CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Saturday, April 15, 2017






Not afraid of heights: Soldiers in the 517th Airlift Squadron's C-17 Globemaster III await their turn to parachute jump into Allen Army Airfield for a training exercise
About 150 tanks and armoured vehicles will be sent as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve in the Baltic states and Poland





  











The hot war with Russia began a while ago


VT has been on the front lines of exposing the massive disinformation media campaign on world events
 to take a pill before reading this, as it is a long, unfortunate story.
But few can stitch the diverse and seemingly unconnected pieces of this ongoing tragedy as Gordon can, part of that due to his being a MENSA with a photographic memory of everything he has seen, heard or read. That really comes in handy for deep Intel analysis, and explains why certain people having Gordon’s personal cel number is considered such a privilege. He answers his phone and can provide answers on the spot where few others, or no one else can.
We often get entreaties from readers to provide more answers to the problems that are going on now. That is adding another big job onto the one we already have — uncovering the massive disinformation campaign to render public scrutiny and organized resistance into a political Tower of Babel. So far it has been working. There is not major opposition on the scene yet.
That does not mean things are hopeless. A hell of a lot more people understand more of what is really going on and where the fixes are in place for blocking our attempts to clean out the slime balls. We have a long hard fight ahead of us, with step number one being not getting sucked into all the divide and conquer stratagems placed before us…


Putin taunts Britain again: Two Russian warships are escorted through English Channel by Royal Navy amid escalating global tension



  • Two Russian warships were spotted sailing through the North Sea this morning, Ministry of Defence confirms
  • They will continue through the English Channel but it is not clear what their final destination will be
  • Top military officer warned that there is now more Russian naval activity in Europe than in the Cold War
  • Tensions between Britain and Russia are severely heightened after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson cancelled a trip to Moscow over Putin's support for Syria following a chemical attack which killed 87 civilians

The Royal Navy will escort two Russian warships through the English Channel tonight after they were spotted sailing through the North Sea towards Dover today.
Royal Navy frigate HMS Sutherland located the two ships in the early hours of this morning.
The Ministry of Defence published photographs of the ships today and said Royal Navy sailors will be keeping watch on their every movement by using state-of-the-art radars to track their course and speed.

The Ministry of Defence released photographs of the Russian warships which will be escorted by the Royal Navy as they pass through the English Channel. Pictured is the ship known as Boiky
The Ministry of Defence released photographs of the Russian warships which will be escorted by the Royal Navy as they pass through the English Channel. Pictured is the ship known as Boiky
Royal Navy frigate HMS Sutherland located the two ships in the early hours of this morning. It is unknown which of the corvettes the one pictured is - but a helicopter was seen taking off from it
Royal Navy frigate HMS Sutherland located the two ships in the early hours of this morning. It is unknown which of the corvettes the one pictured is - but a helicopter was seen taking off from it
Royal Navy sailors will be keeping watch on their every movement by using state-of-the-art radars to track their course and speed. Pictured is Boiky, one of the two Russian warships
Royal Navy sailors will be keeping watch on their every movement by using state-of-the-art radars to track their course and speed. Pictured is Boiky, one of the two Russian warships
Above is one of the Russian warships which were spotted by the Royal Navy this morning
Above is one of the Russian warships which were spotted by the Royal Navy this morning
It is not known what the destination is of the corvettes, dubbed Boiky, left and Soobrazitelnyy, right
It is not known what the destination is of the corvettes, dubbed Boiky, left and Soobrazitelnyy, right
The Ministry of Defence said Royal Navy sailors will be keeping watch on every movement of the ships. Above shows another image of one of the ships
The Ministry of Defence said Royal Navy sailors will be keeping watch on every movement of the ships. Above shows another image of one of the ships
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: 'HMS Sutherland is carefully marking these Russian ships as they pass close to UK waters. The Royal Navy maintains a vigilant watch and is always ready to keep Britain safe'
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: 'HMS Sutherland is carefully marking these Russian ships as they pass close to UK waters. The Royal Navy maintains a vigilant watch and is always ready to keep Britain safe'

It is not known what the destination is of the corvettes, dubbed Soobrazitelny and Boiky.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: 'HMS Sutherland is carefully marking these Russian ships as they pass close to UK waters. The Royal Navy maintains a vigilant watch and is always ready to keep Britain safe.'
Commander Andrew Canale, the Commanding Officer of HMS Sutherland, said: 'As one of the Royal Navy's high readiness units, HMS Sutherland is required to escort warships that approach the UK and this task is considered routine business for us.
The graphic above shows the route of the Russian ships
'It is vitally important the Royal Navy demonstrates its presence and commitment to the integrity of UK territorial waters as we work around the clock to secure the seas of our island nation.'
It comes as a top US and NATO military officer warned that there is now more Russian naval activity in Europe than at any point in the Cold War.
Navy Admiral Michelle Howard, who heads NATO's Allied Joint Force Command in Naples and commands US forces in Europe and Africa, said Russia's strident manouevres could leave the West at a disadvantage.
She warned that when 'you think about what happens when they move forces around, you look at the alliance and they end up splitting and distracting the view of the alliance.'
Tensions between Britain and Russia are severely heightened after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson cancelled a trip to Moscow over Putin's support for Syria following a chemical attack which killed 87 civilians.
Russia quickly hit back saying the cancellation 'once again confirms doubts about the added value of dialogue with the British' and said the UK has 'no real influence on the course of international affairs, remaining 'in the shadow' of other countries.
Russia has rejected accusations from the West that Bashar al Assad's forces were responsible for a chemical attack and has also lashed out at the US for its cruise missile strikes against a Syrian air base.
Assad said reports of the attack were '100 per cent a fabrication' and questioned whether children featured in footage distributed online were really dead.
Bashar al Assad, pictured, has repeatedly received support from Russian president Vladimir Putin
The support from Putin, pictured, has been a growing source of international diplomatic tensions
Bashar al Assad, left, has repeatedly received support from Russian president Vladimir Putin, right - a growing source of international diplomatic tensions
He insisted it was 'not clear whether it happened or not, because how can you verify a video? You have a lot of fake videos now.'
Russia has staunchly defended its Middle Eastern ally throughout the civil war there, blocking attempts to remove Assad and throwing their weight of confidence behind statements he has made.
In a tumultuous week for British diplomatic relations with the Kremlin, spy chiefs also issued a call for Russian speakers to help protect the nation as a war of words heats up.
The Government is urging linguists to take up a 'fascinating career in intelligence' by joining MI5 or GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters).
GCHQ, pictured, is looking for Russian linguists amid a strained relationship with the Kremlin 
GCHQ, pictured, is looking for Russian linguists amid a strained relationship with the Kremlin 
Successful applicants to the £30,490 role will be analysing Russian intelligence to keep the country safe as relations with Vladimir Putin's administration remain strained.
It also comes amid reports that British spy agencies played a crucial role in revealing that President Donald Trump's campaign team was in contact with Russian intelligence operatives.
Once officials in GCHQ learned of suspicious 'interactions' between Trump's inner circle and suspected Russian agents in late 2015, they passed the information on to the United States.
The tip was passed on during a routine exchange of information, according to an intelligence insider. 
Earlier this year the Type 42 destroyer HMS York, pictured in the background, escorted the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov in international waters close to the UK
Earlier this year the Type 42 destroyer HMS York, pictured in the background, escorted the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov in international waters close to the UK
Today's incident comes after the  Admiral Kuznetsov, pictured, was spotted earlier this year sailing past the white cliffs of Dover as it sailed home to Russia
Today's incident comes after the Admiral Kuznetsov, pictured, was spotted earlier this year sailing past the white cliffs of Dover as it sailed home to Russia
During the following six months into 2016, a number of western agencies, including ones in Germany, Estonia and Poland, shared their own information about interactions between people close to Trump and Russians.
Ties between Moscow and the West have been strained since Russia's annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014 and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.
NATO has built up physical forces in Poland and the Baltic states to build up a deterrent and underscore the strength of the alliance.
Earlier this year a squadron of RAF Typhoon warplanes were deployed to monitor the ageing Soviet-era vessel, pictured rear, from the air as it passed menacingly close to Britain
Earlier this year a squadron of RAF Typhoon warplanes were deployed to monitor the ageing Soviet-era vessel, pictured rear, from the air as it passed menacingly close to Britain
But US and European officials are also increasingly concerned about what they describe as Moscow's use of propaganda and cyber attacks to influence Western elections.
Russia denies Washington's claim that Moscow sought to influence the US election, and views NATO's buildup of troops in Europe as a provocation.
Last August foreign secretary Boris Johnson had said Britain must 'normalise' its relationship with Russia after years of hostility.
They had hit rock bottom after an inquiry found Putin 'probably' approved the assassination of the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko.
But then relations between the two countries plummeted even further when Russia stepped up its fight in Syria and joined forces with Assad to bomb Aleppo.
As a high-readiness unit, HMS Sutherland may be called upon at any time to help prevent arms trafficking, people smuggling, conduct counter-terrorism operations, maritime search and rescue, or escort duties like those it is undertaking today. 
Earlier this year, Vladimir Putin’s huge aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was spotted sailing past the white cliffs of Dover as it sailed home to Russia.
A squadron of RAF Typhoon warplanes were deployed to monitor the ageing Soviet-era vessel from the air as it passed menacingly close to Britain accompanied by the nuclear-powered cruiser Pyotr Veliky and support ships. 
The vast warship last came close to Britain in October on its way to its deadly mission. Its crew was accused of an 'indiscriminate' bombing campaign in support of Assad.


Turkey just got a taste of the divide and conquer game
Turkey just got a taste of the divide and conquer game
– First published  …  July 16, 2016 –
The real actors in war are often seen and too often forgotten. When Ukraine was overrun by NATO in the guise of a revolution, any idiot should have known what was coming. Everyone knew who planned it, who paid for it, who the players were and are but there is also much no one understands.
Duff NEO
War in today’s world can be just that, color revolutions, sanctions, false flag terrorism, banned athletes and market manipulation. Using actual bullets is so “yesterday.” Our message is simple — soft-war is war — and always ends up with real dead people, real destruction, real chaos.
Today’s soft wars are hot wars, and the words that start wars, as much as the staged terror attacks, parallel the European machinations that led the world to the brink in August 1914, and represent the same level of threat and should well be dealt with as such. Ukraine is just such a stage, today’s Sarajevo of 1914, today’s “shot that was heard around the world, if the globalists have their way.
Today we see and can predict the calculated affronts against Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, anything can and will be done to unleash a nuclear response. War is wanted, global war, nuclear war, wanted now. The answer isn’t whether, but rather when.
_________
Benghazi was a warning
We will name the players now, the same people that planned that new style war on Russia, beginning with the NATO takeover of Ukraine, planned Benghazi as well. Today they are running arms into Syria and Iraq from Jordan and Saudi Arabia; they are ISIS in Afghanistan, fighting to protect their drug empire there.
The names begin with the two that have been cleansed from history, the architects of it all, former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Representing Cheney, “on the ground” is European head of the US Department of State, Victoria Nuland, Cheney’s former “advisor” and liaison with Israel’s secret “think tank” power base. The Kagan/Nuland “cartel,” the architects of the “soft war” on Russia will end up killing more people than the Spanish Influenza of 1918 before they are done.
Donald (dad) Victoria, Robert and Fred Kagan
Donald (dad) Victoria, Robert and Fred Kagan
From the American Conservative:
“Nuland comes from what might be called the First Family of Military Interventionists. Her husband, Robert Kagan, is a leading neoconservative who co-founded the Project for the New American Century in 1998 around a demand for “regime change” in Iraq. He is currently a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, an author, and a regular contributor to the op-ed pages of a number of national newspapers.
Robert’s brother, Fred, is with the hawkish American Enterprise Institute, and his sister-in-law, Kimberly, is the head of the Institute for the Study of War, which is largely funded by defense contractors. The Kagans work to encourage military action, both through their positions in government and by influencing the public debate through think-tank reports and op-eds.
It is a family enterprise that mirrors the military-industrial complex as a whole, with think tanks coming up with reasons to increase military spending and providing “expert” support for the government officials who actually promote and implement the policies. Defense contractors, meanwhile, benefit from the largesse and kick back some money to the think tanks, which then develop new reasons to spend still more on military procurement.”
While the American Conservative noted all this, their point, to color the Obama administration with the same brush they never really took out to go after the endless list of culprits in the Bush administration, was carelessly tacked on, vague and humorously conspiratorial.
Yet there are issues that reek of conspiracy, one more complex, more insidious than those the dull analytical tools of hack journalism has at its disposal.


What the American Conservative forgets, conveniently, is that we have just described the center of Israeli influence as well, and established some framework for things that have, in fact, no reason behind them at all, no sane reason that is.
Yes, Russia is a target, so is Iran, to that we can add Syria, Iraq, the mineral wealth of Afghanistan, but this is a global war where only two players sit across the table at all, Russia and China, with India in play, waiting in the wings, waiting to see which way the wind blows, a waiting game that will eventually bring India to her knees, but that’s another story.
Fink's bar - the locale for Bibi Netanyahu's quote, “If we get caught they will just replace us with persons of the same cloth. So it doesn’t matter what you do, America is a Golden Calf and we will suck it dry, chop it up, and sell it off piece by piece until there is nothing left but the World’s biggest welfare state that we will create and control. Why? Because it’s god’s will and America is big enough to take the hit so we can do it again, again and again. This is what we do to countries that we hate. We destroy them very slowly and make them suffer for refusing to be our slaves.”

Fink’s bar – one of the locales for Bibi Netanyahu’s quote, “If we get caught they will just replace us with persons of the same cloth. So it doesn’t matter what you do, America is a Golden Calf and we will suck it dry, chop it up, and sell it off piece by piece until there is nothing left but the World’s biggest welfare state that we will create and control. Why? Because it’s god’s will and America is big enough to take the hit so we can do it again, again and again. This is what we do to countries that we hate. We destroy them very slowly and make them suffer for refusing to be our slaves.”


Think tanks, the real soldiers of the soft war
How was Breedlove involved with the Benghazi political assassination?
How was Breedlove involved with Benghazi
Let’s take this a bit further. Covering up Benghazi, blaming it on Clinton has become a cottage industry to bloggers and conspiracy theorists and for good reason. There were huge mistakes there, evidence that should have led to the center of the disease and even, just perhaps, suggested a cure as well. Let us explain:
We have outlined how Washington is managed, the “think tanks,” with the Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, PNAC, the Brookings Institution, the Institute for the Study of War along with the Jamestown Foundation and, let us never forget, the Potomac Institute representing those who push for global conflict with Russia and China.
The “Benghazi trail” leads here, first to the Potomac Institute and General Philip Breedlove, former NATO commander and, by our estimation, military architect of the NATO invasion of Ukraine. We believe Breedlove, the bellicose warmonger planned Benghazi as well.
_________
The Mechanics of it
The cabal involved is of extreme interest, in that understanding it and those who finance its operations creates a tool that can be used to not only analyze inexplicable events like false flag terror “events”, but outmaneuver and eventually stop what we all see is going on. These are key areas to understand:
CIA-LOGO[1]
  • By 2004, the CIA was almost entirely privatized. Currently the real CIA is no longer under control by the US government, but takes its orders from think tanks and men like Cheney, Netanyahu, the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and, most of all, the Kagan family.
  • Similarly, the Bush administration, under Cheney and his seizure of the Joint Special Operations Command, not only privatized most special operations capabilities and retained them after leaving office, but kept control of many Pentagon functions as well, through operatives like Breedlove and dozens of others. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the JCOS, General Martin Dempsey removed literally hundreds of treasonous military commanders during their tenure, but were eventually forced out themselves by the Israel lobby.
Benghazi is important, so very important, for these reasons:
  • Benghazi planning began with Evangelist Terry Jones (the Koran burner) and a mysterious film called The Innocence of Islam. It was this film, produced and streamed to coincide with CIA-staged riots intended to provide “cover” for the Benghazi attack by Heritage Foundation media outlet “PJ ‘Pajama’ Media”. Jones himself spent 12 years working for the CIA in Germany until he was expelled by the Bonn government for “interference in security organization operations.” We take that to mean that Jones was a P2 Gladio “NATO Stay-Behind Terrorism” operative, we are told working closely with the Red Brigades.
  • Our sources on the ground in Tripoli at the time reported teams from the UAE, teams trained by L3 Corporation and Dyncorp, flew in and moved to Benghazi to meet with CIA-run local militants, now known as “ISIS in Libya.” This joint command, certainly “green lighted” by Breedlove, killed Ambassador Stephens and his security detail, using advanced planning and signals intercepts, Israeli-supplied radio jammers and “in place” heavy weapons, including mortars.
The issues about Benghazi are the “why” and what it tells us.
We will never know why, not really. It is overly simplistic to assume the obvious, that it was simply a right wing plot to embarrass Obama or to take advantage of the Adelson-controlled House of Representatives to fuel more “investigations” of GOP political enemies.

America’s Hated congress
Peak Whorehouse -- Netanyahu gets 29 standing ovations in Joint Session of the American Knesset on 24 May 2011
Peak Whorehouse — Netanyahu gets 29 standing ovations in Joint Session of the American Knesset on 24 May 2011
Few outside the US are aware of the hatred the American people have toward the right wingers that control the “House” as it is called, racist, anti-labor, anti-environment, easily bribed and always legislating themselves pay raises and protection from prosecution and lawsuits. From a Gallop poll from 2014:
“PRINCETON, NJ — Thirteen percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, essentially unchanged from December but above the all-time low of 9% from November. Congressional approval has rarely been 20% or higher in the last three years.
The latest results are based on a Jan. 5-8 Gallup poll. After showing slight improvement in December following November’s record-low rating, congressional approval has leveled off in January. The current 13% reading is also close to what Gallup measured in January 2013 (14%) and January 2012 (13%).
Job approval of Congress remains well below the historical average of 33%. Gallup has not measured a job approval rating above that mark since early in Barack Obama’s presidency. Gallup first measured congressional job approval in 1974.”
Note that 2014 was an election year and the congress that bordered on near single-digit approval was entirely re-elected though, minimally, 85% of Americans hated them. Can anyone explain, I certainly can’t.
_________
The Usual Suspects
What we end up with here is considerable information on “how” and “who” and suspicions about “why” that include the obvious, global control by a New World Order made up of old line banking families that control word currencies, the CIA drug cartels, cabals and secret societies, war profiteers and the oil industry, but there is more.
zionist-jew-octopus-in
How could, in the case of America, a secret cabal or rather a “not so secret cabal” control the Pentagon, the CIA and so much more? Why don’t the newspapers, the media expose them? Is the media controlled as well?
For those who notice such things, the traditional “liberal media” is far from liberal with the new alternative conspiracy bloggers now almost entirely towing the exact same line the Neocon shock jocks, Limbaugh and O’Reilly opened up during the 1980s.
There is only one reason to look at Benghazi and that is what it teaches us. We ask ourselves, what was the context and who were the players? Where have Cheney and Rumsfeld gone — they aren’t in the news anymore? Assuming they crawled under a rock and died, which so many have done, that “the boogeyman” had finally gone, is wishful thinking unsupported by evidence.
What is supported is a war within American policy circles, with a presidency gutted of foreign policy power, of endless partisan investigations, of CIA complicity not only with drug dealing but terrorism on an unprecedented scale – ISIS, al Nusra, Boko Haram, al Shabab, virtual armies across the globe fighting surrogate wars based on imaginary extremist causes.
What has to be taken into account is that it is not only possible but the only possibility that American foreign policy, clearly both irrational and self-destructive much of the time, moves simultaneously toward opposite poles. The sea of contradictory positions we see on an almost daily basis has become so matter of fact that it goes unnoticed.
If it is believed in Moscow that the US is planning to renew the Cold War and this belief may well be quite supportable, how would Moscow respond if, within this new stance there were powerful factions capable of going further, pushing for terrorism, staging incidents, and capable as well of demonstrating a stranglehold on America’s government?
America's hand in Ukraine's color revolution
Nuland’s and McCain’s participation in Ukraine’s color revolution
Given that the Nuland/Kagan faction are and have been the most extreme political adversaries of Obama, Kerry and the Clintons, in every policy sense, why do they sit so close to the reins of power?
Ebay patch
Ebay patch
With the Nuland/Kagan faction at the center of Israeli power in Washington, long advocates of the “no policy at all, just follow Netanyahu” stance that candidate Trump has embraced so willingly, how are these “outsiders” so much inside when Obama and Kerry certainly are considered “enemies of the state” in Israel and the Clintons not far from it?

We return to the tools of analysis, those used and those that fail but are brought out over and over anyway. To this extent, out of frustration, even professional analysts of the “think tanks” have begun following the “flavor of the week” finger pointing and name calling of the bloggers and conspiratorialists.


Heavy fighting rocks eastern Ukraine port

  • Woman, 33, killed and three injured in shelling of Mariupol overnight
  • Victim is the first civilian casualty since the ceasefire began on Friday
  • Pro-Russian fighters bombarded checkpoint, triggering a firefight
  • Meanwhile, at least two houses blazed in the rural village of Spartak
  • Violence erupted hours after phone call between Poroshenko and Putin
  • Politicians had agreed that the ceasefire was 'generally being observed'
  • NATO soldiers have taken part in a military exercise in Latvia
  • Exercise aimed to demonstrate support given to Baltic states


A woman was killed and three others injured as heavy fighting rocked a port in eastern Ukraine, just hours into a ceasefire between the government and rebel forces.Gunfire and heavy shelling struck Mariupol overnight, after pro-Russian fighters bombarded a government-held checkpoint at the strategic port on the Sea of Azov, triggering a firefight.A 33-year-old woman was killed in the shelling, the first civilian casualty since the ceasefire began on Friday evening, according to local media reports.Scroll down for videoA woman was killed and three others injured as heavy fighting rocked the port of Mariupol in eastern Ukraine, where the impact of a shell could be seen on this road, blocked by Ukrainian army tanks+55A woman was killed and three others injured as heavy fighting rocked the port of Mariupol in eastern Ukraine, where the impact of a shell could be seen on this road, blocked by Ukrainian army tanksA man on a motorcycle stands near two Ukrainian army tanks blocking the road to Russia today+55A man on a motorcycle stands near two Ukrainian army tanks blocking the road to Russia todayArtillery fire was also heard this morning near the airport of the main rebel-held city of Donetsk, further raising fears that a tenuous truce between government and rebel forces had already collapsed.'Everyone is starting to flee,' said one 46-year-old Mariupol resident who gave her name only as Victoria.'I'm frightened. I want peace but I think this ceasefire is finished, this is the third night we haven't been able to sleep.'The sound of blasts coming from the direction of the airport could heard in downtown Donetsk this morning.Ukrainian army soldiers check a burnt army truck after an overnight bombing attack at an Ukrainian army checkpoint in the outskirts  of Mariupol+55Ukrainian army soldiers check a burnt army truck after an overnight bombing attack at an Ukrainian army checkpoint in the outskirts of MariupolThe violence erupted just hours after a phone call between Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, who agreed that the ceasefire was 'generally being observed'+55Artillery fire was also heard this morning near the airport of the main rebel-held city of Donetsk, further raising fears that a tenuous truce between government and rebel forces had already collapsedThe violence erupted just hours after a phone call between Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, who agreed that the ceasefire was 'generally being observed'+55The violence erupted just hours after a phone call between Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, who agreed that the ceasefire was 'generally being observed'Mariupol residents pick up rubble after shelling in Ukraine


The terminal, which has now been rendered little more than a burned-out husk, has been under the control of government troops since May and has come under unremitting attacks from Russian-backed separatist forces since then.A rebel statement said Ukrainian forces fired on their positions in six locations on Saturday, including near the Donetsk airport, and several rebels were killed.At least two houses burned in the rural village of Spartak, which lies just north of Donetsk and adjacent to the airport, after they were hit by fire. A man whose house was struck by a shell said rebels had fired from a spot nearby, which appeared to have provoked a retaliatory attack from Ukrainian government troops.A lorry carries a destroyed tank through Mariupol following last night's attack+55A lorry carries a destroyed tank through Mariupol following last night's attackA soldier sits atop an armored personnel carrier, flying the Ukrainian national flag+55A soldier sits atop an armored personnel carrier, flying the Ukrainian national flagA car passes by Ukrainian servicemen standing guard at an army checkpoint in Mariupol+55A car passes by Ukrainian servicemen standing guard at an army checkpoint in MariupolUkrainian servicemen stand guard at the Mariupol checkpoint today+55Ukrainian servicemen stand guard at the Mariupol checkpoint todayNumerous explosions had rattled the night sky and thick smoke was visible on the horizon in Mariupol+55Numerous explosions had rattled the night sky and thick smoke was visible on the horizon in MariupolThis pattern has been regularly observed in the nearly five-month-long military confrontation.Anastasia Ivanusenko, who has moved to Donetsk to escape the most intense fighting, learned her house had been destroyed as she was coming to pick up some basic items for her child.'I have a little baby and we are temporarily living in a dormitory. We wanted to get the stroller, some warm clothes for the child,' she said.'There was no way to get into the house.'A group of rebel fighters in the village were seen dancing and drinking this morning in celebration after what they said was a successful assault on a nearby Ukrainian military encampment. One said their group had captured eight government troops, although none of these captives could be seen.The remains of a destroyed cafe on the outskirts of Mariupol following an evening of heavy shelling+55The remains of a destroyed cafe on the outskirts of Mariupol following an evening of heavy shellingA woman stands near a building that was hit mortar fire last night+55A woman stands near a building that was hit mortar fire last nightUkrainian soldiers head to a frontline position in Mariupol on the back of a truck+55Ukrainian soldiers head to a frontline position in Mariupol on the back of a truckThe fighter, who gave his name as Khokhol, acknowledged that the cease-fire was not being respected by either side.'There was mortar shelling around 20 minutes ago here in Spartak,' he said. 'There is no cease-fire for anyone.'Another armed rebel, based on the outskirts of Donetsk, joked: 'Listen to the sound of the ceasefire. There's a proper battle going on there.'The violence erupted just hours after a phone call between Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, who agreed that the ceasefire was 'generally being observed' in an effort to end the bloodshed.The two cities turned quiet again this afternoon, as both sides insisted they were observing the ceasefire, blaming their opponents for any violations+55The two cities turned quiet again this afternoon, as both sides insisted they were observing the ceasefire, blaming their opponents for any violationsDespite the ceasefire, the US and the EU have agreed to beef up sanctions against Russia, while NATO approved a rapid reaction force aimed at reassuring jittery Eastern European states+55Despite the ceasefire, the US and the EU have agreed to beef up sanctions against Russia, while NATO approved a rapid reaction force aimed at reassuring jittery Eastern European statesThe negotiators agreed on the withdrawal of all heavy weaponry, the release of all prisoners and the delivery of humanitarian aid to devastated cities in eastern Ukraine.The 12-point pact signed on Friday was the first to gain the backing of both Kiev and Moscow after five months of fighting that set off the deepest crisis in East-West relations for a generation.It was drawn up after the rebels - reportedly backed by large numbers of Russian troops and firepower - launched a lightning counter-offensive across the southeast in late August that dramatically reversed recent gains by the Ukrainian army.It also obliges Kiev to give greater powers to the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk regions and calls for local elections to be held in those Russian-speaking regions.A man and a young boy stand next to a truck destroyed in recent shelling on the outskirts of Mariupol+55A man and a young boy stand next to a truck destroyed in recent shelling on the outskirts of MariupolA man walks past a burnt out Ukrainian army truck this morning+55A man walks past a burnt out Ukrainian army truck this morningMariupol became the latest flashpoint when insurgents pushed southwards in what is seen as a drive to carve out a land corridor between the Russian border and the  Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia in March+55Mariupol became the latest flashpoint when insurgents pushed southwards in what is seen as a drive to carve out a land corridor between the Russian border and the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia in MarchThe truce appeared to be holding for much of the following day, but was shattered late Saturday by shelling on the outskirts of the southeastern port town of Mariupol, where Ukrainian troops retain defensive lines against the rebelsThe town, located 70 miles south of Donetsk, became the latest flashpoint when the insurgents pushed southwards in what is seen as a drive to carve out a land corridor between the Russian border and the strategic Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia in March.The situation was calm early this morning but a truck was ablaze on a road near the checkpoint, and several buildings had damaged, according to eyewitnesses at the scene. The volunteer pro-government Azov Battalion said on Facebook that their positions were also hit by Grad rockets, but did not give details.The violence threatens a repeat of the unilateral ceasefire called by Kiev in June, which collapsed within days.This building was thought to have been destroyed in last night's shelling+55This building was thought to have been destroyed in last night's shellingThis small hotel near the check point was hit during overnight fighting in the coastal town+55This small hotel near the check point was hit during overnight fighting in the coastal town'You see what type of ceasefire there is on the Russian side,' said a fighter with a pro-Kiev volunteer battalion in Mariupol. 'Who knows what's going to happen today.'Pro-Russian separatists opposed to Kiev's rule are insisting they will not give up their ambitions for an independent state in the industrial east, a region that accounts for one-sixth of Ukraine's population and a quarter of its exports.The Minsk accord calls on both sides to start pulling back from major flashpoints and exchanging prisoners, as well as the supply of humanitarian aid to the devastated cities of east Ukraine.It also provides for some political changes in the east. 'We want our own president, our own currency and our own banking system,' said a pro-Russian guerrilla named Oleg, from the Donetsk region town of Yasynuvata.People attempt to clean up after the building was damaged in fighting last night+55People attempt to clean up after the building was damaged in fighting last nightThe situation was calm early this morning but a truck was ablaze on a road near the checkpoint, and several buildings had damaged+55The situation was calm early this morning but a truck was ablaze on a road near the checkpoint, and several buildings had damaged'This is the only way. There is no other alternative.'The two cities turned quiet again this afternoon, as both sides insisted they were observing the ceasefire, blaming their opponents for any violations.'As far as I know, the Ukrainian side is not observing the ceasefire,' said Vladimir Antyufeyev, deputy premier of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic'We have wounded on our side at various points. We are observing the ceasefire.'However, one Ukrainian soldier, who gave his name as Slavik, said: 'They, terrorists, Russians, are trying to scare us. They have no respect for the ceasefire. They are lying all the time. They are people with no honour.The remains of a home hit by a shell in the eastern city of Donetsk continue to burn+55The remains of a home hit by a shell in the eastern city of Donetsk continue to burnA woman throws water on her burning house in an attempt to put out the flames+55A woman throws water on her burning house in an attempt to put out the flames'We left this area the day before yesterday. Everyone saw us pulling out tanks in line with the agreement. We only left lightly armed people to man checkpoints and these monsters violated every word of the agreement.'Western leaders accuse Russia of actively fomenting the rebellion by funnelling huge numbers of troops and weapons into Ukraine and massing a force of around 20,000 men on the border - claims which Moscow has repeatedly denied.German Foreign Minister Frank -Walter Steinmeier said today that the shelling in Donetsk and Mariupol showed the fragility of the cease-fire and described it as only the first step.'The cease-fire should lead the way for an exchange of prisoners, an effective control of the border and, last but not least, a dialogue about the political participation of the people from eastern Ukraine in Kiev,' he said in a statement.And despite the ceasefire, the US and the EU agreed to beef up sanctions against Russia, while NATO approved a rapid reaction force aimed at reassuring jittery Eastern European states.A woman inspects the damage done to her home in the shelling, as she puts out the last of the flames+55A woman inspects the damage done to her home in the shelling, as she puts out the last of the flamesOne homeowner uses a garden hose to try to douse down the flames that ravaged this house+55One homeowner uses a garden hose to try to douse down the flames that ravaged this houseA huge crater left when one of the shells exploded, destroying a number of nearby properties+55A huge crater left when one of the shells exploded, destroying a number of nearby propertiesDressed in a pair of swimming trunks, this man throws water on the remains of his burning possessions+55Dressed in a pair of swimming trunks, this man throws water on the remains of his burning possessionsThe man attempts to put out the fire using a bucket of water+55The man attempts to put out the fire using a bucket of waterYesterday, NATO forces took part in a major military exercise in Latvia as part of a demonstration of the organisation's commitment to defend its Baltic member states in the face of an assertive Russia.During Friday's NATO summit in Wales, leaders agreed to form a new rapid reaction force and to step up exercises in eastern Europe in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine.Russia, its economy already on the brink of recession, warned it would respond if the EU imposes more sanctions, accusing Brussels of supporting the 'party of war' in Kiev.Although Poroshenko said he was 'satisfied' with the truce pact, it has opened him up to accusations that he has surrendered to recent rebel advances and failed to reunify the nation of 45 million under a pro-Western banner, as he promised at the time of his election in May.Pro-Russian rebels drive an armored truck through the city of Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine+55Pro-Russian rebels drive an armored truck through the city of Donetsk, in eastern UkrainePickled cucumbers and heavy machine gun ammunition can be seen in a pro-Russian rebel's car in Donetsk+55Pickled cucumbers and heavy machine gun ammunition can be seen in a pro-Russian rebel's car in DonetskPro-Russian rebels sit in their car in Donetsk, where explosions were heard early this morning+55Pro-Russian rebels sit in their car in Donetsk, where explosions were heard early this morningPro-Russian separatists opposed to Kiev's rule are insisting they will not give up their ambitions for an independent state in the industrial east+55Pro-Russian separatists opposed to Kiev's rule are insisting they will not give up their ambitions for an independent state in the industrial eastThe sound of explosions coming from Donetsk airport, raised new fears that the ceasefire signed two days ago is on the verge of collapse+55The sound of explosions coming from Donetsk airport, raised new fears that the ceasefire signed two days ago is on the verge of collapseThe sound of blasts from the airport were powerful enough to be heard in downtown Donetsk, which has been under the control of government troops since May and has come under attack from pro-Russia separatist rebels since then+55The sound of blasts from the airport were powerful enough to be heard in downtown Donetsk, which has been under the control of government troops since May and has come under attack from pro-Russia separatist rebels since thenA pro-Russian rebel, armed with a heavy machine gun, stands next to his car+55A pro-Russian rebel, armed with a heavy machine gun, stands next to his carThe months of fighting have killed almost 2,800 people and sent at least half a million fleeing their homes.Dozens of towns in the east are in ruins, and once-powerful factories and coal mines that form the backbone of Ukraine's economy have ground to a halt.An Amnesty report published today has accused both sides of war crimes, including indiscriminate shelling, abductions, torture, and killings.The charity has condemned all those engaged in the grinding conflict which, according to UN estimates, has claimed at least 2,600 civilian lives and forced hundreds of thousands out of their homes.'All sides in this conflict have shown disregard for civilian lives and are blatantly violating their international obligations,' said Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty.Amnesty International said that it has evidence that Moscow is fueling the conflict through direct support for separatist fighters. In making its case, the group presented satellite images appearing to show Russian weaponry being brought into Ukraine.A tank sporting the national emblem of Ukraine  on the road to Russia, on the outskirts of Mariupol last night+55A tank sporting the national emblem of Ukraine on the road to Russia, on the outskirts of Mariupol last nightA car riddled with bullet holes parked on a street on the outskirts of the city, after loud explosions were heard+55A car riddled with bullet holes parked on a street on the outskirts of the city, after loud explosions were heard'These satellite images, coupled with reports of Russian troops captured inside Ukraine and eyewitness accounts of Russian troops and military vehicles rolling across the border, leave no doubt that this is now an international armed conflict,' said Mr Shetty, who is set to visit Kiev and Moscow in the coming days.Amnesty also said that the Ukrainian government has also subjected residential areas to heavy and indiscriminate shelling, claiming both pro-government and separatist militia groups had abducted and beaten people suspected of aiding their opponents.Human Rights Watch also accused pro-Russian rebels of committing 'serious violations of the laws of war', claiming they were forcing civilians to work in 'punishment brigades' on pain of death.However, despite their strong rhetoric, there appears to be little appetite among Western governments to become directly involved in ensuring the peace in the former Soviet state.'This obviously is a ceasefire that has to be held between Russia and Ukraine,' said US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.'This isn't about the United States; this is about them.'Ukrainian soldiers inspect a damaged tank in Mariupol yesterday+55Ukrainian soldiers inspect a damaged tank in Mariupol yesterdayNATO forces stage military exercise in Latvia after Welsh summitA major NATO military exercise has taken place in Latvia in a practical demonstration of the organisation's commitment to defend its Baltic member states in the face of an assertive Russia.During Friday's NATO summit in Wales, leaders agreed to form a new rapid reaction force and to step up exercises in eastern Europe in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine.Allies in the Baltics fear Russian President Vladimir Putin could use the same rationale as he used to explain intervention in Crimea - defending Russian speakers - to justify an attack against one of the NATO countries in the Baltics, which also have Russian-speaking minorities.A US soldier in an Stryker armored personal carrier (APC) takes part in NATO's Steadfast Javelin II military exercise in Lielvarde, Latvia, yesterday as the organisation shows its commitment to defend its Baltic member states in the face of an assertive Russia+55A US soldier in an Stryker armored personal carrier (APC) takes part in NATO's Steadfast Javelin II military exercise in Lielvarde, Latvia, yesterday as the organisation shows its commitment to defend its Baltic member states in the face of an assertive RussiaUS soldiers leave a C-17 aircraft during the exercise, which comes after NATO approved wide-ranging plans on Friday to boost its defences in eastern Europe+55US soldiers leave a C-17 aircraft during the exercise, which comes after NATO approved wide-ranging plans on Friday to boost its defences in eastern EuropeAllies in the Baltics fear Russian President Vladimir Putin could use the same rationale as he used to explain intervention in Crimea - defending Russian speakers - to justify an attack against one of the NATO countries in the Baltics, which also have Russian-speaking minorities+55Allies in the Baltics fear Russian President Vladimir Putin could use the same rationale as he used to explain intervention in Crimea - defending Russian speakers - to justify an attack against one of the NATO countries in the Baltics, which also have Russian-speaking minoritiesDuring Friday's NATO summit in Wales, leaders agreed to form a new rapid reaction force and to step up exercises in eastern Europe in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine+55During Friday's NATO summit in Wales, leaders agreed to form a new rapid reaction force and to step up exercises in eastern Europe in response to Russia's actions in UkraineOn Friday night around 500 paratroopers landed at Lielvarde airport, about 35 miles from Latvia's capital Riga, to take part in the military exercise+55On Friday night around 500 paratroopers landed at Lielvarde airport, about 35 miles from Latvia's capital Riga, to take part in the military exerciseHundreds of vehicles and aircraft also took part in the exercise, which aimed to simulate a deployment of NATO soldiers and equipment in another country during a crisis situation+55Hundreds of vehicles and aircraft also took part in the exercise, which aimed to simulate a deployment of NATO soldiers and equipment in another country during a crisis situationOn Friday night around 500 paratroopers landed at Lielvarde airport, about 35 miles from Latvia's capital Riga, along with hundreds of vehicles and aircraft as the exercise Steadfast Javelin II simulates a deployment of NATO soldiers and equipment in another country in a crisis situation.In total, 2,000 soldiers from nine nations are carrying out exercises across five countries - Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland from September 2 to September 8.'We want to assure our people that we are able to protect them,' said General Hans-Lothar Domrose, commander of the NATO military command in Brunssum, the Netherlands.In total, 2,000 soldiers from nine nations, including these US soldiers, are carrying out exercises across five countries - Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland from September 2 to September 8+55In total, 2,000 soldiers from nine nations, including these US soldiers, are carrying out exercises across five countries - Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland from September 2 to September 8An American soldier makes notes during the exercise, which was initially supposed to be US-sponsored, but has been expanded to a larger-scale NATO exercise+55An American soldier makes notes during the exercise, which was initially supposed to be US-sponsored, but has been expanded to a larger-scale NATO exerciseAmerican soldiers watch a US Air Force C-130 during NATO's Steadfast Javelin II military exercise+55American soldiers watch a US Air Force C-130 during NATO's Steadfast Javelin II military exerciseTwo US soldiers carry their kit across the air base as they arrive for yesterday's exercise+55Two US soldiers carry their kit across the air base as they arrive for yesterday's exerciseGeneral Hans-Lothar Domrose, commander of the NATO military command in Brunssum, the Netherlands, said the aim of the exercise was to 'assure our people that we are able to protect them'+55General Hans-Lothar Domrose, commander of the NATO military command in Brunssum, the Netherlands, said the aim of the exercise was to 'assure our people that we are able to protect them'A US second cavalry regiment soldier takes a break during the NATO exercise+55A US second cavalry regiment soldier takes a break during the NATO exercise'Certainly on top of this we send a clear message to everyone who wants to threaten NATO, that it's not a thing you should do. NATO will always defend and protect its people,' Domrose told reporters in Riga.To demonstrate NATO's commitment to defending the alliance's members, other exercises will follow Steadfast Javelin in Germany, Norway, Ukraine, Poland this autumn.NATO Allied Land Command Deputy Commander Lieutenant General Ed Davis said on Friday that NATO's decision to create the new rapid reaction force was a turning point, refocusing on the defence of member states' territory after more than a decade of operations in Afghanistan.He said details of the rapid reaction force still had to be worked out. The 'spearhead' of that force is expected to be 4,000 to 5,000 troops who would be able to deploy within 48 hours across the alliance.'It needs to be a relatively light force. It needs to be a force that succeeds, builds upon intelligence and agility, and precision as opposed to wait of military force. It is an agile, precise, intelligence-led rapidly deployable force,' he said.To demonstrate NATO's commitment to defending the alliance's members, other exercises will follow Steadfast Javelin in Germany, Norway, Ukraine, Poland this autumn+55To demonstrate NATO's commitment to defending the alliance's members, other exercises will follow Steadfast Javelin in Germany, Norway, Ukraine, Poland this autumnNATO Allied Land Command Deputy Commander Lieutenant General Ed Davis said the decision to create the new rapid reaction force was a turning point, refocusing on the defence of member states' territory after more than a decade of operations in Afghanistan+55NATO Allied Land Command Deputy Commander Lieutenant General Ed Davis said the decision to create the new rapid reaction force was a turning point, refocusing on the defence of member states' territory after more than a decade of operations in AfghanistanThe 'spearhead' of that force is expected to be 4,000 to 5,000 troops who would be able to deploy within 48 hours across the alliance+55The 'spearhead' of that force is expected to be 4,000 to 5,000 troops who would be able to deploy within 48 hours across the allianceA US Air Force C-17 stands on the tarmac during NATO's Steadfast Javelin II military exercise+55A US Air Force C-17 stands on the tarmac during NATO's Steadfast Javelin II military exercise















































































































































































































































Defence Secretary Michael Fallon welcomes US moves to ramp up military deployment in EuropeUS to ramp-up military presence in Eastern Europe against Vladimir PutinMeeting of Nato ministers on Wednesday will agree large-scale deploymentDefence Secretary Michael Fallon this morning welcomed the move
US plans to ramp-up its military presence in Eastern Europe against Vladimir Putin's 'sabre rattling' were welcomed by the Government today.Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said Britain would support any decision by US president Barack Obama to deploy new missiles in Europe – and refused to rule out placing them in the UK.Mr Fallon's remarks came as Nato looked set to agree plans this week for large-scale deployment of military kit in Eastern Europe – including the largest number of American tanks on the continent since the Cold War.Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said Britain would support any decision by US president Barack Obama to deploy new missiles in Europe – and refused to rule out placing them in the UK+3Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said Britain would support any decision by US president Barack Obama to deploy new missiles in Europe – and refused to rule out placing them in the UKThe move is set to be agreed at a meeting of defence ministers in Brussels on Wednesday – marking a 'turning point' in the alliance's policy towards Russia following the country's invasion of eastern Ukraine and annexation of the Crimea.A senior Nato official told the Sunday Times: 'This will mark a real change of our collective defence: the US is coming back to Europe to play its role. The number of US tanks in Europe will reach a level not seen since the Cold War.'Tanks, armoured vehicles, drones, weapons and a number of rotating troops will be deployed across countries including Poland and the three Baltic states.The move would enable a rapid deployment of Nato forces in case of emergency.Six Nato command and control centres are to be established from Estonia in the north to Bulgaria in the south, to facilitate the rapid deployment of forces.Nato ministers are also expected to agree on ways to help Estonia, Lithuania and LatviaFallon discusses Putin's 'sabre rattling' with Andrew MarrMr Fallon's remarks came as Nato looked set to agree plans this week for large-scale deployment of military kit in Eastern Europe – including the largest number of American tanks on the continent since the Cold War+3Mr Fallon's remarks came as Nato looked set to agree plans this week for large-scale deployment of military kit in Eastern Europe – including the largest number of American tanks on the continent since the Cold WarThe meeting follows two weeks of large-scale Nato military drills on sea and land in the Baltic and in Poland, including the first deployment of the alliance's new spearhead force for rapid reaction.Douglas Lute, the American ambassador to Nato, said ministers would agree on measures that would 'fundamentally change our force posture'.Speaking this morning on BBC's Andrew Marr show, Mr Fallon said Mr Putin was 'clearly building up his conventional forces' and needed to be faced down.He said: 'It is sabre rattling and that is why we have to continue to strengthen Nato – offer Nato more reassurance with these larger scale exercises.President Obama is set to sanction biggest deployment  of US tanks in Europe since the Cold WarPresident Obama is set to sanction biggest deployment  of US tanks in Europe since the Cold War'We are doing our bit, but it's very important we keep sending Putin this message – that we are determined to our collective defence of Nato.'Asked if he supported the US move to weapons back to Europe, Mr Fallon said: 'That's a decision for the Americans, [but] if that's their decision, yes.'He said Britain had not been asked to deploy weapons in the UK. He said: 'That's not been raised with me by the US defence secretary.'Mr Fallon also insisted Britain would 'fulfil our commitments' to Nato amid questions over whether the Government will abandon the organisation's 2 per cent military spending target.The Defence Secretary refused to commit explicitly to maintaining the outlay as a proportion of GDP.But he urged people to look at the Government's record, and dismissed criticism that the UK was withdrawing from the international stage.Speaking on the BBC, Mr Fallon said figures due out this week would confirm the 2 per cent threshold is being met this year.Pushed on whether spending would remain at that level, he replied: 'I want us to fulfil our commitments.'Our manifesto commitment was to spend more on equipment and I have described to you that we are modernising everything for the armed forces.'It was also to replace our nuclear deterrent and it was also a commitment not to cut further the size of the regular army.'Speaking this morning on BBC's Andrew Marr show, Mr Fallon said Russia's president Vladimir Putin was 'clearly building up his conventional forces' and needed to be faced down+3Speaking this morning on BBC's Andrew Marr show, Mr Fallon said Russia's president Vladimir Putin was 'clearly building up his conventional forces' and needed to be faced downChallenged that he and other ministers were 'weaving and dodging' on the issue, Mr Fallon said: 'The reason is very simple - we can't set the budget on this programme.'We will set the budget for the three years of the parliament in September and then you will have your answer. But we already have three very strong specific commitments in the manifesto.'Look at the record. We are doing 2 per cent at the moment.'Mr Fallon's comments come after US president Barack Obama raised concerns that UK defence spending was set to fall below the Nato target.The Prime Minister was tackled by Mr Obama on the topic during the G7 summit in Germany earlier this month.

US Army ‘to send tanks to eastern Europe’ as tensions rise among Nato members amid increased Russian aggression

  • About 150 M1 Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles will be deployed
  • They will stay in places as soldiers are U.S. circulated through the region
  • Comes as Nato chief says Russia is providing 'backbone' to Ukraine rebels



The U.S. plans to deploy tanks in eastern Europe to reassure Nato allies fearful of Russian aggression, a top American general has said
About 150 tanks and armoured vehicles will be sent as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve in the Baltic states and Poland, with U.S. troops spending months at a time doing joint exercises.
Nearly 50 armored vehicles are already in place and another 100 M1 Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles will be 'pre-positioned' in Germany and possibly elsewhere, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges told AFP.
Show of force: U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division 1st Brigade Combat team soldiers deployed in Latvia attend a military parade during Latvia's Independence Day celebrations in Riga last week
+3
Show of force: U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division 1st Brigade Combat team soldiers deployed in Latvia attend a military parade during Latvia's Independence Day celebrations in Riga last week
'The troops will come over and train, and they'll go back. The equipment will stay behind,' Lt Gen Hodges said in a phone interview from Estonia.
The general said arrangement was 'a lot cheaper' than transporting tanks across the Atlantic and more efficient for the training mission.
'I'm going to look at options that would include distributing this equipment in smaller sets, company-size or battalion-size, perhaps in the Baltics, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, places like that,' he said.
The plan was revealed as Nato's top commander in Europe said regular Russian forces were providing the 'backbone' to separatist rebels in east Ukraine.
The U.S. has about 29,000 soldiers permanently stationed in Germany, Italy and Belgium but has stepped up temporary deployments of troops for training and exercises designed to send a signal to Russia and NATO partners.
Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula and its backing of rebels in east Ukraine has sparked grave concern in a region still carred by decades of Soviet occupation and Communist dictatorship.
Reassurance: Soldiers of the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division attend a military exercise 'Iron Sword 2014', at the Gaiziunu Training Range in Pabrade,  38 miles north of the Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania
+3
Reassurance: Soldiers of the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division attend a military exercise 'Iron Sword 2014', at the Gaiziunu Training Range in Pabrade,  38 miles north of the Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania
Today U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, visiting Kiev as head of U.S. forces in Europe, said Russia's 'militarisation' of Crimea, annexed from Ukraine in March, meant Moscow could influence the entire Black Sea region.
He met Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and others in the pro-Western leadership to discuss ways the United States could assist Kiev in the conflict with separatist rebels in the country's east.
Asked for an assessment of the situation, Gen Breedlove said Russian troops in the east were 'training, equipping, giving backbone ...helping (separatist) forces in the field.'
Russia denies sending troops or equipment to the rebels but accuses Kiev of using indiscriminate force against civilians in the two eastern territories of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Ready to fight: U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division 1st Brigade Combat team soldiers deployed in Latvia attend a military parade during Latvia's Independence Day
+3
Ready to fight: U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division 1st Brigade Combat team soldiers deployed in Latvia attend a military parade during Latvia's Independence Day
Lt Gen Hodges, explaining the decision to send heavy military equipment close to the battle zone, said joint exercises are meant 'to provide assurance to those allies that are closest to the threat'.
About 600 U.S. Army troops from the 1st Cavalry Division are to depart in mid-December after a three month stint in the Baltic countries and Poland. They will be replaced by soldiers from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment based in Vilseck, Germany, who then will hand over in the spring to members of the 3rd Infantry Division, he said.
Gen Hodges, who took over as head of the U.S. Army in Europe three weeks ago, said the troop rotations will continue through 2015 and into 2016, saying: 'This is going to go on.'
He said American troops had received an overwhelming welcome in eastern Europe.
'I was in Lithuania yesterday, Estonia today, Poland a few weeks back. All I get is "thank you, thank you, thank you" from those host nations for what these soldiers represent,' he said.
































































Donald Trump has sent supersonic stealth fighters to Britain in his latest move to ward off Russian aggression.
Six F-35A Lightning IIs have been filmed landing at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk ahead of Nato training drills across Europe over the coming weeks.
And the US Air Force tweeted: ‘Next step for #F35 in #USAF! Great flying in UK!’
It is believed the jets have been sent to the UK to reassure eastern European nations of the US’s commitment to Nato amid high tensions with Russia and president Vladimir Putin.
An F-35A Lightning II is pictured touching down at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk to boost Nato ahead of training drills
An F-35A Lightning II is pictured touching down at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk to boost Nato ahead of training drills
The fighters have been described as the 'most advanced in the world' and cost upwards of £75million per unit (file picture)
The fighters have been described as the 'most advanced in the world' and cost upwards of £75million per unit (file picture)
F-35As, or the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, cost upwards of £75million per unit and can reach top speeds of 1,200mph.
There are thought to be around 231 models in the world and they first entered into production in 2006.
And two squadrons of the jets are set to be based permanently in the UK from 2021 from Lakenheath.
Last year the RAF bought eight F-35B stealth fighters, which differ from the A model because they take off from aircraft carriers. They are set to enter service by 2020 once construction is complete on two new carriers.
The planes are capable of carrying nuclear weapons and also carry conventional missiles including the laser-guided Paveway explosive.
There are three categories of F-35s - As, which are capable of conventional take-off and landing; Bs, which are short take-off and vertical landing craft; and Cs, which have catapult-assisted take-off.
An MOD spokesperson said: 'We welcome the US deployment of eight aircraft, which underlines that we stand side-by-side with our closest ally. 
'The US decision to use RAF Lakenheath as the base for the F-35A Lighting II's first overseas training is a clear demonstration of the closeness of this partnership, as well as the US commitment to NATO and Europe. 
'Training alongside each other will be beneficial for both the Royal Air Force and US Air Force.'
F-35s can reach speeds of 1,200mph and are capable of carrying nuclear weapons (file picture)
F-35s can reach speeds of 1,200mph and are capable of carrying nuclear weapons (file picture)
It is believed the jets have been sent to the UK to reassure eastern Europe in the face of any Russian aggression 
It is believed the jets have been sent to the UK to reassure eastern Europe in the face of any Russian aggression 

Air-to-air footage shows F-35s crossing Atlantic in June
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
0:00
Previous
Play
Skip
Mute
Current Time
0:00
/
Duration Time
3:39
Fullscreen
Need Text
The US Air Force has described the fighter as having ‘unmatched lethality, survivability and interoperability’
It comes as the relationship between the US and Russia has been further strained by recent events in Syria.
The White House has accused Moscow of trying to cover up Assad's use of chemical weapons after the attack on a town killed 87 people last week.
Trump responded to the gas attack by firing 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base on Friday. Washington warned Moscow, and Russian troops at the base were not hit.
Moscow has stood by Assad, saying the poison gas belonged to rebels, an explanation Washington dismisses as beyond credible. 
Putin said that either gas belonging to the rebels was released when it was hit by a Syrian strike on a rebel arms dump, or the rebels faked the incident to discredit Assad. 
The United States and its European allies also imposed financial sanctions on Russia in 2014 after Putin seized territory from neighbouring Ukraine.  

THE F-35A FIGHTER: AT A GLANCE 

Role: Stealth multirole fighter
First flight: December 15, 2006
Unit cost (not including engine):
F-35A - £78million
F-35B - £82million
F-35C - £92million
Number built: 231 (as of March 2017)
Length: 50ft
Wingspan: 32ft
Height: 13ft
Max speed (F-35A): 1,200mph

Projected life service:2070

Show of U.S. strength just miles from Putin’s borders: Thousands of troops conduct exercises by air, land and sea over Alaska amid mounting tensions with RussiaTanks on patrol: There are thought to be 570 military vehicles on the plain, including Challenger 2 battle tanks
  • Thousands of military men and women go to Alaska every two years for Northern Edge training session, one of the military's most important training exercises
  • Airmen, soldiers, sailors, marines and coast guardsmen from active duty, reserve and national guard units all practice in Alaska - the biggest U.S. state which offers the most land, sea, and water for training
  • Some residents are not happy with the military presence as they are concerned about fish and other marine life
The sparse expanses above Alaska are a little more crowded this month as nearly 200 military aircraft are taking part in an annual training exercise at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, around 3,000 miles from the border of Russia.Nearly 6,000 military members from all four branches of the military, including airmen, soldiers, sailors, marines and coast guardsmen from active duty, reserve and national guard units are taking part in Northern Edge 2015, which includes naval exercises in the Gulf of Alaska and troops on the ground.The training session is one in a series of U.S. Pacific Command exercises that prepares joint forces to respond to crises in the Asia Pacific region, according to the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson website. 'Northern Edge is the premier air combat training exercise for the joint forces,' said Lt. Col. Tim Bobinsky, who is helping lead the exercise.Northern Edge is normally held every two years, but this is the first exercise since 2011. The government shutdown, or sequestration, forced the cancellation of exercises in 2013. The show of power runs from June 16 - 26.Flying high: A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon  conducts a training mission over the stunning vista of the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex on June 16+20Flying high: A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon conducts a training mission over the stunning vista of the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex on June 16Staying ready: A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon conducts a training exercise during Exercise Northern Edge 15. The state's vast open skies are perfect for aerial training exercises+20Staying ready: A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon conducts a training exercise during Exercise Northern Edge 15. The state's vast open skies are perfect for aerial training exercisesProud servicemen and women: Soldiers assigned to 6th Brigade Engineer Battalion line up to get ready to parachute jump out of an C-17 Globemaster III into Allen Army Airfield, Fort Greely, Alaska. Skies have been perfectly clear for the exercises+20Proud servicemen and women: Soldiers assigned to 6th Brigade Engineer Battalion line up to get ready to parachute jump out of an C-17 Globemaster III into Allen Army Airfield, Fort Greely, Alaska. Skies have been perfectly clear for the exercisesThe U.S. Pacific Command exercise, coordinated by command leaders in Alaska, tests the readiness of the nation's troops and is not in response to any increased tensions with any other nation.Bobinsky said that Alaska's vast open skies offer a unique place for training exercises that nowhere else in the world offers. Alaska also has large land mass and plenty of sea to accommodate maritime and ground forces exercises.Alaska, the country's biggest state, is as wide as the lower 48 states and larger than Texas, California and Montana combined.'There's no place like Alaska,' said Bobinsky.Participants in NE15 sharpen their skills by practicing operations, techniques and procedures as well as get the opportunity to hone current and test future applications of combat operations and weapon capabilities.Northern Edge: Show of force in Alaska close to Russian borderA show of strength: A pair of F-15C Eagles take off from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson near Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday while participating in Northern Edge training exercises+20A show of strength: A pair of F-15C Eagles take off from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson near Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday while participating in Northern Edge training exercisesStanding proud: Lance Cpl. Jonathan L. Vega (pictured), from Miami, Florida, stands in front of an EA-6B Prowler while other Marines inspect the aircraft during Exercise Northern Edge 2015. NE15 offers a chance to test new military procedures and techniques+20Standing proud: Lance Cpl. Jonathan L. Vega (pictured), from Miami, Florida, stands in front of an EA-6B Prowler while other Marines inspect the aircraft during Exercise Northern Edge 2015. NE15 offers a chance to test new military procedures and techniquesComing in for a landing: U.S. Army engineers and combat engineers  jump out of a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft into Allen Army Airfield to execute airfield seizure operations on June 17. Thousands of military members from all branches take part in the exercise+20Coming in for a landing: U.S. Army engineers and combat engineers jump out of a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft into Allen Army Airfield to execute airfield seizure operations on June 17. Thousands of military members from all branches take part in the exerciseCheck up: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jessica Kerr conducts maintenance on a Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. NE15 was cancelled in 2013 due to the government shutdown forced over budget fighting+20Check up: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jessica Kerr conducts maintenance on a Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. NE15 was cancelled in 2013 due to the government shutdown forced over budget fightingReadiness: U.S. Marines with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VMAQ) 2,  conduct maintenance on the wing of a U.S. Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler at Eielson Air Force Base. Warmer weather than expected didn't deter the Marines+20Readiness: U.S. Marines with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VMAQ) 2, conduct maintenance on the wing of a U.S. Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler at Eielson Air Force Base. Warmer weather than expected didn't deter the MarinesThree U.S. Navy destroyers and a submarine are taking part in simultaneous exercises in the Gulf of Alaska, but not without controversy.Some people in gulf towns such as Cordova and Kodiak have protested the exercises, worried about what the Navy's presence might do to salmon and other marine life.Despite record breaking temperatures in Alaska, which have been hovering in the low 70s, the warmer weather is a benefit for air training exercises.'It is unseasonably warm up here, but hot for Alaska is still comparatively benign for the lower 48 states,' Capt. Richard Williams, a F-22 Raptor pilot, told Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson website.'The heat itself hasn't really thrown us off but the clarity and the nice weather we are experiencing has simplified things greatly.'On the prowl: A U.S. Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 sits on the flight line during NE15+20On the prowl: A U.S. Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 sits on the flight line during NE15Top gun: U.S. Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler aircrafts assigned to Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 are lined up during NE15. Alaska's huge skies are like no other place on Earth for military training, says Lt. Col. Tim Bobinsky+20Top gun: U.S. Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler aircrafts assigned to Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 are lined up during NE15. Alaska's huge skies are like no other place on Earth for military training, says Lt. Col. Tim BobinskyAmerica's brave: U.S. Army Pfc. Christopher Machillo and Spc. Stephen Wendel practice searching for weapons and gathering intelligence from an enemy at Allen Army Airfield in Fort Greely during NE15+20America's brave: U.S. Army Pfc. Christopher Machillo and Spc. Stephen Wendel practice searching for weapons and gathering intelligence from an enemy at Allen Army Airfield in Fort Greely during NE15A show of might: A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker lands at Eielson Air Force Base following a training mission. Alaska offers beauty as well as practical reasons for military exercises+20A show of might: A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker lands at Eielson Air Force Base following a training mission. Alaska offers beauty as well as practical reasons for military exercisesGetting ready to jump: Soldiers assigned to the 6th Brigade Engineer Battalion load up in preparation to jump from a C-17 Globemaster III into Allen Army Airfield+20Getting ready to jump: Soldiers assigned to the 6th Brigade Engineer Battalion load up in preparation to jump from a C-17 Globemaster III into Allen Army AirfieldNot afraid of heights: Soldiers in the 517th Airlift Squadron's C-17 Globemaster III await their turn to parachute jump into Allen Army Airfield for a training exercise+20Not afraid of heights: Soldiers in the 517th Airlift Squadron's C-17 Globemaster III await their turn to parachute jump into Allen Army Airfield for a training exerciseFighting formation: U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons conduct a training mission over the Gulf of Alaska, part of the Pacific Ocean. Alaska's water territory, far larger than any other U.S. state, is perfect for conducting military sea training +20Fighting formation: U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons conduct a training mission over the Gulf of Alaska, part of the Pacific Ocean. Alaska's water territory, far larger than any other U.S. state, is perfect for conducting military sea trainingPreparedness: A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle from the 67th Fighter Squadron takes off from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson air base+20Preparedness: A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle from the 67th Fighter Squadron takes off from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson air baseTaking off: A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle flies over Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson as part of NE15 in Alaska, which is the U.S.'s largest state with more water and land than any other+20Taking off: A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle flies over Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson as part of NE15 in Alaska, which is the U.S.'s largest state with more water and land than any otherWe made it: U.S. Army Soldiers head toward a hanger at Fort Greely after jumping from a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and parachuting into Allen Army Airfield+20We made it: U.S. Army Soldiers head toward a hanger at Fort Greely after jumping from a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and parachuting into Allen Army AirfieldThey're back: A U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet from the Strike Fighter Squadron 147, Naval Air Station Lemoore, California returns from a practice mission during NE15 in Alaska+20They're back: A U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet from the Strike Fighter Squadron 147, Naval Air Station Lemoore, California returns from a practice mission during NE15 in AlaskaTouch down: A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft assigned to the 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., lands at Eielson Air Force Base following a training mission+20Touch down: A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft assigned to the 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., lands at Eielson Air Force Base following a training mission

Tank columns and Apache helicopters among hundreds of vehicles taking part in three-week exercise to test Army's ability to deploy at short notice





Camouflaged soldiers duck for cover as Challenger tanks rumble by and Apache helicopters hover overhead.
While these pictures appear to have been taken in a war zone, they actually show a huge Army exercise which took place on Salisbury Plain today.
Hundreds of military vehicles, including tank columns and helicopters, were on the plain in Wiltshire as a rapid response brigade started a three-week operation to test its capability to deploy at short notice.
The drills include a 31-mile road test involving 1,650 troops, most of which come from the 12th Armoured Infantry Brigade.
Exercise Tractable will test the Lead Armoured Task Force's ability to launch at short notice and is set to become an annual event as most of the armed forces' fast response units are now based in the south west.
There are thought to be 570 military vehicles on the plain, including Challenger 2 battle tanks, which were seen speeding across the fields as soldiers ducked for cover.
Brigadier Roly Walker, who commands the brigade, told the BBC: 'We are going to prove we can bring a fleet and a crew together to form a task force, so if the country needed us to intervene overseas, we're ready.
'Although it is a large exercise, this is relatively modest - what we will aspire to do is bring a whole brigade together and in the future you could see even larger formations coming together.'
War zone: Apache helicopters hover above a column of Army vehicles including Challenger 2 tanks as they take part in an exercise on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire 
+20
War zone: Apache helicopters hover above a column of Army vehicles including Challenger 2 tanks as they take part in an exercise on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire
Cover: A group of soldiers shield their ears as the drills, under Exercise Tractable, involve practicing heavy artillery shelling 
+20
Cover: A group of soldiers shield their ears as the drills, under Exercise Tractable, involve practicing heavy artillery shelling
Fire! A huge ball of flames can be seen as a tank fires its weapon during the first day of the three-week military exercise 
+20
Fire! A huge ball of flames can be seen as a tank fires its weapon during the first day of the three-week military exercise
Camouflage: Two soldiers duck for cover as they take part in the drills, which will test the Army's capability to deploy quickly 
+20
Camouflage: Two soldiers duck for cover as they take part in the drills, which will test the Army's capability to deploy quickly
On the run: A soldier, one of 1,650 taking part in the exercise, hides behind a wall of smoke as he darts across the fields 
+20
On the run: A soldier, one of 1,650 taking part in the exercise, hides behind a wall of smoke as he darts across the fields
Plume of smoke: The drills include a 31-mile road test across the plain and will continue into the start of April 
+20
Plume of smoke: The drills include a 31-mile road test across the plain and will continue into the start of April
+20
+20
Hundreds of military vehicles including Tank columns and Apache helicopters (right) are taking part in the military operation
Tanks on patrol: There are thought to be 570 military vehicles on the plain, including Challenger 2 battle tanks 
+20
Tanks on patrol: There are thought to be 570 military vehicles on the plain, including Challenger 2 battle tanks
Taking aim: Most of the soldiers involved in the three-week drills come from the 12th Armoured Infantry Brigade 
+20
Taking aim: Most of the soldiers involved in the three-week drills come from the 12th Armoured Infantry Brigade
Ouch: The Army has asked residents to be wary of noise during the exercises, but it seems these two infantry did not get the memo 
+20
Ouch: The Army has asked residents to be wary of noise during the exercises, but it seems these two infantry did not get the memo
The drills, under the code name Exercise Tractable, will test the Lead Armoured Task Force's ability to launch at short notice 
+20
The drills, under the code name Exercise Tractable, will test the Lead Armoured Task Force's ability to launch at short notice
Exercise Tractable is set to become an annual event as most of the armed forces' rapid response units are now based in the south west 
+20
Exercise Tractable is set to become an annual event as most of the armed forces' rapid response units are now based in the south west
A soldier covers his eyes as an Apache helicopter kicks up dust in an image that could easily be mistaken as being from a war zone 
+20
A soldier covers his eyes as an Apache helicopter kicks up dust in an image that could easily be mistaken as being from a war zone
Long lines of tanks tanks were seen speeding across the boggy fields in Wiltshire as armed soldiers ran alongside 
+20
Long lines of tanks tanks were seen speeding across the boggy fields in Wiltshire as armed soldiers ran alongside
Brigadiers leading the exercise said the exercises would ensure the Army was ready to fight overseas if called upon 
+20
Brigadiers leading the exercise said the exercises would ensure the Army was ready to fight overseas if called upon
Brigadier Roly Walker, who commands the brigade, said: 'We are going to prove we can bring a fleet and a crew together to form a task force, so if the country needed us to intervene overseas, we're ready' 
+20
Brigadier Roly Walker, who commands the brigade, said: 'We are going to prove we can bring a fleet and a crew together to form a task force, so if the country needed us to intervene overseas, we're ready'
Bringing up the rear: Apache helicopters hover overhead as the troops make their way across Salisbury Plain 
+20
Bringing up the rear: Apache helicopters hover overhead as the troops make their way across Salisbury Plain
A hard days work: Some of the soldiers looked exhausted after the day's work, but they will be on exercise for the next three weeks 
+20
A hard days work: Some of the soldiers looked exhausted after the day's work, but they will be on exercise for the next three weeks
The huge exercise, which could be even bigger next year, is designed to test the Lead Armoured Task Force's ability to strike swiftly 
+20
The huge exercise, which could be even bigger next year, is designed to test the Lead Armoured Task Force's ability to strike swiftly

Russia announces it will deploy its ballistic Iskander missiles in Europe in response to America's missile shield in latest hint that Putin is preparing for war

  • Senior Moscow officials said it would use Iskander and S-400 surface-to-air missiles from the exclave of Kaliningrad
  • Until now, Russia's defence ministry had sent Iskanders to the region for routine drills
  • However the latest move appears to be a direct response to Washington firming up defences in Europe 
  • The Iskander system has a range of up to 700km (440 miles) and could reach Berlin, as well as two-thirds of Poland and Sweden
Russia has announced it will deploy its nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in retaliation for NATO's military shield on Russia's western borders.
Senior Moscow officials said it would use them and S-400 surface-to-air missiles from the exclave of Kaliningrad, which borders on NATO members Poland and Lithuania.
Until now, Russia's defence ministry had sent Iskanders to the region for routine drills.
However the latest move appears to be a direct response to Washington firming up defences in Europe. 
Moscow will deploy nuclear-capable Iskander systems in the exclave of Kaliningrad in retaliation for NATO deployments
Moscow will deploy nuclear-capable Iskander systems in the exclave of Kaliningrad in retaliation for NATO deployments
The Iskander system has a range of up to 700km (440 miles) and could reach the German capital, Berlin
The Iskander system has a range of up to 700km (440 miles) and could reach the German capital, Berlin
At an economic summit in Peru, Barack Obama and Putin could hardly make eye contact
At an economic summit in Peru, Barack Obama and Putin could hardly make eye contacthare

CITY OF KALININGRAD 

Kaliningrad was once the capital of Prussia and annexed by Russia from Germany after WWII.
It is more than 300km away from Russia, which can only be reached through an EU country.
It is a Russian enclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania. 
Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave separate from the mainland and on the Baltic Sea, houses dozens of warships, submarines, land troops, a naval brigade and two military airbases. 
The Iskander system has a range of up to 700km (440 miles) and could reach the German capital, Berlin, as well as two-thirds of Poland and Sweden.
It is controversial on two counts - because of its range and because it is dual-capable (meaning it can carry either a conventional or nuclear warhead).  
Viktor Ozerov, chairman of the defence committee in the Federation Council, Russia's upper house of parliament, said Russia had been forced to react to the planned US missile shield in eastern Europe, according to the RIA news agency.
He said: 'As response measures to such threats we will have...to deploy additional forces...this reinforcement includes deployment of S-400 and Iskander systems in Kaliningrad.'

US says Russian missile deployment 'destabilizing' to Europe


Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
0:00
Previous
Play
Skip
Mute
Current Time
0:00
/
Duration Time
0:48
Fullscreen
Need Text
This graphic shows the potential reach of the Iskander missile from Kaliningrad
This graphic shows the potential reach of the Iskander missile from Kaliningrad
The Kremlin has often threatened to put nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad as a response to the missile shield
The Kremlin has often threatened to put nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad as a response to the missile shield
Iskander replaced the Soviet Scud missile and can carry conventional or nuclear warheads
Iskander replaced the Soviet Scud missile and can carry conventional or nuclear warheads
Russian President Vladimir Putin also said Russia had to react to what it perceived as being a threat from US-led forces in eastern Europe.
'Why are we reacting to NATO expansion so emotionally? We are concerned by NATO's decision making,' RIA quoted him as saying.
He added: 'What should we do? We have, therefore, to take countermeasures, which means to target with our missile systems the facilities, that, in our opinion, start posing a threat to us.'
After the election of brash billionaire Donald Trump as president - who has said he wants closer ties with the Kremlin and has questioned the cost of protecting NATO allies - some analysts predict an emboldened Moscow could become more assertive in eastern Europe. 
At an economic summit in Peru, Barack Obama and Putin could hardly make eye contact, their faces steely masks of barely-concealed contempt.
Russia's annexation of Crimea and its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continue to test relations with Western powers.  
Putin and Obama exchange awkward handshake at Peru summit

Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
0:00
Previous
Play
Skip
Mute
Current Time
0:00
/
Duration Time
0:30
Fullscreen
Need Text






































































































































No comments: