Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Telegraph - Estimate of Russian soldiers in Ukraine by Committee of Soldiers' Mothers

...A group of Russian relatives of servicemen undercut the Kremlin’s protestations by claiming that 15,000 Russian soldiers have been sent to Ukraine over the past two months, and at least 200 may have died in combat there.
Valentina Melnikova, head of the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers, the main organisation representing the families of servicemen, said some 7,000 to 8,000 Russian troops are believed to be in Ukraine at present.
Citing her own estimates, she believes that between 10,000 and 15,000 troops have been deployed to Ukraine over the past two months.
“Unfortunately, I am convinced I am right,” she said, revealing calculations based on information from families whose husbands and sons have been sent on drills close to the border, but then have gone incommunicado. “Military commanders are conducting a secret special operation.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/11067351/Ukraine-battles-Russian-tank-column-near-Luhansk-ahead-of-Minsk-peace-talks.html

Vladimir Putin Continues Soviet Rhetoric by Questioning Kazakhstan's 'Created' Independence

Fears are growing in Kazakhstan over Moscow's rhetoric towards the country following Russia President Vladimir Putin's claim that "Kazakhstan never had any statehood", it was "created".
The Russian leader told a pro-Kremlin youth camp at Lake Seliger near Moscow that Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev had "created a state on a territory that never had a state."
"Kazakhs never had any statehood, he has created it," he said.
It is believed by analysts that Putin's statement of Kazakh independence only being achieved because of Nazarbayev is a warning that it could easily vanish when the 74-year-old is no longer in office.
In response, Nazarbayev warned that Kazakhstan may leave the Russian-led Customs Union, an economic coalition which includes Belarus, if it feels that its independence is threatened in any way by Moscow.
"Kazakhstan has a right to withdraw from the Eurasian Economic Union," he told the Kazakh television station Khabar....http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/vladimir-putin-continues-soviet-rhetoric-by-questioning-kazakhstans-created-independence-1463460

Android security mystery – ‘fake’ cellphone towers found in U.S. -

...Seventeen mysterious cellphone towers have been found in America which look like ordinary towers, and can only be identified by a heavily customized handset built for Android security – but have a much more malicious purpose, according to Popular Science.
The fake ‘towers’ – computers which wirelessly attack cellphones via the “baseband” chips built to allow them to communicate with their networks, can eavesdrop and even install spyware, ESD claims. They are a known technology - but the surprise is that they are in active use....

Despite its secure OS, Les Goldsmith of the handset’s US manufacturer ESD found that his personal Android security handset’s firewall showed signs of attack “80 to 90” times per hour.
The leaks were traced to the mysterious towers. Despite having some of the functions of normal cellphone towers, Goldsmith says their function is rather different. He describes them as “interceptors” and says that various models can eavesdrop and even push spyware to devices. Normal cellphones cannot detect them – only specialized hardware such as ESD’s Android security handsets.
Who created the towers and maintains them is unknown, Goldsmith says.

“Interceptor use in the U.S. is much higher than people had anticipated,” Goldsmith says.  “One of our customers took a road trip from Florida to North Carolina and he found eight different interceptors on that trip.  We even found one at South Point Casino in Las Vegas.”... http://www.welivesecurity.com/2014/08/28/android-security-2/

Monday, September 01, 2014

Russia has up to 100 battle tanks fighting in Ukraine, UK believes

....The estimate of Russian weaponry was outlined by Sir Mark Lyall Grant, the British ambassador to the UN, who told the security council that Moscow had sent:
• 1,000 regular Russian troops
• Up to 100 main battle tanks
• 80 armoured personnel carriers
• 100 shoulder-launched missile weapons
• 500 anti-tank weapons
• More than 100 artillery pieces
A government source said: "We are clear that formed units of the Russian armed forces are now directly engaged in fighting inside Ukraine. We believe that the units consist of well over 1,000 regular Russian troops equipped with armoured vehicles, artillery and air defence systems.
"We think that there are over 1,000 Russian troops fighting as part of the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. This is the arsenal we assess the separatists have. We also believe that Russia has shelled Ukrainian territory.
"In just over five days, from 14-19 August, we think Ukrainian armed forces were fired on from positions inside Russian territory on at least 21 separate occasions. This is further provocative action by Russia completely disregarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a neighbour."...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

"Bold Riley" - The Wailin' Jennys - 1/4/2014

Russia Lacks Resources for Occupation of Eastern Ukraine, Moscow Military Expert Says - The Interpreter

... he sees three possible variants as to how the military and security situation in southeastern Ukraine is likely to develop.

The first would involve a Russian effort to address “certain tactical tasks” involved with providing assistance to separatists in Donetsk and Lugansk via the Azov Sea now that Ukrainian forces have reduced Moscow’s ability to supply them via other routes. In that event, he says, “Russian forces should be quickly withdrawn” once that goal has been achieved.

The second variant, Golts says, would be an effort to occupy “not all of Donetsk and Lugansk oblast but rather the creation of a belt of security along the Russian-Ukrainian border approximately 10 to 15 kilometers from Donetsk to Azov” so that the Russian government would be in a position to support the separatists for a long time.

That could be done by the troops available, but even in March 2014, when Russia had the largest number of forces along the border – some 80,000 men – the Russian general staff told the Kremlin that these forces alone “were insufficient for a full-scale invasion and seizure of Lugansk and Donetsk oblasts.”

The third variant, Golts says, would involve a decision to “occupy all of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts and create new borders.” But if Putin were to take that decision, “the question arises:” with what forces would he do that? There aren’t enough professional soldiers in the Russian military to do that, and he would have to use draftees....


Moscow Military Review Lists Seven ‘Probable’ Targets in ‘Novorossiya’ - The Interpreter

According to Voyennoye Obozreniye, an online Moscow journal directed at the Russian military and military analysts

"...The first target, the Voyennoye Obozreniye article says, is Mariupol, where Ukrainian forces have concentrated themselves and from which they must be dislodged so that the insurgents can continue to be supplied by Russia.

The second, it continues, is Volnovakha, again a site where Ukrainian forces are concentrated and one that represents a potential “place des armes” for cutting off the Azov group of forces from the main ones.

The third is Donetsk and especially the airport there which currently is in Ukrainian hands. “The enemy must be driven out of well-fortified places where it has already been sitting for two to three months,” the Moscow publication says.

The fourth target is Debaltsevo which must be taken by a flanking operation in order to destroy “the lion’s share” of Ukrainian artillery and thus defeat the Ukrainian forces in the region as a whole.

The fifth is the Lisichansk-Rubezhnoye-Severodonetsk area, a naturally defendable position which the Moscow journal says Ukrainian forces have been fortifying in the course of recent weeks and from which they must be driven.

The sixth is Luhansk and the areas around it to relieve pressure on the insurgents there. And the seventh and perhaps most important are efforts to prevent Ukraine from bringing reserves into play by mobilizing the population. The journal implied that military attacks must be coordinated with the requirements of information war in this regard..."

Budapest Memorandums 5 December 1944

On December 5, 1994 the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Britain and the United States signed a memorandum to remove nuclear weapons in Ukraine. They all signed six agreements for Ukraine, the agreements are:[2]
  1. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine;
  2. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;
  3. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind;
  4. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of[2] an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used;
  5. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm, in the case of Ukraine, their commitment not to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclearweapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, except in the case of an attack on themselves, their territories or dependent territories, their armed forces, or their allies, by such a State in association or alliance with a nuclear-weapon State;
  6. Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America will consult in the event a situation arises that raises a question concerning these commitments.[2]

Friday, August 29, 2014

CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon (SFW) Live Fire Test

'Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine voluntarily while on holiday' say ...

Finland Upgrades NATO Ties After Condemning Russian Tactics

Finland will sign an agreement with NATO making it easier for the organization to put its troops on the Nordic country’s soil as the government in Helsinki condemns Russia’s treatment of Ukraine.

President Sauli Niinistoe and Prime Minister Alexander Stubb decided to sign the pact on Aug. 22, according to a statement today. Closer ties with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have been under way since last year as part of a collaboration first envisioned in 2002. Finland will be free to decide the extent of its NATO cooperation on a case-by-case basis. Sweden is close to striking a similar accord, Defense Ministry spokesman Henrik Hedberg said today by text message.

Stubb criticized Russia yesterday for actions he said constituted a violation of international justice. “Russia did wrong,” he said in a speech in Helsinki. “We have seen enough of the justice of the strong on this continent.” Niinistoe, speaking at the same event, urged Europe to step up its focus on defense spending as relations with Russia deteriorate....

-bth: Putin is strengthening NATO as no other world leader can do.

Low Oil Prices Could Crush Russian Economy - FX Empire

... Tensions with Russia and the new cold war along with sanctions and embargoes are likely to have significant effects on the Russian economy, but the low price of oil is likely to have a larger effect. Russia has an oil problem. The country is heavily dependent on oil tax revenue to fill its coffers, and trouble is brewing given today’s low price for Russian crude. According to Reuters, Russia’s budget is based on the assumption of an average oil price of $114 per barrel. It is nowhere near that high right now, however. Sitting below $100 for the first time in over a year, the price of Ural crude has fallen $15 in less than one month. Keep in mind that 50% of Russia’s budget revenue comes from oil. If the price bounces back, there is no story here. If, however, there is a sustained period of low oil prices it would be a major blow to the country’s economy.


Situation in the eastern regions of Ukraine 28 August 2014

... In the village of Bezimenne, which means “no name” in Ukrainian, some 14 kilometers from Novoazovsk, there were dozens of fighters from the Dnipro 1 and Azov battalions lingering on Aug. 28, just watching Russian troops. Driving their shabby cars they claim they have no means to fight back if the Russians decide to approach. Ukraine’s fighters said that Russian soldiers were attacking their counterparts who didn’t retreat from Novoazovsk quickly enough.
“There are no (regular) Ukrainian army here, they all moved to Mariupol,” said Volodymyr, fighter of Dnipro 1, a man in his 40s who used to be Dnipropetrovsk businessman before the war.
Volodymyr added that some soldiers are still fleeing Novoazovsk in small groups along the fields and forests, and when detected by Russian they are being shelled.
The pro-Ukrainian fighters say hundreds of Russian soldiers and dozens of Russian tanks are now present in Novoazovsk.
Mariupol residents have begun to flee amid fears of an approaching assault, with refugees from war-torn Donetsk, Horlivka and Illovaisk forced to flee again and with civilians allowed to leave the city but not enter.
At the checkpoint on the way to Novoazovsk, the Kyiv Post saw soldiers digging trenches and preparing antitank barriers still decorated with floral ornaments from Ukraine’s recent Independence Day celebrations....  http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/ukraine-regroups-as-russia-attacks-362479.html


Iran says shot down Israeli Drone was from Azerbaijan - PressTV

Excerpt from Iranian news source. ...In 2012, two Azerbaijani officers, defecting to Iran, reported of Israeli operations there including a drone base to be used against Iran. Azerbaijan issued a formal apology but as reported by Republican Guard air defense command, the recent provocation did, as first reported by Hanke, originate from Azerbaijan. ...There is a long history of convergence between Israel, Turkey and Azerbaijan. Despite public differences between Israel and Turkey such as the mild Turkish diplomatic “feint” after the Mavi Marmara attack in 2009, military cooperation between Tel Aviv and Ankara continued unabated.... It was during these exercises in 2010 that Israel’s clandestine forward deployment of attack aircraft to Azerbaijan was discovered. Azerbaijan had claimed that Russian-backed “Armenian rebels” had seized two fighter bases near the Iranian border. In actuality, these were turned over to Israel in partial exchange for Israel’s agreement to train and equip Azerbaijan’s military forces. In a statement on Sunday, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said it had successfully intercepted and shot down an Israeli spy drone by a surface-to-air missile, known as Hermes 450. The aircraft was on its way toward the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran’s central province of Isfahan, reported the Fars news agency....

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Russian journalists attacked while investigating soldier burials - LA Times

Several Russian journalists say they were attacked while investigating the suspected secret burials of soldiers believed to have been killed in Ukraine. Reporters from different news outlets this week said they saw graves believed to be those of paratroopers in a village graveyard near the town of Pskov in western Russia, where the soldiers were based. Vladimir Romensky, a reporter for Dozhd, an independent television station, and Ilya Vasyunin of Russkaya Planeta, a Russian news website, said they were accosted by two men in the village and told they “would never be found” unless they immediately returned to Moscow. The reporters went to the local graveyard anyway, and assailants threw stones at their car and slashed the tires. Romensky said two other journalists told him they had been forced into a van while attempting to visit the graveyard earlier in the day and taken to a forest where their abductors threatened to kill them.... -bth: worth reading in full.

Russian Army in Ukraine: Video evidence released of Russian soldiers cap...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Iranian Ayatollah: 3G internet is immoral and inhumane - Jerusalem Post

An Iranian Grand Ayatollah has said high speed internet is unethical and contrary to humanitarian principles, Iranian media sources reported on Tuesday. Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, a prominent Shia scholar, made the remarks in response to a question put to him by cyber activists, via his website. Although Iran has the highest total number of internet users in the Middle East, its average data speed is about a tenth of the global average. However, Shirazi said 3G — third generation mobile communications technology — and broadband internet were morally wrong, and that there needed to be standards to prevent users from dangers such as “immoral and inhumane” videos and photos, rumors, and espionage.... bth: what's evil is a dial-up modem and slow internet connectivity.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Press Conference - Formation of a state - 24 Aug 2014

hit CC on lower right for English translation

World's first entirely-printed plastic bump key

Most Russian Students Want to Find Jobs Abroad - Moscow Times

... The survey revealed that 77 percent of Russian students found the prospect of overseas employment more appealing than working at home. Those most hopeful for overseas jobs were students completing their degrees in marketing and the humanities, the survey showed, while those studying medical and pedagogical degrees were more inclined to stay in Russia. Half of the survey's respondents attributed their desire to find employment overseas to a higher standard of living there, and 36 percent were prepared to relocate for the long term. Forty-six percent of respondents cited Europe as their ideal destination, while 10 percent said they were aiming to move to the U.S....