Britain’s Defense Ministry Red Faced Over Submarine Collision

Royal Navy submarine


The UK’s Ministry of Defense has finally admitted after five months that a British submarine collided with a fishing trawler on the south-east coast of Northern Ireland – not a Russian one.

Back in April 2015, newspaper headlines in Britain screamed with hysteria that a fishing boat had almost sunk to the bottom of the sea after a ‘collision with a Russian submarine’ in the Irish Sea.

It was claimed that a Russian submarine had crashed with fishing trawler, Karen, dragging it backwards after its nets became entangled with the submarine, according to a fisherman’s organization.

In a dramatic recount of the event, crew members said they scrambled to release the wires connected to the trawler which “had been moving slowly forward but was suddenly sent careering backwards through the water”.

The vessel returned to Ardglass where the scene was described as a “B***** mess” amid claims that “something like this would never happen involving a British submarine due to Royal Navy protocols”.

Ardglass fishing representative Dick James said at the time:

“You cannot always prevent it but if an accident like this did happen the (Royal Navy) protocols said that the submarine would immediately surface to check on the health and welfare of the people involved and this one did not.”

And the ill-mannered submarine didn’t go unnoticed in the local fishing community. Sinn Fein Northern Ireland Assembly member Chris Hazzard said the community was angry.

UK ‘Probably Will Be Driven to’ Arming Ukraine – Former Ambassador

UK may be compelled to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons, former ambassador says


Former UK ambassador to Russia Sir Andrew Wood says UK may be compelled to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons, if its continues to perceive a threat from Russia.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Leandra Bernstein – The United Kingdom (UK) may be compelled to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons, if its continues to perceive a threat from Russia, former UK ambassador to Russia Sir Andrew Wood told Sputnik.

“I think we [the UK] probably will be driven to that if Russia continues its rather aggressive policies in Ukraine,” Wood said on Tuesday of providing defensive weapons to Ukraine.

The UK, the United States and Canada have each provided the Ukrainian military with training, advisors and limited military hardware. The White House has so far been reluctant to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine, despite intense pressure from the US Congress.

Asked whether the UK would provide such weapons without the United States taking the first step, Wood stated the “the UK would consider doing anything, if the situation warranted.”

NATO allies have discussed providing weapons for Ukraine to defend itself against alleged Russian aggression.

Russian officials have denied military involvement in Ukraine, and have insisted that the conflict in Ukraine be resolved diplomatically.

Other NATO member states, including Germany and Italy, have opposed flooding Ukraine with weapons, arguing it would fuel the ongoing conflict.


Ukraine Receives More Obsolete Armored Vehicles From UK

A Ukrainian weapons system installed on a British Saxon military armored personnel carrier during a presentation of new samples of Ukrainian-made weapons for the Ukrainian Army at a military base in Novi Petrivtsi outside Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, April 4, 2015

A second batch of redundant Saxon APCs arrived in Ukraine earlier this week, a senior adviser to President Petro Poroshenko announced on Saturday.

“Well, 55 Saxons have reached Ukraine. 20 will be converted for use as frontline medical evacuation vehicles and the rest – as armored command vehicles,” Yuri Biryukov said in a Facebook post Saturday.

“The Saxons cost us around 51,000 pounds apiece. With proper use we could be getting a whole lot of them. They are better than the (Russian-made) UAZ-452, or UAZ-469, aren’t they?” Biryukov added.

In March General Sir Richard Dannatt, who served as Britain’s Chief of the General Staff between 2006 and 2009, said he believed the Saxon armored vehicles were “quite useless.”

“My concern is the inadequate nature of these vehicles which I ordered out of British Army front line service when I was Commander in Chief Land Command 2005-2006. They were withdrawn from Iraq and never deployed in southern Afghanistan,” Dannatt told The Daily Telegraph.

The UK no longer uses the Saxon — but they are still utilized by countries including Nigeria and Bahrain for moving troops around.

Ukraine accepted delivery of 20 Saxon armored vehicles from Britain in February to be weaponized and put into action by the army.

British inspectors to perform observation flight over Russia, Belarus

MOSCOW, June 8. /TASS/. British inspectors will perform an observation flight over the territory of Russia and Belarus, a senior Russian Defense Ministry official said Monday.

“On June 8-11, 2015, as part of implementation of the international Open Skies Treaty, a British mission plans to perform an inspection flight over the territory of a group of states members [of the Treaty] – Belarus and the Russian Federation on board a Swedish Saab-340 observation aircraft,” acting chief of the ministry’s National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center Ruslan Shishin told TASS.

During the flight, which will be performed along an agreed route, Russian specialists on board will control the use of surveillance equipment and observation of treaty provisions, Shishin said.

The Open Skies Treaty was signed in 1992 and has 34 member states. It entered into force in 2002. Surveillance flights are conducted over Russia, the United States, Canada and European countries.

The key tasks of the treaty are to develop transparency, monitor the fulfillment of armament control agreements, and expand capabilities to prevent crises in the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other international organizations.

Russian Inspectors to Fly Over United Kingdom Under Open Skies Treaty

Antonov An-30B

Russian inspectors will conduct an observation flight over the territory of the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, under the Treaty on Open Skies, acting head of the Defense Ministry’s National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center told journalists on Monday.

 The flight will carried out on June 1-6, 2015, using the Russian Antonov An-30B aircraft, Ruslan Shishin said.


“The observation flight is being carried out in order to promote greater openness and transparency in the military activities of the participating states in the Treaty, as well as to strengthen security through confidence building measures,” the official explained.

British specialists on board the Russian plane will be monitoring the use of equipment and Russian inspectors’ adherence to the Treaty on Open Skies.

This is the 16th observation flight that Russian experts are carrying out under the treaty this year.

The Treaty on Open Skies, signed on March 24, 1992, in Helsinki, established a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its 34 member-states, which include the majority of NATO countries, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Sweden and Finland.

Russia ratified the treaty on May 26, 2001.


Too Hot to Handle: UK Calls to Review Rifles That ‘Can’t Shoot Straight’

A soldier carries a German gun G36

Police chiefs in the UK have called for a review into an assault rifle used by anti-terror officers and some military forces after a report claimed that the German-made weapons did not shoot straight when hot.

A report commissioned by the German defense ministry investigating the effectiveness of the weapons revealed that the G36 rifles become very inaccurate when they overheat.

The report found that the rifles could miss targets after being exposed to hot conditions, high humidity or by being fired in rapid succession.

The leaked report, as seen by UK newspaper The Sunday Times, found that the rifles reportedly missed targets when temperatures got to 30C, while other reports in German media claimed that some shots from 500m missed their targets by as far as six metres.

Meanwhile, it was also reported that the G36 rifles became hot and unreliable after firing just 60 rounds of ammunition.

Germany Has ‘No Use’ For G36 Rifles


The issue of whether to use the rifles has also been debated recently in Germany, with German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen  — who commissioned the tests — saying that the G36 has “no future” in the German military.There are thought to be between 2,000 and 3,000 G36 rifles used by British counterterrorism forces, while Special Air Service (SAS) teams in Iraq have also used them during certain operations.

Police officials were unsure of the cost of the weapons used in the UK, however the German military has spent $195 million on 178,000 G36 rifles over the past two decades.

Despite the widespread use of the rifles, which are used in more than 50 countries, the leaked reports have led to calls to have the weapons re-tested in the UK, with police chiefs asking the Home Office to investigate the results in Germany.

National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for armed policing, DCC Simon Chesterman said that officers in the UK using G36 rifles and their ammunition had “not experienced any problems with accuracy” despite being put through a “stringent set” of tests by the Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST).

However, Mr Chesterman has called for a review into their use and safety, following the concerning reports in Germany.

“The reliability of any weaponry that the police service uses is of paramount importance. As a result we will refer the matter to CAST and ask them to consider the recent findings in Germany and advise us accordingly.”

Findings ‘Incorrect, Irrelevant And Possibly Illegal’

Following the criticism of the G36 rifles, manufacturer Heckler & Koch (H&K) have defended the weapons, saying the German defense force’s decision to fit the G36’s barrel with a tin covering lead to the overheating.

“H&K views any negative statements with regard to the accuracy [of the G36] as factually incorrect, irrelevant and possibly illegal.”

“Decades of use by the Bundeswehr validate that the G36 was — and continues to be — fully operational,” the statement read.

As part of a detailed response to the report, H&K officials also criticized the German army’s decision to purchase the G36 in favor of the MG36 — a more expensive, heavier rifle.


UK Rules Out Combat Troops in Ukraine Amid Warnings Against Mission Creep

British troops

Britain has ruled out deploying combat troops to Ukraine, a day after it said it was sending 75 military advisers and trainers to help the Ukrainian army, but was under pressure from many politicians against ‘mission creep’.

Speaking in the House of Commons, UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the training mission, which will begin in mid-March, was “closely defined” and was being undertaken at the request of the Ukrainian government.

He said: “We are not deploying combat troops to Ukraine and will not do so,” when asked whether the deployment of military personnel would provoke so-called “mission creep”.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed that the UK will send up to 75 military personnel to Ukraine within the next month to help train local Ukrainian forces.

“Over the course of the next month we are going to be deploying British service personnel to provide advice and a range of training, from tactical intelligence to logistics to medical care, which is something else they have asked for,” Cameron said.

“We will also be developing an infantry training programme with Ukraine to improve the durability of their forces. This will involve a number of British service personnel, they will be away from the area of conflict but I think this is the sort of thing we should be helping with,” he said.

Britain Does not Rule Out Further Equipment for Ukraine

Fallon said British personnel would conduct the training in Kiev and western Ukraine. But he admitted Britain was considering a Ukrainian request for equipment and supplies, but had no plans to provide “lethal” assistance to Kiev.

However, during a heated debate in Westminster, veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner said:

“Mission creep knows no boundaries. Vietnam started with just a little request. As sure as night follows day, Ukraine will realise the UK is a participant in the battle and ask for more. What’s he going to do then?”

Fallon said: “We are considering a further request for additional equipment and support. That is non-lethal, but we do reserve the right to keep that under review.”

Senior Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh, warned the Defence Secretary: “The trouble with sending advisers is that, as the Americans found in Vietnam, and as many other nations have found since, mission creep eventually results in the sending of combat troops. Given that Ukraine is an area the size of France, where whole German armies of tens of thousands of men were enveloped and destroyed in the Second World War, is there not a real danger of that?”

Fallon admitted that the UK had been advising the Ukraine government for some time on military tactics. “We already provide advice and support on how to tackle corruption inside the Ukrainian Government. We have done so over the past few months and, indeed, I think even before then.

“As for mission creep, may I make it absolutely clear that we are not deploying combat troops to Ukraine, and we will not do so. We are providing non-lethal assistance that has been requested by the Ukrainian Government to enhance the capability of their armed forces and to attempt to reduce the number of fatalities and casualties that they have suffered.”

Former Defence Secretary Liam Fox urged Fallon to offer the Ukrainian Government military hardware, saying: “They require equipment such as unmanned aerial vehicles for reconnaissance and targeting. They require anti-tank capability and encrypted communications.”

Fallon replied: “We are supplying defensive equipment. It might not be lethal, but it does help the Ukrainian armed forces better defend themselves. As I said in my initial statement, in addition to the secondment of 75 trainers we are considering a further request from the Ukrainian Government for additional equipment and support.”

Read more: