Ukrainian Constitutional Court Approves Joining NATO And EU

The Ukrainian parliament has approved the former Soviet republic to become part of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance. This week, the Ukrainian Constitutional Court accepted the legislation as constitutional.

“Having considered at the plenary session the case on the constitutional request of the Verkhovna Rada on providing of an opinion on the compliance of the draft law on amending the Constitution of Ukraine … the Constitutional Court of Ukraine concluded … recognize the draft law relevant to Article 157 and Article 158 of the Constitution of Ukraine (on state’s strategic course to receive full membership of Ukraine in the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) (register No. 9037),” the CCU’s conclusion reads, reported The Kyiv Post.

The inclusion of Ukraine and other former Soviet republics, like Georgia, is a very controversial issue, which the Kremlin has declared to be a red line.

Read More at Tasrizm.

Russian jet flies dangerously close to Navy aircraft during Black Sea operations

Two unsafe passes by a Russian fighter jet put a U.S. military aircraft at risk during flight operations over the Black Sea, Navy officials said Monday.

A Navy EP-3 surveillance aircraft was flying over international airspace Monday when the Russian Su-27 flew at high speed directly in front of it, “which put our pilots and crew at risk,” according to a Naval Forces Europe-Africa statement.

“The intercepting Su-27 made an additional pass, closing with the EP-3 and applying its afterburner while conducting a banking turn away,” the statement said.

The Navy released a short video clip Monday of the Russian jet’s afterburner flaring alongside the U.S. aircraft.

The crew reported turbulence during the first pass and vibrations during the second pass of the intercept, which lasted about 25 minutes, the Navy said.

“While the Russian military is within its right to exercise within international airspace, this interaction was irresponsible,” the Navy said in a statement. “We expect them to behave within international standards set to ensure safety and to prevent incidents.”

Read More at Stripes (With Video of The Incident)

Finnish soldiers find ‘secret Russian military bases’ after raiding mysterious island

Retired to a tiny island in an archipelago between Finland and Sweden, Leo Gastgivar awoke early one morning to visit the outhouse in his bathrobe, only to notice two black speedboats packed with Finnish commandos in camouflage fatigues waiting in the bay near his front door.

After an exchange of awkward greetings, Mr Gastgivar went inside, collected a pair of binoculars and watched aghast as the commandos raced off towards the island of his nearest neighbour, a mysterious Russian businessman he had never met or even seen.

“I thought: ‘Wow! That is certainly unusual’,” Mr Gastgivar recalled of the encounter. “Nobody ever visits that place.”

The island, Sakkiluoto, belongs to Pavel Melnikov, a 54-year-old Russian from St Petersburg, who has dotted the property with security cameras, motion detectors and no-trespassing signs emblazoned with the picture of a fearsome looking guard in a black balaclava.

The island also has nine piers, a helipad, a swimming pool draped in camouflage netting and enough housing – all of it equipped with satellite dishes – to accommodate a small army.

The whole thing is so strange that the raid on 22 September, one of 17 in the same area on the same day, has stirred fevered speculation in Finland that the island’s real owner could be the Russian military. [Emphasis added]

Read More at The Independent.

Russia warships stalk US aircraft carrier in ‘cat and mouse chase’

USS Harry S. Truman has been pursued around the Med by a group of Russian frigates led by warship Yaroslav Mudry.

Video of the incident shows a Russian vessel in the distance shadowing the carrier and its destroyer escort.

Footage was shared by ITV as a team of news reporters visited the US warship.

The vessel is the US’s main weapon against ISIS as it launches strikes on their positions in Syria.

War tensions have flared however after the US, France and Britain launched airstrikes against Vladimir Putin’s pal Bashar al-Assad.

USS Harry S. Truman – the 116,000-ton vessel – is the flagship of the US Navy’s mighty Carrier Strike Group 8.

The warship set sail from the US last month along with a destroyer squadron to become US President Donald Trump’s leading force in the Middle East.

It has been joined by guided-missile destroyers USS Arleigh Burke, USS Bulkeley, USS Forrest Sherman, USS Jason Dunham and USS The Sullivans and USS Farragut.

Russian warships have also been filing into the Med from the Black Sea as Putin gives his full backing to Assad.

Read More Here.

Estonian Defense Minister: Russian Aggressiveness Increasing In Baltic Sea

The Baltic region has been a concern for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance for the last decade as Russian behavior has morphed into that reminiscent of the Soviet Union. The Estonian defense minister vocally made these points in a recent interview, highlighting NATO’s concerns in the volatile, militarily-crowded region.

“Russian warships have been clearly attempting to pressure NATO to leave the Baltic Sea,” Luik told Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat in an interview published on Thursday, reported The Baltic Times.

Behaviors such as approaching to an unsafe, maritime distance by Soviet forces and attempting to harass and deter Western military assets were well documented during the Cold War.

“This is happening in international waters. It is a violation of good maritime practice,” Luik said.

The Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, nestled strategically between the Baltic nations and Central Europe, has been heavily militarized by Russian armed forces. The nuclear-capable Iskander medium-range missile system has been robustly deployed, as well as a sophisticated air defense network to threaten NATO aircraft.

Source: Tsarizm

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