DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 1, 2009
The preliminary phase of Iran's first reactor, built with Russian help at the southern town of Bushehr, was marked by a ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 25. Our sources report that Iranian nuclear teams will first activate the 1,000-MW reactor's sections in sequence with the help of advanced Russian computers flown in to monitor their progress. Russia's state Rosatom Atomic Corporation, Sergey Kiriyenko declined to say when the reactor would be fully operational.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 17, 2009
The force, which includes the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, the Admiral Levchenko destroyer and the Nikolay Chiker salvage tug, was due to call in at the Syrian port of Tartus Monday, Jan. 12 after carrying out joint exercises with the Turkish navy last week.
debkafile's military sources report that the arrival of the Russian flotilla in wartime is significant given Syria's role as one of the staunchest backers of Hamas which is embroiled in a war against Israel further down the coast in Gaza.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 28, 2008
An American military intelligence official says Russia's sale of S-300 long-range missiles to Iran presents a "decision point for Israel, since once the anti-aircraft system is in place it could deter any strike" against Iran's nuclear sites.
debkafile's military sources point to the confusion contrived by Moscow about the state of the consignment. Nonetheless, an American source said Tuesday: "The US believes it is taking place."
For debkafile article of Dec. 18, first disclosing that the transaction had gone through, click HERE
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 27, 2008
The Russian Kommersant reported Tuesday, Dec. 16 that Gen. Vladimir Popovkin, head of Russia's armed forces, visited Israel in November for talks on the purchase of a first batch of the unmanned reconnaissance drones which Georgia used successfully in its conflict with Russia last August.
debkafile's military sources report that the sale, if finally approved by the defense ministry in Tel Aviv, would be Israel's first advanced hardware sale to Russia.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 20, 2008
Russia is sending a group of warships to Cuba. The warships will visit Havana on December 19-23, the Russian navy said. "This will be the first visit to Cuba by Russian warships since the Soviet era," the Russian naval headquarters said in its statement. The visit will be led by the destroyer Admiral Chabanenko.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 10, 2008
debkafile's military sources report that, four months after the Georgian war, Moscow is again testing the limits of its Mediterranean reach. Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo announced that two flotillas from the Barents Sea and the Black Sea are heading for the Mediterranean.
Moscow and Beirut are preparing the way for their first important arms transaction. debkafile's military sources report that on the table are sales of Russian tanks, missiles, helicopters, and possibly warplanes.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 8, 2008
debkafile's military sources report that a large-scale arms deal for Syria, paid for by Iran, is in advanced negotiation in Moscow and Damascus. It includes fighter-bombers and an assortment of anti-air, anti-missile and anti-tank missiles, as well as substantial upgrades of Syria's antiquated Russian tanks.
Our sources disclose that the S-300PMU-2 and Iskander-E are still on the list under discussion. In the broader context of its contest with Washington, the Kremlin regards the American FBX-T anti-missile radar system installed in the Negev in September to be an integral part of the US missile shield deployed in the face of Russian protests in Poland and the Czech Republic.
The advanced missiles to Syria would be part of its payback.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 7, 2008
debkafile's Iranian and Moscow sources report that Atomstroiexport, the Russian firm under contract to build and activate Iran's nuclear reactor at Bushehr, is offering nuclear engineers and technicians top salaries to leave for Iran at short notice to finish the project by mid-2009.
debkafile's sources add that the finished Bushehr plant will make it possible for Iran to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons, an alternative to uranium enrichment.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 22, 2008
Not since 1984, just before the fall of the Soviet Union, has Russia ventured to launch dozens of nuclear bombers for an exercise in which Tu-95 Bear bombers will fire live cruise missiles. Exercise Stability 2008 will take place Oct.-6-12 over sub-Arctic Russia uncomfortably close to the US state of Alaska, and Belarus.
debkafile's military sources report that the exercise is part of a month-long war game described by Russian air force spokesman Col. Vladimir Drik as "practicing the strategic deployment of the armed forces including the nuclear triad."
As part of the exercise, our sources reported exclusively on Oct. 1, that Russian ships armed with nuclear missiles will dock at Syrian ports Oct. 8, on the eve of Yom Kippur, before continuing to the Caribbean for joint maneuvers with Venezuela.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 8, 2008
Georgian tanks and infantry, aided by Israeli military advisers, captured the capital of breakaway South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, early Friday, Aug. 8, bringing the Georgian-Russian conflict over the province to a military climax.
debkafile's geopolitical experts note that on the surface level, the Russians are backing the separatists of S. Ossetia and neighboring Abkhazia as payback for the strengthening of American influence in Georgia. However, more immediately, the conflict has been sparked by the race for control over the pipelines carrying oil and gas out of the Caspian region.
Jerusalem owns a strong interest in Caspian oil and gas pipelines reach the Turkish terminal port of Ceyhan, rather than the Russian network.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 26, 2008
debkafile's military sources report that a large-scale arms deal for Syria, paid for by Iran, is in advanced negotiation in Moscow and Damascus. Our sources disclose that the S-300PMU-2 and Iskander-E are still on the list.
Read more about this in debkafile Exclusive Report below.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 13, 2008
Asked if Russia had promised Israel prime minister Ehud Olmert not to deliver S-300 systems to Iran, the foreign ministry spokesman in Moscow said Thursday, Oct. 9: "We have already repeatedly stated at the very highest political levels that we do not intend to deliver those types of arms to countries which are located in troubled regions." He carefully avoided mentioning Iran or Syria.
debkafile reported earlier: Russian military experts calculate that the window for an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities will shrink to 3-6 months if Moscow sells Iran (and Syria) the sophisticated S-300 system.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 11, 2008
Russian Navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo disclosed Wednesday, Oct. 1, that a four-ship squadron led by the Peter the Great nuclear missile cruiser will call in at the Libyan port of Tripoli and "other Middle East ports" before heading out to the Caribbean for joint maneuvers with Venezuela.
debkafile's military sources report that the flotilla will visit Tartus, Syria, on Yom Kippur eve. Prime minister Ehud Olmert will be wasting his time if he intends asking president Dmitry Medvedev and prime minister Vladimir Putin during his Moscow visit to drop their plan for a permanent base at a Syrian port.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 9, 2008
debkafile's military sources report that starting Monday, Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95 MS Bear-H strategic bombers will fly missions carrying the maximum combat payload and firing all cruise missiles aboard over sub-Arctic Russia and Belarus, close to Alaska.
As part of the exercise, Russian ships armed with nuclear missiles docks at Syrian ports Wednesday, Oct. 8, Yom Kippur Eve, before continuing to the Caribbean for joint maneuvers with Venezuela, as debkafile reported on Oct. 1. Click HERE
Read our Special Report below on Russia's maneuvers.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 4, 2008
By Monday, Aug. 11, the fourth day of the Caucasian conflict, which first erupted over the breakaway province of South Ossetia, the pro-American Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili sounded hopeless in the face of overwhelming Russian might.
International condemnation of Russian behavior as "unacceptable and disproportionate" did not ease his country's plight or stop the continuing violence.
debkafile's military analysts reported Saturday, Aug. 9:
Tiny Georgia with an army of less than 18,000, having been roundly defeated in South Ossetia, cannot hope to withstand the mighty Russian army in Abkhazia.
Therefore, President Saakashvili, whose bid to join NATO and the European Union infuriated Moscow, will have to write off both breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as lost to Russia.
This is Moscow's payback for the US-NATO action to detach Kosovo from Serbia and launch it on the way to independence.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 27, 2008
Moscow's actions spoke louder than the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's anti-Semitic, anti-American rantings at the UN General Assembly Tuesday, Sept. 23 - despite the applause he won in the chamber.
A foreign ministry spokesman in Moscow said that Russia will not attend the meeting called for Thursday of the five UN Security Council permanent members' foreign ministers plus Germany to approve more sanctions against Iran for its nuclear defiance.
Iran has just completed the delivery to Iran of 29 Tor-M1 missile batteries for deployment at its nuclear sites.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 23, 2008
Israeli military and naval commanders were taken by surprise by Rear Adm. Andrei Baranov's disclosure that 10 Russian warships are already anchored at the Syrian port of Tartus, debkafile's military sources report.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 17, 2008
Friday, Sept. 12, Moscow announced the Syrian port of Tartus would be renovated to provide Russia with its first Mediterranean naval base.
As the two naval chiefs talked in Moscow, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov met Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki in the Russian capital for talks on the completion of the Bushehr nuclear power plant by the end of the year.
debkafile's sources interpret Friday's events as indicating that Russia's leaders have determined to open a second anti-Western front in the Middle East.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 17, 2008
The Russian defense ministry said the Tu-160 nuclear-capable, multi-mission bombers (NATO-coded Blackjack) arrived Wednesday Sept. 10 at a Venezuelan air base to take part in joint military exercises along with a Russian flotilla.
debkafile's military sources first disclosed on Sept. 9, that the nuclear maritime reconnaissance/anti-submarine warfare turboprop TU-142 (NATO coded Bear F, or Bear J), which can fly 6,500 km, i.e. from Venezuela to the US coast, will also be based at a Venezuelan military airfield.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 16, 2008
debkafile's counter-terror sources report from Moscow that three Jewish families, two Habad students and a Russian general were among the 88 passengers and crew killed in the Aeroflot Boeing 737 crash at Perm, Siberia, Saturday, Sept. 13. The plane was in flight from Moscow.
Russian authorities report the plane's sudden disappearance off the radar at the moment cockpit communications shut off indicate the craft may have exploded in mid-air.