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50,000 NATO troops stage MASSIVE military drills on Russia’s border (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 144.

Alex Christoforou




NATO military drills, dubbed Trident Juncture 2018, are currently taking place in Norway.

The military war game involves approximately 50,000 troops from 31 countries, 10,000 combat vehicles, 65 ships and 250 aircraft, all of which make up the the largest such exercise hosted by Norway since the 1980s and the largest military drill NATO has held in decades.

Trident Juncture 2018 started last week and will run until November 7.

RT reports that the NATO military exercise is supposedly intended to send “a clear message” to both the alliance’s member states and potential “adversaries” that NATO is “ready to defend all allies against any threat,” its secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said last week.

The massive drills come shortly after Vostok-2018 exercise in Russia’s Far East was held in September. NATO bigwigs eagerly seized on the large-scale military maneuvers as proof of Moscow’s “aggressive” stance.

“Vostok demonstrates Russia’s focus on exercising large-scale conflict. It fits into a pattern we’ve seen over some time – a more assertive Russia significantly increasing its defense budget and its military presence,” NATO’s spokesman Dylan White said at the time.

While Vostok 2018 indeed showed Russia’s “military presence” – on its own territory – the official somehow missed the fact that Moscow has been actually steadily decreasing its military spending over the past few years.

Not everyone seems to be convinced by NATO’s rhetoric about the “defensive” nature of its exercises – and it’s not just Russia’s Defense Ministry. Trident Juncture 2018 was greeted in Oslo by protesters, who argued that such activities effectively turn Norway into a target and not contribute to country’s safety by any means.

“The Trident Juncture I think is a very unnecessary provocation towards Russia, although they say it’s not meant to be, but I think that’s what it is,” one of the protesters told RT’s Ruptly agency.

On Saturday, protesters marched through the city, carrying banners reading “Stop NATO’s war exercises in Norway,” “Stop Trident Juncture, stop provocation,” “NATO – North American Terror Organisation.”

“We are here protesting against Trident Juncture. Because we think that this Trident Juncture makes Norway less safe and our participations in NATO and their wars also make Norway less safe. We also want to pull Norway out of NATO,” another protester said.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst via Moscow, Mark Sleboda take a look at NATO’s Trident Juncture 2018.

Why Norway? How will Russia react? What are the chances that such brazen military exercises on Russia’s border lead the world closer towards real conflict?

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Meanwhile Russia Matters, tries to explain NATO’s Trident Juncture 2018, as another act of self defense against Russia’s continued, hostile movement towards NATO’s borders.

This week, NATO forces are engaged in the largest military exercise the alliance has organized since the end of the Cold War and the first major Western exercise in decades to take place in the Arctic region. To be held in Norway through Nov. 23, the Trident Juncture exercise is designed to improve NATO’s ability to defend member states and to strengthen the alliance’s credibility as a deterrent force against potential aggression. While the scenario does not mention any particular adversaries, the exercise is clearly aimed at bolstering NATO defenses against Russia in the Nordic region. While the political impact will be minor by comparison to any potential permanent troop deployments, the military lessons gleaned by the exercise’s participants promise to be significant.The exercise marks NATO’s third time holding the biennial Trident Juncture and differs from the previous two iterations in both size and focus. To begin with, it involves personnel from all 29 NATO members—a first—plus close partners Finland and Sweden. This in itself is significant: While the two Nordic states have regularly participated in NATO exercises in recent years and have invited NATO forces to take part in exercises on their soil, their participation in as large and politically prominent an Article 5 exercise as Trident Juncture highlights how far both have gone since their political decisions to enhance defense cooperation with NATO. The 2018 exercise is not only much bigger than the 2014 and 2016 iterations, which also focused on preparing NATO’s rapid reaction forces to counter Russian aggression, but differs significantly in its primary focus on field exercises instead of command post exercises.There are 50,000 total participants, including 20,000 from the ground forces, 24,000 from naval and marine infantry forces, 3,000 from air forces, 1000 logistics specialists and 1300 command personnel.  The United States has provided the largest contingent, including the Harry Truman Carrier Strike Group, the Iwo Jima Marine Expeditionary Strike Group and over 18,000 troops. Preparations, including deployment of forces to the exercise area, began in August. The active phase of the field exercise began on Oct. 25 and will continue through Nov. 7, to be followed by a command post exercise in mid-November.The exercise scenario simulates the defense of an Arctic country from an amphibious assault on its coastline. The country under attack invokes Article 5 of the NATO treaty, resulting in a large-scale defensive effort by the alliance to protect the country from foreign invasion. The specifics involve two forces fighting each other, with one side initially defending against a combined forces attack that includes amphibious forces from the U.S. Marine Corps. In the second half of the exercise, the defending force gains the initiative and carries out a counter-attack.

Training to Defend the North Against Russia

The overarching goals of the exercise are to “demonstrate the credibility of its [NATO’s] military deterrent and the unity of its membership.” The second goal can be achieved simply by getting all of the member states to participate in a tangible way despite political tensions and disagreements on how firmly the Western alliance should confront Russia. To achieve the first goal, the exercise will focus on logistics, interoperability and the forces’ ability to engage in combat in a hostile physical environment. The speed with which NATO’s rapid-response forces can mobilize will be tested, as will the ability of troops and commanders from different countries with different military cultures and different languages to communicate with each other in combat. The logistics of moving troops across borders, something that has posed problems in the past in Europe, is also being tested. Many of the units involved are inexperienced with operations in cold and wet weather, poor visibility and, for naval and amphibious forces, rough seas—all conditions that characterize the Arctic at this time of year. The ultimate target is the so-called Four 30s Plan: for NATO to be able to deploy 30 battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 combat ships to a conflict zone, and to do it in 30 days.

For the United States, the deployment of the Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier and its strike group to the Norwegian Sea is meant to highlight how seriously Washington takes the Russian threat in the north. This is the first time an aircraft carrier has entered the Norwegian Sea since the end of the Cold War. The deployment of a Marine Corps expeditionary strike group also indicates U.S. intent to defend the region and thus acts as a deterrence signal to Russia and follows the rotational deployment of 300 U.S. Marines since 2017, the first time a foreign force has been stationed on Norwegian soil since World War II.

Russia’s Reaction

The exercise scenario largely parallels those of standard major Russian exercises, such as Zapad-2017, where one force initially defends against an attack by an adversary before eventually turning the tide and practicing counter-offensive operations during the second half of the exercise period. There are other parallels as well, including an amphibious landing and an emphasis on combined operations, though NATO is not going to simulate a nuclear strike as Russia did in Zapad-2009. The one major difference is that in Trident Juncture the participating troops are divided into red and blue forces, unlike in Zapad-2017 where the Russian force fought against simulated opponents. In this regard, the exercise is more like Russia’s Vostok-2018 exercise, where forces from two Russian military districts were arrayed against each other.

While Russia’s overall reaction to Trident Juncture has been relatively mild, its officials have raised concerns about the exercise being part of an ongoing NATO effort to encircle Russia and to demonstrate its dominance over Russia in the Nordic region. They highlight that no state other than Russia could present a threat to NATO in the region, and that therefore no other country could be its target. They also condemn the militarization of the Arctic that this exercise represents. Russian officials, including the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, have cast the arrival of a U.S. aircraft carrier north of the Arctic Circle for the first time in 30 years as saber-rattling by the United States that could have long-lasting destabilizing effects in the region.

Beyond the propaganda effort to paint NATO and the United States as warmongers, the aspects of the exercise that Russian military planners take most seriously include the deployments of the U.S. carrier strike group and Marine expeditionary force to the Arctic, and the combined air operations involving NATO, Swedish and Finnish air forces. Russian leaders are concerned that the increased focus on reinforcing NATO defenses in the east, as demonstrated by the exercise itself, the obvious increase in NATO’s military cooperation with Sweden and Finland and ongoing discussions about permanent stationing of U.S. military forces in Eastern Europe, will result in the establishment of a U.S. base on Polish territory. Russian officials have repeatedly stated that they would regard Poland’s plans to host a U.S. Army division as a violation of commitments made under the NATO-Russia Founding Act that would result in Russian countermeasures aimed at neutralizing those forces in the event of a conflict. In other words, Russia is making the argument that the United States and its East European allies are leading Europe into a new arms race and will bear primary responsibility for the resultant increase in tensions. NATO officials briefed their Russian counterparts on the plan for the exercise at the Oct. 31 meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, which also covered the conflict in Ukraine, the status of the INF Treaty and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Russian navy is planning to test missiles in international waters off Norway’s coast in two separate exercises Nov. 1-3 and Nov. 7-9. The first exercise, in particular, will be held very close to the zone where NATO will be conducting Trident Juncture, which has raised concerns among Western experts that the two forces may come into conflict through miscalculation or provocation. Although Russian and NATO forces have operated in close proximity before, particularly in Syria, it is not clear whether deconfliction channels have bene established for this exercise. Apparently, Norwegian government officials have not expressed much concern about the potential for trouble, so it may be that the issue is being dealt with through the established lines of communication between NATO headquarters and the Russian General Staff.

Impact on NATO-Russia Relations

The long-term impact of the exercise itself on NATO-Russia relations is likely to be fairly negligible. Much like comparable recent Russian exercises, Trident Juncture will be used by NATO to demonstrate its intent to protect its members and allies from Russian aggression and by Russia to highlight the seriousness of the threat it faces from its potential adversary. Once the exercise is completed, the political impact will fade away relatively quickly, though undoubtedly both sides will trot it out as necessary to score political points in both domestic and international contexts. The real impact will be on the military side, where the exercise is expected to improve the ability of participating military forces to work together in adverse conditions, particularly for those NATO countries that have not previously operated in the far north and will be able to get a better sense of the strengths and weaknesses of their forces in such an environment. Meanwhile, NATO-Russia relations will be affected far more seriously if the United States does choose to deploy troops on a permanent basis in Poland or elsewhere in Eastern Europe.

The opinions in this article are solely those of the author.

Dmitry Gorenburg

Dmitry Gorenburg is a senior research scientist in the strategic studies division of CNA, a nonprofit research and analysis organization based in Virginia. He is also an associate of Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the editor of Problems of Post-Communism.


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a.f.Shaun RameweTheCelotajsTEPYou can call me AL Recent comment authors
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Walter Dublanica

More huffin & puffin to try to scare the Russians. Russians are fighters as any country that entered it’s territory knows. Germany/France/Sweden/Turkey.


Silly boys playing silly buggers… 🙂

You can call me AL
You can call me AL

Stupid is, what stupid does.


5200 Russian soldiers killed in Donbass since the Invasion in 2014. Not much……………..and they deserved it.


War is, unfortunately, almost inevitable. The only hope now is that sufficient senior US military recognise it’s catastrophic futility and back down before it’s too late. This excellent article by The Saker frames it perfectly, and literally EVERYBODY should read and understand it it.


Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wants a war with Russia so bad he dreams about it every nigh. Playing War Games is not the same thing as real combat when the other side is shooting live ammo back at you and your buddy is blown apart next to you. A whole different ball game.


Russia wants WW3, so the NATO must be prepared.


At least seven Russian military personnel died as a result of the explosion at the headquarters of the Russian troops near Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria, reported EBAA news outlet. “Seven Russian military, as well as representatives of the Syrian regime, were killed on Friday after an explosive device was detonated at the headquarters of the Russian troops in the Criminal Court building north of the Panorama junction on the Deir ez-Zor-Damascus road,” EBAA writes. It is noted that the Russians were members of the so-called “ISIS hunters” of the 5th Corps of Assad Army. It is not yet known… Read more »

Shaun Ramewe
Shaun Ramewe

Russia laughs and buzzes these easy-target NATerrorO drills every time with nearby missile tests and routine bomber flights!! Same when Russia kills NATerrorO terrorists in Syria – LOL.


Some Russian monarchists want Tsar Vladimir Putin

Latest news from Russian monarchists highlight the debate over bringing the Russian Empire back to life in modern times.

Seraphim Hanisch



A December 13 report in The Wall Street Journal shone light on a notion that has been afoot in the Russian Federation since the fall of Communism in 1991 – the restoration of the Monarchy as the form of government, complete with a new Tsar of all the Russias.

Of course, some of these monarchists have a top contender in mind for that post, none other than President Vladimir Putin himself.

This idea has long been used in a pejorative light in the West, as various shadowy and not-so-shadowy elements in the American media speculated over the years that Mr. Putin was actually aspiring to become Tsar. This was thrown around until probably the time that the Russian president spoke, lamenting the fall of Communism, and since then the prime accusation has been that President Putin wants to bring back the Soviet Union.

This is not true. It also does not appear to be the case that the Russian president wants to be Tsar. But the monarchists are not fazed in the slightest. Here is excerpted material from the WSJ piece, with emphases added:

The last time term limits forced Russian leader Vladimir Putin to step down from the presidency, he became prime minister for a few years.

This time around, a group of pro-Kremlin activists have a different idea: Proclaim him Czar Vladimir.

“We will do everything possible to make sure Putin stays in power as long as possible,” Konstantin Malofeyev, a politically active businessman, said recently to thunderous applause from hundreds of Russian Orthodox priests and members of the country’s top political parties gathered at a conference outside Moscow. They were united by one cause—to return the monarchy to Russia…

Even among those who want a monarchy, however, there are splits over what kind it should be. Is an absolute monarchy better than a constitutional monarchy? Should a blood line be established or should the czar be elected? For those who favor male succession, would it be a problem that Mr. Putin reportedly only has two daughters? Some have even suggested others besides Mr. Putin should accede to the throne.

There is a very keen interest indeed among some in Russia that propose various options as to who might best become Tsar in the event that the Monarchy is restored.

Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Romanov and his mother, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, together with Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, head of the Russian Orthodox Church Department of External Relations

One candidate that has received significant attention is a man by the name of George Mikhailovich Romanov. He is an actual member of the Royal family, the heir apparent to Maria Vladimirovna Romanova, Grand Duchess of Russia. There are other heir apparents as well, and the issue as to who it should be has not been settled among the surviving members of the Romanov family.

The restoration of the Russian monarchy is unique because to carries strong religious significance. As far back as the 8th and 9th centuries, A.D., a host of saints and prophets appear to have foreseen the advent of the Soviet times and the restoration of the Tsar after their conclusion.

Some such prophecies are attributed to anonymous sources, but some are named. Here are two with rather extensive editing, so please go to the site linked for the fullest description of the prophecies.

Monk Abel the Prophet (+1831).

In a conversation with Tsar Paul I (+1801), after prophesying the destinies of all the Tsars from Paul I to Nicholas II:

“What is impossible for man is possible for God. God delays with His help, but it is said that He will give it soon and will raise the horn of Russian salvation. And there will arise a great prince from your race in exile, who stands for the sons of his people. He will be a chosen one of God, and on his head will be blessing. He will be the only one comprehensible to all, the very heart of Russia will sense him. His appearance will be sovereign and radiant, and nobody will say: ‘The Tsar is here or there’, but all will say: ‘That is him’. The will of the people will submit to the mercy of God, and he himself will confirm his calling. His name has occurred three times in Russian history. Two of the same name have already been on the throne, but not on the Tsar’s throne. But he will sit on the Tsar’s throne as the third. In him will be the salvation and happiness of the Russian realm.”

“Russian hopes will be realized upon [the cathedral of Hagia] Sophia in Tsargrad [Constantinople]; the Orthodox Cross will gleam again; Holy Rus will be filled with the smoke of incense and prayer, and will blossom like a heavenly lily.”

And from one of the most famous saints in Russian history:

St. John of Kronstadt (+1908):

“I foresee the restoration of a powerful Russia, still stronger and mightier than before. On the bones of these martyrs, remember, as on a strong foundation, will the new Russia we built – according to the old model; strong in her faith in Christ God and in the Holy Trinity! And there will be, in accordance with the covenant of the holy Prince Vladimir, a single Church! Russian people have ceased to understand what Rus is: it is the footstool of the Lord’s Throne! The Russian person must understand this and thank God that he is Russian.”

“The Church will remain unshaken to the end of the age, and a Monarch of Russia, if he remains faithful to the Orthodox Church, will be established on the Throne of Russia until the end of the age.”

What may surprise those in the West is that there are a great many people in Russia and in Orthodox Christian countries in general who take these prophecies quite seriously.

Interestingly enough, when the idea of restoring the monarchy was brought to President Putin’s attention, he regarded the idea as “beautiful” according to Lt. General Leonid Reshetnikov, but also expressed concern that it would lead to stagnation within the country.

A second statement, this one by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, noted that President Putin does not like the idea of bringing back the monarchy, but offered no comment on the conversation with Mr. Reshetnikov.

The idea of restoring the monarchy is not completely absurd. Britain overthrew its own monarchy in 1649 during that country’s Civil War, but it was restored shortly afterwards under King Charles II. Spain cast aside its monarchy in 1931, with its king, Alfonso XIII going into exile, but after sixteen years this monarchy, too, was restored.

Both of these monarchies have become largely ceremonial, with most governing functions carried out through some kind of Parliament and Prime Minister. It is therefore not clear what a ruling monarchy in Russia would look like.

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US confirms pullout from INF treaty, Moscow will respond if missiles placed in Europe – deputy FM

Moscow will respond to possible attempts to place short and intermediate range nuclear-capable missiles in Europe if the US decides to go on with this plan.





Via RT…

Washington has confirmed its decision to withdraw from the INF treaty is final, Russia’s deputy foreign minister said, adding that Moscow will ‘take measures’ if American missiles that threaten its security are placed in Europe.

“Washington publicly announced its plans to withdraw from the treaty (the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) already in October. Through the high-level bilateral channels it was confirmed to us that this decision was final and wasn’t an attempt to initiate dialogue,” Sergey Ryabkov told the Kommersant newspaper.

The Deputy FM said that Moscow will respond to possible attempts to place short and intermediate range nuclear-capable missiles in Europe if the US decides to go on with this plan.

“We’ll be forced to come up with effective compensating measures. I’d like to warn against pushing the situation towards the eruption of new ‘missile crises.’ I am convinced that no sane country could be interested in something like this,” he said.

Russia isn’t threatening anybody, but have the necessary strength and means to counter any aggressor.
Back in October, President Donald Trump warned that Washington was planning unilateral withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty because “Russia has not adhered to the agreement.” The US leader also promised that the country would keep boosting its nuclear arsenal until Russia and China “come to their senses.”

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington will suspend its obligations under the treaty within 60 days if Russia does not “return to compliance.”

Signed in late 1988, the INF agreement was considered a milestone in ending the arms race between the US and the USSR.

In recent years, Moscow and Washington have repeatedly accused each other of violating the INF deal. While the US has alleged that Russia has developed missiles prohibited by the treaty, Russia insists that the American anti-missile systems deployed in Eastern Europe can actually be used to launch intermediate-range cruise missiles.

The deputy FM said that Washington “never made a secret” of the fact that its INF treaty pullout “wasn’t so much about problems between the US and Russia, but about the desire of the Americans to get rid of all restrictions that were inconvenient for them.”

The US side expressed belief that the INF deal “significantly limits the US military’s capabilities to counter states with arsenals of medium-range and shorter-range ground-based missiles,” which threaten American interests, he said. “China, Iran and North Korea” were specifically mentioned by Washington, Ryabkov added.

“I don’t think that we’re talking about a new missile crisis, but the US plans are so far absolutely unclear,” Mikhail Khodarenok, retired colonel and military expert, told RT, reminding that the Americans have avoided any type of “meaningful discussion” with Moscow in regards to its INF deal pullout.

While “there’ll be no deployment of [US missiles] in Europe any time soon,” Moscow should expect that Washington would try to void other agreements with Russia as well, Khodarenok warned.

The INF deal “just stopped being beneficial for the US. Next up are all the other arms control treaties. There’ll be no resistance from the NATO allies [to US actions],” he said.

“The neocons who run Trump’s foreign policy never have liked arms reduction treaties,” former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT. “The new START treaty which comes up for renewal also could be in jeopardy.”

“The risk of a new nuclear buildup is really quite obvious” if the US withdrawals from the INF treaty, Dan Smith, the director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, told RT.

“I think the relations between the great powers – the US and Russia as well as the US and China – are more difficult than they’ve been for a long time,” he added.

However, with Washington having indicated that it wants China to be part of the new deal, “there are still possibilities for negotiations and agreement,” according to Smith. Nonetheless, he warned that following this path will demand strong political will and tactical thinking from the leadership of all three countries.

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US Pressures Germany To Ditch Huawei Over ‘Security Concerns’

This news will likely not go over well in Beijing, which is still struggling with the US and Canada over the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver.



Via Zerohedge

First it was Australia, New Zealand and Japan, now the US is pressing the German government to refuse to use equipment manufactured by Chinese telecom giant Huawei as Europe’s largest economy seeks to build out its 5G infrastructure.

According to Bloomberg, a US delegation met on Friday with German Foreign Ministry officials in Berlin to talk about the security risks presented by Huawei’s equipment, which the US says is vulnerable to spying. The meeting in Germany follows a report from late last month claiming the US had launched an “extraordinary outreach campaign” to warn its allies against using Huawei equipment (while its vulnerability to Chinese spying has been cited as the reason to avoid Huawei, it’s also worth noting that the US and China are locked in a battle for who will dominate the global 5G space…a battle that Huawei is currently winning).

Germany is set to hold an auction early next year to find a supplier to help expand its 5G network. The Berlin meeting took place one day after Deutsche Telekom said it would reexamine its decision to use Huawei equipment.

US officials are optimistic that their warnings are getting a hearing, though any detailed talks are in early stages and no concrete commitments have been made, according to one of the people.

The US pressure on Germany underscores increased scrutiny of Huawei as governments grapple with fears that the telecom-equipment maker’s gear is an enabler for Chinese espionage. The Berlin meeting took place a day after German carrier Deutsche Telekom AG said it will re-evaluate its purchasing strategy on Huawei, an indication that it may drop the Chinese company from its list of network suppliers.

France is also reportedly considering further restrictions after adding Huawei products to its “high alert” list. The US has already passed a ban preventing government agencies from using anything made by Huawei. But the telecoms equipment provider isn’t taking these threats to its business lying down.

U.S. warnings over espionage are a delicate matter in Germany. Revelations over the scale of the National Security Agency’s signals intelligence, including reports of tapping Merkel’s mobile phone, are still fresh in Berlin five years after they came to light.

Huawei is pushing back against the accusations. The company’s rotating chairman warned this week that blacklisting the Chinese company without proof will hurt the industry and disrupt the emergence of new wireless technology globally. Ken Hu, speaking at a Huawei manufacturing base in Dongguan, cited “groundless speculation,” in some of the first public comments since the shock arrest of the company’s chief financial officer.

This news will likely not go over well in Beijing, which is still struggling with the US and Canada over the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. In an editorial published Sunday, the Global Times, an English-language mouthpiece for the Communist Party, warned that China should retaliate against any country that – like Australia – takes a hard line against Huawei. So, if you’re a German citizen in Beijing, you might want to consider getting the hell out of Dodge.

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