It sure seems like Russia (read: Putin) is not interested in ending its information war against the United States.
The United States provided aid to separatists in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus in the 2000s, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed, referring to some mysterious intercepted calls.
In the 2000s, almost a decade after the violent Chechen war, Russia’s forces were battling Islamic insurgents in Chechnya and such neighboring regions as Ingushetia and Dagestan.
The claims were made during a new TV documentary, which is to be aired on the state-owned Russia-1 (Rossiya-1) TV channel this weekend. The two hour-long documentary is dedicated to his 15 years in power. Putin, elected Russian president on March 26, 2000, was sworn in May 7, 2000.
The documentary centers around Putin’s wins and obstacles he has encountered, and the Russian president just couldn’t resist the temptation to blame the West in something. That’s just something he does, and we’ve grown used to it.
While Putin didn’t go into details as to when the calls took place, he said that these calls were between the separatists and US intelligence officers based in Azerbaijan. Furthermore, during the interview in, what it appeared to be, the St. Alexander’s Hall, Putin stated that he had discussed the issue with then-President of the United States George Bush, who promised to “kick the ass” of the intelligence officers suspected in the misdoings.
“They [the US] were actually helping them, even with transportation,” Vladimir Putin, whose domestic approval rating tops 86%, said.
The US Supported Islamists
Then the Russian leader said the US intelligence agency sent a letter to the Russian intelligence agency FSB, in which they asserted their right to “support all opposition forces in Russia”, even the Islamist separatists in the Caucasus.
Does it have to do something with the current situation around Islamist militants in the Middle East? It might be one of the Kremlin’s attempts of hinting that those Islamists are somehow connected to the US.
World leaders told Putin they would not be opposed to Russia’s possible disintegration, the Russian leader claimed while expressing his deep concerns that the West, and particularly the US, are interested in harming his mother Russia.
Talking about the second conflict in Chechnya, he said: “My counterparts, a lot of presidents and prime minister told me later on that they had decided for themselves by then that Russia would cease to exist in its current form.”
The question is: why were these excerpts released before the documentary’s broadcast? What’s the motive? Was it done deliberately to disrupt the Ukraine-EU summit? Or is it yet another attempt by Russia’s leadership to threaten the West?
A Senior US Official Responds to Russia’s Nuclear Threats
The comments come as a high-ranking US official criticized Russia for threatening to use its nuclear weapons against the West.
Rose Gottemoeller, the under secretary of state for arms control and international security, expressed his discontent over Putin’s recent threats to use nuclear weapons during the Ukraine crisis in February of last year.
“We are concerned when there’s loose talk about nuclear weapons being useable, nuclear weapons being raised to higher alert levels,” Gottemoeller told Japan’s Kyodo News. “There is no threat out there that would warrant talking about a role for nuclear weapons.”
Although he was most likely referring to Putin’s comments made in February 2014 about the Kremlin’s willingness to “point its warheads” at Ukraine in case the former USSR state decides to join NATO, it could also refer to the recently revealed Russia’s nuclear threats.
The notes seen by The Times at the meeting between the US and Russia’s military and intelligence experts revealed that Vladimir Putin will view any attempt from NATO’s side to return Crimea to Ukraine or to increase its presence in the Baltics as declaration of war and threatened a “spectrum of responses from nuclear to non-military” to retain his control in the region.
However, Russia then dismissed the story, while Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, told Russian reporters: “This is a classic example of the continuing hysteria and the demonization of our country. They themselves are fanning the flames concerning this. However, it is not guided by any particular facts and they themselves are afraid of what they wrote.”
Pro-Russian Separatists are Excited about Killing the Americans
Meanwhile, military experts are weighing in on whether who would win a nuclear war between Russia and the US.
Jean-Paul Baquiast, a French, journalist, believes that the US will be completely wiped off the face of the Earth. According to him, when the US realizes it can’t counter Russian aggression by conventional and non-military means, it will try to destroy it with its armed forces. And in case an armed confrontation indeed happens, the US will no doubt perform a series of preemptive nuclear attacks against Russia.
However, “chances of the United States to destroy Russia without consequences for itself are small,” Jean-Paul Baquiast said.
Meanwhile, the US has recently deployed its military trainers to Ukraine, which is still trying to fight off the Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. That decision has brought a great deal of criticism and concerns from Russia’s side.
The United States, in turn, believes that Russia has recently increased its military presence in Donetsk and Luhansk by conducting military drills and deploying air defense systems near the frontline.
To nobody’s surprise, the Kremlin denied the accusations and said there is no Russian military presence in Ukraine.
However, there were numerous comments by pro-Russian rebels in Russian media that deploying American soldiers to Ukraine will only motivate them engage in more severe fighting due to their openly expressed hatred to the US.