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Report: U.S. Naval Seaman Admits Wanting To Pass Classified Info To Russia
May 25, 2019
A Yasen-class nuclear-powered submarine at the Sevmash shipyard in 2017

A Yasen-class nuclear-powered submarine at the Sevmash shipyard in 2017

A U.S. naval seaman has been sentenced to three years in a military prison after admitting he sought to share classified information about U.S. nuclear-powered warships with Russia.

The Associated Press reported on May 24 that Petty Officer Second Class Stephen Kellogg wanted to expose waste in the U.S. Navy.

Jeff Houston, of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, told AP that Kellogg, 26, tried to make contact with Sevmash, a major manufacturer of Russian nuclear submarines.

Authorities learned of his plans after arresting Kellogg on August 27 for being drunk as he sought to board a flight from San Diego, California, to New York City.

Court records said Kellogg had bought a one-way plane ticket and planned to meet a friend from high school who is a journalist in New York.

Kellogg worked as an electrician and had classified information relating to the capabilities of the Navy's nuclear propulsion systems.

Kellogg also allegedly told a roommate that he planned to defect to Russia, had written an e-mail to an address associated with Sevmash, and called the company six times.

Based on reporting by AP

 

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Russia to buy 114 upgraded Ka-52M attack helicopter

29 MAY 2019

The upgraded Ka-52M ‘Alligator’ combat helicopter will get more capabilities for using weapons against targets in the air and on the ground, the press office of Russian Helicopters rotorcraft maker said in a press release.

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Ka-52

"Work is underway to further increase the range of detecting and identifying targets and, correspondingly, to boost the capabilities of employing weapons against both ground and air targets," the press office quoted Russian Helicopters CEO Andrei Boginsky as saying in a comment on improvements in the upgraded version.

On the instruction from Russia’s defense minister, work has been carried out to modernize electro-optical systems for the Ka-52M helicopter and it has already proven its worth, Boginsky said.

"Also, in cooperation with other enterprises, we are working on the issue of increasing the helicopter’s armored protection and renewing its power supply system. The second task is to standardize air-launched weapons with our other helicopters of the Mi family," the chief executive said.

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko said earlier on Tuesday that Russia’s top brass planned to sign a contract in 2020 on purchasing 114 upgraded Ka-52M attack helicopters, The Russian defense official made this statement as he visited the Progress Aviation Enterprise in the Primorye Region, the producer of Ka-52 ‘Alligator’ attack helicopters.

"We expect to sign a new contract already next year on 114 modernized Ka-52M helicopters," the deputy defense minister said.

As the defense official specified, the upgraded version of the Ka-52 attack helicopter, the Ka-52M, would be created by 2022. The experimental design work on the upgraded helicopter will take into account Russia’s combat experience in Syria, he added.

The Ka-52M will get new power supply and target acquisition systems. Also, following the requirements of Russia’s Defense Ministry, the helicopter’s protection will be enhanced considerably, Krivoruchko said.

The Ka-52 ‘Alligator’ reconnaissance/attack helicopter is designed to destroy tanks, armored and non-armored vehicles, manpower, rotorcraft and other enemy aircraft on the frontline and in the tactical depth, in any weather conditions and at any time.

The ‘Alligator’ is furnished with modern avionics while its coaxial rotor system and enhanced longitudinal control enable it to effectively maneuver and perform complex aerobatic operations.

Besides, the Ka-52 features the radio-electronic protection system and low signature devices that reduce, dissipate and distort the engines’ thermal trace. It also has active countermeasures capabilities.

http://airrecognition.com/index.php...uy-114-upgraded-ka-52m-attack-helicopter.html
 

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U.S. believes Russia conducting low-level nuclear tests: official
30 May 2019


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States believes Russia may be conducting low-level nuclear testing in violation of a moratorium on such tests, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency said on Wednesday.

“The United States believes that Russia probably is not adhering to its nuclear testing moratorium in a manner consistent with the ‘zero-yield’ standard,” Lieutenant General Robert P. Ashley said at an arms control forum at the Hudson Institute.

Negotiated in the 1990s, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) enjoys wide global support but must be ratified by eight more nuclear technology states — among them Israel, Iran, Egypt and the United States — to come into force.
Russia ratified the treaty in 2000.

“We believe they have the capability in the way they are set up” to conduct low-level nuclear tests that exceed the zero yield limit set in the CTBT, Ashley said.

There was no immediate response from the Russian government, but the head of the Russian State Duma Defense Committee, Vladimir Shamanov, told the Interfax news agency that Ashley “could not have made a more irresponsible statement.”

“Nuclear tests cannot be carried out secretly,” it quoted him as saying.

“These kinds of statements reveal that the professionalism of the military is systemically falling in America,” Shamanov said.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus referred specific questions to the DIA, but charged that Russia “routinely” disregarded its international obligations and was in breach of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

“They have been in breach for several years and they have tested, produced, fielded an INF weapon ... We are certainly alarmed that they continue to disregard their international obligations as it relates to arms control.”

Russia announced last month it was suspending the INF treaty after the United States said it would withdraw because of violations by Moscow.

Russia denies flouting the accord and has accused Washington of breaking the accord itself.

Reporting by Jonathan Landay and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Susan Thomas

 

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U.S. Says Russia Might Be Setting Off Very Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons On This Arctic Island
Such tests would be in violation of an international nuclear test ban treaty that Russia has signed and ratified.

By Joseph Trevithick
May 29, 2019

The U.S. government says that Russia may be conducting low-yield nuclear testing at a remote site above the Arctic Circle in violation of its obligations under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, or CTBT. The allegation comes at a time when arms control deals between the two countries appear especially fragile. At the same time, the two nuclear-armed nations are actively working to modernize and diversify their arsenals.
The Wall Street Journal was first to report the accusation on May 29, 2019, citing a U.S. intelligence assessment and comments from U.S. Army Lieutenant General Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). The claims reportedly center around activities at Novaya Zemlya, an archipelago in Russia’s far north, where the country has conducted nuclear weapon testing in the past and that continues to support nuclear weapons development programs.

“The United States believes that Russia probably is not adhering to its nuclear testing moratorium in a manner consistent with the ‘zero-yield’ standard,” DIA Director Ashley said in prepared remarks at the Hudson Institute think tank in Washington, D.C. on May 29, 2019. "We believe they have the capability to do it, the way that they’re set up."

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DIA Director U.S. Army Lieutenant General Robert Ashley speaks at the Hudson Institute on May 29, 2019.

It is important to note, however, that he declined to offer any additional specifics and would not confirm whether the Russians had actually conducted any low-yield nuclear tests, despite the purported ability to do so. The Russian Embassy in Washington also denied to the Journal that the country had violated the CTBT.

Russia signed the CTBT in 1996 and ratified it in 2000. The United States signed the agreement in 1996, but has never ratified it. However, the U.S. government has been observing a self-imposed moratorium on all nuclear testing since 1992. These agreements and declarations were the outgrowths of decades of negotiations dating back to the first-ever nuclear test in New Mexico, known as Trinity. These discussions between nuclear-armed powers had also resulted in the Partial Test Ban Treaty, or PTBT, in 1963, in which signatories agreed not to detonate nuclear weapons above-ground, undersea, or in space.

The video below offers an excellent graphical representation of the extent of known nuclear testing, covering detonations between 1945 and 1998.

In addition to obtaining details about the new intelligence assessment about possible Russian nuclear testing, the Journal says it has seen an unreleased 1997 presidential directive from then-President Bill Clinton. This document explains that the United States and Russia, as well as with the United Kingdom, France, and China, all exchanged letters agreeing that certain unspecified activities were exempt from the parameters of the CTBT.
The treaty continues to lack a hard technical definition of what constitutes a nuclear explosion. It also allows for computer modeling and other non-nuclear testing related to nuclear weapons so that countries can ensure the safety and reliability of their nuclear stockpiles.

With all this in mind, it is unclear whether or not the U.S. government is actually accusing the Russians of test firing low-yield nuclear weapons or if it is asserting that the Kremlin is not keeping with the spirit of the agreement and is exploiting technical loopholes in the CTBT to achieve the same research and development aims. For instance, evidence emerged in 2012 that Russia might have constructed a new sub-critical nuclear test facility in Novaya Zemlya.

But sub-critical testing, which does not involve a full-fledged nuclear reaction, does not meet the threshold of a nuclear explosion under the CTBT, according to either Russia or the United States. The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration operates a similar facility, known as the U1a Complex, within the Nevada National Security Site for exactly this purpose.


It’s also almost impossible to independently assess the new U.S. government claims without any details about the intelligence sources the U.S. government is using to make its determination about potential Russian low-yield testing. This could include a mix of intercepted communications, human intelligence, atmospheric testing, geological monitoring, and more.

In 2017, there were curious and still largely unexplained reports about increased levels of radioactive isotopes in the atmosphere in Europe, which civilian researchers traced back to northwestern Russia. This also appeared to prompt the U.S. Air Force to deploy one of its WC-135 Constant Phoenix atmospheric testing aircraft to the region, though the service denied it was in response to any particular event.

Reports have since emerged that the U.S. government has been monitoring Russia’s tests of its still-in-development nuclear-powered Burevestnik cruise missile, which the Kremlin says will be nuclear capable. These launches have occurred from Novaya Zemlya and would, by definition, involve a nuclear reactor smashing into the ground at the end of each test, whether it is successful or not. It is possible that these events could produce signatures similar to extremely low yield nuclear testing.


There is the potential for other kinds of false positives, too. In 1997, the U.S. government accused the Russians of violating then still relatively new CTBT with a test in Novaya Zemlya, which turned out to have been a benign earthquake. Still, the United States has re-raised concerns about possible Russian low-yield nuclear testing since then and has cited it as a reason for not ratifying the CTBT in its present form.

There are also questions about what value extremely low-yield nuclear testing, which would have to involve detonations small enough not to draw the public attention of civilian government agencies and researchers who also monitor for such things. “Our understanding of nuclear weapon development leads us to believe Russia’s testing activities would help it to improve its nuclear weapons capabilities,” Ashley said at the Hudson Institute.

“It would be unfortunate if they were doing something at Novaya Zemlya that was not in the spirit of a zero-yield CTBT,” Siegfried Hecker, who served as the director of the U.S. government’s Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1986 until 1997, told the Journal. “But would the Russians somehow be able to gain an advantage for new systems if they were doing something slightly more than that? My general sense is no.”

But none of this necessarily means the Russians might not see some value in such tests or that they have laid the groundwork for more serious testing if it were to become obvious that the U.S. government was looking to pull out of the CTBT entirely. The Trump Administration insists it has no plans to abandon the treaty and resume nuclear testing, but in 2018 the President instructed the Department of Energy to be ready to detonate a nuclear device within six months of getting the order. The previous requirement was for the department to be able to resume testing within two to three years.


“The United States will not seek Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, but will continue to observe a nuclear test moratorium that began in 1992,” the Pentagon said in its most recent Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which came out in 2018, a notable change in the phrasing from the previous NPR. “This posture was adopted with the understanding that the United States must remain ready to resume nuclear testing if necessary to meet severe technological or geopolitical challenges.”

Since Trump took office in 2017, there have been growing calls for the United States to resume nuclear testing to support programs to modernize the country’s nuclear arsenal. This effort, which is costing hundreds of billions of dollars, began under President Barack Obama, but has grown even larger under the Trump Administration.

Regardless of whether Russia is or isn’t conducting secret low-yield nuclear testing, or is preparing to do so in response to the United States doing the same, a dispute over the CTBT is the latest in a worrying trend regarding major arms control agreements. Last year, the Trump Administration announced it would abandon the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, over the Kremlin’s violations of that deal, which you can read about in more detail here. There are now questions as to whether the U.S. government will look to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, due to a host of issues you can find out more about here.

There are already strong indications that the United States and Russia, and potentially other nuclear powers around the world, are already in the midst of a new arms race. If the CTBT were to completely collapse, it could only further inflame the situation. That is to say nothing of the potential ecological and health concerns that come along with setting off nuclear weapons, even in extremely controlled environments sealed underground.
With all this in mind, it will be very interesting to see what evidence the U.S. government provides publicly to support its claims and how these concerns about Russian activity might influence its own opinion on nuclear testing in the near term.

 

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Russian Defense Minister: Russian Army to launch new Meridian-M satellites
Monday, June 3, 2019



In six years, the Russian Armed Forces have received more than 115,000 pieces of modern communication equipment, which now accounts for 68%, said Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu at a board meeting.

He added that modern digital telecommunications equipment has been installed in more than 1,400 of the department’s facilities, ensuring “the full range of modern communications services, including protected high-resolution video conferencing on all management levels – from the General Staff to the individual military unit or recruitment office”.

Shoygu also said that two upgraded Meridian-M communications satellites will be launched for the Defense Ministry by the end of the year. Various media outlets have pointed out that this is the first mention of the existence of “modernized” Meridian satellites.

Four satellites will form the “Blagovest” military communications orbital group, Shoygu noted. This will expand the zones that can access satellite communication within Russia and outside of it, including the Arctic zone, the general explained.

Seven Meridian satellites were launched between 2006 and 2014. The first was critically damaged when the hermetically sealed container was punctured by a piece of space debris; the second was put into an unplanned orbit, but still functions correctly, and the fifth was not put into orbit at all. Meridians are designed to function for at least seven years.

The Blagovest telecommunications configuration is supposed to include four satellites and provide global coverage. Its purpose is to ensure that the Russian military has access to high-speed data transmission, TV and radio, internet, telephone, and other forms of communication. The satellites will use the Ka and Q frequency bands.

 

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Meet Russia's 'New' Tu-22M3M Bomber: "A Nasty Surprise for the U.S. Navy"
The Russian air force is scheduled to start taking Tu-22M3M deliveries in 2021, while dozens of Tu-22M3’s will be retrofitted with the M3M upgrade package over the coming years.
June 06, 2019
by Mark Episkopos

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In what is the latest sighting of Russia’s much-anticipated strategic bomber, the official television channel of the Russian Defense Ministry has released footage of the Tu-22M3M in action.

The one-minute clip, posted earlier this week, offers extended takeoff, flight, and landing shots. There was no footage from inside the cockpit, which is perhaps a missed opportunity to corroborate Tupolev’s recurring talking point that the Tu-22M3M boasts 80% new avionics over the original Tu-22M. According to Tupolev’s press office,

“The replacement of 80% [of the plane’s] avionics will improve navigation accuracy and level of automation, and streamline its technical maintenance as well as preflight routine.” Notably, the additions will include GLONASS navigation system integration, a digital onboard interface, modernized glass cockpit, and electronic warfare countermeasures (ECM)."

It is unsurprising that the manufacturer is going out of their way to stress the Tu-22M3M’s revamped internal components, given that the bomber’s chassis is otherwise nearly identical to its predecessors. This approach also displayed with the upcoming Tu-160M2 bomber and recently produced A-50U reconnaissance plane, is a core pillar in Russia’s air force modernization strategy: filling tried-and-true Soviet era chassis designs with new technical guts, thereby keeping R&D costs to a minimum and expediting development cycles.

As important as updated avionics are in the age of modern warfare, the centerpiece of the Tu-22M3M upgrade package is the inclusion of up to three new Kh-32 missiles. While classified as anti-ship missiles, the Kh-32 was also developed to also be effective against critical infrastructure targets like bridges and power plants.

It is this newfound offensive flexibility that has led defense analyst Dmitry Kornev to describe the Tu-22M3M as “occupying a unique position between strategic and operational-tactical roles,” as opposed to heavier aircraft like the Tu-160 that exist squarely in the heavy strategic bomber camp.

The Tu-22M3M, along with its M3 predecessor and MiG-31K, will be among the handful of currently operational Russian aircraft confirmed to be compatible with the nuclear-capable, Mach 10 speed Kh-47 “Kinzhal” missile unveiled at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 2018 address to the federal assembly.

Military expert Yuri Knutov noted that the Tu-22M3M is not only a valuable addition to the air component of Russia’s nuclear triad, but the spearhead of a new power projection strategy to counter American to counter carrier strike groups operating in Russia’s sphere of influence: “The VKS [Russian air force] is undergoing an infrastructure update, in which the Tu-22M3M will have a role to play. The bomber will likely be able to land in most terminals, using them take-off points. Particularly important is the opportunity to transfer the Tu-22M3M to Crimea. American destroyers regularly enter the Black Sea.

If tensions sharpen, the proliferation of [Tu-22M3M] bombers on the Crimean peninsula will become a nasty surprise for the US Navy.” Tu-22M3 bombers were frequently sighted in Crimea and the larger Black Sea area over the coming years, but it appears that the Russian air force is now pursuing a more deliberate policy of long-range power projection in that region.

The Russian air force is scheduled to start taking Tu-22M3M deliveries in 2021, while dozens of Tu-22M3’s will be retrofitted with the M3M upgrade package over the coming years.

 

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The Story of Why Russia Suddenly Scrambled Half Of Its Stealth Fighters
07 June 2019
by Mark Episkopos
View attachment 7635
Su 57

Upon his arrival at the flight test center, Putin discussed the merits of the Su-57 with several of its test pilots; one called it a “great leap into the future,” while others suggested that certain technical details are still being worked out. “We need it [the Su-57] to be the best in the world,” Putin told the pilots, while encouraging them to provide Su-57 engineers with all the relevant feedback that they can. “We are very much counting on you, on your professionalism.”


Several weeks ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s IL-96-300PU presidential plane was flanked by no less than six Su-57 stealth fighter jets while en route to the 929th Chkalov State Flight-Test Center in southwestern Russia.

Video footage of the flight shows the Su-57 fighters grouped in what better resembles a parade column than an escort formation, suggesting a soft-power intent behind Putin’s trip. There are several factors at play. First and perhaps least significant, this footage of six functional Su-57’s heads off any and all speculation that the 2019 Victory Day Parade airshow was called off for any reason other than the Defense Ministry’s cited weather concerns.

Other coverage has focused on the political connotations, noting that the Chkalov Center trip took place shortly before Putin’s Sochi meeting with Pompeo. While partially convincing, this line of reasoning cannot explain the timing. If Putin wanted to stage a diplomatic show of force, why now and not during his prior meetings with President Trump and National Security Advisor John Bolton? After all, Russia’s strategic approach vis-a-vis the US has remained largely consistent over the past several years.

Rather, the unprecedented decision to utilize six of Russia’s most advanced fifth-generation fighters—approximately half of the currently available roster—in a VIP escort mission is the latest step in Russia’s ongoing Su-57 branding campaign. Unsurprisingly, Putin has repeatedly showered the Su-57 with adulation over the past several years; it was only several months ago that he referred to it as the best fighter in the world. But as high-stakes Su-57 export talks with Turkey, India, and China continue to unfold, Putin is adopting what appears to be an increasingly proactive role in advertising the Su-57 to prospective buyers.

Upon his arrival at the flight test center, Putin discussed the merits of the Su-57 with several of its test pilots; one called it a “great leap into the future,” while others suggested that certain technical details are still being worked out. “We need it [the Su-57] to be the best in the world,” Putin told the pilots, while encouraging them to provide Su-57 engineers with all the relevant feedback that they can. “We are very much counting on you, on your professionalism.”

As underscored by this interaction, certain technical aspects of the Su-57 are still being worked out. Perhaps the most crucial among them are the fighter’s ongoing engine troubles. The Su-57 was designed with the powerful Izdeliye 30 engine, allowing for 28,000lbs of dry thrust and 42,000lbs of afterburning. But Izdeliye 30 was delayed due to engineering setbacks, and pre-production models were equipped with the weaker Al-41F1 engine as a temporary stopgap measure. It remains to be seen if the upcoming serial production models—including one to be delivered later this year—will ship with the new engine.

On the one hand, Putin’s heightened personal involvement signals just how heavily invested the Kremlin has become in the Su-57’s commercial success. But on the other, Putin’s willingness to tie his personal reputation to Russia’s fifth-generation flagship fighter may speak to his growing confidence in its long-term viability.

 

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Russian Navy conducts firing drills in Baltic amid NATO exercise
June 11, 2019

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A group of ships from Russia’s Baltic Fleet has entered the Baltic Sea to conduct an exercise, the Russian Defense Ministry reports.

The group includes the corvettes Boikiy and Stoikiy, the small missile vessels Serpukhov, Zeleny Dol, Liven and Passat, and the anti-submarine ship Alexin. They entered the Baltic in order to practice firing torpedoes, missiles and artillery against imaginary enemy ships and airborne targets.

During the drill, the ships will rehearse search and destroy procedures, electronic missile launches, and defense against a large-scale air raid.

Between 9 and 21 June, NATO is conducting the Baltops 2019 exercise in the Baltic Sea. The drill is meant to demonstrate how well the NATO forces are able to work together and defend against any enemy. Soldiers from 18 countries will participate in the drill. The Baltops exercise has been held annually since 1972.

RIA Novosti reported with reference to Russia’s Southern Military District (SMD) that Russian A-50 early warning aircraft have been relocated to Krasnodar Krai to monitor the aerial situation over the Black Sea during the NATO exercise. SMD Spokesperson Vadim Astafyev said that this will help to prevent incidents with civilian ships and aircraft, which could end up in the alliance’s exercise zone. The A-50s will be escorted by Su-27SMZ fighters.

At the start of June, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that the alliance will conduct a joint exercise in the Black Sea with the Ukrainian military.

 

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Russia sends A-50 'flying radars' to Kuban amid NATO exercises
11 June 2019


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The head of the press service of the Russian southern military district, Vadim Astafyev said that the long-range radiolocation detection aircrafts A-50 were relocated to the Kuban.

According to him, "A-50 aircraft of Russian Aerospace Forces flew to one of the airfields located in the Krasnodar region."

The aircraft will monitor the air over the Black Sea during large-scale NATO exercises, which take place on the territory of several Black Sea countries in Eastern Europe.

This will prevent possible incidents involving civilian ships and aircraft that might accidentally end up in the area of NATO exercises, said Astafyev.

It is also noted that A-50 aircraft are accompanied by Su-27SM3 fighters in the airspace above the neutral waters of the Black Sea.

 

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Russia says it intercepted U.S., Swedish aircraft over Baltic Sea
June 12, 2019
By Ed Adamczyk

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A Russian Su-27, similar to the fighter plane depicted, intercepted Swedish and U.S. reconnaissance planes over the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said. {link:photo by Dmitry Pichugin: "Aviation Photo #1014282: Sukhoi Su-27SKM - Russia - Air Force"/Airliners.net/Wikimedia

June 12 (UPI) -- A Russian fighter plane intercepted U.S. and Swedish reconnaissance planes over the Baltic Sea near the Russian border, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The Russian Su-27 plane took off to intercept the planes, which the ministry identified as a U.S. RC-135 and a Swedish Gulfstream jet, each a reconnaissance aircraft. The Russian plane then escorted the two planes away from the Russian border.

The incident came Tuesday as NATO conducts the BALTOPS 2019 exercise. About 36 aircraft, 50 surface ships and two submarines from 18 NATO countries are participating in the 12-day military exercise, which began on Sunday.

"On June 10, the Russian airspace control services over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea detected two air targets approaching Russia's state border. A Su-27 fighter jet of the Baltic Fleet's Air Defense Forces was scrambled to intercept the targets," a ministry statement said. "The Su-27 pilot reported on the identification of foreign reconnaissance aircraft and accompanied them, preventing violations of the Russian airspace borders in compliance with all necessary security measures."

The ministry released a video of what it said was the intercept.


An unnamed U.S. military official confirmed the incident but said the action was safe and professional.

On Monday, the United States formally delivered a diplomatic protest, called a demarche, to the Russian government over a near collision last week between a Russian warship and a U.S. Navy ship in the Philippine Sea.

The demarche was delivered to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the chargé d'affaires in the U.S. embassy in Moscow, with a similar message delivered to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

 

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Kremlin demands explanation why UK special forces have been tasked with countering Russian special operations
June 16, 2019

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The British ministries of defense and foreign affairs must explain publicly the reports in the British media that the UK special forces have been retasked with countering Russian special operations, said the spokesperson of the Russian Embassy in the UK.

“As far as we understand, these are still drafts that will be presented for approval by the political leadership. We would like to hope that the relevant politicians will not allow the soldiers and special forces to implement their dangerous ideas,” he said.

The Russian diplomat said that such publications are alarming.

“If it is actually true, then such a decision appears, firstly, mistaken, and secondly, questionable with respect to London’s compliance with its international legal obligations,” he concluded.

Recently BBC published an article claiming that a plan has been drafted to reassign the UK Special Forces from the fight against terrorism to the countering of foreign governments, especially Russia, which is believed to be conducting secret operations in the Baltic states and in Africa. If the plan is approved by the relevant leaders, the internal special forces divisions will be restructured, and several of them will start to cooperate more actively with the foreign intelligence service, MI6

 

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