NATO activates European missile shield: In announcing the operational capability of its missile defense shield comprised of ship-based missiles, ground-based, anti-ballistic missiles and a network of radar placed throughout NATO member countries to guide them, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters Friday the defense system is “entirely defensive” in nature and should not be interpreted as hostile or threatening toward Russia.
Stoltenberg made the announcement during NATO’s annual summit in Warsaw.
In addition to revealing the missile shield is now usable, Stoltenberg discussed multinational troop levels across Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland would reach no more than 4,000.
The Kremlin has expressed their disapproval of the missile shield and recently warned of measures to counter further NATO expansion, particularly the addition of Finland to the alliance.
Key EU members dispute favorable terms for UK during Brexit: Citizens of four European Union (EU) member nations — France, Germany, Sweden and Finland — have signaled they are not in favor of granting the UK special privileges in the period leading up to or after “Brexit.”
Opinion polls in France and Germany reveal over 50 percent of voters are opposed to maintaining similar trade agreements with the UK in the post-Brexit period.
Similarly, voters in both countries said they would favor existing trade status should the UK honor current EU agreements allowing EU workers to remain working and living in the UK.
ISIS downs Russian helicopter near Palmyra: The Russian Ministry of Defense reported Saturday a Russian helicopter was shot down by ISIS terrorists near Palmyra in the Homs Governorate of Syria.
The MOD statement revealed the Mi-25 “Hind” attack helicopter was called to assist Syrian ground forces repel ISIS militants near Palmyra and it was struck by an American-made TOW anti-tank weapon.
The helicopter crashed in an area controlled by troops loyal to Bashar al-Assad and both pilots were reported killed, bringing the total number of Russian deaths in Syria to 10.
Russia enacts wide-ranging surveillance law: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a measure which requires telephone and internet providers to collect and store its customers communications.
Under an anti-terror umbrella, the new law obligates telecom firms to collect phone conversations and both text and email messages for up to six months. The bill also requires the collection and storage of metadata for up to three years. The new law also imposes penalties on those who use social media to encourage terror acts.
North Korea launches submarine-based ballistic missile: U.S. and South Korean military officials are reporting North Korea has test fired a ballistic missile from a submarine. American military personnel tracking the missile say it was detected near the North Korean coastal town of Sinpo, achieved several miles in altitude and exploded.
The South Korean Defense Ministry seconded American suspicions, but could not confirm if the missile test failed.
The ballistic missile test follows a joint U.S.-ROK decision to allow South Korea to host the THAAD missile defense system and recent U.S. sanctions on North Korean Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un.
Kim declared the U.S. sanctions to equal a declaration of war.
[The Independent] [RT News] [Yahoo] [Washington Times]