Taiwan Scrambles 29 Jets to Warn Away Chinese Planes in Its Air Defence Zone

Chinese and Taiwanese national flags are displayed alongside a military airplane in this illustration taken April 9, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
Chinese and Taiwanese national flags are displayed alongside a military airplane in this illustration taken April 9, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

TAIPEI, June 21 (Reuters) – Taiwan scrambled jets on Tuesday to warn away 29 Chinese aircraft in its air defence zone, including bombers that flew to the south of the island and into the Pacific, in the latest uptick in tensions and largest incursion since late May.

Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has complained for the past two years or so of repeated missions by the Chinese air force near the democratically governed island, often in the southwestern part of its air defence identification zone, or ADIZ, close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.

Taiwan calls China’s repeated nearby military activities “grey zone” warfare, designed to both wear out Taiwanese forces by making them repeatedly scramble, and also to test Taiwanese responses.

The latest Chinese mission included 17 fighters and six H-6 bombers, as well as electronic warfare, early warning, antisubmarine and an aerial refuelling aircraft, Taiwan’s defence ministry said.

Some of the aircraft flew in an area to the northeast of the Pratas, according to a map the ministry provided.

However, the bombers, accompanied by an electronic warfare and an intelligence gathering aircraft, flew into the Bashi Channel which separates Taiwan from the Philippines and into the Pacific before turning back to China on the route they came in.

Taiwan sent combat aircraft to warn away the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them, the ministry said, using standard wording for its response.

It was the largest incursion since Taiwan reported 30 Chinese aircraft in its ADIZ on May 30. The largest to date this year occurred on Jan. 23, involving 39 aircraft.

There was no immediate comment from China, which has in the past said that such moves were drills aimed at protecting the country’s sovereignty.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson told Reuters in an email that Beijing should “cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and intimidation against Taiwan”.

China launched its third aircraft carrier on Friday, the Fujian, named after the province opposite Taiwan.

China’s military said last month it had conducted an exercise around Taiwan as a “solemn warning” against its “collusion” with the United States.

That came after U.S. President Joe Biden angered China by appearing to signal a change in a U.S. policy of “strategic ambiguity” on Taiwan by saying the United States would get involved militarily if China were to attack the island.

China has stepped up pressure on Taiwan to accept its sovereignty claims. The Taipei government says it wants peace but will defend itself if attacked.

No shots have been fired and the Chinese aircraft have not been flying in Taiwan’s air space, but in its ADIZ, a broader area Taiwan monitors and patrols that acts to give it more time to respond to any threats.

Source: Reuters

Russia Vows Retaliation With a ‘Serious Negative Impact on Lithuanian Population’ as Kaliningrad Blockade Threatens to Drag NATO Into Ukraine War and Former General Calls on Putin to Send in Nuclear Weapons

Russia has vowed to retaliate against Lithuania with measures that ‘will have a serious negative impact on the Lithuanian population’ after the country blocked EU-sanctioned goods from reaching the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said Moscow will respond shortly to Lithuania’s move to block deliveries of coal, metals, construction materials and advanced technology from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad.

‘Russia will certainly respond to such hostile actions. Relevant measures are being worked out in the interdepartmental format and will be taken in the near future,’ Interfax cited Patrushev, a former KGB spy, as saying.

‘Their consequences will have a serious negative impact on the population of Lithuania,’ he added.

Patrushev’s warning comes as retired Russian general Evgeny Buzhinsky urged Putin to send nuclear weapons to Kaliningrad.

The President’s spokesman also weighed in, warning Moscow will never trust the West again following the move.

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Source: Daily Mail

China Conducts New Missile Defense Test in Space

In this July 8, 2016, photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese missile frigate Yuncheng launches an anti-ship missile during a military exercise in the waters near south China's Hainan Island and Paracel Islands. Ahead of the 2021 annual Congress meetings, China is continuing its military buildup and recently passed a law authorizing its coast guard to use force to remove foreign presences in what it considers Chinese waters and islands. (Zha Chunming/Xinhua via AP) **FILE**
In this July 8, 2016, photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese missile frigate Yuncheng launches an anti-ship missile during a military exercise in the waters near south China’s Hainan Island and Paracel Islands. Ahead of the 2021 annual Congress meetings, China is continuing its military buildup and recently passed a law authorizing its coast guard to use force to remove foreign presences in what it considers Chinese waters and islands. (Zha Chunming/Xinhua via AP) **FILE**

China’s military conducted a space-based missile defense interceptor test, claiming to have successfully targeted a ballistic missile in space, the Chinese Defense Ministry said Sunday.

The test involved hitting a target missile with a high-speed interceptor missile in space, the ministry said in a statement.

“The test reached its expected goals,” the statement said, adding that the test was defensive and not aimed at any country.

It was the sixth missile defense test by the Chinese and highlights Beijing’s efforts to develop missile defenses despite frequent state denunciations of U.S. missile defense systems as destabilizing.

Few details were provided on the test that involved firing a land-based missile at a target ballistic missile.

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Source: Washington Times

US Navy Warship Fires Warning Flare After Iranian Fast Attack Boat Almost Crashes Into It: Three Military Speed Boats Buzz the USS Sirocco in Latest Tense Stand-off in Strait of Hormuz

American and Iranian navy ships nearly crashed on Monday after three speedboats zoomed past US warships at high speed.

The US Navy said one of three of the Guard fast craft raced head-on at the Cyclone-class patrol ship USS Sirocco before changing course.

The Navy warship had to fire a warning flare to wave off the Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboat coming straight at it before turning head on during a tense encounter in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, officials said Tuesday.

The incident on Monday involving the Guard and the Navy comes as tensions remain high over stalled negotiations over Iran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers and as Tehran enriches uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels under decreasing international oversight.

Meanwhile, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said Iran now plans to enrich uranium through a second set of advanced centrifuges at its underground Fordo facility amid the standoff.

The Cyclone-class patrol ship USS Sirocco and Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport USNS Choctaw County found themselves in the close encounter with three Iranian fast boats while coming through the Strait of Hormuz to enter the Persian Gulf, the Navy said.

In a video released by the Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, a high-speed Guard Boghammar is seen turning head-on toward the Sirocco.

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Source: Daily Mail

Israel Destroys Hamas Targets Following First Rocket Attack in Two Months

JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday said the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) destroyed several Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in response to a rocket attack.

“On Friday night, we attacked and destroyed production workshops and several other Hamas targets in Gaza. This is in response to firing a single rocket from Gaza Strip, which was intercepted by the Iron Dome,” Bennett said during a Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday.

The rocket from Gaza was the first attack from the Hamas-ruled territory in two months.

The rocket activated warning sirens in the southern city of Ashkelon. There were no casualties reported.

No Palestinian terror group claimed responsibility for the attack but Israel blames Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.

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Source: CBN

Israel Expands Operations Against Iranian Nuclear and Military Assets

Israel is intensifying its campaign to thwart Iran’s nuclear, missile and drone programs with a series of covert operations targeting a broader range of key targets, said people familiar with the effort.

The new moves are the latest evolution of a strategy that has been dubbed the Octopus Doctrine by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who aims to bring Israel’s battle against Iran onto Iranian territory after years of targeting Iranian agents and Tehran’s proxies outside the country in places such as Syria.

“In the past year, the state of Israel has taken action against the head of the terrorist octopus and not just against the arms as was done in previous decades,” Mr. Bennett told a parliamentary committee earlier this month. “The days of immunity, in which Iran attacks Israel and spreads terrorism via its regional proxies but remains unscathed, are over,” he said.

Israel has stepped up the campaign in the past year, with strikes using small drones to hit Iranian nuclear facilities and an attack on an Iranian drone base, according to the people briefed on the campaigns. Iran blamed Israel for last month’s killing in Tehran of a top Iranian military officer that the Israelis suspected of running overseas hit teams targeting Israelis.

The recent deaths of a small number of Iranians involved in the country’s nuclear and military research programs have also raised questions as to whether Israel was responsible for them.

After focusing its covert efforts on Iran’s nuclear program for years, Israel is expanding its campaign with the recognition that Iran has already made considerable progress in producing weapons-grade uranium, according to the people. The aim now is to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear warhead and missile that could carry it, they said.

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Source: Washington Post

Is Lithuania on the Verge of Dragging NATO Into Ukraine War? Russia Warns It Will ‘take Actions’ After Alliance Member Blocks Trains Carrying Goods to Russia’s Kaliningrad Territory

The Kremlin has threatened Lithuania after EU-sanctioned goods were blocked from reaching the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, fuelling fears of NATO being dragged into the war.

Moscow warned of ‘very tough actions’ against the Western security alliance member after deliveries of coal, metals, construction materials and advanced technology were stopped from entering the Russian territory.

The Lithuanian chargé d’affaires in Moscow was told that unless cargo transit was resumed in the near future, Russia reserves the right to act to protect its national interests.

The Russian foreign ministry said: ‘We consider provocative measures of the Lithuanian side which violate Lithuania’s international legal obligations, primarily the 2002 Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the European Union on transit between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of the Russian Federation, to be openly hostile.’

Loyalist senator Andrey Klimov warned it was ‘direct aggression against Russia, literally forcing us to immediately resort to proper self-defence’.

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Source: Daily Mail

We’re Returning to a Time When Nuclear Threats Were the Norm — and the World Flirted With Armageddon.

“A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

So said the leaders of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States for the very first time, just five months ago. Today, however, the prospect of nuclear weapons use is perhaps greater than any time since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.

Just weeks after co-signing the joint statement on preventing nuclear war, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a war of aggression against a neighbor that had given up its nuclear weapons in return for Russia’s explicit assurance “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine [and] refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of Ukraine.”

At the onset of war, Putin made an explicit threat to “those who stand in our way,” saying that the “consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history.” And just three days later, he said he’d raise the alert level of its nuclear forces — though there are no indications that he did.

Russia has sought to enhance the threat of using nuclear weapons for years now.

Realizing its conventional capabilities were no longer a match for the U.S. and NATO, some time ago, Moscow adopted a military doctrine in which its use of so-called tactical weapons might persuade an adversary to back down. And with progress in its war against Ukraine stymied by determined Ukrainian forces backed with sophisticated Western weapons, the possibility that Putin might decide to “escalate to deescalate” has become especially alarming.

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Source: Politico

NATO Says It Will Increase Its Forces on Russia’s Doorstep

NATO has announced it will boost forces on its eastern flank as Vladimir Putin’s brutal war with Ukraine enters its fifth month.

For the first time since the Cold War, the alliance will have ‘pre-assigned forces to specific countries in the east, linked to our defense plans’.

This is to enable a faster response in case of a threat, following repeated Russian propagandist threats that ‘nuclear war could be coming’.

Long-term plans to help Ukraine defend itself against Moscow’s aggression have been discussed as peace talks flop once again.

The alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said today: ‘We made clear that all countries have the right to choose their own path without outside interference.

‘Russia’s aggression is a game-changer. So Nato must maintain credible deterrence and strong defence.

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Source: Metro

Watchdog Group Says Palestinian Officials Are Threatening a ‘Religious War’ Over Jews Praying on Temple Mount

JERUSALEM, Israel – An Israeli non-profit organization that tracks incitement in Palestinian media says Palestinian Authority (PA) officials are threatening a “religious” war over Jews praying at the Temple Mount.

Palestinian Media Watch released a report on Thursday it says shows PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ “official spokesmen and advisors” claiming that Israel seeks to enforce Jewish prayer at the site and eventually build a third temple.

The Temple Mount is the emotional epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is the holiest site in Judaism and two Jewish temples once stood there. The compound is also the third holiest site in Islam. Israel has vowed to maintain the “status quo” at the compound, which means non-Muslims are allowed to visit but are not allowed to pray or perform religious rituals. However, unorganized Jewish prayer has recently returned to the site amid a surge in Jewish visitation.

The report cites a statement from Ahmed Al-Ruweidi, Abbas’ advisor on Jerusalem Affairs, suggesting that continued visits by Jews to the Temple Mount combined with the theoretical implementation of separate prayer times for Jewish and Muslim worshippers, would be considered an attack on Muslims worldwide and trigger a religious war.

‘The religious war will not stop at the borders of the region and the borders of the Palestinian people, but rather will reach the US, Europe, and the entire world,” Al-Ruweidi told the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on May 30.

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Source: CBN