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Author Topic: Gog and Magog in the news  (Read 29164 times)
Shammu
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« Reply #240 on: December 17, 2008, 07:50:36 AM »

Russia in talks with Iran over sale of anti-aircraft missiles, despite Israeli objections
By Barak Ravid
16/12/2008

Israel plans to send one of its most senior security officials to Moscow tomorrow to express concern over Russia's decision to renew contacts with Iran for the sale of advanced anti-aircraft missiles, Haaretz has learned.

Israeli officials said the government will send the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau Maj.-Gen. (res) Amos Gilad to try to dissuade the Kremlin from supplying Iran with S-300 missiles - which would significantly complicate any military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

During his two-day visit in Moscow, Gilad will meet with the Russian chief of staff, the head of intelligence as well as senior defense officials and diplomats. In addition to talks on the S-300 sale, Gilad is expected to bring up the Iranian nuclear program and Syria's supplying of Russian-made weapons to Hezbollah.
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Earlier this year, Russia said it would not move forward with the transaction. In October, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visited Russia, where he met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and with his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. The meeting was set up to try and persuade the Russians to drop two deals in the works - one to sell S-300 missiles to Iran and the other to sell them to Syria.

The Russian foreign ministry's spokesman said Russia will not go ahead with the Iranian deal. "We have declared more than once at the very highest political level that we do not intend to supply those types of armaments to countries located in regions that are, to put it mildly, unstable areas," said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko.

The Russian official added that the Kremlin makes decisions on selling such systems based on "both preserving the balance of power in the given region, and taking into account the need to provide stability and security in the region."

But in spite of these statements, Israeli officials say Russia and Iran renewed negotiations on the purchase of the missile system several weeks ago. The sources confirmed a report that appeared in the foreign press on the matter two weeks ago.

In a recent internal discussion on the matter, Defense Minister Ehud Barak gave ministry officials instructions to put in a request for clarifications from the Russian administration's highest levels.

The weapons sales are a very sensitive issue for Israeli diplomats, who view it as a form of leverage that Russia is trying to apply on Washington. Some in the Foreign Ministry believe Russia has decided to move forward with the deal in order to demonstrate a hard line ahead of Barack Obama's entry into the White House as U.S. President.

The S-300 missile, called the SA-10 in the West, has a range of 150 kilometers and is capable of striking a plane at altitudes of up to 30,000 meters. The movable launchers are operational within minutes, and the system's radar is able to simultaneously acquire and engage dozens of targets.

Russia in talks with Iran over sale of anti-aircraft missiles, despite Israeli objections
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« Reply #241 on: December 20, 2008, 11:40:11 AM »

Russia provides 10 MiG fighter jets to Lebanon for free    

Russia gave Lebanon ten MiG fighter jets yesterday in a deal to boost defence cooperation.

The MiG29 Fulcrum fighters would be provided free to Lebanon under an agreement on military-technical assistance, the head of Russia’s defence cooperation service said. Mikhail Dmitryev said that the jets would come from Russia’s existing stock.

He said that Moscow was also in talks to supply Beirut with heavy armour, adding that supplies of such weaponry were “now possible after the situation in this nation has stabilised”.

He said: “We view the Lebanese army as the main guarantor of this nation’s stability, therefore the armed forces of this country must be strengthened.” The deal followed a meeting in Moscow between Anatoly Serdyukov, the Defence Minister, and Elias Murrhis, his Lebanese counterpart. Mr Serdyukov said that Russia had received a detailed list of armaments sought by Lebanon.

When details of the deal emerged on Tuesday it was suggested that the aircraft would be sold at a discount. Mr Dmitryev confirmed yesterday however that they would be free, with delivery paid by the Russian Defence Ministry. He said: “Military-technical assistance, this means assistance in budgetary funds.”

The MiG29s, one of Russia’s best fighter jets, will provide considerable additional firepower for the Lebanese air force, which currently has only five outdated Hawker Hunter jets and 16 helicopters.

The gift is certain to strengthen Russian influence in the Middle East as Moscow seeks to restore a position that was lost with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The agreement is likely to prompt concern in Israel and the United States, given the continuing power and influence of the Islamic militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon. Ria-Novosti news agency reported that Lebanese officials were also seeking tanks, antitank rockets, air defence systems and helicopters.

Russia is already a major weapons supplier to neighbouring Syria, which is keen to acquire the latest MiG29s and was reported to be seeking the latest Sam S300 air defence missiles earlier this year.

Moscow denied that it would sell the systems to Syria.

The northern Syrian port of Tartus has also been identified as a possible base for the Russian navy to gain a permanent presence in the Mediterranean. Russian warships visited Cuba this week for the first time since the Cold War after taking part in their first war games with Venezuela.

Russia announced plans in September to sell antiaircraft systems to Iran despite American objections. It is already building a nuclear power plant for Iran that the West suspects is part of Tehran’s plans to acquire an atomic bomb.

The Kremlin is rearming Russia’s military too. Colonel-General Nikolai Solovtsov, head of the Strategic Missile Forces, told Russian news agencies yesterday that Russia would commission a new intercontinental ballistic missile, the RS24, next year with multiple warheads.

He said that Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces planned 13 practice launches in 2009, almost double the number this year. They would include five test launches of new missiles as part of plans to overhaul Russia’s Soviet-era nuclear arsenal by 2020 and counter American defence systems.

“By 2015-2020 the Russian strategic rocket forces will have new complete missile systems with improved combat characteristics,” General Solovtsov said. “They will be capable of carrying out any tasks, including in conditions where an enemy uses antimissile defence measures.”
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« Reply #242 on: December 20, 2008, 11:48:50 AM »

Return to Soviet era continues - Russian authorities to label any government critic a traitor     

New legislation backed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would allow Russian authorities to label any government critic a traitor—a move that rights activists said Wednesday was a chilling throwback to times of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

The bill, which is expected to become law, would expanded the definition of treason to include damaging Russia's constitutional order, sovereignty or territorial integrity. That, rights activists said, would essentially let authorities interpret any act against state as treason—a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Activists said that would catapult Russia's justice system back to the times of Stalin's purges, calling it "legislation in the spirit of Stalin and Hitler."

"It returns the Russian justice to the times of 1920-1950s," the activists, which included Moscow Helsinki Group head Lyudmila Alexeyeva and Civic Assistance director Svetlana Gannushkina, said in a joint statement.

Existing law defines state treason as actions harming external security by passing information to "foreign organizations."

Putin's bill would add non-governmental organizations based anywhere in the world that have an office in Russia to the list of banned recipients of state secrets. The government has repeatedly accused foreign spy agencies of using NGOs as a cover to foment dissent.

But critics warned the loose wording will give authorities ample leeway to prosecute those who cooperate with international rights groups.

That may jeopardize the rights of Russia's citizens to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, which is done through NGOs. Alexeyeva said a person who reports government abuses to an NGO—for example Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch—could be deemed to have harmed Russia's interests.

As for the rest of the proposed bill, the activists believe each additional phrase deliberately targets potential threats to the Kremlin.

"Constitutional order," for example, would outlaw opposition protests, they said. "Territorial integrity" would forbid regional calls for independence, an issue of particular concern in Russia's volatile North Caucasus, where Chechnya is located.

The legislation likely to be quickly approved by parliament, which is dominated by Kremlin loyalists.

During Putin's eight-year presidency, the government has systematically rolled back Russia's post-Soviet political freedoms and that has shown no signs of stopping under Putin's successor and protege, Dmitry Medvedev.

Alexeyeva said the government was pushing the law quickly to head off possible protests resulting from the global financial crisis, which has hit Russia hard.

"The people ruling the government are afraid of the reaction of its citizens to their inability to cope with the crisis," she said.

Lev Ponomaryov, an outspoken government critic, said the legislation creates "a base for a totalitarian state."

In a separate development Wednesday, the Russia's upper house of parliament passed legislation that would end jury trials for those facing charges of terrorism and treason. Instead they would face judges.

The bill's authors say the change was necessary because they claim juries have acquitted many suspects despite strong incriminating evidence. Critics denounced the bill as another blow to democratic principles.
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« Reply #243 on: December 21, 2008, 04:21:38 PM »

Russia starts missile delivery to Iran
'The delivery of this system is a display of good relations'

 Russia has begun delivering S-300 air defense systems to Iran which could help repel any Israeli and U.S. air strikes on its nuclear sites, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.

"After few years of talks with Russia ... now the S-300 system is being delivered to Iran," IRNA quoted Email Kosari, deputy head of parliament's Foreign Affairs and National Security committee, as saying.

Kosari did not say when the deliveries began. Iran's Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the report. Russia's Foreign Ministry also declined comment, saying it may react on Monday.

The United States, its European allies and Israel say Iran is seeking to build nuclear arms under the cover of a civilian atomic energy program. Iran denies the charge.

Israel's insistence that Iran must not be allowed to develop an atomic bomb has fueled speculation that the Jewish state, widely assumed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, could mount its own pre-emptive strikes.

In October, Russia's Foreign Ministry denied media speculation that Moscow would sell the medium-range S-300 system, adding Moscow had no intention of selling weapons to "troubled regions."

But Russia's RIA news agency last week quoted "confidential sources" as saying that Russia was fulfilling a S-300 contract with Iran.

The most advanced version of the S-300 system can track targets and fire at aircraft 120 km (75 miles) away. It is known in the West as the SA-20.

Russian arms sales and nuclear cooperation with Iran have strained relations with Washington, which says Tehran could use them against their interests in the region and also against its neighbors.

Russia, building Iran's first nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr, says Tehran does not have the capability to make nuclear weapons.

Kosari said the S-300 system would be used "to reinforce Iran's capability to defend its borders."

"The delivery of this system is a display of good relations between Iran and Russia, which cannot be harmed by Israel," IRNA quoted Kosari as saying.
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« Reply #244 on: February 07, 2009, 01:52:12 PM »

Russia, EU spar over human rights

1 day ago

MOSCOW (AP) — The EU commission chief and the Russian prime minister have sparred over human rights issues during a joint news conference.

Speaking after talks Friday, EU commission president Jose-Manuel Barroso said the recent killings of a human rights lawyer and a journalist on a Moscow street caused the EU concern. He added that human rights and the rule of law are much more important than diplomacy.

A visibly angry Prime Minister Vladimir Putin cut in and accused the EU of breaching the human rights of ethnic Russians, migrants and prisoners.

The incident has underlined tensions in relations between Russia and the EU that have been strained by Russia's recent war in Georgia and a chilling two-week cutoff of Russian gas supplies to the EU via Ukraine in January.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia and the European Union tested the troubled waters of their relationship Friday, holding the first top-level meetings since a chilling two-week cutoff of Russian gas supplies via Ukraine.

European Commission President Jose-Manuel Barroso, who angrily accused Russia and Ukraine of holding Europe hostage last month in their politically charged price dispute, was to meet with President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Barroso is leading a delegation of EU commissioners, including the energy, trade and foreign policy chiefs, in a bid to put relations back on track after their worst year ever.

It will be a tough task. Russia and the EU are linked closely by trade, but their ties have been strained for years by disputes on issues ranging from timber tariffs and overflight fees to the Kremlin's human rights record and its support for separatists in Georgia and Moldova.

The already-wary relationship was badly soured by Russia's recent war with Georgia and its subsequent recognition of the independence claims of the breakaway Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, where Moscow's military buildup is increasingly a thorn in the side of the West.

Supplies of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine resumed less than three weeks ago, and the cutoff has deepened EU concerns about its reliance on Russia for a quarter of its natural-gas needs.

Russia lays full blame on Georgia for the war and on Ukraine for the gas cutoff. But that has done nothing to ease EU concerns about an increasingly assertive Russia. Those in turn have led to Kremlin accusations that the West is hopelessly biased in favor of former Soviet republics whose leaders strive to shed Moscow's influence.

The EU suspended talks with Russia on a new partnership agreement after its invasion of Georgia. In October it announced a decision to resume those talks, drawing accusations from the U.S. and other critics that it was bowing to Russian aggression, but no visible progress has been made.

The EU now hopes Moscow will want to soothe relations as its economy is hit by the global meltdown and sharply lower prices for oil, the backbone of its economy. The EU is by far Russia's largest export market.

Ahead of the visit, Barroso said he would not dwell on the gas cutoff and would try to improve relations across the board. It is "urgent to get this relationship to work to our best advantage, acknowledging our differences, (and) work together to build up trust," he said Thursday.

The EU's agenda includes the global economic crisis, energy relations, climate change, Russia's World Trade Organization membership, prospects for concluding a "strategic partnership" and sorting out enduring trade spats such as Russian wood export duties and high charges on Siberian overflights.

But Russia and the 27-nation EU are also at odds over broader issues including energy and security.

Russia has rejected EU pleas to join the Energy Charter, a treaty that aims to boost the rule of law in energy matters, and has made noises about the need for an entirely new arrangement. Russia is also pushing for a new trans-Atlantic treaty governing security in Europe, which many in the West see as a bid to undermine NATO.

Russia, EU spar over human rights
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« Reply #245 on: February 07, 2009, 01:54:10 PM »

7 Ex-Soviet Nations to Form Rapid Reaction Force
04 February 2009The Associated Press

Seven former Soviet republics including Russia will form a joint rapid reaction force, President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday.

President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia, Armenia, Belarus and four Central Asian nations — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — had reached the agreement to form a new security force during a summit of the Moscow-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization on Wednesday.

The force would add a military dimension to the Moscow-dominated alliance, which so far has served mostly as a forum for consultations.

"We all have agreed on the need" for the force, Medvedev said, but he did not give details of how the force would be composed.

On Tuesday, he said Russia and Belarus would also be forming a joint military system to monitor and defend their air space.

Wednesday's announcement about the joint rapid reaction force was made just a day after Kyrgyzstan said it would end its U.S. lease of a key air base that supports military operations in Afghanistan. Evicting U.S. troops from Kyrgyzstan would mark a victory for Moscow in its battle for influence in what it considers its historic backyard.

Russia, the United States and China have been vying for influence in the Caspian and Central Asia region, which is believed to contain the world's third-largest energy reserves.

When the U.S. launched the war in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, then-President Vladimir Putin welcomed U.S. troops in Central Asia. The move helped to temporarily improve U.S.-Russia relations, but as relations worsened again Moscow became impatient about the U.S. presence.

Moscow set up its own air base in Kyrgyzstan in 2003, and then scored another point in 2005, when Uzbekistan evicted U.S. troops from an air base near the Afghan border.

7 Ex-Soviet Nations to Form Rapid Reaction Force
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« Reply #246 on: February 07, 2009, 01:56:54 PM »

Russia and allies to create joint air defence
Feb 6, 8:44 am ET
by Oleg Shchedrov

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia and its post-Soviet allies are planning to create a joint air defense system stretching from NATO's borders to China, news agencies quoted an official from their Moscow-led regional security group as saying on Friday. Russia and Belarus, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania, agreed Tuesday to merge their air defense systems in a move seen by many experts as a response to U.S. plans to deploy elements of its missile defense system in Eastern Europe.

"The united air defense system of Russia and Belarus will become part of a joint air defense system of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (ODKB)," Interfax news agency quoted general secretary Nikolai Bordyuzha as saying.

The seven-member ODKB also includes the Caucasus republic of Armenia and four Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

"We are planning to create within the framework of our organization three regional air defense systems including Russia-Belarus, Russia-Armenian in the Caucasus region and the Central Asian air defense system," Bordyuzha added.

The joint air defense project, which would combine early warning systems of member states and create a single control center, has been talked about for years. Bordyuzha did not say when the project would finally be accomplished.

Out of seven ODKB states only Russia has a major modern air defense system capable of detecting and destroying both airplanes and missiles. Russia also has several major radars in ex-Soviet states.

Moscow has recently stepped up efforts to reinforce economic, military and security ties with ex-Soviet allies most of whom are being actively courted by the West and show some willingness for a more balanced foreign policy less dependent on Moscow.

Russia and Belarus decided on the creation of the joint air defense system Tuesday, a day before ODKB leaders agreed to set up a joint fast reaction force at their summit in Moscow.

The decisions have been accompanied by hefty Russian financial aid to allies struggling with the global crisis.

Russia has promised to consider nearly $3 billion in fresh credits to Belarus and agreed to contribute up to $7 billion to a $10 billion regional emergency fund.

Analysts say the creation of a joint air defense system may also be a response to the U.S. missile shield plans in Europe viewed by Moscow as a direct threat to national security.

Moscow is seeking to persuade new U.S. President Barack Obama to review a decision by his predecessor George W. Bush to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech republic.

Stronger regional alliances may give Russia a stronger say in talks with Washington, which will also include the sensitive issues of NATO membership for ex-Soviet Ukraine and Georgia and Russia's support to the U.S.-led operation in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, Kyrgyzstan announced it would close a U.S. air base near its capital Bishkek, a key element in supplying U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The decision was made after Russia offered Kyrgyzstan a life-saving aid package of over $2 billion.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who has sought to persuade NATO and the European Union to review global security arrangements, has said he will speak to Western partners on behalf of ODKB allies as well.

Russia and allies to create joint air defence
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« Reply #247 on: February 07, 2009, 01:58:54 PM »

Quote
"The united air defense system of Russia and Belarus will become part of a joint air defense system of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (ODKB)," Interfax news agency quoted general secretary Nikolai Bordyuzha as saying.


Tick, Tick, Tick, as time goes by, we are getting closer by the hour.
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« Reply #248 on: February 27, 2009, 12:50:29 AM »

Russia's Medvedev orders crackdown on extremists
Wed Feb 25, 2009

 MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Dmitry Medvedev ordered a crackdown on Wednesday on extremist groups which he said were trying to exploit Russia's economic crisis by sowing instability.

Russian officials traditionally mean racist groups and radical religious and political organisations when speaking about "extremism".

"Extremist actions are especially dangerous in the current conditions," Russian news agencies quoted Medvedev as telling a meeting with top prosecutors. "In many instances they are directly linked to attempts to destabilise ... our society."

"You have the right to ask courts to liquidate relevant public and religious organisations and suspend their activities pending a court decision," Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.

Medvedev said this month racist attacks were on the rise and were a threat to national security in Russia, whose economy has been hit hard by the global economic slowdown and the fall in the price of oil and other commodities.

But human rights activists and some opposition groups accuse the Kremlin of using tough new legislation on extremism as a pretext to clamp down on legitimate forms of dissent.

The Moscow-based rights group SOVA said at least 96 people were killed and more than 400 were wounded in racist attacks last year.

Millions of foreign workers, many from former Soviet republics in Central Asia, have poured into Russia in the past few years to take up construction and retail jobs.

But some 2 million people have lost their jobs in Russia in the last six months and at least 1 million more lay-offs are expected in 2009.

Russia's Medvedev orders crackdown on extremists
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

They talk about Christian extremists here as well. I think it will not be too long until, we Christians are called Extremists. At least those of us who believe that Jesus is the only way to God the Father and only through Him can we be given eternal life.
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« Reply #249 on: February 27, 2009, 10:18:01 PM »

Russia hits back at Canada about bomber flights

Updated Fri. Feb. 27 2009 8:02 PM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

Moscow hit back at Defence Minister Peter MacKay on Friday, calling the minister's comments about the flight of two Russian bombers a "farce," the Russian news agency Ria Novosti reported Friday.

The rhetorical sparring comes after two long-range Russian bombers flew near Canadian airspace in the arctic less than 24 hours before President Barack Obama visited Ottawa on Feb. 19 - an occurrence which MacKay called a "strong coincidence."

Two Canadian CF-18 fighters intercepted the Russian aircraft and MacKay warned Russia on Friday to "back off" from flying near the Canadian border.

The incident has ignited a fierce debate about territorial sovereignty as European nations, Canada and the U.S. squabble about claims in the arctic.

But Russia sent a clear response to MacKay's warnings.

"The Canadian defense minister's statements concerning the flights of our long-haul aircraft are totally unclear," a Russian military source said Friday, adding that the flight was routine.

"The countries adjacent to the flight path had been notified and the planes did not violate the airspace of other countries. In this light the statements by the Canadian Defense Ministry provoke astonishment and can only be called a farce," the source told Ria Novosti.

At a press conference Friday, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the incident happened on Feb. 18.

"At no time did Russian airplanes enter Canadian airspace but within 24 hours of the president's visit here to Canada last week we did scramble two CF-18 fighter planes from Norad (North American Aerospace Defense Command) and Canada command," MacKay said.

The jets took off from Cold Lake, Alta., to intercept the aircraft, which has been reported as either a Tupolev Tu-95 bomber or its newer sister, the Tu-160.

"They met a Russian aircraft that was approaching Canadian airspace and, as they have done on previous occasions, they sent very clear signals that are understood that that aircraft was to turn around, turn tail, and head back to its own airspace -- which it did," MacKay said.

CTV's Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife said the plane was intercepted about 190 km northeast of Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T.

"Obviously what they were doing was testing Canadian security knowing full well that all of our security attention would be focused in Ottawa around the president's visit," Fife said.

MacKay said similar incidents have happened in the past. However, he said the frequency of the incidents is increasing.

"For that reason, it puts the emphasis back on the importance of Norad, the importance of our being diligent in defending our airspace, exercising that sovereignty," he said.

"The most obvious way to do that is by using the equipment at our availability, using the existing systems that are there at Norad for this very purpose."

MacKay was in Ottawa Friday meeting with Gen. Walter Natynczyk, Canada's chief of defence staff, and Gen. Gene Renuart, the commander of Norad and USNORTHCOM, to discuss Canada-U.S. military relations.

Renaurt said it was vital that Canada and the U.S. maintain "the solid, integrated air defence posture that we have."

Political fallout widens

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Russian intrusions are a "real concern" to his government.

"We will continue to respond, we will defend our airspace," Harper told reporters in Saskatoon.

A Russian air force spokesman said Friday that the flight was planned in advance and was part of routine patrols.

Canadian navy Lt. Desmond James, a spokesman at Norad headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., told The Canadian Press that the Russians include long-range flights as part of their training.

"On our part, we go up to make sure they know that while they are doing their training, we do know that they're there and we are watching, prepared to respond should they decide that they're going to alter their course in a threatening manner," James said.

"We have to let the Russians -- any aircraft -- know that we are in a position to respond."

Norad spokesperson Michael Kucharek said it is not atypical to see Russian aircraft engaging in training exercises so close to Canadian airspace.

"This has happened quite often, this is a pattern that we generally see through Russian exercises of this type," he told CTV Newsnet on Friday afternoon.

He estimated that Norad had seen Russian fighters undertaking similar training exercises at least 20 times "over the course of the last couple of years."

During the Cold War, Russian aircraft frequently entered into North American airspace and were often escorted back to international air space by Canadian and American jets.

Brewing international dispute

After the Soviet Union collapsed, the flights were suspended but have resumed in recent years as Russia tries to push its claim on the Arctic.

In total, five countries claim parts of region -- Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, and the United States.

Canada has claimed the Northwest Passage.

"The Russians have been very strict about following international rules but they're going right up to the limits," Rob Huebert, with the University of Calgary's Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, told CTV Newsnet Friday.

"If in fact we see the Americans pushing us on the Northwest Passage and ultimately somehow it becomes accepted that it's an international strait I would suspect you'd be seeing Russian bombers coming through the Northwest Passage."

Last summer, then-foreign affairs minister David Emerson said recent actions of Russia in the Far North were of "great concern" to the government.

He said Canadian officials had "seen much increased activity in terms of Russian overflights of Canadian airspace."

Emerson also said the Americans were seeing the same thing around Alaska.

Russia hits back at Canada about bomber flights

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« Reply #250 on: February 27, 2009, 10:23:12 PM »

Ukraine shuts Soviet radars as Russia launches new one
26 February, 20:37 | Reuters

KYIV/MOSCOW, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Two Ukrainian early-warning radar systems ceased data sharing with Russia overnight after a post-Soviet agreement between the two countries was cancelled, Ukraine's Space Agency said on Thursday.

Quoting Moscow defence ministry officials, Russian media said Moscow had put into service its own facility in Armavir in the southern Krasnodar region to protect its southern flank, after the loss of data from the Ukrainian-based radars.

Russia cancelled a 1992 agreement on sharing radar information last year, saying the systems were outdated and that it would be "unthinkable" to have such installations in a country aspiring to join NATO.

"According to the agreement, last night the transmission of information was stopped. These stations are working properly and being used for the monitoring of space," a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian Space Agency said. Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko wants the country to join NATO, an ambition that infuriates Moscow which sees any NATO expansion on its borders as a threat.

Ukrainian officials said they could instead integrate the radar systems -- in Mukachevo at the Hungarian border to the far west of the country and in Sevastopol in the southern peninsula of Crimea -- with European Union and NATO countries.

Quoting the Russian military, who describe their system codenamed "Voronezh" as "state-of-the-art", Russian media said the deal on the use of Ukrainian-based radars had expired at midnight on Feb. 26.

Unnerved by U.S. plans to build a missile shield in eastern Europe -- complete with interceptor missiles to be deployed in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic -- Moscow repeatedly offered Washington access to the Armavir radar and a site in Azerbaijan, to scan airspace as far as Iran, a U.S. foe.

Washington eventually turned down the offer.

Ukraine shuts Soviet radars as Russia launches new one
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« Reply #251 on: May 11, 2009, 02:39:44 AM »

Lavrov arrives in Washington to plan Obama’s visit to Moscow

07.05.2009, 06.40

WASHINGTON, May 7 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Washington for a visit on Thursday. He will meet U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the leaders of the U.S. Congress.

Lavrov will also deliver a speech at the Carnegie Foundation.

The development of a dialogue between Moscow and Washington in new conditions will be the main subject of these talks.

“The visit’s main task is to restart the Russian-American relations and designate areas in which it’s necessary to work to ensure a successful visit of the U.S. President Barrack Obama to Russia in July,” the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Andrei Nesterenko said.

“We hope that we’ll manage to have a full-scaled discussion of Russian-American cooperation and use this newly emerged ‘window of opportunities’ for its further development,” the diplomat emphasized.

Nesterenko also said that the modalities of a new START treaty would also be discussed.

The agenda of the talks with American leadership includes urgent problems of interaction between Russia and the North Atlantic Alliance.

“During my visit to Washington I hope to discuss an entire range of cooperation within the Russia-NATO Partnership Council,” Lavrov told journalists before departure for the United States.

“We’ll discuss the alarming situation in the Caucasus which is being preserved primarily because of the provocative actions undertaken by the Georgian leadership,” Lavrov said.

Sergei Lavrov will leave Washington for New York on May 8 for consultations at the United Nations headquarters. The Russian foreign minister will deliver a speech at a special U.N. Security Council meeting on the Middle East.

Lavrov’s visit to the United States will last until May 11.

Lavrov arrives in Washington to plan Obama’s visit to Moscow
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« Reply #252 on: May 11, 2009, 02:41:59 AM »



Parade shows off renewed military

Rows of missiles and tanks rumbled through Moscow’s Red Square and dozens of combat jets streaked overhead in the Victory Day parade Saturday in Russia’s largest display of military might since Soviet times.

President Dmitry Medvedev warned sternly that Russia was ready to respond to any challenge and said its military has proven that in real action —- a clear reference to the war with neighboring ex-Soviet Georgia.

Russia and NATO sought recently to rebuild ties frozen over the war, but tensions soared again over NATO’s military exercises in Georgia launched earlier last week.

Parade shows off renewed military
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« Reply #253 on: May 12, 2009, 10:29:47 PM »

Dmitry Medvedev at Moscow missile parade: 'Russia will teach aggressors a lesson'

Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's president, has warned at a military parade in Red Square that Moscow will teach foreign aggressors the "lessons" of the Second World War.

By Adrian Blomfield in Moscow
09 May 2009

Nuclear missile launchers and battle tanks were driven through the centre of Moscow, while air force bombers flew above the city's skyline, as Russia celebrated victory over Nazi Germany 64 years ago. Mr Medvedev ordered the Soviet-style parade of might to remind the world that Russia remained a powerful military force.

With Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, standing beside him, Mr Medvedev told thousands of troops drawn up on the cobbles of Red Square that Russia still faced external threats to its security.

"The victory over fascism is a great example and a great lesson for all people and is still current today when people are again starting military adventures," he said.

The president's comments seemed to be primarily directed at Georgia, with which Russia fought a five-day war last year, but could also be a coded warning to the United States, some observers said. Washington is planning to build a missile defence shield in central Europe, a project that has been repeatedly condemned in Moscow.

Mr Medvedev said that foreign designs against Russia would meet the same response it gave the Nazis during the War.

"We are sure that any aggression against our citizens will be given a worthy reply," he said.

The parade was the biggest show of force since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Last year, under an initiative from Mr Putin, tanks and intercontinental ballistic missiles reappeared in Red Square after a 17-year hiatus as part of a drive to show off Russia's military resurgence.

The parade saw the first public appearance of Russia's much vaunted S-400 Triumph air defence system, which Moscow says can engage enemy aircraft, including those equipped with Stealth technology, at a distance of 250 miles.

Known by Nato as the SA-21 Growler, it is reportedly much more powerful than the MIM-104 Patriot, its closest US rival. The United States has expressed concern that Russia could sell the system to Iran.

The increasingly nationalistic tone of Victory Day, while welcomed overwhelmingly by ordinary Russians, has prompted concern from leaders of other ex-Soviet states, who say it is evidence of Moscow's growing belligerence.

At Victory Day commemorations in Kiev, Viktor Yushchenko, the Ukrainian president, called on Europe not to tolerate the revival of authoritarianism on the continent, in an apparent dig at Russia.

"You went through the hell of the war against fascism," he said. "Today, in the modern era, it should be unthinkable to tolerate even the smallest hint of a revival of a totalitarian or authoritarian system that violates the sacred right of sovereign peoples to exist independently."

Like Georgia, its fellow pro-western ally, Ukraine has been at odds with Russia since the state abandoned its pro-Kremlin course following the Orange Revolution of 2004.

An increasing reluctance among ex-Communist states on Russia's western border to see the Soviet Union as liberators rather than occupiers has incensed the Kremlin.

On the eve of the Victory Day parade, Mr Medvedev appeared to give backing to a controversial proposal that would make it a criminal offence, carrying up to five years in prison, to make such an argument -- a move that could see some foreign leaders banned from entering Russia.

The legislation, which is to be introduced in the next few weeks, would punish anyone who denied the Soviet Union's victory in the War and could be extended to target those who criticized Stalin's tactics or described Moscow's seizure of the Baltic states as "occupation".

"We will not allow anybody to cast doubt on the achievements of our nation," Mr Medvedev said.

Soviet troops invaded the Baltic states -- Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia -- in 1939 after being "awarded" the territory under the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact with Germany, then an ally of Moscow. The Nazis then forced the Soviets out in 1941.

Soviet troops returned in 1944, but the Baltic States deny this amounted to liberation as they argue that the Nazis had already abandoned their territory without a fight. The Soviets remained for 46 years, a period that saw of tens of thousands of civilians deported to labour camps in Siberia.

Latvia has called on the European Union to condemn the proposed legislation.

"The EU should make clear that such legislation is not acceptable," said Inese Vaidere, a Latvian member of the European Parliament. "Its implementation would endanger the most basic freedom of speech, as all conclusions and reflections made in contrast to the official Russian rhetoric would lead to criminal liability."

Dmitry Medvedev at Moscow missile parade: 'Russia will teach aggressors a lesson'
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« Reply #254 on: May 12, 2009, 10:30:59 PM »

Russia warns foes in Soviet-style show of might     
May 9 2009

Russia on Saturday sternly warned its foes not to dare attempt any aggression against the country, as it put on a Soviet-style show of military might in Red Square including nuclear capable missiles.

The display to mark the 64th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II came amid renewed tensions with Georgia after NATO's decision to hold war games in the Caucasus country infuriated Moscow.

"We are sure that any aggression against our citizens will be given a worthy reply," President Dmitry Medvedev said in a speech in Red Square side-by-side with powerful Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

"The victory over fascism is a great example and a great lesson for all peoples and is still current today when people are again starting military adventures," he added.

Russia's war with Georgia in August over Georgian breakaway regions sent Moscow-NATO ties to their worst level since the Cold War and tensions have flared again over the alliance's decision to go ahead with the exercises.

Moscow, which remains at loggerheads with Georgia's pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili, angrily condemned the war games that started this week as a provocation that risk stoking instability in the region.

"Protecting the motherland is our holy duty, it is a moral foundation for all generations," said Medvedev. "The future of Russia will be peaceful, happy and successful."

Before handing over to Medvedev as president last year, Putin resurrected the Soviet practice -- dropped after Communism -- of having missiles and heavy tanks rumbling over the Red Square cobbles in front of Russia's leaders.

Thousands of soldiers and more than 100 items of hardware featured in the Red Square parade, which was matched by similar demonstrations across Russia involving almost 30,000 troops, officials said.

Thousands of soldiers marched past Medvedev and Putin, before dozens of heavy tanks, including the main T-90 battle tank and the Sprut self-propelled anti-tank gun, thundered through Red Square to the sound of martial music.

There was a rare public showing for some of Russia's best known missile systems, including the S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft missiles, the short range Iskander-M and the medium-range Buk.

As in 2008, Russia proudly showed off a half dozen examples of its nuclear-capable Topol intercontinental ballistic missile which has a range of more than 10,000 kilometres (6,500 miles).

Squadrons of fighter jets also flew over Red Square.

The parade was overseen by Defence Minister Anatoly Serdukov, a civilian ex-furniture salesman implementing a hugely controversial military reform to eliminate Soviet-era structures and prepare the army for modern warfare.

"Greetings comrades! I congratulate you on the 64th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War," Serdukov, dressed in a suit, told the soldiers from an open-top car.

"Hurrah!," shouted the soldiers, creating a huge wave of sound with the traditional Russian victory cry that shook Red Square.

According to the Russian authorities, 8.6 million Soviet soldiers and 27-28 million civilians were killed in the conflict. Officials have repeatedly emphasised that Russia's role in defeating Hitler should never be forgotten.

Moscow has been festooned with official posters with slogans like "May 9, a holiday in our homes and in our hearts" while state television has repeatedly played archive footage of the war.

The restoration of the heavy weaponry to the parade is a throwback to the days when reclusive Soviet leaders would observe the proceedings from the top of Lenin's mausoleum on Red Square.

However as in 2008, Putin and Medvedev avoided embarrassing comparisons with the past by surveying events from a podium rather than the mausoleum, which was largely hidden by a festive hoarding.

Russia warns foes in Soviet-style show of might
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