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. 

*    *    *

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.

Red Terror File: Knife-wielding left-nationalist attacks US ambassador in Seoul, Mark Lippert attending breakfast hosted by Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation, facial wound required 80 stitches, arm slashed, nerve damage expected; Kim Ki-Jong subdued, shouts slogans against annual US-South Korean military exercise, tells police “Today I committed a terrorist act”; boasting history of assaults, trips to North Korea, anti-USA demos stretching back to mid-1980s, convicted criminal Kim hurled pieces of concrete at Japanese envoy in 2010; Kim’s organization Urimadang (“Our Square”) dedicated to Korean unification; SK President Park Geun-hye calls incident “not only a physical attack on the U.S. ambassador in South Korea but also an attack on the Korea-U.S. alliance and we will not tolerate it”; Pyongyang’s official propaganda agency praises bloody attack against Ambassador Lippert as “just punishment,” “expression of resistance,” refers to Kim’s weapon as “knife of justice”; Seoul bans Unified Progressive Party, leftist lawmakers accused in 2013 of plotting to overthrow government in event of NK invasion

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Flashback: 2013 South Korean Sabotage Plot (source)

Red Terror File: Russia’s liberal opposition leader Nemtsov, former first deputy PM under President Yeltsin, gunned down near Kremlin at 11:40 p.m., Feb. 27, unknown assailants emerge from car, shoot anti-Putin critic four times in back; Nemtsov planned to participate in March 1 demo against Russia’s covert military intervention in Ukraine, predicted own murder in Feb. 10 interview: “I’m afraid Putin will kill me”; Russian dictator admits murder probably “contract killing,” sends telegram of condolence to Nemtsov’s mother, orders KGB/FSB to probe (i.e., cover-up) murder; Ukrainian President Poroshenko accuses Putin aide, Kremlin ideologist Surkov of sending hit team to Kiev’s Maidan in Feb. 2014, orchestrating sniper killings of protesters; SBU chief Nalivaichenko: “[SBU Alpha special forces unit] members gave us concrete information about the positions of foreign sniper groups that were targeting both protesters … and Interior Ministry police officers. There’s [evidence] of their ranks, last names, copies of their passports, dates of arrival and departure, what cellphone network they used, where they stayed and how Putin’s advisor Surkov coordinated their activity in Kiev”

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Moscow-backed Donbass rebels concentrate firepower, keep up attacks near Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, follows lengthy siege of strategic railway town of Debaltseve, Feb. 17 retreat of government troops, shaky implementation of 2nd ceasefire since Sept.; NATO countries to send military advisers to regions outside combat zone: US military to train four companies of National Guard near Polish border; USAF deploys 12 A-10 tank-busters to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Thunderbolts to be later “forward deployed to other partner nations in E. Europe”; UK troops to train Ukrainian counterparts in medical, logistics, intelligence, infantry skills; Polish defense official: “The defense ministry intends to send Polish instructors to support the training of Ukrainian non-commissioned officers”; German BfV chief Hans-Georg Maaßen: Russia reverting to “Soviet-style” spying in Europe, ferreting out NATO intentions regarding Ukraine crisis

Red Dawn Alert/Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia counters NATO military buildup in ex-Soviet Bloc, political and non-lethal military support for Ukraine, DM Shoigu conducts official visits to leftist allies in Caribbean Basin, arranges joint naval/air defense exercise with Venezuela for late 2015, second such drill since 2008, reaffirms Moscow’s commitment to arm Venezuelan military, follows socialist president Maduro’s Jan. trip to Moscow, conference with Putin, OPEC leaders on global oil price collapse; Shoigu travels on to Managua, Havana, praises Ortega, Castro for opening up harbors to Russian warships, pledges Moscow’s technical involvement in Chinese-led Nicaragua Canal megaproject; Gen. Zepeda, chief of Nicaraguan MI, comments on planned purchase of Russian-built MiG-29 fighter jets, disavows intent to attack C. American neighbors: “We plan to buy a batch of warplanes that would be used only for defence purposes, not for air strikes”; Kremlin’s top general Gerasimov announces military drills with Cuba, North Korea, other states: “We are planning an expansion of the communication lines of our military central command. We are entering preliminary negotiations with the armed forces of Brazil, Vietnam, Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”

With news like this, it is obvious that the Communist Bloc militaries are pooling their resources for a collective blow against the USA and its allies. NATO’s “meddling” in Ukraine will be Moscow’s pretext for a preemptive strike. If Nicaraguan past/present dictator Ortega equips his tiny air force with MiG-29s, who’s to say these aircraft won’t actually be piloted by Russians, who can then provide cover for strategic bombers that have already made provocative touchdowns in Caracas and Managua?

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Red Dawn Alert/WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Ukrainian National Guard launches offensive against Donbass rebels near Mariupol, covert Russian regulars led deadly missile attack against strategic port city on Jan. 24; President Poroshenko visits Kramatorsk on Wed., after 15 civilians, soldiers killed in rebel rocket barrage day before; travels to Minsk for talks with leaders of France, Germany, Russia, then Brussels for EU summit; NATO more than doubles size of rapid reaction force to 30,000 soldiers, 6 command centers to be set up in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Baltic republics; Germany to send 1,700 troops to Poland, join NATO’s “Sober Strike” exercise, unprecedented deployment possibly first since WW2-era Nazi occupation, bound to agitate Polish nationalists; Russian DM Shoigu plans visit to leftist allies in Caribbean, negotiate with Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua on weapons sales, naval maintenance/resupply sites, refueling Russian nuclear bombers on “global patrol missions”; Russian Tu-160s landed in Caracas, Managua in 2008, 2013; President Ortega (possibly anticipating revenue from Chinese-built Nicaragua Canal) submits order for Russian-made MiG-29s, failed Soviet warplane deal during first Sandinista regime (1979-1990) worried Reagan Admin

EU File: Greece’s leftist-led, anti-austerity government receives vote of confidence in parliament ahead of emergency meeting with Eurozone finance ministers; Germany rejects new debt accord as PM Tsipras’ right-wing coalition partner, DM Kammenos hints Athens may accept bailout from Moscow after all: “[I]f there is no deal . . . and if we see that Germany remains rigid and wants to blow apart Europe . . . [then] Plan B is to get funding from another source. It could the United States at best, it could be Russia, it could be China . . .”; Russian FM Lavrov butters up the Greeks: “We appreciate the stance of the Greek government [vis-à-vis European Union]”; Syriza’s internal “Communist Tendency” praises Tsipras for standing up to EU, Berlin: “SYRIZA’s Communists welcome the government’s intentions not to give in to the provocative ultimatums of Germany, and to the ECB’s attempt to suffocate the Greek banking system”; Tsipras decides to privatize Port of Piraeus after sending mixed signals, Beijing-owned COSCO front-runner to buy state’s 67% stake in facility; Kremlin clinches military cooperation deal with bankrupt Cyprus, Nicosia opens ports and air bases to Russian Air Force, Navy

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Weeks of heavy fighting between Ukrainian troops and Donbass rebels, Russian regulars prompt evacuation of city of Vuhlehirsk, railway hub Debaltseve, 80% of civilians flee, dead bodies lying in the streets; Tymchuk: Russian Ground Forces deploy 1,200 troops, 45 tanks to prosecute siege of Debaltseve; PM Yatsenyuk at joint press conference with US State Secretary Kerry in Kiev: “We are fighting against rebels, we are fighting against Russian regular troops. It is without doubt that Russia keeps its troops in Donbas. It is rather difficult to buy Russian tanks and missile batteries in Donbas stores”; ATO spokesman reports “Russian terrorist forces” also preparing to re-attack strategic port city of Mariupol: Merkel, Hollande travel to Moscow on peace mission, hold talks with Putin on Feb. 6, attend Munich Security Conference on Sat., unable to guarantee success of peace initiative for Ukraine’s Donbass

EU File: Global stock markets “falter” as Greece’s new leftist government adheres to anti-austerity program, ECB withdraws “key borrowing option” for Greek banks; PM Tsipras converses by phone with Putin, discusses economic, energy cooperation, Ukraine crisis, Russian dictator invites Syriza leader to Moscow; right-wing DM, coalition partner Kammenos assures NATO allies Athens “committed” to military alliance in spite of friendly “political” relations with Moscow, “[W]e have [Russian] military equipment. We discussed that with the [NATO] secretary general. We will continue to source spare parts so that we are able to keep this equipment . . .”; Merkel digs in heels over Greek sovereign debt, while Germany’s “ex”-communist Left Party urges EU to talk reduction with Athens; Golden Dawn fuehrer Michaloliakos, 71 followers to stand trial on charges related to 2013 murder of anti-racist musician, membership in “criminal group,” unclear whether neo-Nazis to be permitted to take seats in Greek parliament prior to court date

EU File: Greece’s new leftist PM rejects Moscow’s overtures for financial bailout (for now), carries out first official foreign visit to Greek-speaking Cyprus, meets center-right President Anastasiades, communist predecessor Christofias; Tsipras warns Turkey against “undermining” peace talks for divided island, Ankara bolstered occupational troops from 36,000 to 43,000 in 2013, but withdrew 100 tanks, leaving 349; Syriza leader urges Athens, Nicosia to establish “bridge of peace and cooperation” between EU, Russia, both countries side with Serbia in rejecting Kosovo independence; Russia seeks military base in Cyprus (even though British Forces Cyprus stationed at Dhekelia, Akrotiri since 1960), Anastasiades slated for state visit to Moscow in late Feb.; Syriza deputy minister Katrougkalos, former MEP vows to sink EU-USA trade pact, ruling coalition partner ANEL shares same hostility towards Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership; Golden Dawn wins third place in Jan. 25 election even though party boss, six MPs on remand, neo-Nazis release statement, back Tsipras government, oppose privatizations, EU’s anti-Russia sanctions; 1000s of anti-fascists gather in Athens, rally against Greek ultranationalists

EU File: Euro Parliament president warns Greece against linking EU policy vis-à-vis Russian aggression in Ukraine to Greece’s sovereign debt crisis; upon Schulz’s arrival in Athens, PM Tsipras announces country’s intention to “exit from the dead end of the crisis,” Deputy PM Dragasakis cautions against “mutual blackmailing”; Fin. Min. Varoufakis seeks cancellation of 50% of debt, dismisses talks with EU-ECB-IMF troika, holds fruitless meeting with Eurogroup head Dijsselbloem; EU secures limited Greek support, extends existing anti-Russia sanctions by 6 months, Moscow raises stakes: 1) sends strategic bombers to English Channel, “Bears” fly “dangerously” close to passenger planes, Kremlin’s UK ambassador hauled in for explanation; 2) Fin. Min. Siluanov offers bailout to Greeks if Athens so inclined; Greece’s new Syriza-ANEL government holds damage control meeting with Red China delegation, smooths over hard feelings created by termination of port sale to Beijing’s COSCO; Cypriot communist leader makes congratulatory phone call to Tsipras, Marxist AKEL ruled island 2008-2013

EU File: Greece’s new “ex”-communist PM Tsipras declares: “We are coming in to radically change the way that policies and administration are conducted in this country”; Greek bank stocks crash 26% on Jan. 28, reflect cumulative losses of 40% since last Sun. vote; Tsipras welcomes Russian, Red Chinese envoys to PM’s mansion within hours of inauguration; rolls back ECB/IMF-imposed austerity, halts privatization of state assets (e.g., Public Power Corporation of Greece, Hellenic Petroleum); stacks cabinet with “ex”-KKE cadres: Dragasakis, Deputy PM, overall coordinator of economic policy; Stathakis, czar of “economics superministry”; Varoufakis, Finance Minister, self-described “libertarian Marxist”; Kotzias, Foreign Minister, praised Communist Poland’s crackdown on Solidarity in early 1980s, hides personal links to Russian neo-fascist Dugin; Russian counterpart Lavrov sends telegram to Kotzias on Jan. 29, suggests official visit to Moscow; Lafazanis, Minister of Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy; Skourletis, Minister of Labour and Social Solidarity; Kammenos, Defense Minister, head of nationalist ANEL, but deputies both Syriza; France’s neo-fascist National Front, Left Party hail Syriza triumph

EU File: Greece’s anti-NATO Radical Left Coalition (Syriza) grabs plurality in Jan. 25 snap parliamentary vote, forms shaky anti-austerity, pro-Moscow government with nationalist Independent Greeks (ANEL); Syriza leader, ex-communist PM Tsipras opposes sanctions against Russia, steers country toward collision with ECB, Germany over financial policy; Ukraine’s Euromaidan Press: Tsipras travelled to Moscow in May 2014 (i.e., after annexation of Crimea) to meet key Putin allies in Duma, Federation Council; ANEL chief Kammenos trekked to Moscow in early Jan. 2015, ANEL MP Avramidis head of “Greek-Russian Alliance,” conferred with Russian consul general in Thessaloniki on Jan. 23 (i.e., 2 days before election); Tsipras meets Russian ambassador day after victory, Maslov hands new Greek PM congratulatory letter from Putin; new Syriza FM heads for Brussels, rejects further anti-Russia measures, pro-NATO Kammenos secures post of DM; Syriza’s internal “Communist Tendency” denounces party’s cooperation with “bourgeois” ANEL, urges alliance with KKE; mainstream New Democracy, PASOK locked out of power first time since military junta ousted in 1974

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The [European] system is under pressure. Challenges to the system can come from the left or the right. Syriza is the first anti-systemic, radical left party to come to power in Europe. I doubt it will be the last.
– Dimitris Papadimitriou, Political Science Professor, University of Manchester

Viva Golitsyn!

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Ukraine finally declares state of emergency in Donetsk, Lugansk oblasts after Moscow-backed insurgency drags into 12th month, PM Yatsenyuk says “not martial law,” army to call up 200,000 men for duty, including 62,000 reservists, “high alert regime” introduced for civilians throughout country; SBU chief: Captured Russian artillery controller admits superior officer commanded battery that pounded Mariupol on Jan. 24, Russian invasion force retrieved Grad rocket launchers from border, MRLs and Tyulpan mortars previously hidden in nearby village of Markyne; Ukrainian artillery destroys 4 of 6 Grads employed in assault against port city; ATO: Maj.-Gen. Kuzovlev of Russia’s S. Military District “personally commands Russian-terrorist troops leading the offensive against Ukrainian units near town of Popasna”; Donbass rebels, backed by estimated 9,000 Russian regulars, mercs prosecute offensive into Jan. 26, fighting near town of Debaltseve, NE of Donetsk city, “particularly fierce”; Russian aviation steps up activity near Ukraine, “numerous” strategic airlifters spotted landing in Rostov-on-Don, 50 attack helos deployed to occupied Crimea, Black Sea Fleet aircraft test-firing missiles at Crimea’s Kerch Peninsula; Russian riot police target Tatars, raid “ATR” TV in Simferopol, seize “evidence” of protest outside Crimea’s collaborationist parliament; Ukraine’s treasonous Communist Party boss in Strasbourg to lobby leftists, readmit Russia to PACE

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: International condemnation, including from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, EU foreign policy coordinator Federica Mogherini, follows rebel missile attack against Mariupol; estimates of dead, injured revised up to 30, 83 respectively, OSCE monitors rush to strategic port city to assess casualties, damage; Moscow-backed DPR “prime minister” Zakharchenko denies responsibility, but admits: “Today [Jan. 24] an offensive was launched on Mariupol. This will be the best possible monument to all our dead”; Kiev, NATO fear Russia secretly supports rebel seizure of Mariupol to create “invasion corridor” between Rostov Oblast, occupied Crimea; Mariupol subject to sporadic artillery, missile attacks since Aug. 2014; 3 Ukrainian fighter jets bomb “Russian army base” near rebel-held town of Novoazovsk, presumably part of invasion force on Ukrainian side of border, but details from intercepted Russian army communication sketchy; targets apparently included Russian servicemen of 17th brigade, 200th artillery brigade, 45th paratroopers’ brigade; Ukrainian troops say 3 Russian fighter jets violated airspace over Lugansk Oblast on Jan. 24, flying from town of Milove to regional capital

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: DPR “prime minister” Zakharchenko vows “no more cease-fires” after Donetsk airport takeover; meanwhile Russian Ground Forces, Donbass rebels launch punishing Grad missile attack on Mariupol’s E. suburbs on Sat. morning, 15 civilians, 1 National Guard soldier killed, 76 people injured; NSDC chief Turchynov refers to assault on strategic port city as “another bloody crime against humanity committed by the Russian military and the bands of terrorists under their complete control”; Lysenko: “Illegal armed groups are trying to widen the boundaries of controlled territories and correct the demarcation line to their advantage”; Ukrainian ATO forces capture 10 rebels, Russian servicemen with IDs, Putin’s invariable retort: Russian soldiers in Donbass “on vacation”; Turchynov to visit Warsaw on Jan. 26-27, confer with Polish president, DM, FM, National Security Bureau chief on “matters of comprehensive military cooperation in the security and defense sector”

Communist Bloc Military Updates: Japan Air Self-Defense Force besieged by Russian, Red Chinese military flights over, near territorial waters; Russian long-range bombers, spy planes intruding into northern airspace at Cold War levels, PLAAF fighter jets probing southern flank, E. China Sea near disputed Senkaku islets; Japanese combat pilots scramble 744 times to repulse intruders during last 9 months of 2014; PM Abe’s cabinet endorses Japan’s largest post-WW2 defense budget, 5 trillion yen (US$42 billion) allocation to include surveillance aircraft, drones, F-35 stealth fighter jets to “counter China’s rising assertiveness in the region”; Japanese Communist Party nearly triples seats (from 8 to 21) in parliament’s lower house in Dec. vote, country’s strongest left-wing party opposes Trans-Pacific Partnership trading bloc, restarting NPPs closed after 2011 earthquake

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: NSDC spokesman Lysenko: “Large number” of Russian soldiers in unmarked uniforms spotted near regional capital of Lugansk; Russian armor, consisting of 60 tanks, 50 infantry carriers, 100 “Tigr” IMVs, appear in city of Krasnodon; “Donetsk People’s Republic” militants in town of Horlivka being replaced by Russian regulars; 100 Russian tanks located near cities of Shakhtarsk, Torez; broadcast on rebel-controlled TV station “Luhansk 24” demands residents of government-held city of Shchastya, village of Stanytsya Luhanska rally against presence of Ukrainian Armed Forces, or population centers will face shelling; Russia’s top general Gerasimov vows to bolster military capabilities in Arctic, Kaliningrad, Crimea, follows reported Backfire bomber deployment to occur on occupied peninsula by 2016, Russia rumored to have moved nuclear weapons to Crimea; 400 Russian commandos train with Transnistrian troops on Ukraine’s SW doorstep

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: NATO contradicts Kremlin lies, confirms “increase in numbers of tanks, artillery pieces and other heavy military equipment being used by Russian troops in eastern Ukraine,” but refuses to comment on troop numbers; Ukraine-Russia-France-Germany summit in Berlin issues (toothless) demand for cessation of hostilities in Donbass; mean- while, Ukrainian troops retreat from Donetsk’s inter- national airport after 242 days of “heroic defense,” runway, control tower and terminal completely ruined and indefensible, 6 soldiers killed during last stand, some crushed by debris, 16 captured in final battle with Moscow-backed insurgents; DPR “prime minister” Zakharchenko vows to push front deeper into government-held territory; mortar rounds hit bus stop in war-torn regional capital on Jan. 22, killing 13 civilians, wounding dozens; Ukrainian troops in villages near port of Mariupol repel “multiple but fruitless” artillery assaults from Russian Ground Forces, “terrorists” (i.e., rebels)

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Total Devastation: Pics of Donetsk’s Sergei Prokofiev International Airport Before and After 242-Day Siege by Moscow-Backed Rebels: link

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Poroshenko claims additional 2,000 Russian soldiers, 200 tanks invade rebel-held Donbass on Jan. 21, attack Ukrainian troops at checkpoints 29, 31 leading to Lugansk city; pro-Russia militants “seriously damage” sole vehicle bridge en route to rebel-held regional capital; latest Russian violation of Ukrainian territory follows Aug. invasion and retreat, augments Jan. 19 incursion of Lugansk Oblast by 800 Russian regulars, 8,500-man “stay-behind” mercenary force fighting for separatists; Kremlin aggression against insurgency-wracked neighbor occurs hours ahead of Berlin peace talks, brokered by Germany, France; Bloomberg interviews Poroshenko, Ukrainian president comments on Putin’s game-changing tactics: “The situation is getting worse . . . This creates a very high risk of further escalation of the situation”; hostile tank column approaches government-held positions around heavily fortified, strategic port of Mariupol, launches “massive fire attack,” NSDC reports Russian battalion heading for Mariupol from Rostov Oblast; railway bridge over Kalchyk River restored, links Mariupol’s steel mills to port, blown up by saboteurs on Dec. 23

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Flashback: Russian Army Invades Ukraine in August 2014 Support Mission for Rebels, Thrusts Toward Donetsk City, Seizes Coastal Town of Novoazovsk (source)

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Kremlin-backed separatists renew assault upon Donetsk’s international airport, 3 soldiers killed defending devastated terminal, runway on Jan. 19; ATO spokesman Lysenko: 800 Russian regular forces, in 2 battalion task groups, invade Lugansk Oblast across uncontrolled stretch of border, support rebel offensives; PM Yatsenyuk: “I have just spoken with . . . [NSDC chief Turchynov]. Ukrainian military intelligence confirm the fact [Russian] military personnel and equipment have been transferred from Russia to Ukraine”; Rada approves partial mobilization, conscripts to boost size of Ukrainian Ground Forces beginning Jan. 20, Turchynov claims more than 36,000 armed rebels in Donbass, 8,500 of which are Russian mercenaries; Russian army has deployed 52,000 soldiers near Ukraine’s E. border, along with 541 tanks, 990 armored vehicles, 700 heavy weapons, MRLs, anti-aircraft missiles; blast near Kharkiv prosecutor’s office latest bombing in GRU-led destabilization plot, previous targets outside combat zone include Kiev residential district, 10 cars damaged, ATO-critical railway bridge in Zaporizhia Oblast, train derailed

Gray Terror File: Multiple-scene terror incident unfolding in and around Paris: Self-confessed Al Qaeda militants suspected in Jan. 7 massacre at Charlie Hebdo newspaper hijack car, flee to town of Dammartin-en-Goele, 25 miles NE of French capital, encounter police roadblocks, engage in gun battle, hole up in print works with 1 hostage, possibly armed with RPG; 5 French Army helos, heavily armed regular police, gendarmerie elite forces converge on facility, siege ensues; second terror scene in Paris: Man of “African appearance,” wearing bullet-proof vest, jumps from car, fatally shoots black female traffic cop in Montrouge, S. of Paris, flees to capital’s Porte de Vincennes district, storms kosher grocery store, seizes “several” hostages, “prolonged” gunfire heard; Jan. 8 shooting suspect believed to have links to Kouachi brothers; President Hollande holds crisis cabinet meeting

Gray Terror File: Two gunmen storm into office of satirical Paris newspaper on Jan. 7, kill 12 people, including 8 journalists, 2 police, wound 11, flee, 800 extra officers deployed, UK ups security checks; Charlie Hebdo published caricatures of Prophet Muhammad, witnesses say attackers claimed allegiance to al-Qaeda in Yemen; PM Valls admits suspects in slayings — brothers Cherif (32) and Said Kouachi (34) — known to French intelligence; Socialist President Hollande calls for “tolerance,” but political analysts fear National Front presidency in 2017, “final demise of the EU and euro,” neo-fascists already enjoying surge in support from far right and far left voters, financial backing from Russian banks; Moscow lackey, anti-capitalist Marine Le Pen blames massacre on “Islamic fundamen- talism,” vows to reintroduce death penalty; 35,000 Parisians hold rally to denounce terror, trumpet freedom of speech; popular, pro-Putin Russian TV channel says “US intelligence agencies” orchestrated Charlie Hebdo bloodshed, Washington “sabotaging Russia-led effort against Islamist terrorism”; Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front claims Jan. 6 bombing at Istanbul police station, but Turkey’s Interior Ministry says female suicide bomber was Russian citizen, Chechen “Black Widow” plot suspected

WW4/Red Terror Files: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Ukrainian Communists (no doubt under guidance of Russian GRU, which is known to be operating in Ukraine) resort to sabotage, terrorism in S. ports to destabilize country, evade SBU by fleeing to rebel-held areas of Donbass; 7 bombings hit Odessa over past 5 months, latest strikes cargo train at Zastava-1 station on Dec. 24, petroleum tanker train at Odesa-Peresyp station on Jan. 3, city’s Euromaidan office on Jan. 4; Security Service accuses Communist Party (which is facing ban) of staging terror attacks in Dnipropetrovsk, adviser to SBU chief: “The group led by the Commu- nists planned a number of explosions targeting banks and public places and seizing weapons at military units”; 5 blasts rock Mariupol since Nov., saboteurs blow up railway bridge over River Kalchyk on Dec. 23, gunmen wearing camo, toting automatic weapons attack Azovstal steel plant same day, 1 worker killed; ATO forces come under rebel small arms, artillery attack at various locations in Donbass on night of Jan. 6-7; Interior Ministry’s Azov Battalion near village of Hranitne, Donetsk Oblast, Facebooks: “[Terrorists] are shelling us with a 120-millimeter mortar. Good morning to everyone!!!!”; fearing Russian naval assault, Ukrainian combat engineers mine shores of Sea of Azov

Odesa, Mariupol as well as Kyiv and Kharkiv are those sensitive spots where Russia-backed forces feel there’s still a possibility to destabilize the situation.
– Oleksiy Melnyk, Ukrainian military expert, quoted in Kyiv Post, January 5, 2015

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Communist Bloc Military Updates: New Kremlin military doctrine identifies NATO as main threat to Russia, Moscow hosts CSTO summit, vows to increase number of combat aircraft, helicopters at Belarusian air base; Russian strategic aviation carries out 50 flights over world ocean in 2014, modernizes Tu-160 avionics, awaits stealth bomber prototype in 2019; Poland races to rearm in face of Russian aggression in Ukraine, US$30 billion plan to upgrade, enlarge armed forces by 2022, shifts troops to E. border, revives Home Army light infantry to help thwart Russian re-invasion, organizes 2nd naval strike missile battalion for coastal defense; U.S. Army to deploy “heavy brigade” in Baltics, Poland or Romania in 2015, reassure CEE allies with 150 M1 Abrams MBTs, M2 Bradley IFVs, 24 self-propelled howitzers; Ukraine’s Poroshenko visits Poland, inspects barracks that will house Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian brigade, new military formation to be combat ready in early 2015

The new Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian brigade shows that Ukraine is already integrated into NATO, at least militarily if not politically.

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EU/USSR2 Files: Russia’s EU ambassador urges Brussels to open talks with Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), Russia-led bloc inaugurated Jan. 1, includes Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan to join in May; Moscow to control EEU via Eurasian Economic Commission, Supreme Eurasian Economic Council; Russian Communists demand President Putin dismiss PM Medvedev’s government over ruble collapse, “catastrophic” 2015 budget, establish “crisis reversal” plan for country, urge return to Stalinist dictatorship: Chairman Zyuganov: “Stalin … was a genius,” CPRF’s Moscow city committee: “These days the interest in the personality of Stalin in Russia is growing, mostly with the loss of the country’s previous foothold on the world scene and profound economic and social problems inside the country”

EU File: Fascism resurgent amidst Eurocrisis: Italian police infiltrate neo-fascist New Order Vanguard, arrest 14 members, including ex-cop ringleader, Stefano Manni stockpiled arms, planned assassinations of politicians, judges, attacks against tax agency, state railway, police stations; 31 other persons under investigation for extremist political activities; original New Order banned in 1973, after carrying out campaign of violence; national unemployment rate of 13.2%, youth jobless rate of 43.4%, economic stagnation push segments of Italian society, including south, to far right; poll says one third of Italians back Kremlin-funded Northern League, anti-EU/anti-immigrant Matteo Salvini compared to France’s Marine Le Pen, visits Moscow in Oct., confers with United Russia leadership, urges strong Italo-Russian friendship

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The Moscow Leninists cover all the bases. Merry Christmas. We’ll be back in the New Year.

Communist Bloc Military Updates: Snap multi-branch exercise in Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave mobilizes 9,000 troops Dec. 5-10, numerous aerial encounters between NATO, Russian warplanes leave Baltic states jittery; ITAR-TASS: “The exercise involved units of missile troops, artillery, mechanized infantry, airborne troops, marine forces, units of reconnaissance, communications, logistics, as well as combat and military transport aircraft, helicopters and ships of the Baltic Fleet”; People’s Liberation Army Navy heading for Mediterranean Sea as Russia, Red China plan maneuvers for Pacific Ocean, Med in 2015; Moscow-Beijing Axis’ “one clenched fist” inaugurated with first Peace Mission exercise in 2005, Sino-Soviet military drills unheard of during Cold War, fake ideological split

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Flashback: “Power politics: China, Russia, and Peace Mission 2005” (source)

EU/USSR2/Middle East Files: Russia implements drastic interest rate hike to stabilize ruble, offset effects of Saudi Arabia’s oil war against Iran, global crude price collapse, protects Putin’s ambitious remilitarization program, covert war against Ukraine, funding for Euro-fascists; 1) Saudis refuse to cut production, Iran’s Rouhani lashes back: “Iran and people of the region will not forget such conspiracies, or in other words, treachery against the interests of the Muslim world”; 2) new truce holds between Ukrainian army, Moscow-backed separatists in Donbass, DPR/LPR insurgents withdraw heavy weapons from front line; 3) National Front chief Marine Le Pen admits France’s most popular party accepted €9 million loan from First Czech-Russian Bank, French weekly: FN leaders regularly confer with Russia’s ambassador in Paris; 4) Russian loans also extended to Greece’s violent Golden Dawn, Hungary’s Jew/Roma-hating Jobbik, Austria’s Freedom Party, Belgium’s Vlaams Belang, Italy’s N. League

During the Cold War, Soviet Russia funded Western Europe’s communist parties. Now the Moscow Leninists fund the European far right with the same intent, the convergence of East (i.e., Eurasian Union) and West (i.e., European Union), within the context of a revived worldwide communist federation. Viva Golitsyn!

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Communist Bloc Military Updates: Stockholm: Russian combat jet, without active transponder, nearly collided with airliner en route from Copenhagen to Poznan on Dec. 12; NATO’s Dec. 7 encounter with 6 Russian strategic bombers over Baltic Sea included veritable Russian air armada, 22 additional combat aircraft accompanied Bears, Backfires; ex-Soviet Lithuania bumped up army’s alert level in response; NATO Sec.-Gen. Stoltenberg comments on “unprecedented” surge in Russian military aviation in region: Undeclared flights have jumped threefold since 2013, to more than 100 annual interceptions; NATO replies to Russian aggression in SE Ukraine, Crimea, launches new command in Bavaria, Very High Readiness Joint Task Force carries out Trident Lance 2014 exercise, mobilizes 3,700 troops to repel simulated attack against ex-Soviet Estonia

Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russian Navy denies media reports armed marines seized control of French-built helicopter carrier after Nov. 14 deadline passed without formal transfer, describes alleged takeover “extraordinary invention”; 400 Russian sailors arrived at W. French port of Montoir-de-Bretagne in June, trained aboard Vladivostok ahead of planned handover; French President Hollande, citing Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, suspended transfer on Nov. 25, French shipbuilder DCNS confirms theft of warship computers, communications software prior to this date, no sensitive data taken; second Mistral-class ship bound for Russian Navy, Sevastopol, floated out of dry dock in late Nov.; Dep. PM Rogozin expresses Moscow’s annoyance with Paris: “The stern section of Mistral was made . . . in St. Petersburg. . . . [I]f they want to keep the ship, we will have to tear away its stern section and get it back to use it in other ships”

EU/USSR2 Files: Kremlin sends 1,200 tons of Christmas cheer (i.e., weapons, troops?) to Ukrainian rebels, “humanitarian” convoy of 130 trucks arrives in Donbass; 60 Russian aid trucks slated to show up in Moldova’s pro-Russia breakaway region of Transnistria (via Ukraine land route?), “President” Shevchuk in Moscow early Oct., supports integration with Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), opposes Chisinau’s Association Agreement with EU; Moldova’s pro-Moscow Communists contest validity of Nov. 28 election after PCRM, Socialists scoop 38% of vote but not enough to prevent pro-EU government from renewing coalition; President Sargsyan signs union treaty, Armenia to join Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan in formation of EEU on Jan 1., 2015; Russian Communist MP attends CP of Armenia congress in Yerevan, Taysayev claims new bloc “communist project”: “This is our program as we call on the leaders of our countries to seek closer integration, establish the Eurasian Union, the Customs Union. We do not doubt that a new Union of friendly peoples will be created”; SBU chief Nalivaichenko backs ban against CP of Ukraine, Holodomor denial, French Communists decry Kiev’s anti-communist measures

Communist Bloc Military Updates: Red China’s jet-powered, cruise missile-armed strategic bombers menace Japanese islands of Okinawa, Miyako on Dec. 6, occurs amidst joint PLAAF-PLAN drills in W. Pacific, Cold War-era H6K planes capable of threatening US bases in Japan, Guam; Portuguese fighter jets under NATO command intercept sortie of four Russian “Bear,” two “Backfire” bombers over Baltic Sea on Dec. 7, occurs amidst spike in recent months of Russian Air Force flights near NATO, NORAD peripheries; Canadian fighter pilots scramble to intercept two Russian Tu-95s over Beaufort Sea on Dec. 8, while CF-18s based out of Lithuania repel 2 Russian long-range bombers in violation of Baltic country’s airspace; ahead of mid-Nov. Serbo-Russian military drill, Serbian analyst scoffs at claim Russian “emergency situations center” near S. city of Nis a military base

EU/USSR2 Files: Belgrade, Budapest walk tightrope between Moscow and Brussels: Russia pulls plug on South Stream pipeline, reroutes LNG through Turkey, Putin informs Serbian counterpart Nikolic, but reaffirms countries’ friendship (i.e., opposition to Kosovo independence); follows Putin’s Oct. state visit to EU candidate Serbia, first-ever Serbo-Russian military exercise near Belgrade, 6 Russian Ilyushin-76s disgorged troops, equipment “under veil of secrecy”; Serbian DM Gasic downplays SREM-2014’s overt threat toward NATO, retired Yugoslav general: “The [Serbian] army is not exclusively facing West right now”; Russian, Serbian air forces to hold joint tactical aviation drills in 2015; Russia to add 2 reactors to Hungary’s Soviet-era Paks NPP under US$12.4 billion deal, Hungarian PM Orban chummy with Putin

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Russian military conducts drills near border of insurgency-wracked Ukraine, Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30M2 fighter jets operating out of former Ukrainian base in occupied Crimea; Russian paratroopers carry out practice drops, combat planes drop armored vehicles over N. Serbia, near NATO member Croatia as Moscow, Belgrade hold unprecedented joint live-fire drills in mid-Nov.; Serbia, Croatia part of Communist Yugoslavia until 1992; Ukrainian Armed Forces spokesperson: Up to 10,000 Russian troops fighting alongside 22,000 insurgents, mercs in Donbass; NATO Sec.-Gen. Stoltenberg: “We see a significant military buildup in and around Ukraine… large transfers of Russian advanced weapons, equipment and military personnel to violent separatists”; Russia’s Central Military District to carry out “large-scale” drills in 2015; Russian Navy vice admiral to oversee transfer of helicopter carrier Vladivostok from France, Moscow warns Paris to abide by terms of contract in spite of Ukraine conflict

Russian Soldiers in France

Pictured above: Russian sailors stand in formation in front of the Mistral-class helicopter carrier Vladivostok at the STX Les Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire, western France, on November 25, 2014.

Reports concerning the sale, or non-sale, of two French-built Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia vary from month to month. However, Moscow is determined to collect its hardware. No doubt, in the end, the Ministry of Surrender in Paris will comply.

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WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Battle for control of Donetsk’s international airport rages on as Kiev’s ATO says Russian special forces aiding separatists in months-long siege, Spetsnaz retreat with “significant losses” after weekend assault, shelling from both sides continues; Ukrainian government forces unable to hold 409-kilometer stretch of border with Russia, Kremlin rotating regular troops, mercenaries in and out of Ukraine, still shipping weapons to Donbass rebels; “terrorists” defy farcical cease-fire, use artillery, MRLs to hit army positions 41 times overnight throughout Donetsk, Lugansk oblasts; Ukrainian troops build anti-tank defenses along border with Russian-occupied Crimea; Russian warships training in North Sea, enter English Channel, anchor in France’s Bay of the Seine; Rada elects new speaker after Oct. 26 election, Grojsman allied with pro-West President Poroshenko

Ukrainian flags are pictured at Donetsk airport

Pictured above: Holding out against Kremlin-backed separatists, Ukrainian troops fly the flag over the shattered terminal of Donetsk’s Sergei Prokofiev International Airport, on September 1, 2014.

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Flashback: Russian Airborne Troops (VDV) 45th Special Purpose (Spetsnaz) Regiment spearheads takeover of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula on February 27, 2014 (source)

Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russian DM Shoigu announces extension of routine strategic bomber patrols from Arctic Ocean to Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean (i.e., along US East Coast), follows spike in military flights around European periphery, covert intervention in Ukraine’s secessionist Donbass; supersonic Tu-160 “Blackjacks” made low-key but historic first visits to Caracas in 2008 and Managua in 2013; Moscow in talks with Algeria, Cyprus, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, Seychelles, Vietnam, Singapore to set up refuelling/ maintenance sites for Russian Air Force, Navy; Kuznetsov Design Bureau completes bench tests of new propulsion system for Russia’s PAK-DA stealth bomber, prototype expected to fly in 2019, “suppress modern air defenses,” deploy hypersonic weapons, replace aging inventory of Tu-95MC Bear, Tu-160 Blackjack, Tu-22M3 Backfire aircraft

WW4 File: UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Government troops, Moscow-backed rebels in Donetsk city exchange artillery fire overnight, worst shelling since farcical Sept. 5 cease-fire; insurgents with RPGs, small arms resume months-old siege against Ukrainian army at Sergei Prokofiev International Airport, main terminal building, control tower in ruins since early Oct.; NSDC confirms Russian Ground Forces without insignia (“Little Green Men”) moved more than 32 tanks, 16 howitzers, 30 trucks, mobile radar over border into Lugansk Oblast, border guards repulse attack by gunmen near settlement of Blahodatne; Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza reports Putin’s meeting with Russian Security Council on Nov. 6, creation of four strike groups of Russian mercenaries in Ukraine, speculates Russian army may again open hostilities in Donbass; NATO “aware” of (yet another) Russian troop buildup near Ukraine, checking reports of cross-border incursion; SBU nabs ring of saboteurs in W. city of Lviv, Russian FSB recruited Ukrainian citizens to plant explosives near critical infrastructure, military bases

Putin’s not giving up on his plan to dismember Ukraine. Crimea is not enough. He’s clearly determined to wrest the industrial Donbass from Ukraine.

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