rick rozoff

Putin, Azerbaijan’s Aliyev discuss Nagorno-Karabakh situation — Kremlin
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Jun 23 2021

The presidents reaffirmed their mutual intention to continue boosting the Russian-Azerbaijani strategic partnership while discussing the current issues on the bilateral agenda

Russia summons British defense attaché over Black Sea provocation
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Jun 23 2021

The Russian Defense Ministry announced that one of its nation’s border guard ships fired warning shots at, while a Su-24M bomber performed preventive bombing near, a British warship, the destroyer Defender, in the Black Sea today. The Defense Ministry issued this statement:

At 11:52 on June 23 this year, the UK Navy’s guided missile destroyer Defender operating in the northwestern part of the Black Sea crossed the state border of the Russian Federation and moved 3 km into the territorial sea near Cape Fiolent.

The statmeent also confirmed that the Russian Black Sea Fleet (based in Sevastopol in Crimea) and the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service “halted the violation of the Russian state border by the UK Navy’s guided missile destroyer Defender.” The British ship was warned that Russian forces would employ weapons next if it violated the state border, but failed to respond to the warning. “The UK warship received a warning that weapons would be employed, if it violated the Russian state border, but did not respond to it,” according to the ministry. The statement also said:

At 12:06 and 12:08, the border guard patrol ship conducted warning fire. At 12:19, a Su-24M plane carried out preventing bombing (four OFAB-250 bombs) along the route of the guided missile destroyer Defender.

The Defender left Russian maritime territory at 12:23. Shortly afterward the Defense Minister summoned the defense attaché at the British embassy in Moscow over the incident. Defender entered the Black Sea last week with the Royal Netherlands Navy’s frigate HNLMS Evertsen, both ships assigned to the new British Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group. Shortly afterward they conducted a joint exercise with the US guided-missile destroyer Laboon in the sea. Laboon is the fifth US ship to be sent to the Black Sea so far this year; the fourth guided-missile warship (three destroyers and a cruiser), all four Aegis Combat System vessels equipped with SM-3 interceptor missiles. They are each also capable of firing 55 Tomahawk cruise missiles. Today’s incident occurred five days before the commencement of the annual Sea Breeze military exercise in the Black Sea hosted by the US and Ukraine. This year’s iteration of the 24-year-old war games will include troops, ships and planes from an unprecedented 32 nations from all six inhabited continents. The Russian embassy in Washington has reacted to the above by warning:

The scale and aggressive nature of the ‘Sea Breeze’ exercises in no way helps with the real challenges of ensuring security in the Black Sea region.

The embassy’s statement also said the war games will “increase the risk of unintentional incidents” and at the same time “encourage militaristic sentiments in Kiev.” They are designed to do both those things. Reports of the statement add that Russia is requesting the US and its NATO allies and partners cancel the exercise. RT reports that last November the US fired missiles capable of striking Crimea in the Black Sea as part of US-led military drills. Missile launch tests conducted from Romania were designed to demonstrate the new High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) for the first time in the area, causing concern among Crimean officials. The next provocation in the Black Sea may produce results the world doesn’t expect and will not be pleased to witness.

Human rights
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Jun 22 2021

Black Sea: US, Ukraine to lead naval exercise with 32 nations from six continents
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Jun 22 2021

The annual US-led multinational naval exercise in the Black Sea, Sea Breeze, will begin on Jun 28 and continue until Jul 10. As with previous iterations this year’s exercise will be co-hosted by the US and Ukraine. Though as the name indicates primarily a series of maritime drills, Sea Breeze also includes air and land components. Currently there are three warships from NATO nations in the Black Sea: the US interceptor missile/guided-missile destroyer Laboon, the British destroyer Defender and Dutch frigate Evertsen. The first is part of the Eisenhower strike group and the latter two belong to the new Queen Elizabeth strike group. As the massive Defender Europe 21 war games wrapped up this week, several components of which were held in the Black Sea, the public relations bureau of US Naval Forces Europe & Africa and US Sixth Fleet announced that this year’s Sea Breeze will include military personnel, ships, planes and equipment from the most nations ever, 32 from six continents. Participating countries are: Albania, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Morocco, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, the UAE and the US. All are NATO members or partners except for Brazil and Senegal, but Brazil has been contributing to war games held by the US in Africa and Europe lately and may well soon join its neighbor Colombia as a NATO partner; and Senegal, which is also now participating in the US/NATO African Lion military exercise, may join fellow African NATO partners Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.

The war games will include 5,000 troops, 32 ships, 40 aircraft and 18 special operations and diving teams. The American chargé d’affaires to Ukraine, Kristina Kvien (a graduate of the US Army War College), was quoted by US Navy stating:

The US is proud to partner with Ukraine in co-hosting the multinational maritime exercise Sea Breeze, which will help enhance interoperability and capabilities among participating nations. We are committed to maintaining the safety and security of the Black Sea.

Interoperability is a NATO catchword for military integration. This year’s maneuvers will include amphibious warfare, land warfare, air defense, special operations and anti-submarine warfare facets. Only one of the six (recognized) nations on the Black Sea is not a NATO member (Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey) or a NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner (Georgia and Ukraine): Russia. It is that country that troops, ships and military aircraft from 32 nations on six continents will be deployed against in a few days.

NATO’s Operation Barbarossa live-fire commemoration
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Jun 22 2021

A culmination video featuring 41st Field Artillery Brigade, 589th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Battalion 6th Field Artillery Regiment, and 1st Battalion 77th Field Artillery Regiment and more and their participation in the series of exercises called Fires Shock which was conducted across five countries and two continents from May 2 to Jun 11 2021.

Barbarossa nostalgia: US, NATO train for rapid mobility of troops, armor in northeast Europe
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Jun 22 2021

US troops and armored vehicles and the Polish navy participated in a military exercise whose name rather suggests a substandard perfume or an “adult entertainment” actress who never made the grade: Amber Desire. The exercise was led by Headquarters Multinational Division North East, which was activated in 2017 as part of the Pentagon’s and NATO’s military encirclement of Belarus and Russia’s Kaliningrad district. The US has Atlantic Resolve troops and military equipment in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland and NATO has complementary Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Groups in the four nations bordering Belarus, Kaliningrad and the main body of Russia. Headquarters Multinational Division North East oversees the Lithuanian Iron Wolf Mechanized Infantry Brigade and the Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade as well as their affiliated NATO Battle Groups in Lithuania and Poland. The sort of armored units that rolled across Belarus and Russia eighty years ago today. Though this time under US command.

This year’s drills focused on what NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) identified as testing the rapid mobility of the multinational forces’ forward command element. Troops and armored vehicles were deployed to the Polish naval base in Gdynia where an interceptor-missile/guided-missile destroyer docked recently during the large-scale US-NATO Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) war games.

NATO states Amber Desire 21 provided the opportunity for American, Lithuanian and Polish armed forces to “maintain a high level of interoperability.” The North Atlantic military bloc also said of the maneuvers that they are designed “to test the ability of a task team with a mobile command element to move anywhere across the Division’s Area of Responsibility on a very short notice.” Lightning war, anyone? Part of the exercises included a drill in the Baltic Sea, but the main part of them involved the embarkation and disembarkation of heavy equipment and troops. Much as occurred in the same location eighty years ago, for history buffs. The NATO press release on the war games states:

Through this close cooperation with the Polish Navy, the Division soldiers have broadened their experience and skills so they are fully prepared to execute critical missions across the Baltic Sea region at a moment’s notice.

And what may prove of interest, though hardly of a reassuring nature, to locals with a memory longer than yesterday’s carry-out meal and last Saturday’s sporting event, NATO mentions that the Multinational Division North East “is ready to carry out collective defence operations in accordance with Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.”

Turkey, Azerbaijan practice liberating more occupied territories
Rick Rozoff, AntiBellum, Jun 22 2021

Anatolian/Anadolu Eagle 2021:

Note the NATO flag among those of Turkey and Azerbaijan at the beginning.

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