Lavrov speaks out against NATO at UN

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The Living Force
March 21st - With Respect and Warm Blessings, Happy Birthday to Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov!

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An album with a collection of Sergey Lavrov’s photos will go on sale on Friday on occasion of the Russian foreign minister’s 70th birthday on March 21.

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The album titled “Lavrov. Emotions”
is not just official archive photos but it provides a fresh angle on events of global politics through the prism of emotions of a person, who has been Russia’s top diplomat over the past 16 years. This is a story about Lavrov, his work, important people and things that make him smile.

The photos were made by veteran photographer Eduard Pesov, who worked for TASS and the Russian Foreign Ministry. The album includes more than 100 photos from the archive of the Foreign Ministry, TASS and also a number of other domestic and foreign media outlets.

The album features pictures from the foreign minister’s meetings with his colleagues and significant events in the history of bilateral relations. On one of these photos Lavrov and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton press the famous red reset button, and on the other the minister and his counterpart John Kerry discuss something on a bench in a park, not in a formal atmosphere in front of cameras. Another photo devoted to Russian-US dialogue is Lavrov’s handshake with US President Donald Trump.

Some photos show what relations the countries had in different period: warm and hearty pictures with colleagues from China and India, Syria and ASEAN countries and a cheerful reception in Latin American countries – Cuba and Suriname, and on the contrary, reserved photo shoots from a trilateral meeting with German and Polish counterparts.

Other photos are devoted to Lavrov’s activity as Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations (1994-2004) and recent years when he visited New York to take part in the UN events. Some photos showed Lavrov delivering statements from the tribune, and others pictured him reading the speech before his address.

The album has photos with Lavrov when he is smoking, which are especially popular among Russians despite the country’s anti-tobacco fight. However, there are much more pictures devoted to his healthy lifestyle: a canoe slalom competition, a football match, fishing and enjoying beautiful nature.

Some 2,000 copies of the photo album will be released by the Boslen publishing house with the assistance of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) Alumni Association.

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Sergei Lavrov
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
Congratulations!

Russian FM Sergey #Lavrov was honored with the title of the Hero of Labor of the Russian Federation for his distinctive labor merits to
#Russia & its people. Needless to say, well deserved – he has been Russia’s Foreign Minister since 2004.
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Mar 26, 2020
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Conferita oggi la medaglia Stolypin a Sergey #Lavrov. Oltre a porgergli gli auguri per il suo 70esimo compleanno, il primo ministro #Mishustin ha voluto rimarcare quanto Lavrov rappresenti l’orgoglio non solo della diplomazia russa, ma di tutta la #Russia.
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The Living Force
NATO will speed up deliveries of medical aid to allies suffering the most from the coronavirus but must focus on defending Europe, the alliance's chief said, after large Russian war games that were seen by allies as a signal from Moscow.

NATO seeks to speed up medical aid deliveries, wary of Russian drills
April 1, 2020 - NATO foreign ministers are set to discuss aid measures on Thursday via video conference, a first for an alliance ministerial, after countries such as Turkey and the Czech Republic began delivering supplies to Italy and Spain.

“We are mobilizing support from allies with spare capacity to help those in desperate need,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told Reuters in an interview, saying a Turkish plane will deliver medical equipment to Spain and Italy on Wednesday.

“We will look into how we can step up and speed up our efforts,” said Stoltenberg, who has suspended travel, works from home when possible and occasionally wears a protective mask.

However, Stoltenberg cautioned that NATO’s main task was the protection of allied territory. He said the alliance had been notified by Russia at the end of March of large-scale exercises.

NATO diplomats put the number of troops involved at 82,000.

“What we see, despite the fact that Russia has called for a cessation of exercises, we observe that their military activities remain at normal seasonal levels,” Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg said the alliance had noted a “significant Russian naval presence” in the North Sea and a large, last-minute military exercise in late March, which NATO took as a show of force despite the coronavirus outbreak.

“Moscow provided a notification that they were going to have a snap exercise, which they said was intended to test their capabilities to provide military support to the civil response to the COVID-19 outbreak,” Stoltenberg said.

The Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement that the drills, carried out from March 25-28, would include medical units and nuclear, biological and chemical protection troops.

“But we actually judge that this exercise was also used to demonstrate to NATO that they remain combat-ready despite COVID-19,” he said.

NATO is scaling down military exercises in Europe to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including its Defender Europe 20 exercises, billed as NATO’s biggest war games in Europe since the Cold War. Alliance missions are continuing.

Keeping the coronavirus from spreading through militaries is a major concern, and NATO has seen personnel infected, taking measures across all its operations, including regularly taking the temperatures of its personnel, officials have said.

“I am absolutely certain that NATO will continue to deliver deterrence and defense,” Stoltenberg said.
 

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The Living Force
The economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic is likely to undermine NATO defence targets cherished by U.S. President Donald Trump, diplomats and experts say, as governments move closer to spending goals only by virtue of shrinking economies.

Economic shock of coronavirus casts pall on NATO spending goals
FILE PHOTO: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg looks on as U.S. President Donald Trump and Poland's President Andrzej Duda talk during a working lunch during the NATO leaders summit in Watford, Britain, December 4, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg looks on as U.S. President Donald Trump and Poland's President Andrzej Duda talk during a working lunch during the NATO leaders summit in Watford, Britain, December 4, 2019. Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

NATO’s annual report in March showed that nine countries, including the United States, were estimated to have reached the target in 2019, with other big allies including France and Turkey not far off.

While NATO militaries are at the forefront of Europe’s response, delivering medical supplies via airlifts and helping to build temporary hospitals, an expected deep recession will shrink many of the world’s economies.

That means defence expenditures will rise in proportion to GDP if they remain at current levels. Germany’s current 1.35% spend, for example, could rise closer to 1.7%, according to Carlo Masala, professor for International Politics at Bundeswehr University Munich.
Germany’s spending level has been a sore point for Trump.

“States will advance towards NATO’s target without raising their defence budgets, solely by the fact that their GDPs are shrinking. We will see a complete paradox, an unintended effect,” said Masala, who specializes in military issues.

In 2015, Greece inadvertently increased its defence spending, as a percentage of GDP, as its debt crisis caused a sharp economic contraction.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has publicly urged allies to keep up defence spending. Asked about the issue this week, he told Reuters that the focus now should be on getting medical equipment to the needy.

NATO officials say any discussion over defence spending metrics is for after the health crisis has passed. But diplomats and experts expect defence budgets to fall too, given that defence is often one of the first sectors to be cut in a crisis.

Two senior NATO diplomats told Reuters there was recognition in the alliance that Italy and Spain, the two allies worst affected by the pandemic and already lower military spenders, could not be expected to meet the 2% goal.

The Czech Republic has said publicly that it will not increase defence spending by 2024, the deadline for the NATO goal, although the target is not binding.

“There is a limit to how much we can obsess about the 2 percent,” one diplomat said. “Politically it has been useful for Trump but it is unclear if it remains economically viable.”

Since 2017, Trump has intensified his accusations that NATO allies were not spending enough on defence, saying some owed “massive amounts of money”. More recently, he called low-spending allies “delinquent”.

NATO allies across Europe, Turkey and Canada were set to have spent a cumulative $400 billion on defence between 2016 and 2024, according to the latest NATO annual report.
 

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The Living Force
Forgive them Father - for they know not - what they do?

NATO welcomes North Macedonia as 30th ally
April 2, 2020 - NATO foreign ministers welcomed North Macedonia as the alliance's newest member
on Thursday, ending a long process that included a change to the country's name.

“We welcome North Macedonia as NATO’s 30th ally,” NATO foreign ministers said in a statement following a video conference, which North Macedonia’s minister was part of as a full member.

North Macedonia raised its flag at NATO headquarters in Belgium earlier this week.

NATO members signed an accord last year allowing the ex-Yugoslav republic to become the 30th member of the U.S.-led military alliance, after a deal with Greece ended a long dispute over its name. Macedonia changed its name to North Macedonia.


Izvestia: NATO struggles to adapt to pandemic
Press review: US blames pandemic on China and coronavirus deep-sixes NATO’s plans


April 3, 2020 - The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has succeeded in adapting to the climate created by the coronavirus pandemic and continues efforts to ensure security, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said following a videoconference of NATO foreign ministers. Experts interviewed by Izvestia point out that the statement is nothing but an attempt to make an appearance amid the pandemic.

It’s not entirely correct to say that the coronavirus has not affected NATO’s activities. In March, the alliance had to reconsider the agenda of the Defender 2020 military exercise, which was expected to become its biggest post-Cold-War military game in Europe.

"NATO remains first and foremost a military and political bloc, which seeks to accomplish strategic tasks though strengthening its military presence. The alliance’s expansion is part of that line," said Elena Ponomareva, a professor from the Department of Comparative Political Science at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. "The alliance could be more active in the situation of an epidemiological disaster, but it does not have a humanitarian aspect," she added.

When global healthcare issues take center stage, the need arises to redistribute funds, thereby reducing defense spending, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) Andrey Kortunov pointed out.

"The public’s attention has shifted to more important security challenges. Voters in both Europe and the US are inevitably starting to ask: why spend so much money on NATO, when there is the coronavirus threat?" the expert concluded. "NATO officials are showing off their activities in a bid to reaffirm financial and political priorities that the West had established in recent years," Kortunov explained.
 

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The Living Force
In the last two weeks, NATO members - Belgium, Canada, France, and the United States have redrawn some troops from Iraq, while the U.S. has consolidated and reinforced other Iraqi bases. In the middle of March. it was reported a large U.S. military convoy had entered Syria from neighboring Iraq, consisting of 62 trucks loaded with military and logistical supplies and accompanied by 11 military vehicles, had entered the Al-Hasakah Governorate from the Al-Walid crossing, to a military base in the Al-Hasakah Governorate, to strengthen their presence in Syria.

The headline's only give half the story. What is not mentioned, recently the US deployed three Patriot missile systems to Iraqi military bases to purportedly protect American troops against potential missile attacks, in breach of the Arab country’s sovereignty. One of the Patriot batteries was reportedly deployed to the Ain al-Asad facility in Iraq’s western province of Anbar.

What this all amounts to, in essence, is "out with the old guard and in with the new" and a lot of smoke and mirrors. NATO has decided to expand its mission in Iraq by training personnel for the national army and security forces.

Several NATO countries withdraw troops from Iraq: report
2020-04-01 - With the withdrawal of the U.S. Armed Forces from several bases in Iraq, a number of NATO nations have followed suit, the spokesperson for the Iraqi Joint Operations revealed in a recent interview.

Over the past days, the international coalition mission withdrew from several strategic military-security sites, including the K-1 and Qayyara bases in the Nineveh and Kirkuk governorates.

The spokesperson for the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, Major General Tahsin al-Khafaji, confirmed to Sputnik Arabic on Wednesday that the coalition mission forces, immediately after withdrawing from these military sites, left Iraq.

Al-Khafaji revealed that the NATO countries that withdrew their forces from Iraq recently were Belgium, Canada, France, and the United States.

Over the last two weeks, the Coalition forces have withdrawn from four military bases in Iraq, including an installation located along the Syrian border.

Large US military convoy enters Syria from neighboring Iraq



US deployment of Patriot Missile System is violation of Iraq's sovereignty: lawmaker

NATO plans to expand mission in Iraq: report

2020-04-03 -
NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, announced on Thursday that NATO decided to expand its mission in Iraq by training personnel for the national army and security forces.

During a press conference held at the end of a meeting conducted by NATO foreign ministers, Stoltenberg said: “We agreed to expand our mission in Iraq by training non-commissioned officers, mine experts and federal police cadres within the framework of its program.”

Stoltenberg’s comments come a few days after Belgium, France, Canada, and the U.S. withdrew some of their forces from Iraq.
 

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The Living Force
NATO welcomes North Macedonia as 30th ally
April 2, 2020 - NATO foreign ministers welcomed North Macedonia as the alliance's newest member
on Thursday, ending a long process that included a change to the country's name.

It might be a misconception on my part but I look upon the IMF - as a type of "loan-shark" that takes advantage of Countries that find themselves in financial hardship? It looks like NATO and the IMF have teamed up to place North Macedonia and Kosovo in bondage?

IMF lends $191.8 million to North Macedonia to soften coronavirus blow
April 10, 2020 - The International Monetary Fund will disburse $191.8 million in emergency aid to North Macedonia to help it cope with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IMF said on Friday.

NATO mission in Kosovo reports first COVID-19 case
April 10, 2020- A member of the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo has tested positive with the new coronavirus, the mission said in a statement on Friday, adding that it would not have any impact on its work. NATO has some 3,500 troops in Kosovo including 659 from the United States.

IMF lends 51.6 million euros to Kosovo to address virus crisis

April 10, 2020 - The International Monetary Fund has approved a 51.6 million euro ($56.06 million) loan for Kosovo to tackle the economic crisis caused by the new coronavirus and address urgent balance of payments issues, the international lender said.
 

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The Living Force
The 30 NATO foreign ministers met on April 2 by videoconference, and instructed US general Tod Wolters, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, to "coordinate the necessary military support to fight the coronavirus crisis".

NATO in Arms to «fight coronavirus», by Manlio Dinucci
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General Wolters is the supreme commander of NATO as head of the United States European Command. He is therefore part of the Pentagon’s chain of command, which has absolute priority.
Its strict rules are confirmed by a recent episode: the aircraft carrier Roosevelt commander, Brett Crozier, was removed from command because he violated military secrecy by urging aid sending, faced with the spread of the coronavirus on board.

To "fight coronavirus crisis", General Wolters has "fast-track paths through Europe’s airspace for military flights", while civilian flights have almost disappeared.

Fast-track paths are also used by the US strategic bombers B2-Spirit for nuclear attack: on March 20, they took off from Fairford in England, together with Norwegian F-16 fighters, they flew to the Arctic towards Russian territory. In this way - General Basham, deputy commander of the US Air Force in Europe - explains "we can promptly and effectively respond to threats in the region, demonstrating our determination to bring our fighting power everywhere in the world".

While NATO is committed to "fighting coronavirus" in Europe, two of the major European Allies, France and Great Britain, sent their warships to the Caribbean.

The amphibious assault ship Dixmund sailed on April 3 from Toulon to French Guiana for what President Macron calls "an unprecedented military operation". called "Resilience", in the framework of the "war to coronavirus" [2].

Dixmund can perform the secondary function of hospital ship with 69 beds and 7 for intensive care. The primary role of this large ship, 200 m long and with a flight deck of 5000 m2, is that of amphibious assault: approaching the enemy coast, it attacks with dozens of helicopters and landing crafts transporting troops and armored vehicles.

Similar characteristics, albeit on a smaller scale, has the British ship RFA Argus, which sailed on April 2 to British Guyana. [3].

The two European ships will take position in the same Caribbean waters near Venezuela, where the war fleet is arriving - with the most modern coastal combat ships (also built by Italian Leonardo Company for US Navy) and thousands of marines - sent by President Trump officially to stop drug trafficking.

He accuses Venezuelan President Maduro of "taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis to increase the drug trafficking, he finances his narco-state with". The purpose of the operation, supported by NATO, is to strengthen the embargo tightening to economically strangle Venezuela (a country with the largest oil reserves in the world), whose situation is aggravated by the coronavirus that has started to spread.

The aim is to depose regularly elected President Maduro (on whose head the US has placed a $ 15 million bounty) and to establish a government that will bring the country into the sphere of US domination [4]. It cannot be excluded that an incident could be caused as a pretext for the invasion of Venezuela. The coronavirus crisis creates favorable international conditions for an operation of this type, perhaps presented as "humanitarian".

NATO Stoltenberg adresses COVID19 crisis

April 16, 2020 - The alliance’s defence ministers met on April 15 to discuss the long-term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic that has left 1,878,489 infected globally, according to the latest estimates by the World Health Organisation (WHO) release.

NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has been holding a press conference via a secure video link in Brussels Headquarters following an extraordinary meeting of the alliance’s defence ministers.

The ministers discussed measures to cope with the coronavirus pandemic and its long-term ramifications following a slow-down of infection rates in member nations. Another topic on the agenda concerned coronavirus-related disinformation.

US destroyers conduct operations with NATO Allies in the Baltic and Black Seas [IMG alt="200413-N-NO901-1001
BLACK SEA (April 13, 2020)
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) conducts maneuvering exercises in the Black Sea with the Romanian navy frigate Regina Maria (F222), April 13, 2020. Porter, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is on its eighth patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Andrew Stopchick Palacio/Released)"]https://www.nato.int/nato_static_fl...tock/200417-uss-porter_rdax_775x440.jpg[/IMG]
The USS Porter conducts maneuvering exercises in the Black Sea with the Romanian navy frigate Regina Maria on 13 April 2020. (US Navy photo by Lt. Andrew Stopchick Palacio/Released)

17 Apr. 2020 - Two destroyers with the United States 6th Fleet are operating in the Baltic and Black Seas, demonstrating NATO's continued vigilance and commitment to deterrence and defence in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The USS Donald Cook entered the Baltic Sea on 11 April after participating in a UK Submarine Command Course, focused on honing anti-submarine warfare capabilities in the Atlantic. While in the Baltic Sea, the USS Donald Cook will be conducting maritime operations with European Allies to ensure regional stability.

The USS Porter began its northbound international straits transit to the Black Sea on 13 April, in order to conduct maritime security operations with NATO Allies and partners. Upon arrival, the USS Porter conducted maneuvering operations with the Romanian frigate Regina Maria.

NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu welcomed the deployments, saying: “NATO remains ready, vigilant, and prepared to respond to any threat. While we continue to take all necessary measures to protect our forces, our operational readiness remains undiminished. These deployments show that NATO Allies are working closely together, determined to ensure that potential adversaries do not exploit the situation to further their interests."

The destroyers, based in Rota, Spain, conduct a range of missions, including maritime security operations, bilateral and multilateral training and exercises, and NATO exercises and deployments – including participation in Standing NATO Maritime Groups, and in NATO missile defence.
 

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The Living Force
‎April‎ ‎20‎, ‎2020‎ ‎- F-16 fighter intercepted even more Russian jets overflying a US warship, NATO says
F-16 fighter intercepted even more Russian jets overflying a US warship, NATO says

NATO Allied Air Command.
A Belgian F-16 fighter patrolling the Baltic region on Friday morning intercepted two Russian Air Force fighters flying over a US destroyer off the coast of Lithuania.

The Belgian F-16 conducted a professional intercept and left the scene, demonstrating that NATO remains ready, vigilant and prepared to respond to any potential threat," NATO's air command said in a brief statement.

The USS Donald Cook is deployed to the region with a focus on "regional stability" and "honing anti-submarine warfare capabilities in the Atlantic," NATO said.

A Belgian F-16 fighter patrolling the Baltic region on Friday morning intercepted two Russian Air Force fighters flying over a US destroyer off the coast of Lithuania.

A video released by NATO's Allied Air Command on Monday showed the Russian jets "manoeuvring in international airspace" over the USS Donald Cook, a US destroyer deployed to the Baltic Sea since April 11.

"The Belgian F-16 conducted a professional intercept and left the scene, demonstrating that NATO remains ready, vigilant and prepared to respond to any potential threat," the air command said in a brief statement.

The USS Donald Cook is deployed to the region with a focus on "regional stability" and "honing anti-submarine warfare capabilities in the Atlantic," NATO said.

The USS Porter was also deployed on April 13 for a joint exercise with the Regina Maria, a Romanian frigate.

"These deployments show that NATO allies are working closely together, determined to ensure that potential adversaries do not exploit the situation to further their interests," Oana Lungescu, a NATO representative, said in a statement on Friday.

NATO members routinely rotate their patrols in the Baltic airspace. The US military has made note of recent provocations made by Russian fighter jets.

On April 8, US F-22 fighters intercepted two Russian IL-38s, a maritime patrolling aircraft, entering the Bering Sea in the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone.

A week later, a Russian Su-35 fighter jet buzzed a US Navy P-8A Poseidon, an anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft, flying over the Mediterranean Sea. The Russian jet flew an "inverted maneuver" 25 feet in front of the US aircraft, US Naval Forces Europe-Africa said, adding that the crew of the P-8A Poseidon experienced "wake turbulence" during the 42-minute encounter.

On Sunday, another Su-35 fighter intercepted a P-8A Poseidon over the Mediterranean Sea in a similar fashion.

Belgian jets have intercepted Russian aircraft in the past. In September, Belgian F-16s were scrambled to intercept two Russian Tu-160 bombers accompanied by two Sukhoi Su-27s over the Baltic Sea.

Published on Apr 20, 2020 (1:09 min.)

NATO Exercise Ramstein Alloy 2020-1 to begin on 20 April in Lithuania

On 20 and 21 April, Allied and Partner aircraft from the air forces of Allies Belgium, Poland, Lithuania and Germany, Partners Finland and Sweden and NATO AWACS are scheduled to participate in the first Allied live-fly exercise in 2020, exercise Ramstein Alloy 20-1 in Lithuania, showcasing cooperation, interoperability and capabilities
Published on Apr 20, 2020 (1:08 min.)

Estonia: NATO launches Ramstein Alloy drills for Baltic Air Policing mission

NATO launched its first Ramstein Alloy exercise from the Amari Air Base in Estonia on Wednesday in preparation for the Baltic Air Policing mission.
Published on Apr 20, 2016 (1:10 min.)

NATO Air Policing - Safeguarding the Airspace and Protecting Territorial Integrity

The Czech Air Force conducted an exercise simulating the processes involved in a mission under NATO's Air Policing from track recognition, via alerting control staff and launching fighter aircraft to identifying, intercepting and shadowing a so-called LOSSCOM or COMLOSS aircraft, which is no longer in contact with civilian Air Traffic Controllers, NATO Air Policing is a peacetime collective defence mission involving the use of the air surveillance and control system, air command and control and appropriate air defence assets, including interceptors, for the purpose of preserving the integrity of NATO airspace. All European Allies contribute to this 24/7/365 mission which showcases Alliance cohesion, capability and readiness. Video material courtesy Czech Air Force
Published on Apr 9, 2020 (2:37 min.)
 

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The Living Force
The U.S.-led NATO alliance called on Friday for Afghanistan's Taliban militants to cut violence levels and join peace talks, saying prisoner releases should also be speeded up.

NATO calls on Taliban to reduce violence, seek peace: statement
The Taliban have rejected an Afghan government call for a ceasefire for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, raising concerns about a peace process after Taliban and the United States struck a deal in February on the withdrawal of U.S.-led foreign forces.

“The current level of violence caused by the Taliban is not acceptable,” alliance ambassadors in NATO’s North Atlantic Council said in a statement on the peace efforts.

“We welcome the establishment of an inclusive negotiating team to represent the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. We call on the Taliban to enter negotiations with this team without further delay, which is considered a key element of the U.S.-Taliban agreement,” the NATO statement said.

Afghanistan's Taliban reject call for Ramadan ceasefire
The Taliban have rejected an Afghan government call for a ceasefire for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and to let authorities focus on tackling the coronavirus, raising new concern about prospects for a fragile peace process.

NATO Live-Fly Exercise Ramstein Alloy 20-1 Finished in Lithuania on 21 April 2020
Published on Apr 24, 2020 (0:55 min.)
 

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The Living Force
Several EU countries cannot ask for Russia’s help because of their ‘big brothers’ — Lavrov

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MOSCOW, April 25, 2020 - Some European and NATO countries cannot turn to Russia for help in the fight against coronavirus, because their "big brothers" are against it, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Bolshaya Igra ("Big Game") program on Russia’s Channel One.

"We know from various sources that a number of countries in Europe, the European Union and NATO, would not mind repeating the Italian experience and contacting us for certain types of assistance in which we really have good comparative advantages, but their ‘big brothers’ don’t allow it," Lavrov said.

Moscow does not consider it necessary to create "narrow circles of like-minded people" parallel to international organizations,
Lavrov added. The diplomat believes that during the coronavirus pandemic, the role of nation-states has increased dramatically, this is evident throughout the world.

According to him, countries are trying to rely more on themselves in the fight against the spread of coronavirus. In addition, fatigue from an obsessive supranational bureaucracy is revealed, which is now "absolutely obvious" in the European Union. As the minister pointed out, fierce disputes are ongoing inside the association over who will be responsible for overcoming this crisis.

Europe’s 'Patrons' Oppose Russia’s Help Amid Pandemic - Lavrov
PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY - A number of European countries, including NATO members, who would like to ask Russia for help amid the coronavirus pandemic are not allowed to do so by their patrons, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday.

"We know from various sources that a number of countries in Europe, the European Union and also NATO that would not mind following the Italian experience and turning to us for certain types of assistance in which we have a good comparative advantage are simply not allowed to do so by their senior comrades", Lavrov told Russia’s Channel One.

According to the minister, some countries are thereby trying to drag geopolitics even in the fight against the disease.

"We all know the situation around the assistance that Russia is providing to Italy at the direct request of Prime Minister [Giuseppe Conte]. Some media outlets in Italy, without respite, are trying to portray it as almost a military invasion of the territory of the North Atlantic alliance", he added.

Lavrov noted that a grand football club in Europe had to revoke its request for assistance from a Russian non-governmental organization that is helping with medical supplies amid the pandemic after being discouraged from receiving Russian help.

The world at the same time is interested in combining efforts in fighting the coronavirus, the minister said. He recalled that the Group of 20, despite certain finger-pointing amid the pandemic, did agree on a joint action plan to tackle the challenge.

Russia in RSA 🇷🇺‏Verified account @EmbassyofRussia Apr 22
FM #Lavrov: #NATO shamelessly used it’s air force to bomb Gaddafi’s army, siding with extremists whose goal was to overthrow legitimate Libyan Government. After that #Libya became a «black hole»: smuggled arms, militants & drugs streamed into #Africa, incl its Sub-Saharan regionpic.twitter.com/a3CKCCNaEV


Coronavirus outbreak: Investments in military need to continue during pandemic
Published on Apr 26, 2020 (7:14 min.)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tells Mercedes Stephenson that military spending needs to continue in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic because security threats continue and governments need to invest in both health and defense.

Abandoned NATO Bunker | What do you think they'll find?
Published on Apr 23, 2020 (2:54 min.)
 

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The Living Force
A Canadian helicopter engaged in North Atlantic Treaty Organization exercises off the coast of Greece disappeared and search-and-rescue efforts were under way, the Canadian Armed Forces said on Wednesday.

Canadian helicopter engaged in NATO exercises missing off Greek coast
April 29, 2020 - The defense force said on Twitter that the HMCS Fredericton lost contact with a CH-148 Cyclone aircraft that had deployed on the ship. No further details were provided.

The helicopter was outside the control zone of Greece, 50 miles (80 km) off the Greek island of Cephalonia, Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper reported, saying six people were missing.

Canadian military helicopter crashes at sea; 1 body recovered, 5 missing

One body has been recovered and five people are missing after a Canadian military helicopter crashed in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Greece on Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday.

The HMCS Fredericton, participating in NATO’s Operation Reassurance meant to bolster security in Central and Eastern Europe, lost contact with a CH-148 Cyclone helicopter on Wednesday during a training exercise.

“The cause of this accident is unknown at this time,” Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said, adding that the aircraft’s data and voice recorders have been recovered.

General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, said that search efforts continued and that there was a “very sizable debris field” in an area of the Ionian Sea where the aircraft crashed.

Vance said the body that was recovered was that of Abbigail Cowbrough. Tanya Cowbrough, the mother of Abbigail, commented on Facebook: “Nothing can replace her.”

It would be the country’s single deadliest military tragedy in 13 years if search efforts do not locate any survivors. In July 2007, six soldiers were killed together by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

After the crash, Canada’s military put its Cyclone helicopters on an “operational pause”, Vance said, until a “fleet-wide” problem can be ruled out. The Cyclone is made by Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky unit. “I don’t have concerns about the helicopter,” Vance said. “It’s performed terrifically. It’s got 9,000 hours on the fleet.”

Approximately 2,100 Canadian Armed Forces members are deployed around the world, and some 915 people are part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Operation Assurance.
 

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The Living Force
NATO Withholds Key Information On Taliban Attacks in Afghanistan
May 1, 2020 - NATO’s US-led mission in Afghanistan is withholding key information about Taliban attacks, a US government watchdog said Friday, potentially making insights into the war harder just as the Pentagon slashes its troop presence.


The Resolute Support (RS) mission previously disclosed data on “enemy-initiated attacks”, one of the few remaining public metrics of the conflict and the strength of the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

In its quarterly report released Friday, the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said RS had stopped providing numbers.

Instead, RS gave only a short statement noting the Taliban stepped up attacks in March, immediately after the signing of a US-Taliban deal that was supposed to pave the way to peace talks.

“Between March 1 and 31, the Taliban refrained from attacks against coalition forces; however they increased attacks against (Afghan forces) to levels above seasonal norms,” RS said, according to the report.

Under the deal, US and other foreign forces will quit Afghanistan by July 2021 if the Taliban start peace talks with Kabul and stick to various security commitments.

In the week ahead of the February 29 deal signing in Doha, violence plummeted during a partial truce and US officials hoped attacks would stay low.

Instead, the Taliban immediately resumed assaults on Afghan forces.

During the deal negotiations, the Taliban had agreed to stop hitting foreign troops, but there was no such prohibition on targeting Afghan forces.

RS told SIGAR that it chose to restrict data because enemy attacks were now a “critical part” of discussions “regarding ongoing political negotiations between the US and the Taliban”.

SIGAR noted the Pentagon said it might release the information in the future.

The move to withhold attack numbers follows a trend of diminishing insights into America’s longest war, which the US has given up ever winning and is instead trying to end through a political agreement that will provide face-saving cover to leave Afghanistan.

In 2018, RS stopped providing data on how much of the country the Taliban held or contested, amid criticism the war was mired in an intractable stalemate.

That followed a decision by the Afghan government to classify data on how many of its soldiers and police were getting killed by the Taliban, after shocking figures showed several thousand were dying each year.

Data on enemy attacks “was one of the last remaining metrics SIGAR was able to use to report publicly on the security situation in Afghanistan,” the watchdog said.

The Pentagon is on course to cut its troop numbers from about 12,000 to 8,600 in the coming months.

US Navy ships in Barents Sea near Russia, 1st time since 1980s | DefenceTalk
May 5, 2020 in Navy News - The US Navy sent four ships this week to conduct Arctic security operations in the Barents Sea north of Russia for the first time in over three decades, the Pentagon said Monday.

The move came as US officials said rivals like China and Russia were increasingly testing US defense resolve with their own air and sea challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.

The four vessels, along with a British Royal navy ship, conducted operations in the increasingly strategic Arctic region “to assert freedom of navigation and demonstrate seamless integration among allies,” The US Navy said in a statement.

The US ships included three guided missile destroyers and a support ship, which were joined by a British frigate.

The Navy said US surface ships have not operated in the Barents Sea region since the mid-1980s, and said it was necessary to stay familiar with operating conditions there.

“In these challenging times, it is more important than ever that we maintain our steady drumbeat of operations across the European theater, while taking prudent measures to protect the health of our force,” said Vice Admiral Lisa Franchetti.

The Navy said Russia was forwarned of the exercises to avoid conflict.

The Barents operations followed last week’s “freedom of navigation” operations by the US navy in the South China Sea near small islands where China maintains territorial claims not accepted by other countries in the region.

“The Chinese have been a little bit more provocative in that part of the world,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Monday.

The Chinese actions are “very aggressive and not consistent with the international rules that we should all be following,” he said.

Esper said the Russian air force has also recently made multiple efforts to probe US airspace in the Artic region and around Alaska.

In Asia, he said, the US military has stepped up its own activities, in the air, sea surface, and below the surface, to demonstrate the US presence and conduct surveillance.

“We want to make sure we maintain the laws of the sea and international rules that have sustained us all very well for decades now,” he said.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
The U.S. ambassador in Berlin has accused Germany of undermining NATO's nuclear deterrent, taking aim at Chancellor Angela Merkel's junior coalition partners after some of their leaders called for nuclear disarmament.

Trump envoy accuses Germany of undermining NATO's nuclear deterrent
FILE PHOTO: Richard Grenell U.S. Ambassador to Germany attends the Rally for Equal Rights at the United Nations (Protesting Anti-Israeli Bias) aside of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 18, 2019.  REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

May 14, 2020 - Rolf Muetzenich, parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats (SPD), called earlier this month for the withdrawal of all U.S. nuclear weapons from Germany - a view that divides his left-leaning party and is not shared by Merkel’s conservatives.

In an opinion piece for German newspaper Die Welt, Ambassador Richard Grenell wrote: “Instead of undermining the solidarity that forms the basis of NATO’s nuclear deterrence, it is now time for Germany to meet its commitments to its allies and to continuously invest in NATO’s nuclear participation.”

“Germany’s political leadership, especially that of the SPD, must now make it clear the federal republic is honoring these commitments and standing by its allies,” added Grenell, who is also U.S. President Donald Trump’s acting national intelligence chief.

The remarks are the latest twist in relations between Berlin and Washington that have often been strained during Trump’s presidency. The president has pressed Germany to raise its defence spending and accused Berlin of being a “captive” of Russia due to its energy reliance.

But Grenell’s comments also come a day after Merkel cited “hard evidence” that Russia was behind a 2015 hacker attack on her Bundestag office — an assault that she said “pains me”.

“The dangers threatening peace in Europe are not an ‘anachronism’, as some would have us believe,” Grenell said.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine, the deployment of new nuclear-weapon-capable missiles by Russia on the periphery of Europe and new capabilities of China, North Korea and other countries make it clear that the threat is all too present.”


The coalition agreement between Merkel’s conservatives and the SPD cites successful disarmament talks as a prerequisite for the withdrawal of tactical nuclear weapons stationed in Germany and Europe.

However, the debate over nuclear weapons was sparked by news last month that the Defence Ministry wanted to purchase 45 F-18 fighter jets from Boeing to replace ageing Tornado aircraft and take over the German military’s task of so-called nuclear sharing - under which the planes would carry U.S. nuclear bombs to target in a crisis.

If Germany does not buy new jets, the nuclear sharing would end with the planned retirement of the Tornadoes from service in 2030.

Beginning of the End of German Support for NATO - Global Research
12 May 2020 - Make way for the Greens and the Leftists. They do not want US nuclear weapons on German soil.

Angela Merkel will soon be gone. The next German coalition already shares new ideas in many areas including NATO.

Three Consequences
  1. Germany will cease its nuclear sharing agreement with the US.
  2. It will ask the US to remove its nuclear weapons from German soil.
  3. Germany will abandon plans to purchase US military equipment such as the F/A-18 Hornet.
Justyna Gotkowska from the OSW think tank in Warsaw, laments in a Twitter Thread that Germany may soon abandon a key pillar of its NATO defence policy.

Eurointelligence picked up on the thread in its report Will Germany cease to host US nuclear weapons on its soil?

Gotkowska argues that it is highly probable that Germany will end its participation in the nuclear sharing programme within ten years. While the government itself, including the SPD leadership, is committed to it, the programme is not supported by the rank-and-file of the SPD. We would add that it is not supported by the Greens either.

Rolf Mützenich, the SPD leader in the Bundestag, has now formally come out supporting withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Germany, and quitting nuclear sharing. The SPD has also nominated an anti-nuclear MEP for the job of Bundeswehr ombudsman.

Gotkowska concludes that there is no longer a majority in the Bundestag for the procurement of the F/A-18 Hornet tactical aircraft, which forms a key component for the nuclear sharing strategy. The government has now pushed a decision on the F/A-18 into the next parliament, which is even less likely than the current one to support it. Germany’s exit from the programme poses important questions for Nato: whether Germany can still be useful in other ways, and whether others member will, or should, pick up the slack.

Fake News Headline
Defense News reports NATO chief backs Germany’s vow to keep war-ready US nukes

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has waded into Germany’s fiery debate about the decades-old pledge to retain American atomic bombs in the European nation as a way of deterring Russia.

Stoltenberg argued that only sticking to the doctrine of “nuclear sharing” would ensure Berlin’s continued seat at the table of strategic decision-making within the alliance.

Led by Rolf Mützenich, the chairman of the Social Democrats in parliament, a group within the governing coalition’s junior party want to exit the NATO atomic arrangement, arguing that deal, too, has outlived its usefulness.

Vow? What Vow?
Both Eurointelligence and Gotkowska lament this result. I view this as a good thing.

I suggest we remove the nukes and the troops, not just from Germany, but everywhere.

If Germany or Japan or any other country wants US weapons or troops, they should pay for them, not US taxpayers.
 
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