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  • Russia Deploying Tactical Nuclear Arms in Crimea

    Russia Deploying Tactical Nuclear Arms in Crimea

    Obama backing indirect talks with Moscow aimed at cutting U.S. non-strategic nukes in Europe

    October 10, 2014
    By Bill Gertz

    Russia is moving tactical nuclear weapons systems into recently-annexed Crimea while the Obama administration is backing informal talks aimed at cutting U.S. tactical nuclear deployments in Europe.

    Three senior House Republican leaders wrote to President Obama two weeks ago warning that Moscow will deploy nuclear missiles and bombers armed with long-range air launched cruise missiles into occupied Ukrainian territory.

    “Locating nuclear weapons on the sovereign territory of another state without its permission is a devious and cynical action,” states the letter signed by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R., Calif.) and two subcommittee chairmen.

    “It further positions Russian nuclear weapons closer to the heart of NATO, and it allows Russia to gain a military benefit from its seizure of Crimea, allowing Russia to profit from its action.”

    Russian President Vladimir Putin in recent months “has escalated his use of nuclear threats to a level not seen since the Cold War,” they wrote.

    In a related development, the Obama administration is funding non-official arms control talks with Russia through a Washington think-tank that are aimed at curbing U.S. tactical nuclear arms in Europe.

    The first round of talks was held in Vienna Monday and Tuesday.

    Critics say Obama administration arms control officials at the State Department and Pentagon are using the informal nuclear talks as groundwork for future tactical nuclear arms cuts.

    Such cuts are likely to be opposed by NATO allies, especially in Eastern Europe, worried by growing Russian military threats to the continent.

    Regarding the nuclear deployments to Crimea, Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member James Inhofe (R., Okla.) first disclosed last month that Putin had announced in August his approval of deploying nuclear-capable Iskander-M short-range missiles along with Tu-22 nuclear-capable bombers in Crimea, located on the Black Sea.

    “The stationing of new nuclear forces on the Crimean peninsula, Ukrainian territory Russia annexed in March, is both a new and menacing threat to the security of Europe and also a clear message from Putin that he intends to continue to violate the territorial integrity of his neighbors,” Inhofe stated in a Sept. 8 op-ed in Foreign Policy.

    In their Sept. 23 letter to the president, McKeon, Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Ala.), chairman of the subcommittee on strategic forces, and Rep. Michael Turner (R., Ohio), chairman of the subcommittee on tactical air and land forces, noted Russia’s violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty by building a banned cruise missile. The missile has been identified by U.S. officials as the R-500.

    The lawmakers said the Russian nuclear deployment in Crimea represents the “clear, and perhaps irrevocable tearing” of the 1997 agreement between NATO and Russia that allowed Russia to maintain a military presence within the alliance.

    The Russian nuclear deployment plans and treaty violation should have been discussed during the recent NATO summit in Wales but were not, they said.

    As a result, the congressmen urged the president to brief Congress on the threatening Russian nuclear deployments in Crimea. They also called on the president to suspend the NATO-Russia accord and demand the removal of all Russian military personnel from NATO facilities.

    Additionally, they asked that the United States and its allies halt all arms control surveillance flights by Russia carried out under the Open Skies Treaty.

    Significantly, the three House leaders called on the administration to begin research and development on deployment sites for new U.S. intermediate-range ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles, if Russian refuses to return to compliance with the INF accord.

    Putin “must be made to understand that his actions will accomplish nothing more than the alienation [of] Russia from the West, its economy and its security architecture,” the lawmakers said.

    “Until we have a strategy that convinces Mr. Putin he cannot achieve his dream of a ‘New Russia’ through illegal annexations, covert invasions, and nuclear saber-rattling, statements and sanctions along cannot be expected to have an effect on his actions,” the letter warns.

    “Too much is at stake to continue to allow Russia’s dictator to continue to proceed on his current path toward regional destabilization without serous opposition.”

    The action “further undermines Russian credibility in terms of the Budapest Memorandum that the Russian Federation signed in 1994,” the congressmen said.

    The memorandum promised Ukraine would have security assurances against threats or use of force in exchange for Kiev giving up its Soviet-era nuclear weapons – at the time the third largest arsenal in the world.

    On the Track 2 talks between Russian experts and a group hosted by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the program leader was identified as anti-nuclear arms advocate Sharon Squassoni.

    Squassoni took part in a study three years ago sponsored by the leftist, anti-nuclear weapons group Ploughshares Fund that called for removing all U.S. tactical nuclear arms from Europe.

    Thomas Moore, a former senior professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who quit CSIS over concerns about Squassoni’s anti-nuclear slant, said he felt the Track 2 program, which was to cost $215,000 in federal funding, was unwise after Russia’s military takeover of Crimea which began last February.

    Moore said in an interview that the administration could be using the CSIS Track 2 talks as a way of conducting direct negotiations to further reduce U.S. nuclear arms in Europe.

    “Now is the wrong time to entertain any such ideas with any Russians, whether they are official or unofficial Russians, because they all support Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine and violation of the INF treaty,” Moore said, noting that verifying any tactical nuclear arms reductions is nearly impossible.

    “My goal was to verify and keep our nukes in Europe,” he said, noting that Squassoni knows little about nuclear arms and has been “a partisan for Obama and his anti-nuclear agenda in Europe.”

    CSIS spokesman Andrew Schwartz confirmed that the Track 2 talks involving U.S., Russian and European experts are aimed at “limiting non-strategic nuclear weapons.” He declined to identify the U.S. or foreign members of the project and said a report on the program would be published in summer or fall of next year. He said the notion that the project has not been adjusted to account for the Crimea crisis is wrong.

    Squassoni confirmed her participation in the Ploughshares study but said in an email that the recommendations of that project were not discussed during the first Track 2 meeting this week.

    “I can assure you that my personal views do not interfere with my ability to facilitate balanced, analytically sound dialogues,” she said.

    The CSIS-Russia Track 2 nuclear talks also are being supported by Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security; and Andrew Weber, who recently resigned as assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defenses amid allegations of insubordination and improper personnel activities.

    A Pentagon spokeswoman declined to provide details surrounding Weber’s resignation but said he would be taking a lesser position at the State Department.

    A U.S. official close to the Pentagon said Weber ran afoul of his superiors as a result of his anti-nuclear arms positions, and practices related to hiring and the use of personnel within his office.

    Alexandra Bell, a spokeswoman for Gottemoeller said: “The administration is supportive of the domestic and international non-governmental community’s right to conduct research, scholarship, advocacy and Track 2 dialogues as they see fit.”

    Both the Pentagon and State Department spokeswomen would not address the question of whether holding informal nuclear talks on cutting nuclear weapons in Europe with the Russians will undermine NATO security in the aftermath of the Crimean crisis.

    Former Pentagon official Mark Schneider, a strategic nuclear arms specialist, said the Track 2 and any formal arms talks on tactical nuclear arms would fail.

    “They can have as many tracks as they want but the Russians will not agree to limits on tactical nuclear weapons,” Schneider said. “Their advantage is too great.”

    The United States is believed to have around 200 nuclear weapons in Europe. Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal is at least 2,000.

    “NATO politics will prevent any cuts in U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe,” he said. “This is obviously about the worst possible time to talk about something like this.”

    Schneider said nuclear policymakers should focus on deterrence now instead of disarmament.

    A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman told state-run Interfax March 26 that a “missile-carrying regiment” of Tu-22 Backfire nuclear bombers will be deployed to the Crimean airbase at Gvardeyskoye within two years.

    IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly described the nuclear-capable Tu-22s to be based in Crimea as “the backbone of Soviet naval strike units during the Cold War.”

    Rogers, the strategic forces subcommittee chairman, said Sept. 18 that the Russians have discussed “plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in Crimea.”
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards) started by Ryan Ruck View original post
    Comments 169 Comments
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      Russians on the move again.

      Another 20 tanks, 20 artillery units moved across the border from Russia into Ukraine.

      Today is one year from the "Heavenly 100" - when either Russian snipers or Police opened fire killing protestors.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      Ukraine Says Truce Isn’t Working and Rebels Not Withdrawing Arms
      Don't Miss Out —
      Follow us on:
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      by Daryna KrasnolutskaKateryna ChoursinaMilda Seputyte
      10:51 AM MST
      February 23, 2015

      Ukraine Truce Fails, Rebels Say Withdrawing Weapons
      Oil Continues to Fall, and OPEC Isn't Helping
      U.S. Banks Hoard $2 Trillion of Ultra-Safe Bonds
      Greece Gets Positive Signal From Creditors on Economic Measures
      Putin Rejects Talks to Bolster Ukraine Cease-Fire

      (Bloomberg) -- Ukraine said a cease-fire with pro-Russian separatists isn’t working as it disputed an announcement by rebel groups that they are withdrawing heavy weapons from the conflict zone.

      The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics began a pullback of heavy weapons on Tuesday in line with the peace agreement signed in Minsk, Belarus, the separatist-run DAN news service reported, citing rebel official Eduard Basurin. The withdrawal will be “absolutely transparent,” he said.

      “The cease-fire has not happened,” Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said. “The militants are just relocating and re-grouping using the cover of a heavy-weapons pullback. The information from militants on withdrawing heavy weapons is not true.”

      The latest tensions in the fragile peace deal emerged as the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine meet in Paris on Tuesday to try to ensure implementation of the agreement negotiated by the four countries’ leaders on Feb. 12. The Minsk accord requires both sides in the 10-month conflict to withdraw heavy weaponry behind buffer zones within 14 days of a cease-fire that came into effect Feb. 15 and which was breached when rebels took the strategic town of Debaltseve last week.
      Withdrawal ‘Rhetoric’

      Even if there’s “the rhetoric of withdrawal” after Debaltseve, “I’m very skeptical that this really will happen,” Stefan Meister, an analyst at the German Council of Foreign Relations, said by phone from Berlin on Tuesday. “We’ve had so many announcements from the Russian side that have never been fulfilled.”

      Ukraine, the U.S., the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization accuse Russia of supporting the rebels with hardware, troops and cash -- accusations the Kremlin denies -- in a conflict that the United Nations estimates has killed more than 5,600 people. Russia says Ukraine is waging war on its own people and discriminates against Russian speakers, a majority in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

      French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier are due to hold talks in Paris as the authorities in Kiev and the rebels accused each other of continuing to breach the truce.
      Disputed Pullback

      Government troops at Shyrokyne, east of the port city of Mariupol, came under rifle and mortar fire overnight and rebels are concentrating vehicles in the area, Ukrainian military spokesman Dmytro Chalyi said by phone on Tuesday.

      Ukrainian troops are shelling in the area near Mariupol, while rebel forces are not planning any attack on the city and have no new equipment nearby, Basurin said, according to the Interfax news service.

      The rebels must cease fire for two days before Ukrainian troops start to pull back their weaponry, though places have been prepared for the withdrawal, Lysenko said.

      If the Minsk agreements are implemented, “I am confident that the situation will gradually return to normal,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with state-run Rossiya 1 television on Monday. “I imagine that Europe is just as interested in implementing the Minsk agreements as Russia. Nobody needs a conflict on the periphery of Europe, especially an armed conflict.”
      Currency Tumbles

      Ukraine’s currency, the hryvnia, slumped 14.5 percent to a record 32.75 per dollar at 2:08 p.m. in Kiev on Tuesday, a day after the central bank announced it is tightening the amount of foreign currencies available to importers and banning banks from lending money to clients to buy currencies other than the hryvnia. The benchmark government bond due July 2017 rose for the first time in eight days, by 0.7 percent to 41.64 cents on the dollar.

      The hryvnia, the world’s worst-performing currency, has declined 72 percent against the dollar in the past year as Ukraine grapples with the insurgency and an economic crisis that is forcing it to seek International Monetary Fund loans to avert a default. The ruble weakened 1.5 percent to 62.9650 at 3:03 p.m. in Moscow.

      Ukraine’s western allies are “aware of the seriousness” of its economic situation and “politically there’s a strong tendency to support Ukraine and not let it disintegrate,” Michael Ganske, head of emerging markets at Rogge Global Partners Plc in London, said by phone. “The containment of the war in eastern Ukraine is not working properly so we don’t know what the fallout on the economy is, we don’t know what the costs are.”

      U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron warned Russia of “further significant EU and U.S. sanctions” if Ukrainian rebels push for more territorial gains. Russia’s supply of equipment and fighters made it possible for the insurgents to take Debaltseve and “Russia must change course now –- or the economic pain it endures will only increase,” Cameron told lawmakers in London on Monday.
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      US to Deploy Six National Guard Companies to Ukraine This Week

      © Sputnik/ Nikolay Lazarenko
      Military & Intelligence
      After Minsk: Will Peace Come to Ukraine? (247)

      US 173rd Airborne Brigade Commander Michael Foster said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC said the US would deploy personnel by the end of this week to train the Ukrainian national guard.

      © Sputnik/ Mikhail Palinchak
      Poroshenko Increases Force Numbers Amid Shaky Truce in Donbas

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States will deploy personnel by the end of this week to train the Ukrainian national guard, US 173rd Airborne Brigade Commander Colonel Michael Foster said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC on Monday. “Before this week is up, we’ll be deploying a battalion minus… to the Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces for the fight that’s taking place,” Foster stated. “What we’ve got laid out is six United States companies that will be training six Ukrainian companies throughout the summer.”

      The training will take place at the level of US and Ukrainian national guard companies, Foster explained, adding that “we have nothing above battalion staff level” engaged in the military training.

      © Sputnik/ Evgeny Kotenko
      Nationalist Aidar Unit Reorganized As Separate Assault Battalion of Ukraine's Army

      The current plan is for US forces to stay six months, he said, and noted there have been discussions about how to increase the duration and the scope of the training mission. The current channels for military training set up between Ukraine and the United States would not be used for transferring defensive lethal aid if the United States decided to provide arms to Ukraine, Foster told Sputnik on Monday.

      “It would go through something separate… We would not funnel the lethal aid or arms through that [training] event, we would use a secondary method for that,” Foster said, adding that a completely separate process is preferable.

      The United States and NATO have been engaged in military training exercises with Ukraine since the fall of 2014, according to NATO press releases.

      United Kingdom’s (UK) Prime Minister David Cameron announced last week that the UK will also be sending military advisors to Ukraine.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      I heard a couple months ago the NG was deploying people. But I thought it was different units, paratroopers and they were already there??

      is this a whole different group?
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      3,000 US Troops Head to Eastern Europe for Exercises

      WASHINGTON — Mar 9, 2015, 1:55 PM ET
      By LOLITA C. BALDOR Associated Press

      About 3,000 U.S. soldiers from the Georgia-based 3rd Infantry Division will deploy to Eastern Europe beginning next week, to conduct training exercises with forces from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the Pentagon said Monday.

      The deployment is part of an ongoing U.S. military troop rotation aimed at bolstering support for NATO allies who are worried about escalating aggression by Russia.

      Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters that about 750 U.S. military tanks, helicopters, and other vehicles and equipment arrived in Riga, Latvia, on Monday, as part of the deployment. Much of the heavy equipment is expected to stay in the region, as the U.S. continues to rotate troops in and out of the Baltics.

      The Defense Department has announced plans to reduce its overall permanent basing in Europe. But at the same time, it is ramping up its program to send military units on short-term deployments across Europe for training and exercises. Over the past year, the U.S. has sent a variety of troops, including special operations forces, to exercises and training program in Eastern Europe, including Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

      Those nations are particularly concerned about potential threats from Russia in the wake of Moscow's annexation of Crimea and the ongoing fighting between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country.

      The 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division soldiers, based at Fort Stewart, will take over as the 2nd Cavalry Regiment leaves this month. The brigade is expected to be in the region for military exercises for about three months.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      And so the escalation starts....
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Is It Time To Prepare For War?

      Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/12/2015 22:35 -0400

      Submitted by Chris Martenson via PeakProsperity.com,

      This report was initially released to PeakProsperity.com's paid subscribers earlier this week. Given the significance of the subject matter and the number of request from our enrolled members to share it more widely, we're making it available to all readers here.

      For our paying subscribers, who have already read this, please see the new Part 2 companion to this report: How To Prepare For War.
      From my perspective, the made-for-public Western news copy regarding Ukraine and Russia is childishly slanted and one-sided.

      The level of so-called aggression by Russia cannot even remotely be compared to the United States' naked aggression against Iraq – a country that had not attacked the US, threatened the US, or had any WMD program (which even if it did, would still have not constituted a legitimate reason for invasion by another nation under existing international law.)

      So there’s a heavy dose of “Do as we say, not as we do” when it comes to US pronouncements of ‘unacceptable aggression’ on the part of Russia. Predictably, Russia is less than pleased -- as in the way they would be if routinely lectured in the press by Captain Hazelwood on the importance of boating safety.

      Despite Western claims, it is highly unlikely Russia has yet moved heavy equipment and troop concentrations across the Ukraine border -- because if they had, you’d for sure have seen pictures. Endless pictures of those troops and equipment on TV, morning, noon and night. You haven’t seen any pictures, so none likely exist, which means no Russian army troops or military armaments are yet in Ukraine.
      But that has not stopped the US and NATO from accusing Russia of exactly those transgressions in nearly every single announcement and press release.

      The latest hawkish salvo by General Breedlove was so over-the-top that Germany expressed public alarm:

      Breedlove's Bellicosity: Berlin Alarmed by Aggressive NATO Stance on Ukraine

      Mar 6, 2015

      It was quiet in eastern Ukraine last Wednesday. Indeed, it was another quiet day in an extended stretch of relative calm. The battles between the Ukrainian army and the pro-Russian separatists had largely stopped and heavy weaponry was being withdrawn. The Minsk cease-fire wasn't holding perfectly, but it was holding.

      On that same day, General Philip Breedlove, the top NATO commander in Europe, stepped before the press in Washington. Putin, the 59-year-old said, had once again "upped the ante" in eastern Ukraine -- with "well over a thousand combat vehicles, Russian combat forces, some of their most sophisticated air defense, battalions of artillery" having been sent to the Donbass.

      "What is clear," Breedlove said, "is that right now, it is not getting better. It is getting worse every day."

      German leaders in Berlin were stunned. They didn't understand what Breedlove was talking about. And it wasn't the first time. Once again, the German government, supported by intelligence gathered by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency, did not share the view of NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).

      The pattern has become a familiar one. For months, Breedlove has been commenting on Russian activities in eastern Ukraine, speaking of troop advances on the border, the amassing of munitions and alleged columns of Russian tanks. Over and over again, Breedlove's numbers have been significantly higher than those in the possession of America's NATO allies in Europe. As such, he is playing directly into the hands of the hardliners in the US Congress and in NATO.

      The German government is alarmed. Are the Americans trying to thwart European efforts at mediation led by Chancellor Angela Merkel? Sources in the Chancellery have referred to Breedlove's comments as "dangerous propaganda." Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier even found it necessary recently to bring up Breedlove's comments with NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg.
      Think about how truly and utterly bizarre this all is. It is literally not possible to hide “well over a thousand” combat vehicles from air and satellite surveillance, and everybody who knows anything at all knows this. How can Breedlove make such outlandish claims and expect anybody to think he’s anything other than daft?

      What are reasonable intelligence analysts and diplomats in Germany, or anywhere for that matter, to make of any of this?

      One uncomfortable pattern that fits is that the US has gotten used to lying overtly to get its way. All reasonable analysts who read the UNSCOM report on Iraq’s defunct WMD program back in 2002 (as I did) knew that Iraq did not have any such program as claimed by Colin Powell, Rumsfeld, Perle, Feith and the rest of the unbalanced individuals who rushed the world to a war of choice. The spin doctors of today will say that “bad intelligence” was to blame, but that too is a lie.

      There was no bad intelligence, only bad people who made up false ‘intelligence’ and then foisted it upon the world. And it’s happening again.
      To my mind, there’s no other way to interpret Breedlove’s comments; they are just too far outside of the bounds of what is a possible misinterpretation of data. Again, ‘more than a thousand’ pieces of heavy armor cannot be hidden from satellites, especially not in the open, flat country that is eastern Ukraine.

      From a bit further in the Der Spiegel article we have this:

      The experts contradicted Breedlove's view in almost every respect. There weren't 40,000 soldiers on the border, they believed, rather there were much less than 30,000 and perhaps even fewer than 20,000. Furthermore, most of the military equipment had not been brought to the border for a possible invasion, but had already been there prior to the beginning of the conflict. Furthermore, there was no evidence of logistical preparation for an invasion, such as a field headquarters.

      Breedlove, though, repeatedly made inexact, contradictory or even flat-out inaccurate statements. On Nov. 18, 2014, he told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that there were "regular Russian army units in eastern Ukraine." One day later, he told the website of the German newsmagazine Stern that they weren't fighting units, but "mostly trainers and advisors."

      He initially said there were "between 250 and 300" of them, and then "between 300 and 500." For a time, NATO was even saying there were 1,000 of them.
      A short word for the phrase “flat out inaccurate statements” is lie. We might as well get used to calling things by their correct terms, it makes things easier to follow and understand.

      The reason I bring all this up is because the bellicosity of a small band of war hawks in the US seem to be driving policy for the entire nation.

      Back in 2002, it was a very small group operating out of the Office of Special Plans from a small corner of the pentagon under the direction of Donald Rumsfeld to generate the false intelligence used to ‘justify’ a truly unnecessary and ill-advised war.

      This time it seems to be Vitoria Nuland, General Breedlove, and the usual assemblage of war hawks in the Senate and Congress.

      But the risk cannot be denied. 2002 taught us all that the momentum of war can be initiated by obvious lies and a few dedicated people. That same risk is afoot today.

      Will it come to pass? For the people of Ukraine it already has. For the people of Syria and Iraq, it already has.

      The question is, will this spill over into a wider conflict that involves Europe and the US against Russia and whoever sides with Russia (*cough*cough* I’m looking at you, China).

      As I predicted in the fall of 2014, things would continue to escalate before they deescalate. The moves are coming fast and furious now. The US has moved heavy armor into the region, right on Russia’s border:

      US sends heavy armour to Baltic states to 'deter' Russia

      Mar 9, 2015

      Riga (AFP) - The United States on Monday delivered more than 100 pieces of military equipment to vulnerable NATO-allied Baltic states in a move designed to provide them with the ability to deter potential Russian threats.

      The deliveries are intended to "demonstrate resolve to President (Vladimir) Putin and Russia that collectively we can come together," US Major General John R. O'Connor told AFP as he oversaw the delivery of the equipment in the port of Riga.

      The delivery included Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, Scout Humvees as well as support equipment and O'Connor said the armour would stay "for as long as required to deter Russian aggression".

      The three former Soviet-ruled Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, all NATO and European Union members since 2004, have very little military hardware of their own.

      Because the Western press seems unable to understand these things from a neutral perspective, let’s imagine how the US might react if Russia were to move heavy armor into Mexico to help “deter US aggression.”

      I think we all know the answer to that: the US would immediately react in a very threatened manner.

      It needs to be pointed out that this is precisely the reason that NATO expansion was undertaken so aggressively back in the 1995–2005 period.

      The potential for military action became much greater than if the foreign affairs of individual countries were managed independently by their own governments. Now, because of the NATO treaty, Europe and the US are obligated to military action if ever and whenever a perceived threat arises against any NATO member.

      Of course, the chances of starting a conflict are immeasurably better if you taunt and parade yourself as close as possible to your intended adversary:

      U.S. military vehicles paraded 300 yards from the Russian border

      Feb 24, 2015

      MOSCOW — U.S. military combat vehicles paraded Wednesday through an Estonian city that juts into Russia, a symbolic act that highlighted the stakes for both sides amid the worst tensions between the West and Russia since the Cold War.

      The armored personnel carriers and other U.S. Army vehicles that rolled through the streets of Narva, a border city separated by a narrow frontier from Russia, were a dramatic reminder of the new military confrontation in Eastern Europe.

      The soldiers from the U.S. Army’s Second Cavalry Regiment were taking part in a military parade to mark Estonia’s Independence Day.

      It's obvious that there are factions within the US military establishment that are not just preparing for war with Russia, but actively provoking tensions.

      Which makes today’s news out of the EU all the more concerning because it shows a degree of coordination that now spans the Atlantic, and has jumped outside of the usual NATO military alliance and into the civilian bureaucracy of the EU:

      Juncker calls for EU army, says would deter Russia

      Mar 9, 2015

      (Reuters) - The European Union needs its own army to face up to Russia and other threats as well as restore the bloc's foreign policy standing around the world, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a German newspaper on Sunday.

      Arguing that NATO was not enough because not all members of the transatlantic defense alliance are in the EU, Juncker said a common EU army would also send important signals to the world.

      "A joint EU army would show the world that there would never again be a war between EU countries," Juncker told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. "Such an army would also help us to form common foreign and security policies and allow Europe to take on responsibility in the world."

      German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen welcomed Juncker's proposal: "Our future as Europeans will at some point be with a European army," she told German radio.

      It's telling that Juncker trotted out his proposal and immediately a German defense minister was at the ready to lend support. This means it's a serious proposal, and has already been circulated and vetted.

      While we might disagree as to whether a common military would prevent future wars between EU countries, the thing about armies is that once you have one, there’s a tendency to want to use it.

      They are very expensive to just have lying about. In times past, no country would think of keeping one assembled after a war because they have a bad habit of needing something to do, and if nothing is available externally, they have been known to turn their power inwards (see: Egyptian military coup. Also: US military industrial complex).

      And how has Russia reacted to all this? In an escalate-y, predicable sort of way:

      Russian legislator: EU’s common army, if created, to play provocative role

      MOSCOW, 9 March. /TASS/. The European Union’s common armed forces, if they are ever created, may play a provocative role, first deputy chairman of the United Russia faction in the State Duma, Frants Klintsevich, told the media on Sunday.

      "In the nuclear age extra armies do not provide any additional security. But they surely can play a provocative role," Klintsevich said, adding it was regrettable that such ideas had already met with some support.

      "One should presume that a European army is seen as an addendum to NATO. And in this kind of situation Western politicians are not shy to accuse Russia of some aggressiveness," Klintsevich said.

      Russia went right for the nuclear trump card, noting that conventional forces do not really have a clearly defined role when nukes are on the table. That is, Russia has said (again!) very clearly that they have nukes, might use them, and do not appreciate being constantly threatened.

      And yet here we are.

      I mean, it was barely a week ago that a Russian military chief said this:

      Russia says ready to reciprocate nuclear strike

      Mar 1, 2015

      A Russian military chief says the country's Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) are ready to defend the country against any possible “lightning-speed” nuclear strike.

      If we have to accomplish a task of repelling a ‘lightning-speed’ nuclear strike, this objective will be attained within a prescribed period,” Andrei Burbin, the SMF Central Command’s chief, was quoted by Russian media as saying on Saturday.

      He voiced the SMF preparedness to deliver a retaliatory nuclear strike “unhesitatingly” if Russia comes under any assault.

      Referring to the geographic position of Russia’s missile units, the major general said it will protect them from demolition by “any global strike,” adding that 98 percent of the SMF systems would be new in 2020.

      The comments come against the backdrop of a recent boost in NATO’s military presence near Russia’s borders. In 2014, NATO forces held some 200 military exercises with the Western military block’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg promising that such maneuvers would continue.

      You’d think that with the stakes being so high that there would be obvious diplomatic efforts underway to try and defuse the situation and prevent any accidents from happening. But instead, we see the West consistently accusing Russia of aggressiveness while holding hundreds of military exercises and positioning its NATO equipment closer and closer to Russia’s borders.

      Meanwhile Russia is busy saying to the world, Hey look: we still have a bunch of working nukes over here and we think you should keep that in mind.


      I fear that I will have to issue an ALERT at some point over this entire matter. Again, an ALERT happens when I come into possession of information that causes me to personally take new or different actions.

      I am seriously entertaining preparing for war, and as I’ve written before, the nature of this next war could involve everything from trade battles, to cyber attacks, to financial system assaults, a downing of the US electrical grid, to an actual shooting war -- perhaps one that escalates to a nuclear exchange.

      When things are this obviously crazy, anything is possible.

      It is my contention that the next shooting war will change the geopolitical landscape permanently and irrevocably for the US and the US dollar’s reserve currency status. Much of the weight carried by the US is because of its dominant military. But a military is only as powerful as its ability to project force; and that requires that you either walk to the conflict via a land bridge or you ship your heavy equipment over the seas.

      Light skirmishes can be accomplished via air, but nothing too serious because it’s just not possible to fly in everything you need. Tanks are heavy.

      So is food and fuel. Ammunition too. Moving a hundred thousand troops requires ships. Of which, clearly, the USA has many.

      But ships are no longer useful in the modern world, as France rather embarrassingly proved to the US recently:

      US supercarrier ‘sunk’ by French submarine in wargames
      Mar 6, 2015

      The French Ministry of Defence has revealed one of its attack submarines pulled of an astounding upset during recent war-games in the North Atlantic.

      The Aviationist blog spotted an article on the French defence force’s website — quickly withdrawn — which told how one of their submarines, the “Saphir” tackled the might of the United States’ navy off the coast of Florida.

      At the core of the surface force was the enormous aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and its powerful strike wing of 90 combat aircraft and helicopters.

      Clustered protectively about it was several advanced cruisers and destroyers, and its own guardian submarine.

      In one element of the war games, the Saphir was tasked with the role of being the “bad guy”.

      Its mission: To seek, locate and exterminate the US naval force.

      The exact details of how it achieved this embarrassing outcome is not known.

      Somehow, the French submarine must have been able to slip between the defensive sensor patchwork of patrol aircraft, helicopters, warships and submarines to line up a shot on the $13 billion monstrosity.

      There she lurked as a fictitious political crisis evolved in the world above.

      On the final day of the exercise, the order finally came.

      Sink the Theodore Roosevelt.

      This 30-year-old Saphir proceeded to do. Along with most of the escorting warships.

      Yes, a single 39-year old submarine managed to sneak into the protective ring of an entire aircraft carrier group and go through a mock firing of its entire complement of torpedoes against the entire set of targets.


      Besides the embarrassment for the US crews involved, this proves an important point: ships are no match for submarines. And there are a lot of submarines out there on both sides. Offensive anti-ship technology in the form of advanced submarine torpedoes, as well as missiles fired from land or aircraft, have advanced by enormous leaps and bounds since WWII.

      The US has never faced an adversary with such technology in open warfare. But Russia and China (and even Iran) are stocked to the gills with such weapons.

      By provoking Russia, the US risks exposing the fact that it cannot really project power all across the globe anymore because it cannot possibly ship things to and fro with impunity. Once that calculus changes, everything changes -- with King Dollar right at the top of the list.

      Whether that comes to pass, I am finding the risk of a major conflict between NATO/EU and Russia to be high and seemingly growing higher with every passing week. Such are the times in which we live.

      It leaves me asking if it’s time to begin preparing for war, which means being ready for the worst.

      I truly wish that this were not how things were unfolding, but seeing General Breedlove and Victoria Nuland get away unchallenged with their blatant falsehoods is giving me a serious case of déjà vu.

      We’ve been here before. And we know that the war hawks seem to get their way, for reasons that remain murky at best. Only this time they have a real, legitimate and dangerous foe in their sights.

      In Part 2: How To Prepare For War, we investigate the risks associated with the most likely forms of conflict should things escalate from here: trade war, energy war, financial war, cyberwar, grid-down sabotage, shooting war and nuclear war.

      While any of these developments will be grim at best, there are a surprising number of steps you can take today that will reduce your vulnerability to each off these. And in most cases, the investment of material and time will have persisting value even if (hopefully) the current global tensions de-escalate.

      But as we often say, the time to prepare for crisis is in advance. Given the risks, why wouldn't you start taking at least a few precautions now?
      Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)
    1. Ryan Ruck's Avatar
      Ryan Ruck -
      I like Zero Hedge but after reading that I think "Tyler Durden" needs to stay in his own lane, namely economics, and not feature such poor analysis on his site lest he discredit it. He'd be much better off sourcing such things to a group like Stratfor which can adeptly handle geopolitical analysis.
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Russia starts nationwide show of force

      By Reuters
      Published: 06:55 EST, 16 March 2015 | Updated: 06:55 EST, 16 March 2015

      By Thomas Grove

      MOSCOW, March 16 (Reuters) - More than 45,000 Russian troops as well as war planes and submarines started military exercises across much of the country on Monday in one of the Kremlin's biggest shows of force since its ties with the West plunged to Cold War-lows.

      President Vladimir Putin called the Navy's Northern Fleet to full combat readiness in exercises in Russia's Arctic North apparently aimed at dwarfing military drills in neighbouring Norway, a NATO member.

      "New challenges and threats to military security require the armed forces to further boost their military capabilities. Special attention must be paid to newly created strategic formations in the north," Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said, quoted by RIA news agency.

      Shoigu said the order came from Putin, who has promised to spend more than 21 trillion roubles ($340 billion) by the end of the decade to overhaul Russia's fighting forces.

      Putin made his first public appearance since March 5 on Monday, an absence from view that had fuelled feverish speculation over his health as well as his grip on power. He was meeting Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev at the Constantine Palace outside Russia's second city of St. Petersburg.

      Norway is currently holding its "Joint Viking" drills involving 5,000 troops in Finnmark county, which borders Russia in the resource-rich Arctic circle where both countries are vying for influence.

      Russia's drills would include nearly 40,000 servicemen, 41 warships and 15 submarines, RIA repprted.

      Tensions between Russia and Europe worsened last year, leading eight northern European nations to promise to boost cooperation to counter an increase in Moscow's military activity.

      NATO made new allegations last week that Russia was arming separatists in east Ukraine, where more than 6,000 people have been killed in nearly a year of fighting.

      The West and Kiev accuse Russia of supplying arms and soldiers to support the pro-Russian separatists. Moscow denies the claims.

      NATO says it counted more than 100 intercepts of Russian planes into members' airspace last year, three times more than in 2013. The intercepts have forced civilian planes to change their courses and Britain scrambled Typhoon interceptor planes after two long-range bombers flew over the English Channel.

      Norway said its military drills had been planned before the Ukraine crisis.

      "However, the current security situation in Europe shows that the exercise is more relevant than ever," Lieutenant General Haga Lunde said in a statement.

      The Russian exercises are due to last for much of the week during which Russia will celebrate its annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, carried out with the help of special forces.

      Other drills involved 5,000 troops in Russia's eastern military district, while another exercise included another 500 troops from Russia's troubled North Caucasus region of Chechnya, the site of two separatist wars, wires reported.

      The exercises were meant to focus on fighting Islamist insurgents, whose movement to create a Muslim state has spread across the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus, fuelled by religion and anger at local abuse of power. ($1 = 62.2530 roubles) (Reporting by Thomas Grove, Editing by Elizabeth Piper and Angus MacSwan)

      Sputnik @SputnikInt · 7h
      #Putin orders Northern Fleet to full alert
      for combat readiness exercise


      Sputnik @SputnikInt · 5h
      #Russia starts large-scale communications drills in 9 regions

      Sputnik @SputnikInt · 5h
      #Russia begins #airforce tactical drills in Siberia
      http://bit.ly/1x7LVEz #military

    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Julia Ioffe@juliaioffe · 2h2 hours ago "We were told to take any symbols and insignia off our uniforms." Soldiers who took Crimea a year ago speak. https://meduza.io/en/feature/2015/03/16/i-serve-the-russian-federation

      (translated) A Russian "spy plane" has flown over Romanian frigate "Regina Maria", which was taking part in a NATO naval exercise in Black Sea. Taking part at this exercise, from US Navy there is USS Vicksburg missile cruiser. Also, other ships from Canada, Turkey, Germany, Italy.

      On some Romanian TV station they said it was an Ilyushin IL-20 plane at 3.000 meters altitude. http://www.ziare.com/stiri/avion/avi...r-nato-1353221
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Russia planning to send nuclear-capable bombers to Crimea, missiles to Poland border

      Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press | March 17, 2015 2:24 PM ET
      More from Associated Press

      Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP file In this 2013 file photo, Russian Iskander missiles make their way through Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow. Russia plans to station state-of-the art missiles to its westernmost Baltic exclave and deploy nuclear-capable bombers to Crimea as part of massive war games intended to showcase the nation's resurgent military power amid bitter tensions with the West over Ukraine.

      MOSCOW — Russia plans to station state-of-the art missiles in its westernmost Baltic exclave and deploy nuclear-capable bombers to Crimea as part of massive war games to showcase its resurgent military power amid bitter tensions with the West over Ukraine.

      The Russian military exercises this week range from the Arctic to the Pacific Ocean and involve tens of thousands of troops, the Defence Ministry said Tuesday.

      The Iskander missiles will be sent to the Kaliningrad region that borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania as part of the manoeuvres, said a Defence Ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to comment publicly.

      The official also said Russia will deploy long-range, nuclear-capable Tu-22M3 bombers to Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine a year ago.

      AP file photoIn this June, 2001 file photo a Russian Tu-22M3 bomber takes off from an undisclosed location in Russia.

      In a statement, the Defence Ministry said the Baltic Fleet, the Southern Military District and the Airborne Forces have been brought to the highest stage of combat readiness and have started moving to shooting ranges as part of the drills.

      The wide-ranging exercise started Monday, when President Vladimir Putin ordered the Northern Fleet and other military forces on combat alert as part of the exercise in the Arctic. Other units in the Pacific region, southern Siberia and southwestern Russia also launched drills.

      The Iskander missiles deployment to Kaliningrad reflects Moscow’s readiness to raise the ante in response to NATO moves to deploy forces closer to Russia’s borders. The missiles, which are capable of hitting enemy targets up to 500 kilometres with high precision, can be equipped with a nuclear or a conventional warhead. From Kaliningrad, they could reach several NATO member states.

      Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz interpreted the move as an attempt by Russia to pressure EU nations as they consider possible new sanctions against Russia over Ukraine.

      “Russia is making this gesture before the European Council meeting,” she said. “It is trying to influence European Council decisions concerning extending or adding new sanctions.”

      Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics of Latvia, which holds the EU presidency, said Tuesday he did not expect “a discussion of new sanctions or any decisions” when EU leaders meet Thursday in Brussels.

      Igor Sutyagin, a Russia expert at the Royal United Services Institute, said beefing up forces in the Baltic exclave was a top priority for the Russian military.
      Iskander missiles already had been sent briefly to Kaliningrad during December’s military manoeuvrs, but were pulled back afterward.

      U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme commander in Europe, has termed Russia’s “threats to deploy nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles in Kaliningrad” part of what he called the Kremlin’s “pattern of continuing behaviour to coerce its neighbours in Central and Eastern Europe.”

      The Kremlin, in its turn, has voiced concern about U.S. plans to beef up its military presence near Russia’s borders. Later this month, U.S. troops are holding joint exercises with forces from EU nations Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

      Four Polish NATO MiG-29s flew training missions in Lithuania on Monday, under the command and control of an alliance AWACS surveillance aircraft in a small corridor between Belarus and the Kaliningrad region. The mission — described as ’routine’ by NATO officials — prompted the Russian military in Kaliningrad to scramble half a dozen fighter jets to monitor the exercise.

      Monday’s AWACS mission was flying from Oerland airbase, near Trondheim in Norway. The AWACS flights were part of efforts to reassure NATO members in eastern Europe, in particular the Baltic states, which are concerned about Russia’s intentions amid the Ukrainian crisis.

      Polish Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said Tuesday that a battery of U.S. anti-aircraft Patriot missiles will be coming to Poland later this month for a major exercise. He previously said 10,000 foreign troops will be taking part in NATO exercises in Poland this year, the highest number ever.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      Missiles to the border of Poland. So the Polish SAW this coming.
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      John Schindler@20committee · 1h1 hour ago We've entered the Twilight Zone here: Russian ambassador threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons. http://www.dn.se/nyheter/varlden/rysslands-ambassador-varnar-danmark/…

      HR @Stefan_LaurellAir Force Freak@AirForceFreak74 · 4h4 hours ago
      Multiple RUAF planes in Gulf of Finland.

      US military convoy parades through Eastern Europe
      March 22, 2015 - A convoy of US military vehicles, mostly IAV Stryker APCs, is touring through Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, the Czech Republic to Germany in a symbolic show of force and solidarity with Eastern European allies “that live closest to the Bear.”

      Operation ‘Dragoon Ride’ kicked off Saturday in Poland, Lithuania and Estonia and will see the US Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment covering some 1,100 miles to Vilseck, Germany by April 1. Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, will also participate in the military “exercise.”
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      NATO Launches "Wide-Scale" War Games Near Russian Border, Creates "Line Of Troops"

      Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/21/2015 19:00 -0400

      Washington looks to be throwing more than the full faith and credit of the US government behind Ukraine. On the heels of news that the US is set to guarantee a Ukrainian international bond issue (while Greek pensioners implicitly subsidize the country’s natural gas exports), NATO is in the midst of conducting large scale military maneuvers along the Russian border in a move Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says encourages “Kiev to pursue a military solution.” Over the course of 10 days, NATO will parade 120 combat vehicles across the region in an effort to prove how quickly the West can confront perceived Russian aggression. Here’s more from Military News:

      The [Russian] ministry warned that it hopes Europe "does see the risk of unconditionally following advice from U.S. generals and will not opt for approaches that will rule out the risk of a slide towards a military confrontation between Russia and NATO."

      While the U.S. Army acknowledges the convoy's movement is "a highly visible demonstration of U.S. commitment to its NATO allies," Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the commander of U.S. Army Europe, insists "the focus should be on what is the desired end state, and can we get there using diplomatic and economic pressure and support."
      So basically, the US is saying the following: “...although we’re intent on showing just how quickly we can deploy our forces in the event an armed confrontation becomes necessary, we hope you’ll see this for what it is which is our best effort demonstrate that we long for a peaceful solution.” We’ll let you judge for yourself how committed the West is to a peaceful resolution (note the US soldier teaching the small child how to fire a high caliber weapon):

      And the US is particularly proud of the fact that it has created a wall of troops along the Russian border:

      Meanwhile, US officials don’t understand why anyone would see this as hypocritical. As RT reports, the US State Department’s press official Jeff Rathe “would disagree” with the notion that the US is conductig precisely the types of exercises for which it has previsously condemned Russia:

      When asked why the US was condemning Russian exercises inside Russia, State Department press official Jeff Rathke told RT no such statement had ever been made.

      While the US has not criticized every military drill conducted by the Kremlin, last August State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Russia’s aviation exercises are “provocative and only serve to escalate tensions.”

      “Wouldn’t US and NATO maneuvers on Russian borders, at a time when the West and Russia are at odds over the crisis in Ukraine, also “raise tensions?” asked AP diplomatic correspondent Matt Lee.

      “We would disagree with that,” replied Rathke.
      In the meantime, Moscow isn’t particularly pleased with Denmark’s eight month old move to join NATO’s missile defense shield, as Russia’s Ambassador to Denmark Mikhail Vanin subtly warned that joining the effort would subject Danish ships to strikes by Russian nuclear missiles and besides, the effort would ultimately be in vain as Moscow has nukes capable of infiltrating the West’s defenses. Here’s more from The Telegraph:

      “I don’t think that Danes fully understand the consequence if Denmark joins the American-led missile defence shield. If they do, then Danish warships will be targets for Russian nuclear missiles,” said Mikhail Vanin, the Russian ambassador to Denmark, to the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

      “Denmark would be part of the threat against Russia. It would be less peaceful and relations with Russia will suffer. It is, of course, your own decision - I just want to remind you that your finances and security will suffer. At the same time Russia has missiles that certainly can penetrate the future global missile defence system,” Mr Vanin said.
      * * *
      It would certainly appear from the above that geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe are now running at a fever pitch and with Washington prone to adopting an extra defensive position thanks to what appear to be shifting economic alliances among its staunchest allies, we wouldn’t expect the posturing to die down on either side in the foreseeable future.
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Top Russia Scholar Stephen Cohen: War between NATO and Russia a Real Possibility

      • Round Table on "Defining a new security architecture for Europe that brings Russia in from the cold" was held in Brussels on March 2.
      • The organizer of the event was the American committee for East West Accord.
      • Three key presenters were American scholars Professor John Mearsheimer and Professor Steve Cohen, and publisher-editor of The Nation, Katrina Vanden Heuvel.
      • Q&A session was conducted by VIP guest panel which included five Members of the European Parliament from Left, Center and Right party groupings, two ambassadors and other senior diplomats from several missions, a senior member of the EU External Action Service, and Professor Richard Sakwa, author of the recently published Frontline Ukraine.
      • The first speech at the roundtable was delivered by John Mearsheimer, which we wrote about previously.

      TV Sun, Mar 22 | 16108 137

      We are in deep trouble...

      Same author

      Leading American Scholar John Mearsheimer: The West Blew It Big Time and Irreversibly Endangered European Security

      Wed, Mar 18 | 41 4732
      Stratfor Chairman Straight-Talking: US Policy Is Driven by Imperative to Stop Coalition between Germany and Russia

      Tue, Mar 17 | 71 5823
      Ukraine's Neo-Nazis Are the Most Dangerous in Europe

      Mon, Mar 16 | 11 3970

      Professor Stephen Cohen is one of the most respected authorities on Russia among American and Western scholars. He is an American scholar of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University. His academic work concentrates on modern Russian history and Russia's relationship with the United States.

      The key points of Cohen's extraordinary speech:

      • The possibility of premeditated war with Russia is real; this was never a possibility during Soviet times.
      • This problem did not begin in November 2013 or in 2008, this problem began in 1990's when the Clinton administration adopted a "winner-takes-all" policy towards post-Soviet Russia.
      • Next to NATO expansion, the US adopted a form of a negotiation policy called "selective cooperation" - Russia gives, the US takes.
      • There is not a single example of any major concession or reciprocal agreement that the US offered Russia in return for what it has received since the 90s.
      • This policy has been pursued by every president and every US Congress, from President Clinton to President Obama.
      • The US is entitled to a global sphere of influence, but Russia is not entitled to any sphere of influence at all, not even in Georgia or Ukraine.
      • For 20 years Russia was excluded from the European security system. NATO expansion was a pivot of this security system and it was directed against Russia.
      • Putin started as a pro-Western leader, he wanted partnership with the US, provided helping hand after 9/11 and saved many American lives in Afghanistan.
      • In return he got more NATO expansion and unilateral abolition of the existing missile treaty on which all Russian security was based.
      • Putin is not an autocrat, he's maybe very authoritarian as an ultimate decider, but he is answerable to other power groups.
      • Putin is not anti-Western, or as Khodorkovsky said, he is more European than 99 percent of Russians. He has become less pro-Western and particularly less pro-American.
      • Since November 2013, Putin has became not aggressive but reactive. For this he has been criticized in circles in Moscow as an appeaser (that is, soft, not tough enough).
      • We (opposing academics) don't have effective political support in the administration, the Congress, political parties, think tanks or on university campuses. This is unprecedented situation in American politics. There's no discourse, no debate and this is failure of American democracy.
      • There is ongoing extraordinary irrational and nonfactual demonisation of Putin. No Soviet leader was so personally vilified as Putin is now.
      • The solution is federation to unite Ukraine without Crimea, which is not coming back, free trade with both the West and Russia and no NATO membership for Ukraine.
      • This guarantees must be in writing, not oral premises like they gave to Gorbachev, and must be ratified by the UN.
      • The Kiev regime is not a democratic one, but an ultra-nationalistic one. Poroshenko is a diminishing president.
      • Unless the Kiev regime changes its approach to Russia or unless the West stops supporting Kiev unconditionally, we are drifting towards war with Russia.

    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      max seddon@maxseddon · 5h5 hours ago Donetsk rebel eagerly recounts Russian generals' key role in the Ukraine conflict. "I thought everybody knew!" Oops. http://www.bbc.co.uk/russian/international/2015/03/150325_donetsk_rebel_interview
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Russian Strategic Missile Forces to Begin Exercise

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russian Strategic Missile Forces' counter-terrorist exercise will start on Tuesday as part of inspection of the southeastern Orenburg Missile Army, the Defense Ministry's press service said in a statement Monday.

      The complex inspection is carried out from March 30 to April 11 in line with the Strategic Missile Troops combat readiness training program.

      © Sputnik/ Ramil Sitdikov
      Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces Check Combat Readiness During Drills

      "During the inspection, special attention will be paid to the exercise that will be conducted under supervision of the Strategic Missile Forces Commander-in-Chief and will take place between March 31 and April 4," the statement published on Russia's Defense Ministry official website read. The main aim of the exercise is to improve the operational performance of commanders and staff officers throughout the chain of command, and enhance practical skills within task forces, units and elements in case of an imminent threat or an actual terrorist attack, according to the statement.

      The Orenburg Missile Army is equipped with RT-2PM Topol (NATO reporting name SS-25 Sickle) and R-36М Voyevoda (NATO reporting name SS-18 Satan) intercontinental ballistic missile systems.

      The Russian Defense Ministry has announced plans to conduct at least 4,000 military exercises throughout the country in 2015.

      Read more: http://sputniknews.com/military/2015...#ixzz3VyB83VTD

      Russia Begins Large-Scale Air Defense Drills in Siberia

      © Sputnik/ Igor Zarembo
      Russia(updated 16:08 30.03.2015)

      Large-scale air defense drills have started in Russia's Eastern Military District, according to the Russian Defense Minister's press service.

      © AFP 2015/ Sergey Venyavsky
      Russian Marines Kick Off Live Fire Drills in Crimea

      The Russian Defense Minister's press service reported on Monday that large-scale air defense exercises have got under way in Russia's Eastern Military District.

      "The drills are taking place at special firing ranges in the Primorye Territory and Buryatia, where the servicemen will be tasked with destroying about 50 various targets," the press service said.

      "To implement the task, the troops will use a spate of the short-range surface-to-air missile systems, such as the Osa, the Tor and the Strela-10.

      Additionally, the drills will see the Tunguska self-propelled anti-aircraft missile system, the man-portable air defense systems Igla and Verba, as well as the new generation long-range air defense missile systems Triumf and Favorit," the press service said.

      It added that during the war games, the troops will, in particular, drill the units in repelling a massive missile and air strike by a simulated enemy.

      The press service declined to elaborate on the exact number of servicemen involved in the exercises, but said that they will see the participation of air defense, aviation, radio-radar, electronic warfare, reconnaissance and motor rifle units stationed in Buryatia and the Primorye Territory, as well as the Trans-Baikal, Khabarovsk, Kamchatka, Amur and Sakhalin regions.
    1. American Patriot's Avatar
      American Patriot -
      World | Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:00pm EDT Related: World
      Pentagon denies 'ridiculous' claim U.S. troops in Ukraine combat zone

      (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Thursday denied Russian allegations that U.S. troops are in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, calling Moscow's claims a "ridiculous attempt to shift the focus" from its own activities in the region.

      "Russia continues to supply lethal weapons, training and command and control support for armed separatists in eastern Ukraine, in blatant violation of Moscow's Minsk commitments and Ukraine's sovereignty," said Eileen Lainez, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

      Lainez said the Pentagon has been clear that it has a few hundred troops training Ukrainian guardsmen in the western part of the country near Poland.
    1. vector7's Avatar
      vector7 -
      Companion Posts and Threads:
      'Hello, space station? NASA here. Can you put us through to Moscow?'
      The United States is OUT OF THE SPACE BUSINESS

      As Obama redirects Space Missions to Russia, They Begin Building Space Based Weapon

      Putin stakes claim to Arctic

      World War Three Thread....
      Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Formerly: Democratic Malaise Draws Ukraine Eastwards

      Leaked US Ambassador Ukraine Call

      Russian analyst predicts decline and breakup of U.S.

      Obama administration says Russia could join NATO
      Russia’s disruptive role in finalizing the separation of the US from its Allies
      President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons
      Obama quietly begins giving Oil-rich parts of Alaska to Russia

      Is Barack Obama a real Manchurian candidate?

      Big Rise In Russian Military Spending Raises Fears Of New Challenge To West

      The Rise of the Second Soviet Empire

      Russia scrambles to build 5000 new bomb shelters by 2012 for strategic nuclear strike

      Russia Test-Launches New Missile - RS-24

      Vladimir Putin's ally issues chilling warning to the West: 'Tanks don't need visas'

      Deputy premier Dmitry Rogozin - seen by some as a future Kremlin president - claimed the West was now scared of Moscow's military muscle

      Warning: Dmitry Rogozin has spoken about the West in aggressive terms

      One of Vladimir Putin's closest aides has issued a chilling warning to the West: "Tanks don't need visas".

      Deputy premier Dmitry Rogozin - seen by some as a future Kremlin president - claimed the West is now scared of Moscow's military muscle.

      His outspoken words come as the West remains at loggerheads with Russia over Putin's seizure of Crimea, and alleged military strongarm tactics in eastern Ukraine.

      Vowing to exploit the vast mineral riches of the Arctic, Rogozin claimed that America and Euorpe "are afraid of Russia".

      The West is "afraid of the fact that we have started looking around, at our enormous territory", which, he argued, reached far north of existing frontiers in the Arctic.

      In overall charge of Russia's space and defence industries, he told a TV show that Russia would develop "our huge EurAsia", exploiting vast mineral wealth under the Arctic ice.

      Warning: Vladamir Putin has been flexing his military muscles of late Even though international bodies have yet to approve Russia's claim to the oil, gas and other natural resources, Rogozin, 51, vowed: "It is our territory, it is our shelf, and we'll provide its security.

      And we will make money there."

      He threatened the West: "I have always joked about it, that they will not give us visas.

      "They will put us on a sanctions list - but tanks do not need visas."

      An ardent Russian nationalist - who faced US and EU sanctions over the Ukraine crisis - told Russian viewers referring to Moscow's latest high-tech tank: "We should not look at anybody or be offended, we should just go. We are one big Armata."

      The Arctic would be the scene of "serious economic collisions in the 21st century", he warned, with the US and Canada among countries with competing claims for the undersea riches.

      But Rogozin, who has enjoyed fast-track promotion under Putin, warned corruption not the West was his country's biggest enemy.

      Russian Tanks: "They don't need visas" according to a potential Putin successor "I have always said before and keep repeating our real enemy is not NATO, nor aliens, but our corruption."

      He boasted about Russian atomic capability declaring: "Our nuclear shield is strong, it is so strong that I would say it is more powerful than anyone else's.

      "This is why Russia today can ensure its strategic security, not only going face to face with the USA, but also face to face with the whole Western coalition."

      Moscow's firepower displayed on Red Square recently was an armoury the West saw as "an ideal they should strive for", he alleged.

      He blamed recent humiliating failures in Russian space launches on corruption.

      He claimed "up to 100" space officials had been arrested for diverting money into personal accounts and other crimes.

      "These are managers who were caught stealing," he said, vowing to clean up the sector.