20 February 2019 Military News
- Taliban attack kills 5, injures 2 in northern Afghanistan IRNA 20 Feb 2019 -- Taliban attack on a police station in Faryab, northern Afghanistan, has claimed the lives of 5 security forces and injured 2 others.
- Afghan Loya Jirga To Convene Next Month To Discuss Peace Talks RFE/RL 20 Feb 2019 -- Afghan politicians and tribal, ethnic, and religious leaders are set to meet for at least four days next month to discuss negotiations with the Taliban, President Ashraf Ghani's special peace envoy has said.
- Kabul Rebukes Pakistan Envoy Over Remark About Peace Talks RFE/RL 20 Feb 2019 -- Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry has summoned the Pakistani ambassador to Kabul over his remark that Afghan peace talks could be affected if India resorted to violence against Pakistan in response to last week's deadly suicide attack on Indian troops in disputed Kashmir.
Defense Policy / Programs
- Statement from the Press Secretary The White House 20 Feb 2019 -- "Today, President Donald J. Trump released the National Strategy to Combat Terrorist Travel and the National Strategy for Aviation Security. In keeping with his promise to protect the American people and our interests, these strategies prioritize vital roles and responsibilities for departments and agencies. The strategies also establish and clarify planning and operations coordination requirements to keep terrorists from transiting our borders and enhance security in our aviation sector."
- U.S., British Navies Conduct Maritime Security Drills NNS 20 Feb 2019 -- U.S. Navy fleet replenishment oiler USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200) and Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose (F236) conducted Feb. 18 maritime security and logistics training in the South China Sea.
- CRW delivers agile mobility expertise during exercise Green Flag Little Rock US Air Force 20 Feb 2019 -- The sound of gunfire echoed across the open field at the Geronimo Landing Zone as Airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Wing based out of Travis Air Force Base, California, responded to a simulated base attack during a training mission in support of Green Flag Little Rock exercise, Feb. 6-17.
- Davis-Monthan AFB exercise balances flexibility, survivability, lethality US Air Force 20 Feb 2019 -- Landing in an austere location, a small number of Airmen move at a rapid pace to accomplish a very specific mission. With only the supplies needed to survive for a week, they begin to unload food, shelter and equipment. After unloading, they set up a campsite as home base for their operations.
- Trump Signs Directive Establishing US Space Force Sputnik 20 Feb 2019 -- President Donald Trump signed a directive that ordered the Pentagon to establish US Space Force that would operate as the sixth branch of armed forces within the Air Force.
- Joint press point with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor NATO 20 Feb 2019 -- (As delivered)
- Official: NATO Doesn't Plan to Deploy New Ground-Based Nuclear Weapons in Europe Sputnik 20 Feb 2019 -- NATO believes that its missile defence is exclusively defensive in nature, and the facilities in Romania and Poland fully comply with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, NATO Deputy Spokesperson Piers Cazalet told Sputnik.
- Putin warns of retaliation if US deployed missiles in Europe Press TV 20 Feb 2019 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the United States against deploying intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe, saying his country will target the US itself and not just the countries where those missiles are stationed.
- Putin: Russia-US INF Tensions 'No Reason to Create New Cuban Missile Crisis' Sputnik 20 Feb 2019 -- Earlier, the Russian president warned that Moscow would be "forced" to respond in kind if the US deployed new medium- and short-range missiles in Europe in the wake of its withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
- Putin Threatens US with New Weapons if Missiles Deployed to Europe VOA 20 Feb 2019 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow plans to target the United States with new hypersonic weapons if Washington deploys intermediate-range missiles in Europe.
- UK Foreign Secretary Warns Germany Over Stop in Arms Sales to Saudis – Reports Sputnik 20 Feb 2019 -- UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has slammed Berlin's embargo on arms sales to Saudi Arabia for hurting British exports, in a letter to his German counterpart seen by media.
- UK lashes out at Germany over Saudi arms sales ban Press TV 20 Feb 2019 -- Britain has strongly objected to Germany's recent decision to bar arms and military cooperation deals with Saudi Arabia, warning that the new policy damages Berlin's security commitments while adversely affecting the British military industry.
- Ankara Commits to S-400, Turkish Official Says US Patriot Offer Not Good Enough Sputnik 20 Feb 2019 -- Earlier this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed dissatisfaction over Washington's unwillingness to implement Ankara's two basic conditions for acquiring Patriot interceptors related to providing a loan and joint production.
- EU Extends Belarus Arms Embargo RFE/RL 20 Feb 2019 -- EU ambassadors on February 20 extended for another year an arms embargo against Belarus and sanctions on four Belarusian citizens.
- China displays unmanned mini Aegis ship with vertical launch missile cells in Abu Dhabi Global Times 20 Feb 2019 -- Chinese arms companies are exhibiting a series of advanced weapons including an unmanned 20-ton "Aegis-class destroyer" with vertical launch missile cells and a heavy infantry fighting vehicle at the 14th International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi from Sunday to Thursday.
- China's naval hospital ship Peace Ark has provided free medical services to thousands around the world People's Daily 20 Feb 2019 -- China's naval hospital ship Peace Ark has covered 230,000 nautical miles to provide free medical services to over 230,000 local people in 43 countries, spanning three oceans and six continents, a decade after its first mission.
- Commander of Israeli elite forces 'retires' in rare move Press TV 20 Feb 2019 -- In a rare move, the commander of the most elite unit of the Israeli military's special forces has decided to "retire" towards the end of his term, months after an operation by the commando unit inside Gaza went badly wrong.
- Japan to Host US Missiles Despite Russian Claim That They Violate the INF Treaty Sputnik 20 Feb 2019 -- Tokyo has acquired Aegis Ashore air defence systems and plans to install them within four years in order to mitigate the nuclear threat from North Korea. Moscow believes that the deployment of these systems contradicts the Cold War-era treaty because they can be used to launch cruise missiles.
- Japan Self-Defence Forces Lose Contact With F-2 Fighter - Reports Sputnik 20 Feb 2019 -- The Japan Self-Defence Forces lost contact on Wednesday with one of their F-2 fighters off the coast of the Yamaguchi Prefecture, local media reported.
- Russia, China to Sign Contract on Creation of Heavy Helicopter - Rostec Sputnik 20 Feb 2019 -- Russia and China will sign a contract on creation of a heavy helicopter within 30-60 days, Viktor Kladov, the director of international cooperation and regional policy at Russian state-owned corporation Rostec, told reporters on Wednesday.
- 20 February 2019 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 20 Feb 2019
- US-led coalition evacuates Daesh militants, families from last redoubt in eastern Syria: Report Press TV 20 Feb 2019 -- The US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group has reportedly withdrawn dozen of the extremists and their family members from their shrinking enclave in Syria's eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr and near the Iraqi border.
- More Civilians Escape Baghuz, but 'Most Hardened' IS Fighters Remain VOA 20 Feb 2019 -- U.S.-backed forces are one step closer to liberating the last patch of Syrian territory held by the Islamic State terror group, but a final assault could still be days away.
- US-Backed Forces Warn Last Islamic State Fighters in Syria to Give Up or Die VOA 20 Feb 2019 -- A U.S.-backed militia in Syria is warning the last remaining Islamic State fighters there to surrender or die.
- Trucks Carry Civilians From Last Islamic State Enclave in Syria VOA 20 Feb 2019 -- A convoy of trucks Wednesday carried civilians away from the last area of Syria still under the control of Islamic State militants.
- Joint Statement on Escalating Conflict in South Sudan US Dept. of State 20 Feb 2019 -- The text of the following statement was issued jointly by the Governments of the United States, Norway, and the United Kingdom.
- US, Allies Demand Stop to New Fighting in South Sudan VOA 20 Feb 2019 -- The United States and European allies say a new flare-up of fighting in South Sudan violates that country's peace agreement, and are demanding the clashes end immediately.
- South Sudan: 'Outraged' UN experts say ongoing widespread human rights violations may amount to war crimes UN News 20 Feb 2019 -- United Nations investigators on Wednesday denounced a raft of gross human rights violations being perpetrated in South Sudan, where over the past year, incidents of rape have surged and abductions, sexual slavery and brutal killings "have become commonplace."
- Poroshenko Wants UN To Move Ahead With Peacekeeping Mission In Eastern Ukraine RFE/RL 20 Feb 2019 -- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called on the UN secretary-general to draw up options for a peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine, saying such a mission could be a "decisive factor" in ending the conflict there.
- Prospect of lasting peace 'fading by the day' in Gaza and West Bank, senior UN envoy warns UN News 20 Feb 2019 -- The spectres of violence and radicalism in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are growing, and the prospect of sustainable peace is fading by the day, a senior UN envoy in the region told the Security Council on Wednesday.
- Israel approves construction over 4,000 new settler units in Jerusalem al-Quds Press TV 20 Feb 2019 -- Israeli officials have approved plans for the construction of thousands of new housing units in the occupied West Bank irrespective of the international outcry against the Tel Aviv regime's land expropriation and settlement expansion policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.
- US pushes Pakistan to punish perpetrators of Kashmir bombing Press TV 20 Feb 2019 -- The United States has pressed Pakistan to punish those behind a deadly bombing in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir that claimed the lives of 44 Indian paramilitary troops last week.
- UN chief urges India, Pakistan to de-escalate tensions Press TV 20 Feb 2019 -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on India and Pakistan to immediately take measures to de-escalate tensions following a deadly terrorist attack in Kashmir that has increased the risk of violent conflict between the two nuclear-armed rivals.
- India & Pakistan Attempting to Drum Up Support Following Pulwama Attack Sputnik 20 Feb 2019 -- As tensions between India and Pakistan skyrocketed after a suicide car bombing in Kashmir, claiming the lives of more than 40 Indian security personnel, the New Delhi has been trying to isolate the Islamabad in the world stage, accusing the government of harbouring and assisting terrorist forces.
- UN Chief Asks India & Pakistan to Exercise Maximum Restraint - Reports Sputnik 20 Feb 2019 -- Pakistan's permanent mission to the UN approached the United Nations urging the world body to step in to defuse tensions between the nations arising as the fallout of the Pulwama terror attack on Indian soil. It also requested a meeting with the secretary-general.
- UN chief urges India and Pakistan to dial down tensions in wake of Kashmir attack UN News 20 Feb 2019 -- United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday called on India and Pakistan to take steps to defuse tensions in the wake an attack in Kashmir late last week that left dozes of Indian security forces dead.
- Al-Shabab Claims Killing of Somali Deputy Attorney General VOA 20 Feb 2019 -- The al-Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for the assassination of Somalia's deputy attorney general on Wednesday in Mogadishu.
- Venezuela's Health Care System Continues Downward Spiral VOA 20 Feb 2019 -- U.N. and international health agencies say Venezuela's health care crisis is causing a rise in infectious diseases and the re-emergence of illnesses such as malaria and tuberculosis, once considered vanquished.
- Analysts: Venezuela's Failed Socialist Policies Could Make Market Reforms Easier VOA 20 Feb 2019 -- Oil-rich Venezuela's near economic collapse may make it easier for U.S.-backed opposition leaders to reverse socialist policies instituted by late President Hugo Chavez, if they are able to oust his successor, Nicolas Maduro, according to analysts.
- Russia warns Venezuela's Guaido against inviting US invasion Press TV 20 Feb 2019 -- Russia has warned Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido against "inviting foreign intervention" under the cover of aid shipments, reiterating his country's call for dialogue between the Caracas government and the opposition.
- Cuba denies military presence in Venezuela Press TV 20 Feb 2019 -- Cuba has denied accusations by the United States that it has deployed military forces to neighboring Venezuela, which is facing strong pressure by governments opposed to it.
- Guaido Says Opposition Trying to Freeze Venezuelan Govt's Assets in Switzerland Sputnik 20 Feb 2019 -- The Venezuelan opposition is discussing the possibility of freezing accounts of the Venezuelan government in banks in Switzerland with the country's leadership, Juan Guaido, the leader of the opposition-run National Assembly, said on Wednesday, adding that he had discussed the issue with Swiss President Ueli Maurer.
- Venezuela Shuts Border With Neighbouring Islands - Vice President Sputnik 20 Feb 2019 -- On 19 February, the Latin American country's regional military chief announced the closure of the Venezuelan maritime border with the Dutch Caribbean.
- US Threats to Venezuelan Military Violate UN Charter - Lavrov Sputnik 20 Feb 2019 -- Earlier, US President Donald Trump called on the Venezuelan military to accept opposition leader Juan Guaido's offer of amnesty.
- Microsoft Says Russia-Linked Hacking Group Targeted European Think Tanks, NGOs RFE/RL 20 Feb 2019 -- Software giant Microsoft says it has uncovered a series of cyberattacks by hackers linked to Russia targeting democratic institutions, think tanks and nonprofit organizations in Europe, highlighting concerns of possible interference in European Union elections in May.
- Presidential Address to Federal Assembly President of Russia 20 Feb 2019 -- The President of Russia delivered the Address to the Federal Assembly. The ceremony took place in Gostiny Dvor. The presentation of the Address was attended by Federation Council members, State Duma deputies, members of the Government, leaders of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court, governors.
- Five Takeaways From Putin's State-Of-The-Nation Address RFE/RL 20 Feb 2019 -- In his annual state-of-the-nation address on February 20 to Russia's two-chamber parliament, President Vladimir Putin promised to spend huge sums of money. Critics ask where those funds will come from.
- Putin Announces Social Handouts in Bid to Stop Opinion Poll Slide VOA 20 Feb 2019 -- A year ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin sailed to victory in what challengers dubbed a "filthy election." Facing weak candidates – some likely encouraged to run by a Kremlin eager to give the poll a veneer of greater competitiveness – Putin basked in his re-election, promising a flag-waving rally of loyalists off Moscow's Red Square that "success awaits us."
- Trump says "no rush" on DPRK denuclearization People's Daily 20 Feb 2019 -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he expected to see the ultimate denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula while pointing out that he had no pressing schedule for that objective.
- Trump says 'in no rush' to denuclearize North Korea as 2nd Kim summit nears Press TV 20 Feb 2019 -- US President Donald Trump says there is no need to rush the denuclearization of North Korea as he prepares to meet the Asian country's leader Kim Jong-un for the second time next week.
- INSTEX launch to open up new opportunities for Russia, says Ryabkov ISNA 20 Feb 2019 -- The European mechanism will also open up "opportunities for trade between Iran and third countries, including China and Russia," deputy Foreign Minister, Sergey Ryabkov said.
- Iran's oil exports rise despite US sanctions: Report Press TV 20 Feb 2019 -- Iran's exports of crude oil are soaring higher than expected as customers use US waivers to increase purchases, Reuters has reported citing new tanker data.
- President Rouhani: Iran-US tug of war at maximum level Press TV 20 Feb 2019 -- President Hassan Rouhani says the tug of war that is currently underway between Iran and the United States is at its "maximum level," but that the Islamic Republic will undoubtedly emerge victorious in "this battle of wills."
- Rohani Says Iran-U.S. Tensions At 'A Maximum' RFE/RL 20 Feb 2019 -- Tensions between Tehran and Washington are at "a maximum" rarely seen in the decades-long antagonistic relations between the two countries, Iranian President Hassan Rohani said on February 20.
- Iran's Rouhani Says Tehran 'Will Eventually Win' in 'Battle of Wills' With US Sputnik 20 Feb 2019 -- Earlier, amid an investigation by US lawmakers into alleged plans by the Trump administration to transfer sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif blasted Washington over what he said was its "hypocricy" on the world stage.
- US unilateralism cannot harm Iran, China: Larijani ISNA 20 Feb 2019 -- In Beijing, Parliament Speaker, Ali Larijani has said America's hostile unilateral policies, including the imposition of sanctions and trade tariffs on other countries, will fail to harm world nations, including Iran and China.
- China says will boost 'strategic' partnership with Iran regardless of global developments Press TV 20 Feb 2019 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged his country's determination to boost "strategic" partnership with Iran regardless of global and regional developments.
- US unilateralism cannot harm Iran, China: Larijani Press TV 20 Feb 2019 -- In Beijing, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has said America's hostile unilateral policies, including the imposition of sanctions and trade tariffs on other countries, will fail to harm other nations, including Iran and China.
- Iran decries US 'hypocrisy' over planned nuclear sale to Saudi Arabia Press TV 20 Feb 2019 -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has denounced Washington's "hypocrisy" after reports said the administration of US President Donald Trump was seeking to advance the sale of nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia.
- House Launches Inquiry Into U.S. Nuclear Plans In Saudi Arabia RFE/RL 20 Feb 2019 -- A new congressional report says that senior White House officials pushed a project to share nuclear power technology with Saudi Arabia despite the objections of ethics and national security officials.
- Russia Completes Engine Tests of Soyuz Rocket's 2nd Stage Using New Fuel - UEC Sputnik 20 Feb 2019 -- The engine for the second stage of the Soyuz-2 rocket using the new naphthyl rocket fuel instead of kerosene was successfully tested, a spokesperson for the United Engine Corporation told Sputnik on the sidelines of the Aero India exhibition in the Indian city of Bengaluru on Wednesday.
- Treasury Sanctions Indian Narcotics Trafficker Jasmeet Hakimzada and His Network US Treasury 20 Feb 2019 -- Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) identified Indian national Jasmeet Hakimzada as a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). OFAC also designated two Indian nationals and four entities registered in India or the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that form part of the narcotics trafficking organization run by Jasmeet Hakimzada.
- Britain and Germany: an alliance of values UK FCO 20 Feb 2019 -- Speech by the Foreign Secretary to the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Berlin.
- Saudi Arabia to Cooperate with India on Terrorism VOA 20 Feb 2019 -- Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in New Delhi that terrorism is a common concern and his country would cooperate with India in combating terrorism and extremism.
- US Hate Groups Hit Record Number Last Year Amid Increased Violence VOA 20 Feb 2019 -- The white supremacist group Identity Evropa more than doubled the number of its chapters.
- China Faces Challenges in Containing Swine Flu Infection VOA 20 Feb 2019 -- The Year of the Pig is getting off to a rough start in China as the world's largest consumer of pork and home to half the world's pigs struggles to contain the spread of the African swine fever (ASF) virus.
- Taiwan's president rejects potential opp. deal with China Press TV 20 Feb 2019 -- Taiwan's president says she is opposed to a potential peace initiative with China launched by the island's major opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Party.
- EU Warns Romanian Government Against Gutting Anticorruption Legislation RFE/RL 20 Feb 2019 -- The European Union has asked Romania's government for clarification after Bucharest effected measures that critics say will exert more political control over the judiciary.
- Zimbabwe President's Threats to Lawyers Criticized VOA 20 Feb 2019 -- Zimbabwe President Emerson Mnangagwa has issued a chilling warning to lawyers and doctors who assisted victims of a deadly government crackdown on fuel protests last month.
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