Stratfor Warns: S-300 in Ukraine’s Odessa Might Cause All Out War

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from Fig Trees and Vineyards: 


Ukraine’s plans to deploy S-300 air defense systems in the Odessa Region, right beside the border with Transnistria, a de-facto independent state wedged between Moldova and Ukraine.

This will increase the chance of a military conflict between Transnistria and Ukraine. But most importantly, it could trigger a possible confrontation between Russia and the West, US global intelligence company Stratfor reported.

The deployment of Ukrainian S-300 in the Odessa Region is troublesome due to the presence of a 1,400 Russian peacekeeper contingent in Transnistria, Stratfor said. The Russian peacekeeping mission was established in the region as per the 1992 ceasefire agreement following the War of Transnistria in 1990-1992.

Previously, Russia moved supplies and rotated its peacekeepers in Transnistria using two routes: a land route through Ukraine and airlifts to Moldova, from where Russian peacekeepers crossed into Transnistria. The land route is now closed, after Ukraine decided to block Russian peacekeepers from passing through its territory on June 8. The air route through Moldova is not a good option either. The government in Chisinau doesn’t recognize Transnistria as an independent state and also has concerns about the Russian peacekeepers in Transnistria.

Under the current circumstances, Russia has been using a runway in Tiraspol, the capital of Transnistria, to deliver equipment and supplies and to rotate its peacekeepers in and out of the region.

To reach Transnistria, Russian aircraft must pass through Ukrainian air space over Odessa from its closest airbase in Crimea. The deployment of the Ukrainian S-300 air defense systems in the Odessa Region puts Russian aircraft, doing airlift operations into Transnistria, in direct danger of getting shot down, Stratfor said.

At the same time, Ukrainian forces increased their activity near the border with Transnistria. Ukraine’s decision to block Russian peacekeepers from entering Transnistria not only violates the 1992 peace agreement between Moldova and Transnistria, but also undermines Kiev’s status as one of the guarantors of the ceasefire agreement.

To make things worse, former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, well-known for his anti-Russian rhetoric, was appointed as the governor of Odessa. The residents of Odessa fear that Saakashvili might start war with Transnistria, using similar methods that he used during the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia, which started when Georgia, under his leadership, invaded South Ossetia, a tiny nation at the heart of the Caucasus. The war started when Georgian troops attacked South Ossetia, while Russian peacekeepers were deployed there.

The Anglo-American Insanity

By Finian Cunningham

In a sane world, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond should be forced to quit his post in disgrace as the country’s top diplomat, following reckless remarks that Britain may henceforth site American nuclear weapons to counter the «threat from Russia». So here we have an alarming escalation of international tensions and militarism by both Washington and London – and all on the back of unproven, prejudicial words from the close Anglo-American allies, who are clearly working in tandem.

Hammond’s overt reversal to Cold War mentality comes as Washington is also reportedly considering the deployment of»first-strike» nuclear missiles in various European Union countries. The Americans are claiming that move is «in response»to Russia violating the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Moscow is accused of testing land-based cruise missiles banned under the INF. Russia has flatly denied this American claim, which – as is becoming the norm in other contentious matters – has not been supported with any evidence from Washington.

This slanderous attitude toward Russia is doubly contemptible, because not only is it calumnious, the deception also serves as a political and moral cover that allows the Anglo-American rulers to take outrageous steps toward jeopardising international peace, with the unprecedented deployment of nuclear weapons.

On the issue of Britain siting American nuclear weapons, Hammond told the rightwing Daily Telegraph: «I think it is right to be concerned about the way the Russians are developing what they call asymmetric warfare doctrine… We have got to send a clear signal to Russia that we will not allow them to transgress our red lines. We would look at the case [of installing American nuclear weapons on British soil]. We work extremely closely with the Americans. That would be a decision that we would make together if that proposition was on the table. We would look at all the pros and the cons and come to a conclusion».

For self-serving good measure, the British foreign minister linked the nuclear issue with alleged Russian aggression in east Ukraine, adding: «There have been some worrying signs of stepping up levels of activity both by Russian forces and by Russian-controlled separatist forces».

Hammond tried to sound ambivalent about the deployment of US nuclear weapons from British territory – in addition to Britain’s own nuclear arsenal – but the mere fact that his government is weighing the possibility is in itself a reckless, inflammatory move. If Britain were to do so, it reverses the prohibition on such American forces that followed the end of the Cold War more than 20 years ago.

Ironically, while Hammond was this week leading the Westminster parliament’s push for a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, it may be noted that the British public is not given a say on whether their country once again becomes part of the United States’ nuclear strike force.

But perhaps the real sacking offence for Hammond is that he is dangerously militarising foreign policy based on absolutely no reasonable evidence; indeed, based on outright disinformation. Just like his American allies in Washington, the Conservative Party minister is making all sorts of hysterical claims against Russia, ranging from posing a threat to Europe, to using»asymmetric war doctrine», to invading east Ukraine and undermining the Minsk ceasefire. (A ceasefire that Moscow worked hard to broker with Germany and France back in February, in the significant absence of both Washington and London.)

Without any credible information, the American and British governments appear to be moving incrementally toward a pre-emptive nuclear strike capability against Russia. As the Associated Press reported last week, albeit using euphemistic language: «The options go so far as one implied – but not stated explicitly – that would improve the ability of US nuclear weapons to destroy military targets on Russian territory».

The Americans, Britain or NATO have not produced a shred of verifiable evidence that Russia has violated the INF treaty, or is subverting Ukraine, or is threatening any other European country.

On the east Ukraine conflict, it is in fact reliably reported by the Minsk ceasefire monitoring group of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as well by local media sources and pro-separatist officials, that the latest surge in violence is coming from the Western-backed Kiev regime. That violence includes the shelling of residential centres in Donetsk City and surrounding towns and villages, which has resulted in dozens of civilian deaths over the past week.

How the British and American governments can make out that Russia is the aggressor and is subverting the Minsk ceasefire is simply a prejudicial assertion that is based on no facts. Moreover, such a view is a distortion of the facts to the point of telling barefaced lies.

That the British foreign secretary can make such misleading and apparently misinformed comments about the Ukraine conflict and Russia in general, and then seek to overhaul Britain’s military policy to install American nuclear weapons on British territory is worthy of a ministerial sacking due to gross incompetence.

Hammond’s embrace of nuclear militarism in the midst of a tense East-West political standoff has not gone unnoticed in Britain. His bellicose remarks have caused controversy, with several anti-war campaign groups reviling the reckless reversal to Cold War mentality. Nevertheless, it is a worrying sign of the mainstream malaise that Hammond’s incompetence has not incurred even greater public condemnation.

Underlying the American and British governments’ foreign policy is just this: a Cold War ideology, which views the entire world in terms of «external threats». Russia and China are once again foremost as the perceived and portrayed enemies.

In an interview last week with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted: «As for some countries’ concerns about Russia’s possible aggressive actions, I think that only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO».

By deduction, this kind of reasoning categorises people like Britain’s Hammond as «insane». The same goes for US President Barack Obama and his administration. Addressing the recent G7 summit in Germany, Obama exhorted: «We must face down Russian aggression».

It might be asked: why do Washington and London in particular always interpret the world in terms of enemies, threats and aggression?

Part of the answer may be that these powers are themselves the biggest practitioners of illegal aggression to pursue foreign policy goals. Imperialism – the use of military force to underpin political and economic objectives – is part and parcel of how America and Britain operate in the world. Aggression and militarism are fundamental instruments of Anglo-American capitalism, as much as banking, trade and investment deals.

There is thus a very real sense of «devil’s conscience» at play in the international relations of Washington and London. They both fear retribution and revenge because of their own criminal conduct toward the rest of the world. In a word, the Anglo-American world view boils down to paranoia.

The militarisation of foreign relations is also an effective, vicarious way to exert control over nominal allies. If external threats can be sufficiently talked up, then that creates a contrived sense of «defence» among «allies» who then look to dominant leaders for «protection». Such mind games are typical of the way Washington and London have promoted NATO as the protector of «European allies» from «Russian aggression».

The same mind game is at play over Washington’s interference in Asia-Pacific, where the Americans are trying to cast China as the «evil aggressor» toward smaller nations, who then turn to Washington for «protection» – and large amounts of money to buy American weapons, courtesy of the Fed’s dollar-printing press.

On the matter of alleged Russian aggression, Putin, in the interview cited above, went on to aptly comment: «I think some countries are simply taking advantage of people’s fears with regard to Russia… Let’s suppose that the United States would like to maintain its leadership in the Atlantic [EU] community. It needs an external threat, an external enemy to ensure this leadership. Iran is clearly not enough – this threat is not very scary or big enough. Who can be frightening? And then suddenly this crisis unfolds in Ukraine. Russia is forced to respond. Perhaps, it was engineered on purpose, I don’t know. But it was not our doing».

Speaking to the editor of Corriere della Sera, Putin added: «Let me tell you something – there is no need to fear Russia. The world has changed so drastically that people with some common sense cannot even imagine such a large-scale military conflict today. We have other things to think about, I assure you».

That is why politicians like British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond are compelled to vilify Russia and conjure up nightmares of invasions, large-scale military conflicts, and nuclear weapons. Without scaremongering, there cannot be warmongering; and without warmongering Anglo-American capitalism cannot exert the hegemonic relations that it requires in order to operate.

This Anglo-American world view remains regressively stuck in a bygone era of managing international relations through violence and aggression and even, if needs be, through instigating all-out war.

Such people as Britain’s Philip Hammond, his Prime Minister David Cameron and on the American side, Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, John Kerry, do not of course deserve to be in a position of government, if we lived in a sane world.

But that’s the kind of politician that the Anglo-American capitalist system selects, because they promote the essentials of the system through their draconian mentality of aggression and war. The diabolical shame is that these insane people are capable of bringing cataclysm upon millions of innocent human beings.

Kicking out such politicians would be a start to averting war. Better still would be kicking out the entire insane system that anyway only ever enriches a small minority at the painful expense of the majority. That «expense» includes enduring the perennial risk of war and, dare we say, annihilation.

Report: US Military Heavy Equipment to be Deployed on Russia’s Doorstep

Press TV

The Pentagon is ready to store heavy military equipment in East Europe to face a possible “Russian aggression”, in the wake of a crisis in Ukraine, a report says.

On Saturday, the New York Times quoted officials as saying that the weaponry, which includes battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, was enough for as many as 5,000 American troops.

Since the end of the Cold War, this would be the first time that the United States is stationing heavy weaponry in the Eastern European countries, once part of the Soviet Union.

Back in 2004, the Baltic states, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), however, the US has not permanently stationed equipment there as they also have ties with Russia.

James G. Stavridis, a retired admiral and the former supreme allied commander of NATO, called the move, which depends on approval of a Pentagon’s proposal by US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, “a very meaningful shift in policy”.

The report, however, referred to concerns among the NATO members in regard to Moscow’s reaction to a buildup of heavy weaponry on its doorstep.

“The U.S. military continues to review the best location to store these materials in consultation with our allies,” said Colonel Steven H. Warren, a Pentagon spokesman. “At this time, we have made no decision about if or when to move to this equipment.”

The conflict between Russia and the West erupted after Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea voted for reunification with Russia in March last year.

Many have been killed, injured, and displaced after Kiev started crackdown on pro-Russia protesters in the east in April 2014.

Last Sunday, President Barack Obama urged the leaders of the G7 summit in Munich to stand up to “Russian aggression”.

The West blames the Kremlin for masterminding the Ukrainian unrest and backing the pro-Russia forces in country’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, a charge denied by Moscow.

‘The Human Race is Sleepwalking Toward Extinction’: Dr. Helen Caldicott


Current US and Russian war games at a time of serious international tension are very dangerous and someone’s mistake or a computer error could push the world over the brink into a nuclear war, claimed Dr. Helen Caldicott to RT.

UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond claims the UK could deploy US nuclear missiles as a response to increased “levels of activity both by Russian forces and by Russian-controlled separatist forces” in Ukraine. Hammond added Russia needs to get “a clear signal” that “we will not allow them to transgress our red lines.” Nevertheless, the UK hosting US nuclear missiles still remains a distant prospect.

For more on this RT asked pediatrician Dr. Helen Caldicott, founding president of Physicians for Social Responsibility and president of the Helen Caldicott Foundation for a Nuclear Free Future.

RT: Why is the US is so eager to show its nuclear might? What is the point of that given that fact that multiple states possess nuclear weapons right now?

Helen Caldicott: It’s very alarming. I think the US has pushed Russia into a corner over Ukraine. I know that Putin has reportedly put his nuclear missiles on a higher-than-normal state of alert. Both Russia and America are practicing nuclear war games close to each other’s borders and a mistake by someone, an officer, a computer error at a time of heightened international tension could easily push us over the brink into a nuclear war. I think both countries are playing nuclear chicken with each other.

RT: What can be the repercussions of such US actions as deploying arms in the UK to frighten Russia?

HC: Russia could reply or respond in kind and start deploying cruise missiles itself in Russian territory and then we end arms control, it violates the intermediate-range INF agreement. We are heading into very dangerous territory, which very few Americans or people around the world understand which could lead us to nuclear war. We can’t have these sorts of dynamics between the two countries that can in fact destroy almost all life on earth and create a nuclear winter. Once one country launches its missiles, the other country will do it and that’s it.

RT: How should the world react to statements like those made by the US government?

HC: The Americans don’t understand what is really happening in Ukraine, they don’t understand how the US government is pushing Putin into a corner. Nor do they understand that their lives and the lives of their children are at risk. So therefore without education and proper understanding nothing will be done. I’m very worried.

RT: As a nominated Nobel peace activist, please tell us, would Obama be awarded the peace price now – taking into consideration his current policy?

HC: I don’t think he would. Obama is a very intelligent man but I don’t understand what he is doing at the moment. He talked at the G7 meeting and with David Cameron about deploying cruise missiles in Britain. It’s very serious and now I don’t think he would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize now.

RT: Is there any sense at all in nuclear arms race right now?

HC: There is absolutely no sense and I’ll tell you the human race is sleepwalking towards extinction and I’m pessimistic. As a doctor, my prognosis is grim and if things don’t change rapidly internationally I think there will be probably a nuclear war and that’s the end of everything and all of us.

RT: You said that the demonstration of nuclear might by the US may even lead to a new war. This is a very disturbing scenario. What would be the point of no return in this case?

HC: There is no return. Once a weapon is launched and they are poised on a hair trigger ready to go in both Russia and the US. Of the 16,400 nuclear weapons of the world Russia and the US own 94 percent of them….This is a very serious situation and it’s the first time Russia and the US have confronted each other militarily since the end of the Cold War.

I hope Putin is sensible and restrained, and I just hope that Obama will be too. But it’s not just Obama. You see the US has a policy still to fight and win a nuclear war against Russia. And when they do that launch first and land 200 hydrogen bombs on each of your missile silos and kill your missiles. The fact that billions of people will die is called by the Pentagon ‘collateral damage’. I don’t know what the Russian military strategy is about this, but the whole thing is extremely dangerous and the news media is not talking about it on the whole.

The last thing I would say as a medical doctor who helped to found International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and Physicians for Social Responsibility, nuclear war will create the final epidemic of the human race, and indeed Gorbachev recognized that and in the end Reagan did and they worked together at Reykjavik and they almost came to a decision to abolish nuclear weapons in the world – two mere men. Now that has to happen again, we must move rapidly towards abolishing of nuclear weapons. If the US decided to abolish nuclear weapons, Russia would to. I know they both would. What if Russia decided to abolish its nuclear arsenal – it would make the US very bad in the eyes of the rest of the world and then maybe the US might come to the party and start abolishing its nuclear weapons. Something really radical has to be done or else I think the human race will become extinct.