Russia is building a military research and testing center in the Arctic region, furthering its already strong hold to land claims in the region, at the expense of other world powers. Lt. Gen. Igor Makushev, head of the Military-Scientific Committee of the Russian Armed Forces, said the center will be used to test weapons, tactics, and logistics in the vital territory. Russia has an immense northern region which they are militarizing aggressively.
“On the orders of the president [Vladimir Putin], and in the framework of the development of the Arctic zone, it is planned to establish in 2017 an Arctic research and testing scientific center with branches in Arkhangelsk, Priozersk and St. Petersburg,” Makushev said, reports Business Insider.
The Arctic region is estimated to hold 22% of the world’s minerals and resources. U.S. military commanders admit Russia is far ahead of Western nations in Arctic war fighting capability.
“In the last few years, Russia has activated a new Arctic command, four new Arctic brigade combat teams, 14 new operational airfields, 16 deepwater ports, and 40 icebreakers with 11 more in the making. Moscow also unveiled its second Arctic military base in late April,” reports Business Insider.
Russia has developed multiple different weapons systems to be used in the cold weather, including missile systems, artillery, armored vehicles, etc
Vyacheslav Alekseyevich Nikonov
Russia would be forced to use nuclear weapons in any conflict in which U.S. or NATO forces entered eastern Ukraine, a member of Russia’s parliament told an international gathering of government security officials on Sunday.
“On the issue of NATO expansion on our borders, at some point I heard from the Russian military — and I think they are right — If U.S. forces, NATO forces, are, were, in the Crimea, in eastern Ukraine, Russia is undefendable militarily in case of conflict without using nuclear weapons in the early stage of the conflict,” Russian parliamentarian Vyacheslav Alekseyevich Nikonov told attendees at the GLOBSEC 2017 forum in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Russian military leaders have discussed Moscow’s willingness to use nuclear weapons in a conflict with military leaders in NATO, as part of broader and increasingly contentious conversations about the alliance’s expansion, Nikonov later told Defense One
Nikonov’s threat might sound startling, but it’s in keeping with the current state of Russia’s ever-evolving policy on the use of nuclear weapons. While the Soviet Union maintained a policy against the first use of nukes, Putin’s government turned away from that strict prohibition in 2000 with the signing of a new military doctrine that allows for the limited use of nuclear weapons “in response to large-scale aggression utilizing conventional weapons in situations critical to the national security of the Russian Federation.”
Putin has also shown a growing willingness to invest in nuclear-weapons technology. In March, he vowed to put more money into new intercontinental ballistic missiles, so-called “strategic” nuclear forces, and to prioritize those military investments “above all” other areas.
Read More at DefenseOne.
Two RAF Typhoon jets were scrambled from the Lossiemouth base in Scotland this morning after Russian planes entered UK airspace.
An Airbus Voyager KC3 tanker was also dispatched from Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and was tracked heading north before going into a holding pattern off the Aberdeenshire coast.
They were responding on ‘quick alert’ to two Russian aircraft which had entered British airspace.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: ‘Two Typhoons were scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth this morning as part of the RAF’s Quick Reaction Alert in response to two Russian aircraft entering the UK’s airspace.
“Both aircraft have now returned safely to RAF Lossiemouth.”
It comes amid a heightened state of security across the country just days after the worst terror attack on British soil in more than a decade happened in Manchester.
RAF fighters have repeatedly been scrambled to the skies over Britain to ward off incursions from Russian jets, including in February when aircraft were sent to monitor two bombers which passed near UK airspace.
The Tupolev TU-160 Blackjacks were in the UK’s ‘area of interest’ but did not enter British territory, the RAF said at the time.
The nuclear-capable Blackjack, the largest bomber aircraft in the world, were monitored coming from the north east and passed to the west of Ireland.
In January, Type 23 frigate HMS St Albans was deployed to ‘man mark’ the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and its battlegroup as the vessels sailed close to UK territorial waters, returning from operations supporting the offensive in Syria.
Read More at the Daily Mail UK.
NATO is set to expand for the first time after eight years by welcoming Montenegro into the alliance. The tiny Balkan nation is attending the NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday practically as a member, although the entry process formally will be wrapped in early June. To get there, Montenegro has stood up against Russia, which has sought to maintain strong historic, political and cultural influence in the country it considers a zone of interest. Russia has threatened economic and political retaliation. Montenegro says Moscow was behind a foiled coup attempt in October, which Russia denies.
Read More at ABC News.
Russia is beefing up its Baltic Fleet with the arrival of more warships and fighter jets – and NATO’s ‘aggressive ambitions’ have been blamed.
By the end of the year the fleet will have additional guided missile craft, fighters and support vessels, the Russian military has announced.
The boost comes at a time of heightened tensions, with NATO members anxious over planned Russian war games in September following missile deployment in the region.
Writing for Sputnik News, which was set up by the Russian government, defence analyst Alexander Khrolenko said NATO can ‘only dream’ of dominating the Baltic.
He wrote: ‘The swift military buildup of the Baltic Fleet is a natural response on Russia’s part to NATO’s aggressive ambitions in the region, increased war-gaming, Baltic air policing, anti-Russian sentiments and spy fever.’
He added that NATO war games ‘simulate a hybrid war with Russia, of course’.
Among the planes set to be deployed to the fleet are Sukhoi Su-30SM fighters, Sputnik reports.
Last week Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said the United States and NATO are prepared to deploy any capabilities necessary to help improve air defence systems in the Baltic region.
Read more at the Daily Mail UK.