Between March 3-5, 2014, AlertsUSA issued the following
Flash messages to subscriber mobile devices:
DoD: US increasing fighter jet & surveillance patrols of airspace over NATO members Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. Other force increases also underway.
On multiple occasions this week AlertsUSA subscribers have been notified via text messages to their mobile devices regarding increasingly dangerous developments in the Ukraine.
Following last week’s relatively non-violent surge of Russian forces onto the Crimean peninsula, former Soviet-bloc Baltic nations including Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are understandably nervous and have been stepping up defensive measures, including movement of tanks and personnel into border positions, as well as seeking additional assistance from other NATO members.
On Wednesday of this week Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that the U.S. was increasing fighter jet & surveillance patrols of airspace over these countries. On Thursday, the Pentagon announced that an initial group of 12 U.S. fighters had deployed to the region.
Subscribers were also notified of a request by the Ukrainian government for international assistance in securing and protecting the nation’s nuclear power plants. In a letter presented to the Director of the IAEA, the situation was spelled out pretty clear: Russia’s use of armed forces on Ukrainian territory amounts to a grave threat with potential consequences for its nuclear power infrastructure.
The Ukraine has 15 power reactors in operation at four sites across the country. Ukraine is also home to Chernobyl, which is located less than 70 miles North of Kiev.
While the mainstream media and U.S. government spokesman are portraying Russia’s actions as expansionist and an unwarranted invasion of a sovereign nation, this is a simplistic explanation and provides little in terms the actual truth behind Russia’s actions.
IMPORTANT BACKGROUND INFO – STRATEGIC THREATS TO RUSSIA
In December last year, Asst. Secretary of State for Europe, Victoria Nuland, delivered a presentation in front of National Press Club during which she revealed that the U.S. government has invested more than 5 BILLION dollars in helping destabilize the pro-russian Ukrainian government and to develop “democratic institutions and a good form of government,” all in an effort to bring about Ukraine’s entry into the EU, and ultimately, NATO. Needless to say, this type of meddling in Ukraine poses a direct strategic threat to Russia on numerous levels.
As an example, consider the geography of the region. Looking at a map you will see that the Black Sea is Western Russia’s singular warm-water access point. All other ports in the North of the country, with the exception of Murmansk near the northeast corner of Finland, are blocked by ice at least 6 months out of each year. The only reason Murmansk remains ice free is due to the warm waters of the N. Atlantic current. Although 9 time zones in size, more than 90% of Russia’s population lives in the Western third of the country.
Additionally, although Crimea is recognized as a part of Ukraine, it is actually an autonomous region. The Russian Navy has kept its Black Sea Fleet stationed at a naval base on the peninsula since the late 1700s and the time of Napoleon. The Port of Sevastopol has a large, deep, defensible harbor and is accessible in all seasons. In 2010, Russia negotiated an agreement with Ukraine that allows use of the strategically located Sevastopol naval base through 2042 in exchange for discounts on natural gas.
While Crimea is physically detached from Russia, it is connected by those parts of eastern and southern Ukraine that contain a large Russian speaking, pro-Russian population.
We would be remiss if we did not also play “follow the money” and point out that Ukraine is a critical corridor for oil and gas pipelines from Russia and the Caspian region into Europe. These pipelines and the product they carry generate huge profits for Russia and directly compete with the planned Southern route which is at the heart of the instability in Syria.
With just these few items (there are many more), it is easy to see how Russia is being backed into a corner and forced to act. Their strategic interests and national security are directly threatened.
And this is where the danger comes home.
Readers are reminded that Russian President Putin, Prime Minister Medvedev and the Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Nikolai Makarov, have on multiple occasions in the last 3 years made explicitly clear that Russia would use nuclear weapons, including in a preemptive capacity, if there is a threat to the integrity of the Russian Federation (see this, this, this and this). These scenarios include conventional attacks on Russia or it’s strategic partners, placement of missile shield installations in former Soviet-bloc countries and more.
With this in mind, it is no wonder that on Tues of this week AlertsUSA notified subscribers of Russia’s test firing of a nuclear-capable ICBM from a mobile launcher less than 300 miles from the Southern Ukraine border. While U.S. mainstream media outlets and government spokesman say the missile test was previously announced, only a fool would think that such a launch during the current tensions and military actions was not intended to send a message. Late this week the Russian government announced that two more tests firings would be conducted this month.
It is estimated that Russia now has more than 20,000 military troops in Crimea along with fighter aircraft, attack helicopters and more. Late this week the guided missile destroyer USS Truxtun left the Greek port of Souda Bay on its way to the Black Sea. The Truxtun is part of the USS George Bush aircraft carrier strike group, which is currently operating in the Mediterranean Sea.
On Thursday, President Obama signed an executive order which designated the ongoing crisis “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” The order paves the way for the imposition of sanctions on individuals the government determines are responsible for “undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine.”
Russia is, in turn, threatening to seize the assets of U.S. and European companies their country. These companies include General Motors, Caterpillar, IBM, Microsoft, Proctor and Gamble, Pepsi, Coca Cola to name a few.
Needless to say, this situation is rapidly moving towards a dangerous military confrontation between the U.S., Europe and Russia. As it is highly unlikely that Russia will pull back, suck up the losses and give in to U.S. hegemony in the region, we will now have to wait and see if President Obama blinks. But at the moment, he is on vacation.
AlertsUSA continues to monitor the situation in Ukraine closely and will immediately notify service subscribers of any significant escalation or substantial U.S. involvement as events warrant.