Monthly Archives: June 2015

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

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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.