Later this month, Russia' Strategic Missile Troops, the branch of the armed forces which operates the country's mobile land-based nuclear-armed ICBMS, will roll out ten mobile missile regiments for drills. Military analyst Andrei Kotz explains what message the obvious show of force is meant to send.
Earlier this week, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that ten Strategic Missile Forces regiments (i.e. up to 90 mobile Topol-M and RS-24 Yars ground-based intercontinental ballistic missile launchers) would begin drilling later this month. The elite units will practice everything from movement, to prepping launch positions, to 'maskirovka', a term describing the use of camouflage, denial and deception to thwart the prospective adversary's attempts at aerial reconnaisance and sabotage.
"In the second half of June, missile regiments will begin exercises in field positions in the Tver, Novosibirsk, Sverdlovsk, Kirov, Irkutsk and Ivanovo regions," the MoD's press service confirmed.
And while the MoD says that the drills are routine, and part of summer training involving all branches of the service, military analyst and RIA Novosti contributor Andrei Kotz suggested that the maneuvers could also be interpreted as a show of strength, particularly given the present international situation.
The scale of the drills is serious enough. A single Topol-M launcher carries a lone 800 kiloton warhead, but its design also enables it to deploy multiple warheads, using what's known as a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV). As for the RS-24 Yars, that system is MIRV equipped from the get-go, with each missile containing at least 4 MIRVs, each armed with 150-250 kiloton warheads. In other words, the drills taking place later this month will involve units which are hypothetically capable of launching hundreds of Russia's deadliest and most advanced nuclear missiles.
According to Kotz, the upcoming exercises may be a response to US and NATO activity along Russia's western borders.
For example, the journalist recalled that just last week, Russian Su-27 fighters had to scramble twice to intercept US B-52 and B-1B Lancer bombers in the Baltic Sea. Each time, the Pentagon said the bombers were carrying out routine flights, as part of NATO's BaltOps naval drills (a large-scale, 14 nation exercise involving 55 aircraft, 50 surface ships and subs).
Kotz pointed out that routine or not, it's no secret that the B-52 and the B-1B are the backbone of the air component of the US nuclear triad. Each plane is capable of carrying ALCM AGM-86 nuclear cruise missiles, which feature a 200 kiloton warhead and have a range of over 2,500 km. This, the journalist stressed, is "more than enough to cover the major cities in the western part of Russia, beginning from the Baltic coast of Estonia." In other words, "it's no surprise that the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces promptly scrambled fighters to escort the US bombers; leaving such targets unattended would simply be foolish."
Earlier this week, Polish President Andrej Duda said that he intends to discuss increasing the US military presence in his country with US President Donald Trump next month. This may include talks on expanding the US missile defense system components presently being deployed in the Eastern European country.
Warsaw's announcement comes amid what is already an unprecedented expansion of the US and NATO presence in Eastern Europe. Last week, Yuri Shvitkin, the deputy chairman of the Russian Duma's Committee on Defense, confirmed that Russia would be forced to respond to any further expansion of NATO's presence in Poland.
"We have repeatedly stated that we will not ignore the strengthening of various contingents by the NATO Bloc…Of course, countermeasures will be taken," Shvitkin stressed.
One of these 'countermeasures', according to Kotz, probably includes the large-scale exercises involving Russia's Missile Forces scheduled for later this month. The military observer recalled that the last major strategic missile maneuvers were held back in March; in those drills, nine regiments were involved. Those drills had coincided with the US deployment of its THAAD missile defense system in South Korea, and amid the latest sharp exchanges between US and Russian diplomats over Washington's ongoing construction of its missile defense system in Poland and Romania.
In other words, the Strategic Missile Forces and their Topol-M and Yars missile systems seem to have their own 'diplomatic' note to play in at least checking excessive US and NATO ambitions.
"The main advantage of the Topol-M and Yars mobile ground missile systems is their mobility," Kotz explained. "In case of the threat of full-scale war, they go on combat patrol, and get 'lost' to enemy satellites and spies in the vast expanses of Russia. It becomes nearly impossible to track them."
"In addition, counter-sabotage units attached to each missile regiment will also take part in the maneuvers. During the exercises, they will carry out the tasks of locating, blocking and destroying saboteurs, using the Typhoon-M armored vehicles recently adopted into service and unmanned aerial vehicles," Kotz noted.
First, it was the Hungarian route. Then it was the Balkan route. Now Italy is the epicenter of this demographic earthquake, and it has become Europe's soft underbelly as hundreds of thousands of migrants arrive.
With nearly 10,000 arrivals in one recent three-day period, the number of migrants in 2017 exceeded 60,000 -- 48% more than the same period last year, when they were 40,000. Over Easter weekend a record 8,000 migrants were rescued in the Mediterranean and brought to Italy. And that is just the tip of the iceberg: during the summer, the number of arrivals from Libya will only increase.
A replacement of population is under way in Italy. But if you open the mainstream newspapers, you barely find these figures. No television station has dedicated any time to what is happening. No criticism is allowed. The invasion is considered a done deal.
In 2016, 176,554 migrants landed in Italy -- an eight-fold increase since 2014. In 2015, there were 103,792. In 2014, there were 66,066. In 2013, there were just 22,118. In the last four years, 427,000 migrants reached Italy. In only the first five months of this year, 2017, Italy received 10% of the total number of migrants of the last four years.
There are days when the Italian navy and coast guard rescue 1,700 migrants in 24 hours. The country is exhausted. There are Italian villages where one-tenth of the population is already made up of new migrants. We are talking about small towns of 220 residents and 40 migrants.
One of the major aspects of this demographic revolution is that it is taking place in a country which is dramatically aging. According with a new report from the Italian Office of Statistics, Italy's population will fall to 53.7 million in half a century -- a loss of seven million people. Italy, which has one of the world's lowest fertility rates, will lose between 600,000 to 800,000 citizens every year. Immigrants will number more than 14 million, about one-fourth of the total population. But in the most pessimistic scenario, the Italian population could drop to 46 million, a loss of 14 million people.
In 2050, a third of Italy's population will be made up of foreigners, according to a UN report, "Replacement Migration: Is It a Solution to Decline and Aging Populations", which designs a cultural melting-pot that could explode in cultural and social tensions. The level of arrivals will fall from 300,000 to 270,000 individuals per year by 2065; during the same period, it is expected that 14.4 million people will arrive. Added to the more than five million immigrants currently in Italy, 37% of the population is expected to be foreigners: more than one out of every three inhabitants.
In addition, the humanitarian-aid system has been hit by new scandals. "The investigative hypothesis to be verified is that subjects linked to ISIS act as logistical support to migration flows", was a warning just delivered in front of the Schengen Committee, to the Italian anti-mafia and counterterrorism prosecutor, Franco Roberti. There are now judges investigating the connection between the migrants' smugglers in North Africa and the Italian NGOs rescuing them in the Mediterranean. People-smugglers bring the migrants to the NGOs' ships, which then reach Italian seaports. Another legal enquiry has been opened about the mafia's economic interests in managing the migrants after their arrival.
Only 2.65 percent of those migrants who arrived in Italy were granted asylum as genuine refugees, according to the United Nations. The other people are apparently not fleeing wars and genocide. Yet, despite all this evidence, one cannot compare the migrants to the Jews fleeing Nazism. Pope Francis, for example, recently compared the migrants' centers to Nazi "concentration camps". One wonders where are the gas chambers, medical "experiments," crematoria, slave labor, forced marches and firing squads. Italian newspapers are now running articles about the "Mediterranean Holocaust", comparing the migrants dead by trying to reach the southern of Italy to the Jews gassed in Auschwitz. Another journalist, Gad Lerner, to support the migrants, described their condition with the same word coined by the Nazis against the Jews: untermensch, inferior human beings. These comparisons are spread by the media for a precise reason: shutting down the debate.
To understand how shameful these comparisons are, we have to take a look at the cost of every migrant to Italy's treasury. Immigrants, once registered, receive a monthly income of 900 euros per month (30 euros per day for personal expenses). Another 900 euros go to the Italians who house them. And 600 euros are needed to cover insurance costs. Overall, every immigrant costs to Italy 2,400 euros a month. A policeman earns half of that sum. And a naval volunteer who saves the migrants receives a stipend of 900 euros a month. Were the Nazis so kind with their Jewish untermenschen?
The cost of migrants on Italy's public finances is already immense and it will destroy the possibility of any economic growth. "The overall impact on the Italian budget for migrant spending is currently quantified at 2.6 billion [euros] for 2015, expected to be 3.3 billion for 2016 and 4.2 for 2017, in a constant scenario", explains the Ministry of the Economy. If one wants to put this in proportion, these numbers give a clearer idea of how much Italy is spending in this crisis: in 2017, the government is spending 1.9 billion euros for pensions, but 4.2 billion euros for migrants, and 4.5 billion euros for the national housing plan against 4.2 billion euros for migrants.
The Italian cultural establishment is now totally focused on supporting this mass migration. The Italian film nominated at the Academy Awards last year is Fire at Sea, in which the main character is a doctor treating the migrants upon their arrival. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi carried with him 27 DVDs of the film to a session of the European Council. Italy's commercial television channels produced many television programs about the migrants, such as "Lampedusa", from the name of the Italian island. 100,000 Italians even took the streets of Milan for a "rally of solidarity" with the migrants. What "solidarity" can there be if half a million people have been rescued by the Italian government and the whole country seems determined to open its doors to all of North Africa?
Winston Churchill was convinced that the Mediterranean was the "soft underbelly" of Hitler's Europe. It has now become the soft underbelly of Europe's transformation into Eurabia.
ITALY: Government orders small towns to find space to house and feed 250,000 African Muslim freeloaders in 2017
ITALY: Government orders small towns to find space to house and feed 250,000 African Muslim freeloaders in 2017
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