Tag Archives: Drills

US, South Korea end spring military drills to back diplomacy

US, South Korea end spring military drills to back diplomacySEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea and the U.S. are eliminating their massive springtime military drills and replacing them with smaller exercises in what they call an effort to support diplomacy aimed at resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis.



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South Korea seeks smaller military drills with U.S. amid North Korea talks

South Korea seeks smaller military drills with U.S. amid North Korea talksThe allies have suspended a number of combined military exercises this year as tensions on the Korean peninsula eased and Washington began talks to dismantle Pyongyang’s nuclear program. The North has denounced the annual drills, which in the past involved hundreds of thousands of troops, warships and aircraft, as a “rehearsal for war.” With nuclear talks under way, Seoul and Washington are discussing scaling back their regular field exercises, including Foal Eagle in early 2019, and hold two computer-simulated command post drills next year, the defense ministry said. U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said last month the Foal Eagle exercise would be “reorganized a bit to keep it at a level that will not be harmful to diplomacy” with North Korea.



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Russia holds naval drills in Sea of Japan

Russia holds naval drills in Sea of JapanRussian troops taking part in the country’s largest-ever war games on Saturday held drills in the Sea of Japan, despite Tokyo’s concerns about a Russian military buildup in the area. The exercises were part of the Vostok-18, or East-18, war games that kicked off in eastern Russia on September 11 and will run until Monday. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has described the week-long operation, which involves nearly 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 vehicles, 1,000 planes and 80 warships, as Russia’s biggest-ever war games.



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Putin says will strengthen army at military drills

Putin says will strengthen army at military drillsPresident Vladimir Putin on Thursday visited Russia’s largest-ever military drills in eastern Siberia, where he said Moscow planned to strengthen the country’s armed forces. Russia has said the Vostok-2018 exercises involve nearly 300,000 troops and all types of military equipment, as well as the participation of the Chinese and Mongolian armies. “Out duty to our country is to be ready to defend our sovereignty, our security and our national interests and, if we must, to support our allies,” the president said following a huge military parade after the manoeuvres.



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Russia to hold major drills in Mediterranean off Syria as UN warns of 'perfect storm'

Russia to hold major drills in Mediterranean off Syria as UN warns of 'perfect storm'Russia has announced it will hold a week-long military drill in the Mediterranean off the coast of Syria, as the UN warned a “perfect storm” was brewing in the battle for the country’s last rebel stronghold. Moscow’s defence ministry said it will deploy 25 ships, including a Marshall Ustinov missile cruiser, and 30 jets for the exercises, which would focus on anti-air and anti-submarine defence. The armada is the biggest task force sent by President Vladimir Putin’s government since Russia’s intervention in the Syrian conflict in 2015. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the drills were justified by the situation around the Idlib, the northwestern province where Syrian and allied Russian forces are expected to soon launch an offensive. "The situation in Syria has the significant potential of exacerbating,” Mr Peskov said. “Nothing good can come out of this terrorist hotbed that formed there, if no one acts. So tightened security measures are totally justified and reasonable.” Syrian army soldier stands at a check-point as Russian military police vehicle, right, passes by near the village of Almajdiyeh, Syria, Credit: AP The manoeuvring in the Mediterranean came as Russia accused Britain and the US of preparing a “false-flag” chemical attack in Idlib to frame the Syrian government and justify a a Western attack on its forces. Russian embassies and a network of Kremlin-owned media outlets have been pushing stories of potential chemical attacks as part of a large-scale disinformation campaign. The Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets said the buildup was connected to the prospect of an attack by the US, which last week sent guided-missile destroyer USS Ross to the eastern Mediterranean. Nato has expressed concern about the naval manoeuvering. Civil defense members carry out search and rescue works after the airstrikes in Idlib province Credit: Anadolu "We will not speculate on the intention of the Russian fleet, but it is important that all actors in the region exercise restraint and refrain from worsening an already disastrous humanitarian situation in Syria," said Oana Lungescu, Nato’s chief spokeswoman. Government forces have been massing around Idlib for days and looked poised to launch what could be the last major battle of the seven-year civil war. Some 2.7 million people are living in Idlib under the control of several thousand jihadists and other more moderate rebels. A major military operation would pose a particular humanitarian nightmare because there is no opposition territory left in Syria where people could be evacuated to and the country’s border with Turkey has been closed. 'There is a perfect storm based on warnings, counter-warnings (from the US and Russia)," said Staffan de Mistura, UN envoy to Syria. "There is no other Idlib," he added, stressing the need to ensure civilians can evacuate to nearby areas under government control, with guarantees their rights will be respected once they get there. "It would be a tragic irony frankly if at almost the end of… a territorial war inside Syria, we would be witnessing the most horrific tragedy to the largest number of civilians." Mr de Mistura offered to personally travel to Idlib to help ensure civilians can leave through a humanitarian corridor, though did not say to which safe area they would lead.  Syrian onlookers gather around rescue teams clearing the rubble in the morning of April 10, 2018 at the site of an explosion in the northwestern city of Idlib.  Credit: AFP The envoy said there were an estimated 10,000 al-Qaeda and affiliated fighters in Idlib, along with their families. The most powerful of them, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), appeared to leave the door open to a negotiated settlement on Thursday during last-ditch talks. "We in HTS are striving to find an effective solution in the liberated Syrian north that would protect our people from a possible offensive by the criminal regime and its allies," read a statement published on its propaganda agency Ibaa. Turkey, which backs the Syrian opposition, has been in talks with Russia and Iran to prevent an offensive, which it fears would send millions more refugees its way. Russia, in return, has demanded that Ankara remove all al-Qaeda elements, such as HTS, before any deal is made. While Turkey actively sponsors rebel forces in Idlib, its influence over HTS is less clear and experts warned the chances of success were slim.



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Jim Mattis Says the U.S. Won't Suspend More Military Drills With South Korea

Jim Mattis Says the U.S. Won't Suspend More Military Drills With South KoreaIt comes as North Korea is increasingly critical of U.S. demands to denuclearize



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Russia to hold biggest military drills since Cold War

Russia to hold biggest military drills since Cold WarRussia will flex its military muscles and hold the biggest war games since the Cold War era next month, including almost 300,000 troops and 1,000 aircraft, the defence ministry said Tuesday, leading NATO to warn of a “more assertive Russia”. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the exercises would be similar in size to those held in September 1981 by the Soviet authorities, called Zapad-81, or West 81. “This will be something of a repeat of Zapad-81, but in some senses even bigger,” Shoigu said in comments reported by Russian news agencies.



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South Korea Defense Ministry Confirms Suspension of Joint U.S.-South Korea Military Drills Originally Planned for August

South Korea Defense Ministry Confirms Suspension of Joint U.S.-South Korea Military Drills Originally Planned for AugustThe South Korean Defense Ministry confirmed Tuesday that their major military exercise with the US planned for August has been suspended.



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NASA's Mars rover drills up most complex organic matter yet

NASA's Mars rover drills up most complex organic matter yetIn a breakthrough for the hunt for life on Mars, a NASA robot has detected the most complex organic matter yet from 3.5 billion-year-old rocks on the surface of the Red Planet, scientists said Thursday. The unmanned Curiosity rover has also found increasing evidence for seasonal variations of methane on Mars, indicating the source of the gas is likely the planet itself, or possibly its subsurface water. While not direct evidence of life, the compounds drilled from Mars’ Gale Crater are the most diverse array ever drilled from the surface of the planet since the robotic vehicle landed in 2012, experts say.



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China holds live-fire drills in Taiwan Strait

China holds live-fire drills in Taiwan StraitChina held live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday but Taipei dismissed the exercises as “routine” after expected large-scale naval manoeuvres failed to materialise. Beijing had announced the drills last week, further ramping up tensions following stark warnings against any independence moves by the self-ruled island which China sees as its sovereign territory. Vessels had been told to avoid a certain area off the Chinese mainland’s coast, triggering speculation that a flotilla spearheaded by China’s sole aircraft carrier would take part in the exercise.



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