Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Arms control / NATO update. Russian capers in RoK ADIZ result in some truly bizarre propaganda emanating from Muscovy. A dozen very interesting reports on Russia.
Ukraine IR update. RUSI report on Russia’s covert invasion of Ukraine. Hryb update. Hostage and Crimea updates.
Donbas update – Russians violate ceasefire after a day, costing them 3 KIA. Defense industry update.
Much on the election. The Hill’s report on the sorry Firtash case suggests there will be no shortage of embarrassment ahead.
ROC updates in Ukraine and Russia.
Whenever Moscow starts talking about preserving world peace through arms control, we should know from long experience — they are lying.
Two armies of Russia’s Southern Military District on July 24 began a large-scale military exercise in the region ahead of a scheduled NATO exercise in Georgia, TASS reported, citing the district…
A U.S. Air Force F-35A Lighting II and F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets are forward deploying to bases in the territory of NATO allies in order to enhance readiness and improve interoperability as part of Operation Rapid Forge. According to a news release put out by U.S. Air Forces Europe, Rapid Forge is a U.S. Air Forces in Europe-sponsored training event designed to enhance interoperability with NATO allies and partners, improve readiness and sharpen operational capabilities. Fighter and mobility aircraft again deployed to bases in Poland, Latvia and Estonia today as part of the exercise. F-15E Strike Eagles and MC-130J Commando II aircraft arrived at Amari AB, Estonia, to conduct refueling operations. Strike Eagles and C-130J Super Hercules aircraft also arrived at Powidz Air Base, Poland, to conduct refueling and rearming using inert munitions. Also F-35A jets arrived at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia, as part of Operation Rapid Forge, along with F-15E Strike Eagles and C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. Participation in multinational exercises and operations like Rapid Forge enhances professional relationships and improves coordination between allies. The F-35s are deployed from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill AFB, Utah. F-15E Strike Eagles are deployed from the 4th FW, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Both squadrons of fighter jets are operating out of Spangdahlem AB, Germany. The MC-130J aircraft are from the 352nd Special Operations Wing at RAF Mildenhall, England, and the C-130J aircraft are from the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein AB, Germany, and from the 317th AW deployed to Ramstein from Dyess AFB, Texas.
The blame for Ankara’s antagonistic stance to Washington lies with both sides, a product of decades of misunderstandings.
In light of yesterday’s joint Russia-China “Right of Passage” flight through the Korean Air Defense Zone, which Russia and China claim is international airspace, this article takes on a whole new meeting. This article uses joint land-based exercises, last year, as a demonstration of their cooperation, but yesterday’s flight is more recent, and in many ways, more visible to the West. The information warfare both Russia and China use against the West is based on Putin’s IW handbook. </end editorial>
South Korean officials say Russia has expressed “deep regret” over the intrusion of one of its military aircraft into South Korean airspace.
Russia expressed “deep regret” over one of its warplanes entering into South Korea’s airspace during its first joint air patrol with China Tuesday and promised to launch an investigation into the incident, South Korea’s presidential office said Wednesday.
Russia has told South Korea that the latest airspace intrusion by one of its warplanes was not intentional and was probably caused by a technical glitch, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Wednesday. Expressing “deep regret” over the latest incident, Russia said that a technical problem probably caused the plane to intrude into areas it had not planned to go to.”Russia said its defense ministry…
Russia’s defense ministry would immediately launch an investigation and take all necessary steps, Russian officer told South Korea, according to Yonhap.
Russia has disputed that one of its military aircraft violated South Korea’s national airspace over disputed islets in the Sea of Japan, as well as reports that South Korean fighter jets fired approximately 360 20mm cannon shells in a series of warning shots during the altercation. The incident occurred during a joint Russian-Chinese aerial patrol involving two Tu-95MS Bear bombers and an A-50 Mainstay airborne early warning and control aircraft from Russia’s military flying together with a pair of China’s H-6K bombers.
BEIJING (Sputnik) – Russian and Chinese military aircraft did not violate the airspace of other countries during joint patrols over the Sea of Japan, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian told a press conference on Wednesday.
Tensions between powers in East Asia escalated after Russian and Chinese bombers carried out a joint patrol over international waters over the Sea of Japan/East Sea. The flights led Seoul to scramble fighters and summon the Russian and Chinese ambassadors, while Tokyo lodged its own protest against both Russia and South Korea over the incident.
Sputnik Published on Jul 23, 2019
South Korea says Russia initially apologised for violating its airspace – which Moscow has now denied.
South Korean air force jets fired 360 rounds of warning shots Tuesday after a Russian military plane twice violated South Korea’s airspace off the country’s eastern coast, Seoul officials said in an announcement that was quickly disputed by Russia. South Korea said three Russian military planes
Japan’s military scrambled fighter aircraft to intercept Russian and Chinese planes, it said on Tuesday, including an observation jet at which South Korean forces fired warning shots after it entered airspace over an island claimed by both Seoul and Tokyo. Japan, like South Korea, identified two
Firing more than 350 rounds in warning off a Russian radar aircraft that twice entered its airspace on Tuesday, South Korea signaled its resolve to Russia, China, and indirectly, also North Korea.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a clear message on Tuesday: They are ready to test the limits of their budding military partnership in the Pacific.
Warplanes from four countries faced off Tuesday in a chaotic and unprecedented confrontation above a small, disputed island off the coast of South Korea and Japan.
Russia and China have agreed to transition to an international payments mechanism that is independent of SWIFT, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseyev told Reuters in an interview. A corresponding point was included in the international agreement to develop payments in national currencies that was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum in June. At present, China is the most “dollarized” market of all that Russia trades with, using the American currency in 75.8% of contracts. In order to “rectify” the situation, “it will suffice for there to be a convenient Loro-Nostro accounts infrastructure, and now the most important issue is the transmission of financial instructions,” said Moiseyev. The Bank of Russia launched a Russian equivalent of SWIFT (SPFS) in December 2014 after sanctions called for Russia to be disconnected from the international payment system. However, the subsidiaries of Chinese banks in Russia are not eager to connect to it: as of 1 July, there was only one bank with Chinese capital – the Bank of China. Beijing is insisting on using China’s yuan currency in payments. “Our Chinese colleagues are correct to point out that the yuan is an international reserve currency, part of the IMF’s basket. Many central banks invest in the yuan, including the Bank of Russia,” said Moiseyev. China also has a national equivalent of SWIFT, which relies on Chinese cryptography. According to Moiseyev, in order to join the Chinese system, Russia will need certain digital gateways, which can be arranged. “It actually doesn’t matter what national currency it is. There will be no government decisions stipulating 20% in yuans, 30% in rubles, and the rest in another currency, for example,” Moiseyev stressed. There will also be no specific government directive to use only national currencies in payments. “This doesn’t mean that we will now disconnect from the entire financial world and live separately, no. There is an agreement to move in this direction,” the deputy minister explained. “It is simply the aggressive policy of the US dollar being used as an instrument of sanctions that is forcing countries to experiment and look for alternatives. We are currently in such a situation,” he added.
With public support for President Vladimir Putin wilting, the Kremlin is considering changing election rules in an effort to secure its lock on parliament ahead of potentially vital decisions that could extend his rule.
Paul Goble Staunton, July 21 – Six years ago, the Kremlin feared mass protests and so allowed for competitive elections in local Moscow elections, Kirill Martynov says. Now, it fears competitive elections because of its concerns about organizing the transition and so doesn’t fear the mass protests which have come as a response. The Novaya gazeta commentator argues that this change of heart has happened because after 2024, Vladimir Putin cannot remain president without a change in the Constitution but that he will retain real power one way or another to ensure that the current distribution of rents stays the same (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/07/21/81324-tranzitnaya-situatsiya). Even the carefully choreographed transition to Medvedev “showed that any reconfiguration of the top positions in the country leads to a significant change in the positions of the influence groups within the elites,” with some gaining and others losing as a result, Martynov says. Were there to be independent deputies in the Moscow city council or a governor from the opposition, such people could serve as “a trump card” for those within the Russian elite “who are ready for dialogue with society.” Others within that circle who aren’t ready for such conversations naturally are against the appearance of such people. And the latter thus protect themselves from any such risk of the transition as well as protecting their current powers by ensuring that no such opposition figures appear within the political firmament by the simple but clearly unpopular strategy of blocking them from running altogether. Mass protests in contrast cause the elite to unite against them because all of its members are threatened by them, and such street actions are less of a threat because the regime has prepared what it needs to control or even suppress them outright. Hence the fear of competitive elections but not of people in the streets.
From annexing Belarus to reforming the constitution, speculation about how the Russian president will stay in power is rife. The question is whether any of the gambits will work.
An attempt to bar candidates from Moscow’s election has led to protests.
The following editorial appeared in the Washington Post.
An important test of civil society in Russia is unfolding on the streets of Moscow. It suggests that despite the authoritarian rule of President Vladimir Putin over nearly two decades, there is still a significant number of people in Russia’s capital not afraid to speak out. It also suggests that Mr. Putin knows of this discontent and fears it. Mass rallies are back in Moscow streets, making the autocratic regime anxious.
MOSCOW — Crossing swords with Russia’s ruthless President Vladimir Putin is not for the lily-livered: Even imprisonment could be a blessing compared with the possibility of being poisoned by nerve agents or radioactive polonium. It’s even more impressive then that one of the Kremlin’s fiercest critics today is a writer suffering from incurable spinal muscular atrophy and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. A Russian dissident version of Stephen Hawking, the 27-year-old Alexander Gorbunov — who tweets under the provocative handle @StalinGulag as a way of trolling the Kremlin — has amassed more than 1 million followers on Twitter, and almost half that on his private Telegram channel. Hailed as the “most important political columnist in Russia” in 2017 by Putin’s nemesis Alexei Navalny, Gorbunov blogged anonymously for years. He only revealed his identity in May after the Kremlin targeted his family. In April, police visited his mother’s apartment in Mahachkala, the capital of the Muslim Republic of Dagestan in the Caucasus, where he was born and raised before moving to Moscow over five years ago. They accused him of “telephone terrorism” and claimed that his mobile phone had been used to make a fake bomb threat. It was these scare tactics that pushed Gorbunov to speak out, gambling that being in the public spotlight would make it harder for the Kremlin to intimidate his family. He was right: Charges against him were mysteriously dropped after he appeared on Russian television and was profiled in the country’s major newspapers. For now — and despite restrictive laws passed in March making criticism of public officials a crime — he’s still free to tweet and hector the Kremlin for its corruption and ineptitude. For critics in Putin’s Russia, that’s a major victory.
Paul Goble Staunton, July 21 – When the Sakha “warrior shaman” who has declared that he is marching on Moscow to exorcise the evil spirit Putin first appeared, Tomsk writer Andrey Filomonov says he thought Aleksandr Gabyshev was no more than “a remake” of the Pussy Riot demonstration of seven years ago. At that time, a group of young women broke into a church and appealed to the Mother of God to “drive out Putin.” The results of that, the commentator says, are “well-known: the Mother of God didn’t respond, Putin remained, and the girls received two years imprisonment” (svoboda.org/a/30062934.html). But now it is obvious “the comparison with Pussy Riot is not entirely correct,” Filimonov says. Not only is the warrior shaman speaking out for the people against the regime, but he is drawing strength and protection from reprisals because he is part of an older Russian tradition of deference to holy fools, a deference Russians don’t give to civil activists like Pussy Riot. The shaman’s appearance in Chita where he declared “the highest power in the country is the popular assembly, the highest value is freedom and the president of Russia could be a woman” showed that he isn’t engaging in “performance” art but rather “in something more,” not so much a shaman as “a mystical warrior fulfilling an important mission.” And because that is so, Filimonov continues, the warrior shaman is “eliciting sympathy and support from a multitude of people including both the residents of the Transbaikal, which have been feeding him on his way and the users of social networks who, via YouTube follow the march of the shaman to the West.” The police have not moved to stop him, and only the Russian Orthodox Church has denounced him because of his supposed promotion of “mystical” rights. Most online commentators in contrast have treated him either as an object of amusement or as someone who is the voice of the people and must be listened to. Russian society, Filimonov continues, has emerged after 20 years of “’rising from its knees” a different one. “No one believes in elections, but many believe in Holy Fire and miracles. In the political arena, the shades of the Byzantine Empire are appearing, and holy fools are becoming heroes of the news.” According to the writer, “this is bad news in the first instance for the powers that be who have been playing at a new Medievalism.” Young women from the philosophy faculty of Moscow State University don’t attract sympathy and support; self-proclaimed shamans in contrast can easily get both. “The people in Russia are irrational and unpredictable. Its idol in one hour can become ‘a Yakut shaman’ or God knows what other kind of ‘fighter with the regime.’” The main thing is that such people must emerge from the depths of and speak to a population that sees itself as set apart from and in opposition not just to the West but to modernity as such. Russia’s powers that be understand this even if it ultimately threatens them. Their police will harass civic activists like Pussy Riot, but they won’t do the same against a holy fool like the shaman. “Even Ivan the Terrible was afraid to touch [such voices of the people]. The Cathedral of St. Basil’s on Red Square is a clear reminder of that.”
Paul Goble Staunton, July 21 – The Kremlin has a compelling reason to ensure that no opposition figures get into the Moscow city council, Vadim Shtepa says. Given the hyper-centralized nature of the Russian system, most of the money and most of the corrupt schemes the powers that be have arranged occur precisely there. Were a significant number of opposition politicians to become members of the city council, the Russian regionalist writer says, they could expose some of these arrangements, something that the Kremlin doesn’t want (arvamus.postimees.ee/6733370/vadim-stepa-kreml-venemaa-pealinnade-vastu; in Russian at region.expert/metropolis_vs_capitals/). Given the nature of the kleptocratic state under Vladimir Putin, that is a far more compelling reason for the Kremlin to dig in and block opposition candidates even at the risk of sparking the kind of mass demonstrations that occurred yesterday than most of the alternatives that have been proposed. The Estonia-based editor of the Region.Expert portal makes three other observations that many who have been commenting on Russia’s local election have generally neglected to register. First, Shtepa says, Moscow has set the single day for voting in the regions in early autumn between vacation season and the start of school. The purpose of that timing is so that most people will be at their dachas or on trips when they might otherwise be focusing on elections and so that, on returning home, they will have to get their children ready for school, again diminishing the amount of time they have for political activity. Second, he points to an unusual feature of Russian politics – the lack of loyalty of political figures in the center to the places from which they came. Putin “by origin” is a Petersburger, but having moved to Moscow, he began to think “in purely imperial categories.” The same was true of Stalin and of Boris Yeltsin, Shtepa says. And third, he argues as others have that “in its struggle with the opposition, the powers that be have in fact driven themselves into an awkward situation familiar to chess players when any move will lead only to a worsening of its position.” If opposition figures get in, the Kremlin has a problem; if they are blocked, it has a problem of another kind. “Can protests by residents of the Russian capitals influence politics?” Shtepa asks rhetorically. The answer is that sometimes they can as they did in August 1991 when “ordinary residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg went into the streets in large numbers and changed the course of history.”
Belarus and Russia must transition to a single currency, said Russia’s Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko in a broadcast of …
Topics of the Week Major FSB contractor hacking reveals Kremlin insecurities in intelligence gathering How the Kremlin uses the railway sector to expand its foreign influence US Intel Committee questions social media companies about deep fakes ahead of 2020 election A new report by the Atlantic Council’s DFRlab: Operation Secondary Infektion Good Old Soviet Joke…
The U.S. State Department said it looks forward to working with a new Ukrainian government after the political party of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy won an outright victory in the July 21 parliame…
The U.S. Department of State has congratulated the Ukrainian people on parliamentary elections, which took place on July 21. The United States maintains its unwavering support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.
The United States has congratulated the Ukrainian people on the “peaceful and historic” elections to the Verkhovna Rada and reaffirmed its support for reforms in Ukraine. — Ukrinform.
24.07.19 15:36 – Zelenskyi, G7 Ambassadors, EU, NATO discuss support of Ukraine’s reforms. PHOTO Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi discussed the support for the reforms in Ukraine with the Ambassadors of the G7 countries (USA, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan), as well as the European Union and the NATO. View photo news.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has thanked G7 Ambassadors’ Support Group and the heads of the representative offices of the European Union and NATO in Ukraine for supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty. The president noted the diplomats’ strong pro-Ukrainian position.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s meeting with the ambassadors of the G7 states has concluded at the Ukrainian presidential office; the parties, in particular, discussed countering corruption and energy issues.
EU ambassadors in Brussels are discussing actions in response to the issuance of Russian passports in Donbas, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty reporter Rikard Jozwiak has stated. — Ukrinform.
The Japanese Government welcomes that the parliamentary elections in Ukraine were held freely and peacefully, and expresses hope for the soonest formation of a new government and further progress in the implementation of reforms. — Ukrinform.
Austria will continue to support Ukraine on its path towards comprehensive reforms and remains steadfast in its commitment to the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders, the Austrian Embassy in Ukraine has told an Ukrinform correspondent. — Ukrinform.
On 16 July the law “On provision of the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the State language” came into effect, eliciting the reincarnation of many myths and misinterpretations around Russian speakers in Ukraine. This law was an answer to scandalous Kivalov-Kolesnichenko language law which was adopted back in 2012, which granted Russian the status of a “regional language” in a number of regions. A number of oblast and district councils recognized Russian as a regional language: for this, 10% of the population in the region considering Russian (or Romanian and Hungarian in the case of two oblasts), as their native language was sufficient. The law caused much criticism both in Ukraine and in the West. The Venice Commission considered the law “unbalanced, as its provisions had disproportionately strengthened the position of the Russian language without taking appropriate measures to confirm the role of Ukrainian as the state language and without duly ensuring protection of other regional and minority languages. This law had not been vetoed by the president until April 2018, when a new law on language policy was adopted. It aimed to strengthen the state language’s role and to regulate its use in education, media, and business without infringing on the sphere of private communication. However, it also reinvigorated myths and horror stories about penalties and punishments for those who speak Russian, which were actively distributed by opposition MPs and Russian media.
A report on how Russia pursues hybrid war to destabilize Ukraine has been published on 16 July 2019 at the UK-based Royal United Services Institute, the world’s oldest independent defense and security think tank. It is the first major study of the Surkov Leaks, three tranches of hacked emails belonging to top Putin advisor Vladislav Surkov and figures around him, which were obtained by Ukrainian cyberactivists in 2016-2017. Read more: “We have no need for CIA help” – Ukrainian hackers of #SurkovLeaks | Exclusive interview Written by Alya Shandra editor-in-chief of the Euromaidan Press, and Bob Seely, Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight who is also a member of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, the RUSI report entitled “The Surkov Leaks: The Inner Workings of Russia’s Hybrid War in Ukraine” demonstrates how the Kremlin is re-inventing Soviet-era tactics to exert power and destabilize neighboring countries and provides a detailed insiders’ view of Russia’s strategy and tactics for destabilizing Ukraine. Vladislav Surkov, termed “Putin’s Rasputin” and the “Grey Cardinal of the Kremlin,” has been known as the man informally in charge of Russia’s puppet republics in Donbas, although periodically rumors emerge that he will be removed from his position. The RUSI report shows his influence extending way beyond that, with Surkov curating networks of activists and politicians to implement Russia’s goals in Ukraine – to prevent the country’s movement westward. The activities revealed in the leaked emails describe how Russia re-invents active measures and uses reflexive control, a Soviet top-secret technique to manipulate an opponent into making decisions leading to his own defeat. Using these approaches, in Ukraine, Russia interfered in elections, establishes alternative centers of power, and encouraged separatism. The report provides a tactical snapshot of subversion, from the costs of demonstrations to messaging lines, to the tactics of violent destabilization.
THIS PAPER PROVIDES a guide to Russian subversive warfare by examining, in detail, three tranches of leaked emails apparently belonging to Kremlin officials ─ including, primarily and critically, Vladislav Surkov, the man known as President Vladimir Putin’s ‘Rasputin’ ─ who have been closely involved with the Eastern Ukraine conflict, and in particular with the political and economic management of two statelets established by the Kremlin in Donetsk and Luhansk.1 In addition, it examines the strategy and tactics of Russia’s political subversion in the rest of Ukraine. Since the leaking of this information in the media, the emails have become known as ‘The Surkov Leaks’. Chronologically, the leaks capture the period when Russia was pursuing its ‘Novorossiya’ (New Russia) project, from 2014 onwards, aiming to break off southeastern Ukraine. When this failed, save for the statelets that had been established in Donetsk and Luhansk, the Kremlin switched to promoting a separatist movement within Ukraine, the end goal of which was its federalisation. This campaign continues today. The end goal of the Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine since 2013 has been to achieve political influence there and, ostensibly, to halt the country’s movement westward ─ which could ultimately result in accession to NATO. On the overt level, this was done via the puppet statelets of Donetsk and Luhansk. At the covert level, Russia interfered in Ukrainian elections, organised and funded a pan-Ukrainian campaign for a ‘soft federalisation’ of the country, attempted to change Ukraine’s constitution and establish an alternative centre of power, and created an illusion of widespread support for these activities. All of these activities were enabled by the intrinsic weaknesses of the Ukrainian state, aided by corruption and a collapse of state authority. The Kremlin also relied on two types of local actors: ideological allies and paid collaborators. The working frameworks for subversion were chiefly developed by Ukrainians, many of whom fled to Russia after Euromaidan. They had an insider’s view of the Ukrainian mind and knew the ‘weak spots’ to aim for. In effect, Russia’s activity in Ukraine is a reinvention of ‘active measures’, a form of political warfare pioneered by the Soviet Union. The strategy for these active measures is closely linked to a concept known as ‘reflexive control’, a Soviet top-secret technique to manipulate an opponent into making decisions leading to their own defeat. For this, the Kremlin conducted painstaking research into the intricacies of Ukrainian daily life to understand the Ukrainian world view and identify vulnerabilities that could be exploited. Then, using media, front groups, provocateurs and paid rallies, it created a virtual reality designed to compel Ukraine into making decisions serving Russian objectives. This Occasional Paper is designed to be an aid for researchers, academics, journalists, campaigners, and all those interested in the structure of political subversion, which at times is also called ‘hybrid warfare’. It has often been difficult to find hard evidence of Russian political manipulation, due to the covert nature of elements of this form of conflict. This paper presents leaked evidence, in a wealth of detail, to show a tactical snapshot of subversion, from the costs of demonstrations, to messaging lines, to the tactics of violent destabilisation. The authors of this paper were not involved in the hacks that led to the leaking of emails allegedly belonging to Kremlin officials. However, the Russian toolkit of subversion is being used not only in Ukraine, but also in other former Soviet states seeking to leave Russia’s sphere of interest, and in Western states too. Therefore, it is overwhelmingly in the public interest that these emails should be examined in detail. It is essential to the future of those former Soviet countries – and to Western democracy writ large – to highlight the covert methods of subversion and control that are being used by the Kremlin. The leaked emails are therefore a unique contribution to the international debate over how the Kremlin ‘curates’ its ‘managed conflicts’. In analysing these emails, this paper also forms part of a wider debate about how authoritarian states use freedom to undermine free or partially free societies.
Russia’s Supreme Court has upheld a six-year prison sentence given to ailing 20-year-old Ukrainian national Pavlo Hryb.
A military chamber of Russia’s Supreme Court has upheld the six-year prison sentence passed on Ukrainian political prisoner Pavlo Hryb –
Ukraine judged the decision of the Russian Supreme Court in the case of Pavlo Gryb
Russian lawyer and human rights activist Nikolay Polozov has said the case against 24 captured Ukrainian sailors has moved to a new stage. The sailors began to familiarize themselves with the materials of the case.
During the passage from the port of Odesa to the port of Mariupol, at the end of November 2018, Roman Mokriak’s boat and two other ships were fired at by
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine calls on the international community to pay attention to the situation with the seriously ill activist Edem Bekirov, who has been illegally held in the Simferopol remand facility since December 2018. The foreign ministry has expressed concern over the deterioration of Bekirov’s health condition.
The Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is investigating criminal proceedings in connection with the abuse of officials in the arrangement of checkpoints on the administrative border with Crimea.
24.07.19 12:21 – Statue of goddess Flora in Crimea’s Nikitsky Botanical Garden to be replaced by Lenin bust The statue of goddess Flora in Crimea’s Nikitsky Botanical Garden will be replaced by the bust of Lenin. This decision was made by the so-called “court” on the annexed peninsula. View news.
Desertification, land degradation and empty promises of occupation authorities: Crimea is still dealing with water shortage. Ukraine provided up to 85% of Crimea’s water needs through the North Crimean Сanal, connecting the peninsula to Ukraine’s largest river Dnipro in the mainland. After the Russian annexation in 2014, water supplies stopped – and the desiccation of Crimea began. More than five years after the annexation, on 6 July 2019, some 100 local residents of the north-Crimean town of Armiansk gathered for a picket, demanding Ukraine resume the water flow down the Canal. Speaking to Krymr.org, the picket’s organizer Vladislav Pivovar expressed his hopes that their appeal might be reviewed by newly elected Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. In contrast to the western and southern parts of the peninsula, where many water storages, rivers, and lakes are located, its northern part is quite deserted and significantly dependent on the water supplies from the Ukrainian mainland.
24.07.19 10:08 – Russian proxies break ‘harvest ceasefire’ once: no losses among Ukrainian soldiers, three terrorists destroyed The Armed Forces of Ukraine adhere to the sustainable ceasefire, while the armed formations of the Russian Federation and its mercenaries violated ceasefire in Donbas once over the past day. View news.
Militants violate “bread ceasefire”, ready to deploy artillery. The Joint Forces did not open fire. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
The Armed Forces of Ukraine adhere to sustainable ceasefire, while the armed formations of the Russian Federation and its mercenaries violated ceasefire in Donbas once over the past day. — Ukrinform.
Since day-start on Tuesday, July 23, Russian occupation forces in Donbas have once violated the ceasefire, the press center of the Joint Forces Operation reports. Militants opened fire on Ukrainian troops from small arms and shelling Ukraine positions from an automatic grenade launcher.
Russia’s hybrid military forces on July 23 mounted one attack on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, after the so-called “harvest” ceasefire started at 00:01 local time on July 21. Under attack came Ukrainian positions near the village of Luhanske.
Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations will resume sending “humanitarian convoys” to Russia-occupied Donbas, namely districts controlled by the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”). The previous “convoy” arrived on December 20, 2018.
24.07.19 11:40 – Ukraine ready to begin dismantling fortifications near Stanytsia Luhanska The Ukrainian side is ready to start dismantling the fortifications in the area of Stanytsia Luhanska in Donbas combat zone. View news.
The Government of Lithuania will finance the reconstruction of a school in the town of Avdiivka, Donetsk region. — Ukrinform.
Large-scale command-and-staff exercises have begun in the north and east of Ukraine, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has reported on its Facebook page. — Ukrinform.
Ukraine’s envoy to the European Union (2008-2010), Deputy Foreign Minister (2005-2008) Andriy Veselovsky says he is sure that many Ukrainians who had been living in Donetsk and Luhansk regions before 2014 and had to move to Russian territory as a result of Russian aggression, will return home after the conflict is over.
Sixty-four convicts who served their sentences in temporarily uncontrolled separate districts of Luhansk region (ORLO) were handed over to Ukraine on Wednesday, said Deputy Justice Minister Denys Chernyshov.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has signed a decree appointing Oleksiy Danilov as deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. — Ukrinform.
Euromaidan Press on Twitter: “U.S. photographer Noah Brooks following war in Ukraine since Revolution of Dignity in 2014, invasion of Crimea in Feb 2014 & Donbas in July 2014. With Ukraine it was a calling & all he wanted was to take pics of those courageous people fighting for their freedom, nation & future. https://t.co/7dBmyQRYe9” / Twitter
Article by: Lieutenant General Oleksiy Lavreniuk In February-March 2014, the Russian Federation committed an act of armed aggression against Ukraine, occupying and then annexing the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Then, Russia multiplied its subversive actions in the Ukrainian Donbas, and in August 2014, it openly deployed its regular troops across this Ukrainian region. Thus began another military-political conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which continues to this very day. From 2014-2018, Ukraine lost almost 45,000 sq. km of land with a population of 6 million people. This is about the size of a European country like Switzerland.
07/27/19 The US will hand over two patrol boats to border guards The United States will hand over two patrol boats to Ukraine to strengthen the naval marine component of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. An adviser on the program of expert control and border security of the US Embassy, Kevin Kieler, said in an international conference in Kyiv, Ukrinform reported. “We are working with the Ukrainian side on the issues of the protection of the maritime borders and have identified the need to build not only the infrastructure of the naval units, but also the need to upgrade the fleet. Therefore, a decision was made to provide the maritime guard of the border guard service of two boats serviced by 25 people US Deputy Charge d’Affaires in Ukraine William Taylor said that the US has allocated $ 4 million to create rapid response teams in the cities of Mariupol and Berdyansk, and now there is a need to create modern centers for their permanent deployment and ship repair.
07/27/19 Mykolaiv Shipbuilding Plant is already preparing to disassemble the cruiser The Nikolayev Shipyard has no doubt that they will soon begin to disassemble the cruiser, which was a debt hole for them, and awaiting a ship for repairing the Navy. After Vladimir Zelensky’s assignment was completely repaying the debts on patches, Nicholas shipbuilders are waiting for orders, first of all from the state, and it is not for nothing – there is already a presidential mandate to launch the demilitarization process of an unfinished missile cruiser for the project 1164, the code “Atlant” (formerly “Ukraine “, Even earlier” Admiral of the Fleet of Lobov “) and the decision on the issue of completion of the plant’s latest corvette project 58250. Director General of the plant Valery Kalashnikov said that the detailed project demilitarization missile cruiser signed by the Chief of the General Staff and already lies at his desk, and only waiting for the relevant order at the factory. “Regarding the cruiser, we will completely begin demilitarization, its volume is already known – it is already on my desk, signed by the Chief of the General Staff. So here I have no doubt. I want to note that this will not be a racket of the cruiser, not its robbery. This is a completely clear project developed by our state-owned institute. Equipment, including weapons, will be dismantled from the cruiser and installed on the ships of the Naval Forces of Ukraine in accordance with the demilitarization project. According to the director, the demilitarization of the cruiser will take at least 2.5 years, closer to three. In addition to the specialists of the plant, it is planned to involve contractors, in particular, experts of the Mykolayiv enterprise “Era”, the turbine plant “Zorya” and others. Valery Kalashnikov also said that on July 26-27 the plant plans to accept the average landing ship of the Naval Forces “Yuri Olefirenko” for repair, among other things, it is planned to carry out major repairs of the main engines. He also said that on Wednesday, July 17, with the commander of the Navy and the head of the shipbuilding fleet, the issue of building new ships for the Navy was discussed, but refused to specify which particular projects.
Wage arrears worth UAH 54.8 million have been repaid to employees of the state-owned Mykolaiv Shipbuilding Plant, the Ukrainian presidential press service has reported. — Ukrinform.
07/23/19 Nikolaev Shipbuilding Plant On the instructions of Volodymyr Zelensky, “Ukroboronprom” finally eliminated long-term arrears on salaries of employees of the State Enterprise “Nikolaev Shipbuilding Plant”. Director of the plant Valery Kalashnikov told reporters. “After the president’s visit on Wednesday, on Thursday, his” brothel “was signed – within three days the state concern” Ukroboronprom “was to resolve the issue of paying off wage arrears. On Monday morning, it was yesterday, “Ukroboronprom” closed the issue of wages at the expense of working capital of special exporters that are part of the group. All years have told us something, but nobody did anything. I have not seen such quick decisions – Mr. President has arrived and everything has been resolved instantly. This was confirmed by the press service of the concern in its press release: “In the accounts of the plant for repayment of arrears of wages was transferred 54.8 million UAH. In addition, UAH 31.7 million was redeemed for compensation for untimely paid wages, as well as taxes and fees related to the payment for labor. ” The funds paid to all working workers, and already dismissed – are transferred to accounts. Also, the director of the Nikolaev Shipbuilding Plant said that the president had already signed an order and it went to the Ministry of Defense – for the demilitarization of an unfinished cruiser and a corvette (regarding the transfer of construction to the MES – ed.). We will tell about the plans of demilitarization of the cruiser in the next publication.
Posted: July 18, 2019 Khrakiv From 09 to 11 June 2019, the Kyiv Military Attaché Association (KAVA) visited the city of Kharkiv. This is another visit of military diplomats to this city, but unlike the previous, when the attache got acquainted with the tank subjects, this time, before the military attache, Kharkiv was placed as a powerful airline. The visit was attended by military diplomats from Azerbaijan, Algeria, Bulgaria, Vietnam, Greece, Italy, China, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, the USA, Japan, the NATO mission in Ukraine. The military diplomats were accompanied by Oleg Barabash, assistant director of the Department of Military Policy, Strategic Planning and International Cooperation of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. With the part of the diplomats, wives arrived in Kharkov, for which a separate program was foreseen from the Kharkiv city council. During the visit, members of the delegation of KAVA were acquainted with the contribution of Kharkiv enterprises to the aviation capacities of Ukraine, having visited the capacities of the State Enterprise “Machine-Building Plant” FED “and PJSC” FED “, as well as with the process of preparation of aviation specialists for military and civil aviation at the Kharkiv National Air Force University of the name Ivan Kozhedub It is important to note that the organizers very well planned the visit schedule, which made the military diplomats receive a lot of new knowledge about Ukraine’s capabilities in the field of aviation. The organizers of this visit were the Department of Military Policy, Strategic Planning and International Cooperation of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the Kharkiv City Council. The direct organization of the visit was the Department of International Cooperation of the Kharkiv City Council. The Department of Military Policy, Strategic Planning and International Cooperation of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine is a structural subdivision of the Ministry of Defense apparatus of Ukraine, which is intended to ensure the formation and implementation of a national policy on issues of national security in the military sphere, defense and military construction, implementation of strategic planning of development of capabilities in defense sphere, as well as international cooperation in the military-political direction. The Department was created in July 2016 during the reform of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine by combining the Department of Military Policy and Strategic Planning and the Department of International Defense Cooperation of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. One of the tasks of the Department is “organizing and conducting measures of international cooperation in the military-political direction at the level of the Minister of Defense of Ukraine and his deputies”, in which the representatives of the Department are actively working with offices of military attachés of foreign states accredited in Ukraine, in particular, with Kiev Association of military attachés. On the first day of the visit, in the course of the organized adoption, the director of the Department of International Cooperation of the Kharkiv City Council Viktor Rud noted the importance of visits of the Kiev Association of Military Attaches to Kharkiv. “This marks the fruitful international cooperation of the city with the visiting countries and the development of the regional enterprises’ capabilities on the international scene,” he said, and also thanked the diplomats and assistant to the Director of the Department of Military Policy, Strategic Planning and International Cooperation of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Colonel Oleg Barabash for the organization of the visit. In turn, the Italian Defense Attache, who is also Vice-President of the Kiev Association of Military Attaches Colonel Riccardo Christoni, noted that the members of the association are glad to once again visit the city of Kharkiv and thanked everyone who was involved in the organization of the visit. He added that two years ago, diplomats came in the winter and could not see all the beauty of the city, while now the visit took place in the summer and Kharkiv will be able to demonstrate itself from all sides. Also, Riccardo Cristoni expressed his hopes for the performance of the visit, because there are all grounds for this. “Kharkiv region, as demonstrated by the past visit, has a high technical and cultural potential,” said KAVA Vice-President. June 10 this year the delegation of the Kiev Association of Military Attaches began its work on a visit to FED, where Victor Popov, Chairman of the Board, personally welcomed the guests. He told the military diplomats the history of the company and the brand “FED” and then conducted an excursion on all production areas of the enterprise, where modern production technologies were demonstrated. Joint-stock company “FED” (JSC “FED”, FED PJSC) – one of the leading enterprises of Ukraine, which specializes in the development, production, service and repair of units of aviation, space and general-purpose designation. The units of the company are successfully used on airplanes and helicopters
The upgrade of Indian air force Antonov An−32 tactical transports is well behind schedule and is only likely to be completed by 2025 – an eight year delay from the original plan.
A comedian-turned-president, a rockstar-turned-party leader, and a sea of new faces in the parliament: Meet the new political reality in Ukraine.
Ukrainian voters finally had enough.
Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov In a recent interview with Vitaliy Portnikov, Serhiy Rakhmanin, journalist, deputy editor-in-chief of Dzerkalo Tyzhnia and candidate from the Holos (Voice) party said that Ukrainian oligarchs would not be as widely represented as before in the new Verkhovna Rada of the 9th convocation. He added that the background of the candidates from the Sluha Narodu (Servant of the People) party was so varied that it would be difficult for them to build a unified team. In turn, ex-Kyiv MP Boryslav Bereza underlined that people who voted for the Servant of the People party did not vote for their candidate, but for the “Zelenskyy team”.
Ukraine held the parliamentary snap elections yesterday, on 21 July. The Verkhovna Rada is elected under the mixed voting system, in which 50% of all 450 seats are distributed under party lists and the other half gets elected through first-past-the-post voting in single-member constituencies. Thus, several of yesterday’s exit polls gave a clue of how the parties which have passed the 5% threshold will divide only the 225 “proportional” seats. The Rada’s “majoritarian” half remained unclear until today, as the counted votes showed even more decisive victory of Zelenskyy’s party which now clearly gets more than half seats in the Parliament. Thus, Zelenskyy consolidates full executive power and nearly-full legislative power. Other things to note: The lowest turnout in Ukrainian history. The party of Volodymyr Boiko and Putin’s crony Viktor Medvedchuk, Opposition Platform For Life, the largest shard of fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych’s defunct Party of Regions, comes second in the race, while oligarch Akhmetov’s shard loses; parties by former president Poroshenko and ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko’s will have 24 MPs each; another showman with a newly-created party gets into the Rada; the far-right fall far below the electoral threshold once again. (The Central Electoral Commission is still counting the votes at the time of writing this article, therefore every actual percentage in the article represents preliminary data after about 94.2% of votes have been counted; final figures may differ. This article has been updated from data at 80% of counted ballots).
The Central Election Commission (CEC) has processed 99.45% of the protocols received from constituencies across Ukraine in the snap parliamentary elections. The pro-presidential Servant of the People Party remains in the lead with 43.17% of the vote.
The Central Election Commission has processed over 98% of the protocols received from constituencies across Ukraine in the snap parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, a pro-president Servant of the People comfortably leads with 43.14%.
The head of the Servant of the People party, Dmytro Razumkov, has said that after it was clear that the party gets over 250 seats on Ukraine’s parliament, it is ready to talk about the creation of a coalition in the Verkhovna Rada. — Ukrinform.
The vote count at the snap parliamentary elections is almost complete, and it is clear that the pro-presidential party today has all the conditions for creating a mono-coalition with at least 235-240 seats secured.
A record total number of 87 women will work in the Verkhovna Rada of the ninth convocation, the Equal Opportunities inter-faction association in the Ukrainian parliament has reported on its Facebook page. — Ukrinform.
Servant of the People Party leader Dmytro Razumkov has said decisions in the future Office of the President – Verkhovna Rada – Cabinet of Ministers “triangle” will be taken openly and publicly, and will be first discussed with representatives of civil society.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s adviser Oleg Ustenko says there are much more candidates for prime minister than those discussed in the media. Zelensky says he sees a professional economist who has never headed the government or parliament as the country’s prime minister.
Leader of the Servant of the People Party Dmytro Razumkov has announced a new law under which a lawmaker may lose his or her seat in parliament if they skip parliamentary sessions. The procedure will have to be formalized, Razumkov said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has appointed diplomat Ruslan Demchenko as his adviser. — Ukrinform.
Head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s presidential administration Andriy Bohdan has sent a letter to Minister of the Cabinet Oleksandr Saenko, asking him to submit a motion to dismiss Vitaliy Klitschko as head of Kyiv City State Administration. According to the document signed by Bohdan, Klitschko may be dismissed over the fact that heads of local administrations are appointed and dismissed by the president of Ukraine upon the government’s recommendation.
The Cabinet of Ministers has received a letter from the Office of the President with a request for dismissal of Vitali Klitschko from the post of head of the Kyiv City State Administration. — Ukrinform.
Head of the National Police of Ukraine, Serhiy Knyazev, said that the person who had remotely activated the explosive device planted onto the bottom of a car driven by journalist Pavel Sheremet had made sure that it was his target who was in the car. The National Police chief showed how the hit group was moving on the night the IED was planted.
The former head of the Party of Regions faction in the Verkhovna Rada, Oleksandr Yefremov, left a detention center in Starobilsk, Luhansk region, on Wednesday, July 24, according to Ukraine’s TSN television program. — Ukrinform.
Smugglers attempted to illegally move cigarettes worth more than UAH 250,000 to Romania through the border in Chernivtsi region, the Western Regional Directorate of the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service has reported on its Facebook page. — Ukrinform.
The Ukrainian authorities expect the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to soften its stance on natural gas prices for Ukrainian households, the Ukrainian president’s representative in the government, Andriy Gerus, has said. — Ukrinform.
Agents of the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) are raiding the premises of PJSC Automobile Company Bogdan Motors over the restructuring of a loan borrowed from state-run Ukreximbank. The company regards this as political pressure.
Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has visited the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). The agency said it would additionally report on the purpose of the ex-president’s visit.
Dmitry Firtash says the overture is evidence of a flawed, politically-motivated DOJ prosecution.
US special counsel’s office admits Firtash’s case de facto groundless – The Hill. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Witnesses in Firtash’s case recant testimony – The Hill. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
US prosecutors used “false” evidence in Firtash’s case – The Hill. An investigation by The Hill insists the DOJ extradition request is based on a “false and misleading” document. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
The sixth administrative court of appeal has rejected the Culture Ministry’s appeal against the 22 April 2019 resolution of Kyiv’s district administrative court which suspended the renaming of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. “The court upheld the resolution of the district court which banned state registrars from registering or making entries about the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, including making new entries in the Single State Register,” the law department of the Moscow-run church said. The law obliging the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate to change its name to indicate its affiliation with the Russian Orthodox Church came into effect on 26 January. The Culture Ministry obliged a number of religious organisations to change their names accordingly by 26 April 2019. The church refused to change its name and recognize the newly-established Orthodox Church of Ukraine. On 6 April, Kyiv’s district administrative court upheld Opposition Bloc MP Oleksandr Dolzhenkov’s motion to rule the renaming demand invalid. Thus, the court suspended the Culture Ministry’s order.
Paul Goble Staunton, July 21 – One of the most powerfully affecting portrayals of church life under the Soviets was Vladimir Volkoff’s 1973 novel, Le trêtre (translated into English as The Traitor (New York, 1973), in which the KGB recruits a priest, murder his wife so that he can become a bishop and leave him at the end uncertain as to whether he is serving God or state or himself. Something similar is happening in Russia today, although the priest who has become a bishop apparently has no qualms about what is happening, his former wife was not murdered but has gone public with stories of abuse by launching an online petition against him, and the Moscow Patriarchate has swung to his defense. Four days ago, Patriarch Kirill elevated Archmandite Ignaty (Golinchenko) to the rank of bishop and assigned him to the Yenesei see. Two days later, his former wife — they were married in 2011 and divorced four years later — said on social media he had abused her regularly (vk.com/wall-51889526_2946785 and ahilla.ru/novym-episkopom-enisejskim-budet-svyashhennik-izbivavshij-svoyu-zhenu/). Like most victims of abuse, she said, she did not tell anyone at the time out of fear that her husband, who refused to allow her to take a job in order to keep her dependent, would take revenge on her or out of shame. Once she threatened to go public, she says, and he beat her. She did not try again. But Kseniya Golinchenko now says she believes Russian believers need to know what kind of a man the patriarchate is making a bishop and has launched a Change.org petition calling on Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Panteleimon of Krasnoyarsk and Achinsk to reverse course (change.org/p/патриархия-русской-православной-церкви-священника-тирана-повысили-в-звание-епископа). Given welcome changes in public attitudes toward abuse, this story has attracted attention far beyond the normal outlets covering religion (mbk-news.appspot.com/suzhet/on-ne-soizmeryal-silu/, ahilla.ru/syuzhet-o-ksenii-i-ignatii-golinchenko-na-sedmom-kanale/ and ridus.ru/news/303626). But instead of taking these charges seriously, the church and its supporters have swung into action and launched a campaign to undermine the credibility of the victim. They have said she is lying and that no abuse occurred and now are accusing her of allowing racy pictures of herself to appear online (ahilla.ru/tserkvach-obvinil-kseniyu-golinchenko-v-otkrovennyh-fotosessiyah-i-zhelanii-otravit-zhizn-byvshemu-muzhu/). Kseniya Golinchenko does not deny that she has worked as a model – she had few other opportunities to make money, she suggests – but she does insist that the pictures of her that have appeared are tasteful and not the pornography the church leaders are suggesting. Because this conflict is taking place so far from Moscow and its media, it is uncertain how it will develop; but it is important to take note of not only because family abuse is rife in Russia not only among the lay people but also among priests. How the patriarchate ultimately resolves this case will say a lot about what its values really are.