Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukraine / Russia Ad Hoc Media Update (212)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Russia’s readmission to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), yesterday, stinks of corruption. I foresee some really exciting investigations and reporting, hopefully followed by arrests and Russia’s expulsion, in the future.

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NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels starts. NATO and INF updates. More on the VMF FFG in Cuba. Caspian Flotilla put on alert. Ten reports on Russia’s descent.

Russian readmission to PACE has produced much media traffic – much on the anger of the Baltics States’, Poland, Georgia and Ukraine – for very good reasons. WSJ is on target with “Europe Starts to Lose Its Nerve on Russia”, with the caveat that we do not know how much Russia spent and where to produce this outcome.

Turkey updates – extensive and much of it very interesting. Many analysts are predicting the election losses will lead to Erdoğan’s downfall, but that could take a long time given how thoroughly he has compromised law enforcement and other institutions. In the short term we can expect an escalation of hostility toward the West to distract from the failure of his “Fuhrer’s economic miracle by borrowing”game.

EU mulls revised sanctions on Russia. US will fund hardened ammo storage in Ukraine. Crimea / Black Sea update.

Donbas update, Russia sustaining high optempo. Azov kill a rare Russian Army Zoopark-1 CBR in Donbas. Industry update.

Interesting politics and Chernobyl updates.


NATO Ministers Gather In Brussels To Address Security Challenges

NATO defense ministers will gather in Brussels on June 26 for two days of talks that will include defense spending within the alliance, its mission in Afghanistan, and Russia’s alleged violation …

Battle Group Poland strengthens interoperability during Exercise Puma 19 – Defence Blog

The U.S. Army has announced on Monday the Battle Group Poland participated in the week-long, multinational Exercise PUMA 19, alongside Polish and Czech Republic units, at the Bemowo Piskie Training Area, Jun. 21. According to 1st Lt. Kealy Moriarty, Exercise Puma 19 provided the Battle Group an opportunity to further develop and enhance interoperability between Allies and the host nation. The U.S. provided an Armor company and mission command support, the Croatian Blaze Battery provided Fire support, Royal Scots Dragoon Guard provided a reconnaissance platoon, and the Romanian Blue Scorpions provided Air Defense Artillery support. “As the Battle Group Poland Task Force, we’re assisting with the training event by running the Tactical Operations Center (TOC),” said operations Sgt. Maj. Jeffery Empey. “We bring in information, process it, and then send it to higher- 15th MIB.” With the support from Battle Group Poland, this Exercise is designed to showcase the Polish 15th Mechanized Infantry Brigade mobilization readiness.

Lithuania received first two newest Vilkas infantry fighting vehicles – Defence Blog

The Lithuanian Armed Forces have received the first two Vilkas infantry fighting vehicles, according to a report by the Ministry of National Defence Republic of Lithuania. On June 25, first two of 88 Vilkas IFVs were delivered to Lithuanian Armed Forces. Also added that after a year of intense testing in training areas and testing centres of Germany and the Netherlands, serial production of the squad-level fighting vehicles for the Lithuanian Armed Forces has started. Vilkas IFVs have been made by a German manufacturer ARTEC, according to the requirements of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The vehicles have Israel-made turrets, 30 mm MK-44S cannons and “Spike LR” anti-tank missiles, other specialised equipment and electronic systems. The first VIlkas will be delivered to the Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Battalion in Rukla to carry out acceptance procedures and after that formally given for using in the Lithuanian Armed Forces. According to the 385.6 million euros contract made in 2016 by Lithuania, the IFV manufacturer ARTEC, and the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), all 88 Lithuanian purchased Vilkas will be delivered to the Lithuanian Armed Forces until late 2021. It is planned that 15 Vilkas will be delivered to Lithuania in 2019. The combination of the Vilkas firepower, manoeuvrability and crew protection meets the demands of the Lithuanian Armed Forces best in terms of national defense and international deployments. The Vilkas will be used by the Mechanised Infantry Brigade “Iron Wolf” units – Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion and the Grand Duchess Birutė Uhlan Battalion. Lithuania, together with the Netherlands and Germany, is a part of the IFV Boxer Supply and Maintenance Program of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). It ensures an appropriate logistical provision of the infantry fighting vehicles bought by the Lithuanian Armed Forces — the possibility to use collective IFV spare parts and central depots and repair capabilities for principal IFV systems, to receive technical and engineer support, etc., when the IFVs are operated by the Lithuanian Armed Forces.

NATO chief threatens response if Russia doesn’t comply with nuclear treaty

Jens Stoltenberg also provided an update on defense spending goals as well as plans for space.

NATO says Russia must end nuclear ready missile SSC program

Russia has continued to develop and site the SSC-8 missiles within range of almost all European nations.

NATO: ‘No indication’ Russia intends to destroy new missile | TheHill

NATO’s secretary-general on Tuesday said there was “no indication” that Russia intends to destroy missiles that violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

Russian Parliament’s Upper Chamber Approves Bill To Suspend Participation In INF Treaty

The Russian parliament’s upper chamber, the Federation Council, has voted to support a decree by President Vladimir Putin to suspend the country’s participation in the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuc…

Russia news: How Putin’s missiles could reach US coast in 6 minutes from Cuba | World | News | Express.co.uk

VLADMIR PUTIN ordered the docking of one of Russia’s most advanced warships in Cuba last night amid revelations that its primary missile could hit the US within six minutes of launching.

Admiral Gorshkov, Russian warship, enters Havana harbor – Washington Times

One of the Russian navy’s most advanced warships entered Havana’s harbor Monday and docked at the port used until this month by U.S. cruise lines.

UAWire – Russian Flotilla in Caspian Sea placed on alert

35 ships, including missile and artillery vessels, and more than 1,500 military personnel have been alerted for a surprise combat readiness inspection, the Russian Defense Ministry announced. According to the military department, the drill will have two phases. During the first phase, the crews of Caspian Flotilla ships urgently prepared for combat and movement, and marine infantry divisions marched to staging areas. “During the second phase, the flotilla’s ship forces will practice firing missile and artillery shots at seaborne, coastal and airborne targets. Minesweeper groups will carry out mine-sweeping tasks, and support vessels will replenish reserves. The marine infantry will prepare for defense against a coastal landing and for offensive action,” the announcement states. According to the report, the inspection will last until the end of the week, and involves the crews of the missile ship “Tatarstan”, the small missile and artillery ships “Astrakhan”, “Grad Sviyazhsk”, “Uglich”, “Volgodonsk”, “Makhachkala”, minesweeper ships, artillery boats and support vessels. Recently, on 24 June, ahead of the upcoming Tsentr-2019 exercise, the forces of Russia’s Central Military District also underwent a surprise inspection. According to Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, this inspection will last until 28 June and will involve over 50 drills at more than 35 training grounds.

What Does Putin Really Want? – The New York Times

Russia is dead set on being a global power. But what looks like grand strategy is often improvisation — amid America’s retreat.

New strategy of military technical cooperation to be developed in Russia, says Putin – Military & Defense – TASS

MOSCOW, June 24. /TASS/. A new strategy of military technical cooperation with foreign countries will be developed in Russia, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday. “With an eye to ensure the efficiency of our activities in the sphere of military technical cooperation with foreign countries, a draft strategy of military technical cooperation has been elaborated. It envisages coordinated measures of political-and-diplomatic, financial-and-economic and technical nature,” Putin said at a meeting of the military technical cooperation commission. “We must spare no effort to retain Russia’s leading positions on the global market for weapons,” he stressed. “It is necessary to take into account and give a proper response to new factors that complicate our work with military technical cooperation partners, including tougher competition and the aggressive use of unfair methods of political blackmailing and sanctions,” Putin noted. “Naturally, priority attention is to be focused on issues linked with the expanded military technical potential of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, assistance to its member nations in enhancing their defense capacities,” he added.

Don’t Expect Change, a Jaded Putin Signals at Annual Phone-In – The Moscow Times

Opinion | Putin perceives growing discontent with the authorities as a purely emotional reaction, based not on real problems but on society’s failure to understand the true picture.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians are Tired of Putin and Putin is Tired of Them, Yakovenko Says

Paul Goble Staunton, June 24 – The most important message from the 17th “direct line” program is that Russians are tired of Putin and Putin is tired of them, Igor Yakovenko says, that all their questions have as their subtext the question “when are you going to leave?” and all of Putin’s answers, the response “why are you always complaining?” In normal democracies where elections resolve the issue of power, this mutual alienation would quickly be solved, the Russian commentator writes in The New Times. But because Russia doesn’t have real elections but only simulacra of them, the problem is both different and more troubling (newtimes.ru/articles/detail/182124). Because Putin’s “voluntary departure from power is “excluded for understandable reasons” even though he “openly directed during the broadcast that he was tired of being president,” the issue of how his departure is to be arranged is today “the main question which Russians must ask themselves” now that Putin’s former “Teflon” coating has worn away. Russians reportedly submitted more than 1.5 million questions for this show, Yakovenko continues, but Putin’s team was not willing to allow him to try to answer the question that underlay all of them “When are you finally going to leave?” And because his managers didn’t, Russians responded in the only way they could. “The real attitude of Russians to Putin was completely unexpectedly shown by the NTV channel which covered the president’s conversation with the people on YouTube. The next morning, 1,245,658 people had watched it.” Of these, 12,000 “liked” it, but 170,000 “disliked it” – giving Putin a rating of seven percent. The number of dislikes rose to 200,000 over the next few hours before being suddenly cut to 180,000, leaving that rating about where it was before the Kremlin political technologists tried to change it. And the 78,000 comments Russians left were not only almost universally negative but unprintable in the manner of their expression of anger at the Kremlin leader. “It’s obvious,” Yakovenko says, “that the YouTube audience differs from the attitudes and preferences of the entire population of Russia. But it is no less obvious that this improvised measure of attitudes of a significant part of the citizens of Russia toward their president is closer to reality than the ratings of VTsIOM which change their numbers on calls from above.” If Russians are fed up with Putin, Putin by his responses showed that he is fed up with them. He blamed them for their complaints when he wasn’t denying the obvious, and he tried to rely on the propagandistic trope that all of the problems the country faces are traceable to the 1990s even though he has been in power for two decades. The Kremlin leader, of course, was careful to say that not all those in power in the 1990s were bad. After all, he was one of them. In his mind, the bad people were and are always someone other than himself or his team. But by making that argument again, Putin only made it more obvious that it doesn’t hold water. And so the Russian commentator concludes: “The last ‘Direct Line’ of the President of the Russian Federation showed that Putin has nothing to say to Russians and Russians ever more are inclined to the idea that the main question for him is when he finally will leave the scene.” In the absence of democratic means, that is truly a fateful question indeed.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Will Leave Office before 2024 and his System will Collapse, Solovey Says

Paul Goble Staunton, June 24 – In one of his first interviews since formally resigning from MGIMO, Valery Solovey says that conditions in Russia have reached the point that he is confident that Vladimir Putin will leave the presidency before his term ends and that his system will collapse with his departure. “We are at the initial phase of a political crisis,” the Moscow commentator says, one that still has “a latent character.” But “next year, in 2020, this crisis will acquire an open character [as] a broad, all-national one” (meduza.io/feature/2019/06/24/eto-budet-masshtabnyy-obschenatsionalnyy-krizis-imenno-politicheskiy). This crisis, Solovey continues, “will last about two years and will end with the replacement of the political regime,” ebbing and flowing but moving ineluctably in that direction. Unlike in earlier years when he spoke about the crisis, he continues, all the necessary conditions for this are in place. “Putin will not serve out his term and will leave,” he says. “By what scenario will depend in large measure on him. But he will leave before 2024,” Solovey says. “This I can confirm,” and with his departure, his system will collapse and there will be genuine “regime change,” although how quickly and how peacefully is impossible to predict. Because Solovey has made similarly apocalyptic predictions in the past, his interviewer, Vladislav Gorin, challenges him on this occasion to explain why what he said in the past had not proven true and why he believes that his predictions for the future now are likely to be borne out by events. Solovey’s response is that often people have ascribed to him positions he did not in fact take but that were suggested by the headlines under which his comments ran and that now, the situation in Russia has developed along the lines he has been expecting and that, as a result, he is convinced that the country is entering an endgame as far as the current regime is concerned. One of the triggers for radical change, he suggests, is the growing size of protests and the increasing reluctance of the frontline personnel of the siloviki to engage in the kind of repressive actions that their political bosses want, especially since they know that the siloviki rather than the politicians will be blamed if things go wrong. Solovey argues that the recent use of force against Moscow demonstrators in the case of Ivan Golunov does not undercut his assertion. It was simply the case that in this instance, the number of protesters was too small to frighten the police at least to the point that they would disobey their own bosses.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: In 1980s, Russians Viewed West as Alternative to Soviet Regime; Now, They See Stalinism as Alternative to Putin’s, Oreshkin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, June 24 – Near the end of the Soviet period, Russians protested against specific problems fearful that raising political questions was too dangerous an enterprise; but in the back of their minds, most of them had the idea that their preferred future was one like that people in the West already had, with a full shelves in the stores and a higher standard of living. Now, after 20 years of Putin, Russians are again protesting against a variety of specific problems, again fearful of raising explicitly political issues; but, Dmitry Oreshkin says, they no longer view the West as their preferred model but rather look back to the Stalinist period – or at least to the image of it the Putin regime has promoted (snob.ru/entry/178950/). But that vision of Stalinism as an alternative to the current system is just as much a challenge to that regime as was the vision of the West as an alternative 35 years ago because it suggests, the Russian commentator says, that the Russian people have concluded that their rulers have once again led them into a blind ally and that they must find some way out. Many were struck, even shocked, by recent polls showing that Russians now give Stalin the highest positive rating they ever had and that “more than half of Russians consider the main characteristic of the Soviet era too be the concern of the state for ordinary people,” Oreshin continues. But they shouldn’t have been: “Today, Russian society is living through a period of a change of priorities which is reflected in the nature of social protests. In place of political slogans of a democratic direction are emerging specific demands connected with the environment, labor and ethnic conflicts, and the low quality of services provided by the state.” Russians are edging their way toward a new model for their country much as they did in the 1980s. At that time too, social protest connected with environmental problems, for example, the death of the Aral Sea or railway construction in the Caucasus was an indirect expression of social-political protest.” People then “simply did not risk expressing political demands, although the request for an alternative model of life existed; and it was obvious to all that this was the model of the Western way of life.” But today that model has lost the status of a preferred “alternative” both because of the work of Moscow TV in discrediting it and the greater availability of goods and services. Russians today “are angry not at the absence of goods in the stores but at social injustice, corruption, the power of the oligarchs, and the inability of local governments to organize their regions and deal with their specific problems, including, for example, the disposal of trash,” Oreshkin continues. In this situation, he says, “people are finding an illusory alternative in the form of the Soviet Union.” Moscow TV is helping them in this regard by providing a gauzy picture of that past, and so “it seems too people that under Stalin there were no national conflicts” and that social equality existed, even if it was the equality of poverty. “Nostalgia for the Soviet era is a sign that the Putin model of populism and verticalism has reached a dead end.” Most Russians haven’t yet recognized this explicitly, but their search for some alternative shows that they already feel this – and want changes. Unfortunately, what they want is very troubling indeed. Many Russians clearly believe that their government “must be still more vertical. They think that Putin isn’t a bad guy, that he acts mostly in the correct way but isn’t tough enough.” Therefore, they want him or someone else to act as Stalin did and end ethnic conflicts, corruption, and inequality by force. “Such notions are linked to the deficit of education” in Russia and “also to the verticalist propaganda which has worked on the minds of people over the course of the last 20 years. At the same time, it is partially the product of the traditional system of values … which holds that Russia needs authoritarian rule.” Russians “sympathetic to the Soviet era can take part in protests, for example, against the construction of trash dumps, against air pollution, or against rising prices,” Oreshkin says. “But the probability that they will go out into the streets with Stalin’s portraits is minimal” and should not be expected. Such people “live in an imaginary world and in fact to do not believe that the return of Stalin is possible. For them, Stalin is the genius of all times and peoples, a comforting image … they can turn to in their free time.” But the fact that they have such an image is an increasingly important factor in Russian political life.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Disintegration of USSR Compared to Discredited Cure for Epilepsy

Paul Goble Staunton, June 24 – The analogies people draw in their efforts to organize, understand and explain the facts around them typically have more profound consequences than the facts themselves. And as a result, they merit the closest attention perhaps especially when they seem particularly outrageous. One such analogy has now been offered by Sergey Goncharenko, an arbitrage judge, and Nurali Latypov, a neurobiologist, in a long Nezavisimaya gazeta article concerning the disintegration of the Soviet Union and especially the end of Russian and Ukrainian cohabitation in a single state (ng.ru/ideas/2019-06-19/5_7601_ideas.html). They say that the two hemispheres in the human brain, which have made possible speech, have as a downside both schizophrenia, “he price man pays for the increase in the power of his intellect” and also, in the view of some researchers, epilepsy. The latter notion led doctors to believe that that disease could be cured by severing the ties between the two parts of the brain. But that technique discredited itself, Goncharenko and Latypov say, because of its side effects. Unfortunately, they suggest, what was rejected as a medical procedure was in the case of the former USSR adopted as a political strategy, the results of which, they argue, have entailed the most unwelcome collateral damage. What happened with the Soviet Union, they continue, resembled “the barbaric surgical operation” that was applied to epileptics in the 1940s. “The collective brain of the USSR in fact consisted of two hemispheres, Ukrainian and Russian.” Most of the Soviet elite was from one or the other, with much in common but also much that was different and mutually supportive. “By the end of the 1970s, the Soviet Union began to get sick. The political system rapidly degraded, the economic and social systems experienced not as stormy but also serious degradation.” Some like Gaidar and Chubais thus “recommended to ‘the surgeon’ Boris Yeltsin” to cut the link “between the Ukrainian and Russian hemispheres.” At first, Goncharenko and Latypov say, these “patients” didn’t display any “pathological” problems. “But in the end, it happened that the right hand not only began to interfere with the left but the left with the right … and knives appeared in both and began to slice at each other” in deleterious and potentially fatal ways – just as happened with epileptics. “Why do we offer such a harsh analogy?” the two ask. “Because this model unfortunately is entirely adequate. It already has allowed to predict the course of many events and we hope that it will give some guidance for curing this horrific self-inflicted wound,” one that divided the two hemispheres that had kept Eurasia in balance. For the two of them, June 12, 1991, was a tragedy that “cut apart the consciousness of the Russian world,” a tragedy that happened because Boris Yeltsin was not capable of thinking above the level of an obkom secretary and thus was prepared to use not a scalpel to cure the diseases the country suffered but instead an axe. Few foreign leaders who aspired to conquer Russia, but “what is more than surprising,” they suggest, “is that a group of Russian people assured themselves and others that Russia could regain its healthy by the amputation of a majority of its organs. According to their strange notion, a Great Russia couldn’t be healthy but a cut down one could. The collapse of the economies of the parts was the most obvious immediate consequence, and one that should not have surprised anyone who knows that larger units almost always do better economically than do smaller ones. But that was hardly the most significant damage from this dividing up of what they call “the hemispheres” of the Soviet brain. It has led to the degradation of politics and it has opened the way for Chinese expansion into the rest of Eurasia. The US is terrified by China’s rise; but it should remember than in rejecting the wise counsel of the first president Bush not to allow Ukraine and Russia to divide that it now faces a problem that Washington itself helped create. Reattaching the two hemispheres is not going to be easy; it may not even be possible. But a recognition of the profundity of the problem the demise of the USSR and of the impact the splitting apart of “the two hemispheres” of the brain that guided it is a necessary precondition for any move forward, Goncharenko and Latypov say..

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russophobia Doesn’t Mean Now What It Used To, Eidman Says

Paul Goble Staunton, June 24 – During perestroika times, “Russophobia” emerged as a term of abuse that anti-Semites grouped around the Pamyat Society applied to “the Jewish liberal-cosmopolitan intelligentsia.” Now, the Putin regime has taken this word “from the marginal discourse of Russian chauvinists” and put it to a different use, Igor Eidman says. Today, the Russian sociologist and commentator continues, “all those whoo speak against the present-day Russian regime are called Russophobes,” according to the kind of logic which is absurd on its face and collapses upon even the most superficial examination (facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2459463270783304&id=100001589654713). “You don’t love Putin,” this logic runs, “means you do not love the Russian state, which means you do not love Russia, which means you do not love Russians, which means you are a Russophobe.” And it is applied by the powers that be most often to those who oppose “attempts at the rebirth of the Russian empire and the seizure by Russia of neighboring territories.” “With just the same success, one could call anti-fascists and opponents of the rebirth of the Third Reich Germanophobes.” There are very few real Russophobes, people who hate Russians, Eidman says, reporting that in his experience, he has met only one real one, “an oligarch protected by the Chekists and feeling himself just fine under Putin. “Judging from the regime’s policies directed against the majority of the population, it is just such Russophobes who are in power in Russia now.”

Russia news: Vladimir Putin extends brutal boycott on EU food imports | World | News | Express.co.uk

RUSSIA’s President Vladimir Putin has extended a ban on food imports from the EU until the end of next year, according to a Kremlin document.

Polish citizen accused of trying to smuggle missile components out of Russia sentenced to 14 years for espionage — Meduza

On June 25, the Moscow City Court convicted Polish citizen Marian Radzaevski of espionage and sentenced him to 14 years in a high-security prison colony. The trial was closed to the public because it involved confidential case materials.f

Estonian PACE representatives vote against restoring Russia voting rights | News | ERR

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) voted early on Tuesday to restore Russia’s voting rights, five years after suspending them following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The Estonian delegation, consisting of MPs Eerik-Niiles Kross (Reform), Indrek Saar (SDE), and Raivo Tamm (Isamaa), all voted against.

Edgars Rinkēvičs on Twitter: “Regrettable and disappointing resolution of Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (@PACE_News) unconditionally restoring voting rights of Russian delegation, #Latvia opposed the decision because it undermines respect for key values: democracy, rule of law and human rights”

 

Петро Порошенко on Twitter: “As a powerful challenge to Ukraine, I take the decision of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe launching the mechanism of returning the Russian delegation.… https://t.co/JNtmG8Dpbb”

 

Петро Порошенко on Twitter: “This is the first serious diplomatic blow of the kind, which Ukraine has received for over last five years. Before we have never let pass such blows.”

 

Ukraine walks out of Europe human rights body as Russia returns | Law | The Guardian

Delegation leaves Council of Europe assembly in protest at readmission of Russian MPs

Ukraine fury as Russia gets back Council of Europe voting rights – BBC News

The Ukrainian delegation walks out of the Council of Europe assembly following the decision.

Rights of Russian delegation to PACE protested, their approval postponed for 24 hours

The rights of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have been protested. According to the PACE rules, now the rights could be confirmed again within 24 hours. The delegation will be able to work in the hall during these days as well as all other delegations, but will not be able to vote on issues that are related to its powers. To challenge the rights, the votes of 30 members of the assembly from five countries were needed; this number was collected and the rights were protested.

Europe Starts to Lose Its Nerve on Russia – WSJ

What would we do without ‘human-rights’ organizations?

Council of Europe Restores Russia’s Voting Rights – The New York Times

Ukraine and other former Soviet states opposed ending the suspension, which began with the annexation of Crimea. Russia had threatened to quit the group if it were not reinstated.

Council of Europe restores Russia′s voting rights | News | DW | 25.06.2019

Russia has received backing from the Council of Europe’s assembly to return to the body. Moscow had its voting rights suspended five years ago over the illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

Russian readmittance to the Council of Europe is ‘dishonourable’

In a victory for the country’s tough talk and the withholding of annual contributions, Russia has been voted back into PACE, despite strong protests from some members.

Council of Europe readmits Russia, five years after suspension over Crimea – Reuters

Europe’s main human rights forum on Tuesday approved Russia’s readmission, the first time that an international sanction imposed for its seizure of Crimea in 2014 has been reversed, despite a stalling protest from Ukraine and Georgia.

Russia Has Its Rights Restored In Top Human Rights Organization : NPR

The Kremlin calls it “a victory of common sense.” It is also a big step forward for Moscow to normalize relations with European member states after annexing Crimea in 2014.

Council of Europe backs restoring Russian voting rights after stripping them over Crimea annexation – YouTube

euronews (in English) Published on Jun 25, 2019 The motion restoring Russia’s voting rights — revoked in 2014 over the illegal annexation of Crimea — was approved late on Monday evening with 118 votes in favour, 62 against, and 10 abstentions.

PACE reportedly set to lift remaining sanctions from Russia – news politics | UNIAN

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is reportedly set to lift remaining sanctions from the Russian Federation after it became known that PACE committees had considered the question of the powers of Russia’s delegation and recommended they should be reinstated with simultaneous cancellation of the remaining restrictions left after the Assembly passed a respective resolution. The PACE Rules Committee, which was to consider the presence of Russian delegates who voted for the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, refused to deliver a report at all.

 

Turkey will lose its F-35 fighter if it acquires the S-400 system, says the United States | VOA

If Turkey does not abandon plans to acquire a Russian air defense system, the United States will not allow Turkey’s armed forces to use the F-35 and participate in its development programs. The United States Ambassador to NATO said on Tuesday. Washington and its allies called on Ankara’s member not to accept the C-400 system. In the United States, it is believed that the use of the system could allow her to learn how to recognize the F-35, which is constructed in such a way as to avoid tracking enemy radars and heat sensors. But the Turkish president, Thai Erdogan, re-promised on Tuesday to buy the S-400, despite the concern of the Allies. “We hope that we will start receiving the S-400 systems that we bought in Russia next month,” Erdogan said to members of his party in parliament. – Turkey is not a country to seek permission or to lean against pressure. The C-400 is directly related to our sovereignty, and we will not take any step back. ” Turkey stated that its agreement with Russia on the C-400 is final. reinforcing the diplomatic split from the United States.

Turkey leaves elections behind, focus now on significant political agendas – Daily Sabah

With the June 23 Istanbul mayoral elections completed in a democratic atmosphere, Turkey is now ready to move forward and focus on important issues such as the country’s diplomacy

Four immediate consequences of Erdogan’s loss of Istanbul – Opinion – Jerusalem Post

Yes, I was wrong. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will go, as he keeps losing one election after another.

Erdoğan has officially lost Turkey – analysis | Ahval

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not just lose his aura of invincibility with Sunday’s election result, he undeniably lost Turkey, said an analysis for the Jerusalem Post. The opposition won 9 percent more of the vote in the Istanbul rerun election, increasing its gap over Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) from 13,000 votes to more than 800,000, even with the playing field tilted against it. “Erdoğan campaigned with the entire state apparatus on his side, including most media outlets, venues, and funds,” Pinar Tremblay, visiting scholar at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, wrote for Jerusalem Post on Monday. Yet still his AKP received more votes in only 11 of Istanbul’s 39 districts, after taking 23 on March 31. “On June 23, Erdoğan lost Turkey officially and undeniably,” said Tremblay, who took four lessons from the vote.

Erdogan’s Miscalculations Fueled Emergence of Potential Rival – Bloomberg

A series of miscalculations and a refusal to recognize the depth of discontent with a weakening economy and years of divisive rule handed Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the biggest setback of his career.

Istanbul Election Loss Is Latest Misfire by Turkey’s President – Bloomberg

For the first time in almost two decades, Turkey’s president faces a potent political challenger.

Imamoglu’s victory has changed Turkish politics for good. But does this mean the end of Erdogan? | The Independent

It’s been 25 years since Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the Istanbul mayoral election. “Whoever wins Istanbul wins Turkey,” is a phrase he coined in the meantime – and consequently proved to be true as shown from his own ascent to the presidency. So there was a considerable amount at stake for the whole of Turkey during Sunday’s re-run of March’s annulled mayoral elections.

Quo vadis Turkey?

The much-anticipated and unexpectedly strong reelection of Ekrem İmamoğlu to the seat of Istanbul metropolitan mayoral post will most probably be remembered in the years ahead as a turning point in the history of Turkish democracy.

Istanbul mayoral election rattles Turkey’s politics – Vox

The opposition candidate defeated an ally of President Erdoğan in a serious blow to the Turkish leader.

The Times view on Erdogan’s party losing Istanbul: Setback for the Sultan | Comment | The Times

The modern-day sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ruled Turkey as prime minister and president since 2003, dominating national politics, flexing his muscle regionally and regularly picking a fight with the European Union and Nato. Now the autocrat has a serious opposition challenger and some urgent cho

Erdogan’s Istanbul defeat is a chance to rebuild bridges with the West

Turkish voters dealt the country’s once-invincible president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a sharp slap in the face Saturday. America should use the moment to nudge…

Losing Istanbul again, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan suffers a massive blow

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s party lost Istanbul’s mayoralty on Sunday for the second time this year. The first time, Erdoğan demanded a recount, lost it, then refused to accept the result, and had a kangaroo court throw it out.

For Erdogan, the Bill for Turkey’s Debt-Fueled Growth Comes Due – The New York Times

Istanbul voters’ rebuke of the nation’s strongman leader speaks to broader dismay over the economic disaster he oversaw.

Economic disaster lies behind Erdoğan election defeat, NYT says | Ahval

Economic disaster is as much to blame for the defeat of Turkey’s governing party in Sunday’s mayoral elections for Istanbul as any yearning for new political leadership, Peter Goodman wrote in the New York Times.

‘Put an end to dictatorship’ – Istanbul voters shun Erdogan – Independent.ie

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan was reeling yesterday after the opposition dealt him a stinging blow by winning control of Istanbul in a re-run mayoral election.

Imamoglu Won the Vote, but Can He Save Istanbul? – Foreign Policy

The new mayor will preside over a city that people are fleeing in droves.

Turkey Trials Seen in New Light After Erdogan’s Istanbul Defeat – The New York Times

The cases will be closely watched by foreign governments troubled by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s efforts to crack down on the opposition.

 

Australian MH17 families settle class action against Malaysia Airlines – media – news world | UNIAN

Five Australian families who had relatives on downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 have settled a class action court case with the airline for a confidential figure. The money will be distributed “in the very near future.”

 

New EU sanctions regime may change Russia’s behavior, – Mogherini advisor

The reconsideration of the model of the EU anti-Russian sanctions may give an impetus to the settlement of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict as RBK reported citing Nathalie Tocci, the Special Advisor of EU High Representative for Foreign Affair and Security Police Federica Mogherini. According to Tocci, the sanctions against Russian should be tied not to the progress of the implementation of Minsk Agreements as it happens now but to the observance of the international law and human rights. In such case, the decision on the extension of the old sanctions and imposing of new will be more flexible and Moscow will have the additional stimulus to find a compromise out of the frames of Minsk Agreements. Related: U.S. imposes sanctions on Russian company due to ties with North Korea Tocci added that the format of the negotiations on the conflict in Donbas should be reconsidered and Minsk Agreements should be replaced. “Minsk Agreements create vicious circle: European Union says that Russia does not fulfill its part of agreements and Moscow complains about non-fulfillment of these conditions by Ukraine and it causes the inaction”. Earlier we reported that the Ambassadors of the EU decided to prolong sanctions for one more year. Sanctions were imposed for the illegal annexation of Crimea. The respective decision was made in Brussels within the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) sitting. Related: Sanctions are only bloodless way to restore peace on European continent, – Zelensky Besides, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu insists on the extension of the anti-Russian sanctions. As it was reported, the European Commission offered to prolong anti-Russian sanctions for Crimea’s and Sevastopol’s annexation. The new sanctions package will take force on June 23, 2020.

U.S. To Give $4 Million Toward Explosives Depots In Ukraine

The United States says it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Ukraine to enhance the safety of the country’s stockpiles of conventional munitions.

U.S. to give Ukraine US$4 mln for stepping up ammo depot security – news politics | UNIAN

The United States will give Ukraine US$4 million in financial assistance for an improvement in protection systems of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s ammunition depots. The parties have signed a respective memorandum.

Russia must stop war against Ukraine – advisor to Mogherini

The Russian Federation must fulfill the Minsk agreements and end the war against Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

President of Slovakia, NATO Secretary General discuss support for Ukraine

President of Slovakia Zuzana Čaputová and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels discussed the issue of support for Ukraine. — Ukrinform.

Zelenskiy To Visit Canada In July To Attend Ukraine Reform Conference

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is scheduled to travel to Canada early next month to take part in a major donor conference and hold talks with top Canadian officials.

Reuters: Facebook expands rules on political ads to Canada and Ukraine – news world | UNIAN

Facebook Inc on Tuesday added Canada and Ukraine to the list of countries where advertisers looking to run political ads on its platform must first verify their identity and disclose who paid for the ads. Facebook said it was making its transparency tools available to advertisers in more than 190 countries.

 

Border guards do not let Russian State Duma member in Ukraine

26.06.19 14:34 – June 25, border guards did not let the member of Russian State Duma at Kyiv Boryspil International Airport. He took an evening flight from Riga. Censor.NET reports citing State Border Guard Service report. “During the border control of the passengers in Boryspil checkpoint, the border guards stopped a Russian citizen. Border guards found out that law enforcement agencies banned this Russian politician from entering Ukraine,” the message reads. It was noted that the Russian citizen was not let in Ukraine, and he flew back. Pravda news agency reported that it was a Russian politician Yevgeny Markov. Source: https://censor.net.ua/en/n3134280

Two Russian Paratroopers Drown In Crimea

Two Russian paratroopers have drowned during exercises in the Moscow-annexed Ukrainian region of Crimea.

Moscow’s game around sea communications becoming more dangerous – media – news economics | UNIAN

International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea obliged Russia to return to Ukraine three naval boats and 24 sailors detained in the Kerch Strait in November 25, 2018. The term of the execution of this ruling expired on June 25. In accordance with the Convention on the Law of the Sea, all naval crew members enjoy immunity, cannot be convicted, cannot be held in penitentiary facilities, while the laws of another country cannot apply to them. Russia intends to establish unilateral control over the Azov and Black Seas.

 

32 attacks against JFO positions yesterday: seven Ukrainian soldiers wounded

26.06.19 09:31 – 32 attacks against JFO positions yesterday: seven Ukrainian soldiers wounded The armed formations of the Russian Federation violated ceasefire 32 times, using weapons banned under the Minsk agreements five times, in the Joint Force View news.

Russian-led forces launch 32 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas, seven soldiers wounded

The armed formations of the Russian Federation violated ceasefire 32 times in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas on June 25. — Ukrinform.

Seven Ukrainian soldiers injured in hostilities in Donbas on June 25 – news war | UNIAN

Seven Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in hostilities in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, on June 25 as Russia-led forces mounted 32 attacks on Ukrainian positions. Two enemy troops were reportedly wounded.

JFO staff reports on first disengagement of Ukrainian units in Stanytsia Luhanska

The first stage of the withdrawal of Ukrainian units under the supervision of the OSCE took place in the Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint on Wednesday. Censor.NET reports referring to the JFO press center Facebook page. “Today at noon, the Ukrainian military withdrew from one of the positions that was in front of the Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint. The withdrawal took place under the supervision of representatives of the OSCE, who were on both sides. In addition, commander of the JFO Lieutenant General Oleksandr Syrsky personally observed the withdrawal of troops. According to him, this is the first stage of the withdrawal of the parties from the outskirts of Stanytsia,” the JFO said on Facebook. Source: https://censor.net.ua/en/n3134327

Disengagement in action: Ukrainian troops pulling back near Stanytsia Luhanska in Donbas – news war | UNIAN

Units of Ukraine’s armed forces have left one position before the Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint as part of the first phase of disengagement in Donbas, eastern Ukraine. Commander of Ukraine’s Joint Forces Oleksandr Syrsky was monitoring the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops and weapons.

“Azov” hit Russian “ZOOPARK-1” counter-battery radar system

A separate detachment of special purpose “Azov” struck Russian complex of artillery intelligence “ZOOPARK-1”. This is reported by the Azov press service The impression took place this Sunday, June 23. When attempting to inflict a fire damage on the positions of the Azov regiment, using 122 mm and 152 mm caliber artillery bombs, the means of technical intelligence “Azov” determined that the enemy makes adjustments to the use of the complex of artillery reconnaissance and adjustment of ZOOPARK-1 of Russian production. This complex is a counterbalanced modern radar, which is manufactured in and supplied exclusively from the territory of this state. According to the Azov people, after the detection of “ZOOPARK-1” the Azov UAV has been lifted to the sky by means of a regiment, confirming its work from the outskirts of the now occupied locality of Gorlovka. It was recorded that the antenna of the complex is in a combat position, after which the means “Azov” was inflicted on the fire damage to the specified complex. The ZOOPARK-1 complex has been repeatedly used by the enemy at the Svitlodarsky arc, primarily for the purpose of adjusting during shelling of Ukrainian positions or settlements using barrel artillery. He is able to determine the exit and arrival points, ranging from 82 mortars, ending with tactical missiles. For example, the complex is capable of adjusting artillery 122 mm and 152 mm within 20-30 km, depending on the terrain. This complex is very rare, even in the Russian Federation, they are very little armed. The most important thing is that it allows adjusting artillery in all weather conditions without the use of UAVs and causing fairly exact damage. According to the soldiers, the “Azov” regiment, “ZOOPARK-1” in a combat position (with a deployed antenna during the adjustment) for the entire time of ATO / OS was determined for the first time. For the first time, documentary evidence, photos and videos of his work were received by the forces of Azov. Information about the impression of this complex was previously included in the consolidation of the press center of Operation Joint Force for June 25:

Confirmation of RF aggression: fighters of Azov regiment hit Russian “ZOOPARK-1” counter-battery radar – YouTube

AZOV Regiment Published on June 26, 2019 The Azov regiment continues to carry out service in the Svitlodar arch area, regularly causing the enemy losses both in manpower and in technology. On June 23, unit troops struck a rare invading invader’s complex. When you try to inflict a fire damage on the positions of the regiment

Ukraine-U.S. Sea Breeze drills to kick off in Odesa on July 1 (Video) – news ukraine | UNIAN

Ukraine-U.S. Sea Breeze drills will begin in Odesa, Ukraine, on July 1. A closing ceremony is scheduled for July 12.

THE START OF THE UKRAINIAN “CYCLON-4M” PLANNED IN THE SECOND HALF OF 2022

The Design Bureau “Yuzhnoye” plans in the second half of 2022 to make the first launch of the two-stage space launch vehicle of the “middle class” “Cyclone-4M”. This is reported by Defense Express with reference to ” Defense and Industrial Courier .” News on the topic: PIVDENMASH FIRST IN THEIR HISTORY PREPARED THE THIRD STAGE OF ROCKET-NOSIYA MIDDLE CLASS WITHOUT CONTRIBUTION OF OTHER ENTERPRISES ” We are building a project on a missile complex. It includes both the carrier rocket itself and the terrestrial complex with all the infrastructure included in it. A sketch project has already been developed, the development of design documentation for a march engine of the first level, a number of important units and aggregates is under way. The issue of documentation for the missile in general, on ground equipment is underway, “said Maxim Degtyarev, Chief Designer of the CB” Pivdenne “. News on the topic: CB “PIVDENNE” REPRESENTED A NEW RACETONOSIUM CYCLON-4M TO BE STARTED WITH COSMODROME IN CANADA He also said that there would be no Russian components in the Cyclone-4M. The specialist further informed that the second level and the main fence are borrowed from the Cyclone-4 missile, which they were going to launch from Brazil, although an adjustment would be needed in the part of replacement of some materials and components . News on the topic: CB “PIVDENNE” BEGINNING FOR DEVELOPMENT OF LIGHT ROCKET-NOSEI FOR COSMODROME IN UKRAINE ” This rocket -” Cyclone-4M “- is being projected, based on the expected market needs. All objective data indicate an increase in the demand for the removal of useful loads on low Earth orbits. Therefore, the missile is designed to best fit this market niche. The “Cyclone” family rockets, including “Cyclone-3”, have shown themselves to be very reliable carriers. A large number of launches was performed, which showed high reliability. “Cyclone-4M” is an evolutionary development of rockets of this family. The new carrier has inherited a lot of technical solutions that have long been worked out in practice, on the other hand – there are many new solutions that are in line with modern trends in the development of rocket and space technology “- said the designer.

Military arsenal in Kalinovka moved on to a new system of protection

The military arsenal near Kalinovka in Vinnytsya continues the equipment of an integrated security system. This is reported by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine It significantly expanded the state of the security unit, armed it with modern technical equipment and completely moved to a three-level security system. In the complex, it allows round-the-clock to control not only the technical territory of the arsenal, but also the adjacent zone. Existing forces and means are able to withstand sabotage and terrorist acts using unmanned aerial vehicles. Enhances the security of the object cinema unit. The security perimeter of potentially dangerous objects is equipped with a new type of fencing, perimeter technical means of protection and lighting. A video surveillance system is also installed, where camera images are displayed on the security monitor. Command of the arsenal notes that after the creation of a comprehensive security system, the control of the technical and adjacent territory became more effective. The guard tower on an arsenal in Kalinovka. Photo: Ministry of Defense From the beginning of this year, a number of violators were arrested near the military arsenal. Also, the military recorded a number of attempts to fly drone. All such attempts were suppressed by systems of electronic warfare.

President Zelensky restores composition of National Council on Anti-Corruption Policy

The composition of National Council on Anti-Corruption Policy restored

Fresh poll: Servant of the People leads with 45.3%, followed by Opposition Platform, Vakarchuk’s Holos – news politics | UNIAN

The Servant of the People Party continues to be on the top of a political party rating, as is seen from a recent poll, with the support of 45.3% of those who plan to vote during the snap parliamentary elections in Ukraine on July 21. Some 2,000 respondents were polled.

Survey shows ‘Servant of the People’ and ‘Opposition Platform – For Life’ parties are leaders

Five parties are the leaders of electoral allegiances on the eve of the snap elections to the Verkhovna Rada, as the survey conducted by Rating sociological group on June 20-24, 2019 shows. 45,3% of the citizens will vote for Servant of the People party (Dmytro Razumkov), 12,1% – for Opposition Platform – For Life (Vadym Rabinovich), 8,4% – for Golos (Svyatoslav Vakarchuk), 7,2% – for European Solidarity (Petro Poroshenko), 7,0% – for Fatherland (Yuliya Tymoshenko) – 7,0%.

Latest polls: Vakarchuk’s party Holos outruns Poroshenko’s European Solidarity

26.06.19 16:33 – Latest polls: Vakarchuk’s party Holos outruns Poroshenko’s European Solidarity New political party Golos, spearheaded by rock star Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, enjoys more support from Ukrainians than European Solidarity, the rebranded party of ex-President Petro Poroshenko, according to the latest polls. View news.

Ukraine’s losses over shadow fuel market estimated at almost US$382 mln in 2018 – experts – news economics | UNIAN

The Ukrainian Oil & Gas Association says losses of the national and local budgets from Ukraine’s shadow market of oil products in 2018 are estimated at UAH 10 billion, or US$381.8 million. At least 1,500 gas stations and an undefined number of petroleum products warehouses are now operating illegally in Ukraine.

State Bureau of Investigation follows up eight proceedings in which ex-President Poroshenko is involved

State Bureau of Investigation is investigating eight cases against former President Poroshenko

Austrian court says Ukrainian oligarch with ties to Manafort can be sent to U.S.

A Ukrainian oligarch who prosecutors say had business ties to Trump’s ex-campaign manager, Paul Manafort, can be extradited to the U.S. in a bribery case.

Dmytro Firtash: Who Is The Ukrainian Tycoon Wanted By The U.S. On Bribery Charges?

Dmytro Firtash, the Ukrainian power broker whom the United States is seeking to put on trial, built his massive fortune on opaque gas trading with a Kremlin-controlled company.

George RR Martin on Twitter: “Binge-watched @HBO’s CHERNOBYL. Terrifying, exciting, heartbreaking. If this one does not win a truckload of Emmys, there is no justice in Hollywood. And special shout out to the talented @JaredHarris for his amazing performance …… https://t.co/Y8GmgkM5JR”

Chernobyl and the dangerous ground of ‘dark tourism’ | CNN Travel

A new TV series has stoked tourism to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site and renewed debate over the ethics of so-called dark tourism.