Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Russia

Russia. Iniziate le consegne alle forze armate degli S-500 Triumfator-M.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-10-04.

2021-09-19__ S-500 001

Mr Putin ha ottenuto un altro grande successo.

È iniziata la distribuzione alle forze armate dei missili S-500 Triumfator-M ” surface-to-air missile/anti-ballistic missile system”

«it shares with the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)»

«The S-500 is a new-generation surface-to-air missile system. It is designed for intercepting and destroying intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as hypersonic cruise missiles and aircraft»

«With a planned range of 600 km (370 mi) for anti-ballistic missile (ABM) and 500 km (310 mi) for air defence, the S-500 would be able to detect and simultaneously engage up to 10 ballistic hypersonic targets flying at a speed of 5 kilometres per second (3.1 mi/s; 18,000 km/h; 11,000 mph) to a limit of 7 km/s (4.3 mi/s; 25,000 km/h; 16,000 mph)»

«Other targets it has been announced to defend against include: unmanned aerial vehicles, low Earth orbit satellites, and space weapons launched from hypersonic aircraft, drones, and hypersonic orbital platforms»

* * * * * * *

Le caratteristiche rese note sono, ovviamente, molto scarse.

* * * * * * *

«The S-500 Prometey (Russian: C-500 Прометей, lit. ’Prometheus’), also known as 55R6M “Triumfator-M” is a Russian surface-to-air missile/anti-ballistic missile system intended to replace the A-135 missile system currently in use, and supplement the S-400. The S-500 is under development by the Almaz-Antey Air Defence Concern. Initially planned to be in production by 2014, it is currently targeting 2021 for first delivery. With its characteristics, according to Pravda Report, it is unrivaled by any other similar system in the world, being the first in a new class of space-defense weapons. Also according to Pravda Report, it shares with the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system the trait that it will be integrated into a single network of aerospace defense assets.

The S-500 is a new-generation surface-to-air missile system. It is designed for intercepting and destroying intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as hypersonic cruise missiles and aircraft, for air defense against Airborne Early Warning and Control and for jamming aircraft. With a planned range of 600 km (370 mi) for anti-ballistic missile (ABM) and 500 km (310 mi) for air defence, the S-500 would be able to detect and simultaneously engage up to 10 ballistic hypersonic targets flying at a speed of 5 kilometres per second (3.1 mi/s; 18,000 km/h; 11,000 mph) to a limit of 7 km/s (4.3 mi/s; 25,000 km/h; 16,000 mph) It also aims at destroying hypersonic cruise missiles and other aerial targets at speeds of higher than Mach 5, as well as spacecraft. The altitude of a target engaged can be as high as 180–200 km (110–120 mi). It is effective against ballistic missiles with a launch range of 3,500 km (2,200 mi), the radar reaches a radius of 3,000 km (1,300 km for the EPR 0,1 square meter). Other targets it has been announced to defend against include: unmanned aerial vehicles, low Earth orbit satellites, and space weapons launched from hypersonic aircraft, drones, and hypersonic orbital platforms» [Fonte]

* * * * * * *


Russia begins rollout of new S-500 air defence system – report.

Moscow, Sept 16 (Reuters) – Russia has completed tests of its new S-500 surface-to-air missile system and has started supplying it to the armed forces, the RIA news agency quoted deputy prime minister Yuri Borisov as saying on Thursday.

The S-500, a weapon Moscow hopes will beef up its own defences and become an export best seller, has been described as a space defence system and can intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles, hypersonic cruise missiles and aircraft.

Russia started testing the system last year and the military have said that the first batch would be deployed around the city of Moscow.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in 2019 that Ankara would also jointly produce S-500 defence systems with Moscow.

* * *


Russian troops begin to receive newest S-500 missile system.

Moscow, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) — Russian troops have begun to receive the latest S-500 Prometheus air defense system, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said at a forum on Thursday.

“Until very recently Russia has completed the state tests of the complex and starts to deliver its first batch,” said Borisov, although noting that the first delivery is not in the full range requested by the client.

“This refers to such configurations of the complex as the agreed composition involves,” he said.

According to the report, the S-500 system is designed to intercept long- and medium-range ballistic missiles as well as warplanes.

The system is an upgraded version of the current S-400 Triumph system, which is capable of destroying targets at a distance of up to 400 km and a height of up to 30 km. Enditem

* * *


Russian armed forces take delivery of latest S-500 air defense system.

New-generation surface-to-air missile system designed to intercept, destroy intercontinental ballistic missiles, aircraft.

Russian armed forces started taking delivery of the latest S-500 surface-to-air anti-ballistic missile system, an official said on Thursday.

The test stage has been successfully completed, and deliveries have begun, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov told media in eastern Tyumen province.

The S-500 system, called Prometheus, is intended to replace A-135 and S-300 missile systems and supplement the S-400 systems.

The S-500 is a new-generation surface-to-air missile system, designed to intercept and destroy intercontinental ballistic missiles, hypersonic cruise missiles and aircraft.

Air defense against electronic warfare and airborne early warning and control systems also feature in the new system.

Pubblicato in: Cina, Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Mondiale, India, Russia

Dushanbe. Russia e Cina integrano l’Iran nello SCO. Altra débâcle irredimibile di Joe Biden.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-09-27.

2021-09-27__ Iran entra nello SCO 001

Leaders Of Russia, China-Led Security Blocs Meet To Discuss Afghanistan

«Russia and its Central Asian allies have launched two days of talks in the Tajik capital to discuss the situation in Afghanistan a month after Taliban militants entered Kabul and seized power in the war-torn country.

Leaders of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) met for a summit in the Tajik capital on September 16, to be followed a day later by a gathering of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which includes China. ….

Founded in 2001, the SCO initially consisted of China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan before India and Pakistan joined in 2017. ….

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, whose country is an observer member of the SCO and keen to join the grouping, will attend the gathering.»

* * *

Iran to gain Central Asia clout with entry into SCO security club.

«Iran is set to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization led by China and Russia as a full member, a move experts say will give Tehran more influence over Central Asia — including war-torn neighbor Afghanistan.

“Today, we will launch procedures to admit Iran as a member state of the SCO, and Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar as new dialogue partners,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said via video link on Friday, addressing the SCO Council of Heads of State in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Xi said he was confident the “growing SCO family” would “be the builders of world peace, contributors to global development and defenders of the international order,” according to an English translation shared by China’s official Xinhua News Agency.»

* * *

Russia. Pakistan, Greater Eurasian Partnership ed Eurasian Economic Union.

«Russia e Cina stanno sviluppando un grandioso progetto strategico per l’erezione di una Greater Eurasian Partnership volta a riunire in una comunità di intenti e di reciproci benefici tutte le popolazioni euroasiatiche, ossia più di quattro miliardi di persone. I loro sono diplomatici dilungo corso, passati attraverso dure selezioni, ben diversi dai ministri degli esteri occidentali, che, tra l’altro, stanno in carica per tempo molto limitato, cambiando di volta in volta l’indirizzo politico.

*

Ad oriente prese dapprima campo la Sco, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, nata come meccanismo per favorire la risoluzione di dispute territoriali tra i sei paesi aderenti – Cina, Russia, Kazakistan, Kirghizistan, Tagikistan e Uzbekistan – l’organizzazione è andata progressivamente istituzionalizzandosi, intensificando la cooperazione tra i suoi membri tanto su questioni di sicurezza quanto in ambiti come quello economico, energetico e culturale.

Mesi addietro, senza alcuna tromba trionfante, ha preso corpo il Rcep. …

Adesso sta emergendo il progetto strategico russo della Greater Eurasian Partnership ed Eurasian Economic Union. Come dicono i nomi stessi, sono un piano che si articolerà su decenni, ma che saranno decenni di crescita comune.

“The Greater Eurasian Partnership has two broad economic goals. First, it aims to connect Russia and the EAEU to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Its second, lesser goal is to move beyond China and connect the EAEU with Iran, India, and Southeast Asia.”»

* * * * * * *

                         In sintesi.

– Stati Uniti ed Europa hanno da lunga pezza annoverato l’Iran tra gli stati canaglia, fomentatori del terrorismo, colpendolo con un totale bando e coprendolo di sanzioni.

– Russia e Cina lo hanno invece ammesso a pieno titolo nello Sco, e di lì nella Greater Eurasian Partnership ed Eurasian Economic Union, una unione politica, militare ed economica, organizzazioni basate sulla non ingerenza negli affari interni e su rapporti paritetici.

– Sono improvvisamente mutati gli equilibri geopolitici mondiali a favore del Blocco Euroasiatico.

– Questa ulteriore débâcle della Harris-Biden Administration evidenzia molto chiaramente quanto poco pesino sia gli Stati Uniti sia l’Unione Europea.

Lasciamo alla arguta penna di Maurizio Blondet la descrizione dettagliata della risposta sinorussa all’Aukus.

*


La risposta di Russia e Cina all’AUKUS.

                         Integrano l’Iran

 Il magistrale pezzo di Pepe Escobar che ha seguito l’incontro della Shanghai Cooperation Organization e Dushanbe. Titolo originale:

                         L’Eurasia prende forma: come la SCO ha appena ribaltato l’ordine mondiale

Sotto lo sguardo di un Occidente senza timone, la riunione del ventesimo anniversario dell’Organizzazione per la cooperazione di Shanghai è stata focalizzata su due risultati chiave: dare forma all’Afghanistan e dare il via a un’integrazione eurasiatica a spettro completo.

Pepe Escobar

I due momenti salienti dello storico vertice del 20 ° anniversario dell’Organizzazione per la cooperazione di Shanghai (SCO) a Dushanbe, in Tagikistan, dovevano venire dai discorsi programmatici di – chi altro – i leader del partenariato strategico Russia-Cina.

Xi Jinping: “Oggi avvieremo le procedure per ammettere l’Iran come membro a pieno titolo della SCO”.

Vladimir Putin: “Vorrei sottolineare il Memorandum d’intesa firmato oggi tra il Segretariato della SCO e la Commissione Economica Eurasiatica. È chiaramente progettato per promuovere l’idea della Russia di stabilire un partenariato della Grande Eurasia che copra la SCO, l’EAEU (Unione economica eurasiatica), l’ASEAN (Associazione delle nazioni del sud-est asiatico) e l’iniziativa Belt and Road della Cina (BRI).”

In breve, durante il fine settimana, l’Iran è stato sancito nel suo legittimo ruolo eurasiatico principale e tutti i percorsi di integrazione eurasiatica sono convergenti verso un nuovo paradigma geopolitico e geoeconomico globale,.

(MB – L’Iran ha oggi due alleati veri, che si chiamano Russia e Cina. Sarà più difficile per Israele indurre gli americani a “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” e fare canagliate come a uno stato-paria e isolato. Anche la speranza di Biden di trattare di nuovo gli accordi sul nucleare iraniano (che Teheran ha adempiuto fedelmente e Trump ha rotto) strappando a Teheran in cambio della levata delle sanzioni, in più, la rinuncia di missili di portata tale da colpire Israele, non è più praticabile. L’Iran con a fianco la Cina, cliente del suo petrolio e largitrice di investimenti, + può resistere a questo genere di ricatti)

“Dushanbe si è rivelato come l’ultimo crossover diplomatico. Il presidente Xi ha rifiutato con fermezza qualsiasi “lezione supponente” e ha sottolineato percorsi di sviluppo e modelli di governance compatibili con le condizioni nazionali. Proprio come Putin, ha sottolineato il focus complementare di BRI e EAEU, e di fatto ha sintetizzato un vero Manifesto multilateralista per il Sud del mondo.

Proprio sul punto, il presidente Kassym-Jomart Tokayev del Kazakistan ha osservato che la SCO dovrebbe promuovere “lo sviluppo di una macroeconomia regionale”. Ciò si riflette nella spinta della SCO a iniziare a utilizzare le valute locali per il commercio, aggirando il dollaro USA.

                         Guarda quel quadrilatero

Dushanbe non è stato solo un letto di rose. L’Emomali Rahmon del Tagikistan, fedele musulmano laico ed ex membro del Partito Comunista dell’URSS – al potere da non meno di 29 anni, rieletto per la quinta volta nel 2020 con il 90% dei voti – ha subito denunciato la “sharia medievale” dei talebani 2.0 e hanno affermato di aver già “abbandonato la loro precedente promessa di formare un governo inclusivo”.

Rahmon … era già al potere quando i talebani conquistarono Kabul nel 1996. Era obbligato a sostenere pubblicamente i suoi cugini tagiki contro l’”espansione dell’ideologia estremista” in Afghanistan – che di fatto preoccupa tutti i membri della SCO -afferma quando si tratta di distruggere loschi abiti jihadisti di stampo ISIS-K.

La polpa della questione a Dushanbe era nei bilaterali – e un quadrilatero.

Prendi il bilaterale tra il ministro degli Esteri indiano S. Jaishankar e il FM cinese Wang Yi. Jaishankar ha affermato che la Cina non dovrebbe vedere “le sue relazioni con l’India attraverso la lente di un paese terzo” e si è preoccupato di sottolineare che l’India “non sottoscrive alcuna teoria dello scontro di civiltà”.

È stata una vendita piuttosto difficile considerando che il primo vertice Quad si svolge questa settimana a Washington, DC, ospitato da quel “paese terzo” che ora è immerso nel profondo della modalità di scontro di civiltà contro la Cina.

Il primo ministro pakistano Imran Khan è satto in una serie di bilaterali: ha incontrato i presidenti di Iran, Bielorussia, Uzbekistan e Kazakistan. La posizione diplomatica ufficiale del Pakistan è che l’Afghanistan non dovrebbe essere abbandonato, ma impegnato.

Quella posizione aggiungeva sfumature a quanto aveva spiegato l’inviato presidenziale speciale russo per gli affari della SCO Bakhtiyer Khakimov sull’assenza di Kabul al tavolo della SCO: “In questa fase, tutti gli Stati membri hanno capito che non ci sono ragioni per un invito finché non c’è un legittimo, governo generalmente riconosciuto in Afghanistan”.

E questo ci porta all’incontro chiave della SCO: un quadrilatero con i ministri degli Esteri di Russia, Cina, Pakistan e Iran.

Il ministro degli Esteri pakistano Qureshi ha affermato: “Stiamo monitorando se tutti i gruppi sono inclusi o meno nel governo [afgano]”. Il nocciolo della questione è che, d’ora in poi, Islamabad coordinerà la strategia della SCO sull’Afghanistan e farà da intermediario nelle trattative talebane con i leader di spicco tagiki, uzbeki e hazara. Questo alla fine aprirà la strada verso un governo inclusivo riconosciuto a livello regionale dai paesi membri della SCO.

Il presidente iraniano Ebrahim Raisi è stato accolto calorosamente da tutti, specialmente dopo il suo energico discorso programmatico, un classico dell’Asse della Resistenza. Il suo rapporto bilaterale con il presidente bielorusso Aleksandr Lukashenko ruotava attorno a una discussione sul “confronto delle sanzioni”. Secondo Lukashenko: “Se le sanzioni hanno fatto del male alla Bielorussia, all’Iran e ad altri paesi, è stato solo perché ne siamo responsabili noi stessi. Non sempre siamo stati negoziabili, non sempre abbiamo trovato la strada da percorrere sotto la pressione delle sanzioni».

Considerando che Teheran è pienamente informata sul ruolo della SCO di Islamabad in termini di Afghanistan, non ci sarà bisogno di schierare la brigata Fatemiyoun – informalmente conosciuta come Afghan Hezbollah – per difendere gli Hazara sciiti. Fatemiyoun si è formata nel 2012 ed è stata determinante in Siria nella lotta contro Daesh, soprattutto a Palmyra. Ma se ISIS-K non scompare, questa è una storia completamente diversa.

Particolarmente importante per i membri della SCO Iran e India sarà il futuro del porto di Chabahar. Questa rimane la mossa cripto-Via della seta dell’India per collegarla all’Afghanistan e all’Asia centrale. Il successo geoeconomico di Chabahar dipende più che mai da un Afghanistan stabile – ed è qui che gli interessi di Teheran convergono pienamente con la spinta SCO di Russia-Cina.

Ciò che la Dichiarazione SCO di Dushanbe del 2021 ha enunciato sull’Afghanistan è rivelatore:

L’Afghanistan dovrebbe essere uno stato indipendente, neutrale, unito, democratico e pacifico, libero da terrorismo, guerra e droga.

È fondamentale avere un governo inclusivo in Afghanistan, con rappresentanti di tutti i gruppi etnici, religiosi e politici della società afgana.

Gli Stati membri della SCO, sottolineando l’importanza dei molti anni di ospitalità e assistenza efficace forniti dai paesi regionali e vicini ai rifugiati afghani, considerano importante che la comunità internazionale si impegni attivamente per facilitare il loro ritorno dignitoso, sicuro e sostenibile al loro patria.

Per quanto possa sembrare un sogno impossibile, questo è il messaggio unificato di Russia, Cina, Iran, India, Pakistan e i vari ‘stan’ dell’Asia centrale. Si spera che il primo ministro pakistano Imran Khan sia all’altezza del compito e pronto per il suo primo piano della SCO.

                         Quella tormentata penisola occidentale

Le Nuove Vie della Seta sono state lanciate ufficialmente otto anni fa da Xi Jinping, prima ad Astana – ora Nur-Sultan – e poi a Giacarta.

Questo è il modo in cui l’ho segnalato all’epoca.

L’annuncio è arrivato vicino a un vertice della SCO, poi a Bishkek. La SCO, ampiamente liquidata a Washington e Bruxelles come un semplice talk shop, stava già superando il suo mandato originale di combattere le “tre forze del male” – terrorismo, separatismo ed estremismo – e comprendeva la politica e la geoeconomia.

Nel 2013 c’è stata una trilaterale Xi-Putin-Rouhani. Pechino ha espresso pieno sostegno al programma nucleare pacifico dell’Iran (ricordate, questo è stato due anni prima della firma del Piano d’azione congiunto globale, noto anche come JCPOA).

Nonostante molti esperti all’epoca lo negassero, c’era davvero un fronte comune Cina-Russia-Iran in Siria (Asse di Resistenza in azione). Lo Xinjiang veniva promosso come snodo chiave per l’Eurasian Land Bridge. Il gasdotto è stato al centro della strategia cinese, dal petrolio del Kazakistan al gas del Turkmenistan. Alcune persone potrebbero persino ricordare quando Hillary Clinton, in qualità di Segretario di Stato, si è pronunciata in modo lirico su una Nuova Via della Seta a propulsione americana.

Ora confrontare il Manifesto del Multilateralismo di Xi a Dushanbe otto anni dopo, e ricordare come la SCO “ha dimostrato di essere un ottimo esempio di multilateralismo nel 21 ° secolo”, e “ha svolto un ruolo importante nel migliorare la voce dei paesi in via di sviluppo. ”

L’importanza strategica di questo vertice SCO che si terrà subito dopo l’Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) a Vladivostok non può essere sopravvalutata abbastanza. L’EEF si concentra, ovviamente, sull’Estremo Oriente russo e sostanzialmente promuove l’interconnessione tra Russia e Asia. È un fulcro assolutamente chiave del partenariato eurasiatico della Russia.

Una cornucopia di accordi è all’orizzonte: l’espansione dall’Estremo Oriente all’Artico e lo sviluppo della rotta del Mare del Nord, e coinvolgendo tutto, dai metalli preziosi e l’energia verde alla sovranità digitale che scorre attraverso i corridoi logistici tra Asia ed Europa attraverso la Russia.

Come ha suggerito Putin nel suo discorso programmatico, questo è ciò che riguarda la Greater Eurasia Partnership: l’Unione economica dell’Eurasia (EAEU), la BRI (Belt and Road Initiative), l’iniziativa dell’India, l’ASEAN e ora la SCO, che si sviluppa in una rete armonizzata, gestita in modo cruciale da “sovrano centri decisionali”.

                         Grande Asia di sovrani ed eguali

Quindi, se la BRI propone una “comunità di futuro condiviso per il genere umano” molto taoista, il progetto russo, concettualmente, propone un dialogo di civiltà (già evocato dagli anni di Khatami in Iran) e progetti economico-politici sovrani. Sono, infatti, complementari.

Glenn Diesen, professore all’Università della Norvegia sudorientale e redattore della rivista Russia in Global Affairs, è tra i pochissimi studiosi di spicco che stanno analizzando in profondità questo processo. Il suo ultimo libro racconta in modo straordinario l’intera storia nel suo titolo: L’ Europa come la penisola occidentale della Grande Eurasia: regioni geoeconomiche in un mondo multipolare .

Non è chiaro se gli eurocrati di Bruxelles – schiavi dell’atlantismo e incapaci di cogliere le potenzialità della Grande Eurasia – finiranno per esercitare una reale autonomia strategica.

Diesen evoca in dettaglio i paralleli tra la strategia russa e quella cinese. Fa notare come la Cina “sta perseguendo un’iniziativa geoeconomica a tre pilastri sviluppando la leadership tecnologica attraverso il suo piano China 2025, nuovi corridoi di trasporto attraverso la sua Belt and Road Initiative da trilioni di dollari e stabilendo nuovi strumenti finanziari come banche, sistemi di pagamento e internazionalizzazione. dello yuan. Allo stesso modo, la Russia sta perseguendo la sovranità tecnologica, sia nella sfera digitale che oltre, così come nuovi corridoi di trasporto come la rotta del Mare del Nord attraverso l’Artico e, soprattutto, nuovi strumenti finanziari”.

L’intero Sud del mondo, stordito dal crollo accelerato dell’Impero occidentale e dal suo ordine unilaterale basato su regole, sembra ora pronto ad abbracciare il nuovo solco, pienamente mostrato a Dushanbe: una Grande Eurasia multipolare di sovrani eguali.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa, Russia

Mali. Macron si è trovato in casa più di mille mercenari russi. Mr Putin lo ha sfregiato.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-09-16.

Mali 002

«Russian mercenaries are closing in on a deal to send a 1,000-strong force to shore up the junta in Mali in a move that has alarmed France, the former colonial power.

The Wagner Group would earn approximately $10.8 million a month for deploying to the west African state, according to diplomatic sources. Its mission would be to train troops and protect the regime’s senior figures in a country that has suffered two coups in the last year and faces an ongoing Islamist insurgency in the vast Sahel region.

Reports of the deal come after President Macron announced in June the winding down of Operation Barkhane, France’s 5,000-strong Mali-based military effort against the insurgents.» [The Times]

* * * * * *

«Deal allowing Russian mercenaries into Mali close»

«Paris wants to prevent deal being enacted»

«At least 1,000 mercenaries could be involved»

«A deal is close that would allow Russian mercenaries into Mali, extending Russian influence over security affairs in West Africa and triggering opposition from former colonial power France»

«Paris has begun a diplomatic drive to prevent the military junta in Mali enacting the deal, which would permit Russian private military contractors, the Wagner Group, to operate in the former French colony»

«A European source who tracks West Africa and a security source in the region said at least 1,000 mercenaries could be involved»

«Four sources said the Wagner Group would be paid about 6 billion CFA francs ($10.8 million) a month for its services»

«One security source working in the region said the mercenaries would train Malian military and provide protection for senior officials»

«France’s diplomatic offensive, the diplomatic sources said, includes enlisting the help of partners including the United States to persuade Mali’s junta not to press ahead with the deal, and sending senior diplomats to Moscow and Mali for talks»

«France is worried the arrival of Russian mercenaries would undermine its decade-old counter-terrorism operation against al Qaeda and Islamic State-linked insurgents in the Sahel region of West Africa at a time when it is seeking to draw down its 5,000-strong Barkhane mission to reshape it with more European partners»

«An intervention by this actor would therefore be incompatible with the efforts carried out by Mali’s Sahelian and international partners engaged in the Coalition for the Sahel for security and development of the region»

«Public opinion in Mali is in favour of more cooperation with Russia given the ongoing security situation»

«Having Russian mercenaries in Mali would strengthen Russia’s push for global prestige and influence, and be part of a wider campaign to shake up long-standing power dynamics in Africa»

«As relations with France have worsened, Mali’s military junta has increased contacts with Russia, including Defence Minister Sadio Camara visiting Moscow and overseeing tank exercises on Sept. 4»

* * * * * * *

Cina penetra economicamente l’Africa subsahariana.

Cina. Consolida il suo impero in Africa.

Cina ed Africa. I rapporti collaborativi si stanno consolidando.

Cina ed Africa. Una politica di rapporti internazionali paritetici.

*

Macron accusa Russia e Turchia di voler scalzare la Francia dall’Africa Centrale.

Russia. Penetrazione in Africa costruendovi centrali atomiche.

Russia. Dispiegati cacciabombardieri in Libia. La strategia russa in Africa.

Putin. La Russia alla conquista dell’Africa.

*

Macron in visita nel Burkina Faso. Per poco lo accoppano. Incidente diplomatico.

* * *

E così o russi hanno messo un piede ben fermo nel Mali: ci sono e non hanno nessuna intenzione di andarsene.

*


Deal allowing Russian mercenaries into Mali is close – sources.

– Deal allowing Russian mercenaries into Mali close- sources

– Paris wants to prevent deal being enacted, sources say

– At least 1,000 mercenaries could be involved – two sources

*

PARIS, Sept 13 (Reuters) – A deal is close that would allow Russian mercenaries into Mali, extending Russian influence over security affairs in West Africa and triggering opposition from former colonial power France, seven diplomatic and security sources said.

Paris has begun a diplomatic drive to prevent the military junta in Mali enacting the deal, which would permit Russian private military contractors, the Wagner Group, to operate in the former French colony, the sources said.

A European source who tracks West Africa and a security source in the region said at least 1,000 mercenaries could be involved. Two other sources believed the number was lower, but did not provide figures.

Four sources said the Wagner Group would be paid about 6 billion CFA francs ($10.8 million) a month for its services. One security source working in the region said the mercenaries would train Malian military and provide protection for senior officials.

Reuters could not confirm independently how many mercenaries could be involved, how much they would be compensated, or establish the exact objective of any deal involving Russian mercenaries would be for Mali’s military junta.

Reuters was unable to reach the Wagner Group for comment. Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who media outlets including Reuters have linked to the Wagner Group, denies any connection to the firm.

His press service also says on its social networking site Vkontakte that Prigozhin has nothing to do with any private military company, has no business interests in Africa and is not involved in any activities there.

His press service did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment for this story.

                         POTENTIAL THREAT TO COUNTER-TERRORISM EFFORT

France’s diplomatic offensive, the diplomatic sources said, includes enlisting the help of partners including the United States to persuade Mali’s junta not to press ahead with the deal, and sending senior diplomats to Moscow and Mali for talks.

France is worried the arrival of Russian mercenaries would undermine its decade-old counter-terrorism operation against al Qaeda and Islamic State-linked insurgents in the Sahel region of West Africa at a time when it is seeking to draw down its 5,000-strong Barkhane mission to reshape it with more European partners, the diplomatic sources said.

The French foreign ministry also did not respond but a French diplomatic source criticised interventions by the Wagner Group in other countries.

“An intervention by this actor would therefore be incompatible with the efforts carried out by Mali’s Sahelian and international partners engaged in the Coalition for the Sahel for security and development of the region,” the source said.

A spokesperson for the leader of Mali’s junta, which took power in a military coup in August 2020, said he had no information about such a deal.

“These are rumours. Officials don’t comment on rumours,” said the spokesperson, Baba Cisse, who declined further comment.

Mali’s defence ministry spokesperson said: “Public opinion in Mali is in favour of more cooperation with Russia given the ongoing security situation. But no decision (on the nature of that cooperation) has been made.”

Russia’s defence and foreign ministries did not respond to requests for comment, nor did the Kremlin or the French presidency.

The mercenaries’ presence would jeopardise Mali’s funding from the international partners and allied training missions that have helped rebuild Mali’s army, four security and diplomatic sources said.

                         RIVALRY IN AFRICA

Having Russian mercenaries in Mali would strengthen Russia’s push for global prestige and influence, and be part of a wider campaign to shake up long-standing power dynamics in Africa, the diplomatic sources said.

More than a dozen People with ties to the Wagner Group have previously told Reuters it has carried out clandestine combat missions on the Kremlin’s behalf in Ukraine, Libya and Syria. Russian authorities deny Wagner contractors carry out their orders.

Mali’s military junta has said it will oversee a transition to democracy leading to elections in February 2022.

As relations with France have worsened, Mali’s military junta has increased contacts with Russia, including Defence Minister Sadio Camara visiting Moscow and overseeing tank exercises on Sept. 4.

A senior Malian defence ministry source said the visit was in “the framework of cooperation and military assistance” and gave no further details. Russia’s defence ministry said deputy defence minister Alexander Fomin had met Camara during an international military forum and “discussed defence cooperation projects in detail as well as regional security matters related to West Africa.” No further details were released.

The French foreign ministry’s top Africa diplomat, Christophe Bigot, was dispatched to Moscow for talks on Sept. 8 with Mikhail Bogdanov, Putin’s point person on the Middle East and Africa. Russia’s foreign ministry confirmed the visit.

France’s foreign ministry declined to comment on the visit. Bigot could not immediately be reached for comment. The Russian foreign ministry did not respond to a Reuters request for comment from Bogdanov.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Geopolitica Africa, Russia

Russia. Putin sta penetrando militarmente l’Africa, scacciandone americani e francesi.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-09-15.

Putin Vladimir 012

Mr Putin sta tessendo tutta una serie di accordi militari strategici bilaterali con tutti quegli stati africani che più non tollerano l’ossessione americana di voler imporre la visione liberal dei così detti ‘human rights’ quale elemento propedeutico ad aiuti ed accordi.

Come suo solito, e con rara maestria, Mr Putin sfrutta tutti gli errori degli occidentali e di Joe Biden per scalzarli politicamente, economicamente e militarmente.

Se è vero che al momento attuale l’Africa sia misera, sarebbe altrettanto vero considerare le sue ricchezze minerarie e come sarà nel corso di una generazione.

Domani, invece, pubblicheremo lo sfregio che Mr Putin ha fatto a Mr Macron.

* * * * * * *

«Russia is building its military influence in Africa, challenging U.S. and French dominance»

«In the past two months alone, Russia has signed military cooperation agreements with Nigeria and Ethiopia, Africa’s two most populous nations»

«The U.S. has pledged to reignite its economic and commercial engagements in Africa, but a planned drawback of troops is giving way to extensive spending»

«France maintains the largest presence and troop numbers of any former colonial power in Africa»

* * *

«Russia is challenging the status quo in Africa, using insecurity and diplomatic disputes with Western powers as a springboard to expand its presence on the continent»

«From Libya to Nigeria, Ethiopia to Mali, Moscow has been building key strategic military alliances and an increasingly favorable public profile across Africa in recent years»

«→→ Central to this effort is offering alternatives to countries that have grown disgruntled with Western diplomatic partnerships ←←»

«Russia was not going to participate in a new ‘repartition’ of the continent’s wealth; rather, we are ready to engage in competition for cooperation with Africa»

«Via the U.N., Russia has also provided aid in the form food and medical assistance alongside its growing commercial, economic and military support across the continent»

«Africa accounted for 18% of Russian arms exports between 2016 and 2020»

«Russian mercenaries have also provided direct assistance to governments in Libya and the Central African Republic»

«A group of Russian instructors was sent to the CAR at the request of its leaders»

«U.S. lawmakers had stalled a planned $1 billion weapons sale to Nigeria over allegations of human rights abuses by the government»

«Less than a month later, Russia signed a deal with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to supply military equipment, training and technology to Nigerian forces»

«This confluence of factors paving the way for Russian influence-building was also at play in Ethiopia. Russia has provided support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government after Western governments balked at his forces’ military response to an insurgency in northern Tigray»

«Moscow proceeded with the deployment of election observers to Ethiopia, whereas the EU withdrew its observers, citing “ongoing violence across the country, human rights violations and political tensions, harassment of media workers and detained opposition members.”»

«Russia has supplied strategic weapons both as a potential defense against any Egyptian strike on the GERD and to aid government forces in Tigray»

«Ethiopia and Russia signed a military cooperation agreement in July, focused specifically on knowledge and technology transfers»

* * *

«The U.S. has pledged to reignite its economic and commercial engagements in Africa, but a planned drawback of troops»

«the “creeping build-up” of U.S. military on the continent was accompanied by mixed messaging, accusing both the U.S. and African governments of a lack of transparency»

«France maintains the largest presence and troop numbers of any former colonial power in Africa, particularly in the form of 5,100 troops in the Sahel, where the border area between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger meet has become a hotspot for violence»

«Paris is inconsistent in its treatment of friendly regimes, indulging an unconstitutional transfer of power in Chad but taking a harder line following a coup in Mali»

«when Colonel Assimi Goïta established military rule in Mali, Macron denounced the coup and suspended a joint military operation with the Malian army»

«Protests in the aftermath were also hostile toward France, while Russian flags and posters were visible»

* * * * * * *

Gli occidentali stanno pagando a duro prezzo la pulsione coatta dei liberal di voler imporre la loro ideologia.

Gli africani proprio non ne vogliono sapere e sono arcistufi degli americani che salgono in cattedra ed impartiscono loro lezioni: vogliono essere sé stessi, senza condizionamenti. Questo è il motivo della felice penetrazione nel continente di Russia e Cina.

*


Russia is building its military influence in Africa, challenging U.S. and French dominance.

– In the past two months alone, Russia has signed military cooperation agreements with Nigeria and Ethiopia, Africa’s two most populous nations.

– The U.S. has pledged to reignite its economic and commercial engagements in Africa, but a planned drawback of troops is giving way to extensive spending on operational bases and longer-term plans to sustain a strategic presence.

– France maintains the largest presence and troop numbers of any former colonial power in Africa.

*

Russia is challenging the status quo in Africa, using insecurity and diplomatic disputes with Western powers as a springboard to expand its presence on the continent.

From Libya to Nigeria, Ethiopia to Mali, Moscow has been building key strategic military alliances and an increasingly favorable public profile across Africa in recent years. 

Central to this effort is offering alternatives to countries that have grown disgruntled with Western diplomatic partnerships.

The second Russia-Africa Summit is scheduled for 2022. At the inaugural summit in Sochi in 2019, President Vladimir Putin vowed that Russia was “not going to participate in a new ‘repartition’ of the continent’s wealth; rather, we are ready to engage in competition for cooperation with Africa.”

Via the U.N., Russia has also provided aid in the form food and medical assistance alongside its growing commercial, economic and military support across the continent.

                         Russia’s bilateral push.

In the past two months alone, Russia has signed military cooperation agreements with Nigeria and Ethiopia, Africa’s two most populous nations.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates that Africa accounted for 18% of Russian arms exports between 2016 and 2020.

Russian mercenaries have also provided direct assistance to governments in Libya and the Central African Republic, according to the U.N. However, the Kremlin has denied links to the Wagner Group, a paramilitary organization alleged by the U.N. to be aiding human rights abuses in the region.

“A group of Russian instructors was sent to the CAR at the request of its leaders and with the knowledge of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on the CAR established by Resolution 2127,” a Russian foreign ministry statement said in July. “Indicatively, none of them has taken part in combat operations.”

Reuters reported in July that U.S. lawmakers had stalled a planned $1 billion weapons sale to Nigeria over allegations of human rights abuses by the government.  

Less than a month later, Russia signed a deal with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to supply military equipment, training and technology to Nigerian forces.

Although historically a key diplomatic and trade partner of the U.S., Buhari’s government found itself at odds with Washington amid the #EndSARS protests in 2020, and again after a recent fallout with Twitter.

Meanwhile, Islamist militant groups such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State’s West Africa Province have cotinued to wreak havoc in the northeast of the country. 

This confluence of factors paving the way for Russian influence-building was also at play in Ethiopia. Russia has provided support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government after Western governments balked at his forces’ military response to an insurgency in northern Tigray. 

Ethiopia felt the U.S. in particular was aligning with Egypt in the ongoing dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken further evoked the ire of Addis Ababa in March by accusing forces in Tigray of “ethnic cleansing.” 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov then met with Ethiopian counterpart Demeke Mekonnen in June. Moscow proceeded with the deployment of election observers to Ethiopia, whereas the EU withdrew its observers, citing “ongoing violence across the country, human rights violations and political tensions, harassment of media workers and detained opposition members.”

Russia has supplied strategic weapons both as a potential defense against any Egyptian strike on the GERD and to aid government forces in Tigray. 

“Gains by the Tigray Defence Force (TDF), which has captured parts of the Afar and Amhara regions in recent weeks, make the provision of desperately needed weapons all the more important for Addis Ababa, and Moscow is likely to oblige to such a request, possibly on a buy-now-pay-later basis,” said Louw Nel, senior political analyst at NKC African Economics.  

In what Nel flagged as a “sign of things to come,” Ethiopia and Russia signed a military cooperation agreement in July, focused specifically on knowledge and technology transfers. However, Nel noted that Ethiopia will be “wary of allowing Russian personnel to be deployed there in anything other than a training capacity.” 

Russia’s foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

                         U.S. ‘creeping build-up’. 

The U.S. has pledged to reignite its economic and commercial engagements in Africa, but a planned drawback of troops is giving way to extensive spending on operational bases and longer-term plans to sustain a strategic presence, according to a recent report from risk intelligence firm Pangea-Risk. 

In 2018, then-U.S. national security advisor John Bolton singled out Russia’s expansionist “influence across Africa,” and Washington has been keen to retain a foothold on the continent.

The Biden administration is set to maintain the U.S. military’s 27 operational outposts on the continent, while the country’s Africa Command (Africom) is prioritizing counter-terrorism objectives in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel regions.

The U.S. is also establishing a presence in other strategically important regions, such as the Red Sea and the Gulf of Guinea. Some $330 million is reportedly being spent by 2025 on U.S. military base construction and related infrastructure projects, while Africom is drawing up a 20-year strategic plan. 

This will focus on counterterrorism, special forces operations and humanitarian support, along with safeguarding U.S. commercial interests in the face of growing Chinese and Russian presence. 

The report noted that Cape Verdean authorities have since July 2020 agreed a Status of Forces Agreement with the U.S. military to allow U.S. troops to operate from its archipelago. 

“Such an agreement makes sense given global geo-political competition in the West African region and the need to counter the growing risk of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, both of which pose an existential threat to U.S. commercial interests,” Pangea-Risk CEO Robert Besseling said. 

“However, the one-year-old SOFA with Cape Verde raises questions over broader U.S. diplomatic and judicial engagements in the country, and whether this sets a pattern for U.S.–Africa relations going forward.” 

International Crisis Group Africa Program Director Comfort Ero, has said the “creeping build-up” of U.S. military on the continent was accompanied by mixed messaging, accusing both the U.S. and African governments of a lack of transparency. 

The U.S. is likely to phase out its direct military presence in insecurity hotspots, but continues to seek SOFA deals with countries of strategic importance, Pangea-Risk said, adding that Washington will be reluctant to withdraw entirely due to Chinese and Russian presence. 

France struggles in the Sahel. 

France maintains the largest presence and troop numbers of any former colonial power in Africa, particularly in the form of 5,100 troops in the Sahel, where the border area between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger meet has become a hotspot for violence. 

“Paris is inconsistent in its treatment of friendly regimes, indulging an unconstitutional transfer of power in Chad but taking a harder line following a coup in Mali,” said NKC’s Nel. 

French President Emmanuel Macron supported a military-led transition from Chadian President Idriss Deby, who was killed in battle with rebel forces in April, to his son. This violated the country’s constitution and led to anti-French protests and the vandalism of a Total petrol station. 

However, when Colonel Assimi Goïta established military rule in Mali, Macron denounced the coup and suspended a joint military operation with the Malian army. Protests in the aftermath were also hostile toward France, while Russian flags and posters were visible. 

“Given the clear negative trend in political stability in Mali, there is reason to consider the danger that it might end up looking like the CAR, where President Faustin-Archange Touadéra’s weak government is essentially kept in place by Russian muscle: the mercenaries of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group,” Nel said.

Pubblicato in: Brasile, Cina, India, Russia

Brics. 13mo Summit, con novità. Vogliono un ruolo politico internazionale.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-09-09.

BRICS 001

Il Club dei Brics è formato da Cina, Brasile, Russia, India e South Africa.

«Together, the five-nation group accounts for almost a quarter of the world’s total GDP and over 16% of world trade»

* * * * * * *

«Chinese President Xi Jinping will virtually meet his counterparts from Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa during the 13th BRICS Summit on Sept. 9»

«The leaders are expected to discuss issues such as counterterrorism, reforming multilateral organizations like the UN or the IMF, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic and regional developments»

«When the term was first coined, BRIC referred to the four prominent emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China. South Africa was added in 2010»

«Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair Thursday’s meeting, which will also be attended by Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa»

«India has outlined four priority areas for its chairship including reforms for multilateral organizations such as the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund, counterterrorism and using technology to achieve sustainable development goals, according to India’s Ministry of External Affairs»

«it is expected that Afghanistan could be on the agenda»

«The fate of BRICS has diverged since the first summit was held in Russia more than a decade ago. While China and India have grown exponentially, Russia, Brazil and South Africa have stumbled in exerting their influence on the global economy»

* * * * * * *

Cina. Un j’accuse ferocemente e brutalmente rude, e vero, contro gli Stati Uniti.

Cina. Si avvia alla maggioranza nelle Nazioni Unite.

Rappresentando il 25% circa del Pil mondiale ed il 16% dei commerci mondiali, i Brics si apprestano adesso a svolgere anche un ruolo politico globale. È questa una grande svolta.

La Cina da sola può contare su quasi la metà dei voti in aula alle Nazioni Unite, ed i Brics dovrebbero avere la maggioranza dei votanti.

L’operazione sul Fondo Monetario potrebbe essere più difficile, ma i Brics non dovrebbero poter essere ignorati più a lungo.

I tempi stanno mutando molto velocemente.

*


China’s Xi Jinping to attend virtual BRICS summit chaired by India

– Chinese President Xi Jinping will virtually meet his counterparts from Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa during the 13th BRICS Summit on Sept. 9.

– Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair Thursday’s meeting, which would also be attended by Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa.

– The leaders are expected to discuss issues such as counterterrorism, reforming multilateral organizations like the UN or the IMF, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic and regional developments.

*

Chinese President Xi Jinping will virtually meet his counterparts from Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa during the 13th BRICS Summit on Sept. 9, the country’s foreign ministry said Wednesday.

When the term was first coined, BRIC referred to the four prominent emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China. South Africa was added in 2010. Together, the five-nation group accounts for almost a quarter of the world’s total GDP and over 16% of world trade.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair Thursday’s meeting, which will also be attended by Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa. India currently holds the group’s rotating chairship.

India has outlined four priority areas for its chairship including reforms for multilateral organizations such as the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund, counterterrorism and using technology to achieve sustainable development goals, according to India’s Ministry of External Affairs.

“In addition to these areas, the leaders will also exchange views on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and other current global and regional issues,” the MEA said Monday.

While the Indian ministry did not specify which global or regional issues would be discussed, it is expected that Afghanistan could be on the agenda. Developments in Kabul are likely to directly impact China, India and Russia.

India’s national security advisor Ajit Doval will present at the summit.

Modi previously chaired the BRICS summit in 2016 in Goa. Last year, the meeting shifted to a virtual format due to the pandemic.

The fate of BRICS has diverged since the first summit was held in Russia more than a decade ago. While China and India have grown exponentially, Russia, Brazil and South Africa have stumbled in exerting their influence on the global economy.

Meanwhile, the relationship between China and India deteriorated last year following border clashes high in the Himalayas.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Putin, Russia

Putin programma il rafforzamento della marina russa. Due nuovi sottomarini atomici.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-09-07.

Putin Vladimir 012

«Russian President Vladimir Putin opened the Army 2021 / International Military Technical Forum outside Moscow by publicly ordering the construction of several new naval vessels, including nuclear submarines»

«The event, a combination of war games and arms expo, is designed to showcase Russian military hardware and attract foreign buyers»

«The naval order was announced in a video call with shipyards in Severodvinsk, St. Petersburg and Komsomolsk-on-Amur»

«A strong and sovereign Russia needs a powerful and well-balanced navy, …. We will continue to boost the potential of the Russian navy, develop its bases and infrastructure, arm it with state-of-the-art weapons»

«I would like to stress that all the ships will be equipped with modern high-precision weapons, the latest navigation and communications equipment»

«The vessels ordered were of three types: Two nuclear submarines armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), two large diesel submarines and two corvettes»

«We will continue to show the Russian flag in strategically important ocean areas»

«The nuclear submarines, named Dmitry Donskoy and Prince Potemkin, will be built at Sevmash Shipyards in Severodvinsk; the diesel subs, named after the cities of Mozhaisk and Yakutsk, will be constructed at Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg; and the corvettes, named Grozny (Fearsome) and Buyny (Wild), will be built at the Amur Shipbuilding Plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur»

«Putin also said work was underway on “promising” weapons, including the new hypersonic Kinzhal (dagger) nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) and the Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik (hunter), a heavy stealth unmanned aerial combat vehicle (UCAV)»

* * * * * * *

La Russia intende potenziare la propria marina da attacco. Una volta entrati in linea, il Dmitry Donskoy ed il Prince Potemkin aumenteranno il potenziale offensivo russo di circa trenta missili balistici intercontinentali, ciascuno dei quali dovrebbe portare una decina di testate nucleari: quanto sarebbe sufficiente a distruggere gli Stati Uniti.

Per garantire la pace è necessario mantenere gli attuali equilibri.

*


Russia begins construction of new nuclear submarines

President Putin opened an arms expo by publicly placing construction orders for six new naval vessels. The Kremlin is focused on military modernization as relations with the West worsen.

Russian President Vladimir Putin opened the Army 2021 / International Military Technical Forum outside Moscow by publicly ordering the construction of several new naval vessels, including nuclear submarines, Monday.

The event, a combination of war games and arms expo, is designed to showcase Russian military hardware and attract foreign buyers. Jordan’s King Abdullah II, for instance, was among those in attendance.

The naval order was announced in a video call with shipyards in Severodvinsk, St. Petersburg and Komsomolsk-on-Amur.

“A strong and sovereign Russia needs a powerful and well-balanced navy,” said Putin. “We will continue to boost the potential of the Russian navy, develop its bases and infrastructure, arm it with state-of-the-art weapons,” he added.

“I would like to stress that all the ships will be equipped with modern high-precision weapons, the latest navigation and communications equipment. The majority of these technologies proved their effectiveness during combat operations in Syria,” said the president as he addressed shipyard workers.

Kremlin pushing modernization of Russia’s naval fleet

The vessels ordered were of three types: Two nuclear submarines armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), two large diesel submarines and two corvettes.

The move is part of the Kremlin’s push to overhaul the Russian navy, a top priority as its relations with the West deteriorate.

“We will continue to show the Russian flag in strategically important ocean areas,” said Putin on Monday, as he seeks to re-establish a regular Russian naval presence on par with that of the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The nuclear submarines, named Dmitry Donskoy and Prince Potemkin, will be built at Sevmash Shipyards in Severodvinsk; the diesel subs, named after the cities of Mozhaisk and Yakutsk, will be constructed at Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg; and the corvettes, named Grozny (Fearsome) and Buyny (Wild), will be built at the Amur Shipbuilding Plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.

Putin also said work was underway on “promising” weapons, including the new hypersonic Kinzhal (dagger) nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) and the Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik (hunter), a heavy stealth unmanned aerial combat vehicle (UCAV).

Russia’s military activity — most notably in eastern Ukraine and Crimea, which Moscow illegally annexed in 2014 — has put the NATO military alliance on edge and thrown ties with the West into a tailspin, pushing relations to their lowest point since the Cold War.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Materie Prime, Putin, Russia

Putin riduce giorno dopo giorno le forniture di gas naturale ad una Europa quasi senza scorte.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-08-26.

Putin. Kremlino. Statua San Vladimiro. 013

«Europe will be like a frog in boiling water, not noticing that it is in trouble until it is too late»

* * * * * * *

«European gas market prices have skyrocketed more than 116% since the start of the year, with the ICIS TTF benchmark closing at an all-time high of 47.86 euros ($56.17) per megawatt-hour on Aug. 16»

«Europe facing incredibly low natural gas storage levels»

«European piped natural gas supply from Russia has slowed in recent weeks, raising questions about the potential causes behind the drop and its implications for global gas markets»

«It comes shortly after German Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to ease long-running concerns about the nearly completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline, saying further sanctions may be imposed if Moscow used gas “as a weapon.”»

«The controversial project is designed to deliver Russian gas directly to Germany via the Baltic Sea, bypassing Ukraine and Poland»

«Critics argue the pipeline is not compatible with European climate goals, increases the region’s dependence on Russian energy exports, and will most likely strengthen Russian President Vladimir Putin’s economic and political influence over the region»

«An increased load on the gas supply system had coincided with the traditional season of scheduled preventive maintenance and preparation for the fall to winter period»

«Natural gas flows at the westernmost point of the Yamal pipeline — a strategically important 2,000-kilometer pipeline that runs across four countries: Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany — dropped to 20 million cubic meters per day in mid-August, according to ICIS. This was down from 49 mcm per day at the end of July, and a sharp fall from its typical rate of 81 mcm per day»

«The current drop in gas deliveries and increase withdrawals from storage, which is elevating gas prices across Europe and benefitting Moscow, is firstly a commercial tactic to help Russia at a time when gas demand around the globe is high»

«But it also shows Europe just how dependent it is on Russia for its gas»

«Russia has lots of room to create scenarios that are painful for Europe but do not cross critical thresholds. Doing so, in fact, would be advantageous to Russia both financially and politically»

* * * * * * *

Merkel era andata a Mosca a fare la visita di commiato a Mr Putin: in quella occasione aveva sciorinato tutto i suo solito cahiers de doléances contro a Russia. Mr Putin è stato a sentirla con la cortesia che si riserva agli ospiti, ribadendo solo sugli argomenti più scottanti.

La Merkel è tornata tutta giuliva, come la Vispa Teresa, sbandierando a destra e manca che Mosca non avrebbe mi usato il gas con arma, “as a weapon”.

Ogni commento dovrebbe essere superfluo.

*


Russia is pumping a lot less natural gas to Europe all of a sudden — and it is not clear why

– European piped natural gas supply from Russia has slowed in recent weeks, raising questions about the potential causes behind the drop and its implications for global gas markets.

– It comes shortly after German Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to ease long-running concerns about the nearly completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline, saying further sanctions may be imposed if Moscow used gas “as a weapon.”

– Some analysts have suggested Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas giant, may be limiting its delivery of discretionary natural gas supply to Europe to support its case in starting flows via Nord Stream 2.

*

London — Russia has slowed the delivery of piped natural gas to Europe in recent weeks, according to analysis from ICIS, a commodity intelligence service, raising questions about the potential causes behind the drop and its implications for global gas markets.

It comes shortly after German Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to ease long-running concerns about the nearly completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline, saying further sanctions may be imposed if Moscow used gas “as a weapon.”

The controversial project is designed to deliver Russian gas directly to Germany via the Baltic Sea, bypassing Ukraine and Poland.

Critics argue the pipeline is not compatible with European climate goals, increases the region’s dependence on Russian energy exports, and will most likely strengthen Russian President Vladimir Putin’s economic and political influence over the region.

Some analysts have suggested Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas giant, may be limiting its delivery of discretionary natural gas supply to Europe to support its case in starting flows via Nord Stream 2.

“That’s because Gazprom is readying itself for starting Nord Stream 2 and it is hoping to exert an element of leverage in terms of trying to make sure that when all the regulatory t’s get crossed and i’s get dotted, that that process is as swift as possible,” Tom Marzec-Manser, lead European gas analyst at ICIS, told CNBC via telephone.

“If there is less gas around than normal and the price is high then it may streamline that process,” he added.

When approached for comment, Gazprom referred CNBC to a statement published on its Telegram account Aug. 16. The company described August as “another ‘winter’ month on the gas market,” according to a translation.

An increased load on the gas supply system had coincided with the traditional season of scheduled preventive maintenance and preparation for the fall to winter period, “which cannot be paused,” Gazprom said.

“The practice of the last few years both in Russia and in Europe suggests that the winter period has also shifted to the spring month of March. Therefore, now, in the summer, the priority is to pump gas into underground storage facilities,” the company said. “This is also very well understood by our European colleagues.”

What’s going on?

Natural gas flows at the westernmost point of the Yamal pipeline — a strategically important 2,000-kilometer pipeline that runs across four countries: Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany — dropped to 20 million cubic meters per day in mid-August, according to ICIS. This was down from 49 mcm per day at the end of July, and a sharp fall from its typical rate of 81 mcm per day.

What’s more, European piped natural gas supply from Russia is expected to slip even further in September.

Marzec-Manser said that for Russia to move gas through neighboring energy community states, such as Ukraine, it must first purchase access to a pipeline, “like a toll road.” The Nord Stream 1 route is an option, although this is already owned by Gazprom, and is flowing at capacity. The Yamal pipeline is a second major route and, until the end of July, was running at close to capacity as expected.

“Thirdly, you have the Ukrainian route which obviously comes with a lot of political baggage,” he continued. “It is the only other way you are going to get gas from Russia to Europe in any significant volume.”

Gazprom typically efficiently uses its booked EU pipe capacity, Marzec-Manser said, but an unexpected drop in volumes at the end of July along the Yamal pipeline “immediately indicated something was amiss.”

Natural gas flows to Europe dropped again shortly thereafter following a fire at a condensate plant in the Siberian city of Novy Urengoy.

As a result, external observers of Gazprom closely monitored interruptible monthly capacity auctions via Ukraine. These auctions are widely seen as a key signal to the market of upcoming volumes because they take place two to three weeks prior to the month in which natural gas flows.

A string of no-shows at each auction prompted analysts to question whether absent capacity bookings via Ukraine were as much to do with Gazprom’s inability to supply as opposed to its unwillingness to deliver.

“If true, this has serious implications on how the global gas and LNG [liquefied natural gas] market treats Russian pipe volumes and the availability — or not — of its discretionary supply,” Marzec-Manser said.

Another theory, although analysts consider it somewhat less likely, is that because Gazprom believes Nord Stream 2 will soon be fully operational, it may not need to book further capacity elsewhere.

Valentina Bonetti, senior gas analyst of EMEA at S&P Global Platts, told CNBC that the firm regards the recent drop in Russian flows to Europe “as a consequence caused by a physical upstream issue” that is taking longer than expected to return to full flows.

“Gazprom has long prided itself on being very reliable and prompt in restoring supply after accidents,” Bonetti said. However, she argued the company’s recent pivot to a “value-over-volume strategy” had tested the company’s ability to restore natural gas flows and put pressure on the EU to allow a smooth start up of Nord Stream 2.

While Gazprom is currently producing above the five-year range, Bonetti said it needs significant amounts of gas for both domestic storage injections as well as much higher year-on-year exports to Turkey. This “may exacerbate their value-over-volume strategy for exports to Europe.”

S&P Global Platts believes Russian flows to Europe will recover gradually in the coming weeks and expects Nord Stream flows to start in October, saying Gazprom’s recent actions and statements seem to confirm a relatively imminent start.

Record high gas prices

European gas market prices have skyrocketed more than 116% since the start of the year, with the ICIS TTF benchmark closing at an all-time high of 47.86 euros ($56.17) per megawatt-hour on Aug. 16. It is reflective of a tight market, with Europe facing incredibly low natural gas storage levels and rebounding Asian and South American LNG demand.

The contract was last seen trading at around 43.2 euros, following news Gazprom reportedly plans to supply 5.6 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe this year.

“The current drop in gas deliveries and increase withdrawals from storage, which is elevating gas prices across Europe and benefitting Moscow, is firstly a commercial tactic to help Russia at a time when gas demand around the globe is high,” said Kristine Berzina, a senior fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a national security advocacy group. “But it also shows Europe just how dependent it is on Russia for its gas.”

Berzina said it was “notable” for Merkel to threaten sanctions in case Nord Stream 2 was used as a weapon but questioned how Germany or Europe would determine that to be the case.

“Will a slow rise in gas prices that have a geopolitical underpinning be considered a ‘weapon’? … Or will only dramatic cutoffs be considered a ‘weapon’?”

“Europe will be like a frog in boiling water, not noticing that it is in trouble until it is too late,” Berzina said. “Russia has lots of room to create scenarios that are painful for Europe but do not cross critical thresholds. Doing so, in fact, would be advantageous to Russia both financially and politically.”

Pubblicato in: Commercio, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Putin, Russia

Kremlin. Putin. La Russia potenzia estrazione ed esportazione del carbone.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-08-17.

Kremlino 002

Proprio quando l’enclave liberal socialista occidentale abbandona l’estrazione e l’uso del carbone, la Russia vara un ambizioso piano di potenziamento di questo settore, che al momento  estrae 400 milioni di tonnellate e ne esporta il 50%, con un aumento del 33% negli ultimi otto anni.

Mr Putin ha tenuto un discorso da statista, con ottime conoscenze economiche e geopolitiche.

Russia. Ferrovia Transiberiana. 001

* * * * * * *


«The President held a meeting, via videoconference, on coal industry development»

«→→ Today, I suggest that we discuss the situation in the national coal industry, a key pillar of the national fuel and energy sector ←←»

«It has great significance for the socioeconomic development of entire Russian regions; we have five coal-mining regions»

«I would like to note that Russia has been producing over 400 million tonnes of coal per year since 2017»

«Over 50 percent of this amount is exported elsewhere»

«Coal export volumes have soared by over 33 percent in the past eight years»

«Today, the main coal sales are happening in the Asia-Pacific. Last year, 122 million tonnes of Russian coal were supplied to the region»

«At the same time, there is an additional demand in the Asia-Pacific that Russian companies could meet»

«we should increase the export capacity of the domestic coal industry»

«And this, I emphasise, means new jobs and higher incomes for people employed in this industry and Russia’s transport sector»

«We have already launched plans to develop the Eastern Operating Domain and to expand the capacity of the BAM [Baikal-Amur Mainline] and Transsib [Trans-Siberian Railway], which go to the seaports in the Far East.»

«It is no secret that some of them suggest a significant market contraction …. We also know what is happening with this: Texas froze because of the cold weather»

«it is important to use the export revenues of the coal industry to strengthen and diversify the economies of coal-mining regions»

* * *

«I would like you to pay special attention to the export potential of our leading coal region, Kuzbass»

«As I said in my opening remarks, we must diversify the economy in the coal-mining regions»

«preventing critical dependence of people’s lives on one industry alone»

«As I noted earlier, it is important to use the proceeds from coal exports to develop non-coal mining sectors in regions like Kuzbass»

«It also includes a new motorway to bypass Kemerovo and the expansion of the Sheregesh resort in line with today’s proposals, as well as building new social facilities, which was put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic»

«Please, finalise what we have agreed on today as soon as possible, put it in the form of regulatory acts, and submit it to me»

* * * * * * *

Le grandi distanze e la situazione climatica avversa rendono essenziale il ruolo svolto dalle linee ferrate, che possono funzionare anche durante i più rigidi inverni.

Certamente sono investimenti costosi, ma una volta ultimati i lavori di costruzione, e delle relative infrastrutture, il ritorno dovrebbe consentire di ammortizzare le spese fatte.

Ma oltre al beneficio economico si dovrebbe constatare anche quello politico, specie tenendo conto che per motivi ideologici molti paesi vogliono cessare la estrazione.

*


Kremlin. Meeting on coal industry development.

The President held a meeting, via videoconference, on coal industry development.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, Deputy Prime Minister – Chief of the Government Staff Dmitry Grigorenko, deputy prime ministers Alexander Novak and Marat Khusnullin, presidential aides Igor Levitin and Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov and Minister of Energy Nikolai Shulginov, as well as some regional heads and CEOs of major coal industry and transport sector companies.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. I can see that everyone is here.

We are in various regions of our country. I hope that our equipment will function smoothly, and that we will be able to work fruitfully.

Today, I suggest that we discuss the situation in the national coal industry, a key pillar of the national fuel and energy sector. It has great significance for the socioeconomic development of entire Russian regions; we have five coal-mining regions. It is also important for the labour market, for securing employment to hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens and securing their incomes. We have a total of 11 million residents in these regions. Of course, the industry employs far less. However, a total of 11 million people live in these regions.

We regularly address this subject in various formats. In the past few years, we have drafted a number of strategic documents reflecting the coal industry’s plans and tasks. First of all, they include the programme for coal industry development through to 2035, as well as decisions of the Commission for Strategic Development of the Fuel and Energy Sector that met in Kemerovo in the summer of 2018.

Today, I suggest reviewing the implementation of our tasks. And, of course, we will discuss subsequent steps to develop the coal industry, with due consideration for the transport sector projects because it is impossible to ensure cost-effective operations, unless they operate in unison. Russia’s traditional and new coal-mining centres have substantial capabilities. And, of course, proceeding from global coal demand trends, we have to assess current and future developments.

I would like to note that Russia has been producing over 400 million tonnes of coal per year since 2017. Over 50 percent of this amount is exported elsewhere. Coal export volumes have soared by over 33 percent in the past eight years.

For further sustainable development of the industry, it is necessary to constantly analyse the market and make plans both for the next three to four years and for a longer period, based on the strategic challenges and long-term prospects of the global coal market. We understand what this is about.

Today, the main coal sales are happening in the Asia-Pacific. Last year, 122 million tonnes of Russian coal were supplied to the region.

At the same time, there is an additional demand in the Asia-Pacific that Russian companies could meet. And it is important not to pass up this opportunity; flexibly using the logistics capabilities of our transport system, we should increase the export capacity of the domestic coal industry. And this, I emphasise, means new jobs and higher incomes for people employed in this industry and Russia’s transport sector.

We have already launched plans to develop the Eastern Operating Domain and to expand the capacity of the BAM [Baikal-Amur Mainline] and Transsib [Trans-Siberian Railway], which go to the seaports in the Far East. Today I am expecting to hear a report on how this work is going.

As for the long-term prospects of the global coal market beyond the current decade, I know that there are different forecasts in this regard. It is no secret that some of them suggest a significant market contraction, including due to technological changes in the global fuel and energy sector, as well as the active use of alternative fuels.

We also know what is happening with this: Texas froze because of the cold weather. And the windmills had to be thawed in ways that are far from environmentally friendly. Maybe this will also cause adjustments.

In any case, it is necessary to carefully study all possible scenarios in order to guarantee the steady development of our coal-mining regions even with a decrease in global demand for coal and with a decline in the global situation.

In particular, it is important to use the export revenues of the coal industry to strengthen and diversify the economies of coal-mining regions. And of course, this resource should really work to improve the well-being of people and to create modern, comfortable living conditions.

A separate, highly important task is certainly environmental protection, improving the environment in coal mining and transhipment areas. These issues also need constant monitoring.

All these issues require the coordinated, joint work of businesses, regional and federal authorities. Instructions in this regard have already been given more than once. Today I am asking you to report on the progress, including on the implementation of the socioeconomic development programme for Kuzbass, the country’s leading coal region.

Let us get down to work.

<…>

Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, I would like to thank you for our joint work today. I would like the Government to analyse and make use of all the proposals voiced today, including those made by representatives of the regions and our colleagues from the coal companies who have spoken here.

This is what I would like to point out in conclusion of our meeting.

First of all, today we paid much attention to the development of the Eastern Operating Domain. In point of fact, we keep returning to this subject. Today we spoke about it in detail, listening to how this project is being organised and the potential risks. We must carry out this work as precisely and smoothly as possible.

Therefore, based on the discussion we have had today, I would like to ask the Government to provide a clear construction timeframe and the extension parameters for the BAM and the Trans-Siberian Railway. We started talking about this back in 2018, and today we can see that the problems are still with us. We must do what I have mentioned, stipulating the throughput and carrying capacity, not of the railway line in general but of its individual sections, as well as the maximum weight of trainloads before and after we finish this project. I would like to ask you to provide this schedule. I know that there were disagreements about this before the meeting; I am asking you to provide a quarterly schedule until the end of 2024. Please, submit it to me and formalise it in a government enactment. Yes, and do please show it to me, because unless we strictly regulate this matter, the problems will remain.

I would like to remind you once again that the quantity framework for the expansion of the Eastern Operating Domain has been approved. Mr Belousov has reported on this today. The next task is to set a concrete timeframe for the work. This is important both for the implementation of regional development programmes and for the coal companies’ investments. Our colleagues from these companies have pointed this out just now.

Second, I would like the Government to strictly coordinate the implementation of the development plans for the BAM and the Trans-Siberian Railway, as well as the obligations of the parties involved in this work.

I would like to ask you to ensure, before July 1 this year, the signing of relevant agreements (I understand the companies do not object to this) between the coal companies and Russian Railways. These agreements must run up to 2024 so they have a clear idea of how much they can take out. The agreements must be based on mutual responsibility. I do not know what rules underlie them now: carry-or-pay or some other regulations but this does not matter. What matters is that the commitments of the coal companies and the carriers, including the volume of coal, loading stations and destinations must be determined precisely.

I would like you to pay special attention to the export potential of our leading coal region, Kuzbass. By 2024, we must ensure (even though this is not what we agreed on before, but I agree with Mr Belousov) at least a 30 percent increase in coal shipments to the east over 2020. Please stick to this target. Yes, we adjusted it compared with what we had planned before but this is life, it’s understandable. That said, the plans for shipping Kuzbass coal must be based on an understandable and transparent foundation. I heard today that this is what seems to happen in reality. If this is the case, well done. If so, there is no need to change anything. This must be based on the shipping volumes to the west and the domestic market, as my colleagues said today, and also based on existing port capacities.

I am also instructing the Government to present additional proposals on expanding the eastern section of the Baikal-Amur Railway (BAM). We need to increase eastbound coal shipments from Yakutia. The governor mentioned this today as well. I would like you to review mechanisms for funding this project, including from the National Welfare Fund as the Minister of Economic Development suggested today, if this is necessary, of course. In any event, I would like to say that I will not object to this in any way. Please present your proposals, if necessary.

The third point. As I said in my opening remarks, we must diversify the economy in the coal-mining regions. Mr Siluanov made a convincing speech today to this effect. It is necessary to achieve priority development of other economic sectors and services with a view to stabilising the regional labour markets and preventing critical dependence of people’s lives on one industry alone.

I want the Government to identify the benchmarks and closely monitor the employment dynamics in the coal-mining regions. Everything must be done in a timely manner. Please focus on creating jobs in the non-coal mining sectors and on bringing in more private investment. As we have just heard, the companies operating in this industry have no objections to that.

As I noted earlier, it is important to use the proceeds from coal exports to develop non-coal mining sectors in regions like Kuzbass. Again, our colleagues have no objections to that. It is good that the coal companies are receptive of this idea.

I want to add here that other enterprises are also willing to invest in the coal-mining regions’ economies and to work in priority development areas. If these tools can be used, please go ahead and use them. We heard about such examples today.

One such company plans to invest in the construction of a logistics centre in Kuzbass which will create several thousand new jobs.

Of course, we must support these initiatives, adjust the regulations to fit the businesses and regions’ needs and find new and appropriate solutions.

I also want you to approve the programme for the socioeconomic development of the Kemerovo Region by the end of March. This should include investment in the region’s transport, utilities and other infrastructure, and promotion of the tourism industry, which includes Sheregesh that we discussed today. It also includes a new motorway to bypass Kemerovo and the expansion of the Sheregesh resort in line with today’s proposals, as well as building new social facilities, which was put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Colleagues, there are many questions. Please systematise them and present them to me soon as proposals to expand the industry that is critically important not only for the coal-mining regions of our country, which is home to 11 million people as I said earlier today, but also for the rest of our vast country.

Please, finalise what we have agreed on today as soon as possible, put it in the form of regulatory acts, and submit it to me. I want to see this. These will be Government decisions, but I want to see them.

Thank you.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Diplomazia, Russia, Stati Uniti

Summit Putin – Biden. Stupefacente commento dei liberal americani. – Reuters.


Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-06-18.

Escher__Il_Cubo_

È cosa molto utile il cercare di capire come la pensino, e come lo abbiano percepito, le parti che si sono confrontate nel summit.

Reuters compendia molto bene il modo di vedere dei liberal democratici. Per usare una vecchia battuta, nella corsa Mr Putin è arrivato penultimo, mentre Joe Biden è arrivato secondo.

* * * * * * *

«Biden talks down Russia, spurs allies in bid to back Putin into a corner»

«President Joe Biden on his first foreign foray sought to cast Russia not as a direct competitor to the United States but as a bit player in a world where Washington is increasingly pre-occupied by China.»

«Biden wanted to send a message that Putin was isolating himself on the international stage with his actions, ranging from election interference and cyber-attacks against Western nations to his treatment of domestic critics»

«But the two leaders pledged to resume work on arms control as well as cyber security and to look for areas of possible cooperation, signs of some hope for a relationship between two countries with little common ground of late.»

«Ties were already frayed when Biden, at the start of his administration, repeated his description of Putin as “a killer»

«Echoing an approach by former President Barack Obama, who called Russia a “regional power” after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, Biden sought to cast Russia not as a direct competitor to the United States»

«Russia is in a very, very difficult spot right now. They are being squeezed by China»

«”the Russians don’t want to be known as, as some critics have said, you know, the Upper Volta with nuclear weapons.” Biden was referring to the former French West African colony, which changed its name to Burkina Faso.»

«It is clear to me that Putin could care less about how he’s viewed by others and, quite frankly, would enjoy the reputation of being able to successfully interfere in the internal matters of other countries»

* * * * * * *

Joe Biden, noto filantropo altruista, avrebbe premurosamente fatto presente a Mr Putin che la Russia è soltanto una potenza locoregionale, una specie di Alto Volta dotato di qualche arma atomica, oppressa dalla ingombrante presenza cinese: gli Stati Uniti non considerano quindi la Russia come un competitore.

I russi dovrebbero aderire alla Weltanschauung liberal e smetterla di cercare di interferire con i problemi interni degli altri paesi.

* * * * * * *

Pigliamo atto di questo modo di pensare.

A nostro personale avviso, si potrà conoscere il reale prodotto di questo summit solo dalle future azioni di ambo le parti.

*

Analysis: Biden talks down Russia, spurs allies in bid to back Putin into a corner

Washington/Geneva, June 17 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden on his first foreign foray sought to cast Russia not as a direct competitor to the United States but as a bit player in a world where Washington is increasingly pre-occupied by China.

Aides said Biden wanted to send a message that Putin was isolating himself on the international stage with his actions, ranging from election interference and cyber-attacks against Western nations to his treatment of domestic critics.

But Biden could struggle in a parallel attempt to stop the rot in U.S.-Russia relations and deter the threat of nuclear conflict while also talking down Russia, some observers said.

“The administration wants to de-escalate tensions. It’s not clear to me that Putin does,” said Tim Morrison, a national security adviser during the Trump administration. “The only cards he has to play are those of the disruptor.”

Officials on both sides had played down the chances of major breakthroughs at the talks, and they were right. None materialized.

But the two leaders pledged to resume work on arms control as well as cyber security and to look for areas of possible cooperation, signs of some hope for a relationship between two countries with little common ground of late.

Ties were already frayed when Biden, at the start of his administration, repeated his description of Putin as “a killer.” That deepened a diplomatic rift that saw both countries withdraw their ambassadors from each others’ capital.

Echoing an approach by former President Barack Obama, who called Russia a “regional power” after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, Biden sought to cast Russia not as a direct competitor to the United States.

Speaking after his meeting with Putin, Biden said Russia wants “desperately to remain a major power.”

“Russia is in a very, very difficult spot right now. They are being squeezed by China,” Biden said before boarding his plane out of Geneva, quipping that the Russians “don’t want to be known as, as some critics have said, you know, the Upper Volta with nuclear weapons.” Biden was referring to the former French West African colony, which changed its name to Burkina Faso.

Biden also pointed to the troubles of Russia’s economy and called out Putin on Russia’s detention of two Americans, and threats toward U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.

American businessmen “don’t want to hang out in Moscow,” he said.

Matthew Schmidt, associate professor at the University of New Haven and a specialist on Russian and Eurasian affairs, said Biden was seeking to undermine Putin’s importance on the global stage.

“The strategy is very simply to push Putin’s buttons, but with some real facts,” Schmidt said. “Backlash will happen anyways, regardless.”

Putin, a former agent in Russia’s KGB security agency, lived through the fall of the Soviet Union, a humiliation for the nation that he has sought to right with increasingly aggressive foreign policy, as seen in the Crimea move and Russian support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Biden arrived at the lakeside villa in Geneva where he met Putin on Wednesday on the back of meetings of the G7 group of nations and the NATO alliance.

A senior administration official said Biden’s approach to Russia was more likely to be successful because Biden met Putin straight after rallying allies around the principle of upholding a “rules-based international order” at a G7 meeting in Britain and talks with NATO members in Brussels.

“There was strong alignment on the basic proposition that we all need to defend … this order, because the alternative is the law of the jungle and chaos, which is in no one’s interest,” the official said.

At home, Biden’s Republican opponents quickly criticized Biden for failing to block a major Russian-backed natural gas pipeline being built in Europe.

U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham, a frequent Republican critic of Biden, said he was disturbed to hear the president suggest Putin would be troubled by how other countries view him.

“It is clear to me that Putin could care less about how he’s viewed by others and, quite frankly, would enjoy the reputation of being able to successfully interfere in the internal matters of other countries,” the South Carolina senator said.

Reporting by Simon Lewis and Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington and Humeyra Pamuk and Steve Holland in Geneva Editing by Kieran Murray and Lincoln Feast.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Geopolitica Militare, Russia

Russia. Controllo militare dell’Artico. Le basi sono più importanti delle parole.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-06-13.

Franz Josef Land 001

Il controllo militare, economico e politico dell’Oceano Artico è diventato terreno di confronto tra le grandi potenze.

2021-05-23__ Franz Josef Land 002

Tra le pochissime isole, la Franz Josef Land è l’arcipelago più a nord di tutto il continente: il suo possesso è quindi vitale, sia come punto avanzato di avvistamento radar, sia come base missilistica  di interdizione a missili, aeroplani e navi.

«Franz Josef Land archipelago is the closest land to the North Pole in the eastern hemisphere (about 870 km to the North Pole).

It has been discovered in 1873 by the Austrian – Hungarian “Tegetthoff” expedition, under the leadership of Carl Weyprecht, who named the islands after Emperor Franz Joseph I.

The extremely northern position of the islands attracted expeditions of the pioneer age (late 19th – early 20th century), which usually saw Franz Josef Land as a useful advanced base for attempts to reach the North Pole.

The archipelago was more fully explored by expeditions such as one led by Nansen (who spent the winter of 1895–96 in Franz Josef Land).

In 1926 the islands were taken over by the Soviet Union, for research and military purposes; many of the Russian Polar stations are now abandoned, and the whole archipelago is given back to the wildlife. Polar Bears, walruses, arctic foxes, belugas and whales, and lots of Arctic birds.

Nowadays it is one of rare ‘wild’ places left on Earth – it is unpopulated except for one permanent Russian base.

The archipelago consists of 191 islands, mostly covered with a permanent ice cap. Islands of volcanic origin, including Alexandra Land, Prince George Land, Bell Island, Hooker Island, Prince Rudolf Island, Hall island…» [Ultima0thule]

* * * * * * *

2021-05-23__ Franz Josef Land Saint Nicholas Church 001


«Now Franz Josef Land is home to a Russian military base and the source of added tension in relations with the West»

«The US has once again accused Moscow of “militarising” the Arctic and the head of Russia’s Northern Fleet has told the BBC that Nato and US military activity in the region is “definitely” provocative and on a scale not seen since World War Two»

«The airfield has been upgraded to allow all kinds of planes to land all year round, though emerging on to the tarmac was like stepping on an ice rink»

«Less than 960km (600 miles) below the North Pole, conditions are extreme, with deep snowdrifts and blizzards even in mid-May»

«Even the structure of the base is meant to make a statement: it’s painted in the colours of the Russian flag, bright against the blank canvas all around»

«Known as Arctic Trefoil for its three-leaved shape, the base is the second of its kind in the Arctic – this one is meant for 150 soldiers.»

«But the main show is outside, where Bastion missile launchers raise and lower their firing mechanisms as a soldier in white camouflage stands guard, gun across his chest»

«The missile systems are “to destroy enemy ships”»

«The Northern Fleet put on a far greater show of strength earlier this year when three nuclear submarines smashed through the ice simultaneously, a manoeuvre never seen before»

«Such posturing is making the United States and Nato wary as Russia’s military presence in the region expands to a level not seen since the Cold War»

«we were bussed to a battlecruiser moored in the closed military town of Severomorsk. At 252 metres long, the nuclear-powered Peter the Great is the giant grey flagship of the Northern Fleet.»

«We see such activity as provocative so close to the Russian border where we have very important assets. By that, I mean nuclear forces»

«As the polar ice melts, removing a protective natural curtain, Russia’s long northern frontier will become vulnerable»

«Trade would include exports of the large oil and gas reserves beneath the sea here»

Nota.

Pyotr Velikiy è il nome russo dell’incrociatore atomico Pietro il Grande.

* * * * * * *

Aver costruito, tenuto in manutenzione ed in ottima efficienza bellica una sofisticata base militare in una zona dal clima così avverso significa aver messo a punto una congerie inenarrabile di mezzi: dagli abiti da indossare, a sistemi di arma operativi anche a -50°C, missili e rampe di lancio mobili atte a lavorare a quelle temperature. Per non menzionare anche i mezzi più umili ma indispensabili, quali i lubrificanti che non congelino.

Le beghe legali lascerebbero alquanto sorridenti: le armi comandano.

*


Russia flexes muscles in challenge for Arctic control.

Now Franz Josef Land is home to a Russian military base and the source of added tension in relations with the West.

The US has once again accused Moscow of “militarising” the Arctic and the head of Russia’s Northern Fleet has told the BBC that Nato and US military activity in the region is “definitely” provocative and on a scale not seen since World War Two.

                         Making the Arctic a priority for Russia

We were among the first foreign journalists taken to visit the facility on Alexandra Island, over two hours’ flight from Murmansk up over the Arctic.

The airfield has been upgraded to allow all kinds of planes to land all year round, though emerging on to the tarmac was like stepping on an ice rink.

Less than 960km (600 miles) below the North Pole, conditions are extreme, with deep snowdrifts and blizzards even in mid-May. For a while, rattling along in a military truck, I could make out nothing but white through the window.

In deepest winter the temperature drops to minus 50 degrees C and the soldiers occasionally have to head out in their vehicles to disperse the polar bears who amble right up to the base.

                         ‘Like a space station’

Even the structure of the base is meant to make a statement: it’s painted in the colours of the Russian flag, bright against the blank canvas all around.

Known as Arctic Trefoil for its three-leaved shape, the base is the second of its kind in the Arctic – this one is meant for 150 soldiers.

Ahead of a tour, the commander in charge said it was so high-tech and ecologically efficient it was “like a space station, just in the Arctic emptiness instead of in orbit”.

But the main show is outside, where Bastion missile launchers raise and lower their firing mechanisms as a soldier in white camouflage stands guard, gun across his chest.

The missile systems are “to destroy enemy ships,” another soldier said. They are “effective”, he informed us.

The Northern Fleet put on a far greater show of strength earlier this year when three nuclear submarines smashed through the ice simultaneously, a manoeuvre never seen before. On the same Arctic exercises, two fighter jets flew over the North Pole, refuelling in mid-air.

Such posturing is making the United States and Nato wary as Russia’s military presence in the region expands to a level not seen since the Cold War.

Nato’s spokeswoman confirmed that the alliance had stepped up its patrols and exercises, in response, she said, to a “more challenging security environment”.

                         Blaming Nato for build-up

But Russia doesn’t see things that way.

Before we were flown to the archipelago, we were bussed to a battlecruiser moored in the closed military town of Severomorsk. At 252 metres long, the nuclear-powered Peter the Great is the giant grey flagship of the Northern Fleet.

On board, the Fleet’s commander, Adm Alexander Moiseyev, addressed us in front of a portrait of Peter I, the Tsar who founded Russia’s navy and turned the country towards the West.

But he accused Nato forces and the US of military actions in the Arctic that increased the risk of conflict.

“There haven’t been so many of their forces here for years. Decades. Not since World War Two,” Adm Moiseyev countered, when I put it to him that Nato blamed Russia for the surge in tension. “We see such activity as provocative so close to the Russian border where we have very important assets. By that, I mean nuclear forces.”

As for the Russian build-up, the troops are returning to a region Russia abandoned in the 1990s when the Soviet Union fell apart.

“We’re just recreating the capacity to protect our borders, not to threaten anyone,” argues Lev Voronkov, an Arctic expert from MGIMO university. “After the USSR collapsed, even border posts in that region were left unmanned.”

That won’t be an option for much longer. As the polar ice melts, removing a protective natural curtain, Russia’s long northern frontier will become vulnerable.

                         Land of opportunity

As the Bastion missile launchers danced for the cameras on Alexandra Island, I spotted a Russian ice-breaker cutting through the frozen landscape in the distance. A smaller cargo ship followed in its wake and an iceberg loomed behind both of them.

The vessels were crawling along the northern shipping route that skirts the archipelago and that Russia hopes to develop and control as global warming makes it easier to navigate. Trade would include exports of the large oil and gas reserves beneath the sea here.

Admiral Moiseyev calls his troops the “main instrument” for protecting those economic interests, as well as Russia’s borders.

As competition begins to heat up, our visit to Franz Josef Land was a chance for Russia to flex some muscle and send a message: that its ambitions for the Arctic are great and growing and they are interests it’s ready to defend.