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Putin issues an ultimatum to the United States to leave Eastern Europe

Vladimir Putin asked the US to remove its defense infrastructure from Eastern Europe and from the territory of new NATO members in the Balkans and the Baltics (Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland) as well as its troops stationed there in recent years. He also insists that Washington’s sanction are lifted and compensation paid for the damage caused by them.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the termination of the plutonium processing agreement with the US, for hostile action by Washington against Russia and he set several conditions for its renewal – first, a “reduction of military infrastructure and the size of US contingent troops located in NATO countries who became members after September 1, 2000, to the level at which they were on the day of this agreement entering into force.”

“In relation with the radical change of circumstances, a threat to the strategic stability arises as a result of hostile actions of the United States of America toward the Russian Federation, and the inability of the US to ensure the implementation of commitments in the processing of excess plutonium for weapons purposes in accordance with international contracts” is stated in the official document, which terminated the agreement.

The agreement with the US was signed on August 29, 2000, and applies to the processing of excess plutonium for weapons purposes in Russia and the USA. Each party must take action to eliminate plutonium with a total weight of 34 tons.

Sergey Lavrov stated that Moscow sends a signal to Washington with its decision, that the US will not achieve anything by talking with Russia from a position of power, sanctions and ultimatums. This is a forced measure, but the Russian Foreign Minister stated that Russia is not abdicating its responsibilities for nuclear disarmament, according to material published on the website of the Ministry.

Reuters also reported that Vladimir Putin terminated the agreement with the US for the disposal of plutonium from nuclear warheads. The agency notes that this is another indication of the deteriorating relations between Washington and Moscow. The decree noted that the deal was terminated because of “the resultant threat to strategic stability and due to the hostilities of the United States toward the Russian Federation”. The US proved unable to fulfill their obligations to the contract.

The exact reason to terminate the agreement is the American method of processing the plutonium. The agreement call for the nuclear material to be processed “irreversibly”. Since 2010, the US stopped processing “irreversibly” and has only been burying the material, enabling them to produce nuclear munitions uncontrollably.

The draft law to stop the agreement also stated that the agreement will be renewed by decision of President Vladimir Putin, who is also a drafter of this text. But first, the US would have to “remove the causes that led to the fundamental change of circumstances.”

Moscow requires an “end of the hostile policy towards the Russian Federation through”:

– A repeal of the “Magnitsky” Law from 2012, through which dozens of officials deemed responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky in prison, are banned from entering the United States.

– A repeal of targeted against Russia provisions, in the Act of 2014 to support freedom in Ukraine.

– A removal of all sanctions introduced by the United States to natural and legal persons from Russia.

– A compensation for the damages caused to the Russian Federation as a result of the imposed sanctions, including damages caused by the (Russian) counter-sanctions.

The bill states: “The crisis in Ukraine is used as a pretext for increasing the US military presence in Eastern Europe. In 2015 were created 6 centers for troop control in Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland. Their main task is to provide operational transfer of large military forces of NATO in Eastern Europe. US military divisions entered the territory of the Baltic countries, and the number of airports for NATO aircraft were increased. US instructors are training personnel from the organization the “Right Sector” which is banned in Russia”.

Putin threatens the West with NATO ultimatum
by Stephen Blank

This article first appeared on the Atlantic Council site.

As of this writing, the “cessation of hostilities” in Syria has all but collapsed, and thousands of Russian forces are aiding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s campaign to retake Aleppo.

At the same time, the Minsk II agreement between Russia and Ukraine remains, as it always has been, an agreement more honored in the breach than in the observance thereof.

In both cases, it is clear that Moscow never meant to implement the provisions to which it signed on. The cessation of hostilities in Syria never was a true cessation, war continued against Assad’s opponents and Russian President Vladimir Putin is now revealed to have told Assad, "We won’t let you lose.”

Meanwhile, more European elites are saying that we should relieve the sanctions burden on Russia because, after all, Putin is cooperating with the West against terrorism in Syria.

But those who wish to ease or remove sanctions on the grounds of Putin’s alleged cooperation in Syria against terrorists have the burden of proof upon them to demonstrate how this cooperation actually manifests itself and why we should begin a process of dialogue. Putin has made clear that Russia, under his rule, will not and cannot make credible commitments.

At the NATO-Russia Council meeting, Russia’s Ambassador Alexander Grushko delivered an ultimatum to NATO, saying that any move by NATO to enhance its self-defense will be regarded by Russia as a threat that precludes negotiations and will impel Moscow to take its habitual “appropriate responses.” Grushko revealed not only that Moscow sees NATO as a threat, but also that it insists NATO not defend itself, since such moves are inherently provocative.

Here at home, the Obama administration is once again in what appears to be its congenital stance of confusion over Putin’s objectives. U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute said that further NATO expansion is off the table because it will provoke Russia, and that is something the United States does not want to do.

Other than rhetoric, there is no real response to Russia’s ever-escalating provocative behavior and threats to NATO. Putin, it seems, can provoke NATO all he likes; the only effective response is NATO’s enforcement of increasingly self-denying ordinances upon itself and its preemptive surrender to Putin’s agenda.

Pressure from France, Germany and Italy to end or reduce sanctions is mounting. The Europeans aren’t pressing Russia nearly as much to fulfill the cease-fire agreement as they are Ukraine.

The Minsk II agreement does not bind Russia to anything or even accept that Russia has been at war in Ukraine since 2014. It puts the Ukrainian government and the “separatists,” in reality Russian irregulars or regulars dressed up to look like irregulars, as equals and entails Ukraine’s self-declared negation of its own sovereignty over the Donbas.

In other words, to paraphrase and revise Isaiah today, he might prophesy that “the people who are walking in darkness have yet to see a great light.”

While there appears to be a developing consensus that permanent rotational forces will be stationed in NATO’s Eastern European members’ territories, Washington and Berlin, equally fearful of provoking Putin, appear to have vetoed the permanent deployments advocated by Poland and the Baltic states.

Indeed, we still do not have one permanently deployed armored brigade in Europe, which is the minimum requested by General Curtis Scaparrotti, the incoming Supreme Allied Commander of Europe. Before the invasion of Ukraine, Russia possessed a clear military superiority in the Baltic theater, and it is steadily pressing its advantage, thereby creating new divisions and ratcheting up its tempo of exercises and nuclear deployments, as well as its conventional and nuclear procurement.

Even one armored brigade will be useless if a military contingency develops—and Russia’s superiority in artillery, electronic warfare and immense anti-air and anti-ship capabilities in the Baltic and Black Seas have not been mentioned here.

Poland’s Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz claims that the Polish army has been systematically underfunded, and the situation elsewhere in Europe is worse. German army forces stopped exercises recently because regulations prevented them from overtime. Britain’s 2 percent of GDP contribution to NATO has been achieved only by “creative accounting.” And this supposedly provokes Russia?

The fact is that whatever NATO does—indeed, simply its existence—represents a provocation to Russia because Russia, as its official documents explicitly state, presupposes conflict with all of its neighbors regardless of their actual policies. Moreover, it blithely continues to issue these ultimatums to NATO as it openly violates its own commitments.

It is revealing that the Russian spin on the NATO-Russia Council was that it represented NATO’s acknowledgement that it cannot do without Russian cooperation. But for Putin, the dialogue is only a prelude to the pressure to restore unconditionally the EU dialogue and eliminate sanctions while preserving Russian conquests in Ukraine and a free hand in Syria.

Many non-experts should have no trouble by now deciphering Putin’s objectives in Syria and Ukraine. But apparently our governments, consumed by habitual confusion and willful blindness, are still walking in the darkness—and it is quite unlikely that they will have a blinding revelation on the way to this summer’s NATO summit in Warsaw.

Stephen Blank is a Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council.

Putin’s WW3? Russia holds massive nuclear war exercise as military tensions rise with US

RUSSIA is holding a massive evacuation drill for more than 40million people to prepare for nuclear war.

More than 200,000 emergency services personnel and soldiers will use 50,000 pieces of equipment during the massive civil defence exercise.

The former Soviet nation is ramping up fears over nuclear war and blaming the West for the unsettling possibility of a conflict.

As international tension builds following attacks in Syria, Russian state officials are preparing terrified citizens for a nuclear war – which they say would be started by America.

Today’s exercise is being run by EMERCOM, Russia’s Emergencies Ministry.

Civil Defence Department director Oleg Manuilov told Interfax: “Training will be held from October 4 to 7 and will be attended by more than 40 million people, more than 200 thousand professionals rescue units and 50 thousand pieces of equipment.”

The fear that the West is set for war with Russia is being spread throughout media reports and official statements.

One headline on the website Zvezda last week read “Schizophrenics from America are sharpening nuclear weapons for Moscow” – claiming the US wanted to punish Russia over challenges in the Middle East.

EMERCOM announced on Friday that underground shelters which could fit the entire population of Moscow – 12 million – if war broke out.

At a level of constant fear of devastating attacks from America, Moscow has carried out at least two nuclear attack drills since Vladimir Putin became the president again in 2012.

Russia currently has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons with 8,400, and a section of its nuclear doctrine which allows for use of the weapons if there is a vague suggestion of a threat.

America has 7,500 warheads, considerably less.

The Sun
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