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Russia, Ukraine, NATO and the threat of war

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Harbornite

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Back in 2014, we had a thread on the forum about the Ukrainian/ Crimean crisis. In March 2014 the Crimea was annexed by Russia after a plebiscite which saw overwhelming support for this. and is now an autonomous republic, known as the Republic of Crimea.

Anyway, the conflict did not end with that and is still ongoing. I've created this thread as a place to discuss ongoing events in the Ukraine and whether or not Russian relations with the West will sink any lower. Putin offered to co-operate with the USA in Syria but this has not happened and one wonders what the likelihood of war is between NATO and the USSR, I mean Russia.
 
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yorksrob

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As a labour supporter, I generally agree with Jeremy Corbyn, but he really does need to learn to love NATO. If you're not going to support a fellow NATO country, it's not good to advertise the fact.
 

Harbornite

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To get the ball rolling, I've dug up some recent articles from Momentum's favourite news site, Russia Today. Make of these what you will, it could all just be blustering and perhaps we need a serious diplomatic incident before we should start feeling concerned.

Russia to deploy S-400 missiles in Crimea next month


Russia is to deploy its advanced long-range surface-to-air missiles S-400 in Crimea, beefing up Russia’s anti-access/area-denial capabilities around the peninsula.

A full regiment system of S-400 Triumph is to be delivered to Crimea in August, told the media Lt. Col. Evgeny Oleinikov, deputy commander of the 18th missile air defense regiment of the 31 air defense division.

“After tests at a firing range… are complete, in August 2016 the accepted hardware will be transported to its permanent deployment site in the city of Feodosia,” he said.

An anti-submarine rocket blasts off a rocket launcher from the Bulgarian navy frigate Bulgaria sails against tide as NATO mulls stronger presence in Black Sea
The equipment was manufactured by S-400 producer Almaz Antey this year under a contract with the Russian Defense Ministry. The regiment’s personnel have been trained to use the new system earlier this year, the officer said.

Crimea is a former Ukrainian region, which opposed an armed coup in Kiev two years ago and voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia, from which it was rezoned during Soviet times. The peninsula is vital for Russian national security, and has been home base of the Russian Black Sea fleet for decades. Russian soldiers legally deployed in Crimea under a treaty with Ukraine provided security during the days of the referendum, when nationalists in Kiev threatened to attack the rebellious region.

Ukraine and its foreign sponsors consider the move a hostile takeover by Russia through military force. Moscow says it was a legitimate exercise of the right of self-determination as stipulated by the UN Charter.

NATO, which considers Crimea part of Ukraine, has ramped up its military presence in the Black Sea region significantly since 2014, deploying additional warships and holding more military exercises in a display of force, which, the alliance claims, is meant to deter ‘Russian aggression’. Moscow sees it as provocative and threatening and has ramped up Crimea’s defenses accordingly.

At the moment older S-300 long-range surface-to-air missiles are deployed in Crimea, ensuring protection from possible airstrikes or cruise missile attacks.

The S-400 system for Crimea is a small part of military hardware produced for the Russian military this year. In Q2 2016 the ministry accepted a new Iskander-M tactical missile system, a new advanced frigate, the Admiral Essen, a medium rocket for space launches, 15 drones, eight radar stations, and other equipment, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported on Friday.

https://www.rt.com/news/351219-crimea-s-400-missiles/



Russia forms brand-new task force to counter NATO buildup in Eastern Europe

Moscow has been forming a force to counterbalance NATO’s massive military buildup along Russia’s borders in Europe, which will operate along its western and southern borders, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.

Shoigu named NATO’s military buildup in Eastern Europe, the overall situation in Ukraine, and growing terrorist activity in the Caucasus region as the three principle drivers behind Moscow’s military upgrade.

“In the given conditions, we have to take commensurate reaction measures,” Shoigu said, while speaking at a Defense Ministry board session.

Since 2013, the Defense Ministry has conducted over 200 drills in the southern military district, the minister reported.

Four divisions, nine brigades, and 22 regiments have been formed there from scratch, Shoigu said.

Two of the newly-formed divisions are missile units armed with Iskander-M tactical quasi-ballistic missile complexes that have greatly augmented the proven hard-kill capability of the southern task force.

The minister particularly stressed that, following reunification of Crimea with Russia in 2014, the region has been completely re-armed and the troops deployed there have become a self-sufficient task force armed with Bal and Bastion surface-to-sea anti-ship missile systems, S-300V4 and S-400 air defense missile complexes, and Buk-M2 and Pantsir-S1 (NATO designation SA-22 Greyhound) cannon-missile systems, as well as other upgraded systems.

“As a result, the air defense capability in the southwestern strategic direction has grown by 50 percent,” the minister claimed.

The Black Sea fleet has received brand-new Novorossiysk and Rostov-on-Don submarines armed with Kalibr cruise missiles. Both the Black Sea fleet and the Caspian Sea flotilla are now operating fast attack guided missile crafts armed with Kalibr cruise missiles.

Over the last three years, the southern military command has added over 4,000 units of new and modernized military hardware altogether.

In addition, the number of contracted professional servicemen serving in the southern task force has grown twofold, Sergey Shoigu said.

https://www.rt.com/news/353599-russia-military-upgrade-nato/

Here's the most recent article from RT, published only today...


Russian drill calls for ‘NATO’ soldiers ‘to lay down arms, stop being pawns’


Russian troops were allegedly on the hunt for NATO soldiers during a mission in the northwest of the country. However, there is no need to panic. The alliance is not invading, as it was merely a mock exercise to simulate a hypothetical incursion into Russia.
The opposing force was not specified, but messages played over loudspeakers as the drills took place left little room for the imagination.

“NATO soldiers! You are being lied to! You are not peacekeepers! Lay down your arms,” a female voice warned the soldiers in a recording played on loudspeakers, according to RIA Novosti’s reporter on the scene.

“Your treacherous attack is disturbing a peaceful country. You will suffer retribution and the anger of a people who have never suffered defeat in any war. Drop your weapons and stop being pawns for your leaders,” the Russian message added. It was then played in several other languages.

The warning was thankfully just a drill which took place near St. Petersburg and Pskov. The training exercise, named ‘Cooperation-2016’, is partly aimed at preparing troops to protect the country’s borders and was part of a series of drills undertaken by the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Apart from Russia, the CSTO includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Those countries were also undertaking counter-terrorism exercises.

Away from the war games, NATO has carried out a number of exercises close to Russia’s borders. In June, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that the alliance’s activity on Russia’s doorstep had “more than doubled,” meaning Moscow would have to take retaliatory measures.

“Now NATO and the US have deployed about 1,200 pieces of military equipment, including 30 combat jets, as well as more than 1,000 soldiers on the territories of the Eastern European countries on a rotational basis. The US navy ships as well as military vessels of other NATO members regularly enter the Baltic and Black Seas,” Shoigu said.

On June 14, NATO agreed to deploy a new 4,000-strong force in the Baltic States and Poland in addition to more than 1,000 soldiers already stationed there on a rotational basis.

https://www.rt.com/news/356510-russia-drills-nato-soldiers/



As a labour supporter, I generally agree with Jeremy Corbyn, but he really does need to learn to love NATO. If you're not going to support a fellow NATO country, it's not good to advertise the fact.

I agree. To make matters worse, you've got Trump encouraging Russia to hack Clinton's emails and he's shown little support for NATO, quite the opposite in fact. If (and that's a big if) he becomes President, it could reduce the likelihood of war with Russia.



The pro-west Ukrainians are the ones who should be concerned. They still have their sovereignty but is this under threat?


5607857938e8136bc89fa838d7b1dd95ceba891fac82d4ae551190dc1dcde244_3767839.jpg



Vladimir Putin Visits Crimea As Russian Forces Stage War Games


The Russian president makes his fifth visit to the peninsula in two years as Ukraine warns of "a full-scale Russian invasion".

On Friday, he said: "I hope that this (the alleged plot) won't be a final choice... and that common sense will prevail.

"We are not going to cut (diplomatic) ties despite the unwillingness of the current authorities in Kiev to have fully-fledged diplomatic ties at ambassador level.

"We will nonetheless create the possibilities for contacts to develop."


It comes as Russian naval and land forces began logistics training in Crimea, according to the Russian RIA news agency, which quoted the Russian defence ministry.

Mr Putin has also cancelled the next round of international talks intended to transform Ukraine's shaky ceasefire into something more permanent.

Some commentators say these latest steps and the bomb plot accusations are not aimed at stoking military tensions but instead are part of Mr Putin's diplomatic power play aimed at eventually ending Western sanctions.


On Thursday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that the likelihood of an escalation in the conflict between government forces and the pro-Moscow separatists "remains very high".

Mr Poroshenko says the risk of an escalation in the conflict is 'very high'
Pro-Moscow fighters control two self-declared republics in Donbass, in the east of Ukraine, where fighting has continued since the conflict began in 2014.

Mr Poroshenko was speaking after the military reported that violence between the two sides was at its worst for a year.

He said that he could "not exclude a full-scale Russian invasion (of Ukraine) along all fronts" and that this could force him to introduce "martial law and a mobilisation" of reserve forces.

http://news.sky.com/story/crimea-visit-for-putin-comes-as-tensions-remain-high-with-russia-10543087


This is all reminiscent of the mid 1930s when Nazi Germany began to expand by grabbing small areas of territory before annexing Austria. As the Austrias showed solidarity and support for the Nazis in 1938, the majority of Crimeans seem to support Putin and Russia.
 
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Xenophon PCDGS

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Russia and Syria have had a long relationship in trade and other matters and Syria gave Russia a political foothold in the Middle East. Hence the Russian involvement with the Assad regime in the current civil war there.

After Crimea, whilst noting the Russian "protection of Russian-speaking peoples" in northern Ukraine, I would be minded of the three Baltic states with similar large numbers of Russian speakers, despite their new relationship with the West. The West have very recently held military exercises in northern Poland but a recent military personage on the NATO side admitted that Russia could easily outgun the West and their new technology of causing drones to be useless is one worrying matter to be aware of.
 

J-2739

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I don't know, I'm just glad Jeremy Corbyn is not PM (yet). Will he simply ignore all these war threats? About that Donald Trump one, it probably will ease relations between the USA and Russia but the question is, how will the rest of the world respond?
 

yorksrob

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We've seen Russia buzzing British Airspace on a few occasions . Russia needs to be contained, but do we have the infrastructure to continue it, and how much do we need to update.
 

Harbornite

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We've seen Russia buzzing British Airspace on a few occasions . Russia needs to be contained, but do we have the infrastructure to continue it, and how much do we need to update.

Part of the reason why Trident was renewed, so we have the wherewithal to stand up to Russia.

If only someone like Gorbachev was still in power. :roll:
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Russia and Syria have had a long relationship in trade and other matters and Syria gave Russia a political foothold in the Middle East. Hence the Russian involvement with the Assad regime in the current civil war there.

After Crimea, whilst noting the Russian "protection of Russian-speaking peoples" in northern Ukraine, I would be minded of the three Baltic states with similar large numbers of Russian speakers, despite their new relationship with the West. The West have very recently held military exercises in northern Poland but a recent military personage on the NATO side admitted that Russia could easily outgun the West and their new technology of causing drones to be useless is one worrying matter to be aware of.


The Syria situation is awkward because, although ISIL is our primary enemy, our government doesn't like Russia's buddy Assad and we could have launched airstrikes against them in 2013 (obviously this was declined in parliament).

Regarding the Baltics and Poland, they have the "advantage" of NATO membership so attacking them would be a bigger gamble. As for Belarus, they want to be friends with both the EU and Russia and have good relations with the latter so will probably be ok for now.
 

AlterEgo

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We've seen Russia buzzing British Airspace on a few occasions . Russia needs to be contained, but do we have the infrastructure to continue it, and how much do we need to update.

Russia has done this since time immemorial, and we've done the same back to them! Nothing to see there.
 

yorksrob

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Russia has done this since time immemorial, and we've done the same back to them! Nothing to see there.

Indeed, so long as we keep on the ball.

We did have the V- force I those days though. Are we still up to it.
 

Harbornite

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Indeed, so long as we keep on the ball.

We did have the V- force I those days though. Are we still up to it.

The V force was outmoded by the 1960s and replaced with submarines that are more effective at delivering nuclear missiles. For starters, they can't get shot down by interceptor fighters.
 

yorksrob

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The V force was outmoded by the 1960s and replaced with submarines that are more effective at delivering nuclear missiles. For starters, they can't get shot down by interceptor fighters.

Well, indeed,things move on.
 

Shaw S Hunter

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After Crimea, whilst noting the Russian "protection of Russian-speaking peoples" in northern Ukraine, I would be minded of the three Baltic states with similar large numbers of Russian speakers, despite their new relationship with the West. The West have very recently held military exercises in northern Poland but a recent military personage on the NATO side admitted that Russia could easily outgun the West and their new technology of causing drones to be useless is one worrying matter to be aware of.

Perhaps not widely known by many a significant policy of Stalin was "Russification" of the non-Russian parts of the Soviet Union. This involved forced relocation of Russians to the target areas with the Baltic States receiving particular attention (they were independent nations pre WW2). Although this was primarily intended to dilute local nationalism it was also convenient as a pretext for Russian intervention at some point in the future. The issue remains a live one in those 3 countries to this day.

As for Belarus, they want to be friends with both the EU and Russia and have good relations with the latter so will probably be ok for now.

That would be the same Belarus with an even more authoritarian regime than in Russia. The same Belarus so welcoming of Europeans that it continues to levy an expensive transit fee/visa on anyone crossing the country en route to/from Russia.

I don't know, I'm just glad Jeremy Corbyn is not PM (yet). Will he simply ignore all these war threats? About that Donald Trump one, it probably will ease relations between the USA and Russia but the question is, how will the rest of the world respond?

A President Trump [shivers] might well be less likely to fall out with Russia but on the other hand if the Russians were minded to manufacture some sort of military "adventure" in Europe I rather suspect he would be cheering from the sidelines. He's the worst sort of American, a total isolationist with almost no interest in the well-being of the world in general. President Clinton II might well be an unwelcome prospect but its much, much better than the alternative.
 

Harbornite

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That would be the same Belarus with an even more authoritarian regime than in Russia. The same Belarus so welcoming of Europeans that it continues to levy an expensive transit fee/visa on anyone crossing the country en route to/from Russia.

I am aware of Belarus's government, thanks to cracked and vice. It's no surprise that they are billed as the last dictatorship in Europe, censorship is in place and there have been bans on public gatherings larger than 3 people, and a ban on clapping. Apparently a one-armed man was arrested for breaking this...

Anyway the point is (which you have completely missed) that Belarus doesn't seem to be threatened by Russia, unlike Ukraine, because it isn't seeking to turn its back on the east and fully embrace the West. I'm not sure why you are suggesting otherwise.




Belarus is quite relevant to the topic of the thread due to its proximity to and relations with Russia.

20110709_eup002.jpg

ORDINARY dictators like applause. These days Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the demagogic and authoritarian president of Belarus, cannot stand it. Every Wednesday a few hundred people come out on the streets of Belarusian cities and wordlessly clap their hands. They may not shout slogans, but everybody knows what it is they are silent about.

Unlike the thousands-strong protest last December brutally put down by Mr Lukashenka, the clapping protests are modest in scale. And though their organisers talk of “a revolution through social networks” their real point is to demonstrate the protesters' courage and Mr Lukashenka's paranoia. Each Wednesday plain-clothed thugs with earpieces swarm the streets of Minsk dragging people out of crowds and pushing them into security vans parked in side streets with their licence plates covered.

During celebrations of Belarus's independence day on July 3rd, the police said that any applause other than to war veterans would be considered an offence. So nobody applauded Mr Lukashenka's combative speech. But even those, including journalists, who just gathered at one of the city's squares were arrested.

Anatoly Lebedko, an opposition leader who spent several months in a KGB cell in Minsk after December's election, says Mr Lukashenka has lost the support of most of the population and also Russia's unconditional backing. His popularity rating has plunged from 53% in December to 29% last month, according to an independent opinion poll.

This is not surprising. The economy is teetering on the brink of collapse. With inflation hitting 35% and the currency having lost half its value, most people feel a lot poorer. There are restrictions on the sale of hard currency. People are queuing for weeks to change Belarusian roubles. And though fear and an inured tolerance of hardship tend to stifle protests, there are reports of strikes at some Belarusian plants.

The country's Soviet-style command economy was never efficient and could be sustained only by foreign credit and huge Russian subsidies in the form of cheap energy and the ability to buy discounted Russian oil and sell on refined products at a markup. In the past five years Russia's subsidy has fallen from the equivalent of 20% of GDP to only 7%.

But it was last year's election that made the situation critical. To bribe voters, Mr Lukashenka raised salaries and social spending. State firms went on a borrowing spree. After violently suppressing protests and taking many political prisoners, Mr Lukashenka cut Belarus off from Western support. Leonid Zlotnikov, an economist, says Belarus needs to find monthly payments of over $1 billion to service its debts. Its foreign-exchange reserves are down to a month's worth of imports. “The economy is choking,” Mr Zlotnikov says. And the Kremlin, which gave Mr Lukashenka a boost just before the election and recognised its result despite the violence, is not rushing to the rescue—albeit for cynical and pragmatic reasons.

Having spent $50 billion propping up Mr Lukashenka over the past decade, the Kremlin now wants something back, such as gas pipelines, perhaps, or refineries and chemical plants. Alexei Kudrin, Russia's finance minister, has said that he would agree to a rescue credit line only if Belarus privatised assets worth $7.5 billion. Mr Lukashenka resists giving up economic control. But as Oleg Manaev, an independent sociologist, says, “Lukashenka's fate is no longer in his own hands”.

The Kremlin may not want to topple Mr Lukashenka yet because it fears that, without him, Belarus could rush towards the West. He is also a useful bogeyman who makes Russia's own leaders seem more civilised and democratic. The Russian tactic, it seems, is to keep Mr Lukashenka just above the surface, occasionally dipping him in and then pulling him out to make sure he is still breathing. But if the Kremlin miscalculates and keeps Mr Lukashenka under a moment too long, it could inadvertently provoke a more serious revolt. Then the applause would become deafening.

www.economist.com/node/18929417
 
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Shaw S Hunter

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Anyway the point is (which you have completely missed) that Belarus doesn't seem to be threatened by Russia, unlike Ukraine, because it isn't seeking to turn its back on the east and fully embrace the West. I'm not sure why you are suggesting otherwise.

Belarus is quite relevant to the topic of the thread due to its proximity to and relations with Russia.

My point is more that Belarus is potentially as big a threat as Russia given its borders with both Poland and Ukraine and given the growing dependence on Moscow might even act as a third party agent provacateur. It was also heavily "Russified" under the USSR to eliminate any remaining Polish influence: the Belarussian capital Minsk was once Polish.
 

ainsworth74

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Yes the issue with Belarus is not that Russia might threaten but more that Belarus might work with Russia hand in hand to further Russia's aims!

As for Corbyn his comments don't exactly surprise me given his general attitudes but hopefully we'll never have to see a Corybn Premiership so it won't be an issue!
 

Harbornite

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My point is more that Belarus is potentially as big a threat as Russia given its borders with both Poland and Ukraine and given the growing dependence on Moscow might even act as a third party agent provacateur. It was also heavily "Russified" under the USSR to eliminate any remaining Polish influence: the Belarussian capital Minsk was once Polish.

Oh OK, fair enough. Recent RT articles mention how their leader misses the USSR and is building up its forces to defend against NATO.
 

J-2739

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Yes the issue with Belarus is not that Russia might threaten but more that Belarus might work with Russia hand in hand to further Russia's aims!

As for Corbyn his comments don't exactly surprise me given his general attitudes but hopefully we'll never have to see a Corybn Premiership so it won't be an issue!

In that case, I see Russia using Belarus like some sort of satellite state, seeing its closer proximity to Poland.
 

oldman

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Belarus is still a Russian satellite in spite of its leader. Defence is already well integrated. Putin may feel that Lukashenka is a bit too old-fashioned, as dictators go, and prefer someone more modern, more like himself. There might also be business opportunities for his friends with a bit more privatisation.

The russification of Belarus (and much of Ukraine) goes back to the nineteenth century and the Polish influence in the west of the country was dealt with by Stalin, Hitler and Stalin again. Most of the survivors were moved west at the end of WW2.

There is a distinction in Russian attitudes between the east Baltic countries and Belarus/Ukraine. The latter are widely considered to be 'Russians really' and I expect Putin to to go on chipping away at Ukrainian territory in Novorossiya if he feels he can get away with it. The east Baltic countries will be harrassed from time to time, but probably no more.

It's a bit unfortunate having an anti-Nato leader of the opposition, but it can't be helped. Trump winning would be more serious.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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In that case, I see Russia using Belarus like some sort of satellite state, seeing its closer proximity to Poland.

An interesting fact to note was that after the Russian Revolution, the Belarus area declared independence as the Belarusian Peoples Republic, but that did not last long until it was conquered by Soviet Russia....and the rest, as they say, is history.

Belarus now remains the only state in Europe to retain capital punishment, both in law and in practice.
 

Harbornite

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Two recent articles from Sky which are relevant...


PM Agrees To Meet Putin At G20 Summit


The Kremlin says the two leaders expressed a desire to improve the struggling relationship between their countries.

Downing Street said the pair were looking forward to meeting each other


Theresa May will meet Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in China - a meeting agreed during a telephone conversation.

The conversation was the first since Mrs May became Prime Minister.

A Kremlin spokesman said both leaders had said they were unhappy with the current state of relations between the UK and Russia.

The pair agreed to work on an arrangement between their agencies on issues relating to aviation security.

A Sky source said that they also agreed to meet at the G20 summit of world leaders in China in September.

The relationship between the UK and Russia has been strained over the past few years by the situation in Ukraine and Mr Putin's backing of the Syrian regime.

There are also tensions over what Britain says is a sharp increase in flights by long-range Russian bombers near British air space.

The Kremlin said Tuesday's phone call was initiated by Britain.

It also said that Mrs May confirmed Britain would be involved in this month's ceremonies marking 75 years since the arrival of the first British World War Two convoy in the Russian city of Arkhangelsk.

A Downing Street spokesman confirmed the two leaders had spoken during the afternoon, adding that Mr Putin had "congratulated (Mrs May) on her appointment and wished her success".

They added: "The Prime Minister noted the importance of the relationship between the UK and Russia, and expressed the hope that, despite differences on certain issues, they could communicate in an open and honest way about the issues that mattered most to them.

"The Prime Minister and President agreed that British and Russian citizens faced common threats from terrorism; and that co-operation on aviation security in particular was a vital part of the international counter-terrorism effort.

"They looked forward to seeing each other at the G20 summit in China next month."

Meanwhile, Mr Putin has also been trying to repair ties with Turkey, meeting the country's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in St Petersburg.

The relationship between the two soured after a Turkish F-16 jet downed a Russian warplane over the Syrian border in November.

The incident led to Moscow slapping sanctions on Ankara.

The meeting was the first between the two leaders in nine months.

http://news.sky.com/story/pm-may-agrees-to-meet-putin-at-g20-summit-10529774



How Will May Tackle The Challenge Of Russia?


How Will May Tackle The Challenge Of Russia?
Dealing with Russia is one of the biggest challenges for the new PM, but she may use different tactics to her predecessor.

Russia's President Putin attends a meeting with Andreev, President of Alrosa diamond mining company, at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow
Mr Putin can expect a fresh approach to diplomacy from Mrs May


David Cameron's relationship with the Russian President Vladimir Putin was prickly at best, poisonous at worst.

The former Prime Minister led the charge for sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine.

The relationship soured further over efforts to prosecute the killers of the Kremlin critic and former spy Alexander Litvinenko, murdered in London by radiation poisoning in 2006.

How to deal with Russia is one of the most pressing and difficult foreign policy concerns for Theresa May.

The first signals are that she may use rather different tactics to her predecessor in Number 10.

On Tuesday the pair spoke in a telephone call initiated, according to the Kremlin, by London.

The relationship between Mr Putin and Mr Cameron was not always smooth
They agreed to meet face to face at the G20 meeting of world leaders in China next month.

The language from the Downing Street statement afterwards was cautious, but relatively warm: "The Prime Minister noted the importance of the relationship between the UK and Russia, and expressed the hope that, despite differences on certain issues, they could communicate in an open and honest way about the issues that mattered most to them.

"The Prime Minister and President agreed that British and Russian citizens faced common threats from terrorism, and that cooperation on aviation security in particular was a vital part of the international counter-terrorism effort.

"They looked forward to seeing each other at the G20 summit in China next month."

A statement from the Kremlin also hinted at a changing relationship.

It said: "While discussing topical issues in Russian-British relations, both sides expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of cooperation in the political, trade and economic spheres."

The leaders agreed to intensify "joint work on a number of fronts" including air transportation safety, it added.

The UK's exit from the European Union will inevitably prompt a re-imagining of its relationships with the rest of the world and, for some observers, it's an opportunity that President Putin will want to take advantage of.

Attempting to drive a wedge between European countries may play into his hands as the UK looks for closer trade links with nations outside the EU.

When Mrs May took office last month, Mr Putin said he was ready for "constructive dialogue" with the new British leader.

He has also said that the UK leaving the EU "will have consequences for the United Kingdom, for all of Europe and for us, of course".
http://news.sky.com/story/how-will-may-tackle-the-challenge-of-russia-10530118
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
In a familiar cycle of brinksmanship, Russia and Ukraine once again edged toward the brink of open war last week, only for the bellicose rhetoric and military posturing to dissipate rapidly, leaving the conflict in eastern Ukraine no closer to a long-term solution.

Russia’s successor spy agency to the KGB, the Federal Security Service (FSB), claimed to have thwarted attacks on August 10 in Crimea, which Russian authorities pinned on the Ukrainian government.

In one incident, an FSB agent died during a raid on a terrorist cell. A Russian soldier also died in a separate, cross-border firefight, the spy agency said.

Following the alleged incursions by Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a chilling message to Kiev, spurring fears of all-out war when he said Russia “would not let such things pass.”

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko denied Russia’s accusations, calling them “insane.”

“These fantasies pursue only one goal,” Poroshenko said in a statement emailed to journalists in Ukraine. “A pretext for more military threats against Ukraine.”

The United States backed up Kiev’s denials of involvement. “[The] U.S. government has seen nothing so far that corroborates Russian allegations of a ‘Crimea incursion’ and Ukraine has strongly refuted them,” U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt tweeted on August 11.

A war of words followed between Kiev and Moscow, edging the two countries to the brink of a military conflict more serious than the ongoing one in eastern Ukraine.

Heightening fears of all-out war were reports of Russian troop movements inside Crimea, north toward the Ukraine border, as well as the buildup of Russian forces on the border with Ukraine’s embattled southeastern Donbas region.

Consequently, Ukraine’s military went on high alert, and Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations requested an emergency closed-door session of the U.N. Security Council last week.

Meanwhile, the spat threatened to derail the interminable talks to ease tensions in the more than two-year-old conflict in eastern Ukraine. Putin said additional meetings among Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France—dubbed the “Normandy Four” format—were “senseless.”

Russia has supported two pro-Russian separatist republics in the conflict with the Ukrainian government. According to Ukrainian and U.S. officials, as well as numerous media reports, Russian troops have participated actively in combat against Ukraine’s armed forces. Moscow, however, denies having deployed troops to fight inside Ukraine.

Tradecraft

Last week’s Crimean incident was textbook Kremlin tradecraft—manufacturing an event to justify a large-scale military intervention.

Ukrainian media highlighted past instances of such operations by Russia, including frequent references to a series of apartment bombings across Russia in 1999. Those bombings boosted public support in Russia for the Second Chechen War, as well as bolstering the profile of Putin, then prime minister.

U.S. government officials and media reports have since suggested Russia’s Federal Security Service was likely behind the 1999 bombings, which killed 300, as part of an effort to gin up support for military action in Chechnya.

Some in Ukraine speculated that last week’s Crimean provocation might have been a Kremlin gambit to delegitimize Ukraine’s post-revolution government in order to pressure Western countries to lift punitive sanctions against Russia.

“Russia will fail to undermine Ukraine’s reputation [in] the international arena and press for lifting sanctions with such provocative acts,” Poroshenko said.

The U.S. and the European Union placed sanctions on Russia after its illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, based in Crimea, launched a three-day “anti-sabotage” exercise in the wake of the alleged Crimea incursion. The exercise, in addition to reports of Russian troop movements, prompted Ukraine to place its troops in the east on the “highest level of combat readiness.”

Metrics

While the rhetoric escalated between Ukraine and Russia, various intelligence estimates suggested a Russian offensive against Ukraine was unlikely.

Field camps, which would be needed to deploy Russian troops into eastern Ukraine during an invasion, had not been built on Russia’s border with eastern Ukraine. Additionally, a civilian intelligence and security firm told The Daily Signal that Russian forces staged on the Ukraine-Russia border have fuel and ammunition for about one day of fighting—insufficient for a large-scale offensive.

Ukrainian officials, however, are not taking the Russian threat lightly.

Ukraine has about 100,000 troops deployed to its eastern territories. This is roughly on par with the 45,000 pro-Russian separatists and regular Russian troops deployed inside eastern Ukraine and the approximately 45,000 Russian troops staged across the border in western Russia.

Ukraine has about 10,000 troops deployed in southern territories near the Crimean border; Ukrainian officials estimate Russia has about 45,000 military personnel inside occupied Crimea.

So far, the war in Ukraine has remained quarantined to the embattled Donbas region and has not spilled over into open conflict between Russia and Ukraine. After two cease-fires, the prospect of open war between Russia and Ukraine has faded incrementally.

At times, however, it seemed the two countries were on the brink of a major conflict.

In August 2014, Putin told European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, “If I want to, I can take Kiev in two weeks.”

In September 2014, Kiev residents were instructed to use the city’s subway system as a bomb shelter. Spray-painted signs pointing to the nearest bomb shelter became common sights on the sides of buildings throughout the capital city as well as cities across the country.

Reborn Fears

Last week’s spat over the alleged terrorist plots in Crimea temporarily revived dormant worries of a major Russian offensive. Those worries paralleled a sharp uptick in the overall violence of the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The war is at its most violent level in a year. The cease-fire signed in February 2015, called Minsk II, markedly reduced the overall intensity of the conflict. Yet the war never really ended.

Instead, it devolved into a static back-and-forth of artillery fire and small unit incursions, mostly fought from trenches and from within abandoned, bombed-out villages along front lines approximately 200 miles long.

Casualties, including military and civilian deaths, are still a weekly occurrence.

As part of the Minsk II cease-fire’s terms, heavy weapons and rocket systems are supposed to have been pulled back a prescribed distance from the front lines. Yet the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the multinational group charged with monitoring the cease-fire, says the banned weapons are still frequently used.

According to U.N. data, 57 percent of the conflict’s 73 civilian deaths in July were due to heavy weapons presumably banned from the conflict under the cease-fire’s terms.

A wave of fresh violence in the Donbas followed last week’s flare up in Crimea, which fed into fears of a larger offensive in the making.

On August 14, the Ukrainian military reported that combined Russian-separatist forces launched a barrage of more than a hundred 122 mm artillery shells within one hour at Ukrainian positions near the village of Lebedynske, outside the southern industrial city of Mariupol.

That same day, the Ukrainian military reported nine heavy armor attacks against its positions in the area around Mariupol, as well as separate artillery attacks and firefights northward along the length of the front lines.

Cooling Off

The crisis at the Crimean border brought the Ukraine war briefly back into Western media headlines and editorial pages. But as it dissipated, the war quickly was overshadowed by news from the Olympics, the U.S. presidential campaign trail and the fight against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS). Putin also added to the media noise drowning out the Ukraine conflict.

On August 9, the day before the Crimea incident, Putin hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a meeting in Moscow. And on Tuesday, Russia launched airstrikes in Syria from an air base inside Iran.

Once again, Putin’s diplomatic and military moves left foreign affairs experts and military analysts reading the tea leaves to speculate about the Russian president’s larger strategy.

The perpetual worry in Kiev is that Western resolve to deter Russian aggression will cave in the face of the EU’s economic appetite to end punitive sanctions against Moscow and the U.S. desire to court Russian cooperation in military operations against ISIS.

One week on, the threat of a Russian offensive on Ukraine appears to have cooled off. On August 15, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia would not cut diplomatic ties with Ukraine over the Crimean incident.

“For now the main thing is not to give in to emotions, not to slip into taking some extreme actions, but to try to stabilize the situation with restraint and concentration,” Lavrov said following talks with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.

Lavrov and Steinmeier also discussed restarting the Normandy Four peace process, in an apparent move to walk back Putin’s threat to withdraw from the talks.

http://europe.newsweek.com/putin-steps-back-brink-war-ukraine-491426?rm=eu

So Putin wants to meet up with the British Prime Minister, while stealing parcels of territory from other nations and could use a border incident that is possibly fabricated, as a justification for invading Ukraine. Where have I heard this before... :roll:
 

fowler9

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We've seen Russia buzzing British Airspace on a few occasions . Russia needs to be contained, but do we have the infrastructure to continue it, and how much do we need to update.

There is nothing new here, it has gone on for decades, I have pictures of pretty much every generation of each sides aircraft doing it. Don't let the press have you thinking this is something scary and new. Our QRA has been present for decades to.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Indeed, so long as we keep on the ball.

We did have the V- force I those days though. Are we still up to it.

We don't have the V Force because we had Polaris and then Trident.
 

ainsworth74

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There is nothing new here, it has gone on for decades, I have pictures of pretty much every generation of each sides aircraft doing it. Don't let the press have you thinking this is something scary and new. Our QRA has been present for decades to.

I think the only thing of note is that they're doing it more frequently now than at any time in the post Cold War period. That, of course, is usually lost on the media however and instead we get things like this :roll:

Daily Mail said:
Russian nuclear bombers over Britain and why we should all be VERY scared

Link
 

fowler9

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I think the only thing of note is that they're doing it more frequently now than at any time in the post Cold War period. That, of course, is usually lost on the media however and instead we get things like this :roll:



Link

Yes they are doing it more frequently but it really is just increased willy waiving. As for the supersonic bomber simulating a nuclear attack, why has Russia suddenly decided to use bombers instead of ICBM's? They have enough ICBM's after all. The Blackjack bombers aren't used for that kind of thing any more than the US would launch a nuclear assault on Russia using B1's, B2's or B52's. The Russians are a bit skittish with us messing around in the Baltic states, which we are, we are doing a lot of our own willy waiving over there. I have been to Latvia and Estonia in the last 12 months and there are a hell of a lot of Nato buildings just down the road from Russia. I am off to Lithuania soon and will be interested to see what it is like there.
 

ainsworth74

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As for the supersonic bomber simulating a nuclear attack, why has Russia suddenly decided to use bombers instead of ICBM's? They have enough ICBM's after all. The Blackjack bombers aren't used for that kind of thing any more than the US would launch a nuclear assault on Russia using B1's, B2's or B52's.

Makes for a good headline to sell papers though doesn't it ;)
 

fowler9

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Makes for a good headline to sell papers though doesn't it ;)

Keep the people scared. If they are scared they are more likely to do what you want. Ha ha. :D What the report didn't say was that Russia can barely afford to keep its Blackjacks flying enough to keep their pilots up to scratch.
 

Harbornite

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Keep the people scared. If they are scared they are more likely to do what you want. Ha ha. :D What the report didn't say was that Russia can barely afford to keep its Blackjacks flying enough to keep their pilots up to scratch.

An interesting point. I can remember a few years ago when the Russians were struggling to afford new military equipment like KA 50 and MI28 Havoc helicopters, but they seem to have recovered since then with expenditure on new jets and that joint project with India: the Pak FA.
 

ainsworth74

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An interesting point. I can remember a few years ago when the Russians were struggling to afford new military equipment like KA 50 and MI28 Havoc helicopters, but they seem to have recovered since then with expenditure on new jets and that joint project with India: the Pak FA.

We will see how long that lasts as their economy continues to tank. Plus compared to the vast catalogue of obsolescent Soviet era equipment in use the rate of procurement of new equipment is very much a drip feed. The Russians have a few frontline squadrons/battalions/etc that have the latest and greatest but the majority of their equipment is the same old same old.

Sticking with the RuAF, for example, they have around 50 of the modern Su-35s fighter jets in service with maybe another 50 on order and they might, in the near future order around 50 MiG-35s. Meanwhile the backbone of the RuAF fighter fleet continue to continues to be hundreds of Soviet era Su-27s, MiG-31s and MiG-29s.

Similar story with ground attack fighters. The RuAF has maybe 80 odd of the modern Su-34 in service and orders for around a further 40 or so. Meanwhile the backbone continues to be hundreds of Soviet era Su-24s and Su-25s.

Meanwhile the PAK FA programme is, I would have said, somewhat on the rocks at the moment and we'll see how many, if any, are ever actually ordered and delivered to the Indian Air Force.

The Russian Armed forces are modernising but the pace is slow and quite likely to get slower if their economy continues to tank.
 

Harbornite

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We will see how long that lasts as their economy continues to tank. Plus compared to the vast catalogue of obsolescent Soviet era equipment in use the rate of procurement of new equipment is very much a drip feed. The Russians have a few frontline squadrons/battalions/etc that have the latest and greatest but the majority of their equipment is the same old same old.

Sticking with the RuAF, for example, they have around 50 of the modern Su-35s fighter jets in service with maybe another 50 on order and they might, in the near future order around 50 MiG-35s. Meanwhile the backbone of the RuAF fighter fleet continue to continues to be hundreds of Soviet era Su-27s, MiG-31s and MiG-29s.

Similar story with ground attack fighters. The RuAF has maybe 80 odd of the modern Su-34 in service and orders for around a further 40 or so. Meanwhile the backbone continues to be hundreds of Soviet era Su-24s and Su-25s.

Meanwhile the PAK FA programme is, I would have said, somewhat on the rocks at the moment and we'll see how many, if any, are ever actually ordered and delivered to the Indian Air Force.

The Russian Armed forces are modernising but the pace is slow and quite likely to get slower if their economy continues to tank.


Some good points there. Russia must be feeling the pinch of sanctions, the AIDS crisis and the declining birth rate.

Regarding aircraft, I've noticed the usage of Soviet era aircraft in Syria, namely the SU24s. I'd say the Mig 31 and 29s are still fairly capable, if crap compared to the latest 4.5th and 5th generation jets, and I'm not sure what their condition is like with regards to airworthiness.

Here's one of the most recent articles on the PAK.


The PAK FA has played the bugbear for Western air forces for nearly a decade, the terrifying Russian jet that will eat F-35s for breakfast. American aviation analysts in search of something, anything that might threaten U.S. air dominance settled on the PAK FA, a frankly evil looking jet that bore a very mild resemblance to the MiG-31 “Firefox” that Clint Eastwood made famous.

Say what you will about the F-35, but Lockheed Martin has actually built and delivered one hundred and seventy one aircraft thus far. The Russian Air Force, meanwhile, has yet to receive its first PAK FA. In lieu of the PAK FA, Russia has continued to acquire generation 4.5 fighters (mostly of the Flanker family) as well as upgrading generation 4 fighters (including various Flankers, the MiG-29 Fulcrum, and the MiG-31 Foxhound). Sukhoi will likely never build the number of fighters that Western analysts expected, or that the Russian Air Force wanted.

Acquisition of the PAK FA has slowed for two reasons. First, technical problems have beset the program, as Russia’s aviation industry (weighed down by the legacy of the post–Cold War collapse) has struggled with the development and manufacture of advanced stealth and avionic components. Second, the Russian economy has been damaged in the face of a worldwide drop in oil prices, and Western sanctions stemming from the decision to seize and annex Crimea. All in all, it remains unclear whether the PAK FA will ever threaten Western dominance of the skies.


A New Stealth Fighter

The PAK FA emerged from the ruins of the Russian post-Cold War military-industrial base. Russia’s first fifth-generation fighter project, the “MiG 1.44,” produced a single prototype before cancellation. The advent of the F-22 Raptor, and the expectation that the U.S. would follow up with large numbers of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, made the development of a fifth-generation fighter imperative for Russia.

Perception of this need resulted in the award of a new fighter contract to Sukhoi in 2002. Sukhoi promised to produce a high maneuverability stealth fighter with supercruise capabilities that could match or defeat Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor in air-to-air combat. The PAK FA will also have sophisticated avionic systems, including datalink and a variety of electronic warfare components. Altogether, the PAK FA appears to strongly resemble the F-22 in performance, with marginally less stealth and network capabilities, but potentially more room to grow.

Production

After several years of development delays, the first T-50 (prototype designation) test flight happened in 2011. Since then, Sukhoi has produced six prototypes, which have amassed considerable hours in flight testing. Initial expectations projected the acquisition of 200 PAK FAs for Russia, 200 for India, and an unknown number for other countries.

(Recommended: 5 Russian Weapons of War America Should Fear)

However, the fighter continues to struggle with questions over cost and engine performance. In particular, the engines adopted for early aircraft do not provide sufficient thrust for the airframe, leaving the aircraft at a significant disadvantage compared to American fighters. In part because of this, and in part because of Russia’s economic difficulties, the initial order has dropped to twelve (with more expected after the resolution of engine problems).

Export

The PAK FA is nearly as important (conceptually, at least) to India’s aerospace future as to Russia, making the production issues particularly problematic. After months of haggling and disagreement, Russia agreed to cut development costs for the Indian version of the PAK FA. Theoretically, India is on the hook for roughly 150 fighters, and could purchase a hundred more on top of that.

The PAK FA plays a major role in India’s competition with China and Pakistan, its two major regional rivals. China has pushed the J-20 stealth fighter project to a stage competitive with the PAK FA, although we know less of the former’s capabilities than of the latter. For its part, we can expect that Pakistan will likely acquire J-31 stealth fighters from China, whether off the shelf or as part of some kind of joint production scheme.

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/th...stealth-fighter-the-us-air-forces-worst-16991
 
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