* Russian President Putin is bracing [FT] for a “catastrophic” slump in oil prices as he arrived at this year’s G20 summit in Australia. 4 Russian naval vessels are also on their way to Australia, which is Putin’s answer to Tony Abbott’s shirtfronting posture [Guardian]. Britain’s prime minister Cameron also denounced [The Independent] Russia’s “bullying.”
* The New York Times reports how Eastern Ukraine is emptying out as Russia renews its covert war activities in the region.
* The European Council on Foreign Relations, on what Russia is up to in Ukraine:
“Russian behaviour is not only aimed at realising its immediate military goals in the Donbass, which, if achieved, would ‘freeze’ the conflict. Constant military threat and escalation is a means to undermine Ukraine as a state.”
* Who would head Ukrainian aircraft manufacturer Antonov was hanging on a lawsuit, and the final verdict was announced earlier this week. The administrative court of appeals confirmed an earlier decision by a district court in Kiev, which had overturned Sergii Merenkov’s appointment as Deputy President, and made Dmytro Kiva Antonov’s “only legal leader” despite an order from the Ministry of Industrial Policy to dismiss Kiva. This is the end of the appeal process, leaving Kiva in charge.
* The Royal Netherlands Air Force set up its 1st F-35 squadron, but it will be operating in the US until at least 2019.
Adapt Or Die
* Why the US is losing Yemen [DefenseOne].
* In Syria some Alawites are beginning to question [WaPo] their support for Assad. On the other hand, most of them will die if the regime loses, and they know it. Exhaustion doesn’t mean defection.
* 3 US military services now recognize aircraft certification by the Israeli Air Force, which will help with joint activities. Certification is often underrated and overlooked, but its absence creates a lot of trouble.
People Are Policy: Secret Service, Nuclear Enterprise
* The NYT has a damning report on Secret Service failures that made it easier for an intruder to enter the White House in September. Just one more example of gear being close to useless, absent quality leadership and quality people.