A Russian newspaper has published an article suggesting that the Kremlin-favoured South Stream gas pipeline could drop Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, and Slovenia for its route, and instead reach its final destinations, Italy and Austria, through Turkey and Greece.
On Monday (18 August), Russian business newspaper Vzglyad published an article by journalist Oleg Makarenko, claiming that Gazprom has a “plan B” in case Bulgaria continues to obstruct the construction of the South Stream pipeline.
A caretaker government in Sofia, which took office on 6 August, has frozen the construction of South Stream, following clear indications from Brussels that the EU executive would impose infringements on Bulgaria, unless the country re-negotiates its bilateral agreement with Russia for the construction of the pipeline, which is in breach of EU law.
A specter is haunting Washington, an unnerving vision of a Sino-Russian alliance wedded to an expansive symbiosis of trade and commerce across much of the Eurasian land mass – at the expense of the United States.
And no wonder Washington is anxious. That alliance is already a done deal in a variety of ways: through the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa); at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Asian counterweight to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; inside the Group of 20; and via the 120-member-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
Trade and commerce are just part of the future bargain. Synergies in the development of new military technologies beckon as well. After Russia’s Star Wars-style, ultra-sophisticated S-500 air defense anti-missile system comes online in 2018, Beijing is sure to want a version of it. Meanwhile, Russia is about to sell dozens of state-of-the-art Sukhoi Su-35 jet fighters to the Chinese as Beijing and Moscow move to seal an aviation-industrial partnership. Continue reading
Russia’s military carried out a flight test of a new multi-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile on Monday amid growing tensions with the United States over the crisis in Ukraine.
The SS-27 Mod 2 road-mobile ICBM was launched around 2:40 a.m. EST from Russia’s Plesetsk launch facility, located about 500 miles north of Moscow.
“The main purpose of the launch is to validate the reliability of a batch of this class of missiles made at the Votkinsk Plant,” Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Yegorov told state-run Interfax-AVN.
An unspecified number of simulated nuclear warheads landed at an impact range on the Kura test range on the Kamchatka Peninsula, in the Russian Far East, Yegorov said. The distance is around 3,500 miles.
The SS-27 Mod 2 is Russia’s newest ICBM and has been touted by Russian officials as designed specifically to defeat U.S. missile defenses. Continue reading
The Obama administration is withholding urgently needed non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine under restrictions that view body armor, night vision goggles, radios, and fuel as destabilizing “force multipliers,” according to a bipartisan assessment of Ukraine’s military needs.
“Independent of American high-level policy, implementation of U.S. non-lethal military aid is seriously flawed and needs immediate correction,” states a report by retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark and former arms control official Phillip A. Karber following a visit to military units in Ukraine. Continue reading
…and the best this administration can do in response to this blatant act of war is call it ‘unprofessional‘.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Russian fighter jet made multiple, close-range passes near an American warship in the Black Sea for more than 90 minutes Saturday amid escalating tensions in the region, U.S. military officials said Monday.
In the first public account of the incident, the officials said the Russian Fencer made 12 passes, and flew within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook, a Navy destroyer, at about 500 feet above sea level.
The U.S. warship issued several radio queries and warnings using international emergency circuits, but the Russian aircraft did not respond. Continue reading
Romania plans to become the open door of China to Europe, not only through the Constanta Port (eastern Romania, on the Black Sea shore), but also through the development of such investment projects to prove the high technological level reached by the Chinese economy in the past years, Secretary of State for political analysis and the relation with the Parliament, Radu Podgorean, stated during a visit he paid to the People Republic Continue reading
“Our aim is to make the peninsula as attractive as possible to investors, so that it can generate sufficient income for its own development,” Medvedev told a Russian government meeting on the Black Sea peninsula, which Moscow has annexed from Ukraine. Continue reading
BERLIN (Own report) – In light of the pending incorporation of the Crimea into the Russian Federation, German politicians and media are stepping up their Russophobe agitation. The public’s “understanding for Moscow’s alleged motives” regarding the Crimea, remains “strikingly high,” complains a leading German daily. This reflects the view that Western global aggressions are either “not better or even worse.” In this context, a leading German newspaper, the “Süddeutsche Zeitung,” has discontinued a Russian PR insert, which it had begun carrying following a lucrative European-Russian economic conference. Another leading publication, the weekly “Die Zeit”, has “apologized” for having printed differentiated articles about the Ukraine. The author, a freelance journalist, had also earned his living, doing editorial work for the above-mentioned Russian PR insert. Last week, the leading German Green Party’s candidate for the European parliamentary elections tabled a motion for a gag order on former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, who had criticized the EU’s Ukrainian policy. This motion, to restrict his right of freedom of expression, has been ultimately rejected by the European parliament, however, not by her Party. Continue reading
Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing to “invade eastern Ukraine” after occupying the country’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, Estonia said. Continue reading
KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine may have to arm itself with nuclear weapons if the United States and other world powers refuse to enforce a security pact that obligates them to reverse the Moscow-backed takeover of Crimea, a member of the Ukraine parliament told USA TODAY.
The United States, Great Britain and Russia agreed in a pact “to assure Ukraine’s territorial integrity” in return for Ukraine giving up a nuclear arsenal it inherited from the Soviet Union after declaring independence in 1991, said Pavlo Rizanenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament.
“We gave up nuclear weapons because of this agreement,” said Rizanenko, a member of the Udar Party headed by Vitali Klitschko, a candidate for president. “Now there’s a strong sentiment in Ukraine that we made a big mistake.” Continue reading
- Crimean parliament votes to secede from Ukraine
- Obama tells Putin: sanctions for ‘violation of sovereignty’
- German chancellor Angela Merkel: ‘We’re ready to act’
The United States and the European Union on Thursday unveiled sanctions to punish Russia for occupying Crimea, imposing visa restrictions on individuals and sharpening rhetoric in what has rapidly degenerated into the worst east-west crisis since the end of the cold war.
In their first concrete response to Russia’s move to wrest the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine, Washington and Brussels also warned of further sanctions, such as asset seizures, if Moscow does not relent in the stand-off. Continue reading
KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) – As the Crimean crisis escalates, the German Navy is dispatching one of its spy ships to the Mediterranean. The “Alster,” which had already been carrying out espionage on the Syrian war zone, is reported to have sailed from its homeport. Whether it will pursue a route through the Mediterranean to the Black Sea remains the Bundeswehr’s secret. With the Crimean conflict, the power struggle over the Ukraine is involving an area of utmost geostrategic importance to Moscow. The Russian Black Sea Fleet is stationed on the Crimean Peninsula, which is considered “Russia’s diving board into the Mediterranean,” where Russia has increased activities since 2013, seeking to counterbalance the USA. It is already being speculated, that the pro-western putschist government could annul the accord on stationing the Black Sea Fleet, thereby depriving Russia of this strategic position. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moscow has had to watch how NATO has expanded its position in the Black Sea – with Bundeswehr participation and at the expense of Russia. Crimea’s geostrategic importance explains why Germany – unlike in the case, for example, of Yugoslavia – is trying to prevent the peninsula’s secession and a rapprochement with Russia by all means. Continue reading
With tensions in Ukraine nearing a breaking point, the world is collectively looking to the Western powers for resolution. But, not surprisingly, the response so far has consisted of little more than a wag of the finger, with NATO and other world leaders unanimously condemning Russia’s military action in the Crimea.
While the reasons for this muted response are manifold, it’s difficult to ignore the leverage the Russians hold in this standoff. For starters, the U.S. and other Western powers have little to gain from bringing the Crimean conflict to a head; Russia, on the other hand, greatly benefits from controlling the region, with its strategic access to the Black Sea and concentration of Russian-speaking peoples. Continue reading
BERLIN/ANKARA (Own report) – The German government has sought to reach new agreements on strategies involving Syria and Ukraine in several meetings with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkey. Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minster Steinmeier met with Prime Minister Erdoğan yesterday. Steinmeier had already received his counterpart Davutoğlu at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday. Because of rivalry with Moscow over influence on Kiev, one of the topics of discussion in Berlin is Ankara’s possible “financial contributions” to the Ukraine. Turkey is holding talks with Iran on the war in Syria, obviously designed to complement the “P5+1″ negotiations with Iran – which include Germany. Ankara is also intensifying its cooperation with the autonomous government of Kurdish Northern Iraq. Should Syria disintegrate, it could expedite the territorial reorganization of the region, particularly of the Kurdish speaking territories. To secure its influence on Turkey’s foreign policy, Berlin had initiated a “strategic dialogue” with Ankara last year, which should now be put to the test in relationship to the Ukraine and Syria. Continue reading
MOSCOW, November 3 (RIA Novosti) – Turkey scrambled four F-16 fighter jets on Sunday to intercept Russian Il-20 reconnaissance warplanes flying along the country’s Black Sea coast, news agency PzFeed reported. Continue reading