German FM Welcomes Relaunch of NATO-Russia Council to Avoid Confrontation

September 2 – German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Friday he was satisfied with the relaunch of the NATO-Russia Council. He added that it is necessary to restart the dialogue on specific subjects, including negotiations on arms control. “I am happy that thanks to your help as well, the NATO-Russia Council is working again, at the ambassadorial level so far,” Steinmeier told reporters at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
“In order to be sure that we are not rolling back to confrontation,” the minister added. The NATO-Russia Council was created in 2002 as a consultative mechanism. NATO suspended all practical civilian and military cooperation with Russia after the Ukraine crisis broke out in April 2014. The first Russia-NATO Council meeting since the relations deterioration, held at the level of permanent envoys, took place on April 20 but failed to yield any significant results due to the sides’ disagreement on a number of geopolitical issues. One more meeting of the Council at the ambassadorial level was held in the Belgian capital of Brussels on July 13.

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I Can’t Stand the Rain! Top German Military Vehicle Scared of Getting Wet

Puma infantry fighting vehicle

 

The German infantry fighting vehicle Puma, which is considered to be one of the best-protected armored vehicles in the world, has turned out to be vulnerable to rainwater.

The Puma, the pride of the German armed forces designed to replace the aging Marder IFVs, apparently has a minor but potentially dangerous defect – it’s not watertight.According to Süddeutsche Zeitung, the vehicle’s top hatch – namely, the “two-man hatch in the rear troop compartment” – cannot be hermetically sealed, so in case of a heavy rainfall water can literally penetrate the IFV’s defenses.

Rheinmetall AG, which handles the manufacturing of Puma together with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, declared that “under real conditions of use it has been discovered that the roof hatch of the Puma infantry fighting vehicle requires improvement.”

Indeed, the company had to develop a new insulation device and started installing it on the defective vehicles begining this spring, claiming that the problem has been isolated and solved. However, it remains unclear exactly how this defect avoided detection during factory trials.

It should be noted that this defect was in fact discovered by the German Defense Ministry back during the second quarter of 2015, and a “singular case” of a non-hermetically sealed Puma’s hatch occurred in 2013, the newspaper points out.

However, the ministry didn’t bother to mention this defect in its latest report, claiming that it has a “relatively low impact on operational readiness.”

“It remains to be seen whether the mechanized infantry soldiers will share this sentiment when autumn and rainy weather come,” the newspaper remarks.

Germany Demands Inquiry Into MSF Hospital Bombing in Yemen by Riyadh

People look at a crater caused by a Saudi-led coalition air strike at the yard of a hospital operated by Medecins Sans Frontieres in the Abs district of Hajja province, Yemen

 

Germany expects an investigation to be launched into the recent bombing of a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in northern Yemen that killed 14 people, a Foreign Office spokeswoman said Wednesday.

MOSCOW   A Saudi airstrike on the MSF-run hospital was the fourth attack on its medical facility since the start of this year, the charity said. The bombing killed an MSF aid worker and 13 patients on Monday and wounded more than 20.

“We demand a prompt investigation into the incident,” the spokeswoman said, adding the German government believed there could be no military solution to the conflict between the government and Shiite opposition.

“The warring parties must hurry and get back to the negotiating process under the UN aegis and refrain from taking measures that can obstruct talks,” she concluded.A Saudi-led coalition of mainly Sunni Arab states has launched airstrikes in Yemen since March 2015 to counter advances by Houthi rebels, who have been fighting against UN-backed President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi for the past two years.

Berlin to Step Up Security of German Soldiers at Turkey’s Incirlik Base

A technician works on a German Tornado jet at the air base in Incirlik, Turkey, on January 21, 2016

 

Berlin has decided to take additional measures for protection of German soldiers deployed at Incirlik military base in Turkey after the attempted coup, German media reported on Tuesday.

      According to Deutsche Welle broadcaster, the decision came after the Turkish authorities said they could not guarantee security in the air space over the country’s south and would authorize only planes equipped with missile protection system to leave the military base.

Incirlik military base is used by the United States and shelters combat planes of the US-led coalition launching airstrikes in Syria and Iraq against the Daesh group outlawed in many countries, including Russia.

After a faction in Turkish armed forces attempted a coup on July 15, which was thwarted later in the day, Gen. Bekir Ercan Van, former commander of Incirlik airbase, was arrested due to alleged involvement in the plot.

Russia hands the baton to Germany in holding the World Military Parachuting Championship

Working session on holding the 41st World Military Parachuting Championship in Germany in 2017 has been held today in the “Patriot” park of the Russian Armed Forces.

In course of the session, the Committee made a number of decisions on holding future competitions and official invitations.

Competitions will be held on different landing sites of the parachute club near the Warendorf town in the mid July, 2017. The International Military Sports Council defined the Main Referee of the Championship.

Moscow Says Surprised at German Request to Report on Troop Movements

The emblem of the Russian Defense Ministry adorns the fence around the Defense Ministry's headquarters in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen’s insistence on Russia reporting about the movements and the number of its troops surprised the Russian Defense Ministry, because Moscow is informing its European partners about all snap drills and large-scale exercises for two years, according to the ministry’s spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

MOSCOW  The Russian Defense Ministry is surprised at German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen’s insistence on Russia reporting about the movements and the number of its troops, the ministry’s spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Sunday.German media reported earlier on Sunday that von der Leyen said NATO and Russia should publicly report on the movements and the number of its troops within the framework of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). She added that the initiative has long been promoted by NATO, stressing that the alliance is a defensive organization.

“The German defense minister’s statements have surprised us. She is possibly unaware that we have, at our initiative, been informing our European partners about all snap drills and large-scale exercises for two years, which is something we are not obliged to do under the Vienna Convention,” Konashenkov said.

The spokesman commented on the German defense minister’s remark on the defensive nature of NATO by recalling the alliance’s “dramatic” campaigns in Yugoslavia and Libya.”Will Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen be able to explain to the world how selflessly the alliance defended itself without sparing ammunition,” he said.

‘Big Mistake’: Germany Leads NATO Games Near Russia 75 Years After Nazis

US troops land with parachutes at the military compound near Torun, central Poland, on June 7, 2016, as part of the NATO Anaconda-16 military exercise.

 

The country’s ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder blasted the Merkel administration for the threatening provocation that risks sparking a new Cold War or worse.

On Saturday, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder called the build-up along the Russian border during the summer of hostilities a “serious mistake” only days after the country’s forces took the lead in NATO’s Anaconda-2016 war games on the 75th anniversary of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.

The Anaconda War Games, billed as a response to “Russian aggression” by the United States and Allied Forces involves over 30,000 NATO troops in Poland and follows several rounds of war games along Russia’s border in recent months. The provocative wargames also constitute the single largest movement of foreign troops within Poland’s borders since World War II.Last year, when American think-tanks first started to beat the drums of a new Cold War saying Russia may have designs on invading NATO countries, President Vladimir Putin attempted to dispel these concerns saying, “I think that only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO.”

The Obama administration appears to have indulged in the fantasy by increasing US defense appropriations along Russia’s border by fourfold to repel a prospective attack from Russian forces. More concerning, they have brought the rest of NATO’s membership along for the ride with Poland expected to call for permanent troops to be situated along their border and with a missile defense shield established in Romania and a new one under construction in Poland.

The former German Chancellor remains concerned to see that the beleaguered Merkel government, which recent polling shows carries less than a 25 percent approval rating, also fancies itself part of the new Cold War fantasy.”Overall, the EU needs Russia and Turkey in terms of security policy,” said Schroeder blasting the government for outlandishly taking part of it the massive military buildup along Russia’s border on the anniversary of the Nazi invasion.

The Russian government has responded by developing the Yu-74 ultra-maneuverable hypersonic glide vehicle which military analysts confirm has the capacity to penetrate any missile defense system and has also looked to beat back US and NATO threats from the Baltic region with a series of “buzzing” incidents — flying fighter jets next to American battleships.

The Kremlin remains steadfastly opposed to being baited into massively increasing defense appropriations to ward off a threat that should not exist and continues to responsibly explore international avenues of diplomacy against the American and German-led provocations.