Tag Archives: Antonov

Russian Defense Ministry suspends handover of armaments and military hardware to Ukraine

Redislocation of armaments and military hardware from Crimea to Ukraine

MOSCOW, – Russia’s Defense Ministry has suspended handover of armaments and military hardware to Ukraine from Crimea to prevent the munitions and equipment from being used against civilians in the east and south-east of the country, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said.

“I would like to recall that Russia complies with its international liabilities and under the Paris Charter, the Helsinki Act and UN and OSCE resolutions it has pledged to avoid supplying or display restraint regarding arms supplies to hot spots,” he said.

Antonov explained that the term “hot spot” was very appropriate to describe the current situation in Ukraine’s east and southeast.

So far Russia has returned to Ukraine 389 pieces of military equipment, including eight helicopters and three naval vessels, Antonov said.

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Moscow: No troop build-up or undeclared military activity near Ukraine borders

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Russia is observing all international agreements on troop limits in regions bordering Ukraine, the Russian Deputy Defense Minister said, adding that foreign missions’ inspections can confirm that.

The statement was made in response to reports by several foreign media outlets over concentrations of “thousands” of Russian servicemen on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

“By the way this issue has during the last month been regularly raised in telephone conversations between Russia’s Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu, and his foreign counterparts, including US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and even acting Ukrainian Defense Minister Igor Tenyukh,” Anatoly Antonov, the Russian Deputy Defense Minister said.

Sergey Shoigu has, in a very transparent manner, informed all of them about the real situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border. He also stressed that Russia has no intention to concentrate troops there, Antonov said.

Following recent probes by foreign missions in Russia of Ukraine’s bordering regions, foreign inspectors came to the conclusion that “Russian Armed Forces are not undertaking any undeclared military activity that would threaten the security of neighboring countries,” Antonov added.

The official said eight foreign inspection groups have recently visited Russia.

“Our venues and regions, where troops are stationed near Ukrainian borders, have twice been checked by the Ukrainian military,” the Deputy Minister said. “Besides, we have had on our territory inspectors from the US, Canada, Germany, France, Switzerland, Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Finland.”

Seven of those eight missions were interested in Russian regions bordering with Ukraine, Antonov said. Foreign inspectors were allowed to talk to chiefs of the Russian military units, make pictures of deployment sites and military vehicles, and control them during relocation.

“We did our best to meet our partners’ requests by allowing them to inspect all of the sites they wanted to. We have nothing to hide,” Antonov said.

The deputy minister said he was hoping that participants of those inspecting missions would inform their countries’ leaderships of what is really going on at the border between Russia and Ukraine.

“We believe this would to large extent facilitate release of tension, something the head of the Pentagon, Hagel, called for during his recent phone conversation with Minister Shoigu.”

Germans, French ‘nullified military co-op with Russia under pressure’

Berlin’s and Paris’ moves to halt military cooperation with Moscow are derailing the bilateral efforts of recent years and are completely unconstructive, Antonov said. However, according to the defense official, the two did so under pressure from their NATO ally.

“Obviously, the proverbial ‘Atlantic solidarity’ has made our French and German partners come up with loud statements against Russia,” Antonov said.

“Refusing from contacts and delegatory exchange though military departments brings to naught the positive tendencies established in the recent years, including the cooperation on Afghanistan, the dialogue on transparency of military activity and military-technical cooperation. We perceive the decision of the German side as taken under pressure and unconstructive,” Antonov stressed.

Both Russian and German defense ministries have recently undertaken some “serious efforts” in mutually beneficial cooperation, the official noted. He also highlighted the “unprecedented” bilateral work with France, including that of the Air Forces and Airborne Forces, noting that a “new impulse of cooperation” had been planned for 2014.

Addressing media on Sunday, Antonov stressed that Russia and its European partners are equally interested in military cooperation. It is “very easy to ruin what has been done by our countries [in the field of military cooperation] and it will be very difficult to restore relations,” he said.

The Russian side hopes that Germany and France will review the situation on the Ukrainian border upon receiving reports from the international inspectors and will move to restore the severed ties, Antonov said. For now, Moscow will act in accordance with the “existing realities,” he added.

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US, Germany inspectors to fly over Russia amid Ukraine tensions

Saab 340.(Screenshot from YouTube user Saab AB)

American and German inspectors will make observation flights over Russia and Belarus within the framework of the international treaty on Open Skies. The mission is set to verify the true position of Russian troops and military equipment.

Starting from March 17, military inspectors from the United States and Germany will perform flights over European Russia and Belarus to check the real whereabouts of Russian troops following accusations from Ukraine that Russia is consolidating military forces close to its borders. The inspection will continue through March 21.

“The flights will be performed on the Swedish observation plane SAAB-340,” head of the National Nuclear Threat Reduction Center, Sergey Ryzhkov, told Itar-Tass.

Ryzhkov specified that the flights will be performed on agreed routes only and that representatives of the Russian and Belarus military will be present onboard to ensure that the observation equipment on board is used strictly in accordance with the treaty’s provisions and that the flight adheres to coordinated parameters.

The SAAB-340 twin-engine aircraft to be used in the inspection is equipped with aerial photographic cameras and is not capable of carrying weapons.

This international mission is the third one starting from the beginning of March seeking to verify the current location of Russian army units and military equipment.

The first mission was performed on March 3-8 by American and French military inspectors. On March 12, Russia gave a positive reply to Ukraine and allowed Kiev to perform an inspection flight to allay fears about the impending invasion of the Russian army on the Crimea peninsula.

On Monday, Russia announced its readiness to let Ukraine use a Russian helicopter to inspect the Kursk and Belgorod regions close to the Russian-Ukrainian border.

In the course of the inspection, the Ukrainian representatives will be given an opportunity to inspect the specified area using a helicopter provided by the Russian side to make sure that “no military activity threatening Ukraine, so actively discussed in Ukrainian and Western media lately, is underway there” Russia’s deputy Defense Minister, Anatoly Antonov, told journalists.

Russian inspectors are also making observation flights this week over NATO member Spain, where the US recently deployed its Aegis missile destroyer. The inspection started March 16 and will last until Saturday. A Russian military delegation flying on an Antonov 30B aircraft is planning to make up to 1,800-kilometer flights over Spain from Getafe air base near the capital, Madrid. Spanish officers are also present onboard and the flights are performed on agreed routes only. Like the observation planes in Russia, the Antonov 30B twin-engine surveillance aircraft carries no weapons onboard.

A Russian Antonov-30B airplane.

The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992 and unites 34 countries. The treaty allows observation flights over Canada, the US, Russia and the majority of European states. The primary aim of the treaty is to ensure transparency in arms control and the settlement of crisis situations within the framework of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and other international organizations.

 RT News

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