Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (157)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

It seems that every action by or involving Russia is bad news for Russia. They cannot seem to do anything right, make any good decisions, or even put a believable spin on any of their propaganda. I only wonder how aware Russian citizens are of how badly the Russian government appears to be performing.

Ze appears to have good advisers and seems to be listening to them. I am pleasantly surprised.  All Ze has to do, however, is withstand the first contact…  That’s a takeoff on an old saying about plans. 

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More saber rattling by Muscovy, including an Easter provocation along the Norwegian border. LA Times on the Vozhd’s war hysteria – a way to legitimate the regime as clearly Russia is surrounded by implacable enemies wishing to destroy the poor victim Motherland. Rossiya-1 TV clip on the Belgorod and FFGs – scripted like a 1940s Mussolini newsreel – a must watch item. Updates on Russian sonar UUVs, Kh-47M2 Kinzhal and a surprise comment by Patrushev on the need to regulate military AI – maybe the reality that Russia seriously lags the US and China has finally sunk in? US/NATO signaling to Russia. Updates on Russia’s Internet law and porous data security. Major fire at Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant (Krasmash), manufacturer of the Sarmat ICBM.

Denmark hobbles Nordstream 2. Belarusian fuel contamination crisis continues and further expands. Russian government declares it to be intentional sabotage – whether it was the FSB or GRU who introduced the contaminant is yet to be determined, and who is blamed is also yet to be stated.

More than two dozen statements, reports and analyses on the Russian Donbas passport provocation – there is no consensus on what its actual aim is, other than to cause mayhem in Ukraine, propaganda for the loyal in Russia, and open up a myriad of opportunities for Russia to either meddle or use military force against Ukraine. Medusa reports are interesting as this play is very expensive to Russia in welfare costs.

Donbas update, including WSJ and RFE/RL reports. Zelensky Administration outlines its defense policy – expedite compliance with NATO standards, structures and practices, and transition to modern high tech capabilities.  NSDC to meet again with Boeing in May/June.

Ten reports on the language bill – pro-Russian MPs try to stall its enactment. Budapest again proves it is a Trojan horse proxy for Muscovy. Politics update – Ze complains about pushback by the bureaucracy and outgoing administration. 33rd anniversary of Chernobyl meltdown. Five reports on the election – Dobrokhotov may be right, Russia may already be regretting its effort to help push out Poroshenko. Nougayrède hits a ground truth. US media on Obama-Ukraine collusion.

Yet to be confirmed report that the Supreme Court has rejected the ROC’s suit against the law on church renaming. Finally, the role of the ROC in promoting nuclear weapons in Russia.

UAWire – Russia’s Defense Minister threatens NATO with asymmetric response

Russia will respond asymmetrically to an increase in NATO military activity near our borders, said Russin Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu at the VIII International Security Conference which began on Wednesday, April 24, in Moscow. The Head of the Russian Ministry of Defense expressed particular concern over the constantly increasing tensions in the Baltic and Black Seas. Together with an expert, “MK” tried to understand what the Minister of Defense meant by an asymmetric response to the West. The Alliance persistently continues to depict Russia as the main threat to the Western world. Meanwhile, Sergey Shoygu noted, NATO itself provokes Russia. For example, it demonstratively strengthens its military infrastructure near Russian borders. Or unreasonably increases activity in the Black and Baltic seas. All this, according to Sergey Shoygu, only serves to increase tensions. “I can assure you that retaliatory measures will be made in a timely manner and they will not necessarily be symmetrical to NATO actions,” the Russian Minister of Defense said at the opening of the VIII International Security Conference in Moscow. Sergey Shoygu did not specify what exactly the West will face if it continues its destructive military policy towards Russia. However, the “MK” expert suggested that the idea of asymmetric measures was being used to hide away from the potential adversary.

UAWire – Kremlin: Russia strengthening troops in response to NATO activity near its borders

Russia is increasing the number of troops in its Western and Southern military districts in response to active NATO operations near the country’s borders, said the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Valery Gerasimov, during the Moscow Security Conference. “To counterweigh the deployment of Alliance troops near Russia’s borders as well as the NATO initiative, we are forced to increase the number of troops in its Western and Southern military districts, RNS quoted Gerasimov. The Chief of the General Staff specified that enlistment numbers in the Russian army would remain the same, but troops from other military districts would be deployed to build up military presence near the borders. According to Gerasimov, the crisis between Russia and the West can be prevented only if NATO stops military preparations. The General believes that the North Atlantic Alliance should stop deploying troops and missile defense systems to Baltic and Eastern European countries.

Along Russia’s Border to Norway, a Big Show of Military Force

It’s not clear whether or not the Norwegian side was warned about this week’s exercise. Sounds of explosion rocked through the borderlands as 1,000 forces and more than 340 military vehicles, tanks and aircraft engaged in military training. There was no silent Easter in the border areas between Russia and Norway. As locals on the Norwegian side relaxed in their cabins on Easter Monday, the nearby military units based in the Russian Pechenga Valley were anything but dormant. According to the Northern Fleet, about 1,000 troops and more than 340 pieces of equipment engaged in a fight against a simulated enemy. Involved were T-72B3 tanks, mobile artillery units, amphibious armored vehicles, aircraft and helicopters. The drills that were headed by Colonel Sergey Pelipeya included fire with multiple rocket launcher BM-21 Grad and self-propelled gun 2S3 Akatsiya, as well as guided anti-tank weapon Fagot. In the air were supersonic fighter jets Su-24, and missiles were fired with self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon 2K22 Tunguska. Applied were also the man-portable surface-to-air missile Igla and 9K32 Strela. Complexes for radio-electronic warfare were also taken use of, and the exercise stretched thought both day and night. According to the Russian military, special attention was given to the elimination of enemy drones. On the sideline was watching Northern Fleet Head Commander Nikolay Yevmenov. With high esteem he followed the confident action of the motorized units, the Northern Fleet press service informs. It is not the first time that the powerful military units dislocated in the Pechenga area hold major exercises on this time of year. Similar drills were held in 2018.

There’s a bigger Russian threat than meddling. Vladimir Putin is acting like he wants war – Los Angeles Times

President Vladimir Putin is never happier or more animated than when he describes Russia’s nuclear hardware, aimed at the United States and invulnerable to U.S. missile defense.

Nuclear Drones on Nuclear Subs! Russian Navy is Innovating and Modernizing By Leaps and Bounds! – YouTube

Vesti News Published on Apr 24, 2019 Subscribe to Vesti News… Today, the nuclear submarine Belgorod was launched in Severodvinsk. It is reportedly the first nuclear-powered submarine capable of carrying the nuclear-capable underwater drone “Poseidon,” which can easily cover distances as far as between continents at high speed. Vladimir Putin watched the ceremony via video link. The president visited the Severnaya Verf Shipyard in Saint Petersburg to attend the keel-laying ceremony for two frigates. Moreover, the head of state checked up on the renovation of the city center.

Russia launches sub that will carry doomsday nuke drone torpedo | Ars Technica

Giant sub 27 years in the making, Belgorod is the mother of all “special project” boats. On April 23, 2019, a hulking submarine named the K-139 Belgorod was christened and launched from Severodvinsk, Russia. It slid from Sevmash Shipyard into the Nikolskoye estuary off the White Sea. First laid down in 1992, the Belgorod is the world’s longest submarine, surpassing Russia’s Typhoon-class nuclear-missile sub and the US Navy’s Ohio class. Its construction was paused for over a decade in 2000 after the disaster aboard its immediate predecessor, the Kursk—in which all the crew was lost after an explosion during missile tests. But Belgorod was resurrected with its design modified for a new purpose: carrying the Poseidon nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed torpedo “drone.”

Russia’s Doomsday Submarines Are Here (Armed with Nuclear Robot Torpedoes) | The National Interest

Russian has launched the first of several submarines designed to carry thermonuclear-armed robot torpedoes.

Russia Is Working on a New Way to ‘Unstealth’ U.S. Navy Submarines | The National Interest

Here come the robots.

Russia Inducts Its Own ‘Carrier Killer’ Missile, and It’s More Dangerous than China’s | The Diplomat

How the Kh-47M2 can drastically alter the balance of power in the Pacific.

Did Russia Just Concede a Need to Regulate Military AI? – Defense One

After years of Kremlin efforts to derail international guidelines on militarized artificial intelligence, a national-security leader appeared to signal a new course. Did the Russian military just concede that militarized artificial intelligence should be subject to international regulation? For several years, Russia has helped derail UN-sponsored attempts to hammer out global guidelines concerning lethal autonomous weapons systems, or LAWS. But on Wednesday, a top Russian security official appeared to reverse course. “We believe that it is necessary to activate the powers of the global community, chiefly at the UN venue, as quickly as possible to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework that would prevent the use of the specified [new] technologies for undermining national and international security,” Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said on Wednesday at an annual international-security conference in Moscow, according to state media. “Modern technologies make it possible to create attack instruments with the use of artificial intelligence, genetics, and synthetic biological agents—they are often as deadly as weapons of mass destruction.”

U.S. Air Force B-52 Bombers Practiced a Nuclear Strike on Russia Last Month | The National Interest

The U.S. Air Force in early March 2019 deployed five B-52 bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana to the United Kingdom. Some of the eight-engine, long-range planes flew mock nuclear attacks on Russian soil.

America Will Send Two Carriers to Send Russia a Message | The National Interest

Why send one when you can send two?

US warships send a powerful message to Russia – CNN Video

The United States is flexing its military muscles as a powerful warning to Russia. CNN’s Frederik Pleitgen got exclusive access as US warships started their own show of force in the Mediterranean Sea.

Russia May Soon Mothball Its Most Historic Launchpad: Report | Space

Russia may soon decommission its most historic launch site, from which the world’s first satellite, Sputnik, was lofted into space in 1957. Today, the site is used to send all astronauts into space, but a lack of funding for upgrades to accommodate newer rockets may change that.

Russia’s stolen-data industry New ‘BBC’ report explores the black market for ‘data penetrations’ — Meduza

Last year, investigative journalists at Bellingcat and The Insider made international headlines by identifying the two Russian “tourists” suspected of carrying out a nerve-agent attack in Salisbury, England, as Russian military intelligence operatives. Part of that sleuth work relied on private data grabbed from government records in the “Rossisskii Passport” database. According to the website Rosbalt, the discovery prompted Russia’s intelligence community to launch a manhunt to track down the source of the leak. The journalists deny buying this information (Bellingcat says the spies’ passport data was provided by someone with access to the records), but there is an entire black market in Russia where scammers, private detectives, and even jealous spouses can pay hard money for anyone’s personal records. In a new report for the BBC Russian Service, Andrey Zakharov managed to buy his own phone and bank information, learning how this illegal industry operates in Russia. Meduza summarizes what he discovered.

Russia’s Sovereign Internet Law Will Destroy Innovation

Opinion | By the time the law is implemented, Russia will be lagging behind the rest of the world.

The Quick Read About… Russia’s New Internet Law | Time

A new Russian internet would make it the first country to cordon off its internet from the world. Ian Bremmer breaks down why it matters.

In Russia, Stalin’s Approval Rating Soars |

Recent poll indicates Russians like the 20th-century strongman and want another for the 21st century.

Plant Producing Sarmat Missiles Catches Fire in Russia (VIDEO, PHOTO) – Sputnik International

KRASNOYARSK (Sputnik) – The roof of Krasnoyarsk’s Machine-Building Plant (Krasmash), where Russia’s Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles and Sineva ballistic missiles are produced, caught fire on Friday, the local department of the Russian Emergencies Ministry said. KRASNOYARSK (Sputnik) – The roof of Krasnoyarsk’s Machine-Building Plant (Krasmash), where Russia’s Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles and Sineva ballistic missiles are produced, caught fire on Friday, the local department of the Russian Emergencies Ministry said. “The roof of one of Krasmash’s buildings is burning”, the department said in a press release. As many as 38 people are already engaged in extinguishing the fire, and nine tank-vehicles have been deployed to fight the flames.

Massive fire raging at ballistic missile plant in Russia (Video) – news world | UNIAN

Massive fire has broken out at the Krasnoyarsk plant, which manufactures ballistic missiles for the Russian army. The accident does not inivolve shops where Sarmat, Sineva missiles are produced, the report says. Massive fire has broken out at the Krasnoyarsk plant, which manufactures ballistic missiles for the Russian army. The blaze extended to 24,000 square meters, the emergency service reported, according to TASS.

UAWire – Denmark stopped Nord Stream 2

Nord Stream 2 AG, the operating company of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, has been forced to comply with the demands of the Danish regulator and submit an application to lay the pipe within Denmark’s exclusive economic zone in the Baltic Sea. This is the third such application that the company has submitted. Originally, Gazprom intended to lay the pipeline along the same route as the first Nord Stream pipe, but when it became clear that Denmark could simply prohibit the laying of this pipeline in its territorial waters, the company requested permission to lay the pipe in international waters, but within Denmark’s exclusive economic zone. Now the Danish regulatory authority has suggested yet another route in the same exclusive economic zone. The consideration of the application has not yet begun, but once it begins, an ecological assessment will be carried out. Only after the assessment will Denmark decide whether to authorize the construction. Technically, Denmark cannot simply prohibit the construction of a gas pipeline outside its territorial waters, but it has the right to determine how the construction must be done from an ecological perspective. However, there is no clear understanding of when the ecological assessment will be performed or when the results will be evaluated. The only thing that can be said with relative certainty is that the Nord Stream 2 project is unlikely to make any progress whatsoever in 2019, and its operator will be very lucky indeed if it is able to resume by 2020. In effect, this will mean one thing: Gazprom has failed to carry out Putin’s order to bypass Ukraine’s gas transport system the moment the current Russian-Ukrainian gas transit agreement expires. If Gazprom had succeeded, it would have been able to dictate the terms of any future gas transit agreement with Ukraine, or even completely cease using Ukraine’s services. However, in light of the delay to Nord Stream 2, Gazprom will still need to reach an agreement with Ukraine when the current contract expires. This is a severe blow to Gazprom, especially in view of the current tense relations with Belarus, whose president is threatening to take the country’s pipelines offline for repairs. Gazprom will be forced to reach an agreement with Naftogaz of Ukraine, especially since Moscow suspects that Denmark will respond to the Nord Stream 2 construction applications only after such a Russian-Ukrainian gas transit contract has been signed.

Moscow Officials Meeting In Minsk With Oil Firms To Discuss Druzhba Pipeline Cuts

Officials from Russia’s Energy Ministry are meeting in Minsk on April 26 with oil transport firms from Russia, Belarus, Poland, and Ukraine to discuss the contamination of Russian oil shipments t…

Ukraine halts transit of Russian crude oil via Druzhba pipeline – news economics | UNIAN

Ukraine’s oil pipeline operator JSC Ukrtransnafta suspended transit shipments of Russian crude oil through the Mozyr-Brody main oil pipeline (Druzhba main pipeline) at 21:43 Kyiv time on April 25. The crude oil does not comply with quality indicators.

UAWire – Ukraine stops Russian oil transit

The national operator of Ukraine’s oil transport system Ukrtransnafta in its message on Facebook announced that on the evening of April 25 Ukrainian side was forced to suspend Russian oil transit via the Druzhba pipeline. “In accordance with the terms of the current agreement, Ukrtransnafta has the right to stop accepting Russian oil, if the raw materials do not meet the quality indicators. All material losses are borne by the party who did not comply with their duties,” said the operator. Ukraine has decided to suspend the Russian oil transit through the Mozyr-Brody pipeline due to the fact that at the Budkovce oil delivery point in Slovakia refused to accept oil, as well as due to the lack of free capacity at the Fenechlitka delivery point in Hungary.

Ukraine suspends transit of Russian oil to Europe

JSC Ukrtransnafta was forced to suspend transit of oil by the Mozyr-Brody trunk oil pipeline at 21:43 on April 25, 2019. “The company, in particular, made the decision guided by a contract on the provision of oil transportation services through the territory of Ukraine. According to the terms of this contract, Ukrtransnafta has the right to stop accepting Russian oil if the raw materials do not comply with quality requirements. All material losses are imposed on a party that has not kept its responsibilities,” Ukrtransnafta said in a statement. In addition, Ukrtransnafta resorted to these steps in connection with the refusal to accept substandard Russian oil at the Budkovets point (Slovakia) and because of the lack of vacant tanks at the Fényeslitke point (Hungary). Ukrtransnafta said that it was difficult to name the possible dates for the resumption of the transit of Russian oil, recalling that the discussion of the situation by the Druzhba operators was scheduled at noon Friday in Minsk. The company told Interfax-Ukraine that European counterparties have already declared that they are not ready to accept low-quality oil. At the same time, its storage by Ukrtransnafta in its reservoir park in Brody will certainly harm the equipment.

Technical solution for restoring transit found – Ukrtransnafta

Parties to negotiations on supply of Russian oil have found a solution to the problem of resuming transit. “A technical solution has been found. I think that literally in the first half of May, at least, the southern direction of the Druzhba pipeline will resume stable work on pumping Urals oil to consumer plants,” Ukrtransnafta Director General Mykola Havrylenko said. As reported, on April 26 in Minsk representatives of Belarus, Russia, Poland and Ukraine held emergency talks on the situation with the transit of oil through the Druzhba pipeline. Belarusian Belneftekhim concern on the evening of April 19 announced a sharp deterioration in the quality of oil flowing through the pipeline from Russia. According to the concern, the content of chloride compounds in the Urals oil coming in via the Gomeltransneft Druzhba pipeline exceeded the standard values by several times. Belarusian refineries – Mozyr and Naftan – reported on the threat of damage to equipment and reduced oil refining volumes by almost 50%. Belarus on April 23 was forced to suspend the export of light oil products to Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic countries due to the receipt of poor-quality Russian oil. On April 24, Gomeltransneft Druzhba stopped the transit of “dirty” Russian oil to Europe after informing the Polish pipeline company Pern that oil refineries in Poland and Germany could accept and process oil. At 22:00, Warsaw time, they suspended transportation of oil to Poland at the Adamovo hub for an indefinite period. On the evening of April 25, Ukrtransnafta also reported that it was suspending the transit of oil through the Mozyr-Brody pipeline.

Ukrtransnafta suffers no damage from pumping polluted Russian oil – CEO

Ukrtransnafta did not suffer damage from pumping polluted Russian oil, director general of the company Mykola Havrylenko has told reporters in Minsk. “For the time being, I can officially declare that no damage was caused unless the lost revenue from the volume of outstanding work,” he said. As reported, Belneftekhim concern on April 19 announced a sharp deterioration in the quality of oil flowing through the pipeline from Russia. According to the concern, the content of organochlorine compounds in the Urals oil coming in via the Gomeltransneft Druzhba pipeline exceeded the standard values by several times.

UAWire – Czech Republic follows Poland, rejects contaminated Russian oil

The scandal surrounding the incident at Transneft, which resulted in chlorine-containing substances mixing with Russian oil, continues to gain …

Russia oil: Germany and Poland suspend imports via Russian pipeline

The Druzhba pipeline can ship up to 1 million barrels per day (bpd), according to data sourced by Reuters — approximately 1% of global demand.

Russian investigators open criminal case saying petroleum exported to Belarus was contaminated intentionally — Meduza

A week after low-quality Russian petroleum was first reported in Belarus, Russian investigators have opened a criminal case to look into the matter, Interfax reported. The Russian company Transneft argued that the contamination of petroleum in the Druzhba pipeline was intentional, saying that an organochlorine compound was added to the pipeline at the Samaratransneftterminal junction in Samara. An investigation is ongoing in several private offices in the city. After a sudden drop in the quality of Belarusian petroleum imports from Russia was reported on April 19, Minsk temporarily limited its exports of petroleum products, including benzene, to nearby countries. Poland and Ukraine temporarily halted the transport of Russian petroleum in response to the incident, and Belarusian energy companies reported large financial losses.

Outrage Grows as Russia Grants Passports in Ukraine’s Breakaway Regions – The New York Times

The United States, Germany and France joined Ukraine in condemning the Kremlin’s move to fast-track Russian citizenship for some residents of separatist areas.

Russia testing Ukraine’s new leader with passport move: Lithuania – Reuters

Russia’s decision to make it easier for residents of rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine to obtain a Russian passport is meant to test Ukraine’s new leader and the West should not recognize the documents, Lithuania’s foreign minister said on Friday.

Igor Solovey | Operation “Passport”: why Kremlin wants to grant citizenship to ORDLO residents – news portal

According to the Russian daily Kommersant, after the second round of the presidential election in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin may sign a decree that will entitle residents of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics (DPR and LPR, together known as ORDLO)) to Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure. Putin’s spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said at the same time that the Kremlin is not yet ready to comment on this report. The reports about the future issuance of passports to ORDLO residents are not news for Ukraine and has been overshadowed by the election fight. Then they said that the territory of ORDLO is only a small part of what they would like to claim (let us not forget about the “Novorossia” project). Now, the Kremlin’s policy of Russia’s self-isolation apparently applies to the issues of resolving the situation in Donbas. Why now? Deliberate leaks to the media (the aforementioned Kommersant, as well as RBC) about the readiness to issue passports can be viewed as another step by Moscow in influencing the electoral situation in Ukraine ahead of the presidential and then parliamentary elections. This is an attempt to revive the forgotten topic of Donbas in the election campaigns of the Ukrainian political forces. The start of the passport campaign is “hanging in the air” because the Russian leadership is still deciding when is the best time to do it, an informed Russian source told “They started promoting the passport issue, being sure that Poroshenko would win. And the decision was made that after his victory, Russia will not recognize the legitimacy of the election, and the second step will be to issue passports. Now this topic is handing in the air, there is no final decision. The pause is largely for Zelenskyy’s benefit, we are looking at all the risks and threats, and then there will be a solution,” he said. By the way, the Russian Foreign Ministry has long been holding information preparations for the non-recognition of the Ukrainian election: its spokesman Mariya Zakharova does not get tired of repeating every time that there were no Russian observers at the elections and that Ukraine “gave up on its citizens” in the Russian Federation and Donbas. Publicly, the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs also states that “this presidential decree can be signed immediately after the elections, unless some political expediency arises to see how the new Ukrainian president, if there is one, does or does not do something in terms of resolving the situation in eastern Ukraine”. Signals are sent at various levels that Moscow can suspend/cancel the issuance of passports if Kyiv agrees to “ensure the political rights of citizens in these territories”, that is it will agree to the autonomous status of L/DPR within Ukraine. However, both participants of the presidential election runoff categorically deny this possibility. Nevertheless, the experts we have interviewed are confident that relations between Ukraine and Russia will not change regardless of who is elected president – Poroshenko or Zelenskyy. Ukraine will continue its course for the EU and NATO, and the Kremlin will in every way interfere with this, using a bleeding wound in the country’s east. So, Russia is not going to withdraw fro Donbas regardless of the results of the Ukrainian elections. And the process of issuing Russian passports will be launched there anyway, now or later. The latest reshuffles in the Russian Presidential Administration only prove this. Oleg Govorun’s departure from the post of the head of the border cooperation department and his replacement with Aleksey Filatov, who comes from the special services (who oversaw the unrecognised L/DPR and is considered a hard-line supporter) will only strengthen the “security bloc” of relations with Ukraine. In particular, in early January 2019, the representative of the ombudsman in Luhansk and Donetsk regions, Pavlo Lysyanskyy, said Russian representatives have been campaigning in Donbas to persuade locals to apply for Russian passports. “One Nikolay Starikov was there recently. He held events there and actively promoted the idea that Donbas residents should be provided with Russian passports. It was not his only message for the residents of Donbas, all separatist media have been saying this,” Lysyanskyy said. Quoting information from Ukrainian intelligence, the Ukrainian Defence Ministry also warned about the beginning of the phased issuance of Russian passports. “In particular, the so-called “leadership of the republics” is intensively disseminating information about preparations for the phased replacement of local residents’ L/DPR passports with Russian ones. At the same time, civil servants and representatives of uniformed agencies will allegedly be the first to get Russian passports,” the spokesman for the Defence Ministry, Maksym Prauta, said at one of the briefings. Why are passports important? By issuing passports to ORDLO residents, the Russian Federation is trying to boost loyalty of the local population to the occupation and strengthen the shaky pro-Russian sentiment. The experience of Abkhazia and South Ossetia has shown that the issuance of Russian passports should relieve social tensions under the occupation because locals will now be able to go to Russia for work. One should not forget about Putin’s falling rating amid the general absence of any positive agenda for wide groups of the Russian population. Current status of the process Civil servants, security officials and pensioners will be the first to receive passports, they will be issued locally. The rest will have to go to Russia’s Rostov Region to get the documents. According to Kommersant, the Russian regions bordering ORDLO have already “prepared the entire infrastructure for the reception of citizens”. The mandatory requirement is to have a DPR/LPR passport. Sources in law-enforcement agencies told that 500,000 blank forms had been prepared by now. Local uniformed agencies have been told that the issuance of passports will begin in May. In parallel, the separatist authorities are charging 9,000 roubles per passport. Moreover, members of paramilitary groups are told off the record that once they have Russian passports, they can quickly be registered as “peacekeeping forces”; all that remains is to provide them with appropriate insignia. Change of wind Initially, Moscow did not want to recognise the occupied regions of Donbas and issue passports to their residents to avoid the backlash from the world community. This option was considered to be an extreme measure, the “last argument of the kings”. However, an intermediate option was used: Russia recognises South Ossetia which, in turn, recognises the DPR. The ideologists in Moscow explained their unwillingness to allow for the de facto integration of ORDLO, first of all, by their desire to preserve Ukraine as a partner in special relations with Russia. Propagandists were busy scaremongering, saying that by withdrawing ORDLO from the composition of Ukraine, the Kremlin would shift the internal balance towards the conventionally pro-Western forces in Ukraine. “In this case, we proceeded from the fact that Donetsk and Luhansk should be returned to the common political field with Ukraine, but on decent conditions. That is, without reprisals, without settling scores, but with a special status – as an element of a federation or confederation. And the very return of Donetsk and Luhansk in this status was expected to become a catalyst for a chain reaction of Ukraine’s federalisation. And federal Ukraine is what can please the heart,” Konstantin Zatulin said.

The Week In Russia: Passport Politics In The Donbas, A Power Play In Vladivostok

‘Russian-Thinking’ The decree, however, makes no reference to ethnicity, background, or self-identification. Its wording suggests that anyone living in the separatist-held parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions – both of which border Russia — can apply. Meanwhile, Vladislav Surkov, the longtime Putin aide who handles Kremlin policy on the Donbas conflict and has written voluminous, fawning articles on Russia’s future, reached into his frequently unusual lexicon to describe those targeted for fast-track access to Russian passports. Moscow was carrying out its duty to Russian-speaking and “Russian-thinking” people in the Donbas, he said – echoing the talk of a “Russian world” that circulated at an earlier stage in the war, when there were fears that Russia and the separatists would push westward in a bid to take over a huge swath of Ukraine reaching to Russian-controlled Crimea or the Moldovan border. In addition to throwing up a big new barrier to the implementation of the Minsk deal, Putin’s decree appeared to put the warmer ties that the Kremlin says it wants with Kyiv even further out of reach. A day after he signed it, the Ukrainian parliament passed legislation that its authors say will “secure” the use of Ukrainian as the official state language, drawing a sharply critical response from Russia. ‘More Hell, Please’ The Guardian quoted an adviser to Surkov as saying that Putin held off on issuing the decree earlier to avoid letting “Poroshenko and the country’s radicals” use it during the campaign. But some observers suspected other Kremlin calculations were involved. “The measure is timed as if the Kremlin wanted to help Poroshenko’s team to push through the divisive language law, which will provide Russia with further arguments to protect its ethnic kin in Ukraine,” author Leonid Ragozin wrote on Twitter. “Больше ада, as they say in Russia — more hell please.” “What’s advantageous to the Kremlin is that it can [portray] itself as a force protecting the existing delicate texture of society, while the nationalists are promoting a radical cultural revolution that will upend it and create cultural barriers which previously didn’t exist,” Ragozin wrote.

US, Russia Wait to See Which Direction Ukrainian President Will Go

While the team of Volodymyr Zelenskiy is preparing for a dialogue with the West and East, Russia intends to issue passports to residents of occupied Donbas

Statement by the President of Ukraine on another interference of the Russian Federation in the internal affairs of Ukraine — Official website of the President of Ukraine

The decree of the President of the Russian Federation on a simplified procedure for acquiring citizenship of the Russian Federation by Ukrainian citizens living in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions is another unprecedented interference of the Russian Federation in the internal affairs of an independent state, a brutal violation of sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine and a complete trampling upon its obligations in the framework of the Minsk agreements. In addition, the Kremlin therefore deliberately and cynically violates international humanitarian law, which prohibits the occupation authorities from changing the citizenship of the inhabitants of the occupied territories. The Russian Federation has again crossed the red lines, openly and brazenly undermining the peace process in Donbas. The fake elections in 2014 and 2018, the introduction of the ruble zone, the expropriation of Ukrainian enterprises, the official recognition of documents issued by illegal bodies – this is not a complete list of destructive steps the Russian party has taken in recent years. Russia’s categorical refusal to support the initiative of Ukraine and the OSCE to launch an “Easter” armistice starting on April 26 is not accidental. The purpose of Russia is obvious: to annul the Minsk agreements, which clearly state its commitment: to stop the shelling, withdraw its troops and armaments, free Ukrainian hostages, return control over the state border to Ukraine. Along with the Minsk commitments, Moscow is planning to get rid of sanctions. The illegal issuance of passports of the Russian Federation under the so-called South Ossetia and Transnistria scenarios is an attempt to justify and legitimize Russia’s military presence in the occupied part of the Ukrainian Donbas. I call on international partners to prevent the worst scenario, to severely condemn the destructive and criminal actions of the Russian authorities and to strengthen the regime of international sanctions. In this regard, I instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to initiate the discussion of this issue in the framework of the UN Security Council immediately, as well as within other international formats, in particular the OSCE and the EU.

EU countries statement on Russian decree enabling simplified issuing of passports in Donbas: attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty

26.04.19 10:58 – EU countries statement on Russian decree enabling simplified issuing of passports in Donbas: attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty The European Union countries consider that the Russian decree enabling the simplified issuing of passports in occupied areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions is another attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty, which violates the Minsk… View news.

OSCE, Western Powers At UN Assail Moscow’s Plan To Ease Russian Citizenship For Ukrainians

The OSCE and Western powers at the United Nations criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to ease the process of granting Russian citizenship to Ukrainians in territory of eastern …

Poland blames Russia for intentions to issue passports for Donbas residents

Polish Ministry for Foreign Affairs has condemned Russia’s plans to issue Russian passports for the residents of the occupied Donbas

Slovak OSCE Chairmanship deeply concerned about granting Russian citizenship to Ukrainians – news politics | UNIAN

The Slovak OSCE Chairmanship is deeply concerned about the news regarding granting Russian citizenship to Ukrainians in Russia-occupied Donbas, eastern Ukraine. The Chairmanship invites all sides to jointly continue searching for ways how to fully implement the Minsk agreements.

British Foreign Office condemns Putin’s decision on simplified issuance of Russian passports in Donbas

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office condemns the decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin to sign a decree on the issuance of Russian passports to residents of occupied Donbas under a simplified procedure. — Ukrinform.

Germany, France denounce Kremlin’s decision to issue passports to Donbas residents – German MFA

Russia’s decision to facilitate the issuance of Russian passports to residents of Donetsk and Luhansk goes against the Minsk Agreements, the German Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

France, Germany, UK at UN condemn simplifying procedure for ORDLO residents to receive Russian citizenship

France, Germany and Great Britain have condemned the decision of the President of Russia on the simplified procedure for granting of Russian citizenship to Ukrainians in Russia-occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (ORDLO).

Ukraine at UNSC urges Kremlin to cancel decree on Russian passports in Donbas – news politics | UNIAN

Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations Volodymyr Yelchenko has called on the Kremlin to cancel the decree on distributing Russian passports in Ukraine’s Donbas. The illegal “passportization” of Ukrainian citizens means that the Kremlin recognizes its occupation of Ukrainian territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Yelchenko sees issue of Russian passports in Donbas as attempt to legitimize military presence – news politics | UNIAN

Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations Volodymyr Yelchenko has said distributing Russian passports in Donbas could be easily used by the Kremlin for legitimizing its military presence in Ukraine. Yelchenko said the Russian president’s illegitimate decree completely undermines the logic of the Minsk agreements.

Ukraine’s envoy to UN urges to impose new targeted sanctions on Russia – news politics | UNIAN

Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations Volodymyr Yelchenko has called on the international community to impose new targeted sanctions on Russia to make it implement the Minsk peace agreements on Donbas. According to Yelchenko, destabilization and fragmentation of Ukraine was a crystal-clear intent behind every move during the last five years.

Eight EU member states call on Russia not to jeopardize Minsk agreements and to stop supporting militants – news politics | UNIAN

Eight European Union Member States have called on Russia not to deal a blow at the Minsk Agreements and to cease militarily supporting Donbas militants, France’s Envoy to the UN Francois Delattre told a briefing ahead of the UNSC meeting on Ukraine in New York April 25. Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, UK, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden are calling on Russia not to hinder the full restoration of Ukrainian government’s control over the occupied Donbas.

With move to issue passports to Donbas residents, Russia creates grounds for military intervention in Ukraine – Klimkin – news politics | UNIAN

Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin has declared that Russia, by its decision on the “passportization” of residents of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, creates a pretext for military intervention in Ukraine. The Kremlin explained that Putin made such a decision “to protect human and civil rights and freedoms,” on the basis of “generally accepted principles and norms of international law.”

Ukraine’s senior security official believes Russia not to annex Donbas – news politics | UNIAN

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine believes the Kremlin will not dare annex the occupied territories of Donbas to Russia, NSDC Deputy Secretary Serhiy Kryvonos said. “The situation repeats itself, as it was in Abkhazia, and this doesn’t play in favor of our country: it is undermining the confidence of those who are waiting for us to return, but on the other hand, it is an attempt to show that ‘you have too few chances, no one is waiting for you any longer,’ and in the future this may turn into a referendum and, possibly, the accession of these regions [to Russia],” said Kryvonos.

Klimkin: No dual citizenship with aggressor state Russia possible – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin declares that there can be no dual citizenship in Ukraine with the Russian Federation as an aggressor state. “We are talking about dual citizenship with those countries that are civilized, complying with the principles of international law,” emphasizes the minister.

Poroshenko thanks Europe and US for their stance on issuance of Russian passports in Donbas

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko welcomes the demonstration of unity and solidarity with Ukraine during a meeting of the UN Security Council, which was convened in connection with Russian “passportization” of Ukrainian Donbas. — Ukrinform.

Ukrainian, Lithuanian Foreign Ministers discuss new anti-Russian sanctions

Putin’s decision on passports condemned

Expert explains why Russia is giving away passports in Donbas

On April 24, the Kremlin made it easier to obtain Russian passports for residents of the LNR and DNR. Political analyst Oleg Saakyan has told Belsat why Putin decided to do this right now.

Thanks to Putin, Donbas residents now have an expedited path toward Russian citizenship. What could go wrong? — Meduza

Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed an order allowing for an expedited citizenship process for residents of the self-styled Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (the DPR and LPR), which form Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Residents of the two breakaway regions may begin receiving Russian passports in the near future, and Putin’s move has drawn criticism and renewed calls for sanctions in Kyiv and the West. We asked how issuing passports to residents of the DPR and LPR aligns with Russian and Ukrainian law and what problems might arise as Russia begins accepting new citizens from both regions. DPR and LPR fighters can legally be denied Russian citizenship Russia’s federal citizenship laws include a number of universal limits for potential citizens. For example, Russian citizenship can be denied to individuals who: Are participating or have participated in international, interethnic, interterritorial, or other armed conflicts; Are participating or have participated in the completion or preparation of illegal acts that match at least one criterion for extremism; Are currently serving in the armed forces, security forces, or law enforcement agencies of a foreign government (unless that government has made an agreement to the contrary with the Russian Federation). On their application for Russian citizenship (a blank sample of which was published alongside Putin’s order), DPR and LPR residents must confirm that these limits do not apply to them. Even if the Russian government chooses to overlook these exceptions in the short term, each individual decision to grant a Russian passport may be overturned if the responses on the passport holder’s application are shown to be false at some later date. Ukrainian officials have already taken steps toward revoking Ukrainian citizenship for those who get a Russian passport Yury Grimchak, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories, told DPR and LPR residents that if they receive a Russian passport, their Ukrainian citizenship will automatically be revoked. In the spring of 2017, then-Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko proposed a bill that would have made that process universal, removing Ukrainian citizenship from anyone who was granted citizenship elsewhere. However, the bill was never accepted, and the Verkhovna Rada asked for it to be reworked. Last year, when the Hungarian government’s decision to grant citizenship to residents of Transcarpathia sparked an international scandal, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin admitted that Ukrainian citizens cannot be punished for receiving dual citizenship. The international community and even Russia itself recognize the DPR and LPR as regions of Ukraine. The regions are primarily populated by Ukrainian citizens who possess the rights associated with that status, including the right to vote. If the Ukrainian government began to revoke the citizenship status of Donbas residents en masse as those individuals received Russian passports, their status would be unclear. On one hand, they would be unable to vote, and they would legally have to receive residency permits to remain in their homes. On the other hand, Kyiv has virtually no control over the DPR and LPR at the moment. If Donbas residents keep their Ukrainian citizenship, additional problems could arise Russia’s Internal Affairs Ministry emphasized that residents of the self-declared DPR and LPR who receive Russian citizenship can choose to retain their status as citizens of Ukraine. However, if those individuals are granted Russian citizenship and do not inform the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry within 60 days about their Ukrainian citizenship status, they will have committed a criminal offense punishable with fines of up to 200,000 rubles (about $3,000) or up to 400 hours of mandatory labor. The Russian government also applies additional limitations to dual citizens who move to Russia. They cannot work in government service, run for elected government positions, work in law enforcement or security, or receive access to state secrets. Nonetheless, dual citizens who are permanent residents of Russia can be drafted into the Russian army for emergency service. DPR and LPR fighters will likely be able to receive passports that enable them to leave the country Both Russian and Ukrainian citizens use separate passports for identification within the borders of their country of citizenship and identification internationally. Before Putin’s recent order, Donbas residents could only receive international passports from Ukraine. However, in order to do so, they had to cross the front lines of the Ukrainian war. Few individuals who fight or have fought for the DPR and LPR would likely decide to do such a thing because they would risk being captured by Ukrainian police. Now, if they are granted Russian citizenship, those fighters could receive Russian international passports and, at least theoretically, be able to leave the country. How European governments and government leaders elsewhere might react to this de facto “legalization” of international travel for Donbas residents has yet to be seen. So far, the Lithuanian government has called on the international community “not to recognize illegally issued documents from the Russian Federation and to tighten sanctions against Russia.”

Experts claim Putin’s citizenship program in eastern Ukraine will cost Russia 100 billion rubles a year — Meduza

Experts polled by the news website The Bell estimate that Vladimir Putin’s decision this week to simplify the path to citizenship for millions of people living in Ukraine’s separatist-controlled Donbas region will cost Moscow at least 100 billion rubles ($1.6 billion) in additional annual social-security payments. Meanwhile, Russia’s labor and social protection minister, Maxim Topilin, told the news agency TASS that pension payments to those receiving Russian citizenship in eastern Ukraine won’t be a “heavy burden” on Russia’s Pension Fund.

Putin Shows Carrot and Stick to New Ukraine Leader – WSJ

Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to extend an olive branch to Ukraine’s president-elect in his first public comments since Sunday’s vote, while tightening the screws on a Russia-occupied area of the country.

Reuters: Russian pranksters posing as Zelenskyy trick France’s Macron – news portal

Reuters: Russian pranksters posing as Zelenskyy trick France’s Macron. Political – news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

On The Front Line: Shells Continue To Fall In Eastern Ukraine

Four years after the cease-fire signed in Minsk, intermittent shelling continues on the front line between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists.(Camera: Maryan Kushnir, Markiyan Lyseyko)

On the Russian Front in Ukraine – WSJ

A visit to Mariupol shows why the country elected an outsider comedian—and the hard task he faces.

Nine attacks against JFO positions yesterday: no losses among Ukrainian soldiers

26.04.19 07:11 – Nine attacks against JFO positions yesterday: no losses among Ukrainian soldiers April 25, the Russian occupying forces attacked JFO positions nine times, twice using Minsk-proscribed weapons. View news.

Donbas war: Occupant fires with Minsk-banned weaponry at residential houses in Chermalyk

No casualties have been spotted as a result of the enemy’s shelling

Donbas warzone update: Ukraine reports nine enemy attacks in past day – news war | UNIAN

Russia’s hybrid military forces on April 25 mounted nine attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas. No casualties were reported among Ukrainian troops.

UAWire – Zelensky’s administration presents military doctrine

The team of recently elected President Vladimir Zelensky released a new “military doctrine”. Ivan Aparshin, Zelensky’s advisor on issues of security and defense, passed the document on to a Novoye Vremya journalist. The document emphasizes that security and defense issues are the exclusive responsibility of the president. The administration promises that it will be guided by standards adopted by NATO member states in leading the defense force. Zelensky’s team intends to adapt its military command and control systems to NATO J-, G-, and S-structures as soon as possible in addition to dividing the duties of the Chief of the General Staff and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be responsible for planning and strategically using the Ukrainian army, while the joint operational headquarters with be responsible for commanding the Armed Forces of Ukraine and individual branches of service as well deploying force and troops. A “motivated all-volunteer army” will work to challenge the threats to Ukraine’s sovereignty alongside the armies of NATO member countries. Reserve troops that are always ready to take action will also strengthen the army. The document also emphasizes that commanders and command and control bodies at the tactical and operational level will gain maximum independence when making decisions to counter military aggression. The presidential team plans to form a modern system for planning and managing the defense resources, financial and material, to meet standard security needs. They promise to solve the “long-overdue” issues of getting rid of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ extrinsic functions, ensuring transparency in security and defense sector financial information and monitoring budget efficiency through public oversight. It is noted that 50% of financial resources will be used to maintain Armed Forces, 30% for re-equipment and 20% for training troops and other forces. The state will adequately provide for its soldiers, both in service and veterancy. The team promises to grant accommodation to military personnel. Those who have served for more than 20 years will be entitled to apartments through targeted savings programs as well as long-term and mortgage lending. “The army will receive modern high-tech weaponry. The military doctrine prioritizes the following: intelligence equipment, counter-air defense, communications systems and electronic warfare.” The doctrine states that the Ukroboronprom association of enterprises should not be able to craft military-technical policy. Defense purchasing should be transferred to electronic platforms that are impossible to interfere with. At the same time, the new central executive body will take on the task of forming and implementing military-industrial policy.

Next round of talks with Boeing Company to be held in May-June

The Boeing Company is interested in cooperation with Ukraine. Such cooperation is extremely beneficial to our state as well. The next round of negotiations regarding details of cooperation will take place in May-June. Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Serhiy Kryvonos said this at the Informational Evening program on Channel 5, the NSDC’s press service reported. “Such cooperation can become a successful example of cooperation at such a level in order to attract other investors and draw in more projects to Ukraine to deepen military and technical cooperation with NATO member states. For us, this means thousands of jobs, an opportunity to make our army stronger, and to strengthen positions in international markets,” he stressed. Kryvonos informed that the first stage of negotiations with the Boeing Company had been already held, and during May-June several rounds of negotiations on detailed cooperation would take place. “Negotiations, which determined the general line of action, were held,” he said, adding that, first of all, this refers to the large-scale assembly and repair of airplanes on the basis of domestic aircraft repair plants, and the development of the infrastructure of these plants for servicing of Boeing aircraft in the territory of Ukraine. According to Kryvonos, cooperation with Ukraine is also strategically beneficial to Boeing itself, since the company is competing with Airbus in the European market and Lockheed in the US. “Therefore, for them it is a rather successful project, which will allow to become stronger in their market as well,” he added.

Plane Forgot: Aviation Treasure In Ukraine Airfield

More than 100 antique aircraft sit in purgatory in a former Soviet air base in eastern Ukraine, but some of these planes may live to fly again.

President will sign the Law on language as soon as he receives it from the Verkhovna Rada — Official website of the President of Ukraine

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko will sign the Law “On Ensuring the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language as a State Language” as soon as he receives the document from the Verkhovna Rada. “I will sign the law as soon as I receive it for signing. Please note that we have deliberately put the adoption of the law beyond the scope of the electoral campaign, as it is in fact not about the elections. It is about language. It is about our Ukrainian language,” the Head of State commented on the adoption of this document. Petro Poroshenko reminded that the law had been elaborated for several years and over this time “both punitive inspections and structures that could put pressure on business have been removed from it”. “The text has become harmonious and balanced,” he stated. The President referred to wise words of Ukrainian poet and writer Lina Kostenko: “Nations do not die of a heart attack. At first, their language grows numb…”. He stated that over the last 5 years, in the issue of language development, Ukraine “has come out of the preinfarction syndrome”. “We’ve made a lot. We have a high-quality Ukrainian-language information product: cinematography, books, radio, television,” the Head of State noted. “The flowering of the Ukrainian language after centuries of total Russification is a mission we must accomplish. Respect for the rights of people who speak Russian and other languages is also important. This is a European practice, which we strictly adhere to and will adhere to. And people will quickly enough make sure that the new law does not interfere with this in any way,” Petro Poroshenko also emphasized. The President thanked the majority of Russian-speaking citizens for their understanding of the need to support the Ukrainian language. “By the way, I also studied it already at a mature age,” Petro Poroshenko said. The Law “On Ensuring the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language as a State Language” was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on April 25. The law was approved by 278 people’s deputies.

UAWire – Ukrainian becomes the only state language of Ukraine

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has adopted the law “on ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language”. 278 members of Ukrainian parliament voted in favor of this decision. According to UNIAN, from now on, the top leadership of the country, all judges, prosecutors, employees of the National Bank of Ukraine, as well as officials, are obliged to speak only in Ukrainian while performing official duties. The military, teachers and doctors are also required by law to use the Ukrainian language at work. The deputies also obliged all digital and print media that broadcasts in other languages to have a Ukrainian language version. From now on, foreigners applying for the citizenship of Ukraine will also have to know the national language of the country. The law does not apply to private communications and religious ceremonies. Ukraine envisaged administrative liability for violation of the state language law as well as criminal liability in cases of “public humiliation and disregard for the state language”. Violators will face a fine of up to 50 minimum salaries or arrest for six months to three years period.

Pro-Russian faction’s deputies block signing of language law in Ukraine – news politics | UNIAN

Deputies from the Opposition Bloc faction on Thursday, April 25, blocked the signing by Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy of the law on the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language, according to an UNIAN correspondent. Two draft resolutions on repealing the parliament’s decision on the adoption of the law have been submitted.

Ukraine’s parliament speaker Parubii to sign Ukrainian language law on May 14

26.04.19 18:11 – Ukraine’s parliament speaker Parubii to sign Ukrainian language law on May 14 The Verkhovna Rada will consider draft resolutions on termination of results of voting on the law on provision of functioning of Ukrainian as official language on May 14. View news.

Rada Speaker sets date for final battle for blocked language law – news politics | UNIAN

Verkhovna Rada Chairman Andrei Paruby said that deputies will consider draft resolutions blocking the signing of the language bill on Tuesday, May 14, according to an UNIAN correspondent. It’s May 14.

Rada extends in language bill transitional period until 2023 for implementing language provision in education law

The Verkhovna Rada has extended until 2023 the opportunity for representatives of national minorities to receive secondary education in the language of the respective minorities with a gradual transition to the Ukrainian language. People’s deputies considered the corresponding amendment, passing the law on the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language. According to the text of the document, persons who belong to the national minorities of Ukraine, whose languages are official in the European Union, and began to receive general secondary education before September 1, 2018 in the language of the respective national minorities, they will continue to receive such education according to the rules that entry into force of the law on education until September 1, 2023.

Hungary to keep blocking Ukraine-NATO talks over language law – media – news politics | UNIAN

The Hungarian government has reacted to Ukraine’s language bill adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on April 25 and vowed to keep blocking high-level Ukraine-NATO talks. “Sources tell me that Hungarian gov’t officials made it clear to NATO DSG [Deputy Secretary General Rose] Gottemoeller during her visit to Budapest that Hungary will keep blocking high-level Ukraine-NATO talks if UA passes its language law (which just happened) or in case of any infringement of minority rights,” Hungarian journalist Szabolcs Panyi wrote on Twitter on April 25 with reference to sources in the Hungarian government.

Ukrainian foreign minister Klimkin: Hungary deliberately chooses line of confrontation in language issue

When criticizing the Ukrainian language law adopted on Thursday, Hungary deliberately aggravates relations between the two countries, but the Ukrainian side hopes for understanding. — Ukrinform.

Hungarian Foreign Ministry criticizes Ukrainian language law

26.04.19 12:07 – Hungarian Foreign Ministry criticizes Ukrainian language law Hungarian Foreign Minister hopes that this issue will be clarified with future president Zelenskyi. View news.

EU to study law on Ukrainian language and to comment on it

The European Commission will study the law on the Ukrainian language and will comment on it. High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said as Maya Kosianchic reported to DW. “We know that the Ukrainian parliament has adopted the new law on the Ukrainian language. Now we are waiting for the publication of the final version of this law in order to study its content,” Kosianchic pointed out. She also added that the EU insisted on sending the law to the review of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe “until the day it comes to force”.

“The System is scared”: Zelensky accuses CEC of taking away opportunity to dissolve Parliament – news politics | UNIAN

Volodymyr Zelensky, the President-elect of Ukraine, in a statement recorded on video, accused the Central Election Commission of delaying the announcement of election results. The president-elect suggests that the agency is delaying the announcement of official results so that the Verkhovna Rada also reschedules the inauguration date.

Zelensky: Election results delayed to prevent parliament dissolution – news portal

Zelensky: Election results delayed to prevent parliament dissolution. “Victory is there, but there is no authority. Someone is hiding the mace from me.” Political – news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Zelensky, Groysman hold informal meeting

Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman and President-elect of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, have held an informal meeting on April 24, the Kyiv-based Ukrayinska Pravda ezine reported, referring to two independent sources.

NABU investigating into alleged embezzlement of public funds provided for ‘Me, You, He, She’ movie starring Zelensky

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine) has opened a criminal proceeding regarding the fact of alleged embezzlement of funds provided by the State Film Agency of Ukraine for making the “Me, You, He, She” movie starting showman and president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky. An Interfax-Ukraine correspondent has reported, on Wednesday during the meeting of the anti-corruption committee of the Verkhovna Rada, the founder of the nongovernmental organization Union of Volunteers Maksym Mazurok said that the organization appealed to the NABU concerning the alleged commission of a crime under Part 5 of Article 191 (Misappropriation, embezzlement or conversion or property by malversation via abuse) by Kinokvartal LLC and the State Film Agency, but the criminal proceedings were not opened. In this regard, the NGO filed a complaint with the Solomiansky district court of Kyiv. “The court ordered NABU to open criminal proceedings on this alleged offense,” the founder of the NGO said. He said that the Kinokvartal company shot the “Me, You, He, She” movie, the State Film Agency financed the movie by 49%, that is, the funds were allocated from the national budget, but conditions were not met. The movie was shot in Russian, but not in Ukrainian. Commenting on this, NABU Director Artem Syntyk said: “The judgment has been executed, the proceedings have been registered.” He apologized that the applicant was not notified of this. The movie premiered on December 27, 2018. The movie was shot in Russian and then it was dubbed into Ukrainian.

Ukraine’s Rada passes bill on common transit with EU countries – news economics | UNIAN

The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, has passed a bill common transit regime in the first reading, which will allow Ukraine to apply European transit rules and use a single customs declaration, which will speed up and cheapen the transportation of goods. The adoption of the document would reduce the number of customs formalities.

Ex-chief POW swap mediator Ruban charged for coup attempt flees Ukraine – media – news politics | UNIAN

Former chief of the Ukrainian “Officer Corps” center for the exchange of prisoners of war (POW) Volodymyr Ruban, who is charged with an attempted coup, has left the territory of Ukraine. Since the court did not extend a preventive measure for Ruban, he did not have any travel restrictions in Ukraine and abroad.

Ex-Head of Officer Corps Center of the POW Release Ruban leaves Ukraine

26.04.19 12:47 – Ex-Head of Officer Corps Center of the POW Release Ruban leaves Ukraine Ruban was released from the detention as the did not choose the restrictive measure for him. View news.

FM Klimkin comments on dismissal of Ukraine’s ambassador to Moldova

Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin said that Ivan Hnatyshyn was dismissed from the post of ambassador of Ukraine to Moldova because the diplomat had submitted the letter of resignation. — Ukrinform.

Poroshenko dismisses Ukraine envoy to Moldova – news portal

Poroshenko dismisses Ukraine envoy to Moldova. The reasons are not disclosed. Political – news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Ukrainian culture minister Nyshchuk: UNESCO should check condition of Khan’s Palace in occupied Crimea

The so-called restoration works, which are carried out by the occupying power in the architectural monument, are “flagrant destruction of the Khan’s Palace,” Minister of Culture of Ukraine Yevhen Nyshchuk said on the air of Radio Liberty. “Now we are waiting for a monitoring mission, which alone could help us because we do not have direct access [to Crimea]. My personal talks with the government and the culture minister of Turkey that join us in these processes. On [May] 8 -12, the UNESCO representatives will stay in Kyiv. We are going to define how they will carry out the mission both with respect to the Khan Palace and the Chersonesos, where black archeology operates, illegal excavations, where construction begins in the Chersonesos reserve,” Nyshchuk said. He added that Ukraine could check the condition of those monuments only with the help of international missions.

Businessman Kolomoisky files five new claims against NBU, PrivatBank to court

The former owner of PrivatBank, Ihor Kolomoisky, has filed five new lawsuits against the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) and PrivatBank to the business court of Kyiv, the Novoye Vremia.Business publication reported on Friday, referring to sources in legal circles.

Ukraine marks 33rd anniversary of Chornobyl tragedy

26.04.19 13:05 – Ukraine marks 33rd anniversary of Chornobyl tragedy President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroisman and Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Turchynov commemorated the liquidators of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. View news.

A Ukrainian Town Whose Dreams Died In Chernobyl’s Fallout

When the proposed Chigirinsky Nuclear Power Plant was canceled in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster, the Ukrainian town of Orbita was left to molder away.

Chernobyl Truth Drowns In Dramatized Movie

Tomorrow marks the 33rd anniversary of the Chernobyl accident, where about a hundred people died as a result of radiation. Almost all were emergency workers, not the public. Unfortunately. A new HBO movie looks to reinforce the myth that many many thousands of people died from radiation.

Roman Dobrokhotov | Russia was too quick to celebrate Zelensky’s victory in Ukraine | Russia | Al Jazeera

In fact, the Kremlin may start missing ex-President Petro Poroshenko very soon. …. If the new Ukrainian president manages to maintain this popularity and cement the unity of the nation, then this would undermine even more the Kremlin’s attempts to manipulate public opinion in Ukraine. In other words, if Zelensky is successful in keeping the country united and escalating pressure on Russia, the Kremlin might soon come to bitterly regret Poroshenko’s defeat.

Lawyer For Ukrainian Oligarch Claims He Planted Seed Of Zelenskiy Presidency

KYIV — Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy has worked hard to publicly distance himself from one of the country’s wealthiest and most controversial oligarchs, Ihor Kolomoyskiy, and show a public eager for change that he is the antiestablishment insurgent chosen by 73 percent of voters in last weekend’s election. But comments made to Ukrainian media by a lawyer working for both Kolomoyskiy and Zelenskiy who appeared by the candidate’s side throughout his campaign could undermine that effort. Andriy Bohdan, a typically secretive lawyer and former deputy minister, has claimed that he was among the first people to plant the seed in the comic Zelenskiy’s mind to run for the presidency. “I am one of those who persuaded him [to enter politics]…It was more than five years ago,” Bohdan said in a joint interview with reporters from independent Ukrainian news outlets Novoye Vremya and Ukrayinska Pravda published on April 26. The comments, coming from someone with presumably intimate knowledge of Kolomoyskiy’s thinking and operations, are likely to fuel criticism suggesting Zelenskiy, a political neophyte, is the oligarch’s project. The 41-year-old Zelenskiy is linked to Kolomoyskiy through the oligarch’s ownership of TV station 1+1, which hosts Zelenskiy’s comedy programs and hit sitcom, Servant Of The People. In Servant, Zelenskiy plays Vasiliy Holoborodko, a fictional history teacher who is thrust into the presidency after his video rant about the country’s problems goes viral.

Zelenskiy’s election proves Ukraine is a healthy democracy. Putin hates that | Natalie Nougayrède | Opinion | The Guardian

The president-elect’s meteoric rise will inspire Russian activists, says Guardian columnist Natalie Nougayrède

Czech radio company apologizes for article on Zelensky – news world | UNIAN

Editor-in-Chief of the Czech radio company Český rozhlas Petr Šabata has apologized for an article by journalist Jan Fingerland titled “Jew at the Head of Ukrainian Fascists” about showman Volodymyr Zelensky who won the presidential election runoff in Ukraine. The article was published on the company’s website on April 23, the Embassy of Ukraine in Prague wrote on Facebook. Šabata says he considers the content of the material correct and does not see any reason to remove it from the audio archive. However, in his opinion, the title of the article was troublesome. He has already changed it for “Jan Fingerland: Jew at the head of Ukraine.”

Bears in Russian zoo predict Ukrainian election – Reuters

“Anyone but Poroshenko!” cried the crowd in a Russian zoo on Thursday as a brown bear made its way toward a butternut squash bearing a picture of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

How the Obama White House engaged Ukraine to give Russia collusion narrative an early boost | TheHill

A January 2016 meeting in Washington is one of the earliest documented efforts to build the Trump-Russia collusion narrative.

Clinton-Ukraine collusion allegations ‘big’ and ‘incredible,’ will be reviewed, Trump says | Fox News

President Trump told Fox News’ “Hannity” in a wide-ranging interview Thursday night that Attorney General Bill Barr is handling the “incredible” new revelations that Ukrainian actors apparently leaked damaging information about then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort to help Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Supreme Court rejects claim by religious organizations on voiding Rada resolution on tomos

Ukraine’s Supreme Court has closed the proceedings on the claim of religious organizations to repeal the resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of April 19, 2018 “On the support of the appeal of the President of Ukraine to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew about the provision of tomos about autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.” “On April 25, 2019, the Supreme Court considered the case and concluded that it does not have any evidence of administrative jurisdiction,” the court said on Facebook on Thursday. Only the operative part of the ruling has been announced. The full text is expected in five days.

How Much Did Orthodox Church Help Revive Russia’s Military and Nuclear Complex? | Russia Matters

BOOK REVIEW “Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy: Religion, Politics and Strategy” By Dmitry Adamsky Stanford University Press, April 2019, “Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy,” an important new book by the Israeli scholar Dmitry Adamsky, explores the critical but highly understudied juncture between religion and the military. Focusing on the role played by the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) in the restoration and development of the Russian nuclear weapons complex in the post-Cold War period, Adamsky highlights the organizational and ideological impact of the church on the gradual remilitarization of Russia over the last three decades. Adamsky has written a highly readable and informative book on a woefully understudied topic, though one that at times reads like a continuous success story for the church and raises many questions. Also, the book would have been strengthened by a more comparative focus, vis-à-vis both the role of other religious faiths in Russia and the experience of other countries. The main argument comes in three parts. First, the church has played and will continue to play a crucial role in promoting the rebuilding of the Russian military in general and the nuclear weapons complex in particular. The book demonstrates that the church was among the earliest advocates for the nuclear weapons complex, at a time when the military and nuclear agencies were generally unpopular among Russians and neglected by a cash-strapped government. Second, the church has influenced the direction of security thinking among both Russian politicians and military leaders. Finally, church advocacy has resulted in a gradual conflation of national defense and rearmament with holiness and spirituality. The protection of the state and nation through armed force has been portrayed as a holy act that is highly compatible with religious belief and spiritual values.

Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses Targeted in New Raids by Security Services in Siberia, Far East

At least 15 homes and meeting centers were hit in raids last week.