Category Archives: Military

Shoigu at 60: The Man Who Would Be Russia’s King?

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – May 22, 2015) Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, a close ally, friend and rumored potential successor of President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin, turned 60 on Thursday. “A servant to the tsar, a father to soldiers,” political pundits say of Shoigu – one of the country’s longest-serving government officials – citing Mikhail […]

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Moscow Admits Two Fighters Captured in Ukraine Are Ex-Russian Soldiers

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – May 19, 2015) Russia’s Defense Ministry has identified two fighters captured in Ukraine as former servicemen in the Russian military – a concession that echoes rights advocates’ claims that Moscow has been discharging its soldiers from the army before sending them to fight alongside separatists in the Donbass. The fighters, Alexander Alexandrov […]

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Lose The Territory, Win The War

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – May 19, 2015) For more than year, there’s been a war in eastern Ukraine that nobody called a war. And for the past three months, there’s been a cease-fire there that wasn’t a cease-fire. And now that the agreement reached in Minsk in February that was supposed to end hostilities in the Donbas […]

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Russian Defence Ministry denies serving troops captured in Ukraine

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Interfax – May 18, 2015) The Russian Defence Ministry has rejected Ukrainian allegations that two men who were reportedly captured during fighting in eastern Ukraine are serving members of the Russian armed forces, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 18 May. Ministry spokesman Maj-Gen Igor Konashenkov admitted that the two men, who were detained by the Security Service of […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: Waging Peace. Churchill requested plans for a British-American attack on Russia code-named “Operation Unthinkable.”

Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin and Crowd of Military Officers

The leaders of the Allied powers met three times during World War II, at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam. The last conference stretched over 17 days in July and August 1945, longer than the first two put together. Harry Truman had replaced Franklin Roosevelt, and Winston Chur  

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McCain Nixes Pentagon Plan to Use More Russian Rocket Engines

John McCain at hearing; adapted from defense.gov image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 15, 2015) The United States will not allow domestic space companies to use more Russian rocket engines despite requests from the Pentagon, news agency Reuters reported, citing a letter written by U.S. Senator and Chairman of the Armed Services Committee John McCain. In a response to a letter from U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter […]

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NEWSLINK The Daily Signal: In New Role, US Army Prepares Ukrainians for Different Type of War

U.S. Military Convoy Headed to Ukraine, On Highway Near Mountains or Cliffs

The sounds of gunfire and explosions are constant on the firing range at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center outside this western Ukrainian town. At one spot, behind an earthen bunker, U.S. Army paratroopers are qualifying Ukrainian National Guard soldiers in Soviet-era shoulder-fired rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). Further down the line, Ukrainian soldiers shoot at targets using different types of Kalashnikov […]

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Nemtsov Report Says More Than 200 Russian Soldiers Killed In Ukraine War

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – May 12, 2015) [Report here https://openrussia.org/] More than 200 Russian military personnel have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine, according to a report based on research begun by slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. The estimated death toll is one of the main findings of the much-anticipated report on Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict, which […]

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Putin’s Tanks Draw Cheers in Russian City Jammed Between NATO Nations

Kaliningrad Map, adapted and cropped from army.mil image with credit to Jim Kistler, USAWC

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – May 11, 2015) Tanks and ballistic missiles lumbered past thousands of spectators gathered in Kaliningrad on Saturday to mark the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe, an historic triumph for Russia that the Kremlin has used to whip up a new nationalist fervor. “We need to show our enemies, who deem […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Russian soldiers quit over Ukraine

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Some Russian soldiers are quitting the army because of the conflict in Ukraine, several soldiers and human rights activists have told Reuters. Their accounts call into question the Kremlin’s continued assertions that no Russian soldiers have been sent to Ukraine, and that any Russians fighting alongside rebels there are volunteers.

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NEWSLINK The Daily Signal: Two Weeks to Make a Soldier: A Ukrainian National Guard Unit Trains to ‘Fight to the Death’

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

At its training camp on the outskirts of Kyiv this past weekend, the Ukrainian National Guard Azov Regiment held its Spartan Test—a grueling three-hour rite of passage meant to test the mental and physical strength of both new recruits and battle-hardened veterans.

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NEWSLINK IHS Jane’s 360: SACEUR, analysts see Russia renewing invasion of Ukraine in next two months

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

A consensus is building among NATO officials and military analysts of the situation in Eastern Ukraine that Russia will renew its invasion of the region in the next two months. However, there is also general agreement that the attack would take only after the 9 May Victory Day celebrations in Moscow, which President Vladimir Putin regards as reaffirming Russia’s continued […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Battle Tested, Ukraine Troops Now Get U.S. Basic Training

U.S. Military Convoy Headed to Ukraine, On Highway Near Mountains or Cliffs

The exercise, one of the most fundamental in the military handbook, came off without a hitch. A soldier carrying a length of rope and a grappling hook ran to within 20 feet or so of a coil of concertina wire and stopped.

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Building a fragile EM coalition

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – May 11, 2015) The May 9 victory parade on Red Square was a show of strength by Russia, which is locked in conflict with Ukraine and the West. But it was also a show of solidarity by some emerging markets that have sided, to a greater or lesser degree and with […]

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Interfax: Ukrainian army shells DPR territory – militia

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

DONETSK. May 8 (Interfax) – The Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic has registered 44 instances of shelling by Ukrainian government forces in the region in the past 24 hours, the Donetsk news agency reported. “Over the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian side has shelled the territory of the DPR 44 times. The adversary continues to use heavy […]

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The Indelible Mark of World War II on Modern Russia

Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin and Crowd of Military Officers

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – May 7, 2015) Victory Day hits a raw nerve among Russians, likely owing to the fact that the vast majority of Russian families have been acutely impacted by World War II. President Vladimir Putin recently tapped into this widespread sentimentality with a rare act: he penned a family history, published in this […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: A Parade Hailing Russia’s WWII Dead and Marching Further From the West

File Photo of Parade in Red Square from 2005

The New York Times covers Russia’s celebration of Victory Day amidst current international tensions. … Putin has recast what he calls the country’s most important holiday to celebrate the might of the Russian state, the days are over when … Western leaders joined Mr. Putin on the bleachers …. The nationalistic fervor surrounding the parade and the tensions over Ukraine mean that the […]

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Russian ombudsman checks reports of servicemen being coerced to fight in Ukraine

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Interfax – Moscow, May 6, 2015) Russian Human Rights Ombudsman Ella Pamfilova has not confirmed reports of Russian servicemen’s presence on the territory of Ukraine. “Inquiries concerning each of the incidents mentioned in the press had been sent to military prosecutors of military districts and directly to the chief military prosecutor. It follows from the official replies received by the […]

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Order of Battle

File Photo of Parade in Red Square from 2005

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – April 30 2015) Russia will commemorate the end of World War II on May 9 with its traditional military parade through Red Square. But this year the parade will be more closely watched than normal, as it will also be a chance for Russian President Vladimir Putin […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Russia may be readying for new Ukraine offensive – NATO commander

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Russia’s military may be taking advantage of a recent lull in fighting in eastern Ukraine to lay the groundwork for a new military offensive, NATO’s top commander told the U.S. Congress on Thursday. U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, the NATO supreme allied commander, said Russian forces had been seeking to “reset and reposition” while protecting battlefield gains, despite a […]

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NEWSLINK Foreign Affairs: Paper Tiger Putin; The Failure of Russia’s Anachronistic Antagonism

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not as strong as he might seem, or, more important, as he might hope. Although Russia supports fighters in Ukraine, invaded Georgia in 2008, sold missile systems to Iran, and recently threatened Denmark and Lithuania with nuclear war, it is, in reality, a muted and restrained power operating in a system that no longer supports […]

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Interfax: U.S. to deploy bases in Ukraine after peacekeeping mission – Russian Deputy Defense Minister

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

(Interfax – April 30, 2015) Over 400 U.S. military sites have been deployed in countries surrounding Russia, and the Pentagon will open its bases in Ukraine if American peacekeepers are sent there, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov has said. “I agree. No matter where the Americans go, bases are built there,” Antonov said in an interview published by the […]

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NEWSLINK AP: US now sees Russia directing Ukraine’s rebels

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

The United States now sees the Ukrainian rebels as a Russian force. American officials briefed on intelligence from the region say Russia has significantly deepened its command and control of the militants in eastern Ukraine in recent months, leading the U.S. to quietly introduce a new term: “combined Russian-separatist forces.” The State Department used the expression three times in a […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Dutch Foreign Minister Reports Progress in Inquiry Into Downing of Malaysian Jetliner

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

NATO officials have said Russian-backed Ukrainian insurgents firing a Russian-made missile were responsible for downing the jetliner on July 17. Russia has blamed Ukrainian forces and denied responsibility in the disaster, which caused shock around the world and played a role in the worsening of relations between Russia and the West over the past year. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/29/world/europe/progress-reported-in-malaysian-plane-shootdown-inquiry.html

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SENATE HEARING: Russia, Ukraine, and U.S. Policy – Prepared statement by Stephen Sestanovich

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

Senate Committee on Armed Service April 28, 2015 Russia, Ukraine, and U.S. Policy Prepared statement by Stephen Sestanovich George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies Council on Foreign Relations Kathryn and Shelby Collum Davis Professor of International Diplomacy School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University Chairman McCain, Senator Reed, members of the Armed Services Committee: Thank […]

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A Vicious Circle: The More Aggressive Putin Is, the More Russians Love Him

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 29, 2015) Russian polls, admittedly not the most reliable source, suggest that the more aggressive Vladimir Putin is, the more Russians love and support him regardless of the immediate impact of his policies on their lives, a vicious circle that history suggests could lead to a disaster especially given Moscow’s possession […]

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NEWSLINK STRATFOR: Russia’s Scare Tactics in Ukraine

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Minor clashes continue along the conflict line in Ukraine, but behind the front lines U.S. and Russian officials are waging a war of words. Russia and the United States have each accused the other of threatening to undo the ceasefire, while in reality both the Russian and Ukrainian sides are largely respecting the cease-fire terms of the Minsk agreement. Russian military movements […]

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Open economy should be created in Russia – Putin

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

ST. PETERSBURG. April 28 (Interfax) – Raising private investment for different economic sectors, including the defense industry, is one of the key paths for the development of the Russian economy in general, President Vladimir Putin has said. “Raising private investment is one of the general paths of economic development as a whole. It is one of the main points that […]

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No Non-Military Solution to Russian-Ukrainian War Possible, Illarionov Says

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 27, 2015) Yesterday, Yuri Lutsenko, the leader of the Poroshenko Bloc in the Verkhova Rada, said that the probability of the renewal of military actions in eastern Ukraine was “more than 80 percent,” a statement that underscores analyst Andrey Illarionov’s argument in Tallinn that “there is no non-military solution” for the […]

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BOOK REVIEW: The lessons Russia learnt in Chechnya

Chechen Militants file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Nicholas Watson in Prague – April 22, 2015) “Russia’s Wars in Chechnya 1994-2009″. By Mark Galeotti, Osprey Publishing (2014). As Russia begins a new period of military adventurism, it’s an opportune time to review what happened when the country previously waged war in its backyard, so Mark Galeotti’s “Russia’s Wars in Chechnya 1994-2009″ is […]

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NEWSLINK The National Interest: Countdown to War: The Coming U.S.-Russia Conflict. Putin and Obama think they’ve got this crisis contained. Two prominent experts say they may be wrong.

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

The United States and Russia may be unwittingly stumbling down a path to deeper confrontation and even war, cautioned two prominent American national-security experts at a panel in Washington, D.C. Tuesday. Graham Allison, director of Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and Dimitri K. Simes, president of the Center for the National Interest and publisher of this […]

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Why Putin’s Next War Will Be at Home; A pollster and a former Putin adviser predict new popularity problems-and renewed focus on domestic enemies

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – April 17, 2015) Vladimir Putin appeared this week in his annual marathon television broadcast to answer questions posed by viewers from across Russia. Of course, the four-hour show, Direct Line With Vladimir Putin, was carefully choreographed to avoid anything that could embarrass the Russian leader. But that doesn’t mean the broadcast shied away […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times/James Cartwright & Vladimir Dvorkin: How to Avert a Nuclear War

Nuclear Mushroom Cloud

We find ourselves in an increasingly risky strategic environment. The Ukrainian crisis has threatened the stability of relations between Russiaand the West, including the nuclear dimension — as became apparent last month when it was reported that Russian defense officials had advised President Vladimir V. Putin to consider placing Russia’s nuclear arsenal on alert during last year’s crisis in Crimea.

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Interfax: Ukrainian-U.S. Fearless Guardian 2015 military exercise begins in Ukraine

ukraine-us-army-convoy-poland-army-mil

LVIV. April 20 (Interfax) – During the Fearless Guardian 2015 international military exercise, Ukraine’s National Guard intends to learn from the United States military the practices they have used in operations worldwide, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said. “The U.S. special task force has experience received in operations worldwide, and we want to use this experience. Wars are won by […]

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Rebel Forces Prepare Spring Offensive in Ukraine

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 12, Issue 69 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Roger McDermott – April 14, 2015) All parties to the Minsk Two agreement, which has resulted in a shaky ceasefire in southeastern Ukraine since February 12, express varying levels of concern about a possible full resumption of hostilities. On April 10, the pro-Russian Ukrainian rebel leader who heads the Donetsk […]

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NEWSLINK The National Interest: How Russia Plans to Save Its Massive Military Buildup. “For those who expected that sanctions and the fall in energy prices would tame the bear’s claws, think again.”

Russian Soldiers Marching

“For those who expected that sanctions and the fall in energy prices would tame the bear’s claws, think again.” The announcement that Russia is planning to lift its self-imposed ban on selling the advanced S-300 air defense system to Iran gives us an important insight into how Moscow plans to move ahead with its ambitious plans to modernize and reequip […]

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Normandy Quartet calls for withdrawal of artillery and heavy weapons below 100mm in Donbass

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Interfax – April 14, 2015) Foreign ministers from the Normandy Quartet countries have called on the trilateral Contact Group for Ukraine to agree a schedule for the withdrawal of weapons below a 100 mm caliber from the line of contact in Donbass, the chair of the Normandy format’s ministerial meeting in Berlin said in a statement. “We furthermore call for […]

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[International Law and Crimea Annexation] Re: 2015-#72-Johnson’s Russia List/#45. Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Senior Russian judge claims legal justification for Crimea annexation.

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

[DJ: This individual is active in business in Kyiv and Moscow and requests anonymity] Subject: Re: 2015-#72-Johnson’s Russia List/#45. Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Senior Russian judge claims legal justification for Crimea annexation. (Valeriy Zorkin) Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2015 From: Anonymous 1. I am a putinista, albeit not a passionate/blind one. 2. I am a doctor and a professor of international law. […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Rival Factions in Ukraine Are Urged to Withdraw Heavy Weapons

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Warring parties in Ukraine should withdraw heavy weapons — including tanks, armored vehicles, mortars and artillery — in order to comply with the shaky cease-fire that has held in eastern Ukraine since late February, the German foreign minister said early Tuesday. The call from the minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, came after talks with his counterparts from France, Russia and Ukraine aimed […]

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Swedish Admiral Admits ‘Russian Submarine’ Was Actually Civilian Boat

Map of Sweden and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Spinella – April 14, 2015) A photo that a retired Swedish naval officer said showed a Russian submarine in Swedish waters last autumn was actually of a much smaller civilian boat, a Swedish admiral told his country’s media Monday. “Analysis revealed that the photograph taken in Stockholm’s inner archipelago was of a smaller boat,” […]

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[CALL FOR PAPERS: State of War: Human Condition and Social Orders:] The Russian Sociological Review

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

Subject: The Russian Sociological Review Date: Mon, 06 Apr 2015 12:47:05 -0500 From: Nail Farkhatdinov (farkhatdinov@gmail.com) The Russian Sociological Review (sociologica.hse.ru/en), an international peer-reviewed academic journal published by the National Research University – Higher School of Economics (www.hse.ru), invites contributions from philosophy, social sciences and cognate fields for the special issue entitled State of War: Human Condition and Social Orders. […]

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NEWSLINK Institute for War & Peace Reporting: How Russia Fights its Information War

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

The Kremlin is committing huge resources to extending its influence through spin rather than soldiers. As the Ukraine crisis continues, IWPR editor Daniella Peled talks to writer and regional expert Peter Pomeranzev about how Russia is using the media as an extension of its military power. Russia is devoting great resources to the information war – how effective is this […]

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Eastern Ukraine’s Children Fall Prey to War

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Lisa Schlein – March 31, 2015) The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that more than 150 children have been killed and maimed by landmines and unexploded ordnance during the past year in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine. According to the United Nations, the number of people killed in eastern Ukraine […]

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Nemtsov Allies Plan to Publish ‘Putin.War’ Report on Russian Soldiers in Ukraine

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 31, 2015) A report being prepared by supporters of slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov claims that Moscow has started discharging its soldiers from the army before sending them to Ukraine and then denying compensation to the families of men who were killed in order to cover up Russia’s involvement in the […]

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NEWSWATCH STRATFOR: The West Hems in Russia Little by Little

Map of U.S. Military Activities in Europe

[“The West Hems in Russia Little by Little” – Stratfor.com – March 30, 2015] Stratfor considers bolstered U.S. military activities in Europe, including in the vicinity of Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin must be feeling very claustrophobic these days. … All along Russia’s frontier with Europe, the U.S. military is bustling with activity. Bit by bit, the United States is expanding various military exercises […]

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NEWSLINK ReadRussia: How Not to Influence People. Russia’s “tough” posturing just makes it look ridiculous

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear missiles” isn’t the most intuitive headline in the world. Indeed it sounds like something from a parody magazine or from a clumsy remake of Dr. Strangelove. If Denmark is famous for anything (a contentious proposition, but indulge me) it’s precisely because it is inoffensive and non-threatening. It’s a small, rich, tolerant country sandwiched between Germany […]

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Interfax: Russia to take into account threats resulting from new U.S. security strategy

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Interfax – March 26, 2015) Russia will react to the adoption of a new U.S. security strategy and will take into account emerging risks and threats in its founding documents related to national security, says Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “Certainly, all threats to Russia’s national security are taken into consideration. They will be analyzed, and if need be, amendments will be […]

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