23 February 2019 Military News
- US makes contradictory statements on number of forces remaining in Syria Press TV 23 Feb 2019 -- A senior official in the administration of President Donald Trump says the US will keep approximately 400 troops in Syria after the planned pullout, contradicting an earlier statement putting the number at 200.
- White House Now Says 400 'Peacekeepers' To Remain In Syria, Up From 200 RFE/RL 23 Feb 2019 -- The White House has clarified its plans for U.S. forces in Syria, now saying it will leave 400 troops in the war-torn country a day after saying the number of "peacekeepers" would be 200.
- Another somber milestone for Afghanistan: 2018 saw record-high civilians killed in decade – UN report UN News 23 Feb 2019 -- With over 3,800 civilian women, children and men killed in just one year, Afghanistan has hit yet another "deeply disturbing and wholly unacceptable" record, according to a new report issued on Sunday by the UN political mission in the country (UNAMA) and the UN human rights office (OHCHR).
Defense Policy / Programs
- En Route Gaggle by Acting Secretary Shanahan DoD 23 Feb 2019 -- Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan
- Putin: Russia to keep upgrading weapons even as they have no analogs in world Press TV 23 Feb 2019 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised his country's advanced military prowess, saying Russian weapons are unparalleled in the world and would likely stay ahead of their rivals for the foreseeable future as Moscow plans to constantly upgrade them.
- Russian Military Scrambled Su-27 Jet to Intercept Swedish Spy Plane Near Border Sputnik 23 Feb 2019 -- A Russian Su-27 fighter jet was scrambled on February 19 to identify and intercept an air target approaching the Russian airspace over the Baltic Sea, the Russian Defence Ministry said Friday.
- 'Russia Is Aware': US Military Conducting Open Skies Flight Over Russia Sputnik 23 Feb 2019 -- Unarmed US military aircraft carried out a surveillance flight over Russia this week under the protection of the Treaty on Open Skies, the Pentagon has announced.
- Tokyo intends to ignore referendum on US base in Okinawa: PM Abe Press TV 23 Feb 2019 -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he intends to ignore Okinawan people's opinion and proceed with the government's controversial plan to relocate a US airbase on the island.
- China Creates Nonlethal Microwave-Based Weapon to Inflict Pain - Report Sputnik 23 Feb 2019 -- Chinese researchers have reportedly developed a nonlethal weapon that uses microwave radar technology to inflict nerve pain on enemy troops.
- Iran launches torpedo in Velayat-97 wargame IRNA 23 Feb 2019 -- Iran's Tareq and Qadir submarines launched electric and Valfajr torpedoes in the second day of Velayat 97' wargame which is underway in the Sea of Oman on Friday.
- Iran minister hails country's defense conditions IRNA 23 Feb 2019 -- Iran has good conditions in many fields, especially defense, said the country's Minister of Defense Brigadier General Amir Hatami on Saturday.
- Defense min: Iran's power for peace and security IRNA 23 Feb 2019 -- Iran could defeat enemies' strategies in the region, Defense Minister said, adding it was proved that Iran's power is for peace, stability and security.
- Iran launches 3 cruise missiles from shore, vessles ISNA 23 Feb 2019 -- During the second day of a massive three-day drill, codenamed "Velayat 97", Admiral Naghdi destroyer, Tabarzin missile boat and shore based missile system destroyed predetermined naval objects.
- Iran producing 85% of its armed forces' requirement: Defense Minister ISNA 23 Feb 2019 -- "Before Iran's revolution, we used to produce only 5% of our defense requirement, but today Iran is producing 85% of its armed forces' requirement," Iranian Defense Minister, Brigadier General Amir Hatami said on Saturday.
- Iran Navy launches cruise missiles, torpedoes in massive drills Press TV 23 Feb 2019 -- The Iranian Navy has test-fired three cruise missiles and several types of torpedoes on the second day of major drills held in a vast area from the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean.
- Militants hamper exit of refugees from Rukban camp in southern Syria: Russian official Press TV 23 Feb 2019 -- Foreign-sponsored Takfiri militant groups are preventing the safe exit of thousands of displaced Syrians stranded in a camp near the Jordanian border toward government-controlled areas, and continue to terrorize them, the chief of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria says.
- US plot aims to prevent displaced Syrians from returning home, warns Hezbollah official Press TV 23 Feb 2019 -- A high-ranking member of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has warned about a US plot to prevent the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland so that the displaced people could be used as a pressure "lever" against the Damascus government.
- Iranian FM Not Ruling Out Military Action Against Militants in Syria's Idlib Sputnik 23 Feb 2019 -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has not ruled out that an offensive against terrorists in Syria's Idlib province could be launched because all other options to secure the area have proved fruitless and armed groups have only strengthened their positions in the region.
- Turkish Defence Minister Warns Pentagon Against Vacuum of Power in Syria –Report Sputnik 23 Feb 2019 -- Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed the same stance on the issue saying that "it is critical not to allow a vacuum [of power] to replace the American troops in Syria once they withdraw".
- Dunford Says Confident Allies Can Maintain Campaign in Syria After US Exits Sputnik 23 Feb 2019 -- Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford told reporters that allies will step up in Syria after Washington withdraws troops.
- Militants Keep Preventing Refugees From Leaving Rukban Camp - Russian Military Sputnik 23 Feb 2019 -- Militants are still stopping refugees and their families from leaving Syria's Rukban camp and providing them false information about true intentions of Russia and Damascus, head of the Russian Defense Ministry's Center for Syrian Reconciliation Lt. Gen. Sergei Solomatin said on Friday.
- India vows all options to win 'decisive battle' against Pakistan Press TV 23 Feb 2019 -- The Indian government has denounced Pakistan as a "rogue state," stressing that the country will exercise all options required to overpower Islamabad, which New Delhi holds accountable for a deadly terrorist attack in the disputed region of Kashmir last week.
- India Threatens to Block Rivers to Pakistan After Attack in Kashmir - Minister Sputnik 23 Feb 2019 -- Indian authorities decided to build dams to block the supply of fresh water from Indian rivers to Pakistan after the recent deadly terror attack in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Indian Minister of Transport, Shipping and Water Resources Nitin Gadkari has stated.
- Somalia's Oldest Federal Lawmaker Fatally Shot in Mogadishu VOA 23 Feb 2019 -- A Somali federal parliamentary lawmaker was fatally shot Saturday in Mogadishu, security officials said.
- Mali: UN mourns three Guinean peacekeepers killed, condemns attack 'in strongest terms' UN News 23 Feb 2019 -- The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and the UN Security Council condemned on Saturday in the strongest terms the attack against vehicles of the peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA), which took place on Friday and in which three "blue helmets" from Guinea were killed and at least another injured.
- U.S. prepares provocation in Venezuela: Russian FM People's Daily 23 Feb 2019 -- The United States is preparing a provocation in Venezuela disguised as humanitarian aid and aimed at toppling its legitimate government, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Friday.
- Venezuela seals border to block U.S. aid shipment amid fears of "Trojan horse" People's Daily 23 Feb 2019 -- The Venezuelan government led by President Nicolas Maduro has sealed off the country's border with Brazil and suspended aerial and maritime communications with the neighboring islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
- Police teargas Venezuelan protesters at Colombia border amid aid row Press TV 23 Feb 2019 -- Venezuelan police have fired tear gas canisters on raging crowds of anti-government protesters who wanted to cross the border into Colombia for work, amid opposition leader Juan Guaido's vow that humanitarian aid would enter the crisis-hit South American country in open defiance of President Nicolas Maduro.
- US instigating 'dangerous provocation' in Venezuela using aid supplies: Russia Press TV 23 Feb 2019 -- Russia has warned that the United States is using humanitarian aid to instigate a "dangerous provocation" in Venezuela by arming the country's opposition while moving its own forces closer to Venezuelan borders in preparation for a military invasion.
- Guaido Claims Humanitarian Aid Crossed From Brazil Into Venezuela Sputnik 23 Feb 2019 -- Earlier, Colombian President Ivan Duque announced that his country had handed over the humanitarian aid to the self-proclaimed interim Venezuelan President Juan Guaido, going on to demand a "peaceful" transfer of the aid to Venezuela.
- Venezuela Builds Up Troops on Border With Colombia For Security Reasons Sputnik 23 Feb 2019 -- Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez announced the day before that the country's authorities had decided to temporarily close three bridges connecting Colombia and Venezuela ahead of humanitarian aid deliveries to Venezuela.
- US Adviser Bolton Cancels Trip to South Korea to Focus on Venezuela Crisis Sputnik 23 Feb 2019 -- White House National Security Adviser John Bolton has cancelled his trip to South Korea to focus on the situation in Venezuela, a National Security Council Spokesperson said in a statement.
- Venezuela Temporarily Closes Three Crossings at Colombian Border Sputnik 23 Feb 2019 -- The Venezuelan authorities have decided to temporarily close three bridges connecting Colombia and Venezuela ahead of humanitarian aid deliveries to Venezuela, planned by the country's opposition, Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said.
- Venezuela Updated UN Chief on US Plan to 'Force' Humanitarian Aid Into Country Sputnik 23 Feb 2019 -- Previously, the Venezuelan opposition stated that the delivery of US aid to Venezuela would begin on 23 February. The government of President Nicolas Maduro plans to prevent the aid from being supplied to the country. The president has slammed the US move as an attempt to overthrow government.
- Report: 4 Civilians Dead in Venezuelan Violence VOA 23 Feb 2019 -- At least four civilians were killed Saturday as Venezuelan security forces clashed with demonstrators at the border with Brazil over deliveries of humanitarian aid. More than 20 members of the Venezuelan military also switched their alliance to the opposition.
- State Dept Denies Claims Shipments for Venezuela Are Anything Other Than Aid Sputnik 23 Feb 2019 -- Any claims that the US shipments to Venezuela are anything other that humanitarian assistance for the Latin American country are absurd, a State Department spokesperson told Sputnik.
- Trump vows veto as Democrats launch resolution to stop border emergency Press TV 23 Feb 2019 -- President Donald Trump has vowed to veto a possible resolution that aims to stop his declaration of a national emergency to build a wall along the US southern border.
- Trump Says Would Veto US Congress Bill to Block National Emergency at Border Sputnik 23 Feb 2019 -- US President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House he would veto legislation introduced in the House of Representatives aimed at blocking his national emergency declaration on the US-Mexico border.
- Butina Lawyer to Russian State Media: Deportation Logistics Underway VOA 23 Feb 2019 -- The attorney for Maria Butina, the Russian women whom U.S. federal prosecutors have charged with illegal foreign lobbying, says her passport has been handed over to U.S. immigration officials to expedite her anticipated deportation to Russia.
- North Korean leader heads to Vietnam ahead of Trump meeting, follows grandfather's footsteps Global Times 23 Feb 2019 -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un set off by train to Hanoi, capital of Vietnam on Saturday, ahead of his second meeting with US President Donald Trump next week.
- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's train predicted to arrive in Beijing on Sunday Global Times 23 Feb 2019 -- The city of Dandong, which borders North Korea in Northeast China's Liaoning Province, was hoping to welcome North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's train on Saturday, and the city had apparently put on a light show on the landmark China-North Korea Friendship Bridge and enhanced street patrols, say local residents.
- Opposing Terrorism Is Principled Stand of DPRK Government: Spokesman for DPRK Foreign Ministry KCNA 23 Feb 2019 -- A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) gave the following answer to a question put by KCNA on February 23 as regards the recent terrorist attack that occurred in India:
- U.S., DPRK to seek understanding of denuclearization at Hanoi summit People's Daily 23 Feb 2019 -- The United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will seek a shared understanding of the denuclearization at the upcoming Hanoi summit, a U.S. senior official said Thursday.
- Trump aides worry he may get outmaneuvered in summit with Kim Press TV 23 Feb 2019 -- US President Donald Trump's aides worry that he may get outfoxed in the scheduled summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.
- Trump: US troops withdrawal from South Korea 'not on table' in Hanoi meeting with Kim Press TV 23 Feb 2019 -- US President Donald Trump has ruled out reducing the number of American troops in South Korea as part of a deal to be discussed during his upcoming summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un.
- Reports: North Korea Mulls Economic Reforms Amid GDP Contraction Sputnik 23 Feb 2019 -- Analysts from the Bank of Korea (BOK) believe the North Korean economy is becoming increasingly market-oriented despite the state's strict planned economy rules, which might suggest that Kim Jong-un is open to introducing sweeping reforms in the country.
- Iran Warns Of 'Options' To Neutralize U.S. Oil Sanctions RFE/RL 23 Feb 2019 -- A senior Iranian official has said Tehran has many options to neutralize the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on its oil exports, the semiofficial Tasnim news agency reported on February 23.
- Staying in JCPOA or not depends on public will: FM Zarif ISNA 23 Feb 2019 -- Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Friday that staying in JCPOA or not depends on public demand.
- IAEA once again stresses Iran commitment under JCPOA ISNA 23 Feb 2019 -- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its 14th report, reiterated Iran compliance with its commitments under the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
- Iran has new plans to neutralize US sanctions, needs no deal with Washington: Shamkhani Press TV 23 Feb 2019 -- A senior Iranian official says the Islamic Republic has devised new plans to counter US sanctions, which eliminate the need for a deal with Washington.
- Trump to be surprised by Iran's response to sanctions: Zarif Press TV 23 Feb 2019 -- Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Tehran's measures to cushion the impact of US sanctions against the country will take US President Donald Trump by "surprise".
- Trump may extend China trade deadline, but final deal remains elusive Press TV 23 Feb 2019 -- US President Donald Trump says the United States and China were moving closer toward a trade agreement and that he was inclined to extend his March 1 tariff deadline and meet soon with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but a final deal still remains elusive.
- Chinese president meets Saudi crown prince People's Daily 23 Feb 2019 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday met with Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, Saudi Arabia's crown prince, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
- Royal Order: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Delegates HRH Crown Prince to Steer State's Affairs, Look after People's Interests, during his Absence, abroad KSA SPA 23 Feb 2019 -- The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud issued a Royal Order here today.
- Three Royal Orders issued SPA 23 Feb 2019 -- Three Royal Orders were issued today.
- Saudi Arabia appoints daughter of former spy chief as US ambassador Press TV 23 Feb 2019 -- Saudi Arabian government has appointed the daughter of Bandar bin Sultan, the notorious former intelligence chief, as its new ambassador to the United States.
- Statement on Move To Indict Turkish Civil Society Leaders US Dept. of State 23 Feb 2019
- Sudan appoints new vice president, premier Press TV 23 Feb 2019 -- Sudan's Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf has been appointed as the first vice president of the country.
- Sudan Opposition Vows to Press on Against Bashir, Despite 'Emergency' VOA 23 Feb 2019 -- Sudanese opposition groups, including the influential trade union association that is leading political protests against the government, are saying that they will continue their demonstrations against President Omar al-Bashir, despite a series of political shuffles he has made during the past 24 hours. Bashir declared a "state of emergency" in a Friday night speech, and replaced most of his government.
- Sudan Declares National Emergency as Protests Continue VOA 23 Feb 2019 -- Sudan President Omar al-Bashir declared a national emergency for one year, and dissolved local and national governments amid widespread demonstrations in Sudan.
- Vote Counting Underway in Nigeria Presidential Poll VOA 23 Feb 2019 -- Vote-counting began Saturday in Nigeria's hotly-contested presidential election that was marred by violent outbreaks in the northeastern and southern parts of the oil-rich nation.
- Thousands In Belgrade Protest Against Vucic For 12th Straight Saturday RFE/RL 23 Feb 2019 -- Thousands of people demonstrated in the streets of Belgrade for a 12th straight Saturday on February 23 – an act of protest against Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.
- Moldova's Elections Could Determine Whether Country Moves East Or West RFE/RL 23 Feb 2019 -- Voters in Moldova are going to the polls on February 24 in parliamentary elections that could determine whether the tiny, impoverished Eastern European country moves closer to Moscow or the European Union.
- UN Urges Egypt to Stop Executions Based on Forced Confessions VOA 23 Feb 2019 -- The U.N. Human Rights Office is urging Egypt to halt all executions and to conduct investigations into all allegations that people are subjected to the death penalty based on confessions obtained under torture.
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