Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts

8 December 2018

If we want to survive on this planet, we need to abandon the cause of the nation state


If we really care for the fate of the people who comprise our nation, our motto should be: America last, China last, Russia last.

The latest news from the border of Ukraine and Russia indicates that we already live in a pre-war situation – so what should we, ordinary people, do when the explosion of global madness looms?

7 December 2018

Prospects for a Strategic Military Partnership Between Turkey and Ukraine

By: Ridvan Bari Urcosta
One of the most undesirable geopolitical scenarios for Russia would be the establishment of a strategic alliance between the two other major Black Sea regional powers—Turkey and Ukraine. Such an outcome would not only hamper the Kremlin’s plans in Europe’s East and the wider Black Sea region but also undermine its ambitions in the Middle East. And though little noticed in the West, just such a process appears to quietly and gradually be underway between Ankara and Kyiv.

When relations between Moscow and Ankara rapidly deteriorated in late 2015, following Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian bomber that strayed into Turkish airspace near the border with Syria (see EDM, December 3, 2015), Kyiv and Ankara immediately commenced a broad range of cooperative initiatives across their military and economical spheres. That cooperation has persisted, even as Turkey’s relations with Russia improved since roughly the summer of 2016 (see EDM, June 30, 2016).

5 December 2018

Showdown Over the Sea of Azov

A controversial Russian bridge over the Kerch Strait has escalated tensions around the Crimean Peninsula.

Last weekend, three Ukrainian naval ships were traveling from Odessa, on the coast of the Black Sea, to Mariupol, on the coast of the Sea of Azov, when the Russian coast guard opened fire on and seized the vessels. Ukraine said three sailors were injured in the incident; Russia said it was three. According to Kiev, Russia’s actions violated a 2003 treaty that gave both countries access to the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, where the ships were intercepted. Russia, however, said the vessels were maneuvering dangerously and needed to be stopped.

The Kerch Strait is a narrow passageway between the eastern tip of Crimea and the Russian mainland. To access the Sea of Azov, on which two critical Ukrainian ports are located, vessels need to pass through this waterway. Though both Ukraine and Russia have a right by treaty to patrol this area, Russia began construction of a controversial bridge connecting the Crimean Peninsula, which it annexed in 2014, to the Russian mainland via the Kerch Strait. The bridge, which spans 12 miles (19 kilometers), was opened only six months ago. At just 108 feet (33 meters) high, it has restricted access to the Sea of Azov for some Ukrainian ships. Indeed, Kiev and Washington have accused the Russians of using the bridge to try to block maritime traffic and further destabilize Ukraine.

Strategic Implications of Russia and Ukraine’s Naval Clash on November 25

Ihor Kabanenko

Russian Coast Guard assets rammed a Ukrainian naval tugboat, on November 25, and then opened fire on it and two accompanying Gurza-class gunboats, which were sailing from Odesa to Mariupol (see EDM,, November 26). Subsequently, Russian personnel forcibly boarded the vessels, resulting in injuries to six Ukrainian sailors. The damaged Ukrainian naval ships were seized by the Russians and directed to the port of Kerch, in occupied Crimea. The Ukrainian crews remain in Russian custody (, November 26). The Russian side fired upon the Ukrainian ships in Black Sea international waters, off the southeastern coast of Crimea (, November 28).

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine qualified this naval clash as an act of military aggression and made the decision to implement Martial Law across the country (, November 26). It was approved, albeit in more limited form, by the Verkhovna Rada (national parliament) of Ukraine on November 26. Martial Law will enter into force for a period of 30 days in ten Ukrainian oblasts: five that border on Russian territory, two adjacent to Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria (which hosts a Russian military presence), and three oblasts along the Black Sea and Sea of Azov coasts (Interfax, November 27).

2 December 2018



As tensions mount between Russia and Ukraine, many observers are starting to wonder what a war between the two countries would look like. 

On Monday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared that his country’s intelligence services have evidence that Russia is preparing a ground offensive. The address was made just one day after Russian troops attacked three Ukrainian navy vessels attempting to enter the Sea of Azov from the Black Sea.

Throughout all this, President Donald Trump has remained silent. He eventually addressed the issue at the end of the day on Monday when questioned by a reporter, saying that that the U.S. does "not like what's happening."

But that tepid response made some question how the international community would react should an overt Russian military attack on Ukraine occur. Experts agree that the entire international community would have to band together to put pressure on Russia to withdraw.

Elections Staged in Ukraine’s East Under Russian Control

By: Vladimir Socor

Kremlin-orchestrated, internationally unrecognized “elections” were held on November 11 in the Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics” (DPR, LPR), Russian-controlled territories in Ukraine’s east. The final returns, made public on November 14, serve to confirm and prolong the authority of the “head of the republic” (“glava respubliki,” would-be president) and the “people’s council” (would-be legislature) in each of the two territories.

The DPR’s “interim acting head,” Denis Pushilin, is credited with 61 percent of the votes cast (the remainder being shared by four also-rans). Pushilin’s political organization, Donetsk Republic, is attributed 72 percent of the votes cast in the “parliamentary” election, versus 26 percent to the Free Donbas group. The former has a nomenklatura flavor, the latter a populist flavor; and both are billed as movements, rather than parties.

In Serious Escalation, Russia Openly Attacks Ukrainian Vessels in Azov Sea

By: Maryna Vorotnyuk

On November 25, Russian Coast Guard ship Donrammed a Ukrainian tugboat, damaging the latter vessel’s main engine. The attack occurred while two Ukrainian small-sized armored artillery boats, the Berdyansk and Nikopol, and the tugboat Yany Kapu were being transferred from the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odesa to Mariupol, in the Azov Sea, according to the Ukrainian Navy (Kyiv Post, November 25). Subsequently, Russia blocked the passage through the Kerch Strait beneath the newly built Kerch Bridge, and the Russian Coast Guard fired on a group of Ukrainian Navy ships as they were leaving the Strait, wounding at least six sailors (UNIAN,, November 25). Reportedly, Russia forcibly seized several of the Ukrainian vessels in the Strait, leading to tense protests in Kyiv (Kyiv Post, November 26). The following day, an emergency meeting of the National Security and Defense Council adopted the introduction of martial law, which still requires consent from the parliament (Kyiv Post, November 26). The November 25 incidents represent the first time, since the start of Russia’s “hybrid” war against Ukraine in 2014, that the Russian military has carried out an unmistakably open attack against Ukrainian forces.

1 December 2018

Why Putin Is Pressuring Ukraine

by Nikolas K. Gvosdev

In salons and seminars in Washington, Russia (and China) is routinely described as a “revisionist” power. This is usually accompanied by anguished commentary that the “postwar liberal international order” is being undermined—and calls for the United States to do “something” to demonstrate that it still has the capacity to lead in the global environment. Yet the revisions continue because, despite the steps taken by the United States and the European Union, the rewards of revision continue to outweigh the costs.

The old Greek proverb, “Bean by bean the sack is filled,” is apropos here. At some point, revisions create facts on the ground that become the new normal, the next “status quo.” Ever since taking office, Vladimir Putin has not hidden his desire and interest in revising the post–Cold War settlement. Over time, what has changed are his methods. In the early 2000s, he hoped for cooperative revisions with the United States and the European Union; since his 2007 address at the Munich Security Conference, he has opted to test the resilience of the West to uphold the status quo that emerged in the aftermath of the 1989–1991 collapse of the Soviet bloc.



During a televised speech on Monday in which he outlined his case for imposing martial law, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko claimed that his country’s intelligence service had evidence that Russia was preparing a ground attack.

Poroshenko's speech was given after Russia blocked three Ukrainian navy vessels from passing from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait on Sunday. The incident was a major escalationof the tensions that have existed between the two countries ever since Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine and began backing armed separatists in the country in 2014. Poroshenko is close to imposing martial law in Ukraine, which would allow the military to run the country, saying it was necessary for Ukraine’s security.

Many experts said Russia’s attack on Ukrainian naval ships on Sunday was a game changer.

30 November 2018

The Coming War over Ukraine?

by Jonas Driedger

On November 25, Russian warships attacked and seized three Ukrainian navy boats that tried to cross the Kerch Strait. The Ukrainian navy reports that Russian vessels opened fire and wounded at least six Ukrainian naval officers.

On the same day, Ukrainian President Poroshenko and his Military Cabinet passed a resolution to impose martial law in Ukraine. The Ukrainian parliament is scheduled to decide on the resolution on November 26.

Russia’s aggressive actions in the Kerch straits and the unprecedented Ukrainian response highlights the increasing danger of military escalation between the two countries.

The Coming War over Ukraine?

by Jonas Driedger

On November 25, Russian warships attacked and seized three Ukrainian navy boats that tried to cross the Kerch Strait. The Ukrainian navy reports that Russian vessels opened fire and wounded at least six Ukrainian naval officers.

On the same day, Ukrainian President Poroshenko and his Military Cabinet passed a resolution to impose martial law in Ukraine. The Ukrainian parliament is scheduled to decide on the resolution on November 26.

Russia’s aggressive actions in the Kerch straits and the unprecedented Ukrainian response highlights the increasing danger of military escalation between the two countries.

The Kerch strait represents a major geostrategic asset. It is enclosed by Russian mainland to the east and by the Russian-occupied Crimea peninsula to the west. The Kerch Strait is the only water connection between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. Passage of the strait is crucial for the major port cities in the Sea of Azov, such as Russia’s Rostov-on-Don and Ukraine’s Mariupol, which Russian separatists had repeatedly tried to conquer.

23 November 2018

Ukraine’s War With Russia Poised to Escalate in Azov Sea

By Paul D. Shinkman

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA – A dispute over shipping lanes is threatening to reignite the 4-year-old simmering war between Ukraine and Russia following confrontations sparked by both sides in recent days.

Russian border guards on Monday detained Ukrainian fishing vessels in the Sea of Azov, a strategically important body of water contained to the north by Ukraine, to the west by the Crimean Peninsula and to the east and south by Russia. Monday's incident came days after Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed Kiev for detaining Russian commercial ships also in the Azov in what he described as "a totally illegal move" and which Kremlin officials have warned may prompt retaliation.

11 November 2018

Russia’s Cyberwar on Ukraine Is a Blueprint For What’s to Come

“Many global cybersecurity analysts have come to the same conclusion. Where better to train an army of Kremlin hackers in digital combat than in the no-holds-barred atmosphere of a hot war inside the Kremlin’s sphere of influence? ‘The gloves are off. This is a place where you can do your worst without retaliation or prosecution,’ says Geers, the NATO ambassador. ‘Ukraine is not France or Germany. A lot of Americans can’t find it on a map, so you can practice there.’ In that shadow of neglect, Russia isn’t only pushing the limits of its technical abilities, says Thomas Rid, a professor in the War Studies department at King’s College London. It’s also feeling out the edges of what the international community will tolerate. The Kremlin meddled in the Ukrainian election and faced no real repercussions; then it tried similar tactics in Germany, France, and the United States. Russian hackers turned off the power in Ukraine with impunity—and, well, the syllogism isn’t hard to complete. ‘They’re testing out red lines, what they can get away with,’ Rid says. ‘You push and see if you’re pushed back. If not, you try the next step.’”

American Energy Policy In The Middle East – Analysis

By Matthew Parish*

Contemporary American policy in the Middle East is often known by the moniker “energy dominance”, but it is often not understood precisely what this means. One aspect is a long-standing US policy of energy independence: that is to say, promoting development of domestic US sources of hydrocarbon production to decrease reliance upon Middle Eastern and other sources of oil and gas. The Trump administration has continued this policy, through deregulation of environmental issues pertaining to the hydrocarbon industry, promoting shale oil production and hydraulic fracturing technology, and advancing the development of domestic refinery and LNG liquification capacity. In one sense energy independence has already been achieved: the United States now exports more hydrocarbons than it imports, and America is the world’s biggest oil producer. Nevertheless none of these policy innovations are particularly novel, save perhaps the extent of environment deregulation. They are the result of several decades of fairly consistent US energy policy.

10 November 2018

Ukraine as Clandestine Testing Ground for Russian Electronic Warfare

By: Yuri Lapaiev

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine reported at the end of October that one of its long-range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) had gone missing. According to an OSCE spot report (, October 27), the drone disappeared while flying above a non-government-controlled area in Donetsk region. The UAV in question apparently experienced signal interference—which the OSCE SMM assessed to be jamming—while operating at an altitude of about 7,000 feet (2.1 kilometers).

Coincidentally or not, the UAV went missing only two days after the deputy head of the OSCE’s SMM in Ukraine, Alexander Hug, gave a telling interview to the Washington-based Foreign Policy magazine. Specifically, he stated that while the OSCE had not detected direct evidence of Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine, SMM observers had repeatedly seen various types of advanced weapons produced by Russia, including electronic warfare (EW) equipment. In fact, the SMM has already observed a number of the newest examples of Russian EW systems, such as the Leer-3 RB-341V, 1L269 Krasukha-2 and RB-109A Bylina, and an anti-UAV system—the Repellent-1 (, August 11).

4 November 2018

The IMF and Ukraine

Ukraine and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently announced a staff-level agreement on a new $3.9 billion stand-by arrangement through end-2019, replacing the current extended arrangement. 

The IMF’s relationship with Ukraine has always been among its most high-profile and difficult interactions. The United States and Europe have consistently encouraged the IMF to remain engaged in Ukraine, viewing this as a means of laying a foundation for greater market orientation, integrating Ukraine with the West, and diminishing Russia’s regional influence. Russia’s invasion of Crimea and the Donbass reinforced these views, and they will surely hold in the future.

Though the IMF has spared no effort, the relationship cannot be viewed as a success. According to IMF data, there have been nine programs since 1995, and only one of them disbursed in full—in the mid-1990s.

29 September 2018

Ukraine and Russia Take Their Conflict to the Sea

As the standoff between Ukraine and Russia intensifies in eastern Ukraine, the Sea of Azov will become a new area of contention.

Both Ukraine and Russia will increase their military presence in the sea, and Kiev has already announced plans for a new naval base there before the end of the year.

The military buildup could lead to growing economic disruption of shipping in and out of the sea.

Russia is stronger than Ukraine on the sea, but robust U.S. support for Kiev could alter the situation in the area.

Putin's Ukraine War Has Completely Backfired


LVIV, Ukraine — When they first arrived in Lviv, a university rector told me, the students who came from Donetsk walked around in packs, speaking loudly in Russian. They didn’t want to speak Ukrainian, as most inhabitants of this city do; they didn’t want to integrate. Lviv is in western Ukraine, near the Polish border. Donetsk, hundreds of miles to the east, has been occupied by Russian-backed “separatists” since the Russian invasion in 2014. The new students were “internally displaced persons” — refugees in their own country.

But that first year ended, and the second year was different. By the third year, the rector told me, the students from western Ukraine and the students from eastern Ukraine were nearly indistinguishable — and they aren’t alone. Four years have now passed since the invasion, and the 1.5 million Ukrainians displaced by the war are coping better than might be expected. Most of those who are of working age have jobs. The majority say they trust their neighbors.

23 September 2018

Russia in Ukraine 2013-2016: The Application of New Type Warfare Maximizing the Exploitation of Cyber, IO, and Media

Ronald Sprang
Source Link

This case study for analysis focuses on Russian operations in Ukraine from 2013-2016. Russian decision-making in Ukraine has demonstrated the ability to use cyber and information warfare to influence operations to support military and political objectives, and continued preparation of the cyber environment to create a range of options for future action.[i] The Russians were able to use Ukraine operations as a test for New Generation Warfare (NGW) to enhance the deep battle concept. Russia has adeptly executed deep battle, creating time and space to effectively employ limited ground forces and special operations to achieve desired effects. The employment of the cyber domain created windows of opportunity for success and simultaneous execution of offensive and defensive tasks across the strategic and operational levels and other domains. Additionally, the cyber capabilities employed allowed the Russians to achieve three critical strategic effects; 1) troop levels were minimized through integrated cyber operations and operational advantage gained; 2) Russian leadership maintained plausible deniability through effective cyber and information operations delaying international intervention; 3) cyber operations achieved desired effects and kept the threshold for violence below an international outcry for intervention or interference allowing the Russians to achieve the strategic objective to control key terrain in Ukraine.[ii]

18 September 2018

NATO signs letter of cooperation with Ukraine Land Forces Command

Commander of NATO Allied Land Command (LANDCOM), Lieutenant General John Thomson and Ukrainian Army Colonel General Serhiy Popko, Commander of Ukrainian Land Forces Command have signed a letter of cooperation.
“This is a tremendous honour for LANDCOM. I’m impressed with your training facility and how advanced this exercise is,” Thomson said. “Our headquarters and staff are excited about the future of this relationship. When I visited NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), they are excited about what LANDCOM is doing with Ukraine.”

Popko agreed, according to a news release: