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  • Leaked emails reveal extent of Russia's Ukraine separatist propaganda machine
    THE SIDNEY MORNING HERALD Matthew Schofield October 1 2016 - 1:24PM

    Berlin: The emails from Russia were pretty straightforward: The government in Kiev was to be referred to as fascist and compared to puppet dictatorships whenever possible. News reports were to mention as often as possible that the puppet master was the United States.

    For good measure, the Russian advisers even insisted that media handlers in the so-called "People's Republic of Donetsk" provide a daily count of how many stories featured the phrase "It's worse in Ukraine."

    The leaked emails, which were acquired and are being reported on by the German magazine Die Zeit and Germany's public television broadcaster, ZDF, provide hard evidence of how closely involved Russia is in the separatist movement at the heart of Ukraine's so-called civil war, which has taken almost 10,000 lives since 2014. That runs counter to the narrative promoted by Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials.

    The emails, sent to the Donetsk and Luhansk information ministries - the two oblasts, or provinces, and main cities in the Ukrainian region known as Donbas - include instructions to the separatists to insist in local news reports and statements to foreign reporters that Ukraine downed Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in March 2014, killing 298 people. A report this week by an international team of prosecutors said the missile that struck the aircraft was a Russian BUK that had been brought into Ukraine from Russia in the hours before it was fired and that its launcher had returned to Russia afterward. Russia said the report was "politically motivated."

    The emails make clear that the instructions on how to handle the Malaysia Airlines tragedy were far from an isolated attempt by Russia to direct how the separatists dealt with the news. Die Zeit said one of the emails even mentioned four Russian advisers by name, describing them as "technologists and media officers".

    Half an hour later, a second email came through, asking the recipient to "please delete our last names".

    Die Zeit, regarded as one of Germany's most authoritative news outlets, reported it had been able to identify two of the advisers: Aleksander Pashin, a provincial propaganda worker from Murmansk, a city and oblast in the far north of Russia near Finland, and Andrey Godnev, a political adviser from Nizhni Novgorod, an oblast about 250 miles east of Moscow. Die Zeit, however, was unable to determine the current jobs of the other two advisers named, Andrey Tolmachyev and Yevgeny Morus.

    Beyond these four, the emails frequently included the abbreviation AP, a well-known shorthand in Russia for presidential administration.

    One of the emails included an attachment of a Luhansk information ministry manual on how to control and manipulate the media. The manual, titled "Strategy of internal information policy in the Luhansk People's Republic," listed its publication address as "Luhansk/Moscow".

    In it, the separatists were told how to control the reporting of television and radio stations and of newspapers. The government in Kiev consistently was to be called "fascist."

    Feature stories were to express the gratitude of Donetsk residents in simple terms. A grandmother should be seen knitting socks for Putin. Schoolchildren should be said to be drawing pictures of the Russian leader. Artists should be planning statues in his honour.

    News stories were to more directly serve the Russian narrative. "Experts analyse the situation in Ukraine, rate the Poroshenko regime, draw parallels to well-known right-wing radical regimes, including fascist and puppet dictatorships, and note that they are all controlled by the United States," the manual said. Poroshenko is Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

    A list of accepted experts to contact and quote was provided. They included Russian nationalist politicians, including some former Putin aides. There was also a list of accepted, and rejected, international news outlets. Good media were marked in green. Bad media were marked in red. The Associated Press and Reuters, for instance, were marked in red.

    An email on January 25 last year to the information minister of the Donetsk Republic gave instructions that "by 6pm every day submit your top five news stories. Give an account on how many items contain the term 'It's worse in the Ukraine'".
    Leaked emails reveal extent of Russia's Ukraine separatist propaganda machine

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    • 11:53 01.10.2016 INTERFAX-UKRAINE
      U.S. Secretary of Commerce Pritzker about Babi Yar tragedy: Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim

      U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has said that said about the duty to help those suffering from violence in the world and the inadmissibility of being silent in these circumstances and noted that ignoring the plight of the stranger made the atrocities of Babi Yar (Babyn Yar) possible.

      "In times like these, it is all too easy to retreat into narrow self-interest. To ignore the plight of the stranger. To say to ourselves, "I am not the victim. This does not concern me." But, as Elie Wiesel taught us, “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented," Pritzker said at the official commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Babi Yar Massacre in Kyiv on Thursday.

      "A promise that is easily made but difficult to honor. Today, 75 years after Babyn Yar, human beings continue to commit unspeakable and unimaginable acts against each other. Across Europe, across the United States, and across the entire globe, we are seeing a rising hate and fear," she said.

      "In times like these – when millions of men, women, and children are driven from their homes by hate and fear – we cannot afford the cost of indifference. Indifference spreads the notion that the problems of your neighbor are not your problems. It absolves us of our responsibility to be our brother’s keeper. It betrays our promise of “never again," Pritzker said.

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      • Remembering Soviet atrocities: Solovki and Sandarmokh
        EUROMAIDAN PRESS Anastasiya Moskvychova 2016/10/01

        Ukrainian historians and activists, who have been travelling every year to the Solovetsky Islands in the extreme north of Russia to honour those who died in Soviet prison camps, have published a book called Solovetska Pechal Ukrayiny (Solovetsky Sorrow and Ukraine). The past few years, no trips to Solovki were organized as Russian authorities have warned them not to visit the memorial and burial places. Russian human rights activists do not exactly confirm that it is dangerous for Ukrainian historians, but underline the fact that the perception of historical events has somewhat changed.

        (In 1923 the Bolsheviks established the Solovki Special Purpose Camp in the famous Russian Orthodox Solovetsky Monastery complex. With the onset of the Stalin Terror, the Solovetsky Islands were packed with prisoners living in severe conditions, subjected to cold, hunger, punishment cells, and beatings. In 1931–33, many prisoners were sent to work on the White Sea Canal. From August 11, 1937 to December 24, 1938, more than 9,500 victims of Soviet political repressions were executed by shooting and buried at nearby Sandarmokh. More than 1,100 of them were from the Solovki Gulag-Ed.)

        The book describes the history of commemorations dedicated to thousands of political prisoners executed in Sandarmokh (Karelia, northern Russia). Most of them were inmates of the nearby Solovki Gulag, such as Ukrainian theatre director Les Kurbas, writers Valerian Pidmohylny, Mykola Kulish, Nicholas Zerov, and many others.

        It was strange to read that this year in the Russian city of Surgut, which is situated very close to the planned memorial to victims of political repressions, Russian authorities have erected a bust of Joseph Stalin. Svitlana Chorna, compiler of the collection remarks:

        “The seeds of Stalinism are very much alive. A bust of Stalin has been erected in Crimea; Zaporizhzhya had a Stalin monument before the Maidan. Why? Because people don’t know the truth about the tragedy of Solovki and Sandarmokh.”

        Today, Ukraine has launched the process of decommunization, and commemorations such as the pilgrimage to the Solovetsky Islands help people understand why all this is happening, agrees Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, Volodymyr Telishchak:

        “Next year marks the 80th anniversary of the Great Terror. We hope that our government will program special events, that the president will issue a relevant decree, and that Ukraine will pay special attention to commemorating all the victims of political repressions.”

        The collection includes articles written from 2011 to 2013 by both journalists and former political prisoners who have participated in the pilgrimage. However, researchers have stopped travelling to Solovki for security reasons, says one of the authors, president of the Solovetsky Brotherhood, Heorhiy Lukyanchuk.

        “In 2011 we had a problem in Karelia when the bus was stopped and thoroughly searched – with dogs and everything. They accused us of transporting drugs. They searched long and hard, but found nothing. Well, we’d been warned beforehand, so all of us had sewn up the pockets of our clothes so that nothing could be planted!”

        The visits and commemorations continued, but after the arrest and imprisonment of so many Ukrainians in Russia, which human rights activists of both countries call politically motivated, historians and researchers decided that it was too dangerous to continue.

        Alexander Cherkasov, member of the Russian human rights association Memorial believes that it is not just about preserving the memory of the past, but also about fighting against the past, as marked by the presence of so many new Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia (28 according to Let My People Go!-Ed.).
        continue read: Remembering Soviet atrocities: Solovki and Sandarmokh -Euromaidan Press |

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        • Russia is developing a autonomous missile system to deploy in the Arctic
          UAWIRE ORG October 1, 2016 2:51:01 PM

          Russia is developing a fully autonomous missile system for deployment in the Arctic, according to the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Ground Forces, Colonel-General Oleg Salyukov, RIA Novosti reported.

          "In order to ensure defense in the Arctic region and the Far North... the fully autonomous short-range air defense system Thor M2DT is being developed, which will be adapted to the particularly harsh climatic conditions and capable of performing combat missions in extremely low temperatures and difficult terrain," Salyukov stated.

          The Vityaz machine-building company, based in Ishimbai, Bashkortostan, is currently working on the Thor M2DT missile system. The company stated that the new system should pass state acceptance tests by May of next year. UAWire - Russia is developing a autonomous missile system to deploy in the Arctic
          Last edited by Hannia; 1st October 2016, 22:20.

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          • The Clinton-Trump Debate Inspires Another In Ukraine
            NEWSWEEK Nolan Peterson On 10/1/16 at 5:30 AM

            Eight hours prior to, and 4,670 miles to the east of Monday night’s presidential debate at Hofstra University, a group of American expatriates and Ukrainians, as well as citizens from several other countries, gathered in the basement of an Irish bar for a mock presidential debate.

            The debate, which was organized by the English-language Kiev Post newspaper and the independent Ukrainian news agency, Hromadske, highlighted the high stakes of this year’s presidential contest for the embattled post-Soviet country.

            “Ukraine is about the highest on the foreign policy scale as I can remember in any election,” said Kiev Post editor-in-chief Brian Bonner, who moderated the debate.

            The event was also a living—and at times rowdy—example of American democracy in a country that secured its independence from the Soviet Union 25 years ago, and is still struggling to reform a corrupt oligarchy more than two years after protesters overthrew the pro-Russian regime of deposed President Viktor Yanukovych (who now lives in exile in Russia).

            “It’s an important part of being American to exercise our opinion,” Bonner said during his opening remarks.

            Reno Domenico of Democrats Abroad Ukraine represented Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Jonathan Roseland, a businessman living in Kiev, played the role of Donald Trump, the Republican candidate.

            Bonner sat between Domenico and Roseland at a table with an American flag draped over it. Cardboard cutouts of Clinton and Trump loomed in the background. Hromadske lived-streamed the event on the internet.

            As spectators drank pints of Irish beer and munched on onion rings, the two debaters presented the domestic and foreign policy platforms of their respective candidates.

            “America is already great,” Domenico said. “You can measure the success of a country by the direction in which people move.”

            “Trump’s policies are pro-American,” Roseland said. “It’s about Americanism, not globalism.”

            Echoing the actual debate, however, the mock event quickly devolved into a back-and-forth of attacks on each candidate’s character and temperament.

            “Hillary Clinton certainly means more war for the world,” Roseland said.

            “Donald Trump and his campaign are embedded in this Russian project,” Domenico said, referring to Russia’s military interventions in Ukraine since 2014.

            Unlike the comparatively placid audience at Hofstra University (under orders to refrain from applause), the approximately 50 spectators at the mock event in Kiev showed no reluctance to shout out expressions of support or disagreement as the event rolled on.

            Roseland drew grumbles and catcalls from the crowd as he explained Trump’s praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin for being a strong leader, and for his defense of Trump’s statement that he would recognize Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, which the U.S. has condemned as illegal.

            Similarly, the crowd also expressed frustration with the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama—specifically for not sending Ukraine lethal weapons to defend against Russia’s military adventures in eastern Ukraine, and his decision not to visit Ukraine during two terms as president.

            Similarly, Clinton’s failed 2009 “Russian reset” while she was secretary of state also spurred a few catcalls.

            After some questions from Bonner, the microphone was passed to the audience. Questions to the stand-in candidates offered insight into how this year’s presidential election is a uniquely important one for Ukraine.

            Questions touched on the U.S. obligation to support Ukraine under the Budapest Memorandum, the process to obtain U.S. visas for Ukrainian citizens, the role of the U.S. in accepting Syrian refugees, as well as the rise of nationalist parties across Europe and Russia’s role in funding them.

            The debate touched on Clinton’s email scandal, and Trump’s since-amended call to bar foreign Muslims entry into the United States. The age of both candidates also came up, with questions about the impact on relating to millennial voters and fitness for office.

            Domestic issues related to the U.S. economy touched off a few fiery exchanges, although the crowd was distinctly more agitated by issues related to the credibility of U.S. power in deterring Russian aggression.

            Ukrainians attending the event were relatively reluctant to speak up compared with the Americans present. However, in private conversations following the event it was apparent that most Ukrainians favor Clinton over Trump.

            Such support for a Democrat is a sharp turnaround in a country where past Republican presidents like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and prominent Republican lawmakers like Senator John McCain are held in high esteem.

            Among the American expatriates, a clear majority favored Clinton.

            Christopher Atwood, a freelance copywriter from Dallas who now lives in Kiev, said he was voting for Clinton due to Trump’s statements about Putin and Crimea.

            “I don’t plan on leaving Ukraine in the near future,” Atwood said. “Any potential for more Russian aggression is scary for me and my friends.”

            There were, however, some vocal Trump supporters in the crowd.

            Hense Ellis heads a project to provide assistance to orphans in Ukraine. The Destin, Florida, resident said he’s voting for Trump because he believes a Clinton presidency would be mired in controversy.

            “I don’t want to see America become as corrupt as this place is,” Ellis said. “You can’t solve problems when your government is dominated by corruption. That’s a huge issue for me.”

            There are about 8 million Americans living abroad eligible to vote. In the 2012 presidential election, only about 12 percent of them voted.

            “The strikingly low turnout among expatriates may reflect an assumption that their votes are unlikely to have a significant impact,” according to a 2016 report by the University of Oxford. “However, expatriate voters have played a decisive role in the outcomes of past elections.”

            “As Americans abroad, we want to feel a part of the American election,” Bonner, a Minnesota native, said. “We want to help decide the fate of the country, even though we’re far away.”

            Nolan Peterson, a former special operations pilot and a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, is a freelance correspondent based in Ukraine.
            The Clinton-Trump Debate Inspires Another In Ukraine

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            • The Briefing: One-Party Rule And A New KGB
              RADIO FREE EUROPE Brian Whitmore September 19, 2016
              The Briefing: One-Party Rule And A New KGB

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              • Media: Russia has spent more than $900 million on military operations in Syria
                UAWIRE ORG October 1, 2016 4:39:46 PM

                According to the calculations of the RBC news portal, Russian military activities in Syria over the past year cost the Russian budget no less than $900 million. Most of the funds, were spent on 13,000 aircraft flights and towards launches of Kalibr cruise missiles, 56 of which have been launched in the past year.

                During the past year of hostilities, Russia lost one Su-24 aircraft, shot down by the Turkish Air Force, and three helicopters (Mi-8, Mi-28N and Mi-35).

                Maintenance of Russian troops and equipment as well as compensation for the families of those killed in Syria have also been costly for Moscow. UAWire - Media: Russia has spent more than $900 million on military operations in Syria

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                • Polish Defense Minister: Russia's aggression against Ukraine is a 'clash of civilizations'
                  UAWIRE ORG October 1, 2016 5:34:00 PM

                  Poland’s Minister of National Defense, Antoni Macierewicz, believes that Russia's aggression towards Ukraine, terrorism and the migration crisis are all elements of a clash of civilizations.

                  According to Interia news agency, he said this addressing the participants of an international conference in Washington.

                  The news agency reported that Macierewicz has not ruled out the possibility that Moscow supports the Islamic terrorists’ plans to destabilize the West.

                  He stressed that the “collision of Ukraine’s pro-Western aspirations with Russia’s gross intervention is a clash of civilizations”.

                  Macierewicz also added that the West should ask itself a question: “whether Russia is supporting, and is in fact the creator of, the radical Islamic terrorism?” “The answer to this question may be crucial to the survival of our civilization”, he said.

                  In his report, Macierewicz also stated that the growing body of evidence points to the fact that “the Russian version of the causes of the crash near Smolensk is not true”.

                  He has suggested that “the disaster in Smolensk was part of a long process, from the war in Georgia until Ukraine’s invasion”.
                  UAWire - Polish Defense Minister: Russia's aggression against Ukraine is a 'clash of civilizations'

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                  • Chechen and Afghan echoes of Putin’s military operation in Syria
                    EUROMAIDAN PRESS Paul A. Goble 2016/10/02

                    On the first anniversary of Vladimir Putin’s decision to introduce Russian forces into the Syrian civil war on the side of Baghdad dictator Bashar al-Assad, commentators in Russia and Ukraine are pointing to ways in which this conflict recalls Moscow’s earlier interventions in Chechnya and before that in Afghanistan.

                    Their conclusions should be disturbing to all people of good will around the world given the brutality of Soviet and Russian actions in those wars, but they should also serve as a warning to Russia and Russians given that such military adventures did not end well for their authors or their authors’ country, however many victories Kremlin propagandists may claim.

                    Independent Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer notes that in Aleppo,

                    “The Russians are using the tactic of the period of the second Chechen war” when they destroyed civilian areas in cities in order to defeat their military opponent in the field.

                    Whether this constitutes “’a war crime,’” the analyst says, is up to an international tribunal; but of course, if it is found to be such in one case, it could easily be extended to others.

                    Russian military commanders believe that if they can take Aleppo, “this will be a decisive victory” in the Syrian civil war, one that will give Asad a victory and make Baghdad into what was true in Chechnya after the second Chechen war, a pro-Russian vassal that will help project Moscow’s power in the region.

                    But, Felgenhauer argues, Moscow is wrong.

                    Taking Aleppo by such massive and indiscriminate use of force may be possible, but that will not lead to the end of the civil war in Syria. That conflict will “in any case” continue; and even more people will die there as a result of the actions of Assad and his Russian allies.

                    Meanwhile, Ukrainian journalist Vladislav Kudryk compares what Putin is doing in Syria with what his Soviet predecessors did in Afghanistan, a conflict that undermined the USSR, led to a Soviet withdrawal, but didn’t solve the problem of that Central Asian country.

                    At the moment, he says,

                    Many experts believe that Russia has “outplayed the West,” but most of them see this as a short-term rather than long-term result because, in the view of many of them, “Syria is becoming for Moscow a new Afghanistan,” a place it cannot withdraw from without risks at home and abroad but that it cannot gain what it hoped for either.

                    Moscow’s main goal in going into Syria was to force the West and above all the US to make a trade, with the West paying for Russian cooperation against terrorism in the Middle East with an agreement to end sanctions against the Russian Federation for what Putin is doing in Ukraine. But if that was Moscow’s goal, it has clearly failed.

                    Its actions have increasingly infuriated the West, which has stepped up its criticism of what Moscow is doing with its bombing of civilians in Aleppo, threatened to break off all talks on Syrian issues, and even to introduce new economic sanctions against Russia. Most important, the West has refused to make any grand bargain with Putin.

                    What is worse for Moscow, experts like Ihor Semivolos, the director of Kyiv’s Center for Near East Research, say, is that Moscow has little choice but to keep fighting despite the increasing costs it is imposing on itself by that policy. “In authoritarian regimes,” Semivolos note, “defeat in war usually very quickly leads to the fall of the regime.”

                    Moscow is thus caught in a trap of its own making, incapable of winning either on the ground or in diplomacy but equally unwilling to take the risks involved of pulling out entirely. Russian leaders know what happened after Gorbachev pulled out of Afghanistan, and they don’t want the same outcome. Chechen and Afghan echoes of Putin’s military operation in Syria | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |

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                    • NATO acknowledged that it is losing the information war with Russia
                      UAWIRE ORG October 1, 2016 1:38:25 PM

                      The NATO Command called on its allies in Western countries to actively combat the spread of misinformation that accompanies Russian military adventures, the Voice of America reported. The Director of NATO’s Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, Jānis Sārts, stated that the West is trying to catch up to the Russian Federation in this area.

                      “The technology is ours. The powerhouses of the market are located in our countries. However, we are holding this discussion, feeling that players such as Russia, the Islamic State and also China push us to this,” Jānis Sārts said. NATO officials say that Russia sees their information strategy as one of the key pillars of conflict planning, while the West is lagging behind in this regard.

                      “We continue to fight on the roadside despite the fact that work in the area of strategic communications is properly funded and extremely cheap as compared with other expenditures,” the Chief of Strategic Communications at the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Powers of Europe (SHAPE), Mark Laity, said.

                      It should be mentioned that a senior editor of The Economist, Edward Lucas, called attention to the Russian propagandistic TV Channel, Russia Today, and noted that its work can’t be considered as journalism. “Russia understands the essence of the climate of post-truth times and now they are absolutely and flagrantly lying. They see the weakness of our media in the post-Cold War era, which lays in the fact that justice prevails over the truth for us,” Lucas said.

                      According to him, the West should work harder on disinfecting social media, where Russian trolls post a huge number of false statements.
                      UAWire - NATO acknowledged that it is losing the information war with Russia

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                      • UT UKRAINE TODAY Oct. 1, 2016
                        ‘Putin effect': Eastern Europe reaches for arms

                        All Russia's neighbors arm themselves to avoid being "the next Ukraine."

                        Eastern Europe arming itself because ‘no one wants to be the next Ukraine', military and political expert Paul A. Goble states in his article for Euromaidanpress.

                        "In what many are calling "the Putin effect," countries across Eastern Europe, including even Belarus, nominally Russia's closest ally, are now arming themselves even when they have to cut social welfare spending because, in the words of one commentator, "no one wants to be the next Ukraine."

                        This sacrifice makes them producers of security and not just consumers who rely on others, including NATO and the United States, whatever some Western politicians may say; and it is an indication of just how frightened they are that the Kremlin leader, however bogged down he may be in Ukraine, appears to them as a continuing existential threat.

                        Some of the increases these countries are making in their defense structures are usefully surveyed today by the Belsat news agency.

                        Poland has done perhaps more than anyone else, beefing up its territorial defense and increasing the size of its military, including the development of a system of reserves modeled on the US National Guard and plans to purchase new weapons systems in the coming years.

                        The Czech Republic, Belsat says, has moved in "the very same direction," approving a security and foreign policy strategy based on the proposition that Russia is now a major threat. It has increased defense spending, as has Slovakia for the same reasons.

                        The three Baltic countries have increased the size of their forces and their spending on defense. Estonia plans to spend over the next four years more than Belarus does. Latvia is raising its defense spending to two percent of GDP. And Lithuania is forming special forces and a trilateral force with Poland and Ukraine. The Scandinavian countries are also increasing their defense capacity and links with NATO.

                        Estonia, Belarus and Ukraine have retained the draft, and Latvia is thinking about restoring it in order to guarantee a sufficiently large defense force. Finland has a draft, and Sweden is now debating restoring obligatory military service."
                        ‘Putin effect': ‘Putin effect': Eastern Europe reaches for arms

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                        • Ukraine needs greater EU involvement in solving Russia conflict, Ukraine experts say
                          EUROMAIDAN PRESS Viktoriia Zhuhan 2016/10/01

                          After over two years of Russian aggression in Ukraine, the EU still hasn’t developed a joint position. While Ukraine needs a broader mandate of the European missions in Ukraine as well as deeper cooperation in military spheres, Russia may interpret Europe’s hesitancy as a signal for further expansion.
                          Questions of Ukraine-EU security cooperation were discussed on 29 September at Prism Security Debates in Kyiv.

                          Ukraine and EU lack common vision on solving Russia war
                          Ukraine and the EU have much mutual understanding in global questions such as cybercrime threats, fighting terrorism, ensuring stable energy supplies, migration crisis, and so on, experts say. When it comes to dealing with local challenges, there is a lack of common vision, Maryna Yaroshevych of Ukrainian Prism Foreign Policy Council stated.

                          The EU and Russia are very interdependent, which makes it extremely hard to accept Russia’s shift from a status of a partner to the status of an offender. For instance, at the current moment Russia still is a participant of many international platforms such as one on solving Syria conflict. On top of that, Yaroshevych added, Russia’s hybrid information warfare makes it extremely difficult for the EU to form resistance while existing EU tools have proved their low effectiveness.

                          "We haven’t yet seen a clear position of the EU, whether Ukraine stands between the EU and Russia, or whether Ukraine and the EU are partners withstanding a common challenge. There hasn’t been a clear answer to this question so far,” Vsevolod Chentsov, Director-General at the Directorate-General for the European Union of the MFA of Ukraine said.

                          According to Chentsov, Europe has been so far giving a hybrid response to Russia’s aggression. On one hand, it has been admitted that Russia has violated the international law, on the other hand, Europe keeps spheres in which it finds necessary to maintain cooperation with Russia. For instance, both Russia and Ukraine are considered as EU’s partners in anti-terrorism, whilst Ukraine claims Russia as the terrorist itself.

                          “For Russia, such signals mean that the game it has imposed – the hybrid war – is accepted by the EU,” he stated.

                          “In our opinion, it is vice versa: if Russia’s authorities will see EU’s red lines which it can’t cross, then it will be possible to force Russia into such format of cooperation, that will be comfortable to the EU and Ukraine.”

                          So far, the EU has only been distancing itself from war in Ukraine as such, Kateryna Zarembo from Institute of World Policy said. What should be called “Russian intervention,” “Russian aggression,” or simply “war” in Ukraine, in the EU documents is mentioned as “destabilization,” she said. In 2003 and 2006 there were causes to reform the peacekeeping mission in Transnistria, in the year 2004 – in Georgia, when Russia blocked the OSCE mission, and there even have been such proposals, the expert reminded. However, the political will was lacking. “The EU’s attitude to security in the Eastern Partnership is obvious,” Zarembo said.
                          Ukraine needs greater mandate of EU missions

                          Moreover, from the very beginning of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, the government of Ukraine wanted greater EU involvement in the resolution of the crisis, including a CSDP mission, as stated in the policy paper “Ukraine’s Security Options.” For instance, in winter 2015, the Ukrainian authorities stated a desire for an EU-led peacekeeping mission in Donbas.

                          However, this idea did not receive a positive response from Brussels due to a lack of unity among EU member-states on the Ukrainian question and the absence of political will on the part of the EU to be involved beyond diplomatic formats.

                          The experts agreed that the existent EU missions in Ukraine do not currently meet the needs and demands of Ukraine’s society.

                          For instance, the Red Cross reported that their entry for delivering aid to the occupied territory of the Donbas was blocked and that many of their representatives lost their accreditation there. The OSCE SMM has frequently been unable to function as intended, due to the security situation and the restrictions it encounters, as well as numerous cases of violent behavior towards the observers.

                          Ukraine supports a strengthening of the mandate and capabilities of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), and additionally seeks the deployment of a wide international mission in the conflict area, perhaps under the auspices of the United Nations or the EU, working in concert with an armed OSCE mission, the Policy Paper states. Meanwhile, “DNR”/”LNR” representatives continue to prevent the monitoring activities of the OSCE SMM in the separatist-controlled territory, a sign of their attitude towards the international obligations and their desire to hide their non-conformity with the agreements.

                          According to Zarembo, The European Union Advisory Mission in Ukraine functions as if there has been no war in Ukraine. For instance, there is a clear division between civil and military sectors of cooperation, with the latter one highly undesirable for the EUAM. Zarembo also recalled Ukraine’s State Security System complaining, that the mission didn’t want to support the development of anti-terrorist centers in Ukraine since it could’ve been interpreted as a counteraction to Russian propaganda.

                          The mandate of the EUAM that does not allow the mission facilitating the conflict resolution does not satisfy Ukraine’s demands, Zarembo stated. Ukraine needs greater EU involvement in solving Russia conflict, Ukraine experts say | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |

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                          • Commander of Russian 'little green men' in Crimea will be new commander of Russian airborne troops
                            UAWIRE ORG October 2, 2016 7:13:00 AM

                            The Russian Defense Ministry appointed Lieutenant-General Andrey Serdyukov as commander of Russian airborne troops, Izvestia reports.

                            According to the publication, the 53-year-old General held all command positions, and also led a special operation in the Crimea in the spring of 2014. The submission on the appointment of Serdyukov has been sent to the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.

                            “Currently, the decision on the appointment of Andrey Serdyukov has already been made by the Ministry of Defense. We are waiting for the approval of the Russian President, as officers for division commander positions and above can only be appointed by order of the Commander-in-Chief. The Air Force has a special status as the reserves of the Supreme Commander. Therefore, officers appointed as the commander of these troops, personally, must agree with the President,” said the publication of a high-ranking source familiar with the situation.

                            According to Izvestia, Andrey Serdyukov has left the Southern Military District and arrived at the headquarters of the Air Force in Sokolniki.

                            After graduating from the Ryazan Higher Airborne Command School in 1983, General Serdyukov held positions from the Commander of a reconnaissance platoon to the Commander of the General Army of the Southern Military District. He graduated from two military academies, the Combined Forces Academy and the General Staff Academy before becoming the Chief of Staff of the Southern Military District. UAWire - Commander of Russian 'little green men' in Crimea will be new commander of Russian airborne troops

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                            Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                            • Buk missile cot design raises eyebrows in Russia
                              BBC 10/2/2016

                              A Russian children's cot in the form of a Buk missile launcher - the weapon that downed an plane over east Ukraine in 2014 - has raised eyebrows.

                              "Is this some kind of joke?" outspoken Russian journalist Oleg Kashin asked while others suggested it was a PR stunt to sell more furniture.

                              The cot's makers said they had sold "around 10" of the items, but argued the design was "nothing unusual".

                              All 298 people aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 died in the attack.

                              International prosecutors say the missile was brought into Ukraine from Russia and launched from a field in territory controlled by Russian-backed rebels, who were fighting Ukrainian government forces at the time.

                              Russia says it cannot accept the findings as the final truth.

                              MH17 missile 'brought in from Russia'

                              Whose idea was the cot?

                              The Buk cot is produced by a family firm, CARoBUS, in the Russian city of St Petersburg and is part of a special series that also features a tank and a plane.

                              Normally, the firm makes cots shaped like cars, ships and planes.

                              "I see nothing unusual in a cot like this," CARoBUS director Anton Koppel told local news website Fontanka (in Russian).

                              "Some grow up to be doctors, others bakers and some soldiers."

                              What are people saying?

                              Apart from Kashin, comments by users of leading Russian news site Lenta (in Russian) include the following:

                              ---"Maybe we should forbid children to play at 'war'?"
                              ---"When the investigation is over, there will be tens of thousands of children with Buks in their bedrooms among the suspects. It will become impossible to establish the actual guilty party"
                              ---"The Buk-shaped cot is a Freudian slip"

                              "Free PR, market demand - the guy's a genius," wrote another user to which someone replied, "Calling him a genius may be going too far."
                              Buk missile cot design raises eyebrows in Russia - BBC News

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                              Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                              • Britain's Johnson: Russia Risks Becoming A 'Pariah' State
                                RADIO FREE EUROPE Oct 1, 2016

                                Britain's new Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Russia risks becoming a "pariah" state because of its air strikes on Syrian civilian targets.

                                "They drop one bomb and then they wait for the aid workers to come out, civilian people pulling the injured from the rubble, and then five minutes later they drop another bomb," Johnson said in an interview with Britain's Sun newspaper on September 30.

                                "We have evidence. We have good ground to believe that the Russians themselves have been doing that," he said. "We are trying to document that fully because that is in my view unquestionably a war crime."

                                A watchdog report on September 30 blamed nearly 10,000 civilians deaths on Russian strikes in the past year.

                                Johnson said Britain and the United States are looking at a "range of options" to ramp up pressure on Moscow, but "the single most potent weapon we have is shame."

                                "The world's attitude towards Russia has been hardening and I think people now believe that Russia is in danger of becoming a pariah nation."

                                "In the end, if [President Vladimir] Putin's strategy is the greatness and glory of Russia, then he risks seeing that turned to ashes as people view his actions with contempt." Britain's Johnson: Russia Risks Becoming A 'Pariah' State

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                                Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp