Breaches were reported this morning to be spouting natural gas in the Baltic Sea. The pipelines are not currently in use, so this is the gas that was stationary in them. Pipelines are designed so that sections can be shut off, and presumably this has been done.
Seismic observations indicate the breaches were caused by explosions, according to Björn Lund, director of the Swedish National Seismic Network. He is quoted as saying that the explosions were equivalent to at least 100 kg of TNT, which is a lot and probably damaged the pipelines badly. TNT is the standard used for this sort of thing, but the explosives used were more likely C4, which is more powerful per unit weight. Its equivalent would be 72 kg. Underwater mines have also been mentioned.
Nobody knows. But Russia has been deploying troops around its border with Ukraine, particularly around the Donbas, the area where Russia has been carrying on a small war since late 2014. Earlier that year, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula, part of Ukraine.
The latest buildup, according to military experts, looks like it could be in preparation for a major invasion of Ukraine. But why? A great deal of speculation is possible on the basis of official Russian statements and history. It’s hard not to be snarky about some of this – Vladimir Putin seems to live in a land all his own, part pre-1905, part World War II, part nuclear age. Living in a land of his own, however, doesn’t mean that he can’t precipitate a war, so I’ll avoid snark.
One of the points of competition during the Republican primaries was who could be most vehement in denouncing the nuclear agreement with Iran, the formal title of which is the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA). Donald Trump chose to focus on the negotiation aspect, supposedly one of his strong points. It was a bad deal; he would get a much better one, no specifics given. The negotiatiors used the wrong strategy. Presumably he expected something more like this: Read More
The New York Times points out that the United States tries to minimize civilian casualties in its bombing in Syria. Russia doesn’t, and is using cluster munitions, banned by most countries. It might be useful for Donald Trump and Ted Cruz to read this article. Read More