Russia May Send 100K Troops to NATO’s Borders

In this Aug. 2, 2017, photo, Russian paratroopers mark Paratroopers Day in Moscow’s Red Square. The Russian military says major war games, the Zapad (West) 2017 maneuvers, will not threaten anyone. Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

 

The exercises are part of President Vladimir Putin’s effort to demonstrate Russia’s full recovery from being a military basket case following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russia’s Northern Fleet claimed to have sent about 50 ships, submarines and support vessels into the Barents and Baltic Seas in August on a series of anti-submarine, anti-mine and search-and-rescue operations, a Russian Navy spokesman told Russia’s Interfax news agency.

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Wintershall warns U.S. against playing ‘geopolitical football.’

 

German energy company Wintershall, a European partner with Russia’s Gazprom, said the European energy sector can’t be used for “geopolitical football.”

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a bill into law that sanctions Iran, North Korea and Russia. The Russian measure in particular is significant given the election issue clouding the Trump administration. Continue reading

Russian Military bombs ‘Enemy Submarine’ in Drills Near U.S. War Games

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The Russian KA-27 is specially designed to detect and destroy enemy submarines, making it a formidable aircraft for NATO forces stationed near Russia’s military in the Baltic region. (MAIQUEL TORCATT/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

 

Russian helicopters on Wednesday staged explosive exercises, destroying maritime targets in the already tense Baltic region, where the U.S. began its own multinational war games just one day earlier.

The Russian military deployed 10 Kamov KA-27 antisubmarine warfare helicopters from the naval aviation branch of its Baltic Fleet to participate in bombing a simulated hostile submarine off the coast of Kaliningrad, an exclave of Russian territory situated between Lithuania and Poland. Both of these countries, along with the Baltic states Latvia and Estonia, are part of the U.S.-led military alliance NATO, which on Tuesday launched a regional exercise called Tobruq Legacy 2017, involving multiple European allies of the U.S. As the rivalry between Russia and NATO heats up, both displayed the readiness and might of their respective armed forces. Continue reading

The Militarization of the Baltic Sea

BERLIN (Own report) – Since 1990, the German Navy is more than ever focusing its activities on the power struggle with Russia in the Baltic Sea. It is “conceivable” that “the eastern area of the Baltic Sea could become the venue for conflicts of interests and provocations,” the head of a department in the German Navy Command wrote in an article published in the current edition of MarineForum. This necessitates preparations for “the regular and permanent presence of operational forces” and a resolute military buildup, and Berlin’s announcement to procure five new corvettes is a signal in the right direction. At the same time, large scale maneuvers are regularly being held in the Baltic Sea. The most recent “BALTOPS 2017” exercise was focused around the scenario of naval combat against an enemy advancing “from the North.” Strategic B-52 bombers – among others – we e training so close to the Russian border that Moscow saw itself forced to chase them off with fighter jets. B-52s can be equipped with nuclear arms. Moscow has announced Russian-Chinese naval exercises to be held this month – for the first time in the Baltic Sea.

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Caught On Video: Russian, NATO Jets In Near Standoff After F-16 Buzzes Defense Minister’s Airplane

 

A day after a Russian fighter allegedly flew within 5 feet of a US reconnaissance plane traveling over the Baltic Sea, Reuters reports that a NATO F-16 fighter jet returned the favor when it tried to improperly approach a plane carrying the Russian defense minister. The plane was traveling to the city of Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave along the Baltic coast, where Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu was scheduled to discuss security issues with defense officials on Wednesday. The NATO aircraft was warded off by a Russian Su-27 jet, according to RT.

In an accounting of the incident, Reuters notes that one of the Russian fighter jets escorting Shoigu’s plane had inserted itself between the defense minister’s plane and the NATO fighter and “tilted its wings from side to side to show the weapons it was carrying, Russian agencies said.” After that the F-16 promptly left the area. Continue reading

Germany, Austria vs. US Senate: America and Europe on Collision Course

 

Germany and Austria have lashed out against US Senate for approving a legislation tightening sanctions on Russia. The bill has a provision that enables the United States to impose sanctions on European firms involved in financing Russian energy export pipelines to Europe. European companies could be fined for breaching US law. In a joint statement, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern accused the US of threatening European economic interests, describing it as an illegal attempt to boost US gas exports. The United States recently started shipping liquefied natural gas to Poland and has ambitions to cultivate other European customers.

The bill says the US government «should prioritize the export of United States energy resources in order to create American jobs, help United States allies and partners, and strengthen United States foreign policy». But the European foreign chiefs believe that «Europe’s energy supply is Europe’s business, not that of the United States of America». Gabriel and Kern said they «can’t accept» proposed US sanctions targeting European energy companies as part of measures against Russia.

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Latvia Spots Three Russian Warships off Sea Border

Latvia spotted three Russian corvette ships 4 miles from its territorial waters on Sunday.

According to the military’s Twitter page it spotted the vessels Liven 551, Serpukhov 603 and Morshansk 824 near Latvian waters.

The sighting followed reports that Russia was readying vessels for the approach of a U.S. vessel. Local newspaper Fontanka said that Morshansk and a handful of other vessels were lined up around St. Petersburg’s Kronshtadt port—the location of Russia’s Leningrad naval base. Continue reading

Russia Keeps Provoking NATO Planes: SecAF

A Russian Su-27 fighter flies over the Kamchatka Peninsula. In April, a Su-27 intercepted an American reconnaissance aircraft over the Baltic Sea in a series of hostile fly-bys in 2016 alone, the Air Force’s top civilian said.

 

The Russian air force has not shown any good faith toward NATO aircraft policing Baltic airspace in recent months by conducting a flurry of unsafe maneuvers and flybys, the top civilian leader of the Air Force said Monday.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said the German air force, which oversees the mission, reported “more than 30 scrambles between the end of August and the start of November this year, intercepting Russian aircraft flying near civilian air routes with their transponders turned off.Continue reading

Sweden brings back Cold War weapons to deter Kremlin

 

Faced with a newly aggressive Russia, Sweden is taking mothballed Cold War missile launchers out of storage in museums to shore up the defenses on its Baltic Sea front line, according to The Times. Continue reading

Washington is Quietly Reinforcing Europe’s Northern Flank

Norwegian soldiers, U.S. Marines, Dutch and U.K. Royal Commandos do an integrated air insert during a training event for Exercise Cold Response 16, March 3, 2016, around the city of Namsos, Norway.

Norwegian soldiers, U.S. Marines, Dutch and U.K. Royal Commandos do an integrated air insert during a training event for Exercise Cold Response 16, March 3, 2016, around the city of Namsos, Norway. (U.S. Marine Corps / Master Sgt. Chad McMeen)

 

 

Much is being done to counter Russian ambitions in the High North, and yet much more remains to be done.

The recent stream of senior U.S. defense officials to Nordic countries underlines American concerns about potential friction in northern Europe, and Washington’s efforts to boost defense and deterrence there. Defense Secretary Ash Carter stopped in Norway in early September, while his deputy Bob Work, who has been to the region three times over the last two years, paid an early-October visit to Finland’s capital, Helsinki. Shortly thereafter, Air Force Secretary Deborah James made her own trip across the region. (Go back to last year, and Senate Armed Services Committee chair John McCain was in Norway and Sweden to discuss regional security.)

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Is Germany About to Side With Russia Against America?

Europe could be in the early stages of a geopolitical earthquake.

Key German leaders want to end sanctions against Russia. Such a decision might seem like a minor piece of economic news, but it could be the beginning of a major break between Europe and America and the separation of Germany from the Western security alliance.

European sanctions on Russia are up for renewal in July. The European Union and the United States imposed the sanctions after Russia invaded Crimea in March 2014. The plan was to keep the sanctions in place until the Minsk Protocol, a protocol aimed at ending the fighting in Ukraine, was fully implemented.

But with little to no progress on the Minsk agreement, some leaders in Germany want to end the sanctions. On May 31, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier suggested ending the sanctions “step-by-step,” rather than waiting for Minsk to be completed.

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Nato countries begin largest war game in eastern Europe since cold war

Ten-day military exercise, Anaconda-2016, will involve 31,000 troops and thousands of vehicles from 24 countries

The largest war game in eastern Europe since the end of the cold war has started in Poland, as Nato and partner countries seek to mount a display of strength as a response to concerns about Russia’s assertiveness and actions.

The 10-day military exercise, involving 31,000 troops and thousands of vehicles from 24 countries, has been welcomed among Nato’s allies in the region, though defence experts warn that any mishap could prompt an offensive reaction from Moscow. Continue reading

U.S. To Undermine Russia’s Gas Monopoly In Europe

The first U.S. LNG shipment will soon arrive in Europe, marking a new era for energy on the continent. Cheniere Energy’s newly completed Sabine Pass facility on the U.S. Gulf Coast recently sent a shipment of American liquefied natural gas, which should arrive in Portugal within a few days.

“LNG coming out of the U.S. is probably the single most important thing that will transform the future LNG market,” Melissa Stark, energy managing director at Accenture, told Bloomberg. “It heralds the arrival of a global market.” Continue reading

Russia warns of new COLD WAR as Putin sends record numbers of submarines to British coast

Vladimir Putin bolstered his military forces by deploying another submarine fleet – meaning Russia has its highest number of attack vessels in the area for 20 years.

It comes as retired admiral and former supreme allied commander of NATO James Stavridis sent a chilling warning that another Cold War could be on its way.

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Russia warns U.S. over naval incident as NATO tensions laid bare

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Russia accused the United States on Wednesday of intimidation by sailing a U.S. naval destroyer close to Russia’s border in the Baltics and warned that the Russian military would respond with “all necessary measures” to any future incidents.

Speaking after a meeting between NATO envoys and Russia, their first in almost two years, Moscow’s ambassador to NATO said the April 11 maritime incident showed there could be no improvement in ties until the U.S.-led alliance withdrew from Russia’s borders. Continue reading