The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Russian warning: Britain would be ‘razed to the ground’if it launched a nuclear attack

Britain would be ‘literally erased from the face of the earth’ if it launched a nuclear attack, warns Russian MP  Another translation says Britain would be ‘razed to the ground’ in a retaliatory strike, Independent, Samuel Osborne @SamuelOsborne93, 24 Apr 17, Britain would be “literally erased from the face of the earth” in a nuclear war, a Russian MP has warned.

Franz Klintsevich, a retired colonel, was responding to comments from Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, who said “in the most extreme circumstances, we have made it very clear that you can’t rule out the use of nuclear weapons as a first strike.”

Mr Klintsevich said if Britain were to launch a preemptive strike, then “not having the biggest territory, it will literally be erased from the face of the earth.”  Another translation, carried by the Russian news agency TASS, says Britain would be “razed to the ground” in a retaliatory strike.

Sir Michael’s comments came in response to Labour divisions over retaining the Trident deterrent, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn suggesting renewal might not be in the party’s election manifesto — only to be corrected later by party colleagues.

Speaking to BBC Radio Four’s Today Programme, Sir Michael said Labour had left voters “completely unsure as to what would actually happen to our nuclear deterrent.”

He said Prime Minster Theresa May would be ready to use Trident as a “pre-emptive initial strike”…….
Mr Klintsevich, who is deputy chairman of the upper house of the Russian parliament’s defence and security committee, called Sir Michael’s comments “disgusting” and said it “deserves a tough response”. He added: “In the best case this statement should be taken as an element of psychological war — which looks particularly disgusting in such a context.

“Otherwise, it sounds really bad, because a reasonable question arises: Against whom is Great Britain going to preemptively use nuclear weapons?”

If Britain intended to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state, he added, “then probably English people desperately want to share the laurels of the USA who threw nuclear bombs at defenceless [Japanese cities] Hiroshima and Nagasaki [in 1945].”

“But those times have gone for good, as has the era of the greatness of the British Empire.”

April 26, 2017 Posted by | Russia, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Confusion on North Korean situation. Russia ‘moves troops and equipment’ to North Korea border,

Russia ‘moves troops and equipment’ to North Korea border, as Kim Jong-un warns of ‘super-mighty pre-emptive strike’, Telegraph UK  Reuters 20 APRIL 2017  Russia has moved heavy military equipment towards its border with North Korea amid mounting fears of a military clash between Pyongyang and the United States over the North’s nuclear program.

A flurry of military activity in Russia’s far east came as the UN Security Council strongly condemned North Korea’s latest missile test and threatened to impose new sanctions against Pyongyang for its “highly destabilizing behavior.”
In a unanimous statement, the council demanded that North Korea “conduct no further nuclear tests” and said Pyongyang’s “illegal missile activities” were “greatly increasing tension in the region and beyond.”……

It was revealed earlier this week that a US aircraft carrier group led by the USS Carl Vinson would spend another 30 days at sea before heading towards North Korean waters.  Last week Donald Trump, the US president, said he had ordered an “armada” into the northwest Pacific in a show of force designed to deter North Korea from further missile and nuclear weapons test.

The US defence ministry acknowledged on Tuesday that the ships had actually travelled into the Indian Ocean to carry out manoeuvres with Australian forces, and only began its journey north recently.

Mr Trump has called on China, Pyongyang’s only ally, to rein in North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but has threatened to act alone to “solve” the problem if necessary.

Residents and local media in Russia’s Far East reported large military convoys travelling in the direction of the North Korean border since the weekend, in what appear to be contingency plans to contain fallout from a possible military clash between the United States and North Korea.

A video published by local news site showed a train carrying twelve tracked vehicles, including Tor surface to air missile systems, travelling through Khabarovsk in the direction of Vladivostok.

“Some say the situation around North Korea is a fiction, but this is the third train of equipment we’ve seen since this morning,” a man can be heard saying in the film. “Looks like something is being sent to the Korean border.”………

South Korean presidential candidates clashed on Wednesday night in a debate over the planned deployment in South Korea of a US-supplied Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, which has angered China.

Frontrunner Moon Jae-in was criticised for leaving his options open before the May 9 election.

On Monday, Hwang and Pence reaffirmed their plans to go ahead with the THAAD, but the decision will be up to the next South Korean president. For its part, China says the system’s powerful radar is a threat to its security.

The North has said it has developed a missile that can strike the mainland United States, but officials and experts believe it is some time away from mastering the necessary technology, including miniaturising a nuclear warhead.

There has been some confusion over the whereabouts of a US aircraft carrier group after Trump said last week he had sent an “armada” as a warning to North Korea, even as the ships were still far from Korean waters.The US military’s Pacific Command explained that the USS Carl Vinson strike group first had to complete a shorter-than-planned period of training with Australia. It was now heading for the Western Pacific as ordered, it said.

China’s influential Global Times newspaper, which is published by the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s official paper, wondered whether the misdirection was deliberate.

“The truth seems to be that the US military and president jointly created fake news and it is without doubt a rare scandal in US history, which will be bound to cripple Trump’s and US dignity,” it said.

April 21, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Secret Floating Nuclear Power Plant to be fuelled all too close to city of St. Petersburg

Russia’s Secretive Floating Nuclear Power Plant Making Waves In St. Petersburg, Radio Free Europe, 20 Apr 17, ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Ecologists in Russia’s northern capital are raising the alarm over government plans to fuel a floating nuclear power plant just 2 kilometers from the heart of the city.

Officials have been saying since December that they are nearly ready to begin fueling the Akademik Lomonosov, the country’s first-ever ship-borne nuclear-power station, which is scheduled to be deployed at Vilyuchinsk on the Far Eastern Kamchatka Peninsula in 2019. Because the process is shrouded in secrecy and the government has ignored requests for information, it is unclear what the status of the fueling process currently is.

“From this floating nuclear power plant to the city’s mining institute [for example] is probably only about 500 meters,” Rashid Alimov, director of energy programs for Greenpeace Russia, told RFE/RL. “The historical center is densely populated. We have to exclude even the thought of an accident. That is why we have written to the governor. … According to the law, carrying out such operations at the Baltic Shipyard must be approved by the city, evacuation plans have to be drawn up. We have asked the municipal authorities about this.”……..

Independent nuclear-energy analyst Aleksei Shchukin, who spent more than 30 years working on nuclear-powered icebreakers, told RFE/RL that the fueling operation presents risks. Although the reactors are based on designs developed in the 1960s, the configuration on the Akademik Lomonosov is unique and untested.

“That is why I think there is no point in taking a risk and fueling the reactors in the center of a huge city,” Shchukin said. “This is very dangerous. They could take the vessel to Murmansk or Arkhangelsk, where there are bases for repairing and refueling nuclear vessels. That would be much safer.”

Authorities have ignored requests to find out why they insist on conducting the refueling — and possibly other testing — in St. Petersburg, a UNESCO-protected World Heritage Site with a population of just under 5 million.

Previous Incidents……..
Soviet-Era Dumping

According to a 1993 report commissioned by then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin, the Soviet Union dumped 16 nuclear reactors into the Kara Sea and two into the Sea of Japan. According to the report itself, the findings amount to a startling confession of how international agreements “were consciously broken on numerous occasions” by Moscow………..

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Russia, safety | Leave a comment

Russia’s claims of ability to carry out Electronic Warfare

Russia claims it can wipe out US Navy with single ‘electronic bomb’, Fox news 19 Apr 17 Russia has claimed it can disable the entire US Navy in one fell swoop using powerful electronic signal jamming.

A news report from the country – where the media is essentially controlled by the state – said the technology could render planes, ships and missiles useless.

The newsreader says: “Today, our Russian Electronic Warfare (REW) troops can detect and neutralise any target from a ship’s system and a radar, to a satellite.”

The news report claims a single Russian war plane flew several times around American destroyer the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea several years ago, disabling its systems and leaving it helpless.

The report also claims they are capable to creating electronic jamming domes over their bases that make them invisible on radar screens.

The propaganda piece even quotes top US General Frank Gorenc as saying: “Russian electronic weapons completely paralyse the functioning of American electronic equipment installed on missiles, aircraft and ships.”

The reporter adds: “You don’t need to have expensive weapons to win – powerful radio-electronic jamming is enough.”……..

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hans M. Kristensen on New START 2017: Russia Decreasing, US Increasing Deployed Warheads

New START 2017: Russia Decreasing, US Increasing Deployed Warheads Apr.03, 2017 By Hans M. Kristensen

The latest set of New START aggregate data released by the US State Department shows that Russia is decreasing its number of deployed strategic warheads while the United States is increasing the number of warheads it deploys on its strategic forces.

The Russian reduction, which was counted as of March 1, 2017, is a welcoming development following its near-continuous increase of deployed strategic warheads compared with 2013. Bus as I previously concluded, the increase was a fluctuation caused by introduction of new launchers, particularly the Borei-class SSBN.

The US increase, similarly, does not represent a buildup – a mischaracterization used by some to describe the earlier Russian increase – but a fluctuation caused by the force loading on the Ohio-class SSBNs. 

Strategic Warheads

The data shows that Russia as of March 1, 2017 deployed 1,765 strategic warheads, down by 31 warheads compared with October 2016. That means Russia is counted as deploying 228 strategic warheads more than when New START went into force in February 2011. It will have to offload an additional 215 warheads before February 2018 to meet the treaty limit. That will not be a problem.

The number of Russian warheads counted by the New START treaty is only a small portion of its total inventory of warheads. We estimate that Russia has a military stockpile of 4,300 warheads with more retired warheads in reserve for a total inventory of 7,000 warheads.

The United States was counted as deploying 1,411 strategic warheads as of March 1, 2017, an increase of 44 warheads compared with the 1,367 strategic deployed warheads counted in October 2016. The United States is currently below the treaty limit and can add another 139 warheads before the treaty enters into effect in February 2018.

The number of US warheads counted by the New START treaty is only a small portion of its total inventory of warheads. We estimate that the United States has a military stockpile of 4,000 warheads with more retired warheads in reserve for a total inventory of 6,800 warheads.

Strategic Launchers

The New START data shows that Russia as of March 1, 2017 deployed 523 strategic launchers, an increase of 15 launchers compared with October 2016. That means Russia has two (2) more launched deployed today than when New START entered into force in February 2011.

Russia could hypothetically increase its force structure by another 177 launchers over the next ten months and still be in compliance with New START. But its current nuclear modernization program is not capable of doing so.

Under the treaty, Russia is allowed to have a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed strategic launchers. The data shows that it currently has 816, only 16 above the treaty limit. That means Russia overall has scrapped 49 total launchers (deployed and non-deployed) since New START was signed in February 2011.

The United States is counted as deploying 673 strategic launchers as of March 1, 2017, a decrease of eight (8) launchers compared with October 2016. That means the United States has reduced its force structure by 209 deployed strategic launchers since February 2011.

The US reduction has been achieved by stripping essentially all excess bombers of nuclear equipment, reducing the ICBM force to roughly 400, and making significant progress on reducing the number of launch tubes on each SSBN from 24 to 20.

The United States is below the limit for strategic launchers and could hypothetically add another 27 launchers, a capability it currently has. Overall, the United States has scrapped 304 total launchers (deployed and non-deployed) since the treaty entered into force in February 2011, most of which were so-called phantom launchers that were retired but still contained equipment that made them accountable under the treaty.

The United States currently is counted as having 820 deployed and non-deployed strategic launchers. It will need to destroy another 20 to be in compliance with New START by February 2018.

Conclusions and Outlook

Both Russia and the United States are on track to meet the limits of the New START treaty by February 2018. The latest aggregate data shows that Russia is again reducing its deployed strategic warheads and both countries are already below the treaty’s limit for deployed strategic launchers.

In a notorious phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump, the Russian president reportedly raised the possibility of extending the New START treaty by another five years beyond 2021. But Trump apparently brushed aside the offer saying New START was a bad deal. After the call, Trump said the United States had “fallen behind on nuclear weapons capacity.”

In reality, the United States has not fallen behind but has 150 strategic launchers more than Russia. The New START treaty is not a “bad deal” but an essential tool to provide transparency of strategic nuclear forces and keeping a lid on the size of the arsenals. Russia and the United States should move forward without hesitation to extend the treaty by another five years.

Additional resources:

April 14, 2017 Posted by | Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia’s plans for nuclear waste ships: but where will they dump the radioactive trash?

Breaking the ice with loads of nuclear waste Russia will build special purpose ship for voyages with radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel along the Northern Sea Route. By Thomas Nilsen April 07, 2017 

Construction starts in 2020 of the 140 meters long ice-classed vessel, approved for carrying irradiated nuclear fuel and High-Level radioactive waste, Izvestia reports.

Beneath the deck, it will be space for 40 to 70 special transport containers for spent nuclear fuel and the upper deck has space for containers with radioactive waste. The design, named INF-2, is made by Krylov State Research Centre in St. Petersburg, a design bureau that has Russia’s latest generation of nuclear powered icebreakers, submarines and warships on its list of merits.

In addition to sailing along the north coast of Siberia, the nuclear waste cargo vessel can make voyages up the Siberian Rivers like Ob and Yenisei, where several of Russia’s nuclear facilities are located, like the storage and planned reprocessing plant in Zheleznogorsk (former Krasnoyarsk-26).

Today, all transport of spent nuclear fuel from icebreakers, submarines and nuclear power plants from northwest Russia to the reprocessing plant in Mayak north of Chelyabinsk go by train through the most inhabited areas of Russia.

Where will the vessel sail?

Andrey Zolotkov, a nuclear expert and former head of the environmental group Bellona in Murmansk says the news that such cargo vessel will be built raises many questions.

«When stating that radioactive waste will be transported out of the Arctic and the Far East, where, interestingly will it then be taken?» asks Zolotkov. He does not immediately see an urgent need for transportation of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, but agrees that transport to locations along the Siberian rivers could be an option.

«But, maybe they link this vessel to the plans for new floating and smaller nuclear power plants in the Arctic.»

Andrey Zolotkov, that earlier worked on board Atomflot’s service vessel «Imandra»  says the icebreaker fleet will need a new service vessel as well in the future.

«Such vessel could very well replace «Imandra» for storage of spent nuclear fuel from icebreakers,» he says.

Floating nuclear power plant

Krylov State Research Centre says on its portal that one of the tasks for such vessel could be to transport the spent nuclear fuel from Bilibino nuclear heat power plant in Pevek on the Chukotka Peninsula. Bilibino is the world’s northernmost nuclear plant and shutdown procedure is likely to start in 2019. As a replacement, Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant, the «Akademik Lomonosov» will be placed in Pevek.

Another task for such new vessel, supposed to be operated in a consortium consisting of Rosatom and the military, could be to transport solid radioactive waste to a future repository. Location of such repository is yet to be decided; one option under consideration and approved by county authorities in Arkhangelsk is is the Arctic archipelago of Novaya Zemlya.

There are today stored tens of thousands of cubic meters of solid radioactive waste both on the Kola Peninsula, in Severodvinsk by the White Sea and at naval yards in the Far East.

On the Kola Peninsula, the Italian built vessel «Rossita» is later this year ready to start transport of containers with spent nuclear fuel out of the Andreeva Bay. The containers will be taken to Atomflot in Murmansk where they will be reloaded to railwagons for transport further to Mayak. «Rossita» is not suitable for voyages along the Northern Sea Route or into the river systems in Siberia.

Earlier, the Russian Northern Fleet had its own transport and storage vessels of the Malina-class (Project 2020) for spent nuclear fuel from submarines.

April 12, 2017 Posted by | Russia, technology | Leave a comment

Concern in Denmark over passage of aged Russian nuclear submarine

Russian sub causing nuclear headache in Denmark     An elderly Russian nuclear submarine is to pass Denmark on its way to St Petersburg later in the year. April 6th, 2017 3:50 pm| by Stephen Gadd

This summer, a giant Russian typhoon-class nuclear submarine, 172 metres in length, is expected to pass Denmark.
The submarine will depart from Russia, pass Norway and then sail into the North Sea and the Skagerrak, onwards into the Baltic, where it will finally dock in St Petersberg, the Barents Observer writes. The sub will pass underneath the Øresund Bridge as the water is not deep enough by the Great Belt Bridge or at Flintreden.

All the preparations are underway, and now all that is needed is the signature of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

No nukes, please!
The submarine was built in 1981 and has the capacity to carry up to 20 missiles and 200 nuclear warheads at a time. However, nowadays it is used as a test platform for ballistic missiles and is based in the town of Severodvinsk in western Russia.

The age of the vessel might be cause for concern, though, according to Norwegian atomic physicist Nils Bøhmer.

“I’m worried when a 40-year-old atomic submarine with a relatively large reactor aboard sails along the Norwegian coast and into the Baltic,” he told Barents Observer.

“The authorities have to know the exact time of its voyage in order to be prepared. It is also vital to ensure there are not atomic weapons on board.”

April 8, 2017 Posted by | Denmark, Russia, safety | Leave a comment

Did Russia’s nuclear lobby make Africa’s President get rid of Finance Minister Gordhan?

Gordhan said to have spooked Russian connection on nuclear deal

2 April 2017 Staff Reporter Johannesburg – Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan said the masses should be worried when top ANC officials admitted that they didn’t know where a decision was made.

Professor Njabulo Ndebele said the country was in a “deep political and moral crisis” characterised by power and greed.

Zuma’s spokesperson Dr Bongani Ngqulunga said the president was not involved “in the planning of the memorial service and in the cancellation thereof. Any impression created that the president cancelled or ordered the cancellation is erroneous and unfortunate.”

Meanwhile, while Gordhan was doing the presentations in London there was a gentleman called Chenkov who kept on asking many questions about South Africa. He wanted to know if the South African government was looking at developing nuclear energy. Gordhan quickly quashed the idea of nuclear and repeatedly confirmed that the South African government would never develop this energy.

Chenkov had no further questions. After the presentation Chenkov called someone and spoke in Russian but whoever he was speaking to was not impressed and angrily dropped the phone.

It is believed that this person immediately called President Jacob Zuma and threatened him that if he did not immediately trigger the process of changing the finance minister and sign the nuclear deal, as commission had already been paid, he would be taught a lesson.

A shaken Zuma immediately called the minister back home. “You obviously know what happened!”

April 3, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics international, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Russia ready to discuss further reduction of nuclear capabilities

According to Russia’s foreign minister, the time has not come yet for the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons,, March 23. /TASS/. Russia is prepared to discuss the possibility of further reduction of nuclear capabilities, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.

“We are ready to discuss the possible further gradual reduction of nuclear capabilities but taking into account all factors that affect strategic stability rather than only the quantity of strategic offensive weapons,” the minister said speaking at the Russian General Staff’s Military Academy.

“We are ready to discuss this issue proceeding from the growing urgency of making this process multilateral.”

Lavrov emphasized that the time has not come yet for abandoning nuclear weapons completely. “Efforts to coerce nuclear powers to abandon nuclear weapons have intensified significantly recently. It is absolutely clear that the time has not yet come for that,” he noted.

March 25, 2017 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia developing Major Naval Base for Nuclear Warships in Syria

How Russia Is Turning Syria into a Major Naval Base for Nuclear Warships (and Israel Is Worried), National Interest, Michael Peck, 18 Mar 17, During the 1970s, the Syrian naval base of Tartus became a major port servicing warships of the Soviet Union’s Fifth Mediterranean squadron.

The Soviet Union is gone, and so is Syria as a unified nation. But Russia is back, and it’s building up Tartus again as a naval base that can handle Russia’s largest nuclear-powered ships.

Already, Israel says the Tartus base is affecting its naval operations. U.S. and NATO operations could be next.

Under the forty-nine-year agreement inked late last year by Russia and Syria, “the maximum number of the Russian warships allowed at the Russian naval facility at one time is 11, including nuclear-powered warships, providing that nuclear and ecological security rules are observed,” according to Russia’s RT news site. Russia will also be allowed to expand port facilities to accommodate the vessels.

The specification allowing nuclear-powered warships means that Russia wants to be able to base in Syria large surface ships, namely Kirov-class nuclear-powered battle cruisers, as well as nuclear submarines.

In addition, the treaty allows “Russia is allowed to bring in and out any kind of ‘weaponry, ammunition, devices and materials’ to provide security for the facility staff, crew, and their families throughout the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic ‘without any duties or levies,’” according to RT.

Expansion of the port will take about five years, according to an anonymous source cited in Russia’s Sputnik News. “The source added that the works would focus on dredging operations to allow cruisers and even possibly aircraft carriers to use the facility’s infrastructure,” Sputnik News reported. “According to the source, Russia also needs to develop the facility’s ground infrastructure, through construction of canalization, electricity generation facilities and barracks for the servicemen.”

Sputnik News also listed other provisions of the agreement. These include:

• Russia will be responsible for sea and air security of the base, while Syria handles the land defenses.

• Russia can deploy “temporary mobile outposts” beyond the base, as long as they coordinate them with the Syrians.

• Russia can renovate the base at will, including underwater construction, and build offshore platforms.

• Upon Syrian request, Russia will send specialists to service Syrian warships, conduct search and rescue in Syrian waters, and organize the defense of Tartus.

• Syria agrees not to “make any objections related to the military activities of the base, which will also be beyond Damascus’ jurisdiction.”

• “Syria also pledges to solve any conflicts that may arise if a third party objects to the activities of the base.”

The Tartus deal is significant on several levels……

March 20, 2017 Posted by | Russia, Syria, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia will pay Kenya to buy its nuclear technology

Russia eyes deal to build Kenya’s sole nuclear plant, The Star, Kenya Mar. 14, 2017,  By WEITERE MWITA @mwitamartin Russia has offered to design, finance and build Kenya’s proposed nuclear power plant.

March 15, 2017 Posted by | Kenya, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia’s Rosatom strongly promoting nuclear power at Malaysian conference

The seventh Nuclear Power Asia conference being held in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday and Wednesday is bringing together the leaders of the Asian nuclear-power industry. 

Session participants have concurred that nuclear power, being an economically and environmentally viable source of electricity, has the capacity to contribute greatly to Asia’s sustainable future.

“Sustainable future is impossible without sustainable energy,” said Egor Simonov, director of Rosatom Asia. “Nuclear power [emits] 25-30 times less [greenhouse gas] than coal- or oil-fired power plants. Therefore, nuclear power may be a viable solution for Asean nations willing to fulfil their climate-change commitments.”

Rosatom is Russia’s nuclear regulator, and its Southeast Asian regional branch is in Singapore. …….The Nuclear Power Asia conference is a platform to discuss the latest challenges, trends and achievements in the Asian nuclear industry. The event is annually attended by more than 300 participants from nuclear-energy authorities, energy commissions, nuclear energy programme implementing organisations, international developers and operators, technology suppliers, and academic society.

March 8, 2017 Posted by | marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia pushing to sell nukes to Tajikistan

nuclear-marketing-crapRussian-BearRussia, Tajikistan to cooperate in nuclear energy field, AZER News, 1 March 17 By Kamila Aliyeva

March 1, 2017 Posted by | marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Follow the money: Will Trump repay Putin by ending Russian sanctions and killing the Paris climate deal?

Did Putin help elect Trump to restore $500 billion Exxon oil deal killed by sanctions
Follow the money: Will Trump repay Putin by ending Russian sanctions and killing the Paris climate deal?
Think Progess, Joe Romm , 28 Feb 17, “……. our democracy and our children have a new axis to worry about: Putin, Trump, and ExxonMobil, whose CEO Rex Tillerson — an extreme Russophile and long-time director of a US-Russian oil company — is Trump’s puzzling choice for Secretary of State.

I say “puzzling” because the long-serving Exxon employee (from age 23!) has no qualifications to be secretary of state — other than a history negotiating major oil deals with countries like Putin’s Russia, which in any sane world would actually disqualify him or at least force a recusal from all State Department dealings with Russia.

But that puzzle disappears if we follow the famous dictum from the Watergate era for uncovering a tangled web of covert campaign acts: “Follow the money.” And perhaps another puzzle is also solved: Why did Putin take such a “fearful risk,” as Frum put it, to “mount a clandestine espionage and disinformation campaign on behalf” of Trump and against Clinton, “when Putin had every reason to expect that he probably would end up facing a President Clinton,” and a tremendous backlash.

You can certainly make a plausible case, as U.S. intelligence agencies do in their bombshell new report, that Putin had plenty of motivation to interfere. He wanted to undermine the legitimacy of U.S. elections and a Clinton Presidency, he blamed Secretary Clinton for “inciting mass protests against his regime,” and he was angry with the U.S. for the Panama Papers leaks.

Those leaks showed a $2 billion trail of offshore accounts and deals that traced back to Putin and his cabal of kleptocrats, who, among other things, were getting rich “trading shares in Rosneft,” Russia’s state-owned (i.e. Putin run) oil monopoly.

But a half trillion dollars to line their pockets and prop up the Russian economy offers a much more tangible motivation for team Putin to get Trump elected. And it was Tillerson who had made the $500 billion oil dealwith Putin that got blocked by sanctions.

Blocking the deal did not just “put Exxon at risk,” as the Wall Street Journal reported in 2014. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow explained last month the biggest oil deal in history was “expected to change the historical trajectory of Russia.”

The top priority for Putin and the kleptocrats who benefit from his rule is enriching the Kremlin’s coffers and their own, which have been hurt by the sanctions. And Trump’s election already appears to have delivered $11 billion to the Kremlin through sale of a 19.5 percent stake in Rosneft, “confounding expectations that the Kremlin’s standoff with the West would scare off major investors,” as Fortune has reported in a must-read piece.

Kleptocracy — and interfering with our election — pays…….

Indeed, if Trump and Tillerson instead end the sanctions that are blocking the Exxon-Rossneft deal, it is going to look suspiciously like a half trillion dollar quid pro quo for Putin’s help getting elected.

And if Trump and Tillerson work together to kill the Paris climate deal, the last best chance to save Americans from catastrophic climate change—and aridiculously good deal for the U.S.— that will look like they are putting Putin’s interests and Exxon’s profits above America’s national interest and the health and well-being of our children. It bears repeating that ExxonMobil’s future is inextricably tied to their stalled oil deal with Putin — and their future drilling plans would benefit from continued global warming and melting of polar ice……..

March 1, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics international, Russia, USA | Leave a comment

Russians alarmed by Donald Trump’s posture on nuclear weapons

trump-full-figureflag_RussiaTrump’s US nuclear stance alarms Russia

Published: 10:16 am, Saturday, 25 February 2017 Russian politicians close to the Kremlin say US President Donald Trump’s declared aim of putting the US nuclear arsenal ‘at the top of the pack’ risked triggering a new Cold War-style arms race between Washington and Moscow.

In an interview with Reuters, Trump said the US had fallen behind in its nuclear weapons capacity, a situation he said he would reverse, and he said a treaty limiting Russian and US nuclear arsenals was a bad deal for Washington.

Russian officials issued no reaction, with Friday a public holiday, but pro- Kremlin politicians expressed consternation about the comments from Trump, who Moscow had hoped would usher in new, friendlier relations between the two countries.

‘Trump’s campaign slogan ‘Make America great again’, if that means nuclear supremacy, will return the world to the worst times of the arms race in the ’50s and ’60s,’ said Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the international affairs committee in the upper house of the Russian parliament.

The president’s remarks in the interview with Reuters were, Kosachev said in a post on his Facebook page, ‘arguably Trump’s most alarming statement on the subject of relations with Russia’.

Over the course of the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the US realised that achieving supremacy was dangerous, and accepted the doctrine of parity as the best way to ensure peace, Kosachev wrote on his Facebook page.

‘Are we entering a new era? In my view we need an answer to that question as soon as possible.’

During the US presidential race, Trump said he would try to end the enmity that broke out between the Kremlin and Washington during Barack Obama’s presidency.

But just over a month into the Trump presidency, that prospect has receded, especially with the sacking of Michael Flynn, a leading proponent of warmer ties with Moscow, from his job as national security adviser.

Another pro-Kremlin lawmaker, Alexei Pushkov, wrote on Twitter that Trump’s comments on increasing US nuclear capacity ‘put in doubt the agreement on limiting strategic arms, returning the world to the 20th century’.

He said a Cold War arms treaty laid the foundation for nuclear stability between Moscow and Washington. ‘That needs to be preserved. And the United States cannot achieve decisive superiority.’

‘Instead of trying to achieve an illusory nuclear supremacy over Russia, the US administration should find a solution to the exceptionally complicated nuclear problem of North Korea,’ wrote Pushkov, a member of the defence and security committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament. – See more at:

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February 27, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment