JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Military Buildup Near Ukraine Is an Open Secret” – WSJ

Artist's Depiction of Spy Satellite in Orbit, With Stylized Depictions of Lines of Site and Data Points, adapted from image at iarpa.gov

Satellite images, social media posts and flight-tracking data allow private analysts to track details governments once classified […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin: Russia must build up defenses in view of NATO moves” – AP/ Vladimir Isachenkov

File Photo of U.S. Navy warships in Black Sea exercise, adapted from image at defense.gov with photo credit to MC1 Justin Stumberg

“… Russia has bristled at … U.S. and other NATO ships … [T]ensions between Moscow and the West have sunk to post-Cold War lows after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, … [the] insurgency in eastern Ukraine and other irritants. … Russia suspended its [NATO] mission … and ordered the closure of [NATO’s] office in Moscow after NATO … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Air Force Bombers Are Rehearsing Their New Main Mission — Sinking Russian Ships” – Forbes

File Photo of B1 Bomber in Flight, adapted from image at defense.gov, with photo credit: U.S. Air Force Photo/Bennie Davis III

A pair of B-1s could shoot 48 LRASMs at Russia’s Baltic Fleet, enough, perhaps, to sink the entire fleet in a single pass and eliminate the major threat to U.S. and allied ships in the region […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia, U.S. Release Latest Nuclear Weapons Counts as Moscow-NATO Ties Collapse” – Newsweek

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“… Russia counted 527 deployed … ICBMs[] … SLBMs[] and heavy bombers, 1,458 warheads on deployed ICBMs … SLBMs and … heavy bombers as well as 742 deployed and non-deployed launchers of ICBMs, deployed and non-deployed launchers of SLBMs and deployed and non-deployed heavy bombers. … with U.S. figures at 665 deployed ICBMs … SLBMs and heavy bombers; 1,389 warheads […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The U.S. Air Force Has A Base Right Next To Russia. It Just Sent F-16s To Visit.” – Forbes

File photo of F-16 with Arctic colors above runway, adapted from image at defense.gov with photo credit: U.S. Air Force Photo/Airman 1st Class Jonathan Snyder

“… The Air Force recently stepped up its Agile Combat Employment practice when it sent at least two F-16s from the 18th Aggressor Squadron, based at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, to Eareckson Air Station on Shemya Island [near the western end of the Aleutians]. The six-square-mile island lies just 200 miles from the Russian coast. …. ‘To the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S., Georgia sign military training pact amid Russian threat on the Black Sea” – Defense News

File Photo of Tbilisi, Georgia and Environs, adapted from image at state.gov

“U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Georgian counterpart on Monday signed an agreement to extend U.S.-led military training …. ahead of [Austin’s] visits to other Black Sea allies Ukraine and Romania to deliver a message of ‘unwavering’ support for their sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russian threats. Since Russia’s war with Georgia, it has had a […]

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FSU Analysts Assess the Impact of Events in Afghanistan on Russia and U.S.-R.F. Relations

File Photo of Kabul, Afghanistan, Residential Area, adapted from image at defense.gov

The perspectives of Russia’s non-government Middle East experts on … the Taliban and its impact on Russia appear to be more varied than those of Russian diplomats and … other official counterparts. [This post] compiled a selection of such views, along … [those of some] Western FSU watchers […]

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RUSSIALINK: “As Chaos Engulfs Kabul, Russia Says It’s Ready to Work With the Taliban” – Moscow Times

Afghanistan houses aerial view, adapted from image at state.gov

Moscow has a history of pragmatism toward the Islamist militia and appears well placed for a transition in Afghanistan. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Felix Light, Pjotr Sauer – Aug. 16, 2021) In the day since a Taliban offensive swept away the U.S.-backed Afghan government, Russian officials are taking satisfaction from their principle global adversary’s humiliation as they prepare to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Biggest Navy Exercise in a Generation Will Include 25,000 Personnel Across 17 Time Zones” – Military.com

File Photo of Portions of U.S. Navy Carrier Groups Lincoln and Stennis in Mediterranean, adapted from defense.gov image relating to defense.gov video

“Tens of thousands of sailors and Marines will participate in the biggest U.S. naval exercise in a generation to test how the services will fight across vast distances as they prepare for possible conflict with China or Russia. Aircraft carriers, submarines, planes, unmanned vessels, and about 25,000 personnel will participate in Large Scale Exercise 2021 … [beginning] late summer. … […]

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RUSSIALINK: “U.S. to Send 2 Warships to Black Sea Amid Russia-Ukraine Tension, Turkey Says” – Moscow Times

File Photo of U.S. Navy warships in Black Sea exercise, adapted from image at defense.gov with photo credit to MC1 Justin Stumberg

… The U.S. Navy routinely operates [in] the Black Sea and flies reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace there to monitor Russian naval activity and troop movements […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Army releases Arctic strategy focused on Russia, climate change” – UPI

Arctic Map

“The [U.S.] Army[‘]s … ‘Regaining Arctic Dominance[]’ [strategy] includes plans to establish headquarters with combat brigades specially trained and equipped to increase cold-weather dominance …. [and plans] to improve … quality of life ….  [T]he Navy and Marine Corps released its own Arctic strategy saying the United States needs to be more aggressive [there] due to threats from Russia and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putting Putin in his place: U.S. Navy eyes ‘freedom of navigation’ patrols off Russia’s Arctic coast” – Washington Times/ Ben Wolfgang

“The Navy is eyeing a tougher posture in the Arctic to push back against Moscow … [T]op Pentagon officials said … the U.S. could launch ‘freedom of navigation’ operations near Russia’s Arctic coastline. Such operations would resemble Navy exercises in the South China Sea, an area in which American ships regularly contest growing Chinese territorial claims. Officials believe similar movements […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump Exits Open Skies Treaty, Moves to Discard Observation Planes” – Wall Street Journal/ Michael R. Gordon

File Photo of OC-135B Plane Painted For Open Skies Treaty Use, adapted from image at arnold.af.mil

“Without specialized aircraft and equipment, Biden administration would have difficult time re-entering post-Cold War pact.” “The Trump administration formally shut the door on the Open Skies treaty Sunday, exiting the agreement while moving to get rid of … U.S. Air Force planes … used to carry out the … accord[, had had dated to the closing of the Cold War […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin is reckless because we allow him to be” – Washington Post/ David Ignatius

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“… Putin keeps defying the norms of international behavior. … Intelligence agencies have … evidence … Russian military intelligence officers, from … shadowy Unit 29155 of the GRU, paid … Taliban … whose bombing killed three U.S. Marines in … 2019. … [S]ources … [claim] forensic links between the [Afghan operation] GRU officers … and GRU colleagues who carried out […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Warns It Will See Any Incoming Missile as Nuclear” – AP

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“Russia will perceive any ballistic missile launched at its territory as a nuclear attack that warrants a nuclear retaliation, the military warned …. in … official military newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) … [a warning] directed at the United States, which has worked to develop long-range non-nuclear weapons. [I]n June [Russia published its] … nuclear deterrent policy … envisag[ing] … […]

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RUSSIALINK: “NPT dismantlement to increase number of nuclear threshold states – Russian General Staff” – Interfax

File Photo of U.S.-Russian Senior Military Meeting, adapted from image at defense.gov with photo credit to Dominique A. Pineiro

MOSCOW. Aug 7 (Interfax) – The U.S. policy aimed at withdrawing from the agreements limiting nuclear weapons may have negative implications for the entire world, representatives of the Russian General Staff said in an article published by the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper on Friday. “The future of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a big […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Lawmakers Offer Bill to Boost Aid for Ukraine Military” – Reuters

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“… [S]enators [from both parties] introduced legislation to back Ukraine with $300 million of annual military financing …. The bill also authorizes up to $4 million to train Ukrainian military officers, requires a [DOD] … and State Department report on the requirements of Ukraine’s armed forces and a plan to supply security assistance and requires the appointment of a special […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S., Russia Hold Talks on Space Security” – Wall Street Journal/ Michael R. Gordon

Space in Low Earth Orbit with Partial Sun

“Two space powers are at odds over goals, with U.S. seeking voluntary norms, Russia aiming for a treaty” “The U.S. and Russia … [are holding] their first space-security talks since 2013 … [addressing] how to guard against the increasing militarization of space. [The] Trump administration … hoped … the [Vienna] meeting … would lead to … voluntary norms … and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The U.S. must respond forcefully to Russia and the Taliban. Here’s how.” – Washington Post/ John W. Nicholson

File Photo of U.S. NATO Troops Atop Ridge in Afghanistan

“… Russia’s alliance with the Taliban, while calibrated in the past, is designed to undermine the success of the U.S.-led peace process and to erode the will of the United States, NATO and the Afghan people. Our leaders have a moral responsibility to protect our service members who are fighting for an enduring peace in Afghanistan, to honor the sacrifices […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “White House fills top Russia job previously occupied by two impeachment witnesses” – CNN/ Zachary Cohen, Vivian Salama, Kylie Atwood

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“The White House [reportedly] has tapped Ryan Tully to be the top official on Europe and Russia at the National Security Council … the fifth person to occupy that job in … three and a half years …. Tully currently serves … as [NSC] senior adviser for arms control and deputy senior director for … [its] directorate on [WMD] …. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Colin Powell suggests media had ‘hysterical’ reaction to Russian bounty reports” – New York Post/ Sam Dorman

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“… Colin Powell indicated … that media figures overreacted to a recent report that Russian officials placed bounties on … U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. ‘What I know is that our military commanders on the ground did not think that it was as serious a problem as the newspapers were reporting and television was reporting,’ Powell [said] … ‘It got kind […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Realism in the Arctic” – The National Interest/ Kenneth Yalowitz, Ross A. Virginia

Arctic Map

“The United States and Russia have disagreements on many issues, including the organization of the international system. No ‘reset’ in relations is in sight but there is a need to put a floor in the relationship and work on possible areas for cooperation. The Arctic can be one.” “… The Arctic is [Russia’s] highest priority strategic national interest …. Arctic […]

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AUDIO JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Denies Allegations It Paid Militants To Kill U.S. Troops As ‘Nonsense'” – NPR/ Lucian Kim

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“… The Russian Foreign Ministry said the initial … New York Times [story] demonstrated the ‘low intellectual abilities of U.S. intelligence propagandists.’ … Putin[] spokesman[] Dmitry Peskov[] called subsequent reports ‘hoaxes’ … damag[ing] the reputation of the media that publish them.  Russian officials spend a lot of time refuting allegations of malfeasance, from the poisoning of a former Russian spy […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How Putin Views the Iranian Role in Syria: Insights from Bolton’s Memoir” – Mark N. Katz

Syria Map

“[According to Bolton’s new book] … Putin … told Bolton to convey … to Trump [that –] … Moscow did not need Iranian forces … in Syria… [and gained] no advantage [from it] …. Iran’s policy agenda … regard[ing] … Lebanon and the Shi’a were not [Russia’s] … [and] Iranian policy was causing problems …. Russia [wanted] … an Iranian […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why we need a little skepticism, and more evidence, on Russian bounties” – The Hill/ David B. Rivkin, Jr., George S. Beebe

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“… [1][H]ow credible are the sources? … not very. … militants and criminals captured and interrogated by Afghanistan’s government. … Captured militants frequently tell … interrogators things they hope … [bring] lenient treatment. Others relate … little more than hearsay. … [2][W]hat other information might support or disconfirm the allegations? …. [I]f the Times report of large financial transfers … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How Kremlin’s View of U.S.’s War in Afghanistan Has Shifted” – Wall Street Journal/ Alan Cullison

File Photo of U.S. NATO Troops Atop Ridge in Afghanistan

“Deteriorating U.S.-Russian ties adversely affect a once-shared goal, leading to a U.S. intelligence assessment of bounties paid to Taliban.” “For years … the U.S. and Russia shared a goal of deposing the Taliban government and hunting down its remnants …. [T]hat … crumbled … amid mutual suspicion and U.S. plans to leave Afghanistan with the Taliban undefeated. Today… [there is] […]

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What Does Russia Want In Afghanistan?

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

… Trump tweeted that the intelligence reports were not deemed credible and the Kremlin and the Taliban have rejected reports alleging that officers of the GRU – Russia’s foreign military intelligence — either paid or offered money for killing American soldiers […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Intelligence officials cast doubt on Times’ Russia-Taliban bounty scheme: report” – New York Post/ Ebony Bowden

File Photo of U.S. NATO Troops Atop Ridge in Afghanistan

“Intelligence officials say a news report about Russia paying the Taliban to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan does not match ‘verifiable’ Taliban activity and was never presented to … Trump because it was not deemed credible. The National Security Agency reviewed the claims contained in the New York Times report but found it did ‘not match well established and verifiable […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s New Nuclear Doctrine: Don’t Mess With Us – But Let’s Talk” – World Politics Review/ Richard Weitz

Iskander Missile with Launch file photo

  “… Why did Russia decide to publish its deterrence policy now? In part, it could be to dispel alleged Western misperceptions about when Russia might use nuclear weapons, specifically the Pentagon’s assessment that Moscow would threaten to use nuclear weapons – or actually do so – to intimidate an adversary into yielding in a major crisis. Previously referred to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Pentagon announces $250 million in security assistance to Ukraine” – CNN/ Ryan Browne

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

“… ‘[DOD] announced … plans for $250 million in Fiscal Year 2020 Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds for additional training, equipment, and advisory efforts to strengthen Ukraine’s capacity to more effectively defend itself against Russian aggression,’ the Pentagon said in a statement …. the ‘funds — $125 million of which was conditional on Ukraine’s progress on defense reforms — […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s new nuclear policy could be a path to arms control treaties” – Defense News/ Sarah Bidgood

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

… the U.S. and Russia have traditionally been able to work together to mitigate mutual threats even when their bilateral relationship is in crisis […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “A brazen foray into the Barents yields predictable Cold War-type friction” – Responsible Statecraft/ Lyle J. Goldstein

File Photo of U.S. Naval Ships in Joint Exercises with UK in Barents Sea, adapted from defense.gov image with photo credit to U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony Nichols

” … [M]ilitary escalations in the High North need more attention … [not] the [U.S.] media focus … on … Russian trolls, social media influence peddlers, spies, and various ‘useful idiots.’ … [W]hen the New York Times … seemingly … tr[ied] to investigate what might actually be going on under the … waters of the Barents and off the Norwegian […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s New Nuclear Deterrent Policy Allows Nuclear Strikes Against Non-Nuclear Threats” – AP

Iskander Missile with Launch file photo

“… Putin … endorsed Russia’s nuclear deterrent policy which allows him to use atomic weapons in response to a conventional strike targeting … critical government and military infrastructure. … including a non-nuclear attack as a possible trigger for Russian nuclear retaliation … The new expanded wording reflects Russian concerns about the development of prospective weapons that could give Washington the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “NATO holds first post-Cold War exercise in Barents Sea – Russian Defense Ministry” – Interfax

NATO Meeting File Photo

NATO has stepped up military activity in the Arctic and has begun practicing intercepting Russian ballistic missiles in this area, head of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operative Directorate Sergei Rudskoi said […]

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U.S.-Russia Deconflicting 75 Years Ago: Flares and Friendly Fire at the Elbe

File Photo of American Soldier Meeting Soviet Soldiers in Berlin in 1945, adapted from image at army.mil

… 75 years ago, U.S. and Soviet forces linked up on the Elbe River in Germany at the end of the European phase of World War II. The anniversary prompted current leaders of the U.S. and Russia to transcend … frosty relations … and issue a rare joint declaration ….

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Is Testing US Military for Weaknesses Amid Pandemic, General Says” – Military.com/ Gina Harkins

File Photo of F-22 Fighter and Ground Crew

“Russia is testing whether the U.S. military has developed any weaknesses during the novel coronavirus crisis, a top general said, noting three run-ins with that country’s planes over a two-month period. ‘We just want to make it very clear to them … there are no vulnerabilities as a result of COVID-19,’ Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, head of U.S. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. should revive Lend-Lease to contain Russia” – Atlantic Council/ Stephen Blank

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

“… Moscow’s hybrid war against the Western world continues unabated. … There are many advantages to a modern-day revival of the Lend-Lease concept. Firstly, it materially strengthens Ukraine by demonstrating growing U.S. support …. Secondly, this plan would help increase allied security and capabilities in threatened areas such as Romania in the Black Sea region and Poland in the north. […]

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Pentagon Concerned Russia Cultivating Sympathy Among U.S. Troops

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Jeff Seldin – WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2019) Russian efforts to weaken the West through a relentless campaign of information warfare may be starting to pay off, cracking a key bastion of the U.S. line of defense: the military. While most Americans still see Moscow as a key U.S. adversary, new polling suggests that view […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “NSA Forms Cybersecurity Directorate Under More Assertive U.S. Effort; Anne Neuberger, tapped as head, warns against ‘not engaging in the fight'” – Wall Street Journal/ Dustin Volz

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“[NSA] will create a cybersecurity directorate later this year as part of a wider effort to more closely align the agency’s offensive and defensive operations, U.S. officials said. Anne Neuberger has been tapped to lead the new directorate, slated to become operational Oct. 1. The creation of the directorate and selection of … Neuberger coincide with a broader fusion of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin and Trump’s Ominous Nostalgia for the Second World War” –  The New Yorker/ Masha Gessen

“… Victory Day is undoubtedly Russia’s most important, most grandly celebrated, and most political holiday. … not observed … immediately following the Second World War, in which the Soviet Union lost an estimated twenty-seven million people; it became a holiday a generation later … gain[ing] in prominence as the U.S.S.R. unleashed less righteous battles abroad …. After the Soviet Union […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Inside the West’s Plans for Arctic War Against Russia” – DailyBeast/ Nico Hines

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“Moscow is growing belligerent in its quest to pry open the icy route to the Atlantic. The U.S. and Britain are racing to catch up, but is it too late?” “… deep in the Arctic Circle, some of the world’s best-trained commandos … struggl[e] to complete an ambush exercise knee-deep in … snow. Britain’s Royal Marines make painfully slow progress […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. rolls ‘100K tons of international diplomacy’ into the Med. Will Russia get the message?” – Defense News/ Matthew Bodner

File Photo of Portions of U.S. Navy Carrier Groups Lincoln and Stennis in Mediterranean, adapted from defense.gov image relating to defense.gov video

“…. ‘Each of the carriers operating in the Mediterranean as this time represent 100,000 tons of international diplomacy,’ Huntsman said …. ‘Diplomatic communication and dialogue, coupled with the strong defenses these ships provide, demonstrate to Russia that if it truly seeks better relations with the United states, it must cease its destabilizing activities around the world.’ …”

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Presses Case for Greater Control Over Its Internet” – AP

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

“… Kremlin spokesman [Peskov] said … reports that the U.S. military carried out a cyberattack in Russia ahead of the U.S. midterm elections proves that the country needs to create its own, self-controlled segment of the internet. Russia’s parliament this month passed the first reading of a bill that proposes all internet traffic be routed through servers in Russia. Opponents […]

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Do Trump’s Afghanistan Claims Mirror Moscow’s Rhetoric?

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – RM Staff – January 11, 2019 – russiamatters.org/blog/do-trumps-afghanistan-claims-mirror-moscows-rhetoric) Earlier this month, President Donald Trump offered his take on Soviet Russia’s experiences in Afghanistan as he argued in favor of a huge U.S. troop withdrawal and a larger contribution by Moscow to stabilize the war-racked country. The U.S. president put forward two basic propositions: that the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump Outlines Broader Missile-Defense Strategy; Plan’s vision includes space-based sensors to detect hostile or accidental launches” – Wall Street Journal/ Gordon Lubold, Courtney McBride

Mssile Defense Control Room

“… Trump called … for … expanded and more sophisticated missile-defense … and said America’s allies must share in future costs …. The missile-defense plan, put forth by … Trump … at the Pentagon, is laid out in a review ordered early in the Trump administration and issued Thursday, the first such review in nine years. … call[ing] for new, […]

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NEWSLINK: “American Charged in Russia Also Holds British, Canadian and Irish Citizenship” – Wall Street Journal

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“A former U.S. Marine arrested on espionage charges in Russia was removed from the military for trying to steal more than $10,000 in government cash while deployed at a base in Iraq, according to details of Defense Department court records released Friday. …”

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