Get Ready for a New Chernobyl in Ukraine

 

With the onset of winter and the increasing strain on Ukraine’s energy system, the threat of a new nuclear disaster in Central Europe is becoming more than just a theoretical danger. According to analysts from Energy Research & Social Science (ERSS), there is an 80% probability of a “serious accident” at one of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants before the year 2020. This is due both to the increased burden on the nuclear plants caused by the widespread shutdowns of Ukraine’s thermal power plants (the raw material they consumed – coal from the Donbass – is in critically short supply) and also because of the severe physical deterioration of their Soviet-era nuclear equipment and the catastrophic underfunding of this industry.

Should such an incident occur, the EU would not only be faced with the potential environmental consequences, but also – given the recent introduction of visa-free travel – a large-scale exodus of Ukrainians out of contaminated areas. Continue reading

Russian Military Expert: ‘Russia Is Creating Three Strong Army Groups On The Border With Ukraine… Capable… Of Launching A Quick Strike In The Direction Of Kiev’

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Russia- Ukraine border with potential directions of Russian attacks (source: Royal United Services Institute)

 

On July 15, the Russian daily Vedomosti published an article by a Russian military expert, Ruslan Pukhov, about Russian military planning objectives.[1] In his article, Pukhov explains that the concern exhibited by NATO members about the Baltic States’ security is misplaced, as Russia did not take any significant measure to bolster its military presence in the Kaliningrad region bordering on the Baltics. On the contrary, Russian forces were radically reduced in the area. 

Pukhov stressed that Russia avoids being drawn into a direct military rivalry with the West, but concentrates its forces around its main and fundamental security issue: Ukraine. Pukhov wrote that Russia is creating three strong army groups on its border with Ukraine, which are capable, if necessary, of launching a quick strike in the direction of Kiev. Therefore, Pukhov explained, current Russian military planning is divorced from any ‘threat from NATO’ or ‘threat to NATO’, but is geared towards creating a powerful force on the Ukrainian border, “which will allow the Kremlin to expand the range of possible [military] force options to the Ukrainian situation.” Continue reading

Enemy drone swarms are coming for American troops, Army warns

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Graphics depicting drone attacks from the Army’s new manual | (Army art/Courtesy War is Boring)

 

With easy access via online storefronts and similar sources, terrorists and rebels and even government forces from Iraq and Syria to Ukraine’s breakaway Donbass region have been increasingly using small drones. With little training, insurgents can use these tiny flying machines to spy on their opponents, direct artillery strikes, or even possible attack targets directly.

Now, the U.S. Army is warning troops to be on the lookout for these specific threats in a new manual.

In July, the ground combat branch released a new publication called Techniques for Combined Arms for Air Defense. The handbook includes sections specifically dealing with drones in “groups 1 and 2.” Continue reading

Great Power Realignment – To Russia?

  • As the Russians insist that the Assad government is the only legitimate government, all anti-Assad fighters — ISIS, al Qaeda-related, or U.S.-backed or Turkish-backed “moderates” — are, by definition, terrorists.
  • Russian — and in particular Syrian — tactics are appalling. Washington would rather not be associated with them, but has a horror of the vacuum that might emerge if Assad is swept aside. Mainly, the U.S. has hung its hat on the International Syria Support Group. The U.S. is muddled, as usual, without a clear goal, clear allies or fixed positions beyond support for a “political process.”
  • The U.S. is looking less and less relevant, as historic Great Powers do what they have historically done best — fight for their national interests as they define them. President Obama appears to be conceding the lead to Russia and Russian aims.

The shelling of Syrian soldiers by the Turkish military is one more step back into Great Power politics — historic Turkish-Russian enmity played out over Kurds and Syrians. The U.S. appears to believe 21st century wars cannot be won by military force and that battling parties can be induced to set aside their national and religious aims for a negotiated “peace.” Meanwhile, the parties to the conflict are using their armies to pursue victory.

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U.S. General: We Have ‘Hugged’ the Russian Bear for Too Long

U.S. commander in Europe calls for more forces and equipment to deter ‘a revanchist Russia’

The commander of U.S. forces in Europe says the United States has accommodated Russia for too long amid aggressive military actions by Moscow and a shrinking U.S. footprint in the region.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, who is also NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, said that the United States had “hugged the bear” in Europe—a reference to Russia—after the fall of the Soviet Union in an attempt to promote cooperation with Moscow, the Department of Defense’s news service reported on Tuesday. Breedlove recently met with U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the headquarters of U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany. Continue reading

The IMF Just Entered The Cold War, Forgives Ukraine’s Debt To Russia

Since 1947 when it really started operations, the World Bank has acted as a branch of the U.S. Defense Department, from its first major chairman John J. McCloy through Robert McNamara to Robert Zoellick and neocon Paul Wolfowitz. From the outset, it has promoted U.S. exports – especially farm exports – by steering Third World countries to produce plantation crops rather than feeding their own populations. (They are to import U.S. grain.) But it has felt obliged to wrap its U.S. export promotion and support for the dollar area in an ostensibly internationalist rhetoric, as if what’s good for the United States is good for the world. Continue reading

‘First Let Merkel, Hollande Know’: Lugansk Delivers Ultimatum to Poroshenko

If Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko intends to tighten the Donbass economic blockade, he should make such decisions in the presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, who brokered the Minsk-II deal together with Russian President Vladimir Putin, head of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic said.

On Friday, the Ukrainian parliament introduced a bill to ban trade with the so-called “temporarily occupied territories.” Continue reading

Steinmeier and the Oligarchs

KIEW/DNEPROPETROVSK/BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin is increasing pressure on Kiev that it enforces the cease-fire in eastern Ukraine. Observers consider the continuation of the civil war to be perilous. On the one hand, they see the risk of loosing even more territory to eastern Ukrainian insurgents, while on the other, it is unclear how the country’s total economic collapse can be avoided without ending the hostilities. Therefore, on the weekend, German Foreign Minister Steinmeier traveled not only to Kiev, but also to Dnepropetrovsk, the town of oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi. Even though Kolomoyskyi has recently stepped down as governor, he still wields significant influence over the – in some cases – fascist militias, which refuse a cease-fire. To put pressure on the fascists, who had helped execute the February 2014 Kiev coup, but are uncontrollable in the civil war, Berlin must make a deal with Ukrainian oligarchs. These same oligarchs had been the focus of the protests at the Maidan. Several times last year, Foreign Minister Steinmeier held personal consultations with powerful oligarchs – including President Poroshenko – or politicians directly dependent on them. The Ukrainian oligarchy has emerged unscathed from last year’s upheavals.

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Kiev prepares for Russian ‘full-scaled offensive’

Ukraine is mobilising troops and seeking European Union help in anticipation of a Russian military offensive in the east of the country, Kyiv Post and EUobserver report on 14 November.Kyiv Post writes that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and NATO have both observed weapons and soldiers crossing the border into the eastern Donbass region, in what the Ukrainian government calls “a violation of the 5 September Minsk ceasefire agreement”. In response, Ukraine has reportedly been

staffing and equipping the reserves [as well as signing] more than Hr 1 billion [€52m] worth of contracts for supply of weapons and military equipment in the past week alone.

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