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Here’s what to expect at this week’s UN General Assembly opening – Trump’s debut

The power of the so-called multipolar world will be the real ‘star’ of this years General Assembly, even as the cameras will be fixed on Donald Trump.

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World leaders are beginning to gather in New York where they will attend the opening of this year’s session of the UN General Assembly. This year is particularly significant as it will be Donald Trump’s first address to the UN General Assembly since becoming President of the United States in January of this year. However, Trump may well be overshadowed by other events and consequently, by other nations.

Here are the things to look out for

Pronounced US isolation 

As the least experienced leader of a major world power, Donald Trump has a great burden on his shoulders. He will be facing not only the ire of a world increasingly upset with US attempts to impose its will on the wider world but he will also be facing a generation of fellow world-leaders who came of age on the world stage during the post-9/11 era of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

This is significant as it has been during this time that the US has implemented an aggressive foreign policy which puts into practice, the neo-con agenda which was first developed in the 1990s. America has been constantly at war ever since 2016 and in the process, US actions have led to the execution of two well known world leaders, Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya.

READ MORE: 6 MAJOR US foreign policy failures of the post-Cold War era

Donald Trump campaigned on a very sensible platform which broadly stated that the neo-con foreign policies of both G.W. Bush and Obama were failures and that the US would change course under a Trump administration.

Thus far, this has not happened. Instead, the US maintains an illegal presence in Syria while Nikki Haley, Trump’s ambassador to the UN, touts regime change in Syria, even now. Beyond this, Trump has approved a troop surge in Afghanistan, a 16 year war which is the longest in US history. It was a war Trump had previously said was a failure and he would withdraw from, during the campaign.

Now, the US is threatening regime change in North Korea, as Nikki Haley goes on yet another anti-Pyongyang rampage. This is happen while Haley’s boss, Rex Tillerson, insists that the US is not after regime change in North Korea. The chaos is no longer amusing for the wider world.

Donald Trump, a man who himself has no foreign policy experience, will have to defend not only the arrogant statements of the permanently unhinged Nikki Haley, but also the deeply unpopular legacy of his two immediate predecessors, a legacy which Trump has failed fully reject in power, even though he promised to do so during his campaign.

The biggest question remaining for Trump is as follows: will he try to re-package the old neo-con policies to make them appear different, or will it be more of the same arrogance, exceptionalism and bellicosity from yet another American leader?

Russia

Russia can and almost certainly will walk into this year’s General Assembly with a feeling of confidence and a quiet, understated mood of victory. Syria’s victory against Salafist/jihadist terrorists is now assured and a substantial reason for this has undoubtedly been Russia’s legal intervention in the conflict.

Beyond Syria, Russia’s geo-political leadership has secured new partnerships with Turkey and Pakistan, while economic as well as geo-political cooperation has strengthen Russia’s modern alliance with China.

Even in the part of the Arab world that has traditionally had the least friendly policies towards Russia, the Persian Gulf, leaders throughout the region have praised Russia’s neutral and constructive role in the ongoing crisis between the Saudi led quartet and Qatar.

In this sense, the overarching role of global leadership that the US claims for itself, has been quietly taken by Russia. Russia knows this and the Russian address to the General Assembly will without doubt reflect this.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke before the UN in 2015, he was highly critical of America’s foreign policy, though without specifically naming names. This year, Russia will if anything speak with even increased confidence in this respect, knowing that the US has not taken heed of any warnings previously issued, something which is if anything, magnified by the fact that Donald Trump’s ‘project reconciliation’ with Russia has amounted to little.

Russia might also explain its leadership in respect of East Asia, by affirming its desire to de-escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula through cooperative initiatives involving both Korean states.

Finally, Russia will almost certainly reiterate its calls for a UN peacekeeping force to be sent to Donbass, something which has been widely praised in Europe, particularly in Germany. This could be the beginning of the end of major obstacles between Russia and the European Union, even as Russia’s primary partners are now in Asia.

China

China will look to emphasise the theme of peace through prosperity in what will amount to a calm elucidation of the benefits of One Belt–One Road to the growing economies of Asia and Africa. In this sense, China will send an implied message to India and other states who remain sceptical of One Belt–One Road, restating that the initiative is purely voluntary and will serve the best interests of all participating states.

China will also almost certainly emphasise its revolution in renewable energy which is being watched by business leaders and environmental activists the world over with great interest, in spite of a near complete blackout in the western mainstream media.

China will likely also touch on its opposition to violence on any side, in respect of the Korean peninsula.

Syria and Iraq 

Both Syria and Iraq will, in a unique moment in history, offer similar statements in many ways. Both will speak of the importance of national unity, in a not so thinly veiled opposition to Kurdish nationalism and each will try to reclaim the victory over terrorism from international actors who are often credited with fighting the battle by various elements in the media. In the later instance, Syria will have a stronger case than Iraq, in many ways.

Syria in particular, may use the UN to re-define the Arabism which underpins Ba’athism. President Bashar al-Assad has recently spoken of the fact that all Syrians whether Muslim or Christian are an indefensible part of the fabric of Syria.

Now that Syria is on the verge of victory, Syria will likely be clear in re-stating the fact that it is the last major Arab country to hold true to the revolutionary belief system of Ba’athism and Arab Nationalism more widely.

Both Syria and Iraq will also likely emphasise the importance of the wider world respecting their sovereignty so that conflict can be erased from the lands of each state.

India and Myanmar 

Both the internal and geo-political events surrounding India will help to shape an Indian address that seeks to position New Delhi as an economic and also moral leader of the Asian world and wider so-called developing world.

In this sense, the rhetorical pragmatism of China will be countered by a not so subtly ideological speech from India.

In this sense, India will present itself as the Asian power best place to bring prosperity to Africa and settle disputes in South East Asia. None of this will amuse China, but nor will China be particularly surprised.

Whether overtly or subliminally, India will almost certainly come out in favour of the actions taken by the government of Myanmar, more strongly than any other country.

Look out for many anti-terrorist cliches combined with an almost holier than thou attitude which implies that India is Asia. This will be a clear indication of the speech being a kind of self-coronation of India’s Premier Modi, one which likely won’t be received quite as warmly as Modi hopes.

While Prime Minister Modi will almost certainly deliver the Indian address, it has already been confirmed that Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi will skip the event. Myanmar can nevertheless use the General Assembly to calmly explain the situation regarding the Rohingya crisis in a manner which sheds light on the complex realities of the situation while offering genuine sympathy for the deaths that have been caused in the fog of a long civil war.

Myanmar thus far has not had the best public relations tactics in respect of the crisis. The combination of insularity on behalf of Myanmar’s military leadership, known as the Tatmadaw, combined with Aung San Suu Kyi’s inexperience in a genuine position of needing to be a communicator, has often let the country down.

Myanmar must be calm in rejecting the more outlandish claims about its internal conflict while also not callously brushing aside the fears of the wider Muslim world, which are genuine even when based on half-truths. In this respect, Myanmar could help to create a new diplomatic narrative on the crisis, but it is doubtful this will happen and India in trying to help, might only do harm in portraying the conflict as a ‘Muslim versus everyone else’ conflict, which the Civil War in Myanmar is most certainly not.

READ MORE: Understanding the Myanmar/Rohingya conflict is best achieved through understanding international non-alignment

Pakistan 

Pakistan’s speech may catch the United States off guard more so than any other. The tentative US ally has been very public with its anger over Trump administration claims that Pakistan harbours terrorism and that in this sense it presents a problem for Afghanistan. All political parties in Pakistan consider these remarks to be gravely insulting to the country which has suffered the most due to the largely US authored instability in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The threat of cutting off economic aid to a country that has sacrificed a great deal to placate the United States has added insult to injury.

Pakistan’s most important ally is undoubtedly China and the larges sums of monetary and infrastructural investment that China has poured into Pakistan, have given Islamabad both the courage and an economic insurance policy, which has already allowed Pakistani leaders to say what they really feel about the United States.

For those who do not realise that Pakistan now looks to Beijing for partnerships rather than Washington, Pakistan’s speech may be a rude awakening.

Iran

Iran’s address will almost certainly be a combination of confidence and anger. Where former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once used his General Assembly speech to argue the case for US involvement in the 9/11 atrocities, today’s Iranian leadership will likely focus on the broader issues of Iranian development and geo-political relations.

Being on the winning side of the wider Middle East war against Takfiri terrorism, has already greatly enhanced Iran’s prestige in many parts of the Arab world and its growing partnerships beyond in Arab world with China, Russia, Turkey and even Pakistan, mean that Iran is more connected to the wider world than at any time since the Revolution of 1979.

With the Trump administration tearing up the 2013 JCPOA (aka nuclear deal) in all but name and with threats from the White House to formally reject the JCPOA at any moment, Iran ought to take the high road and demonstrate how Theran has been in full compliance with the deal according to the US State Department, the UN and the EU.

A calm approach to explaining how the US is guilty of violating the deal while Iran has acted in good faith is essential.

Even if Iran is impassioned in its expressions of disappointment with the US over the deal, this will still achieve largely the same effect.

Interestingly, the US could use Iran’s decidedly anti-Myanmar narrative in respect of the Rohingya crisis to try and exploit a possible schism between Iran and its non-Muslim partners. But as things stand, America’s tunnel-vision on Iran will prevent Washington from exploiting this openly.

Turkey and Israel 

Both powers who share a common Eastern Mediterranean region are moving in entirely different directions. Turkey is moving closer to Iran and its regional partners while Israel is moving closer to Saudi Arabia and its regional allies. Furthermore, with Israel coming out unambiguously in favour of a Kurdish state on Turkey’s borders, it only remains to be seen which country can restrain its passions more on the Kurdish issue.

In the event, Turkey will almost certainly refer to its security concerns in respect of a Kurdish state and in doing so, will be speaking in an ironically singular voice with Syria and Iraq, while Israel will almost certainly allude to sharing similar ‘ideals’ with Kurdish nationalists.

WIth America’s two traditional regional allies coming out on opposite sides of key issues, the US State Department will need to engage in heavy behind the scenes damage control. The fact that Donald Trump is having several meetings with the leader of the Israeli regime but  none with President Erdogan of Turkey, is itself, telling of the fact that the US will continue to do little to assure Turkey of its very legitimate fears on the Kurdish issue.

Philippines 

Popular Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has crossed swords with the UN on many occasions, particularly in relation to his law and order approach to the dangerous drug problem in his country. With the armed forces of Philippines on the verge of a military victory against ISIS aligned terrorists in the country which itself has shown the dangerous connections between the narcotics trade and the financing of terrorism which Duterte had previously warned about, it will be imperative for Philippines to use the General Assembly to drawn an unambiguous connection between drugs and terrorism.

Venezuela 

In 2006, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez famously called George W. Bush “the devil” and remarked that the podium of the General Assembly Hall.

This year, Venezuela’s predictably harsh criticisms of the United States will likely be a slamming of unilateral US sanctions which in recent weeks and months have been passed on the oil rich South American nation.

Look for Venezuela to invite other nations to begin trading their national commodities in currencies other than the US Dollar while praising allies who have stood by Caracas against the US onslaught.

CONCLUSION

There are of course many other nations that will speak at the UN General Assembly, but this piece has covered those which have been in the news due to their participation in wider geo-political conflicts or conflict resolution.

While Donald Trump is making his UN debut, the real star of this years show will undoubtedly be multi-polarity.

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Maria Butina, her crime: A love of the NRA and being Russian (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 61.

Alex Christoforou

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has communicated to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Russian national Maria Butina must be set free and allowed to return to Russia, after she was arrested by US officials on dubious spy charges.

Lavrov said that the US should immediately release the Russian gun activist, who is being held in the US on espionage charges, after a phone conversation with his US counterpart.

Lavrov called the charges levied against Butina “fabricated.”

In his conversation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday, “Lavrov stressed that the actions of the US authorities that arrested Russian citizen Butina on fabricated charges are unacceptable.”

In an official statement the Russian Foreign Ministry called for her “immediate release.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the oddly timed, out of the blue arrest of Maria Butina, who is being held by US authorities for what they claim to be a violation of the FARA act.

In reality Maria Butina’s crime is much more troubling than simply failing to register as a foreign agent.

Maria made the double mistake of being in the United States of America as a Russian citizens who loves guns, at a time when racism and bigotry against Russians and NRA supporters is surpassing McCarthyite levels.

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Via RT

The Foreign minister raised the issue during phone conversations that were made at the request of the US and aimed at “further normalization of the US-Russian relations” following the summit between the US President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Lavrov and Pompeo also discussed the process of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, as well as the situation in Syria.

The 29-year-old Russian student and a gun activist was arrested in the US about a week ago and charged with acting as a foreign agent without registering her activities with the authorities. Butina has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

On July 16, a DC Federal Court rejected Butina’s bail plea and ordered her to be placed in custody pending trial over fears that she could flee or contact Russian intelligence officials. Her lawyer says the trial is being politicized and Russian embassy staff were only allowed to visit her in jail on Thursday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has called Butina’s arrest politically motivated, adding that it could have been aimed at disrupting the Helsinki summit between Putin and Trump. On Thursday, the ministry also launched a campaign hashtagged #FreeMariaButina on Twitter to raise awareness of her case.

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Ugly breakup at FBI: Lisa Page throws ex-lover, Peter Strzok, under the bus (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 60.

Alex Christoforou

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While Peter Strzok’s testimony put a face on the deceptive and secretive Deep State, GOP lawmakers who were present at Lisa Page’s closed-door deposition said they learned a lot of new information from the ex-FBI lawyer, and ex-lover of Peter Strzok.

Lisa Page confirmed to GOP lawmakers that the text messages sent between her and her lover Strzok “meant exactly what they said,” contrary to Strzok’s testimony.

According to The Gateway Pundit, one damning text message in particular sent from Strzok on May 19th, 2017, just two days after Robert Mueller was appointed Special Counsel, intrigued investigators and the public alike.

“There’s no big there there,” Strzok texted.

According to investigative reporter, John Solomon, Lisa Page confirmed that text from Peter Strzok did indeed refer to the Trump-Russia case.

Strzok knew it was a nothing-burger yet he forged ahead.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou, RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle, and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how Peter Strzok’s testimony has undoubtedly contradicted Lisa Page’s cooperative deposition, as the ex-FBI lawyer is preparing to save herself, while throwing her ex-lover under the bus.

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Via The Epoch Times

Representatives John Ratcliffe and Louie Gohmert of Texas recently shared their observations of the closed-door testimony of former high-ranking FBI lawyer Lisa Page, which concluded on July 16.

One of the major questions regarding the testimony was whether it would match the one given by FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok.

But while Ratcliffe said he found a mismatch, Gohmert wouldn’t go so far.

Page and Strzok played major roles in the investigations on both 2016 presidential candidates: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia. During the same period, Page and Strzok had an affair and exchanged thousands of text messages expressing a strong bias against Trump and in favor of Clinton.

“When I questioned Lisa Page on Friday about the anti-Trump text messages that were sent between herself and Peter Strzok, there were significant differences in her testimony and Strzok’s as it relates to what she thought some of these text messages meant,” Ratcliffe said in a July 16 tweet, shortly before the second round of questioning.

“Page gave us new information that Strzok either wouldn’t or couldn’t, confirming some of the concerns we had about these investigations and the people involved in running them,” he wrote.

On July 17, Ratcliffe expanded on his further statements about Page’s testimony. Radcliffe told Fox News…

“There are differences in their testimony.”

“In many cases, she admits that the text messages mean exactly what they say, as opposed to agent Strzok, who thinks that we’ve all misinterpreted his own words on any text message that might be negative.”

Via The Epoch Times

In one of the texts, Strzok vowed to “stop” Trump from becoming president. In another, the two discussed having an “insurance policy” in the “unlikely” event that Trump would win the election.

Strzok, who gave a closed-door testimony on June 27 and a public one on July 12, said the first message meant he and the American people would stop Trump. The second, he said previously, meant he wanted to pursue the Russia investigation aggressively, in case Trump won.

GOP lawmakers were furious with Strzok’s attitude and unwillingness to answer questions. In a scathing monologue, Gohmert even linked Strzok’s credibility to the fact that he was unfaithful to his wife.

President Donald Trump repeatedly called Strzok’s testimony a “disgrace.”

The lawmakers said Page was comparatively more cooperative.

“There were times the FBI lawyers would be reaching to the button to mute her comment, and she would answer before they could mute her comment,” Gohmert told Fox News.

He said Page didn’t contradict Strzok “so much,” but “has given us insights into who was involved in what.”

“I think she’ll be a good witness,” he said.

Page ditched her first testimony appointment on July 11, prompting GOP lawmakers to threaten her with contempt of Congress. She then agreed to appear on July 13, which gave her the opportunity to review Strzok’s public testimony before giving hers.

The lawmakers are probing the FBI’s and Justice Department’s decisions before the election, suspecting they were influenced by political considerations.

Texts between Strzok and Page suggest that the FBI initiated an offensive counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign as early as December 2015.

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Russia makes MASSIVE progress on its ‘super-weapons’

Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle moves into serial production, nuclear-engine powered cruise missile tests continue, and more as Russia continues to outdo all Western military tech

Seraphim Hanisch

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On July 19th and 20th, The Russian Defense Ministry announced several milestones of progress in its advanced weapons systems programs. These programs were revealed to the world in March of this year, when Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the State of the Russian Federation speech.

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While at first the Western onlookers did not believe the amazing announcements of hypersonic weapons and nuclear-powered cruise missiles with unlimited range, subsequent releases and concurrent observation by the American military experts has shown these developments to be as real as Mr. Putin claimed they are.

TASS, the Russian News Agency, released information on these weapons systems in separate reports:

Kinzhal

The Kinzhal hypersonic missile:

Squadrons of MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles should enter combat duty in the Black Sea region and at other Russian fleets and flotillas, said Russian military expert Viktor Murakhovsky, the editor-in-chief of the Arsenal Otechestva magazine.

Besides, a squadron (between 12 and 16 aircraft) of MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles entered combat duty in the Caspian Sea region in April.

“I think at least one squadron of those complexes should be deployed at any fleet, in other words – at all regions where we have fleets and flotillas. We need to deploy them in the regions of the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Northern Fleet. The Pacific region also should not be forgotten,” Murakhovsky said.

He said that such systems can become a “good instrument” against not only vessels equipped with high-precision weapons, but also for countering carrier attack groups.

“We know how expensive a carrier attack group can be. By employing this asymmetric method, which is unbelievably cheap in comparison with building a carrier attack group, we can neutralize this threat almost completely,” the expert said.

Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile trials:

The Burevestnik is an entirely new cruise missile, powered by a nuclear engine. This gives the missile unlimited range. In theory, such a missile could be launched at a target and spend days or weeks in hidden flight using advanced guidance systems, and then close on its target at the optimal time to assure destruction of that target with maximum surprise. The TASS piece goes on to say:

The Russian Defense Ministry announced that Russia was preparing to test upgraded test prototypes of the nuclear-powered Burevestnik cruise missile with an unlimited range.

According to the expert, it is highly likely that the prototype of the missile “has already made a flight.”

“Clearly, it was something like the pop-up trials of Sarmat – a launch without the nuclear-powered engine, in other words, with an ordinary missile booster, conducted in order to assess the possibility of a launch, aerodynamics and the operability of the entire system in general,” [Murakhovsky] said.

Further reporting from TASS had this to add about the Burevestnik program:

Russia is getting ready for flight tests of the Burevestnik nuclear powered cruise missile, an official at the Defense Ministry told reporters on Thursday.

“The missile’s component makeup is being improved based on clarified requirements, while ground tests continue and preparations are being made for experimental flight tests of the improved missile,” the official said.

According to the Defense Ministry, “work on an unlimited-range missile is going according to plan.”

“In the meantime, launching systems are also being designed, while technological processes to manufacture, assemble and test the missile are being improved. This range of work will make it possible to start designing a totally new sort of weapon – a strategic nuclear complex armed with a nuclear powered missile,” the ministry official noted.

[The head] of the 12th Central Research Institute at Russia’s Defense Ministry Sergey Pertsev, in turn, said that the tests of the new cruise missile equipped with a small nuclear power unit had confirmed the accuracy of the technical decisions that Russian researchers, engineers and designers had made. In addition, the tests enabled the researchers “to receive valuable experimental data necessary for specifying a number of requirements.”

“A low-flying and low-observable cruise missile carrying a nuclear warhead, with an almost unlimited range, an unpredictable trajectory and capability to bypass interception lines is invincible to all the existing and advanced air and missile defense systems,” the Russian Defense Ministry stressed.

A further use of the nuclear engine technology is also expected in the Poseidon underwater drone, Mr. Murakhovsky stated that separate systems for the craft have been successfully tested. He further noted that the next task is to design the entire layout, build a test model and begin testing the whole platform.

The Avangard Hypersonic Missile

While the Kinzhal is a Mach-10 capable hypersonic system that can be launched from a fighter, the Avangard is a Mach-20 capable system that has intercontinental reach. There is almost no footage of this system released to the public, but the concept videos show how the system works. TASS reports this status:

Russia’s Strategic Missile Force is preparing a position area for accepting the Avangard hypersonic missile system for service as part of the efforts to strengthen the country’s military security, the Defense Ministry announced on Thursday.

“The Russian defense industry has completed developing the Avangard missile system with the principally new armament – the gliding cruise warhead. Industrial enterprises have switched to its serial production,” the Defense Ministry said.

“A set of organizational and technical measures is underway in the position area of the Dombarovsky large unit of the Strategic Missile Force to accept the Avangard missile system for operation,” it added.

The development of new strategic weapon systems “is aimed at increasing Russia’s defense capability and preventing any aggression against our country and its allies,” the Defense Ministry stressed.

The infrastructural facilities of the large unit’s position area have already been prepared for the missile system’s operation, the ministry said.

“The position area has been prepared in geodesic and engineering terms to accommodate the missile system. Work is underway to build new and reconstruct old facilities to provide for the operation and the combat use of the system. Technical and utility supply lines are being modernized and electric power, communications and command and control cables are being laid. Work has been arranged to train personnel and prepare armament, military and special hardware,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

Deputy Commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Force for Armament Sergei Poroskun has said that the Avangard hypersonic missile system features combat capabilities that “make it possible to reliably breach any anti-missile defenses.”

The Okhotnik attack drone

The Okhotnik (“Hunter”) attack drone is now being viewed as a prototype for Russia’s “sixth-generation” fighter plane. TASS describes this in more detail:

According to [a defense industry] official, although the sixth generation fighter jet project “has not yet taken full shape, its main features are already known.”

“First of all, it should be unmanned and capable of performing any combat task in an autonomous regime. In this sense, Okhotnik will become the prototype of the sixth generation fighter jet,’ the source said, adding that the drone will be able to “take off, fulfill its objectives and return to the airfield.”

“However, it will not receive the function of decision-making regarding the use of weapons – this will be decided by a human,” he said.

TASS was unable to officially confirm the information at the time of the publication.

Another defense industry source earlier told TASS that the prototype of Okhotnik (Hunter) was ready and would start test flights this year.

The Russian Defense Ministry and the Sukhoi Company signed a contract for developing the 20-ton Okhotnik (Hunter) heavy unmanned strike aircraft in 2011. The drone’s mock-up model was made in 2014. According to unconfirmed reports, composite materials and anti-radar coating were used to create the Okhotnik. The drone is equipped with a reaction-jet propulsion and is supposed to develop a speed of 1000 kilometers per hour.

Peresvet laser weapons systems

TASS reported that the Russian military forces are now training for the use of the Peresvet combat laser system:

Russian Aerospace Force has accepted for service the laser complexes Peresvet and the military are now taking drills that involve the novel combat technologies, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

“The Peresvet laser complexes have been placed at sites of permanent deployment,” the report said. “Active efforts to make them fully operational are underway.”

“To ensure their proper functioning, the necessary infrastructures and specialized facilities for housing the complexes and duty crews have been built,” the ministry said.

The crews assigned to the Peresvets have taken upgrader courses at the Alexander Mozhaisky Military-Space Academy in St Petersburg.

The Russian military strategy of “asymmetric response.”

The overall defense strategy is termed an “asymmetric response”, and Mr. Murakhovsky explained the principle in this way:

“This is an asymmetric response, in which new classes of weapons are created, instead of new types within the framework of the existing systems. Other states are not expected to have anything of this kind [in the near future],” he said.

The expert described this response as “quite an efficient one, all the more so because it requires no additional investment – all the works are being carried out within the framework of the state procurement program.”

He added that unlike the Soviet Union, Russia avoids being dragged into a direct arms race and searches for cutting-edge solutions instead of simply increasing the number of weapons.

“The development of counter-weapons to those arms [may be possible] in distant future, but it does not mean that they can be created at all,” Murakhovsky added.

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