World View: Russia Moves Trucks, Troops, Artillery into Ukraine

This morning's key headlines from

  • Chinese fighter jet buzzes U.S. surveillance plane in international waters
  • In major escalation, Russia moves trucks, troops, artillery into Ukraine

Chinese fighter jet buzzes U.S. surveillance plane in international waters

The Obama administration is launching a protest to China after a Chinese fighter plane made three passes dangerously near a U.S. surveillance plane in international waters. 

The incident is reminiscent of an April 2001 encounter when a Chinese F-8 interceptor crashed into a U.S. surveillance aircraft off the southern China coast. The Chinese aircraft crashed into the sea, and its crew was killed. The U.S. plane made an emergency landing on China's Hainan Island, and its 24 crew members were imprisoned for 10 days. 

In the current incident, a Chinese J-11 fighter jet, a version of the Russian SU-27, made three passes dangerously near the U.S. plane and zoomed directly in front of the Navy plane at a 90-degree angle to reveal its belly, which was packed with weaponry, according to a Pentagon spokesman. At one point the Chinese warplane flew alongside the Navy aircraft, putting their wingtips as close as 30 feet apart. The encounter ended with the Chinese pilot doing a barrel roll over the top of the U.S. plane. Stars and Stripes and Washington Free Beacon

In major escalation, Russia moves trucks, troops, artillery into Ukraine

NATO is reporting that Russian troops have moved artillery across the border into eastern Ukraine and are firing on the Ukrainian military from inside Ukraine's borders. This is a major escalation by Russia and threatens a larger war between Ukraine and Russia. It's been known for some time that Russia has been surreptitiously supplying to the pro-Russian separatist militias heavy weapons, including the surface-to-air missiles that the separatists used to shoot down the Malaysian Airlines flight 17 passenger plane. 

At the same time, Russia's massive 280-truck "humanitarian convoy" moved across the border from Russia into Ukraine, without the permission of the Ukraine government. The convoy was supposed to be coordinated with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who would take responsibility for overseeing the distribution of aid, but the convoy no longer has any connection with the ICRC. Ukraine's government is calling this a "direct invasion." 

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen issued the strongest condemnation yet of Russia's actions: 

I condemn the entry of a Russian so-called humanitarian convoy into Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and without any involvement of the International Committee of the Red Cross. This is a blatant breach of Russia’s international commitments, including those made recently in Berlin and Geneva, and a further violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty by Russia. It can only deepen the crisis in the region, which Russia itself has created and has continued to fuel. The disregard of international humanitarian principles raises further questions about whether the true purpose of the aid convoy is to support civilians or to resupply armed separatists.

These developments are even more worrying as they coincide with a major escalation in Russian military involvement in Eastern Ukraine since mid-August, including the use of Russian forces. In addition, Russian artillery support – both cross-border and from within Ukraine – is being employed against the Ukrainian armed forces. We have also seen transfers of large quantities of advanced weapons, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, and artillery to separatist groups in Eastern Ukraine. Moreover, NATO is observing an alarming build-up of Russian ground and air forces in the vicinity of Ukraine.

Rassmussen added, "Instead of de-escalating the situation, Russia continues to escalate it." 

Russia responded in the U.N. Security Council by criticizing Lithuania, a temporary member, for having requested an emergency meeting to discuss Ukraine and for systematically opposing Russian initiatives. According to Russia's U.N. ambassador Vitaly Churkin: 

"At times it seems there is no clear chain of command in Kiev, because some assurances are given (to Russia) at a very high level and then others do not give the orders which are required ... by the border police to let the (aid) trucks in. That game could not continue indefinitely."

"We waited long enough and it was time to move," he added. "And this is what we did."

Washinton Post and NATO News and Reuters

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, China, J-11 fighter jet, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Iraq, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Navi Pillay, Israel, Gaza, Benjamin Netanyahu, International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, NATO, Russia, Ukraine, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Vitaly Churkin 

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