Tuesday, February 3, 2015

US Dilemma: To Arm Ukraine Troops or Not | Moscow Readying a Massive Russian Invasion of Ukraine, Golts Says by Paul Goble | Some 224 killed in past three weeks, as Ukraine's president says he is in "no doubt" the US will provide weapons for fight against Russian-backed separatists | It looks like Russia is trying to make a military ally within its biggest enemy. On Tuesday, Greece's defense minister and outspoken "Eurosceptic" Panos Kammenos announced that he was invited to Moscow to meet his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoygu... | Hillary Clinton voiced her support for vaccinations tweeting "The earth is round, the sky is blue, and "#vaccineswork."

Russia is looking to make an ally within its biggest enemy - Business Insider

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Business Insider

Russia is looking to make an ally within its biggest enemy
Business Insider
It looks like Russia is trying to make a military ally within its biggest enemy. On Tuesday, Greece's defense minister and outspoken "Eurosceptic" Panos Kammenos announced that he was invited to Moscow to meet his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoygu in ...

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Шойгу пригласил в Москву нового министра обороны Греции - ИА REGNUM

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Шойгу пригласил в Москву нового министра обороны Греции
Министр национальной обороны Греции Панос Камменос 3 февраля обсудил с послом России в Афинах Андреем Масловым перспективы военного сотрудничества двух стран. Об этом сообщает пресс-служба Минобороны Греции, передаёт корреспондент ИА REGNUM. «Обсуждение с ...
Новый министр обороны Греции почтил память погибших летчиков "под надзором" турецких ВВСГреция сегодня
Греческого министра обороны пригласили в МосквуСвежие новости сегодня. Последние новости интернет издания "Fresh-News" 
Министр обороны Греции получил приглашение в МосквуПолит.ру
BBC Russian-РИА Новости

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Председатель ОБСЕ призвал установить трехдневное перемирие в районе Дебальцево - Коммерсантъ

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РИА Новости

Председатель ОБСЕ призвал установить трехдневное перемирие в районе Дебальцево
Действующий председатель ОБСЕ, вице-премьер и глава МИД Сербии Ивица Дачич призвал немедленно установить перемирие в районе Дебальцево в Донбассе минимум на три дня для вывода гражданского населения, сообщает 4 февраля «РИА Новости». «Действующий ...
ОБСЕ предлагает ввести в Дебальцево трехдневное перемириеГазета.Ru
В ОБСЕ призывают объявить трехдневное перемирие в ДебальцевоBFM.Ru
Глава ОБСЕ призвал к трехдневному перемирию в районе ДебальцевоРБК
Взгляд -НТВ.ru -Блокнот Воронеж
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Advances Against Islamic State Not Enough, Displaced Iraqis Say 

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In northern Iraq, Kurdish fighters backed by U.S.-led airstrikes have blunted a six-month advance by militants of the Islamic State and their supporters.Yet few of the estimated 1 million northern Iraqis who fled the fighting see any hope of returning home soon. From a displaced-persons camp near Irbil, VOA’s Scott Bobb reports.

US Opening with Cuba Defended on Capitol Hill

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The Obama administration has defended its diplomatic opening with Cuba before U.S. lawmakers who are deeply divided on the issue. It remains unclear whether the new, Republican-led Congress will assist or hinder the president’s initiative to normalize relations with Havana. Congress has been abuzz about Cuba since President Obama’s December announcement restoring official diplomatic ties between Washington and Havana, with congressional delegations jetting to and from the island. Fully normalizing relations, however, is far from a done deal, as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson told a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee. “We have only just begun the official talks on normalizing relations, which will take considerably longer than the first step of the reestablishment of relations, "said Jacobson. Lawmakers fiercely debate the wisdom of this effort. Cuban-American Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat, doubts diplomacy and trade will bring change to the island. “I do not want to relive 50 years of engagement with China that has brought forced abortions, prison camp labor, ethnic cleansing in Tibet, the exile of the Dalai Lama.  If that is what we hope for the Cuban people, it is a sad day," said Menendez. Fellow Cuban-American Marco Rubio, a Republican, says no ties should be restored until the Castro government agrees to democratic reform. “The Cuban people are the only people in this hemisphere that have not had a free and fair election in the last decade-and-a-half.  And the notion that we should be more patient with Cuba than all these other societies is unfair and offensive," said Rubio. By contrast, Democratic Senator Tim Kaine noted that restoring ties with Havana does not confer an American seal of approval on the Cuban government.  Fellow Democrat Barbara Boxer agreed. “We know this policy is not going to change Cuba overnight, but we have spent the past five decades pursuing a policy that has not worked," said Boxer. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights Tomasz Malinowski sought to assure senators that U.S. officials in talks with the Castro government are not blind to realities in Cuba. “We have no illusions about the current leadership’s desire to keep things just as they are," said Malinowski. But Malinowski predicted that boosting diplomacy and trade with the island will force the Cuban government to reckon with its failures. “Every citizen of Cuba knows that the U.S. is willing to have normal relations with their country, and help them connect with the world. These steps have raised the Cuban people’s expectations and shifted the burden for meeting those expectations to the Cuban state," he said. Ending the longstanding U.S. trade embargo on Cuba would require an act of Congress, something that is viewed as unlikely in the foreseeable future.  Of more immediate concern is whether Congress will approve funds to maintain a full U.S. embassy in Havana, if and when relations are normalized. Senators also heard from prominent Cuban human rights activists.  Miriam Leiva, a journalist and wife of the late Cuban dissident Oscar Espinosa Chepe, said the United States has a unique opportunity to push Cuba towards a brighter future, something that can only be accomplished “by being there.”  Rosa Maria Paya, daughter of the late Cuban pro-democracy activist Oswaldo Paya, said, “Engagement will only be real if it occurs between free peoples.”

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'No doubt' America will give us weapons, says Ukraine, amid fears of 'catastrophic' escalation 

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Some 224 killed in past three weeks, as Ukraine's president says he is in "no doubt" the US will provide weapons for fight against Russian-backed separatists

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Russia and France: Closer Ties Fated by Blood?

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The terrorist attack on the Paris headquarters of the satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo and the ensuing social and political reaction to this tragedy in Russia make an in-depth analysis of current bilateral relations between Russia and France particularly timely. In this article, Tatiana Stanovaya and Ksenia Semenova take a closer look at Russia’s new policy of double standards.

US Drone Strike Targets al-Shabab Leader

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The United States carried out a drone strike in Somalia against a senior leader from the militant group al-Shabab, the Pentagon announced Tuesday. Defense Department press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said Saturday's Hellfire missile strike south of the capital, Mogadishu, targeted Yusef Dheeq, the group's chief of external operations and planning for intelligence and security. Kirby said he could not confirm the results of the strike, but he said if successful, it would be a significant blow to the terrorist network. The U.S. has been targeting the al-Shabab leadership in a series of strikes over the past few months. In late December, the Pentagon confirmed that a U.S. strike killed intelligence chief Tahlil Abdishakur. The group's previous leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Somalia on September 1.

Kobani Obsession Exposing Possible Islamic State Flaws

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Following a steady campaign of air strikes and a determined ground assault by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in Syria, the Islamic State has finally lost its grip on one of its most high-profile objectives - the town of Kobani. But despite what appears to have been a costly defeat, the group is refusing to give up, sending in more fighters and supplies. VOA National Security Reporter Jeff Seldin takes a look at the extremist group's obsession with a small border town - an obsession which may be giving the world a glimpse at the Islamic State’s weakness.

ОБСЕ: Луганск был обстрелян кассетными бомбами - BBC Russian

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РИА Новости Украина

ОБСЕ: Луганск был обстрелян кассетными бомбами
BBC Russian
Мониторинговая миссия Организации по безопасности и сотрудничеству в Европе (ОБСЕ) сообщила, что один из районов Луганска был обстрелян кассетными бомбами. В отчете миссии говорится, что во время осмотра Артемовского района, где находятся в основном одноэтажные ...
По данным ОБСЕ, Луганск 27 января обстреливался кассетными снарядамиГазета.Ru
ОБСЕ: обстрел Луганска 27 января производился кассетными снарядамиРИА Новости
ОБСЕ: Жилые кварталы Луганска обстреливали кассетными боеприпасамиКомсомольская правда
Коммерсантъ -BFM.Ru -Lenta.ru
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Investigator: Dead Prosecutor Sought Argentine President's Arrest 

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Investigators probing the death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was investigating what he said was the cover-up of a deadly bombing at a Jewish center 20 years ago, found a draft of an arrest warrant for the country's president, Cristina Fernandez. Chief investigator Viviana Fein said Monday the draft was found in a trash can at the apartment where Nisman's body was found on January 18. Nisman was found dead of a gunshot wound in his bathroom hours before he was scheduled to testify before the Argentine Congress about his allegations about a massive cover-up of who was behind the 1994 bombing. Nisman claimed that Fernandez's government helped orchestrate a bargain with Iran: Cash-strapped Argentina would get Iranian oil. Iran would get Argentine grain and meat, and the bombing would remain unsolved.

If Ukraine’s Separatists Get Their “100,000 Volunteers,” They May Be Mostly Russian Soldiers 

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With fighting raging in Ukraine and any sign of a legitimate peace agreement gone over this latest round of fighting, both Kiev and the rebels are looking to beef up their numbers and prepare for what is sure to be another long stretch of fighting.
Apparently the self-declared “Donetsk People’s Republic,” or DNR, has grand plans to do just that. One has to admire the ambitiousness of the nominal leader of the DNR, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, who on February 2 called for a mobilization of 100,000 troops, organized roughly into 3 motorized rifle brigades, one artillery and one tank brigade.
However, there are quite a number of obstacles in making that plan a reality.
First, where are these 100,000 recruits supposed to come from? The goal apparently was to mobilize local residents to join: “”This is to increase our army to 100,000 people… It does not mean we will take in 100,000, but the joint army of Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics’ army should be 100,000.” It seems highly unlikely that there are 100,000 able-bodied and ready recruits waiting to join the separatist armies. At this point in the conflict all the residents — specially young men — have chosen sides and are either currently embroiled in the conflict or have fled. Quite simply the population of the regions under separatist control, even in a time of peace, would be hard pressed to mobilize anything near that number.
That leaves foreign volunteers, both the “vacationing” Russian soldiers and ideologically-inspired war tourists. By any realistic measure, any meaningful jump in numbers of separatist combatants would have to come from such volunteers, whatever their motivations, coming to join the fight. There again, however, the issue is that most of the non-financially motivated “tourists” have already came and compose a large portion of the separatists fighting capability.
That leaves the injection of Russian troops, most likely in the form of autonomous Battalion Tactical Groups (about 600-800 soldiers) injected to tip the scales in the separatists favor, which would compose most of this new mobilized force. However, the introduction of that number (or any in the tens of thousands) means that any shred of plausible deniability that the Kremlin is so admirably clinging to would be gone. Soldier’s families are already starting to grumble about the loss of soldiers in Ukraine (and even about the mobilization of Russian soldiers into the Rostov region on Ukraine’s border) and the calls over even more deaths would be problematic for the Kremlin.
Beyond the calls for bodies is the very real logistical needs and equipment necessary to field these units. The assumption is that these brigades Zakharchenko is calling for would be similar in structure to the Russian military’s (brigades are generally supposed to be staffed with around 4,300 troops each, with tank brigades having around 2,300 soldiers). If that is the case we can assume that the motor rifle brigades would generally consist of 3 battalions of infantry along with a supporting tank battalion and other associated support units: air defense, medical, reconnaissance etc. That is not to mention the hierarchical command structure that would be needed to not only manage but coordinate such large groups of men and equipment.
This is a capability that the separatists have so far not shown as their commanders act like warlords in their own right. However that may be changing. Latest NATO estimates put anywhere from 250-1000 GRU officers acting as advisors. Their chief goal is to impose more order and control over the disparate separatist units and commanders who often spend more time bickering with each other than fighting Kiev.
The logistical network and capabilities to field such a unit in a coordinated fashion seems to be out of the separatist’s capability. The separatists do not have the coordination, training, expertise and hierarchical command structure that would be necessary to mobilize these troops and sustain the units that are called for. While it is reasonable that the brigades would not be as organized or designed to operate as autonomously as the Russian military, the question still remains as to where they would get the equipment necessary to support such units.
The presence of all types of tanks, especially many T-72 variants which are far superior to Ukraine’s T-64s, along with massive numbers of artillery and rocket systems, have given the separatists a powerful array of weaponry. However, the biggest issue in this conflict on both sides is the constant need for maintenance. All the artillery and supporting vehicles (BTR and BMP variants) require extensive amounts of maintenance just to function let alone be repaired after bouts of heavy fighting. That is especially true if a new DNR armored brigade is to be set up. Most of any tank unit’s soldiers are actually mechanics and the support crews required to keep the tanks running.
It is painfully obvious that the separatists are receiving massive amounts of equipment and ammunition from Russia. The seemingly unending supplies of Grad rockets, tanks, armored vehicles and artillery leave little doubt that the separatists are not using pilfered Ukrainian stocks but are continually re-stocked by the Russian military.
While the calls for this mobilization were supposedly aimed at the local populace, it is clear that in reality any new mobilization force would consist not only of Russian equipment but Russian soldiers as well. In fact, there are many who suspect that the call for volunteers is really a smokescreen to mask a fresh infusion of Russian troops and equipment.
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Russia, Poland argue over World War Two anniversary - Reuters

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Russia, Poland argue over World War Two anniversary
Poland's Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna angered Russia nearly two weeks ago when he played up the role of Ukrainians, rather than Moscow's Red Army, in liberating Auschwitz. He also questioned whether it was appropriate to mark the anniversary in ...
Deteriorating relations? Russia, Poland clash over World War II remembrancesFox News
New feud erupts between Poland and Russia over Second World WarThe Globe and Mail

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Russia, Poland Clash Over WWII Anniversary

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Russia and Poland traded diplomatic barbs on Tuesday over the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War II in a sign of Moscow's worsening ties with Warsaw, the European Union's leading critic of its role in Ukraine. Relations between Moscow and the West have already plummeted over the conflict in Ukraine, and Warsaw has advocated ratcheting up EU sanctions on Russia. The latest spat centered around the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz by Soviet troops in Poland and preparations to mark the anniversary of the end of the World War II in May. Poland's Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna angered Russia nearly two weeks ago when he played up the role of Ukrainians, rather than Moscow's Red Army, in liberating Auschwitz. He also questioned whether it was appropriate to mark the anniversary in Moscow. Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin responded that Schetyna was shaming himself and insulting millions of Russians killed in the battle to defeat Nazi Germany. On Tuesday, Poland's Foreign Ministry said it formally complained to the Russian embassy, handing a protest note to Russia's charge d'affaires at the ministry in Warsaw. In a separate decision on Tuesday, a court in St Petersburg ordered the eviction of the Polish consulate from its building there, TASS reported. Russia takes pride in defeating Nazi Germany in Europe. Poles are less enthusiastic as the Red Army brought nearly 50 years of subjugation to Moscow until Poland overthrew communism in 1989. The Moscow celebrations in May will offer a prominent rallying point for Russian President Vladimir Putin. That makes some EU states hesitant to attend at the highest level. Western nations have imposed sanctions on Russia, which they accuse of effectively driving, funding and arming the separatist rebellion in east Ukraine, as well as sending troops. Moscow denies those accusations.

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Ukraine Calls Men to War Amid Mixed Emotions

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Marina's brother and a close family friend have both been killed on the frontline in Ukraine's east. Now she has had to say goodbye to her husband, Ruslan, called up to fight pro-Russian separatists in Kyiv's latest conscription drive. “Our family have suffered losses already. My brother died in July. [My daughter's] godfather died in September. That's why we are not afraid any more, we simply feel pain,” she said, bouncing five-month-old Valeria in her arms. “It was either serve or go to prison ... he's promised to come back,” she said, declining to give her surname. After a series of morale-sapping military defeats in the east, the Kyiv government has now made military call-up a solemn fact of life for Ukrainian men and their families. And resentment from some over being called up and from others that some young people are dodging the draft by leaving the country could yet turn into a fresh challenge for President Petro Poroshenko and his hard-pressed government. Violence has escalated sharply in the east and the Kyiv government has ordered a new wave of mobilization to pull in a further 50,000 troops to counter any new separatist offensive. The rebels have defiantly announced their own conscription effort, aiming to boost their combined forces to 100,000. Two weeks after receiving the order to enlist, Ruslan and around 50 other conscripts from a Kyiv suburb gathered at a rundown military base for enrolment. In worn civilian clothes and mismatched camouflage outfits, they posed for photos and embraced family members ahead of a blessing by an Orthodox priest. Some stood silently, hands clenched at their sides. Others traded jokes and shouted “Glory to Ukraine!” as a full military band played a scrappy rendition of the national anthem. “We're in good fighting spirits, because if not us, who? There's going to be a big turn-around,” 35-year-old warehouse worker Viktor Rybalko said as he carried his belongings onto the bus taking the men to a training camp. “I don't have any military experience, but I'll learn and then we'll go where the map shows we need to fight,” he said. Pro-Russian separatism erupted in Ukraine's east last April, after political upheaval in Kyiv led to the ousting of a Moscow-backed president. Poroshenko said he wanted the conflict to be over within weeks, but fighting has raged on, killing more than 5,000 people. The separatists, fighting for territory the Kremlin calls “New Russia,” effectively repudiated a five-month-old cease-fire last month and launched a new offensive that has put Kyiv's forces on the back foot. “How has the government let it come to this? It's a disgrace,” said 68-year-old pensioner Valentina Aleksandrovna, comparing the impact of the war to the nuclear disaster at Ukraine's Chernobyl power plant in 1986. “When Chernobyl happened, you couldn't see the danger but it was there. This is the same, the frontline is far away but our boys are dying every day,” she said, wiping away tears as she waved goodbye to her 26-year-old neighbor. As of early December, Poroshenko said 1,252 servicemen had been killed since the start of fighting. The latest separatist offensive has pushed that toll higher, with 57 reported killed just last week. Bolstering forces Ukraine's authorities say there can be no military solution to the conflict, but having designated Russia an “aggressor state” the government is determined to strengthen the 200,000-strong army. Ukraine says the rebels are armed by Moscow and backed by Russian troops, leaving its army heavily outgunned. Western countries say they will not send troops to defend Ukraine, but Washington has been debating this week whether to provide more weapons to Kyiv, which has struggled to equip its forces adequately as the country teeters on the edge of bankruptcy. Amid reports of conscripts fleeing the country to dodge the draft, the government has had to come up with fresh ways to incentivise army service. “It is every man's duty to defend their nation, their land,” Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said on Saturday. “There are cases, not widespread but they exist, of people, who to put it lightly are not patriots, going abroad to avoid service.” In a Facebook post he later deleted, presidential adviser Yuri Biryukov said a significant proportion of conscripts in western Ukrainian regions had not turned up. “According to unofficial sources, hostels and motels in border regions of neighboring Romania are completely filled with draft dodgers,” newspaper Ukrainskaya Pravda quoted the deleted post as saying. He has not since spoken publicly about the post and did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. More than 1,300 criminal investigations have been launched against citizens suspected of avoiding military service, according to the defense ministry. Poroshenko -- whose British-educated son has served for a spell in the east -- ordered the government urgently to amend legislation regulating travel by Ukrainian citizens eligible for conscription. In a bid to spur enthusiasm for frontline combat, the government said soldiers would receive an additional 1,000 hryvnia ($62) for each day spent in active battle. Servicemen will also receive 12,000 hyrvnia, 10 times the monthly minimum wage, for the destruction of an enemy vehicle and 48,000 hryvnia for every tank. Nevertheless, some trade in falsified medical exemption papers or “white tickets” is under way. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Thursday a regional military commissar had been detained on suspicion of receiving bribes of up to 5,000 hryvnia ($300) in exchange for providing fake medical papers for potential conscripts. 'When artillery shells drone' Ukraine and NATO say rebel fighters have been reinforced in recent weeks with more Russian troops, a charge Moscow denies. Peace talks have collapsed and with no fresh negotiations in sight, a cease-fire looks unlikely in the near-term. Barring exemptions for students, parliamentary deputies and some scientists, any Ukrainian man between 20 and 60 years old, judged fit to serve, could be called up to fight. In Kyiv, the new conscripts pulled off their hats and bowed their newly shaven heads as the priest sprinkled them with holy water. Several of the men, balding or with gray hair, looked close to retirement age. Afterwards, a poem was read out calling on Ukrainians to love their country “in work, in love, in battle, when artillery shells drone.”

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Moscow Readying a Massive Russian Invasion of Ukraine, Golts Says 

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Staunton, February 2 — The Kremlin’s calls for a ceasefire and calls by the pro-Russian militants in the Donbass for a mass mobilization are all designed to distract attention from Moscow’s preparations for a massive invasion of Ukraine sometime in the coming days, according to Russian military analyst Aleksandr Golts.
And that conclusion is strengthened, he suggests, by something else: Moscow is moving troops from other regions of the Russian Federation and even from troubled areas of Central Asia toward the Ukrainian border in order to have sufficient forces for a large-scale invasion.
In Yezhednevny Zhurnal commentary February 3, Golts says that even as Vladimir Putin’s press secretary declared that the Kremlin leader is “extremely concerned about the development of the situation in the Donbas,” TASS in the same news item reported that a Kremlin aide had said Moscow can understand why the militants are calling for a general mobilization.
“The leaders of the self-proclaimed republics understand” what Moscow is saying, Golts says. They too are for talks but “only if” they get to keep the territory they have seized, and since that doesn’t seem to be on the table, they will continue to fight – and with the support of Moscow as well.
Golts notes in passing that the militants are unlikely to be able to raise the 100,000 troops they have promised to bring to the colors within ten days. There simply aren’t enough people under their control to allow them to do so: If they did, they would be drafting a larger share of the population than even Stalin did during World War II.
That in turn means, the independent Russian military analyst says, that these “games at mobilization” are being launched “in order to mask preparation for another broad-scale introduction of Russian forces.” The militants and Moscow did much the same thing last summer, and thus it appears likely a new invasion is in the offing.
And confirming that conclusion is a report byEkho Moskvy picking up Tajik media stories that “approximately 3,000 Russian soldiers from the 201st Russian military base in Tajikistan will be sent to the border with Ukraine.”
Their places will be taken by Tajik soldiers, a step that raises some serious security issues. Given the withdrawal of Western forces from Afghanistan, the threat of radical Islam to Central Asia is becoming ever greater. Pulling Russian troops out of the region now suggests just how important Moscow’s next moves in Ukraine must be in its calculations.
As Golts notes, “having [now] concentrated on the war in Ukraine, Russia risks losing Central Asia.” Indeed, he says, Moscow may soon face “a strategic nightmare” as a result. By sending troops from Central Asia to Ukraine, it may soon face the influx from Central Asia of “tens of thousands of refugees.”
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Islamic State Reportedly Kills Jordanian Pilot

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A video released online by Islamic State militants on February 3 appears to show the burning alive of a Jordanian pilot who was captured in December by the Islamic extremists.

Падение цен на нефть и будущее рынка энергоносителей

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Дальнейшее снижение цен на «черное золото» грозит России, Венесуэле и Ирану социально-экономическими потр...
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Battle for Ukraine: The Minsk moment

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In the second of a two-part series on the crisis, the story of how a diplomatic success unravelled

US Dilemma: To Arm Ukraine Troops or Not

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By considering giving weapons to Kyiv, the United States could be contemplating a risky venture that advocates say would help end the conflict in Ukraine, but which opponents warn might fan the flames of war. A senior U.S. administration official said on Monday no decision had been made on whether to send arms to help Ukrainian forces fight Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. Considering such a move stems from frustration with Russian President Vladimir Putin's refusal to blink over Ukraine, despite Western sanctions and a financial crisis in Russia, and concern over a surge in violence in past weeks. West's dilemma It also reflects a dilemma: what can the West do if sanctions don't work, or don't work quickly? “A stronger Ukrainian military, with enhanced defensive capabilities, will increase the prospects for negotiation of a peaceful settlement,” said a report by the Washington-based Atlantic Council, which suggested military aid should include light anti-armor missiles, drones and armored Humvees. Such words are welcome to Kyiv's pro-Western leaders, whose forces have suffered battlefield setbacks and who accuse Russia of sending troops and weapons to back the rebels. Right now, Ukrainian troops holding a rail hub near the city of Donetsk are under pressure from separatists, whose artillery and missile attacks are commanded by Russian military specialists. Russia denies the accusations of direct involvement. It says Washington has shown its true colors by backing what Moscow regards as Kyiv's desire to end the crisis by crushing the rebels rather than though diplomacy. Weapons could have little effect Sending arms to Kyiv might not even have much effect on the conflict, critics say, and could encourage a full-scale Russian onslaught on Ukraine's army that might increase the possibility of direct Western intervention. “Sending weapons is fanning the flame of this conflict and also actually grist to the mill for the Ukrainian government, which is doing everything it can to drag the United States and West further into this dispute,” said Otfried Nassauer, head of the Berlin Information Center for Transatlantic Security. Western governments have shown little appetite for the idea of sending in international peacekeepers, which would likely have to include Russians and would be unacceptable to Kyiv. And a line of thinking may be developing in the West that Putin may only respect force and will only blink if his bluff is called. By that token, he may change tack if Ukraine is provided with defensive means to turn the conflict into a prolonged struggle which Russia may regret. On the eve of a visit to Kyiv on Thursday by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the stakes are rising, with the rebels and Kyiv's forces mobilizing more forces. A source in the Ukrainian presidential administration said on Tuesday that Ukraine needed as much military help as possible from the West to defend both its border and that of Europe. Russian officials have rallied round Putin over the annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine last March and opinion polls show his popularity is high despite the impact of U.S. and European Union sanctions and a looming recession. Few options for West Faced by such defiance, the West appears to have few options for increasing pressure on Russia apart from more sanctions, as it has ruled out force. Providing arms, such as advanced radar systems to counter the rebels' multiple-rocket systems, is still not the preferred option although the U.S. Congress passed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, providing $350 million in military assistance for Kyiv. “We're not going to bring the Ukrainian military into parity with Russia's military, certainly not in the near future,” Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser to President Barack Obama, told CNN television in an interview. “We have to keep the perspective that the best tool that we have to apply pressure on Russia is that economic pressure through the sanctions," Rhodes said. Ukraine's army of 200,000 would be unlikely to match Russian forces if Moscow threw in much larger numbers of troops, possibly backed by air power, to support the separatists. “Individual supplies of Western arms are not capable of cardinally changing the situation. What is needed is long-term cooperation,” said Ukrainian military analyst Serhiy Zgurets. Could result in ally split Practical support is unlikely from the EU and NATO if Washington decides to send in arms. This is important as Washington and the EU are trying to avoid splits which Russia could jump on. “Until now, the reason we haven't delivered lethal equipment is to avoid an escalation which would involve Russia even more directly,” said an official at NATO. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday her government did not back arming Ukraine with “deadly, lethal weapons” to fight the separatists. Military commentator Alexander Golts told Russia's Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper he did not believe Ukraine could use the weapons it needs without hundreds of U.S. instructors. “You can imagine the reaction to this by Russia, in the eyes of which it would be NATO being deployed on our borders,” he wrote.

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Стивен Бланк: "Если не остановить Россию сейчас, миру грозит гораздо больший кризис" 

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Американский политолог призывает к незамедлительному предоставлению Украине военной помощи Originally published...
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The earth is round and vaccines work

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Video Keywords Children's Hospital blind faith measles virus Disneyland presidential campaignKentucky Arizona Twitter California
Hillary Clinton voiced her support for vaccinations tweeting "The earth is round, the sky is blue, and "#vaccineswork." Chris Christie and Rand Paul also both recently joined the debate, saying parents should have input when it comes to vaccines. VPC
Video Transcript
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
00:02 Yeah well paper. Me she and a helpful and useful00:05 at all in Cassie my whole heart this is my baby00:09 fierce love for their children they share. But they're the least00:12 on how to protect them are very different. Cassie like her00:16 mother before her book vaccinated her two year old son my00:19 god and he got the an MR vaccine. Within four hours00:23 he was having horrible seizures. It's a choice that frustrates many00:27 parents like Shannon whose four month old daughter is still too00:30 young to vaccinated against measles. Baby Lleyton is now one of00:34 nearly 200 children under 21 day quarantine after being exposed to00:39 measles virus while I had an Arizona Children's Hospital. It's infuriating.00:44 To protect that creamy B eighty through URL an actor. And00:48 then now that all she did was go to a doctor00:51 agreement that. You go to jail and she was fixed about.00:55 The debate over whether or not to vax donate is not00:57 a new one between parents but it's heated up as measles01:01 cases pop up in states across the country. Most linked to01:05 an outbreak that originated at Disneyland in California. It's even move01:09 to the front of the 2016 presidential campaign Hillary Clinton took01:13 to Twitter to voice her support for vaccinations. The science is01:16 clear the earth is round the sky is blue and vaccines01:19 work let's protect our kids. Noting her personal cause for concern01:24 as a grandmother. The message is seen as a rebuke of01:27 two possible Republican contenders Chris Christie and Rand Paul. The Kentucky01:32 senator an ophthalmologist. Told CNBC he believes some vaccines should be01:36 voluntary. I'm not arguing vaccines are bad idea I think they're01:40 good thing but I think the parents should have some input01:44 the state does not own your children. Parents on the children01:47 and it is this an issue of freedom and you and01:49 I. Christie told reporters parent should have some choice on the01:53 issue but later clarified his statements. Saying there's no question kids01:57 should be vaccinated when it comes to diseases like the measles.02:01 But anti vaccine parents like Kathy say no matter how small02:05 the risk of complications. It's one too great to take. When02:10 a doctor wants to give my child shot I wanna know02:14 about these shots I don't I can't have blind faith.
Former Sec. of State Hillary Rodham Clinton(Photo: Jack Gruber, USA TODAY)
Hillary Rodham Clinton tweeted her support for vaccinations on Monday night, wading into a debate that moved to the front of the 2016 presidential campaign with comments from Chris Christie and Rand Paul.
Clinton, the former secretary of State and a likely Democratic candidate, came down on the side of doctors and scientists who believe in vaccinating children against diseases such as measles.
While she didn't mention the Republicans by name, her tweet is viewed as a rebuke of Christie and Paul. She also used the hashtag #vaccineswork, as well as noting her status as a grandmother.
Clinton's tweet came after Christie, the New Jersey governor, told reporters the government should find "balance" on the issue and that "parents need to have some measure of choice" when it comes to immunizations. Christie later walked back his comments, issuing a statement through his office stressing that he believes "there is no question kids should be vaccinated" when it comes to diseases like the measles.
Paul, a Kentucky senator and ophthalmologist, then said in separate radio and cable TV interviews that he believes most vaccines should be "voluntary." While saying he is not anti-vaccine, Paul said in a heated CNBC interview that he believes "parents should have some input. The state doesn't own your children … and it is an issue of freedom and public health."
The Kentucky senator also offered that he had "heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who would up with profound mental disorders after vaccines." But he did not cite specifics.
The comments from Clinton, Christie and Paul came after President Obama encouraged parents to vaccinate their children, amid a measles outbreak that sickened more than 100 people in 14 states. Obama said the science regarding vaccines is "indisputable." Most of these measles cases have been linked to an outbreak that originated at Disney theme parks in California.
Obama and Clinton have changed their view on vaccines since they battled each other for the Democratic nomination in 2008. Obama said in an NPR interview that he believed "the science right now is inconclusive" regarding vaccines that cause autism. Clinton that year told an autism group that she was committed to determining "what, if any, kind of link there is between vaccines and autism."
Medical experts such as the American Academy of Pediatrics have said there is no scientific link between measles vaccination and autism.
Republicans pounced on Clinton's tweet.
"Since Hillary Clinton is running for President Obama's third term, it's no surprise she abruptly changed her position just 24 hours after he restated his," said Michael Short, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee.
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