WW4/Middle East Files: Putin plans unilateral air strikes against ISIS if Washington rejects joint mil ops in Syria, preps for speech at UNGA on Sept. 28; Syrian ambassador to Moscow coyly says he would welcome Russian mil base at Latakia to “fight terrorism”; Daily Beast cites US defense officials: Russian combat pilots, UAV are conducting recon over W. Syrian provinces of Idlib, Latakia, “We still don’t know what their intent is. [The flights] suggest they are planning to conduct some kind of air operation”; Russian Air Force evaded US intel, probably flew Sukhois from Budyonnovsk, SW Russia to Syria via Hamadan, NW Iran in radar shadow of An-124 strategic airlifters; meanwhile, newly delivered Russian fighter jets pound ISIS positions in Aleppo prov., allegedly flown by Syrian pilots as in recent Palmyra air strikes, Syrian army launches yet another ground offensive to break ISIS’ 2-year-old siege of Kweiris air base; Muhajireen Brigade, consisting of 1,500 Chechens, Uzbeks, Tajiks fighting against Assad, pledges allegiance to Al Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra, as Pentagon denies reports US-trained rebels of New Syrian Forces/Division 30 defected, handed over weapons to Nusra Front

WW4/Middle East Files: Newly delivered Russian warplanes used to pound ISIS positions in rebel-held Palmyra, allegedly flown by Syrian (not Russian) pilots; Jaish al-Islam rebel group lifts playbook from Afghan Mujahideen in 1980s, declares war on Russian soldiers fighting alongside Assad’s troops; meanwhile, sat images reveal Russian mil building two new bases N. of Latakia; Russian Navy deploys 4 warships to E. Med., including Moskva missile cruiser, spy ship Yantar makes Caribbean port of call after lurking near SSBN base in Kings Bay, Georgia; FSB/KGB interrogates Russian soldiers refusing secret deployment to Syria, mil prosecutors threaten charge of “high treason,” as Kremlin redeploys 190 Russian mercs presently serving in Donbass separatist-terrorist formations to Syria; Tehran denies Israeli media reports of Iranian troops in Syria, Yemen, Quds Force purportedly sending 100s of commandos to fight for Assad

WW4/Middle East Files: Russian troops, firepower keep pouring into Syria over weekend, prop up Ba’athist regime as Assad’s hold on country reduced to Damascus, limits of historic French mandate known as the Alawite State; NYT cites senior US official, reports Russia’s makeshift air base at Latakia, main city in Alawite heartland, now hosts fleet of 28 fighter planes, including 12 Su-24 Fencers, 12 Su-25 Frogfoots, previously reported 4 Su-30SM Flanker-Cs, total of 15 Mi-24 Hind, Mi-17 Hip helos; Russian air base at Bassel Al-Assad IA protected by at least 9 post-Soviet T-90 main battle tanks, 2 or 3 Pantsir-S1 SAM/antiaircraft artillery systems; NYT source: “The equipment and personnel just keep flowing in. They were very busy over the weekend”; Moscow finds pretext to openly strike all anti-Assad forces after rebel shell hits embassy in Damascus, urges “action”; Putin to Netanyahu during Monday’s Moscow meeting: “All actions taken by Russia in the region have always been and will be very responsible”; Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps deploys advisers, soldiers to Latakia to defend failing Ba’athist regime, Hezbollah guerrillas announce withdrawal after helping Assad recapture town near Damascus; Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council condemns Russian mil escalation in Syria

Will Syria become Putin’s “Afghanistan,” just as Afghanistan became Gorbachev’s “Vietnam”? For Bible prophecy enthusiasts (i.e., Ezekiel 38-39), Russia’s military involvement in the Syrian civil war looms large, probably warranting an “End Times File” post.

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Alawite State (1920-1936)

WW4/Middle East Files: YouTube video captures Russian adviser/soldier atop Syrian army T-54/55 tank, participating in battle near Latakia, second tank fires at mountain outpost held by Jabhat al-Nusra, Al Qaeda’s regional affiliate; Russia launches aerial drone surveillance ops from makeshift air base at Latakia, sat images shows 4 Russian Sukhoi Su-30SM multirole fighters conspicuously parked on tarmac; Syrian FM to Russia Today: “Russia’s doing something new, above-and-beyond supplying us with weapons, and that’s sharing in the fight against the Islamic State and Jabhat a-Nusra”; 75 US-trained rebels of New Syrian Forces/Division 30 slip into Aleppo province from Turkey on night of Sept. 18-19, US$500 m program to train total of 5,400 rebels by end of 2015 in doubt after NSF chief of staff resigns next day, follows July debacle in which 54 NSF rebels were attacked by al-Nusra after infiltrating Syria; Israeli PM meets Putin in Moscow, coordinates mil action on Syria to “avoid accidentally trading fire,” Netanyahu: “My objective was to prevent misunderstandings between IDF units and Russian forces,” “[We] agreed on a mechanism to prevent such misunderstandings”

WW4/Middle East Files: US Def. Sec. Carter, Russian DM Shoigu hold 50-min. phone call to defuse East-West tensions over Syrian civil war, countering ISIS, Russian mil activities in ME country; Shoigu insists Russian weapon shipments, advisers simply “honoring previous commitments” to beleaguered Assad regime; even as US spy sats finally spot Russian fixed-wing combat planes at makeshift air base near Latakia, Pentagon IDs 4 four Sukoi attack aircraft, total of 8 Russian combat helos (Mi-24, Mi-17), massive Condor airlifters disgorge enough modular housing to support 2,000 troops; US officials also say Russia now has 500 naval infantrymen on the ground in Syria with more on the way; Kremlin evasive on subject of Russian troops fighting on behalf of Assad, Putin spokesman Peskov: “If there is a request, then within the framework of bilateral contacts, a bilateral dialogue, it will be, certainly, discussed and considered”

Latin America File: Colombian military captures 3 FARC intel operatives as 3-year-old peace talks press ahead in Havana, guerrillas propose turning five-decade-old insurgent army into political party under UN/Unasur-monitored ceasefire; tensions between Moscow-allied Venezuela, US-allied Colombia spike after ambassadors recalled, Venezuela deports 1,400 Colombians, closes border to halt smuggling, extends state of emergency to 3 border states; Colombia says two Venezuelan air force jets flew 2 miles over its territory on Sept. 12, approached army unit, Venezuelan DM denies incident, says Bogota trying to “frustrate” planned meeting between Presidents Maduro, Santos to discuss border issues, i.e, paramilitaries, narcotrafficking, etc.; Venezuelan fighter jet crashes near Colombian border on Sept. 17 for reasons unknown, status of pilots unclear, Russian-built Sukhoi Su-30 allegedly pursuing Colombian aircraft in violation of Venezuelan airspace

WW4/EU/Middle East Files: US spy sats spot 2 Russian Mi-24, 2 Mi-17 attack helos on tarmac at Syrian airport, yet to commence combat ops; Russia’s hulking An-124 strategic airlifters making 2 runs per day into Latakia, Pentagon tracks total of 20 flights; no Russian fighter jets detected yet, in spite of early Israeli news reports; Kremlin media interviews Bashar al-Assad, Ba’athist dictator calls on US-backed Syrian National Council to end rebellion, join forces with regime to defeat ISIS, refuses to comment on Russian mil moves in his country; Turkey swamped by 2 million refugees from Syria’s civil war, EU countries deploy soldiers, police to thwart refugee invasion, Greeks turn back 100s of Syrians at Turkish border, Bulgarian DM pledges 1,000 troops to close down its border with Turkey, 1000s of Syrians seeking asylum in Europe encounter new border control regimes in Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Slovakia; Hungary overwhelmed by migrants, declares emergency, seals border with Serbia, plans to build razor-wire fence along Romanian border; 10,000 nationalists march through Warsaw on Sept. 12, chant “Today refugees, tomorrow terrorists!” “Poland, free of Islam!” Polish Catholics reject Pope Francis’ appeal to welcome refugees

WW4/Middle East Files: Pentagon source tells Fox News Russia has transported 6 “highly sophisticated” T-90 battle tanks, 15 artillery pieces, 35 APCs in addition to “dozens” from previous shipment, airlifts more troops to Syria to bolster failing Assad regime; latest Russian deployment “first clear sign of offensive weapons arriving in Syria”; up to 1,500 Russian troops could launch offensive from Latakia’s Bassel Al-Assad International Airport “very soon”; Pentagon source adds “This is the largest deployment of Russian forces outside the former Soviet Union since the collapse of the USSR”; US military tracks total of 15 Antonov-124 Condor flights into war-torn ME country; Kremlin spokesman Peskov says Moscow-Washington “dialogue indispensable” to resolve Syrian crisis

WW4/Middle East Files: Russia 1) ships missile defence systems to embattled Assad regime, Pantsir-S units to be operated by Russian (not Syrian) troops even as USA launches airstrikes against ISIS; 2) “intensifies” on-going drills off Syrian coast, “source close to Russian Navy” tells Reuters: “They will train to repulse an attack from the air and to defend the coast, which means firing artillery and testing short-range air defence systems”; Moscow alludes to war with West over Syria, calls for mil coop with Washington “in order to avoid unintended incidents,” lifts objections to UN probe into use of chemical weapons in Syrian civil war after securing guarantees of “Syrian sovereignty,” ISIS suspected of deploying sarin gas against Kurdish fighters in Iraq, N. Syria, Assad’s troops reportedly used chlorine gas against rebels

WW4/Red Terror/Middle East Files: Russian military build-up in Syria part of secret deal with Quds Force, proves Kremlin still terror HQ of world as terrorist chief Soleimani holds clandestine meeting with Putin in Moscow in July, discussed joint military plan to save beleaguered Assad regime; intel official: “The Russians are no longer advising, but co-leading the war in Syria”; “stream” of huge Antonov-124 Condor cargo aircraft, two landing ships have delivered aviation, intel and comm facilities to Syria, deployed more than 1,000 Russian combatants, some from same plainclothes special forces units sent to Crimea, SE Ukraine in 2014; Russian FM Lavrov urges world powers to arm Syrian military: “You cannot defeat Islamic State with air strikes only. It’s necessary to co-operate with ground troops and the Syrian army is the most efficient and powerful ground force to fight the IS[IL/IS]”; Russian Foreign Ministry: “Russia has never made a secret of military-technical cooperation with Syria . . . There are also Russian military advisers in Syria who provide training in the use of the arriving equipment”

Fighting Sunni Islam terror with Shi’a Islam terror? Quds Force against ISIS? Only the neo-Soviet strategists in the Kremlin, with their toadies in Tehran, could concoct such a deception based (ultimately) on theological hairsplitting.

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WW4 File/Communist Bloc Military Updates: Amid West’s tensions with Russia over Syria, Ukraine, Putin orders surprise inspections for Central Military District during Sept. 7-12, airborne troops placed on “full combat alert,” CMD preps for Center 2015 drill later in month; Russian Navy redeploys N. Fleet’s ballistic missile sub Alexander Nevsky, Borei-class vessel to immediately join Pacific Fleet, while Akula-class Dmitry Donskoy begins ASW maneuvers in White Sea; Pentagon expands intel-gathering capabilities in Arctic after Russian spy ship detected near Shell Oil exploration vessel in Chukchi Sea, unprecedented, unannounced arrival of 5 Red Chinese warships in Bering Sea following joint drill with Russia, even as Pres. Obama visits Alaska to press “climate change” agenda

WW4/Middle East Files: Islamist rebels, Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, seize air base in Idlib, Assad’s troops retreat after last regime-held position in NW province falls to “Army of Conquest”; Moscow admits “military advisers” in Syria, “assisting with arms deliveries” to embattled Ba’athist regime, refuses to comment on reported wider troop deployment, rebukes Athens, Sofia for prohibiting overflights; Pentagon tracking “multiple” flights of Russia’s An-124 (“Condor”) cargo planes to Syria, including port city of Latakia; Sec. of State Kerry phones Russian counterpart Lavrov to voice “concerns” about “imminent” buildup of Russian military in war-torn ME country, Kremlin accuses USA of “international boorishness”; Russian social media reveals presence of combat troops in Syria; CIA, US JSOC launch drone strikes against ISIS “high-value targets” (i.e., leaders) in Syria, Op Inherent Resolve includes French recon flights over terrorist-held territory; German ME expert tells Kremlin-run Sputnik website: “Russia, Iran and China trying to stop West from overthrowing Assad”

The neo-Soviet leadership in the Kremlin views US/NATO “meddling” in both Ukraine and Syria as existential threats to Russia. Cut to WW4.

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WW4/Middle East Files: US intel asserts Russian mil has set up air traffic control tower, transported prefab housing units for up to 1,000 personnel to airport serving Syrian port city of Latakia, Moscow has also requested rights to fly over neighboring countries with military cargo aircraft during Sept.; Putin on Russian TV offers partial confirmation of Western reports: “We are already giving Syria quite serious help with equipment and training soldiers, with our weapons”; Syrian state TV shows recent images of Russian-speaking troops involved in country’s civil war, Russian-built BTR-82a APCs in combat; Syria already home to Russian naval station in Tartus, Kremlin’s only base outside FSU; US State Dept. cites Secretary Kerry: “The secretary made clear that if such reports were accurate, these actions could further escalate the conflict, lead to greater loss of innocent life, increase refugee flows and risk confrontation with the anti-ISIL [or ISIS] coalition operating in Syria”

WW4/Middle East Files: Ukraine’s unprecedented new defense doctrine labels Russia “military adversary,” establishes conditions for “liberating” Donbass, Crimea, Pres. Poroshenko: “The goal is to ensure full compatibility of the Ukrainian Armed Forces with NATO . . . by 2020”; Israeli news cites “Western diplomats,” reports Russian Air Force contingent deployed to Syria as of Aug. 31, Kremlin plans to bolster failing Ba’athist regime, attack positions held by ISIS, US-backed rebels, “Assad’s army is in full-scale retreat in the strategic province of Idlib”; White House investigating reports of Russian mil ops in Syria, videos purportedly show Russian troops, APCs near Latakia, Russian aircraft, UAVs over Idlib, Russian vessel spotted in Bosphorus Strait “carrying large amounts of military equipment” southward; Free Syrian Army: “The Russians have been there a long time”; ISIS claims responsibility for lethal Sept 2. car bombing against military HQ in Russia’s Dagestan region; Pentagon monitors Russian spy ship lurking 300 miles off E. Coast, near SSBN base at Kings Bay, Georgia, “research” vessel Yantar equipped with deep-sea surveillance craft, cable-cutting equipment

Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russian, People’s Liberation Army navies land 400 amphibious troops, tanks, armored vehicles on Russia’s Pacific Coast in Joint Sea 2015 drill, first time Red China lands naval infantry on foreign soil, latest in 10 years of combined military exercises by Moscow-Beijing Axis; Russia, PRC plan to challenge US Navy’s world dominance, pool resources, build aircraft carriers together; European Commission questions Belgrade’s commitment to EU accession ahead of Slavic Brotherhood 2015 drill, Serbia justifies mil-mil coop with Russia, airborne forces from Russia, Belarus, Serbia prep for maneuvers at Russian training grounds, practice suppressing (pro-West) Maidan-style riots; Russian Armed Forces carried out 79 drills in Aug. ahead of multi-branch Center 2015 exercise in Sept.; Kremlin growls over NATO-Georgia Joint Training Center, complains of “another Western provocation aimed at destabilizing region”; 2,500 sailors from NATO, Ukrainian navies hold Sea Breeze 2015 exercise in Black Sea amid tensions with Russia over Donbass insurgency

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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