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Ukrainian general proposes to seize part of Russia in the event of its collapse
Published: Mon, 22 Apr 2019 18:00:50 GMT

The former deputy chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lieutenant-General Ihor Romanenko, in response to a reader's question on the Glavred news website, stated that Russia could lose some of its territories, and Kyiv "should seize" this opportunity.

Romanenko was asked if, in his opinion, Russia could lose some of its territories, in particular, Siberia.

“This is a real and very serious threat. Russia not only could lose Siberia, but it can also collapse altogether, “ answered Romanenko. According to him, for this to happen, there must be certain conditions. Romanenko noted that sooner or later “all empires collapse,” and this fate is also waiting for Russia. The general stressed that Kyiv “will need to use this moment like Russia did in 2014 in relation to Ukraine."

In June 2018, Romanenko called on Ukraine to begin the production of missiles capable of reaching "Moscow and St. Petersburg." According to him, Ukrainian missiles Harpoon and Thunder-2 could withstand Russian weapons, but their range is not able to cover the European part of Russia. Romanenko stressed that for this reason, Kyiv needs to start improving its missiles.

Sailors of Russian Black Sea Fleet sue commanders for failure to pay daily allowance for work in Syria
Published: Mon, 22 Apr 2019 17:00:46 GMT

Sailors from three Black Sea Fleet ships filed a lawsuit in response to failure to pay of daily subsistence allowance for military operation participation in Syria, Kommersant newspaper reported, citing lawyer Alexander Fedorchenko.

The daily allowance for officers is $62, for privates and sergeants - $43, but 70% of the total goes to food, the lawyer said. According to him, 27 sailors who filed a collective action, on average, expected to receive 200-300 thousand rubles ($3,134-$4,700). The lawyer insisted that they were entitled to per diems as they “performed special tasks” in Syria from 2016-2018.

The defendants, represented by deputies of the military unit and financial service commander of the Black Sea Fleet, said in court that “performing tasks as part of a crew does not fall into the category of a business trip.” Thus, the sailors are entitled to a monthly premium, not to a daily allowance, which, the respondents stressed, they were paid.

The Sevastopol Garrison Military Court concluded that a travel allowance is paid on the basis of an “authorized person ordering a soldier on a business trip.” Payment procedures were stipulated in a decree signed by the Minister of Defense in 2011 from which it follows that the military does not receive daily subsistence allowances during sea voyages.

The sailors’ lawyer believes that paragraph 130 of this decree contradicts the Constitution because it violates the principle of equality. “Those serving on land, including pilots and technical staff at an air base, all receive a daily subsistence allowance. And sailors, who also risk their lives, do not,” said Fedorchenko. The defense plans to appeal the court’s decision next week.

According to the newspaper, the lawsuit was filed by sailors working on three ships, including the Kovrovets mine-sweeper which conducted mine patrols off Syria’s coast from February to May 2016.

Lavrov: Russia will no longer listen to the United States lectures
Published: Mon, 22 Apr 2019 16:00:42 GMT

The Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, in an interview with the program Main subjects with Olga Belova on the TV channel Star, announced that Russia no longer intends to attend Russia-NATO Council meetings, and will participate only at the military level.

He noted that “if Washington wants serious talks, it is necessary to assemble a Russia-NATO Council at the military level”.

According to Sergey Lavrov, this is decision is based on the fact that Moscow is no longer going to “listen to the United States lectures” regarding Ukraine and other issues.

“Russia leads normal individual conversations with each European country, but it experiences problems in a dialogue with NATO. The United States has adopted a model of convening Russia-NATO Council meetings solely to give us lectures on Ukraine and some other issues, to criticize us for alleged violation and disintegration of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. We will no longer attend such meetings.”

Belarus limits export of petroleum products from Russia
Published: Mon, 22 Apr 2019 15:00:39 GMT

Belarus will temporarily limit deliveries of petroleum products for export due to the quality of Russian oil, said Deputy Chairman of the Belneftekhim concern Vladimir Sizov after an operational meeting of personnel monitoring the supply of oil, BelTA reported.

It was explained that the need to limit exports comes from “the active risk of processing raw materials with degraded quality” and carrying out the planting season in Belarus. Sizov noted that deliveries will resume after the “the situation is rectified.”

On April 19, Belneftekhim announced that the quality of oil coming from Russia sharply deteriorated. In the Urals export mixture, the concentration of organochlorine compounds was “dozens of times” higher than the maximum allowable value. Refining oil of such quality could risk violating Belarusian oil refinery technological regimes.

The Russian company Transneft confirmed that the quality of the oil was not up to standard. The company promised that the problem will be fixed by the beginning of next week.

Moscow and Minsk are currently disputing whether or not there should be an increase in tariffs on the transit of Russian oil through the territory of Belarus. Due to the deteriorating environmental situation and the need to carry out repairs, Minsk wants to raise the tariff by 23 percent. Moscow claims Belarus has no grounds to do so.

On April 18, Russia decided to introduce new sanctions against Ukraine. The main measure was an almost complete ban on the export of Russian oil, oil products and coal. Experts said that Kiev can offset losses by relying on deliveries from Belarus.

Lavrov ‘allows’ Ukrainian Navy ships to pass through the Kerch Strait
Published: Mon, 22 Apr 2019 14:00:35 GMT

Ukrainian warships can pass through the Kerch Strait into the Sea of ​​Azov without any problems, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in an interview to the TV network “Zvezda”, reported RIA Novosti.

“As we have said many times, the fact is that Ukrainian warships can pass from the Black Sea to its ports in the Sea of ​​Azov without any problems. The only condition is that the safety standards for traversing the Kerch Strait must be observed,” he said.

On 25 November last year, Russia attacked and captured the Ukrainian military boats Berdyansk and Nikopol and the tugboat Yany Kapu in neutral waters. All 24 Ukrainians on board were accused of violating the Russian state border, arrested, and transferred from Kerch to Moscow. Ukraine considered this an act of military aggression, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recognized the captured sailors as prisoners of war.

US President Donald Trump canceled his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin because of the Kerch Strait incident. US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker similarly called off his scheduled negotiation session with Russian Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov.

Oleksandr Turchynov, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said in December that Ukraine had invited its international partners to take part in a passage of naval ships from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait. The Russian media warned that this could “aggravate the situation”.

North Korea wants to strengthen its friendship with Russia
Published: Mon, 22 Apr 2019 13:00:31 GMT

North Korea’s state economic development strategy for 2016-2020 implies strengthening ties with Russia, reports TASS with reference to the Japanese newspaper Mainichi, which gained access to this document.

According to the newspaper, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) wants to increase its trade with Russia to one billion dollars. North Korea will abandon its one-sided orientation toward China and will expand trade with Southeast Asia and Middle East countries.

The reason for this policy may be serious economic difficulties that the country face due to the strengthened international sanctions. The program states that the DPRK has a shortage of food products, and its energy and coal industries are poorly developed. In this regard, North Korea needs global economic reforms and new technological equipment.

On April 18, the Kremlin announced that President Vladimir Putin invited North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to visit Russia in the second half of April. This will be the first current DPRK leader’s visit to the country. His predecessor, Kim Jong Il, visited Russia three times. The last visit was in 2011.

Poroshenko promises to sign the language law before leaving the presidential post
Published: Mon, 22 Apr 2019 12:00:25 GMT

Proshenko will sign a law on the Ukrainian language as the official state language after this law is adopted by the Verkhovna Rada, reports UNIAN, quoting the press service of Poroshenko.

“If next week Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopts a law on language, I will be happy and proud that I, as president of Ukraine, will have the opportunity to sign it. And I will definitely sign it,” he said.

"Our team will protect the Ukrainian language," stated Poroshenko. According to the president, today a lot has been done to popularize the Ukrainian language on television and radio, in the film industry, as well as in the press.

From February 28, the Verkhovna Rada, in the second reading, has been considering the draft law “On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language” (No. 5670-d). More than 2 thousand amendments were submitted to the draft law.

On April 17, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Andriy Parubiy, stated that the law will be adopted on April 25.

Trump calls Zelensky to congratulate him on his victory in Ukraine’s presidential elections
Published: Mon, 22 Apr 2019 03:00:00 GMT

Volodymyr Zelensky had a phone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump, reported Ukraynska Pravda with reference to its sources.

"The US President, Donald Trump has just called Zelensky to congratulate him on his victory, " said the source of Ukraynska Pravda.

A few hours after the announcement of the results of exit polls, other world leaders began to congratulate Vladimir Zelensky.

Among them are the Polish President,Andrzej Duda, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Armenian President Nikol Pashinyan, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, NATO Secretary General  Jens Stoltenberg, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström and many others.

The US Embassy in Kyiv has also congratulated the new Ukrainain President.

“We congratulate the newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and thank everyone who contributed to the peaceful presidential elections in Ukraine,” reads the message of the US Embassy on Twitter.

Poland plans to abandon post-Soviet military aircraft
Published: Sun, 21 Apr 2019 20:00:45 GMT

President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, stated that Poland wants to abandon the post-Soviet era military aircraft and buy the latest, fifth-generation military equipment, in particular, American F-35 aircraft, reports Ukrinform.

“We would like Polish aviation to completely abandon the post-Soviet aircraft, and to be able to fly the best aircraft in the world,” said Duda. He expressed hope that Poland would be able to buy American F-35 aircraft.

“This is a very ambitious and expensive program. We will try to negotiate the best possible conditions,” stressed the Polish President.

Duda reminded that even now, the costs for Poland’s army amount to 2% of the GDP level and in 2030 they should increase to 2.5%. At the same time, he expressed hope that in case of normal economic development, this level could be reached as early as 2024.

During last year, there were several MiG-29 type aircraft accidents.

China refuses to share profit from joint plane venture with Russia
Published: Sun, 21 Apr 2019 19:00:34 GMT

Russian United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) ran into problems when it attempted, in collaboration with China, to create the first Russian wide-body passenger aircraft since the times of the USSR.

Two sources close to UAC told  the Russian publication Vedomosti that having agreed to split the cost of creating the CR929 airliner ($20 billion) in half, the Chinese partner, COMAC, does not want to allow Russia access to the key Chinese market allowing it to turn a profit from selling the aircraft there.

COMAC proposed to divide sales so that in China, where the demand for the aircraft will be more than a thousand units in the next 20 years, the Chinese company will do the selling. It proposed that Russia garner profit from selling in Russia, where the market capacity is significantly lower (only 50-120 aircrafts), as well as globally where it would have to compete with Boeing and Airbus models.

This jeopardizes the entire project because China’s proposal deprives the venture of any meaning for the Russian side. The Vedomosti sources complained that the whole point was to enter the Chinese market and “win back” the expended costs there.

In effect, China is proposing that Russia take on the commercial risks of moving the aircraft to foreign markets and, at the same time, refuse to profit from sales in the most promising market for the product, explained Fyodor Borisov, a leading researcher at the Institute of Transport Economics.

Three people close to UAC reported that the two sides have another serious disagreement: in which country will the type certificate for the CR929 be issued. UAC planned that, since it will be the main designer, then its design would be registered in Russia and it would become the type certificate holder.

Meanwhile, China is insisting that a Chinese company be the type certificate holder and it is very difficult to negotiate, the source in UAC said.

Essentially, the Chinese are squeezing Russia out of the project. UAC is seriously considering the option in which, instead of an equal partnership, it would become merely a contractor for Chinese COMAC, selling solutions, technologies and components.

If adhering to such a scheme, for example, another holding company, Russian Helicopters, would collaborate with China. It would develop separate nodes for a Chinese heavy helicopter.

Despite Beijing’s rigid stance, engineering continues. China is receiving documentation and competencies. Until all issues are resolved, it would be worthwhile to stop everything, but this is a political question, a source in the UAC states.


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