Russia confirms nukes for Belarus

Deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons to neighbouring Belarus, a close ally in the war against Ukraine, has been formalized in a May 25 agreement. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the arrangement is justified by “an extremely sharp escalation of threats on the western borders of Russia and Belarus.” [node:read-more:link]

Microwaved drones, anybody?

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory has demonstrated a microwave drone countermeasure, the Tactical High-power Operational Responder, against a swarm of targets. “THOR has never been tested against these types of drones before, but this did not stop the system from dropping the targets out of the sky with its non-kinetic speed-of-light […] pulses,” an official explained. [node:read-more:link]

Russian hypersonics under fire

Three Russian scientists involved in hypersonic weapons development face what the Kremlin calls “very serious accusations” of treason. They were detained several days after Russian hypersonic missiles were downed by Ukrainian air defences last week. [node:read-more:link]

Biden changes tack on F-16s

Having resisted for months the notion of supplying F-16 fighters to Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden today told allies that he would permit training on U.S. aircraft. He also said he is prepared to let other countries donate their Fighting Falcons to Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

Russian air attack blunted

Ukrainian air defences downed 18 Russian missiles aimed at Kyiv early May 16, including six air-launched Kinzhal hypersonics, touted by Vladimir Putin as a key strategic advantage. Three residents of the capital were reported to have been wounded. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. envoy backtracks on accusation

Reuben Brigety, the U.S. ambassador to South Africa, has “apologized unreservedly” for claiming that the country exported weapons to Russia, the host foreign ministry said today. Brigety said on social media that he was “grateful for the opportunity to […] correct any misimpressions left by my public remarks” which prompted President Cyril Ramaphosa to order a judicial inquiry. [node:read-more:link]

South Africa arms exports reviewed

Accusations by the U.S. ambassador that South Africa has supplied arms to Russia despite its professed neutrality in the war in Ukraine have prompted an inquiry headed by a retired judge. Reuben Brigety said a Russian ship was loaded with weapons and ammunition in Cape Town last December and while President Cyril Ramaphosa’s confirmed the inquiry, it says Brigety offered no evidence to support his claim. [node:read-more:link]

Aussies upgrading regional security

A new Australian budget tabled today includes nearly AU$52.6 billion or 2.04 per cent of GDP in defence spending designed to enhance defence of Australia’s interests in the Indo-Pacific theatre. U.S. munitions, including long-range missiles, figure prominently in the government’s five-year plan. [node:read-more:link]

“Willy Peter” alleged in Ukraine

Ukraine is accusing Russia of using white phosphorus munitions in its siege of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. Nicknamed “Willy Peter” by U.S. forces during the Vietnam War, they are not technically prohibited in warfare but their use against civilians is considered a war crime. [node:read-more:link]

Ukraine fit for counter-offensive

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says most arms promise to Ukraine have been delivered in time for an expected counter-offensive against Russia. “That means over 1,550 armored vehicles, 230 tanks, and other equipment, including vast amounts of ammunition,” he said. Coupled with 30,000 NATO-trained Ukrainian troops, it would put the country “in a strong position to continue to retake occupied territory.” [node:read-more:link]

Enhanced tank round planned

Britain and Germany have signed a letter of intent on further development of an enhanced 120mm kinetic anti-tank ammunition. The new armour-piercing round is expected to be used on British Challenger 3 main battle tanks and German Leopard 2s but the partnership is looking at export opportunities. [node:read-more:link]

Crimean oil depot targetted

Russia says two Ukrainian drones were responsible for a massive fire at an oil depot in occupied Crimea on the weekend. It was the latest in a series of attacks ahead of an expected Ukrainian counter-offensive. [node:read-more:link]

EU wrangling over Ukraine ammo

Domestic political and indusrial interests evidently have become a key factor as the European Union tries to decide how to spend €1 billion on ammunition for Ukraine. France has said it would prefer to see a procurement from European arms manufacturers but Poland wants no nationalist restrictions. [node:read-more:link]


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