Becomes Spam Superpower
Assassinates UK billionaire
Buzzes US warships
Threatens to Nuke Ukraine
Russia threatens nuclear attack on Ukraine
By Bruno Waterfield in Brussels
Last Updated: 7:57pm GMT 12/02/2008
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.
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.
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Russia Threatens Japan
by Shigemi SatoSat Feb 9, 7:27 AM ET
Japan scrambled two dozen military aircraft and lodged a protest, accusing a Russian strategic bomber of entering its airspace over the Pacific Ocean south of Tokyo Saturday. Russia denied the incursion, but the Japanese foreign ministry said it lodged a strong protest with the Russian embassy in Tokyo over the incident, which followed stepped up Russian long-range air patrols over the Atlantic.
"We have asked the Russian government to make a thorough investigation into the matter," a foreign ministry spokesman said.
The Tupolev Tu-95 bomber, which dates to the Soviet era, flew over the rocky isle of Sofugan, 650 kilometres (406 miles) south of Tokyo, for about three minutes from 7:30 am (2230 GMT Friday), the defence ministry said.
The air force scrambled 24 planes, including F-15 fighters and an E-767 radar plane, the defence ministry said.
They gave "a notice, then a warning and another a notice and a warning," a defence ministry statement said. "There was no response."
The Russian bomber then flew back north towards the Russian island of Sakhalin, it said.
Moscow said four Tupolev Tu-95 bombers completed a 10-hour mission over the Pacific on Saturday without violating Japanese airspace and that US fighters were also scrambled during the incident.
"Our strategic aviation planes did not violate Japanese airspace," deputy Russian air force commander Igor Sadofyev told the Russian Interfax news agency.
Alexander Drobyshevsky, a spokesman for the Russian air force, told Russia's ITAR-TASS agency the flights were carried out "in strict accordance with international rules on flying over neutral waters."
"The strategic bombers were accompanied by F-15 fighter jets from the Japanese air force and F-18 fighter jets from the US carrier Nimitz," Drobyshevsky said.
Japan said it was the first Russian violation of its airspace since January 2006.
Russia's Tupolev design bureau said last October it had begun a "serious modernisation" of the Tu-95 strategic bomber, a workhorse of the Soviet and Russian air forces for over 50 years.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in August the resumption of long-range flights in international air space which were abandoned in 1992 amid financial difficulties that followed the Soviet collapse.
The Tu-95 MS was among the planes included in the patrols, which were seen aimed at another attempt by Putin to boost Russian prestige as his presidential term draws to a close.
In the lead-up to Putin's announcement, Russian bombers made increasingly frequent flights near US territory. Britain and Norway were scrambled last summer after Tu-95 bombers were spotted close to Norwegian airspace.
Last week, 14 Russian long-range bombers flew over the north Atlantic in the last of a series of military manoeuvres held off Europe's coasts since December, Russian media reported.
Russia and Japan have had uneasy ties. Last month, Japan also lodged a protest with the Russian embassy after saying that Russian embassy officials wined, dined and gave cash to a Japanese intelligence officer who handed over research information.
Japan and Russia have never signed a peace treaty to formally end World War II due to a dispute over four islands off Japan's northern coast seized by Soviet troops in 1945.
The Japanese government said Wednesday that Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda hoped to visit Moscow early this year and believed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was serious about resolving the island dispute.
Japan, which has been officially pacifist since World War II, is a close US ally and home to more than 40,000 US troops.
Japan to boost air defences: report
Tokyo (AFP) Jan 27, 2008
Japan is to boost its defences against cruise missiles as China increases its air strike capabilities, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Sunday. The defence ministry plans to increase the number of aircraft equipped with airborne warning and control systems and install state-of-the-art radar to allow early detection of precision-guided missiles heading for Japan, the daily said.
It is also considering developing an advanced long-range surface-to-air missile, the report said, citing senior defence ministry sources. The government has so far mainly focused on developing a ballistic missile defence system, primarily in response to a perceived threat from North Korea.
Meanwhile, China has equipped its fighter jets and submarines with domestically developed cruise missiles, which have a range in excess of 1,000 kilometers (625 miles), the newspaper said. Beijing is also believed to have started developing advanced precision-guided missiles with a range of about 3,000 kilometers -- similar to that of the US military's Tomahawk cruise missile, it said.
Chinese fighter jets repeatedly approached Japan last year, coming close enough to launch a cruise missile before returning to Chinese air space, the newspaper said.
"We believe these acts were unlikely to be part of information-gathering exercises, but rather drills to prepare for a possible cruise missile attack on Japan," a senior Japanese defence official told the Yomiuri.
Currently Japan relies upon a Patriot missile defense system, supplemented by a growing Aegis naval capability.
Russia assassinates UK billionaire
Becomes Spam Superpower
'Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale, and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled or hanged.' President Abraham Lincoln