Ukraine: Daily Briefing – March 12, 2019, 7 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
March 12, 2019, 7 PM Kyiv time
UAF training Picture –
JMTG-Ukraine video screenshot
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that on March 11 Ukrainian Armed Forces suffered no casualties. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire once on Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka. Other than this incident the ceasefire seems to be holding.
2. Russia’s Withdrawal from INF Treaty Opens High-Precision Missile Option for Ukraine
Dismantling missile launcher.
Photo – DTRA

Ukraine, a country with powerful rocket science background, will be raising the issue of creating high-precision extended-range missiles capable of hitting targets far behind enemy lines, said President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko during a meeting of the Regional Development Council in Zhytomyr. This became possible since the withdrawal of the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
Earlier, in her article to the Washington Post Mariana Budjeryn, research fellow at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard, wrote that “Ukraine could gain some deterrent capability from a ballistic missile with a range of 300 to 740 miles (500 to 1,200 kilometers), carrying a high-precision warhead with a high-explosive conventional payload and targeted at Russian military command centers, bases or critical infrastructure nodes. […]
The risk of even a single missile successfully reaching a Russian target from Ukraine, the country Russian propaganda has been dismissing as a failure, might force the Russian leadership to think twice before escalating the conflict. […]
“The specter of a Ukrainian missile program might induce Russia to come to the negotiating table with the United States before Ukraine could be included as an equal party. Russia might also agree to a moratorium on deploying INF-range missiles to Kaliningrad or even on its European territory. Ukrainian missiles, then, might become a useful leverage for the United States against Russia.”
The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then-U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. It bans the production, testing and deployment of land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500km. Moscow’s decision to pull out came after Washington’s ultimatum that it would withdraw from the pact if Russia did not stop its alleged violations.
3. Recognizing Ukraine Elections Illegitimate: OSINT Expert Reveals Kremlin’s Plan on Ukraine
Moscow is trying to ignite public outrage over the non-admission of Russian observers to monitor Ukraine elections, reported the Open Source Intelligence Group (OSINT Group). It is a part of the general plan to discredit the election campaign and recognize the results of the presidential election illegitimate, they say.
Apparently, Russia is exploring various avenues to force the international outcry of indignation with Ukraine; one such option employs pro-Kremlin journalists. The latest incident involved Christian Wehrschuetz, a journalist with the Austrian television channel ORF who attempted to get into Ukraine to cover the elections but was banned from entering the country for a year.
The Ukrainian State Security services [SBU] wrote “…because of the existing threats to his life in Ukraine and in order to avoid possible provocations during the stay of the Austrian journalist in our country, the SBU, in accordance with the law, has decided to ban his entry.” According to OSINT Group representative Dmytro Tymchuk, Ukraine is likely to ban any journalist who was spotted in Crimea and occupied Donbas, as well as representatives of Russian propaganda media.
Other methods of discrediting Ukraine’s presidential elections include using Internet websites controlled by the Russian special services. There is also a scenario which exploits online applications like Telegram channels to showcase allegedly low turnout rate and then call it false when the Central Election Commission announces the real percentage of the voters who participated in the elections.
According to OSINT Group the Kremlin’s spin doctors and intelligence agencies believe that the implementation of this project will allow influencing the political situation in Ukraine with any outcome of the elections.
4. Growing opportunities in Ukraine
 
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels
The growing agricultural sector in Ukraine could mean more opportunities for agribusiness in North America, said Claire Cowan, a founding partner with North American Plant Genetics, during the annual meeting of the Seed Corn Growers of Ontario in Blenheim.
Cowan, who was involved with efforts to launch a seed company in Ukraine told the delegates that said most of the land in Ukraine isn’t privately owned but instead leased from local governments, which is common for the former Soviet states.
When compared to Canada Ukraine’s agribusiness is “still in its infancy” said the keynote speaker. According to Cowan Ukraine’s climate was drier than in Ontario but very similar to that of Minnesota and North Dakota.
The ultimate goal of her operations in Ukraine is to introduce Canadian genetics to a new market, which can funnel dollars back to businesses in Canada, said Cowan.
Read the full release here

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