Russia Puts Eight ICBMs Into Service

Eight intercontinental ballistic missiles have been put into service in Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces in the second quarter of 2015, the country’s Deputy Minister of Defense Yuriy Borisov said Thursday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russian Strategic Missile Forces have also received seven mobile launchers, Borisov said.He added that Russia would carry out six space launches for military purposes by end of the year.

According to the deputy minister, the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces carried out two launches in the second quarter of 2015.

A Topol ICBM launcher at VDNKh
A Topol ICBM launcher at VDNKh

NATO to hold biggest military drills in decade, Russia welcome to observe

NATO will be conducting its biggest military exercises in over 10 years starting in October, with a specific focus on battling Islamic State, allied commanders say. Forces will be deployed across the Mediterranean, and even Russia is invited to observe.

NATO commanders described the Commonwealth Trident Juncture-2015 as one of its most difficult training plans yet. They will include an “artificial threat scenario” on land and sea, as well as in the air.

“We cannot choose between the eastern threat and the southern threat, we have to train for both,”Reuters quoted commander of the NATO military command in Brunssum, Netherlands General Hans-Lothar Domrose, who is organizing the exercise.

READ MORE: NATO conducting biggest beef up of defenses since Cold War – alliance chief

Around 36,000 personnel from more than 30 countries will be participating, including non-NATO nations such as Sweden and Austria. The drills will take place in Italy, Spain, Portugal and in the Mediterranean Sea, and will run from October 3 to November 6.

“Distance is a new factor. We will be working in a huge training area,” Domrose said. “We will focus on speed, on multiple threats, simultaneously.”

NATO is also developing a rapid reaction force that will consist of several thousand soldiers who could be quickly deployed to any hotspot.

The last time NATO held an exercise of such scale was in 2002, when 15 members of the alliance, along with 12 other partner nations, participated in drills that took place in Norway and Poland.

Moreover, the alliance’s commanders revealed that naval forces will aid in dealing with the migrant boat crisis in the Mediterranean Sea during the exercises, as there is an increasing number of people fleeing conflicts in Syria and North Africa.

“If there is a crisis in the vicinity of one of our ships … we will stop the exercise and give humanitarian help,” Domrose said. “We will not let people die.”

Shift from the east?

It is a first time in a while that NATO has taken its eye off Russia and focused on the serious terrorist threat posed by Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS/ISIL) further south.

“We invite international observers. [We have] no secrets, the secret is, what decisions I take, but everything else is transparent. And my decisions during the exercise would be transparent, as soon as I take them. The Russian Federation and all others who have expressed interest will be invited,” Domrose stated.

READ MORE: Drills for me but not for thee: NATO launches war games near Russian border

The general argued that the increased threat from IS in Iraq and Syria is forcing NATO to turn away from the east and face the growing instability coming from the terror group. Domrose added that the new type of threats coming from IS defy geographical boundaries, as the group uses social media as a propaganda tool to inspire attacks across the globe.

In light of the Ukrainian conflict, for which the alliance blames Moscow, relations between Russia and NATO have soured to a Cold-War low.

Since Russia’s reunification with Crimea and the outbreak of the military conflict in eastern Ukraine last spring, NATO has stepped up its military presence along the Russian border, including in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe.

The latest round of NATO military trainings close to Russia was named “Agile Spirit 2015,” which began in Georgia on July 8, uniting military personnel from six countries.

READ MORE: ’Agile Spirit’: NATO military exercises kick off in Georgia

One of the biggest series of drills this summer involved at least 49 vessels from 17 countries, with 5,600 troops taking part in the US-led BALTOPS exercises in the Baltic Sea in June. The training operation kicked off from the Polish port of Gdynia on June 5 and ran until June 20.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has continuously criticized NATO’s military buildup in the neighboring states, which it said is taking place “under the false pretext of alleged ‘aggressive behavior’ by our country” and is accompanied by “unfriendly and malicious” rhetoric.

“We are not threatening anyone and we seek to resolve all conflict situations through political means, with respect toward international law and other nations’ interests,” President Putin stressed in June.

Russian Bombers Fly Near U.S. on July 4th

PHOTO: Tupolev Tu-95 Bear, a large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber in Voronezh region, Russia, September 20, 2014.

As Americans were celebrating the Fourth of July holiday, four Russian long-range bomber aircraft flew close enough to the US shores that they were intercepted by military fighter jets. The first set of two bombers flew near Alaska and just 30 minutes later a separate set flew far off the west coast of California.

According to officials at NORAD the flights stayed within international airspace and at no time did any of the Russian bombers enter or get close to entering sovereign North American boundaries.

The first incident occurred at approximately 10:30 a.m. EDT on July 4, when Alaskan-based NORAD F-22 fighters intercepted and visually identified two Russian TU-95 “Bear” long-range bomber aircraft flying off the coast of the Aleutian Islands within the Air Defense Identification Zone (an area of international waters that stretches 200 miles from US coastline), officials at NORAD said in a statement to ABC News.

Then at approximately 11 a.m. EDT, NORAD F-15 fighters from the Continental NORAD Region intercepted and visually identified two additional Bear bombers flying off the central California coast, well away from U.S. sovereign airspace.

While Northcom is not saying precisely how far out the California intercept occurred, one official said it was on the outer lines of the ADIZ, meaning it could have been as far out as 200 miles. US airspace begins 12 miles from the coasts. The US asks military aircraft from other countries operating in that space to identify themselves and will make sure they’ve changed course away from US shores before backing away.

While intercepts of Russian aircraft off Alaska occur frequently, intercepts off California are less common. In June last year a two long-range Russian bombers flew within 50 miles of northern California.

MOSCOW FURIOUS AFTER BOTH BELGIUM AND FRANCE FREEZE RUSSIAN STATE ASSETS

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 6.26.59 PMWill only serve to further inflame tensions between Russia and Europe

by ZERO HEDGE | JUNE 18, 2015

Russia has summoned the Belgian ambassador to Moscow and threatened to “respond in kind” after bailiffs instructed nearly 50 Belgian companies to disclose Russian state assets, a move which reportedly sets the stage for the seizure of Russian property in connection with the disputed $50 billion Yukos verdict. Essentially, Russia was required to submit a plan for a €1.6 billion payment pursuant to the ECHR decision by June 15, and because Moscow did not do so, Belgium will attempt to extract the payment on its own.

As a refresher, here’s what we said last year regarding the arbitration:

The Hague is not Vladimir Putin’s favorite place today. Following the “war crime” comments earlier, the arbitration court’s decision to rule in favor of Yukos shareholders (and thus against the allegedly “politically motivated” confiscation of the firm’s assets by the Russian government) with a $50 billion settlement (half what was sought) has prompted a quick and angry response from the Russian government. Blasting the “one-sided use of evidence,” and re-iterating the massive tax evasion that the leadership were involved in, Russia slams “the puzzling unprecedented amount of damages” awarded, claiming the process is “becoming increasingly politicized.”
Here’s RT on Belgium’s move to freeze Russian assets:
The bailiffs were reportedly acting at the behest of the Isle of Man-based Yukos Universal Limited, a subsidiary of the Russian energy giant, dismantled in 2007. They have given the target companies a fortnight to comply..

Russia will appeal the court’s arrest of Russian property, Russian presidential aide Andrey Belousov said. According to the official, “the situation with the arrest of the property is politicized, [and] Moscow hopes to avoid a new escalation in relations.”

A letter accompanying the notice, reportedly drafted by the law firm Marc Sacré, Stefan Sacré & Piet De Smet, accused Moscow of a “systematic failure to voluntarily follow”international legal judgments.

The addressees included not just local offices of Russian companies, but international banks, a local branch of the Russian Orthodox Church, and even Eurocontrol, the European air traffic agency headquartered in Brussels. Only diplomatic assets, such as embassies, were exempt.

The situation was not unexpected, and Russia is considering a number of measures to deal with possible asset seizures both in Belgium and in other countries, said Andrey Belousov, an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Yukos Universal Limited was awarded $1.8 billion in damages by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in July 2014, as part of a total settlement for approximately $50 billion, owed to its former shareholders and management. The court concluded that the corporation, once headed by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who spent more than a decade in prison for embezzlement and tax evasion from 2003 to 2013, “was the object of a series of politically motivated attacks.”

Russia has not accepted the ruling, saying it disregards widespread tax fraud committed by Yukos, and constitutes a form of indirect retribution for Russia’s standoff with the West over Ukraine.
And more, from Interfax (Google translated):

Russian institutions in Belgium, except for diplomatic missions, received on Wednesday by bailiffs arrest warrants in their possession of the State Property of the Russian Federation.

The document stated that the arrest is made on the basis of the decision of the Belgian Court of Arbitration of 18 July 2014 to the claim of “Yukos Universal Limited.”

The specified amount of the claim in it – 1.6 billion euros.

Bailiffs indicate that the plaintiff has demanded such a measure, “because it has serious concerns about the possibility to receive the sum due, in particular, due to a systematic failure of the Russian Federation to fulfill handed down judgments against it and considering the attitude of the Russian Federation to the decision.”

As explained by “Interfax” the representative offices of bailiffs’ Marc Sacre – Stefan Sacré – Piet De Smet “listed in the organizations are obliged to declare within two weeks at their disposal cash, property of the Russian Federation and the debt to the Russian Federation.

The list covers almost all the major banks, registered in Belgium, and even organizations such as “Eurocontrol”, which regulates air traffic over Europe. In it – all Russian representative, except for the protected diplomatic immunity until the Archbishopric of Brussels and Belgium ROC, including the representation of non-governmental organizations and the media.
But it’s not just Belgium. France also froze the accounts of Russian companies on Thursday, targeting Russian firms run by a French subsidiary of the country’s second largest lender, VTB. Here’s RT again:

French law enforcement has frozen the accounts of Russian companies operated by the French subsidiary of VTB, Russia’s second-largest bank, CEO Andrey Kostin told RBC. Diplomatic accounts were briefly frozen as well, but have since been unlocked. “As of this morning [diplomatic accounts] were unfrozen… The sums are small, some dozens of thousands of euros, [but] Russian companies’ accounts are still frozen,” the bank chief was cited as saying. “We are working on the problem with our lawyers now.”
And the response from the Kremlin:

RUSSIA SUMMONS BELGIAN AMBASSADOR OVER FREEZES OF RUSSIA ASSETS
RUSSIA: FREEZES OF ASSETS IN BELGIUM `UNFRIENDLY ACT’
RUSSIA MAY RESPOND IN KIND TARGETING BELGIAN ASSETS IN RUSSIA
“[Remove the violations], otherwise, the Russian side will be forced to consider taking adequate response measures against properties of the Kingdom of Belgium, including properties of the Belgian embassy in Moscow, as well as of its legal entities”
We imagine this will only serve to further inflame tensions between Russia and Europe amid escalating violence in Ukraine and an increasingly aggressive stance towards the Kremlin on the part of Washington and NATO.

Moscow summons Belgian envoy over seizure of state assets, threatens retaliation

http://cdn.rt.com/files/news/41/6b/c0/00/belgium-russian-assets-yukos.mp4?event=download

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 11.19.31 AM

Moscow has summoned the Belgian ambassador to lodge a protest over the freeze of its state assets. It said that Moscow may consider retaliatory measures against Belgium if the assets are seized, including against Belgium diplomatic property in Russia.

This comes after Belgian bailiffs notified Belgian, Russian and other international companies of the seizure of assets belonging to Russia at the behest of the Isle of Man-based Yukos Universal Limited, a subsidiary of the Russian energy giant, which was dismantled in 2007. They have given the target companies a fortnight to comply.

READ MORE: Russian companies’ accounts in VTB French subsidiary frozen – CEO Kostin

Russia will appeal the court’s arrest of Russian property, Russian presidential aide Andrey Belousov said. According to the official, “the situation with the arrest of the property is politicized, [and] Moscow hopes to avoid a new escalation in relations.”

Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it could consider retaliatory measures against Belgium if the assets are seized.

Read more
Amsterdam court says Yukos International has legitimate compensation claim against Rosneft

A letter accompanying the notice, reportedly drafted by the law firm Marc Sacré, Stefan Sacré & Piet De Smet, accused Moscow of a “systematic failure to voluntarily follow” international legal judgments.

The addressees included not just local offices of Russian companies, but international banks, a local branch of the Russian Orthodox Church, and even Eurocontrol, the European air traffic agency headquartered in Brussels. Only diplomatic assets, such as embassies, were exempt.

The situation was not unexpected, and Russia is considering a number of measures to deal with possible asset seizures both in Belgium and in other countries, said Andrey Belousov, an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The situation is very politicized,” Belousov said. “Let’s hope that common sense prevails and we don’t sink deep in this story, that there won’t be a new round of retaliatory escalation.”

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 11.20.45 AM

Russia has not accepted the ruling, saying it disregards widespread tax fraud committed by Yukos, and constitutes a form of indirect retribution for Russia’s standoff with the West over Ukraine. Earlier this month, the Russian ministry of justice said it would take “preventative measures” to avoid property confiscation, and challenge each decision in national courts.

Read more
​Russia appeals $50bn Yukos verdict

A separate ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) last summer awarded Yukos shareholders €1.9 billion in compensation. Russia’s Dozhd channel quoted ECHR representatives as saying that the reported seizures are not related to its legal decision as several media reports have previously suggested.

Neither Belgium, nor Russia have yet released official statements about potential asset seizures.

Russia spent much of the 1990s embroiled in legal squabbles with several foreign creditors, who attempted to seize its property abroad, but each time the dispute was settled without asset confiscation.

Putin: 40+ ICBMs targeted for 2015 nuclear force boost

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 11.34.56 AM

Over 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles will be delivered to Russia’s strategic forces in 2015, President Vladimir Putin announced at the opening ceremony of the Army-2015 Expo, an international military forum held near Moscow.

This year, our nuclear forces are going to get more than 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of penetrating all existing, even the most advanced missile defenses,” the Russian president said, adding that the state would persist in paying specific attention to realization of a massive military rearmament program and modernization of the defense industry, Putin said.

Read more
‘Are you crazy?’ People in Moscow widely oppose fake petition to nuke America (VIDEO)
Vladimir Putin also said that tests of a new radar station capable of beyond-the-horizon aerial target detection will start soon in Russia. The system will be directed westward. A similar radar station is also due to be deployed eastward. And in April a new radar station started operations in the city of Armavir, in southern Russia.

READ MORE: ‘Most aggressive since Cold War’: Russia may beef up border if US arms stationed in E. Europe

Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov says that NATO is provoking Russia into an arms race. Antonov’s statement was made referring to US plans to put its F-22 jets in Eastern Europe.

I believe the statement must be looked at together with other similar statements, which have recently been numerous,” the deputy defense minister said. “A few days ago, reports started to turn up about certain [American] missiles put in a certain location and about certain ammunition depots in Eastern European countries and the Baltic. It looks like our colleagues from NATO member states are pushing us into an arms race,” he said.