Tensions Increase in Ukraine After Russians Move in Tanks and Artillery – Again
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance has observed Russian troops moving closer to Ukraine’s eastern border. Moscow has supported pro-Russian separatists with training and equipment. Despite Kiev’s rejection of the pro-separatist elections in Donetsk and Luhansk, Alexander Zakharchenko was sworn in as prime minister of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic.
Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday they fear renewal of hostilities in the east after being warned by NATO that Russia has been bringing in heavy military hardware to rebel-controlled areas.
Western journalists and monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have observed several such convoys transporting tanks, Grad multiple-launch missile systems, howitzers and anti-aircraft guns in recent days.
The artillery has been moved in, seemingly with no attempts to hide it. Soldiers without insignia on their uniforms have hauled in columns of weaponry in broad daylight, driving along major highways and through city centers in mostly unmarked trucks.
The growing risk of open conflict threatens the already fragile ceasefire deal that, since September, has lessened shelling in much of the rebel-controlled territory, although it has not stopped fighting entirely in strategic places such as Donetsk and northern Luhansk. On Tuesday night in Shastya, Luhansk region, one policeman was killed and another injured in a rocket attack on a Ukrainian position, military officials in Kiev said on Wednesday.
While howitzers and anti-aircraft guns could be used as offensive weapons, it is the increase in heavy armor, such as tanks, that is worrisome, Russian security services expert Mark Galeotti told Mashable.
Following moves by NATO in response to the crisis in Ukraine, Sergei Shoigu, the Minister of Defense for the Russian Federation and General of the Army, announced: “We have to maintain military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.”
Earlier this week, the European Leadership Network released a report, entitled Dangerous Brinksmanship: Close Military Encounters Between Russia and the West in 2014. The report documented an increase in military encounters between Russian and NATO since the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in March. Included in the Report was the description that three out of nearly 40 incidents had a “high probability” of triggering military confrontation. It reports the incidents “include harassment of reconnaissance planes, close overflights over warships, and Russian ‘mock bombing raid’ missions.”
Apparently Putin, like the shark he is, has decided to take advantage of the blood in the water. Circling around the United States and NATO as if there is no reason not to take what he wants, without any fear of repercussions.
In what seems like a new and stronger alliance between China and Russia, China has taken the opportunity, after mocking President Obama in their press, to showcase a sophisticated new stealth fighter jet at an air show during the Asia-Pacific Summit.
China Unveils Sophisticated Stealth Fighter Aircraft
(Reuters) – China unveiled a sophisticated new stealth fighter jet at an air show on Tuesday, a show of muscle during a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama for an Asia-Pacific summit.
China hopes the much-anticipated J-31 stealth aircraft, developed by the Aviation Industry Corp of China (Avic), the country’s top aircraft maker, will compete with U.S.-made hardware in export markets.
The twin-engine fighter jet was unveiled at the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in the southern city of Zhuhai, a biennial event at which China shows off its military technology, a Reuters witness said.
The J-31 conducted a demonstration but was not put on display afterwards although a mock-up version was on show.
An Avic spokesman declined to comment on any orders for the aircraft.
“We were told not to do any promotion for the plane,” said the spokesman, Fu Mingyao. He did not elaborate.
There are slated to be at least two more J-31 demonstrations at the show, Avic officials said.
China hopes the J-31 will compete with the U.S.-made F-35 stealth aircraft as China works to strengthen its standing as an arms producer, according to China military watchers and state media reports.
The world is a much more dangerous place since, under Obama’s foreign policy, the US has withdrawn from a leadership role in the world.