Posts tagged Russia
Donetsk, Ukraine: A leaflet distributed in Donetsk, Ukraine calling for all Jews over 16 years old to register as Jews marred the Jewish community’s Passover festivities Monday (Passover eve), replacing them with feelings of concern. Donetsk, a Ukraine province with 4.3 million people – 10 percent of Ukraine’s population – and 17,000 Jews, is home to much of the country’s heavy industry, and is thus the biggest prize of the eastern regions where pro-Russian separatists have captured government buildings in the past week.
The leaflet, signed by Chairman of Donetsk’s temporary government Denis Pushilin, was distrbiuted to Jews near the Donetsk synagogue and later in other areas of the city where pro-Russians activists have declared Donetsk as an independent “people’s republic”, defying an ultimatum from Kiev to surrender.
The leaflet was written in Russian and had Russia’s national symbol on it, as well as the Donetsk People’s Republic insignia.
“Dear Ukraine citizens of Jewish nationality,” the flyer began, “due to the fact that the leaders of the Jewish community of Ukraine supported Bendery Junta,” a reference to Stepan Bandera, the leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement which fought for Ukrainian independence at the end of World War II, “and oppose the pro-Slavic People’s Republic of Donetsk, (the interim government) has decided that all citizens of Jewish descent, over 16 years of age and residing within the republic’s territory are required to report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and register.”
The leaflet detailed what type of documents the Jewish citizens would need to supply: “ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles.”
If the message was not made clear enough, the leaflet further stipulated the consequences that would come to those who failed to abide by the new demands: “Evasion of registration will result in citizenship revoke and you will be forced outside the country with a confiscation of property.”
To add insult to injury, the leaflet demanded the Jews pay a registration fee of $50.
According to Alex Tenzer, a Kiev native and one of the directors of the National Association of Immigrants from the Former USSR in Israel, said: “The Jewish-Ukrainian leadership supports Ukraine’s new government, but it’s hard to tell whether the leaflet is valid or simply a provocation.
“Anyway, the material is very anti-Semitic and reminds me of the kind of material distributed by the Nazis in WWII.”
Emanuelle Shechter, from Israel, received a copy of the leaflet via Whatsapp from his friends in Donetsk. “They told me that masked men were waiting for Jewish people after the Passover eve prayer, handed them the flyer and told them to obey its instructions.”
Olga Reznikova, a member of Donetsk’s Jewish community, told Ynet that “we do not know if the leaflet was spread by pro-Russian forces or someone else, but it did manage to create quite a fear. This reminds me of texts from darker times. Other members of the Jewish community I spoke with are not afraid, but it is unpleasant. source – YNET News
A Powerless American Military In Europe
The Obama administration has removed all operational combat tanks from Europe and key strike aircraft, limiting the options for a show of force to bolster eastern NATO allies as Russia contemplates invading Ukraine.
That makes it a top priority to show Russian President Vladimir Putin that Washington stands militarily behind NATO members such as the Baltic states, Poland and other countries once under Soviet domination.
The problem is, the U.S. shelf is a bit bare. In the past two years, the Obama administration has deactivated the only two armored combat brigade teams in Europe equipped with the Army’s main M1 battle tanks. It also disbanded a squadron of A-10 ground-attack jets that proved effective over Libya.
While Mr. Putin is flexing his muscle in the east, Washington is tilting military away from Europe and toward Asia. “Everyone is moving west when we need to be looking east,” said Luke Coffey, a former Army officer who was a defense adviser to Britain’s conservative government.
“Ten thousand American troops have moved west out of Europe,” said Mr. Coffey, an analyst at The Heritage Foundation. “Ten thousand British soldiers have moved west out of Germany, while thousands of Russian soldiers have moved west to the Ukraine.”
On Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced an increase in air policing missions over the Baltic member countries. More allied warships will be sent to the Baltic Sea and eastern Mediterranean, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said.
“There really aren’t any American military options,” said James Russell, an instructor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. “The truth of the matter — the Russian army is there and ours isn’t, and the Europeans have mostly disarmed, so you can forget about them. It isn’t much more complicated than that.” source – Washington Times
Vladimir Putin is striking at the heart of the West
Ukraine: Deep in the flat and featureless landscape of eastern Ukraine, it is all too possible that the outline of World War III is taking shape. Whipped up by the Kremlin propaganda machine and led by Russian military intelligence, armed men are erecting road blocks, storming police stations and ripping down the country’s flag.
They are demolishing not just their own country — bankrupt, ill-run and beleaguered — but also the post-war order that has kept most of Europe and us, here in Britain, safe and free for decades.
His target is our inability to work with allies in defense against common threats. The profoundly depressing fact is that the events of the past few months, as Russia has annexed the Crimea and suppressed opposition in Ukraine, have shown the West to be divided, humiliated and powerless in the face of these land grabs.
We are soon to face a bleak choice. We can chose to surrender any responsibility we have to protect Ukraine and the Baltic states — almost certainly Putin’s next target — from further Russian incursion. Or we can mount a last-ditch attempt to deter Russia from furthering its imperial ambitions.
If we do choose to resist Putin, we will risk a terrifying military escalation, which I do not think it an exaggeration to say could bring us to the brink of nuclear war.
Putin knows that. And he believes we will choose surrender. For the real story of recent events in Ukraine is not about whether that country has a free-trade deal with Brussels or gets its gas from Moscow.
It is about brute power. It is about whether Putin’s Russia — a rogue state on Europe’s doorstep — can hold its neighbors to ransom, and whether we have the will to resist him. So far the answer to the first question is yes. And to the second a bleak no.
The Russian leader believes the collapse of the Soviet Union was a ‘geopolitical catastrophe’. He believes Russia was stripped of its empire by the West’s chicanery. And quite simply, he wants it back.
Putin has presented the Ukrainian leaders with an impossible choice. Either they consent to the dismemberment of their country. Or they fight a war they cannot win. Ukraine’s ill-trained, ill-equipped and ill-led soldiers are quite unsuited to deal with the fraught challenge facing them.
Any bloodshed against a single Russian soldier will give Putin a pretext to use his military might. For her part, Russia has played a brutally clever game. She has deliberately sought to humiliate and destabilise Ukraine.
Now Putin can claim his soldiers must be allowed to intervene because the very social disorder his outriders have engineered demonstrates that the authorities cannot maintain order. Having taken Ukraine, he will turn his attention to the Baltic states. Members of the EU and NATO, their lawful societies, elections and thriving economies are an implicit rebuke to those who preside over sleaze and brutality in Russia.
Now Putin sees a chance to humiliate them — and the West. He does not need to invade, just to provoke. Using social division and agitation he will raise the pressure — whether economic or political — on one or more of the Baltic states until it becomes unbearable.
NATO and the EU — on current form — will merely appeal for dialogue and threaten sanctions. But nothing will happen. Which means the Baltics will buckle, and Putin will take back lands which he believes are rightly Russia’s.
That will be the end of NATO — and the dawn of a terrifying new world in which international rules count for nothing and the strong dominate the weak. Russia — ruthless and greedy — can play divide and rule for decades to come. source – Daily Mail UK
Evidently, all of Obama’s pink line threats against Russia to leave Ukraine alone has created a Russia that in no way fears American reprisal of any kind. Probably because they know that there is none coming. Sleep safe, America, the community organizer has got this.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Russian fighter jet made multiple, close-range passes near an American warship in the Black Sea for more than 90 minutes Saturday amid escalating tensions in the region, U.S. military officials said Monday.
In the first public account of the incident, the officials said the Russian Fencer made 12 passes, and flew within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook, a Navy destroyer, at about 500 feet above sea level.
The U.S. warship issued several radio queries and warnings using international emergency circuits, but the Russian aircraft did not respond.
“This provocative and unprofessional Russian action is inconsistent with international protocols and previous agreements on the professional interaction between our militaries,” said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.
The fighter appeared to be unarmed and never was in danger of coming in contact with the ship, said the officials. The passes, which occurred in the early evening there, ended without incident. A second Russian fighter jet flew at a higher altitude and was not a concern, said Warren.
A U.S. military official also said that a Russian Navy ship, a frigate, has been shadowing the U.S. warship, remaining within visual distance but not close enough to be unsafe. The official was not authorized to discuss the incident publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity. source – AP
Ukraine: Shock satellite images reveal how Russia has amassed 40,000 troops, tanks and fighter jets just 30 miles from the Ukrainian border. NATO, which released the photographs, claimed the military forces could invade within just 12 hours if given orders from Moscow. The photos have provoked a furious diplomatic row between NATO and the Kremlin, which claims they were taken last year. But Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen insisted the threat was real.
Troops had been spotted at more than 100 sites, he said, many of which appeared to be fields and not established bases. ‘Russia is stirring up ethnic tensions in eastern Ukraine and provoking unrest,’ he added. ‘And Russia is using its military might to dictate that Ukraine should become a federal, neutral state. That is a decision which only Ukraine as a sovereign state can make.’
Several images dated March 26 and taken around the Russian town of Belgorod, 25 miles from the Ukraine border, showed units of a motorised rifle regiment, Mil Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, supply and transport vehicles, according to NATO.
They were taken by a commercial satellite firm called Digital Globe and also showed units of a motorised rifle regiment, a ‘probable’ anti-tank battalion and artillery on March 27. There are even field hospitals, it was claimed. source – Daily Mail UK
U.S. intelligence agencies now have detailed information that Russia has amassed the kind of forces needed for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. But the Obama administration hasn’t shared with Ukraine the imagery, intercepts, and analysis that pinpont the location of the Russian troops ready to seize more Ukrainian land.
President Obama has repeatedly and publicly expressed solidarity with the Ukrainian people—and warned Russian leader Vladimir Putin that there will be consequences if he takes over any more Ukrainian territory. Yet Obama’s administration has so far been reluctant to hand over the kind of intelligence the Ukrainians could use to defend themselves. U.S. officials and members of Congress briefed on the crisis in Ukraine tell The Daily Beast that senior U.S. military officers have been instructed to refrain from briefing their Ukrainian counterparts in detail about what the United States knows about the Russians troops amassing on the border.
“I am not confident we are sharing any of that kind of information,” said Rep. Michael Turner, the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee that oversees NATO and U.S. tactical air and land forces. “It’s clear we are not giving them critical military advice about the Russian capability on their border and the best utilization of the Ukrainian military to counter that.”
Instead, the U.S. intelligence community’s detailed analysis of a potential Russian invasion has been shared only with the Congress, American policy makers, and members of the Obama administration. The analysis includes details such as the geographic location of specific Russian units and predictions for how those units would be used in combination for a potential invasion.
That’s the sort of information that would be invaluable for any military preparing for a possible incursion. But it would be particularly useful to the fledgling government in Ukraine that lacks the satellites, sensors and intercept technology to learn the details of the military force that looks like it is about to invade its territory. Ukraine’s military is severely outmatched by Russia’s, but detailed intelligence on the location and composition of Russia’s invading force could advantage the Ukrainians in defending its eastern cities nonetheless.
And while any decision about an invasion is Putin’s alone, the signs are mounting that an invasion is near. Congressional staffers briefed on the matter say U.S. intelligence agencies have detected the supply lines needed for an invasion. Battlefield hospitals and mobile medical units have accompanied the infantrymen, tank columns and artillery units amassing at the border as well. When Russia announced military exercises near Ukraine in February, the U.S. intelligence community did not see such supply lines or medical units. source – Daily Beast
Kiev, Ukraine – The Ukrainian parliament reportedly is considering a bill that would allow security forces to arrest and detain local citizens for up to 30 days without formal charges or court approval, a Russian politician claimed Monday, citing the measure as just one indication that the political upheaval in Ukraine is descending into Nazi-era “Gestapo times.”
“The entire country is populated by armed militants in balaclavas,” said Sergei Zheleznyak, the vice speaker of the Russian parliament’s lower house, in a teleconference Monday from Moscow. “Their names are unknown … they’re outlaws and they don’t comply with the laws.”
“A majority of Ukrainians today are hostages of that situation because they are afraid of those bandits who are next to their doors,” said Zheleznyak, speaking through a translator. Any solution must come democratically, he said, but “any diplomatic procedure is not possible when only one person is having his word and convictions and on the other hand, the other guy has an assault rifle.”
Zheleznyak’s claims align with Russian rhetoric criticizing the political upheaval in Ukraine in recent months. Populist protesters rallied in central Kiev in late 2013 demanding the resignation of then-President Viktor Yanukovych. He had backed down from signing economic accords with the European Union at the 11th hour, opting instead to accept a Russian bailout to save the floundering local economy. source – US News