MOSCOW, May 13 -- US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has cancelled his visit to Moscow scheduled for Monday but plans to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Sochi on Tuesday as planned.
Reuters reported citing a State Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity. On Monday, instead of Moscow, Pompeo will arrive in Brussels, where he will discuss the situation concerning Iran with EU officials. According to Reuters, he has departed from Washington and is heading to Europe. Earlier reports said that Pompeo would come to Moscow on Monday. The US secretary of state is expected to arrive in Sochi on Tuesday afternoon and hold talks with Lavrov. Kremlin did not rule out that Russian President Vladimir Putin would receive Pompeo in Sochi.
MOSCOW, March 21 -- Two Russian jets Sukhoi-27 have forced a US B-52 bomber to move away from the Russian border, the Defense Ministry told the media on Thursday.
The B-52 was flying over international waters of the Baltic Sea. Russia’s air space control means identified it far away from the border and put it under observation. Two Sukhoi-27 jets of the air defense force were ordered to identify and escort the aircraft. After the strategic bomber B-52H changed course to move away from the Russian state border the jets returned to base, the Defense Ministry’s statement says.
The Defense Ministry has uploaded a video of the incident to its Facebook page.
WASHINGTON, March 20 -- U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bombers are flying “simultaneous training flights” over Europe and the Pacific Ocean this month.
The sorties are a coordinated effort by European Command, Indo-Pacific Command and Strategic Command, U.S. officials said in a press release issued to “promote transparency and communicate our intentions.” “This Bomber Task Force rotation is the largest deployment of a single bomber platform to Europe since we had 17 bombers on the ramp at RAF Fairford in 2003 for Operation Iraqi Freedom,” Maj. Tristan Hinderliter, a U.S. Air Forces Europe spokesman, said in an email. “I make the distinction of ‘a single bomber platform’ because in summer 2017 we briefly had 2x B-1s, 2x B-2s and 2x B-52s at Fairford.”
On Monday, four B-52s flew theater familiarization flights from RAF Fairford, England, which serves as USAFE’s forward operating location for bombers. A total of six bombers and 400 airmen are at RAF Fairford for this rotation. The B-52s flew over the Norwegian Sea, the Baltic Sea, Estonia, the Mediterranean Sea and Greece. “The six B-52s and more than 400 airmen deployed to RAF Fairford allow us to test and evaluate the ability to rapidly provide a larger force to a combatant commander,” Maj. Andrew Caulk, 2nd Bomb Wing public affairs chief, told Air Force Times. “The data we gather from this deployment will help to identify potential shortfalls and improve processes for future operations.” The bombers also flew to Greece and were refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker en route. In Estonia, a B-52 conducted training with NATO joint terminal attack controllers on the ground. The bombers were deployed to EUCOM’s area of responsibility from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. The pilots, crews and maintenance personnel arrived in theater March 14-15. Russian state news agency Tass reported that a U.S. B-52 bomber flew over the Baltic Sea Friday with its transponder on, but remained more than 95 miles from Russian territorial waters. “The plane did not approach Russia’s border closer than 150 kilometers and turned around immediately after Russian air defense systems on combat duty tracked it,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The last time a B-52 was spotted over the Baltic Sea by Russian forces was in 2017, Tass reported.
U.S. Air Forces Pacific also launched B-52 bombers from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Monday, to conduct theater familiarization in the Indo-Pacific region. The bombers flew north from Andersen AFB to an area east of the Kamchatka Peninsula, in Russia’s far east, before returning to base.
The B-52s at Andersen AFB are deployed from the 5th Bomb Wing out of Minot AFB, North Dakota, in support of the continuous bomber presence mission. B-52 bombers also flew a mission over contested islands in the South China Sea on March 4, and another flight occurred Wednesday, March 13.
Since 2004, the U.S. has rotated B-1, B-52 and B-2 long-range bombers to Guam for training flights in Asia. The March 6 flight came just three days after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the Philippines and said the U.S. is committed to ensuring the South China Sea remains open to all kinds of navigation and that “China does not pose a threat” of closing disputed sea lanes. Pompeo said that the U.S. military will come to the Philippines’ aid if its aircraft or ships are attacked in the South China Sea, the first such public assurance in recent memory,
BRUSSELS, February 2 -- NATO strives towards a constructive relationship with Russia despite the US’ exit from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a statement by the NATO member countries informed.
"We continue to aspire to a constructive relationship with Russia, when Russia’s actions make that possible," the document states. The alliance places the responsibility for the US exiting the INF treaty on Russia. The exit procedure will take six months. US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said on Friday that the US would suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty on February 2.
US President Donald Trump said earlier in a statement that the United States will get down to working on several options regarding a military response to Russia’s violations of its obligations under the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty in order to neutralize Moscow’s advantages. A US official stated on Friday that the US would notify Russia, along with several post-Soviet states, officially via a diplomatic note of their decision to apply Article 15 of the INF Treaty and to suspend their obligations under the treaty.
The INF Treaty, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, took effect on June 1, 1988. It applies to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers). Washington on many occasions accused Russia of violating the Treaty but Moscow strongly dismissed all accusations and expressed grievances concerning Washington’s non-compliance. Pompeo said on December 4, 2018, that Washington would suspend its obligations under the Treaty unless Moscow returned to compliance within 60 days. On December 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters that Washington had not provided evidence proving Moscow’s violations of the document. He also said that Russia called for maintaining the Treaty but if the United States pulled out of it, Moscow would have to give an appropriate response.
FORT WORTH, January 31 -- The Royal Netherlands Air Force rolled out its first operational F-35A during a ceremony at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas, facility that at times resembled a rave rather than a corporate ceremony.
The RNAF expects to acquire 37 F-35As, and it already received two operational test aircraft in 2013 that are now flying at Edwards AFB, Calif. The jet that rolled out Wednesday will ferry to Luke AFB, Ariz., for F-35A pilot training. It will then move to Leeuwarden AB, Netherlands, which will be a “huge driver for change for our air force and will have tremendous impact on the relevance of our Air Force as part of the coalition,” RNLAF Commander Lt. Gen. Dennis Luyt said at the ceremony.
So far, Lockheed has delivered more than 360 F-35s, which are flown by 10 nations and at 16 bases worldwide, according to the company. Five services have declared initial operating capability, while two nations—the US and Israel—have used the jet in combat. The Lockheed facility hosted two Dutch DJs, along with massive screens and laser lights for a crowd of US and Dutch VIPs in military service dress and business attire, some with Dutch orange cowboy hats.
KUBINKA, January 23 -- Russia is not violating any points of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
Head of the Missile Troops and Artillery of Russia’s Ground Forces Lieutenant-General Mikhail Matveyevsky told this at a briefing on the 9M729 missile for military attaches. "Russia has observed and continues strictly observing the points of the Treaty and does not allow any violations," Matveyevsky said. The military official noted that the ongoing US campaign on accusing Russia of violating the INF Treaty is groundless. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was signed between the former Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987 and entered into force on June 1, 1988. The INF Treaty covered deployed and non-deployed ground-based short-range missiles (from 500 to 1,000 kilometers) and intermediate-range missiles (from 1,000 to 5,500 kilometers).
On January 15, Russia and the US held inter-agency consultations on the INF Treaty in Geneva. Washington again accused Moscow of breaching the arms control agreement. The US threatens to leave the treaty on February 2 unless Russia destroys its 9M729 missile, which allegedly violates the agreement. Russia told colleagues that during the Zapad-2017 drills on September 18, 2017 this missile was test-launched at the Kapustin Yar proving ground at its maximum range and it covered less than 480 km.
ROTTERDAM, January 15 -- Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is a supporter of international organizations such as the European Union.
But he also thinks President Trump has some legitimate complaints about multilateralism — and he apparently has little patience for some of Trump’s Dutch critics. “It pisses me off when I hear white-wine-sipping Amsterdam elites say that Trump is so wrong,” Rutte said Sunday in an interview on Buitenhof, a Dutch TV program. “In NATO, lots of things are not good. In the [World Trade Organization,] lots of things are not good. In the European Union, lots of things are not good,” he said. “So let’s make use of the presence of someone like Trump, who sometimes rightly says, ‘Guys, this is not good.’ ”
Rutte singled out E.U. policy as an area where there is not enough coordination between groups. “Eastern Europe does nothing at all and leaves it to the Netherlands and Germany to decide,” he said.
Rutte also pushed back on talk that he might be the next president of the European Council, suggesting that he had never been asked. The Dutch prime minister went on to say that upcoming European Parliament elections, in which the far right may make big gains, are not that important, especially given that turnout is “so low.” (E.U. data shows that voter turnout for the last election, held in 2014, was 42.6 percent).
Rutte’s comments drew criticism from some Dutch citizens, especially those based in Amsterdam. Zeeger Ernsting, a member of the city council for the GroenLinks party, tweeted a picture of Rutte sharing a glass of white wine with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
TEHRAN, January 4, -- Deputy Chief of Navy Force of the Iranian Army announced that the army's naval fleet will enter the Atlantic Ocean in early 2019 on a five-month voyage.
Admiral Touraj Hasnai Moqaddam said in an interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on Friday that the trip will be conducted in accordance with the order of the hierarchy of command.
'The Atlantic Ocean is a long route, and it is likely that this Iranian mission would take five months to complete,' he added. The deputy commander of the Navy, arguing that the Iranian navy would rotate the planet Earth, said, 'A member of the Iranian navy will be the Sahand destroyer.' Sahand, the most advanced destroyer of West Asia, joined the Navy’s south fleet in Bandar Abbas on December 1. This four-engine destroyer has been designed and made more advanced than its predecessor, Jamaran destroyer, with radar-evading capabilities.
BEIJING, December 19 -- China is watching closely as the EU advances its defense integration in the face of anxieties over Russia and US President Donald Trump’s wavering commitment to NATO.
The aim of the EU Global Strategy (EUGS) and the Permanent Structured Co-operation (PESCO) is to streamline the EU’s defense spending, investment and operations. As a potential complement to NATO, its development will impact China’s foreign policy ambitions. In a new China Monitor, Scott W. Harold, political scientist at RAND corporation and MERICS visiting fellow, explores five scenarios for how China’s interaction with the new initiative might develop. China has traditionally viewed the EU as an “important strategic partner” in the promotion of a “multi-polar international order.”
Harold notes the potential value of the integration efforts to China as a “reinsurance policy” against the United States. Should the project deepen trans-Atlantic divisions, “Beijing may seek to encourage breakdowns in trust between Washington and Brussels,” Harold writes.
MOSCOW, December 18 -- The Russian Navy will take the delivery of 12 warships and combat boats, two submarines and four Bal and Bastion coastal defense systems in 2019.
efense Minister Sergei Shoigu said this at the ministry’s year-end board meeting attended by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. "A total of 12 warships and combat boats, two submarines and 12 support vessels will enter service with the Navy. Four Bal and Bastion coastal defense systems will be delivered to the troops. As a whole, the task is to raise the share of modern weaponry in the Navy to 64%," the defense chief said.
The Bastion mobile coastal defense missile system with the standardized Yakhont (Oniks) supersonic homing anti-ship cruise missile is designed to strike surface ships of various classes and types from amphibious assault formations, convoys, naval and carrier strike groups, and also sole warships and ground radiocontrast targets amid intensive fire and jamming.
The Bal mobile coastal defense missile complex with the Kh-35 anti-ship missile is designed to control territorial waters and straits, defend naval bases, other coastal facilities and infrastructure, and also defend the coastline in the areas vulnerable to amphibious assaults. The system can be used in any weather conditions, day and night with the fully autonomous guidance after the launch amid an enemy’s fire and jamming. The system can strike targets at a range of 120km with the Kh-35 missile and 260km with the Kh-35U missile.