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Posts tagged ‘Black Sea Fleet’

US, France Warn Russia of ‘New Measures’ Over Ukraine.


President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande warned Saturday of “new measures” against Russia if it fails to work toward defusing the crisis in Ukraine, the French presidency said.

In a phone call on Saturday, Obama and Hollande insisted on the “need for Russia to withdraw forces sent to Crimea since the end of February and to do everything to allow the deployment of international observers,” it said.
Obama’s conversation with Hollande was one of a half dozen telephone conversations he had with world leaders Saturday about Ukraine, the White House says.

He  also spoke with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, and held a conference call with the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

The new warnings come in the wake of Russia’s insistence that any U.S. sanctions will have a boomerang effect on the United States and that Crimea has the right to self-determination as armed men tried to seize another Ukrainian military base on the peninsula.

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In a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned against “hasty and reckless steps” that could harm Russian-American relations, the foreign ministry said on Friday.

“Sanctions…would inevitably hit the United States like a boomerang,” it added.

It was the second tense, high-level exchange between the former Cold War foes in 24 hours over the pro-Russian takeover of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said after an hour-long call with U.S. President Barack Obama that their positions on the former Soviet republic were still far apart. Obama announced the first sanctions against Russia on Thursday.

Putin, who later opened the Paralympic Games in Sochi which have been boycotted by a string of Western dignitaries, said Ukraine’s new, pro-Western authorities had acted illegitimately over the eastern, southeastern and Crimea regions.

“Russia cannot ignore calls for help and it acts accordingly, in full compliance with international law,” he said.

Serhiy Astakhov, an aide to the Ukrainian border guards’ commander, said 30,000 Russian soldiers were now in Crimea, compared to the 11,000 permanently based with the Russian Black Sea fleet in the port of Sevastopol before the crisis.

On Friday evening armed men drove a truck into a Ukrainian missile defence post in Sevastopol, according to a Reuters reporter at the scene. But no shots were fired and Crimea’s pro-Russian premier said later the standoff was over.

Putin denies the forces with no national insignia that are surrounding Ukrainian troops in their bases are under Moscow’s command, although their vehicles have Russian military plates. The West has ridiculed his assertion.

The most serious East-West confrontation since the end of the Cold War – resulting from the overthrow last month of President Viktor Yanukovich after protests in Kiev that led to violence – escalated on Thursday when Crimea’s parliament, dominated by ethnic Russians, voted to join Russia.

The region’s government set a referendum for March 16 – in just nine days’ time.

JETS, DESTROYER

Turkey scrambled jets after a Russian surveillance plane flew along its Black Sea coast and a U.S. warship passed through Turkey’s Bosphorus straits on its way to the Black Sea, although the U.S. military said it was a routine deployment.

European Union leaders and Obama said the referendum plan was illegitimate and would violate Ukraine’s constitution.

The head of Russia’s upper house of parliament said after meeting visiting Crimean lawmakers on Friday that Crimea had a right to self-determination, and ruled out any risk of war between “the two brotherly nations”.

Obama ordered visa bans and asset freezes on Thursday against so far unidentified people deemed responsible for threatening European Union leaders Ukraine’s sovereignty. Earlier in the week, a Kremlin aide said Moscow might refuse to pay off any loans to U.S. banks, the top four of which have around $24 billion in exposure to Russia.

Japan endorsed the Western position that the actions of Russia constitute “a threat to international peace and security”, after Obama spoke to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

China, often a Russian ally in blocking Western moves in the U.N. Security Council, was more cautious, saying economic sanctions were not the best way to solve the crisis and avoiding comment on the Crimean referendum.

The EU, Russia’s biggest economic partner and energy customer, adopted a three-stage plan to try to force a negotiated solution but stopped short of immediate sanctions.

The Russian Foreign Ministry responded angrily on Friday, calling the EU decision to freeze talks on visa-free travel and on a broad new pact governing Russia-EU ties “extremely unconstructive”. It pledged to retaliate.

“GUERRILLA WAR?”

Senior Ukrainian opposition politician Yulia Tymoshenko, freed from prison after Yanukovich’s overthrow, met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Dublin and appealed for immediate EU sanctions against Russia, warning that Crimea might otherwise slide into a guerrilla war.

Brussels and Washington rushed to strengthen the new authorities in economically shattered Ukraine, announcing both political and financial assistance. The regional director of the International Monetary Fund said talks with Kiev on a loan agreement were going well and praised the new government’s openness to economic reform and transparency.

The European Commission has said Ukraine could receive up to 11 billion euros ($15 billion) in the next couple of years provided it reaches agreement with the IMF, which requires painful economic reforms like ending gas subsidies.

Promises of billions of dollars in Western aid for the Kiev government, and the perception that Russian troops are not likely to go beyond Crimea into other parts of Ukraine, have helped reverse a rout in the local hryvnia currency.

In the past two days it has traded above 9.0 to the dollar for the first time since the Crimea crisis began last week. Local dealers said emergency currency restrictions imposed last week were also supporting the hryvnia.

Russian gas monopoly Gazprom said Ukraine had not paid its $440 million gas bill for February, bringing its arrears to $1.89 billion and hinted it could turn off the taps as it did in 2009, when a halt in Russian deliveries to Ukraine reduced supplies to Europe during a cold snap.

In Moscow, a huge crowd gathered near the Kremlin at a government-sanctioned rally and concert billed as being “in support of the Crimean people”. Pop stars took to the stage and demonstrators held signs with slogans such as “Crimea is Russian land”, and “We believe in Putin”.

IMPORTANT DIFFERENCES

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said no one in the civilised world would recognise the result of the “so-called referendum” in Crimea.

He repeated Kiev’s willingness to negotiate with Russia if Moscow pulls its additional troops out of Crimea and said he had requested a telephone call with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

But Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov ridiculed calls for Russia to join an international “contact group” with Ukraine proposed by the West, saying they “make us smile”.

Demonstrators encamped in Kiev’s central Independence Square to defend the revolution that ousted Yanukovich said they did not believe Crimea would be allowed to secede.

Alexander Zaporozhets, 40, from central Ukraine’s Kirovograd region, put his faith in international pressure.

“I don’t think the Russians will be allowed to take Crimea from us: you can’t behave like that to an independent state. We have the support of the whole world. But I think we are losing time. While the Russians are preparing, we are just talking.”

Unarmed military observers from the pan-European Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe were blocked from entering Crimea for a second day in a row on Friday, the OSCE said on Twitter.

The United Nations said it had sent its assistant secretary-general for human rights, Ivan Simonovic, to Kiev to conduct a preliminary humans rights assessment.

Ukrainian television has been replaced with Russian state channels in Crimea and the streets largely belong to people who support Moscow’s rule, some of whom have harassed journalists and occasional pro-Kiev protesters.

Part of the Crimea’s 2 million population opposes Moscow’s rule, including members of the region’s ethnic Russian majority. The last time Crimeans were asked, in 1991, they voted narrowly for independence along with the rest of Ukraine.

“With all these soldiers here, it is like we are living in a zoo,” Tatyana, 41, an ethnic Russian. “Everyone fully understands this is an occupation.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Newsmax Wires

Russia Sends Warships, Obama Blinks.


And here comes Russia

Well, it would seem that starting a war is not so much fun if the other side is actually going to show up. Obama was hoping for a news cycle-worthy flash bombing of Syria like he did in Libya, that is until Russia decided to send a few ships over to see how much appetite Obama truly has for war games. As it turns out, not so much…stay tuned as the American president goes looking for his courage.

From Yahoo News: Russia will “over the next few days” be sending an anti-submarine ship and a missile cruiser to the Mediterranean as the West prepares for possible strikes against Syria, the Interfax news agency said on Thursday.

russia-syria-putin-obama-blinks-united-states

“…come on, Barry, take a swing. The world is watching. I dare you.”

“The well-known situation shaping up in the eastern Mediterranean called for certain corrections to the make-up of the naval forces,” a source in the Russian General Staff told Interfax.

“A large anti-submarine ship of the Northern Fleet will join them (the existing naval forces) over the next few days.

“Later it will be joined by the Moskva, a rocket cruiser of the Black Sea Fleet which is now wrapping up its tasks in the northern Atlantic and will soon begin a Transatlantic voyage towards the Strait of Gibraltar.”

In addition, a rocket cruiser of the Pacific Fleet, the Varyag, will join the Russian naval forces in the Mediterranean this autumn by replacing a large anti-submarine ship.

However, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited a high-ranking representative of the naval command who said the changes to the country’s forces in the region were not linked to the current tensions over Syria and called them “a planned rotation.” source – Yahoo News.

by NTEB News Desk

Russia sends Black Sea warship to Syria -source.


SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) – Russia dispatched a destroyer-class warship to Syria on Tuesday, a source in the Russian Navy told Reuters, and another military source was quoted as saying four more Russian ships were en route to the violence-torn country.

              Moscow has been the major ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as he battles an armed uprising, but the source quoted by Interfax news agency said the ships’ mission had nothing to do with the conflict.

              Interfax quoted the military source as saying the ships were carrying marines on a training mission as well as food, water and fuel for Russia’s naval maintenance and repair base in Syria’s Mediterranean port of Tartous.

It is Moscow’s only naval base outside of the former Soviet Union and its navy regularly sends supplies there.

The destroyer Smetlivy, which patrolled the waters off the coast of Syria in April and May, was seen leaving the Black Sea port of Sevastopol on Tuesday morning.

“Smetlivy is leaving for Syria today… The vessel is expected to reach the Turkish straits tomorrow morning,” the navy source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

              A Russian Black Sea Fleet spokesman said the ship had been dispatched, but declined to confirm its destination. “The vessel has gone to sea, I cannot tell you anything else,” spokesman Vyacheslav Trukhachyov said.

              The military source told Interfax that three landing ships and an anti-submarine destroyer from Russia’s Northern fleet had left the port of Severomorsk and were headed for Tartous.

              Russia, which has blocked Western-led attempts to have the U.N. Security Council impose harsh sanctions on Assad’s government, has been a major arms supplier to Damascus. But a Russian official was reported on Monday as saying that Moscow was suspending arms deliveries while the conflict continued.

              Late last year, Russia sent a flotilla of warships to waters off Syria including flagship aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov.

              (Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

ReutersReuters 

Russia Black Sea Fleet Preparing To Send Warships To Syria.


MOSCOW, June 15 (Itar-Tass) —— A number of warships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet are prepared to go to Syria, the Russian General Staff told Itar-Tass on Friday.

Black Sea Fleet ships ready to go to Syrian coast – General Staff

“The Mediterranean Sea is a zone of the Black Sea Fleet responsibility. Hence, warships may go there in the case it is necessary to protect the Russian logistics base in Tartous, Syria,” it said.

“Several warships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, including large landing ships with marines aboard, are fully prepared to go on the voyage,” he said.

The Cesar Kunikov large landing ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, which is returning from Italian Messina to base, passed the Bosporus Strait on Friday. It will return to Sevastopol on Saturday, the staff said.

It strongly denied U.S. media reports claiming that a Black Sea Fleet warship had already headed for Tartous. “All the ships are staying in Sevastopol but the Cesar Kunikov large landing ship. Either the U.S. intelligence service works poorly or they have a poor knowledge of geography,” the source said.

The U.S. media said that Russia had sent a small group of servicemen to Syria for protecting the Tartous base. NBC said with the reference to a U.S. official that the servicemen were going to Tartous aboard a warship. The State Department spokesperson said she could not confirm the NBC report.

A group of Russian warships led by the Admiral Kuznetsov heavy aircraft carrying cruiser visited Tartous in January. The group visited the port for replenishing reserves and giving maintenance to ship systems.

Tartous is the only Russian naval base outside of the former Soviet territory – this is the logistics center serving Russian ships on missions in the Mediterranean Sea. The base opened in 1971 under an agreement with the Syrian government. source – Tass.

by NTEB News Desk.

First Russian Troops Land In Syria.


A Russian military unit has arrived in Syria, according to Russian news reports, a development that a United Nations Security Council source told ABC News was “a bomb” certain to have serious repercussions.

The Russian Black Sea fleet‘s Iman tanker has arrived in the Syrian port of Tartus on the Mediterranean Sea with an anti-terror squad from the Russian Marines aboard

Russia, one of President Bashar al-Assad’s strongest allies despite international condemnation of the government’s violent crackdown on the country’s uprising, has repeatedly blocked the United Nations Security Council’s attempts to halt the violence, accusing the U.S. and its allies of trying to start another war.

Now the Russian Black Sea fleet’s Iman tanker has arrived in the Syrian port of Tartus on the Mediterranean Sea with an anti-terror squad from the Russian Marines aboard according to the Interfax news agency. The Assad government has insisted it is fighting a terrorist insurgency. The Russian news reports did not elaborate on the Russian troops’ mission in Syria or if they are expected to leave the port.

The presence of Russian troops in Syria could be a “pretty obvious” show of support to the regime, according to Russian security expert Mark Galeotti.

“No one thinks of the Russians as anything but Assad’s last friends,” said Galeotti, professor of global affairs at New York University.

The Iman replaced another Russian ship “which had been sent to Syria for demonstrating (sic) the Russian presence in the turbulent region and possible evacuation of Russian citizens,” the Black Sea Fleet told Interfax.

RIA Novosti, a news outlet with strong ties to the Kremlin, trumpeted the news in a banner headline that appeared only on its Arabic language website. The Russian embassy to the U.S. and to the U.N. had no comment, saying they have “no particular information on” the arrival of a Russian anti-terrorism squad to Syria.

Moscow has long enjoyed a cozy relationship with the Assad regime, to which it sells billions of dollars of weapons. In return Russia has maintained a Navy base at Tartus, which gives it access to the Mediterranean.

Last week Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia had no plans to send troops to Syria.

“As for the question whether I consider it necessary to confront the United States in Syria and ensure our military presence there… in order to take part in military actions — no. I believe this would be against Russia’s national interests,” Lavrov told lawmakers, according to RIA Novosti. source – ABC News.

by NTEB News Desk.

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