North Korea’s apparent sixth nuclear test was estimated to have a yield of up to 100 kilotons, about four to five times stronger than the nuclear bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945, the chief of the parliament’s defense committee said Sunday.
Citing a report from the military authorities, Kim Young-woo said that the explosive power of the apparent nuke tested Sunday appeared to be much stronger than the North’s fifth one estimated to have a yield of 10 kilotons. One kiloton is equivalent to 1,000 tons of TNT.
“(The North’s latest test) is estimated to have a yield of up to 100 kilotons, though it is a provisional report,” Kim of the minor opposition Bareun Party told Yonhap News Agency over the phone. “The test will be a very crucial political and strategic inflexion point.”‘
Read More Here.
Geologic Data Here.
Editor’s Note: The yield of the test has been expanded to at least 120KT according to Japanese press.
Up to 300,000 NATO troops have been put on alert amid rising tensions between Russia and the Baltic states.
Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of NATO, said the alliance hoped to speed up the response time of thousands of its troops to allow it to react to a combat situation more effectively.
In October, it was reported NATO was preparing to station 4,000 troops on the Russian border with the Baltic states in its biggest military build-up since the Cold War. The troops will be summoned from nations across the alliance, including the UK.
“We have seen Russia being much more active in many different ways,” Mr Stoltenberg told The Times.
“We have seen a more assertive Russia implementing a substantial military build-up over many years – tripling defence spending since 2000 in real terms; developing new military capabilities; exercising their forces and using military force against neighbours.
“We have also seen Russia using propaganda in Europe among NATO allies and that is exactly the reason why NATO is responding. We are responding with the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War.”
Read More at the Independent UK.
Russian authorities have stepped up nuclear-war survival measures amid a showdown with Washington, dusting off Soviet-era civil-defense plans and upgrading bomb shelters in the biggest cities.
At the Kremlin’s Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Cold War is back.
The country recently held its biggest civil defense drills since the collapse of the U.S.S.R., with what officials said were 40 million people rehearsing a response to chemical and nuclear threats.
The capital’s civil-defense plans are also being upgraded, said Andrey Mishchenko, deputy head of the ministry.
“An inventory was taken in Moscow of the city’s underground spaces, in order to allow us to plan for sheltering 100% of the city’s population,” he said, as reported by state news agency RIA Novosti.
In parallel, commentators on state-dominated airwaves issued some of the shrillest anti-American rhetoric in years. “Russia is sick of America’s arrogant lies,” influential commentator Dmitry Kiselyov said this month after a Syrian peace plan collapsed.
Read More at the Wall Street Journal.
Russian warships off the coast of Norway are carrying fighter bombers that are likely to reinforce a final assault on the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo in two weeks, a senior NATO diplomat said on Wednesday, citing Western intelligence.
The fleet passed by the Norwegian city of Bergen on Wednesday, the diplomat said, while Russian media has said it will move through the English Channel, past Gibraltar and into the Mediterranean Sea to the Syrian coast.
“They are deploying all of the Northern fleet and much of the Baltic fleet in the largest surface deployment since the end of the Cold War,” the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
“This is not a friendly port call. In two weeks, we will see a crescendo of air attacks on Aleppo as part of Russia’s strategy to declare victory there,” the diplomat said.
Photos of the vessels have been released by the Norwegian military, taken on Monday. A Norwegian newspaper quoted the head of the Norwegian military intelligence service saying the ships involved “will probably play a role in the deciding battle for Aleppo.
Read more at Reuters.