‘Laser weapons’ to define Russia’s military potential in 21st century – Putin

Russian leader Vladimir Putin says that laser technology will play a crucial role in the nation’s military might as he spoke about the “first practical results” of the country’s Peresvet combat laser system.

Putin highlighted the importance of developing laser technology, including the “tactical-level combat laser complexes,” at a defense-themed cabinet meeting on Friday.

Such types of weaponry will at large be defining the combat potential of the Russian Army and Navy… throughout the whole of the 21st century.

Putin said that the government will study “the first practical results” of the laser system Peresvet’s performance when used by the military. The cutting-edge weapon formally entered test service in December.

Combat laser system enters test duty in Russia...

Named after a famous 14th century Russian patriotic warrior monk, Peresvet was announced by Putin last year.

Nearly everything about the weapon is classified, even its exact purpose. Experts suggest that the laser, among other things, may be used as a jamming device or to neutralize airborne targets, including cruise missiles. Some said that military-grade lasers like that can be used against enemy satellites.

In his speech in March 2018, Putin revealed a number of brand new state-of-the-art weapons. Among them was the air-launched hypersonic missile Kinzhal (‘Dagger’), which later successfully passed trials and was mounted on MiG-31 fighter jets.

Also on rt.com From hypersonic glider to nuke subs: Meet Russian arms on brink of deployment (PHOTO, VIDEO)...

 

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Ukrainian adventurism in Black Sea risks pulling NATO into war with Russia – senators

NATO support is encouraging Ukraine's recklessness in relations with Russia, but such provocation could lead to a military conflict in which the US-led alliance itself could become involved, the Russian Federation Council said.

Senators released a joint statement dedicated to NATO's 70th anniversary on Tuesday, paying special attention to the latest anti-Russian remarks coming from the organization.

US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said last week that a special “package” had been designed within the bloc “to assure that there is a safe passage for Ukrainian vessels” through the Kerch Strait.

The narrow waterway connecting the Black Sea and Azov Sea, which Russia controls, became the venue of an intense standoff last November, when several Ukrainian vessels deliberately violated Russia's maritime border near the Kerch Strait. They were detained by the Russian coast guard, which chased the intruders and fired shots at them.

The Federal Council clarified that “the passage of Ukrainian ships through the Kerch Strait is not a question of balance of power or NATO's presence in the Black Sea region, but solely the Ukrainian side's problem with observing the procedures, which it is well aware of and has successfully fulfilled before.

“The attempts by Kiev to bypass those procedures carry the risk of a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, in which NATO may also become involved,” the statement warned.

In fact, Russia hasn't banned Ukrainian vessels from crossing the Kerch Strait, and civilian ships do it on a daily basis. Military vessels have to notify the Russian port authorities of their passage in advance – something that wasn't done during the November crisis, which Moscow decried as a “provocation” by Kiev.

Also on rt.com ‘Pandering to Kiev will lead to more dangerous provocations,’ Russia warns foreign parliaments...

The senators said that NATO's backing of non-member states Ukraine and Georgia “pushes the leadership of those countries, who feel their impunity, to get involved in even more adventurism.”

Their statement also condemned NATO's eastward expansion and its military buildup around Russian borders. It also urged the bloc to resume dialogue with the Russian military based "on mutual respect" as the only way to reduce tensions.

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Nothing short of total obedience? Pentagon rejects any talks with Turkey in S-400 vs F-35 row

The Pentagon has firmly rejected Turkey's offer to create a bilateral working group that would ensure that no military secrets of the US are compromised once Ankara deploys the Russian S-400 air defense systems.

Trying to preserve a working relationship with Washington amid disagreements over Turkey’s purchase of modern weapon systems from Russia, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday proposed creating a bilateral technical panel to make sure that the S-400 “will not be a threat – neither to F-35s nor the NATO systems.” He reiterated the need for such an arrangement on Thursday, before the Pentagon rejected the Turkish proposal, insisting that it stands opposed to American and Russian weapons working side-by-side.

“A technical working group at this stage isn’t necessary or a path the US is even considering as a resolution,” said Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon.

We have been clear with Turkey at all levels – the S-400 is a threat to the F-35 program and the safety of our NATO allies.

Also on rt.com ‘US must choose between Turkey and terrorists’: Ankara slaps Pence with counter-ultimatum...

The Pentagon halted the transfer of F-35 technology to Turkey earlier this week, until Ankara abandons its planned acquisition of the Russian hardware. The move was followed by a warning from Vice President Mike Pence, who threatened to kick Ankara out from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program unless it behaves like a good NATO ally and bows to Washington’s conditions. Turkey joined the Program in 2002 and, over the years, invested more than $1.25 billion in developing and manufacturing various parts for the jet.

Also on rt.com Russian S-400 purchase a ‘done deal,’ despite US freeze on F-35 deliveries – Turkish FM...

Washington remains committed to pressing Turkey into buying US-made Patriot missile defense systems instead. “This issue with the S-400 is a very serious issue,” the Pentagon’s spokesman Charlie Summers told reporters on Thursday. “Should they accept the S-400, that would definitely affect the F-35.”

Turkey “could agree on a price” for the Patriots, pending congressional approval to resolve the F-35 issue, yet is does not consider it as an alternative to the S-400, Cavusoglu reiterated. The minister also emphasized that relations with Russia are not seen as an alternative to the NATO alliance.

Also on rt.com Turkey must choose between remaining NATO partner or buying Russian S-400 – Pence...

Downplaying the friction in bilateral ties, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he remains “very confident” that the sides “will find a path forward,” following a meeting between top US and Turkish diplomats. Ankara has, meanwhile, accused the US State Department of making false claims and of failing to mention that Pompeo had been threatening Turkey with “devastating consequences.”

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NATO Seeks Provocation in Sea of Azov, Russian Senator Says

Moscow, Apr 4 (Prensa Latina) The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is seeking a provocation in the Sea of Azov, Senator Alexei Pushkov said on Thursday, when commenting the presence of 20 warships from that regional bloc in the Black Sea.

The presence of NATO warships will be impossible, because we will not remain with our arms folded in light of that possibility. So, if it is like that and they know our attitude, then it is an open provocation, the Russian official noted.

NATO is rather seeking a pretext to justify the reinforcement of its presence in the Black Sea and, if possible, in the Sea of Azov, the senator said in reference to the basin shared by Russia and Ukraine as an exclusive maritime zone.

So far, Ukrainian commercial ships are passing through the Kerch Straight without any serious incidents, the Russian lawmaker told Prensa Latina.

The Ukrainian military even held maneuvers in the Sea of Azov and nothing happened, but if there is a provocation, that might have serious consequences, said Pushkov, who noted that the Black Sea would become a new zone of tensions in the world.

Pushkov's statements were made in response to comments by a US official before NATO who said that the purpose was to escort Ukrainian ships through the Kerch Straight and the Sea of Azov.

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‘NATO bombing of Yugoslavia paved way for 1 million civilian casualties worldwide’

Carried out under a false pretext and in disregard of the UN, the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 paved the way for similar US-led operations in Iraq, Libya and elsewhere and over a million were killed, an analyst has told RT.

NATO’s attack 20 years ago, which was launched “without declaring war and without any permission from the UN Security Council, was a transformative act which has changed the world ever since,” Marko Gasic, commenter on international affairs, said.

"This formula… that you don’t need UN Security Council authorization was then implemented at the expense of Iraq and Libya and elsewhere. So far, the decision to bomb Yugoslavia has led to over a million casualties worldwide; and rising."

Back in 1999, the US and its allies launched airstrikes in what was then Yugoslavia, after blaming Belgrade for “excessive and disproportionate use of force” in a conflict with an ethnic Albanian insurgency in Kosovo.

NATO warplanes carried out 900 sorties during the brutal 78-day bombing campaign, which officially claimed at least 758 civilian lives. But Serbian sources insist the actual death toll was twice as high.

Also on rt.com Peaceful bombing? Slobodan Samardzic, professor of political sciences at University of Belgrade...

NATO had used depleted uranium in its air strikes on Yugoslavia. Despite the studies showing that children born there after the bombing are prone to cancer, “very little” has been or is being done to hold the bloc accountable, Gasic said.

The Yugoslav authorities tried suing NATO, but its “response was to create a ‘Color Revolution’ (in 2000) there and bring its own puppets to power… who abandoned the lawsuit.”

“The world community really needs to take NATO to task. And If Serbia is too weak to do it, we need other countries to take an interest. If they don’t defend Serbia – it’ll be their borders next that NATO will be coming for,” the analyst warned.

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Turkey says buying S-400 vital to ‘protect our 82mn citizens’

The Turkish defense minister has said that buying Russian S-400 air defense systems is a matter of necessity, vital for the protection of the country’s population.

Speaking to the Anadolu agency editors’ desk, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar confirmed the deployment of the Russian-made systems will begin in October. He doubled down on defending Ankara’s decision to buy the S-400s, maligned in Washington.

We have to protect our 82 million citizens.

Turkey has been defying warnings from the US, a fellow NATO member, which has been trying to dissuade Ankara from procuring Russian-made weapons. Those attempts have ranged from threatening to punish Turkey under the Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) or review F-35 fighter jet sales, to saying that the S-400s are incompatible with NATO systems.

Also on rt.com ‘We aren’t slaves’: Erdogan defies US pressure over S-400 deal with Russia, says S-500 may follow...

Akar said while Turkey is fulfilling all of its NATO obligations, the alliance is not doing enough for Turkey’s protection, and thus the country needs air defense systems from elsewhere.

The US has also been trying to pressure India into ditching its S-400 deal with Russia. New Delhi has said the issue is not up for discussion.

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Russia Denounces Deployment of US Forces near Venezuela

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday denounced the deployment of special commandos and military equipment from the United States near the border with Venezuela, and the preparations for a provocation, according to the most demanding rules of ''the military manual''.

Special forces and military equipment have been deployed near Venezuelan territory, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted.

She also referred to plans by the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to supply weapons and ammunition to Venezuelan opposition.

The purchase of weapons and ammunition will take place in an Eastern European country and includes big-caliber machineguns, grenade launchers and portable antiaircraft systems, the spokeswoman denounced.

The military equipment will be supplied to Venezuela in early March, in several batches that will be delivered on a territory near the border of that country by cargo planes from an international company, Zakharova noted.

For that action, planes manufactured by the Ukrainian company Antonov are expected to be used, she clarified.

Zakharova pointed out that a large-scale provocation is expected on Saturday, as Washington has called and promoted a convoy of humanitarian aid that will try to cross the Venezuelan border, she stated.

That action might cause a clash between opponents to and supporters of the Venezuelan government, and would be aimed at creating a pretext for an action of force in order to oust Venezuela's legitimate president, Nicolas Maduro, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman warned.

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Russia Ridicules NATO's Reaction to Putin's Warning

Moscow, Feb 21 (Prensa Latina) Russia on Thursday ridiculed the reaction by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), after the warning made by President Vladimir Putin in his speech before the Federal Assembly.

On Wednesday, Putin accused the United States and NATO of violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and noted that his country was preparing weapons to deal with the defense risks after the treaty is annulled.

Russia reserves to itself the right to consider as targets not only the territories where those armaments are deployed, but also the centers where the decisions for their deployment are made, Putin stressed.

The leadership of the Atlantic alliance pointed out that Russia's threats to include the allies among the targets are unacceptable, and denied the wish to start a new arms race.

But why is that nervousness suddenly? Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said when responding to the declaration from NATO.

A year ago, the western partners rushed to say that the new weapons shown by Putin before the Federal Assembly were 'Russian puppets', but now, when they understand that they are in the sights, the realize about the reality, she noted.

Did they by any chance think that we would take a selfie with them, after NATO's expansion, the concentration of forces on our border and the endless interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states? Zakharova wondered.

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