BlueHummingbird News


From AFP at SpaceWar: Oct 02, 2003
Russia warns NATO it may re-evaluate nuclear stance
MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia abruptly warned NATO on Thursday that it will re-evaluate its nuclear missile strategy should the Cold War-era body remain a military alliance with an "offensive" doctrine. And Moscow added to its sudden military bravado when Defense Ministry Sergei Ivanov told the country's top brass that Russia retained the right to stage pre-emptive strikes against other countries under certain circumstances. ...

From PRAVDA.Ru: 10/08/2003 13:27
Russia Does Not Dismiss the Use Nuclear Weapons in Preventive Strike
Vladimir Putin's recent statement about the nuclear weapons alarms Western media On the threshold of his 51st birthday, Vladimir Putin has apparently decided to remind the West of his existence. At any rate, foreign mass media outlets were rather alarmed discussing the latest statement from the Russian president. ... Vladimir Putin announced the national nuclear forces should be fundamentally modernized. The president said Russia did not exclude an opportunity to use nuclear weapons for a preventive strike against its "potential enemy." ...

Russia Ready to Vaporize the Jewish State
And then kick America out of the Eastern Hemisphere’s oilfields

Copyright Joe Vialls, 28 October 2003
" ... About one month ago, Russia discreetly invoked MAD again, but this time in the Middle East in direct response to hysterical Israeli threats to nuke Iran with submarine-launched American Harpoon missiles. Quietly and with the minimum of fuss, Russia deployed its most advanced tactical nuclear missiles and crews to both Syria and Iran, thereby sending an unmistakable diplomatic signal that if Israel attacked Tehran or Damascus with nuclear weapons, Russia would in return instantly and anonymously vaporize the Jewish State. This is not an idle or exaggerated threat. The Russian missile type deployed in Syria and Iran is the P270 Moskit [Mosquito], known in NATO circles as the SS-N-22 "Sunburn", once described by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher as "the most dangerous anti-ship missile in the Russian, and now the Chinese, fleet.” ... "

From AFP: Tue Nov 4, 2003 3:50 AM ET
Putin reaffirms Russia's right to preemptive strikes
MOSCOW (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin has reaffirmed his position that Russia can resort to preemptive military strikes because the policy is also practiced by the United States. "If the principle of preventive use of force continues to develop in international practice, then Russia reserves the right to act in an analogous manner to defend its national interests," Putin said in an interview whose transcript was released Tuesday. "All nuclear powers are improving their nuclear potential and Russia will do the same," Putin said in an interview with Italian journalists ahead of this week's visit to Rome, according to Interfax. ...

From AP: Tue Dec 2,10:35 AM ET
Don't Back Georgian Rebels, U.S. Tells Russia By Emma Thomasson and Paul Gallagher
MAASTRICHT, Netherlands (Reuters) - The United States issued a thinly-veiled warning to Russia on Tuesday not to back Georgia's breakaway regions amid instability in the former Soviet republic after last month's bloodless revolution. ... Georgia's stability is monitored by both the West -- because of a $2.5 billion oil pipeline due to take Caspian oil to the Mediterranean -- and neighbor Russia, which fears instability could aid Chechen separatists holed up in Georgian mountains. Interim President Nino Burdzhanadze, an opposition leader appointed after Shevardnadze quit, accused Russia on Monday of interfering in Georgia's domestic politics and urged Moscow to move away from its Soviet-era "Big Brother" meddling. Tbilisi was angered last week when Russian officials met leaders from South Ossetia and Abkhazia -- which broke free of Georgian control more than a decade ago and want to join Russia -- and from Adzhara, which does not want secession but is hostile to the new Georgian rulers. ...

From AP: Dec 5, 9:28 AM (ET)
Rumsfeld Offers U.S. Support for Georgia By ROBERT BURNS
TBILISI, Georgia (AP) - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld pledged full U.S. support Friday for this former Soviet republic and said Russia is obliged to withdraw its troops as promised. Rumsfeld met with Georgia's interim leadership, including the acting president, Nino Burdzhanadze. He was the first member of President Bush's cabinet to come here since election protests forced Eduard Shevardnadze to resign the presidency last month. ... The Bush administration is concerned about what it sees as a growing effort by Russia to exert its influence in Georgia and elsewhere in the Caucasus and Central Asia. ...

From AFP at SpaceWar: Dec 10, 2003
US tells Russia of plans for eastward military expansion
MOSCOW (AFP) - A top US official told Moscow on Wednesday that Washington planned to expand its military bases into eastern Europe and ex-Soviet territories and hoped that Russia would not take it as an aggressive act. ... The US military message was delivered by Marc Grossman, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, to both the Russian foreign ministry as well as top officials in the country's security council and the general chiefs of staff. ... Grossman said the idea of a US eastward push was formalized by US President George W. Bush on Monday and that he was sent to Moscow for urgent negotiations as a result. ... Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told a meeting of counterparts from former Soviet republics that Moscow had no intention of accepting Washington's military encroachment of its borders. "Any plans for the expansion of NATO military infrastructure up to our border prompts very obvious concern," Ivanov said. ...

From AP: Wed Dec 17, 1:03 PM ET
Russia to Extend Nuclear Missile Lifetime
MOSCOW - Russia will keep its most powerful, Soviet-made long-range nuclear missiles on duty for at least a decade, a top general said Wednesday. Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, chief of the country's Strategic Missile Forces, said the heavy R-36 missiles — known in the West as the SS-18 Satan — "will serve Russia for another 10 to 15 years," according to the Interfax-Military News Agency. Solovtsov has said previously that Russia would keep its arsenal of some 150 SS-18s on duty until 2016-2020, even though the missiles were past their designated lifetime and scheduled to be scrapped this decade under earlier plans. The heavy missile, capable of slamming 10 individually guided nuclear warheads at targets more than 6,800 miles away, is the heaviest weapon in Russia's inventory. The SS-18 and another multi-warhead missile, the SS-19, have formed the core of the Russian strategic forces since Soviet times. Russia would have had to scrap both types of missiles under the 1993 START II arms reduction treaty. The treaty never took force, and a new U.S.-Russian arms reduction agreement has given each country a free choice of what weapons to keep while slashing the number of their nuclear warheads by about two-thirds, to between 1,700 and 2,200, by 2012. ...

From AP at The Guardian: Monday December 22, 2003 9:01 PM
Russia Deploys Fresh Batch of Missiles By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
MOSCOW (AP) - Russia has deployed a fresh batch of its top-of-the-line strategic nuclear missiles after a break caused by a funding shortage, and military officials presented ambitious plans Monday for building weapons even more potent. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov inaugurated the new set of Topol-M missiles at the Tatishchevo missile base in the central Saratov region Sunday, describing them as a ``21st-century weapon'' unrivaled in the world. ... The deployed Topol-Ms have been fitted with single nuclear warheads, but there are plans to equip each missile with three individually targeted warheads, Izvestia said. The missile's mobile version will carry from four to six warheads, the Interfax-Military News Agency quoted an unidentified General Staff officer as saying. ... Putin said in October that Russia had several dozen Soviet-built SS-19 missiles that remained factory-fresh because they were stockpiled without fuel...

From The Moscow Times: Monday, Dec. 29, 2003. Page 1
Kremlin Playing Oil Game For Keeps By Catherine Belton, Staff Writer
"News of the July arrest of Yukos co-founder Platon Lebedev was greeted with disbelief and excitement in Saudi Arabia, a kingdom increasingly nervous about losing its market-maker status in the global oil industry to long-time rival Russia. ... through the legal onslaught against Yukos, in particular the jailing of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia's richest man and its most influential pro-American voice, President Vladimir Putin has clearly defined the new rules of the game. In doing so, Putin is not only increasing the power of the state domestically, he is also repositioning the state geopolitically. ... Putin, it seems clear, is intent on restoring Russia's clout on the world stage, and a key plank in this new plan appears to be nourishing the defense sector with energy revenues, setting the stage for a tectonic shift in the political and economic landscape. ...
The most common explanation for why the Kremlin chose to go after Khodorkovsky and not the other tycoons is politics, that he was funding opposition parties and trying to buy a stable of loyal lawmakers. But no less irritating to those in power is Khodorkovsky's pursuit of what is essentially an independent foreign policy, including pushing for privately owned pipelines to ramp up exports and quench U.S. thirst for a non-Saudi supplier. ... Putin had repeatedly stressed -- in public and in private meetings with Western bankers -- that the attack on Yukos and its parent company Group Menatep was is an isolated attempt to impose law and order and does not pose a threat to market reform. ... "Building privately owned pipelines was clearly an important issue for the U.S.," said Julia Nanay, senior energy analyst at the Washington-based Petroleum Finance Corporation. "It is important for the U.S. to have certainty with respect to pipeline access, and for them to gain upstream access. Without private pipelines the Russian government is free to decide how much oil gets to the market," she said. "State ownership of the network gives the government OPEC-style control over exports." ... Khodorkovsky was preparing to sell a large stake of Yukos -- with or without Sibneft -- to a U.S. oil giant, reportedly either ExxonMobil or ChevronTexaco. ... The oil baron actively sought to join the exclusive club of global shakers and movers. In 2000, as he began his corporate clean-up drive, he turned to Lord Jacob Rothschild, a key member of the influential banking dynasty that for centuries has been seen as the maker or breaker of governments around the world. ... According to its own web site, Menatep made commitments to invest in excess of $150 million with a number of global investment funds, including Global Asset Management, an influential investment fund founded by Rothschild in the early 1970s. ... Menatep courted other powerful funds with its oil billions too, investing over $300 million in the Pentagon-linked Carlyle Group, according to a source close to Carlyle. ... Just over a month before Khodorkovsky was arrested, George Bush senior paid a visit to Russia in his capacity as a Carlyle advisor, stopping first in St. Petersburg before jetting off to Sochi to meet with Putin, who was vacationing with his family. On his way back home, he and Khodorkovsky attended a very select dinner in Moscow organized by Carlyle. ... Soon after Khodorkovsky was arrested, however, Carlyle called off plans to launch, together with oil-to-telcoms giant Alfa Group, its first private equity fund in Russia. Bush quit the group shortly thereafter. ... "

Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2003. Page 1
Kremlin Reloading After Shot At Yukos By Catherine Belton, Staff Writer
"News of the October arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky was greeted with shock and horror in Washington, which had come to regard the Yukos billionaire as its most influential agent in Moscow -- a position previously held by Anatoly Chubais, the man chiefly responsible for Khodorkovsky's vast wealth. ...
" ... The Washington Post reported last week that shortly after his arrest, Khodorkovsky bought the lobbying services of Stuart Eizenstat, a Washington lawyer who held several top posts in the U.S. government under President Bill Clinton .. Eizenstat told the Post that he intends to build "U.S. government support for the rule of law in Russia, specifically in connection with actions taken by Russian authorities against principals of Group Menatep and Yukos." Some even see America's hand behind the privatization program that made billionaires out of Khodorkovsky and a handful of other businessmen. Indeed, Chubais, the architect of the rigged loans-for-shares scheme by which many of the state's most valuable assets were sold for a song, was a key ally of the Clinton administration. ...
" ... U.S. Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow, who has roundly criticized the handling of the Yukos affair, urged Russia to make up its mind on whether or not it would build a new pipeline to Murmansk. The project, which Khodorkovsky aggressively lobbied for, would allow Russian tankers to directly feed America with crude. ... Although President George W. Bush has not publicly condemned Khodorkovsky's arrest, other influential voices in Washington have. Senator John McCain, Pentagon adviser Richard Perle, and influential currency trader-turned-billionaire philanthropist George Soros, to name three, have all called for Russia to be kicked out of the elite Group of Eight highly industrialized nations. "A creeping coup against the forces of democracy and market capitalism in Russia is threatening the foundation of the U.S.-Russia relationship and raising the specter of a new era of cold peace between Washington and Moscow," McCain told the Senate last month. ...
" ... Putin has also seemed anxious to talk up Russia's military capabilities. On the eve of the EU-Russia summit in Italy shortly after Khodorkovsky was arrested, he made clear in an interview with Italian journalists that he considered Russia a force to be reckoned with. He stressed again that Russia retains the right to launch preemptive strikes and pointed out that Russia has weapons that "can penetrate any missile defense system." ... He also threatened to move Russia's oil business from dollars to euros, a move that could fundamentally alter the global economy and do harm to the United States. ..."

From AFP at Sify News (India): Thursday, 15 January , 2004, 18:55
Russia mulls missions to Moon and Mars
In an echo of the Cold War space race, Russia said Thursday that it had the knowhow to relaunch its space exploration programs, a day after Washington laid out ambitious plans to return to the Moon and press on to Mars. ...

From Xinhuanet: 01/26/04
Putin pledges stable, predictable policy on US
MOSCOW, Jan. 26 (Xinhuanet) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that his country's policy on the United States will be stable and predictable. ... Putin described the Russian-US ties as "a major foreign policy achievement and a success of the Bush administration." ... He also applauded the two nations' cooperation in trade, battle against terrorism and restoring stability in Afghanistan. As to the situation in Iraq, Putin said he hoped the United Nations could make a quick return to the war-battered country. Powell said US President George W. Bush is satisfied with the way US-Russia relations are going. Solid bilateral relations have made it possible to discuss differences in a frank and honest way, he added. ... Powell arrived in Moscow Sunday evening from Tbilisi, where he attended the inauguration ceremony of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili.
Powell reiterates US call on Russia to pull bases out of Georgia
MOSCOW, Jan. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- Visiting US Secretary of State Colin Powell reaffirmed a US call on Tuesday for Russia's withdrawal of forces from the former Soviet Caucasus republic of Georgia. ... Powell, who is on the second day of his two-day visit to Russia, also assured that new US bases in Europe and US military presence in Central Asia will not threaten Russia. ...
Powell calls Chechnya Russia's internal affair
MOSCOW, Jan. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- Visiting US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday that Chechnya is Russia's internal affair, but urged the Russian government to observe human rights in the republic. ...

At The Washington Post: Tuesday, January 27, 2004; Page A14
Powell Decries Putin's Policies
Critique in Russian Daily Cites Shortfalls in Political System
By Peter Slevin, Washington Post Staff Writer
MOSCOW, Jan. 26 -- Secretary of State Colin L. Powell criticized Russia's democratic shortfalls and its aggressive approach to the former Soviet republics in unusually direct language Monday, the day he met with President Vladimir Putin. In a front-page commentary in Izvestia, one of Moscow's most influential newspapers, Powell said the U.S.-Russia relationship would "not achieve its potential" unless the two countries shared "basic principles." "Russia's democratic system seems not yet to have found the essential balance among the executive, legislative and judicial functions. Political power is not yet tethered to law," Powell wrote. He added that neither the news media nor political parties were free to operate as they chose. Powell criticized Putin's policy toward Chechnya, where Russian troops have fought brutally to suppress the southern region's bid for independence. ...

Tuesday, January 27, 2004; 11:10 AM
Powell: U.S. May Establish Military Bases in Former Soviet Republics
By Peter Slevin, Washington Post Staff Writer
MOSCOW -- Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said Tuesday that the United States may establish military bases in parts of the former Soviet empire, but he sought to reassure Russians that increased U.S. influence in the region does not pose a threat. ... "We are not trying to surround anyone," Powell told the independent Moscow radio station Ekho Moskvy. "The Cold War is over. The Iron Curtain is down. We should not see things in old Cold War terms." ... "Are we pointing a dagger in the soft underbelly of Russia? Of course not," Powell said. "What we're doing is working together against terrorism." ...

From AP at The San Francisco Chronicle: Friday, January 30, 2004 22:34 PST
Russia planning maneuvers of its nuclear forces next month
By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press Writer
MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's nuclear forces reportedly are preparing their largest maneuvers in two decades, an exercise involving the test-firing of missiles and flights by dozens of bombers in a massive simulation of an all-out nuclear war. ... The business newspaper Kommersant said the exercise was set for mid-February and would closely resemble a 1982 Soviet exercise dubbed the "seven-hour nuclear war" that put the West on edge. ... Kommersant said the maneuvers would involve Tu-160 strategic bombers test-firing cruise missiles over the northern Atlantic. Analysts describe such an exercise as an imitation of a nuclear attack on the United States. Other groups of bombers will fly over Russia's Arctic regions and test-fire missiles at a southern range near the Caspian Sea, the newspaper said. As part of the exercise, the military is planning to conduct several launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles, including one from a Russian nuclear submarine in the Barents Sea, the Kommersant report said. The military also plans to launch military satellites from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and the Plesetsk launch pad in northern Russia -- a simulation of the replacement of satellites lost in action, Kommersant said. Russia's system warning of an enemy missile attack and a missile defense system protecting Moscow will also be involved in the exercise, it added. ...

From The Moscow Times: Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2004. Page 4
Ivanov Says Russia May Pull Out of Arms Treaty By Greg Walters
Russia may abandon a security treaty limiting conventional weapons and troop deployments in Europe, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said at an international security conference in Munich on Monday, unless it is changed to rule out NATO forces in the Baltic states. Ivanov protested that the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, negotiated in the 1980s between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Warsaw Pact, does not include Baltic countries, which are scheduled to become NATO members in April. ... Ivanov's comments come as the United States is considering a wide-ranging reorganization of its forces based in Europe. ... On Monday, Ivanov said the CFE could become a relic of the Cold War.
Speaking at the conference, U.S. Senator John McCain said, "Undemocratic behavior and threats to the sovereignty and liberty of her neighbors will not profit Russia -- but will exclude her from the company of Western democracies," The New York Times reported. ... The Baltic countries' exclusion from the CFE means that, in theory, NATO could mass any amount of troops and weaponry there when those countries join the alliance. ...

From Reuters: Thu February 12, 2004 12:51 PM ET
Russia Says Will Sign Deal on Nuclear Fuel for Iran By Maria Golovnina
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Thursday it planned to sign a deal with Iran next month to ship nuclear fuel for Iran's power plant, defying U.S. pressure on Moscow to sever nuclear ties with the Islamic Republic. ...

From AFP at SpaceWar: Feb 17, 2004
Day at sea turns sour for Putin as Russia fails to launch missile
MOSCOW (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin's high-profile jaunt on a nuclear submarine in the Arctic just weeks before elections turned sour Tuesday when the navy inexplicably failed to launch two intercontinental ballistic missiles as the Russian leader looked on. Initial reports said a missile fell apart moments after its launch from a submarine in the Barents Sea -- the same location where the Kursk nuclear submarine sank in August 2000, claiming the lives of 118 seamen. But the state RIA Novosti and private Interfax news agencies later quoted navy sources as saying that missiles were never actually launched by the two ICBM tests but the exercise was scrapped through an automatic shutdown relayed to them by satellite. ...

From The Moscow Times: Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2004. Page 1
Mystery Surrounds Military's War Game By Simon Saradzhyan, Staff Writer
A submarine participating in the country's largest strategic war game in more than 20 years failed to launch a ballistic missile as planned Tuesday in what could possibly be a major embarrassment to the military and President Vladimir Putin. ...

From The Associated Press at ABC News: 2/18/04
Russia Plans New Generation of Weapons
MOSCOW Feb. 18 — After two failed missile launches during highly publicized military maneuvers, President Vladimir Putin announced plans Wednesday to deploy a new generation of strategic weapons and said Moscow may build new missile defenses. ... "The experiments conducted during these maneuvers ... have proven that state-of-the art technical complexes will enter service with the Russian Strategic Missile Forces in the near future," Putin said in remarks broadcast by Russian television stations. The new weapons will be "capable of hitting targets continents away at hypersonic speed, with high precision and the ability of broad maneuver both in terms of altitude and direction of their flight," he said. ... Putin said that Russia was continuing research in missile defense systems and may build a new missile shield. ...

From Reuters: Thu February 19, 2004 09:46 PM ET
Russia says new missile will beat any U.S. defences By Tom Miles
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has developed ballistic missile technology that can outwit any defensive system, a top Russian general said on Thursday, in a clear challenge to the United States' planned $50 billion anti-missile shield. The declaration came a day after President Vladimir Putin, eyeing nationalist votes for elections next month, promised to equip his armed forces with a new generation of long-range weapons matching those of the United States. First Deputy Chief of Staff Colonel-General Yury Baluyevsky said that during large-scale military exercises on Wednesday, Russia had test-launched a missile system that could manoeuvre in mid-flight, allowing it to dodge defences. "The test carried out yesterday confirmed that we can build weapons which will render any anti-missile system defenceless against an attack by Russia's strategic forces," he told a news conference. "It's part of our unilateral response to the creation or future creation of a missile defence system by any state or bloc of states," he said. ...

From The San Francisco Chronicle: Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Russia's Putin fires Cabinet before vote
Reshuffle seen as aimed at removing prime minister tied to Yeltsin
By Anna Badkhen, Chronicle Staff Writer
Moscow -- In a surprise move, President Vladimir Putin fired his Cabinet on Tuesday, removing the last major relic of predecessor Boris Yeltsin's rule less than three weeks before the Russian presidential election. Putin issued a statement saying that he sacked Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and his Cabinet to prepare Russians for undisclosed changes in policy that would follow the March 14 vote, which Putin is set to win by a landslide. ...

From The Washington Post: Friday, February 27, 2004; Page A01
Reagan Approved Plan to Sabotage Soviets By David E. Hoffman
Book Recounts Cold War Program That Made Technology Go Haywire
In January 1982, President Ronald Reagan approved a CIA plan to sabotage the economy of the Soviet Union through covert transfers of technology that contained hidden malfunctions, including software that later triggered a huge explosion in a Siberian natural gas pipeline, according to a new memoir by a Reagan White House official. Thomas C. Reed, a former Air Force secretary who was serving in the National Security Council at the time, describes the episode in "At the Abyss: An Insider's History of the Cold War," to be published next month by Ballantine Books. Reed writes that the pipeline explosion was just one example of "cold-eyed economic warfare" against the Soviet Union that the CIA carried out under Director William J. Casey during the final years of the Cold War. ...

From CBS 2 NY: Mar 15, 2004 9:51 am US/Eastern
Russia Re-Elects Putin
U.S. Critical Of Election; Putin Says U.S. Elections Have Flaws, Too
MOSCOW (CBS) Vladimir Putin is the official winner in Russia's presidential election, Russia's top election official said Monday, after 99.2 percent of precincts reported results. Putin easily won a second four-year term in Sunday's race, capturing 71.2 percent of the vote and defeating five challengers, said Alexander Veshnyakov, head of Russia's Central Election Commission. ...

From AFP at SpaceWar: Mar 25, 2004
Russia warns NATO with nuclear option
MOSCOW (AFP) Russia's defense minister Thursday repeated an earlier warning to NATO that he may order a build-up of the country's nuclear defenses should the US-led alliance continue to expand and take an unfriendly view of Moscow. ...

From AFP at SpaceWar: Mar 26, 2004
Russia confronts NATO on controversial Baltic air patrols

From UPI at SpaceDaily: April 12, 2004
Russia rages at NATO growth By Martin Sieff
Washington (UPI) As if the Bush administration didn't have enough on its plate in Iraq, it is now facing a restive, angry and even alarmed Russia possibly prepared to upset 30 years of security treaties in Central and Eastern Europe. ...

From AP at Yahoo: Mon, Apr 12, 2004 12:56pm ET
Putin Calls for Demilitarization of Space By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin on Monday reaffirmed his support for the demilitarization of space but added that Russia must be ready to counter others' moves to the contrary. ... "For many years, space has been part of military-political rivalry," Putin said Monday. "Now we must do everything to demilitarize space and turn it into the arena of peaceful cooperation." ...

From Reuters: 17 Jun 2004 15:36:40 GMT
Russia to boost 2005 military spending By Maria Golovnina
MOSCOW, June 17 (Reuters) - Russia will boost domestic arms spending by a third to $6 billion in 2005, industry sources and media said on Thursday ... Defence spending, including security and emergencies, will rise 146 billion roubles to 894 billion roubles ($30.8 billion) in 2005 ... The rise is in line with Putin's plan to bolster military capability by reforming the ill-equipped army, reorganising the nuclear sector and boosting defence exports to Asia to offset lower sales to eastern Europe. ...

From Russian News & Information Agency at Pravda: 14:12 2004-07-20
Russian soldiers will not be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan

From AFP at SpaceWar: Jul 22, 2004
Russia launches Kosmos rocket with military satellite
MOSCOW (AFP) - ... The military satellite was the fifth one to be sent into space since the beginning of this year.

From AFP at SpaceWar: Aug 06, 2004
Russia, irked by NATO enlargement, expels Lithuanian envoy
MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia expelled another Lithuanian envoy on Friday amid continued anger in Moscow at NATO's expansion to include the three former Soviet Baltic republics. ... The move followed Lithuania's expulsion of three Russian diplomats and the tit-for-tat expulsion by Russia of three Lithuanian diplomats this spring. Similar incidents have also occurred between Russia and the other two Baltic republics Latvia and Estonia...

From AFP at Yahoo: Saturday August 7, 2:24 AM(Singapore)
Russia irate over US asylum for Chechen rebel
Russia reacted with fury to a US decision granting political asylum to the self-declared foreign minister of separatist Chechnya who is viewed as "terrorist" by Moscow. ... Russia, which accuses Akhmadov of terrorism and of links to an armed incursion in the Russian republic of Dagestan in 1999, has been seeking his extradition since he arrived in the United States in 2002. ... He is considering a post in the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy. ...

From AAP at The Sydney Morning Herald: August 12, 2004
Russia test-launches intercontinental ballistic missile
Russia successfully launched an intercontinental ballistic missile in a test firing yesterday, the Strategic Missile Forces said in a statement. The RS-18 missile blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and hit a set target in the Kamchatka peninsula in the Russian Far East, about 6700 kilometres east of Moscow. The missile, also known as the SS-19, was launched to determine whether its service life could be extended. It has been in service for 27 years. The launch was the fifth this year by the Strategic Missile Forces and a total of 10 launches have been scheduled for 2004, the Interfax news agency reported. ...

From AFP at SpaceWar: Aug 12, 2004
Russia to boost defense orders by 40 percent in 2005: Putin

From Reuters: Fri Sep 3, 2004 05:13 PM ET
More Than 200 Killed in Russian School Shootout
By Richard Ayton and Oliver Bullough
BESLAN, Russia (Reuters) - Russian troops stormed a school on Friday, blaming Chechen hostage-takers for a bloody battle in which more than 200 people -- dozens of them children -- were killed and hundreds were wounded. ... Official details and figures fluctuated amid the confusion and carnage in Beslan in the North Ossetia region bordering troubled Chechnya, where Moscow has faced a decade-old revolt. ... Russian authorities said they had been forced into an unplanned rescue operation when the hostage-takers opened fire on fleeing children. ... Attacks linked to Chechen separatists have surged in the past few weeks as Chechnya elected a leader for its pro-Moscow administration to replace an assassinated predecessor. Last week, suicide bombers were blamed for the near-simultaneous crash of two passenger planes in which 90 people died. This week, in central Moscow, a suicide bomber blew herself up, killing nine people.

At The Independent: 07 September 2004
Hostage-taker says notorious warlord ordered attack on school By Anne Penketh
From IANS at The Times Of India: Tuesday, September 07, 2004 09:14:52 PM
Eliminate finance for terrorism, Russia tells Pakistan
MOSCOW: Following the Beslan terrorist attack that killed over 350 people, Russia has asked Pakistan to purge sources of financing for international terrorism based on the latter's territory, official sources said. Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a telephonic conversation Tuesday with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, is believed to have asked Islamabad to tackle sources in that country which were financing global terrorism, said an informed source close to the Kremlin. Russia is apparently linking Pakistan to an international terrorist network that Putin believes was behind the attack on a school in Beslan in North Ossetia that left over 350 people, including some 160 children, dead and around 400 injured. ...
From CNN: Tuesday, September 7, 2004 Posted: 0648 GMT (1448 HKT)
Putin blasts U.S. on terror stance From CNN Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty
MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that mid-level officials in the U.S. government were undermining his country's war on terrorism by supporting Chechen separatists, whom he compared to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. ... Putin blamed what he called a "Cold War mentality" on the part of some U.S. officials, but likened their demands that Russia negotiate with the Chechen separatists to the U.S. talking to al Qaeda. These are not "freedom fighters," Putin said. "Would you talk with Osama Bin Laden?" he asked. ... Putin's comments came a few weeks after the U.S. granted asylum to Ilias Akhmadov, the "foreign minister" of the Chechen separatist movement. ... Putin said investigators determined the hostage takers included 10 fighters from "Arab" countries, along with others from the former Soviet Union and one person from North Ossetia where the hostage crisis unfolded. Putin said the terrorists' goal was to ignite conflict between two local ethnic groups, the Ingush and the Ossetians. ...

At Reuters UK: Wed 8 September, 2004 16:45
Russia set to hit "terror" worldwide By Elizabeth Piper
Also from Reuters UK: Wed 8 September, 2004 16:48
Russians may try to kill Chechens abroad By Peter Graff
LONDON (Reuters) - Russia may try to assassinate Chechens in the West after announcing it reserved the right to attack "terrorist bases" anywhere in the world, the spokesman for the rebel region's main separatist leader says. "It is a threat toward Europe," Akhmed Zakayev, envoy of the rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov, told Reuters in London, where he has lived since receiving asylum last year after Moscow failed in a bid to extradite him. ... The chief of Russia's general staff, Yuri Baluevsky, said on Wednesday Moscow would "carry out all measures to liquidate terrorist bases in any region of the world". ...

From AFP at SpaceWar: Sep 08, 2004
Mixed reactions to Russian threat of preemptive strikes on terror camps
LONDON (AFP) - Moscow's threat to launch preemptive strikes on terror bases around the world following the school massacre in southern Russia drew support from London and Washington Wednesday but sparked misgivings in several other capitals. ... In London, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Wednesday that Russia's stance was "understandable" and within international law. "I think the reaction is an understandable one," said Straw. "The United Nations charter does give the right of self-defence and the UN itself has accepted that an imminent or likely threat of terrorism certainly entitles any state to take appropriate action." ... A senior White House official, speaking on conditon of anonymity, said Washington did not oppose Russia's stance. "Every country has the right to defend itself" the official said ...

From The BBC: Monday, 13 September, 2004, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
Putin tightens grip on security
President Vladimir Putin has ordered a drastic overhaul of the way Russia is run in the wake of a series of bombings and deadly attacks on civilians. Mr Putin said strengthening central government control was a necessary part of the fight against terrorism. He also announced plans to create a new federal anti-terror agency. ...

From Reuters: Tue Sep 14, 2004 01:12 PM ET
Powell: Russia Pulling Back on Democratic Reform
By Arshad Mohammed and Saul Hudson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Tuesday he was concerned that sweeping political changes to fight terrorism proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin would erode Russia's democratic reforms. "In effect this is pulling back on some of the democratic reforms," Powell told Reuters. "We have concerns about it and we want to discuss them with the Russians." The Kremlin leader said on Monday he wanted a new election law to limit the number of political parties and to have full control on nominating regional leaders to combat terrorism following the bloody Beslan school siege in southern Russia. ...

Editorial at The Washington Post: Wednesday, September 15, 2004; Page A24
A Response to Russia
THE BOLDNESS of Vladimir Putin's assault on Russian democracy in the past few days ought to have been galvanizing to a U.S. president who has made the defense of freedom the rhetorical centerpiece of his foreign policy. Instead, the abrupt announcement by the Russian president that he intended to combat terrorism by abolishing elections for governors, and eliminating local elections for individual members of parliament, has been greeted with confused, contradictory and timid murmurings from the State Department and the White House. Distressed Russian politicians described Mr. Putin's act as "a constitutional coup d'état" and "a step toward dictatorship." Yet not until yesterday did Secretary of State Colin L. Powell speak out, and then only to understate the obvious: Russia, he observed, "is pulling back on some of the democratic reforms." ...

From Reuters: Wed Sep 15, 2004 01:48 AM ET
Russia Rejects U.S. Criticism of Planned Reforms
ASTANA (Reuters) - Russia rejected on Wednesday U.S. criticism of sweeping political changes proposed by President Vladimir Putin, saying this was strictly Moscow's business. "First of all, the processes that are under way in Russia are our internal affair," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, referring to comments by Secretary of State Colin Powell. ...
From Reuters: Wed Sep 15, 2004 04:01 PM ET
Bush Says Concerned About Democracy in Russia
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush said on Wednesday he was concerned that recent decisions by Russian President Vladimir Putin could undermine democracy in Russia. "As governments fight the enemies of democracy, they must uphold the principles of democracy," he said in a speech. Putin's proposed political reforms would do away with elections by popular vote for governors in Russia's 89 regions. Candidates would instead be selected by the president and approved by regional assemblies. ...
"I'm also concerned about the decisions that are being made in Russia that could undermine democracy in Russia, that great countries, great democracies have a balance of power between central governments and local governments," he said. He also noted a need for a balance of power "within central governments, between the executive branch and the legislative branch and the judicial branch."

From VOA News: 17 Sep 2004, 17:29 UTC
Russia Will Strike First in Fight Against Terrorists, Putin Says By Anya Ardeyeva
Moscow - Russian President Vladimir Putin is warning of preemptive strikes on terrorists. His announcement came shortly after prominent Chechen warlord, Shamil Basayev, claimed responsibility for the bloody school siege in Beslan two weeks ago. More than 320 hostages were killed in the siege. ... Basayev also claimed responsibility for the downing of the two passenger planes and two bomb attacks in Moscow in recent months. One hundred people were killed in the attacks. ...

From Reuters: Wed Nov 17, 2004 02:27 PM ET
Putin Says Russia Working on New Nuclear Systems
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is working on new nuclear missile systems that other powers do not have in order to protect itself against future security threats, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday. ... "We will continue to consistently and successively build up the armed forces in general and its nuclear component," he said. Russia's latest nuclear innovation was a test launch in February of a missile designed to outwit Washington's planned $50 billion missile shield. ...
Also from AFP at SpaceWar: Nov 17, 2004
Russia to deploy new-generation nuclear weapons system: Putin

From Reuters: Fri Dec 3, 2004 12:03 PM ET
Russia's Putin Calls U.S. Policy 'Dictatorial' By Douglas Busvine
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Friday of pursuing a dictatorial foreign policy and said mounting violence could derail progress toward bringing peace and democracy to Iraq. Putin also criticized the West for setting double-standards on terrorism, pursuing Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan and Iraq while giving refuge to "terrorists" demanding Chechnya's independence from Russia. ... "Even if dictatorship is packaged in beautiful pseudo-democratic phraseology, it will not be able to solve systemic problems," Putin said. "It may even make them worse." Putin did not name the United States, but clearly had the administration of President Bush in mind when he said policies "based on the barrack-room principles of a unipolar world appear to be extremely dangerous." ...
At Reuters: Fri Dec 3, 2004 05:33 PM ET
Powell Tempers U.S. Criticism About Russian Democracy By Arshad Mohammed

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