WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Artillery barrage from Moscow-backed separatists kills 2 civilians in town of Sartana, 20 km E of strategic port Mariupol, government shelling kills 5 non-combatants in rebel-held Donetsk city, Horlivka; more than 6,400 Ukrainian troops, insurgents, civilians killed in Donbass since fighting erupted in April 2014; Putin’s secret war in Ukraine: 9,000 Russian Ground Forces covertly based in Donetsk, Lugansk oblasts, equipped with 400 MBTs, 2,000 APCs to support 33,400 armed separatists; House Armed Services Cmte. Chairman Thornberry: Kremlin (ghoulishly) using mobile crematoria to dispose of bodies of fallen Russian soldiers; German FM Steinmeier: Donbass War worst European conflict since Cold War; NATO’s ex-communist members plan summit in Bucharest, demand “bigger security guarantees” in wake of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine; Russian DM welcomes Serbian counterpart to Moscow, Russian, Belarusian, Serbian paratroopers prep for Slavic Brotherhood 2015 drill, Serbian servicemen to train at Russia’s military academies

Blogger’s Note: Summer vacation for your resident blogger has arrived, no posts expected until after mid-August

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Nuclear-capable Russian bomber lurked 40 miles off coast of California on July 4, crew issued cocky greeting to intercepting US fighter jets: “Good morning American pilots, we are here to greet you on your Fourth of July Independence Day”; NORAD spokesman labels incident “potentially destabilizing”; Ukraine’s Justice Minister cites new de-communization law, bans main Communist Party (CPU), two other far-left groups from participating in elections, stresses intent to outlaw same orgs altogether; CPU cadre interviewed: “After the anti-people coup in Kiev [i.e., Maidan protests] . . . we organized the first militia squadron to protect the civilian population of Lugansk from fascism [i.e., pro-West government],” “We actively engaged in the collection and transfer of humanitarian aid to Lugansk from Russia. We were really helped by the Communist Party [i.e., CPRF] committees of Rostov and Voronezh. These two areas border Lugansk . . .”; ex-Soviet republic Moldova hosts 800 US, other NATO, Georgian troops in Joint Effort 2015 drill, while Russian-occupied Transnistria mobilizes all males aged 18-27 for military service

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Russian soldiers reportedly fear covert deployment to Ukraine to fight on side of Donbass separatists, desert unit, face secret court martial; meanwhile, Moscow struggles to maintain world’s 4th-largest defense budget on back of shrinking energy revenue as older combat planes fall out of the sky with 2nd strategic bomber disaster, Tu-95 crashes in Far East Russia, both pilots killed, 5 crew injured, no nuke payload apparently on flight, 6th air force calamity in as many weeks; 23 Russian soldiers crushed to death after Siberian barracks collapses; 2,000 Russian paratroopers (VDV) hold drills near ex-Soviet Baltic states, practice attacking simulated enemy’s rear flank; incoming Chairman of US JCS, Marine Corps Gen. Dunford brands Russia, Red China “existential threats” to USA, Pentagon submits budget re-allocations to Congress, shifts US$42 m to upgrade Cheyenne Mtn. bunker, US$10 m to modernize ICBM silo “red phones,” US$5.3 m to EMP-harden Buckley AFB, ground site communicates with missile detection sats; 36,000 NATO troops to participate in 2-month Trident Juncture ’15 exercise in Portugal, Spain, Italy this fall, prosecute “hybrid warfare” against ISIS, Russia

If Putin wants to knock out the USA, he might have to do it before the Soviet-era portions of Russia’s military kit completely fall apart.

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WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Ukraine’s SBU sends dossier to White House, IDs five Russian generals commanding separatist forces in Donbass; rebels withdraw from villages around government-held port city of Mariupol after months of violating Minsk 2 ceasefire, leave town of Shyrokyne “completely destroyed”; US fighter jets intercept two pairs of Russian strategic bombers off coasts of Alaska, central California, NORAD refuses to comment on distance of nuclear-capable intruders from US airspace; Swedish Air Force also intercepts Russian bombers off coast of Gotland on July 4, Stockholm claims 33,000 Russian troops simulated attack on large Swedish island during March exercise; Kremlin propaganda outlet Sputnik gloats over alleged inability of USAF B-2, F-117 stealth bombers to “hide” from Russian anti-aircraft missiles, while Russian Air Force suffers fifth crash in one month as Su-24 medium-range bomber banks into ground during takeoff in Far East, both pilots killed; Moscow outraged by removal of Soviet war memorial in W. Polish town of Nowa Sol, warns of “most negative consequences,” Warsaw engaged in rapid remilitarization in wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Pro-Ukraine militia Dnipro-1 publishes UAV video footage of Russian Ground Forces FOB near Donetsk-Mariupol highway, secret base in Donbass houses 9 T-72 tanks, comm vehicle, anti-tank gun, parade square; Sweden’s top general accuses Russian Air Force pilots of flying in “aggressive” manner over N. Europe, “breaking normal rules of conduct” near NATO aircraft, e.g., breaking formation, flying at unsafe distances, firing decoy flares at Swedish warplanes; senior NATO cmdr. Gen. Bradshaw: “The Russian Federation is shadowing and . . . collecting intelligence from NATO nation naval units in the Baltic, Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Sea, using methods that can be considered bold and sometimes aggressive”; Czech police capture 20-year-old “Russian-speaking man” in connection with June 7 Molotov cocktail attack on defense minister’s residence, Stropnicky unveiled plans to beef up Czech army from 16,600 to 27,000 troops by 2025, accused Moscow of “disinformation ” over Crimean annexation

EU File: Greece defaults on US$1.7 billion IMF loan, imposes one-week bank holiday to head off cash runs as police guard ATMs, ramps up for July 5 “cash-for-reform” referendum, EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker admonishes Greek voters: “A ‘No’ would mean, regardless of the question posed, that Greece had said no to Europe”; 17,000 protesters take to streets of Athens, Thessaloniki to support leftist PM Tsipras, condemn EU bailout stipulations; global markets drop “sharply” over fears of “Grexit” from eurozone; communist-controlled All Workers’ Militant Front stormed, occupied Finance Ministry on June 12 , urged ruling Syriza party to reject all EU/ECB/IMF deals, KKE boss Koutsoubas joined PAME protesters, reds hold demos in 59 other Greek cities; “ex”-communists Putin, Tsipras express solidarity at St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Greek, Russian FMs reaffirm commitment to Gazprom’s Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline, but no sign of Kremlin bailout for Athens

WW4 File/Communist Bloc Military Updates: US Def. Sec. Carter confirms deployment of heavy armor in Baltics, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, enough MBTs, IFVs, self-propelled howitzers to constitute one army brigade; Dutch FM comments on recent BALTOPS 2015 exercise: “There are NATO member states in E. Europe that feel threatened by what is happening in eastern Ukraine. These drills are also a warning to President Putin”; Romanian lawmakers unanimously vote in favor of NATO facilities in Bucharest, regional HQ to include Bulgaria; Polish President Komorowski appoints lieutenant general commander of armed forces in “time of war,” called “unprecedented move,” DM Siemoniak discusses security issues with US Sec. of the Air Force James in Warsaw; 5-hour cyberattack by “unidentified outsiders” (i.e., Russian FSB/GRU?) grounds Poland’s national airline LOT; Russian, Belarusian armed forces to test S-400 air defense units in E. Siberian exercise, Union Shield 2015 drill to involve 40 warplanes, helos

WW4 File: NATO uses BALTOPS 2015 exercise to roll out 2,000-man Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in SW Poland, 700 allied amphibious troops storm Poland’s Baltic coast at Ustka; Putin casts scorn on Western economic sanctions over Ukraine crisis, denounces US “ultimatums,” withdrawal from ABM Treaty in 2002, insists Russia “not aggressive,” announces intro of 40 new ICBMs into nuclear arsenal by Dec. 2015, sends warplanes within 1 mile of NATO maneuver, 1 sortie consists of 4 MiG-31 fighter jets, 2 Tu-22M3 Backfire C bombers, 2 spy planes, 1 A-50 AWACs; VP of Euro Parliament , ex-DM of Romania claims Russia has deployed short-, medium-range nukes to occupied Crimea, follows months of Kremlin threats, Western speculation; Russian ambassador to Sweden warns host of “military consequences” should Stockholm abandon “trademark neutrality,” join NATO; Belarus tests secretive Polonez rocket launcher in Red China, follows President Xi Jinping’s official visit to Minsk in May, signing of “treaty of friendship and cooperation,” PRC paratroopers arrive in Belarus, train with Lukashenko’s special forces near Polish border, third such “anti-terrorist” exercise since 2011

WW4 File/Communist Bloc Military Updates: New Cold War in Europe: Pentagon reviews potential response to Russian aggression in Ukraine, considers pre-positioning of heavy armor in Baltic states, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, including 250 Abrams M1 MBTs, 750 IFVs; Polish DM: “We have been working for a while on increasing the American military presence in Poland and across the eastern flank of Nato”; Lithuanian DM: Vilnius “working to facilitate the deployment and stationing of heavy US equipment – and we are willing to donate our military infrastructure to house it”; Kremlin declines comment but Russian Gen. Yuri Yakubov condemns “most aggressive step by the Pentagon and Nato” since end of Cold War, “Russia would be left with no other option but to boost its troops and forces on the western flank [i.e., Kaliningrad, Belarus]; Russian, Belarusian armed forces prep for Union Shield 2015 drill Sept. 10-16, Belarus to buy 12 Russian-made Mi-8MTV-5 helo troop transports; Polish MEP reminds West: NATO cannot trust Belarusian dictator, Lukashenko may spout pro-Kiev line, but locked in political union, military pact with Russia; Russian, Red Chinese navies to hold combined maneuvers in Sea of Japan in Aug., follows joint drill in Med. Sea in May

I don’t agree that the Cold War is back. It has never ended. Any normal Russian person in the 1990s didn’t see anything from the West except insults and humiliation.
— Andrei Lugovoy, Soviet KGB 9th Directorate (Protection Service), Russian Federal Protective Service, State Duma Deputy (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia), prime suspect in 2006 radioactive poisoning death of former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko (link)

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USSR2 File: Latvia arrests 2 Russians after activists scale wall of military base in Adazi, infiltrators facing charges of espionage and terrorism, sport black and orange St. George flag of Russian military, brandish anti-NATO leaflets, National Bolshevik Party founder Eduard Limonov claims men belong to his Other Russia organization; Latvian DM Raimonds Vejonis speculates incident could be part of Kremlin’s “information war” against Baltic states’ NATO membership, Russian embassy in Riga refuses to comment on arrests, 26.0% of former Soviet republic’s population ethnic Russians; Lithuanian Defence Ministry computers breached, hackers post anti-NATO messages, claim alliance’s Saber Strike drill precursor to West’s attempt to “annex” Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave

WW4 File/Communist Bloc Military Updates: 49 NATO warships, 61 aircraft, one submarine, 5,600 allied troops, including amphibious landing force of 700 US, Finnish, Swedish troops, participating in BALTOPS 15 maneuver between June 5-20, neutral Helsinki, Stockholm nervous over Russian aggression in Ukraine; 3 USAF B-52 strategic bombers from Minot AFB, 2 B-2 stealth bombers from Whiteman AFB touch down at Fairford, UK, AFGSC airmen to join BALTOPS, Saber Strike 15 exercises over Baltic Sea, Baltic states, Poland; US Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade training 700 Ukrainian National Guard soldiers in country’s W. region, 700 miles from insurgency-torn Donbass; Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov grumps: “The participation of instructors or specialists from third countries on Ukrainian territory, where the domestic Ukrainian conflict is unresolved, could destabilize the situation”; Russian military once again amasses heavy fire power, erects makeshift bases along border with Ukraine, wraps up 4-day snap drill involving 100s of fighter jets, anti-aircraft missiles, 12,000 troops, announces intense combat training regime this summer in E. Military District; Lukashenko signals support for Putin, Belarusian special forces repel simulated invasion near border with NW Ukraine, coordinate ops with border guards

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Kremlin mouthpiece Sputnik says Kiev’s blockade of 1,500 Russian troops in Moldova’s Transnistria “fraught with new war,” while Putin censors number of Russian military casualties during “peacetime,” “special operations,” war deaths already state secret, critics tie presidential decree to Moscow’s covert support for Donbass rebels in Ukraine; DPR insurgents flout Minsk 2 ceasefire, pound government-held positions near Donetsk city, town of Mariinka subjected to “massive shell attack”; volunteer battalions defending strategic port of Mariupol withdraw from some advance positions in neighboring town of Shyrokyne, await more concerted attacks as Russia further arms rebels; SBU arrests “Russian-trained sabotage group” in Kharkiv, 3 Ukrainians suspected of plot to blow up railways, army recruitment centers, national unity group offices, sniper rifles, flamethrowers, 80 grenades seized; President Poroshenko befuddles political analysts by conferring Ukrainian citizenship upon Mikhail Saakashvili, appoints pro-West ex-leader of Georgia governor of Odessa Oblast, implements corruption purge; Saakashvili ended presidential term in 2013, faces official accusations of abuse of power in homeland, living in self-imposed exile in USA, rejected post of dep. PM of Ukraine last Dec.

WW4 File/Communist Bloc Military Updates: Putin authorizes resumption of Tu-160 supersonic bomber production after 24-year hiatus, 50 new “Blackjacks” to be built for Russian Air Force, support Moscow’s nuclear deterrent ahead of maiden flight of PAK-DA stealth bomber in 2019; current force of 15 Tu-160s built during Soviet era, undergoing comprehensive upgrades for avionics, power plants, conventional armaments; Kremlin allocated US$84.5 billion to military budget in 2014, but Russian defense industry likely to be stretched by huge order for world’s largest combat aircraft; White House counters Red China’s territorial aspirations in S. China Sea, Pentagon deploys B-1 bombers, surveillance aircraft to Darwin, Northern Territory, 1,150 US Marines undergoing 6-month training regime in Australia’s “Top End,” number of Marines “Down Under” to be augmented to 2,500 in 2017; Chinese Foreign Ministry voices “serious concern” about US military presence in Australia, spokeswoman Hua Chunying says China would “resolutely safeguard its territorial sovereignty,” urges Washington “not to take any risks or make any provocations”

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Kiev, Moscow lurch closer to open war as Ukraine formally rescinds military cooperation with Russia, prohibits resupply of 1,500 Russian troops in tiny, landlocked Transnistria; 66 public orgs in Moldova’s breakaway region respond with appeal to Putin for “protection” from Ukrainian army, “NATO activities” in Moldova proper, senior Russian DM official: “The Russian contingent will be supplied under any circumstances”; 3,000 Moldovans march past parliament, demand reunification with Romania, shout “Good bye, Russia! Don’t forget Bessarabia [Moldova’s old name] is not yours!”; Romanian irredentist organizes Chisinau rally, enlists support of 40 Romanian lawmakers in Action 2012 group, Moldovan security agency expels George Simion for 5 years; 10-20% of Moldovans, 75% of Romanians support reunification; Romanian-speaking Moldova part of Russian Empire 1812-1918, Soviet republic 1940-1991, briefly part of Romania 1918-1940; Romanian PM Ponta on state visit to Moldova, talks energy with counterpart Gaburici; during 2014 address to ruling party activists Ponta urged reunification of two countries within EU, shrugged off Kremlin ire

WW4 File/Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia launches large-scale air defense drill in W., C., S. Military Districts, involves 250 aircraft, 12,000 servicemen, strategic bombers to test-launch cruise missiles at targets in Siberia; Center-2015 exercise in Sept. to test defensive capabilities of all branches of Russian Armed Forces; USAF B-52 bombers in first-ever deployment to neutral Sweden for June 13 exercise, Sweden’s Left, Green parties protest, Maj.-Gen. Engelbrektson: “How Russia interprets that, they can decide for themselves”; Estonia urges “long-term” presence of NATO troops in Baltic states, warily eyes Russian military’s establishment of bases near border under guise of exercises; Russian FSB arrests spy reportedly working for Lithuanian MI, Vilnius denies allegation, follows repeated disruption by Russian warships of laying of 400-km Nordbalt power cable between Lithuania, Sweden; US, Canadian fighter jets to participate in NORAD’s Amalgam Dart drill in Canada’s High Arctic, “train in aerospace detection and defence”

Communist Bloc Military Updates: Swedish fighter jets intercept two Russian Tu-22M “Backfire” bombers near island of Oland, follows neutral Stockholm’s participation in NATO ASW drill in North Sea; Russian Su-27 fighter jet flew within 20 feet of US recon aircraft over Baltic Sea on April 7, London-based NGO says such incidents numerous, warns of “high probability of causing casualties or a direct military confrontation between Russia and Western states”; People’s Liberation Army Air Force unnerves Japanese officials, holds provocative, first-ever exercise between Japan’s Miyako, Okinawa islands, cruise missile-equipped Xian H-6K strategic bombers also fly near contested Diaoyu/Senkaku islets; H-6K powered by 2 Russian-built D-30-KP2 turbofans, boasts combat radius of 3,500 km (i.e., can strike Hawaii); PLAAF spokesman: “The drill is not targeted at any country and carries no threat against other countries and regions”; follows PLAAF’s first-ever drill over Bashi Channel S of Taiwan in March

Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russian, Red Chinese warships arrive in Mediterranean Sea for “Naval Cooperation 2015” maneuvers, joint command based on guided-missile cruiser Moskva, flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, Vice Adm. Fedotenkov: Russia-China exercise “not directed against a third party”; Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization deploys 2,500 troops to Tajikistan for war game, prompts fears of Moscow’s influence in C. Asia after Pentagon withdraws troops from Afghanistan; fearing Russian revanchism in wake of Crimean annexation, covert intervention in Ukraine’s Donbass, Estonia stages largest military drill in country’s post-Soviet history, Estonian armed forces lack tanks, jet fighters, but mobilize every regular soldier, conscript, reservist for total deployment of 26,000 personnel, 1,000 NATO troops join “Exercise Hedgehog”

EU File: Czech police find IED in Brno flat on Apr. 28, charge six “leftist extremists” with plotting attack against military train on Prague-Plzeň line, accused members of Network of Revolutionary Cells, face 12 to 20 years in prison; 200 Czech, Russian anarchists march through Prague on May 1, protest nationwide crackdown targeting left-wing arsonists; 200-300 members of neo-Nazi Workers’ Social Justice Party march through Brno same day, 1,500 anti-fascists hold counter-rally, 600 police use tear gas to prevent confrontation, arrest 44 counter-protesters; Charter 77 Foundation honored Czech anarchist leader in 2001, Jakub Polák died in 2012; Kremlin’s far-right European network extends to Prague as Civic Conservative Party hosts anti-EU conference at Chamber of Deputies, invites France’s National Front chief, Marine Le Pen meets with ex-Pres. Vaclav Klaus, First Czech-Russian Bank issued controversial loan to French neo-fascists

Communism with Canadian Characteristics: Election shocker in Canada’s energy-rich Alberta province: New Democrats (NDP) to form majority socialist government as voters repudiate 44-year Progressive Conservative (PC) dynasty, 80 years of rightist dominance in Edmonton; ruling PCs collapse from 70 (of 87) seats in legislature to 10, NDP surges from 4 to 53 seats, “orange wave” (party color) sweeps over provincial capital, Calgary, surges into rural ridings; Premier Prentice wins own riding, but resigns as party leader, MLA, blames party defeat on deflated oil prices; Premier-designate Notley to raise income taxes, review fossil fuel royalty regime, strengthen “climate change” controls, oppose Keystone XL, Northern Gateway pipelines; right-wing Albertans angered by ruling party arrogance, 50,000 layoffs in O&G sector, inter-party defections, shift support to upstart Wildrose Party; S&P/TSX composite index reacts, falls 401 points over 2 days; Calgary consulting firm: “[Tuesday] may have seen the biggest, . . . most unexpected swing that Albertans will see for a generation as the province swerved hard to the political left”

We seldom post under this category, but it just so happens your resident blogger lives in “Wild Rose Country.”

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Ezra Levant: Albertans wanted a broom, not a hammer and sickle

Ezra Levant bio

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Neutral Finland sends letters to 900,000 reservists (out of population of 5.5 million), informs them of roles in “crisis situation,” denies any connection to Russian invasion of Ukraine, aggressive postures around NATO periphery; follows Finnish Navy’s unfriendly Apr. 27 encounter with suspected Russian sub in territorial waters, months of Russian air force sorties, army drills near 800-mile common border; conscription campaign apparently designed to offset defense budget cuts, regular force downsizing; 11 NATO states invite neutral Sweden–for the first time–to join one of its largest-ever anti-submarine exercise in North Sea, US Rear Adm. Brad Williamson comments on “Dynamic Mongoose”: “Russia has a right to be at sea, just as we do. But the incidents we have seen are not in line with international regulations… and that’s been the cause of concern”; Norwegian think tank urges government to boost defense budget: “The Ukraine crisis marks the end of a long period of peace time in Europe”

The winds of war are definitely blowing through Europe, but the shopping mall regime in North America continues to sleepwalk.

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USSR2 File: Russia plunders, destabilizes tiny Moldova: 10,000 Moldovans take to streets of Chisinau, protest disappearance of US$1.5 billion central bank loan to three private institutions, parliamentary committee report leaked to press, says Russian banks believed to be secret recipients; transactions apparently happened over several days, prior to last November’s election, pro-EU parties narrowly “squeezed out” pro-Moscow Communists, Socialists; Moldova’s Banca de Economii, Banca Sociala, Unibank hold 1/3 of all bank assets in Europe’s poorest country, including money for pension payments; Gagauzia autonomous region elects ex-communist as governor, Russian MPs and entertainers appear on campaign trail with Vlah, Moscow resident Yabukov finances Irina’s election bid, Kremlin hails victory; Russian troops conduct exercise in breakaway region of Transnistria on Apr. 9, drill involves APCs, grenade launchers, expends 100,000 rounds of ammo, 2,500-man occupational force stationed 60 miles away from Ukraine’s culturally divided port city of Odessa

Gray Terror File: Terrorist provocations unsettle Balkan stability as Macedonia’s state prosecutor indicts top Social Democrat, opposition leader over wiretap revelations challenging center-right PM; Zaev urges mass protests against Gruevski; 40 gunmen with “UCK” insignia seized police outpost in Macedonian border town of Gosnice on Apr. 21, disarmed, beat 4 police; Interior Ministry spokesman called incident “state terrorist attack” (i.e., coordinated by Pristina), police raid abandoned houses near Kosovo/Serbian border, find weapons, ammo; remnants of (officially) defunct Kosovo Liberation Army claim responsibility; motorcycle rider hurls grenade at office of Macedonia’s Democratic Union for Integration (BDI) on May 3, blast occurs in W. town of Mala Recica, child injured; pro-Albanian BDI descended from Macedonia’s KLA-spawned National Liberation Army, in ruling coalition with Gruevski’s VMRO-DPMNE; ISIS-linked Muslim gunman storms police station in Bosnian Serb town of Zvornik on Apr. 27, opens fire, kills Serb policeman, wounds two others; Milorad Dodik, president of Bosnia’s Serb Republic, renews threat to hold referendum on secession in 2018

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Finnish Navy repels “unidentified underwater object believed to be a submarine” in territorial waters, near Helsinki, fires underwater depth charges at vessel; DM Haglund: “We strongly suspect that there has been underwater activity that does not belong there. Of course it is always serious if our territorial waters have been violated,” refuses to identify sub as Russian; Commodore Olavi Jantunen: “The bombs are not intended to damage the target, the purpose is to let the target know that it has been noticed”; follows Sweden’s well-publicized Russian sub hunt last October; RAF Typhoons scrambled at Scotland’s Lossiemouth base, chase away Russian bombers (yet again), RN monitors Russian destroyer, support ships sailing through English Channel (yet again); Russian Defense Ministry to revive production of Tu-160 supersonic bomber, build 2 new aircraft in 2015, upgrade 5, 11 of 16 “Blackjacks” operational in 2013; USAF places all strategic bombers under control of Air Force Global Strike Command, based at Barksdale AFB, LA; B1-Bs transferred from Air Combat Command, reorganization effective Oct. 1, AFGSC commander to be elevated from 3- to 4-star general; follows partial relocation of NORAD back to Cheyenne Mtn.

More whistlin’ emoticons needed here.

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Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russian Space Forces pushing for further deployments of GLONASS tracking stations, GPS delivers navigation data with accuracy of 1.8 m, Russian military’s alternative accurate to 2.9 m, Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov: “GPS is still ahead of us, but the gap continues to shrink. We will catch up”; Sandinista supermajority in Nicaragua’s National Assembly rubberstamps law allowing Russia to build satellite tracking stations, meanwhile Russian ambassador denies reports of MiG-29 warplane sale to Managua; Moscow seeking GLONASS bases in Cuba, Red China, Vietnam, Mexico expresses interest in GLONASS; fearing “nefarious” Russian plan to spy on USA, Republicans urged Obama to sign 2013 law prohibiting placement of GLONASS bases; Russian DM Shoigu after meeting Cuba’s Dep. Chairman of Council of Ministers in Moscow: “We intend to continue cooperation in supplying the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces with modern weapons and military hardware”; Ricardo Cabrisas: “Shoigu’s visit to Havana this Feb. helped to strengthen cooperation between Cuba and Russia”

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Donbass rebels flout Minsk 2 ceasefire, launch Grads at government-held town of Avdiivka; NATO spokesman Mark Laity: “There are hundreds of Russian supplied tanks in E. Ukraine, and thousands of Russians have gone into Ukraine to fight Ukrainians”; info war, ideological confrontation rages over insurgency: Lookingglass computer security firm: Russian FSB behind “Operation Armageddon,” cyberwar campaign targeting Ukrainian military, CI, LE; NATO’s CIRC wins world’s largest cyber defence exercise, Estonia hosts “Locked Shields 2015”; self-proclaimed PM of “Donetsk People’s Republic”: “We believed and will believe that we are part of the Soviet Union, part of Russia”; Medvedev on sanctions, Crimea annexation: “The losses from the introduced limitations have been serious for our economy . . . But everyone, the authorities and our society, realized that no matter the cost, we had no other way”; Putin issues notice to Crimeans (esp. Tatars) during annual phone-in: “After WWII we tried to impose our model of development on many Eastern European countries and did it by force . . . there’s nothing good about it”

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Washington accuses Russian army of setting up air defenses in separatist-controlled areas of Ukraine’s Donbass, Russian Defense Ministry retorts: US troops training government forces in SE oblasts; State Dept. scoffs at Kremlin allegation, maintains trainers in W. Ukraine, nowhere near combat zone; NATO Sec.-Gen. Stoltenberg says Moscow has “substantially stepped up supplies to the rebels”; Polish FM Schetyna intimates Warsaw may send troops to help Ukraine suppress separatists, repel Russian regulars: “We cannot exclude that in case of renewed escalation of military actions, we will be forced . . . to take a decision on stronger support for the Ukrainian state, including its defense capacities”; Poland to train 50 Ukrainian army instructors in 2015; Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian military command to be HQed in Lublin, 4,500-man trilateral brigade fully operational in 2016; Warsaw to outlay US$37 billion in massive defense upgrade, replace Soviet-era arsenal with 8 Patriot missile batteries, 50 Airbus multi-purpose helos, tender planned for 20-30 attack choppers

Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia drawing “neutral” Serbia into its military orbit as latter walks tightrope between NATO, CSTO; Russian ambassador to Serbian lawmakers: “NATO is being very active in Serbia. It would suit Serbia’s interest to maintain good relations with the ODKB [CSTO] as well”; DM Gasic travels to Moscow, meets Russian counterpart Shoigu, discusses regional security issues (i.e., Ukraine); Russian, Serbian air forces planning joint drill in September (unclear where), Russian Defense Ministry: “Aircrew on MiG-29 fighters will perform tasks to intercept air targets, while Mi-8 military transport and combat helicopters will work on tactical landings, covering ground units from the air, firing missiles at ground targets . . .”; Russian, Belarusian and Serbian armies to hold trilateral drill in autumn 2015 (unclear where); Belgrade to buy 2 Russian military helos; Serbian political scientist on Pres. Nikolic’s, army’s presence at Putin’s planned Victory Day military parade: “We are definitely part of the coalition [of victors], considering how many Serbs were killed in the Second World War . . .”

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Ukraine’s top general, Col.-Gen. Muzhenko, identifies specific Russian military units operating in Donbass: “. . . Ukrainian army inflicted heavy losses on the Russian army, and disrupted Russia’s aggressive plans for further advance . . . regular units of the Russian army are still in Ukraine . . . such as the 15th Separate Motor Rifle Brigade of the 2nd Central Military District Army, 8th Motor Rifle Brigade, 331st Airborne Regiment from Kostroma, 98th Airborne Division and other[s]”; 290 US paratroopers arrive near Lviv, start joint exercise “Fearless Guardian 2015” with 900 Ukrainian service- men; Lithuanian DM urges EU to recognize Russia as “aggressor state,” says “NATO should be developing deterrent and defense forces”; Rada lawmaker Andry Teteruk maintains “some” OSCE observers in combat zone Russian FSB agents; Ukraine urges ICC to investigate alleged Russian war crimes in occupied Crimea, while Moscow dissuades Kiev, NATO against future attempts to recapture peninsula, bolsters seapower, airpower in Crimea, plans to sink US$2.2 billion into upgrading region’s infrastructure in 2015, create “analogue of Silicon Valley”

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: NORAD/ NORTHCOM chief, Adm. Gortney, admits Russia still threat to N. American security: “This past year has marked a notable increase in Russian military assertiveness. Should these trends continue over time, NORAD will face increased risk in our ability to defend N. America against Russian air, maritime and cruise missile threats. We watch very carefully what they are doing”; Gortney to reporters: NORAD moving communications gear back to Cheyenne Mtn., nuclear bunker “EMP-hardened,” reverses 2006 relocation to Petersen AFB in Colorado Springs; Gortney to Senate Armed Services Cmte.: Upgrade needed for North Warning radar sites across Canadian Arctic, current installations unable to track “low-altitude cruise missiles”; Russia’s top general, Valery Gerasimov, reiterates Kremlin’s late-2000s threat to target missile shield in former East Bloc (e.g., Poland, Romania, etc.): “Nonnuclear powers where missile-defense installations are being installed have become the objects of priority response”; Moscow brands new Nordic Pact between NATO, non-NATO militaries of N. Europe “confrontational”

Park whistlin’ emoticon here.

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WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: NATO top cmdr., U.S. Gen. Breedlove, demands “Russia stops fuelling conflict” by sending troops, weapons to Ukraine separatists, abide by terms of Minsk 2 ceasefire; 50 NATO warships, 13,000 seamen hold maneuver near N. Scotland as Russian inspection team arrives at RAF Lossiemouth to monitor “Joint Warrior,” Typhoons chase away Russian Bear bombers (again), and Russian spy ships (“fishing trawlers”) lurk off UK coast; 450 troops from USA, Portugal, Poland, Lithuania hold artillery exercise Fire Thunder 2015 in ex-Soviet republic; 2,200 more from USA, UK, Moldova, Romania carry out Wind Spring 15 drill in Black Sea country, Romanian FM Dusa: “We will permanently rotate troops on this [NATO’s SE] flank”; USA contributes 290 troops, Canada 200, UK 75 to multinational training force in W. Ukraine, Pentagon military advisers to train Ukrainian National Guard; Polish biker incensed by Russian motorcycle club’s plan to re-trace WW2 route of Red Army to Berlin via Poland, “Night Wolves” fighting alongside Donbass rebels, urges “brother” bikers to block Russian convoy, “put aggressors in their place”; Polish PM Kopacz calls planned ride “provocation,” Putin rode with gang in Crimea in 2010

Putin invades Poland at head of motorcycle gang . . . yup, gotta see that one!

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USSR2 File: Russia subverts, divides West, preps for domestic unrest: 1) Putin, Medvedev woo Greece’s leftist PM during Tsipras’ state visit to Moscow, cagey about bailout for cash-strapped Greeks, meanwhile 100s of anarchists (once again) clash with Athens police; 2) Kremlin spokesman Peskov scoffs at CNN report “Russian government” hacked into US State Dept. computers, Obama’s schedule in Oct. 2014; 3) “International Russian Conservative Forum” draws 400 neo-fascists to St. Petersburg on Mar. 22, attendees from Bulgaria’s Ataka, Greece’s Golden Dawn, Germany’s NDP, Italy’s New Force, British National Party, FM of (terrorist group) “Donetsk People’s Republic”; “rightist Comintern” reportedly organized by Russian Dep. PM, Rogozin under US sanctions; 4) Kremlin invites dictators of Red China, N. Korea, Vietnam to view Victory Day military parade, “neutral” Serbia, PRC to send troops for May 9 march-past; Czech, Greek, Cypriot presidents beholden to pro-Russia lobbies, plan for Red Square appearances, Zeman bans US envoy from Prague Castle after row; 5) Kremlin fears repeat of 2011-2013 mass protests, 2014 Ukrainian Revolution, Interior Ministry troops hold “Barrier 2015” exercise, practice crushing demos with “irritant gases, water cannons and various types of military technologies and special weapons of non-lethal impact”

EU/USA Files/Useful Idiots Bin: NORAD responds to Russian Air Force provocations with “Polar Growl” exercise, Pentagon dispatches 4 Stratofortress bombers on missions over North Pole, North Sea, RCAF ensures safe passage for B-52s flying over Canada to bases in N. Dakota, Louisiana, USAF Stratotankers refuel Canadian CF-18s; 200 airmen, 12 F-15Cs of Florida Air National Guard’s 125th Fighter Wing head to Netherlands, Bulgaria for 3-month deployment, “bolster NATO forces in E. Europe set on edge by Russian aggression in the region”; Poland to erect guard towers along border with Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave, hosts Patriot missile battery, 100 U.S. troops near Warsaw, Poles heed call to receive army training “in case of an invasion”; Latvia to impose military service on university students in 2016, joins Lithuania in countering Russian revanchism; Norwegian businessman buys mothballed Olavsvern sub base in 2013, rents impregnable Arctic mountain hideaway to Russian research firms, 3 Russian vessels overwinter in facility; Vice Admiral (Ret.) Einar Skorgen: “We sold the only base worthy of the name that we had up there. It’s pure madness”

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Rebel mortar, tank fire hits Ukrainian army positions around Mariupol in past 24 hours, breaches Minsk 2 ceasefire, 2 soldiers killed, 4 wounded in combat zone; General (Ret.) Wesley Clark: Renewed Russian offensive in Ukraine “imminent,” “most probably” take place between Orthodox Easter (April 12), Russia’s VE Day (May 8); “[S]ome 9000 Russian Federation personnel and 30 to 35,000 separatist fighters are in eastern Ukraine. These forces include some 400 tanks and 700 pieces of artillery, including rocket launchers . . . 50,000 Russian military personnel are located along or near Russia’s border with Ukraine. A further 50,000 . . . are located in Crimea”; Ukraine’s Justice Minister Petrenko: Law- makers preparing to ban Communist Party by May 9; SBU interrogates CPU boss for 10 hours, Symonenko questioned concerning attendance at Communist meeting in Moscow, public statements; CPU cadres in Dnipropetrovsk, Odessa arrested on charges of terrorism in past weeks, months; SBU detains Russian citizen on charges of organizing bombings in Kharkiv, suspected of holding post in outlawed “Donetsk People’s Republic,” IED, ammo found in accused woman’s residence

EU File: NATO counters Russian aggression in Ukraine’s Crimea, Donbass, possible thrusts toward Mariupol, Odessa, Baltic states, with ongoing “Atlantic Resolve” deployments, drills in FSU, ex-Soviet Bloc; Latvia hosts troops from Lithuania, Germany, Luxembourg, USA, Canada, NATO’s “Summer Shield” designed to “enhance Latvian Land Force’s capacity and capability to integrate fire-and-maneuver at battalion and brigade level’; Pentagon deploys: 1) 12 A-10 Thunderbolt IIs to Romania, mission designed to “deter Russian aggression in region,” follows arrival of 4 “Warthog” tank-buster aircraft in Poland; 2) 12 F-15s to Bulgaria for joint exercise; 3) 290 US paratroopers from Italy-based 173rd Airborne Brigade to W. Ukraine for joint training with 900 Ukrainian National Guardsmen; NATO military chief, Gen. Breedlove, comments on recent US Army Stryker convoy through Baltics, Poland, Czech Rep., Germany: “The exercise tested many things that hadn’t been done for a long time in NATO … like multiple border crossings and which bridges are capable of handling the vehicles”; Lithuanian State Security Dept. claims 1/3 of Russian diplomats in EU spying for Russia’s SVR, warns “Moscow could test the alliance with unconventional tactics”

Breedlove’s comments are noteworthy. “Dragoon Ride” was more than a morale booster for Central and Eastern Europeans fearful of another Russian invasion/occupation. NATO is testing its own abilities in its main theater of operation: Europe.

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WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Russian generals to US officials at March mtg. in Germany: Kremlin will use nukes to defend Crimea annexation, if NATO deploys more forces to Baltic states; Ukrainian troops, volunteer battalions hold their ground in village 9 miles E of Mariupol as rebel artillery regularly breaches “Minsk 2” ceasefire; Russian merc on leave in St. Petersburg talks to BBC News, admits Russian regulars fighting alongside separatists: “All operations, especially large-scale ones, are led by Russian officers, by Russian generals. They develop plans together with our commanders … and then we fulfil the orders . . . our tanks came to help us. It was the Russian Army . . . Thanks to them, thanks to that heavy weaponry, we took Debaltseve”; DPR militants raid industrial sites in Donetsk O., ship equipment to Russia in 20 semi-trailer trucks; Kiev accuses Transnistrian KGB of destabilizing SW border after Moldovan citizen shot, injured; Ukraine arrests 3 Communists on charges of organizing spate of bombings in divided port city of Odessa, SBU chief Nalyvajchenko: “When the Russians openly invaded Ukraine, the Communists acted as collaborators and policemen helping the Kremlin in Crimea and Donbas”

In Belarus and the unrecognized, Moscow-backed “statelets” of Transnistria (Moldova) and South Ossetia (Georgia), the security services are still known by their dreaded Soviet-era name, KGB.

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EU File: UK responds to Russian aggression in Ukraine, provocations near British airspace: RAF launches defense exercise over NE England, largest since Cold War, “Rising Panther” includes 30 Typhoon fighters, Tornado strike aircraft, AWACS; 16,000 British troops, Challenger 2 tank units prep for potential “foreign” deployment, 4-week exercise includes live-fire drill on Salisbury Plain; follows news of Kremlin warplane deal for Argentina, renewed threat to Falkland Islands; Moscow denies reports in talks with Buenos Aires to lease supersonic bombers, but refuses to rule out future possibility; USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II tank-buster planes arrive in Poland, join Polish F-16s, Su-22s in ongoing “Atlantic Resolve” “security reassurance mission” in ex-Warsaw Pact states; 1000s of Czechs welcome US Army Stryker convoy making its way to German base from Baltic states, Communists, No to Bases group hold anti-USA/NATO demo in Prague; Bohumil Doležal: “Face to face with the protests of the Communists and the pro-Russian lobby, we would like today to cordially welcome American soldiers in the Czech Republic and express our solidarity with the allies in NATO . . .”

It is expected that in 10 years Russia will completely modernize its stock of ICBMs. At present, this arsenal is evenly split beween Soviet-era and post-Cold War missiles.

Demands for defense budget increases. Nearly continuous NATO military exercises. Europe’s worried.

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WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Ukrainian soldiers, Mariupol civilians unimpressed by “Minsk 2” ceasefire deal, still await siege after 8 months of sporadic artillery/missile attacks by Donbass rebels, Russian regulars, volunteer battalions claim to have destroyed force of 29 Russian paratroopers in town of Shyrokine, report arrival in Krasnodon of 20 train cars loaded with ammunition from Russia; speaker of Chechnya’s pro-Moscow regional parliament, United Russia member reacts to US Congress vote to send weapons to Ukraine, urges Chechnya to arm Mexico for attack against USA, reconquest of SW states, Kremlin spokesman Peskov downplays startling remarks on Chechen government website; Russia, in person of ambassador to Copenhagen, threatens to target Danish warships with nuclear missiles if Scandinavian country joins NATO missile defense, Mar. 24 Russian bomber/fighter sortie made “supersonic dash” for Denmark across Baltic Sea

Latin America File: Commons Defense Cmte. urges UK to rearm in face of Russian aggression in Ukraine, reverse post-Cold War slide in conventional, nuclear weapons capabilities; Def. Sec. Fallon replies: “The UK has the second largest defense budget in NATO and the largest in the EU,” promises to bolster 1,200-troop garrison in Falkland Islands, follows news of Russia’s intent to lease 12 all-weather attack aircraft to leftist regime in Buenos Aires; top Russian politician tweets: “Attention London: Crimea has far more reason to be in Russia than the Falklands have to be part of Great Britain”; Russian FM visits Nicaragua, meets Pres. Ortega (probably discuss Kremlin bit part in PRC canal megaproject, sale of Russian fighter jets to Managua), moves on to Cuba, meets Pres. R. Castro (probably discuss US trade embargo/diplomatic thaw, Russian spy ship once again anchored in Havana Harbor); Lavrov sidesteps top arms client Venezuela, shows up in neighboring Colombia, slams US sanctions against socialist regime in Caracas; Lavrov, Argentine FM Timerman attend meeting of Central American Integration System in Guatemala

EU File: Greece’s leftist PM Tsipras flouts EC-ECB-IMF troika, bailout stipulations, implements anti-austerity measure, disburses US$213 million in food stamps, free electricity to poorest citizens, plays “Russia card,” bumps up by 1 month planned trip to Moscow, now Apr. 8, spooks European leaders with prospect of Russian investment in Greece’s state assets; 1,000 anarchists riot in streets of Athens, demand closure of maximum-security prisons, release of imprisoned terrorists, both anarchists and Marxists; 2nd group of anarchists ends 6-day occupation of Athens Law School after government issues no-arrest order; 10,000 “Blockupy” militants descend on Frankfurt, stage violent anti-capitalist protest outside new HQ of European Central Bank, torch police cars, 80 officers injured, many radicals bussed in from Berlin, 350 arrested; European-wide alliance of leftists backed by Greece’s ruling Syriza, Germany’s “ex”-communist Left, Spain’s upstart Podemos

Communism’s dead. Meanwhile, across Europe . . .

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EU/USSR2 Files: Russia celebrates anniversary of annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, effectively annexes South Ossetia in Kremlin ceremony, follows similar move with Abkhazia in Nov. 2014; rebel leader Tibilov meets fellow Chekist Putin, signs document integrating Georgian region’s security forces, military, customs services into Russia’s, submits to plan “outlining how Russia will protect the borders of South Ossetia”; Georgia’s Foreign Ministry, EU condemns Moscow-Tskhinvali “treaty” as “actual annexation”; NATO fighter jets intercept 6 Russian warplanes over Baltic Sea amid Russian naval drill, aggression in Ukraine’s Donbass; neutral Sweden deploys 150 troops to Gotland after 10-year absence, DM Hultqvist: “Gotland has a strategic location in the Baltic Sea . . .”; senior Estonian politician concurs: “Gotland is a big worry for us. It could be overrun by Russia in minutes and then all of us would be highly vulnerable to an attack”; 100 US troops to conduct Patriot missile battery exercise with Poland’s 3rd Warsaw Air Defense Missile Brigade in late March, 200 US soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, with tanks, arrive in Poland, stay until June

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Leonid Tibilov, Chief of South Ossetian KGB, 1992-1998 (bio)

Red Dawn Alert/Communist Bloc Military Updates: Putin rematerializes in public after 10-day vanishing act provokes flurry of speculation, defends Crimea takeover in TV documentary, considered use of nukes; Kremlin announces deployment of nuclear-capable Tu-22M3, Tu-95 bombers to occupied Crimea, Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad exclave, part of “exercises”; 5-day Arctic region drill involves N. Fleet, 38,000 Russian servicemen, 50 surface ships and submarines, 110 aircraft; 3,000 troops drilled on Sakhalin Island, Kamchatka Peninsula, other areas in Russian Far East; Venezuela’s Marxist dictator, Putin ally alleges recent US sanctions against 7 officials “bid to topple him,” Maduro secures decree powers from lawmakers, mobilizes 80,000 troops, 20,000 red-shirted civilians for 10-day “Bolivarian Shield” military exercise, naval, air defense, artillery units train with visiting counter- parts from Russia, Red China; Venezuelan DM Padrino: “The United States has declared Venezuela a threat. And that means an imminent danger for us . . .”

Blogger’s Note: Behind the New Iron Curtain: A picture of daily life in Putin’s Russia

In the mid-1990s your resident blogger’s wife visited Russia several times and made a number of friends. Several months ago, she managed to get in touch with one of these old friends. This Russian citizen, whose name and town of residence are withheld, offered the following observations of daily life under the Putinist regime:

Life here is very depressing. I am not sure to what extend you follow the news. People around us are brainwashed with TV propaganda.  They see the western world as an enemy and only “mother Russia” acts correctly. Economically everything goes to the bottom, life became very expensive.

We are glad that we don’t have now children to look after. It would be a terrible burden now. We also are very glad that [our daughter] moved out of this country. 

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He can use my comments, of course. I read the news from newly opened site meduza.io. I think your husband knows that Lenta.ru was closed by the government last year and its chief Galina Тimchenko started a new project but from Riga [i.e., capital of Latvia]. I also installed Tor which allows me to read three forbidden sites Kasparov.ru, Grani.ru, ej.ru. On the territory of Russia they are blocked. I personally value the articles of Garry Kasparov, Andrey Piontkovsky, Andrey Illarionov. There are other authors too.

My husband and I can openly talk about the situation here only with 2 people around us. The rest are brain washed. Something really bad will come out from Russia. We are ashamed of us.

EU File: Athens raises stakes in struggle with Berlin over bailout terms, insists upon dealing separately with EU, ECB, IMF on extension, threatens to seize German property as compensation for WW2 atrocities; Greek anarchists on the rampage: 150 masked supporters of Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei (SPF) occupy law school in Athens, demand release of jailed comrades, convicted terrorist, Marxist Savvas Xiros, ex-cadre of defunct Revolutionary Organization 17 November, older brother Christodoulos also imprisoned since 2002, re-captured in Jan. 2015 after dodging temporary leave provisions 12 months earlier, threatening New Democracy-led government with “armed action”; 50 anarchists storm leftist ruling party HQ on Mar. 8, occupy Syriza office for 9 hours, 300 anarchists staged anti-EU/anti-austerity demo outside Athens U. on Feb. 26; SPF anarchists launched campaign of violence in 2008, bombing banks, car dealerships; Golden Dawn fuehrer Mihaloliakos, 70 followers, including 13 lawmakers, to stand trial in April, charged with belonging to “criminal organization,” neo-Nazis cry “political persecution”

EU File: New Cold War in Europe: NATO, Russian warships conduct concurrent drills in Black Sea amid Ukraine crisis, 8,000 Russian servicemen begin multi-branch drills throughout country, occupied Crimea, Abkhazia, S. Ossetia, includes urban, naval warfare, slated to last into early April; Lithuania reintroduces conscription, Poland alters draft rules for potential return to mandatory army training, preps for countrywide defense drills involving all levels of government, slated for 2nd half of 2015; Polish Dep. DM Mroczek: Supplier for medium-range missile defence to be selected within “next few weeks,” US firm Raytheon, consortium of France’s Thales and European MBDA shortlisted for US$5 billion deal; previously reported: Poland shifts 1,000s of troops to E. borders (i.e., adjacent to Russian exclave Kaliningrad, Russian ally Belarus), restores light infantry units of WW2-era Home Army; Norway re-opens Arctic bases closed since Cold War, “restructures” armed forces to respond faster to “increased Russian aggression”; Sweden to counter Russian military activity near coasts, buy 70 new fighter jets, subs

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Kiev to tap into US$17.5 billion IMF loan, Managing Director Lagarde seeks Ukraine’s “immediate economic stabilization”; USA to ship $75 million in non-lethal aid to Ukraine, including counter-mortar radar, aerial drones, radios, medical equipment; President Obama approves shipment of 20 armored Humvees, up to 200 unarmored Humvees “under a separate authority”; Moscow-backed separatists, covert Russian regulars continue artillery attacks against villages near Mariupol in spite of Feb. 12 ceasefire, most residents of Shyrokine flee, Azov Battalion: “They keep accumulating man power and military equipment. We also have information that there around 30 tanks are located there”; towns of Avdeyevka, Opytne, Kamianka, positions of Ukrainian military near Pisky, Maiorsk also come under mortar, grenade fire in recent days; Ukrainian air defenses track 6 aerial drones over Mariupol; municipal government runs civil defense drills, estimates 30% of city’s population supports Ukraine, 30% rebels, 40% undecided; ex-Rada deputy, Communist Party cadre Sergiy Gordienko arrested on charge of impeding peaceful protest under Yanukovich regime

Asia File/Communist Bloc Military Updates: New Cold War in SE Asia: Washington asks Hanoi to close Cam Ranh airport to Russian Air Force, Russian aerial tankers, strategic bombers using facility to refuel, support “provocative” flights in NE Pacific, around Guam; US State Dept.: “We have urged Vietnamese officials to ensure that Russia is not able to use its access to Cam Ranh Bay to conduct activities that could raise tensions in the region”; Hanoi replies angrily: “Washington’s demand that Vietnam [stops allowing refueling planes to land] can be seen as nothing else but interference in the internal affairs of Vietnam, a sovereign state which determines its own policies for cooperating with its friends and partners”; Vietnam’s highest-ranking Communist Party official travelled to Sochi in Nov. 2014, met Putin, inked agreement on “simplified entry” of Russian warships to Cam Ranh’s deep-water port; Russian-built Kilo-class diesel-powered submarine sailed into Cam Ranh in Jan., 3rd such vessel commissioned into Vietnam’s navy; USAF used Cam Ranh during Vietnam War to repel forces from Communist North, shut down ops in 1972, handed over facility to South’s government; Soviet/Russian Navy took over Cam Ranh in 1979, withdrew personnel in 2002

EU File/Communist Bloc Military Updates: New Cold War in Europe: First shipment of 250 US tanks, fighting vehicles arrives in Latvian capital, N. Germany on Mar. 9, 500 to follow; US military official to BBC News: US armor will be “pre-positioned for deployment so we can more quickly react to crises” [i.e., possible Russian re-invasion of Baltics]; NATO multilateral naval drill kicks off in Black Sea, involves warships from USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey; Russia completely withdraws from 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, ends participation in Joint Consultative Group, finalizes Moscow’s 2007 unilateral moratorium on implementation, Belarus to play part of “spy” on CFE JCG; 2,000 Russian servicemen carry out air defense drills in N. Caucasus, Georgia’s occupied regions of Abkhazia and S. Ossetia, Ukraine’s occupied region of Crimea; Dep. DM Antonov pleads national security: “NATO activity is much higher than that of the Russian armed forces”; Russian arms control official: “I don’t know if there are nuclear weapons there [in Crimea] now. I don’t know about any plans, but in principle Russia can do it”

EU File/Communist Bloc Military Updates: New Cold War in Europe: Pentagon to deploy 3,000 troops, 750 tanks, helicopters to Baltic states, exercises expected to last 3 months, but Gen. John O’Conner says “equipment [presumably US soldiers too] will stay for as long as required to deter Russian aggression” (i.e., in Ukraine, other former Soviet republics); follows participation of US armor in Independence Day parade in Estonian city of Narva, 300 yards from Russian border; 550 troops of Germany-based US Army 2nd Cavalry Regiment, 75 Stryker combat vehicles take part in live-fire component of “Atlantic Resolve” drill in N. Poland; NATO maneuvers come on heels of provocative intrusions by Russian nuclear bombers into British, Irish airspace; Tu-95s skim S. English coast near Southhampton, Royal Navy base at Portsmouth, lurk 25 miles off Irish coast in separate incident, deactivate transponders, force commercial airliners to “dodge” Bears; Russian fighter jets based out of Novofedorvka in occupied Crimea launch practice attacks against NATO warships in Black Sea, sortie of 3 Su-30s, 4 Su-24s overflew guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg, Turkish frigate

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The Balts are worried and perhaps the Pentagon suspects the Russians are planning further interventions on behalf of ethnic Russians outside the “Motherland.”

 

Red Terror File/WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Sr. NATO official: Russian soldiers dying in “large numbers,” fighting alongside Donbass separatists, US Army Europe commander: 12,000 Russian troops deployed in SE Ukraine; Nemtsov intended to publish evidence of military intervention in Ukraine before his assassination; President Poroshenko posthumously awards Russian politician with “Order of Freedom”; KGB/FSB chief Bortnikov: 4 Chechens arrested in connection with Nemtsov murder, one of two principal suspects ex-soldier in Chechnya’s Interior Ministry; National Review: “[T]his murder bears the hallmarks of Russian intelligence. Watch the video of Nemtsov’s murder: It’s only when a government vehicle conceals Nemtsov from other drivers and the camera that the murderers strike. After executing Nemtsov, the shooter runs to a getaway car . . . The team escapes and Nemtsov bleeds out . . . The clinical timing . . . and the selected location . . . strongly suggest the culprits had military and intelligence training”

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Nemtsov’s murder proves that Putin will stop at nothing to conceal his “secret war” in Ukraine.