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Posts : 6613
Join date : 2015-05-29
THURSDAY - Christmas Day

Please scroll down for other news items

News -
A record number of attacks for 2016 on Christmas Eve. 51.
Update - 0 dead, but 1 soldier injured (Marinka) yesterday

Weather -
Much warmer, relatively speaking. -5 now at 0900. Outside that feels a lot better than -20. That I know!
A little snow overnight. Amazingly quiet outside. Most people celebrated Christmas last night. Or in the evening.
I presume those people are still sleeping off the celebrations.

Last edited by Nelson on Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:32 am; edited 2 times in total
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on Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:37 amNelson
Interests Snake Island and its subsequent use as a military base for the destabilization of Odessa and maritime trade undertaken by Ukraine in the Black Sea can be considered one of the crisis scenarios 2016. This was in publishing online analytical center "Atlantic Council" warned former US political adviser to former Foreign Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt, Aaron Koreva.

Experts believe that despite the lack of mention of Ukraine in recent official statements Putin Russia has not abandoned plans for expansion and instead tries to lull the West.

Interests vipers, analysts say, will be the next logical step after the seizure of two Ukrainian rigs in the Black Sea near Odessa.

Aaron Koreva

"If Russia will capture the island, Odessa will be cut off; this would mean that Ukraine will lose almost all access to the sea, because Russia already controls the Crimea and gas deposits between the peninsula and the island Snake "- writes Koreva.

According to experts, to capture Zmiyinyy can be used by the Russian military unmarked under the guise of "Odessa freedom fighters." Immediately their appearance on the island can equip Russia "humanitarian convoy" and "civil society activists" under cover Fleet from Crimea to secure the result...................

To read further go to this link:
Commentary by Anders Aslund for the New Atlanticist, Jan 5, 2016:

The outlook for the Ukrainian economy in 2016 is positive. Many important reforms were carried out in 2015. The necessary exchange rate adjustment has occurred and most required bank closures have taken place. The parliament has adopted tax changes and a decent budget for 2016. The debt restructuring deal has postponed foreign debt service. The current account is in approximate balance. Now is the time to move forward with more structural reforms:

1. The governing coalition needs to hang together, at least the Poroshenko Bloc and the People's Front. They can gather alternative support for various votes. Early parliamentary elections should be avoided in 2016, and those in power are presumably interested in doing so.

2. If the coalition is to survive, Ukraine's leaders need to put up a credible fight against corruption. That means that they have to sacrifice several top policymakers who are evidently guilty of corruption. The choice is theirs, but real culprits must be exposed, sacked, and punished.

3. To fight corruption, reform of the general prosecutor's office and the court system has to start. This will be a prolonged battle, but the government can no longer avoid it.

4. Energy reform has been one of the greatest achievements in 2015 and it needs to be completed. From April 1, 2016, all energy prices should be unified to avoid further privileged arbitrage for certain insiders. A real market for gas and electricity can and should be introduced and supervised by a truly independent regulator. The repression of independent gas producers through taxation, market regulation, and criminal prosecution needs to stop.

5. A mission from the International Monetary Fund is likely to come in mid-January and clear Ukraine for a major disbursement in early February. Yet it will be a challenge for the government to keep the IMF happy as populist pressures persist.

To read further go to this link:
on Thu Jan 07, 2016 10:57 pmAdmin
Today, the activists organized a Christmas parade on the center of Kharkiv. Several dozen people gathered in the Shevchenko Park and had a walk with Christmas star, and performing carols on the central streets of the city.

The parade joined the members of “Peace”, movement “Bridge”, Kharkiv City Youth Council, Association of Large Families “AMMA”, initiative group “Day of Music”, city public organizations, creative teams.

The participants gathered at 15.00 in the Shevchenko Park and marched on Sumska and Gogol street to the Park of Poetry.

Also today, on January 6 in Gorky Central Park of Culture and Recreation on the main stage with a special program performed I. Bidak Ukrainian Folk Choir and folk instruments ensemble “3 + 2”. Children’s Theatre “Kids of the Future” presented the performance “Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka”. Adults and children participated in national competitions and games.............

To read further go to this link:

on Thu Jan 07, 2016 10:52 pmAdmin
After signing of the laws that were necessary for the implementation of the visa-free regime between Ukraine and the European Union, Ministry of Foreign Affairs expects Ukrainians will be able to travel to the EU countries without visas in summer or autumn 2016.

What exactly the introduction of the visa-free regime will mean for Ukrainians could be found in the infographics published on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

If all goes according to the plan, this year the visa-free regime for Ukraine will be introduced with 26 Schengen countries, namely: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland. It will be possible to stay in the Schengen area no longer than 90 days within six months.

Myths about the visa-free regime:..............

To read further go to this link:
On Western Christmas last month, Aleksandr Turchynov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council and himself a former pastor of a Protestant church, triggered a discussion about the possibility of shifting the Christian holiday from January to December.

By Paul Goble* for “Window on Eurasia”:

January 7 – Today, unlike Western Christians and most of the Orthodox world, Orthodox Christians in both the Russian Federation and Ukraine celebrate Christmas, a reflection of the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate continue to follow the Julian rather than the Gregorian calendar which in this century is 13 days behind the latter.

On Western Christmas last month, Aleksandr Turchynov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council and himself a former pastor of a Protestant church, triggered a discussion about the possibility of shifting the Christian holiday from January to December.

“Perhaps,” he wrote on his Facebook page, “the time has come for Ukraine to shift the celebration of Christian to December 25 together with the majority of civilized countries. But for a transitional period,” he suggested, both days could be celebrated to allow people to get used to the idea.

Turchynov’s words revived a discussion that has been going on in the Orthodox church in both Ukraine and Russia for decades, a discussion that is extremely sensitive because any shift one of the hierarchies might propose could cost it support from parishioners if the experience of the 1920s is any guide.

Consequently, Orthodox leaders in Ukraine have been cautious. Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate, has pointed out that making the change has been discussed among the hierarchy but the people remain attached to the old calendar ( [][/url] ).....................

To read further go to this link:
Computer security experts at the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the Homeland Security Department are examining the malicious software found on the networks of a power company in western Ukraine, which said on December 23 that a large area of the country had been left without electricity due to “interference” in its systems, the Daily Beast and Washington Examiner reported.

The attack in Ukraine could be a bad sign for the U.S. power grid, because malicious software known as BlackEnergy that was found on the networks of the Ukrainian power company, Prykarpattyaoblenergo, was also used in a campaign targeting power facilities in the United States in 2014.

The 2014 attack caused no damage but it set off alarms among U.S. security and intelligence agencies.

U.S. utility watchdogs, including the North American Electric Reliability Council, have warned U.S. power companies to be on the alert and review their network defenses in light of the successful Ukraine attack.

Ukrainian officials have publicly blamed Russia for the attack, but Russia's involvement hasn't been confirmed separately. A Moscow-backed group, Sandworm, has been suspected of using BlackEnergy for targeted attacks in the past.

Confirmation that Russia was behind the Ukraine attack would put pressure on U.S. President Barack Obama to publicly assign the blame as he did when he identified North Korea as the culprit in a cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014. Obama later ordered sanctions on North Korea and ordered a cyber-counterattack on its web system.........
The SBU keeps pro-Ukrainian activist from Russia Anastasia Leonova in detention on the suspicion of involvement in terrorism.

Journalist Yevgeniy Levkovich writes on Facebook, Censor.NET reports.

"A phantasmagoric story happened in Kyiv with our friend Anastasiya Leonova. She stood with us on Manezh Square and participated in all anti-Putin protest rallies in Moscow, including those in support of Ukraine and Maidan protests. Then she left Russia because of obvious reasons. She was a medical orderly for the Azov battalion, and provided first aid on the battlefield. Then she moved to Kyiv," Levkovich wrote.

"On Dec. 10, she was arrested on her way home from work by officers of the Security Service on suspicion of involvement in terrorist organizations. Her mother claims there could be no evidence of her involvement in such organizations. She probably just became a victim of a purge of radicals. She is in prison now. She is not allowed to have visitors. We have minimum of information," the journalist commented.

He cited Leonova's appeal from prison: "On Dec. 10, 2015, I was arrested and immediately taken into custody on suspicion of creating a terrorist group and organization of terrorist acts, aimed at causing significant harm, threat to life and health of the people, as well as intimidation of the population. Simultaneously, some persons unknown to me have been arrested. According to the investigation team, they were part of the terrorist organization allegedly organized by me. During the search of my residence, there were no weapons, extremist literature, or explosives found. I am puzzled by the delusional charges brought against me."

"Despite the lack of any kind of proof of my involvement in a terrorist group, I was detained. At first I was put to the SBU detention center, and then to the Kyiv detention prison. The court dismissed my appeal, which pointed out numerous violations of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The fact of my imprisonment is evidence of the blatant arbitrary behavior of the authorities, since there is no evidence of my guilt," Levkovich cites Leonova.

The scanned copy of Leonova's letter was taken from Facebook of the activist Anya Grabovetska.

"The story is real. Nastia is real. As we all, she could communicate with anyone, but she could not prepare terrorist attacks. The SBU understand that for sure. She was interrogated only once, and no further investigation was provided. She is just kept in jail without any evidence," Levkovich wrote. In Russian
on Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:32 pmAdmin
In 2016, Vladimir Putin will try to further rock the boat in Ukraine, Russia-based expert Igor Aidman writes in Facebook Jan. 7.

He says, “Putin’s major goals for 2016 include:
1. Fanning the standoff between Shiites and Sunnis in the Middle East. Physical destruction of Sunnis opposition in Syria. Supporting the Assad regime and ISIS as a useful agent of creating instability in the region. Military provocations against Turkey. Staging subversive activities against Saudi Arabia. Erring on Iran to a military conflict with Saudis, with the promises of Russia’s assistance.
Purpose: intensifying chaos and military activities in the region to raise the oil prices.

2. Destabilizing situation in Ukraine. Provoking mass actions aimed at removing the existing regime from power, as well as ultimately dismissing Poroshenko, Saakashvili and other Putin’s personal enemies. Simultaneously, expanding the pro-Russian enclave in Eastern Ukraine, with Mariupol being a major risk.

3. Beefing up Russia’s influence on European politics by corrupting local political elites (not only in Greece, Czehia, Hungary, Cyprus but also in Italy, Germany, France), with the aim of cancelling West’s economic sanctions.

I am convinced that Russia won’t be able to implement any of its goals. There will be new military adventures, political maneuvering and restive attempts that will result in close to a naught results.”
The identity of the commander of one of the units of the Russian occupation forces in the Donbas has been established.

The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine announced, Censor.NET reports citing

Dmitriy Bondarev, Russian Army colonel, is the commander of a regiment of the Russian hybrid army in Novoazovsk in the Mariupol sector.

According to intelligence reports, Bondarev (born 1971) is the former commander of 51th Paratrooper Regiment of the 106th Airborne Division stationed in the city of Tula.

"The officer has experience of fighting in Chechnya war", the Directorate added.

Earlier, Ukrainian intelligence reported that 13 militants defected from positions near the Donetsk airport since the beginning of the year. In Russian

Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin has sabotaged the final round of the reform of prosecution, keeping his die-hard buddies in key positions, Halya Koinash of the Kharkiv human rights group says Jan. 7.

The Shokin-trumpeted ‘unprecedented reform’ boiled down to merely cosmetic changes in the prosecution, she says.

The new law on the prosecution must have been enacted on Apr. 25, 2015. Now, its enactment has been postponed to Apr. 15, 2016.

Local prosecutors must have been selected by independent panels. However, if, at the start, about 60% of candidates were outsiders, after two rounds their number was reduced to 22%. After having been interviewed by selection committee members in which 4 members out of 7 were Shokin appointees and the other 3 Rada appointees, the number of outsiders dropped to 3%.

Following Shokin’s final say, there were no newcomers, Koinash says, accusing the prosecutor general of deliberate sabotage.
Ukraine appealed to the International Court of Justice accusing Russia of violating the Convention on the support of terrorism. In an interview with "Channel 5" said Justice Minister Pavel Petrenko.

"We have next year will be related to the initiation of more business in the International Court of Justice, where the appeal with the requirements of Ukraine to Russia regarding a violation of support for terrorism", - he said.

Petrenko said that the Ukrainian side has already collected evidence. Kyiv pre-trial process ends in the case of communications with Moscow. Immediately afterwards, the authorities are going to go to court...............

To read further go to this link:
Russia is losing an estimated US$2 billion in revenues for every dollar fall in the oil price. Its economy is heavily dependent on energy revenues, which account for 50% of its federal budget revenues.

December 21, 2015

Commentary by Nafis Alam, Associate Professor of Finance, Director- Centre for Islamic Business and Finance Research (CIBFR), University of Nottingham:

It has been a turbulent year for oil. Prices were strong in summer 2014, before plummeting in the second half of that year. After a modest stabilisation in early 2015, they dropped even further and are now more than two thirds lower than in summer 2014 – as the graph below shows. It’s bad news for oil producers but is forcing some, at least, to reform their economies as a result.

Russia is losing an estimated US$2 billion in revenues for every dollar fall in the oil price. Its economy is heavily dependent on energy revenues, which account for 50% of its federal budget revenues. Even a dramatic interest rate hike to 17% has not helped the steep devaluation of the ruble, the stock-market drop or the amount of money leaving the country.

The situation is even worse for the world’s largest exporter of oil, Saudi Arabia, which is expected to end the year with a deficit of $150 billion – about 20% of its GDP and the largest in its history. It has already started cutting project budgets and military acquisitions as a result. It is even introducing VAT for the first time..................

To read further go to this link:
The "Coca-Cola" Company expressed its official apologies for the publication by the company’s Russian office of a map of Russia with the illegally occupied Crimea.

Censor.NET reports citing the press center of the Foreign Ministry.

On Jan. 6, 2016, Kate Irvin, Group Director of the Coca-Cola Washington, D.C. office visited the Embassy of Ukraine in the United States of America to express official apologies for the misunderstanding around the publication by the company's Russian office of a map of Russia with the illegally occupied Crimea.

Read more: Cut in exports to Russia may result in up to $600 million losses, - Ministry of Economic Development and Trade

Ms. Irvin brought the letter to Ambassador of Ukraine H.E. Valeriy Chaly from Mr. Clyde C. Tuggle, Senior Vice President of The Coca-Cola Company with apologies for that publication, whose content was prepared by an outside agency without Coca-Cola's knowledge or approval. The company immediately took down the social media post as soon as it became aware of the situation.

Ms. Irvin emphasized that Coca-Cola, as one of the large taxpayers in Ukraine, will continue to actively work in the Ukrainian market, which is very important for the Company, as well as to be a reliable partner in implementing a number of social projects in our country. In Russian
...on the morning of January 7th illegal armed groups Horde / Orloj made substantial accumulation of armored vehicles and weapons in several directions, indicating their intention to begin massive provocative actions against Ukrainian troops using tanks and artillery systems banned under the Minsk agreements...

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As Ukrgidromettsentr in Ukraine is expected severe weather conditions. In particular, the northern and central regions are expected heavy snowfall, blizzards, snow drifts, gusts northeastern wind of 15-20 m / s. At the same time only in the western areas of light snow fall in some places....
To be entirely honest, it is not too bad. December was incredibly warm. -20 a few days ago was bad. Now - about -4 where I am. No snow falling.
Normal is perhaps -2 day, -10 night. I expect the next week to be a little warmer than average. Odessa I heard was 0 yesterday. Ok.
The devil attends the Orthodox Christmas service at a local church in the settlement of Turginovo in Tver region, Russia, Jan. 7, 2016.


Christ Day spoiler - Apologies. From Moscow Times
At night in the area ATO got one injured soldier - Staff
Thursday, January 7, 2016, 12:33
The last day in the area of anti-terrorist operation passed without loss.
This at a traditional briefing on Thursday, spokesman for the Presidential Administration Andriy Lysenko ATO.
"For the past day any Ukrainian soldier was killed, but one soldier was injured," - he said.
According to him, it happened during the attacks militants locality Marinka.

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“The looming loss of Patriarchal churches in Ukraine is interrelated with two other problems that Kirill has in fact created: the overly rapid expansion of bishoprics in Russia which has led to bureaucratism and degeneration and the acceptance of the Soviet past by the church which has led to ‘Orthodoxy without God,’ the Russian version of a civic religion.”...
Seems like quite intelligent and informed commentary to me. Not bad.

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Last edited by Nelson on Thu Jan 07, 2016 5:37 am; edited 1 time in total
on Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:24 amNelson
...I wish everyone family warmth and comfort, blessing of the Christmas star and delicious kutia.
I express special congratulations to Ukrainian warriors who defend our Homeland today. Just as the Church defends us spiritually from the skies, our heroic troops defend us on earth.
I ask little Jesus to provide great changes for the better to our Ukraine! To the entire Ukraine and to every Ukrainian....

Full greeting, and photo at link. Video below, via youtube.
Video starts with a carol, and then Poro's address - with sign language also.

Very short. From yesterday.

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Last edited by Nelson on Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:37 am; edited 1 time in total
Militants have shelled the positions of the Ukrainian troops in Donbas on 21 occasions since midnight, the press center of the headquarters of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) said.

The situation has deteriorated. The enemy has fired weapons against Ukrainian servicemen on 21 occasions in the course of the day, the press center said in a statement on its Facebook page (the report as of 1800 Kyiv time on Wednesday).

In particular, according to the Kyiv data, militants have simultaneously fired small arms and grenade launchers of different systems on four checkpoints of the Ukrainian military in the area of Maryinka.
[A long article, and a very interesting read. A few brief extracts to wet your appetite before Christmas dinner - ]

There is an Italian magazine for far right intellectuals that supports Putin on the principle “the enemy of my enemy” (the main criteria is to be against America),...
...the journalist Ochsenreiter is more specifically the editor of the far right journal Zuerst!, which has been involved in several scandals in Germany (for example, the publisher Bauer dropped the magazine due to its sympathy for Nazism). Moreover, Ochsenreiter isn’t just a frequent commentator on Russian television; he was an “observer” to the “elections” in the Luhansk People’s Republic, which is defending itself against the aggression of the fascist junta. All with the help of a real German neo-Nazi, who publishes a German magazine about the glorious victories of the Wehrmacht....
PS: Noodle Remover thanks Anton Shekhovtsov, whose profound research has provided a lot of useful leads on the links between the Russian political establishment and the European and American far-right.

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Last edited by Nelson on Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:36 am; edited 1 time in total
on Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:39 amNelson
I saw an item on the Ukrainian news this morning, that oil had fallen again in price. Wow... 33...
I had to look twice at the price.
2 minutes ago -

Crude Oil & Natural Gas
WTI Crude Oil (Nymex)
USD/bbl. 32.70 -1.27 -3.74% FEB 16 02:01:33
Brent Crude (ICE)
USD/bbl. 32.85 -1.38 -4.03% FEB 16 02:01:27

Putin's war machine - he's going to have to cut pensions in half if he still plans on expanding the military budget by 100% or whatever his imperial designs are.
Another article I read this morning, somewhat apocalyptically suggested that Russia was falling into the abyss.
But - unless Putin does something soon, it really will do.
What amazes me - the Russian based "journalists"- Shaun Walker, Oliphant and the Moscow RIA Novosti gang - they are simply too scared by half to tell the real truth about what is going on now in Russia - the increase in poverty, and - there must be the beginnings of social unrest, even if people are very very scared of the authorities - just as in North Korea.
Mariupol area.

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Last edited by Nelson on Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:35 am; edited 1 time in total
The World Bank predicts economic growth in Ukraine in 2016 by 1% - after a reduction of 12% in 2015.
In 2017. Ukraine has forecast economic growth of 2%...

Bad news for Putin, and bad news for Tymoshenko.
Putin wants to destroy Ukraine, and Tymoshenko wants to be President by any means possible, including a new Maidan.

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Last edited by Nelson on Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:33 am; edited 1 time in total
Ukrainian declare war record in 2016, the number of attacks by pro-Russian separatists in Donbas. According to figures from the erection in the morning on January 7 Press Centre Staff ATO, during the period January 6 militants carried out 51 fire.
A significant number of violations of recorded silence Ukrainian military in several areas controlled by separatists near Gorlovka and Donetsk. Small arms and grenade grenades were fired near Granite position that Mariupol direction, the report referred to headquarters...

To be honest, typical Putin.
Attacks quieten down for a few days. Yesterday, I think the figure was 11. And then - suddenly - Christmas Eve - lots of attacks.
Really, another form of warfare, but this more psychological. He gets peoples' hopes up by reducing the number of attacks, and then - wham... knocks peoples' hopes down again... and again, and again. Typical Putin. The master of misery.
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