Posts Tagged ‘vladimir putin’

US SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN WARNS OF PUTIN ON VISIT TO SWEDEN

August 20, 2015

thelocal.se on August 19, 2015, reported on US senator and former presidential candidate John McCain slamming Russia over its increased military activity in the Baltic region on a visit to Stockholm. Excerpts below:

John McCain spoke to reporters on August 19 on his brief visit to Stockholm with Republican party colleague John Barrasso and Democrat senator Sheldon Whitehouse. Top of the agenda were environmental issues, IT security and Russia.

“We underline our concern for Russia’s activities in the region and its military build-up,” McCain told Swedish media after he met Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Sverker Göranson.

“We all need to understand who [Vladimir Putin] is and what he wants. He wants to restore the Russian Empire,” said the 79-year-old war veteran, who has been a member of the US senate for the state of Arizona since 1987.

McCain has long advocated a more aggressive approach towards Russia…

The two countries have enjoyed a strained relationship in the past year, with Sweden’s security service Säpo stating that Russia posed the biggest intelligence threat to the Nordic nation in 2014.

Earlier this year in June, a report for the US-based Center for European Policy Analysis (Cepa) claimed that some 33,000 Russian soldiers rehearsed a military takeover of the Baltic Sea area on March 21st to 25th, including practising the seizure of the island of Gotland off Sweden’s east coast.

The revelation followed an incident last September when two SU-24 fighter-bombers allegedly entered Swedish airspace in what the former Foreign Minister Carl Bildt called “the most serious aerial incursion by the Russians” in almost a decade.

The following month a foreign submarine was spotted in Swedish waters, although the Swedish military was unable to determine where it came from.

Sweden has announced it would be stepping up its military power, including stationing 230 Swedish troops on Gotland from 2018.

Commentary: It is important that the dire situation in the Baltic area is noted in the United States. The suggested stepping up of Swedish military expenditure is too small. The Swedish center-left government is endangering Sweden’s security by only improving the Swedish military slightly. It is impossible to defend the island of Gotland with only additional 230 troops. If Russia occupies the Aland archipelago between Sweden and Finland this would pose a great risk to the Stockholm area. This danger has been identified by highly placed politicians in Finland.

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BACK FROM THE DEAD: THE RETURN OF THE EVIL EMPIRE (2014)

August 15, 2015

A book published in 2014 — Back from the Dead: The Return of the Evil Empire — exposes how America’s political leaders and intelligence agencies were caught off-guard as Vladimir Putin brought back the USSR, invaded Ukraine, and now threatens the world with a conflict that Putin’s apologists say could go nuclear. The book is published by America’s Survival, Inc. (ASI). Excerpts below from the publisher’s presentation:

The fall of the Berlin Wall misled many into thinking the Soviet KGB was dead. But infiltration of the West continued through “cultural Marxism,” and penetration by enemy agents, while the KGB, now called the FSB, looted Russia, consolidated its power, and rebuilt the Russian military, including its nuclear forces. America’s survival hangs in the balance.

Author Cliff Kincaid, founder and president of America’s Survival, Inc. (ASI), is a journalist and media analyst based in the Washington, D.C. area for almost 40 years and contributes one of the chapters in the new book. Other experts have contributed chapters.

In reaction to assertions by some American conservatives such as Patrick J. Buchanan that Vladimir Putin is a Christian leader, Kincaid has said that “We expose these claims as Russian disinformation, perhaps the greatest deception of all time.” The book describes in detail how Putin is using the Russian Orthodox Church as an ideological front in his war on the world, and how the Roman Catholic Church has failed to confront this evil. The book also examines how the KGB/FSB secretly manipulates Islamic and Palestinian terrorist groups and even the Iranian regime.

DEBUNKING PUTIN’S ‘FASCIST KIEV’ MYTH

July 31, 2015

Wall Street Journal on July 30, 2015, in a commentary reported on how Jews from eastern Ukraine seek refuge further west in Ukraine from the Russian invasion. Among the justifications Vladimir Putin has offered for his hostility to the democratic government of Ukraine is that it is led and supported by “anti-Semitic forces.” But sit down with some of the Jews who have fled Russian-instigated violence in the east to find refuge in the capital of this supposedly neo-fascist state, and another story emerges. Excerpts below:

Consider the Kvasha family, among several thousand Jews uprooted by Mr. Putin’s invasion. You enter the family’s building on the outskirts of Kiev through a dim reception, where the walls have long turned a dark gray and a dank stench hovers. The Kvashas—dad Sergey, mom Valeria and their two boys Nikita, 17, and Arseny, 8—are crammed into a one-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor.

Inside the neatly kept apartment, a menorah sits atop a piano that has seen better days. It’s all a far cry from the Kvashas’ happy former lives in eastern Ukraine.

When I visited on Tuesday, Mr. Kvasha was at work at a printing business, where he’s a manager. Back in Luhansk, the family had its own printing firm, while Mrs. Kvasha worked as a general engineer at the local college. In addition to their apartment, the Kvashas owned a dacha, or vacation home. They were prominent and successful members of a vibrant Jewish community existing within what they describe as a tolerant Donbass society.

Then Mr. Putin launched his invasion. “When the fighting started a missile hit our building,” Mrs. Kvasha recalls. Five of their friends and neighbors were killed in attacks. Having already sent the kids to Kiev in early June 2014, Mr. and Mrs. Kvasha caught the last train out of Luhansk a few weeks later. Two bags stuffed with summer clothes were all they managed to take with them, and by August they had depleted their savings.

Building new lives in Kiev hasn’t been easy. Finding a permanent apartment was the first challenge. Landlords are reluctant to rent to refugees, seen as itinerant and unreliable.

In dire straits, the Kvashas turned to the Joint Distribution Committee, an American-Jewish organization. While the parents were still unemployed, the JDC provided the family with some $142 in monthly food assistance as well as blankets and other winter relief—crucial assistance, since their flat, once they’d secured one, cost about $165 a month. The organization continues to help the family pay rent.

The JDC also helped the Kvashas find a sense of belonging. Like many of Ukraine’s 350,000 Jews, the family’s connection to Judaism is more cultural than religious. At a Jewish community center in Kiev called Beiteinu, or Our Home, they found new friends. The JDC supports 21 such centers across Ukraine, and Mrs. Kvasha now works at Beitanu, helping other refugees find their footing.

I sat down on Tuesday with Ms. Brook, Mr. Fireman and four other elderly displaced Jews at one of the 32 social-welfare centers, or Heseds, the JDC runs across Ukraine, normally serving some 65,000 elderly and impoverished Jews, to which 5,200 have been added since the war began. Most escaped with little more than the clothes on their backs,…

Such Jewish charities operate openly here, under a government that frequently describes all Ukrainians displaced by the fighting, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, as compatriots. Ukraine, far from being the anti-Semitic nation of Putinist fantasies, has given them refuge. As one of the Hesed clients told me: “Write in your paper, we people from Donetsk and Luhansk love our country. We are patriotic. We don’t want to leave Ukraine.”

OBAMA HITS BACK AT PUTIN: ‘AMERICA IS EXCEPTIONAL’

September 25, 2013

Washington Times on September 24, 2013, reported that addressing the United Nations, President Obama shot back at his Russian counterpart and stated, in no uncertain terms, that America will continue to be a global leader. Excerpts below:

“The danger for the world is that the United States … may disengage, creating a vacuum of leadership that no other nation is ready to fill. I believe that would be a mistake,” Mr. Obama said. “I believe America must remain engaged for our own security. I believe the world is better for it. Some may disagree, but I believe that America is exceptional — in part because we have shown a willingness, through the sacrifice of blood and treasure, to stand up not only for our own narrow self-interest, but for the interests of all.”

His comments were a direct response to the recent New York Times op-ed article by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who blasted “American exceptionalism” and added that nations must be considered equals.

CHINA-RUSSIA RELATIONS WARMING

August 12, 2013

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on August 9, 2013, commented on China-Russia relations. The two great powers share a border running 4,300 kilometers, but have long been divided by mistrust. Excerpts below:

China and Russia, [however], are enjoying a distinct warming in relations. A historic oil deal in June and a major joint military exercise in July are the clearest signs of a deepening partnership. Analysts say suspicions are likely to linger,…. But economic and geopolitical considerations — including the urge to counterbalance the United States — are bringing the countries increasingly in line.

In March, a mere eight days after he was installed as China’s new president, Xi Jinping visited Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has increasingly turned his country away from the West since returning to the Kremlin in 2012, signed treaties. He declared that relations between the countries were “the best in their history.” Some analysts said the Russian leader was enjoying the images of aligning himself with an economically booming and increasingly assertive power.

In June Rosneft, Russia’s state-controlled energy giant, inked a $270 billion agreement to double oil supplies to China. The deal was one of the biggest in the history of the global oil industry.

Disagreement over pricing had constrained past oil deals between the countries. Aleksei Maslov, head of the School of Asian Studies at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, says the most significant element of the new agreement was how that roadblock was overcome.

With Russia well-aware of European efforts to become less dependent on its oil and natural gas, as well as a predicted energy boom in the United States, stronger energy ties with Beijing have become all the more important, experts say. China, in turn, is expected to remain energy-thirsty for decades to come.

The oil deal also included some $60 billion-$70 billion in prepayments from Beijing — funds that would be a significant boost to the indebted Rosneft.

China has its own reasons for cozying up to Russia, and they increasingly extend beyond energy and trade. Last month, China conducted its largest-ever military exercise with a foreign country, as warships from Beijing and Moscow joined forces in the Sea of Japan. Expanding on exercises last year, the latest war games included fleet air defense and antisubmarine and surface warfare.

Many read the display of force in part as a signal to the United States, which has repositioned military assets eastward and made new overtures to Pacific allies.

Reports appeared in the Chinese state-owned press following the March summit that the sides had agreed to a deal in which Beijing would purchase 24 Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia.

While most analysts say Chinese and Russian interests in the West will prevent the formation of a full-fledged anti-Western axis, both have been comfortable with playing the foil.

Both countries have also expressed skepticism about the presence of U.S. missile interceptors in Alaska and have floated the idea of establishing a new international lending institution to rival the Western-led International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Just how deep ties can become remains to be seen. Skeptics say energy and arms deals could fall apart before being implemented. Moscow fears Chinese demographic pressure on the sparsely populated Russian Far East. Despite the bold show of military cooperation in July, Moscow is also wary of Beijing’s might. Russia has not backed Chinese claims to territory in the South China Sea. China, in turn, has refused to recognize the pro-Moscow breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Likely their greatest point of divergence is on Central Asia — a region that Russia continues to consider its “near abroad,” but one that China is fast integrating into its economic orbit. In 2012, all Central Asian states except for Uzbekistan traded more with Beijing than Moscow. Analysts say Putin’s efforts to establish a Eurasian Economic Union is largely an attempt to limit Chinese economic dominance of the region.