Russia's military acted in an "unnecessarily provocative" manner when its aircraft circled a Canadian ship in the Black Sea on Sunday, says Canada's minister of national defence.
"The acts perpetrated by Russia were unnecessarily provocative and are likely to increase tensions further," said Rob Nicholson in a written statement, saying it did not matter if the aircraft circling HMCS Toronto had posed no threat.
The ship was circled by one surveillance plane and two fighter jets, according to the defence minister's office.
The frigate HMCS Toronto left Halifax in late July to replace HMCS Regina, which has been a part of the Standing NATO Maritime Forces since May.
"Canada and its allies are involved in security measures taken by the acts of military aggression perpetrated by the Putin regime and because of the invasion of Ukraine," he said, calling on Russia to stop its "irresponsible actions."
This ship has about 250 crew on board and is participating in Operation Reassurance from Sept. 6 to 27 along with several vessels from other nations.
Hundreds of flights to Asia every week from Britain and other European countries face disruption following a threat by Russia to close its airspace to Western carriers in response to new European Union sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.
The move, which would increase costs for passengers by forcing airlines to revert to more circuitous routes used during the Cold War, was signalled by Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's prime minister, as the EU prepared to publish a detailed list of companies and individuals to face restrictions on their dealings with Europe.
Mr Medvedev told the Vedomosti newspaper: "I hoped that our partners would be smarter. If there are sanctions related to energy, or further limits for our financial sector, we will have to respond asymmetrically.
"We proceed from the fact that we have friendly relations with our partners and that is why the sky over Russia is open for flights. But if they put limits on us we will have to respond."
Today a shaky ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine extended into a third day, despite isolated outbreaks of fighting and exchanges of artillery fire.
Modular blocks used for the construction of Russia's military base in the Arctic have been delivered to Wrangel Island and Cape Schmidt, Colonel Alexander Gordeyev, head of the Eastern Military District’s press service, said Monday.
“The modular blocks for the construction of military stations have been delivered to Wrangel Island and to Cape Schmidt. The complex will be assembled in the form of a star that allows the personnel to move freely inside the construction, limiting exposure to cold temperatures as much as possible,” Gordeyev told journalists.
Two 34-modular administrative-residential complexes will be assembled within a month to support the activities of the Eastern Military District’s Arctic group.
The complex consists of residential, utility and administrative units. It has a gym, a sauna and a psychological relaxation room.
Russia intends to strengthen its position in the Arctic on all fronts: military, political, financial and economic. In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the creation of a new public authority to implement Russian Federation policy in the Arctic.
By the end of 2014, Russia plans to expand its military deployments in the Arctic and by October, 2015 the air defense reconstruction in the Arctic islands should be completed.
Europe's leaders, we assume under pressure from Washington, appear to be making a big weather-related bet with their taxpayers' lives this winter. As they unleash funding sanctions on Russia's big energy producers,Europe has pumped a record volume of natural gas into underground inventories in an effort to 'outlast' Russia and mitigate any Napoleonic "Winter War" scenario. The plan appears to be to starve Russian energy firms of cashflow - as flows to Europe are already plunging - and remove their funding ability, potentially forcing severe hardship on Russia's key economic drivers. There appears to be 3 potential problems with this plan...
So Europe is stocking-up - which makes perfect sense - just in case Russia pulls the plug... but has now taken the situation to "11" on the Spinal Tap amplifier of escalating tensions by planning sanctions on Russia's energy providers.
There appears to be 3 problems with this plan...
1) What if the weather is considerably colder than normal this winter? (i.e. they need more supply)
2) Russia has already committed to supporting the sanctioned firms (and we would hardly be shocked if China chipped in)
The Russian government, according to Bloomberg, is ready to provide 1.5 Trillion rubles financing to Rosneft to support production at current level, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says in Vedomosti interview.
Details, ways of support are under review
Support wouldn’t be in one yr; needed to sustain output because Rosneft is budget’s main taxpayer
3) What happens in Spring? German industrials need energy?
It appears that Putin is a patient man... why not wait till the stockpiles have dwindled, winter is over, and then press...?
It appears Europe's short-term plan to mitigate the "Winter War" may have bigger boomerag consequences than they seem to believe (and bear in mind the consequences of cold, pissed off Europeans in the past).
In perhaps the most openly hostile comments made publicly by a senior Israeli official against former ally Turkey, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Monday said Istanbul, along with Qatar, was openly backing terrorism.
Ya’alon, speaking at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, expressed outrage that the international community would allow nations to back terrorism while remaining full members of respected international organizations such as the UN and, in Turkey’s case, NATO.
“The command center of Hamas’s overseas operations sits in Istanbul. Saleh al-Arouri is the man sitting there,” he said, referring to the senior official who is based in the Turkish capital and enjoys the support of local officials.
So far, more than 3500 people have been infected, nearly half of them in Liberia. The outbreak has taken a particularly heavy toll on health workers. The World Health Organisation announced on Monday that one of its doctors working in Sierra Leone has been infected with Ebola.
Last Thursday, Pope Francis and former Israeli President Shimon Peres met for an extended 45 minute private conversation. The focus of this discussion was a proposal by Peres to establish a “United Nations of Religions”. It was the third meeting between the two men in a little more than four months. As you will see below, Pope Francis showed “his interest, attention, and encouragement” as Peres explained his proposal. Of course Pope Francis didn’t commit to anything, and we probably will not see a “United Nations of Religions” any time soon, but every idea has to start somewhere. If Pope Francis does ultimately decide to actively push for such a thing, could we eventually see a single global body that claims to represent all of the religions of the world?
It is very unusual for a Pope to meet with any world leader three times in just over four months. But it is this latest meeting between Pope Francis and Shimon Peres that was the most noteworthy by far. The following is how Fox Newsreported on it…
Retired Israeli President Shimon Peres has proposed a new global peace initiative to Pope Francis: A “United Nations of Religions,” given that most wars today have religious, not nationalistic, undercurrents.
The Vatican said Peres pitched the initiative during a 45-minute audience Thursday in the Apostolic Palace. The two men last met when Francis invited the then-Israeli president and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to pray for peace together in the Vatican gardens on June 8.
So exactly why does Peres want a “United Nations of Religions”?
Well, according to the Jerusalem Post it is because he believes that such a body would have the best chance of preventing war and violence in the world…
And this is not something that just started recently. Pope Francis has been pushing an ecumenical agenda very hard from the very first moments of his papacy. For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “Pope Francis And The Emerging One World Religion“.
But there is one type of Christian that Pope Francis does not have anything positive to say about.
Pope Francis says that there is not any room for “fundamentalism” in Christianity…
Following his first visit to the Middle East as pope last month, the pontiff criticized fundamentalism in Christianity, Islam and Judaism as a form of violence.
“A fundamentalist group, even if it kills no one, even it strikes no one, is violent. The mental structure of fundamentalism is violence in the name of God.”
But exactly what is “fundamentalism”?
The following is the definition that Google gives when you do a search…
“a form of a religion, especially Islam or Protestant Christianity, that upholds belief in the strict, literal interpretation of scripture.”
So is Pope Francis rejecting those Christians that believe in a strict, literal interpretation of the Bible?
And precisely what is his overall agenda?
Why has he been working so hard to reach out to other major religions all over the planet?