Monday, June 04, 2007

Cold War Mark II

Russian President Vladimir Putin, not such a darling of the West, has said that Russia cannot be held responsible for any retaliatory steps they may take in response to what they call the 'new arms race'.

The US, they say, has started this second round of brinkmanship because they want to deploy interceptor rockets in Poland and a radar base in the Czech republic to counter threats from 'rogue states' such as Iran and North Korea.

Last Tuesday, Russia tested an RS-24 missile that successfully struck its target 3,400 miles away.

Russia has also been criticised for selling weapons, including surface to air missiles, to Iran.

Putin says that the threat from Iran is 'non-existent' which Iran has backed up, describing the planned deployment as the "joke of the year", adding that Iranian missiles were not capable of reaching Europe.

Putin said,

We are being told the anti-missile defence system is targeted against something that does not exist. Doesn't it seem funny to you?

Iran may be right that they do not have weapons capable of reaching Europe, but I'm sure that their first target would be Israel who, of course, they want to 'wipe off the map'. Nice.

Russia has said Washington had "altered the strategic balance" by unilaterally pulling out of the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) treaty in 2002.

"If the American nuclear potential grows in European territory, we will have to have new targets in Europe," Mr Putin said.

"It is up to our military to define these targets, in addition to defining the choice between ballistic and cruise missiles."

A few weeks ago, Russia was accused of launching repeated 'cyberattacks' on Estonia which shut down their government, banking and media websites. Estonia had decided to move a Soviet World War 2 memorial called the Bronze Soldier which, understandably, the Estonians saw as a symbol of Soviet oppression. Ethnic Russians in the Estonian capital of Tallinn rioted over the decision, and the Russians decided to view the move as an affront.

The attacks on the websites came from all over the world, but Estonian authorities identified some attacks as Russian and some from Russian state authorities.

The attacks came in three waves:

27th April: The day the riots erupted
3rd May
8th-9th May: Russia marks Victory Day over Nazi Germany and Putin makes speech attacking Estonia.

Putin has also accused Britain of 'foolishness' for wanting Russia to extradite former KGB worker Andrei Lugovoi so he can face trial for the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. Putin says the Russian constitution does not allow for extradition of citizens, which is rather convenient for them since the not-really-whispered- rumours are of orders from the Kremlin to murder Mr Litvinenko.

Russia really don't look like a nice country to play with at the moment. I'm glad, in that case, that we still have a nuclear defence capability in this country, no thanks to bleeding heart socialists like our Foreign Secretary, Caravan Beckett. I just wish we didn't have to go along with this stupid EU Energy Policy and instead could build some nuclear power stations to make sure we weren't reliant on unstable countries in the middle east, and bully boy countries like Russia for our power.

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