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Ukrainian American Bar Association

UABA News Blog - In English

This UABA Blog page provides information and commentary on issues that are relevant to the organization and its members. Although the blogs are public, comments can only be made by members. If yoiu wish to join the discussion, you are welcome to become a member.

The comments expressed on these blogs represent the opinions of the authors and not that of the UABA.

  • 10 Jan 2017 10:34 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Senate Pushes for More Russian Sanctions in Bipartisan Legislation

    Tuesday, one day before confirmation hearings for a key chunk of President-elect Donald Trump’s national security nominees, top lawmakers from both sides of the aisle said they would introduce new legislation to punish Russia for meddling in the election, as well as its aggressive behavior in Ukraine and Syria.

    An aide to Sen. Ben Cardin (D.-Md.), one of the sponsors of the bill, said that after the public release last week of the intelligence community’s assessment of Russian interference in the U.S. election “he felt now was the time to introduce” the legislation. Read FP article

    View Press conference

  • 10 Jan 2017 11:58 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Chrystia Freeland will be appointed Canada's new foreign affairs minister in a sweeping Liberal cabinet shakeup to be announced later today, CBC News has learned.

    Freeland will replace Stéphane Dion, who is leaving politics to take a diplomatic post.


  • 10 Jan 2017 8:50 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Keep America’s Word Again—and Protect Ukraine

    Clinton made assurances when Kiev gave up nukes. Then Obama broke faith. Trump can restore it.


    Wall Street Journal  Opinion/Commentary 

    Does “making America great again” include living up to the country’s commitments to other nations? Senators should put that question to Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson at his confirmation hearing Wednesday—especially with regard to Ukraine, which gave up its nuclear weapons in the 1990s in exchange for assurances that the U.S. has failed to meet.

    More than 90% of Ukrainians voted for independence in a December 1991 referendum; it was the only former Soviet republic to condition its independence on a vote of its citizens. Independence would have left Ukraine with the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal, but leaders in Kiev did not wish to be a nuclear-armed state. The parliamentary declaration of independence, which the voters approved, included a provision that Ukraine would be “nuclear free.” Thus the people of Ukraine voted for a nuclear-free state.

    In several little-known 1992 meetings in Washington, Ukraine expressed its desire to turn over its nuclear arsenal to the U.S. But the State Department took the position that Ukraine must ship its weapons to Russia, the last country Ukraine wanted to arm. Given no alternative, Ukraine sought security guarantees.

    Presidents Bill Clinton,Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kravchuk signed the January 1994 U.S.-Russia-Ukraine Trilateral Statement and Annex, which set the framework for protecting Ukraine’s security in exchange for its surrendering its arsenal. Negotiations continued throughout that year. Ukraine did not easily deliver its nuclear weapons to a state it feared would turn aggressive against it.

    In December 1994, Ukraine acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon state, and the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom signed the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances. The three other signatories promised to respect the independence, sovereignty and existing borders of Ukraine and to refrain from threatening or using force or economic coercion against Ukraine’s territory or political independence.

    The assurances were tested in 1995. Yuriy Meshkov, a Russian-backed official in Crimea, took over the regional government and sought to establish independent Crimean representation in Washington. Mr. Clinton called Boris Yeltsin and—citing the Helsinki Final Act, the United Nations Charter, the Trilateral Agreement of January 1994 and the Budapest Memorandum—said the takeover in Crimea could not stand.

    Mr. Clinton also sent the U.S. ambassador to Kiev, William Miller, to the Crimean capital of Simferopol to tell Mr. Meshkov the U.S. would not recognize his actions, and to the port city of Sevastopol with the same message for Adm. Eduard Baltin, commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Yeltsin withdrew support and Mr. Meshkov’s “government” collapsed. In 1995 Washington kept its word to Ukraine.

    But in 2014 Russia invaded Crimea, which it continues to occupy. Moscow instigated and has supported military aggression against Ukraine’s Donbas region. More than 10,000 Ukrainians have been killed and many more thousands wounded; over a million have been displaced. Curiously, Mr. Clinton has not spoken about the promises of the Budapest Memorandum. Russia fosters subversive efforts throughout Ukraine and its propaganda machine misrepresents reality undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty—the sovereignty the U.S. promised to protect.America eventually imposed sanctions and has provided supplies—non-lethal support—and loan guarantees, among other assistance.

     But the help has been far from sufficient to turn back Russian aggression. The U.S. has urged but not participated directly in the Minsk agreements, an attempt to end Russia’s war against Ukraine.

    But there is no need for Minsk. The American government should acknowledge Russia’s clear violations of international law, the Trilateral Agreement and the Budapest Memorandum and honor America’s assurance of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

    It has been said the Budapest Memorandum’s “assurances” are not “guarantees.” That argument should be beneath a great nation. If “assurances” are not “guarantees,” what are they? What was President Clinton committing to on behalf of the United States? Was Ukraine misled? During negotiations the Ukrainian translator, Walter Sulzysnky, made clear to the other parties that in Ukrainian there is no translatable distinction between “assurance” and “guarantee.” Everyone knew the Ukrainians understood “assurances” as “guarantees.”

    Congress has repeatedly passed legislation giving the president authority to be far more supportive of Ukraine than the Obama administration has been willing to be. President-elect Trump and Secretary-designate Tillerson have an opportunity, and an obligation, to live up to the U.S. commitments to Ukraine—to keep America’s word again.

    —Mr. McConnell, co-founder of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, served as assistant attorney general during the Reagan administration.

  • 08 Jan 2017 3:04 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    How We Fool Ourselves On Russia


    In the quarter-century since the end of the Cold War, profound grievances, misperceptions and disappointments have often defined the relationship between the United States and Russia. I lived through this turbulence during my years as a diplomat in Moscow, navigating the curious mix of hope and humiliation that I remember so vividly in the Russia of Boris N. Yeltsin, and the pugnacity and raw ambition of Vladimir V. Putin’s Kremlin. And I lived through it in Washington, serving both Republican and Democratic administrations.
    [We should] stay sharply focused on Ukraine, a country whose fate will be critical to the future of Europe, and Russia, over the next generation. This is not about NATO or European Union membership, both distant aspirations. It is about helping Ukrainian leaders build the successful political system that Russia seeks to subvert.
    Детальніше-Read More

  • 08 Jan 2017 2:51 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Russian Hacking Report:  

    Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution

    Read full report 

  • 21 Sep 2016 12:56 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Ukraine files multiple lawsuits against Russia

    Ukraine is claiming about $67 billion in lost assets.

    KYIV – From Paris to Strasbourg, and Stockholm to London, Ukraine is amassing lawsuits and other legal claims against Russia while stepping up diplomatic efforts to further ostracize its belligerent neighbor. Earlier this month, Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko said Kyiv is preparing cases against about 20 Russian officials and generals at The Hague’s International Criminal Court for annexing Crimea and waging war in eastern Ukraine that has entered its third year and killed nearly 10,000 people. Ukrainian Weekly Read More

  • 15 Sep 2016 1:42 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Bar mitzvah party-flasher case: Arizona yoga instructor Lindsey Ann Radomski found not guilty of indecency

    Hon. Judge Orest Jejna presiding;

    Lindsey Ann Radomski, the Scottsdale yoga instructor accused of indecent acts with boys at a bar mitzvah party, has been found not guilty on all counts.

    Radomski, who was 32 in March, 2015, when the party occurred, was accused in misdemeanor counts of flashing her newly enhanced breasts to seven boys, ranging in age from 11 to 15, letting them fondle them and of administering oral sex to one of the boys.  Washington Post; Verdict Video

  • 07 Sep 2016 10:53 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    The Good, Bad And Plausible Points Of Trump's Immigration Plan
    Andy Semotiuk, Forbes

    In a speech in Arizona last night, Donald Trump laid out his vision for a new U.S. immigration policy. Having met with Mexican President Peña Nieto earlier that day, Trump returned to the United States to give his address to an enthusiastic crowd. Included at the meeting were family members of Americans who were killed by illegal immigrants who all vowed allegiance to the Presidential candidate at the end of his remarks. This was Trump’s first attempt to set out a complete outline of the immigration policies he would pursue were he elected President of the United States. Let’s take a look at his ten-point plan and how well he did.

    1. Build a wall and have Mexico pay for it.
    Aside from the practicality of the wall and its cost, $ 8 billion according to one estimate, will the wall stop illegal immigration?  Apart from flying over it, tunneling under it and bypassing around the wall, America’s Maginot line will fail in the same way the first Maginot line did. Ask French military historians about that one. Also, consider the economic impairment to trade with Mexico that the wall would create which would significantly impact the lives of millions of people living on both sides of the border. Ask economists about this.
    Grade: Fail. Not a fix that will work. Yes, the lights are flashing, the bells are ringing and the gate is up.  But there is no train.

    2. Stop the policy of catch and release illegal immigrants coming into the country.
    There is no catch and release policy. George Bush Jr. abolished that one. There is catch and detain or catch and return policy now. Could the country do better on these? Yes.
    Grade: Pass. Something worthy of improvement.

    3. Zero tolerance for criminal aliens.
    This is pretty much the policy right now. Criminality is the priority in removal proceedings. Could we do better? Yes.
    Grade: Pass. Something worthy of improvement.

    4. Block funding for sanctuary cities
    Runs right into Fourth Amendment protection from arbitrary arrest. Should law enforcement cooperate to make the law work for everyone? Yes. Are sanctuary cities about protecting illegal criminals? No. They are about police enforcement of the law based on due process. Due process is the key concern. Too controversial for a simple comment – but not exactly a brilliant innovation.
    Grade: Fail for lack of sufficient analysis.

    5. Cancel unconstitutional executive orders and enforce all immigration laws
    Yes. But the Obama executive orders may very well be constitutional. Enforcement of immigration laws universally requires unlimited resources. We don’t have unlimited resources, so we need to priorize.
    Grade: Fail for purposeful misrepresentation of facts.

    6. Suspend visas to countries where adequate screening cannot occur.
    Assumes current immigration practice is to allow unscreened immigrants into the United States. That’s not the current practice. As for ideological screening, that is a mission impossible – nobody who is terrorist or enemy of the United States and wants to come here is going to disclose that U.S. immigration officials. Ask the Simon Wiesenthal center about that.
    Grade: Fail for lack of sufficient analysis.

    7. Return criminals back to their countries of citizenship
    Needs refinement but nobody disagrees with that idea. Stopping issuing visas to countries that refuse the return of their citizens is a possible way of getting over this problem.
    Grade: Pass

    8. Complete biometric entry-exit tracking
    Grade: Pass

    9. Turn off the jobs and benefits magnet
    Expanding E-verify will help in this regard, particularly where employers seeking federal contracts or benefits are required to implement electronic registration of workers under E-verify.
    Grade: Pass

    10. Reform existing immigration rules
    Doable, but requires Congressional agreement.
    Grade: Pass

    Overall report card:
    Trump gets high marks for his exuberance and for bringing the problems of immigration to the attention of the electorate and making it a priority in the Presidential election. We should be thankful for that. However, he is often simply not honest in his remarks about facts. For example he failed to admit that he talked with Mexican President Peña Nieto about whether building the wall on the Mexican border was a subject of their discussions. Another example was his recent television interview with George Stephanopoulos where he denied that Russia had invaded Crimea in Ukraine. His failure to acknowledge such obvious facts is a painful shortcoming that undermines his credibility in discussions about immigration and indeed other issues. In the absence of such open honesty, Donald Trump is on a voyage to the bottom of the sea

    Andy J. Semotiuk is a U.S. and Canadian immigration lawyer with offices in New York and Toronto. He is a published author and a former UN correspondent. Learn more at My Work Visa. 

  • 06 Sep 2016 7:20 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    U.S. investigating potential covert Russian plan to disrupt November elections

    U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are investigating what they see as a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions, intelligence and congressional officials said. The aim is to understand the scope and intent of the Russian campaign, which incorporates ­cyber-tools to hack systems used in the political process, enhancing Russia’s ability to spread disinformation. Washington Post Детальніше-Read More

  • 30 Aug 2016 4:02 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Russia’s New Generation Warfare – Lessons Learned – Russo-Ukrainian War

    Michael P. Hrycak, Esq.
    316 Lenox Avenue
    Westfield, NJ   07090

    Dr. Phillip A. Karber, of the Potomac Foundation, and LTC Joshua Thibeault, an operations research systems analyst and member of Training and Doctrine Command’s Russian New Generation Warfare Study Team, published an interesting article that gives insight into Russia’s development and implementation of a New Generation Warfare in Ukraine, in the June, 2016, issue of Army magazine, https://www.ausa.org/articles/russia%E2%80%99s-new-generation-warfare .  It is important to study the development of Russia’s new weapons and tactics to keep our Army, and our allies, as well as NATO, ready to confront this threat.
          There are five component elements: 1. Political Subversion- inserting “agitprop” agents that manipulate mass media through Information Operations using ethnic-linguistic class differences, etc… 2. Proxy Sanctuary – seizing key government facilities, police stations, military depots, and airports, arming and training insurgents who destroy ingress transportation infrastructure, create phony one-party referendums, cyberattacks to compromise victim communications, thereby creating “people’s republics” under Russian tutelage, 3. Intervention – deploying large scale Russian forces to engage in large scale military exercises along its border, “introduction of heavy weapons to insurgents; creation of training and logistics camps adjacent to the border; commitment of so-called volunteer combined-arms battalion tactical groups; integration of proxy troops into higher-level formations that are equipped, supported and led by Russians.”, 4. Coercive Deterrence – secret strategic force alerts, with “snap checks”, forward deployment and exercises of tactical and theater nuclear weapons, aggressive air patrolling in neighboring areas to discourage other state involvement, 5. Negotiated Manipulation – using and abusing Western-negotiated ceasefires to reset and rearm their forces while bleeding opposing army white and using fear of escalation to inhibit other nation involvement and assistance.
          Dr. Karber had prepared an in-depth paper ‘”Lessons Learned” from The Russo-Ukrainian War – Personal Observations’ 6 July 2015 for a Historical Lessons Learned Workshop sponsored by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and U.S. Army Capabilities Center (ARCIC) based upon 15 separate trips to Ukraine from March, 2014, through June, 2015 (when he was wounded during an MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) attack at Lebedyns’ky and had to discontinue his trips).  Unfortunately never published (I have an electronic copy to share), it urged a military dialogue to observe and understand the Russian “New Generation Warfare” as it was being implemented in eastern Ukraine, the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the Minsk I and II Ceasefires, assess the current and future capabilities of the Ukrainian Army, most importantly to create and understanding and develop capabilities for U.S. and NATO forces to counter, neutralize, and defeat the Russian Warfare by gaining an insight and understanding into its Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTP’s).
          I can only share a few examples of Dr. Karber and LTC Thibeault’s observations and recommendations.  Electronic Warfare is the centerpiece of the Russian effort, to deny communications (there are areas in the Donbas region where no electromagnetic communications are possible), defeat Unmanned Aerial Systems (which are relied upon to a very large extent not just for reconnaissance and surveillance, but also targeting and even bombing), defeating artillery and mortars, and targeting command and control nodes.  They urge our forces to go back to being proficient on analog systems, remove all unnecessary electromagnetic emitters, and “a day without radios and computers” during training missions, as well as develop organic Electronic Warfare (EW) systems.  Unmanned Aerial Systems are being used in large numbers on both sides, with their limited radar cross-section and ability to appear on target with little to no warning, they have been used very effectively for immediate and mass suppression or mechanized and light units, citing one battle in August, 2014, where two Ukrainian mechanized battalions suffered mass casualties (over 30%) in minutes (together with massed artillery, rockets, top-attack munitions and thermobaric rounds).  New weapons are being employed to defeat UAV’s, but need to be deployed down to company and platoon level.  Our forces need to emphasize cover concealment, and deception (yes, just like the Cold War), in addition to using these new UAV defeating weapons and tactics.
          Of grave and immediate note: “Russia employs a combination of dual-purpose improved conventional munitions, scatterable mines, top-attack munitions and thermobaric warheads that have catastrophic consequences when used in preplanned, massed fire strikes. The U.S. has removed all of these warheads from its inventory.” (Army article)  This would require U.S., NATO, and allied development and intervention (including the repeal of Secretary of Defense Gates directive for U.S. forces to comply with the 2008 Ottawa Treaty) to reverse the sliding-back to the dark ages nature of Russian development of weapons and ammunition that a decade ago all major powers agreed was a relic of the Cold War and needed to be demilitarized and relegated to museums.
          As a final example, in early August, 2014, Ukrainian Colonel Mikhail Zubrowski, a Fort Leavenworth Command and General Staff College graduate, organized his 95th Air Assault Brigade, and planned and executed the “largest and longest armored raid behind military lines in recorded military history” (Dr. Karber, Lessons Learned), modeled after JEB Stuart’s raid of the rear of McClellan’s forces during the Civil War Penninsula Campaign, by employing combined-arms company teams along parallel axes of advance, penetrating the enemy’s defenses, splitting the two People’s Republics in half, and then clearing out 200 Kilometers of the infiltration area along the southern Donbas, including relieving the beleaguered 25th Airborne Brigade, overrunning and capturing and destroying Russian tanks and artillery, and finally returning to the starting area near Sloviansk (moving and unprecedented 450 Km, mostly behind enemy lines).  This demoralized the Russian and proxy forces, but relieved several trapped Ukrainian garrisons.  Unfortunately, this spurred a heavy-handed counterattack by Russian Battalion Tactical Groups toward the end of August, 2014, resulting in the Battle of Ilovaisk, and creation of a new Western Front toward Mariupol (to attempt a land bridge to Crimea).  The Ukrainian forces were in a large part surrounded, and massed fires decimated two mechanized battalions in a matter of minutes, giving Putin a chance to force Ukraine’s President Poroshenko to accept the first Minsk ceasefire agreement, which included the right of safe passage, which the Russian, and proxy, forces reneged on, massing fires and killing retreating Ukrainians, and capturing and torturing Prisoners of War (POW). 
          Thus, we have the harbinger of Russian-developed New Generation Warfare being practiced and developed in eastern Ukraine.  Although the media has ignored the Russo-Ukrainian War, the military has not, and cannot.  U.S. and other armies have been training and preparing Ukrainian forces to continue to fight and counter the Russian invasion.  But it is up to us, both those currently serving, as well as those that are now retired as spectators, to keep our leadership sighted in to what really matters.  Russia has already showed the world what it can and will do in Chechnya and Georgia, and currently Syria as well, and our country’s leadership needs to study and develop our fighting forces to counter and defeat them, and all those who want to follow them.


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