America’s Cyber Vulnerabilities

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Cyber is the newest branch of warfare. Even in its baby stages, it has the potential to cripple the United States.

On the afternoon of Dec. 23, 2015, Ukrainian engineers from a Prykarpattya Oblenergo power station stared at a computer screen while the cursor progressed on its own across the monitor. The mouse on the table had not moved. But the cursor hovered over the station’s breakers, each one controlling power to thousands of Ukrainian citizens. Then, with one mouse click at a time, the hackers now in control of the power station began shutting off power to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians.

At the same time, Kyivoblenergo employees watched as dozens of substations shut down, one by one. In their case, there was no phantom mouse. A computer on their network that they could not locate was being used by someone to shut down the power—and there was nothing they could do. Continue reading

Russia’s Real Endgame

 

Russia’s Putin has never taken his eye off the ball. His ambition is not global hegemony or European conquest. Putin seeks what Russia has always sought: regional hegemony and a set of buffer states in eastern Europe and central Asia that can add to Russia’s strategic depth.

It is strategic depth — the capacity to suffer massive invasions and still survive due to an ability to retreat to a core position and stretch enemy supply lines — that enabled Russia to defeat both Napoleon and Hitler. Putin also wants the modicum of respect that would normally accompany that geostrategic goal.

Understanding Putin is not much more complicated than that. Continue reading

A President’s Policy

BERLIN (Own report) – Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President-elect of the Federal Republic of Germany is the epitome of the past two decades of Berlin’s expansionist policy – from the war over Kosovo to intervention in the Syrian war. As State Secretary in the Federal Chancellery, Steinmeier was implicated in the aggression against Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999, with which Germany, in violation of international law, entered its first war of aggression since 1945. As head of the Federal Chancellery, he had participated in the struggle to obtain access to Russia’s vast natural gas reserves. As Foreign Minister, he was massively striving to roll back Russia’s political influence by associating Ukraine with the EU, even condoning a coup – with fascist participation – in Kiev. Steinmeier’s activities had also been influenced by the so-called war on terror. In the Chancellery, he played a leading role in cooperation with the CIA’s torture program. In the fall of 2002, he helped to prevent an innocent native of Bremen from being released to Germany from the US Guantanamo torture camp. He was complicit in the interrogation of German suspects in Syrian and Lebanese torture chambers. Just recently, Steinmeier provided political support to a jihadist militia, classified a terror organization by the German judiciary. Continue reading

Russia threatens to shoot down missiles test-fired by Ukraine

Russia’s air defense network on the Ukrainian border was placed on its highest level of alert on Wednesday evening following Ukraine’s announcement that it will conduct missile tests on Thursday and Friday near Crimea, an area that Russia annexed in 2014. Kiev claimed that the missiles are to be launched towards the Black Sea, west of Crimea. Continue reading

EU and Russia on the brink of WAR as Kremlin official blames Brussels for ‘VISA GENOCIDE’

Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014

 

TENSIONS between the EU and Putin are at breaking point as a Kremlin official labelled the Brussels ban on issuing visas to Russians living in the Crimea as “visa genocide”.

Putin’s deputy foreign minister has slammed Eurocrats for making ordinary Russians hostages to a Western political agenda and claimed the move is a violation of human rights.

Aleksey Meshkov said: “Today, I raised the question about the visa genocide of Crimean residents, and I raised it in a very harsh way. 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

Russia Begins Massive War Games Involving Crimea and Russia’s Black Sea Fleet

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The exercise codenamed as Caucasus 2016 follows a period of heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine after the Kremlin accused Kiev of plotting terror attacks against Russians in Crimea.

On Monday, the Russian forces began a massive military exercise to test troops’ combat readiness and cooperation between different branches of the country’s armed forces. The exercise, involving over 12,500 servicemen including Navy, Airborne and Aerospace units was conducted in the south of Russia. Continue reading

Russian Troops Prepare Snap Military Drills on Ukrainian Border

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A couple of Russian Army helicopters fly over the Monument to Scuttled Ships, during a promotional campaign for contract service for Russian Army in Sevastopol, Crimea, Saturday, Dec. 20 / AP

 

Russian forces were placed on full combat alert Thursday as troops prepared to conduct snap military drills on the nation’s Western flank bordering Ukraine, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu confirmed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the exercises to examine the ability of southern troops “to deploy promptly self-sufficient forces to localize crisis situations,” the Wall Street Journal reported. The Defense Ministry will also test the preparedness of forces in the western and central regions to deliver support to the southeast. The drills will continue through Aug. 31. Continue reading

Crimea braced for ALL-OUT WAR: Region may spiral out of control as independence day looms

SECURITY experts have warned Crimea could descend into a bloody war within a week amid rising tensions that could escalate during celebrations to mark Ukraine’s independence day on August 24.

Russia and Ukraine have been urged to reduce tensions in the region as fears grow that Moscow and the West could become embroiled in a proxy war over the small Black Sea peninsula, which was annexed in 2014.

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Russia builds up forces in Crimea with int’l attention focused elsewhere

Russia’s FSB security service announced Wednesday that it had foiled a series of attacks by armed Ukranians in Crimea, and minutes later President Vladimir Putin accused Kiev of choosing the path of terror instead of peace. On the same day, far from the eyes of the media, Russia sent large military forces, including dozens of armored vehicles, armored personnel carriers and tanks, to the peninsula that it took over in 2014. Continue reading

Renowned Russian Intellectual Fyodor Lukyanov On Valdai Discussion Club Website: ‘The End Of The G8 Era: Russia Does Not Need Western Hierarchy’

On April 12, 2016, the website of the pro-Kremlin think tank Valdai Discussion Club published an article by Fyodor Lukyanov, academic director of the Valdai Discussion Club, chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, and editor-in-chief of the Russia in Global Affairs journal. In his article, titled “The End of the G8 Era: Russia Does Not Need Western Hierarchy,” Lukyanov argues that there is no reason to revive the G8 after Russia’s 2014 suspension from it following the Russian annexation of Crimea. Noting that “the G8 reflected a certain period of history when Russia really wanted to be integrated into the so-called Extended West,” he adds that since Russia’s suspension from the G8, it has become clear that Russia does not “fit into the Western community.” Continue reading

Crisis in Kiev

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) – A serious government crisis is shaking up a pro-western Ukraine. Yesterday, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk barely survived a no-confidence vote, after President Petro Poroshenko urged him to resign. Hundreds had assembled in front of the parliament building to protest against his policies, which are impoverishing large sectors of the population. Lately, people have been particularly upset over the hike in gas prices – making, for many, heating throughout the icy Ukrainian winter an expensive luxury. Berlin and Washington are worried that the country will no longer be controllable, due to the disastrous economic situation and the dramatic loss of popularity of the President and government. Western powers have therefore begun to call on Kiev to get serious about fighting corruption. Spectacular resignations of several ministers and the deputy general prosecutor have provided greater urgency to this demand and accentuated the government crisis over the past few months and the last few days, with no solution in sight. The formation of a “government of technocrats” under a longtime western diplomat is in discussion, in other words, Kiev would be placed directly under western control.

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Business with Obstacles

BERLIN/MOSCOW/KIEV (Own report) – Berlin is taking steps to possibly end sanctions against Russia. Today, almost one year after the signing of the Minsk II Agreement – whose full implementation is still considered as a prerequisite for ending the sanctions – the Bavarian Prime Minster, Horst Seehofer is expected to arrive in Moscow for talks on promoting the renewal of German-Russian business relations. Seehofer can build on decades of Bavarian-Russian cooperation. His visit to Moscow is closely coordinated with Germany’s federal government. The EU and NATO are also involved in Berlin’s cooperation efforts. Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel also increased pressure on Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko to finally obtain approval from Kiev’s parliament for the constitutional amendment providing Eastern Ukraine’s special status, as agreed upon in the Minsk II Agreement. Until now, nationalists and fascists have prevented this measure.

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Russia Spreads Propaganda in Crimea During Blackout

Moscow seeks to discredit west in news reports as it abuses the rights of minorities in Ukraine

Russia is said to be tightening its grip on news sources in Crimea during a power blackout on the peninsula, according to reports, as the Kremlin continues to wage information warfare in Eastern Europe and abroad.

Reuters reported that Crimeans, including a large percentage of Russian speakers and consumers of Russian TV networks, have blamed Ukraine rather than Moscow for the crisis. Earlier this year, Russia cut off the last independent Tatar TV station and expanded the reach of its own outlets. Those networks feature a heavy dose of anti-Ukrainian and anti-Western propaganda. Continue reading

The Siege of Crimea (II)

KIEV/MOSCOW/BERLIN (Own report) – Leaders of the Crimean Tartars, who have been blocking the supply of electricity to Crimea for the past few days, have good contacts to the German political establishment. Years ago, Mustafa Jemilev and Refat Chubarov, who were involved in the sabotage action, had held talks on closer ties between Crimea and the West with officials of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with the German government’s Representative for ethnic German immigration to Germany. Just two and a half weeks ago, they discussed with the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Federica Mogherini, the “de-occupation of Crimea” and the necessary “peaceful actions, in particular with respect to power supply.” The Crimean Tartars, who are currently cooperating with fascist organizations and ultra-rightwing battalions, have been elected to the Ukrainian parliament on the electoral list of President Petro Poroshenko’s party. According to an expert, Poroshenko is “instrumentalizing” them for “his foreign policy” objectives. Jemilev also has good contacts to the US political establishment. Among the Crimean Tartars, he and Chubarov, who in Berlin enjoy exclusive recognition, are competing with Tartar Salafists – some of whom are currently fighting on the battlefields of Syria – and with Russia-oriented Tartar organizations.

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