Published on Feb 23, 2013
May 3 2013 Russia Launches Surprise Military Exercise in Black Sea end times news update 4-26-13 Russian President Vladimir Putin has launched a large-scale surprise military drill to test battle readiness in the Black Sea.
Russian President Vladimir Putin surprised his defense minister in the wee hours of Thursday morning last week with an order for surprise military drills to test battle readiness in the Black Sea. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was awakened at 4:00 a.m. local time with sealed orders to activate 7,000 troops, 36 ships, up to 20 fighter jets and helicopters and 50 pieces of artillery.
Aviation, paratroopers and special forces are involved in the exercises, which were launched immediately according to Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said "We are talking about major exercises, intended as a check," according to Russian news agencies.
"According to international practice, exercises involving up to 7,000 people do not require us to inform our partners in advance," Peskov noted. He added that the drills would take place on three military test ranges on Russian territory and are expected to last about a week.
Russia has been heavily involved in protecting Syria's President Bashar al-Assad from international ire at the United Nations Security Council, but as Assad's grip on power has increasingly weakened, and fragmented rebel forces gain control over more territory in the country, Moscow has begun to quietly evacuate its citizens from Damascus and surrounds. Likewise Putin has joined discussions over what may become of Syria's lethal arsenal of chemical weapons of mass destruction, a rising concern in the international community.
The Black Sea is a strategic waterway bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus, and connects to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas and two straits known as the Turkish Straits -- the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. The Bosphorus Strait, which flows through the middle of Turkey, connects it to the Sea of Marmara. The Strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean Sea region of the Mediterranean, which separate eastern Europe and western Asia. Countries with shoreline along the Black Sea include Turkey, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania, in addition to Russia.
Late last year Turkey requested -- and received -- authorization to deploy a number of batteries of Patriot missile defense systems along its border with Syria. The batteries, contributed by NATO allies that included the United States, were installed in January 2013.
March 2013 Russia threatens USA with Nuclear attack - end times news update MOSCOW Russia has reported efforts by the West to block weapons exports to Syria. Meanwhile, Sunni rebels in Syria are acquiring Russian-made weapons from Serbia.
A senior official said Western countries were using a range of
means to stop the shipment of Russian weapons to Damascus. The official
said, however, that the Kremlin has still maintained military deliveries to
the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The Russian ships are lured into ports and arrested there under various devised pretexts," Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation director Alexander Fomin said. "When the ships are at sea, any insurance is canceled."
In a radio interview on March 2, Fomin did not specify cases in which
Russia failed to complete arms shipments. He said the attempts reflected an organized effort by the international community.
"A real war has been declared against us," Fomin said.
Over the last year, both Britain, Finland and Turkey reported the
interception of Russian defense shipments to Syria, including radars and main battle tank components. Damascus has been one of the two largest Middle East clients of Russia's defense industry.
Meanwhile, Sunni rebels have acquired what they termed a powerful
anti-tank weapon in their war against the regime of Syrian President Bashar
Rebels have displayed the RPG-27, a shoulder-fired rocket-propelled
grenade launch system. The Russian-origin RPG was designed to penetrate the
armor of Syrian Army combat armored vehicles, including the T-72 main battle
In a display in northern Syria, rebels also unveiled the RPG-6 launcher,
another Russian weapon. The rebels said the weapons were
deployed by the so-called Victory Brigade, an Islamist rebel unit that
operates in the Hama province.
Another Islamist rebel militia, Ahrar Al Sham, also displayed the RPG-27
and -6. An Ahrar spokesman said Islamist militias have been sharing these
weapons as part of intensified coordination.
The RPG-6 was said to have been manufactured in Serbia under Russian
license. Earlier, Western reports asserted that Serbia was supplying
weapons to the rebels in a deal financed by Saudi Arabia.
Rebels said additional new heavy weapons were delivered to Islamist
militias in 2013. They said the weapons, which include the Chinese FN-6
surface-to-air missile, were also financed by Qatar.