reuters are having a bit of a go at helping the intelligence services today, i think

NATO & Russia set to urge each other to curb ‘unsafe’ Baltic jet maneuvers
Reuters, Jul 12 2017

BRUSSELS – NATO envoys and Russia were set to urge each other at a meeting in Brussels on Thursday to fly warplanes more safely over the Baltic Sea, after the latest intercepts that both sides say involved dangerous pilot maneuvers. At the meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels, NATO ambassadors will press Moscow for Russian pilots to file flight plans, respond to air traffic control or identify themselves with cockpit transponders. A NATO official said of Russian pilots:

There have been a series of unsafe intercepts. Risk reduction remains a concern.

The Kremlin says all Russian flights over the Baltic are conducted in strict accordance with international law. Wrangling in the Baltic Sea between Moscow and the Western alliance is intensifying. In June, Russia scrambled a jet to intercept a nuclear-capable Pindo B-52 bomber it said was flying over the Baltic, in an incident that had echoes of the Cold War. NATO said last month it tracked three Russian aircraft over the sea, including two jets which it said did not respond to air traffic control or requests to identify themselves. Russia says the incident involved a NATO F-16 fighter jet buzzing a plane carrying Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu as it flew over the Baltic and that the F-16 was seen off by a Russian Sukhoi-27 military jet. The NATO-Russia Council, the forum bringing together NATO ambassadors and Russia’s top diplomat to NATO, is seen as a means to prevent tensions escalating, even when joint exercises and peacekeeping have been suspended. At the meeting, Russia’s envoy to the alliance, Alexander Grushko, is expected to discuss the issue, as well as the conflict in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 10,000 people since Apr 2014. NATO accuses Moscow of direct support for the separatists and for supplying weapons and troops. Russia denies any involvement and says the conflict is more akin to a civil war. The meeting of the Council is only the fifth since the crisis in Ukraine halted regular talks in 2014 and is also set to discuss planned military exercises in the coming months. Russia and Belarus aim to hold joint war games in September that some NATO allies believe could number more than 100,000 troops and involve nuclear weapons training, the biggest such exercise since 2013.

(Now for some serious espionage. This version of the story corrects headline to make clear equipment “appeared to be” turbines, cos they tried to put a man inside, but the commies got him, so they can’t absolutely swear the things are turbines, they might be atom bombs. Extra unofficial secret agents for the empire: Anastasia Lyrchikova and Gleb Stolyarov in Moscow and Georgina Prodhan in Frankfurt. Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Philippa Fletcher – RB)

Exclusive: Russia appears to deliver more turbines to Crimea – Reuters witnesses
Anton Zverev, Reuters, Jul 12 2017

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 11.02.08

FEODOSIA, Crimea – Two more gas turbines appear to have been delivered to Russian-controlled Crimea, according to two Reuters reporters who saw the equipment at the port of Feodosia, potentially deepening a row over sanctions compliance in which Germany’s Siemens has become embroiled. Reuters has no independent confirmation the equipment on the dock was Siemens-made turbines. It comprised four cylindrical objects, several meters long, and covered with blue and gray tarpaulins. Their dimensions and shape match publicly available photographs of Siemens gas turbine systems, which each consist of two major components: the turbine itself and a generator. Siemens said earlier this week that at least two of a total of four turbines it sold to Russian state firm Technopromexport had been delivered to Crimea against its wishes and without its knowledge. Russia seized the region from Ukraine in 2014 and it is now subject to European sanctions on energy technology. The German company filed a lawsuit against Technopromexport in Moscow on Tuesday requiring it to return the turbines to their original destination, Taman, Munich-based spokesman Wolfram Trost said. Taman, in southern Russia, is not subject to sanctions. On Wednesday, Yashar Azad, a spokesman for Siemens at its Bavarian headquarters, said the company was still trying to establish all the facts, including the location of the two other turbines and had nothing to add to its previous statements. Technopromexport, the Russian state company building the Crimean power plants, and Russia’s energy ministry, declined to comment. Asked if the pieces of equipment at the port were Siemens turbines, a commie boxtop in Crimea who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue told Reuters:

Come on, we can’t talk about that! You understand, sanctions! Siemens! Of course, this whole story is going to come out, but let it come out without us!

If the equipment that arrived in Feodosia are Siemens-made, it would show that Russia is pressing ahead with its plan despite the Siemens lawsuit and a warning this week from the German government that the use of Siemens turbines in Crimea could harm future German investment in Russia.

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 11.03.43

In the early hours of Thursday morning, two low-loader trucks carrying two of the pieces of equipment emerged from the port and set off in the direction of the Crimean city of Simferopol. Russia plans to install Siemens turbines at a power plant under construction in Simferopol, three sources close to the project told Reuters earlier this month. The slow-moving convoy was escorted by police vehicles, and police officers in body armor walked alongside the trucks on either side. Police and state security agents prevented a Reuters journalist from following the convoy. The turbines affair has shone a harsh spotlight on how serious the EU, its member states, and European companies are about enforcing the sanctions, imposed on Russia after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Siemens said on Monday it did everything possible to ensure compliance with sanctions. Russia needs four turbines in total for new power stations on the Crimean peninsula, which Ukraine cut from its electricity grid after it lost control, according to three people close to the project who spoke to Reuters.

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 11.10.59

Two of the turbines are for a power plant under construction in the city of Sevastopol, and the other two for a plant being built in Simferopol, they said. On Tuesday, workers could be seen around the equipment at Feodosia port dressed in blue uniforms. Reuters reporters had observed the same uniforms on workers at Crimea’s Simferopol and Sevastopol power stations, where, according to the three sources, Siemens-made turbines are to be installed. Armed men stood at the entrance to the port and prevented the Reuters reporters from entering. On Wednesday evening, a large convoy of police cars and jeeps arrived at the port and one of the sets of equipment was then driven out under escort. Pres Putin promised the region’s residents last year that he would ensure a stable power supply. Siemens has said the two turbines it has confirmed had been transferred to Crimea had been among four sold to Technopromexport for use in a power plant in Taman. Taman is on the Russian mainland 10 km east of Crimea across the Kerch Strait. A source close to the Crimea power plants project told Reuters last week on condition of anonymity that the plan was to deliver the second set of two turbines produced by Siemens to Feodosia port this month.

Kaspersky Lab says it has become pawn in Pindo-Russian geopolitical game
Katya Golubkova, Denis Pinchuk, Reuters, Jul 12 2017

MOSCOW – Russian cyber-security firm Kaspersky Lab, reacting to a Pindosi government move restricting its activities, said on Wednesday it had fallen victim to Pindo-Russian global sparring, while the Kremlin criticized the Pindosi action as politically motivated. The Trump administration on Tuesday removed the Moscow-based firm from two lists of approved vendors used by government agencies to purchase technology equipment, amid concerns its products could be used by the Kremlin to gain entry into Pindosi networks. RIA Novosti quoted the company’s press service as saying:

By all appearances, Kaspersky Lab happened to be dragged into a geopolitical fight where each side is trying to use the company as a pawn in its game.

Company head Eugene Kaspersky has more than once proposed meeting Pindo boxtops and has offered to testify to the Pindo Congress “to respond to all questions from the Pindo government that may arise,” it was quoted as saying. Kaspersky products have been removed from the Pindosi General Services Administration’s list of vendors for contracts that cover information technology services and digital photographic equipment, an agency spox said in a statement. GSA’s priorities “are to ensure the integrity and security of Pindo government systems and networks,” the spox said. Government agencies will still be able to use Kaspersky products purchased separately from the GSA contract process. The Kremlin said on Tuesday it regretted the move against Kaspersky Lab. Kremlin spox Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters:

We certainly believe that this is a politicized decision. This is an absolutely commercial company which provides commercial services which are not only competitive but are super-competitive globally. Russia as a state will continue to spare no effort to protect the interests of our companies abroad.

Kaspersky’s anti-virus software is popular in Pindostan and around the world, and the firm has been a leading player in the cyber-security market for decades.Pindosi Congress critturs have raised concerns that Moscow might use the firm’s products to attack Pindo computer networks, a particularly sensitive issue given allegations by Pindo intelligence agencies that Russia hacked and leaked emails of Demagog political groups to interfere in the 2016 election.

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