Russian claim of U.S. sub in territorial waters: A little more than meets the eye

Smoke signals.

Russia claimed on Saturday 12 February that one of their Pacific Fleet ships, Udaloy-class destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov (BPK-543), recently drove a U.S. attack submarine out of Russian territorial waters.

The claim appears to refer to actions allegedly undertaken during M. Shaposhnikov’s current underway period for fleet exercises.

According to RIA Novosti, the Russian navy “discovered an American submarine of the ‘Virginia’ type near the island of Urup.”

“The crew of the submarine,” says RIA Novosti, “was given a message in Russian and English via underwater communication: ‘You are in the territorial waters of Russia. Surface immediately!’” Continue reading “Russian claim of U.S. sub in territorial waters: A little more than meets the eye”

Russian bombers do Guam

It matters.

The Washington Free Beacon reports that the Russian Tu-95 “Bear” bomber aircraft operated near Guam on 12 February, a few hours before President Obama’s SOTU address.

A few things about this.

1.  It’s not the first time the Russians have timed bomber flights to coincide with Obama events.  As early as February 2009, Russian bombers buzzed Canada hours before Obama’s first visit there to confer with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  Later that year, in July, Russia conducted three close approaches to Alaska with Tu-95 Bear bombers during Obama’s state visit to Moscow.  Air Force Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins had this to say at the time: Continue reading “Russian bombers do Guam”

Russia, Iran standing off from Obama’s showcase events

The times are a-changin’.

Vladimir Putin decided not to attend the recent NATO summit in Chicago – although probably not out of petty pique at our president.  Regardless of his sentiments about Obama, he would have attended if he had thought it was in his interest to do so.   Now Iran has abruptly ended the scheduled talks on her nuclear program in Baghdad, affirming no interest in continuing this round without some lightening of sanctions up front.  The next round of talks is to be held in Moscow.

If they occur, as promised, in June – before the US election – the most likely outcome is more stalling and no progress.  But that is not because there has been no prior interest on the Western side in making big concessions in order to get an agreement.  What Iran is doing actually amounts to avoiding being presented with a favorable agreement.  The abruptness of the talks’ end indicates Continue reading “Russia, Iran standing off from Obama’s showcase events”

Weird times in the Far East, Part 1

Interesting times.

Destabilizing conditions abound.

Potemkin bomber patrols

Russian news agencies aren’t trumpeting Russian long-range bomber patrols for English-speaking consumption as they once did.  But they are still reporting the patrols, at least sometimes.  And the terms in which the latest one was reported hark back to the days when Pravda (“truth”) was synonymous with “blatant lie.”

This is how the Voice of Russia recounted a patrol by two Tu-95MS (Bear) bombers “near the Aleutian Islands” in late May (emphasis added): Continue reading “Weird times in the Far East, Part 1”