NATO

Turkey says Russian jet violated its airspace again, warns of consequences

Turkey warned of consequences on Saturday after saying a Russian SU-34 jet had violated its airspace despite warnings, once more stoking tensions between two countries involved in Syria’s war, but Russia denied that there had been any incursion. In a similar incident in November, Turkey shot down a Russian warplane flying a sortie over Syria that it said had violated its airspace, triggering a diplomatic rupture in which Russia imposed economic sanctions. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov denied that any Russian plane had entered Turkish airspace, and called the Turkish allegation “pure propaganda”. He said Turkish radar installations were not capable of identifying a particular aircraft or its type or nationality, and that no verbal warning had been issued in either English or Russian. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in its statement that the Russian ambassador had been summoned late on Friday, and that the violation was a clear sign that Russia wanted issues between the two countries to escalate. “We are making a clear call to the Russian Federation not to violate Turkish airspace, which is also NATO airspace,” the statement said. “We are emphasizing once again that the unwanted consequences of such irresponsible behavior will belong fully to the Russian Federation.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the violation had taken place, and urged Russia to “take all necessary measures” to ensure NATO airspace was not violated again. “Previous incidents have shown how dangerous such behavior is,” his statement said. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he wanted to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin after the incident. “I told our Foreign Ministry to convey my desire to meet Mr Putin personally. There has been no answer on this yet,” Erdogan told reporters at the airport before departing for a visit to Latin America. The downing of the Russian warplane in November left relations between the two countries in tatters. Russia responded with economic sanctions that have hit Turkish exports and tourism revenues.

Turkish Pres. Erdogan is fascist bully.  But, hey..  He’s one of our bullies.  And, he sure is a thorn in Vlad’s backside.  Not a lot of world leaders have the stones to do that; certainly not our wimp-in-chief.  So, the best thing we can do is let him have at it with Vlad…and just sit back and watch.    🙂

 

 

NATO formally invites Montenegro to join alliance

NATO member states have formally invited the tiny Adriatic nation of Montenegro to join the alliance in the face of Russian opposition. Alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced the invitation on Wednesday, the second day of a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers. The announcement sets in motion an accession process that will continue over months before Montenegro formally becomes the 29th member of the alliance — its first expansion since fellow Balkan countries Albania and Croatia were admitted in 2009. Russia has repeated its opposition to the accession of Montenegro, a favored getaway spot and investment site for some Russians.

This is actually pretty insignificant..  But, it’s s stick in Vlad’s eye. So, that makes it worth it.  🙂

US military leaders propose sending more forces to Europe to deter Russia

U.S. military officials have proposed sending more troops to Europe to deter the threat of aggression by Russia and have stepped training exercises aimed at countering possible interference with troop transfers by Moscow. The Wall Street Journal reports that proposals for the deployment of multiple U.S. brigades in Europe were made over the weekend at the Reagan National Defense Forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. The U.S. Army currently has two infantry brigades based in Eastern Europe, totaling approximately 7,000 soldiers. One other brigade rotates in and out of Europe on a regular basis. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told the Journal that he would like to send attack helicopter units and artillery brigades to Europe as well as more rotating brigades. Gen Philip Breedlove, the supreme allied commander of NATO, told the Journal that decisions on the proposals would be made “in the next couple of months.” Any plans for a troop increase must be developed by the Pentagon, approved by President Obama and funded by Congress. The paper reported that funding for the troop increase would be included in a budget request sent to Congress early next year. Word of the proposed troop increase comes a day after Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned against Russian aggression in some of his strongest remarks since becoming Pentagon chief this past February. He described Russian forces’ “challenging activities” at sea, in the air, in space and in cyberspace. Carter also said Moscow was “violating sovereignty in Ukraine and Georgia and actively trying to intimidate the Baltic states.” “We do not seek a cold, let alone a hot, war with Russia,” Carter said. “We do not seek to make Russia an enemy. But make no mistake; the United States will defend our interests, our allies, the principled international order, and the positive future it affords us all.” Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia is challenging the U.S. in many arenas, including the Arctic, where last year Moscow said it was reopening 10 former Soviet-era military bases along the Arctic seaboard that were closed after the Cold War ended in 1991. Russia also is flying more long-range air patrols off U.S. shores and increasing submarine patrols and exercises. However, The Journal reported that the White House had asked some military officials in recent weeks to temper some of their comments about Russia. The Obama administration has criticized Russia over its actions in Eastern Europe, but it has also spoken of the importance of involving Moscow in talks on the future of Syria in an effort to resolve that country’s civil war. “I fear that as we are dealing with Russia in Syria, the eyes are off [Ukraine],” Gen. Breedlove told The Journal in an interview published late Sunday. “Why would we want our first negotiations on how we cooperate to be in Syria and then possibly allow the eyes of the world to accept what happened in Crimea?” Russian officials have previously said that Moscow does not consider rotational forces to be different from a permanent buildup of troops. Meanwhile, the Journal reports that NATO leaders next month are likely to discuss increasing the number of troops stationed in member states bordering Russia and putting them under formal command of the alliance. “The challenge here is to deter further aggression without triggering that which you are trying to deter,” Gen. Milley told the Journal. “It is a very difficult proposition.”

Indeed.. BUT, that’s why we need to make an overwhelming show of force on several fronts..to let Vlad and his cronies know we will NOT be intimidated by his bullying tactics.

U.S. pulling Patriot missiles from Turkey

The U.S. military is pulling its Patriot missiles from Turkey this fall, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara announced Sunday. The Patriot missiles “will be redeployed to the United States for critical modernization upgrades,” according to a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Turkey. “This decision follows a U.S. review of global missile defense posture.” “The U.S. and NATO commitments to the defense of Allies – including Turkey – are steadfast,” the statement said. The U.S. military has deployed Patriot missiles along the Turkey-Syria border since 2013 along with a ground force of 300 U.S. Army soldiers to operate them, protecting Turkey from potential Syrian missiles. The decision to pull the missiles has been “long planned” and is not a response to Turkey’s unannounced massive airstrike against a Kurdish separatist group in northern Iraq on July 24, a State Dept. official said. The strike endangered U.S. Special Forces on the ground training Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, angering U.S. military officials. The U.S. military was taken completely by surprise by the Turkish airstrike, which involved 26 jets. Patriot missiles have been upgraded in recent years to shoot down ballistic missiles, in addition to boasting an ability to bring down enemy aircraft. The U.S. military has deployed these missiles along Turkey’s border with Syria. When a Kurdish journalist asked the Army’s outgoing top officer, Gen. Raymond Odierno, about the incident over northern Iraq at his final press conference Wednesday, Odierno replied: “We’ve had conversations about this to make sure it doesn’t happen.” The Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, has been listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. It is influenced by Marxist ideology and has been responsible for recent attacks in Turkey, killing Turkish police and military personnel. A separate left-wing radical group was responsible for attacking the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul last week. State Department and Pentagon officials have said in recent days that Turkey has a right to defend itself against the PKK. A senior military source told Fox News that Turkey is worried about recent gains by Syrian Kurds, some affiliated with the PKK. But the group is seen as an effective ground force against ISIS, helping pinpoint ISIS targets for U.S. warplanes. The Turks, however, worry Syrian Kurds will take over most of the 560-mile border it shares with Syria. Currently, ISIS controls a 68-mile strip along the Turkey-Syria border, but Turkey does not want Kurdish fighters involved in the fight to push out ISIS from this portion of the border because it would enable the Kurds to control a large swath of land stretching from northern Iraq to the Mediterranean. Right now Syrian Kurds occupy both sides of the contested 68-mile border controlled by ISIS. Of the 30 million Kurds living in the Middle East, 14 million reside in Turkey. They are one of the world’s largest ethnic groups without its own country. Despite Turkey being listed among the 62-nation anti-ISIS coalition, it has yet to be named as a country striking ISIS in the coalition’s daily airstrike report. A week ago, after months of negotiations, the U.S. Air Force moved six F-16 fighter jets to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey from their base in Italy and several KC-135 refueling planes. Airstrikes against ISIS in Syria soon followed. The decision to allow manned U.S. military aircraft inside Turkey came days after an ISIS suicide bomber killed dozens of Turkish citizens. Part of Turkey’s reluctance to do more against ISIS is because Turkey wants the U.S. military to take on the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. But that is not U.S. policy. “We are not at war with the Assad regime,” Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said recently. The animosity between Turkey and Syria goes back decades. In 1939, Turkey annexed its southern most province, Hatay, from Assad family land. Syria has never recognized the move and the two countries have been at odds ever since. “If needed, we are prepared to return Patriot assets and personnel to Turkey within one week,” a defense official said.

Some very interesting developments here.. Keep an eye on this one.

Secretary Carter says US will provide weapons, aircraft, forces for NATO

The U.S. will contribute weapons, aircraft and forces, including commandos, for NATO’s rapid reaction force, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday, to help Europe defend against security threats, including Russia from the east and violent extremists from the south. Under the plan, the U.S. will contribute intelligence and surveillance capabilities, special operations forces, logistics, transport aircraft, and a range of weapons support that could include bombers, fighters and ship-based missiles. It would not provide a large ground force. Carter announced the new details about the U.S. contribution after meeting with defense ministers from Germany, Norway and the Netherlands. Those countries had agreed to provide the initial troops for the so-called very high readiness task force, which was announced last year at the NATO summit in Wales. The U.S. had pledged to support the task force, but NATO has been waiting to hear specifically what America was willing to provide. U.S. officials said there have been no final decisions on the number of troops that could participate, or where they could come from. The officials said many of the forces could come from those already stationed in Europe. But the plan could result in a temporary increase in US forces in Europe in the event of a crisis, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss details of the agreement publicly. No U.S. troops or equipment will move immediately, but instead they would be made available if requested, and approved by American leaders, in response to a crisis. Officials said the top U.S. commander in Europe, currently Gen. Phil Breedlove, would make the request for any troops or equipment needed. Carter said the U.S. is contributing aid “because the United States is deeply committed to the defense of Europe, as we have been for decades.” His remarks in Munster came shortly after he delivered a speech in Berlin, calling for Germany and other NATO allies to stand together in the face of Russian aggression and other security threats in the region. But Carter insisted that no one is looking for another Cold War or new hot conflict with Moscow. Speaking not far from Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate, Carter pointed to the progress that Europe has made since the end of the Cold War, and said Russia must not be allowed to turn back the clock. “We do not seek a cold, let alone a hot war with Russia,” Carter said at Atlantik Brucke, a Berlin think tank that focuses on the German-U.S. relationship. “We do not seek to make Russia an enemy. But make no mistake: we will defend our allies, the rules-based international order, and the positive future it affords us. We will stand up to Russia’s actions and their attempts to re-establish a Soviet-era sphere of influence.” Carter’s stop in Berlin is the first of several in Europe, where a key theme is how the United States, NATO and other partners can best deal with the Kremlin in the wake of Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and its military backing of separatists battling Ukraine’s government on the eastern border. Part of the calculous, Carter said, will be a new playbook for NATO that deals with Russia’s aggression while also recognizing its important role in the nuclear talks with Iran and the fight against Islamic State militants. He said that as Russia modernizes its military, it also is trying to undermine NATO and threatening to erode economic and security stability with its recent nuclear sabre-rattling. He also continued to urge Germany and others to adhere to promises made at the NATO summit in Wales last year and increase defense spending. He warned against a tendency for countries to turn inward. Carter will next travel to Estonia, in Russia’s backyard, and Brussels, where he will attend a meeting of defense ministers.

Russia warns Sweden it will face military action if it joins NATO

Russia would take military “countermeasures” if Sweden were to join NATO, according to the Russian ambassodor. In an interview with Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Viktor Tatarinstev warned against joining the NATO alliance, saying there would be “consequences”. Decrying what he called an “aggressive propaganda campaign” by the media, Tatarinstev stressed that “Sweden is not a target for our armed troops”. But with a recent surge of Swedish support for joining NATO, the ambassador said: “If it happens, there will be counter measures. “Putin pointed out that there will be consequences, that Russia will have to resort to a response of the military kind and re-orientate our troops and missiles. “The country that joins NATO needs to be aware of the risks it is exposing itself to.” Despite the swing in public opinion – 31 per cent of Swedes wants to join NATO, up from 17 per cent in 2012 – Russia is confident that the country will not opt to join the Western military organisation. He said: “I don’t think it will become relevant in the near future.” Tatarinstev blamed souring Swedish-Russian relations on a media campaign in which “Russia is often described as an attacker who only thinks of conducting wars and threatening others”. Last year a series of reports indicated increased Russian military presence in the Baltic sea, with fighter-bombers spotted in Swedish airspace and a foreign submarine seen in Swedish waters. Foreign Minister Carl Bildt referred to the former as “the most serious aerial incursion by the Russians” in almost a decade. And Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist has since announced Sweden will be upgrading its navy fleet so it can better detect submarine activity.

Good!  At least Sweden gets it!  Too bad our limp-wristed, metro-sexual, man-child of a President doesn’t.  Hopefully Sweden will not be deterred by Vlad’s threats and bullying tactics, and elect to join NATO.

Russian aggression prompts Baltic nations to seek NATO force

Reflecting growing nervousness about recent aggressive moves from Russia, NATO’s three Baltic members — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — said Thursday that they will ask the alliance to permanently deploy thousands of ground troops to their nations, prompting a quick and sharp condemnation from Moscow. NATO officials, gathering for a regular ministerial meeting in Turkey, said they were aware of the request and are open to considering it, but that it is too early to say how the alliance will respond. But Russia bristled at the news, which comes as Moscow and its western neighbors trade charges of interference and provocative acts fueled by the ongoing clash in Ukraine. Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s ambassador to the EU, said the Baltic request was being driven by “local politics” that have blown security concerns out of proportion in the three nations — each of which was part of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. “Nobody is threatening the Baltics — at least, nobody that I know of,” Mr. Chizhov told reporters in Brussels. The U.S. did not respond directly to the request, but President Obama has already authorized a small contingency of U.S. troops to be stationed in each of the Baltic states. And U.S. troops and equipment are currently among some 13,000 NATO forces engaged in a major land exercise in Estonia, widely seen as a sign of support and a cautionary message to Russia. In March the White House authorized the U.S. Army to drive a convoy of some 120 vehicles through the Baltic nations, a military muscle-flexing called “Operation Dragoon Ride” — a historical echo of a similarly named mission that saw Allied forces invade southern France during World War II.

NATO military exercises aim to send message of resolve to Russia

NATO countries are staging massive air, land and sea exercises across Russia’s northern borders this month in response to warnings from the Kremlin and strategic analysts that President Vladimir Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons are more than bluster. The exercises in Estonia, Lithuania and Norway involve more than 21,000 troops and state-of-the-art military hardware. Coupled with U.S. training of Ukrainian forces and the recent activation of a 3,000-strong rapid-reaction force to defend Eastern Europe, they appear intended to send a message to Moscow that the alliance is ready to defend its new members in Russia’s backyard. Troops, trainers and readiness testers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have been bolstering defenses along what Eastern Europeans call the new Iron Curtain. Although it still divides East from West, this time there are former Soviet subjects on the western side of the ideological border. NATO’s widening presence along Russia’s frontiers is a reaction to Putin’s aggressive actions against Ukraine over the last year, which have rattled nerves throughout the arc of states that still has painful memories of postwar Soviet domination. On Monday, Estonia launched the biggest ground maneuvers in its history, Operation Hedgehog, drawing 13,500 troops from across the 28-nation alliance. In Lithuania, Operation Lightning Strike deployed more than 3,000 soldiers and police officers on a mission to test the effectiveness of military-civilian collaboration. The goal: to defeat the kind of stealth invasion and proxy war that Ukraine has been fighting for more than a year against pro-Russia separatists whom the Kremlin denies arming and instigating. Submarines and an additional 5,000 sailors from the United States, Germany, Norway and non-NATO member Sweden have been engaged in antisubmarine maneuvers in the North Sea that have also drawn in surface vessels and aircraft from across the Western alliance. NATO’s saber-rattling hasn’t exceeded the scale of Russia’s recent war games, which have included a March show of force in the Barents Sea involving 30,000 soldiers and sailors and hundreds of warships and aircraft. But NATO’s sweeping operations and displays of firepower have bolstered Putin’s claims to be the target of a U.S.-inspired plot to conscript Moscow’s former allies in isolating Russia to leave it vulnerable to Western-executed “regime change.” Putin has been making pointed reminders to his Western foes that Russia is nuclear-armed and ready to defend itself by any means necessary. In a docudrama produced for the March 18 anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, Putin said he contemplated the use of nuclear weapons in what the film cast as a white-knuckled confrontation with NATO over its purported luring of Ukraine away from its traditional alliance with Moscow. Veteran military and political analysts say the threats to go nuclear shouldn’t be brushed off as idle. Russia’s conventional armaments, for all their ability to roll over antiquated armies in Georgia and Ukraine, are woefully inadequate for any fight against NATO, said Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent defense analyst whose contacts within the military hierarchy date to the Soviet era. Putin executed a “strategic turn” in 2007 when he announced a massive rearmament program for the current decade, costing more than $500 billion in today’s dollars and much of it focused on modernizing the nuclear arsenal, Felgenhauer said. “Russia has already shown it is prepared to use the military to force its will on neighbor countries to secure its sphere of influence,” said Felgenhauer. “Russia’s leaders know they can’t respond to the United States with a conventional attack so they have to resort to brinkmanship,” with warnings that any provocation could be answered with a nuclear strike, he said. An atmosphere of imminent danger has been whipped up in Russia, Felgenhauer said, by reports spread from the hawks in Putin’s inner circle that U.S.-funded missile shields planned for NATO allies Poland and Romania are intended to put Putin’s residences in St. Petersburg and Sochi within range of Western rockets. “Events have been overtaken. We are now in a prewar situation,” the analyst said of the sentiment prevailing among ordinary Russians.

It’s about time!! We’ve been calling on the Obama Administration for over ten months to participate in such NATO exericises in eastern Europe. Specifically, we’ve been calling for exactly this; conducting MAJOR military exercises in countries that border Russia…with a STRONG showing of U.S. military personnel; not just a few hundred token troops here and there. With mother Russia being very bold and brazen in its muscle flexing, it’s WAY past time we responded in kind, and showed Vlad, and his band of thugs, that we are NOT intimidated…and that we stand with our allies, like Poland, in eastern Europe.

UK scrambles jets as Russian planes and ships spotted

British fighter jets were scrambled on Wednesday in response to the sighting of two Russian military aircraft near UK airspace, hours after three Russian ships were monitored as they entered the English Channel. “Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighter aircraft were launched today after Russian aircraft were identified flying close to UK airspace,” said a Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman. The planes were launched from the Lossiemouth military airbase in northern Scotland. Britain’s Royal Navy earlier kept track of three Russian ships, including a destroyer, after they entered the English Channel, according to the defence ministry. It is the latest in a string of similar incidents and comes at a time of tense relations between London and Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine and the inquiry into the death of Russian ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko.

Seems as if Russia is continuing to test the boundaries, and patience, of our NATO allies. Not good! If one of these Russian jets should actually enter UK airspace, then the UK should blow it/them out of the sky. It is time to stop this dance, and put our foot down with respect to Moscow’s global bullying. Japan should absolutely do the same thing, and we should stand WITH them if they take that sort of action. In the meantime, here at The Daily Buzz, we’ve been calling on the Obama Administration to take some very specific proactive military steps to thwart Russia’s aggression. We’ve outlined these measures on many occasions over the last 10+ months. They include, but are not limited to: 1) Rebuiding the missile defense shield in Poland that Obama so foolishly had dismantled in order to appease Vlad. And, look how good that worked for us. Rebuilding that would send a message to Poland that we stand with them. Currently they feel a little abandoned. It’s time repair that relationship. That would also send a clear message to Vlad, and his fellow thugs, that we stand WITH Poland. 2) Parking an entire U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group (CSG), not just some random destroyer, in the Baltic. Parking a major U.S. military power projection platform in mother Russia’s backyard like that would send a crystal clear message to Moscow; that we can protect our eastern European allies in the region and can react VERY quickly to ANY military threat in that region. Those are just a couple of the many military proactive measures we’ve been advocating here at The Daily Buzz for almost year. It’s time for the Obama Administration to step things up. Russia, so far, hasn’t been impressed.

NATO Fighter Jets Intercept Russian Aircraft Over Baltic Sea

The Swedish Air Force and NATO jets on Tuesday tracked four Russian combat aircraft flying with their transponders turned off over the Baltic Sea, officials said. The Russian planes – two long-range, nuclear-capable Tu-22M3 bombers and two Sukhoi Su-27 fighters – were flying in international airspace, according to Sweden’s Armed Forces and alliance sources. NATO said it scrambled Danish jets and Italian jets based in Lithuania early Tuesday to identify the Russian aircraft which it said were heading to the Russian Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad. “The Russian military aircraft did not use their onboard transponder; they were not in contact with civilian Air Traffic Control and they were not on a pre-filed flight plan,” a NATO military officer said on condition he not be identified by name in keeping with alliance practice. Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said it was “unacceptable” for the Russian planes to be flying with shut-off transponders that are necessary for identifying aircraft on radar, calling it violation of international aviation rules. “This has happened now on a number of occasions and in a very challenging way,” Wallstrom told reporters in Stockholm. “We are tired of always having to protest against this kind of … breach of rules.” NATO and Sweden, which is not a member of the alliance, have reported an increase in Russian air maneuvers over the Baltic Sea in recent years.

This is only gonna continue to get worse until we take a stand..  With that in mind, we’ve been calling on the Obama Administration to get off its butt, admit his and Hillary’s so-called “reset” has been a total failure, and park an entire U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group (CSG) in the Baltic, not just some random destroyer.  Then, the next time these Russian aviators pull a stunt like that, we’ll have the necessary resources right there to deal with it.  And, having a major military power projection platform right in Russia’s backyard would send a VERY clear message to Moscow; that we’re not gonna be bullied by Moscow’s aggression.