Air Force general tells troops to prepare for war with China, predicts the invasion of Taiwan in 2025

Comment by tonytran2015: China’s policy is to continually raise the stake until forced to stop or backtrack.

“I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me we will fight in 2025,” he wrote in the memo first obtained by NBC News. 

As the head of Air Mobility Command, Gen. Minihan oversees nearly 50,000 service members responsible for air transport and refueling. 

In the memo addressed to his subordinate air wing commanders and other Air Force operational commanders, Gen. Minihan told those under his command to begin building “a fortified, ready, integrated, and agile Joint Force Maneuver Team ready to fight and win inside the first island chain.”…

Ex-soviet state considers joining ‘larger alliance’ — RT World News

21 Jan, 2023 16:07

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Ex-soviet state considers joining ‘larger alliance’

Under President Maia Sandu, the Moldova has pursued deeper integration with the West

Ex-soviet state considers joining ‘larger alliance’

Maia Sandu looks on during the 53rd annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 17, 2023 ©  AP / Gian Ehrenzeller

Moldovan President Maia Sandu has said that her government is considering joining “a larger alliance.” While she did not name NATO, she has pursued pro-Western policies and stepped up Moldova’s cooperation with the US-led military bloc.

Asked directly about the prospects of Moldova applying to NATO, Sandu told Politico on Friday that “there is a serious discussion” underway in Chisinau “about our capacity to defend ourselves, whether we can do it ourselves, or whether we should be part of a larger alliance.”

“And if we come, at some point, to the conclusion as a nation that we need to change neutrality, this should happen through a democratic process,” she added.

A former World Bank official, Sandu has been unambiguously pro-Western in her outlook since taking office in 2020. Moldova was granted EU candidate status under her watch last year, and will host the second meeting of the European Political Community this summer. Moldova cooperates extensively with NATO, sending soldiers to the military bloc’s force in Kosovo and hosting a ‘NATO Liaison Office’ in Chisinau.

Most citizens of European state believe it’s run from abroad – poll

Read moreMost citizens of European state believe it’s run from abroad – poll

Sandu met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in New York last September, and Moldovan Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu attended a meeting of the organization in Romania in December.

However, the same “democratic process” that Sandu cited as essential to a decision on neutrality could also dash any potential plans of joining NATO. A poll taken by the Moldovan Institute for Public Policy in December found that only 22.4% of respondents would vote to join the alliance; 54.5% would vote against membership, and 23% were unsure.

Furthermore, NATO membership is essentially ruled out by the existence of Transnistria, a breakaway republic sandwiched between Moldova and Ukraine on territory claimed by Chisinau. Transnistria broke away from Moldova in the early 1990s, with the region’s leaders hoping to remain in the collapsing Soviet Union. Today it maintains a close relationship with Moscow, with Russian peacekeepers stationed there and most of the local population holding Russian citizenship.

NATO insists that prospective members peacefully resolve outstanding international, territorial, or ethnic disputes before joining the bloc. It does, however, maintain a so-called ‘open door policy’, despite its leaders promising Russia in the aftermath of the Cold War that it would not take on former Warsaw Pact states as members. The bloc’s continued eastward expansion and refusal to rule out membership for Ukraine were key factors behind Moscow’s decision to send troops into Ukraine last February.

Iran warns EU against ‘shooting itself in the foot’ — RT World News

19 Jan, 2023 12:54

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Iran warns EU against ‘shooting itself in the foot’

Tehran will retaliate if Brussels lists the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said

Iran warns EU against ‘shooting itself in the foot’

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members in Tehran, Iran, April 2022. ©  Morteza Nikoubazl / NurPhoto / Getty Images

The European Parliament’s call to list Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group will backfire, the country’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, warned on Thursday. He added that Tehran would retaliate against the move by Brussels.

The IRGC is a separate branch of Iran’s Armed Forces, which, according to different estimates, has between 190,000 and 250,000 active personnel.

“We have said many times that the Revolutionary Guards are an official and sovereign organization that plays an important and vital role for guaranteeing Iran’s national and regional security, especially in the fight against terrorism,” Amir-Abdollahian said in a call with EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, according to a statement on the foreign ministry’s website.

The minister said that, by blacklisting the IRGC, the EU would “shoot itself in the foot.” He slammed the European Parliament’s resolution as “emotional and unprofessional,” promising that Tehran would “take reciprocal measures.”

Western media’s anti-Iran reporting waives journalistic integrity to manufacture hate

Read moreWestern media’s anti-Iran reporting waives journalistic integrity to manufacture hate

In a document adopted on Wednesday, the European Parliament asked Brussels and the bloc’s individual member states to blacklist the IRGC “in the light of its terrorist activity, the repression of protesters and its supplying of drones to Russia.”

Kiev, together with its Western supporters, accused Russia of using Iranian-made kamikaze drones in strikes in Ukraine. In November, Tehran said it had supplied Moscow with some UAVs before Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in late February. Moscow, meanwhile, said last year that it has only been using Russian equipment in the conflict.

The news also comes amid protests and riots in Iran that were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody in September. Iranian officials deny that Amini, who was arrested in Tehran for wearing an “inappropriate” hijab, had been mistreated, insisting her death was a result of a pre-existing condition. Iran also claimed that the unrest has been incited from abroad.

US senator aims to block $20 billion deal with NATO member — RT World News

14 Jan, 2023 18:49

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US senator aims to block $20 billion deal with NATO member

Bob Menendez has spoken out against selling F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye, saying Ankara must act like a “trusted ally”

US senator aims to block $20 billion deal with NATO member

© Getty Images / Chris Hondros

Plans by President Joe Biden’s administration to approve a $20 billion sale of US-made F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye have hit a potential roadblock, as a key member of the Senate has vowed to block the deal because he considers Ankara to be an untrustworthy NATO ally.

“I strongly oppose the Biden administration’s proposed sale of new F-16 aircraft to Türkiye,” Senator Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, said on Friday in a statement. He accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of disregarding human rights, undermining international law and engaging in “alarming and destabilizing behavior in Turkey and against neighboring NATO allies.”

Menendez spoke out, reiterating his opposition to the arms deal, after the US State Department reportedly notified relevant congressional committees of its intention to go forward with the F-16 sale on Thursday. Türkiye requested the aircraft in October 2021, saying it wanted to buy 40 new F-16s and 80 modernization kits to upgrade its existing fleet.

Erdogan brushes off US warnings

READ MORE: Erdogan brushes off US warnings

As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez is an influential voice on arms sales and could try to push through a resolution condemning the deal with Türkiye. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the F-16 transfer is contingent on Ankara’s approval of bids by Sweden and Finland to join NATO.

Washington has made “endless” demands on Türkiye in connection with the deal, Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for Erdogan, told reporters on Saturday. “If they keep pushing Türkiye in other directions with F-16 (and) F-35 sanctions, and then Türkiye reacts, they blame Türkiye again, then that’s not a fair game . . . . There’s always something.”

Türkiye lambasts US for ‘bullying’ own ally

Read moreTürkiye lambasts US for ‘bullying’ own ally

It’s not clear whether Menendez will drop his opposition to the F-16 transfer if Ankara agrees not to veto NATO’s latest expansion. The senator, who voiced his support for a sale of F-35 fighter jets to Greece, has broader concerns about Türkiye’s conduct.

“Until Erdogan ceases his threats, improves his human rights record at home – including by releasing journalists and political opposition – and begins to act like a trusted ally should, I will not approve this sale,” Menendez said.

Washington disqualified Türkiye from eligibility to buy its latest fighter jet, the F-35, after Ankara acquired Russian-made S-400 air defense systems in 2019.

Wagner group claims full control of Soledar — RT Russia & Former Soviet Union

10 Jan, 2023 21:54

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Wagner group claims full control of Soledar

Ukrainian troops are reportedly trapped in the key Donbass town

Wagner group claims full control of Soledar

File photo: A Wagner Group fighter on the battlefield in Donbass ©  Viktor Antonyuk/RIA Novosti

Wagner Group units have taken control of the “entire territory” of Soledar, the head of the private military company, Yevgeny Prigozhin, claimed on Tuesday evening. Fighting is continuing in the center of the town, where an unknown number of Ukrainian soldiers has been encircled.

“There is a cauldron in the center of town, where urban fighting is taking place,” Prigozhin said in a statement released to the media. “We’ll announce the number of prisoners tomorrow.”

He added that  “no other units” apart from Wagner personnel had taken part in the storming of Soledar.

A video showing two Wagner fighters standing outside the town administration building was released on social media earlier in the day. Such recordings, usually accompanied with geospatial coordinates, have commonly been used during the conflict to announce territorial control.

Named after its salt mines, Soledar had around 10,000 residents before the conflict. The Ukrainian army turned it into a strongpoint after being pushed out of Popasnaya in mid-2022. Russian control over the town creates problems for Kiev’s forces in the embattled bastion of Artyomovsk, which Ukraine has renamed Bakhmut.

Wagner group releases video from contested Soledar

Read moreWagner group releases video from contested Soledar

Prigozhin said last week that his objective was not necessarily to take the towns, but “the destruction of the Ukrainian army and the reduction of its combat potential.”

On Sunday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky acknowledged that the situation in Soledar was “very difficult” and called it “one of the bloodiest spots along the front line,” but vowed that Ukrainian troops would continue to hold “no matter what.”

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

Moscow demands that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.

Chinese ambassador invokes WWII in quarrel with Japanese counterpart, suggests trade bans may lift – ABC News

China’s ambassador has criticised his Japanese counterpart in Canberra, accusing him of not doing his job properly and suggesting 

Tokyo may once again launch a military attack on Australia in the future.


US senator declares ‘proud’ AUKUS support after earlier critical letter emerges – ABC News

…On Tuesday Senator Reed went online to publicly declare his support for the “powerful partnership” that was struck in September 2021 by US President Joe Biden, along with former Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and former UK leader Boris Johnson….

Ex-Soviet republic explains refusal to ‘return’ weapons to Ukraine — RT Russia & Former Soviet Union

10 Jan, 2023 13:51

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Ex-Soviet republic explains refusal to ‘return’ weapons to Ukraine

Georgia’s defense ministry blasted Kiev for claiming it had obtained its Buk air-defense systems free of charge

Ex-Soviet republic explains refusal to ‘return’ weapons to Ukraine

FILE PHOTO. ©  Georgian Presidency / Handout / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Georgia did not receive Buk anti-aircraft systems from Ukraine free of charge, but rather as part of a secret arms deal, the country’s defense ministry announced on Tuesday.

The statement came in response to a Ukrainian diplomat who alleged that Tbilisi was refusing to return weapons that Kiev had gifted to the Caucasian nation more than a decade ago.

The ministry further castigated “the incorrect information spread by experts or individual media outlets” about the Buk deal.

“It seems that Ukraine handed over Buk air-defense systems to Georgia for free, which is not true,” it said, adding that Georgia “had received the Buk systems in 2007 through a multi-million-dollar purchase.

“This was done under a secret agreement, which is why we cannot provide more specifics,” it explained.

The defense ministry added that, while Georgia is offering Ukraine humanitarian and diplomatic support, Tbilisi “has repeatedly stated its clear position” on shipments of weapons and dual-use goods to Kiev.

It also noted that it had paid tens of millions of dollars in 2017 to purchase Javelin anti-tank systems from the US.

Georgians could be asked if they want war with Russia

Read moreGeorgians could be asked if they want war with Russia

The statement followed an article published in Yevropeyskaya Pravda (European Truth) newspaper on Monday, in which Andrey Kasyanov, Ukraine’s charge d’affaires to Georgia, claimed that Tbilisi was refusing to hand back the Buk systems, which he suggested were transferred by Kiev to Georgia during its conflict with Russia in 2008.

The diplomat said Ukraine had also asked Georgia to provide US-made Javelin anti-tank launchers at that time. According to Kasyanov, such a move was not only “approved by the US,” but Tbilisi has also received an offer from Washington to backfill its Javelin stock “with newer systems.”

Georgia has repeatedly stated that it would not send weapons to Ukraine. Tbilisi has also refused to join the sanctions the West has imposed on Russia over the Ukraine conflict, arguing that such a stance contradicts the country’s national interests. It has also dismissed calls to open a “second front” against Moscow in the Caucasus.

In September, Fedor Venislavsky, a Ukrainian MP, said Georgia had a unique opportunity to seize back the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia that it claims as its own. The two regions declared independence from Georgia after a 2008 conflict between Moscow and Tbilisi.