August 2016 – MOSCOW – The former Soviet empire may be testing tools for warfare in the field as it adopts a confrontational foreign policy stance – representing something of a “return to form.” Fears are growing Russia is using the Ukraine battlefield to rehearse for war with the West. Vladimir Putin is thought to be testing tools for warfare in the field as he adopts a confrontational foreign policy stance – representing something of a “return to form” reminiscent of the Cold War days. A leaked British Army document reveals that Russian forces are improving their ability to combine their mighty tanks, artillery and other heavy weaponry with sophisticated electronic warfare.
Specifically they are honing their skills to jam enemy radio signals and render equipment like drones unusable. The secret document concludes one of Russia’s goals in Ukraine is to practice “new methods of warfare as well as testing modern and prohibited weapons.” There are genuine concerns Russia’s mastery of tactics – including jamming and hacking – is a real game changer, threatening NATO aircraft, GPS-guided weapons and the ability of soldiers on the ground.
The kind of weaponry Russia is believed to be testing includes: A device that uses acoustics to locate the position of snipers so they can be killed. Drones that fly in pairs – one lower than the other to draw fire while the other pinpoints targets. Text messages sent to entire communities minutes before an attack to create confusion and panic by spreading misinformation. Ways of making the enemy’s GPS navigation system falter and get them lost on the battlefield. Devices in civilian vehicles which can intercept soldiers’ communications. (Below, a map showing the encirclement of Russia by the West)
Furthermore, ‘propaganda” is another weapon that is being dusted off and used to influence the will of the people through social media, mass texting and other media – without firing a shot. The document – produced by the army’s warfare branch – says that Britain must be better prepared to fight a war where everything is a weapon, from a gun to a drone to a Twitter feed. It warns that soldiers are at risk of being targeted over Facebook and Twitter. It even advises soldiers should leave phones and iPads at home – as details of US troops operating in Ukraine have been hacked and used to smear them.
The big fear revealed in the document is that Russian military can easily outgun British troops on the battlefield. The report marked “official-sensitive” – seen by The Times – says Putin has a “significant capability edge” and a planned £3.5billion fleet of lightly armored British vehicles is “disproportionately vulnerable” to Russian weaponry. President Valdimir Putin is combining a show of strength and propaganda – reminiscent of the Cold War – seeking to regain a sphere of influence in the region and once again make Russia compete with the West. Russian Studies expert Igor Sutyagin siad: “The difference is there is no ideology. It is a return to the imperial competition of the 19th century.”
The British government has always insisted that it is capable of matching the might of the Russia war machine. For Putin therefore, the annexation of Crimea has not just been hailed as a great victory back home – but has given him the chance to practice for what is to come. –Mirror
Russia and Serbia to hold joint-military exercises: European Union aspirant Serbia will host joint military exercises with the Russian and Belarusian armed forces this year, Radio Free Europe has reported. According to the Serbian Ministry of Defense, the armed forces will host joint drills with Moscow and its ally Belarus in September and October.
The first, titled Slavic Brotherhood 2016, will be repeat of a previous drill by the Russian and Serbian airborne troops in 2014, but will also involve Belarus and the Serbian army. The main objective of the exercise will be the improvement of the Serbian armed forces’ operational and functional capabilities, a statement by Serbia’s Ministry of Defense said.
The second, called Serbian and Russian Airmen’s Brotherhood, will focus on special designation units and the two countries’ air forces, also taking place in Serbia. The drills will represent one of the westernmost military drills held by Russian armed forces in recent years, with Serbia bordering four NATO members and two aspiring members in Montenegro and Macedonia, the former of which has already received an official invite.
Serbia is militarily non-aligned, a tradition that is sometimes attributed to its position of neutrality during the Cold War as a leading member of Communist Yugoslavia. More recently, Serbia’s non-alliance has been informed by the unpopularity of NATO in the country since the U.S.-led air coalition hit Belgrade in the 1990s in a bid to halt the Yugoslav regime’s repressive attacks on wantaway nations to its east. Belgrade is also wary of long-term commitments with Russia, however, as the country continues to aspire to join the EU, which shares a huge territorial overlap with NATO. –Newsweek
Turkey’s détente with Russia: Russia and Turkey moved towards restoring full trade and economic relations on Tuesday when Russian President Vladimir Putin met his visiting counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, at a time when both countries have strained ties with the West. Putin said he wanted a “full-spectre restoration of relations,” which were damaged when NATO member Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border late last year. “Life changes quickly,” Putin told a news conference after holding talks with Erdogan in St Petersburg, adding that Russian sanctions imposed on Turkey over the plane downing could be lifted step-by-step. Erdogan, whose strongman-style leadership is often likened to Putin’s, was equally upbeat: “Both sides are extremely determined and have the necessary will to take our relations back to where they were and even to improve them further.”
The meeting paves the way for a resumption of Turkish food imports to Russia, of Russian charter flights to Turkey, and raises the prospect of cooperation between Moscow and Ankara on the Syrian civil war despite them backing opposing sides. Russia and Turkey have two of the biggest militaries in the world and Erdogan’s trip is being closely watched in the West where some officials fear his growing detente with Moscow could affect Ankara’s links with NATO. The Turkish president’s visit to Russia is his first foreign trip since a failed military coup in Turkey last month, in which more than 240 people were killed. Ties with the West have been strained in the aftermath of the coup. Turkey has been incensed by the concerns expressed by Washington and European capitals about Ankara’s subsequent crackdown on suspected plotters, but what is sees as indifference to the coup attempt itself. –First Post