemy, someone who will do everything to ensure that Zelensky fails and thus cannot be a model for Russians or other post-Soviet nations, Igor Eidman says. According to the Russian sociologist, Putin’s autocracy rests on the conviction in the population that there is no possibility of change. “’There’s no alternative to Putin. If no Putin, then who?” are the chief motive behind support of the powers that be and voting for the current president” (facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2350443235018642&id=100001589654713). But if what Zelensky has achieved in Ukraine is possible, then change is possible not only there but in Russia and the other post-Soviet states. “Someone can come in place of Putin, and nothing horrible will happen. In this situation, any bright young politician can knock off the old.” That sends fears through the Kremlin and the other autocratic regimes in the region. Consequently, Eidman continues, “now all the efforts of the Kremlin will be directed to assure that in Ukraine ‘again nothing will be achieved.” And that almost certainly means that Putin will do everything he can to “destabilize the situation and discredit the new Ukrainian authorities,” however much he welcomed the loss of Petro Poroshenko. Zelensky’s words, although not much attended to in the West, are echoing through the Russian Federation – see for example, the article in Kazan’s Business-Gazeta headlined ‘Look at us, everything is possible! How Zelensky will deal with a ‘Putin’’ rating?” (business-gazeta.ru/article/421811). But even more significant is a commentary by Petr Akopov in Vzglyad which asks whether Zelenskys “will appear in other countries of the former USSR” including explicitly the Russian Federation (vz.ru/politics/2019/4/22/974522.html). That is a new and even more troubling worry for the Putin-style verticals than any “color” revolution. Akopov stresses that Zelensky’s declaration about everything being possible has “attracted the greatest attention both in Russia and in other republics – and it is understandable why that should be the case.” Someone who seemed to come out of nowhere won and without the obvious support of any foreign forces. Just as was the case 15 years ago with Yushchenko, Zelensky will become “a kind of ‘role model’ for the entire post-Soviet space,” and those who oppose change will thus work hard to ensure that he fails in anything he tries to do lest others adopt his model and promote change in a system committed to unchanging stability. In fact, of course, what Zelensky has achieved is less remarkable in Ukraine that it would be elsewhere, Akopov says. Ukraine has often changed presidents. He is the sixth over the last 27 years. Other countries like Russia or Belarus or Kazakhstan have had far fewer – and those in power have made sure that there wasn’t a change. Moreover, Zelensky is a new president; but the oligarchs in Ukraine remain very much in place, Akopov says. And Moscow can be counted on to use them against the new president, however much Zelensky may think he can act on his own. And Moscow will stress that Kyiv’s drive toward Europe and away from Russia have cost it Crimea, the Donbas and more. As a result, Akopov says, Zelensky and his “everything is possible” notion won’t be that infectious, although the fact that the Moscow commentator is discussing this phenomenon suggests that he may be protesting too much – precisely because at some level he fears he is wrong and that what Zelensky has done, others in Russia and elsewhere could replicate.

Justin Lynch | Who’s Laughing Now: Zelensky or Putin? – Foreign Policy

KIEV, Ukraine—Volodymyr Zelensky laughed his way into Ukraine’s presidency by a staggering margin of nearly 49 percent, according to preliminary results, and he barely talked about policy along the way. Nor did the former comic actor say much of substance in his victory speech on Sunday, when Zelensky shrugged off his unlikely passage into the world of serious politics with the phrase, “Everything is possible.” But Zelensky will find his sense of humor—and substance—tested even before his inauguration, which is expected to come about a month after the official results are announced, probably next week. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is not noted for his mirth, may be ready to pounce sooner amid a Russian military and naval buildup, foreign and Ukrainian military officials told Foreign Policy. “His first challenge will be the Putin exam,” said Andrius Kubilius, Lithuania’s former prime minister. Putin, pointedly, declined to congratulate Zelensky on Monday despite the latter’s occasional gestures of appeasement toward Moscow. Diplomats said it is hard to tell what Zelensky’s victory will mean for the ever-fraught Ukraine-Russia relationship because his actual policies are so little known and the extent of his power is undetermined. On election night, Zelensky said he would reboot talks with Russia and Putin to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine. But Zelensky also has said he wants to launch a vague “information war” to counter Putin and hold a referendum on European Union and NATO membership—which will no doubt enrage the Kremlin. Nor has Zelensky announced his pick for foreign or defense minister, and when he does, they must be approved by the country’s parliament. That body holds the most power in the country’s political system and will have its elections in the fall. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev alluded to the tense relationship in a Facebook post on Monday, saying that he expected Zelensky to repeat “the same ideological tenets we know all too well, targeted at various social groups.” Putin’s fixation on Ukraine was underlined in the report released last week by U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. The partially redacted report cited how Konstantin Kilimnik, an individual with ties to Kremlin intelligence officials, apparently reached out to Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, to have America recognize Russia’s control over eastern Ukraine. Russia-backed separatists invaded Ukraine in 2014 with a land blitz that swiped the eastern Donbas region and Crimean Peninsula. It remains unclear how Zelensky will handle not only Putin, but his own armed forces. Zelensky will have to mend ties with Ukraine’s military after calling the Russia-backed separatists “rebels” at one point. “We do not have ‘rebels.’ We have Russian aggression,” said Ukraine’s armed forces on Twitter. “The Armed Forces of Ukraine will not forget and will not forgive about that. Never!” Despite that flub, some Russian separatists welcomed Zelensky’s electoral victory by shooting at Ukrainian troops on election night, a soldier on the front lines told Foreign Policy. Ukrainian military officials say Russia is stockpiling troops along the contested border, even though any future conflict with Russia is bound to take place by sea, according to Capt. Andriy Ryzhenko, the Ukrainian navy’s deputy chief of staff. “Our vulnerability is defending our maritime border,” Ryzhenko said. In November 2018, Russia’s navy fired on and captured Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait. Since then, cargo ships traveling through the strait have been delayed by Russian authorities, which Ukrainian military officials say is an attempt to suffocate the economy of eastern Ukraine. Ryzhenko said that in the next six years, Ukraine wants to gain control of the 12 nautical miles around the Black Sea but explained just how difficult the task would be. “Ukraine has two gunboats and two auxiliary vessels. Russia has more than 100 different vessels,” Ryzhenko said.

Starting out subtle: Expert predicts Putin’s tactics in talks with Zelensky – news politics | UNIAN

Russian President Vladimir Putin may set up a test of strength of President-elect of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky as early as in June at the Normandy Four summit, according to head of the Center for Military Legal Studies, Oleksandr Musienko. The expert suggested that the Ukrainian president-elect is unlikely to do something drastic to change the country’s course.

What Zelensky’s win will mean for relations with Russia – CNN

Ukrainians overwhelmingly threw their support behind a political newcomer, actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, to become the country’s next President. After popping the champagne, he faces some serious tasks.

Vladimir Putin silent after Ukrainian election | World | The Times

President Putin held back from congratulating Ukraine’s president-elect yesterday even as Russia’s prime minister hinted that his victory offered a chance for improved relations with Moscow.Volodymyr Zelensky, a 41-year-old comic and actor, won Ukraine’s presidential election by a landslide on Sunda

Putin not planning talks with Ukraine’s new president, – Kremlin

23.04.19 18:01 – Putin not planning talks with Ukraine’s new president, – Kremlin Russian President Vladimir Putin is not planning talks with Ukraine’s newly elected president. View news.

Will Ukrainian comedian be any match for Vladimir Putin?

Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s landslide victory in Ukraine’s presidential election has thrust a comedian and political novice into the middle of the most dangerous flashpoint between Moscow and the West since the end of the Cold War.

Zelensky team recommends him to avoid negotiating Putin in person

Volodymyr Zelensky’s team advises the president-elect not to meet Russian leader Putin in person

Russia’s Failure To Congratulate Zelensky Is Putin’s Failure – To Inform is to Influence

Russia is officially perplexed on how to respond to Ukraine’s election.   Putin Won’t Congratulate Zelenskiy On Ukraine Presidential Win, Kremlin Says The Moscow Times 22 April 2019 Why?  “It’s “too early” to talk about congratulating Zelenskiy or to comment on potential cooperation with Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by Interfax, and Russia…

Ukraine President-Elect Zelenskiy’s Positions on Russia, Explained

What does Ukraine’s new president think of Russia? — Shortly after Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014, Zelenskiy said he was open to touring the Black Sea peninsula with his comedy troupe, but ruled out vacationing there “as long as there are armed people.” — In March 2014, he said: “I really want to address Mr. Putin. Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich! Do not allow even the hint of a military conflict to happen. Because Russia and Ukraine really are brotherly nations… If you want, I can beg you on my knees. But please, do not put our people on their knees.” — In August 2014, the politician sparked a Russian investigation after he performed for Ukrainian troops on the frontline in eastern Ukraine and donated 1 million hryvnia ($37,200) to their cause. — While touring the frontline, he was accused by Russian media of making inflammatory statements. He said that his Russian colleagues were brainwashed and thanked Ukrainian soldiers for “defending us from all kinds of scum.” Campaign promises regarding Russia and foreign policy: — Zelenskiy promised to bring home the 24 Ukrainian sailors who are under arrest in Russia after being captured in a naval incident near Crimea earlier this year. The candidate said that freeing the sailors would be his “number one task.” — The president-elect has stated that talks are unavoidable between Ukraine and Russia” because there’s a “real war” between the countries. He also said that “there can’t be any compromise on Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence. We don’t sell our people and we don’t sell our territories.” — He has stated his support for finding alternative sources for oil imports other than Russia after Moscow banned exports to Ukraine last week. – Zelenskiy promised to hold a referendum on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union and NATO. Positions on Crimea and Donbas: — Zelenskiy said that he had a plan for a “powerful information war” to achieve a ceasefire in the Donbas. The plan includes launching pro-Ukrainian, Russian-language broadcasts in the region and worldwide. — Zelenskiy ruled out granting special status to the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, whose Kiev-controlled parts went heavily in Zelenskiy’s favor during Sunday’s runoffs. He said there’s “no point” in negotiating directly with the Moscow-backed rebels and endorsed deploying UN peacekeepers in the region. — He has said that Crimea’s return to Ukrainian control would only be possible under new leadership in Russia. “The so-called ‘referendum’ cannot be considered as an act corresponding to the free will of Crimean residents.” Does Zelenskiy have financial interests in Russia? — Claims appeared on a Ukrainian hacking group’s website before the election runoffs earlier this month alleging that Zelenskiy’s campaign had received financing on behalf of longtime Kremlin aide Vladislav Surkov and Russian billionaire Konstantin Malofeev. Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) said last week that it was verifying the information as part of a criminal case.

Zelensky team backs continued cooperation with NATO, abolishment of military draft, Ukroboronprom reform

The staff of Volodymyr Zelensky, the apparent winner of the presidential election in Ukraine, favors continued cooperation between Ukraine’s security and defense forces and NATO, professional armed forces, and a reform of the state defense company Ukroboronprom. “The security and defense forces will continue intensive cooperation with NATO and relevant EU organizations; in particular, as regards the achievement of interoperability in conducting possible joint operations. We will clearly support the implementation of the measures stipulated by the annual NATO-Ukraine national cooperation program under the aegis of the NATO-Ukraine Commission,” Ivan Aparshyn, a security and defense expert in Zelensky’s team, said on Tuesday. The format of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is also a key item on Zelensky’s program. “The army will be professional and voluntary (without the disgraceful mandatory draft). It will be reinforced with permanent reserves and territorial defense systems. Officers having combat record, who are focused on victory and on preserving their soldiers’ lives, will be invited to the army’s command,” Aparshyn said. The Defense Ministry’s budget must be made as open to the public as possible, and military service members should be entitled to “decent living conditions,” he said. As concerns volunteers, such as Ukrainian citizens who have been involved in “repealing aggression” and who have still not received combatant IDs, or whose involvement in combat actions has not been documentarily confirmed, “the personal files of each of them will be examined and decisions will be made on each such individual personally,” Aparshyn said. The state defense order should be made as public as possible, he said. “The terms and conditions will be the same for all, be it state-run businesses or private ones. The armed forces will receive state-of-the-art and highly technological weapons, and the state defense order will stimulate the development of fundamental sciences and breakthrough technology,” Aparshyn said. The state company Ukroboronprom will be reformed, he said. “It will be rid of the powers to determine a military-technical policy; a central state executive body will be set up to take responsibility for formulating and implementing the military-industrial policy,” Aparshyn said. Some of these issues “can realistically be resolved in three months,” while others might take a year to be settled, he said.

Ukraine’s Zelensky plans to clean up parliament and military – BBC News

The new president’s team targets MPs’ immunity from prosecution and purchases made by the military.

The Times view on Ukraine’s new president: Servant of the People | Comment | The Times

The new leader of Ukraine cannot allow himself to be outwitted by Putin. The election of the comedian Volodymyr Zelensky to the presidency of Ukraine is no laughing matter. His huge victory on Sunday means a man with no political experience will be commander-in-chief of a country that considers itself to be in an undeclared war with Russia. The danger is clear: Mr Zelensky could be manipulated by Vladimir Putin, a master of political manoeuvres. Russia shows no sign of ceding Crimea, which it annexed in 2014. Eastern Ukraine is under the sway of Moscow’s proxies, while Russian military intelligence mounts cyberattacks on Kiev. The lawlessness of the east enabled separatist militiamen to shoot down a civilian airliner over Ukraine five years ago and never to face the consequences. All this demands a Ukrainian leader who is ready…

Zelensky’s appointments of personnel to Ukrainian senior positions

According to all three main exit polls, Zelensky also wins

International Guesswork Follows Comedian’s Election in Ukraine – WSJ

The election of comedian Volodymyr Zelensky as Ukrainian president, upending the country’s political establishment, has jolted Russia and the West—who have competed for influence in Ukraine and now must determine how to deal with a political newcomer.

Ukraine faces up to reality after political novice wins landslide

A comedian-turned-politician has won Ukraine’s presidential election with a landslide victory. But the pressure is now on newcomer Volodymyr Zelensky to deliver the change he has promised.

No Servant of People party in Ukrainian Parliament, – Zelensky speaker

Currently, the party Servant of People is not represented in the Ukrainian Parliament. Dmytro Razumkov, Volodymyr Zelensky’s team speaker said that during The Pulse talk show on 112 Ukraine TV channel. ‘There’s no party or parliamentary faction of Servant of People in the Parliament. Besides, I would like to make myself clear: we are aware that in various regions across the country, there are talks and speculations about those appointing people and manage certain processes in these regions. This is either manipulation or deliberate speculation there. Neither candidate Zelensky nor the representatives of Servant of People party delegated any of these authorities. This is against the basic principles, which Volodymyr Zelensky declared and carried across the entire election campaign’, Razumkov said.

Dyer: Ukraine chooses a servant of the people | The London Free Press

Ukraine has a new president, and he’s a comedian! Oh, wait a minute, that’s not such a big deal. Guatemala was the first country to elect a comedian as president: Jimmy Morales, back in 2015.

New Ukrainian leader’s campaign took page from sitcom script

MOSCOW (AP) — The president-elect of Ukraine does not have a political record that foreign governments and companies can search for clues. For now, a 51-episode TV sitcom might offer the clearest…

Can Volodymyr Zelensky, the Actor Who Ruled Ukraine on TV, Do It in Real Life? | The New Yorker

Joshua Yaffa on the Ukrainian Presidential election and the victory of the actor Volodymyr Zelensky over the incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko.

Ukraine’s next First Lady: Main facts about Olena Zelenska – news politics | UNIAN

Presidential candidate, showman Volodymyr Zelensky has won the presidential election runoff, the Central Election Commission data show after 100 percent of the voting protocols have been processed. Zelensky’s wife, Olena, will become Ukraine’s youngest First Lady, while her husband – the youngest president in Ukraine’s history. They are both 41.

Ukraine’s Embassy demands apologies from Czech mass media for article about Zelensky

Ukraine’s Embassy to the Czech Republic demands apologies from local mass media for the article of Jan Fingerland in which he called Volodymyr Zelenksy “Jewish clown” as the embassy reported on Twitter. “Dear Český rozhlas Plus, you think that everything is ok with your article? It is gross and we expect the apologies”, the message said. Jan Fingerland stated in the airing of the Czech radio that Ukraine does not have any reputation and the people elected “Jew Zelensky” only due to the hopeless situation as the policy of all other candidates was unsuccessful. Besides, the article said that he becomes the president only in the case if another “jewish politician” Volodymyr Groysman will become the Prime Minister. Then, according to the author of the article, Ukraine will be the only country, “when Jews occupy the highest positions”. It is known that Volodymyr Zelensky was born in the Jewish family in Kryvy Rih.

Oleg Varfolomeyev | Ukrainian President-Elect Zelensky’s Team Emerges From the Shadows – Jamestown

Popular comedian Volodymyr Zelensky won the Ukrainian runoff presidential election hands down on April 21. More than 73 percent of those who came to the polling stations cast their ballots for him. For the first time in any post-Soviet state’s history, an individual without any experience in politics, security or public administration was elected president. Zelensky defeated incumbent Petro Poroshenko, who had been in politics for two decades. The victor’s views regarding the complex foreign policy, security, and economic problems facing Ukraine, however, have been difficult to parse, including based on his vague or even rather naïve-sounding responses to journalists’ questions during the campaign (YouTube, December 25, 2018 and March 21, 2019; RBC, April 18, 2019). Consequently, at least in the beginning, President-elect Zelensky will have to rely heavily on his staff and advisors. But details about his team have been emerging only bit by bit, and Zelensky refused to share too many details of his personnel plans even at his post-election briefing, on April 21 (Ukrinform.ru, April 22). This has provided fuel to earlier suspicions that Zelensky is not free to independently choose his own people, but rather that significant input or even direction regarding personnel may be coming from the person believed to have been behind his campaign, oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, who reportedly lives in self-imposed exile in Israel. Kolomoisky’s television channel 1+1 has for years been broadcasting satirical shows of Kvartal 95, a comic group that first propelled Zelensky to public fame. And Zelensky chose 1+1 to announce his decision to run for president this past New Year’s Eve. Thereafter, this television station and Kolomoisky’s other media outlets backed Zelensky’s campaign, which otherwise relied on social media posts (see EDM, February 13). Zelensky and Kolomoisky have never denied their business ties; but both refute charges of Kolomoisky’s role in Zelensky’s election campaign. Still, Kolomoisky has never disavowed that he wanted to see Poroshenko defeated. He fell out with Poroshenko in 2015, when the president fired him as Dnipropetrovsk province governor. Later on, Poroshenko supported the nationalization of PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest bank, until December 2016 co-owned by Kolomoisky and Hennady Boholyubov (see EDM, February 11). Poroshenko claimed that Zelensky would try to return PrivatBank, into which the government has poured billions of dollars, to its former owners, but Zelensky has repeatedly denied this (Interfax, April 19). Ukrainian investigative journalists from Skhemy (a joint project of RFE/RL and UA:Pershy) found that Zelensky had traveled 13 times, during 2017–2018, to Switzerland and Israel, where Kolomoisky resides. They further reported that Kolomoisky’s lawyer Andry Bohdan sometimes accompanied Zelensky on those trips (YouTube, April 16). Bohdan is a former deputy justice minister, and he served on various state anti-corruption bodies under Poroshenko’s predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych. Notably, Bohdan’s smiling face appeared behind Zelensky toward the end of his public debate with Poroshenko, at a stadium in Kyiv, on April 19. Journalists also spotted Bohdan at Zelensky’s election headquarters. Zelensky’s campaign manager, Dmytro Razumkov, claimed the lawyer was Zelensky’s friend (Bihus.info, April 9). Razumkov himself is the son of a former key advisor to Ukraine’s second president, Leonid Kuchma. Razumkov junior used to be a member of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. While presenting a part of his victorious team on a talk show (airing on 1+1), Zelensky said that, during the campaign, domestic politics were the remit of Razumkov, who also served as one of the public speakers for Zelensky’s staff. Oleksandr Danylyuk, a former finance minister (April 2016–June 2018) and a former advisor for economic reforms to Yanukovych, was helping Zelensky to communicate with the business community and foreigners. Incidentally, as finance minister, Danylyuk oversaw PrivatBank’s nationalization. Ukraine’s parliament fired Danylyuk a year ago because of his conflicts with Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman over taxation policies and personnel. Zelensky said Danylyuk advised him on foreign affairs as well as finance and banking (YouTube, April 18). Several other former government officials were also on the 1+1 stage, but curiously, Aivaras Abromavicius was absent. Abromavicius, a liberal reformer who resigned as economy minister several years ago, had been seen accompanying Zelensky during his campaign meetings along with Danylyuk,. Another conspicuous absence was that of crusading journalist Serhy Leshchenko, who, identified as an advisor to Zelensky, gave a rare interview about the campaign to a Russian media outlet last month (Novaya Gazeta, March 22). Once inaugurated, which is expected in May, Zelensky will be entitled to replace only two ministers—of foreign affairs and defense. He also can replace the prosecutor-general and the head of the Security Service (SSU). Prime Minister Groysman’s government will have to resign only after the election of a new parliament, which is scheduled for the fall of this year. However, it has been speculated that Zelensky, thanks to the political capital earned from his presidential victory, could have a space of several days or weeks to dissolve parliament and call early elections in May or June to replace the ruling coalition and the government—both of which were formed under Poroshenko. Zelensky himself indicated such a possibility (RBC, April 18). Zelensky apparently already has a candidate in mind for defense minister, Colonel Ivan Aparshin, whom Zelensky publicly presented as his expert for defense and security. Aparshin served in different defense-related government positions between 2005 and 2014. He wrote in a recent blog post that Zelensky’s incoming team plans to continue Ukraine’s close cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), abandon conscription service to the Armed Forces, make defense spending more transparent, and reform the defense industry company Ukroboronprom, which was involved in several corruption scandals recently (Obozrevatel.com, April 22; see EDM, February 28). As for the next foreign affairs minister, Leshchenko earlier indicated that Danylyuk could be offered the post (Nv.ua, April 3), but Danylyuk more recently told reporters that he was not interested (Interfax, April 21). Despite a number of notable links to the disgraced former Yanukovych administration, many individuals trotted out as members of Zelensky’s incoming team, as well as those publicly associated with it, have serious experience and clear pro-reform credentials. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen which of them will actually be hired by the president-elect, and what role if any in the formation of the next administration might be played by Kolomoisky.

Alexei Bayer: Losers doubling down | KyivPost – Ukraine’s Global Voice

Ukraine held democratic, transparent, free and fair presidential elections that can serve as an example not only to most former Soviet states but to the United States as well. That’s the good news. The bad news is that by voting in Volodymyr Zelenskiy Ukraine has entered the Groundhog Day, repeating the pattern that brought Viktor Yanukovych to power in 2010 and then saw him kicked out four years later. There were bad problems with the Petro Poroshenko government – corruption, economic difficulties, endless war and many others – but the remedy chosen by the Ukrainian electorate has a real possibility of being worse and of exacerbating significantly the country’s problems over the longer term. In my Soviet childhood there was a popular saying: gambling is not the real problem, trying to win back your losses is. The populism that swept Ukraine on April 21 has by now become familiar. It reflects genuine gripes and grievances of the majority of the world population. Life-changing social and economic processes under way around the world – globalization, technological revolution, population growth and climate change – create massive challenges across the boards. They are driving masses of refugees to rich countries but also filling ordinary people even in prosperous developed countries with dread. We are overwhelmed and disoriented; we are losing our sense of security as our social status diminishes and economic standing deteriorates. To add insult to injury, we are also resentful of the fact that corporations and their beneficiaries, along with various super-rich, are prospering on an unprecedented scale thanks to the very processes that are causing so much damage to the rest of us. It seems to be a zero-sum game, and most of us seem to be emerging with next to zero from the gaming table. Unfortunately, in this environment we tend to fall for simple, radical solutions peddled by authoritarian demagogues. By doing so we are actually doubling down on our problems and are likely to see our losses deepen. Brexit is perhaps the most self-evident morality tale. Poverty and post-industrial decay were very real problems in the central and northern parts of England, driving the Leave vote in 2016. However, the Leave vote has made everything it was supposed to fix far worse even before the leaving actually happened. Sovereignty, global political influence, economic growth and even the political unity of the United Kingdom have all become endangered. Characteristically, those who voted for Brexit stand to lose the most from it. Yet, polls suggest that in the E.U. elections next month these same voters are going to back Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party. A similar resentment against the rich educated elites who have garnered most of the benefits from the post-2008 recovery inspired Trump voters in the United States. They, too, are already paying for their choice – in the form of a significantly weaker social safety net and dirtier environment. They and their children will pay a far steeper price in the future – for the budget deficits stemming from Trump’s tax cut for the rich, for climate change, for reduced regulations and oversight of business, for the decline of social cohesion and for the rise of white collar criminality and corruption, those two hallmarks of Trump’s misrule. Of course there is the booming economy, low unemployment and record-breaking stock prices that Trump constantly touts. Economists point out that it is a bubble economy on low-tax steroids that will eventually go bust – catastrophically so. When the Germans voted in Hitler in the midst of the Depression, they also soon saw tangible improvements to their economic condition and a pickup in national morale. But the way these results had been achieved – by a massive military buildup – already contained the seeds of their eventual destruction. Six years after Hitler came to power German mothers started to get death notices for their sons – and that was just the start of an all-encompassing national horror that didn’t end until 1989. The U.S. is a superpower with a rich, dynamic economy and the most dominant military since the Roman Empire. It has an enormous margin for error. Ukraine is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Its economy is scarred by the Soviet experience and by three decades of economic mismanagement, misdirection and corruption. Worse, it is under a sustained, relentless military attack from a giant nuclear-armed neighbor. Its very survival as an independent nation state is in danger. In 2010 Ukrainians voted for Yanukovych in protest against the corruption and mismanagement of the Viktor Yushchenko era. They paid a steep price for that decision: increased criminalization of the economy and politics and further decline of the business climate. The Heavenly Hundred paid for that mistake with their lives, and since Yanukovych’s ouster many thousands of Ukrainians died in the ongoing war in the east. Of course Ukraine paid for it with the loss of Crimea and Donbas.

Gwendolyn Sasse | What Does Zelensky’s Victory Say About Ukraine? – Carnegie Europe – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The term “protest vote” does not really capture the full picture about the election result. It was a conscious vote against the incumbent and expressed hope for a new start in Ukrainian politics beyond identity cleavages. Now speculation abounds regarding the future outlook of Ukrainian politics. So far Zelensky’s team includes economic reformers, but it is light on expertise in foreign and security policy—one of the key policy domains the president can directly influence in Ukraine’s mixed constitutional system. In the coming months, Zelensky has to define a working relationship with the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, while building his own political party or movement in the run-up to the parliamentary elections in the autumn. The real test of the Zelensky presidency comes after the parliamentary elections. The power balance between the president and parliament, ambivalently defined in the Ukrainian constitution, may well switch to a more balanced relationship or, indeed, to a greater de facto or de jure role for parliament. Zelensky is a novelty in Ukrainian politics in more than one sense. For the moment, he has broken with traditional cleavages and the predominant official rhetoric. Whether he can turn this novelty effect and his broad support base into policies remains to be seen. Some European capitals that were secretly hoping for Poroshenko to be reelected to carry on with business as usual need to understand what the Zelensky victory really says about Ukrainian society.

Glen Grant: Ruining the illusion of Ukraine’s presidential election | KyivPost – Ukraine’s Global Voice

So this vote was never a simple “for or against” either candidate. Many wanted to have a strong man against Russia in charge. But to follow Poroshenko they had to accept his corruption, lies and broken promises and focus on his good points like Tomos. This group has also now tried to capture the essence of Maidan as theirs, calling themselves the 25 percent saviors of the country. (Actually in reality 24.4 percent). Sadly, the newly created 25 percent logo looks like a Nazi flag which makes one consider that this is not a coincidence but looks rather like a Russian move to create national instability. If Maidan was for anything it was for freedom, not for returning a Tsar Peter to power. It was about people and freedom not for the cult of personality. There were also many who voted for Poroshenko exactly because he has kept graft and scoop untouched. Some like the leadership of Ukroboronprom and the judges make a good living from it. These certainly have no Maidan spirit. On the other hand, the values most desired from Zelenskiy were a mix. Some saw Zelenskiy as pro-Russia and against war and voted for him. This number is incalculable as no one asked. But it is certainly not 75 percent as many of Poroshenko’s team try to claim. The remainder voted on a mix of desires. These range from punishing Poroshenko for his many failings, for a perceived opportunity for a fresh start from the Soviet ways, and for a chance for real reform of the army and other institutions. Certainly, lower taxes and fuel bills also played a part in voter choice. The challenge for all voters was that neither of the two candidates presented a clear and clean way forward. There is culturally no surprise that many voters defaulted for stability. There is also no surprise that many defaulted for honesty – Ukraine is, after all, a strongly Christian country. But neither group of voters could choose without accepting they had to pick up some bad cards from the deck. Voters had to choose whether Russia trumped honesty, or honesty trumped Russia. Whether old style stability and leadership trumped hope or hope and freedom trumped the old ways. Every voter had to compromise on some personal value in some way and for many, this must have hurt and worried them. The large shouting since the election is likely an indication not of the righteousness of choice but of fear they may have been wrong. The choice between 5 years of mistakes and 50 years of treachery. To many it is not at all clear which candidate represented which choice. Ukraine is indeed a country in transition. The question remains about where it is in transit to? Glen Grant is an expert on national security for the Ukrainian Institute for the Future.

Adrian Karatnycky | Ukraine’s New President Just Won the First Ever Successful Virtual Campaign – POLITICO Magazine

Volodymyr Zelensky made no public speeches, held no rallies and gave no press conferences. And now he’s about to be in charge of a geopolitical hotspot. What could go wrong? …….. A Ukraine back in Russia’s sphere of influence would give new impetus to Russia’s global ambitions, would enhance the Kremlin’s capacity to project power regionally, and interfere in and further disrupt the politics of the U.S. and the West. As Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote, “Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire.” That said, there is also huge potential upside in Zelensky’s election. A novice politician, especially one willing to shed some of his oligarch patrons, can be more open to implementing fundamental reforms that can accelerate Ukraine’s transition into a transparent and stable market economy. A leader from outside the existing political system might be able, with some assistance, to assemble a capable team of reformers. Given this, as well as the ongoing military threat from Russia and Putin’s likely interest in testing Zelensky’s mettle early in his tenure, the U.S. and the West must do all they can to help an unprepared politician rapidly transform rapidly into a competent and self-assured commander-in-chief. U.S. policymakers and their European colleagues should offer to Zelensky and his nascent team a program of technical assistance that could accelerate their learning curve and enable them to govern competently and intelligently. Ukraine’s wide array of think tanks and globally networked reformers should also join this effort. And the West should encourage the experienced hands present in Ukraine’s government—which include reformist ministers running finance, transportation, education and health care, as well as competent defense and foreign ministers—to cooperate constructively with the new president, at least until parliamentary elections scheduled for late October yield a new political configuration. By taking these steps, the U.S. and the West can help ensure that the choice Ukrainian voters have taken in electing an ambitious but untested political newcomer pays off, and doesn’t plunge Europe into an accelerating conflict with Russia.

Five challenges for Ukraine’s new president – Reuters

Ukraine has entered uncharted political waters by choosing Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedian with no previous political experience and few detailed policies, as its new president.

New president must keep, strengthen intl support for Ukraine – expert

KYIV. April 18 (Interfax-Ukraine) – One of the main challenges for the next president of Ukraine will be to preserve the existing international support of the country and increase it in conditions where there is a certain “fatigue” with dealing with conflicts, Chairman of the board of Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting Ihor Burakovsky has said.

No mainstream party is safe from the march of populism

The result of the elections in Ukraine is further evidence that no mainstream political party or leadership is safe from the march of populism across Europe. The result of the elections in Ukraine is further evidence that no mainstream political party or leadership is safe from the march of populism across Europe. Of course there were issues peculiar to Ukraine that played a crucial role in the outcome: the unpopularity of the Poroshenko government; the rise in corruption that it was pledged to defeat; and the country’s continuing worries over Russian intentions. But that hardly explains the extraordinary triumph of Volodymyr Zelenskiy in taking more than 70 per cent of the vote in a landslide victory. In a bizarre example of life imitating fiction, Mr Zelenskiy is an actor and comedian who has recently starred in a television show about a teacher…

Mikheil Saakashvili: Ukraine’s presidential election should send a clear message to every politician | Fox News

Ukraine’s presidential election should send a clear message to every politician: the global revolt against the establishment is not over.

Ukraine elects comedian as President – but we’ve no reason to laugh as our leaders are maddening and disappointing

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who’s only experience of politics was to play a teacher accidentally elected president on TV, is the ex-Soviet state’s new leader

Ukraine election ‘a wake-up’ call to Canada on Russian meddling, warns former minister | CBC Radio

Canada’s former foreign minister says he’s concerned about where Ukraine’s newly-elected president — a popular TV actor with no political experience — will take the country, with Russia looking to exert its influence.

No Joke: Ukraine Becomes First Country Outside of Israel To Elect Jewish National Leader – Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective.

With two Jews in the country’s top jobs, what is next for Ukraine? – The Jewish Chronicle

First country outside Israel where the president and prime minister are both Jewish

Jewish Ukrainian President-elect invited to Germany by Merkel – Breaking News – Jerusalem Post

Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by telephone on Tuesday with Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and invited him to Germany, a German government spokeswoman said.

Ukraine defies anti-Semitic past with Zelensky victory

Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky’s election will see Ukraine led for the first time by a president of Jewish descent, in a landmark for a country with a long history of anti-Semitism. The 41-year-old actor won a landslide victory against incumbent Petro Poroshenko on Sunday. Ukraine already has a Jewish

Lev Golinkin | Ukraine Is Teeming With Anti-Semitism. It Just Elected A Jewish President. – The Forward

After Zelensky’s inauguration, Ukraine will become the only country outside Israel to have a Jewish president

Ukraine, where some of history’s worst attacks on Jews happened, now has a Jewish president – Los Angeles Times

Volodymyr Zelensky election in Ukraine could point the way for a new wave of young politicians who instinctively recognize the benefits of a tolerant, multiethnic, pluralist world.

Member of Russia’s opposition explains why Ukraine’s new president “scares Kremlin” – news politics | UNIAN

Member of the opposition in Russia Olga Kurnosova has said the victory of showman Volodymyr Zelensky in the second round of the presidential elections in Ukraine scares the Kremlin since Russian President Vladimir Putin does not yet know how to build relations with his new Ukrainian counterpart. She says the election of the new president in Ukraine was “quite a hard story for Russia.” Member of the opposition in Russia Olga Kurnosova has said the victory of showman Volodymyr Zelensky in the second round of the presidential elections in Ukraine scares the Kremlin since Russian President Vladimir Putin does not yet know how to build relations with his new Ukrainian counterpart. “It is not clear how the situation will be unfolding. The Kremlin was more comfortable with the old president because it was clear how to act. But [Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko said during the debate that Volodymyr Zelensky is a ‘cat in the sack.’ This is absolutely an cat in the sack for the Kremlin. That’s what scares the Kremlin,” she said, as reported by the Ukrainian online news outlet Obozrevatel. According to Kurnosova, the Kremlin had a channel of communication with Poroshenko. “Viktor Medvedchuk, who has close relations with Vladimir Putin, was an envoy representing Ukraine in the Minsk negotiating group. Therefore, it is strange to say that Petro Poroshenko had no relations with Russia,” she said. The election of the new president in Ukraine was “quite a hard story for Russia,” she said.

Vladimir Frolov | How Will the New President of Ukraine Build Relations With Russia?

Opinion | In Ukrainian politics, Russia is still in the game, but don’t expect a return to pre-Maidan days. From what Zelensky publicly touched upon during his campaign, we can thus far conclude there is potential for a step-down in aggressive rhetoric and the establishment of a more relaxed atmosphere for the discussion of, for example, normalizing transport links (reinstating direct flights, and cargo transit), lifting certain sanctions, and access to certain markets. To a large extent, this would duplicate the example of the successful post-war normalization of relations with Georgia. Needless to say, a return to the pre-2014 days and the “brotherly relations” between Russia and Ukraine is out of the question. Zelenskiy will not be able to recognize Russian sovereignty over the Crimea (although he did declare that Crimea has de facto been lost to Ukraine and he has no intention of fighting Russia over it). Zelenskiy has also called for lifting the artificial restrictions on the use of the Russian language in Ukraine (which includes lifting the ban on access to Russian social networks and the restriction on cultural exchanges). Should these steps be taken, it will go some way to breaking the ice and will be duly appreciated by the Kremlin. Moscow will probably agree to the release of the Ukrainian sailors arrested during the Kerch Strait incident, most likely, by way of a lenient sentence or in the form of a benevolent presidential order (which in itself would also remove the American stoppage on holding another meeting between Putin and Trump). But this positive agenda comes with limitations. It is inevitably contingent on progress being made on the Donbas situation and would collapse again should irreconcilable differences arise around implementing the Minsk agreements. Based on what Zelenskiy said about the Donbas, it is clear that he has only a vague understanding of the details of the agreement. Indications that there could be a direct dialogue between the leaders of the republics quickly reverted to a familiar tack: talks with Moscow should take place in the presence of Western mediators, and the Normandy format should be remodeled to include the United States and Great Britain in a “Budapest style format”. This, albeit possibly well-intentioned stupidity, signals to Moscow that it is fair to expect that Zelenskiy will attempt to reject agreements that have already been reached, which in itself may provoke a crisis. Going forward, the head spokesperson of Zelenskiy’s election headquarters, Dmitry Razumkov, confirmed that Zelenskiy’s adherence to the Minsk negotiation process is untenable (“all the anti-Russia sanctions are linked to it”), but made it clear that Zelenskiy would not implement the Minsk agreements as interpreted by Russia: “The return of the occupied territories of the Donbas and Crimea must proceed exclusively on Ukraine’s terms. Russia, as always, is trying to turn everything on its head and do everything backwards — by holding elections first. You can call it whatever you like, but it is simply not possible to pursue a democratic process in the occupied territory right now.” In all likelihood, Zelenskiy will not implement the Paris summit agreement reached by the Normandy Four on achieving the “Steinmeier formula” i.e. holding elections in the republics under a special law and granting the DLNR special status on a temporary basis on the day the elections are held, and then on a permanent basis after the OSCE can confirm the integrity of the elections. Zelenskiy’s team continues to reject a tight schedule for the implementation of the Minsk agreements (Moscow would like it to coincide with the local elections in Ukraine in the autumn of 2020). Moscow has further reason to not be too optimistic owing to Razumkov’s statement that “European and Euro-Atlantic integration is Ukraine’s civilizational choice, confirmed by the death toll on the Maidan in 2014, and there is simply no alternative to Ukraine’s accession to NATO.” For now, Moscow is prepared to write all this off as pre-election rhetoric. “Fulfilling the Minsk agreements and resolving this problem is our direct interest,” Sergey Lavrov said at the Assembly of the Council for Foreign and Defence Policy. “We achieved a great feat securing Minsk II in the UN Security Council resolution.” The “full Minsk II” is still a win-win situation for Russia even if the agreement is not implemented. The implementation of Minsk II allows Russia to maintain influence and achieve its goals in Ukraine by peaceful means. Moscow has no reason to reject Minsk II, especially since neither Kiev nor the West are putting forward any new “big deals” that could theoretically make it more attractive for Russia to “exchange the Donbas for Crimea and Ukraine’s neutrality.” To reject Minsk II with little or no reason would come across as a personal foreign policy defeat for Vladimir Putin. A Russian version of this article was originally published in Republic.

TASS: World – Zelensky should not meet with Putin ‘face to face’, warns adviser

According to the adviser, Zelensky’s talks with the Russian leader should involve representatives of the United States and the United Kingdom.

UAWire – Russia to offer Zelensky deal on gas and the Donbas

Moscow sees a chance to improve relations with Ukraine following the outcome of the presidential elections in Ukraine, announced Prime Minister …

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‘Vibrant democracy’: US congratulates Ukraine on holding elections that reflect ‘will of people’ — RT World News

The US State Department has hailed Ukraine’s presidential elections as “peaceful” and “competitive” as it congratulated comedian Volodymyr Zelensky on his victory and pledged “steadfast support” to Kiev.

Is this man the puppet master of Ukraine’s new president or an overhyped bogeyman? — RT World News

It doesn’t actually matter if Ukrainian-Israeli billionaire Igor Kolomoisky is the real power behind Volodymyr Zelensky – the president elect has to get rid of the oligarch if he is to make a break with the country’s corrupt past.

Lilia Shevtsova | Ukraine as obsession for Russia

What have we (Russians, – Ed.) been doing the last weeks? That’s right – we followed the presidential elections in Ukraine. Some of us did this with a mocking grin. But most – with envy. However, Ukraine has been the main Russian discourse for five years. Russia dissolved in Ukraine, forgetting about its problems. The Russian state seemed to have lost itself, confusing its national identity and geographical boundaries. What means the fact that we live following Ukraine, writing about it, arguing about it, damning it, being jealous of it, explaining it? This fact says a lot about us. It says that Russia has no idea of consolidation. It says that hostility to the Ukrainians has become a tool to legitimize power. It speaks of the cowardice of our elite, who would like to challenge America, but fearing the consequences, prefers to strike Ukraine. Our fixation on Ukrainian issue shouts about our complexes and our inability to get out of the rusted vessel. Having made Ukraine an internal (and, moreover, key!) issue of Russian politics, we recognize that we could not find our own incentives for development and unity. Russia was not ready to Ukraine’s withdrawal. Now we have to seal the hole made by Ukrainians in the Russian state machine and lick the wounds of our pride. Ukraine, which has escaped from the Russian embrace, continues to be a Russian phantom pain. If you lose your limbs, you start to limp. That is what is happening with the Russian state, which has lost one of the evidence of its statehood. Russian power is excelled in inventing how to take revenge on the fugitives. We will issue Russian passports to Donbas! But, apparently, the warning did not frighten the stubborn Ukrainians. And now the Kremlin thought up to make it more painful by banning the export of Russian oil, petroleum products and coal to Ukraine. But the Russian attempt to strangle, most likely, will force Ukrainians to confirm their choice – away from Russia! Russia has formed a class of politicians and experts whose profession is to gloat over Ukraine. Even liberally-minded people talk about Ukraine with condescension, trying to advise Ukrainians what to do. At the same time, they are not ready to suggest what Russia needs to do. What do they say about Ukraine? This is a brain explosion. The most comical is when Russian observers see a reflection of their own reality in Ukraine: “manipulative democracy”; “complete failure of the ruling elite”. The debate between Poroshenko and Zelensky for them is a stupid show and clownery, a shame and a sign of the destruction of the state! It is clear that for a slave mentality it is impossible to imagine how anyone can challenge the leader, and the leader will argue with him on an equal footing! Horror, horror! Kremlin interpreters describe the Poroshenko’s defeat as systemic failure. They cannot accept that the departure of one leader and the arrival of another as a result of the elections speaks about the viability of the system: the Ukrainians won the right to choose leaders; they have the right to make mistakes and correct them again through elections. We even have serious experts whining about the weaknesses of the Ukrainian parliamentary-presidential system. It is not clear to them how Ukrainians live in the absence of a tough “vertical” indicating to them how to live. And Ukrainians have no idea how we continue to tolerate the “vertical”, which dictates us how we live. The Ukrainian project failed, say Russian experts. Ukraine is stuck and it has nowhere to move in a situation of crisis of the European Union. But first, despite all the problems, we see economic growth in Ukraine (in 2018, GDP growth reached 2.5%, and national production growth – 3.6%). And what is the state of the economy in Russia? This is a state secret, if we bear in mind the manipulations of Rosstat. Secondly, the crisis of the European community reflects its search for new life forms. In any case, Europe understands that its security requires incorporating Ukraine, and not leaving it in the dead zone as a failed state and a source of tension with Russia. Ukraine is a world periphery, Russian wizards convince us. Hmm … But it was this “periphery” that caused the confrontation of the West with Russia. And without ensuring the stability of the Ukrainian state, there is nothing to think about the normalization of their relations. We will help Ukraine to overcome the crisis, our well-wishers say. Isn’t it better to help yourself and finally get rid of obsession in Ukraine? They are ruled by oligarchs! Yes, oligarchic fuss is a Ukrainian problem. But after all, some of the local oligarchs (for example, Kolomoisky) will receive personal monuments for their national orientation. And what memory will the Russian oligarchs make of themselves? The Russian party wonders what kind of president Volodomor Zelensky will become. Whatever he may be, he will defend Ukrainian national interests. Otherwise, the new Maidan will decide his fate. Moreover, Zelensky will not be the only center of power in Ukraine that has managed to create a system of balances. Perhaps the new balance of power in the Rada and who will become the new prime minister is much more important. This is an incomprehensible reality for us. Having accustomed to autocracy, we get lost when we see a lot of opposing forces, considering it chaos. It is curious that, despite the war and sacrifices, Ukrainians are beginning to have a better attitude towards Russia: in 2018, 48% of Ukrainian respondents treated Russia well (33% of Russians treated Ukraine well). Not because Ukrainians suddenly felt sympathy for Russia. But because Russia has ceased to be the main problem for them. They want to forget about us and think about their dignified life. Without us! Of course, it is insulting to be rejected power. Meet the indifference is even more offensive. But if Russia wants to reclaim its dignity and vision of the future, it will have to come across Ukraine and go about its business.

Nicolai N. Petro | Petro Poroshenko’s Nationalism Cost Him the Presidency | The National Interest

This is one of the lessons that Western policymakers can learn from Poroshenko’s crushing defeat.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Implementation of Ukrainian Autocephaly May Be First Flashpoint in Zelensky Era

Paul Goble Staunton, April 23 – Petro Poroshenko made autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church a centerpiece of national strategy, used the power of the state to promote it by making it easier for parishes to shift from the Moscow church to the Ukrainian one, and has pledged to continue to fight for the independence of the national church even after he leaves office. His successor Vladimir Zelensky will not seek to reverse autocephaly, but he is clearly less interested in using government power to promote it, a position that some including Poroshenko will see as a retreat from autocephaly but that others are already saying will make the rise of a truly popular national church slower but more firmly rooted. In a first assessment of what will happen next, religious affairs specialist Aleksandr Soldatov says that Poroshenko’s achievement of autocephaly was one of his most important “successes” but his efforts to promote it as a means of weakening the Moscow church in Ukraine are already being curtailed (graniru.org/Society/Religion/m.276046.html). The key feature of those efforts was the renaming of the Moscow church as the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, a change that the Verkhovna Rada backed and that was intended to speed the shift of Orthodox parishes in Ukraine from a church that has often served as the Kremlin’s ally to a truly national Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Kyiv. While many parishes have shifted – the exact number is a matter of dispute – “over the months since the tomos was granted, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate not only hasn’t lost its leading passion on the confessional map of Ukraine but even has begun a level revenge,” Soldatov says. A Kyiv court ruled that a Ukrainian law requiring the renaming of the UOC MP and establishing a deadline of April 22 violates the rights of that congregation, an action its leader, Metropolitan Onufry views as a great victory – and perhaps one of the reasons he was the first religious leader to greet Zelensky’s election. Many Ukrainians view this as a turning away from autocephaly and an indication that Zelensky won’t be its defender (credo.press/224150/, dsnews.ua/politics/tserkovnyy-revansh-kak-moskovskaya-patriarhiya-planiruet-23042019102100 and depo.ua/ukr/politics/tserkovniy-revansh-yak-mospatriarkhiya-planue-vidvoyovuvati-vtrachene-v-ptsu-20190423953188). Consequently, both Poroshenko and the speaker of the Verkhovna Rada have pledged to defend not just autocephaly but the state-supported means by which they believe it can best be implemented (risu.org.ua/ru/index/all_news/state/church_state_relations/75535/ andrisu.org.ua/ru/index/all_news/state/church_state_relations/75522/). That sets up a fight between the former president and his allies and Zelensky and his, and it may mean that the shift of parishes from the Moscow church to the Ukrainian church will slow for a time, although it is unlikely to be reversed. Indeed, Soldatov in his assessment suggests that in his view, the prospects for Ukrainian autocephaly remain “very bright.” That is because by the further separating of religion from politics likely to occur under Zelensky’s presidency may “breath new life into the Ukrainian church rebirth. And the more successful and convincing this rebirth will prove, the fewer chances the Moscow Patriarchate will have to ‘hold Ukraine.’”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Patriarchate Goes on the Offensive in Asia

Paul Goble Staunton, April 23 – Having lost much of its position in Ukraine and thus its utility to the Kremlin, the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church has gone on offensive in Asia, seeking to shore up its own status in international Orthodoxy and prove to Vladimir Putin that Patriarch Kirill remains a most valuable ally for Moscow’s foreign policy. As part of this offensive, the ROC MP is establishing exarchates on the canonical territory of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Asian countries, appealing primarily but not exclusively to ethnic Russians living there and sparking confusion and disputes among the Orthodox. Like many intra-church controversies, this one is often anything but clear to those beyond the church; but it is crystal clear that the ROC MP is making these moves for political rather than religious reasons, as an act of revenge against Constantinople, an effort to promote the idea of Moscow as the Third Rome, and a means of showing the Kremlin how useful Kirill is. The situation in the Far East with regard to Orthodoxy is described by Metropoiltan Ambosius of Korea whose church is now under attack from Moscow. His interview on this subject (theorthodoxworld.com/exclusive-how-the-moscow-patriarchate-tramples-on-church-canons-and-undermines-orthodox-unity-in-korea/) has attracted positive and negative comments by Russians (ahilla.ru/mitropolit-korejskij-amvrosij-rpts-i-russkoe-gosudarstvo-prodvigayut-ideyu-moskva-tretij-rim/ and regnum.ru/news/polit/2615971.html.) His Eminence’s words deserve extensive quotation because they explain why what the Moscow Church is doing is so political and so destructive and thus provide a window into the ways in which Patriarch Kirill, pursuing his own longstanding goals, has become more aggressive abroad since the Ecumenical Patriarch granted Ukraine autocephaly. Ambrosius says that “under the pretext of their disagreement with the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the issue of Autocephaly for the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the Moscow Patriarchate has established an Exarchate and Diocese within the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the Far East and throughout East Asia.” “Until just before Christmas 2018,” he continues, “there was only one Orthodox Church in Korea, that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which was – please allow us the term – a “model” for Orthodoxy all over the world. There was a single local bishop, the Metropolitan of Korea, because we, as a Church, do not separate the country – as the great powers unfortunately divided it between South and North 70 years ago. “Under the Metropolitan of Korea’s omophorion all Orthodox Christians who reside on the Korean peninsula belonged to the one, unified Church regardless of their ethnicity. In other words, in Korea, for many decades, we have been following the canonical tradition of the Ancient Church, which was the existence of a single Bishop in each geographical area who, as the responsible spiritual father, cared for the liturgical and pastoral needs of his multinational flock. “The anomalous phenomenon of the existence of many bishops, and indeed of the same title and in the same region, is a situation that emerged with the emigration of Orthodox believers during the 19th century from Orthodox countries to the New World. Anyone who has even a basic knowledge of the Church’s Canon Law immediately understands its irregularity. “Moreover, the decision of the Fourth Pan-Orthodox Conference for the Orthodox Diaspora at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambesy (June 6-13, 2009), which was signed by all Orthodox Churches, including His Beatitude Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, called for the restoration of the canonical order of the Ancient Church. “This official decision shows clearly that the recent act of the Moscow Patriarchate in Korea, and in other parts of the Far East, East Asia, Europe, and Latin America, are entirely anomalous or contrary to Orthodox ecclesiology and canonical tradition. “I strongly believe that the Patriarchate of Moscow’s decision to suspend commemoration of the Ecumenical Patriarch, well before Autocephaly was granted to the Church of Ukraine was a pretext designed by Moscow in order to begin implementing a premeditated plan conceived several decades ago. “Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, when he was still Archbishop of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, visited St. Nicholas Cathedral in Seoul, the cathedral of the Korean faithful under the spiritual care of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. After the Sunday Divine Liturgy, he told a local person of Russian descent, “You see all these? (meaning the church and the surrounding buildings). They were once ours, and were taken by the Greeks!” “The claims of the Patriarchate of Moscow in Korea began in the early 1990s. We have in our possession documents from the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department of External Affairs asking the Protestant Churches for money to build a church in Seoul. We have reports from the Korean media, apparently planted by the Russian authorities, in which they “explain” that the Russians have no church for their liturgical needs. “Thus, they deliberately ignore the existence of the Orthodox Metropolis of Korea, under the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in which they have a church and a priest as well as everything else necessary for their liturgical and pastoral needs in their own language. Asked whether “an Orthodox Church under the Russian jurisdiction been established?” Ambrosius responds: “Unfortunately, yes. In a private room allotted to them by the afore-mentioned “Mr. So,” on December 30, 2018, they began conducting Church services with a priest sent by the Patriarchate of Moscow and being assisted by “Mr. So,” an Orthodox priest. “Some people have left us and attend the new church, apparently for ethno-racial reasons. But many more faithful still belong to the Orthodox Metropolis of Korea. The saddest thing, however, is that the representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate do not only call Russians and other Slavophones, but also Koreans, Americans and other English speakers, trying to convince them to attend their church. They even call or meet young children and try to influence them, exploiting them at their tender age. “The Moscow Patriarchate has done and continues to do the same and even worse things in other Southeast Asian countries where there are Metropolises of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In Indonesia, for example, not only did they occupy a church that was erected through the donations of Orthodox Christians in Greece, but they also claimed members of the clergy, who had studied and were ordained through the care of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. “All these abusive acts are “accomplishments” of the Metropolitan of East America and New York Hilarion (ROCOR), which the Patriarchate of Moscow has appropriated. “Unfortunately, I do not think the Patriarchate of Moscow is interested in the unity of the Orthodox Church. On the contrary, I believe it lives by the anti-Christian doctrine of “divide and conquer.” “Now that the masks and pretenses have fallen, we see that the supposed “good relations” between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Patriarchate of Moscow were not always good; but not by the fault of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which has tolerated Moscow’s challenges with great patience. “And now that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is supposedly “schismatic,” the representatives of the Patriarchate of Moscow act as if they are free to do whatever they wish all over the world, implementing their premeditated “Third Rome” plan to become themselves the Ecumenical Patriarchate. “The impact [of what Moscow is doing] is very ugly. It is, to speak frankly, a huge scandal. For decades, we have proclaimed that the Orthodox Church is one. In the ecumenical dialogues in which we are participating, we emphasize that fragmentation into different denominations is a point of decline. We keep repeating that we must stop this evil, at all costs. “Now, the situation caused by the Moscow Patriarchate, not of course because of dogmatic or canonical reasons, but for purely political ones, confuses and scandalizes our dialogue partners. They ask us to explain what is happening. We answer them that we hope and pray daily for logic and orthodox ecclesiological consciousness to prevail over worldly aspirations and political expediency. “I honestly wonder, when, finally, will we understand that politics and diplomatic alliances are ephemeral phenomena? That, economic and secular power, upon which so many people base their lives, have an expiration date; and that only the Church of Christ remains unchanged and salvific throughout the centuries?”

 

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