SCW NEWSWATCH: “The New Geopolitics of the Arctic; Russia’s and China’s Evolving Role in the Region” – RAND/ Stephanie Pezard/ Canadian House of Commons Testimony

Arctic Region Map

[click here to jump to embedded PDF of full document]

“Russia’s Arctic region is strategically important for the Kremlin …. First, it contains major population centers: With 350,000 inhabitants, Arkhangelsk is the largest Arctic town, followed by Murmansk, with 300,000 … Under … Putin, the Russian Arctic has been emphasized as a patriotic and nationalistic theme. Secondly, Russia’s economy relies heavily on its oil and gas industry, and such resources are heavily present in the Arctic, including in the Yamal region, where Russia has recently developed a massive liquified natural gas (LNG) plant and terminal. Russia … is particularly sensitive to security issues around energy infrastructure …. Thirdly, the Northern Sea Route (NSR) … along Russia’s northern shore, between the Kara Sea and the Bering Strait [] is becoming increasingly navigable. … Russia’s Northern Fleet is based in the Kola Peninsula, near Murmansk, and contains two-thirds of Russia’s nuclear submarine fleet … the Arctic … protects Russia’s strategic deterrent and … allows a sizable share of its Navy to reach the northern Atlantic. Russia’s military capabilities in the Arctic have steadily increased over the past ten years. Russia has opened new airfields and refurbished old ones; created a dedicated northern command for the region; and set up two Arctic brigades. It also is planning to substantially increase its icebreaker fleet … already … the largest in the world. Russia’s new military base on Aleksandra Land is touted as the ‘largest building in the entire circumpolar high Arctic.’ …”

Click here for: “The New Geopolitics of the Arctic; Russia’s and China’s Evolving Role in the Region” – RAND/ Stephanie Pezard/ Canadian House of Commons Testimony 









Arctic Region Map



SCW RUSSIAWIRE: “NATO Dusts Off a Cold War Skill: Moving Troops; Alliance is holding its biggest military exercise in decades, testing its ability to transport soldiers and equipment by road, rail and water” – Wall Street Journal/ Daniel Michaels

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… NATO’s largest exercise since the Cold War. … [involves] 50,000 troops …. [m]oving forces from 30 countries to Norway for … Trident Juncture …. [T]en thousand vehicles, 250 aircraft and 65 ships were dispatched …. * * * NATO and the [EU] … [have] agreed to deepen cooperation … including [with] mobility. The EU … spends billions … annually [on] infrastructure … [and] is adding NATO [ strategic transportation] requirements …. NATO … leaders approved … a new command to oversee logistics … and another to ensure Atlantic and Arctic sea lanes remain open …. * * * After Crimea’s seizure, NATO … realized how far their logistics capabilities had atrophied as alliance territory expanded. A dozen ex-communist countries had joined …. Yet NATO planners had ‘zero knowledge’ of their … infrastructure …. NATO launched a survey …. * * * Europe’s next step will be arranging trucks, ships and railcars that can be summoned on short notice …. Buying civilian equipment with military uses doesn’t count toward NATO members’ spending commitments ….”

Click here for: “NATO Dusts Off a Cold War Skill: Moving Troops; Alliance is holding its biggest military exercise in decades, testing its ability to transport soldiers and equipment by road, rail and water” – Wall Street Journal/ Daniel Michaels







 

SCW NEWSWATCH: “Russia says it would respond if Sweden, Finland drawn into NATO: Ifax” – Reuters

Sergei Shoigu file photo, adapted from image at defense.gov by Steven C. Welsh, www.stevencwelsh.info :: www.stevencwelsh.com

“Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday Moscow would respond if Sweden and Finland were drawn into the NATO alliance and that such expansion would undermine global security, the Interfax news agency reported. …”

Click here for: “Russia says it would respond if Sweden, Finland drawn into NATO: Ifax” – Reuters

[featured image is file photo from another occasion]





 

NEWSWATCH: “Turkey Chooses Russia Over NATO for Missile Defense” – Bloomberg/ Selcan Hacaoglu

Turkey Satellite Photo adapted from image at nasa.gov

Turkey has agreed to pay $2.5 billion to acquire Russia’s most advanced missile defense system, a senior Turkish official said, in a deal that signals a turn away from the NATO military alliance that has anchored Turkey to the West for more than six decades.

The preliminary agreement sees Turkey receiving two S-400 missile batteries from Russia within the next year, and then producing another two inside Turkey, …. A spokesman for Russia’s arms-export company Rosoboronexport OJSC said he couldn’t immediately comment on details of a deal with Turkey. * * * Disagreements between Turkey, which has the second-largest army by personnel numbers in NATO, and the U.S., the bloc’s biggest military, have also impacted business.  …

Click here for: “Turkey Chooses Russia Over NATO for Missile Defense” – Bloomberg/ Selcan Hacaoglu







NEWSLINK: “U.S. general in #Afghanistan says there is no doubt #Russia is providing weapons to #Taliban” – Telegraph

Afghanistan and Environs Ethnic Map

“America’s top general in #Afghanistan has said there was no doubt that #Russia was providing weapons to the #Taliban. In the strongest statement yet over Russia’s apparent re-engagement in the Afghanistan war, Gen. John #Nicholson said he would “not refute” that #Moscow’s involvement included giving weapons to the Taliban.
He was speaking in Kabul alongside James #Mattis, the US defence secretary, who said that America needed to confront Russia over its actions in Afghanistan, where the Soviet Union fought and lost a bloody war in the 1980s.

NEWSWATCH: “Russian naval activity in Europe exceeds Cold War levels: U.S. admiral” – Reuters

File Photo of Russian Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, Steven C. Welsh adaptation of U.S. Navy Photo at defense.gov

“Recent Russian naval activity in Europe exceeds levels seen during the Cold War, a top U.S. and NATO military officer said, voicing concern that the distributed nature of the deployments could end up ‘splitting and distracting’ the transatlantic alliance. Navy Admiral Michelle Howard, who heads NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command in Naples and commands U.S. naval forces in Europe and Africa, said Russia had clearly stepped up its naval actions in recent years although the size of its navy was smaller now ….”

Click here for: “Russian naval activity in Europe exceeds Cold War levels: U.S. admiral” – Reuters







[featured image is file photo]

NEWSWATCH: “Deterring Russian Aggression in the Baltic States; What it Takes to Win” – RAND/David A. Shlapak/Congressional Testimony

Map of Baltics, Eastern Europe, Russia, Environs

Testimony presented before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces on March 1, 2017.

“… the United States and … NATO[] confront three related challenges in deterring Russian aggression in the Baltics (and, more generally, wherever NATO territory may be threatened). Solving all three of these is vital to achieving core American objectives in Europe … since 1945: ensure peace and stability, support democratic and market forces, and prevent the use of armed force to coerce the free people of Europe or to alter established borders. … ‘winning’ means putting in place the wherewithal to effectively deter any Russian adventurism aimed at NATO member states by being prepared to deny Moscow its objectives without escalating to the first use of nuclear weapons. …”









NEWSLINK: “Montenegro ‘to indict Russian spy behind coup plot'” – Daily Telegraph

Map of Europe Highlighting Montenegro

“#Montenegro is reportedly preparing to indict the #Russian #intelligence officer it accuses of masterminding a bloody coup plot to stop the Balkan nation joining #Nato. …”

NEWSLINK: “Facing Russia and Terrorism, a NATO Outsider Urges EU to Step Up” – Bloomberg

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“#Finland is urging #Europe to increase #NATO contributions and focus more on security as the continent grapples with political turmoil from all sides, including from within.

Once the U.K. has quit the European Union, the 27 nations left behind need to double down on the bloc’s founding principle and give the remaining 444 million citizens what they most crave: security, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said in an interview at his seaside residence in Helsinki on Friday. The 68-year-old is head of state of the nation that shares the EU’s longest border with #Russia, a country with which Finland has regular contact for security and practical reasons.”