Stoltenberg: NATO To Defend All European States

May 28, 2015 1 comment

Ukrinform
May 28, 2015

NATO to maintain integrity of all European states – Stoltenberg

KYIV: NATO will support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all European states.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this on Wednesday, according to Radio Liberty.

“Moscow is asserting its military power, claiming the right to impose its will on its neighbors and grabbing territories,” he said during a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, speaking about the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Stoltenberg added that NATO is working with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to help them to carry out reforms and build strong institutions.

As reported, on May 26, U.S. President Barack Obama, together with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on Russia to fulfill the Minsk Agreements. Also, the head of the alliance and the American leader again stressed that Moscow must withdraw its troops from Ukraine.

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Ukrinform
May 28, 2015

Ukraine to join NATO sooner or later – Yatseniuk

KYIV:Ukraine will not get NATO membership, if asks for it now.

Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatseniuk has stated this, speaking at Kyiv Security Forum on Thursday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“Everybody understands that even if we submit a request [for NATO membership] now, I do not think it will be a unanimous vote of the member states,” the Prime Minister said.

Yatseniuk stressed that now it was necessary to take “very clear and specific actions” on the way to the NATO membership. “We have four trust funds with NATO. We must use all the help, available within these funds. We have a clear plan on how to meet the standards, which are a prerequisite for membership in NATO. We need to hold a referendum,” the Head of the Government noted.

“We will sooner or later become a member of the Alliance, as well as a member of the EU, as we are talking about the security of Ukraine and of the whole world. And Russia will never have a veto over our sovereign right to be a European state and member of NATO,” Yatseniuk said.

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Ukrainian Defense Chief Speaks Of Continental War In Europe

Ukrinform
May 28, 2015

Continental war may start in Donbas – Turchynov

KYIV: The current military operations in Donbas could escalate into a full-scale continental war.

Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov has stated this, speaking at Kyiv Security Forum on Thursday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“We must clearly understand that when the fighting resumes, it will be at a higher level. These hostilities could escalate into a full-scale continental war,” he says.

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Yatseniuk To EU: Give Us Arms, We’ll “Protect You From Russia”

Ukrinform
May 28, 2015

Yatseniuk to Europe: Help us with weapons and we will protect you from Russia

KYIV: Ukraine needs lethal weapons not to attack, but to defend its territory and the EU borders from the Russian aggressors.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said this at Kyiv Security Forum on Thursday, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.

“We ask not for offensive weapons, but for defensive weapons, in order to protect our country … We need to defend Ukraine. If you support Ukraine, support the creation of a more powerful Armed Forces of Ukraine, we will also protect your borders, and the EU, because Russia is a threat to the European Union, its security and the entire free world. We need weapons to protect Ukraine,” he said.

Yatseniuk added that the Kremlin is actively working to strengthen the Russian army. “In recent years Russia has been spending billions of dollars to modernize its armed forces, to conduct their complete restructuring. Russia is constantly supplying weapons to its armed forces,” Yatseniuk said.

He also noted that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is not a local, but geopolitical conflict, unleashing which Moscow has violated the Budapest Memorandum, and consequently, the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

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Poroshenko To Hunt Down Advocates Of (Non-NATO) Non-Alignment

Interfax-Ukraine
May 28, 2015

Poroshenko: Those guilty of making Ukraine non-aligned should be brought to justice

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko insists on holding those officials accountable who declared Ukraine a non-aligned state and reduced the level of its security.

“We have canceled the disgraceful law on Ukraine’s non-aligned status, and those who declared this non-aligned status need to be held accountable now, because they, together with those who destroyed the armed forces, let the level of security go down critically, for which our entire state is paying the price now,” Poroshenko said at the 8th Kyiv Security Forum on Thursday.

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War Rumblings Intensify: NATO Accuses Russia Of Destabilizing All Of Eastern Europe

Interfax-Ukraine
May 28, 2015

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine also aimed at destabilizing its neighbors – NATO

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is aimed at destabilizing not only Ukraine, but also its neighboring countries, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow has said.

Russian aggression in Ukraine is only part of the picture of its destabilizing behavior against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine’s neighbors as well, Vershbow said during the 8th Kyiv Security Forum on Thursday.

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Interfax-Ukraine
May 28, 2015

Post-WWII security formats not working today – Poroshenko

Security formats developed after World War II are no longer working, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said.

“The old security formats, which were developed immediately after World War II, are not working today. I have raised the issue of peacekeepers,” he said opening the 8th Kyiv Security Forum on Thursday.

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Anglo-Saxon Triad Leads NATO War Games In Romania

U.S. Army Europe
May 25, 2015

U.S. Army plans exercise with Romanian Land Force
By Spc. Jacqueline Dowland

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BRASOV GARRISON, Romania: Despite hours of planning and preparation dedicated toward a common goal, those involved would not know if the planning was a success until the plans are implemented. It is only then when all involved learn whether the initial phases led to a seamless flow, or a failure.

Planning is an essential part of every military operation. This is especially so when the operation includes four countries.

Military officials from the U.S., Romanian, British and Canadian armies have come together to learn from each another and plan for Exercise Sarmis 15.

Sarmis 15 is series of ongoing joint exercises at several locations in Romania, which involves approximately 1,500 soldiers from four countries. The exercise is part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which allows allied nations to improve their interoperability by working together and learning from one another in planning and executing military occupations.

“The next few days will be the most interesting when the computer-assisted exercises will take place,” said Maj. Alin Zamfir, staff officer for the 2nd Mountain Brigade Headquarters, Romanian army, and a native of Brasov, Romania. “We will see if we have planned with our fellow nations efficiently.”

The Sarmis 15 joint training exercise will include live-simulation and live-fire exercises from May 15-June 6, in the Brasov Garrison and at the Land Force Combat Training Center in Cincu, Romania. The exercise will test the NATO allies’ ability to work together despite language barriers and different military planning and execution styles.

“We are very happy that we have an exercise like this because we are learning each other’s language, not Romanian or English, but the universal military language,” said Lt. Mareana Dinu, a staff officer, assigned to the 2nd Mountain Brigade, Romanian army, and a native of Urzeceie, Romania. “It’s an opportunity to work shoulder-to-shoulder with our counterparts and learn how our allies fight on our land.”

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Georgia: U.S. Paratroopers Complete Two Weeks Of War Games

May 28, 2015 1 comment

173rd Airborne Brigade
May 25, 2015

US, Georgian troops wrap up combined Exercise Noble Partner
Story by Sgt. A.M. LaVey

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TBILISI, Georgia: More than 600 American and Georgian soldiers wrapped up Exercise Noble Partner, a two-week training exercise, at the Vaziani training area, May 24, 2015.

The exercise, hosted by the Georgian 1st Infantry Brigade, included American paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade and also Soldiers from the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division, part of the U.S. Army’s European Rotational Force.

The partnered exercise provided an opportunity for the U.S. to continue its training relationship with the Georgian armed forces, as the sponsor of Georgia’s participation in the NATO Response Force, a high readiness force comprising land, air, sea and special forces units capable of rapid deployment in the NATO security theater. The NRF is designed to perform a wide variety of tasks including: immediate collective defense response capability prior to arrival of other forces; crisis management and peace support operations, and disaster relief and the protection of critical infrastructure.

“Regional safety comes from the Soldiers here who are wearing the uniform,” said Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili. “This training was an explicit step forward for Euro-Atlantic integration.”

The training included combined squad, platoon and company-level training, including a field training exercise, multiple live-fire exercises and both classroom and practical learning. Another part of the training was for leaders at the military staff level, including command and control operations and working in a multinational environment.

“This exercise was another opportunity for Georgian and U.S. Soldiers to work alongside each other,” said Maj. Gen. William K. Gayler, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Europe. “We came together, overcame language barriers, developed training invested in our forces, and most importantly strengthened the relationship between our countries.”

The concept for the exercise was developed about two years ago when Georgia formally offered to contribute a light infantry company to the the NRF for 2015 and 2016. An exercise was devised to implement then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s decision to reinvigorate U.S. land forces participation in the NRF and to rotate battalion task forces to Europe for training and exercise with European allies and partners.

“U.S. Army Europe is committed to training with our partners and allies,” said Gayler. “Noble Partner is a reflection on that commitment and it is part of our engagement though Europe. We’ve made that commitment as we share the same security concerns as the countries with whom we train. [We] have dedicated ourselves to a mission to training and enhance the high readiness of our partners and allies, [in order] to increase interoperability so that we can responds quickly and effectively wherever needed.”

Working with the Georgian armed forces in Georgia is a new experience for U.S. Army personnel, but working with Georgian soldiers is not. Both of the major U.S. participants, the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the 3rd Infantry Brigade, as well as a mentorship team from the U.S. Georgian Army National Guard, reported deploying at some point in their careers with Georgian service members.

That point isn’t lost on the Georgian president.

The Georgian servicemen have shown in the Balkans, the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan, that they are rock-solid partners and stand strong for the cause of peace [sic],” said Margvelashvili. “We pride ourselves on the bravery, valor and professionalism shown by our Georgian soldiers all over the world.”

The senior U.S. military officer agreed that the Georgian military partnership is exceptional and necessary.

“U.S. Soldiers have fought alongside Georgian armed forces for more than 15 years,” said Gayler. “Georgia has proven, by the blood and sweat [its] soldiers have shed in those missions, its will and capability to conduct … operations fully interoperable with the U.S. and its allies. Shared experiences, both on the battlefield and the training area, enable us to sustain our mutual efforts.”

Besides the group of Soldiers who trained together during the battlefield, U.S. logisticians worked with their allied and partnered peers to move more than 750 metric tones of military equipment across 650 nautical miles over the Black Sea, and then by rail through Georgia. A task that highlighted the inherent flexibility of U.S. forces to rapidly respond to crises allowing for the right presence where and when needed.

“Exercise Noble Partner has proven that even over great distances our partnership is strong,” said Gayler. “This incredible feat demonstrates not only the capabilities of allied and partnered cooperations, but validates the strategic efforts that we can accomplish together.”

The closing ceremony, attended by the military and diplomatic community of Tbilisi, consisted of a combined live-fire exercise that showed a cumulative example of what the two groups have learned together.

“We concluded this exercise with a demonstration of the capabilities and interoperability we have gained over the last two weeks,” said Maj. Joshua B. Van Etten, the deputy operations officer for the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and the officer in charge of the American continent. “We concluded this exercise with a demonstration of the capabilities and interoperability we have gained over the last three weeks. Georgian and American Soldiers fought side-by-side and executed a live-fire exercise that displayed the capabilities of our combined force. This exercise is a continuation of our long lasting partnership and we look forward to training with our Georgian partners in the future.”

“Together we are building a strong Europe, made stronger in part by each members’ contribution to training events like these, and the contribution of the Georgian government and armed forces over the last couple of weeks have been tremendous,” said Gayler. “I look forward to more events like these…our commitment to our mutual relationship is stronger than ever.”

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 built during the more that 1,000 theater security cooperation events, held 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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Émile Zola: The forge of peace and the pit of war

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

Émile Zola: Selections on war

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Émile Zola
From Labor (1901)
Translator not identified

ZOLA_1902B

He liked to be in this hall among the rolling-mills; to watch the making of the rails and of the structural steel always pleased him. “Ours is the good forge of peace,” he used to say; and he contrasted it with the forge of war – the evil forge – at the Pit, where with so much care and at such great expense men were busy making shells and guns. Works of wonderful perfection, metal delicately manipulated, what for? – to produce monstrous engines of destruction, which cost nations millions of dollars, and ruin them that they may be prepared for war, even when war is not coming to exterminate them! Ah! let structural steel be multiplied, let useful edifices and happy cities be built, and bridges span the streams and valleys, and let rails drop ceaselessly from rolling-mills and elongate railroads endlessly, abolish frontiers, draw nations together, and conquer the whole earth, for the fraternal civilization of to-morrow!

***

“…I have heard he did not care a rap for your works and your competition. He says, as to that, that he will always have shells and guns to make, because men are such fools that they will always be killing one another.”

***

“Hermeline then burst out laughing. Well, and do you know what you are doing? You are preparing revolts by doing away with class distinctions. There is only one means of giving citizens to the State, and that is to manufacture them expressly for her, such as she needs them, so that they may be strong and glorious. Hence arises the necessity of instruction, systematized, disciplined, and calculated to serve the country, carried on according to the best recognized methods, in order to furnish the working-men, the professional men, and the public functionaries of whom she has need. In the absence of authority, there is no security for all this. I have proved it; I am a republican of the old school, a free thinker, and an atheist. No one, I hope, could imagine that he detected in me a retrograde mind, but, nevertheless, what I have heard of your instruction, your elective system of education, drives me beside myself, because, under its action, before half a century is gone, there will be no more citizens, no more soldiers, no more national defenders. Yes, I defy you to produce any soldiers under your system of free choice; and, in case of war, how will the country be defended?”

“No doubt, in case of war, defence would be necessary,” said Luc, without any emotion. “But what will be the use of soldiers on the day when there is no more war?…”

***

Then again, there was a great democratic impetus, which multiplied ways of communication, an endless extension of railroads, and a tenfold increase in the construction of bridges, buildings, and entire cities, in which iron and steel were employed in large and constantly increasing quantities. From the time that Vulcan’s descendants first melted iron in a hole in order to forge weapons therefrom to defend themselves and to conquer both the animate and inanimate world, the uses of iron have steadily increased in extent; and in the future, when science shall have provided means for its production at a nominal cost, and for its adaptation to all purposes, iron will prove to be the source of justice and of peace.

***

The most immediate effect of the success of La Crecherie was to show the small manufactories in the vicinity the advantage that they would receive from following its example, and associating themselves with their larger neighbor. The Chodorge establishment, a nail manufactory, which bought all of its raw material from its powerful sister, set the example by allowing itself to be definitely absorbed in a community of interest. The Hausser establishment, which had formerly forged sabres and was now making a specialty of pruning-knives and scythes, next entered the association, and became, as it were, a natural extension of the great neighboring forge.

***

He could no longer compete with the iron and steel of commerce, and he even found himself affected in his manufacture of guns and shells. Orders for these had been diminishing ever since the money of France had been directed especially towards constructions of a peaceful character and of interest to the community at large, such as railroads, bridges, and buildings of all kinds in which iron and steel were triumphing.

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U.S. Warplanes Complete Deployment In Slovakia

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

May 26, 2015

A-10s, Airmen complete training in Slovakia as part of TSP
By Senior Airman Dylan Nuckolls
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

150522-F-LX214-039

SLIAC AIR BASE, Slovakia: Approximately 40 Airmen and four A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron completed a deployment to Sliac Air Base, Slovakia, May 25, 2015, in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

The small contingent trained to improve interoperability in allied air operations and multinational close-air-support operations with the Slovakia air force during the week-long deployment.

“This has enhanced our ability to work with another NATO country and their joint terminal attack controllers and see how our interoperability will go with their JTACs and our pilots performing CAS,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Ben Rudolphi, 354th EFS director of operations. “Their military controllers both in the air and on the ground have been a huge help to us with our training. They have been open, made us feel at home here and have really taken care of us.”

The 354th EFS is deployed to Campia Turzii, Romania, but participates in these micro deployments across Europe to show NATO allies the U.S. commitment to a peaceful and stable Europe as part of a theater security package.

“The part we got out of this training is knowing that we have another partner nation that we can operate with almost seamlessly with both their tactics and the common language of close air support,” Rudolphi said.

These deployments increase interoperability between NATO partners as well as build stronger ties, said Theodore Sedgwick, U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia.

The TSP serves as part of a routine deployment of additional fighter squadrons, support personnel and equipment aimed to bolster U.S. forces in Europe on a rotating basis. Theater security package rotations have been occurring in the Pacific region since 2004.

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Sweden: Pentagon, NATO Practice For Air War In Arctic

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

May 26, 2015

Aviano F-16s take on Arctic Challenge 2015
By Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

150522-F-PB969-300

KALLAX AIR BASE, Sweden: More than 150 Airmen and 12 F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, at the invitation of the government of Sweden, arrived at Norbotten Wing here in support of Arctic Challenge Exercise 2015.

This year, the multinational flying exercise will include approximately 115 combat aircraft from nine different countries including the U.S., Finland, Sweden and Norway. The Arctic Challenge exercise will focus on improving interoperability with fellow air forces to prepare for any possible future challenges.

“The aim of ACE 15 is to provide a safe exercise with a large and unrestricted training area and demanding scenario,” said Col. Carl-Johan Edstrom, Norbotten Wing deputy exercise director. “This will give participating units an extraordinary opportunity to plan, execute and evaluate large force employments in a multinational air operation.”

The exercise, larger than the first which took place in 2013, will operate over the skies of Finland, Norway and Sweden and as many as 90 aircraft will fly simultaneously. The exercise will allow for prompt responses on how to improve practices particularly in a multinational environment.

“The biggest and most important part of participating in ACE 15 is the interoperability with the different allied nations and partners,” said Maj. Brian Kellam, 510th Fighter Squadron chief of advance programs and fighter pilot. “Knowing each other’s tactics is essential, so when a real situation arises, we are familiar with how each country operates; the familiarity will lead to better proficiency in our missions.”

The 510 FS “Buzzards” hope to maintain their joint readiness and strengthen their European relationships by conducting close air support operations, air interdiction and defensive counter air scenarios during the exercise. According to Kellam, experiencing this type of large force exercise will prepare them by testing their management while flying.

“Typically we fly with maybe six to eight maximum aircraft daily,” said Kellam. “The exposure to operating with 90 aircraft at the same time will pay big dividends [for everyone], especially our young pilots.”

Throughout the duration of the exercise, U.S., NATO and Partners for Peace militaries will work in a joint environment to deliver unified responses for simulated contingencies. ACE 15 is scheduled to continue until June 5, before concluding with its final air operations.

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NATO Revamps Ukrainian Military

Ukraine-Interfax
May 27, 2015

Kyiv has high hopes for NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting on June 25 – Defense Minister

The Defense Minister of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak and NATO Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy Thrasyvoulos Stamatopoulos have discussed the prospects of further cooperation and reform of the Ukrainian defense sector.

“The parties discussed issues of cooperation with NATO as one of the key elements to ensure the national security of Ukraine and reforming the defense sector of our state. According to the defense minister, Ukraine has essential hopes for the NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting of defense ministers on June 25,” the ministry’s press service reported.

Stamatopoulos said NATO has seen progress in the reform of the defense ministry.

“We see progress in Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reforms and realize we need to cooperate,” Stamatopoulos said.

Poltorak thanked Stamatopoulos for the support provided by NATO member states.

He said the ongoing situation in eastern Ukraine proves that Russia continues to support separatism and this policy threatens the security of Ukraine and other European countries.

In this context, Poltorak spoke about consolidation of joint efforts aimed at supporting defense sector reforms.

Poltorak said that important achievements had been achieved in reforming the defense ministry, along with volunteer organizations, including the implementation of the Board of Reforms at the ministry.

“The goal of this board is to implement economic, logistic, technical and medical reforms, establish efficient mechanism of involvement of public activists and representatives of international organizations in reforms,” he said.

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Ukraine-Interfax
May 27, 2015

Ukraine has no alternative to cooperation with NATO – Security Council Secretary

Cooperation between Ukraine and NATO is instrumental in the context of restoring a collective security system in Europe, says Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov.

“Political-military cooperation with NATO is of special significance” to Ukraine today, Turchynov said. “Russia has virtually destroyed the collective security system in Europe by its actions. […] This poses a real threat not only to Ukraine,” he said in opening a session of the Ukraine-NATO joint working group on military reform in Kyiv on Wednesday.

“Attempts to appease an aggressor are doomed to failure,” Turchynov said. “An aggressor needs to be not appeased but stopped,” he said.

The collective security system in the Euro-Atlantic area cannot be restored without NATO’s active involvement, he said.

“Ukraine has no alternative to European and Euro-Atlantic integration. This is reflected in a new edition of the National Security and Defense Strategy, which was recently endorsed by the National Security and Defense Council and signed by the president,” he said.

Turchynov also expressed the hope that the establishment of new NATO trust funds in support for Ukraine’s defense capability should enable the latter to achieve positive results in all areas of interaction with the alliance within a short period of time.

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NATO Brought Into Ukrainian Military-Industrial Complex

Ukraine-Interfax
May 27, 2015

Ukraine inviting NATO countries to join Antonov An-70 project

Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov has offered NATO countries to work together on the Antonov An-70 project.

“I would like to call your attention to the possibility to resume the Antonov An-70 project which will eventually meet the demand of our countries for strategic air transportation,” Turchynov said at a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO joint high-level working group dedicated to military reform issues in Kyiv on Wednesday.

“An artificial freeze on our military-technological projects will play into the hands of revanchist and imperial forces and foster the offensive potential of the aggressor,” he said.

He said the Ukraine-NATO joint groups on military reforms and military-technological cooperation should aim to coordinate planning, fulfillment and control over bilateral and multilateral projects.

Counseling provided by alliance member countries remains important to Ukraine, he pointed out.

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NATO Maritime Group Docks In Latvia

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

May 27, 2015

Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 makes port visit to Latvia

RIGA, Latvia: Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) ships arrived in Riga on Friday, 22 May 2015, for a port visit, having recently completed exercises in the Baltic Sea with the Lithuanian Navy.

SNMG2 is in the Baltic Sea to reassure allies in the region of the Alliance’s collective defense 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 GOKSU (F 497), and HNLMS TROMP (F 803). SNMG2 units were joined underway by LNS AUKSTAITIS (F 12) to practice ship-handling operations such as close-quarters maneuvering and replenishment at sea approaches.

“This exercise was a great opportunity to work alongside our Lithuanian Allies to ensure a ready maritime force for NATO and to improve interoperability among our nations’ navies,” said Williamson. “Exercises like this allow our Sailors to know their Lithuanian counterparts and to improve our ability to quickly integrate should the Alliance require us to do so”.

SNMG2’s deployment to the Baltic Sea will also include training exercises with the Estonian Navy and participation in the multinational exercise BALTOPS 15. After a year as the commander for SNMG2, Williamson and his U.S. staff will turn over the reins of SNMG2 to Germany in late June.

“It’s been a truly remarkable deployment thus far. We’ve done a lot to enhance NATO’s maritime capabilities and most importantly we’ve forged lasting bonds with our Alliance navies and worked to forge deeper bonds with our partners,” said Williamson…

During the port visit, SNMG2 leadership met with Latvian civic and military authorities to discuss matters of shared importance…

Story by HQ MARCOM Public Affairs Office

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Dmitry Merezhkovsky: His God is not at all the God of the Christians, but the ancient, pagan Mars

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

Russian writers on war

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Dmitry Merezhkovsky
From Peter and Alexis (1904)
Translated by Bernard Guilbert Guerney

RDSM

He, of course, believes in God, – as he puts it himself, he “places his trust in Him Who is strong in battles. – the Lord.” But at times it seems that his God is not at all the God of the Christians, but the ancient, pagan Mars, – or Fate itself: Nemesis. If ever there has been a man who least of all resembled a Christian, that man is Peter. What concern has he with Christ? What connection is there between the iron of Mars and the lilies of the Evangel?

***

Never have I beheld such even-glows as here. To-day’s sunset was especially peculiar. The whole sky was in blood. The incarnadined clouds were scattered about, like tatters of bloodied garments, just as though a murder had been comsummated in heaven, or some sort of fearful sacrifice. And blood was dripping from heaven upon the earth. Among the sharp bristles, as black as embers, of the fir-forest, the blotches of red clay seemed like blotches of blood.

***

“Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is he that cometh!”

Abandoned of all, Alësha is alone with Christ in the midst of the maddened rabble. And the wild procession is moving directly upon them, with shouting and yelling, with darkness and stench, which tarnish the gold of the regal vestments and the very sun of Christ’s Visage. Lo, they will rush upon him, crush him, trample him, sweeping everything along, – and there will spring up in the holy place the abomination that maketh desolate.

Suddenly everything vanished. He is standing upon the shore of a broad, desolate river, – apparently on the high road from Poland to Ukraine. It is late evening in late autumn. Wet snow, – black mire. The wind is tearing off the last leaves from the trembling aspens. A beggar in tatters, chilled and grown blue from the cold, is piteously begging alms: “Give, if but a kopeck, for Christ’s sake!” – “See, he is a branded man,” reflects Alësha, looking upon the beggar’s arms and legs, with their bloody sores, “probably a runaway recruit.” And he feels so sorry for the “frozen lad” that he wants to give him not merely a kopeck but seven gulden. He recalls in his dream the entry he made in his travel diary, among other expenses: “22nd of November, for ferrying across the river, three gulden: for lodgings in a Jew’s inn, five gulden; – for the frozen lad, seven gulden.” He is just about to extend his hand to the beggar, when suddenly somebody’s rough hand is placed upon upon Alësha’s shoulder, and a rough voice, – probably that of the soldier on sentry duty near the barrier, – says to him:

“For giving alms, there’s a fine of five rubles; while beggars, after being beaten with cudgels and having their nostrils torn out, shall be exiled to Rogerwick.”

“Have pity,” implored Alësha. “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man have not where to lay his head…’

And, looking more closely at the frozen lad, he sees that his face is like to the sun, – that this is Christ Himself.

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NATO Allies U.S., Turkey Begin Training 15,000 Anti-Syrian Troops

May 26, 2015 1 comment

Xinhua News Agency
May 26, 2015

Turkey, U.S. start train-equip program for Syrian rebels

ANKARA: Turkey and the United States have started a program for training and equipping Syrian rebels in Kirsehir province of central Turkey, local daily HaberTurk reported on Tuesday.

“We have started the train-equip program with a small number (of Syrians). The reason of delay was logistics, it was about personnel and equipment transferred from the U.S.. Our soldiers and the U.S. soldiers are providing the training,” the report quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying.

The program has been delayed several times since Turkey and the U.S. signed the agreement in February.

The program aims to train a total of 15,000 Syrian opposition fighters during a three-year period, 5,000 of whom will be trained at Hirfanli military base in Kirsehir.

The trained rebels should enter Syria through a secured area, the minister said, stressing that they could not cross through regions that are controlled by Islamic State (IS) militants.

Turkish and the American soldiers, as well as intelligence services, are discussing a secure place, the minister said.

Cavusoglu also reiterated the need for a no-fly zone protection for trained Syrian opposition fighters from air strikes by the Syrian authorities.

“Will it be a notification or something else, we are technically working on this,” he stated.

The Turkish government has long been backing military movement to topple Assad’s Syrian government, while Damascus slams Ankara for supporting terrorism in the war-torn country.

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NATO Chief Tours U.S. Air, Naval, Submarine Bases

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
May 26, 2015

NATO Secretary General begins visit to the United States

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has arrived in Washington D.C. to begin a week-long visit to the United States. Today (26 May 2015), Mr. Stoltenberg will meet US President Barack Obama for talks on the Alliance’s adaptation in the face of new security challenges. Tomorrow, the Secretary General will meet with Secretary of State John Kerry; National Security Advisor Ambassador Susan Rice; Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, and other senior officials.

On Wednesday, Mr. Stoltenberg will deliver a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C., and meet with key international security experts and opinion leaders.

The Secretary General will travel to Jacksonville, Florida on Thursday to visit the 125th Fighter Wing, Florida Air National Guard. The same day, he will also visit the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia.

Mr. Stoltenberg will finish his trip to the United States on Friday with a visit to Naval Station Mayport in Florida, where he will tour the destroyer USS Carney.

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Finland Pushing For NATO Membership

New Europe
May 26, 2015

Finland pushing for NATO membership
Richard Bos

Finland’s new government, a center-right coalition is pushing for stronger ties with NATO, including the possibility of joining NATO at ‘any time.’

This announcement was made in the Joint Policy Statement issued by the new government.

This move is sure to stir up some feelings in Russia, but the Finnish moves do not stop there. Prime Minister-elect Juha Sipilä’s administration is set to draft a foreign and security policy that will include a special segment to calculate the potential monetary costs and implications of full Finnish membership in NATO.

The Kremlin has publicly voiced their concern over the deepening relationship between Finland, Sweden and NATO and is surprised, as it believed that the inclusion of the nationalist and traditionally anti-NATO Finns Party in the new coalition would cool interest in joining the Western alliance.

The “NATO option” and the new government’s decision to conduct a cost analysis of NATO membership represent a significant milestone in the evolution of Finland’s historically neutral foreign and security policies.

“The geopolitical landscape has changed in the Nordic and Baltic areas since Russia became involved in Ukraine. The important issue of whether Finland will remain non-aligned or join NATO is a question for the future and a possible referendum. It is important to maintain the option of NATO membership,” said NCP’s party chairman Alexander Stubb.

The new government’s Joint Policy Position backs a comprehensive review of future spending on defense and introduced plans to produce a defense strategy report to define policy guidelines for the maintenance, development and use of Finland’s conscript-based system, which is currently organized along total defense structures.

The new government also plans to amend legislation to permit military- and national security-run surveillance programs to collect signals intelligence outside Finnish borders and in communications passing through Finnish territory.

All three partners in the new coalition support increasing the annual budgets in 2016-2025, with a particular focus on strengthening the purchase of military equipment, including the acquisition of a new fighter type and up to 64 aircraft to replace Finland’s aging F/A-18 Hornets.

“The previous government made sure that it did not apply for NATO membership during its time in office. The new government’s policy is different, it keeps the issue alive and the option open. It will be interesting to see how all this develops,” Tiilikainen said.

Security tensions caused by Russia in Ukraine and the Baltic Sea region is the primary driver of the changes in Finnish policy.

“The Finnish center-right government’s elevated interest in NATO is linked to a desire to build a stronger overall national defense capability through cost and task sharing. The appraisal and implications side of the planned investigation will help Finland determine, in a much more accurate way, the likely value of NATO membership,” Sundström said

Entry costs for Finland, in terms of compatibility of training and equipment, may require a bigger defense budget at the beginning, said Sundström. “In reality, much of the Finnish defense forces’ equipment and training is already of a NATO-standard,” he said.

Finland’s more security conscious mood is also fueling political movement on possible NATO membership, Sundström said.

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Gripped In A Vice: Transdniester Appeals To Russia

Macedonia Online
May 26, 2015

Transnistria asks Russia for Help after NATO activities in Moldova

The representatives of 66 public organizations in the breakaway Transnistrian Moldovan Republic (TMR) decided at a Monday meeting to prepare an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to protect the people of Transnistria if any external threat emerge.

The meeting participants decided to add to the text of the appeal before June 1 and then send it to Transnistria’s President Yevgeny Shevchuk for him to hand it to Vladimir Putin.

“We would like to appeal to Vladimir Putin so that in case of an emergence of some threat to Transnistria he, being a guarantor of peace on the territory of Transnistria … would take all the measures needed: political, diplomatic, economic, sanctional, and, of course, in case of a threat, other measures as well,” the head of the National Union of Women of Transnistria, Tatyana Dolishnyaya said.

Participants in Monday’s meeting expressed serious concern with the political situation in Transnistria – namely with Kiev’s decision to repeal an agreement permitting Russian forces to travel across Ukraine to Moldova, the Ukrainian military equipment near the border with Transnistria and the activation of NATO structures in Moldova.

“We found ourselves blocked, gripped in a vice, both from the side of Moldova and Ukraine. This is for the first time in 25 years,” Valerian Tulgara, chairman of the Union of Moldovans of Transnistria said.

In 1990, the breakaway republic of Transnistria, with a predominantly Russian and Ukrainian population, declared its independence from Moldova. The region is now seeking international recognition.

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Drug Used By ISIS, Other Extremists Developed In NATO Lab

May 26, 2015 1 comment

Focus News Agency
May 25, 2015

NATO laboratory in Bulgaria produced captagon used by jihadists: Tunisie numerique

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Tunis: Captagon, the drug used by the jihadists with the Islamic State to get tough and fearless, has been developed in a NATO laboratory in Bulgaria, Tunisie numerique writes.

“Captagon is a synthetic drug created in a laboratory of NATO in Bulgaria. Some of the more suspicious people will probably see the latest evidence proving the participation in some of the super-powers and NATO countries in the establishment and expansion of the Islamic State phenomenon,” the news edition comments.

The Tunisian news website explains that after its production the Captagon goes to the Islamists in the form of small white pills.

Tunisie numerique recalls that before the Syrian conflict the drug was used in other conflict zones, adding the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi accused the Islamists in Libya of taking hallucinogens.

Apart from deadening the feeling of fear and pain, the Captagon also has hallucinogenic effects.

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Alfred Noyes: The men he must kill for a little pay. And once he had sickened to watch them slaughter an ox.

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

Alfred Noyes: Selections on war

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Alfred Noyes
From The Wine Press: A Tale of War (1913)

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The rifles flogged their wallowing herds,
Flogged them down to die.
Down on their slain the slayers lay,
And the shrapnel thrashed them into the clay,
And tossed their limbs like tattered birds
Thro’ a red volcanic sky.

Then, hard behind the thunder, swept
Long ranks of arrowy gleams;
Out of the trenches, down the hill
The level bayonets charged to kill,
And the massed terror that took the shock
Screamed as a woman screams.

***

Before Johann a young face rose
Like a remembered prayer:
He could not halt or swerve aside
In the onrush of that murderous tide,
He jerked his bayonet out of the body
And swung his butt in the air.

He yelled like a wolf to drown the cry
Of his own soul in pain.
To stifle the God in his own breast,
He yelled and cursed and struck with the rest,
And the blood bubbled over his boots
And greased his hands again.

Faces like drowned things underfoot
Slipped as he swung round:
A red mouth crackled beneath his boot
Like thorns in spongy ground.

Slaughter? Slaughter? So easy it seemed
This work that, he thought so hard!
His eyes lit with a flicker of hell,
He licked his lips, and it tasted well;
And – once – he had sickened to watch them slaughter
An ox in the cattle-yard.
For lust of blood, for lust of blood,
His greasy bludgeon swung:
His rifle-butt sang in the air,
And the things that crashed beneath it there
Were a cluster of grapes in the wine press,
A savour of wine on his tongue.

***

The men he must kill for a little pay
Had marched beside him, yesterday!
Brothers in blood! By what foul lips
Was this war-trumpet blown?

Back from the heights they had stormed together,
The gulfs that had gorged their dead,
Back, by the rotting, shot-ripped plain,
Where the black wings fluttered and perched again,

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Arctic Circle: NATO Launches Massive Air Drills Near Russian Border

Stars and Stripes
May 25, 2015

Fighter jet exercise kicks off in Norway

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F-16s

NAPLES, Italy: One of Europe’s largest fighter jet exercises kicked off Monday north of the Arctic Circle, a region where growing Russian activity has sparked concerns among neighboring countries.

Arctic Challenge 2015 brings together close to 100 fighter jets and more than 4,000 individual participants from nine nations, according to Norway’s military, which is hosting the exercise. Twelve Air Force F-16 fighters will take part in the 12-day event, as will several of NATO’s early warning aircraft, known as AWACS.

The drills aim to smooth coordination among allies operating in a region stretching from northern Norway across Sweden to Finland. It comes at a time of growing Russian air activity in the region, which is adjacent to Russian territory.

Arctic Challenge was last held in 2013. This year’s event is one of a series of bulked-up military exercises being held across northern Europe in response to increased Russian military activity. Norway hosted a NATO anti-submarine exercise earlier this month. Next month, the annual BaltOps exercise will bring together allied naval assets in the Baltic Sea.

Non-NATO members Sweden and Finland are participating more frequently in those exercises and training, as a consequence of increased tensions in the area.

Arctic Challenge is split among three sites: Bodo, Norway; Kallax, Sweden; and Rovaniemi, Finland. Other participants in the exercise include Britain, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland, another non-NATO nation.

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Top NATO Commander: Longer Western Military Presence In Afghanistan

Stars and Stripes
May 23, 2015

Top general predicts longer international presence in Afghanistan
By Josh Smith

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KABUL, Afghanistan: As Afghan forces try to fend off attacks by resurgent militants, the top coalition commander has been meeting with NATO leaders to hammer out details of a plan that could keep thousands of international advisers in the country for years to come.

“There is overwhelming support to do something” to continue to aid the Afghan security forces,” Gen. John Campbell, who commands both NATO’s Resolute Support mission as well as the American counterterrorism force in Afghanistan, told reporters in Kabul on Saturday.

What exactly that “something” is remains to be seen, but Campbell said some thirty countries have voiced support for a continued international mission in Afghanistan. NATO leaders have said they are planning for a civilian-led military mission to continue after the current training and advising-focused Resolute Support mission expires at the end of 2016.

Campbell said as many as 1,000 troops supported by contractors and other civilians could remain in Afghanistan past 2016 to try to help Afghan security forces stave off attacks by Taliban and other insurgent groups.

“We’ve said all along that there are some capability gaps that need to be filled,” he said, adding that Afghan forces will likely need help with air support, intelligence, logistics, and leadership development for years to come. Future international aid will be based on requests from the Afghan government, Campbell said.

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NATO Runs Exercise At Joint Warfare Centre In Norway

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation

May 20, 2015

Exercise Trident Jaguar 2015 Distinguished Visitors Day with Allied Rapid Reaction Corps

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Norway-Russia border

The Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) was recently exercised and certified in a ‘Joint Force Trainer (JFT)’ headquarters role.

It was planning and conducting a Crisis Response ‘Small Joint Operation’ that was land-centred (SJO L) and involving high intensity warfighting. All this happened during the Trident Jaguar 2015 (TRJR 15) exercise run by Allied Command Transformation’s (ACT) Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger, Norway, and with this certification the ARRC is one of NATO’s available operational headquarters’ response forces.

“NATO’s Military Effectiveness a key Enabler for its Political Relevance”

General Mirco Zuliani, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, led an ACT delegation to the Distinguished Visitors (DV) day of the exercise, and said in his opening remarks: “NATO’s military effectiveness has always been a key enabler for its political relevance in the face of a constantly changing security environment.”

TRJR 15 is part of an extensive series of exercises taking place across Europe, aimed at demonstrating defence capability, assuring Allies and deterring aggression against the Alliance. Moreover, TRJR 15 is set to be a demonstration of NATO’s commitment to the collective defence and security of member states.

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Marking the Way ahead after the 2014 NATO Summit

“Exercise Trident Jaguar 2015 marked the way ahead after the 2014 NATO Summit, being a vivid presentation of training evolution,” General Zuliani said. “In fact, TRJR 15 demonstrated NATO’s military interoperability with civilian organisations. NATO has shown that it is able to integrate forces from across the Alliance and capable of deploying, planning and effectively responding to crisis on its boundaries,” the general said.

A significant Challenge to the Training Community

Exercise TRJR 15 was a two-level (Operational/Tactical) ACT-sponsored Command Post/ Computer Assisted Exercise (CPX). It independently exercised and evaluated the United Kingdom-led ARRC and Italy’s NATO Rapid Deployable Corps (NRDC).

The execution phase of TRJR 15 was JWC’s largest deployment to date. The exercise was described as “extremely complex [and] a significant challenge to the training community.”

A large-scale scenario set over land, sea and air pushed the staffs’ core land abilities to coordinate resources, synchronise assets, disseminate information, develop courses of action and provide recommendations to the Commander.

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John Dos Passos: Meat for guns. Shot for saying the war was wrong.

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

American writers on peace and against war

John Dos Passos: They were going to kill everybody who spoke that language

John Dos Passos: Three Soldiers

John Dos Passos on Randolph Bourne: War is the health of the state

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John Dos Passos
From Three Soldiers (1921)

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Fuselli looked about him. He was sitting in one of the lowest of three tiers of bunks roughly built of new pine boards. Electric lights placed here and there gave a faint reddish tone to the gloom, except at the ladders, where high-power lamps made a white glare. The place was full of tramping of feet and the sound of packs being thrown on bunks as endless files of soldiers poured in down every ladder. Somewhere down the alley an officer with a shrill voice was shouting to his men: “Speed it up there; speed it up there.” Fuselli sat on his bunk looking at the terrifying confusion all about, feeling bewildered and humiliated. For how many days would they be in that dark pit? He suddenly felt angry. They had no right to treat a feller like that. He was a man, not a bale of hay to be bundled about as anybody liked.

“An’ if we’re torpedoed a fat chance we’ll have down here,” he said aloud.

“They got sentries posted to keep us from goin up on deck,” said someone.

“God damn them. They treat you like you was a steer being taken over for meat.”

“Well, you’re not a damn sight more. Meat for the guns.”

***

“He always did talk queer.”

“I always thought,” said Fuselli, “he’d get into trouble talking the way he did.”

“How’d he talk?” asked Daniels.

“Oh, he said that war was wrong and all that goddamed pro-German stuff.”

“D’ye know what they did out at the front?” said Daniels. “In the second division they made two fellers dig their own graves and then shot ’em for sayin’ the war was wrong.”

“Hell, they did?”

“You’re goddam right, they did. I tell you, fellers, it don’t do to monkey with the buzz-saw in this army.”

***

Fuselli noticed, at the other end of the row of bunks, a group of men who all seemed to be looking at the same thing. Rolling down his sleeves, with his tunic hitched over one arm, he walked down to see what was the matter. Through the patter of the rain, he heard a thin voice say:

“It ain’t no use, sergeant, I’m sick. I ain’t a’ goin’ to get up.”

“The kid’s crazy,” someone beside Fuselli said, turning away.

“You get up this minute,” roared the sergeant. He was a big man with black hair who looked like a lumberman. He stood over the bunk. In the bunk at the end of a bundle of blankets was the chalk-white face of Stockton. The boy’s teeth were clenched, and his eyes were round and protruding, it seemed from terror.

“You get out o’ bed this minute,” roared the sergeant again.

The boy; was silent; his white cheeks quivered.

“What the hell’s the matter with him?”

“Why don’t you yank him out yourself, Sarge?”

“You get out of bed this minute,” shouted the sergeant again, paying no attention.

The men gathered about walked away. Fuselli watched fascinated from a little distance.

“All right, then, I’ll get the lieutenant. This is a court-martial offence. Here, Morton and Morrison, you’re guards over this man.”

The boy lay still in his blankets. He closed his eyes. By the way the blanket rose and fell over his chest, they could see that he was breathing heavily.

“Say, Stockton, why don’t you get up, you fool?”‘ said Fuselli. “You can’t buck the whole army.”

The boy didn’t answer.

Fuselli walked away.

“He’s crazy,” he muttered.

The lieutenant was a stoutish red-faced man who came in puffing followed by the tall sergeant. He stopped and shook the water off his Campaign hat. The rain kept up its deafening patter on the roof.

“Look here, are you sick? If you are, report sick call at once,” said the lieutenant in an elaborately kind voice.

The boy looked at him dully and did not answer.

“You should get up and stand at attention when an officer speaks to you.

“I ain’t goin’ to get up,” came the thin voice.

The officer’s red face became crimson.

“Sergeant, what’s the matter with the man?” he asked in a furious tone.

“I can’t do anything with him, lieutenant. I think he’s gone crazy.”

“Rubbish…Mere insubordination…You’re under arrest, d’ye hear?” he shouted towards the bed.

There was no answer. The rain pattered hard on the roof.

“Have him brought down to the guardhouse, by force if necessary,” snapped the lieutenant. He strode towards the door. “And sergeant, start drawing up court-martial papers at once.” The door slammed behind him.

“Now you’ve got to get him up,” said the sergeant to the two guards.

Fuselli walked away.

“Ain’t some people damn fools?” he said to a man at the other end of the barracks. He stood looking out of the window at the bright sheets of the rain.

“Well, get him up,” shouted the sergeant.

The boy lay with his eyes closed, his chalk-white face half-hidden by the blankets; he was very still.

“Well, will you get up and go to the guardhouse, or have we to carry you there?” shouted the sergeant.

The guards laid hold of him gingerly and pulled him up to a sitting posture.

“All right, yank him out of bed.”

The frail form in khaki shirt and whitish drawers was held up for a moment between the two men. Then it fell a limp heap on the floor.

“Say, Sarge, he’s fainted.”

“The hell he has…Say, Morrison, ask one of the orderlies to come up from the Infirmary.”

“He ain’t fainted…The kid’s dead,” said the other man.

“Give me a hand.”

The sergeant helped lift the body on the bed again. “Well, I’ll be goddamned,” said the sergeant.

The eyes had opened. They covered the head with a blanket.

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Eastern Partnership: U.S. Applauds Death Of CIS, Isolation Of Russia

May 24, 2015 2 comments

Trend News Agency
May 23, 2015

US supports EU towards closer cooperation with Eastern Partnership member states

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“The United States expressed strong support for the efforts of the EU towards closer cooperation and partnership with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine,” US deputy department spokeswoman Marie Harf said on the results of the recent Riga summit, TASS Russian news agency reported.

“We are committed to supporting further initiatives that promote democracy and good governance, strengthen energy security, the fight against corruption and support economic and social development in the countries of “Eastern Partnership”,” she said.

In her view, “this is especially important during a time of increased Russian pressure and disinformation in the region.”

The US State Department claimed that Russia is putting pressure on the countries of “Eastern Partnership”.

“The United States congratulates Latvia for hosting a successful summit as the Presidency of the Council of the European Union,” Harf said.

Eastern Partnership envisages the political association and economic integration of the EU with Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The last three countries signed an agreement on associated partnership with the EU in 2014.

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Sidney Lanier: The wind blew all the vanes in the country in one way – toward war

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

American writers on peace and against war

Sidney Lanier: Blood-red flower of war, whose odors strangle a people, whose roots are in hell

Sidney Lanier: Death in Eden

Sidney Lanier: Dialogue on the war-flower

Sidney Lanier: War by other means

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Sidney Lanier
From Tiger-Lilies (1867)

Portrait of Sidney Lanier

An afflatus of war was breathed upon us. Like a great wind, it drew on and blew upon men, women, and children. Its sound mingled with the solemnity of the church-organs and arose with the earnest words of preachers praying for guidance in the matter. It sighed in the half-breathed words of sweethearts conditioning impatient lovers with war-services. It thundered splendidly in the impassioned appeals of orators to the people. It whistled through the streets, it stole in to the firesides, it clinked glasses in bar-rooms, it lifted the gray hairs of our wise men in conventions, it thrilled through the lectures in college halls, it rustled the thumbed book-leaves of the school-rooms.

This wind blew upon all the vanes of all the churches of the country, and turned them one way – toward war. It blew, and shook out, as if by magic, a flag whose device was unknown to soldier or sailor before, but whose every flap and flutter made the blood bound in our veins.

Who could have resisted the fair anticipations which the new war-idea brought? It arrayed the sanctity of a righteous cause in the brilliant trappings of military display; pleasing, so, the devout and the flippant which in various proportions are mixed elements in all men. It challenged the patriotism of the sober citizen, while it inflamed the dream of the statesman, ambitious for his country or for himself. It offered test to all allegiances and loyalties; of church, of state; of private loves, of public devotion; of personal consanguinity; of social ties. To obscurity it held out eminence; to poverty, wealth; to greed, a gorged maw; to speculation, legalized gambling; to patriotism, a country; to statesmanship, a government; to virtue, purity; and to love, what all love most desires – a field wherein to assert itself by action.

***

In a battle, as far as concerns the individual combatants, the laws and observances of civilization are abandoned, and primitive barbarism is king pro tem. To kill as many as possible; – this, at the actual shock of arms, is the whole duty of man. If indeed there be generals of genius managing the thing behind the lines, it is not less barbarism, but only more powerful barbarism; it is genius manœuvring the interests of brute strength; it is Apollo tending swine.

When the battle is over, to emerge from this temporary barbarism is difficult and requires a little time. Kind Heaven! To see a beautiful woman, to hear her soft tones of voice, to say pleasant things to her, seems so strange, just after you have uttered those strange, hoarse cries that men do utter, not knowing why, in battle; – just after you have killed a man, and perhaps felt the sickening warmth of his blood, and turned away from the terrible odor that rises like a curse from the wound…

***

He fell asleep, and dreamed that he saw big wars standing up in ranks, like men, and fighting with thunders and wild-fires. On the flanks hovered airy pestilences skirmishing, and anon loud worldcalamities exploded, jarring all space. Which dissolved; and he was walking upon an immeasurable plain where lay old dead universes, like skulls whitening on a deserted battle-field…

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Confronting Russia, Global NATO Eyes Africa

U.S. Department of Defense
May 22, 2015

NATO Alliance Stands Firm, Adapts to Challenges
By Jim Garamone

WASHINGTON: The NATO alliance is standing firm and adapting to the challenges on its eastern and southern flanks, military officials said during a press conference following the alliance’s Military Committee meeting here.
The chiefs of defense from all 28 alliance member nations met to discuss the new and constantly evolving security environment, said Danish Gen. Knud Bartels, the chairman of the committee. The chiefs discussed ways to ensure the safety of all members of the alliance, he said.

With challenges from Russia and from nonstate actors, the alliance agreed to change its procedures and defenses last year at the Wales Summit, Bartels said.

“We have improved our situational awareness and intelligence, we are speeding up our decision making, exploring new ways of working with our international partners and we are implementing the biggest reinforcement of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War with the Readiness Action Plan,” the general said.

The alliance has substantially increased the number of troops in the Eastern part of NATO and is establishing six command and control centers in the region. NATO also is developing a Spearhead Force that will be able to deploy in 48 hours to reach any trouble spot.

Bartels said the alliance must strengthen its outreach to partner nations.

“Partnerships are and will continue to be essential, essential to the way NATO works,” he said. “Partners have served with us in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and other operations, sacrificing alongside alliance troops, and working with us in combating terrorism and piracy.

Bartels added, “It is by training and exercising together with our partners that interoperability increases, and this in turn makes everyone’s neighborhood more secure as it is easier to plug into military operations or coalitions when nations and organizations work to the same standards.”

NATO’s Changing Role in Africa

Partners will play a large role also in the south, Breedlove said.

“To the south, we face a different set of challenges that involve multiple state and nonstate actors,” he said. “Our members are facing the consequences of instability in North Africa, Sahel and sub-Sahara as well as other regions which is driving migration and proving fertile ground for extremism, violence and terrorism.”

NATO unity is highlighted in the exercises alliance forces are participating in, said French Air Force Gen. Jean-Paul Palmieros, the supreme allied commander for transformation.

“The scope of the exercises, the realism of the exercises, has been improved dramatically, including hybrid threats, including cyber,” he said.

In the fall, NATO will host the Trident Juncture 15 exercise throughout the southern nations of the alliance, officials said. More than 35,000 troops will deploy from 33 countries. The exercise will include international organizations and non-governmental organizations.

“That will not only be a high-visibility exercise; that will be a highly credible exercise,” Palmieros said.

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Richard Aldington: It was a war of missiles, murderous and soul-shaking explosives, like living in the graveyard of the world

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

Richard Aldington: Selections on war

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Richard Aldington
From Death of a Hero (1929)

NPG x10306; (Edward Godfree) Richard Aldington by Howard Coster

He found that the real soldiers, the front-line troops, had had no more delusions about the War than he had. They hadn’t his feelings of protest and agony over it all, they hadn’t tried to think it out. They went on with the business, hating it, because they had been told it had to be done and believed what they had been told. They wanted the War to end, they wanted to get away from it, and they had no feeling of hatred for their enemies on the other side of No Man’s Land. In fact, they were almost sympathetic to them. They also were soldiers, men segregated from the world in this immense barbaric tumult. The fighting was so impersonal as a rule that it seemed rather a conflict with dreadful hostile forces of Nature than with other men. You did not see the men who fired the ceaseless hail of shells on you, nor the machine-gunners who swept away twenty men to death in one zip of their murderous bullets, nor the hands which projected trench-mortars that shook the earth with awful detonations, nor even the invisible sniper who picked you off mysteriously with the sudden impersonal “ping!” of his bullet. Even in the perpetual trench raids, you only caught a glimpse of a few differently-shaped helmets a couple of traverses away; and either their bombs got you, or yours got them. Actual hand-to-hand fighting occurred, but it was comparatively rare. It was a war of missiles, murderous and soul-shaking explosives, not a war of hand-weapons.

***

But what were they really against? who were their real enemies? He saw the answer with a flood of bitterness and clarity. Their enemies – the enemies of German and English alike – were the fools who sent them to kill each other instead of help each other. Their enemies were the sneaks and the unscrupulous; the false ideals, the unintelligent ideas imposed on them, the humbug, the hypocrisy, the stupidity…Maybe he was all wrong, maybe it was “right” for men to be begotten only to murder each other in huge, senseless combats. He wondered if he were not getting a little insane through this persistent brooding over the murders, by striving so desperately and earnestly to find out why it had happened, by agonising over it all, by trying to think how it could be prevented from occurring again. After all, did it matter so much? Yes, did it matter? What were a few million human animals more or less? Why agonise about it? The most he could do was die. Well, die, then. But O God! O God! is that all? To be born against your will, to feel that life might in its passing be so lovely and so divine, and yet to have nothing but opposition and betrayal and hatred and death forced on you! To be born for the slaughter like a calf or a pig! To be violently cast back into nothing – for what? My God! for what? Is there nothing but despair and death? Is life vain, beauty vain, love vain, hope vain? “The war to end all wars!” Is anyone so asinine as to believe that? A war to breed wars, rather…

***

The company were billeted in the ruins of a village behind the reserve trenches, over a mile from the front line. The landscape was flat, almost treeless except for a few shell-blasted stumps, and covered with snow frozen hard. Every building in sight had been smashed, in many cases almost level with the ground. It was a mining country with great queer hills of slag and strange pit-head machinery in steel, reduced by shell-fire to huge masses of twisting rusting metal. They were in a salient, with the half-destroyed, evacuated town of M- in the elbow-crook on the extreme right. The village churchyard was filled with graves of French soldiers; there were graves inside any of the houses which had no cellars, and graves flourished over the bare landscape. In all directions were crosses, little wooden crosses, in ones and twos and threes, emerging blackly from the frozen snow. Some were already askew; one just outside the ruined village had been snapped short by a shell-burst. The dead men’s caps, mouldering and falling to pieces, were hooked on to the tops of the crosses – the German grey round cap, the French blue-and-red kepi, the English khaki. There were also two large British cemeteries in sight – rectangular plantations of wooden crosses. It was like living in the graveyard of the world – dead trees, dead houses, dead mines, dead villages, dead men…

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U.S. Trains Georgian Army For NATO Wars At Home, Abroad

U.S. Army Europe
May 22, 2015

Georgian partnership strengthened with Exercise Noble Partner
By Sgt. A.M. LaVey, 173rd Airborne Brigade Public Affairs

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TBILISI, Georgia: A staff mentorship team from the U.S. state of Georgia is wrapping up a short tour to the European country of Georgia in support of the U.S. Army Europe Exercise Noble Partner.

Noble Partner is a bilateral exercise focused on enhancing U.S. and Georgian NATO Response Force interoperability in the context of military-to-military relationships.

The three-man Georgia Army National Guard team from the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team travelled to the Vaziani training area, near the capital of Tbilisi, under the auspices of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program.

The U.S. European Command’s State Partnership Program, a component of the larger National Guard program, partners U.S. states with European countries to support the command’s security cooperation objectives. Currently, 22 partnerships exist with former Soviet, Yugoslav and Warsaw Pact countries in the EUCOM area of responsibility.

“The Georgia-Georgia is a 17-year old partnership program set up to share with the Georgian army American best practices and methodology, as well as unifying NATO doctrine,” said Capt. Paul Rothenbuhler, a training officer with the 48th IBCT and the team officer-in-charge. “It’s a special relationship.”

Members of both forces fought side-by-side in Afghanistan and Iraq, and often train together.

“We have experience together, so our relationship is strong” said Georgian Lt. Col. Beka Ambroladze, the exercise executive officer. “Every time we collaborate with the American Georgians, they bring us new experience, which helps to synchronize our planning and operations.”

The main task of the team is to share U.S. and NATO doctrine in support of the (country of) Georgia’s contribution of an infantry company to the NATO Response Force.

“Their army is configured a little differently than ours,” said Master Sgt. Lonnie Teal, the team operations noncommissioned officer. “Since I’ve been here I’ve been working with the operations section, showing them how we do battle tracking in the U.S. Army style and helping with operations orders, but have also assisted with some of the other sections like the [personnel] section to help get their products together.”

Since Georgia isn’t a member of the alliance, the U.S. is serving as the sponsor of Georgia’s participation in the NRF. So the American team is assisting the Georgians with NATO compliance.

“Mentoring, in regards to NATO staff operations, is important,” said Teal. “The alliance requires all business to be conducted in English, so we have an opportunity here to get their staff trained up on the complexities of the language, when it comes to staff products.”

The Georgian armed forces have only been around in their current form since 1991, providing a unique experience for the American team.

“It’s a young military, only since 1991, but in that short time they have already put a lot of things in place that will assist them going forward,” said Silva. “Their desire to learn goes a long way – it really has propelled their military into a modern, professional force.

An exercise like Noble Partner allows Soldiers from both Georgias to put into practice the skills that they have learned from each other.

“The Georgian units here are gaining a lot of experience and learning new approaches to the planning and operations process,” said Ambroladze. “I hope that Noble Partner will continue every year so that we can continue enriching our knowledge and strengthening our relationship.”

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Southern Front: U.S. Leads Bulgarian-Romanian War Games

May 22, 2015 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

May 21, 2015

NATO allies demonstrate defence of Eastern Europe

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BABADAG TRAINING AREA, Romania: Romania is hosting Bulgarian and U.S. forces during a multinational exercise designed to demonstrate a collective capability among NATO allies to defend Eastern Europe, May 18-28.

Exercise Platinum Eagle occurs annually between Marines and sailors from the Black Sea Rotational Force (BSRF), and Romanian and Bulgarian forces. This year the training will take place at the Babadag Training Area in Romania. Functional areas consisting of basic-infantry skills, advanced marksmanship, company-level command and control, and use of anti-armour weapon systems will be rehearsed.

The Black Sea Rotational Force is a contingent of Marines and sailors in the Black Sea, Balkans, and Caucasus regions that maintain proven partnerships, build military capacity, promote regional security, and provide the capability for rapid crisis response as directed by U.S. European Command and U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa.

Story by: Black Sea Rotational Force Public Affairs Officer.

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Norwegian Warplanes Take Over NATO Baltic Air Patrols

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

May 21, 2015

Norway repeats leading role in NATOs Baltic Air Policing mission

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Norwegian F-16s fly over the Baltic States alongside Italian Eurofighter Typhoons. NATO Photo by Jake Tupman.

Norway is currently leading NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission in the Baltic States. Operating four F-16 fighters out of Šiauliai, Lithuania, Norway’s forces are augmented by four Italian Eurofighters at the same airbase, as well as four British Typhoons based in Ämari, Estonia and four Belgian F-16s stationed in Malbork, Poland. Norway has been designated lead nation from May through August 2015, repeating a role it held during periods in 2004/2005 and 2008.

Stressing the importance of NATO solidarity, Lieutenant Colonel Ivar Magne Stene, Commander of the Norwegian Air Force detachment, said “it’s important to stand together and offer our capabilities to the 3 Baltic States.” Noting that his pilots have already conducted scrambles in response to Russian air activity, he added “it is important that we help [the Baltics] out and show unity in the Alliance.”

Italian detachment commander Colonel Vito Cracas explained the mission as follows: “when an unknown aircraft approaches NATO airspace, we launch fighter jets to intercept, identify and escort the aircraft.” He added, “this is a standard procedure and such a sequence of events is not uncommon.”

While NATO jets routinely conduct scrambles, the Alliance has seen a steady increase in Russian military aircraft activity since 2012. In the first 3 months of 2015, NATO observed a moderate increase in Russian military flight activity over the same period in 2014.

Throughout 2014, NATO aircraft conducted over 150 scrambles to intercept Russian military aircraft in the Baltic region, approximately four times as many as in 2013.

NATO’s Baltic members, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, do not have the means necessary to provide air policing of their own territory. Since the Baltic nations joined NATO in 2004, other Allies have taken turns protecting the integrity of their sovereign airspace, enhancing their collective security.

Story by: SHAPE Public Affairs Office.

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Ukrainian Commander-In-Chief Summoned To NATO Military Headquarters

May 22, 2015 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

May 21, 2015

Ukrainian Chief of the Armed Forces visits SHAPE

"Colonel General Viktor Muzhenko (left), Ukrainian Chief of General Staff, and General Werner Freers (right), Chief of Staff at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, render honours during the Welcome Ceremony at SHAPE, Belgium on May 21, 2015. During this visit, they discuss the situation in Ukraine, the possible fields of cooperation and necessary reforms. (NATO photo by Edouard Bocquet)"

Casteau, Belgium. Today, Thursday 21 May 2015, the Chief of General Staff – Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Colonel General Viktor Muzhenko visited the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). He was accompanied by the Ukrainian Military Representative to SHAPE Major General Anatolii Petrenko, and a delegation of high ranking Ukrainian officers.

The Purpose of the visit was to discuss the current situation in Ukraine, areas for cooperation and reforms. SHAPE Chief of Staff, General Werner Freers DEU A, hosted the visit which included a welcome ceremony and an office call and working lunch with the Ukrainian delegation.

A round table discussion was chaired by SHAPE Vice Chief of Staff Lt Gen Michel Yakovleff FRA A and was attended by the SHAPE staff that is involved in the present crisis in East Ukraine and Crimea.

“I had a very fruitful discussion with the Allied Command Operations team today, on the way ahead in cooperating with Allied support, regarding the crisis situation in my home country” said the visiting General Muzhenko. “My team and I were able to explain the ongoing situation and talk about the necessary reforms we have to establish.”

A visit to the SHAPE Comprehensive Crisis and Operations Management Centre (CCOMC) was hosted by Brigadier General Nico Tak NLD A. General Tak stated “Ukraine is a valued partner for NATO, a founding member of the Partnership for Peace, and regularly contributes to NATO operations and exercises.”

Story by: SHAPE Public Affairs Office.

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Memorial Day: 1,200 anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

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U.S. Deploys Guided Missile Destroyers To Black, Baltic Seas

UNIAN
May 22, 2015

US to send missile destroyer to Black Sea

061106-N-4515N-051 Norfolk, Va. (Nov. 6, 2006) Ð Sailors man the rails as the guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) returns to her homeport of Naval Station Norfolk. Ross, part of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two, was deployed in support of Operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean Sea. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Joshua Adam Nuzzo (RELEASED)
USS Ross

The U.S. Navy is planning to work closely with its allies to improve security in the Black Sea region, with the USS Ross (DDG-71) guided missile destroyer scheduled to enter the Black sea on Saturday, May 23, the U.S. Sixth Fleet has said in a report.

According to the headquarters of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, the deployment of the USS Ross in the Black Sea is aimed to maintain peace and stability in the region, Ukrainian newspaper Zerkalo Nedeli reported on Friday.

The fleet said the presence of a destroyer in the Black Sea reaffirms the commitment of the United States to strengthen allied relations and joint operational capabilities of NATO.

According to Ted Gorman, the captain of the USS Ross, the U.S. Navy intends to work closely with its allies to improve security in the Black Sea region and to maintain combat readiness.

As reported earlier, the USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109) destroyer was recently deployed to the Baltic Sea.

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USS Jason Dunham

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EU’s Eastern Partnership Backs Ukraine in 400-Day War

May 22, 2015 1 comment

Interfax-Ukraine
May 22, 2015

Riga summit participants confirm sovereignty, territorial integrity of Eastern Partnership countries

Eastern Partnership: The West’s Final Assault On the Former Soviet Union

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The participants of the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga have confirmed the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the members of the Eastern Partnership initiative.

“In this declaration, we have confirmed that the EU adheres to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Eastern Partnership countries,” Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma said at the summit on Friday.

The Eastern Partnership initiative involves six countries (Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Belarus).
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Ukrinform
May 22, 2015

Merkel warns Russia of attempts to interfere with Eastern Partnership

KYIV: The Eastern Partnership is not directed against anyone, especially not against Russia. At the same time, Merkel called on Moscow not to stand in the way of other countries in their desire to become closer to Europe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said this on Thursday in the Bundestag on the eve of her departure to Riga Eastern Partnership summit, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.

“If our eastern partner-states want to move closer to the values of the European Union, then it is and remains their sovereign decision, and no one has the right to prevent them from their chosen path,” Merkel said.

In particular, speaking about Ukraine, Merkel said: “We in Europe will not accept the way of thinking at the level of the spheres of influence, and this also applies to the situation in Ukraine.”

She called Russia’s annexation of Crimea a cause of “a large-scale destabilization in the east of Ukraine.” A lot of time is needed to stabilize the situation, Merkel noted, adding that the partners have enough patience, as well as determination. Merkel considers the Minsk agreements are an appropriate benchmark.

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Ukrinform
May 22, 2015

Poroshenko: President of European Parliament to visit Kyiv in early July

KYIV: A number of world leaders will pay their visits to Ukraine in the coming months.

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko told reporters on Friday in Riga, Latvia, the Ukrinform own correspondent reported.

“During our bilateral encounters we have agreed on the extremely intensive schedule of visits to Ukraine in the coming months. This is not only of practical, but also of political significance,” he noted.

He said that President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz will visit Kyiv on July 2-3. The Prime Minister of Canada is scheduled to visit Ukraine in early June.

Moreover, Poroshenko stated that Prime Minister of Croatia and other distinguished guests are expected to visit Ukraine during the summer months.

“This is a convincing demonstration of the support provided to Ukraine in its difficult situation from the whole world,” he said.

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Pentagon Incorporates Sweden Into NATO

U.S. Department of Defense
May 20, 2015

Work, Swedish Defense Minister Discuss NATO, Military Cooperation

WASHINGTON: Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work discussed ways to deepen military-to-military cooperation, NATO partnership initiatives, regional security and other defense priorities with Sweden’s Minister of Defense Peter Hultqvist at the Pentagon today according to a DoD news release.

During the 30-minute meeting, Work assured Hultqvist of the U.S. commitment to bilateral cooperation, NATO’s Enhanced Opportunity Partner Initiative as it relates to Sweden, and deterring Russian aggression, the release said.

The deputy secretary lauded Sweden’s continued leadership in the Nordic-Baltic region, and voiced support for joint training and exercises designed to sustain Sweden’s interoperability with NATO.

According to the release, Work ended by affirming the U.S. and Sweden have a strong defense relationship underpinned by robust cooperation in areas such as joint training, exercises and information exchange.

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Émile Zola: Selections on war

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Top Ukrainian Commander Leads Delegation To NATO Headquarters

Ukrinform
May 21, 2015

Muzhenko discusses practical cooperation with NATO in Brussels

KYIV: Delegation of the Ukrainian Armed Forces led by Chief of the General Staff Viktor Muzhenko took part in the meetings of the NATO Military Committee at the level of chiefs of general staffs.

The press service of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry reported this.

“Today, May 20, the delegation of the Ukrainian Armed Forces led by Chief of the General Staff Viktor Muzhenko took part in the meetings of the NATO Military Committee at the level of chiefs of general staffs at the NATO headquarters,” the statement said.

The issues on development of security situation, plans of optimization and restructuring of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as prospects of cooperation with NATO in the military field were discussed during the meeting in the format of Ukraine.

In addition, Muzhenko held several bilateral meetings with the heads of general staffs of the Armed Forces of Great Britain, Georgia, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, the United States and the commander of the Joint Operational Command of the Australian Defense Force.

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NATO Preparing “Ukraine 2015″ Exercise

May 21, 2015 1 comment

Interfax-Ukraine
May 21, 2015

Ukraine’s Emergency Service, NATO preparing for “Ukraine 2015″ exercise

A conference to plan the joint international exercise of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine and the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) to respond to emergencies, “Ukraine 2015,” is being held in Lviv.

“The event took place in the format of a plenary meeting. During the sitting, the participants discussed the main scenario, services’ schedule, provided instructions on conducting training and discussed time indices for teams to come and participate,” reads a statement issued by the press service of the Emergency Service on Thursday.

According to Director of the Emergency Response Department at the Service, Hryhoriy Marchenko, “during the discussion we planned the joint exercise, where Ukrainian rescuers would work together with their foreign colleagues on eliminating an emergency in real conditions.”

He said that nearly 600 rescuers and 200 pieces of equipment from 30 countries are planned to be used the exercise.

In turn, Head of EADRCC Guenter Bretschneider thanked the Ukrainian representatives for his organization being invited to the exercise. He said that this will be the third time EADRCC has cooperated with Ukrainian colleagues and his organization is happy to return.

He said that some countries have already announced the participation of their teams in the training, and other participants are expected to confirm their participation soon. These teams will work together with Ukrainian rescuers despite the different languages and training standards.

The Ukrainian Emergency Service said the international exercise will be held as part of the annual national program of Ukraine-NATO cooperation for 2015 to deepen the cooperation of NATO and Ukrainian Emergency Service in civil protection of the population and procedures on preventing and responding to natural and anthropogenic emergencies.

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Top U.S. Army Commander In Europe Inspects Ukrainian Proxies

May 21, 2015 1 comment

173rd Airborne Brigade
May 18, 2015

US Army commander visits Fearless Guardian in Ukraine
Story by Sgt. Alex Skripnichuk

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YAVORIV, Ukraine: Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe visited the International Peacekeeping and Security Center here May 18, 2015, with Ukrainian Land Forces Commander Lt. Gen. Anatoliy Pushniakov and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Dr. Evelyn Farkas to assess the first month of training between U.S. paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the Ukrainian National Guard’s 3029th Regiment as part of Fearless Guardian.

Fearless Guardian is the name for the Congress-approved, Departments of State and Defense initiative under the Global Security Contingency Fund-Ukraine to train and equip the newly-formed Ukrainian national guard…

“I came here to see the training,” said Hodges. “I want to see how it can be improved in the future.”

The training is a continuation of the more than 20 year-old strong training relationship between the U.S. and Ukraine, said Farkas.

In the fourth week of training, the paratroopers provided instruction on squad-level patrolling skills, as well as urban operations. The visit included observing Ukrainian guardsmen conducting a patrol in the woods and reacting to simulated contact, all while American instructors coached and offered feedback.

“The [Ukrainian] soldiers are eager to learn and have improved greatly over the last three weeks,” said Sgt. Anthony Wilson, a paratrooper assigned to 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regt., 173rd Abn. Bde.

During the visit, Hodges not only met and spoke with paratroopers and Ukrainian guardsmen, but toured the training area and viewed current capabilities and future construction plans to facilitate both training of Ukrainian forces, NATO allies and partners in future exercises.

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“I am impressed at the size of the investment Ukraine has made in the development of the IPSC,” said Hodges.

At the conclusion of the tour, Hodges met with British, Ukrainian and German media at the training site. When asked whether the presence of U.S. troops would disrupt the ceasefire under the Minsk Agreement, Hodges replied that “the U.S. is here at the invitation of the Ukrainian government. Russia is in Ukraine at no one’s invitation.”

The paratroopers from 173rd Abn. Bde. are in Ukraine for the first of several planned rotations to train Ukraine’s newly-formed national guard as part of Fearless Guardian, which is scheduled to last six months.

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Joint War: U.S. Paratroopers Support Wounded Ukrainian Soldiers

May 21, 2015 1 comment

U.S. Army Europe
May 16, 2015

Paratroopers visit wounded Ukrainian soldiers
By Sgt. Alex Skripnichuk

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YAVORIV, Ukraine: Paratroopers with the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade visited Ukrainian wounded soldiers at the Main Military Clinical Hospital of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine May 13, 2015, in Kiev, Ukraine during a two-day visit to the U.S. Embassy.

The visit was part of a community outreach program as the paratroopers train soldiers from the Ukrainian national guard here as part of Fearless Guardian. Fearless Guardian is the name for the Congress-approved, Departments of State and Defense initiative under the Global Security Contingency Fund-Ukraine to train and equip the newly-formed Ukrainian national guard. The mission and the program of instruction come at the request of the Ukrainian government.

As a show of support for the soldiers of Ukraine, the paratroopers visited several Ukrainian soldiers wounded in the country’s anti-terrorism operations in eastern Ukraine.

“The soldiers we visited were very supportive of our presence in Ukraine,” said Capt. Kyle Robinson, a civil affairs officer with the 173rd Abn. Bde…

According to Robinson the visit is a step forward in the ongoing initiative to partner the paratroopers from the brigade with wounded soldiers of Ukraine during their time training in western Ukraine.

“I am reminded of the patriotism our Soldiers showed during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Fisher, a civil affairs platoon sergeant with the 173rd Abn. Bde. “Even after being injured, the Ukrainian soldiers were eager to return to their comrades.”

The paratroopers from 173rd Abn. Bde. are in Ukraine for the first of several planned rotations to train Ukraine’s newly-formed national guard as part of Fearless Guardian, which is scheduled to last 6 months.

The staff at the 1,100-patient-capacity medical facility treated more than 5,000 patients during the height of anti-terrorism operations, according to Lt. Col. Roman Kaschenko, a senior officer of the department of personnel at the hospital.

“We did more than 14,000 surgical operations in the last year,” said Kaschenko. “80 percent of which were trauma related.”

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Germany: U.S., NATO Hold 13-Nation Exercise

U.S. Army Europe
May 19, 2015

Interoperability Includes Vehicle Recovery
By PFC Chenelle Brady

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany: Soldiers participating in Combined Resolve IV came together for multinational vehicle recovery training at Hohenfels Training Area, May 16.

Utilizing different military vehicles from all over Europe gave soldiers a unique hands-on experience that they couldn’t receive at home.

Over 4,700 participants from 13 NATO and partner countries are training in Combined Resolve IV. The Combined Resolve series of exercises incorporates the U.S. Army’s Regionally Aligned Force with the European Activity Set to train with European Allies and partners. The 7th Army JMTC is the only training command outside the continental United States, providing realistic and relevant training to U.S. Army, Joint Service, NATO, allied and multinational units, and is a regular venue for some of the largest training exercises for U.S. and European Forces.

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Transdniester Blockaded: Ukraine Cancels Five Military Accords With Russia

Xinhua News Agency
May 21, 2015

Ukraine withdraws from 5 military accords with Russia

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KIEV: The Ukrainian Parliament on Thursday voted to unilaterally scrap five agreements with Russia on military cooperation, the Parliament’s press service said.

The lawmakers voted to withdraw from the agreement on cooperation in military intelligence and in mutual protection of classified information.

In addition, the parliament also backed Ukraine’s withdrawal from the agreements that regulate military transportation between Ukraine and Russia and payments for those transportation.

The Ukrainian lawmakers have also approved a bill to cancel the intergovernmental agreement between Kiev and Moscow on military transit to Moldova.

Under the deal on military transit, Russian troops had the right to travel through the Ukrainian territory to the location of their peacekeeping mission in Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria.

Russia has not yet officially commented on the potential impact of Kiev’s move on the bilateral relations.

Vladimir Komoedov, head of the defense committee in the Russian Parliament, told the Interfax news agency that Moscow hopes to find a compromise with Kiev over the deal on military transit to Moldova.

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Alexander Kuprin: The whole science of war exists only because humanity will not, or cannot, or dare not, say, ‘I won’t.’

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

Russian writers on war

Alexander Kuprin: Deciphering the military metaphysic

Alexander Kuprin: Mounds and mountains of corpses under which moan the dying

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Alexander Kuprin
From The Duel (1905)
Translator not identified

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Romashov sat down by the table, put his elbows on it, and leaned his head on his hands. It was hard work for him to keep in check these wild thoughts which raced through his mind.

“H’m! – my friend Romashov, what a lot you have forgotten – your fatherland, the ashes of your sire, the altar of honour, the warrior’s oath and discipline. Who shall preserve the land of your sires when the foe rushes over its boundaries? Ah! when I am dead there will be no more fatherland, no enemy, no honour. They will disappear at the same time as my consciousness. But if all this be buried and brought to naught – country, enemies, honour, and all the other big words – what has all this to do with my Ego? I am more important than all these phrases about duty, honour, love, etc. Assume that I am a soldier and my Ego suddenly says, ‘I won’t fight,’ and not only my own Ego, but millions of other Egos that constitute the whole of the army, the whole of Russia, the entire world; all these say, ‘We won’t!’ Then it will be all over so far as war is concerned, and never again will any one have to hear such absurdities as ‘Open order,’ ‘Shoulder arms,’ and all the rest of that nonsense.

“Well, well, well. It must be so some day,” shouted an exultant voice in Romashov. “All that talk about ‘warlike deeds,’ ‘discipline,’ ‘honour of the uniform,’ ‘respect for superiors,’ and, first and last, the whole science of war exists only because humanity will not, or cannot, or dare not, say, ‘I won’t.’”

“What do you suppose all this cunningly reared edifice that is called the profession of arms really is? Nothing, humbug, a house hanging in midair, which will tumble down directly mankind pronounces three short words: ‘I will not.’ My Ego will never say, ‘I will not eat,’ ‘I will not breathe,’ ‘I will not see,’ But if any one proposes to my Ego that it shall die, it infallibly replies: ‘I will not.’ What, then, is war with all its hecatombs of dead and the science of war, which teaches us the best methods of murdering? Why, a universal madness, an illusion. But wait. Perhaps I am mistaken. No, I cannot be mistaken, for this ‘I will not’ is so simple, so natural, that everybody must, in the end, say it. Let us, however, examine the matter more closely. Let us suppose that this thought is pronounced this very moment by all Russians, Germans, Englishmen, and Japanese. Ah, well, what would be the consequence? Why, that war would cease for ever, and the officers and soldiers would go, every man, to his home. And what would happen after that? I know: Shulgovich would answer; Shulgovich would immediately get querulous and say: ‘Now we are done for; they can attack us now whenever they please, take away our hearths and homes, trample down our fields, and carry off our wives and sisters.’ And what about rioters, socialists, revolutionaries? But when the whole of mankind without exception has shouted: ‘We will no longer tolerate bloodshed,’ who will then dare to assail us? No one! All enemies would be reconciled, submit to each other, forgive everything, and justly divide among themselves the abundance of the earth. Gracious God, when shall this dream be fulfilled?”

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Next Stage Of NATO’s Strategic Adaptation: Massive Troop Buildup In Eastern Europe

Polish News Agency
May 20, 2015

Polish defence minister forecasts NATO reboot

epa04756707 US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter (R) and Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak listen to the Polish national anthem during an honor cordon ceremony at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, USA, 19 May 2015.  EPA/SHAWN THEW  Dostawca: PAP/EPA.

Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak outlined the need for ‘a new NATO’ during a speech in Washington on Tuesday, looking ahead to the organisation’s 2016 summit in Warsaw.

“Our decision to host the NATO summit in 2016 springs from the deep conviction that there is a need for a new NATO and an accompanying adaptation strategy,” the minister stressed during his speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Referring to the conflict in Ukraine, he argued that “the deterioration of the security situation, especially on the eastern flank of the Alliance, has an enduring character” and that NATO needs to be altered so as to adapt to this reality.

“We would like the summit in Warsaw to initiate the next stage of NATO’s strategic adaptation,” he underlined.

“Its main aim should be to strengthen the Alliance’s forces in their entirety, and not just units for immediate action.

“The profile of the NATO structure has to be changed so that it gives the Alliance the ability to respond not only at the level of brigades (3,000-6,000 soldiers), but also at the level of divisions (5000-15,000) and corps (15,000-45,000).”

In an allusion to Ukraine’s lack of NATO membership, Siemoniak said that “the Alliance cannot be limited just to activities that concern the security of its members.

“I think that some European allies have shown excessive caution here,” he added.

Siemoniak also met with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, and the two discussed NATO, bilateral relations as well as Poland’s recent decision to purchase American patriot missiles.

According to a Department of Defense press release, Secretary Carter “welcomed Poland’s decision to purchase the Patriot missile defense system and thanked Minister Siemoniak for Poland’s pledge to increase its defense spending to two percent GDP and its commitment to defense modernization.”

The pair also discussed recent rotational exercises by US forces on Polish soil and in the region, part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

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Georgia In NATO: Connecting Europe And Asia Without Russian Permission

Civil Georgia
May 18, 2015

Usupashvili to NATO: ‘Either Give Georgia a MAP or Say MAP is No Longer Needed’

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Tbilisi: Georgian Parliament Speaker, Davit Usupashvili, said that Georgia is now as ready for NATO membership as some of its members were at the time they were invited and NATO should either give Georgia a Membership Action Plan (MAP) during the next NATO summit in Warsaw in 2016 or declare that MAP is no longer a precursor to eventual full membership.

Addressing delegates at a NATO Parliamentary Assembly session in Budapest on May 18, Usupashvili said that such a decision at the NATO Warsaw summit next year would be a “decisive step” and “the most adequate response” to Georgia’s NATO aspirations.

Speaking at the same event in Budapest earlier on May 18, NATO Deputy Secretary General, Alexander Vershbow, said that although Georgia currently has all the tools to prepare the country for membership, previous decisions that MAP should be the next stage on Georgia’s path towards eventual membership still stand.

“But in substantive terms, Georgia can advance very far towards the threshold of [NATO’s] open door with the NATO-Georgia Commission, with ENP [Annual National Programme] process and with substantial package agreed in Wales,” Vershbow said, referring to those main instruments through which NATO-Georgia relations are currently carried out.

At the NATO summit in Wales in September, 2014 Georgia was again left without long-sought MAP; instead the Alliance offered Georgia “substantial package” of cooperation, which, among other components, includes establishing the joint NATO-Georgia training and evaluation center in Georgia and deploying team of resident advisers at the Georgian Ministry of Defense.

Vershbow also said that NATO is giving “active support” to Georgia and the Alliance cannot be considered passive. However, he added that he “cannot give any timeline for when the open door will be reached.”

Georgian parliament speaker Usupashvili told NATO parliamentarians that although Georgia is not a NATO member, “legally, politically, and practically we have been a valuable and willing contributor to the collective security”, noting that Georgia is the second largest troop contributor to NATO-led operations in Afghanistan.

“NATO’s open door policy has proven to be a real success story,” Usupashvili said.

“However, it is critical that the open door policy does not become a revolving door policy – where aspirant countries are stuck in a rotation,” he said, adding that the aspirant countries would not be the only ones who would suffer from such approach.

“During the Bucharest summit [in 2008] NATO sent out a strong message – Georgia will become a NATO member,” he said. “Today, politically and tactically, Georgia is as prepared for the Alliance as several current full members have been when they were invited.”

“In 2014 we heard in Wales that Georgia’s relationship with the Alliance ‘contains the tools necessary to continue moving Georgia forward towards eventual membership’. Many in Georgia interpreted these words as Georgia being given de facto MAP,” the Georgian parliament speaker said.

“After more than 12 years of journey I do not want those people to be disappointed with prolonged talks [on] whether Georgia deserves MAP or not,” he said.

“Russia must be engaged, but for the Euro-Atlantic security architecture to retain its integrity there must be deterrence,” Usupashvili said, adding that upholding the open door policy should be the one such deterrence.

“The time has come for another step to be made on Georgia’s NATO integration process, but it has to be a decisive step in this direction and the upcoming [NATO] summit in Warsaw [next year] is the right place for that. The time has come for responsible political decisions about Georgia,” he said.

“Therefore during the Warsaw summit we expect very clear decision about giving Georgia a MAP or making it clear that Georgia does not need a MAP anymore and the membership is not preconditioned to MAP – that is our expectation,” Usupashvili said.

“MAP or declaration that there is no need for MAP – I believe this will be the most adequate response of the NATO not only to Georgia’s NATO aspirations, but also to the challenges that we are facing now worldwide,” he added.

Usupashvili also told NATO parliamentarians that the Alliance “cannot afford not to be engaged in our region.” He said that a glance at the map is “enough to realize…that Georgia is vital for keeping Europe and Asia connected without Russian permission.”

In the end of his speech Usupashvili reiterated Georgia’s invitation to host NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s session in 2017 and said: “There is no MAP or any other conditionality attached to this invitation.”

Last year NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which unites lawmakers from the Alliance member states and associate delegates from the NATO partner countries, accepted Georgia’s invitation to hold its spring session in Georgia in 2017.

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Alfred Noyes: Selections on war

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Interceptor Missiles: NATO’s Top Military Commander In Turkey

May 19, 2015 1 comment

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

May 18, 2015

Breedlove visits NATO forces in Turkey
By Airman 1st Class Cory W. Bush
39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

150514-F-VJ293-164

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey: Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe and commander of U.S. European Command, visited the Spanish Patriot Unit deployed to Adana, Turkey in support of the NATO-led Patriot missile augmentation of Turkish air defenses, May 14, 2015.

As part of the visit, Breedlove toured Adana’s Patriot missile site and spoke with Spanish soldiers and local Turkish media about the importance of NATO’s mission.

“The deployment of these forces, at the request of the Turkish government, is about NATO’s core mission – the protection and defense of our members,” Breedlove said. “Security remains crucial to our mission because Turkey’s border is also NATO’s border and I’m appreciative that our allies remain committed to this vital mission.”

Furthermore, Breedlove discussed the importance of Turkey’s contributions to the combined defense efforts.

“Turkey is a tremendous ally contributing to the Alliance’s collective defense and the stability of the region,” he said.

Breedlove also expressed his gratitude to the NATO allies that have remained committed to the mission.

“I would like to recognize Spain, Germany, Netherlands and the United States for their contributions and support to Turkey’s border by reinforcing Turkey’s air defenses against the threats posed by Syria,” Breedlove said.

Previously maintained by the 1st Netherlands Ballistic Missile Defense Task Force, the Spanish Patriot Unit assumed control of the air defense mission in Adana, Turkey during a change of responsibility ceremony January 26, 2015.

Along with the Spanish operated battery, NATO forces also operate additional batteries in two other locations respectively in Turkey: Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras. The Patriot missile augmentation program, which began in January 2013, is currently under the control of Breedlove.

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Wartime Interoperability: U.S. Deploys Warplanes To Slovakia

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

May 19, 2015

A-10s, Airmen deploy to Slovakia as part of TSP
By Senior Airman Dylan Nuckolls
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

150518-F-LX214-291

SLIAC AIR BASE, Slovakia: A small contingent of approximately 40 Airmen and four A-10 Thunderbolt II’s from the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed to Sliac Air Base, Slovakia, May 16, 2015, in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Of the 12 A-10s deployed to Europe as a theater security package, these four will train with the Slovakian air force May 18-22 to improve interoperability in allied air operations and multinational close-air-support operations.

“The U.S. Air Force’s forward presence in Europe, augmented by a rotational force like the TSP, allows us to work with our allies to develop and improve ready air forces capable of maintaining regional security,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, in a news release.

The 354th EFS is deployed to Campia Turzii, Romania, but participates in these micro deployments across Europe to show NATO allies the U.S. commitment to a peaceful and stable Europe.

“The biggest thing is we’re going to first work with the Slovakian air force and especially the L-29s and make sure we’re providing the joint close air support training,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Ryan Hayde, 354th EFS commander. “We’ve done training all throughout Europe with the joint terminal attack controllers and we’re going to continue that in Slovakia … so we look forward to doing that next week as we travel out there.”

The TSP serves as part of a routine deployment of additional fighter squadrons, support personnel and equipment aimed to bolster U.S. forces in Europe on a rotating basis. Theater security package rotations have been occurring in the Pacific region since 2004.

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Ukrainian Junta Certifies Almost 50,000 Troops As Combatants

Ukrinform
May 19, 2015

More than 47,000 soldiers already receive status of combatant

KYIV. 47,406 military soldiers, who have participated in the anti-terrorist operation, have already received the status of combatant.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Petro Mehed said this at a briefing in Kyiv, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.

“47,406 servicemen and employees of the Armed Forces, who have participated in the anti-terrorist operation, have received the status of combatant,” he said.

According to the deputy defense minister, the mechanism was developed to simplify the granting of the status of combatant, and the draft of relevant order and instructions on procedure to issue certificates was worked out.

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