25 Tishrei 5777
Russia beefs up Baltic Fleet amid NATO tensions: reports
Russia is sharply upgrading the firepower of its Baltic Fleet by adding warships armed with long-range cruise missiles to counter NATO's build-up in the region, Russian media reported on Wednesday.
There was no official confirmation from Moscow, but the reports will raise tensions in the Baltic, already heightened since Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, and cause particular alarm in Poland and Lithuania which border Russia's base there.
The reported deployment comes as NATO is planning its biggest military build-up on Russia's borders since the Cold War to deter possible Russian aggression.
Russia's daily Izvestia newspaper cited a military source as saying that the first two of five ships, the Serpukhov and the Zeleny Dol, had already entered the Baltic Sea and would soon become part of a newly formed division in Kaliningrad, Russia's European exclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania.
Another source familiar with the situation told the Interfax news agency that the two warships would be joining the Baltic Fleet in the coming days.
"With the appearance of two small missile ships armed with the Kalibr cruise missiles the Fleet's potential targeting range will be significantly expanded in the northern European military theater," the source told Interfax.
Russia's Defence Ministry, which said earlier this month the two ships were en route to the Mediterranean, did not respond to a request for comment, but NATO and the Swedish military confirmed the two warships had entered the Baltic.
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Russia withdraws request to refuel battle group heading to bomb Aleppo, after intervention from Spain's foreign ministry
Spain’s government has announced that the flotilla of Russian warships heading towards Syria will not be refuelling at the Spanish port of Ceuta after an international outcry.
...Spain regularly refuels Russian warships at the North African port, which it says is not covered by Nato treaties. At least 60 Russian military craft have made technical stops at the Spanish enclave since April 2010, when the naval base was opened up to serve ships from other nations.
Sir Gerald Howarth MP, a former Defence Minister, said it would be “wholly inappropriate” for a Nato member to refuel the Russian vessels.
He said: “Spain is a member of Nato and Nato is already facing challenges from Russia, not least in the Baltics.
He went on: “The Russians stand accused of indiscriminate bombing in Aleppo and Syria and it would be inappropriate to render them military assistance.”
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Britain, U.S. sending planes, troops to deter Russia in the east
Britain said on Wednesday it will send fighter jets to Romania next year and the United States promised troops, tanks and artillery to Poland in NATO's biggest military build-up on Russia's borders since the Cold War.
Germany, Canada and other NATO allies also pledged forces at a defense ministers meeting in Brussels on the same day two Russian warships armed with cruise missiles entered the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Denmark, underscoring East-West tensions.
In Madrid, the foreign ministry said Russia had withdrawn a request to refuel three warships in Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta after NATO allies said they could be used to target civilians in Syria.
The ships were part of an eight-ship carrier battle group - including Russia's sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov - that is expected to join around 10 other Russian vessels already off the Syrian coast, diplomats said.
U.K. to Send Formidable Force to Eastern Europe
Defense Secretary Michael Fallon says the U.K. will deploy tanks and drones with troops amid NATO worries about Russia
Putin promises ‘confrontation’ if Clinton keeps up Russia talk
Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a veiled threat to Hillary Clinton, saying his country will engage in “confrontation” with the US if she continues to provoke the Motherland, according to a new report.
Putin, 64, accused the Democratic presidential nominee of putting forth continued “harsh rhetoric” and “threats” against Russia for her own political gain, The Daily Star reported.
“Jeopardizing Russian-American relations in order to gain brownie points internally – I consider this to be harmful and counterproductive, Putin recently told reporters in Russia.
“It’s not funny anymore. If somebody out there wants confrontation. This is not our choice but this means that there will be problems,” Putin warned.