Tag Archives: Nuclear

Amid Ukraine Tension, US Deploys Nuclear-Ready B-52 Bombers to UK

Despite repeated warnings from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that the U.S. is driving the rise of tensions at Ukraine’s eastern border, the U.S. Air Force has deployed four B-52 bombers with nuclear capabilities to the U.K., where one official acknowledged that the deployment is at least partially connected to Russia’s recent military activities.

Two B-52 Stratofortress aircrafts arrived at Royal Air Force Fairford on Thursday, with two more following. The bombers integrated with other NATO members’ forces en route to Fairford, according to the Air Force, including “British Typhoon aircraft and Portuguese F-16s currently assigned to NATO’s Icelandic Air Policing mission.”

The U.S. military downplayed the deployment, saying it was a “long-planned Bomber Task Force mission,” but one U.K. defense source told The Telegraph, “Is this aligned to current tensions? Yes and no.”

According to The Telegraph, a former British intelligence official noted that the Pentagon could launch air strikes from Fairford as it has before.

“From Fairford they could operate against a range of targets: troop concentrations in southern Russia and Belarus, Moscow/St. Petersburg, even the naval bases in the White Sea,” the former official told the outlet. “In 1991 they hit Baghdad from Fairford, flew on to Diego Garcia, refueled and rearmed, bombed Baghdad again on the way back, and returned to Fairford.”

The bombers sent from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota are capable of carrying precision-guided and nuclear weapons.

As the bombers arrived in the U.K., President Joe Biden warned in an interview with NBC News that American citizens in Ukraine and Russia should leave immediately while the U.S. State Department issued a notice that it would not be able to evacuate Americans in the event of military action by Russia.

“We’re dealing with one of the largest armies in the world,” Biden told Lester Holt. “Things could go crazy quickly.”

“That’s a world war when Americans and Russia start shooting at one another,” the president added.

The U.S. has claimed Russia is poised to potentially launch an invasion of Ukraine, with tanks reaching Kyiv within 48 hours of beginning an attack at the border.

Russia’s military has been conducting exercises near the border for two days after having assembled troops there in recent months. Russian officials deny having plans to attack Ukraine and have called on the U.S. to guarantee that Ukraine, a former Soviet state, will not be permitted to join NATO and for the alliance to withdraw troops from Eastern European countries, as well as other security assurances. The U.S. has rejected those demands.

In addition to the B-52 bombers, the U.S. is deploying 1,700 troops to Poland, while British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace arrived in Moscow Friday for diplomatic talks.

In discussions with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called on Russian to pull back its military presence at the Ukrainian border and de-escalate the situation.

“You first have to prove to me that we are the ones who created this tense situation,” Lavrov said. “The West is trying to make a tragedy out of this, while, increasingly, it’s similar to a comedy.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters Friday that negotiations with the West are ongoing and that he will speak with French President Emmanuel Macron in the coming days for further diplomatic talks.

Satellite Photos Show Chinese Nuclear Sub Entering Mysterious Undersea Cave Base

AUG 21, 2020

Military observers across social media are abuzz after a satellite photo emerged that appears to show a Chinese submarine entering an underground base on the southernmost island of Hainan on the South China Sea.

The rare satellite image, which was captured Aug. 19 by Planet Labs and released on social media by the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Asia, shows a Type 093 nuclear-powered attack submarine belonging to the the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Submarine Force entering a subterranean tunnel to an underground berth at the important Yulin Naval Base.

The image is also causing interest because other submarines aren’t visible in the image of the strategic base. The other docks in the image are completely empty, raising questions among online users as to where China’s nuclear-powered vessels might be.

The images quickly drew comparisons to spy films such as James Bond, as well as a reference to the fictional Nautilus, from Jules Verne’s novel “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”

The Yulin Naval Base on Hainan Island is a strategic location for myriad reasons. The base lies nearly 300 miles southwest of Hong Kong and is home to China’s nuclear ballistic missile submarine fleet, which is crucial to China’s second-strike abilities. The base also lies on the northern edge of the disputed South China Sea, which has been the source of friction with neighboring Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, and a U.S. keen on maintaining its hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region.

As China has grown richer and more powerful militarily, the country has also grown more assertive in establishing and defending its sovereignty in the strategic South China Sea, drawing contentious reactions from the East Asian giant’s regional and geopolitical rivals.

And with Washington and Beijing remain embroiled in bitter trade talks and growing tensions, the U.S. Navy – as well as private imaging companies – are turning more attention to the disputed waters, as was the case when a P-8 maritime patrol aircraft flew over the South China Sea last week.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is known to hide many of its strategic assets underground, which comes naturally for a military with historical roots as a guerilla force that often relied on subterfuge and tunnel warfare tactics during the 1937-1945 war against Japanese occupation and the country’s communist revolution. The country’s long martial history is also rich with stories of underground military facilities.

China is also known to have a so-called “Underground Great Wall” in the form of a labyrinthine tunnel network meant to conceal, mobilize and deploy intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Any move by China to conceal its submarine fleet from rivals’ surveillance systems by hiding them in underground tunnels robs potential adversaries from accurately assessing the country’s military strength and also from ensuring that the strategic vessels, as well as Chinese military preparations, remain elusive.

“You have no evidence of (the submarine’s) combat readiness, operational response times and availability,” said Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at U.S. Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center, to CNN“Tunnels blind potential opponents to the submarines’ operating status and patterns, denying them the ability to determine the state of China’s military preparations, knowledge critical to assessing China’s intentions and plans.”