Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (181)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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VKS Dalnaya Aviatsia again probes Alaska ADIZ. Russia launches disinformation campaign over new Syrian CW attacks. Tornado-S GMLRS enters service. KBP, Avangard sanctioned under INKSNA. Reports Russian troops being surveyed on willingness to shoot civilian protesters, four reports on domestic descent. Dossier Center report on Prigozhine effort to destabilise African-American communities. OII study on fake news in EU, and and more on Russia’s proxies in Europe. Updates on Turkey’s procurement of S-400 and S-500. Nord Stream 2, Druzhba, LNG updates. Russia’s proxy game in Austria melts down completely.

Ukraine IR and Crimea updates – mural report is fascinating, moreso given the Sukalabel applied to the KGB. Russia proposes passport game in Transnistria.

Donbas update – AFU truck takes a wrong turn and drives into Russian held territory, eight troops captured. AFU Army Aviation practices massed night attacks launching FFARs from HINDs. 14th Mech Bde conducts live fire EX using Tunguska SPAAGMs. Gen Khomchak profiled – former ATO commander, recommended to Zelenskiy by DEFMIN Poltorak. Zelenskiy appoints personal friend as Deputy Chief of SBU, evidently not entirely trusting the organisation. Oleksandr Danyliuk to be appointed as NSDC Chairman to replace Turchenov.

BG83 Nizhyn Project 1204 Shmel gunboat refit – judging from photos, brought back from the dead, still missing the 76mm gun turret. Zgurets on the impending international audit of UkrOboronProm.

Political news, dealing with parliament, appointments and dismissals, and arguments. Parliament delays vote on election law changes.

Kyiv International Institute of Sociology poll shows public support for OCU and Tomos higher than expected, but a minority remains captured by Russian propaganda.

Yekaterinburg produces major backlash against ROC while the Vozhd labels the protesters as  “godless”.


North American Aerospace Defense Command on Twitter: “NORAD fighters intercepted Russian bombers+fighters entering Alaskan ADIZ May 20. 2x Tu-95s were intercepted by 2x F-22s; a second group of 2x Tu-95+2x Su-35 was intercepted later by 2 more F-22’s; NORAD E-3 provided overall surveillance. The aircraft remained in int’l airspace… https://t.co/urL1M58Kq2”

US Military: Russian Bombers, Fighters Intercepted off Alaska

NORAD said the six Russian aircraft were intercepted in international airspace west of Alaska and were shadowed until they exited the area

US fighter jets intercept Russian bombers off Alaskan coast | TheHill

U.S. fighter jets intercepted six Russian military planes in international airspace off the coast of Alaska on Monday, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said Tuesday.

F-22s intercept Russian fighters, bombers off Alaska

An E-3 Sentry airborne early warning and control with NORAD provided overall surveillance during the intercepts, NORAD officials said.

U.S. Air Force F-22s intercept Russian bombers and fighter jets off Alaskan coast – Defence Blog

U.S. Air Force F-22 fighter jets supported by an E-3 Sentry aircraft intercepted Russian Tu-95 bombers and Su-35 jet fighters in international airspace off the coast of Alaska, the North American Aerospace Defense Command said in a statement. According to the statement, F-22 fighters intercepted Russian bombers and fighters entering Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone on May 20. Two Russian Tu-95 bombers were intercepted by two F-22s and the second group of two Tu-95s with pair Su-35 was intercepted later by 2 more F-22’s; NORAD E-3 provided overall surveillance. Later also was reported that two pairs of F-22 fighter jets, each with an E-3 intercepted Tu-95 bombers Su-35 fighter jets entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on May 21. The bombers entered the ADIZ and were intercepted by two F-22s, exited and then re-entered the Alaskan ADIZ accompanied by two Su-35 fighter jets. They were picked up as they entered the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone, a perimeter line that lies outside national airspace but within which air traffic is kept under constant surveillance to reduce response times in case of a hostile threat. “Our ability to deter and defeat threats to our citizens and vital infrastructure starts with detecting, tracking, and positively identifying aircraft in our airspace,” NORAD’s commander, General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, said. “We are on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” he said. The United States has four Air Defense Identification Zones. The Alaska zone extends about 200 miles (320 kilometers) from the state’s coast. The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the incident in a tweet Tuesday. It said the Aerospace Forces “made scheduled sorties over the neutral waters of the Chukotka, Bering and Okhotsk seas, as well as along the western coast of Alaska and the northern coast of the Aleutian Islands.” “At certain stages of the route, Russian aircraft were escorted by F-22 fighter jets of the USAF. The total flight time exceeded 12 hours,” the Russian ministry added.

UAWire – Estonia expecting Russian attack

Estonia suspects that Russia is preparing for an armed conflict in the west, said Estonian Defense Minister Jüri Luik at a memorial conference in Tallinn for former Estonian president Lennart Meri. His conclusion is based on the fact that Russia has reinforced its Western Military District, establishing seven new regiments and stationing them less than 50 km from the state border. “This demonstrates that the Russian Armed Forces are preparing for an armed conflict to the west,” RBC news agency cites Luik as saying. The minister is convinced that Russia is waiting for NATO to weaken in the coming years. He also expressed concern regarding the Council of Europe’s decision to give Russia back its voting right in the organization. He also considered it possible that the lifting of EU sanctions on Russia will soon be put on the agenda. Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid visited Moscow on 18 April and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Estonian leader commented that it is hard to negotiate with Moscow, since the two countries have such different values. She admitted that she had been unable to find any common ground with the Russian leader. The Council of Europe has decided to restore Russia’s voting right and make preparations to restore its membership status. Russia’s right to vote in the organization was removed after it annexed Crimea in 2014.

U.S. Suspects Chemical Attack In Syria, Denounces Russian ‘Disinformation Campaign’

The United States says it suspects that Syrian government forces have carried out a new chemical attack.

US says signs Syria’s Assad regime may be using chemical weapons

The United States sees signs the Syrian government may be using chemical weapons, including an alleged chlorine attack on Sunday in northwest Syria, the State Department said on Tuesday, warning that Washington and its allies would respond “quickly and appropriately” if this were proven.

UAWire – Russian army receives its first Tornado-S MLRS brigade

This year the Russian army has received its first brigade of the latest-generation Tornado-S multiple launch rocket system (MLRS), announced Alexander Kochkin, vice-CEO of the Rostec subsidiary Techmash, at the MILEX-2019 exhibition. “As for the further development of the Tornado, we now have a new system, the Tornado-S. The first rocket brigade was sent to the armed forces this year, and has begun pilot operation,” Kochkin told RIA Novosti. The modernization of the Tornado MLRS to the Tornado-S level was commissioned by the Defense Ministry, he noted. The Tornado-S is a considerable upgrade from the 9K58 Tornado, designed to destroy distant group targets (personnel, unarmored, lightly armored and armored vehicles), tactical missiles, aerial defense systems, parked helicopters, command points, communication nodes and military industrial infrastructure. The system can fire its rockets in a salvo or as individual precision missiles, and has essentially become a universal tactical rocket system. The Tornado-S can also use adjustable ammunition.

Nuclear war risk highest since WWII, UN arms research chief warns | News | Al Jazeera

Senior UN security expert says all states with nuclear weapons have nuclear modernisation programmes under way.

 

Federal Register :: Imposition of Nonproliferation Measures Against Foreign Persons, Including a Ban on U.S. Government Procurement

A determination has been made that a number of foreign persons have engaged in activities that warrant the imposition of measures pursuant to Section 3 of the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act.

US announces imposition of additional sanctions against Russia

The United States announced the imposition of additional sanctions against two Russian companies, as well as the training center of the Russian Armed Forces, associated with violations of accepted standards for the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. — Ukrinform.

UAWire – US introduces sanctions against Russian defense sector

The US State Department announced on Tuesday that it has added to the sanctions on Russia’s defense sector. Among those Russian companies to be newly blacklisted for violating the sanctions on Syria, Iran and North Korea are the Avangard plant in Moscow, which produces missiles for S-300 and S-400 aerial defense systems, and the Instrument Design Bureau in Tula, one of the largest Russian defense enterprises, which develops precision weapons, including Pantsir anti-air missile systems. The Avangard factory is a subsidiary of Almaz-Antey; the Instrument Design Bureau is part of Rostec. The sanctions, which came into force on 14 May, prohibit the US from providing any support, including technical support, to the blacklisted Russian companies, according to the State Department’s notice that was published in the Federal Register on Tuesday. The Russian companies are accused of violating the Iran, North Korea, Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA), which prohibits the supplying of any military equipment, ballistic missiles, or components for producing them, to the three countries in question. The sanction restrictions will be in place for two years, and also constitute a response to the bipartisan letter from 382 members of US Congress to President Donald Trump urging the White House to ramp up the pressure on Russia and Iran for undermining security in Syria. The congressmen believe that Russia wants to ensure it has a permanent presence in Syria, beyond its existing naval base in Tartus. The letter states that Russian troops and aircraft have “damaged the Syrian nation” at the same time that Russian officials were providing “diplomatic cover and helping the Assad regime to survive”. A bill proposing a second round of sanctions against Russia for the poisoning of former double agent Sergey Skripal has been lying on Trump’s table for more than a month. Bloomberg claims that the documents from the Treasury and State Departments arrived at the White House at the end of March, but Trump is in no hurry to sign them. Preparation of the sanction package has been underway since autumn last year, in accordance with the Act to Control and Destroy Chemical and Biological Weapons, after the State Department officially accused the Russian government of using the Novichok nerve agent in its attempted assassination of Sergey Skripal in the UK. The first round of sanctions only consisted of additional restrictions on technology transfer, and was accompanied by a “trial period”: Russia was given three months to allow international inspectors to access its chemical weapons facilities and to provide convincing proof that it will not use such weapons in future. Russia refused to comply, and according to a law that has already been ratified, the White House is authorized to respond with sanctions. However, the formulation of the new sanctions has dragged on. The second round could include a reduction in the level of diplomatic relations, restrictions on air traffic, and an embargo on imports and exports. Sanctions against the Russian banking sector are also being considered.

 

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Some Russian Soldiers Now Being Asked Whether They’re Prepared to Shoot at Protesters, Navalny Staff Says

Paul Goble Staunton, May 21 – The first line of defense of any state against domestic protests consists of the police; the second of the army. The Putin regime has been building up the former in various ways (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/05/putin-talks-about-peace-with-society.html). Now, there is a report the Kremlin is ensuring that it will be able to use the latter. The Tyumen office of the opposition Navalny organization has released a video in which an anonymous spetsnaz soldier says that he and others in his unit were recently asked by “people from Moscow” whether they were prepared to shoot at Russian protesters (shtab.navalny.com/hq/tyumen/2029/as summarized at rusmonitor.com/vlasti-rf-gotovyatsya-strelyat-v-narod-svidetelstvo-specnazovca.html). According to Rusmonitor’s reading, the soldier said that “in early 2019, ‘people from Moscow’ came to his unit to carry out a survey which included questions about the political views of the military personnel.” What disturbed him and his fellow soldiers were questions as to whether they were ready to use their weapons against their fellow citizens. “The informer reported that he personally and also all whom he then asked categorically declared that they were not prepared to fulfill such an order. He even stressed that such a question by itself shocked him and his fellow soldiers” because they had never been confronted with such a question before. The spetsnaz soldier, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that in his view, “the powers that be understand” where things are heading “and therefore what to know whether the army will be on their side when something begins.” On the one hand, it is far from clear whether this kind of question is being asked more widely than just the special forces which in fact have been deployed by the regime against domestic opponents in the past. But on the other, to ask such a question is to answer it in a way: apparently at least some in Moscow are worried about the loyalty of the military.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin has Reduced Local Governments to ‘Fifth Wheel’ Status to Undermine Russians’ Faith in Democracy, Experts Say

Paul Goble Staunton, May 21 – Over the last 15 years, the Putin regime has moved step by step to eliminate the democratic basis of local government and thereby reduce that part of the state to little more than a transmission belt for the center, Emil Markvart says, a drive intended to solidify Moscow’s control of the country and undermine popular faith in democracy as such. The specialist on local government at the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service details the step-by-step process in which Moscow stripped local governments of their democratic legitimacy and power to make decisions, leaving them little more than extensions of the Kremlin (rosbalt.ru/moscow/2019/05/17/1781658.html). The first move came in 2003 when city managers who introduced alongside the mayors chose by the municipal assemblies. Then, officials from the regions were added to the commissions that selected candidates to head the municipalities. And overtime, the elections became more pro forma and less meaningful. With changes in 2008, Markvart continues, it became obvious to the population that local heads, “even elected by the population in direct elections” were without real power and could be removed at will by those above them. But as bad as that was for local autonomy and democracy, worse was to come in 2014. In that year, the Duma passed a measure which drove the final nail in the coffin of local self-administration. It gave the regional authorities new leverage over municipal heads by increasing the share of regional officials in the selection boards from a third to a half, a step that almost always guaranteed that the region, not the people, controlled who would be mayor. City managers became the real locus of power and they were no longer subject to any vote, even an advisory one. And these changes were ratified in 2015 when the Russian Constitutional Court declared that they were fully consistent with the country’s basic law rather than a violation of its provisions. No significant changes in laws regarding this sector have occurred since, but “this was enough,” Markvart says. As a result, he continues, at present, only 12 percent of the heads of districts (raiony) and 11 percent of city districts (okrugs) are still elected. And of the 1800 districts now, there are direct elections of any kind in only about 1,000. “If in 2008, about 70 percent of mayors were chosen by direct election, in 2014, that figure was already down to 34 percent; and in 2019, to only 14 percent,” other Moscow experts say. And power has passed to appointed city managers almost everywhere – with popular faith in democracy ebbing as a result. Markvart says that the center has achieved its goal of establishing complete control over the mayors; but in the process, Moscow “is losing a most important political institution” and increasing the distance between the government at all levels and the population, with officials looking up not down and the population having little confidence in local ones. One municipal deputy, Pavel Yarilin of the Aeroport district, says that what Moscow has done is to go in exactly the opposite direction to the trajectories of other countries which are handing ever more authority to local officials who are best placed to make decisions about many issues. According to Yarilin, “local self-administration in Russia is like a fifth wheel on the cart of statehood.” Like so many other things the Russian Constitution calls for, local governance is only “an imitation” of what it is supposed to be. Markvart agrees: local governance in Russia now is “a completely decorative institution.” Its role is minimal, and everyone understands this because “they are not idiots,” the Russian scholar says. But the consequences are immense: Russia is losing “the culture of elections” and a generation is rising which consists of “people for whom these democratic values are losing their significance.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Upcoming Free Russia Forum in Vilnius Will have More Delegates from Regions than from Moscow

aul Goble Staunton, May 21 – In the past, the Russian opposition both inside the country and abroad has been almost as Moscow-centric as the powers that be in the Russian capital, with almost all of its leaders drawn from there and most of its focus being on redirecting what Moscow does rather than having others involved in that process as independent actors. That is beginning to change, Darya Garmonenko of Nezavisimaya gazeta says. At the upcoming meeting of the Free Russia Forum in Vilnius, there will be more delegates from the regions than from Moscow, a change in composition certain to change the direction the group will go (ng.ru/politics/2019-05-20/3_7577_forum.html). That is part of another and perhaps even more important trend. In past meetings of this group – and the June 8-9 session will be the seventh – political exiles of one kind or another have dominated. But this year, 70 percent of the 442 people who have registered are from the Russian Federation, the journalist says, and 39 percent will be first-time attendees. Of the 302 who have registered from 56 regions of the Russian Federation, the largest contingents remain from the capitals, 98 from Moscow and 44 from St. Petersburg, but the other regions will be sending 140, almost a third of the total and nearly 50 percent more than the Muscovites, an unprecedented situation. Regionalists are jubilant about that and about the program which focuses now on Russia as a whole rather than Moscow (forumfreerussia.org/archives/forum-vii/programma-vii-foruma-svobodnoj-rossii). Now, some of them say, it will focus on the disintegration of the country (facebook.com/profile.php?id=100014037936721&eid=ARAstWq2z6rU6KgtnYD4QCNi5isWwPOtkUVC2icrz_jJTeyMuU0GUo53LKMjfC_9-RX4HqzWlntDwcbA). Such predictions may not prove true; but as Garmonenko points out, there is no question that the upcoming meeting will focus more on Russia’s domestic problems rather than on its relations with the outside world and that those problems include many far beyond the ring road of the capital. The increase in regional representation has another consequence. The role of organized political parties will be far lower this time around. Not only are representatives from the regions less likely to be members of any party than are Muscovites or emigres, those in parties will be swamped by the others given that the meeting will be twice as large as earlier sessions. (For background on the Free Russia Forum’s sometimes problematic relationship with Russian regionalists, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/04/russian-regionalists-liberals.html.)

About 1,000 commuters spend hours trapped in Moscow subway | Fox News

About 1,000 commuters have been trapped in a Moscow subway for several hours because of a power outage.

Zhirinovsky: Israel will start a war with Iran, and Rostov will suffer

The leader of the Russian LDPR party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, known for his extravagant performances, shared with the public his predictions about the imminent Middle East conflict. Zhirinovsky is confident that there will be a war between the United States and Iran. He explained it as follows: “Americans need to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and from Iraq. There, the population is already ready to revolt against them. And where can they be withdrawn? That’s what they will give them a land operation.” The politician believes that Israel will start the war, which will provoke Iran to respond, and then larger players will enter the battle. “How will the conflict begin? Israel will strike at those facilities where it seems to him, its intelligence, there are nuclear centers for uranium enrichment, and, perhaps, for the production of nuclear warheads,” Zhirinovsky explained. “Iran has carriers, up to two Thousands of kilometers, and there are two hundred enough. After Iran’s attack, it will definitely respond, some minor destruction in Israel, and then the elder brother will come to the rescue. The USA will mobilize NATO, and then they will start bombing Iran, including very much scary long-range weapon, it cleanses territory completely. You can take down the entire country using one of the local nuclear attack. ” Zhirinovsky substantiated the inevitability of his prediction by a historical example, which Israel once again linked: “Well, first, why will it happen? In Iraq, why did Bush give the command to invade and destroy the regime? Because the Palestinians constantly bombarded Israel, Saddam Hussein each rocket paid twenty thousand dollars. How much can you tolerate them, in Israel? I’m talking about them, not about myself. Here, the invasion. There is no Saddam Hussein, and Iraq has been completely reformatted, but unfortunately for the worse. would after the overthrow of them, the Shiites came. And in Iran, too, the Shiites! And now, in the event of a strike on Iran, Shiite Iraq can stand on the side of Shiite Iran. It is also beneficial for Israel. The speaker likened the Shiites to Orthodox Christians, who are also an absolute minority among Christians, and compared the desire of the Sunnis to uproot the Shiites to the fact that “Orthodox temples seized in Ukraine”. Then the politician explained what a similar scenario is fraught for Russia. “We have a problem? Millions of refugees are sure to appear. And where will they rush? Only to the north. For the south is the Sunni part of the Muslim world, they will be destroyed there. They will be forced to move to the north. In the north – Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia They will be crushed. And already refugees not only from Iran, but from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia will trample on our northern Caucasus. And there there is a dangerous situation. There they will find their friends, supporters, opponents. All this will suit Astrakhan, Volgograd and Rostov Here we will have to stop them. s. ” In this regard, Zhirinovsky considers it necessary to begin building barracks for refugees, since “one cannot meet them with machine-gun fire.” After that, he turned to the historical theme, complaining that the USSR after World War II strengthened its position not in the East, but in Eastern Europe, “which then separated anyway.” “After the war, we stood in northern Iran. Stalin did not leave our army there. We had to leave. And Azerbaijan would be a big Azerbaijan,” said Zhirinovsky. He ended his speech somewhat paradoxically, declaring that once the whole world had turned into a global market, one had to “buy something cheaper on it”, that is, not to venture into expensive international troubles, but “take care of one’s own country”.

 

The development strategy of “Negroid racial chauvinism” or prigozhinsky answer to the Gerasimov doctrine

Experts of the Dossier Center together with the NBC television company studied strategic documents for creating a Pan-African state in America to destabilize the situation inside the country, as well as to undermine its political, economic and military potential. The development of “mechanisms of influence on the United States that meet modern methods of hybrid exposure,” was entrusted to well-known staff in this field Yevgeny Prigogine. In early January 2018, Mikhail Potepkin , the regional director of M Invest, was presented the project “Development Strategy of the African Division of the Company”, aimed at “creating a negative attitude towards European powers and the USA”. According to the document, Prigogine’s employees planned to recruit African Americans living in the poorest cities in the states of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana and having experience of participation in organized criminal groups, as well as serving sentences in places of deprivation of liberty. Members of the black radical movements were supposed to be attracted to the participation in the actions of defiance to destabilize the situation within America. At the same time, in the territory of Africa, the specialists of the “Company” intended to create a network of training camps for training black American activists in combat and ideological training courses.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s ‘Chef’ Reportedly Cooks Up Plan to Stir Racial Enmity and Dismember the United States

Paul Goble Staunton, May 21 – The Khodorkovsky-supported Dossier Center is reporting and the American television network NBC is rebroadcasting a report that Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as Putin’s “chef” and who has been involved in subversive activities in Africa has come up with a plan to stoke racial hostilities in the US and ultimately threaten that country’s territorial integrity. The essence of the plan, if such it is, calls for Prigozhin’s team to recruit Black Americans, train them in Africa for combat and sabotage, and then return them to the US to foment violence (dossier.center/e-prigozhin/article/prigozhinskij-otvet-doktrine-gerasimova/ and nbcnews.com/news/world/russian-documents-reveal-desire-sow-racial-discord-violence-u-s-n1008051). What is especially disturbing about all this is that those presented with such documents, which certainly reflect a mindset of the Putin regime which supports using all means legal and illegal against its opponents, have been put in an impossible position exactly as the Kremlin intends. If they dismiss such plans as the kind of fantasies they almost certainly are, the kind of thing some Russian officials can be counted on to think would be wonderful if they were carried out, those who are presented with such documents risk missing a real story, one that shows Moscow is intervening in American life far beyond the elections. But if they report them and focus only on the likelihood of such plans being carried out, they may be missing the point because in broadcasting the report, they are likely doing exactly what the Kremlin and its “cook” want: spreading a story, which even if it isn’t true, will likely exacerbate suspicions among Americans and further undermine racial comity. In many ways, the supposed Prigozhin plan is yet another revival of Soviet-era programs to reach out in support of Black Americans in the 1920s and later. Those plans did little to help Negroes, but they did provide a trope for segregationists and their supporters who argued that the drive for racial justice was a communist plot. Unfortunately, there will be some in the US now who will be ready to draw similar conclusions and vote accordingly. That is what the Kremlin wanted in Soviet times; it is what it wants now. And those who comfort themselves with the notion that Russia is not the USSR should recognize that in this case as in many others they are only deceiving themselves.

Junk news ‘not prevalent’ on Twitter, but more likely to be shared and liked on Facebook, finds unique multilingual study — Oxford Internet Institute

‘Junk news’ gets higher engagement on Facebook ahead of EU elections

The findings could add to concerns around the potential impact of online misinformation on upcoming European elections.

‘Junk news’ gets higher engagement before E.U. elections, Oxford study finds

Racially divisive rhetoric and misinformation-filled ‘junk news’ has drawn higher engagement ahead of the European Parliament elections, a new study finds.

Far-right Facebook groups ‘spreading hate to millions in Europe’ | World news | The Guardian

Avaaz uncovers 500 accounts using fake news to spread white supremacy message

Hungary accused of fuelling xenophobia with anti-migrant rhetoric | World news | The Guardian

Council of Europe’s damning report says human rights violations must be urgently addressed

 

Turkey Says It Now Plans On Manufacturing Russia’s S-500 Air Defense System – The Drive

Turkish President Recep Erdogan says his country will cooperate on the production of Russia’s S-500 surface-to-air missile system, a move that is sure to draw new criticism from the United States and its other fellow NATO members. Turkey is already increasingly at risk of getting kicked out of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program over its planned purchase of Russian-made S-400 air defense systems. The S-500 announcement also follows the Kremlin’s offer to sell Turkey Su-57 advanced fighter jets if its F-35 deal collapses.

Erdoğan’s S-500 plan likely to backfire on Turkey – analysis | Ahval

Turkish President Recep Erdoğan’s plan to cooperate with Russia on S-500 missile system production is likely to increase Congressional efforts to punish Ankara for its planned S-400 purchase and could end Turkey’s participation in other U.S. programmes, said an analysis at U.S. news outlet The Drive. Turkey is already at risk of getting kicked out of the U.S.’ F-35 fighter jet programme for its planned purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system. “The S-500 announcement also follows Russia’s offer to sell Turkey Su-57 advanced fighter jets if its F-35 deal collapses, yet another example of how the Kremlin has been steadily working to pull Ankara into its orbit in recent years,” the Drive said on Monday. U.S. and NATO officials have spoken out against Turkey’s planned S-400 purchase, warning that it could expose vulnerabilities in NATO military hardware, including within the new generation F-35 stealth fighter jet. As the July delivery for the S-400 system has neared, Washington has increased pressure on Turkey to cancel or postpone the deal with Moscow. In April, the Pentagon put deliveries and activities associated with Turkey’s F-35 operations on hold until Ankara abandons the S-400 purchase. Turkish President Recep Erdoğan revealed on Saturday that Turkey planned to cooperate with Russia on the S-500 missile system. Russia has described the S-500 — which reportedly hit a target 300 miles away in 2018, a world record for any surface-to-air missile system — as a compliment to the S-400, rather than a replacement for that system, according to the Drive.

TASS: Military & Defense – Turkish military servicemen start training course on use of S-400 systems

The course will last several months, according to the Turkish defense minister

USA-Turkey F-35 crisis grows with S-400 delivery before July

Russia could deliver the S-400 anti-aircraft system to Turkey before July possibly forcing the USA to withhold delivery of Ankara’s F-35A stealth fighters. The US and its allies are concerned that Turkey’s plan to buy the Almaz-Antey S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile system could expose vulnerabilities of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II – weaknesses which could then be exploited by Russia. Ankara has dismissed those concerns, says it is going forward with the delivery of the S-400 and expects Washington to deliver its F-35 aircraft in due course.

US gives Turkey June deadline to reject Russia arms deal

Turkey is staring down a June deadline to cancel its purchase of a Russian missile system, according to a new report.

Turkey Preparing For U.S. Sanctions Over Russian Missile Deal

Turkey’s defense minister said Ankara was preparing for potential U.S. sanctions over its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, but also spoke of what he called a growing “rapprochemen…

Turkey preparing for possible U.S. sanctions over S-400s: minister – Reuters

Turkey’s defense minister said it was preparing for potential U.S. sanctions over its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, even while he said there was some improvement in talks with the United States over buying F-35 fighter jets.

Turkey sees improvement in F-35 talks with US but prepares for sanctions – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

Turkey and the United States are at odds over Ankara’s decision to buy Russian S-400 defense systems which cannot be integrated into NATO systems.

Turkey has 2 weeks to cancel Russian arms deal and avoid US penalties

The U.S. State Department’s current offer is the final one, according to multiple sources.

Could One of America’s Allies Take Down the F-35 Program? | The National Interest

What does America need to save its troubled F-35 stealth fighter? Turkey, that’s what.

Turkey Is Hungry for War With Cyprus – Foreign Policy

Erdogan has rarely been so weak at home—or so aggressive with his neighbors in the Mediterranean.

Turkey Burns Bridges With Markets as Costs of Lira Defense Mount – Bloomberg

Turkey is paying the price for its pre-election efforts to tinker with the markets.

 

Russia Will Build New Gas Pipeline to Europe Despite Trump Administration Sanctions, Kremlin Says

“The opposition to Nord Stream 2 is still very much alive and well in the United States,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Tuesday.

US threatens sanctions on Russia’s controversial Nord Stream II pipeline

The US is preparing to impose sanctions on the controversial Nord Stream II project that will pipe Russian gas to Germany.

US energy secretary: Sanctions bill on Nord Stream 2 coming soon

United States Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Tuesday that a sanctions bill putting onerous restrictions on companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 project would come in the “not too distant future”.

Nord Stream 2 explained: What it is and why it’s proving controversial

With construction underway and as Germany attempts to downplay criticism of the project, concerns over security and geopolitics remain.

Exclusive: Western buyers freeze payments for contaminated oil in extended Russian outage – Reuters

Total and Eni have stopped payments for the contaminated oil sold to them by Russian firms and said they will only pay when compensation is agreed, trading sources said, upping the stakes in what the sources say is Russia’s worst oil supply disruption.

Reuters Exclusive: Western buyers freeze payments for contaminated oil in extended Russian outage – news economics | UNIAN

Total and Eni have stopped payments for the contaminated oil sold to them by Russian firms and said they will only pay when compensation is agreed, trading sources said, upping the stakes in what the sources say is Russia’s worst oil supply disruption. Payment for millions of barrels of contaminated oil that have now been stuck for weeks in pipelines was due on May 15.

UAWire – Zelensky and Naftogaz CEO discuss LNG deal with US energy secretary

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev met on 20 May with US Energy Secretary Rick Perry to discuss possible …

 

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz Faces No-Confidence Vote – WSJ

The unraveling of an alliance between conservatives and nationalists in Austria’s government is now threatening to end the 18-month tenure of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, as opposition parties demanded a vote of no confidence in his leadership.

Austrian far-right FPÖ quits Kurz government after sacking – BBC News

The Freedom Party pulls out after two top party figures are caught up in a secret video.

Austrian Chancellor Calls for Top Minister’s Ouster, Deepening Government Chaos – The New York Times

Austria’s chancellor called for the dismissal of his interior minister, a member of the Freedom Party, leading the far-right party’s other ministers to quit the government.

Austria’s Sebastian Kurz to face no-confidence vote as far-right ministers quit – CNN

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz will face a no-confidence vote in the wake of an undercover video scandal that has blown apart his coalition with a far-right party.

Austria’s right-wing government implodes in scandal | Austria News | Al Jazeera

All FPO-ministers will be replaced by technocrats as Austria gets a minority government for the first time ever.

Hungary depriving asylum seekers of food – Council of Europe – BBC News

The Council of Europe’s Rights Commissioner accuses Hungary of a series of human rights violations.

 

UAWire – Zelensky hopes to meet with Trump soon

At a meeting with representatives of the Administration and the US Congress, who arrived in Kyiv to participate in the official inauguration ceremony, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his hope to meet US President Donald Trump soon, reports the Press-service of the President. “The United States is a powerful and significant partner for Ukraine, primarily in overcoming Russia’s aggression. We will not be able to overcome Russian aggression in the Donbas and Crimea on our own. That’s why we need your help. I want to urge the United States to continue to tighten sanctions against Russia,” said Ukrainian President. Zelensky also thanked the United States for its assistance in the security sector and added that he is ready to carry out transparent, open, and democratic reforms in Ukraine. US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker, and US Senator Ron Johnson participated in the meeting.

Merkel, Macron discuss with Putin ‘passportization’ of occupied Donbas

German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron held a joint telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, May 21, according to the website of the German Federal Chancellery. — Ukrinform.

Merkel and Macron hold talks with Putin by phone; Ukraine among subjects discussed – news politics | UNIAN

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron held a joint telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, May 21. They discussed, among other things, further implementation of the Minsk agreements.

UAWire – Zelensky calls on EU to strengthen sanctions against Russia

During a meeting with the Vice-President of The European Commission Maroš Šefčovič on May 20, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky noted the …

Kateryna_Kruk on Twitter: “Newly appointed head of pres administration says Zelenskiy plans to initiate a referendum on negotiations with #russia (!!!). Since there’s no law on referendum and the very questions on it are a bit abstract to me, I’d say that’s more of the Rada election campaigning.”

Zelensky’s administration chief: Peace agreements with Russia could be put to referendum – news politics | UNIAN

Head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s presidential administration Andriy Bohdan says that peace agreements with Russia could be put to a nationwide referendum. Bohdan was appointed head of Zelensky’s administration on May 21.

Zelensky meets with representatives of Ukrainian World Congress

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky met with representatives of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC), the president’s press service reported on Tuesday. — Ukrinform.

UAWire – Media: Israel did not send a single minister to the Zelensky’s inauguration to avoid annoying Putin

Joel Lyon, Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine was the only representative of the Jewish state at the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky’s inauguration, reports Israeli Channel 9. Israeli authorities decided not to send ministers or deputy ministers to the ceremony. According to experts, the decision was made on the basis that the possible participation of the Israeli government minister at the Volodymyr Zelensky’s inauguration could complicate relations between Israel and Russia. Observers believe that Kyiv authorities expected more substantial representation of Israel at the president’s inauguration, and that the Jerusalem’s decision could be perceived in Kyiv as a kind of disregard for the new Ukrainian leader. The Israeli Prime Minister was among the first to congratulate Volodymyr Zelensky on his victory in the second round of the presidential election. Most recently, a member of the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, Ze’ev Elkin met with Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss a visit to Israel as well as the transfer of the Ukrainian embassy.

NATO doesn’t accept annexation of Crimea, calls for release of Ukrainian sailors

NATO does not accept illegal annexation of Crimea and calls on Russia to release seized Ukrainian sailors and ships. — Ukrinform.

‘Your Move’: Graffiti On Putin Mural In Crimea Taunts FSB

A mural in Crimea depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin has been defaced with a profane piece of graffiti calling the Federal Security Service (FSB) a “bitch.”

Mejlis chairman Chubarov: Russia consistently implementing concept ‘Crimea without Crimean Tatars’

It is necessary not only to be aware of the tragic events of the deportation of indigenous peoples of Crimea but also to prevent their repetition in relation to Crimean Tatars and other peoples. — Ukrinform.

UAWire – Similar to Donbas Kremlin could start issuing Russian passports in Transnistria

The State Duma deputy, Alexander Yaroshuk, told the TSV television channel that a simplified procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship might be organized for Transnistria in the near future. The parliamentarian stressed that in the lower house of parliament “they clearly understand the problems of the unrecognized republics.” At the same time, amendments were made to all laws for the successful implementation of the initiative, “which had to be amended.” “Now there is the political will regarding the DPR and the LPR. I think that with such cooperation a political decision will be made in the near future,” Yaroshuk said. The deputy also said that the decision has been made to complete the construction of those republic’s facilities and the work started with the help of funds from the Russian budget. For example, the Republican Center of Mother and Child in the city of Tiraspol is being built. According to Yaroshuk, it would be unwise to stop construction “both politically and from the economic point of view”. “You do not need much money to complete the constructions, and most importantly, they are very necessary for Transnistrians,” said the MP.

 

Three Ukraine soldiers wounded in Donbas amid five enemy attacks on Tuesday – news war | UNIAN

Russia’s hybrid military forces on Tuesday mounted five attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, with three Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action. No attacks have been reported since Wednesday midnight.

Ukrainian Military Says Eight Soldiers Captured In Donetsk Region

Ukrainian authorities say eight military personnel have been captured by Russia-backed fighters in the eastern region of Donetsk.

Invaders detain eight Ukrainian soldiers in Donbas

Eight servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine headed off course when driving in a lorry in the area of Novotroitske village, Donetsk region, and were taken captive by invaders. — Ukrinform.

Eight Ukrainian soldiers taken captive by Russia-led forces in Donbas – news war | UNIAN

Eight soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have lost their way and have been taken captive by the Russia-led forces in the occupied part of Donbas. The Joint Forces command is trying to determine their whereabouts.

Army Aviation Conducts Massed Night Rocket Attack Training

Army Aviation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine worked on joint exercises to interact with mechanized units at night time. Night flights with fire damage to a likely enemy were carried out during command-and-control exercises of the operational command “West”, reports Defense Express . More than four thousand military 14 UMBrs, together with the Army Aviation, worked on the defensive operations and the transition to the offensive at the Rivne Combined Arms Polygon. It is noted that for the first time such studies were conducted in the night. The aircraft and helicopters of the Army Aviation, which covered mechanized divisions of the 14th Brigade, were raised in the sky. Rotary wing machines in the dark practiced massive attacks on enemy positions using folding fin aerial rockets (FFAR). It is worth noting that the ability to combine the actions of mechanized units with aviation is one of the most difficult tasks for the Army. ” We combined these two exercises and there is interaction between a mechanized brigade, an army aircraft. And all the actions are carried out jointly, in one scenario , “Alexander Pavlyuk, Commander of the Operational Command” West “, emphasized.

Live Fire Exercises Using Tunguska SPAAGM Conducted at Rivne Range

Command-staff training of the 14th Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was completed at the Rivne Combined Arms Area. Several thousand soldiers worked out defense and offensive operations, working in conjunction with aviation of the Armed Forces, reports Defense Express . ” One of the mechanized brigades got the task – to leave and replace the brigade, which conducted defensive actions, conduct a defensive operation and be ready to carry out an offensive battle “, – said the commander of the forces of the operational command “West” Alexander Pavlyuk. In large-scale exercises all units of the brigade were involved . Particular attention was paid to protecting units of the Armed Forces from attacking the air. For this purpose, the technique and fighters of the anti-aircraft missile artillery division of the brigade were involved. ” We have a single and specific task – to cover the unit of our brigade from the means of attacking an airstrike – helicopters, planes, and especially unmanned aerial vehicles “, – said 14 OMBr Marian, a serviceman. This task was performed by brigade anti-aircraft rocket-gun complexes ( ZRGK ) 2С6 “Tunguska”. It is worth noting that the crews of ZRGK used in exercises not only gun complexes, but also worked out practical launches for air purposes using rocket weapons. Shots with similar shootings have shown for the first time in the last decade. Recall that “Tunguska”, in addition to two two- seater 30-mm automatic guns AT-17, is equipped with two armed launchers of anti-aircraft guided missiles ( SCR ) 9M311. These missiles have never been manufactured in Ukraine, and their old reserves have a limited shelf life. It is likely that the 9M311 old missiles, too, have undergone restoration procedures in the framework of a general program for the restoration and prolongation of the operation of a wide range of missiles for complexes (air defense, munitions clearance and OTRK ), which are armed with the Armed Forces. Therefore, the use of such weapons will greatly increase the ability of the Ground Forces brigades to defend against possible air threats. What is especially relevant in the area of the OOS where the enemy actively engages the unmanned aerial vehicles.

Ukraine’s new president replaces Chief of the General Staff: decree – Reuters

Ukraine’s new President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Tuesday promoted Lieutenant General Ruslan Khomchak to be the Chief of the General Staff after sacking Viktor Muzhenko, a presidential decree said.

Poltorak considers an experienced officer of the new Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

The Minister of Defense of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak considers the new Chief of General Staff Ruslan Homchak to be an experienced officer. “General Homchak is an experienced general, an experienced officer. He was appointed yesterday and tomorrow morning he will be presented to the General Staff and the Armed Forces,” Poltorak told reporters after a government meeting on Wednesday. As it was reported, on May 21, President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky appointed Khomchak head of the General Staff – commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine instead of Viktor Muzhenko dismissed from this post.

Yuriy Butusov | Questions to the New Chief of the General Staff Khomchak – what to do?

To begin with, in response to the emotions in the network, I want to remind you that Ruslan Homchak was appointed to the post of Chief of the General Staff of the Supreme Court of Ukraine by decree of the President of Ukraine Zelensky at the suggestion of Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak; that Khomchak was the commander of the ATO in 2016 and that he was Chief of Staff of the Land Forces for two years by decision of the Chief of General Staff Viktor Muzhenko; that, according to Minister Poltorak, Homchak was Chief Inspector of the Ministry of Defense for two and a half years. And for all this time, for some reason, it has never occurred to anyone to arrange information waves in order to dismiss him. For more than two years, Homchak had access to the greatest military secrets, conducted inspections of all the biggest emergency situations in the army, was the right hand of the minister for inspections and rectification of deficiencies in work. And it is not his fault that the GPU does not take the case of Ilovaisk to court, the investigation of which is officially completed in 2016. I wish that instead of lies and propaganda at the trial, truth came out from the participants in the operation, including from the former Supreme Commander-in-Chief. There will be a trial – and history will put everything in its place. But I think that such a powerful criticism from the very beginning is good; there is no time for the new Chief of the General Staff to swing. Criticism is useful, it is necessary to rely on criticism, there is a war, and there is no need to experience illusions, it is necessary to give visible results. Homchak has to do a lot of things, according to which his work should be fairly evaluated. I will try to do an interview, I think it would be interesting to hear the answers to many questions from the new Chief of the General Staff. It seems to me offhand, you need to understand the vision on many issues: – it is necessary from the first days to show a new quality of attitude towards people in the army, to ensure the protection of the rights of servicemen; – develop adequate planning documents, and above all – the doctrine of hostilities, a realistic program for the development of the Armed Forces of Ukraine under this doctrine; – it is fair to carry out personnel appointments, clean out those who disgrace military groups from command posts, appoint those who are able to become real leaders; – create an objectively motivated plan for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which will be tied not to someone’s personal commercial interests and orders, but to the needs of troops leading the fighting, relying on the opinion of soldiers, platoon commanders, companies, battalions, brigades that are directly fighting ; – to establish effective interaction with volunteers, to make volunteer structures an integral part of the reform process, to involve the active part of civil society in the reform process; – Understand the jungle of corruption state defense orders and all sorts of closed research cuts, which are a lot of money; – pick bribe takers in military registration and enlistment offices; – reduce bureaucratic and redundant non-combat structures and positions; – reduce non-earmarked expenses; – to increase the completeness of combat units; – revise the program of combat training; – to improve the quality of service of recruits, to focus them as much as possible on combat training in order to improve the quality of the mobilization resource; – create a program of military-patriotic education in military units, which will be based on the projects of the Military History Museum of the Ministry of Defense, the Institute of National Remembrance, on the real history of the war against Russia; – to provide reward on the merits of all worthy warriors who have distinguished themselves in the war, to ensure proper payment for injuries and loss of health; – to strengthen the reserve component and the reserve body as a whole; – to legalize the actions of volunteer detachments in the environmental protection zone; – solve the problem of citizenship for foreign military personnel; – the most important thing is to ensure an increase in the effectiveness of our troops in the Donbas. Yury Butusov, Censor.net

Zelensky’s childhood friend appointed SBU’s first deputy chief (Document) – news politics | UNIAN

Ivan Bakanov, the head of the Servant of the People Party and head of Studio Kvartal-95 LLC, has been appointed First Deputy Chief of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine. “To appoint Ivan Hennadiyovych Bakanov as First Deputy Chief of the Security Service of Ukraine and Head of the Main Directorate for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime of the Central Directorate of the Security Service of Ukraine,” says presidential decree No. 316/2019 dated May 22, 2019, which was posted on the president’s official website. As UNIAN reported earlier, Bakanov, 44, was born in Kryviy Rih, graduated from the Academy of Labor and Social Relations in Moscow. From January 25, 2013, he has been head of Kvartal 95 LLC, and on December 27, 2013, he was appointed head of Studio Kvartal-95 LLC. Bakanov became head of the Servant of the People Party in December 2017. He is Zelensky’s childhood friend, he ran the campaign headquarters during Zelensky’s presidential race and was responsible for interaction with the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Zelenskyy’s election HQ head appointed deputy SBU chief – LB.ua news portal

Zelenskyy’s election HQ head appointed deputy SBU chief. He replaced Demchyna. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Zelensky appoints SBU’s first deputy chief

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has appointed Ivan Bakanov as first deputy chief of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and head of the main directorate for combating corruption and organized crime of the SBU’s central directorate. — Ukrinform.

Danyliuk could become National Defense Council Secretary, – AP head

The candidacy of Oleksandr Danyliuk is considered for the appointment as the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. The new head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Andriy Bohdan said this on air of 112 Ukraine TV channel during the main political talk show “The Pulse”. Bohdan believes that Oleksandr Danilyuk is a specialist who is able to carry out a number of necessary reforms in defense and weapons procurement. “We believe that the Defense Ministry is working and the corresponding bill already exists in Ukraine today. The Defense Council should be headed by non-professional military, there should be managers who enjoy trust from Western partners, with the level of knowledge about the logistic support for the army and knowledge on the implementation of the highest quality technical and armed support of our army,”Andriy Bohdan said.

Oleksandr Danylyuk – Wikipedia

The decree on the appointment of Danilyuka as secretary of the NSDC has already been signed, – the deputy head of the presidential administration Ryaboshapka

President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky decided to appoint former Finance Minister Alexander Danilyuk secretary of the National Security and Defense Council. This was stated by the deputy head of the presidential administration Ruslan Ryaboshapka, reports Tsenzor.NET, citing LIGA.net. “This issue has already been resolved. The decree has already been signed,” he said. According to Ryaboshapki, a decree on the appointment will be published soon.

The first coast guard “Shmel” was refitted

The ship repair company “Dunaysudoservis” completed the dock repair of the first border ship BG83 “Nizhyn” from three contracted ships of the Article 1204 “Shmel”. “The complexity of repairing the building due to its small constructional thickness and the complexity of the circumference, especially in the frontal part, was much higher than the complexity of the standard hull of the ship, which is usually repaired at the plant,” the press service of the company said. Despite all the difficulties, the ship’s repair was completed in time and its quality met the crew’s requirements. After that the case was painted in a camouflage pattern.

Shmel (class) / Project 1204 Armored Artillery Gunboat / Patrol Boat – Soviet Union

This page details the development and operational history of the Shmel (class) / Project 1204 Armored Artillery Gunboat / Patrol Boat including technical specifications and pictures.

Sergey ZGURETS | WHO WILL PAY FOR THE AUDIT OF “UKROBORONPROM”? | Defense Express

The decision of the Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groisman to resign does not, in fact, affect the ultimatum that was announced by the concern “Ukroboronprom”. This was fixed in the government order following the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on May 15: “… within ten days to complete the negotiation procedures for the appointment of an audit company for the public financial audit of the State Concern” Ukroboronprom “. The ultimatum expires on May 25th. So even if Vladimir Groisman goes, then his ultimatum remains. With one important detail directly from the prime minister. The PM insisted that the concern itself should pay for the audit, with the help of defense enterprises. With this approach, the situation around the audit of “Ukroboronprom” began to resemble a show with stripping for adults. However, the know-how consists in the fact that the performance should be paid not by the audience, but by the participants themselves. Why do we have this audit? At first everything seemed quite decent. About the audit of “Ukroboronproma” by recognized international companies was announced in 2017. It was planned to be carried out at the expense of not state but donor funds. The results of the audit should have become the basis for the transformation of state defense property, which now represents “Ukroboronprom” in a format that meets market conditions. Because, as it was stated then, our “defense” should be competitive (taking into account new partners, new strategies, new markets with new products). And transparent for those countries or companies that want to invest in defense-industrial projects in Ukraine. 190521 uop 2 However, it was quite logical and another explanation. First of all, this audit, the United States, which constantly condemned us to corruption and defense misuse, had to solve two issues. First Conduct a real analysis of all our current capabilities (including assessing the risks of spreading critical technologies to states that can participate in the inevitable privatization of our “defense”). The second is to initiate and control this process to a victorious outcome. Actually, such a maneuver of the United States has been with the Polish “defensive”. We were the next. Such a franchise is American. The audit was to be truly global, and it confirmed the tender announced in December 2017 for the provision of services in strategic, operational, technological, legal and, finally, financial auditing in accordance with international standards. The tender included three lots worth 130 million hryvnias. The first concerned the provision of strategic, operational, technological review services, improvement of the strategy for corporate and industrial restructuring of the concern, and support the practical implementation of the recommendations developed by the winner. This lot was worth the most expensive – as much as 78 million UAH. The second lot for 20 mln. provided legal review and diagnostics of the concern, concerned strategy and reform of the management system of the concern. News by topic: UKROBORONPROM READY FOR INTERNATIONAL AUDIT The third lot on 32 million UAH. concerned the financial audit in accordance with international standards. Who will pay for the show? From the very beginning, the Americans were really going to pay for it. In particular, I know about talks with a number of donors, which took place with the assistance of the US Embassy in Ukraine. Most actively with this topic, all the players played in 2018. However, further surprises began. Potential donors in the Ukrainian territory have not materialized. And since the beginning of 2019 there began to be hints that the audit should seek the money in Ukraine. Although the budget has already been paid – and no ministry or structure has been charged. News on the topic: INTERNATIONAL AUDIT DK “UKROBORONPROM” OBJESES IN 5 MILLION DOLLARS February 26, 2019 Ambassador of the United States to Ukraine Marie L. Jovanović sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Ukraine V. Groysman. Among other things, the letter stated: “We continue to urge the government to support the financing of international financial audits and corporate governance assessment of Ukroboronprom.” Several well-known Western audit firms have applied for this tender. The only barrier to starting this audit is the lack of government funding. Audit and evaluation can begin within a few months after the allocation of funds and receipt of tender offers, and each stage reached will be a positive signal for the Ukrainian public. The start of the new process and the choice of another way will take much longer and will send a negative message to these companies and representatives of the foreign defense industry that Ukraine does not intend to completely reform its defense industry. We are asking you to publicly support the financial audit and instruct the Cabinet of Ministers to allocate the necessary funds to ensure its completion . ” 190521 uop 3 190521 uop 14 In March 2019, the situation worsened through the Biggest Gate. There was a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council, the decision of which was put into effect by the Decree of the President of Ukraine of March 15, 2019. It was said that the Cabinet of Ministers, in order to eliminate corruption risks, increase transparency and strengthen control by the state, should provide, within a month, the organization of audit of the concern involving international experts. Exhausted reception Prime Minister Volodymyr Groisman, however, reacted to it only during the presidential half-time. He did not look for money, but at a government meeting on May 15, he simply swept the ball further. I obliged already “Ukroboronprom” within 10 days to complete all negotiation procedures with audit companies, identify the winner and start a public financial audit company. “For Ukrainian soldiers and for society, it’s very difficult to understand how a very closed structure such as” Ukroboronprom “functions, said Groisman at this meeting. Although, of course, it was strange to hear, because in five years, including the years of the premiership of Vladimir Groisman, the government has never appointed its own representative to the Supervisory Board of “Ukroboronprom”. And de jure and de facto self-abandoned from participating in the management of the concern. 190521 uop 5 By the way, for all this time, I remember only one example, when the Prime Minister publicly took care of defensive problems. This was in December 2017, when Vladimir Groisman in front of the cameras said that he insisted that President Poroshenko release the then head of the Ukroboronprom Roman Romanov. The reason for such a decision was the Prime Minister called the non-payment of salary debts at the Nikolaev Shipbuilding Plant. At the time of the assignment, the prime minister argued that the heads of business entities were personally responsible for the state of payment of wages. Everything seems to be right. But, in fact, it was an escape from our own responsibility. Debts at the Nikolaev Plant have arisen due to the long-term lack of orders from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine for many years, and especially after the Ministry of Defense has ceased to pay for the maintenance of the missile cruiser “Ukraine”, which stands at the factory. To break the knot of mutual rejection and misunderstandings between the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Economic Development and the “Ukroboronprom” could only be the prime minister. Pavlo Bukin, who replaced Romanov as general director of “Ukroboronprom”, made a decision to transfer funds to the troubled plant on a monthly basis. Because without paying off wage arrears, it is not lawful to release workers not employed in the production. To do this, in 2018 the concern transferred to Nikolayev shipyard 22 million UAH, in 2019 – another 17 million UAH. This amounts to half of the contributions received by the concern from other enterprises with profits that make up Ukroboronprom. The number of employees in the Nikolaev Shipyard has decreased from 800 to 330 people. But the decision on what to do with a cruiser – to sell or put it on “needles” – is still not present. The meetings in the NSDC or in the Cabinet did not lead to anything. The financial breakdown remains, but now the requirement to pay for the audit has been added. New reality Is Ukroboronprom ready to pay for audit? Attempts by Defense Express to clarify the situation in the concern ended with the following. Today Ukroboronprom does not have free funds, as well as real or potential sources of financing, to pay for services under an international audit tender. Neither the financial plans of the concern nor the financial plans of the concern companies provide such costs. In “Ukroboronprom” argue that the payment of an audit should not be made due to the money laundering of defense enterprises. For almost half of the companies themselves need financial resources for the execution of orders related to national security and defense, as well as for the modernization of fixed assets. 190521 uop 1 So the concern appealed to the Ministry of Economic Development and Development with a request to submit to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine a proposal to use funds from the reserve fund of the state budget for audit. And take them from there with a return. But this proposal was not supported by the government. So summing up The essence of the idea of a comprehensive audit was to carry out an audit of Ukroboronprom at donor, rather than public, funds. The audit was proclaimed as a comprehensive one. However, in the end, he turned into campaign and “shrink” only to the financial component. Policies and officials had quite a few slogans about “transparency, openness and the fight for corruption.” When it comes to financial audit only, the Accounting Chamber and the State Audit Office are responsible for this in our country. And this their functional does not involve additional payments. If “Ukroboronprom” even the hryvnia will pay an international audit at the expense of the enterprises’ resources, will the prosecutor’s office and the NABU question the Ukroboronprom leadership? Can any claims be immediately forwarded to the Prime Minister or the US Embassy? We need audits to benefit, not harm. To begin, at least, to complete an internal audit between the Ministry of Defense and “Ukroboronprom”, where the property was and what was left. This audit has survived all the previous Presidents without the slightest result and clarity. The financial audit, in my opinion, is the least that we really need. In the proposed form, it will not bring us new knowledge. Conditionally, in the ship of our “defense” a bunch of holes. But we do not seek to cover them, but we want to describe, according to international financial reporting standards, how this ship is gaining more and more water and losing speed. The extraordinary way of financing an audit, which is determined by the Cabinet of Ministers, is the risks to the sustainability of our defensive factories that are still afloat. To the technical audit of the state defense industry, as foreseen in the first lot, it seems that it will not come. But it’s interesting, but is it possible for some of the well-known international auditing companies to do it? Technical audit requires understanding, in particular, of technological processes at enterprises. And can it be possible to involve specialists responsible for the production of the Leopard tank, in solving the problems at our Malyshev plant? Rather no. Because there are a lot of nuances, completely different concepts. In this context, add the following. One of the large Quartet companies claiming to be commissioned from Ukraine actually carried out an audit of the defense industry in Poland. As a result, three scenarios of the transformation strategy were developed. However, life later showed that the defense industry of Poland was reformed not by the schemes drawn by large auditors. And more. In 2011, the company MSKinseu, another of the four applicants, has already developed proposals for the reform of our Ukroboronprom. They envisaged a move from the format of the “firefighter”, in which “Ukroboronprom” is still, to the “strategist” format. There are conceptual approaches that can be easily combined with the very detailed research work of the “Factory” of the Central Organizing Committee of the Armed Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. “Factory” describes step by step how to change the defense industry of the country in market realities – with an understanding of the essence of the process, our peculiarities, constraints and the expected result. But now take and execute. One fault in the Factory is not an internationally recognized company, it has been developed. So “does not reach” to our international partners. If all this story ends with an audit of not even 130 million, but 30 million UAH, but in the format that we are imposed on, it will be reminiscent of the show for adults, where all the artists pay for themselves. And it will be just ashamed. Sergey ZGURETS , Director of Information and Consulting Defense Express company

New Ukraine Leader Calls Snap Election – WSJ

Ukraine’s new president called snap parliamentary elections as he sought greater authority to tackle a weak economy and a military conflict with Russia-backed separatists.

Ukraine’s Leader Disbands Parliament, Calls Snap Election

Zelenskiy, whose decree sets parliamentary elections for July 21, is gambling that his popularity will help get some of his supporters into parliament

The Latest: Ukraine leader calls snap parliamentary election | Fox News

The Latest on Ukraine’s politics (all times local): 6 p.m. Ukraine’s new president has signed a decree dissolving the parliament and calling a snap election in two months.

Over 40% ready to vote for Servant of People party in early elections – poll

Some 43.8% of Ukrainians who intend to vote in early parliamentary elections in Ukraine and have already decided on their choice are ready to support the Servant of the People party, according to a survey conducted by the Rating Sociological Group on May 16-21, 2019. “The leader of electoral sympathies among political forces is the Servant of the People party. Some 43.8% of those who intend to vote and have decided on their sympathies are ready to support it. Some 10.5% [are ready to vote] for the Opposition Platform – For Life, 8.8% for the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko’s Solidarity, 7.3% for Batkivshchyna, 5.1% for Smeshko’s Strength and Honor party, 4.6% for Vakarchuk’s party, 3.3% for Liashko’s Radical Party, 3.2% for the Opposition Bloc. The rating of other parties is lower than 3%,” the report says. According to sociologists, the Servant of the People party holds the lead in all macro-regions. The Opposition Platform – For Life and the Opposition Bloc have strong positions in the south-eastern regions. Other parties with a chance to win seats on parliament have good positions in the central and western part of the country. The survey was conducted on May 16-21, 2019, through face-to-face interviews. A total of 2,000 respondents aged over 18 years were interviewed. The poll’s margin of error does not exceed 2.2%.

Over 70% of Ukrainians support idea of dissolving parliament – poll – news ukraine | UNIAN

Over 70% of Ukrainians support the idea of dissolving the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament and holding snap parliamentary elections. The poll was conducted on May 16-21.

Radical Party leader says Zelensky violates Constitution by dissolving parliament – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian MP, leader of the Radical Party Oleh Liashko has accused new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of violating the Constitution by his decision to dissolve the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament. Liashko insists Zelensky’s decree on disbanding the parliament is illegal and arbitrary.

President’s decree on dismissal of Rada is illegal, – Head of Ukraine’s Parliament

Andriy Parubiy, the Head of Ukraine’s parliament believes that the order of the President on the dismissal of the parliament doesn’t comply with the Constitution. Paruby announced that at the beginning of today’s extraordinary session of the parliament. The extraordinary parliamentary session was convened by the Head of the Parliament yesterday at the request of the President Zelensky. Today’s parliamentary agenda includes introducing amendments to the Law of Ukraine on Election of Members of Parliament and the Law on public purchases. Yesterday, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky signed the decree on the dismissal of Verkhovna Rada and appointed the election on July 21. The Cabinet of Ministers is ordered to provide the financing of the elections. The decree comes into force from the moment it is published.

Parliament dissolution absolutely consistent with Constitution, – AP head

Ukraine’s President Zelensky officially disbanded Rada and appointed elections for July 21; the newly appointed head of the Presidential Administration Andriy Bohdan said the decision was constitutional

None of Zelensky’s draft laws included in agenda of Parliament

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine did not include in the agenda any of the bills submitted by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine’s Rada fails to vote for election law amendments – news politics | UNIAN

The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, did not include presidential bill No. 10319 and an alternative one in its agenda; both documents are designed to amend some laws of Ukraine to revamp the electoral system for the snap parliamentary elections. The next parliament meeting will be held on May 28. The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, did not include presidential bill No. 10319 and an alternative one in its agenda; both documents are designed to amend some laws of Ukraine to revamp the electoral system for the snap parliamentary elections.

Parliament’s Speaker: Law on amendment of electoral system filed by president with gross violations

The draft law concerning the amendments to the electoral system at the elections to the parliament was filed by the president with gross violations a Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament Andry Paruby reported. “…the second (draft law, – 112.international) was filed at 11:45 a.m. but, unfortunately, it was filed with gross violations of the regulation; it was supposed to amend the electoral system, public procurements in one law. But by all forces, Apparatus (of the Verkhovna Rada, – 112.international) we help the representative of the president to frame the submission in accordance with the law as soon as it is framed properly, it will be registered as the law,” the speaker explained.

BPP does not support Zelensky’s initiative to change system of parliamentary elections

The parliamentary faction of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc will not support the bill of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky on amending the law on parliamentary elections regarding the refusal of the majority component and the reduction of barrier for entering parliamentary.

President revokes decree on Zerkal’s appointment

President Volodymyr Zelensky has signed a decree to cancel the appointment of Olena Zerkal as deputy head of the Presidential Administration. — Ukrinform.

Zerkal to explain her denial to work as deputy head of Zelensky administration

Olena Zerkal, Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister for European integration affairs said she would explain the situation with her job at the presidential administration. She posted that on Facebook. ‘Thank you for all your emotions. These are inspiring! The paradoxes of Decree No.309 lead to rumors and misunderstanding. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t like keeping people tense in this fashion, which is why I’ll make it clear later in the evening’, she wrote. Related: Zelensky appoints counselors, deputy heads of Presidential Administration ‘It’s not about the job, I can tell you that much for now’, Zerkal added. May 21, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed the decree No.309, appointing the Ukrainian diplomat Deputy Chief of the presidential administration. Zerkal refused; however, she agreed to continue to serve as the full-fledged envoy dealing with Ukraine vs Russia international lawsuits.

Zerkal reportedly refuses to join presidential administration – LB.ua news portal

Zerkal reportedly refuses to join presidential administration. The decree on her appointment is no longer on the president’s website. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Co-founder of Studio Kvartal-95 appointed Zelensky’s chief assistant – news politics | UNIAN

New Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has appointed Serhiy Shefir his chief assistant. Shefir is a scriptwriter, producer, co-founder and a former shareholder of Studio Kvartal-95.

Zelensky’s administration chief: President not to amend Constitution in coming years – news politics | UNIAN

Head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s presidential administration Andriy Bohdan says the newly elected president of Ukraine is not going to amend the Constitution in the coming years. Bohdan says the current Constitution is far from ideal.

The lawyer who frequently flew to Israel became the head of the presidential administration of Ukraine

President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky appointed Andrei Bogdan head of his administration. Andrei Bogdan is 42 years old. He is a Candidate of Law. In 2007 he ran for the Verkhovna Rada as part of Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defense, but did not become a deputy as a result. From 2007 to 2010, he worked as Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine, in December 2010, he was appointed to the post of Government Plenipotentiary for Anti-Corruption Policy. He left the post in March 2014, becoming the adviser to the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region Igor Kolomoisky. In April 2019, in an interview with the Scheme: Corruption in Detail program, Igor Kolomoisky said that Bogdan, who worked in the team of presidential candidate Vladimir Zlensky, was a personal lawyer for the businessman. Answering the question why Bogdan so often flew to Geneva and Tel Aviv, Kolomoisky replied: “Because he is, first of all, my personal lawyer,” notes “112” The publication said that Bogdan refused to answer the question about the reasons for frequent flights to these two cities, citing privacy. “It should be noted that presidential candidate Vladimir Zelensky declined to answer questions about his relationship with Bogdan,” focuses attention on 112. Note that the very first public statement by Bogdan as the head of the presidential administration of Ukraine caused a lively reaction. “The question of reaching a peace agreement with Russia is we are considering submitting to a people’s referendum so that not only the deputies vote and not only the president, that the people of Ukraine make this decision. [Adoption] of the law on referendum is unequivocally [necessary], but the main direction of our activity is agreements, maybe, joint agreements concerning the armed conflict with Russia, the aggression of Russia. Agreements on this should be reached by society, “said Andrei Bogdan on the air” 112 “. During the inaugural speech, the head of Ukraine called the cessation of hostilities in the Donbas priority. The fact that businessman Igor Kolomoisky moved from Geneva to Israel and was very dissatisfied with the standard of living in a Jewish state was reported in 2018 by the Ukrainian media “Strana”. The same publication claimed that the Israeli is funding two Jews who are claiming to be the head of Ukraine.

Zelensky appoints his representative in Cabinet of Minsters

Andriy Herus has been appointed as president’s representative in the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

Ex-SBU chief Khoroshkovsky’s press service denies his return to Ukraine – news politics | UNIAN

Valeriy Khoroshkovsky, an ex-chief of the SBU Security Service and Deputy Prime Minister during Viktor Yanukovych’s presidency, has not returned to Ukraine. Media earlier reported about Khoroshkovsky’s return to Ukraine on May 21.

IMF denies information about end of review mission to Ukraine

The experts of the International Monetary Fund continues working in Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

Court in Ukraine wipes criminal record from high-profile ex-MP convicted of murder – Human Rights in Ukraine

Former MP Viktor Lozinsky’s criminal record for a high-profile killing in 2009 has been cancelled in the latest of a whole series of eyebrow-raising court rulings over his case –

Kyiv city, Odesa region leaders in number of Internet users in Ukraine – State Statistics Service

As of April 1, 2019, there were 26.381 million Internet subscribers in Ukraine, according to the State Statistics Service. — Ukrinform.

Government approves signing of agreement on joint film production with Canada

The Cabinet of Ministers adopted a decision to sign an agreement on joint production of audiovisual works between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Government of Canada. — Ukrinform.

 

More than half of Ukrainians positive about OCU creation, tomos – KIIS survey

KYIV. May 22 (Interfax-Ukraine) – More than 54% of Ukrainians positively assess the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) and it receiving the tomos on autocephaly. This is based on results of a survey, titled “Confessional structure of the population of Ukraine and creation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church: May 2019,” conducted by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS). “Some 54.2% of respondents are positive about the creation of the OCU and it receiving the tomos on autocephaly. A neutral position is expressed by 31.2%, while 10.9% expressed a negative attitude. Some 3.6% found it difficult to answer the question, Deputy Director of KIIS Anton Hrushetsky said during a presentation of survey results at the Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine news agency on Wednesday. Among respondents who are positive or neutral about the OCU’s creation and tomos, 64.5% believe that the conditions defined in the tomos are sufficient for the development of an independent Ukrainian church and that is impossible to refuse it. At the same time, 8.8% of respondents believe the conditions are negative for the OCU and that is necessary to abandon the tomos and restore the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP). Some 26.7% could not or would not answer the question. More than half of Ukrainians, 50.6%, said that the provision of the tomos is more likely to unite the society, while 30.5% said it would foment division in Ukraine. Some 18.9% could not or would not answer the question. Some 39.6% of respondents positively assess the election of Epiphanius as OCU head, while 43% are neutral and 6.8% are negative. Some 10.6% of respondents could not or would not answer the question. Asked who, Epiphanius or UOC-KP head Filaret, should have been elected to head the OCU, 36.5% said Epiphanius, 15.5% said Filaret and 2.2% said someone else. Some 45.9% could not or would not answer the question. KIIS conducted a nationwide public opinion poll from May 12 to18, 2019, using the CATI (computer-assisted telephone interviews) method based on a random sample of mobile phone numbers (selecting respondents by quota). Some 1,200 persons living in all regions of Ukraine (except Russia-occupied Crimea) took part in the survey. The sample is representative for the population of Ukraine over 18 years old. In Luhansk and Donetsk regions, the survey was conducted only in the territory controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. The margin of error is 2.9%

 

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Yekaterinburg Events Seen Costing ROC MP Members, Sparking Demand for ‘a Different Christianity’

Paul Goble Staunton, May 20 – The speed and arrogance with which the Russian Orthodox Church has sought to build new churches wherever it wants and its open reliance on the police power of the state to put down opposition is certain to further undermine the church as an institution, driving people away rather than attracting new adherents. That has been widely recognized (e.g., sibreal.org/a/29952385.html). But the consequences for religious life – and thus, in the Russian context, politics as well, may be far more significant than that. The ROC MP claims 80 percent of Russians are Orthodox, but only three percent are active in the church. So having slightly fewer won’t necessarily change things. However, according to Andrey Lesnitsky, a translator of and specialist on the Bible, says the ROC MP’s attitudes and actions are likely to lead not simply to an exit from Orthodoxy or religious life but rather to a demand for “another kind of Christianity,” one more concerned about faith than about buildings and power (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2019/05/20/1781961.html). Most of the reporting about the events in Yekaterinburg describes the two sides as if they were far more homogeneous and extreme than in fact has been the case, he says. Not everyone who supports building the church is some kind of black hundred; and not everyone who opposes it is “godless,” as even Vladimir Putin suggested. Russian society is too infused with Christianity for that to be true, and it is too diverse as well. Instead, what we are seeing, Lesnitsky suggests, is the maturation of a demand “for another kind of Christianity,” one that doesn’t need the backing of the authorities or money from business. In short, one based on “Christ and the apostles without all the extras.” “I would even say,” he continues, “that in Russia there are many varied Christian confessions.” Some disappointed in Orthodoxy become Catholics or Baptists, especially east of the Urals. But that is far from the only development that is taking place. “For many Russians, leaving Orthodoxy is seen as a rejection of an important part of one’s national identity.” As a result, many don’t leave but find other ways to cope with their rejection of official Orthodoxy. “There are all kinds of ‘true Orthodox’ jurisdictions” at odds with the state. But there are problems with them: “too often such ‘true Orthodoxy’” instead of becoming truly Orthodox “drift toward sectarianism,” a direction few want to follow. Instead, Lesnitsky says, most remain with the church for identity reasons but represent a change in what it means to be Orthodox, taking positions at odds with the hierarchy and affected profoundly by other faiths as a result of the internet. As a result, Orthodoxy is not as monolithic and unchanging as both its supporters and opponents say. “Today, I see,” he writes, “that even among the most standard kind of priests and active parishioners (equally far from Stalin and from LGBT) disappointment and tiredness [with the official church] is growing.” Such people aren’t leaving the church and slamming the door; they are changing it from within. Many think that Christianity is something from the past and incompatible with democracy and modern life, but that is not true. Indeed, Lesnitsky says, he personally is “deeply convinced that the very concept of human rights is rooted in the Biblical tradition where man is said to be modeled after God.” “In any case, he concludes, “the demand for a Christianity without the OMON exists in our society and will only increase. And more than that, without taking this demand into account, one won’t be able to create the necessary dialogue between those now divided by the wall around the square.”

‘Are these people godless?’ Putin asks as Russian protesters denounce cathedral plans – Los Angeles Times

Protests in Yekaterinburg against building a cathedral in a city park are the latest in a series of demonstrations across Russia.