Sanctions Blowback Threatens U.S. Space Program

Between April 29 – May 2, 2014, AlertsUSA issued the following
related flash messages to subscriber mobile devices:

5/2
Ukraine gov launches major military operations in several E. Ukraine cities. Multiple Ukrainian aircraft shot down. NATO forces on high alert.

4/29
Russia threatens US space prog over sanctions. Russia is singular provider of astronaut transport to ISS, + boosters for resupply & national security missions.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

It’s been a busy week as tensions and rhetoric between the U.S. and Russia grow more disturbing by the day. In addition to the significant Russian force now assembled along the Northern and Eastern borders of Ukraine (see infographic here), NATO has deployed close to 60 fighter aircraft (see infographic), as well as a growing number of ground forces to Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Bulgaria.

Despite an accord supposedly being reached in Geneva two weeks ago within which all sides agreed to refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions, these diplomatic efforts have had little effect on the standing, policies and activities of any of the parties involved. There are no signs of Russian forces pulling back, NATO continues to surge forces into the region and Ukraine has launched military operations against pro-Russian separatists and Russian special operation forces occupying government buildings across Eastern Ukraine.

On Monday of this week, the Obama Administration announced their latest round of sanctions (see White House statement here ) targeting seven top Russian officials and 17 companies. In turn, Russia has threatened actions against a variety of Western interests.

As previously reported by AlertsUSA Threat Journal, given the Obama Administration’s premature cancellation of the Space Shuttle program prior to replacement capabilities being ready, the entirety of America’s manned and unmanned civilian and military space programs are now in severe jeopardy. This, as these programs are currently completely reliant on Russian boosters for resupply & national security related missions, not to mention the Russian taxi service to the International Space Station.

Following the announcement of the sanctions, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who heads Russia’s defense industry and space activities, directly threatened the U.S. space program, stating “We warned them, we will reply to statements with statements and to actions with actions” and “I propose that the United States delivers its astronauts to the ISS with the help of a trampoline.”

And in a double whammy, this week the U.S. Court of Federal Claims issued an injunction preventing the United Launch Alliance, a joint-venture between Boeing, Lockheed-Martin and the US Air Force, from making any purchases from or payment of money “to any entity, whether governmental, corporate or individual, that is subject to the control of Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin.” The move comes after a suit was filed by Space X claiming the alliance’s defense contracts were not open for competitive bid and violated the law regarding their purchase of Russian rockets.

Also this week, in addition to NATO now formally and publicly referring to Russia as an adversary, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry both warned Russia that the U.S. will defend its NATO allies against any aggressive moves. Their comments came after Russia began military exercises near the borders of Latvia an Estonia in response to the buildup of NATO forces.

Also this week, China announced they would be conducting joint naval exercises with Russia in the East China Sea later this month in what it called a bid to deepen military cooperation.

Late this week Ukraine launched military operations against pro-autonomy activists in multiple cities in Eastern Ukraine, the largest of which is Sloviansk. Several people have been killed, scores more have wounded and independent media reports pro-Russian forces have downed four Ukrainian attack helicopters. Russia had previously warned Ukraine about such a move, with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt then warning Russia that an invasion into Ukraine would merit an instantaneous response from the U.S..

Readers are urged to pay close attention to these developments as this is how wars start. The simple fact of the matter is that there is very little likelihood that Russia will ever willingly allow any part of Ukraine, but most importantly the Eastern and Southern parts of the country, to enter into European and NATO spheres of influence. The strategic threats are far too great, not to to mention the fact that the majority of the population in these regions are ethnic Russians.

IN LATE BREAKING DEVELOPMENTS:

AlertsUSA continues to closely monitor the growing tensions in the region and will immediately notify service subscribers of changes in the overall threat environment, major escalations or the outbreak of hostilities, as events warrant.