Is it any wonder that US-Russia relations are, reportedly, as their lowest in decades?
Despite being a ‘puppet of Putin’, President Trump’s administration has killed hundreds of Russians in Syria.
Amid his confirmation hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reports that Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo said Thursday that “a couple hundred Russians” were killed in Syria by U.S. warplanes after Syrian fighters backed by Washington came under attack in February.
The episode reportedly took place on Feb. 7 and Feb. 8, when Russian mercenaries mounted an attack using tanks and artillery in an apparent attempt to take an oil-rich area in the eastern Syria province of Deir Ezzour. Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces, organized by the U.S. to fight Islamic State, came under fire and American air power was called in.
The Russian mercenaries were part of private military group known as the Wagner Group, which is run by a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Kremlin has played down the episode, and the Pentagon has been reluctant to say how many Russians might have been killed and what relation the mercenaries had to the Kremlin.
Instead, the Pentagon talked about a clash involving “pro-regime” forces.
Notably, WSJ reports that during hours of testimony, Mr. Pompeo sought to distance himself from some of the more assertive comments he had issued as a lawmaker, insisting that he favored strong diplomacy over preemptive military strikes and was more interested in negotiating than encouraging regime change.
China Readies Drills To ‘Simulate An Invasion Of Taiwan’
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has launched a six-day, live-fire military exercise in the East China Sea in a region that simulates an invasion of Taiwan, a move military strategist believe will send a powerful message to the United States over relations with Taipei.
Geopolitical intelligence analysts told the South China Morning Post that the exercise is part of Beijing’s effort to increase military readiness and defend the “one China” policy, under which leaked documents specify Beijing has asecret plan to invade Taiwan by 2020.
The exercise began on Wednesday at 8:00 am and is expected to conclude at 6:00 pm on July 23. All non-military vessels are prohibited from entering the designated live-fire drill area and must follow the guidance of guard ships to ensure safety, stated a public notice released by Zhejiang Maritime Safety Administration on Monday.
The exercise’s coordinates below provided by the administration shows the drill spans from the shores of Zhoushan, East China’s Zhejiang Province to sea areas east of Wenzhou, also in Zhejiang Province.
The exercise is intended to warn the “Taiwan independence” forces, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
“The drill’s main objective is to send a serious warning to Taiwan separatists,” Song said.
An unnamed military expert also told the Global Times on Tuesday that parts of the East China Sea will be “the main battlefield” if a conflict breaks out in the future.
“The PLA Air Force and Navy have been frequently conducting island encirclement exercises. The drill this time will add up and form a military deterrence of high pressure against the Taiwan separatists,” according to Song.
Trump Appreciates Navy Grads By Shaking All Their Hands
ou usually don’t expect commencement speakers to stick around long after the speech is over, especially not when the speaker is the president.
However, when the venue is the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, things are a bit different. And, when the president is Donald Trump, things are a lot different.
In fact, he not only stuck around to shake hands with each and every grad following his commence address on Friday, he actually asked them whether he could do it.
“I was given an option. I could make this commencement address, which is a great honor for me, and immediately leave and wave goodbye,” Trump asked the audience. “Or I could stay and shake hands with just the top 100. Or I could stay for hours and shake hands with 1,100 and something. What should I do? What should I do?”
Well, stay, of course. And stay he did.
During the speech itself, the president gave a rousing tribute both to the graduates themselves and to the American spirit.
“Four years ago, each of you made the most important decision of your lives,” the president told the graduates. “You chose the path of hard work, sweat, and sacrifice. You chose the life of honor, courage, and commitment. You chose to serve the nation and defend our great American flag. You chose the Navy, blue and gold, from the first moments of induction day.”
China Is Circling Taiwan In Military Drills
Zerohedge Reports: It is an uncomfortable time for Taiwan. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) began a dangerous “island encirclement” war drill around the country, which on Friday saw bombers and fighter jets simulating strikes on Taiwanese targets for the first time. It seems as Beijing will not wait for reunification; it wishes to intimidate the island into submission beforehand.
It is an uncomfortable time for Taiwan. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) began a dangerous “island encirclement” war drill around the country, which on Friday saw bombers and fighter jets simulating strikes on Taiwanese targets for the first time. It seems as Beijing will not wait for reunification; it wishes to intimidate the island into submission beforehand.
China’s air force carried out an operation in its eastern and southern theaters, dispatching bombers and reconnaissance planes around Taiwan on Friday. It was the first time for Su-35 fighter jets to fly over the Bashi Channel in formation with H-6K bombers, a spokesperson said. (Source: People’s Daily, China)
Defense experts told the South China Morning Post that China’s military would increase pressure on Taiwan, with more war drills designed to send a warning message to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and her ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
“To reinforce the warning to Tsai Ing-wen’s administration, the mainland military would conduct targeted joint operational drills involving ground forces, the navy and the air force to strengthen its presence in the Taiwan Strait,” Song Zhongping, a former member of the PLA’s second artillery corps, the rocket wing’s predecessor.