Czech News Agency
April 18, 2014
Prague offers fighter jets, 300 troops for NATO country’s defence
Prague: The Czech Republic can provide four Gripen fighter jets and 300 troops for reinforced protection of NATO member countries because of the Ukrainian crisis, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky told CTK Thursday.
“If NATO asks for it, we are ready to provide four Gripen fighters to reinforce the protection of the Baltic airspace or the Russian-Ukrainian border and 300 troops who are selected for NATO Response Force,” Stropnicky said.
NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Wednesday the defence of allied countries will be strengthened. He said the Ukrainian crisis is a wake-up call for Europe to increase defence spending.
NATO wants to more protect the airspace over the Baltic states, reinforce its naval presence in the Baltic Sea and the eastern Mediterranean.
NATO says Russia has moved tens of thousands of soldiers to the border with Ukraine.
Ministry of Defense of Georgia
April 17, 2014
Defence Ministries of Georgia and France Signed Bilateral Cooperation Plan
Ministries of Defence of Georgia and the Republic of France signed a bilateral [plan of] cooperation for 2014. Delegation of the French Armed Forces visited Georgia to discuss the prospects of bilateral cooperation in defence sphere.
Today, the representatives of international relations service of the Joint Staff of the French Armed Forces, led by Navy Captain Alexis Willer visited the Ministry of Defence of Georgia. Members of the delegation held meetings with the Deputy Defence Minister Mikheil Darchiashvili, Deputy Chief of General Staff of JS, Col. Vladimer Chachibaia and leadership of Euro-Atlantic Integration Department.
At the meeting the sides discussed issues of bilateral cooperation in defence sphere and strengthening existing cooperation. Regional security issues and challenges Georgia faces, cooperation with NATO and EU, ongoing defence reforms and participation in international operations were also the topics of discussion at the meeting.
Gabriel García Márquez: Five wars and seventeen military coups
Gabriel García Márquez
From Nobel Prize in Literature lecture (1982)
Eleven years ago, the Chilean Pablo Neruda, one of the outstanding poets of our time, enlightened this audience with his word. Since then, the Europeans of good will – and sometimes those of bad, as well – have been struck, with ever greater force, by the unearthly tidings of Latin America, that boundless realm of haunted men and historic women, whose unending obstinacy blurs into legend. We have not had a moment’s rest. A promethean president, entrenched in his burning palace, died fighting an entire army, alone; and two suspicious airplane accidents, yet to be explained, cut short the life of another great-hearted president and that of a democratic soldier who had revived the dignity of his people. There have been five wars and seventeen military coups; there emerged a diabolic dictator who is carrying out, in God’s name, the first Latin American ethnocide of our time. In the meantime, twenty million Latin American children died before the age of one – more than have been born in Europe since 1970. Those missing because of repression number nearly one hundred and twenty thousand, which is as if no one could account for all the inhabitants of Uppsala. Numerous women arrested while pregnant have given birth in Argentine prisons, yet nobody knows the whereabouts and identity of their children who were furtively adopted or sent to an orphanage by order of the military authorities. Because they tried to change this state of things, nearly two hundred thousand men and women have died throughout the continent, and over one hundred thousand have lost their lives in three small and ill-fated countries of Central America: Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. If this had happened in the United States, the corresponding figure would be that of one million six hundred thousand violent deaths in four years.
One million people have fled Chile, a country with a tradition of hospitality – that is, ten per cent of its population. Uruguay, a tiny nation of two and a half million inhabitants which considered itself the continent’s most civilized country, has lost to exile one out of every five citizens. Since 1979, the civil war in El Salvador has produced almost one refugee every twenty minutes. The country that could be formed of all the exiles and forced emigrants of Latin America would have a population larger than that of Norway.
I dare to think that it is this outsized reality, and not just its literary expression, that has deserved the attention of the Swedish Academy of Letters. A reality not of paper, but one that lives within us and determines each instant of our countless daily deaths, and that nourishes a source of insatiable creativity, full of sorrow and beauty, of which this roving and nostalgic Colombian is but one cipher more, singled out by fortune…
I do not mean to embody the illusions of Tonio Kröger, whose dreams of uniting a chaste north to a passionate south were exalted here, fifty-three years ago, by Thomas Mann. But I do believe that those clear-sighted Europeans who struggle, here as well, for a more just and humane homeland, could help us far better if they reconsidered their way of seeing us. Solidarity with our dreams will not make us feel less alone, as long as it is not translated into concrete acts of legitimate support for all the peoples that assume the illusion of having a life of their own in the distribution of the world.
On a day like today, my master William Faulkner said, “I decline to accept the end of man”. I would fall unworthy of standing in this place that was his, if I were not fully aware that the colossal tragedy he refused to recognize thirty-two years ago is now, for the first time since the beginning of humanity, nothing more than a simple scientific possibility. Faced with this awesome reality that must have seemed a mere utopia through all of human time, we, the inventors of tales, who will believe anything, feel entitled to believe that it is not yet too late to engage in the creation of the opposite utopia. A new and sweeping utopia of life, where no one will be able to decide for others how they die, where love will prove true and happiness be possible, and where the races condemned to one hundred years of solitude will have, at last and forever, a second opportunity on earth.
Voice of Russia
April 18, 2014
“NATO includes all former fascist powers in Europe” – Expert
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO’s building up its presence along its eastern borders. The move was supported by the White House. According to an AP report, Rasmussen said the new NATO deployments are about “deterrence and de-escalation in the face of Russia’s aggressive behavior in Ukraine”, which is not a member of the 28-nation alliance.
Why would NATO get so actively involved in a country which is not a member of the alliance? And how come it has sided with the nazi-installed government, in which the interim vice-premier, minister of defence, minister of agriculture, and minister of environment, belong to a fascist Svoboda party?
Voice of Russia is looking into the US and NATO role in Ukraine crisis with Rick Rozoff, a US journalist covering NATO enlargement and analyst with the Canadian Center for Research on Globalization.
Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 18, 2014
West Fighting Total War, Seeking CIS Collapse – Russian Official
MOSCOW: Western countries are fighting a “total war” aimed at the complete destruction of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and expulsion of the major members of the organization, the deputy head of the Russian agency on CIS affairs said Friday.
“Within the context of this policy they are trying to give a final blow to the Commonwealth of Independent States,” Georgy Muradov said during a session on human rights in Ukraine at the Russian Civic Chamber.
“They are fighting a total war against the CIS, seeking its disintegration.”
He added that “key members of the organization are being expelled” in an effort to eliminate Russia’s allies.
Muradov added that the Russian agency Rossotrudnichestvo had recently put forward a motion to enhance cooperation with compatriots living in CIS countries. He specified that the Ukrainian scenario might be repeated if questions related to the protection of Russian citizens living abroad were not resolved.
Kiev earlier announced that it was abandoning its post as this year’s rotating CIS head, thus paving the way for Minsk to take the leadership role.
National Security and Defense Council chief Andriy Paruby said that Ukraine also intended to withdraw from the organization.
The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the move, saying that it will affect millions of Ukrainians. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called Ukarine’s potential withdrawal from the organization an anti-Russian campaign of propagandistic nature.
“We are not keeping anyone in the CIS by force but this decision was made not for the benefits of the Ukrainian population but to stage another anti-Russian campaign of propagandistic nature. I don’t doubt that,” Lavrov said.
April 18, 2014
Two NATO warships in Black Sea, one remains in Cyprus port
MOSCOW: Two NATO warships the US “Donald Cook” with the Aegis missile defense system on board and the large French reconnaissance ship “Dupuy de Lome” are in the Black Sea for the present. The French destroyer Dupleix, which was planned to enter the Black Sea on April 14, remains in the Cypriot port of Limassol in the Mediterranean, a Russian Defence Ministry source has told ITAR-TASS this Friday.
The Donald Cook and the Dupuy de Lome left the Romanian port of Constanta after staying there for a few days. The US destroyer was in the western part of the sea and the French ship was in its central part, the source said, noting that a fuss was created all over the world over a flight of a Russian Su-24 bomber over the US warship, though it was routine practice usual for the United States itself.
As for the French destroyer Dupleix remaining in the port of Limassol for a week, it was unknown yet when the ship would arrive in the Black Sea, the source said.
The US and French warships entered the Black Sea on April 10 in connection with the deteriorating situation in Ukraine.
From The Eagle’s Talon (1913)
Translated by Helen Meyer
“…As long as Bonaparte holds the reins of State, the peace of France will hang by a thread. He thirsts for glory.The thing that he calls glory is a condition maintained by war. Violence is the basis of his power. He will involve France in a world-wide struggle, and appear before his fellow citizens as a providential saviour…”
Gorgeret, an army contractor notorious for speculations successfully carried out at the expense of the well-being of the army during the campaign of Italy, had devoted a part of the fortune made from revictualling the troops after the siege of Genoa to the acquisition of real estate…Habituated to profit by the immunity attendant upon great wealth, he had worked his will regardless of results. He had never been punished. He had pillaged in the wake of victorious armies, and sold the cattle and the flour stolen from the enemy to the French, and nothing had been done to show him that he was within the reach of justice. He had worked for the Royalists and against the reigning power with the same freedom with which he had fed the army on questionable food.
“Bonaparte hates us!’ said Polignac.
“He fears us!” said Cadoudal proudly.
“If he fears us, he is foolish,” declared Rivière. “France belongs to him; the people love him. Our attempt was an act of egregious folly! To make this wretched country understand that it is to her interest to return to the king, we must turn her into a burial-ground. It is probable that Napoleon will do that. France will pay for his glory by hecatombs, and his dictator’s purple will be dyed in blood.”
U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Air Forces Africa
April 17, 2014
U.S. Senator John McCain speaks with Maj. Gen. Edvardas Mažeikis, Lithuanian air force commander, at Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, April 16, 2014. McCain and U.S. Senators John Hoeven and John Barrasso visited the Baltic Air Policing mission as part of a visit to the greater Baltic region, which also includes meetings with government officials in Estonia, Latvia, and Moldova.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dana J. Butler/Released)
Stars and Stripes
April 17, 2014
Hagel: US forces to stay in Poland until end of 2014
By John Vandiver
The U.S. Air Force will maintain an enhanced presence in Poland for the remainder of the year as part of an effort to reassure allies in the region alarmed by Russian aggression in neighboring Ukraine, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday.
Hagel also urged allies to contribute to the U.S. air detachment mission in Poland, where U.S. F-16s and about 200 troops have maintained a steady presence since the start of the crisis in Ukraine.
“We’re committed to maintaining that augmented presence to the end of the year,” said Hagel during a joint news conference at the Pentagon with Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak.
The U.S. and Poland also will cooperate more in other areas with an emphasis on rotational missions and exercises, Hagel said. Other measures in the works include closer collaboration between U.S. and Polish special operations forces, additional Air Force training initiatives and pressing on with the current air detachment program and missile defense efforts.
“We should take advantage of the opportunity to work more closely,” Hagel said.
Since Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, allies in eastern Europe, long wary of Russian intentions in the region, have watched events unfold with growing unease.
[T]he U.S. quickly bolstered its presence in the region, including adding rotations of F-16s in Poland for training missions and bolstering air policing over the Baltics. NATO surveillance aircraft also has been deployed to Poland and Romania to monitor events in Ukraine. The USS Donald Cook has been deployed to the Black Sea.
Moscow has repeatedly assured the U.S. and NATO that it has no intention of invading eastern Ukraine. However, on Thursday, President Valdimir Putin said he had the authority to use force, but hoped that would not be necessary.
On Wednesday, NATO took additional measures…focused mainly on an intensification of steps already underway: Ramping up of NATO’s air policing mission over the Baltics and the deployment of more allied ships into the Baltic Sea and eastern Mediterranean. More training missions and exercises also are in the works.
The U.S. also has offered additional staff to assist NATO with updating its defense plans, Hagel said.
The next step will be for allies to make troop contributions for the new effort in the east and generate a deployment schedule.
Hagel did not offer specific details about how the U.S. will contribute to those efforts, noting that plans were still being crafted.
Meanwhile, the U.S. also will supply Ukraine military and border control units with a range of supplies such as medical equipment, helmets, and water purification systems, Hagel said.
When asked if he was concerned Russia could aim to strike out against others in the region, Hagel did not rule out such a move.
“We have to look, based on past actions, at every possibility,” Hagel said.
DSACT Emphasises the Importance of Air Power in Turkey
NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (DSACT) Italian Air Force General Mirco Zuliani participated as the keynote speaker at the International Symposium on the History of Air Warfare (ISAW 14) held in Istanbul, Turkey, April 9-11, 2014.
In this symposium organized by the Turkish Air War College with the support of the Turkish Air Force, the history of air warfare was reviewed and included diverse discussions focussing on the emergence and rapid development of air power and its impact on society and scientific research.
Bringing together Scholars, Academics, high-ranking military officials and senior fellows, the symposium was split into several break-out sessions covering topics such as Air Power in Theory and Implementation, Air and Space Power in 20th-Century Warfare, How Air Power Has Become An Independent Service, the Contribution of R&D and Think Tanks to Air and Space Power and Air Power and Society.
In his speech, DSACT highlighted that the issues related to Air Warfare are currently at a crossroad. “The current and difficult economic and financial climate we are still facing today and the end of the Cold War era has brought western Nations to seek cost cuts and savings yet again in the Defence Sector, possibly jeopardizing the industrial-military cooperation, especially in the areas where technology is evolving very quickly,” he said.
DSACT also outlined the importance of Smart Defence. “Smart Defence is a concept that encourages Allies to cooperate in developing, acquiring and maintaining military capabilities to meet current and future security threats, in accordance with the actual NATO Strategic Concept.”
DSACT concluded saying, “I am in the end fully convinced that, having established itself as a critical component of the war-fighting abilities of a military force in such a short time, Air Power is destined to play a significant role in determining a nation’s military capability and intent in the 21st century. In other words, it is here to stay, as long as we manage to recognize the trends and transform accordingly, keeping up with the fast pace of innovation that has always been the Air dimensions main characteristic.”
Click here for an extensive coverage of the event from the Turkish Air War College.
Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 17, 2014
NATO Reaches New Low in Anti-Russian Rhetoric – Russian Foreign Ministry
MOSCOW: NATO has surpassed its propaganda efforts of the 1990s by blaming Russia for the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
“The North Atlantic Treaty Organization made a series of publications lately, including ‘Russia’s accusations – setting the record straight,’ in which NATO in its usual biased manner called Russia responsible for the recent crisis [in Ukraine],” the ministry said.
“Moreover NATO’s recent anti-Russian political rhetoric has surpassed the propaganda during the aggression against Yugoslavia,” the ministry added.
The ministry said that despite disagreements, Russia has continued to honestly develop cooperation with the alliance in areas of common interest as part of an effort to wipe out hostile feelings left over from the Cold War.
On Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen pledged to step up patrols and boost its military presence along the alliance’s eastern border in Europe, citing Russia’s alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.
The move came as a further sign that the alliance was tightening its grip on Eastern Europe, where it is already conducting air-policing and surveillance missions over Poland, Romania and the Baltic states.
Federalization supporters in eastern Ukrainian regions have been staging mass rallies since March in a bid to hold referendums similar to the one that recently led to Crimea’s reunification with Russia. In order to suppress the activists, the Ukrainian army launched a special operation earlier this week targeting the cities of Kramatorsk and Slaviansk in the Donetsk region.
Moscow has condemned the Ukrainian regime’s use of force against its own population as unacceptable.
National Public Radio
April 16, 2014
NATO Makes Plans To Bolster Its Eastern Border
NATO has announced a strengthening of its forces near the alliance’s eastern border. Gen. George Joulwan, the former NATO supreme allied commander for Europe, discusses the plan.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
In response to the situation in Ukraine, NATO’s secretary general today announced a strengthening of alliance forces near NATO’s eastern border. Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the moves are about defense, deterrence and de-escalation. In Rasmussen’s words, we will have more planes in the air, more ships on the water and more readiness on the land.
For more on the thinking behind NATO’s new deployments, we turn now to retired Gen. George Joulwan who is former NATO supreme allied commander for Europe. Welcome to the program.
GENERAL GEORGE JOULWAN: Thank you.
SIEGEL: And how do you read the message from NATO? What are they saying here?
JOULWAN: Well, I think the key word in what the secretary general was saying is deterrence and I think what we’re seeing in both land, air and sea forces that will be deployed in the region to demonstrate NATO political will in order to send the clear message to Russia that they have invaded a sovereign country. This is against international law and we’re going to see planes that were deployed to the Baltic countries and we’ll have a – in the Black Sea, we’re going to see Standing Naval Force Med and we’re going to see land forces, some including the United States on training missions in eastern and central Europe.
SIEGEL: But is the message also, at least implicitly, any threat to the Baltic republicans(ph) or Poland or to NATO members is unacceptable, but the alliance really has no role to play in Ukraine?
JOULWAN: No. I think, first of all, you’re right that the Article 5, attack upon one, attack upon all that’s been in existence since 1949 is very clear when it comes to the Baltic states, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, which are NATO members.
SIEGEL: If they are attacked, we are attacked.
JOULWAN: By the way, they have large numbers of Russians living in their countries so what’s happening in Ukraine and Crimea is a clear message to them. So I think it’s very clear that this is not just posturing. It’s to send a clear NATO message. And by the way, this is the 65th anniversary of NATO and it has done superb work in those 65 years and I think it still has work to do in trying to bring stability to this part of the world.
SIEGEL: Well, let me put to you an argument that’s made by the retired U.S. diplomat, James Jeffrey, who says the best way to send Putin a tough message and possibly deflect a Russian campaign against more vulnerable NATO states is to back up our commitment to the sanctity of NATO territory with ground troops, the only military deployment that can make such commitments unequivocal. Does he have a point?
JOULWAN: To a degree, I think. But it’s not just ground forces. It’s air and land and sea forces together in a joint way. And ground forces imply that a really strong commitment – and I think this will be those rotational forces, in other words, we would take a unit from, let’s say, the 82nd Airborne or the 1st Infantry Division in the United States and they would deploy to eastern and central Europe and train with countries that border on Ukraine and Russia. That sends a very clear message and intent of seriousness in trying to de-escalate the situation.
SIEGEL: Put me in the mind of people at NATO who are looking the crisis in Ukraine and wanting to do something that has, as you would say, deterrent value and as Secretary General Rasmussen said, deterrent value, and at the same time, isn’t such a powerful set of deployments that it becomes provocative or it becomes more threatening than we want it to be.
JOULWAN: Well, let’s go beyond just the military. Let’s talk about economic, political and diplomatic. I think economic sanctions, which need to be stronger than they are now, can have a real effect on a Russia that’s a little shaky in its economy, but has clear links with energy and financial ties now to Europe. But I think more robust sanctions can do that. So just as a military, I think it has to be a series of actions that embody political, military, diplomatic and economic.
SIEGEL: As you follow what’s happening in Ukraine and the response to events there, are you actually concerned that this could lead to a large ground war in eastern Europe between Russia and NATO forces?
JOULWAN: I’m more concerned about the impression that Putin may have that he could get away with this incremental moves that he makes and he sees not enough coming back from the United States.
Remember, we pulled a lot of forces out of Europe. We’ve demonstrated that we want to go to Asia. We want to pivot toward Asia. We see Syria red lights and that’s been crossed and nothing is done. So political will is lacking here, both by the United States, particularly and, to a degree, NATO. This is to restore some of that political will and I think that would be a deterrent as much as troops will be a deterrent to Putin.
SIEGEL: General George Joulwan, thanks a lot for talking with us today.
JOULWAN: Thank you.
SIEGEL: Retired General George Joulwan, a past supreme allied commander, Europe, that is the top serving officer at NATO.
Who Will Dare Look This Child in the Eyes? (1950)
This leprosy of death, this delicate
device of pain as vast as a star gone rotten
with some shrewd virus of decay:
This intricate defilement of deepest springs,
this pus of death that blotches and blots the sun
across the pitted face of day:
This Thing was made by man, his brain, his hands.
You are a man, accomplice of this Thing.
Redeem your birthright while you may.
Hell has another name now, Hiroshima,
darker than all the rings of burning darkness
where Dante clambered his accusing way.
Can you escape the ghosted night, the eyes
of children scraped to ragged bone?
You are a man. What word have you to say?
While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests and the elders of the people. His betrayer had arranged a sign with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him.” Immediately he went over to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and he kissed him. Jesus answered him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then stepping forward they laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. And behold, one of those who accompanied Jesus put his hand to his sword, drew it, and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said, “Put your sword back into its sheath, for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword…”
Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 16, 2014
NATO to Boost Military Presence in Baltic, Mediterranean
BRUSSELS: NATO will intensify air patrols over Eastern Europe and dispatch extra ships to the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas due to the crisis in Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said after a meeting of alliance ambassadors in Brussels.
“We will have more planes in the air, more ships on the water, and more readiness on the land,” Rasmussen said
“For example, air policing aircraft will fly more sorties over the Baltic region. Allied ships will deploy to the Baltic Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean and elsewhere, as required. Military staff from Allied nations will deploy to enhance our preparedness, training and exercises. Our defense plans will be reviewed and reinforced,” the NATO chief said.
“We will start to implement these measures straight away. More will follow, if needed, in the weeks and months to come,” he said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the statements, as well as the alliance’s double standard on Crimea, have hindered a de-escalation of tensions in the country.
Tensions between Russia and the West became strained after a regime change in February when the Ukrainian parliament ousted President Viktor Yanukovych and scheduled early presidential elections for May 25.
Russia has described the uprising in Kiev as an illegitimate fascist coup and a military seizure of power that resulted in Moscow taking steps to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine and reunify with Crimea following a referendum in the region.
The steps were heavily criticized by the US and EU, who imposed targeted sanctions against several Russian officials and suspended cooperation in certain areas.
On April 1, NATO ended all practical cooperation with Russia. The foreign ministers of NATO members are to review relations with Moscow at their next meeting in June.
April 16, 2014
Polish FM: ‘Ukraine has the right to defend itself’
[Radoslaw Sikorski, married to American Anne Applebaum, was a resident and citizen of Great Britain in the 1980s (and a member of an elite club that included David Cameron and Boris Johnson), adviser to Rupert Murdoch from 1988-1992, resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., from 2002-2005 and executive director of the New Atlantic Initiative.]
Poland’s foreign minister has said “Ukraine has the right to use force” as troops are sent in to the eastern Donetsk region to clear areas occupied by pro-Russian groups since the weekend.
Interim president Oleksander Turchinov in Kiev declared that a military airport in the eastern city of Kramatorsk had been “liberated” late Tuesday night after Ukrainian troops disembarked from two helicopters where reporters earlier heard gunfire.
President Turchinov said earlier yesterday that Ukraine was launching an “anti-terrorist” operation to clear buildings in ten locations throughout eastern Ukraine of pro-Russian forces.
At least two people died on Sunday when Ukrainian forces tried to retake police and local government buildings in Slaviansk, about 150 km from the Russian border, after they were occupied by pro-Russian groups.
On Tuesday, at least 15 armoured personnel carriers displaying Ukrainian flags were seen parked by the side of a road around 50 km north of Slaviansk, Reuters reports.
Russian president Vladimir Putin said in a telephone conversation with Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday that Ukraine was “on the brink of civil war,” the Russian ITAR-TASS agency says.
Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski told the TVN 24 broadcaster on Tuesday evening that only “Ukraine has a right to use force on its own territory”.
“If some unidentified people take over the airport, [Ukraine] has the right to pick them up,” Sikorski said of the operation in Kramatorsk.
“I do not know, however, what Russia will do,” he added. “In some of its communications to the West, Russia has said that if Ukraine tries to regain control over its own territory, it would consider that as a pretext for an invasion”.
“We know that Russia has enormous military superiority over Ukraine, so [Ukraine authorities] must calculate the risks and take them,” Sikorski said.
A spokesman for US President Barack Obama has said Ukraine’s government was obliged to respond to “provocations” in the east.
The White House spokesman added that the US was “seriously considering” adding to sanctions imposed after the annexation of Crimea, although the State Department said such action was unlikely before a meeting in Geneva on Thursday at which US, EU and Ukrainian officials will try to persuade Russia to defuse the situation.
U.S. Department of Defense
April 15, 2014
U.S., NATO Remain Concerned About Situation in Ukraine
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON: The United States is concerned about reports of increased violence in Ukraine, and continues to call on Russia to de-escalate the situation, Pentagon officials said today.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen echoed the U.S. concern during a media availability in Luxembourg today.
There has been no substantial change in the number or composition of the Russian forces on Ukraine’s eastern and southern borders, Army Col. Steve Warren, a Defense Department spokesman, told reporters at the Pentagon.
“The Russians continue to have tens of thousands of troops arrayed along the Ukrainian border,” he said, “and again I would like to reiterate that we have repeatedly called on the Russians to withdraw those troops from the border and help de-escalate the situation in Ukraine.”
Ukrainian troops are moving to flush pro-Russian militias from cities in the eastern part of the country. In a call with President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he is not interfering in Ukraine, and that U.S. contentions that Russia is interfering are based on erroneous information.
“The American government is under no illusions that the Russian government continues to array its troops along the Ukrainian border,” Warren said. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the evidence is compelling that Russia is supporting these efforts to destabilize Ukraine.
The United States continues to support Ukraine, Warren said, and U.S. officials have conducted defense consultations with Ukraine recently. The consultations did not address current operations, he added. The senior Defense Department representative at the talks was Evelyn Farkas, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia.
Rasmussen said NATO is concerned about the continued violence by small groups of separatists, and Russia’s continued military pressure on Ukraine’s borders. “I call on Russia to de-escalate the crisis, to pull back its troops from Ukraine’s borders, to stop de-stabilizing the situation in Ukraine, and make clear that it doesn’t support the violent actions of pro-Russian separatists,” the secretary general said.
“Russia should stop being part of the problem, and start being part of the solution,” he added.
The NATO chief said the alliance is considering further steps to strengthen collective defense. This could include appropriate deployments, he said.
Kuwait News Agency
April 16, 2014
ISLAMABAD: At least two children and a woman were killed when a NATO helicopter mistakenly bombed a house in the Nader Shah Kot district of southeastern Khost province of Afghanistan, said officials on Tuesday.
The spokesman for governor, Mubarez Zadran calling it a mistake told media that the incident took place in Mirkori area on Monday night.
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in a statement confirmed alleged civilian casualties in Khost.
The statement said, “We are aware of reports regarding alleged civilian casualties in Khost province. We are looking into these allegations. ISAF takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously.” The spokesman for governor said that two children and a woman had been killed and a fourth person injured in the incident. Soon after the incident police reached the scene and launched their investigation, he added. Earlier on March 6, a NATO air strike killed at least five Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers and wounded eight others in eastern Logar province of Afghanistan.
Pajhwok Afghan News
April 15, 2014
Mother killed with 2 children in Khost airstrike
By Mohammad Haroon
KHOST CITY: A mother and her two children were killed and her spouse injured during an overnight NATO airstrike in the Nader Shah Kot district of southeastern Khost province, the Presidential Palace said on Tuesday.
The incident took place in Mirkori area on Monday night, said the Khost governor’s spokesman, Mubarez Zadran, who called it a mistake. He said a NATO helicopter on a drill accidently hit a house.
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in a statement said: “We are aware of reports regarding alleged civilian casualties in Khost and are looking into these allegations.”
Zadran told Pajhwok Afghan News two children and a woman had been killed and a fourth person injured in the incident. Soon after the incident, he said, police reached the scene and launched their investigation.
But Agha Jan Tawkali, administrative chief of Nadir Shah Kot district, told Pajhwok Afghan News the attack took place in a mountain side not on a house. He said villagers were collecting firewood in the mountain when foreign troops fired at them from the air.
While police chief Brig. Gen. Faizullah Ghairat said it was not an airstrike, but an artillery fire that hit the mountain. He said two person had died in the incident.
Meanwhile, President Hamid Karzai strongly condemned the overnight NATO airstrike that his office said killed three civilians.
A statement issued from the Presidential Palace said a woman and her two children were killed and her spouse wounded in the airstrike.
President Karzai said the attack once again violated agreements between the United States and Afghanistan.
Following the incident, President Karzai telephoned Khost Governor Abdul Jabar Naeemi and directed him to investigate the incident thoroughly.
Karzai extended his sympathies to the bereaved family and wished speedy recovery of the wounded person.
The deaths come at a time when the presidential election and the security agreement between Kabul and Washington are yet to be decided.
To Any Dead Officer
Well, how are things in Heaven? I wish you’d say,
Because I’d like to know that you’re all right.
Tell me, have you found everlasting day,
Or been sucked in by everlasting night?
For when I shut my eyes your face shows plain;
I hear you make some cheery old remark—
I can rebuild you in my brain,
Though you’ve gone out patrolling in the dark.
You hated tours of trenches; you were proud
Of nothing more than having good years to spend;
Longed to get home and join the careless crowd
Of chaps who work in peace with Time for friend.
That’s all washed out now. You’re beyond the wire:
No earthly chance can send you crawling back;
You’ve finished with machine-gun fire—
Knocked over in a hopeless dud-attack.
Somehow I always thought you’d get done in,
Because you were so desperate keen to live:
You were all out to try and save your skin,
Well knowing how much the world had got to give.
You joked at shells and talked the usual ‘shop,’
Stuck to your dirty job and did it fine:
With ‘Jesus Christ! when will it stop?
Three years…It’s hell unless we break their line.’
So when they told me you’d been left for dead
I wouldn’t believe them, feeling it must be true.
Next week the bloody Roll of Honour said
‘Wounded and missing’ – (That’s the thing to do
When lads are left in shell-holes dying slow,
With nothing but blank sky and wounds that ache,
Moaning for water till they know
It’s night, and then it’s not worth while to wake!)
Good-bye, old lad! Remember me to God,
And tell Him that our Politicians swear
They won’t give in till Prussian Rule’s been trod
Under the Heel of England…Are you there?…
Yes…and the War won’t end for at least two years;
But we’ve got stacks of men…I’m blind with tears,
Staring into the dark. Cheerio!
I wish they’d killed you in a decent show.
April 15, 2014
Fighter jet shot down near Ukraine’s city of Kramatorsk, witnesses say
As follows from what the people say four fighter planes, presumably Sukhoi-27 were hovering over Kramatorsk
Ukraine KIEV: Shots are being fired at the airdrome near the city of Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, and one fighter plane has been shot down, witnesses report from the scene.
As follows from what the people say four fighter planes, presumably Sukhoi-27 were hovering over Kramatorsk. At a certain point they opened fire at the local airdrome. Who commanded the planes and who downed the fighter remains unclear. Witnesses claim there have been casualties at the airdrome. An ambulance is on the way to the scene.
Earlier, a Ukrainian daily reported with reference to witnesses that shots and explosions were heard at the military airdrome near the city of Kramatorsk.
According to the website of the daily Novosti Kramatorska, a military aircraft circled over the airdrome for a while.
“Witnesses say it was a MiG-25 or Sukhoi-27 plane. It was flying at a very low altitude,” the paper said.
Earlier, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry declared the beginning of a special operation in the city against the supporters of the country’s federalization.
Sofia News Agency
April 15, 2014
Ukraine’s Army Starts Anti-Terror Operation in Kramatorsk
The Ukrainian army has stormed Kramatorsk Airfield in Donetsk region, in a moved that has marked the beginning of a long-forewarned “anti-terrorist operation”.
A series of shots and explosions could be heard in the area, according to reports by the local newspaper Novosti Kramatorska cited by Lenta.ru.
A video footage earlier published on YouTube purportedly shows deployment of Ukrainian special forces beginning around the airfield.
Ukrainian aircraft seem to be taking part in the operation.
The country’s Defense Ministry announced an anti-terrorist operation had been launched in Kramatorsk, but refused to provide further details.
Unconfirmed reports by sources cited by Lenta.ru suggest Interior Ministry’s forces have also arrived in Slaviansk, which was virtually sealed off by rebel pro-Russian groups during Sunday and Monday.
On Tuesday afternoon local time, Andriy Parubiy, who heads the National Security Council of Ukraine, reported via his Facebook profile that troops had set off for Eastern Ukraine as part of the “anti-terrorist operation”.
Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov announced a few days ago that such operation would be a last resort if pro-Russian factions occupying government buildings and security headquarters across eastern cities don’t surrender.
Turchynov asserted on Tuesday that all activities addressing “separatists” would be carried out “in a very responsible way”, as quoted by Der Spiegel.
He also said the aim of these actions was “to protect the citizens of Ukraine” and “to stop terror… [and] attempts to tear Ukraine to pieces”.
Moscow has however repeatedly warned Kiev against using force to crack down on rebel groups. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev even wrote on his Facebook profile that “blood will be spilled again in Ukraine”, repeating a comment he made in mid-February, during the peak of violence across the country that led to ousting President Viktor Yanukovych.
U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Air Forces Africa
April 14, 2014
Poland, US strengthen defense ties through rotational training
By 2nd. Lt. Katrina Cheesman
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
POWIDZ AIR BASE, Poland: After two weeks of Polish armed forces and U.S. personnel working shoulder-to-shoulder and building partner capacity as NATO allies, training has come to close April 12 here at the U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachment.
Throughout the two-week combined forces training, Polish armed forces and U.S. personnel from 86th Airlift Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, traded techniques and tactics through personnel drops, joint precision air delivery system and container delivery system bundle drops, grass-strip tactical landings and observation flights.
“This training deployment is critical to our crews maintaining their readiness,” Brig. Gen. Patrick X. Mordente, 86th Airlift Wing commander said on his first visit to his Polish sister wing here, referencing the valuable opportunity for U.S. aircrew to practice various air drops in Poland. “It is critical that we work with the Polish to be able to accomplish our mission as NATO allies.”
The first week, Polish and U.S. service members trained and jumped together out of three U.S. C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. Polish land forces and special operations forces were able to jump from U.S. aircraft, under the supervision of a joint team of U.S. jumpmasters.
Polish paratroopers trained with U.S. Air Force paratroopers, along with a small contingent of U.S. Army paratroopers and a U.S. Navy jumpmaster to build understanding of each other’s processes for real-world scenarios, according to U.S. Army Specialist Estevan Gonzales, 5th Quartermaster Theater Aerial Deliver Company.
The second week, both the U.S. and Polish C-130s flew to evade and escape Polish surface-to-air missiles systems in a first-ever complex training environment that challenged both NATO allies.
“The Polish Air Force has incorporated a lot of new capabilities this time around,” said Maj. Raymond Bevivino, 37th Airlift Squadron deployed forces commander. “It’s nice to see that every time we deploy here to work with our Polish counterparts, we both get better and grow from training together.”
After training with the U.S. this rotation, Polish pilots successfully accomplished tactical landings for the first time on unimproved surfaces, such as a grass strip, which are used during combat and humanitarian operations when paved runways are not available. U.S. service members also trained their counterparts how to set-up, operate and control the landing zone.
“We will continue to exercise these [tactical landings] after the rotation,” said Polish Lt Col. Kyrsztof Szymaniec, 3rd Transport Wing’s C-130 squadron commander. “This aviation rotation is great because we conduct our training under the supervision of the U.S. and learn better techniques and tactics.”
The Av-Det in Poland has an enduring U.S. presence, with ten U.S. Air Force members stationed at Lask Air Base, Poland. The ten Airmen plan and coordinate at least four aviation rotations a year, according to Maj. Matthew Spears, Av-Det commander.
“We have established continuity and a working relationship with our Polish counterparts that simplifies the deployment of U.S. aircraft to Poland, and increases the effectiveness of the bilateral training,” Spears said. “We could not accomplish the aircraft rotations without the tremendous support of the Polish armed forces.”
U.S. and Polish armed forces will continue to strengthen bilateral defense ties together in various exercises, including an upcoming aviation rotation in June, in which fighter aircraft from multiple nations will participate in three different exercises simultaneously for the first time.
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April 15, 2014
Up to 11 people killed in Kramatorsk airfield battle – Rossiya 24
MOSCOW: Between four and eleven people have been killed in a battle at the airport in Kramatorsk, a correspondent for the Rossiya 24 television channel said.
“Indeed, there are fatalities. Efforts are under way to clarify their number, which is between four and eleven people,” the correspondent reported live on Tuesday.
As a result of clashes the Ukrainian troops opened fire against self-defense fighters who tried to stop paratroopers from landing at the airfield in Kramatorsk, he said.
Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 15, 2014
4 Protesters Killed in Army Attack on Airfield in Eastern Ukraine
SLAVIANSK (Donetsk Region): At least four protesters were killed and two other wounded on Tuesday as the Ukrainian troops stormed an airfield in Ukraine’s eastern city of Kramatorsk, a spokesman for local People’s Militia told RIA Novosti.
“There are four dead and two wounded at the airfield. They are all militia,” the source said, adding that no casualties among the government troops had been reported.
“The fighting for the airfield is over as the militia has reterated and the Ukrainian side took control of the airfield,” he said.
Eastern Ukraine has been swept by pro-federalisation rallies since March.
Federalization supporters in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Gorlovka, Slaviansk and Kramatorsk refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the current Ukrainian government and are urging interim authorities to hold referendums similar to the one that has been held in Crimea in March and led to its reunification with Russia.
In an effort to suppress the protesters Ukraine’s parliamentary speaker and acting President Olexander Turchynov ordered Monday a special anti-terrorist operation in the country’s east, involving the use of armed forces.
Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 15, 2014
Russia Halts Handover of Arms to Ukraine to Prevent Civilian Bloodshed
MOSCOW: The Russian Defense Ministry on Tuesday suspended the transfer of weapons from Crimea to Ukraine in an effort to prevent Kiev authorities from using them against pro-federalization protesters in southeastern regions of the country.
“I would like to reiterate that Russia pledged … to restrict the delivery of weaponry to hot spots,” Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said, adding that southeastern Ukraine falls into that category as pro-federalization protests spread through the region.
“We are concerned that this weaponry could be used against civilians taking part in protests in eastern and southeastern regions of Ukraine,” he said.
Antonov also urged Western countries to follow Russia’s example and apply wisdom and restraint in the possible delivery of arms to Ukraine, drawing on the same logic.
Following Russia’s reunification with Crimea, the Russian military has so far handed over nearly 400 pieces of Ukrainian military equipment, including eight helicopters and three warships, to the new authorities in Kiev.
Late last month, Crimea became a new subject of the Russian Federation following the ratification of the reunification treaty. Although widely denounced by the West, the referendum in Crimea was fully compliant with international law and must be recognized as legitimate, according to the Russian government.
Given the territorial change, Russia started handing weapons and military equipment over to Ukraine that previously belonged to the country’s armed forces.
Last month, activists in the eastern Ukraine started pro-federalization rallies, with protesters in Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv calling for a referendum on the status of their respective regions.
Ukraine’s acting President Oleksander Turchynov announced the launch of a “full-scale anti-terrorist operation,” including military forces, against pro-federalization protesters.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called the interim government’s decision to use force, including a military crackdown, against the protesters an extremely dangerous development.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
April 15, 2014
VIDEO: NATO TRAINS FOR RAPID DEPLOYMENT
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
April 15, 2014
INTERALLIED CONFEDERATION OF RESERVE OFFICERS MEETS IN LILLE
On April 10th to 12th 2014, Rapid Reaction Corps France located in Lille hosted the in-between meeting of the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers, commonly referred to by its French acronym CIOR. Founded in 1948, the CIOR is a NATO-affiliated organization that represents the interests of over 1.3 million reservists across 36 participating nations, within and beyond NATO. That makes it the world’s largest military reserve officer organization.
The CIOR has two main roles. The first one is to provide support to the NATO Alliance and advice on reserve issues. In this specific framework, the CIOR directly contributes to NATO’s goals by promoting and enhancing cooperation and interoperability amongst reserve forces within the Alliance and its partners. Its second role is to foster the professional development of reserve officers.
The CIOR meets four times a year, for the summer and winter seminars, but also during the so called ‘in-between’ meetings, such as the one set up in Lille last week. There, members of the CIOR work through committees that examine issues and provide analysis relating to reserve forces.
As an Army HQ and thanks to its special links with NATO, Rapid Reaction Corps France was selected to host this CIOR in-between meeting and show the participants its delightful working conditions within the Queen of the Citadels.
Story by: Rapid Reaction Corps-France Public Affairs Office
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 15, 2014
NATO Secretary General says Ukraine crisis amplifies need to boost defence cooperation
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Tuesday (15 April 2014) that the Ukraine crisis has amplified the need to strengthen cooperation between NATO, the European Union and with close partners. “We need to train and exercise more together, for instance the NATO Response Force and the EU Battlegroups, so that we stand ready for whatever the future may bring,” the Secretary General said arriving for EU Defence Ministers talks in Luxembourg.
The Secretary General discussed the crisis in Ukraine with the EU defence ministers. He expressed his deep concern over the continued violence by small groups of separatists and Russia’s continued military pressure on Ukraine’s border. “I call on Russia to de-escalate the crisis, to pull back its troops from Ukraine’s borders, to stop de-stabilizing the situation in Ukraine, and make clear that it doesn’t support the violent actions of pro-Russian separatists,” he said. “Russia should stop being part of the problem, and start being part of the solution.”
The EU ministers were informed by Mr. Fogh Rasmussen about what measures NATO has already taken and will take to further strengthen collective defence at sea, in the air and on land. “These measures will follow three tracks; re-enforced defence plans, enhanced exercises and appropriate deployments,” he said. The Secretary General will also hold talks with Prime Minister Xavier Bettel of Luxembourg and Mr. Marc Angel, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee of the Luxembourg Parliament, while in the Grand Duchy.
Ministry of Defence of Georgia
April 12, 2014
Telephone conversation with NATO Commander
Chief of the General Staff of Georgian Armed Forces Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze had a telephone conversation with the Commander of U.S. European Command Philip Breedlove.
During the conversation regional security environment and bilateral defence cooperation issues were discussed. Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze thanked the American side for its assistance provided for the wounded soldiers` program. The generals also talked over the contribution provided by Georgia in the ISAF mission. Philip Breedlove expressed his gratitude to the Georgian soldiers for their devotion in Afghanistan.
Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze invited the U.S. General to Georgia. He also agreed to visit Georgia. During the telephone conversation, the generals of both countries decided to discuss the U.S. -Georgian cooperation in military field when their first personal meeting is held.
Ministry of Defence of Georgia
April 12, 2014
Telephone Conversation with Senator John McCain
On April 11, telephone conversation was held between Minister of Defence of Georgia Irakli Alasania and the U.S. Senator John McCain. Georgian Defence Minister and the U.S. Senator discussed Georgia’s NATO membership aspirations, regional security and bilateral cooperation issues in defence sphere between the United States of America and Georgia.
As Senator McCain stated, he firmly supports increasing Georgia’s defence capabilities and granting Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Georgia at the upcoming NATO Summit. According to the U.S. Senator, he will do his best to achieve these goals.
Ministry of Defence of Georgia
April 15, 2014
NATO will help Georgia in review and assessment of reserve and mobilization system transformation concept
NATO’s National Reserve Forces Committee will assist the Georgian armed forces in review and assessment of reserve and mobilization system transformation concept. The Georgian side made report on the key aspects of the concept transformation of the armed forces reserve and mobilization system at the NATO’s National Reserve Forces Committee Staff Officers assembly in France.
It was decided that committee member countries will provide expert assistance to the Georgian armed forces in development of project concept. U.S., Germany, France, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark and Poland will present the concept assessment and recommendations at 2014 summer meeting. Also, Georgia’s initiative on holding the 2015 autumn committee in Tbilisi is under discussion.
Georgia became NATO’s National Reserve Forces Committee Member as an observer on November 7, 2013. Together with Georgia observer member countries are: Australia, Sweden, Austria and South Korea.
NATO’s National Reserve Forces Committee is directly supervised by NATO Military Committee and remains to be main coordinating structure in reserve issues.
April 15, 2014
EU Reaffirms Support to Early Signature of AA with Georgia, Moldova
Tbilisi: EU foreign ministers, who met in Luxembourg on April 14, reiterated support to “early signature” of Association Agreements, including its deep and comprehensive free trade treaties, with Georgia and Moldova “no later than June.”
The foreign ministers’ meeting, which focused mainly on Ukraine, reaffirmed that further deepening of EU-Georgia and EU-Moldova relations “will have a positive impact on stability and socio-economic development, for the benefit of all the citizens of the two countries.”
“The EU encourages Georgia and the Republic of Moldova to continue implementing reforms as part of their commitment to further strengthen the political association and economic integration with the EU,” the EU foreign ministers said.
Meanwhile EU delegation in Tbilisi released on April 14 a ten-page fact sheet (pdf), calling it the “myth-buster”; it said that “recently there have been various myths spread about the EU-Georgia Association Agreement/Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA).”
The fact sheet lists and responds to 40 “myths” ranging from assumptions that the EU will “force Georgia to legalise gay marriage” and that the Association Agreement “challenges the authority of the Georgian Orthodox Church” to allegations that DCFTA “will harm the Georgian economy.”
April 15, 2014
EU Plans Investment Conferences in Georgia, Moldova
Tbilisi: EU will hold investment conferences in Moldova and Georgia on the occasion of the visit of European Commission President José Manuel Barroso to those countries on June 12 and 13, respectively, according to the European External Action Service (EEAS).
The EU plans to sign the Association Agreements, including deep and comprehensive free trade treaties with Georgia and Moldova no later than June.
EEAS said that the conferences will focus on business activity and investment in Moldova and Georgia; discussions will also focus on what the deep and comprehensive free trade agreements will mean in practical terms for businesses.
From The Children’s Inferno (1946)
Translated by Allan Ross Macdougall
I was on night duty in the children’s ward. Some of the patients were drowsing, others slept, and some, burning up with fever, moaned. Suddenly, the frightful banshee-wail of the air-raid sirens sounded, shrill and persistent, setting off all the dogs of the neighborhood howling. I thought to myself: The children are going to be awakened, and the tiniest ones are going to be afraid and cry. When the alarm went off we did not take our patients to air-raid shelters for the simple reason that we had none…
“When my mother and I heard the sirens in our district of Botanico,” said Ianko, “we went out to look. If you only knew how we heard the bombs burst over there – the whole earth shook as if there was an earthquake.”
“At Kokkinia, we did the same thing,” said Yorgo. “Nobody went into the shelters. It was a celebration when the English came. How we laughed when we saw that it was the others who were getting it!”
“Why, old Yorgo, weren’t they also people?”
“Oh! The Italians and the Germans. When my mother heard the bombs falling she used to cross herself and say: ‘Dear God, have pity on men and on the mothers that brought them into the world.’”
“Who should He have pity on?”
“On everybody, don’t you understand? My mother felt sorry for all the mothers of the whole world because she lost my brother, the eldest, who was killed at Tepelini.”
Silence. The two children listened to the bombs crashing in the distance. Sometimes the noise was like that of an enormous body being dropped into the water – bombs falling into the sea. Then the noise became louder, changed its direction, and once more the earth shook.
“They are dropping bombs near here,” said one.
“Yes, they can’t be very far away.”
Through the windows, most of which had no blinds, one could see the heavens filled with flashes.
“The searchlights!” shouted a child who was sitting up in bed to see better.
“The noise of the explosions grew louder and came nearer in an alarming way.
“The world’s on fire, old man. Do you hear? You see, they are now beginning to bomb Athens,” said Ianko, not without uneasiness.
“And why not? Must it always be the Piraeus that gets it?” asked a little Pireot, sly as a monkey, who had been wounded in the leg during an earlier raid. “Let them bomb Athens too! The last time they bombed the Piraeus, near Agios-Vassili, they killed a whole family at a wake. The dead man, the living, the house; all were smashed to bits.”
April 14, 2014
Ukraine crisis: PM Tusk welcomes US airmen to Polish base
Prime Minister Donald Tusk has told US airmen at the Lask air base that their presence in Poland, “gives us a greater sense of security in difficult times”.
Donald Tusk’s visit to the base in central Poland comes as US and Polish air forces are carrying out joint exercises, with the United States stepping ups efforts to reassure allies in the central and eastern European region as the crisis in Ukraine continues to escalate.
Stephen Mull, US ambassador to Poland, said in March that discussions were underway on possibly expanding the scope of exercises in the future to include allies from the region such as Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltic states.
“Your presence in Lask gives us a greater sense of security in today’s difficult times. This is very important to us,” PM Tusk said in English to the US airmen and support staff at the base.
“I would like to give you a warm welcome to Poland,” he said, the PAP news agency reports.
The current rotation of American airman is the second by the US since an agreement between Washington and Warsaw was made in 2011 and could last between two weeks and a month.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s acting president Oleksander Turchinov threatened military action after pro-Russian separatists occupying government buildings in the east of the country ignored an ultimatum to leave on Monday.
A Reuters journalist in the city of Slaviansk, where a gun-battle occured on Sunday, with casualties reported on both sides, has said that there is no sign of an evacuation by pro-Russian forces from the local police HQ.
The United Nations Security Council held an emergency session on Sunday night, and the United States warned that it was likely to impose further sanctions against Russia if the escalation in eastern Ukraine continues.
European Union foreign ministers were due to discuss whether to impose further sanctions on Moscow.
April 14, 2014
Russia to take measures in case NATO force configuration changes – Grushko
MOSCOW/BRUSSELS: Russia can take measures necessary to ensure its security, if NATO will expand military forces near Russian borders, Russian Permanent Representative to NATO Alexander Grushko said.
“Russia has exited the Cold War and has no intention to return there. At the same time, we will take into account in our military planning any possible changes in NATO forces and configurations and, if necessary, will take necessary measures in the interests of ensuring our security,” Grushko told Interfax on Monday when commenting on statements of NATO representatives that NATO contingent could be sent to Eastern Europe amid the events in Ukraine.
April 14, 2014
Lavrov warns Kyiv against using force in southeast Ukraine
MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has renewed his calls on the Ukrainian authorities to refrain from using force against demonstrators in the country’s southeast.
“If the current rulers in Kyiv decide to use force against demonstrators in the southeast, then our cooperation will be undermined, there is no doubt about that,” he said on Monday, while opening a meeting with members of the global coordination council of Russian compatriots on Monday.
Russia, the European Union, the United States and Ukraine are currently discussing the possibility of holding a four-party meeting aimed at helping settle the Ukrainian crisis, Lavrov recalled.
Overall, as far as international policy is concerned, a number of countries, primarily the U.S. and the EU “have not stopped their attempts to prove their exceptionalism, their right to be the stronger one,” he said. Often the steps being undertaken affect Russia’s interests, as was the case in the situation with Ukraine where “a coup was committed with overt backing of the U.S. and the EU,” he said.
Russia is calling for a broad national dialogue involving all the Ukrainian political forces and regions concerned, as well as for a constitutional reform and for giving Russian an official language status, Lavrov said. At the same time, “all these matters must be decided by Ukrainians themselves,” he said.
Also, Ukraine’s non-aligned status and its guarantee by international actors are of principled importance, the ministry said.
April 14, 2014
Kiev’s operation in southeast of Ukraine can lead to civil war World April 14, 20:26 UTC+4 MOSCOW
MOSCOW: A special operation in the southeast of Ukraine ordered by the Kiev authorities can lead to a civil war in the country, Russia’s Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Andrei Kelin told Rossiya 24 television on Monday, April 14.
“It is known that they (authorities in Kiev) are planning to begin a counter-terrorism operation against peaceful demonstrators who have simple demands – greater autonomy (for regions) and the status of Russian (as a second official language),” he said.
According to Kelin, the Kiev authorities are forming troops made up of “patriots”. “All this can lead to a civil war. And this is a matter of serious concern to us,” Kelin said.
Czech News Agency
April 14, 2014
NATO Ample Strike 2014 to be held in Czech Republic
Namest nad Oslavou, South Moravia: About 600 Czech and 300 foreign soldiers will take part in the Ample Strike 2014 (AMSE14) military exercise in the first half of September, exercise spokeswoman Magdalena Dvorakova told CTK Friday.
They will use about 30 helicopters and aircraft at the bases in Namest nad Oslavou and Caslav, central Bohemia, the military training grounds Boletice, south Bohemia, and Libava, north Moravia, and the Bechyne garrison, south Bohemia, Dvorakova said.
The exercise is to harmonise the training of forward air controllers who find the ground targets for the air force with aircraft and helicopter crews, she added.
The war games will follow up the similar international exercises Flying Rhino and Ramstein Rover held in the Czech Republic in the past years.
“The exercises were always commanded by NATO and British bodies. As the Czech Republic has proven well as a host country, the Ample Strike will be held for the first time fully under the Czech military’s auspices,” Dvorakova said.
The exercise will include soldiers from ten other NATO members: Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Hungary, Germany, Slovakia, Britain and the USA. It will be held from September 3-15.
April 14, 2014
Ukraine junta may spark civil war: Analyst
Press TV has conducted an interview with Rick Rozoff, from the Center for Research on Globalization, to get his views on the crisis in Ukraine.
Below is a rush transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Now, looking at the words used by [ousted Ukrainian President] Viktor Yanukovych, he noted that the CIA is involved in what is taking place in Ukraine right now as far as the crackdown on pro-Russia protesters go. What do you make of the role the CIA may be playing in Ukraine?
Rozoff: The deposed president of Ukraine, still the standing president legally, Viktor Yanukovych, made the accusation that the US CIA director, John Brennan, had given authorization to the junta, there is no more proper term for it, in Kiev to avoid not only armed force, but the military of Ukraine, in many ways trained by the United States and its NATO allies against peaceful civilian protesters in the east of the country.
An accusation was made today by a member of parliament, formerly of the Party of Regions, that is the ruling party of Viktor Yanukovych, and presidential candidate Oleg Tsarev, that an entire floor of the state security building of the government in Kiev is occupied by US intelligence officers and that it’s off limits even to Ukrainian personnel. This should not surprise us. This is the degree to which the West, the US in the first place, has engineered the bloody coup d’etat in Kiev and is now engineering what Yanukovych himself said is a civil war in his country, and this again is the use of all-out military force, not security personnel, not even riot police but military personnel against peaceful protesters in eastern Ukraine.
This signals bloodshed, has already resulted in deaths in Slavyansk and other cities in the east and Russia has called for convoking a meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to discuss what it truly looks like. Again, in the words of Viktor Yanukovych, entering the door of civil war.
Press TV: The interim government or the Junta, as you have called it in Kiev, has given a deadline of Monday morning to these pro-Russia protesters and that it will carry out large-scale counter-terrorism operations against these protesters. How do you see this planning out? More bloodshed on the streets of eastern and southern Ukraine?
Rozoff: I should sincerely clearly hope that the regime, the US-installed junta in Kiev, does not go through with that ultimatum. If it does and if it deploys more military forces and shoots down more peaceful protesters under the name – yet to make this even more diabolical – counter- or anti-terrorist operations, what you’re going to see is the eruption of full-scale civil war in Ukraine.
As it’s going to be occurring in the east of the country, that’s right on Russia’s border, that’s precisely what the United States’ intention is to do, which is to embroil Russia into an armed conflict in Europe and maybe to issue the US final play for global military domination by provoking confrontation between the two world’s two major powerss. Nothing less dramatic than that is at hand.
Press TV: And very quickly if you can Mr. Rozoff, we’re running out of time. How do you see the UNSC doing in this emergency meeting, which is to take place, as far as averting any potential disaster?
Rozoff: I wish I could say that the United Nations served any purpose other than being used by the United States as it chooses to and being ignored by the United States when it chooses to ignore it. So I don’t expect anything substantive to come out of the meeting of the United Nations Security Council itself, but I think Russia will succeed in sounding the alarm internationally, so the rest of the world understands the gravity, the severity of the situation obtaining in eastern Ukraine and throughout Ukraine right now, because this is something fully comparable with what the US engineered in Syria and currently in Venezuela. It’s an attempt to destabilize and plunge into bloody violence yet another country and it has to be stopped, because if it doesn’t stop here it will continue to spread to other nations.
April 14, 2014
Neutral Finland debates NATO membership option
Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said that his country, which is not a member of any military pact, should consider NATO membership along with Sweden, “when the time is right”. He added that there was no acute security risk for Finland due to the Ukraine crisis.
“My personal opinion is that Finland should belong to NATO. It would strengthen Finland’s position. But I’m in the minority,” he said on Saturday (12 April), in an interview to the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle.
Katainen said that there is no acute security risk facing Finland because of the situation in Ukraine. But he also pointed out that Russia has said that it’s ready to defend its citizens outside of its own borders.
“This is a serious issue that should be discussed openly,” said Katainen, who especially thanked Yle for its Russian-language news service, Novosti, which allows Russian-speakers in Finland to follow the news in their own mother-tongue.
Katainen also said that the Finnish state was doing fine, rejecting accusations that he was leaving a sinking ship. On 5 April, Katainen said he was stepping down from his job of Prime Minister this summer, and that he was available for a EU top job [read more].
In light of Ukraine developments, Katainen is not the only one in his country to call for NATO membership. Former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari (1994-2000), who won the Nobel peace prize in 2008 over his role in the Kosovo process negotiations, strongly advocated that his country should join NATO.
“I’d hope that at some point we’d be able to make that kind of decision and I hope that it would happen jointly with Sweden. I don’t see any reason why the Swedes wouldn’t also make a decision to join,” Ahtisaari said in a recent interview.
But Finnish foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja responded by saying Finland does not require NATO membership because it is already a member of the European Union and a NATO partner. Opposition Centre Party Chair Juha Sipilä says now is not the appropriate time to be considering the NATO question.
“NATO would bring no added benefit to Finnish security. It is not a solution, it would simply bring more problems of its own,” Tuomioja added.
Tuomioja estimates that Katainen is now speaking more freely as his term as Prime Minister draws to an end, more boldly representing his centre-right National Coalition Party views. The NCP party line has traditionally supported NATO membership, while Tuomioja’s Social Democratic Party has opposed it.
Sipilä said the NATO question shouldn’t be discussed during times of crisis.
“My own NATO position is exactly the same as that of the Centre Party. Finland does not belong to any military alliance, but we wish to maintain that option. If membership was to be considered, there would have to be a nationwide referendum arranged on the issue,” Sipilä said.
From Domnitza de Snagov (1929)
Translated by William Drake
“Sire, since I shall not twice in my lifetime encounter a man like Your Highness, I should like to be enlightened upon a matter that troubles me.”
“What is it?”
“This: by what I have heard from our elders and what I have lived through myself, in the Crimean War, I understand that the great powers have always fought with one another for the possession of weaker nations, like ours, which they crush, each in their turn. But the crushed nations notwithstanding do not die, and we Roumanians are proof of that fact. And the great powers, like Russia and Turkey, are content, in the end, to find themselves again where they were before they started to fight. Why, then, do they fight?”
Couza reflected an instant; then, he said:
“My lad, you embarrass me. I shall try to extricate myself by answering that the great powers act like those two men who ate the toad. Do you know the story?”
“No, Sire, I do not know it…”
“Then, listen! One fine morning, two peasants left their village to go to the market of a big town. One took a calf which he wished to sell. The other had only his arms, which he did not know what to do with. Passing a pond, the man with the calf, who was a foolish creature, said to his travelling companion, as he pointed to a disgusting toad:
“‘Look! If you eat that toad, I will give you my calf. Then it will be yours!’
“Fools love to make dares, and they always pick on the most foolish of their kind, who take the challenge on the wing. His companion, a lazy body who lived from hand to mouth, thought: ‘It must be frightening to eat a living toad; one does not even eat them cooked. But then, a calf – that makes it worth while!’ And, seizing the toad, he said to the first fool:
“‘You will give me the calf at once?’
“‘The instant you finish eating the toad!’
“The other took a bite, chewed quickly, and quickly tossed it down; but his heart was not in the business. ‘It will be hard work, by God!’ At the second mouthful, he thought he was vomiting out his entrails, and, perspiring with disgust, sat down on the grass.
“Seeing him almost halfway through the toad, the proprietor of the calf bethought himself:
“‘He is doing it, all right! He will eat it, and then I shall have lost my calf!’ And he, in turn, sweated. But the eater, after a third piece of toad, was at the end of his endurance, and made the following reflection: ‘No, I shan’t be able to finish it; but if I throw away the rest, he will scoff at me and that is all I will have for my trouble.’
“‘You know, old fellow,’ he remarked. ‘If you will eat the other half of the toad, why, I’ll let you keep your cow.’
“The pitiful instigator seemed only waiting for the word.
“‘As you wish, my friend. If that is how you put it, I accept.’
“And he had to swallow the remainder, with the same disgust. Then the two fools continued their journey, vomiting all along the road – one leading his calf, the other not knowing what to do with his arms, in just the same condition as he had been before they had shared the toad.”
April 11, 2014
U.S. Senator calls for granting MAP to Georgia
American Senator Chris Murphy calls on the NATO to grant the Membership Action Plan to Georgia. Murphy voiced his recommendations at the meeting of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate on Thursday, where the situation in Crimea, Russian aggression and its possible consequences from the point of view of European security was discussed. American lawmakers say this will be a sharp signal to Putin that aggression and threats can not be a way of achieving the goals.
The Senator has also voiced two other recommendations for ensuring security in Europe – growth of the presence of U.S. military forces in Europe and suspension of selling weapons to Russia.
Senator Murphy is one of those U.S. lawmakers, who support the position of suspending military cooperation with Russia and its weapon agency Rosoboronexport.
April 11, 2014
‘No Consensus’ within NATO on Georgia MAP
Tbilisi: The U.S. supports granting Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Georgia at the NATO summit in Wales in September, but there is no consensus within the allies on the issue, a senior U.S. State Department official said.
“Georgians are well aware that they do not have consensus in the Alliance and that they have work to do to convince, particularly some of our western European allies, of their worthiness for the Membership Action Plan,” Victoria Nuland, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, said.
“We have been supporting them as they make this case directly to individual allies,” she said while speaking at a hearing of European subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 10.
Nuland also said that Georgia is on track of signing the Association Agreement with the EU, which “will deepen its relations with many of these same countries, so we are hopeful that will have a positive impact on how they assess its [Georgia’s] worthiness for MAP.”
Derek Chollet, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, told the same hearing that Georgia is “a terrific partner”, who fights in Afghanistan along with the U.S. troops without caveats.
“We are supportive of the Membership Action Plan,” he said. “But as you know very well this is an Alliance’s decision, that’s not a decision the United States will make alone. We work close with our Georgian partners through this process and it’s something that clearly will be a subject of conversation in months ahead as we lead up to the Wales summit.”
U.S. officials’ remarks followed a question from Senator Chris Murphy, who presided over the hearing and who said that although Georgia has yet to take some “serious steps” before it becomes a “full candidate for admission to NATO”, the Membership Action Plan would have lots of “hoops to jump through” and would represent a “very strong signal to both Russia and our allies that we are serious about keeping the opening door policy.”
Georgian Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, said this week that Tbilisi has significantly intensified dialogue with some of the European states – those whom he described as “skeptics.”
In the course of last one month Alasania traveled to Italy, Spain and Slovakia, where he met his counterparts and raised the issue of MAP, according to the Georgian Ministry of Defense. He met his French counterpart in Paris in November, 2013. The Dutch Defense Minister visited Tbilisi earlier this month.
Georgian Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, met his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin on April 10.
Speaking at a news conference after the meeting Steinmeier spoke about possibility of increasing “substantially” cooperation between Georgia and NATO through number of measures. “I think that would be a milestone,” he said.
But what these measures might be remains unclear.
“Intensive discussions are underway about what will be Georgia’s next step on its path to NATO integration. Everyone actually agrees that this step will be made. NATO allies are expected to take this decision perhaps in June, but it is not either ruled out that discussions on the issue to continue in months ahead of the September summit,” Georgian Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, said in Berlin.
NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said on April 2 that he expects Alliance’s foreign ministers to decide in June how to address at the summit in Wales open door policy, including in respect of Georgia.
At the Bucharest summit in 2008 NATO leaders decided that Georgia will join the NATO, but refused to grant MAP to Georgia. The Bucharest summit decision also says that MAP should be the next step for Georgia on its “direct way to membership”; references to the need of going through MAP phase before joining the alliance are also made in NATO’s subsequent decisions in respect of Georgia.
In an interview with the Georgian public radio on April 7, Defense Minister Irakli Alasania said that there “actually is a consensus” within NATO that Georgia deserves “next step” on its path to NATO integration, but what will be this “next step” has yet to be decided.
“We launched very dynamic bilateral relations especially with those countries, which were not supportive to [granting MAP to] Georgia in 2008. Compared to 2008 now we have absolutely different situation and it is acknowledged by our western partners – first of all, Georgia took a great leap forward since  in defense reforms; we had peaceful transfer of power, which was a success of all the political forces and the entire Georgian society; third – Georgia is consistent in its policy towards Russia to de-escalate tensions,” Alasania said.
“Not only number of skeptics has decreased, actually there is a consensus among the members that Georgia deserves the next step. What this instrument, next step, might be it should be agreed in next few months,” he added.
Alasania hailed NATO beefing up its eastern European defenses due to tension with Russia over Ukraine and said the Alliance should go further by considering “gradual creation of defense elements, among them through deployment of military assets, in partner countries.”
From My Past and Thoughts
Translated by Constance Garnett
Staraya Russa, the military settlements! Terrible words! Can it be that history…will never pull away the shroud under which the government has concealed the series of crimes coldly and systematically perpetrated in establishing the military settlements? There have been plenty of horrors everywhere, but in that case they were marked by the peculiar imprint of Petersburg and Gatchina, of German and Tatar influence. The beating with sticks and scourging with lashes for the insubordinate went on for months together…the blood was never dry on the floors of the rural offices…every crime that may be committed by the people against their torturers on that tract of land is justified beforehand.
The Mongolian side of the Moscow period which distorted the Slav character of the Russians, the inhumanity of army discipline which distorted the Petersburg period, are embodied in the full perfection of their hideousness in Count Arakcheyev. Arakcheyev was undoubtedly one of the most loathsome figures that rose to the surface of the Russian government after Peter the Great. That ‘flunky of a crowned soldier,’ as Pushkin said of him, was the model of an ideal corporal as seen in the dreams of the father of Frederick the Second; he was made up of inhuman devotion, mechanical accuracy, the exactitude of a chronometer, routine and energy, a complete lack of feeling, as much intelligence as was necessary to carry out orders, and enough ambition, spite, and envy to prefer power to money. Such men are a real treasure to the czars…
Voice of Russia
April 12, 2014
First Tunisia, then Egypt and Libya, now Ukraine: Colour revolution scenario is a wrong one to use
The date seems to have gone unnoticed by the western media, yet it was three years ago that the phenomenon that came to be known as the Arab Spring burst into life, first in Tunisia and then in Egypt, with pundits caught unawares by the collapse of some many-year long regimes in that important world region. The bloody death of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, civil unrest in Arab monarchies came in continuation of what politicians and political analysts have referred to as ‘colour revolutions’ in the past 20 years.
Ukraine’s Orange Revolution of 2004, the Rose Revolution in Tbilisi, and back to Kiev again, but this time the developments in Ukraine failed to avoid bloodletting. Causes may have been different in different countries, but the millions who took to the streets were all discontented with their ruling regimes and all hated the regime leaders.
But the colour revolution scenarios are suspiciously alike, as if they were written in the same place by the same person. And there is invariably an American connection to each such scenario. Each of these involved or involves US experts, politicians and generals.
Bombing attacks on Yugoslavia’s capital Belgrade, missiles that destroyed Libyan cities, the supplies of weapons to Syria’s antigovernment forces, visits by the US Vice President Dick Cheney to the raging Tbilisi, political and generous financial support for ‘orange revolutions’ are the links in the same chain.
While cynically using popular discontent with the corrupt regimes, the Washington-based politicians and security services bend every effort to harness the mass movement, and insert its people into it. This is exactly what is taking place in a most insolent way in Ukraine’s capital Kiev.
But the experience that’s been gained in recent years proves that Washington is sowing the wind, but will reap something different from what it expects. Egypt has spiralled out of control, Iraq is in its current failing state; Libya, plunged into internecine war; Syria fighting US aggression and the US disgraceful withdrawal from Afghanistan are all evidence of Washington’s strategic bankruptcy.
The situation in Ukraine has also failed to follow Washington’s scenario. Instead of a quick success, the US got another headache and fresh problems.
The days of US world domination are gone; the world has changed and hates to develop according to plans that have been drawn up on the banks of the Potomac River. Washington will have to take that into account sooner or later. Sooner is better for the world and for the US proper.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
April 11, 2014
NATO Official Praises Azerbaijan’s Partnership In Alliance
A NATO official has praised the alliance’s relations with Azerbaijan while marking 20 years of closer cooperation between Baku and Brussels.
Sorin Ducaru, NATO’s assistant secretary-general for emerging security challenges, told journalists in Baku on April 11 that relations between NATO and Azerbaijan had reached the level of a “strategic partnership.”
Ducaru spoke at a conference marking the 20th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s participation in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program.
Ducaru called Azerbaijan one of NATO’s long-term partners and hailed Baku’s participation in peacekeeping efforts in Afghanistan, the fight against terrorism, and supporting energy security.
Based on reporting by Trend.az and Interfax
Trend News Agency
April 11, 2014
2014 is important stage in Azerbaijan-NATO cooperation
By Saba Agayeva
The relations between NATO and Azerbaijan are fruitful, the organizations’ Deputy Secretary General Sorin Ducaru told the media on April 11.
Ducaru is taking part in the conference on the prospects of cooperation with NATO and the 20th anniversary of “Partnership for Peace”.
“2014 is an important milestone in the cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO as this year the coalition forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan,” he added.
“Azerbaijan has opened transit opportunities for us,” he added. “In particular, this year we will withdraw our forces from Afghanistan. After 2014, our presence in Afghanistan will differ from the previous one.”
He stressed that practical cooperation is also essential.
“We supported the reforms in Azerbaijan, particularly in the sphere of defense,” he added.
Ducaru stressed that the sides conducted about 80 joint activities, which raise the practical cooperation to a higher level.
“This meeting is an excellent platform for discussing the achievements, failures and future measures of cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO, as well as achieving successful results,” Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov said at the conference.
“The 20th anniversary of the “Partnership for Peace” program is being celebrated today,” he added. “We will discuss the present, as well as the expectations connected with the future of NATO, the process settlement in the alliance.”
Translated by NH
Edited by CN
From Our Doctors (1926)
Translated by Joseph Collins
“Gentlemen, the future of science announces itself with a renewed and dazzling splendor. Less than a century hence our planet will no more resemble what it is to-day than it resembles what it was in the Middle Ages. But that the wondrous transformation may be accomplished, it is essential that man be neither bad nor mad, and that the passion of war does not seize him anew. It is imperative that we shall uproot or attenuate that antinomy in man first pointed out by Pascal which exists between his intellectual faculties, continually on the increase, and his moral qualities, always stationary. If he does not, civilization, deprived of its equilibrium, will crumble beneath the indignities that man thrusts upon it and the world will materialize the myth of Babel.”
Stars and Stripes
April 11, 2014
Top Marine in Japan: If tasked, we could retake the Senkakus from China
By Jon Harper
WASHINGTON: If the Chinese invaded the Senkaku Islands, U.S. Marines in the Pacific could recapture them, the commander of Marines in Japan said Friday.
The Senkakus have been administered by Japan for decades, but China now claims sovereignty over them. Amid other heated territorial disputes with its neighbors, China has deployed naval assets near the Senkakus in recent months.
During his recent trip to Asia, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel reiterated the U.S. position that the Senkakus fall under the scope of the U.S. defense treaty with Japan, and the U.S. would be obliged to come to the aid of its Japanese ally if the islands were attacked by a foreign power.
Hagel’s comments came after Adm. Samuel Locklear III, the commander of all U.S. forces in the Pacific, told lawmakers last month that the Navy and Marines don’t have enough transportation assets in the region to carry out amphibious operations in a contested environment.
“If we were directed to take the Senkakus, could we? Yes. [But] to tell you how it would take place or would it take place or any of that would be pure speculation,” Lt. Gen. John Wissler, the commander of the III Marine Expeditionary Force based in Japan, said at a breakfast with defense reporters in Washington.
“They’re not real big,” he said. “I think sometimes people get this idea that the Senkakus look like the island of Okinawa or, you know, any of the other major islands. It’s a very, very small collection of small islands.”
Wissler suggested that U.S. naval and air assets could take out the Chinese forces on their own, and a forcible entry probably wouldn’t be required.
“You wouldn’t maybe even necessarily have to put somebody on that island until you had eliminated the threat, so to speak. And that’s where that whole integration of our full capabilities as a Navy-Marine Corps team would be of value,” he said.
U.S. Air Forces In Europe
U.S. Air Forces Africa
April 11, 2014
Dacian Viper 2014: US, Romanian air forces partner for 2-week exercise
By Staff Sgt. R.J. Biermann
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
CAMPIA TURZII, Romania: U.S. and Romanian Airmen met during the Dacian Viper 2014 opening ceremony at the 71st Air Base in Campia Turzii, Romania, April 10, 2014.
Romanian air force Cmdr. Petrus Marian, 71st AB commander; Cmdr. Adrian Motorga, 711th Squadron commander; and U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Christopher Austin, 510th Fighter Squadron commander, greeted the crowd as a dozen Romanian reporters captured the ceremony’s events.
From April 10-17, 71st AB and 31st Fighter Wing Airmen will conduct bilateral training to enhance interoperability and readiness through combined air operations, including air-to-air, air-to-ground and joint tactical air controller training.
“This exercise has been planned for over a year now,” said Austin. “We’re here to conduct range operations and joint exercise sorties with our NATO partners to enhance interoperability.”
Six 31st FW F-16 Fighting Falcons and several MiG-21 Lancers will be flown by their respective country’s pilots throughout the training. Team Aviano maintainers, crew chiefs, firefighters, aerospace ground equipment technicians, air traffic controllers, and supply, logistics and support personnel will also participate.
Dacian Viper 2014 will also aid the Romanian air force in gaining knowledge about the F-16 flying program. In 2013, Romania signed a contract to acquire 12 F-16s from Portugal to replace their MiG-21s.
The exercise is the latest example of the high level of military cooperation between the NATO partners and reflects the strength of the partnership, according to officials.
April 11, 2014
Scores of children killed, crippled by explosives left by US, NATO in Afghanistan
After 13 years of war, the US military and allies will leave thousands of square miles of unexploded grenades and other ordnance littered around Afghanistan. In recent years, most casualties from unattended explosives have been children, the UN found.
The United States and NATO forces have used 240 high-explosives ranges in Afghanistan since 2001, according to the Washington Post. One top range, for example, is 120 square miles, or about twice the size of Washington, DC.
The US will be responsible for cleaning 73 of those sites, which come out to around 800 square miles, US officials told the Post. This effort will cost about US$250 million. US officials say that each range has thousands of undetonated explosives.
Half of the total 240 ranges will be transferred to the Afghan army, and 40 belong to international coalition forces whose countries will be on the hook for cleanup.
In the meantime, casualties from these unmarked, randomly-scattered munitions will likely increase, as the US has only combed 3 percent of its domain in Afghanistan, officials said.
Since 2012, the United Nations’ Mine Action Coordination Center of Afghanistan has recorded 70 casualties around US or NATO firing ranges or bases, and the pace of explosions is increasing. Of these casualties, 88 percent were children. Victims were often taking animals to graze, gathering firewood, or searching for scrap metal.
Yet the Post reported that it found 14 casualties not included in the UN’s findings, indicating how difficult it is to track these incidents and how often they will occur as most foreign troops leave by the end of the year.
“We are anxious that the problem has arisen just as ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) is leaving,” said Abigail Hartley, director of the UN mine center. “It would have been much better to have had it addressed during the last eight years.”
Even if Congress approves funding to find and remove the ordnance, the task will be highly complicated without that troop presence. The US has shuttered around half of its 880 bases and facilities around the country already.
“There are less people to identify sites,” an anonymous US official told the Post. “And then if you decide you want to do the right thing and get them out there, how do you do it? Who protects them?”
A US military team was, in recent months, assigned to find which ranges exposed the most ordnance and which had caused the most casualties. Yet senior US officials have said little about the issue.
“It will take time and expense to complete this work, but it’s critical to the safety of the Afghan people and it is the right thing to do,” said Edward Thomas, a spokesman for Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Last year, 32,000 undetonated explosives were removed from a 60-square-mile area, the only spot cleared by the US thus far.
“Unfortunately, the thinking was: ‘We’re at war and we don’t have time for this,’ ” said Maj. Michael Fuller, the head of the US Army’s Mine Action Center at Bagram Airfield.
US officials pointed out to the Post that, since Afghanistan is not a signatory to the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the US is not legally obligated to deal with the deadly ordnance they will leave behind.
In addition to US and ISAF explosives sprinkled throughout the country are 20 million pieces of ordnance left by the Soviet Union during its decade-long war and occupation in Afghanistan during the 1980s.
“We’re probably never going to be able to find [munitions], because who knows where they landed,” one US official told the Post.
Thus, Afghans will live with past wars for the foreseeable future. A report by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Afghanistan found that 2013 was the worst year for women and children.
Last year, 561 children were killed and 1,195 were wounded. Many were victims of roadside bombs or were caught in the crossfire of insurgent battles. US drone strikes are also responsible for an increasing amount of casualties.
Last month, two Afghan teenagers, Mohammed Yusef and Sayed Jawad, set out from their home to a nearby firing range used by US and Polish troops. Since the once-common blasts from the site had subsided as foreign forces left Afghanistan, the pair saw fit to look for scrap metal in the area.
Sayed Sadeq, Jawad’s father, said he heard an explosion and ran to the range where he found his son’s ravaged torso, both boys dead.
“The left side of his body was torn up. I could see his heart. His legs were missing,” the father said.
One of the boys had seemingly stepped on a 40mm grenade, which is made to kill anyone within five yards.
“If the Americans believe in human rights, how can they let this happen?” Sadeq said, the Post reported.
April 11, 2014
Romanian officials call for more NATO troops in Romania
Bogdan Aurescu, state secretary in the Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE), has talked with US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland about the necessity to increase US and NATO presence in Romania and other allied states in Eastern Europe, according to an official statement of MAE. Aurescu also expressed his hope that the US will soon name a new ambassador in Romania.
Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean also called for more NATO troops in Romania and Eastern Europe, in an interview for AFP.
Duane Butcher, Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Bucharest, said on Thursday (April 10) that US and NATO will protect Romania. On the same day, NATO published photos that show that about 35,000 to 40,000 Russian soldiers are stationed along the Ukrainian border, according to AFP. Moscow officials however said the pictures date back from August 2013.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
April 10, 2014
Romania Wants NATO Redeployment Over Ukraine Crisis
Romania is urging NATO to redeploy its forces in Eastern Europe and take a firm position to prevent a contagion of the Ukraine crisis.
Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean said on April 10 that Bucharest “has concrete expectations of a redeployment and an eastward repositioning of NATO’s naval, air and ground forces.”
Corlatean said Romania was “on the frontline,” adding, “The Black Sea region must be a top priority for NATO and the EU.”
Romania, a member of both the European Union and NATO, has a common border with Ukraine.
The US chargé d’affaire in Romania, Duane Butcher, told Romanian media that Washington is currently considering “a wide range of measures” to consolidate trust among its allies.
“We will defend Romania”, Butcher said.
Meanwhile, some 450 U.S. and Romanian troops and began joint military exercises in northwestern Romania on April 10, flying U.S. F-16 fighter jets alongside Romanian ones.
Russian Information Agency Novosti
April 3, 2014
Moldovan Region Gagauzia Asks Russia to Open Consulate
CHISINAU: Authorities in Moldova’s autonomous region of Gagauzia are asking Russia to open a consulate office in its capital Comrat, head of the autonomous region Mikhail Formuzal said in a letter to Russian authorities.
“In accordance with the agreements reached at the meeting of the State Duma (Russia’s lower chamber of parliament) and the government of Russia during the visit of a delegation of the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia to Moscow, we ask you to consider a possibility of establishing a Consulate of the Russian Federation in Comrat, the capital of Gagauzia”, Formuzal said.
According to Formuzal, the move would give a new impetus to bilateral relationships in such areas like trade and education and also would be helpful for citizens not only of Gagauzia, but other southern regions of Moldova.
Earlier Moldovan region asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to simplify citizenship procedures for migrant workers. Formuzal underlined that Gagauz people can easily integrate into Russian society, because they know the Russian language and Russian culture.
On Wednesday US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said that Washington remains concerned about political situation in Moldova.
“We are providing an addition $10 million in assistance to Moldova…So obviously, we are working very closely with the Moldovan Government on a range of issues and are concerned, of course, about Russian escalatory moves anywhere in the region”, Harf said.
Gagauzia has a population of about 150,000, mostly ethnically Gagauz, Turkish-speaking Orthodox Christians. Gagauzia has three official languages: Romanian, Gagauz, and Russian. In February a referendum was held in Gagauzia in which an overwhelming majority called for Moldova to join a Russian-led Customs union rather than a political and trade pact with the EU. It also opted for the independence of Gagauzia if Moldova chooses to enter EU.
Xinhua News Agency
April 10, 2014
Russia slams NATO over Ukraine
MOSCOW: Moscow said Thursday that NATO took the roles of a referee and a court-marshal in Kosovo and Libya, while turning a blind eye on extremist forces in Ukraine.
“In recent months, we have not heard from NATO Secretary General (Anders Fogh Rasmussen) any constructive agenda or care about sooner normalization of situation in Ukraine,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, blaming Rasmussen for his “active employment of double standards.”
NATO attempts to use the crisis in Ukraine to “close ranks” within the bloc, which, in its view, allegedly faces threat from Russia, said the statement.
NATO accents “increasing militarization of Russia” to prove the bloc is still needed in the 21st century, it added.
Russia said it was not surprised by NATO’s attempt to represent itself as an “elite club” bearing some special political legitimacy and ignoring international institutions, including the U.N. Security Council.
Earlier this month, Rasmussen highlighted the alliance’s steadfast commitment to collective defense and decided to suspend all civilian and military cooperation with Russia.
You told me, in your drunken-boasting mood,
How once you butchered prisoners. That was good!
I’m sure you felt no pity while they stood
Patient and cowed and scared, as prisoners should.
How did you do them in? Come, don’t be shy:
You know I love to hear how Germans die,
Downstairs in dug-outs. ‘Camerad!’ they cry;
Then squeal like stoats when bombs begin to fly.
And you? I know your record. You went sick
When orders looked unwholesome: then, with trick
And lie, you wangled home. And here you are,
Still talking big and boozing in a bar.
Voice of Russia
April 10, 2014
US and NATO military presence along Russia’s borders is precarious and formidable – Stop NATO activist
Ukraine’s interim President Alexander Turchinov has ordered the local administration headquarters held by protesters in Donetsk to be taken under “state protection”.
Meanwhile, special forces and armored vehicles from other regions are reportedly moving into the east and south of the country. The buildup of the US and allied NATO military personnel and hardware along Russia’s western borders is already precarious and is becoming formidable, Rick Rozoff, an international affairs commentator and a manager of Stop NATO, told the Voice of Russia.
According to a decree signed by Turchinov, the local administration building in Donetsk and surrounding territory is an ‘important government facility’, which is subject to state protection.
Turchinov has already given Ukraine’s state security service appropriate directions, Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency reports.
Ukraine’s acting interior minister Arsen Avakov confirmed on Wednesday that special police force had already arrived in the eastern cities of Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov from the Ukraine’s western regions.
He said an anti-terrorist operation was underway, adding that the situation would be resolved ‘within 24 hours’ by either political settlement through talks or the use of force.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry have urged all sides to refrain from violence in eastern and southern Ukraine.
The administrative buildings in Donetsk and Lugansk remain under the control of protesters. Activists continued to building barricades on Wednesday, preparing for possible attacks by government forces.
Protesters in Donetsk adopted an address in support of Crimea’s reintegration into Russia and expressed hope that Crimea would recognize the independence of self-proclaimed Donetsk people’s republic.
Does Mr. Breedlove’s statement attest to NATO’s readiness to deploy troops in Eastern Europe?
He would not have made this statement unless it was at least on the drawing board. And this is an indication of how severely the manufactured crisis, I would argue, over Ukraine, manufactured by the West, has escalated to the point where the top military commander of NATO, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe who is simultaneously, by the way, the top commander of the US European Command of the US military forces on and around the European continent, to have made such an abrasive and threatening statement.
He said, in fact, that NATO troops, including US contingents, could enter several Eastern European countries ostensibly to protect Ukraine or protect its neighbours, those who are NATO members. That’s a ludicrous assertion, of course. I mean, Ukraine is under no threat. Certainly, the Baltic state, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, who are presumably the countries about which Gen. Breedlove spoke, are under no threat. Quite the opposite, the buildup of the US and allied NATO military personnel and hardware along Russia’s western borders is already precarious and is becoming formidable.
Is deploying troops just a possibility now or a guide to action?
We have to keep in mind that the US has been incrementally and, I’m afraid, for the most part imperceptibly for most of the world’s news media building up steadily the presence of military personnel in the very countries we are talking about, Poland in the first place. Four years ago the US deployed a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Interceptor missile battery to the Polish city of Morag, which is only some 35 to 42 km from the Russian territory of Kaliningrad. There are US personnel assigned to that battery, perhaps 100 soldiers.
The US is currently performing a paratroop operation with Polish forces outside the Polish air base at Powidz. The today’s news indicate that 18 US F-16 advanced jet fighters are flying into the Polish air base at Lask. And the words of government officiala and of the US and the Polish military are that the US will maintain presence in the area for years or decades, that’s a quote. And this has been building up incrementally also in Bulgaria and Romania, across the Black Sea from Ukraine, where in 2008-2009 the US signed agreements respectively with Romania and Bulgaria for securingthe use of 8 military bases, which it has used in the interim. It used them, for example, for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
And these include bases outside Constanta in Romania and Burgas in Bulgaria on the Black Sea. They include major air bases and naval facilities. So, the US already has presence in the new NATO members in Eastern Europe. In fact, the NATO expansion from 1999 to 2009, during this period NATO expanded from 16 members to 28 (that is a 75% increase in membership), all of those 12 new members in Eastern Europe, it has been the mechanism by which US built up military presence along Russia’s western borders and it could not have been done without NATO.
This is interesting, because it contradicts the opinion that people still have, that the US is not an aggressively imperialistic superpower with so many invasions since 1776. And I think what you just mentioned attests to the opposite, that perhaps it is. Now, over to the Donald Cook warship that is due to enter the Black Sea today. What are the aims of this motion – to reassure Washington’s regional partners, as Pentagon’s officials say, or to issue a warning to Russia over its actions in Crimea? I mean, Russia is not Kosovo, Russia is a nuclear missile-capable nation, what is NATO and the West really trying to do here?
I’m glad you threw NATO into the equation, because, in fact, not only the USS Donald Cook – which is by the way an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer of the sort that is being used to install antiballistic missiles or what they call interceptor missiles under the European Phased Adaptive Approach program of the Obama administration, which was adopted by NATO. So, now it is throughout the European continent, excluding Russia and Belarus presumably.
And the US will ultimately, they have five such warships deployed at the Rota Naval Station in Spain to patrol the Mediterranean, but also, as clearly is the case with the Donald Cook, moving into the Black Sea, which could have been predicted. The Baltic Sea, Barents Sea, Norwegian Sea are the locations where these warships will later go. And the purpose of the so-called interceptor missiles is, in my estimate, to withstand a retaliatory strike by Russia should the US and its NATO allies launch a first strike against Russia. That’s the only conceivable explanation I have for the so-called missile defense system.
So, it is dangerous that this is the third such American guided missile warship that has entered the Black Sea since the Sochi Winter Olympics, in which point there were two, one of which incidentally ran aground off the coast of Turkey. Those two came out, the Donald Cook is coming in, but it’s being accompanied by a French surveillance ship; military, of course.
So, this once again indicates that it is a joint NATO endeavor and not simply a unilateral American one. And it is comparable, evocative, in fact, of what the US and NATO did immediately after the five-day war in the South Caucasus in the August of 2008 when Georgia invaded South Ossetia and provoked a war with Russia. The US had similarly sent the flagship of the Sixth Fleet, the USS Mount Whitney, to Georgia.
Transformation Seminar Charts Path to Summit
More than 250 NATO military and civilian leaders along with important partners in Think-Tanks met in Paris, France, April 8-9 for the 2014 NATO Transformation Seminar (NTS) hosted by SACT.
The NTS is a core event within SACT’s strategic engagement campaign and serves as a precursor for leaders to inform and progress the dialogue leading up to the NATO Summit in Wales in September.
The two days included several plenary discussions and group breakout sessions that covered topics such as; The Future of Operations: a Post-Afghanistan Refocus on NATO Core missions, Addressing Military Requirements, Capability Challenges in the 21st Century, The Future of the Transatlantic Link, NATO in the 21st Century: How to Adapt NATO to Face Multiple and Complex Challenges.
In line with expectations, the current crisis in Ukraine also drove much of the discussion – as it remains a major concern for the entire Alliance. During his closing remarks, SACT said the situation further proved the importance of the Nations’ willingness to work together and continue to build bonds.
“…Ukraine didn’t overshadow the conference,” said SACT. “Ukraine highlighted the conference. Ukraine highlighted the need for a strong commitment as well as solidarity in what we should do to face this crisis. It highlighted as well the need for us to deliver on the major initiatives [that] we have enhanced.”
SACT thanked all the leaders for their contributions to the conversations and said that their input was invaluable as Allied Command Transformation continues to forge the future of the Alliance.
“The most important outcome of what we did is really – from my perspective – the individual takeaway,” said SACT. “And my own takeaway is that after the seminar, I feel much stronger – much stronger as far as our collective confidence in pushing forward the transformation of our Alliance and taking on the challenges of today.”
Day One – NATO begins Two-day Transformation Seminar
The annual NATO Transformation Seminar began today at the Intercontinental Le Grand Hotel in Paris, France, with keynote speeches from SACT, the SECGEN and the Defence Minister of France, Jean-Yves Le Drian.
More than 250 invitees among them NATO military leaders and ambassadors (PERMREPS) and important partners in Think-Tanks and defence managers are attending this two-day event hosted by SACT to support preparations for the upcoming NATO Summit. Particularly, the seminar is designed to identify steps for NATO’s transformation, continue the ongoing assessment of capabilities and risks, develop NATO initiatives, discuss the impact of the current crisis in Ukraine and address other top issues.
Speaking about current events that are of major concern for NATO, SACT said that nations must continue to commit to “transforming” the Alliance to help take on these challenges successfully.
“While a crisis develops at the eastern edges of our Alliance and at the crucial time of transition in Afghanistan, more than ever we have to prepare for NATO’s future,” SACT said. “I’m convinced that current events can only encourage us further to continue with the transformation of our military toolbox, continue to adapt our capabilities, improve our interoperability and our ability to react.”
SECGEN told the attendees that the situation in Ukraine “raises serious questions on Euro-Atlantic security” and that “now was the time for the right answer”.
“…and let me put forward three answers that I see are key for our Wales Summit in September,” SECGEN said: “We must prepare a readiness action plan, we must reinvest in our defence and we must reinforce the transatlantic bond.”
Over the next two days, the leaders attending the seminar will concentrate their efforts on these issues and more, as broader discussions at the NATO Summit in Wales are just five months away.