U.S. Army Europe Headquarters: Ukraine’s Land Force Commander Meets American Counterpart

U.S. Army Europe
March 26, 2015

Ukraine’s Land Force commander visits Army Europe
By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

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WIESBADEN, Germany: Lt. Gen. Anatoliy Pushnyakov, commander, Ukraine Land Force, was ceremonially welcomed here, March 26, during his visit to Army Europe’s area of operation.

Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commanding general, Army Europe, welcomed the Ukrainian commander during the formal ceremony. An honor cordon, which is a formation of Soldiers specifically formed to present honors to a visiting dignitary, stood alongside the U.S. Army Europe Band & Chorus, who played the U.S. and Ukrainian national anthems during the start of the ceremony.

About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.

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Soros: EU Should Give $50 Billion To Ukraine To “Confront Russian Threat”

Ukrinform
March 27, 2015

Soros: Europe’s ignorance of Ukraine terrible mistake

George-Soros

KYIV: American billionaire and philanthropist George Soros believes that the EU ignores the financial condition of Ukraine. He urged Brussels to allocate additional funding to Kyiv.

He said this in an interview with BBC.

According to him, Europe is too preoccupied with financial problems in Greece.

Soros believes that it would be better to encourage the Ukrainians, who tend to Europe and confront the threat from Russia.

“This is a country with more than 40 million people who want to be Europeans, and who really want to stand up and fight, sacrificing their lives, but Europe is ignoring them. This is a terrible, terrible mistake on the part of Europe. And therefore, Europe needs to wake up before it’s too late,” Soros said.

Previously, he said that Ukraine needs financial assistance worth $50 billion.

Two weeks ago, the IMF decided to provide Ukraine with $17.5 billion in the framework of a four-year financial aid program. As IMF Chairman Christine Lagarde said, Ukraine may receive up to $40 billion, taking into account funds from other lenders.

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Tbilisi: NATO Integrates Georgia Into…European Union

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
March 28, 2015

Defence Minister Met with Acting Assistant Secretary General of NATO

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Acting Assistant Secretary General of NATO on Public Diplomacy, Ted Whiteside pays a visit to Georgia. Minister of Defence of Georgia, Mindia Janelidze hosted the NATO official at the Defence Ministry today. Mindia Janelidze thanked Ted Whiteside for active support of the North Atlantic Alliance towards Georgia’s membership aspirations.

Importance of the Public Diplomacy and effective strategic communication on Georgia’s NATO integration path was the main topic of discussion. The sides talked about Georgia’s EU and Euro-Atlantic aspirations and implementation process of the NATO-Georgia Substantial Package. Georgia’s contribution to global security and professionalism of the Georgian military contingent was emphasized at the meeting.

“I am very pleased to be in Georgia. I’ve particularly appreciated the opportunity today to meet with the Minister of Defence and some of his key staff…NATO values very much the great number of Georgian contributions, particularly in Afghanistan. This has meant something not only to NATO but to the entire international community. Georgia can be very proud of this contribution and to other contributions it is making to the EU…It is a model for cooperation. I am very happy that NATO and Georgia are going to work on a Joint Training and Evaluation Center. There will be more NATO officials embedded here in Tbilisi, in the Ministry. This has been an excellent visit and reflects the great work done by the Georgian Ministry of Defence and more broadly by the Georgian Ministries,” Ted Whiteside said.

At the meeting the sides discussed the ongoing reforms at the Defence Ministry. Mindia Janelidze informed the NATO official about the defence transformation process with a focus on transparency and accountability that is one of the priorities of the Defence Ministry.

“We had a very fruitful discussion on our future cooperation with NATO and how to raise the awareness about the Georgian Armed Forces in NATO member countries. We have outlined concrete initiatives. Of course we support these initiatives and plan to expand cooperation in strategic communication field. We also discussed transparency issues. Defence Minister has achieved high level of transparency and we will maintain this standard and enhance communication with the public not only about NATO but about the ongoing defence reforms,” Mindia Janelidze said.

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International Week: Georgian Armed Forces Being Prepared For Next War

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
March 28, 2015

International Week Completed at National Defence Academy

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International Week completed at Davit Agmashenebeli National Defence Academy. First Deputy Defence Minister Gocha Ratiani, Chief of General Staff of the GAF, Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze and his deputy, BG Vladimer Chachibaia attended the closing ceremony. They addressed to the Georgian Junkers and the students of foreign military educational institutions and awarded them with the relevant certificates.

Within the International Week, students of American, German, Lithuanian, Latvian and Polish military institutes visited National Defence Academy. Foreign students took part in various kinds of academic and cultural activities together with the Georgian Junkers. The juveniles visited LEPL Military Scientific-Technical Center “DELTA” and Colonel Besik Kutateladze Sachkhere Mountain Training School.

International Week aimed to enhance awareness of National Defence Academy and Georgia generally.

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NATO Names Third Frenchman In A Row Head Of U.S. Military Command

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
March 23, 2015

NATO announces nomination of General Denis Mercier, French Air Force, as Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT)

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The North Atlantic Council today, 23 March 2015, approved the nomination of General Denis Mercier, French Air Force, to the post of Supreme Allied Commander Transformation.

General Mercier is currently serving as the French Air Force Chief of Staff. General Mercier will assume the appointment as successor to General Jean-Paul Paloméros, French Air Force, at a change of command ceremony at the Headquarters of Supreme Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia in September 2015.

On behalf of all Allied governments, the North Atlantic Council expressed deep and lasting gratitude for the distinguished service rendered by General Paloméros as the Supreme Allied Command Transformation.

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Francisco de Quevedo: The soldierly virtues of ardor, candor, honor and valor

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Francisco de Quevedo
From Vida del Buscón (1626)
Translated by Charles Duff

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“Why I have been these six months at the Court asking for a Decoration, after twenty years’ service, and having shed my blood in the King’s service – as these wounds show”. He pointed to a scar as long as your hand in his groin – a bubo as clear as daylight – and two marks on his heels which he said were shots: but I decided they were chilblains, from a couple of the same sort I have myself. He removed his hat to show me his face, torn with the marks of sixteen bullets and a long gash which split his nostrils, not to mention smaller cuts which made it look like a map all covered with lines. “These,” said he, “I received at Paris in the service of God and King, for whom I suffered my countenance to be carved; in return I have received nothing but fair words which are nowadays equivalent to foul actions. Read these papers, learned Graduate, for by Heavens, a more remarkable man, as God lives, never went into field of battle.”

***

I lay down with a sore heart, and the soldier called the landlord and gave him charge of the papers in the tin cannisters, together with a bundle of superannuated shirts…The soldier talked in his sleep about his pound, as though it were not beyond retrieving. When it was time to get up he called sharply for a light, which was brought; and the landlord gave the soldier his bundle, forgetting the papers. The wretched Ensign made the house ring with his shouts for the services to be delivered [and as you know, Sir, “services” is the polite expression for chamber-pots]. At this landlord was alarmed, and as we pressed for him to hand over the services he ran out, supposing we were all taken with a looseness, and returned with three close-stools saying, “Here is one for each of you. Do you require more?” This dissimulation made the soldier stand up sword in hand and in his shirt pursue the landlord, swearing he would murder him for that scurvy joke (he who had been at the battles of Lepanto, San Quentin, and a host of others!) of bringing chamber-pots instead of the documentary evidence of his services. We ran after him to restrain him and were hard put to do so, whilst the landlord cried, “You asked me for services, Sir, and how was I to know that they give such a name to certificates of military exploits?”

***

When darkness came the fraternity of rogues and sharpers made towards our habitation. I entered the house to find the ragged soldier holding up a wax torch he had received for the purpose of attending a funeral, of which he thought the better and consequently made off with the torch. This fellow’s name was Megazo, from Olías, a leading man in comedy and now a famous fighter of Moors – in a sword dance. When we talked with anybody that had served in Flanders he would say he had been in China; and if he happened to meet a man who had been in China he would declare he had served in Flanders. He spoke continually and at great length of forming a camp, but could never lay hands on the wherewithal except by maybe lousing his own body; he raved about castles although he had scarcely seen one, even on a coin; he extolled the memory of Don Juan of Lepanto and often in my hearing commended Don Luis Quijada for a generous and true friend; he knew by heart the names of notable Turks, famous galleons and great captains, which knowledge he acquired from a popular ballad brimful of such things: as a matter of fact he was so utterly unacquainted with maritime affairs that if he happened to be discoursing about Don Juan of Lepanto’s famous encounter, he would say that yon fellow Lepanto was a very brave Moor…

From Los Sueños (1627)
Translated by Roger L’Estrange

As if human blood were not all of a colour; as if nature had not brought them into the world the common way, or moulded them of the same materials with the meanest wretches upon the earth. And then, for such as have military charges and commands, how many great officers are there, that without any consideration of their own, or their princes’ honour, fall to spoil and pillage? Cozening the State with false musters, and the soldiers of their pay; and giving them, instead of their due from the prince, a liberty of taking what is not due from the people; forcing them to take the bread out of the poor labourers’ mouths to fill their own bellies, and protecting them, when they have done, in the most execrable outrages imaginable. And when the poor soldier comes at last to be dismissed, or disbanded; lame, sick, beggarly, naked almost, and enraged; with nothing left him to trust to but the highway to keep him from starving…

“Look on that side, now,” says he, and so I did; and there I saw the poor cavalier in a huge furnace, with the first inventors of nobility, and arms: as Cain, Cham, Nimrod, Esau, Romulus, Tarquin, Nero, Caligula, Domitian, Heliogabalus; and a world other brave fellows, that had made themselves famous by usurpation and blood…

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Pentagon, NATO Chiefs Discuss Operations In Three Continents

U.S. Department of Defense
March 27, 2015

Carter, NATO Official Meet at Pentagon to Discuss Issues

WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Ash Carter yesterday met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Pentagon to discuss critical transatlantic security issues, according to a DoD news release.

The two leaders discussed Russian actions in Ukraine and the status of NATO assurance activities, instability in North Africa and the Middle East, and allied efforts in Afghanistan, the release said.

It was Carter’s first meeting with Stoltenberg, the release said.

Carter emphasized U.S. intent to participate in NATO reassurance efforts agreed to at the Wales Summit, including the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, the release said.

Carter expressed appreciation for allied participation in both NATO and U.S. assurance efforts in Europe, the release continued, and stressed the importance of allies following up on their summit commitment to strive toward spending two percent of gross domestic product on defense.

According to the release, Carter also expressed appreciation for the continued support by NATO allies for the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, and the need for continued support through 2016.

Both leaders pledged to consult in the months to come as allied defense ministers prepare for the June ministerial, and both looked forward to the secretary general’s next visit to Washington, D.C., the release said.

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Soame Jenyns: One good-natured act more praises gain than armies overthrown, and thousands slain

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Soame Jenyns
From An Essay on Virtue

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No more applause would on ambition wait,
And laying waste the world be counted great,
But one good-natured act more praises gain,
Than armies overthrown, and thousands slain;
No more would brutal rage disturb our peace,
But envy, hatred, war, and discord cease;
Our own and others’ good each hour employ,
And all things smile with universal joy;
Virtue with Happiness, her consort joined,
Would regulate and bless each human mind,
And man be what his Maker first designed.

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Europe: U.S. Deploys More Warplanes, Troops Against Russia

March 27, 2015 1 comment

Stars and Stripes
March 27, 2015

Florida Guard F-15 unit deploying to Europe
By Jennifer H. Svan

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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany: The U.S. Air Force is sending another rotation of combat aircraft to Europe to bolster security in response to the ongoing Ukraine crisis, this time tapping into the Air National Guard to support strategic interests an ocean away.

Twelve F-15 Eagle fighter jets and about 200 airmen from the 125th Fighter Wing, a Florida Air National Guard unit from Jacksonville, are en route to Europe, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-U.S. Air Forces Africa officials announced Friday. It’s the first Air National Guard theater security package to deploy to Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, USAFE officials said.

The unit will operate from several locations in Eastern Europe, including Leeuwarden, Netherlands, and Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria. Leeuwarden is the first stop, Maj. Sheryll Klinkel, USAFE-AFAFRICA spokeswoman, said Friday. The planes will train with NATO allies during the deployment.

The Air National Guard F-15s are the second so-called theater security package to deploy to Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, the Pentagon’s effort to show its commitment to …NATO allies in the wake of Russia’s annexation of the Ukraine territory Crimea last year.

The theater security package “is a strategic capability that allows the Air Force greater flexibility against evolving threats,” Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, 3rd Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force commander, was quoted in a USAFE-AFAFRICA news release.

It’s “another way the Air Force presents forces at the right time to the right combatant commander. It reassures our allies and partner nations that our commitment to European security is a priority.”

In February, the Air Force deployed 12 A-10C Thunderbolt aircraft and about 300 airmen from the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., the first theater security rotation on the Continent. While the unit initially was flying from Spangdahlem Air Base, it’s since moved around, training recently at RAF Lakenheath in the United Kingdom.

The theater security package rotations are expected to last about six months, depending on mission and U.S. European Command requirements, USAFE officials said.

The Ukraine cease-fire, signed Feb. 12, seems to be holding, though international monitors have not yet been given full access to contested zones, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told the Washington Post this week.

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Psychological Projection: McCain Says Russia To Attack…Just Everybody

March 27, 2015 1 comment

UNIAN
March 27, 2015

McCain: Putin is preparing to strike Mariupol and pressure Baltic States and Poland

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U.S. Senator John McCain has said during a speech at the Washington Center for Strategic and International Studies that Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing to strike Ukraine’s strategic southeastern port city of Mariupol, adding that the Moldova is also Putin’s possible target, potentially along with the Baltic states and Poland.

A prominent Ukraine supporter, McCain said that the Kremlin was aiming to create a land corridor from Russia to annexed Crimea, thus seizing Mariupol is vital for Russia-backed forces, Ukraine Today reports.

McCain also repeated his call to U.S. President Barack Obama to send defensive weapons to Ukraine.

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Ukraine Negotiates Creating New Neo-Nazi Division In Army

March 27, 2015 1 comment

Interfax-Ukraine
March 27, 2015

Right Sector negotiates joining Ukrainian Army as independent division under Yarosh command

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The volunteer battalion Right Sector is ready to join the Ukrainian Army as a separate division under the command of Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh.

“We can only agree on ‘legalization’ in one situation: if the volunteer Ukrainian corps remains a whole structure and if we continue reporting directly to our leader Dmytro Yarosh,” Right Sector press officer Artem Skoropadsky told reporters on Friday.

“We want everything to stay as it is now: we are now cooperating with the Defense Ministry and the Ukrainian Security Service,” Skoropadsky said.

“There should be no direct command. We don’t want any generals sent to Right sector to command it,” Skoropadsky said.

Responding to a question as to whether negotiations are being conducted with Defense Ministry officials on the inclusion of Right Sector in the Ukrainian Armed Forces in this format, he answered in the affirmative: “Negotiations are still being conducted and I don’t know what is being offered there as of this morning. Maybe during the way.”

Skoropadsky said offers to join the Ukrainian Army have been made to Right Sector before, but those offers were “various,” including those that were unacceptable to other organization, specifically, “the offer to disband the force and go to join the Ukrainian Armed Forces through district military commissariats” or to join the Ukrainian National Guard.

Skoropadsky said “the idea of disbanding the volunteer Ukrainian corps Right sector is also unacceptable.” Because we have groups, including intelligence groups, subversive groups, attack groups, where people are selected. It seems to me it will be very bad for the country’s defense capability to disband them now and make them ordinary privates, he said.

The Right Sector spokesman also believes the proposal on Right sector’s integration in the structure of the Ukrainian National Guard is unacceptable “because the National Guard is a police force, and we demand full-fledged lustration in the Interior Ministry.”

Vladyslav Selezniov, acting spokesman for the Ukrainian General Staff, said on March 26 members of the volunteer battalion Right Sector had been offered to join the Ukrainian army, but the battalion had not made a decision yet.

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U.S.-NATO Absorb Ukraine Into “World’s Biggest Defense Structure” – Poroshenko

Interfax-Ukraine
March 27, 2015

National Guard, U.S. military exercises in Lviv region mean integration in the world’s biggest defense structure – Poroshenko

A large-scale international military exercise involving U.S. instructors will be conducted on the Yavoriv training area in the Lviv region of Ukraine in April, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said.

“The large-scale international military exercise involving U.S. instructors, which will begin on the Yavoriv training area in April, will be an important stage. It means integration in the world’s largest defense structure,” Poroshenko said at a graduation ceremony conducted in the National Academy of the Ukrainian National Guard in Kharkiv on Thursday.

Poroshenko reiterated that a lot of work was done before the agreements to conduct this training exercise was reached.

“It was not easy to convince that the best specialists in the world should train you, the best warriors in the world, on Ukrainian soil,” Poroshenko said.

As reported, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has submitted a bill to the Verkhovna Rada to admit foreign servicemen for multinational exercises in Ukraine in 2015.

In keeping with the scheduled of the exercises, the Yavoriv district in Lviv region will host the Ukrainian-U.S. Fearless Guardian 2015 drills March through November 2015. Up to 2,200 servicemen with weapons and military hardware are to participate: up to 200 men from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, up to 1,000 men from the National Guard of Ukraine, and up to 1,000 men from the U.S. Armed Forces.

From July to October 2015, the international center for peacekeeping and security in Yavoriv district in Lviv region will host the Ukrainian-U.S. Saber Guardian/Rapid Trident 2015 exercises. The total number of participants will be up to 2,100 servicemen with weapons and military hardware. Namely, there will be up to 1,000 men from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, up to 500 men from the U.S. Armed Forces, and up to 600 from NATO member states and countries participating in the Partnership for Peace program.

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Czech Republic: Protest Held Against U.S. Military Convoy

March 27, 2015 2 comments

Xinhua News Agency
March 27, 2015

Czech people hold protest against U.S. army convoy

PRAGUE: A protest here on Thursday against U.S. soldiers’ scheduled crossing of the Czech territory marks the first public protest against the U.S. convoy that is to arrive in the Czech Republic from Poland on March 29.

The protesters said they did not like it that the U.S. soldiers had decided to go for a demonstrative ride in a convoy from a military exercise in the Baltics to their home base in Vilseck, Bavaria. They also opposed the soldiers spending the night of March 29 in the Vyskov barracks in the south Moravian region of the country.

The protest organizers said it was cynical to allow foreign troops to cross Czech territory in a year when they are marking the 70th anniversary of their country’s liberation and the end of World War II, especially given the aggravated geopolitical situation which calls for hostilities to be negotiated. This action only escalates the tension, they said.

The protesters also submitted two petitions. The first was against the presence of foreign troops on Czech territory and the possible building of NATO bases in the country. The second called for the Czech Republic to leave NATO, which the organizers considered to be a power instrument interfering in states’ sovereignty.

The U.S. soldiers held an exercise in the Baltic countries and they will arrive in the Czech Republic on Sunday from three directions. They will spend the night in the regions of Vyskov, Pardubice, and Liberec. On Monday, they will move on to Prague and then leave for Germany on April 1.

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Isaac Rosenberg: Soldier: Twentieth Century

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Isaac Rosenberg: Break of Day in the Trenches

Isaac Rosenberg: Dead Man’s Dump

Isaac Rosenberg: O! ancient crimson curse! On receiving news of the war

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Isaac Rosenberg
Soldier: Twentieth Century

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I love you, great new Titan!
Am I not you?
Napoleon or Caesar
Out of you grew.

Out of the unthinkable torture,
Eyes kissed by death,
Won back to the world again,
Lost and won in a breath,

Cruel men are made immortal,
Out of your pain born.
They have stolen the sun’s power
With their feet on your shoulders worn.

Let them shrink from your girth,
That has outgrown the pallid days,
When you slept like Circe’s swine,
Or a word in the brain’s way.

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Sauce for the gander: An intriguing proposition regarding Ukraine

March 26, 2015 2 comments

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
March 26, 2015

Chechnya Speaker Vows To Arm Mexico If U.S. Gives Weapons To Ukraine

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The head of the legislature in Russia’s Chechnya region says that Russia will provide arms to Mexico if Washington supplies weapons to Ukraine.

Chechen Parliament Speaker Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov said the arms would be aimed at reigniting U.S.-Mexican disputes over “territories annexed by the United States in the American states of California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and part of Wyoming.”

“We will perceive arms shipments to Ukraine as a signal to respond in kind,” Abdurakhmanov said in a March 24 statement posted on the Chechen parliament’s website.

Abdurakhmanov is a close associate of Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed strongman who rules Chechnya.

Prominent U.S. lawmakers have called on U.S. President Barack Obama to supply Ukraine with weapons…

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Fencing Off Russia From Europe: 2,000-Kilometer Great Wall Of Ukraine

March 26, 2015 1 comment

UNIAN
March 26, 2015

Poroshenko: ‘Great Wall of Ukraine’ remains priority for government

A massive fortification project nicknamed the “Great Wall of Ukraine” on the Russian-Ukrainian border remains a priority for the Ukrainian government, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told journalists at a briefing in Kharkiv on Thursday, according to an UNIAN correspondent.

“We have partially allocated the funding for this project. It remains a priority for the government,” Poroshenko said.

“At the same time, today our main task is to build defensive fortifications on the line of contact with the illegal armed groups in the Donbas,” he said.

According to Poroshenko, the Ukrainian government has already allocated over UAH 800 million for the construction of these fortifications.

“There is the biggest danger there, and Russia must explain to the world the reason for its crossing the border,” he said.

As UNIAN reported earlier, the government’s massive fortification project nicknamed the “Great Wall of Ukraine” provides for the construction of fortifications along two thousand kilometers of Ukraine’s land border with Russia and the strengthening of this part of the state border.

Oleh Slobodyan, the assistant chairman of the Ukrainian State Border Service, said that the first phase of fortifying the Ukrainian-Russian border will start in early April.

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NATO Integration: U.S. National War College Delegation Visits Georgia

March 26, 2015 1 comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
March 25, 2015

Visit of National War College Delegation

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National War College delegation pays a visit to Georgia. Today First Deputy Defence Minister Gocha Ratiani and Chief of General Staff of the GAF, Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze hosted the U.S. delegation. CDA Nicholas Berliner and Marine Attaché, Lt Col Rich Brady attended the meeting as well.

The instructors and graduates of National War College received information about security strategy of Georgia and its regional importance. Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze introduced the guests ongoing and planned reforms in the MoD. The sides also referred to the implementation issues of NATO-Georgian Substantial Package. U.S.-Georgia bilateral cooperation issues and the importance of support from the partner countries were outlined at the meeting as well. The sides discussed prospects of future cooperation with National War College. The members of U.S. delegation got detailed information the topics they were interested in.

Four Georgians graduated National War College, including First deputy Defence Minister Gocha Ratiani and Chief of General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze. Currently, Colonel Zaza Japaridze is getting education in National War College.

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John Scott: I hate that drum’s discordant sound

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

John Scott
The Drum (1782)

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I hate that drum’s discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round:
To thoughtless youth it pleasure yields,
And lures from cities and from fields,
To sell their liberty for charms
Of tawdry lace, and glittering arms;
And when Ambition’s voice commands,
To march, and fight, and fall, in foreign lands.

I hate that drum’s discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round:
To me it talks of ravag’d plains,
And burning towns, and ruin’d swains,
And mangled limbs, and dying groans,
And widow’s tears, and orphans moans;
And all that misery’s hand bestows,
To fill the catalogue of human woes.

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Ukraine’s Poroshenko Inspects Arrival Of First U.S. Military Vehicles

Ukrinform
March 25, 2015

Poroshenko to meet plane with first batch of American Humvees

KYIV: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will take part in the ceremony of meeting the plane with the first batch of U.S. military vehicles HMMWV on Wednesday.

This is reported by the presidential press service.

“On Wednesday, March 25, at 13:40, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko will participate in the ceremony of the meeting the plane with the first batch of U.S. military vehicles HMMWV (Boryspil International Airport),” reads the statement.

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UNIAN
March 25, 2015

U.S. Humvees already in Ukraine
President Poroshenko examined the vehicles and test-drove one of them.

An aircraft with the first batch of U.S. High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV), commonly known as the Humvee, arrived in Ukraine on Wednesday. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko examined their arrival and personally test-drove one of them.

At an official ceremony of meeting the Humvees, Poroshenko said that the Ukrainian troopers had been driving such type of vehicles for many years so far.

The first 10 Humvees Ukraine has already received from the United States will be transferred mainly to Ukraine’s airmobile troops.

“Today the Ukrainian military will receive the first 10 armored Humvees under signed contracts. They’re known in the army, and Ukrainian troopers have been driving Humvees for many years. Sitting behind the wheel of the Humvee, I’ve seen that this is an extremely effective and extremely powerful fighting vehicle, which is now waited by the Ukrainian airmobile troops, the Ukrainian special forces, the Ukrainian army,” Poroshenko said.

According to him, all the vehicles that Ukraine has received today will be transferred primarily to highly mobile units of the Ukrainian airmobile troops. “[They will be] immediately sent to the anti-terrorist operation zone in eastern Ukraine,” he said.

All the non-lethal weapons worth $75 million from the United States will arrive in Ukraine in the next 45 days, Poroshenko added.

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Europe: NATO Holds First Live Exercise In A Decade

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation

March 19, 2015

Deputy Commander visits Italy’s Joint Operational Command in preparation for large NATO Exercise

General Mirco Zuliani recently visited the Italian Joint Operational Command, responsible for organising Italy’s part of the Trident Juncture (TRJE) 2015 exercise.

TRJE15 is NATO’s first live exercise in a decade, since before the NATO operation in Afghanistan started, and will also take place in Portugal and Spain. Most of the ‘Air Scenario’ will be exercised in Italy.

During the exercise, the Italian JFACC (Joint Force Air Component command) will be certified as Air Component Command, in light of the ‘NATO Response Force’ (NRF) rotation for 2016. The NRF is a highly ready and technologically advanced multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and Special Operations Forces components that the Alliance can deploy quickly, wherever needed. In addition to its operational role, the NRF is used to increase cooperation in education and training, better use of technology or, like in this case, increased exercises.

The JFACC will during TRJE15 operate as a ‘reach-back’ capability from their base in Poggio Renatico (Ferrara), whereas air assets will be deployed to Trapani (Sicily). The reach-back concept enables a number of planning functions to be executed more effectively and efficiently at headquarters level instead of single unit level, limiting the number of headquarters personnel deployed, with the aim to significantly reduce manpower, transportation and support costs.

Three types of Exercises, all increase Interoperability

Exercises are NATO’s main tool to achieve interoperability and Allied Command Transformation (ACT) is in charge of almost two hundred of them, large and small, national and multinational, joint, air-land-sea and more.

Exercises are executed in three forms: a Live Exercise (LIVEX), Command Post Exercise (CPX), or an Exercise Study. A Live Exercise is an exercise in which actual forces participate. A Command Post Exercise is a headquarters exercise involving Commanders and their staffs, and communications within and between participating headquarters, in which NATO and friendly forces, as well as opposing forces are simulated. An Exercise Study is an activity which may take the form of a map exercise, a war game, a series of lectures, a discussion group, or an operational analysis.

For TRJE15, Allied Command Transformation (ACT) has status as the Officer Scheduling the Exercise (OSE), while Joint Force Command Brunssum is the Officer Conducting the Exercise (OCE).

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U.S. Expands Operation Confront Russia To Romania, Bulgaria

U.S. Army Europe
March 24, 2015

Army Europe expands Operation Atlantic Resolve training to Romania, Bulgaria
By Staff Sgt. Opal Vaughn (The 173rd Airborne Brigade)

SMARDAN, Romania: Paratroopers, from U.S. Army Europe’s 173rd Airborne Brigade, and Soldiers, from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, conducted an early-entry training exercise together with Romanian allies, March 24, to mark the expansion of Operation Atlantic Resolve, or OAR, into Romania and Bulgaria.

“The Smardan [Romania] portion of [Exercise] Saber Junction is an early entry exercise,” said Capt. Patrick Leen, a plans officer assigned to 173rd Airborne Brigade. “It takes place in advance of the majority of the events [in Germany].”

The early-entry portion in Smardan, also phase 1 of Exercise Saber Junction, began with an airborne operation of approximately 200 paratroopers and heavy equipment such as 105mm Howitzer artillery from the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Once on the ground, the paratroopers linked up with allies from the Romanian army’s 280th Brigade and assaulted enemy positions while supported by artillery fire.

This set the conditions for 2nd Cavalry Regiment to move forward from Mihail Kogalniceanu Airbase, conduct a forward passage of lines with the paratroopers and assault further objectives alongside Romanian troops.

“The exercise will also build upon the individual and collective training the brigade conducted last year with Saber Junction 14,” Leen said.

To launch the airborne operation, paratroopers from the 173rd’s Comanche Troop, 1st 91st Cavalry Regiment, were alerted March 22 in Grafenwoehr, Germany, and deployed to Aviano Airbase, Italy, in less than 12 hours to link up with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Special Troops Battalion to plan the mission.

“We received an alert Sunday at 4 p.m. to be at our headquarters by 6 p.m.,” said Staff Sgt. Johnathan Huff, a squad leader with Comanche Troop. “We got there, assembled, got all of our equipment ready and then received the mission to deploy to Italy [to] conduct an airborne operation into Romania.”

Additionally, paratroopers in Vicenza, Italy, from the brigade’s Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, were alerted for a second, simultaneous emergency deployment readiness exercise, or EDRE, from Aviano into Grafenwoehr to conduct a freedom shock exercise as part of Exercise Saber Junction.

“Originally, our unit was planning on going to Grafenwoehr to conduct different training,” said 1st Lt. John Fernandez, a platoon leader in Chosen Company. “But we got the call late at 2 a.m. [and] we were alerted for an EDRE so now we’re going into condensed planning for an airborne operation into Grafenwoehr.”

As the Army’s contingency response in Europe, the 173rd Airborne Brigade maintains ready forces to deploy within 18 hours anywhere throughout the U.S. European, Africa and Central Command areas of responsibility.

The action in Smardan also signified the official start of Operation Atlantic Resolve’s training rotations in Romania and Bulgaria – an expansion of the ongoing series of exercises in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, which begun last April to demonstrate U.S. commitment to NATO allies

Following their forward passage of lines with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, approximately 600 troops from the 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, stayed to conduct combined exercises with Romanian allies, while troops from the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, will do the same in Bulgaria as the Army’s current regionally-aligned brigade force for Europe.

Unlike the continuous OAR training rotations in the Baltics and Poland, where one U.S. unit is replaced by another before departing, the training rotations to Romania and Bulgaria will not be continuous, but will occur periodically as units surge into the area for major exercises.

The U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Division, which deployed a contingent of its headquarters from Fort Carson, Colorado, in February to serve as the OAR land forces mission command element, serves as the command and control headquarters for the operation. As the regionally-aligned, division-level headquarters for U.S. Army Europe, it has the capability to synchronize ground and air operations and to allocate and deliver resources across all the participating allied nations.

These events occur as the U.S. Army’s 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, based on Fort Stewart, Georgia, assumes responsibility for OAR land force training and security cooperation activities in eastern Europe, and while Army Europe’s 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, conducts its road march, named Dragoon Ride, which sees 3rd Squadron drive its Stryker vehicles more than 1,100 miles across six allied countries in a capstone event to its Atlantic Resolve training rotation in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

“Think of Operation Atlantic Resolve as a yearlong, continuous series of exercises from Estonia to Bulgaria,” said Lt. Gen. Frederick “Ben” Hodges, commanding general of U.S. Army Europe, in a February 20 interview with Army Times.

Saber Junction Phase 2 begins in April and will see nearly 5,000 participants from 17 nations train at Army Europe’s Joint Multinational Training Command Hohenfels Training Area Germany and at distributed locations in Italy, Lithuania and Romania.

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Romania: U.S. Troops Start War Games, Medics To Treat Ukrainian Troops

ACTMedia
March 25, 2015

Romanian military doctors will start providing triage services for the wounded in the Ukraine conflict

Defence Minister Mircea Dusa said Tuesday at the Smardan firing range of Galati County that Romanian military doctors on Wednesday will start providing triage services for the wounded in the Ukraine conflict who will then be treated in Romanian military hospitals.

“Tomorrow, a team of military doctors will leave for Kiev to provide triage services for the wounded troops and the injured that will be treated in Romanian military hospitals. For the time being, I only mean military hospitals because we have been entrusted with the mission to provide such humanitarian aid to Ukraine. As our doctors provide triage for the wounded and the injured, we will also provide transportation services using a military aircraft,” said Dusa.

Dusa on Tuesday met Romanian and American troops taking part at the Smardan firing range in the “Early Entry” stage of the Sabre Junction 15 multinational defence exercise.

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1,000 U.S. Soldiers Currently In Ground Operations In Eastern Europe

ACTMedia
March 25, 2015

1,000 US soldiers on ground ops in Eastern Europe

More than 1,000 U.S. troops were moving across Eastern Europe on Tuesday on several training exercises, the latest effort to reassure allied nations…a Pentagon official said. About 200 paratroopers with the Army’s Italy-based 173rd Airborne Brigade jumped into the Smarden training area in Romania along with heavy artillery …(Article accessible to subscribers only)

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Polish Defense Chief Says No War With Russia, Brzezinski Disagrees

March 25, 2015 4 comments

Polish Radio
March 25, 2015

Security inconsistincies

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Experts, including former US security advisor Zbigniew Brzeziński, and Polish Defence Minister Tomasz Simoniak, have contradicting views of the future of Polish national security.

“Poland should be armed, buy military equipment, modernize and increase its army,” Zbigniew Brzeziński told an interview with Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

“Poles must rely on each other to be able to defend themselves as long as possible,” said Brzeziński, the former National security adviser under the 39th US President, Jimmy Carter.

The Polish-born Brzeziński – who was one of the top international-relations experts during, and after, the Vietnam War – said that in the case of an attack on Poland, NATO could have its hands tied, and take some time to respond.

This is because Greece is part of NATO, and since it has close ties with Russia, the Southern EU country could veto a military intervention, Brzeziński said.

The political analyst added that it is not necessary for Ukraine to be in NATO. “This could even be harmful. For Kiev to be part of the [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] as well as the EU would be too big a slap in the face of Russia.”

In a separate interview for Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak, said that “No war is forthcoming, and Poland is safe.”

These claims seem to directly contradict the statements made by the US expert.

Poland has the ability to defend itself, Siemoniak said. “The red line between NATO and the rest of the world is very clearly marked,” the Minister told the daily.

Siemoniak added that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not dare attack NATO. This would be extremely irresponsible from his point of view, Siemoniak, who is also Poland’s deputy Prime Minister said, adding that NATO is many times stronger than Russia.

Siemoniak explained that despite its geographical stature, Russian economy is smaller than that of Italy, while in terms of population, it is slightly larger than Japan.

“Russia cannot be ignored, but one cannot panic,” Siemoniak said.

“We should take care of our own defense, protect our interests with NATO, to develop a constant presence in Poland.

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Barbarossa II: U.S.-NATO Expand Offensive From Baltics To Black Sea, Caucasus

Stars and Stripes
March 24, 2015

Atlantic Resolve mission pushes beyond Baltics into Romania
By John Vandiver

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SMARDAN TRAINING AREA, Romania: Almost 200 U.S. paratroops dropped into Romania on Tuesday and were joined by a ground force of cavalrymen, marking the official expansion into southeastern Europe of a campaign to reassure allies worried about Russia’s intentions.

For almost a year now, U.S. troops have maintained a constant presence in the Baltic states and Poland…Now, Operation Atlantic Resolve is moving south, with a series of exercises slated to take place in Romania, Bulgaria — another NATO ally — and the Republic of Georgia, an aspiring NATO member.

“Today marks the beginning of Atlantic Response South,” said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe, as soldiers with the Vicenza, Italy-based 173rd Airborne Brigade parachuted onto the training grounds in eastern Romania.

Tuesday’s training exercise, which brought together troops from the 173rd with soldiers from the Vilseck, Germany-based 2nd Cavalry Regiment, is the beginning of what is expected to be a steady Army presence in the strategic Black Sea region, Hodges said.

Another major exercise, expected to start in May, will send U.S. troops across the Black Sea by ferry to train with Georgian troops.

Meanwhile, the mission on Tuesday, which included Romanian forces and was part of the Saber Junction exercise, was a test of the U.S. Army’s ability to conduct quick-response missions, traveling long distances on short notice.

As Russia conducts snap exercises across its territory and moves large forces on short notice around the country, it is important for the U.S. and its allies to demonstrate their own capabilities, Hodges said.

“This shows we can do this, too,” Hodges said.

On Tuesday, paratroops flew into Romania from Italy, parachuting into Smardan Training Area, where their task was to retake an airfield captured by a fictional enemy. Meanwhile, troops with the 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, convoyed three hours from Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, bringing about 20 Stryker vehicles with them. The task of the day was for the troops to gain control of the battlefield, with the 2nd Cavalry holding the territory.

While the 173rd will rotate back home in a few days, troops with the 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry, will stay on in Smardan for about a month, working alongside their Romanian counterparts, soldiers said.

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“Only Russia talks about using nuclear weapons. Only Russia threatens nuclear strike,” Hodges said. “I think it is reckless language.”

With U.S. troops arriving by air and land in Romania on Tuesday, the Army was able to show it can move forces quickly in response to a crisis, Hodges said.

“That’s a big, long move that the Army has to be able to do,” Hodges said. “That’s just about the ultimate reassurance.”

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Nathanael West: Selections on war

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Poland: U.S. Launches Interceptor Missile Drills

10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command
March 22, 2015

Army Europe Air Defense unit begins combined missile defense exercise in Poland

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SOCHACZEW, Poland: American Soldiers from US Army Europe and Polish airmen kicked off their combined missile defense exercise during a short ceremony on March 21 outside of Warsaw, Poland.

10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command sent Delta Battery, a unit of their 5-7 Air Defense Artillery Regiment, to train with their Polish air defense partners in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The goal of the training exercise is to certify the Delta battery Soldiers on their Patriot ground-to-air missile systems, while coordinating the emplacement of the American and Polish air defense equipment to provide mutual air defense coverage in the area.

The battery was able to plan and execute their 1200 km convoy from U.S. Army Garrison Rhineland-Pfalz in Kaiserslautern, Germany, in a matter of days due to close cooperation with their Polish counterparts. “From the planning aspect, they had their objectives and we had our objectives, and we worked to nest them both together which was great,” said Capt. Jason Bryant, Delta Battery commander.

The training began immediately following the opening ceremony, with Soldiers moving and setting up their vehicles and equipment to establish their site with a goal of less than an hour.

After the Soldiers completed their crew drill, they had time to talk with the Polish airmen who were located with their systems only 200 meters away. First the Polish came to learn about Delta Battery’s Patriots, followed by the Americans going over and practicing loading S-A-3 Polish rockets onto the launchers.

The exercise is slated to last through the week, with other coordinated movements between the Polish and American air defenders, and continued crew drills to ensure all are certified on their respective systems.

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NATO Allies: U.S. A-10s Train In Britain For War In Europe

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Air Force Africa

March 23, 2015

A-10s train at RAF Lakenheath
By Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

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ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England: A theater security package comprised of A-10C Thunderbolt IIs and Airmen from the 355th Fighter Wing, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., arrived at the Liberty Wing March 13 to train with NATO allies in new environments and cultures.

“Working with our NATO allies helps strengthen the bonds between us, and demonstrates the U.S. commitment to them,” said Senior Master Sgt. Nathan Kerr, TSP maintenance superintendent.

The pilots and maintenance crews from the 355th FW took part in unique training opportunities, and shared their training and knowledge with Liberty Airmen during their five-day visit.

Maj. Ben Rudolphi, TSP detachment commander, explained that the pilots trained on several different missions, to include: low altitude tactical navigation, dissimilar air combat maneuvering, helicopter escort, basic surface attack and U.K. joint terminal attack controller coordination.

Before their visit to RAF Lakenheath, the A-10s were training out of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, with both U.S. and German Air Forces. The Liberty Wing is just one stop of many. The 355th FW Airmen will continue to train with NATO allies across Europe, advancing their combat readiness while training in varying conditions and cultures.

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Frontline State: NATO Commander Inspects Baltic War Games

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

March 24, 2015

JFC Brunssum Commander visits NATO forces in Latvia

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BRUNSSUM, The Netherlands: The Commander of Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum, General Hans-Lothar Domrőse, was on hand to commemorate the opening of Operation Summer Shield in Latvia on Sunday, 22 March 2015. At the same time, Domrőse met up with U.S. soldiers taking part in Dragoon Ride.

At the Adazi Military Base, the Commander visited and thanked the troops participating in Operation Summer Shield. Summer Shield is a Latvian-led exercise which includes military personnel from the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, Lithuania and Luxembourg. The exercise is being held in two phases. The first phase includes cross training and live fire exercises while the second phase includes defensive operations with integration of indirect fire and close air support.

General Domrőse then went to Riga, where he met up with dozens of U.S. military vehicles and hundreds of soldiers participating in Dragoon Ride. Dragoon Ride is a road march comprised of soldiers and equipment from the U.S. Army’s 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment. The march started in Estonia on 21 March and is part of an 1,800 kilometre journey through six nations back to their home base in Vilseck, Germany. The march marks the first time NATO has demonstrated its ability to move troops across its Eastern boundary.

“The Dragoon Ride shows NATO’s strength and flexibility to freely move our forces wherever and whenever they are needed,” said General Domrőse. “This movement of U.S. Army vehicles and hundreds of soldiers is great training among Allies that builds cooperation, interoperability and demonstrates our commitment to collective defence in the region.” The general also explained to local media representatives that the movement of U.S. Army equipment and personnel back to Germany is not a withdrawal of U.S. forces but rather a rotation of forces that maintain a constant presence in the Baltic States to reassure Allies in the region.

After departing Riga, the convoy continues to Lithuania and Poland where additional convoys of vehicles and personnel join the march that will eventually include approximately 60 Strykers and 40 other vehicles. All three convoys will meet in the Czech Republic and then drive the final leg of the journey together back to Germany on 1 April.

Dragoon Ride is also being supported by U.S. Apache and Blackhawk helicopters as well as NATO jets that provide aerial reconnaissance and observation for the ground forces movement.

Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office

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NATO Allies: U.S., Romanian Pilots Train For Air War Over Black Sea

March 24, 2015 7 comments

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Air Force Africa

March 23, 2015

Dacian Warhawk members host Media, DV day
By Staff Sgt. Armando A. Schwier-Morales
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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CAMPIA TURZII, Romania: U.S. and Romanian Airmen participating in the Dacian Warhawk training event hosted more than 20 local and national media agencies and distinguished personnel from Romania, March 22 at Campia Turzii.

The two air forces showcased the what they learned during the two-week training mission designed to increase the interoperability between U.S. and Romanian air forces, to the media members and distinguished visitors.

While there, media members were able to witness static displays of the F-16CJ Fighting Falcon and MiG-21 Lancer, as well as aerial formations of the aircraft flying side-by-side. The media representatives were also afforded the opportunity to talk to several of the pilots in addition to the Romanian Minister of Defense, Mircea Dusa.

“The close cooperation we have forged in the planning and execution of this event shows the commitment of our two NATO countries,” Lt. Col. Ryan Nudi, 52nd Fighter Wing chief of safety. “The training has been absolutely fantastic.”

U.S. and Romanian Airmen were able to work side-by-side throughout the two week event, accomplishing a series of training events on the ground and in the air, including a MiG vs F-16 mock “dogfight.”

The Romanian leadership thanked the 52nd FW and 435th Air Ground Operations and hoped for the missions like Dacian Warhawk would continue to strengthen the bond between the two nations.

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War In Eastern Europe: F-16s Head To Estonia For Drills

March 24, 2015 3 comments

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Air Force Africa

March 20, 2015

F-16s head to Estonia for training
By 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

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AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy:- Airmen and aircraft assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing departed Aviano Air Base, Italy, March 20, 2015 to participate in bilateral training with the Estonian air force and simultaneous but unrelated training with the Finnish and Swedish air forces in their airspace.

The 510th Fighter Squadron will launch sorties from Ämari Air Base, Estonia, March 20 through April 17. Training with the Estonian air force will take place on nearby Tapa Range with Estonian Joint Terminal Attack Controllers. The focus is to maintain joint readiness while enhancing interoperability with a NATO ally, particularly in the F-16 Fighting Falcon’s Forward Air Controller (Airborne) mission. The other training event with the Finnish and Swedish air forces will focus on air-to-air tactics that also increases interoperability.

“Through these strengthened relationships and engagements with our allies and partners, the U.S. demonstrates its shared commitment to…Eastern Europe,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Austin, 510th FS commander. “Even as we’re strengthening ties with our proven, indispensable European partners, the training conducted is going to enhance our ability to employ our aircraft as multi-role fighters.”

Approximately 280 Airmen and 14 Vipers from Team Aviano will work alongside their Estonian partners, who have become a key example of pursuing the smart defense endorsed by Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Gen. Frank Gorenc, NATO Allied Air Command and U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander.

“The FAC (A) mission is one of the most challenging missions we engage in,” said Austin. “It enables us to provide precision support to troops in contact with the enemy, and training on it with our Estonian partners leverages specialization – a cornerstone of smart defense.”

Estonia first hosted U.S. Air Force aircraft during the second Baltic Challenge in 1997 when a C-130 Hercules landed at Ämari. This exercise was a key Partnership for Peace program training event. Estonia, Finland, and Sweden all joined the PFP in 1994, and membership has grown to 22 countries today. Estonia joined NATO in 2004, and in September 2009, Tallinn International Airport hosted 2 F-15E Strike Eagles from the 494th FS for a NATO training exercise. Ämari welcomed A-10 Warthogs from the Michigan Air National Guard in June 2012 for Saber Strike.

This month’s training opportunity with the Finnish and Swedish air forces is another important step in growing the scope and success of U.S. Air Force’s “Forward-Ready-Now!” posture in the European theater, and affords the 31st FW Wyverns another tremendous opportunity to hone their operational skills from a forward operating location.

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U.S. Congress Demands Sending Lethal Arms For Ukraine War

Interfax-Ukraine
March 23, 2015

U.S. House urges Obama to send weapon to Ukraine

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution on Monday night asking President Obama to send lethal arms to Ukraine, media said.

Representatives endorsed the resolution in a 348 to 48 vote, and such a proposal is also likely to enjoy widespread support in the Senate.

Monday’s measure urges Obama to provide Ukraine with “lethal defensive weapon systems” that would enhance Ukraine’s ability to “defend their sovereign territory from the unprovoked and continuing aggression of the Russian Federation.”

House Speaker John Boehner described the vote as a call to action, and said Congress broadly supports more military aid.

House Democrat Eliot Engel, the lead sponsor of the resolution, told colleagues it was time to stop treating the Ukraine crisis “as just some faraway conflict.”

“This war has left thousands of dead, tens of thousands wounded, a million displaced, and has begun to threaten the post-Cold War stability of Europe,” Engel said, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “knocking us back into… the bad old days of the Cold War.

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Serbia: Sixteen Years Since NATO’s First Full-Fledged War

March 24, 2015 2 comments

Serbia marks another anniversary of NATO attacks

BELGRADE — Serbia is on Tuesday marking the 16th anniversary since the beginning of NATO’s air war against the country, then a part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The Interior Ministry in Belgrade (Tanjug, file)
The Interior Ministry in Belgrade (Tanjug, file)

The attacks lasted for 11 weeks and resulted in the deaths of between 1,200 and 4,000 people, according to different sources.

NATO caused heavy damage to Serbia’s infrastructure, economy, schools, health institutions, media outlets, monuments of culture.

The western military alliance made the decision to attack Serbia without the approval of the UN Security Council, which represented a precedent.

The order was given to its then commander, U.S. General Wesley Clark by then NATO Secretary General Javier Solana.

A bridge in Novi Sad (Tanjug, file)
A bridge in Novi Sad (Tanjug, file)

Clark later wrote in his book entitled “Modern Warfare” that the planning of the war was already under way in mid-June in 1998 and was completed in August of that year.

Serbia came under attack as the culprit for “the humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo and the failure of negotiations in Rambouillet, Paris on the future status of the province.”

The Paris conference presented Serbia with the proposal to have foreign troops deployed in its territory, which was rejected. The decision not to accept foreign troops was confirmed by the Serbian Assembly, and on March 24, 1999 NATO launched its attacks.

The Radio Television of Serbia building in Belgrade (Tanjug, file)
The Radio Television of Serbia building in Belgrade (Tanjug, file)

19 countries took part in the operation, using ships in the Adriatic Sea, four air bases in Italy, supported by strategic operators who took off from bases in western Europe.

According to estimates of the Serbian government at least 2,500 people were killed (according to some sources, the total number of fatalities was almost 4,000), while more than 12,500 were injured.

The recently published official data of the Ministry of Defense of Serbia speaks about 1,008 soldiers and policemen killed, while unofficial data shows that 6,000 civilians, including 2,700 children, suffered various degrees of injuries.

The heating plant in Belgrade (Tanjug, file)
The heating plant in Belgrade (Tanjug, file)

The total damage done to the country’s economy and infrastructure was estimated at the time at USD 100 billion.

NATO military losses in manpower and technology have never been disclosed.

The Museum of Aviation in Belgrade displays parts of the destroyed F-117 and F-16 aircraft, UAVs, and cruise missiles.

Almost all cities in Serbia came under attack several times during the war that lasted 11 weeks.

The refinery in Pancevo (Tanjug, file)
The refinery in Pancevo (Tanjug, file)

The bombing destroyed and damaged 25,000 housing units, 470 km of roads and 595 kilometers of railways.

The attacks also damaged 14 airports, 19 hospitals, 20 health centers, 18 kindergartens, 69 schools, 176 cultural monuments and 44 bridges, while 38 were destroyed.

During the aggression NATO carried out 2,300 air strikes on 995 facilities across the country, while 1,150 combat aircraft launched nearly 420,000 missiles.

NATO also launched 1,300 cruise missiles, dropped over 37,000 cluster bombs, which killed some 200 people and wounded hundreds, and used prohibited ammunition with depleted uranium.

The town of Kragujevac under attack (Tanjug, file)
The town of Kragujevac under attack (Tanjug, file)

A third of the power capacity of the country was destroyed, two oil refineries, in Pančevo and Novi Sad bombed, while NATO forces used the opportunity to for the first deploy the so-called graphite bombs to disable the power system.

After several attempts to end the war by diplomatic means, the bombing ended with the signing of the Military Technical Agreement in Kumanovo on June 9, 1999, after which the Yugoslav Army (VJ) and Serbian police (MUP) started withdrawing from Kosovo and Metohija.

A day later, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1244, and some 37,200 NATO-led KFOR troops from 36 countries were deployed in the province with the task of keeping the peace, security, and ensuring the return of refugees until the widest degree of autonomy was defined for the territory.

Commemorative gatherings

A series of commemorative gatherings will be held in Serbia today to mark the anniversary of the start of NATO’s war against Serbia.

Top state officials, including the prime minister and the president, will honor the victims.

Wreaths and flowers will be placed at memorials sites by representatives of the army, local authorities, various associations, and political parties.

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Just The Start: Largest Reinforcement Of NATO “Collective Defense” Since Cold War

March 24, 2015 2 comments

U.S. Department of Defense
March 23, 2015

NATO Responding to Russia’s Actions Against Ukraine
By Jim Garamone

WASHINGTON: NATO is responding to Russia…with the largest reinforcement of collective defense since the end of the Cold War, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said over the weekend in Brussels.

Russia also has troops in Moldova [that is, Transdniester] and Georgia [Abkhazia and South Ossetia], and Russian forces are working to destabilize Eastern Ukraine.

Russian Actions Spur NATO

…NATO [is making] sweeping changes. “The adaptation that is taking place now is a very big and fundamental adaptation of the NATO defense posture,” Stoltenberg said.

The alliance is doubling the size of its response force, the secretary general said. Once finished, he said, the lead elements of this force will be able to move in within as little as 48 hours.

The alliance, he added, is establishing command and control units in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.

This is just a start, the secretary general said.

The alliance’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances has impressed Stoltenberg, who took over late last year. NATO remains the strongest military alliance in history, he said, and the end of the Cold War demonstrated NATO’s ability to change, adapt and operate.

“The basic message is that NATO is ready to defend all allies against any threat and … an attack on one ally is an attack on all 28,” the secretary general said.

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Thomas Parnell: Lovely, lasting peace, appear!

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Thomas Parnell
From Hymn to Contentment

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No real happiness is found
In trailing purple o’er the ground;
Or in a soul exalted high
To range the circuit of the sky,
Converse with stars above, and know
All Nature in its forms below —
The rest it seeks, in seeking dies,
And doubts at last, for knowledge, rise.

Lovely, lasting peace, appear!
This world itself, if thou art here,
Is once again with Eden blest,
And man contains it in his breast.

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343-Day War In Eastern Europe: U.S. Transits Combat Vehicles Through Latvia

March 23, 2015 3 comments

Xinhua News Agency
March 23, 2015

U.S. military equipment moves through Latvia

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Stryker combat vehicles

RIGA: More than 40 pieces of the U.S. military equipment, including 20 Stryker armored vehicles, are being moved through Latvia on Sunday and Monday as the United States is sending troops from Estonia to Germany in the Dragoon Ride trek, the Latvian Defense Ministry said Sunday.

Soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment, currently stationed in the Baltic states and Poland, began the Dragoon Ride trek with the Strykers and support vehicles on Saturday in Estonia.

The convoy is moving through Latvia as the U.S. troops make their way to Vilseck, Germany, concluding their participation in Operation Atlantic Resolve.

On Sunday, the military convoy was moving from the northern Latvian border town of Ainazi to Riga, stopping in Jelgavkrasti and Saulkrasti. On Monday, the troops and the military equipment will move on from Riga to the southern Latvian town of Bauska, making a stop in Iecava.

The total length of the Dragoon Ride is 1,800 km. In the 10 days of the trek the troops are testing their mobility and logistics capabilities. A number of helicopters are accompanying the convoy.

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Top NATO Commander Calls For Information Warfare Against Russia

March 23, 2015 4 comments

Ukrinform
March 23, 2015

Breedlove urges West to start information warfare with Russia

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KYIV: The western countries, primarily the NATO member states, should engage in the informational confrontation with aggressive Russian propaganda.

NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Philip Breedlove said this in Brussels on Sunday, Ukrinform reports.

“We need as a western group of nations or as an alliance to engage in this informational warfare. The way to attack the false narrative is to drag the false narrative into the light and expose it,” Breedlove said.

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NATO Completes Naval War Games In Black Sea

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

March 23, 2015

SNMG2 Completes Operations in the Black Sea

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BLACK SEA: NATO ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) have completed their participation in joint NATO training exercises and maritime situational awareness operations in the Black Sea.

Led by Rear Adm. Brad Williamson (USA N), SNMG2 is currently comprised of the flagship USS Vicksburg (CG 69), HMCS Fredericton (FFH 337), TCG Turgutreis (F 241), FGS Spessart (A 1442), and ITS Aliseo (F 574).

“The planning, coordination and execution of these exercises allowed the integration of SNMG2 and other maritime Alliance assets in a multi-threat environment,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ruiz Rodriguez (ESP N), SNMG2 Staff Communications Officer. “The training provided us with outstanding results and allowed us to showcase our integration for key leadership across the Alliance.”

…Throughout the month of March, SNMG2 participated in three separate exercises designed to improve interoperability and enhance rapid integration of Alliance maritime assets.

The force trained on anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare procedures during separate exercises with the Turkish, Bulgarian and Romanian navies. The ships also responded to simulated small boat attacks and manoeuvers with the ships in close proximity to one another.

Since Williamson assumed command of SNMG2 in July 2014, the group deployed to the North American coast where it participated in three high-tempo exercises with multiple Allied nations.

Upon completion of their North American deployment, the ships of SNMG2 returned to the Mediterranean and again engaged in complex multinational exercises with Allied nations, including one of NATO’s largest exercises and the naval response force certification event for 2014; exercise Noble Justification. SNMG2 also completed several surges in support of NATO’s anti-terrorism mission, Operation Active Endeavour.

The group will resume patrols in the Mediterranean, contributing to maritime situational awareness in the region.

Story by HQ MARCOM Public Affairs Office

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George Gissing: Culpable fatalism: war is assured by perpetual prophecies of statesmen and journalists

March 23, 2015 1 comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

George Gissing: Selections on war

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George Gissing
From The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft (1903)

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The original meaning of hostis is merely stranger, and a stranger who is likewise a foreigner will only by curious exception fail to stir antipathy in the average human being. Add to this that a great number of persons in every country find their delight and their business in exasperating international disrelish, and with what vestige of common sense can one feel surprise that war is ceaselessly talked of, often enough declared. In days gone by, distance and rarity of communication assured peace between many realms. Now that every country is in proximity to every other, what need is there to elaborate explanations of the distrust, the fear, the hatred, which are a perpetual theme of journalists and statesmen? By approximation, all countries have entered the sphere of natural quarrel. That they find plenty of things to quarrel about is no cause for astonishment. A hundred years hence there will be some possibility of perceiving whether international relations are likely to obey the law which has acted with such beneficence in the life of each civilized people; whether this country and that will be content to ease their tempers with bloodless squabbling, subduing the more violent promptings for the common good. Yet I suspect that a century is a very short time to allow for even justifiable surmise of such an outcome. If by any chance newspapers ceased to exist…

Talk of war, and one gets involved in such utopian musings!

I have been reading one of those prognostic articles on international politics which every now and then appear in the reviews. Why I should so waste my time it would be hard to say; I suppose the fascination of disgust and fear gets the better of me in a moment’s idleness. This writer, who is horribly perspicacious and vigorous, demonstrates the certainty of a great European war, and regards it with the peculiar satisfaction excited by such things in a certain order of mind. His phrases about “dire calamity” and so on mean nothing; the whole tenor of his writing proves that he represents, and consciously, one of the forces which go to bring war about; his part in the business is a fluent irresponsibility, which casts scorn on all who reluct at the “inevitable.” Persistent prophecy is a familiar way of assuring the event. But I will read no more such writing. This resolution I make and will keep. Why set my nerves quivering with rage, and spoil the calm of a whole day, when no good of any sort can come of it? What is it to me if nations fall a-slaughtering each other? Let the fools go to it! Why should they not please themselves? Peace, after all, is the aspiration of the few; so it always; was, and ever will be. But have done with the nauseous cant about “dire calamity.” The leaders and the multitude hold no such view; either they see in war a direct and tangible profit, or they are driven to it, with heads down, by the brute that is in them. Let them rend and be rent; let them paddle in blood and viscera till – if that would ever happen – their stomachs turn. Let them blast the cornfield and the orchard, fire the home. For all that, there will yet be found some silent few, who go their way amid the still meadows, who bend to the flower and watch the sunset; and these alone are worth a thought.

****

Midway in my long walk yesterday, I lunched at a wayside inn. On the table lay a copy of a popular magazine. Glancing over this miscellany, I found an article, by a woman, on “Lion Hunting,” and in this article I came upon a passage which seemed worth copying.

“As I woke my husband, the lion – which was then about forty yards off – charged straight towards us, and with my .303 I hit him full in the chest, as we afterwards discovered, tearing his windpipe to pieces and breaking his spine. He charged a second time, and the next shot hit him through the shoulder, tearing his heart to ribbons.”

It would interest me to look upon this heroine of gun and pen. She is presumably quite a young woman; probably, when at home, a graceful figure in drawing-rooms. I should like to hear her talk, to exchange thoughts with her. She would give one a very good idea of the matron of old Rome who had her seat in the amphitheatre. Many of those ladies, in private life, must have been bright and gracious, high-bred and full of agreeable sentiment; they talked of art and of letters; they could drop a tear over Lesbia’s sparrow; at the same time, they were connoisseurs in torn windpipes, shattered spines and viscera rent open. It is not likely that many of them would have cared to turn their own hands to butchery, and, for the matter of that, I must suppose that our Lion Huntress of the popular magazine is rather an exceptional dame; but no doubt she and the Roman ladies would get on very well together, finding only a few superficial differences. The fact that her gory reminiscences are welcomed by an editor with the popular taste in view is perhaps more significant than appears either to editor or public. Were this lady to write a novel (the chances are she will) it would have the true note of modern vigour. Of course her style has been formed by her favourite reading; more than probably, her ways of thinking and feeling owe much to the same source. If not so already, this will soon, I daresay, be the typical Englishwoman. Certainly, there is “no nonsense about her.” Such women should breed a remarkable race.

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NATO Ready To Welcome Ukraine As Full Member: Stoltenberg

March 21, 2015 3 comments

Ukrinform

March 21, 2015

NATO ready to consider Ukraine’s bid for membership

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KYIV: NATO is ready to consider the Ukraine’s bid for membership in the alliance, if Ukraine decides to submit it.

This has been stated by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels at the forum organized by the German Marshall Fund.

“It is up to Ukraine decide whether to submit the bid for NATO membership or not. Ukraine should decide that. If it submits, we will consider the application in the same way as we consider the application of any other country,” Ukrainian media telegraf.com.ua quotes him.

In 2015, the units and the individual officers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will take part in 237 events of the individual partnership program [Individual Partnership Action Program] with NATO.

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U.S. Continues To Shepherd Georgia Into NATO

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
March 20, 2015

Defence Minister met U.S. Ambassador

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Minister of Defence of Georgia Mindia Janelidze met with the U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland. Deputy Defence Ministers – Gocha Ratiani and Levan Girsiashvili, and the U.S. Defense Attaché Colonel Mathew Dimmick attended the meeting as well.

At the meeting the sides discussed the U.S.-Georgia bilateral cooperation issues with the focus on political-military affairs.

Future plans of bilateral defence cooperation were one of the main topics of discussion.

The sides referred to implementation of the NATO-Georgia Substantial Package Georgia received at the NATO Summit in Wales and the U.S. role in the process.

The U.S. side expressed readiness to support Georgia in implementation of its priorities.

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Atlantic Resolve: Continuous NATO War Games On Russia’s Western, Southern Borders

U.S. Department of Defense
March 19, 2015

Army Commander in Europe Details Assurance Efforts
By Jim Garamone

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WASHINGTON: Thirteen months after Russia began its occupation of Crimea, the United States and its European allies must remain steadfast against the threat such actions pose, the commander of U.S. Army Europe said here this week.

Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges told the Defense Writers Group at a March 17 breakfast that the Russian action of illegally annexing Crimea from Ukraine and its continuing threat to the eastern part of Ukraine is a game-changer on the continent.

Atlantic Resolve Enables Cooperation

…Hodges told reporters to think of Atlantic Resolve as a continuous series of exercises, with American troops operating with troops in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, demonstrating America’s commitment to the defense of these NATO allies. Later this month, Atlantic Resolve exercises will expand to include Bulgaria and, later in the year, Romania, he said.

An airborne battalion from Vicenza, Italy, will jump into Romania and link up with a Stryker squadron coming by rail from Vilseck, Germany, Hodges said. “That will begin the introduction of [Operation Atlantic Resolve] into the south,” he added.

U.S. Army Europe also is working with countries in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, including Georgia and Ukraine. Beginning next month, troopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade will train Ukrainian Interior Ministry troops, and in May, U.S. paratroopers and tankers will exercise in Georgia, Hodges said.

Using Diplomatic, Economic Pressures

Reporters pressed Hodges on whether the United States should provide weapons to Ukraine. He said he can see both sides of the argument, but that the focus should not be on the weapons decision. “The focus should be on what is the desired end state, and can we get there using diplomatic and economic pressures and support,” he said.

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U.S. Paratroopers Guarded NATO Interceptor Missiles In Turkey

U.S. Army
March 19, 2015

173rd Airborne Brigade paratroopers secure NATO missile-defense sites
By Sgt. A.M. LaVey

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VICENZA, Italy: Paratroopers, from Company A, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, returned from NATO Operation Active Fence in Turkey, March 12.

Two weeks earlier, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, arrived in southern Turkey to relieve them.

“Operation Active Fence is the United States’ contribution to the NATO Patriot missile defense mission,” said Sgt. Ian Carlson, an intelligence analyst, with 1st Battalion. “We are the security forces tasked to guard the missile sites from outside threats.”

Operation Active Fence started in December 2012 in response to Turkey’s concerns…In response, NATO authorized the deployment of Patriot missile defense batteries. The United States, Germany and the Netherlands provided initial forces. Spain has since replaced Dutch forces.

The 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, is the Army’s contingency response force in Europe and has the ability to rapidly deploy paratroopers with specialized parachute infantry capabilities anywhere in the U.S., European, Africa and Central areas of operations.

“These paratroopers left out of here on short notice…succeeding where others failed,” said Lt. Col. Robert S. Brown, the commander of 2nd Battalion. “They went down [to Turkey] and showed what right looks like to both our allies and to NATO leaders.”

The U.S. paratroopers continue to improve on defense established by previous units and build upon developing the relationships and interoperability with their allies in the Turkish army’s 5th Armored Brigade, who they partner with for security at the sites.

“This mission demonstrates our ability to defend our NATO partner’s sovereign borders, shows our commitment to NATO and the defense of our allies,” said Capt. Michael C. Agbay, commander of the current security detail.

Paratroopers, from the 173rd Airborne, are scheduled to continue to deploy in support of Active Fence throughout the year to ensure the paratroopers remain sharp and engaged when conducting security operations.

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Mór Jókai: In the soldier’s march to glory each step is a human corpse

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Mór Jókai
From God is One (1876)
Translated by Percy Favor Bicknell

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“…I do not ask that we should fall upon our neighbours and burn their houses over their heads, but that we should be on our guard and defend ourselves and our families the best we know how. Believe me, brother, I am as good a Christian as the next man; I go to church every holy day, even when I am ill; but I feel easier, when I pray for my soul’s salvation, if I know my gun is loaded and primed.”

“Then you are no true believer in God,” returned Manasseh, in a tone of reproof. “You worship that Jesus in whose name the massacre of St. Bartholomew was perpetrated, the burning of heretics sanctioned, and the crusades undertaken; but you are no true follower of that Jesus who came with a message of peace and good-will to mankind, and who said to Peter, ‘They that take the sword shall perish with the sword.'”

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It was the very last day of July. The fields were dotted with sheaves of grain, and the farmers were hastening to gather them in. They had been surprised by countless numbers of crows and ravens which invaded the valley and filled the air with their hoarse, discordant cries. Those experienced in war knew that these birds were the usual attendants and heralds of armies.

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Leaning on his gun, Manasseh thoughtfully observed the transformation of that earthly paradise into a scene of slaughter. He thought how, in times of peace, the cry of a single human being in distress would call ready succour and excite the warmest sympathy; but now, when men were dying by thousands, their fellows looked on in the coldest indifference. He asked himself whether this fearful state of things, this deplorable sacrifice of a country’s best and bravest sons, was a necessity, and must still go on for ages to come. And while he thus communed with himself he, too, held in his hands a weapon calculated to carry not only death to a valiant foe, but also sorrow and anguish to that foeman’s wife and mother, and perhaps destitution to his family.

***

A final and concentrated effort was determined upon. Reserves to the front! Cypress Hill was to be stormed once more. A battalion of yagers, the pride of the Austrian army, charged up the fatal hill and succeeded in taking it, after which the rattle of musketry beyond announced that the fight was being continued on the farther side.

At this point Manasseh’s battalion was ordered to hold the hill while the yagers were pushed farther forward. The order was obeyed, and then Manasseh learned what the cypress-crowned height really was: it was a cemetery, the burial-ground of the surrounding district, and each cypress marked a grave. But the dead under the sod lay not more closely packed than the fallen soldiers with whose bodies the place was covered. Cypress Hill was a double graveyard, heaped with dead and dying Frenchmen, Italians, Austrians, Hungarians, Poles, and Croatians, their bodies disfigured and bleeding and heaped in chaotic confusion over the mounds beneath which slept the regular occupants of the place.

In the soldier’s march to glory each step is a human corpse…

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Azerbaijan: NATO Extends Influence In Caucasus, Caspian Sea Basin

Trend News Agency
March 19, 2015

Azerbaijan-NATO co-op continues to develop
By Anakhanum Khidayatova

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Baku, Azerbaijan: Over the recent years, Azerbaijan and NATO have established a strong cooperation, which continues to develop, according to Steffen Elgersma, a representative of NATO’s Political Affairs and Security Policy Division.

He made the remarks on March 19 in Baku addressing a conference dedicated to Azerbaijan’s cooperation with NATO following the Wales Summit of 2014.

Elgersma also underscored the importance of the participation of Azerbaijani soldiers in the operations of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, as well as the reforms that are being carried out in Azerbaijan in the defense sector.

He added that bringing a number of structures in Azerbaijan in conformity with the NATO standards is another element of the cooperation.

Elgersma also said that in general, the essence of the bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and NATO has not changed, adding that the relations with Azerbaijan are unique, as they involve several structures.

He noted that the cooperation in cyber security and safety of energy projects are the new aspects of the cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO.

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Trend News Agency
March 19, 2015

Azerbaijani-NATO relations of strategic value – Romanian ambassador
By Anakhanum Khidayatova

Baku, Azerbaijan: The relations between Azerbaijan and NATO are developing strongly and they have a strategic value, Romanian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Daniel Cristian Ciobanu said.

The ambassador made the remarks during the conference “In the aftermath of NATO Wales Summit – cooperation between North Atlantic Alliance and Partner Countries” in Baku.

Ciobanu added that Azerbaijan is the highly valued partner of NATO.

The political dialogue between the sides covers a wide range of issues, said Romanian ambassador. “NATO and Azerbaijan actively cooperate on democratic, institutional and defense reforms and have developed practical cooperation in many other areas.”

The diplomat added that NATO is assisting Azerbaijan with the training and modernization of its armed forces.

Moreover, the ambassador mentioned the joint participation of Azerbaijan and NATO in the operations in Afghanistan, as well as the country’s active participation in the programs of the North Atlantic Alliance.

Ciobanu said the close cooperation of Azerbaijan with NATO is beneficial to the stability in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions.

“As a NATO and EU member, Romania is determined to further promote and actively support Azerbaijan’s efforts to enhance its relations with the European and Euro-Atlantic institutions,” he said.

There is a big potential for the development of NATO-Azerbaijan cooperation, he added.

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NATO Warships In Naval Exercises In Black Sea

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

March 20, 2015

SNMG2 Trains with the Romanian Navy in the Black Sea

BLACK SEA: NATO ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) recently completed exercises in the Black Sea with ships from the Romanian Navy.

SNMG2 is in the Black Sea to reassure allies in the region of the Alliance’s collective defence and to enhance NATO’s maritime force interoperability. Led by Rear Adm. Brad Williamson (USA N), SNMG2 is currently comprised of the flagship USS Vicksburg (CG 69), HMCS Fredericton (FFH 337), TCG Turgutreis (F 241), FGS Spessart (A 1442), ITS Aliseo (F 574) and ROS Regina Maria (F 222).

SNMG2 units were joined by ROS Marasesti (F 111), ROS Axente (M 30), ROS Eugeniu Rosca (F 263), and ROS Eustatiu Sebatian (F 264). During the multinational exercise the ships practiced anti-air and anti-surface warfare tactics and procedures, as well as basic ship-handling maneuvers and communications drills. Some of the units conducted live fire gunnery exercises while others conducted a simulated air-defense exercise with Romanian fixed-wing MIG-21s. All exercises were designed to maximize operator and unit training, and to improve interoperability amongst the units.

“This exercise was a unique opportunity to work alongside our Romanian Allies,” said Vicksburg Operations Officer Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Hamm. “Exercises like this give us a chance to strengthen our interoperability and ensure that we will be able to support any mission that NATO might require of us in the future.”

SNMG2’s deployment to the Black Sea also included training exercises with the Turkish and Bulgarian Navies. The group will return to the Mediterranean later this month to resume patrols and contribute to NATO’s maritime situational awareness before beginning its next series of multinational exercises.

Story by HQ MARCOM Public Affairs Office

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U.S. To Lead Three Military Exercises In Ukraine This Year

March 20, 2015 2 comments

Interfax-Ukraine
March 19, 2015

Rada speaker signs bill allowing foreign military drills in Ukraine in 2015

The speaker of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, Volodymyr Hroisman, has signed a bill, which was proposed by the president and backed by the parliament, to allow foreign troops into Ukraine in 2015 to take part in five multinational military exercises, the parliament announced on its website on Thursday.

It was reported that 305 Ukrainian parliamentarians voted for the bill on March 17.

Under the bill, the drills Ukraine is planning to host in 2015 include three U.S.-Ukrainian exercises, Fearless Guardian, Sea Breeze, and Saber Guardian/Rapid Trident, and two Polish-Ukrainian ones, Safe Skies and the Law and Order.

Fearless Guardian will take place in Yavoriv district, Lviv region, in the period from March to November and will bring together a maximum of 2,200 troops. Ukraine is providing up to 200 armed forces troops and up to 1,000 National Guard personnel, and the U.S. will be represented by a maximum of 1,000 servicemen.

Sea Breeze will be a 25-day exercise held between June and October in the Black Sea and at training sites in the regions of Odesa, Mykolaiv and Kherson. A maximum of 2,500 troops will take part in it.

Ukraine and the United States will each be represented by a maximum of 1,000 troops. The rest of the personnel will come from other NATO countries and member countries of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program (up to 500 troops).

Saber Guardian/Rapid Trident will also take place in Yavoriv district. The 25-day exercise, to be held between July and October, will bring together up to 2,100 troops, with up to 1,000 representing Ukraine, up to 500 the United States, and up to 600 other NATO and Partnership for Peace member countries.

Secure Skies is a 14-day tactical air force exercise in which a maximum of 250 Ukrainian and 100 Polish servicemen will take part.

Law and Order is a one-week military police exercise in Yavoriv that will together 50 Ukrainians and 50 Poles.

Permission from parliament is needed to allow foreign military personnel into Ukraine.

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Pentagon To Begin Training Ukrainian Military Next Month

Interfax-Ukraine
March 20, 2015

Pentagon to begin training Ukrainian forces next month

The Pentagon has said that it is moving forward with plans to train six Ukrainian National Guard companies and headquarters staff next month.

The training is scheduled to begin in late April and will focus on “internal defense capabilities,” according to Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez, who is quoted by The Hill online edition.

“This assistance is part of our ongoing efforts to help sustain Ukraine’s defense and internal security operations,” Lainez said.

A total of 300 U.S. soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vincenza, Italy, will conduct the training in western Ukraine near the border with Poland, she said.

The training was originally scheduled to begin this month, but was delayed after Ukraine and Russia reached a second ceasefire agreement

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Bulgaria: NATO Commander Discusses Operations In East And South

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

March 19, 2015

DSACEUR Discusses Training and Co-operation during Visit to Bulgaria

SOFIA, Bulgaria: NATO’s current efforts to adapt to emerging hybrid challenges from the east and south were a focus of discussions between Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) General Sir Adrian Bradshaw and the Chief of Defence Bulgarian Armed Forces, Vice Admiral Rumen Nikolov, in Sofia, Bulgaria on 17 and 18 March 2015.

During the visit, General Bradshaw also met with the Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Defence, Dimitar Kyumyurdzhiev. Main areas of discussion included ongoing enhancements to the NATO Response Force in response to hybrid threats, as well as investigating future exercise and training opportunities involving NATO and Bulgarian forces.

“NATO is enhancing its abilities to defend itself from hybrid threats and Bulgaria’s contribution to this effort has been significant,” said General Bradshaw. “The recent maritime manoeuvres in the Black Sea involving NATO’s Standing Naval Maritime Group 2 and the Bulgarian warship DRAZKI demonstrated a credible maritime presence, and underscore our commitment to collective defence,” he added.

During the visit, DSACEUR also discussed the planned stand-up of six NATO Force Integration Units on the Alliance’s eastern and southern flanks, including one in Bulgaria. These elements will act as a liaison between national and NATO forces and will facilitate collective defence planning and exercises. The NATO Force Integration Units are also designed to facilitate the rapid deployment of high-readiness forces from NATO, should they be required.

“NATO Force Integration Units will play a leading role in times of crisis and alert,” said General Bradshaw. “Their importance in closer co-operation and assisting in further exercises in Bulgaria will also be very valuable and I appreciate your substantial efforts in progressing the plans for these centres,” he said.

General Bradshaw also thanked Bulgarian officials for their recent support to NATO operations.

“Your ongoing efforts in Afghanistan on RESOLUTE SUPPORT and in Kosovo reflect your strong resolve and commitment to collective security,” he said.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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Robert Graves: The grim arithmetic of war

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Robert Graves: Selections on war

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Robert Graves
From Good-Bye to All That (1929)

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…The average life expectancy of an infantry subaltern on the Western Front was, at some stages of the War, only about three months; by which time he had been either wounded or killed. The proportions worked out at about four wounded to every killed. Of these four, one got wounded seriously, and the remaining three more or less lightly. The three lightly wounded returned to the front after a few weeks or months of absence, and again faced the same odds. Flying casualties were even higher…

I spent the rest of the watch in acquainting myself with the geography of the trench-section, finding how easy is was to get lost among culs de sac and disused alleys. Twice I overshot the company frontage and wandered among the Munster Fusiliers on the left. Once I tripped and fell with a splash into deep mud. At last my watch ended with the first signs of dawn. I passed the word along the line for the company to stand to arms. The N.C.O.’s whispered hoarsely into the dug-outs: ‘Stand-to, stand-to,’ and out the men tumbled with their rifles in their hands. Going towards Company Headquarters to wake the officers I saw a man lying on his face in a machine-gun shelter. I stopped and said: ‘Stand-to, there!’ I flashed my torch on him and saw that one of his feet was bare.

The machine-gunner beside him said: ‘No good talking to him, Sir.’

I asked: ‘What’s wrong? Why has he taken his boot and sock off?’

‘Look for yourself, Sir!’

I took the sleeper by the arm and noticed suddenly the hole in the back of his head. He had taken off the boot and the sock to pull the trigger of his rifle with one toe; the muzzle was in his mouth. ‘Why did he do it?’ I asked.

‘He went through the last push, Sir, and that sent him a bit queer; on top of that he got bad news from Limerick about his girl and another chap.’

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