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Finnish Authorities Reportedly Raided The Russian Military's Secret Island Hideouts
Even with artificial islands cropping up in the South China Sea, it's not just Chinese isles that are worrying Western militaries: reports suggest that the Russian government has increasingly gobbled up tiny islands in Finland in recent years as secret staging areas for Russian military assets.
- In September, Finish law enforcement and military personnel conducted simultaneous raids on 17 properties in the Western part of the country "linked to Russia" through the "mysterious" Russian businessman Pavel Melnikov and his associates, the New York Times reports.
- The raids included an assault on the island of Sakkiluoto involving heavily-armed police and at least 100 members of Finland’s Keskusrikospoliisi (KRP), the country's equivalent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- The Times account of Melnikov's business dealings is extremely comprehensive, but perhaps more interesting is his Sakkiluoto property, with "nine piers, a helipad, a swimming pool draped in camouflage netting and enough housing — all of it equipped with satellite dishes — to accommodate a small army," as the Times described it.
- "The seafront sauna, stacked with fresh towels, looked ready for use, as did the barbecue pits and other amenities on an island that seemed like the luxurious lair of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the fictional villain of James Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming."
- According to local media, Finnish military and intelligence agencies had been monitoring Melnikov's tourism company Airiston Helmi for years. As the War Zone reports, a state broadcaster alleged that the Russian government had made suspicious real estate purchases that "raised suspicions within the Finnish government and suggested that the Kremlin could be engaged in a 'hybrid warfare' campaign."
- Indeed, Russian special forces staged a mock invasion of an island in the Gulf of Finland just ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump's sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Although the target island of Gogland is technically part of Russia, its facilities mimic those uncovered on islands like Sakkiluoto.
Sen. Rick Scott is backing a bipartisan bill that would allow service members to essentially sue the United States government for medical malpractice if they are injured in the care of military doctors.
The measure has already passed the House and it has been introduced in the Senate, where Scott says he will sign on as a co-sponsor.
"As a U.S. Senator and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, taking care of our military members, veterans and their families is my top priority," the Florida Republican said in a statement.
Little girls everywhere will soon have the chance to play with a set of classic little green Army soldiers that actually reflect the presence of women in the armed forces.
U.S. military officials may have abandoned their dreams of powered armor straight out of Starship Troopers, but the futuristic components of America's first prototype combat exoskeleton could eventually end up in the arsenals of both U.S. special operations forces and conventional troops.
SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper pressed South Korea on Friday to pay more for the cost of stationing U.S. troops in the country and to maintain an intelligence-sharing pact with its other Asian ally, Japan, that Seoul is about to let lapse.
Speaking after a high-level defense policy meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Jeong Kyeong-doo, Esper also said the two countries must be flexible with their joint military drills to back diplomatic efforts to end North Korea's nuclear program.
But he stopped short of announcing any new reduction in military exercises that North Korea has sharply condemned.
Russia established an air base in the Syrian city where withdrawing US troops were pelted with potatoes
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia landed attack helicopters and troops at a sprawling air base in northern Syria vacated by U.S. forces, the Russian Defence Ministry's Zvezda TV channel said on Friday.
On Thursday, Zvezda said Russia had set up a helicopter base at an airport in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli, a move designed to increase Moscow's control over events on the ground there.
Qamishli is the same city where Syrian citizens pelted U.S. troops and armored vehicles with potatoes after President Donald Trump vowed to pull U.S. troops from Syria.