Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Russia threatens Ukraine with nukes?

This is some scary stuff. Russia has a right to be on alert with the US operating bases so close by. Puppet Yushchenko is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Russia Threatens Nuke Strike If Ukraine Installs US Shield

Feb 12, 2008. Russia warns Ukraine over missiles - Russia said it could point its missiles at Ukraine if the ex-Soviet republic joins NATO. Russia also issued a warning to Europe over Kosovo's quest for independence.

The Russian and Ukrainian leaders had just held emergency talks in the Kremlin

Russia threatens nuclear attack on Ukraine
Telegraph UK

By Bruno Waterfield in Brussels

Russia has threatened to target the Ukraine with nuclear warheads if the former Soviet republic joins Nato and accepts the deployment of United States anti-missile defences on its territory. President Vladimir Putin of Russia warned Ukraine's leader Viktor Yushchenko of "retaliatory actions" should his country join the Western alliance during a joint press conference in Moscow.

"It's frightening not just to talk about this, but even to think about, that in response to such deployment, the possibility of such deployments - and one can't theoretically exclude these deployments - that Russia will have to point its warheads at Ukrainian territory," he said.

The Russian and Ukrainian leaders had just held emergency talks in the Kremlin to avert a energy supply crisis over Kiev gas bill - a similar dispute two years ago led to power cuts across Europe.

Mr Yushchenko responded to the Russian pressure by insisting on Ukraine's right to decide its own foreign policy while stressing that his country's constitution would not allow US military bases on its territory.

"You understand well that everything that Ukraine does in this direction is not in any way directed at any third country, including Russia," he replied.

"We follow the principle that any nation has the right to define its own security. Our constitution does not allow deployment by a third country or bloc on Ukrainian territory."

Mr Putin has condemned Washington's plans to include Poland and the Czech Republic in a missile defence shield as a "new phase in the arms race".

Russia fears the shield will threaten its national security and tip strategic military balance in Europe.

"The goal [of the missile shield] is to neutralise our nuclear capabilities," said Mr Putin.

"This would prompt Russia to take retaliatory action."

Moscow has already declared that Russia will pull out of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE), which came into force in 1992 and restricts the deployment of troops and tanks near sensitive European frontiers.

Last week, John Chipman, the head of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, warned that the "next target of Moscow's assertive revisionism "could be the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty of 1987.

Both would be moves that would allow Russia to build a new generation of medium-range nuclear missiles capable of striking Western Europe. As relations between Russia and many of its near neighbours deteriorate, Ukraine has submitted a formal membership request to Nato, to be considered a summit of alliance leaders in the Romanian capital of Bucharest this April.

Mr Putin has accepted an invitation to attend the meeting and Russia's parliament last month voted to stop using Soviet-built military radars in Ukraine because of Kiev's Nato ambitions.

The prospect of Nato membership is also deeply controversial in the Ukraine, where opinion polls show that over half of the country opposes it.

Russia has revived the long-range air patrols that were once a standard feature of the Cold War and US defence officials confirmed that a pair of Russian TU-95 Bear bombers overflew a US aircraft carrier in the western Pacific at an altitude of 2,000 feet (660 meters) over the weekend.

Four F-18 fighters jets intercepted the Russian bombers on Saturday morning, but not before they had overflown the USS Nimitz.

It was the second time since July 2004 that a Russian Bear bomber has overflown a US aircraft carrier.

It was not immediately known whether the United States issued any protests with the Russians.

Nuke threat puts West on notice

Herald Sun - Australia
February 14, 2008 12:00am

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has warned Ukraine he will aim nuclear missiles at it if the country joins NATO and accepts a US anti-missile shield on its territory.

Yesterday's warning was Mr Putin's strongest to date about Kiev's efforts to join the Western alliance, and is the latest attempt by Moscow to reclaim its superpower status.

Mr Putin's unexpected outburst followed what had apparently been four hours of civil talks with Ukrainian President

Viktor Yushchenko at the Kremlin.

The two leaders settled a row over Ukraine's gas bills, minutes before a Moscow-imposed deadline on Kiev to pay up or face supply cuts that could have had a knock-on effect in Western Europe.

But Mr Putin then warned that Ukraine's aspirations to join NATO would restrict its sovereignty.

Membership would "lead to real consequences - bases, the missile shield, which we believe has as its aim the neutralisation of our nuclear missile capability, and which presents Russia with the need to take retaliatory measures".

Mr Putin added: "It's frightening not just to talk about, but even to think about, that in response to such deployment, the possibility of such deployments - and one can't theoretically exclude these deployments - that Russia will have to point its warheads at Ukrainian territory."

Mr Yushchenko responded by saying that Ukraine had the right to form its own foreign and defence policies, and noted that the Ukrainian constitution did not allow for foreign bases on its territory.

Also yesterday, the Pentagon played down a weekend incident in which a Russian bomber made a low-altitude pass over the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz near Japan.

The US Navy scrambled four F-18 fighters to escort away the Tupolev 95 - a propeller-driven strategic bomber.

While the Pentagon didn't consider the incident "provocative", it said it was weighing "the implications of this return to a Cold War mindset".

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