DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 13, 2014
The last Western hope for averting the Crimean referendum Sunday and a major showdown between the two world powers rested with Chancellor Angela Merkel. But even she failed to sway Putin.
The Ukraine crisis: Russia may halt (START) strategic weapons inspections, revert to Cold War tactics
DEBKAfile Special Report March 8, 2014
Russia ratcheted up international tensions over Ukraine Saturday, March 8, after mobilizing air and coastal defenses for a month-long drill to secure the May 16 Crimean referendum from disruption. The defense ministry in Moscow announced “Russia is considering halting foreign inspections of its strategic weapons arsenal, including nuclear-capable missiles, in response to ‘threats’ from the United States and NATO over the Ukraine crisis. debkafile: Moscow is ready to revert to Soviet belligerent posture unless the US and the West back down on the Ukraine dispute.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 7, 2014
Netanyahu persuaded Obama to back Israel’s raid on an Iranian missile ship to improve his soft image and possibly deter Putin from further military action in Ukraine.
Putin: Not Russian - but local forces took control of Crimea. DEBKAfile: They are Russian special forces
DEBKAfile Special Report March 4, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin, addressing reporters for the first time Tuesday, March 4, denied that Russian forces had taken control of the Crimean Peninsula – but self-defense locals in Russian uniforms. debkafile’s military sources challenge this, having identified the units as Russia’s Rapid Intervention Brigade 22 based in Rostov on-Don, southern Russia, and the 25th Regiment of Special Forces-Stavropol. Putin also said Viktor Yanukovych was removed by an anti-constitutional coup d’etat and remains Ukraine’s only legitimate president, but he showed no inclination to restore him to power.
Moscow will halt military steps in Ukraine – only after a US guarantee not to post missile shield there
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 3, 2014
As Washington and the Europeans continued to decry Russian military aggression, the US and Russians quietly began intense negotiations - through Berlin - on a deal for settling the Ukraine dispute, debkafile reports. Moscow will keep its military forces in Crimea, but discuss terms for restraining the Russian army from advancing into the Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine: Kiev must stay out of NATO, the US must guarantee not to deploy advanced radar, missile shields or ballistic missiles in the country, and local armed bodies will protect Russian-speaking areas.
Ukraine calls up reserves against Russia. Putin spurns Obama’s call to de-escalate with fallout on Mid East
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis March 2, 2014
The US-EU tactic of turning the heat on Moscow instead of Kiev is proving futile and a strategic blunder stemming from weakness, more likely to spark real violence and bloodshed. US President Barack Obama’s call to Vladimir Putin to de-escalate the tension and pull his troops out of Crimea went unheeded. So Kiev mobilized a million military reservists and put the Ukraine army on a war footing, without the resources for feeding or arming them. Putin was encouraged to forge ahead with his plans until the interim government falls – or talks.
DEBKAfile Special Report February 28, 2014
Thirteen giant Ilyushin-76 air transports (NATO codenamed IL-76 Candid) flew into the Crimea Friday night, Feb. 28, and landed some 2,000 fresh Russian troops at a military airfield near Sebastopol. debkafile’s military sources report the new intake belonged to the Russian Rapid Intervention Force. They arrived as the UN Security Council in New York discussed the Kiev government’s protest against the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. Armed Russian troops earlier took control of the runways of Crimea’s two main airports at Simferopol and Sevastopol.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 28, 2014
Crimea is Russia’s main springboard for Putin’s Mid East strategy. Kerry’s last-ditch phone call to Lavrov may avert a Russian military operation – but at a steep price for Kiev and the West.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 28, 2014
The European wire-pullers misjudged the unrest in Kiev and let it go too far. They had planned a pro-EU unity government working with Yanukovych – not to oust him.
Pro-Moscow coup in Crimea. Russian fighter jets on W. border on combat alert. Kiev deploys security forces
DEBKAfile Special Report February 27, 2014
The Russian defense ministry announced Thursday, Feb. 27 that fighter jets stood on combat alert along its western borders with Ukraine. Moscow repeated its commitment to protect Russian-speaking elements in the Crimean Peninsula. Earlier, armed men carried out a pro-Russian coup in the Crimean capital, by seizing government and parliamentary buildings and hoisting Russian flags – in response to the pro-European coup in Kiev. Forces loyal to the provisional government in Kiev meanwhile surround the area which they say was occupied by “criminals in army fatigues.”
Yanukovych refuses to resign - and goes missing in E. Ukraine. Tymoshenko seizes opposition center stage in Kiev
DEBKAfile Special Report February 22, 2014
Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych went on the air Saturday, Feb. 22, to say he has no plans to resign. From Kharkiv, he accused ”armed extremists and gangsters” of staging a coup comparable to the Nazi putsch in Berlin of 1933. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called on the German, French and Polish foreign ministers to step in and take responsibility for the deal they helped the rivals forge Friday, warning that Ukrainian sovereignty was threatened. The crisis is falling into the lines of a split between opposition Kiev and pro-Yanukovych Kharkiv.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis February 16, 2014
Israel’s strategists have found a new cause for disquiet. On top of concern over the concentration of al Qaeda fighting strength around its borders, they are beginning to worry about Russian President Vladimir Putin capitalizing on America’s withdrawal from the Middle East, by means of military pacts with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Egypt's Gen. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. Since Egypt’s economic woes are incurable, El-Sisi plans to build a strong regime with Russian and Saudi support and lead a pan-Arab nationalist movement – potentially versus Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 13, 2014
Gen. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi went to Moscow with big plans with a $2bn Saudi check for top-line Russian arms, including S-300 missiles for he secret new elite force.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 31, 2014
The Russians withdraw Putin’s aid promise to Yanukovych to avoid another Orange Revolution, however strategically and economically Ukraine is to Moscow.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 24, 2014
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas launched his “diplomatic intifada” against Israel Thursday, Jan. 23, from Moscow. In his talks with Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, he marked the Palestinian breakaway from the Kerry peace process with Israel, four months before it was due to expire, and his bid for its replacement by Russian backing for a Palestinian state. Abbas’s defection caught both Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Binyamin - and their intelligence agencies – napping, busy in Switzerland far from the action.
Syria conference opens in Switzerland with secret Iranian presence. Obama, Putin aim for local truces
DEBKAfile Special Report January 22, 2014
The conference of 30 foreign ministers opening Wednesday, Jan. 22, at Montreux got off to a shaky start. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said the Assad presidency was a ”red line” and Information minister Omran al-Zoubi said there was no civil war - only “a fight between government and terrorists.” After the fiasco of UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon’s withdrawal of his invitation to Tehran, an Iranian delegation arrived under cover. Presidents Obama and Putin agreed to limit conference goals to local ceasefires and humanitarian corridors.
Putin to visit Tehran. King of Morocco invites Iran to “Jerusalem Committee” – with Kerry’s approval
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 17, 2014
Tehran’s offensive for establishing itself as the leading Middle East power bar none is in full flight. Foreign Minister Javad Zerif used his Moscow visit to invite Vladimir Putin to visit Tehran. The Russian President accepted. The King of Morocco offered Iran of full membership in the Al Quds (Jerusalem) Committee of the Organization of Islamic States, with the approval of US Secretary of State John Kerry. Iran also sent out invitations to Gulf rulers to tour its nuclear reactor at Bushehr, combined with a round table discussion on regional nuclear cooperation.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 17, 2014
The joint trip made to Moscow by the Iranian and Syrian foreign ministers on Jan. 16, marked the day the US stepped aside for Russia as Mid East kingpin and elevated Iran’s status over the heads of the Sunni powers and Israel.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 3, 2014
The International Olympic Committee requested an independent assessment of the terrorist threat to the Sochi games and received a “somber and disturbing” report.