Tag: Nuclear

Trump threatens Iran with sanctions so intercontinental missiles can never be made

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about Iran and the Iran nuclear deal in front of a portrait of President George Washington in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Trump made the announcement in a speech that detailed a more confrontational approach to Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and its support for extremist groups in the Middle East.

He said: ‘Today I am announcing our strategy along with several major steps we’re taking to confront the Iranian regime’s hostile actions and to ensure that Iran never — and I mean never — acquires a nuclear weapon.’ The president also spoke of his fear of intercontinental missiles, adding he wants to ensure these are never part of Iran’s nuclear program.

He never wants Iran to have nuclear weapons. While Trump did not pull the United States out of the agreement, aimed at preventing Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, he gave the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to re-impose economic sanctions on Tehran that were lifted under the pact.

That would increase tension with Iran as well as put Washington at odds with other signatories of the accord such as Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union.

 

 

 

 

 

Video: Russia launches second nuclear-powered icebreaker ‘Sibir’

Russia launches second nuclear-powered icebreaker Sibir

Russian shipbuilder Baltic Shipyard has launched the second of three Project 22220, nuclear-powered icebreakers at its shipyard in St. Petersburg.

Sibir, as the second icebreaker in the class is named, was launched on September 22 into the River Neva in presence of Russian president Vladimir Putin and a number of other government and shipyard officials.

Together with sister ship Arktika, the Sibir is dubbed the “world’s largest and most powerful” icebreaker.

The Sibir was launched 16 months after it started construction in May 2015. The lead ship, Arktika, was launched in June 2016 and is expected to be commissioned in June 2019.

Designed by Iceberg Central Design Bureau in 2009, the 173-meter long icebreakers will be capable of breaking ice up to 2.8 meters thick.

The vessels are being built for Rosatomflot for operation in Arctic waters and in the waters of the mouth of the Yenisei river and the Gulf of Ob.

 

Russia’s Northern Fleet drills involve ten submarines

Russian navy Akula II submarine.

Russia’s Northern Fleet has begun an exercise with ten diesel and nuclear-powered submarines and twenty surface ships taking part.

“At different stages of the exercise more than 20 naval vessels, up to ten nuclear-powered and diesel submarines, 20 logistic ships and up to 30 aircraft will participate. In different episodes of the exercise more than 5,000 officers and men of the Northern Fleet and more than 300 pieces of weapons and military equipment will be involved,” the fleet’s service said in a news release.

Coastal missile and artillery units, a ground corps, coastal forces, an air force and air defense army and logistic units will take part.

Russian Bal, Bastion Coastal Missile System

The exercise is the main operative and combat training event for the Northern Fleet in 2017.

Currently, the preparatory phase of the exercise is in progress. The fleet’s forces are practicing alert measures and readying their command centers and forces for coping with the tasks to be set during exercise in the Barents Sea, which will last several days.

 

Pyotr Veliky and Admiral Ushakov warships enter Barents Sea for drill

The Pyotr Veliky heavy nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser. Lev Fedoseyev/TASS

MOSCOW, September 14. /TASS/.

The Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) heavy nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser and the Admiral Ushakov destroyer, followed by nuclear submarines, have headed a strike group during the Northern Fleet’s drill, head of the fleet’s press service, Captain 1st rank Vadim Serga, told reporters.

“An all-arms strike group has been deployed to the Barents Sea as part of the exercise of the Northern Fleet’s united strategic command. The group is led by a warship strike group which comprises the Pyotr Veliky heavy nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser and the Admiral Ushakov destroyer,” he said.

The group also includes the Rassvet (Dawn) and Aisberg (Iceberg) fast attack guided missile craft and the Snezhnogorsk, Brest and Yunga corvette anti-submarine craft. The all-arms strike group was reinforced with two nuclear-powered guided-missile cruisers, and it is protected from underwater by a few submarines of other types.

The controlling staff is on board the Pyotr Veliky. The Bal coastal missile system is being prepared on the Rybachi Peninsula, and the Bastion on Teribesky Cape for the artillery missile brigade of the Kola Peninsula of the Northern Fleet’s all-arms forces.

“In the near future, the Northern Fleet’s all-arms forces will work out cooperation, check readiness of crews for emergency actions and start direct preparation for military exercises with weapon employment,” Serga noted.

The drill for the Northern Fleet’s all-arms forces is being carried out under command of the Northern Fleet’s commander Vice Admiral Nikolay Yevmenov. More than 20 warships, up to 10 nuclear and diesel submarines, about 20 support vessels and 30 aircraft will take part at different stages of the maneuvers. The drill’s events will involve more than 5,000 servicemen and over 300 equipment and weapons units.

 

Trump Says Military Action Against North Korea iI ‘An Option’ But Not Inevitable

President Donald Trump on Thursday said military action against North Korea remains an option to counter its nuclear missile program, speaking ahead of a weekend when Pyongyang is expected to make another provocative move advancing its effort.

“Military action would certainly be an option,” Trump said at a White House news conference alongside the leader of Kuwait. “Is it inevitable? Nothing is inevitable. It would be great if something else could be worked out.”

Claiming that the U.S. military is stronger than ever with the addition of “new and beautiful equipment,” Trump added, “Hopefully we’re not going to have to use it on North Korea. If we do use it on North Korea, it will be a very sad day for North Korea.”

He concluded, “North Korea is behaving badly, and it’s got to stop.”

Pressure has mounted on Trump to respond as North Korea appears to be getting closer to building a nuclear weapon small enough to be compatible with a missile that can reach the United States.

North Korea appeared to carry out its sixth and most powerful test explosion of a nuclear bomb on Sunday.

 

Vladimir Putin warns world faces ‘global catastrophe’ over North Korea

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the escalating crisis over North Korea’s weapons program risks developing into a “global catastrophe” with mass casualties.

But Putin, speaking in China on Tuesday, cautioned against “military hysteria” and said that the only way to resolve the crisis was through diplomacy.

He warned that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has calculated that the survival of his regime depends on its development of nuclear weapons. Kim had seen how western intervention in Iraq had ended in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein after which the country was ravaged by war, Putin warned, and Kim was determined not to suffer the same fate.

“Saddam Hussein rejected the production of weapons of mass destruction, but even under that pretense, he was destroyed and members of his family were killed,” Putin said.

“The country was demolished and Saddam Hussein was hanged. Everyone knows that and everyone in North Korea knows that.”

On Monday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Kim was “begging for war” and urged the UN Security Council to adopt the strongest sanctions measures possible to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

But speaking at the closure of the BRICs summit in Beijing — which hosted the leaders of Brazil, India, China and South Africa — Putin said that while Russia condemned North Korea’s latest actions, imposing any kind of sanctions would be “useless and ineffective.” Kim would rather starve his people than see his regime overthrown, he said.

“They will eat grass but they will not turn away from the path that will provide for their security,” he said.

The latest escalation of the crisis came on Sunday when Pyongyang announced it had conducted a sixth nuclear test, which it claimed was of a hydrogen bomb. The claim has not been independently verified, but seismological data indicated that the weapon was the most powerful ever to be detonated by Pyongyang.

North Korea claims it now has the capability of mounting a thermonuclear weapon on a long-range missile capable of striking the United States.

 

Weapons experts say it’s almost impossible to verify if the warhead and missile could be successfully paired unless North Korea were to fire a nuclear-tipped ICBM.

North Korea has test-fired a number of missiles this summer, including two long-range ones in July and an intermediate-range one in August that overflew the Japanese island of Hokkaido. South Korea has claimed that the North is making preparations for another ICBM test.  

Putin said it was clear that Pyongyang already had a nuclear capability — and in any case, no missile defense system could offer adequate protection against conventional long-range artillery.

“We know that North Korea has nukes, we also know that North Korea has long-range artillery and it has other types of weapons and there are no weapons against long-range artillery — and these weapons can be difficult to locate.

“So we think that this military hysteria will not lead to good results. It could lead to global catastrophe with lots of victims.”

In response to the latest tests, the South Korean Navy announced Tuesday it conducted live-fire drills off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula to check its “immediate operational readiness” after the country’s air force and army conducted their own joint drills. It had already mounted a huge show of military force on Monday.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke with US President Donald Trump on Monday and agreed to lift current restrictions on the payload weight of South Korea’s ballistic missiles, according to a South Korean presidential spokesman.

CNN’s Taehoon Lee, Josh Berlinger and Sarah Faidell contributed to this article.

North Korea ‘moving missile towards west coast’ – report

KN14 Launch Site

The news comes as South Korea makes its own display of military force and as the US accuses North Korea of “begging for war”.

North Korea has been seen moving what appears to be an intercontinental ballistic missile towards its west coast, a report says.

South Korea’s Asia Business Daily cited an intelligence source as saying that the rocket was spotted moving on Monday, the day after North Korea’s sixth and largest nuclear test.

The North Korean missile programme’s launch facilities are on its west coast.

The move was made during the night to avoid surveillance, according to the report.

South Korea’s defence ministry said it could not confirm the report but on Monday it said that the North was ready to launch more missiles.

In July, North Korea tested two ICBMs capable of flying about 6,200 miles, threatening parts of the US mainland.

On Tuesday local time, the South Korean Navy held live-fire drills in the Sea of Japan.

These involved the 2,500-tonne frigate Gangwon, a 1,000-tonne patrol ship and 400-tonne guided missile vessels in a show of force that aimed to deter the North.

Captain Choi Young-Chan, commander of the 13th Maritime Battle Group, said: “If the enemy launches a provocation above water or under water, we will immediately hit back to bury them at sea.”

South Korea has also been in discussions with the US about deploying aircraft carriers and bombers to the Korean Peninsula.

It was agreed on Monday that the country could scrap a warhead weight limit on its missiles, meaning it could hit back at its northern neighbour with greater force.

North Korea alarmed the region with its most powerful test to date on Sunday of what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb able to be mounted onto a long-range missile.

The US responded by saying that North Korea leader Kim Jong Un was “begging for war”.

The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, says ‘enough is enough’

The American ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said her country did not want a conflict with the Pyongyang regime but its patience was “not unlimited”.

Speaking at the UN Security Council, Ms Haley said “enough is enough”, warning the organisation that its approach of imposing “incremental” sanctions against North Korea had not worked.

Sunday’s device is thought to have been about five times larger than the bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki in World War II and it caused a tremor with a magnitude of 6.3.

Sky Views: Military action in North Korea is risky

Katie Stallard, Asia Correspondent

Kim Jong Un is calling Donald Trump’s bluff.

By firing a missile over Japan (a US ally), testing a hydrogen bomb, and now possibly preparing to launch another intercontinental ballistic missile, the North Korean leader is effectively saying he does not believe the US President’s threat to unleash “fire and fury”.

His family’s experience over the last 60 years tells him he is right.

The reason no American president has ordered military action against North Korea in that time remains the same – Seoul and its 10 million residents are well within range of the conventional artillery and rockets already deployed along the border.

Pyongyang doesn’t need nuclear weapons and ICBMs to be able to threaten massive retaliation against an American ally, likely including chemical and biological weapons.

As Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, put it: “Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”

But what if that is also a bluff?

Kim Jong Un is not the cartoon villain caricature he is often portrayed as. We need to move beyond the hair jokes, and the image of the crazy despot.

To be clear, he is a despot, responsible for the brutal repression of his people, and he is running a regime accused of crimes against humanity, but he does not appear to be crazy.

Thus far, I have seen no evidence he is anything other than entirely rational, and playing a bad hand very shrewdly.

So assuming his main goal is staying in power, and staying alive, why are we so sure that no military action is possible and that even a limited strike would result in an assault on Seoul?

President Trump and President Xi Jinping have differing views about how to deal with North Korea. Sanctions or Diplomacy?

Kim Jong Un and his generals must understand that returning fire, with a large-scale attack on civilians in Seoul or Tokyo, would be suicide and that they would be ensuring the end of their regime.

Surely a more logical response would be to accept the strike on the nuclear test facility, or missile launch site, which could be spun domestically as further proof of the aggressive US enemy at the gates its people are already told is poised to attack and invade at any time, and live to rail against the imperialists another day.

The problem is communicating to Pyongyang that this is what is happening, and not the start of an all-out attack, in which case they would have nothing to lose, and would try to get their nuclear retaliation in first.

A North Korean mobile ICBM launcher

Despite what Mr Trump might think, China does not have the influence it once did on North Korea – there is mistrust on both sides, and relations have cooled significantly since the days when they were “as close as lips and teeth”.

Without that channel to reliably communicate those intentions, you are counting on Kim Jong Un and his advisers to draw the right conclusion in the critical minutes after the strike, and not to order the counter-attack.

That’s a hell of a gamble to take with 10 million people’s lives.

Which is why Kim’s assessment is probably right – that for all the talk of fire and fury, Donald Trump will ultimately come to the same conclusion as all the others before him: that the risks of military action are simply too great, and these were just empty words.

 

World’s largest sub Dmitry Donskoy back to base after three-month voyage

Lev Fedoseev/TASS

MURMANSK, September 4. /TASS/. Russia’s nuclear-powered submarine The Dmitry Donskoy, the largest in the world, has returned to the Northern Fleet’s base at Severomorsk, the Northern Fleet’s press-service said on Monday.

“The submarine’s crew has been away from the base for more than three months. It participated in the main naval parade on the occasion of the Russian Navy Day in Kronshtadt and performed combat training tasks in the Barents Sea,” the Northern Fleet said.

In Severodvinsk, the submarine was welcomed by Rear Admiral Arkady Romanov, its former commander. He heard a report from the submarine’s current commander, Captain 1st Class Oleg Tsybin, on the successful completion of the tasks and return to base, congratulated the crew and thanked the sailors for their service.

The heavy nuclear-powered submarine The Dmitry Donskoy is the world’s largest operational submarine. It is 170 meters long and 23 meters wide. Its draught in the surface position is about 11 meters and submerged displacement, 50,000 tonnes.

In June 2017 the submarine made its first surface voyage from Severomorsk to Kronshtadt through the Baltic straits and the Gulf of Finland.

 

 

 

 

 

South Korea fears nuclear test as earthquake shakes North Korea

South Korea has convened a national security council meeting following a shallow earthquake in North Korea. The quake came shortly after Pyongyang announced it had developed an advanced hydrogen bomb.

North Korea may have conducted a nuclear test, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on Sunday. The quake appeared to have been manmade, Yonhap added, suggesting that Pyongyang had conducted a sixth nuclear test. South Korea’s military also called the tremor “artificial” and added it was analyzing whether a nuclear test took place.

China’s Earthquake Administration said on Sunday it detected a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in northeastern North Korea that was a “suspected explosion.” The United States Geological Survey called the quake a “possible explosion.”

Past North Korean nuclear tests have resulted in earthquakes.

North Korea announces new H-bomb

The quake came shortly after Pyongyang announced it had developed a thermonuclear weapon with “super explosive power,” the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) claimed, citing leader Kim Jong-Un as saying “all components of the H-bomb were 100 percent domestically made.”

The KCNA said Kim had inspected such a device at the Nuclear Weapons Institute, with pictures showing him in a black suit examining a metal casing.

North Korea has “further upgraded its technical performance at a higher ultra-modern level on the basis of previous successes made in the first H-bomb test,” the KCNA said.

Tensions mount

Pyongyang triggered a new escalation of tensions in July after it carried out two successful tests of an ICBM, the Hwasong-14, bringing much of the US mainland within range. Japan has also called for a concerted international effort to put an end to the “growing threat” posed by North Korea’s nuclear program.

US President Donald Trump spoke by telephone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe following the North Korean announcement, the White House said.

“We completely agreed that we must thoroughly coordinate with each other and with South Korea, and cooperate closely with the international community, to increase pressure on North Korea and make it change its policies,” Abe told reporters

Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Saturday they plan to revise a 43-year-old joint treaty that caps the number and range of South’s ballistic missiles.

Trump and Moon also discussed North Korea’s “continued destabilizing and escalatory behavior,” the White House said in a statement.

Trump has warned that the US military is “locked and loaded” and that North Korea would face “fire and fury” in the event of further provocation. North Korea said the test fire of a missile that flew over Japan was a “curtain-raiser” for its “resolute countermeasures” against ongoing US-South Korean military drills.

“Though we cannot verify the claim, [North Korea] wants us to believe that it can launch a thermonuclear strike now, if it is attacked,” Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, told Reuters news agency.

Pyongyang’s assertion that “this warhead is variable-yield and capable of specialized weapons effects implies a complex nuclear strategy,” Mount added. “It shows [North Korea] is not only threatening assured destruction of the US and allied cities in the event it is attacked, but also is considering limited coercive nuclear strikes, or is seeking credible response options for US ones.”

Technical doubts

Questions remain over whether Pyongyang has miniaturized its weapons and whether it has a working hydrogen bomb.

In January 2016, Pyongyang claimed the device used – its fourth test – was a miniaturized H-bomb. Scientists believe the six-kiloton yield achieved then was too low for a thermonuclear device.

When it carried out its fifth test, in September 2016, it backed away from earlier claims of having tested a hydrogen bomb.

 

 

Media: NATO is preparing response to Russia’s violation of Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

RT-2PM2 Topol M Russian Ballistic Missile(AP Photo/Artyom Korotayev)

NATO is preparing a plan of action in response to the alleged violation of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty), as reported on Thursday on the website of the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. Radio and television broadcasters NDR and WDR have also reported this information.

The newspaper managed to view a copy of the classified document, which was sent out from Brussels to the member countries of the alliance. It lists 39 possible actions in response to the violation of the INF Treaty.

In particular, the expansion of the early warning system, the strengthening of anti-submarine defense, and the more active use of B-52 bombers in Europe could be implemented.

In addition, as a possible response, it suggested actions aimed at “nuclear deterrence,” however the article does not explain what exactly is meant by this.

At the same time, the document entitled “What would be if,” categorically excludes such options as the introduction of new sanctions against Russia or the withdrawal of the United States from the treaty, the newspaper writes.