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Military exercises for crisis situations in Montenegro

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At the Podgorica airport, a military exercise involving a hijacking of an aircraft showed that Montenegrin institutions are ready to react promptly to incidents. This was the most complex and demanding exercise in the illegal interference of civil aviation in which a large number of participants and competent state authorities were engaged. The aim of the exercise is to train and verify the system of notification and coordination of activities between the competent authorities and institutions, to check the quality of the adopted legislation and plans and procedures in case of hijack. The president of the National Committee for Civil Aviation Security, Dragan Đurović, assessed that the exercise was successful and showed a high level of compliance of all entities that are activated in such crisis situations. He stated that this is another confirmation of the high standards of civil aviation safety that the European Commission has confirmed to be in line with the standards of EU member states. 

U.S.-South Korea military exercises to resume next month


Seoul and Washington said the United States and South Korea next month will resume joint military exercises, that will go ahead despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The Foal Eagle field exercise is scheduled to begin on April 1 and go on for a month, while the computer-simulated Key Resolve will be held for two weeks starting in mid-April. The South Korean and U.S. militaries usually stage the two drills in March for about two months but the period of this year’s field exercise was cut by half, mainly due to the Olympics.

The exercises will be of a “scale similar to that of the previous years” and are meant “to improve our readiness against various North Korean threats”, a South Korean military official told reporters.

The Pentagon said the North Korean military had been notified about the schedule for the drills by the United Nations Command. “Our combined exercises are defence-oriented and there is no reason for North Korea to view them as a provocation,” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan said.


China unhappy with US aircraft carrier’s visit to Vietnam, state media says

The Global Times said Beijing is “unhappy” with the visit of a US aircraft carrier to a Vietnamese port and is monitoring developments. But the USS Carl Vinson’s visit is unlikely to alter the balance of power in the South China Sea, which China claims in its entirety and has been fortifying with military structures on man-made islands; the visit “will not generate any special tools to pressure China”, while the US sending warships to the South China Sea will “only waste money”, Global Times  said.
 Vice-Admiral Phillip Sawyer, commander of the US 7th Fleet, said the port call was a sign of the United States’ commitment to the region and US-Vietnam ties. The visit by the USS Carl Vinson with more than 5,000 crew marks the largest US military presence in Vietnam since the Southeast Asian nation was unified under Communist leadership after the war ended in 1975.

China: US accuses Beijing of ‘provocative militarisation’ of South China Sea


The United States has accused China of “provocative militarisation” of disputed areas in the South China Sea.
It would seem in fact China is continuing to do some work in the disputed waters, including installing high-frequency radar and other facilities that can be used for military purposes. Some aerial footage by the official China Central Television show Fiery Cross Reef (part of the Spratly Islands chain) which appeares to have been transformed into an airbase.
Brian Hook, a senior adviser to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, said USA will continue sending vessels to the region to carry out freedom-of-navigation patrols.
Beijing insists it has sovereignty over almost all the South China Sea but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims to the waters. Manila, in particular, says Beijing broke the promise not to militarize man-made islands.

Ukraine: ORDLO militants put obstacles to OSCE’s monitors


Illegal armed groups in separate areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (ORDLO) continue limiting freedom of movement of monitors of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) and jeopardize their work, Ukraine’s representatives of the Joint Control and Coordination Center (JCCC) have reported.
“Since early 2018, the OSCE SMM continues to register cases of threats, limitations of access to military facilities and freedom of movement of its patrols on the territory temporarily uncontrolled by the government of Ukraine”, the press center of the ATO headquarters said on its Facebook page on Sunday morning. “At the same time, populists from ORDLO simulate teeming activity, having issued the second “order” in the past six months banning the unjustified limitation of freedom of movement of OSCE monitors. After issuing the first “order” late August 2017, the number of these restrictions not only did not decrease but even increased. For example, during the first month when “the order” was in effect the OSCE CMM recorded 46 cases of these violations”, the headquarters said.

Putin’s military strategy is low on casualties


As Russia has worked to convince the world that its military power is growing, it has concealed its costs in terms of blood and treasure. But newly revealed statistics show surprisingly low casualties despite engagements in Crimea, eastern Ukraine and Syria. It was the latest evidence that President Vladimir Putin’s military strategy is far more calculated than his predecessors, who were willing to win at all costs. Boris Yeltsin’s losses in Chechnya gutted his public support and the Soviet Union’s costly, failed Afghanistan adventure helped speed the end of an empire. Putin’s position is far more secure, which makes his approach to war all the more difficult to explain. Russia has not reported active-duty casualties since 2010 even as it expanded its military operations on several fronts. In 2015, Putin was accused of trying to hide losses in eastern Ukraine, where Russia stubbornly denies military involvement, by classifying data on losses incurred in “peacetime military operations”.

U.S. carrier strike groups begin exercise near South Korea


The U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups, including the USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz, USS Theodore Roosevelt kicked off a rare four-day exercise in the Western Pacific. The U.S. 7th Fleet said in a statement the carrier strike group converged near South Korea for a rare four-day exercise in the Western Pacific, with their accompanying warships set to conduct “coordinated operations to demonstrate the U.S. Navy’s unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinate strike force effort”. According to an official from the South Korean military, the strike groups was planning to hold joint military exercises with Japan’s Maritime Self- Defense Force on Saturday and Sunday, after which they will train with the South Korean Navy on Monday and Tuesday. U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott Swift said in a statement, “Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region”. The North Korean dictator is said to have examined it for a “long time” and warned the United States to cease its reckless actions. Shin Won-sik, former head of the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff operational headquarters, said that the U.S. Navy’s coordinated operations would “give a taste” of Washington’s military options on North Korea. Shim Beom-chul, a professor of defense and unification issues at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy in Seoul said, “It’s a message to China to do more to pressure the North.” Shim added that Trump’s way of pursuing foreign policy objectives through the support of naval power is a type of “gunboat diplomacy”.

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