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Russia Warships Loaded With Tanks, Military Supplies Seen ‘Leaving Turkey For Syria’

Andrew Gregory
a large ship in a body of water: The ship appeared to be loaded with tanks and military hardware            © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc  

Russian warships loaded with tanks have been spotted leaving Turkish waters headed for Syria.

It comes as the world awaits Vladimir Putin’s response to airstrikes on Assad’s chemical weapons programme carried out by the US, UK and France.

Putin is expected to order ‘payback’ in the form of a cyber warfare in the West. But images posted online suggest Russia will also step up its military efforts in the Syrian region.

Orsk, Russia’s amphibious transport ship, was seen leaving the Bosphorus strait on Sunday.

One of the tanks has a Pelena-6 communications jammer installed            © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc  

Naval observer Yoruk Isik said it was headed for Tartus, Russia’s coastal base in Syria, for the fourth time. It was loaded up with appeared to be tanks, lorries and military hardware.

Mr Isik highlighted that a Pelena-6 communications jammer looks to have been installed on the chassis of one of the tanks.

A second ship, the yellow tanker RoRo Alexandr Tkachenko was also pictured carrying trucks and materials for bridge construction.

It comes as Theresa May faces a backlash for snubbing MPs before joining the US-led assault. It’s claimed hackers could release ­embarrassing information about ­­politicians as part of a two-pronged “dirty war” in retaliation for the bombing of Syria.

Spy chiefs also fear the Russian President is plotting a series of cyber attacks that could potentially cripple infrastructure – including the NHS, transport and power networks.

a group of people around each other: Credits: PA            © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: PA  

Intelligence officers at GCHQ and the Ministry of Defence are said to be on standby to respond to any cyber warfare “proportionately”.

The US, Britain and France hit three sites in Syria in response to a suspected deadly chlorine attack that killed up to 75 in former rebel stronghold Douma.

Last night Russian president Putin branded the missile strikes on his ally an “act of aggression” and warned further attacks would “have a ­destructive effect” on world peace.

PM Theresa May has reportedly received intelligence Russia could hit members of the UK establishment with “kompromat” – compromising information that could smear their reputations.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Moscow had a track record of cyber attacks and meddling in other ­countries’ democratic processes.

He told the BBC: “You have to take every precaution, and when you look at what Russia has done, not just in this country, in Salisbury, attacks on TV stations, on the democratic processes, on critical national infrastructure – of course, we have to be very, very cautious.

“But I want to stress, we in the UK do not seek an escalation, absolutely not.”

Mr Johnson said Western powers had no plans for further strikes but would assess their options if Syria’s government used chemical weapons again. He added: “This is not about regime change … This is not about trying to turn the tide of the conflict in Syria.”

a screenshot of a video game: The Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC) compound in the Barzeh district, north of Damascus, before the raids by the United States, Britain and France              © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc  

Former Minister for Security, Alan West, also warned Britain could be the target of a dirty war as Putin tries to “hit back”. He said it was unlikely Russia would launch ­military action but would “find other ways”.

Lord West added: “I think he [Putin] will be wanting to do something. It might be a little bit of cyber. He’ll do something but he’s not going to go for missiles in Akrotiri [RAF base in Cyprus] or something like that.”

Michael Clarke, an academic ­specialising in defence studies, told our sister paper the Sunday Mirror an attack could be imminent in the next two or three weeks. He added: “Cyber warfare is highly likely. It will be an attack on national ­infrastructure, not just ­upsetting City firms, but getting inside the transport system, or the health system, or air traffic control.”

According to reports, Mrs May has been warned politicians could be singled out in any Russian cyber attack – as Hillary Clinton was during the US presidential election. One source told the Sunday Times: “We know what’s in the Russian playbook, kompromat type material, we’re all prepared for that.

a person using a laptop computer sitting on top of a desk: It's also feared NHS IT systems could be hit by Russian hackers            © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc  

“We know that they do have that ability to penetrate at that scale.

“We’re not saying there’s a picture of ‘X’ that’s waiting to come out but it’ll be amazing to us if they don’t have some of that kind of material.”

Referring to a possible counter cyber attack by Britain, the source added: “If they aggressively come after us, we will certainly have the ability to do some stuff to them. But unlike Russia, we abide by the law so anything we do would be proportionately done.”

It also emerged the PM is ready to order economic sanctions on London-based Russian oligarchs.

And Nikki Haley, US envoy to the UN, said new sanctions would be announced today against Russian firms linked to Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad.

Saturday morning’s strikes represented the most significant attack against Assad’s government by Western powers in seven years of Syria’s civil war. US officials claimed attacks on sites in Barzeh, Damascus, and Him Shinsar, west of Homs, had set Assad’s chemical weapons programme back years.

The Russians and the US said there were no reported casualties. After the strikes, the US revealed a Russian “disinformation campaign” had already begun.

The Pentagon’s Dana White said there was “a 2,000% increase in Russian trolls in 24 hours”.

The Kremlin is also thought to be boosting the number of spies in the UK – weeks after former agent Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia were poisoned in Salisbury.

Colonel Richard Kemp, who led Operation Fingal in Afghanistan in 2002, said: “The Russians will be seeing us as more of a direct enemy. I think the likelihood is they will be increasing their espionage activity.”

Yesterday inspectors from the independent Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons were in the Syrian capital Damascus. They met Syrian officials and were set to visit nearby Douma, in Eastern Ghouta.

The Syrian army announced on Saturday the region had been cleared of the last rebel fighters.

Some locals claimed yesterday the bombing against was less intense than expected. One supporter of the anti-Assad opposition, said: “It wasn’t as intense as they’re making it sound.

“We have no more faith in the international community.”

One of the tanks has a Pelena-6 communications jammer installed

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has defended his use of the phrase “Mission Accomplished” following the allied attack.

George W. Bush said the same thing six weeks into the 2003 Iraq War, also declaring “major combat operations in Iraq have ended”.

It became a global symbol of US misjudgment and mistakes as the conflict continued to rage for years.

Mr Trump tweeted yesterday: “The Syrian raid was so perfectly carried out, with such precision, that the only way the Fake News Media could demean was by my use of the term ‘Mission Accomplished’.”

He added: “I knew they would seize on this but felt it is such a great Military term.” (Mirror)

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(Video) Russia Prepares For Nuclear War With United States |The Republican News

Cristina Maza
Russian President and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin enters a hall to meet with other candidates in the poll, a day after the presidential election, at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 19, 2018.: Putin-Russia            © Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images Putin-Russia 

Russian state-owned television is urging the country’s residents to stock their bunkers with water and basic foodstuffs because Moscow could go to war with Washington.

Warning that the potential conflict between the two superpowers would be “catastrophic,” an anchor for Russia’s Vesti 24 showed off shelves of food, recommending that people buy salt, oatmeal and other products that can last a long time on the shelves. Powdered milk lasts five years while sugar and rice can last up to eight years, the newscaster explained before showing videos of pasta cooking in a bomb shelter.

The channel’s newscasters also displayed charts explaining how much water people need to store for drinking, washing their face and hands, and preparing food every day—and how that amount changes depending on the temperature of a person’s bomb shelter. The program also recommended that people stock up on gas masks and read guides on how to survive a nuclear war.

Related: Russian warships put to sea from Syrian naval base (Fox News

 Russian warships put to sea from Syrian naval base

The program aired just one day after sources told Newsweek that “there is a major war scare” in Moscow, as President Donald Trump prepares to strike Syria in retaliation for the use of chemical weapons against civilians over the weekend. The Trump administration has said it believes Syria’s Russian-backed President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the attacks, and it plans to ensure that Assad pays the price. Russian military forces have responded by saying that Moscow would meet fire with fire and said that it will shoot down any U.S. missiles.

“If there is a strike by the Americans, then the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired,” warned Alexander Zasypkin, Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon, during an interview on Tuesday with a television station linked to Hezbollah.

Vladimir Putin           © Getty Vladimir Putin

The increasingly bellicose rhetoric has sparked fears that a conflict could break out between two nuclear-armed superpowers. On Wednesday morning, Trump took to Twitter to issue a stark warning to Russia, which he accused of partnering with “a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”

But he later walked back the statement, calling for an end to the arms race with Russia.  Newsweek

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UK Submarines Move Within Missile Range Of Syria As Theresa May Convenes ‘War Cabinet’

Iain Burns
British Prime Minister Theresa May. (Photo by MICHAEL CAMPANELLA/Getty Images)© Getty British Prime Minister Theresa May. (Photo by MICHAEL CAMPANELLA/Getty Images)

 

Theresa May was poised last night to defy calls for a Commons vote on military action in Syria

The Prime Minister summoned ministers back to London to seek their support for joining an American-led attack on the Assad regime within days.

Clearing the way for action, she declared the use of chemical weapons could not go unchallenged and said ‘all the indications’ suggested that Bashar Assad’s forces were responsible for Saturday’s atrocity near Damascus.

Military chiefs are said to have ordered British submarines armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles to move within range of Syria.

a small boat in a body of water: General Sir Richard Barrons, a former commander of Joint Forces Command, said Russia's warnings that launch platforms could be targeted in response to air strikes meant 'they are going to try and sink ships, sink submarines and shoot aircraft out of the sky - that's war'© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited General Sir Richard Barrons, a former commander of Joint Forces Command, said Russia’s warnings that launch platforms could be targeted in response to air strikes… 

Despite fears of a military confrontation with Russia, no preparations are being made to recall MPs from their Easter recess. It is understood No 10 believes it can launch a one-off, punitive strike without consulting Parliament.

Donald Trump dramatically escalated the crisis yesterday by telling Russia to ‘get ready’ because ‘nice and new and smart’ cruise missiles would be coming.

He warned Vladimir Putin not to stand by President Assad, who he described as a ‘gas killing animal’.

a close up of a newspaper            © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited 

Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon had said his country was ready to target US planes and ships if they fired at Syrian regime forces. That would effectively lead to a state of war, according to Sir Richard Barrons, a senior former military commander.

And Julian Lewis, who chairs the Commons defence committee, was among MPs to warn of the risks of intervention. ‘Embroiling ourselves in a military clash with Russia in the context of a civil war between an inhumane government and opposition-controlled by jihadi fanatics is not a sensible one, to put it mildly,’ he said.

In other developments:

British officials were said to be in talks with their counterparts in France and the US about which military assets should be deployed for military action.

a group of people standing around a table: Mrs May has said Britain will co-ordinate its response to the incident in the rebel-held town of Douma - where at least 40 people are reported to have been killed - with the US and France© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Mrs May has said Britain will coordinate its response to the incident in the rebel-held town of Douma – where at least 40 people are reported to have been killed -… 

‘We are committed to deter and prevent the use of chemical weapons,’ said a government source.

‘We now have to establish the best way of getting there, and those conversations are carrying on, officials are speaking to their counterparts in France and America right now. In terms of precisely what happens next, that is still to be confirmed.’

The PM will hold a Cabinet meeting this afternoon. Ministers were understood to be privately urging her to act, although is not clear whether the British public would support an expansion of military action in Syria.

Brexit Secretary David Davis voted against military action against the Assad regime in 2013.

Speaking on a visit to Birmingham yesterday, Mrs May said: ‘The continued use of chemical weapons cannot go unchallenged.’

Asked whether she was concerned about Mr Trump’s tweet, she replied: ‘We are working with our allies, we have been working to get an understanding of what happened on the ground. We are rapidly reaching that understanding. All the indications are that the Syrian regime was responsible.

‘We will be working with our closest allies on how we can ensure that those who are responsible are held to account and how we can prevent and deter the humanitarian catastrophe that comes from the use of chemical weapons in the future.’

Tory MP Mr Lewis insisted there should be a vote before the UK took action. ‘There is a real danger that what starts out as justified punishment for the use of chemical weapons ends up with the Royal Air Force serving as the air arm of the jihadi extremist rebels in Syria,’ he said.

The U.S. has maintained its threat of rocket attacks in response to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's sickening chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Douma on Saturday© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The U.S. has maintained its threat of rocket attacks in response to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s sickening chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Douma…

‘It sends a very bad signal to the country that they don’t submit themselves to parliamentary scrutiny before involving in taking military action by choice in the context of a civil war where both sides equally atrocious.’

Tory colleague Bob Seely said: ‘Trump is declaring war on Twitter. Both Trump and Putin need to remember what the stakes are.

‘This crisis could escalate very quickly into a shooting war in Syria. If Russians are injured, the Kremlin will hit back. The most important thing our generation can achieve is to avoid actual conflict with Russia.

‘If we are reckless or thoughtless in our actions, it will make conflict now or in future more likely to happen.’

Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, said any US missiles fired at Syria would be shot down along with the ships or planes that fired them.

He told Hezbollah’s Al Manar TV: ‘If there is a strike by the Americans then … the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired.’

Then, in the early hours of yesterday morning, Mr Trump responded on Twitter, saying: ‘Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and smart! You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it.’

In a further tweet 40 minutes later, he said: ‘Our relationship with Russia is worse now that it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War.

‘There is no reason for this. Russia needs us to help with their economy.’

Russia’s foreign ministry spokesman responded by saying ‘smart missiles should fly towards terrorists, not lawful government’.

General Barrons, who led the UK’s joint forces command until 2016, said of the Russian ambassador’s warning: ‘He is saying not only are they going to shoot down the missiles in flight, but by saying launch sites, he is saying they are going to try and sink ships, sink submarines and shoot aircraft out of the sky. That’s war.’

Charles Crawford, former British Ambassador to Bosnia, warned the range of options for dealing with the crisis varied between ‘terrible and catastrophic’.

Don’t attack without a vote, MPs from all parties urge May 

MPs from across Parliament last night urged Theresa May to change her mind as she prepared to launch military action against Bashar al-Assad without a Commons vote.

Cabinet sources said there was now a ‘broad view’ in Downing Street that the Prime Minister does not need to seek the approval of MPs before launching strikes.

Some senior Tories yesterday joined Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP in demanding MPs are given a say, as they warned of the dangers of how the crisis could escalate.Since the Iraq War a precedent has been set that all military action abroad is first approved by Parliament, but sources last night told the Mail that no preparations have been made for MPs to return to Westminster before Monday when their Easter recess ends.

When asked if she would recall parliament yesterday, Mrs May declined to answer the question directly. Tory MP Sir David Amess said the Prime Minister needed to come to the Commons before retaliating against Assad following the chemical weapons attack in Syria.

He said: ‘I think we have to look at this situation very, very carefully because since I have been in Parliament we have been involved in conflicts in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Neither with terribly good outcomes.’

a circuit board              © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited 

All three of the main opposition parties – Labour, the SNP and Liberal Democrats – yesterday called on Mrs May to hold a Commons vote before embarking on the action.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: ‘Parliament should always be given a say on military action. That’s a case that I’ve made going back many, many years in parliament.

‘Listen, what happened last weekend was terrible.

‘What we don’t want is bombardment which leads to escalation and leads to a hot war between Russia and America over the skies of Syria,’ he added.

 Jeremy Corbyn’s brother has claimed the chemical weapons attack in Syria was a hoax. Piers Corbyn retweeted a fake news video from a US conspiracy theory website and tagged his brother in the tweet.

Piers Corbyn tweeted: ‘Video of Syria chemical attack is fake news. Some actors masked, others not in danger zone. Slosh water on children to cry. That’s it!’

The video, on the Infowars website, suggests the attack on Douma was not carried out by the Assad regime and was the work of actors.

Daily Mail

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