Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Russians discussing hypersonic store for Su-57. BAS on European nuke warstocks. Baltic States update. Russia’s failure in Georgia. Concerns over Russian meddling in EU vote. Excellent analysis of IW future impacts by Prof Blank. Braw on “forever cyberwar”. Turkey update.
Major update on the Russian oil contamination mess – Russians blaming it on an attempted scam to get rid of untreated oil (a very plausible Russian explanation), immediate loss to Russia around US$3B, months of pipeline shutdown, and Belarus shuts down oil imports from Russia. More interesting are claims of a purge in Belarus, and rumours of a Russian led coup plot being rolled up, and surprisingly Muscovy’s ambassador to Minsk is fired. The V-MF’s runaway Beluga becomes a tourist attraction and media star in Norway.
In Ukraine, Presidents Poroshenko and Ze to meet to agree a consistent transition strategy for Russia policy. The Vozhd signs another decree on passports for Ukrainians, this time for Crimeans, and does his best to create more political mayhem. A Russian blogger suggests the passpot play may be an attempt to hide the demographic problems in Russia by skewing statistics.
Donbas update. Excellent analysis by Milakovsky of the language situation in Donbas – the history is far more complicated than the nonsense propounded by Muscovy. Major effort underway to perform large scale relifing of 9M55 MLRSreload warstock with new rocket propellants. Three Il-76MD CANDIDs to be overhauled. Ukraine to supply the KONUS tank gun launched laser-beam riding precision-guided missileto Turkey.
Politics update. Post-election reports. A fascinating interview with Ukraine’s new First Lady, Olena Zelenska, well worth a read – an ardent nationalist to the core. Ze meets with the Head of the OCU, the former head of the UOC-KP, and the Head of the ROC in Ukraine.
Finally a report on part of Russia’s oft denied religious heritage.
Let’s hope not. Does “characteristics similar to that of the Kinzhal missiles” simply mean a smaller Kh-47M2 variant, or a different hypersonic missile with similar capabilities to that of Kinzhal? In the prior months, The National Interest discussed the possibility of Russia’s fifth-generation stealth fighter being outfitted with hypersonic Kinzhal missiles. Russian state news reported Kinzhal integration on the Su-57 earlier this week: “In accordance with Russia’s State Armament Program for 2018-2027, Su-57 jet fighters will be equipped with hypersonic missiles. The jet fighters will receive missiles with characteristics similar to that of the Kinzhal missiles, but with inter-body placement and smaller size,” says a defense industry insider. The prospect of hypersonic missiles on the Su-57 was previously teased by Boris Obnosov, general director of the Tactical Missiles Corporation (KTRV): “In perspective, we can certainly anticipate this [hypersonic] weaponry over the following decade. Everything will come in due time for the Su-57, likely including hypersonic weapons.”
A team of scientists and researchers published a new report about the United States nuclear arsenal in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is among the few reliable statistical sources, which established in 1945 by experts who had created the atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan Project and wanted to warn the public about its dangers. Their latest report shows that US nuclear arsenal, which remained roughly unchanged in the last year, with the Department of Defense maintaining an estimated stockpile of nearly 3,800 warheads. “Most of these warheads are not deployed; approximately 2,050 warheads are held in reserve and approximately 2,385 retired warheads are awaiting dismantlement, giving a total inventory of approximately 6,185 nuclear warheads,” said in a report. It should be stated that the Pentagon doesn’t increase a stockpile of nuclear tactical bombs at its operating bases in Europe. “Of the approximately 1,750 warheads that are deployed … roughly 300 at strategic bomber bases in the United States, with another 150 tactical bombs deployed at European bases,” stated ф team of scientists. For reference, a nuclear bomb is a low to intermediate-yield strategic and tactical nuclear weapon featuring a two-stage radiation implosion design. The U.S. Air Force has one type of nonstrategic nuclear weapon in its stockpile – B61 nuclear bomb, the primary thermonuclear gravity bomb in the United States Enduring Stockpile following the end of the Cold War. According to the report, the weapon exists in two modifications: the B61-3 and the B61-4. A third version, the B61-10, was retired in September 2016. Approximately 230 tactical B61 bombs of all versions remain in the stockpile. About 150 of these (versions −3 and −4) are through to be deployed at six bases in five European countries: Aviano and Ghedi in Italy; Büchel in Germany; Incirlik in Turkey; Kleine Brogel in Belgium; and Volkel in the Netherlands. Of the five nuclear weapons storage locations in Europe, Incirlik Air Base in Turkey stores the most – about 50 or one-third of the weapons in Europe, although there are unconfirmed rumors that the weapons may have been withdrawn. The tactical nuclear bombs can be carried by B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit, B-52 Stratofortress bombers and also F-35A Lightning II, F-15E Strike Eagle and F-16 Falcon fighter jets. What’s more, the Belgian and Dutch air forces (with F-16 aircraft), as well as the German and Italian air forces (with PA-200 Tornado aircraft), are assigned nuclear strike missions with US nuclear weapons. At least until 2010, Turkey was still using F-16s for the nuclear mission, although it is possible that the mission has since been mothballed. NATO states that do not host nuclear weapons can still participate in the nuclear mission as part of conventional supporting operations, known as SNOWCAT (Support Nuclear Operations With Conventional Air Tactics). Under normal circumstances, the nuclear weapons are kept under the control of US Air Force personnel; their use in war must be authorized by the US president. However, they added that the B61-12 will be deployed to Europe beginning in 2022–2024, at which point the older B61-3 and B61-4 bombs will be returned to the United States. The B61-12 will use the nuclear explosive package of the B61-4, which has a maximum yield of approximately 50 kilotons, but it will be equipped with a guided tail kit to increase accuracy and standoff capability, which will allow strike planners to select lower yields for existing targets to reduce collateral damage. The increased accuracy will give the tactical bombs in Europe the same military capability as strategic bombs in the United States.
On April 29, NATO began Spring Storm 2019 military exercises in Estonia involving more than 9,000 troops from 13 countries, including Ukraine. According to the General Staff of the Estonian Defense Forces this event is the country’s largest annual military exercises of the year. The exercises will last until May 17 and will involve hundreds of units, including armored vehicles, infantry and tanks. The most active phase of the exercises will take place from May 20 to 10 with the participation of warships of the Estonian Navy and allies in the ports of Tallinn and Lääne-Viru County. In addition, exercises will involve Eurofighter aircraft of the German and British Air Forces, Su-22 attack aircraft of the Polish Air Force, Wildcat and Apache helicopters of the British Royal Air Force, and Pave Hawk of the United States Air Force. It is expected that this year military personnel from Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, Georgia, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the USA, Ukraine, Finland, France and Estonia will take part in large-scale exercises.
Three ships belonging to the Russian Navy entered Latvia’s exclusive economic zone, reported Interfax citing news agency, BNS. The National Armed Forces of Latvia told the agency that the frigate Boikiy, the corvette Passat and the landing ship Minsk were sighted 12 nautical miles away from the border of the country. The ships are part of the Russian Navy. The area of the sea they are in is part of Latvia’s exclusive economic zone. The Latvian Ministry of Defense noted that over the past four years Russian planes and vessels have crossed the Latvian border about a thousand times. In October 2016, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said that Russian military posturing in the Baltics is not only a threat to the region, but to all of Europe. She made a similar statement following reports about the possible appearance of Russian ships in the Baltic Sea capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Zourabichvili optimistic about ex-Soviet republic’s transatlantic future, but hesitant to host US military installation on Georgian soil
The U.S. Embassy in Russia has told Russia to “stop playing games” in regard to the situation surrounding detained former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, urging Russian officials to provide proof of his a…
More than 400 million voters will deal the hands that leaders, of parties, nations and rival EU institutions must play during May 23-26 ballot
No one is more looking forward to the forthcoming European elections than Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
Information warfare (IW), including specific forms of it like disinformation and deep fakes, has become a global fact of life and is being deployed globally for the pursuit of strategic advantage. In all its forms, not just the two manifestations cited above, the purpose of IW is to unhinge or derange the audience’s perception of reality and thus its mooring to objective facts and truth. Moreover, despite the strong U.S. focus on Russian IW due to what transpired in the 2016 elections and subsequent Russian efforts in 2018, IW, in any and all its forms, is available to and has been employed regularly by numerous states and private or corporate actors. Likewise, not only governments or public institutions have been the targets of IW but also private or state corporations like Sony, Aramco, banks, i.e. in Russia’s attack on Estonia in 2007, Silk Way West Airlines, the U.S. electrical grid and its numerous utilities, etc. Thus Russia, China, North Korea, Iran have not only utilized IW for years (in Moscow’s case at least since 1917 and in China’s case since 1949 abroad if not previously in China) even before the advent of information technology and social media. Russia has even outlined in extensive writings what amounts to a comprehensive set of theories about the use and utility of IW in contemporary politics. And China hardly lags behind in that respect and certainly not in its own idiosyncratic use of IW. In addition, the ubiquity and constancy of IW are likely to increase as the technology involved in deploying IW becomes more easily available globally. This concern is particularly important in regard to the phenomenon of deepfakes. We now have the technology to undermine the entire concept of factuality, i.e. objective truth, by rearranging personages and events to suit any “producer’s” taste and to obtain thereby a decisive (or at least intended to be decisive) impression upon the minds of “consumers” of that information whether they be individuals or collective entities and even whole societies.
As online attacks blur the lines, the future may be perpetual conflict.
Two leaders speak by telephone in latest bid to avoid a rupture in ties over Ankara’s looming procurement of Russian missiles
TURKEY’s President Tayyip Erdogan has struck a defiant note over his decision to buy Russia’s S-400 missile system despite being a member of NATO – and warned he would “not remain silent” over US attempts to exclude his country from the f-35 fighter jet project.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan predicted the F-35 fighter jet project would fail, absent the involvement of Turkey, who makes some of the parts for the aircraft.
Greek officials are seeking closer ties to the U.S. military, a move that occurs as Turkey refuses to back down on acquiring Russian air defense systems that could compromise NATO aircraft.
It was a quiet Easter holiday at the offices of major European oil companies and refiners when an email in Russian landed. “What the hell does it say?” one manager recalled thinking as he sent it to his Moscow office for translation.
Russian oil company Transneft has accused a small private company of being responsible for contaminating oil that caused a shutdown of exports to several European countries, saying the issue had to…
Months of work are needed to restore clean oil supplies via a key Russian pipeline to Europe, Belarus said on Tuesday, as Moscow suggested a deliberate act was behind the contamination that prompted some countries to release state oil reserves.
Several countries have halted oil imports after finding contaminants that can damage refinery equipment.
The situation with contamination of oil supplied to Belarus has inflicted very serious economic damages and damages to Russia’s image, Putin said
MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that a contaminated oil pipeline scandal had seriously damaged Russia’s economic interests and image and demanded that the system regulating the quality of oil be improved.
Belarus has completely stopped accepting oil through the Druzhba pipeline until all the poor quality oil has been removed. At the same time, Russia claims that the oil contamination was deliberate sabotage. Andrey Verigo, CEO of the Druzhba pipeline’s operator, Gomeltransneft Druzhba, announced that Belarus had completely stopped accepting Russian oil through the pipe on Tuesday morning. Transit is expected to resume on 2 May, but only to a limited extent. Verigo believes that it will take “at least half a year of intense work” to bring the system back to full capacity. The Druzhba pipeline is expected to operate at 60-65% of its nominal average load by 11 May. The suspension of normal oil transit is needed so that the poor quality oil from the Russian stretch of the pipe can be removed. The contaminated oil will be transferred through the system’s second line, which will effectively become a reservoir for the substandard oil while normal transit is restored on the first line. There is an estimated 5 million tons of the contaminated oil in the pipes in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Poland.
Its president is happy to play hardball over contaminated oil in an important pipeline to Europe.
Poland has tapped into its emergency oil reserves in order to keep key refineries operating after contaminated crude oil forced the shutdown of the Druzhba oil pipeline carrying oil from Russia to customers in Europe
Russian president fired Mikhail Babich, the Kremlin said on Tuesday, amid disagreement over contaminated oil and a wider political discord between the ex-Soviet countries
Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a decree sacking Mikhail Babich as Moscow’s ambassador to Belarus.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 30 – Coups and even more reported coup plots are typically murky affairs with one group suggesting someone is planning a real coup, a second that the regime itself is behind the reports in order to justify further repression, and still a third saying a foreign power is involved to overthrow the regime or remind that regime how much it needs that foreign power. All three versions are now on offer in the case of some developments in Belarus, and there are likely to be more such offerings in the coming days especially because the reports of a coup plot in Minsk have surfaced at exactly the same time that Vladimir Putin has unexpectedly replaced his ambassador to Belarus. It is entirely possible that the real story will never be known – or at least never be accepted by everyone given all the equities involved. But it is worth tracing what is known so far to provide something of a baseline for assessing what may be said later or for analyzing what is going on in Belarus more generally. A week ago, Belarusian and Russian media report, Andrey Vtyurin, the deputy head of Belarus’ Security Council, was arrested by the Belarusian KGB on suspicion of taking bribes. He has been close to Lukashenka for a long time, having been head of the Belarusian president’s personal guard between 2007 and 2014 (iarex.ru/news/66198.html). Vtyurin’s arrest was not announced by the authorities but instead reported to the media by his friends. That has led to speculation that his arrest was related to the exposure of a conspiracy at the top of the Belarusian military and security services to topple Lukashenka or at least prevent him from being reelected (iarex.ru/news/66208.html). According to some versions of the story, the plotters were connected with Moscow; according to others, they were acting on behalf of one of Lukashenka’s own children; and according to still others, the whole plot was dreamed up by Lukashenka to justify a further crackdown. (On this, see the Trykatazh telegram channel report at t.me/trktgh/776.) Vladimir Putin’s replacement of ambassadors in Minsk has only deepened the mystery, given that Russian outlets who supported Mikhail Babich’s activist approach in Minsk are now working overtime to deny any Russian involvement, dismiss the possibilities of a domestic coup, and promote the version that Lukashenka came up with the idea for his own reasons. Yury Baranchik of the Rex news agency is one of their number. He argues that there is no one near the top of the Belarusian security services capable of organizing a coup, that Lukashenka’s children can’t do so either because no one would recognize them, and that most likely Lukashenka dreamed the whole thing up (iarex.ru/articles/66209.html). In his words, “the version about an attempted coup is an effort by official Minsk on the basis of nothing to seriously tighten the screws on the domestic political space given the serious deterioration of the social-economic situation in the country. Lukashenka needed an occasion and he found one.” Needless to say, Baranchik, a big supporter of Babich, doesn’t consider the possibility that Moscow might be involved. But that possibility can’t be dismissed. If in fact Lukashenka found evidence that the Russian embassy was behind this plot or associated with it in any way, that could explain why Putin moved Babich so quickly after protecting him so long. If the Belarusian president could reasonably threaten Putin with exposure of a Russian-orchestrated plot against him, Putin might have sacked Babich so as to deflect blame onto his ambassador and thus suggest to Lukashenka that Moscow was his protector not his enemy and keep hope alive for a rapprochement between Moscow and Minsk. Again, none of this is known or perhaps can ever be known. But decisions are taken and policies advanced not on the basis of what is true but on the basis of what leaders and their advisors believe. With these multiple versions floating around, the situations in both Moscow and Minsk and in their relations with each other are likely to become even more unpredictable.
A beluga whale found in Arctic Norway with a tight harness that is believed to have links to a military facility in Russia is so tame that residents can pet the mammal on its nose.
A beluga whale found in Arctic Norway wearing a harness that suggests links to a military facility in Russia has become an attraction for locals who come to see it frolicking in the frigid waters
The beluga whale with suspected Russian military ties has become a local attraction in Norway. It’s so tame, it reportedly comes when called.
White whale found in Arctic Norway wearing a harness that suggests links to a military facility in Russia is so tame that residents can pet the mammal on its nose
President Petro Poroshenko has congratulated his successor, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whom the Central Electoral Commission officially declared the election winner on 30 April, and arranged to meet him. “As the incumbent head of state, I have just telephoned Volodymyr Zelenskyy and congratulated him on the official election results, which the Central Electoral Commission announced today. During the telephone conversation, Volodymyr Zelenskyy and I have agreed to meet soon,” Poroshenko said, as quoted by his official website. The president expressed hope that Zelenskyy would continue his course towards membership in the European Union and NATO. “But what needs to be done immediately is to demonstrate to all our partners a single Ukrainian position at a time when by distributing Russian passports in the occupied territories, the Kremlin is implementing the next stage of the hybrid war against Ukraine. Thus, Putin is preparing a rationale for a new round of military aggression under the pretext of allegedly protecting the rights of Russian nationals. Russia deserves a significant tightening of sanctions against it. This question will be the main thing that I will focus on in the last weeks of my presidential tenure. But to continue and complete the solution of this problem is up to the new president. Therefore, I believe that we should coordinate our efforts,” Poroshenko said. The president said that the election rivalry is a thing of the past. During the 21 April runoff, Zelenskyy received 61.37% of the vote and Poroshenko 24.45%. The new president has to be inaugurated within 30 days after 30 April, since the Central Electoral Commission announced the official election results this day.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree granting the right to a simplified procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship for certain categories of Ukrainian citizens. As informs Tsensor.NET with reference to Interfax-Ukraine, the press service of the Kremlin reported. From now on, such citizens are citizens of Ukraine who do not have the citizenship (citizenship) of another state, as well as stateless persons who were born and permanently residing in the Crimea, and left the peninsula until March 18, 2014, as well as their children, including adopted, spouses and parents. Citizens of Russia for the new procedure can also be citizens of Ukraine and stateless persons who have a temporary residence permit in the Russian Federation, a residence permit in the Russian Federation, a refugee certificate, a certificate of temporary shelter in the territory of the Russian Federation or a certificate of a participant in the State Program for the Promotion of Voluntary Immigration to Russia, compatriots living abroad, who permanently resided in the territories of certain districts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine as of April 7, 2014 and April 27, 2014, respectively, and also their children, including adopted, spouses and parents. The right to apply for applications for the citizenship of the Russian Federation in a simplified manner also has foreign citizens and stateless persons who themselves or their relatives on a straight line ascending, whose adopters or spouses have been subjected to illegal deportation from the territory of the Crimean ASSR, as well as their relatives on a straight descending line , adopted children and spouses. Citizens of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Iraq, the Republic of Yemen and the Syrian Arab Republic who were born on the territory of the RSFSR and were formerly citizens of the USSR, as well as their children, including adopted children, spouses and parents, can claim simplified order. The decree was signed “in order to protect the rights and freedoms of man and citizen, guided by universally accepted principles and norms of international law, in accordance with Article 29 of the federal law of May 31, 2002 No. 62-FZ” On Citizenship of the Russian Federation “. Read also: The issue of Russian passports to ORDLO residents is an attempt to implement a quiet annexation, – the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia Rinkevich Recall that on April 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on a simplified regime for the issuance of Russian citizenship to residents of the so-called “DPR” and “LNR”. Ukraine appealed to the UN Security Council in connection with the introduction by Russian President Vladimir Putin of a simplified procedure for admitting Russian citizenship to residents of certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts (ORDLO). On April 25, the UN Security Council met in connection with the illegal “certification” of Donbass Russia. According to her results Yelchenko said that the result should be not only concern and condemnation, but more decisive steps. On Saturday, April 27, Putin said that the simplified procedure for obtaining Russian passports could be extended to all residents of Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree granting the right to the facilitated acquisition of Russian citizenship to the certain categories of Ukrainian citizens, the Kremlin press service said. From now on, such right is granted to the citizens of Ukraine who do not hold citizenship or nationality of other countries, were born and permanently resided in the territories of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol and left the aforementioned territories before March 18, 2014, as well as their children, including adopted, spouses and parents. Stateless persons, who were born and permanently resided in the territories of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol and left the aforementioned territories before March 18, 2014, as well as their children, including adopted, spouses and parents, can acquire Russian citizenship under the new procedure. The decree also applies to Ukrainian citizens and stateless persons, who have a temporary residence permit in the Russian Federation, a residence permit in the Russian Federation, a refugee certificate, a certificate granting temporary asylum in the Russian Federation or a certificate of a participant in the state program to assist the voluntary resettlement of compatriots living abroad, and who have permanently resided in the territories of the certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine as of April 7, 2014, and April 27, 2014, respectively, as well as their children, including adopted, spouses and parents. The right to apply for the facilitated acquisition of Russian citizenship was also granted to the foreign citizens and stateless persons, who or whose relatives in the direct ascending line, adoptive parents or spouses were illegally deported from the territory of the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, as well as their relatives in the direct descending line, adoptive children and spouses. The citizens of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Iraq, the Yemeni Republic, and the Syrian Arab Republic, who were born in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and previously held the Soviet Union’s citizenship, as well as their children, including adopted, spouses and parents, can apply for the facilitated acquisition of Russian citizenship as well. According to the decree, Ukrainian citizens, other foreign citizens and stateless persons can file applications to acquire Russian citizenship under the form listed in the annex at the local branch of the Russian Interior Ministry in the place of their residence or stay in Russia. The decree also envisages that the period of consideration of applications to acquire Russian citizenship must not exceed three months. The decree was signed “in order to protect human and civil rights and freedoms, on the basis of universally recognized principles and norms of international law, in accordance with Article 29 of Federal Law No. 62-FZ ‘On citizenship of the Russian Federation’ of May 31, 2002.”
Weeks before his inauguration, Ukraine’s untested next president is already in spat with Vladimir Putin over Russia’s decision to issue passports in the Donbass.
The relevant departments will implement the decree on issuing Russian passports to residents of the Donbas, said Press Secretary for the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov, as reported by TASS. When asked whether Putin has a detailed plan for implementing his decree, Peskov replied: “It is not the president’s plan. Relevant departments within the Ministry of Internal Affairs that deal with issuing passports, as well as other departments, will take charge of the process.” He was also unable to clarify whether new Russian citizens living in the Donbas will have to pay taxes to the Russian budget. Peskov added that statements are currently being exchanged with Ukraine. Ukrainian President-elect Vladimir Zelensky’s opinions, including his opinion on the issuance of Russia passports are “carefully assessed” in the Kremlin. Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree allowing residents of certain regions of the Donetsk and Lugansk region to obtain Russian citizenships through a simplified process. To apply for a Russian passport, it is not required to give up your current Ukrainian citizenship. The processing time is three months or less.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recommends the President-elect of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky to start protecting human rights with Georgians, namely ex-Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and restore his Ukrainian citizenship, deprived by Petro Poroshenko in summer 2017. Russian news agency Tass reports the Russian leader pointed out that Saakashvili “was illegally deprived of citizenship and deported from the country, so it would be fair to bring him back and restore his rights.” “It would be reasonable to start, say, with Georgians, or former Georgians, rather than with Russians. For instance, it would be fair to restore the Ukrainian citizenship of a person who used to be a Georgian but now calls himself a Ukrainian, I mean Mikhail Saakashvili,” Putin said. A few days ago Zelensky mocked Russia’s offer to give passports to his countrymen, saying the document would provide “the right to be arrested”. In a Facebook post rejecting the idea, Volodymyr Zelensky pledged to give citizenship to “suffering” Russians. Earlier this week, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed a decree offering people in eastern Ukraine’s separatist territories passports. He later said he was mulling extending the scheme to all Ukrainians. In return, the Ukrainian president-elect stressed he did not believe many of his countrymen would take up the offer. Saakashvili also commented on the issue, calling Putin a “newly created troll.” “Vladimir Putin, a newly created troll, we will settle things with the Ukrainians ourselves,” Saakashvili posted on his Facebook page. Moreover, after Zelensky’s victory in the runoff, former president of Georgia expressed readiness to return to Ukraine. Saakashvili served as the third president of Georgia in 2004-2013 and the Governor of Ukraine’s Odessa in 2015-2016. He supported Ukraine’s Euromaidan movement and the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. On 30 May 2015, then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko appointed him as Governor of Odessa Oblast. He was also granted Ukrainian citizenship but due to restrictions on dual nationality under Georgian law, was stripped of his Georgian citizenship. On 7 November 2016, Saakashvili resigned as Governor, blaming Poroshenko personally for enabling corruption in Odessa and in Ukraine overall. Four days later he announced creating a new political movement. On 26 July 2017, Saakashvili, at the time staying in the U.S, was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship by Poroshenko and became a stateless person. He cannot return to Georgia either because of the various charges against him.
Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed that the elected President of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky, return Ukrainian citizenship to Mikheil …
On April 24, Putin signed a decree, which eases Russian citizenship rules for residents of certain regions of southeastern Ukraine
Eighty-six percent of the people living in Ukraine’s separatist-controlled Donbas region want Russian citizenship, according to Kirill Alizinov, the spokesman for the Russian Interior Ministry’s Central Office for Migration, citing a new sociological survey. On April 24, Vladimir Putin signed an executive order simplifying the process of receiving citizenship for people living in the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, arguing that the Ukrainian government has abandoned the region’s residents and made it too difficult to receive civil-servant salaries and pension payments. Ukrainian President-Elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy says the Kremlin’s decision to simplify citizenship for Donbas residents means that Russia has effectively recognized its responsibility as an “occupying power” in the region, which Moscow has denied since the beginning of hostilities in 2014.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 30 – Vladimir Putin’s decision to offer Russian citizenship to those living in Russian-occupied portions of Ukraine and possibly others as well may be intended not only to extend Russian power over that country further but also to help solve Russia’s demographic collapse, according to a Russian blogger who writes under the screen name Father Frost. He suggests that the extremely negative demographic figures of recent months mean that “the massive distribution of passports may be the only way to save [Russia] from withering away altogether” (cont.ws/@Ded-Moroz/1310165reposted at newizv.ru/article/general/30-04-2019/stranu-ot-vymiraniya-spaset-tolko-massovaya-razdacha-pasportov). If Russian government claims that 86 percent of the population in Russian-occupied portions of the Donbass (meduza.io/news/2019/04/30/mvd-rf-86-zhiteley-donbassa-hotyat-poluchit-rossiyskoe-grazhdanstvo) are correct, this policy would immediately produce some two million new Russian citizens and be a boost to the country’s total population. Many analysts had concluded that the declining number of women in the prime child-bearing ages and declining birthrates present Russia with an almost intractable problem especially given that the number of immigrants has fallen sharply, Father Frost says. But it turns out that this all can be solved not just by falsification of data but by “the stroke of a pen.” That falsification is going on, the blogger suggests, is indicated by the increasing delays with which Rosstat releases population figures and by the way state-controlled media bury them in their reports and publications. But now there are going to be hundreds of thousands of new Russians, produced instantly by Putin’s decision. The question, however, is how these are going to be counted – and when the government will release the numbers. When Russia illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimea, Moscow more or less immediately included the population there within that of the Russian Federation to improve its demographic situation. Will it do the same with the Donbass? Or will some other calculation intervene? Father Frost provides no guidance on that.
The first passport center in Russia set up to bestow fast-tracked citizenship to residents of the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic is now online in the city of Novoshakhtinsk, in Russia’s Rostov region, federal officials told the news agency Interfax. The office is reportedly running according to “test mode,” as the Russian government evaluates the demand from LNR residents and decides how many other passport centers to open.
Deputy Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories Yuriy Hrymchak has stated that the purpose of issuing passports of Russian citizens to the residents of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions not controlled by the government (ORDLO) is to destabilize the situation in the region and legalize militants. At the same time, he noted that those citizens of Ukraine who receive such passports risk losing the citizenship of Ukraine. “The Constitution of Ukraine says that a Ukrainian should have only one citizenship – the citizenship of Ukraine, therefore those people who will receive or have already receive citizenship of the Russian Federation may lose their citizenship of Ukraine,” the official said. “And I think that this will have to be done – to cancel the passports of Ukraine, foreign passports, internal passports and so on,” the deputy minister added. According to him, the issuance of Russian passports to the residents of the Ukrainian Donbas will lead to the fact that the Russian Federation will have grounds in the future to declare that it protects its citizens in the east of Ukraine. He also said having a passport of the Russian Federation will help the employees of the occupation administration of the so-called DPR and LPR to avoid criminal prosecution by Ukraine.
Ukrainian Deputy Minister for Temporary Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons Yuriy Hrymchak says residents of Russian-occupied Donbas, also known as the ORDLO, who receive Russian passports, should be deprived of Ukrainian citizenship. The purpose of Putin’s decree is to legalize militants in eastern Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry voiced protest against the opening of Russia-based centers that issue passports to Ukrainian citizens living in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. — Ukrinform.
Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) Serhiy Kryvonos has declared that Russia is not interested in a strong Ukraine, the press service of the NSDC has said. “Russia is not interested in a strong Ukraine. The goal of the military leaders of Russia is to return the status of a superpower. To do this, they need to return 40 million Slavs to the bosom of the former Russian empire, and now Putin’s empire,” Kryvonos said on the air of TV Channel Five. Kryvonos noted that “it is absolutely unprofitable for Russia to return the territories and end the war, which, according to their plan, should continue as long as possible.”
Brazen intrusions into Crimean Tatar homes by men with machine guns have become common in Russian-occupied Crimea, but there were some differences on 30 April –
Russia, violating the Budapest Memorandum, destroyed the entire UN security system and is now developing the infrastructure for deploying nuclear weapons in the occupied Crimea
Russia’s hybrid military forces in the past 24 hours mounted 13 attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action and another one as wounded in action. Two invaders were killed and another three were wounded on Tuesday, intelligence reports say.
Kyiv said that the enemy had shelled the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces 13 times in the past 24 hours, a Ukrainian serviceman has been killed and another one wounded.
Russia’s armed formations launched 13 attacks on positions of Ukrainian troops in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas over the past day. — Ukrinform.
On April 26, the Verkhovna Rada passed a strict new law mandating the use of the Ukrainian language in public places, businesses, the media, education and a range of other institutions. Reactions ranged from euphoria among its supporters to apocalyptic warnings of rozkol (meaning break-up in Ukrainian) from some speakers of Russian, Hungarian and other minority languages. President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedic actor whose media products are mostly in Russian, struck a cautiously critical note. On Facebook, he wrote that while he believes Ukrainian should be the only state language, “…my principled position is that the government should enable development of the Ukrainian language by establishing stimuli and positive examples, and not bans and punishments.” Nowhere is language policy more sensitive than in the government-controlled portions of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Here Ukrainian is used in schools (not uniformly) and during some official functions, while Russian dominates community life and the media. Ukrainian is common only in some rural areas, and even here it is usually mixed with Russian in the surzhyk dialect. Zelenskiy might well have preferred to leave this status quo in place, but is it what is best for Ukraine? To understand that, we must consider both the rights and aspirations of today’s Donbas residents, and the complex history of Ukrainian and Russian languages in the region. The lands of today’s Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts were wrested from the Turks and Crimean Tatars by a diverse army of rural colonists. The majority were Ukrainians fleeing Polish rule, with a significant minority of Russian peasants fleeing serfdom. To this mix we should add the Don Cossacks, who spoke a Russian dialect but had a distinct cultural identity, and Greeks who were evacuated en masse from the Crimean peninsula to settle the Azov Sea coastal areas. The last corner of the so-called “Wild Field” to be settled was the mineral-rich steppe we now call the Donbas. Its pattern of colonization was dramatically altered by the Industrial Revolution. Russians from infertile central provinces dominated the rapidly growing working class in coal mines and metallurgy plants, while Ukrainian villagers generally preferred to stay on their black earth farms. For decades to come, this Russian-speaking proletariat would dissolve all other ethnic identities and languages, even when an influx of Ukrainians to cities in Soviet times made them the ethnic majority again in the Donbas. In a bid to steal anti-Communist Ukrainian nationalists’ thunder, the Soviet government launched its “nativization” policy in the late 1920s and aggressively promoted Ukrainian language and culture. Moscow expended huge efforts in the Donbas, and though some workers greeted the initiative with enthusiasm, the majority opposed it bitterly. They soon were vindicated when Stalin abruptly changed course on language policy, unleashing “national terror” on the Ukrainian-speaking elites and closing Ukrainian schools. This terror overlapped with forced collectivization and the horrific man-made famine of 1932-1933, the Holodomor, which destroyed the lifeways of independent farmers in the rural Sloboda Ukraine and Azov Sea regions. National terror was not restricted to the region’s Ukrainians; it was also directed at German colonists and Greeks in Mariupol and surrounding areas. Sometimes multi-generational Greek dynasties were executed en masse on absurd charges of espionage. And so began long decades of Soviet Russification, which wore away at the remains of Ukrainian identity in the region. In the 1960s and 70s there were periodic thaws in Soviet language policy that led to the opening of new Ukrainian schools and cultural groups, only to later face another crackdown. The Soviet dissident Oleksa Tykhyi from Donetsk Oblast described how the Soviet system reserved only a token place for Ukrainian, requiring Russian as the means to all forms of academic and professional advancement. For voicing this belief, Tykhyi would be sent to a prison camp in the Urals, where he died. As history shows, Russian is one of the indigenous languages of eastern Ukraine and not an alien element. But at the same time, Soviet coercion allowed Russian to expand its influence into new communities at the expense of Ukrainian, Greek and other traditional languages. With time, it took less and less state intervention to tip the balance towards Russian. Many people chose the language willingly based upon familiarity and a sense that it offered more opportunities. Russian-speaking Donbas Ukrainians are a persistent cultural phenomenon that now stretches across multiple generations. When the tragic events in the Donbas began in 2014, every part of the drama took place primarily in Russian, including Russia-backed separatism and the patriotic opposition to it. So what do these Russian-speaking Donbas residents think about the Verkhovna Rada’s decision to Ukrainianize public life? Yuriy, a Kramatorsk taxi driver who is an internally displaced person from Donetsk, voices a widespread opinion in the region: “This is the final stage of dividing our society! Now all us Russian speakers will be second class citizens!” He quickly links the language question to that of historical identity, adding: “They (western Ukrainians) have their heroes, their (nationalist leader Stepan) Bandera, and in the Donbas we have our own. We should leave this all alone!” Some opposition to the law comes from residents with very different politics from Yury. Serhiy Harmash is a pro-Maidan journalist who fled Donetsk in 2014 and runs the website OstroV. He wrote on Facebook about the Ukrainianization of media: “People are lazy and don’t like to be pressured. They will just change channels or go online. We are simply driving 40% of the country’s population into the Russian information sphere!” But there are other points of view. Viktor and Valentyna work in Severodonetsk’s chemical industry and are cautiously supportive of the new law. Valentyna says, “I used to support two state languages. But in the end I’m for justice. Ukrainian has been repressed, treated like a second-class language, a village dialect. My mother was a teacher in Odesa and she remembers how Ukrainian teachers were like an underclass, they got less pay and less class time than Russian teachers. Mama always said (in Russian) that Ukrainian should be the only state language.” Viktor grew up in the industrial city of Kriviy Rih, which is Zelenskiy’s home town. He remembers the day when the city’s outnumbered Ukrainian schools were abruptly closed during one of the periodic Soviet crackdowns on the language. This act of illiberalism convinced him that “if we will have no language, we will have no nation.” These conflicting opinions demonstrate a difficult reality: historical justice and the personal rights and preferences of Donbas Ukrainians do not always overlap. If some residents see new restrictions on the use of Russian in public life as a necessary step toward state-building, many others see them as the new front in a culture war. It is difficult to see how the language question will not raise tensions in a region already wracked by four years of ideological division, violence, displacement and economic decline. It is time for president-elect Zelenskiy to explain how “stimuli and positive examples” can split the difference between the status quo and the Verkhovna Rada’s coercive approach. The language law will be bitterly contested in the next parliamentary elections, drawing energy away from urgent issues and reawakening fault lines that appeared to have been smoothed over by Zelenskiy’s nationwide victory. For the sake of his own presidency and the country’s cohesion, he should put forward a third way. Brian Milakovsky is from Maine and has been working in the humanitarian and economic development sector in eastern Ukraine since 2015. Before Russia’s war on Ukraine, he worked on forest conservation issues. He lives in Severodonetsk in Luhansk Oblast.
Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman has congratulated Ukrainian border guards on their professional holiday, noting the importance of the role of the border agency amidst a hybrid war.
05/01/19 In Pavlohrad, massive rebuilding of missiles. Pavlograd Chemical Plant is carrying out the refurbishing of large-caliber missiles and mastering the production of new fuel for the guided missiles of the national system “Vilkha”.This is reported by Defense Express with reference to the information that was published in the program “Ways of War” to the ZIK channel.The collection of recovered rocket propellers 9M55 for rocket propellant rocket systems of 300 mm BM-30 “Smerch” is carried out at the final assembly workshop of the Scientific-Production Association “Pavlograd Chemical Plant”.In Pavlohrad, massive recovery of jet projectiles Elements of jet projectiles for the MLRS BM-30 “Smerch” in the final assembly of PFC. “Here, two half-charges are combined into one whole. Then there is mounted to them another nozzle of the engine. Also in this shop mounted military unit. And the ready-made finished rocket will be delivered to the Ukrainian army “, – says in the plot of the program.In Pavlohrad, massive recovery of half-life rockets and nozzles for the RZZ BM-30 “Smerch” in the final assembly plant. It is worth recalling that the Pavlograd Chemical Plant is included in the execution of the State Defense Order (DOS) and participates in trials of the modernized complex of MLRS with corrected missiles of the extended range of Vilkha-M.”We have created a research institute, which today has more than 900 employees. Where workers of this institute possess technologies of production of new types of missile fuels “, – said Leonid Shiman, Director General of the State Enterprise” Pavlograd Chemical Plant “.At the same time, he added that the company is capable of producing fuel not only for complexes MLRS, but also for combat missiles significantly more power.
Nikolaev Aircraft Repair Plant “NARP” received a contract from the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to extend the service life for two years of three military aircraft IL-76MD. The relevant agreement was signed on April 26, 2019, the total cost of works is UAH 4 911 064. Purchase was conducted by negotiation procedure in the absence of an alternative. For another two years – until June-October 2021 will extend the service life of IL-76MD military transport aircraft of the Melitopol Brigade of Transport Aviation with flight numbers 76413, 78820 and 76699.
The State Enterprise “Lutsk Repair Plant” Motor “received the contract of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for the capital repairs of the aircraft engines D-30KP-2 for 18 million UAH. The auction for the repair of units for ten aircraft engines for military transport aircraft IL-76MD was conducted in a negotiated procedure with one supplier – Lutsk “Motor” is currently the only Ukrainian company that has the appropriate permits and certificates for major repairs of certain aggregates. The plant will repair pumps of the regulators NR-30KP, sensors of reduced revolutions DPO-30KP, regulators of the constant revolutions RPPO-30KP, centrifugal regulators ЦР-1-30К, regulators РНА-30К and cylinders ЦНА-30К of the guide apparatus, temperature sensors ТД-30К, the executive mechanisms of the IMT-3, the fuel-oil radiator 4845T, the differential pressure indicators DDS-1,2, the unloading machines for the GA 131M-3 pump and the icing icons DO-206 ser.2. Recall that on March 29, LLC “Aircraft Repair Enterprise” URARP “won the state” Nikolaev Aircraft Repair Plant “NARP” in a tender for the command of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to carry out mid-repairs of ten engines D-30KP-2 for almost 60 million UAH.
Ukraine’s state-run enterprise SpetsTechnoExport will begin to produce 120mm Konus guided missiles for Turkey’s state-held company Makina ve Kimya Endüstrisi Kurumu (MKEK). — Ukrinform. The relevant contract was signed within the framework of the IDEF 2019 International Defense Industry Fair in Istanbul, Turkey. The parties agreed on the contract’s costs and delivery dates. The contract envisages that the weapons will be produced by the Kyiv-based Luch construction bureau. Then, they will be delivered to Turkey, so that the Konus missiles can be integrated into the ordnance of Turkish main battle tanks. After “a partial transfer of the technologies” the Ukrainian missiles will be produced by MKEK.
Spokesperson for the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN Oleg Nikolenko has been elected Vice-Chairman of the UN’s Committee on Information. — Ukrinform.
Ms Melinda Simmons has been appointed new British ambassador to Ukraine. — Ukrinform.
New UK envoy to Ukraine appointed. Melinda Simmons will replace Judith Gough. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
May 1-15, United States Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan Carr will travel to Israel and European countries, including Ukraine. — Ukrinform.
The Ukrainian Government and NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine have agreed to lower regulated gas price for households and heat producers to market level from May 1, 2019, the company’s press service reports. — Ukrinform.
Poland has replaced Russia as the top destination of Ukrainian goods during the first quarter of 2019, according to Ukraine’s state fiscal agency. During this period, Ukraine has exported $818 million worth of goods to Poland, against $759 million to Russia. This constitutes a milestone in Ukraine’s trading history as Russia has been the top importer of Ukrainian goods since Ukraine gained its independence in 1991. Among the top five destinations for Ukrainians exports during the first quarter are Egypt with $652 million, followed by China with $640 million and Turkey with $638 million. Ukrainian companies have exported a total of $12.3 billion worth of goods since the beginning of the year, which constitutes a seven percent increase compared to the same period last year.
Ukrainian national police have launched a criminal case into the playing of a video at Kyiv’s Boryspil Airport that showed a map of the country which did not include Crimea.
War Mothers, the Australian-Ukrainian documentary project inspired by stories from Euromaidan Press and the conflict in Ukraine, has been selected to premiere at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
The Ukrainian port of Mariupol has hosted an arts festival, [Startup] Gogolfest, meant to breathe new life into a city shaken by conflict in recent years. The festival’s highlight was a new opera performed in the shipyards, with water and machinery incorporated into the performance.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called his successor Volodymyr Zelensky and congratulated him on his victory in the election; they agreed to meet soon and discuss the policy on the Russian track.
Ukraine’s president-elect and incumbent president should unite together efforts in order to tighten sanctions against the Russian Federation. — Ukrinform.
Incumbent President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has called President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky to greet on the official announcement of the vote results and they have agreed to meet soon. “As sitting Head of State, I have just called Volodymyr Zelensky and congratulated him on the official results of the elections announced today by the Central Election Commission,” Poroshenko said in his video address posted on the official website on April 30. He recalled that all international observers had recognized the presidential elections as fair, transparent and democratic. “They fully corresponded to Ukraine’s strategy of membership in the European Union and NATO, which I have been consistently implementing over the five years of my presidency,” Poroshenko said. Poroshenko expressed hope that the course of state development would be continued by the newly-elected president. “I am hopeful that the new president will continue this course, which fully meets the national interests of Ukraine,” he said. Poroshenko said he would spend the last weeks of his tenure as president on seeking tougher sanctions against Russia. “But what needs to be done immediately is to demonstrate a single Ukrainian position to all our partners, while the Kremlin implements another stage of the hybrid war against Ukraine, distributing Russian passports in the occupied territories. In doing so, Putin prepares a justification for a new round of military aggression under the pretext of protecting the rights of the citizens of the Russian Federation,” he said. “Russia deserves a significant increase in sanctions against it. This will be the main issue of the last weeks of my presidential powers. But it is already a responsibility of the new president to continue and complete the settlement of this problem. Therefore, I believe that we should coordinate our efforts. The rivalry in the elections remains in the past,” he said. Poroshenko thanked the Ukrainians who supported him at the presidential elections. “Availing myself of this opportunity, I want to thank more than 4.5 million voters who voted for me,” he said. “But now, we, Ukrainians, together, jointly, must deprive Putin of any chance to take advantage of the transitional period in Ukraine, of our democratic process of transfer of power. I expect that such a position will be supported by the elected president.” He also said that during his recent phone conversation with Zelensky they had agreed to hold a meeting in the near future.
Ukraine’s president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky has thanked voters after the Central Election Commission (CEC) had released full results of the presidential election, and announced a competition for the position of a spokesperson to the head of state. Ukraine’s president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky has thanked voters after the Central Election Commission (CEC) had released full results of the presidential election, and announced a competition for the position of a spokesperson to the head of state. The first U.S. President George Washington was inaugurated 230 years today, he also said. “I am not comparing myself with this great statesman. It’s too early yet. But if you don’t mind, I will quote him: ‘Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.’ So this is what I promise to all of you Ukrainians. Everyone, despite their choice. I promise to work hard. I promise not to let you down,” Zelensky said in his video message on Facebook. He also proposed a competition for the position of presidential spokesperson. Potential candidates should send their CV by electronic mail. “We are beginning the first competition: the Ukrainian presidential spokesperson. The conditions are very simple: if you have knowledge of at least three languages – Ukrainian, English and Russian – and if you have experience in journalism or in the public sphere, if you are prepared to work 24/7, please send your resume to the e-mail address that will appear in the first comment to this video, and we’ll start doing it together,” Zelensky said. Zelensky won the second round of the presidential election with 73.22% of votes, the CEC announced earlier on Tuesday.
Olena Zelenska used to write gags for the TV comedy that got her husband elected president of Ukraine. But she says their commitment to freedom and democracy is no joke. KIEV—Ukraine’s new first lady, Olena Zelenska, cracks jokes for a living. Until a week ago, she was a professional scriptwriter on her husband’s comedy show. Now it’s time to become, well, not only serious but “passionate about democracy,” she said in an interview with The Daily Beast. Millions of Ukrainian fans of Servant of the People, the television program that starred her husband Volodymyr Zelenskiy as a fictional president, came to see him as a true fighter against corruption. Now that he has been elected president for real, and by a landslide, will he stick to the model he and she created? “It will be easy for my democratic husband to be the servant of the people, and not a master,” Zelenska said, then shook her head and gave a pensive little smile as we sat down to talk at Zelenskiy’s office in Kiev. “It’s interesting what is happening now,” she said. “Not only our opponents, but even our supporters try to fit Volodymyr and me into some sort of caricature, discussing appearances—’Oh, he scratched himself!’ ‘Oh, she turned the wrong way!’ ‘Look at that gesture!’ ‘Look at him laughing!’ And we want to say, ‘Guys, you are used to the Soviet nomenklatura.’” She was referring to the stern-faced gray politicians and bureaucrats once appointed by the Communist Party. “A human being should stay human,” she said. Criticism of Zelenskiy before the election focused on whether the untested politician was a puppet of the highly controversial exiled oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, owner of the television station that aired his comedy show. “Volodymyr is never going to be anybody’s puppet,” Zelenska insisted. She said in 2015 she watched her husband fight against the oligarch’s effort at censorship. “We had a famous scandal when Kolomoisky canceled a broadcast of our political stage show on his TV channel 1+1 because of political jokes. Volodymyr called him on the phone and yelled so loudly that I thought we would never air our shows on TV again.” “That was the turning point when we defended our independence,” said the first lady-elect.
Election authorities in Ukraine have officially named TV star and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy as the country’s new president.
Kateryna_Kruk on Twitter: “Head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine met with a president-elect #Zelenskiy. Says he will pray for Zelenskiy to have enough strength to keep up with the burden of preserving Ukraine’s unity.… https://t.co/0Xs531TDsF”
Ukrainian president-elect Volodymyr Zelenskyy met the head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epifaniy, the honorary patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Filaret, and the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, Onufriy. The Culture Ministry noted that these were Zelenskyy’s first meetings after the announcement of the official election results by the Central Electoral Commission earlier today. Epifaniy, who was the first to meet Zelenskyy, tweeted that he would “pray to ask God to give the new head of state strength to bear the burden of responsibility for the unity of Ukraine. Together we must protect and multiply what Ukrainians have already been given”. All three church leaders congratulated him on Easter and his election victory.
Having visited Orthodox Church of Ukraine head Metropolitan Epiphanius, President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky met with ‘Honored Patriarch’ Filaret on Tuesday. As reported earlier, Zelensky and Metropolitan Epiphanius of Kyiv and All Ukraine met on Tuesday to discuss challenges the country is facing, including the Donbas armed conflict, combating corruption and poverty, and relations between the state and the church.
Metropolitan Onufriy of Kyiv and all Ukraine and Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky met at the metropolitan’s residence in Feofania, the information and educational department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) said.
Winner of Ukraine’s presidential election Volodymyr Zelensky and leader of Ukrainian Orthodox Church (former Moscow Patriarchate) Metropolitan Onufriy met in Kyiv. The latter hosted the president-elect at his residence on April 30. The information department of Ukrainian Orthodox Church reported this Tuesday evening. Zelensky and Onufriy exchanged congratulations on Easter; the churchman also congratulated the future head of the state on being elected as the top official, wishing him ‘God’s blessing on the new and responsible path of serving Ukraine and its people’.
A crumbling wooden house in Russia’s Saratov Oblast was due to be demolished — and with it, a set of unique murals by members of the Old Believers sect. But a visiting student from St. Petersburg decided to do everything she could to save it.