DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 30, 2009
A high-ranking Russian navy source reported July 21 that the Soviet-era naval maintenance base near Tartus in Syria is to be expanded and modernized to become "fully operational" in four seas. debkafile's military sources report Israel is deeply concerned by the sophisticated air-defense S-300PMU-2 and Iskander-E missile systems the Russians propose to hand Syria on the pretext of installing a shield to defend the facility against air or missile attack.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 2, 2009
Russian warships are due to call Wednesday, May 27, at the Bahrain port of Manama, seat of the US Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf, debkafile's military sources reveal. They will be following in the wake of the Russian vessels already docked at the Omani port of Salalah, the first to avail themselves of facilities at Gulf ports.
Their arrival is fully coordinated between the Russian and Iranian naval commands.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 11, 2009
debkafile's Moscow sources disclose that the Russian, Iranian and Damascus governments have cooked up a scheme to get around Vladimir Putin's undertaking as president to refrain from selling Iran and Syria advanced Iskander-M cruise missiles: The transaction will go through Belarus.
After the Iskander-M sale to Tehran went through. negotiations are ongoing for Iran and Syria on another transaction: the sale of Russia's advanced S-300 anti-air anti-missile multi-targeting shield systems as well.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 14, 2009
Kazakhstan is negotiating for Israel to launch its communications satellites from Baikonur to help turn this space launching facility into a going international business venture long term.
debkafile's military sources report that Russia, which built the satellite launching station in 1955 for its own use, does not object, because it is constructing a replacement cosmodrome on its own soil and also developing its own military and aviation industrial ties with Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 21, 2009
Three times this month, Moscow has offered different versions about the delivery of five sophisticated Russian S-300 anti-missile, anti-air missile systems sold to Iran for $800 million.
Wednesday, March 18, an unnamed official of Russia's Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation again hedged around the issue. He said a contract had been signed "two years ago" and was being "fulfilled gradually."
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 20, 2009
A Russian strategic arms control expert, Vladimir Dvorkin, said Thursday, March 12, that Iran could produce an atomic weapon in "one or two years," allowing Tehran to broaden its support for Hamas and Hizballah.
This was the first time a Russian figure had predicted Iran would be nuclear-capable within so short a period, debkafile's Moscow sources stress. Its correlative linkage to a heightened threat from Hamas and Hizballah has never been heard from Moscow, or even explicitly from Washington or Jerusalem.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 1, 2009
The preliminary phase of Iran's first reactor, built with Russian help at the southern town of Bushehr, was marked by a ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 25. Our sources report that Iranian nuclear teams will first activate the 1,000-MW reactor's sections in sequence with the help of advanced Russian computers flown in to monitor their progress. Russia's state Rosatom Atomic Corporation, Sergey Kiriyenko declined to say when the reactor would be fully operational.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 17, 2009
The force, which includes the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, the Admiral Levchenko destroyer and the Nikolay Chiker salvage tug, was due to call in at the Syrian port of Tartus Monday, Jan. 12 after carrying out joint exercises with the Turkish navy last week.
debkafile's military sources report that the arrival of the Russian flotilla in wartime is significant given Syria's role as one of the staunchest backers of Hamas which is embroiled in a war against Israel further down the coast in Gaza.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 28, 2008
An American military intelligence official says Russia's sale of S-300 long-range missiles to Iran presents a "decision point for Israel, since once the anti-aircraft system is in place it could deter any strike" against Iran's nuclear sites.
debkafile's military sources point to the confusion contrived by Moscow about the state of the consignment. Nonetheless, an American source said Tuesday: "The US believes it is taking place."
For debkafile article of Dec. 18, first disclosing that the transaction had gone through, click HERE
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 27, 2008
The Russian Kommersant reported Tuesday, Dec. 16 that Gen. Vladimir Popovkin, head of Russia's armed forces, visited Israel in November for talks on the purchase of a first batch of the unmanned reconnaissance drones which Georgia used successfully in its conflict with Russia last August.
debkafile's military sources report that the sale, if finally approved by the defense ministry in Tel Aviv, would be Israel's first advanced hardware sale to Russia.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 20, 2008
Russia is sending a group of warships to Cuba. The warships will visit Havana on December 19-23, the Russian navy said. "This will be the first visit to Cuba by Russian warships since the Soviet era," the Russian naval headquarters said in its statement. The visit will be led by the destroyer Admiral Chabanenko.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 10, 2008
debkafile's military sources report that, four months after the Georgian war, Moscow is again testing the limits of its Mediterranean reach. Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo announced that two flotillas from the Barents Sea and the Black Sea are heading for the Mediterranean.
Moscow and Beirut are preparing the way for their first important arms transaction. debkafile's military sources report that on the table are sales of Russian tanks, missiles, helicopters, and possibly warplanes.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 8, 2008
debkafile's military sources report that a large-scale arms deal for Syria, paid for by Iran, is in advanced negotiation in Moscow and Damascus. It includes fighter-bombers and an assortment of anti-air, anti-missile and anti-tank missiles, as well as substantial upgrades of Syria's antiquated Russian tanks.
Our sources disclose that the S-300PMU-2 and Iskander-E are still on the list under discussion. In the broader context of its contest with Washington, the Kremlin regards the American FBX-T anti-missile radar system installed in the Negev in September to be an integral part of the US missile shield deployed in the face of Russian protests in Poland and the Czech Republic.
The advanced missiles to Syria would be part of its payback.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 7, 2008
debkafile's Iranian and Moscow sources report that Atomstroiexport, the Russian firm under contract to build and activate Iran's nuclear reactor at Bushehr, is offering nuclear engineers and technicians top salaries to leave for Iran at short notice to finish the project by mid-2009.
debkafile's sources add that the finished Bushehr plant will make it possible for Iran to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons, an alternative to uranium enrichment.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 22, 2008
Not since 1984, just before the fall of the Soviet Union, has Russia ventured to launch dozens of nuclear bombers for an exercise in which Tu-95 Bear bombers will fire live cruise missiles. Exercise Stability 2008 will take place Oct.-6-12 over sub-Arctic Russia uncomfortably close to the US state of Alaska, and Belarus.
debkafile's military sources report that the exercise is part of a month-long war game described by Russian air force spokesman Col. Vladimir Drik as "practicing the strategic deployment of the armed forces including the nuclear triad."
As part of the exercise, our sources reported exclusively on Oct. 1, that Russian ships armed with nuclear missiles will dock at Syrian ports Oct. 8, on the eve of Yom Kippur, before continuing to the Caribbean for joint maneuvers with Venezuela.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 8, 2008
Georgian tanks and infantry, aided by Israeli military advisers, captured the capital of breakaway South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, early Friday, Aug. 8, bringing the Georgian-Russian conflict over the province to a military climax.
debkafile's geopolitical experts note that on the surface level, the Russians are backing the separatists of S. Ossetia and neighboring Abkhazia as payback for the strengthening of American influence in Georgia. However, more immediately, the conflict has been sparked by the race for control over the pipelines carrying oil and gas out of the Caspian region.
Jerusalem owns a strong interest in Caspian oil and gas pipelines reach the Turkish terminal port of Ceyhan, rather than the Russian network.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 26, 2008
debkafile's military sources report that a large-scale arms deal for Syria, paid for by Iran, is in advanced negotiation in Moscow and Damascus. Our sources disclose that the S-300PMU-2 and Iskander-E are still on the list.
Read more about this in debkafile Exclusive Report below.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 13, 2008
Asked if Russia had promised Israel prime minister Ehud Olmert not to deliver S-300 systems to Iran, the foreign ministry spokesman in Moscow said Thursday, Oct. 9: "We have already repeatedly stated at the very highest political levels that we do not intend to deliver those types of arms to countries which are located in troubled regions." He carefully avoided mentioning Iran or Syria.
debkafile reported earlier: Russian military experts calculate that the window for an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities will shrink to 3-6 months if Moscow sells Iran (and Syria) the sophisticated S-300 system.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 11, 2008
Russian Navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo disclosed Wednesday, Oct. 1, that a four-ship squadron led by the Peter the Great nuclear missile cruiser will call in at the Libyan port of Tripoli and "other Middle East ports" before heading out to the Caribbean for joint maneuvers with Venezuela.
debkafile's military sources report that the flotilla will visit Tartus, Syria, on Yom Kippur eve. Prime minister Ehud Olmert will be wasting his time if he intends asking president Dmitry Medvedev and prime minister Vladimir Putin during his Moscow visit to drop their plan for a permanent base at a Syrian port.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 9, 2008
debkafile's military sources report that starting Monday, Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95 MS Bear-H strategic bombers will fly missions carrying the maximum combat payload and firing all cruise missiles aboard over sub-Arctic Russia and Belarus, close to Alaska.
As part of the exercise, Russian ships armed with nuclear missiles docks at Syrian ports Wednesday, Oct. 8, Yom Kippur Eve, before continuing to the Caribbean for joint maneuvers with Venezuela, as debkafile reported on Oct. 1. Click HERE
Read our Special Report below on Russia's maneuvers.