Wars and Rumors of Wars

China blames Vietnam for sea collisions, but calls for talks

China blames Vietnam for sea collisions, but calls for talks

(Reuters) - China accused Vietnam on Thursday of intentionally colliding with its ships in the South China Sea, but called for talks to end a bitter row sparked by Beijing’s parking of a giant oil rig in contested waters. A senior foreign ministry official in Beijing demanded that Vietnam withdraw its ships after its southern neighbor asserted that Chinese vessels used water… Read more →

Video: Huge build-up of tanks, artillery, missile systems near Slavyansk

Video posted online reveals that Ukrainian tanks and armored vehicles have been stationed en masse around the Donetsk region city of Slavyansk.

Russian Strategic Bombers Flying Along California Cost

Russian Strategic Bombers Flying Along California Cost

The Associated Press reported Monday that Gen. Herbert Carlisle, Commander of United States Air Forces in the Pacific, acknowledged a significant increase in the activities by Russian long-range strategic aircraft flying along the California coast. There was no comment about whether the aircraft were nuclear capable, but it has not been since the Cold War ended in the early 1990s that Russian… Read more →

Deadly fighting escalates in Odessa amid Ukraine crisis

Report: Syria expects to receive first batch of fighter jets from Russia

Report: Syria expects to receive first batch of fighter jets from Russia

Russia is planning on delivering the first batch of Yak-130 fighter jets to its ally Syria by the end of 2014, reported al-Arabiya on Monday. Russian media reported that Russia intends to deliver a total of 36 jets as per a previously signed contract. A previous report stated that Syria had made an advanced payment of $100 million to Russia… Read more →

Odessa Jewish community mulls emergency evacuation

Odessa’s Jews are prepared to evacuate should the violence in the western Ukrainian city get significantly worse, several community leaders told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

Odessa’s Jewish community numbers some 30,000, down from nearly 40 percent of the city’s population before the Holocaust.

Running street battles between pro-Russian and nationalist forces claimed dozens of lives in the Black Sea port this weekend, culminating in the burning of dozens of pro-Russian protesters in the city’s trade union building on Friday evening.

The Odessa bloodshed came on the same day that Kiev launched its biggest push yet to reassert its control over separatist areas in the east, hundreds of kilometers away, where armed pro-Russian rebels have proclaimed a “People’s Republic of Donetsk.”

While Jewish community leaders are unanimous in asserting that the violence is unconnected to the Jewish community and that they do not feel specially targeted, they agreed that, should the situation deteriorate, it would be easy for the spillover to affect their constituents.

According to Rabbi Refael Kruskal – the head of the Tikva organization, which runs a network of orphanages and schools and provides social services to the city’s elderly – several of the wounded from Friday’s clashes were Jews, and the community is taking all necessary precautions.

“Over the weekend we closed the [Great Choral] Synagogue,” Kruskal said. “We took all the students out of the center of the city where the violence was, because we were worried it was going to spread. We sent a text message to everybody in the community on WhatsApp that they should stay at home over the weekend.”

While the synagogue, which is located close to the site of Friday’s clashes, was reopened Sunday morning, Kruskal said he planned on closing it again later in the day.

The Jewish community, he added, is hunkering down and trying to ride out the storm.

“When there is shooting in the streets, the first plan is to take [the children] out of the center of the city,” Kruskal said. “If it gets worse, then we’ll take them out of the city. We have plans to take them both out of the city and even to a different country if necessary, plans which we prefer not to talk about which we have in place.”

Fearful of further “provocations” on Friday, which marks the anniversary of Soviet Russia’s victory over Germany in the Second World War, Kruskal said that he was considering renting a holiday camp to house 600 Jews away from the fighting he expects next week.

“The next weekend is going to be very violent,” he said.

While other communal leaders are more sanguine, all have evacuation plans in place.

 

The Jerusalem Post has the full article

Odessa Horror: How clashes turned into massacre

Ukraine crisis: funerals for Odessa fire victims held

Brutal clashes in Donetsk: Riot police stoned and punched by pro-Russian separatists

RT reporter trapped in Slavyansk amid deadly military op

Ukraine detains Russian military attaché for spying

Ukraine detains Russian military attaché for spying

(Reuters) - Ukraine ordered the expulsion of Russia’s military attaché, saying it had caught him “red-handed” receiving classified information on the country’s cooperation with NATO during an armed uprising Kiev says is directed from Moscow. The Foreign Ministry said on Thursday the diplomat had been detained a day earlier and declared persona non grata. Ukraine’s security service said he was a Russian… Read more →

Tibi Ram: The Holocaust Survivor Who Fought in Every Israeli War

During the Holocaust Ze’ev Tibi Ram lost his whole family. He survived Auschwitz, a labour camp, and Bergen-Belsen. After being separated from his mother and eventually finding her at the end of the war, she disappeared and Tibi never saw her again. His brother survived until the end of the war, but died shortly after.

Now, Tibi gives lectures to soldiers about the holocaust and his extensive military experience. He is also the proud grandfather of an IDF soldier.

Ukraine crisis: Mayor of second city Gennady Kernes fights for life after murder attempt is blamed on Kremlin

The day began with the police station and administration building  Konstantinovska being  overrun; next the airport at Kramatorsk was attacked with rocket propelled grenades and then the mayor of Kharkiv was shot in the back. It ended in a vicious ambush on a demonstration in Donetsk. While America and the European Union impose new sanctions on Russia, violence and turmoil continues unabated in  eastern Ukraine.

The attempted murder of Gennady Kernes, the mayor of the country’s second-largest city, raised fears that prominent public figures were being targeted for assassination. Last night he was “fighting for his life”, said his spokesman, after emergency surgery, with blame for the shooting leveled at both the Kremlin and extreme right wing groups.

Mr Kernes, a colourful character who regularly posted photographs of himself on social media taking part in sporting activities, was gunned down while he was out cycling, jogging, or swimming according to differing accounts of what took place. Valeriy Boyko, the director of Surgery institute in Kiev, where he was being treated, said the mayor “had suffered a very serious wound with a number of organs damaged”.

The 64-year-old billionaire businessman had been a fervent supporter of Victor Yanukovych, the overthrown president, and a fierce critic of  Kiev’s Maidan, banning similar protests in Kharkiv under an emergency order which had been put in place to “avoid the spread of infectious diseases”.

Since then, however, he had sought to distance himself from Mr Yanukovych’s coterie and spoken out for a united Ukraine and those who want to take the region under Moscow’s rule. Zurab Alasania, the director general of the state-run National Television Company, charged: “The Russian Federation is identifying and liquidating key centres of resistance”. However, Sergey Borodkin, a separatist leader in Donbass who had been working with sympathisers in Kharkiv, dismissed the claim: “He was close to Yanukovych, he was against the Maidan, the fascists there hated him. We know that members of Right Sector [an ultra nationalist group] visited Kharkiv three weeks ago to plan attacks.”

Pro-Russian officials said Mr Kernes had made a public statement that he was being subjected to “political persecution”, adding that Arsen Avakov, Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, could be linked to threats against Mr Kernes and the attack on him.

There is no evidence that Mr Avakov has any link to Monday’s shooting. The two men have, however, clashed in the past with Mr Avakov accusing Mr Kernes, to whom he lost the mayoral race in 2010, of organising gangs to attack Maidan protestors in Kiev.

There were other possible motives mooted for the attempt to kill him. Mr Kernes, who has convictions for theft and fraud, was allegedly linked in the past to organised crime. He is also one of the most prominent Jews in the country; there has been rise in anti-semitism recently, but the mayor’s colleagues say he had not received any threats on religious grounds.

Kharkiv has been relatively stable in recent weeks after some initial clashes between pro and anti-Russian demonstrators. The unraveling of security there would impose massive strains on the already stretched resources of the Kiev administration as it attempts to cope with the confrontation in the Donbass.

Kramatorsk airport, where the government’s anti-terrorist mission to take back a dozen protester-held towns and cities is based, came under fire by fighters using rocket propelled grenades and Kalashnikovs. Two service personnel were injured: a number of officers seen as crucial for planning future operations were immediately relocated, some back to Kiev.

This was the second attack in four days on the airport. A helicopter-gunship was destroyed in a previous one and senior officers are considering whether the location is safe enough to be such a crucial hub. The owner of the airport, Dmitri Podushkin, who had been present during both attacks, said: “The first one was like watching a film, this one was very real. They will try to keep on hitting this place and there is always the possibility that there will be casualties. Of course, we are very worried about the future. Planes can still fly from here, but the civil side of the airport has ceased to function.”

 

The Independent has the full article




Pentagon: Russian spy ship operating near US

Pentagon: Russian spy ship operating near US

A Russian intelligence-gathering ship has been operating off the U.S. East Coast and near the Gulf of Mexico for the past month, the Pentagon said Thursday. “We are aware that the Russian ships Viktor Leonov and Nikolay Chiker are currently operating in waters that are beyond U.S. territorial seas but near Cuba,” said Lt. Col. Tom Crosson, a Pentagon spokesman…. Read more →