Russia May Aim Nukes at Europe

Russia May Aim Nukes at Europe

Press TV
July 13, 2008

Russia is considering aiming nuclear weapons at Western Europe for the first time since the end of the cold war.

Defense sources in Moscow say among the schemes being discussed to counter US plans to station a missile defense shield in Europe is the possible deployment of ballistic missiles in Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave between the EU countries of Lithuania and Poland, The Times Online reported.

A Russian parliamentary committee visited the enclave 10 days ago to look into how a new generation of nuclear missiles could be based there, the report added.

If a deployment does take place, then it would greatly increase tensions in Europe between Moscow and Washington.

Only last week, the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice signed an agreement in Prague to build a radar station in the Czech Republic.

A deal with Poland is in the works to host a base for 10 interceptor rockets on its border with Russia. The agreement is expected to be signed later this year.

Moscow is strongly opposed to the shield, saying that it is part of an aggressive US military expansion into its own backyard.

A source with close connections to the Russian defense ministry said, “One of the main steps under consideration is a redeployment of nuclear missiles to Kaliningrad and Belarus. These missiles would be pointed at Europe. It would be a perfectly legitimate step. If America wants to expand its military capabilities in Europe, then we have the right to act accordingly”.

The source also went on to question the US claim that the shield was intended to intercept missiles only from the so-called rogue states. He said, “How would Washington feel if we placed interceptor missiles on Cuba or Venezuela?”

Experts said the threat of deploying missiles in Kaliningrad was largely aimed at strengthening the opposition to the shields in Poland and the Czech Republic. Experts went on to add that Russia would have to build new long-range ground-based ballistic missiles since it has destroyed most of its Soviet-era arsenal.


U.S. troops to hold exercises in Georgia, Ukraine

July 14, 2008

Georgian soldiers take part in war games with their US, Armenian, Azerbaijani and Ukrainean counterparts at the Vaziani training area on the outskirts of Tbilisi.

US troops on Monday began military exercises near the Russian border in ex-Soviet Ukraine and were poised to launch them in Georgia, amid tense relations between Moscow and Washington, officials said.

A ceremony inaugurating the Sea Breeze-2008 NATO exercise was held off Ukraine’s Black Sea coast, a Ukrainian defence ministry spokeswoman said, against anti-NATO protests and a hostile reaction from officials in Russia.

The NATO exercises “will increase political and military tensions in Europe as a whole,” Sergei Mironov, speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency in Moscow.

Sea Breeze-2008, which lasts until July 26, will also include forces from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Macedonia and Turkey, officials said.

Separate military exercises dubbed Immediate Response-2008 are due to start in Georgia on Tuesday with Armenian, Azerbaijani, Ukrainian and US troops taking part, a Georgian defence ministry spokeswoman said.

“The US-Georgia joint exercises will be held at the Vaziani military base” less than 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the Russian border with a total of 1,650 servicemen taking part, said the spokeswoman, Nana Intskirveli.


Russia to ‘neutralise’ US missile defence threat: report

July 14, 2008

Russia’s military is ready to “neutralise” any threat to its nuclear deterrent from US missile defence sites in Europe, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak said Monday, according to Interfax news agency.

“If we see the development of systems that could reduce our deterrent potential, our military will have to take steps to neutralise the threat,” Kislyak was quoted as saying at a briefing in Moscow.

He did not specify the steps that would be taken, saying “this will be decided by military specialists.”

“We would prefer not to have to do this,” he added.

Kislyak said US proposals to ease Russian concerns about the missile shield, which Washington claims is aimed at countering possible threats from states such as Iran, remained in doubt.

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Armenia declares Marshal Law

Armenia declares Marshal Law

March 2, 2008

A state of emergency has been declared in Armenia’s capital on the 11th consecutive day of protests against an allegedly rigged presidential election.

The measure, signed by President Robert Kocharian, bans public gatherings and imposes restrictions on media reports.

It came after police fired in the air to disperse demonstrators. Some reports suggest a number of casualties.

Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian won the 19 February vote against opposition challenger Levon Ter-Petrosian.

Mr Ter-Petrosian says he is under house arrest.

International observers judged the poll in the ex-Soviet Caucasus republic to be generally democratic.

‘Standing firm’

The latest clashes erupted after police cleared Freedom Square of opposition demonstrators who had been camping there since the election. At least 31 people were wounded in the morning stand-off.

Regrouping later, they used buses as barricades. Some cars were set on fire.

Lines of police were deployed to face the protesters.

A witness told Reuters news agency police had fired in the air “to scare us”.

We could see red tracer bullet fire being shot in two directions Alan, witness

“They have fired tear gas. But people are standing firm. There are thousands of people standing here with us.”

Some unconfirmed reports said a number of people had been injured as police fired in the air. It was not clear how the injuries were sustained.

Alan, a development consultant in Yerevan, heard a lot of gunfire from his home close to Freedom Square.

“After the shooting, we heard a lot of shouting and saw people running from the scene. We could see red tracer bullet fire being shot in two directions,” he told the BBC.

Lori, who lives in the centre of Yerevan, saw a line of tanks roll down her street shortly before the violence erupted.

“About 30 minutes later I saw a flash from my window and then we heard a boom sound,” she said.

“We heard shooting and saw red tracer bullets firing in our direction. The shooting was constant and very heavy for more than an hour.”

But President Kocharian told a late evening news conference that some of the demonstrators were armed and that police said they had been shot at.

“What’s going on now is not a political process. It has gone over the edge,” he said.

“I appeal to the people of Armenia to show restraint and understanding.”

The state of emergency is to remain in force until 20 March, the presidential decree says. Witnesses say they have seen army lorries carrying soldiers on the main road heading towards the Armenian capital.

The opposition has said it will continue with the protests.

Official results gave Mr Sarkisian 53% of the vote, with Mr Ter-Petrosian, a former president, getting 21.5%.