While US involvement is officially limited to training, the sending in of special forces and support to Ukraine’s National Guard, mercenaries and private security operatives on contract the Pentagon and NATO have also been deployed within the ranks of the Ukraine military and National Guard in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.
On Friday, December 12, a Russian military jet has allegedly been involved in a near-mid-air- collision with a civilian airliner in Swedish airspace. Scandinavian and Russian officials have since been engaged in a barrage of claims and counterclaims. Some Scandinavian media provide detailed and sensationalized reports. Calls to Copenhagen Airport and the Danish and Swedish air traffic controllers led to the conclusion that these reports, in the absence of evidence, must be considered as being fabricated. Are some Scandinavian journalists and media complicit in a NATO propaganda campaign aimed at implementing a no fly zone for Russian military planes over the Baltic to further encircle Russia?
The Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hulquist responded to the alleged near-mid-air-collision on Swedish television. Hulquist accused the Russian Air Force for an alleged near-mid-air collision with a civilian airliner that had entered Swedish airspace immediately after takeoff from Kastrup airport, located near the Danish capital Copenhagen. Finland’s Transportation Minister Paula Risikko told Finland’s news agency STT on Sunday, that there was a need to discuss the Russian military planes and air safety over the Baltic. Hulquist would add that the Swedish Air Force has identified the Russian jet
The Swedish daily Aftonbladed would quote the Swedish flight-leader and press spokesman Roland Sandelin as saying that the Russian plane was near invisible because it had turned off its transponder and that this suggested “secretiveness”. Denmark’s television channel TV-2 would quote Swedish Air Force Chief Micael Bydén as saying that the two planes would have come pretty close to each other had one of them not changed course. TV-2 would publish a sensationalized report on the TV-channel’s website, claiming that there were no more than 90 meters separation between a Scandinavian Airlines SAS jet and the Russian military jet.
The spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Major General Igor Konashenkov refuted the allegations. The Russian Tass news agency quoted Konashenkov as saying: “No prerequisites existed for an accident related to the flight of a Russian war-plane in the international airspace over the Baltic Sea on Friday, December 12. .. The flight was strictly in compliance with international air space rules, not violating borders of other countries and at a safe distance from traffic routes of civilian aircraft. … Flights of NATO war-planes which have become more than threefold more intensive in the last few months are always made with switched-off transponder.” Later Russian reports would add that a NATO surveillance aircraft had flown between the civilian airliner and the Russian military jet.
It is noteworthy that the alleged near-mid-air collision incident comes against the backdrop of NATO’s increased presence in Poland, the Baltic and the Scandinavian countries as well as NATO’s eastwards expansion in Ukraine. Earlier this year NATO decided to increase its patrol flights over the Baltic. Considering the strategic vulnerability of Russia’s port and naval base in Kaliningrad, Russia has, much to the discomfort of the Scandinavian countries and NATO, increased its air patrols too. The political tensions and the strategic posturing does, indeed, pose an increased risk to civilian air-traffic in the region. Sensationalized reports about “invisible planes” and “no more than 90 meters separation” appear to be fabricated propaganda aimed at creating the political context for the implementation of a no fly zone for Russian military planes over the Baltic in violation of international law
German companies doing business with Russia are suffering from the weak ruble, as one in three companies will have to fire employees or cancel its projects, the managing director of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce warned.
“The crisis of the Russian economy leaves behind an even deeper brake track in Russia-based ventures of German businessmen,” Volker Treier said in an interview with Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
The managing director of International Economic Affairs at the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) revealed that “one in eight companies is considering withdrawing from Russia. So the breach in so many business relations is imminent.”
According to Treier, the weak Russian currency is hurting German businesses. Ten percent of German companies have said that their long-term Russian partners are turning away from Europe toward Asian markets.
“Thirty-six percent of companies assume that they have to cancel their projects,” he cited the results of the poll, recently carried out by the German Chamber of Commerce in Russia among almost 300 German companies.
This data was backed up by Eckhard Cordes, chairman of Germany’s Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations. “At the moment, I expect a 20 percent fall of German exports to Russia by the end of 2014,” he told Handelsblatt newspaper Friday.
Cordes added that things are unlikely to improve next year. "I generally cautioned against Schadenfreude,” he said, referring to the notion of taking pleasure at someone else’s misfortune.
In neighboring Austria, views on the current economic situation are quite similar – and there is little support for the further tightening of sanctions against Russia.
“I cannot agree with the euphoria of many in the EU about the success of sanctions against Russia,”Österreich newspaper cited Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann as saying Sunday. “I see no reason for celebration. I do not know why we should be glad when the Russian economy collapses.”
“The weakening Russian economy is going to hurt primarily Europe, which trades quite heavily with Russia and it’s going to hurt smaller manufacturers and farmers - … the common person,” Gerald Celente, publisher of The Trends Journal and economic analyst told RT. “And who’s slowing down the most? It’s Europe. They have negative interest rates in Europe. That’s how bad it is.”
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