Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (208)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Congress on the Arctic. Russia harasses Japan again. DEFMIN Shoigu promising new laser DEWs. More puffery from Erdogan. Russia’s environmental woes get worse. Stepanov in Russia attempts to get Russian legal system to declare the USSR a criminal state, which would have immense impact.

The Vozhd conducts his annual phone-in, well covered by media, and apparently inundated with complaints from the public this year. Baltic States to disconnect from Russian electricity grid. Druzhba oil pipeline restarted after contamination disaster. Hostage Whelan seeks help in the West.

MH17 update: the Vozhd again denies, and PM Mahatir incurs the ire of the Dutch. European Council urges Muscovy to cooperate with the JIT.

The Vozhd complains about Ze’s statements visiting Paris and Berlin. Ukraine signs intel sharing deal with NATO nations. Chief of the British Army, General Sir Mark Carlton-Smith, visits Donbas and Kyiv. Head of the Military Committee of the EU Gen Graziano visits Kyiv. State’s Bureau of Energy’s Logsdon visits Kyiv. EU extends Crimea sanctions, Crimea update.

Donbas update. VMF commemorates Haskuldr’s860AD naval raid on Constantinople.Industry update – Neptun blast-frag warhead tested.

Politics and economy update – notable how pro-Russian parties now complain Ze is indistinguishable from Poroshenko. Chernobyl update.

OCU update – many suspect Filaret is being manipulated by the Russians. ROC precipitates anti-Russian riots in Georgia, and resignation of parliament’s speaker.

Congress wants the US Military to challenge Russia with a new Arctic port

The Senate Armed Services Committee wants the military to select sites for an Arctic port, a move to counter increasing Russian dominance at the top of the world.

Japan Says Fighter Jets Scramble After Russian Military Aircraft Violate Airspace

The Japanese military says its fighter jets were forced to scramble after two Russian military aircraft violated its airspace.

UAWire – Shoygu promises Russian army completely new laser energy weapon

The Russian army will soon receive a completely new kind of weapon which utilizes laser and hypersonic technology, said Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, as cited by TASS. “In the near future, the army and the fleet will receive a completely new, unprecedented type of weapon, based on hypersonic and laser energy technology,” the minister said during a scientific conference attended by Russia’s military leaders. He claimed that the first prototypes of the new weapon have already been delivered for trial use, but did not provide any specifics. This is not the first time that the Russian government has talked about laser and hypersonic weapons being developed for the armed forces. Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about “Peresvet” laser systems in March 2018 during his address to the Federal Assembly. At the time, he said that the systems would become operational in December 2018. Putin also mentioned the development of the “Sarmat” intercontinental strategic missile, a nuclear-powered cruise missile, and underwater drones. The president also unveiled the new “Tsirkon” hypersonic missile, which supposedly has a top speed of Mach 10 and a range greater than 1,000 km. The defense minister later described these weapons as “unattainably effective”. Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov later claimed that the first laser systems capable of destroying targets had been adopted into Russia’s armament in 2017. According to the Russian president, it is precisely the laser weapons which will determine the Russian army and navy’s potential for “virtually the entire 21st century”. In April 2019, Putin announced that “Kinzhal” hypersonic aerial missile systems were ready for use. At the end of 2018, Colonel General Sergey Karakaev, commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces, said that rearmament of the forces with Sarmat missile systems would begin in 2021, and that the Dombarov division would receive the first prototypes of the hypersonic “Avant-garde” missile system in 2019.

Calling Trump’s bluff, Erdogan says US sanctions will not happen | News | Al Jazeera

Washington is set to punish Ankara if it accepts Russian missiles. Only Trump can stop the economic pain – if he wants.

China’s Economic Expansion is a Shot Across the Bow at Russia | The National Interest

Moscow no longer has a monopoly on economic and illiberal influence in Europe.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: The Volga’s Rapidly Approaching Death Will Leave Central Russia without Water, Ecologist Says

Paul Goble Staunton, June 20 – The silting up of the Volga River and its tributaries, the result of climate change and the unfettered pursuit of economic growth, is already destroying the water eco-system in central Russia and reducing the ability of ships to use these waterways, Yuliya Fayzrakhmanova says. In 20 to 30 years, these trends will “leave Russia without water.” The environmental activist, a member of the initiative group “The Volga and the People are Against,” says the problems the region faces today are only a first warning bell of what is coming and they are bad enough: the demise of numerous species of fish, the destruction of wetlands, and the end of rivers for transport and tourism ( Some of these trends reflect broad trends like global warming, but many are being made worse by unconscionable extraction of water from the system and the pursuit of economic growth, something the authorities want so much that they do not require those involved to get the environmental impact statements the law requires. The silting up of the Volga in particular, the result of overuse, mismanagement of reservoirs, and population growth along its length means that many species of fish are dying out and that no cruise ships or cargo vessels will be able to pass along its length in the near future, Fayzrakhmanova says. This situation has become the gateway to disaster in the last decade because Moscow and regional officials have ignored Russian environmental laws and gone ahead with projects without the assessment the legal system requires, doing far more damage than would otherwise have been the case. Some of this damage can be reversed, but only at great cost and over a long period of time. At present, the environmental activist says, there is no leadership or push for taking the steps necessary to prevent a disaster. And that disaster will hurt not only fish and wildlife but the people who live along or even near the Volga’s course. She cites with approval the conclusions of Viktor Danilov-Danilyan who has written that “the water crisis is a completely real threat: the first alarm bells we are already hearing, but 20 to 30 years from now, the situation could become simply catastrophic.” The longer Russia waits, the harder and more expensive it will be to do anything about it. Hard-pressed by current economic difficulties, few Russians want to think out two or three decades, Fayzrakhmanov observes; but if they and their governments don’t do so, they or their children will discover that not only will they not have the rivers on which Russia is based but they won’t have the water that is the source of all life.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Toward a Russian Nuremberg — Lawyer Wants Moscow Court to Rule USSR was a Criminal State

Paul Goble Staunton, June 20 – A most interesting case is wending its way through the courts of Moscow: Igor Stepanov is challenging the Russian legal system to admit that the Soviet state was guilty of crimes and thus must be brought to justice, an effort that if it succeeds, Leonid Gozman says, will entail “truly historic” consequences. In a New Times commentary, the Moscow publicist says that the case, the last hearing of which occurred on Tuesday, is perhaps the most remarkable effort yet to move toward a Nuremberg trial of the Soviet leadership for its crimes, an effort that the Russian leadership has made possible by its own rewriting of history ( Gozman begins by noting that “the USSR, the disintegration of which in Vladimir Putin’s opinion was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century (I however think [the commentator says] that the greatest such catastrophe was the establishment of the USSR), began to kill people as soon as it appeared on the earth and even already in its perinatal period.” At a certain point, it became impossible to deny the fact that there were mass murders, and Moscow had to come up with an explanation by specifying who was guilty. For the Putin regime, which identifies with the Stalinist version, that Soviet state and its ideology cannot be blamed. In Khrushchev’s time, Stalin was held to blame, a man whose “poor character Vladimir Ilich [Lenin] had warned. “But now Stalin is again great – he has become the victor in the war, the savior of the economy and in general almost Pushkin like as our all.” Consequently, the Putin regime has had to come up with another explanation. It has chosen one that always existed but never before was at the center of public discussion: “excesses in localities.” FSB chief Aleksandr Bortnikov laid out that position in an interview he gave to Rossiiskaya gazeta on the centenary of the formation of the Cheka, the direct predecessor of his own organization. According to Bortnikov’s version of events, it turns out that in Soviet times there were “indisciplined, irresponsible, and even as hard as it is to believe criminal chekists who in violation of orders from above killed people. And those above them thus have no responsibility for what they did,” Gozman summarizes. What that means, of course, is that those who were killed under Stalin were “not vicims of political repressions (which didn’t exist because they are no orders) but simply people who suffered at the hands of specific evil individuals just like those who die in the course of a drunken fight or when attacked on the streets.” Not surprisingly, many were furious at this explanation, especially if they lost family and friends at the hands of such people. One of them was Igor Stepanov, a procuracy colonel who retired because of his desire “not to take part in the systematic violation of the Constitution and the law.” Stepanov lost numerous ancestors to the killings in the 1930s – many of his forefathers were priests – but that as not the only or the main thing that drove him to use the tools of the justice system he fully understood and seek justice in the form of a ruling that what happened 80 years ago was not the responsibility of low-level police but rather of the system as such. To do that, he brought suit in May 2018 against Bortnikov and Rossiskaya gazeta demanding that they retract their assertion about excesses as the explanation and admit that the state itself was responsible. The court refused to call Bortnikov and ruled in December 2018 that in this case, Bortnikov was expressing only his personal opinion and thus there was no case. Stepanov wasn’t to be stopped. He renewed his suit not long after that on the basis that he had new evidence, in this case, a document with the signatures of Stalin, Molotov, and other comrades” in which they gave direct orders to kill people which is exactly what their executors did, not on their own but because they were following orders. Then, the lawyer in Stepanov asked that the court subject the documents to expert analysis and offered to pay for it himself. The judge withdrew, considered and said that such a step wouldn’t be necessary, but ruled that the document did not constitute new evidence in the case Stepanov had brought. “And so,” Gozman says, “a written order for mass murders issued by the top people of the state” was in effect “analyzed in a court of the Russian Federation. “Of course,” he continues, this isn’t the first time a judge in Russia has ruled black is white,” so this outcome isn’t a big surprise and the “excesses” argument thus remains in place. But “everything is changing: the square was saved, a young man was released, and ratings are falling.” And that opens up new possibilities. Clearly, Stepanov is planning to exploit them, all the way to Strasbourg if need be. What he is doing, Gozman says, is preparing a Nuremberg for Russia! “The legal, oral and other consequences of a recognition by a Russian court of the existence in Russia of a criminal state will be truly historic,” the commentator continues. The powers that be recognize this: they even had one of their minions in court to keep track of things and have the documents needed if the ruling had gone otherwise. “I swear this is true,” the Moscow commentator says. “I saw it myself.”


Roman Tsymbaliuk | Putin’s Direct Line. “Brazen” Ukraine and Russian hopes for living “just a little bit” better – news politics | UNIAN

Vladimir Putin communicates with the citizens in a unique format, indeed. The Russian leader is presented like a God, a Messiah, the ultimate authority able to resolve any issue of an ordinary Russian citizen. The Tzar’s dialogue with the people is aired by all national TV channels and radio stations.

Putin’s Domestic Comeback Isn’t Working – Bloomberg

During his annual call-in show, the president tried to show Russians he cares. He failed.

As Putin Addresses Nation In Stage-Managed Show, Some Viewers Say It’s Time To Go

In contrast to the seemingly filtered questions posed to Vladimir Putin in his marathon call-in show, a steady stream of critical messages flashed up onscreen as the Russian president sought to ass…

When Putin was asked about today’s ‘gang of patriots,’ he went after the ‘gang’ that governed Russia before him (forgetting his own résumé) — Meduza

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s ‘Direct Line’ Now a Ritual that No Longer Benefits Its Star, Analysts Say

Paul Goble Staunton, June 20 – Like anything repeated often enough with little but cosmetic change – and today’s “Direct Line” with Vladimir Putin is the 17th such performance he has presented – this program has become a ritual, lost its original value, and even become counterproductive for the person who is its start and supposed beneficiary. Many still say that such events underscore the existence of a power vertical with Putin as its head; but in contrast to earlier years when times were better and his rating was higher, Russians are asking not for redress of personal problems but for a demonstration that he can deal with larger ones ( As originally conceived, they say, Putin in the course of the program could respond to requests and direct that the problems they raise be addressed. “In other words,” as the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta put it, “through him the people realized its power over the bureaucracy live on camera,” the embodiment of democracy of a kind. That in fact is how things worked until 2012 and even later. But the editors continue, “the situation partially changed after Putin’s election to his current term in 2018 and, to be precise, in the summer of last year” when he backed the raising of the pension age. “The crisis of trust” that created sparked “a general social pessimism” about the present and future. In such a situation, “the customary model of ‘Direct Line’ could not work” because the authorities have no plan on how to improve the situation or what will happen n 2024. The Russian people can see this and the program has the effect of making their negative conclusions about the future even darker. But there is an even more fundamental reason why such performances don’t work and are counter-productive for Putin. Initially, they played to the historic Russian belief in a good tsar surrounded by bad boyars and the notion that if the tsar could hear their complaints, he would act for the people. Now, the Russian people can see that isn’t true and isn’t going to be true. Not only is Putin not in a position to solve all problems, but for ever more Russians, opposition politician Vladimir Milonov says, Putin not only is not standing with them against the bad boyars but increasingly is one of the boyars himself and thus opposed to them. That shift means that the Kremlin’s ability to play to the good tsar-bad boyar trope is coming to an end and that opposition both to Putin and to the system he heads will continue to intensify. That puts Putin is a difficult position: he has to rely on the boyars to stay in power; but if he attacks them too forcefully, they’ll turn on him (

Whales Start To Leave ‘Jail’ In Russia’s Far East, Just As Putin Holds Call-In Program

Eight of about 100 whales held captive in Russia’s Far East began to be reintroduced into their natural habitat on June 20, just as President Vladimir Putin was holding his yearly nationwide call…

Putin’s 2019 ‘Direct Line,’ in a nutshell Russia’s president spoke on national TV for four hours, but you can read this summary in five minutes — Meduza

The country needs to revitalize the economy, but first we need to figure out where to find the money for this development work. That’s why we raised the VAT [value added tax), and as expected it increased inflation, but only temporarily. The cabinet ministers are personally responsible for seeing their work through.

The Week In Russia: Save The Whales, Slam The ’90s — Putin’s Not-So-Direct Line

Russian President Vladimir Putin took aim at a frequent target – the 1990s – in his annual call-in show on state TV.

UAWire – Putin acknowledges presence of Russian mercenaries in Syria

There are contractors from private military companies (PMCs) in Syria, but they do not represent the Russian government, said Russian President …

UAWire – Putin prepared to talk to Trump

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that he is willing to talk to US President Donald Trump, if that is what his American …


UAWire – Baltic countries and EU confirm plan to disconnect from Russian power grid

The leaders of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland have signed a roadmap agreement with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and …

UAWire – Lavrov: Russia and Switzerland ended discussion on topic of espionage

The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, at a press conference with the Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland …

Druzhba oil pipeline flows to Poland resume after shutdown: operator – Reuters

Oil flows to Poland through the Druzhba pipeline resumed on Thursday after being suspended on Wednesday evening due to the discovery of contaminated oil, Polish pipeline operator PERN said on Thursday.

Putin denies intentions to unite Russia and Belarus

Russian President not to make Russia and Belarus a single state

Ex-Marine asks Trump for help with Russian spying charges | TheHill

A former U.S. Marine accused of spying in Russia reportedly made a public plea to President Trump for help on Thursday.

Reuters: Druzhba oil pipeline flows to Poland resume after shutdown – news economics | UNIAN

Oil flows to Poland through the Druzhba pipeline resumed on Thursday after being suspended on Wednesday evening due to the discovery of contaminated oil, Polish pipeline operator PERN said on Thursday. April’s suspension of flows through the Druzhba pipeline affected refiners in Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine, and Belarus.


Ex-U.S. Marine accused of spying by Russia asks Trump to help – Reuters

A former U.S. Marine held in Russia on suspicion of spying called on U.S. President Donald Trump and the leaders of Britain, Canada and Ireland to help him as he appeared in court at an appeal hearing on Thursday.

Putin claims ‘no evidence’ Moscow shot down MH17 after investigators charge Russians with murder

Vladimir Putin has claimed that there is no evidence that Russia shot down Malaysia Airlines flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing 298 people.

Putin Dismisses MH17 Murder Charges

Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 20 dismissed murder charges announced against four men suspected of being involved in shooting down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in 2014, saying that there was no evidence. He said “dialogue” with Russia was required to find the truth, although the Dutch chief prosecutor said on June 19 that Moscow was not cooperating with international investigators. Putin spoke to reporters after his marathon annual call-in show.

Man who lost 3 family members in MH17 says Mahathir’s comments ‘bizarre and too crazy for words’, Business Insider – Business Insider Malaysia

‘Bizarre and too crazy for words’ Mahathir’s comments have not gone down well in the Netherlands, whose citizens made up close to 70 per cent of all the passengers on the flight. In particular, Piet Ploeg, who chairs a foundation representing family members of the Dutch victims, called the statement “bizarre and too crazy for words”, an AFP report carried by France 24 said. According to earlier reports, Ploeg lost three family members in the tragedy. Describing Mahathir’s comments as an “unbelievable slap in the face for relatives of victims in Malaysia and also in the Netherlands”, Ploeg was quoted by AFP as saying that Malaysian officials had themselves played a part in investigations. “It is completely surprising that the Malaysian premier would doubt the findings of his own judicial apparatus,” AFP quoted Ploeg as saying.

The Netherlands disappointed by Malaysian statement on investigation of MH17 crash

Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte emphasized that the statements of Malaysian Prime Minister on the announced results of the Joint Investigative Commission (JIT) on MH17 crash in Donbas disappoint him as RTL Nieuws reported. “I imagine that the relatives, of course, are really disappointed and it also causes confusion,” Rutte said. Earlier Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad stated that there was “no evidence” that Russia is guilty of MH17 crash in Donbas 2014.

Hope for MH17 victims’ families after suspects named, charges filed, World News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

News that four suspects have been named for downing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in July 2014 has brought new hope for the family members of the victims who are seeking closure and justice for their loved ones.. Read more at

Mahathir criticises ‘ridiculous’ charges over MH17 says its now political | The Independent Singapore

Latest Singapore News and Headlines, Top Stories and Alternative Perspectives.

PM: Blaming Russia for MH17 is politically motivated – Nation | The Star Online

PUTRAJAYA: Blaming Russia for the shooting down of flight MH17 has always been the “script” of an international political plot to attack the country, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Wisma Putra: Work with JIT to bring justice for MH17 – Nation | The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia says all those allegedly involved in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 must cooperate with the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

EU Council Calls on Russia to Fully Cooperate With International Probe Into MH17 Crash – Sputnik International

BRUSSELS (Sputnik) – The European Council has called on Russia to fully cooperate with the international investigation into the deadly crash of flight MH17, whose findings Moscow considers unfounded.

EU leaders increase pressure on Russia over MH17

The EU piled fresh pressure on Russia on Thursday, extending punishing economic sanctions and demanding Moscow cooperate with a Dutch probe into the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 that led to charges against four men. The bloc's 28 leaders also served the Kremlin with a tough warning

MH17: Peeling away Russia’s lies about the downed Malaysia Airlines flight – The Washington Post

A criminal investigation accuses four men of being involved in the MH17 shoot-down.

Edgars Rinkēvičs on Twitter: “I welcome and support the decision of investigators to launch criminal proceedings against four persons as murder suspects in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight #MH17. Justice will be served and better sooner than later!”


U.S. calls on Russia to ensure that any indicted individuals currently in Russia face justice due to MH17 plane crash

The United States welcomes the announcement today regarding the indictment of four individuals for their role in the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17, 2014, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said in his statement posted by the U.S. Department of State.

Information from Russia on Buk, its missile that downed MH17 insufficient, will not satisfy demands of prosecutors – JIT representative

Information presented by the Russian Federation about the Buk system and its missile used to shoot down flight MH17 in Donbas in 2014 is insufficient for the prosecution, chief of the National Investigation Service of the Dutch police and representative of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) Wilbert Paulissen has said.


Putin unhappy with Zelensky’s statement on separatists

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he is dissatisfied with a recent statement by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Ukraine will not talk to Russian-controlled separatists. — Ukrinform.

Intelligence agencies of Ukraine and NATO members sign memorandum to counter Russian aggression

Representatives of the intelligence agencies of NATO member countries and Ukraine signed a joint memorandum providing for intensified cooperation to timely identify signs of Russia’s preparation for expanding armed aggression against Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

Kremlin comments on possible prisoner swap – news politics | UNIAN

The Kremlin spokesman has commented on the prospects for the exchange of held persons between Ukraine and Russia. The Kremlin said that the issue of the exchange of held persons between Ukraine and the Russian Federation “requires patience.”

Head of British Army on the frontline of ‘battle laboratory’ where Russia ‘prepares for war with the West’ – The Sun

THE head of the British Army has made a perilous trip to embattled Ukraine to see the front line of Russia’s new brand of warfare. The region has been turned into a “battle laboratory” where Russian commanders are trialling techniques they could one day turn on the West. They include assassination, political meddling, propaganda, cyber attacks, the use of criminal gangs and militias along with traditional warfare of trenches, tanks and artillery. Former Special Forces commander General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith is the first Army Chief of Staff to venture to the “Line of Contact” which separates Ukrainian troops from 34,000 Russian-backed separatists. Joined by The Sun on his visit, he said: “There is an emerging prototype warfare.” And he branded it “virulent and insidious”. Asked if these “shadow war” tactics could one day be turned on Russia’s adversaries including the UK, he warned: “I think we’ve got to assume that. “They’re not playing by any set of rules. There are now no rules, and people are having to gauge their own political and military tolerances.”

Lt. Gen. Ruslan Khomchak met with the Chief of the British Army, General Sir Mark Carlton-Smith

6 hours ago | ID: 50597 Chief of the General Staff – Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lt. Gen. Ruslan Khomchak met with the Commander of the Land Forces of Great Britain, General Sir Mark Carlton-Smith, within the framework of the visit of the delegation of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Ukraine. During the meeting, the sides discussed directions of further military cooperation between Ukraine and Great Britain, in particular, they were determined with perspective directions on the continuation of military cooperation and exchange of experience in the field of development of capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with the support of British instructors within the framework of Operation Orbital. The current military-political situation in Ukraine and on its borders, challenges and threats in the area of the operation of the United forces was also discussed. At the end of the meeting, Lt. Gen. Ruslan Khomchak expressed gratitude to the Commander of the Land Forces of Great Britain to General Sir Mark Carlton-Smith for supporting the Armed Forces of Ukraine in countering the Russian Federation’s aggression. Department of Public Relations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Lieutenant General Ruslan Khomchak met with the Head of the Military Committee of the European Union, General Claudio Graziano

3 hours ago | ID: 50605 Chief of the General Staff – Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lt. Gen. Ruslan Khomchak met with the Head of the Military Committee of the European Union, General Claudio Graziano. During the meeting, the sides discussed the current military-political situation in Ukraine and on its borders, determined with perspective directions of military cooperation, exchange of experience in the field of reforming and development of armed forces. Speaking about the security situation in the East of Ukraine, Lt. Gen. Ruslan Khomchak emphasized that the main task of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is to preserve Ukraine as a well-balanced subject of the system of international relations. – This goal can be achieved by carefully analyzing the security environment around the Ukrainian border and strengthening the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which must be capable of responding adequately to the whole spectrum of challenges and threats, – said the Chief of General Staff. At the end of the meeting, Lt. Gen. Ruslan Khomchak expressed gratitude to General Claudio Graziano for the support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine by the Military Committee of the European Union in counteracting the aggression on the part of the Russian Federation. Department of Public Relations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

UAWire – Volker tells US Senate about Zelensky’s ties to Kolomoyskyi

The US State Department is aware that there are ties between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi. However, US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker hopes that Zelensky will manage to become a president who is independent of the oligarchs, Voice of America reports. During a hearing titled “Five years after the Revolution of Dignity: Ukraine’s progress/Russia’s malign activities” held by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 18 June, Volker responded to questions from Senator Bob Menendez about oligarch Kolomoyskyi’s influence over Ukraine’s sixth president. “I know that Zelensky came to the post on a powerful anti-corruption platform, but there are warnings concerning his ties to certain Ukrainian oligarchs… in particular Ihor Kolomoyskyi, who is suspected of embezzling funds from the bank he was a co-owner of,” Menendez observed. Volker confirmed that the State Department was aware of Zelensky’s ties to Kolomoyskyi, and emphasized that the new president should endeavor to weaken the oligarchs’ influence over the political system. “We think that he (Zelenksy) deserves a chance. We support the principles of reform, the overcoming of the domination of oligarchs, such as Kolomoyskyi, in the political system. We hope that he will be able to be independent and to deliver on his promises,” the diplomat remarked. “We intend both to assist him and to hold him accountable if this doesn’t happen,” Volker emphasized. Previously Volker said that, since the election of Volodymyr Zelensky, “a window of opportunity has opened for promoting the common interests of Ukraine and the US”. He also expressed hope that the negotiation process on the Donbas would resume. On 31 May, Zelensky signed a decree to appoint Andriy Bohdan as head of the Presidential Administration. According to the Ukrainian news outlet the Mirror Weekly, he ignored Kurt Volker’s recommendation in this regard. The US Special Representative for Ukraine has consistently advised the Ukrainian president not to appoint a person with close ties to the oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi. Relations between Kyiv and Washington have been complicated by the publication of a ledger belonging to the “Party of Regions” that featured the name of Paul Manafort, the convicted former head of Donald Trump’s election campaign. In addition, Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden, Trump’s primary competitor in the next round of US presidential elections, was on the board of directors of the Ukrainian company Burisma, whose owner and founder Mykola Zlechevsky is under investigation for graft.


U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Energy representative arrives in Kyiv

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources Kent D. Logsdon has arrived in Kyiv to discuss energy reform, according to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister, U.S. delegation discuss energy cooperation

Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister for European Integration Olena Zerkal has met with a U.S. delegation to discuss cooperation in the energy sector, in particular the supply and transportation of energy resources, the press service of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has reported. — Ukrinform.


Ukrainian Ambassador to Georgia exits in protest during address by Russian MP, President of Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy

Ukrainian Ambassador to Georgia Ihor Dolhov left abruptly as a sign of protest during a speech by President of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy and Russian deputy Sergei Gavrilov, according to the page of “Public Diplomacy of Ukraine from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs” on Facebook.

EU Prolongs Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine Conflict, Crimea

European Union leaders have agreed to extend the bloc’s investment ban on the Crimean Peninsula by one more year.

European Council reminds Russia about MH17, Ukrainian sailors, passports in Donbas

European Council reminds Russia about MH17, Ukrainian sailors, passports in Donbas

EU adopts one more decision to extend sanctions against Russia

The Council of the European Union, in addition to the “summer” package of the Crimean sanctions against Russia, prolonged the EU sectoral sanctions against Russia by six months due to non-fulfillment of the Minsk agreements. — Ukrinform.

EU extends sanctions on Russia over Crimea by one year – news portal

EU extends sanctions on Russia over Crimea by one year. The decision takes effect the next day after its publication. Political – news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

EU extends sanctions by one year over illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol – news economics | UNIAN

The European Union has extended sanctions by one year over the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. The measures apply to EU persons and EU based companies.

Ukraine, United States at OSCE condemn sentences to Crimean Tatars in Hizb ut-Tahrir case

The permanent missions of Ukraine and the United States to the OSCE condemned the Russian court’s convictions of five Crimean Tatars for allegedly belonging to the Hizb-ut-Tahrir organization, which is not banned in Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

Ukraine intel assesses size of Russia’s military force amassed in occupied Crimea – news politics | UNIAN

The Russian Federation has amassed in the temporarily occupied Crimea a 30,000-strong military force, planning to increase the contingent by another 7,000-10,000 by 2025, that’s according to Vadym Skybytskiy, acting deputy commander of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. Among other forces, Russia has deployed three air defense divisions equipped with S400 missiles.

Russia is going to dispose of the captured submarine of the Navy

Russia plans to scrap the 641 submarine captured by the Naval Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces U01 Zaporizhzhia in 2014, which is currently in the occupied territory. This is reported by the Ukrainian Military Portal . The Ministry of Defense of Russia announced a tender for the utilization of a number of floating means, in particular the submarine of the 641 project without specifying which one, but it is known that Russia has only one boat of this project – seized in 2014, the submarine Zaporozhye. Addition: According to the updated data, in the Southern Bay of Sevastopol there is a diesel submarine of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation B-380 “Saint Princess George” of the 641B “Som” project, which for several years has been scheduled to be decommissioned and disposed of for several years and is likely to be disposed of. It is this boat. Reference on the IF “Zaporozhye”. The large submarine of the B-641 project was laid down on March 24, 1970 in Leningrad (modern St. Petersburg) at the Admiralty Plant, launched on May 29, and on November 6, the same year, state tests were completed and a salvaged boat served as a part of various Navy of the USSR Navy. In the structure of the Navy was predominantly in repair. In July 2012, after 22 years of repair, “Zaporozhye” went out into the sea for immersion and run tests underwater, than began restoration of combat capability. In June 2013, the commander of the Navy reported completion of the repair and readiness of the submarine to perform tasks. Submarine of the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine U01 Zaporozhye Project 641 Submarine of the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine U01 Zaporozhye Project 641


Four Ukrainian servicemen wounded over 24 hours in Donbas

Four fighters of Ukrainian military wounded in action in Donbas on June 21

Two Ukrainian soldiers wounded in enemy shelling in Donbas on Thursday – news war | UNIAN

One Ukrainian soldier was wounded in action and another one sustained a combat-related injury amid enemy shelling in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, on Thursday. Since Thursday midnight, Russia-led forces have already mounted seven attacks on Ukrainian positions in Donbas.

Rebuilding Shattered Homes And Lives In War-Torn Avdiyivka

An apartment block in the Ukrainian city of Avdiyivka, known for a moving mural, was torn up by shells during fighting between government troops and Russia-backed separatists. With an uneasy calm holding in the government-controlled city, one local activist has led a campaign to reconstruct the building so its residents can return to normal lives.

SBU detain IDPs from occupied Donbas on terrosim sponsoring charges – News of Ukraine | UNIAN

Operatives of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine have blocked the channel of financing illegal armed groups of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republics” (“DPR”), organized by a group of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the occupied Donbas, who now temporary reside in Kyiv. “The perpetrators, along with their accomplice who actually resides in Donetsk [in occupied Donbas], in defiance of the existing legislation, set up a cash flow channel to the temporarily occupied territory in Donetsk region, including in the interests of the established members of illegal armed formations of the ‘DPR.’ In order to conduct transactions, they used the details of bank cards opened in domestic [Ukraine’s] banking institutions,” the press service said on June 21. Read more on UNIAN:

SBU arrest man in Odesa for spreading Russian propaganda – news ukraine | UNIAN

Operatives of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine have exposed an anti-Ukrainian online agitator, who acted in Ukraine’s Odesa region in the interests of the Russian Federation, the aggressor state. The perpetrator disseminated anti-Ukrainian materials including from sites supporting the illegal armed formations in the occupied Donbas.

Генеральний штаб ЗСУ / General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine – Home

On June 18, 860, the fleet of the Prince Askold [Ed: Haskuldr] of Kiev, consisting of 200 longboats with Kievan soldiers on board appeared in the Bosphorus Strait and siege the capital of the empire. The events of that war reproduce the domestic “Chronicles of Askold” and the Byzantine Chronicle of Patriarch Photius. The horror, witnessed by the patriarch, captured the inhabitants of the surrounded capital, when before her walls appeared “barbarian ships, breathing something harsh, wild, deadly … carrying armed swimmers, threatening the city with death from the sword, and all human hope left the city … “” Those for whom once the mention of the Romans seemed to be a thunderstorm, raised their arms against the state itself and hand-plucked their hands, not in the hope of taking the royal hail as a bird’s nest. “After negotiations with the Emperor Michael in Constantinople, Prince Askold, an agreement was made between them first “peace and love” which stopped attacks on Kiev’s ambassadors and merchants.

The “Neptun” missile warhead was explosively tested

At Pavlograd Chemical Plant, a test was carried out to undermine the combat part of the cruise missile R-360 of the new missile complex RC-360 “Neptune”. Participation in the tests was taken by the Minister of Defense Stepan Poltorak, who is taking over at the Pavlograd Chemical Plant. Within the framework of launching the “Velyka” rocket launch rocket system. In particular, he inspected the technology of production and refueling equipment missile engines for this class of missiles. ” Missile program in Ukraine – to be! I participated in the trials of our new cruise missiles, their combat parts. Taking into account the development of the domestic defense industry, I am convinced that Ukraine has a huge prospect, to become strong, independent, and for this purpose we have to prepare and well-armed the Armed Forces of Ukraine Also during the visit to other enterprises of the defense industry complex of Dnipropetrovsk, Stepan Poltorak got acquainted with the progress of work on the multifunctional rocket complex “Sapsan”, which is conducted by the CB “Pivdenne”.

Stepan Poltorak: “Missile program in Ukraine – will be!” – YouTube

Press Office of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Published on June 21, 2019 During the working visit, Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak visited the enterprises of the defense and industrial complex of Dnipropetrovsk region. As part of the launch of the Vielha rocket launch vehicle, Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak yesterday worked at the Pavlograd Chemical Plant, where he inspected the technology of production and refueling of rocket engines for this class of missiles. During the visit, the Minister of Defense took part in undermining the combat part of the new missile complex “Neptune”. – Missile program in Ukraine – to be! I participated in the trials of our new cruise missiles, their warheads. Taking into account the development of the Ukrainian Defense Forces, I am convinced that Ukraine has a huge prospect, to become strong, independent, and for this purpose, we must have prepared and well-armed Armed Forces of Ukraine, “the Minister of Defense said. Also Stepan Poltorak got acquainted with the progress of works on the multifunctional rocket complex “Sapsan”, which is conducted by the design bureau “Yuzhnoye”. Also, the teams of the Southern Machine-Building Plant and Pavlograd Mechanical Plant presented their work.

In Ukraine arrived helicopter H225 for the air safety system of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

Another helicopter H225 Super Puma (flight number “52”) for the airborne security system of the Ministry of Internal Affairs flew to Ukraine. This is reported by the Ukrainian Military Portal Yesterday he landed at the aerodrome of the Nizhyn Aviation Detachment. The first two H-225 Super Puma helicopters arrived in Ukraine on December 20, 2018 . One board arrived at the State Emergency Service (flight number 51), the second – to the National Guard of Ukraine (flight number “10”). The third flew at the end of January 2019 for the State Emergency Service. The third helicopter board number is “53”. Video from yesterday’s event:

We saw Poroshenko, not Zelensky in foreign policy, – Opposition Platform MPWe saw Poroshenko, not Zelensky in foreign policy, – Opposition Platform MP

Actions of Zelensky similar to Poroshenko are unacceptable

Oh Yes He Did! Ukrainian Women Unite Online Against Presidential Branding

Volodymyr Zelenskiy said during a presidential visit abroad that Ukraine’s women were “beautiful” and served as a good “brand” for the country. Now they are letting him have it under the hashtags #…

Ukrainian Constitutional Court OKs Parliament’s Dissolution, Early Elections

Ukraine’s Constitutional Court has ruled that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s order to dissolve parliament and call early elections is legal.

Kyiv Court Rules Saakashvili Eligible To Run For Parliament

A Kyiv court ruled on June 21 that former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is eligible to run in Ukraine’s snap parliamentary elections on July 21.

Zelensky responds to petition on urgent resign of Interior Minister Avakov

President Zelensky cannot dismiss Interior Minister Avakov

Zelensky dismisses Deputy Head Ukraine’s Security Service from military service to reserve

Deputy Head Ukraine’s Security Service dismissed by order of Zelensky

Zelensky wants to strip SBU of non-relevant duties, advocates creation of financial investigation agency

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says he wants to strip the SBU Security Service of Ukraine of non-relevant duties.

Zelensky supports establishment of State Financial Investigation Service

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky supports the establishment of the State Financial Investigation Service. — Ukrinform.

Zelensky about recipe of making Ukraine rich country: not to interfere with business, invest in education, science, technologies

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said about his vision of how to make Ukraine the really rich country and called on business to invest money, time and ideas in Ukraine.

President supports large-scale privatization in Ukraine

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky pledged support for large-scale privatization in Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

Zelenskyy: Kolomoyskyy to invest in Donbas, though unaware yet – news portal

Zelenskyy: Kolomoyskyy to invest in Donbas, though unaware yet. He described his agreements with top tycoons. Political – news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today

Zelensky announces agreements with Pinchuk, Akhmetov, Kolomoisky on support for social, humanitarian projects in Donbas, rest of Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced he has reached agreements with businessmen Victor Pinchuk, Rinat Akhmetov and Ihor Kolomoisky about their participation in financing and supporting certain social, economic and humanitarian projects for Donbas and the rest of Ukraine.

Ukrainian IT industry to bring revenue to $10 bln/year in four or five years – SoftServe founder

The Ukrainian IT industry plans in the next four to five years to more than double its revenue, to $10 billion a year, Taras Kytsmey, the co-founder and member of the board of directors of the Lviv-based IT company SoftServe, has said during President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky’s meeting with the business community in Kyiv.

Ukraine, Latvia to jointly develop innovations and inventions

First Vice Prime Minister – Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine Stepan Kubiv signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Latvia. — Ukrinform.

Putin’s crony Medvedchuk in talks to acquire two more Ukrainian TV channels – journalist – news politics | UNIAN

An openly pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, who is Vladimir Putin’s main political operative in Ukraine (and also his daughter’s godfather) does not conceal ambitions to acquire more Ukrainian TV channels after sealing the latest deal to get control over Zik through his ally Taras Kozak, that’s according to Zik’s former anchor Tetiana Danylenko. A swarm of journalists and editors, and even technical staff quit Zik, the TV channel recently bought by Medvedchuk.

39 attacks on journalists and activists recorded in Ukraine this year

Thirty-nine attacks on representatives of civil society organizations were recorded in Ukraine from January 1 to June 15, 2019. — Ukrinform.

New “Chernobyl”? New nuclear plant in Belarus raises concerns over reactor design – news world | UNIAN

In Belarus, the country neighboring Ukraine in the North, the construction of a new nuclear power plant has been completed, and the plant’s individual structural components are alarmingly similar to those used in the infamous Chernobyl NPP. The report notes that the NPP was built at the accelerated pace, just as Chernobyl once was.

Chernobyl: Ex-president tells who decided to build nuclear power plant near Kyiv – news ukraine | UNIAN

The decision to build what was set to become the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, where a major nuclear disaster occurred on April 26, 1986, was adopted by the Kyiv regional committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Ukraine, said former President of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk. Only Borys Paton, President of the Academy of Sciences, spoke out against the project among the entire expert group.

OCU says it doesn’t recognize local council meeting with Filaret, says resolutions meaningless

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) has said meetings with the participation of the Honorary Patriarch Filaret (Denysenko) can in no way be recognized by the Local Council, and their decisions are useless in legal and canonical terms. “Such meetings can in no case be recognized by the local Council, and their decisions are initially useless in the legal and canonical meaning of this term, they do not generate legal consequences and are not enforceable,” the press service of the OCU’s Kyiv Metropolis said. The statement stated that, under the current statute, such meetings can be convened by Patriarch Filaret only with the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate), and not alone. As reported, Filaret said on Thursday that the Local Council cancelled the liquidation of the Kyiv Patriarchate: “Firstly, we revoked the liquidation of the Kyiv Patriarchate. On the contrary, we confirmed the existence of the Kyiv Patriarchate, in particular as a legal entity owning property and monasteries, educational institutions that used to belong to it.” Asked how the UOC-KP will be recovering its property, Filaret voiced hope that it would not have to fight to get it back. “We hope that the bishoprics realize that they belong to a different church and they have to belong to their own independent Ukrainian church. They will decide themselves. We won’t pressure them,” the patriarch said. The meeting that Filaret held on Thursday and called the Local Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate cancelled the December 15, 2018 resolution of the Bishops’ Council on the liquidation of the UOC-KP.

Religious scholar: Patriarch Filaret may be laicized over defiance of new independent church – news ukraine | UNIAN

Religious scholar Vita Tytarenko says the reaction of Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine, head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) Epifaniy, to Honorary Patriarch of the OCU Filaret’s convening a notorious “council” at St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral in Kyiv on June 20 may be unpredictable, both optimistic and pessimistic. The measures could also include the ultimate move to laicize Filaret, the expert told the Ukrainian online news outlet Obozrevatel June 20. “The reaction of both Metropolitan Epifaniy and the Ecumenical Patriarchate may vary … As a result, the Holy Patriarch may remain with a narrow circle of his admirers, worshipers, and followers, that is in a kind of ‘club of interests,’ or, as a last resort, he may remain an ordinary layman, and thus complete his prevalency,” she said, commenting on the “council” of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP). The expert also partially agreed with the opinion of her colleague Dmytro Horyevoy, who earlier voiced the version of the Kremlin’s involvement in Filaret’s latest moves in defiance of the newly-created Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the church independent of Moscow’s influence and granted autocephaly by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople. “It’s hard to say directly that this is exclusively the influence of the FSB, or some Russian intelligence services. But the fact that Holy Patriarch Filaret’s ambitions are being successfully warmed up is hard to deny,” Tytarenko said. According to the expert, the political component in this situation is unconditionally present, although it may be concealed.

At Filaret’s “Council”, decision made to restore Kyiv Patriarchate – news ukraine | UNIAN

The participants in the meeting convened on Thursday, June 20, by Honorary Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Filaret, which he called the “local council”, decided to restore the Kyiv Patriarchate. The decision is in defiance of the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine which was created after Filaret signed the document dismantling the UOC-KP.

Filaret becomes patriarch of Ukrainian Orthodox Church for life – Ukrainian Orthodox Church makes Filaret a patriarch for life –

Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate decided to keep the property (including temples, monasteries, educational establishments) and bank accounts at the local synod in Kyiv, which was held under the chairmanship of the honorary patriarch Filaret, as draft regulation after the synod as of June 20 reads. Vesti published the copy of the document. The draft regulation reads that the synod of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate repeals the order of the bishops’ council as of December 15, 2018. “It was not a local synod, but gathering of signatures of the bishops, one priest and two laity on conditional elimination of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate under the demand of Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I,” the message reads. Besides, the decree reads that Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate is registered by the state body and continues its existence. According to the document, patriarch Filaret is the head of the religious establishment for life.

Ukraine’s Orthodox Church representative compares Filaret’s “council,” Unification Council (Photos) – news ukraine | UNIAN

Archbishop of Chernihiv and Nizhyn of the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) Yevstratiy (Zorya) has compared Honorary Patriarch of the OCU Filaret’s “council” at St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral in Kyiv attended by some priests of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP), who themselves called it a “local council,” with the Unification Council, which took place late in 2018 to disband the UOC-KP and create the new Church. The Archbishop says the assembly is “a humiliation for the historical name of the Kyiv Patriarchate.”

The conflict in the Kiev monastery: Filaret dismissed the abbot, who did not appear on the eve of the “conclave”. A PHOTO

The honorable patriarch Filaret issued a decree about the dismissal of the rector of St. Theodosievsky Monastery in Kiev, Archimandrite Macarius (Papish) and the appointment of Archimandrite Andrew (Marutsak) to his place. The prior of the monastery Makarii on the eve refused to participate in the so-called “cathedral” of the Kiev Patriarchate. But Father Andrew participated in this event and Filaret promised to dedicate him to the bishops, Tsenzor reports. NOT referring to “BBC News Ukraine”. On Friday, a group of people headed by Father Andrey arrived at this monastery near the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra and brought two documents. The first is the order of Filaret as head of the Kiev Patriarchate about the dismissal of the abbot Macarius and the appointment of Archimandrite Andrew to his place. Conflict in Kiev monastery: Filaret dismissed the abbot, who did not appear on the eve of the cathedral 01 Dozens of people are present in the monastery right now – representatives of both sides, the situation is tense. There are also several police squads on the site, buses with law enforcement officers are on duty on the streets. Read on Tsenzor. NO: In connection with the decisions of the “council” of Philaret, on June 24 a synod of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine will meet. The Holy Feodosievsky Monastery belonged to the UOC of the Kyiv Patriarchate, but after the creation of the PCU it passed to it. On June 20, the monks, together with the head priest, made a decision due to the actions of Filaret and appealed to Metropolitan Epiphanius about the transition of the monastery into his submission. According to BBC News Ukraine, Metropolitan Epiphanius accepted the monastery and issued a decree to do so. Now the lawyers of both parties are working at the site. Pastor Macarius refuses to hand over leadership. In turn, the prior appointed by Filaret Andrei collects his belongings and, possibly, leaves the building of the monastery.

The only prospect of Philaret’s “new patriarchy” is to turn into a marginal sect or unite with the ROC, – Archbishop Eustratius

The structure of Filaret “will be an unconsciously objective ally of the Russian Orthodox Church against PCU and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.” Such a forecast was made on Facebook by the deputy head of the external church relations department of the PCU, Archbishop Eustratius (Zorya), reports Tsenzor.NET . “The only understandable perspective of the“ new patriarchy ”is either to turn into a marginal sect like numerous“ true Orthodox ”jurisdictions that exist for itself and does not play any social role, or sooner or later to unite with the PCC, so no other prospect of existence in the circle of recognized autocephalous churches, except as part of the PCU, this “new Patriarchate” will not have, ”he writes. According to Zorya, Philaret’s goal is to divide the PCU, unite most of it around itself, show Metropolitan Epiphanius that he is “nobody”, and then hope to dictate the terms of Constantinople from the “strong position”. The spokesman for the PCU says that the patriarch proposes to build a structure that rests solely on his personal will and without him is absolutely unviable, and which will not have the prospect of becoming a recognized local church. Источник:


How visit of “Orthodox” Russian delegation to Georgia led to mass protests in Tbilisi – news world | UNIAN

June 19, 2019. The beginning of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy held in Georgia. The Russian delegation is arriving at the parliament building in Tbilisi. Eleven years after the Georgian-Russian war of 2008, the Georgians again see deputies from Moscow chatting with their Georgian counterparts. A wave of bewilderment passes through the country. It’s outrage, it’s anger. Social networks are filled with questioning posts: “Who let the Russian deputies into the country?”; “Why?”; “How is this possible?” … Ambassador of Ukraine to Georgia Igor Dolgov leaves the session hall in protest. All TV channels, activists, journalists, and social networks support Dolgov’s decision. On June 20, 2019, head of the Russian delegation, Sergei Gavrilov, as president of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, opens the meeting from the position of the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament. Georgia froze. Some clung to their TV screens. The rest were already rushing to the Parliament with banners in their hands. Opposition parliamentarians, not hiding outrage, occupied the parliament rostrum and blocked the Russian MP from speaking further. It is the Russian FSB border guards that keep encroaching on the Georgian land, moving their barbed wires tearing Georgia into two parts, farther and deeper into the country’s territory. This all could seem strange to readers in Russia had it not been for one “but”, which is not traditionally recalled in the Duma and other places but well remembered in Georgia. The whole world remembers. 20% of the Georgian territory is occupied by the Russian Federation. 20% of Georgian territories are Russian military bases. It is the Russian FSB border guards that keep encroaching on the Georgian land, moving their barbed wires tearing Georgia into two parts, farther and deeper into the country’s territory. Recently, for example, one night, an elderly man went to bed, and the next morning, his garden was already cut off from the rest of his land plot by the so-called border with the so-called South Ossetia. Back in May, one of the families could not go to the funeral of a relative and say goodbye to him across the bridge separating Abkhazia with the rest of Georgia. Recall the citizens of Georgia Irakli Kvaratskhelia, Gigi Otkhozoria, and Archil Tatunashvili, who were killed directly on the occupation lines or in the KGB of the so-called South Ossetia after being abducted from the Georgian-controlled side. No one was held accountable. Tourism, khinkali, and wine are fine but the war, which began long before 2008 and is being waged to this day, lives in every Georgian home. Another meter of Georgian land was just cut off, and the one who cut it off, recognized “independence”, voted for it, and now wants to talk about faith and religion With a full understanding of these facts, Sergey Gavrilov and his delegation nevertheless went to Georgia, knowing in advance how it will all end up. Let’s go discuss Orthodoxy, right? Imagine how every Georgian felt when a State Duma deputy sat in the chair of the head of Georgian parliament? Another meter of Georgian land was just cut off, and the one who cut it off, recognized “independence”, voted for it, and now wants to talk about faith and religion. June 20. Daytime. The hotel where Gavrilov stays is surrounded by activists, journalists, residents of Tbilisi, who perceived the speaker of the Georgian parliament sitting in the chair as a shame to their country. A spit at their face. The Russian delegation is being forced to leave Georgia. No, they were not radicals. Ordinary people. The fact is that in Georgia, the names of Tatunashvili, Otkhozoria and other victims of the occupation are known to the whole country. Here, even all Ukrainian sailors who are imprisoned in Russia are known to everyone, just as those of other political prisoners. The actions of Russia in Georgia that are ongoing are being discussed here. Always. Tourism is okay, but politicians – never. Officials – never. “Orthodoxy” doesn’t come from Russia. The anger of the people from the “shame” that they were forced to experience while the state symbol of Georgia (the speaker’s chair) was occupied by the Russian deputy was quickly shifted toward the authorities who allowed the Russian State Duma representatives’ visit. The protest action suddenly shifted from Gavrilov’s hotel to the parliament HQ. Tens of thousands of citizens demanded the resignation of the Speaker of Parliament. Yes, the authorities apologized and promised that all the perpetrators would be punished. Yes, the president, the prime minister, the speaker of parliament appealed to the citizens, stating that this visit was a mistake and measures would be taken. But it was too late. The pain lives too deep. Too big are the wounds inflicted by the Kremlin on the citizens of Georgia. The anger of the people from the “shame” that they were forced to experience while the state symbol of Georgia (the speaker’s chair) was occupied by the Russian deputy was quickly shifted toward the authorities who allowed the Russian State Duma representatives’ visit. I watched Georgians arrive at the parliament HQ at night. Some activists attempted to break through to parliament cordons to hold the authorities accountable, but instead of providing an explanation, for the first time in many years, the government authorized the use of force. Shots were fired in the center of Tbilisi. Tear gas. Smoke. Rubber bullets. People wounded. Two of them lost their eyes in clashes. People are seen running, covering their mouths and noses with their hands, not to breathe in smoke. The whole country is watching the events on their TVs. People keep returning to places they had just fled. Now, no one is willing to give up, neither to the Russian State Duma, nor to their own government. No one. Water cannons. Special forces. By morning, the protest was crushed. Nearly a hundred of detainees. More rallies have been announced. The events that unfolded overnight Friday, June 21, will be remembered in Georgia and beyond. It will surely be remembered by the authorities (as of June 21, no one knows how much time these authorities have until they are forced to go). The legitimacy of a government that has used force against its people is a big question. Georgia does not disperse rallies. In Georgia, authorities apologize to protesters and take steps forward. What happened now will have far-reaching consequences and will certainly affect the future of Georgia and the one who will lead the country in the near future. Let me remind you that elections are approaching in Georgia and on this night many people have already made their choice, not waiting for the 2020 election campaign. By the way, Georgia’s partners in the U.S. and the European Union have long been discussing on the sideline their distrust of the Georgian government and its leader, oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili. The final test for democracy should have been the election of 2020, since the authorities had conducted all the recent election campaigns with a huge number of violations. But now, after the use of force, not against activists who tried to enter the parliament, but against all those who stood peacefully in the squares, the test may have come early. It is already clear that the government of the “Georgian Dream” flunked it. It remains to wait for the official results. These days, Ivanishvili and the team went for the extreme measures, showing what this power means for them and how ready they are to defend it literally with weapons in their hands. Yegor Kuroptev is an author of the “Borderline Zone” project, a representative of the Free Russia Foundation in the South Caucasus. Read more on UNIAN:

Violent Clashes In Tbilisi Over Russian Lawmaker In Parliament

Violence broke out overnight in central Tbilisi when protesters stormed the parliament after a Communist party lawmaker from Russia sat in the speaker’s seat during an international Orthodox assembly. Dozens were injured in the clashes and protesters have vowed to return.