Lavrov speaks out against NATO at UN


The Living Force
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May 22, 2019 - The minister spoke following a meeting of the CSTO Council of Foreign Ministers held in Kyrgyzstan.

Lavrov expects NATO to respond to post-Soviet security bloc’s initiative to ease tensions

© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expects NATO to respond to an initiative to ease tensions in the Euro-Atlantic region and Eurasia that the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has put forward.

"An important statement has been adopted, which openly addresses NATO members on behalf of CSTO countries and calls for steps to ease tensions in the Euro-Atlantic region and Eurasia," he said following a meeting of the CSTO Council of Foreign Ministers held in Kyrgyzstan’s capital of Bishkek on Wednesday.

"The document contains specific proposals. Let’s hope that NATO will pay attention to it and show some response," the Russian top diplomat added.

The Bishkek meeting involved the foreign ministers of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

The parties discussed the organization’s plans to make joint political statements and take joint steps to implement the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy for 2019-2012 and measures to ease tensions along the Tajik-Afghan border. In addition, the foreign ministers agreed to hold consultations on foreign policy, defense and security issues in 2019-2020 and establish a mechanism of cooperation with the CSTO Crisis Response Center.

(A speech on NATO activities and a need to retain Christian and moral values towards Peace.)

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s speech at a gala reception for Orthodox Easter, Moscow, May 20, 2019
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s speech at a gala reception for Orthodox Easter, Moscow, May 20, 2019

Your Holiness,

Your Excellencies,

Colleagues and friends,

I am sincerely pleased to welcome the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church, representatives of other traditional religions, government bodies and civil society, as well as heads of diplomatic missions accredited in Moscow, to the annual Easter meeting at the Foreign Ministry.

The main Christian holiday of the Holy Resurrection of Christ symbolises our faith in the triumph of kindness and mercy, fills our souls with joy, and reminds us of the importance of helping one another, love for our fellow man, the need to seek truth and justice and at the same time oppose evil in all of its forms.

Epochs have come and gone, but the Russian Orthodox Church has always stood by its flock, helping it to overcome terrible trials, including those that confronted the peoples of this country during the Great Patriotic War. Today, the Church continues its selfless efforts to unite Russian society around enduring values, greatly supports the patriotic upbringing of the youth, and invariably helps the needy – all those who are in trouble.

I would like to make special mention of the Church’s centuries-long protection of Orthodox believers, including Christians abroad, in their striving to preserve their cultural and religious identity. These efforts have always been enthusiastically supported by our country’s Foreign Ministry.

This noble work is as important as ever in today’s climate. We see how Christians are persecuted and harassed in different parts of the world. In Europe, which is coyly renouncing its Christian roots, an aggressive minority relentlessly imposes on people pseudo-liberal values that sometimes reach the point of absurdity. All this is damaging the moral health of European societies and leading to greater religious tensions.

Christians have suffered and continue suffering from the geopolitical experiments of states of the so-called historical West. Twenty years ago, NATO committed an act of aggression against Yugoslavia, which led not only to many civilian deaths but also the mass departure of Orthodox believers from Kosovo, to the desecration and destruction of churches and holy places in this Serbian territory, including those under UNESCO protection.

The Middle East is also going through serious trials. The exodus of Christians from Iraq, public executions of Coptic Christians in Libya and the murder of Christians by terrorists and extremists in Syria are just a small part of the consequences of the irresponsible geopolitical engineering by the US and its closest allies.

Russia continues to render comprehensive assistance to the Christians of the Middle East: from humanitarian relief to the restoration of churches and monasteries. This country has initiated large international events on protecting Christians at the UN, OSCE, the Council of Europe and other venues.

Obviously, it is only possible to reliably protect Christians living in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as representatives of other religions, by completely eliminating terrorism and reaching a stable political and diplomatic settlement of numerous crises and conflicts. Russia is actively working on addressing these major challenges. It is largely owing to our efforts that Syrian statehood was preserved, a devastating blow was dealt at the so-called Islamic State, the Syrian National Dialogue Congress was held in Sochi and conditions were created for the start of a political settlement process. In cooperation with our partners in the Astana format we are facilitating the formation of the Constitutional Committee as soon as possible and will continue helping Syria’s recovery, working to solve humanitarian problems and facilitating the return of refugees.

The situation in Ukraine causes pain in the heart of each of us. A coup took place in that country five years ago. Power was seized by radical nationalists who unleashed a civil war against their own compatriots and coreligionists. They chose to openly encourage neo-Nazis and glorify collaborators with Hitler’s Germany

The war on the Russian language and culture, the desire to destroy the expansive ties between the two fraternal nations, became the hallmark of the former regime in Kiev. They even invaded the holy of the holies – the country’s spiritual life. Criticism of the canonical Orthodox Church, acts of vandalism, seizures of cathedrals and churches, and attacks against clergymen became systematic. The artificially inspired church schism only aggravated the domestic crisis and led to the deepening of the dividing lines in Ukrainian society. As such, it is especially important that, despite outside pressure, most local churches realise the risks associated with the proclamation of the new breakaway Church of Ukraine. I am convinced that the attempts to sever Russia-Ukraine spiritual ties that date back a millennium are doomed to fail. Time will set things straight.

In his inaugural address today, President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky objected to the attempts to divide Ukrainian society on linguistic grounds. No doubt, this should also fully apply to religion and, more broadly, the comprehensive implementation of the Minsk agreements to settle the domestic Ukrainian conflict. It would be right and Christian-like to start with the provisions of these documents on the exchange of prisoners according to the principle of “all for all.”

Russia will continue promoting an international agenda that takes into account the identity of nations and builds trust between representatives of different religions, civilizations and cultures. In this aspiration we are united with the Russian Orthodox Church – the outpost for the defense of the homeland’s historical and spiritual inheritance. The Foreign Ministry will continue its very close cooperation with the Moscow Patriarchate and representatives of other religions with a view to structuring interstate relations according to the principles of peace, harmony and justice.


The Living Force
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Post-Soviet security bloc suggests CSTO, NATO establish dialogue
BISHKEK, May 22, 2019 - Foreign ministers from the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) suggested in their open address to their counterparts from NATO countries to establish contacts between the organizations’ coordinating bodies and observers’ joint participation in military drills, according to a statement circulated by the CSTO Secretariat on Wednesday.

"We are offering a set of measures to establish direct contacts between the general bodies of the two organizations and a dialogue between the CSTO Standing Council and the North Atlantic Council, and also assistance in providing for mutual participation of observers in military drills in the CSTO and NATO format," the document says.

The Councils of Foreign Ministers of the CSTO and SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) member states are holding their sessions in Bishkek on Wednesday. The Russian delegation is led by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The CSTO is an international security organization that involves six countries: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Kyrgyzstan took over the CSTO chairmanship from Kazakhstan in November 2018.

The SCO member-countries are Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia have the observer status. Six countries - Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka - are the SCO’s dialogue partners.

CSTO foreign ministers call for creating mechanism of consultations with NATO
MOSCOW, May 22, 2019 - CSTO foreign ministers in their open message to their NATO counterparts have called for creating a mechanism of regular consultations between the organizations’ secretariats on regional and European security. The text of the message was published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website on Wednesday.

"We are calling upon the foreign ministers of NATO member-states with a call for creating a mechanism of regular consultations between the secretariats of the CSTO and NATO on crucial issues of regional and European security," the message runs.

Top diplomats of the CSTO have agreed to develop contacts with NATO in order to avoid dangerous military incidents, the statement informs.

"[We call] to facilitate the development of contacts between the CSTO and NATO with the aim of establishing mechanisms of preventing dangerous military incidents," the document points out.


The Living Force
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No excuses for unjustified aggression: Serbia’s Vucic slams NATO for 1999 bombings

June 10, 2019 - The statement followed US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European, Eurasian Affairs Mathew Palmer’s remark on the 1999 aggression and his call addressed to the Serbs to look into the future.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization had no reason to attack Serbia in 1999, so there can be no excuse for that violent act of belligerence, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic told a joint news conference with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Mathew Palmer in Belgrade on Monday.

"NATO’s stance 20 years ago was absolutely unjustified. I believe there was no sufficient reason for aggression against Serbia. It claimed many human lives, destroyed our highway, railway and economic infrastructure and our political infrastructure as far as relations with Western countries go for decades after. I believe there was no justification for this. I believe that the Serbian people paid a price that they did not deserve. I hope that ten years down the road, those people who did this will be scrutinize this issue not from a geopolitical point of view, but from the standpoint of truth and the right of such a small people like the Serbs to life and living it," Vucic said in reply to media questions.

His statement followed Palmer’s own remark on the North Atlantic Alliance’s 1999 attack and his call addressed to the Serbs to look into the future.

"We understand how sensitive the issue of NATO’s intervention in Kosovo is for the people of Serbia. We of course regret the loss of life that was part of that intervention, but NATO made that decision for reasons that are entirely defensible. What we hope is that rather than looking back and seeking to re-litigate the past that we could encourage everybody to look forward," he said.

Vucic agreed with the need to think about the future.

"We should be focused on the future," Vucic said, adding that in his opinion on Serbia’s future implied a good relationship with the United States and that he would do his utmost to build a good relationship with that country. "We must make a distinction in our heads, we must be able to respect our past and ourselves, but most of all we must respect the future of our children and contemplate this," he said.

NATO aggression
March 24, 2019 marked 20 years since NATO launched a campaign of armed aggression against Yugoslavia. The bombings were initiated without any greenlight from the UN Security Council. NATO claimed that it was allegedly preventing a genocide of Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian population was the main reason for the military strike codenamed Allied Force. According to NATO’s website during the operation that lasted 78 days, the alliance’s planes flew 38,000 sorties. More than 10,000 of them were bombing raids.

According to Western statistics published by Human Rights Watch, the bombardments left 500 civilians and about 1,000 military serven dead. According to Serbian sources, the bombing raids killed 2,000 civilians. Several hundred others went missing. About one thousand military servicemen were killed. Serbia’s military-industrial infrastructure was wiped out. A total of 1,500 communities, 60 bridges, 30% of schools and 100 monuments were destroyed. The material damage caused by the bombings is estimated at $30 billion to $100 billion. Some facilities have not been restored to this day. The bombardments of oil refineries and petrochemical plants polluted the country’s water system with toxic chemicals.

Some experts say that those areas of Serbia that were attacked with depleted uranium shells have experienced cancer epidemics.

Russian Baltic Fleet to monitor NATO naval drills "Baltops-2019" — defense ministry

The Baltops-2019 NATO naval drills are held on June 9-21 in the southern part of the Baltic Sea

The Aleksin anti-submarine ship of the Russian Baltic Fleet

The Aleksin anti-submarine ship of the Russian Baltic Fleet © Vitaly Nevar/TASS

MOSCOW, June 10, 2019 - The Russian Baltic Fleet will monitor joint NATO naval drills in the Baltic Sea, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday.

The ministry noted that Russian Baltic Fleet's ships, aircraft and Bastion coastal missile defense systems are on combat duty in the assigned areas.

The press service of the Russian Baltic Fleet said earlier on Monday that scheduled naval exercises are held in the Baltic Sea with participation of Boiky and Stoiky corvettes; Serpukhov, Zeleny Dol, Liven and Passat small rocket ships; and Aleksin anti-submarine ship.

The Baltops-2019 NATO naval drills are held on June 9-21 in the southern part of the Baltic Sea. Around 40 ships and 40 aircraft from 18 countries will take part in the military exercise.


The Living Force
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NO Embarrassment ... NO Shame ... NO Moral Conscious!

Kosovo Albanians welcome Clinton, Albright 20 years after NATO intervention June 12, 2019
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci walk during the 20th anniversary of the Deployment of NATO Troops in Kosovo in Pristina, Kosovo June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Florion Goga
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci walk during the 20th anniversary of the Deployment of NATO Troops in Kosovo in Pristina, Kosovo June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Florion Goga

Clinton, 72, and Albright, 82, were greeted like rock stars in the Kosovo capital Pristina where a statue of Albright was unveiled in the city center for the occasion, joining one of Clinton erected earlier on a boulevard named after him.

Thousands of Kosovo Albanians turned out on Wednesday to welcome back former U.S. President Bill Clinton and his ex-top diplomat Madeleine Albright 20 years after they helped engineer the NATO air war that ousted Serbian forces.

Majority-Albanian Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nine years after NATO air strikes ended Belgrade’s repressive grip on the territory following a brutal counter-insurgency campaign by Serbian security forces.

“I love this country and it will always be one of the greatest honors of my life to have stood with you against ethnic cleansing (by Serbian forces) and for freedom,” Clinton told thousands gathered in sweltering heat in downtown Pristina.

Marking the 20th Anniversary of NATO peacekeeping troops entering Kosovo after Serbian forces left, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci awarded Clinton and Albright medals of freedom "for the liberty he brought to us and the peace to entire region." :barf:

Clinton and Albright were the most outspoken proponents of NATO intervention to halt killings of Kosovar civilians by Serbian forces as part of Belgrade’s 1998-99 crackdown on a Kosovo Albanian guerrilla uprising.

“I was watching the NATO planes from the window of my apartment in Pristina during the war and I was praying to God and the USA; I had no other hope,” said Gani Kelmendi, 78, as he waited in the crowd for Clinton to appear.

“I remember the moment when in my village the Serb army was getting out and French soldiers were coming in. I could not believe my eyes,” said Fetah Berisha, 67, who considers Clinton Kosovo’s “savior”.

But the end of fighting brought about by NATO’s intervention has not brought true peace to the southern Balkan region.

Belgrade has still not recognized independent Kosovo more than a decade after more than 110 other countries did and, backed by its main ally Russia, is blocking Pristina’s bid for membership of the United Nations.

Tensions rose anew six months ago when Kosovo introduced a 100 percent tax on goods imported from Serbia and warned it would keep them until Belgrade recognized its independence.

The European Union has warned Kosovo and Serbia that they will not advance toward wished-for membership unless they reach an agreement to normalize relations.


The Living Force
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NATO faces significant costs if it does not act soon to choose a successor for its ageing fleet of 14 Boeing E-3A Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) surveillance aircraft, often called the alliance's "eyes in the sky", senior officials said.

NATO faces big bill if it does not pick AWACS successor soon: officials
FILE PHOTO: A NATO AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control Systems) aircraft approaches the Air Base number 5 during the Real Thaw 2018 exercise in Monte Real, Portugal February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante/File Photo

Michael Gschossmann, general manager of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization agency that manages the AWACS fleet, said he
expected to finalize by December a $750 million contract with U.S. arms maker Boeing Co to extend the life of the aircraft through 2035, with $250 million more earmarked for design, spare parts and testing.

But he said it was critical to decide quickly how to replace the 1979/1980-era airplanes, with their distinctive radar domes on the fuselage, or NATO would need to take costly steps to keep them flying even longer.

“We have to get moving on this. We have to ensure that the studies move along quickly. We need a reality check,” he said.

The AWACS planes are among the few military assets owned and operated by NATO, rather than individual states.
They are used to conduct missions such as air policing, support for counter-terrorism operations, evacuations, and crisis response.

Gschossmann told Reuters NATO could follow the lead of member states Britain and Turkey in purchasing the E-7, a newer radar plane also built by Boeing. Those aircraft, he said, were large enough to add potential new capabilities, such as operating drones for expanded surveillance, in coming years.

“We have to ensure that we acquire a system that has growth potential, but that also – for financial and time reasons – is based on existing capabilities,” he said.

NATO is considering the AWACS replacement issue as part of a broader study of surveillance, but the process has dragged out given rapidly changing threats and newly emerging capabilities.

France and the United States also operate E-3A aircraft and could potentially buy E-7 planes in coming years, which could lower costs by generating larger order quantities.

“Why don’t we bet on the proven technology that we already have in the E-7 and provide NATO with a certain number of those aircraft? That would give us a basic capability that could be expanded in the future,” he said.

George Riebling, deputy general manager of the agency and a former senior U.S. official, said NATO was running out of time.

“If you don’t have an idea of what you’re going to do to replace NATO AWACS, then the ‘F’ in Final Lifetime Extension Programme (FLEP) can’t stand for final,” he said.

“There will be things we need to do to the NATO E-3A fleet to keep it flying past 2040.”

The FLEP program will update the aircraft’s mission system, as well as the processors for its electronic support measures (ESM) antenna. But it does not cover the radar itself, which would have doubled the cost.
(Comment: Dissolve and dismantle - NATO - problem solved.)


The Living Force
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High ranking NATO Swamp Rat bites the dust do to her own aggression. LOL.....:cool2:

Jun. 10, 2019, 5:13 PM

Maj. Gen. Dawn Dunlop has been removed from her position as director of the Pentagon's Special Access Programs Central Office
SAPCO manages and oversees some of the military's most secretive classified programs, which are among the military's most closely guarded secrets.

A groundbreaking female fighter pilot was fired from her current job as director of the Defense Department's Special Access Programs Central Office — which manages and oversees some of the military's most secretive classified programs — and is under several inspector general investigations.

Maj. Gen. Dawn Dunlop is no longer running SAPCO, and is now serving as a special assistant to Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Seve Wilson, DoD spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews confirmed in an emailed statement to Air Force Times.

Air Force Times has also learned from a knowledgeable source that multiple ongoing IG investigations convinced Pentagon leadership that Dunlop needed to be removed. Dunlop also may be considering retirement.

It is not apparent exactly what Dunlop is being investigated for, and she was not available for comment by press time.

But another source with knowledge of the office, who asked not to be identified, said Dunlop fostered a toxic work environment. Dunlop would call senior leaders from the services "idiots," he said, and would directly call people from the Army and Air Force and scream at them on the phone.

The source said that things reached a boiling point May 31
, when Dunlop lost her temper in a meeting with senior Air Force civilians.

An Air Force civilian immediately told Ellen Lord, the Pentagon's top acquisition official, about the situation in the office, the source said, and Lord walked over to the SAPCO office and removed Dunlop.

In a May 31 email obtained by Air Force Times, Lord told top Pentagon, Air Force and Army leaders — including Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist and Gen. Wilson — that she had made a change in the office.

Army Col. Bruce Monroe is now taking on leadership roles in the office on a temporary basis, according to the email.

Special access programs are among the military's most closely guarded secrets, and are classified at some of the highest levels of the US government. The office Dunlop directed until recently managed and oversaw those programs.

Dunlop is a groundbreaking Air Force fighter pilot. She has more than 3,500 flight hours flying the F-15, F-16, F-22 and other aircraft, and is currently the highest-ranking female fighter pilot in the Air Force.

She graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1988 and later that year became the top graduate in her class at Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California. She was the first woman to become a fighter test pilot, fly an F-22, and command a test wing when she took over the 412th Test Wing.

Dunlop flew combat missions as part of Operation Provide Comfort, which immediately followed the Gulf War and sought to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to Kurds after the failed uprising against Saddam Hussein.

In February, Dunlop was one of more than 80 female aviators who filmed a recruiting ad at Edwards Air Force Base in California, timed to coincide with the release of the superhero movie "Captain Marvel."

The Air Force also fired another two-star general, Maj. Gen. Peter Gersten, from his leadership role days after Dunlop was removed. Gersten was relieved of command of the Air Force Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada June 2 over allegations of an unprofessional relationship.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Jun. 10, 2019, 5:13 PM

Maj. Gen. Dawn Dunlop has been removed from her position as director of the Pentagon's Special Access Programs Central Office
SAPCO manages and oversees some of the military's most secretive classified programs, which are among the military's most closely guarded secrets.
I doubt Dawn will be unemployed long? Gina will probably create an opening for "a seasoned officer"? They shouldn't have any problems working together?

Photograph Source – C-SPAN


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Russia has warned (repeatedly) about the dangers of "militarizing" space - but blind fools - rush in?

NATO aims to recognize space as a domain of warfare this year, four senior diplomats said, partly to show U.S. President Donald Trump that the alliance is relevant and adapting to new threats after he signed off on the creation of a U.S. Space Force.

Exclusive: NATO aims to make space new frontier in defense
FILE PHOTO: Employees chat at a production line of Airbus' European Service Module (ESM), which is delivered for NASA's Orion Spaceship, at the Airbus plant in Bremen, Germany, February 19, 2019. Picture taken February 19,2019. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Employees chat at a production line of Airbus' European Service Module (ESM), which is delivered for NASA's Orion Spaceship, at the Airbus plant in Bremen, Germany, February 19, 2019. Picture taken February 19,2019. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo

The decision, set to be taken at a Dec. 3-4 leaders summit in London that Trump is due to attend, would formally acknowledge that battles can be waged not only on land, in the air, at sea and on computer networks, but also in space.

“There’s agreement that we should make space a domain and the London summit is the best place to make it official,” said one senior NATO diplomat involved in the discussions, although cautioning that technical policy work was still underway.

NATO diplomats deny the alliance would be on a war footing in space, but say declaring it a domain would begin a debate over whether NATO should eventually use space weapons that can shut down enemy missiles and air defenses or destroy satellites.

The decision to declare space a new frontier for defense may help convince Trump that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation can be a useful ally in deterring China’s rise as a rival military power, the diplomats said.

While NATO countries today own 65% of satellites in space, China envisions massive constellations of commercial satellites that can offer services ranging from high-speed internet for aircraft to tracking missiles and armed forces on the ground.

China is developing weapons it could use in orbit and became the first country to land on the far side of the moon last year.

Russia, once a strategic partner for NATO but now viewed by many allies as a hostile power, is also a force in space and is one of the few countries able to launch satellites into orbit.

“You can have warfare exclusively in space, but whoever controls space also controls what happens on land, on the sea and in the air,” said Jamie Shea, a former NATO official and now an analyst at Friends of Europe think-tank in Brussels.

"If you don't control space, you don't control the other domains either."

NATO defense ministers are expected to agree to a broad space policy next week at a regular meeting in Brussels, although there will be no decision yet to declare space an operational domain of defense.

A second diplomat said that while the decision was weighty and had real consequences, it would likely be “a gift to Trump”.

Trump, who used NATO’s last summit in July last year to harangue European allies over defense spending and accused Germany of being a prisoner of Russian energy, signed a plan in February to start creating the U.S. Space Force.

Even though the London gathering is some six months away, European allies are already nervous about whether Trump will use the meeting to again question the value of the alliance, of which he is the de-facto head.

The U.S. military is increasingly dependent on satellites to determine what it does on the ground, guiding munitions with space-based lasers and satellites as well as using such assets to monitor for missile launches and track its forces.

No longer forced to simply circle the earth’s orbit, satellites can now be maneuvered in space to spy on other space assets. India launched an anti-satellite missile test in March.

Italy, Britain and France are Europe's main space powers, while Germany is drafting new laws and seeking private investment to secure a slice of an emerging space market that could be worth $1 trillion a year by the 2040s.

France wants more assurances of how its space assets would be used in the event of a crisis. In other areas of warfare, national assets belonging to NATO allies are put under the command of the supreme allied commander during a conflict.

Most sensitive of all would be deciding if an attack on a allied satellite constituted an assault on the alliance and whether to trigger NATO’s Article 5 collective defense clause.

Similar to a decision to make cyber a domain of warfare in 2016, NATO’s decision would initially mean increased military planning, a review of NATO vulnerabilities and scrutiny of how to better protect commercial satellites used by the military.
Eurofighter, NATO launch studies on long-term evolution of fighter
FILE PHOTO: A Eurofighter Typhoon jet lands after tests organised by Armasuisse to replace the fighter jets of the Swiss Air Force in Payerne, Switzerland April 12, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

The countries and companies behind Europe's Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet have agreed to spend 53.7 million euros ($60.2 million) to study the long-term evolution of the advanced fighter jet and its engine, they said on Wednesday.


The Living Force
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Acting US Defense Secretary Mark Esper will be ready to update European allies on tensions with Iran as he heads to NATO headquarters this week during his inaugural trip as Pentagon chief, a senior US official said.

Iran in focus as new Pentagon chief heads to NATO
Iran in focus as new Pentagon chief heads to NATO
Flags of members of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) wave outside of the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on 14 March 2019 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agenc

Flags of members of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) wave outside of the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on 14 March 2019 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

Tues. June 25, 2019 - Esper, whose first full day in the Pentagon was on Monday, lead the Army until the surprise resignation of Patrick Shanahan as acting Defense Secretary last week. Esper is now the third person in six months to work at the defense secretary’s desk.

His first week coincides with a previously scheduled NATO defense ministerial meeting, where the focus will be on other pre-planned
discussions - including an approaching end to the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Tready between the United States and Russia.

But Kathryn Wheelbarger, an acting assistant defense secretary, said Pentagon officials would raise Iran during one of the NATO sessions on Wednesday or Thursday. “We are prepared to provide an update to the (NATO) alliance,” Wheelbarger said, briefing reporters ahead of the trip.


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NATO calls on Russia to destroy new missile, warns of response
FILE PHOTO: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks to the media during the NATO Foreign Minister's Meeting at the State Department in Washington, U.S., April 4, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

June 25, 2019 - NATO urged Russia on Tuesday to destroy a new missile before an August deadline and save a treaty that keeps land-based nuclear warheads out of Europe or face a more determined alliance response in the region.

NATO defense ministers will discuss on Wednesday their next steps if Moscow keeps the missile system that the United States says would allow short-notice nuclear attacks on Europe and break the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

“We call on Russia to take the responsible path, but we have seen no indication that Russia intends to do so,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference. “We will need to respond,” Stoltenberg said.

He declined to go into more details. But diplomats said defense ministers will consider more flights over Europe by U.S. warplanes capable of carrying nuclear warheads, more military training and the repositioning U.S. sea-based missiles.

The United States and its NATO allies want Russia to destroy its 9M729/SSC-8 nuclear-capable cruise missile system, which Moscow has so far refused to do. It denies any violations of the INF treaty, accusing Washington of seeking an arms race.


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No sign of progress at NATO in U.S.-Turkey dispute over Russian defenses
Turkey and U.S. flags are seen in this picture illustration taken August 25, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The United States and Turkey appeared to make no progress during talks at NATO headquarters on Wednesday toward resolving a major dispute over Ankara's plans to acquire a Russian air defense system, just ahead of its expected July delivery.

Turkey's Erdogan says no indication from Trump of U.S. sanctions over S-400 deal
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday he had not seen indications in his talks with President Donald Trump that the United States will impose sanctions on Ankara over its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems.

New Pentagon chief hopes to win NATO allies' support on Iran
U.S. acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper arrives for the first day in his new post at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S. June 24, 2019.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Tuesday he hoped to recruit support from NATO allies this week for U.S. efforts to deter conflict with Iran and "open the door to diplomacy," as he made his first trip as Pentagon chief.

Russia will respond to any NATO steps over missiles, says minister
FILE PHOTO: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and head of delegation Sergey Ryabkov attend a Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) conference in Beijing of the UN Security Council's five permanent members (P5) China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, China, January 30, 2019.   REUTERS/Thomas Peter/Pool

Moscow will respond in kind to any steps NATO takes over Russia's decision to suspend a 1987 nuclear missile treaty, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday, according to RIA news agency.


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NATO weighs options to deter new Russian missile threat
Banners displaying the NATO logo are placed at the entrance of new NATO headquarters during the move to the new building, in Brussels, Belgium April 19, 2018.  REUTERS/Yves Herman

NATO defense ministers considered on Wednesday how to deter Russia from launching a missile attack at short notice on Europe if a landmark treaty against land-based nuclear warheads collapses next month.

U.S. tells NATO it wants to avoid war with Iran: diplomats
Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told NATO allies on Thursday that Washington did not want to go to war with Iran but also could not tolerate any further incidents, according to allied diplomats present.

U.S. appeals to NATO allies to publicly denounce Iran's actions
Acting U.S. Secretary for Defense Mark Esper speaks during a news conference after a NATO Defence Ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium June 27, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Walschaerts

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper appealed to NATO allies on Thursday to publicly denounce Iran's hostile actions and consider participating in a still-evolving plan to better safeguard strategic waterways near the country.

China hopes new Pentagon chief seeks to avoid confrontation
Acting U.S. Secretary for Defense Mark Esper attends the NATO Defence Ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium June 27, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Walschaerts

China hopes the new U.S. defense chief will seek to avoid confrontation with China, the defense ministry said on Thursday, in the Chinese military's first official reaction to the appointment of acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper.


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Deputy Secretary of the Security Council said the CSTO member states are at the same time ready for fruitful cooperation with NATO.

NATO cooking up "color revolutions" in CSTO states, says Russian Security Council
NATO cooking up "color revolutions" in CSTO states, says Russian Security Council

MOSCOW, July 2, 2019 - NATO is preparing "color revolutions" in a number of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to put west-favored authorities in power, Deputy Secretary of the Russian Security Council Rashid Nurgaliyev said in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper, published in Tuesday.

"It is not a secret for us that NATO is laying the groundwork to put the west-controlled regimes in power in a number of CSTO countries, particularly by inciting "color revolutions"," he pointed out.

According to the official, the CSTO member states are at the same time ready for fruitful cooperation with NATO. "We have things to discuss," he underlined. "[The topics include] the level of terrorist threat, the issues of illegal migration, fight against terrorism." "In our globalized and closely connected world, we would be interested in relaunching the Russia-NATO dialogue," Nurgaliyev stressed. "But for us it is only possible on an equal basis."

Nurgaliyev recalled that whatever the configuration of the Russia-NATO relations is, the differences with the Organization are always those of principled nature. "The cooperation of NATO with third countries always includes anti-Russian element," he said. "This has been proven in practice many times. Regarding the CSTO partners, the bloc’s aim is to sow discord with our organization allies."

The Collective Security Treaty Organization's member states are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.


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Russia's Putin says NATO responsible for Libya chaos
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in Rome, July 4, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in Rome, July 4, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

Fri Jul 5, 2019 - Russian President Vladimir Putin says the US-led NATO military alliance is to blame for the destruction of Libya, warning that the situation there was deteriorating as more and more militants are moving from Syria into the North African country.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in Rome, Putin said it is important to recall how the chaos unfolded in Libya.

“Do you remember who destroyed Libya? It was a NATO decision. It was European aircraft that bombed Libya,” he said.

The North African country has plunged into a civil war since longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was toppled and killed after an uprising and a NATO military intervention in 2011.

Putin said that “it is necessary to stop the bloodshed as soon as possible. It is necessary to start dialogue as soon as possible.”

“I do not think that Russia needs to be the main contributor to a resolution of the conflict. Let's ask those who created the problem," he added.

Putin also expressed concern about the flow of terrorists into Libya from Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, a situation which he described as “very threatening.”

Gaddafi's ouster created a huge power vacuum in Libya and led to the emergence of numerous militant outfits, including the Daesh terrorist group.

“We need to work with our EU friends to maintain dialogue with all parties in Libya in order to help the Libyan people restore the functioning of their institutes,” said the Russian leader.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also called on the international community to unite and help all the involved parties in Libya come to the negotiating table and reach a ceasefire.

The country is now in disarray and divided between two rival governments - one known as the House of Representatives and based in the eastern city of Tobruk, and the other in Tripoli, which is headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj and enjoys UN recognition.

Putin warns that militants are flowing into Libya from Syria's Idlib
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (not pictured) attend a joint news conference in Rome, Italy July 4, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he was worried that militants were flowing into Libya from Syria's Idlib province and warned that the Libyan situation was deteriorating.

Russian Navy starts tracking NATO warships in Black Sea
MOSCOW, July 3, 2019 - Ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet are monitoring the British destroyer and the Canadian frigate that entered the Black Sea waters on July 2, the Russian National Defense Management Center reported on Wednesday.

Currently, NATO ships are taking part in the Sea Breeze 2019 drills in the Black Sea. The exercises officially began on July 1 in the western part of the Black Sea. This year, according to the press service of the Ukrainian embassy in the US, more than 3,000 servicemen from 19 countries are participating in the drills, including those from the United States, the United Kingdom and Ukraine.
The US is playing a key role in preparing the drills' scenario and executing it. The exercises are scheduled to run until July 12.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and aircraft start maneuvers amid NATO’s Sea Breeze drills
MOSCOW, July 3, 2019 - Naval groups of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and aircraft of the Southern Military District’s Air Force and Air Defense Army are practicing joint maneuvers amid NATO’s Sea Breeze drills, the Fleet’s press office reported on Wednesday.

"During the drills, the Black Sea Fleet’s warships are practicing interaction with aviation employing reconnaissance and attack systems to defend vital coastal infrastructure of the Crimean peninsula as well as measures to repel a simulated enemy’s naval groups," the press office said in a statement.

No breakthrough with Russia on INF treaty dispute: NATO's Stoltenberg
BRUSSELS, July 5, 2019 - The sides of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) see no signs of progress in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), the situation is alarming and it is likely needed to prepare for the world without this treaty, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a press conference following an NRC ambassador-level meeting in Brussels on Friday.

Russian Jet Scrambled to Intercept US Spy Plane over Black Sea
US forces are currently participating in NATO’s Sea Breeze naval drills in the Black Sea.

A Russian Su-27 fighter jet intercepted a US P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft as it approached Russian airspace over the Black Sea, the Russian defense ministry announced on Friday. The defense ministry announced that the Armed Forces spotted the aerial target as it approached Russian airspace, Sputnik reported.

"An Su-27 fighter jet as part of the Southern Military District's air defences was scrambled to intercept the target. The crew flew the aircraft at a safe distance to the aerial target and identified it as a US P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance jet, which immediately changed the direction of its flight to fly away from the Russian state border," the defense ministry said in a statement.

The Russian jet carried out its flight in line with international rules. After completing its mission, the Su-27 returned to its home base, according to the military. The Russian Navy concurrently kicked off its own scheduled "combat training" exercises in the Black Sea.
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