Tag Archives: Kremlin

Dmitry Tymchuk’s military blog: Security Service of Ukraine releases evidence of Kremlin’s murderous face

Ukrainian servicemen sit on an armoured vehicle with a Ukrainian flag as a convoy of Ukrainian forces drive towards the eastern city of Debaltceve on July 30. © AFPUkrainian servicemen sit on an armoured vehicle with a Ukrainian flag as a convoy of Ukrainian forces drive towards the eastern city of Debaltceve on July 30. © AFP

Kyiv Post Editor’s Note: To counter Russian propaganda lies about the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula on Feb. 27, Dmitry Tymchuk has set up the Center of Military and Political Research in Kyiv. He served in the Army air defense from 1995-1998, the National Guard from 1998-2000 and in the Defense Ministry in subsequent years on missions to Iraq, Lebanon and Kosovo. His blogs are translated into English by Voices of Ukraine. The Kyiv Post has not independently verified his findings, but will correct any misinformation brought to our attention at news@kyivpost.com or 38-044-591-3344 or any of our contacts at http://www.kyivpost.com/contacts.

Brothers and sisters!

Here’s the Summary for July 30, 2014

The bad news:

  1. The SBU [Security Service of Ukraine] published the evidence that shelling onto the territory of Ukraine took place from Russia. The world must see this–especially those who still have doubts about the true murderous face of the Kremlin.

The fact that this evidence is available is undoubtedly a positive fact, but Russia responded in a peculiar way. As the Communist parliamentarian Vladimir Solovyov stated at the Russian Duma, Russia wants to impose restrictions on the soldiers’ use of the Internet. So that, the bastards, stopped posting the truth and did not interrupt the suit of professional liars like Vladimir Putin, Sergei Lavrov, Vitaly Churkin, Sergei Shoigu, Dmitry Kiselyov.

A Russian parliamentarian explained the initiative, saying that Anatoliy Serdyukov [former Defense Minister] destroyed the army, and that Shoigu [current Defense Minister] must still do a lot to “strengthen and improve discipline.” So the very fact that Russia is the aggressor (and simple Russian soldiers, out of stupidity, provide the evidence that Moscow denies as it foams at the mouth) does not bother the members of Russian Parliament. The most important [task] is to hide the truth. There is one word [for them]–monsters.

  1. Starting tomorrow, [Ukrainian] security services along with Maidan activists launch a “hotline” in their joint fight against terrorism. People can inform the SBU 24/7, at 0-800-501-482, of any facts regarding suspicious persons in the region or the intent to carry out terrorist or subversive intelligence activities.

The very fact that such a hotline has been created is an absolutely right step. But, alas, it also serves as evidence that Ukraine is getting immersed in an atmosphere of total suspiciousness and fear of terrorism.

We have been challenged, and we will respond worthily. But I hate Putin for the fact that he, after initially throwing his own country into an abyss of terror, brought this fire into my country as well. I don’t want Ukrainians, like Russians, to be afraid to ride the subway or to think about a possible terrorist attack while going to a concert. And all because of a bunch of schizophrenic’s in the Kremlin.

  1. In Donetsk, the remaining broadcasting Ukrainian TV channels were turned off. Previously, Ukrainian TV channels with news segments were disconnected, and the entertainment and business channels remained. Now all is filled with Russian propaganda.

…We say that Donbas welcomes the ATO forces that free its cities from terrorists. But let’s face it: very often, this attitude isn’t caused by the immense love of the Ukrainian flag, but an elementary fear and fatigue from the insurgents’ lawlessness. In the minds of the absolute majority of people in the region lies the same Russian garbage behind terms like “junta,” “fascists,” “Banderites.”

The terrorists know that if they don’t constantly keep heating this Kremlin hysteria up, they are done. Because objective information from Ukrainian TV channels is no less terrible an enemy than Ukrainian airborne troops to them. And after freeing our lands from the Russian decay, we should do a great deal to make sure that Ukrainian Donbas stops seeing the world through the eyes of the moral pervert Kiselyov. Continue reading

‘Russian involvement’ central to UK inquiry into ex-KGB agent’s death

By Michael Holden
Women holding a poster of deceased former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko light candles in his honor in Moscow on November 22, 2008.Women holding a poster of deceased former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko light candles in his honor in Moscow on November 22, 2008. © AFP

LONDON – Evidence which shows Russia was behind the 2006 murder of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London will mostly be given in secret, the chairman of a public inquiry into his death said on Thursday.

Kremlin critic Litvinenko, 43, died after being poisoned with a radioactive isotope in November 2006, a crime which from his death bed he blamed on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement.

Formally opening an inquiry into the killing at London’s High Court, senior judge Robert Owen repeated his assertion that the British government held material which indicated the Russian state was responsible.

“The issues to which his death gives rise are of the utmost gravity and have attracted worldwide interest and concern,” Owen said.

It had been described to him as a “state-sponsored assassination” and “a miniature nuclear attack on the streets of London,” he said.

Anglo-Russian ties fell to a post-Cold War low in the wake of Litvinenko’s death, particularly after British prosecutors said there was enough evidence to charge former KGB agents Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun with murder.

Marina Litvinenko, the wife of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko who was murdered in London in 2006, speaks outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London July 31, 2014.Marina Litvinenko, the wife of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko who was murdered in London in 2006, speaks outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London July 31, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville.

They were with Litvinenko at a London hotel when British police believe he was given tea poisoned with polonium-210. Moscow has refused to extradite them, and Lugovoy, who denied involvement, was later elected a lawmaker.

Relations between the countries improved after David Cameron became British prime minister in 2010, and his government had initially refused a request to hold a public inquiry.

The family of Litvinenko, who had been granted British citizenship, said the refusal had been made to protect business interests, and successfully challenged the decision in court, with judges ordering the government to reconsider,

Last week, with Anglo-Russian relations again at a low ebb after the downing of Malaysian airliner MH17 in a pro-Russian rebel-held part of Ukraine, Home Secretary (interior minister) Theresa May said there would be an inquiry after all.

Owen had originally been appointed as coroner to oversee an inquest into the death and suspended this on Thursday to allow the inquiry to begin instead.


He said the allegations that the Russian state was culpable for the killing would be central to his investigation.

“HMG (government) material taken in isolation establishes a prima facie case that the Russian state was responsible for Mr Litvinenko’s death – a view that I myself have subsequently endorsed,” Owen said.

He said the material was of “such sensitivity” that most could not be heard in public and said some of his findings would remain secret. But he promised he would make public his conclusions about Russian involvement.

However, the inquiry would not examine whether British spies carried out the killing or could have prevented it, he said, explaining there was no evidence to suggest the first claim or to indicate Litvinenko’s life had been at serious risk.

Hearings ahead of the inquest also heard that Litvinenko had been working for Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, for several years.

A hearing to establish the format and other details of the inquiry will be held on Sept. 5 and Owen said it would begin in earnest in January next year.

“Finally we will know all about this crime,” Litvinenko’s widow Marina, who has fought a long battle to learn the truth behind the death, told reporters outside the court.


Stephen Blank: Siren call of empire will wreck Russia

By Stephen Blank.
Maxim Stulov / VedomostiMaxim Stulov / Vedomosti

The downing of Malaysia Airline Flight MH17 cast a harsh, lurid and revealing light upon Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Its most immediate effect was to place the brutality of Russian-led forces in full view.

There is little evidence that the rebels made any effort to identify the plane by using the first of the Buk missile-launcher system’s two phases before they shot it down. Evidently they simply shot at anything flying overhead and made no effort to determine if it was a military flight.

Nor was this the first instance of rebel indifference to human life in Ukraine. Amnesty International’s recent report of their brutal beatings, summary executions and many other acts of terrorism throughout eastern Ukraine demonstrates the nature of these Russian operatives and the recklessness with which they have acted.

But this tragedy confirms much more than the fact that we are dealing with state-sponsored terrorists in Ukraine, fighting a war stage-managed by Moscow. It shows that Russia’s foreign policy is a dangerous threat not only to international security, but to the Russian people themselves.

The threat to European and Eurasian security resides in the Russian elite’s long-standing view that the entire post-Cold War settlement is illegitimate and that Russia must reclaim its empire. Given Moscow’s mindset and actions, as well as its operatives’ actions in the field, neither Moscow’s interlocutors nor its neighbors are safe from violence in the name of restoring that empire, as witnessed by the destruction of MH17.

The West’s resistance to this imperial obsession fuels the Kremlin’s perception that Russia is under siege from abroad. The siege-state mentality in turn trickles down to the general populace, leading to a permanent mobilization of Russian society and the systematic organization of hatred against targeted ethnic minorities or the West.

But the biggest threat to the security of the Russian people is not the West. It is the Russian government.

The Kremlin’s determination to maintain Eurasia in a permanent state of siege could undo all the economic progress of the last generation. It also threatens to leave Russia internationally isolated and, at worst, embroil Russia in wars it cannot win. Russian history clearly shows that a failed war is the harbinger of revolution. Should Putin continue pressing Russia’s luck in Ukraine, that is the only possible outcome that can ensue. Indeed, the costs of maintaining Crimea are already becoming insupportable.

Bearing all this in mind, what should the West and Ukraine do? First we must recognize that the only path to security for Eurasia and Europe is to foreclose Moscow’s imperial option.

That imperial option not only entails war, or the threat of it, to advance Russia’s foreign policy objectives along its periphery. It also entails the lasting subjugation of the Russian people and a return to an autocratic system in Russia and its dependencies. Whereas in the past that system was communism, it is now assuming a fascist-like coloration with its cult of war, state nationalism and state religion.

Foreclosing the imperial option means imposing serious costs if Russia continues its interference in Ukraine. Ongoing, large-scale Western support, combined with steady encouragement of reform in Ukraine, is no longer an option but a priority policy requirement of the West.

Paradoxically this is also the only way to ensure Russia’s security, which Putin and his “boyars” have recklessly endangered. The obsession with empire threatens to engulf Russia in a war in Ukraine, one that would be destined for failure. Ultimately, resolute Western action to expel Russia from Ukraine has become the only way to ensure not just Ukraine and Europe’s security but Russian security too.

Stephen Blank is a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council.

The Moscow Times.

The European Union’s wake-up call seems to be falling on deaf ears

Time to wake up Europe...
Russia’s military Feb. 27 military invasion and subsequent annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula was supposed to be the European Union’s wake-up call to answer Vladimir Putin’s aggression.

So was Russia’s war against Ukraine in the eastern oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk. But not only has the EU failed to formulate a strong response, many of its members want to continue selling arms and doing business as usual with Russia. Now after Russian separatist leaders armed, trained and financed by the Kremlin are believed to have shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17, killing 298 people, the EU appears to still be sleeping in response to Russia’s threat to global peace.

Halya Coynash: Whose war? #MH17

Artist Wan Ahmad Farid Ramli, 23, works on a graffiti featuring the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 which crashed over Ukraine, in Kuala Lumpur on July 24, 2014. © AFPArtist Wan Ahmad Farid Ramli, 23, works on a graffiti featuring the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 which crashed over Ukraine, in Kuala Lumpur on July 24, 2014. © AFP

The shooting down of MH17 has led to harsh words used about both the Kremlin-backed militants in eastern Ukraine and those behind them, but left terminology largely intact.  With the western media still talking of ‘separatists’ and of a ‘civil war’ underway in Ukraine, it is worth noting the poignant words spoken by Said Ismagilov, Mufti of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Ukraine who is himself in Donetsk.

Asked how he would describe what is presently happening in Donetsk and in the Donetsk oblast, he replied:

“I can’t even understand what is happening. Who could tell me!  Heavy military technology with Russian flags is passing through city streets, together with a large number of armed soldiers.  There is constant military action. It’s very audible and visible, and people are dying.  It’s pretty difficult to formulate or give any classification for what’s really happening. People say that it’s more like an undeclared war. Because huge amounts of military technology and armed men are getting through from a neighbouring state and they are engaging in armed conflict with Ukrainian military units. This is happening in full view of residents.  What classification do you give it?  Here military experts should give their assessment, maybe politicians, maybe human rights and international organizations.  A serious war is underway using Grad rocket systems, tanks, mortar, grenade launchers, you name it”.

Civil War?

The Kremlin and Russian media have assiduously pushed two different but related narratives.  One is that Ukraine is in a state of civil war, the other that a ‘fascist regime in Kyiv’ is waging war against the people.  The rhetoric has continued unabated regardless of the results of numerous public surveys and the unprecedented victory in the presidential elections by Petro Poroshenko.  Profound, if not fatal, division is assumed in the west also.

Differences there doubtless are, yet even the immediate silencing of Ukrainian media and imposition of Russian propaganda channels have not resulted in the militants , from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics [DPR, LPR, respectively] being seen as representatives of the people,.  Slovyansk and Kramatorsk are returning to normal life after the militants fled and there are no signs that the residents want them back.

Religious intolerance from the militants’ official ideologues who acknowledge only the Russian Orthodox Church, the abduction of clergy and murder of four members of an evangelical church have probably only strengthened impressive solidarity seen among representatives of different faiths. This has been especially strong in Donetsk where Pastor Sergei Kosyak, Said Ismagilov and other religious figures have led a prayer marathon for the last 142 days.

In the same Radio Svoboda interview, Said Ismagilov was adamant that the majority of Muslims in the Donetsk oblast support Ukraine, and that there would only be a minority who side with the DPR.  Asked if he is aware of pressure from the DPR on Muslims, he answered that he himself had not been targeted, but noted that the situation was difficult for members of other faiths. “It’s hard to feel calm and confident when representatives of other faiths are abducted, when pressure is put on them. The Donetsk Christian University was seized in the last few days, everybody was thrown out and armed formations moved in.”

Separatist or terrorists?

Western media preface any use of the term anti-terrorist operation with the words that this is how the Ukrainian government calls its operation against the Kremlin-backed militants.  Even the shooting down by militants of a Malaysian airline has not led to a readjustment of terms.  The logic is presumably that they did it ‘by accident’ believing that they were ‘only’ shooting down a Ukrainian military transport plane.

The so-called separatists have in general not been locals.  In Slovyansk they had to ask how to get to the central square of the city, while another lot dazzled in Kharkiv by mistaking the opera house for the regional administration building they wanted to storm.  A very large number of those fighting are Russian nationals, and Moscow has long abandoned attempts to rely on home-grown ‘separatists’ to front the so-called ‘republics’.  The DPR leaders, for example, include Russian ‘defence minister’, Igor Girkin [Strelkov], believed to be a GRU military intelligence man, Alexander Borodai, a Russian PR manager and the new ‘deputy prime minister’ Vladimir Antjufeev, former head of the KGB of Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria which is politically and economically supported by Moscow.

Most of this has been reported countless times, and will be so again, with seemingly no impact on the terminology used.

The presentation of those fighting as ‘separatists’ is not swayed either by the overtly terrorist or simply criminal activities that the militants are currently involved in.

As of July 24 two priests are still held hostage: Father Yury Ivanov (Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate) and Father Viktor Wąsowicz, a Polish Roman Catholic priest from Horlivka.  The number of journalists, civic activists and simply members of the public taken hostage is much higher and ongoing.   Four deacons and members of a church,  Horlivka deputy Volodymyr Rybak, 19-year-old student Yury Popravko and others were tortured before being murdered.   An unmarked grave was uncovered on July 24 in Slovyansk which may well hold the  remains of people killed for alleged help to the Ukrainian military, etc.

Much of the hostage-taking appears to be linked with banal extortion, or – as with the abduction of up to 9 African students from Luhansk and many other young men – for use as physical labour or live shields.

The elaborate performance in which the Russian Vostok battalion was deployed to ‘clean up’ the Donetsk militants on May 29 was for the cameras only. The militants have actively plundered and robbed civilians, shopping complexes and ‘confiscated’ Privatbank in Donetsk. On July 23, for example, the supermarket Varus and shopping centre Donetsk City were cleaned out by the ‘militants’. Said Ismagilov writes that the saddest show was enacted against 8-10 Indians selling mobile phones in small shops. They were shoved out onto the street with automatic rifles pointed at them. The Indians shouted something to each other in their own language, and received a torrent of foul language from the militants and demand that they speak Russian. Their whereabouts now are unknown.

In the meantime western countries who have clearly recognized Moscow’s very major role in providing the arms and military technology, men and training for this artificially manufactured unrest, are continuing to ‘consider’ tough measures which they may just set to paper before heading off for their summer vacation.