On June 23 (depending on time zone, many historians put the date as June 22nd) 1941, Adolph Hitler broke the non-aggression pact signed between Germany and Russia (erstwhile Soviet Union) by launching a military offensive. Signed in August 1939, the Russo-German pact was a big surprise to the entire world as Hitler had described the Soviet as “that Jewish sponge of fungus.” Exactly 74 years after the German invasion of Russia, a top U.S. military official says that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions echo those of Nazi Germany.
Too much power concentrated in the hands of Putin
Lieutenant General Stephen Wilson, the head of US Global Air Strike Command, warned that too much power was concentrated in the hands of Putin, reports The Independent. He said some of the things happening in Russia are “troubling and concerning” everybody. Lieutenant General Stephen Wilson said Moscow has annexed part of a country, changed international borders and raised rhetoric unseen since the Cold War.
Lt Gen Wilson said at a briefing in London that what Russia is doing now has not been seen since 1930s when entire countries were annexed and chewed up by countries such as the USSR and Nazi Germany did in Memel, the Sudetenland, Bessarabia, Czech proper, Austria, and the Saarland (although in a peaceful and democratic manner – in that one case). His comments come at a time when tensions between Russia and Western countries continue to rise. U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said on Monday that the NATO forces will do everything to stop Russia from re-creating its Soviet-era sphere of influence.
Russia is just defending its interests, says Putin
Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow will deploy another 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that are capable of penetrating even the most advanced anti-missile defense systems. Last week, Putin said at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum that Russia was not acting aggressively. It has just started defending its interests more persistently.
Lt Gen Wilson also accused Russia of risking lives of civilians when its military jets fly, with their transponders turned off, close to Western countries’ airspace. Last year, a Scandinavian Airlines passenger jet narrowly escaped colliding with a Russian fighter jet flying with its transponders shut down. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said earlier this year that NATO countries intercepted Russia jets more than 400 times last year.