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    Russian submarine activity largest since Cold War: top US Navy admiral

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    Pentagon and NATO brass have issued fresh warnings about increased Russian naval activity in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, with the top U.S. Navy admiral saying this week Russian submarine operations are currently at levels not seen since the Cold War.

    That’s one reason the Navy plans to stand up a new command later this month to deal with the return of an old foe.

    Tuesday night provided the latest example of Russia’s new show of force. A British Type 45 guided-missile destroyer escorted two Russian warships through the English Channel.

    The Royal Navy posted video of HMS Diamond alongside the Russian destroyer Severomorsk and cruisier Marshal Ustinov in the English Channel. Interactions like this have become so common, the Royal Navy has warships standing 24-hour alert in port.

    The incident took place one day after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with his British counterpart, Gavin Williamson, at the Pentagon. It marked the second time the same British warship had responded to approaching Russian Navy warships, according to the warship’s commanding officer.

    This week, the U.S. Navy’s highest ranking officer, Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, told VOA Russian submarine activity in the North Atlantic is “more than we’ve seen in 25 years.” – READ MORE


    The Trump administration has imposed the sanctions in response to the March 2018 poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K. that the administration blames on the Russian government. On Wednesday, the State Department told Congress that an initial tranche of sanctions will be imposed under a 1991 chemical and biological weapons act.

    first set of sanctions targets certain items the US exports to Russia that could have military uses — so-called dual use technologies. These are sensitive goods that normally would go through a case-by-case review before they are exported. With these sanctions, the exports will be presumptively denied. A senior State Department official said there would be carve-outs however.

    The US would then require Russia to assure over the next 90 days that it is no longer using chemical or biological weapons and will not do so in the future. Additionally, the criteria in the law call for Russia to allow on-site inspectors to ensure compliance. The official said that if Russia did not meet the demands, the US “will have to consider whether to impose a second tranche of sanctions as specified by the statute.”

    While the U.K. has cheered the Trump administration’s actions against Russia, Russia isn’t so enthused. In a tweet Wednesday, a Russian U.N. representative issued a snarky response to the Trump administration.

    “The theater of absurd continues,” tweeted Dmitry Polyanskiy. “No proofs, no clues, no logic, no presumption of innocense, just highly-liklies. Only one rule: blame everything on Russia, no matter how absurd and fake it is. Let us welcome the United Sanctions of America!”​ – READ MORE

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