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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Moscow’

Research Staff ‘Down’ $52 K Gift Drone from Israeli Minister to Russian PM

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) last week handed over to Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev a drone worth $52 thousand belonging to Volcani Center researchers.

Ariel hosted Medvedev on his tour at Israel’s world renowned agricultural research and development institute, introducing his VIP guest to several innovations Israel is hoping to get the Russians interested in, including a robot designed for spraying agricultural fields and crops in hothouses, a new tool for testing the sugar level in apples, new sensors to monitor milk quality and output in cows, and new wheat storage solutions that protect against pests.

According to Calcalist, one of the presentations was of a drone used for irrigation research, and when Ariel noticed how very interested Medvedev had been in this drone, he told his staff to deliver it to the Russian PM as a gift. Institute staff were shocked and then irate at this grab-from-above, but in agricultural institutions the Minister of Agriculture is second only to God.

Volcani senior staff member Moshe Reuveni told Calcalist that “transferring the device that was used by the Volcani Center for agricultural research projects currently in development disregards all administrative procedures and all rules and laws regarding high level visits.” Reuveni was furious that “aside from the damage caused by giving a device costing hundreds of thousands of shekels, and the damage to our image, there is also the obvious damage caused by freezing agricultural research.”

After the drone had been delivered and the Russian delegation flew with it back home, a Medvedev representative called the Agriculture ministry to inquire about the remote control device that had not been packed with the drone. According to Ma’ariv reported Ben Kaspit’s Twitt, Volcani staff told the ministry they’d hold on to the remote until they receive the budget for a new drone.

Meanwhile, as soon as he landed in Moscow, PM Medvedev was confronted with the arrest of Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukayev on suspicion of taking a $2 million bribe, so maybe it’s better his gift drone stays grounded.

David Israel

IDF Concern Rising Over Russian Arms, Military Presence in Middle East

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

No one’s admitting it publicly, but in private conversations senior Israeli air force and navy officers are expressing increasing concern over the intensity of the Russian military presence in the Middle East.

“We were surprised by the quantity and quality of the Russian weapons we have seen appearing here,” a source told Israel’s Channel 2 television news in a report that appeared Sunday.

The issue has dramatically affected the way Israeli air and sea forces plan their strategic operations.

Israeli Air Force and Navy forces were accustomed to carrying out their operations in relative freedom from any real threats up to this point, Channel 2 reported.

But foreign sources quoted the IDF as saying Russian forces have been carrying out reconnaissance missions, attacks on arms convoys, building unconventional weapons arsenals and sailing against distant shores – carrying out large-scale operations with many personnel to gather intelligence without interruption.

At this point, the situation has changed. It used to be customary to say, “If you really want to know what the president of the United States is planning, check where his aircraft are going.”

If so, the Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, is sailing in the North Sea on its way to the eastern Mediterranean Sea, with the IDF closely watching its movements. The vessel is expected to dock off the coast of Syria in the next few weeks.

Hana Levi Julian

EU Seeks Iranian Cooperation to ‘Resolve Problems’ in Middle East

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini met Saturday in Tehran for talks with President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Mogherini’s visit followed a trilateral meeting on Friday in Moscow between Iranian, Russian and Syrian foreign ministers to discuss developments in Syria, according to Iran’s official FARS news agency.

During his meeting with Mogherini, the Iranian president “underlined the necessity for cutting aid to the terrorist groups,” according to FARS. Rouhani reportedly “called on the EU to use military and political leverage to pressure those states that are supporting the terrorists in the region.”

Mogherini “stressed the necessity for a campaign against the ISIL (Islamic State terrorist group) and Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra) Front as threats to the world…” The EU foreign policy chief was quoted by FARS as saying, “The EU needs Iran’s cooperation as a key and important power to resolve problems in the region.”

(Yes, these are real quotes.)

Hana Levi Julian

Russian PM Medvedev to Visit Jerusalem, Ramallah for Talks

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

Russia’s PM Dimitry Medvedev is slated to arrive in Israel on November 9, according to a report broadcast on Israel’s Channel 10 television news, quoting the Palestinian Authority on Saturday.

Medvedev plans to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, in an alleged attempt to “assist with peace efforts between the PA and Israel,” according to the report.

Russia announced on Friday, however, that Medvedev is to arrive in Israel for a two-day visit, slated for November 10-11, and said “a number of bilateral intergovernmental and interagency agreements and documents are due to be signed after the talks.”

It was not clear between who the agreements were to be signed, nor after which set of talks. The issue of “peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority” was not mentioned by Moscow.

“During his visit to Israel on November 10 the Russian premier will hold talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and meet with Israel’s President, Reuven Rivlin,” Russia’s official TASS news agency reported Friday.

“The two sides will discuss in detail some pressing issues on the bilateral agenda, including ways of further strengthening cooperation in trade, economy, investment, science, technology, innovation, and the humanitarian area,” the Russian Cabinet said. “The parties will also address some international issues of mutual interest.

“During his visit to Palestine on November 11, Medvedev will hold talks with President of the State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, and visit the cultural and educational facilities built with Russia’s assistance,” the Russian Cabinet statement continued.

“The trip to Palestine and the upcoming contacts with its leaders will make it possible to ‘synchronize watches’ on some topical issues on the bilateral agenda, including the implementation of the agreements reached in March 2016 during the first meeting of the Russian-Palestinian intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation,” the Cabinet said. “It is also expected that Medvedev and Abbas will exchange views on the current situation in the Middle East.

“A number of bilateral intergovernmental and interagency agreements and documents are due to be signed after the talks.”

Hana Levi Julian

Report: 3 MKs, IDF General Were KGB Agents

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Three Knesset members, senior IDF officers (including one member of the IDF General Staff), engineers who worked on classified projects such as the Lavi supersonic warplane and the Merkava tank, as well as intelligence officers in sensitive positions, have been exposed as KGB agents by documents to be revealed by the daily Yediot Aharonot this Friday.

The secret documents have been copied over a period of 20 years by Vasili Mitrokhin, a former senior KGB agent, who hid his work in milk jugs under his vacation home in a suburb of Moscow. In the early 1990s, Mitrokin contacted the West and he, his family and his milk jugs were transported to the UK. The revelations in these documents were a harsh blow to the Soviet spy network, exposing an estimated one thousand KGB agents around the world. Those documents included revelations about KGB activity inside Israel, and Yediot has now received some of them from a secret archive at Cambridge.

One of those KGB spies in Israel’s highest echelons was MK Elazar Granot, a socialist leader who served on the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and was privy to Israel’s military secrets. The KGB also employed a senior engineer in Israel’s national water project in the 1950s and 60s, and even a senior agent in the GSS counter intelligence dept.

According to Yediot, the KGB’s highest prize was the recruitment of an IDF general who was member of the General Staff. When he was exposed, in 1993, the high ranking was already terminally ill and the powers that be decided not to prosecute. They likely did not relish the exposure either. He died shortly afterwards.

David Israel

IDF Contacts Russian Counterpart to Update Military Coordination in Syria

Monday, October 17th, 2016

The Israel Defense Force has reportedly asked its Russian counterpart to update the security coordination between the two nations in Syria.

“In the context of the hotline between [Israel and Russia], the Israelis sent us a request to develop new procedures and open-fire rules to be added to the existing coordination mechanism,” Russia’s Izvestia newspaper reported Sunday, citing an unnamed source. “We are currently developing our response and will send it to the Israelis in the context of the agreed upon procedures between the [two] sides.”

The S-300 system, installed at the Russian naval base in the Syrian city of Tartus, has already made headlines after its sale to Iran in 2007. The actual installation of the system for Tehran did not take place, however, until this year.

Although the S-300 is considered one of the most advanced aerial defense systems in the world, Russia has already moved ahead and developed the S-400. Moreover, although the S-300 is installed in Tartus, it has not been handed over to the Syrians, nor are they trained in its use, according to Moscow.

Hana Levi Julian

Kremlin Prepares for ‘Nuclear War’ As White House Considers ‘Cyber Attack’ as Middle East Hangs Between

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

Russian media is warning citizens to prepare for war – specifically, nuclear war – and ordering officials to prepare the nation’s bomb shelters and ensure that citizens have reviewed proper use of their gas masks.

“If it should one day, happen, everyone one of you should know where the nearest bomb shelter is,” said one newscaster on the state-run NTV television news channel. “It’s best to find out now.”

This past week Russia also announced a move to transfer nuclear-capable ballistic missiles to Kalininigrad, between Poland and Lithuania, its northern European enclave. The transfer places the missiles within striking distance of western European capitals.

Russia also test-fired three intercontinental ballistic missiles, and earlier this month announced it would hold joint “anti-terror” military drills with Egypt “in a desert environment.” Moscow is moving in to train with Egypt in military strategies, equipment and personnel and build a closer relationship Cairo, in a way similar to that in which it began with Syria years ago.

Moscow’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin claimed that tensions are at their worst since 1973, but not as bad as they were during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. “Despite the fact that we have a serious disagreement, we are continuing [to work together] in other areas – sometimes successfully,” he told reporters this weekend. However, he added that the crisis has followed a list of conflicts between the Kremlin and the White House.

“It’s a lack of basic respect,” Churkin said, “and a lack of in-depth discussions on political issues.” Among the issues he cited were the recruitment of Ukraine and Georgia for membership in NAT, and the ousting of Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. All, he said, were incited by the United States.

The U.S., meanwhile, has said it is considering a cyber attack in retaliation for a Kremlin-backed cyber snoop into American elections, and an outright hack attack against electoral data banks and the Democratic National Headquarters. The Kremlin has warned that any such attack would be met with a “harsh response.”

A number of news analysts have said that relations between Moscow and Washington have reached their lowest point since the Cold War, in fact.

According to ABC News, Russia has conducted a nationwide civil defense drill since September that has involved some 40 million citizens, preparing them for a panoply of disasters that run the gamut of war scenarios, including nuclear fallout, and announced who would run the nation should war break out. One of the simulations involved that specific scenario, in fact.

American logic dictates that Russia would not run a civil defense drill for 40 million people for the fun of it. But Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer, quoted by ABC News, says that all this is part of the grand show that may be necessary to inspire Russian lawmakers to raise a little cash for a decent military budget – which is up for renewal – when the economy is slow.

“Tensions are going to rise and rise and rise,” he said. “The good news is, no one really wants a war. But it’s going to be a good show.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/kremlin-prepares-for-nuclear-war-as-white-house-considers-cyber-attack-as-middle-east-hangs-between/2016/10/16/

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