Putin Says Global Strike to Disarm North Korea Possible, But Outcome Would Be Uncertain

Here is the latest on what Russian strongman President Vladimir Putin had to say about the current crisis over North Korea’s nuclear program:

Vladimir Putin

A global strike to disarm North Korea would be possible, yet its outcome uncertain, as it is a “closed state,” Russian President Vladimir Putin stated.

“Let us speak to the point, after all – can someone launch a global disarming strike? Indeed. Will it reach its targets? It’s unclear because no one knows for sure what is where,” Putin said while addressing the 2017 International Forum on Energy Efficiency on Wednesday.

He added there is no “100 percent knowledge” about North Korea’s objects as it is “a closed country.”

Meanwhile, Putin said, coercive rhetoric against Pyongyang and attempts “to speak from a position of strength” only give more power to the North Korean leadership.

The Russian leader urged all sides to cool down their rhetoric and engage in dialogue.

“All sides must ease rhetoric and find ways for face-to-face dialogue between the United States and North Korea, as well as between North Korea and countries in the region,” he said.

“Only this would help find balanced and reasonable decisions.”

“At any rate, it is not my cup of tea to define and assess policies of the United States president,” Putin added.  [Russia Today]

You can read more at the link.  Of course no one knows exactly where every strategic military asset the North Koreans have is located at.  However, we do know where the Yonbyong nuclear facility, their test launch site, SLBM barge, and missile manufacturing facilities are located at.  Taking those out would not end their nuclear or missile programs, but would set them back.

Russian Online Disinformation Targeting Veterans Has No Proven Effect

This sounds like much to do about nothing:

Russian trolls and others aligned with the Kremlin are injecting disinformation into streams of online content flowing to American military personnel and veterans on Twitter and Facebook, according to an Oxford University study released Monday.

The researchers found fake or slanted news from Russian-controlled accounts are mixing with a wide range of legitimate content consumed by veterans and active-duty personnel in their Facebook and Twitter news feeds. These groups were found to be reading and sharing articles on conservative political thought, articles on right-wing politics in Europe and writing touting various conspiracy theories.  [Washington Post]

Sounds scary right that the US military is being influenced by Russian misinformation?  Here is what the study really found out:

The kind of information shared by and with veterans and active-duty personnel span a wide range, with liberal political content also common, though not as common as conservative political content. The online military community, the researchers found, also shared links about sustainable agriculture, mental health issues such as addiction, and conspiracy theories.

No one subject dominated the online content flowing among these communities, but the largest individual categories dealt with military or veteran matters. Russian disinformation was a smaller but significant and persistent part of the overall information flow.

So basically the Russian disinformation was irrelevant.  This article could not even cite one piece of disinformation that had any effect on veterans.  The Washington Post even headlines this story with “Russian operatives used Twitter and Facebook to target veterans and military personnel, study says”.  The Washington Post could have more accurately titled this article “Study Finds Veterans Follow Military and Veterans Matters Online; Russian Disinformation Has No Proven Effect”.

The bottom line is that the Internet is filled with disinformation and people need to use critical thinking to sift through what is real and what is not.

Russia Opens New Internet Line to North Korea After US Cyberattack

The Russians are at it again:

A major Russian telecommunications company appears to have begun providing an Internet connection to North Korea. The new link supplements one from China and will provide back-up to Pyongyang at a time the US government is reportedly attacking its Internet infrastructure and pressuring China to end all business with North Korea.

The connection, from TransTeleCom, began appearing in Internet routing databases at 09:08 UTC on Sunday, or around 17:38 Pyongyang time on Sunday evening. Internet routing databases map the thousands of connections between telecom providers and enable computers to figure out the best route to a destination.  (…….)

On Saturday, The Washington Post reported that US Cyber Command has been carrying out denial of service attacks against North Korean hackers affiliated with the Reconnaissance General Bureau. The attacks attempt to overwhelm their computers and the Internet connection with traffic making them slow or impossible to use.

The US cyber attack was due to end on Saturday, reported the Post. That means the new Russian connection went online just after the US Cyber Command attack ended.  [38 North]

You can read more at the link.

Andrei Lankov Explains Why Russia Will Water Down or Veto UN Sanctions on North Korea

A ROK Drop favorite Andrei Lankov explains why Russia is going to attempt to water down United Nations sanctions on North Korea or veto them all together and it has nothing to do with Putin taking an anti-US position:

Andrei Lankov

Vladimir Putin was right when he recently said that even if North Koreans have to eat grass, they will not surrender nuclear weapons (of course, in North Korea the people who make decisions on nuclear weapons are far removed from the people who would have no choice but to eat grass).

However, there is the probability that a really harsh sanctions regime will eventually provoke a grave political crisis and revolution in North Korea: instead of eating grass, the people will rebel.

For American observers, who will watch enthusiastic TV reports about a North Korean revolution in safety, this development, as long as it does not trigger a region-wide war, will be welcome. After all, regime collapse will bring about the complete solution of the North Korean nuclear issue, the U.S.’s overwhelming concern.

However, Russia and China, inconveniently located on the border with North Korea, have reasons to be unenthusiastic about prospects of a Syria-like or Libya-like situation, anarchy and civil war in a nuclear-armed country nearby. For Moscow – and, for that matter, for Beijing – a collapsing North Korea is a greater threat than a nuclear one, however bad a nuclear North Korea is.  [NK News]

You can read the rest of the analysis at the link.

Putin Advocates for More Negotiations with North Korea

I am sure the irony is lost on few that President Putin is advocating against militarism and provocations and instead for everyone to get together and talk considering how own actions in Ukraine and Georgia in recent years:

(CNN)Russian President Vladimir Putin has weighed into the North Korea crisis, warning the US and others against going down a “dead-end road” and calling for talks to resolve the issue.

“Russia believes that the policy of putting pressure on Pyongyang to stop its nuclear missile program is misguided and futile,” Putin said in an article released Thursday by the Kremlin, ahead of the BRICS summit in Xiamen, China.
“The region’s problems should only be settled through a direct dialogue of all the parties concerned without any preconditions. Provocations, pressure and militarist and insulting rhetoric are a dead-end road,” Putin said.
His comments were published hours after the US and South Korea conducted a mock bombing raid on the Korean Peninsula that was denounced by Pyongyang as a “rash act.”
Russia was a participant in the six-party talks, which took place in the mid-2000s in an attempt to get North Korea to abandon its then burgeoning nuclear program.  [CNN]
You can read the rest at the link.

Ukraine Denies They Helped North Korea Master Rocket Technology

I think someone is definitely helping the North Koreans with their missile technology, but blaming Ukraine sounds like a Russian information operation:

Ukraine’s top diplomat in Seoul on Thursday denied allegations that North Korea might have obtained rocket engines used in its recently tested long-range missiles from Ukraine.

Charge d’Affaires Taras Fedunkiv, the acting Ukrainian ambassador to Seoul, still suspected that North Korea could not have been able to advance its missile technology “without outside help,” calling for an international probe to find “who was responsible.”

“The production lines for building these types of rockets in Ukraine were decommissioned in 1992. The expertise cannot be carried in the heads of rogue scientists. The instructions are included in complex manuals locked in top-security facilities guarded by our security forces,” he said in a written interview with Yonhap News Agency, citing Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin’s recent op-ed in The New York Times.

“Not only would it be virtually impossible for criminals to access these manuals, but also any effort could not go unnoticed by our government,” he added.

Citing a study by Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the New York Times reported on Aug. 14 that North Korea could have got its hands on technology needed for the success of the recent missile launches through black market purchases of rocket engines from Ukraine.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but I would not be surprised if it was the Russians helping the North Koreans master their long range rocket technology.

Experts Surprised By Chinese and Russian Coordination on North Korea Policy

I can’t understand why anyone is surprised by the synchronization of China and Russia’s North Korea strategy?  China and Russia have long had the common goal of weakening the United States’ commitment to alliances in Northeast Asia:

The proposal, and the strategic alignment between the two one-time rivals, raised some eyebrows amongst regional watchers. Russia has often backed China in U.N. Security Council negotiations, but during the Obama administration it was far less engaged on North Korea than China was. Xi’s government, meanwhile, had appeared prepared to begin taking a more assertive stance on the reclusive nation.

The recalibration serves a common goal that regional experts say is central to both Russian and Chinese foreign policy — loosening American alliances around the globe.

Former diplomats are split over the significance of the sudden chumminess. Robert Gallucci, the chief U.S. negotiator during the North Korean nuclear crisis of 1994, called it “unsettling” but “not catastrophic in any way.” He characterized the surprise sync as two nations seizing an opportunity to undercut the U.S.-Japan-South Korea alliance — not a herald of a new era of coordinated policy against the United States.

But some regional policy experts fear that a united Sino-Russian front on North Korea could make it more difficult for the U.S. to rein in Pyongyang’s burgeoning nuclear program.

“The fact that Moscow and Beijing are using virtually identical language and are very united at this time I think will provide great comfort to Kim Jong Un,” said David Pressman, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for political affairs who now works at the Boies Schiller Flexner law firm.  [The Hill]

You can read more at the link, but as I had previously mentioned this whole approach plays into the slow motion surrender of South Korea to North Korean hegemony and the end of the US-ROK alliance. Is it any wonder why China and Russia continue to enable the Kim regime?

Top Russian Defense Official Claims THAAD is an Offensive Weapon System

It looks like the propaganda goons over in Russia are busy spreading disinformation for Korean leftists to point to in order to claim THAAD is an offensive weapon system:

A top Russian defense official on Sunday accused South Korea and the U.S. of escalating tensions in Northeast Asia by deploying the powerful Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) on the Korean Peninsula.

Deputy Defense Minster Lt. Gen. Alexander Fomin claimed the missile system can be used for launching “long-distance attack missiles,” and should not be viewed exclusively as a defensive system.

“That’s why we are alarmed. It’s a direct threat to Russia,” he said, speaking at a plenary session of the 16th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

He pointed out the deployment of the THAAD system in South Korea has already begun.

“We are convinced that (the) ongoing (move) in the region under the auspices of the United States to deploy elements of a global missile defense (system) will not only not solve the existing problems on the Korean Peninsula, but, on the contrary, will only exacerbate them,” he said in English.

He added THAAD in Korea would also trigger a regional arms race and provoke the North to attack its enemies.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but to claim THAAD is an offensive system would be the same as claiming the Patriot missile defense batteries spread throughout South Korea are offensive systems well.  They are of course not offensive systems, they just for missile defense.  Why would the US military need these as offensive systems when there is already plenty of offensive strike capability in and around the peninsula?  The Russians know THAAD is not an offensive system, but they want leftists in South Korea to believe it is in order to stoke civil discontent against the deployment of the system.

Russia does not see the US-ROK alliance as being in their interest and are using the THAAD issue to drive a wedge in the alliance especially with the left wing President Moon Jae-in now in power.

Russia Warns the United States Against Intimidating North Korea After Missile Test

Like I said before I did not think Putin would care much about the North Korean missile test:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned North Korea’s latest missile launch as “dangerous” but warned against “intimidating” Pyongyang.

Speaking in China, Putin called for a peaceful solution to the ongoing tensions on the Korean peninsula, Russia’s Sputnik news agency reported.
“I would like to confirm that we are categorically against the expansion of the club of nuclear states, including through the Korean Peninsula,” Putin told reporters. “We are against it and consider it counterproductive, damaging, dangerous,” he said.
But in comments that appeared aimed at the US, he said that “intimidating (North Korea) is unacceptable.”  [CNN]
You can read more at the link, but Russia could see the North Korea issue as a potential bargaining chip with the US and thus the current mixed signals being sent after this latest missile test.