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Russia’s war against Ukraine and the world

Russia’s war against Ukraine and the world



by Andriy Parubiy

I am deeply convinced that in order for us to win the war that Russia has launched against Ukraine and the world, all of us — the government and every Ukrainian — must absolutely know and fully understand the phenomenon, its scale, and the level of threat it represents for Ukraine today

We must know our enemy.

We must know ourselves

And we must know the space in which this confrontation is taking place.

Ukraine is at war, and the undeclared war that Russia is waging against us is defined as “hybrid,” “non-linear” or “war of controlled chaos.” This type of war combines military, informational, terrorist, and other aggressive actions that are coordinated from one center and directed at achieving a certain strategic goal. The goal of this war is Ukraine’s complete subjugation to the expansionist, neo-imperialistic plans of the Kremlin.

The content, nature and characteristics of such a war differ significantly from the traditional models of previous wars. Experts refer to it as a so-called war of controlled chaos.

In the geopolitical system of coordinates, the essence of the war of controlled chaos lies in the geopolitical destruction of the victim state and the neutralization of its geopolitical characteristics — size of territory, population, international status, economic opportunities, military power, and total potential. During such a war the victim state and its regions experience certain internal political processes that are, in fact, strategic actions of controlled chaos. The true roles, locations, interests, and goals of the aggressor state are removed from the sphere of public attention and are hidden behind “informational garbage” and demagoguery.

In general, the controlled war of chaos or hybrid war involves three stages:

Aggravation of the situation and encouragement of internal conflict in the victim state.
Degradation, destruction, and disintegration of the country, turning it into a so-called “failed” state.
Changing the country’s political power to one that is completely under control of the aggressor state.

Ukraine is encountering this phenomenon directly for the first time. However, military experts have long been familiar with this type of warlike activity.

The concept in its modern sense was explored as early as during the 1960-70 years in the work on “war insurgency” by Evgeny Messner, the former colonel of the General Staff of the Imperial Russian Army. (in his book Insurgency or the name of the Third World War, Messner predicted that future wars would be won through subversion and organized revolutions carried out by special forces and terrorists — Ed.)

In particular, he wrote:

“In earlier wars, conquest of territory was considered important. In the future, the conquest of souls in the enemy country will be most important. The fighting will not happen on a two-dimensional level, as in the past, nor in three-dimensional space, as during the birth of military aviation, but in a four-dimensional space where the psychology of the warring nations becomes the fourth dimension … fighting in the future will use rebels, guerrillas, saboteurs, terrorists, propagandist on large scale.”
Obviously, this is exactly what the Kremlin had in mind when it launched the hidden war against Ukraine in Crimea and began fueling the instability in the eastern and southern regions of our country. In the Pentagon, as early as 2004, it was believed that China, North Korea, Iran and Russia would be the first countries to launch hybrid wars. This new war relies on using the civilian population to whip up mass hysteria and opposition to lawful authority and to provide reliable “human shields” to cover the armed militants.

From the aggressor’s perspective , it is here that the informational component plays perhaps its most important role in shaping the “correct” view of the victims of this war. This is much more important than achieving actual victory. The killing of foreign soldiers ceases to be the main goal — in a hybrid war killing one’s own soldiers suffices since it guarantees the required informational support.

In conducting this war, the aggressor attributes to his victim what he, in fact, does himself. Everything is as described by Orwell — the victim is transformed into the aggressor in the eyes of the consumer of this information, and the aggressor becomes the just avenger. Informational infection thus takes place.

The main target in a hybrid war is not the adversary but the population that is being “liberated.” The objectives and methods of such a war are clear — to encourage citizens to betray their own country and support the aggressor. Additionally, all means are utilized to shape the aggressor’s desired depiction of events in the international community.

The non-standard nature of such a war is based on the non-official involvement of non-governmental implementers — “polite (little green) men,” the “volunteers” who are, in fact, commonplace mercenaries and local traitors. They are not bound by international law and are simply doing the “dirty work.”

An important feature of the hybrid war is the active use of asymmetric fighting, which is characterized by a significant difference between military power and the strategies and tactics of the participants. This type of warfare is extremely difficult to counter, since there are no formal grounds for fighting with the aggressor state, who only unofficially (but very actively) supports the militants and terrorists.

This is how the extensive agent network of the intelligence services of the Russian Federation, the Russian saboteurs and mercenaries are operating in the east of our country today. And Russia is supplying them with weapons and new fighters and continuing to shell our positions from Russian territory.

In this undeclared war against Ukraine, Russia is actively using the methods of the information-psychological war that is designed to destroy the morale of the soldiers and the civilian population of our country. The so-called “journalists” from the Russian channels LifeNews, Russia Today and the like are “dual-use weapons,” performing the functions of shaping the “right image” for propaganda purposes while conducting intelligence and subversive work as agents of the special services of the Russian Federation.

Russian military experts and scientists have been working on developing information and information-psychological war for some time and quite thoroughly. In particular, the Russian scientist Andrey Manoilo, graduate of the FSB (Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation) Academy, has explored with exceptional depth the phenomenon of current information warfare in his monograph “National information policy under special conditions.”

The author defines the status of the new war: ” The information-psychological war […] at this time represents the most socially dangerous form … of confrontation, carried out by violent means and attempts to influence the information-psychological sphere of the opponent with the goal of achieving strategic objectives.”

We can cite a few more descriptions by experts who view the information war as an integral part of the hybrid war:

Information Warfare — the purposeful actions designed to ensure information superiority by damaging the information processes and systems of the enemy while ensuring the safety of one’s own information, information processes and systems. The components of information warfare are information and psychological warfare and cyber warfare.

Information-psychological war – is designed to have a specific influence on the military and civilian population of a country — the targets of the prepared information-psychological operation.

Cyber war — component of the information war, which is designed to damage or destroy the information infrastructure of the opponent (including software and hardware) through penetration of the infrastructure and illegal hacking.

Information weapons — a set of technical and other means, methods, and technologies that are determined not so much by their own properties but by the properties of the objects against which the information weapons are applied. Information weapons integrate all the means of influencing the foundation of any society through information.

To understand the strategy and actions of the enemy it is advisable to note his main approaches to the implementation of the information war.

Russian specialists define information war as a confrontation between states in the information space that are designed to damage the information systems, processes and resources of critically important structures, to undermine the political, economic and social systems, and also to submit the population to mass psychological manipulation in order to destabilize the society and the state.

The basic training of the Russian special services specifies:

– Secret information-psychological operations serve as the basis for conducting the information war through the influence of managed information on the consciousness of individuals, groups or masses and on the will and feelings of the citizens of another country. It also includes the disruption of the information infrastructure and media of the enemy country and the disinformation of those making political, economic, and other governmental decisions.

– These measures are designed to have a negative impact on the awareness and systems of knowledge and understanding in the target country and to organize the desired sources of influence beyond its borders.

– To implement these steps an information gathering and distribution center must be developed that operates in real time.

– Fighting must be preceded by the ability to provide rapid disruption of the political and economic government infrastructures of the enemy as well as their communication systems and electronic warfare.

– An important component of modern warfare (not only information warfare) is the question of morale. The creation of a system for the moral-psychological training of Russian soldiers and the development of algorithms to undermine the morale of the enemy is a crucial factor in modern warfare.

The targets for attack are identified:

– The information structure of the state

– The awareness, will, and feelings of the soldiers and various segments of the civilian population, especially during elections and crises.

– The system of decision-making in the political, economic, social, scientific-technical fields and in the area of security and defense.

-The more negatively oriented groups (the opposition, dissidents, the criminal elements, etc.), viewed as means to intensify the crisis in the enemy’s society.

Ukrainian experts have identified a number of threats to Ukraine in the context of the information war.

The massive information-psychological operations and cyber warfare that accompany military action against Ukraine.
The latent (hidden, marginal) actions of the enemy. The Russian Federation is actively using the religious factor to promote its conditions for stabilizing the situation and to spread false statements about a peaceful settlement of the war. There are many eye-witness accounts of sermons by priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate about “militant heroes,” “holy war,” and the “Kyiv junta,” not only in the Donbas but also in the Sumy and Chernihiv oblasts. Another direction that is actively pursued is the spreading of rumors. The instruments of distribution are not only specific individuals and Russian TV, but also informational messages delivered through the printed press, leaflets, and local cable broadcasts.
The information-propaganda structures on Ukrainian territory (information agencies, publishers, IT-structures, blogger groups, etc.) which formerly did not demonstrate their pro-Russian positions are now attempting to share their destructive (panicked, depressive) attitudes in Ukraine (“we’re nothing without Russia,” “Russia will swallow us,” etc.) to create a negative trend regarding Ukraine and at the same time a positive trend regarding Russia’s actions
Inadequate implementation of necessary measures: the internal nature of the threats is based on opposition to the inherited bureaucratic system that is unable to handle current challenges.
Massive cyber warfare. It should be noted that in 2004 the Russian Minister of Defense announced the launch of the program to expand cyber warfare and involve leading IT companies and scientific and educational institutions in this strategy, following the U.S. example. Russian structures that carry out cyber warfare are disguised as “anonymous hackers,” private individuals and organizations (“Cyber Berkut,” Anonymous).
Ukraine’s own capabilities and potential that must be used without fail:

We can identify the following factors that enhance a successful response and increase the effectiveness of Ukraine’s actions in the hybrid war in the context of informational warfare:

General heightening of patriotism. Examples of heroic military deeds, the National Guard, the soldiers of the volunteer battalions, the volunteers, the material assistance to Ukrainian soldiers from local residents and from all the regions of Ukraine, the funds collected for the army, are examples not only of a high level of patriotism but also demonstrate the significant self-organizing capabilities of the population.
Strategic Management. The creation of separate state and public situation centers (and the inclusion of existing ones) will ensure a prompt response to changes in the military-political situation. Building a networked system of situational management will ensure the preservation of stability and the continuity of government in the event of total and intense aggression on the part of Russia. The main conditions should be the qualifications of the personnel, the availability of horizontal connections with the structures of other law enforcement agencies, and the implementation of national standards for the delivery and content of information.
Effective information politics. Namely, the daily context, the strategic direction and the feedback from the public. This direction is already being implemented, particularly on the basis of two integrated partner information platforms: civilian — in the form of the Ukrainian Crisis Management Media Center (UCMC), and state — the Information Analytical Center of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (IAC RNBO of Ukraine). We must understand that only the complete unified societal resistance to Russian aggression will lead us to victory. In the fight for Ukraine, all of us — the government agencies and the independent media, the independent journalists, and all Ukrainian citizens — must present a united front:
Availability of a significant number of trained military and civilian professionals, especially in the area of information, including those trained in NATO programs and programs of other Western countries.
A significant resource base, especially in the production and deployment of the information infrastructure for the benefit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other law enforcement agencies.
Changes in the geopolitical situation should be used for including experienced advisors and specialists in information warfare and military network operations (Net Centric Warfare). The involvement of advisors during the preparation and transformation of the military units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will avoid mistakes and help the army rise rapidly to the level of a modern military organization.
By confronting the West on the Ukrainian question, Moscow has relied on the active destabilization of the internal contradictions in “traditional” alliances such as EU and NATO. Moreover, the Russian rulers derive confidence from their corruption of the financial streams within the framework of the “new business relationships” with a number of leading, nominally “Western,” companies that in reality are governed by the Kremlin

The civilized world needs to realize that Ukraine may not be the final victim of the imperialistic revanchist plans of Moscow to impose the “Russian world” and alter the European and global security architecture to one aligned with Kremlin’s wishes.

Our neighbors may experience the treacherous methods of the Russian hybrid war as well — the former Soviet republics, such as Estonia and Latvia, where significant Russian-speaking population reside. Attempts to destabilize the situation in these countries in order to create “independent” pro-Russian enclaves (Narva, Tartu, Riga) should not be ruled out. Similarly, realizing that the continuing uninterrupted advancement of Chisinau in the direction of integration with Europe will finally move Moldova out of the zone of Russian influence, the Kremlin may exert “soft” diplomatic pressure and well as “tough” pressure on this country from the Transnistria territory.

Even a close alliance with Russia guarantees nothing. Increasingly, statements by various Russian politicians regarding Russian claims to the northern regions of Kazakhstan can be heard. The President of Belarus has something to consider as well as he plans his next steps.

The victories of Ukrainian armed forces in the east demonstrate that we have rapidly learned how to counter the enemy effectively, even under the most difficult conditions. The introduction of the third level of sanctions demonstrates that even Putin’s foreign policy plan has failed.

As was the case a thousand years ago, Ukraine again has become a shield for European civilization. Today Ukraine provides an example of successful resistance to Putin’s imperialistic aggression. We will return our native Crimea from Moscow’s captivity back to our united Ukrainian family. Victory over the enemy in a hybrid war can be achieved only through national unity and the mobilization of the entire society for the battle with a treacherous enemy. The terrorist and criminal groups, the foreign agent networks, and the resource bases of the aggressor on Ukrainian territory must be neutralized and disabled through clear and coordinated actions by our security agencies.

We also will win the information war by acting coherently, intelligently, and systematically. We will gain invaluable experience, new skills and habits. Ukraine will become much stronger.

By uniting and perfecting the two components of our struggle — the military-security component and the information one, we will restore peaceful life, security, and welfare to our native Donbas under the protection of the Ukrainian State.

We will stop Putin for the sake of peace in Ukraine and the world. Ukraine will win!

by Andriy Parubiy, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, August 6, 2014

Translated by Anna Mostovych


Putin’ Russia is still an empire and is evil. Russia is on the verge of invading eastern Ukraine. Putin’s regime is currently engaged in a massive military buildup, including the development of a whole new range of nuclear forces. It is in the midst of an open war against American values, arresting political opponents and journalists, crushing the internet and spewing forth nothing but neo-Soviet propaganda on state-controlled TV.The world must unite and help Ukraine defeat Russia.

Support Honorable Andryj Parubij: KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

READ MORE: More Evidence Russian Intelligence is Waging Special War Against Ukraine

Don’t Be Fooled: The Kremlin Isn’t Backpedaling

Don’t Be Fooled: The Kremlin Isn’t Backpedaling

What to make of Putin’s call for the pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine to postpone their referendum? Nothing, except perhaps that it represents a shift in tactics.

Yesterday Vladimir Putin called on the Ukrainian separatists in Donetsk to postpone their referendum on independence from Ukraine. Putin also called for dialogue between the Ukrainian authorities and pro-Russian forces, and offered support for Merkel’s idea for a Ukrainian “roundtable.” What are we to make of this?

There are a few things we can say about this gesture. First, it could represent Putin’s understanding that a referendum under the barrel of a gun wasn’t going to receive much in the way of global recognition. Second, it would have increased the threat of more painful sanctions. Third, we could interpret it as a change of tactics by the Kremlin: Putin is now pursuing the Kremlin agenda in Ukraine by presenting Russia as a neutral Arbitrator between the two sides of the conflict. Moreover, Putin hopes to strike a deal with the West that would guarantee the principle that external forces (and Russia first of all, of course) have a right to influence the internal political process in Ukraine.

One thing we can safely say is that the Kremlin hasn’t given up on other means of meddling. But what to make of the fact that the Councils of the Donetsk and Lugansk “People’s Republics” have rejected Putin’s call? Does this mean that the pro-Russian separatists in the Ukrainian East have cut the leash? Or is it the beginning of the new Kremlin intrigue: “See? We aren’t controlling them!” It remains to be seen.

But while we wait for the next development in the crisis, we need to start thinking about what this situation means for global security, the world order, and our understanding of key political principles and norms. Let’s look at the major implications of the Ukraine crisis.

1. The Kremlin is attempting to reassess the outcomes of the Cold War, which it views as unjust. This reassessment is about far more than just redrawing borders: It is about re-examining the conventional views of the Soviet Union’s collapse and the Cold War’s winners and losers. Rectifying “historical wrongs” in Crimea is but the first step on this mission. Considering Putin’s perception of Russia and Ukraine as a “single nation”, and his dismissal of the current Ukrainian leadership as a “junta”, we ought to expect him to take additional steps toward “righting historical wrongs” in Ukraine. The Russian president has probably decided to enter the textbooks as a visionary who changed the course of history. In this case, once Putin has started to restore justice, he hardly would stop in Ukraine. Putin’s conciliatory tone on May 7 and his support of the Ukrainian “dialogue” should be interpreted not as a change of his Doctrine but a change of tactics.

2. Some mistakenly believe that the Kremlin is returning to the 1945 Yalta Accords, which established spheres of influence for each of the victors of the war. Much of the world evidently hoped that placing Crimea more firmly within the Russian sphere of influence would satisfy the Kremlin. What naiveté! The Kremlin’s agenda is much more ambitious: It wants global actors to endorse Russia’s right to create and protect the “Russian World”, including ethnic Russians in other states. Essentially, this is an attempt to repeat the 1938 Munich Agreement. However, I suspect that this notion of the “Russian World” is only a pretext to pursue other goals—the actions of a leader who has begun to feel omnipotent, who has lost (or perhaps never had) an adequate understanding of dangers, threats, and limits. Putin certainly has never expressed any concern for the discrimination faced by Russians in Turkmenistan, or the safety of Russians in Chechnya. No, the “defense of the Russian-speaking population” looks more like an ideal way to turn Russia into “A Nation at War.” Tomorrow could just as easily bring a different pretext for keeping the country in this mode.

3. Many fear that Moscow craves another land grab, that its aim is territorial expansion. To be sure, Putin seems to have a healthy respect for the time-honored uses of holding onto land and flexing military muscle. But I am confident that territory is only playing a secondary role here in Putin’s calculus. The idea of “justice” is more important to the Kremlin, and justice in this case does not necessarily have to mean holding on to territory. One can only imagine what would become of the world order if it were regulated by this notion of justice.

4. Putin has laid waste to a host of international agreements. It’s not that he rejects the need for them; he just wants others to recognize that the Kremlin has the right to its own interpretation of international agreements and principles.

5. The West will have to take another look at the security challenges it is facing, particularly as they relate to the nuclear non-proliferation regime. After all, if Ukraine in 1994 had not given up its nuclear arsenal, it wouldn’t be in the spot it is today. Both Iran and North Korea have certainly taken several lessons from the Ukraine saga. The conventional forces regime after Russia’s withdrawal from the CFE treaty is also in shambles, and this allows Russia to mass its troops along any border it wishes. NATO, in response, was forced to break its 1997 pledge not to position its forces in Eastern and Central Europe. Pandora’s box has been opened…

6. This isn’t the first time the Kremlin has offered to create, with the West, a “collective” governing body (an axis) including the United States, the European Union, and Russia. This has long been a favorite proposal of Sergei Lavrov. Moscow may very well interpret the Geneva agreements of April 17, which contain demands for internal political changes in Ukraine, as a step in this direction. In fact, Moscow was able to force Washington and the European capitals to open a discussion of Ukraine’s constitutional arrangement, which amounts to collective curtailment of the country’s sovereignty. The idea is supported by quite a few Western pragmatists who have lobbied for a “collective help” solution for Ukraine that would, of course, include Russia. The German idea of “roundtable” in Ukraine fits nicely the Kremlin model of “collective leadership”, which would give Russia a role as one of the moderators in the conflict, presenting one of the sides.

7. In the course of looking for solutions for the Ukrainian crisis, leading political figures have lost much of their authority. German Chancellor Angela Merkel could become a prime example of this. After establishing herself as a key European actor during the global financial crisis and the Eurozone crisis, Merkel attempted to assume the role of a peacemaker in the Ukrainian conflict. But the Kremlin interpreted the “Merkel formula”, which was supposed to be a calibrated response that allowed Putin to save face, as a sign of weakness and an invitation to push Germany (and the West) even further. I would bet that the Kremlin believes that Germany’s “moderating” influence would prevent the West from doing anything that would risk making the Kremlin really unhappy and would allow the Kremlin to strike a new Faustian bargain with the West over Ukraine.

8. Europe’s failure to thwart Putin prompted Washington’s return to the European stage. As much as President Obama does not want to get himself entangled in the Ukrainian events, these very events, thanks to their geopolitical and civilizational component, will become a litmus test for determining how successful his foreign policy has been. But the unfortunate truth is that President Obama can’t win in the short to medium term, no matter what he does. “Sectoral sanctions” on Russia’s finance, energy, or defense industries? These all take time, and won’t be able to disrupt Putin’s plan for undermining the Ukrainian elections and “reformatting Ukraine” (although it could modify his means of pursuing his agenda). Readiness to “accommodate” the Kremlin? This would mean a defeat for the United States as a leading Western power, which would have tremendous international and civilizational consequences.

9. Russia has once again taken up the tools and principles of confrontation and “might makes right.” Postmodern Europe, with its emphasis on treaties, soft power, and negotiations, has proven utterly feckless when it comes to bringing the Kremlin to heel. It still isn’t clear whether the United States will be able to return to Europe and reinvent the Transatlantic partnership in order to check Putin’s revanchism. Will the United States be able to turn away from its policy of retrenchment? Will NATO be able to adopt a new mission? We don’t have an answer to these questions yet. One thing is clear, however: Russia’s return to militarism is certain to make the Western powers reconsider their defense budgets. We are in for a new arms race.

10. I can’t help but smile when I hear Putin called a “Russian nationalist.” It’s a sign that the speaker doesn’t really understand the Kremlin’s motives. Just like all of his predecessors, Putin supports the empire. Just like them, he probably believes that Russia can survive only as an empire rather than as a normal nation state. You may ask, “What about his pledge to defend Russian speakers?” The answer is quite simple. In order to advance his imperial agenda, Putin is trying to co-opt the nationalists, who have thus far fallen in the anti-Putin and anti-Kremlin camp. At present, he is succeeding in this task: Both the left-wing and the nationalist segments have supported his crusade, both inside and outside Russia! Who could ever have predicted that after the collapse of the Soviet Communist International, Moscow would succeed in building a Right-Wing International that supports its adventure in Ukraine.

11. The West understood how to deal with the Soviet Union, but dealing with Russia will be far more complex. Today, Russia and the West (especially Europe) are tightly interconnected. The Russian elite is plugged into the Western economy and its financial system. That is why the West is helpless when it comes to containing Russia. So far, the Western governments haven’t shown any willingness to inflict financial or other kind of pain on themselves.

12. The crisis in Ukraine has raised the issue of “fifth columns” within Russia, and elsewhere as well. By fifth columnists, I mean minorities whose interests differ from those of the state where they live. Russia’s liberal minority suffered a devastating defeat when Russia returned to its traditional matrix; this minority will also be the first victim of the Kremlin’s next crackdown.

But what will happen to the “fifth column” of Russia supporters in the West? These are the business leaders, the lawyers, the politicians, and the media personalities who serve the interests of Russia’s corrupt Western laundry machine. These figures are obviously worried; they have an interest in proving that the crisis was caused by the West, which doesn’t understand Russia. They have urged the West to give Ukraine to Moscow, to guarantee that it will never become a member of NATO or the EU. Chances are that the voices of this “fifth column” will be heard, since pragmatic Western politicians who do not cater to Russia’s corrupt elite hold similar views. They don’t want to get involved in this conflict, so they have drawn up the Western sanctions regime so as not to compromise Western business interests in Russia and not to anger Putin and close off a chance to cooperate with him. It makes sense; if the West backs down it will need to know who is dictating the rules of the game.

There are plenty more implications of the Ukrainian crisis besides these. Some are just beginning to make themselves known, and besides, the Law of Unintended Consequences is working its magic as well. Putin has unleashed a tide and nobody knows what it will bring for Russia and its leader. I’ll talk about some of these possibilities in future updates.

LILIA SHEVTSOVA Published on May 8, 2014

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Putin’s remarks raise fears of future moves against Ukraine

Putin’s remarks raise fears of future moves against Ukraine

Video: NSA leaker Edward Snowden questioned Russian President Vladimir Putin about domestic spying on Thursday. Putin wasn’t exactly truthful in his response. (Fact-checking source: Andrei Soldatov)Video
By Kathy Lally, Published: April 17 E-mail the writer
MOSCOW — A confident President Vladimir Putin on Thursday used his annual televised meeting with the nation to portray a powerful Russia — one that is dismissive of the West, had troops operating in Crimea even as it denied it and regards a large swath of southeastern Ukraine as historically part of its territory.

Somewhat ominously, Putin reminded his audience that Russia’s parliament has given him the authority to send troops into Ukraine. Southeastern Ukraine — including the cities of Luhansk, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Odessa — had been part of the Russian empire, called New Russia, he pointed out. The Soviet Union turned it over to Ukraine. “Why? Let God judge them.” The argument was reminiscent of the one he had made earlier about Crimea, which was given to Ukraine in 1954.

Putin’s remarks raised fears that he was justifying a possible incursion into southeastern Ukraine, where the United States says 40,000 Russian troops are massed just across the border. U.S. and European officials have accused Russia of organizing the armed men and agitators who have been capturing government buildings in southeastern Ukraine and raising Russian flags. Putin denies it. The West says he is lying.

“Nonsense,” Putin said Thursday. “There are no Russian units in eastern Ukraine — no special services, no tactical advisers. All this is being done by the local residents.”

In early March, Putin denied that the well-equipped troops operating on Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and wearing green uniforms without insignia were Russian. Anyone could buy those uniforms, he said. On Thursday, when asked about the soldiers widely known as the green men, Putin acknowledged that they were Russian. Their presence had been necessary, he said, to keep order so that Crimeans could decide their future in a referendum.

“We didn’t want any tanks, any nationalist combat units or people with extreme views armed with automatic weapons,” he said. “Of course, Russian servicemen backed the Crimean self-defense forces.”

The hastily arranged March 16 referendum resulted in 96 percent counted as voting for joining Russia. “In this situation,” he said, “we couldn’t have done otherwise.”

For just shy of four hours Thursday, Putin answered questions from a studio audience, from a video-connected crowd standing in the heart of the Crimean city of Sevastopol and from people calling in and texting from around the nation. Of 2 million calls and 400,000 texts, he answered around 70 questions. Last year, he spoke for four hours and 47 minutes.

Even Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who revealed a wide-scale U.S. surveillance program and has taken refuge from prosecution in Russia, came out of the shadows to ask a video question: Does Russia spy on its citizens the way the United States did?

No, Putin said. “Thank God, our special services are strictly controlled by the state and society, and their activity is regulated by law.”

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow tweeted in contradiction: “Snowden would probably be interested to know that Russian laws allow the control, storage and study of all data in the communication networks of the Russian Federation.”

Putin’s program was broadcast live on three main television channels and three radio stations. From across the nation, people added their voices to a chorus of “thank-you-Mr.-Putins,” expressing their gratitude for his acquisition of Crimea and his standing up to the West. Journalists and artists lauded him. “There is no legitimate power in Ukraine today,” lamented Karen Shakhnazarov, a filmmaker, who said that as a 20-year-old, his father had fought in the Soviet Army to free Crimea in World War II.

Andrei Norkin, a journalist for Kommersant Radio, said he was worried about the nation’s level of patriotism and urged Putin to support legislation that would set up military academies where schoolchildren could study under inspiring conditions.

“They learn respect for women and older people,” he said. “At cadet schools, they are trained to become real men.”

A few critics were heard, giving Putin the opportunity to describe how misguided they were.

“Laws are being developed that will make culture just a servant of ideology,” said Irina Prokhorova, a literary critic, head of the Civic Platform party and sister of Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov. People are being persecuted if they object to the annexation of Crimea, she said, calling it a “sad and forced decision.”

This is not 1937, Putin said, when people were being sent to labor camps.

“Some members of the Russian intelligentsia are unaccustomed to the fact that they might meet resistance or have someone else express a different position and disagree with their position,” Putin said. When contradicted, he said, they get emotional.

He said he had heard that regarding Crimea, some people “want their country to lose and think that this is a good thing. Here, too, there is a continuity. As is known, during the First World War, the Bolsheviks also wanted the Russian government and Russia in general to lose, and the situation quickly got out of hand, which led to the revolution.

“There is some sort of historical continuity here, not the best, though. However, I agree that in any case, we should not slip into some extreme forms of dealing with each other’s views or cast aspersions on people for their opinions. I will do my best to prevent this from happening.”

He dismissed U.S. complaints about Russian behavior as a double standard. “Why isn’t Russia allowed to defend its own interests?” he asked. And he criticized the sanctions the United States has imposed on Russia because of its annexation of Crimea as counterproductive.

“If you try to punish someone like mischievous kids and put them in a corner kneeling on frozen peas so it hurts them, then in the end, you will cut off the branch on which you are sitting,” he said, mixing his metaphors.

Many of his friends — wealthy men — were targeted by the sanctions. They had nothing to do with Crimea, he said.

“I should tell you,” he said, “that I don’t feel ashamed of my friends.”

Would he remarry, someone asked, referring to Putin’s recent divorce.

“First, I have to help my former wife get married, then think about myself.”
His comments were once again met by applause.

Read more, very ominous message from Putin with Russian imperialism intending on destroying Ukraine and/or start a World War 3:

Putin Makes Worrying Comments About Novorussia

Ukrainian PM: Russia is a “threat to the globe”

Ukrainian PM: Russia is a “threat to the globe.”

On March 4, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt light candles and lay roses atop the Shrine of the Fallen in Kiev. On Sunday, Pyatt appeared on CNN's "State of the Union." (Mykhailo Markiv/ Reuters)

On March 4, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt light candles and lay roses atop the Shrine of the Fallen in Kiev. On Sunday, Pyatt appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union.” (Mykhailo Markiv/ Reuters)

Russia is a “threat to the globe,” and President Vladimir Putin has a dream of restoring the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian prime minister said Sunday.
“It’s crystal clear that Russia is the threat, the threat to the globe, and the threat to the European Union and the real threat to Ukraine,” Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.
Yatsenyuk said the world has “reason to be concerned” about Putin’s intentions, and Russia undermined global stability by annexing Crimea.
“President Putin has a dream to restore the Soviet Union, and every day he goes further and further, and God knows where is the final destination,” Yatsenyuk said. He cited a 2005 speech by Putin to the Russian Federal Assembly in which Putin said the collapse of the Soviet Union was “a major geopolitical disaster of the century.”
Also Sunday, Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, said that a pact reached this past week to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine is the “best chance that we’ve got” to do so diplomatically.
Pyatt reiterated the U.S. and European Union view that there is not a military solution to the crisis and that it must be solved diplomatically.
“We’re convinced his is the best chance that we’ve got to achieve a diplomatic de-escalation of this crisis, and we’re working hard at it,” Pyatt said from Kiev on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Militants in at least a dozen cities in the east of the country have occupied buildings and seized weapons and armored vehicles. Pyatt said he believes that “Russia has influence over some of these groups” and hopes the country exercises that authority to try to implement the framework reached in Geneva.
On Sunday, an Easter truce was shattered by a gunfight that left at least one person dead and three wounded at a checkpoint occupied by a pro-Russian militia in eastern Ukraine. Russia said the clash was evidence that Ukraine was violating the accord reached in Geneva.
The pact calls for all parties to stop violent acts and for the disarmament of illegal groups. The United States says about 40,000 Russian troops are currently on the Russian-Ukrainian border. NATO is also increasing its military presence on its eastern border. Poland’s defense minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, told The Washington Post that it expects U.S. ground troops to be dispatched to his country.
“There is an apparent effort from outside to try to stir division, but I’m convinced that those who are trying to stimulate separatism, who are trying to preach violence, are not going to find resonance,” Pyatt said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this week that the crisis is putting Ukraine on the brink of civil war.
Pyatt disputed this, saying that most Ukrainians “across the board” have a “desire to bring everyone together.” Pyatt said there are “obviously efforts from small isolated groups to stir division,” and characterized them as only “about a couple hundred of people.” Pyatt said they do not represent the whole of the country. “That’s not what I hear from most Ukrainians,” he said.
Pyatt said the United States and the E.U. want to see a politically stable Ukraine, and there “is no better answer to Russia” than Ukrainians voting in elections May 25.
Pyatt said there are reasons for unhappiness in the country, particularly economic problems in the eastern part of the country.
Ukraine’s military is woefully underarmed and without modern equipment and training, but Pyatt said the United States is not providing Ukraine armament, only support and non-lethal aid.
“Ukraine is outgunned,”he said. “But our efforts have been focused on diplomacy, focused on economic support.”
Also appearing on “Meet the Press,” Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said the U.S. has given Ukraine $10 million in military and financial aid. Congress last month overwhelmingly approved a $1 billion aid package for Ukraine.
Yatsenyuk said that the country has asked for financial support but that it has to modernize its military.
“We need financial, economic support,” Yatsenyuk said. “We need to modernize the Ukrainian military and to overhaul all structures of Ukrainian defense systems.”

Also appearing on “Meet the Press,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said that eastern Ukraine will be lost unless the U.S. shifts its strategy. Corker is the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“I think we’re going to lose eastern Ukraine if we continue as we are,” he said, “and I think it’s going to be a geopolitical disaster if that occurs.”
Corker said the U.S. approach to foreign policy is a “day late and a dollar short,” and the U.S. needs to be more forceful in its approach toward Russia and increase sanctions on sectors such as energy and banking. Instead, he said, the administration keeps waiting to see what Russia’s next steps are rather than acting.
He said the U.S., by not taking a harder line, is essentially allowing Russia to go into Ukraine
“I think the administration is basically saying, ‘look, don’t do anything overt, don’t come over the border with 40,000 troops, don’t embarrass us in this way, but you can continue to undermine the sovereignty of the Ukrainians,” Corker said.
Corker said President Bashar al-Assad of Syria also knew he would not be punished by using chemical weapons.
“The wisest thing that Assad did was really to kill 1,200 people with chemical weapons, because in essence we said, ‘Don’t embarrass us any more in that way,'” Corker said, adding that Assad was able to kill 60,000 more people with bombs.
“And I think that’s what we’re saying with Russia,” Corker said. “Don’t embarrass us, but you can continue the black ops activity.”
April 20 at 10:32 am

Katie Zezima
Katie Zezima covers the White House for Post Politics and The Fix. She previously worked for the New York Times in Boston and the AP in New Jersey. She was a 2011-12 Knight-Wallace Fellow at The University of Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @katiezez.

Read more:Putin’s 10-point plan to destroy Ukraine

False Claims About Ukraine

False Claims About Ukraine
Russian Fiction the Sequel: 10 More False Claims About Ukraine

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 13, 2014

“No amount of propaganda can make right something that the world knows is wrong.”
– President Obama, March 26

Russia continues to spin a false and dangerous narrative to justify its illegal actions in Ukraine. The Russian propaganda machine continues to promote hate speech and incite violence by creating a false threat in Ukraine that does not exist. We would not be seeing the violence and sad events that we’ve witnessed this weekend without this relentless stream of disinformation and Russian provocateurs fostering unrest in eastern Ukraine. Here are 10 more false claims Russia is using to justify intervention in Ukraine, with the facts that these assertions ignore or distort.

1. Russia Claims: Russian agents are not active in Ukraine.

Fact: The Ukrainian Government has arrested more than a dozen suspected Russian intelligence agents in recent weeks, many of whom were armed at the time of arrest. In the first week of April 2014, the Government of Ukraine had information that Russian GRU officers were providing individuals in Kharkiv and Donetsk with advice and instructions on conducting protests, capturing and holding government buildings, seizing weapons from the government buildings’ armories, and redeploying for other violent actions. On April 12, armed pro-Russian militants seized government buildings in a coordinated and professional operation conducted in six cities in eastern Ukraine. Many were outfitted in bullet-proof vests, camouflage uniforms with insignia removed, and carrying Russian-designed weapons like AK-74s and Dragunovs. These armed units, some wearing black and orange St. George’s ribbons associated with Russian Victory Day celebrations, raised Russian and separatist flags over seized buildings and have called for referendums on secession and union with Russia. These operations are strikingly similar to those used against Ukrainian facilities during Russia’s illegal military intervention in Crimea in late February and its subsequent occupation.

2. Russia Claims: Pro-Russia demonstrations are comprised exclusively of Ukrainian citizens acting of their own volition, like the Maidan movement in Kyiv.

Fact: This is not the grassroots Ukrainian civic activism of the EuroMaidan movement, which grew from a handful of student protestors to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians from all parts of the country and all walks of life. Russian internet sites openly are recruiting volunteers to travel from Russia to Ukraine and incite violence. There is evidence that many of these so-called “protesters” are paid for their participation in the violence and unrest. It is clear that these incidents are not spontaneous events, but rather part of a well-orchestrated Russian campaign of incitement, separatism, and sabotage of the Ukrainian state. Ukrainian authorities continue to arrest highly trained and well-equipped Russian provocateurs operating across the region.

3. Russia Claims: Separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine enjoy broad popular support.

Fact: The recent demonstrations in eastern Ukraine are not organic and lack wide support in the region. A large majority of Donetsk residents (65.7 percent) want to live in a united Ukraine and reject unification with Russia, according to public opinion polls conducted at the end of March by the Donetsk-based Institute of Social Research and Policy Analysis. Pro-Russian demonstrations in eastern Ukraine have been modest in size, especially compared with Maidan protests in these same cities in December, and they have gotten smaller as time has progressed.

4. Russia Claims: The situation in eastern Ukraine risks spiraling into civil war.

Fact: What is going on in eastern Ukraine would not be happening without Russian disinformation and provocateurs fostering unrest. It would not be happening if a large Russian military force were not massed on the border, destabilizing the situation through their overtly threatening presence. There simply have not been large-scale protests in the region. A small number of separatists have seized several government buildings in eastern cities like Donetsk, Luhansk, and Slovyansk, but they have failed to attract any significant popular support. Ukrainian authorities have shown remarkable restraint in their efforts to resolve the situation and only acted when provoked by armed militants and public safety was put at risk. Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) observers have reported that these incidents are very localized.

5. Russia Claims: Ukrainians in Donetsk rejected the illegitimate authorities in Kyiv and established the independent “People’s Republic of Donetsk.”

Fact: A broad and representative collection of civil society and non-governmental organizations in Donetsk categorically rejected the declaration of a “People’s Republic of Donetsk” by the small number of separatists occupying the regional administration building. These same organizations confirmed their support for the interim government and for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

6. Russia Claims: Russia ordered a “partial drawdown” of troops from the Ukrainian border.

Fact: No evidence shows significant movement of Russian forces away from the Ukrainian border. One battalion is not enough. An estimated 35,000-40,000 Russian troops remain massed along the border, in addition to approximately 25,000 troops currently in Crimea.

7. Russia Claims: Ethnic Russians in Ukraine are under threat.

Fact: There are no credible reports of ethnic Russians facing threats in Ukraine. An International Republican Institute poll released April 5 found that 74 percent of the Russian-speaking population in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine said they “were not under pressure or threat because of their language.” Meanwhile, in Crimea, the OSCE has raised urgent concerns for the safety of minority populations, especially ethnic Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars, and others. Sadly, the ethnic Russians most at risk are those who live in Russia and who oppose the authoritarian Putin regime. These Russians are harassed constantly and face years of imprisonment for speaking out against Putin’s regular abuses of power.

8. Russia Claims: Ukraine’s new government is led by radical nationalists and fascists.

Fact: The Ukrainian parliament (Rada) did not change in February. It is the same Rada that was elected by all Ukrainians, comprising all of the parties that existed prior to February’s events, including former president Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. The new government, approved by an overwhelming majority in the parliament — including many members of Yanukovych’s former party — is committed to protecting the rights of all Ukrainians, including those in Crimea.

9. Russia Claims: Ethnic minorities face persecution in Ukraine from the “fascist” government in Kyiv.

Fact: Leaders of Ukraine’s Jewish as well as German, Czech, and Hungarian communities have all publicly expressed their sense of safety under the new authorities in Kyiv. Moreover, many minority groups expressed fear of persecution in Russian-occupied Crimea, a concern OSCE observers in Ukraine have substantiated.

10. Russia Claims: Russia is not using energy and trade as weapons against Ukraine.

Fact: Following Russia’s illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea, Russia raised the price Ukraine pays for natural gas by 80 percent in the past two weeks. In addition, it is seeking more than $11 billion in back payments following its abrogation of the 2010 Kharkiv accords. Russia’s moves threaten to increase severely the economic pain faced by Ukrainian citizens and businesses. Additionally, Russia continues to restrict Ukrainian exports to Russia, which constitute a significant portion of Ukraine’s export economy.

Kiev’s Independence Square, the focal point of protests against Mr. Yanukovych, has echoed in recent days with angry denunciations of authorities for their failure to crush separatists in the east and calls for citizens to take up arms to defend the country.

A recent opinion poll in Donetsk suggested that less than a third of the population wants to join Russia, far less than the proportion that wants Ukraine to remain intact. Donetsk residents who support Kiev increasingly wonder why a pro-Russian minority has been able to run amok.

“The ball is now on the side of Kiev,” wrote Oleksandr Honcharov, a lawyer from Donetsk, on his blog. “If the government cannot stabilize the situation, does it deserve to be called the government at all?”

Will the world unite against Putin? Russia’s UN veto must be overturned by the civilized world.
Ukraine pleads with U.N. for peacekeepers

New Evidence: Russian Spies Backed Kiev’s Killers

The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast

New Evidence: Russian Spies Backed Kiev’s Killers
Following on a Daily Beast report, Ukrainian authorities say that Russian advisers and ex-President Yanukovych played a direct role in the slaughter of protesters on February 20.
Ukraine’s new authorities have arrested a dozen members of the country’s disbanded “Berkut” riot police. The men are suspected of participation in the February slayings of dozens of protesters in Kiev, gunned down while agitating for the ouster of then-President Viktor Yanukovych. The authorities say more arrests are to follow and they are turning their attention to other security units, including a crack Ukrainian anti-terrorist team first identified by the Daily Beast last weekend.

In a dramatic press conference by the prosecutor general and heads of the interior ministry and SBU state security, Ukraine’s new security chiefs say Yanukovych ordered the mass slayings and the snipers were under his “direct leadership”. They allege also they have uncovered evidence that Russia’s intelligence service the FSB assisted and advised Ukrainian counterparts in the bloody bid to suppress anti-government protests, leaving more than a hundred dead.

The new head of Ukraine’s SBU intelligence service Valentyn Nalivaichenko told reporters that his predecessor at SBI, Aleksandr Yakimenko oversaw the carnage in the Maidan on the orders of ex-president Yanukovych. The operation started to be put into effect on the evening of February 18 when 108 Alfa Team members tried to set up on a building overlooking Independence Square. Protesters had vacated the structure earlier because of an fire there. The Alfa members were armed with AK-47s and sniper rifles, including German Blaser hunting rifles. But the fire and smoke prevented the Alfa team from remaining in the building.

Russian experts, who had flown in that day to advise, also brought weapons, ammunition and explosives, said Nalivaichenko. The Alfa members involved are now in hiding in Crimea but some former commanders are still in Ukraine and are being interrogated. The Ukraine government is demanding from Moscow the identity of the Russian FSB officers who acted as advisers.

Video screenshot
Alfa Team Exclusive Video
The authorities stress that the investigation into the killings is still in its early stages and is centering on the killing of at least 53 anti-government protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square, known as the Maidan, on February 20. Many of the dead were killed by long-distance sniper rounds. Those killings came the day before the Yanukovych government crumbled with some key government loyalists deserting the regime as a result of the bloodshed and the ousted president fleeing Ukraine’s capital for Russia.

In all at least 103 people were killed on the streets of Kiev in the months-long protest against Yanukovych, according to the country’s Ministry of Health, although the protesters put the number at 118. The ministry says 166 protesters remain missing and that 1,528 persons were injured in the anti-government clashes.

A spokesman for the general prosecutor said all of the arrested are being detained as suspects in “mass murder on Institutska Street,” which leads off the Maidan. It saw some of the worst violence in February and has been renamed by protesters as the Avenue of the Heavenly Hundred, in honor of those killed.

According to Ukraine’s interim Attorney General Oleh Makhnitsky those detained so far were members of a special “Black Unit” within the Berkut “trained for special operations including the killing of people.” He says, “They were overseen by the presidential administration,” adding that additional arrests are likely in the coming weeks.

The special operations unit provided cover for unarmed Berkut, acting Deputy Prosecutor General Aleksey Baganets told reporters. “Their task was, as they explained, although we don’t fully believe them, to shoot back at advancing protesters and allow the regular Berkut troops to retreat.” The commander of the Black Unit is among the arrested.
kiev killers2Feb 20. Click to launch gallery. (The Daily Beast)

The decision to announce preliminary findings of the ongoing probe came 48 hours after the Daily Beast published exclusive still photographs of armed members of the SBU’s anti-terrorist Alfa unit and other crack special forces units from the interior ministry locking and loading on the morning of February 20 in the courtyard of the Kiev headquarters of the Ukrainian intelligence service three blocks from the Maidan.

The SBU is the successor intelligence agency to the Ukrainian branch of the Soviet-era KGB and has exceptional ties with the Russian intelligence service, the FSB, says Ukraine’s new Justice Minister, Pavlo Petrenko. He claims the former head of the agency was a Russian agent. The Alfa Team trains with specialists from Russia, according to former Russian military intelligence officer Boris Volodarsky.

The photographs, part of an archive of hundreds of pictures and video footage shot on February 20 by ordinary Ukrainians and supplied exclusively to the Daily Beast also show Alfa Team members and other crack units rotating in and out of the courtyard during the shootings. Many of their faces are visible while they are preparing for action or resting during the morning without their masks.

Today the Daily Beast is adding to the photographs published Saturday night by posting video footage of the SBU courtyard on February 20 as well as some video frames taken the following morning of suspected Alfa team members loading up a van in the courtyard with ammunition boxes before driving it away. The February 21 frames were taken hours before Yanukovych fled the capital. Team members are seen switching tags on VW and Mazda vans parked in the courtyard before driving them off in what Maidan activists suspect was an operation to rid the SBU of ordnance and weaponry that could be linked to the shootings.

Maidan leaders have expressed reservations about the set-up of the investigation into the slayings, which is being overseen by the new heads of the SBU, the police and the prosecutor general’s office. They have objected to agencies possibly involved in the carnage leading the investigation, fearing the results will be flawed, worrying that even if the new leaders are determined to get to the bottom of the shootings, there are Yanukovych loyalists in the agencies able to sabotage the probe or cover up evidence.

Some activists expressed satisfaction with the explosive preliminary findings on Thursday but others are still pushing for an outside international body to probe the killings and provide oversight.
Jamie Dettmer

God help us never to allow such tragic killings of Ukrainians to ever occur again. Russian brutality must be overcome my the JUDEO-CHRISTIAN principles of life. The civilized world must seek for justice and hold Russia’s Kremlin and Putin accountable for propagating evil. Kremlin must be exorcised! To the Ukrainian Heavenly Hundred-Heroes Never Die!!!!

Read More: Russia’s FSB was involved in the mass killings in Kyiv.