Russian Crimea: Scrambling to Face Fait Accompli
- Russia didn’t wait to claim Crimea as its own and seize by force Ukrainian military assets on the peninsula. As these friendly videos from China-owned CCTV hint, you can bet China is watching how the Western reaction unfolds and taking notes. India is watching too.
- China’s Foreign Ministry statement on Crimea: blah blah blah (DID’s admittedly loose translation). It’s a balancing act as China has maintained a purposefully obfuscated non-posture on this issue since last month. Sources friendly to the US government continue to portray that as “China splitting with Russia.” Nice try from the same people who were peddling “End of History” post Cold War wishful thinking just months ago, which is turning out as prescient as “Al Qaeda is on the run.” They could start with Robert Kaplan’s lessons from geography (and history) for a crash course in reality.
- RIA Novosti: Russia could take command of half of Ukrainian fleet. That, and presumably the gas-for-lease deal signed with Ukraine in 2010 is also a moot point.
- ITAR-TASS: 24 Russian Su-27SM3 to be deployed in Belarus by end of 2014, adding to a Beriev A-50 early warning aircraft.
- WaPo: Ukraine government tries to defuse tension with Russia, pledges it won’t join NATO, while experts rethink NATO’s defense posture. A good synonym for “defusing tensions with your aggressor” is “cowering with your ears down.”
- National Interest: don’t just sanction Russia, deter it. The article is full of “shoulds” and “ought tos”, but so far it looks like the (Western) Europeans are not on board.
- The Visegrad 4 (V4) group of countries – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – reaffirmed their commitment to form a joint combat unit by 2016.
DARPA Announces X-Plane Participants
- DARPA awarded 4 prime contracts to get its VTOL Experimental Plane started to Aurora Flight Sciences, Boeing, Karem and Sikorsky. They all submitted unmanned designs, along with the usual glossy concept renderings.
South Korea’s Shrinking Forces
- The Republic of Korea’s defense ministry announced a 20% cut to its active duty troops to 522,000 by 2022. Like Taiwan they are recognizing adverse demographic trends.
- Lockheed Martin made its 2nd acquisition outside of the defense market within a few days, with the purchase of Beontra AG, a German provider of forecasting tools for airports.
- Krasnodar, a Russian cruise missile nuclear submarine commissioned in 1986, caught fire during decommissioning work at the Nerpa shipyard in northern Russia. The shipyard had its electricity cut for several days a few years ago as they had accrued quite the late bill.
- HMS Tireless, one of the UK’s nuclear submarines, was denied entry to the UAE where families were expecting to meet the crew. Why?
- Speaking of Britain’s deterrent, its permanence was the subject of a debate hosted by the IISS in London. Video below: