In the United States, federal holidays designated to remember the contributions of the armed forces are usually treated as relatively solemn affairs: national moments set for respect, reflection and, in the case of three-day weekends, some mild to moderate consumption of grilled meat and alcoholic beverages.
But Russian celebrations of military history are less sober — literally.
That’s the main lesson from a bizarre Russian news segment on the country’s celebration of Airborne Forces Day on August 2, and flagged on Twitter by longtime Russia journalist Max Seddon.
While reporting for state-run TV network NTV from Gorky Park in Moscow, the site of the Russian military’s first parachute jump in 1930, correspondent Nikita Razvozzhayev was interrupted by a drunken passerby; when Razvozzhayev politely shooed him away with a “please,” the drunk Russian apparently offered up a battle cry of “We will seize Ukraine!” before doling out a knuckle sandwich:
Russian TV's live broadcast from Paratroopers' Day is interrupted by a drunk paratrooper. The inevitable ensues pic.twitter.com/FboPfaDFZT
“It is worth noting that the attack occurred at a time when Nikita was explaining why the Airborne Forces are called ‘elite’ troops,” NTV explained in a follow-up report on the incident.
Many assumed the drunk Russian was himself a member of the airborne forces based on his presence in Gorky Park; according to Russia Beyond The Headlines, current and former paratroopers (as well as civilians) mark Airborne Forces Day by “wandering the city streets and parks” and, “often in an inebriated state ... frolic[ing] in Moscow’s fountains and pick fights with unfortunate passersby. Some fountains are turned off in a number of Russian cities to stop the madness.”
But apparently, the drunk Russian in question, detained by police shortly after the attack, was just some fucking jabroni with a bit too much piss and vinegar in his system, according to NTV. The dudes in the background are a whole other story:
Former Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak has issued a statement urging President Donald Trump and members of Congress to oppose pardons for those accused or convicted of war crimes since, he argued, it would "relinquish the United States' moral high ground."
"If President Trump follows through on reports that he will mark Memorial Day by pardoning individuals accused or convicted of war crimes, he will betray these ideals and undermine decades of precedent in American military justice that has contributed to making our country's fighting forces the envy of the world," said Krulak, who served in the Marine Corps for more than three decades before retiring in 1999 as the 31st Commandant.
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President Donald Trump will nominate Barbara Barrett to serve as the next Air Force secretary, the president announced on Tuesday.
"I am pleased to announce my nomination of Barbara Barrett of Arizona, and former Chairman of the Aerospace Corporation, to be the next Secretary of the Air Force," Trump tweeted. "She will be an outstanding Secretary! #FlyFightWin"
The Trump administration is trying to assure Congress that it does not want to start a war with Iran, but some lawmakers who fought in Iraq are not so sure.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford both briefed Congress on Tuesday about Iran. Shanahan told reporters earlier on Tuesday that the U.S. military buildup in the region has stopped Iran and its proxies from attacking U.S. forces, but the crisis is not yet over.
"We've put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans," Shanahan said. "That doesn't mean that the threats that we've previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region."
U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur/Handout via REUTERS
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"I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything," Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Monday evening for an event in Pennsylvania. "If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will."