Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
A barrage of nonsense from Muscovy about the Aegis Ashore BMD systems being used as a pretense for further escalation. EU Pres Tusk hits Russia where it hurts. Yakovenko warns of the malignant nature of Putinism. Kara-Murza on the Nemtsov murder plot. Gazprom revenues nosedive. Initial deliveries of S-400 components to Turkey commence – video shows a transloader, power generator and trucks. K-278 Komsomolets / MIKE remains a media topic. Eight essays on Russian meddling, and a peculiar OpEd by Goldstein.
In Ukraine, Ze has his first phone conversation with the Vozhd. Debate over upcoming Ze meeting with POTUS, and NDAA expected to include more Russia sanctions. IR update. Russia attacks Ukrainian World Congress diaspora NGO. New Moldovan PM Sandu visits Ze and negotiates Ukrainian support in several areas. Crimea update – esp. Russian campaign to get water access restored (Kyiv would be foolish to agree to this).
Donbas update. Ze visits Pivdenmash ELV (former ICBM) plant in Dnipro. G7 ambassadors object to Ze’s proposed purges. Politics and economy update.
ROC in deep trouble in the Baltic States.
A senior Moscow diplomat also warned that Russia was “starting to gear up for a potential deployment of U.S. intermediate-range ground missiles.”
European Council President Donald Tusk has said that “the collapse of the Soviet Union was a blessing” for Central and Eastern Europe. Speaking on July 11 at an international conference in the Georgian city of Batumi, Tusk was referring to a frequently quoted statement from Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Russian parliament in April 2005 that “the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century.”
12.07.19 13:56 – US House of Representatives approves new Russia sanctions The US House of Representatives has adopted an amendment to the fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill that includes the ban on conducting any transactions with the Russian sovereign debt. View news.
Paul Goble Staunton, July 11 – Just like his communist predecessors, Vladimir Putin is committed to spreading the features of the system he has imposed on Russia to as much of the rest of the world as possible, a drive that requires the world to view what he is about not as a domestic problem for Russia but as an existential problem for the world, Igor Yakovenko says. Soviet rulers defined themselves and their task as opposing the capitalist system wherever possible so as to bring it down and supplant it with their version of socialism. Putin today represents if anything a broader challenge: he opposes the ideas of liberalism and human rights wherever they exist (detaly.co.il/pochemu-putinizm-ne-yavlyaetsya-vnutrennim-delom-rossii/). Having worked with unfortunate success to undermine or eliminate those values within the borders of the Russian Federation, the Kremlin leader seeks to do the same thing abroad via all the means at his disposal, military action where possible, subversion and propaganda everywhere else, Yakovenko continues. In doing so, Putin has adopted a clever strategy. Because the only systemic ideological alternative to liberalism is one or another form of fascism, Putin has not offered any model of the future for all to compete with it.” Instead, he has attacked liberalism as such but insisted on “the right of each people to choose its own particular path to the future.” That idea is viewed with sympathy, the Russian commentator says, “in various corners of the planet especially where dictatorial and authoritarian regimes exist, regimes which Putin’s Russia as a rule supports.” And with the rise of Trump in the US, the chief defender of human rights around the world, has retreated from that responsibility. Tragically, “the defense of human rights has been reduced to the private affair of human rights defenders,” Yakovenko says. Supporters of the notion that each people should have the right to choose its own form of government even if it is authoritarian often point to Singapore where the population has backed an authoritarian regime for decades in exchange for a rising standard of living and where that regime does not aspire to extending its kind of governance to others. But Russia is different in two respects. On the one hand, the Russian people “in exchange for freedom have received a mafia state, legal arbitrariness, corruption as the basis of the economy, and poverty. And on the other, the Putin regime has the power and desire to spread its system to other countries. Not interfering in the internal affairs of other countries may be inhumane but it is in a certain sense rational, Yakovenko says, because it is “difficult to demand from Swedes, the Dutch or the English that they take up the budgets for the citizens of Turkmenistan or Somalia, especially if neither understands themselves to be like Europeans.” But when an authoritarian and dictatorial regime like Russia seeks to spread its system to others, the situation is very different. Putin wants to see his anti-liberal approach spread across the world, and his government has the resources to promote that notion. As a result, Putinism represents a “mortal” danger to the world. “The only possible strategy in regard to such a regime must be its isolation, delegitimization, and ultimate destruction,” the analyst argues. And because it is going to be so difficult to separate Putinism from Russia even after his passing, there is an extremely great probability that at that time, “the Russian Federation won’t exist in its current borders.”
And the Russian government? It couldn’t care less.
Gazprom is faced with a sharp decline in revenue from selling gas on foreign markets, according to statistics from the Bank of Russia on the balance of payments for the second quarter, reports finanz.ru. Between April and June, the gas trade brought Russia only $8.7 billion in foreign currency earnings. Compared to the first quarter ($14.1 billion), the influx of “gas dollars” has fallen by 38.2% (20% in annual terms) – a two-year low. In the last decade, Gazprom has only earned less on one occasion – in summer 2016 ($6.5-6.6 billion per quarter), when the gas prices in Europe plummeted to a 12 year low. For Gazprom this has been a double whammy: not only is it faced with a marked decrease in export volumes, the price has also decreased. In the first quarter, the volume supplied to Europe dropped by 10%, and although there was growth in the second quarter, the annual figure was 6% in the negative. Gazprom experienced a collapse in demand in Turkey, which virtually halved its purchase quantity (to 4.4 billion cubic meters in the first quarter), setting a low since 2010. Consequently, for the first time in history, Russian gas lost to its competitor, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG): In January 2019, the Turkish operators bought 1.84 billion cubic meters from Gazprom, but 2.34 billion of LNG, and in February, 1.2 billion as opposed to 1.69 billion. Spot gas prices in Europe began to decline in October last year and were in the region of a multi-year low by April, and the price is yet to recover: At the largest gas trading point, the TTF in the Netherlands, gas with immediate delivery is selling for $120-130 per thousand cubic meters. Contracts for the coming winter cost significantly more – $200. Nevertheless, Gazprom predicts that the prices will still underperform: the company had budgeted for $230-250. The price forecast for Gazprom is pessimistic, observes Alfa-Bank analyst Artem Korytsko: In 2019, LNG shipments from the US entered a period of maximum growth in the first wave of projects, and this has already led to a sharp increase in LNG’s share in Europe’s imports – from 10% to 20%. The uncertainty of gas transit through Ukraine is forcing buyers to prepare themselves by stocking up their underground reservoirs, which will support Gazprom’s sales in the second half of the year, write analysts from Aton. However, gas reserves are at an all-time high, and all the storage capacity will be exhausted by August. Prices on Gazprom’s contracts follow the spot prices with a lag of 6-9 months, Aton notes: This puts pressure on the company’s financial results, which could underperform by $5 billion in terms of EBITDA ($36.2 billion, -12%). The shortfall in gas revenue has affected Russia’s balance of trade and payments: the surplus of the former declined by 15% (from $46.8 to $39.7 billion), and that of the latter by nearly two thirds (from $33.7 to $12.1 billion in the second quarter). In June, the balance of currency flows was actually negative, observes chief Alfa-Bank economist Natalia Orlova: the economy spent $1 billion more than it earned.
WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) issued the following joint statement after reports today that a shipment of parts for the Russian S-400 air defense system had arrived in Turkey. The group of Senators led a bipartisan effort earlier this year that prohibits the transfer of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to Turkey. The Senate included this provision in the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last month. “We are disappointed to learn that Turkish President Erdogan has not agreed to meaningful efforts to provide his military with NATO-operable alternatives to the Russian S-400 air defense,” said the Senators. “Now they have solidified their stance with the acquisition of the Russian S-400, a surface-to-air defense system created to target and destroy the American F-35. Turkey is trying to play both sides, but we will not allow sensitive US military technology in the F-35 to be at risk. Turkey cannot have both Russian and American defense equipment sitting side by side. As long as President Erdogan insists on putting US and NATO assets at risk by acquiring Russian defense technology, the US will withhold our fifth-generation fighter jets and apply our normal restrictions on any government that purchases Russian military equipment.”
The first parts of a Russian S-400 missile defense system were delivered to NATO member Turkey on Friday, Russia has confirmed. Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian system is a source of tension between Turkey and NATO ally United States. The U.S. has demanded that Ankara abandon its deal with Moscow and purchase American-made Patriot systems instead, threatening tough new sanctions if the demand isn’t met. news Russia Will Deliver Missiles to Turkey Next Month; U.S. Threatens Sanctions Read more Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation confirmed on Friday it had started delivering the S-400s to Turkey and that the deliveries would continue as per an agreed schedule, the state-run RIA news agency reported. The S-400 consignment was delivered to the Murted Air Base outside the capital Ankara, Turkey’s defense ministry said earlier Friday, in a statement which triggered a weakening in the Turkish lira to 5.7 against the dollar from 5.6775 on Wednesday. “The delivery of parts belonging to the system will continue in the coming days,” Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate said separately. “Once the system is completely ready, it will begin to be used in a way determined by the relevant authorities.” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after meeting President Donald Trump at a G20 summit last month that the United States did not plan to impose sanctions on Ankara for buying the S-400s. Trump said Turkey had not been treated fairly but did not rule out sanctions. The United States says the S-400s are not compatible with NATO’s defense network and could compromise its Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets, an aircraft Turkey is helping to build and planning to buy.
Moscow and Ankara signed a loan agreement for the delivery of S-400 systems in December 2017. Turkish cooperation with Russia on this matter has been strongly criticised by NATO and the United States, which has cited security concerns and the S-400’s incompatibility with NATO’s air defence systems.
Towards meeting the needs of Turkey’s air and missile defense S-400 Long Range Regional Air and Missile Defense System supply contract was signed on April 11, 2017. Within the scope of the contract, the transfer of the first group materials of S-400 Long Range Regional Air and Missile Defense System to Mürted Airport / Ankara started on 12 July 2019.
- C. National Defense Department Published on Jul 12, 2019 You can click http://bit.ly/2Mssalato subscribe to YouTube channel of the Ministry of National Defense.
TRT World Published on Jul 12, 2019 Turkey’s defence ministry has tweeted that the first batch of equipment for the Russian S-400 missile defence system has arrived in Ankara. Well, let’s take a look at more on that S-400 and how we got to this point.
Turkey began taking delivery of Russian S-400 air defence missile systems.
The delivery process of Russian-made surface-to-air S-400 missile defense systems to Turkey has begun, the Defense Ministry said Friday. The first batch…
Following protracted efforts to purchase air defense system from US with no success, Ankara decided to purchase S-400s – Anadolu Agency
Turkey’s impending installation of the first Russian S-400 system near the Syrian border and a military build-up in the southeast of the country signal Ankara’s intent to launch a military operation in its neighbour shortly, Bülent Aydemir wrote for the Habertürk news website. Delivery of the first S-400 batteries that Turkey purchased from Russia started this week. Installation work will be completed in four to six weeks and the missiles will be deployed in the border town of Suruc, he said. Last year, Ankara announced plans to launch a military offensive against Kurdish militia controlling enclaves to the east of Euphrates river in Syria’s northeast. After U.S. President Donald Trump declared his decision to withdraw some 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, Ankara and Washington started talks about the establishment of a safe zone in northeast Syria along the Turkish border, but no concrete steps have been taken. According to Aydemir, there are other signs that indicate Turkey has been preparing for a military assault. The military has suspended all reassignments and holidays of Turkish troops deployed in east and southeast Turkey for three months. It has also been transferring armoured vehicles to the border region, Aydemir said, adding that Turkish ground troops are expected to enter Syria from the Akçakale border town. With the installation of the S-400 batteries, Turkey will ensure both protecting its air space and the security of its ground troops during any operations, the journalist said. The location of the S-400’s radar will be kept secret and NATO systems cannot detect their electronic signals, he said. The attitude of the United States towards Turkey’s deployment of the missiles will be crucial as the Turkish air forces’ strike capability depends on the definition of “enemy and friendly forces”, Aydemir said.
The first delivery of the Russian S-400 advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system, also known as the SA-21 Growler, has arrived in Turkey. The components of the first S-400 missile system battery of Turkey was delivered at Akıncı Air Base of Turkish Air Force at Ankara onboard an An-124-100 military transport aircraft of Russia Air Force’s 224th Flight Unit with RA-82038 register early morning today, according to military analyst Babak Taghvaee. Later Turkey’s Defense Ministry confirmed the first parts of the S-400 Russian missile defense systems were delivered to Ankara. The ministry said the first delivery of the S-400 air defense systems arrived on Friday at an air base near the capital, Ankara. The United States has warned Turkey it will face economic sanctions if it goes ahead with the purchase of a Russian missile defense system. It has also said Turkey won’t be allowed to participate in the program to produce the high-tech F-35 fighter jets. Turkey has refused to bow to U.S. pressure, insisting that choosing which equipment to purchase is a matter of national sovereignty. News about Russian-Turkish talks on the delivery of the S-400 systems first came in November 2016. In September 2017, Erdogan announced that Ankara had signed a contract with Moscow on purchasing the S-400 systems and made an advance payment. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said later that Ankara would begin the deployment of the S-400 systems in October 2019. Russia’s Rostec State Corporation Sergei Chemezov said in December 2017 that the deal was worth $2.5 bln.
Turkey’s Defense Ministry says the first parts of the S-400 Russian missile defense systems were delivered to Ankara on July 12 and it will continue in the coming days.
U.S. officials have previously threatened consequences if Turkey bought the Russian system, including possible sanctions and allowing Turkey to purchase F-35 jets.
Delivery moves Ankara closer to possible sanctions and new standoff with Washington, which has argued the weapon is incompatible with NATO systems and a threat to its F-35s
The United States says the Russian military hardware is not compatible with NATO systems and that the acquisition may lead to Ankara’s expulsion from an F-35 fighter jet program.
The Turkish government said it had begun receiving a new air-defense missile system from Russia, potentially exposing President Erdogan’s country to U.S. sanctions and testing its position in NATO.
Turkey has defied western allies to receive its first shipment of S-400 surface-to-air missiles from Russia, in a move that directly challenges Nato and could trigger US sanctions. The S-400 deal with Moscow is the first major arms purchase from Russia by a Nato member and is likely to trigger
Turkey says it received the first major deliveries of a Russian missile-defense system whose purchase has drawn the threat of U.S. sanctions over its potential to undermine NATO’s military capabilities. The lira weakened.
The acquisition of the antiaircraft missiles is expected to trigger U.S. sanctions over military purchases from Russia.
The first shipment of Russia’s S-400 air defense missile system arrived at an air base near Ankara, Turkey Friday, the country’s defense ministry said.
The first shipment of the Russian-made S-400 air defense missile system has landed in Ankara, in a move that sets up a potential showdown between Turkey and the United States.
The purchase of the sophisticated S-400 antiaircraft equipment was fiercely opposed by NATO and by Washington, which is expected to respond with sanctions.
The United States says Turkey is risking the security of the NATO alliance and the F-35 fighter jet program.
Turkey has bought the S-400 missile defence system from Russia – despite threats from the US.
By adopting a more neutrally aligned foreign policy, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party seek to advance a narrower conception of Turkey’s national interest, one they believe is served by closer cooperation with Russia on key economic and security issues.
U.S. security officials are pushing for penalties over Ankara’s purchase of a Russian missile system.
Norwegian scientists say a sunken Soviet nuclear sub in the Barents Sea is leaking radiation. But what threat does it pose to human or marine life?
Norwegian researchers have returned from the site of a Soviet-era nuclear submarine wreck with stunning video footage and evidence of radiation levels of up to 1 million times greater than normal.
Experts say there is no alarm, despite a high level of caesium at a Soviet-era submarine wreck.
Scientists have identified a radiation leak on the wreck of a Russian nuclear submarine that sank in Arctic waters in 1989.
Scientists have identified a radiation leak on the wreck of a Russian nuclear submarine that sank in Arctic waters in 1989.
ANOTHER TOOL FOR THE KREMLIN Russia’s return to the global stage as a major power relies on an array of diplomatic, information, security, and economic tools that help the Kremlin punch above its weight. One of the newest instruments in that toolbox is the Wagner Group—a shadowy band of mercenaries loyal to the Kremlin and controlled by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a member of President Vladimir Putin’s coterie. Russian and Western media have been following the group’s expanding footprint from Ukraine and Syria to Sudan, the Central African Republic, and now possibly Libya and Venezuela. But despite the significant attention, Western understanding of Wagner’s role and capacity is still incomplete at best. This is partly due to Moscow’s relentless disinformation campaigns and efforts to deny responsibility for Wagner’s operations. Adding to the confusion is a false perception that Wagner is a private military company (PMC) no different than Western outfits like Academi (formerly Blackwater) and DynCorp International. A detailed analysis of the group—including its origins, ties to the Putin regime, political and economic drivers, and capabilities—is essential for Western policymakers to better gauge the threat Wagner poses and how to respond. The group may not offer the Kremlin entirely new ways to wage war or build influence, but its existence is emblematic of how a more assertive Russia often—and at times implausibly—tries to evade responsibility for actions beyond its borders. Wagner is also a window into the broader dynamics of the Putin regime, including how it harnesses the ambitions and self-interests of elites like Prigozhin to create deniable and flexible tools. The West should not overreact to the challenge from Wagner, but a multilateral, low-cost campaign to shed light on the group and constrain its options will reduce the risk. AN IMPROVISED IMITATION OF A PMC Wagner is a vehicle the Kremlin uses to recruit, train, and deploy mercenaries, either to fight wars or to provide security and training to friendly regimes. Western and Russian sources often call it a PMC, but it falls outside widely used definitions despite performing some similar functions.1 It is not a true commercial entity operating in a global marketplace; no one who runs it will admit to doing so, and it is not a legally registeredcompany in Russia. Wagner’s place outside the market—and the secrecy around it—stems from its origins as a covert creation of the Russian military, built to serve the needs of the Putin regime. Still, it was not part of a Kremlin masterplan. Moscow’s penchant for ad hoc decisionmaking shaped the group’s formation, and it developed in fits and starts as the Kremlin looked for advantageous and politically palatable ways to fight the wars in Ukraine and Syria in 2014–2015. [Continued in URL below]
Paul Goble Staunton, July 11 – Vladimir Putin is not going to absorb Belarus, Andrey Yeliseyev says. Rather it is going to reduce the real sovereignty of the republic to that of the Belorussian SSR, transforming it into “a BSSR-2” in which Minsk will retain all the public attributes of independence but in fact will be run by Moscow. In a new commentary, the research director at the EAST Analytic Center argues “the inclusion of the inclusion of our country into the Russian Federation really will not arise, but the problem is elsewhere: the Kremlin plans to deprive Belarus of real sovereignty, to convert it into a BSSR-2, leaving it with nominal independence” (belprauda.org/krasnye-flazhki-v-soyuznom-stroitelstve-rossiya-pytaetsya-prevratit-belarus-v-bssr-2/). Such an approach will give Moscow everything it wants without the risk of a serious reaction in Belarus or the West, because Alyaksandr Lukashenka can avoid talking about what is going on and because many in the West will assume that as long as Belarus has a flag and diplomatic representations abroad nothing has happened that it must react to. On this issue as earlier during the economic crisis, Yeliseyev says, “Lukashenka conduct himself in the Soviet style, either minimizing or publicly denying the problem. In his April message to the parliament and the people, for example, Lukashenka did not in fact mention Russia although over the last year, this is the most important problem for the country.” Lukashenka is clearly playing for time and may even believe that the situation is such that he can win out by employing the tactics he has in the past, the analyst says; but in fact, the Kremlin has clearly made its choice; and there is no obvious path to “salvation” for the Belarusian state.
Lawmakers and members of civil society are calling for Moldova’s Prosecutor General to step down. Eduard Harunjen has served in this post since 2016, but is now
Alexander Malkevich, whose employees were detained in Libya, is part of Moscow’s efforts to create a “concert of chaos” around the globe.
Is America using the Nord Stream-2 Gas Pipeline as a target for its hostility toward Russia? For those monitoring Russia policy, the Democratic Party debates proved something of a welcome relief. After all the ink and airtime devoted to Russia in American media over the last three years, questions related to Russia hardly came up at all. It has indeed been profoundly disturbing for this sometimes “Russia-hand” to watch the total conflation (and yes, denigration) of American foreign policy with domestic politics in regards to this crucial bilateral relationship. Still, it seems U.S.-Russia relations are hardly out of the woods. Many foreign-policy aficionados did not take kindly to President Donald Trump appearing to share a joke over alleged election meddling with President Vladimir Putin at the G20 in Osaka. All joking aside, the reality is that this most fundamental relationship continues to list badly and is in real danger of sinking in the abyss. Despite having a U.S. president that is allegedly pro-Russian, the United States and Russia have now witnessed the dangerous escalation of military conflicts in both Ukraine and Syria, the deployment of more U.S. forces into Eastern Europe, along with ever larger NATO exercises along Russia’s flanks, not to mention the near complete collapse of essential arms control initiatives, along with a dangerous political crisis over the future of Venezuela. Perhaps these tendencies should not be surprising, given a generation of American foreign policy elites raised on watching The Americans. And European friends have been able to enjoy the similarly titillating Occupied, a Norwegian series depicting a Russian conquest of that country. Who needs truth or rationality when all can be cleverly explained by Hollywood’s geopolitically inclined “artists” or the Norwegian equivalent? Never mind that Maria Butina was never in the same league as the beguiling Kerri Russell. However, let us return to reality and briefly examine the crucial issue of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline that will connect Russia and Germany to see where the interminable Russia hysterics now lead. An article from late June in the Russian language business-oriented newspaper Kommersant reviewed the current bidding, noting that the Congress could be close to passing a law entitled “Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act of 2019.” According to this article, “In fact, the legislation is aimed against ‘Nord Stream-2’ and ‘Turkish Stream’ [Фактически законопроект направлен против проектов ‘Северный поток-2’ и ‘Турецкий поток’].” With some evident relief, the article notes that the “law is not likely to directly influence the building of the gas pipeline” under the Baltic, and that line is expected in this analysis to be completed in November 2019. Likewise, the “Turkish Stream” pipe is already laid across the Black Sea, so its completion will not be blocked by U.S. legislation, according to this report. The fate of the Baltic route apparently depends to a high degree on the Swiss firm Allseas. The Kommersant article observes that the Swiss company does not have major projects in the United States. Another analysis in the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta agrees, contending that Allseas is a “family business” and, furthermore, that its “orders with Gazprom are very important to the business [заказы ‘Газпрома’ для нее очень важны].” The second analysis explains that the pipe is now being laid in Finnish waters, and that such underwater work is 60 percent complete. Citing the expert Igor Yushkov from the Finance University of the Russian government, the point is made that Russia faces some risk because Gazprom does not possess the capabilities to lay the pipe on its own. It is reported that the only candidate Russian vessel, the Professor Cherski [Академик Черский] currently remains at anchor “without moving [без движения]” in the very distant Pacific port of Nachodka. But, in the end, Yushkov projects that “the gas pipeline will nevertheless be completed.” He maintains that “ in Europe, everyone knows extremely well why the USA is so actively opposing North Stream-2 [в Европе все прекрасно понимают, почему США так активно противодействуют СП-2]. He accuses Washington of wanting to demonstrate the undependability of Moscow as a supplier, to raise the price, and to gain market share for American gas producers. America’s hostility toward the new Russian pipelines is rather bipartisan, but the mood in Berlin in decidedly unsympathetic to Washington’s concerns. After the last few years of tumult, it seems the German foreign policy elite is not so enthusiastic about American leadership. For example, a February 2019 analysis published by the Berlin-based SWP (Institute for International and Security Affairs), Europe’s largest think tank, argues that the American attempt to limit Russian gas imports to Europe is “aimed squarely at the German federal government, which was described by President … Trump as a ‘prisoner of Russia.’” In the very first sentence of the analysis, the authors candidly state: “The increased use of economic instruments of power in U.S.policy towards Russia is negatively affecting European and German interests.” The German analysis is based primarily on price calculations, but also opposes American restrictions on European autonomy, noting the impact of new U.S. sanctions on Russia for “EU-based companies . . . is serious.” Left unspoken, of course, are the very substantial geopolitical arguments that actually favor German-Russian partnership. Was not the bloodiest battle of the bloodiest campaign of the bloodiest war in world history fought between these titans? After nearly three centuries of ferocious rivalry over Eastern Europe, moreover, it is not time to focus on peace, partnership and prosperity? Instead of Americans trying every form of stunt to decouple Russia from Europe, they should alternatively strive for enhanced interdependence and an inclusive European security architecture that offers Moscow a seat at the table. It is not all that far-fetched as the recent news regarding Russia’s reinstated voting rights at the Council of Europe suggest. Positive movement on the delicate issue of Ukraine can help along the process of reconciliation, moreover. Russia’s early 2019 agreement to enable German and French experts to monitor the Kerch Strait is certainly a move in the right direction. Still, more than a few opportunists, on both sides of the Atlantic, continue to try to stoke hostilities with Russia. One shudders to think how many cyber-security firms would be put out of business if Russia’s relationship with the West were to substantially improve. Many Washington think tanks would also have to shed legions of young “hybrid warfare” experts. One dependable way to get the media talking up the Russian threat once more will be to chew over the July 2014 downing of Malaysian airliner yet again. That sad and preventable tragedy took the lives of 283 people. No journalists, however, have apparently thought to ask why it was that a civilian airliner was allowed to over-fly an active war zone, which had already witnessed the shoot down of numerous aircraft in the months prior to this incident. Of course, that would probably shift blame to both the airline and also the air-controllers who plan routes at the Dutch airport of origin, not to mention European aviation authorities. As any military analyst knows well, the “fog of war” is intense and civil wars are particularly cruel. Aware of that fundamental reality, Europe, Russia and the United States should join together to salve the wounds of the last five years, putting aside the stampede to place all blame on one side or the other. Volodymyr Zelensky appears to have defied the “experts,” and been elected with a landslide victory on a platform of peace and compromise. If and when such a peace initiative genuinely materializes, that effort should be supported to the utmost. The peoples of Eastern Europe, and Ukraine in particular, need healing and reconciliation, not further escalation, nor irrational and inefficient economic “decoupling.”
But the case differs from the scandal that brought down Austria’s government in May.
Prosecutors in Milan have opened an investigation into possible charges of international corruption, amid fresh claims that representatives from Matteo Salvini’s League party discussed a funding scheme with Russia to plug a black hole in the League’s finances, according to a person briefed on the investigation.
Italian prosecutors are investigating allegations of illicit Russian funding of the far-right League party of Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, media reports said on July 11.
Media reports say the ruling party discussed an oil deal and Russian funding at a secret meeting.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy had a phone conversation with President of Russia Vladimir Putin on July 11. The key issue was the release of captured military seamen. The interlocutors touched upon the return of other Ukrainian citizens detained in the territory of Russia. The parties also discussed the continuation of the negotiations in the Normandy format.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy have held their first telephone call and discussed the conflict in eastern Ukraine as well as swapping prisoners.
Zelenskyy talks to Putin over phone. They discussed the release of Ukrainian sailors. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
On July 11 the press services of Russian and Ukrainian Presidents reported that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President …
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his first telephone conversation with President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky, the Kremlin press service told UNIAN. The conversation took place on the initiative of the Ukrainian side. “Issues of settlement in the south-east of Ukraine and joint work on the return of persons held by both sides were discussed. An agreement was reached to continue this work at the expert level,” the statement said. Read alsoPutin responds to Zelensky’s proposal to hold talks on Ukraine The leaders of the two countries discussed the possibility of working in the Normandy format, said the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, according to Vedomosti. Putin andZelensky agreed to continue this work at the expert level.
Russia is ready for negotiations on Ukraine in any format, but the meeting should be well-prepared, and a government should be formed in Kyiv, Russian President Vladimir Putin says. The Russian president says he is ready to negotiate on Ukraine in any format.
Vladislav Surkov, the assistant of Putin to participate in Normandy talks session in Paris
The visit of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to the United States where he will meet U.S. President Donald Trump should be expected in the near future, says Bohdan Yaremenko, a foreign policy and security expert. According to the expert, neither Kyiv nor Washington has any reason to delay or postpone the trip, Yaremenko told the Segodnya newspaper. “Through the foreign ministry, the dates will be clarified that will be acceptable to both parties. Often it is difficult to do, because presidents have schedules planned for months ahead. But I see no reason to make any delays. In principle, there is an upward trend between Ukraine and the United States. Countries are reproaching each other. Ukraine needs the United States. And the United States has no reason to hesitate with such a meeting to accept President Zelensky,” says Yaremenko.
The U.S. House of Representatives has adopted an amendment to the fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill that includes the ban on conducting any transactions with the Russian sovereign debt. The move aims to punish Russia for interfering in U.S. elections.
The European Union’s General Court on July 11 has annulled asset freezes imposed on former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, his son Oleksandr, and five other associates.
OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger hopes that a meeting of political advisers to the Heads of State and Government of the Normandy Four countries on July 12 will restore the work of the Normandy format and provide political setting for the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk. — Ukrinform.
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine refused to support the presidential draft resolution on the dismissal of Pavlo Klimkin from the post of Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, according to an UNIAN correspondent. There were fewer than 100 deputies in the session hall as the issue was being considered.
Parliament refuses to dismiss foreign minister again. The minster, who is currently on a political vacation, keeps the post. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine hopes for a speedy resumption of dialogue between Ukrainian and Polish experts to study controversial issues regarding the tragic events that unfolded in Volyn [Volhynia] region in 1943-1945, the ministry wrote in a statement released on the anniversary of the Volyn tragedy. At the same time, Ukrainian diplomats do not agree with the one-sided and politicized assessment of the tragic events of 1943-1944 by the Polish side.
President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid has appointed Kaimo Kuusk as new ambassador to Ukraine. — Ukrinform.
The Prosecutor General’s office of Russia recognized the Canadian non-governmental organization Ukrainian World Congress as undesirable. The statement of the Prosecutor General notes that the activities of the organization pose a threat to the foundations of the constitutional system, as well as the security of Russia. Ukrainian World Congress was established in 1967 in the USA. Now the headquarters of the organization is in Toronto. The website of the organization says that the Ukrainian World Congress is a coordinator for Ukrainian diasporas around the world. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the law on undesirable organizations in May 2015. Organizations that are included in the list are not allowed to work in Russia, and any cooperation with them is banned. Any non-governmental organization that, in the opinion of the Attorney General or his Deputy, poses a “threat to the security of the country and the foundations of the constitutional order” may be considered undesirable. When the organization is included in the list of undesirable organizations, all the bank accounts of the organization are frozen, and all its branches must also be closed. Violators of the law can be fined up to 500 thousand rubles and can be imprisoned for up to eight years.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine considers disgraceful the decision of Russia’s General Prosecutor’s Office to recognize activity of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) as “undesirable,” violating the rights of the Ukrainian minority in the Russian Federation, and calls upon the world community to increase pressure.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has expressed resolute protest against the decision of the Prosecutor General of Russia on recognizing as “undesirable” the activities of the Ukrainian World Congress. The ministry added that Ukraine was ready to take all steps necessary in response to this “shameful” decision of the aggressor state.
Ukraine and Moldova remain not only neighbors, but also immutable and reliable partners. It was stated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a press conference with Prime Minister of Moldova Maia Sandu on July 11 in Kyiv.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held a meeting with the Prime Minister of Moldova Maia Sandu in Kyiv. During the joint briefing, the …
Ukraine and Moldova share the common goal: European integration and implementation of an association agreement with the EU. — Ukrinform.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expects that a new Moldovan government will continue to support the sovereignty of Ukraine, and assures of full support of the territorial integrity of Moldova. — Ukrinform.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky discussed with Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova Maia Sandu the prospects for uniting the energy grids of the two countries with that of continental Europe. Also, the president noted that in 2018, the trade turnover between Ukraine and Moldova amounted to almost $1 billion.
Nataliya Gumenyuk on Twitter: “Impressive meeting with new prime minister of Moldova @sandumaiamd with Ukrainian experts and civil society, who is going to meet President @ZelenskyyUa strongly believe democratic Ukraine helps democratic Moldova and vice versa… https://t.co/WbKRUpJ05y”
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky stresses the inadmissibility of anyone imposing any plans on the so-called federalization of Ukraine and Moldova. The president says Ukraine and Moldova are united by a common desire to have no Russian troops in their territories.
Russia is actively lobbying for the restoration of water supplies to Russia-occupied Crimea using the North-Crimean Canal, the public organization Information Resistance (IR) has said.
Chemical water contamination disaster is observed in the village of Koktebel in occupied Crimea. The sea water studies showed that the content of ammonium ion exceeds the norm by 168 times. — Ukrinform.
The scenario of the Crimea return has not even started to be implemented yet, said former representative of the President of Ukraine in Crimea, Borys Babin. It should involve several stages, he told Apostrophe. “Now we have not even started implementing it. We have not even stopped Russian aggression. Now there is a scenario underway of them using Crimea as an instrument of aggression against Ukraine. The Russian strategy is not broken, it is on offensive, while we keep holding some meetings and complain. We have no action plan. The main task for today is not a direct military confrontation with Russia, God forbid. This is about a complex of measures of economic impact. And today, unfortunately, it can be stated that the state is on a very wrong path when we want to help the aggressor state under certain pretexts to strengthen its economic potential. This is a path leading nowhere,” notes Babin. According to the ex-envoy, the option with a gradually weakening Russia and its withdrawal from Crimea is quite realistic. Babin compares such possible pullback with the withdrawal of Soviet troops from East Germany and Poland before the collapse of the USSR. “This is an absolutely realistic way, but a large military component is still needed. The first thing is the ability to resist the escalation of Russian aggression, whether we are ready for this. Another thing is the ability to counteract sabotage efforts and provocations carried out by the Russians. We already had a blatant case called the ‘Kerch incident’, where the Russians captured our three naval… And are we ready to return fire when Russians are shooting at us? As it turned out, we’re not. Are we even ready to sink the vessels so that the enemy doesn’t get them? It appeared that we aren’t,” says Babin. The ex-official believes that the main task of the Ukrainian military is to prevent the escalation on the part of Russia and to be ready to enter Crimea after the withdrawal of Russian troops. “The main task of the military today is to prevent… to make sure that the Russians don’t even think about it. And later, when the situation leads to the Russians needing to evacuate, they will not leave a single nail driven into the wall in Crimea. There will be chaos, ruins, sabotage, provocations, attempts to escalate interethnic confrontation. Therefore, operations to de-occupy Crimea should be carried out in such a format (rather than having active hostilities with the Russians, we should have effective control over own territory). Imagine that tomorrow some global conflict emerges involving the Russian Federation, and they leave Crimea. Can we expect it? But could we expect the collapse of the USSR back in 1989? That is, everything can happen, but we are absolutely not ready for it. The military component is needed because when we don’t have it, others talk to us as to a dancer whose legs have been cut to knees,”Babin concluded.
A resident of the occupied Bakhchisarai, a Crimean Tatar Fakhri Mustafayev, was found dead near Bakhchisaray in the Russian-occupied Crimea. The man had gone missing July 10.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has lodged its protest over the detention of 45 Crimean Tatars near the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in Moscow. — Ukrinform.
Several dozen Crimean Tatar activists, who had been arrested on Thursday in Moscow for holding a rally near the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, were freed at night. — Ukrinform.
The area was being used during a U.S.-Ukraine-led exercise in the Black Sea.
From day-start in Donbas, occupiers fired at units of the Joint Forces 11 times. Ukraine positions were fired upon from 122 mm artillery systems, 120 mm and 82 mm mortars prohibited by the Minsk agreements.
12.07.19 10:28 – 24 attacks against JFO positions yesterday: Ukrainian soldier killed, three terrorists destroyed July 11, armed formations of the Russian Federation violated ceasefire 24 times, using weapons banned under the Minsk agreements 11 times. View news.
On July 11, Russian occupation forces in Donbas 24 times violated the ceasefire, including 11 times with the use of weapons proscribed by the Minsk agreements, that is, 122 mm artillery systems and 120 mm and 82 mm mortars. One soldier was killed in action, while two Ukrainian military were wounded.
An enemy sniper has killed Ukrainian soldier Volodymyr Salitra, a 29-year-old resident of Lviv region, in the area of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) in Donbas, the press service of the Zhovkva District State Administration has reported. — Ukrinform.
Ukraine’s Joint Forces operating in the Donbas warzone have destroyed an enemy “Gvozdika” self-propelled howitzer. The Gvozdika, which is banned by the Minsk agreements, was spotted by a UAV.
During a press briefing, the speaker of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry Maxime Prout said that during this summer, Russia has already provided …
The soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, who were affected in the attack near the village of Hranytne, Donetsk region, on the Joint Forces’ convoy, were escorting the head of the Donetsk Regional State Administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko, without due coordination with the HQ, says volunteer and Donbas war veteran Myroslav Hai. First, the authorities were supposed to launch a probe before voicing any conclusions over the incident.
U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore says 5 million people are directly affected by ongoing hostilities along the contact line, the area that separates the two warring forces in Donbas, eastern Ukraine. Thirteen people have been killed and 78 injured this year alone.
Today, July 11, Ukraine commemorates the 5th anniversary of one of the most tragic events in the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war. On the night of July 10-11, 2014, a unit of Russian artillery equipped with jet-propelled missiles opened fire on the Ukrainian troops near the village of Zelenopillia in the Luhansk region. The fire was opened treacherously, from the Russian territory, and caused a heavy damage to the Ukrainian troops. Thirty Ukrainian Army servicemen and 6 border patrol troops lost their lives. This even can be regarded as the first case when regular Russian army units attacked Ukraine directly, without even crossing the Ukrainian border being masked as “hybrid” armed groups. Since then, the shelling of the Ukrainian territory from the Russian territory became routine. The rocket fire was controlled with the help of Russian UAV Orlan-10.
In the course of the working trip to the Dnipropetrovsk region, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited “O. M. Makarov Production Association Southern Machine-Building Plant” State Enterprise and “M. K. Yangel Design Bureau Pivdenne” State Enterprise. CEO of Pivdenmash Serhiy Voyt told the President about the work of the enterprise, its developments and prospects. He also demonstrated the samples of production of the state enterprise. During the conversation, the President raised the issue of involving young specialists in the work of the enterprises for the production development. According to the executives, they constantly cooperate, in particular, with talented students of specialized higher education institutions, but higher salaries are needed to keep them at work. In addition, the executives stressed that the upgrade of the facilities and equipment would give a boost to the enterprises. The parties also discussed the need for public contracts.
Bringing to justice those responsible for abuse of power is the right step, but the current situation in Ukraine is not comparable to that which was after the Revolution of Dignity, the ambassadors of the Group of Seven (G7) said.
The G7 Ambassadors to Ukraine consider that prosecution of those guilty or abusing their office is the right step, noting that the current situation in Ukraine is not comparable to that after the Revolution of Dignity. — Ukrinform.
12.07.19 15:22 – G7 Ambassadors doubt feasibility of Zelenskyi’s idea on lustration The prosecution of accused in abuse of power is the right step but the current situation in Ukraine is comparable to that after the Revolution of Dignity as G7 Ambassadors reported. View news.
Ambassadors of the G7 countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, and Japan – have criticized Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s initiative to extend lustration to the president and other high-ranking officials who held positions since February 23, 2014. The presidential bill was registered in the Verkhovna Rada.
12.07.19 16:26 – Poroshenko criticizes Zelenskyi’s idea of new lustration in Ukraine Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, currently the leader of the European Solidarity party, said he believes President Volodymyr Zelenskyi’s idea to extend the effect of the law on lustration to broader categories of public officials… View news.
A bill, submitted by President Volodymyr Zelensky, on expanding lustration procedures to include the president, ministers, people’s deputies, and other top officials who occupied positions from February 23, 2014, to May 19, 2019, and those who were not dismissed from their respective positions during this period on their own accord, has been registered in the Verkhovna Rada. The corresponding draft law of July 11, 2019, is posted on the parliament’s website.
The State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) did not conduct any investigative actions in the Office of the President of Ukraine on Thursday, July 11.
Peace with Russia would not come after the parliamentary elections. The team of Volodymyr Zelensky makes it clearer and clearer every day. Yesterday Mykyta Poturaev, a candidate from the Servant of the People party, proposed to rename Russia to Moscovia and deprive it of the right to the Russian language. Poturayev is not just a candidate from the Servant of the People list. He is also an adviser to Zelensky, as well as one of his main political consultants. In general, after the story with the Ukraine-Russia television “bridge,” Zelensky showed how they really relate to reconciliation, without which there will be no settlement of the Donbas conflict. Poturaev came to an interview with Ukrlife YouTube channel. He suggested calling the Russian Federation Moscovia and rename the Ukrainian language into Russian. This idea came to Poturaev in connection with the supposedly urgent need to stop using “alien discourses.” Poturaev also expressed the version that Russia is “temporarily uncontrolled territories of the Chinese Republic.” And then he put forward his second idea on renaming the Russian language. In his opinion, it is needed in order to disavow the image of the Russian Federation as a protector of Russian-speaking people. Related: Ukrainian authorities done nothing for the citizens of Donbas and the Crimea, – Zelensky Zelensky’s advisor did not clarify whether these renames would be recognized all over the world — and in Russia itself. Because if they do not recognize it, then nothing will prevent the Russian Federation from continuing to pursue its discourse. That is, Russian policy will not change. Or the number of hotbeds of tension between countries would increase. For example, if the Russian Federation and Ukraine ever begin to sign treaties, then the stumbling block could be the name of Russia, which Poturayev proposed to call Moscovia. These statements about Moscovia is another symptom that the president actually does not have any plans. Otherwise, they would not keep a person with such an attitude towards the northern neighbor in their team. Related: Donbas war: One Ukrainian soldier dies Moreover, it was not a secret for a long time. Another sign that the anti-Russian discourse will be the main one for Zelensky was an attack on the NewsOne TV channel. The president and the Security Service behaved like Poroshenko. On NewsOne, which is owned by the associate of Viktor Medvedchuk (Russia’s Putin is a godfather of Medvedchuk’s daughter, – ed.) and MP from the Opposition Platform – For Life party, Taras Kozak, conceived a television “bridge” with journalists from Russia24 channel. This caused a fierce reaction of the nationalists. The radicals announced that they would press NewsOne hard, and if they did hold the space bridge, they would burn it. And even Zelensky, when he spoke with a video message, admitted that activists might crush the editorial board. However, the president did not warn them of a crime. On the contrary, he turned the arrows on Russia, saying that she could use pogrom against Ukraine in the international arena. In parallel, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) recommended the National Security Council to impose sanctions against NewsOne. That is, actually, Bakanov proposed closing the channel. In addition, he demanded that the Antimonopoly Committee and the National Council on TV deal with the channel. Prosecutor General’s Office opened a case on state treason on the TV channel, the president did not criticize it; that is, he apparently agrees with this approach. Zelensky himself literally yesterday again supported the attack on NewsOne TV channel. Related: NewsOne TV channel turns to international organizations due to pressure and threats “The monopolization of television space by people with pro-Russian views is unacceptable,” he said. He added that this issue will be settled at the legislative level after the election of a new Verkhovna Rada. However, less than two weeks are left before the elections – and during this time, even if you want to turn off the channel, you will not have time for it. But there is a risk that the attack will continue. And how to measure the pro-Russian views? In fact, Zelensky’s statements on the eve of the elections about the need for negotiations with Putin or repeated statements by the owner of 1 + 1 oligarch Ihor Kolomoysky that civil conflict is occurring in our country might be called so. The situation with NewsOne has two aspects that go beyond the conflict around the television “bridge.” And they are directly related to the trick of Poturaev. The first is politically applied. Zelensky openly “smashes up” his competitors – The Opposition Platform – and the media resources related to it. The Platform steals the voices of the Servant of the People in the southeast at a rate of 4-5% per month. Zelensky came to power as a politician of the “new wave”. And he seems not to face so frankly, using administrative resources, to arrange repression against competitors two weeks before the elections. However, after yesterday’s incident in Boryspil, when Zelensky was roughly expelled from a meeting of a local MP, many overestimated their attitude towards him. He showed that he himself still lives in terms of the “faking system”, which he enthusiastically criticized. The second point is an attack on the very ideology of reconciliation with Russia, which is promoted by The Opposition Platform. At one time it was believed that Zelensky was jealous of The Opposition Platform because he himself wants to reap the laurels of the peacemaker. Simply, he is not ready to act as quickly as Medvedchuk because of a number of restrictions – obligations to the West, the factor of radicals and fear of losing the votes of Maidan supporters. However, if this were so, Zelensky would try to somehow replay the “Platform” in the field of agreements with the Russian Federation. Moreover, he has much more opportunities for this. It was possible to try to release at least some of the prisoners. Or to begin gas negotiations at the level of specialists, even if they do not have the authority, but there is Kyiv’s desire to break at least some ice. Finally, one could refrain from caustic comments about Russia and Putin, which only complicate the situation. However, instead, Zelensky is starting repressions against the media. And if earlier Zelensky was able to bypass sharp corners, now they are quite openly switching to anti-Russian rhetoric. And this can hardly be explained by purely electoral considerations. The country is simply being prepared for the fact that expectations for a change, of course, are in vain. And it will be all the old, albeit with new faces. Well, or not at all with the new ones.
Deputy head of Ukraine’s National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting (NCTRB) Uliana Feshchuk has said there is no evidence of a connection between television channels 112.Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK with Opposition Bloc – For Life’s political council head Viktor Medvedchuk.
Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Andry Paruby stated that he cannot sign the law on temporary investigation commissions with norms of impeachment instead of the president
The Verkhovna Rada adopted the new Electoral Code in violation of its regulations, that’s according to the president’s envoy to Parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk. At the same time, Stefanchuk reaffirms the president and his party’s support for the concept of open and transparent party lists at parliamentary elections.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed Yuriy Artemenko as a member of the National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting. — Ukrinform.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky assures that the funds for the reconstruction of the Dnipropetrovsk International Airport in Dnipro city will be allocated. — Ukrinform.
Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy has summarized the achievements of the parliament of the eighth convocation. — Ukrinform.
People who say imitation is the greatest form of flattery have probably never run for election in Ukraine. Candidates in the July 21 parliamentary vote are facing stiff competition not only from le…
Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has adopted a law allowing the forcible chemical castration of pedophiles.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy is on a working visit to the Dnipropetrovsk region. He got acquainted with the plan of reconstruction of the international airport of Dnipro, the main component of which is the construction of a new runway.
The level of shadow economy in Ukraine in 2018 decreased by 2 percentage points (p.p.) compared to 2017, to 30% of the volume of official GDP, which is the lowest indicator since 2009, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade has reported.
EU sends experienced experts to Ukraine to help state aid system reform. The EU project involves 15 senior experts. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
New Safe Confinement seals the remains of the fourth reactor at the nuclear plant that was the site of the massive Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
The brutal legacy of industrialization left the “scientific-technical intelligentsia” in the cold.
Paul Goble Staunton, July 11 – Ukraine’s achievement of autocephaly for its Orthodox church has sparked interest in such a move toward independence from the Moscow Patriarchate not only in Belarus (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/01/prospects-for-belarusian-autocephaly.html) but elsewhere as well, now including Latvia and Lithuania. Orthodoxy has existed on the territory of the Baltic states for more than 700 years, and the status of the church and the political situation of each has always interacted. (For the complicated history of that interrelationship in Estonia which now has two Orthodox hierarchies, seewindowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/10/does-estonias-history-with-two-orthodox.html.) Now, inspired by what has taken place in Ukraine, officials and possibly some Orthodox parishioners and even hierarchs in Latvia and Lithuania are talking about separating their respective churches from the Moscow Patriarchate and transferring their allegiance to the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople as the Ukrainians have done. The situation in the two countries with respect to the subordination of the Orthodox church is different. The Latvian Orthodox Church is a self-administrating church with broad autonomy but it recognizes itself as being on the canonical territory of the Moscow church and Moscow appoints its hierarchs. The Orthodox church in Lithuania, in contrast, is not autonomous from the Russian church but rather a bishopric like any other within the Russian Orthodox Church with its finances, personnel and practices determined and controlled by Moscow alone, although many of its leaders have been strikingly pro-Lithuanian. Lenta journalist Denis Kishinevsky discusses the situation in both and the state of play between those who seek autocephaly to enhance national unity, to provide better service to Ukrainian Orthodox on their territories, or to boost the power of these churches within Latvia and Lithuania and those who oppose any change (lenta.ru/articles/2019/07/11/baltic/). As one would expect, the situations are different and extremely complicated. In Latvia last month, the parliament unanimously approved amendments to the country’s law on the Orthodox Church that now require that all archbishops, bishops and candidates for those positions be citizens of Latvia and have lived in Latvia for no less the ten years preceding such assignments. Many ethnic Russians in Latvia, who form the overwhelming majority of the 16 percent of the Latvian population which identifies as Orthodox, are furious. They see this as an unconstitutional attack on their religious freedom and a violation of traditional understandings. As one put it, Riga must recognize that Latvia is part of “the canonical territory of the ROC.” Many from among this community see this parliamentary move as intended to separate them from Moscow and thus reinforce Latvian independence. But others think more many be involved. Janis Jurkans, former Latvian foreign minister, notes that Latvian officials have raided the offices of the Roman Catholic Church in Latvia. That never happened even in Communist times, he says, and thus the moves against the Orthodox church appear to be moves against all religions and any independent civil society in Latvia. Other Latvians, however, see what is going on is simply the levelling of the status of the Orthodox and Catholics in their country. But Nikita Andreyev, a specialist on religion at the University of Latvia, offers yet another interpretation of what is going on. He says that Riga “in fact doesn’t want to allow a Ukrainian scenario” to occur in Latvia and by its actions is strengthening the position of the Russian Orthodox Church. He reminds that “on the territory of the republic, besides the official Latvian Orthodox Church, there exists a second Latvian Orthodox Church which is independent of the Moscow Patriarchate and formally subordinate to Constantinople. Its hierarchs aspire to control the parishes now under the jurisdiction of the LOC.” By taking the steps it has, Andreyev continues, the Latvian parliament has strengthened the position of the Moscow church lest “’the flames of a split’ jump from Ukraine to the Baltic.” Many hierarchs in the LOC are thus happy with this situation because it gives them greater power vis-à-vis Moscow and vis-à-vis those it views as splitters within the Orthodox community. Andreyev’s interpretation may explain the reaction among Orthodox to the Latvian government’s moves. The Moscow Patriarchate has denounced the Latvian action in the strongest terms (vesti.ru/videos/show/vid/802603/cid/1/), but the hierarchs of the LOC in Latvia have remained silent, reflecting divisions within the church on how to deal with this situation. Meanwhile, in Lithuania, the situation is evolving as well. Since the restoration of independence in 1991, Vilnius has not interfered in the internal affairs of the Orthodox eparchate, choosing instead to return to the church the property it had before 1940 and to allow the church to operate without restrictions. The leadership of the eparchate in turn has been both loyal to Lithuania and sharply critical of Russia. Metropolitan Chrysostos in fact condemned the Soviet use of force against Lithuanians in January 1991. And the small Orthodox community, some 140,000 people or five percent of the country’s population, has had few problems. But after Ukraine achieved autocephaly, many commentators in Lithuania began to suggest that their country should seek the same for its Orthodox, although up to now, Kishinevsky says, Lithuanian officials and politicians have not followed their lead. (Seelrt.lt/naujienos/nuomones/3/230385/r-bogdanas-ka-dabar-darys-lietuvos-staciatikiai.)Most Lithuanian advocates of autocephaly for the Lithuanian Orthodox do so by underscoring their concern for local Ukrainians. Approximately 20,000 live in Lithuania on a permanent basis, and another 18,000 on temporary work permits. These form a significant part of the Orthodox faithful in that Baltic republic. Orthodox Ukrainians in Lithuania, now that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is autocephalous, should have the opportunity to worship in churches subordinate not to Moscow but to Constantinople, autocephaly advocates say (alfa.lt/straipsnis/50385427/ukrainieciu-autokefalijos-aidas-lietuvoje). Whether their arguments will gain political traction remains very much an open question.