Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (200)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

This is the 200th edition of this Ukraine/Russia Ad Hoc Media Update.  200 times this compilation has blown me away for the exceptional quality, the insightful analysis, and the absolute devotion to raising awareness of Russia vs. Ukraine.  It is painful that Russia still gets away with their immoral, unethical, and often illegal behavior. It seems that nobody, except Ukraine, holds Russia properly accountable – in the midst of constant attacks against Ukraine’s culture, security, and sovereignty.  The West’s sanctions against Russia are relatively feckless. 

Without exception, this is the most comprehensive and inciteful compilation and analysis of Russia vs. Ukraine have seen, anywhere.  I am both honored and humbled to host the compilation here.  

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More US troops to Poland. Russia plays counter EX game in Baltics and Black Sea. FRF report on Russian use of proxies in the West to sow discord. NATSEC Adviser Bolton on Russian and Chinese propagation of mischievous stories to eager media in the West. Good observations by Tsipko on Russia’s post-Soviet “Dangerous Messianism”. Zaydman essay on how Russia is aiming to replicate Orwell’s 1984 anti-utopia. Inozemtsev unusually, observes that Russian elites “have completely lost their sense of self-preservation” as they continue to aggravate blue collar Russians.

Golunov released, but protests continues with hundreds arrested. Moldova, Finland, Georgia updates. Russian meddling in Africa. Massive theft of confidential data from three Russian banks.

In Ukraine a debate over what US SAMs will be procured. DO briefed by US DoD on the scale of Russia’s buildup in Crimea – it appears to be an A2/AD hub for the Black Sea region. Crimea update.

Donbas and defense industry updates – Lithuania supplies AFU with a million rounds of Soviet calibre small arms ammo.

Politics and OCU updates.


Trump to announce US troop increase in Poland | TheHill

President Trump on Wednesday plans to announce an increased U.S. troop presence in Poland, administration officials indicated.

Polish ‘Fort Trump’ ahead? US troops set for deployment | Fox News

The U.S. is expected to add at least 1,000 troops to the 4,000 already stationed in Poland, a sign of strengthening ties between President Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda at a time when many other nations in the E.U. are drifting away.

US to Send 1,000 More Troops to Poland – Defense One

Last fall, Warsaw asked for a tank division. Looks like they\’re getting rotating logistics troops instead.

Poland’s Duda Seeking Military Base, Jets, Gas In U.S. Visit

Polish President Andrzej Duda will be making his second visit to the White House in less than a year as he seeks a permanent U.S. military base and advanced fighters to counter what his government …

UAWire – NATO Secretary General: Russian aggressive policy the main threat to the Allience

In an interview with the Serbian newspaper Politika, the Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg said that &quot;aggressive policy&quot; of Russia is …

UAWire – Russian Navy conducts firing drills in Baltic amid NATO exercise

A group of ships from Russia’s Baltic Fleet has entered the Baltic Sea to conduct an exercise, the Russian Defense Ministry reports. The group …

UAWire – Russia sends A-50 ‘flying radars’ to Kuban amid NATO exercises

The head of the press service of the Russian southern military district, Vadim Astafyev said that the long-range radiolocation detection …

Trump’s New Arctic Policy Has a Familiar Ring – Defense One

Administration officials are talking tough on Russia and China, while picking fights with allies that are making U.S. goals harder to achieve.

Misrule of Law: How the Kremlin Uses Western Institutions to Undermine the West | Free Russia Foundation

The Free Russia Foundation has assembled a team of experienced writers, researchers, and journalists affiliated with different organizations to document some of the most compelling cases of Russian meddling. However, these events are only a sample; the Putin regime is busy throughout the world. As you will read, the Russian Federation is not always successful in attempting to suborn Western institutions. But, as a key Kremlin target, Bill Browder, told us for this report: “One of the hallmarks of these Russian foreign operations is that they don’t get discouraged, even when they fail spectacularly. They just carry on.” What we’ve learned from our research and our quest to better understand the Russian regime is that its foreign operations are relentless. This persistence has paid off quite well in its geo-political battle of wills with the West. In early 2014, Russia led several military attacks in Ukraine following the ouster of its pro-Russian President, Viktor Yanukovych. Russia denied responsibility for the incursions by armed forces that wore no insignias, even going so far as to say that some of those participating in the growing armed conflict were just soldiers on vacation. Shortly after, Russian troops seized control of a naval base in the Ukrainian region of Crimea and quickly organized a referendum vote for Crimea to join the Russian Federation. International sanctions against Russia were put in place for both actions in Ukraine. However, this did not deter Russia from, one year later, moving military forces to Syria to prop up the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Russia’s 2015 involvement in the Syrian civil war is the first instance of Russian military intervention outside of the former Soviet Union since the Cold War ended. Further sanctions were imposed on Russia, but to little effect to its military stronghold in Syria. While military actions continue in Ukraine and Syria, the international community had to issue its warnings to Russia yet again: Remove Russian troops from Venezuela. So far this warning has been met with silence.

Russia Is Using Legal Methods To Undermine The West, A New Report Says : NPR

The U.S.-based Free Russia Foundation accuses Russia of “infiltrating the fabric of democracy,” using international law and accounting firms, think tanks and institutions.

Bloomberg: White House sees Russia, China planting stories of U.S. discord – news world | UNIAN

The U.S. has reason to believe Russia, China and other countries are spreading false stories about internal divisions in the Trump administration, White House national security adviser John Bolton said Tuesday. Bolton complained that reporters are quick to regurgitate the false stories.

White House Sees Russia, China Planting Stories of U.S. Discord – Bloomberg

The U.S. has reason to believe Russia, China and other countries are spreading false stories about internal divisions in the Trump administration, White House national security adviser John Bolton said Tuesday.

Kremlin says idea of Putin-Trump meeting at G20 in Japan up in air – Reuters

The Kremlin said on Tuesday that a U.S. idea for President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet at a meeting of the G20 in Japan later this month was hanging in the air and that there were no discussions on specifics yet.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Demise of USSR Opened the Way to the Rise of a Dangerous Messianism in Russia, Tsipko Says

Paul Goble Staunton, June 10 – Many Russians believed in 1991 that by jettisoning the Turkic republics of Central Asia, Russia along with Ukraine and Belarus could make rapid progress toward democracy and economic freedom, Aleksandr Tsipko says; but the last 30 years have shown that such hopes were misplaced and have been dashed for a long time to come. Instead, the senior Moscow commentator says in an essay about the future of the Slavic peoples of the former USSR, “the cleansing of the Slavic nucleus of the Turkic peoples did not guarantee the [Slavic countries] a worthy statehood.” Instead, it has opened the way to tragedy and farce in all three (ng.ru/ideas/2019-06-10/5_7595_kazakhstan.html). The reason that the three Slavic republics have not become “full-fledged European states” lies in the fact that “neither the Russians, nor the Ukrainians, nor the Belarusians were civic nations.” Serfdom among the Russians for 400 years and among the Ukrainians and Belarusians for more than 200 precluded that, as did the Soviet re-imposition of a modernized form of it. Tsipko says he agrees with Ukrainian political analyst Vadim Karasev that the victory of a comic in the Ukrainian presidential elections was possible only because “Ukrainians have not become an adult nation.” But the same thing can be said about Russia and Belarus where the peoples were kept in an infantile state by their history and their leaders. The Ukrainians at least have a partial justification for what they have done. They “never had in essence a nation state before 1991. But Russians, it is commonly assumed, already have had their own national state for a thousand years.” They thus have much less excuse, the commentator continues. “Now, everyone sees that not only Belarus but Russia too is not the West.” And Ukraine despite efforts to move in that direction has slid back. But the worst case is Russia where after 2014, thecountry “has gone along the path which Belarus and Kazakhstan followed in the 1990s. Now, everyone sees that Putin’s autocracy very much recalls Lukashenka’s authoritarianism and Nazarbayev’s oriental despotism.” That which Vladislav Surkov views as “our Russian achievement,” the dispensing of any system of checks and balances and a state based on the mystical union of people and supreme ruler has existed in Kazakhstan since the 1990s, Tsipko argues. “By the way,” he continues, “what happened with democracy in the RSFSR was predicted by Nikolay Trubetskoy in the 1920s in his essay, The Heritage of Chingiz Khan.” Putin’s rise to power confirms what Trubetskoy warned about in some detail almost a century ago. In fact, it has turned out, Tsipko says, that “God really choose us to show all humanity what it should not do and how it must avoid any resemblance to unpredictable Russia.” Only fantast like Surkov could believe that any real European would want to copy with Russia has done with itself. Now, “almost 30 years after the disintegration of the USSR,” Tsipko suggests, he “understands that it would have been more secure for us to live in some kind of Slavic-Turkic federation” of the kind Nazarbayev dreamed about in 1991 than to exist alone in “central Rus” and condemned to “eternal searches for a special Russian path and the faith that it is calledupont to open to humanity a door to a new future.” It is of course “possible,” that such a Slavic-Turkic federation would not have saved the situation, “but it would have been less affected by the temptation of Russian messianism and the freezing out of the instinct for the self-preservation of the nation.” Tsipko says he had expected the Belarusians to move in a different direction because of their past history, but instead, they have become under Lukashenka a giant collective farm with all that entails. And until the recent Ukrainian elections, he adds, he had hoped for more from Ukraine. Now, he has become a pessimist about all three but especially about Russia. With the coming of Putin, Russia has lost the possibilities for progress that it had under Yeltsin, despite the latter’s many failings, and has ensured that it will not move forward but remain for a long time “’a besieged fortress.’” The Russian messianism which this only intensifies, Tsipko says, and this “faith in a special Russian mission” contain within them “much that is dangerous. “Messianism gives rise to militarism and the striving for victories at any price … with all the inevitable political consequences.” “In a besieged fortress, as the spiritual experience of the USSR showed, the right to doubt in the correctness of the decisions of ‘the supreme ruler,’ the right to one’s own opinion, and the right to the competition of ideas and programs are impossible. With all this, there cannot be any development.” Tsipko continues: “Under conditions of a besieged fortress, Russia again is being converted into an ulus of the Tatar-Mongol empire where long-suffering and humble people without their own opinion look with gratitude into the eyes of the latest Chingiz Khan who tells them that in their veins flows the blood of heroes and sends them to die in a new war.” God knows, the Moscow analyst concludes, that he has been seeking without success some way that Russia can avoid all these “messianic charms of ‘Putin’s long state” which Surkov and others so celebrate.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Copying Anti-Utopia of Orwell’s ‘1984’ with ‘Scrupulous Precision,’ Zaydman Says

Paul Goble Staunton, June 10 – This month marks the 70th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell’s classic anti-utopia, 1984; and in response, some Russian commentators like Pavel Matveyev are celebrating the fact that its picture of a horrific future has not been realized in Russia (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5CF30118259B7). But they are wrong, Moscow analyst Vadim Zaydman says. Orwell’s novel was in fact suggested by the regime Stalin had put in place in the Soviet Union by the 1940s and now describes the system Vladimir Putin is introducing once again “with scrupulous precision” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5CF30118259B7). Many people in 1949 and later were surprised by the phenomenal success the novel enjoyed in Great Britain and the West more generally, but they shouldn’t. According to Zaydman, the reason is obvious: Orwell wasn’t describing some completely made-up country but rather extrapolating from what Stalin had put in place. Consequently, “the treatment offered by Orwell became a cold shower and shock” to those Western intellectuals who thought that the Soviet Union was something positive largely because of its role as an ally in the war against Hitler. Orwell’s book “tore off the rose-colored glasses through which intellectuals of that time viewed the Soviet Union.” 1984 “hit a nerve” because when it appeared, it wasn’t so much a warning as an explanation, the commentator continues. Had it been written 40 or 50 years earlier, as Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We was, “it would not have provoked such a furor.” That novel passed almost unnoticed in the West. “Today,” Zaydman says, “we have become witnesses of the latest attempts to embody this anti-utopia in life. One can even speak of a certain renaissance of the anti-utopia. Putin has taken upon himself to fulfill the realities of ‘the Orwellian world’ with scrupulous precision” here and now. Russians can thus take a certain perverse pride in having overfulfilled the plan, he says.: Unlike in Britain and the West where Orwell’s vision has not been realized, Russians have seen the British author’s vision realized twice, the first as a tragedy and the second in a way whose consequences are still to be characterized.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Elites have Lost Sense of Self-Preservation, Making a Revolutionary Situation Likely in Four or Five Years, Inozemtsev Says

Paul Goble Staunton, June 10 – Over the last few years, Vladislav Inozemtsev says, Russian elites “have completely lost a sense of self-preservation” and not tried to reduce popular dissatisfaction but rather taken steps to provoke more of it, have failed to outline a new program for the future and have “demonstratively refused” to think about a change in the leadership of the country. “Such a course,” the Russian economist says, “over the next four to five years is capable of creating to a full extent a revolutionary situation which no manipulated poll numbers or imaginary economic growth figures the regime might come up with will be able to overcome” (theins.ru/opinions/160359). No one was surprised when the World Bank lowered its projections for Russian growth over the next three years, Inozemtsev says, and “few today believe in the possibility of some ‘breakthrough’ or even ‘leap’ about which the Kremlin talks so willingly.” That is because there are so many obvious reasons why without systemic change, those things won’t happen. The most fundamental of these are “well known,” he continues. First of all, “the Russian economy has been transformed practically into a state economy … and the role of managers in it is being played by siloviki who long ago became its chief beneficiaries.” Second, capital flight is accelerating and this year may exceed 100 billion US dollars. And third, the Russian economy is not driven by consumer spending as are the economies of most other advance countries. Instead, “in Russia, with the return of Putin to the Kremlin,” the Russian system is based on taking money from consumers and small businesses and handing it over either to those major corporations exporting natural resources or the defense sector. Consequently, the economist says, “the economy cannot ‘fly’ and will not be able to even if suddenly bureaucrats ceased to take bribes and all moneys were used as intended.” While welcome, that would not be enough to cause the economy to jump forward. But Inozemtsev continues, there is an even more fundamental cause for the continuing stagnation of the Russian economy: Russians are tired and getting more so. This tiredness is very different from what was true in the 1990s. Then, “part of the population experienced despair from the collapse of the preceding way of life” over a four-year period. But others saw and took advantage of new possibilities. “Today,” he suggests, “a situation has emerged in Russia” which is much worse. Incomes have been falling not four years but six, the pension age has gone up, and there are no possibilities for the display of private initiative or hopes for the future that existed among many in the 1990s. This state of affairs is being “intensified by the fact that the powers that be consciously are crating in the population a sense that it is living ‘in a besieged fortress’ and thus is sending a signal that there is no reason to count on an improvement in the standard of living in the immediate future.” “In such a situation,” Inozemtsev says, “the authorities shouldn’t be surprised by the decline in their own popularity.” Such a situation, serious economic problems combined with “a decline in the popularity of an aging president should be used for ‘the promotion’ of a successor who will use the situation” to radically remodel the system. But, “judging from everything, there is no talk about ‘a changing of the guard. Putin apparently sincerely believes that the economy can shift to growth and his ‘close circle’ isn’t capable of sacrificing its current financial interests in the name of longer-term stability,” the economist concludes. The current stagnation in Russia “hardly should be viewed as dangerous in itself.” But three factors make it so. “First, the lack in the elites of a clear plan of transition from the Putin to the post-Putin era; second, internal disagreement among elite groups which makes extremely risky any moves on the branch and regional levels; and third, the inevitable approach of a crisis” for which Moscow no longer has enough reserves to deal with easily. After the shock of 2008, he points out, Moscow had vastly more reserves than it does today, and capital was coming into the country even more rapidly than it is leaving Russia now. And that means that “today, the Russian economy is much less prepared for serious shocks than it was earlier.” The Putin regime can likely muddle on for the next two or three years, Inozemtsev says; but beyond that, in four or five, a full-blown revolutionary situation may arise, the direct result of the loss by Russian elites of what is a politician’s greatest asset, his sense of self-preservation and willingness to change to ensure it.

Russia Plans To Deliver S-400 Missiles To Turkey In July, Says Kremlin Aide

Russia said on June 11 that it plans to deliver its S-400 missile defense systems to Turkey in July, just days after Washington gave Ankara a deadline of July 31 to reverse the purchase or face the…

Russia plans to deliver S-400 missiles to Turkey within weeks

The United States says Turkey’s acquisition of Russia’s S-400 air defenses poses a threat to Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 stealth fighters.

US Air Force halts Turkish F-35 pilot training amid Russian missile defense system dispute – CNNPolitics

The US Air Force has pulled 26 Turkish military personnel from its F-35 fighter jet training program due to “safety” concerns stemming from the ongoing dispute over Turkey’s push to buy both American stealth aircraft and a Russian missile defense system, according to a defense official directly familiar with the matter.

Turkish F-35 pilots no longer flying at US base amid S-400 row | USA News | Al Jazeera

Washington cancels training of NATO ally’s F-35 pilots over Ankara’s planned purchase of Russian S-400 missiles.

UAWire – Poland wants to get the F-35 aicraft if the United States does not deliver them to Turkey

olish authorities are hoping to push for American F-35 fighter jets if the United States cancels the delivery of these aircraft to Turkey, RIA Novosti reports citing a Polish source familiar with the matter. Dissatisfied with Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, the Unites States is trying to give Ankara an ultimatum, threatening to refuse to supply Turkey with F-35 fighter jets. At the same time, the purchase of the F-35 is part of the plan to modernize the Polish armed forces. “Polish leaders are closely monitoring the conflict between Turkey and the United States over the Ankara purchase of the S-400 systems. After all, this could put an end to the sale of the newest fifth-generation F-35 fighters to Turkey,” the source said. “Poland, so to speak, is waiting in line for these planes. Even if the United States wanted to sell these planes to Poland, under normal conditions Warsaw did not have a chance of getting them before Turkey. And now Turkey will simply be removed from the queue,” he continued. The interviewee noted that the F-35 are ready to be sent off to Turkey. “If the Turkish contract fails, then the prepared munitions would have to be redirected somewhere else. In Warsaw, they hope that Poland will be chosen,” he concluded. Earlier, Ankara stressed that it would not refuse to buy the S-400 and the first order would be arriving in July. The United States declared that the S-400 is incompatible with NATO standards, threatened sanctions if the delivery was realized and repeatedly said that they can delay or cancel selling Turkey the latest F-35 aircraft. In March, the Polish Minister of Defense signed a Technical Modernization Plan for the country’s armed forces to be achieved by 2026. Under this program, Poland plans to buy 32 fifth-generation multi-purpose aircraft by 2026. Specifically, these would be purchases of American F-35 fighter jets. The plan is for these jets to replace the Soviet-made Su-22 and MiG-29 aircraft.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Protests Spreading and Deepening, SerpomPo Says, and Kremlin is in Denial

Paul Goble Staunton, June 10 – The Ivan Golunov case, the SerpomPo telegram channel says, is “a catalyst which is accelerating the destruction of the existing system in Russia,” not only because it comes as protests are spreading and deepening across the country but also because even “odious, pro-powers” people have begun to speak out on behalf of the arrested journalist. Their voices provide support for those who say that the various regional and local protests in fact can come together and lead to a more direct challenge to the Putin regime, the telegram channel says (t.me/SerpomPo/3284 repeated at echo.msk.ru/blog/serpompo2018/2442589-echo/). Already, SerpomPo says, “the number of protests on various issues is growing, and they have a tendency to combine, clearly showing society that the crisis in the system in Russia is everywhere: there is no segment where the affairs of the bosses are in good shape. They have ceased to cope with the situation everywhere.” As those protesting one issue come to understand that, they are more than willing to combine with others protesting unrelated issues. “For example, people unhappy with the declining standard of living came out against the Russian Orthodox Church’s raid in Yekaterinburg. According to the telegram channel, “the bosses if one judges by their behavior, do not understand this.” Instead, they think that arrests and the threat of more and upbeat statements about the economy are enough. But none of this is achieving what they hope and means they are “not in a position to stop the movement of people in defense of their rights.” “The authorities already cannot run things in the old way,” SerpomPo concludes. “People ever more do not want to live as they did before. The country is waking up.” And the situation is now very much in motion.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Golunov Case is ‘a Media YUKOS’ with Even More Fateful Consequences, Pastukhov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, June 10 – The arrest of Ivan Golunov represents a turning point in Russian affairs, “a media YUKOS” that “could be the burial salute of the hopes of a generation but perhaps the shot of the Aurora, Vladimir Pastukhov says. “Everything depends” now on the reaction of the population to the reaction in the powers that be. The London-based Russian analyst says that the case of the investigative journalist has “a deeper subtext than just human rights. The case is not the latest testing of the multi-layered Russian bottom but rather a change in the landscape of that bottom,” one that can affect everything in Russia (mbk-news.appspot.com/sences/politbyuro-ritual/). Given that the powers that be had to know in advance that Golunov’s arrest and their handling of it would spark massive protest in Russia and abroad, it seems clear that those in charge felt that the situation was so important that it was worth paying the price of the further loss of reputation to silence this journalist and send a warning to all others, Pastukhov continues. That prompts the question “Why?” The analyst says that in his view the case is not about Golunov and his investigations but rather about a shift in the political topography at the top of the power vertical. “The Golunov case is a media YUKOS,” he argues. That is, just as with the YUKOS case, this one even more is “a symbol of a new era” in Russian political life. That answer, of course, leads to another question, not why and why Golunov but “why now?” According to Pastukhov, this case signals the shift to a new and much harsher and more violent period, one in which “the era of the Magnitsky case and the YUKOS case will seem vegetarian in contrast.” What has changed, he argues, “is not so much the method of administration as its subject. The time when the country was run by members of the Ozero cooperative is long past. There is no more Ozero. It has fallen to the bottom” as have others like it. And in their place have come “figures of a new dimension” and “the country is being run by the ‘Ritual’ Politburo.” “’Ritual’ is not a funeral bureau but the highest and last stage of the development of the mafia state,” Pastukhov suggests. “Oveer the course of 20 years of the existence of this regime, it has passed through several stages as regards the fusion of power and criminality.” First, the criminal world bought “the weak power,” then power took control over the criminal world, and “finally they came together into a certain single and indivisible form.” Now it is one which exhibits “at one and the same time both the characteristics of the state and the features of the classic mafia.” What is not clear is how far this new phenomenon will last and who or what will come out on top. But what is clear, Pastukhov insists, is that today “the state and the mafia are twin brothers.” “We say state and we mean the mafia; we say mafia and we have the state in mind.” And that means that in contrast to what happened with Kholodov, Politkovskaya and Khlebnikov, the new twins won’t have to shoot from the corner. Their targets can be selected and punished in public because the mafia state has come into its own and can act like either as it chooses. “This means,” Pastukhov says, “the twilight of ‘the golden age’ of Russian investigative journalism,” not of one journalist but of an entire class. That makes this case “more serious than we think and more serious than he thinks. This is not a case but a historical turning point, one in which “the state is turning away from society to act in the shadows” like a criminal group. Depending on how society reacts, this can be either the beginning of a new wave of repression far greater than anything seen since Stalin’s time – or it can mark the start of a revolution that will throw the mafia state into the dustbin of history.

Police Detain Hundreds At Moscow Protest

Police detained dozens of demonstrators who turned out for a march in Moscow on June 12 to maintain pressure on authorities following the release of Ivan Golunov, an investigative reporter who was arrested on a drug charge supporters said was fabricated. Opposition politician Aleksei Navalny and several journalists were among those detained at the rally in the center of the Russian capital.

More Than 200 Detained As Protesters Maintain Pressure Following Russian Journalist’s Release

Police have detained more than 200 people as demonstrators marched through central Moscow to maintain pressure on the authorities following the release of Ivan Golunov, an investigative reporter wh…

Analysis: Kremlin Climbdown On Golunov An ‘Isolated’ Success For Russian Civil Society

Russian authorities appear to have bowed to public pressure to free an investigative reporter as they grapple with growing discontent over rampant corruption and falling living standards.

Russian Journalist Released After Police Drop Charges

Ivan Golunov, the Russian investigative reporter whose arrest prompted widespread outrage among the country’s journalists, was cheered by several hundred reporters and well-wishers as he left a police building on June 11 after the country’s interior minister announced that criminal charges against him would be dropped. He was arrested on June 6 on charges of attempting to sell a large amount of illegal drugs. Golunov, who had strenuously denied the accusations against him, tearfully thanked a crowd of cheering supporters and said that he would continue investigative reporting.

Russia frees detained journalist Ivan Golunov

A Russian investigative journalist who was charged with drug dealing, widely seen as fabricated charges, has been freed after a widespread public outcry and media rebellion against the case.

Russian officials tried to frame Ivan Golunov. Instead they made him a hero | Alexey Kovalev | Opinion | The Guardian

As the investigative journalist’s editor, I know how incredible his release was, says Russian journalist Alexey Kovalev

Arrested Reporter Ivan Golunov Suddenly Matters to Vladimir Putin – Bloomberg

The case of Ivan Golunov has brought together some unlikely allies.

Golunov everywhere How state TV channels covered the end of Ivan Golunov’s case at the top of the hour — Meduza

On June 11, drug possession and attempted sale charges against Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov were dropped for lack of evidence. The persecution of Golunov, which began when he was arrested on June 6, sparked a historic level of public support, especially among Russian journalists. Early in the case’s proceedings, state media coverage was sparse: Golunov’s arrest was barely mentioned on TV news programs, and even the popular compiler Yandex News somehow failed to bring stories about Golunov to the top of its page. Following an announcement from Russia’s Internal Affairs Minister that Ivan Golunov will be freed, however, even state-owned television programs are airing segments with the news at the top of the hour. Here’s what that flood of coverage looked like.

Opposition campaign manager Leonid Volkov has been jailed a second time for a single livestream. Is that even legal? (Spoiler: nope.) — Meduza

Early in the morning on June 10, Leonid Volkov, a former campaign manager for Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny, was set to leave the detention facility where he had spent the previous 20 days. Volkov was convicted of “action or inaction by an organizer of a public event leading others to cause harm to the health of an individual or to property” under Article 20.2 of Russia’s Codex of Administrative Violations. The charge was based on his public support for a protest against Russia’s pension reforms in September of 2018. In May, a court ruled that Volkov had “inspired” people to join an unsanctioned protest in Moscow that september by livestreaming a video from outside Russia on the day of the event. Immediately after Volkov was released, he was arrested again and sentenced to 15 more days in jail under a different section of Article 20.2 on the premise that the same video had inspired protesters in St. Petersburg. We explain why that move contradicts both Russian procedural norms and the country’s Constitution.

Ivan Golunov goes free — Meduza

Moldovan Court Rebuffs ‘Vehement Attacks’ On Move To Oust President

Moldova’s Constitutional Court has condemned what it called “vehement attacks” from inside and outside the country against its decision to suspend Moscow-friendly President Igor Dodon amid a contin…

Russia and the West Find Common Ground in Moldova – Bloomberg

Neither wants Moldova to turn into Europe’s version of Venezuela.

Weakening in Chisinau could facilitate spread of hybrid Russian influence, increase risks for Ukraine’s southern regions – Foreign ministry

Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has said the political weakening of Chisinau could create a basis for the spread of Russian hybrid influence, which could in the future be dangerous for Ukraine’s southern regions. “We see that the Kremlin regime is ‘replicating’ the practice of federalization relative to other states. Therefore, it is important for us that the political forces in Moldova could, acting within the legal framework, find a common solution, no matter how difficult it may be, because the political weakening of Moldova can create a favorable ‘bridgehead’ for the spread of Russian hybrid influence and interference in internal processes, both inside and outside the Republic,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Kateryna Zelenko told the Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine news agency on Wednesday. Zelenko said that European, democratic Moldova is critically important for the Ukrainian state. “We are on the side of the people of Moldova and respect their choice, and therefore do not question the decision of the Moldovan parliament. At the same time, we must also respect the decision of other state institutions of the country. That is why we call on all political players in the Republic of Moldova to resolve disputes through political dialogue, avoid forceful confrontation and eventually find a balanced solution that stabilizes the situation and will contribute to the state’s progress,” she said. Zelenko said Kyiv is closely monitoring situation. She said Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin is in touch with western partners in the EU and the United States regarding the development of the situation in Moldova, adding that Ukraine’s Special Representative for Transdniestrian conflict settlement Viktor Kryzhanovsky is in Chisinau, where he meets with political process participants. “We also see the increased presence of the Russian Federation on the territory of Transdniestria. If we now allow the Kremlin regime to deploy its hybrid maneuver inside Moldova, then in the future this will be dangerous for Ukraine’s southern regions,” she said. As reported, Maia Sandu, leader of the Right Party for Action and Solidarity, was appointed by the Parliament on June 8 as Prime Minister of Moldova. However, the Constitutional Court declared decisions of the parliament illegal. On June 9, the court temporarily removed President Igor Dodon from office, giving Ex-Prime Minister Pavel Filip the authority to dissolve parliament. He immediately signed a decree dissolving parliament and setting a date for early elections on September 6. On June 9, Moldova’s parliament approved the composition of the new government and declared the country a “captured state,” which must be released. This happened after the Constitutional Court ruled that the president is obliged to dissolve the parliament and set a date for early elections, because within 90 days after the approval of the election results, the parliament failed to form a new government. The Socialist Party and the right-wing ACUM political bloc believe that the allotted term has not expired, since the Constitution states the term of three months, and not 90 days.

Finland’s Plan to Prevent Russian Aggression Is to Prepare for It – Bloomberg

The country cooperates with NATO, but Finnish President Sauli Niinisto says the nation is not ready to join the alliance.

Pompeo Hails Georgia’s NATO Aspirations, Backs Territorial Integrity

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised Georgia’s “leadership role as an aspiring NATO nation” and condemned “Russia’s ongoing occupation” of the South Caucasus nation’s territory.

Leaked documents reveal Russian effort to exert influence in Africa | World news | The Guardian

Exclusive: Kremlin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin leading push to turn continent into strategic hub, documents show

Pragmatism and ideology drive Kremlin’s interest in Africa | World news | The Guardian

Attempts to make Africa a zone of influence recall Soviet-era activity on the continent

Vladimir Putin-linked businessman urged Sudan crackdown, leaked documents show

A Russian businessman with close ties to Vladimir Putin criticized former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir for failing to follow Russian advice on how to crack down on the country’s pro-democracy uprising, it has emerged.

UAWire – Putin replaces Russian Ambassador to Serbia

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order appointing Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko as Russia's Ambassador to Serbia. The document was …

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Percentage of Native Speakers of Russian Higher in Israel than in Most Former Soviet Republics

Paul Goble Staunton, June 10 – Fifteen percent of the population of Israel declares Russian to be their native language, a share higher than in Moldova (9.7 percent), Kyrgyzstan (8.7 percent), Lithuania (7.2 percent), Turkmenistan (5.4 percent), Azerbaijan (1.4 percent), Georgia (1.2 percent) and Armenia (less than one percent). Only in Belarus, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan are these figures great, with 70.2 percent, 33.8 percent, 29.6 percent, 29.6 percent, and 21.2 percent respectively. In the Russian Federation itself, the share is 85.7 percent, according to figures assembled from official publications by Radio Liberty (svobodaradio.livejournal.com/4001126.html). Beyond the borders of the former Soviet space, RFE/RL continues, there are significant native Russian speaker populations in Germany (2.8 percent), Cyprus (2.5 percent), and Finland (1.4 percent), as well as 900,000 in the US and 700,000 in China. There are, of course, more in both categories of countries who speak Russian as a second or third language. But those shares are declining as well in many places, and specialists on this issue tell Moscow’s Kommersant that the Russian language is surviving precisely where it provides its bearers economic benefits. When those disappear, so too, they suggest, Russian does as well (kommersant.ru/doc/3997629).

UAWire – Major leak in three Russian banks: Nearly 1 million customers’ data leaked online

The personal information of around 900,000 clients of the Russian banks OTP Bank, Alfa Bank and Home Credit Bank has become publicly accessible, reports Kommersant. Despite the fact that the databases were uploaded at the end of May, with data collected several years ago, a significant portion of the information is still correct. Two data leaks concerning Alfa-Bank clients were picked up by experts from DeviceLock. One of the databases contains information on more than 55,000 clients, including full names, telephone numbers (mobile, home and work), and residential and work addresses. It can be dated to 2014-2015. In Autumn 2014, the bank carried out a mass layoff of the regional IT department, at which point the data could have leaked, later being distributed for a long time on the black market, explains DeviceLock founder and technical director Ashot Oganesyan. The second database contains only 504 records, but dates to 2018-2019, and also includes information such as dates of birth, passport information, primary bank branches, and the account balances, which are limited to 130,000-160,000 rubles (around $2,000-2,500). This one may have been taken by an account manager, believes a bank employee specializing in fighting fraud. This is indicated by the small size of the database, and the fact that all clients in the selection have a limited account balance.

Next Up For U.S. Weapons Supplies to Ukraine? Possibly Surface-To-Air Missiles

The missiles would have no immediate battlefield use, since Russian military aircraft have not been used in the conflict. Still, the move sends another clear message where Congress stands on the wa…

Gorbulin said that Ukraine was not enough for Javelin and that Patriot’s anti-missile systems would be more important

Ukraine must convince the United States that it can turn into an armed, securely protected shop window for the West. Such opinion was expressed by the head of the supervisory board of the Ukrainian Institute for Security Studies Volodymyr Horbulin. Ukraine needs to build constructive engagement with the US and NATO, in particular, seeking to supply modern weapons. This was announced on June 11 at a press conference in Kiev by the head of the supervisory board of the Ukrainian Institute for Security Studies Academician Volodymyr Horbulin, reports Ukrinform. According to him, the portable anti-tank missile systems Javelin, provided by the American side, is not enough. “We [anti-missile systems] Patriot would be much more important for the present. I think we have to work through public institutions, including to convince our American colleagues that Kyiv is an asset rather than a passive one and that it can turn into an armed, securely protected display of the West, “said Gorbulin. He believes that the rate should be made for the acquisition of critical technologies, the involvement of Western companies in the Ukrainian market, the creation of high-tech joint ventures, and the acquisition of licenses. “Today we are moving very tightly in this direction”, – stated the academician. Ukraine, from the beginning of Russia’s military aggression in the spring of 2014, conducted talks with the United States on the delivery of lethal weapons. On March 1, 2018, the US State Department decided to supply Javelin anti-tank systems to Ukraine. gordonua

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Intelligence Officials and Satellite Photos Detail Russian Military Buildup on Crimea – Defense One

Five S-400 anti-aircraft missile batteries, plus additional troops and fighters, let Moscow better defend the Black Sea and threaten Europe and the Middle East. Russia has added troops, aircraft, and weapons to Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in what amounts to a “significant” buildup of forces over the past 18 months, according to U.S. intelligence officials, observers, and new satellite photos that reveal the locations of new S-400 air defense systems and improvements to Soviet-era bases. Those officials and observers of the region say the additional firepower gives Moscow greater defensive control over the Black Sea and puts offensive fighters and ships closer to the Middle East. The photos, taken between January 2018 and April 2019 by private satellite imaging company Planet Labs and provided to Defense One, show five S-400 batteries, five S-300 air-defense systems, and fighter jets at four locations. They also show improvements to Soviet-era military installations. In recent interviews, two U.S. intelligence officials authorized to speak only on background detailed Russia’s recent activity on Crimea. One said that it is the assessment of their agency that Russia was engineering “a deliberate and systematic buildup of their forces on the peninsula.” Both declined to confirm or deny what the Planet Labs photos purport to show. Observers said the development likely means that Moscow has no near-term intention of returning the Ukrainian territory it seized in 2014, which the United States has said is required before it will resume normalized relations. Instead, that buildup “suggests that Russia is interested in being able to exercise more control over the Black Sea, which then affords them the ability to project power beyond their immediate environment,” said Sarah Bidgood, the director of the Eurasia Nonproliferation Program at Middlebury College’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. “This is a significant buildup. NATO is going to be under increasing pressure from allies in the region to show that it’s able to push back against Russian attempts to gain greater control of the Black Sea. To me, that’s a really dangerous environment.” Western leaders are concerned Russia is positioning its military to be able to shut down the sea lane into the Mediterranean, a key supply route for its Syria operations. Some U.S. lawmakers have called for a greater Western military presence to counter that possibility. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., speaking at the GLOBSEC security forum in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Saturday said “I’ve called for a multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea to show, when Russia aggressively is using military action, makes incursions into the West, [and] does not abide by its own commitments, in terms of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, [that] we need to respond military as well — not with kinetic military action, but with a very strong show of strength and resolve.”

EU Ambassadors Agree To Extend Crimea Sanctions For Another Year

European Union ambassadors have agreed to extend the bloc’s investment ban on the Crimean Peninsula by another year.

Zelensky in Berlin to meet with Germany’s top leadership and businessmen – source

During a visit to Berlin on June 18, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will meet with the top leadership and businessmen of Germany. — Ukrinform.

Eight Crimean Tatars Jailed On Extremism Charges

A court in Russia-controlled Crimea has sent eight Crimean Tatars to pretrial detention for two months on extremism charges.

U.S. calls on Russia to release detained Crimean Tatars

The United States Embassy in Ukraine calls upon Russian authorities in the occupied Crimea to stop the detention of Crimean Tatars. — Ukrinform.

CoE Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Russia-occupied Crimea – news ukraine | UNIAN

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović has said she is planning to visit Russia-occupied Crimea. The visit is tentatively scheduled for October.

Mythbusting: Klimkin on Ukraine’s possibility to join EU within 10 years – news politics | UNIAN

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has said Ukraine now has very little chance of joining the European Union in the next 10 years. For this, Ukraine should definitely become better than all previous candidates, the minister said. Commenting on Facebook discussions about the likely timing of Ukraine’s accession to the EU, the minister said it “is little frustrating to act as a mythbuster and tell people the truth after they had been told fairy tales.” “Someone heard that we will join the EU in 2025. This is nonsense, because there should have been negotiations on accession for a long time. Someone heard that in 10 years, this is more real, but it’s still nonsense, since we should have started negotiations on accession literally tomorrow,” he said. However, Klimkin believes Ukraine will definitely become an EU member. “But for this, we should definitely become better than all previous candidates. This is no joke and very realistic. We can do that, can’t we?” he added. Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/politics/10583232-mythbusting-klimkin-on-ukraine-s-possibility-to-join-eu-within-10-years.html

Russian-led forces launched 24 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas in last day

The armed formations of the Russian Federation violated ceasefire 24 times, using weapons banned under the Minsk agreements seven times, in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas over the past day. — Ukrinform.

Three Ukrainian soldiers wounded in Donbas amid 24 enemy attacks in past day – news war | UNIAN

Russia’s hybrid military forces in the past 24 hours mounted 24 attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas, with three Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action. Two occupiers were killed and another seven were wounded, intelligence reports say.

Two more members of Russia-led forces eliminated by Ukrainian army in Donbas (Photo) – news war | UNIAN

Officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Anatoliy “Shtirlitz” Shtefan has said another two members of Russia-led forces were eliminated in Donbas, eastern Ukraine. The terrorists’ profiles are on Ukraine’s Myrotvorets (Peacekeeper) Center database.

Ukraine troops advance in Maryinka, approaching Donetsk – journalist (Video) – news war | UNIAN

Ukrainian military correspondent Oleksiy Kashporovskiy has said members of the 24th separate mechanized brigade have advanced in the town of Maryinka and almost completely control the situation there. The “grey zone” has shifted toward the village of Trudivske.

Tactical exercises with live firing of rocket artillery units are held in Chernihiv region. Photo report

In the Chernihiv region at the Goncharovsky training ground, tactical exercises continue with live firing of rocket artillery units of the operational command “North”. This is reported by Censor. NO with reference to the press service of the Ministry of Defense. Gunners train combat skills and disguise positions in conditions as close as possible to combat. In particular, the actions of the command and control posts of the rocket artillery battalion were worked out, with subunits reaching firing positions and targeting. In addition to classic situations, the reactive workers were given unexpected tasks. Источник: https://censor.net.ua/p3132013

Ukraine’s Security and Defense Council secretary visits Donbas warzone (Photo, video) – news politics | UNIAN

A delegation of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine led by its Secretary Oleksandr Danyliuk has visited the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) zone in Donbas, eastern Ukraine. The visit was aimed at examining the situation on the contact line in detail.

NSDC delegation visits frontline in Donbas

A delegation of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) headed by NSDC Secretary Oleksandr Danyliuk has visited the zone of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) in Donbas, the JFO press center has reported on its Facebook page. — Ukrinform.

OSCE again spots Russian TORN electronic warfare system in Donbas

An OSCE SMM drone spotted Russia’s TORN electronic warfare system near a residential building in the occupied village of Novohryhorivka. — Ukrinform.

New tank battalion formed in northern Ukraine

A new detached tank battalion is being shaped in Chernihiv region, northern Ukraine. The press office of North Operative Command of Ukraine’s Armed Forces posted this on Facebook. The 12th Detached Tank Battalion is formed in Honcharivske village, Chernihiv region; it will be based there. The unit is to subordinate and to report to the North Operative Command. The Siverska 1st Detached Tank Brigade is also based in Honcharivske; the newly created unit is not a part of this brigade, being self-sufficient combat detachment. Currently, the staff are receiving vehicles and supplies. The manpower in this unit will only comprise of contract servicemen.

In absentia reported suspicion of two Italian citizens who fought for the terrorists “DNR” – Sargan

The prosecutor’s office of the Donetsk region reported in absentia suspicion to two Italian citizens who fought on the side of the terrorist organization “DPR”. The press secretary of the Prosecutor General Larisa Sargan reported this on her Facebook page, Tsenzor informs. The prosecutor’s office of the Donetsk region agreed correspondence report on the suspicion of committing criminal offenses under Part 2 of Art. 260 (participation in non-statutory paramilitary or armed formations) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, a 43-year-old and 30-year-old Italian citizen who took part in hostilities on the side of the terrorist organization “DNR”. Read on “Tsenzor.NET”: Czech court sentenced to 3 years probation soldier Ashtu, who fought for the mercenaries of the Russian Federation in the Donbas During the pre-trial investigation it was established that in 2014, men arrived in the city of Yasinovataya, Donetsk Region, for voluntary service for terrorists as part of one of the illegal armed groups. Their duties included armed watch at the checkpoint and the implementation of combat missions set by the “leadership”. Currently, the pre-trial investigation in the criminal proceedings continues. In the near future, the prosecutor’s office will apply to the court for permission to detain suspects with a view to their reason for participating in the consideration of a petition for the application of a preventive measure in the form of detention. Источник: https://censor.net.ua/n3132019

Two machine guns, two grenade launchers, a sniper rifle and four machine guns, – the SBU found a caches with weapons in Druzhkovka. A PHOTO

In the framework of the implementation of measures to counter the illicit arms trafficking, the security service of Ukraine to the joint operation with the National Police found a cache with military weapons in the Donetsk region. This Tsenzor.NET reported in the press center of the SBU. The report notes: “Special services operatives received information that in the territory of one of the private households in the city of Druzhkovka there is an arsenal with weapons. During the authorized investigative actions, law enforcement officers found two RPG-26 anti-tank grenade launchers, a sniper rifle in the manor’s utility room MRO-A flamethrower of Russian production and four Kalashnikov assault rifles. According to preliminary information, in summer 2014, the caches were equipped with a member of one of the illegal armed groups who planned to use weapons to commit terrorist acts in the territory controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. As part of the criminal proceedings under Part 1 of Art. 263 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine continue investigative and operational actions to establish all the circumstances of the case. Источник: https://censor.net.ua/p3132025

Lithuania transfers small arms ammunition to Ukraine

Lithuania transferred small arms ammunition to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Ministry of National Defense of Lithuania has reported. — Ukrinform.

Lithuania hands over million-euro-worth ammunitions to Ukraine – media – news ukraine | UNIAN

A Ukrainian military plane took almost 1 million pieces of ammunition no longer used by the Lithuanian army to Ukraine on Monday, aimed for the Ukrainian army. The value of the ammunitions stands at EUR 255,500.

Lithuania gives Ukraine a million units of ammunition

Lithuania has transferred to Ukraine almost a million units of ammunition no longer used by the Lithuanian army, the press service of the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense reported on Tuesday, June 11.

Ukrainian delegation in India discusses An-32 modernization

A Ukranian military delegation visited the headquarters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) to discuss the modernization of the IAF’s An-32 transport fleet. — Ukrinform.

Lithuanian national appointed member of Ukroboronprom’s supervisory board – news politics | UNIAN

Lithuanian national Aivaras Abromavicius, who once worked as Economy Minister of Ukraine, has been appointed a member of the supervisory board of the state-owned Ukroboronprom concern. The relevant presidential decree has been posted on his official website.

Zelensky appoints Abromavičius as member of Ukroboronprom observatory council

Abromavičius appointed as member of Ukroboronprom observatory council

Zelensky appoints Abromavicius member of supervisory board at Ukroboronprom

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has appointed former Minister of Economic Development and Trade Aivaras Abromavicius a member of the supervisory board at the Ukroboronprom State Concern. — Ukrinform.

President nominates Vadym Prystayko for foreign minister – LB.ua news portal

President nominates Vadym Prystayko for foreign minister. The president once against asked MPs to dismiss Klimkin. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

President Zelensky taps Prystaiko to head Ukraine’s foreign ministry – news politics | UNIAN

President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky has nominated Vadym Prystaiko for the post of the country’s foreign minister. Since 2014, Vadym Prystaiko has been at the helm of Ukraine’s Permanent Mission to NATO.

Zelensky asks Rada to appoint Prystaiko Ukrainian FM instead of Klimkin

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has signed a request to be submitted to the Verkhovna Rada on relieving Pavlo Klimkin of his duties as foreign minister and appointing Vadym Prystaiko in his place.

Fatherland MP appointed head of Foreign Intelligence Service – LB.ua news portal

Fatherland MP appointed head of Foreign Intelligence Service. He worked for the tax service and the SBU. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Ukraine’s new intelligence agency chief explains “FSB medal” in CV – news politics | UNIAN

The newly appointed head of the Foreign Intelligence Service Vladislav Bukharev was awarded the FSB medal “For Combat Cooperation.” According to the official, the medal was awarded in 2004 for participation in a major multinational drug ring raid.

President appoints head of Foreign Intelligence Service

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has appointed Vladyslav Bukharev head of the Foreign Intelligence Service. — Ukrinform.

CEC registers 118 parliamentary candidates running in single-member constituencies

Ukraine’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has registered 23 more candidates for the Verkhovna Rada running in single-member constituencies. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine increases exports of titanium ore by 6.1% in Jan-May

Ukraine in January-May 2019 increased exports of titanium containing ore and concentrate in kind by 6.1% compared to January-May 2018, to 257,369 tonnes.

Top UCLA Doctor Denounces HBO’s “Chernobyl” As Wrong And “Dangerous”

Bad science led to HBO’s “Chernobyl” and one million unnecessary abortions.

HBO’s Chernobyl: 5 Things That Are Accurate (& 5 Things That Aren’t)

HBO’s Chernobyl is lauded critically. But some things aren’t accurate to the real-life story of the power plant. While some are historical fact.

Honorary Patriarch Filaret rejects Tomos, calls local church council to restore Kyiv patriarchate

Filaret, the Honorary Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine decided to call the local church council, which aims to restore Kyiv Patriarchate. He stated he rejects the Tomos on the autocephaly, as BBC Ukraine reported, quoting him. Filaret spoke before the forum called ‘For Ukrainian Orthodox Church! For Kyiv Patriarchate!’. ‘We convene the church council, during which we’re not going to uphold the decision of the council from December 15, 2018. This means it’s not obligatory for us. Thus, we’ll show that Kyiv Patriarchate was, is and will be there. We’re convening the Council on June 20’, he said. He added that the ‘so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine serves the interests of Greeks,’ once again blaming Metropolitan Epifaniy for depending on the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Related: Ukraine’s Filaret actually signed decision on disbanding Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate Members of the forum intend to support the petition to President Volodymyr Zelensky, asking him ‘to support and protect Kyiv Patriarchate of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church’. According to the Statute of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Filaret has no right to convene such councils, because this is within the authority of Metropolitan Epifaniy, the head of the Church. The Ecumenical Patriarchate granted Ukraine Tomos on the autocephaly in October 2018; the signature ceremony took place in Istanbul in January 2019. Tomos, as the document, was brought to Ukraine soon after that. Filaret was the only churchman who did not support Tomos at the council that took place in Kyiv in December 2018. However, it appeared that he had agreed to sign the decision to disband the Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate.

 

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