Feb 15, 2017

What the Russian military is up to

Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

Three Russian military actions of note in recent days:

  1. Russia secretly launched a cruise missile today that would be capable of threatening NATO's European members. This move breaches its responsibility to the INF arms treaty that keeps it from possessing, producing, or flight-testing a ground-launched cruise missile with range capabilities of 500 to 5000 kilometers.
  2. A Russian spy ship was spotted off the coast of Delaware, this morning, per Fox News. The ship remained in international waters, not in U.S. territory, and similar Russian activity has been detected in years past.
  3. The Pentagon reports Russian aircraft flew within 100 yards above the American destroyer USS Porter in the Black Sea on three separate occasions Friday, per ABC News. (A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman claims there was no such flyby). The Pentagon claims the flybys were "unsafe and unprofessional." This would have taken place the same day that Putin invited Trump to a meeting in Slovenia.

Why it matters: Russia is boasting its military capabilities and asserting itself. This comes a day after Trump's National Security Advisor Mike Flynn was ousted, which Russian leadership claimed showed off American's "Russophobia," Trump's inability to lead, worsening U.S.-Russian relations, and (on the flip side) that it had no impact on U.S.-Russian relations, per an AP report. (One caveat: according to CNN, the U.S. government has been unable to draw links between the three activities.)

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