Multiple reports are indicating that power has been cut off to the entire region of Crimea after two large transmission towers were destroyed.
It is not yet clear who destroyed the towers, although RT reports that supporters of the local group, Right Sector had been rioting in the area earlier in the day.
More to come. Stay with Rise News.
— Conflict News (@Conflicts) November 21, 2015
Cover Photo Credit: Artem Svetlov/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)
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About the AuthorRich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.
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By John Massey
An approximately 60 mile stretch of land separates the Russian district of Kaliningrad, from the country of Belarus. It just so happens that this stretch of land is the border between Poland and Lithuania, and one of the most militarized regions in Europe.
As a result, this area has been called by some within the defense community “the New Fulda Gap“, referring to the presumed flashpoint of conflict between NATO and the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War.
Kaliningrad is a small Russian enclave separated from the rest of the country, and nestled between the Baltic Sea, Poland, and Lithuania. It was awarded to Russia in the Potsdam Accords of 1945, and functions as the home base for the Baltic Fleet. As the Kremlin continues takes an adversarial view of NATO, a heavily armed garrison in the district would seem a rational act. This is precisely what they’ve done by positioning several brigades as well as a Motor Rifle Regiment in the territory.
This in itself is not an overtly aggressive move. The Russian Government has just as much a right to defend its territory as any other.
However, the Lithuanian Minister of National Defense Juozas Olekas, said that the types of units being moved to Kaliningrad in large numbers are a threat to the Baltic States.
The Minister reports that “there are 30,000-35,000 troops, two mechanized brigades, armored vehicles in the hundreds rather than the dozens… Moreover, Kaliningrad hosts huge air defense forces. The older complexes get replaced by new and modern ones. Their range is rather extensive, over 400 kilometres.”
Olekas also claims that there is intelligence to suggest the deployment of SS-26 “Stone” ballistic missiles in Kaliningrad which are potentially capable of striking targets at 400 km, with a target accuracy of 5-7m.
An evolution of the infamous “Scud”, this system would be capable of destroying Command and Control Systems, landed aircraft, artillery, and civilian infrastructure. The Baltic States are understandably worried that their key advantages of superior organization and airpower could be knocked out.
Olekas is not the only one worried about Russian capabilities in the Baltic.
Lt. General Ben Hodges, who commands US Army Forces in Europe, recently said that the potential for conflict in the gap as something that keeps him up at night.
According to Hodges, the growing frequency of unannounced Russian military exercises in both Belarus and Kaliningrad can be viewed as a potential scenario to snatch the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, before their allies can muster a coherent response.
Lt. General John Nicholson, Commander of Allied Land Command concurs with Hodges’ fears but cites recent exercises, attended by Russian observers, as demonstrating NATO’s ability to “mobilize brigades and divisions within days”, further underlining the primary mission of the Alliance, deterrence.
Hodges went on to tell NBC News that there is no immediate reason for the Russians to seize the Baltic States, but notes that he was also taken aback by recent Russian adventures in Ukraine and Syria.
Retired General Bob Scales also has some fears related to NATO’s ability to respond to a crisis in the Baltic States. In a recent interview with Ryan Evans of War on the Rocks, Scales said that he has fears that Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty (the provision which calls for mutual defense of members under attack) has a credibility problem.
The claim is that NATO members, in particular Germany, Britain, France, and the United States, would not come to the aid of an alliance member further East, and recent Pew polling among people in NATO countries lends some credence to this fear.
Scales went further to note that NATO has eroded its ability to project on land over the last fifteen years, and while “this is not the Cold War”, and “the Russian military is not what it used to be”, he is adamant that the mission of deterrence is not being adequately filled, and that Anti Ship Missiles in Kaliningrad being able to block off the entire Baltic sea from NATO’s superior naval forces negate that advantage.
Scales did not request a hike in defense spending from the United States, suggesting that a “modest repositioning of existing American forces” would be sufficient.
Such an adventure into the Baltics is likely not going to occur in the near future. RISE NEWS has previously reported on the problems the Russian military has had in recent years with its ability to project. However some unknown rift in the future could ignite this flashpoint.
The immediate objective and cause would not be known to us, but the Grand Strategy objective would be, according to Western understandings of Russian Grand Strategy and history, would be to secure space between Russia and the presumably hostile NATO forces.
This is due to Russia’s industrial and agricultural core being concentrated in the European section of the country.
This seeking of space is a result of several invasions of Russia by aggressive actors to both the East and West, including but not limited to: Germany, Sweden, France, Britain, and the Mongols over the course of history.
Space is therefore a geopolitical imperative when Russia feels threatened. As is the case with Russia’s current adventure in Ukraine, so too could be the case at the Suwalki Gap.
This line of thinking is why NATO expansion is a contentious issue. On the one hand, NATO expansion causes the Kremlin to fear NATO forces crashing through their borders, and annihilating the state.
On the other hand, Article V protection deincentivizes Russian adventures in neighboring states, due to the collective protection offered by the Alliance.
The validity of Russian fears of NATO, much like the validity of the fear of Russians seizing the Baltic States, is irrelevant. What is important is that these fears exist, and are real to those who have them and shape policy.
Working through these issues should then be the key objective of European policy, preferably without “little green men” in Estonia Latvia and Lithuania.
Cover Photo Credit: U.S. Army Europe Images/Flickr (CC by 2.0)Post Views: 829
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By Dexter Peralta
Carly Fiorina is one of the now sixteen Republican presidential candidates after former Governor of Texas Rick Perry withdrew from the race, and she is seeking to become the next commander-in-chief. We’ve compiled some information on Fiorina to get you up-to-speed with the Republican presidential candidate that everyone may soon be talking about.
Fiorina is a Washington political outsider, who worked her way up from a secretary at a local real estate firm. She moved on to become an AT&T Manager Trainee at age 25 and in ten years, she became the company’s first female officer, becoming the senior vice president of the company’s hardware and systems division. She eventually became the Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett Packard, and the first woman to lead a Fortune 50 Company. In 2003 she was named the most powerful woman in business by Fortune Magazine, a title she held for five years, and Time named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2004.
Some of Fiorina’s beliefs differ from the typical Republican ideologies. For the most part she’s a social conservative – she needs to be in order to win the primary. She is Pro-life and supports a ban on abortion twenty weeks after fertilization. She also supports defunding Planned Parenthood, especially after the recent discoveries of the selling of fetal tissue and organs.
On LGBTQ+ rights issues, Fiorina has mixed sentiments. She does not endorse same sex marriage, but she does support granting governmental benefits to same sex couples and in 2010 supported same sex civil unions.
Fiorina recognizes that climate change is real and caused by humans, but also believes that suggested Democratic policies will not solve the problem and blamed liberal environmental policies for the drought in California and out west.
On immigration, she supports a path to citizenship for those who overstayed their visas, for those who join the military, or graduate from college, but not for those who are arrived undocumented. Like the other candidates, advocates for more border control.
Fiorina believes in less government regulation, lower taxes, a zero-based budgeting tax reform, and that minimum wage levels should be determined by States.
We know what she stands for and we know her history, but can she win the primary? Although she’s a Washington outsider, she’s not new to politics. In 2008 she worked as an advisor for John McCain’s Campaign, and in 2010 she ran for Senate against incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer, losing by ten points.
In the recent Washington Post-ABC News poll among republicans, Donald Trump is still surging among all other candidates with 33 percent, with Doctor Ben Carson creeping up from behind at 20, followed by Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, with Carly Fiorina in tenth place. However as a nominee open to differing ideas that aren’t tied down to the modern republican platform, Carly Fiorina is a strong contender for the republican nomination.
Cover Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC by 2.0)Post Views: 358
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By Staff Report
NBA hall of famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar gave one of the most pointed speeches of the Democratic National Convention.
Unfortunately for him, his speech wasn’t pointed enough to pop all the balloons that dropped on the convention floor after Hillary Clinton’s speech.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar just hates balloons.
Democratic New York Delegate and Mayor of Ithaca Svante Myrick took some photos of Abdul-Jabbar looking angered by the balloons and put them on his Facebook page.
The photos caused a stir online with nearly 1,000 people “liking” them.
Poor Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
All he wanted to do was make fun of Donald Trump and show off his very good speaking abilities.
Instead, he had to wage war with his old nemesis- latex balloons.
At least the night started out well.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.Photo Credits: Svante Myrick/ FacebookPost Views: 815
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