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A picture taken on April 20, 2010, shows Russian Iskander ballistic missile launcher rolling during a rehearsal of a military parade in Alabino outside Moscow. © AFP.
Russia has deployed a number of short-range missiles to Crimea, capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
That’s according to a representative of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ General Staff. The Iskander missiles’ were developed by the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War. Independent military analyst Dmitry Tymchuk said last month that the rockets had been recently seen on Ukraine’s eastern border.
Ukraine military say Russia deploys Iskander air defense missiles in Crimea with a range capability of 500 kilometers.
#Putin’s land bridge to #Crimea: #Ukraine Today reports from de facto Ukrainian border at #Chongar (VIDEO)
Armed pro-Russian servicemen stand guard at Chongar checkpoint blocking the entrance to Crimea on March 10, 2014. © AFP
Chongar ia a checkpoint between Ukraine and Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula illegally annexed by Russia earlier this year.
Ukraine Today explores the route Russian invasion force may take.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federal Assembly, including State Duma deputies, members of the Federation Council, the heads of the Constitutional and Supreme courts, regional governors, heads of Russia’s traditional religious faiths and public figures, at the Kremlin in Moscow on Dec. 4, 2014. Photograph: Kremlin
In his annual state of the union address on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin portrayed Russia as a strong state that would overcome its current difficulties.
Here is a roundup of the best quotes:
“The Central Bank has moved to a floating rate but that does not mean that it has moved away from influencing the ruble market, that the ruble exchange rate can be the subject of financial speculation without consequences.”
“I ask the Central Bank and the government to carry out tough coordinated action to fight off the desire of the socalled speculators to play on the fluctuations of the Russian currency.”
“The authorities know who these speculators are and has instruments to influence them. The time has come to use those instruments.”
“This is not just a nervous reaction of the United States and their allies to our stance in regard to the events and coup in Ukraine; not even in regard to the socalled Crimean spring. I am certain that if all this did not take place… they would come up with another reason to contain Russia’s growing capabilities, to influence it or, even better, use it for its own goals.”
“The policy of containment was not invented yesterday. It has been applied to our country for many, many years.. every time when anyone only thinks Russia has become strong, independent, such instruments are applied immediately.”
“But there is no point in talking to Russia from a position of strength.”
“We will never pursue the path of self isolation, xenophobia, suspicion and search of enemies. All this is manifestation of weakness, while we are strong and self confident.”
“Our goal is to have as many equal partners in the West and in the East … Under no circumstances are we going to wind down our ties with Europe.”
“I propose freezing the current tax conditions and not changing them for the next four years.”
“I propose a full amnesty for capital returning to Russia … This means that if people legalize their resources and property in Russia, they get firm guarantees that they won’t be bothered by various bodies, including law enforcement bodies; that they won’t be bothered or asked about the source and the ways the capital was acquired; that they won’t run into criminal or administrative persecution; that there will be no questions from the tax and law enforcement bodies to them.”
“Let’s do it now but [only] once.”
“Everyone wishing too should take this opportunity.”
“We all understand that the origins of money can be different, they were earned and obtained in various ways, but I am confident that the offshore page in the history of our economy, our country should be closed.”
“As for small business, I propose providing ‘inspection holidays’ for them. If an enterprise enjoys a solid reputation, and it had no significant complaints in three years, then over the next three years I propose not to carry out planned checks on the state and local levels at all.”
“The quality and the scale of the Russian economy should correspond with our geopolitical and historic role. We should escape the trap of zero growth. In three to four years we should reach a growth pace exceeding the global average.”
“This is the only way to raise Russia’s share in the global economy, which means to strengthen our influence and independence.”
“Finally, there was a historic reunification of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia.”
“For Russia, Crimea … has a great civilizational and sacred meaning.”
“Every nation has an inalienable, sovereign right to its own path of development … Russia always has and always will respect that. This applies fully to Ukraine, the brotherly Ukrainian nation.”
“We have condemned the coup, the forcible seizure of power in Kiev in February. What we are seeing now in Ukraine, the tragedy in the southeast, fully confirms that our position is right.”
“How can one support an armed seizure of power, violence, murder? … How can one support the attempts that followed to suppress with the help of armed forces the people in the southeast who did not agree with this lawlessness? … This is pure cynicism. I am sure that the Ukrainian nation itself will judge these events in a just way.”
- Putin’s State of the Nation Address — Live.
- 5 Questions for Russia’s Putin Ahead of State of Nation Speech.
- 5 Forces Battering Russia’s Economy as Putin Faces Nation.
Spare a thought for the poor suffering civilian population who are too poor or feeble to flee the war zone, or maybe they simply have nowhere else to go.
Women stand outside their damaged house after government shelling in the eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk on Nov. 27. © AFPPeople shop at the market in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Nov. 17 as artillery fire continues to rock the eastern Ukraine’s pro-Russian rebel bastion. © AFPWomen stand outside their damaged house after government shelling in the eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk on Nov. 27. © AFPA woman tries to get cash from an ATM machine on Nov. 26 in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. No automated teller machines were working and most shops didn’t accept payment by credit cards in Donetsk after Kyiv asked for the suspension of banking activities in the eastern area controlled by pro-russian separatists. © AFPSchoolchildren listen to their teacher in the Eastern Ukraine City of Donetsk School number 32 on Nov. 18. © AFPA man stands with crutches as he buys vegetables in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Nov. 20. © AFPA market vendor sells clothes in the Kirovskij district of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Nov. 23 as houses were destroyed overnight in the district during fighting between Ukrainian and pro-Russia militants. © AFPPeople buy food in a Kievsky district street of the eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk on Nov. 28. © AFPWorkers repair a gas pipeline damaged during shelling between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukrainian village Krasnyi Pakhar, in the Donetsk region on Nov. 23. © AFPPeople wait in front of a post office to register to receive their pensions on Nov. 27 after Urkrainian government suspended their payment in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. © AFP
Mr. Putin you say that you care about the russian speaking population in eastern Ukraine, If that is true then pull back your troops now, let ‘your’ people live a normal life for they have suffered far more these last few months than at anytime in the last 25 years. or are we to believe that your intentions are politically motivated and nothing else, if you REALLY do care then do the right thing and withdraw your armies and ‘little green men’ and show the world that you are not the warmongering dictator intent on grabbing more land for mother Russia and that you truly want peace! Only you can stop the suffering.
Little Green Men, a nickname for Russian personnel operating in unmarked uniforms that Western military officials gave them after appearance in Crimea. Yevgeny Razumny / Vedomosti.
When Russians crossed the border to fight with rebels in eastern Ukraine earlier this year, Moscow said the soldiers had not been deployed but had gone on their own vacation time.
When Estonia was the victim of a cyber attack in 2007 and blamed Moscow, the Kremlin responded that it could not always control patriotic Russian hackers.
Western strategists who built their defenses to counter a massive invasion, nuclear missiles or terrorism are still trying to work out how to cope with this sort of threat that disrupts and destabilizes from behind a mask of deniability.
After soldiers without insignia took control in Crimea last March, Western military officials developed their own nickname for Russian personnel operating in unmarked uniforms or in plainclothes: Little Green Men.
NATO is considering how to counter such “ambiguous warfare” techniques should President Vladimir Putin try something similar in the Baltic member states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
It has deployed some U.S. and allied tanks and planes there to signal NATO’s commitment to defend all its members with force and is considering bolstering police there, perhaps with officers from Nordic states, to help detect any Russian infiltration.
Effective Russian Strategy
Military experts say Russia’s unconventional strategy on its western flank, especially in non-NATO member Ukraine, is proving remarkably effective, and it has recently been combined with a global show of force on a scale not seen since the Cold War.
Russian warships probed the limits of Australian territorial waters before the G20 summit in Brisbane this month and Moscow said nuclear bomber patrols which have been overflying western Europe would now reach as far as the Gulf of Mexico.
Russia’s underlying point, Western analysts say, is clear: as it reasserts its influence over countries on its borders, it is reminding the West of how cataclysmic the consequences could be if military force were used to stop them.
“Putin is taking the measure of the West’s willingness to keep exerting pressure on Ukraine,” said Nikolas Gvosdev, professor of national security studies at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.
Many officials and experts say privately that both the West and the government in Kiev ultimately will have to accept greater federalism and a Russian influence in eastern Ukraine.
The issue will then be whether Putin interprets it as a sign of weakness and a green light to consider similar tactics against NATO members like the Baltic states.
Evolving Western Strategy
“It’s not quite a new Cold War, but it’s a very different situation to where we were a few years ago,” said Elbridge Colby, a former Pentagon official and now senior fellow with the Center for a New American Security. “I don’t think we’ve yet formulated a proper strategy for dealing with that.”
The West’s biggest response to Moscow’s actions has been financial sanctions on Russian firms and individuals and the new, if limited, military deployments in eastern Europe. Further measures are now being discussed in NATO meetings.
U.S. Supreme Allied Commander Philip Breedlove makes clear covert infiltration by Russia could draw a military response under Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty, which sees an attack on one member as an attack on the alliance as a whole.
“If we see these actions taking place in a NATO nation and we are able to attribute them to an aggressor nation, that is Article 5. Now, it is a military response,” he said in an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt earlier this year.
The emphasis for NATO in Europe, home to more than half the world’s atomic weapons, remains detecting any Russian initiatives early and responding firmly to avert any risk of actual war.
“What you have to remember is that there is simply no option for a conventional war with Russia,” said one former official on condition of anonymity. “It is either unconventional like this or it is likely to become something much worse.”