Both NATO and the United States have publicly acknowledged that Russia is violating the newest cease-fire over Ukraine, which was recently concluded in Minsk, Belarus. Despite the agreement, Moscow is still sending tanks, armored vehicles, rocket technology and artillery to separatist elements inside Ukraine, and has moved on to occupy the strategically located railroad terminal of Debaltseve. Moscow’s continuing military buildup in the Donbass region, and the outbreak of renewed fighting, strongly suggests that Russia does not seek an off-ramp out of Ukraine but intends to conquer still more Ukrainian territory.
Where is Russia heading? Many fear that Russia may next move on the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, in order to cut Ukraine off from the Crimean coast and continue building President Vladimir Putin’s so-called “New Russia” project.… Seguir leyendo »
Today the world continues to focus on Moscow’s brazen aggression in Ukraine and its blatant disregard for international law. However, Russia’s imperial delusions and energy dependence are also creating major problems elsewhere in the world, including in the Arctic — a vast, energy-rich region where the Kremlin has both great ambitions and is pursuing dangerous policies.
Despite its superpower pretensions, Russia remains a poorly developed state with a unidimensional economy that is extremely dependent on oil and natural gas, and saddled with often difficult-to-access energy deposits costing billions to exploit. An increasingly stagnant economy has only widened the disconnect between Moscow’s ambitions and its economic capabilities.… Seguir leyendo »
You may have missed it, but on Aug. 14 Russia fired an economic shot across the bow of Ukraine. On that day, Russia’s customs office ordered intensive checks on all Ukrainian goods entering Russia, effectively imposing a de facto ban. This could have ended up costing Ukraine as much as $2.5 billion in lost trade by the end of the year.
The action appeared to catch Ukraine by surprise. No official reason was given for it, but then Moscow rarely gives reasons for imposing sanctions on other states.
After some undisclosed discussions between Russia and Ukraine — and a European Union reprimand on Aug.… Seguir leyendo »
Iran’s capture of an American drone compels us to revisit some difficult, unwelcome but fundamental security issues. If Iran downed a sophisticated U.S. drone, as it claims, that would represent a monumental Iranian intelligence coup in learning how to override the drone’s command-and-control system and then guide it safely down to earth. That conclusion, if true, would force a rethinking of the U.S. intelligence campaign against Iran and, quite possibly, in Afghanistan, as it is likely Iran would share the secret with the Taliban, whom it has helped in the past.
If, however, the drone malfunctioned, as the Obama administration maintains and is more likely, Iran probably will learn those secrets with the help of Russian and Chinese technicians.… Seguir leyendo »