Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Cyberwar update – Bershidsky has a point, as Russia is famous for widescale use of obsolete pirated software and poorly maintained computing infrastructure. Nuke/INF update. Shoigu complains of the inadequacy of Russia’s strategy. RAF deals with surge in Russian intrusions.
A BUFF over the Black Sea gets the Russians very excited. Update on USAF hypersonic weapons. XQ-58A updates. Turkey update – new Turkish LO fighter concept displayed, modelled on the F-22.
JIT to disclose key MH-17 suspects tomorrow. Ukraine warns EU of gas crisis early 2020 due to Russian resistance to signing a transit contract.
Fourteen reports on Russia’s descent, notable are inter-ethnic violence and ongoing demographic collapse. Update on Russian meddling and export of mayhem.
A deluge of media on Ze’s visit to Paris, and initial media from his visit to Berlin – notably these are high intensity events involving multiple engagements. Muscovy complains that Ze sounds like Poroshenko. IR and Crimea updates. Gen Khomchak reiterates no FONs planned for Kerch Strait.
Donbas update. Industry update – Ministry of Internal Affairs (NGU/SES) to procure thirteen of the C-130 sized An-178 airlifters, and more French helos.
Politics, Chernobyl and OCU updates, the latter a little overstated.
The New York Times reported that American intelligence had secretly inserted software that could allow it to disable the Russian energy system.
Attacks by the United States risk escalating a digital Cold War and renew questions about whether certain targets should be off limits in cyber conflict.
The real message U.S. officials are sending to Moscow is that Russia can be attacked without White House authorization.
A report in the New York Times that the U.S. Cyber Command has intensified secret efforts to hack the Russian power grid is less interesting for its content than because of U.S. officials’ apparent cooperation in publicizing the activity. Like any power grid undergoing a digital transformation, the Russian one is quite hackable – but why would the U.S. want public discussion of the matter? The New York Times story talks about “implants” – the placement of malware in networks involved in managing the Russian power grid that could be activated in case of a major conflict. It’s careful to avoid any detail, but Russians know better than many others how vulnerable power grids are to attack. Kaspersky Lab JSC, the cyber security firm, has been running grid equipment hacking contests for years. In 2016, a hacking group from Yekaterinburg described in a blog post how it won points in the competition by taking over a substation and causing a short circuit on a power transmission line, without any prior knowledge of the specific industrial system or even much general understanding about how substations work. Russian researchers have identified numerous vulnerabilities in so-called smart grid equipment, which constantly analyzes consumption data and helps manage systems flexibly and efficiently. Many elements of electrical grids are accessible from the internet. A relatively successful, and likely Russian, attack that shut down 27 substations in Ukraine in 2015 showed that primitive methods like sending spear-phishing emails to employees of regional energy companies are effective in getting hackers into parts of national grids. The Russian grid is particularly vulnerable for several reasons. First, it’s vast. Russian Grids PJSC runs 2.35 million kilometers of transmission lines and 507,000 substations. Second, it’s in the process of an ambitious digital transformation. The state-controlled company’s digitization plan, adopted last year, is meant to achieve major cuts in transmission losses and breakdown numbers by 2030. The plan talks about creating a cyber security unit, but that’s a work in progress. As my colleague David Fickling has pointed out, making a grid “smart” creates new avenues of attack, and big technology rollouts can be messy and increase the risks. In the case of Russia, the problem is exacerbated by the Western origin of three quarters of all the equipment and pretty much all of the software. If U.S. intelligence puts in the implants before the equipment is supplied or en route, there’s no guarantee they can be detected. In other words, securing the Russian grid is a mammoth task even with Russians’ superior expertise when it comes to detecting (and likely exploiting) vulnerabilities. U.S. cyber attacks are certainly possible. How crippling they can be is another matter. The 2015 attack on the Ukrainian regional energy companies left some 225,000 customers without electricity for a few hours; that’s not a lot of damage given the wide array of techniques involved (the attackers even flooded an energy company’s call center with automated calls to make it impossible for customers to report outages). Unless critical equipment is irreparably damaged, it’s usually possible to switch to manual mode, which is what the Ukrainians did. It would be naive, however, to think the Russian government hasn’t been worried about U.S. cyber attacks on the country’s critical infrastructure. So President Donald Trump’s vehement reaction to the New York Times story – he called publishing it “a virtual act of treason” in a tweet – is a little overdone. What’s more telling, though, is the newspaper’s response: It says the Times “described the article to the government” before publication and got no objections. This raises the question what purpose the article might serve for the government officials who talked to the newspaper and those who vetted the publication. My theory is that they wanted to send a message to the Kremlin – but not specifically that the Cyber Command has increased its activity in the Russian power grid. The Russian political leadership, intelligence and cyber security professionals are already aware of these efforts. Rather, the message concerns the approval procedure for the offensive efforts. The Times story says they occur under new, obscure legislation passed by Congress last summer that allows the defense secretary to authorize “clandestine military activity” in cyberspace without going to the president for approval. It’s one thing for the Russians to know the U.S. is working to infiltrate their country’s infrastructure, but quite another to be aware that intrusions and attacks don’t require White House approval and can happen routinely and without much ado. The U.S. officials are effectively telling Russian President Vladimir Putin not to remonstrate with Trump in case of attack – the U.S. president may not even know what’s happening, and it’ll be perfectly legal.
In this article, please note the Russian sources for both the RIA and TASS articles. “Russian news agencies cited an unnamed security source as saying…” The NYT’s article, stating that the US has attacked Russian infrastructure, only cited anonymous sources. Here are a few things to note when reading these type articles Anonymous, unnamed sources, senior officials, insiders, declining to be named… The operations are all highly classified The tools being used are all highly classified The capabilities of the tools used, how they are used, and the targets they are used against are all highly classified These all point to a William-Randolph Hearst Yellow Journalism-type article. “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” As long as no official goes on record, we will only have a war of words. Unconfirmed questions and shall remain that way, from either side: Did the US “attack” Russian infrastructure? What tools were inserted in Russian infrastructure? Where were the tools inserted in Russian infrastructure? How did the Russians discover these tools, exactly? How did the Russians document these tools? Capabilities, target? How did Russia differentiate between these “US intelligence” tools, rogue hacker tools, script kiddies, other state-controlled hackers, and mercenary hackers (hackers for hire)? How did they identify the code as originating from US intelligence and not somebody else? I have no doubt the US inserted tools into the Russian infrastructure, that has been done since the dawn of cyber. What I do doubt, however, is Russia discovering US intelligence tools inserted into Russian infrastructure. There is this big pot of code available on the dark web where snippets of code are available for purchase, don’t you think this ‘covered’ code would be used as assuredly anonymous? This may be the FIRST State-on-State cyberwar between two cyber-superpowers. It is, however, a case of “he said, she said”. The first was an uncited article by the New York Times. The response was an article in two Russian propaganda rags citing unnamed Russian sources. Nobody is documenting anything. Nobody is showing us logs, code, date/time groups, or signatures. In the case of Russia, however, anything shared may be compared with the alternate reality evidence of MH-17. The truth, the reality, the proof, will remain hyper-classified until hell freezes over. We will never be privy to the “real deal”. Expect blather from Russia, expect obfuscation from US officials. </end editorial>
U.S. government “has assessed that Russia conducted nuclear weapons tests that have created nuclear yield,” Defense Intelligence Agency says in statement.
Russian lawmakers have voted to support a decree by President Vladimir Putin to suspend the country’s participation in the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which eliminated an…
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has moved closer to suspending its participation in a key nuclear arms treaty. The State Duma on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to support President Vladimir Putin’s…
The Russian Federation needs a new theory of warfare. This was announced on Tuesday by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, reports Tsenzor.NET with reference to TASS . “Today, the main task is to develop a theory of military operations for the medium term,” he said. Shoigu is convinced that modern wars require new approaches. “Conflicts of a new generation are a combination of classic and asymmetrical methods of warfare, where hostilities are transient, and there is simply no time to correct errors,” Shoigu said. Источник: https://censor.net.ua/n3132879
ROYAL AIR FORCE (RAF) fighter jets were scrambled twice over the weekend to intercept Russian planes heading towards NATO airspace for the eighth time in six weeks.
Russia plans to replace its entire fleet of light fighters with the modernized MiG-35.
Russia says that it sent Su-27 Flankers to intercept multiple U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortresses flying over both the Baltic Sea and Black Sea regions today. In one of the encounters, one of the bombers was flying directly toward the Crimean Peninsula, which the Kremlin occupies, in what could have been a mock strike run. Another one of the B-52s subsequently made an emergency landing at RAF Mildenhall in the United Kingdom following an unrelated in-flight emergency.
U.S. B-52H bombers flying from their homebase at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, flew all the way to the Black and Baltic Seas today. Not very usual. On Jun. 17, three B-52 Stratofortress bombers belonging to the 5th Bomb Wing, were involved in round-trip missions from Minot AFB, ND, to Europe. The three aircraft (60-0009/”HODOR 51″, 61-0038/”HODOR52″, 61-0005/”HODOR53″) crossed the Atlantic Ocean in two flights: HODOR 51-52 reached UK first, followed about 30 minutes later by HODOR 53, flying as a single ship. While the first flight of B-52s (that could be tracked online) continued southeast bound towards Romania and the Black Sea, HODOR 53 went eastbound, and was reported over Kiel, on Germany’s Baltic coast.
TV channel Zvezda Published on Jun 17, 2019 The Russian Defense Ministry published footage of the interception of strategic bombers B-52H by the US Air Force, which were approaching the state border of the Russian Federation, by the crews of the Russian Su-27 airborne forces Details on https: //tvzvezda.ru/news/vstrane_i_mi… We are in social networks:
Yesterday, over the Black Sea, American strategic bombers Boeing B-52H Stratofortress with flight numbers 60-0009 and 61-0038 from the US Air Force 5 bomber aircraft flew a flight. This is reported by the Ukrainian Military Portal They transatlantic flight from Barksdale Air Force United States to Louisiana to Europe. In the Black Sea area they entered through the airspace of Romania where they refilled: To Boeing B-52H Stratofortress filling in the airspace of Romania on June 17, 2019 Map: PlaneRadar According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, bombers were intercepted by the Su-27 fighters based on the occupied Crimea over the Black Sea aquatorium. At the same time, a similar flight was carried out by the bomber Boeing B-52H Stratofortress with an onboard number 61-0005 over the Baltic Sea, which was also intercepted by a Russian fighter, which was confirmed by an appropriate video from the Ministry of Defense of Russia: Відеопрогравач 00:00 01:00 Upon completion of the mission, all three American bombers returned to the US air base. Recall that the US for the first time since 1991 has planned to transfer B-52 bombers to 24-hour duty . Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is an American multifunctional heavyweight strategic bomber bomber carrier Boeing, powered by the US Air Force since 1955. Among the bomber’s arsenal are various weapons, including nuclear weapons. In general, the internal bombing is 31,500 kilograms.
United States Air Force 93rd Bomb Squadron Boeing B-52H Stratofortress 61-0038 HODOR52 over Black Sea. Explore live News Interactive map. Russia war on Ukraine in Donbas and Crimea. Conflicts map. Russian military agression against Free World
The U.S. defense giant Lockheed Martin provide more details of AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) hypersonic flight test. A statement from the Lockheed Martin claims that the U.S. Air Force and the company successfully flight tested the AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) on the service’s B-52 Stratofortress out of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on June 12, 2019. This captive carry flight is the most recent step in the U.S. Air Force’s rapid prototyping effort to mature the hypersonic weapon, AGM-183A, which successfully completed a preliminary design review in March. More ground and flight testing will follow over the next three years.
The U.S. Air Force released declassified images Monday showing the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress aircraft carrying a prototype of the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW. According to media reports in recent weeks, a sensor-only version of the ARRW prototype was carried externally by a B-52 during the test to gather environmental and aircraft handling data at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The test gathered data on drag and vibration impacts on the weapon itself and on the external carriage equipment of the aircraft. The prototype did not have explosives and it was not released from the B-52 during the flight test. This type of data collection is required for all Air Force weapon systems undergoing development. “We’re using the rapid prototyping authorities provided by Congress to quickly bring hypersonic weapon capabilities to the warfighter,” said Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. “We set out an aggressive schedule with ARRW. Getting to this flight test on time highlights the amazing work of our acquisition workforce and our partnership with Lockheed Martin and other industry partners.” The Air Force is leading the way in air-launched hypersonic weapon prototyping efforts. As one of two rapid prototyping hypersonic efforts, ARRW is set to reach early operational capability by fiscal year 2022. “This type of speed in our acquisition system is essential – it allows us to field capabilities rapidly to compete against the threats we face,” Roper said. The flight test serves as the first of many flight tests that will expand the test parameters and capabilities of the ARRW prototype. The ARRW rapid prototyping effort awarded a contract in August 2018 to Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, Florida, for critical design review, test and production readiness support to facilitate fielded prototypes.
Raytheon Company and Northrop Grumman Corporation announced on Tuesday an agreement to develop scramjet-powered tactical missile systems. The teaming agreement uses the combined capabilities of both companies to accelerate development and demonstrate readiness to produce the next generation of tactical missile systems. Scramjet engines use high vehicle speed to forcibly compress incoming air before combustion to enable sustained flight at hypersonic speeds. Such speeds reduce flight times and increase weapon survivability, effectiveness and flexibility. “The Raytheon/Northrop Grumman team is quickly developing air-breathing hypersonic weapons to keep our nation ahead of the threat,” said Dr.Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. “This agreement combines Raytheon’s decades of tactical missile expertise with Northrop Grumman’s extensive scramjet engine development experience to produce the best possible weapons.” Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are working under a$200 millionHypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept, or HAWC, program contract to deliver an affordable, effective and producible cruise missile for DARPA and the U.S. Air Force.
Additive manufacturing is the secret to driving down the price of the Raytheon-Northrop weapon.
The Air Force is taking a growing interest in
The U.S. Air Force and Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. announced on Friday that newest XQ-58A Valkyrie long-range unmanned aerial vehicle completed its second flight at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona on 11 June. The XQ-58A Valkyrie combat system is developing by the Air Force Research Laboratory partnered with Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems. The XQ-58A demonstrator is a low-cost unmanned air vehicle (UAV) developed by Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) on the Low Cost Attritable Strike Demonstrator (LCASD) Program. During the latest flight, the vehicle successfully completed its test objectives during a 71-minute flight. The Valkyrie is a multi-mission, runway-independent UAS capable of long-range flights at high-subsonic speeds and a variety of applications. The joint effort falls within the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT) portfolio, which has the objective to break the escalating cost trajectory of tactically relevant aircraft. Steve Fendley, President of Kratos Unmanned Systems Division, stated, “With this most recent milestone, the readiness of the XQ-58A is accelerating and increasing the near-term application opportunities for the system. I am extremely proud of our development, production, and test teams who continue to deliver successful results, in record time, on our comprehensive system level efforts—rare within the aerospace and defense industry. In addition, I appreciate the cooperative and team-based relationship Kratos has shared with AFRL in the development and demonstration of the Valkyrie.”
The Trump administration is locked in an escalating standoff with Turkey over its plans to purchase an air defense system from Russia, with a deadline fast-approaching for Ankara to back down or lose out on U.S.-made F-35s – and possibly more.
TAI officials have high hopes for the TF-X, which they say will fly in 2025.
Turkey unveiled a full-scale mock-up of a new indigenous stealth-fighter concept on Monday at the 2019 Paris Air Show. Turkey unveiled a full-scale mock-up of its new indigenous fifth-generation fighter at the Paris Air Show on Monday. The fighter-development program, a Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TAI) project, was started to replace the Turkish Air Force’s ageing F-16 fleet. The program has perhaps taken on new urgency as the US prepares to kick Turkey out of the F-35 program over Ankara’s decision to purchase Russian S-400 air-defence systems.
turkishaerospace Published on Feb 15, 2019
Russia will begin to ship the S-400 anti-air missile systems to Turkey in the first half of July, Turkish President Recep Erdogan told reporters. …
Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal says Dutch authorities plan to name suspects in the downing of flight MH17 five years ago, in which all 298 people aboard the passenger jet were killed.
Charges against the first four suspects in the downing of a Malaysia Airline Boeing plane (flight MH17) over occupied Donbas in 2014 will be brought after their names are made public by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Olena Zerkal said.
Ukraine says that Dutch authorities plan on June 19 to name the first four suspects in the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. All 298 people aboard the passenger jet were killed when it was blown out of the sky. We take a look at what investigators say actually happened over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. (Originally published in 2017.)
Ukraine is warning European nations to prepare for a gas crisis which may emerge due to lack of gas transit contract with Russia. — Ukrinform.
Ukraine warns EU of gas crisis. Europe receives over one third of all its gas from Russia. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Gazprom insists resources will flow even if Nord Stream 2 is not ready this year
Russians’ trust in President Vladimir Putin has slipped again, according to a survey by Russia’s main state-funded pollster released just days before Putin’s annual nationally televised call-in show.
According to the UN’s “pessimistic” forecast, Russia’s population will fall to 83.7 million by 2100.
For many years, numerous western experts have predicted that sooner or later the Russian economy will collapse because of the rampant corruption and low efficiency that is endemic within it. They also cited overdependence on energy prices, an ageing population, and the sanctions imposed on the nation after Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea back in 2014.
Paul Goble Staunton, June 17 – In the post-democratic West and in post-totalitarian Russia, aggressive minorities have assumed a disproportionate role, in the first by transforming democracy from majority rule to a system focused protecting minorities and in the second by providing the regime with the passion it lacks to mobilize society, Vladimir Pastukhov says. In a commentary for the MBK news agency, the London-based Russian analyst says that this parallel development has had the effect of devaluing democracy in the eyes of many in Russia while stimulating others to demand the appearance of a good tsar who will impose the correct values on the country (mbk-news.appspot.com/sences/atakuyushhie-menshinstva/). But more important than that, the readiness of the Russian powers that be to be swayed by and seek to rely on is fraught with risks. Not only does that open the way to the powers being infected by the paranoia of these aggressive minorities, but it changes the relationship between the authoritarian rulers and the population. “In theory,” Pastukhov continues, “an authoritarian power should suppress with equal intensity any activity which deviates from the officially approved course regardless of whether it is to the right or above or below that court. But in practice, everything looks different and as we see certain ‘minorities’ appear to be ‘more equal than others.’” The analyst says he can explain this “paradox” by “the permanent deficit of passion which the dim and corrupt regime experiences from top to bottom.” Because it lacks that energy, it often “is not capable of giving a powerful emotional impulse to society, especially under conditions of a crisis and a latent pre-revolutionary situation.” At those times, he continues, “the regime tries to borrow passion from particular groups within the civil society it is suppressing.” And because of that very suppression, those groups which retain a high degree of passion ad the most marginal ones. But as the regime draws on their energy and views, it further alienates the majority. In a strange way, Pastukhov argues, this is an echo of what has been occurring in Western democracies as well where aggressive minorities have sought to use the power of the state to impose their views via insistence on political correctness and in the process have alienated majorities from democracy as typically understood. The drive for political correctness has done much good, he acknowledges, but beyond a certain point, it creates a backlash among majorities, as can be seen throughout the West. And the use by the regime of aggressive minorities has had the same impact on the Russian majority as well. “The specific political regime which functions today in the region of West European civilization may be defined as ‘post-democracy.’ It is organically part of the eclectic culture of ‘the post-modern’ and combines very well with ‘post-industrial’ economics.” Similarly, “the regime which has been established in Russia today with no less basis may be called ‘post-totalitarian.’” And in both the one and the other there are “elements of decadence, the agony of the old, and an algorithm of disintegration.” It is difficult to predict how either will develop. Many Russian ultra-conservatives talk a lot about the dysfunctionality of Western democracy. In many cases, their criticism is correct but it can’t be taken seriously because it fails to acknowledge the positive elements of that system. But the response of “’the liberal fundamentalists’” is no better: they see only the positive and not the negative. “It is therefore not surprising,” Pastukhov says, “that ‘the infuriated majority’ is seeking a way out of the situation not within the framework of the liberal tradition but in a new authoritarian leader cult and populism which smacks of ‘fascism lite.’” Russia still has a lot to learn from Europe, but “to copy blindly the present-day model of Western democracy is stupid and even harmful. This will not solve the problems confronting Russia.” Instead, there needs to be in both Russia and the West a creative approach toward the elaboration of a new kind of democracy. Just what this will look like is unclear, but it almost certainly will involve a return to the first principles of majoritarian rule with modifications so that the majority will not mistreat the various minorities. Different countries are likely to come up with different patterns to ensure that, but one thing is clear: democracy in its current form is in trouble and must change. For Russians, this offers one very important hope. While they are far behind the West in moving toward democracy of the current kind, they may be entering a period when “the first shall be last and the last first” as both Russia and the West work to come up with a revived democratic model.
The head of Russia’s central bank has said the institution could one day launch its own digital currency. Chairwoman Elvira Nabiullina told a student conference that, while such a project “cannot be realized immediately,” various central banks, including Bank of Russia, are investigating the possibility, TASS reported Saturday. Key to the utility of a central bank digital currency (CBDC), she said, is that the technology must ensure “reliability and continuity.” “Technologies must be mature, including technologies of distributed registries,” Nabiullina said. Another question is whether citizens are ready to leave cash behind.
Younger Russians find themselves largely disconnected from the country’s aging leadership, nostalgic Soviet rhetoric and nepotistic agenda.
As Russia inches towards the deployment of hypersonic missiles, it is becoming increasingly paranoid about leaks of secrets from prominent Russian scientists.
He wants to hold on to power, and enforce his red line
Paul Goble Staunton, June 17 – This week marks the 105th anniversary of the birth of Yuri Andropov, the KGB leader who rose to be head of the Soviet Union and was responsible among other things for the elevation of Mikhail Gorbachev to the Politburo and ultimately to the position of the first and only president of the USSR. But for many who were in, inspired by or simply followed aspirations in the USSR for democracy there a more immediately important event is the death at 94 this morning of Filipp Bobkov, the KGB general who long headed the fifth chief directorate of the Soviet security agency and oversaw the persecution of dissidents (newsru.com/russia/17jun2019/bobkov.html). Bobkov worked for 45 years in the Soviet organs, eventually heading the fifth chief directorate (1969 to 1983) which was responsible for maintaining the ideological correctness of the population and suppressing dissent including the use of forced psychiatric incarceration and becoming the first deputy chairman of the KGB of the USSR. It is a sad commentary on the current times in the Russian Federation that most of the commentaries on his death have focused not on his crimes against the Soviet people but on his role in developing counter-terrorism strategies for Moscow, an important and undoubtedly in his mind and the minds of many in the KGB a closely related phenomenon. (For a selection of these obituaries – and there have been more than a 100 Yandex reports – see especially charter97.org/ru/news/2019/6/17/338043/,lenta.ru/news/2019/06/17/bobkov/and www.mk.ru/politics/2019/06/17/vydayushhiysya-chelovek-kem-byl-umershiy-general-kgb-bobkov.html.) But for those who want to know more about his most significant role, mistreating and otherwise repressing Soviet citizens whose only crime was to have the freedoms promised by the Soviet constitution and that were their rights as human beings, see especially Yevgenia Albats’ The State within a State (New York, 1994). A nation, it is often said, should know its heroes. It should also remember those who commit the worst kind of actions. Bobkov is one of the latter despite the efforts of the Putinist regime to keep him as one of the first.
Former head of the fifth directorate of the USSR’s KGB (Committee for State Security) and deputy head of KGB Filipp Bobkov who had been responsible for fighting ideological sabotage passed away at the age of 93 on June 17. Filipp Bobkov had been a chief of the fifth directorate of the USSR’s KGB (Committee for State Security) for almost 15 years.
Following a deadly brawl that reportedly pitted hundreds of Roma against other locals in a Russian village, the regional governor accused America and social-media provocateurs of attempting to use the situation to sow panic.
Paul Goble Staunton, June 17 – The presidential plenipotentiary for Volga District of which Penza oblast is a part and the governor of that region say that fake news put out by US-backed groups was behind the clash between Roma and local Russians in the city of Chemodanovka, but local residents, Roma and Russian alike, blame local police for failing to intervene quickly. The charges of fake news originating with the Americans have been repeated on central Russian television; the complaints of local people have not gotten similar attention, although they are beginning to percolate on Facebook and in some Russian news services. (For a useful summary with good sources, see newsru.com/russia/17jun2019/gypsy_penz.html.) At present, the several hundred Roma have left their encampment, except for 15 who remain in jail. Some say their departure was orchestrated by officials. Others say they simply fled in order to escape further violence and arrests. And still a third group says they will be back as soon as things calm down. Police continue to patrol the entire city under what officials call “the Vulcan Plan,” and the city administration has promised to open a police office in what had been the Roma encampment, something that the Roma had long asked for but hadn’t received, as a result of which police seldom have come when called. Despite these actions, anti-Roma passions remain high in the Penza Oblast; and official suggestions that the Roma are in league with the ultimate outside agitator, the US and its “information diversionists,” is unlikely to calm things. Indeed, by playing up this angle, Moscow television may very well spark more attacks on Roma elsewhere in the Russian Federation.
A court in Russia has ordered 15 suspects to be held in pretrial detention following a deadly brawl between representatives of the Roma ethnic group and other residents, mainly Russians, in the Penza region southeast of Moscow.
Locals set fire to a Roma house after the mass fight in which one person died and four were injured.
As the U.S. seeks an exit from the Afghan war, Central Asia is on the cusp of a new era, with Russia and China vying for influence in a region that will no longer be dominated by America’s post-9/11 undertaking to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.
A possible North Carolina cyberattack proves how vulnerable we really are.
The European Union already suspected that Russia was trying to disrupt its parliamentary elections through hacks and other online interference, and now it’s dir…
A photo archive reveals epic historical moments and everyday life under communism in Hungary.
Russian aviation makes return to Paris Air Show after 5-year hiatus
A senior U.S. diplomat warned India over procuring S-400 air defense systems from Russia in a recent congressional testimony.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged his country’s European backers to keep “pressure” on Russia to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine as he met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
Macron says new Ukraine peace talks possible under Zelensky
The Russian Federation has to comply with the decision of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea of May 25 and release 24 Ukrainian sailors and ships captured near the Kerch Strait. It was stated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the joint press conference with President of France Emmanuel Macron in Paris on June 17. “Russia must also comply with the decision of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and return 24 Ukrainian sailors. I really believe in that. I am grateful for the firm and consistent position of France in condemning Russia’s actions in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait,” the Head of State said.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasizes that the establishment of peace in Ukraine is one of the key tasks he is striving for. That is why the issue of peace was the main one in his current constructive negotiations with French President Emmanuel Macron.
During his official visit to France, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with President of the Senate of France Gérard Larcher on June 17. The French official emphasized the support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and French President Emmanuel Macron stated the importance of the release of Ukrainian sailors
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky calls for tougher sanctions against the Russian Federation to liberate the occupied Ukrainian territories, namely Crimea and parts of Donbas. The president says sanctions are the only lever for the liberation of the occupied territory.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Ukraine is already part of the European family, while European integration is the main aspiration of the Ukrainian people. Ukraine is committed to European integration, Zelensky said.
Ukraine is not ready for a dialogue with the separatists
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky says that, if he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he will first of all raise the issue of the occupied territories, Crimea and Donbas. The president expressed his conviction that Crimea would soon return to Ukraine.
President Zelensky assured that Crimea is a part of Ukraine
French Senate President Gérard Larcher during a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris on June 17 stressed support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Larcher and Zelensky discussed the creation of “dialogue commission” with the participation of both countries’ parliamentarians to develop the relevant international projects.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he support activating economic and cultural ties with France.
Zelenskyy tells French startups about “beautiful Ukrainian women”. In 2011, President Viktor Yanukovych invited investors to come and look at “women undressing”. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
During an official visit to France, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky met with the leaders of the French business. The president stressed that the new Ukrainian government would work on improving the investment climate and protection of businesses.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Donbas and Crimea will be the first issues he will bring up at a hypothetical meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ukraine is not willing to negotiate directly with the Donbas separatists, but will continue to operate in the Minsk format, said Ukrainian …
Zelenskyy: we are not ready to talk to separatists. “We are ready to continue relations in the Minsk format and stop shooting, I have repeatedly said this.” Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Ukraine will not conduct a dialogue with separatists in Donbas but is ready for the first steps to end the war, President Volodymyr Zelensky has said. — Ukrinform.
A swap of even 10 or 15 detainees kept in Russia-occupied Donbas could indicate a mutual desire of the parties to begin the process of de-escalating in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said at a meeting with President’ of Germany’s Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble.
France is ready to hold talks in the Normandy Four format (Ukraine, France, Germany and Russia), but some steps are needed first to prove the intention to fulfill obligations, French President Emmanuel Macron said.
Europe can help Ukraine in the development of infrastructure in Donbas. — Ukrinform.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he intends to deepen cooperation with international financial and political entities. — Ukrinform.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has invited French President Emmanuel Macron to visit Ukraine at any time convenient for him.
In the framework of the official visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to France, his wife, Olena Zelenska, has met with the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, Brigitte Macron, in the Élysée Palace. Olena Zelenska told about her plans for the future projects in Ukraine and invited Brigitte Macron to visit Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is due to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on June 18 – a day after Zelenskiy urged Kyiv’s European backers to keep “pressure” on …
Ensuring energy security of Ukraine and Europe was one of the key issues at a meeting between President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel on June 18 in Berlin.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky hopes that he will be able to reach an agreement with the Russian Federation on the transit of gas to Europe without twisting arms to Ukraine. “You know that our contract ends (for the transit of Russian gas. – Ed.) At the end of this year. But we are negotiating now, and I think that in the near future our groups will sit down, and I am sure that we will agree. And no one Ukraine will, forgive, unscrew the hands, “said Zelensky at a briefing in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday, reports Censor. NO referring to Interfax-Ukraine . It’s no secret that our positions on the Nord Stream 2 project are diametrically opposed. At the same time, we are grateful for the readiness for substantive dialogue on the part of Germany on this difficult issue, “said Zelensky. Источник: https://censor.net.ua/n3132900
A meeting of German Chancellor Angela Merkel with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has started in Berlin in the form of a working dinner. — Ukrinform.
German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel notes that the restoration of the rights of the delegation of the Russian Federation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is possible only under certain conditions.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky declares Germany’s readiness to negotiate with Ukraine on the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline despite the opposite positions.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says he will discuss with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin the issue of ending the war in Donbas and new economic prospects. Overnight June 18, Zelensky arrived in Berlin for a one-day visit.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expects Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to make progress in fighting corruption and resolving the conflict in Donbas. Maas said Germany would like to support Zelensky so that “the hopes of the Ukrainians are met.”
President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky holds meeting with President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the Belwe Residence in Berlin. According to Tsenzor.NET, with reference to Interfax-Ukraine, Zelensky and his wife Elena Zelenskaya arrived at the official residence of the German President, whom Steinmeier and his wife met on the porch. The President of Ukraine and his wife left an entry in the book for visitors. Источник: https://censor.net.ua/n3132909
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and President of the German Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble met in Berlin on Tuesday to discuss the prolongation of sanctions against the Russian Federation and rebuilding infrastructure ion Donbas, eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has met with Bundestag President Wolfgang Schaeuble in Berlin, according to an Ukrinform correspondent. — Ukrinform.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk has said President of the German Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble stressed that sanctions against the Russian Federation must remain in place until the war in Donbas ends. The ambassador said the meeting of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble was extremely positive.
Normandy Format to take place in July
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said the positions of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his predecessor Petro Poroshenko on Russia are similar. Peskov says Moscow is closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine.
It is necessary to talk about Donbas will local citizens and there is no point to talk about Crimea. Dmitry Peskov, the Spokesperson of Russian President Vladimir Putin made such statement as the respond to words Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about intention to talk with Russian leader Vladimir Putin that Crimea is Ukraine as Interfax reported. “Concerning Donbas, then, possibly, there is no need to talk with Putin but with citizens of Donbas. They are the direct interlocutor…And there is no point to talk about Crimea,” Peskov said.
The Kremlin has seen Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s remarks that Donbas and Crimea will be the first issues he will bring up at a hypothetical meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, will lead America’s diplomatic mission in Kyiv during parliamentary elections in July, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said on June 18.
U.S. Embassy Kyiv says it is pleased to welcome Ambassador William B. Taylor back to Ukraine as Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Most recently, he was executive vice president at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv has said it has resumed normal work after checking information that a bomb was placed in the building where it is located.
At the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg on Monday, June 17, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu called for the extension of sanctions against Russia. — Ukrinform.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has condemned the Kremlin’s decision to issue Russian passports to Ukrainians living in the occupied Donbas. — Ukrinform.
Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Steven Pifer writes that the performance of Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in his first month in office provides grounds for cautious optimism.
A court in Russia is expected to render verdicts and sentences on June 18 for five Crimean Tatars charged with being members of the Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamic group that is banned in Russia but legal i…
Although investment from Moscow soared in Crimea, prices are high, goods expensive, and tourists scarce.
Paul Goble Staunton, June 16 – A revolution in Russia “can’t be excluded,” Valery Solovey says; but it is only one of the possible scenarios for the country’s development. But no matter how things do change in Russia, no post-Putin regime will ever return Crimea, although of course Ukrainians will benefit from that development in other ways. In an interview with Dmitry Malyshko of Kyiv’s Apostrphe news agency, the MGIMO political analyst says that protests are spreading and growing across Russia and becoming more political but they have not yet reached the point of shaking “the towers of the Kremlin” (apostrophe.ua/article/society/2019-06-16/kakoy-byi-ne-byila-v-rossii-vlast-vopros-kryima-zakryit—politolog-valeriy-solovey/26426). That will happen, however, and perhaps as soon as next year; but in a political system like Russia’s, change is slow. The people remain frightened and prisoners of the illusion the regime seeks to promote that it is powerful and in control of everything. That is beginning to change but only beginning. Moreover, Solovey says, Russians have to recognize that their problems are not the product of the plans and actions of subordinate officials but of Putin personally. That too is beginning to happen, but it is not as far advanced as many think or as radical changes would require. Unlike Ukraine, he continues, Russia lacks a fully developed civil society. “A revolution is not excluded,” he says. “But this does not mean that it is inevitable, only that it is highly probable, one of the possible scenarios of the political crisis. That is, in Russia a political crisis is beginning. In 2020, we will see this much more clearly and feel the consequences much better.” The arrest of more than 500 people in the recent Moscow demonstration shows clearly that “the authorities will attempt to preserve their power, but they will be unsuccessful. For the loyalty of the force structures is falling and will fall very quickly in the future … Some orders [already even senior officers] won’t obey.” At the same time, it is wrong to expect that the police will go over to the people. Instead, “they will take a neutral position and will together with the Russian Guard sabotage the orders of the leadership,” possibly via “an Italian strike” of some kind with the police saying they can’t take action because of lack of fuel or some other excuse. Propagandistic suggestions to the contrary, Western governments “will not interfere in the Russian crisis,” Solovey says; “they are very much afraid of it because they do not know what will be the consequences of a hypothetical interference.” There may be violence, but the whole thing may be relatively peaceful as was the case in 1991. If Putin gives orders that the siloviki won’t obey such as firing into crowds of protesters, Solovey continues. the Kremlin leader will have only one chance to maintain his position – entering into talks with the opposition. He won’t want to do that directly but he may be willing to take such a step if there is no alternative. Right now, Putin is trying to reverse the degradation of administration across the board, one caused by fears among his own officials and their sense, shared by business and society, that the Putin era is approaching its end. According to Solovey, this isn’t going to lead to the growth of separatist attitudes anywhere in Russia except perhaps in the North Caucasus. But even there this trend won’t result in a redrawing of borders. Nor is this trend going to lead to a major war by the Kremlin against Ukraine: that would harm Moscow too much. Solovey argues that Ukrainians are going to benefit from this looming political crisis in Russia because to be “cynical” about it, any weakening of Russia will lead to greater flexibility on Moscow’s part and that is a good thing for Ukraine. And any post-Putin regime will be more positively disposed toward Ukraine that Putin’s is. But there is one issue on which there will not be any change, the MGIMO scholar says, and that is the status of Crimea. Regardless of what comes after Putin in Moscow, “the issue of Crimea from the point of view of the Russian Federation is closed.” No conceivable Russian government would give it back. That is because, Solovey concludes, Crimea “occupies a special place in Russian culture and Russian history.” Even if it should happen that “the most ultra-liberal” president succeed Putin in the Kremlin, he or she “will be forced to recognize this inheritance.” Ukrainians need to recognize that reality too.
The Ukrainian vessels will not repeat the attempts to cross the Kerch Strait as Donbass.Realii reported citing Head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Ruslan Khomchak. “Through the Kerch Strait, every day, the vessels pass, both Ukrainian and others. We are not going to repeat the military attempts as it took place (in 2018, – 112.international). But we will think about how to do it without consequences,” Khomchak said.
Russia’s hybrid military forces in the past 24 hours mounted 34 attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as wounded in action. Three occupiers were wounded, intelligence reports say.
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. Russia-led terrorists suffered new losses in Donbas.
Head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine (FISU) Vladyslav Bukharev has said Ukrainian soldiers may shoot at the enemy without waiting for a relevant order. According to Bukharev, “the country’s leadership expects professional actions from the military.” Head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine (FISU) Vladyslav Bukharev has said Ukrainian soldiers may shoot at the enemy without waiting for a relevant order. “It’s funny to hear when someone complains that’ (former Acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr) Turchynov did not give the order to shoot.’ The country’s leadership issued all necessary orders, of which I am a witness. But, first of all, I am deeply convinced that a Ukrainian soldier should not wait for any orders if he sees that the enemy is attacking our country and our citizens. Our Homeland trusts us in the issues of defense, and we are obliged to act independently, according to the oath of allegiance to the people of Ukraine and Constitution,” he said in an interview with Censor.NET, commenting on the events in Donbas in 2014. According to Bukharev, “the country’s leadership expects professional actions from the military.”
A Lithuanian delegation visited the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas, the JFO press center has reported. — Ukrinform.
The police received a report on mines of 38 objects of the city of Kharkov and the region. Law enforcers check the message. This is reported by Tsensor.NET with reference to the press service of the National Police of the region. The announcement of “mining” objects was received by the police on June 18. Investigative-operational groups and experts of explosive engineering management left the address. The evacuation of citizens is being carried out. At present, an inspection of the premises and adjoining territory is carried out.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine plans to acquire 13 Ukrainian-made An-178 airplanes, that’s according to Minister Arsen Avakov who spoke with journalists during his trip to France, at the Paris Air Show. The contract is set to be completed in three years. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine plans to acquire 13 Ukrainian-made An-178 airplanes, that’s according to Minister Arsen Avakov who spoke with journalists during his trip to France, at the Paris Air Show. “The Ministry of Internal Affairs will purchase 13 Ukrainian An-178 airplanes for the National Guard and the State Emergencies Service. We agreed to sign the contract this fall. These are the first aircraft with Ukrainian and European components and without Russian ones,” the ministry’s press service quoted the minister as saying.
Ukrainian rescuers and members of the National Guard will receive three H225 helicopters this year. Two more H125 helicopters will be transferred to the Interior Ministry’s Flight Academy for pilot training. — Ukrinform.
Ukraine presents new developments in Le Bourget
Ex-chief of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine, former presidential candidate Ihor Smeshko has said it is necessary to condemn the actions of the aggressor state, which began issuing Russian passports Donbas residents. “I insist on the adoption of an additional package of sanctions against the Russian Federation. I believe the actions of the occupier are not only a flagrant violation of international law, an expression of frank disrespect for the Constitution of Ukraine, but also another step in the escalation of the conflict in the east of our country,” he wrote for Gordonua.com. He said 60 Ukrainians had already obtained Russian passports. “They allowed their fingerprints to be taken and most importantly they officially swore allegiance to the aggressor. This means only one thing: Russia has launched the procedure for the legalization of occupation – an increase in the number of its troops, an additional infiltration of the region by its special services. It creates legal prerequisites for the official use of Russian troops against Ukraine under the guise of citizens of the Russian Federation,” Smeshko said.
In three months, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky may submit a bill to the the Verkhovna Rada to “reset” the National Anti- …
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has decided to set up a team of experts to assess the results of the “judicial reform” conducted by his predecessor, Petro Poroshenko.
First Deputy Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Iryna Gerashchenko has asked President Volodymyr Zelensky to sign the European integration laws passed by the parliament during the latest plenary week. — Ukrinform.
Verkhovna Rada Chairman Andriy Parubiy says several all-Ukrainian TV channels are already directly or indirectly in the hands of a “pro-Russian puppet.” The seizure and occupation of the Ukrainian information space is no less dangerous than the occupation of the Ukrainian land.
The shooting of the film in joint production of Ukraine, France and Germany will start in 2020
In late May, director Alexey Muradov wrapped filming on a new Russian miniseries called “Chernobyl.” The new 12-episode project is expected to premiere this fall on the television network NTV. The show’s plot revolves around the Ukrainian SSR’s KGB discovering that a CIA agent named “Albert Lentz” has infiltrated Pripyat, the “nuclear city” built in 1970 to serve the nearby Chernobyl Power Plant. To prevent a possible terrorist attack, Soviet counterintelligence agent Andrey Nikolaev follows the American spy to the station, where the show unfolds. Meduza spoke to Muradov about this fictional plot and the differences between his show and the critically acclaimed series by the same name that recently aired on HBO.
In all of history, only two events have been designated “level 7” nuclear accidents, the classification used by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to refer to major events with widespread health and environmental effects.
June 20, 2019, Patriarch Filaret plans to hold a local church council, which should restore the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP). In fact, Filaret is going to zeroize what ex-president Petro Poroshenko has been working on for so long. After all, the UOC-KP became the foundation on which a new united Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) was created. Destroying the foundation, Filaret risks collapsing the entire structure. But it seems that the patriarch is of little concern. Chronicle of recent events For a better understanding of what is happening with the OCU now, let us recall the recent events unfolded. December 15, a Unification Council was held in Ukraine, where delegates from the UOC-KP and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) were present. It was decided to liquidate these two institutions, or rather, to merge them into a single Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The new church received the status of a metropolis (not the patriarchy, and as it turned out later, Filaret was not satisfied with this) and direct obedience to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. On the occasion of this event, the OCU received Tomos of autocephaly, a kind of “passport”, which confirmed the existence of an independent Ukrainian church. Unification Council delegates also decided that the Metropolitan Epifaniy would head OCU. After Tomos arrived in Ukraine (Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew handed it to Epifaniy and Petro Poroshenko on January 5, 2019), the authorities used it for their pre-election hype. Poroshenko brought the document to Ukraine’s large cities, and it received the ironic name “Poroshenko’s Tomos-Tour.” January 30, 2019, the Ministry of Justice officially registered the OCU, and the registration of the UOC-KP and the UAOC was not canceled. There was an incomprehensible legal conflict, but no one dealt with it two months before the first round of the presidential elections. The parallel existence of two supposedly liquidated and one newly created church itself carried certain threats. These threats occurred immediately after the second round of the presidential elections when it became clear that the main lobbyist for Tomos and the unification of the churches – Petro Poroshenko – had left the government. The separation in the new church began with the fact that on May 8 OCU bishops received Filaret’s invitation for a “brotherly meeting” printed on letterheads of the Kyiv Patriarchate. This was perceived as a kind of challenge, especially against the background that Metropolitan Epifaniy did not receive such an invitation at all. “Brotherly meeting” was to be held on May 14 in Volodymyr Cathedral in Kyiv. Actually, it took place there, but only 4 bishops out of 60 invited arrived to meet the primate. Metropolitan Epifaniy ignored the meeting. Meanwhile, Patriarch Filaret explained to his four guests the key purpose of his actions. Filaret said for the Ukrainian church to be equidistant from any centers of influence. As a result, it turned out that, having escaped from under the authority of Moscow, which was trying to lead Ukrainian Orthodoxy, the Russian church became dependent on Constantinople. “We will continue to fight for the united Local Orthodox Church, independent of either Moscow or Constantinople,” Filaret concluded. Newly-created OCU, headed by Epifaniy, answered that a return to the Kyiv Patriarchate “is a return to isolation.” Patriarch Filaret did not explain how he imagines a completely independent church, because the churches have a certain hierarchy and are subject to it. (It should be noted that none of the local Orthodox churches, except Constantinople, have recognized the autocephaly of the Ukrainian church. The Russian Orthodox Church did not recognize the decision on autocephaly and broke off ties with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), which does not recognize OCU, continues to operate in Ukraine. – ed.) Filaret stubbornly clings to the existence of the UOC-KP. “Only the one who created it can liquidate the Kyiv Patriarchate,” he says, hinting that the future fate of the Kyiv Patriarchate is in his hands. “Tomos was given to the metropolis, but we want to have patriarchy,” he adds. It was expected that Filaret would de facto retain his chief seat, although Epifaniy would be the de jure head of the church. However, the latter does not intend to share his power. In one of his interviews, Epifaniy states that he respects the 90-year-old primate, but he does not agree with some of his statements. “If we knew the content [of Tomos] then, we would not vote for autocephaly on December 15, 2018. Because we do not need to switch from one dependence to another,” Filaret confessed. Escalation of the conflict “We were tricked,” Filaret repeated again in a recent interview. “They gave us Tomos about autocephaly, seduced us, and Tomos prescribed the dependence of the Ukrainian Church on the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Now I’d like to conduct a local church council in order to approve the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, which would be independent of Moscow and Constantinople. At first, it will be small, but Kyiv Patriarchate would again grow into a big one. It’s an independent church. The OCU was an unrecognized church, and it remains in this status.” “Epifaniy has changed. He promised that he would be primate and would represent the Ukrainian church at the foreign level. And I would lead the Ukrainian Orthodox Church inside, together with him. He does not communicate with me, does not call me. He only met with me several times, but we did not talk about the church issues, but about the weather. We should discuss our church matters, but he doesn’t want to discuss them with me. Now he started a war against me — he even withdraws the guards… In order to show that he is a primate, and Patriarch Filaret is over. He wants to show to the authorities, that he is the head of the Ukrainian Church, not the patriarch.” Epifaniy comments on all the complaints in quite a restrained manner: “Since I have seen that the honorable patriarch does not want to find a compromise, but puts ultimatums only, and I have seen that power ambitions destroy what was created, we now communicate only through the media.” Meanwhile, sociologists measured the ratings of both fathers of the church and came to the conclusion that Epifaniy’s popularity is higher. According to the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, 36.5% of respondents support the appointment of Metropolitan Epifaniy as head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and only 15.5% “vote” for Patriarch Filaret. 45.8% of the respondents could not determine their attitude to this problem at all, and another 2.2% have their own candidates in mind. However, the level of popularity of both primates within the Ukrainian community is not a determining factor in modeling the future fate of the OCU and the UOC-KP. It is important how Constantinople would react to these conflicts, but it has not commented on the situation yet. However, Ecumenical Patriarch might prefer simply not to notice Filaret’s demarche, since his idea of restoring the UOC-KP can be considered a private initiative, and such an initiative might be punished. But this is already an internal affair of the OCU, and Filaret is its bishop. On the other hand, “it is possible that OCU will say that the situation is complex and ambiguous, and they will ask the Ecumenical Patriarchate to take over consideration,” Dmytro Gorevoy, religious scholar, suggests. He adds that when “for example, several people, several hierarchs who, incidentally, have a high level of toxicity, come out of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, it can, on the contrary, even contribute to a good climate in the OCU, because a certain ‘purification’ will occur.” The last nuance in this story is related to Presidential Administration and Volodymyr Zelensky’s reaction to the church events. In his inaugural speech, the newly elected head of state did not say a word about Tomos, and even during the time since his election, he showed no interest in this topic. The indifference of Zelensky’s team in Tomos could be easily explained. “Filaret’s statements will in no way affect the ratings of politicians or parties. In the context of a parliamentary campaign, the voters expect some solutions to socio-economic, not ideological or church problems,” political analyst Viktor Taran comments. Perhaps Zelensky will be the first leader to self-withdraw from this issue. And, perhaps, at the time of the completion of the parliamentary campaign, the situation with the churches will be stabilized in one way or another.