Tag Archives: moscow

Four Ways The Ukraine Crisis Could Escalate To Use Of Nuclear Weapons | Forbes

In 1983, the ABC television network broadcast a movie called The Day After about how a superpower nuclear exchange devastated the lives of typical Americans in two midwestern cities.  The conflict began with a Russian troop buildup in Eastern Europe (which Moscow initially claimed to be a military exercise), and then gradually escalated to a point where both sides launched their nuclear missiles for fear of losing them in a preemptive attack.  Coming as it did during a period of U.S.-Soviet tensions and controversy surrounding Reagan Administration nuclear policies, the broadcast attracted a huge audience of over 100 million viewers; it is still the highest rated made-for-television movie in U.S. history.

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Americans haven’t thought much about such scenarios since the Cold War ended, because the Soviet Union dissolved and the ideological rivalry between Washington and Moscow ceased.  However, this year’s crisis over Ukraine is a reminder that Russia remains a nuclear superpower, and that the geopolitical sources of its security concerns have not vanished.  In fact, Moscow may have greater reason for worrying today, because it has lost the buffer of allies that insulated it from Western attack during the Cold War, and now finds its capital only a few minutes from the eastern border of Ukraine by jet (less by missile).   If you know the history of the region, then it is easy to see why Moscow might fear aggression.

Four Ways The Ukraine Crisis Could Escalate To Use Of Nuclear Weapons

The Day After (Attack Segment)

Moscow Threatens Ukraine From the West – Transnistria

But there is another Russian-orchestrated threat to Ukraine now looming, one that simultaneously could assist Moscow in any advance into eastern Ukraine and promote an even broader Russian strategic move in that country. That threat comes from the west: from the breakaway republic of Transnistria, which has a Slavic majority although not, as is typically reported, a Russian one, and Gagauzia, a Turkic-Christian enclave in southeastern Moldova, which has worked in concert with Moscow and Tiraspol to weaken that Romanian-speaking country and its efforts to integrate with the West (see EDM, April 2, 20130.

While Gagauzia is an annoyance and can create problems for Chisinau when it cooperates with Tiraspol and Moscow, Transnistria is a real threat. It has one of the largest arms stockpiles in Eastern Europe as well as a heavily armed population. Its government has sold off many of the arms to radical regimes and even terrorists to keep itself going, and its security forces, including many armed militias, could be used to support a Russian move against Odessa and Ukraine’s Black Sea littoral.

Transnistria can help Russia in three ways. …

Moscow Threatens Ukraine From the West | The Jamestown Foundation

The Russian Beachhead in Nicaragua Keeps Growing

What is Russia up to in the Western Hemisphere? That’s a question increasingly on the minds of Latin America watchers, who have noticed signs that Moscow is again setting up shop south of the U.S. border.

The country getting most of the Kremlin’s attention today appears to be Nicaragua. It’s a nation of six million that ranks as the second-poorest in the hemisphere. But it also has Daniel Ortega and his leftist Sandinista party—a historic ally of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. After 15 years of anticommunist politics beginning in 1990 under Presidents Violeta Chamorro, Arnoldo Aleman and Enrique Bolanos, Mr. Ortega and the Sandinistas were back in the saddle again by 2006.

Ilan Berman: The Russian Beachhead – WSJ.com

A New Anti-American Axis? – NYTimes.com

Russia and China appear to have decided that, to better advance their own interests, they need to knock Washington down a peg or two. Neither probably wants to kick off a new cold war, let alone hot conflicts, and their actions in the case of Mr. Snowden show it. China allowed him into Hong Kong, but gently nudged his departure, while Russia, after some provocative rhetoric, seems to have now softened its tone.

Still, both countries are seeking greater diplomatic clout that they apparently reckon they can acquire only by constraining the United States. And in world affairs, there’s no better way to flex one’s muscles than to visibly diminish the strongest power.

This new approach appears based in part on a sense of their growing strength relative to America and their increasing emphasis on differences over issues like Syria. Both Moscow and Beijing oppose the principle of international action to interfere in a country’s sovereign affairs, much less overthrow a government, as happened in Libya in 2011. After all, that principle could always backfire on them.

A New Anti-American Axis? – NYTimes.com

Russia removes military personnel from Syria – Channel NewsAsia

Russia has withdrawn all its military personnel from Syria and left its strategic Tartus naval centre unstaffed because of the escalating security threat in the war-torn country, the Vedomosti daily said Wednesday.

The respected business daily cited an unnamed source in the Russian defence ministry as saying that no Russian defence ministry military or civilian personnel were now present in Syria, a Soviet-era ally of Moscow.

The source said the decision was taken to limit the dangers posed to Russians amid a raging civil war and to reduce the threat of political damage that could result from Russians being killed by either side.

Russia removes military personnel from Syria – Channel NewsAsia

Russia said to be violating 1987 missile accord

Russia is engaged in a major violation of the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with the United States by building a new medium-range missile banned under the accord, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

Disclosure of the treaty violation comes as President Barack Obama last week called for a new round of arms negotiations with Moscow aimed at cutting deployed nuclear warheads by one-third.

Intelligence officials said internal assessments identified Russia’s new Yars M missile that was tested earlier this month as an INF missile with a range of less than 5,500 kilometers.

Treaty Cheating | Washington Free Beacon

If it has a range of less than 5,500 kilometers, then it is an intermediate-range missile. The Russians not surprisingly insist that the range is greater than 5,500 kilometers.

If Russia is cheating in an area that we can see, what about the areas that we can’t?

Russian protesters march as Putin seeks firmer political footing | Reuters

Thousands of Russians marched through Moscow demanding Vladimir Putin resign on Wednesday, as the president took the helm of a loyalist movement designed to broaden his power base.

With helmeted riot police looking on, some 10,000 protesters chanted “Russia without Putin!” and called for the release of activists who face long jail terms over violence at a protest against his inauguration to a third presidential term last year.

Russian protesters march as Putin seeks firmer political footing | Reuters

Resurgent Russia: An Economy in Transition, Dysfunctional but Intact | Economy Watch

Russia has no shortage of talent, technology or resources. The country’s top managers and functionaries are well accustomed to navigating their way through political and bureaucratic storms, and the sheer size of the country and natural endowments of oil and gas cement Moscow’s position in economic and diplomatic spheres. So why is their economy in such a state of dysfunction?

Resurgent Russia: An Economy in Transition, Dysfunctional but Intact | Economy Watch

Assad: Russia already delivered S-300 batteries | The Times of Israel

Syrian president says first batch of surface-air missiles arrived; Israeli defense official vows to prevent system becoming operational

Amid a concerted international effort to dissuade Moscow from following through with the controversial arms deal, Syrian President Bashar Assad has revealed that a shipment of the advanced, Russian-made S-300 air-defense system has already arrived in his country.

In an interview with Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television scheduled to be broadcast Thursday night, the Syrian leader boasted that Syria had received the first batch of missiles and asserted that “the rest of the load will arrive soon,” the Lebanese daily Al Akhbar reported.

[If Israel attacks the S-300 air-defense system, then Syria will …]

On Wednesday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem warned that Syria would “retaliate immediately” if Israel strikes Syrian soil again.

Israel has warned Damascus that if Assad chooses to hit back at Israel for any further Israeli military strikes, Israel will bring down his regime. An Israeli official confirmed that a dramatic and unprecedented message to that effect had been conveyed to Damascus, Channel 2 news reported on May 15.

A Likud MK said that if Russia completes the sale of sophisticated S-300 missile defense systems to Syria, it could plunge the Middle East into regional war.

Assad: Russia already delivered S-300 batteries | The Times of Israel

Israel warns Russia against giving Syria missiles – Yahoo! News

Israel‘s defense chief said Tuesday a Russian plan to supply sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles to Syria was a “threat” and signaled that Israel is prepared to use force to stop the delivery.

The warning by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon ratcheted up tensions with Moscow over the planned sale of S-300 air-defense missiles to Syria. Earlier in the day, a top Russian official said his government remained committed to the deal.

Israel warns Russia against giving Syria missiles – Yahoo! News