NATO Navy to Follow Russian Aircraft Carrier Group on Mediterranean Tour

 

 Pyotr Veliky heavy nuclear-powered cruiser

   NATO warships will escort a Russian aircraft carrier group on its tour to the Mediterranean Sea, a source in the alliance told RIA Novosti on condition of anonymity.

   BRUSSELS — The naval group of Russia’s only aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov set sail last Saturday for the eastern Mediterranean from the Northern Fleet’s home base of Severomorsk in northwestern Russia. Its expected passage through the English Channel put the Royal Navy on alert.

    “Russia has the right to operate in international waters. The NATO Navy plans to observe Russian ships on their way to the Mediterranean,” the source said.

    The Russian aircraft carrier is accompanied by the Pyotr Veliky battle cruiser, the Severomorsk and Vice-Admiral Kulakov anti-submarine destroyer, and support vessels. Their crews are expected to hold maritime drills to increase interoperability between the Navy and warplanes.

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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NATO Assured USSR of No Plans to Expand Eastward in Early 1990s – Ex-Soviet FM

A man with a flag of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Manezhnaya Square in Moscow.

 

The Soviet Union received in the early 1990s assurance from NATO that the alliance would not expand toward the USSR border, the last Soviet foreign minister, Boris Pankin, said.

STOCKHOLM   The Warsaw Pact on collective defense between the USSR and seven satellite states in Eastern and Central Europe was terminated in 1991, nine months before the collapse of the Soviet Union itself. The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance that also included the USSR and its Eastern and Central European allies, as well as some other communist states, ceased to exist also in 1991. The withdrawal of Soviet forces from Easter Europe was expected to be completed within two years by late 1990.

“The thing is that when all these steps were taken while [Mikhail] Gorbachev was in power — the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, and the dissolution of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, and the withdrawal of troops [from Eastern Europe in the late 1980s] — all of it was perceived positively, that’s how naive people were… And they assured that reciprocal steps were and would be taken. As for NATO, such promises were given to me as well,” Pankin said in an interview to RIA Novosti.

Pankin, who served as the USSR ambassador to Czechoslovakia in 1990-1991, said then German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher admitted to him once they felt “a great pressure from Eastern European new regimes,” that were members of neither the European Union nor NATO at the time. Genscher said there was great pressure, with Eastern European countries willing to join Western alliances, while Western states did not want them to join the blocs at the moment.According to Pankin, Genscher was one of the first of Western officials who shared with him thoughts on transforming NATO from a purely military bloc into a military-political alliance.

Moscow currently maintains that NATO’s eastward expansion undermines the European security architecture and threatens Russian national security.

Can’t Pay Your Bill? Join NATO! Ukrainian Military Launches New Ad Campaign

US and Ukrainian soldiers attend an opening ceremony of the joint Ukrainian-US military exercise 'Fearless Guardian' at the Yavoriv training ground

 

Kiev residents started receiving army recruitment ads along with their utility bills, with a twist.

The new utility bills that people living in the Ukrainian capital started receiving recently apparently also contain printed ads of a rather unusual sort.

The ads entice the recipients to enroll in Ukraine’s armed forces, but one part of the proposal particularly stands out, according to the Ukrainian news agency Vesti.

Military recruitment ad attached to an utility bill
Military recruitment ad attached to an utility bill

“There’s an opportunity to take part in a NATO peacekeeping contingent. Wages are 1000-1200 euros,” the ad says.

A source in Ukraine’s Defense Ministry Vesti that the number of able-bodied citizens willing to serve in the nation’s armed forces has decreased, prompting the military to resort to such unorthodox measures.

The ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine’s southeast made military service increasingly unpopular among the country’s youths who often go to great lengths to avoid conscription.In October 2015, the Office of Ukraine’s Attorney General announced that there were about 16,000 deserters from the ranks of the Ukrainian army, according to Lenta.ru.

Furthermore, in May 2016 Andriy Verba, head of the Ukrainian Army Medical Department, said that some of the conscripts recently pressed into service were in fact diagnosed with tuberculosis, hepatitis C and even HIV. He also added that the infected servicemen won’t be discharged and will remain at military facilities during treatment.

Moscow-Ankara Defense Cooperation Not Aimed Against NATO – Turkish FM

Six batteries of NATO-backed missile defense systems set up in southeastern Turkey to protect against aerial attacks from war-torn Syria

 

Turkey’s intent to boost defense industry cooperation with Russia should not be interpreted as a step against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday.

   Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the first reconciliatory meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday since the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey last fall, named defense industry as one of several sectors where Ankara intended to bring ties to pre-crisis levels.

“The decision to increase cooperation with Russia in the field of defense is not a move against NATO. There are NATO countries that cooperate with foreign states in the defense sector, including importing missiles,” Cavusoglu said in an interview with Turkey’s Anadolu news service.

He explained that Ankara’s move to seek defense cooperation outside the Western military bloc stemmed from its dissatisfaction from exclusive work with NATO member states to date.

Russian Defense Ministry receives no appeals from Bulgaria about violation of flight rules

 “We, and not only we, would like to have explanations from Mr. Minister how far away from Bulgaria’s air borders the imaginary zone of NATO airspace lies?” Major General Igor Konashenkov said

© Valerij Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, July 25 /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry has received no appeals from the Bulgarian Defense Ministry that Russian military planes allegedly violated flight rules in the Bulgarian zone of NATO airspace and is asking it for explanations, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said commenting remarks by Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev at the local NovaTV channel.

“We could not conceal our surprise when we heard Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev saying in his speech on Nova TV that last month had seen the growing number of violations by Russian military planes, which had their ADS-B transponders off, of the Bulgarian zone of responsibility of NATO airspace,” the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said.

“First of all, we, and not only we, would like to have explanations from Mr. Minister how far away from Bulgaria’s air borders the imaginary zone of NATO airspace lies? The planes of Russian Aerospace Forces make planned regular flights over the Black Sea. Their flight routes lie in strict compliance with international rules of using the airspace over neutral waters. Besides, all the planes, which have made the flights recently, including in June, had their ADS-B transponders on,” Konashenkov said.

Despite Nenchev’s words, the Russian Defense Ministry has not received any appeals or requests from the Bulgarian Defense Ministry.

“Therefore, prior to speaking into TV cameras about preventive reaction measures, which the Bulgarian Defense Ministry is taking, we would recommend Mr. Minister to check the reports of his subordinates about the real state of things first,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

In an interview with Nova TV given on Sunday, Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev claimed that Russian military planes had entered the Bulgarian zone of responsibility in the NATO airspace with their transponders off four times over the past week.

Bulgaria demanded explanations from Moscow calling the incident a provocation against Bulgaria and its armed forces. “We are taking preventive measures,” the Bulgarian defense minister stressed.

 

Moscow Denies Bulgaria’s Claims of Violating NATO Airspace by Russian Planes

Su-27

 

The Russian Defense Ministry dismissed Sophia’s claims of Russian planes allegedly violating NATO airspace over the Black Sea.

On Sunday, Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev said that Russian warplanes crossed into the so-called “Bulgarian zone of responsibility” with switched off transponders four times during the previous month. He demanded explanations from Moscow calling the alleged incidents “provocations of Bulgaria and its Air Force.” He added that Sophia was “taking preventive measures.”

“Russian military planes regularly carry out flights over the Black Sea strictly along the routes authorized by international rules  of the use of airspace over the neutral waters,” the ministry’s spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.

“Moreover, all flights, including those in June, have been conducted with switched-on transponders,” Konashenkov stressed.

The spokesman added that Russia had not received so far any requests from the Bulgarian side for explanation of alleged violations, contrary to claims by the Bulgarian minister.

Poland Unleashes MIG-29M Simulator as Tensions Between NATO-Russia Mount

Mig-29

 

The Polish air force reveled in the simulated experience of Moscow’s advanced 1,616MPH (2600kmh) MiG29-M fighter jet as Warsaw prepares for the mythical threat of Russian aggression.

The Polish air force reveled in the simulated experience of Moscow’s advanced 1,616MPH (2600kmh) MiG-29M fighter jet as Warsaw prepares for the mythical threat of Russian aggression.

The simulator has a digital visualization system with six projectors that provide 3D images on a spherical screen surrounding the simulator’s cabin. The high-tech simulated replica cost nearly $6 million is stationed at Poland’s 23rd Air Base in the town of Minsk Mazowiecki.

The system allows Polish pilots to work through dogfights, intercepts, and in-flight emergency procedure training. The system’s cabin is an exact replica of the cockpit of the MiG-29M with indicators, switches, and displays in a format compatible with the actual instrumentation of the fighter jet, explained Col. Marciej Trelka, the commander of the 23rd Air Base in Minsk Mazowiecki.

Pilots using the simulator will be able to train for all types of situations, says Col. Trelka including “dogfights, building captures and almost all emergencies that may occur during a real flight. This can be a fire, an engine failure or failed generator, and also pilot disorientation.”

Poland announced the acquisition of the simulator that is now operational two weeks agoand the system is now operational. Trainees are able to employ the full range of weaponry for the MiG-29M platform including the GSh-30-1 gun, R-27, R-73, and R-20 air-to-air missiles (AAMs), S-8 and S-24 unguided air-to-ground rockets, as well as OFAB-100-120, OFAB-250, and OFAB-500 unguided bombs.

The move to train Polish fighters with and for the MiG-29M comes in the wake of Poland demanding that NATO stage a permanent troop presence on its border with Russia – a demand that the defense alliance agreed to during the Warsaw Summit.

NATO has ramped up its provocations on Russia’s border in recent months culminating in the massive Anaconda War Games featuring over 30,000 forces and heavy equipment in an effort led by the German Army on the 75th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has long scoffed at the Cold War rhetoric of ‘Russian aggression’ or militarist fantasies that Moscow plans to invade NATO members.

“I think that only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO. I think some countries are simply taking advantage of people’s fears with regard to Russia,” explained Putin. “They just want to play the role of front-line countries that should receive some supplementary military, economic, financial or some other aid,”

That appears to be precisely the role that Poland is intent on playing and they have an awesome MiG-29M to show for it.

Germany Blocked Flying NATO’s Flag During E. Europe Military Drills

NATO country flags wave outside NATO headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday July 28, 2015

 

NATO has not flown its white-on-blue flag during the course of its massive Anaconda-2016 war games aimed at demonstrating European solidarity and unity in the face of a purported “Russian threat,” suggesting that there are deep divisions within the alliance over the portrayal of Moscow as an enemy.

The drills, with over 30,000 personnel from 24 nations participating, are the largest event of its kind since the end of the 20th-century Cold War. Following Kremlin observances that the maneuvers near Russian borders threaten regional security, the US called for a bigger military buildup.US Army Europe Commander Gen. Ben Hodges lamented that the war games were not big enough, saying that all the troops involved in the drills would not fill an average soccer stadium.

Another party that has consistently called for an aggressive military posture against Russia is Poland, according to Lisa Sawyer Samp, an analyst for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), speaking with Defense News. Warsaw pushed for NATO flags to be flown in exercises held on Polish soil, despite that the alliance did not “have a consensus” on the issue.

The recent CSIS report revealed that NATO members cannot agree on a line that separates “credible deterrence” from “escalatory provocation,” resulting in a “micromanagement of decisions,” with regard to Russia.

A group within NATO, consisting largely of Western European nations headed by Germany, opposes any military buildup against Russia. According to former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove, Berlin has consistently struggled to downplay the importance of the war games.

“There were those voices in the alliance that were worried about that signature being too big,” Breedlove revealed to Defense News. “The political leadership of the alliance chose to keep them separate, so as not to be too bellicose.”

Voices calling to downgrade tensions between NATO and Russia have more often been heard, recently.

At the July NATO summit, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, French President Francois Hollande and former German Air Force and armed forces chief of staff Gen. Harald Kujat, called for the restoration of relations with Russia, the executive editor of Intelligence Review, Jeff Steinberg, told Sputnik.

“Kujat told German media that Russia should be viewed as a friend and even an ally. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, he said, should have been invited to Warsaw,” Steinberg said.According to Sarah Wagenknecht of Germany’s Left Party, NATO should be replaced with a new collective security system that includes Russia.

“Russia should become a member of this new structure. In addition, the focus should be placed on the peaceful resolution of conflicts through dialogue and discussions, something that runs counter to the policy on Russia pursued by Western countries in recent years,” she told Sputnik.

Moscow lawmaker to NATO: Focus on Terrorism, not ‘Mythical Russian Threat’

Polish 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

 

In the wake of the Nice Terror attacks and the coup attempt in Turkey that almost fractured the defense alliance, NATO remains obsessed chasing the ghost of nonexistent Russian aggression.

The tragedy in Nice, France was yet another illustration about the perverse mission creep that NATO has suffered in its longstanding ambition to relive the Cold War and that its failure to focus its resources on a joint effort to tackle the specter of international terrorism has real-life consequences suggested first deputy chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s international affairs committee Vladimir Dzhabarov said on Friday.”Unfortunately, ironically, when a few days ago NATO spoke publicly of the so-called Russian threat and contemplated moving its troops closer to our borders, the terrorists showed at this moment that the NATO member-countries should fight international terrorism rather than Russia,” said Dzhabarov.

“This summit should have focused on efforts to combat terrorism rather than a mythical Russian threat,” the senator said commenting on Thursday’s Bastile Day tragedy,” he continued.

Instead of NATO focusing its strength towards tackling Daesh terrorism, the defense alliance has been preoccupied in its summer of provocation engaging in ever escalating war games culminating in the Anaconda exercises that featured over 30,000 troops led by the Germans along the Russian-Polish border on the 75th anniversary of the Nazi invasion during World War II.

Even Western politicians are starting to question the wisdom of NATO’s myopic Russia-centric defense strategy, among them US Republican nominee Donald Trump who argues that if “Russia wants to go get ISIS, let them go get ISIS” and who has suggested that Washington and Moscow put their heads together to combat Daesh terrorism rather than working at loggerheads in Syria.

Dzhabarov agrees with Trump’s proposal that the world’s leading military powers join forces to combat terror suggesting that Washington, Brussels, and Moscow “need to establish contacts between intelligence services and set up a terrorism data exchange to fight [Daesh] mercilessly.”

The Nice terror attacks were just the latest in a long-line of recent international horrors that US Secretary of State John Kerry has just started referring to as the “daily fare.” The attack took the lives of 84 people while several hundred others were injured when a Tunisian-born Daesh terrorist drove a 19-tonne truck through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day, commemorating the French Revolution, and open fired on others.